Posts Tagged ‘Television’

Geeks Get Their Due

September 25, 2008

Chemistry is the study of change and this past sunday there was a change at the Emmy’s: a really deserving actor got recognition. Brian Cranston won Best Actor in a dramatic series for his portrayal Of Walter White on Breaking Bad. I’ve been a fan of Cranston since Malcolm in the Middle and am a huge fan of Breaking Bad. For those of you who haven’t seen it, Bad is the story of high school chemistry teacher Walter White who after discovering he has lung cancer uses his chemistry skills to create/deal meth in order to pay for his treatment and make sure his family is provided for. The show is pretty dark, surprisingly funny, refreshingly honest and incredibly brave. Despite the fact that John Hamm deserves an Emmy just as much I feel justified in Cranston getting it since Bad was robbed of a full season due to the writers strike and needs to get some attention.

Also want to give a well deserved pat on the back to Tiny Fey and the 30 Rock crew who won pretty much every category in which they were nominated. Tina Fey is completely brilliant on that show and it’s been a long time since something that well written has been on tv. I think it’s funny that there was all this attention around Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and 30 Rock which was just that other behind the scenes show is the one that is still around. Alec Baldwin is amazing as well and I can’t wait for the new season to begin in October.

Alec Baldwin’s award winning performance

And Finally congrats to Barry Sonnenfeld of Pushing Daisies for nabbing Best Director for a Comedy for the episode “Pie-lette.” Daisies (which was just released on dvd last week) is sweeter than honey for the homeless (it’s a joke from the show). Lee Pace and Kristin Chenoweth (who looked pleased as punch when Sonnenfeld won) unfortunately didn’t win their respective categories but I’m sure they’ll have plenty more opportunities. If you haven’t seen Pushing Daisies yet definitely check it out. It does require that you can tolerate a certain amount of whimsy, but if you can it’s awesome.

The season 1 promo for those who missed it

Th tv season has begun people. Grab some popcorn, set your Tivos, and check your local listings.

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Bill Nye Environ-Guy

September 8, 2008

“When we do stuff, stuff happens.” That’s the basis of Stuff Happens, the new show from Bill Nye (the Science Guy, not the actor). So far I’ve seen two episodes of the show and I’m not too impressed. In fact, I’m a little disappointed since  I was super excited when I first saw the ads for it. It’s be far too long since his completely awesome show Bill Nye the Science Guy went off the air and since then, I haven’t seen a science show that lights my Bunsen burner quite like Nye’s did. Aside from my loving memory of the show, YouTube, and Bill Nye stalker articles, I rarely even see references to it. I mean even Beckman’s World is on in reruns and it isn’t nearly as awesome.

But I digress. My excitement for the new show began to wane when I realized Stuff Happens was on Planet Green, the environmental channel. I know our planet is important but I have never been able to get into conservation/environmentalism. I do my part. I reduce, reuse and recycle. I turn off lights when I leave a room. I cut up six pack containers. I turn off the water while brushing me teeth. Hell, I even sold my car. But I just don’t go for the full-on Begley Jr. Nothing’s been able to turn me around. Not Al Gore, not the joint efforts of John Ritter and Max Casella, and so far not Bill Nye.

The problem I have with his show is that seemingly everything I do is causing the end of the world. In the first episode of Stuff Happens, I learned that eating cheap bacon is causing the depletion of the anchovy population and thereby destroying penguins. The answer to all of these problems is to, of course, buy organic. You’d think the show was made by Whole Foods.

“..This exciting half-hour series engages the viewer with astonishing information, easy-to-follow science, lighthearted demonstrations, expert interviews and connective story-telling to amplify growing problems in the environment and important solutions we can all take to make things better. With trademark good humor, Bill Nye helps viewers get a grip on big topics and presents positive, upbeat solutions to the critical problems facing us all…”

The information is far from astonishing. I’ve been told the world was going to end any minute (and that we’re about to convert to metric) since I was a kid. Neither have happened yet. Plus I already know buying organic is better. Because of that, I feel like this is all old news and I’m not learning anything. Hecl I was more moved to be environmental after watching Batman battle it out with Ra’s Al Ghul on the beloved Batman: The Animated Series.

"Stop pigs from eating me!"

"Stop pigs from eating me!"

The one technique for saving the world (specifically the anchovies I mentioned earlier) I did think was more interesting was to eat more anchovies. You see they are in danger because they are a good, cheap food source for pigs. Pigs love them and will eat them as much as they can, which means farmers buy a lot of anchovies to get pigs fatter quicker. But if humans eat more anchovies, the price will go up and theoretically pig farmers will stop buying them. But even this solution has it’s problems. First of all anchovies are the universal symbol for something most people are repulsed by. Secondly if humans start to love them so much they’ll still get over farmed. Just for a pig that can talk.

So it seems Bill Nye’s return to television is quite as triumphant as I had hoped. I wonder what Beckman is up to…..

I’m Not in Love With Bill Bixby!

July 17, 2008

Today our female correspondent, Brillen, has a story of geek oppression by an older sister. Enjoy!

 

Hollywood recently released another film version of The Incredible Hulk. I’m not sure why. The Ang Lee version was certifiably bonkers but usually they wait a few decades before trying a reboot.

Anyhow one good thing from the new film was that SciFi ran a marathon of the old TV show. As I watched the episodes again for probably the first time in two decades, I kept thinking of the following three questions:

1. Why do the Hulk’s pants never rip off? (An eternal question to confused kids everywhere)

2. Why is David Banner such a klutz?

3. How many cars did Jack McGee lose in pursuit of the Hulk?

These questions have been pondered by some before, my remaining question pertains strictly to a peculiar fact of my childhood- why my older sister constantly accused me of having a crush on Bill Bixby?

Now don’t get me wrong, Bill was a decent looking chap, a fine actor and all that but it wasn’t like I doodled “I heart Bill” all over my coloring books. But my sister always had a habit of claiming that I had crushes on people just to get under my skin (which was effective since I was shy and easily mortified). Usually while I was watching one Incredible Hulk episode or another and she wanted to change the channel, she’d start in on how much I loved Bill Bixby, that I wanted to marry him and I would try to concentrate on whatever poor wall Lou Ferrigno was destroying and wish that wall was my sister. When I was seven, one Bixby related taunting got me so angry, that I went in my room and slammed the door so hard that I knocked a framed poster off the wall. The glass shattered and my favorite teddy bear poster (don’t laugh!) was destroyed. The Hulk’s rage claimed yet another victim.

After she got bored of targeting Bill as the fake object of my girlish affections she’d switch to another (never actually landing though on an actor I actually liked at the time ie Tom Wopat- I remind you it was 1985) – the other two most frequent mentions being David Hasselhoff and Levar Burton. I admit there is some humor in accusing someone of having a crush on the Hoff (and I have actually met some who had a real true life crush on the man. No lie!) but she managed to ruin many an episode of Knight Rider and Reading Rainbow with her taunts.

This was all brought up again as I watched the Incredible Hulk marathon a few weeks ago. I came home early and I stumbled into a strange episode where David Banner and Jack McGee were trapped on the side of a mountain and Banner was dragging McGee around on the wing of a plane. Oddly Banner’s face was covered completely in gauze the entire time and he had lost his memory. McGee couldn’t tell he was in fact David Banner and was calling him John Doe.

Since I came in half way through the episode, I was baffled as to what was going on (it took me a minute to remember who McGee was). I googled the episode title “Mystery Man” and found that Hulk aficionados consider this two-parter a classic.

As it happens the next day I was talking to my sister (the same one who did all the taunting) and I mentioned watching the episode.

“I saw that too! What the hell was going on there? I couldn’t figure it out.”

“I think they were in a plane crash and David Banner had amnesia.”

“Is that why he had bandages on his face?”

“I think so. Those must have been annoying to act in”

“Oh you just didn’t like that you couldn’t see his face”

“Don’t start that again. I’m still pissed about my poster.

“That was your own fault.”

“Why did you start that by the way? The crush on Bill Bixby thing”

“Well . . .it’s because I kinda had a crush on him.”

“What?!?”

“I kinda had a crush on him.”

“You jerk! You rotten, rotten jerk!”

“You know on the show he was all tormented and sad. . . you know that’s how Iike ‘em.” That was true.

“So David Hasselhoff . . .”

“No I did not like David Hasselhoff.”

“Levar Burton?”

“No I didn’t like Levar Burton either. Although you did.”

“Oh shut up! You’re unbelievable.”

So I finally had the answer to why my sister tormented me through poor Bill Bixby but as to why the Hulk’s pants never rip off, that is still a question for the ages.