Fly Like Paper

Jim and PamI have been a faithful watcher of The Office nearly from its beginning and have loved the vast majority of its 184 episodes.  Naturally, Steve Carell’s departure left an obvious, gaping hole and at first, I admit I did think they should have ended the series when he left.  But this ninth and final season has been better, not quite hitting the bar set by those first few seasons, but much improved from the last couple.  I still do feel that the show has run its course and I’m glad this is the last season but I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that is sad to see it go.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote this:

“I am bothered by the developments that this season has brought to the Halpert family.  Jim and Pam haven’t always been the focus of the show but their chemistry and the evolution of their relationship has been a constant.  Some viewers felt it got a bit stagnant after they got married and started their family but I always felt that theirs was a natural relationship.  After all, what marriage doesn’t lose some of its zeal after the realities of daily life and the demands of family set in?  They stuck by each other and that was enough reward for me.  Earlier on in this season, when Jim pursued a career change and lost sight of Pam’s needs and wants, I felt this, too, was an organic and plausible story line.  But I expected one of them to close the gap.  To sacrifice for the other and for their family.  To stop communicating so poorly, to take a leap of faith, to lay it all out once and for all.  Whether it would be Jim sacrificing his dream job or Pam sacrificing their comfortable life in Scranton, I expected one of them to give in.

One could argue that families fall apart all the time.  Divorce in America is by no means an uncommon thing and this show has always maintained a commitment to exposing the sad, dreary aspects of the mundane lives of the working class.  Perhaps the destruction of the Halpert family is just one more harsh reality.  Jim and Pam may be no more special than any other couple who falls in love, gets married, raises a family and eventually grows apart.  I couldn’t call it unrealistic.  But it certainly isn’t what I expected, nor is it what I want to see.  Sink or swim, I want to see Jim and Pam together.”

Last night’s episode finally gave me what I’d been waiting for.  It was emotional, subtle, tender and it moved me to tears.  And it surprised me.  No surprise that The Office, with a mere 3 episodes left, still has the ability to make me tear up, but surprised that I doubted it would.  While the American series differs in a great many ways from its British point of origin, it has kept true to the pace that the show’s creators set.  They know just how long to keep you waiting, to make you damn near desperate for the pay-off, so much so that you’re even beginning to doubt you’ll get it.  We saw it with Tim and Dawn in the original series and even though Jim and Pam are really very different characters whose story has veered from that of their British counterparts, they’ve held true to the remarkable sense of timing that makes even something as small and ordinary as a hug feel monumental.

Paper Airplane

Yes, it’s true.  The Office: I will miss you.

~Nikki

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Just Another Random Monday

The Ricky Gervais Show is over.  Forever.  Probably.  This is what Ricky said about it recently on his blog:

“So I don’t think I’m going to do a fourth series of The Ricky Gervais Show.  39 episodes is more than I’ve ever done for any other project (Yes. I know that’s pathetic but trust me.) and I don’t want to push my luck.  I think the show has steadily grown in both quality and popularity and I’d love to go out on a high so to speak.  My worry is that as we’ve used up all the best material we’d have to record hours and hours of new stuff and it might ruin the naivety of the whole thing.  Never say never though, like The Office.  But certainly for now.”

Season 3 was just as good as 1 and 2, in my opinion.  I watched the final episode (ever?…*weeps*) the other night and laughed out loud a number of times.  I know the world at large watches for Karl, to hear the absurdities that come out of his mouth, but it’s Stephen who always cracks me up.

Here’s a glimpse of Ricky’s upcoming project with Jerry Seinfeld, something about comedians and coffee…  So, they’re just going out for coffee?  Hmm… hope there’s more to it than that.

Just saw the teaser for the next season of SOA.  Check it:

Mad kudos to whoever does the music for that show.  They hit the nail on the head every fucking time.

Finally finished Homeland, that intoxicatingly smart Showtime series with Claire Danes and Damian Lewis.  Season 2 kicks off Sept. 30.  I don’t know if all the new episodes have been taped already but hopefully Danes’ pregnancy won’t interfere.  Congrats to her, of course, but you know I’m selfishly only worried about how it’ll affect me.  In my defense, that show would not work without her.  Everyone involved is great but Danes is the crux.  She is insanely talented and engaging to watch.  Plus, she’s beautiful without too much make-up or surgery or anything and thin in a natural way, not like she works out 10 hours a day or starves herself.  And she always takes really smart, strong roles.  So, yeah, she’s the shit.

What with the mad success of the British series Sherlock, CBS has decided to try a hand at its own re-vamp of the classic sleuth stories.  Johnny Lee Miller is set to play Sherlock and Watson will be played by Lucy Liu in Elementary, coming this fall.  Yeah, you read that right.  It’s Dr. Joan Watson in this latest version and the investigative pair will live and work in NYC.  Not sure if either will attempt an English accent but I have to admit, with a female Watson and Sherlock anywhere but London, it doesn’t much matter.  As much as I’d like to keep an open mind, I already feel fairly certain that this will likely suck.

Sherlock, thankfully, is set to have at least one more season, though it probably won’t air for another 6 to 8 months.  No worries… it’s totally worth waiting for. 🙂

~Nikki

You Must Be Outside Your Mind

Well, the Brits are back and Sunday night is, once again, my favorite TV night of the week.  What with the loss of Dexter and Shameless, Sunday night television was beginning to feel like a barren wasteland, but April 22 brought with it the very long-anticipated Season 3 premiere of The Ricky Gervais Show.  And what was the topic of conversation during that first episode?  You guessed it: another of Karl’s asinine movie pitch ideas.  Let’s recap, shall we?

Season 2 movie pitch: Clive Warren (that’s Karlspeak for Clive Owen) and Rebecca DeMournay star as a lovely couple; Clive gets hit by a car and is in a coma; Morgan Freeman plays the doctor who then advises DeMournay to either pull the plug on her beau or allow Freeman to transplant half of Clive’s brain into her head.  Grief-stricken, she accepts half of her love’s brain in exchange for half of her own, which creates a duality within her because she now has two people’s thoughts, always.  She overhears (of course, because his thoughts are now in her head) Clive call out to some other woman.  She goes searching for this other woman, Leslie, fearing he’d had an affair during his life.  Clive’s half of the brain then dominates Rebecca’s, confesses to his mistress, Leslie, that part of his brain is inside Rebecca’s head, and Rebecca and Leslie then decide to be together.

Season 3 movie pitch: this film begins with a man, Bryan, and his girlfriend watching the 7th installment of Mission: Impossible, starring Tom Cruise.  The girlfriend is a Cruise fan but the gentleman doesn’t care for him.  This man is a struggling actor who has not yet found his break.  During the filming of Mission: Impossible 8, Tom Cruise is severely injured on set.  News breaks of the accident while Bryan is driving to work.  Bryan is distracted in celebration over Cruise’s demise, gets into a near-fatal car crash and is rushed to the hospital.  Some time later, he awakes and is told that his brain was implanted into Tom Cruise’s body, which apparently was donated after his terrible accident.  Bryan is asked to fill in to complete the filming of Mission: Impossible 8 – his big break!  He sort of assumes Cruise’s career but finds he isn’t as happy as he’d have thought, since his girlfriend is a bit too pleased with his new appearance and career and he ultimately finds himself posing the question: “Who are we?  Are we the people in our body, or the people we look like?”  (Karl’s exact words.)  Poor Bryan has become a person he never liked.

Basically, what we’ve learned is that Karl is kind of obsessed with the idea of a brain transplant, something that is utterly impossible, by the way, though Karl claims scientists are working tirelessly to make it a reality.  What fucking medical journals are you reading, Karl???

All nonsense aside, it’s so good to have the boys back.

~Nikki

Do You See What I See

As you read just the other day, Silent House was a big let-down.  But, while waiting for the shitfest to begin, we did get to see some outstanding movie trailers that are a promise for a new day at the cinema.

You’ve all seen the teaser for Prometheus, but have you seen this?

Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace and Idris Elba…it’s all but impossible not to get my hopes up.  Seriously, it looks like a new, modern, CGI-filled Alien!

Also on the horizon, an intriguing new mystery/thriller featuring our favorite John Cusack as Edgar Allen Poe:

God, I love John Cusack.  And the dark, tormented works of Mr. Poe.  I so hope The Raven does justice to them both.

And finally, one that we did not see in the movie theater but something I just couldn’t resist sharing with you, because I’m more excited about this than anything else…

Someday, Ricky G., Stephen Merchant, Annie and I will all be bff’s.  IT WILL HAPPEN.  You hear that, Universe???  Make it happen!!

Have a great weekend. 🙂

~Nikki

I’m So Excited.. and I Just Can’t Hide It

For reals guys.

There is SO. MUCH. HAPPENING. THE. NEXT. FEW. WEEKS!!!!!!!!!

First of all, by some strange, cosmic alignment, Nikki and I both happen to be going on week-long vacays at the same time, and to the same freaking TIME-ZONE, the last week of March.  Nikki – to the Pacific northwest, and Annie, to VIVA LAS VEGAS!   Our anticipation of these events is pretty much all-encompassing at this point.  So, we’ll probably be taking that week off, blog-wise.

When we return though, at the beginning of April, it will be the FIRST BIRTHDAY of ravingmadscientists!!!  We’re way pumped for this little milestone.  Personally, I can’t believe we’ve posted 3-5 times a week for FIFTY-TWO WEEKS.  (Well, minus the one week we’re taking off just prior to this anniversary)  It boggles my mind.  I had wanted a blog for SOOOOO LONG but never got up the gumption, was scared, whatever, and it took meeting my girl Nik and her saying randomly one day, “Hey, you wanna start a blog together?”, that my brain responded as if Bill Murray had just proposed marriage:  “YES YES OMG YESSS!!!!”  I’ve been looking back through our collection of posts; I find some things hilarious, some heartwarming, some frustrating, some silly, but more than all of that, the entire thing is a freaking magical time capsule/diary of everything we’ve seen, heard, watched, loved and loathed for the past year.  It’s an awesome feeling of accomplishment and nostalgia.  If anyone of you enjoys reading what we write, that’s even more incredible.  So, thanks for checking us out, if you do on the regular, have in the past, or just stumbled across this page for the first time.  A thousand times… THANK YOU!! 🙂 🙂

On to pop-culture related items we’re all in a lather for:

  1. The season 2 finale of The Walking Dead!  Oh WOW this show is incredible, and the last few episodes have left me sobbing, screaming at the TV, or pulling my hair out and yelling “HOLY SHIT” repeatedly to no one.  The previews for this Sunday’s finale look like a right bloodbath; I think I might actually suffer some sort of medical event while watching.  It looks that crazy.  I swear to GOD if anything happens to Darryl Dixon, there will be blood.

    Mad Men

    Image via Wikipedia

  2. The Hunger Games!  OMFG, Nikki and I both adore this trilogy, which we’ve discussed plenty in this venue, and we definitely plan on seeing this while we’re on our trips.  I foresee some bribes being made or punches thrown over who writes the review!!  One thing I am loving at this point:  That they haven’t really showed any of the actual games on trailers or previews.  THANK YOU movie marketing team, for once doing something right!
  3. The return of Mad Men!  Sweet Christ, it’s only been what, 17 months, or something fucking completely insane?  I don’t give a rat’s rear what went on behind the scenes; Matt Weiner sounds kind of like a weiner, but he does make this awesome show.  The buzz on season 5 is that it’s the best and craziest yet.  I wanna know what happened to Joan’s little baby Sterling and Don’s MARRIAGE to that secretary that I totally loved.  God, this show is so much WIN.  March 25th, baby!
  4. Game of Thrones, season 2!  Omyjesus, if the trailer I posted the other day doesn’t get your juices flowin’, you are definitely dead inside.  I CANNOT WAIT for this.  CANNOT.  I can’t express this enough.  APRIL 1ST..
  5. The Ricky Gervais show (Season 3)! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH SERIOUSLY SO MANY AWESOME THINGS HAPPENING BRAIN CANNOT TAKE THE ANTICIPATION.  We’ve long touted our intense love for all things Gervais and Merchant, and we straight up adore the shit out of the animated series that puts podcasts to drawings.  So adorable, so completely hilarious.
The Ricky Gervais Show (animated series)

Image via Wikipedia

Sigh.  It’s all pretty overwhelming, to be honest.  But we’re sooo happy to have so much awesomeness to be looking forward to.  And just as excited to write about it.  Gotta keep adding to the time capsule. 🙂 🙂

~Annie

Do That Voodoo That You Do So Well

The boys are back and in full comedic form.  The latest TV series to come from the collective mind of the Gervais/Merchant partnership, Life’s Too Short, debuted this past Sunday on HBO.  The faux documentary stars Warwick Davis as himself, or rather, a fictional version of himself whose wife is leaving him, whose career has stalled out and whose accountant is royally screwing him.  And he has an ego the size of Montana, which is over-inflated to compensate for his extreme insecurity.

Sound at all familiar?  Of course it does.  Davis’s fictional alter ego is reminiscent of David Brent and the buffoon Andy Millman became after briefly achieving success.  His accountant is pretty much the same as Darren, Stephen Merchant’s character in Extras except he’s an accountant rather than a talent agent.  Each episode features a guest star in the form of an A-lister playing an outlandish version of him/herself just as every episode of Extras did.  The thing is, though, at least during this first episode, none of it (with the exception of the incompetent accountant) felt old or played out.  There are enough differences that Davis’s character feels original and those tactics we’ve come to expect of our two favorite British writers do not fail to entertain.

Davis gives an engaging performance and guest star Liam Neeson shines in his short but hilarious cameo.  I think it’s common for comedians, hell for writers and directors of all kinds, to do multiple projects with similar themes.  Clint Eastwood sticks to tragic tales, Sophia Coppola does stories about disaffected young women, Nora Ephron writes romantic comedies, you get the picture.  This kind of dry, ironic comedy centering on an egomaniacal/pathologically insecure character is the signature shtick of Gervais and Merchant.  I think there are enough differences in their projects that they aren’t just regurgitated versions of the same story.  Oh yeah, and Cemetery Junction was entirely different.

If you enjoyed The Office (U.K.) or Extras or the jokes Ricky gave at last year’s Golden Globes (do not go by this year’s performance, it was uncharacteristically tame), watch the premiere of Life’s Too Short.  You won’t regret it.  I didn’t.

~Nikki

Not Too Close, Love

In honor of the close of yet another work week, I give you the top 6 “professional” TV characters I love to watch but with whom I could NEVER work:

1. Dwight Shrute, The Office (U.S.)  Every workplace has one:  the insufferable know-it-all who actually knows very little about most everything.  Dwight brown noses the boss, values strength and power in a way reminiscent of the archaic Neanderthal and is so obsessed with strict adherence to the rules, he often forgoes all logic.  An absolute nightmare of a co-worker but a riot to watch on television.

2. Darren Lamb, Extras  The affable talent agent/part-timer at the Car Phone Warehouse, Darren, is mind-numbingly stupid.  More of a hindrance than a help to his client, so careless he can’t ever remember the name of the sitcom in which his only working client stars!  Stephen Merchant plays the incompetent fool with such sweet, child-like innocence and nerdy goofiness, you can’t help but like him.  You also can’t help feeling sorry for the poor actor who made the mistake of hiring him.

3.Vince Masuka, Dexter  Though he seems reasonably good at his job as a forensic lab analyst, Masuka is so foul-mouthed and filthy he makes you forget why he’s there.  Not that I don’t love a good dirty joke, it’s just that this guy takes every joke five steps too far.  From the safety of my living room, his raunchiness provides comic relief to this otherwise dark and disturbing series.  If I were a member of the Miami Homicide team, I’d rather spend my time with the other lab geek – you know, the serial killer.

4. Leslie Knope, Parks and Recreation  While Knope’s constant enthusiasm and impossible optimism are what keep us hanging around week after week, I’m sure I’d end up in a cage match with her before the end of one 40-hour work week if she were my boss.

5. Karen Walker, Will & Grace  Listen, Karen Walker and Jack McFarland, together, were the only reason to watch this show.  Megan Mullally knocked it out of the park every single episode as the always-drunk, stinking rich, snobby New York-ite who went to work only to catch up on lost sleep.  Ahh, if only real-life drunks were as charming and hilarious as Karen.

6. Jane Williams, Happy Endings  Jane’s control-freak, obsessively perfect while simultaneously absurdly silly persona works, somehow, on-screen.  This combination could ONLY work on TV; no such OCD nutjob could possibly win me over in reality.  Eliza Coup sells it, though, making Jane one of my favorites.

~Nikki