So That Was Unexpected: Oscar Reactions 2017

E: Um, okay.

Sorry to take so long in my response, but it’s been crazy at work and at home.  Family birthdays, school orientations, religious holidays, huge work events.  You’d laugh if I told you the thing I’ve done this week.  (All wholesome, but a little nutty.)

In general, that Oscar cast was funny and enjoyable.  Jimmy Kimmel was largely terrific.  His monologue was hilarious (Meryl Streep! discrimination!)  I could have done without the mean tweets, and the tour bus gag went on a little long, but it was hilarious.  The music and the opening sizzled.  Most of the categories went the way I thought they would.  I loved the montages of previous winners before all the acting awards, and was heartened/amused to see how fiercely the editors emphasized Oscar winners of color.  I think each montage started that way.  There were a few exciting wins, a few good speeches (emotional, political but not off-puttingly political), some great clothes, great music, a charming host, Hunger Games-like parashutes.  And then there was the weird, wild finish.

No, it was weird enough to keep me up for another few hours Sunday night, baking (because what else do you do when the world goes crazy?).  After a little time to dissect it all, I’d like to run down my thoughts – what I got wrong, what I got right, and why.   Why is the most interesting question of all.

Because seriously. If you made this stuff up, no one would believe you.  But with the rest of the world going crazy, why should the Oscars be any different?

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Fall 2016 Television Preview: Monday

E: Yes, it’s that time of  year. Come one, come all to Premiere Week!

M: I thought you meant Quibbling Sibling Fall TV Preview Week.

C: There is that.

E: Come to both, please?  Though a few new show have slipped into the schedule at the end of August and the beginning of September, the network seasons officially start today,  after the Emmy broadcast last night put a glamorous cap on the previous season.

C: Mm, yes, “glamorous” is the word I’d use to describe the Emmys, definitely not “boring” or “predictable.”

M: “Long,” “bloated,” and “pompous” come to mind, too. So do “pretentious,” “self-indulgent” and a lot of words far less kind than those. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: 6 to 5

E: Well, okay.  After I took a break and the show took an even longer break, we’re left without two of the most talented contestants.  And we’re stuck with the judges aggressively promoting the least skilled dancer in the bunch.  On the one hand, I’m still trying my hardest to enjoy what’s left of what’s undoubtedly the last season of my favorite summer show.  On the other, I really really wish it was going out on a better note.

In quick review, Cat wore a fabulously crazy outfit (gray long sleeve minidress), everyone danced with their All Star and in some version of their style.  They also danced with one of their fellow competitors.  The show welcomed Mark Ballas into its fold of choreographers.  Tate was brilliant as ever, with Kida, Ruby and Tahani not far behind.  The judges could not gush more over little J.T., and the producers can’t stop promoting him, giving him a second piece by Travis.  (Of course, the piece — clearly inspired by this line of greeting cards — was not an unqualified success; rather to my surprise, Travis joined me in not liking it.)  The best dances of the evening came from the All Stars (the opening number, a number for the boys plus Comfort, a number for the other four girls).  And instead of having a bottom two and choosing to save one contestant, the show simply kicked of Ruby, the last remaining ballroom dancer and almost certain the second most skilled dancer in the competition as a whole. I’m not sure why we had that format change at 6 contestants instead of at, say, 5, but I suppose the show isn’t very consistent about applying it’s rules.  Maybe they didn’t want us to know who the second most vulnerable person was?  Or maybe they didn’t want to be held responsible for choosing between whomever their options were.

At any rate, I’m sorry this wasn’t a full fledged recap.  I don’t want to abandon you, but I’m also just pretty frustrated with this season.   And better to share a few thoughts than none at all, right?

So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: 9 to 8

E: I wondered how this episode would go — would we have a trio to account for the odd number of contestants left — but I didn’t imagine we would return to the odd old format of the contestants dancing with their All Stars.  Oh, and the awkward pre-recorded interviews with Cat, which were less awkward than the first time, but still, boo. Turn it around next week, folks!

I will admit, though, that I’m growing quite fond of the dancers, and that a lot of the dancing has been pretty darn good. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: Top Ten

E: After the first half hour of the first live show, I was pretty sure I didn’t want to recap this show anymore.  There’s just not enough dancing, the judges give nothing but praise, the format tries too hard, and having the kids dance with adult partners ranges from mildly to excruciatingly uncomfortable.  I’m definitely not going to do a moment by moment recap as usual, with judges comments (I mean, come on, they’re pretty useless) and the super silly “do you have a girlfriend/do YOU have a girlfriend” interview questions.  That said, I do want to talk about the dancing, because by the end of the show, I was actually enjoying that part. Continue reading

So You Think You Can Dance, Next Generation: Dance Academy, Volume 2

E:  Because that’s how I roll this season, I’m going to start with some dissatisfaction.  Having a Top Ten just doesn’t work for me.  It’s too few contestants, and forced some really brutal cuts.  And clearly, there had to have been pressure on the All Stars to pick personality over skill to get some of the younger kids on the show.  (Maybe I’ve been watching too much Unreal, but I can’t help seeing manipulation everywhere.)  All that said, most of the Top Ten is pretty impressive, and I’m excited to see more of them.  Bland Maddie Zeigler, not so much.

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So You Think You Can Dance, The Next Generation: Dance Academy, volume 1

E: At the Academy, all 100 dancers dance their solos.  Then the ten All Stars, at Nigel’s instruction, pick 5 kids to be on their “team,” with the goal of eventually becoming their partner/protege.  Each All Star must pick at least three team members in their own style, with as many as two wild cards outside their style.  The teams will be whittled down through three choreography rounds, with the first (Broadway) in tonight’s episode and the second two next week.

As usual, this is all quite painful, although since we’re dealing with kids, the producers are somewhat less salacious about showing us breakdowns and tears, focusing instead on cheer and good attitudes.  It always hurts to see talented dancers get cut, though, and as usual, the producers have spent time showing us initial auditions of kids we’ll never see again while filling up the ranks with kids we haven’t seen at all.  Mostly, seeing little kids cry? That’s a special kind of hell.

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