Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'
Credit: NBC

Firewall & Iceberg Podcast No. 265 - 'Better Call Saul,' 'The Jinx'

Dan and Alan also discuss 'Fresh Off The Boat,' the 'Parenthood' finale and more

Happy Wednesday, Boys & Girls! It's time for another installment of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.

A number of people on Twitter asked if we were still doing the podcast, which I guess speaks to our consistency that a single week without Firewall & Iceberg content -- We had a video show the previous week! -- could produce a minor panic. 

Apologies! I was at Sundance and then we were delayed at the start of this week due to cold and flu symptoms on several of our parts. 

But we're back! And it's a good show. There's a lot of terrific stuff premiering this week. Between "Fresh Off The Boat," "Allegiance," "The Jinx" and "Better Call Saul," there are three high potential new shows that we're reviewing. 

And then we've got a little Super Bowl commercial coverage (not too much) and some chatter about the finale of "Parenthood." 

Busy, busy, busy.

Today's breakdown:
Super Bowl Commercials (00:02:00 - 00:11:45)
"Fresh Off The Boat" (00:11:45 - 00:24:20)
"Allegiance" (00:24:25 - 00:33:10)
"The Jinx" (00:33:10 - 00:49:15)
"Better Call Saul" (00:49:15 - 01:02:05)
"Parenthood" finale (01:02:05 - 01:32:45)

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<p>Tuesday&#39;s &quot;NCIS: New Orleans&quot;</p>

Tuesday's "NCIS: New Orleans"

Credit: CBS

TV Ratings: 'NCIS' leads CBS Tuesday as 'Flash,' 'Agent Carter' shed viewers

'Supernatural,' 'Chicago Fire' are up on Tuesday

Fast National ratings for Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

New episodes of "NCIS" and "NCIS: New Orleans" were Tuesday night's top shows in all measures and led CBS to victory both overall and in the key demographic. 

There were dipping numbers for a variety of Tuesday programs, including "NCIS," albeit with caveats. 

The CW's "The Flash," for example, was down a chunk overall, but there was no decline in any of the key young demos, so the network isn't worried. ABC's "Marvel's Agent Carter" was flat in the key demo and down in viewers despite an improved lead-in, while "Forever" dipped below The Mulaney Line. And airing as a solo episode (with a repeat) for the first time this season, "Parks and Recreation" was down, as NBC finished behind The CW for that hour (though oddly both "Marry Me" and "About a Boy" were up in the demo, as was "Chicago Fire").

Let's get to the numbers...

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<p>&quot;Fresh Off The Boat&quot;</p>

"Fresh Off The Boat"

Credit: ABC

Review: ABC's 'Fresh Off The Boat' is fresh off the bat

Eddie Huang's memoir has become a distinctive and funny sitcom

Based on his memoir, "Fresh Off The Boat" is Eddie Huang's story.

It's certainly not my story.

I've never been an 11-year-old son of Taiwanese immigrants moving from Chinatown in Washington, DC to the suburbs of Orlando.

"Fresh Off The Boat" can't be my story.

But I hope Eddie Huang would forgive my feeling that, at least to some degree, "Fresh Off The Boat" is absolutely my story.

In the early '90s, I was a 13-year-old son of Canadian immigrants living in Mississippi, going to a middle school in which I was one of a dozen white kids and the only Jewish kid. I didn't have to explain stinky tofu to my colleagues at lunch, but I assure you that my bagels were plenty confusing. I spent a lot of time being called Bud Bundy, because at the time, all of my classmates were watching a lot of FOX and the most prominent representation of young, white masculinity they knew was embodied by David Faustino.

So I hope Eddie Huang would forgive my feeling that "Fresh Off The Boat" is also somewhat my story, but I'd understand if he wouldn't.

"Fresh Off The Boat" is more important as a specific story. 

People will talk about "Fresh Off The Boat" as the first Asian-American-centric comedy on TV since "All-American Girl," but that's selling short how unprecedented it is. The coming-of-age story is as foundational a structure as we have, narratively. I don't wanna get all "Bildungsroman" on you, but this is a primal storytelling vehicle and you've never seen it through an Asian-American lens on TV. And I'd be hard-pressed to think of more than a couple examples in American cinema.

It's in specificity that "Fresh Off The Boat" makes its bones and it's in favor of specificity that Eddie Huang railed in his now-famous Vulture column (which is funnier and more sharply written than 95 percent of all network TV pilots to air in the past decade).

But it's in its variable degree of universality that "Fresh Off The Boat" deserves to become another family hit for ABC. His protests aside, Eddie Huang's version of growing up as an outsider is specific and it's at least somewhat what's depicted in "Fresh Off The Boat" and it's an experience that only a very few people can share. And yet in his experience, I see a lot of my own outsider experience, which is pretty unique in its own right. We're all delicate snowflakes and we're never more delicate and afraid of being unique than we are in those formative years around adolescence; and even the pretty and popular people who were, in practical reality, not outsiders at all, still probably feel some connection to the outsider experience. [And screw those people, I say. Go watch your own darned shows about pretty people with perfect skin and good haircuts. And with that, I've "other"-ed the popular people, so they can relate to being outsiders, too.]

"Fresh Off The Boat" is significant for the vacuum it fills in a TV landscape that is belatedly being forced to realize that if you fill a vacuum you can make money.

But maybe you should just watch "Fresh Off The Boat" because it's funny.

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<p>&quot;The Bachelor&quot;</p>

"The Bachelor"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Gotham' slips, 'Bachelor' and 'Mike & Molly' surge on Monday

'Celebrity Apprentice' also gets a bump

Fast National ratings for Monday, February 2, 2015.

Big episode-to-episode bumps for "The Bachelor" and "Mike & Molly" helped ABC win Monday night among young viewers and CBS come out on top overall.

In addition to the CBS and ABC gains, NBC also saw a bump for "The Celebrity Apprentice" and "State of Affairs," while FOX's "Gotham" and The CW's "Jane the Virgin" posted minor drops.

On to the numbers...

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Credit: Sundance

Review: Political drama 'Zipper' becomes 'Reefer Madness' for sex addiction

Patrick Wilson and Lena Headey are still solid

Just as sex scandals are pretty much as old as politics themselves, as long as we've had films, we've had cinematic depictions of sex scandals, usually serious and sometimes comedic. Whether filmmakers have had to be coy about the nature of the scandals -- see "The Best Man" or "Advise and Consent" -- or whether filmmakers have been able to directly tear sex scandals from the headlines -- see "Primary Colors" -- the ground has been fertile.

Fortunately -- Unfortunately? -- sex scandals just keep coming along and we keep lapping them up, from Eliot Spitzer to John Edwards to Anthony Weiner.

Bringing the genre to Sundance this year was "Zipper," a largely straight-faced approach to a plausibly finger-on-the-pulse topic, which falls flat because of a middle act in which the drama spirals into dated addiction craziness. When it's a political thriller, "Zipper" is respectably acted and presented and has some merit. But for nearly 30 minutes, "Zipper" descends into utter ludicrousness and becomes a laughable "Reefer Madness" with high class escorts.

There's no indication that director and co-work Mora Stephens intends for her main character's sex binge to be hilarious, but I spent a long time giggling nervously before settling in for a better-than-expecting conclusion propelled by Lena Headey's very strong -- if accent-challenged -- performance.

"Zipper" just secured distribution with Alchemy today and it'll heading to theaters and OnDemand later this year.

Full review below...

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<p>Tom Brady</p>

Tom Brady

Credit: AP

Patriots-Seahawks Super Bowl XLIX is the most-watched show in US TV history

'The Blacklist' is the most watched post-Super Bowl show in three years

From the moment Super Bowl XLIX secured the two top-seeded teams in the NFL, including the wildly loved and wildly hated New England Patriots, this was inevitable, but it's now office: Sunday (February 1) night's Super Bowl XLIX has become the most-watched show in US television history.

Running from 6:31 through 10:10 p.m. ET, the Patriots' come-from-behind victory over the defending champion Seattle Seahawks averaged a record 114.4 million viewers, topping last year's Super Bowl by 2.2 million and beating the 2012 Super Bowl by 3.1 million reviewers.

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<p>Katy Perry and Sharks</p>

Katy Perry and Sharks

Credit: AP

TV Ratings: Super Bowl XLIX eyes new record in early figures

Patriots-Seahawks thriller will likely be the most watched program in TV history

Fast National ratings for Sunday, February 1, 2015.

Super Bowl XLIX, a genuine thriller between the two top teams in the NFL, is likely to take its place as the most watched program in TV history when full numbers are announced later today. For now, all we can say with certainty is that it rather handily dominated Sunday night in all measures.

Early NBC estimates have the Patriots' victory over the Seahawks up by 4 percent from last year's game and up 3 percent over over the 2013 Super Bowl, the previous record-holder. That's impressive and it's going to be even more impressive when we have the full numbers in a bit.

Meanwhile, NBC is estimated that the post-game airing of "The Blacklist" was on-target to be the top-rated post-Super Bowl telecast... in three years.

That's less impressive, as NBC is only putting "The Blacklist" up 9 percent from last year's "New Girl."

Remembering that these are time period figures and NOT program averages -- This is a particularly important clarification given that one of the two Super Bowl teams hails from a time zone in which only virtually none of the game was in primetime -- here are your Fast National figures for Sunday night.

Actual Super Bowl and "Blacklist" ratings will be posted later in the day.

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<p>&quot;Shark Tank&quot;</p>

"Shark Tank"

Credit: ABC

TV Ratings: 'Shark Tank,' 'Blue Bloods' lead slow Friday

'Hart of Dixie' takes a big drop for The CW

Fast National ratings for Friday, January 30, 2015.

Most of Friday's offerings were down slightly this week, which meant that the status quo remained in place: "Blue Bloods" carried CBS to easy victory overall and "Shark Tank" paced a narrow ABC win among young viewers.

Let's just get straight to the numbers...

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<p>Tom Hanks in &quot;Misery Loves Comedy&quot;</p>

Tom Hanks in "Misery Loves Comedy"

Credit: Sundance

Review: Kevin Pollak's stand-up doc 'Misery Love Comedy' is oddly myopic

Star-studded film purports to grand statements its one-sided cast can't defend

Kevin Pollak's documentary "Misery Loves Comedy" has a cute pun of a title that also draws attention to the film's primary flaw.

Had Pollak just called his first directing foray "My Friends Talk About Comedy" or "White Comedians Love Misery," I probably could have just felt that this was one person polling a bunch of chums on a subject of mutual interest and accepted its limitations.

But "Misery Loves Comedy" spends its entire runtime on a series of talking-head interviews with various comedians and on grand pronouncement after another, different variably famous stand-ups keep saying what "comedians" are like and what "comedy" is about. And given the composition of Pollak's panel of experts, I'm afraid that's ludicrous.

With dozens of comics participating, the total number of African-American comics featured in the entire documentary? ONE. Whoopi Goldberg is brought in to summarize one Richard Pryor routine. She does that and nothing more. It's almost like Pollak's thought process was "I can't do this documentary without mentioning Richard Pryor. And I can't have only white comics talking about Richard Pryor." And Goldberg doesn't add anything, she's just a token appreciator of Richard Pryor. If race were never mentioned at any other point in the documentary, I could pretend that erasing a not-insignificant portion of the comedy marketplace was kinda OK, but in a conversation about hecklers, a white comic talks about standing up for harassed black comics, which doesn't feel like as good a way of discussing that issue as having an African-American comic describing their own experience with racist heckling, but what do I know?

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<p>Patrick Wilson</p>

Patrick Wilson

Patrick Wilson on sex addiction and why his 'Zipper' politico isn't John Edwards

Also, check out Wilson's discussion of 'Fargo' Season 2

PARK CITY. We're so accustomed to politicians getting caught up in embarrassing sex scandals that it's tempting (or darned near inevitable) to compare Patrick Wilson's character in the Sundance drama "Zipper" to any of several real life kerfuffles. 

Chatting with the newly minted "Fargo" star on a balcony scenically overlooking Park City's Main Street, I asked Wilson if any of those famous examples informed his character here.

"No, because I didn't want it to be 'Oh, it's the Eliot Spitzer story' or 'Oh, it's John Edwards,' because sadly, those are the few that we know about and I'm sure that there are many, many, many more," Wilson said, though he noted that his character's Southern accent will make Edwards comparisons easier.

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