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Monday, April 18, 2011

New Shows - Game of Thrones, Breaking In, and Happy Endings

Breaking In
Ern: Why can’t they ever let the girl be funny?
Leeard: Because she’s too pretty
Ern: Yeah, what IS that? You can’t be a pretty girl and be funny? That’s total BS.

Except for the above complaint, both of us are really enjoying Christian Slater’s new comedy about a company that breaks into people’s property to test their security. It’s pretty amusing, so check it out if your favorite comedies are lagging (The Office, HIMYM). Hopefully it gets even funnier. We can see that happening once the characters get more established.

This week’s episode grade: B+

Game of Thrones
Your opinion of this one is going to be colored by whether you have read the books. We can only speak for the people who have. The show is very close to the books, and we think the first season is going to closely follow the plot and characters of book one of George R.R. Martin’s series. Fans of the book series will know what is coming and will be excited to see the direction in which the series is going. If you haven’t read the books, the first episode is still enjoyable, but we don’t think you will be able to tell whether you will like the TV series from this one installment.

This is high fantasy, but not in a Lord of the Rings way. In a Sopranos way. Meaning, it’s not a spiritual story or world but a political one, full of backstabbers and plots. Yeah, it’s not history, but for those of you who were intrigued by The Borgias, but disappointed by its execution, this is the show to watch. Starz and Showtime take note: This is how fantasy and medieval stuff is done. It’s well-made, and we will be sticking with it until it leaves HBO, because we already know that we like the story.

Some will need to beware of gore and sex scenes. It’s rated R. We have already heard of some complaints that the first episode lacked strong female characters, but we know that many of the female characters develop and turn into complete and total bad-asses, so that won’t be a concern for long.

Episode grade: A-

Happy Endings
Do you miss Friends? Do you think Chandler should actually have been gay? This is the show for you. It’s fun, and it’s better than the new shows like it (Better with You and Perfect Couples). Leeard likes it better than Ern does. Ern has an all-abiding hatred for Elisha Cuthbert (just like any good 24 fan would). But at least her eyebrows match her hair better in this role. We think this show is trying to pull culture and the media into a future that the makers want to see. For instance, the gay guy is not the stereotypical gay guy. He acts a little more “manly.” It’s nice to see a rounded-out gay character, and we approve. Also, one of the women is not stick-skinny and she is also not comically fat. That’s right, her body is closer to that of a regular girl. We approve.

But thirdly, the show propounds a view that one-night-stands, sleeping around, and looking at porn are normal, accepted activities. To be fair, lots of shows carry this message. Most people in this country are a little more moderate than that when it comes to sex. Most people our age at least think that people should be in some sort of monogamous relationship before they start bumping uglies. Why do shows do that? They try to make the slutty thing seem like the norm. It’s the norm for some, but not most. The only explanation we can think of is that the people behind this show think that this country is too puritanical and they have casual sex and want to influence the culture into thinking that’s what’s normal (so they are accepted). That paragraph probably made us sound like Focus On the Family (an annoyingly frigid religious organization that denounces pretty much everything in entertainment), but we don’t like to see an extreme pushed on culture from either end of the spectrum. We don't mind characters who have lots of sex or even sex scenes. But we do feel like we have to point out to young people when there is an intentional message in a show, so they can consciously consider an agenda themselves.

Still, it’s a pretty funny little show so far.

Episode grade: B


  1. Big surprise; I loved Game of Thrones. I haven't read the books (finishing up the final book of The Dresden Files), but it's a no-brainer for fantasy geeks. I like it's dark tone, though it's clear that true heros are few and far between. Sopranos comparison is spot-on.

    HBO has a good guide to the Houses and a Flash-enabled interactive map on their website to help out newbies. No substitute for the books, but at least you can keep the families straight.

    I hope this show is popular because it has got to be expensive. It would be a crying shame to see another promising show go the way of the budget axe (Rome, Deadwood).

  2. Mmmhmmm. Actually, you'd be surprised, but a few true heroes start coming out of the woodwork. Those kids grow up. The dwarf gets awesome.

    We prefer there to be some true heroes mixed with some grey-ish/complicated characters and some truly evil people. Just like in reality.