Friday, January 22, 2010

20 Great Television Shows of the Last Decade

So, there was a lot going on in the last decade as far as television goes.  Some great shows came and went.  Others started off good and then "jumped the shark" relatively early on (see Heroes).  And then there was one show that garners our opinion as THE GREATEST SHOW EVER, OF ALL HISTORY!  (See #12 for that show).  But all in all there were other shows we watched that was worthy to make this list.

1.  24 (Fox) Keifer Sutherland stars as Jack Bauer, counter terrorist bad ass having a bad day.  Each episode is an hour of that day which Jack has to endure by saving the world, told in real time.  But seriously how many bad days can a dude really have?

2.   American Idol (Fox). Okay. This show is one of our guilty pleasures.  A car accident that you can’t turn away from.  One could also argue that the show has really changed the musical landscape.  Previous winners like Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood, who you would’ve never heard of if not for the show, were catapulted to superstar status because of the karaoke show.

3.  Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO). Comedy writer Larry David stars as… himself.  This self deprecating schlub makes us laugh at his misfortune and idiocy. 

4.   Deadwood (HBO) One who viewed this show for the first time might think they were watching The Sopranos (see #18) set in the wild west.  They would be half right.  The dialogue is fast paced, raunchy and smart (did they really talk like that back then?). It’s about the town of Deadwood, South Dakota before and after it was annexed by the Dakota Territory. 

5.   Dexter (Showtime). A vigilante serial killer?  Dexter Morgan works for the Miami Metro PD as a blood splatter analyst.  He goes through his days appearing "normal" while secretly picking out his "worthy" victims. Definitely worth getting caught up on if you've not seen it.

6.   Flight Of The Conchords (HBO) Jermaine Clement and Brett Mckenzie are the Conchords, a novelty duo who are desperately trying to get discovered.  Their manager is Murray, a guy who couldn’t think his way out of a paper bag, but he’s likeable nonetheless.  What’s great about this show is the comedy doesn’t beat you over the head and isn’t overly juvenile like some other band/comedy shows.  Plus they’ve got some pretty funny songs.

7.   Hell’s Kitchen (Fox). Chef Gordon Ramsey’s reality show is one part contest to see who is the best chef of the bunch and two parts a show about how much verbal abuse a person can take.

8.   House (Fox). Sardonic genius Dr. House solves a mystery ailment every episode.  Hugh Laurie portrays the doc and captures every idiosyncratic, cynical insult, which makes this character one of our favorites, so superbly.

9.   It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX) Think Cheers meets Seinfeld meets your deranged alcoholic uncle and you get It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  If you’ve never seen the show, start with “The Nightman Cometh” and you’ll be hooked.  Also you have to give them props for starting the whole “green man” thing.  Every so often you’ll catch a “green man” in one of the crowd shots at an Eagles game.

10.   Jackass (MTV).  One could argue this show is the bastard lovechild of Beavis and Butthead.  Others could say the show is proof that the human race is de-evolving.  We argue that it’s hilarious to watch guys put themselves through masochistic stunts all for a laugh.

11.   Life (NBC). Charlie Crews was a cop who was falsely accused of a double homicide, imprisoned for life, but eventually was found innocent and released.  His years in jail taught him Zen and how to be a bad ass.  Really sucks this show wasn’t seen by that many viewers and was cancelled.

12.   Lost (ABC).  Oceanic Air flight 815 crashed in the South Pacific and the survivors found themselves on a mysterious island.  Simple, right?  Wrong.  Intricate character studies of those survivors (and the people they encounter) are told through flashbacks and flashforwards.  Are these individuals brought together by destiny?  Or by coincidence?  Questions have always been raised by the show, which kept its audience coming back in search of the answers.  But now as we head down the home stretch (February 2 marks the beginning of the last season) questions are slowly being answered to what we believe is the best show of all time. 

13.   Mythbusters (Discovery).  Did you hear about the kid that ate a bag of Pop Rocks with a whole can of cola and then his stomach exploded?  Or how about the guy who was huffing butane in his car, decided to light a cigarette and blew up an entire city block?  These and other myths are put to the scientific test. 

14.   Slings and Arrows (Sundance).  For all you theatre geeks out there (yeah, I hear ya) this show was one of those “flipping through the channels and stumbling upon” shows.  It’s about a regional theatre and the goings on.  Oh and there’s a ghost that haunts the artistic director.  It’s like Waiting For Guffman without the mugging for the camera.  

15.   Survivor (CBS) To be honest with you I haven’t watched this show in recent years.  But we put it on the list because it really is the definitive reality show contest.  The one that started it off for all others to follow.  And there are still legions of devoted watchers out there watching every week to see who get’s voted off.

16.   Survivorman (Discovery) Geared up with only his camera equipment, his trusty harmonica and a few everyday items one might have with them, Les Stroud put himself into survival situations.  He must find shelter, food, water, and a means to start a fire.  While most of us may panic is such situations, Stroud remains calm and teaches ways to survive in whatever situation you might find yourself in.

17.   The Office (NBC).  One might argue that this show, which is based on a UK version, has jumped the shark in recent seasons.  Yeah, there are some elements that it has.  But it still makes us laugh at Dwight’s ridiculous braggart personality and Michael’s cluelessness.  Plus that creepy old dude Creed cracks us up every little moment he has screen time.

18.   The Sopranos (HBO).  Cut to black.  That’s how the show ended.  Some were upset.  Some were lost.  To us it was spot on.  The story of Tony Soprano, a complex portrait of mafia boss, father, husband, killer, psych patient came to an end with a cut to black.

19.   The Wire (HBO).  If you have never seen this show, you are sincerely missing out.  This tense drama is a modern day Dickensian tale of the drug war in Baltimore, Maryland.  Every player in the grand scheme of things is explored, from the corner slinging drug dealer to the beat police officers to the politicians that run the city.  This show is not only one of the best shows of the decade, but one of the best EVER! 

20.   Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! (Cartoon Network). When I first saw this show I thought someone had slipped me something in my Red Bull.  The show, helmed by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, has a running time of 11 minutes.  And is some of those most bizarre, nightmarish comedy you will ever see in an 11 minute time span.  Tim and Eric have described the show as “the nightmare version of television”.  Yeah, I can see that.

Calling all gamers, we finish off our Best of the Decade with a look at videogames.  So stay tuned!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Return of Rickets

Videogames.  Awwww, got to love them.  They consume the vast majority of the Idiot Ballroom staff's waking moments (we have to pull ourselves away from COD:Modern Warfare 2 just to post on the blog periodically).  And yeah, we've heard the complaints from people who are elected into authoritative positions and other people who have science degrees.  Arguments like "videogames are contributing to the obesity epidemic among the youth" or "they fuel adolescent violence".  But who would've thunk that they're helping in the return of Rickets?  Rickets, man!

Monday, January 18, 2010

On January 27 Steve Jobs will change the world... again

Is it the rumored Apple Tablet? Or is there something else that Steve Jobs has up his sleeve. We won't know until January 27.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

100 Songs From The Last Decade That Should Be On Your MP3 Player

Continuing our trip down the memory lane that was the last decade, here's an essential list of 100 songs you should have on your MP3 player. The staff at Idiot Ballroom compiled their favorites, poured that data into the main frame computer at the home office and out spouted this hodpodge list.

1. #27 -Dave Matthews Band
2. 99 Problems -Jay-Z
3. A Lap Dance Is So Much Better When The Stripper Is Crying -The Bloodhound Gang
4. A Wolf At The Door -Radiohead
5. Ain't No Rest For The Wicked -Cage The Elephant
6. Air Force Ones - Nelly
7. All These Things That I’ve Done - The Killers
8. Are You Gonna Be My Girl? - Jet
9. Are You In? - Incubus
10. Ashes Of An American Flag -Wilco
11. Awnaw - Nappy Roots
12. B.O.B. -Outkast
13. Bandit -Neil Young
14. Bartender -Hed Pe
15. Better Trends -Japanese Motors
16. Bleed It Out - Linkin Park
17. Blood On The Ground - Incubus
18. Bodysnatchers -Radiohead
19. Borderline (cover) -The Flaming Lips
20. Boyz In The Hood -Dynamite Hack
21. Chicago -Sufjan Stevens
22. Chinese Translation -M. Ward
23. Clint Eastwood -Gorillaz
24. Commerce, TX -Ben Kweller
25. Continuous Hit Music -The American Analog Set
26. Crazy - Gnarls Barkley
27. Danger (High Voltage) -Electric Six
28. Do You Realize -The Flaming Lips
29. Down The Line -Jose Gonzalez
30. Duality -Slipknot
31. Epic Problem -Fugazi
32. Feel Good Inc. -Gorillaz
33. Fight Test -The Flaming Lips
34. Fitz And Dizzyspells -Andrew Bird
35. Float On -Modest Mouse
36. Free Radicals -The Flaming Lips
37. Furr - Blitzen Trapper
38. Gangsters And Thugs -The Transplants
39. God And Money -The Ike Reilly Assassination
40. Gold Digger -Kanye West
41. Gone Daddy Gone (cover) -Gnarls Barkley
42. Heart Songs -Weezer
43. Hipopopotamus Vs. Rhymenocerous –Flight of The Conchords
45. Hurt (cover) -Johnny Cash
46. I'm Shipping Up To Boston -Dropkick Murphys
47. I’m On Standby -Grandaddy
48. I’m Raw -Lyrics Born
49. Icky Thump - The White Stripes
50. In The Ayer -Flo Rida
51. Is This It? - The Strokes
52. Jesus, Etc - Wilco
53. Judith -A Perfect Circle
55. Keep Your Eyes Ahead - The Helio Sequence
56. Kissing The Lipless -The Shins
57. Last Night -The Strokes
58. Lazy Sunday -The Lonely Island
59. Light & Day -The Polyphonic Spree
60. Lose Yourself -Eminem
61. Love Addict -Family Force 5
62. Marching Bands Of Manhattan - Death Cab For Cutie
63. Midwest Swing -St. Lunatics
64. Ms. Jackson -Outkast
65. Myriad Harbour -The New Pornographers
66. Never Had Nobody Like You - M. Ward
67. NYC Ghosts and Flowers -Sonic Youth
68. On The Radio -Regina Spektor
69. Orchid -The White Stripes
70. Polyamorous -Breaking Benjamin
71. Ride Wit Me -Nelly
73. Rockin' The Beer Gut -Trailer Choir
74. Rockin’ The Suburbs -Ben Folds
75. Schism - Tool
76. Seven Nation Army -The White Stripes
77. Sex On Fire -Kings of Leon
78. Silver Lining -Beulah
79. Smile Like You Mean It - The Killers
80. Somebody Told Me -The Killers
81. Still Not A Player -Incubus/Big Pun
82. Stronger -Kanye West
83. Such Great Heights - Postal Service
84. Such Great Heights (cover) -Iron & Wine
85. Take Me Out -Franz Ferdinand
86. The National Anthem -Radiohead
87. The Seven Deadly Sins -Flogging Molly
88. The W.A.N.D. - The Flaming Lips
89. The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song -The Flaming Lips
90. Through The Roof N’ Underground -Gogol Bordello
91. Tribute - Tenacious D
92. Troublemaker - Weezer
93. Waste (cover) - Dave Matthews Band
94. We Will Become Silhouettes -Postal Service
95. Why I Am -Dave Matthews Band
96. Worldwide Suicide -Pearl Jam
97. Yo Mama -The Butterfingers
98. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips
99. You! Me! Dancing! -Los Campesinos
100. Young Folks -Peter Bjorn and John
Next up is our look at the television landscape! Stay tuned.

My brain is overloaded by the douchbaggery

You can imagine my surprise when my douchebag radar reading went off the charts when I saw the trailer for From Paris With Love. First, I've said in the past that any clown who shaves his head to resemble Mr. Clean but still sports a goatee is straight up a DOUCHEBAG. Second, we all know that Pulp Fiction was a fluke in reviving the mediocre douchebaggery career of John Travolta (see Wild Hogs, Old Dogs, Swordfish, etc). So put those two facts together and you have a cornucopia of douchebag stew.