Against the Grain

Slightly more than just jibba jabba

Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Taking Bets on Hayden’s Closet Status

Posted by Patrick on 10 Dec 2007

We all read the interview or saw the video online where Hayden Panettiere is quoted as saying that she’d love to have an affair with Angelina Jolie, among other hotties with whom many men also want to have an affair.  She’s saying that she’s ok with the media portraying her as a lesbian candidate but didn’t come out and make a statement in either direction about what her reality is.

Before I get down this path, I want to say first that I tolerate all people and their lifestyles as readers of this blog; I don’t bash many types of people simply because of who they are – where I draw my line is when one group of people aims to infringe on the rights of others or the rights of unsuspecting bystanders.  In this case, that is – in the context of this post, if the subject is homosexuality or bisexuality, that’s fine with me.  I have several friends who are one or the other, as many of us do, and I accept people who lead this lifestyle alongside my peers.  For the record, I have voted in favor of gay rights every time I’ve voted on an issue because I believe the old Christian principles, while valuable and influential to a large audience in the US, infringe on the rights of those who may even practice another religion.

Sorry for the diatribe; I want to check my guns at the gate before proceeding.

So, let’s set some odds on Hayden’s quoted relationship candidates and the chances that the hookup will ever happen. I’ll open with these:

Hayden and Angelina:  75:1
Hayden and Charlize:  50:1
Hayden and Jessica Alba:  200:1
Hayden and Kate Beckinsdale:  100:1

Hayden and any currently-declared celebrity B/L:   15:1

At least 1 year passing with no announced hookups:  7:4

What would I pay to see?  How about an episode of Heroes where Hayden and Kristen Bell get steamy; yep that would hold my attention.


Posted in culture, entertainment, heroes, hotties, opinion, TV, women | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

Heroes Volume 2 Conclusion

Posted by Patrick on 3 Dec 2007

I watched the end of Heroes volume 2 (season 2, episode 11) tonight and I believe I was nearly riddled with disgust at how the show had to be handled due to the writer’s strike. Yes, I think the show was appropriately paced given that the story had to end. When Tim Kring said that they had to make some changes to the end of episode 11 in the event that the strike persisted, I believe he was implying that they would go ahead and begin volume 3.

I don’t see what it buys us to end volume 2 so abruptly, except that NBC is being a big knob-tease on the whole “check out what we’re going to do next on” I guess to drive up traffic on their already slow website. This series is the best show to fall into NBC’s lap in quite some time, and it’s a damn shame to see the story unfolding in what is little more than a half-assed attempt to keep people watching. Is it all because of the writer’s strike? Somehow I don’t think so; somehow, I believe we’re not supposed to get the detailed storyline and backstory we had in season 1. Are we running out of ideas? There were only a few new heroes introduced this season, and not even all of them made it 10 episodes. Better yet, did we just lose Ali Larter from this show?

So, here is where we are at the end of volume 2 and the outset of volume 3. Below this line is a spoiler if you haven’t watched the 12/3 episode.

Peter: in Texas
Nathan: in Texas – shot but prob. not dead
Parkman: in Texas
Hiro: back in Tokyo
Kensei/Adam: buried alive in a Japanese cemetery
Claire: at her house
Noah: back with the company after a visit to California.
Elle: in Mohinder’s lab
Molly: in Mohinder’s lab
Maya: in Mohinder’s lab, alive after being shot by Sylar
Sylar: out on the street practicing with his powers
Mohinder: in his lab
West: he flew away from Claire’s house
Bob: we don’t know where he is
Angela: she was at home I think
Micah: with Monica
Nikki: we presume she died in the explosion
Monica: in New Orleans after escaping a fire

Open questions:
1. who shot Nathan? I would guess Noah if I had to. It was someone wearing a hat
2. who was Angela talking to on the phone? It may have been Bob, it may have been Bob’s boss.
3. will we ever see Caitlin again? God I sure hope so.
4. What was the real purpose of having Elle in this season? Was it to show the lengths that Bob will go to for the company, or was it to show that Bob was abusing his “daughter” and her ability so she could switch sides later on?
5. Can anyone be immune to Maya except Alejandro? What was the point of letting her live?
6. Why is Monica relevant? What is it about Micah’s grandmother in New Orleans we don’t know?
7. Why did Bob never use his powers after we saw him tempt Mohinder with the golden spoon?
-and many others-

Posted in heroes, TV, wtf | Leave a Comment »

Writers Guild Strike Affecting “Heroes” Season 2

Posted by Patrick on 7 Nov 2007

Tim Kring said in an interview from the picket lines the other day that they had to re-do the ending of episode 11, in the event that season 2 has to end at that episode.

First, I want to say that this is a disgraceful embarrassment of American society to have union workers out picketing. It’s a centuries-old negotiation tactic steeped in negative reinforcement with those affected indirectly by the work stoppage. Labor unions are ok in some ways and not ok in others, but this is the very reason that industries don’t like to work with them. Honestly, there are probably as many good writers not in the guild as there are in it. When work stoppages like this happen, I wonder how seriously the other side of the bargain considers bringing in non-union people who’d work for the last offered proposal (it’s probably a high%).

Secondly, Heroes is really good this season. At seven episodes deep, and with the ending of episode 7 (so many ?s there) I can’t see this season winding down in 4 more episodes. I could see it going into a mid-season break like season 1 did, but there’s no way the entire second season story can wrap up in 168 more minutes of screen time. I’d be impressed and disappointed with that if it really happened.


edit — Sorry, but I have to turn off comments on this post for awhile because a lot of spam is getting through the wordpress filter and I don’t want to manage it manually.

Posted in culture, heroes, opinion, TV, wtf | 5 Comments »

When do gamers grow up?

Posted by Patrick on 20 Sep 2007

The community of adults, especially adult males, in the US that hold onto habits traditionally attributed to children is an ever-growing one.  Why do you think that is?  Are we socially more immature, or are we men devolving mentally into lengthened adolescent periods whereby we don’t realize our true potential until well after we reach adulthood?  Or, is there some other force at work?

I’m 31, which puts me square in the prime demographic of adults these days who are absolutely hooked on video games — not just adults who enjoy playing freecell on the computer or who like to occasionally drop a quarter into Ms. Pac-Man, I’m talking about adults in this country who are absolutely addicted to video games.  We are the first in line when a new console hits the market, we are the demographic of people who keep companies like AlienWare in business — we think of computing first as a method of gaming, and secondly as a method of being productive with work. What’s more, the “hardcore gamer” community is looking at a growing population of women, to boot.  Whereas we medium-aged gamer adults pioneered most of the gaming consoles and usually have hours of stories about the time we pwned mob X in game Y with friends A B and C.  It’s not a hobby — no, it’s an entire existence.

Does an addition to video games make us less mature as adults?  Sociological studies disagree on this topic, but I must say that I think so.  From the perspective of one study, the constant interaction present in many online multi-player games (MMORPGs) promotes social awareness and tact.  Another study, published more recently, indicates that young men and young women who have a strong affinity towards video games (who play games more than 20 hours a week) grow as adults to be more socially eccentric and are generally less comfortable in human-to-human interactions than the same demographic of non-gamers.

So, what are the criteria for someone to have “grown up”?  If you ask me, it’s when a person begins to accept responsibility for themselves, but more than that, it’s when a person makes conscious decisions to better themselves and follows through with them.  To me, that is the mark of someone who has grown up.  When I think of that, I always have questions:

  • Can a hardcore gamer be “grown up”?  Absolutely. 
  • Are the majority of adult gamers also “grown up”?  No, they aren’t. 
  • Do I mean to imply that kicking the video game habit can help someone grow up?  Yes, I do.
  • Do I have an addiction?  I used to, but have outgrown it.
  • Am I a gamer myself? Yes, I am, but casually.
  • Are time-sink video games hurting American society?  Yes, they are.
  • Do I think I have “grown up”? Yes, but only after my first child was born.

Are video games the only source of the social devolution?  Of course not; just look at network TV these days.  It plays on the most basic of human instincts to try attracting viewers.  There’s literally nothing on network TV in prime time these days which is suitable for children.  Compare that to a socially fluid country like Japan — take a look at what comes on TV in the prime hours in Tokyo; you’d be amazed.  It’s full of variety shows, educational shows about Japan itself (like places to go to do X kinds of things), and lots and lots of comedy and drama.  This is a different post, but drama in Japan is not medically, criminally or sexually driven like every drama in this country.  No, they actually maintain some sort of socially responsible standard.

Posted in educational, Japan, men, opinion, reading, TV, women | 3 Comments »

ESPN taking the sex appeal route? Ok by me

Posted by Patrick on 21 Jun 2007

Maybe it’s the just way the timing of the summer reporter and anchor schedules happened to work out. But I beg to differ on this subtle but noticeable move that ESPN is flirting with recently by introducing more sex appeal in the anchor slots for their studio shows and remotes. Let’s take a peek at what I mean.

1. The College World Series remote in Omaha. Who is anchoring that coverage? Yes, it’s the uber-hot, single, smokin’ University of Florida graduate Erin Andrews. Granted, she has some chair time to her credit in her pre-ESPN days, and I give Erin dap for being much more than just a hot body in front of a camera, but this is probably the hottest girl in sports reporting today, and ESPN has taken her out of the dugout/sideline role and put her in a chair. Solid move ESPN, it has me watching.

2. NFL Live: This is normally hosted by Trey Wingo or Merrell Hoge. Who’s filling the chair on the right today other than football sideline reporter goddess Bonnie Bernstein, keeping Mark Salisbury at bay. I love Bonnie because she understands the strategies behind the game and not just what she reads the day of a shoot. Yes, she’s a capable anchor, but again ESPN has taken one of their own hotties and given her a lot more face time with the camera. Again, solid move ESPN, I watch reruns of NFL Live a few times a day.

3. SportsCenter. There isn’t much new here but it’s worth mention — they rotate anchors multiple times daily and take the best show for the overnight reruns. Chris McKendry was out for quite awhile (I believe for maternity leave) but she’s back and as hot as ever. They decided to bring over and do some makeover work on Cindy Brunson, who I actually thought was hotter with the glasses, but she’s still taking the sexy-news-lady role and doing ok with it using her new look. And don’t forget Michelle Bonner, who is on my “to do” list but maybe she’s not on everyone’s; Suzy Kolber who needs no introduction; and Linda Cohn who has her moments but is a bit more motherly than the other girls.

4. NASCAR coverage. All I need to say is Shannon Spake. I want to see more of this girl on TV — she doesn’t bubble up on google well at the moment but, give her time. I’ve got her in the top 10 of my “to do” list.

5. ESPN’s Bureau reporters. Have they even hired a guy in the last.. I dunno.. forever? Ask yourself, men, who you’d rather look at giving you a report: John Clayton or Colleen Dominguez? Pfft. Rachel Nichols or Sal Paolantonio? Pfft. Lisa Salters, Wendy Nix, and Holly Rowe or Woody Paige, Jay Mariotti and Michael Smith? (ok, the guys may be funnier, but hawt they are not).

and I’m not even mentioning WNBA game coverage, but just to get Stacey Dales’ name in this post, I just did.

To round out the gambit, here is what I think ESPN needs to do:

a. Get a hottie on Baseball Tonight. I think this would be great for Erin Andrews since she usually does baseball games.
b. Oust someone from NBA fastbreak and put in a hottie. Hire someone new like Sue Bird if she retires. She’s hot enough.
c. Find a way to get Amanda Beard on the staff (and my staff). She was on the HotSeat the other day and the studio nearly melted down.


edit 24 June 07 I’m getting a *lot of hits here from people looking for Amanda Beard’s nudie Playboy photos. I have seen them — she’s pretty smokin’ in them, but the photos themselves are almost tame enough for FHM or Maxim. There’s a few uncovered topless style photos in all their glory, there’s one camel toe shot where it’s still left to your imagination thanks to a carefully placed belly chain, and the rest are as suggestive and as teasing as what you’d see in FHM. So, gents, I’m sure you’ll find them eventually — WordPress would flip out if I tried to host them — but they’re not the creamiest cheese in the dip.

Posted in NCAA, News Items, opinion, sports, TV, women | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Rachel Nichols will join Sunday NFL Countdown

Posted by Patrick on 19 May 2007

If you’re a fan of Rachel Nichols, which I know I am and thousands of others are as well, you’ll be pleased to know that she will be joining ESPN’s Sunday NFL Countdown team for the coming season, this according to her bio on

Posted in sports, TV | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Heroes Season Finale (episode 23) and micro-spoiler

Posted by Patrick on 16 May 2007

I have seen the season finale of Heroes, which airs in the US on May 21st. I will first say that I had not exactly (or completely correctly) anticipated what happened, and I think you would have to be among the best of prognosticators in order to get every event exactly right.

I will not be making any general statements about what happens during the episode until after it airs on the 21st, but with a single word I could vastly change what people think about the way this episode is going to shape up without actually giving anything away. It’s pretty unexpected.

A single spoiler word appears on the line below this one. Highlight the next line down if you dare. No refunds on what it does to your ideas if you go there.
edit: 20mins after air. The spoiler word was Simone for those of you who were too afraid to peep it. If you watched the episode, you understand. If you had to DVR it, it doesn’t give anything away like I said.
2nd edit: 22 May 07. I considered the word Noah for this spoiler, but I thought it would just confuse people because, up until last night, we had no idea who Noah was. As an aside, isn’t Noah a poignant name?

In an interview with Masi Oka, he indicated that the last few minutes of this season (more correctly, this Volume, entitled ‘Genesis’) will segue into season 2, which will be Volume 2 ‘Generations’. We don’t know very much about what this means yet, and we only have a glimpse of what it may mean at the end of this season. To quote JK Rowling, I am being shockingly indiscreet. I don’t want to spoil that bit for the people who read these posts.

What are you all looking forward to hearing and/or seeing in the Heroes season finale?

Posted in heroes, omfg, TV | 3 Comments »

30 Reasons why Alton Brown is My Hero

Posted by Patrick on 9 May 2007

Ok. I got this off a group on facebook that I belong to. Anyone who knows me knows that I am not only an avid watcher of Food Network’s best show, Good Eats, but that I have met AB in person. Listed here are the 30 reasons that Alton Brown is my hero:

#1. Alton Brown grinds his own peppercorns. With his teeth.

#2. Alton Brown’s chili cheese fries are healthier than raw carrots. Even after he adds the bacon and lard.

#3. Alton Brown brushes his teeth with wasabi and gargles with pickle brine. But still his breath smells like lemon merengue.

#4. Alton Brown can boil a three-minute egg in thirty-seven seconds.

#5. When Alton Brown was born, he collected the hospital slop they’d left for his mother and made it into a zesty, appetizing goulash. The dish fed the entire maternity ward for a week.

#6. In the first, as-yet-unaired episode of Iron Chef America, Alton Brown single-handedly defeated an all-star team of Bobby Flay, Cat Cora, and Hiroyuki Sakai. The secret ingredient was ‘whimsy’.

#7. Alton Brown doesn’t reduce sauces. He demoralizes sauces.

#8. Alton Brown prepares his fugu blindfolded, with one chopstick and a plastic spork. Alton Brown ain’t afraid of no chump neurotoxin.

#9. Alton Brown’s blender has four speeds: ‘stir’, ‘mix’, ‘frappe’, and ‘plasmify’.

#10. Alton Brown can split a pineapple in half using only his pinkies. For coconuts, though, he has to use his thumbs.

#11. Alton Brown knows where capers come from. And he grows his own, on a Chia pet in the pantry.

#12. On Rachel Ray’s show, she shows people where to eat for less than forty dollars a day. When Alton Brown eats, people pay him.

#13. Alton Brown slices ham so thin it can only be seen using an electron microscope.

#14. Some knives can slice through a tin can and still cut a tomato. Alton Brown’s knives can slice through a Pontiac and still cut a tin can.

#15. Grown men have been known to weep for joy in the mere presence of Alton Brown’s vinagrette. His hollandaise sauce can kill a man from sheer ecstacy at forty paces.

#16. Alton Brown can eat just one Lay’s potato chip. If he ever bothered to eat food he didn’t make himself, that is.

#17. Alton Brown once got carried away slicing carrots, and julienned his cutting board. Undaunted, he sauteed the splinters in olive oil and spices — and they were delicious.

#18. Every Burger King Alton Brown has walked into has immediately closed forever — try as they might, they simply can’t ‘do it his way’.

#19. Alton Brown can pair a wine with any food — including hot dogs, ice cream, raw eggs, Alpo, sawdust, and soylent green.

#20. Alton Brown was once asked to participate in a blind orange juice taste test. He was the only person able to successfully identify the brand, style, vintage, temperature, pH level, distance to the orchard, age of the grove trees, and the names of the workers picking the fruit. Including the one who needs to start washing after bathroom breaks.

#21. Some meats are so tender, they seem to melt in your mouth. Alton Brown’s meats are so tender he’s had entire turkeys vanish into thin air.

#22. Alton Brown’s no saint. But if his Chicken Kiev cures one more kid’s leprosy, the church will reconsider the evidence.

#23. Alton Brown doesn’t whip potatoes. Alton Brown’s potatoes whip themselves, if they know what’s good for them.

#24. Alton Brown’s other car is the Wienermobile.

#25. Alton Brown’s show is called ‘Good Eats’, because ‘Multiple Shuddering Mouthgasms’ didn’t play with the network’s target demographic.

#26. Alton Brown’s freezer operates at minus-twenty-seven degrees. Kelvin.

#27. Alton Brown once prepared shrimp gumbo for a cooking competition, using only salt, water, canned Spam, and a packet of Arby’s ‘Horsey Sauce’. He took second place. He would have won, but one of the judges was allergic to shellfish.

#28. Alton Brown can fit three hundred and forty-two cookies on a standard-sized baking sheet. Without any touching.

#29. When Alton Brown slices onions, the onions cry.

#30. Alton Brown’s cakes don’t rise. They ascend.

Posted in food, heroes, TV | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Heroes Episode 20 comments

Posted by Patrick on 7 May 2007

Hayden Panettiere as brunette Claire. Yowzah!

Sorry this is late; ep 21 airs in the US tonight. I have already seen ep21 so I will try to keep my comments in context of ep20.

So, what are your reactions to episode 20?

One of my friends pointed out what they believed to be a flagrant foul in the series cohesion from this episode. The episode takes place five years in the future. But we hear from Hiro at the outset that Sylar had killed Claire, which was why he regenerated when Hiro stabbed him. Future Hiro seems very interested that Peter was able to save Claire at homecoming. So, if future Hiro didn’t know that Claire was alive five years later, how WAS she alive? We presume that the big bomb in NYC brought them all together, especially now that Hiro and Claire are both in New York in the pre-bomb storyline. Do you think HRG had stolen her away from the Petrellis?

I guess my contention is that episode 20 takes place in kind of an in-between point in time. We hear future Hiro pleading that the regular Hiro needs to kill Sylar, and he was disappointed that he hadn’t done it yet — I chalked this up to future Hiro not knowing the exact point in time from which the regular Hiro came. I had assumed that it was ok for Claire to be alive in (most of) this episode, because we’d seen that Peter saved her at homecoming, but we hadn’t seen the rest of her story after she visits the Petrellis and gets told to go off to Paris. If she did end up going with Angela, then wouldn’t that explain why she survives the big bomb?

Is the past in this episode incongruent with what we hear from the mouths of the future heroes? Weigh in!

Posted in heroes, TV | Leave a Comment »

Heroes Episode 21 “The Hard Part”

Posted by Patrick on 6 May 2007

I was going to post about next Monday’s episode earlier this week, but honestly the number of people who are emailing me about it nowadays is getting to be ridiculous, so I’m just going to continue for the last 3 episodes and post on Sunday before air.

The storyline in episode 21 picks up right where episode 20 left off. I thought this was a great episode, on par with the better ones in this season, and it sets up nicely for the last 3 hours of the season (episode 23 is a 2hr. special). In ep. 21, we get to see some new things, and we learn a good bit about how some things got to be the way they are. Without spoiling the story, that’s the limit of where I think I can go describing it.

Posted in heroes, TV | Leave a Comment »