Commentary

March 28, 2014

Fly Over: ‘Catch a Contractor’, and ‘Titanfall’

Catch-a-Contractor-poster

On Spike TV:

‘Catch a Contractor’

Spike TV has created a fantastic new reality show, “Catch a Contractor,” which is hosted by comedian and master carpenter Adam Carolla. Except instead of catching sexual deviants like on the NBC series the show’s title is a take on, Carolla and co-host Skip Bedell are busting incompetent and corrupt contractors in Southern California.
And let me tell you: Adam Carolla is way funnier than Chris Hansen.
Before I wax eloquent about what a great show this is, in the interest of full disclosure I should say that I’m a huge fan of everything Adam Carolla has done, from his days on Loveline, the Man Show and Crank Yankers, to his current gig as host of the podcast “The Adam Carolla Show.”
“Catch a Contractor” is great mostly because it’s a vehicle for Carolla, who is among the funniest and fastest improvisational comedians in America. His humor and construction know-how work really well alongside Skip, who is an able host (he did a segment on NBC’s Today Show demonstrating tools with Vanessa Rae) and a licensed contractor himself.
Alongside Adam and Skip is Skip’s wife, Alison, a private investigator who helps track down the wayward contractors.
The premise of the show is simple: the show’s producers identify a family who was cheated by a contractor, Alison tracks him down and lures him to a decoy house, then Adam and Skip confront him in the kitchen – a la “To Catch a Predator.”
Much like Chris Hansen, Adam and Skip hear dissembling, excuses and denials from the fellow at the kitchen table – who, in Southern California, is usually someone with a name like Pedro, Jose or Avi.
Adam and Skip bring out evidence of the botched job, including photos, invoices and statements of work. They then give the contractor three options: he can pay back the money, the show will help the family pursue legal action against him, or the contractor can return to the house and finish the job with the help of Adam, Skip and their crew.
For added drama, the family is also brought out to confront the contractor face-to-face.
Not surprisingly, in every episode so far, the contractor has agreed to go back to the house and finish the job.
The next scenes show the contractor back at the house, working alongside the show’s construction crew. Adam cracks a few jokes about the contractor’s shoddy work. The contractor looks contrite. The family returns home and is delighted with their new skylight, kitchen or bathroom.
Even though each episode is only 30 minutes and follows a fairly predictable pattern, it’s always a delight watching Adam Carolla do his thing. It’s even more rewarding for regular listeners to his podcast, who have heard him complain about doing the show for the past several months (on account of having to get up early and fight Los Angeles traffic on the way to the shoots).
On the whole, not a bad way at all to spend a half hour.
“Catch a Contractor” airs on Spike TV at 7 p.m. local time Sundays.
 
Titanfall_box_art

And Online only:

‘Titanfall’

Every time there’s a new console out in the U.S., there is one flagship game that is the “main event” of the time. This game needs no explanation. It’s been hyped for months and launched with a worldwide marketing campaign. Ads are everywhere across TV, billboards, the Web, Twitch and YouTube. “Titanfall” is doing its best to make sure that everyone knows about the game and everyone who wants to play it; it’s unmissable.
“Titanfall” is a six vs. six online only multiplayer shooter. Yes, you read that correctly, online only. So for the people looking for a single player offline campaign, you won’t find that in “Titanfall.” A few minutes into each match, players can call in their giant Titans. Each player can get into and control their Titan or set it in auto mode. When not in a Titan, players can parkour, or free run, their way around the map, double jumping or wall running. Basically any way you can think of moving around in a map, you can do in “Titanfall.”
The maps in this game are pretty large, but can get repetitive quickly. I hope in the future they have downloadable content with some new maps. To make the matches more populated, players are joined by robot players, which I’m not a big fan of. I feel like the developers were lazy and decided to put in bots instead of making it a 16 vs. 16 game. Hopefully the next “Titanfall” they will make it with more user players instead of bots.
In most of the game modes, there’s an epilogue at the end. Survivors on the losing team have a certain amount of time to flee to a drop ship to be rescued. The survivors on the winning teams have to kill all the pilots before they escape. Whichever team completes the epilogue gets a nice XP bonus for doing so. It’s definitely a nice addition to a multiplayer shooter that I hope will only get better in time.
The final twist is burn cards. It’s kind of like perks in the “Call of Duty” series except it lasts until you die. Up to three cards can be equipped and used per match. The three cards you choose will definitely impact the match, so choose your cards wisely.
“Titanfall” feels incredibly balanced. The Titans aren’t overpowered. Of course you can expect to be destroyed by one if you’re on foot, but if you’re facing a Titan with another Titan, expect a pretty even match. A few pilots with their anti-Titan weapons can take out a Titan together. Pilot movement is fast and smooth, with wall-running allowing speed and flexibility. The developers definitely took their time to make sure the gameplay runs as smooth as butter.
The unlock progression seems a lot easier than many other shooter games. It doesn’t require too many kills to level up fully, and many unlocks can be had by killing the robots in the game.
If you’re a fan of “Call of Duty’s” multiplayer, you’ll enjoy “Titanfall.” It’s definitely fast paced and frantic like the “Call of Duty” series but “Titanfall” will leave you wanting more.
It’s fun for an hour, but I don’t find myself wanting to play it for much longer than that. I feel I’ve already seen everything it has to offer. Until downloadable content comes out for it, you’ll get bored of “Titanfall” pretty quick.
Overall it’s a good game, and I definitely recommend that you buy instead of renting it.




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