DCTU Series, Episode 20: The Flash, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

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 August 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU Series panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the twentieth episode of our DCTU ongoing series.  In this episode, the panel discusses Season 5 of the Arrowverse’s first spin-off, The Flash. If you have not watched any of Arrow, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

Advertisements

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 20, “The Flash” – Season 5, the DCTU Panel’s Review and Recap (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for the flash season 5 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Flash” is a superhero/action/mystery drama centered on events and characters inspired by The Flash franchise of the DC Comic Universe, which airs on the CW, fall to spring Tuesdays at 8:00 PM.

What: “The Flash,” a series developed by Greg Berlanti, Andrew Kreisberg, and Geoff Johns, based on the DC Comics character Barry Allen / The Flash, a costumed superhero crime-fighter with the power to move at superhuman speeds. This series is considered a spin-off from Arrow. The series follows Allen (Grant Gustin), a crime scene investigator who gains super-human speed, which he uses to fight criminals, including others who have also gained superhuman abilities.

SYNOPSIS

After witnessing his mother’s supernatural murder and his father’s wrongful conviction for the crime, Barry Allen (Gustin) is taken in by Detective Joe West (Jesse L. Martin) and his family. Allen becomes a brilliant but socially awkward crime scene investigator for the Central City Police Department. His obsession with his tragic past causes him to become an outcast among his peers; he investigates cold cases, paranormal occurrences, and cutting-edge scientific advancements that may shed light on his mother’s murder. No one believes his description of the crime—that a ball of lightning with the face of a man invaded their home that night—and Allen is fiercely driven to vindicate himself and to clear his father’s name. Fourteen years after his mother’s death, an advanced particle accelerator malfunctions during its public unveiling, bathing the city center with a previously unknown form of radiation during a severe thunderstorm. Allen is struck by lightning from the storm and doused with chemicals in his lab. Awakening after a nine-month coma, he discovers he has the ability to move at superhuman speeds. Dr. Harrison Wells (Tom Cavanaugh), the disgraced designer of the failed particle accelerator, describes Barry’s special nature as “meta-human.” Allen soon discovers that he is not the only one who was changed by the radiation. Allen vows to use his gifts to protect Central City from the escalating violence of meta-human and other criminals. He is aided by a few close friends and associates who guard his secrets.

When: Season 5 aired on the CW from October 9, 2018, to May 14, 2019, with a total of 22 episodes.

Where: The action is set in fictional Central City, one of the primary settings of The Flash franchise.  The action does branch out in the occasional crossover with Arrow to Star City (formerly Starling City) and, occasionally, to other dimensions in a “multi-verse.”

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the first Flash podcast episode via the embedded link below! It should be noted that CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie previously picked up this show during the 2014 Fall Preview, noting:

The DC comics universe is attempting some major expansions now that Marvel is push and shove proliferating on big and small screens everywhere.  The Flash is a classic hero; he was given an appearance on Smallville, and there is some crossover with Arrow, which I’ve decided to catch up on, since the CW is offering DC Comics a chance to implement those crossovers. Also, I like the choice for the title role. The Flash is a non-flashy guy, almost DC’s equivalent of Spider Man, given an extraordinary ability, as opposed to several.  It could be an engaging new take on an old superhero story.

How – as in How’s It Going? – THOUGHTS

This is the twentieth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Here are only the prior The Flash episodes in the series; as we flush out seasons of all Arrowverse shows, older episodes will be searchable via the website – click the upper right dialog box in the header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers. Listen to each episode here:

DCTU Series, Episode 3, “The Flash,” Seasons 1-2

DCTU Series, Episode 9, “The Flash,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 15, “The Flash,” Season 4

DCTU Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Mid-Season Roundup, 2018-2019

In our last DCTU episode, our cheeky and feisty DCTU panel – namely Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – began addressing the most recent full seasons of each of the four “Arrowverse” series in order of the airing of each season finale by discussing the seventh season of Arrow.  Tonight’s episode finds the panel returning to the Water Cooler to talk the fifth season of The Flash in the twentieth episode of our DCTU series.  The discussion herein considers the success of Modern Age villain “Cicada” (Chris Klein); the introduction of Barry and Iris’ daughter, back in time from the future, Nora West-Allen aka “XS” (she is also a speedster, played by Jessica Parker Kennedy); the continued dual nature of Caitlin Snow/Killer Frost (Danielle Panabaker); the return of Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash (played by Cavanaugh in this iteration); and how the Central City section of the Arrowverse is faring as a whole.  In fact, the panelists’ typically unanimous and stalwart support of The Flash as the best of the CW’s DC Universe offerings continued to wane a little this time, with some of the panelists expressing dissatisfaction with repetitive story-telling and questionable character decisions, while other panelists still see The Flash as the most consistent and, therefore, most enjoyable property of the four (current) Arrowverse shows.

This particular episode was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of Season 5 of The Flash. 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 Supernatural panel returns to the Water Cooler to discuss Season 14B, now the penultimate season (we can’t even believe it!), of the long-running fantasy/horror series.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Will Gorilla Grodd return?

ANSWER: Yes! Grodd returns in Episode 15, and he faces off against King Shark in one of the best episodes of the season! Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) With the appearance of Nora, Barry and Iris’ daughter from the future, how much time will she spend on the show, and which comic story are they trying to channel?  Is it Flashpoint Redux or something else?

ANSWER: Nora lasts the whole season, and the writers seem to be drawing upon a few DC/Flash story lines to weave this particular tale, while also planting seeds for the upcoming and much ballyhooed Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event. It is not Flashpoint Redux, owing to the return of The Flash’s arch nemesis, the Reverse Flash. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Will Ralph aka Elongated Man (Hartley Sawyer) become a permanent member of Team Flash?

ANSWER: Yes! Hartley Sawyer, portraying actor of Ralph Dibny aka Elongated Man, was promoted to series regular in Season 5 and becomes a permanent member of Team Flash.

4) Will the Trickster, as played by Mark Hamill, ever return?

ANSWER: Unknown. Luke Skywalker is still being Luke, and occasionally the Joker, and other stuff that makes him famous, so he is quite busy.

5) Will we see other Barry/Iris future generations, such as Nora’s son Bart Allen, who becomes another incarnation/version of Flash in the comics?

ANSWER: Not in Season 5.

6) Will the show return to more of a classic format: strong villain, an advisory version of Harrison Wells, and Barry being the primary speedster? The panel votes yes; some panelists hope profoundly that the Nora character will not be overused or become too omnipresent in Season 5, though those panelists might be facing profound disappointment as a result.

ANSWER: Yes! Barry is the primary speedster, though he is often accompanied by his daughter from the future, Nora. Harrison “Sherloque” Wells is the adviser of the season, sent to Team Flash by the Council of Wells. He is French and particularly particular about the way his name is pronounced. Meanwhile, the two primary villains of Season 5 were Cicada (and his niece, who takes up the Cicada mantle) and Reverse Flash, who, of course, masterminds everything we see. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) What is the writing that Barry uses when he emerges from the Speed Force, and that Nora is using near the end of the season?  Does it mean something?  Is it important? Is it Kryptonian? Is it something else?

ANSWER: It is Speed Force/Time language and does, in fact, signify something very important: the code to the Multi-Verse. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Was Cecile’s (Danielle Nicolet) meta-ability of being able to read minds exclusive to just her pregnancy, as Caitlin initially theorizes, or is Cecile some lingering type of meta herself?  Alternatively, will her baby daughter one day be a meta?

ANSWER: Cecile’s meta ability persists throughout Season 5, despite having had her and Joe’s new baby daughter. As to baby’s potential meta-ness…that remains to be seen.

9) Who is the new female speedster that Jay Garrick said he was training as he transitions into retirement from being Earth 3’s Flash?

ANSWER: Unknown/still a question. The answer to this question was not clarified, unless Jay was suggesting that he was training Nora.

10) The show is seeding the idea that Caitlin might have always had Killer Frost in her, and that her disassociated personality might not have been caused by the particle accelerator explosion in Season 1.  What did cause that split in Caitlin’s past?  How is she able to manifest freezing powers because of it?

ANSWER: It seems that Caitlin’s father, Thomas Snow, a scientist like her mother, experimented with gene therapy and cryo-freezing processes when Caitlin was a child in an attempt to create a cure for devastating illnesses, like ALS, of which Thomas is diagnosed early in Caitlin’s history. He then, somewhat unethically this CP would espouse, tries these therapies on himself as well as on Caitlin as a child subject, which produces early side effects of being able to manipulate ice and cold moisture. Unfortunately, the side effects also produce a type of schizophrenia in both Caitlin and in, later, Thomas, as his experimentation on himself results in a dark personality that he ultimately names “Icicle.” Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

11) Will we learn more of what happened to Barry while he was in the Speed Force in Season 5?

ANSWER: No. We do not learn more about Barry’s time in the Speed Force in Season 5.

12) What is Nora’s “big, big mistake?”  Helping her future dad in the past? Or something else?

ANSWER: Unclear. Was Nora helping her father to foil the Thinker’s satellite-related mega-plans the mistake, as doing so paved the way for the creation of meta-tech and, therefore, the means by which Cicada comes to power? At first, Nora might be referring to this decision as her big mistake; more likely, however, she is referring to her choice to ally herself with Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash, as it is his advice that spurs her to make the decision to go back in time and to try to save her father, an event that presents far-reaching consequences on the future timeline. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

13) Will we get to see Eobard Thawne aka Reverse Flash next season (with a plausible explanation as to how and why)?

ANSWER: Yes! And yes! Just listen to the podcast episode already, as we spend some time discussing the clever machinations of Mr. Thawne.

14) Who will be the season-arching villain for Season 5?  Which of Flash’s rogues will appear and/or return in the fifth season?  Will they appear together, as panelist Kyle would like to see?

ANSWER: Cicada, with aiding and abetting by Reverse Flash, constitute the season-arching villains for the fifth season. Other than them, we also are entreated to appearances by Rag Doll, Gorilla Grodd, King Shark, Godspeed, and Bug-Eyed Bandit as rogues rooted in the actual Flash comics. We also meet a host of new villains, who come to power when the Thinker’s satellite of Season 4 is destroyed, creating dark matter-infused technology that Cisco (Carlos Valdes) deems “meta-tech.” To answer panelist Kyle’s wish, Grodd actually faces off against King Shark, who is on the brink of receiving a cure for his metahuman/animal hybrid condition, but who chooses to revert to his shark form to be able to muster the strength to defeat Grodd, in one of the best episodes of the season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

15) What is Eobard Thawne/Reverse Flash’s (currently played by Tom Cavanaugh) plan on The Flash? Why is he using Nora West-Allen aka XS, Barry Allen and Iris West’s daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

ANSWER: (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) Eobard Thawne is in custody in the future because, well, he’s kind of evil and villainous. How is he held there? By the power dampening strengths of Cicada’s dagger, which has somehow become available to future authorities for power dampening purposes and which is plastered to Eobard’s chest, preventing his escape. Nora seeks out Eobard in prison under the guise of seeking further information about her father, who she learns during her early adulthood is, to her surprise and excitement, the Flash. In turn, Eobard, from prison, manipulates Nora’s wistfulness over not having a life with her father, Barry Allen/the Flash, by convincing her to run back in time and to reconnect with her dad, which then leads her to interfere with history by helping her dad against the Thinker, which then leads her to remain behind to get to know him and her mother while devoting effort to correcting history, every so often returning to Eobard in prison in this not-so-distant future to accept his device and direction related to what she should do next. In Nora’s mind, she believes that Eobard is helping her of his own accord because he has no other choice and possibly because he has genuine affection for her (which Iris, played by Candice Patton, also believes to be the case when she follows Nora into the future later in the season). In addition, Eobard provides fatherly advice to the “Little Runner,” particularly with relation to learning how to use her speedster abilities, which had been suppressed through a device employed by the future incarnation of her mother, Iris, throughout her childhood in an effort to avoid repeating what ultimately happens to Barry in this potential future: namely, his disappearance, as forecast by the future newspaper headline in the Time Vault, which most everyone on Team Flash has come to believe is caused by a confrontation with Cicada. It’s twisty, it’s turny, it’s quintessentially a trademark Reverse Flash mastermind ™ – because it’s all done with his own self-preservation in mind. Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

16) What is the little journal, containing presumably Speed Force writing, that Nora is carrying around with her?

ANSWER: The journal contains Time Language recorded in Eobard Thawne’s handwriting. The Time Language contains (SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER) a cipher for what represents the DC Multiverse.

17) How much longer will Orlin Dwyer aka Cicada (Chris Klein) be a factor? The panel has some decidedly mixed reactions to him.

ANSWER: Though an angry, future, and decidedly adult version of Orlin’s niece takes up the mantle of Cicada and ends up murdering her uncle during a quixotic set of violent decisions, she also hallucinates visions of her devoted uncle as she wrestles with the effects of time travel, an apparent connection to Nora fostered by a trip into Grace’s consciousness, and the long-term exposure to dark matter shrapnel lodged in her prefrontal cortex. In essence, Cicada is around for the whole season, whether as Orlin Dwyer or as Grace Dwyer, until young Grace accepts taking a meta-human cure developed by Cisco and Caitlin, which removes the power-creating effects of the shrapnel in Grace’s brain.

New Questions

1) How much of Season 6 will be devoted to setting up the mid-season crossover mega-event Crisis on Infinite Earths? Some of the panel wants a balance of setup and routine Flash shenanigans; some of the panel wants this show particularly to exclusively work toward that setup, since the Flash is central to that story.

2) Where in time is the version of Eobard Thawne that we watch in Season 5? Is he pre-Season 1? Post Crisis on Earth X? A time remnant? Or something else?

3) How much will the show explore the Negative Speed Force in Season 6? Will we see Eobard Thawne again, in his Season 5 incarnation, next season?

4) Panelist Kyle proved giddy in light of the appearance of Godspeed in Season 5. Will we see him again? Will he become a season “big bad?”

5) How will Cisco function and/or be in Season 6 without being Vibe? Will he make the adjustment well? Will he still be with Kamilla at the start of Season 6? Will he be truly at peace with his situation or jealous of all of his super-friends? Or something in the middle?

6) Will Barry and Iris try to have kids now, knowing that Nora once existed?

7) Will we see Caitlin’s mother’s full transformation to meta-human in Season 6? Will Caitlin/Killer Frost have to help her adjust? Will Caitlin’s mother also take on a “dark personality,” like her erstwhile husband and daughter?

8) With Captain Singh’s promotion to police chief and his admitted knowledge that Barry is the Flash, will we see him again? How will Joe adjust to life as precinct captain?

9) What will trigger the now moved-up headline (new date: 2019) in the Time Vault foreshadowing Barry’s disappearance and/or Crisis on Infinite Earths? Will Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) have to sacrifice himself to save Barry from his prognosticated fate, as the Arrow scene tag from Elseworlds, shown in Arrow’s season finale, seems to indicate?

10) Which version of Harrison Wells will we meet in Season 6? Tom Cavanaugh: our panel salutes you, sir!

11) Will we at least get to see if Sherloque (Cavanaugh) and Renee Adler live happily ever after?

12) If Crisis on Infinite Earths foretells the collapse of the multiverse, as proffered by the comics, which version of Harrison Wells will be Harrison Prime?!

13) The show toyed with the idea of Caitlin and Ralph getting together, though they, as in the characters themselves, poo-pooed the very notion in Season 5. Still: the chemistry is undeniable. Will Caitlin and Ralph reconsider? They seem to have a special rapport.

14) Alternatively, will Ralph find a romantic relationship that sustains beyond twelve steps (or however many steps there are in Ralph’s various self-authored self-help guides)?

15) Will we see any first-half-of-season crossovers on The Flash, in spite of the mega mid-season crossover on the horizon?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! DCTU panel continues to universally recommend The Flash to fans of comic books, particularly from the DC universe, and of the Flash franchise, though some of the panel’s members remain more restless with The Flash generally in these later seasons compared to the show’s strong two first seasons.  Still, most if not all of the panel continues to believe, generally, that even casual comic book/superhero fans will find something to love in what the panel primarily regards to be the Arrowverse’s most consistent if not best series.  The panel also continues to universally praise the ensemble cast as the series’ most solid feature as well as the general direction of the show, though there are some panelists who quibble with writing decisions, particularly around the third season’s main villain, Savitar, and the fourth season’s villain, the Thinker.  As several panelists note in tonight’s episode, however, even though this season might not be as mesmerizing as Seasons 1 and 2 (though the panel unanimously agrees that Season 5 surpasses Season 3 in quality and might equate to Season 4 on the same terms, in lieu of the stumbling around the “Flashpoint” story line in the third season), the weakest seasons of The Flash still surpass the strongest seasons of many other series, including at least one of the other Arrowverse series.  The panel, though, continues to appreciate, overall, the faithful and loving adaptation of a hero who may not have received the same star treatment as his Justice League compatriots and co-founders, Batman and Superman, at least in modern memory.  Further, the panel will always laud Grant Gustin’s portrayal of Barry Allen, readily and enthusiastically.  As always, take a listen and see if you agree with the panel’s general thoughts on these matters.

LOOKING AHEAD

The sixth season of The Flash is slated to premiere on Tuesday, October 8, 2019, at 8:00 PM on the CW.  CPU!’s next DCTU episode, which will focus on the fourth season of Supergirl, will publish in October!  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 DCTU 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.  Thank you! ⚡

Grace and Frankie, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

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 July 2019, our panel of CPU! veterans – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reconvenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of the quirky Netflix comedy about growing old (and growing up) gracefully, Grace and Frankie.  As always, if you have not watched any of Grace and Frankie, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “Grace and Frankie” – The Season 5 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grace and Frankie” is a comedy-drama web television and Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Grace and Frankie,” created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Grace (Fonda), a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie (Tomlin), a hippie art teacher, whose husbands, Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterston), are successful divorce lawyers in San Diego.  Grace and Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when Robert and Sol announce that they are in love with each other and are leaving their wives. Now, the women, who have never particularly liked each other, are forced to live together and must learn to unite and to cope with difficulties in their new lives as 70-something divorcees.

When: Season 5 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 18, 2019, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in San Diego, California, and surrounding communities.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the Season 1 and 2 podcast episode via the link below!

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

Last year, CPU! caught up on this septuagenarian (or, perhaps, secretly octogenarian) sitcom in a two-part miniseries. To listen to that miniseries, in which each part covers two seasons of Grace and Frankie, click on either of the links embedded below:

Seasons 1 and 2

Seasons 3 and 4

Previously by popular request, though notably by frequent CPU! panelists and viewers unlikely to be in the intended target audience for this quirky comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie became a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler last year. Ultimately, those requesting CPU! faithful continue to regard Grace and Frankie as a charming comedy about growing old gracefully – but also about growing up gracefully – in these, our modern times. 

To that end, in this episode, our panelists – Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reflect on and recap the fifth season of Grace and Frankie, reacting to the growing cadre of quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves.  From new loves to new heartaches, from death to birth, from squats to yurts to alternate realities, our panel reacts to it all.

This episode was recorded in July 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, jokes, and sight gags of the fifth 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, a new, one-time panel convenes at the CPU! Water Cooler to Look Back at a CW drama that ended in 2017, which fictionalized and romanticized the life and journeys of Mary, Queen of Scots. The drama is Reign, which CPU! began covering on the blog in the year the website launched. We are royally excited to return to it too!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Did Nick (guest: Peter Gallagher) buy the beach house?  If he did not buy the beach house, who did?

ANSWER: Nick did not buy the beach house. A pop star known as Karina G (guest: Nicole Ritchie) bought the beach house to escape fallout from a social media disaster propagated by the vapid songstress. It was she who came equipped with a sassy assistant played by RuPaul. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) Will Grace and Frankie get the beach house back?

ANSWER: Yes. Grace and Frankie aim to squat and squat they do in the empty beach house prior to Karina G’s move-in. When Karina is ready to eject the gal pals, they successfully turn on their charms; Frankie convinces Karina that New Mexico is a much better place to hide from paparazzi.

3) What will the fallout be with the kids, since they all conspired against the women, their mothers?  What was Robert and Sol’s reaction – or what will it be – when they found/find out?

ANSWER: Bud (Vaughn) insists that the women hire a home health aide to look after them, since they refuse to return to the retirement village from whence they sprung; the other three kids are more mortified that their mothers engaged in the dignified act of squatting to get their house back. The women have their revenge, however, when Frankie ultimately hires retired secretary Joan-Margaret, who can barely walk, to be their caregiver. In the meantime, though Robert and Sol are aware of their ex-wives’ antics, they betray little surprise or care regarding fleeing retirement villages or subsequent squatting, beyond bemused hoping that they remain safe. In fact, the husbands seem to be placated by the idea that Grace and Frankie successfully return from their lives as fugitives and are looked after by the kids.

4) Where did Nick go?  Does he know that Grace checked into a retirement community?

ANSWER: Nick tried to move on with his life, considering that it was Grace that gave him the old heave-ho. He eventually reunites with Grace when she realizes that she loves and misses him and engages in an awkward gambit to win him back, so she probably filled him in on the whole old folks’ village sitch off-screen.

5) Will Brianna (Raphael) save Say Grace and gain some of her mother’s approval, as panelist Krista predicts?

ANSWER: Brianna actually humbles herself long enough to ask Grace to help her, as the company begins to fail. This partnership predictably deteriorates rapidly (listen to the podcast episode for details), though Grace does realize, in the end, that Brianna has a good head for business, and Brianna concedes that Grace is not as out of touch as Brianna otherwise keeps attempting to argue. Saying that Brianna officially gained her mother’s approval in the end, however, seems like a stretch measurement for their status quo as of the season finale. You tell us, gentle listener. What do you think?

6) Will Jacob (former guest: Ernie Hudson) return to Frankie somehow, as many of the panelists hope?

ANSWER: No. Jacob has not returned as of Season 5.

7) Why does Mallory (Decker) continue to allow Coyote (Embry) to park his tiny home in front of her house?  Will Mallory and Coyote couple up?  Will the show offer up more back story for this troubled pair other than Coyote’s drunken blackout night?

ANSWER: Still a question. An educated guess estimates that pity/friendship/secret feelings still motivate Mallory, but she and Coyote have not acted upon any feelings that either or both of them might still be nursing for the other. The show, also, has not offered additional back story on their awkward relationship.

8) What will RuPaul’s new character, who panelist Kristen describes in the episode, mean to the story next season?

ANSWER: Very little, as it turns out. It seems that RuPaul was a mere stunt cast, meant to fuel preseason speculation and, probably, to gain viewership, but he (outside of his drag persona) appeared in only two episodes, and the panel concluded that this appearance was underwhelming and only modestly funny at best. Yet, RuPaul still has her Drag Race. May the sass be with her.

New Questions

1) Will Brianna and Mallory self-actualize, countering their mother’s high standards and judgment, for once? Will Brianna find the confidence to run Say Grace and to make it successful without her mother’s help? Will Mallory advocate for herself and for her wants and needs (like a paycheck from her sister) rather than wallowing in belabored self-pity following her divorce?

2) Will there be more episodes with all members of both families combined in the next season? The panel votes yes.

3) Since Dolly Parton recently acquired a Netflix deal for her own series, will she appear, in a 9 to 5 reunion type way and with the “all in the family” approach of the streaming giant, on Grace and Frankie? The panel votes yes.

4) How will Grace and Nick’s elopement affect Grace’s friendship with Frankie and/or her living arrangement with Frankie? Why was Frankie so upset that she sank to the ground upon learning of the elopement in the Season 5 finale?

5) The panel further votes that Robert should partake of more marijuana, since he’s so “good” on it. The “Robert/Frankie on edibles” scene was voted the panel’s most popular scene of Season 5. Will Robert and Sol endeavor to enjoy this recreation together? Will Grace ever go the cannabis route?

6) How long will Mallory date her daughter’s principal? Will Coyote’s employment at the school affect that dynamic, even if Mallory and Coyote never couple up?

7) Will Frankie assume sole proprietorship over Vybrant, since she’s running it so well, if uniquely in her way?

8) If Nick moves in to the beach house, what will become of Joan-Margaret?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Grace and Frankie panel continues to recommend this groundbreaking situation comedy to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, and to people who sincerely like to laugh.  Some of the panel cautions, however, that with frank discussion about drugs and sex – and occasionally rock ‘n’ roll – as well as some salty language coming from these septuagenarians (and secret octogenarians), not every potential viewer might find the show funny or be copacetic with the vernacular utilized therein.   Also, the panel continues to generally praise the comedic performances of the four main actors, and the writing, while agreeing that there are better episodes than others; in fact, the panelists still voice a variety of reactions to the supporting characters, namely the four actors playing the grown up children of the couples in question.  The panel further expressed highly mixed feelings toward the device used in the Season 5 finale, with some panelists arguing that the episode achieved the apparently intended, if distasteful, effect of rendering the viewer unsettled by the end of the season. At the same time, the remaining panelists asserted that the “alternate reality” trope employed in that episode seemed decidedly misplaced in the season finale; felt too forced for the ensuing and somewhat anticlimactic character epiphany; and, therefore, failed to achieve any measure of emotional satisfaction with that epiphany in the end.  In any event, our panelists, the Season 5 finale aside, universally experience great fun while watching this series, despite any perceived warts or blemishes, and believe that most with an open sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix has renewed the show for a sixth season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant.  Most pundits expect the show to return in 2020, in keeping with its traditional once per year release pattern, which is when our CPU! Grace and Frankie panel will also, most likely, return to the Water Cooler for the purpose of chatting about Season 6.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Grace and Frankie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

PARODY/HOMAGE!

We are not the only big fans of Grace and Frankie. Apparently, Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live, DJ Khaled, and Paul Rudd are too! Our panelists recommend peeping this sketch, yo:

THE PANELISTS ALSO RECOMMEND!

Panelist Samantha recommends that you and all the rest of CPU! check out the Grace and Frankie cast appearance at this year’s Paley Fest:

Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 5-7: The Friends Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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 of CPU! loyal Friends – including moderator Chief Couch Potato Kylie, Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – reconvened Around the Water Cooler for the next discussion in which we are Looking Back and reminiscing, this time about Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of CPU! favorite, mega-hit sitcom Friends.  This is the second part of a three part CPU! podcast series in which we talk, laugh, quote, and wax nostalgic about all things Friends! This episode was recorded in February 2019, and, as always, if you haven’t seen any of Friends – if that is even possible – be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Stay tuned for Episode Three, the final episode, of our Friends Series, in which we cover Seasons 8-10 and each panelist’s Top 10 Best and Bottom 10 Worst episodes – next week!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Best Of! & Looking Back at “Friends,” Seasons 5-7: The Friends Series, Episode 2 (MAJOR SPOILERS) + Best Written TV (#24) & Recommended By Viewers Like You

Image result for friends season 5 title card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Friends,” an American television sitcom created by David Crane and Marta Kauffman, which aired on NBC from 1994 to 2004 for ten seasons.

What: “Friends” features an ensemble cast starring Jennifer Aniston, Courteney Cox, Lisa Kudrow, Matt LeBlanc, Matthew Perry and David Schwimmer. The show revolves around six friends in their 20s and 30s who live in Manhattan, New York City. 

SYNOPSIS

Rachel Green (Aniston) flees her wedding day and finds childhood friend Monica Geller (Cox), a New York City chef. They become roommates, and Rachel joins Monica’s group of single friends in their mid-20s: struggling actor Joey Tribbiani (LeBlanc), business professional Chandler Bing (Perry), masseuse and musician Phoebe Buffay (Kudrow), and newly divorced paleontologist Ross Geller (Schwimmer), Monica’s older brother. Rachel becomes a waitress at fictional Manhattan coffee house Central Perk; when not there, the group is usually at Monica and Rachel’s nearby West Village apartment or Joey and Chandler’s place across the hall. Episodes depict the friends’ comedic and romantic adventures and career issues.

When: The show aired on NBC from 1994-2004; Seasons 5, 6, and 7 spanned 1998-2001.

Where: The show is set primarily in Manhattan, New York City, New York and even more primarily in the West Village, wherein the characters live in spacious, rent-controlled apartments (well, Rachel and Monica do).

Why: Listen to the podcast for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Friends. They are all personal and occasionally touching.

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

In honor of the 25th anniversary of the premiere of one of your Chief CP’s all-time favorite television shows, and since I know a few people in my life who love Friends as much as I do, I decided to invite some true Friends of Friends to participate in a three-part podcast series during which we will take a critical look back at a sitcom that continues to tickle our collective funny bones while tugging at our TV-loving hearts. In this three-part series, our panel – comprised of all CPU! regulars, namely Nick, Sarah, Krista, Hilary, Andrew, and Samantha – look back at Friends and reminisce about a show that has, for the most part and somewhat controversially (as we discuss in our series), withstood the test of time as personal favorites for several of us and as one of the most nationally and internationally acclaimed television situation comedies of all time.

We have already recorded one episode in this series, Looking Back at Friends Seasons 1-4. You can listen to that episode here or via our audio channels on iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

The Friends Series, Episode One, Seasons 1-4

In this second episode of CPU!’s Friends series, our panel discusses the middle three seasons of Friends, covering the series’ arguably best seasons and its enduring and unshakable reign of international popularity. We discuss our favorite and least favorite episodes within each season and our general impressions of the success of Seasons 5, 6, and 7 of this program, which aired on Thursday nights on NBC for the entirety of its run.

Plus, Friends constitutes another entry in our “Best Of!” series. To wit, herein be the list of Friends’ Best Of!:

  • #21 on TV Guide’s list of 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time
  • #28 on TV Guide’s list of 60 Best Series of All Time
  • #7 on Empire‘s “50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time” in 2008 and #5 in 2016
  • #1 on The Hollywood Reporter‘s “Hollywood’s 100 Favorite TV Shows”
  • Time magazine’s “100 Best TV Shows of All-Time
  • #26 on Rolling Stone’s list of 100 Greatest TV Shows of All Time

In addition, Friends ranks at #24 on the Writer’s Guild of America’s Best Written TV list in 2013, as it is also considered one of the best written (scripted) television series of all time.

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, sight gags, jokes, and quotes of the Seasons 5-7 of Friends! 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 Friends panel triumphantly and victoriously returns to the Water Cooler with the triumphant and victorious final of our three-part discussion Looking Back at the beloved sitcom du jourFriends! In the next episode, we talk Seasons 8-10, i.e. the Last One or the One with All the Babies and Paul Rudd, as well as discuss each panelist’s Top 10 Favorite and Bottom 10 Least Favorite episodes of the series. Stay tuned!

RECOMMENDATION

Friends – if you somehow haven’t already watched it – is recommended to anyone who hasn’t somehow seen any portion of it in the 25 years since it premiered; who isn’t offended by yesterday’s context of sensibilities in today’s more “woke” world; and who enjoys well-written shows about people being friends because, hey, it’s not just a clever name.  As we discuss in the podcast episode, this sitcom was once ahead of its time and is now as popular as ever, even if it is comprised of some dated humor; however, Friends influenced so many other multi-camera, situation comedies to follow and remains a (mostly) timelessly funny, magical fusion of ensemble cast chemistry and youthful commentary that is hard not to love, whatever flaws it might have. Friends is endlessly quotable, and the series represents an enduring statement on the Gen X experience, with some eternally applicable situations to which anyone entering their twenties, when their job’s a joke, they’re broke, and their love life is DOA, would relate. This critically and popularly lauded program has a bit of everything, and, if you love to laugh, and if you have somehow missed this series (please explain how this might be possible?), you should make time for Friends. Just be aware, a small fraction of the humor doesn’t transcend its original context, and not all of the episodes are home-runs, but most hit the funny bone in all the right places. The panelists further feel that any new viewer, if such an individual exists, would be hard pressed not to laugh at least at those episodes that, without argument, hit it out of the park. In short, Friends will be there for you, as there is nothing like the consistency of a well-written, well-performed comedy. Could we BE anymore effusive in this recommendation? (No. The answer is no. How YOU doin’?).

All ten seasons of Friends are currently available to stream only at Netflix, though the Warner Brothers company is launching its own streaming service, expected to appear in late 2019, at which time it will begin streaming some of its hallmark properties of modern television, Friends included. In the meantime, the CPU! Friends Series panel will return next week with Episode 3, the final episode, of this series, in which we talk Seasons 8-10 of the mega-hit sitcom as well as review each panelist’s Top 10 Best and Bottom 10 Worst episodes. Until then!

DC Television Universe (DCTU) Series, Episode Seventeen: 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup of “Arrow,” Season 7; “The Flash,” Season 5; “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 4; and “Supergirl,” Season 4 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

CPU! final-01

A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in February 2019, our DC Television Universe or DCTU panel – including moderator Kylie, Hilary, Kyle, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – reconvenes Around the Water Cooler for the seventeenth episode of our DCTU ongoing series. The panel was also subjected to (now for) something kind of different but mostly the same here at CPU!  We decided to check in with each other in advance of this season’s end, when we will visit each show’s current season in four episodes, one for each show, by rounding up our thoughts so far about all of the Arrowverse shows.  We play games and aspire to reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks!  Our panelists talk about their current, sometimes cursory, assessment of the progress of Season 7 of Arrow, Season 5 of The Flash, and Season 4 of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and Supergirl. If you have not watched any of the DCTU/Arrowverse to date, be aware that there are MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite).  Until next time, until next episode…buh bye! 

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington