PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Fuller House” – Season Three, the Full/er House Panel’s Review and Recap (Full/er House Series, Episode Four; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

Who: “Fuller House,”an American family situation comedy and sequel to Full House, airing on the Netflix streaming service as an original series, which means, for the record, that it is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  The series centers around DJ Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), a veterinarian and widowed mother of three sons, whose sister and best friend—the mother to a teenage daughter—provide support in her sons’ upbringings by moving in with her and into DJ and her sister’s childhood home.

SYNOPSIS

After the sudden death of DJ Tanner-Fuller’s (Bure) husband, Tommy, who was fulfilling his hazardous duties as a firefighter, DJ accepts the help of her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and her best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), as they move in to take part in raising DJ’s three sons: 13-year-old Jackson (Michael Campion), 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger), and baby Tommy Jr. (Dashiell and Fox Messitt). Kimmy’s teenage daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), also moves in with DJ, Stephanie, Kimmy, and DJ’s children.  Most of the Full House ensemble cast reprise their roles on Fuller House, either as regular cast members or in guest appearances, with the exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who alternated in the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House.

When: Season Three was released to streaming service Netflix in two parts: nine episodes on September 22, 2017, and nine episodes on December 22, 2017, with a combined grand total of eighteen episodes on the season.

Where: The show is set in San Francisco, California.

Why: Listen to the podcast series for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Fuller House.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

So many CPU! regulars, including frequent CPU! contributor and panelist Kristen, love Full House and were particular excited, at least initially, by the Netflix revival of this long dormant sitcom, creating a brand new chapter for the series, which the streaming channel calls Fuller House. In fact, Kristen saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new seasons of the reboot are released. Thus, herein we offer the fourth episode of our series covering the various versions of this sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Full/er House” series.  Listen to our previous episodes in this series, in which we Look Back at Full House and review and recap previous seasons of Fuller House, via embedded links below:

Full/er House Series, Episode One: Looking Back at “Full House”

Full/er House Series, Episode Two: “Fuller House,” Season One

Full/er House Series, Episode Three: “Fuller House,” Season Two

In addition, lacking the ability to fully appreciate Full House (and Fuller House) age-wise by a few years, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone once again, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of enthusiasm this juggernaut of nostalgia deserves. Kristen is, in turn, rejoined by her fellow series panelists – however, sharks are beginning to circle this intrepid panel, as former panelists Amie and Jenn departed this group, deeming the series no longer watchable or a priority in their television-watching schedules – which does not bode well for our series or for Fuller House, in general.  On the other hand, panelists Andrew and Leslie proved game to return for this fourth episode of our “Full/er House” series, in which we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the third season of the reboot.  In sum, the panel generally felt that Season Three was a vast deterioration from previous seasons, as remaining panelists cite many more low-lights than high from this expanded, two-part, anniversary year set of episodes (the original series pilot aired on September 22, 1987; thirty years ago).  Take a listen to the podcast episode if you have watched the full season and gauge whether you agree or disagree.

This podcast was recorded in April 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations portrayed in the third season of Fuller House. 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, our Game of Thrones panel FINALLY returns to the Water Cooler after over a year’s hiatus to gush (mostly) about the penultimate Season 7 of the HBO fantasy/ratings/water cooler juggernaut.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Michelle, aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, ever return to the show? (And why are they so snooty about it…it launched their careers, and the ability they had to start alleged fashion empire?)

ANSWER: Still a question, likely with a “no” answer, even as our panelists remain twelve percent hopeful. Yet, our panelists report that, at least, the show does not continue the off-putting jokes addressed to a broken fourth wall to call out the twins’ (and Michelle’s) absence.

2) Will we see any of Michelle’s friends?

ANSWER: Still a question, but without Michelle, why would anyone care about her friends?

3) Will the show tackle any issues, like teen suicide, LGBT+ acceptance, or other contemporary hot button issues in the future?

ANSWER: The show tackles surrogacy this season, as Stephanie (Sweetin) explores options for having children.  Kimmy (Barber) volunteers to be her surrogate, and the “baby daddy” and “sperm donor” is Kimmy’s brother Jimmy (Adam Hagenbuch).  The panel generally praised this story line as the best on the season because it was the most real.

4) Why did DJ become annoying, according to the panel?

ANSWER: I am not sure the panel sees an answer or even still considers this a question.  They described the DJ character as “weird” this season, as the general campy atmosphere of the show seemed to be in a caricature-laden overdrive state in Season Three, as noted by panelist Andrew.

5) Will New Kids on the Block return every season?

ANSWER: They do not return this season.  So, no.

6) Will we see any other past characters, like Vicki, Danny’s former girlfriend?  For that matter, will we ever see the character’s actual wife again?

ANSWER: Vicki (Gayle Edwards) returns!  Apparently.  And Danny’s (Bob Saget) marriage seems to be on the rocks.  Do that math, and the answer probably lurks in algebra step 2.

7) Will DJ end up with either Matt (Josh Brotherton) or Steve (Scott Weinger)?

ANSWER: It looks like Steve is going for a third try with his on again/off again soulmate.  Maybe the third try will be the charm.

New Questions

1) Will Stephanie and Jimmy get engaged?

2) Will everyone REALLY be moving back into the house – Danny, Jesse (John Stamos), Becky (Lori Loughlin), Joey (Dave Coulier), and all of their various offspring included?  Will everyone REALLY be shuffled back into their old quarters in this San Francisco house that seems to become more like a TARDIS as time passes (it’s bigger on the inside)?

3) Will DJ and Steve finally stick?

4) Why are the Gibblers so weird?

5) Since there were three viable embryos from Stephanie’s surrogacy journey, will Kimmy be bearing multiple children for her?

6) Will the show get better?  The panel feels that it fell far this year…what do you think, listener?  And if you want to join our panel, contact us – we have three openings currently. 🙂

PARTING SHOTS

Fuller House is much more cautiously – and more reticently – recommended by the Full/er House panel; to the extent that they do recommend the show, they do so mainly for the nostalgic appeal and “turn your brain off” level of entertainment resulting from the perennially saccharine premise of this well-loved cast and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of its “aw, shucks” humor. Most of the panelists would hesitate to recommend the show to anyone who has not seen the original Full House series, though the panelists also believe that the core audience of Fuller House has been established and will likely not grow, given the show’s specific oeuvre and vastly uneven quality.  In fact, the remaining panelists were much less impressed by the longer, divided third season, and with a change in show runners coming due to the discharge of original creator (of both Full House and Fuller House) Jeff Franklin, they question the long-term viability of the sequel.  Still, our panelists estimate that a better environment on set will improve the product, which was described as “shaky,” “painful,” and “cringe-worthy” at various points during the panel’s discussion.  They also feel that this sequel series and its ham and cheese on rye quality of humor remains easily binged and easily digested, with minimal heartburn or regret, even given its less well-received moments. As such, our panelists hope for an improved season four but are hard pressed to see a potential measure of recovery after the so-called “mess” of this third season.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix renewed Fuller House for a fourth season of thirteen episodes, though no release date has yet been announced by the streaming service giant.  CPU!’s next Full/er House episode, which will focus on this fourth seasonwill likely record and publish some time after the fourth season drops.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Full/er House podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review (give us stars – many of them!). Thank you!🙂

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Orange is the New Black, Season 5 (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 panel–including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Nick, Krista, Amanda, and Andrew–is Around the Water Cooler and Streaming Originals as we discuss and recap Season 5 of Orange is the New Black.  This episode was recorded in October 2017, and if you haven’t seen OITNB through the fifth season, 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/podcast covering, sound off below! Tell us what you like or don’t like. Keep the discussion going!

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Orange is the New Black,” The Season 5 Recap and Discussion (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Orange is the New Black” is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What: “Orange is the New Black,” a comedy drama about a Manhattan woman whose past catches up to her and for which she must serve time in federal prison.

SYNOPSIS

Taylor Schilling plays Piper Chapman, a seemingly run-of-the-mill woman and maker of homemade soaps. Unfortunately, Piper learns that she must serve a short sentence in federal prison after she is implicated in the bust of an international drug cartel, of which her former girlfriend, Alex Vause (Laura Prepon), was a member and who Piper aided and abetted. What’s more, Piper finds, at first, that she is wholly unequipped for prison. Though some, like unabashed, self-proclaimed “lesbian junkie” Nicky Nichols (Natasha Lyonne), are kind and helpful to her, others show her no mercy. In addition, the guards, all men, are mostly drunk on their own power, the prison counselors play favorites and are easily offended, and the prison population is divided by race, unofficially but automatically, which offends Piper’s liberal sensibilities.  If all that weren’t complicated enough, Piper’s ex Alex is sent to the same prison, and Piper’s emotions are deeply conflicted, as she reasons that only Alex could have pointed the finger to get her in trouble in the first place, while at the same time, the old attractions between the two women remain undeniably present.

When: All 13 Season 5 episodes became available for viewing on June 9, 2017.

Where: The show is set in New York, though flashbacks for each of the prisoners who comprise the cast of characters sometimes venture away from New York.

Why: Many panelists saw the teaser trailers for the series while watching other programming on Netflix and also on network TV.  Listen to prior podcast episodes to discover how individual panelists found this show.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! has been covering Orange is the New Black since its debut on Netflix’s ever growing streaming service.  You can read about the first season here and listen to podcast episodes about Seasons 2-4 below:

Orange is the New Black, Season Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part One

Orange is the New Black, Season Three, Part Two

Orange is the New Black, Season Four

Our OITNB Couch Potatoes and enthusiasts – namely moderator and Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Nick, Amanda, and Andrew – triumphantly return to the CPU! Water Cooler to talk all things Season Five of the wildly popular (and Orange) Netflix drama for this latest podcast episode.  We engaged in our usual heady and heavy discussion about some of the plot lines that we saw emerge in the tightly entertaining and engaging fifth season. What do you think?  Do you agree? Do you disagree? What are your hopes, fears, expectations, speculations, or predictions for the resolution of the fifth season’s cliffhangers going into season six?

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in October 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of OITNB Season Five. 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! In our next episode, schedule permitting, our DCTU/Arrowverse panel will return to the Water Cooler after a brief absence to round-up reactions to all four CW/Arrowverse shows so far this season, just in time for the end of the mid-season hiatus (if scheduling does not permit, our Once Upon a Time panel will appear instead to digest the “soft reboot” of Season 7)!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Predictions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: Are the OITNB producers planning to end the show at the end of Piper’s sentence? (That will be a question for awhile).

ANSWER: Piper hasn’t been released yet, so…still a question.

2) Are we to assume that Suzanne’s (Uzo Aduba) flashback this season provided the back story related to the reason for her imprisonment: involuntary manslaughter of a child? Because her flashback episode was situated within the last three jam-packed episodes of the season, the panel assumed this to be the case but was not certain.

ANSWER: Unclear.  OITNB does not revisit Suzanne’s back story at any point during Season Five.

3) Where is the story in terms of Piper’s overall sentence, and how much longer does she have in prison?

ANSWER: Panelist Krista believes, if the source book on which the show is based still provides any kind of story framework, that Piper has two to three months maximum left to her original sentence; however, the show does not focus on time passing in Season Five, as it picks up right after the events of Season Four and transpires over the course of a few days.

4) Will we see Healy (Michael Harney) again?  Panelists Kristen and Kylie predict that we will, since he seems to have voluntarily checked himself into an institution (rather than being involuntarily committed).

ANSWER: Healy does not make an appearance in Season Five…will he appear in future seasons?  Unknown.

5) Will Laverne Cox/Sophia be in Season Five, given that Cox is part of a show that has been picked up by CBS for the new TV season?  How will the prison or the show deal with the controversy of leaving Sophia in solitary for her “protection.”

ANSWER: Well, Laverne’s CBS show (“Doubt”) was quickly canceled after only a couple of episodes; however, she appears in one episode this season.  Because she only appears in one episode, the show bypasses Sophia’s time in solitary and related controversy with little explanation regarding the experience’s effects on her.  Sophia returns to doing hair while the prisoners riot, as of the final moments of the Season Four finale and throughout Season Five.  Perhaps some of the rioters break Sophia out of solitary?  The show offers no explanation for her appearance, but she definitely looks worse for wear when she does appear.

6) Where will Season Five pick up given the end of the season?  Will it pick up right from the moment at which season four ended, or will time of any significance pass?

ANSWER: Season Five picks up at the literal second when Season Four ends.

7) Will Daya (Dascha Polanco) shoot Humps?  Or, will another prisoner intervene?  Or, if she does shoot him, will someone go to bat and take the fall for her?  Will Humps survive this riot?  If he does, will anyone find out about what he did to Maritza, Suzanne, and others?

ANSWER: Daya shoots Humps – in the leg.  She then proceeds to lose the gun for a while, and the only prisoner who seems to care about her welfare and the potential ramifications of her actions is surrogate mama Gloria (Selenis Levya).  Humps is taken to the infirmary to recover; however, Suzanne’s former paramour Maureen decides to exact revenge for his merciless treatment of the prisoners (and for him inciting said present riot) by blowing air bubbles into his breathing tubes.  As a result, Humps suffers a stroke and, subsequently and quietly, dies.  

8) Will Judy King (Blair Brown) make it out of prison?  Will she grab the gun from Daya? Will she be a casualty of that final riot?

ANSWER: Judy King makes it out of prison, with a little help from the white supremacists, who wear hoods, are caught on camera, and are mistaken for Muslim terrorists.  Ah, irony.  Judy then proceeds to try to sell her prison story in an exploitative way by appearing on a prime time news talk show hosted by Meredith Vieira (really?), without much thought about or consideration of the consequences or the potential effect her choices may have on others.  Judy King is kind of The Worst.

9) Will Litchfield continue to run after all of the chaos at the end of Season Four?  Will the prisoners be split up?  Or, is that a way the series might end?

ANSWER: “Continue to run” is a relative turn of phrase, considering that the prisoners are controlling the prison, and mass chaos not only continues but increases as Season Five progresses.  As for the prisoners splitting up…well, when SWAT units enter the building to regain control by force, Leanne and Angie, in a final blaze of glory, decide to burn the prisoner’s paper records and, as a result, start a fire in the prison offices.  As a result, Litchfield is engulfed in flames, and, while prisoners are brought to safety, outside and in the yard, by SWAT team units, two buses appear to ship prisoners, seemingly, to two different alternative prisons.  Where and how will we start Season Six given this information?  Stay tuned.

10) How will Soso and Taystee (Danielle Brooks) deal with their particular grief about Poussey?  Will they come to bond more?  Will Soso remain a part of P’s “family?”

ANSWER: Soso spends most of the season consumed by grief and depression in the wake of Poussey’s death, with minimal support from Poussey’s prison family (the African American girls), though Soso kind of becomes a de facto member of their group.  She does not regain some stability until she decides, in tribute to Poussey, to make an interactive, living, artistic tribute to P, with books from the library where P worked strung from the ceilings throughout the prisoner-controlled Litchfield halls.  In the meantime, Taystee, who is unimpressed by Soso’s methods of dealing with her loss, decides to take matters into her own hands to attempt to achieve justice for her best friend.  She forces Caputo (Nick Sandow) to record a video statement apologizing for Poussey’s death, which she proceeds to upload to the internet.  She also takes on the company allegedly overseeing the prison by entering into hostage negotiations with the company/with negotiator Fig, after the prisoners capture the remaining guards, declare them hostages, and cage them up in a locked guard booth, where many prisoners proceed to torture and to humiliate them.  Unfortunately, Taystee’s efforts are not always successful.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

11) Will Sister get out of solitary, or will she be left there?

ANSWER: The show, apparently (according to panelists Krista and Nick but escaping the notice of panelists Kylie and Kristen), explains that Sister contracted pneumonia while in solitary and was, therefore, given compassionate release from prison.  So, I guess Sister is gone for good, and at least two of us missed the explanation behind her departure!

12) Will Red (Kate Mulgrew) have a better story line next season?

ANSWER: If getting high on speed pills and becoming the sole object of dishonored guard Piscatella’s ire comprises a better story line, then I would say that Red does alright.

13) Do we still care about Piper and Alex as a couple?  Did Piper miss any of Alex’s written “confessions” that she hid around the prison in an effort to assuage her guilt?

ANSWER: Piper and Alex do everything they can to lay low this season; in fact, Alex makes it her own personal mission to stay out of the fray because she thinks that Piper often sticks her nose where it does not belong and, often, in sacrifice or to the detriment of the stability of their relationship, a subject of much conflict and debate between the two women this season.  Piper, probably for the first genuine time since the beginning of this show, obtains some self-awareness this season.  While she cannot promise Alex that she will always stay out of situations that seem to matter to her, because doing so is not in her nature, she at least promises that she will listen to Alex if Alex expresses unhappiness with Piper’s meddling and mischief.  Piper also proposes marriage to Alex, who accepts the proposal.  So, the panel believes we are sort of stuck caring about them for awhile longer.  As for Alex’s written confessions – either Piper found them all in Season Four or is too distracted to keep looking for them in Season Five, what with all the rioting and such.

14) How long will Nicky remain clean?  Have she and Tuckey (Taryn Manning) just become friends, given Tuckey’s willingness to nurse Nicky through a cold turkey withdrawal from heroin during the prison lock down?

ANSWER: Nicky, though tempted many times by an unguarded prison pharmacy and prisoners’ various stashes, manages to make it through the whole fifth season (which, in reality, transpires over about one to two weeks) without falling off the wagon.  Presumably, she and Tuckey have an understanding, but I would not characterize this understanding as friendship.  Tuckey, further, is distracted by other matters this season.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) Will we see the young, nice guard Bailey again?  Will the old Litchfield guards return in light of all that has happened?  And what exactly did Piscatella do to which Caputo hinted at the end of the season?

ANSWER: We see Bailey, and he is, rightfully, a mess.  Piper helps him escape the Litchfield prisoner regime, but he spends the entire season wracked with justifiable guilt over his involuntary manslaughter of Poussey; he also spends the entire season searching for some sort of redemption or forgiveness of his sin(s), even tracking down Poussey’s father, who can only tell Bailey that he will have to live with what he did to P for the rest of his life.  The old Litchfield guards mostly stay away, smartly, as the prison is overrun, but the show checks in with most of them.  As for Piscatella, it turns out that, at his prior prison job, he slaughtered another prisoner by scalding him in hot shower water after this prisoner brutally beat and killed a different prisoner with whom Piscatella was carrying on an inappropriate relationship in his position as a guard.  Piscatella was also exploring his newfound homosexuality in said relationship, so these dark incidents left Piscatella in a dark place, causing him to be the man we see in Seasons Four and Five.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

16) Will we see Lolly (Lori Petty) again now that she has been transferred to the psych ward?

ANSWER: Lolly does not emerge from the psych ward during the riots of Season Five.

New Questions

1) Where and when will Season 6 begin?  Will there be a time jump? Will the Litchfield inmates be in various other prisons?  Will they return to a rebuilt prison?  Will we see all of the inmates we saw at the end of Season 5?  Will the inmates hiding by the old swimming pool, including Piper, Alex, Red, Frieda, Blanca, and others, be subjected to more stringent punishment?  Will they all survive?  Will they be captured?

2) What will happen to the guards originally left in the prison and captured by the prisoners?  What fallout, if anything, will they receive?

3) Will Piper and Alex marry in prison, and will this proposed marriage make Piper a more likable character?  Is that even possible?

4) Is this the end of Litchfield?

5) What will the fallout of the Litchfield riots be related to the company, the state, and the figureheads?  Will the company be assessed any consequences for its incompetent management of Litchfield?

6) Will there be additional crossovers with other original Netflix series – or additional crossovers with Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?  Some of the panelists support this idea; some are less enthused with both this concept and with the crossover that occurred in Season Five.

7) Are there any prisoners, especially prisoners that the viewer has known since the beginning, for which we have not seen flashback stories?  What flashback stories will see next season?

8) What was Freida’s crime that landed her in Litchfield/prison?

9) Will the company or anyone else discover Linda, the company woman playing prisoner who is also The Worst, among the prisoners?

10) Will Flaritza, i.e. Flaca (Jackie Cruz) and Maritza, be reunited?  Will Nicky and Morello (Yael Stone)?

11) Will Daya ever get to see her baby again?

PARTING SHOTS

Our Orange is the New Black panel proved much more enthusiastic about the fifth season than about some of the seasons preceding it.  Some panelists even labeled this season their favorite, or one of their favorites, indicative of a fine return to form for the show.  In fact, the entire panel was both favorable and complimentary about OITNB Season Five.  The panel also, ever so slightly, continued to warm to Piper, believing that she continues to learn lessons that her real-life counterpart never had to learn because Piper Chapman makes less intelligent choices than Piper Kerman.  All in all, though, the panel reached a rare consensus of opinion, in that all panelists noted that the story trajectory, aside from a slower season beginning that appeared to lose some of the tension marking the fourth season finale, remained successful and compelling and regained the seemingly lost tension to almost “horror movie” proportions by season’s end, despite the absence of a fan and panel favorite character in Poussey.  The entire panel plans to continue to watch the show and Season Six to find out what happens, particularly in the wake of the emptying of Litchfield and the two buses that arrived to separate our formerly (and mostly) rioting characters.  Of course, the panel continues to acknowledge that the writing remains dynamic and top-notch but suggests that this season’s direction and pacing allow for better binge-watching in Season Five than in Season Four.  The panel further continues to maintain high hopes and expectations that Season Six will continue the overarching, excellent quality of storytelling that has characterized Orange is the New Black since its premiere.

LOOKING AHEAD

Orange is the New Black was renewed for a sixth (as well as a seventh) season, which is tentatively slated to premiere in June 2018.  Until then!

CPU! LIVE! (Sort Of): Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 LIVE (sort of, not really) on Facebook on August 29, 2017, our panel– including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Sarah, Nick, and Andrew is Around the Water Cooler, Streaming Originals, and chatting about the third season of Netflix Original series Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. If you have not watched any of Kimmy, 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!

This podcast was live streamed on August 29, 2017, on Facebook – sadly, a glitch rendered much of the video hiccuped and wonky (technical terms), so we pulled the video from Facebook; this is the audio recording of the event! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube, and, naturally, our website, couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com!  We promise we’ll get it together for our next live event, coming soon!

PODCAST! – CPU! LIVE! (Sort Of) – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” – Season Three (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

Who:  “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” a situation comedy about a woman who, along with three other women, is rescued from an underground bunker in rural Indiana after being kidnapped or otherwise stuck inside for fifteen years as member of a doomsday cult, the leader of which convinced them that the world had ended, and that the apocalypse had come.  Kimmy (Ellie Kemper, The Office) decides to start her life over in New York City, out of time and out of place.  Hilarity ensues.

SYNOPSIS

The heroine of the title, Kimmy Schmidt (Kemper), is one of five women to emerge from an underground bunker in Indiana, having been, in some respects, unwitting members of a doomsday cult.  The five women were trapped in this bunker, with their religious leader Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), for fifteen years; Kimmy and her bunker-mates emerge into the twenty-first century while still stuck in the twentieth.  Brimming with endless optimism and a healthy dose of girl power, Kimmy decides to start her brand new life away from small town Indiana by setting up in New York City.  She luckily finds a rent controlled, in a manner of speaking, apartment with a fabulous new roommate named Titus Andromedon (D’Fwan from 30 Rock, Tituss Burgess) and an aging hippie landlord named Lillian, played by – happiest of all surprises – character actress Carol Kane.  She secures a job as a nanny with a ridiculously rich Park Avenue family, the Voorhees, the matriarch of which is boss from hell and new best friend Jacqueline (now White as of Season Two, Jane Krakowski, 30 Rock/Ally McBeal)Mostly, Kimmy finds herself full of optimism but is otherwise a struggling fish out of water and out of time, as she attempts to create an adult life for herself, having lost such a significant part of her childhood to the spartan and strange life of the bunker.

When: The third season of the series was released in its entirety on Netflix on May 19, 2017.

Where: The action is set in and around New York City, though there are occasional flashbacks to the bunker, which is in Indiana.

Why: The show was created by Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the producer/creative team responsible for giving us 30 Rock, of which the panelists are generally huge fans. Many of us also enjoyed Ellie Kemper quite a bit in The Office and in the movie Bridesmaids, as she’s got great comedic timing.  This show was on CPU!’s list of pilots to watch for the 2014-2015 season and was originally slated to air on NBC, but when Netflix picked it up instead, it was an easy choice to switch over.

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

CPU! started covering “Kimmy” from the beginning.  If you haven’t heard our previous Kimmy podcasts, listen/watch via the embedded links below:

Season One

Season Two

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt blew up the internet when it was first released, which is not surprising, because it’s extremely funny, particularly in how it catches the viewer off guard with its wacky humor, witty dialogue (no doubt spearheaded by Fey), stunt casting, and generally zany but positive tone.  Because these elements continued into the third season, our UBK panel – including original panelists Kristen, Nick, Sarah, Krista, and Andrew – proved eager to reconvene once again to discuss Season Three.

Of course, in September of last year, CPU! went LIVE! and live streamed at its Facebook page from Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater in Cool City Grand Rapids, Michigan, to talk Kimmy, her compatriots, and their second season.  So, naturally, because we went live last year, we decided to try to uphold (though not quite) a tradition (though not really) – and we attempted to do this latest episode as a “live podcast” from “the bunker,” lacking the live studio audience but including all sorts of bunker-like ambiance.  Sadly, technology failed us, and we did not produce a good live-stream video to provide for your viewing pleasure, but always prepared – like the boy scouts! – we still recorded an audio version of the podcast, which is the link you will find below.  Do you agree or disagree with our thoughts on the third season?  Let us know if there is anything that you think we missed!

This podcast was recorded on August 29, 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS. 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’re back around the water cooler to give our Marvel Agents of SHIELD panel, slightly larger and slightly more robust than before, and the correlating episode another go as our panel reconvenes to dissect the jam-packed second half of Season 4.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Where will season three begin?  Will we get to see Titus on the cruise ship?

ANSWER: Season Three began some time after the end of season two, in or around two months.  We saw Titus on the cruise ship but not until later on in the season, as he mysteriously appears back in New York City in the beginning of the season, having left the job under circumstances about which he is initially unwilling to divulge details.

2) Are Titus and Mikey going to move in together when Titus returns?  Will Kimmy still be living with them?

ANSWER: Quite the contrary – Titus, plagued by doubt and insecurity, as other guys start flirting with Mikey, and as Titus discovers that he and his beau have very different interests, decides to break up with Mikey, claiming that the first boyfriend Mikey is “out” with should not be “the one,” and that Mikey should feel free to experiment.  The only trouble with Titus’ rash decision is that he realizes that he loves Mikey and spends the rest of the season sort of stalking him and pining after him, finally resolving to get back together with him in the end.  Of course, Kimmy remains Titus’ ever loyal roommate throughout.

3) Who is Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne marrying?  Or, is he already married? Many of the panel bet on Gretchen, but we were confused by the phase of marriage to which the good reverend was referring.

ANSWER: Wendy Hebert (Laura Dern) is the woman in question, who somehow falls for the persuasive Reverend; to be fair, she does not appear to be in possession of all of her marbles.  It is also explained that the Reverend was also married to each of the Mole Women, including Kimmy, who refuses to provide the Reverend’s requested divorce in order to protect Wendy, who seems oblivious to the fact that the Reverend is a former cult leader and current felon.

4) Will Dong ever return for Kimmy?

ANSWER: He hasn’t yet.

5) Will we see Kimmy’s mom, Lori Ann (Lisa Kudrow), again?  Is she still married to Kimmy’s stepdad, played by Tim Blake Nelson?

ANSWER: She hasn’t yet, and the latter answer has not, as yet, been clarified.

New Questions

1) Will we see any more representatives from 30 Rock, since Season Three was lousy with 30 Rock cameos?

2) Will there be a larger plot involving the Reverend, since he and Kimmy are still married?

3) Will Tina Fey always play AHN-drea Andrea?

4) Will Titus and Mikey get back together?

5) Will Lillian (Carol Kane) and Artie reunite?

6) Will Jenna, I mean, Jackie Lynn, I mean Jacqueline be funnier as an agent?

7) Will Kimmy find her raison d’etre?

8) Will Lisa Kudrow come back?  She was well received by our panel.

PARTING SHOTS

In discussing Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the panel universally agrees that the third season of the quirky sitcom is not as fresh or as successfully executed as the series’ first two seasons.  Though all panelists still enjoy moments of laughter provided by the show’s over the top characters and absurdist situations, many of the panelists struggled with the third season’s reach for gimmicks, like the meta connection to Orange is the New Black, and generally disjointed situational story lines, citing Jacqueline’s relationship to Russ (David Cross/Billy Magnussen) as a divergent low point, even as Titus’ various exploits, including his viral hit “Boobs in California,” spark consistent laughter. Still, all agree that the show is a great sitcom with easy laughs by the minds who produced 30 Rock; thus, we feel there is little to lose in continuing to watch it and recommend it highly to anyone simply wanting an entertaining show at which to laugh.

LOOKING AHEAD

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt was renewed for a fourth season; however, no release date has been announced by Netflix as of the publication of this post. The UBK podcast panel will next reconvene following the release of the fourth season, which will likely occur in or around Spring 2017. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of news and additional show coverage.  Until then!

NEXT CPU! LIVE!

CPU! will be LIVE at COM (Comedy Outlet Mondays at Dog Story Theater) on October 2, 2017, for our 100th episode!  Like our Facebook page to keep abreast of the event – which will publish in September!  Stay tuned for all the details!

Full/er House Series, Episode Three: Fuller House, Season Two (MAJOR SPOILERS)

couchpotatoesunite

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 June 2017, our slightly less “fuller” panel of fans of all things Tanner/Tanner-Fuller–including moderator Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Leslie, and Jenn–gathered “Around the Water Cooler” to discuss the second season of revival Netflix sequel series Fuller House in the third episode of CPU!’s Full/er House series (we previously looked back at original series Full House in episode one and recapped Season One of Fuller House in episode two).  If you have not watched any of Full House OR Fuller House, 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 & Streaming Originals: “Fuller House” – Season Two, the Full/er House Panel’s Review and Recap (Full/er House Series, Episode Three; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

Who: “Fuller House,”an American family situation comedy and sequel to Full House, airing on the Netflix streaming service as an original series, which means, for the record, that it is available to Netflix subscribers exclusively, as it is Netflix produced original content.

What:  The series centers around D.J. Tanner-Fuller (Candace Cameron Bure), a veterinarian and widowed mother of three sons, whose sister and best friend—the mother to a teenage daughter—provide support in her sons’ upbringings by moving in with her and into D.J. and her sister’s childhood home.

SYNOPSIS

After the sudden death of D.J. Tanner-Fuller’s (Bure) husband, Tommy, who was fulfilling his hazardous duties as a firefighter, D.J. accepts the help of her sister, Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin), and her best friend, Kimmy (Andrea Barber), as they move in to take part in raising D.J.’s three sons: 13-year-old Jackson (Michael Campion), 7-year-old Max (Elias Harger), and baby Tommy Jr. (Dashiell and Fox Messitt). Kimmy’s teenage daughter, Ramona (Soni Nicole Bringas), also moves in with D.J., Stephanie, Kimmy, and D.J.’s children.  Most of the Full House ensemble cast reprise their roles on Fuller House, either as regular cast members or in guest appearances, with the exception of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, who alternated in the role of Michelle Tanner on Full House.

When: Season Two was released to streaming service Netflix on December 9, 2016, to the tune of thirteen episodes.

Where: The show is set in San Francisco, California.

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Fuller House.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

So many CPU! regulars, including frequent CPU! contributor and panelist Kristen, love Full House and were particular excited by the Netflix revival of this long dormant sitcom, creating a brand new chapter for the series, which the streaming channel calls Fuller House. In fact, Kristen saw an opportunity for a new CPU! podcast series in which CPU! panelists look back at the program that started it all while looking forward “around the water cooler” as new seasons of the reboot are released.  Thus, herein we offer the third episode of our series covering the various versions of this sitcom, which we at CPU! are calling our “Full/er House” series.  Listen to our first episode, in which we Look Back at Full House, and our second episode, recapping Season One of Fuller House, via the embedded links below:

Full/er House Series, Episode One: Looking Back at “Full House”

Full/er House Series, Episode Two: “Fuller House,” Season One

In addition, lacking the ability to fully appreciate Full House (and Fuller House) age-wise by a few years, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone once again, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of enthusiasm this juggernaut of nostalgia deserves. Kristen is, in turn, rejoined by series panelists Andrew, Amie, Leslie, and Jenn in this third episode of our “Full/er House” series, in which we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments from the second season of the rebootwhich the panel generally felt was a vast improvement over the first season.  Take a listen to the episode if you have watched the season and gauge whether you agree or disagree.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations portrayed in the second season of Fuller House. 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, CPU! continues its merry parade of end of season recaps when our How to Get Away with Murder panel returns to the Water Cooler after a year’s hiatus to chat Season 3 of the Shonda Rimes produced thriller.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) Will Michelle, aka Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, ever return to the show? (And why are they so snooty about it…it launched their careers, and the ability they had to start an alleged fashion empire?)

2) Will we see any of Michelle’s friends?

3) Will the show tackle any issues, like teen suicide, LGBT+ acceptance, or other contemporary hot button issues in the future?

4) Why did DJ become annoying, according to the panel?

5) Will New Kids on the Block return every season?

6) Will we see any other past characters, like Vicki, Danny’s former girlfriend?  For that matter, will we ever see the character’s actual wife again?

7) Will DJ end up with either Matt or Steve?

PARTING SHOTS

Fuller House is recommended by the entire Full/er House panel, mainly for the nostalgic appeal and “turn your brain off” level of entertainment resulting from the perennially saccharine premise of this well-loved cast and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of its “aw, shucks” humor. Most of the panelists would hesitate to recommend the show to anyone who has not seen the original Full House series, though all of the panelists thought that season two proved to be a vast improvement over the often forced and always over-the-top antics of the first season.  In fact, most if not all panelists advocate, particularly to those who gave up on the revival after that rocky first season in question, giving the show a second chance if one claims membership in the Full House fandom but struggled through season one or with the idea of attempting to consume the second season.  The panelists also felt that, though this sequel series brings the ham and cheese on rye like its source series in all the ooey gooey (but ultimately right) ways, Fuller House remains solid sitcom entertainment: easily binged, easily digested, minimal heartburn or regret. In fact, all current panelists enthusiastically and wholeheartedly look forward to season three.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix renewed Fuller House for a third season, which will receive an increased order of 18 episodes and which will be broken into halves in terms of airing schedule, with the first half premiering on the thirtieth anniversary of the original series, September 22, 2017.  CPU!’s next Full/er House episode, which will focus on this third seasonwill likely record and publish some time after the third season wraps.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the blog, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes in the Full/er House podcast series as well as of new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review (give us stars – many of them!).  Thank you!🙂