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April 08, 2014 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-04-08

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The Michigan Daily - miichigaidaily.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 - 5

"Did the president call?"
'Veep' continues to
roll in new season

Even they look bored
'Friends with Better
Lves raditnal fare

Hilarity ensues as
Selina begins her
presidential campaign
Daily Arts Writer
Just like "Game of Thrones,"
the other returning HBO Sunday
favorite, "Veep," has always been
a show about
power. Vice
President Selina
Meyer (Julia Veep
"Seinfeld") often Season
misfires and
rarely seems to Premiere
have it together, HBO
but when it
comes down to
it, Selina is ruthless. She lives for
the moments when a higher-up
falls ill and jumps at the chance to
occupy a vacated post of authority.
She's the comedy version of Kevin
Spacey's Frank Underwood in
"House of Cards" - she'd do
anything to ascend the throne.
But thankfully, "Veep" isn't
just a show about angsty men and
political conspiracy. Its rapid-fire
jokes and sardonic humor point to
showrunner Armando Ianinucci's
well-honed British sense of humor.
It's dark without resorting to plot
contrivances and its biting satire of
American government is spot-on.
Selina is power-hungry and often
ridiculous, but underneath her
silly antics she is just really good
at her job. She's a master at playing

the game.
Season three brings us to Selina
on the campaign trail, promoting
her new book "Some New
Beginnings: Our Next American
Journey" (she comments on the
lame title, but says that the other
options she was given were far
worse) while also tryingto suck up
to the good citizens of the nation's
premier caucus state: Iowa. Selina
is usually at the top of her game
when faced with acrowd of people
(and an assistant at her side), but
with most of her staff attending
coworker Mike's wedding,
Selina is thrown. Replacing the
freakishly attentive Gary (Tony
Hale, "Arrested Development"),
who even at the wedding
continues to facilitate small talk,
is a less-skilled wannabe who tells
the long line of patrons at Selina's
book signing that she is helping
a senator with very important
and very dire problems. His weak
excuses are especially hilarious
because he seems to be the only
character on "Veep" who isn't
flawlessly successful at navigating
the political machine.
Even at the wedding (which
is between Selina's director of
communications and a reporter),
politics rule. Groom Mike (Matt
Walsh, "'The Hangover") requires
the attendees to place their
phones in a bowl so the guests
are not distracted, but when Gary
gets a call during his speech,
chaos takes over. Thanks to a leak
from everyone's favorite piece of
garbage, Dan Egan, (Reid Scott,
"My Boys"), everyone learns that

the president will not be running
for reelection, and even in the
midst of Mike's wedding, the
politicians and staff can't help but
reach for their phones and keep
up with the news. But even Mike,
who is often the butt of the joke
for obsessing over his boat and his
(probably fake) dog, is energized
by the news. He graciously allows
his guests to grab their phones
out of the bowl and even engages
in some calls and news briefs
himself. Just like everyone else,
politics is his life.
The urgency of the presidential
campaign gives the season three
premiere a much-needed jolt.
While past episodes were always
strong, the humor often derived
from the claustrophobic setting
of Selina's office and the stagnant
opportunities. Dan and Amy were
antsy for promotions that meant
little, White House liason Jonah
(the fabulous Timothy Simons)
marched around the place like a
dictator and Selina had nothing
better to do than spin around in
her office chair. But the ultimate
test of Selina's willpower and
political prowess comes from the
opportunity for real power. The
new sense of urgency is palpable
even in the premiere. This is
Selina's one chance at the throne,
and if she fails, the loyalty of Dan,
Amyand Garyis likelyto snap. But
as of right now, Selina's the golden
girl of D.C. and has the tenacity
and determination to make it
through this campaign. Whether
she succeedsor not, the results are
sure to be hilarious.

Daily Arts Writer
"Friends with Better Lives,"
which premiered last Monday
at 8:30 p.m. on CBS, follows six
very different
young friends
and their
constant Friends
tendency With
to compare
and despair. Better
Although Lives
the title of
the show Series
may seem to
suggest a story Premiere
about friends, CBS
the focus is far
more centered
on their various rocky romantic
The characters, set up to be
friends from college living in
the same unspecified city, have
arrived at very different phases
of life. There is the married
couple and new parents, bored
with their (non-existent) sex-
life, who feel their days of youth
moving further away, and their
counterpart, a hot new couple,
played by Brooklyn Decker and
Rick Donald. Both are made
to look like they just stepped
on a Hawaiian beach after a
day of surfing and sunbathing.
While Decker sometimes
feels more like a prop than an
actress, Donald's character, an

bag and
"I su
a stere
is a str
very mu
are sing
and th
dater, a
is a s
the veh
can't cc
the sho
It is

ian, hippy hunk (overly this group of friends came to be
i and of questionable living in the same city, let alone
ence) is an easy punching came to be friends at all given
never fails to draw out a their differences and sometimes
obvious lack of chemistry. on
rf, I garden, I love," he top of the unlikelihood of their
s at one point, embodying friendship, it is even harder to
otype of trendy young understand how they manage
today with the kind of to regularly gather in the living
that appeals to a younger room of a married couple every
e, the way that other Friday night to chat about
like "Girls" does. This dates and sex. This recurring
ength for a series that is situation on the show seems
ach a sitcom - a segment highly unlikely in reality.
ly preferred by an older Sitcoms are challenging. It
ion of viewers. can be hard to strike a balance
between good humor and good
plot. It is easy for episodes and
conflicts to feel repetitive and
:hing Better jokes recycled. As a result,
it can be difficult to hook in
about new a fan base. That being said,
B S cornedy recent shows like "How I Met
Y Your Mother" and "Parks and
Recreation" have managed
to do just that. "Friends with
Better Lives" would do well
remaining two friends to learn from them. Looking
tle, one recently divorced ahead, it will be important
e other an impossibly that the setting varies and new
t dater. The difficult characters are brought in for
young workingwoman, fresh material.
lightly more irritating On the whole, this is an
er, however seems to be easy and entertaining watch,
ile for most of the punch but it does not, however, offer
Reviewing the dating anything that we have not
of Kate (Zoe Lister- seen before. So, if you like
'Whitney"), the one who predictability and the genre,
tmmit, provides some of "Friends With Better Lives"
w's funniest moments. could be your new Monday
hard to imagine how night pleasure.

'Vatican' blasts metal

Daily Arts Writer
Therehecomes, walkingonto
the stage in "Game of Thrones"
fashion, - with facial hair too
long even by
rock 'n' roll
standards and
clothes that Catacombs
seem to have
lastedthrough of the
the 1900s. His Black
band looks Vatican
old, worn
out from Black Label
years of tour
bus pastries Society
and stage eOne
falls, with
instruments that look like they
came out of Amazon boxes.
But then, out of the silence,
a guitar string reverberates.
And then another. And then
a drum beat comes in, only to
be accompanied by the rest of
the band in a unison unheard
of by most millennials. The
crowd screams, still not letting
their voices - overpower the
orchestral metal that they
would be granted over the next
Twenty five years into his
career, Zakk Wylde seems to
still have it all. Fashioned by
years of experience in both
solo and collaborative careers,
Wylde has once again brought
his technical proficiency and
his knack for constructing
elaborate rock 'n' roll to his
band, Black Label Society.
Its latest release, Catacombs
of the Black Vatican, isn't
anything you haven't heard
before from Black Label
Society. In fact, it follows the

same fo
way in
that are
of Gray
place e
many o
and ui

rmat - each track loops in its steady pulse to keep
h an enduring guitar listeners till the end.
Three quarters of the While Catacombs of the
to the song, there's a Black Vatican may have tracks
me riff. Yet no two tracks that are far more memorable
the same. In fact, Black and intuitively constructed
Society seems to have than the heavy metal and rock
d its bases, with songs music making its mark today,
thematically varied and Black Label Society has lost
cally assorted. some of the grace and charm it
combs of the Black hadthe turn of the 21st century.
has something for When Sonic Brew was released
ne. Impassioned in 1999, Wylde's proficiency on
draws on country slide multiple instruments ensured
to resonate to ballad- that all of its sounds were
g fans, and "Shades equitably featured throughout
y" closes off the album the album's tracks. The album
melancholy, showing was difficult to place in any one
emotions have their genre, as each track seemed to
yen in an album where contain elements belonging
if its lyrics go mumbled to different categorizations.
nnoticed. No track is "Born to Lose" started off
Even the acoustically with a slow, hard metal, only
to transition into rhythmic
rock 'n' roll, similar to what
c i you would have heard from
No track is Wolfmother back in the day.
In contrast, "Spoke in the
simple. Wheel" brought out the softer
tones in Wylde's voice and
the Jersey twangs in Wylde's
pronunciations, backed by
icted "Angel of Mercy" nothing other than acoustic
rates more instruments plucking.
an count on my fingers. CatacombsoftheBlack Vatican
e same time, Black Label is less hyped. It's less weighty,
isn't afraid to show that with tracks that fall more under
s business. Every ballad the category of heavy rock than
more eccentric track metal, and its guitars are less
ollows, spontaneously distorted, accompanied by more
g between keys and articulated vocals and explicit
coming together in lyrics. At the same time, it's
m of a record that never refreshing. Wylde stays true to
o keep you surprised. his roots as heavy metal vocalist
the Flood" is chaos, but and guitarist to incorporate
anized one at that. "My its technical elements of bass-
Time," the first single laden instrumental harmonies
album, and "Believe" and fast riff transitions to rock.
lately hook, with No, it's not innovative. But
instrumental variation it's still so damn good.


than I c
At th
it mean
has a
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