Tag Archives: HBO

Mr. Show

What did David Cross do before Arrested Development and a bunch of stand-up routines where he rips off Bill Hicks? He did Mr. Show, a sketch comedy series on HBO in the mid to late ‘90s. Cross, and his co-star Bob Odenkirk, took a cue from Monty Python and delivered some of the best sketch comedy I’ve ever seen. Personally, I believe it’s better than The Kids in the Hall, The State, or SNL.
What’s extremely clever about Mr. Show aren’t necessarily the jokes but the way they’re delivered and how the show flowed. Sketches moved seamlessly into each other and there wasn’t a moment lost. The show also gave a hyper-critical view of American culture in the 1990s, exploring such issues as outsourcing, American arrogance, authority figures, and just about anything else you can think of. The show also gave the world Ronny Dobbs, a redneck (played by Cross) notorious for getting arrested on a Cops like show repeatedly.
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Mildred Pierce

So far, I’m loving Mildred Pierce on HBO.  I really need to get around to posting about some flicks where I have indeed read the book, but here I’m hanging my head in shame again.

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The Ricky Gervais Show

Normally I like to explore a film or television show on my blog but when it comes to The Ricky Gervais Show I don’t really know what to say. It’s an animated version of the podcast featuring Gervais (featured on HBO in the United States), his co-writer on The Office and Extras Stephen Merchant, and Gervais’ original producer on XFM, Karl Pilkington. Realizing the unintentional comedic genius they found, Gervais and Merchant incorporated Pilkington into the show and its pure comic gold. He’s an idiot, but he really isn’t; he’s a genius but he’s also a moron. On his website, Gervais claims:

Karl is one of the smartest people I know. He isn’t what you’d call academic. He hasn’t had a great formal education. But he is smart in other ways. He’s what you’d call streetwise I suppose. He has a great emotional intelligence too.
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Sister Wives

What am I going to do when Big Love ends next week? Where will I get my periodic Mormon polygamist fix? Enter Sister Wives, TLC’s latest reality series about a FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saint) polygamist family, the Browns, who live in or near Salt Lake City and have twelve children. The Brown’s patriarch, Kody, has three wives (Meri, Janelle, and Christine) and is a freelance advertising consultant (or something along those lines) who practices plural marriage in a large, yet dismally sparse prefabricated home. Where Big Love is intense, albeit sometimes overdramatic, Sister Wives resembles just about every other reality program on the air; the difference is its subject material.

I am fascinated by Mormon polygamists and have been prior to Big Love’s entrance into HBO’s premier line-up five or six years ago. After reading Jon Krakauer’s book Under the Banner of Heaven I couldn’t help finding their way on life intriguing, not because conversion is even a potentiality but because the mindset necessary is so distant from my own. I have no idea what it would be like having multiple partners at the same time, believing in any form of Mormonism, or living in Utah. It all sounds so unappealing. Beginning, Mormonism is such an odd religion; a newer faith and probably the only religion founded in America, aside from Scientology and various cults (Scientology isn’t a cult?). I personally find their formative story absurd but, like most religions, I’m willing to set aside my personal feelings and not insult a Mormon’s faith, at least to their face. However, where Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any other belief structure are unbelievable to me and seem a bit outlandish, Mormonism’s reached a new level of silly – only surpassed by Scientology or maybe some New Age religions. All these faiths place the individual, and their relationship with god, outside the context of the world they inhabit. The planet is secondary to humanity, especially in Western Christianity since the Enlightenment, and this is responsible for our current environmental woes.
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That episode of Six Feet Under where Dexter almost dies

There’s this episode of HBO’s Six Feet Under where David’s kidnapped by a crackhead. I don’t know what season it’s in or what it’s called (I’m waiting until I finish writing this before finding out). I’ve only seen a handful of episodes top to bottom and watched a few in passing; my girlfriend’s really into the show. It’s an excellent show, much better than Alan Ball’s other show (True Blood), but I haven’t sat down with it. Personally I find it a bit morbid. Every episode begins with death and ends with uncertainty, leaving the path open to life’s endless possibilities. Like the tree in the opening credits, everything on the show springs from death – both literally and figuratively.

This particular episode is devastating. A young man, out of gas and money, catches a ride with David (Michael C. Hall) up to a gas station. After a few dubious statements about his ATM card not working and so forth, David drives him to a convenience store with an ATM machine. The man promptly pulls a gun on David, forcing him inside to withdraw all his money. The sense of anxiety the show creates is infectious; I just wanted David to escape, for him to leave David alone or for a forceful retaliation, leading to emancipation. It doesn’t end here.
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