Baseball Toaster was unplugged on February 4, 2009.
Enjoy. Remember: no spoilers from upcoming episodes. I'll check in at my usual time.
For pregame pondering: Which current Thursday shows do you like, which do you dislike, which do you ignore?
I watch Inside the UFC at 12:00. D4P, did you hear the rumor that UFC bought Pride? I am very skeptical right now.
I was hoping Randy would stay retired, but I always suspected he'd come back. I don't think he has any chance against Big Tim.
Do you listen to the Beatdown? Nick Diaz' interview was, well, memorable...
However, I've now brought him up, here, twice as many times as he's commented. So, that's a little creepy.
Hey, I watch that with my wife...
Geez, another spelling mistake. I'm losing it.
The worst is all the dumb "superhero" movies that come out every year. Movie-goers are sheep.
Just came back from seeing Pan's Labyrinth (El Laberinto del Fauno). Disturbing but yet one of the best movies I've seen in quite sometime.
The problem with Anne is that she was never as ugly as Michael thought she was. She's a decent looking gal. Plus, she wanted to learn the Bluth's secular ways.
Anyway, Mrs. D4P and I have started watching "Keeping Up Appearances" from the beginning. I had seen a handful of episodes over the years, but had never watched it intentionally.
It's a great show. Onslow cracks me up.
Are You Being Served? holds a special place in my heart.
Yeah, gotta feel sorry for Dickie
Stephen Fry + Hugh Laurie = Awesomeness.
Tracy Morgan: I'm gonna make you a mix tape. You like Phil Collins?
Alec Baldwin: I have two ears and a heart, don't I?
Carla is generally annoying. Everything has to be so dramatic. Who cares about her baby? Who cares about her post-partum depression? SCRUBS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUNNY!
Cox and Jordan's babies were enough. They didn't need to add more.
But man, what a good episode.
65/66 - There was an entire plot about medicine - Eliott's debate with Cox and J.D. over private practice and patient care.
I think Scrubs is showing its age a little bit, but I don't think it makes sense to prevent characters from growing. I wouldn't have gone the baby route with J.D., but it wouldn't have made sense for Turk and Carla to put off a baby. As for who cares about Carla's depression, well, I care about Carla, so I do. Scrubs has always had dramatic moments - always. Brendan Fraser, anyone?
I don't think the execution has been outstanding, but it's not the storylines that are at fault. We've just seen the characters' act a little too long, I think, and they're having to go farther and farther out for laughs. Stunting their growth, however, is not going to be a solution.
I still like the show, even if it's off its peak, which was high up there, and I do laugh.
For that matter, both Carla and Turk are stereotypes in a lot of ways. At least, that's my opinion. You may disagree...
And Carla and Turk are stereotypes? My jaw is dropping. How exactly is the goofy doctor and the sharp but sensitive nurse a stereotype (at least in any negative sense)? It's not as if they aren't part of their given races, but they are such individuals, so well-defined and so idiosyncratic - I just don't get it.
I'm torn about the return of "Lost;" I've kinda enjoyed not feeling like I have to spend an hour watching television on Wednesday nights.
Assuming NBC keeps the comedy block on Thursday, it is pretty set at 8 p.m. with Earl and Office. 30 Rock has probably earned a second season. The idea that NBC is going to go out of its way to keep Scrubs on the air, when it has treated the show as a second-class citizen even at its height, seems very unlikely. More likely, they'll put a new comedy there.
Of course, NBC could give up on the comedy block altogether, and follow through on their plan to mostly put unscripted fare at 8 p.m.
Let me know if this is upsetting you, and I'll stop.
Just off the top of my head (I'd have more if I re-watched every episode):
1. The shizzles, nizzles, dizzles, etc.
2. Good dancer
3. Good at basketball (though, admittedly, got dunked on by Lonnie)
4. All the "Wassup" kinda lingo
5. Horny (while white characters are horny too, minority horniness is usually portrayed differently in my opinion)
6. Religious (though not in the kind of way that really directs one's life (for example, not having sex before marriage because you think it is "wrong"), but rather in a way that makes one like gospel choirs and that makes one conveniently remember around Christmas time that Christmas should mean "something more" and that gives one the faith necessary to follow the bright light in the sky to find the pregnant girl under the tree. In my view, "white" religion is typically portrayed by the media in a way that is very different from "black" or minority religion. White religion is people like the Veals, who burn secular records, get pre-engaged, and don't kiss before marriage. White religion is televangelists and greedy hypocrites who care more about money and power than they do about God or people. White religion is overzealous and in your face, either trying to convert you or condemn your for your sins and unwillingness to repent. White religion makes people uncomfortable. Black religion, on the other hand, is cutesy. It's about gospel choirs and charismatic preachers who talk like Jesse Jackson reading Dr. Seuss or who say stuff like "Can I get an a-mennnnnnn-uh". Black religion is about people who wear colorful, Southern garb to church. Black religion seems more cultural than metaphysical. At one level, it may seem that there is more respect (or at least, less irreverence) for black religion. But I find the whole thing very patronizing)
1. The whole "Latina from the block" thing that seems to have started (??? I'm no expert) with Rosie Perez' character in "White Me Can't Jump"
2. The associated finger snaps, "No you di'int" and attitude copping
3. I still maintain the drama belongs on this list
It just seems that they've abandoned their formula way too much. Last night (if I remember correctly) there was no conflict between JD and the janitor, no verbal sparring between JD and Dr. Cox, no college buddy moments between JD and Turk, and pretty weak "JD tangent" sequences. It's not that I don't enjoy when the plot is advanced, I just wish they wouldn't focus so much on the plot elements while abandoning the comedy.
Plus, I think you're taking the religion thing way too far considering the only time it really came up was the episode you're referencing withe the pregnant teenager. Aside from that it has mostly been Turk comedically talking to God about his complaints.
I wonder if "focusing on the plot elements" and moving people forward in their lives is in anticipation of the show ending. Writers seem compelled (or do you prefer "compeled"?) to make big changes at the end of a series, including marriages, babies, people moving to different places, deaths, etc.
Regarding religion, I wasn't confining myself to Scrubs, but I do feel like some of the stereotypical religious elements have shown up there. IIRC, Dr. Cox's sister (a white Christian) was portrayed as somewhat of a pariah. Even though the episode ended happily, for most of it Dr. Cox supposedly wanted nothing to do with her because of her faith. But, IIRC, that kind of issue never came up between Cox and Turk...
It seems more acceptable to mock/ridicule/satire white people for their faith than non-white people. I suspect writers fear accusations of racism. As a result, they seemingly treat black religion with more respect. But in so doing, they seem to reduce black religion into something almost trivial and simple-minded, with more style and symbolism than substance and meaning.
Your Turk list is longer, but what it discounts is how many things Turk does that are not according to stereotype. In fact, wasn't there a whole plotline in one episode about how white Turk was? Half of your list, 1, 4 and 5, applies to J.D. just as much as Turk. J.D likes the lingo and he is horny. Similarly, there are things Turk does that are stereotypically white.
Clearly, Turk and J.D. love both their own backgrounds and other backgrounds, and they proudly take on characteristics of both.
I mean, I don't know where this discussion between us is going - and trust me, it's nothing personal - but I just don't see the value in focusing on the ways these characters are stereotypes. You'd be hard-pressed to find any people in the world that don't have a handful of characteristics associated with their race, no matter how unstereotypical they are.
In 80, you said they were stereotypes in a lot of ways. Is what you've described really "a lot", in the context of their entire characters and in the world of the show?
99 I know, most people point to the 4th or 6th seasons, but for pure comedic value I feel the 9th season is the best. Sure it was much more wacky and a bit less observational, but regardless, most of my favorite episodes are there. It should be noted that I didn't watch the show while it was aired, so I have the advantage (curse?) of evaluating each episode on its own merits and not how they affected me when they first came out.
That's consistent with what I'm saying. White Christians are portrayed as Bible-thumpers; black Christians aren't. (Some exceptions may apply). Yes, like I said, the episode ended with Cox saying that her faith wasn't what bothered him, but most of the episode focused on her Bible-thumping Christianity and his aversion to it.
Regarding JD's stereotypically "black": behavior: isn't this mostly (if not solely) a result of him copying C-Bear...?
The Carla list looks short, but the Latina from the block thing has larger ramifications than simply one point on a bulleted list.
I, too, appreciated the ending of Seinfeld. With the obvious exception of the year in prison, none of them moved, none of them had major relationship-status changes, they didn't get new jobs somewhere else, etc., they just stayed who they were. For whatever reason, it takes guts for writers to do that. There seems to be a belief that viewers want resolution at the end of a series, where resolution means change.
It would take guts for the writers of Scrubs to end the show (assuming they have time to plan out the ending, unlike "The Wonder Years", for example) with everyone still working at the hospital, single people still single, JD and Elliot not getting back together, etc., i.e., no major changes.
1. Carla's brother
2. JD's brother
3. JD's father
4. Turk's brother
5. Jordan's brother
1. Surprisingly, Jordan's sister
1. Elliot's parents
(Am I forgetting any...?)
BTW: I wonder if Elliot's brother "Barry" will ever make an appearance...
The main reason I don't see anything stereotypical about Turk and Carla is that the hip-hop culture is a pretty common act for younger people to follow these days, so even when JD is saying things like "dizzle" it doesn't seem strange because it's common slang these days for blacks and whites.
The bottom line is that you can find stereotypes in anyone you encounter, but as long as those traits don't define the person then there's no harm done. I see Turk as a career-oriented guy with immature tendencies who stands up for things he believes in. I see Carla as a hard-working, sassy straight-shooter that doesn't put up with anyone's BS. Do either of those people sound like stereotypes? If Turk was a drug-dealing misogynist and Carla was a Welfare-collecting mother of seven then I think you would have a point.
1. Carla's mother
2. Turk's brother
3. Jordan's sister
1. JD's brother
2. JD's dad
1. Carla's brother
2. Elliot's parents
As for the finale of Seinfeld, that was the single-worst episode in the series - mainly for the reasons you'd be the first to point out. It wasn't funny. But I disagree with the notion that there was no resolution. They took the characters and put them in jail - that's the opposite of leaving them in status quo. (Which, if you want, was a resolution that took guts.) And, Elaine declared that she was in love with Jerry.
Plus, Elaine never actually said she was still in love with Jerry, she got cut off before she could finish. I saw that as a tongue-in-cheek way of making fun of other shows for doing that same thing.
I can't remember much about her.
They took the characters and put them in jail - that's the opposite of leaving them in status quo
On some level, yes, but they were only in jail for a year, after which as far as we know they resumed their normal lives.
I don't think it inherently takes guts to not do resolution; I think it takes guts not to do resolution in the current environment where resolution seems to be the expectation, and where no resolution seems like a significant deviation from what is expected.
But I'll defer to the writer on this one...
While that episode in general wasn't very funny, I love how their last act of defiance is to laugh at a fat guy getting robbed and then act so non-chalant while they're on trial. Although putting them in jail is a physical resolution, there was no sudden emotional growth.
"How about you, what are you in for?"
- "Grand theft auto"
"Grand theft auto, don't steal any of my jokes"
- "You suck! I'm gonna cut you!"
"Hey, I don't come down to where you work and knock the license plate out of your hand"
Well, shoot, now you're just cheating. We're talking about what the show did, and what it did was literally slam the door on them. By bringing in so many characters from seasons past, it tied up tons of loose ends. A year later, yes, they might resume their nomal lives, but tou could just as easily speculate that Elaine and Jerry end up together.
I just think "guts" is the wrong word. It's just a choice. If you only resolve because you're afraid not to, that's one thing, but I think most TV writers, given the chance to have a wrapup, choose to do so.
Of course, there are exceptions. David Chase, I expect, is going to be one with Sopranos. But again, if he does resolve, I don't think that will make him any less courageous.
Trust me, there won't be any sudden emotional growth at the end of Scrubs. That whole show has been about emotional growth its entire journey.
I don't think their focusing less on making the show funny, either. I think they're just finding it a harder and harder challenge. These characters, while great, are also cartoons to an extent - and look at the trouble the Simpsons has had in remaining funny. That show has been off its game for roughly 10 years.
I'm not arguing that the show isn't as funny as it used to be. I just think you guys are overthinking the reasons - you make it sound like they're choosing not to be funny. It's more like this: Comedy is hard.
My favorite show right now is The Office. It's the hands-down funniest show on TV right now. But I'm amazed each week - each week - that it is as funny as the previous week, and if it's this funny three years from now, I'll be absolutely stunned. No matter what path it takes.
Although Seinfeld's last season was my least favorite, it was absolutely remarkable in how funny it was until the end.
120 - I think so.
BUT ANGELA IS GOING TO KILL ANDY!
Do not forsake him O my Angela!
You made that promise as to HR!
Do not forsake him O my Angela!
Although your steamin', she can't be dreamin'
Until she shoots Andy Bernard dead...
The essence of According to Jim's six years of laughter and tears (both of which, in the context, being metaphorical), crammed in to 90 seconds:
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