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Friday, October 28, 2016

This Is What Represents American Women? Hmm? #AmericanHousewife #ABC #3weekroundup

This Is What Represents American Women? Hmm? #AmericanHousewife #ABC #3weekroundup

All pictures courtesy of ABC

Oh. My. God! I cannot begin to even... I mean, it’s just so... gahhh! I’m getting ahead of myself here. Before we dive into this review/recap of the first three episodes of American Housewife in another three-week roundup review, let me just send a big shout-out to the Cleveland Cavaliers who raised their 2016 championship banner tonight—first championship for Cleveland in 52 years. Let me also congratulate the Cleveland Indians for reaching the 2016 World Series once again, their first World Series appearance in nearly 20 years. This day, October 25, 2016, will forever go down as Cleveland’s Day, regardless of whether the Indians (who are currently up by 3 as I write this) win the first game, or the World Series, or not. Suffice it to say, as someone who is an Ohio native and grew up partially in Cleveland, I am ecstatic tonight (though, you’ll probably be reading this on Wednesday, if at all). This should be noted because my mood should’ve rose tinted literally everything that came at me for a full 24-hr period. And then this show came along. So, without further ado, let’s get to the review/recap and figure out if America should be enchanted with American Housewife or if we’re all going to wish we had not one but two things better to watch (at least as sports fans) every single time this airs.

American Housewife stars Katy Mixon in the title role as Katie Otto, an under-appreciated, overweight housewife living in the high-priced suburbia of Westport, Connecticut. Frankly, she hates the town but lives there because they have a really good school system, especially for her youngest child—think ABC’s other new show Speechless where the family moves to be in a better school district for their disabled son. In a neighborhood gluttonous with new, 21st century McMansions, Katie and her family live in a modest two-story that is able to comfortably fit five children in, what I have to assume, is each child’s own room. A family of five (because what family isn’t, right?) she and her husband have three children: one boy, two girls. Like all sitcoms, the show revolves heavily around the family and how they interact with each other and get on each other’s nerves, mainly on Katie’s. Let’s go through the family characters first and then we’ll start on the plot of the first episode.

We are first greeted by their youngest, their daughter Anna-Kat. Somewhere between seven and ten (I think), she is first seen peeing in the front yard. She is said to have something wrong with her and OCD is briefly mentioned but not cemented as her ailment, so we don’t really know why she does the things she does; they also say anxiety, but this seems more like a disorder of some kind. She’s more so dismissed as simply being weird, similar to Brick on ABC’s The Middle. But she does have a thing for germs and dislikes holding her classmates' hands, so that is another check in the OCD box. Oh, and she’s Katie’s favorite.

Next, we have Oliver, the middle child, who totally looks like he just walked off stage from playing the role of Oliver Twist in an off-off-Broadway production. Similar to Mike Seaver from Growing Pains or Alex Keaton from Family Ties, he is a conservative, miniature, future-businessman who values hard work, dressing well and money. His main goal, as told to us by Katie, is to be filthy rich when he gets older, and he’s well on his way judging by the school clubs he’s in and the way he lives his life.

Rounding out the kids is Taylor, the eldest daughter. Similar to Speechless’ youngest daughter in Dylan, not only does she have a very unisex name but she’s into sports and not that much into education like her brother. Supposedly 14, she also was just recently visited by the puberty fairy who blessed her with a womanly body (paraphrased from Katie). Though they haven’t "went there" yet, it’s clear where this is going: all the boys will want her and blah, blah, blah. Goodness gracious, is this the earliest I’ve ever “blah, blah, blahed” through a three-week roundup? Oh, this is not gonna be good.

Finally, though he is not a child, he is a huge enabler by which Katie must live or else she’d realize just how ridiculous she is, her husband Greg rounds out the Otto clan. Played by veteran comedy actor Diedrich Bader (someone who will always be partially loved in Cleveland after making us laugh for years on The Drew Carey Show), Greg is just there to actually be deadpan funny and not really carve out a character identity of his own, but play it straight or not straight to whatever Katie throws at him. Got it? The biggest character-defining moment I can think of concerning him is that in one scene he wears a “my wife is married to a feminist” t-shirt. Whereas Katie is a character, Greg is a reaction to her character. Unlike his wife, he works as a professor at a local college and can Skype into work when he absolutely can’t be there.

OK, now to get into the plot of the show. Our introduction to this show lets us know just what kind of character Katie is, what kind of person created the show, and where this could go very fast. At the outset, we find our titular character glowering out her front window at the house across the street that just recently put up a “For Sale” sign. She laments this tragic turn of events because her neighbor Fat Pam is finally moving away from the “skinny bitch haven” that is Westport, Connecticut. (OK, I don’t think that was a direct quote from the show, but the first two words I’m sure made it in there in some combination). See, without Fat Pam to serve as a buffer for the other neighborhood twig-ettes to fat-shame, Katie becomes the “Second Fattest Housewife in Westport” and will only have one fat woman fatter than her that she, herself can fat-shame. It’s a dire situation. Did I mention that all of this is told to us through the use of voice-over inner-monologue from Katie, a common ABC trademark used across the channel in everything from The Middle to Black-ish to Grey’s Anatomy and a few others? But here, unlike on many of those other shows, it comes off as super annoying. I know I just jumped ahead to my grading, but I just couldn’t hold that in for one more sentence let alone two more episodes.

As said before, Katie hates Westport because not only will she become the second fattest housewife really soon, the town is dominated by yoga-pants-wearing, skinny-butted, yacht-and-labradoodle-owning jerks that make money and live lives of superficiality... supposedly. This totally isn’t the Otto way of living. Instead, the Otto’s rent a modest house and are “good people” according to Katie.

On a busy morning, she has to tell her youngest Anna-Kat to stop peeing on the lawn, try convincing her son Oliver to donate canned goods to his school’s homeless food drive and make sure that her eldest Taylor is stocked up good for feminine products. As she enjoys her morning breakfast, she sends Anna-Kat upstairs to her father to make him check her homework as he sits on the toilet, something Katie is jealous of because her husband takes too long of a morning constitution and no mother ever could do that.

When Katie goes to drop off her youngest daughter at school, a school which I’m assuming is one of those weird all-grades schools because in later episodes it looks like she picks up every one of her children at the same school, because there’s definitely the same crossing guard there to annoy her, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Where was I...? Did I even complete that last sentence? For all the times I misuse em dashes and parentheses and I didn’t do anything to that sentence? Huh! Oh, right, Katie runs into some of the other skinny-yoga-bitches I told you about before (did I forget to mention that this review/recap would have slightly more cursing than usual? It’ll have slightly more cursing than usual) that judge her as they sip green drinks and cackle outside of the school at the drop-off area. A few good eye-rolls and side-eyes later, and Katie finds her group of the “keepin’-it-real-and-ethnically-diverse” moms. Her friends Angela (played by Carly Hughes) and Doris (played by Ali Wong) are the cool black lesbian and the soul-crushingly wealthy Asian, respectively. They’re always up to go and eat food at their favorite diner while they judge those skinny bitches and laugh at how vain they are—totally different than what the skinny bitches do. The skinny ones cackle and judge right to your face. Big difference. While at their fave diner, they see yet one more double-Fitbit-wearing skinny girl who looks out of sorts like she is either just passing through or came to visit someone she knows in town. This woman is important as she is Viv and she is played by Leslie Bibb. More on her a little later, but let’s get back to the plot.

After Katie complains to her friends about soon earning the title of the second fattest housewife in Westport, she does the same thing to her husband as she plots a way to not become the second fattest housewife in the town. Her main idea is to scare away all good potential buyers, forcing Fat Pam to keep the house and not move away. From this, we get such brilliant gems as tampon wind chime and making sure that they appear more Islamic-y or terrorist-y. No, seriously. But when her husband suggests seeking out a fatter person to buy the house, she, Greg and Anna-Kat engage in fake-gossip warfare during the open house. Apparently, there’s an arsonist in the neighborhood (lie), Anna-Kat loves coming to talk to her dead friends in the house (lie), and one of the families before got coincidental-cancer after living in the house. Then they see that same two-Fitbit-wearing heifer from before as she is looking to move to town. Katie is about to give up when she sees a ghetto black man’s dream: a fat blonde white woman with a cute face and hips as wide as your grandpa’s Buick. That woman has to buy the house! And the house goes into escrow, but when the woman comes by to talk with her new neighbor once again, she lets her racism and bigotry show when she talks about avoiding “those Blacks,” you know, the rich ones, and those Gays—the ones with the capital Gs.

Now, Katie must make a decision on whether she can live across from that terrible of a bigot or if she will suck it up just to not be the second fattest housewife in Westport. While she initially chooses the latter, by the end of the episode she changes her mind, enlists her gay black friend Angela to do a make-out sesh in front of blond-and-big-boned, and gets Viv back in the house. Viv, a past-fatty herself, is now this thin blond bimbo who lives to walk-run, and walk and run, and sometimes just run a lot without the walking. She can’t wait to get her hands on Katie to help her lose all the weight and she instantly earns Katie’s ire.

There’s some side-story stuff in there about how Anna-Kat has trouble making friends because she doesn’t touch hands until her father tells her that sometimes friends are more important than germs. She shakes some people’s hands and gets puking sick. There’s also a story about how Oliver helped one of the weird neighbors they call Naked Ned with some kind of landscaping/gardening job and earned some money from doing it. Katie tells him that he has to share some of that cash with the canned goods drive at school and he makes a deal.

Episode two revolves around just how tired Katie is on a daily basis. I’m really not going to get into the big argument on whether she should or shouldn’t be tired as a housewife, but I will say that watching this episode felt more tedious than I’m sure Katie could ever feel. After a night of interrupted sleep that saw Oliver thinking he was having a heart attack, Anna-Kat doing something cute but ridiculous, and Taylor waking up for a five a.m. run, Katie is greeted in the morning by the news that her old job just opened back up and her boss is going to keep it available for her if she wants it. So, as she considers what she wants to do on that front, she is guided by Angela and Doris to try taking a nap during the middle of the day.

Crossing Guard Irks Her
As is always in a sitcom, hi-jinks commence when all she wants to do is go to sleep. First, one of her kids leaves their lunch in the car, so she has to go and take it to the school where she gets into a confrontation with the power-hungry crossing guard. Then she returns home to a husband who is home from work because he thinks he is coming down with something and can’t go to college that day. But then he remembers that he signed up to read to Anna-Kat’s class that day but can’t go because he could expose the kids to something, so Katie has to go.

When Katie gets there, she loses it while reading a book about a mom who is overworked. She laments that she wants to return to work and how big of a deal she was at work before she had to have kids, and the class isn’t impressed. She returns home to try sleeping again, and degrades the fact that her husband works because “at least he gets a break” (again, I’m not going to get into that debate that asks what she’s doing all day at home while all of her kids are at school, because it doesn’t seem to be that she writes or runs an online business or anything, but I digress) and she never does, and this happens before she is called back to school because Oliver got suspended for the day for doing insider trading in his young mock stockbroking class (is that really a suspendable offense? Seriously, writers?). To add salt to sugar, Anna-Kat is found out as not having all the required immunization shots and sent home for the day, too. And just for the heck of it, Katie decides to pull Taylor from school for no reason and chides her for having signed up for basketball and soccer, focusing on sports more than school work. She returns home after trying to teach her children a lesson by making them pick up trash on the side of the road, only to embarrass her husband by telling his Skyped undergrad class that he isn’t wearing any pants while teaching them. The episode ends with her swearing that she doesn’t want to miss the good times after her husband takes over with the kids, therefore she won’t take that job. She tells Oliver and Taylor to limit the extracurriculars and that’s it.

Episode three focuses on Katie’s insecurity about having Viv as not only her new neighbor but as a role model and best buddy of Taylor. When the 14-year-old starts hanging with Viv who is super athletic just like she is, Katie can only see that relationship as something she must crush and crush immediately. The quickest and easiest way to do this is by proving how better she is at... running? A Halloween-themed episode, the town is having a Zombie run where participants are split into two groups: runners or zombies. A glorified game of tag, the runners are decorated with flags that the zombies must tear off of them similar to flag football. Whoever survives the race with at least one flag intact wins.

Katie not only believes that she can win this race after not having run since grade school, but she thinks Viv is in some deeply-rooted conspiracy to take her place, in her daughter’s mind, as a great mom. So, she has to win this race. While Greg and Anna-Kat decide to be zombies, Katie zips through the race by cheating with far more flags than she should have (supplied by Doris), and finally gets near the end where she and her daughter talk. Turns out, Taylor was hanging with Viv out of pity because Viv’s husband is never around, her step-sons don’t talk to her at all, and she’s got no friends in town because she’s new (yes, this will lead to Viv becoming part of the group of Katie’s friends and I know this without having to watch past episode 3). This is when Katie realizes that her daughter isn’t becoming like Viv but is pure Greg because she’s so nice and kindhearted. But when Anna-Kat comes and rips her last flag, Katie both laments it and is proud because she knows that Anna-Kat is just like her: sneaky, conniving and all-around deplorable.

What’s my grade? I give this a D. I have mentioned multiple times on this blog how much I hate criticizing the creative work of others because I know how hard it is to put something, anything out, especially something of quality, but yikes! I wanted to end this new Fall show season on a high (I still have Falling Water to review, so we’ll see how that goes), but this show has got to be the worst new show of the season. There’s so much bad here that I don’t know where to start, but I’ll try my best.

For starters, it is a cobbled-together mess of a ton of other far superior comedies. I already mentioned that it has the smart but conservative business child of Growing Pains and Family Ties, but it also has the fish-out-of-water/family-that-doesn’t-belong-here vibe of Speechless and the child with a disability. There’s the older hot daughter like from Roseanne, and the nosy neighbor similar to Family Matters’ Urkel. Throw in a heaping helping of “boy do I hate my neighbors because they’re different than me” from the short-lived ABC comedy The Neighbors, too. Worst of all, it feels like the very short-lived dramedy GCB also from ABC. For those that don’t remember (most don’t because they didn’t watch) GCB or Good Christian Bitches was an hour-long dramedy that originally aired on Sundays that starred, surprise, surprise, Leslie Bib as a woman who moved back to her childhood home in Texas after a divorce and supreme life ruin. There, she ran into a group of Christian women that were grown, catty mean girls who had no right to talk because of their own overbearing problems kept swept under the rug. This show has that feeling to a T.

Similar to where that show went wrong (outside of the fact that they tried to make Christians look bad... on Sunday nights, which was supposed to be their answer to the Desperate Housewives gap) this show is trying to juxtapose the ego of the main character that you’re supposed to like with the ego of another group of moms (yoga-wearing bitches) and to a greater extent, the entire town. The problem sets in when you have this voice-over work going throughout the show and it reveals Katie’s true feelings. Frankly, Katie is just as much of a bitch as everyone else in the town. She thinks she’s better than the other moms and why? Because they try to stay fit or thin? Or because they have money? She has this constant refrain of “I’m real and they’re not,” which would be better proven if she didn’t say it often and narrate as such.

I was totally going to do another Gone Girl/Gillian Flynn homage here (as I did in my summer episodic novella series The Writer season 2) but I really didn’t have the energy after writing about this show like I thought I would. Instead of the cool girl, this time the rant would be on the cool mom. Unlike the “cool girl” which Flynn argues is the product of the male’s fantasy (though, I’d argue many women want to be the cool girl even before a man comes into their life), the cool mom is a manufactured pressure put on solely by the mother herself, and not society, and definitely not the kids. Take note that this is NOT to be confused with the good mom which is more enforced by women, but the cool mom. Katie reminds too much in the first three episodes of that high school football mom who wants all of her sons to play on the team and date cheerleaders because that’s what she did, and she’s constantly trying to relive those “glory days.” Yeah, no. She feels like the kind of mom that’s all about letting you and your friends smoke weed and drink in the basement all you want because “at least when they’re home I know it’s safe,” which is the same sentiment that that one woman whose son just died at a party in her house had. Katie feels more obsessed with being her kid’s friends or worse, having them be miniature replicas of her, than she is about being a parent that allows their child to grow and figure some things out for themselves. One of the lines of the show spoke about how she saw it as her main job to make her youngest daughter fit in a little more and make her two oldest children fit in a lot less. In other words, the only reason she really had children was so she wouldn’t feel alone, and sees them growing into their own people as a threat to that.

If this rant seems too much like complaining, well I’d turn around and say that I’m only mirroring the show because that is yet another thing that annoys me. Not only does she seem to have an average American life, but she complains about all of it because... well, that’s what she does. Granted, I could see if you’re complaining about your life if you are constantly trying to do something amazing and better and wholly different, but she’s not. It’s not like she’s trying to start a business or have another baby after years of trying or even trying to lose weight. I could see if her husband was a D, but he’s not. When she laments how busy she is and how he has it easier because he gets to go to work, he tells her she should take her old job back if it makes her feel happy. Does she? No. And the reasoning she has doesn’t even fit the same reasoning of an actual housewife to me. Her lack of real empathetic draw makes her grousing inner-monologue of complaints about how great her daughter is and how she used to have youth too, less funny and “as a parent I can totally understand,” and more cringy and “well, why the heck did you have and keep your kids? Try to change your life already, lady, if you hate it so much.” You’re mad at your daughter because she just got breasts? You have not only breasts but a man who absolutely loves you and is still very much attracted to you even after having kids when most couples say the passion dies. Again, this would be a joke that maybe played well on a different show, not here.

And the last thing I really don’t want to harp on because I know that it is Katy’s voice and she can’t change that, but the narration is very annoying. I have seen her on other shows and in movies and enjoyed the voice there, but here... I don’t know if it’s the way she delivers the lines or what they’re showing on screen as she says stuff or the background music, but her voice comes off like a nausea-inducing squirrel chirp (I know they don’t chirp!): it wiggles into your ear and goes manic on your brain. Frankly, it makes all of the narration feel far more down-your-nose judgmental than anything because it sounds like that polite high lilt voice that every mean girl who is trying to be cute and condescending at the same time in a movie or real life uses. Every time I hear her saying her lines and smiling that fake smile, all I hear is, “Oh, you drive a used Prius. How cute,” like that’s not good enough. She seems more akin to Kristin Chenoweth’s character from GCB than Mama Heck from the Middle or even Minnie Driver’s character from Speechless—two endearing Middle-Class moms who, like Katie, are just trying to keep it all together.

Should you be watching? No. Again, family comedy is sometimes hard to find in this day and age and, when looking anywhere but ABC, you probably won’t find much in the way of a sitcom, but with the nine other family sitcoms that ABC is offering this season, surely you can find something that fits and reflects your family better than this. Ultimately, while most family sitcoms look inward to the family where the notion goes, “Yes, we’re all different from each other, but we’re really all the same,” and that makes the family bond work better, American Housewife goes outward for the comedy to the world to say, “All of these people around us are different, and think they’re better but we are the ones that are better than them, therefore we have to stick together so we don’t become like them.” And that doesn’t feel quite as good as it should. But check it out for yourself. American Housewife airs on ABC Tuesdays at 8:30pm EST.

What do you think? Have you seen American Housewife? If not, do you think you’ll tune in for a few episodes? If so, do you like it? Was I too harsh on it? Who is your favorite character? And do you think the show has benefited or lost out on its renaming from its original title “The Second Fattest Housewife in Westport?” Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “American Woman... stay away from me-ee. American woman... just let me be-ee.”

P.S. That is all I can remember from the Lenny Kravitz song, but it totally applies to this show. I have to work on other projects and often have to drop some of the new shows I watch even when I like them, but on certain occasions, I still take a peek at them through the season to see if they've changed. This one, while I am actually leaning toward the thought that it will not only last but get renewed, I don't think I'll ever watch again.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Is This AM Or FM? Or Sirius? Or XM? Wait, Does XM Even Exist Anymore? #Frequency #CW #3weekroundup

Is This AM Or FM? Or Sirius? Or XM? Wait, Does XM Even Exist Anymore? #Frequency #CW #3weekroundup

All pictures courtesy of the CW

You know the introduction script: ‘nother three-week roundup, new series, recap/review, some half-brained attempt at a witty metaphor, and the title Frequency sloppily woven into the intro paragraph. Let’s get to it!
Frequency is CW’s newest show to add to its bevy of strange sci-fi and superhero shows. It’s funny: when the WB and UPN merged to create the CW, I would’ve never guessed the channel would morph into the home for high-concept creative programming as it has (side note: high-concept is industry talk for a show that is high in idea but can be easily explained in one or two sentences; not to be confused with high-brow) become. Sure, the WB had stuff like Angel and Buffy through the 90s, but UPN still had a plethora of black sitcoms and shows that saw normal people in normal settings. Suddenly, you look across the network landscape and you see every network trying to go slightly strange with their programming in order to capitalize on the superhero craze. Unfortunately, no other network has managed to do it quite like the CW, mixing their comic-book-fare with other creative sci-fi or strange-fic shows in for the crowd of people who still shy away from saying that they watch anything on the Syfy channel regularly. For a channel that has been sporting such programs that have beasts, vampires, ghosts, demons, post-apocalyptic societies and the like, Frequency fits right in with the rest of the weird and crazy, while toeing the line of realistic and simplistic.

Wow, so even though I hit you with a second introductory paragraph after trying to speed into the review with the first one, you’re going to excuse that and keep reading as the real review starts... now! OK, so Frequency, as I suspected but didn’t know in my preview review, is a show based off the film of the same name that came out more than a decade ago. Starring Jim Caviezel (Jesus) and Dennis Quaid, it followed a detective trying to stop a murder with the help of his father. The twist? His father died 20 years prior. The show has taken the same concept and applied it to a father/daughter combo. Raimy Sullivan (played by Peyton List most recently off of The Flash) is a homicide detective living in our current time. Let me just point out the strangeness of the CW’s two newest shows. If you read my No Tomorrow review, you will know that the star who plays Evie, Tori Anderson, is playing a 30 going on 31-year-old but is actually about 27, 28. Here, on Frequency, we have Peyton playing a 28-year-old when she is actually 30, which is strange because, to me, both women look their real ages, granted it’s not that big of a difference, but still. I guess I can forgive CW for what I thought was ageism on No Tomorrow since I thought a 30-year-old actress should have been playing Evie. Also, I know this tangent is long, but I could totally see the actresses switching roles and bringing a cool unique new twist to both characters while still having each show work.

OK, tangent over. You need to know what the show is about and that’s why you’re here. Raimy is a young woman on the cusp of the rest of her life. She just celebrated her 28th birthday, she found a black-boxed diamond ring in her boyfriend’s things that morning (she’s totally going to say yes, even though she hasn’t yet met his parents), and she just recently got a new case as a homicide detective, but when her boyfriend Daniel (played by Daniel Bonjour) goes to her house and finds an old ham radio in the garage, he starts to set it up for her as a surprise, only to find her objecting to the gesture. Her problem: the ham radio reminds her of her father. Her father was a cop, too, and, from what she’s been told, a dirty one.

Frank Sullivan
Frank Sullivan (played by Riley Smith) served as an undercover cop, gang unit, back 20 years prior in 1996 New York/New Jersey area. A Mets fan, he loves his only daughter, his long-suffering wife, and his pursuit of justice. We find him on the precipice of ending a years-long undercover beat that would bring down an entire crime organization while also trying to enjoy the ‘96 World Series (Tangent: Cleveland Indians are in it this year! Go Tribe!). His daughter’s eighth birthday, he leaves her a plush pink pony toy in a beat-up old buried coffee can in the backyard, and watches from afar as she digs it up before going off to school with her mother—it’s sort of their father-daughter thing. We don’t find out until a little later why they have this system but suffice it to say that things aren’t going well.

And then something crazy happens. On the night that Raimy spends some time at her old house drinking and what not after her 28th, she sees the old ham radio light up in the garage. She wanders in to find a man’s voice creaking across the frequency, slightly alcohol and cigar-addled as he plays with the radio like it’s a toy. Just looking for someone to connect with (he tells his little daughter that if they get the right frequency they can talk to astronauts up in space Gravity-style), he drums up a conversation with Raimy about the world series. He tells her his call sign and she thinks that can’t be his call sign because it’s her call sign, too. It doesn’t take long for both of them to freak-out and dang near curse each other out as they both believe the other is messing around. What’s the man’s name? Frank. Not possible, because Raimy’s dad’s name was Frank. ‘Oh, and you’re named Raimy? Raimy, what?’ “Sullivan!” ‘No way, because that’s my daughter’s name and she’s eight years old, it’s her birthday.’ “I just turned 28 and it’s my birthday.” You get the weirdness going on here, right?

So, it happens again and this time as Raimy is sitting at the radio, back in 1996, Frank allows a cigar to sit on the radio’s top and start to burn through the cheap metal. Raimy looks at her current-day radio and sees the smoke rising 20 years later as the burn scars into the radio, and warns him that he’s burning the radio. Too freaky.

Finally, to test this strange connection, Frank takes a soldering pen and burns a flag onto the top of the radio. The flag is a symbol for the flagpole at the back of the yard where he’s buried a special coffee can for her to dig up. Raimy goes out her house 20 years later and digs the coffee can up to find a Polaroid of her father holding a newspaper with the date of precisely 20 years prior. She goes back to the radio to tell him about the terrible picture he took and that’s when they realize that by some magical chance, they have tuned into a frequency that allows them to talk to each other through time-space. Putting aside how easily they accept this, both of them are rather excited for this opportunity, though Raimy is a little hesitant. Her problem stems not from the fact that this can’t be possible, but from the things she was told about her father. When she tells him that she is a detective too, now, he finds the idea that he’ll be on the force with his daughter in 20 years crazy. At 28, she’s as old as he is, slightly older. And then everything hits the fan when she bursts his bubble and tells him that he won’t be on the force, nor retired, but that he is dead, and in fact, dies/died tomorrow. Yes, he’s set to die shortly and it’s disappointing. Here’s another tangent for you, the actor playing Frank, Riley Smith is not 28 or even 30 as he is supposed to be, nor is he 48 like he would be if he had lived all through the 20 years since he’s died, but is actually 38 right directly in the middle. Now, I think that was done strategically so that they could easily age him up or down either way and not have it be too drastic looking. He can play younger but why they set his age in his 20s is beyond me, save for that they wanted to say that she is older than he ever lived to be, which they didn’t really have to do.

Raimy nearly hangs up on him after telling him about his death and how they’ll fish his body out of a local lake a few days after, along with some gangster he was linked to. She believes his dirty dealings is what got him killed but he insists that he was just doing the job the entire time and that the whole reason he’s even near the area they found his body is because there was supposed to be a police sting to finally end his undercover op. But she never hears about an undercover op. He is supposed to get shot dead, followed by the gangster. Who does this? They don’t know.

Wanting to believe her father even though she still suspects him of being dirty, Raimy joins forces with him to save his life. She conducts her own investigation in the future while Frank keeps his eyes wide open in the past. Raimy has a sneaking suspicion that this set-up was by the police he was working with based on the fact that she heard nothing about the sting. If the cops weren’t crooked, then a sting would actually have been mentioned and he would’ve died an honorable death in the line of duty rather than a crooked cop who got what he deserved.

When Raimy goes to visit one of her father’s old police buddies that Frank told her was involved in the sting-that-never-happened that night, she finds that he is a security guard who left the force long ago because he couldn’t deal with the guilt. He reveals that there never was supposed to be a sting and that Raimy’s boss at the time set him up to take the fall because he was working with the gangsters. She rushes back home to the radio to tell her father and that’s when we realize the limitations of the radio’s power. Frank’s not only already at the meet, but the other gangster that is supposed to die with him already has a gun to his head and knows he’s a cop.

Frank with friend Satch
Far from stupid, Frank took his daughter’s warning from the previous day when she first told him and went to the exact shipyard place that she told him he got shot, and stashed a gun for himself. When the gangster started to shoot him, he smacked the gun from the guy’s hand, twisted around to get his own gun and yanked it from his stash place. Rather than shooting the gangster, he watches as the guy gets shot by the third shooter that was always meant to take out the gangster. The gangster dies while Frank shoots back at the third guy, but still takes a bullet from the man. Frank then runs out of the alley and is seen by a getaway car. He fires at the car as they fire at him and he drops to the ground.

As he is lying dying on the ground, back in present day, Raimy is curled up in a corner near the radio as she believes she has failed again. But when Frank breathes another breath in the past and rolls to his side and up to reveal that the bullet is in him but it didn’t kill him, suddenly Raimy has a rush of memories from the last 20 years flood her brain, memories that hadn’t before existed, memories of a life spent with a father that not only lived to see her 9th, 10th and 11th birthday, but lived long enough to see her strut into the bullpen in her beat-cop blues fresh from the academy, and dote on his cop daughter. Unfortunately, as soon as she exits her garage/shed, her best friend Gordo (Lenny Jacobson) greets her and wonders about her strange new enlightenment. “Everything’s different now,” she exalts. Her father wasn’t murdered, but Gordo quickly brings her world back to the ground when he tells her that her father died in a car crash about five years ago at the age of 43. While she finds it sad that he’s gone, it’s not that sad because she got to grow up with him and at least he wasn’t killed and didn’t die a corrupt cop, but was hailed as a hero for having survived an undercover gang gig that went horribly wrong. Funny thing: she remembers it both ways, both her life without him and this new life she never actually lived with him. Similar to NBC’s Timeless time travelers, both historical timelines are etched into her memory, though everyone around her only remembers the one timeline. And for that she is thankful.

Who does Frank wake up to in his timeline but his boss, the very man who set him up to take the fall and painted him as a dirty cop posthumously, Stan Hope (played by Anthony Ruivivar). He even gets a visit from his wife and little Raimy while in the hospital, and here’s where I forgot to mention something earlier because I didn’t have room to fit it in. See, the new case that Raimy just got in her time is actually an old case, a very old and ongoing case. In a recent marsh dredging, police found a very old body, nothing but bones left. Rosary beads tied around the wrist and ankle, the ME believes it is the body of one of the victims of the Nightingale killer, an area-famous serial killer from 20 years prior that was never caught. The killer grew famous for killing nurses. One of the nurses that had gone missing long ago was just now found and that was her body. Funny enough, Raimy’s mother was also a nurse and worked with the woman that got killed by Nightingale. But when visiting Raimy’s father in the hospital, even though Raimy’s mother wasn’t on call that night, she still wore her badge to use her clout to get to see her husband without having to check in and go through protocol. While there, she is stopped by the Nightingale killer’s would-be fourth victim and takes some packets of something from the woman who was going to take an elevator downstairs to drop them in a storage room. Since Raimy and her mother are going down anyway as they exit the hospital, her mother takes them and they get on the elevator with the Nightingale himself, when before the other nurse would’ve gotten on. See where this is going?

Left to Right: Raimy's friend, Raimy, Daniel
Raimy, knowing she’s late to her and her boyfriend’s (soon-to-be fiance) favorite restaurant to meet his parents in present time, she rushes over there to find him sitting with his mom and dad. But when she introduces herself, they are shocked and he has to walk her away from his people as he doesn’t know her. It turns out that he’s engaged to another woman already. Daniel and Raimy never met because the way they originally met in the other timeline was that her mother introduced her daughter to this handsome gentleman that had broken his arm in a nasty motor vehicle accident and had come to the hospital for stitches. Yep, her mother is now dead in this timeline, and without her being there to nurse Daniel, Raimy never meets him. And because she still has all the memories from both when her father lived and when he died, she doesn’t realize until she is called into the police station by her captain that the remains found in the swamp earlier (the same remains that had already been identified) are actually her mother’s in this new timeline. Not only that, but the Nightingale who had previously stopped at four victims did not only not stop at four, but is still killing and still has never been caught though they have a rough sketch. And that is where we leave off this episode and jump into the mystery of the season.

Episode two starts with a rehash of the remains found in the swamp. Not only is the examiner changed from a fat white man to a red-haired black woman, but the victim’s remains are definitely Raimy’s mother. Her mother Julie Sullivan (played by Devin Kelley who is the same age as Peyton List and eight years younger than Riley but is also supposed to be in her late 20s) is said to have gone missing in early January of 1997. This is great because not only does she not die immediately, but Raimy and Frank have discovered that their days mirror each other so that the same amount of time passes by for both of them (one day in present is one day in the past and vice versa), meaning they have, roughly two and a half months to catch the Nightingale killer and stop her from dying. The interesting thing about this show is that they can work this case in either timeline and, so long as it ends before January 11th, they can save her.

Their jumping-off point for their investigation stems from the very existence of a fourth body. Let’s first establish the two timelines to help us all understand this show a lot easier. We’ll call the first timeline when Frank dies the BadCop timeline and the second timeline the Mother timeline. We good there? Everybody understand that when I switch between the two? OK, good. So, in the original timeline AKA the BadCop timeline, the Nightingale killer was known to only have ever had three victims that were found in or near the swamp/marsh, all of them found within a very short amount of time. These killings supposedly stopped just after Frank died. However, the discovery of the fourth body extended the timeline in which the killer was active by nearly three months. So, because his original kills extended beyond the time parameter at least by a few months on the plus-side of time, why not on the minus side, too? In other words, maybe he was killing or doing something at the swamp earlier than when the killings supposedly started. This leads to Raimy and Frank both combing through past crimes of any kind at the swamp as they figured the killer had familiarity with his ultimate crime scene, some deeper connection to it that would make him want to kill there.

Left to Right: Julie (Devin Kelley), Raimy

In each of their digs into the past, they collectively discover a sexual assault case by some young kid that had been expunged. A man with the last name Goff was the perpetrator and he lives in the same house that he grew up in. Now firmly in the Mother timeline, Raimy goes to visit the man who is now in his mid-to-late 40s and looks like a family guy. He tells her about how the case was expunged and looks slightly nervous about being hassled by the police. She leaves and goes to tell her father back in his time.

Captain that set Frank up
Back in Frank’s time, he is dealing with great pressures and changes. With his cover blown, he is given a position in homicide as a detective and paired with one of his good friends on the force and future captain Satch Rayna, who is played by the always dependable Mekhi Phifer. Now, I don’t want to go too deep into my verdict of the show yet, but let’s just say that I’m giving a serious side-eye at the producers and the makeup and costume departments who think that Mekhi as the oldest main cast member on the show really can play himself 20 years apart. He looks like a middle-aged man in both 1996 and 2016, LOL. I digress. As you can guess, he fills the role of boss and mentor to Raimy in the future as he had a brotherly bond with her father Frank in the past in both the BadCop and the Mother timeline. Now partnered with Frank in the Mother timeline, he virtually has not changed in role nor tone. He and Frank go to the same Goff house that Raimy went to in her time where they try to talk to the young boy about the nurse he sexually assaulted. Meanwhile, Raimy discovers that another girl who went to the same college as this Goff man back in her father’s time went missing in the midst of the Nightingale killings. They are trying to build a case that the killer still didn’t have an MO quite yet.

Raimy decides to go back out to the house that she visited the day prior, which, if you remember the way this thing works, is precisely 20 years after Frank and Satch visited the house. In Frank’s time, as soon as Goff’s mother tells them to scram and Goff sees them walking toward his work shed, he comes out to talk with them. His mother lets him say nothing, and the cops leave. But in his haste to get out there, he left the tool shed’s cellar door unlocked. Surprise, surprise, he had the missing woman from his college (not)locked deep inside waiting, presumably, to die. She escapes, smacks him with a shovel and sprints into the woods. In Raimy’s time, she goes to Goff’s house again and is shocked when a completely different guy opens the door and tells her that the Goff family used to live there 20 years ago or so. The future, her present, is constantly changing based off what she is telling her father.

The race is on to find the escaped girl in Frank’s time, but meanwhile, Frank has other things to deal with. His two years spent undercover put a canyon between him and his wife Julie. He’s trying to reconnect with her as he is just now flirting with the idea of moving back into the house—he moved out to protect them. Meanwhile, future Raimy keeps telling him that he needs to tell Julie that she’s going to die, but it’s obviously too complicated for him to blurt this out without some info on how he knows this as fact. When he takes Julie to the radio to have her talk with future Raimy, Raimy freezes up. Having just come from the Goff house, she now realizes that everything she says directly into her past, to her mother, her father, herself, can all change the future. She gets scared that telling her mother will change something else in a big way and says nothing, which only drives a bigger wedge between her parents. And that’s when I realized this show is not about time travel or fixing past faults but is about a family of people that can’t depend on each other. This episode ends with Raimy going back to the Goff house late at night and looking in a space where the tool shed once stood the day before when she visited, and digging through the soft, fertile ground to find a cellar where she automatically theorizes Goff kept his prisoners.

Episode three explores this prison cellar theory more as we already know the answer. Running the course of roughly two days time. In the first day, Frank and Satch go back to Goff’s house in their time and do an illegal “exigent circumstances” search of the tool shed, finding an empty cellar. With the boy gone and his mother not talking, Satch is ready to go because he doesn’t want to get sued by this lady, and then they see footprints in fresh mud that point into the woods to the side of the house. As Raimy sits at her detective’s desk back in 2016 checking and rechecking the police report status of the college girl that had never been found, she wills her father and Satch to the girl. They find the young woman passed out in the woods from having run all night trying to escape, and the report changes before Raimy’s very eyes. Yet another thing erased from everyone’s memory but hers.

I Remember Everything
Now the chase is on for Goff. With the rescue of the girl, Raimy looks to the big board dominating her homicide unit and still sees the biggest crime they have marked is the active Nightingale killer. She reads the rest of the newly found woman’s report to find that Goff was never found. So, both she and Frank venture to find Goff in their respective times. Frank insists to Satch that this guy is the Nightingale killer they’ve been looking for, that he has ample connections to prove or at least suggest that, and that as soon as they catch him, they will have ended one of the biggest cases in the Jersey/New York area.

Raimy, meanwhile, does some digging on her end to find out that Goff’s mother never gave him up and is in federal prison herself. Raimy talks to the woman, threatening that if she doesn’t finally tell where her son would have gone for the last 20 years, then the police will find him and possibly kill him on sight. At least with her, she’ll guarantee she can bring him in unharmed. Momma Goff finally gives him up. Meanwhile, in Frank’s time, they let momma Goff go to use her as fishing bait to lure Goff in. When she makes a series of calls to a place near Washington Square in the town, they automatically suspect it is him she is calling.

As Raimy finds Goff in an abandoned warehouse, her Father and Satch stake out his place in their time. Raimy fights with the middle-aged man and brings him down, handcuffing him and throwing him into the back of her car. She takes him out to a place near the lake, the same place they fished her father’s dead body from in the BadCop timeline, and throws him to the ground. She can’t stand the thought of this man having done that terrible deed to her mother, and is about to shoot him. Back in 1996, Frank and Satch spot Goff and take off after him in a foot race through a busy part of town. In both scenarios, he doesn’t want to go to jail. In the past, he sees a cab zooming down the street and casually walks in front of it to get hit. And right as Raimy cocks her gun in the future, she looks down to see Goff having disappeared. He died from those injuries.

Speaking of injuries, Raimy runs back home in hopes of finding her mother stalking the house only to find a bouquet of flowers left by one of her mother’s friends a few days ago. Ever since the body was confirmed as Julie, people have been wanting to have an official mourning service, which Raimy has objected to, because she doesn’t want to have that memory in her mind when she and her father ultimately save her mother. But the sobering fact is that Goff was not the Nightingale. Funny enough, she gets pissed at her father because he had an instinct the guy wasn’t the Nightingale the entire time but let her follow her own instincts that had her so sure the man was. She tells him about not letting her lose it again, which is so ridiculous, but I’m not going to go there. She takes solace in the fact that together, she, her father and Satch saved a young woman and countless others who would’ve died by Goff’s hands. She ends the show by looking at the Facebook photos and videos of the once dead woman sitting with her husband and small son as they are on vacation and out at a restaurant.

What’s my grade? Another hard one, I give it a B-. OK, so, to start, the original movie was not like a gigantic success nor really a cult classic. It was a movie that most people saw, said, “Oh, that was kinda different,” and moved on with their lives. I mention this to say that it didn’t become something studied and obsessed over as other time travel movies, making some of its inherent problems less argued about. The show, while improving on some of those problems, adopts some of its own. First, I guess I can ignore the ages and so-so makeup on the people. For me, Devin Kelley is a very pretty girl, yet in both time frames (old and young) she looks older than 30. Having seen her initially on ABC’s Resurrection, I know that she looks way better than that. In neither case does she look the age she is supposed to be playing, nor her real age. Speaking of which, what is the point in saying that these characters are all in their 20s when none of them are in their 20s in real life? Again, I could let it go with Peyton but with everyone else, it bugs me for reasons I can’t fully explain. Especially with an eight-year-old daughter, in the 90s? Look at the birth statistics and you’ll see that the early-life births where people were having their children in their teens had significantly decreased after the baby boom. Most people, especially Gen Xers were having their children well into their 20s and 30s. If you just made both parents 30, I think that would have been easier, especially when jumping back and forth in time and trying to figure out everyone’s ages. That’s something that’ll only bug me, but again, the makeup is a small problem.

Next, we have the problem of Raimy and how she treats Frank over the radio. I get it, she first remembered him as a corrupt cop in the BadCop timeline, but when the Mother timeline kicks in, it almost feels like she has no change in demeanor or attitude toward him. One of the things wrong with the movie that is also wrong with the show is how little the changes made affected the son or daughter’s personality. Losing a parent and the emotional toll that takes on someone is hard for anyone, especially someone so young. Adding the “bad guy” angle to it would’ve hardened Raimy to a plethora of world experiences. But when she is thrust into the Mother timeline, her personality doesn’t seem to change. She’s virtually the same person. Remember, though, that she was not raised by a loving, nurse (natural caregiver) mother as in the BadCop timeline, but by a hardened, once undercover cop father in the new Mother timeline. I get that she has both sets of memories, but it still feels like it should affect her personality in some way.

Finally, the rules of this non-time-traveling adventure are sort of as-we-go-along carefree. In other words, some things won’t properly make sense when over-thinking them. When reviewing these shows for you guys, I generally will watch each of the three first episodes twice, once at normal speed and a second time to spot-check specifics that will be important for the review. In my second viewing of the 1st three episodes here, I realized three things that stuck out. The first is easiest to explain or question as it has to do with the death of Goff and Raimy’s memories. After Goff disappears from before her, Raimy runs back home in hopes of seeing her mother gliding across the wooden floors of the house, a dramatic visual (she returns to nothing changed). The problem is that the first episode already established that new memories would flood back into her mind the instant something significant happened as it did with her father surviving the gunshot. Why, then, did she run back? Shouldn’t she have already had her memories of her mother returned to her? It’s not just a nitpick but an actually valid complaint.

Speaking of Goff, let’s talk about that fight had between him and Raimy. When she is about to shoot him in that abandoned lot near the lake, she is bleeding from a cut on her forehead put there by him in the fight. Then he vanishes because on the same day 20 years prior he walked into traffic and died after a foot race with Frank and Satch. The problem, however, is that the cut remained on her forehead; in fact, she had to get it cleaned and patched. But if he was dead, wouldn’t the cut not be there? I went to IMDb while checking to make sure of the names, and came across the same question on the boards there. Someone there had a theory that this means that all things that happen to her in the present, regardless of how the past changes, will still stay with her similar to how her memories remain. But that essentially makes her an anomaly in any and all of the timelines. She can be shot, stabbed and even killed by people who are already dead, which, if not carefully monitored by the writers and producers, can become confusing for the viewers.

The third thing I noted about the Goff case was the glazed-over fact that Frank’s time is still moving forward and that she didn’t jump farther back in time to talk with him. Confusing? Think of this: one of the main reasons they went after Goff was because Raimy thought that he already had a link to the marsh and with attacking nurses. Then, when asked why she thought he could have kidnapped this college student, she said because maybe he hadn’t decided on his MO yet, or something to that effect. The college student would have not only been out of his usual range of victims (she wasn’t a nurse) but would also have been killed far from the marsh. On first viewing, you might miss the fact that the Nightingale killer was already established well within his MO before her father’s death. He was already an experienced killer and had been killing enough for the cops to not only have pursued him but named him. Remember, also, that in the BadCop timeline, he stopped shortly after Frank’s death (no, Frank is definitely not the killer), meaning he was ending not beginning his murderous spree. Yet, Goff was treated as if he was just starting or revisiting something he fantasized about doing. Yes, the escaped college girl said that he said there were others before her, but none of that fit with the established timeline, let alone with the evidence if you understand. It doesn’t make full sense to me. And it makes more sense for Raimy to start investigating why exactly the killer would keep killing over the course of 20 years, rather than stopping all because her father survived.

Should you be watching? Maybe. With all of the flaws I’ve listed, and there are more, I still think that this show is quality sci-fi/fantasy for fans of the genre. It is a time-traveling piece without the fancy time-traveling machine, and, similar to The Flash, focuses on lesser known events in the personal lives of the characters rather than looking at big historical events that can be studied. That may actually be a good thing as they have more leeway to play with the differing timelines. When reviewing MacGuyver, this is what I was talking about when saying that procedurals should have more to them than the classic 80s setup. Granted, MacGuyver is on a bigger network and with a better time, and it may do well because it doesn’t make you think and focus on something, but make no bones about it, Frequency is just as much of a cop/secret agent/lawyer procedural as MacGuyver or any of these other a-case-a-week shows out there, but similar to How to Get Away With Murder or The Blacklist (not to compare this show to those), there is an overarching case that needs to be solved and it is quite interesting. With the time aspect, there’s a lot of places this show can go and nothing is off the table concerning any of the main characters’ lives... or deaths. Frequency airs at 9pm EST Wednesdays on the CW, just after Arrow.

What do you think? Have you seen Frequency? If not, do you think you’ll tune in now? If so, what is your favorite part of the show? How do you think the Nightingale killer is related to Frank? And do you think Raimy will ever get her mother back and her father, or will she always have to lose one? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “Like, OK, so let me explain this again. Goldmember took the time machine to go back in time to the 70s to try to kill both you and Austin Pow—”
‘Zip it!’
“But I was tryin’ to explain that—”
‘Uh, zip it!’
“I was just—”
“I was—”
“God! Even I can’t believe he’s run out of better time travel references and has resorted to using a Mike Myers movie reference.”

P.S. In honor of Halloween, I wanted to remind everybody that Mike Myers is always the scariest costume you can wear. Classic and Canadian—could there be anything scarier. I’ll think of a better sign-off next time.  
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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

No Stress, No Debt, No Problem #NoTomorrow #CW #3weekroundup

No Stress, No Debt, No Problem #NoTomorrow #CW #3weekroundup

All pictures courtesy of the CW

We’re finally nearing the end of the new-show onslaught and I couldn’t be happier because I have really been wanting to get some other work done and haven’t been able to because I have to watch so many hour-long shows and then watch three episodes and then take the time to review them, not to mention do other work. It’s been crazy. But with a few CW shows left, one on ABC and one on USA, I should be looking good to finish this up by next Friday, fingers crossed. Up for review today we have CW’s new hour-long romantic comedy No Tomorrow. Will this currently low-rated show make you wish you had one more day with it or will it be forgotten by manana? Read on for my review/recap of the first three episodes and to see if I can come up with anything actually resembling wit or good writing. Spoiler Alert: probably not!

No Tomorrow (#NoTomorrow) follows Evie, a young 30-year-old quality control assessor that works at an internet company similar to Amazon. Played by the four-years-younger (don’t know why they didn’t cast an actual 30-year-old but OK, I guess) Tori Anderson, we meet our protagonist at work as she tries to give an uplifting speech about getting things properly done in the warehouse space where she works. The space is very open-plan, rather annoying to me—just felt I needed to point that out—as she has a cubicle but nothing separates the cubicles from the rest of the warehouse. It’s basically like working in the middle of a Sam’s Club or Costco. I digress. Evie is not someone who is overly confident, doesn’t exude leadership (though she wants to have a leadership position) and is overly buttoned-up and cautious while maintaining the big happy-go-lucky grin of a rich, Prozac-addled teenage girl with not a care in the world. Not that she loves her job, she also doesn’t hate it and has found plenty of bright sides to it. I find this character trait rather important because it partially explains her reactions later in the series. While everything seems to be going OK for her (she lives alone in a house in what looks like California somewhere and I’m thinking, “Dang! How much money does she make?”), she has an underlying feeling that something is missing: excitement.
And then she half-meets a new guy.

I say that she half-meets a new guy because they don’t quite talk enough to have a conversation or really do anything other than for her to go googly-eyed at him and his handsomeness. The guy in question is Xavier (pronounced similar to Savior rather than having the hard X). Xavier is a very... unique individual. Played by Joshua Sasse most recently of the defunct ABC musical comedy Galavant, he wears a constant Prince Charming smile while exuding the spirit of a new-age hippy. How does Evie come across this human-skinned unicorn, you ask? By chance—not the rapper, but the actual, you know concept... or maybe fate.

A few weeks prior to the show’s starting point, Evie was shopping at a local farmer’s market with her sister and asked a very hipster question about rutabagas. Xavier saw her from across the way, thought, “Hey, I’d like to sleep with her” and “Dat Ass!” and approached. He made a funny comment, she freaked out at his enchanting eyes and fled from the situation only to realize that she had fallen head-over-heels in lust with him. She laments about it to her coworkers (we’ll get to those characters shortly) and not but a day later she comes home to a package left on her doorstep. Whose errantly-delivered package of sour beer (is that a thing?) could it be but Xavier’s. Where once she thought she would never see him again, she now knows his first and last name, where he lives, and that he just got a very heavy package of some mystery item. When she goes to deliver it, that is when her life changes forever.

Xavier is the antithesis of Evie, not in everything but in a few key ways. He is carefree, doesn’t have a job, lives a life that is only semi-organized (I’m guessing Evie isn’t OCD—yes, I know that’s not technically an adjective—about things because they don’t harp on her love of organizing, so...), and seems to get everything he desires without second thought of the consequences. He, unlike her, knows how to let loose; in fact, he lives his life all loose, no tightness. There’s a joke in there about a Texas brothel, but you can fish it out yourself. When she asks him how he does this, is able to live this kind of life, supports himself while living in his own house and buying specialty junk for himself, he tells her one big not-so-secret secret: he’s figured out that the world is going to end in eight months and twelve days when an asteroid that is currently (supposedly) not on a direct line toward earth will impact earth, decimating all life as we know it. And being the comedy it is, red flashing lights go off over Evie’s head to alert her to her new friend’s insanity. Yeah, the guy is whacked... or is he?

I would like to note here that the CW previously had My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airing on the start of Monday night, but have since moved it to Friday. I say that to say that in this case, the crazy ex-girlfriend in that show truly does have problems that shouldn’t be ignored; here, Xavier is not actually crazy but has a logical explanation for everything. To add, even if the asteroid doesn’t come, he’s still not crazy, just wrong. Before quitting his job, he worked as a copyeditor for a science magazine. While at work and messing around he read an article that appealed to his love for astrology, where he discovered that the asteroid the government said was going to miss all of the earth will, based upon his own tested and re-tested calculations, make an extinction-level impact—we’re talkin’ the one that killed all the dinosaurs. He came to this theory based on NASA’s miscalculation of the effects of global warming and geothermal expansion on earth greatly influencing the space around it. And to this explanation, Evie reacts as she should (thinks he’s crazy) before acting as she shouldn’t: she stays at his house until night so he can show her the asteroid shining brightest in the sky.

Xavier and Evie. "He's crazy but soooo cute!" ~ Evie

And then he drops his life philosophy for the last 8 months on her. He says that they must live their life as they want because they soon won’t be there. He’s made an Apoca-list of everything he wants to do before it all goes kablooey! Strangely, he shows her a notebook filled with the things he wants to do, she reads through the many women he wants to bed before the earth goes, finds her name on the list (he didn’t say he wanted to sleep with her just “find the cute rutabaga girl”), and finds this endearing and kind of cute rather than creepy and in-your-front-bushes stalkerish. Rather than letting this all go and leaving him to be weird to himself, she considers just how hot he is and has to convene with her coworkers about this craziness.

Hank with Evie
Her main coworkers consist of a group of three she regularly interacts with. Hank (played by Johnathon Langdon) is a known conspiracy nut, too, so she has to go to him first. Lovable black huggy bear with a medium-top fade, he is her straight male road-dog and looks to be her closest friend outside of her family. One of the better comedy elements of the show, his convincing-hinging-on-over-the-top delivery, and jovial nature keep the sunshine going as both Evie and Xavier are all smiles all the time. It’s like everybody’s on lollipop-flavored PCP and just lovin’ life and livin’ it without a care in the world. He laughs at Xavier’s assertion that the world will end with the strike of an asteroid... because he knows that it will end by the hand of the Russians starting a nuclear holocaust. He’s got a calendar where he’s marked it and has info from the government where supposedly a secret bunker is going to store all the important people the day before the nuclear war kills or mutilates everyone turning them into Whitewalkers or something (made that last part up).

Evie and Hank are joined at work by their friend Kareema (played by Sarayu Blue) who finally brings some sarcastic devil-may-care, Creed Bratton from The Office kind of feel to the show. She does things for the fun of it, too, but most of the things she does are twisted and prank-like against other people. She is here for the drama, and the drama is here for her.

Evie's Boss Deirdre
Finally, we have their boss and top manager of the warehouse place Deirdre played by TV vet Amy Pietz. Uptight, low-stated, fear-inducing boss-lady, she secretly has a huge crush on Hank and all of his “manliness” that arouses her immensely at work. Of course, the group doesn’t know this and thinks that she is as cold as Elsa from Frozen, or as robotic as six (or was it seven) of nine from Deep Space Nine. While Evie doesn’t like her, she also doesn’t hate her that much. She’s her boss and that’s that.

Evie turns also to her family for advice on Xavier. And then I, like a self-respecting, decent American, yelled at my screen, “Noooooooooooooooooo!” because I saw veteran actor and known show-killer Ted McGinley playing her father. Joined by mother, who literally has the name Evie’s mother on IMDb, the character is played by Gigi Rice who looks like an older, smilely-er Topanga from Boy Meets World. That wasn’t really a decent sentence, but you know you understood it. Finally, there is her older sister Mary Ann played by Kelly Stables. Mary Anne, I assume, has a guy (she talks like she’s married, but we have yet to see him if she is) and a young black baby. They don’t pay much attention to her thing about the new guy at first as they are distracted by the outside park party for Mary Anne’s eldest son. And then Evie’s ex- or on-a-Friends-style-break-boyfriend shows up.

Soft-talker Timothy (Jesse Rath) comes to talk about how he doesn’t want to be on break anymore and mumbles his way through a proposal... of marriage. Interesting timing. She doesn’t say yes, but doesn’t say no either, and asks for time to think about it. See, he, Evie and Hank used to be the three amigos hanging out and Hank never felt like a third wheel as they did their couples thing. Now that she wants time, Hank misses them hanging out, so he has to be the bro-shoulder to cry on for Timothy.

Soft-talker Timothy

Meanwhile, as Hank and Timothy are hanging with each other, Evie has another encounter with Xavier after he comes to her place this time. They discard the apocalyptic talk in favor of him talking about his list. He invites her to help him do something off the list and finds out that his cousin, with whom he wants to hang, is in jail. So, instead, they do a wild, dangerous, ride on dune buggies through the desert—something Evie would never have done on her own. And because it’s so thrilling, they immediately go back to his place and have hot, rip-ya-clothes-off movie sex. Hey, how could she give proper thought to whether she wants to marry Timothy without first sleeping with another man who she originally and still does think is crazy? It only makes sense.

Like Tamar Braxton once said, he must have a dingaling of gold, because Evie totally forgets about the one mouse that hopped off the jogging wheel when it thought it saw another mouse (it’s afraid of mice) situation that Xavier’s got goin’ on in his brain. Xavier then asks Evie what is something she’s always wanted to do in a make-your-own-list kind of way. Before leaving to go to work (she stayed the night, gasp!), she tells him that she always wanted to bake a potato wrapped in foil in a microwave. Radical stuff here, people. Think bigger. “Try a pogo-stick.” He doesn’t get a proper answer until he tells her to not think about it and she spits out sing in public. Her mom and sister mentioned how she has a beautiful voice but she’s too afraid to sing in public after miserable experiences with the stage before—she vomited during a grade-school play. Xavier sets out to see her conquer this fear and do it, while she rushes off to work.

A little while later, she and Xavier meet up at a bar of his choosing where he essentially rigs it so that she wins the “opportunity” to rock the mic with her voice on a well-worn 80s rock tune. But she’s still nervous, so Xavier begins ripping off his own clothes and getting naked in the bar to embarrass himself to take some of the shame off of her, which makes the situation all the better. Coming off of the stage, she is relieved that she did something wonderful and amazing, but when Hank storms into the bar to tell her how he had to spend the last hour cleaning out her desk, she is stunned to learn that her new guy went behind her back to send an email to her boss Deirdre using her own email account, telling the woman how much she absolutely despised her and how she wanted to quit. There goes the watch reminder that he’s crazy. Xavier gets a big no-no slap on the wrist for that and sends Evie into a tailspin as she tries to figure out how she is going to get her job back.

A little too forward with his determination to get not only her but everyone to switch-up how they live their life before the world ends, Xavier realizes that he’s made a mistake and sends Evie a gift, a pogo-stick. Then, like the creep he is, he spies on her from afar as she tries it out after having initially thrown it away. She quickly falls and busts her head open, winding her up in the hospital. As it turns out, she has a very rare but very serious and potentially life-threatening bodily malfunction in her heart that makes it beat too fast, and that wouldn’t have been caught had she not fallen and busted her butt. Luckily, the doctor’s get to it in time because if it was allowed to go on without treatment it might have killed her, but she has to change some things about her life or it could come back. And here the producers have an out... or an in to more series. More on that later.

Continuing on, while Evie realizes life’s brevity, she does still have serious doubts about Xavier and goes to get her job back. She proves to Deirdre that the email speaking ill of her came from a different IP address than her own computer and that she was essentially hacked. Her boss believes her but enslaves her into a secondary work mission. With Deirdre’s love-lust for big little-man Hank ever growing, she feels that she must have him without barriers. Sadly, because she is his boss and they work together closely (not close enough), there are guidelines by which she has to operate in order to keep her job. She can’t simply say how she feels to him, so she enlists (blackmails) Evie into reading the entirety of the employee company handbook on inter-company fraternizing, and help her plan displays of affection toward him.

Her job back and secure, Evie realizes that even though Xavier was very misguided, his attempt to apologize saved her life and before that minor blip of making her falsely quit her job, he had changed her life for the better. So, she goes back to him with her own budding list of things she wants to do. She reads him on how inappropriate it was for him to do what he did and tells him that she will go at her own pace and take this life-might-end scenario one day at a time as it is her life, but she would still like him to be a part of it and for her to be a part of his. Her plan? She hopes to help him complete his list one activity at a time, switching back and forth between the two lists as he completes one of his tasks and then he helps to complete one of hers. And the first thing she’s got to do? Bake that foil-wrapped potato in his microwave. And boy do the sparks fly from there. Get it? Because it’s a romantic comedy and while the potato sent out sparks and blew up the microwave, there are sparks between Evie and Xavier because they’re falling in love. Right? Right? Boy, you are not gettin’ my best today.

The episode ends when, surprise! that tiny throwaway line about Xavier’s cousin being in jail proves no longer true because the guy just broke out of jail and goes to his cousin’s house where Xavier welcomes him with open arms much to the shock of Evie.

Episode two picks up where we left off with Xavier now helping to saw off his cousin Jesse’s handcuffs in the kitchen while Evie watches with mouth-gaping curiosity and trepidation. Apparently, there was a plan between the two cousins that finally worked; in other words, Xavier not only knew his brother was going to break out of jail, he helped him do it. A moral crisis, even though Jesse only embezzled money from some corrupt businessmen that he worked for, Evie still sees him as an escaped felon who she knows is living in her new non-boyfriend boyfriend’s house (they’ve put no label on what they’re doing but if it looks like a relationship, acts like a relationship and makes both parties involved change like a relationship, then it’s a relationship). Her mind stuck on the criminality of harboring, aiding and abetting a fugitive, and how both Jesse and Xavier could end up in jail, as well as herself for being around them, she struggles not to call the police and turn rat. Back to her friends and family for advice.

Evie tells Hank and Kareema about this, posing Jesse as an illegal California pet instead of an escaped convict. Kareema thinks it is fun, while Hank suspects things aren’t going as well with Xavier as Evie’s ex Timothy thinks, which means there’s a chance for Tim to get her back. When Evie goes to her parents and sister for advice, she learns that her dad is freaking out once again as his store’s (he doesn’t own it, but just works there. You get it) fiscal year is coming to an end and his sales rival is poised to win salesman of the year for the bagillionth time in a row, even though it’s really close. An appliance store, Evie buys Xavier a new microwave after Jesse tries to heat something up and Xavier is reminded that his microwave blew up. Her family too busy to entertain her what-if scenarios, she tries letting it go that Jesse is this escaped criminal. They give him a raggedy wig and a moderate Bin Laden-shave to disguise him and hope for the best.

Evie, Jesse, Xavier, Cop
After Xavier and Jesse go to a storage locker where Xavier has been keeping all of his cousin’s stuff since he went to jail, they found not only some of the money that Jesse stole (he was like a broker, stealing from the corrupt rich and giving most of it to the poor workers that these corrupt rich stole from in the first place) but their time capsule made as little kids and never buried. In it, Xavier finds a recording from his mom who tells him to call her more often and just how proud she is of her son. Evie asks him about his mom but sees it is a hard subject for him and doesn’t get an answer until they complete another one of Xavier’s to-do list things: jump off a famous cliff in the area and down into the waters below. While in the midst of doing something else, they happen upon the cliff and all three of them do it together, another thing that has Evie awe-inspired by what life can really be. But upon returning to the car, Jesse foolishly litters by tossing an empty pop (or soda) can over his shoulder, expecting it to hit the ground. Instead, it hits a cop car. Evie sweats the most when the cop comes to talk to them and asks for everyone’s ID. She keeps side-eyeing Xavier in the driver’s seat as Jesse hands over his newly pressed fake ID. Everybody’s butt cheeks tighten when the cop asks Jesse to get out of the car. All that dissipates when all the cop wants is for Jesse to pick the can off his car and properly dispose of it—thank God they weren’t black, right? Right? Might have been the end of the show. Oh God, this racial insensitivity is killin’ me.

Anyway, the experience makes Xavier realize how dangerous it is for Evie to be around his cousin, and since he wants to keep her in his life and doesn’t want to ruin her life nor his own, he decides that the best idea is to send his cousin away to a country with no extradition. Always the objector, Evie is originally against this, too, as he plans to sneak Jesse through a busy airport with a fake ID and passport and a terrible disguise. Then, she thinks of a great idea to ship him in one of her company’s shipping trucks that would get him either to Canada or Mexico packed inside of a large box, which is cool because he’s been a prisoner for so long that he’s used to small, cramped spaces. The day is saved.

Jump! Jump! 

There’s also some work stuff that goes on where she is terrified to interview in front of an oversight committee there to figure out who to layoff; Deirdre tries to bond more with Hank by eating with him, Evie, and Kareema; Evie nails her thing before the committee; and Deirdre gives Hank an ergonomic chair that leans back at work. My favorite scene of the episode: Hank leans back in it, smashing his fro into Deirdre’s privates by accident and then rubbing his head back and forth without noticing at all what he was doing. It sent them both into bliss as Deirdre winked at Evie who was too grossed out by the display. Also, Hank gives Timothy a hipster makeover to impress Evie but it doesn’t work to get her back, and Xavier finally reveals that his mother died when he was in college but one of her biggest things was jumping off that same cliff that they did earlier. And finally, Xavier went into Evie’s dad’s work and bought, near a dozen washer and dryers to send him over the top to salesman of the year for the first time ever. A heartfelt gesture, Evie goes back to him and they have a backyard foam party.

Episode three returns to Xavier’s pursuit of telling the world the truth about their impending doom. As Evie’s 31st birthday is coming up (again, both actors playing Xavier and Evie are about four years younger than their characters), she struggles to reveal to others outside of Hank just how crazy he is. He’s just a guy who knows that time is fleeting and life is short. But when she goes to a scientific lecture/book-signing by a prominent scientist because Xavier wants to go, she is confronted with just how out-of-it he really is when he tries to run to the woman with his research in hand, begging her to read it. They tase him, leaving her embarrassed to no end. So, she asks Hank to do a dark/deep web dive on Xavier to find out everything about him while she writes a pros/cons list about him—seriously, after the felon-cousin thing, the guy must have a dingaling of gold dipped in diamonds like some super-fancy Babe Ruth candy bar. When Hank can come back with absolutely nothing on Xavier he has to meet the man face to face (side note: they had already unofficially met in the singing bar in the first episode). He leaves that meeting thinking Xavier is in the CIA.

Who Is The Craziest? Hmmm?

Things get embarrassing when Xavier shows up to Evie’s surprise birthday party. At first he is cool, enlightening everyone with his philosophy that you must say and do what you want now before it is too late, but when he takes everyone back to his place to celebrate all of Evie’s birthdays from now until 100, and have a food fight with the 70 or so cakes he had specially made for the occasion, he lets out that the world will end and everybody’s like whaaaaaa? She tells him he can’t run around saying that to people and he tells her that this is him and she needs to be able to deal with that. So, she comes up with the plan that she is going to try helping him prove this theory by getting that same lecturer/scientist/writer to review his work. She gets the woman cornered before Xavier comes in and they show the woman the research. Xavier finally feels good about it. But when Evie sees the woman throw X’s research away, she decides to back his belief by printing out fliers about it and helping him throw them off a building for all the world to read. He doesn’t have to necessarily be right, and she doesn’t have to believe he’s right, so long as she respects that he believes that.

Meanwhile, at work, she deals with some quality control issues that see people getting the wrong shipment. She is supposed to fire the person doing it but when she finds out it is Kareema doing it to mess with people and have fun, she blames it on another guy in packing who has already decided to leave and move across country to be with his second secret family he confessed to having for no reason. Hank and Kareema end up briefly hanging out with their boss when they run into Deirdre at a bar. She tries to confess her undying love for Hank but he flees when she whispers sexily into his ear. He half-confesses to Evie and squirms out the fact that he may have a crush or something on Deirdre but no one can learn of this. And all of the people Xavier talked to at the party find his personality to be a revelation and know that they should listen to him about taking advantage of life. So, her dad quits the salesman gig to become an actor—how very Ted McGinley of you, Ted McGinley. And all is right in the world... save for the asteroid coming to destroy it, but that really isn’t “in” the world yet, so...

What’s my grade? I give it a solid B. I actually enjoy this show, and I think I like it better than I did My Crazy Ex last season. Granted, I was a little bias against My Crazy Ex because of my own book Yep, I’m Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend, but I also think that the attempt at subversive humor there was undermined, in some cases, by the casting and the choice to make it a musical all the way through. This show is bright and sunny and cheerful from beat to beat. With so much of what is on TV (especially what I watch) dark and gritty and with humor that is twisted and visceral, this is a nice change of pace. Granted, I watched this out of its normal time on Tuesdays, but I still think that it not only fits well with the young CW brand, it also goes well with other female-led comedies of the day. The mystery of whether Xavier is right or not is just captivating enough to keep you wondering throughout the season and, depending on how the show-runners do it, could be shown either straight through in one season or have each season be a month in the characters’ lives. While I still think that the casting of slightly younger people is a little ageist, I can forgive it as Evie seems cast perfectly as the perky but orderly 31-year-old, and she is very nice to look at. I welcome Joshua Sasse back on my TV and I enjoy most of the cast, even Ted McGinley. Again, however, as has been the theme this season with certain characters, I don’t see much need for the character of Kareema on the show, other than to employee another woman and minority, which is fine by me. The actress is good and doesn’t detract from the story, but she doesn’t add anything either like the rest of the characters do. Cut her and the show literally doesn’t change at all, and saves a full minute more for ad time.

Pretty much all of the comedy is situational as most comedy writers these days have moved away from actually telling jokes and writing them into scripts, but that is OK. Evie acts accordingly in many areas but completely counter to her nature in others, which may piss some people off who can’t or won’t immediately see that as character growth and expansion. And, I think there’s even an out for the producers if it turns out that Xavier is incorrect about the asteroid: Evie’s newly discovered heart disease. With the name of the show so vague, No Tomorrow could also apply to Evie when, at the end of the season, she realizes that she maybe only has a certain amount of years to live and must do just as Xavier has taught her to do, live her life with reckless abandon, for tomorrow it could end. While this idea can work, I think the bolder idea would be to actually have the asteroid hit and then play it from there as a sunny upbeat apocalyptic comedy like a better version of Last Man on Earth (not to knock that show or its fans).

One of the problems that I see is that it might be too quirky and 90s/aughts rom-com-y for some as each episode will have a similar arc: guy and girl do cool stuff together, guy does something stupid to tick girl off, girl runs to tell her friends/family, girl and guy have a heartfelt conversation about it, guy or girl apologize for offending each other, and finally they make up and make out. There is where Crazy Ex and my book, to a lesser extent, has it on originality. But outside of that, I like it. It’s not phenomenal, but it’s very enjoyable.
Should you be watching? Yes. If pretty much all you’re doing is watching and/or reading dark, twisted stuff like The Walking Dead or Game of Thrones or all the crime shows, and you want something upbeat and cheery for a change, this show might be for you. Remember, however, that this is on the CW so it is geared toward a younger audience and is very in-line, I’d say, with the tone of Supergirl, minus the feminism (I say that not to denigrate the shows that show feminism, but just to say that it’s not trying to prove a point like Crazy Ex is. It’s just trying to entertain). This show is like bubblegum, kinda warm and fuzzy, and might supply a few good chuckles through the holiday season. No Tomorrow currently airs on the CW Tuesdays at 9pm after The Flash.

What do you think? Have you seen No Tomorrow? If not, do you think you’ll tune in to see it now? If you have seen it, what has been your favorite part? Do you think Xavier is right? Do you think that the show could take a religious turn and have “Xavier” supposed to actually be the Savior come back to earth, because that was my first theory, especially considering how you pronounce his name? And will Deirdre wrangle her some Hank or will he continue to resist in his glorious obliviousness? Let me know in the comments below (hint: click the no comments button if you see no comments).

Check out my 5-star comedy novel, Yep, I'm Totally Stalking My Ex-Boyfriend. #AhStalking
If you’re looking for a scare, check the YA novel #AFuriousWind, the NA novel #DARKER#BrandNewHome or  the bizarre horror #ThePowerOfTen. For those interested in something a little more dramatic and adult, check out #TheWriter. Both season 1 and season 2 are out NOW, exclusively on Amazon. Stay connected here for updates on season 3 coming summer 2017. If you like fast action/crime check out #ADangerousLow. The sequel A New Low will be out in a few months. Look for the mysterious Sci-fi episodic novella series Extraordinary to premiere sometime this winter on Amazon and my blog. Join us on Goodreads to talk about books and TV, and subscribe to and follow my blog with that Google+ button to the right.

Until next time, “Dude, the apocalypse is happening outside right now! The world’s coming to an end.”
‘OK, so what I’m hearin’ is that the apocalypse is happening outside and the world is about to end but you still thought it was a good idea for yo silly butt to come and interrupt me while I’m watchin’ my stories? I’mma see the last of my soaps, damn it! And you betta not interrupt me again!’

P.S. Listen, I’m not gonna knock anybody who wants to achieve something amazing with their life before the world comes to its climactic end. All I’m sayin’ is that some of us have Hulu and Netflix accounts that need our bingeing attention. Better not one single zombie come and bother me while I’m re-watching every season of Desperate Housewives. That was a terrible sign-off but it needed to be said. I’ll think of something better next time.

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