Bojack Horseman – PART DEUX

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“The key to being happy isn’t a search for meaning, it’s to just keep yourself busy with unimportant nonsense, and eventually you’ll be dead.”

A line from Netflix’s newest animated comedy, Bojack Horseman. Yeah, that’s right, I said comedy. Not too long ago I watched the first episode. I thought it was a good show that had a handful of funny moments, thanks to Jessie Pinkman and Gob Bluth, along with a fine supporting cast. I was not ready for the heartbreaking tour de force I was about to witness. As a whole, it’s one of the best shows about isolation and depression that I’ve ever seen. Again, this show’s billed as Netflix’s new original animated COMEDY.

Maybe it’s out there, but I’ve never come across a show that balances bleak and silly so well. One moment Bojack is pleading for Diane to tell him he’s a good person, the next  Mr. Peantbutter and Todd are pitching a “Halloween in January” store. Each character gets screen time to show how depression can affect you. Obviously there is Bojack and the life that is his mess. He slowly realizes that he’s only ever taken from people and never gave anything of himself. Truly a parasite. Todd hits hard times when he’s betrayed by his best friend. Performing a rock opera was his life dream. Not only did he not get support from Bojack, he was manipulated for the horse’s gain. We’ve all been used, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Princess Carolyn is generally alone. She works hard, is generally around people most of the time, but is utterly alone. Nobody in her life genuinely cares for her. Bojack’s resurgence into her love life ends with them realizing they are only with each other because they share the solitary that is their lives. The image of her spending her fortieth birthday alone is piercing to the heart.

I couldn’t get over what the show would deal with sometimes. Bojack’s opinion on the military, Herb Kazazz’s unforgiving stance, Diane’s disappointing family, Bojack’s abusing parents, all are things the viewers have been through. I never expected to have these types of feelings watching a cartoon. But that I am is a good thing. Animated shows shouldn’t automatically be classified as for children anymore.

May I make a bold statement? This is the best work of Will Arnett’s career. I know, we all love Arrested Development, and Arnett is fantastic in it. Here though, he’s the top billing carrying the bulk of the show. He’s been a sitcom journeyman ever since Arrested Development was cancelled. Mostly garbage NBC shows, with a few funny side roles in films. It feels like something has finally stuck with Bojack Horseman. What Secretariat was to Bojack, perhaps Bojack Horseman is to Will Arnett. Just an amazing performance by a deserving actor.

Let me reassure you that the show is very, VERY funny. It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s an arsenal of comedic warfare on display. You have the reoccurring jokes, the finer details (like Arrested Development, the background of scenes are almost just as funny), the dumb comedy (there’s a character called Vincent Adultman), references (Peanuts, Breaking Bad, The Thing), to name a few. If you’re still on the fence, just YouTube any clip with Mr. Peanutbutter.

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BoJack Horseman

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“Why so gloomy, roomy?”

Netflix is truly a gift. I would have never gave a show like BoJack Horseman a chance if it were on regular cable. Hell, I doubt it would be on television. But since it’s already out there, all episodes finished and ready to be devoured, I gave it a try. And I’m glad I did.

BoJack is a washed up former actor. He happens to also be a horse. The character is pretty much every character Will Arnett has every played, but as an animal. The show seems to be about his rise back to some sort of relevancy. His first step is writing a memoir. Easier said than done you can imagine.

The show has a bunch of different comedic elements to it. From throw up gags to horse puns. Some hit, some miss. It never gets dull, though. The characters are what stand out. First you have Todd, BoJack’s stoner roommate. He’s played by the beloved Aaron Paul. My favorite character of the cast, he just nails it. The writers give him good material and he doesn’t let it go to waste. Amy Sedaris portrays BoJack’s ex-girlfriend/manager. She happens to also be a cat. I don’t think they really care about the compatibility of animals when it comes to dating on this show. Or animals and people for that matter. And finally we have, Mr. Peanutbutter. He’s a dog. He’s charismatic. He’s BoJack’s arch rival. It’s hilarious watching those two exchange words.

It’s only been the first episode so far, but it’s certainly promising. I strongly recommend it for anyone who likes animated comedies. If you like Will Arnett and Aaron Paul then you’ll be doubly pleased. Keep it up, Netflix. You’re making all the right moves.

The Strain – “For Services Rendered”

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I planned on reviewing episodes seven and eight together but this episode was too damn good. Shall we start with that opening scene? I mean, come on. That’s how you do horror. Frantic woman trying to convince too relaxed guy? Check. Idiot cab driver who doesn’t drive away when he witnesses a fanged tongue shoot at him? Check. Relaxed guy’s face when he figures out his wife is a monster (or more of a monster than usual)? Priceless. The actor may I add was fantastic in the way he freaked out over the creatures. It’s honestly what I would have sounded like. A thrilling start to the episode, with it cutting just before his wife fully gets her stinger out.

Setrakian explains to Eph that to defeat this disease you need to cut the head off the worm. Clearly Eph is skeptical, seeing as how that makes no sense in the scientific world, but if he hadn’t noticed, there are fucking vampires on the loose. I think science is off the table from now on, old pal. The way to get to “The Master” is first through Jim. He’s the backstabber, he’s the first link. Funny to see how Eph refused initially to go back to his betrayer. It’s incredible how people hold grudges. Even during the end of times.

We get deeper and deeper into the relationship between Eichorst and Setrakian. Their conversation about having a choice and taking a chance was riveting. The conversations between Eichorst and both old and young Setrakian are always my favorite part of the episode. It was a perfect lead in to the chase in the subway. I’d never seen Richard Sammel before. Apparently he was in Inglorious Bastards. The man does a bang up job in this show as the villain. The way he said, “Consider your wife dead” to Jim was harrowing. He almost seemed perky. Really great stuff, and adding that with Setrakian’s hatred towards him makes magic.

The highlight of the hour was the caretaker and her reluctance to bring those children back to their house. We knew it wasn’t going to end well for them. They eventually went back to see their father on the verge of turning and a fair glimpse of what their mother has become. All of that was great, it was intense, but it didn’t hold a candle to what came next.

Those hooded guys were BAD ASS. They are like zombie Daryl’s. I’m assuming they are some vampire half breed. They can talk. Clearly they do not like the infected. The way they dealt with the woman’s daughter was dark (although well deserved. If she’d only listened to her mother). Their appearance on the show just piqued my level of interest up a few notches. Maybe this show has a little more depth than I anticipated.

I honestly don’t know what to think of this show. It’s still not the highest of quality, like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, but it’s more than just snack food television. It’s on its way to being above The Walking Dead for me. It seems they have a genuine story, from front to finish for these characters. Well, of course they do. It’s already been written as books. But where as The Walking Dead only shows the after math, The Strain is showing everything as it happens. And even more, with Setrakian’s flashbacks. And Eph has been wearing hats more than usual to cover up that awful hair piece. This show is on the rise.

We didn’t get any Fet this episode, and only a few minutes with Gus in jail. I’m sure we will hear more from them in the next episode. Which I will be watching in a matter of moments. A top notch episode with one hell of a finisher.

A Letter for the Town

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Dear Cocksuckers,

I hope the next few paragraphs persuade you to purchase, stream, steal ( like, from your friend), pirate ( like, from the internet), the show that is “Deadwood”. It’s a western that aired on HBO from 2004-2006 before being cancelled prematurely after the third season. All of the actors gave their best performances of their careers, and launched a few to the top (Timothy Olyphant, Molly Parker, John Hawkes, Ian McShane). Others would go on to have crucial roles on other television shows, including Dayton Callie (Sons of Anarchy), Paula Malcomson (Ray Donovan), Garret Dillahunt (Raising Hope), Titus Welliver (Sons of Anarchy), Anna Gunn (Breaking Bad), among others (now that I think of it, half of the cast shows up on “SOA”). This incredible ensemble was lead by the genius who also brought us “NYPD Blue”, David Milch.

You watch “Sons of Anarchy, you experience “Breaking Bad”, but you embrace “Deadwood”. Some shows place the emphasis on their lead character. Others want to show as much gore and blood as they can. Milch’s masterpiece was about the real life town of Deadwood. That was the main character. And not only that, but it felt like YOU, dear reader, were a part of that town. Game of Thrones is gut wrenching (in the best of ways), but you don’t ever feel like a Stark or Lannister. In Breaking Bad, as tense and exciting as it is, you’re on the outside looking in. When you watch Deadwood, you are there. You can taste every shot of whiskey Steve the Drunk took. When tragedy strikes the town, you also bonded together with the townsfolk. There was a seat saved for you every important meeting at the Gem. You become a part of that community. Community. That’s what this show is in one word. About a large group of people (mostly cuthroats) forming a community in the early days of our country. And you’re a part of it.

Sad as it is, there is not much traction for a Deadwood revival. It would be near impossible to bring all of the actors back. Their contracts ended after the the third season. So if you are expecting to jump into it when a movie comes out (like Veronica Mars), you will be waiting until the end of eternity. Yet the highly praised Firefly gets petitions it seems yearly. Monthly, Daily. And I mean in no way to disrespect Firefly. But it did only get one season compared to the three Deadwood gifted us. Let me attempt a comparison. Firefly is like that one night stand that was incredible, but ended up never seeing the girl (or guy) again. Think “Before Sunrise” if they had never made sequels. Deadwood is more like Mandy Moore from “A Walk to Remember”. You spend much more time with her, she changes you for the better, you fall in love, until one day you find out she has cancer and will die shortly. Clearly “Before Sunrise” is the superior movie, but Shane West literally has his heart ripped out. That’s the feeling of not having this story run its course.

I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. Deadwood is dark. Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of laughs throughout the show. E.B is one of the funniest written characters in drama. But as you go on and get closer to the end, you will know my meaning. And while it is dark, it is life. It’s realistic. There are little people in this world who don’t always get justice. Bad people will get away with doing bad things. It reminded me of  the “Sons of Anarchy” season two finale. The main antagonist, Ethan Zobelle (played wonderfully by Adan Arkin), escapes death after all the pain he unleashed on the club. Sometimes, those guys just get away. And that’s life.

If none of the above has convinced you (and it probably hasn’t) I give you two words: Ian. McShane. As I’ve previously stated here, McShane is on the Mount Rushmore of Anti-Heroes in Drama. You are unable to take your eyes off of him from scene one. The transformation he makes from the Pilot to the last scene in Season Three is on par with Walter White, Don Draper, and Tony Soprano. I might as well state it as a fact. He is, to put it simply, a joy to watch.

And so I will end on that. There is a special kind of love I have for this show. Just browsing at pictures of the characters gives me goosebumps. It’s like looking at old friends from back home. Old memories of good times and bad. It’s not the best show ever made, but I can honestly say it’s in a league of its own. Special in it’s own fucking way. But do not fret. There is still time folks. It’s not the end of the world. To partially quote a friend of mine, “…the world ends when you’re dead…”. You’re sure as hell not dead yet. Now shut the fuck up and watch some Deadwood. Ya cocksuckers.

With Regards,

M.O. Alexander

Michael Jordan is the Michael Jordan of Michael Jordaning

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How often have you heard someone use the phrase, ” So and so is the Michael Jordan of so and so’s profession”. You know, Beethoven is the Michael Jordan of classical music. Stephen King is the Michael Jordan of horror novels. They even use it with other sports. Wayne Gretzky is the Michael Jordan of hockey! Hey, I get it. I agree with you guys. It’s overused and a bit tacky. Having said that….I’m super curious as to what would be considered the Michael Jordan of television dramas.

The thought crept up on me after viewing the True Detective finale. Those eight episodes are as good as any one season of television. Still, I couldn’t claim it to be the “Michael Jordan” of dramatic television. What I’ve decided to do is rank the best twelve players in NBA history. As well as pair them with the twelve most influential television dramas of our generation. How did I so choose the TV shows you ask? It was quite simple actually. I stole them from this. Bear in mind that this idea may or may not have come about under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Lets get to it.

12. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar / Oz

Oh boy. I just realized I’m saying Kareem is the 12th best player ever and Oz the 12th best TV show ever. Oh man. Might not have thought this through. There is one strong similarity these two have in common. You could put them in any environment and they would thrive. If Kareem (in his prime) plays for the Lakers this year, he’s the best center in the NBA. Even on that putrid squad. Sure he might get banged on defensively but he would equally be unguardable. Even in the late 90s into the early 00s I think he would be an all star caliber player. You put Wilt or Russell into this generation they become a role player. No ifs, ands, or buts. Same with Oz. That show is holding up with Game of Thrones, True Blood, Breaking Bad, and all the rest. Hell, Game of Thrones practically stole a page right from Oz’s playbook in Season 1. That show invented shocking deaths.

11. Jerry West / The Shield

Both show and player had a hell of a run. Jerry only ended up winning one title and The Shield only claimed one major award (Chiklis for Best Actor at the Emmys). To be honest, I had to put Jerry West on here. He’s the logo. I usually don’t like putting players from the older generation on here. Their stats usually don’t compare (looking at you Oscar and your garbage triple double record). I think the main link this show/player have is the high note they both left on. Jerry West ended his basketball career by being perhaps the best NBA General Manager in history. While The Shield has arguably the best finale of all time. As many of the shows on here can attest, it’s not easy to do a finale.

10. Wilt Chamberlain / LOST

One word connects both of them. Over hyped. I could of sworn that was one word. Fair enough. Two words connect these two. If you put Shaq on any team from 1950-1965 he would put up the same numbers as Wilt. Or Georgetown Ewing. Or David Robinson. They would all put up monster numbers against undersized white guys. I’m ashamed I even put him on this list. Not the first time I’ve been ashamed of myself, but still. The same goes for LOST. Yes I know the following it had (or has) and the viewership numbers it produced. But there was nothing else on network television! It had like two competitors. And one of them was House. LOST was dunking on the likes of Dr. Vegas , The Mountain , and LAX . It seemed like they both listened to their fans too much at one point. Oh you want more smoke monster answers? BOOM. Terrible episode with a cop out of an answer that never had the chance of appeasing fans. Oh you don’t think I can lead the league in not fouling out? Goes ahead and tries his best not to foul out every game to the detriment of his team. Talking about these two makes me nauseous.

9. Allen Iverson / Deadwood

This one really hurts. Deadwood should be much higher. Sadly I lumped it together with AI. My main line of thinking was this. Allen Iverson put his 76er team on his back year after year leading them to the cusp of greatness. Al Swearengen did the same for Deadwood. The town and the TV show. David Milch’s writing is some of the best I’ve seen on screen and I’m sure that’s where most of the praise for Deadwood should go. But Ian McShane put Al on the Anti Hero Mount Rushmore. It’s Walter White, Tony Soprano, Don Draper, and Al Swearengen. It’s just a shame there was so little of it to appreciate. And when you think of it, the same goes for Iverson. He had a respectable fifteen year playing career. But those three years or four years from 2000-2004 were where the magic happened. The MVP year. The practice rant. The Lue Step. Even more to his credit, he has a whole city ready to die for him. That’s how strong the love for him is in Philadelphia. On paper, Donovan McNabb should be widely as appreciated. Obviously that’s not the case. I feel the same way, as do many, about Al Swearenger. Deadwood isn’t close to being my favorite show of all time, but I can honestly say he his my favorite lead of any show. And I’d do anything to see him on the screen again.

8. Shaq Daddy / 24

Shaq was the most dominating force the league has ever seen. 24 is the most intense show that’s ever been on television (the Breaking Bad fan in me just punched me in the nuts). There’s something about Jack having to save the world in 24 hours that just keeps you on the edge of your seat. Shaq and 24 both came at the right time. 24 right around our 9/11 fear of terrorists and bombings and middle eastern looking people really took hold. And it hugely benefited from it. It took it and ran. The Diesel came right when the 90s were being born. And EVERYONE was better for it. It’s no coincidence he came into the league during the best decade ever. Unfortunately they both have been largely forgotten. People only remember Cavalier Daddy. Or the Daddy who screwed up EJ, Kenny, and Charles mojo. Same goes for Jack Bauer. People got sick of the same old after a while. Doesn’t it seem like people consider 24 a fad we all went through when Bush was president. Kind of like they never admitted to liking it. Exactly how nobody admits to liking Creed when they were all over VH1. We all did!

7. LeBron James / Buffy the Vampire Slayer

I had to put LeBron here. And I guess Buffy deserves to be here. The fact that Buffy succeeded on the WB is a feat in itself. What I should be (and will be) comparing, is LeBron and Whedon. After all is said and done they might be the top two that have ever done it. There really doesn’t seem like a brave soul that will step in and stop LBJ’s dominance. Myself? I’m hoping Silver rigs this coming draft so the Lakers get Jabari, sign Durant and Kevin Love in the next few years, Kobe forces Jabari to be sixth man and they win a ton of rings. Will it happen? Probably only the part where Kobe forces Jabari Parker to be his Manu Ginobli. As for Whedon, he will continue to successfully make Avenger movies and have fans suck all over his cock. I think he still has one great TV show left in him. Maybe two. Probably two.

6.  Kobe Bryant / Friday Night Lights

Man…have these two had their ups and downs or what? Kobe’s rape allegation. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. Kobe almost getting traded in his prime. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. Kobe having to tell Shaq how his ass taste. Tyra almost getting raped leading to Landry killing some dude. But there’s no denying the high points. Kobe’s first three peat. One of the best first seasons in TV history. Kobe’s 81 point massacre of the Raptors. Kyle Chandler winning Best Actor over Jon Hamm. Kobe wins two chips with a new cast of characters. FNL having two incredible seasons with the ghetto Panthers. Clear Eyes, Full Hearts, Black Mamba.

5. Tim Duncan / Battlestar Galactica

Tim Duncan and BSG are so disrespected Rodney Dangerfield bows before them. If TD beats the Heat last summer, he goes number 2. He plays in a small market so he clearly never gets the attention he deserves. He’s not flashy. Sticks to the basics. But he wins. Battlestar is kind of the same. It’s in a genre that doesn’t get much view time. When you want drama, Sci-Fi isn’t the first place you look (and who can blame you. Star Trek is fine but it’s not top shelf stuff). It’s a remake of a laughable 70s television show. Yet it turned itself into the most thought provoking series to air. Also influenced by 9/11, it had characters make some of the most brutal calls I’ve seen. TD and BSG get talked about far less than they should. If you put Tim in New York or you change the shows name to Stark Trek : Battlestar, then they might have gotten the recognition they deserved. Alas.

3.& 4. Magic and Bird / The Sopranos and The Wire

“The Sopranos is the best TV show in history. I mean Tony Soprano! Amiright?”.

“Dude watch The Wire. So many twists and turns. It’s a masterpiece”.

When arguing who is better between Magic and Larry it really comes down to preference. Or hometown affiliation. It’s like arguing about vanilla and chocolate ice cream. One isn’t better than the other. We just have different tastes. I would argue that goes for the top two HBO shows of all time as well. I would concede The Sopranos probably has a bigger following (like Magic) and ran for longer (just like Magics career was longer. Though it turned ugly at the end). But the faithful who claim The Wire to be the best ever will fight their point to the death. That’s how much they love their show. They’re like a cult (whereas a future show to be named is so big it’s more like a religion). I don’t know which is better and frankly I don’t care. I just know you need to watch both before you die. And like Bird and Magic, they will always be grouped together.

2. Bill Russell / Mad Men

Bill Russell is not the second most talented basketball player ever. What he is, is the way basketball should be played in the form of a man. He was never bigger than the team. True, Russell was the center piece, but he did everything in his power to make sure the people around him would succeed. He is all a basketball player should be. Mad Men is what every television show should aspire to. I don’t just mean by subject matter, but how every scene means something. There is no filler. Every actor feeds off each other while Jon Hamm leads the show. Hamm never won an Emmy (as of yet) and Russell never led the league in scoring. All he wanted to do was win, and I don’t know if Hamm felt the same way, but as a show, Mad Men dominates come award time. Guess what? It dominated during the golden age of television and AGAINST THE MICHAEL JORDAN OF TELEVISION DRAMAS.

1. Michael Jordan / Breaking Bad

I’ll let this make my point for me

I’d make an Honorable Mention list but I think this was enough of a disaster. All I wanted to say was Breaking Bad is the Michael Jordan of TV shows.

I love you, Mijo

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Nah…we don’t want to do this. That’s what I told my hands as they signed me up for this site. Me? Write a blog? Do I really want to be just another statistic? I’m already the guy who exclaims, “WAIT?! You HAVEN’T seen Breaking Bad yet?! It’ is the best drama ever to grace television. What? No, dude. The Wire isn’t even close. So what if they used real gang bangers. Breaking Bad is…I honestly can’t believe you haven’t watched it yet”. My “douche” level is pretty high already. I don’t need to raise it by starting my own blog.

But here I am. AND HERE I STAND. Sorry. Still on that Frozen kick. I’m doing this because I don’t enjoy verbally speaking to people. At the same time, I NEED to let people know how I feel about the True Detective finale. The public has a right to know what my favorite books of 2013 were. And for the love of god, do you not yearn for horribly placed Road House references?! Hell, maybe yer all too stupid to have a good time.

Listen. The odds of this post being read, let alone this blog, is a million to one. Yeah, I’m saying there’s a chance, but I’m not celebrating like Lloyd Christmas. I’m content with being a safety net in case you need some garbage to read. Hopefully you all will have taught me as much as I ever taught you. Okay. Alright. That reference was unnecessary, but it’s one of the best moments in the film. Long story short, I plan on being the Wade Garrett to your Dalton.

I love you, Mijo.

Some quick points

  • The majority of what I write will probably be movie/television related. I don’t claim to know much about either. For example, I tend to say things like “The cinematography in Prisoners was really good”. To be honest, cinematography just makes me think of cinnamon. So there’s that. These posts will just be venting, moments after finishing a certain episode. You will not find the next incarnation of Alan Sepinwall here.
  • Reading is a passion of mine. There should be a fair amount of rambling about Fantasy novels. I can almost guarantee a post on why Boromir is the greatest Middle Earth character.
  • I tend to make lists. Top 10 lists to be exact. If I recall correctly, the first book I ever read was “David Letterman’s Book of Top Ten Lists“. We also share the same hair deficiency. I’ve already thought about making a Top Ten list of Top Ten Lists. So far it’s a battle between Letterman and Sportscenter Not Top Ten.