Tag Archives: television

10 Reasons Why I Hated Season 8 Of The Office

11 May

This has been a truly depressing television season for me and it all comes down to one show.  For seven season, I loved the Office.  Even when it wasn’t at it best, it was still the show that I based my Thursday nights around.  And yet, as I watched the finale of eighth season of The Office last night, I breathed a sigh of relief once it was finally over.  Why?  Because season 8 was not only the worst season of the Office so far but it was also one of the worst seasons of television that I’ve ever sat through. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I knew that this season of The Office (the first without Steve Carell’s iconic Michael Scott) would be a rough one.  However, nothing could have prepared me for just how bad season 8 would become.  Looking back over season 8, it’s a struggle to remember one memorable line or moment that made me laugh out loud.  Instead, most of my memories center around being annoyed that the show that I loved could have possibly become so …. bad.

In the future, I’m going to write a post detailing how I would have handled the first post-Carell season of The Office.  But before I write that post up, I want to take a few moments to highlight 10 reasons why I hated season 8 of the Office.

(And, believe me, it wasn’t easy to narrow it down to just ten…)

1) Andy Bernard

I have to admit that my heart sank a little bit when, during the Season 8 premiere, it was revealed that the show would now center around the character of Andy Bernard.  Even before Steve Carell left the show, I always dreaded any episode that revolved around Andy.  Andy, who started out as such a perfectly annoying villain in season 3, had developed into a rather pathetic and needy character and Andy-centric episodes were usually the weakest of their respective seasons.  It didn’t help that Ed Helms — who is a great character actor — has a tendency to go overboard whenever cast in a lead role.

So, I knew from the start of the season that I wouldn’t be totally happy with Andy Bernard as manager but I had no way of guessing just how much I would eventually come to despise the character.  Whether he was weakly pursuing Erin or cruelly dumping his previous girlfriend twice in one day or failing to sue Robert California for giving his job away to Nellie, Andy proved himself to be just as stupid as Michael Scott but also a hundred times more pathetic.  It was impossible to root for Andy because so many of his problems were of his own creation.  As needy as Andy was as a character, Ed Helms was just as needy as a performer and every time he showed up on-screen, I felt like he was begging me to love him as opposed to giving me a reason to do so.  It didn’t help that the show’s writers devoted three or four episodes to having everyone in the Office basically spend half an hour tellings us that Andy was a great manager and we really should love him.

At the end of last night’s finale, Andy — after being unemployed for the last few episodes — got his job back in the least plausible way imaginable.  Instead of firing Nellie, he gave her a new job and then he flashed that big, toothy grin of his.

Fortunately, for the first time during season 8, he resisted the temptation to break out into song.

2) Nellie

Nellie showed up during the second half of the season and essentially appointed herself as the new manager of the office.  It was a plot development that made no sense and it was hard not to feel like the show’s producers were trying to force the audience to love Tate as much as they did.   

Yes, the writers of The Office love Catherine Tate and maybe the audience would love her to if  Nellie, the character she was playing, had any real reason for existing beyond the fact that the writer’s wanted to work with Catherine Tate. 

Since Tate had no real reason to be on the show, it was hard not to resent the amount of screentime that was devoted to her.  It’s also hard to look forward to the fact that it appears that she’ll be an even more prominent character during season 9.

3) Robert California

At the start of Season 8, we were informed that Robert California (played by James Spader) had somehow managed to talk his way into being named CEO of Sabre.  We were told that he was a mysterious, charismatic figure who might be a genius.

Instead, he turned out to be just another inconsistent character whose personality changed from episode to episode until finally, he was revealed to be so pathetic that he couldn’t even handle Nellie declaring herself to be the new regional manager.  In his first few appearances, James Spader brought his trademark quirkiness to the role but then, once it became apparent that show’s writers couldn’t be bothered to figure out who Robert California actually was, Spader pretty much gave up on giving a performance.  Instead, he just became a name actor getting paid a lot of money to do not much of anything.

And yet the writers still insisted on trying to convince us that Robert California was an interesting character.  The first half of the season was largely devoted to the character.  We went to his mansion, we met his soon-to-be ex-wife, and we continually found ourselves wondering why the CEO of a Florida-based corporation was spending all of his time in Scranton, Pennsylvania.

Robert California (and James Spader) will not be back for Season 9.  In the final episode, Robert California announced that his latest business venture would involve young women from Eastern Europe.  It was an unfunny end to an unfunny character.

4) Kevin and Erin: Just How Dumb Are They?

This has been an issue for a while but it really became obvious (and annoying) as things got more and more cartoonish during Season 8.  Erin and Kevin both seem to be stupid when the plot calls for it and just dumb when the plot doesn’t.  It wouldn’t be so much of a problem if not for the fact that there’s no logic to their occasional stupidity.  It’s never been firmly established just how stupid either one of them is and, as a result, their inability to understand the simplest of things feels more like lazy writing than anything else.

With Erin, this is an issue because this season was largely built around Andy pursuing her.  For a plot like that to be effective, you have to care about the characters and to care about the characters, you have to see some sort of vague reality in them even when they’re threatening to go over the top.

As for Kevin — well, where to begin?  Remember how, in the earlier seasons, Kevin seemed like he actually had the most active life out of the office of any of the people working there?  He would show up with a jaunty little hat on his head and he would drop hints about being addicted to gambling.  He was even the drummer in not one but two cover bands!

Now, he’s just another moron in the corner.

5) Angela and the Senator

Yes, we get it.  The senator’s gay.  It was funny the first four times that various characters went, “The senator’s gay!” but now, it just feels like a lazy punchline. 

Wouldn’t it have been fun to see Angela and the Senator’s wedding?  Seriously, this is a show that had a tradition of funny wedding episodes but, when given the perfect opputunity,  the show’s writers ignored a chance to showcase one of the strongest members of the original supporting cast.  Instead, Angela (and so many others) were just pushed off to the side so that we could spend more time with Robert California.    

6) What Does Jim Have To Smirk About?

Seriously, the man’s stuck in a rut.

7) When Did Pam Give Up On Being An Artist?

Whenever I watch reruns of The Office, I’m surprised by how much I relate to Pam.  That’s mostly because the Pam of the first few seasons seems to have very little in common with the  Pam of the 7th and 8th seasons.  Do you remember when Pam was an artist and, even more importantly, do you remember how great it was to watch as she finally started standing up for herself and following her dream during the first four seasons?

As I watched this last season, I thought about that wonderfully sweet scene from seasons past when Jim showed Pam the “artist’s studio” that he had set up in the garage.  And I wondered if that art studio was still sitting in the garage, untouched since Pam has apparently decided to give up on her dreams and just spend all of her time obsessing on the people that she works with.

8) What do Ryan and Gabe do all day?

Like seriously. 

9) Val (and others)

Seriously, what was the point of Val’s character this season?  If you’ve watched the entire season, do you know anything about Val beyond the fact that Darryl developed a crush on her?  I didn’t even catch that her name was Val until around her fifth appearance.  Obviously, the show’s writers expected us to take some sort of emotional stake in Darryl’s attempts to woo her but they never bothered to figure out just who exactly Val was meant to be.   

The same can be said, of course, of just about every new character on The Office this season.  Can you remember the name of the woman who Andy dumped so he could (finally) be with Erin?  How about Cathy, the girl who, out of nowhere, tried to seduce Jim and then mysteriously vanished from the show? 

Admittedly, this problem didn’t start with season 8.  Starting back in season 5, the Office developed a bad habit of carefully introducing and then randomly abandoning characters and plotlines.  (Remember Danny, the superhot traveling salesman played by Timothy Olyphant?)   However, it’s never bothered me in the past quite as much as it did during season 8.  Past seasons at least had someone there to anchor the show even when the writers seemed to get distracted.

And that leads me to the tenth reason why I hated season 8 of The Office

 10) No Michael Scott

That, I think, pretty much says it all.

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A Blast From The Past: The Saved By The Bell “No Hope With Dope” PSA

28 Mar

I remember when I was growing up, there was literally never a time when you couldn’t find Saved By The Bell playing somewhere.  I grew up watching The New Class (well, not so much watching as acknowledging because, even when I was just 10 years old, I knew The New Class sucked.)  And then, as I got older, I discovered not only the fabled Old Class but the fact that the Old Class was like those Shamwow and Snuggie commercials — annoying, terrible, but impossible not to watch and quote later.

One of the best things about Saved By The Bell was that every episode had a message and often time, that message was even funnier if considered while doing the sort of things that the show’s message specifically said you shouldn’t do.

Case in point: The PSA that appeared at the end of the infamous “No Hope With Dope” episode.

When watching the video below, pay special attention to the moment when Screech pops out of the locker and see if you can spot the picture of John Lennon smoking a joint.

Who Are We Going To Hate Now?

21 Mar

Okay, since this blog is about television, I should start with a confession: I love reality television, I love Survivor, and I make absolutely no apologies for it.  Yes, I’ve heard all the argument.  Reality television is manipulative.  Reality television dumbs down the national dialogue.  Reality television is real in name only.  Reality television puts hardworking television writers on the unemployment line.  I’ve heard all the arguments and I say “So what?”  Reality television is silly, over the top, and a lot of fun and really, isn’t that what television is supposed to be in the first place?  The rest of you can have your predictable urban cop shows and your pompous, issue-themed gabfests.  I’ll take Survivor any day.

Up until this latest episode (entitled Thanks For The Souvenir), the current season of Survivor has been dominated by one person and that person is a flamboyantly gay, self-described Republican, and downright nasty individual named Colton.  When the season first began, I was like a lot of people in that I felt sorry for Colton because he was an outcast, an outspokenly gay, unathletic man stranded with a tribe of alpha males.  I was happy when Colton got the season’s first immunity trial and then, by forging an alliance with the game’s other outcasts, managed to vote out the most insanely alpha of the alpha males.  (That would be Matt, who I actually talked to a little bit on twitter.  He turned out to be a surprisingly charming guy.)

And then suddenly, Colton went from being an underdog to perhaps the worst human being to ever appear on a reality television program.  He somehow talked the men’s tribe into giving up their immunity and going to tribal council, all so he could kick Bill out of the game.  Colton’s problem with Bill appeared to come down to the fact that Bill was 1) not rich and 2) black.  When the tribes were eventually rearranged and Colton found himself a member of a new tribe, he immediately teamed up with the equally loathsome Alicia and voted out Monica, one of the few decent people on the island this season.  Upon returning from that tribal council, Colton and Alicia immediately started to taunt Monica’s only ally, Christina.  Colton told Christina that she was already pre-selected as the next to go.  “You can either quit, get voted off, or throw yourself in the fire,” he told her in between fits of maniacal laughter.

In short, Colton was the type of over the top, unlikable asshole who could only exist in the world of reality television.  No television writer would have had the guts to create a character as loathsome as Colton.  They certainly wouldn’t have had the guts to make him as openly and flamboyantly gay as Colton was.  If they had, they would have been accused (and probably quite rightly) of promoting homophobia.  And yet, honestly, it was the conflict between Colton’s outcast status as a homosexual and his own cruel personality that made him a compelling character.  If he wasn’t gay, he would have just been another elitist, racist toadsucker.  However, since he was gay, it made him all the more interesting of a character.  You watched and you considered the irony that this guy who had undoubtedly had to face discrimination on a daily basis could, at the same time, have no problem being an openly racist elitist who bragged about his ability to destroy other people.  You wondered if his “villainy” was more of a defense mechanism or perhaps revenge for a world that he knew would never accept him. 

As the show progressed, it was hard to ignore that the world of reality tv was the only place that a character as frequently loathsome as Colton could become a star.  The fact of the matter is that we reality tv fans love our villains.  We love to hate on them.  We love to talk about how disgusted we are by them.  We watch them and we say, “Why won’t they just vote him off!?” but secretly we know that the reason we watch a show like Survivor is for the chance to see what newest outrage a person like Colton can come up with from week to week.

Up until this last episode, I thought that this season would be the season of Colton.  I expected he would probably be around long around into the game and I was looking forward to seeing him finally get voted out, blindsided by those that he had spent the entire season dismissing.

That’s not going to happen.

Halfway through tonight’s episode, Colton suddenly stopped being obnoxious and arrogant and suddenly, he was lying in a fetal position in the middle of the jungle, whimpering in pain and crying as he was informed, by Jeff Probst and the team’s medical team, that he had appendicitis and would have to leave the game.  In a final act of pure Colton selfishness, he took the immunity idol with him, claiming it as a souvenir. 

Now, I have to admit that I didn’t have much sympathy for Colton.  I like to think of myself as being a good person and I usually hate to see anyone in any type of pain but honestly?  Colton deserved it.  I hope he’s okay now and I’m glad that he didn’t die but that doesn’t make Colton any loathsome of a human being.  As I watched him being taken out of the game, my first thoughts were along the lines of “Yay!”

It was only during the next commercial break that I asked the obvious question.

“Who are we going to hate now?”

Bye Bye, Colton

What’s On Lifetime Tonight: Confessions of a Go-Go Girl (dir. by Grant Harvey)

20 Mar

This is a reprint of a review of my favorite Lifetime movie — Confessions of a Go-Go Girl — which I posted on Through the Shattered Lens a year ago.  LMN will be reshowing this film tonight at 9:00 pm and 1:00 am.  In honor of that occassion, here’s my original review of Confessions of a Go-Go Girl (originally written and posted on March 14th, 2011).

So, late, late last night, I was laying in bed, trying to get to sleep when I suddenly remembered that I had earlier recorded a movie called Confessions of a Go-Go Girl off of the Lifetime Movie Network.  So I turned on the TV and I started watching, hoping that the movie would simply calm my racing mind and help me get to sleep.  Instead, I found myself sitting up in bed for the next two hours, totally enraptured with this film. 

After the first few minutes, I started to scream until my sister Erin woke up and rushed into my room.  “What’s going on!?” she asked.  “Erin,” I replied, “you have to watch this movie with me!”  Erin stared at me for a few minutes before replying, “Oh my God, Lisa,” and then walking out of the room.  So, after that, I started to call random friends, telling them about this movie.  Unfortunately, most of them were already asleep since it was like 3 in the morning.

Anyway, long story short — I am really, really tired today!  But enough about me.  Let’s talk about Confessions of a Go-Go Girl.

Why Was I Watching It?

Okay, my friend Evelyn asked me this same question when I called her up last night at 3 in the morning and tried to convince her to come over and watch this with me.  So, as I told her, “Oh.  My.  God.  Are you like kidding me!?  Confessions of a Go-Go Girl?  How can you not watch it!?”

If I’ve learned anything, it’s that if “Confessions” appears in the title of a movie, there’s about a 75% chance that it’s going to be a lot of fun.  And if that “Confessions” movie happens to be a Lifetime movie, than those chances increase to 99%. 

Add to that, these aren’t just the confessions of a go-go dancer.  No, they are the confessions of a go-go girl.  In other words, the whole go-go thing isn’t just a job in this movie.  It’s a lifestyle.

What’s It About?

It’s yet another Canadian film that’s found a home on the Lifetime Movie Network.  In this one, Jane McCoy (played by Chelsea Hobbs) is a sweet and innocent aspiring actress who, in order to make some extra money, secretly takes a job as a “go-go dancer” at a sleazy bar.  Under the influence of an older, cocaine-addicted dancer (played by Sarah Carter), Janet quickly starts a downward spiral of drugs, decadence, and alienation.  As her new identity as a go-go girl starts to dominate her life, Jane soon finds herself growing distant from her wealthy family, her boring boyfriend, and her stridently scary drama teacher.

What Worked?

Oh my God, this is like the ultimate Lifetime movie.  Over-the-top, melodramatic, awkwardly moralistic, and amazingly silly, Confessions of a Go-Go Girl is a camp masterpiece that simply has to be seen to be believed.

Nothing happens in this movie that you couldn’t predict within the first few minutes.  The film’s genius is not that it does anything unexpected.  Instead, it’s that it takes the expected to such an extreme.  Listen, we all know, from the minute that Jane first dances, that she’s going to eventually end up becoming jaded and cynical.  What we could never guess is that it’s pretty much going to happen right after the first dance.  It’s kinda like one of those old anti-drug films where all it took was one puff off of a “marijuana cigarette.”  One puff and you’re a giggling psycho.  One dance and suddenly, your soul fades away.  This is the type of film where we know that Jane has become a bad girl because she starts to part her hair down the middle and grow out her bangs.

Plus, as I’ve mentioned so many times before, I love to dance, I love to watch others dance, and if nothing else, this movie had a lot of dancing.  Watching this movie, I was surprised to discover that sordid, Canadian go-go clubs apparently are capable of providing Broadway-style dance shows.  I mean, I’m not big into strip clubs but, from my experience, most of them just seem to involve a runway, a pole, and a lot of plastic.  I mean, it’s fun to grab onto that pole and spin around and go, “Wheeee!” but it’s not exactly exciting to watch (or, at least, it’s not for me).  But in Canadian go-go clubs, the dance routines have elaborate costumes, ironic themes, and really impressive lighting.  After watching this film, I realized that I really want to move up to Canada and become a go-go dancer.  Seriously.

Eventually, Jane is approached by a rival go-go club promoter who tells her that he’s seen her perform and, “I remember you dancing in white panties.”  This line highlights the fact that this film is obsessed with underwear.  And that’s okay because, honestly, who isn’t?  Watching this film reminded me of an ongoing debate that I have going with Erin concerning whether or not fancy, pretty, colorful lingerie more sexy than boring, blah, cotton, white underwear.  This movie seemed, ultimately, to side with my sister in favor of the boring undies.  Obviously, I disagree but the film still gave me a lot to think about.  I don’t know, maybe I should start a poll or something.  Do any of our male readers have an opinion on the underwear question?  Please, use the comments section to let your voice be heard.

What Did Not Work?

When taken on its own terms, the entire film worked.  If I’m secretly a kitty cat in human disguise than the Lifetime Movie Network is my catnip and that’s largely because of silly, over-the-top movies like this. 

Actually, I do have one or two complaints.  First off, the lead character is named Jane McCoy and oh my God, is that not just one of the most bleh names in history?  Seriously, she should have been named Lisa Marie McCoy or something.  Secondly, Jane’s boyfriend (played by Travis Milne) was soooo boring.  I believe the character was named Eric but they might as have just named him “Plastic Man” because seriously, he had all the personality of one of the mannequins from those Old Navy commercials.  To me, Eric’s character was defined by the moment when, as Jane went down on him, he said, “I don’t think I know you anymore.”  Double bleh on him.

“OMG!  Just like me!” Moments

Oh.  My.  God.  There were so many of these moments that I don’t even know where to begin.  I love dancing and I love having fun while I’m dancing so watching this film was kinda like peering in to my life in an alternative, Lifetime-based universe.

Lessons Learned

Apparently, I’m incapable of not relating everything I see to my own life.  Also, I have absolutely no impulse control because I just ordered the 11 x 17 Confessions of a Go Go Girl movie poster off of Amazon.

Welcome To What Is Lisa Marie Watching Tonight!

20 Mar

Hi and thank you for taking the time to read the very first post of my new blog, What Is Lisa Marie Watching Tonight?  If you’ve read my “What Lisa Watched Last Night” posts over at Through The Shattered Lens, then you know that I watch a lot of TV.  Perhaps too much TV, to be honest.

With this site, I’ll be sharing my thoughts on whatever I might happen to be watching on television.  I hope you’ll enjoy it.  And if you don’t…well, something is just wrong with you.  Sorry.

For now, allow me to leave you with this one thought: There’s more than one way to get twisted…

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