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October 25, 2014

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The Office: The Return

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jan 19th 2007 12:28AM

the office(S03E13) Oh well. Another week, another great Office episode. What else is new?

At the end of the episode, I found myself wanting to place my hands around Andy's neck and squeezing until the sap oozed out. He has got to be the most obnoxious sitcom character in the last few years. Even Dwight Schrute at his most neurotic couldn't reach the heights of Andy's behavior. I, like Jim, missed Dwight.

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The Office: Traveling Salesmen

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jan 11th 2007 11:56PM

(S03E12) WOW! WOW! WOW!

What an episode! What an absolutely brilliant episode! I cannot remember ever guffawing over every single line in a single sitcom episode as I did watching this one. If the performances in this particular one don't garner the actors in this show a plethora of Emmys, there ought to be an investigation.

I believe this was Steve Carell's single best performance so far as Michael Scott. He displayed the full range of his personality--jokester, arrogant jerk, charming salesman, sensitive soul, and added a new one--anger. The look on his face when he learned of Dwight's clandestine visit to the New York office could have cut through steel.

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Channel 4 helps virgin get laid

by Adam Finley, posted Dec 3rd 2006 4:29PM

hippoChannel 4 in the UK is moving ahead with plans to air Virgin School, a documentary that will follow a virgin in his late twenties as he attends a sex school in Amsterdam and eventually loses his virginity with a sex therapist, despite protests from former chief executive of Channel 4, Jeremy Isaacs, who says the channel has been dumbing down its programming as of late.

There may be some merit to Issac's claim, since the network also plans to air a series of shows about masturbation next year. That's right, not one show, but a whole series of shows. I had no idea there was that much ground to cover when it came to playin' Whack-A-Mole with Captain Wang, but I also didn't know one could attend a three-month sex school, either. Frankly, I've never understood why people feel they need to be taught how to have sex. It's fairly easy: stupid people have it all the time. It's a pretty basic evolutionary mechanism.

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My Name Is Earl: Made A Lady Think I Was God

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Nov 2nd 2006 10:51PM

Earl is God?(S02E06) I always thought Roseanne Barr was funny, although I was never a big fan of her sitcom. She hasn't been too visible lately, but I was pleasantly surprised to see her be the latest in a long line of guest stars on My Name Is Earl. She didn't disappoint, IMHO.

Roseanne plays Millie Banks, the "Citation Queen" at Earl's trailer park. Whether you live in a trailer park, a condo/townhouse community, or a closed community of single-family homes, there's always someone who is a stickler for the rules who will look to cite you for not putting a top on your trashcan or parking your car outside of a designated area, and so on. Most of the time, these people are angry, and Millie Banks was no exception.

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UK TV watchdog angry with South Park's Croc Hunter parody

by Adam Finley, posted Oct 27th 2006 9:50PM

south parkI suppose it was inevitable. The most recent episode of South Park, "Hell on Earth 2006," featured a Halloween bash thrown by Satan. When Satan finds out one of the guest has come dressed as the late Steve Irwin, who was killed last month when a stingray stung him through the heart. Satan approached the guest to tell him his costume, complete with a stingray hanging from the chest, was inappropriate and it was "too soon," but it turns out the guest is actually the Crocodile Hunter himself. Satan then kicks him out for not having a costume.

Mediawatch, a UK TV watchdog, called it "grossly insensitive." Comedy Central defended the episode, saying that fans have come to expect such things from the series, and that this is neither the first nor the last time people will be offended by the show.

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The Simpsons: Who Shot Mr. Burns? Part One (season finale)

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 8th 2006 7:02PM

simpsons(S06E25)

Burns: Since the beginning of time, man has yearned to destroy the sun. I will do the next best thing: block it out.

In no episode has Burns been more evil than in the two-parter "Who Shot Mr. Burns" that bridged the sixth and seventh seasons. He becomes so evil in fact, that Smithers actually turns against him, even though it "violates every sycophantic urge" in his body.

But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The episode begins with another normal day at Springfield Elementary, with one minor difference: Super Dude, the classroom gerbil, has died, crushed by his own water bottle. Willy buries the gerbil in the boiler room, assuring the dead rodent that his own father simply got thrown in the bog when he died. Although, didn't his father appear in the season ten episode "Monty Can't Buy Me Love?" Yes, he did, but let's not worry about that, okay? Okay.

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The Prisoner: Hammer Into Anvil

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Aug 16th 2006 4:28PM

Number 6 calls upon the new Number 2(S01E112 Angered over the suicide of a fellow prisoner (Number 73) resulting from relentless badgering from the new Number 2, Number 6 decides to pull out all the stops to avenge Number 73's death. What transpires is an elaborate game of cat and mouse whereby Number 6 gets Number 2 to question his own sanity.

At this point in the Prisoner story, it seems that Number 6 is not interested in escaping from the Village. That doesn't mean to say he's given up--but it appears that his motivation is more to frustrate and humiliate his captors.

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The Prisoner: Checkmate

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jun 21st 2006 6:31PM

(S01E04) "Checkmate" is probably my favorite single episode of The Prisoner. It's a very tight story about how Number 6 thinks he has gained the upper hand on his captors in the Village but ends up being double-crossed by those he thought he could trust.

The chess game using humans as pieces with instructions being shouted out by "the masters" carries with it quite a few allegories, doesn't it? I guess that if you don't have the power, you're just a pawn in their game. (Listen to Bob Dylan's song for that.)

Number 6 still is planning his escape from the Village, and he is on the prowl searching for others to join him. After being persuaded to function as a pawn in the giant chess game, he makes contact with the Queen who, in response to his questions, attempts to steer him to concentrate on the game. Afterwards, they both discuss escape, but he doesn't seem to trust her.

Later on we see the Rook being "treated" at the hospital and he and Number 6 make plans for their escape. The Rook is an electronics expert, so he would be a a natural ally for Number 6. However, as one might have suspected, the Queen is hypnotized to fall in love with Number 6 and is given a locket that also serves as a tracking device.

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The Prisoner: Free For All

by Michael Sciannamea, posted Jun 7th 2006 7:48PM

Campaign support for Number 6Do not adjust your web browser. You are now entering the Retro Squad, where we are reviewing past episodes of your favorite shows, in order, every week.

(S01E02) Before we go any further, I just want to say those of you who would ask why am I reviewing this episode of The Prisoner (which was the fourth episode aired in the series) but appearing here as the second. First, in both the VCR and DVD compilations, this episode is listed second. (In addition, it was the second episode filmed.) Plus, I think this episode fits in better in the second slot anyway, because we get to see how Number 2 "by hook or by crook" tries to get Number 6 to tell why he resigned his post as a spy.

In this episode, Number 2 convinces Number 6 (Patrick McGoohan) to run for office as the new Number 2. Number 2 says that an election is held every 12 months, and so far there is no other candidate besides him that is running. Of course, being a new "resident" of the Village, Number 6 is quite skeptical over the whole thing. Plus, as he reiterates from the first episode, "I am not a number. I am a person."

Number 6 is then assigned an assistant, an attractive woman dressed as a French maid who offers to drive him everywhere and serve his needs, all while speaking in a foreign language. The episode is especially interesting as it "parodies" political campaigns where you have canned speeches and planned photo opportunities, ie, "rehearsed spontaniety."

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Big Love: A Barbecue for Betty

by Michael Sciannamea, posted May 8th 2006 9:58AM

Nicki looking paranoid(S01E09) Paranoia. Deceit. Anger. Seems like just another "normal" day in the Henrickson household(s). Nicki finally tells Bill about her massive credit card debt, but chooses to do it after she and her husband have sex. (I guess breaking bad news to your partner after great sex doesn't make it easier to take,)

Bill obviously is pissed off, especially since he and his tormentor Roman Grant have come to some sort of agreement to settle their financial dispute and fresh on the heels of a big deal to open a third Henrickson's Home Plus store (which he later loses out on). Nicki fears that she will be thrown out of the house, and Bill's attitude toward her plays on her paranoia.

Bill's friend, business partner, and fellow polygamist Don Embry is ready to take on wife number 4, and the Henrickson's decide to have a lavish barbecure for the future Betty Embry. Bill spends thousands of bucks on lobsters imported from Maine for the occasion (they eat lobster in Utah?), but later the plans are dashed when Don's three wives blackball Betty and vote her down. Margene has been acting paranoid about the vote for her to join the Henrickson family, and learned that she "won" by a 2-1 majority. She is constantly freaking out over who voted against her, and she can certainly relate to Betty.

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The Office: Conflict Resolution

by Michael Sciannamea, posted May 5th 2006 11:45AM

Jim and Pam in seemingly happier times(S02E17) When you spend at least 40 hours in a confined area with the same people five days a week, it would not be a stretch to say that some conflicts will arise. At the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of Dunder Mifflin, the term "conflict" rises to a new level when we learn of some of the seemingly hundreds of issues the staff has with each other. Of course, Dwight, the resident psycho (who asks "Can you imagine if I was deranged?"), has a regularly scheduled time when he submits a complaint about Jim (Fridays at 4 pm) which he thinks are being sent to the corporate office, but end up in a box under Toby's desk.

Michael is not pleased with Toby's method of conflict resolution, so he decides to take matters into his own hands and whips out his "Mediator's Tool Chest" which he basically leverages to make sure that he comes out ahead, no matter what. The issues that the staff members have with each other are quite novel, including Angela and Oscar's dispute over her poster featuring two babies playing saxophones, and Ryan stating that Creed "smells like death."

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Curb your Emmy anger

by Adam Finley, posted Sep 17th 2005 7:20PM

I have to admit, I'm not a big fan of award shows. I haven't tuned in to the Oscars for several years. As for the Emmys? I'm not sure I can even recall the last time I tuned in for an Emmy broadcast. However, given the ubiquitous nature of entertainment news it's hard for me not to catch wind of who has won and who hasn't, and I must say it does perturb me at times. How could SHE win? And how could they snub that guy yet again? According to the San Francisco Chronicle's Tim Goodman, such anger is futile. He claims that the Emmys are so chock full of "outlandish oversights" that it's not even worth getting angry anymore. That may be true, but I think we all know how therapeutic it can be to yell at the TV.

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