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Random Thoughts II

I really like SNL alumni Chris Parnell as the Progressive Insurance Box.  The career day classroom spot where the box has to avoid inappropriate questions like “where’s your belly button”? And ” do you have a girlfriend”? cracks me up.

That Sargento cheese commercial made me take a good, hard look at the pasturized, processed cheese slices in my fridge.  Sargento says it’s only 51% cheese! I thought Kraft put a milk bottle on their packaging because there is milk in their cheese slices.   Apparently not.  I threw a slice on a piece of bread in the broiler and it never melted.  It became a warm piece of malleable glop.  Thanks Sargento.  

Have you noticed Flo has been missing from Progressive Insurance commercials lately?  Where did she go and who are these youngsters at the Progressive office? 

That Gap commercial with Cher and rapper Future is awkward and weird.  

I’m not sure I like Nia Long on CBS‘s NCIS Los Angeles.  She delivers her lines stilted and cold.  I understand the character is supposed to be this way but I am not feeling her performance.  Hopefully it will get better as the season continues. 

The Roots Crew appeared on the season premiere of ABC‘S “Blackish “.  They wrote and starred in an animated sequence titled “I’m Just A Slave” in the style of “Schoolhouse Rock” to explain the holiday Juneteenth and what it means to black people.  I loved it.

ABC’s The Mayor is so good!  I connected with the characters immediately.  They are so relatable. Star Brandon Michael Hall is a Juliard trained actor and is so engaging in his role as Courtney Rose.  Special shout out to Yvette Nicole Brown who plays his mom on the show.  She makes any show better.

Where is Jake from State Farm?  

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Reboots, Recasts and Ridiculous

Soooo can we talk about CBS’s Kevin Can Wait“?  When we left Kevin last season, he was married, retired from the police force and bumbled around the house annoying his wife.  This season, Kevin is a widower and Leah Remini has joined the cast as his business partner.  I thought we were waiting for the show to be canceled. Instead, Kevin was waiting to whack his wife. The whole reboot is ridiculous.  The mom’s death was barely mentioned.  The writing just stinks of a hastily thrown together premise to please CBS executives.  Years ago, Valerie Harper had a show titled “Valerie“.  The show was a hit but Harper and the producers had a disagreement.   They killed her off, re-titled the series as “The Hogan Family” and replaced her with actress Sandy Duncan.   Some viewers were mad but the show ran for 5 seasons.  Kevin’s ratings say we shouldn’t wait for that kind of luck.

The Orville” on Fox stars Seth McFarlane as a disgraced planetary officer who gets promoted to captain his own ship.   Like “Family Guy, the writing is packed with jokes and the characters are pretty wacky.  Penny Johnson Jerald (formerly of 24) plays Dr. Claire Finn and newcomer J.Lee plays Lt. John Lamar, navigator of the spaceship.  If you like smart, silly comedy this show is for you.

Nia Long joins the cast of CBS’s “NCIS Los Angeles this season as Shay Mosley, the new assistant executive director, taking over for Miguel Ferrer who died in January.  I remember when Long was on NBC’s Third Watch” years ago and cringed when she co-starred in ABC‘s horrible reboot of “Uncle Buck” with Mike Epps.  I’m glad she landed on a stable show.

The 80’s nighttime soap, “Dynasty” is coming back to TV on the CW network.  I LOVED Joan Collins as Alexis Carrington Colby and lived for all the catfghts and the sleaziness of it all. (Cecil Colby had a heart attack and died while sexing Alexis!!!)  But The CW has a way of ruining established characters when they reboot shows (see Riverdale).  I was concerned my beloved Dynasty would be a victim.  This re-booted story takes place in Atlanta where the Carringtons run a global energy company. Money, power, legacy and debauchery will be on full display.  Oh, and the Colby’s?  They’re African American. Crystal is a Latina from Venezuela.  It’ll be interesting to see who they cast as Alexis.

In casting magical characters news, Kimberly Hebert Gregory co-stars with Jason Ritter in ABC’s”Kevin (probably) saves the world” as Yvette, a celestial guide who guides Kevin as he learns he is one of 36 righteous humans who protect the world. She teaches him how to power up his soul through acts of kindness. How does one get a job like that?  Can you imagine the interview?  I hope this character is written multi dimentionally.

Monday night, I watched Hill Harper on ABC’s The Good Doctor; about a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who is recruited into the pediatric surgical unit of a prestigious hospital.  Hill plays Dr. Horace Andres, the head of surgery who questions his ability to be an effective surgeon.   It doesn’t look like a meaty role but I’m looking forward to seeing how his character develops.

I am sick of the hype around NBC‘s reboot of Will and Grace.  I still don’t understand why it’s back.   Can we get a re-boot of Living Single or Girlfriends please?  

The Daytime TV Coffee klatch….

After watching the Emmy’s and enjoying the enthusiasm announcer Jermaine Fowler brought to the show, especially for Donald Glover and Lena Waithe, I woke up eager to see interviews with people I care about like Issa Rae and Ron Cephas Jones.  TVOne was right there with the premiere of “Sister Circle Live“.  Its a roundtable format much like The View, with 4 female hosts and DJ Q serving as the lone male voice.

Moderated by singer Syleena Johnson, co-hosts, Quad Webb Lunceford (“Married to Medicine”), sports reporter Rashan Ali, and comedian Kiana Dancie, Sister Circle immediately reported on those historic Emmy wins as well as other stars I care about.   It was better than watching “Live with Kelly and Ryan”.

I don’t care how many promos NBC airs or how many shows across their platform they parade her to promote the 9am hour my girl Tamron Hall should still be hosting, I will not be watching Megan Kelly or The Today Show.  These days, I’m waking up to CBS‘S Charlie Rose and Gayle King or TVONE ‘s Roland Martin.

Speaking of  TVOne, we are now getting two hours of “News One Now”.   Hosted by veteran journalist Roland Martin, it is an unapologetic newscast targeted directly to African Americans.  I enjoy it.  I don’t wanna hear about Taylor Swift or some Kardashian when I can catch an interview with Nicole Ari Parker and Boris Kodjoe from the Essence fest. News One was also the only network to live stream activist and comedian Dick Gregory‘s funeral.  News One Now is invaluable.

I really love the court show “Hot Bench“. It’s so addictive. Created and produced by Judge Judy,  3 judges listen to cases and grill poor, sad people for the truth. My favorite judge?  Larry Backman, because it looked like he really didn’t give a crap and you better tell him the truth.  It turned out he wasn’t a real judge so they replaced him.  Maybe that’s why I liked him.  He’s a normal dude who was just tired of the BS.

Over at ABC’s “The Chew”, Carla Hall is the only female co-host since Daphne Oz  left the show in August.  It feels weird without her energy and I think a new chef is needed.  Is  G. Garvin available?

Bevy Smith, formerly of Bravo‘s “Fashion Queens” is now reporting for Page Six TV on many Fox stations.  I’m glad she is back on TV but we all know she should be hosting “Fashion Police” with comedian Sommore, Andre Leon Talley and Lloyd Boston.

More Fall TV I wanna see…

The 69th Annual Emmy Awards airs on CBS this Sunday, September 17th.  It’s my Superbowl. I’ll have my snacks and cheer loudly at the TV when someone I like wins.  I’ll hate most of the speeches, but some folks I will be rooting for are: Brian Tyree Henry, Titus BurgessNeal DeGrasse Tyson, Angela Bassett and Aziz Ansari for “Master of None” and Ron Cephas Jones.   If Leslie Jones wins for “SNL that would be amazing.

BET’s most recent try at a Late Night talk show, “The Rundown with Robin Thedeis executive produced by comedy veteran Chris Rock who knows a thing or two about producing a late night talk show. (remember Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell?) Thede is a comedian and was head writer on “The Nightly Show“, something few if any black women can say.  ‘The Rundown’ is described as a fast paced half hour look at the week’s headlines, celebrity news makers, social media buzz and pop culture trends.  I can’t say Thede stood out as a performer on “Nightly”. Perhaps comedian Mike Yard would have been a better choice to host The Rundown. We’ll see October 12th.

It was surprising when SNL fired Jay Pharoah after six years.  He quickly bounced back, landing the lead role in Showtime‘s new comedy “White Famous“.  Produced by Jamie Foxx, Pharoah plays young comedian Floyd Mooney, who must navigate tricky situations while staying true to himself and his credibility – as he strives for a career that makes him, in the words of his agent “white famous.”  Pharoah says he “connected immediately to the material”.  It premieres October 15th.

Craig Robinson guest starred on Fox’s Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and I correctly guessed Fox would cast him in a new series. “Ghostedpremiering October 1st, is a paranormal buddy comedy, spoofing Sci-Fi shows like “The X Files”. Robinson plays a former detective turned mall security guard who is forcibly recruited to join the “Bureau Underground” and investigate unexplained activity.  Adam Scott co-stars as an astro-physics professor turned bookstore employee who becomes his partner.  Scott totally ruined the movie Hot Tub Time Machine II for me and I have a feeling he will ruin this show too.   I hope I’m wrong.

Shemar Moore returns to TV in a reboot of SWAT.  Premiering November 2nd, Moore explained to E News, “This is the same name from the ‘70s show, it’s the same theme song…Those are the only similarities…we’re taking on real life,” Moore said. “It’s just what’s happening today…It’s not just black vs. blue…it’s fear, racism, terrorism, subject matter of today.”   Honestly?  I see enough of that on the news.  I’ll be checking for how Shemar looks in that SWAT uniform.  Don’t judge me.

Fresh from “The Carmichael Show,  David Alan Grier hosts game showSnap Decision” on GSN and syndication. Contestants are asked to make snap judgements about three random strangers.  “Face Value” on BET has the same premise.   It’ll be interesting to see if both shows survive.  Meanwhile, Byron Allen’s Entertainment Studios premieres “Funny You Should ask” featuring comedians who give hilarious answers to questions asked by contestants. Jon Kelly, formerly of Extra TV hosts.

Finally, congratulations to “United Shades of America with W. Kamau Bell“, winning best unstructured reality program, at this weekend’s Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Dave Chappelle won his very first Emmy for hosting “SNL”  last November.  Bandleader/musician Rickey Minor won outstanding music direction Andre “RuPaul” Charles, for Outstanding Host For A Reality Or Reality-Competition Program and “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah won the Outstanding Short Form Variety Series Emmy.  

 

 

 

TV I’m looking forward to this fall

TV Guide’s annual Fall preview issue was a huge deal to me.  At my Gran Gran’s house, I would curl up in my uncle’s chair, read every page and write down which shows I planned to watch.  Below is some of what I am watching this fall.

CBS’s “Me, Myself and I” looks promising. It stars Bobby Moynihan from SNL and TV legend John Larroquette.  The secret weapon tho, is the return of Jaleel White. Yeah, he plays the stereotypical black best friend but I don’t care.  I have been waiting for him to be cast in a new comedy for years!  Now we can see him flex those comedic chops we know hes got.  I hope the writing doesn’t suck. The promos look good.

ABC’S The Mayor looks funny.  I think it’s because Yvette Nicole Brown stars in it. I truly enjoy her as a comedic actress. She plays mom to star Brandon Michael Hall’s character Courtney Rose, a young rapper who decides to run for mayor as a way to drum up publicity for his mixtape. He wins the election and hilarity ensues. Daveed Diggs of ABC’s “Blackish” and “Hamilton” fame is one of the Executive producers and writes original music for the show. Larry Wilmore is helping out on the writing team too!  He wrote for Blackish and helped Issa Rae bring Insecure to TV.  I smell a hit show….

I’m curious to see how Shonda Rimes is going to end ABC’S “Scandal“.  I stopped watching 2 seasons ago when Olivia moved in to the White House with Fitz and other ridiculous stuff started happening. What happened to the smart, feisty independent woman Oliva Pope was?   Hopefully Shonda will pull Scandal from the abyss of ridiculousness so it can go out with the respect it deserves.

I’m also wondering how CBS’s “Hawaii 50” plans to explain the departures of original cast members Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park.  They boldly asked to be paid comparably to the stars of the show and left the series when denied.  I cared more about their characters than stars Scott Caan and Alex O’Loughlin.

I’ve wondered where actor Cress Williams has been.  He played the ex-football playing Mayor on the CW’s “Hart of Dixie“, but many know him as “Scooter” Kadijah’s boyfriend on “Living Single”. Well folks, he is the star of CW’s “Black Lightning”. Produced by Mara Brock Akil, and Salim Akil, “Black Lightning” is a superhero who comes out of retirement to fight for justice.  It premieres mid season, and will definitely be on my watch list.

Fellow Chicagoan Deon Cole is killing the TV game right now with 4 shows!  This fall he brings his hilarious “Blackish” alter ego, Charlie to Freeform‘s “Grownish” starring Yara Yashidi.  It follows Dre and Bow’s oldest daughter Zoe at college. Charlie is an adjunct marketing professor at the school.   That alone is a reason to watch.

Cole is also hosting BET’s “Face Value”. Executive produced by comedian Wanda Sykes, Face Value is a game show where contestants answer questions about people based on nothing but their appearance. Tiffany Haddish formerly of The Carmichael Show and breakout star of the movie “Girls Trip ” co-hosts.  BET hasn’t had any success with game shows but this one might be a keeper.

Keenan Thompson is developing a kids sketch show for Nickolodeon. According to Deadline Hollywood, “Skoogle” will feature Thompson as the voice of  the titular Skoogle, an Siri/Alexa-like digital assistant for kids, created to help with their daily problems. Along with his cast of kid entrepreneur inventors, Skoogle will satirize everything from service apps to streaming entertainment to social media.  This seems like fun.

There is more…much more…stay tuned.

 

 

 

Stuff that’s just wrong…

The fact that Liquid Plumber thinks the only way to sell us their product is to show us random ass cracks.  No.  It’s just wrong.

Somebody at CBS thought Candy Crush would be a good night time game show.  Um…no. That’s wrong too.

Comedy Central used to be the place where you could catch a comedy special or three on Saturday night.  That’s where I saw Katt Williams for the first time as well as Charlie Murphy, Bill Burr and other comedians out there on the circuit.  Now Comedy Central is chock full of classic comedy movies (how many times are they going to rerun “Coming to America“?)  or recent movies that flopped at the box office (see Joe Dirt II).  It’s boring and it’s wrong people.  Bring back stand-up on Saturday night Comedy Central!

Steve Harvey is on TV all day every friggin day and it needs to stop!  There are other talented comedians capable of hosting shows.  Over saturation of any personality is WRONG!

The fact that after a year, Larry Wilmore is not back on TV with another talk show. There is nothing like “The Nightly Show” on air right now. This is WRONG.

BET’s “The New Edition Story” was not nominated for any kind of Emmy.  That’s sooooo WRONG!

Those Twix candy bar commercials where you’re asked to choose between left Twix and right Twix.  WTF??? It’s just a candy bar!  Eat it and move on people!

Why did Dos Equis beer replace the original “Most Interesting Man In The World” ? When did he suddenly become uninteresting?  What is the criteria? Replacing him was wrong.  I need answers.

Tyra Banks as host of America’s Got Talent is wrong.  I’m sorry but she adds no excitement to the festivities.  Marlon Wayans would have been great.  He’s silly, zany and can react to performers comically.

I’ve tried to accept Mr. Clean’s new image. But seriously, Mr. Clean saucily shaking his well muscled booty while mopping the floor?  It just feels wrong to me.  Isn’t there supposed to be some kind of mention about getting rid of dirt, grime and grease?  

Finally, Samuel L. Jackson singing “Let’s Stay Together” on those Capital One commercials is ALL KINDS OF WRONG! RevAl Green is still alive and I bet he is shaking his fist (full of dollars, I hope) at the TV every time that commercial airs. Why Capital One?  Whyyyyy?

Summer TV Salad

Summer TV is usually a salad of shows that got cancelled during the past season or are being tried out to see if it can find an audience.

For example, Doubt is currently being burned off on CBS on Saturday nights.   It stars Dule Hill, Laverne Cox and Katherine Heigl.   The show had potential until they put Heigl in the cast.

The Carmichael Show came back in July and NBC totally squandered the opportunity to keep it on the network. Critics gushed over its social relevancy and how creator and star Jerrod Carmichael was influenced by TV icon Norman Lear. The show touched on timely and relevant issues specific to the black community. Then it went on hiatus for so long that I asked TV critic Matt Roush if it was ever coming back. Carmichael leaked the news that he and NBC couldn’t come to an agreement so, it wasn’t coming back.   I knew NBC would drop the ball on this.  I mean, they gave Tamron Hall’s spot to Megan Kelly even though Tamron’s ratings were solid.  What replaced Carmichael?  The embarrassingly stereotypical “Marlon” starring Marlon Wayans and Essence Atkins.

Speaking of embarrassing, what is going on over at the Centric network?  They branded themselves as “the only multi platform that celebrates the diverse and beautiful world of black women”.  Yet the content of their programming is a showcase of crappy reality shows (see “From The Bottom Up”) and ratchet, poorly written sitcoms.  Who is watching “Beauty and The Baller“?  Black women are more than arm pieces for basketball players or former felons starting over.  A lot of women are home on Saturday nights. The OWN network found success programming wholesome reality shows focusing on every day issues like raising kids and climbing out of debt.  Since OWN is moving more into premium thoughtful dramas, Centric can take the wholesome reality genre and run.

After a disastrous run on ABC’s The View, actress Raven Symone is back on the Disney Channel with “Raven’s Home“.  A continuation of her hit series That’s so Raven, she’s divorced with two kids, one of whom shares the same psychic powers as she.  It’s wholesome family fun.

I really loved Jennifer Lopez’s “World Of Dance” and was in awe of dancers Les Twins.  Their ability to show enormous emotion coupled with dance moves so unique, they left me breathless.  There was no question they would win the 1 million dollars.

Lastly, ABC’s Bachelorette with Rachel whatever her name is, was a hot mess as always. Oh, you thought it would suddenly make sense because it was a black lady? Ha!  That was time you’ll never get back.