Dierks Bentley songs regularly appear on the country chart, but I had never heard of him until a couple days ago when this catchy single wandered out of my radio. “I Hold On” is the second single from his latest album, “Riser.” The song evokes strong imagery of a battered pickup truck and a worn out guitar as evidence of a man who appreciates long-lasting relationships in his life. Bentley wrote the songs during a period when his father died and his songs are reflective. I’m particularly impressed by the lyric, “What they don’t know is that my dad and me drove her out to Tennessee. And she’s still here and now he’s gone, so I hold on.” Enjoy.
Season 1, Episode 17: “Heavy Meddling” | Original air date: March 6, 2014
One of my favorite scenes in the fine romantic comedy “High Fidelity” is when Barry (Jack Black) comes into Rob’s (John Cusack) record shop and puts on a tape of “Walking On Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves.
Rob quickly shuts off the tape. Barry accuses Rob of listening to “sad old bastard music” after his breakup. Rob says, “I don’t wanna hear sad old bastard music, Barry, I just want something I can ignore.”
This is how I feel about “The Crazy Ones.” It’s something I can ignore. I’m not sure I really want it, but I do ignore it.
Season 7, Episode 17: “The Friendship Turbulence” | Original air date: March 6, 2014
“The Big Bang Theory” offered three stories. None of them were funny. They weren’t offensively bad or stupid. They just weren’t funny. “The Friendship Turbulence” wasn’t worth a shrug, let alone an angry review. Basically, it was something soft to have on the background while browsing the Web for sexy pictures of Kaley Cuoco.
Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and Howard (Simon Helberg) insult one another a lot. Bernadette (Melissa Rauch) suggests they stop. So Howard flies with Sheldon to Houston, where Howard is to give a talk at the Kennedy Space Center. The plan has bad turbulence. Sheldon and Raj hold hands and admit they like one another.
Ho-hum. The “plane is crashing and we admit everything” is a Hollywood cliche. It’s right up there with a fruit car rolling out in front of a police car during a high-speed chase.
Penny (Cuoco) turns down a role in the sequel to a movie about an ape rapist. Leonard (Johnny Galecki) suggests it’s not a good idea for her to turn down paid work, even if it’s in a terrible movie. Penny gets mad. Then her car breaks down. So Leonard buys one. She’s not mad anymore.
Penny represents all the worst cliches about women. She gets by on her looks. She manipulates her boyfriend using sex. Her getting a car from Leonard and being teary about it is the kind of money-grubbing, gold-digging metaphor that should make women’s studies professors heads explode. Me? I’m just glad I don’t date anymore. This is the kind of woman I would totally fall in love with and hate myself for loving her beauty and ignoring her inane shallowness.
Raj (Kunal Nayyar) is lonely. This probably has something to do with him being an arrogant, insensitive jerk toward women. He asks Amy (Mayim Bialik) to help him communicate with a woman through his online dating profile. It fails. I think the writers want us to think Raj is just shy and conflicted. But he’s really mean. He’s shallow and has a terrible personality.
Hey, maybe he should hook up with Penny.
Wait. That already happened. Maybe it’s time for this show to retire.
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The song “Mah nà mah nà” is probably best known for the cover version, “Manah Manah” done by the Muppets, both on the 14th episode of the PBS educational series “Sesame Street” and on the first episode of the syndicated variety program “The Muppet Show.” However, it was man, not a puppet, that penned the nonsensical scat song. Italian film score composer Piero Umiliani wrote the piece for a series of shorts about the sex lives of Swedes called “Sweden: Heaven and Hell.” The work became Umiliani’s most popular composition through its repeated use as background music on “The Benny Hill Show” and multiple versions by the Muppets. Here’s Ulimiani’s original. Enjoy.
Season 2, Episode 2: “Cardinal” | Original air date: March 5, 2014
Keri Russell plays anguish very well in “The Americans.” Her character, Soviet spy Elizabeth Jennings, has a tough job. She lives a lie everyday. She’s a mother and wife. She also kills people and has sex with assets on the side. But the events of the second season premier have shaken her.
Now her and husband Philip Jennings (Matthew Rhys) must worry about the lives of their children, Paige (Holly Taylor) and Henry (Keidrich Sellati). Russell shows the worry well as an actress. She tightens the muscles of her face. Her body language is tense and closed.
The cinematography captures her in an overshot at the beginning of the episode. It creates the effect of her being very small and overwhelmed by her environment. It’s really well done.
The success of “The Americans” comes in making the viewer care about people who are doing things that run against our collective sense of right. These are spies. Yet the show wonderfully renders them as flawed humans who are struggling to be good parents and do a tough job.
Russell demonstrates impressive range within the episode. She shows fear for her children. She frets over her husband, who is off on another dangerous mission. She feigns being playful with her children, spontaneously offering to take them to “Raiders of the Lost Ark” as an excuse for her help a Central American Communist whose boyfriend, a U.S. Senator’s aid, has overdosed on illegal drugs.
This is a particularly nice scene for Russell. She acts matronly to the young girl who is overwhelmed by the situation. She speaks encouragingly about the junior spy’s home country revolution. She acts quickly and decisively to bring the situation under control. She is warm and supportive, strong and powerful all at once. It runs particularly contrary to her actual mood: vulnerable and ill-at-ease.
“The Americans” is my favorite scripted drama on basic cable right now. It’s this level emotional complexity in the acting mixed with action and intrigue that make it a worthy watch each week. I would recommend a binge watch of the first season and a quick catchup on the second. It’s terrific television.
Season 3, Episode 16: “RAM” | Original air date: March 4, 2014
Go figure. He shares a last name with one of the worst bank robbers and killers of the Great Depression. This seems like too obvious foreshadowing on the part of the writers. But I am probably giving them too much credit. I’m not sure they are very good at their job, especially this season.
This episode shows the government was always trying to steal the secrets of the machine. It also shows that Finch was long aware of the morally ambiguous Reese and had previously crossed paths with the angry murder machine Shaw (Sarah Shahi).
This feels silly and unnecessary. There is this overused convention in fiction where all the good guys and the bad guys are somehow connected. I don’t see why this is necessary. That’s now how it works in life or history.
The Germans didn’t know the Polish all that well. They were just neighbors. Then Germany showed up one day and said, “Hey, all this stuff is ours now.” And Poland was like, “The hell it is.” Thus began a long disagreement that involved several other parties, many of whom knew each other in passing or not at all.
This episode was a testament to why prequels don’t work. We know Finch isn’t going to die because he’s still in the show in 2014. We know Reese isn’t going to die. We know the rest of the characters are temporary.
It serves only to reemphasize what we already know. Reese and Finch are good guys. There’s a big, scary government conspiracy. And it’s all going to end in confrontation, likely during a sweeps week or perhaps the season finale.
My interest in the show spiked just once. That was the cameo appearance by Root (Amy Acker) at the end of the episode. That’s only because Amy Aker is very attractive. I am probably supposed to be a better person than that and not notice she’s a good looking woman. But I am not. And I was happy she was on screen.
Season 1, Episode 14: “T.A.H.I.T.I.” | Original air date: March 4, 2014
“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” came back from an extended hiatus Tuesday with a typically mediocre episode that reminded me how little I missed the show while it was away.
What’s worse is it appears Skye (Chloe Bennet) will survive thanks to some magic medicine found in the secret mountain hideaway where Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) was resurrected after being killed in “The Avengers” movie.
The mountain base is known as T.A.H.I.T.I. I am convinced the writers are just using this stupid naming convention with lots of capital letters and periods because it is annoying to type and lazy reviewers like me won’t bother, thus slowly curtailing negative criticism of this consistently lousy show.
Nice try, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” But this is the Internet and I will always make time to complain about bad television.
Coulson’s team shows up and gets into a shootout with the secret agents in the base. I think they killed one of the guys.
So, to be clear, Coulson and his guys are killing other guys — possible guys on the same side — in order to save a useless character who can’t do anything except complain about all the rules there are in secret government super hero spy agencies.
Anyway, there’s a bomb and a blue guy in a drawer full of water. None of this is really explained. Coulson doesn’t think they should give the medicine to Skye. But they do anyway. Maybe he realized she is a terrible character and the show would be better without her. She lives. Damn.
This show is dumb. A friend asked me why I watch it. I struggled to answer. I think I watch it because it is fun to be snide about it. That’s kind of mean. I should be a better person.
But I’m not. Boo, “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D”