Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Leader of the Pack


He trains dogs...he rehabilitates people. Cesar Millan is my hero. Watch a couple of episodes of "The Dog Whisperer" on National Geographic (Nat Geo now per their announcers), and you may feel the same way. Mr. Millan is one of the most reasonable and, (to his canine customers and their hapless human families), powerful people on the planet Earth. Over the past few seasons that this show has aired, he has taken on the large (a Great Dane afraid of slippery floors), the medium (a bulldog obsessed with attacking skate board riders) and the microscopic (a terrifying teacup sized Chihuahua who hated nearly everyone). Cesar Millan comes to the rescue when people who love their dogs, have dogs that make you want to run screaming towards the nearest high rise balcony and pitch yourself over the side.

His rules are simple, and established clearly in the beginning of every episode, no matter how challenging the dog or nutcase human consort. "Set boundaries. Stay calm and centered. Show no fear. Be patient. Always, and every day....walk, walk, walk." It sounds like an awful self-help mantra, but the producers of The Dog Whisperer have cleverly focused on dogs and owners that are incredibly troubled or weird, but at the same time sympathetic. If you watch the first few minutes, it is impossible to not stick around for the outcome.

Calm and centered is good advice for two legged humans and four legged furry canine friends alike. Obviously, The Dog Whisperer, is about dogs. But what I really love about this show is how wonderfully Cesar Millan reacts with the dog families. From the billionaires in Beverly Hills with a dyed pink petite poodle, to the nice gay couple with a show dog or the suburban family with a pooch who can't stay out of the backyard pool. Cesar Milan helps them all, without being maudlin or apologetic for insisting that what what both dogs and people need most is a little discipline, a lot of exercise and some calm and centered understanding.

Now...if only we could convince him to do cats!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Oh, Boy, But Dexter is GREAT This Season

Okay, Jane and I have already agreed that Agent Lundy, the hotshot FBI guy (played by Keith Carradine--he's wonderful!) who's been brought in to investigate the Bay Harbor Butcher, and Debra, Dexter's cop sister (played idiosyncratically and incisively by Jennifer Carpenter--I just love her), need to hook up, immediately! They've already had some pretty hilarious and embarrassing sexy-type conversations, and we both hope it's only a matter of time before they do the nasty! Please? Pretty please??!!

This season is as amazing as the first, and I was wondering how they were going to do it. I shouldn't have worried; from the first episode to this latest one, Dexter's been filled with surprises, shocks, laughs, and thrills, and is it possible that the cast is even better this year? Can't be, because they were perfect last season. Of course it goes without saying that Michael C. Hall as Dexter is the fascinating center of the show, and he's a brilliant delight.

Dexter is simply astoundingly good. So good that I have to watch each episode several times each week, sometimes I watch it again right after I've just seen it, just so I can catch some of the scenes again, they are that intriguing. If you missed the first season, check it out on DVD now. And by all means, jump into Season Two right now. Don't miss another minute!

Showtime has a good Dexter website so check it out and catch up on the backstory and download some nice stuff while you're at it. I would be so sad thinking that somebody's missing this extraordinary viewing experience. Don't make me cry. Watch Dexter!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Adios Laughlin

Well, despite Jeri's post on Viva Laughlin which made us all want to check out the show, CBS has given the boot to the series, effective immediately. Evidently the newest edition of The Amazing Race will premiere sooner than expected, taking VL's place, I believe not this coming week but in November.

Hey, maybe the show didn't work exactly, but you've gotta love and respect any kind of attempt to break out of the same old, same old on TV. And believe me, if the ultra-talented Hugh Jackman couldn't pull this one out of the fire, nobody could, I'm thinking.

At least we know the remaining episodes will turn up someplace for viewing; nothing much goes to waste these days.

Hey, they rolled the dice and crapped out. It happens.

Friday, October 19, 2007

VIVA Lauglin


On the eve of the last of the Rat Pack dying --Joey Bishop--rest his soul, Viva Laughlin reared its musical head and aired on CBS Thursday night.
A splash, as a diver glides through a blue pool, the swimmer emerges into the hot Laughlin sun. We meet Ripley Holden. He gets into his car in his white suit, the engine starts and the music comes on and it's Elvis singing Viva Las Vegas. Ripley starts to sing along. Okay, I thought, he's singing with the radio but no, as he gets out of the car and enters his--in the process of being built casino--he continues to sing and it turns into the campy musical that this show is apparently supposed to be.
If you caught Pushing Daisies last week there was a scene in that dramedy that was hilarious. It was in the cafe and the girl was singing about how to get her boyfriend back. You'd have to see it because I just can't describe the scene well enough. But it was similar to what Viva L is doing.
This has possibilities.
It's as if the dialogue was written around the songs so that the actors are singing but you don't realize it for about a minute because it appears as if they are just saying their lines.
The conflict begins when Ripley loses his financial backing. Enter Nicky Fontana the evil protagnist. The man with the money who won't be taken for a fool and won't relinquish his power ever.
More songs, more clever singing and dancing and eventually a dead former partner and a win at the tables moves this plot along.
I'll watch it again. I liked it.
Seedy, campy Laughlin, I'll be there.
See ya soon.
Jeri

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Prison Break -- Lets go back to Wentworth

I'm falling out of love with Prison Break as it launches into it's 3rd season. I used to recap it with someone at work the next day after it aired and we were very intrigued about the show and it's twists and turns and its sordid array of people--wondering if Lincoln or Michael would ever get out.
Now I often times forget to watch and find myself catching up on recaps on the web but not as often as I used to which says to me I'm slowly losing interest in the plot. Not sure why, and I will still remind myself to watch the show...or not. Yawn. Does he still have his body tatoo of his escape plan? Hmmmm.

Sunday afternoon as I sat around a food filled table with friends--one of whom I hadn't seen in many years (the friend not the food)--I was reminded of a show that had buried itself deep in the video tape library compartment in my head--and as if on cue it came back to life like an old VCR, insert tape, hit play and it played in my brain as though it were on the current new series list. And I sort of wish it were.

Anyone out there remember Prisoner Cell Block H? Go back to the late 70's. Were you watching KTLA? You might have been. Who could forget Wentworh Detention Center the fictional high security center for women in Melbourne, Australia? Remember?
Remember the tough talking lesbian Franky Doyle and her girlfriend Doreen? What about Lizzie Birdsworth who worked in the kitchen even though she was accused of poisoning someone? What about Lynn Warner accused of burying a child while in her care alive!!!?
No?
Well the characters live on with in websites. I haven't gone to Net Flix yet to check and see if it is available but that may be coming up soon.

Until later...see you on The Flaming Nose
Jeri

Friday, October 5, 2007

Pushing Daisies, Anyone?


Did anybody watch the preem of Pushing Daisies on ABC this past Wednesday? I can see where people will either totally fall in love with this or dismiss it. Part of me liked it a lot, and the other part was rolling my eyes and annoyed at the overly sentimental mushy wash over the whole thing. But on the other hand, the whole life and death thing is fascinating, and the performances by the leads are terrific. Lee Pace, whom you might remember from the interesting HBO movie Soldier's Girl from a few years ago, where he played a transgendered singer whose military boyfriend is killed for being involved with her, is terrific in the lead role.

It has elements of Wonderfalls from several years ago (from same producer), and also has a Big Fish-ish vibe. Again, either you like that or it bugs you. The production was lush, and how, with a plethora of gorgeous special effects and a fairy tale quality that was completely convincing and appropriate. The once-upon-a-time aspect of the show was emphasized by the use of a storyteller narrator; again, could like it, could bug you. Hard to say.

This is obviously a show with a vision, a grand undertaking that at the very least deserves a look and perhaps you will fall head over heels for it. I'm definitely going to catch it again, and I'm rooting for it to work (which it did in the ratings the first week) because it isn't another reality show or a crime drama exploiting fear and mayhem (usually against women) to get ratings. I'm pushing for Pushing Daisies!

(If you missed the show, head on over to the ABC website where you can watch the episode online here, and here's the Pushing Daisies website.)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Cavemen is FINALLY Here (Admit it, You Thought it was Funny Too)


THEY'RE HERE!!!


After all the Sturm and Drang...after all the critical wailing and gnashing of teeth, CAVEMEN, the ABC comedy based on the Geico car insurance commercial is finally here. (Tuesday nights at 8pm) It wasn't even remotely terrible. The Cavemen dudes are funny, sensitive, smart and extremely introspective. They play a mean game of squash. They seem like they would be good boyfriends. After the initial creep-out over the fact that they all look like the hind end of a Chow Chow dog...they are even sort of (dare I say it) cute. I predict the one with glasses and the hair tie is going to be a breakout character. I bet the ratings ROCKED. (Had to include at least one Stone-Age pun). If the writers keep up the snappy banter between this furry cast, Cavemen could actually make it. Take that all you snobby, elitist critics of little faith! Oh and Kudos to ABC for finding other advertisers to incorporate some sort of "caveman...historical figure...Viking" theme in many of the national spots. The whole half hour just screamed "Geico" and we never even saw a Geico ad. Very clever ABC, how much did they pay you? On the Jane-O-Meter scale of 1-10, Cavemen is a solid 7.5.