Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Watch It, Pal! #1: House of Cards

Welcome to the first installment of Watch It, Pal!, a (hopefully)series of posts wherein I tell you about a show, rank it using VERY SCIENTIFIC SCIENCE(which is inscrutable because IT'S SCIENCE), and probably make a few dick and fart jokes because I'm only human.

All shows I bring to you under the Watch It, Pal! heading will be available on one streaming service or another at the time of writing. The purpose of these posts are merely to inform you on what a show is about, and from there you can decide whether or not you want to invest your time. But, if you're reading as a way of looking for recommendations, know that I will never waste time writing a lot of words about a show I don't think you should watch, because I'm lazy and pragmatic.

This is the first one so some parts of the different scoring categories will have to be explained as necessary.
The Show: House of Cards(original to Netflix, adapted from British series of the same name)
The Venue: Netflix
Three Word Netflix Description: Witty, Dark, Cerebral
The Hook: Kevin Spacey(American Beauty, The Usual Suspects, a billion other things) is Francis 'Frank' Underwood, multi-term Democratic congressman(and majority Whip) from South Carolina negotiating the Washington, D.C. waters backed up by his wife Claire(Robin Wright, who straight up kills every single scene she's in).
The Real Hook: Very early in the first episode, Frank is informed he's being passed over for Secretary of State, a position he was promised in order to gain his help in electing the sitting President. Frank and Claire basically decide all bets are off and begin their quest to dropkick the shit out of the administration.

WMP Index: Alright, this one is either White Male Protagonist or, as I'm referring to it until I get bored, Weapons of Mass Privilege. As you've probably noticed(and in case you haven't, now you will), the main character of pretty much every hourlong drama(no matter what channel) is a white male. This guy is equal parts hero, villain, badass, cool guy, and smartest-most-clever asshole in the room. This happens because white males ages 18-49 are the target demographic for basically every company(they usually have the most disposable income and are therefore more lucrative eyeballs for advertising), and if you can tap into what me and the other Hollywood insiders call "the Reddit Hivemind" you can gain a ton of word-of-mouth support for your show.

All that being said, this show scores very highly on the WMP scale. What does a high score mean? Well, while Frank Underwood is certainly the star of the show, the badassery is split about 65-35 with his wife(technically it's 50-50, but the show is mainly about Spacey's character so he gets a ton more screen time). Together they are the streaming-television embodiment of a power couple. They have each others' backs at all times, in all endeavors, as long as their mutual success and/or increase in power and influence is the projected and anticipated end result.

The Media: Okay, so this category will have some(*cough*a lot*cough*) bias on my part. If you're reading my blog and don't know me personally, here's all the backstory you need: I have a BS in Mass Media and way, WAY over 10,000 hours devoted to media literacy. This is where I rank the portrayal(if any) and general aptitude(if any) of the media(whatever form) in the show. House of Cards has an ongoing B-story(sometimes C-story, but ALWAYS present) involving political journalists.

Now, I know what you're thinking, "but Dave, journalism is even more dead than print, and print was dead like 3 years ago!". You're right, but on this show at least they try. When someone puts forth the effort to make journalists look as hard-working as detectives from The Wire, my heart grows three sizes.

Supporting Cast: Kate Mara, Constance Zimmer(Dana Gordon from Entourage!!), Gerald McRaney, Molly Parker(Alma Garrett from Deadwood!!) Rachel Brosnahan(The Blacklist).  Lots of old white men who look like garbage fart human beings(a.k.a. Congress and senators).

Binge Factor: HIGH. Imagine Breaking Bad, but without all the stomach punches that might make you stop for the night after 2 or 3 episodes.

Final Score: After doing all the math and many VERY SCIENTIFIC calculations, House of Cards finishes with a score of 94.5

That's out of a hundred, in case you were still wondering whether or not you should watch it.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

How True Detective Reeled Me In By Scaring Me To Death

I wasn't sure how to approach this post. When I write I often find myself spending the first paragraph talking about not knowing how to begin whatever I'm about to say. This time I know what I want to say I just don't know a) in what order, b) how spoiler-y it might get and c) how inflammatory some parts might be. Or how long it'll be. I just know I can't sleep until it I get it out. Maybe not even then.

I guess I'll just say c) sorry in advance, I guess. It's not like I can get boycotted or anything, b) I'll try to not give anything away but some basic plot things I talk about happen just a couple of minutes into the pilot and a) I'll try and not jump around too much.

I don't watch horror movies. Period. Full stop. I don't like horror movies. I don't dislike/avoid them because they're 'scary'(they're not), I just get literally zero enjoyment out of sitting around watching poorly-lit people walking really slow until something jumps out and stabs them. TO ME, it seems like the most un-fun way to spend 90 minutes. 

That being said, I immensely enjoyed the Rob Zombie movie The Devil's Rejects because it taps into the one thing that can really, truly scare the shit out of me: the cross between serial-killing and that weird gray area that combines parts of Voodoo(including West African and Haitian but mostly 19th century New Orleans), Santeria, ritualized sacrifice/torture, and mental illness(these four combined are henceforth referred to as 'stuff'). Some good old-fashioned Southern Gothic, only turned up to eleven.

Except True Detective turns it up to about a 14.

This stuff doesn't scare me because I think it's 'real', because, well, it is and it isn't. Ghosts aren't real. Paranormal activity isn't real. There is no Bigfoot or chupacabra. Healing crystals didn't do anything for Andy Kaufman and they won't do anything for you. New Age products and services are just snake oil for your brain. Now, I'm not just taking a crap on the religious people because believe me, I know about a billion atheists who believe in ghosts and can't put two and two together on the irony.

I'm not saying this so I can make a smug face in the mirror while adjusting my fedora and patting myself on the back for enlightening the sheeple, I'm saying it to set the stage for why that stuff scares me.

The things I'm talking about when I refer to the gray area are scary because they're plausible. Because they happen. This television season I watched all 13 episodes of American Horror Story: Coven and the only interesting part was the stuff based on Delphine LaLaurie(played by Kathy Bates in the show). You know why? Because it happened. And the scariest thing?

It doesn't matter why she did those things or what power it she believed it would bring her, because she just did them.

The people or groups who are involved with this kind of stuff are not the people who get on cable news to scream about their religious freedoms being attacked or how they're treated by the media or why they feel persecuted all the g.d. time.

Because they never got around to monetizing their faith.

They're too busy practicing it.

And(here's my main point) it doesn't matter how much you or I believe in it, because THEY believe in it enough for you, me, that guy, those kids over there on their field trip, and everybody else. Isolation + unhinged + parts of any of a hundred creation myths thousands of years older than any blonde-haired blue-eyed person has heard of is a recipe for me getting the heebie-jeebies a hundred times out of a hundred.

I don't have to believe in Carcosa, or the Yellow King, or gris-gris, or the proper functionality of a devil trap(pictured above). That doesn't stop the person who does from abducting and torturing me until they dump my methamphetamine-and-LSD-filled corpse in a bayou. Or using my bones as part of their next shrine.

I quit smoking in July of 2012. This show made me want to smoke more than any stress I've had in the last 22 months. When I started watching the show I had expected it to be something in the vein of Se7en. If it had been anywhere in the realm of that movie I would be asleep right now instead of telling tens of people how an HBO show scared me so shitless I was physically ill during almost every episode.

Or maybe I just really dig crazy hillbilly occult stuff?

Thursday, May 1, 2014

May 1st Netflix Update: It's a big one

I spent what we'll call an "embarrassing amount of time" trying to figure out an opening blurb for this post before I remembered the whole point of bringing you here was to just tell you a bunch of the new things up on Netflix. This isn't the full list of new titles, if you want to see all however many pages of the new stuff I recommend bookmarking InstantWatcher.
  • Adventures in Babysitting
  • The Big Chill
  • Boys Don't Cry
  • Bram Stoker's Dracula
  • Candyman
  • A ton of classic Bond movies
  • Forrest Gump
  • From Dusk Til Dawn
  • Gladiator
  • A bunch of Godzilla movies from the 1950s/60

Thursday, March 20, 2014

BBQ Pitmasters back on 4/12

Here's a cool press release:

(Silver Spring, MD)- The never-ending winter has lingered for far too long.  It’s time to dust off and heat up those grills because Destination America has ordered another mouth-watering season of the hit competition series, BBQ PITMASTERS, premiering Saturday, April 12th at 9/8c.  The latest installment gets a jump on summer and introduces fresh meat when favorite contestant, Moe Cason joins Myron Mixon and Tuffy Stone at the judge’s table.  Once again, BBQ PITMASTERS transports viewers into the competitive barbecue subculture, proving that barbecue is much more than just delicious food; it’s a full–blown competitive sport.  The new season showcases a fierce competition among the best in regional BBQ – from Georgia, Texas, North Carolina, Memphis and of course, Kansas City – with  teams competing for a spot in a final cook-off in which the winner boasts the ultimate barbecue bragging rights, a $50,000 cash prize from Kingsford Charcoal, and entry into the prestigious Kingsford Invitational.

“What better way to cure the winter blues than to fire up those grills in anticipation of barbecue season?” said Marc Etkind, general manager of Destination America. “Destination America is proud to celebrate the backyard warriors that light the flames of competition and encourages people across the country to dig into a much needed early taste of summer with BBQ PITMASTERS.”

Three of Georgia’s greatest grillers are kicking off the new season to see who can cook the Peach State’s best ‘cue.  The premiere episode of BBQ PITMASTERS features Robby Royal from “Rescue Smokers” returning for a chance at redemption after his loss in last season’s semi-finals.  Eric Thomas from “The Rolling Grill” is another returning competitor who’s trying to prove that his food is worthy of naming him BBQ PITMASTERS’ Georgia Champion.  And newcomer John Ley from “Heavenly Hawgs” hopes his Georgia style cooking is destined to win it all.  Find out who will win the first battle of the season to move on to the semi-finals for a shot at the grand prize and coveted title of BBQ Pitmasters Grand Champion.

About the BBQ PITMASTERS judges:
Myron Mixon a three-time world barbecue champion and known as the winningest man in barbecue.  He is the chief cook of the Jack’s Old South Competition Bar-B-Que Team; the star of Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters; the author of the New York Times bestselling cookbook Smokin’ with Myron Mixon: Recipes Made Simple, from the Winningest Man in Barbecue (Random House, May 2011) and Everyday Barbecue (Random House, May 2013).  Mixon was recently inducted into the Barbeque Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Missouri.

Tuffy Stone honed his skills in a French kitchen, working his way up to chef, cooking in a variety of restaurants, then running a successful high-end catering business in his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Barbecue came later, but when it did, Tuffy and his Cool Smoke team moved up fast with 32 state championships and a world championship in Memphis. Tuffy created the popular restaurant concept, Q Barbeque, with four locations and many more to come!

Big Moe Cason, a Navy vet who served on the USS Missouri during Desert Shield and Desert Storm, the Des Moines, Iowa native took up BBQ as a hobby.  Moe entered his first BBQ competition in June 2006 and has been hooked ever since.  With 130 competitions under his belt leading his team, Ponderosa BBQ, there’s no stopping this self-taught Pitmaster.

BBQ PITMASTERS is produced for Destination America by Original Media. For Original Media, Daniel Laikind, Charlie Corwin, and John Markus are executive producers. For Destination America, Fay Yu and Ron Simon are executive producers, Sara Kozak is SVP of production, Marc Etkind is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is group president.

About Destination America
Destination America is the only network to celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States. The inclusive network targeting Adults 25-54 is available in 60 million homes, emblazoning television screens with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation. Destination America features travel, food, adventure, home, and natural history, with original series like BBQ Pitmasters, United States of Bacon, A Haunting, Epic, and Buying Alaska. For more information, please visit,, or Destination America is part of Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK), the world’s #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 218 countries and territories.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Monday, February 17, 2014

New Game of Thrones S4 Trailer: "Vengeance"

Red Wedding down, Rude Wedding up next.

HBO released the new trailer for the next season of the back-to-back "Most Pirated Show" titleholder and if you've read the books there's plenty there to evoke any involuntary noises you might have inside you(such as GAH! or HUP! or even YIMMY!) It's almost 2 minutes long, and there's something past the title splash at the end so don't close out early.

This season should follow along pretty closely to the second half of A Storm of Swords, which was long as heck. I know all of the books in this series are long as heck and there's ten billion people to keep track of but book 3 was long even by those standards.

Game of Thrones returns to HBO on April 6th at 9pm.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Orange is the New Black Season 2 Teaser

The good folks at Netflix have released the ~teaser~ trailer for the second season of their critically-and-audience-acclaimed(for the most part, cause you know Tumblr is never happy with anything) women's prison drama. The show's second season arrives on Netflix June 6th. Check it out.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

CW renews Supernatual, Vampire Diaries, Arrow, more

Shows usually don't normally hear renewal news this early in the year, but apparently the CW wants a lot of their biggest shows to keep their momentum going into the 2014-15 season. Arrow, The Vampire Diaries, and Supernatural have been picked up for their 3rd, 6th, and 10th(!) seasons. Two new CW shows, Reign and The Originals, have been picked up for a second season.

Here's the CW's official press release:


February 13, 2014 (Burbank, California) - The CW Network has ordered early pickups for the 2014-15 season for its hit series Arrow, REIGN, THE ORIGINALS, THE Vampire Diaries and Supernatural,which will be returning for its tenth season next fall. The series pickups were announced today by Mark Pedowitz, President, The CW.

"This season we've had great success with our new hit series THE ORIGINALS paired with Supernatural, giving us our best Tuesday nights in years. THE Vampire Diaries is #2 in its time period in the young adult demos, and with Arrow continuing to gain among young men, and REIGN growing its time period, we now have strong nights on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday," said Pedowitz. "I'm very pleased to announce early pickups for all five series, and let our fans know they?ll have more great drama to look forward to next season."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Watching Update: RUNNING MAN!

Okay, I got sucked down the rabbithole of Korean variety TV. After getting engrossed by The Genius: Rules of the Game and its (currently airing)season two The Genius: Rule Breaker's Protagonist I was tipped off to the show Running Man. You can check out nearly all of the episodes on Youtube and I suggest starting at the very beginning.

If you think you recognize the host, he's the guy in the yellow suit who had a dance-off with PSY in the 'Gangnam Style' video.

I've been neglecting my Doctor Who viewing for a good number of days. I'm getting ready to watch the third season episode "Blink" which I've heard is pretty good.

I made it to season 3 of Portlandia in just a couple of days. It's a great show but I also want to say it's got one of the best theme songs on TV. Also yesterday NBC announced that Fred Armisen would be the band leader on Late Night with Seth Myers so that's some pretty exciting news.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

2/4/2014 Update: VGHS, The Genius, Super Bowl

We are back from Super Bowl Weekend with lots of news.

(1) the Super Bowl was great. I was rooting for Seattle so I really don't care how much of a blowout it was or how bored it might have made you. That defense was just filthy.

(2) Attack on Titan was taken out of the rotation and replaced with Video Game High School. I completed both seasons of VGHS while grinding out games in the Hearthstone open beta. I was really impressed by VGHS and am hoping they meet their season 3 fundraising goals. You can knock out the entire series in something like six or seven hours, and Netflix also has a making-of documentary.

(3) A surprise entry to the rotation is South Korean game show The Genius. As soon as I finish writing up this post I will get to my reward, which is the season 1 finale. I can, and probably will, devote an entire post to just this show. It's easily the best game or reality competition show I've ever seen. Remember how terrible season 15 of Big Brother(last summer) was? It's literally the exact opposite in how amazing and entertaining it is.

I have no one to talk about this show with!

(4) American Horror Story: Coven ended and it was okay but if the nine episodes in the middle don't have any bearing on anything then at least they were more fun to watch than the other four.

(5) The poll is over and Portlandia will be moving into the slot vacated by VGHS. Luther tied for the win so it will replace Doctor Who when I've finished it. There will be another poll up soon for the next show.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Sugar Picks the "Big Game"

So much DVR

It's a big Thursday so I'm just going to jump right in to it.

The poll over on the right allows voting up until a couple hours after the Big Sunday Football Game, right now there's a tie between Portlandia and The IT Crowd, so get your votes in. And also share the page to get your pals to vote for the show you like so that YOU win(by proxy) and everyone else LOSES.

Here's everything on TV worth watching tonight:

Parks & Rec -- Last episode for Ann Perkins and Chris. I will miss these two characters immensely, but I will miss Rashida Jones more because she gives me the tingly peaches. I don't know what that means either but it's probably disgusting so ignore me.
SNL Sports Special -- Clip show woohoo!
Here Comes Honey Boo Boo
King of the Nerds 

Last night I knocked out two Doctor Who episodes, 'The Lazarus Experiment' and '42'. I've started multitasking(playing Hearthstone while the show runs on a smaller screen) and it REALLY helps power through the more "monster-of-the-week" type episodes.

Here's everything from the last two days of DVR I have to catch up on:

American Horror Story: Coven(avoiding spoilers for this has been maddening)
Broad City(watch this show or you stink)

Share/follow/all that stuff. You can even give me +1 thingys if you use the Google Plus service. Some people do! You don't know!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Midweek Milieu

1.) Vote in the poll on the main page if you haven't already.

2.) I might be putting Attack On Titan on the bench for a while. I'm ten or eleven episodes in and too much time is being spent making pained facial expressions and having flashbacks to things that happened earlier in the series. I just watched two episodes in a row where the main characters sat in the same place having flashbacks and retelling the story, and it all supposedly spanned about 2-3 minutes of realtime. This is not action horror, it's needless exposition. I'm trying to work my way through television shows and I can't do that if I don't want to hit the play button.

3.) On the Doctor Who front, I just finished 'Daleks in Manhattan' so I have the conclusion of that to look forward to later.

4.) If I shelve Titan I will replace it with a show not on the poll. I will eventually come back and watch it/

5.) There's another 9lb pork butt in the fridge and I'll be smoking it Sunday for the Puppy Bowl and I guess that football game afterwards. A writeup or how that turns out will be on the BBQ blog.


Face Off


Monday, January 27, 2014

Site News 1/27/14; Today's Watch

Hey all.

Over on the right is a poll for which show is going to replace House of Cards in the rotation banner. Vote and share the page and follow me on social media and all that. I'll eventually throw together a site logo so the background has some color.

Tonight I watched the Royal Rumble. The main event itself was great, probably the best Rumble I've seen, right up until the end. I had heard this was the plan for Wrestlemania XXX(roman numerals) but I was hoping it wasn't true. It looks like I'll be watching Monday Night RAW on the DVR for a couple of months because while I love a ton of wrestlers who aren't currently in the main event picture, the two guys who are bore me to no end. I'm actually glad to know ahead of time that I can turn off Wrestlemania early this year because as of now, I don't care who wins the main event.

Today I'll be watching:

Doctor Who 3.4 "Gridlock"
Attack On Titan 1.10 up to 1.13, TBD
Bob's Burgers (DVR)
Monday Night RAW(until I shut it off)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Welcome to Bingeflix

Long story short, I made a New Year's Resolution to watch MORE television. Also I wanted to keep a running list of shows I'd seen the complete run of. I love to recommend things for other people to watch so if there's something you think I should check out, check the lists and suggest it!

Instead of binging/bingeing through one series after another, I'm breaking it up by watching three series at a time. I knew that once I gave in and finally started watching Doctor Who I would probably be sucked into the universe of it. I've managed to keep to my dumb self-imposed rule of no more than 3 episodes of a show in a night, but just barely. I'm currently on Season 3, episode 3.

The second of my current shows is Attack On Titan. I am not a fan of anime. I do everything I can to not watch any of it. I'm nine episodes in right now and while it's a REALLY REALLY good show, I don't expect to be watching any more anime(with the exception of further seasons of AOT. It's really good!)

My third current show was the Netflix original House of Cards, but I finished the first season's finale while creating this blog. I hope to have a new show selected before Monday.

I have a lot of research and typing to do for the Lists on the side. That's where I'll be keeping track of my progress. I will also do some short videos where I try to convince my chihuahua to cosplay as "Dogtor Who".