Sunday, May 9, 2010

Amazing John Lewis Ad

I love great ads.  Sometimes they're like a movie, or a poem, like this John Lewis ad.  Nothing to say, except, please watch.

ZWTV Cooking Show

I have a favorite cooking show. But I don't know what it's called, I don't know who the host is, and I can't understand a word (except hao, which means good). That's because my cooking show is on ZWTV, which seems to be a local Chinese station. I can't get any info because the only thing ZWTV translates into English is the ads, and only the addresses. Even the website is in Chinese and, apparently, untranslatable (I tried plugging in the URL at the Google translation site: nada).

Even without understanding the Chinese, I still find it riveting. Mainly because of the host, who is an absolute riot. The first half hour of the show is when she has guests — she really shines here, laughing, buffooning, teasing. On one recent show, she actually cried. At first I thought she was joking, but no, she was crying. The guest chef had made a chicken in a pressure cooker. At the bottom of the pot was an intense liquor of chicken broth. The host drank it, and almost instantly, started tearing up. I'm sure she was reminiscing about her childhood, about her mother or grandmother taking all day to prepare this dish, how the aroma and taste reminded her of all that love. She cried for a good five minutes. I couldn't imagine Martha Stewart or Julia Child doing that.

I think ZWTV is Taiwanese. And I've noticed that Taiwanese shows are really cartoony, very heavy with graphics and physical humor. Even this cooking show will often have cartoon bubbles sprouting out of the guest's head. It's such a fun show. And with food shows, I notice you really don't need to understand the language. So check it out if you get ZWTV.  In LA it's 57.9 and the cooking show is on at 9 in the morning on weekends.


My favorite reader found videos! Here's one.

Monday, May 3, 2010


I like Glee a lot.  It's sort of a scarier version of High School Musical, with half the program devoted to over-the-top MTV inspired music video sequences.  I know it's these sequences and the music that's enabled Glee to really break out — I mean, the Glee cast actual tours the country singing — but for me, what makes Glee stand out is the complete world it's created.  That's hard to do.  Very few creative enterprises succeed in creating a "world".  On TV, Mad Men does it.  Deadwood too.  And The SopranosCurb Your Enthusiasm and Entourage too.

So what's Glee's world like?  Nasty.  The world of the nightmare teenage high school years where no one ever feels like they fit in, even if they are super popular.  In Glee, the haves and have-nots duke it out.  Including the teachers.  And I love the teachers.  The hapless principal (and who hasn't experienced one of those).  The scary coach of the cheerleaders who's turned the high school into her empire because that's the only power she'll ever have (schools are full of those).  The counselor who's pretty nutty (Jayma Mays seems to be specializing in nutty).

Two of the creators of Glee worked on Nip/Tuck, and there is definitely the same wacky, edgy feel.  (Jessalyn Gilsig, who plays Terri, the crazy wife of the coach of the glee club, is also an alum).  Thus far, my only complaint is that the music sequences are just too predictably placed and too numerous.  I want to look forward to those, not groan, "Music sequence!".

So what's been the highlight?  Kristin Chenoweth.  I loved that singing duel between young, virginal Rachel and Chenoweth's alcoholic has-been April, both singing "Maybe This Time" ("The Rhodes Not Taken" episode).  You think high school is tough, kids?  Wait until you're a has-been and you're sucked dry of all hope.  You'll be longing for those frozen Slurpees.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Friday Night Lights 4th Season Premiere

Yeah! Friday Night Lights begins again this Friday, May 7, on NBC.  Clear your schedule for 8 pm.  Hope it's a good season.  It looks like half the cast will be new.