DVD Review “Peppa Pig: Sunny Vacation”

Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: August 2, 2016
Run Time: 60 minutes

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

I have seen literally every single episode of Pegga Pig due to my 4 year old’s love for this show. Actually let me fix that statement, I have seen every every of Peppa Pig numerous times. But honestly, I never get tired of it. “Peppa Pig: Sunny Vacation” is the latest DVD release in this series. It includes a 4-Part Special + 8 Fun-Packed Peppasodes! It is all based around the family taking trips. The episodes are fun and even though we have seen them over and over they are still great to watch.

Official Premise: It’s time for a special Family Holiday! Join Peppa Pig, her little brother George, Mummy Pig and Daddy Pig on their fun-filled trip abroad. Peppa is enjoying all of the sights and sounds of Italy, but she also can’t wait to go home and see her friends! Little ones will love the four-part sunny adventure and the rest of this cheery peppasode collection.

The 12 episodes included are “Flying on Holiday”, “The Holiday House”, “Holiday in the Sun”, “End of the Holiday”, “Potato City”, “The New House”, “Basketball”, “Mr. Fox’s Shop”, “Grampy Rabbit’s Dinosaur Park”, “Lost Keys”, “The Aquarium” and “The Sandpit”. Can’t wait till the next themed release for this fun and cute series! Can I request another Halloween or Christmas themed DVD?

Glenn Howerton on the Ninth Season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia began it’s ninth season this month on new network FXX.  Four episodes in and it’s clear that the gang from Paddy’s Pub is just as dysfunctional as fans have come to expect. Executive producer and writer, Glenn Howerton, who plays Dennis Reynolds, held a phone conference to talk about the show’s new season.

Seeing as last season’s opener played up a significant prop from Charlie and Frank’s apartment (a dog painted by Hitler), I wondered about something viewers can spot in Dennis and Mac’s home:

Lauren Damon: I love the fact that there’s a prominent Hulk hand on the TV in Dennis and Mac’s apartment. Is that Dennis’s, Mac’s, or is it just because everyone has anger management problems? 
Glenn Howerton: “I don’t know whose that is.  I mean, that’s one of those things where early on in the series we had a set decorator, they decorated the apartment to have all this stuff in it, and we just never changed it.  So, really, a lot of those things weren’t deliberate decisions at all.  The only deliberate decisions we’ve made, in terms of our apartment, were probably when you go into Mac’s room and you see that it’s pretty sparse, and there’s just this crucifix on the wall, and like a picture of his dad.  But, all that stuff, it’s just ridiculous because now, us being in like our mid-thirties, it looks like the apartment that, you know, two 19-year-olds would share together, which I actually think is kind of funny.”

Accidental Hulk hands aside, Howerton did reveal in a recent Reddit AMA that he would be interested in playing The Riddler from Batman if given the opportunity.

Have you ever pursued or been pursued, for any of those big budget superhero films?
Howerton: “Not really… Let’s see, I think ten years ago, I auditioned for the Superman reboot, and that was about like two years before that actually came out, the one with Brandon Routh.  But, that was before Sunny.  And then, I did audition recently for the Guardians of the Galaxy, to play the role that Chris Pratt is playing.  I know that the director of that movie, supposedly, is a big Sunny fan, which is cool.  But, usually, they’re already looking for some giant movie star to play those roles.

I certainly don’t have anything against doing something like that.  I have to admit, I really do enjoy playing bad guys, and extremely evil people, which is why it’s a lot of fun for me to play Dennis, or at least the challenge is making Dennis, you know, likable even though he’s such a despicable person.  I think playing something like The Riddler would definitely feel like it was in my wheelhouse.”

LD: One of my favorite things about Dennis, is that he such an incredible sociopath kind-of character, and I was wondering if you could talk about what do you think are some of the creepiest things he’s done in the series, and is there anything we can look forward to him getting up to in the rest of this season?
Howerton: “You know, it’s a funny question for me to try and answer because we do work very, very hard to—I guess you could argue that things like having the conversation about ‘the implication’ is pretty dark [from the season 6 episode “The Gang Buys a Boat”].  But, it’s weird, I get a little bit defensive about that, because in a way, for as dark as it is, I think the character does make it very, very clear that he wouldn’t ever actually hurt these women.  He just wants them to think that the possibility of them getting hurt is there, so he can get his way.  It’s still dark, but I’d say that’s one of the darker things.

Last season, in order to stay in character as playing this Ryan LeFevre personality that Dennis was playing, I almost—well, not me, but my character almost had sex with, like, a small Asian caddy, just to see how far he would be willing to take this whole thing.  So, yes, he’s definitely come very close to crossing some lines that you don’t really recover from, but, yes, there’s definitely going to be some more of that this year.  It’s sort of the nature of the character at this point.”

Howerton’s discussion came not only the morning after the primetime Emmy Awards, for which Sunny continued to be inexplicably unrecognized, but also on the heels of the season’s third episode “The Gang Tries Desperately to Win an Award” which saw the gang attempt to conform to ‘normal’ restaurant standards to impress the TV-Academy-like Philadelphia restaurant association. Watching Paddy’s Pub trying its hardest to conform to standard sitcom hangout tropes (Bright lights! Sassy quips!) was painfully hilarious and begged the question, what did Howerton think of actual “Best Comedy” winner, Modern Family?

Howerton: “Well, to be honest, I haven’t seen a ton of episodes of Modern Family.  But, the episodes I have seen, I think are great.  Because I work in comedy, I actually don’t enjoy watching most comedies just because it’s hard for me not to just sort of analyze it, break it down structurally, and be overly critical of it, you know what I mean?  Not for any other reason other than it’s what I do for a living.  I just don’t watch a lot of stuff.

But, the episodes I have seen of Modern Family, I’ve really enjoyed.  I think it’s a great show and I think it’s very, very difficult to consistently make a funny show on a network, A, because you have more restrictions, and, B, because you have to do more episodes per year.  I’m always very impressed by the fact that I’ve never watched an episode of that show where I wasn’t laughing consistently from start to finish, and I think that’s a hell of an achievement…There are other shows that have won multiple Emmys, and I won’t name any names, where I simply don’t understand why, and I would not put Modern Family in that category at all.  I think that’s a very funny, smart show.”

Why don’t you guys get Emmy love?
Howerton: “I’m the wrong person to ask.  I don’t know.  I mean, I don’t know if you saw the last week’s episode, but we did an entire episode, essentially, about that.  I’m not really entirely certain, all I’ve got are theories, and I’d be happy to spout them for you, but I don’t really know.  I mean, I think first impressions are huge in this business.  I think we started as a very, very small show, and I think we looked so low-budget and FX wasn’t known for comedies, and I don’t think people really paid any attention to us.  We didn’t have Danny [DeVito] on the show, and I think because it took so many years for it to grow its audience, it just, I don’t know.

I think that first impression of a low-budget, we-don’t-need-to-pay-attention-to-this-small- cable-comedy thing kind of stuck.  It seems like, though, the Emmys, in general, they really love cable dramas.  But, they don’t really seem to love cable comedies.  I could be wrong; I don’t pay that close attention to it.”

Probably some of the biggest news for this season actually involves huge cable drama Game of Thrones. Thrones writers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss came on board this year to do one episode titled “Flowers For Charlie” Howerton elaborated on how that came about:

Howerton: “They are actually massive, massive fans, and I think they just floated the idea that they had an idea for an episode, and they really wanted to write one, and we just thought let’s just see if that could work.  It’s really the only time where somebody from outside of our ‘organization’ has successfully written an episode, I’ll put it that way.  We took them through the process, and gave them the best shot.  We actually brought them into the room and broke the episode with them, and sent them off to write a draft, sort of incredibly shocked that they would even have the time or the energy to do it.  They came back with a great episode.  We, of course, did what we always do, and we had to do some re-writes, but really not that many.  It was pretty solid.”

Can you share with us any upcoming  guest stars?
: We’ve actually got Seann William Scott; he’s going to be in an episode.  Dude is super fun, super funny.  We’ve also got Josh Groban doing an episode; I think the week after that.  We’ve got a lot of fun people.  Then, of course, we have a lot of our recurring cast, the McPoyles, and Artemis, the Waitress.  We’ve also got Mary Lynn Rajskub from 24, she is going to be back of the show this year [as fan favorite ‘Gail the Snail’], too.

Finally, of course the big question is how much more Always Sunny can viewers expect?
Howerton: “We are definitely going to do one more after this, which I’m sure you know, and then it’s being tossed around the idea of doing more.  It is a question mark, but we’ll see.  We’re still having fun, I can tell you that.”

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs every Wednesday at 10pm on FXX.

FXX launched on September 2nd and specific cable listings for the new network can be found on GetFXX.com

DVD Review “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 8”

Cast: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito
Rated: Unrated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: September 3, 2013
Run Time: 220 minutes

Season: 5 out of 5 Stars
Extras: 3 out of 5 Stars

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia continues to be one of my favorite comedies on TV and revisiting its eighth season just as the ninth has begun this month (on new network, FXX) only reinforces this.

When we left Dee, Charlie, Mac, Frank and Dennis in the finale of season seven, they’d been very publicly rejected by all of their peers at a disastrous high school reunion. Consequently, either by accident or design I feel like many highlights of season eight saw the Paddy’s Pub crew in isolation facing their own twisted internal conflicts and the episodes were stronger for it. Putting each character separately under a microscope in my personal favorite, “The Gang Gets Analyzed,” for example was a genius way of checking in on where they all stand. From Dennis’s sociopathetic drive to control those around him (he gets worse every year and Howerton is amazing to watch as he just barely keeps Dennis’s mania in check) to Mac’s “reverse body dysmorphia”, the psychiatrist only has to scratch the surface to expose all of these characters’ neuroses. The finale as well sees the gang holding their own trial in “Reynolds Vs Reynolds: The Cereal Defense” which began over a simple rear-ender and yet somehow spirals into theological debate complete with charts. Escalation is something Always Sunny does best.

By far however, season eight will most likely be remembered for standout episode “The Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre” which has Dennis’s disgusting ex-wife from season six marrying into the even-more-disgusting McPoyle clan. Told in flashback from an interrogation room, it’s the only episode lacking the traditional Sunny credit sequence and goes into full on zombie horror mode. It also features a hysterical cameo by Guillermo Del Toro (apparently he asked for a part while directing Day on Pacific Rim) as a cannibalistic McPoyle. As if that family could get any worse.

The extras include commentaries on four episodes that are not particularly enlightening, though fun for die-hard fans. The cast here also gets a chance to vent a bit about twitterverse complaints, particularly in regard to the episode aptly titled “The Gang Recycles Their Trash.” The answer’s in the name, folks. Personally, I had fun with that cleverly constructed episode, catching some references only upon repeat viewing. There’s also a blooper reel, a fully produced cheesy sitcom featuring Mac and Charlie’s mothers inhabiting a Golden-Girls-like sitcom universe and a brief moment of “In Memoriam” to Fat Mac to acknowledge actor/creator Rob McElhenney’s sixty pound transformation between seasons.

“It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Season Eight DVD Giveaway [ENDED]


Available on Blu-ray and DVD September 3rd

To celebrate the release of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” Season Eight on DVD, Media Mikes is happy to be giving away one DVD to its fans! If you would like to enter for your chance to win one of these great prizes, please leave us a comment below or send us an email with your favorite character from the series. This giveaway will remain open until September 20th at Noon, Eastern Time. This is open to our readers in US and Canada only. One entry per person, per household. All other entries will be considered invalid. Media Mikes will randomly select winners. Winners will be alerted via email.

America’s favorite back-stabbing bar owners are at it again in the outrageously over-the-top Season Eight of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia! Join the gang at Paddy’s Pub for more disagreements, divisiveness, debauchery and depravity as Charlie and Dee find love among Philadelphia’s high society, and Dennis crashes his ex-wife’s wedding. Frank loses his memory – and his mind – in a hopeless search for lost treasure, and insanity ensues when the whole gang winds up in therapy. Featuring an all-star cast and loaded to the hilt with hilariously inappropriate and unrated content, Season Eight rules the world!

Special Features:
“Pop-Pop: The Final Solution” Commentary featuring Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton
“Gang Recycles Their Trash” Commentary featuring Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton
“Maureen Ponderosa Wedding Massacre” Commentary featuring Rob McElhenney, Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton and Josh Drisko
“Charlie’s Mom Has Cancer” Commentary featuring Charlie Day and Glenn Howerton
Deleted Scenes
Gag Reel
“Lady House” Featurette
Frank Reynolds’ How To Be A Warthog
Fat Mac: In Memoriam

Glenn Howerton & Rob McElhenney chat about new season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”

Season eight of FX’s hit “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” kicked off on October 11th with the discovery that Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day) was in the possession of an original painting by Hitler while Dennis and Dee Reynolds (Glenn Howerton and Kaitlin Olson) mulled over whether or not to pull the plug on its previous owner, their dying Nazi grandfather, Pop Pop. Sounds like things are just about normal for the gang at Paddy’s pub. Creators, and two of the stars of the show, Rob McElhenney and Howerton, discussed writing the heightened world of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia starting with that season-opening artwork.

Glenn Howerton: That painting was actually in Charlie’s apartment during the second season of the show. That was basically just set decoration in the second season. Interestingly enough, we actually were the ones that when we got into editing and we were watching the show—all the episodes of Season 2, that painting stood out to us so much, too much, it was too distracting. We actually said we never want to see that painting again. Take it down. Get rid of it because it’s just a shining, white, weird painting in the background of every Charlie’s apartment scene.

Rob McElhenney: We had so many fans and so many comments, asking about it. When we took it down, people were irate.

Howerton: Yes. They were like, what happened to that dog painting? We loved that dog painting. We kept thinking, the scenes aren’t supposed to be about a painting of a dog in the background. We just felt like it was too distracting, but we always wanted to bring it back in some way.

Another recently solved series mystery was the revelation of Mac’s real name.

From the last season finale, did you always know that ‘Mac’ was going to be Ronald McDonald, or is that something that just occurred to you? Will you have a similar revelation with The Waitress?

McElhenney: We’ve been talking about that for a while.

Howerton: We’ve been talking about what ‘Mac’s’ name is for a long time. I think we came up with the idea that his real name was Ronald MacDonald a while ago; like a couple years ago. We also thought it was so ridiculous we weren’t sure if we ever really wanted to reveal it or if we did that it would ever actually be that. So, we finally decided to do it. As far as The Waitress goes, we don’t have any plans as of now to ever tell anyone what her name is. Although she does have a name and we do know what it is.

The Waitress, played by Charlie Day’s real-life spouse Mary Elizabeth Ellis is one of several recurring characters that fans have seen develop (or in many cases, regress) over the past eight seasons. Among some favorites we saw in the eighth season premiere were Brian Unger’s The Lawyer and David Hornsby’s Rickety Cricket.

Was it more of a gradual development or was it just planned that you would start adding more supporting characters in the show, and open up what was a little more of an insular world with the three leads?

McElhenney: As we built out the show and built out the characters, we realized that what we were creating was a bit of an alternate universe. Certainly, the stakes are just as high as real life, but the results are a little bit different. These people—I was counting how many major car accidents my character has been in over the last seven years. I think I’ve had five or six head-on collisions. I don’t seem to have any—maybe some brain damage, but the character doesn’t seem to have any physical scars. Clearly, we’re creating a heightened reality. When we started joking about who else lives in this universe, who else lives in this world, it just made us laugh. That helped broaden our scope, which I think only adds to the comedy.

Howerton: Maybe more of a parallel universe that an alternate, a completely alternate one; slightly heightened reality, yes.

Asked what guest stars viewers can expect to see popping up in this alternate universe Philly, Howerton and McElhenney had some exciting names for the new season:

Howerton: We’ve got a really fun guest star role for Sean Combs this year; P. Diddy. I’m excited for people to see it. I think it’s very, very different from anything that, at least I’ve ever seen him do, on anything. We’re excited about that.

McElhenney: Guillermo del Toro.

McElhenney: Yes, Guillermo del Toro, the director, writer, producer is also, we found out, a big fan of the show. Charlie just did a movie with him [Pacific Rim] so he really wanted to do a guest star so we wrote him in this year, too. It’s really funny.

McElhenney and Howerton also offered some insight into their writing process for the show.

When you’re writing your episodes, do you have favorite teams that you guys like to work with? The gang is so often shifting alliances, even within one episode.

Howerton: We do try to keep tabs of that, actually, to a certain degree. We try to mix it up as much as possible, so that the same pairing isn’t happening all season long.

McElhenney: Sometimes we’ll find that, too. Where we’ll break three or four episodes in a row and realize that we have ‘Dee’ and ‘Frank’ together for those three or four episodes and we’ll realize that we’ve got to break them up a little bit.

Are there a certain set of criteria that do go in to breaking a story, that you find that you have to have a certain set of criteria?

Howerton: Most importantly, what we’re always talking about is, for as unbelievable as some of the storylines may seem, we have to believe that the characters believe that what they’re doing gets them what they want. That’s the most important aspect of breaking a story, so it doesn’t just feel like a series of funny events. That we really justify why these characters are acting the way that they do. That’s the major criteria that I follow. Of course, we like to tie things up and tie things together. That’s good story writing.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia airs every Thursday at 10pm on FX.


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Blu-ray Review “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia: The Complete Season 7”

Actors: Charlie Day, Glenn Howerton, Rob McElhenney, Kaitlin Olson, Danny DeVito
Directors: Matt Shakman, Randall Einhorn
Rated: Unrated
Studio: 20th Century Fox
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2012
Run Time: 286 minutes

Episodes: 4 out of 5 Stars
Extras: 2.5 out of 5 Stars

Official Synopsis: In season 7 see the Gang prepare for the apocalypse, hit the beach at the Jersey Shore, produce a child beauty pageant, and take a walk down memory lane at their high school reunion. As they say, some things never change. So prepare for more depraved schemes, half-baked arguments and absurdly underhanded plots to subvert one another.

First airing in 2005, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia has never failed to tackle timely subject matters through the uniquely twisted eyes of the Paddy’s Pub gang. Season seven, which kicked off with a dead hooker (“Frank’s Pretty Woman”) and covered everything from social networks to child beauty pageants, was no exception.

If Sweet Dee’s (Kaitlin Olsen) pregnancy was the notable addition to the sixth season, season seven was the year of “Fat Mac.” Series creator and executive producer Rob McElhenney put on fifty pounds for the sake of trying out its comedic possibilities. While McElhenney has shed the weight in the current season which began on October 11th, the decision paid off in spades in episodes on this set such as “How Mac Got Fat” and “The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore” (where Mac and Danny DeVito’s Frank introduced the world to getting drunk off of Rum Ham).

The Jersey Shore episode was definitely a season highlight in a year where the gang was so often found outside of their base at Paddy’s pub–a major leap forward for Charlie Kelly (Charlie Day), who up until this season just couldn’t seem to make it out of the city limits successfully. Other season highlights include “Chardee Macdennis: The Game of Games” featuring a twisted combination drinking-board-physical-challenge game that only the Always Sunny gang could devise, and the two part High School Reunion finale. The latter of which corralled, for all intents and purposes, the rogues gallery of Always Sunny nemeses from past seasons including guest stars Judy Greer, Jason Sudeikus and my personal favorite David Hornsby as downward spiraling Rickety Cricket.

This season does find some weaker moments than earlier years of Always Sunny such as the flashback-heavy “Frank’s Brother”, however I can’t think of another show that is as consistently hilarious and surprising, especially after seven years. As far as sitcoms go, it also has one of the highest rewatchability factors as the writers continue to flesh out this alternate universe Philly with supporting characters and callbacks to past plots.

The extras on the Blu-Ray set are not as extensive as some of the previous sets, featuring four episode commentary tracks (of thirteen episodes), an enjoyable blooper reel and a drunken tour of Philly with recurring character Artemis. One misses the behind the scenes featurettes from past releases. On FX, the show is aired in HD and continues to look and sound great on this Blu-ray transfer.


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“Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” Sets Sail on Blu-Ray

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES: The Walt Disney Studios and Jerry Bruckheimer Films are proud to present the #1 worldwide box office success of 2011 – making over $1 billion globally – Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, in stunning high definition Blu-ray™, eye popping Blu-ray 3D™ (a first for the legendary franchise) and Movie Download on October 18, 2011.

Setting sail on an ocean full of hi-def adventures, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides will debut in a Limited Edition 5-Disc Combo Pack (1-Disc Blu-ray 3D + 2-Disc Blu-ray + 1-Disc DVD + 1- Disc Digital Copy), a 2-Disc Combo Pack (1-Disc Blu-ray + 1-Disc DVD), and for the ultimate fan a 15- Disc Four Movie Collection. Additionally the movie will be available in 3D and High-Definition Movie Download.

The Limited Edition 5-Disc Blu-ray Combo Pack includes hours of bonus materials offering fans a deeper dive inside Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides including immersive Disney Second Screen technology, exclusive behind-the-scenes experiences, Fountain of Youth mythology, an extensive look at mermaids, bloopers, deleted and extended scenes, and much more.

In addition, the Pirates of the Caribbean 15-Disc Four Movie Collection offers fans more adventures than ever before. The Collection is packaged in an authentic replica Pirate’s Chest, and includes a collectible map and an iconic skull disc case that holds the Blu-ray™ discs and digital copies of ALL four Pirates of the Caribbean movies, along with the Blu-ray 3D™ disc and DVD of Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.

Produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, directed by Rob Marshall (Nine, Chicago), and written by Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, National Treasure 2Mask of Zorro), Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is the latest addition to the incredibly successful Pirates of the Caribbean franchise that has for years entertained audiences of all ages with its thrilling adventures, hi-tech special effects and unique storylines.

Back as Captain Jack Sparrow, Johnny Depp (Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Alice in Wonderland) returns leading a sensational cast of talents that includes Penélope Cruz (Vicky Cristina Barcelona), Geoffrey Rush (The King’s Speech), Ian McShane (HBO’s“Deadwood”) and more.

The visually stunning film shot in high-definition 3D invites viewers to embark on an adventure-filled ride with Captain Jack Sparrow as he searches for the breathtaking Fountain of Youth. Along the turbulent trip, fans are forced to re-think their knowledge of fairytale creatures when they are introduced to a group of alluring yet precarious mermaids, traverse isolated islands and fight international enemies.

Film Synopsis:
From Disney and producer Jerry Bruckheimer comes all the fun, epic adventure and humor that ignited the original. Johnny Depp returns as Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. A tale of truth, betrayal, youth, demise — and mermaids! When Jack crosses paths with a woman from his past (Penélope Cruz), he’s not sure if it’s love or if she’s a ruthless con artist using him to find the fabled Fountain of Youth. Forced aboard the ship of the most feared pirate ever, Jack doesn’t know who to fear more —Blackbeard (Ian McShane) or the woman from his past. Directed by Rob Marshall, it’s filled with eye-popping battle scenes, mystery and all-out wit.