The Trials Over Sofia the First

The Dreaded PrincessMy wife and I had this all so perfectly worked out.

Our kids were allowed to watch a show in the morning (while we are making lunches for school or breakfasts) and they were stuck watching what we have classified as “morning shows.” I, at one time, had a list; yes, I made it even with cute pictures.

Technically, these are shows that are friendly, not overly exciting, and emphasize some kind of a lesson (numbers, reading, nature, etc.). Usually we draw from two stations, PBS and the Disney Channel. And each have their greats—for example, Wild Kratts (which I wrote about here) and The Mickey Mouse Clubhouse—and then okay shows (Martha Speaks, the soundtrack on this show drives me crazy and not in a good way).

I have always found that these kind of shows in the morning help get everyone warmed up for the day, the mind working. A nice little nudge towards more lessons later.

A great little parenting plan, right? And it might have even lasted well for a few more years, if it wasn’t for the doings of a certain princess.

For those that don’t know the Disney show Sofia the First, it follows the misadventures of a new Disney princess. We made the mistake of opening the door to this show as a coveted morning show because it is from the Disney Channel, but in one swoop it has left our morning show plan in rubbles. No, Sofia the First is not a morning show. There are really no lessons on the show… unless you are a princess and you are lucky enough to have the world revolve around you.

Who needs the alphabet when you are a princess? 

For someone with an adoration of Disneyland and a lot of Disney films, it isn’t easy for me to say this but, yes, I have a beef with Sofia the First. Continue reading

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My Thoughts on Season Four of HBO’s Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones, Season 4This post contains A LOT of spoilers for those who have not read the book… or watched the show… or listened to a podcast… or went on the internet… or opened a magazine… or merely breathed entertainment over the last three years. 

I had serious misgivings around watching season four of Game of Thrones. (I even wrote about it last year in this post.) See, for me it all came down to the Red Wedding. When I read the book, I was furious. Robb Stark was always my favorite character in the book. Part of it is because we only saw him through other characters and he would have these moments of weakness, showing the boy behind the sword.

Then the Red Wedding happened and it didn’t matter what I thought.

Jump forward a few years and we get the Red Wedding on the show, a show where they always like to take the brutality of George R.R. Martin and times it by ten. How did they do it on the show? Why kill a pregnant woman first… by stabbing her in her belly.

Damn HBO.

Anyway, I was offered free HBO for three months and decided to jump in. Honestly, the main driving force for me in watching this season (or merely starting it) is I wanted to see King Joffrey get axed.

Supposedly, the actor who plays Joffrey is really nice and is actually retiring from acting to work in nonprofits. Anyway, I still wanted to see the character die, it wasn’t personal at him. If anything he should be rewarded for making me hate him so much.

The thing that was the most shocking about this season for me—more than the deaths and abundant nudity and other stuff I will get into below— was the fact the writing was soooo much better. Continue reading

The Summer of the Doctor: Introducing My Wife to Doctor Who (Series 1 & 2)

TARDISLet me begin by saying my wife is rightfully a little annoyed with me. I almost ruined a family tradition.

She is a teacher, and during her summer break we like to have themes for our TV watching. For example, last summer was the WA summer (which meant we watched nothing but Wes Anderson and Woody Allen films); the summer before that was Agatha Christie (David Suchet is a genius!); and before that- Charles Dickens.

For this summer it was to be the summer of the Doctor. Yes, Doctor Who, and I am talking just about the new series run of Doctor Who, starting with the 9th Doctor.

For years, we have had friends recommending we take on the series. And we even had tried before, watching random episodes to see what we think (we both had nightmares because of “Blink”), but it was not something we had taken serious… until this scheduled summer. Summer 2013- the summer of the Doctor.

Yes, that was the plan- starting with episode 1 and taking on each and every one of them together… Well… Until I very selfishly ruined it. Continue reading

Dreaming for a Holodeck. Thoughts on Star Trek: The Next Generation

Our EnterpriseStar Trek: The Next Generation has become comfort food for my soul.

While I always enjoyed the original cast, and even dig the new film series by J.J. Abrams, there was something about the Enterprise D that called to me. I wanted to join that crew. Visit Ten Forward, go on that holodeck. It was the Enterprise I dreamed of.

The show was originally on when I was a kid in high school and I used to collect the episodes on old VHS tapes, stocking them on my bookshelf, as if they were precious treasures; not realizing then that in a few years, videotapes would be nothing more than junk, a lost piece of technology.

Of course, now that is all twenty years ago. The show is off the air for the most part and the cast has moved on as best as they can. Even the universe The Next Generation seemed to fit so snuggly at the top of (being the show that all of the later shows owed some of their success and beginning to) has moved on.

And yet, for me, while the rest of the world is chasing after Captain Kirk again, I am rewatching the show on Netflix. It is more than a homecoming in a way, it is a return to a different time, a different way to look at life. A different me, one that was much younger and dreamed of owning his own holodeck and wanted nothing more than to be assigned to an away mission… no matter how dangerous.

Continue reading

My Woody Allen Summer: Recommending Summer Theme Watching

I’m in the midst of a Woody Allen summer.

Actually, it started as a W.A. summer, which meant my wife and I were able to re-watch all the Wes Anderson films we wanted, but since we were not able to get out for Moonrise Kingdom (finding a babysitter for two little ones like ours is always difficult) and I didn’t particularly want to see Bottle Rocket again, we are onto Woody Allen.

While others complain about the amount of reality shows and reruns on each summer, my wife and I have tapped into “summer theme watching” as an opportunity to explore the things we did not have time for during the rest of the year, our TV-watching bucket list if you will.

This W.A./Woody Allen summer is the third theme summer we have had, as corny as the premise of this all sounds—Does it make us sound like one of those overly cute couples that do everything together? We might be guilty of that in some ways.—the fact is it has been really great for us. Continue reading