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An Idiot Abroad (2010)
You'll find no better travel guide...
Finally,an honest travel guide to accompany you to the most famous sightings in the world.Don't expect adoring sighs and ramblings about the lovely local beverages and cuisine though.
And that's exactly what makes this series a stroke of genius.Karl is a reluctant traveler and not easily impressed.He engages in philosophical monologues,and he's almost always spot-on.Even the most experienced globe-trotter laughing at Karls awkward attempts to mount a Mexican rodeo horse or Egyptian camel will probably agree,even if not out loud. Most exotic activities and festivities he will refer to as being "mental". He fills his suitcase with Monster Munch thus hoping to evade the worst expressions of local cuisine.Such as toad and balls. To no avail.Because Gervais and Merchant have,naturellement,booked him at the scruffiest of hotels(if he even gets to a hotel)and arranged for him to eat and experience things he probably never wanted to do ever in his life.To make things worse they send numerous text messages simply to annoy him.At one point Karl ponders the use of modern technology in the western world,how we mostly use it as entertainment. Behind him deaf Egyptian fast-food restaurant employees use their mobiles to make video calls. And Karl produces his own mobile to show for the camera what his friend Ricky G usually send him. I love it.Every annoying thing about traveling that you never dared to mention to your people-of-world friends will be aired here. Go watch!Pronto!
Never compare apples and plums
I am of the opinion that everything in life needs to be viewed in a proper perspective.You can't compare Princess Diaries to a masterpiece directed by Ridley Scott.It would be profoundly unfair to both parties. Over all,this movie which I happened to watch one night when it was too late to bother finding something else worth watching on TV,is okay to pass an hour and a half with when you need an uncomplicated laugh. No more,no less. A romcom for girls under 20 and perhaps their moms. Full of americanocentric stereotypes,a fictional continental European country which resembles a liliput nation such as Luxembourg and where people's names are a mish-mash of Italian,French and German-sounding syllables. Think "General von Klinkerhoffen" from "Allo',Allo'" and you will be pretty close. A country where monarchy actually RULES,like it did in the medieval times,a fictional,uncomplicated Europe with Sleeping Beauty- castles,green pastures complete with shepherds and cobbled streets.And all of this meets a gum-chewing,easy-going all-American girl who introduces the revolutionary idea of women actually being able to marry whomever they choose. What a remarkable achievement!
It initiallt frightens me a bit to think that some people in the USA actually might believe that this represents a true picture of the European countries where monarchy still exist,but the thought is merely amusing.No,European monarchs do not RULE countries,they are merely trade marks. So now you know it.
The Doctors (2008)
Just don't get it
This show puzzles me.I wonder what makes people mail and get tickets to be on the show simply for discussing sometimes extremely private matters INSTEAD of asking their own doctor.In private. This phenomena kind of both scare and fascinate me.Are we so anxious for TV and other media to confirm our existence today? Do the people who ask The Doctors questions lack medical insurance so this is their only chance to get some medical advice? Don't think so.They seem to be well-dressed middle-class people,sometimes verging on hysterical(especially the worried moms),but seemingly fairly well-educated and bourgeoise.
Alas,this show hasn't got a lot of potential.If you've seen one episode,you pretty much get it.Asking your own doctor seems a whole lot easier in the long run.
Anna Pihl (2006)
If you're familiar with the danish police series "Rejseholdet" you will know that good police series doesn't necessarily have to be American or British.
Unfortunately,"Anna Pihl" was never even nearly as good as "Rejseholdet". The basic plot here evolves around a rookie female police officer starting off at her new job at a police station somewhere in Copenhagen in the pilot. She's cute-ish and pretty enough,but not too beautiful in a supermodel fashion because of course we want the audience to take her seriously as a career woman,not to focus on her chest size or legs. She's also idealistic and becomes engaged in the private lives of the people she comes into contact with in her profession.She even assumes the role of Nancy Drew when the working day is done,when she somewhat awkwardly tries to solve her clients'private issues when she can't do it in her role as a police officer.And of course,she's a single mother with a moderately hopeless ex-husband who have no more serious flaws than that he occasionally shows up with yet another new girlfriend Anna hasn't approved to being near her son.
Her father is a widower and depressed after the passing of his wife,but suddenly he shows up with a new love by his side-and to top it off,she's younger than Anna. Anna's love interest at the police station is a cute,sensitive guy with a motorbike,brown wavy hair and a smile soft as velvet. Her son is adorably sweet and clever.Sometimes she can't find a babysitter or her ex fails to pick their son up from kindergarten in time,but it hardly gets worse than that. She even cuddles in the couch with her landlord at nights,not as a couple since he's gay,but just as really good friends.Hunky dory. In short,Annas life is really quite perfect and there is the problem. This series lacks nerve and in the end,it just annoyed me to see Anna leap off to rescue people off-hours and how she disobeys orders to follow her heart and play hero. I sure don't think any real life police officer would get away with the behavior Anna displays on a daily basis.But of course,she's cute. I suppose that's a very forgiving trait.
The Sleepy Time Gal (2001)
An indie cliché
The first thing that crossed my mind when I had watched this movie for a few minutes was how predictable some things were.Oh,I thought.Here we have an aspiring indie flick,let's see how much I can guess from the story.It was more than I had hoped for unfortunately. Not that the acting is bad,it is not,but the story,the lines,the characters are unfortunately full of clichés.The lines often feels unnatural and far-fetched,people in real life won't talk to one another as if they were acting in an on-stage play.I'm sorry,they don't.
The free-spirited and deeply intellectual former radio host Frances has three children with three different men.Every man she meets is of course attracted to her and fascinated by her,and she has mother issues(the mother is now senile but still mean and lives in a nursing home.Anna,Frances's mother, looks much younger than she should,if we assume that the story takes place around 2000).Frances too looks far younger than around 70 as she should be as it's stated in the movie that she's born in 1930. Her two sons are both intellectuals/artists too,even if constantly broke.The daughter she had with her married lover Bob was of course given up for adoption and is now,as Frances is dying from cancer,looking for her.Her name is Rebecca and she is a highly paid lawyer in New York. God forbid she would be an unnoticed housewife in the middle of nowhere. Will she find her mother before she dies?
Sleepy time gal has it's qualities.It's almost hypnotic to watch,the score consists mostly of strings and jazz,naturellement. I would have been a lot more surprised,moved and shaken if the story had been more unpredictable.And if the lines had felt more genuine.
'Allo 'Allo! (1982)
Ingenious show on a WW2 backdrop
"Allo,allo" was one of my first sitcom-experiences,it was launched when I was 8 and well before the boom of American sitcoms in Sweden. It felt cozy despite being set on a WW2 backdrop,it dealt with difficult subjects in a humorous manner without ever being tasteless.It corroborated the fact that laughter may be a very effective and uniting way of dealing with difficult and tabooed issues. Of course it's full of ethnic stereotypes(not least the British!),but they are almost always created with heart and warmth.Even the Germans.
The show rotates around René Artois,a café-owner in the small town of Nouvion somewhere in France.He's married to Edith Melba since many years,and he's constantly cheating on her.Mostly with his waitresses,Yvette and Maria(who is replaced by Mimi Labonq in season 3). René's dilemma is surviving the war with as little trouble as possible and to do so he feels compelled to stay on the sweet side of both the Resistance,the German army,the Gestapo and the communist resistance.Not an easy task. The German lieutenant Gruber is gay and is almost immediately attracted to René,who despite the fact that he's not only bald and corpulent,but also married seem to be the most sought-after man in Nouvion.
Other significant characters is Edith's mother Fanny LaFan(mostly referred to as "the silly old bat" by René),Michelle of the Resistance with her ever reoccurring one-liner "listen carefully,I shall say this only once",Fanny's fiancé Monsieur Leclerc(possibly Edith's father),Monsieur Alphonse the undertaker(and Edith's suitor)and the ever hilarious officer Crabtree,a British intelligence agent who works under cover in Nouvion disguised as a police officer.Known for his bad french. And of course the waitresses.And the German colonel Von Strohm,lieutenant Gruber,Gestapo officer Flick and his sidekick Engelbert Von Smallhausen,Helga...all very enjoyable.
Some one-liners are repeated a bit too often,like when René calls Edith "you stupid woman" each time she catches him in the arms of a waitress,but it doesn't matter much. Few people will be able to resist the charm of this Britcom classic. Buy the box and enjoy when you feel cold and sad,it's a remedy as good as any,I promise!
The Big Bang Theory (2007)
Good,but not quite Two and a half men-class
Big Bang Theory first caught my interest since it was created by Chuck Lorre,one of the creators of my favorite among still-running sitcoms,the brilliant one-and-only "Two and a half men".A lot of people recommended "Big Bang Theory" so I thought I'd give it a try. The characters are,of course,created around popular stereotypes,somewhat more aimed towards a younger audience than the more mature "Two and a half men".
The plot evolves around four incredibly intelligent but geeky physicists who spend most of their free time playing WoW or watching SciFi-series,of course.They know next to nothing about how to attract women or even talk to them and when Penny,a cute blonde,cheer-leader-type girl moves in across the hall,they encounter a new perspective of life they know very little about.Sex. They are neurotic,thin and obsessive-compulsive(as over-intelligent people often are in fiction-world).At least Sheldon is,who to begin with show very little interest in things outside his area of expertise.Wolowitz is not really the neurotic type and he is also more outgoing than the rest of the bunch,but has somewhat overestimated his capabilities with the opposite sex.Worst off in the relationship area is Nayyar who goes completely silent in the presence of women.Wolowitz and Leonard are the gems in the cast,in my opinion.
Over all,TBBT is obviously a show with potential.The exaggerated stereotypes are sometimes a bit overdone,but I suppose it's nearly inevitable in a sitcom.I can live with that and still find it worth watching. Some things in the supposedly geeky look puzzles me,for instance would probably their taste in clothes be considered more hip than geeky in real life.
Give it a try if you haven't already,I believe the show will grow over time.
The Drew Carey Show (1995)
to stick out from the regular bunch of 100% family-oriented,boring sitcoms a'la Mad about you,Drew Carey Show is the ideal sitcom for those looking for a bit of not-always-politically-correct,mundane humor,great personal chemistry between the actors and the special Drew-twist to the humor. I wouldn't go as far as calling it the most innovative sitcom ever,that prize goes to Seinfeld,but it's innovative enough to stand in it's own right and will probably not be forgotten soon.After all,it had a good 9 year run. I dearly miss Drew Carey show and it's colorful characters,absolutely free from the usual husband-wife-kids stereotypes. More happily raunchy sitcoms with a BIG heart please!
The Shield (2002)
Either you hate or you love
this show it seems.I do neither,I just yawn and occasionally I laugh if I happen to watch an episode.I'm not a prude,I don't care if it's gritty as long as it's not aired before 10 p.m when kids might see it. I just can't stand the ridiculous camera work,yea,I know it's supposed to look documentary,but it looks like some network executive in his sixties has come up with what he thinks is just a brilliant,new,fresh idea.But instead it's been done to death,like "MTV-cutting".And almost always it fails.
Second,Michael Chiklis is not "bad guy"-material.I vaguely remember the Commish,and Scali was a role more suited for him.I mean,just shaving his hair off,putting shades on him,making him pump some iron and dressing him up in a tight shirt doesn't make up for the fact that he's just not a bad guy type. And you might wonder if a dirty cop who almost without exception beats the crap out of everyone who dares to contradict him would really be able to keep his job? I sure hope not.
Someone called this great humor...
and I'm inclined to agree.HeliCops isn't a good action series,it isn't exciting or intriguing as an action series should be.But it's hilariously funny.They say there are no German humor,this is just not true.Just take a look at HeliCops or Cobra 11 if you don't believe me. It has it's unintentional(I suppose)qualities like a bad Chuck Norris-movie.
There's just something with the platinum blonde guy playing the lead role,stone-faced like Schwarzenegger(probably his idol)that will lift your spirit whenever you feel low,if not in the way it was originally intended by the creators,so what?The British are the European masters of TV-series.And for a good reason. But I'm still sure HeliCops will be remembered,if not for quality so at least for it's uninhibited intentions of trying to be a true American-style action series,with absolutely no self-criticism.We need more of that kind of humor!