pancake_repairman

IMDb member since December 2002
    Lifetime Total
    25+
    IMDb Member
    18 years

Reviews

The Return of Jezebel James
(2008)

summary
i'm kinda surprised Posey and Sherman didn't fight the laugh track to their death. it's the main thing that confuses the tone of the show and probably contributed the most to the bad reviews. i expect theatre critics would be kinder to the show. many scenes seem more written for the stage than the screen, apparently another thing the audience has trouble accepting or comprehending. the show does have lulls, a lack of character depth, and reaches for unearned dramatic moments, but however flawed the presentation of ideas is, the ideas are at least present, there is at least some value placed on originality and creativity which is more than i can say for most shows.

Miss Guided
(2008)

review of first episode
watching this i was more often bored than engaged. for a younger audience who hasn't seen all the romantic comedies and teen movies and TV shows of the last ten years this will probably be entertaining, but it's mostly an endless string of clichés. it doesn't have generic setup-punchline sitcom gags at least but the comedy is relatively sporadic and the drama is too shallow and unoriginal to hold my interest. the dorky Becky character is sympathetic but her situation is too one-dimensional and has been done a hundred times before. it's fine for a show to use templates as a foundation but it needs to put some originality on top of them and that's what this show mostly doesn't bother with.

Reaper
(2007)

summery
Starts out a lot like the main dude's other show Free Ride, a twentysomething dude living with his parents and hanging out with his more boistrous friend who makes all their plans and gets him into trouble and inspires him to make his move on the girl he's pining after. The type of comedy is similar too, more banter than gag oriented, and just as well done. The best friend dude is too old to play 25 and he acts too much like Jack Black though. The supernatural aspect is a vague collection of recycled ideas. The main dude has some kind of mind powers which he neither asks nor is told anything about by the devil. The devil apparently owns his soul but whether or not it still resides in his body is unclear. He doesn't mention feeling different, but dogs start following him around snarling at him. The armani-wearing devil seems like a played out device, it would have almost been refreshing to see him depicted more demonically. In the second half we're treated to a special effects sideshow that looks like something out of X-Men where our hero battles a flame-throwing earth-quaking escapee from hell. To me the battle scenes felt out of place, but it makes some kind of sense considering this pilot was directed by comic-book buff Kevin Smith. The serious drama in the second half also felt cheesy, especially the revelation that the villain is going to burn down an elementary school. Oh no! The children! And when he complains to the devil that he can't do his job after his first attempt, and the devil advises him to get inside the guy's head, it's like a really bad imitation of the deductive reasoning parts of cop shows, especially since working out where the guy would be next wasn't even our hero's major problem, it was that the enemy was too physically powerful. The integration of the supernatural stuff into the banal everyday, like handing in the enemy's soul at the DMV, seems derivative of both Dead Like Me and Buffy. I was a lot less into the show by the end than I was at the halfway point and don't think this series will have much originality to offer. SECOND EPISODE: missy's 30 seconds of dialogue emphasize how entertaining and clever the rest of the writing isn't. more sloppy uneventful mystery writing around this week's villain ending in another overblown special effects battle where he is defeated in a way that makes no sense. THIRD EPISODE: i'm torn about continuing to watch this show. i'd prefer to just watch a 5 minute compilation of all Missy and Sock's dialogue from each episode. the action and investigation aspect around each weeks villain is like a bad cop show.

Pushing Daisies
(2007)

summary
originality: The show has a Dr Suess/Lemony Snicket influenced narration over the first five minutes explaining the complex superpower Ned was bestowed with as a child which continues sporadically throughout. The score is very effective, but perhaps a bit too reminiscent of Tim Burton's films. moral fortitude: The fact that Ned killed someone else to bring Chuck back to life is waved away as insignificant. character consistency: Chuck is presented as seeing only the bright side of everything, yet she's apparently cynical enough to assume the worst about Ned, that's he's just using her for some reward. plot holes: How the killer traced the monkeys back to the travel agent. hallmark sentimentality: You can already see the recurring emotional scenes the "couple who can't touch" concept is going to be used as fodder for. miscellaneous: The whimsical banter is appreciated for it's rarity in an increasingly regimented TV dramedy field but it often feels too academic.

Damages
(2007)

summary
The show is rarely overambitious or pretentious, mostly just dull and unoriginal. The first problems are a couple of incomprehensible moments. Young lawyer Ellen is being interviewed for a job at a law firm and the head interviewer is apparently upset that she didn't tell him earlier that she had been contacted by a rival firm. Presumably this was a response to her hesitating to sign the contract placed in front of her, but it was never conveyed that that was what she was even doing. Obviously you read a contract first, not just sign it immediately, right? So what logic is there in him assuming she has some other reason for not signing immediately? Doesn't make sense. Then later he goes to a bar to find her, and has her "autograph" the back of a business card, which makes no sense, and she does it as though she thinks it's normal, which makes even less sense. Wtf was that scene about? Oh then you have the classic "don't be a lapdog and bosses will respect your moxy" moral where Ellen rejects an interview with the more prestigious firm because it clashes with her sister's wedding and the boss comes to the wedding and offers her a job on the spot. The boss being Glenn Close, basically reprising Meryl Streep's role in The Devil Wears Prada, which emphasizes how much Rose Byrne as Ellen is taking on the Anne Hathaway role. I wouldn't be surprised if the show was pitched as "The Devil Wears Prada in a law firm". It's at this point that you realise there's virtually no legal drama going on. The case in progress is some rich guy (Ted Danson) being prosecuted for insider trading, but why this criminal case isn't being handled by the district attorney, and how the supposed victims of his insider trading have a legal leg to stand on to file a civil suit is not covered. It descends into more incomprehensibility from there. A witness is introduced, who may or may not know what she witnessed, which both sides (Ted Danson and Glenn Close) are monitoring, and it ends with the revelation that Patty (Glenn Close) only hired Ellen so that she would convince the witness (who is Ellen's sister-in-law) to testify. I could write a whole page on the absence of logic on Patty's behalf in this scenario, the biggest problem would be knowing where to start. The most distinct aspect of this show is that the acting/direction is more reminiscent of John Grisham movies than of other TV legal dramas, but the writing is more slow-paced than either. I won't be tuning in next week.

Anchorwoman
(2007)

summary
First Episode: Too low-key and monotonous to be very entertaining. There's no plot development, characters are one-dimensional and keep saying the same things over and over, but the show did make me think about how journalistic credibility and integrity are things judged on image, and the news is so focused on image that it forgets that actually has no bearing on it's ability to serve it's purpose which is dissemination of information, and it plays a large part in the pavlovian training of society to focus on image so that the more formal someone is the more seriously they will be taken. Second Episode: Lauren's lack of interest in conforming to these formal standards, setting her as the one person to see through the b.s., becomes more of a focal point and left me wanting to see more episodes.

Shark
(2006)

riding the short bus to the courthouse
A hackneyed subpar written show in every aspect. You have the middle-aged hotshot lawyer who is blatantly sexist, a characteristic I doubt this show would have dared use if Boston Legal hadn't already taken the chance on not being PC and proved it to be acceptable. Beyond that the difference is in Boston Legal the sexual comments are funny and unique, here it's just ignorant coattail riding. "Have him make a sexual comment about the woman, it'll be funny". It isn't. Then you have the antagonism with the tough chick lawyer nemesis, a character who is utterly humourless and naively overzealous in her moralizing without offering a unique perspective on anything. So their dynamic is the classic cliché of the free and easy man and the uptight woman. Gee, do you think they'll have a breakthrough moment where he gets her to lighten up? I wonder. Even the opening part where the star's lawyer skills are supposedly demonstrated is amazingly dumb. He gets his client acquitted of an attempted murder charge by pointing out that he called an ambulance and stopped his victim bleeding to death, which he obviously wouldn't do if he wanted them dead. Wow, awesome deducting Sherlock. The overanimated panache with which James Woods plays the scene only serves to emphasize the banality of the writing by being so at odds with it. Not to compliment his acting though. His character is apparently unable to speak without becoming a bobble-head. Then he gives a speech about why he wins all his cases which he dubs his "Cutthroat Manifesto" which consists of a bunch of nonsensical hot air that has no apparent practical application. "Rule number one, trial is war, second place is death." OK, I guess if you can view a case as your life depending on it it would motivate you harder, but... that's just moronic. Then "truth is relative, find one that works". Uh huh, isn't that the principle all defense lawyers operate under by default? This isn't even a second rate Boston Legal, it's a bunion on the foot of that far superior show both dramatically and comedically. The redemptive family values in the home aspect of the star's life has marginally more appeal but is a lighter retread of what you've seen in every popular cable drama of the past five years.

Eyes
(2005)

review of the first episode
Could easily be mistaken for an addition to the insipid CSI franchise. It looks like they bought the glitter they spray their sets and actors with from the same supplier, as well as the computer chips they insert into their robot actors with the programmed pauses and rise and fall cadences to turn every banal line into a shakespearean monologue. It's hard to imagine how anyone other than upper income Ken and Barbies could accept any of these characters as representations of human beings, either actual or idealized. I would find it difficult to tell you what actually happened in most scenes but I'm not sure whether it's because the writing is so vague or just because the daytime soap acting threw me from even following it.

The Sarah Silverman Program.
(2007)

summary
Following a sitcom plot is so mindlessly easy that having her character simultaneously operate both within and without the context the rest of the cast inhabit is the kind of experimentalism that sitcoms could really use. The supporting characters ground the show in a sitcom reality which provides a contextual counterpoint to Sarah's erratic persona which, beyond general insensitivity, has no specific recurring traits for behavioural expectations to be based on, making her less a character than a canvas to be repainted in every episode if not scene. Sarah's ability to see everything from an outside perspective enables her to parody aspects of social behaviour that are subtle enough to usually go unnoticed. Every time she speaks it's like a self-contained 5 second skit. She overemotes a lot, demonstrating the countless things a smile or change in vocal pitch can signify, but never sticks with one idea long enough for you to get comfortable and form expectations that will be satisfied. This may be the most creative, original and experimental TV program ever.

Falcon Beach
(2005)

summary
Watching this show I wasn't sure if it was meant to be a parody teen show or if it was supposed to be taken seriously. It exaggerates the unrealistic drama of teen shows by removing any trace of personality from the characters and emphasizing their emotional reactions to things. The plot points seemed deliberately contextless and rushed, the characters seemed deliberately one-dimensional, at times the acting seemed deliberately bad, but it never got silly enough to make me laugh. After googling the show nothing seems to label it as a parody or satire, so I guess it really is just an unintentionally fascinatingly stupid show.

The Minor Accomplishments of Jackie Woodman
(2006)

summary
She has a problem with her plumbing and then has a conversation with her mother about nothing. That's 2 minutes of content. It's like gritty realism about stuff that isn't gritty or in any way remotely interesting. It's like the possibility that some things that aren't generally depicted in fiction are left alone because there is nothing interesting about them just wasn't considered. Cues are taken from all the cable dramadies, and when you combine that with a distinct lack of a creative imagination or any unique personal experiences in life to draw inspiration from, this is what you get. I guess the idea is that you're supposed to still be so fascinated with the mechanics behind the media entertainment industry, in spite of how saturated TV has been with that topic in the last few years, that it can be taken to an even more tediously personal-detail-filled level and remain interesting. Laura's voice sets her demeanor at a permanent state of exasperation which becomes grating fast. This lack of emotional range is the nail in the coffin.

Ugly Betty
(2006)

summary
I saw the ads, thought the character looked uncharacteristically unique for a promoted non-cable show, and looked forward to seeing where they'd go with it. It turns out she's just a good-girl cliché and the show is more focused on drama than comedy. The scheming villain character makes her counterpart from Less Than Perfect seem like a comparatively complex character. The Betty character is also very similar to Claude, the main character from LTP. Betty's mom is an "oh no you di'int" ghetto fab cliché. The clichés aren't parodied, they're just used as is. Betty's wardrobe seems like the only aspect of the show that sprung from a creative imagination, everything else is a frankenstein glut of proved formulas brought out for another run around the track. The emphasis placed on Betty's fight for truth and justice against one-dimensional villains is reminiscent of the lazy over-dramatic way SNL skits (Wayne's World, A Night At the Roxbury) and old TV shows (The Brady Bunch, The Flintstones) are made into movies.

Doppelherz
(2003)

one line summary
I haven't liked any of the singles off his last 3 albums or listened to any of them beyond those tracks, but when I recently heard about this short film I had to check it out and I think it's really awesome although utterly devoid of meaning. It's a work of dark monochrome atmosphere, dimly lit with lots of fast-cut editing and fades to black in and out, but it comes across as extremely professional and purposeful rather than sloppy and random. The shades of gray seem as radiant as any full use of the light spectrum ever has. I'm probably too ignorant to say if it's original, but i've never seen anything like it before. I luv how just insanely effed up it is. Not that there's any reprehensible acts depicted, it's just really weird and abstract.

The Assistant
(2004)

one line summary
Wow, Andy Dick really just isn't very funny or creative. I always kinda thought he was. He seemed funny on Newsradio, and when he took his pants off for that Entertianment Tonight interview, but give him his own show and this is what he comes up with, just a one-note joke of acting like a primadonna celebrity. The joke was old after one episode, and after struggling through the second I really have no desire to see any more. It was even edited to drag out the boring parts (the rose ceremony) and compress the funny parts (the quiz). He could have given the contestants all kinda of funny tasks to do, but he mostly just subjected them to pointless menial labour, to position him as a cruel dictator and continue the primadonna celebrity joke. The most interesting thing is the contestant's to-camera responses about his behaviour. I can't work out if they're really taking him seriously or if they were just told to pretend to. In addition to being unfunny a lot of it just seems staged. If the whole thing was in fact scripted and the show was marketed/presented as a scripted show I would have had different expectations and maybe accepted it for what it is, but spontaneity was what it really seemed to lack yet what they seemed to be striving for.

How I Met Your Mother
(2005)

My Review Of The First Epidosde
A lot of contextless sex jokes, stereotypical characters, and typical speculation about the unspoken rules of dating and relationships. Almost nothing clever or unique at all. The inspiration and influence for the characters and jokes seems to come 80% from established fictional characters and situations from sitcoms and romantic comedy movies, with maybe 20% original use of inspiration from either reality or a creative imagination which generally consists of geek references. Alyson Hannigan basically reprises her role from American Pie. None of the blame can really go to the actors, other than their poor decision in wanting to be involved in this show after reading the script. There's really no way to rise above the dull, dumb writing. Whatever presumed quirky appeal this show could have had based on Alyson Hannigan and Doogie Howser's involvement is immediately shattered after their first couple of scenes. This show has marginally less edge than Still Standing and Almost Perfect, but still teeters on the precipice of being watchable or not, making it better than According To Jim or Two And A Half Men, but significantly less funny, original, and clever than some late 90s sitcoms it hearkens back to such as Two Guys A Girl And A Pizza Place or Dharma And Greg. The extent to which focus is placed on emotional investment in the characters makes this possibly the most chick flickeqsue sitcom ever. The voice-over narration is the best part. I guess some people really hate that device but it works for me. The bottom line is this is a heartwarming crowdpleasaing comedy as opposed to a funny comedy. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, it just is what it is. Some people's idea of comedy is gags filtered through emotionally appealing characters and relatable situations, and for them this show will probably deliver. I don't even necessarily find the "drama with gags" sitcom style inherently unappealing, but the dramatic portions of this show are too generic to do anything with the formula. The drama seems to be there just to support the gags, the gags seem to be there just to support the drama, neither aspect being strong enough to provide any appealing basis for the show.

Dog Bites Man
(2006)

summary
Awkward moments can be funny, but they aren't automatically going to be as the lazy writing of this show attests. The mockumentary thing just seems tired at this point, taking cues from Christopher Guest (Best In Show, Waiting For Guffman, A Mighty Wind), Ricky Gervais (The Office), Larry David (Curb Your Enthusiasm), and The Daily Show's field reporter's bits, at best without really bringing anything new to the table, at worst significantly dumbing their influences down. This show is just as good or bad as Reno 911, and like that show I think Dog Bites Man's limited appeal lies more in engaging the viewer with the plots and characters than in the moments and lines intended to pass for gags.

Perfect Hair Forever
(2004)

summary
The most noteworthy thing about this program for me is how the funniness of Aqua Teen Hunger Force writers/creators is dwindling. There are 3 major problems I have with the show. 1> I can't understand half of what either of the beardy guys are saying. It seriously needs subtitles. 2> The ongoing story is too pervasive. It's hard to enjoy a lone episode without knowing what happened in the previous one. 3> Perhaps most importantly, the main characters don't have any distinct idiosyncrasies. That was what fueled the comedic interaction between Frylock, Shake, Meatwad, and Carl, and seemingly what fueled the comedic imaginations of the writers.

Hope & Faith
(2003)

summary
The writing is generally unremarkable, but at least above average for a sitcom. What really makes this a must-see show is what an amazing comedic actress Kelly Ripa is. Her character is already written as self-involved and superficial, but the way she overacts everything really takes the character's idiosyncrasies and dialogue to an extra level. She's the new Lucille Ball. Seriously. She can find a way to hit every line so it's twice as funny as you'd ever imagine it could be. Her acting isn't really in the service of grounding the character in the reality that the rest of the cast inhabit, so for viewers who identify more with the rest of the cast her performance may seem just stupidly hammy, but I can bet that any fans of Tom Green would appreciate the awesome way Kelly Ripa transforms a character that is a mere narcissist on paper into a raving lunatic on the screen with such conviction. The rest of the show essentially becomes the straight man for her to bounce her insanity off of. With any other actress the show would have been more balanced between the cast, and probably more true to the writers intent, but the way Kelly just reduces every episode to a canvas for her to spew her psychotic enthusiasm onto makes this show totally enjoyable as Tom Green style absurdist surrealism even if it ruins it as a conventional sitcom for conventional people who want characters they can identify with. Ripa's performance makes Hope & Faith the most genuinely subversive thing in TV comedy since Strangers With Candy. It really makes you wonder what someone as obviously ridiculously creative as Kelly was doing spending 10 years on a daytime soap or what she's thinking now rocking the orange fake tan and bleached teeth look. I will forever ponder the enigmatic contradiction that is Kelly Ripa.

Stacked
(2005)

summary
The writing is as amateurish as it is hackneyed and generic. The plots are thin and uneventful. The dialogue is stiff and dull. The gags are generic and not as frequent as you expect from a gag-driven show. If you've seen VIP you know Pam is capable of being a great self-effacingly comedic actor, something the material in this show gives her little opportunity to demonstrate. The bookstore owner and his co-worker are both such eunuchs that the supposed sexual tension between them and Pam is far from believable. Stuart is the archetype of the unlovable loser. When you think Pam Anderson you don't exactly think high class, but I'd think this show would be beneath even her. How Christopher Lloyd got roped into doing this show is an even bigger mystery. His random weirdo character gets the funniest dialogue to work with, but with this show that isn't saying much. The double entendre in the show title is as clever as any of the content in the show is going to get.

Hidden Hills
(2002)

summary
This isn't a generic sitcom. The characters are more proactive and opinionated, more real and substantial than your standard sitcom. The writers wisely avoid typical setup/punchline jokes, but unfortunately don't offer any clever alternative comedic approach, and are sexually fixated in a way that seems juvenile and gratuitous. It really didn't make me laugh at all, in fact I think this show would be more accurately categorised as a light drama than a comedy. The main drawcard for fans of the show seems to be the way it panders to the conservative middle class, propping up their delusions of hipness. Sorry, if you identify with this show you ain't hip.

The Surgeon
(2005)

summary
Quite possibly the most substanceless medical show ever made. At the least it's the most uninteresting show I've ever seen in the genre. It doesn't seem to have any specific direction or vision. No unique character personalities, and no detailed focus on medical procedure. Even the acting is sub-par, which is something I almost never notice. The only semi-distinctive trait this show has is the constant bickering and tension between medical personnel, perhaps an attempt at showing the bleaker side of hospital life, but it's not focused enough to be able to judge what the writers were going for. The general atmosphere of the show is sparse and dark, but it could just as well be attributable to the low production values as to any artistic decision. Ultimately what you've got here is a minimalist medical drama, and is that something anyone wants to see? I know I don't.

The Closer
(2005)

my review of the first episode
I haven't heard a southern accent done this badly since Geena Davis and Susan Sarandon in Thelma And Louise. I can't imagine how any casting agent said yes to Kyra Sedgwick for this role. Although her failure at carrying the show seems like a moot point when you realise how little there is to carry. The plot of solving the crime takes a backseat to boring inter-office drama between a cast of characters all equally lacking in charisma as Sedgwick's. The one thing the show somewhat succeeds at is a portrayal of a tough woman not taking any crap and fighting to succeed in a man's world, but the adversity she faces often seems overdone and her surly attitude makes her hard to sympathise with.

The Pitts
(2003)

the pitts has the wits to deliver laughter fits
I was a bit bemused by this show at first, but after a couple of episodes it's grown on me and I look forward to seeing more of it. Yes, it's a DUMB show, that's the whole point. If you watch this show and think "wow the writers/network must really not know how stupid this show is, i must inform them", then you are completely missing the point. Obviously no one who creates a show this weird is trying to be conventionally clever or taken seriously. The basis for most of the humour is the ridiculousness of the idea that any of it ever could be taken seriously, and if you can't grasp that then the joke is on you and this show is just plain over your head. I think Andy Richter Controls The Universe is a better written show, but The Pitts makes me laugh more, and it's more intelligent humour than the constant random sex and drug references that pass for jokes on Family Guy.

Gigli
(2003)

one line summary
I'm pretty apathetic to Ben and J-Lo, either individually or as a couple. What made me actually bother watching the movie was being intrigued by it's worst movie ever ranking on this site. It is one of those movies that just makes you wonder how an industry where tens of millions of dollars are routinely invested in single projects can have such a lack of quality control. Not in terms of quality, since I wouldn't argue that that's basically subjective, but just professionalism. Like little moments in the script that make you think how the hell did no one speak up about that and fix it. I didn't find Ben very believable as the tough gangster, and expected to have the same reaction to J-Lo's character, but I actually found her performance really good. The retarded kid character was just bizarre. I have no idea what they were going for with most of the lines he had. It seemed like the guy couldn't even deliver them with a straight face, like he stifled a snicker after everything he said, like the actor knew how stupid everything he was saying was. I'm sure that wasn't the case though. It was just bizarre. I can't imagine what they were going for. He obviously wasn't believable as a mentally retarded person. It seemed like maybe he was a parody retarded person, but why do you need to parody something that can already be funny anyway when it's played straight? The character reminded me of Tom Green's style of absurdist comedy where the whole point is just to be random and insane and unexplainable. It was just so at odds with every other aspect of the movie. Anyway, that's basically all I have to say about it. That was the most noteworthy part. There were a couple of impressive monologues. As a whole it was just blah.

Try Seventeen
(2002)

one line summary
This is quite possibly the stupidest movie I've ever seen. It starts out ok, it seemed like it could have gone somewhere, but the plot is basically non-existant. So much symbolism and surrealism and so little substance. Underdeveloped one dimensional relationships being blown up into some huge drama that makes no sense. Goofy comedic interludes that are so out of synch with the central focus of the film they make it seem like you're flicking channels. Not that there's much of a focus there anyway. The script seems fairly intelligent at first, but winds up seeming like a 15 year old's failed attempt at being profound.

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