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October 31, 2014

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TV 101: Some of TV's Most Memorable Departures

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted May 5th 2011 3:00PM
Steve Carell, 'The Office'If I learned anything from Bon Jovi in the '80s it was that an object's slipperiness had a direct correlation with that same object's relative wetness. But more importantly, I learned that we should never say goodbye.

However, following through with such a sentiment -- never say goodbye -- is much more difficult than scrawling it across your bulging crotch on an 8-by-10 -inch glossy for a hysterical groupie.

The truth is, we have to say goodbye -- especially in television -- no matter how complicated, emotional or difficult that might be. Some say goodbye too soon, some hang on far too long, and some depart at just the right time. It's our job to make peace with those goodbyes.

With the recent departure of Michael Scott from 'The Office,' I started to ponder other televisual vacancies and the interesting circumstances surrounding them.

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'South Park' Season 15, Episode 2 Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted May 5th 2011 11:00AM
'South Park' - 'Funnybot'['South Park' - 'Funnybot']

"Awkward!"

So, how about those 'Comedy Awards'? That was some pretty great stuff, huh? I mean, comedians taking the craft of comedy seriously enough to honor the greats in their area of expertise. Who wouldn't love that?

'South Park' creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, obviously. Why else would they send a German-engineered Dalek to destroy it?

This episode actually wasn't as funny as I expected, considering it was about comedy in general. It seemed to stay more on message throughout, which did make for a good presentation of the point the creators were trying to get across. I hope I got it.

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'South Park' Season 15, Episode 1 Recap

by Jason Hughes, posted Apr 28th 2011 9:30AM
'South Park' - 'HUMANCENTiPAD'['South Park' - 'HUMANCENTiPAD']

It's been five long months since the fourteenth season of 'South Park' bid us adieu. But now, the boys are back and just as awful as ever. Cartman was possibly worse than we've ever seen him -- well, that's not even close to true as he didn't kill anyone or force anyone to eat anyone else -- as he whined and cussed his mother out for not getting him an iPad.

Trey Parker and Matt Stone did a masterful job of tying all their storylines together by the end of this episode, culminating in possibly the happiest moment in young Eric's life beautifully dashed.

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The 15 Most Outrageous 'South Park' Episodes Ever

by Kim Potts, posted Apr 27th 2011 2:30PM


Why 15? Because 'South Park's' 15th season is upon us (premieres Wednesday, April 27, 10PM ET on Comedy Central). Besides, if we included every outrageous episode, we'd pretty much have to count down all 209 installments that have aired so far.

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TV 101: Why Modern Animated Series Are Breaking the Mold

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Apr 15th 2011 2:40PM
The SimpsonsMuch to my father's chagrin, cartoons are an ever emerging and evolving source of entertainment and social commentary for fully developed humans. My dad, like many dads out there, still operates under the assumption that anything animated is for children and to keep cats company when their owners leave.

This outlook on animated television was a lot easier to maintain in the pre-'Simpsons' culture that my father grew up in. Easier, but certainly not justified. The implication that cartoons were initially exclusively "for kids" indicates more ignorance than truth about the nature of the medium. Look at almost any old 'Looney Tunes' short -- as a representative example -- layered with cultural references and parodies that only adults have a shot at understanding.

But now, with the wealth of grown-up animated series available on TV, it's impossible to brush off animation as anything less than a legitimate form of television series. What follows is a broad discussion about animated television, including a list of some of the toons that illustrate best this change in perception.

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Top 5 TV Show-Related Apps for the iPhone

by Brad Trechak, posted Mar 27th 2011 10:00AM
Hollywood SquaresNowadays, creating a tie-in smartphone game or app is just about required for every successful entertainment franchise -- TV shows included.

As both a television and iPhone superfan, I've come up with a list of the best TV-related apps. Interestingly, most of them are games that can also be played on the iPod or have an equivalent "HD" version in the iTunes App Store that will play on a larger screen.

Interested in beefing up your app collection? Check out my favorites after the jump.

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Top 15 Christmas TV Episodes Ever

by Kim Potts, posted Dec 16th 2010 12:00PM
The Office
Our No. 1 choice for the best Christmas episode ever may not be a surprise -- any episode that involves the creation of a new, Christmas spin-off holiday has to rate a top spot! -- but countdown is designed to bring some ho-ho-ho holiday cheer to your celebration this season.

So, jump down off the aluminum pole, postpone that Airing of Grievances and recall these classic Christmas TV installments.

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'South Park' Season 14, Episode 14 Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 18th 2010 1:45AM
['South Park' - 'Crème Fraiche']

Tonight's episode brings us to the end of another season of 'South Park' and Trey Parker and Matt Stone have decided to end the season with a lot of sexual double entendres (or at least more sexual double entendres than usual). With this break, perhaps Matt Stone and Trey Parker will use the time to reflect and create. Perhaps they'll even write a Broadway musical.

It's funny how 'Crème Fraiche' made both food and exercise dirty at the same time. The Food Network became analogous to porn (and indeed, it is sometimes) and the Shake Weight became analogous to ... well, you know. This episode was more overtly sexual but you have to be overtly sexual when the subject of your satire is the sex life of a marriage.

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'South Park' Sued Over Two-Year-Old 'What What' Parody

by Jean Bentley, posted Nov 15th 2010 5:40PM
'South Park''South Park''s 2008 viral video spoof, 'Canada on Strike,' paid tribute to many of the Internet's most famous celebrities. But somehow, it took one of them two years to react to the episode.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the makers of the copyrighted viral music video "What What (In the Butt)" are suing the show for infringement after a remake featuring the character Butters appeared in the 'Canada' episode.

The resulting parody was "willful, intentional, and purposeful, in disregard of and indifferent to the rights of Brownmark," the lawsuit states.

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Killing Justin Bieber on 'South Park' (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Nov 11th 2010 10:05AM
Killing Justin Bieber on 'South Park' Well, at last it's come down to this ... a final battle between good and evil. As long as you define "good and evil" in 'South Park' terms, that is.

On the new episode (Wed., 10PM ET on Comedy Central), we follow the continuing adventures of Eric Cartman as "The Coon." Cartman is a self-styled "Batman-esque" caped crusader, and like the Dark Knight, Eric has very clear-cut ideas about what is right and what is wrong.

As Cartman narrates in full-on, hyperbolic Christian Bale-mode, we get the full info about the evil forces that he opposes. "The Coon's" greatest enemies include the following: "hippies," trendy supermarket chain 'Whole Foods' -- and floppy-haired teen sensation Justin Bieber. Now, Cartman must "take out" his greatest enemy. But is he strong enough to stop Mr. Bieber?

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'South Park' Season 14, Episode 13 Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 11th 2010 1:45AM
South Park['South Park' - 'Coon vs. Coon and Friends']

This was the final episode of the only four-parter in 'South Park' history, including the episode 'The Coon' from last season. My guess is that we'll eventually see a DVD compilation of these episodes. In one sentence, this was a good episode with a weak ending.

In previous multi-part episodes, Trey Parker and Matt Stone are usually trying to philosophize or make a point (such as with 'Imaginationland' or 'Cartoon Wars'). This episode had none of that. While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it does give more weight and impact when one is waiting a couple of weeks to see the story play out.

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Mike Rowe Gets Animated About 'South Park' (VIDEO)

by Maggie Furlong, posted Nov 9th 2010 7:45PM
Mike Rowe's TV aspirations reach well beyond 'Dirty Jobs' and manly voiceover work. In fact, the Discovery Channel host has been saying recently that he'd love to be on another show.

That show is 'South Park.' Really.

So I couldn't help but ask: why 'South Park'? Here, Mr. Rowe explains just exactly what he'd like to do on the foul-mouthed, un-PC cartoon, why he can see Cartman falling in love with 'Dirty Jobs' and how man-cow impregnation factors into all of this. Yes, in typical fashion, this does get a little filthy, but that's just the way we like Mike.

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'South Park' Season 14, Episode 12 Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Nov 4th 2010 1:45AM
['South Park' - ''Mysterion Rises']

The title of tonight's episode was presumably influenced by the title of the next 'Batman' movie in the franchise 'The Dark Knight Rises.' After last week, I was still expecting the show to do its usual "reboot" to normalcy despite the open-ended conclusion, but I guess Trey Parker and Matt Stone had more to say about the superhero genre. Either that or too many people were bugging them about the true identity of Mysterion.

It's amazing how often this show reinvents itself. Tonight, it even changed (or rather gave an explanation to) a fundamental aspect of the show's early seasons. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

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'South Park' Tackles the BP Oil Spill (VIDEO)

by Oliver Miller, posted Oct 28th 2010 10:04AM
'South Park' Tackles the BP Oil SpillYou shouldn't watch the news too often -- the news can be depressing. But you really shouldn't watch the news if you live in 'South Park' (Wed., 10PM ET on Comedy Central). The cartoon series takes on real life events, then turns the volume up to "11." Though it's supposedly just a bunch of crude drawings about foul-mouthed little kids, the show actually confronts the hypocrisy that we see around us every day.

The new episode tackles the British Petroleum oil spill. (With the acronym "BP" being changed to "DP.") Like the rest of us, the kids must watch the news passively, as disaster unfolds around them.

First, "DP" causes a massive drilling accident on the moon. Then, the company unleashes a thousand-foot demon of eternal darkness during another oil spill. (So, it's not that much worse than the horror inflicted on the Gulf Coast in real life ... ahem.)

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'South Park' Season 14, Episode 11 Recap

by Brad Trechak, posted Oct 28th 2010 1:45AM

South Park['South Park' - 'Coon 2: Hindsight']

The superhero genre has a great deal of potential satire left to mine, leading Trey Parker and Matt Stone to an episodic sequel of last season's 'The Coon.' This time the Coon (a.k.a. Eric Cartman) has assembled his own superhero team called Coon and Friends (named so only because he rejected the suggested name "Extreme Avenger League").

There were several callbacks to other previous episodes. We saw a glimpse of Willzyx's as well as Tom Cruise's dead body on the moon as well as Cartman's Antonio Banderas blow-up sex doll wearing a Superman costume. The episode was also filled with various superhero references and had the return of Mysterion from the aforementioned Coon episode. His true identity remains unknown (although it's not Stan, Kyle or Butters and obviously not Token).

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