Wednesday, May 4

TV Month 2016 - The Premium.

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There was a time, not too long ago, where entertainment was still sort of an exclusive privilege.

The models still exist in different ways: Netflix, Spotify, Hulu and so on. But once file sharing hit the web, the walls between entertainment and fan were never the same again. Before that, if you wanted to see something, chances are you actually...you know...had to pay for it. Thievery was possible, but far more difficult, with the stakes much higher.

It was so much more than piggybacking on a friend's password or hitting up the Pirate Bay. Stealing cable meant either the literal thievery of a pirated box, or slipping money to an underhanded technician who could work some magic atop a telephone pole. Hardware needed to exchange hands, and the cable/dish companies did not screw around. Police would, and I'm not making this up, patrol neighborhoods looking for signs of illegal hookups. There was even a channel that Dish Network had on their network that could only be viewed by those who were retrieving their signal illegally:



Big networks, bigger companies and big record labels controlled both content and distribution with an iron fist, but as a kid I never really looked at it this way. It was part innocent youth, part Media addict I was, but I saw these companies more as Gatekeepers of Awesomeness. They were doing me a favor by making sure I was aware of all the wonderful entertainment I could not afford. Your opinion may have varied, and mine may have been ridiculous.

So much of this is a result of the age I was at the time. While I was (quietly, awkwardly) transitioning into adulthood, I was also transitioning into the culture of Adult Stuff. Back in the day, the playing field wasn't level between kids and adults like it is now with the Internet. If you were a kid who wanted to see or hear adult-level stuff, it required nearly Prohibition-era secret knocks and handshakes. You needed to know someone that knew someone, or merely had parents that didn't give a shit. It wasn't just there for the taking; it was very much still its own world that you had to graduate in to.



I would sometimes watch these 'Barker Channels' even if I didn't have a pay-per-view ordered that evening. I was just curious to see what sort of next-level entertainment was out there for those in the higher tax brackets. Furthermore, there was a true majesty of the advertising at the time, because it was being equal parts earnest (this was relatively new technology after all) and shameless huckster (I'm not paying to watch a Bruce Willis concert, which was totally a thing that happened).

With premium-tier channels like HBO and Cinemax, they always had a way of making you feel like you were really missing out; the magic of Hollywood would arrive at your doorstep with nothing more than a simple phone call or cable upgrade. I still remember what it felt like to have HBO in my room. The marketing worked like a charm; I felt privileged and connected, even if I couldn't care less what they were airing.



The first pay-per-view I ever bought with my own money was on March 18, 1991. It was a boxing match between Mike Tyson and Donovan 'Razor' Ruddock. I was a boxing fan at the time, but my excitement was less about the fight, and more about the fact that I was buying a pay-per-view. I was in on the ground floor! When the broadcast began, a little light on my cable box begin to flash, reminding me to turn the channel (no refunds, homie) to one that seemingly poofed into existence shortly after placing a phone call to Warner Communications. That blinking light was so much more exciting than the fight. From there, I bought maybe five more boxing events (mostly Roy Jones Jr. title defenses), but once the UFC came around, I jumped to MMA and never looked back.

Since then, I've ordered my share of Premium channels and PPV's, and while you'd probably assume I'd say that it doesn't feel the same anymore, it kind of does. I still get a little excited before a movie or event begins, irrespective of what I'm about to watch in some circumstances. And I know that feeling has everything to do with these moments in my childhood. There's always a hint of nostalgia; a small twinge that reminds me of how special I used to think this all was. Call me a sucker, but they got their hooks into me at an early age and never let up.



Television, music and movies have been devalued (unarguably from a market standpoint, at least) by the ability to pirate and stream. This doesn't necessarily degrade the quality of the product, and I'm not even saying I disagree with the new model, but it's definitely worlds away from how it was 20 years ago. Today, the idea of not being able to see a specific show the day after it airs on your computer or phone (for free, mind you) is ludicrous to most.

This is an embarrassment of riches that even I take for granted on a daily basis. When these PPV's and special events happened in the 80's and 90's, there was a real possibility that, if you missed it, you may never see it again. No Internet, no YouTube, no DVDs. When they said it was exclusive, they meant it.

This is slightly contradictory to what I said earlier, but in getting everything I've ever wanted in terms of Media- in gaining permanent entry to the club previously enforced by the Gatekeepers of Awesomeness- it doesn't always feel as important as it used to. It's dumb to long for a time when things were more difficult to access, but being an insatiable glutton never made me feel satisfied. I think Elaine said it best:

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"Remember when you first went out to eat with your parents? It was such a treat. You go and they serve you this different food that you never saw before. They put it in front of you and it was such a delicious and exciting adventure...and now I just feel like a big, sweaty hog waiting for them to fill up the trough."

Well put.

TOMORROW: THE UHF DIAL.

Tuesday, May 3

TV Month 2016 - The Big Ugly Dish.

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I miss channel surfing. I miss not knowing.

I miss not knowing what was on TV. Just lazily going around the horn a million times and finding random snippets of things you'd otherwise never see. To a younger generation, it might seem strange to long for a time when technology was lacking, but there was always a certain satisfaction of discovery in these channel surfing moments. Sort of like browsing through a video store or flipping through compact discs for hours at a time. This was the only way to find new things. No algorithms, no Season Pass, no robot-created playlist that inadvertently makes your circle of media more and more homogenized.

For me in particular, I wasn't always even looking for something I would enjoy as a consumer. Some nights, I was merely looking for something I had never seen before. And in 1995, my wishes were extravagantly fulfilled when we got a Big Ugly Dish.



In the 80's, the C-Band Dish (known as the Big Ugly Dish by nerdball historians) was the only game in town outside of cable, especially if you lived out in the country like I did. With the advent of mini-dishes like DirecTV and Dish Network, B.U.D's eventually became a relic, although they still maintain a cult following of obscure techies who maintain and service them.



Like I said, we got our B.U.D. in 1995, which was so late in the game for this hardware that I was actually surprised people were still selling them. I was just happy to have 500 channels though, so I didn't ask questions. It was the perfect balance of futuristic and antiquated. For example, we indeed had hundreds of channels from all over the world, but only 1 channel could be watched at any time on any TV throughout the house.

Think about that. As a 13-year old boy with a world of Premium channels at my fingertips, I couldn't view anything without it showing up on every other TV in the house. It was like the family telephone; if one person was using it, nobody else could, unless they just wanted to eavesdrop.

Also, the B.U.D. physically moved around. You had to remember that, back in the day, there were dozens of satellites in the air that carried a certain amount of data (or channels, if you will). Each satellite had a name (A5, G1, M2, etc.), and we were given a massive grid that showed us every satellite we had access to, and every channel that was located on each of them.

So, let's say I was watching MTV on Satellite G5, Channel 10. If I wanted to watch HBO, which was located on G5, Channel 16, I could just flip the remote control like anyone would typically do. But if I wanted to watch The Box (an MTV competitor at the time), I would consult the (paper) guide to remind me that it was on Satellite A1, Channel 24. This meant I needed to enter a separate menu, punch A1 into the keypad, look out my window and watch the satellite slowly move to link up with Satellite A1. This took anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes, depending on where this satellite was in our solar system.



Each month, our family would get a magazine in the mail called Orbit. It was a TV Guide for C-Band owners, and was about 300 pages, containing nearly every channel, satellite and guide configuration you could imagine. When the latest issue of Orbit arrived in my mailbox, I was so excited. As soon as Friday and Saturday night rolled around, I would go through the guide page by page, staying up all night to see what was playing...on every channel on Earth.

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You think I'm kidding, but it's essentially true. Another thing about C-Band: It was goddamn anarchy.

You had your basic and premium cable channels, just like you would do now with cable or satellite. You would also have foreign broadcasts, which allowed me to see what was going on in not only Latin America, but Russia, Japan, even Dubai. There were pay-per-view options the world over, and hardcore pornography by the truckload.

A quick word on porn, which is something I don't think I've ever said on the CDP before. I think there were legal issues with pornography in America at this time, which is probably why you could only get softcore stations (Playboy, Spice) through cable providers. On C-Band, however...not the case. Adam and Eve, Exxxtasy, AdulTV, a whole universe of channels I had never heard of before, and whose advertisements have been permanently seared into my brain for the remainder of my existence.

But there was so much more.

Do you know what a 'Wild Feed' is?



These things straight-up don't exist anymore, at least in a capacity where a random shmuck in his living room can view it with no effort whatsoever. The satellite grid was massive and unlocked; all chips were on the table at all times for anyone to watch. This meant (and I'm paraphrasing) that as soon as a network flipped their switch, the feed was available to view if you happened to be on the channel they were using as a 'pre-air.'

Stumbling across a wild feed was like finding a TV Unicorn. You weren't supposed to see it, anything could happen, it was live and you would more than likely never see it again. This goes back to my love of channel surfing and not knowing; every once in a while you strike gold. There was even a 1992 documentary that was loosely based around footage obtained from these feeds.


(Parodied wonderfully by The Simpsons, as you would assume.)

Another bygone byproduct of C-Band anarchy: Anyone could buy a channel if they had enough money. Pastor Gene Scott and his wife purchased so much airtime in the 80's and 90's that his signal is still floating out in the ether of C-Band and shortwave communication. As a kid, it always looked like he was speaking live, 24/7, around the clock. It wasn't until I started researching him that I realized he probably was.

It would seem counterproductive that a technology so vast and random would make me feel so connected with the outside world, but it did. On the other side of my bedroom was a computer that now allowed me to create AOL Buddy Lists and chat nightly with friends and strangers the world over, but it just wasn't the same for me. The sound of a modem dialing up certainly reminds me of the early connection I made with new technology, but not as much as the sound of our Big Ugly Dish slowly spinning in the backyard at 2 in the morning.



While I certainly have a soft spot for nostalgia, I'm not a 'good old day' goon who refuses to accept modern advances merely because I don't understand them. My house hums with modern technology, and I'm a more connected, poorer man because of it. It's more about the feeling of new discovery. When technology changes and expands, there's typically a brief era in the very beginning where it seems like anything can happen. We don't know where it's going to go, but for the time being, we just hop on board and see where it takes us.

C-Band and the Big Ugly Dish faded into obscurity. My DirecTV receiver gives me more entertainment than I could ever handle, but because of how differently we watch Television now, the sense of new discovery is all but gone. I watch what's in my queue. My guide filters channels I don't want. Hell, most of my generation has abandoned TV altogether in favor of cheaper streaming models. I get it; you just want to watch what you like. The idea that one night you'd stumble upon a channel you didn't know existed just can't be a reasonable expectation anymore.

But at one point, it was, and it was freaking awesome.

TOMORROW: THE PREMIUM.

Monday, May 2

TV Month 2016 - The Season Premiere.

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My name is Ryan Zeinert, and I am hopelessly addicted to Television.

When I began kicking around the idea of an entire month devoted to my favorite pastime, it boiled down to asking myself a (seemingly) simple question: Why do I love TV so much, anyway?

The answer was a bit deeper than I realized.

When I was a child, there was no Internet. With the exception of radio (a somewhat antiquated medium to kids even in the 80's thanks to the uprising of video games), Television was the only window into a world different from my own. I lived in a rural town with no cable until I was a teenager. I had insomnia. I had no friends within biking distance. I spent a lot of my time in my own head (still do). Nintendo was fine, but it wasn't like you could log on and play Metroid against everyone in the world. It was still a solitary experience unless you had a friend over, which I typically did not.

So I watched TV.

When I couldn't sleep, I watched TV shows. When my shows were over, I'd watch TV shows I didn't like. When those shows were over, I'd watch whatever channel hadn't gone off the air yet. When that was over, I'd watch the National Anthem. And when that was over, I'd watch the Test Pattern. And then maybe, maybe, I'd fall asleep.



My parents tried to police this, I can assure you. They set timers and hid the remote. I didn't have a TV in my room for most of my childhood, but I would sneak downstairs into the living room after everyone had gone to sleep (my only advantage as an insomniac). I spent as much time outside as most well-adjusted kids, but as soon as I went back in, I knew what I would be doing.

It's for these reasons and more (which we'll get to throughout the month), that it's never been about just the shows for me. It was everything: The static, the terrible local networks, the scheduling, even the hardware itself. Everything that goes into getting those images to my face, and what it represents. A pre-Internet way to make yourself known to the planet in ways never before dreamed of. A companion when you're lonely. Even now as an adult, I find myself recording and watching more TV in conjunction with spikes in my anxiety and depression. This is not a coincidence. Sad as it may sound, TV was my friend when I needed it, and I am loyal to my friends.

As the late 80's morphed into the 90's, I moved to the city, we got the Internet, I had more friends around, I became slightly less introverted and I entered my teenage years. But my appreciation for TV never wavered. Cable was exploding into everyone's home. Marketing and advertising was geared specifically to my age group (and as weird and hyperactive as ever). Channels became 24/7. MTV still played music. The Learning Channel was still educational. Right when TV faced becoming antiquated parallel to the Internet, it was to me the richest moment in its history.

And that's when everything changed for me.

TOMORROW: THE BIG UGLY DISH.

Friday, April 29

TV Month 2016 - The Series Primer.

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TV MONTH 2016 may not officially begin until Monday, but today is a comprehensive look back on nearly every TV-related essay, list and countdown in CDP history. Consider it a table setter. A palette cleanser. An appetite...whetter?

Gross.

Anyway, here we go. There are nearly 100 links here; plenty to keep you occupied until May 2:

FALL TV PREVIEW.
2005-2006 Preview. (Lost! Malcolm in the Middle! Arrested Development!)
2006-2007 Preview. (King of the Hill! House MD! The Office!)
2007-2008 Preview. (Friday Night Lights! 30 Rock! Heroes!)
2008-2009 Preview. (24! My Name is Earl! Dollhouse!)
2009-2010 Preview. (Parks and Recreation! Modern Family! The Middle!)
2010-2011 Preview. (Community! Bob's Burgers! Louie!)
2011-2012 Preview. (Breaking Bad! The Walking Dead! Adventure Time!)
2013-2014 Preview. (The Goldbergs! Agents of SHIELD! Brooklyn Nine-Nine!)
2014-2015 Preview. (Gotham! Once Upon a Time! The Flash!)
2015-2016 Preview. (Better Call Saul! The Muppets! Fear The Walking Dead!)

TV 25 TOURNAMENT (Greatest TV Show of the Last 25 Years).
Intro
Tournament Selection
Round 1 Recap (Comedy)
Round 1 Recap (Drama)
Round 2 Recap
Semifinals
Finals

NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY.

THE 1990'S.
Top TV Shows Of The 90's (30-21)
Top TV Shows Of The 90's (20-16)
Top TV Shows Of The 90's (15-11)
Top TV Shows Of The 90's (10-6)
Top TV Shows Of The 90's (5-1)

2000-2010.
Top 10 TV Shows Of The Decade (10-6)
Top 10 TV Shows Of The Decade (5-1)
Top 10 TV Shows Of 2010

DECADE IN REVIEW (2000-2009).
'A Lifetime Of TV Shows' List
Best 'Instantly Canceled' TV Shows Of The Decade
Analysis Of The Most Popular TV Shows Of The Decade
Worst TV Shows Of The Decade

ANALYSIS.
Canceling The Simpsons?
7 Habits Of Highly Effective TV Viewers.
The LaCrosse Incident.

TV WEEK (2008).
Top 20 TV Shows Of All-Time (20-11)
Top 20 TV Shows Of All-Time (10-1)

THE SIMPSONS.
Top 100 Episodes (Honorable Mention)
Top 100 Episodes (100-91)
Top 100 Episodes (90-81)
Top 100 Episodes (80-71)
Top 100 Episodes (70-61)
Top 100 Episodes (60-51)
Top 100 Episodes (50-41)
Top 100 Episodes (40-31)
Top 100 Episodes (30-21)
Top 100 Episodes (20-11)

FULLER HOUSE.

THE WALKING DEAD.

LOST.
Season 3 PreviewSeason 3 - Episode 1 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 2 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 3 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 4 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 5 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 6 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 7 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 8 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 9 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 10 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 11 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 12 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 13 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 14 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 15 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 16 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 17 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 18 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 19 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 20 Recap
Season 3 - Episode 21 Recap
Season 3 - Finale Edition 1
Season 3 - Finale Edition 2
Season 3 - Finale Edition 3
Season 3 - Episode 22/23 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 1 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 2 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 3 Pop Crunch Recap
Season 4 - Episode 4 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 4 Pop Crunch Recap
Season 4 - Episode 5 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 6 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 7 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 9 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 10 Recap
Season 4 - Episode 12 Recap
Season 4 - Finale Edition 1
Season 4 - Finale Edition 2
Season 4 - Finale Edition 3
Season 5 - Episode 1/2.
Season 5 - Episode 4.
Season 5 - Episode 5.
Season 5 - Episode 6.
Season 5 - Episode 7.
Season 5 - Episode 9.
Season 5 - Episode 10.
Season 5 - Episode 11.
Season 5 - Episode 12. 
Season 5 - Episode 13.
Season 5 - Episode 14.
Season 5 - Episode 15.
Season 5 - Episode 16/17.
Season 6 - Episode 1/2.
Season 6 - Episode 3. 
Season 6 - Episode 4.
Season 6 - Episode 5. 
Season 6 - Episode 6.
Season 6 - Episode 7.
Season 6 - Episode 8.
Season 6 - Episode 9.
Season 6 - Episode 10.
Season 6 - Episode 11.
Season 6 - Episode 12.
Season 6 - Episode 13.
Season 6 - Episode 14.
Season 6 - Episode 15.
Season 6 - Episode 16.
Series Finale.

Good lord. It isn't until you lay everything out when you realize that I've written enough about Television to last multiple lifetimes. Take from that what you will.

Again, TV MONTH 2016 begins proper on Monday. An entire month devoted to new essays, countdowns, personal nostalgia and obscure minutiae related to all things Television. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

MONDAY: THE SERIES PREMIERE.

Monday, April 25

We Interrupt This Broadcast.

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Can't stop, won't stop.

Not even five months into 2016, and the CDP has already reviewed Season 1 of Fuller House, curated the first Mix-Tape Trade in nearly five years, and published personal essay after personal essay after personal essay.

And all next month, we will embark on one of our biggest Pop Culture projects ever: TV MONTH 2016. An entire month devoted to essays, countdowns, obscure minutiae and personal nostalgia regarding all things Television.

I don't want to give too much away, but I will say that my goal was to put together a collection of TV-related stuff that celebrated why we (or at least I) specifically love Television, warts and all, that go beyond just the shows. From the birth of Cable, to Infomercials, to fuzzy UHF stations, to scrambled Premium channels, to National Anthem sign-offs and Doomsday alarms, I thought about what it truly means to be raised by Television, specifically during the 80's and 90's.

In addition to these essays, you can also expect a new countdown of the 100 Greatest Television Shows of the Last 35 Years, along with the long-awaited sequel to The Nuclear Nielsen Family. There will be new content every day, all month long.

It all kicks off this Friday, with a recap of nearly every TV-related essay, list and countdown in CDP history (and it's a shitload, I can assure you). Sound off in the comments section, enjoy your day and get ready for TV MONTH 2016!

FRIDAY: THE SERIES PRIMER.

Monday, April 18

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 10 Drawing.

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It's go time, kids!

After extensive laboring and building one of those spinny-wheels with the Bingo balls in them, we have drawn the 13 pairings for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 10. Everyone who signed up has someone that they will create a Mix-Tape for, and in tune, they have someone who will make one for them.

The pairings are as follows:

THE CDP will be making a Mix for SAMANTHA.
BRUCE will be making a Mix for JESSI.
MIKE I. will be making a Mix for CARLY.
MIKE H. will be making a Mix for CELIA.
LEVI will be making a Mix for SHERRY.
JESSE will be making a Mix for FIONA.
BENJAMIN will be making a Mix for MIKE I.
CELIA will be making a Mix for JESSE.
FIONA will be making a Mix for MIKE H.
SHERRY will be making a Mix for BRUCE.
SAMANTHA will be making a Mix for BENJAMIN.
CARLY will be making a Mix for LEVI.
JESSI will be making a Mix for THE CDP.

Wonderful. Here's what we all do next:

1. I will be sending a Facebook message out to everyone today in a group (you're all friends with me), reminding them who's creating a Mix-Tape for whom. We're doing this step through FB this time around; it's quicker and cleaner than e-mail.

2. It will then be up to the recipient of the Mix-Tape to contact the creator and give them their physical mailing address (if you plan on physically mailing them a Mix and not a streaming one). You can do this right in the FB group message I create, or you can contact them separately if you wish.

3. Once you get the mailing address (or relevant contact info) of the person you're sending a Mix-Tape to, MAKE IT AND SEND IT!

It's an intimate group and everyone has a buddy; it would really suck if someone gets left out because you decided to go deadbeat on them. The deadline is to have ALL MIX-TAPES MAILED OUT BY THE END OF APRIL. If someone gets left out, I'll feel personally responsible, so please don't make an ass out of me or I'll publicly shame you here on the CDP.

Once you receive your Mix-Tape, sound off in the comments section or FB so we all know the status of everyone's packages (if you'd like). Half the fun is sharing the experience with everyone involved.

4. If you're having a problem contacting anyone, have a question or anything else goes wrong, contact me and I'll sort it out. I'm pretty neat like that. Remember though that people are busy, so give them a day or two to answer you back, but let me know if it's taking a ludicrous amount of time.

5. I always mention this (and I'll mention it again when I contact you), but if you're looking for an easy way to thank me for inventing something as uniting and awesome as the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, I would love a copy of your Mix. My mailing address is as follows:

theCDP
PO Box 865
Sun Prairie, WI
53590

Any mixes that make it to CDP Headquarters will get a public thank you and are eligible for a SUPER SECRET AWESOME PRIZE. Simple as that! Send one my way!

You should be receiving your instructional information by the end of the day today (Monday). So get out there, create a rad Mix-Tape and send it off to your partner before THE END OF APRIL!

Monday, April 11

The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 10.

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For the first time in over four years, The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade has returned for the tenth time!

Since it's been a while, some folks may need a reset on how this works:

1. If you want to participate in the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade, just let me know by Saturday, April 16 at 10pm Central Time. No exceptions. You can do this in the comments, my Facebook page, through Twitter or E-mail.

2. On Monday April 18, right here on the CDP, everyone will be randomly assigned a participant who you will then make a Mix-Tape for. I function as the middleman if you need any help contacting your recipient or have any questions. We should be able to do all of it through Facebook, but we can do e-mail, too.

3. Make a Mix-Tape and send it to your recipient by the end of April. Pow.

Now, times have changed since the last time we did this, so you're more than welcome to go the Streaming/Spotify/Google/iTunes route with your Mix if your recipient is able to receive it that way. HOWEVER, the spirit of the Mix-Tape Trade is to create a physical piece of media (usually a CD with artwork) and mail it out to your recipient. That's the whole point of this thing.

4. For the first time since 2007, there is no theme for the CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 10. Make whatever you want, go whatever direction you want.

Okay, let's do this. Sign up ASAP and enjoy your week. Names will be drawn and you will get further notification on Monday, April 18.

Monday, April 4

Love Is A Mix-Tape.

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September 2007
Theme - None


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February 2008
Theme - Love and Sex


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June 2008
Theme - Cover Songs


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October 2008
Theme - Catchphrase


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March 2009
Theme - The Top 10 of Everything


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September 2009
Theme - Six Degrees


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March 2010
Theme - Your New Favorite Band


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August 2010
Theme - Three Little Words


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November 2011
Theme - The End

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June 2016
Theme - TBA Monday, April 11

More details next week. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Friday, April 1

Fuller House Friday - 'Save The Dates/Love Is In The Air.'

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(Season 1, Episodes 12/13: 'Save The Dates/Love Is In The Air.')

The Final Fuller House Friday is upon us. We have much to discuss. Be honest, you're going to miss this, aren't you?

I took an Ambien prior to watching the final two episodes of Fuller House, and just before the entire cast melted through the studio floor and out the bottom of my iPad, I remember thinking to myself, "How can things possibly get weirder?"

Kimmy and Steph making out. Steph challenging DJ to a game of Twister. DJ joking about how 'You Oughta Know' is about Dave Coulier. The girls drunk dialing the Olsen Twins and making fun of their catchphrases. Surely I dreamed all of this, right? Fuller House cannot possibly be this self-aware. This self-referential.

This...good?

Despite a 12th episode that I thought was essentially filler, Fuller House closed on their highest note since the Premiere. I liked it. Frankly, I overall liked the entire season, and I'm excited for Season 2. I had a good time reviewing it, and I had a good time watching it. Not just for all the times it was warm and nostalgic and fondly embracing the past. But for all the times they caught me off guard and legitimately made me laugh with weird, original stuff. They showed not just that they were in on the joke, but took advantage of us underestimating what they were capable of pulling off.

I, however, will not be returning to review Season 2. The CDP Board Of Directors has informed me that, due to overwhelming public outcry, I must immediately cease and desist. I guess the FaceSwap photos really creeped a lot of people out. It was a good run.

So, for the last time, are you ready for the Episode 12 and 13 synopsis?

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Season 1, Episode 12: 'Save The Dates.'

- Steph writes a new song and wants to see if it 'appeals to the youth demographic,' so she plays it for Tommy. This was when I realized that, unlike Michelle, Tommy couldn't really be used for anything other than sitting there due to how young he was. With Michelle, she eventually turned into a catchphrase-spouting ratings bonanza, but Tommy was basically just a baby lump that appeared from time to time for reaction shots.

- Who plays Jumbo-Sized Jenga on a glass coffee table? Jackson and Max.

- Steve's taking DJ out for a 90's-themed date. This whole thing teetered on the edge of me feeling bad for Steve, but DJ dug it so much that we, the audience, sorta did too.

- Steve was Bay Area Podiatrist of the Year in 2012. Little feather in his cap, there.

- Fernando can speak perfect English. I have no idea why this surprised me, but it did.

- DJ: "Steve took me to the school gym to re-carve our initials in the bleachers. But apparently, security frowns on a grown man in a wig wandering the halls with a pocket knife."

- Steve fills DJ's glass to the tippy-top with wine. His behavior, with the right musical backdrop, goes from cute to full-on sexual predator in seconds.

- Steve rented Ghost in 1991 and never returned it. If Blockbuster Video hadn't gone out of business, he would owe them $200,000.

- Tell me, tell me, that the scene with DJ and Steve massaging ground hamburger together while recreating the Ghost pottery scene wasn't funny. I dare you.

- Steph and Kimmy kiss. Kiss kiss. Fernando divorces Kimmy so he can marry her again.

- Max plays Jenga with the baby, lets him win, and confesses that he will be in therapy for the rest of his life. Probably court-mandated therapy, if my theory about him is correct.

Season 1, Episode 13: 'Love Is In The Air.'

- DJ and Matt re-open the Vet Clinic together. Steve is jealous. DJ still hasn't decided who she will give the final rose to.

- Matt was an underwear model in Miami. It got him through Vet School.

- Jesse and Becky are renewing their vows in the backyard, and Kimmy/Fernando decide to piggyback onto their ceremony with their own. Uncle Jesse is everyone's uncle.

- Jesse feeds a whole cheeseburger to an infant.

- Jackson: "Uncle Jesse, got a minute? Do you know Ramona's friend, Lola?" 
Jesse: "No, I don't."

- Ramona: "I'm psyched for my family getting back together, but I'm actually going to miss you guys. Except you. I don't really know you at all."
Jesse: "Well, I'm Uncle Jesse. I'm everyone's uncle."

- DJ still can't choose between Steve or Matt, so she's inviting neither to the wedding as her date. Kimmy and Steph make the respective calls for her, because it's a Sitcom.

- Matt and Steve are handling DJ's indecisiveness the same way any guys would: by being super nice and bro-y to each other. Matt gives Steve a Rolaid for his Acid Reflux.

- Becky and Jesse renew their vows. Kimmy has cold feet and bails a couple times, but eventually agrees to just stay engaged to Fernando and see where the relationship goes. So, I guess they're staying in the house?

- Matt gets a smooch from Lola, because she likes how messed up his family is. That's how I got my wife, too!

- The Bachelorette-style finale with DJ/Steve/Matt was really funny. "I've known it since high school and I'm even more sure of it now...we're soul mates. I couldn't even imagine my life without you...That's all I have prepared."

- DJ picks neither, and the guys go out for a beer and pizza. Steph says it was the worst episode of The Bachelorette she's ever seen.

The End. Season over.

Let's skip right to the good stuff, with How Rude!

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- Gibbler Style is offering half off if you book your Baby Shower within six months of your Bridal Shower. It's their "Don't Do the Math" Special.

- Steve: "I'm sorry. This was way sexier last night when I was practicing it with my dog." Comet Junior Junior! Noooo!

- In exchange for being cool about Kimmy/Fernando piggybacking onto their ceremony, Becky promises to give Jesse the 'Becky Special.' We don't hear what this is, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say it was probably butt-related.

- Becky rainchecks Jesse on the 'Becky Special.' Jesse says he'll have to give it to himself. Still going with the butt thing.

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So, just one last thing before we sign off. I can't really prove it, and I don't have all the facts to back it up, but I'm proposing the theory that Steve murdered DJ's husband. Just wanted you to chew on that while waiting for Season 2 to start.

Thanks for reading. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. Links to every episode review are below.

Episode 1 Review.
Episode 2/3 Review.
Episode 4/5 Review. 
Episode 6/7 Review. 
Episode 8/9 Review.
Episode 10/11 Review. 

Monday, March 28

Fuller House Monday - 'A Giant Leap/Partnerships In The Night.'

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(Season 1, Episodes 10/11: 'A Giant Leap/Partnerships In The Night.')

Another Fuller House Monday is upon us. We have much to discuss; we're going old school for this one.

Here's a little peek behind the curtain when it comes to Fuller House Monday/Friday. First off, it should be said that I did not watch the entire season at once. I only watch 2-4 episodes a week as I review them for the CDP. For that reason, I might actually be the last person on Earth to finish the first season with the goal to do so in mind. When I speculate about plot points happening in the future, I'm not playing dumb. You know more than me; I just write the reviews as I watch the episodes.

So why, you may ask, am I not finished with the season yet? Because it takes me about two hours to get through each episode of Fuller House. I watch the episode and take notes, which takes about an hour with all the pausing and rewinding. Then I actually go to a page where I can read the episode scripts to make sure I have the quotes right and I didn't miss anything. Just like The Walking Dead Friday and Lost Friday before it, Fuller House Friday contains a lot more work than can be reasonably expected from any well-adjusted person. I only do 2-4 episodes a week so I don't throw my TV in the dumpster and start my block on fire.

This is how I roll, kids. If you're going to do it, do it the best you can, even if the whole thing was silly to begin with. I care so you don't have to.

Ready to go? Then let's get into the THICK AND MEATY!

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Season 1, Episode 10: 'A Giant Leap.'

Tommy’s a fat baby…er, babies.

Cosmo’s getting bigger, and Max is teaching him (and Tommy) how to do tricks. You know, the very same way a psychopath would attempt to manipulate a helpless human in order to maintain a tight, emotional grip on them. He was feeding the baby Pup-Peroni! Is anyone monitoring this kid?

The doorbell rings, and the entire house flips its shit. Steph’s new boyfriend is coming over, and it’s Hunter Pence of the San Francisco Giants! Hunter wears his Giants gear on dates, I guess, but if my employer gave me $90 million, I'd wear whatever they wanted. Deep sea-diving bell on my wedding day? Sure thing, Mr. San Francisco Giants! When would you like your breakfast?
 
Hunter says that he puts his uniform on two legs at a time, and he does it at his house instead of the locker room. I'd probably do that, too. Kimmy calls him ‘Underpants.’ Hunter also eats pizza with a fork, and keeps a lucky golden fork around his neck at all times. Look, I don’t have a problem with people who eat pizza with a fork, but wearing a golden one around your neck is just begging for a jugular vein injury.

They acknowledge he has crazy eyes.

Pence invites the entire family to the game, and we find out that Steph will be singing ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game’ during the 7th inning stretch. Pence has been in a hitting slump since he started dating Steph, and the Internet has branded her a jinx. I don't believe in superstition, but if there's ONE sport out there where I sometimes feel that the Wrinkled Hand of Fate actually determines the outcome, it's totally Baseball. I understand this delusion wholeheartedly.

Matt pops in to grab his ticket and insults Pence on his way out the door.

He and DJ have resumed the smooching, in case you were wondering. Seems like the kids approve of him, but Kimmy wants DJ to mention it to Steve. Oh God. She’s justifiably terrified, and so am I. Come on, Killing Spree Finale!

Jackson's crush Lola is coming to the game, too. Hunter must have given them a buttload of tickets. The Giants did have a rough season last year, but who is a Red Sox/Brewers fan to throw stones? Jackson is attempting to impress Lola again, and Ramona agrees to function as his wingwoman. That's some good friending, right there. Sitcom Logic says Jackson and Ramona fall for each other.

DJ and Steve are walking their dogs together. Steve wants to move in...for the dog’s sake. Steve keeps mentioning how great it is that they’re back in each other’s lives after so long, and man, he’s pushing hard to rekindle a relationship with her. DJ isn’t helping things, because she clearly still has feelings for him, too. 

I gotta say though, that Steve’s line about getting back into people’s lives sort of sounded like a man whose 25-year master plan is finally coming to fruition. Steve wants to know if they still have the ‘same chemistry,’ and he plants her with a smooch outta nowhere. That’s assault, brother! But DJ is totally down with it. Just straight-up rolls with it and basically agrees with him that there might be something there. I'm going to try that the next time I want to do a Chemistry Check on an old friend, but I'm gonna save up some bail money first.

He says that the kiss was nice, and he was fun back in the day, but he’s a lot more fun now and ‘can do a lot better.’ Steve just said what a lot of us guys wish they could say to their old high school girlfriend. "I’ve gotten better at everything, I promise!"

They kiss again, and Kimmy and Steph see the whole thing. Steph says the 2nd kiss was ‘full-frontal frenching.’

Uh...that actually sounds a lot like something else. Like, say, Hunter Pence hitting a Triple.

DJ liked the kiss, and admits to liking Steve. She rather flippantly decides to let Matt down instead, as he plans on moving back to Miami in a couple of weeks. That seemed like too easy of a decision.

We’re LIVE at the ballgame! Matt is a bro to Jackson and offers to buy snacks. More specifically, he just gives him his card and tells him to buy whatever he wants. And hey, Lola goes to the concession stand with him! I’m rooting for this kid.

Lola - "Oh, get me a hot dog. Mustard on the left, ketchup on the right, relish down the middle. The mustard and ketchup can't touch. And my drink should be half-root beer and half-diet soda with a splash of lemonade. I call it a Lola-Cola."

I get Lola. 

Hunter’s up to bat, and gives Steph their little signal, which causes the fans around her to recognize that she’s the ‘blonde jinx’ causing his hitting slump. Pence strikes out. At the Pro Shop, Jackson decides to go on a shopping spree with Matt’s card in order to impress Lola. She has good taste; that Tim Lincecum autographed jersey is pretty dope. Jackson gets a hug out of the deal at the low cost of $247.

How does Lincecum pitch without his arm snapping off and pinwheeling into the crowd? He's not normal.

Back in the seats, Matt wants to talk to DJ about the relationship. Matt has decided to not go to Miami. DJ’s a flustered floozy. Pence is back up, and Max is begging for a foul ball. A foul comes his way, but it’s caught but a chubbo loudmouth. That’s how she goes, kid. Pence strikes out again. Fat Guy sits on his nachos.

From the upper deck, Jackson shares a quiet moment with Lola, but she won’t take a selfie with him. That’ll cost more than $247, I guess.

Steph comes out to sing for the 7th inning stretch, and gets heckled by the chubbo. Hunter Pence poked himself with his golden pizza fork! I KNEW it! Amidst a sea of boos, Steph works her way through ‘Take Me Out To The Ball Game,’ has a meltdown halfway through and breaks up with Hunter Pence on the mic in order to break the jinx. Pence doesn’t give a shit. He looks like he's seen worse.

Hey, it’s the Kiss Cam! After some repeated pressure by the camera guy, Matt and DJ smooch, and that’s when we find out that Steve went to the game. What? I have about a dozen questions about that (most notably, DJ and Steve didn’t tell each other they were going to the game?), but no time, because Steve makes a mad dash to DJ and GETS INTO A FIGHT WITH GIANTS MASCOT LOU SEAL.

Dude, there is nothing, and I mean nothing, that I like more than when mascots get into fights. This clip of Tommy LaSorda beating the shit out of the Phillie Phanatic has gotten me through more rough days than I care to discuss. Baseball Chaos is my favorite thing in the entire world. I'm so happy that baseball will be back into my life next week.

Steve, Steph, Kimmy and Ramona are all thrown out. On the bright side, Pence breaks his slump and hits a Grand Slam directly into Max’s glove. Precisely the sort of sign a psychopath would take as a direct message from God of superiority and righteousness. On this rock, Max shall build his church.

Steve shows up to the house, and he’s got murder on the brain. Matt also shows up, and oh man, someone’s gonna die. Look at all that sweet Giants apparel. DJ tries to sort everything out, which triggers a flashback from Matt to their first kiss. Then we get some fourth wall-breaking, as the trio ACTUALLY SEE AND COMMENT ON THE FLASHBACK. Then Steve gets a turn, as everyone (including Steph and Kimmy) gets to check out his smooch with DJ from 20 years ago. It’s straight-up absurdity. We've all been eating Steph's brownies.

Both guys (justifiably) would like an answer from DJ, DJ clams up and they both bounce. Nah, they were both just bluffing, although I think Steve was planning on murdering Matt in a parking garage later in the evening.

They both ask DJ out for later in the week, DJ accepts both invitations. Things are gettin' porny. Then Matt and Steve accidentally kiss each other, and holy shit this entire thing has gone completely off the rails. I gotta go talk to an adult.

The End.

Season 1, Episode 11: 'Partnerships In The Night.'

Most people would kill for Ramona’s eyebrows. They're really great.

Baby Tommy is just crawling free by the oak staircase, and Max has to poop something fierce. He implies that he will be wiping his ass with the baby.

I'm not kidding; watch it. Those who did watch it, please back me up.

Steph shame-Uber's her way into the house after a night of getting over Hunter Pence. She tells DJ that she’s become a little famous. She wasn’t famous before? Did she not headline Coachella? Also, I did not know that they still make Mylanta. Anyway, a lot of suitors are banging on Steph’s door since her meltdown at the baseball game. I wonder if the same thing happened to this woman.

Steph inquires about DJ’s threesome situation. DJ cannot decide, and for the life of me I cannot understand why either of these dudes would put up with getting jerked around like this. I mean, let’s be honest here; she’s a widowed mother of three who lives with six other people. I’d be gone in a heartbeat, but I’m also kind of a dick.

Kimmy – “Of course there will be booze; it’s a children’s party!

DJ’s boss (and Matt’s dad) is retiring, and DJ thinks that this means she will inherit the Vet Clinic after seven years of loyal service. Steph is looking forward to watching The View.

Steph – “That Raven Simone is never wrong.
DJ – “Oh, what does she know? She’s a child actress.”

Kimmy offers to hire Steph to help with her party planning business. Ms. Gibbler needs the help and Steph is broke, so it all works out.

Ramona and Jackson steal DJ’s laptop. Why does her personal laptop have a Parental Lock on it? Anyway, they take the laptop so they can watch R-rated movies. That’s a 90’s scheme if I’ve ever heard one. I like the idea that they are doing this together. Don’t know why.

Well, they screwed up with the link, because instead of all the Brief Nudity and Adult Situations they could ask for, they download a virus. They estimate it’ll cost about $100 to repair, of which they only have $50. Psychopath Max listens to the entire conversation and immediately uses his position of power for evil.

At the vet clinic, DJ is taking care of a golden retriever. I’d like to think that every retriever in the city is a descendant of Comet. Matt’s trying hard to win her over, and we find out from his retiring father that he’s leaving the business to Matt. I mean, that sorta makes sense, right?

Nobody calls J-Money ‘J-Money.’

Max loans $50 to Jackson and Ramona, but…you know how this goes. They basically have to be his slave until it’s paid off. He starts off by making them rub his feet while singing. Just a sick, sick individual. No reasoning with this guy; shoot to kill.

Steph rents a cow for the Indian-themed retirement party, and it makes its way into the house. That’s a well-trained cow. Physical comedy ensues.

At the party, DJ announces that she’s going to open her own clinic as a response to getting overlooked by Dr. Harmon. That cow looks so cute with its little wreath on! Steph dances, and it turns into a whole choreographed Bollywood number. Don’t question it; last episode they were able to see each other’s flashbacks.

Max has an existential moment and tells Ramona and Jackson that he will no longer require their harem services. They’d better just watch porn on their own laptops next time.

Matt offers half the business to DJ if she chooses to stay. Man, that must have been one hell of a kiss. She agrees to it, but I'm sure a conversation with Steve is soon to follow.

The End.

This was a weird batch of episodes. So, for your sake and mine, let's BREAK IT DOWN!

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4 - Not like Fake Coachella or Fake Dance Club, the Fuller House crew actually went and filmed on location at the Giants ballpark. Also, the Milwaukee Brewers' season opener is against none other than the Giants at Miller Park. So pumped.

8 - No way in hell did Target have that much India-themed stuff on a moment's notice, even if they did pay for the plug. You'd think someone who ran a party planning business would have more of a contingency plan than just running to a store and buying the place out.

15 - DJ takes the mic at Dr. Harmon's retirement party to say that she's essentially starting a competing business. Not really the time to make such statements, Deej.

16 - Max says that he's been hoarding money by fishing it out of wishing fountains, but everything in that giant plastic bag was paper money. Maybe he has a separate bag for his change.

23 - I grew up on a dairy farm. If that cow would have kicked anyone anywhere near the head, they would be dead.

42 - Things aren't looking good for Steve at the moment. He's a successful podiatrist and all, but it looks like DJ and Matt will be co-owners of the Vet Clinic, despite the fact that they've only kissed a couple of times and aren't even officially dating. DJ sure knows how to fall into it; first she's bequeathed what I can only assume is a $5 million dollar home, and now a Chinatown veterinary clinic. Yeah, her husband exploded in a fire, but she seems pretty well over it at this point.

Before we go, here's a sneak preview of Fuller House Friday, which will feature the final two episodes of the season!

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It's just a hunch at this point, but I'm pretty sure I'm gonna be right about this.

Okay, we're done here. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week. Links to previous reviews are below; don't forget to come back Friday for the big finale.

Episode 1 Review.
Episode 2/3 Review.
Episode 4/5 Review. 
Episode 6/7 Review. 
Episode 8/9 Review.