Tag Archives: TV shows

Google Zeitgeist: “Here’s to 2013!”

As we did with Christmas, Mrs. Yeti, Greta and I spent pretty much the entire weekend holed up in the living room watching movies, eating and drinking, playing video games and assembling very intricately designed LEGO playsets. And while sitting there complaining that none of the end of year wrap-up shows on TV were any good, we caught this new Google ad that captured 2013 better than any cheesy TV show ever could.

Kudos to Google for doing it again! This new ad was so beautiful it had us in tears all night. Here’s to a fun, prosperous and magical year ahead for all of us. Happy New Year!

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WestJet’s “Christmas Miracle” video

Greta and I have already watched loads of cheesy, syrupy-sweet Christmas movies this season — if you’re interested, Lifetime’s Christmas in the City and the Bruce Davison starrer Christmas Angel were totally watchable, so, keep an eye out for them! — but nothing we’ve seen can hold a candle to the video Canadian carrier WestJet released earlier this week.

Entitled Christmas Miracle, the clip is all over Facebook and has been viewed a whopping 10 million-plus times on YouTube, so, you’ve probably already seen it. But, if you haven’t, grab some Kleenex and prepare to be terribly, terribly moved by the Christmas spirit. Enjoy!

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AFI’s 10 Best Movies & TV Shows (2013)

I was already feeling woefully behind in my award season movie watching when the American Film Institute released their ten best list this week and totally sealed the deal. Sadly, I have seen only one of the movies on this list. Yikes…

And though AFI’s annual list is hardly an accurate predictor of future Oscar glory, it definitely puts a spotlight on films with award season momentum. And with films like Her, 12 Years A Slave and American Hustle already doing very well with the National Board of Review and various film critics groups around the country, a nod from the AFI never hurt anyone.

So, while I try to scramble to find a babysitter so I can actually try and see some of these movies, please enjoy this year’s pick of AFI honorees.

AFI's top ten movies & TV shows (2013)

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“The Sound of Music” LIVE

As usual, we’ve been watching loads of schmaltzy Christmas TV movies this season — thanks to the holiday-loving programming elves at Lifetime and ABC Family! — so, we were all very excited to watch tonight’s insanely-overhyped LIVE presentation of The Sound of Music on NBC. But, man, were we disappointed!

Actually I lost both of the girls ten minutes in and ended up watching the rest of the show alone, so, I guess I should say “I” was disappointed. And actually, disappointed is putting it nicely…

Overhyped, glacially-paced and curiously underlit (seriously, I’ve seen better lighting transitions in high school plays!) perhaps the worst thing about this so-called “major television event” was the woefully miscast Carrie Underwood. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some Carrie Underwood and she did the best she could with the songs here, but, whenever she had to actually, you know, “act” Underwood was positively bloodless. It was like watching a really bad first time audition or something. It’s not that she didn’t try, but, wow, watching her try to inject some actual life and character into Maria was almost painful in spots. And the lack of any discernible acting skills on Underwood’s part was even more glaring anytime she shared the stage with a “real” actor.

But, honestly, this Music was so dead on arrival and totally tone deaf that even the real Broadway actors with serious chops like Audra McDonald and Christian Borle had a hard time bringing it to life. If there was one thing that kept this rickety old train running, it was the songs, which, let’s face it, are pretty hard to screw up.

And even though I found myself singing along in spots, I gotta tell ya, the only thing this ill-advised and totally unnecessary “remake” did for me was make me wanna dig out my Blu-Ray and rewatch the original. Sorry, NBC…but you get a big old lump of coal for this clunker.

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Inside “The Ricki Lake Show”

Just recently heard the news that The Ricki Lake Show was cancelled a couple of weeks back. As Nelson on The Simpsons might say: “Ha, Ha!” I know that sounds mean, but, now that the show has finally bit the dust — trust me, if you ever watched it, you knew it was inevitable — I can talk freely about what a bad experience actually being on The Ricki Lake Show was. Whew!

Last summer, one of Lake’s producers reached out to a bunch of the guys in my stay-at-home-dads Meetup Group. They were looking to do an in-depth show on the growing trend of SAHD’s. That sounded great to us, so, several of the guys responded to their email query. The next step was to fill out an application stating why we would make good guests on the show. Then came the phone interviews. Yes, I said interviews, plural. All totalled, I think Mrs. Yeti and myself were probably interviewed at least four or five times, a piece, by at least three different people. It was insane.

And while part of the problem was that Lake burned through producers like crazy (I think there were at least three producers hired and fired during the show’s mercifully short run!) and we had to be re-interviewed when the new team came onboard, the real problem was that no one wrote anything down. I’m not kidding, we had to give them the same information dozens of times. I was like: “Hello? Would it kill you to make a file for us on, oh, I don’t know, a computer, perhaps?”

Then we had to shoot a day-in-the-life video of Greta and I doing our thing. As with everything else they demanded along the way, the producers told us we needed to shoot our video and get it to them ASAP. “We needed it yesterday.” were their exact words. So, we busted our hump — actually, my brother busted his hump, we just went about our business while he taped us! — and got them a video in record time. The producer confirmed she got our video, said she loved it and then nothing. For weeks. No calls. No e-mails. Nothing.

Almost a month later, we got a call from a new producer who apparently got our name and contact information from some scribbled notes the former producer left in her office. “[Producer #1] said you guys were a cute couple and that I had to make sure and get you on the show.” Producer #2 said. Flattered, we agreed to move forward. Which meant, you guessed it, more phone interviews where we talked about the exact same stuff we’d talked about before.

Our hook all along was that I wanted to talk about the very real phenomenon of postpartum depression in men. I had been through it — hell, I still go through it! — and I know several of the SAHD’s I hang out with have felt the same way. And while I’m sure some women would call us crazy, I can tell you for a fact that anyone who takes care of a baby all day for any extended period of time feels crazy sometimes. And if they tell you they don’t, they’re lying. It’s the hardest job there is.

Anyway, that was what I wanted to talk about on the show. The isolation that I felt, the depression, the straight-up insanity of it all. And then I wanted to talk about how I got over it. The way meeting and hanging out with other dudes (sorry, ladies, I tried that route too and mostly, I just felt judged) who were in the exact same boat I was, finally lifted me out of the darkness and helped me feel better. Blogging about my experiences totally helped too. It still does!

So, that was our angle. We were the couple with the male postpartum depression. And while I always knew the chances of our story being trivialized or sensationalized on a show like Ricki Lake’s were high, part of me hoped we could actually help people. Or at the very least, help some other crazy shut-in SAHD know that he wasn’t totally alone. That was my hope at least.

What ended up happening was much less exciting. By the time we actually were given a date and time to show up for the taping our episode was called “Blended Families” and the totally random topics on our show were literally all over the place. There was a trash-talking stepmom who hated her stepson, a large group of children whose mom died and left them with their aunt to raise, the gay couple from Tori Spelling’s reality series and their bratty daughter, and then, in the last two segments of the show (which are always the shortest) the producers managed to shoehorn in the topic of SAHD’s. How blended families relate to SAHD’s is beyond me, but, that’s where we ended up.

And then, to add insult to injury, Mrs. Yeti and myself weren’t even allowed to sit onstage with the other SAHD’s. Instead, we were interviewed in the show’s closing seconds from the audience. If you knew how long they spent picking out our clothes (no, we were not allowed to wear our own clothes, crazy, huh?) the fact that you could barely see what we had on made absolutely no sense at all. What a waste of time and effort!

Another highly annoying thing is that they told us not to bring Greta to the taping, but the other two SAHD’s (the ones who got to actually sit on Ricki’s couch!) brought their kids onstage with them. Just kind of annoying.

So, while the first two SAHD’s showed their day-in-the-life videos (neither one of which held a candle to our rocking video, BTW), Mrs. Yeti and I were shuttled into our seats in the audience. And after the next “commercial break” Lake shoved her mic in our faces and interviewed us for maybe two or three minutes. It might have lasted longer had one of the SAHD’s onstage not interrupted me to say that he himself had never felt isolated or judged by SAHM’s. I was so blown away by his totally self-serving comments that I just kinda stood there looking stupid while he talked. But, inside, I was like: “Dude! You had your turn, shut the fuck up!” Grrr!

I checked out his blog later and can safely say that the dude is a first class asshole who gives daddy bloggers a seriously bad name. I mean, come on, man, I’ve got like two minutes to talk to Ricki. Why you gotta interrupt me? Total d-bag!

Luckily for me, the show had an actual doctor sitting in the front row who confirmed that male postpartum depression isn’t just real, but, actually something that several doctors have been studying. Ha! Put that in your blog and suck it, dude on stage! And then, with the clock ticking on the show, Ricki asked Mrs. Yeti if she thought I was a good Dad. Tearing up a bit, Mrs. Yeti replied: “Oh yes, he’s an excellent father!” It was very sweet, and, despite the fact that I was a giggly, sweaty mess, Mrs. Yeti looked absolutely gorgeous onscreen. Seriously, she came off great!

And just like that, the show ended and Lake literally bolted for the door. As far as I know, she never spoke off camera to any of the guests that day. Nice, huh? I understand ditching out on the studio audience, but, come on, would it have killed her to linger a little bit with us backstage? What a joke.

That said, everybody else behind the scenes was lovely. Our “handlers” were great and though the decor and snacks in the green room sucked ass (Three flavors of Pringles? Really?) we still had fun sitting in there eating them with my brother and sister-in-law. And, honestly, it was kinda cool having our names on the green room door even if that green room looked like a single dude’s apartment after a bad divorce. You know: couch, chair, coffee table, Pringles. So lame!

Lamer still was the fact that after all that rush-rush here, rush-rush there, our show didn’t air for another five months. Our episode aired on the Friday before the Christmas break. Yep, it was so bad that they totally buried it. In fact, to give you an idea of just how bad our episode was, Lake’s producers (who had changed AGAIN by the time our episode aired) played the show’s big, fancy Christmas episode the day before our episode. Wow, talk about a lump of coal for Christmas.

Oh, I almost forgot, Lake’s producers did try and do a full episode about SAHD’s later on in the show’s run. They even contacted our Meetup Group again looking for guests — I guess they forgot that most of us had already been interviewed for their show and that Mrs. Yeti and I had even appeared on it! But, this time, no one replied.

So, I repeat: “Ha ha!” Suck it, Ricki Lake…

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Oscar Night Breakdown

Sorry for not writing about our Oscar party earlier, but, have spent most of this week recovering from what was a very busy weekend. Went to see a friend in a play on Saturday night and then spent Sunday cleaning the house for our annual Oscar party. Then we had the party, which was great — the Frankenweenie pigs in a blanket, French cheeses and bread for Les Miserables, and the blood-spattered Lincoln cake seemed to be the crowd favorites! — and then spent the rest of the night re-cleaning the house. Good times.

Actually, it really was. An old friend of ours was at the party and I haven’t watched the Oscars with her since Marisa Tomei won back in the day, so, we had a lot of fun. And despite the fact that she was probably desperately over-tired from the events of the weekend, Greta was a dream child through the entire show. And then, just as Michelle Obama was about to announce the Best Picture winner (by the way, what the hell was that all about? I love me some FLOTUS, but, that shit was just awkward…yikes!) Greta suddenly flipped out and DEMANDED attention. It was the weirdest thing.

Lincoln Oscar Party cake (2013)

And though I tried my best to shuffle her off to her bedroom to silence the demon (seriously, she was shrieking!), even with the door closed, I knew everyone at that party was getting an earful. What really killed me was that if she’d just held on, like three minutes longer, the show would have ended and I could have showered her with attention. As it was, I ended up watching the tail end of the show later and comforting Greta instead. A small price to pay when my favorite movie won. Go, Argo!

Of course, once all the singletons and childless guests left — the type you hope will not fixate on the ten minutes your kid was bad and focus instead on the three-plus hours when she was a party host’s dream! — Greta was back to her old charming self. Guess she just needed to let off some steam. Oh, and speaking of, Greta also inherited a gigantic foot locker full of Thomas the Train trains and enough wooden tracks to cover our living room floor in, well, wooden tracks. So, that was great too. And it kept her super busy during the show, so, thank you upstairs neighbor, Ed. You rock!

As for the show itself, I was very pleased with all the winners. I hate when one movie dominates the night (yeah, I’m talking to you, The Artist) so, it was fun to see the wealth so evenly distributed throughout the show. And though he’s getting slammed in the press, I actually thought Seth MacFarlane was an awesome host. He was hip, funny, and despite a few off color moments — the Boobs song bothered me much less than the frat-boyish jabs at women never letting things go — he was never boring, which is the greatest sin an Oscar host can commit! So, if you ask me, moving forward the Academy needs to decide what they really want in an Oscar host: someone edgy, out-there and possibly offensive? Or someone who’s stately, traditional and totally boring. Because, as the past few years have proved, you can’t have it all, baby.

Anyway, love to hear what you guys thought of the show, so, comment away…

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Date Night TV: “Girls”

I should start by saying that up until about a month ago I had sort of a love/hate relationship with Lena Dunham, the writer/director/creator of HBO’s hit series Girls. And though I know it’s never cool to judge a filmmaker by their personal life — if I did I’d have a hard time stomaching Woody Allen movies too, which I love! — but after watching Dunham’s feature film debut Tiny Furniture on DVD about a year ago, I couldn’t stop hating her. Don’t get me wrong, the movie was great and explores many of the same issues and even character types as Girls does.

The problem I had with Dunham’s movie is that it was released by my beloved Criterion Collection, whose main objective, as I may have stated here before, is to release “a continuing series of important classic and contemporary films”. Yes, Tiny Furniture is contemporary (it was released in 2010) but I think it’s still a little early to tell if it’s “important.”

And then I learned that Dunham is from a family of New York art world superstars — her father is a painter and her mother and frequent co-star, Laurie Simmons, is a well-known photographer — who no doubt circulate in the same hip, underground crowds as the Criterion Collection execs do. So, then I hated her even more. In my mind, Dunham was nothing more than a privileged rich kid using Mommy and Daddy’s connections to make so-called “indie films” that debuted on the freaking Criterion Collection! Urgh…so lame!

Lena Dunham on GIRLS

GIRLS cast

The problem was though, I still loved the movie. And then Girls came along and I loved that too. Correction, I more than love it. Mrs. Yeti really likes it too, but, I’m kind of obsessed with the show right now. And then I started reading and learning more about Dunham and I realized that, parental art-world connections or not, she really is talented as all hell. So, when we finally got HBO last month, I put my own professional jealousies aside and started watching season one of Girls from the beginning. And it was fucking hilarious!

Sad, funny, goofy, dirty, real, authentic, it’s one of the best-written shows I’ve watched in a long time. Dunham and her amazingly gifted cast are a joy to watch each week, especially when one (or all) of their lives are spinning wildly out of control. Oh, man…it’s fantastic. And season two, which started three weeks ago has been even better. I have actually taken to writing down memorable quotes from the show on my iPad. Yes, I’m that kind of fan.

The only problem that I can find with Girls so far is that it is not even remotely kid-friendly. In fact, the other day Greta came into the room while I was trying to watch it and even before anyone said or did anything profane, Greta said: “Daddy, I don’t think I should be watching this show.” Ha! And she was right, the next scene would have required way too much explaining to a toddler. So, I put on The Princess and the Frog for the twentieth time instead.

But, if you and yours happen to have a night to yourselves, one of those cherished “date night-ins” that have become so chic of late, then pop in the first season of Girls and go to town. Seriously, you will laugh your ass off. Truly groundbreaking stuff!

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Stay-at-home-Yeti on “Ricki Lake” today!

If you needed further proof that the Mayans were right and that the world really is ending today, look no further than this. Roughly four months after it was taped, myself and Mrs. Yeti will be appearing on today’s episode of “The Ricki Lake Show”. That’s right, the episode we never thought would air is finally seeing the light of day!

I’ll fill you in on all the behind-the-scenes drama later, but, for now, just wanted to give you time to set your Tivos and pop up some popcorn before the big show. I’m kidding, of course. Our appearance is so brief — Mrs. Yeti and I are shoehorned into the final segment on stay-at-home-dads — that if you blink, you’ll miss it. Seriously, it goes by really fast, so, keep your eyes peeled!

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Quote of the day: Tia Mowry

OK, let me start by saying that I absolutely loathe Tia and Tamera Mowry — those crazy-annoying twins from that crazy-annoying TV show Sister, Sister — so, I was kinda surprised when Tia said something even remotely interesting (and relevant to my current gig as a SAHD) on The Nate Berkus Show today. Yes, I watch Nate Berkus sometimes. Mostly to fill the gaping hole in my life since Oprah left the basic cable airwaves. So sad…

Anyway, Mr. Berkus was interviewing Tia and he asked her if motherhood was what she expected it to be. You know, total softball, standard daytime-TV question. But her response was surprisingly honest, especially coming from a fake-ass robot like her. Sorry, even if I totally agree with her…I still kinda hate her. Anyway, this is how Tia Mowry answered Nate’s question:

“I’m gonna be honest, I’m gonna be real. The lows are a lot lower than I expected, I mean, I am so exhausted, I am always on auto-pilot. But the highs are a lot higher than I expected [too]. I have so much love for my son, he is my motivation.”

Wow, nicely put, Sister, um, Sister. I feel your lows and your highs!

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Long live, Judge Allred!

OK, so, she’s not really a judge, but, man alive, does that crackpot Gloria Allred knows how to get people’s attention. Most of us know Allred from her long time career as an ambulance-chasing “celebrity lawyer” — she’s the one who takes on all the juicy, high-profile cases now that Johnny Cochran’s dead — but what you might not know is that she also has a totally awesome daytime TV show called We The People With Gloria Allred.

I know what you’re thinking: who needs another lame court room show, right? Well, I thought so too. Actually, I usually loathe court TV shows — have you seen the new The People’s Court? Oy, I wanna punch that show in the face. Not just the judge, the whole show! — but Allred and her savvy producers won this lonely SAHD over on one viewing. And the reason is simple. Unlike so many of the bad court shows on the air today, People focuses on the cases, not the judge. And the result is truly inspired hilarity.

I’m not kidding, man, the cases on this show put the “C” in crazy. And don’t get me started on the litigants. Yikes! I did a little research and it turns out that the litigants are actors reading transcripts from actual cases. A casting call I found for the show made it very clear that they will not, under any circumstances, hire “Union” actors so, not only does that save the producers money, but, it also means that they are using some truly awful actors. So awful, in fact, that I am this close to putting a Season Pass for the show on our Tivo. Yep, it’s that bad/good.

For instance, today’s show featured a taxi driver suing a drunk girl for throwing up in the front seat of his cab and destroying all his electronics. She said he was driving badly and that that is what made her sick, but, you could tell she was a lush (kinda slutty too, sorry, but, she was) and well, I’ll let you guess who ended buying who a new smartphone, XM Radio and GPS system.

And last week there was a birthday party magician suing a mother for making him wait too long in the garage before the party. He was the big birthday surprise for her son and he arrived early for the gig so she stashed him and his props in the sweltering garage for over an hour. So, when the magician finally got around to the pulling-a-rabbit-out-of-his-hat-trick at the party, his rabbit was dead. The mother was counter-suing for emotional distress for all the screaming, traumatized kids at the party, and guess what, dead rabbit aside, she won!

But I think my favorite recent case involved the Silver Lake hipsters (the show is shot here in L.A.) who were suing their hipster cleaning lady for letting their beloved pet pig escape while she was cleaning. The cleaning lady said the pig was desperate for freedom after being forced to live in the city and actually trampled over her as she tried to catch him. Awesome! That one was so good I think I taped it for Mrs. Yeti to watch later. Allred sided with the crazy couple on that case and made the poor vegan cleaning lady pay for the lost pig. Boo!

Anyway, if I haven’t hooked you with these crazy case descriptions yet, then maybe We the People isn’t for you. But, if you like your court room drama on the wacky side, then, check this show out! Oh, and make sure and catch the brief Allred backstory in the opening credits, she makes herself sound like Dolores Huerta or some shit, breaking glass ceilings left and right on her way to the top. Hilarious! Preening self-promotion never sounded so good.

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