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What a pleasant surprise!
This series is actually quite good. Very well-written and acted, great cast, and finds a way to turn dark subject matter, especially relating to his father's death on 9/11 and his drug use, into something very watchable and entertaining.
Some of the middle episodes were a bit uneven, but the first two and last two were excellent. I am a middle-aged guy and can't say I've lived a life like Pete's, but I have seen enough of his work to find him very relatable. He's an excellent writer, and by the caliber of the actors willing to do cameos on this show, they think so, as well.
I'd like to see more of Bupkis.
Losing interest in this show rapidly
Bill insists on bringing the same tired, pompous blabbermouths on his show year after year. First, Cornel West never has anything new to say. He may have a few valid points, but he says things in a very offputting way, and just bloviates. He is just so pretentious. And what can I say about Conway? She is just a MAGA gaslighting machine whose tactic is to change the topic to her daily talking points and not let anyone else get a word in, including the host. No wonder George left her. Bill, do better, or this viewer of 20 years is gone.
Best episode in a long time
I think John Mulaney wrote most of these skits. It shows. They were almost all very funny. The performers were all terrific. They just need material like this to shine. Not the crap they're usually handed.
The two COVID-related skits and Weekend Update were hilarious. The opening with the Ukrainian chorus singing a prayer for Ukraine was stark, beautiful, and very moving. Really well done. Kudos for that.
The only real clunker of the night was the musical guest. They were truly awful.
Terrific halftime show
It was so well done. Entertaining, well-choreographed, fun. Loved when Eminem knelt in solidarity with Colin K! And this show drove 40% of America off their respective rockers, which made It even more fun!
Lost its mojo
This was a bore. The contestants were not interesting. The challenges were meh. They did not use London, one of my favorite cities, nearly as well as they could have. The editing is way too choppy. I'm not going to watch this season.
Acapulco: Uptown Girl (2021)
What a charming episode!
I love when a show makes me actually break out into a smile just because it is so charming. Loved the pace of this funny, sweet episode. That's it - no long analysis of the plot, just watch and enjoy.
American Crime Story: Man Handled (2021)
What they did to Monica was an outrage
Ken Starr is a fascist masquerading as a pious do-gooder. The abuse of power for political purposes that he unleashed to coerce Monica into testifying is a sobering reminder of what is to come if we allow these people take power again. Whether she blew Clinton or not is irrelevant. She was an innocent who became a pawn in a game about which she knew nothing.
Linda Tripp was beneath contempt. Another evil person masquerading as a moral crusader. The betrayal she perpetrated against Monica was Greek tragedy-level. Beany Feldstein did a great job of conveying the hurt that Monica felt at her friend's betrayal.
Colin Hanks did a nice job as the FBI agent who obviously was torn between doing his job and empathizing with a terrified and hurting young woman. The scene where her father's lawyer unleashed a stream of profanities at him was terrific.
Surprisingly not awful
Not a fan of KK or her family, but kudos to her for delivering a funny and self-deprecating monologue with aplomb. I enjoyed it, to my great surprise. The Bachelor skit was amusing, too. Weekend Update was pretty weak, and the other skits were meh.
What happened to the terrific character study that was season 1? This is a hot mess. Terrible writing. These people are so artificial, so preachy. Who speaks like this? I get that the morning show they all work on is a parable for society in general. What I don't get is the extreme pretense with which the parable is delivered.
There is simply too much talent here to account for the trainwreck that is season 2 thus far.
What worked last season isn't working this season...
Maybe it's having lived through the last 19 months, but watching these narcissists bloviate incessantly isn't doing it for me so far this season. It's slick, well-produced, and well-acted. The writing is not so great, though. I'll keep watching in the hope it'll get better.
This is a fairly good episode. The formula is getting a little long in the tooth, so there is only so much they can do with it at this point. Axe seems a little cartoonish compared to how complex and charismatic he was in the early seasons. Wags continues to grow more interesting, though.
The homage to the film "Big Night" in the kitchen scene was really wonderful. Not loving the Axe-Wendy angle, though.
Not uninteresting, but Cindy Adams is a horror
I have never understood how Cindy Adams became famous in her own right. She is a leech, an egomaniac, quite possibly a sociopath. I have lived in the NYC area almost my entire life, so I have seen her quite a lot on TV and occasionally read her over the years in the Post. She must have slept with the right guys, I guess, because talent is one thing she lacks.
She also seems to have a deep affinity for fascists. Sukarno, Marcos, The Former Guy - the worse a man is, the more she adores him because he has power. So she was married to that two-bit Catskill comic Joey Adams. Big deal.
Now, does that mean her story is completely without interest? No. But seeing her dowager Park Avenue co-op replete with odes to herself plastered on every wall and ceiling is just vile. She self-validates more than anyone else in the newspaper business, to be sure. She has learned nothing in her 91 years on this planet except the art of self-promotion. I am sure she is a very lonely woman.
Julie Bowen is a fantastic guest host
I hope ABC will consider her as a replacement for Jimmy whenever he decides to move on. She is funny, clever, and quick on the draw. I enjoyed her tremendously. Good interviewer, too. Loved the spot with the three kids.
Wonderful storytelling, beautifully acted. Has wonderful and life-affirming moments that moved me to tears. You have to have a heart of stone not to appreciate how wonderful this episode is. Minnie Driver has never been better.
The Edge of All We Know (2020)
Now I know why physics was my least favorite subject in high school
They should have used this film as a vehicle to explain the unexplainable to those who don't excel at this type of thing. They failed. It's a crashing bore. Documentary filmmakers are usually adept at bringing new subject matter to a new audience in a relatable way. Sadly not the case here. A shame.
Pretentious and boring season
I found the two main characters a crashing bore. I'm sorry, but Lena Waithe is an awful actress. Aziz has shown us real talent in previous seasons. Now he thinks he's Ingmar Bergman or something. Well, he's not. I get it - he wants to stretch his wings. Ok - but how could he not see how pretentious this whole season was? This was a big disappointment.
Ellen's Next Great Designer (2021)
Not a good show - contestants are whiny
The concept is good. The execution, not so much. The contestants and judges are so problematic. The former are whiny and self-absorbed, especially Mark, whose droning litany of perpetual exhaustion made my ears bleed. The judges are not fit to decide anything. They were all of the place.
Foley is a decent and affable host, though. Ellen is churning out trash to pursue big money for her own (very private) design projects. I have to imagine she would not buy most of the lousy stuff churned out on this series. Ellen, do better.
Thua Me Con Di (2019)
Wonderful and sweet film
I am not Vietnamese, and was curious to see what life there is like. I found this film to be warm, engaging, and a window into a culture I know little about other than its food and history. The actors were all excellent, especially the two male leads and the grandma. Totally worth your time. Nice film about the meaning of family and acceptance.
Hate to admit that I really like this
Not a huge Lisa V fan but wow does she throw a fun dinner party. Maybe it's having been home for the past 13 months in relative lockdown, but her backyard is very inviting and this is slick, funny, undemanding entertainment. Just what the doctor ordered.
Worst show of a horrible season
The writing is so lazy and unfunny. The cast is too big. The opening credits are long and unnecessary. Even WU sucks now, and that used to be the saving grace. The Kamala skit was offensive and borderline anti-Semitic. The musical guest was horrible.
Lorne Michaels - PLEASE retire. The show needs an infusion of new producers, writers, performers. Don't waste the show's 46-year legacy on this poorly-conceived trash.
Abysmal and unfunny
NBC needs to clean house, from Lorne Michaels on down. Some performers are good, like Kate McKinnon, Kenan Thompson, and Cecily Strong. The writers are just phoning it in this season. Horribly overlong and unfunny skits, especially the ones that deal with suburban imbeciles sitting around living rooms talking about nonsense. Previous SNL writing teams did this far better.
I'm done. Lorne, please retire.
Schulz Saves America (2020)
Dennis Miller without a frontal lobe
This guy thinks he is a lot more clever than he is. I am not going to quibble with him over his politics - there is a place for humor of all political stripes. But it should be intelligent humor. This guy is so smug and whiny. He got on my last nerve. He is the guy you want to avoid at a party. Loves the sound of his own stupid voice.
Sh'at Neila (2020)
Intense show. Terrible English dubbing
The feel and intensity of this show are great. It gives the viewer a real feel for what these guys were up against.
The English dubbing on HBO Max is godawful.
I found this helpful hint online to watch in the original Hebrew subtitles in English. Much better viewing experience:
HBO Max automatically plays "Valley of Tears" in a poorly done English dub that completely ruins the naturalism of the performances. (As if to emphasize how off the dubbing is, the conversations in Arabic are still subtitled rather than dubbed, and the difference between these moments and the dubbed ones is night and day). Be sure to click the tiny hidden button in Hebrew next to "Add to my list" to watch the show in its original Hebrew format with English subtitles.
Let Them All Talk (2020)
Pretentious and a crashing bore
Was looking forward to this. Such a talented cast. The writing is excruciatingly stilted and pretentious. The characters are all uninteresting. The actors seem bored, too. Lucas Hedges is awful in this. I wish I wasn't in COVID lockdown so I didn't feel compelled to watch stuff like this all the way through.
Jenna Ellis is a talking point robot
Why did Bill give this vapid shill 20 minutes? She just recited from the cult playbook over and over again with almost fanatical roboticism. Max Brooks and Caitlin Flanagan were excellent. That discussion was very engaging. I completely agree with Bill's main point during New Rules. He stated his point much more clearly and sensibly than in recent months.