Thursday, October 27, 2011

Reviews of More New Fall TV Programs

Along with the programs mentioned previously, there are a few others worthy of mention that debuted this fall. The first one I saw is called “New Girl,” with the girl in question being played by Zoey Deschanel. Being a fan of Ms. Deschanel I had high hopes for this series, but was sadly disappointed in the first episode. First of all, it’s kind of hard to believe the character she plays is so socially inept based on her looks alone (someone that pretty you wouldn’t have to remind her to shave her legs and armpits before going out on a date). It just seems a terribly cliché situation her living with three guys, all of which would gladly jump her bones in a second if she wasn’t their roommate and friend (even then…) Hence, I haven’t given the series a second chance, but may see if I can catch an episode or two on Fox’s website or

In a moment of boredom at work recently, I had time to watch several episodes of “Two Broke Girls” on, and was pleasantly surprised, enough so to make a point to tune in again and set the DVR. The basic premise (as much as I can surmise from missing the first two episodes), is a new waitress is hired at a NYC dive. This new waitress, Caroline, is the wealthy daughter of an embezzler (father) who is currently in prison, no mom in the picture. Not sure if she left her fancy family apartment by her own free will or order of the court, but somehow she ends up living with the other waitress, Max.

Did I mention Caroline brought along her horse (Chestnut) who lives in the alley beside their apartment? In one scene Max is walking Chestnut carrying a shovel the same way people who walk their dogs carry pooper scoopers and plastic bags. The only difference being that Chestnut is just slightly larger than a dog, but no one seems to give them a second look. I like the way the two characters play off each other as Max is the streetwise Flo-like character while Caroline is definitely more of an Alice (but not as dim witted as Vera). The two also decide to save up their money and go into the cupcake making business together. At the end of each episode a total is given so we can follow their progress toward their goal.

This fall two new fairy-tale like programs premiered, “Once Upon a Time” and “Grimm.” Having not seen “Grimm,” I can’t tell you whether it’s any good, but “Once Upon a Time” is certainly something different (but in a good way!). It starts out kind of slow, but if you just stick with it and want to believe the premise, you won’t be disappointed. Jennifer Morrison plays Emma Swan, a sort of bounty hunter who is tough, has no family and lives alone. A little boy, Henry, comes to her and tells her he’s her son that she gave up for adoption ten years ago. Of course this throws her for a loop, but she agrees to drive him back home to Storybrooke, Maine, where he lives with the evil queen, his adoptive mother. Something about Storybrooke intrigues Ms. Swan and she decides to stay for a week, but only a week. The other fairytale characters are interesting as well and I look forward to seeing more of them each week as the story unfolds.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

You Can't Teach an Old Dog New Tricks (but you sure as heck can try!)

This year (starting this fall), the Catholic Church is instituting a few changes to the usual wording of mass. At our church (St. Brendan's) they're slowly trying to teach the parish by printing booklets with the new wording and going over the new songs and responses prior to some of the masses.

My dad said their (somewhat older) Parish priest, Father Paul, isn't exactly thrilled to have to relearn all the traditional wording. I suppose the older you are, the more you resist change since it's so difficult to break an old habit – which in this instance is having to stop yourself from muttering the same phrases you've been saying since you were a child.

I can totally understand peoples' reluctance to have to learn new wording since this is just another decision made by the Pope that we Catholics have to follow.

When I moved to England in 1998 and started attending mass over there, I noticed slightly different wording in the Profession of Faith and the Our Father. It didn't take me long to relearn those two prayers and took me only a little while to go back to the old way I was used to once I moved back to the U.S. I'm sure it will only be a matter of time before we learn the new wordings.

This week I've also been introduced to a new software package called Office 2010 which consists of Outlook (the e-mail program), Word, Excel and Power Point. I mostly use Outlook and Word, Excel only very occasionally and Power Point never. Although I like the way Word is laid out and it seems more intuitive to me, I have to admit to still hunting and searching for tools that I could grab with a single click of the mouse previously. I hope it doesn't take too long to get used to the new software!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review of New Fall TV Programs

It's that time of year again - (or at least it was last month) time for the new fall line-up of TV programs. Already a few have been cancelled after just a couple episodes ("The Playboy Club," "Charlie's Angels" - do I detect a common theme here?).

However, I don't want to talk about the duds. Instead I thought I'd mention a few of the brighter stars (or at least mediocre ones).

My favorite of the three new ones I've seen has got to be "Pan Am" because of the sense of nostalgia it invokes, even for those of us who are too young to remember Pan Am in its heyday. The set designers really did their research down to every last detail from era-appropriate clothing down to the tiniest of props (cameras, etc.). Although the plots aren't always the most riveting, the excellent casting makes the viewers want to know more about the Pan Am crew. Christina Ricci, a seasoned actor of all of 31 years, is particularly excellent as Maggie Ryan, the flight crew's purser. I look forward to getting to know the other three actresses as the season continues.

"Suburgatory" is a funny new comedy, but perhaps a little too ridiculous or over-the-top for me. It seems a little too much "Desperate Housewives" meets "Arrested Development." My one reason for watching this is because of how much Jane Levy (who plays Tessa, the teenage daughter) reminds me of a good friend of mine. In fact, I'd even go so far as to call her a doppelganger of my friend. I gave up on it after the first episode, but may watch it in reruns or on

I had high hopes for Tim Allen in "Last Man Standing," but as a viewer who remembers all eight seasons of "Home Improvement," it feels a little like a second marriage for Allen. It's like he traded in the boys for girls, and I think I liked the dynamic better between his sons than his new daughters. Also, there's the fact that one of his daughters has a child out of wedlock. I suppose this is indeed a modern blended family. All in all, the series just feels a bit cliche'.

I eagerly anticipate "Once Upon a Time" which premieres next week.