TV Siblings

National-Siblings-Day

Yesterday was National Siblings Day, one of those made up holidays that suddenly appeared a few years ago. If you are on social media, your feed was probably filled with people sharing throwback photos of them with their siblings when they were little. I am guilty of this myself, probably to my brother’s chagrin. While it’s a silly “holiday,” it’s still nice to see so many people paying a little tribute to their brothers and sisters. My brother and I really didn’t start to get along until I went away to college, but I’m proud of the relationship that we’ve built as adults and a day like Siblings Day gives me a chance to share that. Plus there is the inherent possibility of embarrassing him, which is also a plus. We may be good now, but some of that sibling rivalry never goes away.

Because of how my brain is programmed, thinking about National Siblings Day got me thinking about my favorite television siblings. It was kind of surprising how many shows feature siblings, whether they are main characters or one of the siblings is recurring or a guest star. I guess there is a lot of material to be mined from the relationship that people have with their brothers and sisters; they are often the people that know you the best, but there is also often an undercurrent of competition or resentment as well. For siblings that are not part of the main ensemble, their appearance allows the show to explore a side of a character that they don’t normally get to showcase (and, because of the temporary nature of the guest star, that they are not obligated to commit to). I guess since the majority of the population has siblings – other than those lucky bastards that are only children – people identify on some level with these storylines. It may not reflect your sibling relationship perfectly, but just the inherent dynamics of a sibling relationship are something that many of us can easily identify with on some level.

Upon this reflection, here are some of the television siblings that I find the most enjoyable.

Dennis and Deandra Reynolds – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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I don’t want to spend a lot of time analyzing why these siblings were the first that popped into my head when considering this topic; I really don’t think it will speak well for how my brain works. Dennis and Dee are terrible people – Dennis is clearly a sociopath and Sweet Dee is pretty delusional – and they really don’t have that great of a relationship on the surface. Dennis often torments Dee as much or more than the rest of the gang. But because they are both so terrible – a definite side effect of being raised by Frank – when they team up together it is often something to behold. Some of my favorite episodes (Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games or Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare) feature the Reynolds twins working together. Once in a blue moon, there is even some semblance of sibling affection between the two, though it usually doesn’t last long. This exchange from The Gang Goes to Hell (Part Two) pretty much sums it up:

Dennis: “I love you sis.”

Dee: “Whatever.”

 

Monica and Ross Geller – Friends

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Unlike the Reynolds siblings, the Gellars actually seem to enjoy each other’s company. They even have a choreographed dance routine that they used to perform. Ross and Monica being siblings serves an important purpose on the show as it explains why they keep Ross around, since he is pretty much the worst (a fact that I didn’t pick up on when I first watched the show, but that has become abundantly clear in watching it in re-runs). There is also the funny runner of the very different relationships that they have with their parents; while Ross is the golden child that can do no wrong, pretty much everything that Monica does is subject to criticism or mocking. That dynamic resonates with a lot of siblings (I may or may not refer to my brother as “The Chosen One.”) Monica and Ross are a nice example of television siblings that are also really friends.

 

Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia – Parenthood

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While there are lots of sibling relationships on display in the extended family on Parenthood, the relationship between the core four Braverman siblings is the most interesting and fruitful. Like in any family, Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia don’t always get along and see eye to eye; these are four very different people with very different personalities. This dynamic was especially put on display when Adam and Crosby decided to go into business together at The Luncheonette. But despite their differences and the occasional conflict, these four rally around to support each other when the chips are down in a way that is admirable. Not all families are as close as the Bravermans – one could argue that they may be a little too close – but the depiction of how the four siblings interact as adults felt very real to me. And kudos to the cast, who managed to make it mostly not creepy that two of the actors playing siblings (Lauren Graham and Peter Krause) are actually a couple in real life.

 

Frasier and Niles Crane – Frasier

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These two had to stick together because I’m pretty sure no one else wanted to be their friends. Frasier and Niles can be exhausting and pretentious, but their similarities only bring them closer together. While they enjoy each other’s company and respect each other, there is also a little sibling rivalry that is still alive and well even in adulthood; that may take a different form for them than with other people, but that desire to one up each other is still there. The world may not always understand them and their fastidious ways, but they always have an ally in each other.

 

Jamie, Cersei, and Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

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Admittedly a controversial choice, given the incest and all, but if I’m picking television siblings that are interesting to watch, you can’t ignore the Lannister siblings. One could easily argue that their familial issues are one of the driving forces of a lot of the conflict in the show. Sure their issues may be less relatable than the others on this list – I’m hoping that co-parenting your children with your sibling or blaming your brother for the death of your mother aren’t things that a lot of my readers have to worry about – but they are still fascinating to watch. While the scenes between Jamie and Cersei are obviously gross, the scenes between Jamie and Tyrion are always great as the two brothers who obviously care about each other try to find common ground after the very different cards that life has dealt them. And sometimes siblings can just never get along, as evidenced by the interactions between Cersei and Tyrion. The only reason that they haven’t killed each other yet is some vague sense of familial connection, but whenever they are forced to deal with each other, you can cut the tension with a knife. The Starks have a much more normal sibling dynamic, but the Lannisters are just way more compelling and complex.

Now it’s your turn – what television siblings are among your favorites to watch? Let us know in the comments below.

Heather’s 2013 Fall TV Schedule

Last night, the temperature dropped to the 50s in the part of the country and it remained chilly when I left for work this morning. In a nod to the weather, I swapped out my normal open toed shoes for my pair of knee high boots. The first football game of the season was on last night.  As I dodged school buses on my way to Dunkin Donuts for my pumpkin coffee, one thing became very clear to me.

Fall was here.

Now, technically I know that autumn doesn’t really arrive until around September 21st, but there is no denying that summer is beginning to beat a hasty retreat. Some of the trees are already beginning to change and you can already buy Halloween candy in some stores. I am personally excited about this as fall is my favorite season. Not only does it bring my birthday, but I love the weather, the food and the activities that come along with the season. Most importantly, fall means the beginning of a new TV season.

This is always a slightly stressful time for me as I try to decide which new shows to check out, which shows to drop and how to maneuver all my timeslot showdowns. These are pretty minor problems in the grand scheme of things, but deciding which shows deserve my precious leisure time is not something I enter into lightly. As painful as it is to watch a show that winds up being canceled or turns into a dud, I also hate to be not watching a show that becomes a pop culture phenomenon. I take this stuff seriously.

This season has been a particularly difficult one to navigate as there are just so many new shows to consider. I generally don’t jump on board with new shows during their first season unless there is something that definitely speaks to me or the critical buzz is unanimous; I’ve been burned once too often with shows that I got invested in only to be reminded that middle America and I do not see eye to eye on what makes a great show. The odds of any new show making it are pretty slim, but with many of my old favorites now gone (Adios 30 Rock) I do have more free time to take a chance on a newbie. And that is a dangerous thing for me.

This isn’t finalized, but here is my preliminary TV schedule for the fall of 2013. I’ve indicated the shows that I’m on the fence about – several of my regular series have become boring to me or have dipped in quality – and the new series that I’m willing to gamble on. It’s funny how daunting TV can be when you write it all down.

Monday

Here’s the shocker of the week – I currently have NOTHING on my agenda for Monday nights. I bailed on How I Met Your Mother for good last year and have no regrets and while I enjoy The Voice enough, I know I won’t become a long time regular viewer. I might be convinced to give the new programs Sleepy Hollow, Mom or The Blacklist (I do love me some James Spader) the chance, but as of now none have sold me. I figure I’ll primarily use Monday to catch up on the clusterf*ck that is my Sunday nights. More on that below.

Tuesday

8 pm – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC) new

8:30 pm – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) new

10 pm – Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Given my love of The Avengers, taking a shot on a TV show based in that world isn’t much of a stretch. I’m not as confident about Brooklyn Nine-Nine – my comedic sensibilities do not really match up with the live action comedies on Fox – but Andy Samberg, the great Andre Brauer and generally positive buzz are enough to at least temporarily overcome my trepidation. I’ve been in on Sons of Anarchy since the show debuted and while I think that the later seasons have failed to meet the quality of the earlier seasons (especially season 2), I still quite enjoy the ride. Plus there are worse way to spend an hour than looking at Charlie Hunnam.

I had considered watching The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, but was underwhelmed with the backdoor pilot. I also decided that a woman in her 30s should probably limit herself to watching one show on The CW – and even that might be too much.

Wednesday

9 pm – Modern Family (ABC) tentative

10 pm – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)

10 pm – American Horror Story: Coven (FX)

10 pm – Nashville (ABC ) tentative- watch on demand

10 pm – South Park (Comedy Central ) dvr later showing

10:30 pm – The League (FXX)

I’ve watched Modern Family since it began, but have become increasingly less impressed with it as the show progresses. I like some characters a lot – primarily the kids – but I don’t think I’d really miss it if I dropped it. I may skip a few weeks and see how I feel – it’s not a show that you need to watch every episode. 10 pm has become a surprising logjam; I will definitely watch American Horror Story live, since that show is too bat sh*t crazy to miss. I still have yet to catch up on Nashville from last season – I watched up until Thanksgiving – so that may just be a sign that I’m not all that committed to the show. South Park re-airs later in the evening, so I’ll just DVR the show then.

Thursday

8 pm – The Big Bang Theory (CBS) watch on demand

8 pm – The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

8 pm – Parks and Recreation (NBC)

9:30 pm – The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC) new

10 pm – Parenthood (NBC)

10 pm – Scandal (ABC) tentative

While I like The Big Bang Theory – one of the very few things I watch on CBS – I can easily catch up on it when it is on demand. Parks and Recreation is my primary focus on Thursday nights; no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to quit The Vampire Diaries, so I’ll DVR that to binge watch multiple episodes on the weekend. I’ve loved Michael J. Fox since I was a little girl (my college admissions essay was about him. No joke – I got into a doctoral program writing an essay about the actor), so I’ll absolutely tune in when he makes his return to television. My only concern is that my comedic sensibilities have changed quite a bit since he last graced my TV and that my affection for the actor will not be enough to keep me interested. Parenthood makes the big mood to Thursday nights, which will mean that the Bravemens will simply make me tear up closer to the weekend. I’ve yet to watch any of the previous seasons of Scandal, but people will not shut up about this show so I may catch up and give it a whirl to see what all the sudsy fuss is about.

Friday – TV Wasteland

10 pm – Dracula (NBC) new and VERY tentative

I may DVR Dracula simply because I’m curious to see what NBC is going to do with this familiar story and partially out of some interest in whatever Jonathan Rhys Meyers does. I don’t expect it to be good, but what else am I going to watch on a Friday (assuming I’m even home, which is a big assumption).

Saturday

Various – College Football

If I’m around, a good chunk of my Saturdays are spent watching Notre Dame games. Otherwise I’m out and about and if I am home, this is time to catch up on anything I haven’t cleared off the DVR yet.

Sunday – TV Nirvana

8 pm – Once Upon a Time (ABC) tentative

8:30 pm – Bob’s Burgers (Fox) on demand

9 pm – Boardwalk Empire (HBO) on demand

9 pm – Homeland (Showtime)

9 pm – Revenge (ABC) tentative

10 pm – Eastbound & Down (HBO) on demand

10 pm – Masters of Sex (Showtime) new

10:30 pm – Hello Ladies (HBO) new

I’ve soured quite a bit on the ABC shows; Once Upon a Time, which I initially loved, is beginning to feel a little played out and boring and Revenge kind of went off the rails last season. I’ll give both a few episodes to convince me to stay around. Of the two, Once Upon a Time is the more likely to be dumped, though I’ll tune in to watch Nick Swisher’s wife as The Little Mermaid. I love Bob’s Burgers, but until football season is over the likelihood of games running over and throwing off the delicate ecosystem that is my DVR schedule necessitates me catching the show on demand. I generally like Boardwalk Empire, but I don’t love it, so for now it will get watched at a later time. Same goes for Eastbound & Down. Homeland must be watched live so as to avoid spoilers, though I do have my concerns that a certain character is still on the show. Despite my trepidation about new shows, I will give almost anything on HBO or Showtime a chance. So Masters of Sex and Hello Ladies will get the nod at 10 pm, at least until I make a decision about either show.

I may be missing a show or two and this may evolve as we get into the season, but this is what I predict my TV schedule looks like, plus Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It is a healthy dose of TV, but thanks to the miracle that is the DVR I can skip through commercials for a lot of these shows and compress my necessary viewing time. Still, there is no denying that I love my TV shows.

What’s on your fall viewing schedule? Any new shows that you are excited about? Any old shows that you are breaking up with? Sound off in the comments below. For a fairly comprehensive list of season premiere dates, click here.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Epic Roundup edition

So it appears I went a little overboard this week with the links; I was freaking out that I was behind schedule on this post and just started plugging away in compiling links. Next thing you know, the document was nine pages long. I guess I just kind of lost track of what I was doing. So while you wade through all the pop culture goodness I’ve cultivated for you over the last two weeks, I’m going to consider taking a nap after a job well done.

  • Chris Brown is facing possible jail time after an alleged hit and run incident. That’s kind of like getting Al Capone on tax evasion.
  • Don Draper’s childhood home is a real place (and for sale), though it was heavily CGIed for Mad Men. Michael Jackson’s Thriller video and scenes from Chinatown were filmed in the same neighborhood.
  • Get off the ledge – Robert Downey, Jr. is confirmed for Avengers 2 and Avengers 3.
  • Breaking Bad is the latest TV show to get its own beer. Anyone in Albuquerque want to send me some?
  • Um….am I the only one that finds it odd that they are using an Eminem song in the trailer for Despicable Me 2?

 

  • Starz has officially announced a new series Outlander, based on the books by Diana Gabaldon. Not sure it is for me, but sounds interesting.
  • No shocker here – Dan Harmon finally watched the 4th season of Community and he wasn’t a fan.
  • Flavor Flav’s last chicken and ribs restaurant has closed. Fun fact – Flavor Flav is inexplicably one of my Twitter followers (Word up, Flavor FLAV!).
  • Stephen Colbert’s mother passed away last week. If you haven’t seen his touching tribute to her, it is a must watch. I bawled through the whole thing.

 

  • The national nightmare is over – Twinkies, Ho Hos and the rest of the Hostess cake family will return to shelves July 15. I’m guessing the people who dropped a ton of cash to stock up are feeling kind of foolish right now.
  • Someone (brave) got an Arrested Development inspired license plate:

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  • The Faceblock App from the new episodes of Arrested Development can now be downloaded.
  • Shark Week is coming in August – and if this promo is an indication, it’s going to be particularly twisted. RIP Snuffy.

 

  • CNN breaks down the accuracy of the recent Lifetime movie on Jodi Arias (which yes, I watched). Good job CNN – no worldwide crises you should be covering.
  • Nick Swisher and his actress wife Joanna Garcia have released the first picture of their baby daughter and she is just precious:

 

Welcome to the world, Emerson Jay!

Welcome to the world, Emerson Jay!

 

  • Finally! One of Taylor Swift’s (alleged) exes has (allegedly) written a song about her. Oh John Mayer – I knew you were the one that was douchey enough to do this and I love you for it.
  • Jon Stewart was on the Egyptian version of The Daily Show. It switches over to English about 2.5 minutes into the interview

 

I’m still reeling from the death of James Gandolfini and am touched with the various ways he has been honored:

  • The New York Yankees took a moment to observe his passing:

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  • Holsten’s Ice Cream, the locale for the final scene of The Sopranos, saved a table in his honor:

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  • Sesame Street posted a clip of his 2002 appearance:

 

  • Gary David Goldberg, creator of Family Ties and Spin City, passed away. Michael J. Fox remembers him.
  • I’m regretting that I didn’t go to the Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival – it happened only a hop, skip and a jump away in North Adams, MA. I’m especially bummed I missed Wilco’s all cover set, but now I can listen to it online in its entirety.

 

  • Happy 50th birthday to Georgios Kyriacos Panagiòtou (George Michael to the uninitiated).  In honor of half a century, here’s one of my favorite songs:

 

  • A new poster has been released for the final season of Breaking Bad (did anyone else internally yell out Fame? Just me? Moving on….)

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  • Men’s Wearhouse has fired their founder (and star of their commercials). I’m guessing they didn’t like the way he looks.
  • The Village Voice has an interview with my favorite member of The Roots, Questlove.
  • A Street Fighter parody – with cats. My Pumpkin would dominate in this.

 

  • Among the new Houseguest on this season of Big BrotherRachel’s sister (if you watched the show, you know what this means).
  • Late Night with Jimmy Fallon was really exceptional last week – great guests and fun bits – but this Super Mario Brother’s rap is really fantastic:

 

  • Speaking of…this photo makes me deliriously happy:

Rob Stringer Honored As UJA-Federation Music Visionary Of 2013

 

  • The first episode of the Stephen King miniseries Under the Dome did very well for CBS. The rich get richer.
  • An infographic of Leonardo DiCaprio movies.

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  • The first trailer for the upcoming Lego movie has been released:

 

  • This screencap pretty much sums up the 90s:

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  • Parks and Recreation will kick off its sixth season with an hour long episode that takes place outside Pawnee.
  • Disney has (thankfully) decided to change the name of the upcoming Muppets sequel from The Muppets…..Again! to Muppets Most Wanted.

 

  • Ridley Scott. Cormac McCarthy. Brad Pitt. Michael Fassbender. Penelope Cruz. Javier Bardem. Cameron Diaz. All associated with one movie – The Counselor

 

  • The actor in this character might look familiar – he was the awful Oliver on The O.C.

 

  • OK – I PROMISE this is the last Kanye-related thing this week. He made a terrible short film to promote his new album Yeezus that features fellow Kardashian baby daddy Scott Disick and Kim BFF Jonathan Cheban. They are not great actors, but this is kind of hilarious since Disick has always given off an American Psycho vibe. Glad to see he owns his sociopathic-ness.

 

  • This isn’t really pop culture related, but it’s far too crazy not to share (and it happened a few towns over from me).

As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Here’s montage of famous movie actresses, edited to make their heads explode

 

  • Wonder what it would be like if John Lennon auditioned for The Voice? Wonder no longer

 

  • I’m still not tired of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky;” listen to it performed by President Obama:

 

  •  A supercut of all of Troy McClure’s credits on The Simpsons

 

  • Jon Snow gets an 80’s style training montage, as it should be:

 

  • This supercut seems to indicate that David Letterman is kind of obsessed with drums:

 

  • A supercut of zombie headshots

 

  • And finally – Hannibal’s open credits get an Arrested Development make-over:

 

Have a great week!