Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Mighty Boosh on Adult Swim

Take Pee Wee's Playhouse, Spongebob Squarepants, throw in some Flight of the Conchords musical buddy vibes, take a tab of LSD, put up a 70's David Bowie poster, and you're close to experiencing one of the trippiest, funniest television shows to come out of Great Britain in a long while. The Mighty Boosh started airing on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim line up on Sunday, March 29th at 1am, and not a moment too soon.

The Boosh (as it's also known) stars comedians Julian Barrett and Noel Fielding who created the show back in the late 90's. Over the years, it snowballed into a radio show and finally a television series on BBC3. The series features their creations Vince Moon and Howard Noir, two friends with very different styles and temperaments. Vince is Fielding's character, a beatific, ever loving, open hearted rocker with a shag like a 70's Rod Stewart, while Barrett's Howard is kind of a neurotic, geeky, jazz loving, paranoid every man. They work at the "Nabootique", a Bizarre/Antique shop owned by Naboo, a certified Shaman, and his gorilla friend Bollo. Barrett and Fielding also portray other creatures and characters, planets and plants, such as "Old Greg" (my personal fave), "The Moon", their celestial friend who waxes lyrical about life, and Tony Harrison, a bladder-like head who "sits on the board of Shamen" - a committee where The Boosh's friends can be found.

To find out more and to find scheduled times, check out Adult Swim's site: http://www.adultswim.com/shows/themightyboosh/#

Or head over to The Boosh's Official site to find out more: http://www.themightyboosh.com/

Flight of the Conchords: Season Three?

Brett and Jemaine have wrapped up a second season of Flight of the Conchords on HBO with a final episode that had them deported back to their beautiful land of New Zealand, frolicking with Murray on the farm, running with sheep and playing music with nature. You would think that would be the end; however, there may be hope for another series, or perhaps a special. An article in Broadcast Now provides that glimmer.

The guys are gearing up for a tour of the U.S. this coming month, so perhaps the dust will settle on what their next step in the television world will be. Since the show was a tiring undertaking for McKenzie and Clement, I'd be happy to see them continue their relationship with HBO through concert specials, and perhaps...a movie? Wishful thinking on my part; however, this doesn't have to be end of the lads as we know them.

Thanks to Sherry at www.whatthefolk.net for originally posting the article.

Friday Night Lights - Renewed

After living on a delicate bubble for a while now, NBC has renewed Friday Night Lights until 2011. (Source: Hollywood Reporter)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Reasons Why I Enjoy Diablo Cody..1, 2, 3

Not a big fan of United States of Tara, but I love Juno, and admire the wit and wordy word of writer Diablo Cody. Her morning tweets just re-affirmed my envy.

Reason why I like Diablo #1: Re-Words Already Cool Titles to make them even cooler;

Reason why I like Diablo #2: Using Sassafrassin/Crackalackin' in the same sentence;
Reason why I like Chelsea Handler #3; She's having Cody on her show again and she's cool herself;

Chelsea Lately is on E! Monday's - Fridays at 11pm et/ct

Party Down

When the minds behind Stella and their comedic associates meld together to bake up a television series, it's like a chocolate souffle - delicious and gooey - even if it collapses in the oven. Party Down, one of the new original comedy series on Starz, certainly does not cave . Amusing in bits, lovable in doses, the show isn't laugh out loud funny, but it's a tasty treat. Fred Savage directed the premiere episode (and credited for the next four). Paul Rudd and Rob Thomas headline a list of writers who have collaborated on the comedy. It stars Ken Marino, Adam Scott and Jane Lynch as out of work actors who work for "Party Down", caterers to Los Angeles' well-to-do, yet "ordinary people". They are a funny bunch of misfits - one is a surfer dude type who has just sold a script to a network, the other is a struggling comedian with husband issues. Marino plays Ron Donald, the head boss who really needs to give a good impression since his whole livelihood depends on it. His strive for perfect, cheerfulness and conscientious actually ends up creating chaos and confusion as he loses control of his staff, who are more interested in mingling with the guests and eating the food.

Lynch plays Constance Carmell, an actress who has been around the block. She gives advice like a hard bitten coach, yet seems amused by the fact she's working as a caterer, which is probably one of hundreds of jobs she's had in her life. Scott plays Henry Pollard, the guy running away from his failed acting career. Being known as "That Guy" from beer ads gone by, he's the steady pulse in the group of misfits, providing the anchor to Marino's neurotic Ron. Personally, I know a "That Guy" - an actor/comedian who appears in commercials and has guest appearances on television shows, but can't find luck in a successful project. There is something to be said about these actors who hang out in Hollywood for years, waiting for that elusive break. Henry portrays this well, maintaining the straight guy face as the bartender to a wait staff of acting star wanna-be's. He's in the same boat as the rest of his co-workers - dreaming of stardom while earning a paltry paycheck to get by. The only difference is - he's given up.

Party Down
portrays the disillusionment of life and dreams squandered with laughs and a hint of pathos. This facet isn't limited only to the caterers, but their upper middle class employers as well, businessmen who live in the comfort of huge homes with families, yet still mourn that abandoned boyhood dream of playing guitar for a rock band and banging groupies.

First episode provided a good introduction to characters. Good solid comedy that's more subtle and blends into the action.

You can watch Party Down on Starz (check you cable line up) on Friday's at 10:30pm et/ct. Or you can watch it online at www.starz.com/originals/PartyDown. Members of Netflix can also watch it anytime by downloading the Microsoft Silverlight plug in, also available for Mac.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pam and Michael's "Graduate" Moment: My Doomsday Blog

If Jim and Pam have been void of interaction this year, being written as a boring couple about as interesting as bathroom wallpaper, you're in for more of the same. What better way to continue to keep them apart by having her leave Dunder Mifflin in a moment of epiphany to work at Michael's fictional company? Woo! No more Jim and Pam. No more basking in the warm glow of their cuteness and upcoming nuptials. Nope. What we might get to see is more Pam enabling and mothering Michael in a scheme that will never work. And if it does, it will be the most disappointing contrivance created since Fonzie went to the moon. Oh, he didn't? He jumped a shark? Even that expression is becoming as cliched as the storyline I fear will forge it's way into The Office in episodes to come. If the governor of New York can have a Doomsday Budget, this is my Doomsday prediction for The Office, which I pray to the gods of television will never ever happen.

Office fans are the most passionate and imaginative people around. There were some interesting comments on the fan boards these past few days that got me thinking. What happens if Michael and Pam recruit the Prince Family, (whose forty year old company died due to the economy and DM itself), employ Ryan and bring on Jan, creating a dynamic that will defy the laws of reality, physics and math, allowing their company to succeed? What happens if Pam's new found desire to be a salesperson proves her to be a natural, and she begins to take away clients from Jim? Do I want Pam to succeed as a happy person, an artist and an individual? Yes. Do I want her to succeed as a salesperson, who never wanted to be a salesperson, suddenly and uncharacteristically schmooze customers, perhaps throw all Beesly modesty to the wind, flash the cleavage, put on the girlish charm, as she was known to do in "The Surplus", and take away sales from Jim in a fun game of competition?. To put it bluntly...Oh, hell no!

This scenario, of course, is all heresay. But Office fans, such as myself, tend to fear the worst this time of the year. Since 2006, Spring in the Dunder Mifflin universe makes me sweat. The writers plant situations that could go anywhere, and I usually fear the worst, making up possible scenarios in my head that send chills. A few years ago, I would have sworn Jim was going to marry Karen, move to New York leaving Pam in the ashes of her failure to find courage. Last year, I thought Jim would surprise Pam with a wedding on Schrute farms, which would have pissed me off and made me hateful. They came close - Toby's goodbye ended with the biggest, annoying thud still felt almost a year later. But this? My head is spinning. Pam leaving DM like this? And Jim is ok with it? Even though he told Michael only a few moments before it was crazy to create a make believe company? Now his future wife is ditching her half of the household bills to do the same? Oh, the stories flying in my head hurt.

If my crack brained, fear induced scenario comes to pass, having Pam compete with Jim, although interesting for some, would be potentially negative. Jim’s support for Pam is sweet, but she doesn’t give any back. There is a passive aggressiveness she dishes that Jim laps up. She enjoys teasing him when he's down - gives him enough rope to hang himself and then makes fun of him when he does. One can argue he deserves it, but she doesn’t do much to help, especially with Jim’s needs and unspoken dreams.

In fact, it's all been about her while she finds amusement in Jim's struggles. She “shushes” him in conversation while interrupting to make a point. She makes fun of Jim's dainty bowling fingers. She had to mention in "Dinner Party" how useless Jim is around the house because he tooled with her TiVo and she didn't get audio for a week. She rubbed in his silliness over getting ready for 40 minutes to prank Dwight with his Tux . She didn't console him or even give him a dose of reality - which would have been great. Why not tell him, "Jim, come on...40 minutes? I have an extra suit in the car you can change into in case a client comes in, you big dork".

Jim has always been selfless when it comes to Pam. Indeed, buying a house she didn't know about may have been selfish, but it was selfless in that he was doing it for her – for their future. She loved it. He has always let her do her own thing to find herself. To have Michael's cockamamie business succeed would not only be an unholy story contrivance in this economic climate, it would place Jim in a perilous position of conflict. Pam could take his customers away. He could lose commission and even his job. I don't see Pam making a substantial income in the first year. They could lose that house.

Ok..ok..we're getting crazy here. This all may not happen. This is all too serious. Pam is such a great girl, but she has her flaws, and the writers seem to be showing this. Her ambitions are in flux. Our suspension of disbelief is getting tested. We were led to believe Pam wanted to be an artist, or possibly could be one in some capacity. I never pegged her as a salesperson. Especially since she's been sitting at reception at a sales office for several years with no inclination to work her way into that role. But, ok...this could just be a device to show us that she can make rash decisions. I sadly, do not want this business venture to work out. It would be painful in this economic recession - in this day and age when newspapers are dieing because people are reading news online, and emails have curtailed the use of paper products. I want Pam to shine. I want her to be successful - but not like this.

Nevertheless, Thursday's episode "Two Weeks" was actually good. Other than my qualms with Pam's decision to leave, it was slightly funny, dramatic, but provided some interesting elements to shake up the stagnation of the office. Charles Minor is a horrible hard ass manager, and it's good to see how the corporate heads of Dunder Mifflin continue to screw up by putting him in charge. Stanley as "Productivity Czar"? Kevin as Receptionist?

I need to step away from the computer...Reminder to self: This is all pretend. These people don't exist. There is always 30 Rock. Tracy can fly to the moon..."The Beeper King" will always come back to haunt Liz Lemon...Jenna is a needy actress with father issues...Kenneth sees everyone like Muppets..
And Jack...pukes like a kid again. There is something to look forward to....

The next new episode of The Office will air on April 9th. So far, the network has scheduled two new episodes for that night, but I suspect that's an error. The next one is entitled "Dream Team" (which sets up the scary Ryan, Jan, Prince Family scenario in my head), and the following is "Michael Scott Paper Company".

How I miss the days of Jim and Pam longing for each other, but thank goodness we get to see Lemon in old sex line commercials and Lutz...dear stupid Lutz...laughing so much he's "Lizzing."

One Week Later...(Written on April 1st)

Ok...more thoughts on Pam, now that I've had a week to think about it. This show isn't quite what it used to be, but perhaps the writers have a more intricate psychological bent to why Pam went with Michael. Here's something I wrote on TelevisionWithoutPity, and then took off to put on here (because people ignored it, and I'd rather it be ignored here than on a site where people beat things to death more than that I).

I've been befuddled by Pam's decision to leave DM just because several years of bad days culminated into a final wrestling match with the new copier and Michael's big speech that included a big scene. But I have to wonder what motivated Pam to up and leave after having just told Michael earlier that he needed to "think things through".

Yes, Pam has more going for her than being a receptionist. And yes, Pam wants to be an artist - so what's with all the "I want to be a Saleperson" stuff? I think we need to just table that for a while, because in the heat of that moment, Pam was probably taking a stand in not wanting to be placed in the same role in Michael's life - and in his business - even if it's all just pretend right now.

My feeling is that Pam clings to people who lash out with irrational actions and insensitivity, because she may feel they are crying out for help. Pam wants to be there to protect them. Case in point: Roy. He held her back, discouraged her from following her dreams, He didn't treat her with much respect and set her feelings aside. Yet, she stuck with him, partly due to fear of what he would do to her, or what he would do without her. Even with Jim in the sidelines, offering a better option in love and respect, urging her to be the best she can be - she clung to Roy, possibly believing in the nugget of good she felt he contained. And if you think about it - as hot as Roy is - he does seem to be a lonely guy. Pam was committed to Roy due to the years they were together, but perhaps Pam stuck with him out of sympathy, trying to help him by convincing herself she can protect him from emptiness - when she was the one getting drained.

Michael, although not brutish like Roy, contains that same neediness to Pam. He never outwardly shows her any respect. He insulted her at the Job Fair, which prompted her to look for other opportunities. Using her as the office hottie, he set her up as a fantasy past girlfriend to make Jan jealous, he always holds his personal situations above hers. As much as he tries to be the fun boss, he does berate her. With this latest turn of events, I can see how Pam may have been motivated to leave with him, because in addition to being fed up, she heard Michael cry out for help.

I think that's why she doesn't seem as sensitive to Jim as she is with Michael. Although Jim is horrible at confrontation and can be weak against someone who corners him, he is emotionally stable, incredibly supportive, and that gives Pam so much strength, that she knows he'll be fine if he's not placated with why she had to go and do this.

I think what Pam did made no sense. But judging from that "Graduate" moment at the end - she suddenly realized the same thing most of us did. What he hell did I just do? I think Pam agrees with all of us who are confused. Right now, there is no one more befuddled about Pam's decision than Pam herself.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Pam: We Get It. She's Bold. She's Brave. She's Fancy.

So after several years of being behind a receptionist desk in the sales office of a failing paper supply company, Pam takes a stand in solidarity with Michael and up and leaves...to become a salesperson at his imaginary company with no business model. It's an inspiring story of a deposed regional manager who is fulfilling a dream he's had since...before lunch that day. Yes, this is Pam's emancipation. She's leaving the receptionist desk behind to begin anew. With Michael. The Michael Scott who doesn't have a plan. The Michael Scott who thought Cirque de Soleil should have been paid employees for his party. The Michael Scott who doesn't want to be an escape goat.

So, all those years watching a sales staff while bringing home a paycheck didn't make Pam want to work her way into the position. She wanted to be an artist, so she took some classes. She wanted to check out graphic design, so she went to art school in NYC, separated herself from Jim, and flunked out - only to realize she hated graphic design. Now, after doing nothing about a sales career, she spends one day wrestling with a copier, and a suddenly she can't take it no more. A desperate plea from Michael, crawling on the floor in all his undignified glory, and she does a Jerry Maguire and leaves with him - under the condition that she's not a receptionist, but a sales person. She runs past Jim as he tries to slow her down to think it over, and Jim is suddenly all hunky dory and proud. I hope he can supplement those mortgage payments with love, because by the looks of the promo for next time, Michael seems to be taking meetings in his pajamas. Good luck, Fancy pants Pam.

Why did this have to turn in to the 'Pam Is All Fancy, Let's Focus on Pam's New Confidence' Show? We get it. She's gained her confidence. Maybe they want to show how Beesly's new gumption can make her impulsive? Nah. That would make sense. After all, this is Pam's show. We have to love her, right? When are we going to see some Jim evolution? When are we going to see her support Jim and not make silly digs about how it took him forty minutes to get into his tuxedo they day he punked Dwight. He looked pretty embarrassed. Her chuckling over his stupdity was adorable. (She could have suggested he bring an extra suit to work - she knows better). Or how about making fun of his dainty bowling fingers? Or talking about how he rewired her TiVo and she didn't get audio for a week? Wow, Pam. That passive aggressive cuteness isn't a fanciness I had hoped for you. And please, I'm not a hater, just a fan who is confused.

Michael needs help. Andy is adorable. Charles is an ego maniac. I can see why he's only there for six episodes. Giving Stanley the duty of productivity manager, and Kevin the receptionist job - good instincts there, chief. Yeah, he's not long for this Dunder world.

30 Rock kicked ass. I will always love Kenneth's muppet colored world.

TVBlogster out...until tomorrow with more thoughts.

The Office: Whither Michael? Whither Dunder Mifflin?

Will last week's resignation of Michael Scott prompt him to start Shoe-La-La, his fancy shoe store for men? Or will he strike out on his own by selling his own brand of paper? We all know how high Michael can fly, but the problem is, he tends to flap his wings in the wrong direction. He's more chicken than eagle, one who can't really soar with the eagle's nest, as he was once known to say. In tonight's episode, "Two Weeks", we'll see where the chips lay after Michael's revolt. Charles Minor has certainly shaken up the very insular Scranton branch. Not only was Michael rattled, Jim's tail is also on the line.

Michael's behavior has been frustrating lately. Party planning, Willy Wonka themed discounts and placing blame for all failings on lackey Dwight have killed my empathy for the DM Regional Manager. Yet, it makes sense in the context of the whole story. DM Scranton is in their own little universe. They are tucked away in an industrial town in Pennsylvania, in a featureless corporate park, working in one of the most mundane, unglamorous of jobs without the big guys around to watch them every minute of the day. When senior management like Jan, Ryan and now David Wallace try to assert some semblance of management, they're ineffectual in bringing the hammer down on Michael's unprofessional bull. So, for me, even though I've lost sympathy for Michael, I find his actions very interesting - almost one part of a whole sum. It's not just about Jim and Pam, Michael and David - it's the fact the whole company is swirling out of the control with bad management that has allowed Michael's behavior to fester.

If this were a healthy company, Dwight would have been fired and jailed for setting fire to the office and jamming all the doors shut as he did in "Stress Relief". He had a lot of nerve smirking in triumph to the camera last week when Jim was being watched by Charles through the window. Dwight has done a lot worse. He sets up an environment of disturbia by storing weaponry around the office. His childish super hero/sci-fi/horror fantasies and need to be the authoritarian lead to the Hannibal Lector impression during the staff CPR training. Sending out memos with rules he has no authority to enforce is another annoyance. Abandoning Phyllis out in the middle of a bad neighborhood to walk home in order to lose a few pounds was evil. What bothers me is that as much as I like to see Charles making Jim squirm (it's going to be character building), he'll be so busy breathing down Halpert's neck, he will overlook the history of Dwight's antics. But then again, Holly got called out by HR for doing her job questioning Meredith's sexual favors for discounts. The company doesn't seem to care how it gets its money - even if the women prostitute themselves to clients. So, basically, the corporate culture of Dunder Mifflin sucks.

And this is the whole point of the show. Dunder Mifflin is crumbling from within. If it were an upstanding company, Michael would have been fired a looong time ago, Dwight would be in prison and basically - you wouldn't have a show. The fact that DM chose to keep and coddle Michael, allowing his babyish behavior is the hook that allows The Office its creative license. Their foibles are exaggerated symbols the wrongs of corporate America. And as the news can attest - there is plenty amiss out there.

This season has been starkly uneven. Not much to get passionate about. Greg Daniels and Mike Schur's absence has been felt by the lack of continuity and some wandering story lines. Perhaps I'm just gullible, but I still trust the writers are leading up to something. It's a situation where you have to wait for the stories to unfold, stand back later and see the bigger picture. Will Jim be bumped to Regional Manager? Will Michael land on his feet? Look for some future shake ups. There might be a change at the reception desk. Charles might give Jim and Pam an ultimatum about couples working together. Pam could be out of a job.

As far as the addition of Charles Minor goes: I think this show just got a lot more interesting.

Tonight's episode "Two Weeks" airs on NBC at 9:00pm EST.

Movie Posters are Fun!

I love this. (Click picture to enlarge)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Can We Keep a Good Show from Dieing?

Back on March 16th, the New York Daily News had article about why Life on Mars couldn't survive on network television. It appears that no matter how critically acclaimed it may be, or how many millions of people watch the show, the demographics weren't enough. Mars appeals to 40 somethings, and despite the fact the standard demo target for prime time is 18-49 year old males, the show still doesn't satisfy advertiser's need to appeal to the youngest in the age group. It also appears viewers aren't drawn to a show if the title doesn't make sense. Life on Mars is an innocuous title. It's not easy like Chuck, or Big BANG Theory..or even The Office. After all, wouldn't a show with a subtextual David Bowie lyrical title be about the planet Mars? Do American audiences think beyond American Idol and shows about two men and a kid called Two and a Half Men? There. Simple. I don't have to wrap my brain around that title. I know immediately what it's about.

Please. We are be better than this. There is an audience that wants to think while enjoying a show such as Mars or Breaking Bad or The Office - shows that provide escapism, fantasy, with a slap of reality. Why? Because watching people struggle with their own short comings, their own failures and their own challenges, whether funny or light hearted, allows us to connect to humanity. It gives us a cushion to fall back on emotionally, where we can relate to characters who are existing in a world that tests their meddle, morals and ethics. Just like us! Give me good writing and the perfect cast, and you have magic. Breaking Bad is magic. Mad Men is magic . The Office is magic. Flight of the Conchords was magic. Life on Mars was magic.

I wonder why producers aren't shopping Mars to cable? HBO may not bring on new programming from other networks, but what about TNT or AMC? How about STARZ, a premium channel that is joining the ranks of specialty cable entities starting their own line up of original programming, trying to get on the creative map with comedies like Party Down, Head Case and dramas such as Crash? Perhaps the ratings aren't there, but these shows, if good enough, will survive as fans flock back to the show they loved and lost on the big network. With the right PR campaign, perhaps it will pick up more viewers who are off the demo charts? Why not allow the show to cultivate a cult following?

It's a shame a unique television show, successfully adapted from an UK series (although some die hards would beg to differ) such as Mars has to fold without getting another chance. Two more episodes to go, and then Sam's story ends. No Ashes to Ashes type of sequel, nothing. Instead we are fed more boring, seen-it-before television such as Castle, which sounds like a remake of the 80's detectives-in-love series Moonlighting. Hopefully, the return of the delightful Samantha Who will deaden the mediocrity for the ABC network and brighten the network landscape this spring, letting in some fresh air.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Flight of the Conchords: "It's a Rags to Rags Story"

Where to begin when we've reached the end? "Evicted", last night's season finale of Flight of the Conchords could be the final new episode ever, and probably one of the funniest.

Jemaine and Bret get thrown out by Eugene the landlord for paying rent in New Zealand currency - not US dollars - since the day they moved in. Several thousands dollars behind in back rent, they are turned out on the street, only to be rescued by Doug and Mel, whose marriage is now on shakey ground. Murray comes up with a plan to get the boys on their feet by staging an off Broadway production of their lives to bring in the dough. The problem is, Murray invited members of the consulate, who realize through the dramatics of the play, the guys are illegal aliens. They are deported back home where they resume tending sheep like the shepherds they were before they hit the big city.

Taiki Waititi, long time guest collaborator directed this one to perfection with nice shots of the boys waking up in the morning, tapping on tables, countertops, radiators and pigeons in an orchestra of daily sounds. The musical number "Petrov"is a well known to FoTC fanatics who've savored their live performances. The video was set in a beautiful, dreamy ocean with blue fabric rippling like waves as Doug and Mel played along as the singing cannibals lost at sea, who keep eating bits of Petrov (Bret) whenever he falls asleep.

Murray's play about the Conchords and their daily struggles depicted the day Bret got his head stuck in a chair, the week Jemaine sold his body, and their arrival in the USA with Dave as the Statue of Liberty, all culminating in a number with multiple bewigged red heads in suits doing what can only be surmised as the dance of the Murrays.

The lads from the "other" down under are utterly nonplus regarding their circumstance however dire it may have been. Yes, they struggled and wanted success badly, but through the bumbling ways of Murray's management, and their low resistant way of approaching opportunity, they stayed unknown and poor. As they stated in their daily meeting with Murray, "It's a rags to rags story." As bittersweet and funny as this sounds, it's precisely what Flight of the Conchords has been for the past two seasons. And what better way to find laughs and great songs by witnessing two lovable losers who have no ego, who just make music, and who just want to pick up some chicks?

Although their lower east side hipster look allowed the boys to melt into the New York scene physically, they always had a fish out of water vibe to them. New Zealand had always been firmly planted in their hearts, and their hearts were always metaphorically stitched on their sleeves. With Murray helping them like an uncle, taking mindless roll calls, taking care of their business in the New Zealand consulate, they created their own home away from home, a small hapless family that held a little slice of their far away land in the big U.S. of A. Seeing the boys back home tending to their sheep was like seeing two lovable seals who lost their way set free in their own familiar ocean. They may have returned losers, but looked like they truly belonged.

HBO has not yet ordered a season three of Flight of the Conchords, and the guys themselves want to move on and do other things. In fact, this finale had a real final feel since it brought them back home. If this is indeed the very last new Conchords series, I'll say a big fat thanks for the laughs and the music. We'll always have the DVDs to remember you by. And speaking of DVDs, knowing season one's package was rushed due to holiday deadlines, James Bobin mentioned they were going to make up for lack of content by releaseing season two's DVD's chock full of deleted scenes, bloopers and special features. Also, they are hitting the road for a concert tour of the US in April. This blogger has a ticket for Radio City Music Hall April 14th! Their show may be on hold for now, but they do live on.

Congratulations to Bret McKenzie, who married his long time girlfriend Hannah Clarke this past week. They are expecting a child soon. Source: Stuff.co.nz. He joins Jemaine in wedded bliss and Daddy-dom.

Over at WhatTheFolk.net, Sherry sent out some questions to James Bobin, who returned with an interesting discussion on the making of the show.

Friday, March 20, 2009

An Hour of Goodness: The Office and 30 Rock

Last night's episode of The Office was called "New Boss" and it was so deliciously awkward, so uncomfortable, you had to laugh because of the nerves. It was also a fascinating display of why people at Dunder Mifflin enable Michael's behavior. If you take over his fragile world of make believe, take away his toys and tell him to grow up, he turns into the kid you see throwing a tantrum at the supermarket.

As I mentioned in last week's blog on "Golden Ticket", the writers have been building a house of cards to set up a major fall for Scranton's Regional Manager. The cards finally crashed last night. Michael has been managing his office as if it's his kingdom, perfectly cast like the running sitcom or play in his mind. Jim is his confident. Pam is the damsel. Dwight is his fool. Stanley's the funny black guy. Once upon a time Holly was his queen, but corporate sent her away, which was one of the major injustices that David Wallace and corporate threw his way, another card on the upper deck of that flimsy house. Now, here comes Charles Minor, a hard edged micro-manager from corporate who is there to usurp Michael and take over his court. Well, it was the final straw. Feeling under appreciated and used on his 15th anniversary with the company, he quit. Although Michael's actions are exasperating, you can't really blame him.

Last night's episode was Jim's story as well. As much as we tend to like Jim Halpert, he's no different than Michael. He has his own kingdom, but it's not filled with magic sets, bad credit and neediness. Jim's world is sustained by pranks, smirks to the camera, and a palpable sense of being above it all. Pam is a major part of his landscape. His love for her and his desire to start a family has made him hunker down and take his job more seriously. However, pranking Dwight is his drug. It will distract him. It will sap all his productivity until a revengeful prank battle has been waged. Yet, Jim has two other vices: bad timing and an inability to handle confrontation. He wore a tux to work to snivel at Dwight's ridiculous memo about dressing classy at work on the day, unbeknown to him, the new bad ass boss was in town. He also did not stand up for himself when confronted by Charles about his job position - his very REAL job position.

Jim's job isn't imaginary. It was imaginary when Dwight pretended he was Assistant Regional Manager a few seasons back. Yet, Jim was officially promoted into the ARM position by Jan Levinson in season two "Branch Closing", and it was also mentioned in a conference call in "The Merger". Jim is the official number two manager. Why he said it was an made up job, I'll never know. It's unclear if the writers did this deliberately to show how Charles' intimidating discourse can turn the confident, cool Halpert into the same ineffectual weakling he was when facing Karen in Utica a few seasons back, making a verbal faux pas that would leave someone with the wrong information and impression, or if this is just bad continuity on the writer's part. If the former is the case, then it's an interesting look into Jim's Achilles heel, with potential for evolution. If it's the latter, then Executive Producers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur have to curtail their double duty on Amy Poehler's show and start tending to the original mother ship because the writer's are not being fact checked. However, kudos for the jokes. The "two way petting zoo" where you pet an animal and he pets you back - was genius.

I loved how Kelly was into the really sexy Charles Minor because she thinks she can nab any guy in town, but I could have done without Angela's flirting. We've seen enough of her being in heat for one season. Let's leave that to her cats.

I'm going to enjoy seeing Charles wreck some havoc on the show for the next six episodes. Idris Elba is incredible as the new corporate hot shot, and having read his tweet about filming his last scene on the show a few days ago, it will be sad to see him go. Or, perhaps it will be a relief. He is one intense dude.

Next week's episode is entitled "Two Weeks" (Originally called "Two Weeks Notice"). We'll see where the wind takes Michael now that he's quit Dunder Mifflin.

Although not always as thought provoking or analytical as The Office, 30 Rock just keeps giving us laughs galore. Last night's episode "The Bubble" is the one where we got to find out what was wrong with Liz's super human handsome boyfriend Dr. Drew Baird. Come on, you knew that wasn't going to last. He's was too good to be true. She's going to end up with ditzy Dennis Duffy and you know it.

It appears that her handsome "like a cartoon pilot" boyfriend is so gorgeous that he's gotten through life being coddled by people whose knees have buckled by the brightness of his gorgeousness. His looks get him tables at restaurants. His brilliant counternence gets him out of parking tickets. He went through medical school on the basis of his gleaming smile. He's been so yes'd throughout his life, that he lives in a bubble of delusion, a happy place where good looking people can ride motorcycles even though they crash into cars, and can swing tennis rackets, but always miss the ball while looking spastic on the court. Oh Liz. There has to be someone out there who'll be your baby daddy.

Tracy Jordan lives in a planet all by himself, and Jack Donaghy knows this. When Jack told Tracy that he has so much money that he doesn't even have to work, Tracy realizes that Jack is right and leaves TGS to go record a rap album in his children's rec room. He comes back when Kenneth our lovable page, is removed from his life. And we all know that Kenneth knows that Tracy will want fried ribs and porn magazines before Tracy does.

Tina Fey wrote this episode, and I'm incredibly envious. This show has been pretty strong week by week. It also made me homesick for my old upper west side neighborhood. They filmed alongside West End Avenue with flashes of Riverside Drive on a snowy day. It makes me love this show even more - because although it's the funniest thing around - it's pure NYC...my home.

NBC has provided a two minute replay for "The Bubble":

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Life On Mars: All The Young Dudes

"Do you believe in heaven and hell?" asked Detective Crhis Skelton. "What do you think hell is like?" he continued, much to the annoyance of the stubborn Detective Ray Carling. This ongoing discussion between the two cops appears ominous in hindsight. The final scene of last night's Life on Mars came out of nowhere. Ray and Chris possibly slain at the hands of the evil Jimmy McManus, who slithered his way out of a shakedown at his bar. Are they at death's door, waiting to find out what heaven or hell is like? Or is this another surreal twist in the odd dimension of Sam Tyler's time traveling world?

Sam went undercover to crack a case as an Irish drifter, looking for work on the ship docks through mob boss Jimmy McManus, a man of Gaelic origins himself. While trying to crack the case with fists, thick Irish accents and bruised eyes, Sam met up with his past again. His former babysitter Colleen , once a major crush, and sister to Jimmy, seduces him, only to betray him. His mother returns, distraught about how her little boy Sam has been withdrawn and punchy with other kids since his father disappeared. She pleads with the Detective to talk to him, a frightening prospect for Sam. It would mean he'd have to face his younger self. He initially declines. Sam's avoided this. Whenever his childhood self comes into the picture at any time during this series, Sam cannot look at him. At least, not until last night. By speaking to himself and comforting his worries, it may have unlocked a layer of self observation that could get our hero back home.

This was a riveting episode, filled with suspense, twists and turns that could stop a heartbeat on a dime. Jason O'Mara's real wife, actress Paige Turco portrayed Colleen with the right combination of playful yet sinister intensity. Peter Greene was scary as the creepy McManus. O'Mara, an actual Irishman who supressed his brogue for a New York accent while portraying Sam, did a nice turn in switching on his Emerald Isles lilt, even exaggerating it to show that Sam is not a perfect linguistic impressionist.

The episode is building the tension for the April 1st series finale. Will Sam get home? We'll find out in two more weeks.

Thursday Night Comedy

The Office "New Boss" is on tonight. Guest starring Idris Elba. Corporate gets a new boss, Michael gets a new nemesis, Jim gets a tux and Pam smiles maniacally. (NBC 9:00pm EST)

...and on 30 Rock, Jon Hamm, I mean, Dr. Baird, gets on a motorcycle and plays tennis. (NBC 9:31pm EST). I'd tell you more if I only had the strength to click on nbc.com, which never gives you the synopsis of 30 Rock's episode of the week until AFTER it airs. Meanwhile NBC Media Village is hard to navigate. Hey, so I'm not the most informative TV blogger out there. Watch the show and find out what happens!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

New and Very Noteworthy: Better Off Ted - Premieres Tonight

ABC is bringing some fresh comedy to the table after a long fast of nothingness. Yes, they are now airing the last season of Scrubs, which was kick dropped off the NBC network, landing in ABC's backyard; however, originally produced laughers have not been plenty on the alphabet channel. Here's a start. Fresh from the ABC development world to you, Better Off Ted premieres tonight at 8:30pm EST, and it looks promising. It takes place in a development lab where the corporate structure is unforgivable and no nonsense. Michael Scott and the folks from Dunder Mifflin probably wouldn't surive long here. Much like The Office, it stars some pretty under-the-radar talent, with the most notorious being Portia de Rossi, who starred in the extremely funny, ground breaking and mournfully missed Arrested Development.

I'm not one of the lucky bloggers to get preview screeners, so I don't know any more than is in this NYTimes article, written by Alessandra Stanley, someone who undoubtedly received a sneak peak video and can fill us all in.

Here are some clips. Funny stuff. Kind of a cross between 30 Rock and Arrested Development (and yes...The Office).

Please watch this, America. Let's keep scripted television alive.

Better Off Ted airs on ABC TONIGHT 8:30am EST after Scrubs.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Away We Go...Trailer

What did John Krasinski during his summer break last year? He filmed a Sam Mendes film. At the time, it went under the working title Farlanders. Then it was called This Must Be The Place (a nice nod to a heart warming Talking Heads song). Now, the official title is Away We Go, a solid, sweet title if ever I heard one.

The film, written by Dave Eggers and his wife Vendela Vita, looks warm, funny, sentimental and worth a few dollars plunked down at the box office. It's about a couple in their thirties who are about to have their first child and decide to travel around the country to search for a place to live. It co-stars SNL's Maya Rudolph as the preggers girlfriend to her raffish boyfriend, played by Krasinski.

The film appears to transport John beyond the farcial comedies to which he's been associated. Mendes seems to have zoned in on the sensitivity and comedic timing that have made Krasinski compelling as Jim Halpert. Maya Rudolph, known more for sketch comedy and light fare, seems to take it down a notch, providing more warmth in her humor, appearing more human than cartoonish note required of her on SNL and Kath and Kim. At least that is what I've gleaned just by viewing the trailer.

This flick has a dark, indie feel to it. Krasinski always seemed better suited for independent work. Before The Office fame, he starred in indies such as Smiley Face and the very low budget, amateurish A New Wave - where he was the one shining factor in a very flawed film. Although John will most likely continue to work in those big ass Hollywood productions (he'll be in production on a Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin flick this summer), the grit of low fidelity movies feel like a comfortable fit. As for Rudolph (and to some extent - Krasinski himself - who played second fiddle to George Clooney and Robin Williams), this is her first time headlining a notable production, so it will be fun to see her step beyond the comedy box that put her on the map.

The film also stars Allison Janney, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Jeff Daniels, Catherine O'Hara and Jim "Hot Pockets" Gaffigan.

The trailer is out, using the music of the incredible Alexi Murdoch. I'm hoping his songs are used throughout this movie, and not just solely for promotional purpose.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Breaking Bad...

My Twitter partners are tweeting about King, The Amazing Race and other shows that fill the airwaves. It seems a waste when one of the greatest new dramas aired last night. Breaking Bad is mouth watering good. It's a rollercoast ride of tension and fear, mixed with humor and shock. It blows all other shows out of the water from Sunday night straight until the end of the week. Bryan Cranston is my new love. He stole my heart as the bumbling yet loving dad in Fox's Malcolm In The Middle. With all his delightful goofy historionics, I was bemused to hear of his new work on Breaking Bad. I knew the subject matter, and was confused how a talented comedic actor could tackle such a dark figure. Well, having won an Emmy and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Walter White proves that his versatility is limitless.

Cranston plays
plays the aforementioned Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher with a loving pregnant wife and a special needs son. While taking on two jobs to make ends meet, he finds out he has terminal lung cancer. Broke and knowing he'll leaving nothing behind for his loved ones, he applies his knowledge of chemical recipes and decides to cook crystal meth. Not only does he cook it, but he produces it in its purest most highly sought after form. He joins forces with Jesse, a former deadhead student, who knows how to push it.

Throughout the first series, we saw how a brilliant scientist, who was part of a Nobel Prize winning team and could have reaped the rewards of fame took the road of less resistance. We see how his choices have lead him down this path - how a brilliant man whose one bad decision (among many in his life) brings him deeper and deeper into debt, uncertainty for his family's welfare, and ultimately - to the under belly of the drug world. In the second season, we see how the dark secret he's kept from his family it beginning to unravel. His brother-in-law Hank, happens to be a DEA agent, and is starting to get suspicious.

Last night's episode was a nail biting, sweat inducing ride. In case anyone is reading and hasn't seen the episode, I"ll stay mum, but needless to say, it closed one chapter and opened another, leaving a wide open page for Walter, Jesse and their families. No doubt it will be difficult and rocky to view. Yet, this is fly by the seat of your pants fascinating television. Breaking Bad is the new Sopranos in it's harsh story telling, in it's violence and the humanity that exists between the ugly cracks. Vince Gilligan, creator and writer of Breaking Bad has taken his place alongside David Chase as a spinner of intense drama that leaves you queasy yet satisfied and clamoring for more.

Breaking Bad airs on Sunday Nights on AMC at 10:00pm. (With repeats airings throughout the week. Check your listings).

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

Stewart and Cramer Face Off

With all the hullabaloo between Jim Cramer and Jon Stewart coming to a head on Thursday night, wouldn't you know it? I fell asleep. From what I did see in my wakeful state was Jim getting railed by Jon, who had plenty of video ammunition to prove that CNBC and all it's whiney hosts have nothing on the Daily Show Staff.

Alessandra Stanley covered the story...NYTimes.com

Word is - they ran long in the taping yesterday evening. Comedy Central has the uncut version. Here's part one. To see the rest, click to Comedy Central's video site:

The Office: Golden Ticket

The movie Willy Wonka on the Chocolate Factory always creeped me out as a child. I remember seeing it during its first run in the cinema and was enthralled yet frightened of this oddly serene man with the top hat played by the strange Gene Wilder. It wasn't until I was old enough to understand the concept of dark comedy and Roald Dahl's message that I was able to sit back and enjoy the fake candy trees and the plastic looking edible grass. However, those Ompa Loompas will always give me the shivers. Strange little fellows.

That is why last night's episode of The Office, entitled "Golden Ticket" felt like an oddball, strangely exotic blend of realities, where Michael's shenanigans are finally starting to hit the fan. With Dunder Mifflin reeling to stay afloat in this current harsh economic climate, his errors and unprofessional approach, although garnering results, may be building up into a house of cards ready to crash and scatter in the weeks to come. He's already showing signs of unhappiness with corporate, his behavior is fraying CFO David Wallace's nerves, and with the push of his ill advised Willy Wonka scheme, he's fulfilling Stanley's belief (and others) that the boss is definitely a complete idiot. Add pushing Dwight to take the hit and pretend he had the bad idea is rough enough, but to try and take away the credit when the client gave Dunder Mifflin 100% of their business just adds another card to that flimsy tower. It was stupid of Dwight to agree to fall on the sword, but I'm glad he took the credit when the Golden Ticket scheme suddenly worked.

Great jokes. Loved the cold open with the knock knock and ding dong jokes. The tag completed it like a lovely bookened.

Having Kevin get advice from the love embattled (and embittered) Andy was hilarious. Getting advice from the "hot" and "perfect couple" Jim and Pam was a hoot as well. One thing - Pam has only dated Roy, Jim and the cartoon guy from season three, so I'm not sure what kind of experience she is drawing from - but this new improved Pam - the girl who always needs to be loved and has to be right - so whatever.

The Office will air a brand new episode next week at 9:00pm EST on NBC. It's entitled "New Boss". Idris Elba stars as the new hard ass VP who might put Michael's future into a tailspin. Sneak peaks on the episode have shown he's not going to take Michael's interruptions during meetings, nor will he take much of his silliness. (The following week is entitled "Two Weeks" - hinting that Michael may be submitting his notice). Seeing someone actually hand Michael's head to him on a platter will be fun...and I'm sure a little heart breaking too. After all, he's a silly, cowardly man - but his heart is in the right place.

Here's a two minute replay (Not strictly a highlights reel, just the first act):

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Office: New Cast Photos

Well it's about time! It feels like there haven't been new cast photos for The Office in what seems like forever. Thanks to Tanster's post on Officetally.com - there are cast shots-a-plenty of most of your favorite Dunder Mifflinites.

Here are some more shots:

Speaking of The Office - today is Office Thursday. New episode! "Golden Ticket" is up on deck. Michael causes some trouble when he devises a plan to place golden tickets in reams of paper for customers to redeem for discounts. Kevin gets girlfriend advice from Jim, Pam and Andy. 9:00pm Eastern/8:00pm Central

30 Rock is new in an episode called "The Funcooker". Liz can't get out of jury duty and Jack has ideas for a new project. 9:30pm Eastern/8:30pm Central.

Life On Mars Takes Flight

Life on Mars may have been canceled, but in last night's episode "Annie, Tea or Me", one of the remaining episodes to air until the conclusion of the storyline, we witnessed a prime example of why the inevitable end is such a disappointment. It was a fabulous 70's romp, filled with strange swingers, flush with all the glamor of air hostesses flirting with handsome moustacheoed pilots. It mixed in the strength of Annie's character, and her burgeoning, realistic love for Sam. We also get more of an idea that Sam is quite smitten with the cute Annie himself.

Being an ambitious female cop in a precinct filled with Archie Bunkers of all ages, shapes and sizes is not easy - especially for "No Nuts - Donuts" Annie. She's been breaking leads in many a case now - one being the recent caper with the Weather Underground. Now, she's filling in for a dead flight attendant, found in garbage pile, who has a very striking resemblence to Annie. So striking - she's a dead ringer for our favorite female cop. Using this coincidence to her benefit, she leads the undercover investigation by donning a wig, rocking a stewardess uniform and boarding a plane to crack the case. Shadowing her is a very dashing Sam, also incognito, dressed as a pilot with stripes and a porn mustache only Jason O'Mara could pull off. The low key Gene and Ray are pretend passagers, hanging back to protect their partner, setting their sights to nab a known pervert who may lead them in the direction of the murderer. They ultimately arrest the pervy guy in-flight, and the case does indeed begin to unravel, leading them to a key swapping party with swingers, eventually nailing the case thanks to Annie's bravery and tenacity. Sam's protective yet liberated views of her ambitions were touching. Quotations of David Cassidy songs aside, you can see she's getting a little soft for the handsome spaceman detective from the land of 2008. It was also nice to see cameos by Gina Gershon and Mark Lin Baker.

I loved seeing a depiction of what female police officers must have gone through during that era. Although a show such as Police Woman was hitting the airwaves at the time, and woman's liberation was undergoing a cultural explosion, some male dominated areas of expertise were still in the dark ages. Unless you filled the role of parking meter maid, women in law enforcement had a very steep uphill climb. Annie was a pioneer, and last night's show championed this element to perfection.

Thanks to the magic of YouTube, I am finally catching up on the original UK series. Better late than never.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Flight of the Conchords Find "Cool" in a Jar

It all starts with a single dollop of gloop applied liberally over the hair and styled to perfection. Then, the ladies come to your gigs, people want to know you, and sitting on the street corner with the right amount of slick to your locks make you totally, rocking hot.

So goes down-on-their-luck Bret and Jemaine. One night they are playing to an empty room, the next day, a jar of hair jell introduced to them by Murray makes them significant. The only problem is - what happens when there is no jell left? This is a story of addiction as per The Conchords - those sweet guys who remain clueless about self esteem and the ways of success.

Also, the Prime Minister of New Zealand remains in NYC with Murray and the Consulate crew, this time with a councilwoman from back home, played by Lucy Lawless, for whom the PM seems to have a very sweet crush. While in New York, he's decided to initiate a new section of Manhattan devoted to the New Zealand community. You know Chinatown and Little Italy? Say hello to "New Zealandtown" - a strip of street that is approximately less than half a block long filled with ex-patriots (namely, Bret, Jemaine and two guys who are of Maori heritage) who've started their own cultural explosion. A bus tour is as long as half a minute, with shifting in reverse for a few feet an added treat.

Meanwhile, The Conchords are under lock down in their apartment, scared to show the world their uncool, un-moused hair, angrily throwing an empty tub of hair product at each other. When Murray fails to show up with replenishment, Bret and Jemaine live in their pajamas and under covers for about a week until he gets them to come out and perform at the NZ street fair despite the lack of cool hair. Sadly, no one is interested in the goopless guys on guitar, but they live another day.

This was another funny, satisfying episode filled with all the hangdog humor and laughs as usual. "Fashion is Danger" is the key song of the episode, giving new wave music a go with Depeche Mode/Human League flair while their hair goes all Flock of Seagulls thanks to well - hair goop.

Only two more episodes left!

Russell Brand in New York City on Comedy Central

Russell Brand is a household name in Britain; however, here in the U.S. he is a curiosity. An edgy comedian with a Goth visage - he's all eye pencil, long tresses of Lord Bryon hair, tight jeans and boots, harboring a sex drive that could recharge a dead car battery, and a way with words that could slap you down in one cutting hilarious sentence. He's also known as the guy who insulted the music establishment when he hosted last year's VMA's, a choice by VH1 that was odd, if not daring. It turned out to be a disaster when Brand called Bush mentally challenged, pleaded with America to vote Obama as a member of The World, and then dissed The Jonas Brothers and all teen virgins who wear promise rings. Previous to this, Brand had only been spotted playing rocker Aldous Snow in Judd Apatow's film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and had been slightly known only as a comedian famous in Blighty. Now, he's known for stirring the pot, and for those who love him, calling out some self righteous over exposed selves.

With this amount of controversy attached to his name, Russell Brand Live in New York City aired on Comedy Central last night with a splash of vinegar, delicious revenge on haters, stories of hitting on actresses and sexual exploits that could raise the hair of any virgin promise ring wearing Jonas fan. Taped in New York's Museo del Barrio, he stomped the stage with foppish dramatic flair, like a modern day aesthete or funky pirate (take your pick), read aloud emails from people he offended, retaliated with blasting verbal zingers that hit harder than any physical blow. Brand went on to joke about his inability to learn how to surf, and his fear of riding a horse while on the set of "Sarah Marshall". He also ranted incredulously about the time he tried to chat up co-star Mila Kunis, only to find out that her boyfriend "Mac" was really Macaulay Culkin. It was all cathartic, funny and real.

There were some "blue" moments, such as his discussion on three-ways and exchange of bodily fluids that may be a little hard to take for the squeamish; yet, Brand's performance was refreshing, fun and left me wanting more. Perhaps HBO will give him a stand up special, where he can really let loose with some gritty stories, especially about his sex addiction and past drug use, as well as his recent battle with the BBC over a controversial voicemail he left on an actress's phone while hosting a radio show with local talkie Jonathan Ross.

You either love Russell or hate him. I'm on the love side of this fence. He's hilariously honest, blazingly funny and dead sexy. I can't wait to see more from him.

And a loving Hare Krishna to you too, Russ.

Here's a taste of last night's fare:

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Office Delivers Belated Valentines Gift

It was a low key night for Dunder Mifflin; however, it wasn't so diminished as to have been off the radar, nor so incredible to be off the charts. Instead, it was a nice reunion with the Dunder Mifflin-ites after weeks of repeats. There were some laughs, some heartwarming moments, and some icky situations that make The Office was it is - a funny, warm, momentarily icky show.

The cold open was pitch perfect. It never occurred to me that Pam's job could be easily replaced by a new fangled high tech phone system. However, it's occurred to her, since a wandering telephone sales guy keeps coming by to show his wares to Michael, only to have Pam tell him he's not in time and time again. Jim steps up to bat by pretending he's Michael, only to have to cover with shouts of "Heeeeeyyyy!!!" when the real Michael comes out and offers help. Michael loves silly gestures like a cat loves a shiny ball. They "Heeeeyyyy" each other until the sales guy runs away. Mission accomplished.

On to Blood Drive. Yikes. There's a blood mobile and giant needles and bandaids everywhere. Dwight has trained his veins to enlarge and his penis to retract. Lord - just one of those above mentioned "icky moments".

Pam finally got her Valentines flowers! That's because she's now engaged to a guy who, you know -- actually loves her and the ground she walks on. Michael, Dwight and Kevin - all alone on "V" day get pissed at Jim and Pam's Jamminess, so they exclude them from any reindeer games (or should I say "cupid games?") Phyllis swoops in and asks them to join her and hubby Bob Vance of Vance Refrigeration for lunch. Since Michael is scared of Bob, it wouldn't be a problem to take the entire afternoon off. It took some twisting of Jim's arm to get him to go. After all, "those mines can't sweep themselves." Oh Jim. Marry me. Ok you're marrying Pam, but I'd take your hand in marriage and play MindSweep with you forever in my head. Paul Rudd, my imaginary husband, won't mind.

Michael runs into a pretty and funny lady in the blood mobile, giving up her hemoglobin, but not without major nerves, causing her to talk incessantly and joke with him. Congratulations to Michael. He actually treats her well, makes sweet comments, and looks like a man who has genuinely learned his lessons through his relationship with Holly. (However, I kept thinking..."NO! Holly is your girlfriend, not her! Just wait - they'll write her back in for you. Give it until the season finale.") Due to lack of food and blood, Michael passes out and wakes up again, only to find that his fairy princess has departed, but not without having left her pink glove behind. In order to find her, he plans a Lonely Hearts party where every single in the hood is invited to mingle with his lonely hearted sales staff. Flyers promote the shindig - with a little note about the pink glove - hoping it will catch the eye of the talkative, nervous blood giving lady.

The party isn't exactly swinging, but it brought in good results. Kevin hooked up with a charming lady. Dwight saw a little blondie and hit on her by trying to sell her paper - only to scare her away. Michael, constantly looking at the door for his lost princess, is left alone. The sweetness is in this staff. They don't normally show him affection; yet,they kept him company while waiting for the lady who is out one pink glove. They wait until it gets too late. Sadly, his princess never showed up.

Pam and Jim have missed all this. They've been dining with the Vances, who have disappeared to have sex in the handicap bathroom. That's the other icky part. The post coital, flushed faces upon their return - Phyllis furiously drinking water. Oh Lord...Jim and Pam's face said it all.

Nice episode. Nothing spectacular. It felt like a transitional episode that will link to some heavy storyline involving Michael's future at Dunder Mifflin. However, it was gratifying to see how he's evolved emotionally with women, leaving the crazy and dysfunctional Jan Levinson behind.

I'm still waiting to see some Jim and Pam PDA.

Here's a two minute replay:

The next episode "Golden Ticket" will air Thursday,March 12th at 9:00pm EST.