My Open Letter to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association

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Dear Hollywood Foreign Press Association,

Did you watch this season of Homeland? Like, actually, did you watch it? Even past the first seven episodes? It got better, you know. How about Game of Thrones? Does the phase “Rains of Castamere” not sing “Golden Globe nomination” to you? Oh, here’s another one: Did you watch Mad Men this season? It was a lot darker than usual, so maybe you turned it off because you got a little scared. The Hershey Pitch? Anyone? 

On the other hand, did you per chance watch Downton Abbey? Maybe you were just watching Joanne Froggatt’s heartbreaking performance in episodes 4-8. Because other than that, the season was shit (no offense, Downton, I still love you). And Masters of Sex? I know you like to give experimental shows a chance, but not this year. Not when the three most talked about dramas are left out in the cold. Just throw a nod at Lizzy Caplan and call it a day. Just kidding, you didn’t do that either. How about Anna Gunn? Wasn’t she great on this season of Breaking Bad? It’s like she was SO GOOD she won an Emmy for it, or something. I see you gave some love to Taylor Schilling for Orange is the New Black, but, as the also-snubbed cast of Arrested Development would say, “Her?” Really? You had an entire ensemble of amazing breakout artists (Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, etc.) and you only shed light on Schilling? Shame on you. Shame. On. You.

You’re lucky Amy Poehler and Tina Fey are hosting, because their comedic gold will make me forget about all the wrongdoings you have done this holiday season.

Best,

Rob Zappulla

 

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Fall Television So Far…

Now that the first few weeks of fall television are under our belts and we’ve bid adieu to Breaking Bad and Dexter (on gravely different terms…spoiler pun intended) it’s time to reflect on what’s working and what’s not working with my line up.

What’s working:

New Girl

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I’ve gone “all in” with the third season of New Girl, and the cast has never been stronger. Between Jess and Nick’s honeymoon phase, Schmidt’s juggling of CeCe and Elizabeth (played by the hilarious Emmy winner Merritt Wever), and Winston’s obscenities, the laughs keep coming. The latest episode hit home with a broad range of emotions, when Schmidt is finally caught in his double life. Both Max Greenfield and Hannah Simone change the tone of the quirky show in a tear-inducing break-up, but Merritt Wever perks us up again with her devil-may-care attitude, giving Schmidt a pie to the face. Now, he vows to split up the seemingly innocent couple, Jess and Nick. Will he succeed? Will Winston be able to take care of Ferguson the cat? So many questions!

The Mindy Project

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The OB/GYNs are back for a take two, after Fox barely renewed the show for its second season. Mindy is back with a host of guest stars like James Franco and Beth Grant. So far, the season is fast paced, well-written, and generally funny. However, the plot line of Dr. Reed being fat just isn’t working out and Mindy Kaling needs to pen in some more lines for Betsy Putch, the more naïve version of Pam Beasley.

Modern Family

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What’s there to say about Modern Family? As much as I ragged on them for winning their fourth consecutive Emmy just last month, the first few episodes of this season have reminded me why it is one of the greatest shows on television. It’s managed to stay topical, tackling the legalization of gay marriage by having Mitch and Cam get engaged – but not before a comedy of errors. Elsewhere, Gloria is convinced that Fulgencio is possessed by the Devil and Phil has found a new niche of real estate customers – divorced wives.

Parks and Recreation

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Pawnee’s Parks Department crossed the pond in the season opener of Parks and Recreation to accept Leslie’s award for women’s achievement in government. With the town still against her, Leslie learns to come to terms with her constituent’s ignorance with the help of April. Meanwhile, Tom has a new competitor in the clothing rental business: Jean-Ralphio’s father. Retta is still doing her thing (thang?) in the office, as Chris and Ann Perkins break the news to their co-workers about their pregnancy. I’m expecting big things from this season of Parks and Rec, even though Rob Lowe and Rashida Jones are slated to bow out halfway through the season.

Downton Abbey

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Over in the UK, the upstairs/downstairs drama Downton Abbey is back in full swing, but the mourning of Mister Matthew has put a damper on their lives in the past six months. Also, O’Brien skipped town in the middle of the night (little explanation here), making Anna the head Lady’s Maid for Cora. Edith is off gallivanting in London with the publisher, while Mary mourns in her room, until Carson and the Dowager pushes her to her brink and she choses life – for her and her child. I’m loving the introduction of the electric mixer in the kitchen, finally giving Daisy something she’s good at. However, when Valentine’s Day rolls around, she’s left with a fake letter from Mrs. Patmore, while Olive gets one from Alfred, but she thinks it’s from Jimmy. It’s so middle school and I love it. All the while, Thomas has had a slight change of heart, and wants to be more of a part of baby George’s and baby Sybil’s life – much like Carson was a part of Sybil, Mary, and Edith’s life. I have a feeling the first two episodes were catch-up/set-up episodes, and hopefully they keep the drama coming.

What’s not working:

Homeland

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What was going on with the Homeland premiere? I understand that Brody’s confession must have destroyed his household, but by seeing the season three premiere, you’d think Dana is our main character. And don’t get me wrong, I think Dana is a very interesting, dynamic character, played by the very talented, Morgan Saylor. We saw very little of Claire Danes freaking out, which upset me, and too much of her having sex, which also upset me. Also, I know Brody is supposed to be MIA, but at least let us know what he’s up to, right? And Saul’s wife is back? Why? That part didn’t make sense. Let’s pray that this was just a bad set-up episode and that Carrie Mathison will go ham on some terrorists.

The Middle

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Just make a Sue Heck spin-off and I’ll be happy.

PARKS AND REC Season or Series Finale?

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It was to my surprise that I tuned in to tonight’s episode of Parks and Recreation to discover that it would be its last for the season. Usually, shows end in mid-May, but with Community mid-mid-season start of sorts, it only seems fair/profitable for NBC to air all of their produced episodes. However, Leslie Knope and the gang in the Parks Department go out with a bang.

The time has come for Pawnee’s annual Founders’ Week Parade, which ironically has never occurred in the show’s five-season run.

In order to prepare for the celebrations, the gang heads up to Ron’s cabin house in the woods to brainstorm what makes Pawnee so special to its residents. The morning after, however, Andy makes a discovery that lets the Bert Macklin inside of him come out – a positive pregnancy test. Throughout the episode, he makes it his (and Ann’s) mission to discover who’s it is.

Meanwhile, Tom is approached by a lawyer whose anonymous client wishes to buy out Rent-a-Swag, leaving him with the difficult decision on whether or not to sell his blooming business.

In City Hall, members of the community congregate to declare their grievances over the excessive amounts of regulations that have been wrought upon them since Leslie has taken office. Amongst the crowd is Brandie Maxx, who praises Leslie for making Pawnee more porn-friendly.

At the Founders’ Week Parade, Chris is named Pawnee’s Nipple King while the Committee to Recall Leslie Knope halts the procession with chants of “Recall Knope!”

Meanwhile, Andy interrogates Leslie and Donna and comes up empty. Tom about the pregnancy test, worrying that it could be Mona Lisa’s. When he realizes that the brand is “Womb There It Is!” his suspicions are confirmed – only for Mona Lisa to “Psych!” him yet again.

Quickly, Andy realizes that the only woman he has yet to question is his wife, April, who we see receive a mysterious phone call at the beginning of the episode. When asked if she’s pregnant, she is disgusted and responds with the greatest line of episode:

“I want to wait until we’re fifty and then we can adopt a set of adult twins from Armenia.”

She does reveal to Andy that the phone call she received was vet school in Bloomington accepting her application and the two of them rejoice.

The episode ends with a discouraged Andy still unsure of whose pregnancy test it is….and in walks Ron’s girlfriend Diane who needs to talk in private. Andy’s face? Priceless.

As you may or may not be aware (or if you didn’t read my title), this could have been the last episode of Parks and Rec – they have yet to be renewed for a sixth season. That being said, this episode reminded me of the Seinfeld series finale in that Leslie was revisited by members of the community that have taken issue with her policy changes, much like how the characters from Jerry, Elaine, Kramer, and George’s past come to testify against them in court.

So what am I supposed to think? Should I be looking forward to another season or should I not give my hopes up? My life is such a struggle.