Mama Still Loves Her Shows, vol. 1

Mama Still Loves Her Shows

The seasons are clearly changing. Temps are rising, lawns are growing, and all my favorite TV shows are winding down. I mean, I found myself watching Mr. & Mrs. Smith on TV the other night rather than this week’s episodes. (In order to prolong the Season Is Over Sadness, you know.)

So for this very first installment of the “Mama Still Loves Her Shows” series, we’re going to talk about our summer TV options. I’ll also answer a reader question and give you a list of shows that YOU all recommended. Let’s dive in!

(But first, if you don’t know the fate of your favorite show, you can read about all the cancellations here. *sniff*)

Summer TV Premieres

Disclosure: These are only the shows I want to watch. You can find a list of all the other shows premiering this summer here.

So You Think You Can Dance: (FOX, Monday, June 1) Once again, SYTYCD is mixing things up, this year dividing the competitors into stage dancers and street dancers. They’ve also given Mary “Screamer” Murphy the boot and replaced her (and possibly the rotating judge position) with Paula Abdul and Jason Derulo. I don’t know about that, you guys. A whole season without Adam Shankman, Jenna Elfman, Christina Applegate, Debbie Allen or Jesse Tyler Ferguson? I’m just not sure what kind of season that will be.

Stitchers: (ABC Family, Tuesdays, June 2) This is a new show, and I have no idea if it will be good. But the commercials for it are maddeningly vague – or, as my crazy brain has interpreted them, intriguing. One description I read said this: “A new mystery drama about a young woman hired to “stitch” the memories of the recently deceased, so they can be used to solve crimes. Sounds a little like iZombie, only without a bowl of brains at every meal.” I’m in for at least the first episode.

Suits: (USA, Wednesdays, June 24) Do you guys watch Suits? It is INTENSE with the drama and the drama and the more drama. But, at least for me, it’s so far removed from my reality that it’s not stressful at all (as opposed to Parenthood, which is just TOO MUCH REAL for me). And even though I admit to letting six episodes pile up on my DVR last season, it really is one of my favorites.

Mr. Robot: (USA, Wednesdays, June 24) Hackers take down the corrupt rich people running the world? Starring Christian Slater? Say no more. I’m in until it gets cancelled. And, based on Christian Slater’s track record with TV shows (all of which I watched loyally, thank you very much), will be soon.

Hollywood Game Night: (NBC, Tuesdays, July 7) Sadly, Lip Sync Battle has been a sore disappointment. THIS is the celebrity game show to watch. Bring on the charades and word games and Jane Lynch in her pantsuits!

Playing House: (USA, Tuesdays, August 4) I was so excited this show – about a woman moving back to her hometown and helping her best friend raise her baby – got renewed for a second season! The two lead characters are played by real-life friends – and it shows. Their chemistry and banter is hilarious and realistic, and I have been hounding Smitty to watch it for an entire year now. You should watch it, too. The whole season is on Amazon and the last few episodes are available for free on USA’s site.

What’s your favorite summer show?

 
Mama Loves Her Shows, vol. 1 {summer television}

Just in case the summer doesn’t have much to offer you in the way of shows, here’s a list of the shows you all said you’re loving right now:

  • Madam Secretary (CBS drama and one of my favorites)
  • The Musketeers (BBC drama that I currently have reserved at the library!)
  • The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (hilarious Netflix show you really should watch)
  • When Calls the Heart (Hallmark Channel show I haven’t watched but hear is great)
  • The Blacklist (NBC drama that EV-ER-Y-ONE has told me to watch.)
  • iZombie (new CW show that seems funny but, well, zombies. Ew.)
  • Forever (cancelled ABC drama that ended well, so you could still watch and not feel sad)

And my two recommendations are Benched, a one-season USA comedy that’s available on Amazon, and Greek, an ABC Family show you can watch for free on the ABC Family website. Two good options right there – short and funny or long (four seasons of an hour-long show) and dramatic (and funny).

Now, onto that reader question. Last month, Angela asked:

“If you could revive one cancelled show which one would you choose?

Good question! (Especially in these days of reboots, from Full House and Coach to X-Files and Heroes.) And easy, too. If I could revive one show, it would be Ed.

ed-cast-nbc

Why, you ask?

Because a) It was a great show, and b) It cannot be found anywhere! I read one time that it’s something about the music rights keeping Ed from being released on DVD. I suppose that – or whatever the real reason is – explains why the gang from Stuckeyville can’t be found on Hulu, Netflix or Amazon either. No matter the explanation, it’s a sad situation.

A review by Entertainment Weekly basically said Ed was goofy and sentimental – but clever enough to get away with it. “But rather than settle for … whimsicality, Ed possesses all the bright romantic magic and tart humor of a first-rate screwball film comedy. This series is a perfect example of why you should never judge a TV show by its premise.”

Now that I think about it, the concept of Ed isn’t that different from Playing House. It’s about a guy whose life in the city falls apart, so he spontaneously moves back to his small hometown, picks up with his old best friend, and resumes his crush on The Girl from high school. The group of friends also has great chemistry and witty banter – and Mark and I still quote the show today.

What show would you revive?

 
Don’t forget: This is a monthly TV post now, and I need your questions!

WFMW: Finding Podcasts & Fringe Hours

Finding the Best Podcasts for my Fringe Hours | givinguponperfect.com

After I drop Annalyn off at school each morning, I turn up the radio and flip back and forth between my two favorite stations. I’m not searching for music, though; I’m hoping to find the morning show DJs talking.

I’ve loved listening to the silly banter of morning shows since I first began working full-time (and, therefore, began driving every morning). But ever since I left my full-time job to work from home, I haven’t really listened to a lot of talk radio or podcasts. My commute is the three minutes between my house and the elementary school, and that’s not really enough time to tune into someone else’s conversation. And during my longer drives, I often have a baby along for the ride who masquerades as a baby pterodactyl.

(I’m saying she screeches. Loudly. A lot.)

Then when I’m home, I either have that baby dinosaur around and we’re listening to children’s music or watching “Melmo” or other Muppets. Or she’s taking a nap and I’m working COMPLETELY SILENTLY. (She’s a light sleeper. Sigh.)

But lately I’ve remembered how much I love listening to podcasts or talk radio. When I was grossly underemployed in my last full-time office job, I kept sane by listening to various podcasts about working moms, pop culture and entertainment. And sanity wasn’t the only benefit; I also spent that time highly entertained and often left it informed or educated about a topic that mattered to me.

So I’ve decided it’s time I got on board the podcast train.

I’ve been using the methods Jessica Turner talks about in her book, The Fringe Hours, to figure out when and where I can listen to podcasts. I don’t struggle with making time for myself the way a lot of women she quotes in her book do. I don’t feel guilty doing something for myself or taking time for my own interests.

But I’m also not exactly rich with quality me time.

I’m not truly enjoying myself when I try to do four things at once, including something I like to do for fun. I’m not truly relaxing or refreshing my spirit when I cram my “me time” into the cracks and crevices of the chaotic everyday. And I realized that I’m actually doing myself a disservice by spending all my “me time” on my easy, go-to, fall-back hobbies of reading and TV when I’d probably find more enjoyment out of a new hobby or something I haven’t done in a while.

Like listen to a podcast while sitting in the carpool line after school, instead of scrolling through Facebook for 15 minutes or reading another couple of chapters of a mediocre book.

And while I periodically examine where I’m using my time, it’s always in an attempt to be more productive and to accomplish more. It’s certainly not a practice I’ve designed to find more time for fun! The Fringe Hours points out something I knew but needed to be reminded: there’s a time for work and there’s a time for play, and we simply must find a balance.

So I’m figuring out the when and where of this new [fun] thing I’m going to [intentionally] do – but I need your help figuring out the WHAT. Do you know how many podcasts are out there? SO MANY! {Sidenote: I have talked with a couple friends for YEARS now about starting a podcast of my own. One day, friends…one day.} I’ve started a list of podcasts to subscribe to, and I already listen to a few on a semi-regular basis anyway. But I’d love to make a good list of The Best Podcasts to listen to during my currently misused but soon-to-be better used fringe hours.

Will you help me make that list of The Best Podcasts?

Leave your recommendations in the comments, and I’ll compile a final list and share it in a few weeks!

Do you listen to podcasts? What’s your favorite?

 
If you haven’t read The Fringe Hours by Jessica Turner, I’d recommend it! It’s NOT about doing more and trying harder. It’s about making room in your life for the things that matter most – including yourself – and then letting go of the rest. It’s about choosing joy and making the most of your moments, and it’s on sale at DaySpring.

Evaluating my fringe hours and finding great podcasts to listen to work for me!

Works for Me Wednesday :: Giving Up on Perfect

It’s time for Works for Me Wednesday. I’m looking forward to your tips, tricks, ideas and inspiration! If this is your first time linking up with WFMW here, PLEASE read the guidelines I shared in this post. Highlights include linking your specific post, not the front page of your blog, and making sure to include a link back to this site in your WFMW. Thank you!!

What I’m Into :: April 2015

What I'm Into - April 2015

How cute are they in their matchy-matchy dresses?! We took that on Easter. All four of us were color-coordinated in our Royals gear a couple weeks ago, but I didn’t get a picture. I figure we can always put those outfits back on another day. After all, baseball season does go on FOR-EV-ER. (Please, PLEASE hear that in my best Sandlot voice!)

Is it possible the months are going faster? Like the earth is turning more quickly as every month passes? (Or whatever the earth does. Science is not my thing.) I mean, every single month I’m saying the same thing! “Time goes so fast, blah, blah, blah!” It’s true, though. Earlier this week I talked to someone about starting a project in May, and she had to point out that May was literally two days away.

Oh.
Huh.
Okay then!

April was full but not overly busy. And aside from some annoying rainstorms, the weather was beautiful. I had a few stressful work days, a few surprisingly pleasant family days, and even an afternoon or two where I realized I didn’t have any pressing deadlines for the moment.

Shoot, you guys. As soon as I wrote that I remembered a deadline I have FOR TODAY. Yikes!

Anyway. April brought two major milestones for my family. Annalyn was baptized at church, and Adrienne finally started walking. Big, big deals!! I love those girls so stinking much! They are both so awesome, and I am crazy proud of them. So, April was a good month here. How about you? I’m going to share what I was into over the past few weeks, and I’d love to hear what you were into, too!

What I'm Into :: April 2015

What I’m Reading

I didn’t read as much as normal this month. I’ve been trying to go to bed earlier (you know, LIKE A GROWN-UP). And I’ve also had a hard time finding something I really want to read. Luckily, I found a few that I loved.

A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano: Set in the 1880s, this is the first in a series of Christian romantic suspense novels. It was full of spunky, progressive women and men who are amused by them. It was not particularly realistic, but the snappy dialogue read like a Regency romance, and I’m a fan of that. If you need something light and funny, try this series.

Mr. Kiss and Tell by Rob Thomas: I’ve got a serious beef with Mr. Rob Thomas. I was doing just fine all these years without anything new in the Veronica Mars world. JUST FINE! But then he has to go and write a movie and two books that are PERFECTION – and then NOTHING ELSE. I do not accept this, Mr. Thomas! Do you hear me? You can’t stop now! Your marshmallows need more, and they need it now. (Translation: This book was great, written in a flawless Veronica Mars voice. I didn’t love the vibe between Veronica and Logan, which stinks. But I have confidence they can get it back in the next book. Or movie. Either one, I’m not picky!)

Time’s Edge by Rysa Walker: I had to re-read the first book in this series before reading this one, because I originally read it last year when Adrienne was a newborn. I remembered loving the YA time travel story but couldn’t remember the details. Which is good because this plot? It is convoluted and full of details. I didn’t love it quite as much the second time around (and I’m including the second book in that description), but it ended on a crazy cliffhanger, so I’ll definitely be back for the next one. Well played, author. Well played.

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black: I read The Curse Workers trilogy by Black a few years ago when I had the flu. I literally laid in bed devouring the books while I coughed and sneezed and sweated. I was blown away by the creativity of the stories. Still, when I read the description for this new book I wasn’t excited. I was wrong. This is a story about a girl and her brother and a fairy prince and evil fairy kings and much, much more. It was so creative – characters and story I haven’t read before. And I read a lot of fantasy books! This is a good one – and a standalone, which is a nice change from EVERY OTHER BOOK EVER.

From the Start by Melissa Tagg: Okay, look. I do not like that cover. It’s cheesy, I know. But this book – and all the others I’ve read by Tagg – are great. If you like straightforward Christian romance novels, read this one. (And the others by the author.) It was charming and sweet and not predictable in the normal ways. Also, it had likable characters and good dialogue. I wish the next book was out already!

And now for something totally different! Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me About Life, Faith & Second Chances by Rachel Ridge is being released today, and you’re going to want to get a copy.

I was just talking to someone about how so many books feel…similar…these days. Not so with Flash! “Some people get angels; I got a donkey.” Heh. I love the way Rachel learned so many life lessons from something as unusual as a donkey basically adopting her family. And she’s such a great storyteller, too. Flash is a keeper – both the donkey and the book.

undeclared cast

What I’m Watching

A couple weeks ago we got new cable service, so now I have Netflix on my TV. (Before this, we either watched on my laptop or connected a cord from the computer to the TV. Either way, it made it hard to multitask so I didn’t watch a ton of Netflix.) I was clicking around, just looking at what’s there – and I found Undeclared.

I knew it was a show many people have on their lists of beloved short-lived shows, and I’ve heard it called, “Freaks & Geeks Go to College.” Based on that, I gave it a try – and I loved it. It was EXACTLY like Freaks & Geeks Go to College, and a whole lot more like my college experience than Greek (which I loved anyway). When one of the characters attempted the sorority life and later told her friend, “We’re dorm people!” I totally identified with that.

Mark and I are still watching and enjoying West Wing and Sherlock (although The Hounds of Baskerville was my least favorite episode by far). And NCIS and Castle are basically the same old, same old. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. They just aren’t terribly exciting to me right now.

The rest of the shows I watch are all in full-blown season finale ramp-up mode, getting more and more DIRE and SUSPENSEFUL and SERIOUS and MYSTERIOUS with each scene. I’m sure I’ll have lots of feelings to share about them in a few weeks.

I was so excited when I first heard about Jimmy Fallon and John Krasinski turning Lip Sync Battle into an actual TV show. Now that it’s here, I kind of wish it had stayed in late night. Bummer.

Not a bummer is my plan to see the new Avengers movie tomorrow. Mark and I have had several less-than-successful date nights over the past few months. A few times we had plans but couldn’t find a babysitter, but other times we actually went out but couldn’t find a movie to watch! (Not that every date must be to a movie, but we like going to movies.) So the fact that we have a babysitter lined up for tomorrow, when a big superhero movie is coming out? IS SUPER EXCITING AND I CAN’T WAIT!

What I’m Listening to: I told you about a lot of the songs I’m listening to in my post about what I’ve Shazam-ed lately. My friend Angela reminded me of another one I’m loving: Shut Up & Dance by Walk the Moon. Have you seen this video? YOU GUYS. It is totally retro and a very literal interpretation of the lyrics AND ADORABLE. I love it. I’m going to go watch it again right now. You watch it, too.

What I’m Eating: In case you missed the memo (I’m KIDDING; there was no memo. How embarrassing!), I re-joined Weight Watchers. So I’m eating grapes and bagel thins and chickenchickenchicken. And Fiber One fudge brownies, because a girl needs chocolate. (And then I’m dreaming about these Oreo Magic Brownies. Mmmmm…)

That’s me and my April. Now I want to hear about YOURS!

What were YOU into this month?

 
I’m linking up with Leigh today. Join me at her place for some of the best book, TV, movie and music recommendations!

The Songs Stuck in My Head This Spring

The Last 10 Songs I Shazamed

I had big plans to write a real serious post today. But you know what? I’m not in the mood for real serious. So, let’s talk music, eh? What you’re listening to, what I’m listening to, how sad I’m going to be when my trial subscription to satellite radio runs out next month . . . You know, important BUT FUN stuff!

So, do you Shazam? It’s an app that identifies songs playing wherever you are. So if you hear a song on the radio . . . or in a restaurant . . . or in an elevator, open Shazam and hit listen. Then . . . shazam! Just like that, it tells you what song is playing and who sings it, with the lyrics and links to the video and places to buy it (of course).

I LOVE IT.

It’s really very smart. When I pulled it up just now, it automatically identified the “music” it could hear in my living room: a rerun of Parks and Recreation. Heh. I’m not embarrassed to admit it also identified a Boy Meets World rerun when I first had the idea for this post and looked at my recent Shazams.

ANYWAY.

Here are the most recent songs I’ve Shazam-ed.

  • I Lived (One Republic) – I love the lyrics in the verses to this song and forget every time I hear it that a) I do know who sings it and b) I don’t love the chorus nearly as much. Oh well.
  • Geronimo (Sheppard) – I’ve Shazam-ed this one more than once, because I love it. And apparently have a memory problem.
  • Break Up With Him (Old Dominion) – I feel like I should hate this song, what with the talking in it and my documented public stance against country rap. But darn it, I kind of like it. It’s ridiculous. I know. I have no excuse. (Also, it’s kind of mixed up in my head with I Want to Take Your Time by Sam Hunt. More dumb talking in the middle of a song. Sigh.)
  • Trouble (Gloriana) – Last year country music was all dudes, all the time. So when I actually hear a new country song by a female artist (or, in this case, female lead in a group), I get excited!
  • Want to Want Me (Jason Derulo) – I’m in my car a lot, and sometimes I’m even alone (or with Adrienne who adores music but doesn’t get lyrics yet). When that happens, I can’t resist this one. I know it’s gross. But . . . it’s catchy, okay? Kind of has an old-school vibe, like Classic by MKTO or most songs by Bruno Mars or Justin Timberlake. (Big surprise, me liking a retro sound, right?)
  • Bills (LunchMoney Lewis) – Have you heard this one? It’s just funny. That’s all. Although I wonder about this guy. Are all his songs going to be about money? Because of his name? I mean, look at Vanilla Ice. He tried singing (rapping?) songs not about ice, and it did not work out for him. I mean, the guy’s gone Amish and DIY Network!
  • Day One (Matthew West) – I heard this again yesterday and think it might be the new Giving Up on Perfect anthem.
  • Riptide (Vance Joy) – I love this song. And I’ve Shazam-ed it more than once, too. (Good thing I’m making a list. Clearly my memory is lacking these days!)
  • FourFiveSeconds (Rihanna, Kanye West & Paul McCartney) – I need to listen to the lyrics of this song, I’m sure. They’re probably awful. But until then, it is catchy as all get out!
  • Trouble (Iggy Azalea & Jennifer Hudson) – Thank you to whoever shared the Sean Hayes lip sync video to this song on Facebook. You have given me hours (okay, minutes) of entertainment and delight. Also, I love this song and this video and Jennifer Hudson’s short, sassy haircut.

Huh. Out of 10 songs I have two named Trouble. Weird. Or appropos? Don’t answer that. Answer this —>

What song have you Shazam-ed, thumbed up, or otherwise liked lately?

Photo source

Mama [Still] Loves Her Shows

Mama Loves Her Shows logo

Once upon a time I started a TV blog. It was called, “Mama Loves Her Shows,” and it was awesome. It was also, as some of my favorite shows have been, short-lived. It didn’t take long – just a few months, actually – for me to realize I could not possibly keep up two blogs.

So since then, my many very important thoughts about my favorite TV shows have been mostly contained to my monthly What I’m Into posts. Sure, on occasion, I can’t resist telling you just exactly how I felt about the end of a TV series. And, okay fine, I tend to tell you what I’m watching every season.

But, believe it or not, I actually have more to say.

And, believe it or not, some people want me to say more. [Really? REALLY!] Friends actually come to me for television-related information and advice. And opinions. Anyone asking me about TV knows they’re going to get opinions. [Well, really, anyone asking me about anything knows they're likely to get opinions.]

All this ran through my mind a few weeks ago when a friend suggested I start a regular “Ask Mary” entertainment column here on the blog. At first I thought she was crazy. Who would even ask me questions? But then I realized that lots of people ask me TV questions outside of the blog, so why not put them all together for a fun post each month?!

Next month, I’ll post my first “Mama Still Loves Her Shows” column. But before I can write it, I need your questions! Hit me with your burning questions about season finales, summer shows, the next thing you need to watch on Netflix, or anything else you can think of!

Until then, I’m asking the questions …

What’s your favorite TV show right now?