Aviously

Because, aviously…

Netflix is on a quest, a quest for 1,000 original TV shows and movies by the end of 2018. And that quest means that they will be releasing over 400 new pieces before the end of the year…which means they will be putting out a lot of bad stuff. This is not one of those.

Steve Martin and Martin Short are two comedy legends, with a full range of movies in their careers, and they’ve been friends since their joint venture of Three Amigos (with Chevy Chase). 35 years of friendship and it has all boiled down to this one hour of everything crumbling down.

Marty, your comedy is effortless, and I wondered what it would be like if you actually put in some effort.

The hilarious duo fills their time with comedy, singing, music, banjos, ventriloquism, and of course a ton of laughs…and then bagpipes come out.

Steve and I are like Donny and Marie, without the sexual tension.

From the beginning, this special is going full force, but it seems to slow down when the banjo comes out…but only for a brief moment until the music really gets going.

Steve butt dialed me yesterday, which is impressive since he still uses a rotary phone.

But at the end of the day, it really is a giant celebration of their friendship, and this may be the best Netflix comedy special to date, a role previously held by Jeff Dunham, as it gets a 9.5 out of 10.

The next installment in my bracket series is characters from The Office. This bracket was made by Twitter user @IsThisDavis, and features all the best characters from the show, to finally figure out, once and for all, who is the favorite character.


ROUND OF 32

Michael Scott vs. Nellie Bertram – Michael Scott — Nellie absolutely drove me crazy, and Michael (Steve Carell) will easily move on
Holly Flax vs. Oscar Martinez – Holly Flax — Holly was dorky, and the perfect match for Michael and her weirdness pushes past Oscar
Kelly Kapoor vs. Gabe Lewis – Kelly Kapoor — Mindy Kaling made a name for herself, and nothing will ever make the thin freak of Zach Woods likeable to me…
Angela Martin vs. Jo Bennett – Angela Martin — Kathy Bates was really good coming into this show in the middle and fitting right in, but Angela (Angela Kinsey) and her on again/off again relationship with Dwight is too much to overlook

Pam Beesly vs. Bob Vance – Pam Beesly — Bob Vance is such a minor character he stands no chance against the powerhouse of Pam (Jenna Fischer)
Erin Hannon vs. Phyllis Vance – Erin Hannon — Her (Ellie Kemper) character launched her into Unbreakable, and while Phyllis (Phyllis Smith) was great, I think the unfavorable matchup doesn’t help
Andy Bernard vs. Karen Filippelli – Andy Bernard — Karen’s (Rashida Jones) role ended too early, as she left for Parks & Rec, so the Nard Dog (Ed Helms) advances
Creed Bratton vs. Mose – Creed Bratton – Creed (Creed Bratton) is the most underrated character on the show, so Mose (Michael Schur) gets eliminated. Let’s take this moment though to acknowledge everything Schur did, creating The OfficeParks and RecThe Good Place, and producing on the upcoming show Abby’s.

Dwight Schrute vs. Pete Miller – Dwight Schrute — Pete (Jake Lacy) was around for the entire shows length, but he’s not memorable…especially since a top seed of Dwight (Rainn Wilson)
Meredith Palmer vs. Robert California – Meredith Palmer — Is there a moment that stands out more than Casual Day at the office? Plus, I can’t stand James Spader…
Ryan Howard vs. Todd Packer – Ryan Howard — Packman (David Koechner) has his moments, but WUPHF barks its way thru in the form of Ryan (B.J. Novak)
Kevin Malone vs. David Wallace – Kevin Malone — David Wallace (Andy Buckley) is a crucial character in this storyline…but Kevin (Brian Baumgartner) and his famous chili…

Jim Halpert vs. Clark Green – Jim Halpert — Jim (John Krasinski) the final #1 seed, and all of them are solid…so Clark (Clark Duke) stood no chance with his late arrival
Toby Flenderson vs. Jan Levinson – Toby Flenderson — Sometimes my stomach hurts when Toby (Paul Lieberstein) comes into the office. Go away Melora Hardin
Darryl Philbin vs. Roy Anderson – Darryl Philbin — The ultimate fight of the warehouse, but Pam’s ex (David Denman) gets shoved out of the way by the creator of the Dunder Mifflin theme song (Craig Robinson)
Stanley Hudson vs. Hank – Stanley Hudson (Leslie David Baker) — Well, I like pretzel day.


SWEET SIXTEEN

Michael Scott vs. Holly Flax – Michael Scott — I want people to be afraid of how much they love Michael…and Holly can’t top her counterpart
Kelly Kapoor vs. Angela Martin – Angela Martin — Kelly was great, but she’s an Annex girl, and not a cat loving person…but if you pray enough you can change yourself into a cat person

Pam Beesly vs. Erin Hannon – Pam Beesly — The OG secretary vs. the new age one, and Pam is no Hitler
Andy Bernard vs. Creed Bratton – Creed Bratton — He was born in the U-S of A baby…and Andy got really annoying after a while

Dwight Schrute vs. Meredith Palmer – Dwight Schrute — Can Meredith advance? Probably. But I think to myself, “Would an idiot do that?”. And if they would, I wouldn’t do that thing.
Ryan Howard vs. Kevin Malone – Kevin Malone — Me think, why waste time say lot word, when few word do trick?

Jim Halpert vs. Toby Flenderson – Jim Halpert — This one was tough…on one hand Jim is the heart and soul of the show, and the Yin to Micael’s Yang (that’s what she said)…but on the other hand, when you look at Toby advancing on, only one word comes to mind: Nooooooooooooooo
Darryl Philbin vs. Stanley Hudson – Stanley Hudson — Craig Robinson hit a next level of funny with this show, but Stanley’s deadpan is unrivaled…also that moment of: You are a professional idiot.


ELITE EIGHT

Michael Scott vs. Angela Martin – Michael Scott — Webster’s dictionary defines wedding as the fusing of two metals…and Angela is no metal

Pam Beesly vs. Creed Bratton – Pam Beesly — I so much want Creed to move on to the Final Four, but Pama-lama-ding-dong is too strong to be defeated by anyone other than Michael (if anyone can…)…let’s just pretend Creed advances until the cops leave

Dwight Schrute vs. Kevin Malone – Kevin Malone — The one upset in the Elite Eight, as this bracket was very well laid out, but Kevin has very little patience for stupidity. I’m sure Dwight will get over it, as his feelings regenerate at twice the speed of a normal man’s.

Jim Halpert vs. Stanley Hudson – Jim Halpert — Stanley is funny, and I may have lost my mind, but Jim can counter that in the pilot alone, by putting the stapler in the jello


FINAL FOUR

Michael Scott vs. Pam Beesly – Pam Beesly — Pam had to put up with Michael for years, and it’s because of him that her character is so strong. But she is able to stand up strongly on her own, even after he leaves. Michael presented her with the Dundie that brought around this gem: I wanna thank God because God gave me this Dundie.
And it’s every parents dream to step aside and let the championship matchup happen.

Kevin Malone vs. Jim Halpert – Jim Halpert — When he President, they see. But until then, Kevins run will stop here


CHAMPIONSHIP

Pam Beesly vs. Jim Halpert — I am going to cheat on naming a winner to this bracket. The winner is JAM. Jim and Pam, as a couple. They are the couple we rooted for from Day 1, and they are the couple that made everyone believe in love and relationships.
Can you think of a better moment than that wedding in Niagara? Doing it on the Maid of the Mist, and finally the dancing down the aisles for the wedding itself.

Now would you just wait one second while I tie my shoe?


After a riveting (and controversial) Season 1 of 13 Reasons Why, Season 2 starts right off with a PSA from the actors, telling people to go to 13reasonswhy.info if anyone needs help. These same PSAs are put at the end of each episode as the “Play Next Episode” pops up.

Now to our story:

It’s five months later and things have not gotten better at Liberty High, if anything it’s worse. But the trial of Hannah’s parents vs. the school district is getting underway, dragging up the stories, and leaving the outside world to wonder who the girl in Tape #9 is.
So while our story continues, with each testimony we learn more about what led up to the fateful event.

People tell lies about you, and people believe them.

Clay (Dylan Minnette) and Skye (Sosie Bacon) are together after he finally befriends her again, Alex (Miles Heizer) has survived his self-inflicted gunshot wound, and Mr. Porter (Derek Luke) is clearly shaken by the events.
The day the trial starts Clay gets a polaroid left in his locker, “Hannah wasn’t the only one”…can he figure out what this means? Will the image of Hannah (Katherine Langford) be able to help him get through it all?
And will Jessica (Alisha Boe) finally be able to shake her demons and face the terror that Bryce (Justin Prentice) instilled in her?
Speaking of Bryce, his father is played by Jake Weber, who is journalist Brett O’Keefe in Homeland.

Just because you have the picture, doesn’t mean you have the whole story.

The first season was one tape and one person per episode…and now it’s one day of the trial per episode, with their interactions with Hannah Baker.

How can you fix something, if you don’t know that it’s broken?

Thoroughly enjoyable, in a very different way than Season 1…feeling more like a CW show. But those flashbacks to the crucial events that define this series, the ones that the lessons are learned from, are still almost impossible to watch…and despite all that it puts you thru, I still think that THAT scene in the final episode was just too much.
Here were my thoughts on it yesterday on Twitter:

So @13ReasonsWhy has taken on a lot of controversial issues…but THAT scene in the final episode was uncalled for, and completely unnecessary to the storyline… Shame on them for feeling the need to stir up the pot for the sake of it.
Had that happened earlier in the season… Maybe, maybe, maybe, I can see it fitting in. But putting it where it is, is just pathetic on the writers, and I feel like it even lets @jayasherguy’s original story down…
It’s almost like a “BTW, this is also an issue you should care about”, as opposed to giving it the story it deserves if the creators feel so strongly about it.

It’s a great story that gets itself an 8 out of 10.

NYCFC have had a good run of late, 5-0-0 at home on the season, and second in the league thru 12 games. But no good season can happen without some controversy or hiccups.

A few weeks ago it was the talk of a new stadium, and this week it’s Patrick Vieira and David Villa that are making headlines:

  • Patrick Vieira is now in his third year with the team, and thru 86 games had a 39-21-26 record…pretty good so far. And with that success comes suitors…and France is calling heavily, with a move to Ligue 1 Nice seeming likely in the near future.
    While this would be a big blow for the team if he were to leave now, there are a few people that I can see fit in here:

    • Mikel Arteta – Man City’s assistant coach is favored at Arsenal, but there are rumors he doesn’t want the job, as they won’t give him full roster control…if that’s the case, the fully ready coach could stay in the CFG family and head over to the American side of the pond
    • Tab Ramos – Tab was the first MLS signing in history, and then spent time in the New York area with the MetroStars. He’s spent the last 7 years developing the USMNT Youth, coaching the U-20 team…and his time for a Pro job, especially with MLSs new call-to-arms for young players with the Youth Transfer Fund. Claudio Reyna also has a prior relationship with Tab from his USMNT days
    • Xabi Alonso – It’s been 367 days since he last played, and it’s time for him to get a coaching role. He may be unpolished, but his style would be very similar to Vieira
    • David Villa – It’s a rarity, but player-manager has happened in soccer in the past, but never in the MLS. David can commit to NYC for a little longer, extending his time in the city his family has come to love, and a fan base that is enamored with his performance
  • David Villa has been performing at a top-notch level of late, despite being later in his career, and entering what many of the world sees as the “retirement league”. He recently recorded his 400th career goal, for Club and Country, and always seems to play better with a chip on his shoulder. and this weekend he received word that he didn’t make Spain’s World Cup team…
    He always plays better when he has something to prove, and someone to show up. And getting snubbed by the National Team will make him furious, leading to him stepping up and proving their decision wrong. This also means he’ll be around and playing when other teams’ top players are off in Russia…although a lot of them are getting snubbed too. But consider the two most recent examples, where he just steps up when the focus is on him:

    • FC Dallas on April 29th, after scoring his 400th earlier in the game, David got a yellow card that he thought was uncalled for…on the next play, head down, he plowed through the defense and scored a goal
    • May 19th, David Villa Day in NYC – Goes out and scores two

I can’t wait to see where this all ends up…and I’d love to be right about that NYCFC coach hunt…although I’d prefer if Vieria stayed.

This week were the Upfronts, the annual time when Networks present to advertisers and roll out their Fall lineups, and this is my early look at what I’m likely to watch!

The list is fairly small, as the TV world is full of revivals that have 0 interest to me…and I am not sure how I’m going to get my TV fix…but I’m sure Hulu/Amazon/Netflix will fill in well!

Full schedule at the bottom 🙂


Sunday

9:00 PM — FOX — Family Guy

Monday

Tuesday

8:00 PM — FOX — The Gifted

9:00 PM — FOX — Lethal Weapon

9:30 PM — ABC — Splitting Up Together

Wednesday

8:00 PM — CW — Riverdale

Thursday

8:00 PM — CBS — Big Bang Theory

8:00 PM — FOX — Superstore

8:30 PM — FOX — The Good Place

8:30 PM — CBS — Young Sheldon

9:30 PM — NBC — I Feel Bad —  TRAILER

Friday

9:00 PM — FOX — Hell’s Kitchen

Saturday


MIDSEASON SHOWS

CBS — The Amazing Race — Season 31 will rev up with a full cast of Big Brother alumni

NBC — Brooklyn Nine-Nine — Returning for a partial season on NBC after getting canceled by FOX

NBC — Abby’s — A San Diego bar, with strict rules and the anti-party bar. Hanging out at Abby’s is a privilege that I hope to earn

FOX — Gotham — Coming back for a partial, and final, season, mapping out Bruce Wayne’s turn to the Dark Knight

FOX — The Orville

ABC — Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. — A 13-episode season that isn’t expected to show up until the summer of 2019


ONLINE SHOWS

There are obviously going to be a lot more announcements for Fall streaming programming…but here is what’s on my list upcoming in the next few months:

13 Reasons Why — Netflix — Today

Arrested Development — Netflix — May 29

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — Netflix — May 30

Luke Cage — Netflix — June 22

GLOW — Netflix — June 29

Harlots — Hulu — July 11

Jack Ryan — Amazon — August 31


CANCELED SHOWS

FOX — The Mick

FOX — New Girl — A surprise return this season, for eight-short episodes taking place three years later, wrapped up this show

ABC — Inhumans — This had no chance of getting renewed, despite having a great theme song

ABC — The Middle — Nine seasons long, this fun family show comes to an end next Tuesday

ABC — Designated Survivor — A surprise cancellation, this show doesn’t rate well on-air, but does well in online/next day viewers, leading to rumors that Netflix might pick it up


Google News rolled out a redesign in the last few days, and it’s a great way for people to get their headlines and what interests them the most.

I get my news from the Google Now feed on my Android home screen, but this app works in a similar way of delivering the news to you.

The app is powered by AI (artificial intelligence), sorting thru the constant breaking news and overload of information that comes out every second online, to show you only things that interest you.

The first time you log in you may see things that you don’t care about…just keep scrolling and click on the stories that you want to learn more about, or click the drop-down menu and select “More/Fewer stories like this”, and the feed will quickly learn and adapt.

The app is also split into four parts:

  •  For You – This is where you have your personalized briefing and Top 5 tailored stories, followed by other stories based on your likings
  • Headlines – The top stories sorted by the typical news categories (Latest, U.S., World, Business, Sports, Etc.)
  • Favorites – Here is where you can see “Favorited” items, such as Topics, Sources, and any stories that you “Saved” for later
  • Newsstand – Subscribe to Newspapers and Magazines and see them here. A lot of subscriptions are free (such as USA Today or CBS News) and others run a monthly charge (such as $4.99 for the LA Times)

And if you click the “Perspectives and Context” button under a headline it will show you “Full Coverage” of the story, removing the filters that the AI introduces to show you the sources you prefer.

The app is available now on Android and iOS.

Recently I took the dive and got a Sony PlayStation 4 Pro (PS4 Pro), to put alongside the Xbox One that I have gathering dust in my room.

The reasons the Xbox has been sitting unused is really simple:

  • The game selection has dwindled in recent years, with only about one or two games a year that are playable (outside the typical FIFA/NHL games)
  • My Xbox likes to turn itself on. From “Power Off” (and not “Sleep”) mode, it would randomly turn on. Sometimes in the middle of the night, sometimes when no one was home. And no matter how much I mentioned it to Microsoft, they never seemed to care…so I started to unplug the unit, and it just wasn’t worth the hassle of plugging it back in
  • I used to have my cable box run thru my Xbox, but with the amount of time it took to turn the unit on, it was about 60-90 seconds before I was able to start watching TV…and that’s just no fun. So I disconnected them and plugged it into an HDMI switch

One game that I’ve wanted for years is a baseball game, and ever since the EA Sports MVP series ended in 2005, I haven’t been able to play an MLB game, as Sony has the exclusive rights with The Show, and they wouldn’t put that on any platform besides their own.

So for a while (since I missed the $200 Black Friday sale, and couldn’t pull the trigger at the time) I was looking for a PlayStation deal…something that just doesn’t exist, until Target has an in-store Cartwheel deal a few weeks ago, that sent me store hunting for the exact console that they had on sale…and after a few weeks with it, it’s clearly better than the Xbox.

  • While a lot of games are multiplatform, switching over to PS allows me to try some new series’ that I’ve wanted to play for a while, such as The Show and God of War
  • Superfast load times
    • When I turn the unit on, it turns on immediately. Whether in Rest Mode or Power Off, it never takes more than a few seconds to turn on
    • Games load really quickly
  • Having a “Share” button on the controller, while unusual, is playing into the Millennial age, when everything needs to be posted to Twitter or Facebook, or live-streamed to Twitch or YouTube
  • Cleaner Menus: The Xbox dashboard has slowly gotten clunkier and clunkier, and it has made it harder to find what you need, and get to where you want in a timely fashion
  • Looks: The PS Slim is obviously smaller than the Xbox One, but when you look at the bigger systems, the PS4 Pro is a futuristic looking beast, that can handle 4K and all those other HD gimmicks

And it’s not just me that feels this way, a recent article from Arstechnica, they suggest that the PS4 has sold 2.5X more than the Xbox One, “now controlling over 70 percent of the “two-console” market worldwide.”

Two years after her last Netflix special, Baby Cobra, during which she was very pregnant…and now Ali makes her way back onto the stage for Hard Knock Wife, and not surprisingly, she’s pregnant again.

She doesn’t waste any time getting into talking about her kid and being a new Mom, and all the experiences that come with it. She also spends a lot of time talking about how it’s affected her relationship with her husband.

I tried the stay-at-home-mom thing for eight weeks. I liked the “Stay at home” part…You are stuck at home all day with a human Tamagotchi.

And maybe it’s the fact that I can’t relate to the topics, and this special isn’t geared to me…but I just don’t find it funny. She’s a real screamer, who likes to talk really loud and yell jokes at you. I’ve never been a fan of this method, and while I’ve found her funny in the past, it’s just too much this time, combined with all her bad jokes, this special gets just a 4 out of 10.


I was reading a few reviews on this special, and one of them by Maia Efrem, over at Refinery29 caught my eye. Among the things she praises Ali for is:

Her set-ups were smart, her punchlines hilarious, and she was doing it all while growing a fetus. That’s more than any male comic can ever say.

I mean…yes, she’s pregnant. But pregnancy doesn’t make it any more or less impressive to tell a joke. Either you can or you can’t…and like I said above, I just didn’t find this funny.
And yes, it’s likely a lot harder to do a stand up special while in her third trimester, but it doesn’t change ones funniness.

Gabriel Iglesias is (was?, he’s worked hard on it!) overweight, and has earned himself the nickname of Fluffy. But he’s funny because he makes good jokes, and is great with his delivery. But I don’t think anyone would write a review saying:

Gabriel was funny and energetic, walking around the stage delivering his jokes, all while being overweight and harder for him to get around. That’s more than any skinny comic can ever say.

Reggie Watts is out there on stage, leading to this review I’ve just thought up:

Reggie is out there on stage, with his large hair and beard, standing under the bright lights, and you can’t imagine the sweat and water that he loses on a daily basis. That’s more than any slim comic can ever say.

People applaud something…that’s one thing. But to needlessly compare her to a male, for the sake of putting them down, is sexist. I can only imagine the backlash if the reverse were written…especially if the guy had been Ricky Gervais.

Harlan Coben has been known for years as a great writer, with Tell No One and Missing You, and now he’s taken his works to Netflix, with a brand new Original miniseries called: Safe, presenting a nice compact story in 8-episodes, without the fluff that too many shows have. Besides for Coben’s ability to draw people in, the show stars Michael C. Hall, Marc Warren, Amanda Abbington, and Amy James-Kelly.

Living in a gated community, Tom Delaney (Hall) has his life torn apart. Already dealing with his two children alone, after the death of his wife a year before, his daughter Jenny (James-Kelly) goes missing, and in his search to find her he gets help from his friend Pete (Warren) and his girlfriend/neighbor cop Sophie (Abbington).

This show is fast-paced, intriguing, and intense, using a series of flashbacks and great storytelling, to bring a complete story to your screens. I highly recommend this murder-mystery and give it a 9 out of 10.

The fifth installment in the continuation of the Millennium Series, created by Stieg Larsson, and a follow-up to The Girl In The Spider Web, David Lagercrantz does really well in carving the story in An Eye For An Eye.

The original trilogy, published after Larsson’s death, was overloaded with information, and a lot of readers were likely to get caught in the weeds and turned off from the series. David has taken the series in a new path, with lots of story and intrigue, and a lot less fluff and overload.
In a similar vein, the first movie released in America was enjoyable, but seemingly a dud, as they never produced the rest of the series with Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara…but the Swedish full trilogy, with Michael Nyqvist and Noomi Rapace, was a lot more enjoyable.

Last we saw her Salander was heading to jail, and now in jail she faces the wrath of a mobster killer and her special knife, while trying to protect an innocent girl who was jailed after being forced into uncomfortable situations by her siblings.
Blomkvist is working on a new article, under the suggestions of Lisbeth, and is looking into a strangeness with stockbroker Leo Mannheimer.

The book is a great read and will keep you entertained from start to finish.

BTW, they are making a new movie for the series (based on Spider Web) starring Claire Foy (The Crown) and Sverrir Gudnason (Borg vs. McEnroe), due out this November.

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