Chelsea: Blake Shelton, Aubrey Plaza & Dolphin Penises (Review)

Chelsea Handler

Before looking at the last two Chelsea episodes on Netflix we would like to make a request of the show’s  producer; Chelsea Handler.  “Please can there be more Aubrey Plaza on your show?”  Anyone who can make us laugh that hard while talking about dolphin penises is a plus.  Blake Shelton was cute, talking about his relationship with “older woman” Gwen Stefani. So he was also a good guest.

So too was the star of the new Tarzan flick (The Legend of Tarzan) – son of Stellan Skarsgård (Thor, River) – Alexander Skarsgård.  The Swedish actor gave “good interview” and apart from inheriting his father’s talent for acting also got his dad’s height.

Other guests included politicians that we have never heard of before;  a congressman and a 19 year old democrat delegate (we think). A chap from NASA  also stopped by to talk Mars, Martian water and divulged a few facts about the red planet. All in all the NASA talk was more informative and less confusing than the political lesson.

Ms. Handler gave out a lesson in how men should dress (Flip-flops are a no-no even if worn with socks – we would have said especially is worn with socks – so too is the wearing of bedazzled jeans) and did a few public service announcements on the “non-specialness” of kids.

The two shows this week left behind the pharmaceutical fascination and focussed more on comedy and “learning.” (Although as we said earlier the Mars bit was entertaining and illuminating while the politics was pretty much yawn inducing.)

The Aubrey Plaza and Tarzan episode was brilliantly funny. Comedian and actress Plaza (who specializes in dead-pan delivery) spoke a bit about her upcoming film – “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates” (which was based on a true story according to Plaza’s costar Adam DeVine on an earlier episode) and eventually reached the subject of the dolphin prehensile penises.

Skarsgård talked about his Tarzan diet, six small meals a day (mostly chicken and broccoli) and no alcohol.  He also mentioned his idea for a sequel to the film, an older heavier Tarzan.

(Sidenote: While we enjoyed  the interaction between Chelsea and the kids at the start of the show, we doubt that they are real children. These are obviously “stunt children” or child actors. Way too articulate for the real deal…and they are amusing. Just saying.)

Boback Ferdowsi from Nasa was the follow-on from a very funny Aubrey Plaza with his informative little talk about the red planet and manned spaceflights to it. Ferdowsi helped with the Mars rover and also trotted out some information about the data retrieval machine.

The previous episode featured Blake Shelton who talked about his new fiancee Gwen Stefani. He also gave Miley Cyrus a shoutout and discussed the young performer with Chelsea.    (High note of this  episode was Ms. Handlers rhyming observation: “Stitches don’t get B*tches.”)

Away from the studio Chelsea visited the new Mayor of a small Florida town, William Shearon; the first visually impaired person to hold the position.

Chelsea’s next guest was former US congressman Barney Frank who was entertaining right up until the governmental lesson.  Weston Lindemann, the youngest democratic delegate, joined the proceedings and the entire segment became confusing for those who have problems understand the whole process.

Ms. Hander then spoke with her father Seymour  outside the studio.  The topic was politics and the candidates on offer.

Both episodes were amusing but it was Plaza’s dolphin tale that reached comic heights.   Chelsea Handler is eclectic fun and her show’s guest list is varied.  We have fallen in love with the host of Chelsea. Thank you Netflix for allowing us to get our fill of this performer.

Chelsea airs on Netflix. If you missed it, go now and watch Aubrey Plaza warn of the dangers connected to dolphin penises. It is funny.


The Mindy Project: There’s No Crying in Softball (Review)

Jay R. Ferguson kn The Mindy Project

“The Mindy Project” continues this week, in “There’s No Crying in Softball,” with the romance that was started in “Princeton Charming.” Jay R. Ferguson returns as the Princeton coach who started “dating” Mindy last week.  The two are almost a  perfect match two professionals on opposite ends of the career scale who have fun in and out of bed.

Dr. Lahiri is reluctant to tell her friends and colleagues at work about the relationship and almost loses Coach Drew Schakowsky. The whole thing works out in the end and it seems that she may have found someone who moves at her frequency.

A weekend date is in jeopardy when timing is thrown off as Mindy learns that the staff softball game is scheduled over the weekend. The tournament runs the same time that Drew is coming to visit with Mindy in New York.  She tells the organizers, Morgan (Ike Barinholtz) and Collette (Fortune Feimster) that she cannot make it. 

Jody (Garret Dillahunt), Collette’s brother, states that he and his new girlfriend Courtney (played by Maria Thayer) will be attending.  Drew arrives in New York and Mindy explains that she is looking after her son. The coach opts to stay in a hotel the night before their “big date” and Mindy’s big weekend is off to a shaky start. 

As the softball game progresses, Jody tells Courtney an amusing story that keeps her laughing. Unfortunately the laughter is distracting Collette who finally snaps and throws a softball striking Courtney’s face.

Collette is ejected from the game and Morgan calls Mindy begging her to join the team otherwise they will forfeit.  Mindy agrees and as the day drags on and on.  Drew, who thinks she is at work,  stops by the hospital to visit.

Jody and Courtney are in the waiting room and he explains to the coach that Mindy is playing softball. He stops by  the game and catches her in a lie, she texts that she is delivering twins and is stressed. Drew texts back that she looks fine “from here.” Looking up Mindy finds him looking at her by the edge of the ball field.

Rather than get angry, Drew agrees to coach the ob/gyn team and they go on to win the contest. Mindy, who has been avoiding telling anyone about her Princeton coach, finally admits he is her boyfriend.

Once again this show and Mindy Kaling are comic perfection. The quirky characters and the presence of “The Real O’Neals” regular Jay R. Ferguson as the newest romantic conquest of Kaling’s character equals an impressive show.

The moments are splendid and when Collette hits Courtney with the ball the build up to her act of violence is spot on.  As is all the humor in the show.

One stand out moment has Ferguson’s character at a shop. He is waiting for Mindy and ordered his hot chocolate. When she rings to say she will be late, he says he may leave as a group of young girls in cosplay outfits are trying to bully him for  the table.

At the end of the conversation he tells her that Elsa (from “Frozen”) just hissed at him.  This is the kind of comedy that makes up “The Mindy Project.” A splendid mix of bawdy humor; the short montage of Mindy pushing Drew onto the bed at each of their dates, and the silly; Jody’s complete denial of Drew’s existence at the hospital.

“The Mindy Project” airs Tuesdays on Hulu.  Catch this one. It is funny and you too will fall in love with the lead character.  If you have missed the earlier seasons, begin binging now. You will be glad you did.

Arrow: Schism – Hope Springs Eternal (Review)

Damien Darhk in the final battle Schism

“Arrow” ended the fourth season with “Schism.” Damien Darhk was still quite earnestly trying to destroy Starling City, aka Star City, and the rest of the world even though his ark was rubble.  Darhk (played brilliantly by Neal McDonough) rather pettily wanted to kill everyone, including his daughter, because Machin died last week. 

The episode had the obligatory flashbacks to the island and we learn that Oliver killed Taiana (Elysia Rotaru) who was corrupted by the dark power needed to kill good old “what’s his name” back on the island. (We know his name was Baron Reiter  played by Jimmy Akingbola.) 

Meanwhile, the gang are overwhelmed when Darhk pays them a not-so social call to get the Rubicon laptop back and make some threats. While he was there, Damien had some ghosts shoot up the place. Getting his daughter back Darhk then departs for the final phase of his “bringing hell to earth” plan.

There was a good deal of angst in this season finale. Everyone was upset, depressed and had lost hope by the time that Oliver and the good citizens of Starling City took  on Darhk and his ghosts.  (To be fair, the scene where Mr and Mrs John Doe clash with the armed ghosts felt pretty epic, like “Gladiator” without swords, shields, sandals or Russell Crowe.)

“Arrow,” aka Green Arrow, has always been rather dark. Oliver Queen is morose, has to work hard at not killing villains and always has that “hangdog” look in his face. Felicity Smoak (Emily Bett Rickards) is the Pollyanna in the Arrow-verse, even her inadvertent killing of “tens-of-thousands” of innocents does not put too much of a damper in Smoak’s eternal optimism. 

The finale had plenty of gun play, a bit of arrow play and loads of choreographed fights between pretty much everyone. Only John Barrowman’s Merlin was shorted in the department of fisticuffs, although he was able to save Thea (Willa Holland) with a well placed arrow of his own. 

After a huge build up to the final battle where 15, 000 nuclear warheads are about to eradicate all life  on the planet it is revealed that all Queen needed to defeat Darhk was…wait for it….hope.  Yes, hope was the secret weapon all along. Somewhat akin to Tinkerbell being brought back to life by clapping, Darhk’s magic was rendered useless by a whole lot of hope.

(To be fair it did take an entire city of hope to bring about Darhk’s defeat…sort of like an entire theatre of children clapping wildly was needed to bring back Tinkerbell…Hmmm.)

As one website put it, “Arrow” just sort of finished this season after Oliver shoved his arrow into Darhk’s chest and killed him.  But seriously? What did everyone expect? Darhk was the best villain ever.

Funny, pithy, glib, snotty, bigger than life and so acerbic.  He was good-humored evil on two legs and he loved being bad.  However his end came about, whatever happened afterward was going to be anticlimactic.  With an entire episode of fights, shootouts, frantic keyboard pounding and the rise of a downtrodden city’s denizens, the ending was bound to be a little…Meh.

In terms of outstanding performances Neal McDonough should be pulling in some huge gongs for his work on this show. The actor just blew everyone else away whenever he was on camera and he did not have to say a word to do so. That look of evil glee was enough to overpower the other players.

“Arrow” finished without any help from outside agencies, like “The Flash,” or “The Legends of Tomorrow” or even “Supergirl” (we know, it is miles too early for that) but the tease of a huge multi-crossover event next season leaves all sorts of possibilities open. We are still hoping that a certain former Time Master manages to bring back Laurel.

Hint. Hint.


Fresh Off the Boat: The Manchurian Dinner Date – Eddie’s Girl (Review)


‘Fresh Off the Boat’ starts off with the comedy firing on all cylinders and in ‘The Manchurian Dinner Date’ it is all about Eddie’s first girlfriend and Jessica’s reaction to the fact. Alison panics after learning that his mother wants him to date a Chinese girl and she sends in a ringer. Emery  finds a soul-mate and Evan gets a makeover.

At the start of the episode Louis realizes that it is graduation time and he tells his three boys that they are to get a free “rib-eye on  the future all you can eat chicken.” The lads are less than impressed when Louis explains that  chicken is the rib-eye is steak of the future. The meal will be at his restaurant.

All the boys are allowed to bring a friend to the meal and Evan asks if he can bring J.J. Louis says no as the boy is too “chicken crazy” and he goes through napkins like wildfire. Not overly bothered, Evan then asks his mother to come as his friend. Jessica is overjoyed to be with her favorite and, as she whispers to Louis, it is one less mouth to feed.

Eddie spoils the mood by saying he will bring Alison (Isabella Alexander) to the meal and everything is fine until Louis mentions that she is Eddie’s girlfriend. Jessica’s happy mood vanishes and she begins to query her oldest. Eddie answers in “rap” lingo, calling Alison his “boo” and Jessica admits that she can rarely understand what he says. 

Eddie: “Sho’ Nuff”

Jessica has no idea what he has just said, but Louis steps in on Eddie’s behalf and says that she will love Alison. Eddie agrees and repeats that Jessica will love his bae. She does not agree:

“Really? Think about how many people I love. Do the math. [After Eddie’s blank look.]Have your brothers help you do the math.”

At school he asks Alison to the meal and his “boo” says yes. Only his girlfriend panics when he reveals that Jessica has always wanted him to date a Chinese girl.  She then refuses to meet “the mother” on the night of the meal. They agree to have Alison meet Jessica before the event.

Ashley Liao as faux Alison.

The night of the date arrives and a Chinese girl shows up at the Huang door holding a flat of oranges. Eddie is dumbfounded when the girl introduces herself as Alison.  It turns out that his boo  panicked and asked her fellow band member and second chair piccolo player Audrey (‘Fuller House’ actress Ashley Liao) to step in for her as a sort of visual Cyrano de Bergerac. 

Audrey/Alison is a raging success with Jessica, although Emery and Louis both know she is not the real Alison. The silver lining to this potential cloud has Audrey clicking with Emery who has a lot in common with this intelligent and clever youngster.

While Eddie panics about the Alison situation Emery must write a valedictorian speech for his fifth grade graduation ceremony. Louis offers to help and he provides all kinds of tips, including ripping up the written pages of the speech and reading the thing off of his hand.

Evan and Grandma Huang are having issues with his free suit. Grandma makes the offer after watching Evan trying to decide what he wants to wear while eating with his best friend. (Mom)

Eddie and the real Alison try to come clean and find Audrey/Alison at the house playing Ma-Jong. Jessica insisted she come over. Alison starts to explain and Eddie cuts her off. He claims she is selling cookies. Jessica stops the girl before she can leave and asks Audrey if she wants anything. Audrey asks Alison if she has anything lemon. “Oh yes, I love lemon,” exclaims Jessica.

Forrest Wheeler
Louis and Emery working on that speech.

Earlier Alison was going to bring Eddie’s mother a lemon cake and he stated emphatically that Jessica did not like lemon.  This new information results in Alison shooting her boyfriend a nasty/frustrated look.

Later Eddie goes to apologize, he escaped from the bathroom by leaving the water running and climbing out the window.

The Huang family attend Emery’s graduation ceremony. Emery gives his speech brilliantly a’la Louis and his father is overjoyed until he realizes that every student is a valedictorian.  Jessica admits that the faux Alison is too boring and Eddie reveals that Audrey  is not his girlfriend.

He shows his mother the real Alison “the one playing Tupac on the piccolo” and Jessica is overjoyed to see the girl is “first-chair.” Evan is not pleased with Grandma’s lack of progress on the suit.

More over here please.

The kids and Lucille Soong rocked this episode. Forrest Wheeler, Ian Chen and Hudson Yang were on top form and the entire thing was almost stolen by guest star Ashley Liao (keep an eye on that one). Although this ensemble cast had no slackers in the episode. Constance Wu and Randall Park were excellent. The show’s theme was all about the children and the very end where all the Huang boys scarper off in a panic when Jessica brings out the water bill was delightful. 

‘Fresh Off the Boat’ has its season two finale next week and Dr. Ken star Ken Jeong will be making a guest appearance as a relative.  Do not miss what should be a hilarious end to the second season and hopefully a springboard into season three (which ABC have already given the go-ahead, along with ‘Dr. Ken’  having a second season. Quality comedy that delights and makes you laugh. Simply great telly.

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