Greek is gonna get me through a summer of sub par programming

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This fine specimen with exquisite taste in fake facial hair is my summer heartthrob 2009, Mr. Scott Michael Foster from ABC Family channel’s “Greek”. Never in my life could I imagine that I’d be admitting to watching ABC Family but he before my 3 loyal readers I will say that ABC Family has produced a show that is entertaining, charming, and well scripted.

The only reason I even gave “Greek” a second of my time is because of the hilarious..the incomparable Clark Duke.

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After watching him and Michael Cera on the web series, “Clark and Michael“, I am willing to watch this guy do anything on the screen. I saw the first few commercials for “Greek” 2 years ago and it looked insanely cheesy and moral driven so I put my undying love for Clark Duke on hold.

In comes the summer of 2009, lo and behold, television is crap.  I turned to my ever loyal Hulu.com and decided I was finally going to give in and I was not disappointed. Greek is a dramedy following students at the fictional Cyprus Rhodes University that partake in the school’s fraternities and sororities. Though there are well over 10 regualr characters in the cast it’s the main character that seems the most familiar. Rusty Cartwright  is an anti social virgin math geek who is a mere freshman trying to get his footing in an uber social environment. After 4 minutes of the first episode it became scarily clear. This show is essentially Judd Apatow’s funny and  ill fated “Undeclared” if you dipped it in a light coating of sugar. I really miss Undeclared.

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Binge drinking, homosexuality, balancing relationships,  and growing up are just a few of the college riddled issues the good looking but accessible cast have to deal with in the first season. Major life issues arise and are conquered with charm and ease allowing a snarky desensitized viewer like myself to empathize for the misunderstood hot guy, pretty and vapid girl, the innocent geek, the preppy douche and the funny uber Christian prototype (played to perfection by Duke). While Greek won’t be changing my life or affecting my credit score, it is definitely entertaining to watch. Lead bad boy with a heart of gold Scott Michael Foster, from the short lived yet Danger Bowie approved series “Quarterlife” is quite the yummy devilish morsel. I salivate in darkness.

When you finish watching the latest skanky VH1 reality show, after the 45th repeat of CSI,  finish up your 91st season of the Bachelor, get  on line and catch up on a series with some promise. At the very least  keep one more scripted show on the air.  Thanks be to Greek for getting me through the dog days of 2009’s crap television.

Eastbound and Down is my gravitas.

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Witness the fall from grace of baseball superstar pitcher, Kenny Powers on “Eastbound and Down”. The 2 disc DVD made it’s way to stores on June 30th and it is all that I could hope for. As one of the biggest champions of Danny McBride, I urge you to get on board because he is so worth it. I foresee a Hollywood future with McBride’s mug all over the place, with his devil may care sexiness, penchant for southern quips and eloquent comedic execution.

Now for a little background on this HBO series. The episodes are continuations of each other so they are best viewed as a long 3 hour movie, and you will not be disappointed. The dark comedy was written by Danny McBride, Ben Best and Jody Hill, the trio from the dirty south that brought us “FootFist Way”,so expect a lot of darkness and a lot of raunchy goodness.

“Kenny Powers”, beautifully played by a mulleted McBride, becomes a 19 year old superstar pitcher in baseball, years pass and time is unkind. His arrogance, ruthless behavior, and  hate filled demeanor are the nail in his coffin when he slowly begins to lose his pitching arm. After jumping from team to team he finds himself out of work, broke, drug addicted, and completely burned out. He is forced to return to his podunk hometown, where he rooms with his brother and his family. He takes a job at a local middle school as a P.E coach and runs into his former flame played by the fierce Katy Mixon. Slight problem, she is now engaged to the principal of the school and Kenny is not taking no for an answer. He trips over himself as he throws all his sexiness into the pursuit of her love.

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Over the course of the 6 “chapters” or episodes, we watch Kenny decimate all the relationships around him while the supporting cast tugs on your heart strings with their sympathetic nature and goodwill. Katy Mixon is all moxy and sass as “April”, Kenny’s former high school sweetheart. Without the supporting cast coming through with just the right amount of self respect sand sympathy,  Kenny would be an asshole surrounded by a bunch of enablers.

I think one of the best parts of the show is how unbelievably quotable each episode can be. Kenny says the absolute wrongest things to everyone he comes in contact with. Without spoilers, I can only mention his “on the reg” speech to the principal but it is improvised to perfection in the hands of McBride. He calls his portly blond nephew, “blond ambition tour” and I cried with laughter. While Eastbound is not riddled with pop culture references the little bits he throws out are fantastic.

eastbound.embedded.prod_affiliate.56Kenny will do the worst things and you will hate yourself for laughing as he blazes hate trails all around his hometown but McBride plays him with such panache and bravado that you slowly start to forgive him and his vast shortcomings. The second best part of  “Eastbound..” are the guest stars. Expect great moments from Craig Robinson and Adam Scott, but it is Will Ferrell as “Ashley Schaffer” owner of Ashley Schaffer BMW who will affect you the most. His awkward white wig and his penchant for close talking will make you chuckle and get you nervous.

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Kenny on his jetski (pictured above) should get it’s own spin off show, it’s so good. Don’t short yourself by skipping over the special features on disc 2. The gag reel and Kenny Powers motivational video are definitely among the highlights. The show has been renewed for another season but McBride has 5 films in development at the moment so there’s no telling when he’ll get the chance to sit down and write a follow up season to this HBO magnum opus. Three cheers for my favoritest guy of all time, Mr. McBride.

It’s Always “Funny” in Philadelphia

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I am irritating any person I come in  contact with about how insanely, ridiculously, gut wrenchingly hilarious “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” truly  is. Unfortunately for me, I only discovered it 2 weeks ago. After my regular season shows finished for the summer, I was left with nothing but time to start up a new batch of tv shows to get addicted to.  I bought “Eastbound and Down” and proceeded to watch all 6 episodes 5 times. Then there’s my weekly batch of “Weeds”  and “Nurse Jackie” . While these shows are amazing, there’s still something missing. So I turned my viewing hands over to the Netflix gods and their star rating system and lo and behold, Mr. Netflix tells me I will probably enjoy “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”.

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They couldn’t have been more right. This show about 3 guys and a girl who run an unsuccessful bar in Philadelphia is the funniest scripted show on television that no one watches. I know they said that about “Arrested Development “and I will be burned at the stake for saying this but fuck that, it’s my blog, this show is funnier, in MY opinion. The characters Charlie, Dee, Mac, Dennis and Frank are all self obsessed, moraslly reprehensible and nihilistic and  deeply disturbed in a humorous way, if that’s possible. It puts me in the mind of “Eastbound and Down” in the sense that they do and say whatever comes to mind without apology. A show about 5 anti-heroes who somehow get you to care about them.

The show is most often called Seinfeld on PCP, because it is a show about nothing, but I’d liken it more to a live action cartoon, like “Family Guy” or South Park”. The characters come to the verge of death quite often but in the end life is preserved for one more day. Like cartoons, the shows are all stand alone and there are only a handful of side characters that show up randomly throughout the seasons. Imagine,5 people being egotistical jackasses and  yet it never gets old. Among the topics already covered in previous seasons: abortion, gun control, welfare, terrorism, slavery, incest, pedophilia, racism, mental illness and Nazism.

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Filled to the brim with pop culture references and an amateur professional feel, I can’t help but wish I had written the whole thing. It is a scripted comedy but the actors are so amazing that it seems improvised. 5 main characters and I can’t say which is my favorite because they are all that good. If you haven’t watched this show, I understand, it’s on FX and as a cableless poor person, I had to go the netflix/torrent way to get caught up before Season 5 begins in September. If you have an alternative sense of humor then please watch this show, you will not be disappointed. We are living in the age of the anti hero and I can’t  wait to see what they’ll come up with next. I hope my nonsensical rantings have peaked your interest, or at the very least persuaded you to get on board. Rest assured I will strap myself to the front door of FX  dressed as “Nightman” if they ever decide to cancel this show.