Friday
Jun292012

FLASHBACK FRIDAY TV - THE YEAR 2004

2004 brought many milestones and epic moments in TV. After the Janet Jackson/Justin Timberlake Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show controversy, American television saw itself heavily censored as the FCC tightened its rules on indecency.  Taking a page from the epic 2004 film Mean Girls, the FCC deemed that "it only counts if you saw [Janet's] nipple," which, well, everyone did.  Check out the final seconds of this clip:

Sex and the City aired its final episode, "An American Girl in Paris, Part Deux," ending the HBO series' six season run.  I thought the show did a nice job reuniting Carrie, at long last, with Big. “I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love," Carrie told Aleksandr Petrovsky.  This was a love that didn’t exist in their hotel room in beautiful Paris.  In the closing moments, we learn where the women’s lives are headed, before their stories were semi-ruined by two feature films.  “The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself,” Carrie reminded us.  “And if you can find someone to love the you, you love, well that’s just fabulous.”
   
Beloved, blockbuster comedy Friends came to a close as Chandler and Monica's surrogate gave birth to twins, Rachel nearly moved to Paris before finally reuniting with Ross, and Joey moved to Los Angeles for the ill-fated spinoff, Joey.  It was sad to see the show go but understand considering it had been on for a decade, the stars were all making bank, and the writers were running out of stories to tell.  Still, seeing Monica’s grandmother’s apartment completely empty is jarring; it’s still comforting to see a repeat pop up in syndication or on Nick at Nite (!).  Also, Frasier ended.
Fantasia Barrino was crowned winner of the third season of American Idol in 2004, and her performance of “Summertime” is still remembered as one of the greatest in the franchise’s 11 year history.  After seventy-four consecutive wins, Ken Jennings finally lost on Jeopardy! to competitor Nancy Zerg. Jennings' cash winnings total of $2,522,700 made him the richest winner in American television history.  2004 was also the year that TBS and TNT were officially branded as comedy and drama destinations, respectively.  This helped pave the way for hit original TNT dramas such as The Closer, Rizzoli & Isles, and the new Dallas, not to mention Conan O'Brien's late-night TBS show on TBS.
 
With the departure of Jimmy Fallon from Saturday Night Live, Amy Poehler joined Tina Fey on "Weekend Update" as the two formed the first all-female duo at the anchor desk.  Donald Trump's The Apprentice premiered, as did mega-hits Lost and Desperate Housewives.  
 
It would only last one season, but the WB rolled out Jack & Bobby, a drama from Executive Producer Greg Berlanti that chronicled the high school years of two brothers, one of whom would become President of the United States from 2041-2049.  Christine Lahti played their mother, and this was the first time I remember encountering future star Bradley Cooper, taking the part of Lahti's younger love interest.  The show had a lot of heart, but it wasn't the right fit for the struggling WB, which would shut down just a year and-a-half later to partially form the CW network.
Last, but certainly not least, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include a clip from a cult favorite of mine (and probably yours): Drawn Together premiered in 2004 on Comedy Central.  This show was so horribly wrong, yet so wonderfully good.
ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:
Josh Kossack is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he isn't cruising around with his convertible top down or reading to the blind, he can be found putting Sriracha on pretty much everything under the sun.
Wednesday
Jun272012

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - SEASON 9 - TOP 20

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE - SEASON 9 - TOP 20

After a grueling week during Vegas callbacks on So You Think You Can Dance, the judges narrowed it down from the 188 contestants to 35 and tonight down to the Top 20. Some of our early favorites like Mariah Spears, Tim Conkel and Asher Walker were impressive in Vegas but in the end did not impress the judges enough to be in the top 35. We've made early predictions last week on who's going to make the Top 20 but after seeing the Vegas Callbacks episode, we're going to go on a limb and predict at least 12 of the 20 dancers for Season 9. Special thanks goes to our reality show expert, Melissa Goodman, for giving us her deep insights on these predictions. We've included some of our thoughts as to why we think the judges have chosen these contestants. Ok, here we go!

Girls:
Witney Carson - our absolute favorite. love her, love everything about. thinking about being her for Halloween.
Lindsay Arnold - BFFs with Witney Carson and fellow ballroom dancer. Gets our automatic vote.
Janelle Issis - her hips don't lie and will be shaking her way into the Top 20.
Eliana Girard - ballerina pole dancer with legs for days. PERIOD.
Amelia Lowe - Tyce is just dying to have her do one of his routines.
Alexa Anderson - this season's Ryan Ramirez
Audrey Case - can do shoulder farts and lick her elbows. Nuff said.

Boys:
Daniel Baker - Aussie accent gets us every time.
Cyrus Spencer - the show always needs an underdog and he's got the talents to back it up.
Cheyon Wespi-Tschopp - another talented ballet dancer who can give Daniel Baker a run for his Aussie dollar.
Cole Horibe - this season's Alex Wong
Dareian Kujawa - when Nigel calls out your nipples on national TV, you should automatically be in the Top 20.

Our favorite group performance from Vegas Callbacks week - The High Schoolers

Tune into Fox tonight (8/7c) to find out who makes the top 20!

Friday
Jun222012

FLASHBACK FRIDAY - TV SHOWS IN 1995

March 1995 saw the formation of two broadcast networks, the WB and UPN.  A decade later, both netlets made somewhat of a mark on pop culture, particularly the WB, before merging to form the CW.  Both premiered with a single night of programming:  the WB scheduled a powerhouse comedy block featuring Unhappily Ever After (a Married with Children rip-off), the Wayans Bros, and Robert Townsend’s the Parent ‘Hood, and UPN debuted its flagship series, Star Trek: Voyager.
 
The following September, Sister, Sister moved from ABC to the WB, ensuring several more years of Jackee screeching “OOOOOOHHH, TIA AND TAMERA!!”  One of its new series, Cleghorne!, focused on the life of a single mom raising her nine-year old daughter on the Upper West Side.  I know this was an experimental time for the fledgling network, but who sat in a room and green-lit a vehicle for Ellen Cleghorne?   She was mostly forgettable in her years on Saturday Night Live; the only characters I can recall of hers was her turban-clad, tough talking Queen Shaniqua and a pesky NBC page.  The only page to steal my heart has been Kenneth on 30 Rock.  Fun fact: the View’s Sherri Shepherd was a regular on Cleghorne!, years before her hilarious turn as Tracy Morgan’s wife on RockCleghorne! was cancelled after 12 episodes.  I couldn’t find any clips of the show – there’s a shocking lack of appetite for it online – but here’s Ellen on SNL’s Weekend Update, bemoaning the demise of Full House, which ended its run in May 1995.

Drew Barrymore danced on David Letterman’s desk and flashed him.  Audiences waited all summer to find out that Maggie shot Mr. Burns in a struggle over a lollipop on the Simpsons. Pre-Will & Grace, Debra Messing starred with Thomas Hayden Church as a couple in a marriage of convenience in Ned & Stacey, a FOX comedy that lasted two seasons. Cybill Shepherd made her sitcom debut in her self-titled series in which drunk gal pal Christine Baranski stole the show.

Before it dominated the schedule with CSI and other similar procedurals, CBS was struggling to attract a younger audience and find a different identity.  Darren Starr’s Central Park West, a steamy soap that was off-brand for the network, crashed and burned; the Facts of Life’s Nancy McKeon headlined Can’t Hurry Love; and controversial comedian Andrew Dice Clay and Cathy Moriarty starred in Bless This House.  All were cancelled after one season.

Finally, 1995 was the year in which Dr. Kimberly Shaw (Marcia Cross) returned from the presumed-dead (after a car wreck earlier that season) to terrorize the residents of Melrose Place.  I still remember getting chills watching the episode where Kimberly makes her surprise re-entry. Michael (Thomas Calabro) has finally given into former sister-in-law  Sydney’s (Laura Leighton) advances, and the two are about to go at it that night.  It’s clear that someone is watching them from the beach, and we’re led to believe it’s the same peeping handyman who was spying on Amanda (Heather Locklear) earlier.  But no, the camera turns, slowly revealing that it’s Kimberly.  We learn the next episode that Kimberly’s mother spread word of her demise in order to protect her and that several brain surgeries later, she’s as good as new.  But as you’ll see in this clip, Kimberly’s not her old self, and she’s got the scars to prove it.

ABOUT OUR CONTRIBUTOR:

Josh Kossack is a writer based in Los Angeles, California. When he isn't cruising around with his convertible top down or reading to the blind, he can be found putting Sriracha on pretty much everything under the sun.