Month: August 2014

#WelcomeToSweden

Welcome to Sweden

THE CAST

Greg Poehler is serving Greg Kinnear realness! It is uncanny. Sometimes he makes a “Poehler face”, but then it’s right back to Kinnears-ville.

Josephine Bornebusch looks like the love child of Heather Graham and Elisabeth Shue.

Lena Olin plays Josephine’s mother, and when she first came on-screen I thought, “God, she looks like the shell of Lena Olin!” Turns out it is Lena Olin. She didn’t even know!

Claes Mansson plays the father. I don’t know who he is, and I don’t care to find out.

Christopher Wagelin plays the schlubby brother, and I am guessing he is Sweden’s equivalent of Tyler Labine.

THE PREMISE

NYC accountant Bruce (Poehler) moves to Sweden for a woman.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

You shouldn’t be, because this shit is terrible.

WHY ITS SO TERRIBLE

There are no jokes.

It isn’t funny.

It is 50% subtitled. Subtitles are fine (Run Lola Run), but not for an American sitcom. Do you really think the middle of the country is going to tolerate having to read the comedy? The answer is no. To me, Greg Poehler, came out of nepotism nowhere. He ropes his sister into the show, and she is mildly amusing playing herself as one of Bruce’s clients who can’t even be bothered to look away from her phone as he tells her he is moving to Sweden. By the end, she says, “Good luck in Norway” and walks out. That is the only bit of funny. Even the appearance of Will Ferrell didn’t bring the LOLs. The “fish out of water” premise will wear thin very quickly. Who wants to watch someone acclimate to a new city/country under the guise of comedy? I sure as fuck don’t. People move everyday. There shouldn’t be a TV about the aftermath of a move. I have moved 10 times in the last 12 years, all in the same city. Do you want to me watch me unpack boxes and get so drunk I can’t stand? Wait, that could be interesting. Especially when I had to deal with AT&T customer service at 4am. Perhaps not. But just in case, patent pending.

But as far as Welcome to Sweden goes, I would wipe my ass with this show if I could.

THE GRADE: F.

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#WorkingTheEngels

Working the Engels

THE CAST

Andrea Martin who I know as Quark’s mom, Moogie, on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Kacey Rohl is someone I have never seen before, but she looks like the love child of Amber Tamblyn and Anne Hathaway by way of Amanda McCartney and Jennifer Lawrence.

Azura Skye serving up Goldie Hawn realness with her blond hair. I almost didn’t recognize because she usually plays a dark-haired Goth girl on the verge of suicide.

Benjamin Arthur looks like the love child of Matt Adkins and Larry Beougher. If you don’t know who they are, then perhaps you should look deep inside to find out where your life went horribly wrong.

THE PREMISE

The Engel patriarch dies, leaving the family $200,000 in the hole, so they all work together at his law firm to stay afloat.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

I am not entirely sure that you should be. It has some potential. Only some.

The show opens and we get a special glimpse into each of the Engels, as they throw words on-screen while some shit goes down.

The son, Jimmy (Arthur), is pretending to work the door at a club when really he is stealing wallets and shit. A guy realizes it, yells Hey!, and Jimmy bounces. Jimmy is kind of a box of rocks. He’s cute. We are treated to these facts about him: Small-time Criminal. Voted Most Popular at Juvie Hall. Afraid of Bees (which I am sure will come into play hilariously in a future episode).

Oldest daughter, Sandy (Skye), is in a parking lot driving a big ass Ford Expedition, talking on the phone about some Danny Glover-read Bible audiobook, waiting for a parking space. Then a dude in a Smart FourTwo swoops into her space. He gets out of her SUV, walks up to the Smart to tell the guy that she was clearly waiting for that space. He, of course, calls her a crazy bitch. She lets that marinate for about two seconds, then she fucks that guy up. Her facts: Former Pill Popper. Occasional Shoplifter. Life Coach.

Youngest daughter, Jenna (Rohl), is an attorney at a big law firm. When we meet her, she is getting shit on by her boss, Charisse (Kenny Power’s church bitch sister-in-law). She is one of those bosses that lords over her underlings with the possibility of a promotion that isn’t going to happen. Think Kevin Spacey in Horrible Bosses. Finally Jenna can’t take it anymore, and she decides quit and take over her daddy’s law office. But not before she rolls into a partner’s meeting, and blows Charisse’s shit up by kicking her a bottle of the chlamydia medication she had asked for and spilling the tea that she is a chronic overbiller. Her facts: Mover & Shaker. Good at Punctuation. Wishes She Was Wearing Sweatpants Right Now.

Their mother, Ciel (Martin), is a complete over-the-top mess. At the beginning of the pilot, Ciel is meeting with her attorney, who is trying to explain the financial shambles that her recently departed husband has left her in. She can’t with him, so she offers him a bottle of scotch (a bottle, not a glass) while she reaches for a bottle of wine to cope. She begins babbling about her children, and she pulls out two wine glasses seemingly to pour a glass for herself and the attorney. Nope, both for her. What becomes ludicrous is as she is babbling, she is trying to drink the wine at first one glass at a time, then both glasses at the same time, then both glasses and the bottle. Honey, if you want the wine so badly, there is a faster way. Two words: Chardonnay enema. In her drunkenness, she decides that they best way to help her children is to kill herself so that they get the insurance money. She somehow gets on the roof, glass of wine in-hand and wearing boots with 5″ heels. Doubtful. Anyway, once up there, she realizes that she is being silly and can’t kill herself. She turns around to head back the way she came I guess, when she loses her balance, falls off the roof, and lands on the grill. Her facts: Momma Bear. Dog Owner. Adventurer.

If any or all of that sounds like fun, then knock yourself out. I’d rather take two hits of ecstasy and get knocked out rather than watch this because..

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

Everything feels forced.

Martin is really hamming it up here at a volume that is unnecessary because there is no studio audience. She really needs to turn it down a notch. Rohl must have gone to the Elizabeth Keene School of Dramatic Arts, because she can barely act her way out of a hole in the ground, yet she is the most compelling character on the show. Clearly the comedy is going to be sourced from Martin’s insane mother, Arthur’s loveable idiot, and Skye’s former drug addict musings (“Mom, what are you on right now? Ativan? Percocet? Oh.. that’s valium. An oldie but a goodie.”). All this while Jenna tries to reign them all in, while practicing law?! You’ve got the wrong one today. But I will say this though. I was willing to watch a second episode of Working the Engels, and I’ll watch a third. Welcome to Sweden got no such chance.

THE GRADE: D+

#TheLeftovers

The-Leftovers

THE CAST

Justin Theroux is trying to give the Hammaconda a run for its money in those sweatpants! Even Liv Tyler said she can’t get through the pilot because it is such a distraction.

Liv Tyler is bringing her special brand of steamed cauliflower realness.

Amy Brenneman is a beautiful woman… but she is taking haggard to incredible new heights. Have another ciggie, sweetie!

Margaret Qualley plays Justin’s daughter. She is really bringing Kristen Stewart levels of boredom through an Emma Roberts style bitch face. I didn’t know the actress’s name until this very second. Her last name tells me that she is the daughter of Andie MacDowell. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Andie’s bonkers performance in Hudson Hawk.

Christopher Eccleston, who was NORFOLK in Elizabeth, is a crazy priest in this show. Time has not been very kind to that man.

Max & Charlie Carver, aka the Scavo twins, are all grown up and I can’t tell if they are hot or not. In some scenes they are, in others they kind of look like apes. Hot apes? I can get into it.

THE PREMISE

I think the title refers to what a vagina is called after the Hammaconda’s been through. No?

Fine, on October 14th, 2% of the world’s population just up and disappears. The focus is on a particularly hard hit small town (100 people went missing) called Mapleton, and how they cope with that and the emergence of a cult.

WHY YOU SHOULD BE WATCHING

Justin Theroux.

Justin plays Kevin Garvey, the sheriff of Mapleton. He looks better than ever. He’s not as jacked as he was in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, he looks more like he did when he was passing that dick to Brenda Chenowith in Six Feet Under. At first he appears to be a single father to a bitch-faced teenage daughter, Jill (Qualley), and an MIA son, Sam (Chris Zylka). I can’t figure out if the son is cute. More and more, I am leaning towards yes. Sam is involved with a cult, led by a black British guy that apparently can hug the bad away. Congressmen are coming to him for these hugs or whatever is going on. We’re not sure. Jill is a typical affected teenage girl. She has this friend that looks like a white trash version of Blair Waldorf, and she has the hots for Jill’s dad.

There is a cult in Mapleton, and I can’t remember if they are related to the cult that Sam is mixed up in. I think so. They live in several houses in a cul-de-sac, they wear all white, and they don’t speak. All they do is smoke cigarettes and stare at people. Written on one of the walls in the house is something like, “We smoke to show our faith.” I hope they are referring to their faith in cancer, cuz the big C is on the way. In this cult, is of course, SPOILER ALERT, Kevin’s wife Laurie (Brenneman). We aren’t sure why she is there, why she won’t go home, or anything. Laurie, along with head smoker Patti (Ann Dowd trying to dethrone Margo Martindale as THE go-to for a boss bitch), smoke enough cigarettes and stared long enough at Meg Abbott (Tyler) and got her to join. As we all know, Liv Tyler invented the Abbotts. Right, Pamela?

The story is compelling, and I really want to know what the fuck is going on. That is why I am watching. The acting and the writing (for the most part) are great. The tone is great as is the pacing. The characters are rich and complex. I will say this though, Jill, is really changing my eye. Clearly she has mommy-issues, and that is to be expected. So Jill and White Trash Blair hit a high school party, right? They were playing some fucked up game that is kind of like Spin the Bottle (via iPhone), except when you “spin” a word will come up and that is what you have to do. Some of the words that we see come up are Fuck, Burn, Choke, and Screw. Jill is over it. But she’s playing the Spin game and it lands on CHOKE. She goes upstairs to a bedroom with a cute enough blond kid, he starts getting undressed, she has bitch face in full effect and is like, “I’m not doing anything with you.” After a second of consideration, he asks her if she would still choke him out while he jerks off. She was like, “That’s fine” and fucking DOES IT. That’s a BOSS BITCH!

WHY YOU SHOULDN’T

There is no reason, unless you’re uncomfortable watching a girl choke a kid out.

THE GRADE: A