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Six Feet Under: That's My Dog (2004)
Season 4, Episode 5
10/10
A neverending nightmare
24 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Despite George constantly telling Ruth he doesn't want her to interfere with his son, she insists on inviting him over for dinner. Honestly, while for the most part I find Ruth a sympathetic character, she's been a bit overbearing lately. If neither he nor his son want to see each other, she should leave it alone.

Rico's entanglement with Sophia is embarrassing to watch. I can't believe how stupid he is actually acting. Instead of breaking it off because he has his own wife and kids to take care off, he keeps seeing her and sending TONS of money because he feels sorry for her. Yes, Sophia lives a tragic life, but it's not his responsibility. He's certainly no longer the responsible, likable Rico from season 1.

Brenda's scene with her mom is very funny however. As usual Margaret keeps revealing unwanted dirty details, then berating Brenda for her choices once again. It's amusing how she starts off complimenting Brenda on her new relationship, only to ruin it with her snarky remarks.

Olivier is gone, but Claire still doesn't get the respect in art class she is looking for.

One of the more major plots is Nate going to a grief support group. Ruth thinks it will be good for him, but instead he feels jealous of the long, happy lives all the elderly widows have had with their partners. His monologue lamenting on how happy he and Lisa could've been if just given more time is heartbreakingly beautiful. Even though I never thought she was the right person for him, but maybe he's right. Relationships can change so much over the years, for all we know they might've really had a happy marriage eventually. But now there's no finding out.

David and Keith are in a fairly happy place right now, even though David is being too clingy. Keith promises to call every day. When David is driving a truck to deliver a body, he picks up a hitchhiker who claims he needs to pick up medicine for his sick grandma. After he agrees to extract money from a bank account however, Jake reveals himself to be a fraud and forces David to hand over every single bit of cash from his account. That's a bad ordeal as it is, but it doesn't stop there. He continues making more and more demands, much to David's chagrin. The sheer terror that he goes through never seems to stop, much thanks to the excellent performance by guest star Michael Weston. He's easily one of sickest sociopaths I've seen on TV. Even when he starts to tell a sobworthy story of his dad dying in a car accident, he later admits in sadistic glee that he lied. The portrayal of David in this horrific scenario is both realistic and genuinely intriguing. Even though he's scared to death and begs for Jake to stop taunting him, he also feels a weird sexual thrill from the intensity of the situation he's in. It made me so uneasy seeing David be terrorized I was begging along with him for the terror to end.

It's easy to criticize David for not utilizing more opportunities to escape or make an attempt to fight back, but you've got to remember he by nature always wants to think the best of people. This kidnapper can't just be robbing you at blank point and keep you hostage just for the thrill of it, right? There has to be a good heart underneath, someone who deep down is capable of being a good person. Not to mention it's a natural reaction to assume that if you keep doing what the other person wants, eventually they'll leave you alone. Jake manages to squeeze take advantage of that innocence as much as possible, right to the very end when he wants David to catch his dog for him. Only that turns out to be a trick too. After that he decides he's had "enough" and points a gun to David's head, snarling at him to close his eyes. No more second chances. David starts flashing back at his whole life, realizing he will never see his family or anyone else he loved ever again. When he hears the sound of a car driving off, he opens them again. The kidnapper is at last is gone.

There's no sense of relief for the audience when he's driven off though. You know right away that this is something David won't forget any time soon, and it's imprinted in our minds as well. What started off as a regular entertaining Six Feet Under episode ended up being so much more. The kidnapping drama with David is straight-up taken from a thriler, and once you're in it it doesn't let go until you're almost out of breath.
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Laverne & Shirley: The Diner (1980)
Season 5, Episode 25
10/10
Betty, please!
24 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
After Lenny's grandfather dies, he inherits a diner which he's decided to run together with Squiggy. To their chagrin, it doesn't turn out as well as they hoped. Tired of their stale jobs at the brewery, Shirley and Laverne take over the diner instead. But can they handle the stress that comes with it?

If you want a really laugh-packed half hour this is as good as it gets. Right away I'm amused by Lenny and Squiggy's odd idea of running a business, such as changing the name from Lazlo's Place to DEAD Lazlo's Place as if that really is necessary, and running a dog race track just beside it. And when they hand over their business to the girls, they sure have a unique way of "shaking on it". Michael McKean and David Lander's body movements as they shake manically is hysterical.

The comedy gets ramped up even more when Laverne & Shirley take over the place. When they try way too hard to impress their first customer (such as Carmine singing loudly and dancing on top of a table), he gets annoyed and leaces. Then after changing the formula a bit more customers start showing up, resulting in overworked stress instead. Laverne constantly calling Shirley Betty, spilling pancake batter all over the grill, Shirley getting harrassed by all the annoying customers and just trying not to trip while wading in the sea of hungry consumers is pure comedic gold. I never get tired of seeing them in situations where they're driven insane by all the frustrations they have to deal with.

In the end, the girls are beaten down and disgruntled over having to go back to bottlecapping. Frank cheers them up by saying they will find something else to get passionate about. And indeed, just a little bit later their entire lifestyle would completely change...

At the tail end of season 5, the show delivered one of its most iconic episodes, one of the many demonstrations of how despite the crazy mayhem Laverne and Shirley may get into, they will always be there for each other as a team.
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Family Guy: Rich Old Stewie (2020)
Season 18, Episode 13
9/10
Another one of Stewie Griffin's untold stories
3 March 2020
Warning: Spoilers
We get to see Stewie lying in bed in the style of Citizen Kane. Though instead of dying, it turns out to be a cheap fart joke. Then he attends the Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony, but in the middle of his big speech Brian comes to visit him. When he's told that Peter's dying, he gets to see all his family members for the first time in nearly 50 years.

It's a terrific concept: A look into the future as Stewie has grown old and rich. And since the show hasn't done many fastward stories it doesn't feel like well-trodden territory.

I appreciate the fact that the episode cuts to the chase right away. Since there's no unrelated first act, no subplot and only a small amount of cutaways, most of the attention is directed at having fun with this alternate reality. They get some good mileage out of the future versions of the characters, such as Chris and his talking penis, Meg working as a bulletproof vest tester (which is not only a demeaning job, but incredibly dangerous as well), Cleveland being so gullible he's willing to be in a phone queue for an eternal amount of time and perhaps most unexpectedly, Quagmire now being obsessed with ice cream.

There are also some miscallenous funny gags. The New England accent becoming incomprensible was possibly my favorite joke of all, and the silhouette with Stewie looking like a grown attractive woman changing was bizarre to say the least, but amusing. Global warming also ended up being fake, so we now have a polar bear for president. Priceless stuff.

I didn't really like the twist with the whole family tricking Stewie just to steal his money, especially not Brian being in on it as well, considering he was nice enough to give him an anti-aging pill. However, it's slightly saved by Stewie having an ace up his sleeve too by being prepared that they might trick him and blows up the house.

After that, it's revealed that he stared at an old man kit the whole time.

I feel like this will stand out as one of the season's most memorable efforts by the time it's over.
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Mr. Ed (2004 TV Movie)
4/10
Failed attempt at a remake
25 February 2020
The premise is similiar to the original. Wilbur Post (well, Pope in this version actually) gets a horse to come live with him and his wife. But it's not just any kind of horse: It can talk! As you expect, Ed gets him into all sorts of trouble with Wilbur trying to straighten out the mess.

They add a teenage daughter this time though, probably to appeal more to a younger audience. Does she add anything to the show? Zilch. It's pretty much the most generic teen character you can possibly imagine. Just remembered they have a son too, but he's so utterly forgettable I almost forgot to mention him in this review at all. And instead of the hilarious neighbors Roger and Kay Addison, whose bickering was a joy to behold, we have an annoying stupid creep who unashamedly harrasses and makes passes at Wilbur's wife.

The production is very odd to say the least, mixing in music which sounds like something from Disney Channel with very adult jokes. I don't have anything against adult humor, but juxtaposed with the corny and intrusive soundtrack it just comes off as out-of-place more than anything.

The acting is very bad. David Alan Basche COMPLETELY lacks charm as Wilbur. Alan Young was friendly and endearing in the role, Basche's portrayal is so over-the-top he makes him look like an obnoxious manchild instead. Sara Paxton as the daughter Amanda is awful as well, reading every line in the exact same exaggerated manner. She was probably complaining to her parents the whole time how much longer she'd have to spend time on this set.

Sherman Hemsley does try to have some fun as Mister Ed, and to be fair he provides the few amusing lines that are there. But his voice still doesn't fit somehow. You can't really picture that voice coming out of that horse's mouth. Sherilyn Fenn sadly comes off as directionless. I know when she's given a great script she can be amazing, but you can tell that she didn't believe the material she was given.

Overall, I'm glad this didn't take off. Mister Ed is a classic sitcom which always makes me laugh and smile when I watch it. With this however, I chuckled out of disbelief at best, other times rolled my eyes and groaned.
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BoJack Horseman: Good Damage (2020)
Season 6, Episode 10
10/10
The best Diane centric episode
25 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Diane's depression finally seems to be lifting, so she's hoping she can finally write her book. It's just so hard to concentrate with all the noise everywhere and boyfriend Guy constantly butting in. ... But is that really the problem?

Diane as a character has been complicated. There are times where I've sympathized with her because of her emotional struggles, other times have thought she comes off as overly demanding and distant to people. This episode however, makes you understand more than any other in the entire series who Diane really is, and why she always acts so erratically.

Constantly she's focused on making her book as full of depressing details about her life as possible. After all, many see it as some form of therapy. If you can convey all the bad things that have happened to you into written words, it will actually mean something, not just be meaningless abuse. Hence, "good damage". But every time she tries to write, she gets distracted by a lot of other intrusive thoughts, and hear her father's voice berating and belittling her for not getting anything done.

Surprisingly, she does manage to come up with a fun detective story, which both Guy and Princess Carolyn are impressed by. But she thinks it's childish nonsense and try to get them to ignore it. She still wants to write about the psychological abuse she's suffered. So in short, Diane's been so focused on making her pain known that she doesn't realize that's not where her strength lies. Making the world a little lighter place is what her calling truly is, which Carolyn makes her realize by the end. To her, it's an inspiring story for her own child.

Meanwhile, we get to find out how the old-timey reporters found Charlotte Moore and pushed her on the Sarah Lynn case. This entire subplot is extremely uncomfortable from start to finish, but neccessary. 'Cause now we get to see it's not only the reporters that got the story to come out, her daughter Penny Carson also see it as a opportunity to finally give BoJack the punishment he deserves. She gives Penny a few days to think it over, but since she doubts she'll change her mind, she calls BoJack in advance to warn him that everything he tried to keep a secret will be public soon. At the end, we see just a few more seconds after BoJack's panicked breathing as he processes the information he was just fed. His anxiety attack makes him collapse, leaving Todd deeply concerned. The optimistic tone from the first couple episodes of the season is almost gone by now.

The show has always made good use of the animation medium whenever they want to communicate really intense feelings, and the crude squiggly-like drawings remind me of BoJack's perpetually negative thoughts in Stupid Piece Of Shi't (one of my favorites). Using innocuous drawings like those a child would have made really makes the overall point impactful, especially considering most of the trauma Diane suffered stems from her childhood.
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Duncanville: Pilot (2020)
Season 1, Episode 1
3/10
FOX's second recent attempt at a hit cartoon doesn't start off well
18 February 2020
This has got to be one of the worst pilots I've seen in a while.

Right from the start, you know something is off. Usually a show doesn't throw in celebrity cameos until after they've been on for a while, but we get one almost right away, and it's just some guy going "Hey, I'm Alex Honnold from Free Solo".

Most of the characters act in such an over-the-top manner that you never get attached to any of them. Instead they're just annoying. It doesn't help that all the dialogue they're given isn't all that engaging. The jokes are bland and flavorless, either being a lame reference, a "hilarious" nod to social media or a line that's supposed to be quirky but is just dumb.

The animation is energetic to say the least, but almost too much so. Even Duckman has a few pauses here and there between all the craziness. Here however I got the feeling of drinking 20 Red Bulls in a row, constantly on the move. Which would maybe be fine if at least what was happening was interesting, but it's not. There's barely any time given to the actual plot, so when they try to give it some emotional weight after Duncan accidentally crashes into a tree his parents remember from when they were young, it falls completely flat. It's literally resolved in just 2 minutes.

The voice acting is okay generally, but Amy Poehler was miscast in the role of Duncan, not coming off as a convincing teenage boy's voice.

As for positives, Zach Cherry has a good lowkey voice as Wolf, and the theme song is decent enough.

I promised to give this show a few more tries, but they better step up their game *fast*.
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BoJack Horseman: The Face of Depression (2019)
Season 6, Episode 7
10/10
It's hard to start over.
6 February 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Especially in the same surroundings.

BoJack has finally let go of rehab and feels ready to reconnect with everyone he cares about and get a fresh start. But as he visits familiar places he's also afraid he'll fall back into familiar patterns.

Season 6 delivers another excellent hit. We've come so far since the alcoholic, self-deluded ball of anger we saw in season 1. Although this one deals with depression, it's actually quite peaceful throughout. For once everyone seems happy to see BoJack, even Princess Carolyn warms to him a bit after he comes with some encouraging words to her. How the dynamic between BoJack and Todd has changed is especially interesting. He always liked him underneath, but instead of showing it got angry at him all the time due to his own psychological failings. Right now however, they show a mutual respect for each other. BoJack actually seems to be proud of Todd for doing what he loves. He even helps him get matched up with a girl later on after seeing she's looking for love too.

Hollyhock is also pleased to see him and it goes pretty well. His confusion over how easily she and her friend makes up is pretty amusing. He's not used to a conflict being resolved so easily. I gotta say though, it feels weird how she's BoJack's half-sister since they still have sort of a father-daughter bond with each other. Not to mention she is waaaaay younger than he is.

The meeting with Diane is sort of an awkward reunion. She's happy BoJack's doing better, but has a hard time admitting she's feeling pretty rough at the moment herself. When she shows her shoddy apartment and admits she doesn't think she deserves her boyfriend, BoJack reassures her that she doesn't have to be ashamed of who she is. It's easily one of the most wholesome moments they've had together.

My favorite scene however comes when he bumps into Mr. Peanutbutter. While initially disgruntled to see him he still tags along with him to a museum of classic sitcom memorabilia. He knows at this point being mean towards those who're just trying to be nice to you it ultimately pointless. Hell, this time he's more than glad to play along once Peanutbutter realizes they can now have an actual crossover together. BoJack trying to get a scene going but getting distracted by Peanutbutter crying with joy at the crossover actually happening made me laugh out loud, but is incredibly sweet at the same time.

One person he's not so happy to be reunited with however is Sharona, another in a long line of people he mowed over in favor of his own success in Horsin' Around. Thankfully, unlike most of those, he manages to properly apologize in the end and be forgiven. In the end, that's what BoJack finally seems to be getting what he's wanted for so long. A chance to atone and be forgiven for the sins of his past.

This is epitomized in the final scene where BoJack joins a Middle Ages-style re-enactment of a church service when everyone gets to acknowledge the other person positively by saying "Peace be with you". He realizes he's actually a person worth loving, who shouldn't let himself drown in self-hatred.

Of course, I'm aware there's gonna be at least one or two depressing episodes coming up. This wouldn't be BoJack Horseman after all if everything worked out perfectly so soon. But it still helps to be shown life doesn't have to be a black hole you're never able to get up from. There are always the brighter spots worth fighting for.
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The Antenna (2019)
10/10
Don't use the water
31 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
The Turkish government starts installing new TV antennas all over the country in preparation for the state-mandated propaganda show The Night Bulletin. Mehmet, who works as a superintendent at an apartment complex gets the job of supervising the installation of it. But strange things start happening right away. A tenant falls off the edge of the roof, and a thick, black slimy subtance begins penetrating every area of the building. And he's the only one who seems to notice something's wrong...

This is one very spooky sci-fi thriller. You're really drawn into this bleak, uncompromising world where everything is tightly controlled and any unfortunate mishaps are quickly brushed over. When one of tenants fall off a roof taking a look at the antenna, nobody seems to care how exactly that happened. "Work accident" is the only explanation given. This nonchalance over a tragedy is pretty eerie right away. Even Mehmet doesn't question it at first, only hoping he can stop dozing off at work all the time.

The cinematography contributes a great deal to the unsettling atmosphere. The attention is directed to every weird thing that's going on, most of all the disgusting black liquid penetrating every area of the building. The night time scenes are darkly lit, but never hard to follow. Every storage room have a very haunting look, like nobody has been in there for years.

The music is terrific throughout. It sells you on the creepiness and danger of the situation. You also get stressed at various moments when a character is in danger and the soundtrack increases the tension. Not to mention the sound design, they did a great job of making the black liquid sound just as gross as it looks.

Ihsan Öhal, gives a good mostly muted performace. Much like the audience, he's simply an observer. Once Mehmet takes matters into his own hands and has to do some deep digging of his own after getting ignored, he gets more and more emotionally affected by the horror that's been unleashed, and he portrays this transformation very convincingly. A big standout is Enis Yildiz as Farat. When he accidentally eats the black ooze as it penetrates his food, he goes from a regular family father to a coldblooded psychopath. The look in Yildiz' eyes as he menacingly walks around with a scissor is the creepiest thing in the entire movie. The part where daughter Cemile hides in the wardrobe hoping she won't be discovered is especially intense. Elif Cakman is good as Cemile, at her strongest when she tries to flee from her father. The final scene Cemile's in really stayed with me. Farat stabs her in the back with a scissor and you presume she dies from her wounds. Then she turns out to be alive, but instead of making out of there slowly dies, her breath slowly being taken away as she gasps in a raspy voice. It's absolutely terrifying.

The social commentary is woven into the story very well. People get so brainwashed by The Night Bulletin that they don't notice the black liquid slowly reaching and killing them. And as Mehmet finds out, they already know about the black substance reaching the building. It was planned from the start. The faceless individuals you see in the last act represent those who've had their voices and individuality taken away completely, now nothing more than servants for the government. A message about the importance behind freedom of expression has rarely been communicated as effectively.

This has all the makings of a future cult classic. Hopefully more people will be as enthralled by it as I was.
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re:View (2016– )
9/10
For any fan of classic movies
23 January 2020
Do you love Best Of The Worst and Half In The Bag but also wish RedLetterMedia would cover some of the classics? This show is for you.

Whether it's a wellknown blockbuster or a hidden gem, it's a lot of fun to see them go through these movies and talk about what makes them work or not work. As someone who likes a lot of directors but can't always express what about them I like, they nail perfectly what makes their styles so special. How scenes are written is also touched upon a lot, but most of all I really like how they don't forget to talk about sound design and music. It's easy to gloss over those things sometimes, but it's very much *pivotal* into enhancing or hampering the viewing experience. Most of all, the background given on a feature's production is very interesting to listen to. Some things you'll know about already, but there are times where I learn things I never heard about before. It's especially engaging if I've seen the movie that's being talked about, but even when I haven't it's still engaging.

It's not quite as humorous as other RLM creations, but that's okay. Besides being witty, they also teach you a lot about movie making, without ever coming off as pretentious. Not to say it isn't funny in places though, the jokes that are there are hilarious.
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Scrubs: My First Day (2001)
Season 1, Episode 1
9/10
Funny, but with a hint of seriousness as well
12 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
J.D. is excited to start his first day at Sacred Heart teaching hospital, prepared to go in there and be the best doctor he possibly could. But as he arrives he discovers it's a very challenging job, and struggles to find his place in the giant puzzle.

This is a very strong start to the classic sitcom. Zach Braff guides us through the new surroundings and characters with ease, letting us hear his own personal thoughts along the way. This could easily become annoying, but actually suits the tone of the show quite well. You really get a sense of the immense pressure to perform and impress that he feels inside. Both when it comes to his work and meeting other people. His best friend Turk works at the same place, but they have different work areas, so he can't be there to help him much.

The funniest lines easily go to Dr. Cox. Both the attitude and tone of his voice makes almost anything he says funny in the best, most absurd way possible. Don't let his superiority complex deceive you though, he's actually a good guy underneath. When J.D. faces his first really critical challenge, Cox gives him the confidence boost needed to get started. Bob Kelso also made me laugh a few times. "Have a ball... on call! A little poem for you." is like something a corny school teacher would say to get you motivated. The twist where he lashes out as J.D. asks him if he can skip an assignment is pretty cleverly done. He's been so nice up until this point you don't even realize it was foreshadowed earlier when Cox compared him to Satan himself.

There's a sad moment near the end when J.D. realizes one of his patients is dead, without even being informed of it beforehand. "The hardest part is how quickly you have to move on". Even if you become the best doctor around, you still have to get used to all the hardships that come with it. Turk comes to check on J.D. to make sure he's doing okay, and admits in the process he was pretending earlier about how easy it was for him. In fact, he's just as anxious as he is. Turk telling J.D. he loves him is adorable, even though he giggles afterwards. I think he meant it in all sincerity, but doesn't feel secure enough to be honest about it.

J.D. gets interested in a fellow medical student called Elliot, who always tries to one-up him on everything. Elliot as a character is cockier than I remembered, but still pretty funny. I like when she tricks J.D. into thinking she doesn't know the answer on a question and then comes flying out of the gate with it seconds later. Just like Dr. Cox she does have a heart underneath, which shows when she apologizes to J.D. at the end for being such a jerk all day. The moment where she essentially slutshamed Carla was a little odd, but it saved by her great defensive comeback.

Overall, the pilot has convinced me to give the series another chance.
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Dirty Duck (1974)
8/10
Hey man, far out!
2 January 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Willard's life is going nowhere. He's stuck at an awful job as an insurance investigator with a pushy boss, and is always too nervous to ask the girl at the office he has a crush on out properly. But one fateful day when he meets a pimp at a bus, everything changes for him...

The only movie stranger than this I can think of right now is Begotten. This entry from the underground genre isn't perfect, but never unengaging and quite entertaining in its weirdness. The animation is crude, but it somehow fits it very well. There are lots of creative sequences such as the cop who can turn himself into a police car. Or is it the other way around? There are also some truly absurd representations of sex, none of which are erotic in any way but very humorous. As expected in the underground world, people get naked easily or are just walking around that way for no reason. For example, Eddie the duck rips Willard's clothes off at one point, and instead of finding a new set of clothes before going back to work, he just comes there naked. I find it amusing how his boss never comments on it in any way.

It's pretty hard to tell what the plot is, but I'll try to describe it. Willard's confidence is very low, but he sees an opening when a pimp convinces him to buy some dope from a dealer. He's also been sent on an assignment to check on the claim of an old woman who supposedly is dead. He meets "Good Duck" (whose real name is Eddie) and his mother, who has the claim. It turns out she's still alive, but she insists that she'll be killed by a wizard on this Tuesday. Oddly enough, when Willard grumpily wishes her dead, she dies of a heart attack right way. Her heritage says whoever kills her will be in charge of her son. Eddie's mad at him at first, but then decides to cheer him up and show what life is all about.

The poster kinda falsely midadvertises Eddie as a slick player when he's more of a goofball hippie who kinda bumbles his way through everything. Mark Volman's slacker-like voice suits him well and delivers in my opinion the funniest line in the movie ("Shut up, Yoko!"). Howard Kaylan also voices the protagonist Willard to enthusiastic effect, really getting across his massive insecurities and hormone-charged issues. The voice acting in general is pretty solid. The best one has to Robert Ridgely as the stuck-up police officer who is all about patriotism and *hates* ducks. Especially when they crap in his coffee! He's also hilarious as the overly ecstatic pimp who tries to sell Willard on the idea of weed. Cynthia Adler also does a good job as Willard's boss and one of the lesbians that he and Eddie meet.

The soundtrack is very groovy and fun to listen to.

Yet, for as much enjoyment you get out of the trippy sequences throughout, Dirty Duck still has its flaws.

For one, Willard is made almost *too* pathetic, to the point where it's hard to root for him at times. Even though he's supposed to be the underdog, his bizarre behavior is hard to justify at times. The movie also is supposed to be about his spiritual journey to becoming a more confident man who can turn his life around, but the scenes are so loosely strung together that this narrative gets lost in the process. And why did Eddie turn into a woman all of a sudden?

Dirty Duck is not as smart as Fritz The Cat or even The Nine Lives Of Fritz The Cat, and is pretty homophobic and racist at times, but if you just want to kick back and get immersed in a surreal experience, this might just be your jam.
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5/10
Very uneven
24 December 2019
Santa is feeling burned out and less people than ever believe in Santa Claus. It doesn't look like Yule is going to be very bright, and if more people don't start believing in Santa soon the Light Lantern will go out and the evil Christmas Goat will come to life...

Panik i tomteverkstan isn't the worst calendar ever, but it's not very good either. There are some aspects about it that work, and others that don't.

The acting is very mixed, but some of the better performances come from those who play the members of the Santa Order plus grandpa and grandma. They never play it up too much and manage to convey some humor and charm in their characters, most of all Helge Skoog. I've always liked him as an actor, so it's nice to see him here. Per Andersson, although his character's annoying at times, he does a good job as Santa Julius and appears to enjoy himself. And when the script allows him to, he can actually be quite funny. Leif Andrée is also solid as Snowman, and is usually the only one who makes the cheap puns work. Victor Beer who I looked forward to seeing unfortunately doesn't appear that much, but he makes the most of the screentime he's given.

Where the calendar fails the most is in the story. While the storyline itself is not so bad, it progresses at a snail's pace. It got so boring eventually that I decided to skip a few episodes. When I started watching again it had only just *barely* moved forward. Not to mention the extremely predictable plot twists. For example they introduce a character who's so suspiciously goody-goody (right down to the very name, Danielle Lama) that it's way too obvious she'll turn out to be evil. And what do you know, she is! There's also one part of the plot which has the opposite problem, which is the homeless guy meant to take over Julius duties. His jealousy over the new Santa and scheming to have him removed could have been interesting, but they rush it through and drop it after only two episodes. I much preferred it over the boring and drawn out plotline of life coach Danielle Lama taking over the workshop.

The comedy, whenever it fails (and it often does) is really painful. They use so many puns in every episode that eventually they start running out of them and repeat the same ones over and over again. There is also this "hilarious" running gag where someone farts and anyone present around the person start complaining about the awful smell. There's also a scene where Julius blows his nose and a lot of gross snot start coming out of it. I also hate that sometimes when a joke is mildly funny it's ruined by someone overexplaining it. I know kids are part of the main target audience, but that doesn't mean you have to insult their intelligence. The jokes are so simple they don't demand explaining.

The acting from most is good or at least tolerable, but some of it is cringeworthy. Worst of all is Pernilla Wahlgren as Mrs. Claus Julia. She was definitely BADLY miscast. She doesn't provide any warmth and homely charm at all, instead she's shrill and annoying. The worst is whenever she's the one who makes puns, overemphasizing them to an unneccessary degree. Elis Nyström is also very bad as the son Julle. With child actors you have to give them extra considerate directing, especially if they're just starting out, since you learn to control your performance more as you get older. It's pretty apparent that the director just gave a thumbs up every time, no matter how terribly he delivered a line. Markoolio as the elf who repairs the sled is okay. It's not really his best role.

The main character Santa Julius is not the most likable protagonist. I know that's kind of the point, but when he's shown as becoming even more of an ass-hole when Danielle Lama starts manipulating him, he's not really that much worse than he already was before.

The episode quality is like a rollercoaster. In the beginning it's decent, then for a while it becomes really shi'tty, and for the last few it's okay. It never reaches an exceptional level of quality however. Even in the best there are still a few issues that permeates it.

While not as not frequently horrible as the last two calendars, it's hardly a classic.
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The X-Files: My Struggle IV (2018)
Season 11, Episode 10
4/10
Bizarre series finale
13 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Mulder and Scully make a final attempt to find William before the government agents or worse, Cigarette Smoking Man does so first. The alien virus is also still spreading throughout the country.

Probably the biggest redeeming factor here is the acting. Even though they get some questionable material to work with, David Duchovny, Gillian Anderson, Mitch Pileggi and William B. Davis are still as sharp as ever. If nothing else, it's nice to see them play these characters for the last time.

But out of all the mythology episodes I've seen, this time rushes things through like no other. Information is given at the quickest possible time, there's an endless amount of action sequences and events that should be given room to breathe are completely brushed over. I thought the scene where Mulder just killed five people at once was really weird. Sure he's sometimes had to kill someone out of absolute necessity, but he was never just an unflinching assassin.

I'll only mention the alien virus epidemic briefly, because there's really not much to talk about. Scully calls Tad O'Malley and gives him new important info about the virus, which he writes into his show. And then... it's never followed up on. Did the virus stop? Is it still spreading? I guess we'll never find out!

William is much more of a caricature here than in Ghouli. In that episode he was a frightened young child who just wanted to be left alone since he's afraid of what he might do. But here we have a scene where he rides with a truck driver and he turns into a monster just to impress him. I thought he wanted to *avoid* using his powers, why would he use them when it's not even neccessary? He also gets a lot of clichéd teen angsty dialogue such as "You don't understand" and "You're not helping. You're leading them to me." He tells one of the girls he's friends with he's tired of running, yet when Mulder wants to help him he doesn't even give him a chance and runs away from him anyway?

Skinner's role was pretty much useless. CSM tells him to give him William, which he doesn't want to do. Fair enough. Then he decides to help Scully find Mulder and William, but then bumps into CSM and Monica. He shoots Monica, then gets run over by a car. That's literally it. Our beloved Walter Skinner gets unceremoniously run over by a car, and then immediately it cuts back to a chase scene. He deserved much, much more than that.

Speaking of Monica, her entire storyline during season 10 and 11 has made no sense at all. Although she bugged me at times, she was nice person in 8 and 9 who cared deeply about Doggett, Mulder and Scully. Hell, she even helped Scully give birth to her child. Then in the season 10 premiere she's suddenly turned evil, and you keep waiting for an explanation as to why. But it never comes. And she too gets killed off very undramatically.

But the final dagger comes with the ending. Scully thinks she finds Mulder, but it turns out to be William in disguise telling her to leave it alone. When Mulder enters the Old Sugar Factory, he runs away. He continues chasing William, but CSM shoots him before he can make it in time. Angry at him for shooting his son (even though it's technically CSM's son, but I hated that reveal already in the season 11 premiere, so won't go over that), Mulder fires several bullets at CSM, who drops dead into the water. Or so we assume at least, we all know that damn Smoking Man is invincible.

Now, here's what I really, really hate: Because they couldn't save William from Cigarette Smoking Man's wrath, Scully tells Mulder he's not really their son and "wasn't meant to be". This is really poor and out-of-character writing. Scully cared about William more than anyone else in the whole world. That's why she regretted giving him up for adoption, she started questioning whether he really was safe or not. She should be shaking, crying at the thought of never getting him back.

The following twist that Mulder has gotten her pregnant (yes, it's actually his child this time) could have potentionally been sweet, but the dialogue is so poorly written that it doesn't resonate with me.

"That's impossible." "I know. I know it is. It's more than impossible."

What does she have to speak in codes for? It's really not that hard to just say "Mulder, I'm carrying your child." She makes it sound like she got pregnant by some invisible force.

And let's not even talk about the incredibly eyerollworthy final shot where William turns out to still be alive, rising up from the water like a swamp monster.

In the end, I'm not sure what makes me sadder. The fact that I've finished the entire series and will never get to see my favorite FBI agents again, or that they got such a poor and inconclusive ending. Even though the season 9 finale didn't answer all questions, it had a lot of sweet moments between them and felt like a love letter to all the loyal fans sticking with it all these years.

I recommend watching the bonus feature where David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson interview each other about the last year. It's pretty cute and leaves you with a warmer feeling than this episode.
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The X-Files: Rm9sbG93ZXJz (2018)
Season 11, Episode 7
10/10
Don't forget to leave a tip
11 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
In some sort of alternate reality, Mulder and Scully go to a virtual resturant to eat. Everything they order is handled by computers. The food isn't best, but still makes for a fun date. After Mulder upsets some robots however, both of them are in danger.

This is easily my favorite episode of the two revival seasons. The visual style, with gorgeous hues of blue and a strange world where everything is ruled by technology and robots is both frightening and fascinating. The drones that hunt Mulder and Scully look very creepy, with their intimidating bright eyes. Even the smiley bus driver that traps Scully and drives at maximum speed is unsettling. I like that all the drones banded together look like a swarm of fireflies.

The "monster" this week is not a mutated being or government official of any sort, it's the devices that humans themselves have created. This is not the first time that a robot has been a villain, but previously it's always been just one. The cat-and-mouse game Mulder and Scully play with their unfriendly robots makes it very suspenseful.

I love the intensity of the scene where the electrically charged objects inside Scully's home start retaliating against her. I find it interesting by the way how vast and fancy her house looks in this episode. Mulder even pokes fun at this by asking "How come your house is so much nicer than mine?"

Yes, despite how tension-filled Rm9 is, it's also highly comedic. Mulder getting a blobfish for dinner, the fact that he and Scully are in trouble just because he didn't want to leave a tip, Scully's angry reaction to the uncomfortable taxi ride, even the resturant menu going "Yum" every time someone makes a selection is amusing.

Both season 10 and 11 have their gems, but the latter showed a little more spark in the old X-Files engine. And this is as great as the show gets.
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BoJack Horseman: A Horse Walks into a Rehab (2019)
Season 6, Episode 1
10/10
End of the rope
10 December 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After finally being coaxed into checking in at rehab by Diane, BoJack begins his therapy. But he doesn't get off to the best start. At first he finds it extremely boring, lifeless and barely even makes an effort to engage in any of the actitives. Then after he realizes this is the same rehab Sarah Lynn spent time at, he tries to form a more positive attitude. Yet he still seems to avoid talking about his problems. After unintentionally helping a patient escape, BoJack feels responsible to go with her, not wanting the same thing to happen with her as with Sarah Lynn.

This was a very attention-grabbing season premiere. We first get the police investigation after Sarah Lynn is found dead, and a cop asks BoJack about what happened, which of course he lies about and tells him he found her dead when he got there. I've got an eerie feeling this old case won't rest for that much longer.

The scenes at the rehab center were interesting, not to mention very funny. BoJack's habit of going off on random tangents of course is a hindrance for him to talk about any of his issues seriously. One thing that stood out to me is how closely the part at the rehab where he roasts everyone mirrors the flashback at the party where he makes fun of his party guests. In both instances he goes too far and hurts someone personally.

Unlike That's Too Much, Man!, nothing bad actually happens when he goes with Jameson on her venture. Instead of passively tagging along having some drinks along the way, he does his very best not to have any alcohol at all and begs her not to drink either. That doesn't mean he's not tempted, but he's learned how to hold back. For now at least. Yet what we get is very fascinating. Every time BoJack sees a bottle in his sight, he starts thinking back on all the times he drunk alcohol as young. At first we see an assistant egging him to drink to better perform a scene in Horsin' Around, so it's easy to assume that peer pressure to perform better is the reason he started. But as it goes further and further back, you start to realize the therapist back at the rehab was right. The drinking problem really isn't his fault. The part where he takes a sip from a vodka bottle and then happily falls asleep in his mother's lap is a sweet moment contrasted with a very dark image.

When it comes to Jameson, you first get a picture of her having a similiarly troubled upbringing, where her father cares more about his movie memorabilia than her. As it turns out however, that isn't the case at all. Instead, he cares deeply about her and is worried that she's never gonna get better. He's even forced to take care of her new baby since she can't do it herself. She lies about the cause of her drinking and refuses to deal with her own problems. BoJack even catches her trying to sneak a bottle back into the rehab when he urges her to go back there. It reflects his younger self in a lot of ways, where he refused to deal with his own problems and would rather drink all his pain away.

At the end, BoJack stares at the vodka-filled water bottle he confiscated from Jameson. Can he finally find enough strength to pull through and save himself from self-destruction or is he dangerously close to relapsing? I know one thing for sure. I can't wait to find out.
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Family Guy: Shanksgiving (2019)
Season 18, Episode 8
8/10
Lump monkeys!
26 November 2019
Warning: Spoilers
When Peter is given some daunting tasks by Lois, he decides to get himself and his friends arrested so they can just kick back for a few days without any stress. To their surprise however, they get sent right to prison instead...

Okay, so maybe this plot is a bit similiar to Cool Hand Peter. That doesn't mean it's bad however. I found quite a few laughs throughout this one.

The advertisements for a bunch of generic-looking sitcoms made me chuckle, especially when they all merged together at the end, with one of the characters randomly shouting the name of his show. "LUMP MONKEYS!" The cutaway with Peter and Chris trying to move each side of a table made me laugh once Peter takes up a bottle of vodka and starts making sarcastic comments towards Chris. Chris getting just as annoyed and drinking vodka himself when Brian comes in and points out the obvious problem was a great punchline.

Another highlight is Quagmire telling the guys what he does at Thanksgiving. He asks all the blowup dolls seated around they table if they would like some coffee, then finally Ida at the end. Ida's response when she's asked might be the funniest line in the whole episode.

Joe's Thanksgiving is also really funny. He's annoyed that the husband of Bonnie's sister always acts like such a braggart, when all he does is prolong Joe's name to "Joseph". It has a clever callback too when Joe reveals to Peter that he dressed up as Chris once. Bonnie's sister's husband visiting again and calling Chris "Christopher" made me laugh. It's almost like he knew already it was Joe under there.

Peter and the guys trying to make it in prison has some fun stuff. Quagmire joining a Latino gang, Cleveland first trying out a muslim gang only to realize they don't drink then dressing up as Roman E. Israel for some reason, and Joe being in a gang of "not-cops" all made for some good laughs. That they all start stabbing each other due to gang regulations is perfectly ridiculous. Well, except for Cleveland. He's just tired of Not-Cop member Joe's overt racism against him.

At the start of the subplot, Stewie and Brian have a funny scene when they start having a pun-filled conversation about "Kal Penn's pen pal". Stewie then breaking out into song singing about Kal Penn is priceless.

As for flaws, outside of that aforementioned scene the B-story with Stewie romancing a prisoner really isn't that interesting. They don't spend enough time on it to develop into something interesting, and the final joke with Stewie and the prisoner dancing at the prom was a pretty weak one to end on.

The main plot mostly works, but drags when Peter talks with a gang member who wants him to shank Cleveland, plus ends in a very predictable way with Peter having a speech about how you should spend quality time with your family instead of trying to avoid them. Him and his friends getting out of there thanks to a prisoner dressed up as the warden was also an anticlimactic solution.

Besides those things, this was a very good Thanksgiving-themed entry. It's not quite as great as Turkey Guys, but certainly entertaining. Happy Thanksgiving, pilgrims!
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Happy Days: R.O.T.C. (1974)
Season 2, Episode 5
9/10
Richie's demons
9 November 2019
After the initial squad leader is fired, Richie is put in charge of his ROTC group instead. He's not too thrilled with the opportunity, not knowing how to keep his men in check.

There are times where you feel bad for Richie, and then there are times where you feel *really* bad for Richie. You can feel his discomfort throughout the entire episode being in this position of power. It's hard enough to be a boss at all, even harder when those you're a boss of are your friends. Ron Howard gives a very outstanding performance here, portrayed Richie's conflict very well. When he's being too nice his friends take advantage of him, when he's being too harsh they make mutiny. Hell, even Fonzie turns away from him when he reveals he felt forced to report his friends when they didn't shape up.

This all makes it sound like a rather dramatic affair, but there is still lots of comedy to lighten it up. Marion cheekily poking fun at Howard for his weight, Fonzie getting the waitress to correct his order only to realize there's still not enough ice in the drink, not to mention the wildly absurd nightmare Richie has. This is one of the weirdest scenes I've seen in a Happy Days episode, but feels completely line with his guilt-stricken Richie is when he feels mentally tortured by his decisions. The funniest part is when everyone transforms into a judge giving him a sentence, even Richie himself. Howard tells his son to make the men love him while the commander who gave Richie the job told him to make them hate him. Howard's reaction when the commander says "they hate him" (assuming that's what made them listen to him) is priceless.

The scenes of Richie getting ridiculed by then alienated his friends are very hard to watch, but they do gain his sympathy in the end when they realize how heavy the weight has been on his shoulders. He successfully leads his squad in the end (at least until they hit the sprinkler system and are soaked in water), just being good ol' himself instead.

When Richie quits as commander and it gets handed over to Potsie instead, he and Ralph seem to give him the same kind of treatment, though Potsie's smile indicates that he knows it's tongue-in-cheek this time.

Howard gives a good lesson near the end where he says it doesn't matter if you're a perfect leader or not, just as long as you give it your best.
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9/10
"Ooooh..."
31 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After Mr. Krabs complains about his bad back after sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress, SpongeBob, Patrick and Squidward throw it out and give him a new one. To their surprise, he's not too happy about these news.

There are many great bits throughout. Patrick thinking long and hard about how many mattresses are at a place, clearly surrounded by thousands, and coming with 10 is a classic simple joke. Mr. Krabs revealing he doesn't know what a bank is when he yells at his employees (as well as Patrick) for losing his mattress is so profoundly absurd it's hysterical. When the trio is sent on a mission to retrieve the mattress, I like how Squidward tries to trick SpongeBob and Patrick into endangering themselves only for the monster to go after him instead. But best of all is the running gag at the hospital where the doctors constantly keep moving Mr. Krabs due to being an inconvenience in one way or another, finally pushing him over a hill. What makes it especially funny is the groan he utters every time.

Krabs Vs. Plankton is just as entertaining. This one gets overlooked compared to Lost Mattress, but I really love the story for it. It's easily one of Plankton's most clever schemes. The entire court scene is comedic gold from start to finish, with Plankton overexaggerating his (nonexistent) pain to every degree, and telling a phoney sob story. SpongeBob having an emotional reaction to it is great. Speaking of SpongeBob, it was a lot of fun seeing him act as a lawyer, and taking the job dead seriously at that. Even if it involves interrogating a mop. Once he finally manages to open the briefcase with incriminating evidence (which by the way has some quite rollicking visual humor) to use against Plankton, he's surprisingly sharp. He figures out right away if he just puts it close enough to him and talks about how juicy it is, Plankton will confess to just wanting the secret formula. SpongeBoy isn't as dumb as he looks.

This is one mattress you don't want to lose. And if you do, I'll take you to court over it.
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10/10
Even sponges can get sick of Krabby Patties.
23 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After Mr. Krabs sees that The Chum Bucket plans to be open 23 hours a day, he decides to top it by making The Krusty Krab stay open 24/7. It turns out to be one of Plankton's usual tricks though ti make SpongeBob so mentally exhausted he'll give him the Krabby Patty formula...

Fear Of A Krabby Patty is amazing. SpongeBob pinching himself repeatedly to "make sure" he's not dreaming, Squidward having bags upon bags under his eyes and SpongeBob continuing to imagine Mr. Krabs as a giant Krabby Patty are all hilarious bits. There is also the montage of the Krusty Krab employees getting more and more tired after being forced to keep at it for as long as they can. Old Man Jenkins' confusion over being there all of a sudden and floating away especially was funny. The highlight is when Plankton acts as SpongeBob's psychiatrist P. Lankton (the fact that Krabs gets fooled by such a similiar name is incredible) to "cure" him of his fear, meaning forcing the formula out of him. There's a wonderfully strange joke where first SpongeBob gets a piano out of nowhere to smash Plankton with after his paranoia gets the bettee of him, then when he rearranges all the cards he's been given he makes a piano out of them. The fact that it just tips over by itself is the best part. He's cured when he falls asleep and one of the patties he's been fearing so much is friendly towards him. There's an amusing reference to E.T. when the patty says he'll always be here... in his arteries.

I can't leave without talking about the excellent animation. It looks different from any other episode, neither like the newer ones nor completely like the older ones. It has a style of its own. The facial expressions alone makes this segment really funny, such as SpongeBob's excitement over having to work at Krusty Krab all the time.

Shell Of A Man has Mr. Krabs coming out of his shell... quite literally. He's getting so fat he can't fit in it anymore and feels too embarrassed to go on the reunion. When SpongeBob tries it on however, he gets the idea to make SpongeBob act like him in front of his navy peers.

The premise holds some great promise, and it certainly delivers. Krabs' annoyance at SpongeBob impersonating him a little too well already gets it off to an humorous start, and it gets even more comical when he has to show himself as tough as possible at the reunion, even if it breaks him. The acceptance speech he holds after receiving a prize pocal is hysterical. Even as good at impersonating as he is, he just can't refrain himself from talking about bubbles and jellyfishing. When Krabs finally admits to conning everybody out of shame, they all start revealing their own hidden flaws. They admire him for telling them he's not perfect. I like how even though he's now on the same level as them, he still feels superior at the end since his shell will grow back. Unlike his navy pals who can't fix their problems as easily.

This episode proves while the show did decline, it didn't happen as quickly as many people say. Fear Of A Krabby Patty is surreal cleverness at its best, and Shell Of A Man does remind me a bit of Mid-Life Crustacean, but still stands out as a great and actually kinda sweet segment since Mr. Krabs and SpongeBob feel like friends rather than boss and loyal employee.

Terrific premiere to season 4.
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Family Guy: Disney's the Reboot (2019)
Season 18, Episode 4
9/10
Everyone loves H. Jon Benjamin, right?
21 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After the network considers rebooting Family Guy, a focus group as well as Peter and his family get to watch different versions of the show. Will any of them be good enough for a reboot?

This is easily one of the most inspired spoof episodes. Every single parody had me laughing, some harder than others. The first one we get a look at is "Lois", an Ally McBeal-type sitcom centering around, as you can tell, Lois Griffin. From Quagmire and Joe as a gay couple, the rival who keeps adjusting his tie with a smirk on his face to the continous mask reveal at the end when Peter steps in helping his wife get the job, every joke and sitcom trope are integrated perfectly.

The second is my favorite of the bunch, a parody of Riverdale starring Chris, Ruth, Patty, Neil and Brian as the mopey teens. The unconventional pair-ups alone makes it interesting. How often do you ever see Ruth and Patty without Meg around? I thought giving Neil a deep voice was a nice touch, and made it all the more funnier. It was hilarious seeing most of the characters having buff or slim perfect bodies, especially Brian. It gets really absurd later on, suddenly turning to a Teen Wolf then superhero movie parody, but instead of feeling disjointed it only adds to the entertainment value. The "gender fluid" wordplay in one scene was gross, but priceless.

Speaking of odd pairings, it can't get any weirder than a Chris spin-off where he's now married to Tricia Takanawa. Well, if there ever were any Chricia shippers out there I guess you got your wish. I liked how any time Chris had to make a decision, Tricia made it easier for him by reminding him she's a hot Asian. The shots of the slippers and then Joe getting thrown out the window really got to me.

After that, you get every kind of crazy reboot idea you can think of, such as Family Guy being a dark serialized show (which some genuinely seem to want, believe it or not), Peter Griffin as BoJack Horseman (Yes, it looks just as screwed up as it sounds like) and a stand-up special with setups but no punchlines. The best one has to be H. Jon Benjamin playing every character except Jerome. Of course this is followed up by an audience member of the focus group voiced by Benjamin complaining about the fact that one of them wasn't voiced by him.

As for negatives, the only one I have is that I'm a little mixed on the reference to that interview where some of the show's writers claimed they were "phasing out" the gay jokes. I always thought that interview was stupid, and don't understand what they're doing working at a show where no one is free from being made fun of. Nevertheless, I guess this proves at least they didn't speak for everyone.

Where was I? Oh yeah, in the end Family Guy goes back to being the show it's always been. Except Joe is in it more. Now *that* I'm definitely all for.
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Family Guy: Absolutely Babulous (2019)
Season 18, Episode 3
9/10
Absolutely Babulous wins the participation price.
14 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Peter discovers that Babs has another side to her that's not too unlike him, but it causes a rift between her and Carter. Meanwhile, Stewie wants to win an actual trophy once he realizes all his other trophies were just for participating.

The main plot is basic but still pretty funny. Some of the jokes I liked include Peter rounding up his family when Stewie causes a fire and getting their names wrong, the fake-out of Carter walking into a bar with big tough boots only to turn out they are so big you can barely see the rest of him as well as both he and Peter knocking things down by accident pissing off the patrons.

Something the show has sometimes struggled with are the callback jokes, but this time there were two very successful ones. Herbert rescuing Chris from a burning building only to take him to his house was spoiled in the trailer though funny nevertheless. But Stewie's line when Herbert shows up out of nowhere in Carter and Babs house once again taking Chris with him, this time without even any need of rescuing made me laugh so hard it had me going for several seconds after it was over. The other one was Peter imagining he told a great joke only to have it revealed he just fell asleep and pissed himself. I suppose I should be annoyed since the second time it turned out he had slept during the whole episode's running time, but hey, at least this time the plot generally wrapped up much better. Plus Lois says to him afterwards she's glad Carter and Babs got back together, so maybe it did happen after all.

The subplot definitely didn't lack in laughs either. Just like Brian acting like a dog, Stewie acting like a baby is hilarious whenever they throw those kind of jokes in. His obliviousness to the family only pretending they like his mudpie, listening to Wheels On The Bus as a motivation song and his pretend game with Brian were all endearingly funny. Stewie preventing gravity from ever existing when he goes to fetch the Isaac Newton apple for his pie makes so little logical sense that it's gold. At the pie baking contest we get the return of the lovely Swedish baker Fjord as he makes more accidental dirty puns.

The cutaways all more or less hit the mark, the funniest ones being Peter's traumatic encounter with a perverted German müsli brand, the wedding with names all taken from 60's swing songs and the sly commentary on why Bar Mitzas supposedly make you a man when you're not legally allowed to do most things.

The only flaws I have is that I would have liked to see more development of Peter and Babs' friendship, since after the initial set-up we don't get much of it. For example, why not show Babs at the bar with Peter and the guys? The random musical number after Peter interrupts the Minister's Cat game was just weird.

Not much to complain about really. A nice arrangement of laughs throughout.
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10/10
The Quad squad
12 October 2019
Without the slightest bit of doubt, Shake invites the Mooninites (Ignignokt and Err) to come live with them. Frylock already doesn't like this idea, and his patience wears even thinner when he sees the bad influence they have on Meatwad.

Mayhem introduces my favorite side characters of the entire series: The Mooninites. I love the idea of a couple of aliens acting like rebellious teenagers, doing things like stealing television sets, smoking and flipping off people. Meatward trying to follow suit so he'll fit in adds an extra layer of comedy, since he's doing such a bad job at it. His idea of a "gnarly tattoo" is a clown riding a unicycle. And Shake as usual is way too trusting of strangers, letting the Mooninites do literally whatever they want, including ruining Frylock's computer (though he just as likely would do that himself eventually). Carl's annoyance with the two troublemakers makes for some great comedy too when he first complains about the message carved into his car and then gets hit by the Quad laser and vanishes.

Speaking of the Quad laser, the battle between Frylock and the Mooninites at the end is so geniusly anti-climactic, Frylock defeating their pathetic attack with ease. But hey, at least they got to flip him off all the way up in space. If he can see it, that is.

Only the first of the Mooninites' escapades, there would be several more hysterical ones to come.
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2/10
This is what people find scary?
9 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
27 years after the members of The Losers' Club defeated It, visions of the clown start popping up again. Mike Hanlon calls everyone up for a meeting to come up with a plan to defeat It once and for all.

Like the first movie, it starts off promising enough with the opening scene. Eddie and Adrian just want to have a nice day at the theme park, but are confronted by a couple of bullies who try to intimidate them. They get annoyed, but walk away from them. After they get cornered again however, Adrian starts mouthing off, going so far as to insult one of their haircuts. As you might expect, this doesn't end well. What makes this scene so much more impactful than any other in the whole movie is that it's the only one which feels real. The violence inflicted upon them just for their sexuality is very disturbing, and the tragedy is heightened when Adrian gets thrown off a bridge. It then finds him as well and eats him brutally, but the scariest part is the homophobic violence shown just before. Though it's still notable for being the *only* scene where any restraint is shown with the clown at all.

As you can tell, I'm already getting into my negatives. This movie was horrendous. As someone who wasn't even a fan of the first one, I would much rather watch that one again since it seemed to care about its characters at least. Which is something It: Chapter Two doesn't. If you're looking for good character development and interactions, look elsewhere. Instead it seems more interested in wasting its time on extremely obnoxious and laughably unscary jumpscares. I was laughing out of embarrassment every time the movie tried to be scary. Who did they think they were fooling? Fortune cookies cracking open Gremlins-style, one of them having an insect with a baby's head? A Paul Bunyon statue showing off its big scary teeth? A naked old lady with hanging tits? A hobo making out with your mother? These attempts at trying to spook you were so phony I couldn't tell if they were trying to be funny or not. There's one part which clearly was supposed to be intense, but for some weird god-damn reason they added comedic music to it. It completely ruins any sense of danger they tried to establish, and comes off as a cringeworthy way to make the audience laugh, since at the test screening everybody already laughed anyway.

The CGI effects work is as fake-looking as it gets. Honestly, I'm surprised a lot of it even got past the pre-production stage.

The dialogue is horrible. Instead of incorporating humor into the script naturally when it *fits*, every serious moment is ruined by a stupid one-liner. Richie especially deflated the tension all the time by either pointing out they are in trouble (as if we're too dumb to get it) or saying something goofy at the most inappropriate time. If they were going for a horror comedy it's too tonally inconsistent, not to mention most of the jokes are so lame anyway they're not funny. And when they try to be heartwarming it's so overdone and cliché that you keep rolling your eyes at the self help-esque quotes they keep spitting at you. I swear, there are maybe FIVE MONOLOGUES throughout, and they all sound exactly the same.

Even Beverly's dad, one of the few creepy things about the first, comes off as a joke in the few scenes he appears in. The way he sprays his daughter furiously with perfume is so absurd I couldn't take it seriously, not to mention the moment where Beverly's inside a bathroom filled with blood and he keeps chanting "COME TO DADDY". Just like everything else it's too over-the-top.

And for a clown as powerful as It, the way he gets defeated is absolutely pathetic. Forget fighting him to death, trick him in any way, or even the ritual Mike keeps going on about (which conveniently he "forgets" way too late it doesn't work). No, let's just call him a few hurtful words and he'll shrink to the size of a baby. I sh'it you not. The most evil and otherwordly clown alive is weakened by being called a regular circus clown. The scriptwriter really must have backed himself into a corner with this one.

The acting is mixed. Bill Hader is good (even though I find his character a bit annoying). Jessica Chastain gave a very earnest performance, and was probably the best out of the main cast. Isaiah Mustafa and James Ransone were all right. James McAvoy was a little off however, which was disappointing. His stuttering doesn't feel like it comes out naturally. Jaeden Martell as the kid version of Bill did it much more convincingly. Bill Skarsgård, and this might come as an unpopular opinion, was pretty hard to watch. To be fair the material he gets is ridiculous, but his line delivery was so exaggerated and goofy I wondered if he was trying to keep himself from cracking up or something.

Most of all however, I was bored to tears. With all the constant repetition of jumpscares and scenes dragging on and on, I kept asking my friend "How much do we have left?" since I could barely wait to leave the theater. No way in hell the merciless 2 hour and 48 minute run time is justified.

The biggest higlights are the cameos by Stephen King and Peter Bogdanovich. Skip this sorry excuse of a "horror" movie.
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10/10
Hell of an ending to season 3
9 October 2019
After SpongeBob is threatened by a litterer he got arrested, he looks after a bodyboard. Unfortunately, the one he finds is the strangler disguised.

SpongeBob Meets The Strangler is a masterpiece. It's kinda similiar to The Bully, except even more sadistic since the guy who's after SpongeBob wants to outright kill him. It sounds gruesome, but has the incredible twist of him unwittingly torturing the strangler with his stupidity. My favorite joke easily is him wearing spiked shoes for no reason at all and getting them stuck in his eyes... for 6 hours. I can't even imagine how horrible that must have been. Then there's the neverending string of parties as the strangler begs to be alone with SpongeBob and getting stalked by him as he still thinks he's his bodyguard. They really make him the most naive idiot ever, but that's the reason it's so great.

Pranks A Lot is really funny too. SpongeBob and Patrick take up pranking, and after scaring a guy with invisible spray, they start pretending they are ghosts. As usual with these kind of stories it's the reactions of the villagers that sells it. One that especially stands out is the montage of everyone screaming "Ghost!", except one guy who says "Toast!" instead oddly enough. They go really overboard scaring Mr. Krabs, going so far as to block all exits so he can't escape. The twist at the end where Krabs pretends he'll forget about the whole thing just to invite everyone to stare at them in the nude is a genius sadistic move.

Hillenburg would return for season 9, but as a finale to his original tenure it couldn't go out on a much stronger note.
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Family Guy: Bri-Da (2019)
Season 18, Episode 2
8/10
A lot funnier than the premiere, even though it does have its problems
8 October 2019
Warning: Spoilers
After meeting her at the bar, Brian starts to realize he actually likes Ida and starts dating her. But Quagmire's not too happy about it. Peter, Joe, Quagmire and Cleveland strap on bodycams to capture their million-dollar ideas they come up with while drunk.

This episode is sort of a follow-up to the controversial Quagmire's Dad, addressing how awkward it's been between Brian and Ida since they slept together. I really liked this idea. I thought the funniest part was when Brian is so scared of anyone finding out they are dating that he takes her to space, just to have to push her away when a spaceship opposite of him is sighted. Generally, although Brian's sceptical of telling anyone at first, the scenes between them are cute. I think they could have gotten some mileage out of developing their relationship in more episodes. The Brian & Quagmire conflict I was a bit worried about, but I did laugh at Quagmire ranting about Night At The Museum, just because he talked about it like it was a huge Oscar winner.

The cutaways were all onpoint. The aforementioned space one, Waldo being found dead, Joe discovering the mean billboards (like in that Frances McDormand-led movie) and best of all, Peter as a mad scientist at work all made me chuckle.

As for the bodycam plot, the truck commercial was amusing (if a little overlong) and the stupid ideas Peter and the guys came up with were funny. I would liked if they included more of them, but what we got was still solid enough.

So the jokes are mostly good, and Brian and Ida dating is a nice idea, but there's one big detractor which at times hinders me from enjoying the episode. And that's Quagmire. While I'm used to his weird grudge with Brian seemingly never going away, I thought he was more annoying than usual this time. Ida urged him to try and get along with Brian, and all he does is scream at him. And then at the end, when he's done trying to appease Ida's wishes he gives her an ultimatum: "It's either YOU or HIM." Ida chooses her son since she loves him too much, but I think this was entirely the wrong choice. I thought the point of him accepting Ida's decision to transition in season 8 would mean he respects her other life choices too, but apparently not. Or, if Quagmire doesn't wise up, Ida should at least stand up against him and tell him she can date whoever the hell she wants to. It's too bad they made Quagmire win since Brian was characterized pretty decently, clearly dating Ida because he likes her, not to spite his nemesis.

Despite that ending, I still found myself enjoying Bri-Da, simply because the jokes were very good. And although their relationship didn't last sadly, I liked the chemistry between Brian and Ida.
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