PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: “Fuller House” – Season 4, the Full/er House Series Panel’s Review and Recap; the Full/er House Series, Episode Five (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Kristen

THE SPECS:

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

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

SYNOPSIS

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

When: Netflix released Season 4 on December 14, 2018, with total of 13 episodes.

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

Why: Listen to the podcast series, via the embedded links below, for the panelists’ individual stories on how they found Fuller House.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

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

Episode One: Looking Back at “Full House”

Episode Two: “Fuller House,” Season 1

Episode Three: “Fuller House,” Season 2

Episode Four: “Fuller House,” Season 3

In addition, lacking the ability to fully appreciate Full House (and Fuller House) age-wise by a few years, the Chief CP steps aside from the moderating microphone once again, so that Kristen may serve as main moderator with the kind of enthusiasm this juggernaut of nostalgia deserves. Kristen is, in turn, rejoined by her fellow series panelists, Andrew and Leslie, who proved game to return for this fifth episode of our “Full/er House” series. They are, in turn, newly and more fully joined by one panelist new to the panel but not to the podcast, namely Samantha (currently involved in the Grace and Frankie and The Crown panels, among others), and by a brand new panelist, embarking upon his CPU! journey for the first time – Jared!

In this latest CPU! Fuller House episode, the panel discusses their favorite and least favorite moments from the fourth, and now officially penultimate, season of the reboot.  In sum, the panel’s reactions to Season 4 prove more widely mixed and, in essence, more difficult to pinpoint, in terms of an average rating, compared to previous seasons. Some of our panelists struggled through the nuanced changes in the show following the involuntary departure of creator and Executive Producer Jeff Franklin, including the evolving tonal quality of the show following the move to Netflix (and given the time period that has elapsed since the original series ended), while other panelists continued to enjoy what they have always enjoyed about the series, the heart and soul of the Full House banner, and to take that entertainment value for what it’s worth.  Listen to this latest podcast episode in our Series, if you have watched through Season 4, and gauge whether you agree or disagree with the plethora of opinions offered herein.

This podcast was recorded in June 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points and comedic situations portrayed in the fourth season of Fuller House. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

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

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!   Except not next week…because next Wednesday, CPU! will be publishing a rerun, as it’s the day before the day of American Independence, and we deserve a holiday too! We should really try to get outside and enjoy the summer weather instead of being glued to our TV screens all the time, or so they tell us, anyway. Plus, it’s super hard to concentrate on sound editing with all of those darn fireworks going off! To that end, new episodes resume anew on July 10, 2019, when an exciting new panel will be launched, one that will boldly go where CPU! has never gone before! Our “Star Trek 50+ Series” will meet at the Water Cooler for the first time in July to launch the largest multi-part, multi-episode Retrospective series ever initiated at Couch Potatoes Unite!, covering every single season of every single series of the Star Trek franchise (and the films too)! On July 10, the panel discusses Season 1 of Star Trek, the Original Series. Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

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

TWEAKED ANSWER: Still a question, likely with a “no” answer, even as our panelists remain twelve percent hopeful. Unfortunately, our panelists report that the show resumed the off-putting jokes addressed to a broken fourth wall to call out the twins’ (and Michelle’s) absence.

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

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

3) Will Stephanie (Sweetin) and Jimmy (Adam Hagenbuch) get engaged?

ANSWER: Yes! In the Season 4 finale, after Kimmy (Barber) delivers Stephanie and Jimmy’s new baby via surrogacy, Jimmy proposes to Stephanie, and she answers, “Yes!”

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

ANSWER: No. Only Danny moves in with his daughters, Kimmy, and their children temporarily while he explores the possibilities and potentialities related to retirement, but he moves out again once he finds his new post-retirement purpose with the help of Aunt Becky, specifically his old job at Wake Up, San Francisco. The other uncles and aunt simply make their usual visits.

5) Will DJ and Steve (Scott Weinger) finally stick?

ANSWER: They are officially official in Season 4 and so far, so good.

6) Why are the Gibblers so weird?

ANSWER: Some questions can only be answered thus: “TV Magic.”

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

ANSWER: Kimmy, as a surrogate, gives birth to one baby girl for Stephanie.

8) Will the show get better? 

ANSWER: New panelist Jared feels that the show has remained consistent and “good;” panelist Leslie feels that the show improved upon Season 3 in the fourth season; panelist Andrew thinks that the show improved in Season 4 but is still worse than Seasons 1 and 2; moderator Kristen and new panelist Samantha regard the whole kit and caboodle as all downhill from here.

New Questions

1) Will DJ and Steve get married – finally?

2) What will Stephanie and Jimmy’s baby girl be named?

3) Will there be a double wedding, with DJ/Steve and Stephanie/Jimmy, or even a triple wedding, with Kimmy/Fernando?

4) But seriously, will Michelle return? Or, will Stephanie and Jimmy name their daughter “Michelle” as an homage to the never-seen youngest Tanner sister, off doing her fashion thing?

5) Will we see Joey’s kids again (the panel votes “no”)?

6) How will the show handle the departure of Lori Loughlin, who was caught up in the college admissions scandal of earlier this year and who is expected to go to trial related to charges for bribery, and others, after attempting to fix college admissions with financial incentives at prestigious schools on behalf of her daughter? Or, will Loughlin actually be allowed to make an appearance in this final season?

7) Will Kimmy and Fernando finally remarry, whether in the previously theorized triple wedding or not? What’s going on with them?

8) Will there be a happy ending? It’s Full(er) House, right? Will the show be able to make up for the lack of a satisfying ending, denied to the flagship series upon its abrupt 1995 cancellation?

9) Will the begrudging CPU! “Full/er House Series” panelists come around in the end?

10) How many panelists will there be at the last? Our panels are full at six or seven, and this panel has experienced quite the roller coaster in panel composition!

PARTING SHOTS

Our new panelists bring with them an offset cache of balanced fresh opinions. Panelist Jared enjoys and is entertained by the whole show, from start to finish, while panelist Samantha struggles along with some of her veteran compatriots on this panel. Some of the panelists readily recommend this reboot series to others who might enjoy the admittedly “cheesy” humor, while other panelists cannot imagine a world of people who might enjoy this show enough to warrant such a recommendation. To the extent that the panelists recommend the show, they do so mainly for the nostalgic appeal and “turn your brain off” level of entertainment resulting from the perennially saccharine premise of this well-loved cast and the tongue-in-cheek presentation of its “aw, shucks” humor. Most of the panelists would hesitate to recommend the show to anyone who has not seen the original Full House series, though the panelists also believe that the core audience of Fuller House has been established and will likely not grow, given the show’s specific oeuvre and vastly uneven quality. 

The panelists’ reactions to the fourth season, as above, proved to be vastly diverse, with some exhibiting effervescent enthusiasm for it while others claimed to be downright unable to finish watching it, either in light of or in spite of the change in show runners resulting from the involuntary departure/discharge of original creator (of both Full House and Fuller House) Jeff Franklin.  Still, our panelists hope for a happy ending at the end of what was announced to be the fifth and final season and still, at times begrudgingly, admit that this sequel series and its ham and cheese on rye quality of humor remains easily binged and easily digested, with minimal heartburn or regret, even given its less well-received moments. As such, our panelists hope for a Season 5 that ends with the proverbial bang and not the (mostly) expected whimper, even as but a segment of the panel continues to champion the series, while the rest of the panel sees fit only to round out the investment of time that they have devoted to this series, out of loyalty to CPU!, if nothing else (aw?). For the discerning viewer seeking direction on whether or not to pick up this series, then, one can obviously glean from the above that the general reaction “is what it is” and will be what it will be, which is probably not helpful in the end. In other words: watch it, and form your own judgment, because our panel is literally all over the very fuller map.

LOOKING AHEAD

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

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PODCAST! – On the Couch With…Kristen!

Interviewer: Selene
Interviewee: Kristen

Who:  Associate Producer of Special Projects (it’s a working title…and Panelist) Selene interviews our most frequent/involved panelist and one of our Moderator Team, Kristen!

What: “On the Couch With…,” a feature wherein listeners can learn a bit more about “the lives behind the podcast” here at Couch Potatoes Unite!

When: This interview was conducted on June 11, 2019.

Where: In Krista’s living room. Seriously.

Why: Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the first names and voices you hear on this podcast?  Well, frequent panelist Sarah thought you might – because she listens to lots of podcasts and enjoys hearing about the personalities behind those – and so she thought you might be feel the same about the United Couch Potatoes!

How – as in How Do You Do?

We’re back to our newest feature on CPU!  Our humble little podcast has officially been going for four years, and, as always, we will be covering many more shows and introducing many more panels as time progresses, but if you’ve ever wondered about the “lives behind the podcast,” you’re in luck. In our “On the Couch With…” feature, one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

Here is the last episode in our “On the Couch With…” series, featuring Selene as interviewee:

In our fourth installment of this feature, Associate Producer Selene interviews Moderator Kristen with some probing, thoughtful questions about her TV watching tastes. Plus, the ladies dig deep existentially and ask the tough questions, such as what would one do if trapped in an elevator with her favorite TV character?

This podcast “mini-sode” was recorded in June 2019. 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, schedule permitting, we return to our regularly scheduled programming when our newly expanded, and amazingly full, “Full/er House Series” panel reconvenes Around the Water Cooler to digest the now penultimate Season 4 of the brimming-with-nostalgia revival sitcom! Plus, last night, we published the first of our End-of-Season Progress Reports, reviewing shows newly introduced from June 2018 to June 2019 across networks, cable, premium, and streaming (I told you we’ve expanded), and next week, we will publish our second summer Progress Report, which reviews the status of long-running shows covered and/or requested at the podcasts and across the five major broadcast networks. Check that out, and stay tuned for more!

LOOKING AHEAD

The next “On the Couch With…” profile will feature frequent panelist and Moderator Nick as interviewee and will be published later this summer; the second of our annual End of Season Progress Reports will be published next Tuesday! Until then!

PODCAST! – On the Couch With…Selene!

Interviewer: Krista
Interviewee: Selene

Who:  Associate Producer of Graphics and Marketing (and Moderator/Panelist) Krista interviews Associate Producer of Special Projects (it’s a working title…and Panelist) Selene!

What: “On the Couch With…,” a feature wherein listeners can learn a bit more about “the lives behind the podcast” here at Couch Potatoes Unite!

When: This interview was conducted on June 11, 2019.

Where: In Krista’s living room. Seriously.

Why: Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the first names and voices you hear on this podcast?  Well, frequent panelist Sarah thought you might – because she listens to lots of podcasts and enjoys hearing about the personalities behind those – and so she thought you might be feel the same about the United Couch Potatoes!

How – as in How Do You Do?

We’re back to our newest feature on CPU!  Our humble little podcast has officially been going for four years, and, as always, we will be covering many more shows and introducing many more panels as time progresses, but if you’ve ever wondered about the “lives behind the podcast,” you’re in luck. In our “On the Couch With…” feature, one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

Here is the last episode in our “On the Couch With…” series, featuring Krista as interviewee:

In our third installment of this feature, Associate Producer Krista interviews Associate Producer Selene with some probing, thoughtful questions about her TV watching tastes. Plus, the ladies wax nostalgic about childhood TV favorites and their parents’ particular rules related to TV watching!

This podcast “mini-sode” was recorded in June 2019. 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 regularly scheduled review episodes will still be in their brief June hiatus, so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Associate Producer of Special Projects Selene interviewing our most frequent and involved Panelist and one of our Moderator Team…Kristen!  Plus, we’ll be publishing the first of our end-of-season Progress Reports on Tuesday! Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

LOOKING AHEAD

The next “On the Couch With…” profile will feature Kristen as interviewee and will be published next week; one of our annual End of Season Progress Reports will also be published on Tuesday! Until then!

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler & Streaming Originals: The CPU! Goodbye to “A Series of Unfortunate Events” – The Season 3 Recap and Review + Looking Back at Seasons 1-3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderated by: Nick

THE SPECS:

Who: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is an American black comedy-drama television series developed by Mark Hudis and Barry Sonnenfeld, which is based upon the children’s novel series of the same name authored by Lemony Snicket and which is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” adapts the books of Lemony Snicket’s series of novels. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Patrick Warburton, Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes, K. Todd Freeman, and Presley Smith.

SYNOPSIS

When a mysterious fire kills their parents, the Baudelaire children are placed into the care of their distant relative Count Olaf (Harris), an actor who is determined to claim the family fortune for himself. Following Olaf’s initial failed attempt to do so, the Baudelaires set out to elude Olaf and to uncover the mystery behind a secret society from their parents’ past.

When: Season 3 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 1, 2019, with a total of 7 episodes.

Where: The action takes place in various fictional locales, not always specifically named.

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

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

Couch Potatoes Unite! has been reviewing and recapping this series from the beginning! If you need to catch up with us, listen to the prior episodes of this series via the embedded links below:

Season 1

Season 2

Frequent contributor and panelist Nick abounds in passion and, therefore, perseveres in his moderation duties while discussing the latest (and final) season of Netflix Streaming Original A Series of Unfortunate Events, in this latest chapter of CPU!’s podcast episodes about this #Unfortunate series. In this final season’s recap and review, yours truly, the Chief CP, again participates as a regular old panelist to remark upon the unfortunate-ness of the whole affair. Nick and I are, in turn, joined by returning CPU! and ASOUE panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Selene, and Jenn for this final probing, passionate, and, at times, pithy discussion about the Baudelaires and their trials and tribulations.

This podcast was recorded in May 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points throughout the third and final season of A Series of Unfortunate Events. 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 regularly scheduled review episodes will return to a brief hiatus (as spring moves into summer), so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Associate Producer of Marketing and frequent panelist Krista interviewing Associate Producer of Special Projects and frequent panelist Selene.  Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

Lingering Questions

1) Will the Baudelaire children survive their trials and tribulations? Will they get a happy ending? Will they reunite with the caring Justice Strauss (Joan Cusack) from Season 1? Will they find a happy home anywhere? Or, will they be marginally miserable but, at least, always together?

ANSWERS: (SPOILERS!!!) The Baudelaires survive and become quite self-sufficient in the end, needing no guardian, which might be the happiest ending that they could have expected or for which we, the viewers, could have hoped. They also reunite, briefly, with Justice Strauss, who the viewer learns has been searching for them for the length of the entire series, ever since the children were separated from the kind judge in the first season. Unfortunately, Justice Strauss is forced to preside over a trial during which the Baudelaires must answer for questionable, entirely inadvertent crime(s). The Baudelaires, as a result of a rigged system overseen by nefarious High Court adjudicators that Justice Strauss naively trusts, choose to run from the trial, particularly given some arson-related circumstances affecting the trial’s location, and find themselves on the ocean and sailing toward a mysterious island, surprisingly with Count Olaf and without Justice Strauss. After these wily children deal with Count Olaf on this removed island oasis, they make a temporary home for themselves in an abode, the interior of an apple tree, previously occupied by their parents; the island itself provides a very specific tidal window through which to sail that can only be accessed once per year. The Baudelaires, then, after a year of waiting for the turn in the tide, return to the mainland, together, where they presumably live out the rest of their days. Listen to the podcast episode for further details.

2) Will Count Olaf get his well-deserved comeuppance?

ANSWER: Well…Count Olaf does find himself on the receiving end of a poisonous fungus and a harpoon, which (SPOILER!!!) ultimately cause his death. Whether that ending feels satisfying as a proverbial “comeuppance” is debatable. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) What is the SUGAR BOWL? Why should we care about the sugar bowl? Is it Beatrice’s sugar bowl? Why does Esme Squalor (Lucy Punch) want it so badly?

ANSWER: The SUGAR BOWL is just a sugar bowl, as it turns out, though it becomes an important vessel for the VFD’s secret formula for a weaponized poisonous fungus called the Medusoid Mycelium, as well as the sugar-like form of the antidote to said poisonous fungus. Esme wants the bowl so badly because the SUGAR BOWL was originally her sugar bowl, part of a tea set that was very “in” for her when it was whole. Listen to the podcast episode for further analysis.

4) Who is Beatrice? Is she dead? If not, where is she?

ANSWER: The podcast panel believes that Beatrice, i.e. the subject of Lemony Snicket’s (Warburton) notes at the top of each pair of episodes, is the Baudelaires’ mother, played by Morena Baccarin, who is confirmed to be dead. Yet, Beatrice could also refer to Lemony’s niece, Beatrice Baudelaire II, who the Baudelaire siblings care for following the death of Beatrice II’s mom, and Lemony’s sister, Kit Snicket. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

5) Are the Baudelaires’ parents really dead? If not, will we see them again?

ANSWER: Yes. The Baudelaires’ parents are really dead, though we are treated to a glimpse of them in a series finale flashback.

6) If Lemony Snicket is telling the story, does he know the end?

ANSWER: No. Lemony does not know the end, and he makes a point of saying that readers/viewers are not meant to know all the answers to all the questions, either. In fact, the series finish is rather open-ended. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Are the Quagmires’ (Avi Lake and Dylan Kingwell) parents officially dead?

ANSWER: Yes. The Quagmires’ parents are officially dead.

8) Who is Jacqueline (Sara Canning) – what is her goal?

ANSWER: Unknown. Jacqueline apparently leaves to be the new Duchess of Winnipeg, according to Mr. Poe (Freeman). We presume Jacqueline fulfilled her VFD duties in ensuring, sloppily, the protection of the Baudelaire children, but her disappearance ultimately feels forced and unsatisfying. Of course, maybe we are not supposed to care about whether or not Jacqueline has goals, since we are also not sure if they have been fulfilled. Anyway, we’ll never know the answer, unless Lemony Snicket writes more books focused on any of the other characters besides the Baudelaire siblings. Of course, panelist Jenn reveals in this episode, after some cursory research, that Jacqueline is not a character in the books. In conclusion, none of the panelists appear to be too broken up about the lack of Jacqueline information. Let us know what you think.

9) Will the Quagmire triplets return?

ANSWER: We do not see the original two triplets, at least not until the last episode, but we do learn that Quigley, the third, presumably dead, triplet is actually alive. Listen to the podcast episodes for details.

10) What is the VFD already? And why did Count Olaf “look away” from them at the start? Why do they have standard disguise kits?

ANSWER: The VFD is a super-secret spy organization established to put out the world’s fires, both literal and proverbial. We learn in this season that Count Olaf is wooed away from the stability and safety of the VFD because, first, Beatrice I inadvertently kills Olaf’s beloved father via a freak opera-house accident, and because, second, two nefarious characters with absolutely no back story – the Man with a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard – see fit to cause the oft-mentioned VFD schism by preying upon the easily manipulated but grieving Olaf. The disguises, we presume, are part of spying. Except where Olaf is concerned, when disguises and costumes are either part of ACTING or NEFARIOUS SCHEMES TO STEAL CHILDREN’S FORTUNES. Anyway, the panel believes that the VFD might be officially defunct as of the end of ASOUE, unless there are other VFD agents out in the world that we have not yet met. We’re not betting our opiate-laced coconut milk on it, though.

New Questions Without Answers

1) Who are the Man With a Beard and No Hair and the Woman with Hair and No Beard, and why do they have such beef with the VFD? Why were they introduced so late in the series?

2) How could the Baudelaire children remain on the mainland without an official guardian, and why isn’t the viewer at least somewhat entitled to know the minimum information about the world in which the Baudelaires reside vis-a-vis wards of the state?

3) What exactly is the nature of the relationship between Count Olaf and Kit Snicket, and why does the show not take more time to develop it?

4) Are all three of the triplets at the Hotel Denouement, as played by Max Greenfield, truly good and/or truly evil? Why would Kit Snicket align herself with the allegedly evil one if she was really good? For that matter, is Count Olaf truly evil or simply greedy and nefarious?

5) Why don’t the Baudelaires seek Lemony Snicket out sooner than the series finale, when Beatrice II seems to be preteen adjacent?

6) Whatever happened to Fernald and Fiona Widdershins? Whatever happened to their stepfather?

7) Did Ishmael (Peter MacNicol) create the mysterious series-ending island? Why is the island shaped like the VFD insignia tattooed on all of its agents?

8) Why didn’t Nathan Fillion appear in the flashback scene with Morena Baccarin or, earlier in Season 2, with Neil Patrick Harris in what could have been fourth-wall shattering actor reunions between Joss Whedon series alumni?

9) Whatever happened to the pirates?

10) Whatever happened to the orphans on Count Olaf’s submarine?

PARTING SHOTS

The ASOUE panel’s review of Season 3 is decidedly mixed among the various panelists. Some panelists, particularly the Chief CP and Jenn, expressed experiencing a mingled sense of apathy, frustration, and boredom about where the series ended, as they regard the repetition off-putting even as the ending felt rushed; other panelists, like Kelsey and Kristen, find themselves relieved that the ending was, ultimately, a bit more fortunate for the unfortunate Baudelaires. Remaining panelists Nick and Selene report possession of an overall sense of enthusiasm about the series, now that all is said and done, but acknowledge the obvious narrative flaws, which they discuss in this episode.

Yet, the panelists continue to unanimously praise the visual presentation and technical aspects of the show, even as they offer wide-ranging reactions to the overall direction and story flow. To that end, all panelists find reason to enjoy the show’s overall pastiche, with the script’s whimsical wordplay, the over the top characters, and the absurdly unfortunate situations guiding the overarching plot. The panelists also laud the use of tongue-in-cheek breakage of the fourth wall and some sly references to popular culture, though such references may or may not date this story over time. Ultimately, however, many of the panelists struggle with the scattered and somewhat tonally flat final season’s end, feeling that the show does not so much earn its sprint across its artificially constructed fictional finish line, despite all of its ham-fisted attempts to subvert typical fantasy tropes and in light of the anticlimactic and somewhat unsatisfying story conclusion. Still, all panelists, even the skeptics like the Chief CP, find enough good to say about A Series of Unfortunate Events to recommend it in the end, which is kind of fortunate, if you think about it. Of course, you don’t have to take our word for it – you can always “look away.”

THE FUTURE OF THE SHOW

Ended! A Series of Unfortunate Events ended with this third and final season after ultimately adapting all of the Lemony Snicket novels in the original book series via the three available seasons of this Netflix original program. All ASOUE seasons are, therefore, available to stream on Netflix, as that is the network that produced it. 

At the last, despite the fluctuations of panelist opinions between the first two seasons and between those seasons and the third, A Series of Unfortunate Events continues to be recommended by all of our panelists, especially to fans of the original book series; of the 2004 film adaptation of same; of Neil Patrick Harris and of Patrick Warburton, who portray Count Olaf and Mr. Snicket, respectively, and who do so with flourish and aplomb; to fans of the type of dark, sardonic humor offered by the likes of Tim Burton or Barry Sonnenfeld, the latter of whom is credited as a creator and an executive producer of this series; and to fans of generally wicked wordplay.  Panelists Kelsey and Selene recommend this program for family viewing along with younger children, though they expressed more concern about the uptick in darkness and death prevalent in the second and third seasons and about how their seven-year-old daughter might react to this new intensity. Chief CP Kylie, the only true member of Gen X on this panel, continues to caution that the series may be more palatable to Millennials and to younger generations, who had a chance to grow up with the original series of children’s books and who might relate to the program more easily, despite the fact that the erstwhile Doogie Howser MD plays a lead character.  Yet, in the end, no panelist regards the viewing of this delightfully original if adapted series to be a waste of one’s time, which might not chalk up to be a fortunately ringing endorsement but can be construed as a CPU! Official Endorsement ™, nevertheless.

In addition, while our ASOUE coverage is primarily done, don’t be surprised if it makes an appearance or two in coming discussions, from time to time. In the meantime, from our Unfortunate panel of Cake-Sniffers to you, thank you for listening to our ongoing reviews of A Series of Unfortunate Events, which now officially come to a close.  To discover other shows discussed by CPU!, check here.  For now, we bid you adieu!

Image result for the end a series of unfortunate events netflix
Lemony Snicket (Patrick Warburton, right) meets Beatrice II over root beer floats in “The End” of ASOUE, Season 3
Who can tell what’s more Unfortunate? The Series of Unfortunate Events or our panel, having to say goodbye to you all (unfortunately).
Our ASOUE panel: Nick (left, moderator); Kelsey (top); Selene (right); Kristen (center); Jenn (on the laptop, being technical, and featuring her vocal cat, Duke)

PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “13 Reasons Why” – The Season 2 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Image result for 13 reasons why title card

Moderated by: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “13 Reasons Why” is a drama-mystery web television series based on the 2007 novel Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and is a Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What: “13 Reasons Why,” adapted by Brian Yorkey for Netflix, revolves around a high school student, Clay Jensen (Dylan Minnette), and his friend, Hannah Baker (Katherine Langford), who committed suicide after suffering a series of demoralizing circumstances, brought on by select individuals at her school. A box of cassette tapes recorded by Hannah before her suicide details thirteen reasons why she ended her life.

SYNOPSIS

Clay Jensen (Minnette) returns home from school to find a mysterious box lying on his porch. Inside, he discovers seven double-sided cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker (Langford), his classmate and unrequited love, who tragically committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah unfolds an emotional audio diary, detailing the thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. The series explores the fallout from the revelations on Hannah’s tapes.

When: Season 2 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on May 18, 2018, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action takes place in an unnamed, presumably Californian town (the series was shot in California) at fictional Liberty High School.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode via the link below.

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

CPU! has covered 13 Reasons Why since the series’ beginning. To listen to our Season 1 review, listen via the embedded link below or via our audio feed at Apple/iTunes, Stitcher Radio, and Google Play:

When 13 Reasons Why premiered on Netflix, so many CPU! core panelists advocated for a 13 Reasons Why panel, the Chief CP had to oblige and to subsequently draw lots, since we had more volunteers than actual room on the panel. Since that time, at least one panelist – Jenn – has jumped the shark after watching only a few episodes of the second season, though the rest of the panel, CPU! regulars Kristen, Andrew, Amie, Emily, and Jeremy, all returned to attempt to process Season 2 via what could only be described as a mixed bag of reactions.  In this episode, our remaining conscientious five, along with yours truly, the main moderator, parse through the thirteen new courtroom-based testimonies and three Polaroids of Season 2 of 13 Reasons Why and also delve into the continuing, ensuing controversies that this unflinching and graphic portrayal of social issues confronting today’s teens have wrought.

In the episode linked below, this panel spends considerable time with and meditates upon each of the deeply flawed characters motivating the story within 13 Reasons Why.  The panel also reacts to the continued debates and controversies arising from critical and popular reception of the series: is the show responsible social commentary or irresponsible revenge fantasy? Does the show glorify suicide, or does it provide a stark and necessary depiction of it in order to provoke needed conversation around signs and triggers?  Does the streaming network provide enough trigger warnings? Does the series attempt to tackle too many social issues at once, but only at a surface level, giving none of them a true exploration of said issues due to the sheer number of them, or is the show daring to tread roads where other series fear to go? Our eager and vocal panel participants may not have all the answers, but as with the world at large, some continued strong reactions are voiced during this longer-than-usual discussion.

For those who find it difficult to listen to discussion about sexual assault (rape), suicide, and the other heady topics bridged by this program, please note that we do discuss much of it directly and, in some instances, quite personally. Listener discretion is advised.

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 A Series of Unfortunate Events panel returns – for the last time – to the Water Cooler to discuss the final season of the quirky Netflix dark comedy (allegedly) made for children, i.e. Season 3. In our upcoming episode, we will also Look Back at the entirety of this popular adaptation of Lemony Snicket’s novels, which we have covered on the podcast since the show’s beginning, and we will examine its relative success (or lack thereof) as an overall series as well as say goodbye, both to the series and to each other (for now). Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

1) We presume that Tyler Down (Devin Druid) will be the focal subject of Season 3, given the ending scene of Season 2, in which Tyler (SPOILER) brings a gun to school with the intention of unloading it during the Spring Fling dance and following Monty’s brutal act toward Tyler in the Season 2 finale. How appropriate is it for the show to switch gears from a narrative largely about Hannah and sexual assault/mental health issues/suicide to Tyler and the theme of school shootings/violence? Will the show be able to handle this transition sensitively and to broach this issue with care and responsibility? Should the show even be going down this road?

2) Given Chloe’s Season 2 finale admission to Jessica (Alisha Boe) that she is pregnant, a result of non-consensual sex with Bryce (Justin Prentice), the panelists fear that the show might additionally try to tackle the subject of abortion at a time when such a fraught topic might be timely from a sociological and political perspective, even as the vehicle, 13 Reasons Why the series, might not be an appropriate vessel for such a divisive subject. Our panel is especially concerned, as the show originally, again, focused on Hannah as the central character, and as the series has not handled the topics originally depicted by the source novel as sensitively as it could have in these socially aware times. Will the show broach the subject of abortion? Should it?

3) The show seeded a narrative/theme for a supporting character, the Class President Marcus, an African-American male, in Season 2, in which he was blackmailed by Tyler and his new friend Cyrus into labeling Bryce a “rapist” at a public event. The audience is given a glimpse into Marcus’ home life, in which his father praises his hard work and intelligence, particularly in light of the fact that he and his family expect to experience hardship due to race; yet, the show explored this issue, in the panel’s estimation, rather superficially in Season 2. Will the show revisit this theme in Season 3, since we saw Marcus experience no consequences for his actions against Hannah, his on-the-stand perjury (or obfuscation of the whole truth) during the trial, and his wavering sense of morality in light of his behavior and choices?

4) The panel strongly reacted to the show’s handling of Clay’s individual mental health issues, given his profound grief over Hannah’s death, his full-fledged conversations with her “ghost,” and his coping mechanisms related to his pursuit of his private investigation of the revelations around Hannah discussed during the trial, to his reactions and relationship to Skye, and to his dynamic as well as his care and support of Justin (Brandon Flynn) during Justin’s rounds of heroin detox. Will the show more meaningfully revisit Clay’s own mental health journey? Will we be given a better explanation for the Hannah manifestation? Or, were Clay’s reactions and apparent state of mind only dependent upon his obsession with Hannah, in life and in death, and will they be forgotten now that Hannah and, therefore, Clay has “moved on?”

5) Will the show explain or explore how the school district’s defense attorney came to know so many personal details about the various witnesses called to testify in the trial? We can assume or presume that Bryce provided some information, but where did much of the intimate information come from, and how was it vetted, if at all? The trial felt like the consummate courtroom melodrama and, in some ways, represented some of the sloppiest storytelling of Season 2, as far as our panel is concerned.

6) How will Clay’s parents’ decision to adopt Justin play out in Season 3? Will they be as oblivious to Justin’s ongoing addiction as they are to their son’s mental health state?

7) Is there more of a history between Tyler and Monty than what we have already seen, and, if so, what is it? Will we learn more in Season 3?

8) Will the show use another “device” to tell the story, like the cassettes or the Polaroids, in Season 3? What will it be?

9) With Chloe’s pronouncement to Jessica that she is pregnant, and with Bryce’s announcement to Zach (Ross Butler) that he is transferring to a different school, will Bryce be forced to cancel those plans? Will he remain at Liberty? Or, will his parents try to pay Chloe off or otherwise keep her quiet?

10) Will our panel fully return to discuss Season 3? Much doubt was expressed about the idea of extending this series even further beyond its source material than previously accomplished via the second season, and the panelists, mostly, feel trepidation about the idea of the coming third season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

PARTING SHOTS

Universally, the CPU! 13 Reasons Why panelists feel that Season 2 of this controversial series is not as well executed as the first season. Without the reliable support of the source material, as the first season wholly adapted the one novel on which the series is based, the series’ second season struck our panelists as “forced,” “contrived,” superficial in its revisit of the issues that rendered the show such a water cooler TV topic in 2017, scattered in its attempt to tackle even more social issues than those originally addressed without being able to deeply or genuinely delve into them, “manipulative,” and, in some ways, more sensationalized in its depiction of sensitive issues, considering the strong negative response to the perceived sensationalism of the show’s first season. The panelists struggled most with the writing and narrative structure of Season 2, finding many of the plot choices and revelations about Hannah to be contradictory to what was learned in Season 1, which was based on the actual book, and in a way that did not add to her story. Panelists also panned some performances, particularly by some of the actors and actresses playing the parents, with the notable exceptions of the fabulous Kate Walsh and Brian d’Arcy James as Olivia and Andy Baker, Hannah’s parents, respectively. To that end, some of the episode direction suffered as a result, with choppy pacing and framing that felt as manipulative as the story being peddled in the series’ sophomore season, at least in our panel’s particular regard.

As a result, the panel no longer universally recommends 13 Reasons Why, at least beyond Season 1, as what many of the panelists enjoyed and lauded about the first season, especially the program’s ability to push the conversation about teen suicide, sexual assault, bullying, and other serious issues affecting today’s youth to the forefront, seemed watered down and worryingly “surface-level” in the second season.  In addition, the risky decision to renew an already shaky story structure for a third season leaves the panel with uneasy feelings, particularly as the show moves away from Hannah as a main focus and attempts to re-position the drama around problematic character Tyler and, presumably, the subject of school shootings as well as, quite possibly, teen pregnancy (and related issues), given Chloe’s circumstances. Thus, for anyone who has not watched this series, particularly Season 2, and is considering it, take this mixed-message recommendation for what it is: watch, and judge for yourself, but watch with caution all the same.

LOOKING AHEAD

13 Reasons Why was renewed for a third season, which is expected to drop later in 2019, though a tentative release date has not yet been announced by Netflix as of the date of this publication. As always, CPU! will keep you informed of all 13 Reasons Why coverage, and this panel will, as such, hopefully return some time after the release of Season 3 to recap the new season. Until then!

PODCAST! – On the Couch With…Krista!

Interviewer: Chief Couch Potato Kylie
Interviewee: Krista

Who:  Chief Couch Potato/Executive Producer/Editor Kylie interviews Associate Producer of Graphics and Marketing (and Moderator/Panelist) Krista!

What: “On the Couch With…,” a feature wherein listeners can learn a bit more about “the lives behind the podcast” here at Couch Potatoes Unite!

When: This interview was conducted on May 4, 2019.

Where: In Krista’s living room. Seriously.

Why: Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the first names and voices you hear on this podcast?  Well, frequent panelist Sarah thought you might – because she listens to lots of podcasts and enjoys hearing about the personalities behind those – and so she thought you might be feel the same about the United Couch Potatoes!

How – as in How Do You Do?

We’re back to our newest feature on CPU!  Our humble little podcast has been going for about four years, and, as always, we will be covering many more shows and introducing many more panels as time progresses, but if you’ve ever wondered about the “lives behind the podcast,” you’re in luck. In our “On the Couch With…” feature, one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

In our second installment of this feature, Chief Couch Potato Kylie interviews Associate Producer Krista with some probing, meaty questions about her TV watching tastes.  Plus, we cover some of the in’s and out’s of the New York Times crossword puzzle!

This podcast “mini-sode” was recorded in May 2019. 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, schedule permitting, we return to our regularly scheduled programming when our 13 Reasons Why panel reconvenes Around the Water Cooler to discuss their thoughts and all their many feelings about Season 2 of the teen drama! Stay tuned!

LOOKING AHEAD

The next “On the Couch With…” profile will feature Selene as interviewee and will be published sometime this summer! Next week, we will return with new Water Cooler episodes, and in June, look for our annual End of Season Progress Reports! Until then!

PODCAST! – On the Couch With…Kylie!

Interviewer: Sarah
Interviewee: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

Who:  Frequent panelist Sarah interviews Chief Couch Potato/Executive Producer/Editor Kylie

What: “On the Couch With…,” a feature wherein listeners can learn a bit more about “the lives behind the podcast” here at Couch Potatoes Unite!

When: This interview was conducted on May 6, 2019.

Where: In Sarah’s basement. Seriously.

Why: Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the first names and voices you hear on this podcast?  Well, frequent panelist Sarah thought you might – because she listens to lots of podcasts and enjoys hearing about the personalities behind those – and so she thought you might be feel the same about the United Couch Potatoes!

How – as in How Do You Do?

Welcome to another new feature on CPU!  Our humble little podcast has been going for about four years, and, as always, we will be covering many more shows and introducing many more panels as time progresses, but if you’ve ever wondered about the “lives behind the podcast,” you’re in luck. In our “On the Couch With…” feature, one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

Plus, as if you haven’t heard enough of the first interview subject on the list, we kick this feature off with feature creator Sarah interviewing yours truly, the Chief Couch Potato, with some probing, meaty questions about my TV watching tastes.  It’s an endeavor that is mostly successful, though if I had brought along some coffee, it might have been dyn-o-mite!

This podcast “mini-sode” was recorded in May 2019. 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 regularly scheduled review episodes will still be in their brief hiatus (May is always a busy month for our panelists), so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Chief Couch Potato Kylie interviewing Associate Producer of Marketing and frequent panelist Krista.  Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

LOOKING AHEAD

The next “On the Couch With…” profile will feature Krista as interviewee and will be published next week! On May 29, we will return with new Water Cooler episodes, and in June, look for our annual End of Season Progress Reports! Until then!