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Adventure Time

Quite Possibly My Favorite Show Right Now.
I didn't used to watch this series. I saw the (many) commercials and shrugged off the show, which I dismissed (before even watching it) as some cheesy fantasy show with irritating characters and voices and a painfully clichéd premise.

Good Glob. This show is so much more than that.

Adventure Time stars Finn and Jake, a "crime-fighting" duo, if you will. Finn and Jake are absolutely lovable, but I'll get into the characters later. They travel all around the land of Ooo (a kingdom full of candy people) to vanquish evil and restore peace. Along the way, they make friends, most notably Princess Bubblegum, who is the leader of Ooo, and learn about some of their other friends' pasts.

I have never watched a more engaging television show. Every time I'm having a stressful day and Adventure Time comes on, I feel so relaxed, like I'm a part of their world. The writers make their show depict an alternate reality that is so mystical, so magical, and so engrossing.

But what makes the show so mystical, magical, and engrossing? Is it the land itself? Well, looking at the beautifully intricate and detailed backgrounds is a treat -- mountains, beautiful skies, and a gorgeous landscape overall -- but the best thing about the show is the characters. By far, I have never watched a show with characters this engaging. It helps that their voice actors are all, ALL, ALL absolutely PERFECT for their roles. As I said before, Finn and Jake are lovable, with Finn's innocence and desire for good, and Jake's sass and amazing humor. Princess Bubblegum is noble and kind, a great royal character who is active in her kingdom. Marceline is just great, carrying her ax-bass guitar almost everywhere and jamming out when the mood is right. Even the Ice King, the most notable antagonist, can invoke pity. The candy people are, expectedly, colorful and fun people, just adorable. The princesses are eclectic and just as fun. I know this is weird, but my personal favorite character is the Earl of Lemongrab, a strange lemon man who can't seem to fit into the world around him, no matter how hard he tries. Still, he is unintentionally hilarious. I can't stop laughing every time he screams something for the purpose of providing humor (though sometimes, his screams can be EXTREMELY, passionately poignant).

Speaking of that, the second best thing about the show is the fact that it's not a show solely focused on humor. The show can be extremely poignant sometimes. The same episodes that will make the viewer roll on the floor with laughter will make them stifle tears a few minutes later. That's because the plots are more than just devices to invoke laughter. The plots are DEEP. Some characters have tortured back stories or painful lives that are illustrated in extremely poignant episodes.

Overall, this series is absolutely golden. I can't remember seeing a television series that I enjoyed more than this, especially any recent shows. I can't think of ANYTHING negative about this show. I hope it stays around for a long, long time. It will ALWAYS have a special place in my heart.

SpongeBob SquarePants

Only Based on Seasons 1-3
This is ONLY based on Seasons 1-3 AND the movie.

The premise of Spongebob Squarepants is that there's a quirky, eclectic sea sponge (who looks more like a kitchen sponge) named Spongebob, and he's naive, but so kind and fun. He has two neighbors; one, Squidward, is grumpy and pompous, and the other is his best friend, an airhead named Patrick. He also has other friends, acquaintances, and even a few enemies all over Bikini Bottom, the city in which he lives; these include Mr. Krabs, his greedy but warm-hearted boss; Sandy Cheeks, a squirrel from Texas who wears an air helmet and loves karate; and Plankton, his boss's rival, relentlessly trying to steal the formula for Mr. Krabs's renowned Krabby Patties.

This show is amazingly charming. Adults and children alike will enjoy the humor. Oh, my goodness, this show is hilarious. Nearly every episode is a riot for all viewers of all ages. Ever since I was six years old (I'm 16 now, and I still love it), I have been tuning into this show, and my parents hate to admit that they like it as much as I do. When they don't think I'm listening, I can hear them laughing at the well-placed jokes in the show as well.

Seriously, the best thing about the show is the humor. There are enough gags, quirky sounds, and cartoon mischief to make the children laugh for all eleven minutes. However, I find an absolute ABUNDANCE of jokes that will make the parents laugh, things that little kids won't understand, jokes about things such as taxes, the fate of labor, adult sarcasm, cleverness... the show really is perfect for people of all ages.

The stories in the episodes are engaging and colorful. Spongebob interacts with all of his friends under the sea to do whatever it is he's doing in whichever episode you happen to view. The writers of these episodes come up with the perfect hilarious situations in which Spongebob and his friends can engage in tomfoolery.

Now, what I wrote above... that's only about Seasons 1-3, INCLUDING the movie (which was absolutely brilliant). Ever since the movie, the series has been devastatingly bad compared to the previous episodes. The jokes post-movie are typically disgusting gags, things that really only appeal to very small children who don't have a good grasp on what genuine humor truly is. Sandy hardly appears (and when she does, she's a scientist who hardly does karate anymore; when did that happen?!). All the characters are exaggerated to the point where their unique quirks are not remotely funny anymore -- Mr. Krabs is now solely greedy with a cold heart, willing to sacrifice his friends for a quick buck; and Patrick, who used to be dim- witted but lovable and occasionally (hilariously) bright, is now stupid 24/7 and sometimes acts like a jerk without anything to provoke this; and worst, Squidward is miserable, and usually the viewer will feel sorry for him when Spongebob continuously pesters him and ruins his life. Every season following 1-3 has a fair share of terrible episodes, though seasons 4 and 5 weren't as bad. Season 6 is the real downward slope. There's even an episode (I think it's Season 7, called "Are You Happy Now?") with TWO "jokes" about SUICIDE. Absolutely unacceptable.

I decided it wasn't fair to give a low rating encompassing the entire show. Seasons 1- 3 were so amazing, so great, so funny, so iconic, so charming... I couldn't give those a bad rating when Seasons 4-present are the ones that deserve it. Therefore, this rating is a 9/10, a toast to Seasons 1-3 for being so great.


A fantastic, raw movie about mob life. Instead of glamorizing, this film shows it as it really is --- it can appear glamorous at times, but there are a lot of rough patches as well, and those have to be taken into account. People can get hurt from all directions. People can get careless. People can get overconfident. And then, people can be removed from their pedestals by force...

If I had to reward the best actor in this film, I would have to go with Joe Pesci. He portrayed the psychopathic, insecure, bigger-than-life, living time bomb Tommy DeVito so well, especially the chilling way Tommy could snap like a twig when a remark rubbed him the wrong way, as well as the chilling, casual take that Tommy took when he carried out a murder, like it was comedic and normal to him. Just... chilling is the only word I can think of. The way the actors responded to him was amazing, too; every time Tommy looked like he was a little angry, everybody ducked for cover and simultaneously pretended like they were still having a great time when they were actually all PETRIFIED with fear. I lost myself in his character, who I actually found to be incredibly intriguing. While EVERY character made me forget that I was watching a movie (I felt like I was watching Henry Hill's life from behind his own eyes), Tommy DeVito brought the whole film to a new kind of life that has NEVER happened to me before. Pesci won and fully deserved his Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. Well done.

As I said before, every actor is fantastic. Ray Liotta perfectly portrayed Henry Hill's subtly innocent personality; Henry always felt like a bystander, like he wasn't fully engaged in the perfect storm surrounding him, and Ray Liotta portrayed that part of Henry perfectly. Likewise, Robert DeNiro flawlessly portrayed Jimmy 'The Gent' Conway's paranoid, secret, and subtly violent personality. At the same time that he seemed like a friend, he also seemed like an enemy and a traitor, scheming behind your back to ruin you and keep the riches to himself.

The soundtrack is, simply put, amazing. Every song fits its corresponding scene perfectly, especially the dreamy "Beyond the Sea" while things seem to be going well for the wise guys in prison, "Rags to Riches" to give a strong, powerful kickoff to the film, and especially "What is Life," during Henry's frantic last day before his life collapses, but the token song on the soundtrack would have to be "Sunshine of Your Love." I will always get chills during a moment that I call one of my favorite movie moments of all time, courtesy of one of the greatest directors in history, the masterful Martin Scorsese: when Jimmy takes a drag on a cigarette and glares at Morrie while the beginning of "Sunshine of Your Love" plays in the background, and Morrie is dancing and singing a cheery song, Irish folk anthem "Danny Boy," like a bird, without knowing what fate awaits him. That always gives me chills.

I have a remark to the people who say that Goodfellas glamorizes violence and mob life. I think that the direction Scorsese was taking with the film was NOT to glamorize violence and mob life, but to show the domino effect that mob life has on the people on the inside. Jimmy 'The Gent' started with everything --- too much money to count, prestige, security, and comfort. So did Henry and Paulie. Then the reality of mob life hit them, and the walls started crumbling, and things weren't so beautiful after that. The film shows the imperfections in mob life, especially the imperfections that most contemporary counts seem to gloss over.

Overall, this is my favorite movie for a myriad of reasons. It's a beautifully raw film, and I will always love it every time I see it. No film that I've ever seen can beat this MASTERPIECE... yet.

Big Time Rush

Not Very Good...
When I was a 13-year-old girl, I watched the pilot movie, "Big Time Audition". I was very impressed because the boys were cute and sounded like they could sing. They were confident and fun. I liked the show for the reasons you would expect -- not for its quality, but because the boys were cute singers.

They don't show reruns of the pilot movie very often, but even being 16, I'm still impressed by it. The actors sounded very natural in their line delivery. They all had great chemistry, and the script was fun for kids but real enough to draw in viewers my age. Even though it was extremely unrealistic, there was enough about the pilot, something charming, that would draw in people like me. They found creative and relevant ways to integrate the band's theme song into the plot.

The best part about the pilot movie was that there weren't a bunch of wacky sound effects and stupid stunts drawing attention away from the dialog and the plot. If the whole series was like that, it would be far better.

Starting with the first actual episode of the series, everything that was charming and real was discarded in favor of wacky sound effects and stupid stunts. Now, every time a character makes a wacky facial expression, horns blare in the background. The same irritating sounds play with similar effects, like a rapid pop rock song playing when a character is running or rushing, a soft rock song when a character has a revelation or a "down to earth" talk with someone, and a guitar lick when James is commenting about his good looks, among many others.

Those actors who sounded natural in the pilot now sound forced, extremely exaggerated, and unnatural. The characters scream almost all the time now -- not really at each other, but they just scream their lines spontaneously. Now, the writing is significantly weaker, and the band's latest songs are forced into the plot like puzzle pieces that don't fit. In the first season, it wasn't as bad, but now, it's almost like they want to integrate the EPISODES into the SONGS more than the other way around. It makes the show seem like an advertisement for the band, rather than a show. It gives the whole show a cheap, prosthetic feel.

All of these qualities join together to make the show seem like it's prosthetic and forced. These are qualities that plague every episode. They had a nice and decent pilot movie. I don't know why they didn't keep that formula and discarded it for an exaggerated, painfully unrealistic, cringe-worthy, mediocre, and unimpressive television show... but hey, the band is still selling. Why? Because other teenage girls, like me 3 years ago, are still in love with this attractive boy band. Needless to say, I don't watch the show anymore, much less remotely enjoy it.

The Haunted Hathaways

Yet Another Subpar Show from Nickelodeon.
This is only based on the 30-minute series debut.

This show is extremely mediocre and unimpressive. The premise is that there is a family comprised of a teenage daughter, a smart little girl, and their recently- divorced, single mother. They move into a place in New Orleans where the mother can manage a shop on the first floor while they live above the shop. The building is haunted by a family of ghosts, a single father and his two sons, a teenager who wants friends and a little boy who can't control his ghostly powers well. The ghosts don't want to share their home with the humans; chaos ensues.

To start, the jokes in this show are abysmal. They're the kinds of jokes that only appeal to little children, not even teenagers or kids on the brink of teenage years. There was a long sequence in the first episode that comprised of a fart joke (surprise, surprise) that went on for about thirty straight seconds, and the laugh track went on the whole time. It wasn't funny; it was actually pretty gross and exaggerated to an extreme that's even ridiculous for Nickelodeon.

The characters? They're pretty interesting, I guess. I like the fact that it's not just another show taking place in an unrealistically lavish house or apartment in a lavish part of town (usually somewhere in California) with flawless teenagers. That's where the extra 2 stars come from; it has an original setting.

But the ACTORS. The actors are not good at all. Every single one of them tries way too hard to elicit laughs from the audience by overacting, even the grown woman, the mom. The teenage girl, specifically, almost laughs when she's delivering some lines. The actors have over-dramatic facial expressions and excessively exaggerated movements (only when they're trying to be funny, like when the teenage ghost is "dancing"), shout too much, and almost seem like they're rushing through the script to reach the "joke."

Even worse than the actors are the special effects. The teenage girl is supposed to be a gifted gymnast. Sometimes, she spontaneously does gym tricks, like answering the door by doing several flips and somersaults to get there, but it looks like they replace her with CGI or something when she's supposedly doing these flips; it looks extremely awkward, VERY cringe-worthy. When a character is supposedly moving in fast motion, he or she is followed by a stream of purple lines that look like they came from a cartoon.

So... I'm not impressed yet. Maybe if you have an 8 to 11-year-old kid or something, they'll enjoy this. I probably would have at that age. I really wanted to like this show; Nickelodeon has been on a losing streak for awhile now, and I wanted this to be their recovery, but the show is just weak. I don't see it lasting for more than one season.

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