Monthly Archives: September 2009

Saturday Night Live: Megan Fox/U2

HOWARD MEGDAL: I entered the new season mildly hopeful for the opener. It was my hope that someone as physically prepossessing as Megan Fox would have some talent, and U2 is inoffensive. Alas, Fox does not have any talent to match her looks, and it was painfully obvious that SNL’ writers knew it, too. The episode was, in essence, an exercise on how not to depend on the guest star.

STEVE MURPHY: Megan Fox is attractive, but I don’t think she’s much of an actress, and I’m not a fan of U2. The only thing I’m banking on is the writers having a whole off-season to hone their skills and come up with great new stuff. Fingers crossed.

ZOË RICE: I find myself struggling to find something to write about this season’s SNL premiere broadcast. Mostly, this is because the entire show was a non-event. No skit struck me as memorable, and even the SNL F-Bomb Scandal of ’09 passed me by until I read about it. After rewinding the DVR twice, I finally noticed the entirely unremarkable slip by new cast member Jenny Slate. If SNL was trying to send me off to slumber, it worked. I was bored to sleep. Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 7 “Seven Twenty Three”

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Seriously, how have I never watched this show until this season? Last week’s episode was a tough one to follow — I expected something of a letdown, if even a small one. Not so much.

HOWARD MEGDAL: The moving parts are starting to move, but I’m not at all sure I’m impressed with the way they did in this week’s Mad Men. Of course, that is only because normally, there isn’t a single plot point or turn of phrase that doesn’t seem perfectly placed. Continue reading

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The Fall Season: Flash Forward

ZOË RICE: I am already upset at Flash Forward. More specifically, I am upset that I cannot flash forward a year to when the whole first season is on DVD and I can sit down and watch it 20 hours straight because, Oh my God what happens next. This whole waiting a week for each episode thing may present a serious problem.

TED BERG: If you read this website with any regularity, you’ve probably noticed a theme in my reviews of pilot episodes of television shows. I’m often unimpressed, but I’m normally willing to watch it at least one more time because pilot episodes are often, by nature, too caught up with character and scenario introductions to serve as an adequate representation of the show.

Then there’s Flash Forward. Continue reading

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How Worrisome Is the Philadelphia Bullpen?

DAVE TOMAR: Of the many nagging injuries which have turned the revolving door to the Phillies’ bullpen, the most troubling is Brad Lidge’s broken brain. Moments ago, Lidge suffered his 11th blown save of the season against the Florida Marlins, with the sight of another mediocre team celebrating a dramatic walk-off victory beginning to feel a lot like a chilling portent of things to come.

CHRIS PUMMER: The bottom line is that the Phillies will succeed or fail with what’s carried them to the playoffs. If the best offense in the National League keeps scoring runs and a strong rotation fronted by Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels pitches deep into games, the bullpen will be but a footnote in the run to a second-straight World Series win. Continue reading

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NL MVP: Pujols vs. Ramirez vs. Lincecum

JESSICA BADER: No pitcher has finished in the top five since 2000, and while I’m not confident that we’ll see that streak broken this year, I think it should be. Tim Lincecum is having another fantastic year. The Freak has accumulated 7.8 WAR, behind only Albert Pujols (8.3) and Chase Utley (8.0).

CHRIS PUMMER: It will be hard for anyone to wrestle the award away from Albert Pujols, who’s having maybe his finest offensive season. He’s also no slouch with the glove for a first baseman. Still, Florida’s Hanley Ramirez and Philladelphia’s Chase Utley deserve consideration.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Jessica and Chris make great points. Certainly, pitchers do deserve consideration for this award, and in ordinary seasons, Tim Lincecum could well be that top choice. I feel sorry for Hanley Ramirez, having an MVP-quality season, and especially Chase Utley, who despite being the best player on his team, will not receive an MVP award, unlike both Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard.

But Albert Pujols is a living god, and merely giving him the MVP award doesn’t do him justice. However, it will have to do. Continue reading

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In Briefs: Musical Names and Hypocrisy

TED BERG: Is anyone familiar with Mark McGrath’s work on celebrity Rock ‘N Roll Jeopardy!? He was completely dominant, and the questions weren’t even that easy. And I don’t mean like “good for a celebrity” dominant. He was like Ken Jennings dominant . . .

DAVE TOMAR: On McGrath, yes and yes. I had the same experience and revelation. I’m like, if you know who the Buzzcocks are then how come you’re Sugar Ray? Continue reading

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Corzine v. Christie

CHRIS PUMMER: Jon Corzine still lags behind Chris Christie in polls of the New Jersey governor’s race. But there are a lot of reasons embattled incumbent Corzine should be happy to be within striking distance.

HOWARD MEGDAL: I can see why the huge deficit in the polls would lead you to think Corzine is holding back. But anyone who has watched television in Philadelphia or New York can tell you- this one’s been ugly for weeks. Continue reading

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Forensics v. TV Forensics

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: Some years ago, at a birthday party for a friend who was and possibly still is an assistant United States Attorney, I got to making small talk with another guy there who told me that he was a forensic something-or-other. For reasons I can’t recall, I asked him if he knew what “forensic” means; he didn’t. I was sorely disappointed. Indeed, I might even have been aghast. And I promptly stopped talking to that guy.

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: When will law enforcement catch up with television law enforcement? Continue reading

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Copyright Law and Ellen

EMILY SAIDEL: In the community of good liberals and active artists, record labels are often demonized.The wild witchhunts to track illegal music downloads of the early aughts, led to vast humor at these corporations’ expenses. However, The Ellen DeGeneres Show is now accused of using music without the permission of the rights’ holders, namely all the major record labels. And they are rightly being sued for that abuse.

STEVE MURPHY: Musicians can’t be expected to monitor, contact and invoice everyone who uses their music. Several major organizations exist to fill this role of administrative middleman, to protect and enforce the performance rights of people who make music. On it’s face, that sounds pretty noble. Unfortunately these companies, which could better be described as collection agencies, have become so greedy and opaque that their ‘protection’ now means rabid enforcement to the point of decreasing the potential for an artist’s sales and exposure.

MATTHEW DAVID BROZIK: Two words (in Latin, even): De minimis. (As in that well known limerick about the ill-endowed lawyer. You know the one I mean.) Continue reading

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Mad Men: Week 6 Guy Walks Into An Advertising Agency

HOWARD MEGDAL: The Sopranos, like Mad Men, had tremendous episodes where little transpired, plot-wise. Then, without warning, mid-season, they’d have surprise episodes where much changed places. In the Pine Barrens episode with Christopher and Paulie, the show experienced what might have been its apex.

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Truly, writing this piece after reading Howard’s words is a tall order, as I agree with his every point on this incredibly heavy episode. With so much on which to focus, this is a difficult episode to review in any sort of comprehensive fashion, though an easy one to discuss on multiple levels. Continue reading

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