Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Amateur Dream Analysis

DREAM: I'm in a bar watching a football game on TV, specifically the Sunday night game on NBC, and the Steelers are playing the Texans.  My dream begins only with a brief bit of the actual game, but Pittsburgh has a pair of incomplete passes to end the first half, and I see the score is 17-3 for Houston.  Not good news for Steelers fans.

It's time for the traditional pre-halftime brief interview with the coach, who's jogging into the locker room.  Field reporter Michelle Tafoya stops for a few words with Steelers coach….Tina Fey.  Yeah, Tina Fey is there, decked out in a Steelers jacket, Steelers hat and a headset (and no glasses), looking pretty perturbed that her team played such a poor 30 minutes of football.  Tafoya asks what went wrong in the first half, and Tina says "You name it.  Oh boy," and then does a Liz Lemon-esque exaggerated eye roll.

Then, who should sidle up to them but Mike Tomlin, the guy who actually coaches the Steelers in real life.  Tomlin is dressed like he always is, and it suddenly occurs to me that Tina is wearing the exact same outfit.  A surprised Tafoya asks what he's doing here, and Tomlin says he's here to support Tina, as he has no hard feelings about her taking over the job.  Tina says thanks and that his support means a lot to her…and then she asks "look, do you just wanna get out of here?"  He grins and gives her a big hug, and then they grab hands and jog across the field together to a waiting car (!) with a bunch of tin cans tied to the bumper, a la a 'just married' couple. 

As Tafoya puts it, and I remember this quote specifically from the dream, "breaking news here from Pittsburgh, Tina Fey and Mike Tomlin are eloping.  Stay tuned to see what this means for the Steelers in the second half."


ANALYSIS: It's no secret that I'm a huge admirer of Tina Fey, and I think she do virtually anything.  Write and star in a legendary sitcom, sure.  Do a killer job hosting an awards show, absolutely.  Write and co-star in the seminal teen comedy of a generation, you bet.  Destroy a vice-presidential candidate's career, you betcha.  Star in a very bland romcom with Paul Rudd, why not.*  So if I'm presented with the concept of Tina Fey coaching an NFL team by my weird-ass subconscious mind, I'm open to the idea.  For all I know, she's a football savant.  AND, she's from just outside Philadelphia, so she certainly has the Pennsylvania ties that are required to coach the Steelers.  Actually, hang on, I have no idea if any Steelers coach has actually hailed from Pennsylvania.  Who cares.

* = Hmm, who played Tina's mother in that movie?  Lily TOMLIN.  Aha!

Of course, if a team actually announced tomorrow that Tina Fey was their new head coach, it would cause quite a stir.  Not only would Fey be the first female head coach in the history of the big four North American sports leagues*, her seemingly total lack of qualifications** would also be a pretty big story.  Okay, so a lack of qualifications hasn't prevented several terrible coaches from being hired over the years, and in fact, there's probably a 30% chance the Oakland Raiders actually try hiring an actor as a coach sooner or later, but still.

As this dream would seem to indicate, Tomlin immediately preceded Fey as Pittsburgh's coach, which could be my mind saying that the Steelers are in for such a bad season that their usually-stable ownership will think that hiring an acclaimed comedy writer is the only natural next step.  I mean, even when the Lions went 0-16 a few back, they at least hired another football person next.  The Steelers are already 1-1 so I shudder to think what's on the horizon for this team.  Will Bane actually attack Heinz Field?  (It also might augur badly for the Texans, since they're facing a team coached by a neophyte and only winning by two touchdowns.) 

Tomlin, however, seems to have gotten over his firing, though it might've taken him a while to accept it.  I guess you can't blame him --- imagine if NBC told Fey she was being fired from 30 Rock and John Madden was the new star and showrunner.  It'd definitely be a hard transition, and clearly Mike isn't quite over it, given that he's still dressed head to toe in Steelers garb.  He even had the headset, which made me wonder who exactly he was talking to the other end.

Probably the only thing that would cause a bigger stir than Tina Fey coaching an NFL team would be if she actually left said job mid-game to run off with the team's former coach.  Firstly, talk about an unprofessional move, Tina!  Your team might've played like crap in the first half but geez, no reason to literally just walk off the field.  What are you, Bobby Petrino?  Secondly, this sounds like a romcom plot --- football coach is replaced by his girlfriend, he's upset at first and they clash but eventually they reconcile.  "The Challenge," coming to theatres near you this Valentine's Day.  As it could be observed from just these few seconds, Fey clearly has more chemistry with Tomlin than she did with, say, Paul Rudd.

* = Frankly, this would be a pretty gigantic story with any pair of coaches.  "Breaking news here from Pittsburgh, Mike Tomlin and Bill Cowher are eloping.  Stay tuned to see what this means for the Steelers in the second half."

Tina is, of course, married, and so is Tomlin, as a quick visit to Wikipedia reveals.  Talk about awkward for their spouses, seeing both marriages end on national TV.  I'd presume that they're both single in this reality, given that they're eloping and there was no mention of bigamy…though in fairness, the bigamist angle is about the 30th-weirdest thing about this dream.  Even odder, in fact, is that Tomlin has the "just married" car when they're only on their way to elope.  Seems a bit premature, Mike.  Your friends should've held off on attaching the cans until the ink was dry on the marriage license.  One or the both of you could easily change your minds before it's official, since spur-of-the-moment decisions are clearly your thing.

So what does this dream all mean?  For starters, it clearly means I have a lot of respect for Michelle Tafoya.  A standard halftime interview gets crazy and she handles it like a total pro.  In the big picture, this dream makes some sense.  Tina Fey is, of course, one of my absolute favourites.  Pittsburgh is arguably my favourite American city, as I've been greatly impressed by the 'Burgh in both my visits there.  If I wasn't a Packers fan, I could talk myself into rooting for the Steelers --- great history, quality team, not-too-obnoxious of a fanbase, and it'd give me a chance to directly root against my brother's beloved Ravens. 

Perhaps the root of this dream is my desire for some actual fun NFL news.  Ok, so a mid-game elopement is more bizarre than 'fun,' yet given all of the horrible the off-the-field headlines from the last few weeks, football has lost almost all of its good spirit.  Domestic abuse, child abuse, tons more player injuries in an increasingly violent game, league executives seemingly too corrupt and/or incompetent to address any of these issues….it's brutal.  Watching the actual games on Sunday is almost a surprise, as if you have to be reminded that the NFL actually involves a spot rather than being an ongoing social drama.

Into this environment, who wouldn't want to see two crazy kids in love?  All the best to Mike Fey and Tina Tomlin on their impending nuptials.  This could also lead to Troy Polamalu and Jane Krakowski hooking up at the reception, and that's just a recipe for comedy. 

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Random Nonsense


In the spirit of the opening image, here's the DuckTales opening theme performed by real ducks.  I know, I've officially become the guy posting cute videos of animals on the internet, but I don't give a duck.


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It's like the people at Trivago really wanted to cast Scott Bakula, and when he wasn't available, they cast a guy who finished sixth in a Scott Bakula lookalike contest.

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When even Bill Murray himself is making casting suggestions, you have to know this Ghostbusters reboot idea is likely happening.  Wiig, McCarthy and Stone were all obvious candidates, though Linda Cardellini is an inspired and interesting choice.  Does Bill know something we don't know?  Is Paul Feig giving a plum role to one of his old Freaks & Geeks buddies?  I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT THIS MOVIE.

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Does EVERY New Zealand team perform a Haka before a competition?  I really hope so, even during a seniors' sewing competition or during a chess tournament.  The American team, clearly very intimidated by the Haka, went on to win the game by 27 points.


*********
I didn't write much about the "How I Met Your Mother" finale last spring but my reaction to the controversial ending was basically the same as everyone else's.  If the episode ends with Ted and Tracy under the umbrella at the train station, it's perfect; instead, we got the coda where Tracy died.

Anyway, the rumoured alternate ending to "How I Met Your Mother" has leaked and man, I'm just angry now.  I mean…who would look at this ending, and then the actual ending, and decide that Tracy dying and Ted ultimately ending up with Robin was the better idea?  It makes not a whit of sense.

Consider the pressure that Carter Bays and Craig Thomas faced as the years went on and their little show became more and more popular.  They presented their audience with a direct premise in the title and they were obligated to have to pay it off in a big way.  Can you imagine the thought that went into casting Tracy?  What actress could possibly live up to expectations as THE perfect Mother?  And then, against all odds, Cristin Milioti is cast and she creates an instantly-beloved character that has crazy chemistry with Ted* and somehow actually manages to live up to those expectations.  It's a home run all around….

* = Josh Radnor had tremendous chemistry with almost all of his romantic partners, which came in handy in the cases of Victoria and Stella, both of whom were planned to end up as 'the Mother' if the show had been canceled.  While Radnor worked well with everyone, however, he took it up another notch in his scenes with Milioti to really make it clear that Tracy was the one.  Kudos to the Rad, whose work on this show went largely unnoticed.

….and then they friggin' KILLED HER OFF and Ted winds up with Robin.  WTF.  It's clear the Ted-Robin ending was planned years in advance given the old footage of his kids (shot when they were younger) but still, somewhere you have to call an audible when a) Milioti is on fire and b) when it became pretty clear that the Ted/Robin relationship was a dead horse to the majority of the viewership.  Rehashing them in the finale's closing moment was just a head-buried-in-the-hands moment.

*********
I'm not English and I don't care about rugby, but my god, am I suddenly fired up.  The wild thing is, you could've asked Charles Dance to simply convey his message through facial expressions alone for two minutes and the effect would've been exactly the same.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

U2, First Impressions

A full review of "Songs Of Innocence" is coming once I listen to the songs a few more times and once my brain is fully wrapped around the fact that a whole new U2 album just got released with about five minutes' notice.  (Ravi and I are tickled pink.)  My first listen came right here at my desk, right in the same place where I'm now typing this very post, and it was certainly the most unplanned "first U2 listen" I've ever had.  For the other albums, I've literally planned my day around my initial listen.

* For "No Line On The Horizon," I first heard it sitting on the couch in my parents' living room, after everyone else had gone to bed.

* For "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb," I'd picked up the album on the way to school.  I had about a three-hour break between classes that day, so I took the opportunity to load the disc into my car's CD player and then just drive around northern London listening to everything.  (This was, admittedly, not the most environmentally-friendly thing I could've done.)  Then it was back to campus for my last class, and if you suspect my mind was still on the music and I wasn't paying a cent's worth of attention to the lecture that day, you're right.

* For "All That You Can't Leave Behind," I bought the record on the way back from school, which was admittedly a much smarter move since I could focus on my classes earlier in the day.  (Why didn't I remember this three years later?)  The first listen came in what was then "the computer room" in my parents' house, a.k.a. our old guest bedroom after we moved out the bed and put in a spare desk.  Fun fact, the record was actually released on Halloween, so my first listen came while I was in the basement and my mom was facing an onslaught of trick-or-treaters upstairs.  A good son would've helped her hand out candy, but…uh…

The earlier albums were all initially heard in the same place: the "old computer room" of my parents' basement, roughly 10 feet away from the guest bedroom.  No doubt I was playing solitaire or freecell while listening to the CDs, so as to not clutter my brain with a less-mindless task when I needed to be focusing on the music.  Since I was playing catchup with U2's discography at this point, I don't remember the specific circumstances of each first listen though I do remember *where* I got some of the albums.  "Joshua Tree" I bought at a Sunrise Records in Masonville Mall.  "Zooropa" I bought at, of all places, a CD store on the New Jersey boardwalk when we were visiting the Jersey Shore for a wedding.  "Boy" and "October" I both borrowed from my cousin Steve, and I recall initially thinking that October was pretty terrible.  (My opinion has since softened, though not by a ton.)

Given how long it takes U2 to release new albums nowadays, I look forward to hearing their followup record for the first time when it's beamed directly into my brain by my household cyborg butler.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

John Oliver & Cookie Monster

Okay, if this was just the original video, it would've been absolutely post-worthy.  But man, the outtakes take this to a whole new comedy level.  It turns out that Cookie Monster isn't actually real (WTF) and is played a puppeteer named David Rudman, who I have a ton of new respect for as a great improviser.  The "cookie from the 80's" bit just killed me.


Tuesday, September 02, 2014

NFL Predictions


This is probably the least attention I've ever paid to an NFL offseason, so these picks could well end up being my most accurate yet.  I'm becoming increasingly turned off by NFL coverage becoming less 'sports league' than it is 'reality show,' so my actual following of player movement has been quite limited.  It'll be Week 10 or something and I'll still be going, "wait, he plays for the Jets now?"

Also contributing to the malaise is that, while I'm sure there will be a few surprises along the way, this year's NFL seems relatively easy to predict.  There are very, very few teams that don't possess at least one glaring flaw, so either one of the great teams will have something (injury, suspension, etc.) go badly wrong or one of the flawed teams will either correct their problem or simply be the least-flawed team left standing come Super Bowl time.  To the predictions!

NFC South: Buccaneers, Saints*, Falcons, Panthers
I feel like I've picked the Bucs as a darkhorse for the last few years in a row and they've always let me down, yet I feel even better about them in 2014 since they have a real coach now.  Raheem Morris was in over his head and Greg Schiano was a macho nutcase, but Lovie Smith is an actual legitimately good head coach --- he's not a project or a question mark, as you know what a Lovie team can do.  It's for this reason I see Tampa at least making the playoffs, though my division winner pick is perhaps a bit optimistic.  It'll be either them or the Saints, who are as reliable as always.  Atlanta could rebound from their Murphy's Law season last year, but I'm not sure if the 2013 Falcons necessarily had as many things go wrong as it was a case of a flawed team's problems coming home to roost.  In any case, they might rebound to around 8-8 but no further in a tough division.  Carolina is going to regress to the point that Riverboat Ron might actually need to get a job as a blackjack dealer next offseason.

NFC West: Seahawks, 49ers, Rams, Cardinals
Man, this division.  I'd probably have both St. Louis AND Arizona ticketed for the playoffs if they were in any other division…wouldn't all four NFC West teams just beat the hell out of anyone from the NFC East?  Seattle has to be the clear favourite to repeat yet you could just about talk me into any finishing order for the other three; yes, even San Francisco in last since I think they're due to regress.  The Rams losing Sam Bradford isn't really a big loss given that Shaun Hill might actually be a better quarterback; the Cards are praying for one more half-decent Carson Palmer year and the Niners are just trying to keep their entire roster from ended up on the suspended list.  Meanwhile, the Seahawks had a pretty drama-free offseason and you can pencil them in for at least seven wins based on home games alone.

NFC East: Eagles, Giants, [NAME REDACTED], Cowboys
Here's another division where the winner seems obvious and the other three as a crapshoot, though in the NFC East it's because everyone is mediocre rather than the hellacious West.  Philly should win without too many issues unless it turns out the league has completely caught onto Chip Kelly (which isn't far-fetched).  I'm picking New York for second solely because this seems like one of those inexplicable Giants turn-around years when they'll probably contend for the Super Bowl again.  Washington is Washington and Dallas is Dallas, so they'll just soak up 75% of the media attention while winning a combined 14 games or less.

NFC Central: Packers, Bears*, Vikings, Lions
Inexplicably, the Central might now be the second-toughest division in football.  I'm as surprised as you.  Minnesota and Detroit both figure to be improved solely due to coaching changes and, in the Vikings' case, because they've finally given up on Christian Ponder.  (I'm on the Teddy Bridgewater bandwagon and feel that the Vikes made a big upgrade.)  If Jay Cutler can finally stay healthy for a whole season, Chicago is a quiet Super Bowl contender, minus the fact that they can never seem to beat Green Bay when it counts. 

My Packers get their own paragraph since, frankly, I'm a little concerned by the offseason.  On the one hand, it seems like the Pack are getting a little Patriots-esque in assuming that anyone can fit into their offensive system, so a good receiver like James Jones was basically just discarded in favour of the up-and-coming cheaper option (Jarrett Boykin).  Losing B.J. Raji is a big blow to an already suspect defense and wasn't addressed as much as I would've liked, though I'm intrigued by Julius Peppers.  I'm picking Green Bay to win the division again because of Aaron Rodgers (and because I'm a homer), yet it's troubling that a team who has been so brutalized by injuries for two years running didn't do much to upgrade their depth.  If the Packers are just crossing their fingers and hoping for good luck from the injury fairies, that's not a sound winning strategy.  I could really go anywhere on the Packers this year, from 11-5 to even a 7-9 step back kind of season if the North is as improved as I think it is.

AFC South: Texans, Colts, Jaguars, Titans
Maybe the most miserable division of them all; even any of the NFC East teams would stand a good shot at winning the AFC South.  Houston seems like a safe bet to rebound since, unlike Atlanta, their downfall last year had one major root cause and that was Matt Schaub suddenly turning into the worst quarterback in the world.  Remove him for an upgrade in….uh, Ryan Fitzpatrick…ok, well, F to a D+ is still an upgrade….and boom, Houston is back on track.  Playing in this lousy division definitely lends itself to a quick recovery, though by that same token, it wouldn't be *totally* shocking to see Tennessee or Jacksonville suddenly string together a few division wins and get themselves in the race.  The Jaguars aren't as bad as most think, and while the Titans are maybe the most boring team in pro sports, they're at least a halfway tough out.  I hate that the Colts' QB is actually named Luck, since when I write something like, "the Colts' luck will finally run out in 2014," it makes it sound like a bad pun other than a solid prediction and you all know how much I hate bad puns.  Wait…

AFC West: Broncos, Chiefs*, Chargers, Raiders
Denver is certainly finishing first and the ongoing Oakland clownshow is definitely finishing last.  Most pundits feel the Chargers are for real and the Chiefs are due to regress, yet I'm not so sure.  It could be because I felt San Diego would be awful last year and I'm still not taking them seriously, but that roster just feels like a bunch that had every break go their way in 2013 and they still only barely squeaked into the playoffs.  (And then beat the Bengals in the first round, as if that's an achievement.)  The Chiefs just seem more solid from top to bottom and I think they'll finish ahead of San Diego, plus return to the playoffs.

AFC East: Patriots, Jets, Bills, Dolphins
This seems like the AFC West to me, where you have one clear-cut winner and one clear-cut loser, though maybe I'm being a bit too hard on Miami (they're better than the Raiders, in theory).  I'm picking New York over Buffalo since the Jets seemingly always overachieve under Rex Ryan while the Bills always underachieve no matter the coach or the talent on their roster.  If E.J. Manuel is healthy and the real deal, Buffalo could very well make the playoffs, yet that would entail something actually going right for that franchise. 

AFC North: Bengals, Ravens*, Steelers, Browns
This is a weird division for me, since while I'm picking Cincinnati to win, it still just feels like the Ravens or Steelers would both beat them head-to-head.  Cincy has enough talent to beat anyone and their ability to always beat the lesser teams will help them win the division again, yet when push comes to shove in the playoffs, I'd have to see them actually win a game before picking them to do anything special.  Baltimore is due to bounce back and Pittsburgh doesn't seem to have enough parts to do anything of note, though they'll inevitably win between seven and nine games.  The Browns are going to be their usual catastrophe, with Manziel getting torn apart both by defensive lines and the media every week.


PLAYOFFS
* Saints over Packers
* Bears over Eagles
* Ravens over Bengals
* Chiefs over Texans

* Seahawks over Bears
* Saints over Buccaneers
* Broncos over Chiefs
* Patriots over Ravens

NFC title game: Seahawks over Saints

Part of me wanted to ride the Tampa bandwagon all the way to the NFC championship round, yet not even I'm that crazy.  Seattle is the obvious pick, the Saints are the safe pick, and the Seahawks will ride their home crowd to yet another Super Bowl.

AFC title game: Broncos over Patriots 
Seems too obvious, eh?  The fact is, the AFC is still a pretty weak conference overall and it's hard to make a case for any other team managing to rise up and overcome the Brady/Manning regime.  Denver wins again after Tom Brady is sacked on a critical fourth down play by a Bronco defender who shot up the middle, leading everyone to realize that Logan Mankins shouldn't have been traded and that "the Patriot Way" is code for being cheap.
  

Super Bowl: Seahawks over Broncos
Wow, am I literally just predicting a repeat of last year's title game?  Talk about phoning it in.  To be fair, I did totally call last year's Super Bowl, so maybe I'm the best prognosticator in the world.  Or, maybe Seattle and Denver still seem like the deepest and best teams in their leagues and, barring wear-and-tear from two straight extended seasons, both stand out as the favourites again.  This year, we'll even get a more competitive game as Peyton Manning will only choke in the Super Bowl by 21 points this year.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Bloopers & Recreation

Kudos to the P&R gang for keeping their gag reel to a more manageable length this year, and with fewer Pawnee commercials/interludes.  Perd Hapley is wonderful but only in a small doses.

Also, as amazing as Billy Eichner is, he may have missed his true calling as the "we can't do that!" guy on TV commercials that are advertising some crazy deal.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Singularity '90

So I've been listening to a George Michael greatest hits album over the last couple of days while driving in my car, and it's not a bad disc.*  My only complaint is that, as a 29-song double album, it seems like there's more than a bit of filler here rather than a true collection of all Michael's true top songs.  A 20-song, all-killer no filler single disc would've been off the page but the actual version has a couple too many meandering ballads and a couple too many OOMCH OOMCH OOMCH dance tracks.  I'm such such tracks are great as background noise if you're in a club in Ibiza, but they don't quite work when you're driving in your car waiting for a proper melody to start.

* = as a very casual George Michael fan, I'm right in the sweet spot for this album's existence.  It has every GM song I like, a few more I'd never heard before but really enjoy, and about 5-6 others that I could take or leave.  "Greatest hits" albums aren't meant for actual hardcore fans of a musician, since a) they have all these songs anyway and b) any true hardcore fan has their own STRONG opinions over which songs are truly the 'best' that their favourite artist has to offer, and only they could truly hand-pick the perfect compilation.

So anyway, yeah, I've been listening to a lot of George Michael lately.  I finish the first disc of the album and go to change discs, and my radio automatically flicks on in between.  The first song on the radio?  "Faith."  Huh, well, that's an odd coincidence.  I just happened to have the radio set to an oldies station, and there it is, a George Michael song.  How about that.

Then I leave the car and go into a restaurant, and what song is playing inside?  "Father Figure."  WHAT THE WHAT.  What are the odds of this?  As far as improbable musical coincidences go, this is right up there with the time my iTunes shuffle randomly gave me U2's "Pride" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" right next to the live versions of those exact same two songs.  All four, right in a row --- Pride, Pride live, ISHFWILF, ISHFWILF live.

With all of this George Michael surrounding me, I half-expected to see Michael Cera walking down the street.  Part of me wanted to go to the nearest store to see if it too was also playing GM music on its sound system, though since the store was a Canadian Tire, I suspect this would've broken the streak. 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Emmy On The Street!

Ok, so I was down on last night's Emmy Awards.  On the bright side, they did feature a fresh segment of one of my favourite things --- Billy Eichner running around New York with a celebrity and yelling at passersby.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Re-Emmys

I was upset about missing the Emmys last night but no problem, looks like I just missed a rerun.

Seriously, EVERY ONE of the major comedy and drama awards went to a previous winner.  The one 'new' winner was Allison Janney for "Mom" (a terrible choice, btw, since that show is terrible that even the great Janney is just hammin' it up), and even Janney already has a shelf full of Emmys from her West Wing days.

This is what makes the Emmys a tough awards show to follow, even acknowledging that all awards shows are pointless.  It's tough to see deserving talents lose year after year, yet it's also tough to say that none of the winners are good choices.  In fact, I personally did pick Breaking Bad (last year's Best Drama) and Bryan Cranston (already a three-time Best Drama Actor winner) to pick up trophies again because this past season of BB was just that damned incredible.  Still, as amazing as Cranston has been as Walter White, it just seems unfortunate that Jon Hamm still hasn't won in that category, or Hugh Laurie never won for playing House, or Michael C. Hall never won for Dexter before that show went off the rails.

My Emmy logic has always been that as long as a show or actor wins once, that's alright.  Did 'Arrested Development' or 'Seinfeld,' for instance, deserve more than one Best Comedy Emmy?  Sure, but I'm not complaining since at least they got on the board.  I'm even fine with shows/actors winning multiple times if their work is clearly deserving.  What bugs me if when an a "just fine" winner keeps inexplicably taking the Emmy year after year, a la Jim Parsons or Modern Family itself.  Did you know that Modern Family's five straight Emmy wins is a record, tying it with Frasier?  Modern Family, I enjoy you, I watch you every week, I like you quite a bit….but you, show, are no Frasier.

I'm reminded of years past when Candice Bergen and John Larroquette humbly stopped submitting themselves for Emmys since they realized that Emmy voters would keep awarding them in perpetuity, so they decided to share the wealth.  The issue with that now, however, is that with the rise of cable shows dominating the Emmys, these awards are in some cases the best showcase that their programs get.  'Veep,' for instance, is a hilarious show that is beloved by critics and awards' groups yet barely makes a dent in the ratings.  Its best advertisement is that it IS a "critically-acclaimed show" and Emmys are a big part of that, which is why Julia Louis-Dreyfus will keep nominating herself and probably winning every year, leaving deserving would-be winners like Amy Poehler in the dust.  In a vacuum, frankly, JLD probably is just as good or better than Poehler every single season --- yet geez, can't Amy score just one?  Just one measly Emmy?

Then again, if multiple winners weren't so sure they were going to win every year, they couldn't get together for pre-planned routines like this...

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Other People's Writing

Should I get royalties for linking to these articles?  Have I been costing myself money for years and years with these posts?  I am a moron.

* Perhaps in honour of the VMAs this weekend (a.k.a. the most "God, I'm Old" night of the year), I'm linking to my first-ever piece from the MTV news website.  Okay, MTV had nothing to do with it, I'd link to any website that had an oral history of Galaxy Quest, one of the true underrated comedies in recent years.  It's the perfect kind of parody that both satirizes and pays tribute to the source material, and frankly, if you're a Star Trek fan that hasn't seen this movie, you have failed at life.  Funniest part of the oral history is clearly how everyone is trying to avoid outright saying that Tim Allen was (is?) an asshole.

* As wonderful as the Onion is, the fact that it has spawned a (non-satirical) phenomenal pop culture website in the AV Club is arguably of equal value.  The AV Club's John Teti, for instance, has the space and opportunity to rank all 30 of Mario Kart 8's characters.  It's a lot of fun, though I feel Teti is underrating Koopa Troopa, my preferred racer whenever I'm playing a Mario Kart game --- control trumps speed, bitches!  (Teti's write-up on Koopa Troopa, in fairness, is arguably the funniest one of the entire bunch.)

* As usual, there's a lot of Grantland in this edition of OP'sW, because what other website can bust out a fantastic article about a completely random topic as how the bridal invitation postmark business is essentially keeping the little town of Bridal Veil, Oregon alive.  Katie Baker is the author here, and I won't lie, I really miss her on the regular Grantland hockey beat.  Sean McIndoe's regular "hey, here's a list of things, most of which involve the Leafs" pieces are wearing a bit thin.

* There's nothing overtly special about this Grantland piece by Robert Mays about the Chicago Bears' revamped offence, yet I just really dug it as a quality piece of sportswriting.  Mays is a Bears fan and clearly knows his stuff, and it was so thoroughly solid that even this Packers supporter enjoyed the read.  Is it odd that even though I'm a Green Bay guy through and through, I don't really hate the Bears all that much?  In my generation of Packer fandom, the Pack have more or less owned Chicago, so it's hard to muster up much genuine animosity towards them.  Maybe I'll start getting more afraid since Marc Trestman looks like an alien.

* Grantland's Zach Lowe absolutely kills it with a straight-faced analysis of Space Jam, a movie he (a 36-year-old basketball junkie) has never seen before and knew little about.  It's basically a tongue-in-cheek real version of Krusty complaining about the Washington Generals' tactics against the Harlem Globetrotters, as at one point, Lowe feels that if the fouling rules were so lax that Wile E. Coyote was allowed to use dynamite, the Coyote should've played the entire game.  Man's got a point!

* Grantland's Shea Serrano is back with another matrix, this one evaluating several famous NBA "post-impressive thing on the court" celebrations over the years.  Pretty sure he left out the famous celebration of actually catching on fire when you sink….oh wait, I've confused life with NBA Jam.  Again. 

* Why doesn't New York City produce as much basketball talent as in years gone by?  Jordan Ritter Conn asks the question in a story that I enjoyed, if I had to roll my eyes a bit at the general "how could this happen in New York, the Greatest City In The World?!" hand-wringing tone. 

* Grantland's Alex Pappademas reviews and/or has his life consumed by the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood mobile app game.  This seems to be the latest method in which the Kardashian has generated millions of dollars through absolutely nothing, so by this point I have to throw up my hands and just acknowledge that Kris Jenner might be the greatest marketer in human history.  As always, upon mentioning the Kardashians, I feel compelled to mention that Bruce Jenner was legitimately considered the best athlete in the world at one point.  Seriously.  That guy.