Category Archives: Comedy

Review: Roseanne Revival Coming soon to Network Ten

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Adam Rose / ABC

We’re strong into the era of the ‘reboot’ where the feelings of days gone by nostalgia is breathing new life into shows long forgotten.  Sometimes it works a treat and sometimes it leaves us with a nasty sour taste in our mouths.  Will & Grace came back with a force, molding itself into modern era culture and The X-Files continues it’s bumpy sci-fi ride traipsing through aliens and government conspiracies.  2009’s Melrose Place reboot lost viewers the moment anything relating to the original series was thrown out the window while Gilmore Girls Netflix revival seemed to have lost it’s quip and heart.

So where does Roseanne sit on the reboot/revival scale?  

Well, the ‘working class’ family comedy that debuted 30 years ago was biting in its humorous take on the less than glamorous, shining a light on everyday family problems from teenagers to low income, unemployment and health care though its final season embraced ‘jumping the shark’ culture with the Connor family winning millions in the state lottery and killing off Roseanne’s husband Dan (John Goodman) with a heart attack.

This Roseanne revisit needed to fix the wrongs of the past and does so using familiar techniques as seen very recently with Will & Grace, using one line quick quips to glaze over what we knew and wipe the slate clean for those old enough to remember how things left off.

This cleanse leaves us with a Connor family at war within itself in 2018, some of which being the result of the diabolical political state America is currently enveloped in.  Jackie (Laurie Metcalfe) has been pushed aside after a voting clash with Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Darlene (Sara Gilbert) has moved back home as a recently divorced mother of two, DJ (Michael Fishman) has returned home after a stint in the army over in Syria and brings with him his young daughter and Becky (Lecy Goranson) is a struggling single who can’t seem to keep away from her childhood home.

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Familiar and new faces in the Roseanne revival

In general, almost everything looks the same about Roseanne from when we last saw them (albeit older and including a sweet nod to ‘other Becky’ Sarah Chalke, who guests in the first few episodes) though there are some minor ‘token’ attempts to pull the show into current times with DJ’s bi-racial daughter and Darlene’s gender fluid son Mark, who takes center stage in the revivals’ second episode that features some semi-touching moments pinched between some grimacing looks from Dan early on in the piece.

In a move similar to that of the Will & Grace revival, Roseanne’s first episode back is a very politically charged episode, commenting on the current landscape with Trump in charge but unlike Will & Grace, Roseanne proudly voted for Trump and plays as the reason why she and Jackie have had a falling out.  Thankfully though, politics seem to take a back seat for the next few episodes and putting that topic in the hip pocket allows the show finds that magical stride, balancing brutal cutting humor with heart warming touching moments the show was known for.

So again, where does the Roseanne reboot sit on the scale?

After a heated first episode that feels unfamiliar and a questionable second episode, Roseanne settles in nicely to produce one of the more welcome returns to television after being revived from the crypt.

The Roseanne revival begins with a double episode starting Sunday April 30th on Channel 10.

 

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Will & Grace Extended a Third New Season and More Episodes!

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The dream run of Will & Grace’s reboot continues with the announcement by NBC at PaleyFest that it has committed to a third season of the revived sitcom or its 11th season overall.

Along with this news, it’s been announced the comedy’s second season (or tenth season) has been extended a further five episodes bringing the run up-to eighteen episodes in total and this is before production has even begun on the next season.  The newly announced extra season will also have an eighteen episode run.

NBC’s faith has not been misplaced. Season-to-date, the new Will & Grace ranks as the networks No. 1 comedy and the No. 2 comedy, overall, on TV.

Will & Grace currently streams new episodes on STAN Australia.

 

Your Essential Viewing Guide to the History of Will & Grace.

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During its original airing, fan favorite comedy Will & Grace ran for a whopping 194 episodes over an eight season stint and with the show about to make its much anticipated comeback, it’s time to look at those ‘essential’ episodes that you need to binge before the show returns to brush up on your Will & Grace history.

These chosen episodes provide pivotal moments in the Will & Grace timeline from major relationships, back stories and family members that bring us to the characters we will meet again in season 9.

1: The Pilot

Obviously, this episodes sets up Will & Grace and their highly dysfunctional long standing relationship.  How much each play in the others lives makes a big impact especially on Grace who finds herself walking away from her boyfriend Danny.

2: The Unsinkable Mommy Adler / Season One – Episode Thirteen

This episode introduces us to Grace’s flamboyant mother Bobbi Adler (Debbie Reynolds) who causes a ruckus when she suggests that Will & Grace should get married.  The comment forces Grace to take a closer look at who she is and just how like her star dazed mom she really is.

3: Big Brother is Coming Parts 1 + 2 / Season One Episode Fourteen and Fifteen

Jack’s surprise party provides more of a surprise to Will when his estranged older brother Sam (John Slattery) arrives at the request of Grace.  A truce between the two is put on hold after Will discovers that Grace and Sam had hooked up at Jack’s party.

4: Guess Who’s Not Coming to Dinner / Season Two – Episode One

Will is finding that Grace is not coping well with their new living situation and to prove Will wrong that she can survive in her own apartment, attempts to throw a housewarming dinner party with Karen and friends Rob and Ellen.  Meanwhile to keep the INS at bay, Jack moves into Karen’s mansion to maintain his fake wedding to Karen’s maid Rosario.

5: Homo For the Holidays / Season Two – Episode Seven

In this Thanksgiving themed episode, it’s revealed that Jack has never actually come out to his mom Judith (Veronica Cartwright) even though Jack was responsible for pushing Will to do the same to his mom.  It’s also revealed that Jack used Grace as his fake girlfriend causing Karen to go into a jealous rage and that Judith lied about who Jack’s real father is.

6: Oh Dad, Poor Dad, He’s Kept me in the Closet and I’m so Sad / Season Two – Episode Thirteen

This episode takes a closer look at Will’s relationship with his father George (Sydney Pollack) and shows that things between the two aren’t as rosy as Will thought.  It turns out George has told all his co-workers that Will is actually married to Grace meanwhile Karen hires a private detective to track down Jack’s real father.

7: An Affair to Forget / Season Two – Episode Nineteen

Leading up to Rob (Tom Gallop) and Ellen’s (Leigh-Allyn Baker) wedding, it’s revealed that when the pair had separated, Rob and Grace had hooked up causing a rift between Grace and Ellen.

8: Lows in the Mid-Eighties Parts One and Two / Season Three – Episodes Eight and Nine

This flashback double episode delves back into Will & Grace’s college years when the two were dating.  Grace brings Will to her parents home for Thanksgiving but he is struggling with issues of his own and seeks help with the out and proud Jack meanwhile Karen meets Rosario for the very first time.

9: Sons and Lovers Part Two / Season Three – Episode Twenty Five

Jack has finally tracked down his birth father but is devastated to learn that he had passed away years earlier.  Struggling with the news that he never got to meet him, Jack is surprised to find out he has a teenage son named Elliot (Michael Angarano)

10: Rules of Engagement / Season Four – Episode Six

Grace is disappointed when boyfriend Nathan (Woody Harrelson) proposes to her, not for proposing but how it was done.  When deciding she wants to make it right, her big surprise gesture goes wrong and Grace finds herself single again.

11: Dyeing is Easy, Comedy is Hard / Season Four – Episode Fifteen

Grace and Will attend Grace’s ex – Danny’s (Tom Verica) wedding where the two try and reinvent themselves from the people they really are while Jack comes head to head with Elliot’s mother Bonnie (Rosie O’Donnell) who isn’t happy with how Jack is raising Elliot.

12: Something Borrowed, Someone’s Due / Season Four – Episode Eighteen

Jack, having finally tracked down Karen’s estranged mother Lois (Suzanne Pleshette) attempts to get the two to reunite but Karen still can’t get past how Lois would use a young Karen as a ploy in her scams.

12: Cheatin’ Trouble Blues / Season Four – Episode Nineteen

Under the assumption that his father’s affair was done with, Will gives his parents tickets for a cruise as a gift for their wedding anniversary but is shocked to learn this George’s affair with Tina (Leslie Ann Warren) is anything but over and that his mother Marilyn (Blythe Danner) is also having an affair.  The episode ends with Will’s parents making the decision to separate.

13: A.I: Artificial Insemination Parts One and Two / Season Four – Episodes Twenty Six and Twenty Seven

Off the back of a ‘bucket list’ Will and Grace begin to talk heavily about having a baby together and consider the options on how to make it happen.  After two failed attempts at IVF and sex being off the table they decide to try IVF once more but a mysterious man on a white horse could change everything.

14: The Kids Stays Out of the Picture / Season Five – Episode Three

With Grace’s relationship with Leo (Harry Connick Jr) moving more quickly than expected, Grace asks Will if they can take a step back from the IVF treatment so she can evaluate her options.  The episode ends with a particularly brutal fight between Will & Grace.

15: Marry Me a Little, Marry Me a Little More / Season Five – Episodes Nine and Ten

Grace and Leo make a spur of the moment decision to get married as part of a TV stunt for the Today Show but the move isn’t well received by Will and Grace’s friends and family.  At the following wedding reception, Grace becomes uneasy as she realizes just how little she knows about her new husband.  After learning their marriage wasn’t actually legal, the two decide to have an official wedding where Will ends up walking Grace down the isle.

16: 23 / Season Five – Episode Twenty Three

Karen is concerned how she’ll come out after her divorce with Stan is finalized but is shocked to learn he has died while in bed with his mistress Lorraine (Minnie Driver). Leo is offered a job in Guatemala with Doctors without Borders and Grace agrees to join him.

17: Last Ex to Brooklyn – Season Six – Episode Two 

Leo and Grace decide to throw a dinner party for Will, Jack, Karen and Leo’s ex girlfriend Dianne (Mira Sorvino) but it turns out, Dianne is the girl Will slept with right after breaking up with Grace (season 3 episodes 8 and 9) and Grace isn’t taking this revelation so well.

18: The Accidental Tsuris: Season Six – Episode Eleven

Karen finds herself with the unwanted attention of Lorraine’s father Lyle (John Cleese) but changes her tune when Lorraine makes it clear that Karen is to stay away from him meanwhile Grace’s older sister Janet (Geena Davis) arrives to launch her jewelry enterprise/folding table subway stand but Grace can’t handle her free-loading sister anymore.

19: I Do. Oh, No, You Di-in’t: Season Six – Episode Twenty Three

Karen and Lyle make the spur of the moment decision to fly to Vegas and elope but shortly after the wedding, it becomes clear that Karen isn’t too keen on Lyle’s strict demands.  Leo also arrives in Vegas and reveals that he cheated on Grace while in Cambodia working for Doctors without Boarders.

20: Alive and Schticking: Season Eight – Episode One 

Will informs Karen that Stan is actually alive and that he was forced to fake his death.  It turns out Rosario also knew this, much to the disgust of Karen, and is fired.

21: Grace Expectations – Season Eight – Episode Sixteen

Grace finds herself struggling with the idea of telling Leo she is pregnant with his child but decides it’s in their both best interests if she tells him.

22: Blanket Apology: Season Eight – Episode Nineteen

Jack goes for an audition for a bit part in a new cop drama but ends up scoring the lead role and a simple dinner at Will’s parents place turns into an all-out brawl as Will’s father gives Grace Will’s cherished baby blanket under the belief that Will will never have children of his own.  The two leave things unresolved before Will learns his father passed away shortly after.

23: The Mourning Son: Season Eight – Episode Twenty

Will struggles with the fact he left things so harshly between him and his father and with the help of his mother, comes to terms with how everything ended.

24: Partners ‘n’ Crime: Season Eight – Episode Twenty One

Will begins to rekindle his relationship with Vince (Bobby Cannavale) forcing Grace to take a look at whether or not Will will have enough room in his life for Vince and Grace and her unborn child.

25: The Finale: Season Eight – Episode Twenty Three

The culmination of eight seasons ends tonight with a one-hour series finale — will Will and Grace raise a child together and find ultimate happiness? Will Jack find anyone that loves him as much as he loves himself? Will Karen find true happiness with the absence of Stan?

Will & Grace returns Thursday night, September 28th on NBC and begins streaming on Friday the 29th on STAN Australia.

 

 

Eveything You Need to Know about the Will & Grace Revival

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Image: NBC

Since the news broke that NBC were two thumbs up for the Will & Grace revival, a slew of information has been streaming out about what to expect when the show returns for a brand new run in late September (Sept 29th on NBC to be precise).  From how THAT original finale plays out into this series to who’s back, who’s missing and who’s stopping by I’ve put everything you need to know about the Will & Grace finale into one single fabulous post!

The Revival:  Even before a single episode has aired of this new season, NBC have already confirmed the show will be back in 2018 for another 13 episode round.  This new season (officially classed as season 9) has already been extended from its originally announced 13 episodes to 16 while at present, season 10 is sitting at 13.

This revival came about thanks to that hilarious election themed mini-reunion episode with NBC taking note of the huge response from fans old and new and went about ordering a 10 episode season revival.

How will the original finale play into this return?:  The original finale that aired back in 2006 saw Will (Eric McCormack) and Grace (Debra Messing) parting ways for almost 20 years, with both characters married (Will to Vince played by Bobby Cannavale and Grace to Leo (Harry Connick, Jr) and each couple with a child.  The last scenes in that finale saw Will & Grace eventually reunite after their college aged children ended up living across from each other at the campus dorm.

Even though this return will be classed as the show’s 9th season and takes place only 11 years after the finale, the entire dissolution of the friendship and each couples kids will be ‘erased’ from the Will & Grace history. Talking to EW, co-creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan said  ‘When the decision was made to bring the series back, we were like, well, we left them with kids, right?” And if they have children, then it has to be about them being parents, ‘cause presumably it would be a priority in their lives. And if it wasn’t a priority in their lives, then they’re still parents, they’re just bad parents, right? We frankly did not want to see them being either good parents or bad parents. We wanted them to be Will and Grace.”

The Core Cast:  The revival will see Will and Grace living together as the two did for the bulk of the series’ run with Jack (Sean Hayes) living across from them and Karen (Megan Mullally) still a rich boozy socialite living in her mansion.  Will is still working as a corporate lawyer, Grace remains an interior designer but with a bigger office and working with current day design technology along with ‘assistant’ Karen while Jack, who flitted from ‘acting’ to retail to student nurse to acting teacher during the shows original run will be back in his latter career teaching the ‘Jackting’ method of acting.

The Recurring Cast: Shelley Morrison who played Karen’s long suffering, viper tongued maid Rosario Salazar confirmed she won’t be back for the revival.  Morrison has now retired from acting, with the exception of a small appearance in the 2016 Will & Grace political themed mini episode.  Rosario won’t be forgotten on ignored with Mutchnick adding “The audience has come to know and love her — as we do — and we’re dealing with her as a character and we’re writing to it very specifically.”

Along with Rosario’s absence, the revival will touch on Grace’s mother Bobbi Adler played by the late Debbie Rynolds.

Confirmed to return are thee integral characters to the Will & Grace history – Harry Connick, Jr as Grace’s husband Leo, Bobby Cannavale as Will’s husband Vince and Minnie Driver as Karen’s British nemesis Lorraine Finster.  Noting that the 2006 finale is being wiped, how Leo and Vince fit into this revival is yet to be seen considering Will and Grace will be back living together.

No word yet on Leslie Jordan as Karen’s best friend/enemy number one Beverly Leslie, Blythe Danner as Will’s widowed mother Marilyn Truman or Tom Gallop and Leigh-Allyn Baker as game night friends Rob and Ellen.

Update Sept 18th:  Michael Angarano is a confirmation to return having filmed his scenes last week.  Angarano played Jack’s son Elliot for 12 episodes during the original run and is currently tapped for a single episode in season 9.

The Guest Stars:  From Madonna to Demi Moore, Cher and Britney Spears, the original series run never shied away from nabbing big named stars to appear on the show and this next season won’t be any different with the recent news that Glee’s Jane Lynch, Girls star Andrew Rannells and 2017 Tony Award winner Ben Platt have all signed on to guest star in season 9.

When and how to watch:  Will & Grace season 9 begins Thursday September 28th as part of NBC’s must-see-TV lineup at 9/8c in the states while here in Australia, the series begins on Friday the 29th on streaming service STAN

This post will be updated as news comes about for the sew season.

Amy Schumer’s Leather Special Keeps with the Schumer we Know All Too Well.

AmySNetflix1When it comes to comedian Amy Schumer and her stand-up comedy shows, we pretty much know what we’re going to get.  Themes of self depreciation, sex, fat jokes and offering her own take on the vagina monologues are constant in Schumers work, so much so, when bursting onto the scene, she was applauded for delving into those ‘no-go’ topics.

Now a best selling author and big screen actress (Trainwreck and the upcoming Snatched with Goldie Hawn), the jokes and topics that found Amy stardom continue to pull her along the dark and vulgar path she’s traveled down many a time before.  In her most recent outing for Netflix titled Amy Schumer: The Leather Special, jokes about her feminine hygiene, copious amounts of alcohol and oral sex are once again present and feel somewhat ‘old-school’ Amy Schumer and by old-school, I mean the Amy we first met back in 2014 when Inside Amy Schumer began to gain traction for being a very on point and wickedly blunt comedic sketch show.

Schumer, as witnessed in The Leather Special, rarely strays away from topics that seem to hit with audiences and while topics such as double standard within Hollywood, female sexuality and empowerment and body insecurities are tackled, there’s an uneasy feeling of ‘heard this once before’ as these topics feel rehashed but with added vagina.

But all is not lost for Amy as among all the smut and vomit jokes, she manages to set aside her vagina for a moment and approach the hot topic of gun control, a subject close to Schumer after a gunman (in 2015) opened fire in a cinema showing her film Trainwreck in which two people were killed and nine other injured.

It’s a sidestep into the real world that will undoubtedly get people talking and divide audiences (the special briefly cuts to a small number of audience members walking out when gun control is mocked) but also one that she should visit a bit more often as sadly, this ‘raunch comedy’ that has become so synonymous with Schumer has me fearing that she may never get out of this sexual gag cycle.

Amy Schumer: The Leather Special is currently streaming on Netflix.

How Miranda Sings became the new Ja’mie King.

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Angela Kinsey as Bethany and Colleen Ballinger as Miranda.  (c) Netflix 2016.

Coming off an eight episode binge watch of Netflix’s comedy/drama Haters Back Off, I quickly came to the realization that what works in one format may not actually work in another and it’s a point I have made before about a character very similar to that of Haters lead Miranda Sings.

The premise of the Netflix original series takes insanely popular YouTube star Miranda Sings (Colleen Ballinger) and documents her slow and grinding rise to her current internet stardom with the help of her eerily inappropriate Uncle Jim (Steve Little), her hypochondriac mother Bethany (Angela Kinsey) and her love-sick neighbor Patrick  (Erik Stocklin) which is all  to the detest of her introverted younger sister Emily (Francesca Reale).

As the eight episodes move along, Miranda, in her quest for undeserved fame using Uncle Jim’s five step plan, showcases a natural talent for narcissistic egotism and not much else as she drags down those around her while trying to claw herself to the top.  Even when the tables turn on her and a situation goes awry, Miranda, so wrapped up in the beliefs of her own talent, refuses to see when she’s being kicked to the ground and assumes those against her are jealous of her performing ability.

In the second to last episode, Miranda’s younger sister Emily takes the chance to leave the chaos of home and apply to go to art school.  Their mother Bethany, who is struggling with an actual health issue, at first fights it but then allows Emily to take that interview. Armed with her portfolio, Emily attends said art school interview only to discover her works have been ‘Mirandafied’ with pasta and glitter therefore destroying her chance at acceptance.

It’s the ensuing scene (which kicks off the seasons final episode) between a devastated and angry Emily and a cocky Miranda that brings the series one of its most conflicting moments for the viewers – Miranda is convinced she ‘fixed those paintings’ to help Emily get into art school but is shocked when Emily literally tells her that she ruined her work and that Miranda is dumb for thinking she was actually helping.  It’s a brutal scene between the chalk and cheese sisters, but one where you feel empowered that Emily is finally taking a stand yet saddened for Miranda who is copping that verbal beating from her sister even when she thought she was doing good.

Once it is over, you step back and begin to question why are we even feeling sad for Miranda and should we be feeling empathy for a character that showed not a single shroud of human decency to another person?  Which of course, harks back to my original point on what works in one format may not actually work in another.

Miranda Sings in YouTube format is hilarious and simply put – genius.  The short 5-8 minute clips allow us to pop in and out as Miranda tries international snacks, dances, offers make-up tips, visits other YouTube stars, displays DYI fashion and accessory tips and badly croons her way through hundreds and hundreds of videos that have racked up billions of views. It works because the videos are entertaining, Miranda is an utter odd-ball, we don’t have to become too invested in her at that moment and the time frame of the videos is short enough to avoid us from discovering that Miranda is actually a rather unpleasant character.

Most of that discovery though falls down to the introduction of Miranda’s family, the people she stumbles across in life and how her actions and the way she conducts herself are presented to those people…which had to happen when bringing the character into scripted television.

It’s the same issue I had with a similar character to Miranda Sings, in the form of comedian Chris Lilley’s alter-ego Ja’mie King from Summer Heights High.  When offered in smaller doses and accompanied by other unsettling characters to bounce to and from, selfish and delusional Ja’mie was an utter gem but when given her own platform and fleshed out surroundings in  the series Ja’mie: Private School Girl, she became an unpleasant and highly unlikable brat that had me wanting her to never have a platform to appear on ever again.

Now this is not to say that Haters is a complete miss.  There are some shining moments within the havoc of these eight episodes, most of which come from Miranda’s neighbor and (not so) secret admirer Patrick.

Erik Stocklin’s grossly awkward yet heartwarmingly adorable Patrick manages to step front and center to give Haters a character for us to root for – oddly more so than poor Emily.  Even though Miranda comes out of this incredibly unlikable, we get all mushy when Patrick finally gets that special moment with his long time crush because Patrick, while almost as delusional as Miranda, is genuine and connectable for the viewers and thats a huge kudos to Stocklin.

Haters Back Off is currently streaming on Netflix.

7 Binge Worthy TV Shows: What to Watch When the Olympics Are On

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Broad City’s  Abbi and Ilana offer a new level of friendship goals.

If you’re like me, your’e dreading the impending barrage of Rio Olympics television coverage and what it will do to the other free-to-air networks.  Seven have already announced all of their FTA and digital channels will be non stop Olympics, Channel nine will probably opt for Big Bang Theory repeats and Network Ten…well they’ll do want they want and continue with their standard schedule.

So then we find ourselves aimlessly channel surfing trying to find something to watch in between episodes of The Bachelor Australia hoping to find a gem we’ve not yet seen.  This is where the following list of recommended shows to binge during the Rio Olympics will hopefully come in handy.

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Schitt’s Creek  /  Seasons 1 and 2  / Comedy  /  2015 – 

Now currently on hiatus after two seasons (season three is currently filming) Schitt’s Creek has a familiar premise of the fish out of water scenario where the fish is the ultra wealthy Rose family and the water being an unscrupulous business manager that left them with nothing but a small middle of nowhere town (and the Roses new home) named Schitts Creek that Rose patriarch Johnny (Eugene Levy) purchased as a gag gift for his son David (Daniel Levy).  Forced to forgo all their luxuries, the Rose’s must endure life as they never knew it until Johnny is able to sell the town to nab back some much needed dollars.

Why you should binge: Comedy legends Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara back on screen together for starters!  Plus it’s funny, heart warming and very ship-worthy, you’ll fall in love with “is he or isn’t he” David and his spoiled sister Alexis (Annie Murphy) will either make you uber jealous or scratch your head in wonderment.

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Robert Durst, star of The Jinx

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst /  Season 1  /  Documentary  /  2015

With the popularity of Making a Murder being so overwhelming, many people might be looking for something just as absurd and something just as intriguing.  The Jinx delves into the mystery surrounding the 1982 disappearance of Durst’s first wife Kathy along with the murder of his best friend Susan Berman and neighbor Morris Black.  The six part documentary series is told from Durst’s point of view and you’ll be left gobsmacked when things start to unravel and truth’s start to come out.

Why you should binge: It’s like the opposite of Making a Murderer where we all (for the most part) assume Steven Avery’s innocence but are left fuming at the US justice system but here, Dursts’ guilt is obvious right from the go but the police can’t seem to nab him.  it’s an incredibly powerful look into how power, money and influence can keep things hidden.

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The Tanner’s are back!

Fuller House  /  Season 1  /  Comedy  /  2016 –

Sure there’s some nostalgia that surrounds this updated version of 80’s sitcom Full House that those not yet to watch may think be corny, but in fact, Fuller House is such an easy show to watch, you’ll make your way through all 13 episodes in a breeze.  DJ Tanner (Candice Cameron) is back along with younger sister Stephanie (Jodie Sweetin) and best friend Kimmy Gibbler (Andrea Barber) who all join together to live in the house they grew up in.  If Carly Rae Jepsen’s updated theme song doesn’t get you, then seeing the return of the old Tanner family (minus the Olsen twins as Michelle) will.

Why you should binge: It’s a very easy show to settle into, doesn’t take itself serious and throws uber shade at the missing Olsen twins plus who didn’t love Full House?!  It was staple viewing growing up in the 80’s!

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Richie and Patrick’s relationship take center stage in Looking

Looking  /  Seasons 1 and 2 + finale movie  /  Drama  /  2015-2016

I’ll be very blunt, the first season of gay themed drama Looking killed me.  It frustrated me with its slowness and un-eventfulness but Looking’s slow paced look at the lives of three gay men living in San Francisco is worthy of a binge session.  Patrick (Jonathan Groff) has a stable work life but can’t get his romantic life on track, Dom (Murray Bartlett) is trying to clasp onto his youth with younger men and casual work while Augustin (Frankie J Alvarez) is a struggling artist with a drug addiction that’s spiraling out of control.

Why you should binge: It’s probably one of the more honest looks at the daily lives of gay men than we’ve ever seen to date and the acting by the leads – especially Groff – is understated and genuine.  Once you move onto season two, the pace picks up nicely from season one and finishes off with the recent Looking: The Movie.

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Real life and on-screen best friends Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair

Playing House  /  Seasons 1 and 2  /  Comedy  /  2014 –

Maggie (Lennon Parham) is heavily pregnant, had just thrown her husband out for cheating and best friend Emma (Jessica St. Clair) ditches her job in Hong Kong to move in and support her.  This hilarious look at what best friends will and can do for each other is honest and real and funny.  As best friends off screen, Parham and St. Clair bounce off one another with such ease one could be forgiven for forgetting this was a scripted comedy.

Why you should binge: Filled with laughter and outrageous moments, Playing House is just fun to watch.  Pure and simple, plus Maggie and Emma’s friendship offers up some major feels that will keep you moving onto the next episode.

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Michael Peterson – cold blooded killer or man of innocence?

The Staircase  /  Season 1  /  Documentary  /  2004

Another true crime documentary that falls into the Making a Murderer and the above mentioned The Jinx category where you can’t stop at just one episode.  Offering up two main themes – The investigation into a very complicated murder and the defense and prosecution teams who are trying to construct winning cases, The Staircase is told from the viewpoint of worried widow/cold blooded killer Michael Peterson, and details the case around his late wife who was found at the bottom of their family home staircase in a pool of blood.

Why you should binge: While this 8 part series ends rather abruptly, this case of a woman dead at the bottom of a staircase isn’t as clear cut as it first seems.  The family secrets and compelling connections that are revealed as time goes on will only leave you questioning your own mind on Peterson’s guilt or innocence.

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Broad City  /  Seasons 1 to 3  /  Comedy  /  2014 – 

Abbi Abrams (Abbi Jacobson) and Ilana Wexler (Ilana Glazer) are best friends in their 20’s living the high life in NYC.  Abbi works in a gym as a cleaner but has hopes of making her way up to personal trainer, Ilana works….well we never really find out what she does but it involves lots of sleeping in the toilet and spinning on her chair.  With meaningless jobs, a very short supply of cash and virtually no shame, their day to day experiences lead them down some bizarre and unexpected paths.

Why you should binge: It’s like Girls but funnier, and you don’t want to cause physical harm to any of the characters.  Broad City is wildly outrageous, crude and shocking in it’s approach to 20-something life in New York and the friendship between Abbi and Ilana will make you wish you had something similar, but with a more stable love life, professional life and cash flow.

Here Come the Habibs Courts Unfair Criticiscm

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Here Come The Habibs: Source, Channel Nine

 

I’ll happily admit that when the first promos for Channel Nine’s Here Come The Habibs went live, I was immediately put off. I Did not want to watch it, thought what I had seen seemed crass and happily joined the throngs of those condemning it on social media. So much was my nose point out of join by a 30 second promo that I a) did not really want to watch the first two episodes provided for review and b) had a whole spiel mentally prepared about “who at Channel Nine thought this was a good idea?”

I guess that’s what happens when a bad promo for what turned out to be a funny two episodes, is given out to the public.

Judging it by it’s cover we all are.

Lets get into the nitty gritty of Here Come the Habibs.

FouFou Habib (Michael Denkha) and wife Mariam (Camilla Ah Kin) have found themselves able to “live the Australian dream” and to move into the rich and swanky suburb of Vaucluse after a rather hefty ($22 million) lotto win – but they aren’t telling anyone about their windfall, not even their children Toufic (Sam Alhaje), Elias (Tyler De Nawi) and Layla (Kat Hoyos).

Neighbours Olivia O’Neill (Helen Dallimore) and her castrated husband Jack (Darren Gilshenan) are not too keen on their new Mediterranean neighbours (well mainly Olivia) and a war erupts between the two – Olivia wants them out, FouFou wants to stay.

The script, written by Phil Lloyd is tight and full of zippy one liners and throws casual playful punches at multiculturalism, terrorism, greedy family members and the Cronulla riots. The fish-out-of-water premise is very reminiscent of shows like the Beverly Hillbillies and even the Fresh Prince of Bel Air and right from the outset, the loud and brassy Habibs are not the focus of ‘being made fun of’ instead, it’s the rich white privileged that takes most of the hits and should take most of the bullets from the viewing public.

A scene in episode two where Mariam is attempting to join the local yacht club but is thrown a curve ball by Olivia that leads to public embarrassment, will leave you hoping the snotty cow gets hers in a later episode.

While the pilot took a bit for me to warm up to, by the time a turf war was established between the newly rich Habibs and their snotty neighbours the O’Neill’s, I was full on humble pie.

Here Come The Habibs is Channel Nine’s first foray into locally made scripted comedy in over 15 years and personally, I’m picking that the Habibs was actually a wise choice for the network to work it’s way into bringing back some good Aussie comedy. Granted though, Nine isn’t doing itself any favours with how it is choosing to market the show that has resulted in public outcry from an outrage addicted audience and calls for the show to be pulled due to claims it’s racist. Let’s not forget, this show hasn’t even aired yet!

Shows currently airing like Fox8’s (American import) Fresh Off the Boat and SBS’s The Family Law both offer a humorous look on multicultural families and the Habibs is no real different. Able to poke fun at itself while ensuring we’re laughing with and at them at the same time, plus Habibs is actually a bit more engaging than the two shows mentioned above.

While Australia is still trying to find steady ground when it comes to scripted comedy, Here Come the Habibs will hold it’s own against the haters and those trying to tear it down before they’ve even seen an episode. I was like you, then I watched and saw what the Habibs was actually offering.

Here Come the Habibs begins Tuesday night, Feb 9th @ 8:30pm on Channel Nine.

p.s – keep an eye out for the wretchedly funny Pippa Grandison as Olivia’s best friend, who is more than happy to stir the pot when it comes to poking Olivia’s buttons and her new neighbours.

That Final Pour. Saying Goodbye to Cougar Town.

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I’m sad.  Sad enough that i’m contemplating arranging a buffet of sad binge food (cheese, bacon, cheesecake, cheese etc) and buckets of wine to gorge myself on on Tuesday night during the final ever episode of Cougar Town.

Cougar Town quickly became my go-to show for watching whenever the time called for it.  It was my FRIENDS replacement show, a show that I could watch over and over and over and over again.  Having trouble getting to sleep? I’d grab some midnight snacks and break out season two and watch away.  Have a Sunday afternoon with nothing to do?  Season 4 works great there!

I’ve followed and loved Jules Kiki Cobb and her group of drinking buddies right from the go with Cougar Towns’ overtly sexual beginnings on ABC to it’s new home on TBS, the disappearance of side characters (Barb…where’d ya go?), mugs of M&M tea and multiple deaths of wine vases to the introduction of Grayson’s mysterious surprise child (Tampa is like the best name ever), the tipping of imaginary top hats and the welcoming of Tom (Bob Clendenin) to the group and even the departure of Bobby Cobb…..I’ve been there.

I’ve watched Jules (Courteney Cox) grow from a clumsy and sexually clueless divorcee willing to do anything to please those around her to a clumsy, happily married woman to neighbor Grayson (Josh Hopkins) willing to do anything to please those around her.  The blossoming romance between her son Travis (Dan Byrd) and close friend Laurie (Busy Philipps) seemed cute at first – then a bit gross when it happened – then sweet when we became used to it.  Ellie (Christa Miller) and Andy (Ian Gomez) and their son Stan (that didn’t seem to age for four seasons), showed that copious amounts of wine, snarkism, sex cards and a short stint of being town mayor, all contribute to what constitutes a happy marriage.  Then there’s Bobby Cobb (Brian Van Holt) who showed that no matter how much life gets you down, what you do with your surroundings and those around you can be worth more than what any amount of money could provide.

I’ve been there when new relationships bloom then suddenly explode from truth bombs – wine seller slash awesome singer songwriter Sara (Sheryl Crow), last-name-first-name and first-name-last-name Smith Frank (Ryan Devlin), tiny pants unicorn Jeff (Scott Foley), tomboy Riggs (Maria Thayer) and I don’t know why we’re singing Kirsten (Collette Wolfe).  Guest stars that popped in along the way – Dodgy therapist Glenn Carolyn Hennesy (Jennifer Aniston), bitchy skin care queen Dr. Amy Evans (Lisa Kudrow), needy therapist Lynn Mettler (Nicole Sullivan), snarky wine seller Wayne Gibbons (Michael McDonald) and smooth romancer Sam (Matthew Perry) were all welcomed visitors to our home in Gulf Haven.

As I sit here typing away and remembering all the large and small things from Cougar Town, I can honestly say that there has never been an episode I have never liked or not laughed with and through all the dime eyes quips, games of Penny Can! and bug hooker books, I will miss Cougar Town.  So it’s here I say thank-you to Bill Lawrence, Kevin Biegel, Courteney Cox, Busy Philipps, Christa Miller, Brian Van Holt, Josh Hopkins, Dan Byrd, Ian Gomez, Bob Clendenin and the rest of the Cougar Town cast and crew.  To TBS, thank-you for seeing the potential in the show and picking up our winos and continuing on their story.

In the end, if there’s only one thing I can walk away with from 6 seasons and 100+ episodes, it’s not that friends and family are the most important thing in life but that no matter the occasion or time of day, a glass of wine is more than fine.

Change approved!

Top Pick on Netflix Australia: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

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Now that Netflix has officially launched in Australia, I need to note my top pick for new content that is a must watch for any subscriber.

Located in the US TV category is a sweet yet not so sweet comedy called The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.  Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is discovering what modern life is like for the first time after being freed from a cult – a cult that lived in an underground bunker where Kimmy and 3 other women were being held hostage for 15 years (they had been told the world had pretty much blown up).  It’s a rather macabre premise for a show – especially a comedy.

Wanting to steer clear of the ‘Indiana mole women’ tag Kimmy and her fellow cult devotee’s have been so kindly given, Kimmy decides to make a break and start her life in New York City and in what seems like record time, Kimmy manages to find an apartment with a roommate in Titus (Tituss Burgess) and a job as a             co-dependent for wealthy socialite Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski).

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Kimmy adjusts to modern terms….

Kimmy’s sudden burst into the modern world and her adjustment to this new life away from the bunker provide the base story point for the season and the comedy revolving around dated slang versus modern technology.

As Kimmy, Kemper is perfection.  The doe eyed, clueless optimist plays well with Kemper (the role was created with her in mind) who breathes innocence into a woman not wanting to be seen as a victim.  her incessant happiness should be annoying but in Kempers hands, her sweet temperament  comes off a somewhat adorable.  Krakowski on the hand is my favorite. As the perfect image at any desperate cost (foot surgery and all), Jacqueline could be considered to be an older version of Krakowski’s other alter ego (30 Rock’s Jenna Maroney) but it’s easy enough to over-look it with the amount of fantastic one liners she constantly spews out.  Jacqueline is the kind of woman you hope doesn’t exist yet you know she does.

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The brains trust behind Kimmy Schmidt is of course Tina Fey and 30 Rock producer Robert Carlock.  The two working together have created a show that has a familiar feel to it (30 Rock fans should be all over this) but is so separate from the creators roots, new viewers should stick around.

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, complete season one is available on Netflix Australia.