Ian Thomas Malone

A Connecticut Yogi in King Joffrey's Court

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February 2018

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Metta World Peace’s Friendship with a Stuffed Owl on Celebrity Big Brother is Exactly What America Needs Right Now

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture

Celebrity Big Brother has mostly been in the news for the White House gossip shared by former Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison/Three-time Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault. While backstabbing and drama is certainly a big part of why people enjoy reality television, it hasn’t been the driving force behind the success of the celebrity edition of the long-running CBS series Big Brother. That honor belongs to a man who Entertainment Weekly suggests might be the worst player in the history of the game.

Big Brother has a brutal premise. Being trapped in a house 24/7 with cameras, zero privacy, and next to no contact with the outside is bound to be tough on anyone, but it has been especially hard on former NBA champion Metta World Peace, who hit the panic button early on because he missed his family. He even asked to be sent home first, which was denied even though the housemates agreed to honor Keisha Knight-Pullam’s similar request the following eviction cycle.

Fortunately, Metta found a friend.

As someone who loves stuffed animals, I was naturally endeared to the showmance between Metta and Orwell the Owl, who also serves as the mascot for PopTV, which airs Big Brother After Dark. Stuffed animals can be very comforting in times of need, as Metta has demonstrated time and time again. His candid commentary to the camera regarding his anxiety is an open discussion on mental health that’s often missing from the public conversation. He’s not afraid to express himself, or to admit that he owes a great debt to a stuffed owl.

Orwell quite literally turned his time in the house around, as Metta has vowed revenge on the people who denied him the opportunity to be reunited with his family. All of that will to win came from the bond between man and fluff, the kind of companion who won’t try and backdoor you after winning the Power of Veto. For all the tears and fighting this season, Metta and Orwell serve as a shining example of how true friendship can be born out of isolation and forced proximity.

The bond apparently even extends to bathroom visits, for some reason. I won’t judge. Metta isn’t part of any of the show’s big alliances, but his friendship with Orwell has remained rock solid. America needs this. In a world full of hate, it’s nice to experience some love on a medium such as reality TV, typically devoid of anything resembling genuine human interaction. Metta has given us all hope.

Orwell has become such a threat in the house that fellow contestants Ariadna Gutierrez and Brandi Glanville hid him from Metta to throw off his game. Fortunately for Metta, and for America, evicted housemate Shannon Elizabeth revealed his location under the couch before departing the house.

We can only hope with Orwell at his side, Metta will have all the strength he needs to win the entire competition. The Olympics might still have another week, but America has found its champions. Metta and Orwell may not receive gold medals, but they’ve certainly earned a place in our hearts.

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Sunday

31

August 2014

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The 2014 Summer TV Season Wrap Up

Written by , Posted in Blog, Pop Culture

A few weeks ago, I found myself in a state of disappointment over the summer TV season, a mentality that dissipated a bit as summer wore on. New shows such as Extant, Satisfaction, Rush, Tyrant, Halt and Catch Fire, The Last Ship, The Strain, Manhattan, You’re the Worst, and Married certainly weren’t bombs, but it’s hard to call any of them must see television either. They join sophomore offerings Ray Donovan, Under the Dome, Defiance, Maron, Graceland, and Hemlock Grove as shows that have niche audiences that don’t really draw the same wider excitement that older summer shows like Six Feet Under, Rescue Me, Entourage, Nip/Tuck used to have. This could be largest offering of ho hum shows in summer TV history.

Which leaves a few standout shows that for the most part existed either on the front or back end of the TV season. Louie and Orange is the New Black were long awaited gems, but they were also done before June was even halfway over. For all that was on in July, Rectify and Masters of Sex were the only universally praised shows airing new episodes. The fact that they air on Saturday and Sunday doesn’t do much to help the lull of must see summer television. Then there are Royal Pains, Falling Skies, Suits, and Covert Affairs, which have devoted fan bases, but aren’t really turning heads with innovation or ratings. True Blood is the sole veteran show to bid farewell and followed in the footsteps of Burn Notice and Dexter in supplying plenty of reasons for why its departure should be celebrated and not mourned.

The new shows mentioned all share in common that they exist in the middle ground between celebrated and irrelevant. The aggregate for the positive say they’re entertaining while the common complaint from the detractors is that they’re meh. Then there’s The Leftovers, which might have a similar Metacritic rating but doesn’t belong with the aforementioned rookies as it was easily the most polarizing show of the summer season. Damon Lindelof’s first show since Lost deserves most of its criticism, but I can’t say that I regret watching the grim yet sporadically satisfying post Rapture drama.

August began to change my opinion of the season as a whole. Outlander and The Knick are exactly what the summer season needed. Both shows are visually stunning, well acted historical dramas that haven’t proved they belong among TV ‘s best yet, but show far more potential than any of the other freshman shows. Garfunkel and Oates is in a similar position, which isn’t a big deal as we tend to forget that many shows don’t hit their stride in their first season anyway. The potential is there and it’s appreciated. It’s also worth noting that as neither have finished their runs, this could change sooner rather than later.

So what to make of the 2014 summer season? There was plenty to watch and if you tried all the new shows, chances are you liked at least one or two. How memorable they’ll be moving forward is another story.

I can’t think of another summer season that saw so many rookie shows wind up in the no man’s land between good and great. The rise of Netflix makes that territory less appealing as there’s no reason to watch something that you aren’t completely into with so many other choices at your disposal. If even just one or two had separated themselves from the pack, we’d be looking at a very strong summer season. Perhaps we still are. But that will vary from person to person when it could’ve been a consensus.

Opinions of the 2014 summer TV season remain largely subjective. But there’s something to be said for all the failed potential. TV’s in need of a few new headlining must see programs and we didn’t really get that this summer. But if you look at what we did get, you see that it could’ve been one for the ages. History could be kinder to it should any of those shows step up their game, but for now it was a puzzling year marred by odd scheduling and missed opportunities.

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