Archive for the ‘The Big Bang Theory’ Category

[ATTENDED: June 19, 2017] Barenaked Ladies

It was almost exactly a year ago that we saw Barenaked Ladies.  And it was almost exactly a year ago that I decided that even though their shows are a ton of fun, I didn’t really need to see them again (it’s been like 7 times now), because they have gotten kind of samey.

And then I saw that they were playing Steelstacks–the place where I have gotten unbelievably close to quite a few bands.  So this was the chance to go out with a blaze of glory and see them up close for the first time.

But then there was the threat of torrential thunderstorms.  So they moved the show inside to the Musikfest Cafe.  We were pleased about that as the thought of standing in the rain isn’t appealing.  The rain all ended by about 7 so it was moot, bit whatever.  This meant that we could see this band in a teeny tiny club where the sound was amazing.  A local paper says that the outside show approximates 3,000 tickets.  The Cafe holds about 1,000 people.  The paper said that 1,032 tickets were sold for the show.  That’s not much for a fairly large band like BNL, but I have to wonder (and hope) that a lot of people came as walk-ins and were turned away. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 19, 2017] Gary Jules

I wasn’t aware that there was an opening act for Barenaked Ladies until I received the email that the show would be moved inside and that Gary Jules would be going on at 7:30.  Normally I like to get there for an opening act (I mean we did pay for the act, right?).  So I looked up who he was.

If you search Google videos, 8 of the first ten hits are for “Mad World.”  This is a cover of the Tears for Fears song (which I really like).  Jules’ cover strips everything out of it and makes it really slow and really, really depressing.  The original is certainly dark but with the synths it’s more ironically dark.

I listened to one other piece by him and decided that, no I didn’t need to see Jules.  And I couldn’t think of a worse opener for the manic intensity of BNL. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: June 18, 2016] Barenaked Ladies

2016-06-18 22.36.35Why have we seen Barenaked Ladies so many times?  Because they unerringly put on a super fun show.  Whether it is headlining their summer extravaganzas or even playing at our lowly Balloon Festival [*I was taken to task for calling this festival lowly, please see the end of the post for an update], their sets are fun and they always give their all.

Their set seemed really short this time–although it was the same number of songs as previous summer sets.  Sometimes it feels like they are stuck playing the same songs a lot.  They absolutely have to play a few songs–“$1,000,000,” “Brian Wilson,” “Big Bang Theory” and of course “One Week” and at least one or two new ones.  And yet they do a good job of pulling out some unexpected songs.

And they really mixed up the stage show this year.  In the past, they have started big and ended with some acoustic songs.  But this year they started with a small acoustic set. (more…)

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spoilsSOUNDTRACK: GABY MORENO-Tiny Desk Concert #149 (August 15, 2011).

gabyGaby Moreno surprised me in this set.  Her first song “No Regrets,” begins like a gentle bossa nova sung in Spanish.  The song switches to English about midway through, but it retains that lovely bossa nova feel.  Morena’s voice is lovely and clear. She plays guitar and sings and is accompanied by Adam Levy, also on guitar.

So far, so good.

The second song, “Ave Que Emigra” begins as a gentle ballad, but quickly morphs into a kind of upbeat folk song also sung in Spanish (Moreno is from Guatemala).  It is a lovely song with some beautiful oooohs.

It’s the third song the surprised me.

“Sing Me Life” opens in a much darker vein–rough strummed guitars and a blues solo from Levy.  Even Moreno’s voice has gotten deeper and bluesier.  The song is sung in English and although she sounds like herself, she also sounds really different–not exactly angrier, but less sweet, more intense.  The “Hey hey hey’s” are a far cry from the sweet “ooooohs” of the previous song.  Levy plays a nice bluesy solo on this song as well.

Moreno has a great deal of diversity in her set and she handles it all really well.

[READ: October 20, 2015] The Spoils

I have enjoyed Eisenberg’s writing in the past.  But this was the first full play I had read by him (he has two others). It is very funny (and surprisingly vulgar).

There are five characters. Ben (played by Eisenberg when it was performed) owns the apartment where the action is set. He is the son of a wealthy man, going to college for “film” and basically enjoying himself as much as he can. He drinks, he smokes pot and he picks on his roommate (who might just be his only friend). His language is shockingly vulgar, dropping curses left and right.

His roommate is Kalyan (who in the performance was played by Kunal Nayyar (from The Big Bang Theory). Kalyan is from Nepal. He has come to NYU to study business and has even written book about economic conditions in Nepal. Kalyan is a bit dorky (he loves PowerPoint, which is used to great comic effect throughout the story). And he is trying to win over Reshma.

Reshma is Indian, but she has lived in the States all of her life, so she is really American.  She has high hopes for Kalyan, but it seems she fears he might not live up to his potential.

In the opening scene Kalyan is showing her a PowerPoint and being incredibly sweet to her.  When Ben walks in he is all crass and vulgar—funny but very unlikable.  He essentially makes Reshma leave (although as soon as he shows up we know she wants to leave anyhow) and then begins his tale. (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.

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reySOUNDTRACK: ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN-“The Cutter” (1983).

echoI’ve never been a huge Echo & The Bunnymen fan, but I do like their greatest hits.  This is one of them, and it’s a song I’ve liked from pretty much the minute I heard it.  Ian McCullough has a Jim Morrison vibe in his vocals, and there are interesting Eastern melodies and pieces thrown into the song (like in the intro).  These give it an unconventional feel, even though the main melody is pretty straightforward.

I have no idea what the song is about–I sing along without really thinking about it.  And the “spare us the cutter” chorus, complete with screechy guitar chord is pretty dynamic.  As is the loud drum change during the “drop in the ocean” part.

By the end of the song the drums seem to sound bigger, and the fills really propel the song to the end.  It’s a fine song by a band that I’m not sure I need to hear more of.

[READ: August 25, 2014] Pale Summer Week 7 (§46-§47)

After the pile of small chapters that last week gave us, this week offers just two.  One is a very lengthy discussion between two characters.  The other is another piece of the Toni Ware puzzle.  I enjoy the way the first of these sections balances the medical, the emotional and the supernatural.  And it makes me laugh that Drinion’s supernatural bit is never addressed directly in any way–it just is–as assuredly as Rand’s psychological problems just are.  But I do find it interesting that more people have talked about Rand’s problems than Drinion’s (even though his is as fascinating as he himself is dull).

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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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