Tag Archives: TV

What I Loved and Hated about Louie Season 2.

First off I’d like to say that I am naturally behind the curve because Louie has just started showing in the UK in the past few months and rather than watching the show on the internet I decided just to watch them as they came out in the UK.  I had read a lot about Louie and had seen that the show had received critical acclaim, with some people calling it the best TV comedy out there.  Naturally I entered into season 1 with high hopes that I was going to be watching something special and instead came out disappointed and dejected that Louie (season 1) had in no way fulfilled those expectations.  I am aware that Season 2 is meant to be the better of the first two seasons, so here we go.



What I loved.

  • Filming.
    • I love how they film Louie, it has a great independent cinematic feeling to it and that is a nice change of pace for TV.
  • Theme song.
    • Brother Louie is the perfect song for the show to open with
  • His kids.
    • Kids are hard to write for on TV, it is really hard to make them not only realistic but also likable and I feel Louie does a really good job of doing both.
  • Episode format.
    • The way that Louie episodes play out is very clever.  Instead of needing a story arc (which I generally think is important) Louie goes out its way to produce every episode as a standalone piece.  It allows for a greater feeling of real life for the viewer and allows us to connect more to Louie’s fractured lifestyle (because of being a comedy).


What I liked.

  • Louie.
    • I like the character Louie, he just seems like he’s a nice guy.  He may be a loser but he is the sort of guy that you look at and go ‘I’d like to be friends with him’.
  • Pamela.
    • She just seems cool and hot, so there isn’t really anything to dislike.
  • Christians against masturbation.
    • What isn’t funny about this?
  • Joan.
    • I thought that this was probably the best episode of the season despite the fact that I am not a huge Joan Rivers fan.
    • It delved into the issue that comedians and writers suffer from all the time, once you get recognition are you selling out or are you just playing the system?
  • Duckling.
    • Duckling was an unusual episode because it is not often a TV show will take you to a country like Afghanistan for a USO show and show it as anything but everything is going well there is nothing to worry about.
    • The one major issue I have about this episode is that everything was a little too friendly at times (like with the group of Afghan’s who are farming) but it’s television after all.
  • Pamela leaves.
    • I liked this for several reasons, firstly because she rejects Louie (because she is way better looking than him) and secondly the waving scene.  It is funny because she is saying something to him and he assumes she is saying what he wants her to even though he knows she isn’t actually saying that but forces himself to believe it anyway.
    • It is funny because I know that people do this in real life and that is good writing.


What I disliked.

  • Louie’s stand up bits.
    • Is Louie’s stand up funny?
    • The answer is no, somebody should tell the audience at his sets.
    • The thing is I don’t know if they are meant to suck because that is part of the character but I get the feeling that they are meant to be funny but just aren’t.
    • I don’t need a laugh track to tell if something is funny either, I’m smart enough to do that on my own.
  • Hit and miss.
    • Too many of the episodes are hit and miss, one week I’ll watch one and go that was good and then the next week I’ll watch one and be like meh.
  • Where are the laughs?
    • Louie quite frankly isn’t that funny.  It isn’t that I dislike the show but I am indifferent to it.  What concerns me about Louie is that it is meant to be a comedy and honestly it just isn’t very funny at all.
    • I don’t understand this either because it is written by a comedian and received critical acclaim for being funny but it isn’t.


What I hated.

  • Louie and ladies.
    • Look and Louie and now look at the ladies he is apparently getting, tell me if you see a problem there.
    • Ah you did see it
      • Louie is a fat, bald, ginger and ugly middle aged gentleman who is also lacking in personality among other things.
      • They are generally attractive yet have a thing for people that look for Louie.
      • Not hard to spot the problem
    • At times Louie tries to be really realistic (which I appreciate) but Louie and the ladies that he gets with is just so unrealistic I instantly know that this is a TV show because in real life this wouldn’t happen.
  • Louie’s movie.
    • This sounded like one of the worst openings to a movie I have ever seen, yet the people in the room are eating it up as if this is an amazing idea.  I don’t get it.  Maybe that is why people keep letting Adam Sandler make movies (he sounds like he would fit into this one).


There you go Louie season 2, did I like it?  Meh, and for me that’s the problem with Louie for me, it is just meh.  At no point do I watch Louie and go ‘wow this is really funny’ instead I think it is just a nice show that I watch but if I never seen it again I wouldn’t be too bothered.  Maybe I was expecting too much from Louie because it had received very high critical acclaim (people even saying it was better than Curb Your Enthusiasm [it isn’t]) and it is always hard for a TV show (or anything) to live up to those expectations and Louie did not.

Another thing that bothered me was the idea that Louie was a ground-breaking comedy, well it isn’t, many other shows (maybe not American but shows are made outside of America) have done the kind of realistic comedy genre that Louie runs in and although I think the filming side is original (for TV) the actual comedy part of the show has been done before.

It is said that season 3 is the best of the seasons Louie has produced so far and I hope it is better than what I have seen from season 1 or 2 because otherwise Louie will fall into the overhyped category.


Anyway let me know what you think about Louie season 2 or Louie as a whole (if you so wish) and feel free to leave a comment whether positive or negative I accept all.  Thanks for reading.


Piper Alpha: Fire in the Night.


I can tell you right now that usually I don’t watch documentaries (unless there are animals and David Attenborough involved) and I also had no intention of watching Piper Alpha: Fire in the Night (on BBC2) but this is one of most engrossing, well-handled and produced documentaries of a tragic event I have ever seen.

For those that don’t know Piper Alpha was a gas/oil platform based in the North Sea off the coast of North East Scotland.  The disaster took place in July 1988 and took the lives of 167 of the crew (around 100 still alive but stuck inside when the rig sunk), with only 61 surviving.

The documentary is split into three different views, firstly from pictures of the time, then from reproduced imagery for the documentary and then from one on one interviews with those involved on the day of the accident.  It is really moving to see a group of survivors (many of whom are from the North of England and Scotland, traditionally hard men areas) deal with the emotions on camera as they recount the traumatic events the unravelled in front of them on the longest night of their lives.  The reproduction of scenes for the documentary were beautifully done and really allowed for you to feel the sort of panic and desperation that the men on the rig would have been going through as they battle with their own mortality.  It is the sad fact that these sorts of events must take place for those in the future to live in a safer world.

I really cannot do the documentary any real justice but it really does handle one of the largest workplace disasters (the largest worldwide offshore oil disaster at the time of events) in the UK’s recent history incredibly well.  Piper Alpha: Fire in the Night really is worth watching and again is an incredibly well produced documentary of the most dreadful event in Scottish offshore oil/gas production history.

20 Greatest Comedies of All Time.

This was meant to be the 10 greatest comedies of all time but I ended up with about 18 on the shortlist and thought it would be easier to just round it up to a list of 20, and it also allows for me to recognise more shows that I do really like.  So let’s get going.

20.    King of Queens Image

It was a tough one to decide who would come in at no. 20 and it was close between King of Queens and Friends, in the end I thought that if I were to watch one just now, what would I rather watch? and the answer was King of Queens.

Anyway King of Queens is basically a vehicle for Kevin James to get on TV.  All the other characters are fine and add something to the show but really the show is carried by Doug.  He is just such a likable guy that you can’t help but smile when he does something stupid or puts himself in an awkward position involving his wife or father in law.  It is also because of his wife and father in law that you just feel sorry for Doug; he is so nice and yet they are so crazy it doesn’t seem fair.

It is a basic format and King of Queens is really just a catalyst for Kevin James to get on TV but it was also a really good show.

19.      Only Fools and Horses                                                                   Image

There is a good chance that if you don’t live in Britain you won’t have seen Only fools and Horses, but it is a bit of a British institution.  I don’t really know if people outside of Britain (not including Australia and the like) would get Only Fools but it is really good.

Basically it is a show about cockney traders who get up to no good (so just Cockney traders).  It is pretty simple in its execution and executes it well.  Only Fools is a bit like Shamelesss (but better) before Shameless.

Del Boy is the lovable rogue along with his plonker brother Rodney and their Grandpa/ Uncle.  It really is very well casted and is very well acted as well (you could walk through a market anywhere and you will get several people like Del Boy).

That is part of what makes Only Fools just so good, you know that you shouldn’t like the Trotter’s because essentially they are breaking the law on a regular basis but you can’t help but love these lovable rogues and that is why Only Fools is a British classic.

18.      Scrubs


If only Scrubs had lasted 5 seasons instead of 8 we could be sitting here marvelling over a legendary doctor comedy that was just brilliant.  Instead sadly we are sitting here not talking about that because they made 3 seasons too many, but at least the last episode was a credit to the series as a whole.  What is that they decided to make a 9th season but with half the original cast and basically ruining what they did in the last episode……ugh.

Another American show that didn’t know when to stop making their show (this is a theme throughout).  It is sad to concentrate on how bad Scrubs became but it was just so bad towards the end that it really is impossible to ignore.

Scrubs began as a really funny show, with good well written characters and an interesting twist as you followed the inner thoughts and imagination of John Dorian.  Sadly the writers ran out of ideas and instead followed the same old tired pattern again and again.

I mean do people in hospitals not work in shifts?  Someone should have told the writers of Scrubs.

17.     The Fresh Prince of Bel Air                                                  Image

I thought about just writing the theme tune out as why this show is great (it really is a good theme tune, BEST EVA!!!) but it really would be a disservice to what the Fresh Prince achieved.

Stick a street wise kid into a family full of rich snobby people and you have what sounds like a great idea for a reality TV show, you also have a great idea for a comedy series.

I always have considered Fresh Prince a kids show (was on kids networks in Britain), and maybe it is but it really did tackle more adult themes like civil rights, social issues and sex.  It really kick started the career of Will Smith (but nobody else oddly enough) and deservedly so, and who doesn’t love Will Smith?

If you watch an episode of Fresh Prince today it still feel fresh (not a pun), maybe it is because (unlike many other shows in the 90’s) they did not shy away from serious issues that a family encounters and it is a credit to the show that 20 years on it is still in many ways relevant.

16.      Family Guy                                Image

I like Family Guy, although I have complained in the past that I feel the quality has dropped off considerably in recent years from Seth MacFarlane spreading himself too thin/ running out of ideas, and Family Guy does deserve these criticisms.

There is nothing smart about Family Guy; it isn’t really trying to be smart, Family Guy is random comedy and it is clear to anyone who has watched more than one episode.  The formula is generally the same, a character does something wacky (usually Peter) and the episode carries on from there and by the time of the next episode everything is forgotten about.

It sounds like I don’t like the show but I do it can still be funny, but just not as often as it used to be.  Still if you like cultural references about pretty much anything and totally random comedy then just ‘remember the time’ and you’ll be there.

15.     Spongebob SquarepantsImage

It does seem odd that you would put any kids TV show on a list of top anything (that isn’t kids TV obviously) but Spongebob really is a very funny show.

A lot of people will dismiss Spongebob as being just a stupid kid’s show, which it is, but in being a stupid kid’s show it does tell a lot of adult based jokes that are not aimed at the kids.  It runs in an episodic sketch format similar to that of Louie (but with actual parts where you laugh and enjoy the episode).

There is nothing particularly complicated about Spongebob (it is a kid’s show after all) yet what it does it does very well and really is very good.  How can a show about a sponge living in a pineapple under the sea not be funny?  Don’t feel ashamed people above the age of 10 give it a go, you will be pleasantly surprised.

14.      Futurama


Just in case you have ever wondered what it would be like to live in the 31st century look no further than Futurama, the (probably) realistic outcome of the world in years to come.

Like most cartoons Futurama follows the silly story-line, parodies and satirical comedy formula.  What sets Futurama apart from its competitors is it is set in the future, this allows for Futurama to have sillier story-lines than anyone else and it doesn’t look like its being forced.  I mean look at the best characters, for me it’s Dr. Zoidberg and Bender, characters that couldn’t really work in any other show without it being a stretch.

Sadly Fox cancelled Futurama after 4 seasons and although it came back from a 5 year hiatus it hasn’t quite caught the chemistry that the original run had, still a great show though.

13.        Modern Family


I have written in the past that I think that Modern Family is currently the best comedy on TV.  There are comedies that are still currently airing that are above Modern Family on this list, however all of those comedies are past their best whereas Modern Family is currently at its peak.

It is easy to describe what makes Modern Family great, it has an excellent cast.  Each episode is well constructed and each episode stands on its own.

If there is a criticism of the show it would be that there is very little season plot and at times it goes in a circle with its storylines (this isn’t a surprise considering they have done almost 100 episodes, some of them will be similar).  Nonetheless this is very much the best current comedy on TV and also the best show produced by American network channels.

12.      Blackadder


Imagine a show in which you use broadly the same characters but every season you change the premises of the show.  Crazy right and still this is exactly what Blackadder did.

When you talk about Blackadder you naturally ignore the totally naff first series and concentrate on the vastly superior final three series.  Blackadder transforms from a blubbering idiot into a sophisticated, charismatic and snarky anti-hero in the second series and the real Blackadder begins.

The changing of the setting and era from series to series allows Blackadder to re-create itself and also allows for the writers to make historical jokes and episodes based on the time period with which they are based.

Blackadder is at its best in the final scene of Blackadder Goes Forth (set WW1); the classic moment when the cast are finally going over the top, the whistles blow and the beloved characters pile over and their outcome is left unknown, Blackadder at its best.

11.     Frasier                                                                                                                                          Image

The only spin-off on the list (I don’t consider Futurama a spin-off cause it is a totally different show) making it the greatest spin-off ever in my opinion.  Frasier also has the unusual distinction of being better than the original show that it was a spin-off of (although I don’t know if it is fair of me to judge that because I haven’t really watched Cheers very much, this is going off consensus).

Frasier a smart comedy about smart people, on paper it just does not look like a success, who wants to watch a comedy about a snobby psychiatrist?  Yet Frasier just works.

Maybe it is the inclusion of the down to earth characters, maybe it’s because it is just really well written or maybe it’s both.  Personally I think it is both, not only was casting spot on (Kelsey Grammer is perfect as Frasier) the writers were also able to consistently produce solid episodes (which isn’t easy in a 20+ season).

Like most American shows it probably ran too long but that shouldn’t take away from the fact that Frasier was a stroke of genius.

10.       30 Rock


The TV show about making a TV show, pretty simple concept and it works so well.  30 Rock does it all (parodies, word play, silly actor things) and it does it all very well.

The best comparison I can come up with for 30 Rock is that of a live action Simpsons/ South Park/ Family Guy.  It is funny to watch the first couple of seasons of 30 Rock is almost like watching a completely different TV show to what happens in the later seasons.  This isn’t really a criticism more of an observation of how 30 Rock progressed across the years.

It is a shame that despite all the deserved critical success that 30 Rock received that it couldn’t transform that into viewing figures.  It is sad to see a quality progressive TV show struggle whilst lesser regressive TV shows prosper (Two and a Half Men, Big Bang Theory and so many more).

Maybe in the long run people will look back and think it was probably a good thing that 30 Rock got cancelled when it did.  I think that 30 Rock will go down as a cult classic, and who knows in 5 years or so we might be re-visiting 30 Rockefeller Plaza.

9.       Peep Show


It is really hard to describe exactly what Peep Show does because there is nothing quite like it anywhere else on TV.  Sure other shows have done the total opposites best friends and the talking in head to yourself stuff but no show has used a POV system in the way that Peep Show has.

To just talk about how Peep Show is filmed is unfair to how good of a show it is.  Peep Show utilises its inner monologue style perfectly allowing us to peer into the cynical and sarcastic world of Jez and Mark.

Peep Show follows the classic British comedy formula, social awkwardness + sarcasm = funny.  However it also sadly follows the American formula of going about 2 seasons too long.

8.       Father Ted


“I have a great idea for a TV show.  Let’s make a show that is about three catholic priests living on an island in Ireland.  That will be hilarious.”  When you look at the premise of Father Ted it sounds shit, instead you have the foundations of one of the greatest comedies of all time.

Like many British comedies Father Ted plays on the socially awkwardness of its main character as he is thrown into the odd social situations created by the wacky inhabitants of Craggy Island.  Ted along with Dougal and Father Jack create an odd family concoction, but god damn it works so well.

The Catholic Church has taken a bashing lately for a lot of sordid behaviour, if only they showed a video of Father Ted in priest training camp (I imagine it is a camp, all single beds obviously…..).  If you like quirky comedies about priests in Ireland then Father Ted is for you and let’s be honest who doesn’t?

7.        The Inbetweeners


The Inbetweeners is the show with which I personally can most relate to.  When I watch the Inbetweeners I honestly think ‘huh I could see myself in that situation and react to it in a similar matter’.  If you watch shows like 90210, the OC or Gossip Girl you think that all teens are cool, composed, witty, good looking, can dress well, have good haircuts and are usually rich.

Now I don’t know about the teen life people who are reading this had, but based on my own teen life (and most of the people I know) I had none of these qualities.  This is where the Inbetweeners just falls in perfectly to the picture.

The four main characters have none of these qualities; they live very regular lives and quite frankly are losers.  Think about it honestly, have you seen any teens recently?  There is nothing glamorous about it, and the Inbetweeners catches the tone of what it is like to be a teen and not be a cool kid so well, that it almost feels like a story about my own school life.

Add all of what I have just said to the fact that it is a really funny show and is very well constructed and you get the outcome of easily the best ever school based show (sorry Saved by the Bell).

6.       The Simpsons


Everyone knows and loves the Simpsons, a show that has been on longer than I have been alive with over 500 episodes.  Ok we all know that the shows quality has dropped off drastically from the early years, but it really is hard to keep up that level of quality.

That is why the Simpsons is no.6 on this list, for the early episodes, the good years.  Not the years where we receive endless pointless celebrity cameos or pointless trips to foreign lands (why would you leave Springfield it’s great).

The Simpsons has such a rich vein of characters within and out with the main cast, ask someone who their favourite Simpsons character is and you could receive about 20 different answers.  From Homer to Grandpa Simpson from Chief Wiggum to Wullie, the list goes on, and that rich array of well-loved characters should be the envy of most TV shows.

What I love about the Simpsons the most though is that a 5 year old, 14 year old and an 80 year old can watch the Simpsons and get it and like it.  The Simpsons has such great appeal across the board it is a true testament to the writing.

The sad part however, is the question of if the Simpsons finished 10 years ago would it be higher up the list?  And the sad answer is yes.

5.        Seinfeld                                             Image

What a show.  Seinfeld is an incredibly well written show with each episode culminating in a usually satisfying conclusion. However more importantly is the story arc that the writers create for each season (or across a handful of episodes), this is part of the formula which makes Seinfeld great. It shows great forward planning from the writers and creates very few throw away episodes.

The unique quartet of characters in Seinfeld plays perfectly into the storylines with Jerry (the comedian that the audience can relate to), his friend George (Jerry’s socially awkward and neurotic best friend [in my opinion the 2nd greatest TV character of all time]), Kramer (Jerry’s crazy neighbour) and Elaine (Jerry’s friend/ex-girlfriend).

Elaine is a particularly well written character, usually male writers fall into the trap when writing for females of making them nothing but eye candy with no real substance and with at best very little character development.  Elaine is the complete opposite of the standard female in a comedy stereotype.

Over 20 years since Seinfeld first aired on our television screens it is still one of the best comedies around even to this day, a massive credit to the shows quality writing and its lasting legacy.

4.       The Office                        Image

The Office (the British one of course not the ‘meh’ American re-make) is the greatest British made comedy ever in my opinion.

Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant revolutionised comedy in ways in which many other writers and TV shows have tried (US Office, Parks and Recreation).  Show the Office to someone who has never seen or heard of it (unlikely but maybe somewhere in the Amazon or something) and they will struggle to tell if this is a spoof or an actual documentary.

The writing is what makes the Office so great, not only have Gervais and Merchant perfectly captured the inner workings of an office but also perfectly captured real life documentary based TV.

Everyone knows a David Brent, a loser that loves his work too much, thinks he’s best mates with his staff and thinks he’s hilariously funny but is nothing but a pain in the arse.

Gervais and Merchant have shown that they are very talented writers with a string of other shows (Extras, Derek, Ricky Gervais Show) but probably their greatest stroke of genius is that they only made 15 episodes of the Office.  When people would have been throwing money at them to create more episodes, they decided instead to keep the legacy of the Office strong a lesson that American TV shows should really be paying attention to.

3.        South Park


It seems incredible that South Park has been on our television screens since 1997, since then we’ve seen 237 episodes, a movie and a host of computer games centring around 4 small boys (who have barely aged) from Colorado and the dysfunctional town of South Park.

What makes South Park great?  South Park is quite simply a ridiculous comedy that puts kids into stupid situations that are so totally unrealistic that it could only happen in South Park.  There is nothing quite like South Park on television even to this day, and although the quality has dropped off significantly since around season 10 Parker and Stone still can produce episodes that have you remembering what it was like in the good old days.

A lot of people don’t watch South Park because it is a cartoon or its comedy is vulgar and these people are missing a treat, a comedy that has the cutting edge and relevance that The Simpsons wished it had.

South Park is not about fancy drawings (in fact the lack of graphic quality adds to its charm) it’s about the jokes and the storylines (as ridiculous as they may be), and this is part of what makes South Park a great show.

2.        Arrested Development


The Bluth’s are my favourite comedy family of all time.  If you have watched an episode of Arrested Development it really isn’t hard to understand that statement. The Bluth’s are the perfect mix of wacky and well….wacky people, from Michael to Maeby or from Lucille to Franklin every Bluth has their hang-ups, each differentiates them from the other Bluth’s.

The chemistry the cast of AD possess with each other is a rare thing, allowing for their stories to interchange with perfect synergy.  Couple this together with seamless and funny storylines; it is no surprise that AD has placed second in my list of all time comedies.

The word play in AD is nothing but genius, manipulating the English language to hilarious extremes never seen before (Tobias anyone).

The only negative about AD is the meagre 53 (original) episodes.  However maybe the lack of AD could be considered a positive, as over exposure of TV shows like Scrubs, Family Guy and others have damaged their legacy, in comparison AD’s legacy lives on strongly and has led to the rejuvenation of everyone’s favourite family (thanks Netflix). Long live the Bluth’s! (and the Funke’s but mainly the Bluth’s!).

1.     Curb Your Enthusiasm


Best comedy of all time?  I think it is.  Best comedy character of all time?  I think Larry David is.

Every season stands by itself, and each season has its own story arc which develops with every episode until the inevitable conclusion.  Larry David is in one word amazing.  Larry’s hi-jinks, social ineptitude and his defiance towards pretty much anyone or anything allow the audience to instantly connect as Larry says and does things that make you wish that you also had the audacity to say without the concern of whether or not it is socially acceptable.

Include on top of this a great cast of characters like Jeff (Larry’s fat best friend/agent), Susie (Jeff’s bitch wife), Leon (Larry’s black guy friend that lived with Larry because of Katrina and pretty much never left) and Funkhouser (with his deep sexy voice….), add that Curb is a mainly unscripted comedy, and you receive the formula that creates in my opinion the ultimate comedy and the greatest comedy ever.



So there you go the Greatest 20 Comedies of all time!  It was a bitch to write.  So what do you think?  Are there any slaps in the face?  Are there any shows that just don’t belong?  Or have I got it spot on?  Let me know what you think, all comments are appreciated.