Thursday, March 21, 2013

'The Sing Off' is Returning: Celebrating the A Cappella craze that continues to sweep the nation


   A Cappella nerds, you can now relax. In honor of Music in Our Schools Month I have a very exciting announcement for you: The Sing Off is coming back!!! Last week, it was confirmed that NBC's best reality singing competition show will be returning for season 4. The ratings may not say it's the best but as someone who loves hearing people that can actually sing and have to prove that by singing a cappella every week, this show is THE BEST. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the show, it is a singing competition for a cappella (singing without music, or to quote Pitch Perfect "it's all from our mouths!") groups where each week they must arrange and perform a cover of a song that fits within the theme of the week. They also have to incorporate choreography but that mostly just means moving around on the stage, not actual dance moves. As long as they can put on a show and sound good doing it, it works. Also, returning to The Sing Off will be host Nick Lachey (former 98 Degrees frontman), and judges Ben Folds, Sarah Bareillis, and Boys II Men singer, Shawn Stockman.

The Sing Off season 3 winners, Pentatonix

   Lucky for me, and other true music lovers, a cappella singing has become much more prevalent in today's pop culture than it used to be. College a cappella groups have been around for ages but over the past few years, our eyes have been opened to the wonders of live beat-boxing mixed with some mighty fine harmonies. Glee, the musical, drama-filled, hour-long comedy, which follows a high school glee club, (they also call themselves a show choir but they are NOT a show choir), started the latest phenomenon of a cappella fever in the fall of 2009 and everything else soon followed. The Sing Off also premiered in 2009, as a part of NBC's winter line-up (NBC probably didn't want FOX to get the one-up on this new musical craze, but alas, they did). While Glee has created their own chart-topping hits (mostly because of Lea Michelle's Broadway pipes and Darren Criss's mere presence, let alone his beautiful voice), The Sing Off knocked it out of the park with season 3 winner, Pentatonix. If you haven't heard the completely insane arrangements this group has done, get ready for your mind to be blown. I'm serious, what this group is able to do is not humanly possible. The best part about them? IT'S ONLY FIVE PEOPLE. In a regular college a cappella group you usually have somewhere around 12 people, with multiple people on each part. They have 1 person on each part (vocal angels Kirsti Maldonado, Scott Hoying, and Mitch Grassi), a bass, the wonderfully deep-voiced Avi Kaplan, and the most ridiculous beat-boxer you've ever heard in your life, Kevin "K.O." Olusola. He can beat-box, and play the cello at the same time. He also speaks chinese. Did I mention he's awesome? You can check out their website and their YouTube channel if you don't believe me. But just incase you don't want to click those links, let me show you some examples of their awesomeness right here:

They can arrange medleys like nobody's business
"As Long As You Love Me/Wide Awake"


They can follow the trends of today's music
"Thrift Shop"


They can show some old school love
"N*SYNC Medley"


They can make a song suspenseful
"Dog Days Are Over"


And they can make R&B songs simple yet the most powerful and sexy thing you've ever heard
"Let's Get It On"


Let's be honest, if you don't have chills running through you after those last two, you shouldn't be on this earth. 


   Following the need of more a cappella in our lives, the 2012 hit comedy Pitch Perfect was released, which tells the story of Anna Kendrick as Beca, a rebellious DJ who turns the super traditional Barden Bellas, a female a cappella group at her college, completely upside down. The movie was not just a hit because of the crazy good cast (Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Skylar Astin, Ben Platt, Adam DeVine, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Ester Dean, Hana Mae Lee, I could list everyone in the credits), but also because of the amazing music that it provided. The movie is still making profits even after the DVD release back in December, the album has stayed in the Top 50 (reaching number 1 for soundtracks and number 3 in Billboard's top 200) and has has 3 chart-topping singles. The most popular, "Cups", sang by Kendrick and accompanied by herself and a plastic cup, has now been rerecorded for the radio.


   The movie also gave some fame to a local (well local for me) college a capella group, the University of Virginia Hullabahoos (they're the guys in the khakis and crazy shirt robes things singing "The Final Countdown"). UVA is known for having some of the best a cappella groups (one of their female groups, The Sil'hooettes, is one of the top a cappella groups in the nation right now) but they aren't the only school to produce national award winning groups. James Madison University has The Madison Project, Exit 245, and The BluesTones; Tufts has Beelzebubs (their fame started on The Sing Off and they went on to become "The Warblers" on Glee), Yale has The Whiffenpoofs, Oregon has On The Rocks, Brigham-Young University has Vocal Point, I could go on forever.

The UVA Hullabahoos posing with Elizabeth Banks

Seeing the way people have embraced this new (but really not so new) style of music has warmed my heart and given me some faith that not all hope is lost (especially when I see artists like Taylor Swift are still selling albums). Let's keep celebrating the truly talented people in the music industry! Make everyone sing live all the time, get rid of auto-tuning, have every artist produce at least one a cappella song on every album and play it on the radio all the time! Keep shows like The Sing Off on the air and kick American Idol and The X Factor off! (The Voice can stay for now but only because I love Adam Levine and those super cool chairs) Ok, I know most of that will never happen, but what's wrong with having a little hope? We need to support the talent that is hiding away on our college campuses, even in our high schools, and keep music, good music I might add, available to the young people of today.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Big Bang Theory turns dramatic; Community turns crazy; Justin Timberlake takes over Jimmy Fallon

I wanted to share with you the reviews I did for Big Bang Theory and Community I did last week! Like I said, I'll keep trying to post reaps here (I know I have failed at that so far) but once I can get this new schedule under control I will definitely be back! Hope you all are well and I hope you enjoy the reviews! Tell your friends!



To see all my reviews, check out my page on TVandFilmReview here!

Coming soon: How I Met Your Mother, New Girl, The Mindy Project

And just for fun: If you were in a coma last week and missed Timberweek on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, here is an amazing BuzzFeed article to tell you all about the best week of late night television in the history of the world. 

History of Rap 4 happened. After seeing those face, need I say more?


JT mixed up SexyBack and performed it with the Ragtime Gals (I like to think it was in honor of the Barbershop Harmony Society Mid-Atlantic District competition in New Jersey this past weekend to qualify for internationals. That's right, I know my bshop!)


And he sang! Every night was a new song from his new album, The 20/20 Experience, and Friday night was a medley of his older stuff (unfortunately there was no N*SYNC reunion that night, but we did get to see Jimmy fangirl all over him after the performance which was just as good).



Friday, March 15, 2013

TVandFilmReview

As you may have noticed, I haven't posted anything in the past week or so. The reason is because I have been given the wonderful opportunity to start writing reviews of American sitcoms for a U.K. based website, TVandFilmReview.com. I will still be trying to keep up with my blog here, providing full recaps, as much as I can but I will also be posting the links to my reviews so you can see those as well! I hope you continue to read this and I hope you will enjoy my writing at it's new home.

Here you can find my first 4 reviews!

And here you can find a picture of a small owl wearing big glasses!



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The Mindy Project - The One That Got Away


   This episode is probably the most serious thing Seth Rogen has ever done. That being said, this was a great episode of The Mindy Project, especially if you like part about her where she wants her life to be a romantic comedy. This was exactly like a little 30-minute rom-com! But it was good in a non-cheesy way. That's because the episode was written by Mindy Kaling, who is an absolute genius. Anyways, yes Seth Rogen guest starred this week as Mindy's love interest, Sam, who she first met at a Jewish summer camp when she was 13. Seth did a great job in this episode. He was funny as usual but it was nice to hear him doing humor that was written by someone else and wasn't all about sex or pot. His character had more depth in this 30 mins than any movie character he's ever done; granted I haven't seen The Guilt Trip but I'm assuming it wasn't great.


    Re-connecting the way everyone does now, Mindy and Sam find each other on Facebook and decide to meet up for lunch. When Sam shows up at the office, we find out he's in the army now. Upon learning this, Morgan is his normal self, which means he is super weird, and Danny tries to be even more manly than he already is. Sam and Mindy have a great lunch but she finds out that he has to leave tomorrow to go back to Afghanistan. At first she gives up on trying to have a relationship with him for a day and getting her heart broken but then decides that is exactly what she needs to do (I told you it was a mini rom-com!). She interrupts him getting the word "ARMY" tattooed on his arm in order to tell him they need to spend the day together so he leaves before the tattoo is done, resulting in just the word "ARM" on his arm. Well at least now he can identify body parts properly. They spend the day together going to a drug store, seeing a few movies, having sex, and then he offers to fix her air conditioning, which is a window unit. For a successful doctor, I'm surprised she hasn't gotten central air. But if she didn't have a window unit, they wouldn't be able to have the best part of the episode. As Sam so leisurely sits on the window sill about to fix the unit, he falls out the window. Luckily she doesn't live on a high up floor so he lives but he does have to be taken to the hospital.


    While Mindy is living out a rom-com, Danny is living out a mild nightmare. A couple who are his patients decide to use a sperm donor and ask him to be the donor. Now any sane person would realize that that is an awful idea to donate to your own patients and then deliver your own baby. But Danny, clearly not in his right mind, says yes! I mean, duh who wouldn't want their kid to have the genes of the beautiful and talented Chris Messina but it's a bad idea! While contemplating his decision, he ends up at the hospital where Mindy has taken Sam to get checked out. It's not clear why Danny is there but I guess they can get away with it since his character is a doctor but I still wish there was an explanation. Danny explains what's going on to Mindy and she tells him he has to get out of it and ends up talking to the couple and telling them how much they don't want Danny as a donor. With that problem fixed, Mindy goes back to the hospital to check on Sam. She was hoping that the fall would cause him enough damage to delay his deployment but despite her (and Morgan's) efforts, Sam was fine. He was upset that Mindy was trying to get him to stay and he explained to her that even though he misses civilian life, he loves going over there and defending the country and helping people in need. She was called in to the office so he went with her but he had to leave and left a letter with Danny to give to her. And just like in the movies, she read the letter and was happy with how she had spent her day. She was a little sad though so Danny read aloud to her everything that was in the vending machine.


New Girl - Tinfinity


    Let me start off by apologizing for not having New Girl on the blog last week. Unfortunately, my cable decided it wasn't happy and it died. But everything is fixed now and New Girl is back! To sum up the important parts of last week, Nick, Jess, and Schmidt fought over a parking space, Schmidt found out about Nick and Jess's kiss, we found out about the "No-Nail Oath" between the guys, Winston ran around town looking for a condom, Cece is back to dating that Indian guy, Schmidt kisses Jess, and Winston gets the parking spot. Oh yeah, it was not a good week for my cable to go out.


     Now to this week. Schmidt and Nick are celebrating their 10th anniversary of living together! Obviously they have to have a party and since the symbol for 10 years is Tin, the theme of their party, which is really more of a huge, unnecessary, outdoor, presidential-like party, is Tinfinity. Schmidt calls it a "Masculine Garden Party". It's pretty obvious Schmidt is more into this than Nick already. As they plan their party, Schmidt gives Nick some responsibilities, knowing he will screw them up. Nick's two orders are to get balloons and a port-a-potty. In the stress of getting the port-a-potty, Nick, being the cheap person that he is, decides to buy one instead of renting one. The one he buys looks like something out of a horror film where murderers keep the dead bodies. I'm pretty sure it also smelled that way. In the meantime, Winston introduces everyone to football star Jax McTavish (guest star Steve Howey) who Jess decides is the perfect guy to get her mind off Nick's mouth. What she doesn't know is that he is very intense about his feelings and things get pretty heavy, very fast. He also has a long hair that he wears in a bun which is gross but his muscles are nice to look at so that's a plus. Anyways, Winston tries to stop Jess from dating Jax but his efforts are no match for Jessica Day. 



    At the party, Nick shows up with his port-a-death and Schmidt reveals he got a luxury toilet just incase Nick screwed up. Nick also forgot the balloons but Schmidt didn't want them anyway and gave that responsibility to Nick knowing he wouldn't remember to get them. This plus Schmidt writing Nick's toast for him causes an obvious rift between Nick and Schmidt that is about more than toilets and balloons. They fight about why Schmidt thinks he's better than Nick and what they're even celebrating. Meanwhile, Jess and Jax have been having a good time until he starts showing his intense side. He really likes Jess and she's not exactly there yet. Turns out he not only likes her a lot, he loves her and thinks he has met his third wife. Jess literally runs away from him. Towards the end of the party, Cece's boyfriend, or maybe prospective husband would be a better word, Shivrang (played by Satya Bhabha), proposes to her in front of everyone, including Schmidt. Cece says yes and looks up at Schmidt right as he leaves. I have a feeling that this will go on for a while but she won't be able to go through with it in the end. Even though that is the predictable thing to do, I like it. 


Turns out Nick didn't completely forget the balloons. He rented a hot air balloon but didn't know you needed propane to make it fly so it was just sitting in a field. It was a great way to end the episode, showing them all celebrating together. Jess was still trying to get the thought of Nick's mouth out of her head so Nick's comments about her drinking out of the same liquor bottle as him not being a big deal just because his mouth had been on it was anything but subtle. However it made for a good laugh because Jess climbed out of the basket and ran away. 

All pictures owned by FOX

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

How I Met Your Mother - The Captain Returns!


    Guess what everyone? The Captain is back!! That's right, the scary-but-friendly ex-husband of Zooey, made a wonderful return on Monday night's HIMYM. The episode was a flashback episode, which I believe is usually done when writers don't have a strong story for the week. However, it actually made for some good story lines for the characters in real time and, as always, involved Ted "eating a sandwich". The other way the writers made the flashback more interesting is that there are actually three different versions of the story, Ted's, Robin's, and Lily's. Each time we hear the story recounted, more of the truth comes out and by the end, we know what really happened and why it was such a big deal for one of the characters. With each telling, there is only one consistent part: Barney absolutely was not there.

    Ted first receives a message on his answering machine from The Captain asking Ted to call him back. As usual, Ted completely over thinks this and convinces himself, Barney, and Marshall that The Captain sounds extremely pissed with Ted. While in reality it's harder to convince your friends to agree with your insanity, I didn't mind Barney's total lack of judgement because it's Barney. I was, however, a little upset that Marshall wasn't the voice of reason like he usually is with Ted. Ted then explains to them his version of how his last encounter with The Captain went and why he would be upset with Ted. A year and a half ago, shortly after Ted and Zooey broke up, he rebounded with Robin's co-anchor "Boats! Boats! Boats!" Becky. Lily invited Ted and Robin to go to an art gallery opening with her and The Captain shows up at the same opening with his art consultant, Shelly. Upon greeting each other, The Captain is extremely rude to Ted; he keeps finishing his sentences and giving him evil glares. While Ted has a conversation with himself in his head about rude The Captain is, he decides to finish one of The Captain's sentences to get back at him but it's not very effective. Robin questions what an art consultant is and Lily explains, even though I'm sure Shelly could have answered herself, since that's who Robin asked and not Lily. Noticing Lily's interest in art, The Captain invites them all up to his apartment to see the newest painting he bought. While in The Captain's study, Ted finds a very expensive ashtray and makes a comment about The Captain probably owns an island where he hunts people but it also has great snorkeling. The Captain then enters the room and picks up a picture on his desk and calls whatever the picture is of his one true love. Ted tries to tell The Captain he knows he brought them up there to talk to Ted about him and Zooey and claims The Captain pulls a harpoon gun on him. After Ted calmly gets the harpoon gun out of his hands, The Captain explains he's in love with someone else now and calls Ted, Robin, and Lily into his bedroom to see the new painting. Waiting for everyone else to leave first, Ted sneaks a peek at the picture of The Captain's "one, true love" and sees a picture of his own current flame "Boats! Boats! Boats!" Becky!


    Back to real time, Marshall comments on how cute The Captain and Becky would be together since they both love boats. Ted's phone rings and once again, it's The Captain calling. Ted answers the phone and it turns out, all The Captain wants is Robin's phone number. With Barney's blessing (but not Robin's) Ted gives him her number and all is well. Until Robin finds out. She doesn't want The Captain calling her because of what happened the night they went to the art gallery opening. She explains that Ted wouldn't remember the night correctly because he was completely baked from "sharing a big fat sandwich" (joint) with Becky right before going to the gallery. Turns out Ted was not the smooth talking person that he thought he was that night. Robin's version reveals that The Captain was not rude to Ted at all. The only reason he finished Ted's sentences is because Ted was unable to. And that conversation Ted was having in his head about how rude The Captain was? That wasn't in his head. Turns out The Captain was all over Robin that night. Once they were up in his apartment, Ted started playing with the extremely expensive ashtray he found and pretended he was snorkeling. According to Robin, when The Captain came in the room, he didn't pick up a picture, he looked straight at her and said she was his one, true love. Awkward! Ted made a fool of himself, rambling on about Zooey and what he thought was a harpoon gun was actually a remote control. As Robin entered The Captain's bedroom to see the painting, he was lying on his bed, waiting for Robin.


    Back to real time, Robin explains how nothing happened between her and The Captain because he was on the rebound and she told him to call her in a year and a half. Marshall, Ted, and Barney explain that she should call The Captain and tell him she's engaged now. When she does, The Captain seems confused because he thought she was married to Marshall. Turns out he was looking for Lily. She gives him her number and of course, Lily gets mad. Now for the final time, we hear the story of that night, told properly. Robin's version was fuzzy as well because she was hammered from a "work meeting" earlier that day. In the real version we find out Robin was all over The Captain, not the other way around. There was a picture Up in The Captain's apartment, when Lily walked into his bedroom to see the painting, Robin walked in and tried to make out with him and then passed out on top of him. Before Robin came in, Lily had commented on his painting, saying it was ok but there was an elephant painting by a new artist that they saw at the gallery that she liked more. The Captain told her that her opinion didn't matter because she was just a kindergarten teacher. Angry with his rudeness, Lily performed some of her super annoying and very childish "Aldrin justice"and stole his expensive ashtray. Marshall gets mad and explains to Lily she can't do this anymore and that it's stupid she let his comment about her being a kindergarten teacher get to her. She cried and told Marshall how she forgot to follow her dream and how it's too late for her because she's old. Well that's a lot of crap. She's definitely not old, it's not too late, and I'm pretty sure she called off her wedding to follow her dream all the way to San Francisco once. Marshall says the same thing, just a lot nicer and without the mention of San Fran.

    Lily goes over to The Captain's apartment to return the ashtray. He explains that the reason he was trying to call her was to show her that he bought the elephant painting she loved a year-and-a-half ago and now he's selling it for $4 million. He was so impressed with her ability to see the potential in new artists, he wants her to be his new art consultant. So what does she say? Just ask Barney, he was there. Not really, but of course she says yes! Now she's happy because she can do what she loves and use her art history degree for something actually related to art, which is very rare since art history is one of the most pointless majors.


    Since Barney kept trying to put himself into everyone's version of the story and would get upset when they said he wasn't there, Ted finally calls him out on it. Barney explains that crazy stories are his thing. Ted has architecture, Lily has art, Marshall has the law, and Robin has pleasing him sexually, and if they can have crazy stories without him then he didn't know who he was. Personally, I thought this was kind of stupid but considering that really is the only thing Barney has left, I guess it makes sense he would be upset about it. To make him feel better, Ted and Robin say that he probably was there but they didn't realize because he was in disguise doing a play from The Playbook. "The Royal Arch Duke of Grand Fenwick!" Barney exclaims and tells them all about the play and how he nailed Shelly the art consultant and her hotter sister. Since we learn from The Captain's conversation with Lily that Shelly went home with "some arch duke she met at the party", Barney may have been there after all. Guess you'll never know, unless you watch the episode. Check it out here!

All pictures from CBS

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sorry, Not Sorry


    I am a horrible person. Well not really but I have been neglecting my blog for a little while and I feel really bad about it! However, the reason is because I have been a bit distracted by the website BuzzFeed. I know, that hardly seems like an excuse but I found out that anyone can post on the sight and I decided to take advantage of that. I am very proud to say that one of my posts got a lot of buzz on the site and ended up on the homepage of their "Rewind" section, which is all about things from the 90's, 80's, or anything awesome from before this century. Check it out here! It's all about the old Disney Channel shows and the Zoog Disney era that people seem to not remember. It's great, if I do say so myself :) anyways, I've made some more posts and I want to share them with you! You can see my profile on Buzzfeed here and here are the links to all my individual posts:

The Best Harlem Shake Videos

The One Thing Coach K Has Ever Done Right

Matt Smith Singing on Top Gear

Your Complete Guide to the 2013 BAFTA's

Why Don't People Remember Zoog Disney?

Dog Truths

Hope you enjoy!