Zach’s Zany Movie Reviews: THE WRONG MISSY (Netflix…also a Happy Madison production, so you can already see where I’m going with this)

Let’s do a Happy Madison Production check list shall we? If you don’t know what Happy Madison Productions are…you must’ve been quarantining yourself long before COVID-19. As a refresher, Happy Madison is Adam fucking Sandler’s production company that he started after his first several crude and crass comedies did huge business. He took the ‘Happy’ from what is probably his most beloved film, Happy Gilmore, and then took Madison from Billy Madison, his first foray into feature films that abundantly featured man childishness, and boom!, there you have it, his production company. Really, arguably, the only good Happy Madison movies are the early ones: 50 First Dates, Mr. Deeds and Funny People…and I’ll throw a couple of guilty pleasures in there like The Hot Chick, Little Nicky, Click and The Longest Yard remake (Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer, The Waterboy, Tommy Boy, Black Sheep, A Night At The Roxbury, Wayne’s World 1 & 2, Dirty Work & Big Daddy are not included in these because the production company wasn’t formed until Deuce Bigelow: Male Gigolo in 1999, and those were mostly produced by Lorne Michaels and are kind of considered Saturday Night Live films). That’s it, that’s all that is good. Out of Happy Madison pictures you only get 7 to 10 half way decent films (you could put Grandma’s Boy in to get to the latter, but I didn’t really care for that film, I see the appeal though). Out of 50, yes I counted. OUT OF 50. That’s 20%, MAX. And out of those 50, only one is a genuine rom com masterpiece, ironically being 50 First Dates. That is not a good track record. If you go on Wikipedia, and start counting how many Happy Madison production films you like out of those 50, and you get to anywhere above 15…you are a dumb shit. Sorry, but you are. You don’t know good cinema, and you should stop watching shit now. Anyway, sorry for berating you, let’s get to that checklist that makes a Happy Madison film a Happy Madison film, and not in a good way:

  • the whole excuse to have this movie is Adam Sandler and co. can go on an all expenses paid vacation while shooting another unfunny disaster
  • if Sandler is no where to be seen, you can bet that his wife has a small role and that 5 to 6 of his dumb ass hack no talent friends, such as Nick Swardson, Rob Schnieder, Vanilla Ice, etc. show up in dumb cameos/small roles (the vacation is for them too you know)
  • poorly written crude and crass humor that stopped working in 1999.
  • unfunny over the top unbelievable situations that would never happen in real life
  • a psychotic character that somehow normalizes in the span of two minutes and has absolutely no character development whatsoever
  • if David Spade is in it, and if he isn’t playing Joe Dirt, he looks bored out of his mind
  • since Chris Farley is dead, one of his unfunny brothers show up
  • lazy direction
  • you can blame the entirety of the awful experience if you watch one of these on Adam Sandler and Adam Sandler alone.

THE WRONG MISSY checks off ALL OF THESE BOXES. This movie is an unmitigated disaster and easily one of the worst films of 2020 if not THE worst. I would rather watch The Main Event again than this absolutely unfunny garbage of a movie. I can only give this movie one little shred of credit, and that goes to who plays the woman named Missy herself: Lauren Lapkus. She plays the psychotic character in the checklist I just mentioned, she is basically co-lead along with David Spade, and she gives it her all. I completely believed she was a nightmare person that I would never, ever, ever, ever want to hang around with let along meet in real life. Like you don’t want to watch the movie, but you can’t take your eyes off her performance as you are wondering…did they give her actual drugs before each take to get her THAT crazy? The only way I would recommend watching this movie is to just fast forward to the parts with her in it and just see how bat shit crazy her performance gets. It’s a wonder to behold, I have never seen an actor/actress go to that level. It was an experience…I just wish it were in a better film. The Wrong Missy has a stupid premise and quickly gets all the characters to a exotic resort so that all the directors, producers, actors and their families can just go on vacation when Tyler Spindel yelled cut: A man accidentally invites a crazy blind date from his past who shares the same name as the woman of his dreams to his work retreat.

David Spade plays the straight man again, and I usually love when he does so (see guilty pleasure: Lost & Found, NOT a Happy Madison production!), but in this, he couldn’t look more like he wanted to kill himself if he tried. I bet it was all frowns on camera, and then once it was vacation time, his mood probably brightened up a bit. The second Adam Sandler’s friend, Nick Swardson, shows up in this, I rolled my eyes and knew it would be another awful Happy Madison film (and he shows up early in this film with a continual unfunny running joke of he basically knows all of Spade’s characters media passwords and spies on him because he has nothing better to do). There’s every kind of crude and crass joke that has been over done in this: loads of dumb dick & fart jokes, old tone deaf rape jokes, throw up jokes, threesome sex physical Three Stooges comedy jokes, constant disgusting lazy sex jokes, constant disgusting lazy sex jokes, and constant disgusting lazy sex jokes. And it goes on and on and on and on, not one character sympathetic and absolutely no one you can relate to, except if you’ve been on multiple awful dates with a person and just want to get to ghosting them so they leave you alone, and maybe hope to give them a hint to change their behavior, but they won’t, and they will never, ever learn.

Oh, and predictability. Don’t forget that. This movie is the most predictable movie since…I don’t know what. You know that the correct Missy, played by an underused gorgeous Molly Sims, is going to show up at one point, and Spade will realize that he wants to be with the lunatic he’s spent countless minutes trying to get rid of because of a forced 2 second character development where the wrong Missy shows that she can be normal for two seconds…so after those two seconds…I guess Spade decides to fall in love with her character? OH GOD, somebody fucking kill me please. This thing was one long, annoying, unfunny, obnoxious, stupid, lazy, uninspired, unmotivated 90 minute piece of shit. Awful. If you know your Happy Madison production movies, I can only say that it is maybe a step above disasterpieces such as Sandy Wexler or the boring The Week Of. And that is only because of Lauren Lapkus’ bat shit crazy performance as Missy. Watching a couple of those scenes should be your only foray into watching any of this. If you end up watching the whole thing, and think it is actually a decent fucking movie, something is wrong with you and you need to just stop and quarantine yourself even more than you already are. Anybody who likes this movie is stupid. STOO-PID. The Wrong Missy is the wrong movie to be on your Netflix cue. You should really rethink your life if Netflix recommends this title to you. Either that or you need to make sure to hit the thumbs down after you watch the movie to make sure bullshit like this never shows up on the Netflix main screen ever again. Fuck you Adam Sandler…FUCK. YOU. You better be glad that Uncut Gems was that good and not a part of your production company.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: DAVE SEASON 1 (FX/HULU)

Just so you know this going into my review, I had no fucking clue who Lil’ Dickey or Dave Burd was until my brother recommended watching DAVE SEASON 1 during quarantine. But I do know who co-creator/writer Jeff Schaffer is, who has done numerous fantastic projects such as: Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Bruno, Eurotrip….yet unfortunately provided the screenplay to Mike Myers’ The Cat In The Hat…oops. But anyway, setting that one misstep aside, I ultimately decided to dig in because of his involvement, and I’m glad I did, this show is excellent. Watched all 10 episodes in a little over 24 hrs (this series wasn’t released all at once, it started in March and just ended a couple of weeks ago), and am happy it was announced that a Season 2 was coming eventually, even though Season 1 feels pretty self contained and could’ve ended there. Going back and doing some research on Lil’ Dickey, can’t say I’m a huge fan of his work outside of this show, but I do understand the appeal, but to be fair I’ve only seen two of his videos so far, maybe I need to do some more back cataloging to get fully on board. But I am fully on board the show, as Dave Burd’s writing on this series far surpasses what I’ve seen of his older stuff on You Tube. What confuses me a little bit is when I recently posted on social media that I was digging the show, some of the comments listed several of the episodes being, and I directly quote, “Weak AF”. Especially some messaged me a specific episode to explain where they were coming from…and I have to disagree on their analysis completely. But that is what this review is for. Sorry, I know if it would’ve been humorous and ironic if I had done another rhyme poem on this, especially for those fans reading this that are also huge fans of Lil’ Dickey, but I save those for movies/television shows that truly suck ass, and this is the exact opposite of sucks ass.

Dave is on FX/Hulu and IMDB.com describes it as, “The series stars a fictionalized version of Lil’ Dickey, a neurotic mid 20’s suburbanite who is convinced he’s destined to be one of the greatest rappers of all time. Now he’s got to prove it to everyone else.” It fails to mention that he is White & Jewish, which is a big factor in how he is treated in his career by others. Also, some (if not most) of his content might be very weird and pretty offensive to some. Again, while I might not be the biggest fan of his previous work (I don’t hate it, it’s just not my cup of tea, kind of like content that tries to sing regular dialogue and count that as music, aka Les Miserables), the show worked for me 100%. It’s freaking hilarious, the pilot titled “The Gander’, the 3rd episode titled ‘Hypospadias’ and the season finale titled ‘Jail’ probably getting the biggest laughs out of me all of 2020 so far, and when it isn’t funny, it’s heartfelt, focusing intently on character depth and development. Speaking of depth and development, when looking up or hearing about what people think of the show, many do up liking it overall, but have cited some of the episodes being, “weak as fuck,” specifically referencing Episode 5 entitled, ‘Hype Man.’ Ummmm…I don’t know what you were talking about, but that was one of the strongest (if not THE strongest) episodes of this series so far and maybe one of the strongest half hour television comedy episodes I’ve seen so far this year. Sure, it didn’t have that many laughs, and Lil’ Dickey himself was barely featured in it, and instead it focused on his real life hype man named Gata, but man, was that a fantastically written half hour. I don’t really want to give much away, but the episode concludes with one of the most tear inducing confessions I have ever witnessed on television. It felt honest and realistic. That episode moved me, and I can’t say even half as much about other episodes of television these days.

See, the problem sometimes is that when you tell someone that a half hour program is a comedy, and they go into it thinking it is a straight one, and they don’t end up getting minute by minute laughs, sometimes they will end up being really disappointed. Maybe it was the marketing of the show, or the marketing of Lil’ Dickey outside of the show, I don’t know, I didn’t see much marketing (if any) for Dave because I don’t have cable with commercials anymore. It’s streaming services without them or bust for me. At any rate, marketing or not, with any show, comedy, drama, etc., you need to have an open mind. Sometimes a comedy can be more than just a crude humor laugh a minute fest and sometimes a drama can be more than depressing moments of people screaming at each other with a pinch of violence every now and then. Sometimes what you think will be a cheesy romantic chick flick turns out to even outsmart your expectations with some side steps that subvert your expectations. Sometimes, and most of those sometimes are in the best ways possible, they can transcend. Dave might not be the laugh a minute comedy you hope for, but it is the dramedy filled character depth and developmental story that you need right now. When all ten episodes were said and done, I felt like I knew these characters, knew they’re layers, and knew that none of them were one dimensional. Needless to say I can’t wait for Season 2.

And even though it sounds like he’s about to lisp every other word, Lil’ Dickey can act and he has this sense of presence about him. If I were to compare this show to something else, I would say that this show feel a bit like Curb Your Enthusiasm, if Larry David were a much younger Jewish rapper. Larry David isn’t much of an actor in the beginning seasons, but some on years later, Larry David is a warm felt presence on that show. Here, by the end of episode ten, Lil’ Dickey already has a warm presence with me, and it’s just the first season. Everyone around him, even including his real hype man, Gata, do fantastic jobs with their acting chops. They surround themselves with some veterans like Christine Ko, Taylor Misiak, and Andrew Santino, and it seems like they have been acting for years, even though its their freshman run. In the end, if you are reading this, and are thinking about giving this show a chance, please give it to the end of episode three. That’s all I ask, then, if that hilarious episode along intrigues you, but you hope to find more out of the comedy than just really funny and smartly written sex jokes and situation, continue till episode 5. If episode 5 doesn’t win you over, than there is nothing more the show could off you and you should just quit. And it’s okay, everyone has different tastes, but don’t not like the show, or think it is “weak AF” just because you go into it with the wrong expectations. If you’ve read my review, and are going to check it out, I hope I’ve given you the correct ones. If you end up enjoying it as much as I did, then mission accomplished.

Zach’s Zany Movie? Reviews: UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT – KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND (A NETFLIX INTERACTIVE SPECIAL, THE “YOU WIN” CANON ENDING)

Nope, the title of this review is not a mistake, it is that long and I meant to put a question mark after the word movie. Because is this really a movie review? Or a television show review? A little bit of both, so that would make it a TV movie review, which I don’t normally do, (El Camino is shot like a movie, doesn’t count) right? Whatever it is, if UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT: KIMMY VS. THE REVEREND had played it straight and not been a new Netflix Interactive Special, then this whole thing would’ve been DOA. It would’ve been a cheaply made, production money completely going to all the celebrity cameos, awful television movie, like the ones we used to get in the 80s and 90s that were basically just longer episodes of famous hour longs. But due to the fact that this is an interactive special, where you, the viewer, get to choose the path of where the characters and plot go, it’s a couple of slight steps above above the awful comparison I just made. And just because I’m about to say that it probably is the most interesting thing about the entire series of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt since Season 1, doesn’t mean that it’s that great. It’s tolerable and produced a couple of chuckles out of me, and it shockingly recaptured some of the quirky magic the first season had, but by no means does that mean I’m going to re visit it or the series anytime soon…if ever.

For those in the know, this is not Netflix’s first “Choose Your Path” Interactive Special. That goes to the awful, awful Black Mirror movie Bandersnatch. The main problem with Bandersnatch’s choose your own adventure storyline is that a lot of the choices the special had you make were completely inconsequential to either what happened directly afterward or later. And all the endings sucked, were too confusing, didn’t make any sense, etc. etc., and the choices weren’t all that seamless editing wise either when put into the overall narrative. The whole thing was a giant, unplanned mess. This Kimmy Schmidt special is a GIANT step in the RIGHT direction. There are several big choices at the beginning of the special that have VERY SIGNIFICANT different paths for how the narrative will unfold later, several big choices at the end as well. In the middle you are a bit more lax, as a wrong choice will trigger pretty amusing little abrupt endings that make it clear to the viewer that your choice is not meant to be taken seriously (or as canon) and will rewind you back to make a different choice. If you don’t give a shit about the endings and don’t care about canon regarding this quirky cast of characters or story line, have fun, there are a shitload of different choices you can make, going through the entire thing is said to get you about an hour and 20 minutes of footage altogether. If you make the correct choice every time, and get to the “You Win” ending straight away, it is basically a hour in television without commercials (42 to 44 minutes) and is a cute and harmless epilogue to the series finale.

Basically this special is only for A. hardcore fans of the series or B. people that actually watched all of the series (like me) even though you might not have cared for most of it. Season 1 is really the only great season of Kimmy Schmidt. They all get progressively worse from there, Season 2 hitting a giant sophomore slump, and it only gets worse and never recovers (unless you could this special as sort of recovering). As each season just chugs along it tries harder and harder to be quirky and funny and it all eventually feels forced, especially season 3 and 4, where you get to the point of eye rolling your eye balls out of your sockets. But if you aren’t a grouch like me and have enjoyed this series from top to bottom, you’ll love this special, I guarantee it. All of the characters you know and love are back and Ellie Kemper still can act her cute little butt off. Jon Hamm still feels like he wants to be there, Carol Kane still has a shit ton of energy, Titus Burgess is still…well Titus, there are a bunch of other small celebrity cameos of which some put a smile to my face, and if anybody gets short changed scene time wise its Jane Krakowski as Jacqueline, but I hated her character anyway so that’s definitely a check mark on the “PRO” side to this special. The best edition though to this universe is easily Harry Potter himself, Daniel Radcliffe, who plays Frederick, Kimmy’s fiance. He is in a lot of this special and thankfully he isn’t wasted. The guy has charm up to the wazoo and I’ve been trying to watch everything he has done post Potter as I think he has always had more potential other than that one role. With this and everything else he’s done recently, I stand here with a smile on face, proud that I was right.

Anyway, with this being the last paragraph of my review, after it if you skip my ranking of all the Kimmy Schmidt Content to date, you’ll see how to get the “You Won” ending if you aren’t in it for the goofy, fake, nonsense paths and want to see the story how it is meant to be, canonically wise. Don’t worry, I only partially ruin the absolute 4 choices you MUST make, but I don’t reveal what happens in the story fully, it’s just a little nudge in the right direction. But if you are a true fan of the series, yet you are one of those people that only want the correct path, once you are done I suggest restarting it and having a bit of fun to see all the different ways things play out with all the different choices. Some of them even got more than a chuckle out of me. But if you haven’t ever been a fan of this series, or you were out ever since you realized Season 2 was a giant bummer, this will not change your mind. It’s the best thing to come out of this world since Season 1…but is that really saying anything? Like I mentioned earlier, if this had just been a TV movie epilogue to the series, with no choices and only one path to the straight and narrow, this would’ve been a giant dud. You can tell that not much thought was put into the linear parts of the story, but more input was made into the fake, abrupt, yet funny, non-canon endings. To give it credit, everything is nice and seamless here, the editing and comedic timing working well while choosing a path, going back after a wrong choice, or to get to the next scene. I do hope that this is the final final ending to the series, we don’t need anything else. Next time, I would love for Netflix to make one big giant original interactive choice movie that doesn’t have any ties to anything previously released on the streaming platform or anywhere else. Time to get the audience that doesn’t want to devote their time to having to watch a whole bunch of something else, just to get to the newly released content. Time to break that habit.

My Ranking of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Content:

  1. Season 1
  2. Interactive Special
  3. Season 2
  4. Season 3
  5. Season 4

******SPOILER CORRECT PATH WARNING, ALTHOUGH NOTHING IS REALLY REVEALED*****************

To Get The “You Won” Ending:

This is the only ending that rewards the viewer with the coveted “You Won!” bumper at the end of the show. To get it, you must make Kimmy select the Fun Dress in the very first choice of the game. This is not a Bandersnatch situation, the first question really matters here.  

The second crucial choice is to Read The Book when Kimmy gets home from her dress fitting. There’s something in the book Kimmy needs to know for later, and failing to do so early in the game sets up a chain reaction towards crappy, non-canon endings.

Many of the choices in between reading the book and the third act lead to temporary fail states that are easily reversible, so you can pretty much do what you want in the middle a bit (which I suggest you do, it is quite fun) without screwing up the ending, but the game’s final two choices are super important:

Titus must Follow Kimmy when she chases the Reverend through the woods. Ignore the Garden Banquet.

Finally, Kimmy must Spare the Reverend. Once these four choices are complete, the winning ending is automatically unlocked.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: SOLAR OPPOSITES SEASON 1 (Hulu)

Let me make this short and sweet for ya: if you do not like or watch Rick and Morty, then you will not like SOLAR OPPOSITES SEASON 1 that just premiered this past Friday on Hulu. It’s from one of the creators of Rick and Morty, Justin Roiland, the one that does a lot of voices on that show too (one of the showrunners, Mike McMahan, came in with him on this) and other than being less meta and a shit ton more language and amped up violence to the nth degree, it’s the same fucking show just with different characters. However, I fucking love Rick and Morty, so I really enjoyed Solar Opposites. Not as much as Rick and Morty, but I watched all 8 episodes released at the same time in about less than 24 hours, they were short and quick, and I laughed my ass off. And I think I can also say this: I think if you have any interest in this show and want to watch it, you’ll have to watch a couple of seasons of Rick and Morty first, just to ease you into that humor. This series assumes that you are here because you are a Rick and Morty fan, so that humor is just fast and furious, a hand full of joke a minute, no time for you to catch up. Rick and Morty started out a little slow at the beginning (not boring, but was just had a generic set up) and eased you into the jokes. Rick and Morty is one Season 4, and I think starting with Season 2 it pulled no punches. You either get the humor, sometimes very meta, or you don’t. And if you’ve tried all that, and you don’t, then stay far, far away from Solar Opposites. It literally has nothing different to offer you other than different characters and different weird alien science-y adventures. But I knew that going in, and that was all I was asking for, and came out of it wanting more episodes now, but am unsure of its potential on Hulu, so I won’t give my hopes up for a Season 2. **goes to check internet** Never mind, it’s already been renewed for Season 2, YAY!!!!

Another warning, this show is an extreme TV-MA, and even though it is a cartoon, it is NOT for kids. There is cursing, sex, nudity, the whole she bang-a-bang. Also, there are many pop culture references you are going to have to go back and do some research on to completely get the joke. For episode one, I would suggest looking up an old Disney program called Disney’s Fuzzbucket. Just trust me on that one. Solar Opposites is about a family of aliens (two adult males and one male and female child, not the males offspring either btw) that move to middle America, where they debate whether life is better there or on their home planet (even though their home planet is revealed to have been blown up by a meteor in the opening credits), have fun and crazy, sometimes very violent and science-y adventures, and there is also this giant B-plot in the show about people living inside “The Wall,” which is basically a community inside the alien’s home filled with a bunch of asshole humans who were shrunk to tiny sizes because they were mean to the boy or girl alien. With the B-plot being a giant size of the story, and a linear narrative itself, you can’t just jump in and watch random episodes (yet), kind of like what you can with Rick and Morty. Which is the only disadvantage, but if you watch the whole thing in order at first, and ever want to watch specific episodes again, it will be no problem for you to do so, seeing as you already know the whole story. But this isn’t The Simpsons or Family Guy where pretty much there is no continuation, there are consequences here, and the characters sometimes mention what happened in a previous episode to show their current train of thought.

The voice acting here, just like Rick & Morty, is incredible. Justin Roiland and Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch bring zaniness yet their characters are also unique, distinct, and colorful. You will love going on adventures with Korvo & Terry. You feel like they are your best friends at the end of the 8 episodes, and all the other voice work, including the two kids, is near as perfect. Nowadays, in order for me to watch an animated show, you gotta be more than just over staying your welcome by about 10 years and don’t try hard much anymore (The Simpsons), jokes that don’t relate to the plot at all and rely on pop culture shit that just happened a week ago (Family Guy), or ones that try to be random for random’s sake (most of what is on Cartoon Network nowadays). You gotta be smart while being funny and your show ultimately has to have some kind of point, and the more you have to dig into the subtext to get to that point, the better. Rick and Morty and South Park fit that bill. Solar Opposites season 1, near the end of it, shows that it ultimately has something to say and might even have bigger laughs and a deeper subtext when it comes back in season 2 and then maybe even beyond. Would Hulu have been smarter if they had released this one week at a time for the next two months? Maybe. Because the watch was entirely too fast. Maybe next time we could get 10 to 13 episodes, just a little bit longer. I think either way, the word of mouth on this is still going to be about the same, especially if Rick and Morty fans get together and end up watching it and then giving endless discussions to it on endless message boards. Hulu’s Solar Opposites has a lot of attraction, and I can’t wait to get more of it down the line.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: UPLOAD SEASON 1 (Amazon Prime)

You know what the perfect shows to binge during this shitty COVID-19 time that we are trying to get through with a forced smile on our faces? Half hour comedies. They are 100% perfect. Not too long, not too short, binge-able over a weekend where you don’t forget about them immediately afterward. Never Have I Ever, that just debuted the beginning of last week on Netflix is a recent example of what I’m talking about. And while I still prefer that new show more, you can add UPLOAD SEASON 1, that just debuted on Amazon Prime Video during the weekend, to that list. It’s also a quick 10 episodes, albeit the first one is a rare 45 minutes, because it’s a pilot and it tries to establish the set up without it feeling rushed but while also trying to get it out of the way. My wife and I devoured it over the weekend of its release, and it left us craving more episodes, what more could you ask for? Well…maybe not so much of a depressing downer of a cliffhanger ending, which this had. Most binge worthy shows that release all of their episodes at one usually have a season arc that is completely wrapped up with only a hint or two of what is to come. Upload pushed a cliffhanger on us mid story. But maybe because The Office (U.S.) and Parks and Recreation (Greg Daniels) already has everything mapped out and knows it all can’t go back 4 or 5 seasons? He realizes with a high concept comedy, which this very much is, that you can’t over stay your welcome. At least, I hope he realizes it…considering that both The Office and Parks and Recreation both certainly over stayed theirs.

Borrowing now from Wikipedia: Upload “is set in a future where “humans are able to ‘upload’ themselves into their preferred choice of afterlife. When Nathan (Robbie Ammell) meets his early death, he is greeted by Nora (Andy Allo) in his version of heaven. The series follows the two as Nathan grows accustomed to life away from his loved ones, and the alive Nora struggles to stay afloat working her job alongside Nathan in the afterlife.” There is more much to it than that, but I think it’s listed that way it can avoid spoilers. I think I can expand without revealing anything as well. There series brings up other questions such as, “Can Nathan stay attached to his still alive girlfriend so she will keep paying his hefty afterlife bills?” “Was there more to Nathan’s death than possibly meets the eye because of his career before being uploaded?” Also there are a bunch of crazy side characters with their own little arcs along the way, but that is too much to get into. The series main ethical questions are “what if?” ones meant to cause debates over loved ones who happy to also watch the show and countless message boards everywhere. What exactly is alive? If you are dead but your consciousness can still stream to your loved ones, are you really dead? These are all brought up in hilarious fashion, and yet it doesn’t try to hit you over the head with it’s multiple layered messages. All of it is very subtle and set ups are paid off as you go, accompanied with fantastic sight gags. While it is a comedy, some of it does go to the dramatic side of things, but not enough to get too dramatic…well, except for maybe the depressing cliffhanger (my only complaint with the show).

The acting elevates the show from good to great status. The chemistry between Robbie Amell and his “angel” Andy Allo is impalpable. Whoever hired those two deserves a motherfucking raise. You might not know Andy Allo, she hasn’t been in much except the CW show Black Lightening and a very small part in Pitch Perfect 3, but you might recognized Robbie Amell. He is cousins with Arrow’s Stephen Amell (in fact he even has a small role in the whole CW/Arrowverse), and has been in other feature films such as The Babysitter and The Duff. I’ve always liked the guy, and in this role, he’s the most likable and charming he’s ever been. I hope this opens some doors for many other projects for him to chew the scenery on. All of the side characters are great too, even Nathan’s girlfriend, played by Allegra Edwards, is someone you end up loving to hate for how dumb shit is. It’s a feel good hilarious comedy that gets funnier and funnier with each episode, but it’s a high concept one that also makes you think, which is always very appreciate for someone that hates to turn off their brain before pressing play. And while I didn’t care for the ending (mostly due to the fact that the sad and depressing tone didn’t really fit the rest of the series, although it did have one big laugh at the very very end, and also I want more episodes now), I really do hope that Amazon sees they have another hit show on their hands (Bosch being the other one) and that after this whole COVID-19 mess if over, they “upload” new episodes in the near future.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: Finishing Out Some TV Seasons & Series (10 different one paragraph reviews)

Hey everyone, Zach here, instead of giving you one to two reviews a day and dragging out all my thoughts and opinions through the whole COVID-19 piece of shit summer we are going to have, making you eventually sick of reading my shit, I’ve decided to write one big segment that consists of short and quick one paragraph opinions on a bunch of television seasons (and sometimes series) that ended in 2020. These were mostly not binge-able until now because most of these were episodes that were released on the old fashioned weekly basis (with the exception of Mythic Quest, that came out when I don’t normally do many TV Binge watchin’ reviews and where COVID-19 wasn’t then an issue.) So here are 9 quick reviews on 9 series that ended in 2020 that I didn’t get a chance to chime in on:

THE GOOD PLACE SEASON 4 (SERIES ENDING) (NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE had a great first two seasons (especially the incredible twist at the end of the first season, that I will not ruin here at all) but the last two struggled to find enough storytelling worth a whole two last seasons (although they both had some great moments). The series finale was damn near perfect though. With only 50 episodes, great characters, and a fantastic performance from Ted Danson, this is easily binge-able and enjoyable. Just expect every season after the first to decline a tad in terms of originality and quality. At least it didn’t quite overstay its welcome.

THE WALKING DEAD SEASON 10 (AMC)

The Walking Dead in general has been a roller coaster of entertainment value. The first season is masterful, I did not like the farm based second season, but everything picked back up and was excellent for seasons 3, 4, 5, and 6. Then when Negan, one of the best villains ever to come across our television screens, and one of the best redemption arcs so far on the show, kills two main characters in an over hyped season 7 premiere, the show lost it’s touch for that and season 8 where it killed off Carl for no damn reason. Total snooze fest. Season 9 and 10, mainly dealing with a whole new world, Rick leaving the series and the whisperers has been getting a tad better (just a tad though), but nothing as fantastic as 3, 4, 5, and 6. Unfortunately if you want to binge this you’d have to pay attention to everything that is going on, and in the later seasons you might start to nod off. Might I suggest watching until Rick leaves the show? It was a perfect send off and you don’t need to watch the rest. I just don’t want to quit it now while I’m this far in, especially when I have the sneaking suspicion that 11 or 12 might be its last ride. Oh, and Walking Dead didn’t even finish the season finale post production in time before COVID-19 fucked us all, so it kind of ended right in the middle of a giant cliff hanger. Hopefully the last episode, set to be released later this year, makes up for the absence (although I doubt it). And no, I don’t watch the spin off shows. Fear’s first season was the worst spin off season I’ve ever seen for a television series. So no, not gonna do that.

MODERN FAMILY SEASON 11 (SERIES ENDING) (ABC)

Modern Family had a fantastic 6 or 7 seasons since the premiere but then the last four have just really been going through the motions to get to the pretty damn decent series finale. SEASON 11, like 8, 9, and 10 before it, also goes through the motions until the last couple of episodes. Perfect binge for the first 6 to 7 seasons if you are want to actually pay attention, the last four can be played in the background though and then attention should be picked back up for the finale.

MYTHIC QUEST: RAVEN’S BANQUET SEASON 1 (Apple TV +)

If you bought and only if you bought a new Apple product recently and got a free Apple TV+ subscription for a year would I recommend binge watching this series. Not to say it isn’t good, I really enjoyed it. It’s like a work place office comedy (kind of like The Office) except it isn’t documentary style, there are no confessions to the cameras, but add in more crude humor and language and there you have it. The pilot is okay, but then episode 2 is hilarious and each episode only gets better until the very end. With only ten episodes, its a quick and very easy enjoyable binge watch. It’s from the creators of It’s Always Sunny In Philedelphia, with Mac and Rickety Cricket, except they play entirely different, more sympathetic characters, and some of the episodes are even co written by Mac and Charlie. It’s about the launch of an expansion to a popular MMORPG game, and the crazy shit that happens behind the scenes. I loved it a little to be honest. The only reason why I’m saying only watch it is if you have free Apple TV+ is because it isn’t worth getting a paid subscription to only watch this show. Well…I guess if you can pay for a month and get through all 10 episodes in good time, and then find something else maybe exclusive to watch, like The Morning Show, it may be worth it for just a month. Not for me though, fuck all this streaming subscription shit, it is getting very tiresome.

SUPERSTORE SEASON 5 (NBC)

Superstore had a great first three seasons. Season 4 was meh, and season 5 was meh. The funniest parts of the show is when it deals with weird customer stuff we sometimes see in big department chain stores like Wal-Mart and Target all the time. It stops being funny when the show gets too bogged down in its relationships and the talks of organizing a union for Cloud 9 get very tiresome. Binge the first three seasons and pay attention, the 4th and this current one (that also had to end early because of COVID-Buttfucking-19) can be aired in the background and you wouldn’t miss much. Colton Dunn as Garrett has been the MVP for every season thus far though.

BROOKLYN NINE-NINE SEASON 7 (NBC)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has always been solid. Every season. You can actually pay attention to it and laugh or have it on in the background and still laugh. It’s always been a zany fun series that hits about 90-95% of its jokes every time. Every cast member on there is brilliant (although Andy Samberg is still Andy Samberg, he uses his one note goofy talents to his advantage in this series), but Andre Braugher has been robbed of an Emmy multiple times for his supporting role as Captain Holt. Maybe this is his year as he’s had multiple spotlight stealing moments this year, more than the past couple of seasons combined? Season 7 is fantastic. And while I will say it was better than last season (I would probably argue that Season 6 might be my least favorite even though they are all solid to me), when it transitions from Fox to NBC because Fox didn’t want to give it another chance, the show found it’s footing yet again and is still masterfully smart and funny. It was a smart move keeping it to only 13 episodes a season now. Always keep them wanting more. They are renewed for Season 8, and I’m figuring it’s probably its last due to its ratings, but man if they can keep this momentum and go out on top, we’re in for a truly special final season (if cancelled).

FAMILY GUY SEASON 18 (FOX)

Family Guy has always been 50% hit jokes and 50% miss jokes. Those figures fluctuate a little each season but not by much. Season 18 is no different. Some of the ones that hit can make or break the episode. This is the perfect binge series since there are a shit ton of episodes, but more of a “on in the background” binge than actually paying attention to it. It’s always nice though hearing all of Seth McFarlane’s voice acting. There’s just something about him…

CURB YOUR ENTHUSIASM SEASON 10 (HBO)

You never know when you are going to get a new season of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Season 8 ended in 2011 and then Season 9 premiered in 2017, and then Season 10 just ended 2020. Until Season 8 there had never been more than a two year gap in between seasons. Honestly it is just whenever creator Larry David feels like he has some material that he can do a full ten episodes with. Season 9 was funny but stumbled a bit in its execution, but I’m happy to say that Season 10 was a giant step forward back to the fantastic early seasons of yore (3 and 4 to be exact). I laughed hard every single episode this season. To me, Curb Your Enthusiasm makes it seem like Seinfeld never ever left the air. It’s an extension because Larry David, creator of both shows, explores similar things of being a show about “nothing” and complaining about the little things in life all the way through. If you are a Seinfeld fan and haven’t watched one episode of this series shame on you. Do it immediately, if you’ve never watched either, binge Seinfeld first and then binge this. An excellent one two binge punch for what will probably be a very boring COVID-19 fear summer.

THE OUTSIDER SEASON 1 (HBO)

The reason I decided to watch The Outsider because a couple of years ago Stephen King’s novel was first release, and I read it very fast and mostly loved it, except for the anti-climatic ending. The series is okay, but unfortunately it stretches all the material in the book, and adds a few other things, for far too long. This was a ten episode first season (for people that are saying it couldn’t have a second season, if you read the Holly Gibney short 200 page story in King’s new collection of novellas, If It Bleeds, then you can see how they could milk this show for all its worth). This really should’ve been only 6 to 8 episodes. Some of the material is stretched wayyyy too thin. This honestly could’ve been an incredible 2 hr and 15 minute movie. And just like the ending to the book, the ending to the show is a bit anti-climatic as well. Will watch if there is a second season, but kind of hoping there isn’t one. I would recommend reading the novel and skipping the series altogether. And the fact that it doesn’t connect Holly Gibney to her previous adventures with Bill Hodges in the Hodges trilogy of Mr. Mercedes, Finders Keepers, and End of Watch was a damn shame. Not even a hint. Again, just read the book.

PARKS AND RECREATION CHARITY SPECIAL

Finaly a couple of quick thoughts of that special charity PARKS AND RECREATION episode that aired last week. If there was no COVID-19, we never would’ve gotten this episode, which honestly, it could’ve gone either way. All the actors in real life are sheltering in place, so the story line (that thankfully doesn’t break any canon the show established in its main series run) deals with COVID-19 becoming canon for that television universe and Leslie Knope is a little sad and depressed trying to keep in contact with her co-workers and friends throughout this very tough time. I liked that everyone that were main players on the series show up. It would’ve been glaringly obvious if there was a major no show. And the story line was, I guess fine, it had its charming moments (mainly callback to better moments in the main series) but the parts that really stole the quick 22 minute special were the fake commercials with Jean Ralphio and Counselman Jamm and Dennis Feinstein. Especially the Dennis Feinstein cologne commercial. That was fucking brilliant. So while it was nice we got one more adventure with Knope and co. and the episode didn’t manage to tarnish the main series, it wasn’t really necessary to revisit the characters in the end and I hope they don’t try and reboot the series. But hey, it raised $3 million dollars for charity during this virus crisis so what the fuck do I know, right?

Special #11 (I basically forgot and updated this post…): RAY DONOVAN SEASON 7 (SERIES ENDING?)

The reason why I put a question mark on Series Ending for Ray Donovan Season 7 is that even though it was just recently cancelled on Showtime (resulting in the series ending on a very frustrating and depressing cliffhanger), there have been talks by the show runner doing a final season or TV movie to wrap up everything on Showtime or shop it to a different Network. The first four seasons of Ray Donovan are incredibly great. Season 5 is easily the worst for spoiler-y reasons I won’t divulge, season 6 is a little better but then the last season was kind of ho-hum, especially after that downer ending. I recommend binge watching the first four seasons, stop there, and pretend that the end of season 4 was the end of the show. Kind of like how I recommend you stop watching Showtime’s Dexter after season 5 and pretend it ended there. It pretty much has an ending at that point so no harm and no foul not completing the rest. Liev Schrieber is amazing to watch a a fixer for the Hollywood elite. But this is one show that definitely overstayed its welcome, and it was do to the fact that Ray’s family got away clean too much.

Zach’s Zany TV Binge Watchin’ Reviews: WESTWORLD SEASON 3 (& THE SERIES AS A WHOLE)(HBO)

What the fuck happened to WESTWORLD? This is easily another case of “oh how the mighty have fallen” indeed. I mean, Season 1 is near perfect. Perfect story. Perfect pace. Perfect acting. An incredibly creepy performance by the great Anthony Hopkins. We all wanted to go and have fun at that park. Then season 2 happened and instead of feeding us out of the same feeding tube, the same speed of flow, they put about two dozen extra feeding tubes on there and flipped the switch to overload. The sophomore slump was pretty much horrendous. Awful pacing, too many time switches and time line fuckery’s (even though I was easily able to keep up, about 90% of the audience couldn’t though). The acting was still there and the visuals were still crisp and clean, but everything else about it was absolutely convoluted. In the end we ended needed a break from the park. Well, SEASON 3 literally gave that to us, completely reinventing itself, hardly any time spent in a park, both narrative and visual wise, shorter and tighter episode count (8 instead of the other two seasons previous 10), and they even gave us Jesse Pinkman…errr, I mean Aron Paul (one of the seasons very few highlights). And while 1 to 2 episodes of the run were near perfect (in my opinion Episode 2 titled, “The Winter Line” and Episode 5 titled, “Genre.”) and the end to episode four titled “The Mother of Exiles” being very action packed, what the story led to, the other 5 episodes, the end game especially in the final episode titled “Crisis Theory” really led to nothing more than a bunch of meh. The story was supposed to be about fate and what we make for ourselves but in the end didn’t have any major or surprising revelations, I literally shrugged when it went to end credits, and it seemed that all that episode was for was a bridge to give its audience some very ho-hum after credits sequences that will likely build to another empty promise.

I’m still going to finish out the series however long it goes. It’s more interesting than The Walking Dead ever was a a whole (and I still watch that nonsense), but all of this convoluted storytelling makes me want to just go and watch the old short 95 minute movie that was written and directed by the great Michael Crichton. If you haven’t seen the old Westworld movie, please do, it is a real treat. Series showrunners Lisa Joy & Jonathan Nolan (yes, Christopher Nolan’s brother that co-wrote The Dark Knight wit him) say that this series is meant to last six seasons. I really want to know what is in there heads as to how. Even the end of Season 3, as shrug worthy as it was, felt like it could’ve been an ending if not for the couple of after credit only thinking about the future and not the present, ho-hum scenes. Now while all the critics and audiences’ thought it was bold for Westworld to go out of the parks, into the real world and in a new direction, we all agreed that after this season ended. We missed the parks indeed. My guess is that with supposedly three seasons left (I see the ratings completely dipping in Season 4 and that HBO tells them to wrap it up with a Season 5), the story will take us back to the parks that we fell in love with. Kind of like how Hunger Games went back to the arena in Catching Fire, but then Mockingjay book crashed and burned because there were no more fighting arenas. I know that sounds contrite and selfish, but if you can somehow manage to contain your story and keep it in motion with the environment the audience loves…why change the formula?

I would’ve agreed to the formula change if the narrative went somewhere I actually cared about. In the end, kind of spoiler alert, it’s all about Aaron Paul’s character, and his acting, along with Evan Rachel Wood (who’s a good actress but kind of too loud and brash on social media), and Thandie Newton, completely carry the season. They and the two masterful episodes I mentioned before are the only things that make Season 3 a tick above in quality to Season 2. The ONLY things. Especially the Genre episode. It’s the only episode of television to come as close to perfect as most of the episodes we saw in Season 5 of Better Call Saul. It’s action packed, challenges the mind, acted to perfection, and visually gorgeous. It sets up themes that you think will have surprising conclusions (but the final episode fails on that promise) and it is perfectly edited. I think you could watch that episode completely out of context and still enjoy it. If the conclusion to Season 3 had been as masterful as the set up, I would be completely into all of it and really excited for Season 4 (God knows when we’ll get that), but since the final episode was just a bunch of talking leading to a bunch of predictable and “who cares?” conclusions, when Season 4 ends up finally airing, I’m more than likely to be, “oh…Westworld is back, guess I could check that out again.” It’s just so disappointing because the potential is there, but they are having an extremely hard time unlocking it after they went successfully went in and out of Pandora’s Box in the wonderful first season.

I get that the story eventually had to get to “how can these robots and humans go exist together in life?” But there aren’t too many ethical questions the series brings up to try and have a good and lengthy debate about the ramifications of said questions. It only half-assed, “well, because it just can” kind of answers. The season also tries to play with fate and has a couple of giant computers that can predict the outcome of every individual on Earth’s life, and of course some of the story is “how can we expose or shut down this system and start letting the humans of Earth make their own choices without any predestined paths. Should we let human’s make their own choices? The conclusion to this train of thought, again, is a bit ho-hum and disappointing. It’s just matter of fact one sided answers. Maybe the true answers are in future seasons? But with the way things concluded this past Sunday, I’m thinking there may not be much more to discuss on the matter. We’ll see. You want to know my biggest problem with Westworld? With about 80%-90% of the actors being robots, no one really stays dead. If they do die, Dolores (Evan Rachel Wood) can just use the Devos company technology to make a dozen more copies. WHICH FUCKING HAPPENS. I couldn’t keep track of how many Delores or Maeve’s there were this season. If death doesn’t really stick, why should the audience care? And one of the robot characters seem to have a definite conclusion, but since this actor/actress is one of the main stars of the show, I doubt he/she is done with it, which again, makes me beg the question, “why should we care if there aren’t really any true stakes?” Also, Jeffrey Wright’s character is extremely short changed this season…was he just not available where they had to write a really short story for when he was they could shoot it all quickly? Hopefully they bring him back with a vengeance next year. Westworld Season 3, and the series as a whole…has mastered the art and look of the artificial…but definitely not the intelligence.