How I Met Your Mother – “Last Words”: Better Than Crocodile Dundee 3

As I start to review episodes for the first time I’ll most likely begin the initial review of a series with some background info stating my relationship with the series and feelings on it’s current state.

I originally got into How I Met Your Mother just as season 2 was nearing its end.  I heard a lot of positive feedback about the series for some time and decided to catch the first few episodes to see how it was.  By the time I reached the episode “Ok Awesome” I was completely sold. I immediately ordered the first season on Amazon and devoured the sitcom as quickly as possible.  My next move was to watch the first few episodes with my brother and close friends to which they soon got hooked.  I continued to spread the show around but as season three continued the show became something different.  The sweet romantic Ted Mosby was replaced by what the showrunners in retrospect refer to as Outlaw Ted, notable by his trademark cowboy style shirt (seriously go back and watch, he wears the same cowboy shirt like every other episode).  This new Ted had a goal to hook up with as many girls as possible and just have numerous flings and one-time things.  Though it wasn’t just his character that lost it’s romantic touch, rather the entire series seemed to take a slight dive.

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Dexter – Season 5: Lather, Rinse, Repeat

As part of my winter catch up I marathoned through Dexter’s fifth season and decided to write my overall thoughts on this killer but frustratingly formulaic series. Spoilers for the entire season.

I loved Dexter’s first season. Instantly I was intrigued by the premise and was fascinated by Michael C. Hall’s performance as the titular character.  But like many others I found the following seasons typically a let down. With a premise that holds so much potential over time I’ve realized that the show will never be as good as it could be. It’s very much a formula with every finale wrapping the season up tightly with a little bow making the last episode fairly anti-climatic. With the first season it felt acceptable, and was in fact quite enjoyable seeing Dexter’s fantasy of being cheered on by everyone around him, but with season two it was a disappointment.  Season three continued the trend pretty closely with a neat, fairly boring finale (though I’m less harsh on it than most critics as I enjoyed the idea of Dexter gaining a friend and somewhat liked Miguel Prado, or at least the idea of him).  And then came season four, which although I felt took time to get going (the only thing from the first few episodes I recall was a fairly random plot of Dexter crashing his car due to sleep deprivation) it knocked the ball at of the park towards the end with what was a thrilling finale, and best yet one that left things tremendously messy for Dexter, quite literally.

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Branding The Cattle: Assessing Product Integration In Modern Television

Community (NBC)- “Basic Rocket Science”

Preface: The following is an essay I wrote in October for my Intro To College Writing course with the topic of advertising and branding. I focused on product placement and integration talking about areas such as The Office and KFCs October advertising on Community, Running Wilde, and The Good Guys.

Coke or Pepsi? At first this might come off as a seemingly simple question, but rather it is one that can tell a great deal about a person.  Someone who drinks Coke relishes in nostalgia, it takes them back to being a little kid and grabbing an icy cool Coca-Cola bottle out of the fridge.  On the other hand a Pepsi drinker is someone who enjoys being hip and staying up to date with modern trends.  The product is essentially the same, yet the market and advertising is completely different.  It’s not the product that matters much, but rather the brand.

In 2002 the UK business magazine The Economist ran an article titled Who’s Wearing The Trousers? that directly captures this style of marketing, “The new marketing approach is to build a brand not a product – to sell a lifestyle or a personality, to appeal to emotions.”  Advertisements try to convey this in quick thirty-second spots, attempting to derive emotion from situations with little or no context.  Needless to say this is a difficult task and one that is becoming less and less important when compared to rising use of a tactic known as production integration.  Product integration, also known as product placement, involves placing existing merchandise into a TV show to help further get a brand’s name out. By directly incorporating products into television shows the item becomes apart of a character’s life and can be a factoring point in creating their fictitious personality.  An ad can sell a product, but it’s product integration that can truly help sell a lifestyle brand.  And if done right, product placement can be an exceptional way to get an item on consumers’ mind without them even noticing.

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