Wednesday, January 10, 2007


With the DVR in overdrive due to the fact that it’s virtually impossible to watch anything on TV live with a two-week old in the house, I thought I’d go off the board and recap the shows that have been honored with the “Record All Episodes on this Channel at any Time” tag:

The Office
The absolute gold standard for shows currently on TV. Every episode I go in with high expectations, and haven’t been disappointed yet. Not since the heyday of “Seinfeld” has a show been so well written and so good at capturing the minutiae of daily life. If you don’t know a Michael Scott, Dwight K. Schrute, or Kevin (who, oddly, may be my favorite), you’ve never worked in Corporate America. “The Dundies” from last season has remained on the DVR…it’s that good.
You down with the Dundies?
Yeah, you know me.

The only show that rivals “The Office” is…“The Office”. That is, the BBC version, which is more outlandish, has an even more ridiculous boss, and has an even more outrageous “oddball”. BBC America has a standing order to record the show at any and all times and, while I can understand about ½ of the dialogue and jokes, enjoy it thoroughly. It’s rarely on, but it’s like a Christmas present when the DVR picks up a random episode on a Wednesday morning.

English Premier Fan Zone
Speaking of British shows that are mainly unintelligible gibberish, this show on Fox Sports Soccer (which I had no idea was even in our package until I stumbled upon this gem) turns the concept of watching sporting events on TV on its collective ear.

The concept is that the “Game of the Week” is broadcast without a play-by-play or color man. In their place are two fans in the booth, one representing each team. And not celebrity fans or ex-players (as far as I can tell), it seems to be just guys they pull out of the stands.

If you can imagine, it’s high comedy to hear two Brits openly cheering for their team and ripping on the other team and the other guy in the booth. To wit, the Manchester United-Newcastle United game featured this exchange:
NU fan: “(Wayne) Rooney looks pretty slow today…too many pints last night, Waynie?”
MU fan: “Rooney Boy hung-over, or drunk, is better than anyone on Newcastle.”
NU fan: (long pause) “Well, I still think he’s nursing one.”

These guys are talking about if the star player in the EPL is hung-over in a game! This is like an ESPN conversation centering on whether Jason HGHiambi (better example than Jeter) had too many Jack and Cokes at the Rainbow Room.

And comments like that are just the tip of the iceberg. The same game featured the Newcastle fan just screaming “C’MON…C’MON” whenever Newcastle had possession and the Manchester fan sounding like he was just sitting in the booth chain-smoking and slamming pints. They call their own players, “wankers” and just rip on each other’s cities, families, and hygiene…whatever.
From the comments that I can understand, it’s hilarious. It’s a fantastic concept and one that should have some legs.

My Boys
A surprisingly good original show on TBS (no idea when it’s on) that is genius in the fact that it portrays a group of guys (and one girl) who live in Chicago. The genius lies in the representation of the guys’ lives and the fact that everyone in their late 20’s and early 30’s know THESE guys.

They go out every night, spend every waking moment with each other – examining each other’s love lives, jobs, and minor decisions. They’re experts on everyone’s lives…except their own. They go out “to meet girls”, but all they really want is to hang out with each other and party.

The guys I know live in Charlotte and are constantly out, making late-night phone calls to their married friends at 4AM every weekend, going through “phases” to meet ladies.
What phases? Let’s say this – we all went to Vegas for March Madness a few years back when these guys were in their “Clubbing Phase”, when they all wore tight shirts, black pants, and dress shoes. As we made our way to our SkyBox in Rain at the Palms, I was mocked for wearing a polo shirt, jeans, and tennis shoes. Needless to say, on our way to working up a $3K bar tab (don’t ask), they didn’t meet any girls and ended up at the roulette table at noon the next day, sucking down Vodka Cokes (don’t ask) with the “Swedish equivalent of Tom Jones” (ask away).

Anyway, the show captures that jocularity and camaraderie among guys in the transitional phase of their lives very accurately and cleverly. The actress being oddly hot makes it even better.

How I Met Your Mother
This show makes the list because the main character is from Cleveland, living in NY. The first show I saw had him in Yankee Stadium, wearing a Tribe uni, cheering on the Erie Warriors.

As if that isn’t enough, the show is pretty funny; then, there’s the clincher…Bob Saget is the narrator (a la Wonder Years retrospective) telling the story to his kids at some point in the future.

If a Tribe uni and Saget aren’t enough for you, you’re past the point of help.

30 Rock
The only thing that makes this spotty and uneven comedy worth watching is Alec Baldwin simply being Alec Baldwin. Baldwin plays himself, or at least what you would expect Alec Baldwin to act like. His smarmy, sly, subtle delivery is spot-on and couldn’t be more entertaining.

The rest of the show…not so great, but Alec Baldwin – fantastic.

Arrested Development
Thanks to a Christmas Gift of Season 2 & 3, I no longer have to rely on G4TV (whatever that is) for reruns of one of the greatest shows ever made. If you enjoy the other shows on this list and have never seen AD, rent the DVD’s. It’s incredible.

Otherwise, like GOB, you will have made a huge mistake.

STO Offerings
In the past week, I have seen Ted Ginn, Jr. playing QB for Glenville in 2003 (incredibly), Jeremy Sowers using the word “exceptional” 4 times in an interview, an Indians’ game from 1987 in Fenway (Joe Carter hit 3 HR), an introductory piece on Tony Sipp, and the 1996 Indians clinching the AL Central pennant against the ChiSox.

You just can’t beat that.

The 1996 game was especially interesting to see all of the players look all “puffed up” without anyone wearing pirate shirts. The Sports Guy touched on this in his last column addressing Albert Belle, but these guys were HUGE. Take a look at the AL Leaders in 1996, where AB is pretty prominent. Not exactly a pack of Boy Scouts that Belle is among in the power categories. Unfortunately, you have to sit there and wonder, watching that team play, who was legitimately that good and who was aided by Ripped Fuel or whichever of the 31 Flavors was popular that day.

I’d be interested to hear if we’re missing anything as I always appreciate a 30 to 60 minute diversion while holding a sleeping infant. I’ve been told that “Man vs. Wild” on Discovery is something to see and that “Heroes” is good, though it may be too late to get involved.

And don’t give me your “Ghost Whisperer”, “Desperate Housewives”, and “Las Vegas” type shows, because hot leading ladies only hold the attention for so long
Finally, hearty congratulations go out to the Baltimoran and the Baltimorette on adding a little girl to their brood earlier today.


Cy Slapnicka said...

wow, i forgot what a season nagy had in 1996 and 1992.

I assume everyone has heard Mulder stayed in St.L

Paul Cousineau said...

How about the fact that Nagy made $38M over his career.

Interesting, also, to compare Nagy and Westbrook at similar points in their career. Nagy had about 4 more good years after age 28 (Westbrook's age), then fell completely off the map.

Forget about Mahk Moda!

t-bone said...

well, as i debate whether or not to stay up or just go to bed as the lebrons are down 20+ at half...

my christmas present to myself was arrested development seasons 1-3. one of my buddies alerted me to it being some deal of the day, all 3 seasons for $32, no shipping. merry christmas to me. i caught onto it mid-season 2, and hadnt seen the early stuff. not only is it one of my favorite shows ever, but the fact that a few years ago i came back into the family business, home building, makes it even better.

office & 30 rock, big fan of both. both on tape all. same with how i met your mother, but that just happened in the past couple months. lot of catching up to do.

EP fan zone - just set to tape it. ironically enough, the game that is on overnight is randy lerner's team.

my boys - sounds like good stuff. our posse is about 3 or 4 years removed from that. we even talk about it at the ripe old age of 29, how our group hit our peak of nonsense a few years ago. we all may be dead if we had continued on the pace we were going...

STO - taped a few things recently but havent had time to watch.

i was told to watch "it's always sunny in philadelphia", so i taped a mess of them, havent touched it yet. same with studio 60 on the sunset strip.

i've stayed with ER thru the years.

another tape all for me is miami ink on TLC. i dont have any tatoos, will never get any, but love the show. cant say the same about inked on A&E.

on bill simmons suggestion, i started taping the wire, that just started on BET wednesday, so i have episodes 1-3 to watch over the weekend. we'll see how that goes. i honestly have no idea what the show is even about, and if it blows i will send him hate mail for talking about it so much.

i also just this week started taping conan nightly, but only having it keep the past 3 nights of shows.

also, since i started writing this the second half started and the suns are now up 31. nash may set the single-game assist record tonight.

one last tidbit is my tape all was also set for the monday night tribe show (even though it was fluff and contained tribe employees). well as it turned into the browns show, didnt make it more than a few weeks until i couldnt take it anymore and too that record all off.

why i shared all of this with you, i do not know. i do know that i will not watch this cavs contest anymore as they're now down 91-59 going into the 4th.

t-bone said...

i forgot about my favorite show. jack is back sunday night!

war bauer power!


Paul Cousineau said...

"Always Sunny in Philly" is definitely worth watching. Very random stuff, but good for a couple of laugh-out-louds a show.

Thanks for the reminder on "The Wire". I forgot that BET was starting it. I'm also going purely on Simmons' recommendation, so we'll see. Season 4 is available on HBO On Demand, but like George Costanza watching "Home Alone 2", I fear I'll be lost without some background.

"24" is an absolute given and I've developed a philosophy that I start watching at 9:20, while DVRing. It allows you to fast-forward through commercials and see the ending in real time. Yes, this is actually what I my wife's dismay.

"Miami Ink" is one I'll have to catch.

Cy Slapnicka said...

denial ain't just a river in egypt. you can talk about TV all you want, but mulder still didn't swamp out his bird lid for a wahoo one.

speaking of taping shows though, i found a channel that played a full day of warren miller ski movies. quite a treat. also, if you haven't seen it, record the boss on storytellers...amazing. storytellers in HD with bruce is phenominal.

Paul Cousineau said...

Are you really that upset about Mulder?

With the $ that was rumored, it seemed like a HUGE risk for a guy coming off of rotator cuff surgery, and a very un-Shapiro like deal as the numbers escalated.

Unless Lonnie Soloff has some sort of Mr. Miyagi-like hands, there's only so much risk to assume.

Mulder, to me, was insurance that one of the pitchers currently in the rotation gets hurt or is ineffective AND Carmona/Miller are incapable of replacing them. And he wouldn't even be available until June.

Mark Mulder, circa 2003, is worth that kind of scratch. Today, it would make me very nervous.

Mark Mulder was a luxury, not a necessity.

t-bone said...

all 3 wire episodes are on saturday back to back to back i think. then it's on thursdays.

Baltimoran said...

the wife got me first 2 seasons of the wire for christmas and i'd agree with the sports guy whole heartedly...and its cool seeing that they actually film in b-more, and give a reaccuring role to b-more's former police chief who spent time in federal prison after drastically reducing the crime rate but being nailed by politics, overzealous media, and a dickhead procescuter looking to make headlines...his name is Ed Norris and he now bashes the mayor (now govenor) on his daily radio show.

i watched the cavs game at the hospital last night with my one day old love nugget, and even she couldn't believe that Brown gives minutes to a point guard who can't shoot, penetrate, or create shots for his teammates; she did like drew gooden's hairstyle though.

Paul Cousineau said...

Season 4 of "The Wire" just completed and it focused on the Baltimore school system...not that I saw it. I watched all of the HBO previews for it, but all it did was whet my appetite to start from the beginning.

The gangbangers and pregnant 13-year-olds may look familiar to the Baltimoran.

Ben said...

The Wire is fantastic.

Always Sunny is a sublime dark comedy and hilarious

I like Studio 60 a lot, but it could be better.

The Office is the best show on TV