What is your skin type?

Having and maintaining a youthful and glowing skin is a very crucial thing to do especially if you don’t have any idea what your skin needs. Thus, knowing your skin type can be very crucial to acknowledge in choosing the right beauty products in the market. Our skin makes a huge part in building an impression of ourselves to others. Sadly, many of us failed to consider that the most important step in accomplishing a healthier, smoother skin is to differentiate your skin type particularly in dealing with certain conditions as well as seasons. With these, we’ve listed a few signs to look out for to get you aware of what skin type you have and what skin care products that are essential for your skin.

Oily skin

Oily Skin

As the name says it all. You’ll know if you have an oily skin if you often find yourself getting all shiny and greasy that you just can’t help but wash your face all throughout the day. This is because your pores are larger as excess sebum production is at peak. With these, your pores may clog up easily which makes you more prone to black/whiteheads, pimples and acne. Hence, moisturizers and lotions for oily skin play a big role in your beauty regimen. Choose a product that can minimize and shrink your pores while reducing redness and you’ll be surprised that your problems will fade away in no time.

Dry skin

Getting irritated with nonstop itchiness in some part of your body and noticing some flakiness and scaling in your skin is the number one sign that you have a dry skin. These problems occur when your skin can’t produce enough oil or sebum to moisturize itself especially when hormonal imbalance, age, medication, hot and cold weather interferes with your skin’s oil production. With these, hydrating sunscreens and face moisturizers for dry skin that contains hyaluronic acid are the best options for you since it locks up moisture to make you feel refresh for longer hours.

Sensitive skin

If you think that having a dry or oily skin is already alarming. Then think again. Sensitive skin is harder to take care of since it gets easily irritated or inflamed, not to mention that it takes a lot of time and effort because you always have to do a patch test on your inner forearm or behind your ears first before trying on a new beauty product onto your whole face and body. Best advice is to avoid ingredients such as synthetic fragrances, artificial dyes, formaldehyde and parabens that can cause redness and irritation. Always look for moisturizers for sensitive skin which contains licorice extract to cure upset skin, shea butter to reduce irritation, aloe vera for natural organic skin hydration with no trace of alcohol.

Conclusion

all skin types are unique and different. Some may need an extra attention but every skin deserves the love and care you gave them. Identifying what you need can be tricky but taking the extra mile to look for the right product for you will definitely go a long way. Who knows, you might be surprised in just a day or two, you already got that glowing smooth skin you’ve always been dreaming of.

Nail Shop Near Me

The most professional nails are done at Cindy’s nail shop. It is the favourite best nail shop near me. Unlike in most of the other places, this place has a very skilled technician who is always willing to listen to you and do the styles that you request for. They are also willing to make corrections for the mistakes that may exist. You only have to say it and your request is granted. It is just like magic. The skills possessed by these technicians are fascinating.

Have you been out looking for a nail shop near me? For a very long time, I have had my nails done poorly in a number of places until I lost hope of catering for my nails. However, the looks on other people’s nails made me jealous and I had to look harder for a place where I can feel comfy when being attended to. In no time, my efforts bore fruits when I came across Cindy’s nail shop. The place is in one of the tallest building in town. Its location at almost the middle of the building is not as strategic as one would expect since you have to be keen looking up on top of the building to notice the lights pointing towards the place. I heard this inner voice asking me to check out the place and then in no time I found myself in an elegant looking and beautifully furnished room. At the waiting bay, there was this welcoming attendant smiling at everyone. Well, this is what they do before you pay and when you do, the services can never be to the standard you expect.

lds nails

Amazingly, this place is none like any other that I have been. The attendants even ask you to be a bit patient as the other clients get attended to and that gives a feeling of assurance. And then there come the services. There are remover and nail treatments, nail brushes, polishes, long wear polish, gel polish, acrylic, liquid and nail tips, nail files, buffers and implements. They do magic to your nails and you are left to wonder when you will be back to the place to receive such quality services. It feels like you can go condemning the attendants in the other nail shops and asking them to go and get a lesson or two at Cindy’s nail shop. Apart from the comfy seats, quality seems to be the key in this place. You always get your nails trimmed, shaped and coated in every colour or style that you desire. Moreover, modern equipment are used which makes sure that whatever the services provided are to the absolute precision.

A hoard of other services is also provided in this place. There are massage services that are provided at the lowest price possible. You can always get a salt scrub if need be which is not a common service in many places. As long as you ask for it, the attendants will organize and have the service offered to you at your own comfort. They also charge less than many other places hence making it easy for you to revisit the place again since you save a lot.

Furthermore, other nail products and accessories are sold in this place very good. The products are supplied by dtk nail supply, they are full of products of famous nail firms such as SNS nails, OPI, KIA or latest LDS Nails. They offer quality products, very cheap prices and always have incentives for bulk buyers . They ensure that all the necessary instructions are provided when the product is sold to make it easy to use. Mostly, they deal with the cost sought for products and a few new arrivals. However, you can always request the product you want, make a down payment and collect the product later as you settle the full amount.

Cindy’s nail shop is my best option of the nail place near me. You do not have to strain to get poor services in other places, pay more or travel for long distances. The nail styles that you envy and the professionalism that you ever imagined has been brought to your reach. The comfort and services offered are excellent. Moreover, the staff in this place are real professionals trained to provide the best services to their clients. Also, you can always get the nail products and accessories that you want in this place without thinking of how to find them in other places.

Review: Louie, Season 4 Episodes 1 & 2, Back / Model

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Louie is tired. He is tired in every sense of the word. Tired in the most relatable way possible as the sensation of being “rudely awoken by the dustmen”, as Phil Daniels once described it, is utilised to hilarious effect in the brilliant opening scene of the long-awaited comeback of Louie. The cacophony of noise from the New York garbage men wakes Louie up and degenerates into the exact kind of committed surrealism that this show does so well. The descent into full-blown chaos as the bin-men smash through Louie’s bedroom windows and destroy the place as he lies in bed has a visual poetry which matches anything this show has done before. The character of Louie is tired but the show is back with a very literal bang.

But this tiredness doesn’t stop with just bodily fatigue, as the double-bill of episodes progresses there is a very definite world-weariness on display. Louie is tired of life, tired of his kids, tired of conventional masturbation, tired of never getting the girl, tired of getting old and perhaps most importantly tired of the looming spectre of death.

In season opener ‘Back’, Louie, whilst attempting to purchase a vibrator to liven up his “alone time” (a scene I could have done with a lot more of incidentally), puts his back out and has to be assisted into a taxi by a frail, elderly woman. A typically surreal exchange with a Doctor follows (played excellently by Charles Grodin, mercifully selected ahead of Gervais) in which the disinterested practitioner puts Louie’s back pain down to an evolutionary failing of the entire human race, “we were given a spine that was meant to function as a clothesline and we’re using it as a flagpole”. This isn’t a hacky look at how our bodies fail on us as we get older, it’s a reminder that every single one of us, regardless of our age, is doomed.

Fittingly, the second part of the double-bill, ‘Model’, plays out perhaps the biggest doomsday scenario possible for a show about a stand-up comedian, whilst opening for Jerry Seinfeld at a benefit for heart disease, Louie bombs. Hard. It’s not his fault, he’s an unclean comedian trying to do clean comedy (chickens are dumb) to an audience he’d never usually play to in a venue he’d never usually play. I love the device of physically taking Louie out of his and the show’s safe haven of New York for an episode. Getting out of the city puts us on edge as an audience and does the same to Louie here. The technique has been employed brilliantly before in the episodes South, Miami and Dad and a few others.

This unwanted trip outside of his comfort zone turns into an unexpected success story for Louie though as a beautiful blonde woman, amused by his failure picks him up and takes him back to her place for a one-night stand. This, being Louie though, can’t possibly end well and after the deed is done and he’s finally beginning to loosen up, Louie accidentally elbows her in the face after flinching away from being tickled (a scene eerily familiar to me but we won’t go into that). Things go from bad to worse as the wealthy family (Buzz Aldrin) of the model take legal vengeance and Louie is ordered to pay $5000 a month in damages. At least he gets an effective anecdote to tell the ladies though which is perhaps the closest thing to a happy ending as we’ll see on this show.

I have to admit, I didn’t love everything about the two episodes though. I find the presence of other comedians not noted for their acting prowess (Jim Norton, Sarah Silverman and Jerry Seinfeld in particular) to be occasionally jarring when the casting is usually so spot-on. Additionally, for a show so committed to not falling into the traditional sit-com traps of having regular cast members, catchphrases and set-pieces; I found the return of the poker table chats a little disappointing but these are very minor complaints. Louie is finally back and I can’t wait for the rest of it.

Louis CK: TV’s First True Auteur?

According to Louis CK, the secret to getting your way in a negotiation is to genuinely not care whether you get what you want or not. It was this carefree ambivalence that led to FX handing over an unprecedented level of control to the Hungarian/Mexican Bostonite for his incredible show Louie and could well lead to a whole new breed of television auteurism.

In what will almost certainly go down in TV folklore as a landmark deal, Louis Szekely (CK for short) agreed to do the show on the basis that the money to make it was wired directly to his account, that he wouldn’t have to pitch to anyone and he wouldn’t have to tell anyone what the show was about. What might have initially seemed like a pretty divaish set of demands born out of a frustration for the traditional TV processes, has led however, to one of the most exhilaratingly unique television experiences of all time.

Unburdened of the traditional constraints of US television, Szekely was free to retain complete ownership of his show and, with the help of a longstanding interest and background in filmmaking, has shouldered the responsibility of writing, directing, editing and starring in every brilliantly crafted episode since it began in 2010.

This level of control takes auteur theory to a whole new level. The history of cinema is littered with great writer/directors. From established veterans Woody Allen, Martin Scorcese, Terence Malick and Gus Van Sant to the newer wave of Kelly Reichardt, Rian Johnson and Steve McQueen, their ownership of their art from conception to production has led to some of the all-time great movies. TV however, has never really had an equivalent. Even great “individually-led” shows such as Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm have had co-writers and directors to share the burdens of the creative process.

You only need to watch one episode of Louie for the benefits of this level of control to be immediately apparent. Playing out more as a series of short films interspersed with stand-up than a traditional show, it is simultaneously hilarious and heartbreaking, broad and intelligent, surreal and gritty. No other “comedy” show could turn the broad, relatable situation of preparing for a date into an existential look at the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it nature of life by showing a hobo being decapitated after being hit by a truck. No other “comedy” show could do an entirely straight episode about the bleak defeat of confronting a suicidal friend. No other “comedy” show could get away with lurching from the over the top silliness of Ricky Gervais’ obnoxious doctor (a cameo FX had no idea was happening until they saw the episode incidentally) to the crushing loneliness of being a single-father with shared custody of his kids.

It’s the freedom of individual creativity that allows for such a masterfully put together work of art. Szekely spent time as a writer for Conan O’Brian in his younger days and had his own experience of working with a more traditional team of writers on his short-lived HBO series Lucky Louie. These experiences made him well aware of the pitfalls of what he calls “comedy by consensus”. We’re all too familiar with the shortcomings of so many regular TV sit-coms. Every joke is over-written to the point of destruction and the very nature of having a permanent cast too often leads to scenes which only exist so that regular characters have something to do.

Louie, however has none of these problems. Imagine the set-piece where Louie, so horrified by how badly his date is going, leaps into a nearby helicopter and flees the scene ever getting through a writer’s meeting. It would have been shot down in flames before it ever got off the ground (the idea that is, not the helicopter). And far from having to give his cast something to do, Louie goes as far as having the same actress play his date and his mother in different episodes and has two different girls playing his daughter. The character of Louie will have a brother one episode who is never seen again. His ex-wife, who is unseen for the majority of the series, turns out to be a black woman despite his children being played by blonde-haired, blue-eyed actresses. Because who cares? We don’t watch TV for continuity, we watch it to be entertained, challenged, made to laugh, made to cry and to escape the mundanity of everyday life. Louie, through the single-minded vision of it’s creator is the first show in a very, very long time that can genuinely say it does all of those things and more.

Louie returns on May 5th and I’ll hopefully be writing about each episode as it airs.

True Detective, Season 1, Episodes 1 & 2 Review

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“Of course i’m dangerous. I’m police. I can do terrible things to people. With impunity.”

True Detective arrives on British shores via Sky Atlantic, with an unstoppable wave of hype and a capacity to compel ardent TV geeks to seek out episodes online as soon as they’ve aired in America. How could any show live up to what was arguably one of the greatest TV series trailers in the You Tube era? Quite simply- it does. And then some.

With an obvious antecedent in Seven, where the act of killing and the acts upon the body had meaning in themselves, True Detective also pairs a similarly mismatched detective duo in Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. If Seven had Detectives Mills and Sommerset- the former a naive Detective newbie and the latter being an erudite veteran, True Detective generates its spark from the opposing world views of Detectives Cohle (McConaughey) and Hart (Harrelson).

Over the course of these first two episodes, Cohle is shown to be a brilliant detective- but one plagued by alcoholism, drug addiction, psychedelic flashes and visions, who is haunted by the demons of a broken marriage, a dead daughter and a unique philosophical outlook: “I think human consciousness is a tragic misstep in evolution.” In our contemporary world where narcissistic self-obsession has reached hitherto unknown levels of manifestation, Cohle’s words chime: “We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self… programmed with total assurance that we are each a somebody. When in fact, everybody’s nobody.” As they drive back from the scene of the crime they are investigating, Detective Hart’s (Harrelson) response is that of the everyman: stop talking weird shit in my car.

Cohle has a unique and unusual way of talking- it is arched, archaic and makes him seem very much from another time. This anachronistic outsider is out of step with his colleagues, possessed with a fierce intelligence and a scathing nihilism. He is utterly compelling. His colleagues call him the ‘Taxman’, for the black book in which he is always making notes and drawings of what he sees at crime scenes gives him the air of a number cruncher. The reason for the black book is simple though- the Taxman just doesn’t want to miss a thing and fills it with notes and drawings of the scene. An aversion to photographs? Or a wish to capture the scene quickly? If Hart seems repelled by human nature and its capacity for evil, Cohle seems curious about it.

Hart’s car in these first two episodes is frequently shown in long-tracking shots, propelling our two protagonists into the surreal, alien and oddly beautiful Gothic landscapes of the American Deep South. Interestingly, at night, when Cohle drives his car at night, the streetlights and car lights take on strange glows. They act as triggers for visual flashbacks from his time as an addict working undercover in Narco. His descent into addiction is revealed to have begun after the untimely and tragic death of his young daughter, which subsequently led to the breakdown of his marriage. In a common trope of Detective drama, Cohle is shown to be very much ‘married’ to the job.

True Detective doesn’t do things by halves, and rises above traditional Detective drama cliches. With huge HBO-level production values, soundtrack supervison by T Bone Burnett, and a stellar supporting cast, the show creates a rich, gripping and pungent world. One wishes to avoid using the phrase ‘Deep South American Gothic’, but one cannot help it- for this show has it in spades. A murder victim dressed in antlers and painted with strange symbols? Check. A crime scene peppered with strange wooden sculptures? Check. An investigation that throws up links to prostitution, Evangelical Churches, Truck Stops, and Swamp Lands? Check. True Detective isn’t redolent of Southern Gothic- it is steeped in it.

But that’s not to say our induction into this story is easy. The brief flash of a title card in episode one reveals the initial crime took place in the mid 90s, and we are presented with a gaunt,

handsome Detective Cohle and an athletic-looking Detective Hart who possesses a full head of hair. So it is somewhat jarring for the narrative to flash-forward and jump cut to Cohle dressed like a convict with tattoos, long hair and a handlebar moustache, and Hart shown to be a balding, rotund Detective who has seen better days. The chronological shifts are what gives the story tension- a later perspective looking back on the events of the past- Hart and Cohle’s questioning acts as historical narration as we hear them reminisce on the investigation. Cohle and Hart are being videotaped in the present day by two Detectives investigating a similar crime to the one Cohle and Hart are recounting in flashback. Hart still seems to be a detective. Cohle is seemingly drinking himself to death.

Two episodes in, one is already floundering when it comes to trying to dissect what makes this show so great, so utterly unique as there is so much to discuss. This is a show with wide scope, ambition, visual flair, a brooding score, and in Cohle and Hart- it has two characters so utterly absorbing you cannot help get sucked in to their psychology and methodology. The argument for Television becoming the new cinema grows stronger every year, and True Detective has two incredible character actors at its heart who have been mainstays of American cinema for the last twenty years. You can see why Hollywood’s A-List are drawn to TV when the pedigree of production values, writing and ambition are so high.

But, it’s the contradictions inherent in Cohle and Hart that make them so compelling: Hart’s deluded hypocrisy that his extra-marital affair is ‘protecting his family’ by allowing him to decompress from the stresses of the job; Cohle’s fixation upon a crucifix not for any particular religious belief, but rather to contemplate the concept of ‘allowing your own crucifixon’. The tension between the two Detectives bubbles to the surface with intriguing results. Cohle makes a comment about Hart’s wife, after Hart arrives in the station the next morning in the same clothes as the day before. This most obvious of deductions results in a physical tussle, where Cohle alarmingly yet calmly warns Hart that it “ain’t worth losing your hands over.” They disengage and Hart storms off. Cohle? He just checks his own pulse at the neck. Have that.

True Detective reinforces Television’s and its audience’s appetite for murder and mystery. As ever, we are voyeurs. Our fascination with death, with killing, with the taking of another human life never goes away- it is the ultimate transgression. We have to know what happened. And why. The first two episodes of this superlative crime drama from HBO are dragging you down into an intoxicating darkness, that explores the extremes of the human condition. So far, we have only been shown what Cohle and Hart have seen. It is a great technique. As Hart says, his job is to search for narrative. As viewers, we are doing the same.

We Need To Talk About Hannah

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First up, I’d just like to say that I love Girls, and I think Lena Dunham is the best. Season 1 was, to use a cliche, a breath of fresh air. Even moving past the all too sad novelty of a TV show with a majority female cast show mostly written and directed by a woman, it was human, natural, brutal and bloody funny.

Season two started in riotous form; the Donald Glover break up episode in particular reduced me to tears. Then in the middle it had a run of some of the best episodes of TV I’ve ever seen. Absolutely sumptuously crafted and often painfully close to the bone, it was a treat to tune in each week.

However, the season just kind of fizzled out. But not before a particularly galling finale in which the girls of the title seemingly lost all agency and relied on their male counterparts to solve all their problems. Especially in comparison to season one’s heart wrenchingly brilliant finale it felt really out of place and a severe let down.

I started writing this piece before episode 7 of season 3, but it’s just reinforced my thought.

Season 3 has been pretty good so far, took a couple of episodes to get started, and was far too Jessa heavy upfront, but it’s in a groove and a nice mix of funny and touching.

But there’s something that’s really bothering me.

Hannah.

Ms Horvarth has always had an incredible knack for putting her foot in her mouth and making us cringe with embarrassment; for me mostly in empathy and horrid recall of my own social failings. However in season 3 there has been slightly more to it. Hannah has often been just downright nasty.

Part of my distaste towards the end of season 2 was that all the characters became pretty horrible, bar Hannah who was struggling with mental illness and losing her boyfriend and one of her best friends. Sure she was still an absolute fecking eejit, but in the way we all are eejits.

Hannah, Adam and Ray have always been the best drawn characters, and for me the show suffers when they aren’t at the centre. No one ever tunes into Girls and says “Oh goodie, a Marnie episode” (and certainly has never said it about Jessa). Shoshanna is still great but a whole half hour of her unfettered would drive one to eye boggling.

For season 3 though, this means when we’re focused on Hannah, the new found nastiness is really exacerbated. The absolute nadir of which was when she retold Adam the fake dying relative story his sister had relayed to Hannah. I was slack jawed at the pure meanness of it, but I could pull any number of examples. Her behavior at her boss’ funeral, throwing Adam’s sister out (she was dead annoying, but it was pretty harsh), her childish behaviour with her new fellow co-workers and just recently inviting Elijah et al around and ruining Marnie’s party.

The thing that I really don’t get about this is that the show has been calling Hannah out on her behaviour. Her boss’ wife throws her out of the party; in this week’s bloodletting pretty much everyone rounds on Hannah and imparts some choice words, but amid Shoshanna delivering a vocal beat down to anyone in a 5 meter radius.

So if it’s an intentional character development, it doesn’t seem to be coming with any rationale. It could be because she’s happy with Adam now, but if so they haven’t actually set that up as where the show is headed. She just seems to needlessly nasty all of a sudden. And due to the focus on her character it’s making me not enjoy the show as much. I enjoyed endearingly awkward Hannah much more.

As a total aside – did I miss something or did Adam get over his anger about his sister being chucked out really quickly by never mentioning it ever again?

The Walking Dead, Season 4: Mid Term Review

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Back on The Warm Glow and back writing about The Walking Dead. Yay.

So, The Walking Dead has reached its midway point in what bizarrely is its fourth season. I say bizarre as I can scarcely believe that this undead melodrama has been going for four years. Often serialised dramas are hitting their stride; in many cases their zenith (The Wire, The Shield, The X Files as ones that strike immediately to mind) with the fourth series being the show’s high watermark, never to hit the same quality again. Yet with TWD I feel like nothing has really happened.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve long since accepted that TWD is a 6/10 show that occasionally conjures up 9/10 episodes. The warning signs were all there from the ropey ending of the first season and the boredom atrocity that was the second season. Finally the experiment with constant action and be damned be with plot, characterisation and continuity hit the mark more often than in the past, but only as long as you didn’t pay attention too hard

Then, the elephant in the room. The ending of season 3. Having finally managed to craft something resembling a season long arc, a Big Bad beyond the ever present but agenda-less zombies, it blew it in the dampest of squibs imaginable. It felt downright insulting to have a 15 episode build up (the equivalent of 2 days at work) result in The Governor suddenly killing all his own troops (for……some reason. Always best not to ask the awkward questions  when watching The Walking Dead) and all his gang upping sticks and suddenly hanging out with Rick and co. The final shot of a cheesy sunset the icing on the cake of crap.

So season 4. A fresh start with Scott Gimple, responsible for many of those high points mentioned above, and thus, some fresh hope.

Despite a strong opening with a hilariously inventive set piece with zombies dropping through a rotting ceiling (say what you want about TWD, they are always coming up with fresh ways to kill zombies) which circumvented the show’s often troubling racial undertones by having an under written white character act as the  sacrificial lamb for once, 4.1 (is this how we label it? I can’t get on board with this half season malarkey) was underwhelmingly solid.

Around episode 4 I even began properly questioning why I continue to watch. The plague story was frankly pretty drab and suffered from issues of timing (the”away team” led by Daryl seemed in their scenes to have been gone a day or so, but it felt like weeks back at the prison). An increased focus on  characterisation was welcome but often felt staid and forced. Though I will reserve praise for the scenes with Michonne and the baby – TWD is often guilty of just having characters say their emotions as the only route of conveying them, yet without saying a word they brought real depth to the show’s most criminally underused asset.

However, with the return of The Governor and the mid season finale, it all clicked. The episode “Live Bait” marking the flash back of the Gov was a definite season high point and actually allowed David Morrissey to do some acting, shaping Woodbury’s psycho in chief into something resembling a character with a partial redemption story. Sure enough next week it all fell off the rails, but it makes The Governor out as a decent man who broken by grief just can’t control his urge for power and violence; as much a casualty of this apocalypse as anyone else we’ve met.

With the finale, while some things didn’t really add up (why did everyone trust this crazy dude who’d rocked up and started murdering everyone) everything made broad sense. Clearly the show had been written into a hole by the previous show runner, and Gimple had his own Myreenese Knot to solve.

No spoilers for Game of Thrones here, but authour George RR Martin has blamed the bloated nature of the last couple of books on the need to get a whole host of characters all to the same place and time to allow the story to progress. In the comics, the events of season 3’s finale result in the rough outcomes of season 4’s mid point finish. Basically, Gimple had to clear out all the bumph (the Woodbury extras, hence the plague), get The Governor back to the prison but also have us care about the characters to make the brutal events of “Too Far Gone” really sink home.

The events of “Too Far Gone” are lifted from the comics, in a devastating bloodbath which caused me to temporarily stop reading such was the bleakness. The show doesn’t quite hit those horrifying lows, but it came mighty close. The Governor of the comics is torn to pieces by walkers having been turned on by his own side in the chaos of the prison attack, but with the character work of the preceding episodes I felt the TV Governor’s end, dying alone having failed in his aims of taking the prison and keeping his loved ones safe yet again was far more fitting.

A particularly dull episode in the season featuring Herschel trying to save the player victims reaped its reward, in that I actually have a shit when his head was lopped off, and brought some gravitas to what could have all to easily slipped into nonsense.

And Daryl blew up a tank. Bad. Ass.

As a spectacle of television it was gut wrenching, and gives me genuine optimism for the rest of the season. With the shackles of past mistakes thrown off, there’s a chance for The Walking Dead to fulfill its potential. The new “on the run” format the trails have hinted at shows plenty of potential, and the site has always been strongest with small self contained stories.

There plenty of space for intrigue too; for my money I reckon that sociopathic young girl with all the empathy of Hannibal Lector was the one leaving rats and killed Tyresse’s missus with Carol covering for her. Also the big reveal: is Lil Asskicker still alive or was showing a mutilated infant too much even for The Walking Dead?

Either way, I’m actually interested to find out when the show returns, rather than just having a gap in my Monday evenings. Just, please stop blowing the chances I give you. Please?

THE DEATH OF THE THEME TUNE

You know a television show has piqued your interest, when the idea of waiting a week to view the latest instalment leaves you feeling that near death is imminent, like Frankie Boyle at Harvey Price’s birthday party. Addictions to shows can take weeks, creeping up on you until you realise that you’re much more attuned to it than you initially thought, or it can be an instant craving, a gnawing that won’t go away until you’ve addressed the wound thoroughly. The excellent show Portlandia really defined this phenomenon with their very amusing sketch about a couple developing a full blown obsession to the behemoth that is Battlestar Galactica.

Now myself, I’m not really one for mammoth American TV shows. I like the concept of immersing myself in those hour long epics which go on for many seasons, but honestly, I haven’t got the patience – or the interest to dedicate myself to such shows. To me, these shows are like energy drinks – I understand the appeal, but too much of them and you tend to get really annoying.

My own TV addiction is comedies; particularly US based ones, just like everybody else. Parks and Recreation, Community, Arrested Development, Party Down – I’m like a living Tumblr blog. There is something about those slightly smug, surprisingly superficial shows that I really enjoy. Perhaps it’s because they remind me of myself – an attempt to do something different, but by doing so really just being the same as everybody else.

However, one thing you notice when watching any sort of show a lot of times in succession, is that the opening music is important. If it’s not memorable, catchy, or particularly interesting then it’s guaranteed that for at least the first twenty seconds of every episode, you are going to be disappointed. If there is nothing to hum, to tap, or to dance to, then you’ve wasted a significant period of your life. Twenty seconds at a time might not sound like much, but if you multiply those twenty seconds by the amount of episodes you watch, you’ll come to a figure that, if spent wisely, could get you to do something more meaningful than to bulk watch TV shows.

But we’ll never do that, because TV is both the beauty and the beast. Because of Arrested Development, and because I love Will Arnett’s character in the show, I recently decided to start watching his newish sitcom, entitled Up All Night. Now, this is where I stop talking about how good shows are, because I’m about as qualified to talk about the content of comedy shows as I am qualified to talk about making quality metaphors. Instead this is where I shall start examining the most important question in television today – what on earth happened to the memorable theme tune?

I’m going to share a video with you now. It is the opening eighteen seconds of Up All Night. You don’t have to actually watch the titles; it’s just a series of still photographs stuck together with a flash. Just listen to it, embrace it, and then listen to it again. Go on, it’ll only take thirty-six seconds if you do it quickly.

I bet you any money in the world that even if you’ve listened to it twice in a row, you won’t be able to remember it properly. And why would you? It’s eighteen seconds of the most nondescript ‘music’ you’ll ever come across.  It’s too jaunty to be hold music, too lifeless to be lift music. I’m getting a bit of brass instruments in there, but I can’t really make out exactly what it is making that dirge. There is a baby chuckling at the end, or perhaps being winded, and well… nothing much else really.

So when I started to get into the show, and watched a couple of episodes in succession, I found that the theme did begin to become memorable, not in a fun, special way, but in the same way that you can’t stop remembering when you made a really unfunny joke, or when you come back home, look in the mirror and realise that you forgot to take your Batman cape off when you went to the shops.

It’s not just Up All Night’s fault. All of the shows I have mentioned are completely dull theme-wise. Let’s go through them, starting with Parks And Recreation.

It’s alright. It’s memorable – if a little long, but it foretells nothing of the story about to be unfolded in front of our eyes. It’s just… there. It wouldn’t feel out of place if it was the soundtrack to an advert advertising butter, and that’s not what I really want to hear unless I am watching a show about butter, which as it goes, happens never.

Next up, let’s have a little listen at the theme from Community.

This is just horrible. It’s the sound of being pipped on the line for the bronze medal in a race, it’s the sound of over-cooking vegetables, and it’s the sound of the first person booted out of X-Factor. Yes, it’s the sound of failure. An uninspiring boring singing voice, backed up by a boring tune, with lyrics so mind-numbingly boring, they can only be described as boring. For a show that can have such creative ideas, it is, to quote Bernard Manning in a Chris Morris sketch, “a fucking disgrace”.

What of Arrested Development, a show lauded by many for its complex humour, for the jokes you have to watch five times to notice, for the warmly named George Michael?

Now this is a little better. Who doesn’t love the voice of Ron Howard? Nobody! But then try asking that question when you hear it not only as the narrator, but in the titles as well. This is not what you want to hear every twenty-five minutes or so when the next episode starts.

I’m not even going to waste more than one sentence on Party Down , considering all they bother to give us is THREE SECONDS of the most bullshit music you’ll hear this side of Mumford and Sons. [go to about 2.25below]

So what makes a good theme song? For me there are a number of key components, and they vary for certain types of shows. For example, if we look at sports based television, the iconic themes that people love and remember, especially over in the UK, are mostly instrumental. Match of the Day, Ski Sunday, Soul Limbo for the cricket, the almost prog like quality of the snooker theme. Of course the granddaddy of them all, the irresistible force and the immovable object, is the Grandstand theme.

The fact we live in a world without Grandstand is completely twisted and tortured, even dismissing the theme song. We’ve just spent the last month watching judo, archery, and shooting in our millions, yet the BBC can’t devote four hours every Saturday afternoon to crown green balls, regional athletics and Final Score? Sadly, the only memories I have left of Grandstand now is the theme, a peacock-like piece of music, as it struts and flaunts its worth, and so it bloody should. One of my ultimate (clean) fantasies is to conduct an orchestra to play this wonderful piece of music.

So that’s sport, but what of comedies? What do I want from a comedy show in my theme? I want craft, I want thought, and I want catchiness. Cagney and Lacey didn’t work just because of the hair; it also worked because of the irresistible theme, crafted from the very same brain that produced the theme from Rocky.

So I want craft, but I also want words, and not just hastily scribbled together words like the ones you’re reading now, I want words which have relevance to what I’m watching. I want craft, and I want words which are instantly memorable and lasting, which leads me to Happy Days.

There is not a soul out there who doesn’t feel like moving when they hear the Happy Days theme. But I want more, I want craft, I want words, but I also want musicianship – I want a hook that will drive me wild. I want Red Dwarf.

And then I’ve almost got it all. But there’s a couple of missing ingredients left to fill. I’ve got my craft, words, musicianship – but I haven’t got a sense of belonging. Cagney and Lacey is too jazzy, Happy Days too jolly, Red Dwarf too “out-there”. I want to feel like I belong, like I’m part of something. I want to feel like I’m about to buy a David Bowie LP.

It’s almost perfect. The theme song is almost complete, but even if you include the craft, words, musicianship and sense of belonging, there is still something missing. Amidst every great comedy, is the dark sheen of tragedy and melancholy lurking. It’s the reminder that laughter is one extreme, and the other is tears, sadness and regret. Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves, that while comedy, TV or music might not save our souls, at least we’re all going down together. People are all the same…

Now, taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot, but not in the case of the current batch of TV theme makers. If this sermon has taught you anything, it’s that there is more to making a memorable theme than sticking a couple of instruments together and hoping nobody notices. Because that’s not how this game should work – we want to notice, we want the theme to become a part of the piece, the final puzzle that can turn a good TV show into a great one.

You wouldn’t have a baby and then not try to give it the very best start in life, so why not try and do the same for TV shows?

If you think I’m right, wrong, or have great hair, feel free to share your thoughts – and your favourite (and least favourite) themes in the comments below. Alternatively, you can catch me on twitter @martinhines or not watching The Wire

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