Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Where are the posts? (joint entry from Ava and C.I.)

Where are the posts? We (Ava and C.I.) were taking care of e-mails. Including one to someone who wrote a really nice e-mail and who we've needed to reply to.

What else? Billie's completed her entry. And we debated on that as to whether it should go up tonight or tomorrow. We decided tomorrow morning. We also decided a legal analysis would wait until tomorrow.

Prior to going through the e-mail we were focused on our work re: preserving Roe v. Wade.

Last Friday, we meant to do an entry together but were both focused on similar work and decided we'd do it some other time. So we're grabbing tonight for it.

We do the TV reviews over at The Third Estate Sunday Review and a number of e-mails were coming in on that so we decided to address it here.

This Sunday, we reviewed Summerland and Two and a Half Twerps. Three members wrote in about the fact that we watched Two and a Half Twerps after Summerland. "That's not how they air," one pointed out. No, it's not. We watched Summerland live and we taped CBS. After we'd spent thirty minutes sharing our initial impressions on Summerland, we felt like we should grab Two and a Half Twerps because maybe it wasn't as bad as we thought. It wasn't. It was worse.

As we've noted in reviews (especially when we were trying to catch Less Than Perfect to review it), we were finding ourselves on Friday night with no Less Than Perfect and little else to review.
(We've reviewed most of the sitcoms that air on Friday, as far as we know.) We also have found out at the last minute that a show we've watched to do a review on doesn't fit in with a theme for The Third Estate Sunday Review. So we've been left grabbing something at the last minute for that reason as well. As a result, we now record at least one backup show each week. If something comes up and the show we've decided to review won't fit in with a theme (not all weeks have themes), we've got something we can step away and watch.

A lot of members have been e-mailing about cable shows. We don't review them. Not everyone who comes to The Third Estate Sunday Review has cable. We're trying to note something that everyone has access to and to let them know whether it's worth checking out or ignoring (in our opinion). The Third Estate Sunday Review doesn't review movies due to the fact that we have young couples who won't be able to get out and see a film due to the costs of raising a child, the cost of tickets and the cost of a babysitter.

We dealt with the issue of PBS shows in an entry we did on the e-mails we receive. Special event programming on PBS (news show, performance, or what have you) airs once and may or may not be repeated. The Brit-coms vary from region to region so they're left out. If we were to grab something from PBS, it would probably be a series from a program like Mystery while it was ongoing.

We've reviewed one TV special (ABC) and the reason for that was that the special will no doubt come out on DVD and video (if it's not out already). Musical specials do tend to go to DVD and video so we could grab one of those again in the future.

How do we write the reviews?

That varies from week to week.

We take notes during and are pointing out things to each other (usually during commericals) while we watch. At least one of us holds onto a recording of the show until one week after our review goes up so we can answer a question if someone says, "I don't remember that" or "What are you talking about here?" If someone's waited over a week, we're glad they've read but we don't have time to set up a collection of shows we've reviewed.

What is our preference? We prefer sitcoms. We loves good sitcoms which doesn't leave us with much these days. When we reviewed Summerland, we noted it's not our favorite genre. We evaluated it by the genre, however. (And we honestly could sit through additional episodes. It's a good show.)

Is there any show we avoid reviewing? We avoid the Law & Orders and CSI's (we've reviewed one of each -- Law & Order: Trial by Jury and CSI Miami). We had no desire to see Some People Think Everybody Loves Raymond (and C.I. doesn't like someone behind the camera on that show, for personal reasons, so that added to our "refusal" -- Lloyd -- to review the last episode of that show). Other than that, we avoid Gilmor Girls. We both have friends who are devoted to that show. At various times, they've asked to review it. Followed quickly by "No, don't!" We've never seen it. We don't know if we'd like it or hate it but due to the devotion to that show on the part of people we're close to, we've exempted ourselves from reviewing that show.

Some feel there should be more reality shows reviewed. We've reviewed The Apprentice (and that was a group review, not a solo Ava & C.I. entry) and The Simple Life. We're not crazy about reality shows. We will, however, be reviewing one Sunday because commercials made us wonder about the show.

The process itself. There have been a few times where we've had an entire review written before Saturday night. That's very rare. More often than not, we're writing at the last minute. If something is written ahead of time, we usually end up altering it through editing.

Do we feel we're open minded in our reviews? Well one of us only watches TV to do the reviews (C.I.) and the other was never that big on TV. So who knows?

If you find that you generally disagree with our thumbs up or down, take that into account. If we like something you hate, then adjust for that and don't watch anything we recommend. A number of members had never seen What I Like About You and watched it as a result of our review (we panned the show). You felt that possibly we weren't hard enough on it. You're probably right. But to note everything that is wrong with that show would take more time than we have.

After the reviews are written, Joan asked this, do we ever go back and watch another episode?
No. So we're going by one (unless we note otherwise in the review). We may catch a really bad episode. But even if a script sucks, there should be some other element in the show that works if it's worth watching.

One member asked if we hated Patricia Heaton. We don't hate her. We just don't care for her. She's a one note actress. We don't expect to see her in many other leading roles. And we think she needs to pick a hair color that is an actual human color.

"Is a feminist critique really needed?" Well, we're not aware of anyone doing a regular feminist critique of TV shows so for that reason alone, we'd say it's needed. We'd also add that if you've checked out network TV, you should have noted the limited roles for women and, for that reason, we'd argue that a feminist critique is needed as well.

Do we really not like our TV reviews? We're never crazy about them when they go up. Due to e-mails pointing out a favorite part (and time), we're usually less harsh them as the weeks go by.
Not enough weeks have gone by yet for us to be crazy about Make Room For Bully. A number of members site that as their favorite review. We remember the headache of writing it. And probably what it could have been with more time.

Other members site Smallville and Jake in Progress as their favorite reviews. If someone gets something from any of them, great. But we rarely go back and reread them. We're just usually trying to get something, anything, completed in time and we're trying to note the problems and/or the pluses.

What shows have we praised, Liang wonders. We've had nice things to say about parts of The Simple Life. But in terms of saying "check out this program," it's been Summerland, Will & Grace, Living With Fran, Hope & Faith and Medium. (Liang says her favorite review was NUMB3RS.)

Cedric wonders what review has gotten the most complaints? Two, One Tree Hill and The O.C.
(And on One Tree Hill, that include three women and one guy who wanted to debate the "chewy" or "creamy" nature of Chad Michael Murray's nipples. People really do take his nipples seriously -- as we noted in our review.)

Abhilasha wonders why we don't review Sunday programs. We did review Desperate Housewives and Charmed (in the same review). Due to the all nighters involved putting together the latest edition of The Third Estate Sunday Review, we're all (not just us, everyone) stumbling through Sundays.

Markus wonders if we take suggestions of shows to review? We review many shows because people e-mail in about them. With One Tree Hill, we noted that we'd had a number of e-mails praising Chad Michael Murrary's nipples and James Lafferty's arm pits. Those e-mails made us wonder exactly what was making it onscreen with that show so we checked it out. If there's a show you like, feel free to suggest it.

Ben notes that there was talk once of reviewing Mutant X. We're not sure, but we believe that was Jim's idea. We've not had a desire to review the show. It's also out of production and not just syndicated, but in repeats. Ben wondered about syndication. Elimidate was reviewed.

Francisco wondered what review go the most e-mail (positive or negative)? That would be Nick & Jessica's Tour of Duty.

We hope this helps clarify some questions.

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com. And e-mails sent to thirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com about the TV shows are read by both Ava and C.I.