Category Archives: TV

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Silence of the Lambs at 30

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

SportsAlcohol.com mainstay Sara has a Valentine’s Day tradition: Watch The Silence of the Lambs. Valentine’s Day does happen to be the movie’s anniversary–and in 2021, it turned 30 years young! So the SportsAlcohol crew decided to join in on the ritual (virtually, of course), rewatching Jonathan Demme’s Oscar-winning (and, yes, somewhat problematic) feminist serial-killer thriller and getting together to talk about that, plus the careers of both Demme and, uh, Lecter. So if you’ve ever wanted to listen to Sara, Jesse, Marisa, Ben, and Jeremy talk about Michael Mann, Brett Ratner, Matthew Modine, the Oscars, message movies, Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington, and Thandie Newton in one packed episode, then SportsAlcohol.com has done it again! Happy Valentine’s Day to no one! Seriously, though, it’s a good episode.

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

  • You can subscribe to our podcast using the rss feed.
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  • I don’t really know what Stitcher is, but we are also on Stitcher.
  • SportsAlcohol.com is a proud member of the Aha Radio Network. What is Aha? It’s kind of like Stitcher, but for your car.
  • You can download the mp3 of this episode directly here
  • Our most recent episode or two will sometimes be available on our Soundcloud
  • You can listen to the episode (and a bunch of great songs!) in the players below.

Stop Calling WandaVision Weird!

Gripes
There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

WandaVision, currently airing on Disney+, is many things. It’s a superhero show. It’s a love story. It’s a fun romp through the pantheon of television history.

In a lot of ways, it’s what I’ve been asking of Marvel in many, many, many of our MCU-related podcasts, where I plead for the studio to focus on fewer Avengers, tell smaller-scale stories, and do something that feels distinct from the rest of the 20-plus entries in the franchise.

But there’s one thing that WandaVision is not: weird. It’s also not completely original (by design!), unique, or bizarre. And yet.

WandaVision Reviews

WandaVision can’t — and doesn’t — have it both ways. It can’t rely on its audience to recognize sitcom tropes, and then also exist apart from them. And I don’t believe the show is really trying to. I think it wants you to feel the timeworn plot patterns, spot the inspirations in the decor, ease into the comfort of the laugh track. From the show’s debut, any TV fan can tell that one episode is going to feel like the ’50s, with all those conventions, the next is going to take on the ’60s, and so on.

In fact, my biggest complaint about WandaVision is that sometimes the idea of it is more fun than actually sitting down to watch it. (Except for Vision’s magic show. That was great.) I get that Wanda has Bewitched-style powers, and she’s going to use them to get out of a scrape with The Boss and try to whip up a big dinner, and that it’s going to backfire. There is joy in watching it because of Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany’s performances, but the way it unfolds is not particularly refreshing. Even the idea of a classic sitcom parody is not, by itself, something especially new.

Of course, it’s not just a classic sitcom parody. But the way the story hints at something bigger going on is not weird, either. It’s straight out of The Truman Show.  Or Lost. I’ve only seen the three episodes that are available to the general public so far, but I know when I start each one that, a couple scenes in, there’s going to be some kind of hint that not everything is as it seems, and then at the end there’s going to be, well, an even bigger hint that not everything is as it seems. Maybe the show will change course and we’ll stop living in TV Land, or maybe the parts that exist outside the sitcom world will take up a bigger slice of the running time of each episode. Maybe she’ll have to fight The Powers That Be — the ones that made our heroes retreat into the imagined safety of a blissful TV marriage. Maybe that’ll involve more typical MCU-style hangars and control rooms. Or maybe not. But I have a feeling that, whatever the reveal is, it’s not going to be shocking. I will come back and sincerely apologize if this show does anything that genuinely surprises me.

So why do people keep calling it weird? I think there’s something else implied that isn’t being said. WandaVision is weird…for Marvel.  (It’s not even the weirdest recent Marvel property! Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse is weirder! It has a talking pig! Legion, as frustrating as I find it, is weirder! It has an astral plane!) While WandaVision sits comfortably within television tropes, it exists apart from the hardened Marvel formula.

At this point, Marvel shouldn’t be getting credit for moving one standard deviation away from its current status quo. It should’ve been at least this creative the whole time, if not moreso. Was it a long game — making movies so samey that they get oohs and ahhs the minute they decide to change course, even the tiniest bit? Probably not. But I hope this encourages the Marvel suits to take more, and bigger, risks across the board, and not just compartmentalize tiny nods to weirdness into a handful of episodes on Disney+. I want more talking pigs!

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: What Makes Us Laugh

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Look, it’s been a long sort-of quarantine for everyone, including your friends at SportsAlcohol.com, and we haven’t all completed the projects we thought would be our silver linings for this extended period of inactivity. For example: Thinking we could all use some laughs during a pretty dark time, a bunch of us recorded a comedy-centric podcast about what makes us laugh, in the vein of our other episodes about what makes us cry or scared in movies and TV. We did this back in the spring, when it seemed like maybe we’d be dealing with a pandemic through the summer. Jesse’s neglect in editing this long but fun-filled episode turned out to be prescient, as it’s now almost six months later, and here we still are, dealing with the pandemic, and maybe still in need of laughs? So happy Election Day 2020, everyone! Here’s Marisa, Jesse, Nathaniel, Sara, Jeremy, and Jon talking about, and analyzing, the kind of comedy (well, mostly comedy) that makes us laugh now, has made us laugh in the past, and we hope will make us laugh again in the future.

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Mini-Podcast: Desperados, starring Nasim Pedrad

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The SportsAlcohol.com podcast is generally not a one-movie-at-a-time type show. We cover filmographies, genres, franchises… and sometimes, individual movies that simply demand our attention. For reasons we cannot fully explain, Desperados, a new Netflix comedy starring Nasim Pedrad, was such a movie. I learned this movie was dropping on Netflix like three days before it happened, and I was so excited that fellow A.V. Club freelancer, SNL fan, and all-around delightful pop-culture writer LaToya Ferguson was equally excited and willing to talk to me about this unexpected Nasim star vehicle! So here we are, talking about Nasim Pedrad, Desperados, and which SNL stars we’d love to see getting the Judd Apatow-style 2.5-hour semi-autobiographical treatment, among other topics. You’re welcome, nerds!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: SNL at Home (and Season 45), Reviewed

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Several SportsAlcohol.com friends & fam are regular reviewers of the NBC late-night comedy-variety series Saturday Night Live, and we make it our business to check in with the show every season to see how it’s progressing. We did this in 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015, and 2014. The 2020 check-in for SNL was a particularly strange one, as the show switched to non-live, socially-distanced compilation specials for its final three episodes of an abbreviated 18-episode run. Nathaniel, Michael, Marisa, and Jesse got together (virtually) to talk about how these episodes switch up the SNL dynamic, and other highs and lows of Season 45.

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Streaming Recommendations for Quarantine

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Well, it’s been a few months and many of us are still at home in some manner of quarantine, which means we’re all looking for shows and movies for our boredom-and-anxiety-alleviating streaming regimen. In this multi-part special, a SportsAlcohol.com all-star crew goes around and recommends a whole bunch of #content for you to enjoy while stuck at home. Marisa, Sara, Nathaniel, Jeremy, Ben, Jon, and Jesse all weigh in on all different kind of stuff on all different kinds of streaming services, whether you’re rocking Netflix, Amazon Prime, Criterion Channel, Hulu, Disney Plus, HBO, or even, yes, Apple. The first installment covers Netflix, Amazon, and some feature films; the second focuses on Hulu, Disney Plus, and Apple!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

Farewell, Sweet Elementary

Gripes
There are contrarians, there are iconoclasts, and then there is SportsAlcohol.com co-founder Marisa. A contraiclast? Her favorite Springsteen album came out this century, so she is basically a controversy machine.

Also, she is totally not a dude!
Marisa
Gripes

Word has come down from on high that Elementary will be ending after is upcoming seventh season, which premiered this week. I am gutted. Elementary never came close to ever being my favorite show in any year, but it’s a show I’d always watch in any given year, and I don’t know how to replace it.

Elementary

When I first saw it — for review, no less — I was dismissive. “Bah,” I said. “This is just like any other crime procedural, but with Sherlock Holmes as  the main character.” This was when Sherlock was still a going concern, mind you, so adding Holmes to Elementary just felt like an odd graft into a pretty established formula. But as time went on, I started to think, “Cool, it’s just like any other crime procedural, but with Sherlock Holmes as  the main character!” Now, Elementary has outlasted Sherlock, and it scratched my Holmes itch for far more episodes.

Continue reading Farewell, Sweet Elementary

The SportsAlcohol.com Podcast: Checking in with SNL and Adam Sandler

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

Certain pockets of the SportsAlcohol.com editorial team have a soft spot for Adam Sandler, so when we heard that the Sandman would be returning to his launching pad Saturday Night Live for his first-ever hosting gig, it struck us as the perfect time to do our annual but irregularly timed Saturday Night Live check-in. So Marisa, Jesse, and Nathaniel stayed up late to watch the episode and talk about both Sandler’s performance, and the show’s performance all during its 44th season. So listen up, because we have a microphone and you don’t!!!!

We are now up to SEVEN (7) different ways to listen to a SportsAlcohol podcast:

Every Adam Sandler Character from SNL, Ranked

Jesse is a cofounder of SportsAlcohol.com even though he doesn't care for sports or alcohol. His favorite movie is Ron Howard's The Paper. I think. This is what happens when you don't write your own bio. I know for sure likes pie.

The SportsAlcohol.com editorial core closely follows Saturday Night Live, and perhaps not coincidentally also closely follows the career of Adam Sandler, through a series of numerous lows and occasional highs. So obviously some of our most misguided interests were piqued when it was announced that the Sandman was down for his first-ever Saturday Night Live hosting gig, airing this Saturday, May 4th, on the good old NBC television network. Sandler has returned to the show for a few celebrations and one show-opening musical number, but he’s demurred on the possibility of hosting for many years. Though he currently alternates Netflix movies with the occasional arthouse indie picture (!), Sandler is still a major star, and his return to the show where he spent an uneven five years as a writer and performer qualifies to us as a major pop-culture event. So we decided to figure out a complete ranking of Sandler’s (non-impression) recurring characters from his SNL years.

As it turns out, there aren’t really that many; one of these 16 “characters” doesn’t really qualify, and 6 of the remaining 15 are Weekend Update bits. Really, Sandler’s signature character was, well, Adam Sandler: the guitar-playing or Halloween-costume-suggesting goofball who showed up at the Update desk to goad Kevin Nealon into singing or to make faces at Norm MacDonald and/or Chris Farley. Sandler is not a virtuosic sketch performer; his stand-up comedy roots show, and it’s arguable that the stand-up-bro sensibility of so many mid-90s cast members is what led to one of the program’s worst slumps. But Sandler and his guys — Chris Farley, David Spade, to a much lesser extent Rob Schneider — all had great moments on the show.

To rank these characters,, I sent a master list to a bunch of people who I thought might know or care enough about Adam Sandler to send back ranked ballots. Only I, Nathaniel, and SNL fan Brian had enough of an opinion to weigh in. And, as it turns out, our ballots were often pretty much in sync, making this an unusually strong consensus in terms of what goes where. The Sandman: the great uniter…of people who watched him on SNL when they were younger.
Continue reading Every Adam Sandler Character from SNL, Ranked

The Dads of Game of Thrones, ranked from best to worst

Rob is one of the founders of SportsAlcohol.com. He is a recent first time home buyer and it's all he talks about. Said home is in his hometown in Upstate New York. He never moved away and works a job to pay for his mortgage and crippling chicken wing addiction. He is not what you would call a go-getter. This may explain the general tone of SportsAlcohol.com.
Rob

Game of Thrones is back for its final season and its time SportsAlcohol.com got in on some of those sweet sweet SEO clicks. I think a majority of our primary contributors don’t even watch the show, but I do and I actually re-watched the whole thing for the season premiere so I’d remember who was who and why I hate them. For a show that famously kills tons of characters, there are still far too many people to remember! One thing that really struck me on re-watch is that it’s like an Aaron Sorkin show on steroids based on the number of terrible fathers. Given all this competition, who’s the worst? Let’s get into it!
Continue reading The Dads of Game of Thrones, ranked from best to worst