The Gilmore Girls Life Series, Episode One: Gilmore Girls, Looking Back (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in March 2017, our panel of resident Gilmore Girls–including moderator Kristen, Krista, Chelsea L., Samantha, and Kylie–gathered together to Look Back and reminisce about fan favorite, romantic comedy drama Gilmore Girls. This is the first part of a CPU! podcast miniseries examining one of our favorite television programs, which will connect to “Water Cooler” coverage of the revival Netflix series “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.”  If you have not watched any of Gilmore Girls, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS.  Tell us what you think in the comments below, and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Gilmore Girls” (The Gilmore Girls Life Series, Episode One; MAJOR SPOILERS) + Time Magazine’s 100 Greatest TV Shows of All-TIME + The Hollywood Reporter’s 100 Favorite Shows (#51)

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Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

Who: “Gilmore Girls,” a comedy-drama series that aired on the WB, and later the CW, from 2000 to 2007.

What: Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show follows single mother Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) while living in the fictional town of Stars Hollow, Connecticut.  The series explores issues of family, friendship, and romance, as well as generational divides and social class.  The show’s social commentary manifests most clearly in Lorelai’s difficult relationship with her wealthy, appearance-obsessed parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore (Kelly Bishop and Edward Herrmann), and in Rory’s interactions with the students at private school Chilton Academy and, later, Yale University.

SYNOPSIS

Lorelai Gilmore (Graham) grew up with her old money parents, Richard and Emily (Herrmann and Bishop), in Hartford, Connecticut, but always felt stifled by this environment. At age sixteen, she accidentally became pregnant and, a year later, left home to raise her daughter Rory (Bledel) in the close-knit town of Stars Hollow. Lorelai and Rory are “best friends,” and Lorelai is proud of the independent life she has formed away from her parents.

The contrasting mother–daughter relationships of Emily–Lorelai and Lorelai–Rory become a defining theme of the show. The series also focuses on both girls’ ambitions: Rory to become a journalist and Lorelai to open an inn with her best friend Sookie St. James (Melissa McCarthy). The romantic relationships of the protagonists are another key feature: throughout the series, Lorelai has a “will-they-or-won’t-they” dynamic with both Rory’s father, Christopher Hayden, and her friend, local diner owner Luke Danes (Scott Patterson). In addition, Rory famously has three primary boyfriends during the run of the show: local boy Dean Forrester (Jared Padalecki), bad boy Jess Mariano (Milo Ventimiglia), and wealthy Logan Huntzberger (Matt Czuchry), prompting many fans to vehemently declare their allegiance to whichever handsome partner is their favorite. The quirky townspeople of Stars Hollow are a constant presence in the show and form a comedic backdrop for the larger dramatic events of the story.

When: The show aired for seven seasons, from 2000 to 2007, on the WB and later, in its seventh season, on the newly formed CW.

Where: The show is primarily set in fictional Stars Hollow, Connecticut, though the story frequently drifts to Hartford, Connecticut, where Lorelai’s parents live, and to New Haven, Connecticut, home of Yale University.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Gilmore Girls.

How – as in How Much Do We Love this Show?!

Frequent CPU! contributors and panelists often suggest shows for CPU! to cover in our podcast episodes – loyal listeners should have picked up on this particular trend by now. Well, when streaming service Netflix (they owe us free subscriptions, we think!) decided to rev up the passionate fandom of romantic dramedy Gilmore Girls by producing a revival miniseries for its service featuring every member of the original cast, some of the CPU!ers became decidedly atwitter and began encouraging a Gilmore podcast series in short order.  The trouble was, Chief CP Kylie had never partaken of this particular fan favorite before, and as is my wont, I decided (and needed) to review the show for possible format and addition to our delightfully full schedule of podcast discussions.

As it turns out, I find the show pleasant, like a good cup of warm coffee from Luke’s, but I think I lack passion for it, whereas our most frequent contributor and panelist Kristen abounds in said passion.  In fact, it was Kristen, specifically, who saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists could look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new season(s) of the revival are and/or may be released. Thus, herein we offer the first episode of our own miniseries covering the various versions of this popular, fast-talking, pop-culture-referencing program, which we at CPU! are calling our “Gilmore Girls Life” series.

This time, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of passion this quirky corner of Connecticut deserves, while instead participating as a regular old panelist to remark upon the pleasantness of the whole affair. Kristen and I are, in turn, joined by a familiar panelist – Krista – and two new CPU! panelists, Chelsea (L.) and Samantha.  In this first episode of our “Gilmore Girls Life” series, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the original seven seasons of Gilmore Girls, covering the lives of all of the Lorelais, their friends, their neighbors, their family, and their romantic partners.

This podcast was recorded in March 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Gilmore Girls series. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’ll return to our “Gilmore Girls Life” series “Around the Water Cooler” for part two when our panel covers the four movie-length episodes of the Netflix revival/reboot miniseries, Gilmore Girls: A Year in the LifeStay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Gilmore Girls is recommended by the entire panel, though each panelist offers different reason(s) for her recommendation.  The panelists generally describe this series as easy to which to relate; accessible to anyone in terms of ease of finding the series mid-run or watching isolated episodes; offering high re-watch value given the fast-paced, intelligent, somewhat screwball dialogue; and a pleasant, “light” presentation that is generally sweet and tender without being too emotionally exhausting from the dramatic side of the story.  Because the focus within this series centers on mother-daughter relationships over multiple generations, the panel feels that Gilmore Girls could be appreciated by most anyone of most any age.  In fact, the variation in enjoyment between members of the panel, to the extent it exists, is directly related to how amenable to romantic comedies as a genre each panelist is – for Gilmore Girls is still, ultimately, a romantic comedy at heart, preoccupied by the love lives of its main characters, before it is anything else.  Thus, this panel encourages rom-com lovers who have not watched the series to give it a try; others will likely find something they enjoy, even if it takes slightly longer for such viewers to find it.  All original seasons of Gilmore Girls are currently available to stream on Netflix.

Stranger Things, Season One (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in February 2017, our “stranger” panel of frequent CPU! panelists and TV fans – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Michael, Chelsea, and Rob – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 1 of runaway hit and Netflix original Stranger Things. If you have not watched any of Stranger Things, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Pilots, Premieres, and First Looks: “Stranger Things” – The Season One Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Stranger Things” is a science fiction-horror web television Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Stranger Things,” created, written, directed and co-executive produced by the Duffer Brothers, as well as co-executive produced by Shawn Levy and Dan Cohen, stars Winona Ryder, David Harbour, Finn Wolfhard, Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Natalia Dyer, Charlie Heaton, Cara Buono, and Matthew Modine, with Noah Schnapp and Joe Keery in recurring roles. The first season focuses on the investigation into the disappearance of a young boy by his friends, older brother, and traumatized mother, as well as the local police chief, amid supernatural events occurring around the town, including the appearance of a psychokinetic girl who helps the missing boy’s friends in their own search.

When: The first season of the series was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on July 15, 2016.

Where: The action is set in the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana, during the 1980s.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below – though it bears mentioning that Stranger Things may very well be the most popular and most requested panel/show to discuss since the inception of this humble little podcast.

How – as in How Was It?

The pilot/premiere rating scale:

***** – I HAVE TO WATCH EVERYTHING. HOLY SMOKES!

**** – Well, it certainly seems intriguing. I’m going to keep watching, but I see possible pitfalls in the premise.

*** – I will give it six episodes and see what happens. There are things I like, and things I don’t. We’ll see which “things” are allowed to flourish.

** – I will give it three episodes. Chances are, I’m mainly bored, but there is some intrigue or fascination that could hold it together. No matter how unlikely.

* – Pass on this one, guys. It’s a snoozer/not funny/not interesting/not my cup of tea… there are too many options to waste time on this one.

Stranger Things = 4.9, by average of the podcast panel.

SYNOPSIS

The Hawkins National Laboratory ostensibly performs scientific research for the US Department of Energy but secretly performs experiments into the paranormal and supernatural, including those that involve human test subjects, which start to affect the unknowing residents of Hawkins in calamitous ways.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel?  No, you didn’t.  Because for the first time in CPU!’s history, I had enough regular panelists requesting this panel to form two panels. Some members even advocated actually forming two Stranger Things panels (that’s easy for them to say when they are not also the producer and editor of the podcast!).  Be that as it may, Stranger Things was a runaway hit with the CPU! core, just as it was with the nationwide water cooler that is America when it was first released in summer 2016.

Really, what’s not to love?  If you grew up in the 1980s, this show appeals to your sense of nostalgia.  If you are older, this show and its youngest characters remind you of your adult children when they were young.  If you are younger, the child stars and characters of the series are easy to relate to because they are timeless archetypes, amalgamations of similar characters that appear throughout the pop culture of the past thirty or forty years.  In fact, the Duffer Brothers deftly pay homage to the atmosphere of the decade; the influences of auteurs on this scifi/horror drama such as Speilberg, Lucas, Scott, Carpenter, Craven, and others; and the appeal of the vintage and the tactile to an increasingly expanding group of disaffected post-millennials, who see bits of themselves in the Dungeons and Dragons playing boys or the quiet and scared yet powerful Eleven (Brown).

With that kind of popular appeal, I was afforded the opportunity to appreciate the luxury of demand and (fairly) select a sampling of those requesting to discuss Stranger Things to become this panel of CPU! faithful.  The winners were Hilary and Kyle (most frequently appearing on our superhero/comic book adaptation panels), Chelsea and Rob (two of our Game of Thrones panelists), and Michael, who typically delights in our Looking Back series.  A representative bunch, if I say so myself.

What’s more, this panel spent most of the chat gushing about this series’ first season. There was little bad or negative to say because everyone universally agreed that the creators and show-runners produced something of a zeitgeist – a character driven, nostalgia-rooted story that appeals to our basic fears and nightmares.  The story is woven tightly with an organic and logical flow, the visual presence from art direction to cinematography is perfection, and the performances were no less than stellar – so much so that the entire cast won the Best Ensemble SAG award for television drama.  If you are part of the Stranger Things fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your commonly held adoration for this unlikely sleeper hit.  Have I convinced you to listen via the embedded link below?

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we begin a new series with a brand new panel around the CPU! Water Cooler, namely “The Gilmore Girls Life” series, beginning with a Look Back at the original seven seasons of popular cult romantic dramedy Gilmore Girls, moderated by frequent panelist and increasingly more frequent moderator Kristen. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The CPU! Stranger Things podcast panel essentially recommends this show to anyone who breathes – or, at least, watches and enjoys television.  Period.  The general consensus among the panelists is that this well crafted, well written, well directed, and well performed piece offers “something for everyone” and can appeal to young and old, man and woman, people who like science fiction and horror and people who do not, and everyone and everything in between.  The only caution the panel would offer is that the program succeeds in providing some legitimate scares and moments of the disturbed or moments designed to unsettle the viewer.  With proper forewarning, though, even the most squeamish or the most overactive imaginations among the viewing audience can find something to enjoy in this perfect nosh of creepy nostalgia.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Stranger Things was (readily) renewed for a second season, which will be released to the Netflix streaming library on October 31, 2017 – Halloween, of course.  Our Stranger Things panel will reconvene some time thereafter to dissect Season Two, in or out of the Upside Down, and, as always, CPU! will stay abreast of and report all material Stranger Things coverage.  Until then!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Six, 2016-2017 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season Five; “The Flash,” Season Three; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season Two; and “Supergirl,” Season Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and newly full DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different and highly experimental here at CPU!  Because it was difficult to get everyone together during the mid-season hiatuses (hiati?) due to holidays and jobs and families and a penchant for community theater on this panel, we decided to check in with each other in advance of season’s end–when we would visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show.  This episode is cobbled together in a bit of a different format for this mid-season roundup of all four shows at once.  To wit, your main moderator and Chief CP met with each panelist individually to obtain his/her current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Five of ArrowSeason Three of The Flashand Season Two of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Also, because of the separation and the splicing together of individual interviews, Kylie decided to play a tricksy hobbitses version–Couch Potatoes Unite!’s version–of “The Newlywed Game.”  Just how well do our nerdiest panel contributors know each other? And how would they anticipate their responses to some key questions and potential opinions concerning our favorite current four show TV universe? Take a listen and see.

The episode segments were recorded with our newly full DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and adding (for the first time) frequent CPU! panelist Nick – in February and in March 2017 for this, our sixth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 6, the 2016-2017 DCTU Panel’s Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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“Moderated” by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and – brand spanking new to the panel but never to CPU! – Nick, plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator. So, basically, there is no reason to have a Marvel and DC distinction at CPU! anymore – the DCTU and Marvel Defenders panelists are the same people (and probably the most bonded of all the CPU! panels in their respective nerddom(s) as a result).

What: “Arrow,” “The Flash,” “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” and “Supergirl,” the four shows that comprise the so-called “Arrowverse” on the CW, otherwise known as the DC (Comics) Television Universe or DCTU.

When: 

  • Arrow airs Wednesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Five premiered on October 5, 2016.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season Three premiered on October 4, 2016.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow currently airs Tuesdays at 9:00 PM; Season Two premiered on October 13, 2016.
  • Supergirl airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season Two premiered – on the CW for the first time – on October 10, 2016.

Where: The action is primarily set in the DC Comics Universe, specifically in Star City (Arrow), Central City (The Flash), National City (Supergirl), and throughout space and time (“Legends”).

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full via the handy embedded links below.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the sixth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Our first episode covered the first two seasons of Arrow, our second episode covered Arrow’s third and fourth seasons, our third episode covered the first two seasons of The Flash, our fourth episode covered the first season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, and our fifth episode covered the first season of Supergirl. Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 1, “Arrow,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 2, “Arrow,” Seasons Three and Four

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons One and Two

DCTU Series, Episode 4, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season One

DCTU Series, Episode 5, “Supergirl,” Season One

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and newly full DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something completely different and highly experimental here at CPU!  Because it was difficult to get everyone together during the mid-season hiatuses (hiati?) due to holidays and jobs and families and a penchant for community theater on this panel, we decided to check in with each other in advance of season’s end–when we would visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show.  This episode is cobbled together in a bit of a different format for this mid-season roundup of all four shows at once.  To wit, your main moderator and Chief CP met with each panelist individually to obtain his/her current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season Five of Arrow, Season Three of The Flash, and Season Two of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl.  Also, because of the separation and the splicing together of individual interviews, I decided to play a tricksy hobbitses version–Couch Potatoes Unite!’s version–of “The Newlywed Game.”  Just how well do our nerdiest panel contributors know each other? And how would they anticipate their responses to some key questions and potential opinions concerning our favorite current four show TV universe? Take a listen below and see.

This particular CPU! episode’s components were recorded in February and in March 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Our next episode will introduce a new panel to the CPU! water cooler, as we cover the first season of the wildly popular Netflix original series Stranger Things.  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS & QUESTIONS

These typical “Water Cooler” sections will take the bench for this entry because, frankly, I’ve had enough work to do to edit the audio portion of this episode.  We will revisit “Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations” and the “Parting Shots” pieces of these entries when we cover the four shows individually, for their full seasons, at the end of the season.

LOOKING AHEAD

All four DCTU shows were issued early renewals for new seasons by the CW, so our DCTU panel will stick around for awhile.  In the meantime, all four shows returned from their mid-season hiatuses and are currently airing second halves of their seasons (Arrow returned on February 1, 2017; The Flash on January 24, 2017; Legends on January 24, 2017; and Supergirl on January 23, 2017).  The DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the water cooler at season’s end, releasing four new episodes throughout the summer, one for each show, to recap the current season in full and as one big happy panel.  Until then!

 

 

Marvel’s Defenders Series, Episode Four, Marvel’s Luke Cage (Season One, MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in December 2016, our enthusiastic panel of comic book and superhero enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Hilary, Kyle, and Spencer – is back Around the Water Cooler as the Marvel’s Defenders Series panel and is discussing Season 1 of Marvel’s Luke Cage. If you have not watched any of Luke Cage (or its companion series, Daredevil and Jessica Jones), be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think in the comments below and check out the blog and YouTube for other TV related discussions, in both podcast and blog format. Also, if there are other shows you’re interested in the blog covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!