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Episode Recap: Agents of SHIELD s4e22 – “Worlds End”

By May 18, 2017 Entertainment, Marvel, Reviews, SuperHeroes, TV

The season finale has passed, and thus Agents of SHIELD ends it’s 4th season.  It’s been an amazing season, and the best news is that ABC finally announced that SHIELD has been picked up for a 5th season, along with the new TV series The Inhumans.  So, we will get to see the SHIELD cast return for season 5, and probably help jumpstart the Inhumans show.

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Episode Recap: The Flash S4E22 – “Infantino Street”

By May 17, 2017 DC, Entertainment, Reviews, SuperHeroes, TV

Last nights Flash was, to say the least, the payoff to what has been growing since we first saw Barry travel into the future.  We see the showdown at Infantino Street where Savitar stabs Iris and kills her.

They have shown flash backs, and flash forwards of Savitar stabbing Iris, since the first time Barry flashed-forward.  Savitar raises his arm, Barry tries to run, Savitar says “Finally, I am free of you!” and stabs Iris.  We’ve seen it in Cisco’s Vibe-visions, as well as the multiple times they’ve replayed it and re-visited the time.

The circle keeps looping, and Iris is stabbed.  No matter what Barry tries, Iris always ends up dead.

Last night, was their last chance to save her.

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Top 4 Wrestlers of all time

By May 13, 2017 All The Rest, Entertainment, Ramblings, Reviews, TV, Wrestling

Now, that might seem like a difficult list.  There are a few wrestlers who can call themselves the “Greatest of all time” or, GOAT.

Some think Bruno Sammartino can make claim to that title. He carried the WWWF, and wrestling in general, for decades.  The same can be said for the women’s division, with the Fabulous Moolah.  No one can deny Ric Flair as being “The Man” and a contender for the title of greatest of all time.  Recently, Chris Jericho has become the self professed GOAT.  Many said for years Daniel Bryan was the GOAT, and even had JBL calling him “goat-faced” etc to help sell it.

But ultimately, there are only four wrestlers who transcended the sport.  Who somehow become bigger than the sport itself, and who deserve the title of Greatest of All Time

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Episode Recap: The Big Bang Theory S10E24 – ‘The Long Distance Dissonance”

By May 12, 2017 All The Rest, Entertainment, Reviews, TV

The big news from the Big Bang Theory camp is, of course, the fact that the show was renewed for the next two years.  Fans reacted by giving them the lowest ratings in years.  Why?  Perhaps since they felt the show was ‘safe’ and they could watch the episode some other time.  Even the DVR replays were down.  Was it the storyline?  Was it that some people don’t like Sheldon and Leonard not living together?  Sure, it’s across the hall, but they’re no longer two nerds living together, now they’re two adult nerds living with their girlfriends, and live near each other.  It’s a subtle shift, and one I experienced in my own life in the past and again recently, but perhaps that shift was enough to give views a pause.

Whatever the reason, this show is going strong, and the season ended on a huge cliffhanger.

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Episode Recap: Agents of SHIELD S4E21 “The Return”

By May 11, 2017 Entertainment, Marvel, Reviews, Stuff I Like, SuperHeroes, TV

Wow.  That’s all I can say about this season.  Last night’s episode was, to say the least, pretty emotional.

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Episode Recap: The Flash S3E21 “Cause and Effect”

By May 10, 2017 DC, Entertainment, Stuff I Like, SuperHeroes, TV

Last week, Barry discovered who Savitar was – and it was himself, from the future, sort of.  Turns out he is a Time Remnant.

This week, we get an explanation, as to what exactly happened that caused Barry to become Savitar.  The two Barrys’ have a nice heart-to-heart, and Barry learns how Savitar is created.

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Let’s Talk: Agents of SHIELD S4E20 “Farewell, Cruel World!”

By May 5, 2017 Entertainment, Marvel, Reviews, SuperHeroes, TV

So, the latest episode of the Agents of SHIELD has come and gone this last Tuesday. Another adventure in the Framework – with some possible lasting consequences.  And with only a couple of episodes left in the season, we’re going to have to have some closure..soon!  I hope it’s not too much of a cliffhanger season closer.

Here are the Agents, they know where the backdoor out is, it was programmed by Radcliffe originally, it cannot be removed, so they know that’s their only way out.  AIDA (aka Ophelia) is working on something called “Project Looking Glass” which is supposed to, some how, give her a body in the ‘real’ world, and allowing her to be fully human and circumvent her programming.  Specifically the programming not to kill humans, especially the Agents of SHIELD, and MOST especially, anyone connected to the Framework.    It’s a bit of a convoluted way to get her into a human body, but the Darkhold has plans within plans.  There always seems to be another later.

We while have the Agents trying to escape, Ophelia is in critical condition in the Framework, thanks to Daisy’s 44th story defenestration of her.  She is running Hydra from a hospital bed, as they work to complete their side of Project Looking Glass.  In the Real World, she has the Russian running things, as he is an android now, too.  She keeps promising him a new body, so he’s working with he.  For now.  I’m sure that won’t last.

During this, Simmons asks May about Fitz, and finds out his father is alive, and the reason why Fitz is such a terrible person in the Framework.  His dad’s influence makes him a cold,heartless man, with no room for sentimentality…except for Ophelia.  And Ophelia and Fitz’s dad both make use of that love to manipulate him to no end.  So now that Simmons know what caused Fitz to change, she thinks she can solve it, by confronting the father.  In his home.  Alone.  With no one else there as backup.  But hey, she brought a gun, so she could threaten him!

Simmons makes Fitz’s dad call him, and during the call, tells her the fugitive is with him.  He reaches out, and tries to strangle Simmons, as they both fall to the floor.  He is near the point of killing Simmons when she fires off her gun.  Fitz gets to hear it all over the phone, as his father dies.  He swears vengeance, and chases after her, wanting to kill her as she killed his dad.  Simmons returns to the SHIELD base, and Daisy convinces her to go to the back-door location.

The AGENTS leave, taking Mack (who doesn’t want to go), and leaving Tripp behind (because he’s dead in the real world, the exit wouldn’t do anything for him….right?).  They head to the location of the back-door, but when they get there, they see some changes have been made.  AIDA couldn’t destroy the back-door, it was hard-coded into the Framework by Radcliffe.  But she has changed te nature of the area.  Instead of it being a nice, public park, and the back door being a pool of water – AIDA has made it a steel mill, and the portal is a vat of molten steel.  Not much of an exit anymore.

Fitz is close behind, and Mack discovers he was tricked.  This wasn’t a mission that needed him for his skills, but because Daisy wants him to return to the real world.  The Hydra stormtroopers show up, and start shooting.  Daisy realizes she can quake the molten steel out of the way, and below is revealed the reflecting pool exit.  Coulson starts towards it, but is shot in the chest.  He collapses, while May comforts him, and he says it all feels familiar (A call back to The Avengers movie, of course).  She pushes him through the portal, and Coulson is out!  May follows soon behind.  Free of the Framework, and trying to readjust to their normal lives, Coulson immediately takes a scalpel to AIDS’s body, which is connected to the Framework….effectively killing her!

Inside the Framework, Simmons confronts Fitz, expressing her love, and giving him every chance to ‘come out of it!  I know you’re in there!”.  That speech doesn’t work, although TV history says it should, and right before Fitz puts a bullet in the head of the woman he really loves, Radcliffe kills the two Hydra agents keeping guard over him, and knocks Fitz out.  They carry him to the exit, and push him through.  Fitz wake u p, and is absolutely horrified by his actions in the Framework – including the death of Director Mace in the real world.  He fights for emotional equilibrium as Coulson and May try to confirm him.

Inside, Simmons has a heart-to-heart with Radcliffe, about how it’s all his fault and not Fitz’s.  She gets out, and is awakened in the airplane where she and Daisy had their Framework pods plugged in.  Unfortunately, that aircraft is almost out of power, and is being gunned down by a Russian plane.  Not a great place to come back to.

Daisy is still inside the Framework, talking with Mack, trying to convince him to come home.  He asks about his daughter, Hope.  Daisy tells him the truth, that Hope is dead in the real world.  She explains that’s how AIDA keeps him from wanting to leave, is by giving him a false daughter.  He sees the digital reality revealed around him when Coulson and May leave.  He knows it’s a recreation, and not real.  Daisy pleads for him to come, but he refuses.  If his daughter isn’t alive in the real world, he isn’t going back.  Daisy finally has to leave him behind, hoping she can convince him to leave at a later date.

So, she exits, Yo-yo asks about Mack, and she has to apologize for leaving him behind.  Yo-yo is devastated, but they have more pressing problems – like the Russians shooting them down!  Mack is shown going back to the SHIELD base, and meeting up with Tripp who is looking over Mack’s daughter, Hope.  Tripp says he didn’t think Mack was coming back, but Mack says he could never leave his daughter.

So the end of the episode comes with Everyone but Mack waking from the Framework, AIDA’s robot head on thee ground, and everyone thinking that it’s over.

Then AIDA shows up, in her human form.  Fitz is still enthralled by her, and is inadvertently blocking May’s view, and shot.  May wants desperately to kill AIDA< and end the threat.  But Fitz is blocking.  AIDA gets closer to Fits, holds his hand, saying how she is real, and can feel, and can experience!  Then she grabs him in a hug, and seems to teleport away.

So, Mack stays behind, neither Ward, nor Tripp, nor even Hope gets a new body to come back from the dead, and AIDA gets away with Fitz and her human body – and SOME kind of power?

I think back to where this all started, with the Darkhold.  Obviously, there is a long term plan.

Plus, if the Darkhold is involved, it means Ghost Rider will be back!  And that is good news for the Agents of SHIELD.


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Episode Recap: The Flash S3E20 “I Know Who You Are” – SPOILER EDITION

By May 4, 2017 DC, Entertainment, Ramblings, Reviews, SuperHeroes, TV

I’ll just go ahead and say it.

******SPOILERS FOLLOW!******

Ok, so, if you’re still here. let’s talk about the episode last night.

I said in my last recap, the Flash should stop using so much time travel.  It’s starting to get weary.

I’ve done my best to try to figure this out, and it’s starting to make my brain hurt.  Try to stay with me.  Better, if you have any ideas about what is going on, share them!  I want to hear it.  I need to talk it out!  I hope Greg Berlanti has a great overall plan, because right now, this is a tangled mess.

In this episode, we get to find out who Savitar is.  And it is a Future!Barry, from some unknown timeline.  But before we get to that, let’s talk a little about how much I enjoy time travel movies, books, and other forms of entertainment.  I like it A LOT.

I’ve been into time travel books since my first Choose Your Own Adventure book.  The Twilight Zone, The Time Tunnel, even Star Trek had time travel!  So I’ve been familiar with concepts of time travel from a closed loop where everything you do, you’ve done, and you can’t undo anything.  I’ve seen Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, where they simply SAY they’ll do something in the future, and so they do it later, and it gets done, so they can do things like escape their dad’s jail.

That being said, The Flash has forgotten simplicity with this reveal.

Let’s start off by saying, the episode wasn’t bad.  They introduced someone who, potentially, could end up sticking around, as she seems to have some valid theories on the Speed Force, and it looks like HR is trying to get with her.  So, hopefully, she is a character who has more longevity than the end of a season.  That and she was the doctor who was able to trap Savitar in the Speed Force, which is an important bit to remember later.  Last episode, Future!2024 Barry said this Doctor took 4 years after Iris’s death to invent the trap, and then he was able to put Savitar into the Speed Force.

So, once in the Speed Force, trapped there, he sat for…some length.  Then he influenced Julian to become Dr. Alchemy via the Philosopher’s Stone, who created the powered villains formerly from Flashpoint and inadvertently give Wally his powers.

So, before Flashpoint, there was no Savitar. No Philosopher’s Stone, and no Wally West with speed.  Wally was hit with the dark matter, just like Jessie Quick was.  He was hoping he could somehow get speed powers, too.  But, once Flashpoint happened, and he learned that he DID get powers from the dark matter explosion in that reality, and was the Flash, not Wally, he wanted ‘his’ powers badly.

So, due to Savitar influencing Julian, and others, mind-controlling them into doing his bidding (how exactly?  Now that we know it’s Barry, how exactly did he make Julian do all of what he did?), Barry and the rest of them fight the villains, ad try to stop Alchemy.  That leads to Wally getting his powers, under the control of Savitar.  So no Alchemy, no Kid Flash, right?

Kid Flash, of course, is the one who delivers the missing piece of the Philosophers Stone that Caitlin had hidden from the rest of the team.  He throws it into the Speed Force (why, I still don’t understand), and that is how Savitar gets out of the Speed Force.  So, he gave Wally his powers, just so he could use him to get out of the Speed Force.  Why?

So, the biggest problem I have, is how the timeline is supposed to fit all together.  I mean, there’s the timeline where Harrison Wells didn’t get murdered by Eobard Thawn, he creates the STAR labs later, same explosion, Barry gets his powers later, and his mom and dad are alive and well.  This one is immediately changed when Eobard kills Harrison, and takes over his life, killing his wife, and finishing STAR labs early, so he could help Flash get his powers, and get fast enough to send him home (which is still a strange plan).  So the entire show is predicated on this NEW timeline, from day one.

So, in this timeline, we get the TV show, with all the shenanigans of the last two seasons.  No Savitar.  then, we get Flashpoint, which creates another new set of timelines for the show.  Once back to his ‘normal’ timeline, he sees all the subtle changes (Caitlin gets her powers, Joe and Iris were fighting, Cisco lost his brother), and just accepts it will never go back to normal, after a conversation with Jay Garrick, the Flash from Earth-3 who looks exactly like his dad, and is played by the Flash from the 90’s, John Wesley Shipp.  And where is Jay now, I might ask you good reader?  Jay is in Speed Force Prison.  Because when Savitar escaped, he forced Wally into the Speed Force in his place.  And Jay took his place, instead, so Wally could go back to Earth-1.

So, after Flashpoint, Alchemy exists.  This, then, is the timeline where Barry becomes Savitar.  Barry accidentally goes into the future, a few months, and sees Savitar kill Iris.  This future is then further explored when Barry goes to 2024, where Iris is dead, and Emo Barry has given up on being the Flash after trapping Savitar in the Speed Force with the help of Dr. Tracy.  So current Barry goes back to 2017, finds Tracy, not a Doctor yet, and HR recruits her to help make the speed trap NOW.

So, this then, MUST be a new timeline, as Dr. Tracy in the future stops Savitar, but now she is already involved.

In the showdown in the warehouse, Savitar knows word for word what is going to be said, and tells Killer Frost to repeat it.  She knows it’s Future!Barry, and he has been pushing her to kill Tracy Not a Doctor Yet, but he also knows she fails, be cause he knows the warehouse scene word for word, which is only after Killer Frost fails to kill her!  So, he must know that no matter how he pushed her, she was destined to fail.

And that the future 2024 Barry, who didn’t know who Savitar was, and who had the help of Dr. Tracy, and where Cisco lost his hands, has never been the ‘real’ future for Barry.  iris being killed, never happens, because that entire reality is wrong, including Savitar being trapped int he Speed Force.

And my eyes just went cross-eyed.

Because Barry cannot be Savitar and know every word from the warehouse scene, AND be 2024 Emo Barry.  So how did Current!Barry travel to the wrong 2024?  Shouldn’t he have been able to meet the Barry that DID find out his identity, and DID (I am guessing by the end of the season) defeat Savitar?  Or is that no longer a thing?  And if the 2024 Emo Barry saw Iris die, by the hand of Savitar, the future Current!Barry saw when he accidentally went into the future isn’t a reality that exists.  Because if Iris dies, then 2024 Emo Barry exists, but doesn’t know Savitar’s identity.  If Iris lives, then 2024 Emo Barry doesn’t exist, and the future Current!Barry went to originally on accident wasn’t ever real to begin with – and there go my eyes again.

And what about Legends of Tomorrow?  I mean, last season, Captain Cold died destroying the Oculus, which is the device the Time Masters used to keep the timeline un-fractured.  They’re different than the Time Wraiths that chase Barry and other speedsters down when the muck about with the timelines.  It’s a whole other story to go into detail, but suffice it to say, they destroyed the device that kept time on a single path…whatever that meant.  Will this ever effect Barry?  Will the writers even remember that the Legends even exist?

So, Savitar is Barry from a timeline where, by the looks, he is scarred up, and has black hair.  So, speedsters have the ability to heal, most of the time.  How can Barry be scarred up?   Perhaps his armor does more than just help him go faster without blowing up in a giant ball of static electricity.  Maybe it gives him his speed, instead of just protecting him from excessive speed (but it does that too).  This would explain why he is trying to change the timelines.  He is trying to avoid some type of event, where he ends up losing his powers.  His entire intention has been to cause Barry to….realize the power of love, and that without those around him he is a loser, destined to become Savitar?  Is 2024 Emo Barry the real SAvitar, just from further in his own future?

And who built the suit?

So many unanswered questions.  Some don’t even make sense.

What do you think?

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Why is The Big Bang Theory popular?

By May 2, 2017 All The Rest, Entertainment, Ramblings, TV

The TV show The Big Bang Theory is the most popular comedy on right now.  It’s the highest rated show, it’s been on for a decade now, with two more years to go.  The three top stars (Johnny Galecki, Kaley Cuoco, and Jim Parsons) each make about a million per show, Simon Helburg and Kunal Nayyar make just under that, around $800,000, and all five of them recently donated part of their salaries so Mayim Bialik and Melissa Rauch could both be paid with some parity (around $500,000 per episode).  It’s obvious they all work together well, and want to continue to make the show a success.

But why is it popular?

There are some who think it shouldn’t be.  They have various reasons from insulting characters, unfunny jokes, and stereotyping.

But still, it’s the most popular comedy on TV, and doesn’t look to be slowing down.  There’s a new spin-off, starring a young Sheldon in high school.  I guess it was pitched like “Malcom in the Middle, but with Sheldon, and Jim parsons doing a voice-over like Wonder Years.”  Because that’s exactly what it is.  So they’re capitalizing on the most popular character, and expanding the brand.  I don’t think this show is going anywhere, because it lives on in syndication.  Much like M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy, you’re going to find it on years and years down the road.

Let’s start by looking at the characters.  I’ll start with the most popular one, and the one without whom there would be no drama, or conflict.  He is the primary reason the show is beloved.  Of course, I mean Sheldon.

Sheldon is played by Jim Parsons, who was almost unknown before the show started.  His chemistry with Johnny Galecki was obvious from day one.  Even in the rejected pilot, before the show was re-tooled and recast, the producer was keeping the two main actors.  Sheldon has been called autistic.  High  functioning autistic, but autistic.  Now, both Parsons and the producer, Chuck Lorre, deny that he was, or is, intentionally autistic.  They may not have meant to do it, but the autistic  community has embraced him as one of their own. Sheldon is annoying, frustrating, dramatic, and overly sensitive to his own concerns above all others.  But somehow, Jim Parsons is able to convey a hidden level to the character, one that makes him endearing and lovable.  His body language, and reactions to things can take a scene from great, to world-class.  A good example is the episode “The Romance Resonance” from season 7.  Bernadette is in quarantine and the rest of the group gets together to sing her a song, which Howard had planned for the anniversary of their first date. They were going to do it in a restaurant, but due to the circumstances, they were going to do it in the hospital.  Sheldon, being Sheldon, is afraid that he is going to catch something while in the hospital (even though he loves hospitals, like the MRI machine), due to being in the isolation ward.   He hides around the corner from the group, because he is afraid he will catch what Bernadette has.  Through the hospital quarantine room walls.  They line up to sing, and Sheldon takes a few squirts of hand sanitizer, and walks over next to Amy keeping his hands in his armpits, for safety I would assume.  The moment the song is over, he says Bernadette doesn’t look good, and bolts around the corner, and out of frame.  The song, was amazing.  It was heart touching, and the performance came across sincerely.  A great TV moment was made world-class by the scene stealing Sheldon.  His reactions were the drama and the conflict in a heart-warming scene, and all you can do is laugh along, knowing he is just trying to avoid the situation because it’s emotional and scary to him.  Because he really does love and care about Bernadette, and saying so, in front of everyone – even while singing a song with the rest of them – is scary.  So he came up with reasons to get out of it.  I can relate.  I think a lot of people can.

Kaley Cuoco plays Penny, the neighbor, who’s last name we still don’t know (except now it’s Hofstadter).  Penny wasn’t in the original pilot.  She was brought in as the new neighbor, and love interest.  That was a key fact to getting picked up by the network, because there was chemistry between all three.  Sheldon was quirkier, Leonerd slightly nerdier (if possible), and their costuming was in the more familiar configuration.  Kaley added a lot of sexy tops to the show, and if there is one thing that will get an audience to watch a show before it’s fully proven, it’s a cute girl with low cut shirts.  In fact, her costuming is the single most varied of the entire cast.  As her character has changed and matured, her costuming reflected that.  Currently, Penny is a pharmaceutical sales representative and dresses in slacks, and dress shirts, matching her career choice.  Even when out for drinks with Bernadette and Amy, she no longer dresses like a 20 something club girl.  She isn’t.  She is a married, career woman, and her clothes reflect that.  Even sitting around casually at home, she is costumed in a more mature manner than previous seasons.  Along with her career, her personality has changed.  Season 1 Penny was a typical blond airhead party girl.  As the seasons progressed, she changed.  She learned the nerd culture that her on-again, off-again boyfriend, now husband, Leonard loved.  She fought for the One Ring movie prop when the boys found it at a yard sale, and even ran her own booth at a D-level convention.  She went from a waitress, hoping to be an actress, to a (barely) working actress, to a successful saleswoman.   She even tried to start her own business.  Of all the characters, I think she has shown the most change.  Of all the main characters, she is the only female (with Amy and Bernadette only coming along later), and she holds her own against all of them.  Sometimes, they can get the best of her, she but she shows she can match wits with them, time and time again.  She is a master of pop culture, while they are masters of science, and she proves she is smart, and emotionally much more savvy than they are.  She even goes to college during the show, proving to herself she isn’t dumb, she just never tried very hard in high school.  I think a lot of people can relate to her.

Johnny Galecki plays Leonard Hofstadter, a brilliant physicist, roommate of Sheldon, and eventual husband to Penny.  Of the three main characters, Johnny Galecki was previously on a very successful sitcom, Roseanne.  Some would think that he is the reason why the network took a second pilot, allowing Lorre to re-tool the show.  Galecki was a known commodity, with decades of TV experience.  They even brought in his former cast-mate from Roseanne, Sara Gilbert as a sort of distaff counterpart – a female version of Leonard.  While her character, Leslie Winkle, didn’t end up permanently with any of the guys (or girls) in the show, her character (and experience with Johnny) brought in elements that helped bolster the fledgling series. To say  Leonard has issues with his mother is to understate the complexity of his relationship with her.  She is a highly touted psychiatrist, who is deeply disappointed in Leonard, apparently just by being born.   Due to his mother’s cold upbringing, Leonard is hyper-sensitive to women, and their approval.  His relationship with Penny is fairly inequal at the start, due to his subservient nature.  While this had some positives (such as his deep-seated desire to please women in bed resulting in extended foreplay), Leonard had to learn to stand up for himself more in his relationship with Penny.  He is the nerd who chased the beautiful woman for years, and finally got close enough for her to love his quirks.  While he isn’t as neurotic as Raj or Sheldon, Leonard has a lot of issues relating to women.  In the first episode, Penny asks him to get her TV from her ex boyfriend.  This does not end well for Leonard, but continues to try to impress Penny.  For several seasons, he tries.  It’s only in Season Two, after he leaves for three months to the arctic with Sheldon Raj and Howard that she realizes the extent of her feelings for him.  He’s the most social of the main four guys, and the most willing to try new things to fit in.  He is the straight man for most of Sheldon’s antics, as well as a lost of the rest of the characters.  He is the closest to an actual audience surrogate the show has (nerd who gets the hot girl), and is the one who is the most sympathetic (always trying to do the right thing, always listening to his conscience, and the butt of many jokes, especially Sheldon’s).  He’s relatable, friendly, and an overall good guy.  To quote Sheldon Leonard is “Good people.”  The fact that he puts up with Sheldon makes him a saint, as far as I am concerned.

And there is a breakdown of why i think the show is so popular.  The three main characters are played by talented actors, supported by a cast and crew of people who genuinely enjoy working together (and put their money where their mouths are by donating part of their own salaries to other cast-mates).  The characters are relateable, and are a reflection of people you probably know.

It’s currently in season 10, and has been renewed for two more years.  Personally, I’d love to see it go 15, or longer.  As long as the character continue to change, grow, and be funny, I’ll be watching.


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WWE Payback recap

By May 1, 2017 All The Rest, Entertainment, Ramblings, TV, Wrestling

The Raw only (except for a few Smackdown Superstars due to the Shakeup) PPV has finished, and here’s the shakedown.

WWE just put on one of their ‘minor’shows.  Along with the ‘big 4’ of Wrestlemania, Survivor Series, Summer Slam, and the Royal Rumble, the minor PPV’s (can it really be called that anymore?) are barely a blip on the radar most month.  There are so many of these now, the TV broadcast shows feel like filler between PPV’s now.

But enough of that!  Let’s talk WRESTLING!

Payback Kickoff Match: Big Cass and Enzo Amore vs Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows

First up was a Kickoff match with Big Cass and Enzo Amore against Karl Andersen and Luke Gallows.  These guys keep feuding, and fortunately, the ‘right’ team finally got a win.  On a kickoff show.  But hey, E&C need to get SOME wins, if they are ever going to look strong enough to contend for the Raw Tag Team Titles by Summerslam.  Good solid match, good tag team wrestling, and Enzo FINALLY managed to get a win for his team.  Well, good!  It’s a shame they don’t get to be on the PPV proper…but hey, Randy Orton and Bray got TWO segments….but that’s for later.

Winners: Big Cass and Enzo

Then a backstage segment with the Golden Truth (they’re still a team?) offer a “good luck” but inform the tag champs that they got next on whoever wins.  But they hope the Hardy’s win…but they still got next.  Matt said it was “WONDERFUL!”…which is a allusion to his #broken personage, which the WWE fans are rabidly waiting for, and it should be much longer now.

Miz TV (with Finn Balor)

Another segment with strong mic work from Miz.  The crowd played along with chanting “miz TV”, and Miz played them like a cheap violin.  Balor makes his glorious entrance, and Miz looks bored, playing up the length of the entrance.  When Finn gets to the ring, he heels it up questioning if Finn really needed a 5 minute entrance.  This sounds like old complaints about Undertaker’s entrance….but it wasn’t valid then, and it’s not valid now.  Entrances make or break a wrestler.  Would Bobby Roode be as over if he didn’t have an absolutely GLORIOUS theme song and the presence to pull it off?  Anyhow, Miz runs down Finn, saying he’s too small, too injury prone (another segment where Miz is playing the voice of the bookers backstage.  Last time it was Dean Ambrose on being “lazy and complacent”  this time, it’s Finn being too small, and injury prone.  So, like all MizTV segments, it ends with Miz getting his ass kicks – just like Balor said!

Winner: The fans.  Great segment, and helped get Balor over.  While the WWE hasn’t announced who is facing Brock at Great Balls of Fire (terrible name), I am thinking it might be Balor.

US Championship match: Kevin Owens (c) vs Chris Jericho

I’m a fan of Jericho.  Ever since he was in WCW, I have enjoyed his antics.  From the man of 1004 holds, to the best ring announcer ever, he dominated WCW as only a cruiserweight could – that is to say he was buried, ignored, forgotten, and eventually made his way to the promised land of WWE, where his real talents could be utilized.  And for the last 10+ years, Jericho has shown why he IS the Best in the World at What he Does.

These two went at it like a pair of former best friends….which, storyline-wise, they are!  It was a great battle, Jericho went outside the ring, and used psychology and strategy to win the day.

Winner: And NEW US champ, Chris Jericho!  Which also means he moves to Smackdown until he leaves to go on tour with his band Fozzy.  Not a bad thing for Smackdown.

Cruiserweight Championship Match: Neville (c) vs Austin Aries.

Another cruiserweight bout which the WWE barely promoted.  Aries looked great against Neville, even getting him in perfect position with his submission move, the Last Chancery.  But Neville pulled a classic heel move, got physical with the ref, and got himself DQ’d.   Good heel ending for the match, ad continues their feud.

Winner: by DQ, Austin Aries, but STILL the champ, Neville.

Raw Tag Team Title Match: The Hardys (c) vs Shemus and Cesaro

This is one of the matches everyone was anticipating.  Not due to the in-ring action (The Hardy’s wrestle like they always have, and Sheamus and Ceasaro are still wrestling as semi-babyfaces.), but because it involved Matt Hardy, and everyone is waiting for when he gets #Broken.  With Jeff Hardy getting his tooth broken (what a trooper!), the physicality of the match was evident.  Both teams has some good moves, but a blind tag, and great tag work, meant the Hardy’s leave, still champs.  There was, however, a MASSIVE post-match beatdown, where Cesaro stopped playing babyface, and finally turned heel.  I am sure Sheamus is happy about that, as he’s a better heel than face.  During the beatdown, Matt gets busted open the hard way, showing again, how physical the match really was between these two teams.

Winners: The Hardy’s, still not #broken

Raw Women’s Championship Match: Alexa Bliss vs Bayly (c)

This is one of the matches I was waiting for, as Alexa Bliss has become my favorite superstar right now.  She has the disadvantage of only being 5 feet tall.  In an industry where the management (read: Vince) LOVES tall wrestlers (think: Charlotte), she has to overcome massive odds backstage to get the recognition she deserves.  And Alexa has been superb on the mic, and in the ring.  She has elevated herself to championship levels, and it shows in the ring, and on the mic.

The match itself was good, with ring psychology coming into play for the finish (Bayley hit her head on the turnbuckle several times before the finish).  The ladies gave a great match, good energy and pacing…and ultimately, Alexa Bliss makes history by being the first former Raw Women’s Champion AND Smackdown women’s champion!

Winner: The audience and NEW Smackdown women’s champion: Alexa.  Great match from the ladies, and congrats to the NEW champion!

House of Horrors Match, Part 1 : Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt – non title match

This part was pre-taped.  I know, because the PPV took place in San Jose (west coast), and at the time of this match it was 6:30pm in California.  The sun wasn’t even down, but the Randy/Bray segment was the ‘dead of the night’ with crickets in the background and everything.  Continuity errors anyone?

They started it off with Randy pulling up to the house (with bad lighting) in a limo. Lots of standing and closeups of Orton’s face and reactions. He walks through ‘creepy’ rooms, and Bray attacks him from behind…like 4 times.  The announcers really tried to play up the ‘horror’ and ‘scary’ aspects…but nothing would save this segment.  They fight through a few rooms (including a child’s room with ‘creepy’ dolls hanging from everywhere), until Bray pushes a refrigerator down on Randy, pinning him beneath.  Bray takes the limo back to the arena, singing “he’s got the whole world in his hands”, confident he is going to win, because Randy can’t make it back to the arena.

Until then, we get another match!

Winner: None yet.

Samoa Joe vs Seth Rollins

Seth Rollins is the man my Girlfriend referred to as the “whiny bitch”….and I can’t disagree.  Seth, as a hell, was a whiny bitch.  As a face, he’s still pretty whiny, but it’s not as bad.  I like Seth, but this was spot on!

So, Samoa Joe hurt Seth’s knee when he made his Raw debut, and almost made Seth miss Wrestlemania.  The announcers fully play up how Joe was the one who broke Seth in the first place, and Seth sells his knee the whole match.  Another “one legged man in an ass kicking contest”, so, of course, Seth wins.

It was a good match, with Joe showing off his skillset to the delight of the crowd, and Seth making the miracle babyface comeback for the win.  Solid match, and good storytelling.

Winner: Seth freaking Rollins (The whiny bitch)

House of Horrors Match – Part 2:

So Bray limps to the ring, with his confidence exuding into the crowd, knowing he has Randy back at the house, pinned under a fridge, and no ride to the arena!  It’s going to be an easy win!

Bray makes his lights down entrance, and when the lights come up, RANDY IS IN THE RING!  OH MY GOD, HOW DID HE GET THERE?  They fight back and forth for a while, until the BOLLYWOOD BOYS from Smackdown Live show up and interfere!  Jinder Mahal must not be far behind!  Ultimately, Jinder Mahal comes down to ignite the feud between himself and Randy (since Bray isn’t on Smackdown anymore, that feud makes a LOT more sense).  He hits Randy with the title belt (which he stole on Smackdown), Bray hits the Sister Abagail, and the match is over.  Jinder again leaves with the championship, and leaves Randy laying in the ring.

Good thing WWE changed it so it wasn’t for the Smackdown title, so they could have Bray go over.  Which he DESPERATELY needed.

Winner: Bray Wyatt (with some help from Jinder Mahal and the Bollywood Boys)

Braun Strowman vs Roman Reigns

So, I’m on the “I hate Roman Reigns” bandwagon, for essentially the same reason as most people:  I’m tired of having him forced down my throat.  People are rejecting the wrestler, not the character, and it’s not good for Roman.  I know Vince doesn’t understand the difference between heat,and “X-Pac heat”, but Roman is getting MAJOR X-pac heat .  Turn him heel, let people boo him, and have him ACT like a heel.  because people aren’t warming up to Reigns and it’s going to hurt him.  His fed with Strowman, however, has REALLY kicked into gear, and is getting Strowman over BIG TIME.

This match was brutal, as you would expect.  They showcased Braun’s strength (of course), played up the injuries he already gave Roman, and Braun basically dominated the match.  Fan would chant “thank you Strowman” through most of the match, showing just how much people dislike Reigns.  Braun is in complete heel mode, trashing the audience on the mic, doing his best to heel it up, but the fans are having none of it.  They continue to cheer and thank Braun for destroying Roman.  Against almost anyone else Braun gets some heel reactions….but against Roman, he is 100% babyface, no matter what heel actions he takes. Reminds me of Stone Cold to an extent.

So he does what Braun does – he destroys Roman.

Winner: Braun Strowman (Thank you Strowman)

After the match, Braun keeps beating down the fallen Roman Reigns, dropping him chest first on to the ring steps, and then driving the steps into his chest.  Reigns is bleeding from the mouth, and a giant pool of blood is in the ring (this is the ONLY way they can color a match on purpose anymore.)  Roman refuses medical attention, ad hads off to the back, where he joins Talking Raw, the post show recap, and spits blood all over their walls to help sell his injuries.

So there you have it, another WWE PPV is in the bag, we’ve got two new champions, and some great feuds starting.  THANKFULLY, we have seen the end of Randy Orton vs Bray Wyatt…..thankfully because it is NOT getting better.

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