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Syndicated Television Rules

It is late and I am happy that 30 Rock is syndicated. I forget why I never watched it the first time around but, better late than never!

As I laugh at the jokes, I realize that syndicated shows are wonderful. Friday night in the summer is the night that NOTHING is on tv. They assume that we are all out partying on a Friday night. Sadly, my party is on my couch, watching tv. In the summer, my party is sad. Of the three hundred channels, there was nothing on tonight, not even on the movie channels!

That is when I try to find a syndicated show. They are just perfect. As a bonus, it gives me the chance to see shows that I might have missed.

Criminal Minds at 9 am while eating breakfast? No time is too early to see Derek Morgan in action! Everybody Loves Raymond while cooking dinner? Why not? 30 Rock while I figure out the daily blog post? Most definitely!

Syndication is not where tv shows go to die, but really gives them a second life. And for a mom who has the most boring quiet Friday night with no new shows on, syndication is awesome!

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An Idiot Abroad – Missing the Marco Polo

I love Karl Pilkington.

I love watching him get tortured as he is sent on all-expense paid trips around the world, albeit in very sub-standard accommodations and modes of transportation.  His insights and moments of clarity are truly amazing and I cannot count the number of times I have cried laughing at what he has to say.  In short, Ricky Gervais is a genius for creating “An Idiot Abroad.”

Karl at the Pyramids

Season one saw him visit some of the seven wonders of the world – the Great Wall of China (which he doesn’t believe is really that great), the Taj Mahal (which, according to our round-headed guide, was built out of guilt), and other wonderful and exotic locations.  Almost everywhere he went, he was miserable.  The normal person would enjoy the experience and relish the mere fact of being in the presence of these wonders.  Not Karl.


The second season sent Karl on a Bucket List trip.  The thing is, it’s not his bucket list.  He chooses items off of a list that would be considered a normal person’s bucket list.  Once again, Karl does not disappoint.  The Trans-Siberian Express might be one of the best episodes of that season simply for the fact that he allows himself to get buried alive and said it was the best part of the trip so far. On Route 66, he takes part in a cuddle party – another priceless moment.  Never in my life have I laughed so hard.

Karl on the Trans-Siberian Express with a man who is a human magnet.

Karl on the Trans-Siberian Express with a man who is a human magnet.

When the third season was announced, I had high hopes that Karl would find himself in more odd situations in gorgeous locations throughout the world.   Though, after the first two episodes of this apparently shortened season, I am not feeling the same way about this season.

First, Karl is no longer alone.  He is accompanied by Warwick Davis (aka Willow or Professor Flitwick).  While I enjoy the fact that Karl now has someone else with him enjoying the world, I feel like some of the magic is taken away.  When Karl was alone on the other seasons, he had no one else to commiserate with.  Now, he spent a his time complaining more about his traveling companion.  Also, it wasn’t fair that Warwick was treated like a star when it came to his accommodations.  He should have had the same as Karl.  That would have been more funny.

At an Indian circus - Karl and Warwick

At an Indian circus – Karl and Warwick

Second, the season was waaaaay too short.  Seriously – only four episodes and then a commentary?  They hardly went anywhere!  Karl didn’t get nearly as ragged as he did on the previous two seasons which meant he did not get jaded and tired of traveling to have the hilarious insights on his voyage.

Third, they didn’t really do anything that exotic.   I mean in China, eating the various testicles was nothing after watching a few episodes of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern.   Ok, the spider twins – they were kind of odd, but this is coming from someone who has to look away when they show contortionists because I get a little queasy when I see that.

If you are curious, watch it but don’t expect it to be as good as the first two seasons.  Sadly, Marco Polo probably had funnier observations on this trip route.  If you really want to laugh, stick to the first two seasons (season two is my favorite)!

I still love Karl though.

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This Week in Pop Culture

I am a TV junkie.  There I said it.  I own it.  I like TV.  Yes, I could spend my time doing other things but I, like many people, just find myself watching the latest new show, “just to check it out.”  Then I get hooked.  Some of the shows are good, some of the shows are my secret shame.

The summer season is sadly winding down.  I say sadly because I really feel like the summer seasons are not long enough.  I know that the shows that they play are usually highly produced and usually cost mucho dinero, but I just feel like they fly by!

True Blood, for example, is one that just feels like it was really picking up steam and this coming Sunday is the season finale.  So much is just starting, so much is on the edge of amazing.  I know that’s why it’s ending but really, it could go for a few more episodes before it leaves us on the edge of our seats as it most likely will.  I like how the show is different from Charlaine Harris’ world in the books but I also don’t like it.  I have not been a fan of evil Bill.  I like how he kind of is there but not really there in the books, just being Bill.  This Lilith stuff is just kind of wacky to me.  I wanted to see the Faerie War.  And where’s Quinn?  Coming soon?  And what in the name of all that is Sookie is going on with her losing her power?  That is kind of lame too.  Just my thoughts.

The Cast of True Blood Season 5. Love this show and glad this season has been so good (for the most part).

The Newsroom is my new summer favorite.  I was a huge fan of the West Wing and when I heard that Sorkin was back with a drama about a cable news show, I was in.  The first episode I had to keep putting the image of Jeff Daniels in Dumb and Dumber where he makes the most annoying sound in the world.  It didn’t take me long to get rid of that image.  Daniels is so good in this role.  He is the journalist I dream of.  He doesn’t let up on the hard questions.  He wants the truth. He doesn’t care if he agrees with it or not, he just wants the truth and that’s what he strives to report.  The dialogue is amazingly written, the characters are real people working for a cable giant, ironically enough, headed by Jane Fonda.  For me the show portrays what I wish the world was like.  I wish that the news anchors would ask the questions that matter, cover the stories that matter, cover our country like it mattered.  Instead, we are inundated with Honey Boo Boo, “Kimye,” and whatever else is out there that really isn’t “news” but because people watch it (because it’s all they put on and we don’t turn our TVs off), they keep producing it. I wish Newsroom were real.  I would love it if people really cared about the country and the real issues.  Sigh…I am stepping off my soapbox.  I love this show.

Best new show of the summer. Period.

I love Sci-Fi so when Falling Skies was announced, I was intrigued.  Post-alien invasion world; resistance force based in Massachusetts, aliens – right up my alley.  It has been really, really good.  A sci-fi show like this is truly a story of humanity.  Yes there are big bad aliens invading, but really, it’s about how humanity prevails even when threatened to the point of extinction.  It’s about how we are all basically the same yet it takes great tragedy for us to realize that.  Yes there are the bad apples, like Pope, but overall, everyone is able to work together to keep some semblance of the world they know.  If you like rooting for the underdog and aren’t afraid of aliens, you really should give this show a shot.  It’s very well done, the effects aren’t too cheesy and the dialogue is pretty good.

The Battle for Earth Begins – Falling Skies

Then there is the never-ending stream of reality TV.  It’s like soap operas come to life in some cases.  In other cases, it’s watching grown adults act like three-year olds.  Hell’s Kitchen is a train-wreck that I cannot take my eyes off of.  These foul-mouthed chefs are amazing to watch.  I constantly wonder where they were trained and who allowed them to have the mouths that they have.  It’s amazing.  They beep more words than they actually say.  Then, there’s Master Chef where the home cooks have to compete each week for the chance to have a cookbook and a car.  That one is a little more sophisticated.  Less language beeping, more cooking.  Keeping with the food themed shows, we come to the best of them, Top Chef Masters. This is the spin-off of Top Chef where the already famous and well-established chefs come together and compete as the Top Chef contestants do, but they donate all their winnings to charity.  This is where the real cooking happens.  This is where the real chefs come.  This is the ultimate cooking show!

Moving from food, there are my Housewives.  My New Jersey Housewives and their “do-people-really-truly-live-like-this?” show.  I can’t stop watching.  Each week is more ridiculous than the last.  Their dramas are bigger than their hair.  Their feuds are more intense than their make-up.  They yell, they cry…it’s how I imagine a family reunion to be if I had a big family like that.  There is no rhyme or reason as to why this show exists other than people like me who tune in week after week to find out if Teresa is going to finally wise up to her ways or if Caroline is going to pass judgement on someone else.

However you cut it, I probably watch way too much TV.  No, not probably, I do.  I do watch way too much TV.  It’s on the lists of habits to change but right now, I will enjoy my gluttony of summer TV shows.

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