A major change in review policy

A while back, I stated that it was no longer my goal to review every new primetime network fiction show… although I’ve kept pretty close to that at times. Now, I’m going to switch my policy more radically:

No more bad reviews.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to start giving bad shows good reviews. And if I see a bad show and see something insightful to say, I shall. But for a number of reasons, this blog won’t be the home for such depression and snark in the future. I do hope to keep recommending good shows, as they appear.

Published in: on September 26, 2012 at 12:33 am  Leave a Comment  

The questionable joy of home refinancing

We went through the process of refinancing our mortgage this year, bringing our already low rate down by more than 1%. In the long term, this will save us much money over the next 30 years. The process was relatively painless, and it all got done in relatively short order. Sometime in July, our new mortgage company – we’ll call them “Mort” – called the deal done, and we’d owe them the first payment of $X on September 1st.

Only they let us know that it may not be them we’d owe; they specialized in setting up mortgages and selling them off to other institutions. So it came as no surprise in mid-August when we got a letter form a bank – we’ll call them Ba – whom I’ve dealt with for decades. They let us know they’d bought the mortgage. And they billed us for our September 1st payment… but they billed us for $X+Y.

So we call them, an they look at the figures, and seem to realize they’ve miscalculated our mortgage insurance cost.. they said it would take a few days to straighten out, but they arranged to take a payment over the phone for $x, and all would be good for now, as they figure things out.

Of course, two weeks later, we get a dunning phone call from Ba – why haven’t we paid the $Y yet? Apparently, they had figured out that they’d misbilled our mortgage insurance, but hadn’t actually, y’know, changed the numbers in their database… they think. They’re still trying to figure it out. So that’s where we sit… with Ba.

But that’s not all! For tonight, we got another dunning call… from Mort! They clearly wanted to know why we haven’t paid them $X yet. “Ummm… because you sold the mortgage to Ba.” “No, we didn’t.” Not trusting anyone who called me, I called them, and they said “we don’t think we sold your mortgage… but the right person isn’t here tonight, here, leave a message on their answering machine.”

So that’s where we stand. So far, we’ve paid every cent we owed, and between two companies we are somehow perceived as being even more than that behind on payments on mortgages that total close to twice the value of our house.

So fun!

Published in: on September 19, 2012 at 4:13 am  Leave a Comment  

Goon… oh, wait, I think there’s a space in there

The new Matthew Perry series Go On aired right after The New Normal, and it showed some key factor that makes a real difference in a sitcom, because even though it was rarely actually funny, I didn’t hate watching it. It had characters that even though they were down, I didn’t hate spending time with, because they had some charm rather than merely being obnoxious. I could watch it because there were characters with abnormalities on the surface but had some real humanity beneath, rather than the other way ’round. It made me feel that even though the series has a downbeat theme, if I spent more time with the characters I’d want to spend even more with them, rather than run screaming.

This is at base a “therapy group” series, which puts it in a tradition with Dear John and, ummm, I guess Anger Management. Okay, perhaps that’s not so long a tradition. Perry’s character is a sportscaster recovering from the loss of his wife. He’s acting like a man on the edge (and looking, for some reason, like a man who stood up in a Popemobile that was running at high speed and missing its windshield.) He’s thrown into a group for those suffering from loss, some big and some small, and immediately with the force of his personality shows that he can have an impact on the group… and, with a little more digging, shows that the group may be needed to have an impact on him, no matter how much he resists.

Perry does a good job playing a man with inner stress… which, let’s face it, is what he played on Friends and Mr. Sunshine as well. The supporting casts has some faces I like, such as John Cho (Harold of and Kumar fame) and Tyler James Williams (the Chris whom Everybody Hates). There are some characters who are supposed to be a mite annoying, somewhat nasty or loserlike in their dealing with loss, and I hope the writers keep the balance from leaning too much toward them.

And in twenty minutes, I get to watch another episode, because last night’s premiere was not the premiere, it was a “preview”, with a blantantly first episode that will not be rerun tonight for the premiere.

Published in: on September 12, 2012 at 3:41 am  Leave a Comment  

The New Abysmal

The New Normal is a series about a gay couple having a baby. One character is an officially announced bigot; everyone else seems worth being bigoted against. The basic problem with this sitcom is not the situation… it’s that its not funny, not for a moment. And it’s not even the sort of not-funny that seems to grab an audience at times. This spares me from having to write a longer review that justifies my distaste; I’m confident that this one will soon be gone.

I’m so glad that we have good, successful shows with gay characters on now, so that we can afford to let the crap die without people saying “look, no one will watch homosexuals on network.”

Published in: on September 11, 2012 at 5:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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