REVIEW: BOB ❤️ ABISHOLA – SEASON 1

Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)

Starring

Billy Gardell (Mike & Molly)
Folake Olowofoyeku (The Gifted)
Christine Ebersole (The Wolf of Wall Street)
Matt Jones (Mom)
Maribeth Monroe (The Good Place)
Shola Adewusi (Paddington 2)
Barry Shabaka Henley (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Vernee Watson (the Big Bang Theory)
Gina Yashere (Early Man)
Bayo Akinfemi (Bulletproof)
Tony Okungbowa (Echo Park)

Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)

Recurring / Notable Guest Cast

Tangie Ambrose (Why Him?)
Ivar Brogger (Andromeda)
Kimberly Scott (The Abyss)
Missi Pyle (Impulse)
Marilu Henner (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
John Ratzenberger (Cheers)
Leonard Roberts (Heroes)

Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)When you’ve got a sit-com that lays itself out as straightforwardly as Bob Hearts Abishola, it’s refreshing to find yourself invested in the layers of the conversation, and this is one that is actually most about what it’s about least. In this case, that’s points for effort, and something worth watching on its own.Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)Bob (Billy Gardell) owns a sock company, and we enter the story as he enters the cardiac ward. He meets a nurse, Abishola (Folake Olowofoyeku), a Nigerian immigrant, and finds himself smitten with her. There’s no real reason for it exactly, other than a chance encounter that leads to a man finding himself thinking about a woman. Only, the middle-aged version. Despite Abishola’s initial disinterest, it’s easy to see that something about his charm, or socks, is getting to her as well… a little.Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)We’re working from a playbook that isn’t hard to guess, and wholesome teeters on the edge of syrupy as the show lays the groundwork for culture-clash hijinx. Abishola’s family and friends are going to wonder what’s going on as the white guy injects himself into their world, and Bob’s dysfunctional family is unlikely to accept his very sudden love interest without incident. Bob keeps popping up and throwing socks at Abishola. Abishola rolls her eyes. Hilarity ensues.Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)That’s what it says on the tin. A throwback to the ’80s and beyond, that takes advantage of a simplistic, sit-com perspective in order to “whimsically” have a stalker show up in a neighborhood where he… stands out, in much the way George Jefferson could scream at everyone he meets and make it home every day. But, what we seem to really be after here is Bob and Abishola, and while the “Heart” offers up a focal and turning point in their lives, it’s just our excuse to look at them. The show may give you a series of gags surrounding Abishola’s family’s uncertainty when presented with a white man at the door, because that gives you some laughs, but it’s also setting the groundwork for figuring this guy out? Who does this? It’s hard to be precise, but he might have known her for an hour. Meanwhile, Abishola doesn’t need this new headache. She has a tween she has to turn into a doctor and twelve-hour shifts at a hospital.Billy Gardell and Folake Olowofoyeku in Bob Hearts Abishola (2019)
Having some actual examination is a great turn and Gardell is the perfect choice to infuse energy and charm into a vehicle that could become lost in its own effort to smooth away the edges of interracial dating. “Mostly harmless” becomes milquetoast if you don’t do things right and Gardell knows how to balance comedic sensibilities. There’s a point towards the end of the pilot when Bob quips that he’s getting on a bus without knowing where it’s going, and the easily overlooked line is a serious reveal. Sure, it’s a decent laugh, if you’re into that sort of thing, but it also lets us know that we aren’t supposed to be letting Bob off the hook. It isn’t long before Abishola lets us know that she isn’t either, as she tells Bob that he’s the weirdo on the bus. That we’re getting that sort of character penetration mixed in with the laughs means that this one is worth your time. Of course, Abishola laying down the law with a parent at her son’s school is a similar clue, but it isn’t after the same depth. Bob simply recognizing that he doesn’t know what he’s doing turns this into a different show, and a far better one, and opens the door for getting to some real heart down the line.Image may contain: 2 people, people sitting and suitIf CBS were a director, Bob Hearts Abishola would be a movie you recognize as theirs, but it’s from their ‘safe’ years, and things were pretty hit-or-miss then. Worse, we’re in a category of show devoid of flash and hot-ticket selling points. It is funny. But, it’s hard to imagine it as requiring an exclamation point. The leads are great. In fact, they play well with industry icon Vernee Watson, whose inclusion somehow manages to belabor nostalgia. But, you aren’t exactly in love with them yet. No, you can’t really dress up humorous, comfortable charm, or you wouldn’t have it anymore. But, you’d binge it if you could.

 

REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SEASON 4

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Meet The Spartans)
Meg Donnelly (Zombies)
Daniel DiMaggio (Daddy’s Home 2)
Julia Butters (Transparent)
Ali Wong (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Carly Hughes (Brampton’s Own)

Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in The Minivan (2019)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Jerry Lambert (Graves)
Evan O’Toole (Wild)
Kelly Ripa (all My Children)
Drew Carey (Coneheads)
Kathy Kinney (Scrooged)
Ryan Stiles (Two and a Half Men)
Peyton Meyer (Dog With A Blog)
Jessica St. Clair (Bridesmaids)
Timothy Omundson (Xena: WP)
Jeannette Sousa (A Date With Miss Fortune)
Julie Meyer (The Arabian Warrior)
Reylynn Caster (The Big Show Show)
Logan Pepper (Total Eclipse)
Eddie Shin (Alexa & Katie)
Matt Shively (Paranomal Activity)
Ed Weeks (The Mindy Project)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Jade Catta-Preta (Future Man)
Sara Rue (Mom)
Barret Swatek (7th Heaven)
Ian Gomez (Supergirl)
Leslie Bibb (Popular)
Madison Thompson (Ozark)

Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in Bed, Bath & Beyond Our Means (2019)Well another season has just finished and the  the story line about a slightly overweight mother and her husband raising three children in the suburbs of Westport Conneticut will still resonate with a lot of household families. Actress Katy Mixon who came off six seasons of the successful sitcom Mike and Molly plays mom Katie Otto, who feels a bit uncomfortable in what she feels is her over sized body compared to all the neighborhood school moms who remind her of the perfect Stepford wives. Now Katie’s husband Greg, played by Diedrich Bader is just your normal dad who enjoys his morning read on the bathroom throne with a cup of java. Greg doesn’t think Katie is as fat as Katie thinks she is. Nor does Greg think that two (2) of his three (3) kids are a bit weird, but Katie sure does.Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in The Maze (2019)Katie and Greg are the proud parents of two daughters and one son. Their son Oliver’s ambition is to be the next Warren Buffet but I don’t think that Katie and Greg have the heart to tell their son that they actually are just renting the house they live in. Their younger daughter a cutey patootie named Anna-Kat is scared of germs and shows sign of having an obsessive compulsive disorder. Their older daughter Taylor fits right in the neighborhood with all the slim good looking girls and Katie resents that Taylor may grow up as just another plastic Stepford type wife, shallow but beautifully slim.Wildflower Girls (2020)What I really like about this sitcom is there is no “canned laughter” barreling at the audience during and after every conversation the family may have. The laughter will have to be earned and they earned my laughter during every episode of season 4. This family themed comedy format is a must see. Thankfully the show has just renewed for a 5th season so we have more laughter to come.

REVIEW: ADVENTURELAND

 

CAST

Jesse Eisenberg (Batman V Superman)
Kristen Stewart (Twilight)
Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Kristen Wiig (Zoolander 2)
Bill Hader (Superbad)
Martin Starr (Knocked Up)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Margarita Levieva (Spread)

 

It would have been easy to typecast Greg Mottola post-Superbad as a director of teen sex comedies, and based on the trailers, you’d be forgiven to jumping to that conclusion regarding his new film, Adventureland. Sure, the kids are in their early 20s this time around, but even in the first twenty minutes or so, Adventureland looks like Michael Cera’s Superbad character has just grown up a little, graduated with a bachelor’s degree, but still hasn’t managed to go all the way with a girl. And it’s not like it would have been a bad thing had that been the case, because I love Superbad, but the surprise of Adventureland is how much more adventure it has in mind.
Adventureland is actually a semi-autobiographical film, written by Mottola about his own gig at a rundown amusement park in the summer of 1987. The director’s stand-in, what could have been the Michael Cera role, is taken over by Jesse Eisenberg from The Squid and the Whale–and right there, the Superbad comparisons dissolve. James is not Evan four years later, he’s an older Walt Berkman exiled to the suburbs. It’s like Noah Baumbach lost his summer internship and has to crash on Judd Apatow’s couch to get back on track.James is all set to spend his post-undergrad/pre-graduate student summer lollygagging around Europe when the effects of Reaganomics hit too close to home. His father (an appropriately shattered Jack Gilpin) has been demoted and now James is going to have to figure out how to pay to live in New York and attend Columbia on his own. Having had no prior job experience and carrying a B.A. in comparative literature, the wannabe journalist ends up stuck working the scam games at the local amusement park, Adventureland. There, the sheltered boy meets the legion of disaffected like himself who also have nowhere else to go. Sure, amongst their ranks are the perpetual losers, like James’ childhood nemesis Frigo (Matt Bush), but there is also Joel (Martin Starr), the pipe-smoking Russian-lit enthusiast, and the intense, rebellious Emily (Kristen Stewart). A cut above in rank is the too-cool rockstar, Connell (Ryan Reynolds), biding his time as Adventureland’s maintenance man until he can move his musical career to Los Angeles. And, of course, there are the bosses, the slightly creepy and oddly square Bobby and Paulette (two of SNL’s best cast members, Bill Hader and the adorable Kristen Wiig). They aren’t really parental figures, more like that tragically uncool aunt and uncle who always want to be involved in your business.It is among these people that James will get his first taste of the real world. A devotee of Dickens’ travelogues because the writer visited prisons and insane asylums, the pretentious college boy is going to realize that life is one big prison and insane asylum itself–but only if you let it be. A romance with Emily has unforeseen complications, since Connell is cheating on his wife with the youngster, but so too does James find distraction in the theme park’s resident hottie, Lisa P. (Margarita Levieva). The summer world of Adventureland is like one giant pause, a period of figuring things out, of realizing that most parents don’t have a clue (actually, James’ college pal tells him that in the second scene) and it’s not because they are parents, but because no one has a clue. Least of all James.  MV5BMjIxNTE3OTQzOF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNTU3MjU0Mg@@._V1_Most filmmakers tend to treat the 1980s as an alien world built out of kitsch and spandex, but Greg Mottola thankfully keeps that almost entirely at bay. Maybe it speaks to the reality of what he really went through, maybe it’s a reluctance to fall back on faux nostalgia, but outside of a running gag about Falco and one appearance by Ronald Reagan on a television set, there aren’t a lot of signals that this is even a period piece. Loser twentysomethings, just like loser teens, are timeless. Honestly, I was in high school in 1987, and I used to hang out with a lot of these kids.
What adds a whole new twist to Adventureland is that the smarty-pants stuff is put right up against more lowbrow funny business so they can duke it out like some kind of West Side Story for comedy styles. So, a Brian Eno reference is immediately followed by a guy peeing on a window. Vomit, nut punches, and disco dancing can actually be complementary to ivy league wordplay and nebbishy navel gazing. Hell, there is even room for a Foreigner cover band! It’s a fabulous balance–chuckle at the dry humor of Jesse Eisenberg saying things no one else understands, guffaw at Bill Hader losing his temper and going ballistic. Adventureland may not be the gutbuster some of other films were, it’s got way more of the human element. That’s because growing up and growing in love is the greatest adventure of all.

REVIEW: THE RANCH – SEASON 4

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MAIN CAST

Ashton Kutcher (Two and a Half Men)
Sam Elliott (Ghost Rider)
Elisha Cuthbert (The Girl Next Door)
Debra Winger (Rachel Getting Married)

Megyn Price and Dax Shepard in The Ranch (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Dax Shepard (Chips)
Megyn Price (Rules of Engagement)
Kelli Goss (The Young and The Restless)
Jim Beaver (Breaking Bad)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Kurtwood Smith (That 70s Show)
Kathy Baker (Picket Fences)
Casey Sander (The Big bang Theory)
Grady Lee Richmond (Dirty Girl)
Barry Corbin (Anger Management)
Josh Burrow (Shoot Me Nicely)
Ethan Suplee (My Name Is Earl)
Debra Jo Rupp (That 70s Show)
Martin Mull (Sabrina: TTW)
Bret Harirson (V)

Ashton Kutcher and Elisha Cuthbert in The Ranch (2016)There’s going to be a lot of chatter over the way Netflix has decided to end the latest part of “The Ranch.” While this is the fourth season, it’s actually Part 7 of 8 parts in the show’s storyline, with Brad Paisley songs gracing the names of each episode in this part. Coming back to the world of the Bennetts can feel like a family reunion, both fun and bittersweet. This new chapter again features the particular humor the series is known for but with dark reunions and a final, cryptic act. It is this part’s closing moment that is quite bold in many ways.Sam Elliott in The Ranch (2016)Picking up where the last season ended, Colt Bennett (Ashton Kutcher) has been left by his wife Abby (Elisha Cuthbert) over him misleading her about the potential sale of his livestock. Now Colt is on his own and even barred from the Bennett family ranch by his father, Beau (Sam Elliott). Colt’s cousin, Luke (Dax Shepard) has meanwhile gone off to tie the knot in a hasty Vegas wedding with Mary (Megyn Price), who everyone knows has a serious drug problem. When Luke returns he realizes the wrongs he’s done and tries to rebuild a bond with Colt. It’s a moment of crossroads for the family as Colt wonders if he and Abby are truly over, Luke realizes it’s time to actually grow up.Ashton Kutcher and Dax Shepard in The Ranch (2016)“The Ranch” has never lost its homey feel during its four seasons. There have been grand, dramatic moments, like wildfires and the disappearance of Colt’s brother, Rooster (Danny Masterson), but for “Part 7” the writing becomes reflective. The storyline focuses more on where each character is situated and how they will face the future. Colt must face up to the lies he told, not out of malice but because he genuinely believed he was on the cusp of a big business deal. Most of this season finds him doing a delicate, emotional dance with Abby, openly pining for her, giving her alimony and jumping at the first chance to prove his loyalty. Worried about her image as a teacher at a new school, Abby asks Colt for his help in attending a school event so she won’t look like a separated spouse. He almost does it thinking it means they could get back together. As a comedy “The Ranch” has always delivered, but it’s in the subtle drama where it works best. Colt’s feelings towards Abby aren’t funny, but sad and endearing. Yet the show never gets predictable with this storyline and it is refreshing how it treats a breakup without dreamy romanticism, it soberly knows that some couples simply never get back together.Ashton Kutcher and Elisha Cuthbert in The Ranch (2016)The same goes for other relationships, like Luke and Mary’s, which in any other sitcom would be a gag for countless jokes. Instead it leads to real consequences such as Mary having to face the chaos of her existence, and how it affects her daughter, Heather (Kelli Goss). Heather is a bit underused this season, but she has strong scenes where she needs to pick up Mary at the hospital after an overdose, and telling Luke to get lost then accepting his sincere help for paying the mortgage. Luke’s character this season also becomes a person trying to make amends. He buys Colt’s cattle at the auction block, in order to prove he truly wants to be partners with his cousin. Beau is making plans for his new life with fiance Joanne (Kathy Baker), but must first make amends with Colt. It’s family dysfunction written with a particular kind of heartfelt drama, where no one screams or shouts but just say what they honestly feel. When Beau tries to advise Colt on how to treat a potentially ill cattle Colt takes it as an insult, and this is indeed how families actually do argue.Sam Elliott, Kathy Baker, Ashton Kutcher, Megyn Price, Dax Shepard, and Kelli Goss in The Ranch (2016)Colt runs into one issue after another trying to make his ranch sustainable, but he won’t go down easily. In one crisis he tries to buy a new bull to impregnate his heifers from Neumann’s Hill Ranch, who have repeatedly been trying to purchase both Cole’s and Beau’s Iron River Ranch. In another pivotal moment, Cole strikes back at Neumann’s Hill when they try to play dirty. Ashton Kutcher again delivers some of his best work, turning Colt into a man full of both many faults and heart. The great Sam Elliott also elevates the material with that calm demeanor that hides a powerful presence. What Elliott does here with Beau is begin to soften the hard exterior of the patriarch. Now that he has found the love of his life in Joanne he is opening himself to new experiences, like a proposal by Joanne to go to Spain.Sam Elliott and Kathy Baker in The Ranch (2016)In the previous season we saw how he had changed to the point of contemplating selling the farm for the good of his family and in this season he does just that. Even Luke acknowledges he is happy to have met this Beau, a man with an iron will for sure, but now with a more loving outlook, even if at first he still gives Luke a stern talk for his behavior. Essential to Elliot’s performance is the warm presence of Baker’s character, Joanne. With an alzheimer’s diagnosis her character’s engagement to Beau transcends the usual sitcom’s twilight years romance. It’s treated like a special bond between people who have been through much, and are prepared to go through more, together. This is the season where Joanne becomes an even more present and essential character that completes Beau’s life while in a sense completing the Bennett family.Ashton Kutcher and Dax Shepard in The Ranch (2016)While some episodes in season 4 just mosy along, it must be said this is never a boring season. We love to watch the Bennetts deal with their inner traumas and hassles because they feel real. Colt’s predicament with Abby is relatable to anyone who lets a good thing go, Luke embodies the wild child who can prove he’s not a screw up. This is a worthy season for “The Ranch.” The Bennetts grow and reconcile while enduring new challenges. To revisit these characters is like walking into a living family portrait, where everyone has good and bad memories.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – THE BROMANCE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

american-housewife

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Meg Donnellly (The Broken Ones)
Daniel DiMaggio (Tales of Halloween)
Julia Butters (Pals)
Ali Wong (Savages)
Carly Hughes (Lucky Stiff)

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RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Ed Weeks (The Mindy Project)

153816_2220_595Katie looks forward to sharing her favorite Christmas tradition with Taylor, but a surprise visit from her mom threatens her holiday cheer; Greg is blindsided by Katie’s good intentions; Oliver and Anna-Kat break a family heirloom.153816_8124_595

Another year closes and with it another fun Christmas themed episode of American Housewife. This show always out does itself each year with it’s Christmas episodes. It will be interesting  as we enter the second half of the fourth season to see where the show goes. . this is a must watch for fans of the show and the holiday season

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SURVIVING CHRISTMAS

american-housewife

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Vampires Suck)
Meg Donnellly (The Broken Ones)
Daniel DiMaggio (Tales of Halloween)
Julia Butters (Pals)
Ali Wong (Savages)
Carly Hughes (Lucky Stiff)

Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Peyton Meyer (Girl Meets World)
Milo Manheim (Z-O-M-B-I-E-S)

150845_1879_FULLKatie strives to keep her long-separated parents apart when her father arrives in time to surprise the Otto family for Christmas. Anna-Kat does her best to help Trip win Taylor back but has a hard time getting past a very persistent Pierce. Meanwhile, Oliver thinks no one will remember him as the mask-wearing villain in the school’s production of “The Nutcracker” but quickly takes center stage when a series of mishaps damages his costume.

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Another year closes and with it another fun Christmas themed episode of American Housewife. It was nice to Katie’s dad for a change played here by Patrick Duffy, The Taylor storyline should be interesting as we enter the second half of the Third season. this is a must watch for fans of the show and the holiday season

 

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: SCROOGED

Starring

Bill Murray (Ghostbusters)
Karen Allen (Raiders of The Lost Ark)
John Forsythe (The Trouble With HArry)
John Glover (Smallville)
Alfre Woodard (Luke Cage)
Bobcat Goldthwait (Blow)
David Johansen (Let It Ride)
Carol Kane (Gotham)
Robert Mitchum (Cape Fear)
Michael J. Pollard (The Odyssey)
Mary Ellen Trainor (Roswell)
Mabel King (Black Vampire)
John Murray (Anna Pavlova)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Brian Doyle-Murray (as Good As It Gets)
Lee Majors (Ash Vs Evil Dead)
Robert Goulet (The Naked Gun 2)
Anne Ramsey (The Goonies)
Jack McGee (The Fighter)
Kathy Kinney (Arachnophobia)
Joel Murray (Mike & Molly)

Bill Murray and Alfre Woodard in Scrooged (1988)IBC Television president Frank Cross is pushing his company to broadcast an extravagant live production of A Christmas Carol on Christmas Eve, making the staff work throughout the holiday. Frank fires executive Eliot Loudermilk for disagreeing with him, and sends cheap IBC-monogrammed towels to all on his Christmas list, including his personal assistant Grace, and his brother James. Frank’s boss Preston Rhinelander, seeing the stress Frank is under with the production, brings in Brice Cummings to provide assistance, though Brice secretly wants Frank’s job.Bill Murray and Anne Ramsey in Scrooged (1988)The night before the show, Frank is visited by the ghost of his mentor Lew Hayward, who died from a heart attack as an unloved miser. Lew warns him three more ghosts will appear to him over the next day to help Frank avoid the same fate. Before it vanishes, the ghost dials up Claire Phillips, Frank’s lost love from years ago. Claire comes to the network to talk to Frank, but Frank does not make time for her, and she returns to the homeless shelter where she works.Bill Murray and Karen Allen in Scrooged (1988)As rehearsals start, Frank is visited by the Ghost of Christmas Past, appearing as a taxi driver. He takes Frank to see his past: how he found solace in television after his mother left his father, and how he had fallen in love with Claire but lost her favor when he prioritized his television career over her. When back in the present, Frank goes to see Claire, hoping to make amends. However, his attitude quickly sours when shows his contempt for a homeless man named Herman and the shelter workers. He returns to the studio.Bill Murray and Carol Kane in Scrooged (1988)The Ghost of Christmas Present arrives as a clumsy fairy. She takes him to Grace’s apartment, showing his assistant’s struggles to support her large family, including her youngest son Calvin who has remained mute since seeing his father murdered. The Ghost then shows him James, who still respects Frank as his brother despite declining invitations to his Christmas celebrations and cheap gifts. The Ghost leaves him in a utility space under a sidewalk with Herman, now frozen to death. Frank desperately tries to escape, breaking through a boarded up door to end back up on the set of the production. Preston directs Brice to take over rehearsals to give Frank some time off.Bill Murray in Scrooged (1988)Retiring to his office, Frank finds Eliot waiting for him with a shotgun, ready to kill Frank for the loss of his job and family. Frank escapes into the elevator where the Grim Reaper-like Ghost of Christmas Future awaits. The Ghost takes him to the future, where Calvin has become catatonic and been institutionalized, and Claire has heeded Frank’s words and shunned the homeless to become just like Frank. Finally, the Ghost shows Frank’s cremation ceremony, with only James and his wife in attendance. Frank, having come to a revelation about his life, is shocked when he finds himself in the coffin as is it about to be incinerated, and breaks his way out, ending up back out of the elevator facing Eliot. Frank’s completely changed demeanor surprises Eliot, particularly when Frank offers him a high-level executive position.scrooged_2With Eliot’s help, Frank returns to the production set, secures Brice in the control room, and breaks the show’s live broadcast to speak of his new appreciation for life. He apologizes on air to Grace, James, and the cast and crew, and makes a passionate plea to Claire to come back to him. Claire sees this at the shelter, and makes for the network with the help of the Ghost of Christmas Past. As Frank and Claire reunite, Calvin comes up to Frank and speaks for the first time, reminding him to say the closing words of the Carol, “God bless us, everyone”, much to Grace’s elation. Frank leads the crew in singing “Put a Little Love in Your Heart”, and sees Lew, the three Ghosts, and the ghost of Herman smile and wave back to him.ScroogedI liked “Scrooged,” as it is certainly a fantastic Christmas movie to watch, and is quite funny, especially just to see Murray get his comeuppance in a role that seems to suit him perfectly.

25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: ALVIN AND CHIPMUNKS: THE SQUEAKQUEL

CAST

Jason Lee (Dogma)
David Cross (Scary Movie 2)
Zachary Levi (Chuck)
Justin Long (Jeepers Creepers)
Matthew Gray Gubler (500 Days of Summer)
Jesse McCartney (Chernobyl Diaries)
Anna Faris (Mom)
Christina Applegate (Bad Moms)
Amy Poehler (Inside Out)
Wendie Malick (American Housewife)
Anjelah Johnson (Marmaduke)
Kathryn Joosten (Desperate Housewives)
Kevin Schmidt (The Butterfly Effect)
Chris Warren Jr. (Men of Honor)
Bridgit Mendler (Muppets Most wanted)
Brando Eaton (American Sniper)
Alexandra Shipp (X-Men: Apocalypse)
Gregg Binkley (My Name Is Earl)
Sean Astin (The Goonies)
Brittany Anne Pirtle (Power Rangers Samurai)

Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)During a benefit concert in Paris, France, David Seville is injured from a backstage accident. Having to recuperate there, Dave asks his aunt, Jackie, to look after the Chipmunks, Alvin, Simon, and Theodore. Arrangements are also made for them to go to school at West Eastman High School. After Jackie also has an accident, the Chipmunks are left in the care of Toby, Jackie’s grandson. Meanwhile, Ian Hawke, who is broke and destitute, lives in the basement of JETT Records. Three singing female chipmunks, Brittany, Jeanette, and Eleanor, also known as The Chipettes, emerge from a FedEx packagee. Ian recruits and hires the Chipettes in an effort to resurrect his career.Justin Long, Jesse McCartney, and Matthew Gray Gubler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)While at school, the Chipmunks are ridiculed by jocks, who threaten to kill them for drawing their girls’ attention away from them. They chase the Chipmunks around the school and give Simon a swirlie in a toilet. They visit the principal’s office, only to discover that the principal, Dr. Rubin is a huge fan, and enlists their help to raise money for a music program by participating in a contest. Meanwhile, Ian is shocked to find the Chipmunks on the front page of his newspaper. After he reads a story about them, he quickly sends the Chipettes to school.Justin Long, Kevin G. Schmidt, Chris Warren, and Bridgit Mendler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)When the Chipmunks meet the Chipettes, a rivalry forms after the former group learns that the latter group are with Ian: with both groups wanting to compete in the Battle of the Bands, Dr. Rubin sets up a concert for them to compete in with the winners representing the school. Meanwhile, Alvin becomes popular with the jocks and joins the football team, not realizing that the next game is during the concert. At the concert, Theodore and Simon tell the fans that Alvin failed to show up, and that they cannot perform, leading to a victory for the Chipettes. When Alvin finally shows up after the concert is over, he finds the auditorium empty, and Brittany calls him out for his lack of responsibility. Alvin then returns home and attempts to apologize to his brothers, but is ignored. Theodore runs away the next day, until Alvin and Simon save him from an eagle, leading to the three making up.Christina Applegate, Anna Faris, and Amy Poehler in Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel (2009)Soon, the Chipettes are hired, but learn that the concert at which they are to perform as an opening act for a Britney Spears concert at the Staples Center is on the same night as the school contest. Ian convinces them to call off the battle and perform at the concert, but refuses to give the same credit to Jeanette and Eleanor that he gives Brittany. She demands that they all perform together or not at all, until Ian threatens to send them to a barbecue restaurant unless they perform. Before the Battle of the Bands, Alvin receives a call from the Chipettes, who tell him that Ian has locked them in a cage, so Alvin races off to rescue them while Simon tells Jeanette how to open the cage over the cell phone. Simon and Theodore are on the verge of going out to perform until the others arrive just in time to perform at the contest. The Chipmunks and the Chipettes perform together and receive the money for the music program. Dave, who had left the hospital upon learning that Toby was looking after the Chipmunks, returns during the contest, happy to see the Chipmunks again. Meanwhile, Ian is further exposed at the concert of Staples Center he set up for the girls when he attempts to imitate them, only for him to be taken away by security guards. After the contest, Dave allows the Chipettes to stay with them.maxresdefaultIn the mid-credits scene, Dr. Rubin has the jocks scrape the gum off from under the bleachers in the gymnasium as punishment for making Alvin late for the show. In the post-credits scene, Ian is thrown into a dumpster.Alvin-and-the-Chipmunks-The-Squeakquel-starts-off-strongThe film is very cute, funny, and entertaining all the way through. The female-counterpart “Chipettes” add something new, but don’t take away from the Chipmunks. Zachary Levi and David Cross are charming and amusing in their respective roles. If you liked the first movie, then you will be entertained by the “squeakquel.”

REVIEW: PUSHING DAISIES – SEASON 2

CAST

Lee Pace (The Hobbit)
Anna Friel (Limitless)
Chi McBride (Human target)
Ellen Greene (Little Shop of Horrors)
Swoosie Kurtz (Mike & Molly)
Kristin Chenoweth (Bewitched)
Jim Dale (Carry on Columbus)
Field Cate (Space Buddies)

Anna Friel and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies (2007)RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Missi Pyle (Mom)
French Stewart (3rd Rock From The Sun)
Autumn Reeser (Sully)
Diana Scarwid (Wonderfalls)
Peter Cambor (Forever My Girl)
Sy Richardson (Colors)
Sammi Hanratty (Shameless)
Rachael Harris (Lucifer)
Lee Arenberg (Waterworld)
Daeg Faerch (Halloween)
Hayley McFarland (Lie To Me)
Graham McTavish (The Hobbit)
David Arquette (Scream)
Debra Mooney (Everwood)
Dana Davis (Heroes)
Hayes MacArthur (Life As We Know It)
Stephen Root (Barry)
Christine Adams (Black Lightning)
Fred Willard (Anchorman)
Kerri Kenney (Wanderlust)
Ethan Phillips (Star Trek: Voyager)
Josh Randall (Ed)
Patrick Fischler (The Finder)
Beth Grant (Childs Play 2)
Eric Stonestreet (The Loft)
David Koechner (Anchorman)
Mary Kay Place (Youth In Revolt)
Orlando Jones (Sleepy Hollow)
Ivana Milicevic (Running Scared)
George Segal (2012)
Willie Garson (Supergirl)
Constance Zimmer (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
Robert Picardo (The Orville)
Gina Torres (Firefly)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Nora Dunn (2 Broke Girls)
Wilson Cruz (13 Reasons Why)
Joey Slotnick (Nip/Tuck)
Josh Hopkins (Cold Case)

Anna Friel in Pushing Daisies (2007)There’s no mistaking Pushing Daisies for any other show on TV. Every episode features new supporting characters, new locations and new mysteries, but all of them fit into creator Bryan Fuller’s whimsical, playfully sideways universe. The show bundles romance and comedy with tragic undertones, and flavors it with musical numbers, synchronized swimming routines, magic tricks and murder.The show’s second–and sadly abbreviated–season features 13 episodes, each loaded with more ideas than other series turn out in a full season. By the time you finish The Complete Second Season DVD set, you’ll have walked the hexagonal offices of a honey empire, covertly played poker using a Chinese restaurant’s elaborate code, walked through secret passageways in a nunnery and witnessed a traveling aquatics show that actually makes a traveling aquatics show seem appealing.Anna Friel and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies (2007)Lee Pace stars as The Pie Maker, aka Ned, who has a mysterious ability to bring the dead back to life by touching them. If he touches them again, they die. If he doesn’t return them to their eternal slumber within a minute, a life-form of equal size has to die in their place. In the pilot episode, he brought back the love of his life, his childhood friend Chuck (Anna Friel), damning the consequences. Now she lives with him in hiding near his the restaurant The Pie Hole, but they can never touch each other.Anna Friel, Chi McBride, and Lee Pace in Pushing Daisies (2007)While owning, operating and baking for a pie shop would no doubt be a taxing full-time job, Ned has a secondary source of income that takes up most of the show’s time. He temporarily wakes the dead for Private Investigator Emerson Cod (Chi McBride) to uncover clues to murder mysteries. Of course, the victims–revived from a variety of comically gruesome deaths–never quite provide the information needed to easily solve the case, and Cod, Chuck, Ned and Olive (Kristin Chenoweth), the Pie Hole’s plucky waitress, have to fill in the blanks. The shows are generally based around one mystery, with overarching main threads stretch through the series. The writer’s strike owns much of the blame for the failure of Pushing Daisies, and for the relatively slow start to season two. The show was earning a respectable audience after its debut, but only produced nine episodes before pencils went down. ABC decided not to order any extra episodes after the strike, leaving the show off the air for nearly a year before. By the time it returned, it had lost much of its momentum, and failed to regain its audience, prompting a premature cancellation.Kristin Chenoweth in Pushing Daisies (2007)While the two shortened seasons combine to equal a full season’s worth of episodes, both feel fragmented. It’s apparent that the writers felt the need to reboot a bit and reiterate some points to ensure its audience was up to speed. And while the opening episodes of season two are entertaining, it takes about four episodes for the series to really start charging forward. Episode 5, “Dim Sum Lose Some” begins a fantastic five-episode arc involving Dwight, a sinister man played by Stephen Root with a friendly demeanor that makes his intentions all the more mysterious. Not just a great character in his own right, Dwight triggers an avalanche of story that leaves you longing for the next episode, even after no more are left. An old friend of Chuck and Ned’s fathers, Dwight wants to locate Ned’s, who abandoned The Pie Maker as a child and started a new family.Chi McBride and Debra Mooney in Pushing Daisies (2007)Dwight’s prodding leads Ned to finally meet his twin half-brothers (Alex and Graham Miller), who were also abandoned by Ned’s father. The sixth episode, centering around the twins’ mentor’s magic show, is one of series’ funniest, and features memorable guest appearances by Paul F. Tomkins and Fred Willard. But the twins, along with many other characters, never reach their potential. Due to the show’s premature end, it’s inevitable that all the story threads don’t tie up satisfactorily. Indeed, the final episode essentially ends with a cliffhanger before it awkwardly segues into a quickie ending that was cobbled together in the editing room. It’s a shame too, as the long-term story had become quite promising, especially the intriguing hints about Ned’s father and developments surrounding Chuck’s dead father. Unfortunately, fans of the show will have to be happy with what they have.

 

REVIEW: AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE – SEASON 3

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

MAIN CAST

Katy Mixon (Mike & Molly)
Diedrich Bader (Meet The Spartans)
Meg Donnelly (Zombies)
Daniel DiMaggio (Daddy’s Home 2)
Julia Butters (Transparent)
Ali Wong (The Lego Ninjago Movie)
Carly Hughes (Brampton’s Own)

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

RECURRING / NOTABLE GUEST CAST

Sara Rue (Mom)
Tom Lenk (Buffy: TVS)
Kelly Ripa (Hope & Faith)
Jason Dolley (Good Luck Charlie)
Logan Pepper (Wolves)
Jerry Lambert (Graves)
Wendie Malick (The Ranch)
Jessica St. Clair (Wanderlust)
Peyton Meyer (Wayne)
Milo Manheim (Z-O-M-B-I-E-S)
Evan O’Toole (Wild)
Nikki Hahn (Adventures In Babysitting)
Leslie Bibb (Popular)
Ravi Patel (Master of None)
Victoria Justice (Victorious)
Barret Swatek (2 Broke Girls)
Carly Craig (Sideswiped)
Gregory Harrison (Picnic)
Patrick Duffy (Dallas)
Jay Mohr (Go)
Katy Perry (The Smurfs)
Jeannette Sousa (Castle)
Thomas Lennon (17 Again)
Eddie Shin (Westworld)
Cheyenne Jackson (Watchmen TV)
George Hamilton (The Godfather – Part III)
Robert Belushi (How I Met Your Mother)
Reylynn Caster (The Matchbreaker)
Richard Riehle (Office Space)
Christine Lakin (Hollywood Darlings)
Julie Meyer (The Cape)

American Housewife (2016)Well the third season finale just aired and I must say that the stories have been jus tas fun as the previous season, ending on a musical is real highlight. This seasons highlights were…Diedrich Bader and Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Mom Guilt

Following the success of the spring gala, Katie goes back to work as a party planner, only to learn that her first client is Nancy Granville. Katie reluctantly leaves Greg to deal with Anna-Kat’s increasing OCD behavior, blaming it on her absence from the home. She also promises to pay for Oliver to go see his new favorite motivational speaker if he will help “parent” his little sister Taylor.

American Housewife (2016)

Cheaters Sometimes Win

Katie’s mother Kathryn arrives and immediately causes a stir when she tells Taylor it’s okay to not attend college, and instead become a flight attendant like herself. Oliver gets suspended for turning in a store-bought bird feeder for wood shop class, which he fears will now ruin his chances of getting into Harvard. Katie worries that both Oliver and Anna-Kat may have learned from her that it’s okay to cheat sometimes.

American Housewife (2016)

Enemies: An Otto Story

The rivalry between Katie and Chloe Brown Mueller comes to a head when Anna-Kat and Chloe’s daughter are running for the same student council position. Oliver wants to continue his ballet at an exclusive prep school, but Katie and Greg are strongly against it. Meanwhile, Greg suspects that Taylor’s new musical theater partner, Pierce, is trying to come between her and Trip.

Brielle Barbusca, Nikki Hahn, Daniel DiMaggio, and Logan Pepper in American Housewife (2016)

Trust Me

After Taylor lies about adult supervision at a Halloween party she wants to attend, Katie wants to make her stay home but Greg says they should trust her and see where it goes. Oliver and Cooper attend a party with Gina and Gina’s cousin, and both are a little apprehensive when the girls promise a make-out session in a closet. This happens to be a party Katie has planned, and the boys are let off the hook when pregnant Viv arrives and Katie is forced to deliver her baby in front of several horrified teens. At home, Anna-Kat thinks she is too grown up for Halloween, but later regrets her decision while handing out candy.

American Housewife (2016)

Body Image

Now that the formerly fattest housewife in Westport has had gastric bypass surgery, Chloe Brown Mueller can’t wait to flaunt the woman in front of Katie. Convinced that Chloe has had work done, Katie enlists Doris and Angela to help her dig up an unflattering photo of Chloe from a high school yearbook. At the same time, Katie worries about her children becoming too body conscious. Taylor tries to do something about the thin lips she inherited from Grandma Kathryn, Oliver becomes obsessed with developing well-defined calves like the new guy in his ballet class, and Anna-Kat is curious about her teacher’s new boob job.

Katy Mixon and Carly Craig in American Housewife (2016)

Trophy Wife

When Katie learns that a hot young trophy wife has a stepdaughter in Anna-Kat’s class, she convinces the woman to become a room parent for the sole purpose of annoying and worrying the older judgmental moms in town. This backfires when it causes Anna-Kat’s choice for Friday movie to get nixed by the new room parent. Meanwhile, Greg enlists the help of Oliver and Taylor to get Grandma Kathryn to talk about something other than herself, but it proves to be difficult.

Milo Manheim and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

Saving Christmas

Katie’s father Marty (Patrick Duffy) arrives unexpectedly for the holidays, not knowing that his ex-wife Kathryn is living there. Despite Katie’s attempts to keep the two apart, they end up in bed together. Meanwhile, Anna-Kat tries to help Trip win back Taylor, and Oliver has a humbling experience during his ballet troupe’s holiday performance.

Diedrich Bader and Cheyenne Jackson in American Housewife (2016)

Disconnected

While Katy goes boot shopping with Taylor to try and reconnect with her, Greg agrees to take Oliver to see motivational speaker Johnny Diamond in hopes of bonding better with his son. This leaves Anna-Kat feeling like her status as the favorite child is in jeopardy.

American Housewife (2016)

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems

Greg and Katie decide to get frivolous with Katie’s bonus check and go to a fancy Westport hotel, which leaves Taylor in charge of the house. Trying to prove he can be a “bad boy”, Oliver takes his parents’ other car without permission to drive Cooper and himself to a party.

Leslie Bibb and Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Baby Crazy

Overwhelmed as a single parent, Viv drops off her baby with the Ottos which has Greg thinking he would like another child. When Viv’s ex-husband returns, insisting he’s a changed man, Katy has to convince the exhausted Viv that she is still better off without him. Meanwhile, Taylor schemes to get Oliver’s help in retrieving an expensive earring that the dog ate.

Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

American Idol

When Taylor expresses her desire not to go to college and to become a professional singer instead, Katy solicits the help of Doris’ kids’ hypercritical music teacher to diminish Taylor’s interest. At home, Oliver and Anna-Kat help Greg create a viral message to promote membership in his historical society. Meanwhile, Katy is hired to plan a party for a Westport businesswomen’s association, only to learn it is all her frienemies pretending to be important.

Katy Mixon, Meg Donnelly, and Julia Butters in American Housewife (2016)

Phone Free Day

With Anna-Kat obsessing over using Taylor’s phone and Taylor constantly complaining about it, Katie proposes to give up her own phone for a day and give Taylor a new phone if she can do the same. But the plan backfires on Katie multiple times. Meanwhile, Oliver overhears two businessmen discussing something that would greatly affect their company stock. Wanting to take advantage of the situation but not able to purchase stock at his age, Oliver seeks advice from a pile of VHS tapes that Spencer left for him.

Katy Mixon in American Housewife (2016)

Field Trippin’

Upon realizing that work has kept her from spending quality time with Anna-Kat, Katie decides to chaperone Anna-Kat’s class field trip, only to find that her daughter doesn’t want her there. Meanwhile, Taylor and Oliver jointly fake being sick so they can play hooky with Trip and Cooper, respectively. But Greg has some fun spoiling their day upon figuring out the lie.Peyton Meyer and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

The Dance

As the school dance approaches, Franklin asks Greg for permission to take his daughter. With all their children having dates for the dance, Greg and Katie look forward to a rare romantic night alone. But Franklin surprises everyone by asking Taylor to the dance instead of Anna-Kat, stating Anna-Kat is merely his best friend. Anna-Kat then asks Trip to the dance to make Franklin jealous, and Taylor encourages Trip to accept so they can at least be at the dance together. Meanwhile, Oliver and Brie see a psychic, who tells them a “romantic evening will end in disaster”, making Oliver fearful to attend the dance. In the end, it is Katie and Greg’s romantic evening that is ruined, as they rush to the dance to head off Brie’s mother, who says her daughter is not allowed to date yet and went behind her back.

Diedrich Bader and Meg Donnelly in American Housewife (2016)

A Mom’s Parade

Frustrated by the lack of appreciation for all she does, Katie decides to leave the family to fend for itself.

1600x640-Q90_95591d5e6fad2db38ef760797500a413In a world where weekly television series’ have to compete against streaming platforms like Netflix, it’s easy for shows like American Housewife to get lost in the shuffle. But what is clear to me is that this show has the power to stand up against the competition and you should tune in or at least add it to your watchlist. It’s guaranteed to be one of the funniest half hours of your week.