Want a Free Car? Throw a Party.

October 16, 2008

Today I’m heading over to the Saturn dealership to pick up a brand new car – for free.  And just how did I get this car?  I threw a party – a House Party to be exact.

House Party is a grass roots campaign that partners common people like me with companies trying to promote their products.  The companies send samples of their products to hosts (like me).  In turn hosts throw a party where they share the product – and sometimes other goodies – with friends.

The Saturn is a party favor for my latest House Party – the Saturn House Party.  The party is sponsored by Saturn to promote TLC’s new show Real Simple. Real Life.  As a host of the party I get a brand new Saturn for my use for the weekend.  I also got a gas card and a cookbook for entertaining.

All I had to do was throw a party for at least 10 of my friends on a given day (or sometimes they give you a range of dates to choose from).  In this case my friends will be gathering Friday night to view the premiere episode of Real Simple. Real Life.

But I’m not the only one who benefits, so do my friends.  In my care package from the sponsor are goodies for my guests.  For this party, they are getting canvas bags, water bottles, recipes, a coupon for an oil change and a discount offer for a subscription to Real Simple magazine.

This party is actually my third House Party.  The first was also for a television show.  In September 2007, I got to preview the Season 2 premiere of Friday Night Lights two weeks before it aired.  Party favors include megaphones, rally towels, kuzies and stadium seats.

Then last spring I hosted a party for Hershey’s Bliss – what’s better than a party for chocolate or for that matter any excuse to eat chocolate.  I combined two of my favorite things and we made our party into a wine and chocolate tasting.  My guests each brought a bottle of their favorite wine to share and Hershey provided the chocolate.  Each guest also got their share of chocolate to take home among other goodies.

That party was such a hit that it inspired my friends to host similar “tastings” – even without the free party favors.  In fact we just went to a beer tasting/cook out last month.

My friends love these parties too.  They are always asking me when I’ll be hosting another one.  As for me I love any excuse to throw a party.  And the swag is a bonus.

They have House Parties for everything.  You can view a list of upcoming parties at houseparty.com/events.

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Fall TV Premiere Schedule

September 11, 2008

I remember a time when the fall premieres last a week, maybe two.  Nowadays, the premieres go on for a couple months.  If you are like me it’s very hard to keep track of when your favorite shows return, let alone when the new shows start airing.

So in an effort to make your TV viewing pleasure easier, I’ve compiled a list of the premiere dates from various sources including TVGuide.com and TV Guide Magazine.  Hope this helps you find your favorites – new and old.

Thursday, September 11

8 p.m.
Hole in the Wall on Fox

9 p.m.
Kitchen Nightmares on Fox

Friday, September 12

9 p.m.
Don’t Forget the Lyrics! on Fox

Saturday, September 13

11 p.m.
Mad TV on Fox

11:35 p.m.
Saturday Night Live on NBC

Tuesday, September 14

9 p.m.
House on Fox

Thursday, September 18

8 p.m.
Survivor: Gabon on CBS
Smallville on CW

9 p.m.
Supernatural on CW

Sunday, September 21

7 p.m.
In Harm’s Way on CW

8 p.m.
Valentine on CW

9 p.m.
Easy Money on CW

Monday, September 22

8 p.m.
Dancing with the Stars on ABC
The Big Bang Theory on CBS

8:30 p.m.
How I Met Your Mother on CBS

9 p.m.
Heroes on NBC
Two and a Half Men on CBS

9:30 p.m.
Worst Week on CBS

10 p.m.
Boston Legal on ABC
CSI: Miami on CBS

Tuesday, September 23

8 p.m.
Opportunity Knocks on ABC
NCIS on CBS

9 p.m.
The Mentalist on CBS

10 p.m.
Without a Trace on CBS
Law & Order:SVU on NBC

Wednesday, September 24

8 p.m.
New Adventures of Old Christine on CBS
Knight Rider on NBC

8:30 p.m.
Gary Unmarried on CBS

9 p.m.
Criminal Minds on CBS

10 p.m.
CSI: New York on CBS
Lipstick Jungle on NBC

Thursday, September 25

8 p.m.
Ugly Betty on ABC
My Name is Earl on NBC

9 p.m.
Grey’s Anatomy on ABC
The Office on NBC

10 p.m.
ER on NBC

Sunday, September 28

7 p.m.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition on ABC

8 p.m.
Amazing Race 13 on CBS
The Simpsons on FOX

8:30 p.m.
King of Hill on Fox

9 p.m.
Desperate Housewives on ABC
Cold Case on CBS
Family Guy on Fox
Dexter on Showtime

9:30 p.m.
American Dad on Fox

10 p.m.
Brothers & Sisters on ABC
The Unit on CBS
Californication on Showtime

Monday, September 29

8 p.m.
Chuck on NBC

10 p.m.
Life on NBC (airs Monday and Fridays through Oct. 10 and moves to Fridays)

Wednesday, October 1

8 p.m.
Pushing Daisies on ABC
Friday Night Lights on DirecTV (doesn’t return to NBC on Fridays until midseason)

9 p.m.
Private Practice on ABC

10 p.m.
Dirty Sexy Money on ABC

Friday, October 3

8 p.m.
Wife Swap on ABC
Ghost Whisperer on CBS
Everybody Hates Chris on CW

8:30 p.m.
The Game on CW

9 p.m.
Supernanny on ABC
The Ex List on CBS

10 p.m.
Numbers on CBS

Monday, October 6

9:30 p.m.
Samantha Who? on ABC

Thursday, October 9

8:30 p.m.
Kath & Kim on NBC

9 p.m.
CSI on CBS

9:30 p.m.
Saturday Night Live Weekend Update Thursday on NBC

10 p.m.
Life on Mars on ABC
Eleventh Hour on CBS

Friday, October 10

10 p.m.
The Starter Wife on USA

Monday, October 13

10 p.m.
My Own Worst Enemy on NBC

Tuesday, October 14

10 p.m.
Eli Stone on ABC

Friday, October 17

8 p.m.
Crusoe on NBC

Wednesday, October 29

9 p.m.
Stylista on CW

Thursday, October 30

9:30 p.m.
30 Rock on NBC

Sunday, November 2

7:30 p.m.
Surviving Suburbia on CW

Already Premiered

Sunday
True Blood on HBO at 9 p.m.
Entourage on HBO at 10 p.m.

Monday
Gossip Girl on CW at 8 p.m.
Prison Break on Fox at 9 p.m.
Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles on Fox at 8 p.m.
One Tree Hill on CW at 9 p.m.
Raising the Bar on TNT at10 p.m.

Tuesdays
90210 on CW at 8 p.m.
The Biggest Loser: Families on NBC at 8 p.m.
Fringe on Fox at 9 p.m.
Greek on ABC Family at 9 p.m.
Privileged on CW at 9 p.m.
The Shield on FX at 10 p.m.

Wednesday
Bones on Fox at 8 p.m.
America’s Next Top Model on CW at 8 p.m.
Deal or No Deal on NBC at 9 p.m.
 ‘Til Death on Fox at 9 p.m.
Do Not Disturb on Fox at 9:30 p.m.

Friday
Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader on Fox at 8 p.m.

What show are you most looking forward to returning?  Supernatural and Chuck tops my list.


What Would You Do to Save Your Favorite Show?

February 28, 2008

Last year fans of Jericho set a precedent – the ability of fans to unite to save their favorite television series.  Since them Save Our Show campaigns have shown up everywhere.

Fans of Las Vegas are organizing Operation Baby Booty just to get NBC to recognize the need for a proper ending to the cliffhanger fans were left with when the show was abruptly cancelled at the end of the writer’s strike.

Friday Night Lights fans have launched a preemptive strike asking fellow viewers to send light bulbs to NBC to prevent cancellation.

Caveman enthusiasts even went so far as to ask supporters to send their own hair to ABC in an effort to keep the sitcom on the air.

As fans everywhere are racking their brains to come up with the wackiest campaign to save their favorite shows, I have to ask – what would you be willing to do to save your favorite show?  And which shows would you be willing to go the extra mile?


Valentine’s Day: The Best TV Couples

February 14, 2008

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I take a look at TV couples for shows airing this season (I’d say currently on TV, but with the strike we aren’t left with much but reality TV).  Here’s my rundown of the most romantic couples on TV today.

The TaylorsBest All Around Couple

Hands down, the best all around couple has to go to Eric and Tami Taylor (Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton) of Friday Night Lights.  This pair has to be the most realistic, but yet madly in love with each other couple on TV. 

In two seasons, we’ve seen them fight and we’ve seen them make up.  We’ve watched as they’ve handled issues around career, parenting, sex, money and even in-laws as a couple.  Whether it’s their witty dialogue or the sweet way they look at each other, Mr. and Mrs. Coach are the couple to be.

Charlie and AmitaSmartest Couple

The combined IQ of Numbers’ Charlie Epps (David Krumholtz) and Amita Ramanujan (Navi Rawat) has got to be through the roof.  But even when they talk about their relationship is terms of simulations and game theory algorithms, this couple is too cute together. 

Amita seems to know just when to give math genius Charlie space to figure out his latest calculation.  And Charlie never seems to underestimate Amita’s talents and has gone the extra mile to support her career advancement even if it might strain the relationship.

Jimmy and ChloeYoung Love

Smallville’s Chloe Sullivan (Allison Mack) might have had a crush on Clark Kent (Tom Welling) and his super hero ways, but I think she’s found her real match in Jimmy Olsen (Aaron Ashmore).  Together they are the perfect Daily Planet duo – an unrelenting reporter and her every faithful photographer.

What’s better than watching this pair tackle the news?  Watching them discover each other and their own feelings in their first real relationship.  Remember what it was like to be young and in love?

Honorable Mention:  It took the murder of a rapist to bring Friday Night Light’s Tyra Collette (Adrianne Palicki) and Landry Clarke (Jesse Plemons) together.  But bizarre plot twist aside, it’s been interesting to watch these two kids from different backgrounds find each other.

Angela and HodginsOddest Couple

If in the first season of Bones’ you told me that Angela Montenegro (Michaela Conlin) would give Dr. Jack Hodgins (T.J. Thyne) a second look, let alone get engaged to him, I would have laughed you out of the room.

But as the romance began to kindle in the second season I couldn’t help but cheer for Hodgins in his relentless pursuit of Angela.  Then when they embarked on the adventure to find Angela’s long lost first husband (she needs to get a divorce in order to marry Hodgins) and I watched the depth of their love unfold, I knew that this couple, as odd a combination as they are, were meant to be.

Honorable Mention:  When Las Vegas Mike Cannon (James Lesure) and Piper Nielsen (Camille Guaty) got drunk and did the ultimate Vegas cliché – got married – I was shocked at the pairing since neither had showed a significant amount of interest in the other.  But I cheered when the two decided to forgo an annulment and give the marriage a shot. 

Chuck and LouI Can See Them Together Couple

When Rachel Bilson turned up on Chuck as deli owner Lou, I was very excited that Chuck (Zachary Levi) might actually have a chance at a real relationship for a change.  But alas, he’s still hung up on his handler Sarah Walker (Yvonne Strahovski).

I continue to hold out hope that not only will Bilson return to resurrect her role as Lou, but that Chuck will finally realize that Sarah is not the right girl for him.

Honorable Mention:  The sexual tension between Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) is one of the reasons we tune into Bones each week.  But if the Christmas kiss is any indication of the depth of their attraction that we are in store for a great romance between the two some time in the future.

What’s your favorite TV couple past or present?


Is it Lights Out for Friday Night Lights?

February 12, 2008

Well it looks like we might have seen the last original episode ever of Friday Night Lights last Friday.  And if you’ve had a chance to see this fine drama, you’d agree this news is a travesty.

Friday Night LightsIn its second season, Friday Nights Lights, based loosely on the 2004 movie by the same name, is about a small Texas town obsessed with high school football.  But you don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy this drama about relationships. 

However, while football plays a background role in the show, it does provide a basis for the timing of the season, aligning with the high school football season.  In Friday’s episode, “May the Best Man Win,” we were still one or two games away from playoffs.

But it looks like the Dillon Panthers might not being finishing this season.  According to both TV Guide and Kristen at E, Friday Night Lights will have no more episodes produced this season and that the chance of the series returning in the fall is slim.

In fact, a campaign to save the show has already started requesting fans to send light bulbs to NBC execs to “keep the lights on” for Friday Night Lights.

But all hope might not be lost.  While Variety confirmed no more Lights this season, it said that NBC is looking for a way to bring back the show for a third season.

But I question if this is even possible.  First NBC banished Friday Night Lights to Friday night this season.  Sure the name lends it self to that schedule, but the fan-favorite was already struggling for ratings.

Now NBC is contemplating leaving the Panther storyline hanging in the middle of the season?  If Lights gets a third season is it going to pick up at the next school year? 

What happened to the last few games?  Did the Panthers make it to playoffs again?  Did they win the state title?  Sure football is secondary in this story, but the relationships are based on the dynamics of how they are dealing with each other among these major events (play offs, state championship).

What about all the characters?  (I’m avoiding going into specifics to prevent spoiling it for anyone who hasn’t watch the series completely yet.)  What happens to them?  More than eight months will take place in their lives between Friday’s episode and the start of their next school year.  Given that many of the characters are teens that’s a lot of time to just gloss over.

I know that networks think that viewers are a dime a dozen.  But after putting us through a three-month strike, you’d think they’d show us a little love.  Networks want viewers to show loyalty.  How about a little loyalty for viewers?

NBC please give Friday Night Lights and the Panthers a chance to wrap up their season that way when you finally come to your senses and grant the show a third season, it’ll be ready to make a nice clean start.


Host a Pep Rally for the Second Season of Friday Night Lights

August 26, 2007

NBC is giving the under-rated show, Friday Night Lights, its own little boost to kick off the second season — a pep rally of sorts.  On September 14, Together with Houseparty.com, NBC is asking 1000 fans to host Friday Night Lights house parties to preview the second season opener.  You supply the TV, they’ll supply the popcorn.

Friday Night LightsTo help get the party started, so to speak, NBC will send to the selected hosts DVDs with the season opener and select episodes from Season 1.  But no pep rally would be complete without some cool giveaways.  NBC will also be providing rally towels, stadium seat cushions, cups, koozies, megaphones and yes, even popcorn.

If you are interested in signing up, visit Houseparty.com.  Otherwise, tune into the season premiere on Friday, October 5 at 9 p.m. on NBC. 

In the meantime, you can pick up the first season on DVD Tuesday, August 28.  And NBC is so sure that you’ll like it, they are offering a money-back guarantee.  That’s saying a lot about the show.


My Top 15 Cult Shows

July 3, 2007

On Friday, TVguide.com released an updated list of its Top 30 Cult Shows ever.  In honor of the list, I’ve compiled my own Top 15 cult shows — these are the top cult shows that I’ve personally flipped out for.

I didn’t feel like I could include LostHeroes or Bones on this list because they seemed too mainstream for me. 

Here’s my Top 15 list:

15. Star Trek — I grew up on the original series.  Scotty was always my favorite character.  I’ve seen all the subsequent series and all the movies. 

14.  Torchwood — Who doesn’t love Captain Jack Harkness?  I was so happy when they gave him his own series.

13.  Doctor Who — I don’t remember the older versions of this franchise, but the latest rendition is absolutely great.

12.  Psych — Dule Hill and James Roday keep me in stitches with their fake psychic business and buddy friendship.

11.  Monk — The escapades of USA’s favorite obsessive-compulsive detective are enough to make anyone feel normal by comparison.

10. Quantum Leap — I had a little crush on Scott Bakula and wouldn’t miss an episode of his time traveling adventures.

9.  Friday Night Lights — You don’t have to love football to fall for the witty dialogue and great stories in this drama.

8.  How I Met Your Mother — One word.  Barney.  He makes this show.

7.  Eureka — You’ve just got to love this quirky little town of the brightest minds.

6.  Battlestar Galactica — I barely remember the original, but the current version has me on the edge of my seat.

5.  X-Files — My husband introduced this series to me when we were dating.  We spent many Friday nights during our courtship curled up on the couch watch Scully and Mulder unravel a case.  For that reason, this series will always have a special place in my heart. 

4.  Firefly — Joss Whedon has me begging for more exploits of Mal and the crew of the Serenity.  A single season of this space cowboy adventure was not enough.  Thank goodness for the movie and the comics. 

3.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer — Joss Whedon’s original television series kept me hooked all seven seasons and further if you count the comics.   I loved to tune in each week to watch Buffy and the Scooby Gang save the world.

2.  Angel — David Boreanaz is very easy on the eyes.  I loved to watch the brooding vampire with a soul team up with Cordelia, Wes, Gunn and others to save the innocent.  I even have the puppet Angel from “Smile Time.”

1.  Supernatural — Currently my favorite show, I love to watch the good-looking brothers Dean (Jensen Ackles) and Sam (Jared Padelecki) battle urban legends and things that go bump in the night while driving the beautiful 1967 black Chevy Impala. 

So now it’s your turn.  What’s on your list?