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.

PODCAST! – Looking Back at “Person of Interest” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Person of Interest,” a science fiction crime drama, created by Jonathan Nolan, that aired on CBS from 2011 to 2016.

What: “Person of Interest” features Michael Emerson (Lost) as Harold Finch, a technology and computer genius who, in the wake of 9/11, invents a Machine, which he sells to the government.  The Machine is designed to predict disasters and events with a high probability of catastrophic fatalities, except that Finch becomes aware that the Machine also predicts singular deaths, termed “acceptable losses,” that it discards or that are ignored by those associated with the Machine.  Consumed by several personal crises, including knowledge of the Machine’s capabilities, Finch hires former CIA-operative John Reese (Jim Caviezel, Passion of the Christ) as a vigilante responsible for saving the endangered lives predicted by the Machine.  In the first few seasons, Taraji P. Henson plays a police detective who first suspects and follows the mysterious operatives and then becomes an integral part of their operation. In addition, as the program progresses, the complicated lives and backgrounds of not only Finch and Reese but of everyone connected directly or indirectly to the Machine, as well as the Machine’s own complex programming, expose the corruption of higher powers, including federal government agencies, the New York Police Department, and the seedy underbelly and crime syndicates of greater New York City, (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/person_of_interest/summary.html).

When: The show aired for five seasons, from 2011 to 2016, on CBS.

Where: The show is set in New York City and follows Reese, Detective Fusco (Kevin Chapman), and Finch, as well as other characters that come and go throughout the series, as the Machine generates new numbers with associated lives to save or perpetrators to stop. Occasionally, the action leaves New York State if there is a larger story arc or a flashback providing character background.

Why: The Chief CP initially watched the show for three solid reasons: J.J. Abrams is an executive producer, Jonathan Nolan (i.e. Christopher Nolan’s writer brother) created the concept, and the show features Michael Emerson, best known as morally ambiguous Benjamin Linus on Lost, one of the truly great actors on that show.  I was also intrigued by seeing Jim Caviezel in a non-Jesus role and enjoyed Taraji P. Henson in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  I kept watching because I never could have conceived what the program would ultimately become or how the high-concept premise would offer longevity and/or wildly entertaining and intellectually stimulating story possibilities.  I was pleasantly surprised by just how exciting, intelligent, and thoroughly engaging this show became.  I thought I was the member of a hidden minority, but after some searching, I found other POIs within the CPU! circles willing to chat about this show – and their admiration for it, as it turns out, matches my own.

How – as in How Do We Really Feel About This Show (in the End)?!

The Chief CP previously covered Person of Interestspecifically in blog form.  Read prior entries via clicking the helpful hyperlinks below:

The Season 3 Premiere

The Season 3 Mid-Season Progress Report

Despite these two articles/reviews, Person of Interest coverage lapsed a bit, per usual, as the Chief CP launched the podcast portion of CPU! (but look how we’re finally catching up!). Also, Person of Interest is intense.  It’s intense, I tell you! – and, therefore, sometimes hard to commit attention to watching, lest the intensity overwhelm.  Plus, following the major character death previously covered in the most recent review, it was hard for me to recover to watch this show again – no joke.  Boy, am I glad I persevered, though!

Also, as we often mention within the podcast episode hyperlinked below, this show was criminally – criminally – underrated.  This high octane action thriller with science fiction aspects embracing super intelligent artificial intelligence just might have been too much for the average TV viewer, as we tentatively discuss in the episode.  The ratings certainly seemed to reflect a wider trepidation in becoming invested in this truly well executed program; in fact, after tossing it around like a rag doll within its weekly schedule for the first few seasons, CBS, in the end, elected to cancel this headily premised show while ordering a shortened fifth season to tie up loose story threads. The good news: Person of Interest reached a grand total of 103 episodes, making it a candidate for syndication, should a benevolent network appreciate its quality and deft execution and elect to give it an afterlife.  The bad news: not enough people saw the show when it was actually airing, rendering the show’s pickup even for syndication a tough sell in the end.  At least Netflix (they really should pay us) can come to the rescue in the meantime.

Plus, though I originally posted about the show on social media as a podcast option over a year ago, no potential panelists emerged or volunteered.  It was only through the steady but exciting expansion of the podcast and the casual conversations one has about TV – it’s how the podcast was inspired, don’t you know – that I was able to assemble a small but super intelligent threesome to sift through the long-term relevance of Person of Interest and its story about super-computers, moral quandaries, and diverse characters with layers like onions and slick chemistry beyond measure. Thus, herein, familiar panelists Spencer and Selene gather “around the water cooler” for a long, loving look back at POI and all that it had to offer, from Caviezel’s expert hand-to-hand combat to Emerson’s riveting, philosophically challenging portrayal of Finch; from Amy Acker’s charming psychopath Root to Sarah Shahi’s steely sociopath Shaw; from the death of Carter (as Henson jumped to Empire on Fox) to the long life of Bear the German Shepherd.  The podcast panelists, your Chief CP and moderator included, spend some time wistfully pining for the days of an active Person of Interest – a special and largely overlooked five-year moment in TV history.

This podcast was recorded in April 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover plot points throughout the Person of Interest series, including the rise and fall of Finch’s beloved Machine. 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 Marvel’s Defenders panel will be back around the water cooler to start controversy over the latest solo Defender series, Marvel’s Iron Fist.  You won’t want to miss it. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Considerations (from prior Person of Interest coverage)

1) Will Root (Acker) being holed up in Finch’s library last, or will the Machine bust her out of her newest prison?

ANSWER: In Season 3, the second half, Root’s ingenuity and zeal to “free” the Machine gives Root the tools needed to break out of this latest prison.  This breakout leads to Root’s capture by shadow government operation Northern Lights, which spawns Samaritan.  Root eventually becomes a bona fide part of the team when she surgically implants a device that allows her to hear instructions from the Machine directly after she is deafened via torture during her Northern Lights capture.

2) Will Elias (Enrico Colantoni) and the Machine ever cross paths?

ANSWER: Though Elias and the Machine never formally meet, Reese and Finch finally make Elias aware of the Machine just prior to Elias (spoiler) faking his death at the end of Season 4.  Elias aids Reese and Finch in their fight against Samaritan throughout the final season – though he does not survive the war.

3) Will Shaw (Sarah Shahi) smack some sense into Reese?  Will she ever get in touch with her inner human?

ANSWER: Shaw and humanity are not overlapping figures in this grand scheme; however, Shaw softens somewhat when she becomes romantically involved with Root later in the series.  As for helping Reese to emerge from the funk caused by Carter’s shocking and abrupt death, Shaw proves downright giddy to fill in for Reese during Reese’s absence as the resident brute muscle marching on behalf of the Machine, though she lobs a few sassy one-liners in Reese’s generally depressed direction for good measure.  As she does.

4) Will Fusco’s role in Finch’s merry band of misfits grow?  Will he be able to save Reese from himself and his spiraling self-destruction as he mourns Carter?

ANSWER: It is Fusco who slaps some sense into Reese in the end.  Fusco seems to make it his personal mission to help John come to grips with the reality of his situation – and then inherits that mission full time when the Machine re-purposes Reese as Carter’s NYPD replacement as a cover to shield Reese’s identity from the watchful digital eyes of Samaritan.  When Reese becomes Fusco’s police partner, Fusco becomes (more) integral to Finch’s overall operation.

5) Where do they go from here?  Will Reese recover?  What is the Machine (and, therefore, Root’s) endgame?

ANSWER: The short answer is that with the activation of Samaritan, Finch’s team is forced to work in secret – that is, under even further cover than ever before. Though Reese recovers, Finch, Reese, and the others are frequently thwarted by Samaritan, who becomes an efficient adversary of the Machine very quickly. Samaritan’s endgame is to manipulate global circumstances such that war, violent crime, disease, hunger, and poverty are eliminated.  Samaritan often orchestrates these improvements at the expense of collateral damage, in human life, while the Machine learns, via its programmer and master Finch, that human life should be valued. While the Machine’s designed endgame is not necessarily clear, at least as explained by Root and/or at the outset of its sentience, the actual fate of the Machine is tied closely to the defeat of Samaritan via what would be several sacrifices on the part of our misfit band of vigilantes.

6) What will Finch do to continue the quest when so much of his operation is in shambles following the cataclysmic confrontation with HR?

ANSWER: Finch eventually brings Root into the fold and eventually – although not until Season 5 – explains the stakes to poor hapless Fusco.  Finch also abandons his library and assumes the secret identity of an assistant professor at a local university while the Machine attempts to cloak the team from Samaritan.  The billionaire Finch also establishes an underground lair at an abandoned subway station, which allows Reese, Finch, and the team to continue to receive “irrelevant” numbers from the Machine while staying off Samaritan’s radar.  In short, the team rebounds, just in time for the final showdown…

7) Will Finch or any of the group have to destroy the Machine in the end?

ANSWER: The short answer – yes.  Finch pulls the proverbial kill switch, though his sentient Machine recognizes the need for the eventuality and cooperates with Finch’s decision because it is the only way to stop Samaritan.

8) Will the Machine continue to predict deaths, either individual or, in connection to its original purpose, larger/catastrophic disasters?

ANSWER: The Machine nearly loses its own sentience at the end of Season 4 when Samaritan is able to scale a full blown assault, causing Root and Finch to have to scramble to save the Machine’s core programming.  A reboot using a score of stolen Playstation 4’s, thanks to Root, allows the Machine to revive and to continue its purpose, even throughout a shortened Season 5.  Once Harold frees the Machine and allows it to expand its programming on the open net, its ability to predict everything broadens without tether, including its own demise in sacrifice to the greater good.

PARTING SHOTS & RECOMMENDATION

Person of Interest boasts riveting storytelling with threads that interweave, overlap, tie together, unravel, and come back together in the end.  Each episode is jam packed with so-called “holy shit” moments, culminating in some of the biggest and most mind-blowing plot developments in television (all hyperbole and exaggeration aside) bolstered by the fully formed and engaging chemistry between this ensemble cast of actors.  In fact, the podcast panelists see Person of Interest as one of the most exciting shows on TV in recent history, though not enough viewers tuned in to keep it going for the long term.

Further, the POI CPU! panelists recommend this program to anyone who likes fast-paced, serial television with easy questions, no easy answers, and witty and intelligent writing, not to mention solid performances from a stellar cast.  Those who enjoy science fiction thrillers like The X-Files, Fringe, and the “Terminator” series will likely and most easily find love for POI, though fans of Caviezel, Emerson, Henson, Acker, and others in the cast will not be disappointed by the performances of these actors on this show.  The panelists universally advocate that there might be something for everyone while warning that this is not “turn your brain off TV.”  Person of Interest makes you think, but the mental stimulation is satisfying and is paid off handsomely by the end of the series.  In fact, aside from the network’s wavering support for POI by the series finale, the podcast panelists, your moderator included, could find little bad to say about POI, nursing a high affection for the show and recommending it fervently to anyone seeking something new/old to add to their present watch lists.

The entire series of Person of Interest is available on Netflix.  I’ll take my free subscription now, thank you. 😉

Glee, 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 April 2017, our “gleeful” panel preoccupied by New Directions – including Moderator Kylie, Sarah, Michael, and Emily – equally sing praises and hurl slushies while Looking Back at the six seasons of Glee, which aired from 2009 to 2015 on Fox. If you have not watched Glee, 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 “Glee” (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Glee,” a musical comedy-drama series that aired on Fox from 2009 to 2015.

What: “Glee,” a musical comedy about a high school show choir or “glee club,” the show choir members’ quest for acceptance of themselves and each other, their reflections on their place in the world and in their maturation, and their attempts to survive the minefield that is high school (for a more detailed Synopsis, read here: http://www.aceshowbiz.com/tv/glee/summary.html).

When: The show aired for six seasons, from 2009 to 2005, on Fox.

Where: The show is set in fictional McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, though, come Season 5, it also travels to New York City to follow some of the characters who have graduated high school since the series began.

Why: As a theatrical and musical person, and traditionally an eccentric in my own right, Glee initially appealed to the Chief CP on many levels – but why did I keep watching it? For that matter, why did my co-conspirators and co-panelists, all CPU! regulars of varying frequency, do the same?  We spend much of this “Looking Back” CPU! episode grappling with that very question.

How – as in How Do We Really Feel About This Show (in the End)?!

The Chief CP previously covered Glee, specifically in blog form.  Read prior entries via clicking the helpful hyperlinks below:

Around the Water Cooler: “Glee” – The Season 5 Premiere (SPOILERS)

Around the Water Cooler: “Glee” – “The Quarterback” and The End

Despite these two articles/reviews, I let Glee coverage readily lapse whilst I rebooted this site into a podcast plus (podcast with extra content).  It was easy for me to do so, in retrospect. Glee began as a refreshing new take on standard teen TV tropes, all while set to funky fresh (re)arrangements of pop, rock, country, rap, and Broadway classics. With an edgy underbelly punctuated by red and blue slushie tossing and the conniving sneer of Cheerios Coach Sue Sylvester (Jane Lynch), there was a lot to love about Glee when the program first premiered.  Unfortunately, the show’s over-commercialized propulsion to receptor of heightened generation-motivated scorn and ensuing infamy became the centrifugal force around which the writers geared plot and character development, such as it was, in seasons following the second.  It soon became a chore to keep going with the series, particularly just prior to and following the death of character Finn Hudson’s real-life counterpart, Cory Monteith.

So, after some time sitting on Glee here at CPU!while letting the show slowly drift down our “What We’re Watching Currently” list without too much in the way of regret, and after some rumblings from the CPU! faithful concerning the idea that, perhaps, the much ballyhooed and widely controversial (and divisive) series should become the subject of one of our podcast panels, your Chief CP dusted off the old vinyl covers of this manic, musical extravaganza and recruited some of those self-same faithful to staff the discussion. Thus, herein, familiar panelists Sarah, Michael, and Emily gather “around the water cooler” for a long, sometimes hard – and even unforgiving – look back at the iTunes-ready song stylings of TV/pop culture sensation Glee, and all that it had to offer, between Lea Michele’s closed-eye ballad belting to Heather Morris’ confident twerking, from Mr. Schu’s (Matthew Morrison) “butt chin” to Sue’s soft spot for the stalwart Becky, from Klaine and Frachel to Brittana and whatever other glib moniker could be ascribed to the new relationship of the week.  This podcast was recorded in April 2017 and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the Glee series, from “Don’t Stop Believin'” to the last tune, some song by One Republic that I’ve never heard of because I’m probably too old to be watching Glee. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, we’ll be launching a new mini-series around the water cooler, when we check in with a score of familiar voices and their effusive love and passion (not misplaced) for the international, sensational, representational BBC adaptation of Sherlock, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman. The first episode next week reviews the first two series (from 2010 and 2012, respectively).  Stay tuned!

PARTING SHOTS & RECOMMENDATION

Our panel struggled, looking back and as a whole, with this once original, formerly fresh, and creatively campy show, as the series became so uneven, so by rote over the top, and so formulaic, in that it kept following the same formula that it created in season one, with less success, over and over and over again.  The panelists predominantly resigned themselves to the superficial when discussing appreciation (or lack thereof) for this musical show meditating upon increasingly rarer funny exchanges or the many forgotten songs, rearranged into palatable sound bytes and packaged with splendorous auto-tune.

The CPU! Glee panel, thus, struggles to recommend this series to anyone who would not appreciate the voluminous musical montages, tributes, rearrangements, and homages, and/or to anyone over the age of, say, 50.  In fact, it was generally agreed by all that the younger the better to watch and to potentially enjoy Glee, as its hyper or magical realism was played to increasingly tedious and preposterous effect, particularly as the show became more commercialized, merchandised, toured, and able to be downloaded for $0.99 per song.  Most of the panelists forewarn that anyone who undertakes Glee (who has not somehow sampled it in the past, for better or for worse) will find the pilot magical, the first season both engaging and endearing, and everything beyond that progressively disappointing if not outright infuriating.  With that warning in place – some panelists standing behind it more strongly than others – all original seasons of Glee are available on Netflix and on Amazon Prime.  Don’t say we didn’t warn you and don’t hurl slushies at us, whatever you do!