American Horror Story Series, Episode Six, Season Six: “Roanoke” (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 newly expanded panel of casual to serious horror fans (and rotating moderators!)–including moderator Sarah, Nick, and Kylie, as well as new panelist Emily and new CPU! panelist Kallie–gathered Around the Water Cooler to chat about the sixth season of American Horror Story, otherwise known as “Roanoke.”  This is the sixth episode of an ongoing CPU! podcast series examining one of our favorite television programs throughout its anthology of various seasons depicting different and unique horror stories per season, and it was recorded in June 2017. If you have not watched American Horror Story: Roanoke, 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: “American Horror Story: Roanoke” (American Horror Story Series, Episode 6, Season 6; MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Sarah

THE SPECS:

Who: “American Horror Story” airs on cable TV, specifically on FX, Fall Wednesdays at 10:00 PM.

What: “American Horror Story,” a horror drama created by Ryan Murphy (Glee, Nip/Tuck) that tells a new horror story each season while featuring recurring actors and ensemble players.  This season is subtitled “Roanoke;” is set in Roanoke Island, North Carolina, during the year 2016; and focuses upon paranormal events that occur at an isolated farmhouse.

SYNOPSIS

In 2015, Shelby Miller (Lily Rabe), her husband Matt Miller (André Holland), and Matt’s sister Lee Harris (Adina Porter) appear on a documentary called My Roanoke Nightmare to recount a series of supernatural events that happened to them after Shelby and Matt relocated from Los Angeles to North Carolina following a miscarriage. In love with the country surrounding the farmhouse in question, they buy it at auction, but after they move in, the family has a terrifying experience, as their house is on land where the original Roanoke Colony allegedly moved after its famous disappearance, led by witch Scathach; Thomasin White, known as The Butcher; and her followers. Audrey Tindall (Sarah Paulson) is the actress who portrays Shelby during the reenactment sections of My Roanoke Nightmare, while Dominic Banks (Cuba Gooding Jr.) and Monet Tumusiime (Angela Bassett) portray Matt and Lee, respectively. The Butcher is played by Agnes Mary Winstead (Kathy Bates); her son, Ambrose White, by Dylan (Wes Bentley); and the founder of the house, Edward Philippe Mott, by Rory Monahan (Evan Peters). Elias Cunningham, the previous owner of the house, is portrayed by William van Henderson (Denis O’Hare) and Scathach by an unknown actress (Lady Gaga).

In 2016, after the huge success of My Roanoke Nightmare, the producer of the series, Sidney Aaron James (Cheyenne Jackson), decides to give life to a second season of the series: Return to Roanoke: Three Days In Hell, bringing back to the house the Millers and the actors who re-enacted the experiences of the family.  The “Roanoke” season primarily spans 2015 and 2016, with dramatized flashbacks, via the My Roanoke Nightmare documentary, set in the 1500s, 1700’s, and 1990’s and an epilogue set in the near future.

When: Season Six aired from September 14, 2016, to November 16, 2016, on FX.

Where: Each season focuses on a different locale.  This season, the action is set largely in Roanoke Island, North Carolina.

Why:  Nick and Sarah, two CPU! regulars, proposed that CPU! publish an American Horror Story podcast series, being big fans of the show, and your Chief CP, who has previously covered this program on the CPU! blog and enjoys the show quite a bit, agreed wholeheartedly to the idea. Thus, welcome to our new CPU! series revolving around AHS, with each episode in the series focusing on one season of the show.  The series started at the beginning and will be ongoing as long as AHS stays on the air!

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

American Horror Story is a groundbreaking horror anthology series that airs on FX.  Not only did this program render the horror genre mainstream television fare, it also propelled anthology formats to popularity.  The show is widely watched and a tent pole for FX, becoming a Halloween/fall-time cable staple of disturbing imagery and grotesque scares.

Two of CPU!’s frequent panelists, and one of our resident married couples, Nick and Sarah, are big fans of the show and, as noted above, proposed that CPU! start a series discussing AHS throughout its seasons.  We have already published our first episode in this series, chatting the first season of AHS, widely known as “Murder House;” the second episode discussing the second season, “Asylum;” the third episode discussing the third season, “Coven;” the fourth episode discussing the fourth season, “Freak Show;” and the fifth episode discussing the fifth season, “Hotel.” Listen here:

American Horror Story Series, Episode 1, Season 1, “Murder House”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 2, Season 2, “Asylum”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 3, Season 3, “Coven”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 4, Season 4, “Freak Show”

American Horror Story Series, Episode 5, Season 5, “Hotel”

In today’s episode, the sixth episode of this series, we cover Season Six, “Roanoke.” As the seasons are discussed and published, moderation duties will rotate among the members of our small but robust AHS panel; Sarah is back at the moderating mic to talk this sixth season.  In addition, we have opened up the panel to include other panelists, as it was announced that FX renewed American Horror Story for an additional three seasons, through Season Nine!  Thus, in this “Roanoke” chapter, newly addicted CPU! panelist Emily joins the ranks as does a brand new CPU! panelist – Kallie!

In this episode, then, we discuss our favorite and least favorite moments within the “Roanoke” season and our general impressions of the season’s success.  I should warn you, gentle listener, that we experienced some technical difficulties during the recording of this episode – we were able to save much of the conversation, but even with my best editing skills behind me, there are a couple of funny spots.  Most of the conversation is preserved, though, and we just chalked it all up to being haunted by Scathach, the Witch of the Wood.  STOP HAUNTING US, WITCH!  We recorded three other episodes in the same week without incident.  Coincidence?  I THINK NOT!

Read on beyond the episode link below for some explanatory information and bonus content!  Because we refuse to let the Witch of the Wood get us down!

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the “Roanoke” season. 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 “Full/er House Series” panel returns, somewhat slimmer but always enthusiastic, to break down the Fuller goings-on of the show’s second season. Stay tuned!

BONUS CONTENT

Unfortunately, the Witch of the Wood created so much havoc, we have to – I mean are happy to! – print some bonus content.  Fortunately, the episode is mostly preserved, as is the gist of what we were saying, and fortunately, we love that we have grown up enough to think of bonus content to share with you lovely listeners, so, without further adieu, um…”Bonus Content!”  Yay!! Bonus!

The Standard CPU! Character Question that Changes with Each Show We Do

As we discuss the character breakdown, the panelists identified thus, despite the audio hiccups…which are edited out, but then so is some of that portion of the discussion (listen to the podcast episode for the full description):

Nick: “All the good ones.”
Kylie: Flora
Kallie: “All the good ones” and “Scathach!” (I’m pretty sure that latter was for Sarah’s benefit)
Emily: “All the good ones”
Sarah: Matt (he was not good)

Grand Rapids, Michigan – Secret Murder Capital of the World?

At the end of the episode, Emily talks about the two sister nurse ghosts/serial killers in the “Roanoke” season, who murder patients with first letters of first names corresponding to each letter of the word “Murder” but who die (and become ghosts trapped on the land) before they can achieve the last “r.”  She references the fact that the two nurses are based upon two real life serial killers, “The Lethal Lovers,” from CPU!’s hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan (!), lesbian lovers who committed murders using names and the letters of the word “Murder,” just like in the show, but in some form of romantic testament to each other.  Mainstream pop culture news picked up this story as the AHS season broke (links posted below) – as it turns out, though, Emily’s grandmother drove these women home from work, where they all worked together, around the time of their killing sprees!! One is currently housed in a Michigan correctional facility, and one is in federal prison in Florida.  Below is some additional linkage information, and we may explore this topic further in a future episode of CPU!, given its hometown associations (maybe our recording was being haunted by the victims of these people! Yikes!).

Gwendolyn Graham and Cathy Wood, Wikipedia

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MTV News

The Huffington Post

New York Times, December 6, 1988 (The Original News Story)

LOOKING AHEAD

Our next episode in this series will cover Season Seven, though the release date and “subtitle” have not been released as of the time of the publication of this post.  What we do know about the seventh season is that it will be closely related to the 2016 United States Presidential Election, a true horror show that, in some ways, we are still living through, even as we speak…  Thus, our AHS panel will return sometime after the Season 7 finale and then, again, after Seasons 8 and 9, since the horror anthology season has guaranteed longevity for three more seasons.  Stay tuned!

3rd Rock from the Sun, 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 June 2017, our medium sized but out of this world panel – including Moderator Kylie, Nick, Michael, and new panelist Penny – discuss the spacey antics of four zany alien characters researching the puny humans of Earth while Looking Back at the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun, which aired from 1996 to 2001 on NBC. If you have not watched “3rd Rock,” 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 “3rd Rock from the Sun” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “3rd Rock from the Sun,” a situation comedy that aired on NBC from 1996 to 2001.

What: Created by Bonnie and Terry Turner, the show depicts four extraterrestrials who are on an expedition to Earth, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet, and who pose as a human family to observe the behavior of human beings.

SYNOPSIS

“3rd Rock” revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live as a normal human family in the fictional city of Rutherford, Ohio, said to be outside of Cleveland, where they live in an attic apartment. Humor is principally derived from the aliens’ attempts to study human society and, because they live as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. In later episodes, they are more accustomed to Earth and often are more interested in their human lives than in their mission.

Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin) is a professor of anthropology at (fictional) Pendelton State University, and many of the issues with which the four aliens struggle stem from her work and observations. Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), the High Commander and leader of the expedition, is the family provider as a physics professor at Pendelton (with Ian Lithgow, John Lithgow’s oldest son, playing one of his less successful students). Information officer and oldest member of the crew Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) has been given the body of a teenager and is forced to enroll in high school (later college), leaving security officer Sally (Kristen Johnston) and “the one with the transmitter in his head,” Harry (French Stewart) to spend their lives as 20-somethings hanging out at home and bouncing through short-term jobs. The family often communicates through Harry with their off-world (and usually unseen) boss, the Big Giant Head, who when he finally visits Earth, appears in the body of William Shatner.

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 1996 to 2001, on NBC.

Where: The show is primarily set in fictional Rutherford, Ohio.

Why: Listen to the podcast episode for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found 3rd Rock from the Sun.

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

Once upon a time, Netflix hosted some classic sitcoms to ingest and to consume on a whim, as one does while on Netflix.  Once upon a time, Netflix changed its library (on an annoyingly monthly basis), and many of those sitcoms left the streaming service.  During one such brief window of time between content shuffles, the Chief CP chanced upon the program du jour and used said chance to rediscover 3rd Rock, which, of course, rendered the show eligible to be the next CPU! “Looking Back” candidate.  While finding new appreciation for the zany antics of the four main characters and of, arguably, Dr. Albright, I wondered if others would care to look back at a show that was more often than not over the top, thanks to the daring comedic performance of Lithgow, while remaining insightful about the human condition in a somewhat timeless way, using the perspective of “other” or “the naive” to comment upon mundane human foibles.

Fortunately, a medium sized panel of new and old voices at CPU! – including frequent panelist Nick, “Looking Back” expert Michael, and brand new panelist Penny – were willing to huddle up in our allegedly too small, allegedly attic, alleged apartment to do just that. Thus, in this current “Look Back,” we reminisce about the show that cemented John Lithgow’s legacy/storied career within the annals of pop culture; revived the career of original Not for Primetime Player Jane Curtin; and launched the career of indie actor and director Joseph Gordon-Levitt, in addition to providing a veritable playground for able character actors like Kristen Johnston, French Stewart, and Wayne Knight in which to have fun and freedom with this spacey tale. We talk about the whimsical, the farcical, and the out of this world quality of the theatrical 3rd Rock, an unusual sitcom entry for the late 90s pastiche, in that it hearkened back to gimmicky comedies of yesteryear like Alf or Bewitched.  We also offer our own appreciation for a sitcom that has managed to stay both funny and relevant, despite the fact that it is approximately twenty years old.

This podcast was recorded in June 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations throughout the six seasons of 3rd Rock from the Sun. 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 American Horror Story Series panel returns (we hope! we strive! take two!) to talk the cable horror anthology series with a newly expanded panel, a new moderator (who moderated on this series panel before), and a new, detailed examination of the latest and arguably most terrifying AHS chapter to date, subtitled “Roanoke.”  Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

3rd Rock does not typically make “Best Of” television lists nor does it merit a solid ranking from most of the CPU! panelists in this episode with the exception of one.  Yet, all of the panelists would recommend this hammy and cheesy comedy to anyone looking to laugh. The common sentiment: the humor holds up, thanks in no small part to Lithgow’s otherworldly performance as the needy but knowing High Commander Dick, and remains timely and relevant, even by today’s questionably wavering standards.  The execution is not without occasional flaws, but all panelists agree that laughs ensue regularly, and some of the nerdier panelists highlight Easter Eggs for science fiction fans sprinkled throughout the episodes.  In addition, the chemistry of the four main actors playing family Solomon is solid, and the supporting actors, particularly Jane Curtin, may be the unsung heroes of the entire piece, offering priceless reactions to the four awkward but lovable aliens in disguise.  Our 3rd Rock panel recommends this sitcom most to those who appreciate theatrical acting – as it is used to great effect in this sitcom space – and to those who enjoy “Must See TV” from the past.  Though it may not trump more solid Peacock offerings from the era, such as Seinfeld or Friends, the panel believes that anyone could enjoy 3rd Rock from the Sun, even if the show might seem like a time capsule of the 90s at choice intervals. Unfortunately, this sitcom is not available to stream on any of the typical sites; it can be purchased to stream (Prime notwithstanding) at Amazon.com.  Still, if laughs are what you’re looking for, 3rd Rock may very well be worth some monetary investment – especially the episodes with the erstwhile Captain Kirk – but you don’t have to take our word for it.

Looking Back at Grimm (Part Two of the CPU! Goodbye to Grimm, 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 May 2017, our panel of CPU! supernatural and fairy tale enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, and Jen – is Looking Back at Grimm, in the second and final part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to the long-running, procedural, fantasy-horror program.  If you have not watched any of Grimm, 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 “Grimm” – The Goodbye Series, Part 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grimm” aired on network TV, specifically on NBC, for six seasons, from 2011-2017.

What: “Grimm,” a supernatural/fantasy drama, wherein supernatural forces, the stuff of nightmarish fairy tales and legends, are disguised as human beings, and only those descended from the original Brothers Grimm, can see – and fight – those beings and their true natures (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/grimm/summary.html).

When: The show aired in its entirety on NBC from 2011 to 2017.

Where: The show is set in Portland, Oregon, present day.

Why:  The premise of this show has always been intriguing: Grimms are not weavers of fairy tales but are humanity’s last line of defense against the beasts and monsters that haunt our nightmares. This generation’s Grimm is a police detective who stumbles into his family legacy by accident and must adjust what is his mostly normal life to these new abnormalities.  The mythology in this show is steep, meaning it will always be a cult TV show at best, but cult TV tends to appeal to this group of CPU! panelists more than mainstream/non-cult TV, and none of us have been disappointed by Grimm so far…and we continue to be drawn into its mythical and magical world, as the show only gets better in the process.

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

Couch Potatoes Unite!’s Complete Grimm Coverage

The Season Three Premiere Recap

Seasons 3, 4, and 5 Reflections and Recap

Season 6 Recap (Goodbye Series, Part 1)

Our Grimm panel of bona fide “Grimmsters” – Kristen, Nick and Jen – could not leave Grimm behind forever without spending quality time saying a long and (mostly) loving goodbye to this show, which has been in our lives for six years. After our Season 6 discussion, we agreed to reconvene to discuss the show as a whole, including all of its ups and the occasional downs, for part two of our two-part CPU! series in which Couch Potatoes Unite! says goodbye to this fantastic, fantastical program. In this second part, our panelists delve deep, reminiscing about what we loved and what we did not like as much from Grimm’s six seasons and about whether we think this series will hold up over time or whether it was a bit of lightning in a bottle or as fleeting as rage-driven “woge’ing.”

This second part of our two-part Grimm goodbye was recorded in May 2017, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of all six seasons of the series because, as you may have gleaned, our panel’s devotion to Grimm is as steadfastly loyal as it is to other genre shows that CPU! coversbased upon the program’s roots to the Brothers Grimm and to the history of monster stories throughout the ages.  Give the new episode a listen, see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts, 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 week, our American Horror Story Series panel returns after a several-month hiatus, sporting new members and a renewed desire for discussion about the anthology series’ most recent, sixth season entry, “Roanoke,” moderated by panelist Sarah. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

The entire panel recommends Grimm to anyone who likes anything about the fantasy or horror genres and advises that such genre nerds consider giving it a chance – or a second chance if the first chance didn’t quite sell the stable. Apart from some shaky continuity and several abandoned story threads, which may compromise re-watch-ability – in fact, the most consistent continuity arises from how regularly the show abandoned some plot arcs without offering a deeper meaning to the overall narrative or a neat resolution to leave our panelists satisfied – the panel agrees that Grimm remains well written, well performed, and worth the look, with a decent, good-not-great, and ultimately satisfying, if imperfect, denouement.  Still, Grimm goes out on a high note and potentially earns at least one nostalgic re-watch, somewhere down the line.  Also: David Giuntoli is a handsome leading man, if those kinds of details matter to discerning viewers like you. 😉

Grimm is currently available to stream on Amazon Prime through season five; season six is currently available to watch via the NBC streaming app through the end of September 2017.  Did you watch Grimm?  Let us know in the comments, and tell us what you thought of any or all of its six seasons!  And stay tuned!  Though our Grimm coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time.  CPU! has some new plans to expand our panel formats in new and exciting ways. Details coming soon (as we work them out)! 🙂

In the meantime, from our Grimm panel of devoted Grimmsters to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing Grimm series, which now officially comes to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

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Our “Grimm” panel, from left to right: Kristen, Nick, and Jen!

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The last screen-shot of Grimm prior to the finale end credits.

Grimm, Season 6 (Part One of the CPU! Goodbye to Grimm, 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 in May 2017, our panel of CPU! supernatural and fairy tale enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Kristen, Nick, and Jen – is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 6, the final season, of Grimm, in the first part of a two-part miniseries in which CPU! says goodbye to this long-running, procedural, fantasy-horror series.  If you have not watched any of Grimm, 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!