Category Archives: Television

Line Pelletier, second season runner-up on MasterChef Canada

Line Pelletier - MasterChef Canada - June 11 2015
I was happy to have met MasterChef Canada season two runner-up Line Pelletier at an event on Thursday, June 11. She had lots of fans coming up to her and was gracious to them all! A real class act! (Click on the photo for a larger version.)

Hey, look who I met! Yup, that’s Line Pelletier, the second season runner-up in MasterChef Canada. I met her at a dinner event held in Moncton on Thursday, June 11. The show obviously has many fans, since she could barely walk five feet without someone (like me!) running up to her for a chat or a photo. She was very gracious to everyone! Definitely a class act!

Hump Day: Replenishment of morals needed after House of Cards marathon

Hump Day 2 croppedHump Day
By Brian Cormier
Wednesday, April 15, 2015
Moncton Times & Transcript

If you’re unfamiliar with Netflix, it’s an Internet service which allows you to watch a number of movies, documentaries and TV series for a set monthly fee. In the past few years, they’ve started producing their own series, too, ranging from dramas to sitcoms.

I’ve been a subscriber for quite some time but haven’t really used it much. All that changed over the Easter weekend, though. On the Thursday before Good Friday at 5 p.m., I closed the office and promised myself that I’d take four glorious days off. I’d even take Easter Monday off – a real treat! I was going to duct tape myself to the sofa and not move all weekend. I was tired. I was burnt out. I needed a break after a long stretch of very busy weeks.

That’s when I started watching House of ‍Cards. If you’re a fan, you’re probably saying out loud right now, ‘It’s so good!’ If you haven’t watched it, you’re probably saying to yourself, ‘I’ve heard it’s really good, but I haven’t watched it yet.’ It seems that everyone has heard of House of ‍Cards. If you have any interest in politics or business, it’s must-see TV. It is to politics what the old Dallas TV series was to oil.

So far, there have been three seasons of 13 episodes each for a total of 39 in all. Each episode lasts about one hour. There are no commercials on Netflix, so it would take pretty much all of a 40-hour work week to get through the series if you watched it instead of working. I would be quite happy if someone paid me to watch House of ‍Cards, actually. It would be a sweet job.

So that Thursday night, I watched my first full episode of House of ‍Cards. I’ve heard that it only takes one hit of smoking crack cocaine to become addicted. The same can be said of one episode of House of ‍Cards.

The series is about Frank Underwood, a longtime U.S. politician who – along with his wife Claire – machinates his way inside Washington and does anything necessary to get what he wants. He and Claire are ruthless. They will stop at nothing and are not above lying, cheating, betrayal and much worse to get themselves ahead. It’s a great show.

House of Cards (Frank Underwood)
The view from my sofa during a marathon House of Cards viewing binge.

Frank Underwood is despicable. He’s clearly evil and cares about no one. (His initials are even obscene.) The thing is, you find yourself rooting for him every time he does something terrible to someone. I found myself questioning my own morals and ethics with each passing episode because every time someone honest stood up to him, I’d find myself cheering, “Get ‘em, Frank! Make ‘em pay! Nice people are bad!”

Well, over two weekends, I binge-watched all 39 episodes. My eyes were blurry and I was sleep-deprived. The show’s a master class on how to manipulate people into getting them to do what you want. Sometimes they realize it. Sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it’s a win-win. Most of the time it’s not. You win. They lose. I won’t give you any spoilers if you haven’t watched it yet, but he’s not someone I’d cross.

I was glad when the series was finally over. There are no more episodes until next year. The binge watching really affected me. In fact, the other day, the cat was meowing for his food when I looked at him and simply whispered, “I will destroy you if you don’t shut up right now.” To which he replied with simply a head tilt and little, “Meow?”

That’s when I realize I’d watched way too much House of ‍Cards. Well, that and the time over the weekend I saw someone in line with too many items at the express checkout and told them that I’d appoint them to the Supreme Court if they’d simply move over to another cashier. When they refused, I whispered menacingly that I’d audit their taxes so far back that they’d have to dig up their dead grandmother and put her bones in jail for her not declaring one dollar of income back in 1955 when she sold a pair of handmade mittens to feed her starving children. Frank would have been proud.

House of ‍Cards is quite a leap for this tame Canadian who used to think that The Beachcombers was rough and tumble when Relic would steal a log from Nick Adonidas. Frank Underwood wouldn’t just steal the log, he’d chop up Nick for shark bait afterwards. I have one year to replenish my morals until House of ‍Cards is back. Wish me luck!

Late-night TV goodbyes (and hellos): Jay Leno and Jimmy Fallon

Jay Leno Tonight Show logoLongtime The Tonight Show host Jay Leno ended his run on Thursday after 5,366 episodes — the most episodes of any host, including the iconic Johnny Carson.

Jay’s tearful goodbye message at the end of the show was heartfelt and moving. Here it is:

Jimmy Fallon Tonight Show logoMeanwhile, incoming host Jimmy Fallon bid adieu to Late Night With Jimmy Fallon by playing drums with The Muppets, including Kermit and Miss Piggy! Jimmy’s debut as the newest host of The Tonight Show is Monday, Feb. 17, 2014.

His exit from Late Night was great and joyful! (Hint: Watch the video until the end.) Take a look:

Dieppe native Caroline Savoie moves past first round on France’s version of The Voice

Caroline Savoie
Caroline Savoie

Dieppe singer Caroline Savoie wowed the judges on France’s version of The Voice in an episode aired January 18, 2014. In fact, all four judges wanted to have her on their team in the hopes of her being the eventual winner. Despite being woefully uninformed about Acadie, the judges all desperately wanted to work with her. Eventually, European pop star Mika was chosen by Caroline as her mentor. (For some reason, he also spoke to her in English instead of French.)

Here’s Caroline’s successful audition:

 

And if you didn’t know who Mika was before watching the above clip, here’s a video of his song Grace Kelly which topped the UK singles chart for five weeks in 2007. He was also nominated for an Emmy in 2008 for best dance recording for Love Today.

Hump Day: Perhaps inadvertently, reality TV show offers life lesson

Hump Day
By BriaHump Dayn Cormier
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Moncton Times & Transcript
Editorial section

Once again, I sit here shaking my head at the moronic “freedom of speech” arguments being put forward by people online who think they can just say anything like it’s their God-given right to slam other cultures, races and sexualities.

The latest bunch of geniuses are the houseguests on the U.S. version of Big Brother, a staple of summer television viewing for 15 years. The show gathers a dozen or so strangers in a ‘house’ located on a studio lot in the Los Angeles area. Over the summer, one houseguest is voted out each week by their roommates.

I started watching in season 10 after some co-workers raved about the show. I poo-poo’d them at first, but was hooked as soon as I tuned in for the first time.

A number of competitions are held weekly throughout the summer. There are usually two competitions held: one for Head of Household (HOH) and one for the Power of Veto. The HOH is the one who chooses two of the three nominees for eviction. (The third is nominated by that week’s MVP house guest, most valuable player, as chosen by viewer votes.) The Power of Veto winner can choose to save one nominee.

Voting is often strategic. Some­times a strong player will be sent home early because they’re seen as a threat. Sometimes the rest of the house gangs up on someone perceived to be weak and they’re sent home. While some parts of the show are pure mindless drivel, the social dynamics are often quite fascinating.

Alliances are created. They lie to each other to get ahead. There’s lots of drama, much of it unnecessary. There are also lots of laughs. From an intellectual viewpoint, it’s sometimes not the most intelligent show, but the social experiment of watching a dozen strangers thrown together to determine the last one standing is interesting.

The winner gets $500,000 while the runner-up gets $50,000. The winner is chosen by a jury of ousted houseguests, so they decide who the actual winner is between the last two people left in the house at the end of the summer so the people you schemed to evict actually have to still like or respect you enough to give you a half-million dollars. It’s a game with many facets and risks.

Houseguests have absolutely no contact with the outside world during their time on the show. The seven houseguests evicted prior to the last two remaining also have no contact with the outside world until the show is over. (They’re sequestered in the so-called Jury House until the season finale when the winner is chosen.)

With all that said, the show has been around long enough to have developed a legion of Big Brother super fans who now apply to be on the show. This year’s crop, however, seems to have forgotten that the cameras and microphones are on 24/7. (Fans can purchase access to live Internet feeds to watch the houseguests around the clock. The only things off limits are the toilet and shower. In some countries’ versions of the show, even those private areas are shown.)

This season, controversy has erupted on the show as two current houseguest, unbeknownst to them, have been fired from their day jobs because of intolerant and offensive language. Aaryn Gries, who’s quickly become known as this season’s ‘mean girl,’ lost her job with Zephyr Talent after the live feeds caught her making comments they didn’t like, specifically language aimed at an Asian-American contestant, African-American contestant and a gay contestant.

GinaMarie Zimmerman, ‘the loud one from Staten Island, New York,’ was fired from her job with the East Coast U.S.A. Pageant for being caught uttering a racial slur in a comment about welfare. Meanwhile, a third houseguest, burly red-bearded Spencer Clawson, may be seeing his career as a railroad conductor with Union Pacific circling the drain for using a sexual slur to describe an openly gay contestant.

They all claim to be fans of the show, yet they seem to have mysteriously forgotten that they’re being watched 24/7. This has got to be the dumbest bunch I’ve seen in a long time. Unless one of these three wins the $500,000 — highly unlikely — they’re going to end up being more infamous than famous.

Message boards are going crazy with anger at their language and wondering why CBS, the network that airs Big Brother, isn’t removing them from the game. So far, the network hasn’t, but they’re not hiding the fact that the contestants are making others uncomfortable. If other contestants start complaining strongly about abusive language, these three may not last much longer on the show and could be removed by production, never having the opportunity of being voted out by their roommates. It’s happened a few times before, mostly to violence-prone contestants, though.

Others on the message boards spew the same old tired right-wing “freedom of speech” garbage that they somehow think inoculates them from the consequences of their words. You can say what you want as long as you accept that there can be consequences: legal, career-wise, socially, etc. Freedom of speech is a myth.

Choose your words wisely when mouthing off. You never know who’s listening. And when you’re being watched 24/7, that includes a lot of people.