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The Marvelous Moments in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

The Marvelous Moments in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

Amy Sherman Palladino is a pop culture magpie.  In Gilmore Girls, she would collect little references to all those movies and songs that you forgot and laced them throughout Lorelai and Rory’s fast-paced conversations. In her newest adventure, Palladino could have potentially been at a disadvantage.  In Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel a housewife stumbles into stand-up comedy and struggles to put her life back together.  The challenge, however, is that the show is set in the 1950s.  A decade with pop culture references that are staler than Cracker Jacks from the 1950s to the 2017 ear. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel overcomes this problem by creating the perfect loophole.  The loophole: the show doesn’t rely on references like the Gilmores did. And yet, even though Mrs. Maisel doesn’t rely on pop culture reference, the show tends to remind me of many of my favorite things.

Ladies with Can Do Attitudes

Midge Maisel is spunky.  Spunky is a descriptor that is applicable to very few women.  For the dull, it’s sarcastic. For the assertive, it’s condescending.  For ladies like Mary Tyler Moore and Midge, they are perfectly described with this adjective.   Midge talks people into better show times with brisket.  She makes the toast at her own wedding.  She is even intentionally posed in this iconic position to showcase just how spunky she can be.  The show is in cheery contrast with the typical portrayal of “the woman scorned.”

Perfectly Written Memorable Lines

In an odd turn of events, Midge meets Lenny Bruce.  Midge sees this as the perfect opportunity to get advice from the comedy legend. She asks him if he would prefer to have any other job in the world.  The result is one of those perfect moments, set-up by perfectly crafted writing.  Bruce replies:

If there was anything else in the entire world that I could possibly do to earn a living, I would.
I’m talking dry cleaners to the Klan, crippled kid portrait painter, slaughterhouse attendant.
If someone said to me, “Leonard, you can either eat a guy’s head or do two weeks at the Copa,” I’d              say “Pass the ******* salt.” It’s a terrible, terrible job.
It should not exist, like cancer and God.

It’s irreverent, but Lenny proves that he loves stand-up. The moment gives you that flicker that this show is special.

Recently, the fashionable profession on TV to have is to be a stand-up comedian.   Shows like Crashing, Lady Dynamite, I’m Dying Up Here and the now defunct Jim Gaffigan Show and the potentially defunct, Louie, all show the seedy life of a comedian.

We get it.  Comedy is tough.  People bomb.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel comes at the profession from a different angle.  Midge sees the challenge of stand-up and is intrigued.  She isn’t a stand up because she hates herself.   She enjoys having her voice heard and making people laugh. Like the show’s creator, Midge enjoys working and re-working lines to create those perfectly written memorable lines.

Period Piece Delights          

There is so much eye candy in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.  The pink Pyrex that holds the brisket is cheery.  Midge’s capes are a thing of beauty.  I’m even intrigued by the magical face cream that Midge smothers her skin in at night. As a rule of thumb, period pieces get five extra bonus points in my heart.  But, it’s not just the things in the show, it’s what they are doing.  The choreographed exercise class that Midge and Imogene (whose name I’m obsessed with!) take is one of the greatest scenes in 2017 as far as I’m concerned.  The world needs more people working out with glass Coke bottles.  The choreography is unexpected.  The married ladies workout so they can “eat cheesecake.”  The divorcees workout because they are desperate. The fast-paced aerobics match the fast-paced conversations that fly by.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel isn’t meant to be studied as history.  Unlike Mad Men, the show doesn’t set out to be extremely realistic. Midge is a spunky woman who is trying to live her dreams.

That’s all the realism I need.

Credit: Studio Canal/Rex Features/ITV

November 2018 Recap

It’s December and you know what that means.  This is the time of year where we star seeing 2017 recaps.  Best this or that, biggest scandal, so on and so forth.  This year, though, things seem to happen in a much denser capacity.  November was a hell of a month in the pop culture world, so naturally the month needs a recap.  Let’s get to it!

There was a bit of a scandal

The Harvey Weinstein story broke in October, but the ripples extended all through November.  In November we saw Kevin Spacey removed from House of Cards, prominent Hollywood agent Adam Venit was named as the perpetrator against Terry Crews, Louis CK admitted to sexual misconduct which led to a movie and tv show being scrapped, and Matt Lauer got fired for harassment claims.  To say the Weinstein story opened the floodgates would be an understatement.  I’m sure we will continue to see further effects in Hollywood and beyond as time goes on, but it seemed like everyday in November led to a new revelation.

It’s painfully obvious that there are some deep-rooted issues regarding attitudes toward sexual behavior.  It’s not just in Hollywood, sports, or politics, but in everyday life.  I certainly don’t know any sort of fixes for a problem as big as this, but at least people are recognizing that a problem does exist.  If there is one thing this ordeal taught us, it’s the power of speaking out, so if you’ve been the victim of anything like that, let someone know.  Here’s the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs’ website if you’re looking for some resources.

Grab your pitchforks, we’re heading to EA

On November 12, a Redditor made a post about having to pay extra to unlock Darth Vader in the new Star Wars: Battlefront II game.  Unfortunately for EA, the company making the game, one of their representatives responded with a ridiculous answer about “sense of pride and accomplishment” or whatnot defending the game structure.  The backlash, of course, was swift and the EA Reddit response became the most downvoted comment in Reddit history, receiving several hundred thousand downvotes.  If you’re not a Reddit user, this means that over 600,000 people gave the post a virtual “thumbs down” and led to a torrent of negative comments.

If you’re not familiar with the game and why this is an issue, here’s an analogous scenario.  Imagine buying the new NBA video game and being told you have to play 30+ hours before you can unlock the Cleveland Cavaliers or Golden State Warriors.  Oh, you don’t want to do that?  Here you go, you can buy these extra teams (though they’re not actually extra teams, they’re part of the NBA) and bypass the hours of playing by just paying more money.  Essentially EA is making it so time-consuming and tedious to unlock characters like Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker that they’re banking on people paying an extra amount to unlock them instead.  The issue with the Reddit comment, though, was that the EA rep said the company wanted players to feel “a sense of pride and accomplishment” by grinding out those hours to unlock their favorite Star Wars characters.  That comment would’ve probably been received more favorably had they not put a price tag on that “pride and accomplishment”.

Net Neutrality: To be or not to be

Another issue which shook the online world was the topic of net neutrality.  I’m not about to dive down that political rabbit hole of whether or not the internet should be subject to government regulation or be controlled by corporations.  This became a huge issue when FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said the FCC would roll back the net neutrality rules which have been in place since 2015.  People were quick to pick sides and a ton of misinformation was whipped out in record time.  In my opinion (uh-oh, here we go), the net neutrality issue is one of the issues that will directly affect your day to day life.  I think the internet has (for better or worse) become a fairly essential part of life in 2017 and for the foreseeable future.   How the internet is managed, whether by the government, free market, corporations, or whatever, is worth paying attention to.  If you feel compelled to choose a side, please do so with well-researched information.

The Movies Were Lit

November is traditionally a strong month for the box office, and this year proved to be the same.  Despite 23% drop from last 2016, this November was the third best box office month of the year so far, led by Thor: Ragmarok and Justice League.  Five of the top ten box office draws earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 85% or hire (Coco, Wonder, Thor: Ragnarok, Lady Bird, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri).  Overall, it was a pretty good month at the box office.

The interesting aspect of the November box office is the head-to-head look between the Marvel and DC cinematic universes.  Anybody who keeps up with the two comic powerhouses’ movie performance knows that Marvel is light years ahead of DC when it comes to movies.  Back in May and June, the tide seemed to potentially even out a little when Wonder Woman outperformed Guardians of the Galaxy 2 at the domestic box office.  The surprise success of Wonder Woman gave a glimmer of hope to DC fans that things were turning around…until Thor crushed that hope with the swing of Mjolnir.  Justice League opened with $93 million, which was good for number one that weekend.  Unfortunately, it was the fifth worst DC opening (out of five DC releases) and will be lucky to crawl past Suicide Squad to take the third spot on the list.  On the other hand, Thor was quite a bit more successful.  With an opening weekend of $122 million, Thor has already climbed up to tenth on the Marvel movie list (out of 17 movies).  Thor is also in the top 80 (79) in all-time domestic releases and is closing in on $300 million in domestic box office revenue.  With the release of the new Avengers trailer last week, it’s safe to say the comic movie battle is still definitively one-sided.

Those kids from Love Actually got engaged…according to the internet.

Obviously that isn’t the case, but after the last month I’d believe just about anything.


The World’s Worst Holiday Gift Guide

The World’s Worst Holiday Gift Guide

There is a gift guide for everything.  There are gift guides for men, besties, pets, even gifts for people who “have everything.”  (That last guide would more honestly read as “A gift guide for people who don’t mind being pretentious.”) It is officially the season for being inundated with options for gifts for those we love.   In an effort to weed out the gifts that should remain ungifted from the respectable presents, we have assembled the world’s worst gift guide to help with your holiday shopping.

Shopping fatigue is real.  There comes a time when you have exhausted all your shopping tricks and there isn’t a satisfying option on the World Wide Web.  Here are some options for when you just give up.

 Twerking Santa Claus: The picture doesn’t do Santa justice.  His belly isn’t the only thing that shakes like a bowl full of jelly.

Kitchen Sponge Bed:  Nothing says “I love and appreciate you” like a gift that makes a time consuming chore less practical!

Ombre Puzzle: Gwyneth Paltrow is the artful curator of her website GOOP.  The lifestyle blog is notorious for whimsical (read expensive) tips for how to live like a celebrity.  This nearly impossible puzzle is just one of GOOP’s many ways to add a little celebrity style to your everyday drab life.

The Power Nap Head Pillow: The perfect gift for people who like to nap while looking uncomfortable.

Now listen. You and I both know that not every gift exchange is a “Gift of the Magi”-type situation.  There may be some instances when you are giving to those who are difficult to love.  Here are some passive aggressive presents that will say, “Hey! I thought of you and here’s the best I could do!”

The Butt Station Desk Accessory:  I just can’t imagine a desk that would be improved by this accessory.

Pop Up Hot Dog Toaster: Not only is storing a hot dog toaster impractical, I’m concerned that the mechanics aren’t safe.  Even common sense doesn’t suggest that hot dogs and buns have the same cook times. Very problematic.

4D Gummi Bear Skeleton: This might be the worst present ever.

  1. There are 41 pieces! There is the maximum potential for losing pieces.
  2. It’s frightening
  3. Gummi Bears aren’t real.  What advantage could be gained from studying their mythical bones?
  4. The thought of gummi bears having bones has ruined their sugary goodness for me forever.

Cat Butt Purse: I’m offended by the butt sewn into the purse.  I’m offended by the decorative balls added to the bag.

I’m not sure when we reached it, but at one point the market became over saturated with highly specific products aimed at a very specific audience.  I blame Shark Tank.  Regardless of its origins, there are some gifts that are so specific that they could only be a gift to one recipient.

Jonathan Adler Soul Cycle Candle: Finally a gift for someone that wishes for their home to smell like sweat, rubber and people falling off of stationary bikes.

Kurt Cobain Pop! Doll: It feels wrong to have Kurt look so cute.  I’m just going to imagine this as a Billy Ray Cyrus doll instead.

Cat Hand Puppet: Nope.  Nope. Nope. This cat is giving me some creepy murdery vibes.

Hidden Valley Ranch Keg: If liking ranch makes you cool, then owning a vat of ranch makes you the coolest. Right?

All kidding aside, I would gladly accept any of these terrible presents.  I would be delighted to re-gift them later.

The Funkhouser Situation E13: Wet like Maytag


Lee Cruse and Chris Tomlin have returned from an extended Thanksgiving weekend for another exciting edition of The Funkhouser Situation.  This week they discuss the usual hot topics around the world of pop culture and they bring a heavy dose of discussion on animated movies.  Highlights:

—  Lee’s spectacular pre-show adventure.

—  Does Coco live up to the Pixar hype?

—  Matt Lauer is the next sexual harassment domino to fall.

—  Is Lee up to date with what the kids are listening to now-a-days?

—  Who is at the top of Billboard’s Hip-Hop/R&B charts?

—  The Podcast’s Top Five Animated Flicks

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

The Funkhouser Situation E12: Married to Ronda Rousey

Just in time for your holiday travels, Chris Tomlin and Lee Cruse return for another episode of The Funkhouser Situation.  In this week’s episode, they explore what it would be like if Lee were married to Ronda Rousey, Chance the Rapper’s strong performance as SNL host, and…

—  Lee’s take on The Justice League.

—  Music you’ll hear while riding in the car with Lee.

—  How Chris discovered Chance before he reached acclaimed fame.

—  The Best Reviewed Movies from every year since 2000.

—  Chris is shocked to hear Lee’s favorite movie from the last decade.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

The Walking Dead: Some Guy and The Big Scary U

The Walking Dead: Some Guy and The Big Scary U

Howdy folks! Looking back on a bi-weekly basis has become the norm around here. Not for lack of material mind you. Rather, it is a sign of the zombie apocalypse when so much time is dedicated to so little happening. It is an argument to have, over a couple of beers, what is wrong with this season of TWD. Crappy writing maybe? Eh, there are only so many ways you can write a conversation. Could it be the acting? I’d argue this has been one of the better acted seasons so far, we have to go deeper. The largest problem with TWD this year is people. Not good or bad people, but the amount of them. There is too many! Between the 6 communities (Yes I’m including the Heapsters and the depressing Oceanside group) there are no less than 22 characters to catch up with. Looking at a monthly comic is one thing. Watching a show every week is another. So if it feels like nothing is happening, that is what is occuring. We’ll have to wait and see if they start knocking people off in the coming weeks. For now lets catch up with the characters we followed for the last two.

King Ezekiel, Carol, Jerry, and Shiva(R.I.P)

Full disclosure, I’ve already watched this episode. No not last Sunday, I watched it in the comic 5 years ago. Scott Gimple tries to mix up new material with material straight from the comic. This was one of those episodes that almost mimic the comic page for page. Ezekiel is brought down to Earth with the decimation of his soldiers and the loss of Shiva. Except for the inclusion of Carol, the show follows Ezekiel going down the hole of reality and depression. This is a nice nugget of direction for Ezekiel, given his bravodo since he was introduced. How will he recover? Will he still be the King? Will his people lose hope? These are avenues of story telling that await. And God bless Jerry for his devotion to his king. For what its worth, Carol can join my apocalypse army any day. #thatsabadasswoman

Negan and Gabriel

The polar opposites of the show get stuck in a trailer surrounded by walkers. What mayhem ensues? Except for Gabriel taking a shot at Negan, we get to see little glimpes of how the main bad guy operates. His convictions on what drives him actually sound sane. To be honest, when Gabriel asked to hear Negan’s confession, I thought we were going to get a whole episode of his backstory. Robert Kirkman has teased that will find out more and more about how he came to be. Telling Gabriel about his first wife, and only true wife, shows that Negan does still have a soul. His weakness of not being able to end her life when she turns is on par with Morgan. For Gabriel it was a revelation to see Negan with his people and how they respond to him as a leader. It makes you wonder who the real bad guy on the show is.

Simon, Eugene, Dwight, Gregory, and various other Savior Leaders

The dynamic and tension created between Dwight and Eugene is fantastic. It creates a “will he or won’t he” tell Negan about Dwight for Eugene. Is he truly “Negan”. Knowing from the books Dwight’s story line, this is a wrinkle I look forward to watching unravel. Poor Simon can’t win for losing. Given the golden opportunity to lead the Saviors to survival of the walker invasion, Simon fails miserably. Descension with the workers of the Sanctuary isn’t stopped until Negan comes walking around the corner whistling his merry little tune. Gregory on the other hand is such a tool. I don’t understand how he’s made it this long on the show. I’m begging them to finish off his whiny behind.

Rick and Daryl

The buddy cop show we deserve! Although the duo doesn’t receive tons of screen time the last two weeks, what they do have is fast paced. Running down the truck carrying the .50 cal is action that had been promised this season. If you complain there is no way that random guy couldn’t hit Daryl and Rick with it while running down the road, you haven’t played Call of Duty. It can be so frustrating. The scrap the boys had last night appears to be brothers being brothers. I was wondering if they were going to address the different ideas they have over how to win the war. Daryl wants to end it in quick fashion at the cost of the enemies lives. Rick’s plan is to win with strategy because he wants people to live, at the threat of more of his people dying. We’ll see how long this plays out, with the Rick going one way slowly and Daryl headed the other quickly.


I know this season has been frustrating for fans this year. The amount of characters is troublesome and difficult to deal with. Will the show runners have the guts to have a cull? I think they’re building up to it. As per Walking Dead protocol, it is going to be a slow burn to get there. However, the last 2 or 3 epsiodes of Season 8 could be a bloodbath. We shall see. Just hold on people! We can get there if we try. Until 2 weeks from now, ta ta.

The Funkhouser Situation E11: Sexy Dirty Love

This week The Funkhouser Situation with Lee Cruse and Chris Tomlin is bringing you something they’ve never brought to the airwaves before: Sexy Dirty Love.  What does it mean?  You’ll know exactly what it means after you listen to another exciting episode that also features…

—  Benny Snell makes Lee happy.

—  Venting on the Bengals…is this a sports podcast?

—  Will Louis C.K. survive and are they surprised?

—  Hollywood’s Slippery Slope

—  Is Reality TV Dead?

—  Lee Proclaims ______ is the Best Show EVER in the History of Television.

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

Why Brandon Micheal Hall should be the breakout star of 2017

Why Brandon Micheal Hall should be the breakout star of 2017

Brandon Micheal Hall is an up and coming leading man with a middle name that serves as a charming factoid.  Did you know, that his mother was all hopped up on two epidurals when she named him? Well, now you do and that little bit of trivia will haunt you every time you see BMH’s precious face. Recently, Hall has been finding the perfect niche on the television screen. 2017 is proving to be a good year for the young actor.

Brandon Micheal Hall is making a name for himself, scrambled vowels and all.

Even though he previously had parts in The Characters and Broad City, I was first introduced to him in TBS’s Search Party.  Hall plays the foil to the world’s most insufferable boyfriend.  Search Party has a pretty specific vibe that it’s striving to achieve.  The show has an oppressive feeling of hipster coolness.  Characters wear clothes you’d feel foolish wearing, they make profound statements that don’t really mean anything, all scripted over indecipherable lyrics of a mumbling singer.

It’s a real cool vibe.

In the first episode of season one, Brandon Micheal Hall cuts through the all the fakeness. When the audience first meets him, he walks into a super trendy rooftop party and is immediately ready to leave.  Hall’s character waters down how superficial and painful the other characters can be.

Because I’m naive and easily persuaded, I’m convinced that Brandon Micheal Hall is a little like this in real life. Exhibit B: ABC’s The Mayor. I feel shame for reallllllly liking this show.  (I guarantee that the cool hipsters on the super trendy rooftop party in Search Party don’t like The Mayor) but, I can’t help myself.  Hall plays a rapper who runs for mayor as a publicity stunt to promote his rap album.

The premise is painful. There are so many opportunities for the show be a flop.  For example, Courtney Rose, the rapper turned mayor, raps at the beginning of the show.  Even though the lyrics are written by Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs, the results are cheesy.  In the song “Cheddar Cheese,” they boast, “Breathalyze me…that ain’t liquor, it’s just all this game I got inside me.”

It’s not great.

In October, Entertainment Weekly claimed that “Cheddar Cheese” would become your “new jam.”  To no one’s surprise, “Cheddar Cheese” isn’t anyone’s jam. But, despite it all, The Mayor is lovely.  To Hall’s credit, a lot of the show’s chemistry comes from his connection with many of the characters.  Hall lets David Spade do David Spade things.  Hall has a sweet chemistry with Lea Michele.  (So much so that If they don’t get together I’ll delete this whole article.) The best relationship is between Courtney Rose and his mother, played by Yvette Nicole Brown.  Brown seems like a stand-in for Hall’s mother in real life.  She’s a hard working woman with an extremely loving relationship with her son. Ironically, their supportive relationship is my new jam.

The only fear about Hall’s personality is that he’s too good to be true.  Can anyone be as genuine as he seems in interviews?  For example, in his first late night appearance on Jimmy Kimmel, he asks for a second round of applause just for his mom in the crowd.  For some actors, this would be a calculated move to seem down-to-earth and thoughtful.  With Hall, it seems real.  Even this video describing Hall’s advice for any aspiring actors is syrupy sweet.  Can he really be that adorable?

Overall, there isn’t one shining example for why Brandon Micheal Hall is the breakout star of 2017.  He played a likable character in a show full of self-centered weirdos.  He is the lead in a decent sitcom.  There’s just something undeniably delightful about his energy and authenticity.

He’s the real deal and you heard it here first.

The Funkhouser Situation E10: We’re Casting a Hollywood Film!

Lee Cruse and Steely Dan-hater Chris Tomlin are back for another excellent edition of KSR’s pop culture podcast, The Funkhouser Situation.  This week they share what movies they watched this weekend, dish on Larry David’s SNL monologue, and…

—  This week’s Big Story: Chris and Lee cast a Hollywood Action Comedy.

—  Why Lee and Chris dislike Avatar.

—  Lee knows what is wrong with UK football.

—  As usual, Tomlin provides a Kevin Can Wait plot update.

—  Are writers too harsh on Trump?

You can easily listen on the KSR App, available on iTunes and Google Play.  Streaming online is simple through Pod Paradise.  You can also get it directly to your phone by subscribing to “Kentucky Sports Radio” on iTunes or via Android’s Podcast Addict app.

The Inspiration for the Zumbo Test

Zumbo’s Just Desserts and Other Oddities

Zumbo’s Just Desserts is like the Great British Baking Show but on acid.  The Netflix show, set in Australia, uses Zumbo’s fanciful desserts as inspiration for baking challenges.  Presumably, Zumbo is some sort of household name in the land down under.  Since there are so many baking and cooking shows on TV it’s hard to be shocked by something innovative.  The Great British Baking Show, Holiday Baking Challenge, Top Chef, Food Network Star and Chopped have all settled their own corner on the market.  But, Zumbo’s Just Desserts has managed to craft something unique and different.  The recipe for a Zumbo’s Just Desserts episode is as follows:

  • 1 cup Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory
  • 20 lbs of dry ice for dramatic effect
  • A pinch of obscure Australian references
  • Two heaping spoonful’s of slow motion photography
  • Stir counterclockwise (Cause, Australia) till well mixed!

Zumbo embraces all things quirky and whimsical.  The participant’s professions seem to embody this commitment to all things odd. Here are some of the amateur baker’s professions:

  • Brogen (a stay at home mum)
  • Michael (Brickie)
  • Ashley (airline crewing)
  • Wendy (art lover)
  • Daniel (Bouncer)
  • Peter (Car Salesman)
  • Kate (No-nonsense Mum)
  • Patricia (Eternal Optimist)

The bakers are a ragtag group of dessert-enthusiasts who say things like “I like the feel of flour on my skin” or seem slightly unhinged.

The Inspiration for the Zumbo Test

The show culminates with the Zumbo Test. The test, while tragically named, is perfectly designed.  The bottom two contestants are given a dessert, created by Zumbo, to recreate. The dessert is presented under a dome veiled by dry ice clouds.  The presentation is overly dramatic because the moment is dramatic.  The bottom two contestants have to sweat under the lights for four hours while trying to imitate Zumbo’s masterpiece.  The rest of the contestants get to sit for four hours and silently judge their competitors skills.   It is deliciously satisfying to watch amateurs mimic the techniques of master Pastry chefs.  The glorious catastrophe of watching regular people attempts gels, sablees, salted caramel curd, mirror glaze, and 1,000 other techniques is exactly what Zumbo’s Just Desserts is about.

The amateur baker’s representation of his creation.

In the end, the contestants made two mirror glazed raisins that looked like deflated examples of Zumbo’s creation.  The end results are pitiful creations made with good intentions and inexperience.

Overall, Zumbo’s personality is bland, but what he lacks in personality he makes up in creativity, pizzazz and showmanship.  Similarly, his contestants are amateur bakers, but what they lack in skills they make up in quirky personalities and determination.

It’s the best.

The Walking Dead “Monsters” Review

The Walking Dead “Monsters” Review


Welcome back viewers! It has been an unusual start to Season 8 of TWD so far. We talked about the problems in the first episode 2 weeks ago. Last week was so off kilter I couldn’t come up with a review that felt halfway right, so after a week off, let’s talk about the characters and ongoings of Rick and his war on the Saviors. Negan is still trapped by Walkers at The Sanctuary with his gang and Gabriel. That leaves the frontal assault on the alleged gun hideout and other outposts. There are 3 main groups that have split the team up, bogging each of them down in different ways. Here is a look at what each one is dealing with.

The Kingdom: Ezekiel, Carol, good guy Jerry, random warriors, and Shiva 

The King has led his group, along with ass kicking Carol, to fight against outposts that have been warned of their approach. Ezekiel has been his Shakespearean best before these conflicts which arise beyond the horizon! Sorry, got carried away. Which I think is the point for Ezekiel. His bravado shown to his troops has truly put their fears to rest as they attempt to take the fight to the Saviors. Waving his sword around, chatting with Carol along the way, even the little conflict last week with the grenade throwing Savior have placed his group in a battle frame of mind. The strategy Carol comes up with works out for the Kingdom, saving them from an ambush. Their first battle appears to be won, but alas! Hark! Scatter! They have a… Yeah, moving across an open field is never a good choice in war. In Carol and Ezekiel’s defense, they believed the big gun was at another outpost. Watching the warriors jumping on top of Ezekiel shows how much he means to them in a weird Save The King! way. We shall see if Carol can save the group by infiltrating the compound all by herself.

The Hilltop: Jesus, Morgan, Tara, group fighters, and lots of prisoners 

This is the group of the show that had Twitter in a tizzy last night. I’ll discuss Twitter at the end to not get side tracked, but this was a difficult portion of the show. I don’t understand how people can watch a moral debate and crap on it so much. I’ll give you some of the dialogue was pretty cheesy, which seems to be an unfortunate theme this season. However, this has always been a part of the show. The debate between Tara, Jesus, and Morgan of what to do with the captured Saviors is the context of this groups portion of the show. Walkers falling down the hill was entertaining. Morgan’s insistence on taking out the prisoners led to a fight with Jesus. The fight was actually well done, even with the eventual Morgan leaving the group. His demons have been unleashed again, not in a good way. This group is walking that fine line of morality of kill or be compassionate to your enemy. It really isn’t until Jesus says, “We have to live with these people after its all over.” that the main point is made. The Apocalypse is a civil war in a way. Every one of these people are ‘Muricans by God! With so few people left, every one of them means something for the way forward. Let us just hope Morgan comes back quicker than his 5 seasons between appearances this time.

Alexandrians: Rick, Daryl, Aaron, Eric, Tobin, and fighters

To someone who has watched the show from the beginning, to have an original season 1 character pop up was cool. Hey Morales! How’s it been going? Oh, your whole family died and you suck now. It was a great, quick chat Rick and Morales have. It shows you the that no matter what group you belong to, you can be seen as a monster from a certain point of view. Daryl’s thoughts on the whole kill or be kind debate is easily answered. Aaron losing Eric is heart breaking. We should all be that upset over the loss of your partner in life. Aaron clearly has plenty of guilt over the death, especially since it was his idea to join the fight. Taking over care of the discovered baby at the end of the episode was odd, yet it could show his heart is in the fight fo all the right reasons. Rick and Daryl appear to be headed off to save Ezekiel and Carol with the knowledge the guns they believed they were going after are actually at the outpost the Kingdom is attacking.

Loose Ends and Random Thoughts 

The brief scenes with Maggie and Gregory worked well. Maggie has shown she is the true leader of the Hilltop now. I had no idea pancakes were such a hot commidity at the Hilltop. The Walker eating someone’s bald head was the kill of the week. Where are the Heapsters? After being heavily involved at the end of season 7, not a bad haircut has been spotted so far this year. Morales showing up, while brief, was a nice nod to the earlier incarnation of the show. I think he talked more in this episode than all of season 1.

Twitter and Trolls 

Finally, a quick thought on Twitter and trolls. I know this season hasn’t gotten off to the best start for viewers, and something that has become a trend is to totally crap on a show when people think it has jumped the shark. Granted I like having informed discussion about TWD, but last night was a quagmire of hate. To be honest, I didn’t watch until this morning, yet I followed on Twitter to see reactions. This may become the new normal for this post, to say I can stay outside of the mob mentality. Was Monsters the best episode? No it wasn’t. Was it total crap that viewers said it was? I disagree. There was plenty of action, much better context, and some moral dilemas to hash out. For anyone still sticking with the show, this post will return every Monday! Let me know your thoughts in the comments. We can follow all the differences that we have as fans. Until next Monday, ta ta.

You can follow me on Twitter @BradTheMedic02