Category Archives: Viewing Pleasures

Television, movies, web series… all my guilty pleasures, yo!

This is Us episode 6: Tapping into suppressed emotions, embarrassing dads, and making connections

Back in the day: Jake decides to get a desk job to make more money for his family. But he still plots the course for his own company: Big Three Homes. But… Jake and Rebecca are starting to realize Randall is academically razor sharp, REALLY sharp, after his teacher calls them in for a meeting and suggests he attend a school for gifted kids.


Present day
After William sings and plays the piano for his granddaughters, they want either him or uncle Kevin to speak at their school’s career day. They have the cool jobs. Actor. Musician. Not their dad. They don’t even know what he does for a living. Randall’s youngest daughter only knows he has an awesome chair to swivel in when they visit him at work.

Randall trades commodities based on weather pattern predictions. Weather derivatives. How funl;;aodjljcnaop;dmlcjh;idcixnkaodjclnk.aejocl….

Oops, sorry about that. Just fell asleep at the keyboard. Not saying weather derivates aren’t fun to SOMEONE. I get it. Every career, every area of interest has its charm. For someone. Wifey Beth can’t even explain what the man does for a living.

But learning William plays the piano got Randall wondering if he has an untapped creative side.

First thing outta that mouth when looked up from that phone and saw Kate? “Oh, so you hired the fat one this time.”

Continue reading This is Us episode 6: Tapping into suppressed emotions, embarrassing dads, and making connections

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NBC’s “This is Us” finds relatable levity in gravity…

Okay, so there’s a show I really enjoy on NBC. It’s one of a few that’s caught my eyes this season.

This one’s called “This is Us.” I’m about five recaps late to this party, but no me importa, it still gets mad love.  “This is Us” toggles back and forth between the present day and, I want to say, the 1980s.  Maybe the cusp of the 70s and 80s.  Now that I think of it… it looks like some of those short-shorts… Yeah, they came from the early 80s. And in one flashback episode, one character was touting her Care Bears bikini as if it were the sh!# like Underoos were back in the dizz-ay.

But anyway, the show toggles back and forth between the 1980s and the present day.  It’s about a husband and wife, and their three children.  So, the first scene opens with a woman, Rebecca (played by Mandy Moore) who is very pregnant. With triplets. Rebecca and her husband Jake (Milo Ventimiglia) are in what looks like their sparsely furnished home on his birthday. Rebecca’s so very, very pregnant, and he wants her to do this little sexy dance. Imagine: she’s not feeling it at all probably because of her triple-packed uterus. Oh the humanity (inside). She starts to indulge him, but her water breaks. All goes well… until it doesn’t. One of their babies dies.  So now Jake shares glory and tragedy with his triplets:  The birthday of a girl and boy, and the death day of a son.

So into the hospital nursery comes a baby, a freshly-born little black boy whose drugged-out daddy (cliche) dropped him off in front of a fire house.  After Rebecca and Jake lose one third of their triplets, they decide to adopt and raise this little boy, Kyle, as their own. That’s what they called him at first. In one episode, there was even a line about giving each of their three kids names that start with K. “

Kevin, Kate and Kyle. All Ks,” Jake proclaimed to the doctor.

Continue reading NBC’s “This is Us” finds relatable levity in gravity…

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Why NBC’s The Good Place is a great Thursday night stomping ground

Why NBC’s The Good Place is one of my good places

Where do we go after we die? It’s an existential question that’s survived the ages. Seems a whole lotta people have answers, but no one really knows for sure if they’re right.

So there’s this show on NBC that I’m into. It’s called “The Good Place,” and it deals with some of these exact questions, with an interesting twist.

Post-death Edenic perfection is laid out in one cozy community comprising 320 or so freshly-deceased humans. But it’s not at all morbid. This perfect, bright community was created by Michael (Ted Danson). He was another community-maker’s apprentice for 200 years, then he was blessed with his own community to design as he wished.

Thing is, Michael’s community is flawed. Something’s driving things awry in his good place, and it’s making him miserable.

So let’s start at the beginning. This lady, Eleanor (Kristen Bell), shows up in Michael’s office. Michael tells her she’s dead. The dialogue briefly toys with the idea of heaven and hell (The Good Place vs. The Bad Place)…without delving into theological matters. But Eleanor didn’t have to worry. She was in The Good Place.

One great thing about this place—no loneliness. Everyone’s paired with a soul mate, and they get to live with that person for eternity. They also get a tailor-made home. Not sure if there are many mansions in this Good Place. But if it weren’t so, I’m sure Michael would’ve mentioned it.

Eleanor’s soul mate is Chidi (William Jackson Harper), an academic from Senegal, who spent his life in academe as a ethics professor and working on a long @$$ book draft before death grabbed him. Their mansion? A cute little cottage with sharp angles and primary colors for the exterior; two large circular windows situated above four or five circular groomed bushes that are the same height—all in a row. I’m wondering if there’s a reason they chose primary colors, and if there’s a reason they chose circles to represent the main windows on Eleanor and Chidi’s home. Is it because of the circle of life, or because what goes around really comes around even in The Good Place? Dunno. Anyway, the artwork in Eleanor’s specially constructed house is nothing she likes. Clowns… The real Eleanor Shellstrop likes clowns. Friendly ones, not the scary ones seeping out of woods trying to scare kids.

Next to Eleanor and Chidi’s home is a huge mansion complete with majestic, bursting fountains.

Eleanor is little salty about that and gets even saltier when she finds out the couple who lives in that home, Tahani Al-Jamil and Jianyu, consists of a good-doing humanitarian and a Buddhist monk who is continuing the vow of silence he started on earth. Can you get more Good Place worthy than that?

But things quickly go wrong in paradise. Eleanor figures out she doesn’t belong in the Good Place because the videos that play on the memory chanel inside her home have nothing to do with the triflingness she called a life. She’s not the Eleanor Shellstrop Michael thinks she is.

In fact, she was the worst. Self-centered and amoral. The show hops back and forth between her life here and some of her earthly interactions to demonstrate how wack she was back then. But thanks to Chidi, she’s learning to be a better person, one worthy of The Good Place.

Tahani is the consummate hostess, so she and the silent Jianyu throw a party. That’s where Eleanor got drunk and carted away shrimp in her bra cups. The next morning, things start falling from the sky and blowing craters into the ground. Shrimp also start flying through the sky while a giant frog hops about, smashing chimneys while trying to slurp up the shrimp.

Eleanor thinks she’s forking things up. No, you can’t curse in The Good Place.

Turns out, she isn’t the only one who shouldn’t be there.

She has company. Jianyu has a backstory. And he talks. And he’s kind of doltish.

Turns out he’s a DJ from Jacksonville, Florida who has lofty aspirations to be a DJ in popping cities like Tampa and Daytona. He also sold drugs to college kids. Fake ones. Drugs. Not fake college kids.

I’m glad this series is starting to get into the back stories of the characters. I get the feeling The Good Place is filled with ordinary people with ordinary issues who are trying to do better. They’re just trying to do it dead.

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NBC’s Timeless and the CBS eye… Wait, HUH?

So what would’ve happened if the Hindenburg didn’t blow the fork up? NBC’s Timeless is all about that, and more.

Yes, I also watch another NBC show–The Good Place. Where the fork did you think I got that? Truth be told, I’ve been veggie cussing for decades, but that’s neither here nor there.

So let’s get into Timeless, which first aired a few weeks ago, but I’m just now getting to this.  Shame.

My favorite line in this pilot: “I am black. There is literally NO place in American history where that would be awesome for me.”

Lucy Preston is a history professor who is pissed she didn’t make tenure at the university where her sick mom used to work. No, I don’t think her mom was some kind of degenerate. She’s really sick. I’m guessing cancer, but they don’t say. All we know is she’s hooked up to a vital signs monitor and has been unconscious for a while. Lucy confides in her sister about the disappointment. Amy advises Lucy to start making her own future instead of worrying who she’ll disappoint by diverging from the same life path as their mom.

Rufus Carlin is a total coder geek (that word geek is NOT a pejorative in my world), a brotha who’s taken a fancy to a fellow nerd at the lab where he works.

About that lab… it’s housing a project so top secret that the gov’mint didn’t even know about it. Well… they didn’t until gun-toting capsule thieves commandeer it so it gets sucked it away to the Hindenburg disaster date—May 6, 1937—a few hours before it’s supposed to combust. Side note: I noticed the capsule resembles the logo of longtime network competitor CBS. What the what?

Delta Force member Wyatt Logan is the third main character. He’s introduced after the shootout and time capsule disappearance.

Homeland Security calls on Lucy, Logan, and Rufus to chase the capsule. Lucy’s the history expert. She’ll help them stay hidden in plain sight because she’s familiar with world events and customs, fashions and other norms of past eras. Rufus will pilot the rickety-looking prototype time machine. The developer, Connor Mason, kept it functional in case anyone got stranded while using the sleek time capsule. Logan is the muscle, an elite special-ops soldier. He can beat a mo-fo down if needed. And he does.

But poor Rufus. Woke Rufus. Bro was pushing back against the capsule’s developer, who heads Mason Industries. Mason’s also a black man—but from England, I think. While he was trying to convince Rufus he was the only person who could take the time-travel trip, his employee wasn’t having it. My favorite line in this pilot: “I am black. There is literally NO place in American history where that would be awesome for me.”

Continue reading NBC’s Timeless and the CBS eye… Wait, HUH?

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Greenleaf Raptured… one taken, the others left

Which way did they go?

Looks like OWN-TV’s done raptured all the season 1 Greenleaf episodes back to glory. Serves me right for waiting until the first season’s end of days to start with these recaps.

Thankfully, Queen Sugar’s still here, along with Super Soul Sunday. Iyanla’s also around to keep fixing up the lives of folks who got left behind.

She’s trying to help me process this Greenleaf loss.

Greenleaf didn’t get snatched like a thief in the night. I knew they’d be removed from on-demand access, but I let time slip away and didn’t check the expiration dates. That show was temporarily taken, but some on other networks are left.


In the words of the homie,  Forest Gump:

“That’s all I have to say about that…”  (for now).

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More questions, more answers. Thanks Greenleaf episode 13.

This mess has left me with more questions than answers, which is why I can’t wait until the new season! Darn you OWN!!!! Bring on Queen Sugar to fill in the gaps. Hope they did this staggered programming on purpose.

Grace finally speaks about sexual assault in the pulpit:

Continue reading More questions, more answers. Thanks Greenleaf episode 13.

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Preachers, swingers & mama-daughter drama: Greenleaf episode 6

So Grace finally agrees to preach while Bishop is out of town. Bishop is the king of Planet Greenleaf, so he simply, more like outright, told her she ain’t got a choice since he’ll be out of town. Gracie’s not feeling it, but brokers a deal in the process…. She agrees to take the pulpit the coming Sunday IF she can start a support group for sexual abuse survivors.  Lady Mae thinks the group is an affront to her and to Bishop. One survivor who joined the Sisters of Tamar group is also being physically abused by her husband. Grace tries to get her to leave him but the woman, Stacy, grew up without a father and refuses to let her daughters to grow up without theirs.

Jacob attempts to salvage his self-worth after Bishop told him he has no place

Meanwhile, Jacob attempts to salvage his self-worth after his daddy told him he has no place at the church. [Hot dang… that still stings to me, and Jacob ain’t even real!] So he links up with a man who is part of a Christian network to see about getting Bishop some television airtime.  And guess who’s coming to dinner? The exec and his wife. This couple hints (not so subtly) their enjoyment of swings… and not of moods or playground equipment.   They invite Jacob and Kerissa for a romp at their rustic pad in the woods. Looks like this other couple has a thought-out arrangement.  Who knows, they may even have real swings to swang at their little cabin in the woods.

Lady Mae continues to bat for Jacob, asking Bishop to reinstate him. She hints at some past indiscretion of his, but doesn’t go into it.

Cut to Kevin as he swipes through photos of men on a smartphone dating app, while Charity is struggling over a stack of resumes–candidates to fill the minister of music slot.  After a difference of artistic opinion, the previous director hinted that he’d have more artistic freedom at Triumph Church. So Charity encouraged him to bounce.

Back to the resume pile.  Kevvie tells Charity  not to think too hard about it. Just put the “maybes” in one pile, the “nevers” into another and keep it moving. “Like one of those dating apps?” Charity asks. Only she doesn’t know her hubby’s looking at such an app right under her nose.

Charity’s hire is excited about the job, but reveals he’s openly gay. Carlton informs her up front because he didn’t want anyone to be surprised because he’s planning to bring his partner to church. He says he wasn’t up front with his previous employer and trouble found him when they found out about his partner.  Charity is in his corner from the start.

Lady Mae’s interactions with Grace are the sweetest acid

So…Lady Mae visits Grace’s suite in the mansion… I could tell the interaction would be laced with drama. Her mom’s look toward her daughter is always steely—smiling yes, but no tenderness carried with it. Lady Mae told her she’s putting her trust in Grace as she preps for the big day in the pulpit… followed by her hopes that Grace would use the opportunity for “institutional purposes” and not to verbally chastise the family in public…. maybe she suspects Grace will blast them about Uncle Mac molesting  Faith?

To that,  Gracie replies, “Momma…Do you love me at all?”  [I’ve been wondering that myself]. All Lady Mae’s interactions with Grace are the sweetest acid. Lady Mae always has an agenda… her interactions never seem to be straightforward when dealing with folks, especially Grace. I’m trying to figure out why. She did say she loves Grace, and Bishop and the church. Maybe she’s just trying to protect everyone from scandal. But it still seems she has a beef against her oldest child that seems to go beyond abuse accusations against Uncle Mac.

Episodic observations:
The church has real, live gay people attending each week who LOVE Jesus. Let me repeat—Christian churches have real, live gay congregants who LOVE Jesus.  Greenleaf, I think, is subtly showing  how progressive some minds can be–even in some Christian churches, some which aren’t always known as receptive to openly gay individuals and/or couples.  But some of those same churches will gladly suction up the time and talent of gay musicians, as long as they ensconce their gayness in a corner, alcove… or closet.

Loving the one you’re with

In addition to the physical abuse/domestic abuse storyline in this episode, is another thread about spousal appreciation and the idea of ownership. When Jacob learned Kerissa would be willing to swing to advance Jacob’s status at Calvary, all of a sudden he again became interested in her as a sexual being. His reason? He doesn’t want another man touching her. “Because you’re mine,” he says.

I was tempted to be like “Awwww… Jacob’s come back around to wifey!” But that didn’t last for long because I noticed no love in that statement of ownership. He just didn’t want another man fiddling with his wife. Now that someone else is interested, he’s all in again.  Funny thing… seems he’s treating Kerissa like a body. Didn’t he just complain about that in a previous episode?  Wack, Jacob. You got one point for  un-cheating on your wife, but I snatch-eth it  back, homie.

*Don’t count on catching Greenleaf full episodes. They’ve been raptured to OWN’s glory.  Not sure when they’ll be available again online or on demand.

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More than promised: Charley learns the real deal about Davis in Queen Sugar episode 6

Nova’s been getting media traction after her article hit the front page. This episode opens with her and a local activist being interviewed by a couple of morning shock-jocks. Of course, the jocks keep bending attention to Charely and the messy allegations against Davis West. If you haven’t peeped Queen Sugar, Davis is a star player with a Los Angeles basketball team. I’m a bad viewer, ‘cause I don’t even remember the team name. It ain’t the Lakers… And I’m only a fair-weather fan for them, so whatever.

She caught Nova’s response and jumped from zero to pissed a nanosecond flat.

Poor Nova kept trying to keep attention on the injustices her article pointed out, but jokers be jokers. Somewhere in the segment, they asked Nova’s point of view about the Davis West mess. She didn’t get down into Charley and Davis’ biz-nizz, but she DID ask one question: When it comes to rape cases, why is the victim always assumed to be guilty or at fault somehow?

Somewhere on the other side of them-there airwaves, Auntie Vi was listening when Charley moseyed back in after a run. And, of course, she caught Nova’s response and jumped from zero to pissed a nanosecond flat.

Unrelated side note: Auntie Vi changed her hair to a more homely marm-bob. She actually looks like she could be their aunt.

Continue reading More than promised: Charley learns the real deal about Davis in Queen Sugar episode 6

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Hard-Headed Charley bumps her head in Queen Sugar episode 5

I’ve had it with Charley Bordelon.

She’s showing all her flaws in this episode. The main one: she doesn’t LISTEN.

Ol-girl visits Davis’ accuser in Houston to up the sit down and shut up price of $500,000 to make the rape case against Davis go away. His accuser asks a valid question. “How do you un-rape someone?” Sex worker or not, that’s a good question. Rape is rape. And there’s a rape kit. No idea if it contains damning evidence against Davis, but sources are saying the kit exists.

Snap, what was that? Oh, it’s big sister Charley snipping off baby Ralph’s cojones.

But Charley also has a good point, too. Sex workers do what they do to get paid. She wants her husband’s accuser to call her when she determines her price.

Well dang. If she’s lying, I’m sure she’ll come up with a figure. If she isn’t lying, she should take this thing through the courts. Famous or not, rape is rape and all-lem fools should go to prison if they did it.

But she calls a figure, $3 million bucks, a face to face with Davis. She wants him to admit what he did. But his accuser says she’ll slide out their lives for good of they agree to her terms. Davis is looking more rapey by the episode. Maybe he’s just a serial liar. Maybe they were all down for the get-down, but his accuser didn’t give explicit consent. I don’t know what to do with this storyline, but I do know what it’s like to have explicit consent circumvented. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Anyway, Davis’ lawyer wasn’t too thrilled Charley went behind her back to see Davis’ accuser.

So Charley finds out about Ralph-Angel’s cane sugar debacle, and says she’s going to take over all farm business.

*Snip, snip, snip* Snap, what was that? Oh, it’s big sister Charley snipping off baby Ralph’s cojones.

Ralph confronts his coworker about the bad seed cane and asks for his money back. No can do, his coworker says.

*Snip, snip, snip* Snap, what was that? Oh, it’s… wait… what else is there to cut? Ralph’s cojones are already gone. Thankfully this is fiction, and in my world—cojones can regenerate faster than starfish arms if allowed.

More snippage in the works for poor Ralph. He picks up his check and finds it’s lacking some ducats. He’s short 8 hours. Ralph confronts the guy passing out checks, and this fool has the nerve to tell Ralph that he’s “been inside so maybe you forgot, freedom ain’t free, bro.”

Continue reading Hard-Headed Charley bumps her head in Queen Sugar episode 5

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Smut and sordid dirty-dealings exposed in Queen Sugar episode 4

Charley’s back in Los Angeles getting checked out for every living STD known to mankind. Meanwhile, Ralph Angel’s in charge of getting seed cane for the farm. They’re only going to farm 300 acres of the 800 their daddy left in his will.

Failure. Seems that’s what Nova and Charley expect from Ralph-Angel 

Nova’s back pursuing stories—this one exposes the dirty dealings that target young, mostly black, youth in New Orleans’ Ninth ward… A sordid trysting between the police force, the courts and private prisons.

The prisons make money per inmate, which they can lend out to businesses in the area for money. The prisons skim money off the top and funnel it to law enforcement agencies. Seems the courts come in by sentencing the young folks who were brought in on excessive, trumped-up charges and who were also encouraged to take plea deals.

Her story makes the front page.

Ralph Angel goes to buy seed cane for the farm. Meantime, Charley and Nova keep on him to make sure he’s going to get things done. Of course he wants to be the man, to show he’s capable. A co-worker covers for him while he runs to get the seed cane. He learns when he sees Remy Newell in passing that he has to register with the sate before he gets his cane. Ralph Angel seemed a tad bothered, as if Remy’s words were a revelation that he forgot a step. The man who sold the seed cane said it was all out. So since it wasn’t explicitly stated that Ralph Angel didn’t register with the state, it isn’t crystal clear if Ralph Angel really forgot to register with the state or if Sam Landry pulled his snake-like strings to make sure the Bordelons don’t farm their land this planting season.

Failure. Seems that’s what Nova and Charley expect from Ralph-Angel at the end of the day, when hope tuckers out.  But he’s also holding hope they’ll do better, too.

A co-worker at Ralph Angel’s job learns what happened and says his cousin knows farming, but won’t be planting this season. He has a bunch of seed cane to get off his hands. So Ralph drops $15-thousand and buys it.

The catch is—it’s worthless. Remy Newell looks it over and shows Ralph it’s infected with smut. No good.

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