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April 2017

5 At-Risk Shows That Definitely Deserve Another Season

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“Pitch” Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

In the next couple of months, the major networks will not only be announcing which new pilots we’ll get to see in the fall; they’ll also be announcing which currently-airing shows will get a last minute renewal. While some shows are an entirely lost cause (RIP “BrainDead,” you were too good for this world.) there are others that are at risk of cancellation but could be saved. I’ve selected my five favorites in the hopes that I can somehow “Secret” my way into getting them renewed. Here’s hoping!

 

1) “American Crime

I’ve talked before on this blog about how “American Crime” is way too good, that it almost doesn’t make sense for it to even be on ABC given it’s cable-quality writing and acting, but somehow it’s still at risk of being taken off the air after its third season ends next week. Sure, it’s not the easiest show to swallow; it’s endlessly bleak and dark, but the show’s timely story lines necessitate that! Plus, we should be making a real effort to save anything that keeps Regina King on our TVs on a weekly basis. If for nothing else, please renew it for that.

 

2) “Making History

The latest in Fox’s collection of wonderfully weird Sunday-night comedies (and not the only one to appear on this list), “Making History” deserves a second season because its take on time-travel is unique and highly entertaining. I mean, what other series would bring Paul Revere’s daughter to present day and have her try to make sense of pub trivia? No other, that’s who. That creative spark keeps me excited for what could happen next, and we’ll never get to see that if it ends up getting cancelled.

 

3) “New Girl

This one seems to have the best chance of getting renewed out of all of the shows on this list, given it’s long-running status and established fan base. However, the most recent season finale played out more like a possible series finale, and it hasn’t officially been decided on either way. While it might make sense to go out on top, we can’t possibly say goodbye to this show without seeing Winston meet his father face-to-face. Think of the stunt casting opportunities! Plus, if they go into the next season knowing for sure that it’s the last, they can really find ways to perfectly wrap up these characters and stories that we know and love.

 

4) “Son of Zorn

The second of Fox’s weird Sunday-night comedies to find its way to this list, “Son of Zorn,” deserves a renewal because it’s so gosh darn clever and it makes a seemingly impossible concept work so well. If you had told me I would love a comedy where an animated He-Man-like figure comes to the world of live action to develop a better relationship with his half-live action son, I would have said you were insane. But, you know what? I do love it. And my Dad loves it too, which is a rare accomplishment for a show to achieve. Also, much like Regina King on “American Crime”, the wonder of Tim Meadows’ Craig on “Son of Zorn” is not to be ignored.

 

5) “Pitch

While it may feel like years since “Pitch” actually aired on TV, it was an excellent addition to the fall 2016 schedule, especially for a baseball lover like myself. But it wasn’t just about the baseball of it all; the relationships and character dynamics were compelling and the way that it examined the challenges a young person faces when they suddenly become famous and successful was deeply fascinating. “Pitch” was probably one of my favorite new series of the fall 2016 season and I really hope I get to see it again. Come on, Fox, do it for me? Please?

 

So there you have it, my five shows that I hope will be saved. Some have a better chance while others have a rougher road to go. To any network execs reading this (and I’m sure there’s like, a ton): be kind when picking which shows to renew and cancel. Even if something isn’t a hit in the traditional sense, it might have dedicated viewers who would be very sad to see it go.

 

What do you think? Have any other shows you’re hoping will be saved from the cancellation axe? Still recovering from last night’s “Feud” season finale? Talk about bleak. Anyway, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

Take A Trip Back to Middle School with ‘SNL’

I know I know I know, two “SNL” sketch posts in a row? Try not to judge me too hard. This one was just too good to pass up, especially if you, like me, fondly remember attending or being a part of your school’s theatrical productions.

 

I used to always joke that I had the heart of a performer but none of the skill, and so I generally stayed away from being a part of any of the plays or musicals done in middle or high school. I did, however, have a lot of friends who appeared in school productions, so needless to say I spent a lot of time seeing them (which was both a good and bad thing).

 

The way that the characters in the above sketch hype the show vs. the way the show actually plays out is eerily accurate to my many experiences with my friends’ shows. They’d talk it up as this great production that would blow my mind and make me feel like I was seeing something on Broadway and then it would end up being the hottest of messes. Missed cues, wrong notes, periods of awkward silence while a main character tried to remember lyrics MID-SONG; I’ve seen just about everything while trying to be a supportive pal. (To my friends’ credit though, they were never the problem. And I swear I’m not just saying that because they were my friends.)

 

It wasn’t until I became a part of the pit band (yeah, I was a band geek) for my high school’s production of “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum” that I came to understand the disconnect between what they saw and what actually happened. Was our production amazing? Probably not. Were audiences “dancing in the aisles,” as many ads for Broadway musicals like to claim? I highly doubt it. But were we convinced, after weeks of work and dedication, that we were a part of something worth seeing? You better believe it. And we weren’t even really in the cast, so you can only imagine how they felt about it all.

 

“SNL” is often at its best when it taps into something that’s relatable. Sure, the topical sketches on politics and current events can be fun (although I’m starting to wonder if Alec Baldwin’s one-note impression of 45 is wearing thin), but the best moments are when they hit something that you thought only you and your friends felt or experienced. This sketch is great example of that.

 

What did you think of this sketch? Have any other favorites from the episode? Are you also grappling with the fact that you really liked that new Harry Styles song? Make your confession in the comments. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

Sit Back and Watch This ‘SNL’ Sketch About Sectionals

There’s a lot going on in the world right now. From missile strikes to Supreme Court confirmations, celebrity deaths to the fact that John Waters was on “Feud” last night, it’s often hard to keep up with it all. So don’t. At least, not for the next 4-ish minutes. Because right now you need to see Louis C.K. talk about sectional couches in the above sketch from the most recent episode of “Saturday Night Live.”

 

You see, C.K.’s character in the sketch LOVES sectionals. And really, what’s not to love? Who wouldn’t want a couch that can “bend and keep going” where most couches do not? Their majesty is on full display in the sketch, where C.K. and others share their thoughts on the perhaps misunderstood and under appreciated furniture piece.

 

…And that’s really it. You might think, “there must be something more to this sketch, some deeper meaning”? I, of course, did not write it (although I wish I did) so I can’t really say if there’s something bigger beneath the surface. From what I can tell though, it’s just about sectionals, and one man’s love of them. And that’s perfectly fine. Not everything needs to be complicated and full of levels and undiscovered depths. Sometimes you just want to step away from the stresses of the world and watch someone talk lovingly and hilariously about sectionals. And this is the sketch to make that happen.

 

So sit back, relax and watch. The rest of the world can wait, but this man and his sectionals cannot. You can thank me later.

 

What did you think of this sketch? Any other favorites from this week’s episode of SNL? Are you currently sitting on the sectional? I must know, so please share in the comments. And, before you go back to listening to “S-Town” (if you’re not listening to “S-Town” then WHAT ARE YOU DOING GO LISTEN TO IT NOW), remember…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

 

P.S. In addition to the very sad death of Don Rickles this week, Tim Pigott-Smith, a british actor I was lucky enough to see in the excellent “King Charles III” (which I wrote about on this blog), also tragically passed away. I will never forget his incredible performance. RIP.

2 Elaborate TV Theories I’m Hoping Will Pay Off

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Actual image of me explaining my elaborate theories to anyone who will listen. Screenshot by Jenn Murphy

(Spoilers and semi-spoilers for a whole bunch of shows, like “Mr. Robot,” “How to Get Away With Murder,” “This Is Us,” “Designated Survivor” and “Riverdale.” Read with caution.)

 

It seems like nearly every show on TV right now has some sort of mystery at its core that will (hopefully) be solved or at least slightly illuminated by the end of the season. As a result, everyone has their own theories on who did it/what happened/who’s dead/etc, so that if they’re correct, they can gloat and rub it in the faces of others until it’s time for the next big mystery.

 

Naturally, I’m a big fan of this practice. I love being right about things, and while I’m not always correct in my theories, I have had a few moments where I really nailed it. I called the big season 1 “Mr. Robot” reveal that the titular character wasn’t actually a real, living human being. (I did not call that it was Elliot’s dead father, but hey I got the biggest part!) I also figured out the “Wes is always the culprit in the Winter Finale” pattern on “How to Get Away With Murder,” even though I desperately didn’t want it to be true. I also figured out pretty early on that Jack and Rebecca Pearson were the parents of the other people on “This Is Us.” All of this is to say that sometimes I get it right.

 

For a lot of that it was about looking at the tiny details that might seem insignificant, like the scene in the “Mr. Robot” pilot where the Mr. Robot character is clearly ignored (or unseen, because he’s not really there!!!) by two men he approaches at a table, or the fact that there were boxes labeled with years in the 70’s in the young Pearson’s apartment. Those small details can really pay off later, and play a big role in the two elaborate theories I’m going to share here.

 

I’ve decided to write about them because if I’m right I can show this off and say “woooo look at me I’m a genius!!” and if I’m wrong we can just pretend none of this ever happened, okay? Thanks. I really appreciate it.

 

Behold, my theories!

 

Theory #1: President Kirkman’s Wife on “Designated Survivor” Is Not to Be Trusted

This one might seem a little crazy, but hear me out: it’s all about the tiny details. (In case you don’t know, “Designated Survivor” is about a the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development being left as the designated survivor aka the person who stays away from the State of the Union Address so that there will be someone left to assume the presidency if disaster strikes. Disaster obviously strikes and he has become president.) Tiny Detail #1: Alex, the newly inaugurated president’s wife, was the one who wanted him to take the Secretary of HUD job that got him to be the designated survivor in the first place. She was totally cool with moving herself and her family from New York City to Washington, D.C., pulling her kids out of school and leaving her office behind. She could just be there stereotypical supportive TV wife, oooor she knew that something was about to go down and wanted her husband to be the one to take over! Tiny Detail #2: Alex always wants to be kept in the loop on everything the president is dealing with, even things that might be considered confidential or classified. Why does she care that much? In a recent episode the president was advised to be more choosy about who he shares information with and he decided to keep his wife out. In his eyes this was probably to protect her, but she didn’t seem to pleased. Tiny Detail #3: This detail isn’t necessarily tiny, but it’s more sinister implications could be easily ignored. Amidst all of the danger and drama that has resulted from nearly everyone in government being killed in an explosion at the Capital, Alex decided that she and the kids should move out of the White House and spend their time at the secure Camp David, away from her husband and his presidential duties. Her reasoning on the show was that she wanted to protect the kids, but she also could know that something big and bad is coming and she wants to be out of town when it does. Tiny Detail #4: In the most recent episode, she casually said that her mother is Russian and doesn’t actually like Kirkman very much. This could actually be very insignificant and unimportant, but it did seem like a weird detail to add.

 

Theory #2: Ms. Grundy’s Violent Ex-Husband is the One Who Killed Jason Blossom on “Riverdale”

This one is a bit more plausible than my “Designated Survivor” theory, but I still felt like sharing it. (In case you don’t watch “Riverdale”, it’s set in the Archie comics universe and this guy, Jason Blossom, was found dead and they’re trying to figure out who killed him.) Again, it’s all about the tiny details. Tiny Detail #1: Archie and Grundy were at the lake (or river or whatever, I don’t know bodies of water) the day Jason was killed, having some very inappropriate teacher-student relations. This isn’t so tiny, as it played a big part in early episodes of the show, but it leads into my other details, so just accept it. Tiny Detail #2: Grundy reveals that she isn’t actually named Grundy; she assumed a new identity to escape her abusive ex-husband. While this detail was used in the show to explain why she wasn’t who she said she was, it could still play a role later in the series, as evidenced by… Tiny Detail #3: At one point, Grundy said that Archie and Jason look a lot alike. They’re not exactly twins, but they’re both redheads, and in a world where a redhead isn’t a common occurrence, it might be easy to get the two mixed up from a distance, which is what Grundy’s ex-husband did when he saw her and Archie by the lake. He became enraged and then happened upon Jason, who was trying to get across the lake to start over, and killed him, thinking it was Archie. See? It all checks out.

 

So them’s the facts, at least as I see ’em. If I end up being correct about at least one it’ll be awesome; if I’m somehow correct about both, it’ll be amazing. We’ll all have to stay tuned to find out!

 

What do you think? Have your own elaborate TV show theories? Think I need to take a break from all this TV watching and maybe go outside or something? Give me a good reason in the comments, and I’ll take it into consideration. And, as always…

 

Stay classy.

Jenn

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