Monday, December 19, 2011

GGS 005: Introducing the Em City Podcast

In this podcast, Geek Girls Amelia and Susan are joined by Chris to discuss their upcoming watch of HBOs' groundbreaking hour-long drama OZ. The network's first dramatic series aired 56 episodes from July 1997 to February 2003. Tom Fontana created this series after success on network television with St. Elsewhere and Homicide: Life on the Streets. Since OZ was filmed in New York and New Jersey, viewers will recognize many of the actors from Homicide, Law & Order, and other shows filmed nearby. After OZ, many actors went on to their own shows - Edie Falco (Sopranos, Nurse Jackie), Christopher Meloni (Law & Order SVU), JK Simmons (The Closer), and Dean Winters (Mayhem on the Allstate commercials).

Oz is the nickname for the Oswald State Correctional Facility, a maximum-security prison, run by Leo Glynn. Most of the show centers around prisoners and staff in cell block 5, an experimental unit called Emerald City run by Tim McManus. He started the unit in an attempt to focus on rehabilitation rather than punishment. To help us on our journey through OZ, Fontana gives each episode a theme explained by the show's narrator Augustus Hill, played by Harold Perrineau (LOST fans will recognize him as Michael Dawson. Hill is usually seen in a revolving glass cell when presenting the audience with needed background information and words of wisdom.

You can catch the episodes on the HBOGO app or rent or borrow the DVDs. Join us in January as we begin our look at this HBO original series.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Dear Mr. Twisp

In light of our recent book podcast I thought I'd post my thoughts on one of my all-time favorite literary characters. 

What a long strange trip it’s been. I began the journey with Youth In Revolt 15 years ago and earlier this year read Revolting Youth. As a girl part of me loved Nick Twisp. Not in a weird, psychotic, can’t-tell-the-difference-between-fiction-and-reality kind of way, but in a way that I think one should fall for literary characters. Perhaps in the way a young girl is “supposed” to fall in love with Mr. Darcy. My 17-year-old self found him intriguing. He was nerdy and well read. He was the only other teenager I knew who was as fascinated with Frank Sinatra as I was. The lengths he was willing to go to for the girl he loved could put modern day vampires of the sparkling variety to shame. I think what really attracted me to this character, as is the thing that continues to attract me to men in life, is the sarcastic wit that borders on obnoxiousness. He was told to “watch [his] smart mouth” more times than I ever was but that can be attributed to the fact that I was never brave enough (at that age) to say the things I thought.
Rereading Youth in Revolt almost proved a devastating turn for me. Seeing Nick through thirty-something eyes was a completely different experience that I hadn’t counted on. I probably should have seen it coming. Holden Caufield was a much different “person” to me when I was 21 than he had been when I was 14. It happens…but this time it nearly broke my heart. From an adult perspective Nick doesn’t just border obnoxious. He waves to those of us who sometimes occupy that land from a safe distance in asshole-ville. It’s true…or at least it seems true. I’m having trouble deciding whether or not my glasses are in fact rose-coloured.
By the end of Revolting Youth, a journey that took so many twists and turns I would sometimes end a chapter feeling rather dizzy, I wasn’t quite sure what to think of Nick. I knew I didn’t love him the same way I had, but I wasn’t quite ready to let him go. This character was so much a part of my youth I actually think the sardonic defense mechanisms I’ve used throughout my early adulthood are 50% me and 50% Twispian.
Don’t get me wrong. I still appreciate Nick for who he is. I won’t forever think of him as an asshole. I’d rather think of him as a carnival ride…you know there’s a chance it’ll make you sick, you just can’t resist riding the ride.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

A Geek Girl's Christmas Movies


Well, it's that very special time of year when we celebrate family by gathering together, exchanging gifts, and eating a big meal. Some families watch the classics together, for example Miracle on 34th Street, White Christmas, or It's a Wonderful Life. In every family, there is a rebel who decides to turn the channel and try something different. Many of the movies I enjoy are centered around Christmas, but have a foot in another genre as well. Here are some of those non-traditional Christmas movies and shows.

elf (2003) In this film starring Will Ferrell, a "giant" man raised as an elf at the North Pole is sent to New York City in search of his biological father. This is a Christmas comedy, made when Will Ferrell was the funniest man on the planet.

Scrooged (1988) This is the classic story of "A Christmas Carol," but with Bill Murray as the grumpy Ebenezer Scrooge, but updated as a TV executive visited by three spirits on Christmas Eve.

Bad Santa (2003) This is a dark comedy starring Billy Bob Thornton, who plays an alcoholic conman who with his partner poses as Santa (and his Little Helper) to rob department stores on Christmas Eve. They run into problems when the conman befriends a troubled kid, and the security boss (Bernie Mac) discovers the plot. This was also John Ritter's final film

Die Hard (1988) & Die Hard 2 (1990) Classic action movies that take place on two consecutive Christmas Eves. Both star Bruce Willis as police officer John McLane who rescues his wife and many other people from terrorists. Twice!

A Christmas Story (1983) A "modern classic": little Ralphie tries to convince his parents to get him a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas. For many years, this has been shown for 24 hours December 24-25, and I have been known to watch it at least once during that time. One of my friends even has a leg lamp.

Trading Places (1983)  This oft' quoted movie starring Dan Ackroyd, Eddie Murphy, and Jamie Lee Curtis was a staple of the holidays for years - looking good, feeling good...

If you don't have time for a whole movie, watch the Christmas episode of your favorite show. Many of the Southpark Christmas specials are streaming on Netflix! Community is on hulu!

What will you be watching this holiday season?

Saturday, December 10, 2011

GGS 004 The Book Podcast

We finally did it, talked about our first set of book recommendations. Here's the list of the ones we talked about, so go out there and download an audiobook, an ebook, or read a good old paper and ink book!

Susan's Picks:

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
  Harry Potter and the Socerer's Stone
  Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
  Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
  Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
  Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
  Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

 Millennium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson
   The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
   The Girl Who Played with Fire
   The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

 The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
   The Hunger Games
   Catching Fire

 Southern Vampire Series by Charlaine Harris
   Dead Until Dark
   Living Dead in Dallas
   Club Dead
   Dead to the World
   Dead as a Doornail
   Definitely Dead
   All Together Dead
   From Dead to Worse
   Dead and Gone
   Dead in the Family
   Dead Reckoning
   Deadlocked (2012)

 A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin
   A Game of Thrones
   A Clash of Kings
   A Storm of Swords
   A Feast for Crows
   A Dance with Dragons

 The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard

 Death Note by Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata

Amelia's Picks:

Nick Twisp Novels by C.D. Payne
  Youth in Revolt
  Revolting Youth
  Young and Revolting
  Revoltingly Young

 The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard

 I Am Ozzy by Ozzy Osbourne with Chris Ayres

 Ooh! What a Lovely Pair: Our Story (Ant & Dec) by Ant McPartlin, Declan Donnelly

 The Rum Diary by Hunter S. Thompson

 Lucky Man by Michael J. Fox

 Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore

Saturday, December 3, 2011

GGS 003: Moral Orel, The Best Christmas Ever

In this episode, Susan and Amelia celebrate the holiday spirit by recording a commentary on The Best Christmas Ever episode of Moral Orel. Cue up your DVD or watch online at and enjoy.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Geek Girl Soup 002: Community v The Big Bang Theory, A Very Special Thanksgiving Episode

In the latest episode of the podcast, Amelia and Susan discuss two of their favorite Thursday night shows, The Big Bang Theory and Community. Which do you like best?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Geek Girl Soup 001: Why So Many Remakes?

Well, we've finally done it, published a podcast! In the first episode, Susan and Amelia discuss why there are so many remakes of movies and television shows and which ones we thought were successful. It was recorded live at the Brasil Cafe, so there's lots of background noise and now we know what to do to avoid it next time. Enjoy.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Returning Fall Shows


 "I remember my dream now, why I dug the holes." Jim, The Walking Dead, "Vatos"

I find it appropriate that as I write this post, The Walking Dead season 1 marathon is playing in the background. In preparation for the season 2 premiere tonight, I started rereading the comics (on which the show is based. There are some changes.) last month and finished with issue #89 this week. The show and the comic, if you haven't heard, are about a group of people trying to survive the zombie apocalypse. Last week, I watched Breaking Bad, which was on at the same time on the same channel as TWD. They just ended their fourth season. Next year is their final season, so all of you who haven't watched this show yet, still have several more months to watch seasons 1-4. Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix streaming.

Another one of my favorite Sunday night shows is Dexter. He's been cleaning up the streets of Miami for 5 great seasons (ok, some have been greater than others). I would also like to watch the second season of Boardwalk Empire, but there's no time on Sundays. A couple of weeks ago, Drop Dead Diva's third season ended. I like that show, it really helps me calm down after the intensity of the other shows I watch on Sunday nights. A lot of people have recommended The Good Wife, but I just haven't had time for it yet.

Mondays I sometimes watch House, but that never lasts for more than a few weeks. Last year I started watching How I Met Your Mother on a regular basis, and I will continue watching this year. Tuesday nights are slow, I should watch Boardwalk Empire then. The only show I am interested in watching on Tuesdays is Sons of Anarchy, which I discussed in a previous post. Another of my favorite shows is on Wednesday nights, Modern Family. I usually don't like sitcoms, but this one is hilarious, and has been in its first two seasons and so far in its third. Another surprise for me is Happy Endings. I know I should hate it, but I don't. South Park is still offending people everywhere. As long as you know this and can deal with their humor, the show is enjoyable.

My favorite Thursday night show is Community. It's odd and quirky, just the way I like a show to be. I enjoy The Big Bang Theory and The Office on Thursday nights as well. FX is a couple of weeks into the new season of The League. The appeal of this show for me is also a mystery similar to the reasons why I like Project Runway and Top Shot. I'm not a big fan of the subject of the show or competition, but there's something about it which I find fascinating.

Of course the best thing about Friday nights is The Soup. It's new just about every week and should be an hour long instead of just 30 minutes, but I understand Joel has another show to do every week, *sigh.* It's mostly a rundown of the reality shows, but occasionally scripted shows make it on The Soup. Recently, a scene from Fringe was on. Does that mean they've jumped the shark? The best part of the Soup is, naturally, #TweetSoup on Twitter every week. Follow our Twitter feed (@GeekGirlSoup) and join in as you watch the show. After The Soup, I get a more serious look at the world with Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO.

That's my week of returning shows. There are still a couple more new ones coming and some returning shows on cable. What do you watch that I left off my list?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New Fall Shows


Now that the first show (The Playboy Club) has been cancelled, I thought it might be time to talk about some of the new shows. If the critics are right, the next shows to be canceled are Charlie's Angels and Free Agents. I've given many of the new shows a watch, and some I've given up on already. After watching 2 episodes, New Girl and Whitney just aren't as funny as I thought they would be. I might watch again in the future, but for now, they're off the regular DVR schedule. 2 Broke Girls, How to Be a Gentleman, and Unforgettable are just plain off my schedule. Sorry, CBS.

The shows I like and will occasionally watch are A Gifted Man, Pan Am, Prime Suspect, and Up All Night. Pan Am might move in to the regular rotation, but it's not a high priority.Unfortunately, American Horror Story falls into this category after one episode. I really like Pan Am and Up All Night, but they conflict with other shows, so I'll have to watch on hulu or On Demand. As for A Gifted Man and Prime Suspect, I'm a little burnt out on medical dramas and cop shows, so I'm limiting them.

The shows I will keep up with and watch every week are Suburgatory, Person of Interest, Ringer, Revenge, Terra Nova. Suburgatory and Revenge really surprised me. Suburgatory is funny, quirky, and cute. The pilot started with a Lily Allen song (F*k You), snarky comments, and I was hooked. Person of Interest is a cop drama starring Michael Emerson, recently of LOST and Jim Caviezel, who I first noticed in the movie Angel Eyes with Jennifer Lopez. The mystery of Ringer is holding my interest for now. The same goes for Revenge, but I have to watch it on hulu because there's so much other good stuff on at the same time (Top Chef: Just Desserts, Luther, South Park) that I have to adjust the recording schedules. I've always been a sci-fi fan, so I'm in for Terra Nova and I hope Fox  doesn't cancel it too soon, as they've been known to do with several series. It would have been ok if they had renewed The Chicago Code instead. That was another great show that went the way of Firefly and WonderFalls.

If you're watching any new shows, let me know, I'll give them a try. Coming soon, returning shows.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reality Shows, part 2

I watch some of these occasionally, when I remember, others I watch each week. Many of them show up on TheSoup each Friday and we talk about them on #TweetSoup. BTW, whatever happened to Ma's Roadhouse? That was a crazy show!

Survivor (CBS)
They’re back in Samoa with two tribes of newbies & two veterans to “lead” them. Did they learn anything from last season with Boston Rob & Russell? If not, who do you think will win, Coach or Ozzy? I hear this season on America’s Next Top Model, they’re doing an all-star competition. They don’t have any winners or newbies in the game. The competitors have all done this before. So if I were casting Survivor, I’d bring back the veterans as advisers, not competitors.

Top Chef: Just Desserts (Bravo)
It’s the best pastry chef competition ever. The Willy Wonka challenge, how cool was that!! I want to learn how to make a few of those things. I just love seeing what they create, haven’t picked a winner in this season yet.

Project Runway (Lifetime)
I’m not a fashionista, but there’s something about this show that I find interesting. Like Top Chef, I love seeing what the contestants will create. This season, they’re doing a lot of team challenges and no one wants to work with Burt!

Top Shot (Hist)
Really? This show gives me a nice survey of weapons available for protection in the zombie apocalypse. They combine physical obstacles and target shooting with a variety of weapons. The host is Colby Donaldson, from Survivor. He definitely has learned a lot from Jeff Probst. They’re currently in season 3. There are a few women in the show, but so far, none has made it past a few weeks. Maybe next year…

Tattoo shows LA Ink/NY Ink (TLC)
The final episode of LA Ink has aired. I’ve been watching it when I remember that it’s on. When the tattoo shows began, it was cool to hear people’s stories about the art they’re putting on their bodies permanently. That’s still my favorite part of the shows. The shop drama is not all that interesting to me, but seems to be more and more of the show.

Storage Wars (A&E)
This is one of those shows that I started watching on vacation. I was in the hotel room waiting around to go to dinner & it caught my eye while channel surfing. In each show a group of resale store owners and collectors bids on storage units then searches through them to find out if they got a good deal or not. There are good guys, villains, and comic relief among the cast and that’s why each show is different – you never know what you’re going to find in the lockers.

Whisker Wars (IFC)
Who knew facial hair was a sport?!?!? Is it a surprise to anyone that the rest of the country hates the Texas team? I’ve seen a couple of episodes of season 1 and I can’t tell what’s makes beard great. The competitions shown in season 1 are all in preparation for the World Beard competition in Norway in Freestyle, Natural Beard, and other categories.

Hoarders (A&E)/Hoarders Buried Alive (TLC)
The first time I saw Hoarders, I purged and cleaned for a few hours. Friends tell me this is a common reaction. Both shows are basically the same – a person has experienced a trauma, then starts hoarding. Each season, they find people who are more and more damaged, or are facing legal trouble, including jail time. I can’t watch this show every week.

Others...yes, there will be more. The Amazing Race starts again next weekend, and I'm sure Joel McHale will tell me about crazy new shows when we "get together" Friday evenings.

Friday, September 16, 2011

The freak circle is complete


Charlie Hunnam’s back, with his American accent, and so are the rest of the Sons of Anarchy. I was so excited for the return of SAMCRO last week that I watched the first 3 seasons in August so I would be all caught up again for the 4th season premiere on September 7th.  Season 4 starts fourteen months later as the guys are released from prison.  There’s a new sheriff in town who’s not as cooperative as Unser. Hale is the new mayor and the biggest real estate developer in Charming. There’s also a new assistant US attorney who is investigating the Sons and their associates. Jax & Tara got engaged and he’s telling her everything as they agreed in season 1. Not sure if he knows about Maureen's letters yet, I don't think so. Opie & Lyla got married and they’re both keeping big secrets. Juice has some new business partners too. He owns 20% of the new wellness center so he gave Opie & Lyla each 10 colon cleansing sessions. There are new rifts in the club as well as between Gemma & Tara. We're going to learn more about the death of John Teller. The Russians are out this season and the Sons are working with the Mexican gang, The Mayans. Two of the new business partners are Benito Martinez, formerly Captain Aceveda of The Shield, and Danny Trejo. I can’t wait to see what happens!

This fangirl is thrilled to see Danny Trejo this season, even if he is only in a few episodes! You’ve seen him before he’s that guy, you know…  He’s played lots of bad guys, gang members, and miscellaneous bad-asses.  I had seen him many times, but first remembered his name after seeing him (and his arm) in ConAir. He’s shorter than I had imagined, but don’t tell him I said that.  ;-)

Thursday, September 15, 2011

GGS Reality...part 1

One of the things Amelia and I do is live tweet E!’s show The Soup on Friday nights at 9C. Follow us on Twitter @GeekGirlSoup, @AmeliaAvalos, and @barbisu to play along. In preparation for Friday night’s #TweetSoup, here’s an update on some of the reality shows I’ll admit to watching.

So, 2011 was the year to reward bad behavior on Big Brother. The show ended without any big surprises. The last show where there was any excitement was the double eviction show in which Danielle and Jeff were evicted. They were the leaders of the factions of the house, which left their minions to play the game for themselves. Kalia had been playing with a strategy, but the rest were left to flounder & figure out the game for themselves.

Brendon and Rachel will have the wedding of their dreams, good for them - and they just won a honeymoon trip to Aruba on today's The Talk. The only real mystery was Adam’s vote, which went to Porsche. *shocker* This summer I was on Team Dani & Team Kalia, so my fun ended when Kalia got evicted from the final five. Can we get a recount on America’s Favorite Player vote - Jeff? He was America’s Bully, but I guess now he can buy a nice engagement ring for Jordan when he’s not busy making ignorant homophobic comments. I’ll try not to watch next year, but I’m sure I’ll get sucked in all over again *sigh*

They’re back in Samoa with two tribes of newbies & two veterans to “lead” them. Did they learn anything from last season with Boston Rob & Russell? If not, who do you think will win, Coach or Ozzy?

One of my favorite lesser known reality shows (that never makes it onto TheSoup) is “Life After.” There are just a few episodes shown at seemingly random times on TVOne interviewing people who used to be famous. Everyone they have interviewed gives frank, honest answers about life in the limelight and how their lives have changed since they’re not the superstars they used to be. Some of the people profiled include Ruben Studdard, Taimak, Ron Artest, Jaimee Foxworth, Al Reynolds, Shar Jackson, and the woman who spoke my favorite quotation from the series, Janet Hubert – “If you want me to kiss your ass, you’ve got to put it in my contract.”

Reality shows that shouldn’t be more than one episode (or one season at the most), but I'm glad they keep going so we can enjoy them on The Soup.
Hillbilly Handfishin’
I Didn’t Know I Was Pregnant
I Faked My Own Death
My Super Sweet 16/Kid Parties
Toddlers & Tiaras
Bachelor Pad
Any show with Paris Hilton and/or a Kardashian

In the next installment of GGS Reality, we'll talk more Survivor, Project Runway, and Top Chef: Just Desserts

You wanna hug it out?


I don’t think I was supposed to like Entourage. At its surface the male-centric series doesn’t seem like the kind of show a woman can take comfort in; particularly a woman who finds very little appealing about getting drunk, getting high, and getting laid with a guy who is most likely not going to call the next day.

Will y’all lose faith in me if I whine, “but Entourage is different”?

The show about four guys trying to navigate their way through Hollywood, to varying degrees, did more for me in Sunday night’s finale than Sex & the City ever did in its 6 year run or two subsequent films. I think because the female bond is so easily achieved and depicted. A true male bond is not something we regularly bare witness to. Sure guys probably get along better and quicker than chicks but the Musketeer-esque link between Vince, E, Turtle, and Drama isn’t your typical friendship. They’re brothers – two in the actual sense, all in a very real sense. No matter what commotion filled their lives at the end of the day they were all on this journey for the greater good of the team.

And we were all happy to take the back seat and watch.

There’s been talk of a film. I think a film would do them good. We could hopefully see what plays out when they all got on their planes in that last scene, though chances are it would skip ahead in time. Did Vince and Sophia get married? Is there a baby E running around somewhere? Has Ari really changed?

For future reference, Hollywood, this is what a series finale should be. Don’t tie everything up with a nice little bow (Friends) but don’t leave us completely in the dark either (The Sopranos). Satisfy your audience but, in the words of P.T. Barnum, “Always leave them wanting more”. 

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Last DVD


Like many people, I decided to keep Netflix streaming and cancel the DVD service, so today I'm watching my last DVD. I've been a Netflix subscriber on & off since 2003. In the beginning I used it to watch the Babylon 5 series. I decided to drop the DVD service because of the Sept 1 price increase & my great ability to procrastinate. The record for a Netflix DVD to stay at my house was about 6 weeks.Now I'll be getting my DVD rentals from Redbox at $1 per night. Unfortunately, they only have new release movies, no TV series, so I'll have to check out Hulu or some other source for those (suggestions are welcome).

My final DVD is disc 2 of 3 from Undeclared, the Complete Series. For some reason, I didn't watch this in the brief time in which it was on ten years ago, but I'll watch the reruns whenever they're on IFC. So now, even though I've seen each episode at least twice, I'm loving the DVD. Undeclared is a Judd Apatow show about a group of college freshman, kind of like Freaks and Geeks goes to college. The deleted scenes and commentaries are just as hilarious as the show itself. The show stars Seth Rogen, Charlie Hunnam (Jax, but with a British accent!!!), Jay Baruchel, Carla Gallo, Monica Keena, Timm Sharp, and Jason Segel. I still can't believe that Charlie Hunnam from Undeclared is the same Charlie Hunnam currently in Sons of Anarchy. He may be the reason why I started watching Undeclared, just to see what he had been doing before he played a bad-ass outlaw biker on TV. Unless I know someone who owns the DVD set, I'll have to wait until I own it to see the final disc.