Entourage (HBO)
Season Four kicks off tonight, which is a treat considering how often we’re accustomed to waiting between seasons of our favorite shows.

Hell’s Kitchen (FOX)
I love reality cooking shows, but this is actually my least favorite because the contestants are far less talented and compelling that those competing on Top Chef. However, given that it’s a summer filler series and there aren’t many other tempting options, I watch it. I am not a huge fan of restaurant owner and head chef Gordon Ramsay (the so-called Simon Cowell of the Kitchen) and his antics.

Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (Bravo)
Laugh-out-loud funny. I absolutely love watching her missteps and adventures as she performs and openly disparages other celebrities. I don’t know why more people aren’t watching this show.  I would LOVE to interview her.

Last Comic Standing (NBC)
Watching tightly wound comedians interact and unravel on national television makes me feel normal. Oh yeah, and there are some damn funny people competing for that title.

The Next Food Network Star (Food Network)
Whenever there is absolutely nothing on TV, I just turn to this channel. I don’t know how to cook, but I like to eat. So there you go.

Rescue Me (FX)
Despite the creepy Season 4 advertising image of enraged Neanderthal Denis Leary, this show is fantastic and totally TiVO-worthy.

Top Chef (Bravo)
Probably my favorite reality show (since I gave up on Survivor two seasons ago).


John from Cincinnati (HBO)
This one is a head-scratcher. I watched the first episode last week and will give it a few more, but I am not committed by any means. And although this show is entirely different from creator David Milch’s brilliant but prematurely cancelled Deadwood, my expectations for the quality of his new show are very high and I hope that this series delivers.

Flight of the Conchords (HBO)
I don’t know much about this show, but I am intrigued by the trailer. It looks like a quirky and entertaining pseudo-documentary about a pair of New Zealand musicians trying to make it big in NYC.

Meadowlands (Showtime)
I know even less about this show, but Showtime has proven to be a real threat to the HBO juggernaut with some very high quality original series (see: Dexter), so I’m in for a few episodes.

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The only statement I can make with great certainty is that The Sopranos was one of the best shows ever to hit the small screen. For that reason, I am not surprised by the overwhelmingly irate feedback about the series finale.

As I stated in my last blog entry, I loved the last ever episode of The Sopranos. I have not experienced this much vitriol about my opinion from other pop culture fans since the time I asserted that Crash was the worst Best Picture winner ever (and far inferior to Brokeback Mountain, I might add).

In my eyes, The Sopranos finale was creator David Chase’s big F YOU. Although it might seem strange to aim to piss off a loyal audience, keep in mind that this is the same man who made us wait for almost a year between each season. And we did. Patiently and quietly for the most part. (For what it’s worth, people seem to be bickering more about the Lost hiatus than they ever did about the agonizing lag between seasons of The Sopranos.) So I understand the outrage. We each dedicated eight years of our lives to a program that aired inconsistently, and were rewarded with a vague ending that left us with far more questions than answers.

Listen, Chase is not an accessible Hollywood type, nor is he one of those producers/writers who either reads or cares about viewer blogs and actual audience opinion. He made the show he wanted to make from start to finish, and we ate it up. And really, The Sopranos was of those rare series where major cliffhangers were not prominent features of season finales.

The Six Feet Under series finale set the bar very high. We were not expecting closure when that series ended, but were pleasantly surprised to be offered it in the form of a future flash forward. It was neat and clean, a far cry from the abrupt and heart-stopping ending to The Sopranos.

The expectations for The Sopranos series finale were astronomical, because characters we’d grown to love (despite the fact that they were cold-blooded murders and blatant philanderers) were being killed off one by one.  It seems that just about everyone wanted to see Tony either get indicted or die. Personally, I was all for the easier target, AJ. His storyline was intolerably grating this season (except for that phenomenal pool scene a few episodes ago).

Frankly, I thought that the comedic moments that permeated the series finale of The Sopranos were more unexpected than that last scene. I particularly enjoyed the fact that Phil Leotardo met his end in the very way he’d recently ordered the hit on Tony – a decapitation of sorts. And the quick transformation of the depressed, save-the-world-and-environment AJ into AJ the BMW-driving-movie-producer with not a worry in the world? Brilliant.

I am not defending the series finale of The Sopranos. I don’t need to or have to. But just as I have said about the first three seasons of Lost, we have been spoiled by absolutely stellar and high quality programming over the last few years. It is natural for the dedicated masses to hold their favorite shows to very high standards.

So if you still feel robbed, angry and/or empty after that finale, I recommend that you watch it again with all six seasons in mind. Regardless of how you initially felt about the last episode ever, if you are a true fan of The Sopranos, I know that you’ll remember and recognize the entire series as a very entertaining and satisfying show fueled by jaw-dropping performances and incredible scripts. 

And trust me when I tell you that we will NEVER see The Sopranos Movie or spin-off series. David Chase is as done as the blown away Bacala on his beloved train set.

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What an entertaining and intense hour of television. Without giving anything away, for those of you who have not had the opportunity to watch the last ever episode of The Sopranos yet, all I will say is that the ending was genius. And no, your TiVO/cable/dish did not fail you. You will be screaming at the TV, but not for the reasons that you think. That is all you need to know right now.

More thoughts later. I had an amazing weekend and need some serious sleep.

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It is not often that a film lives up to serious hype, buzz and expectations.  

If you fit one or more of the categories below, you will enjoy Knocked Up:

A. You have a sense of humor
B. You catch very topical pop culture references
C. You have slacker and/or stoner friends
D. You are a guy
E. You’ve had a baby
F. You know someone who has had a baby

I don’t want to give anything
away, but I haven’t laughed out loud that much at a movie in a very
long time. Yes, there is a bit of potty humor. But it is a far better
film than The 40 Year Old Virgin and a hell of a lot funnier
than most ‘guy movies.’ Although truly, this should not be classified
as a guy flick. Frankly, I think it will be a huge hit because the
concept will appeal to women more than men. At the theater tonight, all of
the women in the audience reacted to the birth scene with great joy and
applause for the familiar. Even those of us who do not have children
appreciated how well Apatow handled matters of pregnancy, birth, and
parenting throughout the film.


Katherine Heigl, who was so impressive that the phrase ‘Grey’s Anatomy‘ never popped into my head.

Seth Rogen, whose performance will give false hope to nerdy guys everywhere that they too can land such a lady. He’s kind of like Will Ferrell Lite, but much more subtle. Thankfully.

Paul Rudd, who is hysterical in almost everything he’s appeared in, finally plays a grown up with great success in this one.

Half the cast of (cancelled cult shows) Freaks & Geeks and Undeclared, several episodes of which were written by Knocked Up director Judd Apatow.

Half the cast of The Office in cameo appearances: Steve Carrell, playing himself. Darryl from the warehouse (Craig Robinson). And the temp (BJ Novak).

Leslie Mann, wife of director Apatow and real mother of the daughters in the film.
[POP CULTURE ASIDE: They met on the set of The Cable Guy, which he produced and she was in.]

Iris and Maude Apatow, the cutest onscreen kids I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t care about nepotism when it actually benefits a motion picture.

Harold Ramis, known forever as Egon Spengler from Ghostbusters but perfectly cast here as the equally hapless father to clueless son Rogen.

Joanna Kerns, with a saucy haircut that Maggie Seaver from Growing Pains would never attempt.

Kristen Wiig from Saturday Night Live, who stole the few scenes she was in.

Loudon Wainwright III: musician, actor and Apatow regular.

Alan Tudyk, who I’ll always think of as Steve the Pirate from Dodgeball and the patient with the accent in that crap Sandra Bullock rehab movie, 28 Days.

Ryan Seacrest, in a refreshingly funny cameo.

Seriously, give up 2 of your weekly lattes for the price of admission to this one. I would be VERY surprised to find out that you didn’t enjoy it…

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