Monday, December 12, 2016

The Twelve Days of Gheorghemas: Day Five

On the fifth day of Gheorghemas
Big Gheorghe gave to me

Five shows to binge watch on TV
Four Random Thoughts
Three Punk Rock Playlists 
Two Digits Throughout History 
And the debut of Mac McFis-ty

(We're spreading our wings, and the Gheorghemas cheer, this festive season. We're pleased and honored to have Shlara pen a post in celebration.)

There's a lot of great TV these days. (For example, if you and your family aren't watching black-ish on ABC, you're doing it wrong.)

And, if the Farmers Almanac is correct, we'll be getting a lot of rough weather this winter, so you'll need to hunker down and find some good teevee to pass the time. And if it's not the crappy weather you need to avoid (I'm looking at you, Mark and Danimal), then these shows are still good for a distraction from the daily grind or the shit-show that is the nightly news these days.

I'm not a critic and I don't have an English Lit course-style analysis on what makes each of these shows great. What I can tell you is that good TV = fascinating characters and complicated relationships. And these five golden Gheorghemas shows have all of that.

These cats are laugh out loud funny.
These are shows you can watch with your wife and you'll both enjoy them. And, these shows may encourage or invite you to have an interesting conversation with her. You're welcome.

Some of you watch a few of these shows and I'm sure there's at least one show on this list that you have never seen. So trust me, and try it. I have good taste--I like Desus & Mero (which you should also be watching, so set your DVRs)

UnREAL (two seasons, originally aired on Lifetime, streaming on Hulu. I hate Lifetime too--get over it.)

This is a parody of the Bachelor, created by a woman who was a producer on the real ABC show, The Bachelor. (Which is also TV gold b/c of the weekly emotional car wrecks.) The main characters in UnREAL are two power bitch women--Quinn (Constance Zimmer) + Rachel (Shiri Appleby)--and it takes you through the evil, complicated mind games they play with the "suitor" and contestants to make "great TV," while their own real lives implode. There's an OMG moment every show. And it makes you feel better about your own life and work environment, because it's not THIS rough. Fun fact: the fake Bachelor show in UnREAL is more progressive than the real Bachelor show because they had a black suitor in season two.

Bonus pick: I haven't watched it yet, but it's on my list: Real Husbands of Hollywood--it's a parody by Kevin Hart. And regardless what you think of his ubiquity, you know he makes you laugh. Also, the new season of the Bachelor starts in January and Nick is back for a fourth time--let's hope he finds love so he can stop showing up on our TVs.

Casual (two seasons, created for Hulu, streams on Hulu)

I discovered this show on a flight to LA a few months ago. Mr. Robot was a choice on the plane menu, but they only had episodes from the middle of season 2--and I wanted to start from the beginning. So, I thought--the lead guy in Casual (Tommy Dewey) played the d-bag sports agent on The Mindy Project and I liked him there, so 'why not.'  In this show, he plays a d-bag tech guy who created a dating app. It's an awkward dramatic comedy about a middle-aged brother (Dewey) and sister (Michaela Watkins) and her teenage daughter, all slogging through real life with many cringe-worthy moments that keep you watching--it's not as sharp as Louie, but it's in the same spirit. Fun fact: Tommy Dewey and I attended the same wedding of a mutual friend last year.

Bonus pick: Love, from the Judd Apatow comedy cabal. This one was created by Paul Rust and it's an awkward-charming 20-something millenial story that's much more enjoyable than GIRLS. You roll your eyes at them but don't want to throw anything at the TV, like you do when watching GIRLS.

(one season, Netflix original, streams on Netflix)

Aziz Ansari is a funny dude. And his show is excellent. And multi-cultural. It's a NYC-based show with characters that seem like real people and scenarios and settings that actually seem plausible. Watch season one now, before season two is up on Netflix in April. Fun fact: Ansari is a foodie and used to date a chef--so he name drops a lot of real NYC restaurants and Thrillist complied a list of those places.

A Chef's Life (four seasons, airs on PBS, streams on PBS)

My sister and her husband introduced me to this show. It's a docu-cooking show about Vivian, a Carolina woman who left her fancy chef life in NYC to return home to eastern NC and open a restaurant in Kinston, with her city husband and kids in tow. They are charming and the food looks delicious and it's a really soothing show--it's the opposite of all of those frenetic cooking competition/reality shows. Good fun for the whole family. 

The Americans (four seasons so far, airs on FX and streams on AmazonPrime)

OK, I've talked about this show before in Gheorghe-land. Why aren't you watching yet?? This show is AH-MAY-ZING. It's a period piece (1980s) about a couple--Phillip (Matthew Rhys) and Elizabeth Jennings (Keri Russell)--who are illegal immigrant Russian spies living as Americans in suburban Washington DC during the Cold War. Elizabeth is a bad-ass, they have many disguises and alter-egos and affairs, their favorite neighbor is an FBI agent, their teenage daughter becomes a Christian...there are too many good things to list about this show, so I'll stop now. Just watch the pilot tonight--you will be hooked. And, I realize that most of you did NOT grow up in suburban Washington DC in the 1980s like I did, so you may not have the same attachment to this show--but you will like it a lot, I promise. Fun fact: Matthew and Keri started dating in real life after a few seasons of the show and they now have a baby boy and live in Brooklyn Heights. They are spotted around the 'hood riding bikes all the time.

Happy watching, Gheorghies!


Dave said...

Ayahuasca on the test today.

i will check out unreal

mayhugh said...

I heartily second Master of None. At times the conversations seems like they are doing an intentional millennial rip-off of Seinfeld, but it is funny and covers familiar situations. Aziz's real-life parents play his parents on the show, they are used fairly sparingly but both have strong showings. The episode about Eastern Indian actors in Hollywood is an A++

For some reason when considering 'new' shows to watch, the Americans never enters my mind. We're changing that before the end of the year.

Danimal said...

I wish we had time to watch more. Upon retirement, that is what my wife and I are going to do - watch truckloads of tv. We'll exercise and travel a bit, but while watching tv.

Shlara said...

So, The Americans might not be escapism, considering recent events. But everyone still needs to start watching it. Like now. It will help you understand the evening news. And maybe you'll discover a Jennings family in your neighborhood.

rob said...

i listened to the newest desus & mero while i raked leaves yesterday. i really did laugh out loud multiple times. there's some deep cultural insight in all the hilarity, too.

rob said...

my doctor's practice just hired a new associate named dr. feely. i won't be going to him for my much-overdue physical.

Danimal said...

Who ya gonna call Dr Feely?!
He's the one that makes ya feel awlright!

zman said...

Felicity was my favorite show on the WB. Where can I stream The Americans? I agree that Master of None is fantastic.

zman said...

My old dentist was Dr. Spitz.

Danimal said...

We've got a Dr. Balldoc here. Seriously. He snips guys.

zman said...

I wrote a whole post about that. Dr. Seaman is a local urologist. He specializes in vazzy reversals, I think. He's like the Hulk Hogan of vasectomies.

Shlara said...

Amazon Prime for The Americans, Z.
Start watching tonight.

rob said...

lane kiffin takes the florida atlantic job. that seems...odd. he must realllly be tired of getting his ass chewed by saban.

Whitney said...

ORF Rock holiday rock and roll.

TR said...

Leicester City got a sweet draw in the Round of 16 for the Champions League.

Mark said...

The Kiffin to FAU thing isn't what most envisioned but there's word he wasn't coming to back to Bama either way. And while I think he's proven himself to be worthy of a higher profile job with his ability to call plays and construct offense, that's never really been a question for him. It's all the other shit that goes into being a head coach that always been an issue. Seems like he may have had to take a lower rung job in order to prove he's adequately matured.

That said, this is very low rung. By my estimation, FAU is (at best) the sixth college head coaching job in Florida. Florida is fucking loaded with good to really good head coaches now. Jimbo, Richt, McElwain, Strong, Scott Frost, Kiffin. Pretty impressive list for one state.

Mark said...

Additionally, this sets up as make or break for Kiffin's head coaching career. He could very easily flame out at FAU and it may not be much of his fault. If he does, though he's looking at being a career OC. If he's successful though, he'll have his pick of spots in 3-5 years.

Mark said...

Awful grammar by me on that last comment. Blame it on the Lane.

I'll show myself out.

rob said...

i wish i could figure out how to insert an emoji in a comment. mark deserves one. like a firepoop, or something.

TR said...

Don't blame it on me.
Don't blame it on me.
Blame it on the Lay-a-a-ane.

rob said...

got to blame it on something

Shlara said...

I love Desus + Mero

Clarence said...

The New York Times is reporting that Trump has selected Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State nominee, and that Tillerson is the "chief executive of Exxon Mobile." It's not a wireless carrier, and it's not the jalopy that tiger drove around. It's ExxonMobil, an amalgamated brand name. I will defend the media from Trump's hailstorm of paranoid lies, but I will not defend sloppy journalism!!

zman said...