Top 5 Tuesdays: TV Shows

Our weekly “Top 5 Tuesday” column of random stuff. This list comes from Parker Hageman.

For this week’s #Top5Tuesday, I decided to list my five favorite TV shows dating back to 2010 but first a sick brag: I don’t watch a lot of TV. Not in the super douchey “we don’t OWN a TV” way or in the “I’d rather read a book or take a walk outside” total jabroni move, no, it’s just that time won’t allow it once you start procreating. With my commitment split between child-raising and attempting to watch all 162 Minnesota Twins games a year (plus spring training), there is little time to spend in from of the warm glow of the ol’ Vizio.

Now, I could find ways to maximize my TV consumption – like add a TV in the kitchen like Dan did – but I was raised in a family that almost forbade watching TV during dinner. My family went to great lengths to make sure we didn’t spend too much time around the tube. My Dad would famously cancel the cable during the school year to keep us from the temptation of vegging out. Later, when I was in high school and he was sick of calling to cancel and then re-up, he installed a padlock on the room in our house with the only cable box in it, keeping it secured until homework was completed. Think about that. That’s some hardcore suburban parenting. That’s probably modern day child abuse.

I like TV a lot. I do. I just don’t love it. These shows, however, I have made a point to record to watch. Here are my Top 5 TV shows since 2010:

  1. The Walking Dead

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Definitely not perfect. Over the years, I’ve noticed I have spent a lot of time scrolling my phone for extended periods when the show delves into some filler backstory or tries to give eventual zombie food some character depth but there is enough to keep me coming back each week. I think it is because I’m enamored by the makeup, the special effects and the squeamish predicaments the characters are in like Rick hiding underneath a tank as an entire city of walkers tries to claw at him while he contemplates blowing his brains out for a brief moment.

I’m also mesmerized by the fact that this series is set in modern time but there is nary a mention of the word “zombie”. Like, pop culture is rotten with zombie shows and movies and pub crawls. If this sort of event were to suddenly happen – the dead coming back to life and eating people – wouldn’t someone be like “I’ll be damned, zombies. Just like all those movies. Oh sweet irony.”

Now with 6 seasons, the show is suffering from a little repetitiveness as each season seems to follow a similar arc: Rick lead’s the survivors to a safe spot. The safe spot is not that safe. They have to leave that safe spot. Main characters dies or causes an issues when they make a supply run. The current season sort of deviates away from that, choosing to follow one event from several different viewpoints rather than a linear storyline.

  1. Justified

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Based on an Elmore Leonard short story “Fire In The Hole”, the series follows US Deputy Marshal Raylan Givans, played by Timothy Olyphant (who is playing a young Clint Eastwood), trying to take down the criminal underworld of rural Kentucky. (Well, it is set in rural Kentucky but, c’mon, we all know that is Southern California which pisses me off to no end.)

While there are some running storylines and reoccurring characters, the show is one that often wrapped things up neatly at the end of each episode which, for me, is usually lame. FX’s Justified brought in a glut secondary criminals that kept the show fresh – Jere Burns’ Wynn Duffy, Mykelti Williamson’s Ellstin Limehouse, Michael Rapaport’s Daryl Crowe Jr and Sam Elliott’s Avery Markham to name a few. Of course, it took the full 78 episodes to track down the show’s main bad guy. Walton Goggins’ portrayal of scripture-spoutin’ bad guy Boyd Crowder is one of the best antagonists created in a long time. At some points you root for him, at others, he’s so smarmy that you want to choke him.

Series creator, Graham Yost, cut his teeth in the TV business by writing for the late 1980s-early 1990s Nickelodeon series “Hey Dude”. He also wrote Speed, Broken Arrow and Speed 2: Cruise Control. So there’s your Justified trivia for the day.

  1. Fargo

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Dark but with plenty of humor, Fargo has quickly become my favorite running TV show. Created by Noah Hawley whose credits include novels rather than script writing, the first season was good but compared to where it went for the current second season there is no comparison of how much stronger the show is now. The inaugural season followed a plot that felt similar to the movie – even tying in the ice scraper-in-the-snow-field where Steve Buscemi buried the money in the Coen Brothers’ flick. Martin Freeman’s Lester Nygaard is essentially William Macy’s Jerry Lundegaard but there are new additions. Billy Bob Thornton played a terrific assassin. All good.

This season is still playing out but it is an absolute gem. Tied loosely to the original season through an event referenced as “Sioux Falls”, this season goes back to 1979 for an all-out bloodbath between a crime family from Fargo (the Gerhardts) and the KC mob trying to take over the Gerhardts’ territory. Caught in between are Peggy and Ed Blumquist (Kristen Dunst and Jesse Plemons), your run-of-the-mill couple from Lavurne, Minnesota (one of the great aspects of this show is the references to various towns in Minnesota that no one outside of the state knows exists). Great writing is the hallmark of the series but if you watch one scene from this show, make sure to watch the opener to the seventh episode, “Did you do this? No, you did!”

  1. Mad Men

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From beginning to end, this series felt like the most complete show ever produced. It gave viewers what felt like a realistic glance into a 1960s workplace, family and community. The characters were all amazing. I’m still not sure I understood everything that was said but I feel smarter for having watched it.

  1. Breaking Bad

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There are a lot of shows which start with promise but then fizzle out they try to figure out ways to extend the series. Lost is the epitome of that. Fantastic concept but it quickly struggled to maintain a cohesive narrative with all the plot lines it shot out early in the show. Still, the episode Expose in the 3rd season might be my favorite despite the reaction of the regular viewers and critics who considered it a “waste of time” because it failed to move the story forward. To me, the Hickcockian/Twilight Zone-y tale of being buried alive was a much needed change of pace for the series that had grown repetitive. (That said, the show dragggggged on for another few years and was capped off by a poorly conceived finale, at which point most of America had already checked out.)

I bring that episode up because it was Lost’s 63rd episode overall. Breaking Bad, on the other hand, was able to tell the entire story of Walter White in just 62 crisp episodes.

Like Lost, there was a few “filler” episodes. Season 3’s “Fly” was not considered an audience favorite but critics loved the idea. While cooking meth in Gus’s industrial warehouse, Walter White notices a fly and becomes obsessed with contamination of his facilities. Symbolism, ya know.

Some of Breaking Bad’s plots and scenes were damn near torturous. There were moments of stomach-turning tension thinking that at any minute his DEA brother-in-law or a various drug lord would arrest or kill Heisenberg, Jesse or one of their loved ones. Then there was the transformation of White from the hero into the villain or his change from “Mr Chips to Scarface” as show creator Vince Gilliam put it. The 2013 series finale was a perfect end to what was a very good series.

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Top 5 Tuesdays: TV Shows

What Are We Thankful For?

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  • Bat flips.
  • Cargo shorts. (Parker)
  • Giants sunflower seeds (but none of those super gross flavored ones, don’t be gross).
  • 10-minutes of alone time in the bathroom to scroll Twitter before having to deal with real life stuff.
  • Miguel Sano.
  • Sugar Daddy’s Parking Lot updates.
  • Mesh basketball jerseys, bro tanks, and gym shorts. (Dan)
  • Taco night.
  • Podcast listeners. (Hi Adam and Dan’s Mom!)
  • Blue mountains on Coors Light cans.
  • That time we didn’t have audio problems.
  • Baby-friendly breweries and bars.
  • GIFs. (Parker)
  • 8+ hours of uninterrupted sleep.
  • JL Beers burgers with an egg on top.
  • That new Adele album. She’s an angel. [insert fire emoji here]
  • Fire emojis.
  • The St. Paul Saints for letting us try to catch home run balls and Matt Dewolf for filming.
  • Kent Hrbek.
  • Super cool wives that let us talk into microphones about sports.
  • Not drafting Johnny Manziel.
  • Teams with records above .500.
What Are We Thankful For?

EARLY OFFSEASON BONANZA

The guys start the show by discussing how the Twins entered the offseason like a person hopped up on angel dust jumping out of a four-story building. They landed a Korean superstar, they traded a backup catcher and they flipped their starting center fielder to the New York Yankees. Will this make the Twins better in 2016?

Later, GopherHole.com’s Nadine Babu joins the show to provide an insider’s perspective to the happenings of the University of Minnesota’s football program. The takeaway? The Tim Brewster Era was a mess.

They answer your Twitter questions and Dan gives his music opinions.

Listen up.

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EARLY OFFSEASON BONANZA

Hunter’s Goodbye, World Series Thoughts and More

The guys revisit the 2015 World Series and discuss the pivotal decisions in Game 5 that led to the Royals victory over the Mets. Parker gives his reaction to the Torii Hunter retirement press conference. They talk about the Gophers football program. They both state on record they like Karl-Anthony Towns. Dan visits Missour-a.

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Listen up.

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Hunter’s Goodbye, World Series Thoughts and More

Top 5 Tuesdays: Running With Gleeman’s Pack

**Our weekly “Top 5 Tuesday” column of random stuff. This list comes from NBC Sports Hardball Talk columnistGleeman & The Geek host, local brunch enthusiast and hoops lover Aaron Gleeman**

OK. Since I went to the Wolves game last night, five best Wolves players:

5. Shabazz Muhammad
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4. Kevin Martin
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3. Ricky Rubio
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2. Andrew Wiggins
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1. Karl-Anthony Towns

Towns blocks a Lillard shot.

It is very weird to me that so many people (maybe just on Twitter) have turned against Andrew Wiggins because he had a bad week, basically. Almost every time I watch Shabazz Muhammad it seems to me he should play a lot more, so it’s possible I’m crazy about that. And also Karl-Anthony Towns is amazing.

For more from Aaron Gleeman, be sure to follow him on Twitter and check out his two appearances on the No Juice Podcast, here and here
Top 5 Tuesdays: Running With Gleeman’s Pack

Terry Ryan’s Offseason Planning

Parker interviewed Terry Ryan again and we broke it down***. We also talked about the sad passing of Flip Saunders and about how cancer can go fuck itself. Twins, Vikings, some Wolves talk. Then we broke down the 2010 NFC Championship game again for some terrible reason. Remember that one bad throw?

***You can read the full interview in Twins Daily’s 2016 Offseason Handbook

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Terry Ryan’s Offseason Planning

Playoffs, Bat Flips and the Offseason

The guys talk about the 2015 MLB playoffs, including Jose Bautista’s internet-breaking bat flip. They discuss the Twins Daily interview with Terry Ryan and rehash a five-year-old interview with Twins assistant GM Rob Antony. And they answer the all-important question of where and when you should BYOB.

Listen up.

Playoffs, Bat Flips and the Offseason

Top 5 Tuesdays: Best Fake Songs

Our weekly “Top 5 Tuesday” column of random stuff. This list comes from Parker Hageman.

I was watching Wet Hot American Summer: The First Day of Camp for the hundredth time again this weekend because (a) it is a good show and (b) Netflix is slowly stealing our lives from us as part of their diabolical plan to keep us from experiencing life.

Either way, the soundtrack to WHAS (more on that later) was almost completely made up but still sounded good. This made me think of all the “made up” or “fake” songs from movies and where they ranked. Here are my Top 5 Fake Songs.

5. “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp”, DJay and Shug

This song feature in the film Hustle & Flow, a movie that followed DJay, a pimp and drug dealer, and his pregnant prostitute, Shrug, around as they go through the creative process of being Southern rappers, was written by Three 6 Mafia, eventually won the Best Original Song Oscar award in 2006. This one falls in the grey area since, technically, it was a “fake” song but has been performed by an actual recording group.

4. “Fever Dog”, Stillwater

In Almost Famous, the fictional 1970s up-and-coming rock band Stillwater — based on several bands including Poco, The Allman Brothers, Led Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd — is rising in the charts. One of the numbers from the movie is “Fever Dog” which was actually written by director Cameron Crowe (whose experiences of following bands for Rolling Stone in the early 1970s the movie is based on) as well as his wife, Ann Wilson, formerly of the band Heart. The couple supposedly wrote the songs on their honeymoon in 1986 with the idea that someday they would create this move.

3. “Going Up”, Infant Sorrow

Sure, Infant Sorrow’s “Inside of You” is funnier (what with lyrics like “Through and through/And through and through/There’s so much more than just a screw/Inside of you”) but when Jonah Hill finally gets Russell Brand to the Greek, Brand’s Aldous Snow opens with “Going Up” — a song that was written by the talented Jason Segal and movie composer Lyle Workman (who also did the soundtrack to the underrated Jon Favreau/Vince Vaughn movie, Made). You know what? It kinda jams.

2. “Stand Up”, Steel Dragon

Twins fans may remember this as Joe Nathan’s entrance music at the Metrodome but the song came from the fictional group Steel Dragon in the 2001 movie, Rock Star. While Mark Wahlberg became the frontman to a famous (and fake) 1980s hair band, the band was actually comprised of some real musicians including Zakk Wylde (from Ozzy Osbourne and Black Label Society), Jason Bonham (son of the late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham) and Jeff Pilson (Foreigner’s bassist). “Stand Up” was actually written by Sammy Hagar who later included it in his 2002 “Not 4 Sale” album. I was tempted to put in “We All Die Young” but it turns out the song was originally from a band called Steelheart and appeared on their 1996 “Wait” album.

1. “I Am The Wolf, You Are The Moon”, Craig Wedren

This is the song that inspired this list. For fans of the movie Wet Hot American Summer, you might have noted that the soundtrack was filled with some songs like Jefferson Starship’s “Jane” — the opening and main theme that rocks so hard — but other obscure 1980s tunes like “Higher & Higher” that iTunes searches don’t ping anything back, and for good reason too: They were completely made up by Craig Wedren.

Fast forward to the Netflix series for Wet Hot American Summer:The First Day Of Camp, in the second to last episode, Paul Rudd’s character is strumming a guitar surrounded by the rest of Camp Firewood’s counselors as he croons a song as the counselors add in the background and chime in with the chorus. It has the vibe of a “Piano Man” or “Crazy Game Of Poker” (of the most recent generation) that somehow everyone just knows. It felt like somehow this song fell into my musical blindspot. Turns out, Wedren wrote the song specifically for the series.

Top 5 Tuesdays: Best Fake Songs

The End.

The Minnesota Twins completed their first winning season since 2010 on Sunday and the guys reviewed the year, presented their team awards and revisited their over/unders they set during the offseason.

They talk about the parallels to the 2005 season in which the Twins finished with the same 83-79 record only to return in 2006 and win 96 games. Can the 2016 follow suit? With the right moves, it is entirely possible. Be sure to slap your lawn chair down in front of Brit’s Pub to get the front spot for the 2016 World Series parade.

WATCH PARKER’S FINAL #STARSHIP VIDEO:

Other talk includes the Minnesota Vikings, CC Sabathia’s big decision, daily fantasy football sites and more.

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The End.