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Friday, October 31, 2008

The Best Halloween Moments on TV

Perhaps one of the most anticipated shows of a television series is that of a Halloween special. Here, sitcom writers have the ability to get really creative and play up one of the kookiest holidays of the year — without the typical cheesy or heartfelt necessities of a Christmas special.

Some series get creative – "The Simpsons," for example, created a running series through the Treehouse of Horror Halloween specials — while others throw up a few spider webs and pumpkins and call it a day.

With so many deliciously spooky — or comically bewitching — episodes to choose from, it seemed necessary for us, your beloved Channel Surfing bloggers, to name a few of our favorites.


Episode name: “The One with the Halloween Party” (Season 8 of “Friends”) – Yes, clearly I chose “Friends.” Zip it, Roz.

Air date: Nov. 1, 2001

Synopsis: It’s your typical impromptu “Friends” party – with your favorite characters and a bunch of dressed-up extras no one talks to. Monica and Phoebe pick superhero costumes Catwoman and Supergirl, respectively, while a barely preggers Rachel dresses in a strapless black dress as “a woman who spent a lot of money on a dress and wants to wear it because pretty soon, she won't be able to fit into it.” Monica dresses Chandler in a pink bunny costume and Joey arrives – sweater vest and all – as Chandler. Ross comes as doody. (OK, "Spudnik" that looks like doody.) Oh, and Sean Penn is there with balls on his chest. (That’s what she said?)

Why it ruled: The episode was classic because beyond the characters dressing up – it had very little to do with Halloween. Also, somehow a discussion is started concerning who could likely beat up who – which leads to the greatest (and by greatest I mean, wussiest) arm wrestling challenge between Ross “DoodyGellar and Chandler “Pink Bunny or No Bunny at All” Bing.


Episode Name: Korn's Groovy Pirate Ghost Mystery (Season 3 of “South Park”)

Air Date: Oct. 27, 1999

Synopsis: It’s the “South Park” version of a Scooby Doo mystery, complete with an anatomically correct Antonio Banderas blow-up doll, ghost pirates, Korn and Kyle’s dead grandmother’s corpse. Nuff said.

Why It ruled: For one, it has the members of Korn riding around in a van vaguely resembling the “mystery machine” and discussing whether it’s “ghost pirates” or “pirate ghosts.” Then the potty–mouthed third graders of South Park Elementary dig up Kyle’s decomposing grandmother to scare some fifth graders. The body disappears, leading the members of Korn and the third-graders to search for her and the pirate-ghosts/ghost-pirates in Scooby Doo fashion. No Scooby snacks included, but there is a laugh track. In short, it’s “South Park” at its finest – foul, unapologetic mockery of everything we hold sacred.


Episode name: “Tricks and Treats” (Season One of "Freaks and Geeks")

Air date: Oct. 30, 1999

Synopsis: Wanting to desperately cling to his youth – or really, just avoid reading Dostoyevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” for Lit class – Sam convinces fellow geeks, Neal and Bill, to go trick-or-treating. That they’re freshmen in high school is only the start of the real crime and punishment. Sam’s bully, Alan, tries to steal the gang’s hard-earned candy stash in a pathetic fight scene (well, pathetic for Bill as "The Bionic Woman," see above picture). Meanwhile, another desperate Weir family member – Lindsay – ditches her Halloween-happy mom to hang with her vandalism-happy friends. The trade-off leads to hurt feelings, and finally, the worst kind of trick – an egg unintentionally hurled at poor Sam’s face from big sis. (DVD extras for this episode reveal John Francis Daley took quite a few egg shots to the eye to get it perfect ... and yeah, it kinda hurt.)

Why it ruled: Funny from start to finish, “Tricks” is about being forced to grow up and face reality (Lindsay can't fit in, Sam wants to stay young, Mrs. Weir is losing her babies ....) There is also a great gag about radical hippies covering poo in chocolate and handing it out as fun size candy bars to rail against a future Reagan administration (the show took place in 1980). But in typical "Freaks" fashion, the lesson is simple: a Gort the Robot costume won’t hide the fact that life really, really sucks.


Episode name: "Aliens" (season 4 of "Perfect Strangers." Directed by Joel Zwick – who, as it turns out, is not Ed Zwick, director of "The Last Samurai," as I originally and bemusedly thought.)

Air date: Oct. 28, 1988 (Hey! That's 20 years ago! Get out of the city!)

Synopsis: After a late-night viewing of "Invasion of the Body Snatchers," Larry (Mark Linn-Baker) has a dream where his backwards Mediterranean cousin Balki (Bronson Pinchot) is actually from another planet, as revealed by a newspaper headline, "Planet Mypos discovered behind Pluto" (hey, 80s, didn't you get the memo? Pluto isn't a planet!) Balki also displays a number of special powers, such as zapping food on the stove with his finger to cook it (why bother putting it on the stove then?) and flying around the apartment almost exactly like a guy with wires down his pants. The scary comes in as Balki now seems hellbent on enslaving the human race – and not through ad nauseam repetition of lame catch phrases as usual; this time it's mind control. ooooEEEEoooo!

Why it ruled: "Perfect Strangers" was one of the few sitcoms that could revel in this kind of fantasy episode without straying too far from the show's core principles – silliness and stupidity. And if you set your bar low enough, it's still surprisingly funny ... which is more than I can say for "Friends." (Sorry, Sara.)

Here's to a spooktacular Halloween – but hopefully not spooky based on how bad this year's TV specials probably are.

-- Sara Boyd,, Malavika Jagannathan,, Thomas Rozwadowski,, and Adam Reinhard,


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Decision '08: The votes are in! Here are your candidates


The primaries have sputtered to a close, the votes have been painstakingly tallied, and the elderly poll volunteers have been sent to bed with a pat on the back and a warm glass of Metamucil.

All three races in Channel Surfing's quest to determine the Greatest TV Character of All Time were real squeakers, with a single vote determining the Republican and Democrat races, and a tie in the Independent contest. As previously decided, super delegates Malavika Jagannathan and Adam Reinhard have cast the winning ballots in that race, but then they had a thought: With the races so close, why not give you guys a chance to pick a Number Two? A vice president, shall we say. A Dick Cheney. A Dan Quayle. A Spiro Agnew. (Wow, we've had some crappy VPs, haven't we?)

Anyway, here's how it'll work. Vote for your favorite TV character from our three finalists: Murphy Brown (D), Alex P. Keaton (R), and The Fonz (I). Then vote for your SECOND favorite character (regardless of party affiliation): Homer Simpson (D), Oscar the Grouch (R), or Michael Scott (I).

To help you decide, we present to you the following clips.

Democrat Murphy Brown:

Republican Alex P. Keaton:

Independent The Fonz:

Democrat #2 Homer Simpson:

Republican #2 Oscar the Grouch:

Independent #2 Michael Scott:

Remember, feel free to mix and match parties when making your choices. Thanks again to everyone who voted, and be sure to check back when the winners are announced on Election Day, Nov. 4!

— Malavika Jagannathan,, Adam Reinhard,

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Not your typical taxi. Take a ride with "Cash Cab"

In the Hans Christian Andersen story, what tiny item did the Princess feel through a stack of mattresses?

From 1990 until they went to the Euro, the Deutsche Mark was the official currency of what country?

Reportedly, Bill Clinton used what poet's "Leaves of Grass" to woo both Hillary and Monica?

Easy questions, right? Well, try your hand at answering them in a stuffy cab with your stomach growling because dinner awaits at a New York City steakhouse.

It's the basic premise of Discovery Channel's highly-enjoyable "Cash Cab" -- my new favorite game show ever since Time Warner and LIN TV felt it necessary to strip "Jeopardy!" from local TV sets due to their well-worn Fox 11 stalemate.

Based on a British show, "Cash Cab" takes unsuspecting passengers on a joy ride (you know, one that ends with money going TO the passengers and not the grumpy big city cabbie) through New York's central business/tourist district while affable host Ben Bailey asks them general knowledge questions -- each getting harder and more profitable as the ride progresses.

Three strikes and passengers get kicked out of the cab. If they make it to their destination -- an average of 35-55 blocks, usually -- they get to keep the cash they've earned or double-down on a video-based brainteaser. Win and you're a "Cash Cab" legend. Lose and you leave with the same amount you entered. Nada.

Wrinkles include a mobile shout-out (where passengers use a cell phone to call for help) and a street shout-out (which usually results in passengers seeking a guy in a suit because they think he'll be Ivy League educated). It all whips by in a jam-packed half hour -- as both "Cash Cab" and "Cash Cab: After Dark" -- with questions moving all over the map, the majority of them at "Jeopardy"-like levels of brain strain, making for a challenging and fun viewing proposition.

It's as simple as that, though the real excitement comes from the contestants. The passengers are carefully chosen and possibly vetted beforehand, because so far, they've all been of medium or above-average intelligence. Or put it this way, no one has been bounced on three straight questions or tried to pull a gun on Bailey because they know he has cash in the front seat.

Then again, maybe the area of NYC they're pulling from means the passengers are relatively informed. Basically, it seems like anyone who bothers to crack open a book or turn on "The Daily Show" could thrive for at least a couple blocks. Average take home pay is $900 to $2,000.

Either way, some passengers show genuine surprise when the cab ceiling lights up game-show style; most are thrilled to be on their favorite game show. All get into it as the questions keep coming.

"Some people are suspicious," Bailey told MSNBC. "Some people just don’t believe me. And then other people think that it’s something I just set up myself as a joke, even after they see all the lights and everything. They look at me like, 'This guy is nuts.'"

Word must be getting around because "Cash Cab" won a Daytime Emmy for Best Game Show this year. A lot of that has to do with the simple, straightforward format, and also because Bailey is full of personality -- his Travis Bickle impersonation is hilarious every time.

There isn't much more to it than that. Get in. Close the door. Answer some questions for cash.

And the best part? The "Cash Cab" is actually a licensed taxi, which means even if you come away with nothing in the end, at least you won't have to pay the fare.

"Cash Cab" is on Discovery Channel at various times, mainly at 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. each weeknight. Check out the show's Web site here.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Baby Mama Drama

Well not really, but close enough. "Saturday Night Live" cast member Amy Poehler missed delivering her lines in this weekend's show to, er, deliver 8-pound, 1-ounce Archie Arnett.

"Amy Poehler is not here tonight because she's having a baby," Seth Meyers said Saturday at the start of the "Weekend Update" newscast parody, a spotlight he typically shares with one, Miss Poehler. "Now here are tonight's other top stories ... "

Poehler, and husband Will Arnett (of "Arrested Development"), welcomed their new son hours before the show, leaving a bit of a scramble for producers to rearrange the live show. Poehler appeared on the Thursday night edition of "Saturday Night Live" as well as for rehearsals on Friday for Saturday's performance before going into labor Saturday evening.

Poehler, who plays infamous characters on the show such as Hillary Clinton, has said she may not return after her baby arrives. In an interview with Men's Vogue magazine, Poehler said, "It's gonna be really hard — Boyz II Men hard — to say goodbye to yesterday. 'SNL' was dangerous, late-night, last-minute, and star-studded, but like any good drug, you need to know when to put it down."

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Decision '08: Last call for votes!

The clocking is winding down on the long-line-free, non-ACORN-supported voting for Channel Surfing's election of the Greatest TV Character of All Time. If you haven't cast your ballot yet (i.e., left a comment in our comments section), then not only are you missing out on your chance to crown a winner, but you're just being plain unpatriotic, man. (You obviously live in a part of "fake" TV-watching America.)

All kidding aside, the final votes are going to be tallied Tuesday, with the final candidates announced and voting on Wednesday. So vote now if you haven't (or even if you have, do it again with a fake name, like Mickey Mouse or J.B. Van Hollen) and have a say in television history.

In the case of any tie -- as exists in both the Republican and Democrat races -- super-delegates Adam Reinhard and Malavika Jagannathan will cast the deciding votes.

To vote for the Republican candidate, click here.

For Democrats, click here.

For the third parties, click here.

Check back Wednesday for the results.

-- Adam Reinhard,

Friday, October 24, 2008

Another reason "The Fonz" deserves your vote

Call it "lobbying," if you will. But I'm sticking by Milwaukee's best, Arthur Fonzarelli, as my vote for the Greatest TV Character of All-Time.

Need video proof? The 2:27 mark of Weezer's "Buddy Holly" video tells the real tale of this dancing maverick. Pat Morita would vote for him. So should you.

... but I'd also be remiss if I didn't mention this new clip of Henry Winkler unexpectedly reprising his iconic role as "The Fonz."

Ron Howard spearheaded this hilarious effort on behalf of Barack Obama, even dragging out Matlock himself, Mr. Andy Griffith, to revisit his famous turn as Sheriff Andy Taylor. It's awesome to watch all three jump back into their roles (in Howard's case, Opie AND Richie Cunningham) as if no time had passed.

Even if you're voting for John McCain, you gotta appreciate the effort. Or at least the fact that Howard isn't shy about taking his shirt off for the camera.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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'SNL' milking it for all it's worth

And I'm loving it. Here's another presidential race gem featuring the return of Will Ferrell as the most powerful man in America, er ...

Also, from a NBC user named "Palinfan08": "It nice to see the Democrats true colors bashing the first female V.P. candidate great job sends a clear message to all young girls who someday want to run for office. Good to see that American Public school education at work!"

Um, yes.


-- Sara Boyd,

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

"30 Rock" premiere on

Technically, the "30 Rock" premiere is next week, but sharp TV spies on the Internet noticed that the Season Three premiere is already streaming on

To say that Tina Fey has been in the news recently would be a bit of an understatement. Only Sarah Palin-mania could overshadow "30 Rock's" much-ballyhooed Emmy sweep (Best Comedy Series, Best Comedy Actor for Alec Baldwin and Best Comedy Actress for Fey.)

Will all that critical buzz finally equal ratings gold NBC? I gotta be honest, other than MILF Island and Jerry Seinfeld's appearance, I don't remember much of what happened during the strike shortened Season Two, which doesn't mean it bombed or anything. I just have short term memory loss.

I do know that Oprah is supposed to appear this season, though. Blergh.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


All you need is hate: TV characters that get under your skin

Channel Surfing's smiling, happy faces on the right side of this page would never, ever condone taking your aggression out on a TV character -- even one as universally despised by our blogging crew as, oh I don't know ... a certain JAN LEVINSON from "The Office."

So ... following our hatefest with "Son of a Preacher Jan" a few posts below, this lighthearted "24 TV Characters Who Just Turn You Off" photo gallery from Entertainment Weekly readers seems pretty timely.

While I can't agree with the inclusion of Miss Piggy (really? hate for a Muppet?) or Brian Hackett (don't ever disparage "Wings" in my presence), some of the listed actors/actresses/characters definitely annoy (cough, Ellen Pompeo, cough) even though I've never watched their shows.

Among the more interesting suggestions from "EW" readers:

Ross from "Friends" (David Schwimmer): "Ross is by far the TV character I have hated the most. Whiny, pathetic, almost never funny — and yet somehow still unsympathetic."

Carrie Bradshaw from "Sex and the City" (Sarah Jessica Parker): "I think Carrie Bradshaw, Meredith Grey, and Ally McBeal can all go in one jar together and be placed on an island for no one to hear from again."

House from "House" (Huge Laurie): "I hate House. If any doctor ever spoke to me or a member of my family that way, I'd punch him in the nose. He's an obnoxious creep who needs a comeuppance, and soon. Did I mention I hate him?"

Squidward from "SpongeBob SquarePants": "The one TV character I really don't like is Squidward Tentacles, from SpongeBob SquarePants. I mean, he is so egotistical, arrogant, self-centered, snobbish, and grumpy! Who would put a guy like that in a show involving a cheerful, happy guy. I even like the tiny, one-eyed evil green thing."

Dawson Leery from "Dawson's Creek": (James Van Der Beek): "Even as a 13-year-old I thought he was whiny, manipulative, and self-obsessed, especially given that every single one of his friends had a far harder life than he did. I was so disappointed when the show didn't end in his death."

Lauren Conrad from "The Hills": "It may not be a true ''TV character,'' but she tries to portray the innocent, perfect, never-at-fault girl, and it comes off holier-than-thou and shallow. Get a life, please!"

Ooh, that LC one is gonna burn Boyd up good! She'll scratch your eyes out if you come at homegirl too strong! ROWR!

So, blog readers ... care to share with us which TV character you absolutely can't stand? Can be reality TV or otherwise. We don't care. The Channel Surfing crew will chime in soon depending on whether we get another overkill appearance from Jan on tonight's "Office." There's only so much hate to spread around, you know.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Shows you're not watching that you should: "Chuck"

I'll come out and admit it -- when I first heard about the show, "Chuck," I thought it sounded like a failed attempt of "40-Year-Old Virgin" meets "The Man Who Knew Too Little" (which actually sounds pretty sweet now that I think about it.)

The one and only thing that first grabbed my attention and made me tune into the show was curly-haired adorable computer "geek" Chuck Bartowski (played by Zachary Levi). I'm a shallow TV watcher, what?

But I have to admit, I'm hooked. The show is totally goofy, cheesy and at times, filled with bad acting. But it's also entertaining and delightful. The cast is made up of a bunch of nobodies and the premise is a little far fetched, but I guarantee if you tune in, you'll get hooked just like I did.

The plot: Chuck Bartowski, a computer geek who works at the Best Buy rip off "Buy More," finds himself at the helm of becoming the nation's newest -- and most awkwardly clumsy -- top secret agent. Having roomed with then-Stanford BFF Bryce Larkin, Chuck is in the midst of Bryce's secret life as a CIA agent. Before Bryce's "presumed" death (no spoilers here!), he leaves Chuck an email message full of encrypted government secrets in the form of a photo montage that subsequently plants the data into Chuck's little noggin. Executive producer and co-creator Josh Schwartz, creative genius of "The O.C." and "Gossip Girl," tells the story of the unlikely hero who must rise to the occasion and become a quasi-secret agent to help the government through "flashes" of the secrets planted in his brain. OK, I just realized this all sounds very geeky and like the Mod Squad's worst nightmare, but I promise it works. And I should mention -- it's supposed to be funny.

The cast: Chuck Bartowski, who later adapts the much cooler sounding agent name "Charles Carmichael," is your typical video-game-playing, computer-fixing, converse-sneakers-wearing nerd you just can't help but love. He is best friends with Morgan, an even bigger geek who works with him at "Buy More," and is one of the funnier characters on the show. Chuck lives with his model-like sister Ellie and her fiance Captain Awesome, aka: Devon. Beyond his spy duties -- which mostly consist of ducking and covering while the real spies shoot at each other -- Chuck's "real job" at the Buy More also provides hilarity through their silly antics of quasi-"Office"-like shenanigans. Sarah Walker and Major John Casey work to protect Chuck and his valuable secrets. Agent Walker is disguised as a worker at an ice cream store and Major Casey as a fellow employee at Buy More. There is an undeniable sexual tension between Agent Walker and Chuck -- which typically takes on a second plot of its own throughout the show.

Why it works: "Chuck" really has everything. A will-they-won't-they love story? Check. Top secret governmental spies? Check. Guns, ninjas and stealth moves? Check. Video game references and a work setting where employees do everything but work? Check. Really, what more can you ask for? The show isn't side-splitting funny, nor is it the smartest writing ever, but for an hour every Monday, "Chuck" will definitely keep you amused. Plus, they typically leave good cliffhangers at the end of each episode, roping you in to watch the next. Geniuses!

Catch "Chuck" at 7 p.m. Mondays on NBC.

-- Sara Boyd,

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Decision '08: Third-party candidates who aren't lame

Third parties in the United States have had a dubious history. Sometimes they provide voters with well-meaning but inconsequential candidates who nevertheless supply important election issues that the two main contenders might have otherwise ignored. Sometimes they give us whackadoodles like Ross Perot. (We never did become a nation of chicken pluckers, now did we?)

But for every third-rate third-party candidate who never made it -- like Eugene Debs, Ralph Nader, or Pat Paulson -- there are success stories. For example, Theodore Roosevelt won 27% of the presidential vote in 1912 for the Bull Moose party. Reform Party candidate and “Predator” star Jesse Ventura became governor of Minnesota in 1999.

OK, maybe “success” is too strong a word.

But the third-party candidates for Channel Surfing’s contest to determine the Greatest TV Character of All Time are different. Like the best independents, they’re free thinkers who do their own thing and don’t necessarily follow the rules all the time. And there’s not a chicken plucker in the bunch.

Aaaay Party candidate: Arthur "The Fonz" Fonzarelli, "Happy Days"

As a candidate, The Fonz would never flip-flop on issues. But he may jump over them on water skis. As the coolest guy in the history of Milwaukee (take that, Daryl Stuermer), Arthur Fonzarelli was so popular on "Happy Days" that he eventually got top billing, even though he started off as a secondary character. But his lady-loving, bad-guy-pummeling, juke-box-fixing ways won the hearts of viewers, and would likely go a long way toward wooing voters as well. Fonzie, played by the now immortally bronzed Henry Winkler, was never overtly political, save for his support of Republican Dwight Eisenhower ("I like Ike. My bike likes Ike.") It was social causes that made the leather-clad hero's motor run, specifically his support of minorities and the disabled. He even had a soft spot for illegal aliens ... as long as they were named Mork.

Logical Party candidate: Mr. Spock, "Star Trek"

We realize there are no political parties in the United Federation of Planets, but even if there were, logical know-it-all Vulcan Spock would be above the partisan bickering. Although many of his principles line up on the liberal side of things – he sacrifices himself for the greater good in "Star Trek II" – it would be most illogical to tie yourself to one party and its beliefs. Spock, played with icy smooth by Leonard Nimoy, may be cool under pressure, but he knows violence is sometimes a necessary means to achieve an end. He’s a true independent who refuses to be blinded by party loyalty to make the decision he thinks is right for the society and the galaxy. Think of him as Jim Jeffords, the Senator from Vermont who switched his party affiliation and tipped the balance in the Senate. Only with pointy ears.

Fuhgeddaboutit Party candidate: Tony Soprano, "The Sopranos"

Gangster. Adulterer. Murderer. And he'd probably still get more votes than Bob Barr. His less-than-wholesome aspects notwithstanding, Tony Soprano is definitely a man used to being in charge. The de facto boss of the DiMeo crime syndicate, Tony (James Gandolfini) juggles his work associates -- a gang of tough, no-nonsense killers -- with a much more volatile group: his family. Surely the maniacs in congress would seem harmless as baby ducks compared to a cranky wife, alcoholic daughter and slacker son. What would a Tony Soprano campaign look like, you ask? Picture his campaign manager, Dr. Jennifer Melfi, gently deflecting any harsh questions from reporters with some sharp psychobabble. Or perhaps his running mate, Paulie Walnuts, making appearances at local Denny's. And the song played at every rally? Why, "Don't Stop Believing," of course.

Serenity Now! Party candidate: George Costanza, "Seinfeld"

George Costanza has no principles, so who better to represent the undecided, free-thinking masses than this bald, slow witted, neurotic New Yorker? Although George’s love of money and success (defined by luxurious bathrooms) is well documented on “Seinfeld,” he has been on unemployment, is technically the executor of dead fiancée Susan Ross’ charitable foundation and doesn’t believe in God (but has no problems converting to the Latvian Orthodox faith for a girlfriend). George (Jason Alexander) will do anything to get ahead, so he’ll easily switch sides if it suits him. He’s the independent swing vote who can’t be pinned down because no one really knows what he believes. Except in himself, of course, because it’s always the season of George.

Anti-Demonic Party candidate: Buffy Summers, "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"

The only character on our list to have saved the world from Armageddon, Buffy Summers is also one of the most positive female role models of our generation -- and not just for her ability to accessorize. Her supernatural strength and fighting skills in the service of defeating vampires and demons made her the perfect answer for every horror-movie scream queen who ever wandered down a dark alley. So she's got the women's rights thing down. But Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is no girly-girl, violence being her preferred form of communication (apart from snappy one-liners.) Yet she's fiercely anti-military, unless she happens to be dating a hunky (if boring) soldier boy. Above all, she's the epitome of independent thinking, even if she does most of that thinking with the pointy end of a stake.

That's What She Said Party candidate: Michael Scott, "The Office"

Now before you go saying, “wait a minute, are all independents just people who can’t think for themselves?” we’ll introduce you to Michael Scott. The awkward, obnoxious, self-serving boss of the Scranton-branch of Dunder Miflin really can’t think for himself, but that’s not the only reason he’s an independent. Profit margins are important, but the well being of his employees is even more important. He’s touchy-feely but out-of-touch at the same time. In his heart of hearts, Michael (Steve Carell) wants to be a Democrat, to befriend the gays and turn back the time on slavery, but he doesn’t quite have the balls to be a principled fiscally conservative Republican. So he’ll probably just vote for whomever everyone else is voting for. In fact, he’d probably devise some sort of bizarre Election Day party to get his employees to divulge their presidential choices, and then realize he never registered to vote in the first place.

There you go, our third and final primary. Voting is still open for both the Republicans (which currently sees a tie between Alex Keaton and Oscar the Grouch) and the Democrats (tied between Homer Simpson and Murphy Brown). Get your friends to vote, vote again under an assumed name, pull an ACORN and register Mickey Mouse, whatever -- just break those ties! And check back here Tuesday for the final election to determine the Greatest TV Character of All Time.

— Malavika Jagannathan,, Adam Reinhard,

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Commercial Interruption: Surefire way to end a comedy streak? Just add Jan.

Sometimes there's just too much television for one Channel Surfing blogger to handle. That's when we need a break to sit back, relax and indulge in some friendly back-and-forth (via email of course -- we don't actually like to speak to one another in person). Bloggers Sara Boyd, Malavika Jagannathan and Thomas Rozwadowski discuss "The Office" and the painful, uncomfortable "Baby Shower" episode that only leads us to one conclusion: Jan must die ... or be taken off the show if NBC's looking for a non-violent approach. Whatever.

Sara: Before we begin, yes, we do realize it's Monday and "The Office" was on Thursday -- but believe it or not, we bloggers have social lives. OK, we don't, but sometimes we get a little behind on our TV watching. There's a lot of good TV on right now, OK? Lay off.

Anyway, just close your eyes and pretend it's Friday morning. Ah, Friday morning, such an improvement from the actual Monday afternoon it currently is.

So, last night's episode (c'mon play along) of "The Office" could be considered the episode all bloggers were dreading -- a hunch that an "Office" mis-step was bound to happen. It was awkward, and not in a good way. It was painful, and not in a "Michael discussing race" funny way. It was just god-awful. Coming off a pretty successful start to the season, there's only one conclusion that can be made as to why the episode proved to be such a suckfest. The reason? Janet Levinson.

The episode had far too much Jan. And not just Jan, but crazy, new mom, singin' "Son of a Preacher Man" Jan. Everytime the woman was in a scene, I literally wanted to stab myself in the ovaries solely for being of the same gender. Jan just seems to cause a plague on the show like no other character. No matter what happens in the scene, she sucks the funny right out. Sure, Dwight helping Michael prepare for the birth through a pantsless watermelon charade was quite entertaining. But as funny as it was, it wasn't enough to counter the beast that is Jan.

Thomas, do you disagree? Were you lactating when you saw the return of Jan? Furthermore, were you as equally annoyed with the Jim and Pam path to typical couple drama?

Thomas: I'm in a weird headspace after "Baby Shower." On one hand, I only laughed twice -- Michael's golden shower reference and when he said Holly smelled like "old tomatoes and dirt." Beyond that, I thought it was horrible, even painful to watch, particularly the aforementioned "Son of a Preacher Man" routine that may have been the least funny moment in "Office" history -- yes, even worse than when Michael drove his car into a lake. It was so awful, it even had me believing that the actors on the show were just as uncomfortable while sitting through the bit.

But here's where I'm not completely ready to dismiss the episode. If it spells the end of Jan -- which would appear to be the case considering Michael a) felt incredibly betrayed by Jan locking him out of the birth and b) he asked Holly out after Jan told him to stay away from her -- then I'm fine with not laughing for an entire episode if it moves the story forward. Jan's transformation from power exec to needy sex addict to now ... just plain evil, money grubbing leech has been pretty disappointing to watch. I get that characters evolve and de-volve (in the case of Jan), but her college fund reference made it clear she was only keeping Michael in the fold for his money. That seems pretty far fetched and pathetic considering Jan's previous background as a Dunder Mifflin heavyweight. So when she told Michael not to get involved with Holly, it really came out of nowhere. She's made it clear she has no emotional feelings toward Michael. Or maybe she does based on how she tried to glue his Dundie back together during the "Dinner Party." Or maybe she doesn't based on her sadistic testimony during the deposition. Which is it? ARRRRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!

Jan's character is just pure mind control and shock value at this point. I hate it. But again, if it took her baby mama shenanigans to get Michael on a first date with Holly and write off Levinson-Gould forever, then fine, I'll accept how it went down. That said, Steve Carell did a pretty wonderful job in the scene where he's holding (ugh) Astrid. I'll give him kudos for carrying that scene with some genuine emptiness and pain.

I have a feeling MJ will offer some worthwhile comments on the Jim-Pam bore-a-thon. I still don't understand why the documentary crew is filming Pam at art school. Oh, that's right ... I'm thinking too much.

Malavika: Is it telling that I barely remember last week's episode? No, seriously, I had to look up a brief synopsis because I couldn't actually remember what happened. The only funny bits that stick with me are Dwight testing out the durability of Jan's pram and Michael thinking Astrid's name was "As-tird." Oh, and Creed's comment that Jan's tub-birth must have been like Omaha Beach was awesome, except that it made me think of the opening sequence of "Saving Private Ryan." Ick.

I don't want to sound like I'm repeating any of the criticisms made by either Sara or Tom, here, but holy crap am I tired of Jan and her worn out harpie routine. It's just not funny anymore. I don't know what the writers need to do, but they have to write her and baby Astird out as quickly as possible if they want to keep this season heading in the right direction. Who knows, maybe the characters can make a new home on "Two and a Half Men," where that kind of humor is deemed funny and Emmy-worthy.

Now I've been a defender of the Jim-Pam-coupledom since the very beginning -- yes, scoff if you must Rozwadowski -- but I'm also quickly getting tired of it. Is it just that every great couple that gets together on screen is doomed to become boring unless there's the constant threat of break-up hanging out there? It must be. I can't think of a single on-screen couple who has made it through a series if they had not been a) married, b) broken up several times or c) faced with an unexpected pregnancy. Bring Pam back to the actual office and let's get back to basics here -- a few pranks, some awkward office-bonding games and a little less gooey romance.

Thomas: I always thought it was natural to have Jim and Pam together. I just hate contrived conflict. So I must ask you ladies as a final thought: do either of you think they're moving in a direction where Jim is no longer good enough for Pam ... or he'll at least think that way about himself, what with Pam's new friends, new career, new ... everything. Maybe hearing stories about Jan singing at an office baby shower will be beneath her in the future?

Sara: I really don't think that'd be a Pam move -- to declare herself too good for Jim. The interchange between the two during their respective voicemails at the end, albeit annoying, proves they're still on the same wavelength and there's still that finishing-each-other's-sentence kind of love for each other. Plus, let's face it -- Jim really has been too good for Pam up until this point -- having an actual career, as unfulfilling as it may be, and managing to snag talent like Karen and "The Hot Girl," while Pam had Roy -- so maybe now they'll be on the same playing field.

MJ, your thoughts?

Malavika: Jim has been nothing but supportive and encouraging of Pam and her new career, but distance could put some tension into that relationship regardless of their connectivity. I think if Pam returns to Dunder Mifflin or to Scranton, at least, there's no reason to believe that Jam won't continue as the it couple. If at all there was a break-up, I don't think it would be because Pam suddenly thinks she's cooler because of her graphic design degree or her new friends.

Catch "The Office" at 8 p.m. on Thursdays on NBC.

-- Sara Boyd,, Thomas Rozwadowski,, Malavika Jagannathan,

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Sarah Palin on "SNL": Soy latte drinking liberals are afraid to admit they loved it

If current polls hold true on Nov. 4, the only person who'll be more depressed than John McCain is Lorne Michaels.

The stars couldn't have been aligned any better for "Saturday Night Live" this election season.

Tina Fey's well-traveled Sarah Palin impression has become bigger than Lazy Sunday and More Cowbell combined. Too bad that when the Barracuda goes back to Alaska with some nice political cachet in tow -- but no more elitist media 'gotcha' moments to spoof -- well, "SNL" becomes an unwatchable cycle of awfulness regurgitating the same ol' Darrell Hammond and Kenan Thompson impressions.

So even if you believe that "SNL" is simply spoofing what's already funny and downright surreal, say this about the much-maligned Alaskan Governor: she went along for the ride and delivered a memorable performance, one even her biggest detractors (yep, that includes you, Alec Baldwin) would have to admit was pretty durn tootin' hilarious.

UPDATE: In his blog on Huffington Post, Baldwin calls Palin "polite and gracious," and writes that putting her on "SNL" was a savvy move by everyone involved: "Several people decried 'SNL' for giving her a spot on the show. You're kidding, right? The woman is the Vice Presidential nominee of one of the two major parties in this country. Don't put her on 'SNL?' With all of her exposure and the Tina Fey performance? What reality are you in?"

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Decision '08: The liberal media strikes back

Sure, the entertainment industry leans liberal. That goes without saying. If it didn't, well ... there'd be a lot more Westerns on TV, for one thing. "Will & Grace" would've been about a married couple. "Sex and the City" might have been called "Waiting Until Marriage and the City." And instead of skewering Sarah Palin weekly on "Saturday Night Live," Tina Fey would be starring in a moving Lifetime biopic about her courtship with the First Dude, and the dangers of moose hunting.

So it shouldn't be surprising that the majority of lead TV protagonists often embody a more liberal point of view. But does that make them great characters? You be the judge.

Here are our picks for the Democratic TV character primary. (Voting is still open for the Republican primary, by the way. Just click here and break the current tie between Cartman and Alex P. Keaton!)

Candidate #1: Carrie Bradshaw, "Sex and the City"

Carrie Bradshaw may know good sex, but what’s her favorite position on politics? Ms. Bradshaw — who famously refused to, er, “shower” a politician-boyfriend would probably vote for the party of J.F.K because she appreciates Jackie O’s style. In this post-woman’s lib world, Carrie’s old-fashioned romanticism and political apathy don’t strike true with old-school feminists, but there’s no chance this single (now married) gal would approve of abstinence-only education. (I’m betting, though, that Mr. Big is probably a member of the Grand Olde Party). Carrie, played by Sarah Jessica Parker, probably would have been convinced by fellow liberal Miranda to vote for Hillary Clinton, but there’s no doubt she’d support the Democratic nominee. After all, she’s pro-choice, pro-rent control and pro-spending. If that isn’t the hallmark of a Dem, what is?

Candidate #2: Cliff Huxtable, "The Cosby Show"

Now we didn’t just pick our next candidate because it just so happens we have the first black presidential candidate. In many ways, Cliff Huxtable and the Huxtable clan depict a Reagan-tastic vision of nuclear family values, but the continuous theme that Cliff and Claire promote in their household is one of love and tolerance. Hippies if we ever saw 'em. First of all, Cliff’s a feminist. He’s a gynecologist/obstetrician who clearly doesn’t wear the pants in the house and he's OK with that. Although Cliff isn’t a fan of spending money — in fact, he’s notoriously stingy when his children ask for more — he pushes all his children to attend college and expects them to. Then there’s the obvious point that he participated in the 1963 March on Washington and never fails to remind his brood what his generation had to fight to attend college, vote and become equals. Cliff’s a blue-dog Democrat, a fiscal conservative whose social values lean left.

Candidate #3: Roseanne Connor, "Roseanne"

Blue collar? Check. Lower middle class? Check. Delusions of winning the lottery for an entire painful season? Unfortunately, check. Roseanne Connor and family reflected an America most people were familiar with, but had never seen presented to them on their TV screens. Two working parents, money problems, family fighting, loose-meat sandwiches — it all added up to one of the most realistic sitcoms ever produced. The Connors dealt with everyday social issues like alcoholism, teen pregnancy, domestic abuse, and never sugar-coated it. Over the course of nine seasons — eight if you don't count that surreal lottery season — Roseanne quit one job over a dispute with management, took odd jobs here and there to pay bills, and opened two small businesses. And through it all, she never lost her ability to speak her mind, making her one of the first lead female characters to be able to express herself without caring about what anyone thinks.

Candidate #4: Benjamin Franklin "Hawkeye" Pierce, "M*A*S*H"

Capt. Benjamin Franklin “Hawkeye” Pierce isn’t in the army for the food or the discipline. With his Hawaiian shirts, fondness for practical jokes and his love of moonshine gin, the boozy but good doctor from Crabapple Cove, Maine is the 4077th M*A*S*H unit’s very own anti-war peacenik. Drafted into the army medical corps, Hawkeye, played with easy-going charm by Alan Alda, has no love for chain-of-command. In fact, he writes a heartfelt letter to President Harry S. Truman (also a Democrat) complaining about the war and army bureaucracy. But he’s no morality police. Rarely does Hawkeye chide any of his married cohorts for cavorting in supply closets with the nurses — unless they happen to conflict with his own desires. Hawkeye is the independent Democrat who questions authority, deplores pointless violence and wants to peacefully (without any interference from the government or others) live his life.

Candidate #5: Murphy Brown, "Murphy Brown"

Long before she became political fodder for Republican Vice President Dan Quayle in a weird TV-meets reality world, Murphy Brown (the brilliant Candice Bergen) lovingly recalls getting maced at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The recovering alcoholic and television reporter’s love for Motown is only rivaled by her pleasure in skewering politicians on fake TV news show “FYI.” Difficult, sarcastic, troublesome and flawed, Murphy is the Mary Richards of the 1990s, if Mary had smoked a lot of pot and had a cranky muralist named Eldin living with her for almost a decade. Even without Quayle’s attack on her single momhood, Murphy’s do-it-for-the-small-guy and socially progressive attitudes on the show mark her as a hippie — er — Democrat. But it must be noted that Murphy is banned from both the Bush and the Clinton administrations — proof that reporters can be critical despite their personal political feelings.

Candidate #6: Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons"

We know what you're thinking: No way would Homer Simpson ever care about politics, let alone belong to a particular party. But we believe Homer would be a blue-stater (even if we still don't know which state he lives in) all the way, and we offer the following clip — from the series' upcoming annual Halloween episode — as evidence:

Next up: The third parties! Check back next week!

— Malavika Jagannathan,, Adam Reinhard,

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You betcha -- Sarah Palin to appear on "SNL"

Rumors have been swirling around for weeks since Tina Fey first channeled Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live" that the Republican vice presidential nominee would take on her on-screen twin.

Well, cue your DVR players tomorrow night because it's finally going to happen. That's right, Palin will appear on "SNL" -- presumably as herself -- but it's still not clear whether she and Tina Fey will face off as Sen. Hillary Clinton and Amy-Poehler-as-Clinton memorably did earlier this year.

Politicans have long made "SNL" and other late night comedy venues a campaign stop, but Palin's appearance could quite possibly be the most-watched ever, especially if both Fey and Palin show up. Fey's wickedly dead-on caricature of Palin has boosted viewership of "SNL" up 50 percent over last year. Palin's keynote address at the Republican National Convention pulled in more than 40 million viewers (I almost typed voters there... whoops).

What would you like to see tomorrow night? A Palin-Fey match-up? Fey-as-Palin meets Palin-as-Fey? Let us know.

In the meantime, watch this clip of Tina Fey playing Palin in the vice-presidential debate:

-- Malavika Jagannathan,

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Decision '08: Let's rock this vote

Voting is still open for the Republican primary of Channel Surfing's politically themed Greatest TV Chracter contest.

In the interest of saving wear and tear on your mouse's scroll wheel — and preventing any related carpal tunnel injuries — here are the candidates. Vote for your favorite by leaving a comment, and check back here tomorrow for the Democratic contenders.

Candidate #1: Alex P. Keaton, "Family Ties"
Candidate #2: Barney Fife, "The Andy Griffith Show"
Candidate #3: Archie Bunker, "All in the Family"
Candidate #4: Eric Cartman, "South Park"
Candidate #5: Oscar the Grouch, "Sesame Street"
Candidate #6: Ari Gold, "Entourage"

For the original article, with more about the contest and characters, click here.

— Adam Reinhard,


What is the deal with this "Seinfeld" flashback?

If this were Jerry Seinfeld’s first trip to Green Bay and not his third in a little more than four years, the acclaimed comedian’s arrival might be met with one of those forceful, Elaine Benes “Get OUT!” pushes that felled many a male counterpart during the ’90s.

In truth, tonight's Green Bay tour stop (Jerry likes us! He really likes us!) is still a pretty big deal around here. One of the greatest stand-up comedians of all-time, the sitcom megastar could enjoy a lavish retirement by spit-shining his massive car collection or diving into a big money pile ala Scrooge McDuck. Instead, as master of the observational comedy domain, the 54-year-old New York native enjoys returning to his humble stand-up roots every few years, primarily to talk about marriage, child rearing, and yes, the occasional “did you ever notice?” riff on cereal and superheroes.

If it seems like Seinfeld never really went away because of a recent syndication barrage, that’s only partially true. Other than a much-ballyhooed “30 Rock” guest spot last year, he hasn’t gravitated to other TV projects since his namesake show memorably signed off a decade ago. Instead, he made the media rounds during a promotional swarm for his animated feature “Bee Movie,” and more recently, paired with fellow comedy savant (ahem) Bill Gates in Microsoft ads to the tune of a reported $10 million.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

To celebrate Jerry's return to Green Bay, here's a "Seinfeld" breakdown written prior to his performance two years ago, as well as the review that followed his Weidner Center show. He'll be performing twice tonight -- at 7 and 9:30 p.m., the first of which is sold out. Look for a review of the 7 p.m. show online tomorrow and in the Press-Gazette on Saturday.


If every time a bell rings, an angel gets its wings, whenever someone re-gifts a label maker or names their baby boy Seven, Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David should get residual checks.

Whether it's glossing over a story with "yada, yada, yada," laughing at the deeper meaning behind a box of Junior Mints, or using Bosco as your PIN code, life plays out like one long "Seinfeld" episode.

But while it's been almost eight years since the series finale aired, the "excruciating minutiae" of life as regularly examined by Seinfeld, George Costanza (Jason Alexander), Elaine Benes (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and Cosmo Kramer (Michael Richards) continues to resonate with the masses in syndication and on DVD.

Named the No. 1 show of all-time by TV Guide in 2002, "Seinfeld" spawned a pop culture legacy unrivaled by any other series. So while it's virtually impossible to pick 10 moments, quotes or characters from its nine-season run on NBC, here are some of the most memorable highlights.


Man Hands

Jerry's disparaging remark about an attractive date's "meaty paws."

Quotable: "It's like a creature out of Greek Mythology. I mean, she was like part woman, part horrible beast." -- Jerry

"The Contest"

Arguably the most infamous "Seinfeld" episode of all-time. Based on an actual contest co-creator Larry David participated in, the writers managed to talk about a form of self-gratification without using the actual word throughout the entire episode. Since they didn't use it, we won't either.

Quotable: "We have to do it. It's part of our lifestyle. It's like, uh, shaving." -- Jerry

"Not that there's anything wrong with that."

The disclaimer used at the end of Jerry and George's spirited refutation of claims that they are not a homosexual couple, as is believed by a college newspaper writer who was eavesdropping on a playful conversation.

"No soup for you!"

The Soup Nazi's marching orders to customers who don't follow the established rules of his soup stand.

Quotable: "So, essentially you chose soup instead of a woman."-- Elaine

"It was a bisque." -- Jerry

"A Festivus for the rest of us!"

Frank Costanza's non-denominational December holiday that is celebrated annually, with varying degrees of seriousness, by fans of the show. Unique touches include an aluminum pole instead of a Christmas tree and the "Airing of Grievances" at dinner. Traditionally, Festivus is not over until the head of the household is wrestled to the floor and pinned during the "Feats of Strength."

Quotable: "Frank invented a holiday? He's so prolific." -- Kramer


Jerry only knows that his girlfriend's name rhymes with a female body part, which leads to memorable guesses like Mulva, Bovary and Gipple. It's revealed on the "Seinfeld" Season Four DVD's that the script actually called for the name to be Cloris, but during a public screening, an audience member guessed the name Dolores, which writers felt suited the episode better. Also notable because of a lawsuit filed in the early '90s on behalf of a Miller Brewing Company worker who was fired for talking about the running gag with a female co-worker.

J. Peterman

Elaine's boss and the brains behind the J. Peterman clothing catalog, itself a real publication. One of "Seinfeld's" quirkiest characters, John O'Hurley, the actor who played Peterman, later became a fan favorite on ABC's reality hit, "Dancing with the Stars."

Quotable: "You most likely know it as Myanmar, but it will always be Burma to me." -- J. Peterman

"Hello, Newman"

Jerry's contemptuous greeting for postal worker/neighbor/ nemesis Newman.

Quotable: "I know the chunky who left these Chunkys!" -- Jerry


Like when a man goes swimming ... afterward.

Quotable: "It shrinks?" -- Elaine

"Like a frightened turtle!" -- Jerry

"Believe it or not, George isn't at home ..."

George's cheesy answering machine message, which uses the background theme to "The Greatest American Hero."


How could anyone not like him?

It's a rhetorical question Jerry Seinfeld's TV mom asked during a successful nine-season run that ultimately seeped its way into the pop culture sphere of influence like no other sitcom in history.

But even with a self-admitted life of doing "nothing" since "Seinfeld" ended on top in 1998, the man behind the laughter is still as likeable and funny as ever doing exactly what got him on Hollywood's A-list.

After opener Mark Schiff warmed up the sold-out Weidner Center crowd for about 20 minutes, Seinfeld immediately broke through the curtain with an impromptu slide as if he were a five-year-old kid who couldn't wait to perform a new song and dance routine for a dinner party of adults.

On his show, Seinfeld played a "thin, single and neat" stand-up comedian enthralled with Superman and cereal. So, it wasn't a huge surprise when he began to muse about the constant promotion of more raisins inside a box of Raisin Bran.

"More scoops, deeper scoops, longer scoops ... enough scoops, c'mon!"

Whether it was a riff on the expertise of Japanese kamikaze pilots -- "You've broken the landing gear your last three times out ... We've got a special mission for you" -- or the purported bird flu pandemic -- "So a bird has to stay home from work for three days. Who cares?" -- for a little more than an hour, Jerry was master of the Weidner Center domain.

Ah, but there's also a new, equally-interesting side that fans never got to see on their TV screens -- Seinfeld as 51-year-old husband and father to three young children.

The life transition led to memorable exchanges about the head sizes of youngsters who visit his home -- "Don't other people's kids look strange to you?" -- to the importance of a man's tone once he gets married -- (The tone of) "my actual speaking voice, that I'm using to communicate with you right now, is not welcome in my house. That's why I'm here talking to you."

With even Jerry noting during a short Q&A following the 7 p.m. show -- a 9:30 performance was also scheduled -- that "Seinfeld" is on about "19 times a day" in syndication, it's safe to say the man doesn't have to leave his home if he doesn't want to.

But Seinfeld knows how he got his start, and he knows that his comfort zone is on stage with a microphone.

"They didn't tell me to come here. I asked to come here," Seinfeld emphatically said about a return visit to Green Bay, in February no less.

We're glad you asked, Jerry. And dig out that winter jacket again next year.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Twitch shows why he's Boss

Stephen "Twitch" Boss, the freestylin' wonder from Alabama -- oh, and runner-up from this year's "So You Think You Can Dance" competition talks with Channel Surfing blogger Sara Boyd on everything from the extreme volumes of one Miss Mary Murphy to exactly what Lambeau Field is.

Check out the full interview from Oct. 5:

Sara Boyd: Hey Twitch, thanks for taking the time to talk with us. So you're in Fresno right now, is that right?
Twitch: Hey, no problem. Yeah, we're in Fresno now and then we’re headed to Scottsdale.

SB: So let's start from the beginning, per se. Last season, it was down to you and Hok – and the judges went with the Englishman – then this year, had you not made the Top 20 you were headed for the Navy. How crucial was making the show this year for you?
Twitch: Crucial. These things happen every once in a while, the crossroads or a fork in the road, shall I say, because it came down to all the hustle and bustle. I’ve been dancing, for not all of my life, but I’ve been trying to dance professionally and trying to make a career out of it for a while and it’s so unstable. I reached the 25 (years old) mark and I was like, “OK, it’s time for me to start really getting my life in order.”

Either it has to be one of two things. Either this is my last go around to really try and make things work in the entertainment industry or I just need some stability so I can figure out what I really need to do with my life. So it was either the show, or if not the show, I was definitely going into the Navy. No matter what happened it had to be a drastic change in my life.

SB: Do you ever think of where you might be had you not made the show?
Twitch: Everyday. You know, especially traveling the road, I could definitely be on a boat right now. I’m not quite sure how the Navy works but I think about that everyday. Just thinking about the people I know now, we’ve gotten so close to everybody in the cast – not just the people who are touring but the Top 20. I can only imagine.

SB: When you finally got that seal of approval and the judges announced you were in, what were your hopes for the season?
Twitch: For me it was definitely one step at a time. I definitely like to try to plan things out, but with shows like this you can never solidify – there’s always a chance, it’s on votes. I just had to go week-by-week.

SB: Did you ever think you were going to make it to the Top 4 and be on the show until the very end?
Twitch: You know what, I never really thought it but I didn’t doubt it either. I kind of approached it, not with no expectations, because I tried to put my best in every week, but you know, I just approached it as what’s going to happen is what’s going to happen. I’m going to go out there and give it my everything and you know that’s all I can do. What happens from there, I’ll work with that.

SB: So I gotta ask, what was up with the lensless glasses and how did that whole thing come about?
Twitch: I call it my Clark Kent look. I’m obsessed with Superman so it gives my little Clark Kent identity, I guess. When I’m without them, I feel like I’m a different person.

SB: So when did this Superman alter ego start for you?
Twitch: Ever since I was small. Superman’s just been one of my favorite heroes of all time. He’s just ultimate. He’s very true but he’s very humble – I know he’s not real (laughs) but he’s a very humble hero.

SB: Switching topics, I have to know. How loud is Mary Murphy when you’re only a few feet away from her? And especially when she dubs you worthy of the ‘Hot Tamale Train?’
Twitch: Oh my gosh. So loud. Ear piercing. (Laughs) It’s one of those things when it’s very loud – you really want it but when you get it, it’s just like, ‘Oh my gosh, wow.’ You enjoy it from the TV, but not from the studio.

SB: So now on to the tour, which began Sept. 20. How’s it been going?
Twitch: It’s been going awesome. It’s fun, a lot of fun. Just performing for a totally different group of people every night that’s equally excited to see you. Every night, it’s somebody’s first time seeing the show. It’s always new and exciting and we’re trying to find new and exciting ways to push the envelope of the show and just make it better and better. So I feel like it’s always a work in progress.

SB: What’s been the highlight for you so far?
Twitch: You know every show has a different highlight, whether it’s the fans screaming through the speeches or people running down the aisleway with a big poster that says “Chelsea.” It’s just really getting loud because we’re right there. It’s awesome.

SB: What can fans expect from the tour?
Twitch: We’re doing all the favorites from the show and then everybody does a solo. Also, what people can expect from the tour is to get to know us a little bit better because we talk through the entire show, it’s us that’s hosting. It’s us introducing each other. I think people really get a chance to see our personality come through a little more. The show is jam-packed. I’m sure there will be no disappointments at all.

SB: You’re heading to our neck of the woods soon, stopping at the Resch Center on Oct. 18. Have you ever been to Green Bay, or Wisconsin for that matter?
Twitch: No, I’ve never been. I’m actually really looking forward to it and getting out there and walking around a little bit even if we only have half a day. What is there to do, actually? I’m talking to you, what is a must do if I have two hours in Green Bay?

SB: Well you'll be at the Resch Center so I guess you gotta go see Lambeau. If you’ve never been, that’s probably a must.
Twitch: Lambeau?

SB: Yeah, it's, um, where the Green Bay Packers play? Lambeau Field.
Twitch: Hmm, Lambeau. OK. Yeah, that’s going to be awesome. I’m looking forward to coming out and checking it out.

SB: So once the tour is over, what are your plans? I heard you might move from dancing to acting?
Twitch: Well not really moving from, but I’ll be trying my hand at that as well. I definitely will not stop dancing but I want to try my hand at acting. I'm actually getting pulled over to another interview right now, but I guess, I'll see ya soon in Green Bay. What was the name of that place I need to go again?

SB: (Laughs) Lambeau Field. Check it out.
Twitch: (Laughs) OK, Lambeau Field. Got it. I'll be there.

Check out the "So You Think You Can Dance" Tour stopping at the Resch Center in Green Bay on Saturday. For more information or to buy tickets, click here.

-- Sara Boyd,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

LIVE: Project Runway Finale!

The time has come. It's finally here. We're so excited we're pooping fabric! (in a good way)

It's the final "Project Runway" on Bravo. (tear) Or is it? We don't know. We'll get back to you on that.

Anyway, the finale! Woo! Korto, Leanne and Tugboat Shirley. Er, Kenley, whatever ... Shirley seemed to fit with Tugboat. And her 50s-theme designs.

This live blog will be basically whatever we think and say. Enjoy. We'll try to edit the curses.

And we're "Auf ..."

Previously on "Project Runway" ...

8:01 p.m. We're recapping last week's trainwreck when we had to say goodbye to Jerrel and hellooo to Kenley and her suicidal ropeneck dress. We'll see what it looks like walking down Bryant.

Ooh, a runway first! All three women contestants on "PR" -- well, two women and one beast. OK, we're just being mean now. But we'll say it ... we miss the gays in the finale!

8:05 p.m. Apparently Leanne is looking for aliens during the model casting. We're not sure why. Do aliens like water? Also one of those models was once on "America's Next Top Model." We're not sure who, though.

8:06 p.m. Kenley is showing Tim some sort of garbage-bag of "Victorian" dress that he clearly does not like. She retreats into her normal mode of attack -- rude, defensive and annoying.

Kenley to Papa Gunn: "I have to disagree with that. My decisions are final." Tim Gunn raises an eyebrow in pure disbelief.

Kenley on the judges calling her out on her wedding dress inspiration: "It's insulting and I did not take my work from anyone else." Ummm. The Swan dress was so Bjork circa late 1990s.

Sara: "All you need to do is throw a swan head on there." Or a rope. It could be "tug-boat chic."

8:11 p.m: Kenley admits Tim may have had a point. Wait, what has happened here? Have one of Leanne's alien models invaded Kenley's body?

Two seconds later, she's back to bickering.

"I don't give an F what they say about it."

8:13 p.m. There's a thong shot. Seriously. This is why guys should watch this show.

Also, Kenley may or may not be getting whinier.

Leanne hits the nail on the head in describing Kenley's "Holly Hobby" collection --"somebody's child has been painting all over Kenley's outfits."

Korto crying tally is up to 1.

Sara and (guest of Channel Surfing Kelly McBride) get way too excited about a University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire commercial. Go Blugolds? Apparently there's no "E" in "blugold." Malavika is confused by that.

8:18 p.m. There's dog poo on the floor. Whose dog is that? Model picks it up wearing evening gown. Too bad the dog didn't take a dump on Kenley's Holly Hobby collection.

Last gatherround. Perhaps the LAST ever. Papa Gunn looks sad and announces the order in which they will appear at Bryant Park. Apparently Kenley will show first, followed by Korto and then Leanne.

8:19 p.m. Korto has hair buns for her model. Suddenly we're in the mood for Cinnabon.

8:21 p.m. Kenley mentions her father but no tugboat reference (although someone among us thinks that Leanne's sister looks like a tugboat... no names will be mentioned). Her mom is also wearing that hideous shade of red lipstick.

Leanne is having problems with a "limp top." No one wants that.

8:22 p.m. First sighting of Season 4 winner Christian Siriano.

8:27 p.m. Heidi welcomes all.

Why is Michael Kors wearing sunglasses inside the tent? J-Lo will not be guest-judging because of a dubious "foot injury" that may or may not be related to her ample bedankadonk, but Tim Gunn will take her place. It's totally appropriate. Perhaps he can also insure his ass.

Blayne is tan again. Chris March sighting. It's like a reunion show. Oh, wait, they're not having one this season. Boooooo. How dare Bravo try to make us watch "Top Design" for bits of a reunion show!

8:31 p.m. Kenley's "dream wardrode" comes down the runway. The first piece is fairly good, but everything else seems cheap, painted on and unoriginal. Oh, wait, she DID paint on her clothes.

Stella sighting in the audience. Michael Kors lowers his sunglasses. Not a good sign.

Bjork walks down the line and there's weak applause. Why does everyone have weeds on their head? Weed is whack. Just say no.

8:35 p.m. Korto is adorable. Her husband is hot and her child is very adorable.

Her line -- inspired by nature and very ethnic -- is going over well with our crowd. We just lip-read and Neenah Gah-cia may have said "that's fabulous." Either that or she was cursing at Michael Kors.

We love the colors in Korto's line. The cuts. The designs. It's ethnic without being kitsch. Everyone seems to agree with us.

8:37 p.m. Dear mousy Leanne introduces her wave-inspired line of whites and teals.

The colors aren't blowing us away, but her line is cohesive and -- pardon the pun -- flows together very well. It's hard to pick our favorite between Leanne and Korto, but if we must... we'd give the slight edge to Korto just for the variety in her line with color and shape. If Kenley wins, Kelly will attempt to poop fabric. And not in a good way.

Chris March is impressed by Korto. Nick Verreos is a fan of Leanne. Jillian from last season disappoints us all by picking Kenley. What happened to you, Kenley?

8:44 p.m. 54 percent of voters think Leanne is the winner. Democracy rules!

8:45 p.m. Michael Kors compliments Kenley. Take your sunglasses, off! You're blinded! All the judges seem to be very positive... but Nina Garcia points out that Kenley has once again plagirized from other designers.

8:46 p.m. Judges love Korto (yay!). "Effortlessly cohesive." "Sublime." Only critique is that she may have overdesigned.

8:47 p.m. The judges love Leanne's variety but are worried she may get pigeonholed. Michael Kors to Leanne: "You're going to be Petals Marshall, which sounds like a stripper."

Korto crying tally: 2

8:52 p.m. The judges seem to agree they're "doing the right thing." Please let that not include picking Kenley.

8:56 p.m. Kenley is kicked out. THE PEOPLE REJOICE! She thinks the decision is BS. Go away, Kenley. Go home to your tugboat.

8:57 p.m. And the winner is... Leanne. We cheer because we love darling mousy Leanne! Although we love Korto and we're sorry to see her so heartbroken.

8:59 p.m. Final quote of the night is from our winner: "One hundred thousand dollars. Drinks are on this brotha." From the whitest girl ever. Awesome.

-- Sara Boyd, and Malavika Jagannathan,

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