Tuesday, May 8

The Awkward City Guide To Television

I've recently made the transition from being omni-occupational to a full-on freelancer, and while some things are different — an increased occurrence of daytime cabin fever, a decreased need for an unlimited MetroCards — the most prominent one has got to be how much television I now consume. Short answer: SO MUCH. Long answer: Look below.

I've watched some shitty shit, some mediocre shit and some shit that's so shitty it's fantastic, and plucked my favorites for the below endorsements. And, if your priorities lie in laughing and fantasizing about goofy-haired pretend boyfriends (which they should), i made a little guide (guy-de heh heh) to help you along the way. I'm thoughtful like that.



The Client List:

I'll openly admit how pathetic it is that I watch this. It's about a massage therapist who dresses in nighties and gives blow jobs to make money for her kids since her husband ran out on her but deep down she's a good person. Seriously, that's the show. Every episode has her being an honest, understanding co-worker and mother, and every man she gives blowies to has an eight-pack and could easily be a male model, do anal on camera for money or both. It's a Lifetime-watching female's ideal of how money for sex works in their twisted, romance novel-reading ladybrains.

But, I don't watch it for the plots (because BOY, are there some doozies!) I watch it because it's more entertaining than reading a Self magazine while being even more motivating. Hey, if it's okay for everyone to enviously stare at photos of Anja Rubik's hip from the Met Ball or a photo spread of Scarlett Johansson while feeling bad about themselves, then consider this my self-hate porn. Jennifer Love Hewitt has a rack that defies gravity and a midsection that practically whispers "this is why Pilates is worth it, keep doing the exhaaaales" through its bellybutton mouth. Let's not forget that it wasn't too long ago when her ass cellulite was big enough (no pun intended) to be its own People magazine cover, and now she looks like this. Tiny! Skinny! Thin enough to make midriffs a viable option, like back in Britney Spears' prime! Lifetime doesn't have the money to retouch her abs in every episode, so you know it's not just a faked-out photo. She's like a poster child for exercising more and...sitting on your ass while watching Lifetime less. I digress.

Most Similar To: The lady porn that Lifetime's core audience has always dreamed of watching.
Funny In What Kind of Way? In the "I'll pretend I'm watching this ironically but really where is her husband at?!??!" kind of way.
Best Line Thus Far: Ugh, none of them, though her country accent when she says "Kyyyle" is kind of great.
Amount of Normal-Looking Men You Can Feel Comfortable Being Attracted To: Absolutely none. Amount of studly, bare-chested men? A zillion.
Watch: alone before deleting the DVR history to make sure your significant other never knows you saw it.




Best Friends Forever:

I'd tell you to watch this on television, but I already have. And you probably didn't. And now the show is off the air. BUT, in a miraculous internet campaign spearheaded by the lovely ladies themselves, the show is teetering on the verge of making a comeback. So, if you care about me, my mental sanity, or especially if you have seen how awful I look when I cry, please sign the petition to save Best Friends Forever. Insert joke about you being my best friend forever and ever here. Seriously, come Hanukkah time, just give me a slip of paper that says "See? I did it!" and all gifting needs will be waived. Unless you usually give me cash. Then, deliver both in a crisp envelope please and thank you.

I've spent most times with alcohol in me over the past three weeks raving about how mind-blowingly perfect this show is (Lena Dunham, I love you, but this one takes the ladypal cake), but in all seriousness, the dialogue on this program is what would be going through your head if your skull guts were as funny as Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair's.

Some of the things referenced in dialogue as though it's normal for these topics to be broached on television on a Wednesday evening: The glory of full bathroom door stalls in hotels, Alan Alda's eyebrows, Poppycock, Bar Mitzvah giveaway shorts covered in signatures, being a size smaller than usual in pants from Anthropologie, jazz-tap fusion class, the sassy child next door named Queenetta who is referred to as a "stoop troll", bathing suit bottoms trapping too much moisture, a deli man giving out free slices of meat, friends riding tandem bicycles together, worrying about someone lacerating their womb, NEED I GO ON?

Just click that petition already.

Most Similar To: I Love Lucy, but funnier, in color and with none of that demanding Ricky Ricardo bullshit.
Funny In What Kind of Way? In a "I have actually watched each episode three times because I wanted to re-laugh at things I cracked up at already" kind of way
Best Line Thus Far: "You always have a choice when it comes to your vagina!", or every single one referenced in that lengthy list of phrases above.
Amount of Normal-Looking Men You Can Feel Comfortable Being Attracted To: Two out of two!
Watch: RIGHT NOW PLEASE HURRY, and on June 1st, when episodes 5 and 6 will be aired for NBC to judge ratings.




Smash:

You know how you keep seeing those stories in New York Magazine and such about how Ellis is such an asshole, even if you've never seen the show? It's because talking about Ellis being a dickwad is the only socially appropriate way for everyone who watches this to admit that so many of us secretly watch every episode of this behind closed doors.

Smash is so ridiculous on so many levels that it just feels right. The hilarious love entanglements, the Katherine McPhee Acting School of Long Gazes and Batted-Eye Pauses, the affair that Julia somehow pulled off while wearing pajamas not seen since the grandparents' bed in Willy Wonka...it's even more ludicrous than Community, and even better because it's unintended.

Most Similar To: Your high school theatre experiences mixed with Glee, minus the annoying smiles and Lea Michele's entire facial region.
Funny In What Kind of Way? In the "I can't believe Katherine McPhee is starring alongside Uma Thurman on the television" kind of way
Best Line Thus Far: No words could compare to this GIF
Amount of Normal-Looking Men You Can Feel Comfortable Being Attracted To: Two, possibly less.
Watch: Every episode at once during one dull afternoon this summer. No one will know you're watching, and it got renewed for season 2, so you'll have a reason to get invested now.





VEEP:

Dare I say Julia Louis-Dreyfus is as good if not better than her role as Elaine in this show? I never watched The New Adventures of Old Christine, because really, what kind of a television show is named that, and she hasn't danced on camera yet so that glistening gem of uncoordinated bliss can't yet be beat, but holy fuck, this show is great. Three episodes in and the characters are already painted in their own original shade of douchebaggery, and the Larry David-ian terminology ("Widow Walk": n, when you cozy up to a widow to avoid any lobbyist or government officials bothering you with time-sensitive issues as you exit a room) in its dialogue is already memorable. And, if you need another excuse to watch, the actor formerly known as Buster Bluth and the actress formerly known as the girl from My Girl both star alongside one of the founders of UCB. Two thumbs up, presidential style.

Most Similar To: Arrested Development, with the we-somehow-made-politics-fun magic of Parks & Recreation.
Funny In What Kind of Way? In the "I actually just laughed out loud during half that episode" kind of way
Best Line Thus Far: This. Or this. I'm seriously tempted to just link to an entire episode.
Amount of Normal-Looking Men You Can Feel Comfortable Being Attracted To: ALL OF THEM. This show's got their goofy-cute quota on lockdown.
Watch: As soon as you can.





The New Girl:

This show started out pretty terrible, but being a glutton for half-hour punishment means two things: one, you end up doing some fucked-up exercises you probably never planned on doing, and two, you can sometimes be overwhelmingly surprised by how much a show can improve over a season. Old plot line: knocking on neighbors' doors so that they'd turn on their Christmas lights to cheer up Jess. New plot line: Jess having blackout sex with Justin Long who ends up having a secret girlfriend who looks exactly like her. Latter preferred.

Regardless that this program should have been canceled immediately based on the sole premise of introducing the nails-on-chalkboard word "adorkable" to the everyday lexicon, the only reason to watch this show is for Max Greenfield. His history-making portrayal of Schmidt, the most lovable, neurotic mensch that so help me god deserves a line of action figures and exercise DVDs and face-plastered cereal boxes, is one of the best characters on television bar none. He made a jokey cycling video that reacted so well that they had him teach classes to raise money for charity. It's that good.

Most Similar To: If a less slutty version of Skins, more believable version of Friends and an LA-based remake of My Boys shat out a TV show together.
Funny In What Kind of Way? In the "That line was one of the funniest things I've ever heard someone say on television" kind of way
Best Line Thus Far: "These are hangover eggs. See, they'll either stop you from throwing up all day or you throw it all up really fast. It's high risk, high reward."
Amount of Normal-Looking Men You Can Feel Comfortable Being Attracted To: Up to 4
Watch: Each episode twice to make sure you don't miss any of the male roomates' dialogue, which gets better and better each week.


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