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Who Has the Time to Watch This Many TV Shows?

21 Sep

It’s one of the great catch-22s of the modern age.

We all want a social life that takes us out of our homes. And yet, everyone is always raving about the TV shows you just have to watch. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your POV), whether it’s buzzy shows like The Americans, Game of ThronesScandal, Empire, The Walking Dead, or others, there’s just not enough time in a week to watch them all and have a social life that involves other activities — and, more importantly, actual people.

And I say this as someone who never saw a single episode of Mad Men or Breaking Bad, but who certainly watches more than his share of TV shows. Heck, even the Emmys last night made fun of the fact that there’s just too much on TV these days. Continue reading

The 2015 Happiness Project

5 Jan

balloon-smiley-faceIn 2014, I was happy, and I’m committed to being happy in 2015 too.

So in an effort to demonstrate that every day has at least one thing to smile about (even the so-called bad days), I’ve decided to steal an idea from my friend Christoph Trappe, who spent the entire year last year posting happy thoughts, memories, or moments in one running blog post that he updated daily. It was a great way to show gratitude and remember what made each day so special for him.

That idea, like so many other good ideas, came from Twitter — specifically, a fellow tweeter named Krista, who did a similar thing in 2013. So you might say I’m now continuing the chain. Maybe next year somebody else will follow my lead.

Here’s the plan: For the next year, at the end of every day, I’m going to write down something that made me happy, whether that’s something I did, something I ate, something somebody said, a music lyric or line of movie dialogue that resonated with me, a tweet, or something else. It’s just that simple. Doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something that made me smile.

With apologies (and all due respect) to Gretchen Rubin, I’m calling this blog post my “2015 Happiness Project.” Think of it as a digital “rememberlutions jar,” a way to make sure I’m doing everything on my 2015 to-do list, or, in a way, an abbreviated version of the journals I used to keep when I was in high school. And please, check back here often to see what’s making me smile all year long.

Here we go. Continue reading

It’s Fall. Time to Answer the Big Question

15 Sep

entertainment-weekly-fall-tv-preview-2014I wish I could say it feels like yesterday since the last TV season ended, but the truth is, it feels like many months have passed since I last saw folks like Alicia Florrick, Schmidt, Mindy Lahiri, and Kevin “Mr. Wonderful” O’Leary.

What’s going to happen to them this season? Will Amanda Clarke stay on course after she learns her father is very much alive? Will Jessica Lange’s character on American Horror Story this year be more over the top than the ones she’s played in years past? Where will the Amazing Racers go? And what stories will Will McAvoy report on now?

These questions and many others will be answered in a few days’ time. Hooray! Continue reading

It’s My DVR’s Favorite Time of Year

23 Sep

tv-screenI’ve never seen a single episode of Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Scandal, or Homeland.

I don’t watch any of the CSIs, NCISes, or Law & Orders.

I stopped watching The Good Wife early in the first season.

And I’ll probably skip the big returns of Michael J. Fox, Sean Hayes, and Robin Williams.

What can I say? When it comes to TV, there are just too many shows, and unfortunately, I can’t watch them all. The whole “having a life” thing always gets in the way.

But I am a TV fan, so now that the Emmy awards are over (hooray for Tony Hale!) and the new fall TV season is officially starting, it’s time to share the list of shows I’m planning to watch, just like I do every year.

Chances are good I won’t actually make time for everything here; between the new, heavily hyped shows debuting and old favorites returning, there’s just not enough time, or room on my DVR, to see it all. But I’m a curious cat, and I do want to check out some new stuff.

That’s why I apply my three-strikes rule: If I get backed up on three episodes of a particular show, I just give up and decide not to watch. It saves my DVR from becoming its own American Horror Story, and me from becoming a true couch potato.

So what’s on my list of must-see TV this year? Read on. Continue reading

Dennis Farina: Remember Me “Just as a Person”

22 Jul

dennis-farinaI had the great fortune of interviewing many actors, actresses, musicians, authors, and other celebs during the seven and a half years I worked for Continental magazine. (Yes, the inflight magazine of the late Continental Airlines.)

One of the coolest people I had the chance to speak with was Dennis Farina, who passed away earlier today in Arizona.

Dennis is, of course, best known for his performances in such films as Get Shorty, Heat, Out of Sight, and Saving Private Ryan, and on TV shows like Law & Order, Crime Story, Luck, and, most recently, New Girl, where his tough guy persona was often used to great comic effect.

When I talked with Dennis in 2005, he was promoting the HBO TV movie Empire Falls. We talked about how his 18 years as a Chicago cop informed his acting career and the performances he gave. Continue reading

Something’s (Cat)Fishy on MTV

7 Jan

catfish-tv-show-logoWhere do all these gullible people come from?

On MTV’s (relatively) new show Catfish, week after week, young people learn that the person they’ve been chatting with on Facebook (or some other site) isn’t who they think he/she is.

If the name and premise sound familiar, it’s because the show is based on the movie Catfish, in which New York photographer Nev (pronounced “nieve”) Schulman meets and falls in love with a girl on Facebook, then learns she’s someone completely different when he and his two friends travel to Michigan to meet her. It’s a true story. (Mostly, anyway — depending on how cynical you are.)

In the hour-long TV show (which airs Monday nights at 11 p.m., and multiple times throughout the week), Nev and his buddy, Max (and a film crew from MTV), travel around the country interviewing people who have met and fallen for someone online. (Like, seriously fallen.) These people chat all the time, speak on the phone, and develop a bond. There’s just one problem: Every time the subject of meeting offline comes up, or even of chatting via Skype, the faker comes up with an excuse, like that he/she has to go out of town.

catfish-the-show-mtvThe stories always sound suspicious and too good to be true — especially to television viewers who (should) know better — which is partly why it only takes a simple web search and a phone call or two before Nev and Max have evidence that the online paramour is likely a fake. Then they take the episode’s subject to meet the person offline, where they all learn that the person is, indeed, not who he/she said he/she was. Continue reading

The 7 Things on My Holiday 2012 Wish List

19 Nov

Where does the time go?

Seriously. How is Thanksgiving already this week?

And of course, then there’s Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Then Hanukkah is a week and a half later, and not long after that is Christmas. And then before we know it, it’ll be New Year’s Eve.

Holy crap, the year is almost over.

But on a happier note (I think), the holiday season is now officially here.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or something else (Festivus, anyone?), it’s likely you’re going to be buying and receiving lots of gifts over the course of the next month.

I’ve been saving up to buy all kinds of things for my niece and nephews.

Yes, I have a list of things I want too, but it’s not exactly the kind of things you might expect. Here’s what’s on my Holiday 2012 Wish List …

Continue reading