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

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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

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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

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: DC Television Universe Series, Episode 17, the DCTU Panel’s 2018-2019 Mid-Season Roundup (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: The DC Television Universe or DCTU Series Panel – Kyle, Hilary, Spencer, Kristen, and Nick – plus Chief CP Kylie as moderator.

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

When: 

  • Arrow currently airs Mondays at 8:00 PM; Season 7 premiered on October 15, 2018.
  • The Flash airs Tuesdays at 8:00 PM; Season 5 premiered on October 9, 2018.
  • DC’s Legends of Tomorrow airs Mondays at 9:00 PM, though it is currently on hiatus; Season 4 premiered on October 22, 2018.
  • Supergirl airs Sundays at 8:00 PM; Season 4 premiered on October 14, 2018.

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

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching each of these shows, listen to our DCTU series in full by clicking the floating box at the top right of our website header, the picture of the couch full of TV watchers, to search for all of the prior DCTU series episodes.  As for why we are covering four shows at once (for now), read on!

How – as in How Busy Are We? – THOUGHTS

This is the seventeenth episode in CPU!’s DCTU series.  Because we have reached double digits for this massive series, from here on out, we are only going to embed prior episodes from the immediately previous season at mid-season or only the previous episodes of the show in particular that we are covering if we covering any of the series individually, which you can listen to for reference in advance of the current podcast episode.  All of our episodes, however, are searchable here at the website or, for audio-only types, you can find our page at our file host, the Internet Archive (archive.org), which has all of our episodes compiled in one handy menu.  It’s pretty nice, actually.  If you feel so inclined, please also donate to the Archive, so garage podcasts like your humble CPU! can continue to thrive.  For now, here are the DCTU series episodes since the DCTU 2017 Mid-Season Roundup:

DCTU Series, Episode 11, the DCTU 2018 Mid-Season Roundup

DCTU Series, Episode 13, “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow,” Season 3

DCTU Series, Episode 14, “Arrow,” Season 6

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

DCTU Series, Episode 16, “Supergirl,” Season 3

In this episode, our cheeky and feisty and full and otherwise busy DCTU panel was subjected to (now for) something kind of differently but mostly the same.  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 engage in additional snarky shenanigans, however, which reach our usual level of spiciness and hi-jinks, but you know me – I don’t want to oversell it!!  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.  Give us a listen below, and let us know if you agree or disagree with our thoughts!

This particular CPU! episode was recorded in February 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the current seasons of all four Arrowverse shows. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly! Next week, our DCTU panel returns to the CPU! water cooler for a special, bonus, specially recorded, specially requested episode during which we discuss the Arrowverse’s 2018 mega crossover television movie event, “Elseworlds,” for which we “saved” discussion about said crossover specifically for this specially special bonus episode, as you will hear advertised throughout tonight’s episode.  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

(New Questions Only; All Questions, New and Old, Will Be Addressed End of Season)

1) Echo Kellum, who plays Curtis Holt aka Mr. Terrific on Arrow, is leaving the cast in this next half season (remember: we do not discuss the next half, if that half has already started airing, in the Mid-Season Roundup). How is Mr. Terrific written off the show?

2) What is the point of the “flash forward” story line, and why are the Arrow writers introducing it so late in the game? Are they really so hard up for material? Is Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) really dead in this future? If not, where did she go, and what the hell is happening? Is this future on another Earth or on our Earth? Where is Oliver Queen/Green Arrow (Stephen Amell) in this future?

3) How will Oliver encounter the New Green Arrow (NGA), and what will he learn?

4) Why do we care about the Longbow Hunters? Aren’t they kind of lame?

5) 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 (Jessica Parker Kennedy), Barry Allen (Grant Gustin) and Iris West’s (Candice Patton) daughter from the future, for his evil? Or, is she working for him and why?

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

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

8) If Neron is the Big Bad on “Legends,” will we be meeting any Green Lanterns or related? How did John Constantine (Matt Ryan) piss him off?

9) What is Biff, er, Henry Heywood’s (guest: Tom Wilson) master plan? Capture magical fugitives…and then what? What is the top secret plan to which he keeps referring?

10) Why is Mona Wu (Ramona Young) a thing? What is her purpose? What is Gary’s purpose for that matter?

11) Will Nate Heywood aka Steel (Nick Zano) ever leave bureaucracy and rejoin the Waverider team?

12) Why is Desmond’s death a fixed point in time? Why is Neron, wearing Desmond’s face, interested in Hank Heywood?

13) Why is Lena Luthor (Katie McGrath) truly experimenting with Black Kryptonite/Harun-El on Supergirl? What is she really hoping to accomplish?

14) Will we see more of Clark Kent aka Superman (guest: Tyler Hoechlin) or Lois Lane (guest: Elizabeth Tulloch) on this show?

15) Just how many versions of Parasite are there in this universe?

16) How much more of a factor will Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty (guest: Sam Witwer) be this season?

17) Why does Kara Danvers aka Supergirl (Melissa Benoist) even need the DEO? Superman isn’t employed…

18) Why should we care about Nia Nal aka Dreamer (Nicole Maines)?

PARTING SHOTS 

The panel proves to be truly all over the place, when reacting to the Arrowverse’s current season, in the episode at hand; what the panelists are able to agree upon is that the Arrowverse is equally all over the place in terms of quality and watch-ability, which produces a panel discussion pockmarked by a decidedly reduced exhibition of enthusiasm.  Half of the panel regards The Flash as the continued shining jewel of the multiverse, while the other half of the panel believes that Legends of Tomorrow has improved so masterfully, it is now the best of the four series.  Half of the panel finds Arrow to continue to flounder at the bottom of the heap, despite being the show that started it all, while the other half of the panel cringes, with rising disappointment, at the plummet in quality that Supergirl has seemingly experienced this season.  Notably, all members of the panel agree that the latter show has experienced a shockingly marked decline in entertainment value and in engagement, with a ham-fisted social allegory that clubs one over the head to the point of tedium and an apparent struggle to find new cohesion as cast members change and as, even, older characters transform and veer away dramatically from what they appeared to be in earlier seasons.

The panelists further enjoy the show about the Scarlet Speedster and the show about the non-legendary Legends most, believing that they boast consistently entertaining humor, tight ensemble casts, and an enjoyable and ingenuous addition in the character of Constantine.  Similarly, the panelists, by and large, regard the show about the Emerald Archer to be marginally better this season compared to previous seasons, with less recycled story-lines and squandered story potential, but continue to struggle with the overall story direction and their personal disinterest in the story itself, having felt disengaged for several consecutive seasons. Plus, they are starting to worry at what the writers, producers, and network might try to do if Stephen Amell leaves the cast, believing that no version of Arrow can survive without him.  More than ever, the panel has expressed growing dissatisfaction (if not outright resentment) at the thought of having to continue to watch both Arrow and Supergirl for this paneleven as the panelists look forward to what the second halves of The Flash and “Legends” seasons might bring to our collective viewing experiences.

LOOKING AHEAD

The four Arrowverse shows returned or will return from their mid-season hiatuses as follows:

The Flash: Tuesday, January 15, 2019, 8:00 PM
Supergirl: Sunday, January 20, 2019, 8:00 PM
Arrow: Monday, January 21, 2019, 8:00 PM
DC’s Legends of Tomorrow: Monday, April 1, 2019, 9:00 PM.

On January 31, 2019, the CW renewed all four Arrowverse shows for an additional season, all of which will likely premiere some time in fall 2019 and likely in or around October, if the trend from prior seasons holds.  In the meantime, the DCTU podcast panel will next convene around the CPU! water cooler to discuss the 2018 mid-season crossover event “Elseworlds,” which will publish next week.  Until then!  Stay tuned!

The Originals, Season 5 and Looking Back Series Review (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 September 2018, our panel of true CPU! originals and vampire enthusiasts – including moderator Kylie, Jen (S.), and Jenn (K.) – is back Around the Water Cooler and discussing the final season, Season 5, of The Originals, including another seven-year, in-show time jump; the ongoing threat of the Hollow; the thoughts, feelings, and hopes of a now teenage Hope, the daughter of Hayley and Klaus; and the unending reaches to which the Mikaelson siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family. We also Look Back at the now ended series as a whole and say goodbye to this spin-off of The Vampire Diaries, one ultimately beloved by this panel, despite mixed reactions of the panelists to the series finale. If you have not watched any of The Originals, 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!

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



PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: The CPU! Goodbye to “The Originals” – The Season 5 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

the_originals_title_card

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Originals” aired on the CW for five total seasons from 2013-2018.

What: “The Originals,” a spin-off of supernatural drama The Vampire Diaries, centers on the Original (i.e. very first) vampires, the Mikaelsons, who initially appeared on the latter show.  The surviving siblings are hybrid werewolf/vampire Niklaus (Joseph Morgan), his older brother Elijah (Daniel Gillies), and baby sister Rebekah (Claire Holt).

SYNOPSIS

In a backdoor pilot that aired during season 4 of The Vampire Diaries, the viewer learned that the Mikaelsons essentially helped to create New Orleans.  Klaus (Morgan), running from various personal dilemmas including his own ego and Mystic Falls in general, returned to New Orleans where he encountered one of his prodigal sires, specifically Marcel (Charles Michael Davis), who had taken control of the French Quarter and had declared war on other supernatural beings, including a local coven of witches.  Klaus covets Marcel’s power and hold over the city.  Klaus’ brother Elijah (Gillies) follows Klaus to New Orleans, learning that a one-night stand that Klaus had with werewolf Hayley (Phoebe Tonkin) has resulted in her being mysteriously pregnant, as vampires, including vampire/werewolf hybrids, are not known to have children. This series follows Klaus and the other Original siblings as they work to protect their family and this unborn and unlikely child from the clutches of egomaniac Marcel, Klaus’ prized pupil, and other forces who threaten her.

When:  Season 5 aired from April 18, 2018, to August 1, 2018, on the CW.

Where: The show is set in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Why: This panel, feeling TVD to be a traditionally good show with some of the same creative influence, including Executive Producer Julie Plec as well as the charismatic Morgan and Gillies, saw no reason that The Originals could not be just as juicy and delicious as the show from whence it spun.  Also, have I mentioned…vampires?  The non-sparkly kind?  Played by ridiculously handsome men? With accents?  The members of this panel were helpless to resist.

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

In 2016, our Originals panel helped to catch CPU! up on this program by discussing Seasons 1, 2, and 3 in a first episode for this panel, which was followed by a second episode devoted to Season 4.  To hear our thoughts, listen to the embedded links below:

Seasons 1-3

Season 4

Our small but continuously robust and truly original Originals panel, including returning panelists Jen (S.) and Jenn (K.), reconvened to discuss the siblings Mikaelson, including noble but repressed – and amnesiac, to start this season – older brother Elijah, werewolf/vampire hybrid and narcissistic middle child Klaus, and the many supporting characters that hover in their orbit.  We cover major plot points from the fifth and final season following another seven-year, in-show time jump, including the angst of an even older, teenage Hope (Danielle Rose Russell), the daughter of Hayley (Tonkin) and Klaus, pining for her unsurprisingly absent father; the precarious peace in NOLA monitored by Hayley and representatives of each of the city factions, supernatural and otherwise; and the unending reaches to which the siblings will go, by any means necessary, for their family, even when they are supposed to remain apart in order to prevent world destruction, owing to the unstoppable magic of the Hollow.  Our panel’s devotion to The Originals remains mostly devout and still higher (more or less) and more fervent than for The Vampire Diaries, as the panelists feel that the plot of this show continues to be more sophisticated and the situations, therefore, more adult.  Give us a listen, with your secreted last piece of the White Oak nearby, and see if you agree or disagree with our thoughts.

This podcast was recorded in September 2018, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points of the fourth 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 week, our A Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns to the Water Cooler, just in time for Netflix to drop the third and final season of that series on January 1, 2019, with the panel being (unfortunately) ready to dive into discussion about the second season of the faithful adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s novels. Stay tuned!

Lingering Questions

Old Questions

1) REPEAT QUESTION: If werewolves in the bayou are connected to Klaus’ biological father, and some of those werewolves are Hayley’s family, does that mean there is the possibility that Klaus and Hayley are distant cousins, generations removed, as well as parents of a new kind of hybrid? Does this fact explain the possibility of the baby?

NEW ANSWER ADDENDUM: To answer the first question, the Hollow, a being without a soul, comes into existence during prehistoric times in this fictional universe, as explained in Season 4.  When her tribe recognizes her curious but ultimately murderous tendencies, unfazed by moral dilemmas or community mores, they attempt to bind her via an ancient spell; however, she manages to reverse the curse and, in so doing, creates the first werewolves and, in turn, the initial progenitors of the five or six werewolf families.  Since all werewolves descend from The Hollow or from her relatives, Klaus and Hayley may, very well, be distant cousins several hundred times removed. The show explains, in Season 5 and in an almost tragically off-handed way, that Klaus, at one point, ingested a serum that would allow him to be a father, despite also being a vampire/werewolf hybrid.  Frankly, this off-the-cuff and rushed explanation fails to satisfy in any kind of meaningful way, at least insofar as suggesting that Hope (Russell) is more special than the average magical werewolf/hybrid offspring, since, at last check, she is the only offspring of that kind.

2) REPEAT OBSERVATION: Davina (Danielle Campbell) is annoying.  Please make her go away.

NEW ANSWER: Though Kol and Davina ride off into a romantic, love-filled sunset at the end of Season 4, Davina marries Kol in these intervening seven years, rendering their departures temporary at best, since they return, as family should, for all important family reunions, like weddings and funerals…

3) REPEAT QUESTION: What is Hope really: a vampire, a werewolf, a witch, a hybrid, or a combination of any of the above?

NEW ANSWER: The show confirms that she is a “teenage tri-brid:” a witch and a vampire/werewolf hybrid just like her father, though she exhibits no obvious signs of being a vampire, which her father can manifest quite readily.  As for any potential werewolf tendencies that Hope might display, listen to the podcast episode for details.

4) Will the Mikaelson vampire siblings – now housing each of four Bones of Torment which are, in fact, the skeletal remains of the Hollow’s former vessel and are far separated, as a coming together of those Bones will reconstitute the Hollow to an unstoppable state – be reunited?  How?  Will Hope save them this time?

ANSWER: It all starts with Hope.  Hope begins the season by giving her blood to a vampire at the magical Mystic Falls school run by Alaric (Matt Davis) and Caroline (Candice King), two alumna from The Vampire Diaries, that Hope attends. She thereby transforms her vampire classmate into a hybrid and catches the attention of her doting but fearful (and feared) father, which was all part of her plan and conspiracy with her vampire friend, who wants to become a hybrid, to begin with.  A chain of events is then set into motion, which eventually leads to a family reunion. Hope ultimately casts a “chambre de chasse” spell, bringing the surviving Mikaelson siblings together into a magical representation of the family compound in New Orleans, so that she can, very much against her father’s wishes, draw the Hollow magic out of each of them and into herself, allowing them to coexist in the same city together without endangering the world.  Hope cannot, however, long term, control this magic, since the Hollow always sought to inhabit the powerful Hope; the magic begins to endanger her life, and someone else is needed to save her.  Listen to the podcast episode for details – or just keep reading.

5) At Elijah’s request, Vincent casts a spell to remove the influence of the Mikaelson family motto, “Always and Forever,” from Elijah’s mind, which the eldest living Mikaelson brother has taken so seriously throughout his long, un-dead life, though doing so has cost him his happiness and sense of independence from his family, as he is the sibling that runs most to save the others.  How will the absence of the influence of that trigger affect Elijah in the final season?  Will Klaus attempt to reach him to bring him back into the Mikaelson fold?

ANSWER: We see an Elijah, free of the burden of his family, playing jazz piano in a club in the south of France and falling in love with a vampire named Antoinette (Jaime Murray), who teaches Elijah to reconnect with the more carnal and positive pleasures of being a vampire, even though she figures out quickly that he is one of the Original vampires. Klaus and Rebekah each, separately, risk visiting their brother from time to time, missing his wisdom and counsel and appreciating his overall happiness, though the visits are short, due to the magical influence of the Hollow bones coming back within proximity of each other.  Fortunately or unfortunately, in order for the siblings to escape the aforementioned chambre de chasse spell, in the spell’s representational way, each sibling is required to locate a key that will unlock a door to their conscious selves.  Elijah’s key, as it turns out, is housed where all of his other secrets are housed: behind the infamous red door of his consciousness, along with the rest of his memories, both good and bad.  In order for Elijah to retrieve this key, he must force himself to trust Klaus, the brother he does not remember and about whom he has heard only horrible things in his amnesiac state, and to see the need to save Hope; Elijah is convinced to bust through this door by his brother Klaus, who promises to go through it with him.  The act of entering this door not only awakens the sleeping Mikaelson siblings but also awakens Elijah’s memories, locked away by the magical removal of the “Always and Forever” family motto pull.  

6) What is Hope?  How did Hayley even come to have her in the first place, since vampires do not often produce babies the old fashioned way (Klaus was a hybrid werewolf/vampire at the time of conception)?

ANSWER: Hope is a “tri-brid” – a vampire/werewolf hybrid like her father and a genetic witch like all of the other Mikaelsons, though she is not motivated by fangs, blood lust, and night-prone immortality like typical vampires.  As for her conception, the show suggests that Klaus at one time ingested a serum, presumably a magical one, that would allow him to conceive a child.  Did we ever see him take this serum, either on this show or when the Original vampires were on The Vampire Diaries?  Our panel certainly does not recall seeing this.

7) Will the Mikaelsons have to fight the Hollow in the end?  Will Marcel, now forgiven by Klaus and reunited with Rebekah, join the fight?

ANSWER: In a manner of speaking, yes.  Klaus ultimately decides to take on the Hollow magic to save Hope, but not even he can hold the powerful magic at bay.  His decision to save his child is cataclysmic: he decides to stake himself with one remaining White Oak stake, which he confesses to Alaric and Caroline he secreted away at some point in case he needed it. (SPOILER) He makes good on this decision, even if the appearance of this stake feels a bit contrived and deus ex machina in the endNeither Marcel and Rebekah nor Kol nor Elijah try to stop Klaus; they admire his choice, and (SPOILER) Elijah even decides to join him in this final sacrificial act.  Listen to the podcast episode for details.

8) Will Kol and Davina return?

ANSWER: Kol is drawn into the chambre de chasse, he is present (along with his now wife Davina) for Freya (Riley Voelkel) and Keelin’s wedding, and he is present for Klaus and Elijah’s final goodbyes.

9) Will the Originals survive their series?  Will they be forced to face the consequences of their millennium of vampire misdeeds?  Or, will they all find happy endings?

ANSWER: Klaus decides to stake himself to save his family, Hope included; Elijah decides to stake himself with part of Klaus’ secreted away White Oak stake, as he always saw his life’s purpose, at least after a time, to be his brother’s redemption.  Elijah, in fact, sees Klaus’ final noble act as proof that he achieved his purpose, and since (SPOILER) Hayley also dies this season, he feels that without either of them, he has nothing particularly to live for after such a long life and an immortality of which he tires.  Klaus and Elijah, therefore, stake each other in the show’s final scene. Rebekah survives; as Klaus’ final gift to her, he informs her that Caroline has the vampire cure in Mystic Falls.  He blesses her use of the cure and wishes her and Marcel a long and happy, if ultimately, mortal life together.  Kol returns to Davina; Freya and Keelin vow to live a happy life together as well.  Thus, in the end, Klaus ultimately accepts responsibility for his sins and repents through his personal sacrifice to save his family, particularly his daughter.  Elijah does the same, seeing Klaus’ redemption as his own.  The remaining Mikaelsons find happy endings.

10) What will Klaus do to keep busy during this separation?  Will he visit Caroline Forbes (Candice King) from The Vampire Diaries in Mystic Falls and at Alaric’s new school for special children? Press releases have suggested that Caroline will appear in the final season of The Originals.  Will she recur or become a series regular?  Will she and Klaus actually, finally, get together?  The panel mostly supports this coupling, though not necessarily with tons of excitement.

ANSWER: Klaus roams the world, stewing over the separation from his daughter and processing the unconditional love he has for her, an achievement he has never unlocked until his very existence endangered that of his child.  He does visit Caroline briefly, and Caroline also visits him.  Caroline recurs in Season 5 by appearing in four episodes, including the season premiere and the series finale.  Caroline and Klaus do not become a romantic coupling; she confesses that he turned her head for a time, but she also notes that her life and her sense of self changed in the intervening years, and that these changes prevent her from connecting to Klaus in a more formal way.  Still, she also tells him, particularly as he readies to end his own after-life, that she has always cared for him, and she gives him a heartfelt kiss goodbye, both as a kindness but also as a sense of closure, since Klaus’ head never stopped turning for her.

11) How will Marcel and Rebekah live out their part of the separation?

ANSWER: Marcel and Rebekah finally enjoy their whirlwind, century-long romance by touring the world.  In fact, in the season premiere, Marcel pops the question to Rebekah.  Unfortunately, goings-on back in New Orleans complicate the proposal.

12) What will Freya do to keep busy during this separation?  We suspect that she will most actively seek a spell to bring down the Hollow, with Vincent’s help, if such a spell should exist.

ANSWER: The panel was right.  Freya spends most of the intervening seven years searching for a way to quell the Hollow’s magic, to allow her family to reconvene.  Vincent reluctantly helps Freya, on occasion, though he is just as happy to keep the Mikaelsons away from New Orleans, as the city is quite peaceful in their absence.  Freya also enjoys a happy romance with Keelin for most of those years.

13) How will the series end?  Panelist Jenn K. reports that producers are forecasting another time jump, ten years into the future, to start the fifth season, in which the viewer will see a teenager version of Hope.  Who will play her, and what will Hope have become to Hayley and to everyone during that time?

ANSWER: Danielle Rose Russell plays fifteen-year-old Hope.  Hope is still the apple of her mother’s eye.  She is also close to her aunt Freya, who mentors her in the ways of magic, and to her aunt Rebekah, though we do not see Hope and Rebekah together much, since Rebekah houses one of the Hollow bones.  The series ends with Klaus and Elijah staking each other, to end the Hollow’s magical threat and in a noble agreement to face the “true” death together; Marcel and Rebekah vow to marry, with Rebekah deciding to take the vampire cure; Kol and Davina and Freya and Keelin enjoy new love-filled chapters; and Hope returns to her school in Mystic Falls and to a second spin-off of this universe, Legacies, which premiered this fall on the CW.

14) Will Hayley have to sacrifice herself to save Hope, who may yet be threatened by the Hollow?  Will Klaus?  Will either Hayley or Klaus end up a single parent?

ANSWER: Hayley does, in fact, sacrifice herself to save Hope, though the Hollow is not the threat that causes her to engage in this sacrifice at the time. Instead, leaders of a so-called vampire cult, with a vendetta against Klaus, capture Hayley and Hope.  After Hayley’s werewolf side is magically removed by a witch in the cult leaders’ employ, Hope’s life hangs in the balance as Klaus and Caroline enter the scene.  To prevent further harm to Klaus or to Hope, and because Elijah, who also arrives on the scene, does not remember her due to the magical lobotomy of “Always and Forever” that he previously underwent, and makes no move to help her, much to her stark realization and dashed hope, Hayley wrestles the cult leader into the sunlight, causing Hayley, now only a vampire, and her foe to burn, as vampires do, in the sun.  

As noted above, Klaus also sacrifices himself for Hope, taking on the Hollow’s magic to save her and then staking himself to save his family, her included.  Sadly, this one-two punch of Hayley and Klaus’ deaths leaves Hope an orphan, though she has her extended family.  Klaus does try to care for Hope following Hayley’s shocking end, but his future is short-lived, given the omnipresent threat of the Hollow’s curse.

15) Will Hayley and Elijah end up together?

ANSWER: With Hayley’s death and Elijah’s agreement to go into the void with Klaus, these two lovers become the epitome of star-crossed, destined never to be each other’s enduring soulmate.

Lingering Unanswered Questions

1) With Elijah’s decision to stake himself, does not this mean that all of the vampires in his sire-line are now gone?  As of the end of Season 3, Elijah was still connected to his sire-line, correct?  It feels like we should have seen something more definitive regarding the elimination of his sire-line, given all of the hoopla in Season 3 revolving around the idea of the sire-lines themselves (fortunately, Klaus was separated from his sire-line by Davina in Season 3, and all of the Mystic Falls vampires, including Caroline, are in his sire-line).

2) None of us understand, still, what exactly Marcel was – a hybrid, sure, but it seems the magical white oak barbs or thorns from Season 3 rendered him more powerful and more special, as evidenced by the vampire cult’s desire to drain his particular venom.  The panel feels that Marcel’s new state of being was never quite satisfactorily explained within the show.

PARTING SHOTS

The Originals, though not the twisty soap opera characterizing its parent program, remained engaging, superior television in the end, spinning an epic and seductive tale with increasingly engaging acting and beautiful actors doing the work, even if not all of the story satisfied all of our panelists.  The writers created a steamy and sophisticated mix of horror, revenge fantasy, and romance, capitalizing on all of the best elements of vampire lore, while providing a considerably more adult direction for this spin-off of angst-driven The Vampire Diaries and an unusual spin on the usual vampire fantasy.  While our panelists disagreed about the overall success of the final season, we still, at least, agreed in the end that the over-arching story was best when it was grand and twisty, and the panelists, some more than others, regard The Originals as completely accessible to anyone who has not watched TVD.  Two panelists, your Chief CP included, feel a sense of profound sadness upon reaching the end of this program, believing that the show was prevented from mining a trove of unexplored history and potential in our millennium-old characters, while the third panelist sees this final season as more disappointing than satisfying. All participating panelists believe, more or less, that the show became far better than The Vampire Diaries in fewer seasons, owing to the stellar portrayals of the family Mikaelson and the intriguing relationships between the familial characters on the series.  Though the panel does not enjoy universal consensus about the show’s end, our panelists at least believe that the writers did their best with a shorter episode order in this last season and with this talented cast of performers and the characters they portray, even if the end felt decidedly rushed and, therefore, not as satisfying as it could have been – though panelist Jenn K. really struggled with the “Twilight-esque fluttery stuff” in the end.

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Canceled/ended! The Originals was canceled by the CW after five seasons. The series is available to stream on Netflix and available for purchase at the usual sites.  The panel, ultimately, universally recommends The Originals now that the series has ended.  Though both panelists Jen S. and Jenn K. feel that watching TVD is necessary to enjoy this show, Chief CP and moderator Kylie believes that The Originals can be watched and enjoyed on its own, with the caveat that watching at least the first four seasons of The Vampire Diaries, when the Original family first appears, would definitely make the watch experience of the spin-off much richer. All in all, our panelists mourn the end of the show, with Kylie and Jen S. perhaps mourning it more readily than Jenn K, and will miss the show in the end.  All of us love Joseph Morgan and Daniel Gillies, however, and are eager to follow them to other projects; Kylie and Jen S. particularly fan-girl for Daniel Gillies (hearts hearts hearts), while Jenn K. describes her affection for Nathaniel Buzolic (Kol) and her willingness to watch him in other vehicles.  So, if nothing else, if you love attractive men, especially men who wear suits well, and vampires, you will, at least, be moderately pleased with The Originals.

An image from the series finale of The Originals – Elijah (Daniel Gillies, left) informs his brother Niklaus aka Klaus (Joseph Morgan, right) that he is willing to die alongside his brother, and that they can face the unknown as they always have – together. The brothers subsequently each bury a halved piece of the remaining White Oak stake into each other’s hearts.
Our truly original The Originals panel: Jen S. (left) and Jenn K. (right).

 

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Season 5 (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 September 2018, our small and slightly less robust panel–including moderator Kylie, Jen, and Micah–is Around the Water Cooler and discussing Season 5 of Marvel Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (we previously recapped prior seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. with panelist Kristen, who has since declared that she has jumped the shark). If you have not watched any of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, 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!

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