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Archive for the ‘New Girl’ Category

SOUNDTRACKSHE AND HIM-A Very She & Him Christmas (2011).

I don’t really know all that much about She & Him.  I know it’s Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward.  I don’t really know M. Ward at all and I know Deschanel from New Girl (which we love) and because she is in Elf.

I loved how quirky and weird she was on New Girl and how she sang a lot (in the beginning).  She has a wonderful voice (as evidenced in Elf).  I assumed this would be a kind of quirky, retro-feeling Christmas album.

But it isn’t.  It’s not quirky at all.  The instrumentation is incredibly sparse, sometimes shockingly quiet.  Deschanel displays her voice well.  But the whole thing feels kind of stiff and tightly compressed.  It’s pretty but not really inviting.  Occasionally the album gets bigger with M. singing a few backing vocals and even a lead.

Most surprising is that I didn’t  even know the first two songs on the record.  I didn’t expect non-standards.

“Christmas Waltz” is her singing to quiet jazzy guitar.  It’s possible that since I don’t know the song, I feel like it didn’t set up the album well.
“Christmas Day” has her voice heavily echoed with even gentler guitar.  Although near the end of the song, the full backing vocal (all Zooey, I think) helps her out.
“Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is finally a song I know and I feel like she does a great job of it with a smokey delivery.
“I’ll Be Home for Christmas” also works very well, even if it’s kind of weird to have the jazzy acoustic guitar playing on this relatively emotional song.
“Christmas Wish” is a duet it feels incredibly loud compared to the earlier songs.  There’s even drums.  It’s just kind of surprising to hear M.’s voice five songs in.  I wish he had been introduced earlier.
“Sleigh Ride” also works pretty well.  The music is kind of countryish, but the two of them together make it work well.
“Rockin’ Around The Christmas Tree” has piano and electric guitar and backing vocals.  It doesn’t really rock, but at least the guitar is electric.
“Silver Bells” is her on a ukulele and she accompanies herself perfectly.  It’s a bit spare, but the song is quite lovely.
“Baby, It’s Cold Outside” is wonderful for the way it twists the gender roles.  But I feel like the song might be too fast–Zooey in particular seems kind of rushed singing it.
“Blue Christmas” is a song I don’t really like, but her version of just her and the acoustic guitar is very pretty.
“Little Saint Nick” brigs back the ukulele with lots of echo on her voice.  It’s bright and happy.
“The Christmas Song” is too slow and stiff and kind of a sad way to end the record.

This album is fine for a safe Christmas record.  It’s just not that inspired.

[READ: December 13, 2017] “Secondary Memory”

Once again, I have ordered The Short Story Advent Calendar.  This year, there are brief interviews with each author posted on the date of their story.

Hello. Welcome. It’s finally here: Short Story Advent Calendar time.

If you’re reading along at home, now’s the time to start cracking those seals, one by one, and discover some truly brilliant writing inside. Then check back here each morning for an exclusive interview with the author of that day’s story.

(Want to join in? It’s not too late. Order your copy here.)

This year I’m pairing each story with a holiday disc from our personal collection.

Some of the stories in this collection have been pretty dark, so I enjoyed the relative lightness of this one.  “Relative” because although it starts as kind of a funny anthropomorphized laptop story, there’s some interesting things going on underneath the frame.

It takes about a paragraph to reveal that the narrator s a laptop.  Its owner, Vicki is “experiencing a runtime error…in your language she is little uptight.”  They are out and about.  It assumes they are going to the cafe (where the laptop sees its usual and preferred table).  But they walk past the cafe–are they going to the greasy spoon (the laptop would have shown its displeasure by not connecting to the Wi-Fi).  But no.  It’s even worse. (more…)

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fallFall has traditionally been the time when the networks unveil their best news shows.  And, amusingly, within two weeks one or two are usually cancelled.  This Fall has been something of an exception with the first show not getting cancelled until after four whole episodes!  What staying power the networks have! I also have to wonder if now that the first domino has fallen if other shows will get the axe next.  I also wonder why American networks don’t simply do what the British networks do and ask for 6 episodes in a season so that if a show doesn’t get renewed at least its story is finished.

I have imagined that people wonder why we don’t watch all the shows that get huge raves from people In the Know, and the primary reason is that we don’t have any premium channels and can’t be bothered to watch things on our computer.  So, yeah, someday we’ll binge watch Veep or maybe Game of Thrones (actually, Sarah will never watch that), but for now, we’re still a broadcast TV family.

To follow-up on a couple of shows from the summer: we actually never even watched Fargo, despite my being excited to watch it.  I read about how violent it was and just decided to give it a miss.  And Halt and Catch Fire was mildly intriguing, but not enough for us to watch more than two episodes.  Two shows that we did enjoy quite a lot were Married (terribly uninspired name, guys) and You’re the Worst.  They were both shockingly raunchy.

Of the two, You’re the Worst was much funnier.  In addition to the two main characters, who were just so unpleasant, the supporting cast was awesome.  I haven’t heard if the show was renewed, but I hope so.  Oh, I see it was, hooray.  Married was a bit more problematic for me, as I love Judy Green and Nat Faxon, but the show just wasn’t all that funny.  It certainly had moments, again mostly from the great supporting cast, but the main plot lines between Greer and Faxon were just so negative and hopeless that it didn’t really inspire much humor.

Two other great comedies that we saw this summer were new to us.  A Comedy Central show that we missed last season but loved this season was Drunk History.  Holy cow is that show funny.  The reenactments are simply genius, and I am so curious to know if these people actually know the history that they are talking about or if they are given scripts or what.  We need to find Season 1 to see what we missed.  And Garfunkel and Oates is a fantastic show starring the great comedy team of, well Garfunkel and Oates.  I’ve enjoyed their music videos a whole lot and was delighted by their show as well.  Hooray for Kate and Riki.

We also watched Welcome to Sweden which was pretty dreadful–so much potential but no chemistry and no comic timing.  I assumed it had been cancelled, but I just read that it was renewed.  Huh.

Anyway, on to the Fall and new shows:

So last time, I did a tally of networks.  Let’s see who wins this time:
ABC: 6 FOX: 5 NBC: 4  CBS: 3  SyFy: 1 Comedy Central: 1

ABC has finally surpassed FOX.  I find that somewhat hard to believe, but they did it.  CBS and NBC just can’t seem to boost those averages.
(more…)

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2014 continues to throw new shows into the mix while other shows are already reaching their conclusions.  It’s very hard to keep regular track of shows when networks don’t follow the rules.  It also means that new shows pop up and quickly become favorites before going away possibly never to be seen again.

We’ve learned about the cancellation of a number of shows (but fortunately, none of the great ones and surprisingly not all of the bad ones).  And of course I’ll be sad to see How I Met Your Mother end, but it had a very good run.  And Cosmos has been mind blowing.

But I find that more and more my attention is turning to cable shows.  Although we don’t watch horror shows, I’m intrigued by Fargo.  And the cable shows are so much better at taking risks with their comedies.  We started to watch Orphan Black a while ago and then lost it, but I think we’ll be trying to catch up this summer.  And in old TV news, we just learned about Destroy Build Destroy (from 2010) and we are hooked.  Good thing there’s only 20 or so episodes.

So last time, I did a tally of networks.  Let’s see who wins this time (nightly shows like Late Night boost the numbers so I put them in parentheses):
FOX: 5 NBC: 4 (6)  CBS: 3 (4)  ABC: 3 SyFy: 3 Comedy Central: 2 (4) Lifetime: 1  IFC: 1 FX: 1

I can’t believe Fox still wins, but it has four comedies that I really like.  Actually Fox comedies are almost always good until they cancel them.
NBC is teetering away, but Thursday night helps it.
CBS is the old person’s network, and they’re losing a comedy that I like (and none of those promised new comedies look any good).
ABC is slowing building it’s comedy line up back, which is nice
And the cable networks combined really shine.

Oh and speaking of TV…how awesome was the Veronica Mars movie!!!!!!
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Fall 2013 brought in a whole slew of new shows that we wanted to check out.  And while we dropped some after an episode, we still have a few that are lingering on the DVR which we are never really all that excited to watch them.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is that a couple of shows that we thought were sure goners are still around.  And of course, there’s always those shows that we never watched and when we see an ad for it we say, “that’s still on?”

So last time, I did a tally of networks.  Let’s see who wins this time:
NBC: 4  FOX: 6   CBS: 3  Comedy Central: 1  FX: 1  ABC: 3  Lifetime: 1 SyFy: 1   (more…)

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2013 has been cruel to TV that I like.  Between the shows that have been cancelled and the shows that are ending, there’s not much to look forward to for the Spring.  Ben and Kate is gone, the US version of The Inbetweeners is gone, Don’t Trust the B—- is done (but we had stopped watching anyhow), 30 Rock is done, The Office is finishing up, Parenthood & Bunheads have budget issues which means there is some amount of question about their future and The Mindy Show is awful.

And yet, after that introduction, it’s not like there’s nothing on.

So here’s what’s on our schedule as February draws to a close.  I never bothered to tally shows by network before but let’s see:
NBC: 4  FOX: 3   CBS: 3  Comedy Central: 2  FX: 2   PBS: 2  ABC: 1  Lifetime: 1 SyFy: 1  IFC: 1 (more…)

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This season signals the end of a lot of shows, shows that have been with us for a long time.  This season also promised a slew of new comedies that were going to be amazing (I know they promise that every year, but some of them got really strong praise from objective sources).  And yet, here we are, half way through the season (Grimm is taking a Mid-Winter break or some such thing) and I didn’t really like anything new.

Next season is shaping up to be rather a wasteland. (more…)

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I was planning to wait until the season finales before writing about our spring/summer TV watching.  But then this week, NBC announced that they would be either not renewing or renewing in a very limited capacity 30 Rock, Community and Parks and Recreation.  Wow, talk about throwing a bomb on your programming.  Thursday night NBC has been a powerhouse for the last few years with 5 shows, (yes, five, with their crazy programming flip flops) that were strong.  Interestingly, The Office, the only show not chopped, has been the weakest of the bunch.  I wanted the season with Michael Scott to be good but it really wasn’t.

Since I first wrote that some more details have emerged and it seems that all three shows have been picked up for 13 episodes–with, as I gather, room to expand if the new shows that NBC tries to fill their shoes with suck.  If you want a positive spin on this, read the A.V. Club dude’s take on it (at the bottom of the post, final bullet point, although the whole post will tell you why it is such a good show if you’re not watching it.).

When I posted about TV last, Karen left a comment that we watch a lot of TV and that has stuck with me. I still don’t feel like we do…  We watch a lot of shows, but we don’t channel surf, we don’t just have the TV on.  We have appointment TV, is how I like to think of it.  And, of course, while there a lot of titles, many drop off the list (by us or the networks) and quite a few are only 13 episodes long.  But man, there has been a serious drop off in numbers after this season.

So let’s see what has been removed from the last post: (more…)

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The TV Season scheduling continues to confuse me.  It’s February and two shows are done already.  And new shows are starting this week.  I actually appreciate this rolling schedule because it means new shows instead of repeats.

So hey, networks, why not go all the way and just let the shows run for twenty weeks and then end.  Stop showing reruns (or better yet, rerun them at like 2 in the morning so we can watch them if we miss them) and the introduce a new show for the next half a year.  We wouldn’t have this six weeks off nonsense of Community and Glee or three weeks of repeats of other shows.

I’m picking this week to write this simply because of the ending of the two shows.  We haven’t had a look at the new ones yet, so it’s a clean slate.

Somehow we don’t even have time to watch movies anymore, so the TV shows must be very good. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: MITCHMATIC-“D-Bags” (2011).

On the show New Girl, my favorite joke in the pilot (which was brought back in a recent episode) is the douchebag jar.  Every time someone in the house (well, Schmitt, really) says something a douchebaggy, money goes in the jar.

This song has a crazily simple bass line–which sounds like “Another Bites the Dust,” but isn’t.  It’s unclear from the beginning exactly what the song is about.  But once the chorus comes in, the song is just perfect: “D-Baaaaaags: Hey I’m calling from a handicapped stall, dude; D-Baaaaaags:oh I’m a jerkwad? I’m a jerkwad?  D-baaags, Don’t tell me how to carb load, I know how to carb load.”

There are three rappers in the song.  Mitchmatic takes the first verses.  Mikey Maybe gets the best line: “say irregardless while trying to seem smart.”  The Joe has a really fast delivery that reminds me of Paul Barman (in lyrics and style).

I’m really enjoying Mitchmatics’s beats.  You can download Two Week Off for free.  Or you can watch the video (which seems to have the studio version of the song over a live video)

The video goes on a little long after the song, but the song is pretty great.  It might actually do to give it a proper video.

 

[READ: January 24, 2012] “Shore Ting”

When I signed up to receive Narrative magazine, I also signed up for their emails.  And the January 9 email contained this story (as well as many other things).  This story was chosen as their Story of the Week.

I really wanted to not like this story.  There were so many things about it that seemed like they should be red flags to me: a tourist getting entwined with a local urchin; the tourist “doing good” for the urchin when none of the locals want anything to do with him; a wife who is very Christian; and the implication of forthcoming violence throughout the story.  Not to mention a piece of foreshadowing that I assumed gave away the ending (although it doesn’t).

The story opens with an interesting scene.  The tourist, Dale, gives the urchin (named Sammy, although this was obviously a name for tourists) a cigarette and then realizes that he has personally started this boy on a lifetime of smoking. And he feels bad about that.

Sammy hits up Dale for work.  Dale doesn’t have work, but since he is looking into renting a sailboat, he more or less hires Sammy to help him on the boat.  Dale asks Sammy if he can do various things and whatever he asks, Sammy replies, “Shore Ting.” (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE BIRD AND THE BEE-“The 12 Days of Christmas” (2011?).

I’ve heard this version of the 12 Days of Christmas twice.  Once in Ulta and once on the show New Girl (in the Christmas episode, where Jess and her friend are (ew) sitting on the floor in the bathroom, you can hear it faintly behind them).

This is a very intriguing version of the song.  It sounds like the Cocteau Twins–a kind of lush, waves upon waves sound.  There’s a female singer (who sounds like Liz Frasier) and as the song progresses down through the numbers it almost seems to be done in a minor key or something.  Of course I’ve only heard snippets of the song so I don’t have any major moments to report about.  Nevertheless, I really enjoyed it.

The problem is I have no idea who sings it! (circa 2014: well now I do).

Obviously the people in Ulta were useless, and I’ve been trying to find out from TV song sources, but I still don’t know who it is.

And you know, the internet is a wonderful thing, but trying to find a song that has been covered at least 100 times and using a search term like “new girl” is not going to give you results that you want.

If anyone wants to give me a Christmas gift, tell me who sings this!

[READ: December 22, 2011] A Very Babymouse Christmas

I have caught up with the Babymouse books!  And look, I finished the Christmas one for Christmas Day!  Hosannah!

I set little goals for myself, most of which I never meet.  But one of my little goals was to read all the Babymouse books by the end of the year (not a difficult task, admittedly), and I did it!

I really enjoyed the series (the end of the book says there’s a new one due out in August 2012 (wow, serious withdrawal) so the series isn’t over or anything.  It’s funny to me that she never made a Christmas book before (the series has been around for years), but it wraps up my reading nicely.

My favorite part of the story has been the growing depth of the narrator.  We find out that the narrator has parents! (although I’m still not sure if it’s a man or a woman–I assume a woman).

But really Christmas is all about the presents and the big present this year is the Whiz Bang™.  I love this conceit–the Whiz Bang™ is a Kindle/iPod/techie product that does everything–it even has a calculator!  And when the moment of truth comes, there’s even a surprising surprise twist.  (more…)

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