You Should Be Watching The Voice

Historically, I have not liked reality shows in general, nor have I liked singing competition shows specifically. HowEVER, Husby is a big fan of unscripted dreck so I’ve been exposed against my will. And folks, the Voice has forced its way into my Grinch-like little heart. I truly love it and you should be watching it. Here’s why!

Things I Like About The Voice:

  • Probably my favorite thing: coaches instead of judges. They’re invested in all of the contestants’ success , and they all seem to truly want to help baby artists begin their careers. Even artists who don’t make it onto the show usually get some useful feedback.
  • Similarly, Carson is a super charming host because he reeeeeally wants everybody to do well. He’s either sincerely rooting for every single person on the show, or he’s fantastic at faking it.

  • It seems like a really positive environment with none of the manufactured drama & infighting that goes on during most reality shows. To me, most shows are like, “hey let’s get a bunch of people who want to be famous and pit them against each other and see which one of them is good enough to survive,” but The Voice is like “hey let’s find super talented people and challenge them and find out which ones are the most amazing.” On Idol everybody always looks like they’re about to have a nervous breakdown and stab somebody because THEY MUST WIN. It makes me uncomfortable. But on The Voice, the win seems like a fun little afterthought that’s mostly a contest between the coaches… Like, the coaches tend to get competitive and trash-talk each other, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard that extend to the actual artists. The competitors themselves are very respectful and supportive of each other. Plus, everyone’s on a team, so it’s not Every Diva for Themselves. Once each team is narrowed down to a certain point, the contestants have basically “won” already; they’ve got a super influential mentor, they’re making tons of industry connections, a record deal is theirs to lose, and it’s mostly about honing their skills and building a fanbase to carry with them into a career after the show.  –  supportive rather than exploitative. I don’t know if this is editing or the actual culture of the show, but either way I love it.
  • Blake & Adam have an incredible bro-namic. Literally, they’re like two kid brothers in the backseat of a minivan and Adam won’t stop poking Blake and Carson is about to turn this car around but it’s usually very funny. The coaches all seem to like each other, and in my headcanon they are all best friends in real life and it is adorable.

  • The Voice tends to have a very high level of talent compared with Idol or especially AGT – I think they probably vet potential contestants before they’re allowed to audition. It’s usually people who have been performing professionally for a few years already but haven’t “made it” yet. I like this because they’re definitely dedicated to making music for a living, and usually know what direction they want to take their career. I think mentorship is most useful once you pass that threshold of experience where you know yourself as an artist. Of course, Husby prefers the Idol-style open auditions where you get kids who have never sung in front of people in their life and they improve dramatically over the course of the show, so this really comes down to personal preference.


Things I Don’t Like About The Voice

  • Blake & Adam have been on every season, but the other two coaches have alternated between Christina & CeeLo one year, and Shakira & Usher the next. I like a lot of things about this setup – good balance of consistency with variety. BUT, I would love a season with both CeeLo & Shakira, because they are my favorite temp judges! Christina & Usher are HUGE DIVAS.

  • On a similar note, if they go with completely different rotating judges on a future season, they definitely need to not do another blonde lady & black dude. Three sets would officially make it weird.

  • Sometimes Adam pokes big bro Blake a few too many times and it stops being cute and starts distracting from the show. Classic class clown behavior – I bet he was a terror as a child. Seems to be getting worse with each season so maybe they’ll reign him in eventually. Or tie him to his chair.

Seriously, even if you hate reality shows give The Voice a shot. Pleasant, not stressful, and a lot of great music. This season’s auditions just ended this week so you can jump right into the battle rounds without missing too much, if you’re convinced. Let me know who you think will win! I think I’m gunning for Team Shakira this year.

Internet Travel Guide: 2/7/2014

“Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow has not yet come. We have only today. Let us begin.”  – Mother Teresa

I like this thing comparing The Big Bang Theory to Community through a SFF lens. An interesting point in the linked article is that the structure of TBBT is almost the opposite of what is generally found in genre fiction – it does bare-miminum worldbuilding, nothing ever changes, and the characters develop extremely slowly. It can’t be enjoyed in a “nerdy way” – it has none of the hallmarks of shows with obsessive fandoms, like extreme attention to detail, lots of self-referential and/or meta humor, endless callbacks, plots/jokes requiring the viewer to figure things out for themselves, open-ended questions… etc. (Like Community, for example. Or Doctor Who, Arrested Development, Eureka, Lost, Archer…). Despite being a show about nerds, with lots of references to SFF and nerd culture, TBBT is actually a true sitcom, like Seinfeld: a show about nothing. It’s a show to watch with half your brain while the other half plays Plants Versus Zombies on your phone. There’s nothing wrong with that and it’s obviously extremely popular, but I find it interesting because  I bet Leonard, Sheldon, et al would be super bored by a show like TBBT.  On the other hand, they’d probably like Community – which, despite looking much more like a standard sitcom, has really become more like SFF. As the author says, Community “looks like a sitcom, but it’s bigger on the inside.” …Anyways go read that article, it’s great.

Speaking of expending too much brainpower on stupid pop culture things, here is a linguist talking about the grammatical rules of Doge, which is much, much more fun than it sounds.

Very linguist. So grammar. Much geek. Wow.

In honor of The Walking Dead mid-season premiere, I leave you with this awesome video of a kid pranking Norman Reedus:

You Should Be Watching Sleepy Hollow

You should be watching Sleepy Hollow. Yes, you. Seriously, it is my favorite new show of the year, and is on track to be my favorite show of all time ever.

Basic pitch:

You know the story of Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman? Well, in this incarnation of that story, Ichabod was a British spy for George Washington during the American Revolution, and the titular villain is now a Hessian servant of a demon called Moloch. Oh, and also he’s the first Horseman of the Apocalypse.

So Crane decapitates this fella but is mortally wounded in the process. Luckily, he happens to be married to a witch, who puts him into magical suspended animation for 250 years. He awakes in present-day Sleepy Hollow… and so does the Headless Horseman, who goes on a bit of a decapitation spree.

Meanwhile, Lt. Abbie Mills and her mentor at Sleepy Hollow PD get a call that people are turning up without their heads. The mentor tragically becomes another victim. Abbie witnesses the Horseman as he rides away, and we discover that she had another supernatural encounter years ago as a child… so when an odd British stranger turns up claiming to be a contemporary of Paul Revere, Abbie is the only cop willing to listen.

Thus begins a beautiful partnership! Abbie and Ichabod discover that they are the Two Witnesses prophesied to fight against Moloch’s army for seven years, so… that’s what they do! And hopefully what they will continue to do for six more seasons. Other faces include Abbie’s estranged sister Jenny, her new boss Captain Irving and his family, her creepy coworker Andy, Ichabod’s witchy wife Katrina, and a “Sin Eater” Henry. The show basically settles into monster/mystery of the week, with fun side plots involving Ichabod’s struggles with modern life, and bigger overarching adventures. It is perfect and great.

Not convinced? Want an exhaustive list of things I love about it? Seen the show and want to geek out about it with me? OH BOY ARE YOU IN LUCK TODAY!!

***Careful, here there be (fairly minor) spoilers – Click to continue***

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