Friday, July 26, 2013

TV-Related Video Fun!

Here's a supercut of every movie reference the Simpsons made over the show's first five seasons.  Man, I have a film degree and even I found some of these to be REALLY obscure and only realized they were references just now.  "Eversmile, New Jersey"?  Turns out Day-Lewis was even in that movie.

And just to keep the laughter going, here's a supercut of SNL character breaks.  No, it's not only Jimmy Fallon for four minutes.  While these people are all professionals, you honestly can't blame someone for laughing when Will Forte is dancing like a fool or Chris Farley is going all Matt Foley just inches in front of your face.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Baldness Hall Of Fame

It was back in February 2003 when my pals and I took a road trip down to my pal Bryan's parents' condo in Florida.  SPRING BREAK, WOO!  The condo ended up being in a veritable retirement community (a good half-hour drive away from any beach) and it rained about half the time, so we spent more than a few evenings going to movies or just staying in to play Risk.  SPRING BREAK, BOO!

Anyway, we still got into the spirit of the trip by…dyeing our hair.  Yep, five university dudes in their early 20's decided the best way to commemorate this wild Spring Break* trip was to act like 11-year-old girls at a slumber party.  Compounding the hilarity was the fact that none of us actually knew how to properly dye hair, which led to some interesting colour combinations.  My pal Dave semi-burnt his scalp after applying twice as much dye mixture as necessary, and ended up with hair the shade of Lisa Simpson's dress. 

* = WOO!

The one holdout from this hair-dyeing madness was me, not since I was a killjoy, but because I had virtually no hair to dye.  I'd recently buzzed my hair from its usual Colin Mochrie-esque cul-de-sac of hair to a short buzzcut, in order to help hide the fact that I already had the hair of an old man at age 21.  Since I couldn't join in on the Florida hair extravaganza, I promised that once my hair grew back in, I'd dye what little I had left.  Frankly, my hope was that the guys would forget about this promise...

…but they didn't.  So in July 2003, I ended up colouring my hair blonde for an insane two weeks.  I say "insane" since my look ended up being, well, insane.  As noted, my hair crown already made me look old.  When dyed blonde, I looked not just old, but "old guy trying to look young."  I looked like Hulk Hogan if he really let himself go and started operating an ice cream truck.  After two weeks of looking like a straight-up idiot, I decided enough was enough.  I went to the barber (for the last time in my life, it occurs to me) and just told him to shave the entire thing off.  I had my first bald cut and since that date, I've kept up the cueball look through thick and thin and a thousand Lex Luthor jokes.

After only 10 years of being a full-on bald guy, I can hardly lay claim to being one of history's all-time great baldies.  (Though if you wanted to, I won't stop you.)  That said, what better way to commemorate my decade of baldness than to celebrate the legendary bald men who have not only rocked the chromedome look, but have paved the way for schlubs like me to also adopt said look and not be openly mocked for being follicularly challenged.  It is now time to present the inaugural class of the Baldness Hall Of Fame.

Criteria for the BHOF is pretty simple…. 

* you must be either completely bald or significantly balding!
* you must have a high moral character!  No terrible human beings in the BHOF, no sir!  (Exceptions could be made for fictional characters.)
* you must have achieved greatness, or at least significance, in your chosen field!
* your baldness must have in some small way affected your fame and/or the way people perceive you.

We are now accepting nominations for the BHOF's inaugural class.  We will select four people --- three actual humans and one fictional character.  The final determination of the inaugural class will be made by a panel of experts or just me, whichever takes less work.  Vote now, or forever hold your peace!

Saturday, July 20, 2013

GIF Giving

So when I was putting together my last post, I discovered something awesome.....Blogger lets us use GIFs now!!!!

Ohhhhhhhhh man.  We've entered into a new era here at Polivision.  Dance for joy, everyone!  GIF Party '13 is underway!!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Alterna-Emmys

Yes, it's true, the man who was once dubbed the TV Monster* is slowing down.  The list of great shows I have 'on my list' to get around to watching just gets longer and longer.  I feel almost unqualified to submit an alterna-Emmy ballot this year and yet here I am, blatantly pushing my favourites as hard as ever.

* = by Pope Benedict, during our weekly poker game with Pele, Monica Seles, Jerry Seinfeld, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Yunjin Kim and Prince Philip.  The Prince is missing this week's game due to his great-grandchild possibly being on the way….or because he's tired of hearing Seles brag yet again about how she bluffed him out of a big pot last month. 

I actually took a look at the official Emmy ballot this year due to one actor, Charles Dance.  You'd know him as Tywin Lannister on Game Of Thrones and an actor who just outright kicked ass all year long.  I was all set to name him best supporting actor before it came out that Dance didn't even submit his name for consideration.  Under Emmy rules, the performers themselves have to handle this themselves, which is why you get weird situations like egomaniac Rob Lowe always submitting himself as a lead actor despite the size of his role in a show.  So on the one hand, it's unfortunate that a great performance like Dance's isn't even eligible to be nominated…and yet it's a very Tywin Lannister move to give zero fucks about the Emmys.  Good deep character work from Dance.

Anyway, I mention all this to note that my votes came from the specific categories themselves, and I'll further mention a couple of weird notes from this category afterwards.

Actual nominees: Laura Dern/Enlightened, Lena Dunham/Girls, Edie Falco/Nurse Jackie, Tina Fey/30 Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus/Veep, Amy Poehler/Parks & Recreation

My ballot: Carrie Brownstein/Portlandia*, Zooey Deschanel/New Girl, Fey, Dakota Johnson/Ben & Kate, Louis-Dreyfus, Poehler

So we start things off with some category confusion already since Brownstein inexplicably submitted herself as a supporting actress.  While most sketch comedy performers go into the supporting category as a nod to the ensemble nature of their shows, it doesn't really fit for Portlandia since Brownstein and Fred Armisen ARE the entire ensemble.  When you play 95% of the roles, I think Brownstein and Armisen would've been justified in listing themselves as leads.  I'm giving Carrie some love here since a) she's obviously a lead, and b) she obviously deserves it.  I'll also begin my love affair with the sadly short-lived Ben & Kate by recognizing Dakota Johnson here, and also get all WTF about New Girl's total Emmy snub by recognizing Deschanel.  All in all, it's an impressive list of nominees who will get run over by the Louis-Dreyfus inevitable win, and I have no issue in her deserved victory.  But really, can Amy Poehler PLEASE get an Emmy before P&R goes off the air?

Actual nominees: Alec Baldwin/30 Rock, Jason Bateman/Arrested Development, Louis CK/Louie, Don Cheadle/House Of Lies, Matt LeBlanc/Episodes, Jim Parsons/Big Bang Theory

My ballot: Fred Armisen/Portlandia*, Baldwin, Bateman, Louis CK, Nat Faxon/Ben & Kate, Jake Johnson/New Girl, Joel McHale/Community

While I'm very surprised Deschanel didn't get nominated, I'm less surprised that Johnson didn't make the cut, even though I'd personally give him the award.  His Nick Miller character is a deceptively tough one to play and Nick's evolution throughout the season was too subtle to notice for Emmy voters who probably just saw one episode in a screener.  Of the actual nominees, I guess I'd prefer Louis CK to win, though I'd have no issue with Bateman winning or Baldwin taking home one last Emmy as a victory lap.  Heck, I even wouldn't mind Cheadle or LeBlanc winning since they're cool, even though I don't care for their shows.  So with this all being said, except the laziest possible result and another win for Jim Parsons.

Actual nominees: Ty Burrell/Modern Family, Adam Driver/Girls, Jesse Tyler Ferguson/Modern Family, Bill Hader/Saturday Night Live, Tony Hale/Veep, Ed O'Neill/Modern Family

My ballot: Will Arnett/Arrested Development, Burrell, Michael Cera/Arrested Development, Max Greenfield/New Girl, Hader, Hale, Echo Kellum/Ben & Kate, Nick Offerman/Parks & Recreation

Tough category as always, and I had to leave out worthy nominees like Glenn Howerton (Dennis will kill someone before It's Always Sunny ends, right?), Clark Duke (a bright spot in the Office's lousy final season) and the other Veep guys.  I've got three levels of interest in the actual nominees.  If Hale or Hader won, I'd be ecstatic since both guys are long overdue for recognition.  If O'Neill or Ferguson won, I'd be happy since if Modern Family is going to continually dominate the Emmys, the awards love might as well be spread around to the entire cast.  If Burrell or Driver won, I wouldn't be pleased since Burrell (while very funny) has an Emmy already and Driver…well, I just flat-out don't get why he was nominated.  I am not picking up what that guy is laying down.  If I had a vote, I'd ultimately be pulling for Hale, as he has an edge since he's got both Veep and his brief Arrested Development reprise going for him.  Tough to snub Hader given that he's leaving SNL and this is his last chance, though…yeah screw it, I'll vote for Hader.  Tony Hale can win it next year and put the Emmy alongside his Motherboy trophy.

Actual nominees: Mayim Bialik/Big Bang Theory, Julie Bowen/Modern Family, Anna Chlumsky/Veep, Jane Krakowski/30 Rock, Jane Lynch/Glee, Sofia Vergara/Modern Family, Merritt Wever/Nurse Jackie

My ballot: Elisha Cuthbert/Happy Endings, Jenna Fischer/The Office, Gillian Jacobs/Community, Krakowski, Kaitlin Olson/It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia, Lucy Punch/Ben & Kate, Cecily Strong/Saturday Night Live

Krakowski gets my vote because it's kind of ridiculous that she's never won for playing Jenna Maroney and this is her last chance.  The same logic applies to Fischer to some extent, though since her best moments this season (and really, throughout the series) were dramatic, I feel weird about giving her a comedy award.  In terms of sheer who-was-best-in-2012/2013-itself, however, I'd give the nod to Punch or Strong, which is a pretty aggressive combination of names.  Strong had a great rookie year on SNL and Punch was the broadest but arguably funniest of the awesome Ben & Kate ensemble. 

Actual nominees: Louis CK/Saturday Night Live, Bobby Cannavale/Nurse Jackie, Will Forte/30 Rock, Nathan Lane/Modern Family, Bob Newhart/Big Bang Theory, Justin Timberlake/Saturday Night Live

My ballot: Steve Buscemi/30 Rock, David Lynch/Louie, Kyle MacLachlan/Portlandia,
Martin Short/Saturday Night Live, Ben Stiller/Arrested Development, Timberlake

In my perfect world ballot, we'd have some late Twin Peaks recognition and either MacLachlan or Lynch would get the nod.  But let's just halt everything and look at the actual nominees list for a second, since you'd think I'd be voting for Timberlake, right?  Wrong.  If you can believe this, TV legend Bob Newhart has never won an Emmy.  This seems impossible.  Giving him an Emmy for a Big Bang Theory guest spot seems like small potatoes given the scope of his career but man, GIVE NEWHART THE EMMY.  This should be the no-brainer result of the night.

Actual nominees: Dot-Marie Jones/Glee, Melissa Leo/Louie, Melissa McCarthy/Saturay Night Live, Molly Shannon/Enlightened, Elaine Stritch/30 Rock, Kristen Wiig/Saturday Night Live

My ballot: McCarthy, Parker Posey/Louie

Yeah, that's right, it's a two-person ballot.  McCarthy is a great SNL host and I hope she wins the actual Emmy, but let's be honest folks, the single biggest snub of this Emmy year was Parker Posey not getting recognized for her role on "Louie."  I am aghast at that snub.  The fact that Leo got in and Posey didn't was some grade-A trolling from the Academy --- Leo was fine, but come on.

Actual nominees: Hugh Bonneville/Downton Abbey, Bryan Cranston/Breaking Bad, Jeff Daniels/The Newsroom, Jon Hamm/Mad Men, Damian Lewis/Homeland, Kevin Spacey/House Of Cards

My ballot: Cranston, Hamm, Michael C. Hall/Dexter, Lewis

I'm particularly behind on my TV dramas, including the likes of House Of Cards, Downton Abbey and even Justified so I can't even legitimately complain about Timothy Olyphant being snubbed.  Now that the Cranston dynasty was finally cracked by Lewis last year a repeat wouldn't be surprising, given that Lewis was great again last season on Homeland (though I have issues with that show's 24-esque plot turn).  Again I have to wonder just what Jon Hamm has to do to win an Emmy and he'd get my vote this year for finally cementing the 'Don Draper is a terrible person, why are you rooting for him?' heel turn.  Spacey may be the favourite for the actual award given his movie star pedigree and the fact that he was apparently very good in HoC, though I suspect it'll be Lewis or Cranston again.  As for Jeff Daniels, LOL the Newsroom.  I like Aaron Sorkin as much as anyone but man, is that show ever poor. 

Actual nominees: Connie Britton/Nashville, Claire Danes/Homeland, Michelle Dockery/Downton Abbey, Vera Farmiga/Bates Motel, Elisabeth Moss/Mad Men, Kerry Washington/Scandal, Robin Wright/House Of Cards

My ballot: Danes, Moss, Keri Russell/The Americans

I'm only a couple of episodes into 'The Americans' but I can already tell that Russell deserved to be here, so there you go.  Again I have to claim ignorance on many of these nominees so I'll just assume that Danes will win again.  Personally, I'd vote for Elisabeth Moss since c'mon, she HAS to win sooner or later, right?  What is up with Emmy voters showering Mad Men as a show and in the writing categories but never recognizing the actors?  It's madness, I tell you.

Actual nominees: Christine Baranski/The Good Wife, Morena Baccarin/Homeland, Emilia Clarke/Game Of Thrones, Anna Gunn/Breaking Bad, Christina Hendricks/Mad Men, Maggie Smith/Downton Abbey

My ballot: Jennifer Carpenter/Dexter, Natalie Dormer/Game Of Thrones, Lena Headey/Game Of Thrones, Morgan Saylor/Homeland

Tough category here, and while I wouldn't have voted for Hendricks, Gunn or Clarke since they didn't get a ton to do in their respective seasons, they're all deserving nominees.  I prefer Dormer and Headey from the many, many MANY Game of Thrones options, Saylor is a hell of a young actress and Carpenter deserves something given the wild emotional ride Deb Morgan has taken over eight seasons.  Dormer gets the nod on my ballot and the Emmys will probably laze out and award Maggie Smith again.

Actual nominees: Jonathan Banks/Breaking Bad, Bobby Cannavale/Boardwalk Empire, Jim Carter/Downton Abbey, Peter Dinklage/Game Of Thrones, Aaron Paul/Breaking Bad, Mandy Patinkin/Homeland

My ballot: Banks, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau/Game Of Thrones, Dinklage, Vincent Kartheiser/Mad Men, Patinkin, Paul, Kevin Rahm/Mad Men

Argh, such a good category.  I have to cut Charles Dance and James Wolk (more on him in a second) since they didn't submit themselves for nominations.  I also had to resist the urge to make separate Mad Men/Game Of Thrones/Breaking Bad-only categories.  My ballot looks pretty similar to the actual ballot except I couldn't leave out NCW for bringing Jamie Lannister's semi-face turn to life, as well as Kevin Rahm turning cardboard Draper foil Teddy "Shaw" Chaough into a real character who's actually much more sympathetic than Draper himself.  I'm sure there's some alternate reality where Nick Offerman and Kartheiser each have a couple of Emmys for their iconic supporting roles as Ron Swanson and Pete Campbell, but in reality, neither man has been so much as nominated.  That's absurd.  I would've voted Kartheiser for the win this year.  In real life what the hell, as long as one of the Banks/Dinklage/Patinkin trio wins, I'm happy.  (Aaron Paul is great but he has two already.)  Also, for all you Boardwalk Empire watchers out there…I've never seen the show, but shouldn't the guy that played Richard Harrow be here?  Wasn't he one of the breakout characters of the year?

Actual nominees: Linda Cardellini/Mad Men, Joan Cusack/Shameless, Jane Fonda/The Newsroom, Margo Martindale/The Americans, Carrie Preston/The Good Wife, Diana Rigg/Game Of Thrones

My ballot: Alison Brie/Mad Men, Cardellini, Laura Fraser/Breaking Bad, Rigg, Yvonne Strahovski/Dexter

So here's my annual complaint about this category: it's hard to judge "guest" performances when some are just one episode and others last entire seasons.  Cardellini, Fraser and Strahovski easily could've/should've earned supporting nominations since they were huge parts of their respective seasons, whereas Brie and Rigg just appeared in a couple of eps to land a few emotionally-devastating blows and then departed.  Going by the pure 'guest' standard, I'd vote for Rigg --- Oleanna Tyrell's scenes with Varys and Tywin were among the highlights of the entire Game Of Thrones season.  Since this award usually goes to the biggest name, I'd suspect Rigg or Fonda takes the actual trophy.

Actual nominees: Dan Bucatinsky/Scandal, Michael J. Fox/The Good Wife, Rupert Friend/Homeland, Harry Hamlin/Mad Men, Nathan Lane/The Good Wife, Robert Morse/Mad Men

My ballot: Hamlin, Jesse Plemons/Breaking Bad, Ray Stevenson/Dexter

Again, Friend and Hamlin were full-on supporting performances and Morse (while his part is small) is in the actual Mad Men cast.  Sigh.  I'd vote for Stevenson to win but really, let's talk about a man named Bob Benson.  The Benson mystery dominated this year's Mad Men season and Benson was clearly one of the year's most iconic characters.  James Wolk, however, submitted his name nearly as a guest actor (which I guess he classifies as) or in the supporting category.  You're missing the boat, Wolk!  You should've cashed in on the Benson buzz while it was still at a fever pitch.

So now, the series.  Rather than list just my favourite shows, I'm going to list ALL of my shows.  Here's how I ranked the 33 (still !! but not TV monster-worthy) series I watched this season.  I've seen a couple of eps of other shows (i.e. Girls, the Americans) here and there but not enough to fully judge, so I'm omitting them from the standings.

33. The Office
32. The Mindy Project
31. UK Apprentice
30. How I Met Your Mother
29. Amazing Race 21
28. Amazing Race 22
27. Family Guy
25. Community
24. American Dad
23. Survivor Caramoan
22. Modern Family
21. Saturday Night Live
20. Survivor Philippines
19. Dexter
18. The Simpsons
17. Children's Hospital
16. Family Tree
15. Happy Endings
14. Homeland
13. Archer
12. Ben & Kate
11. It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia
10. Arrested Development
9. Portlandia
8. Veep
7. New Girl
6. Breaking Bad
5. Mad Men
4. Louie
3. 30 Rock
2. Game Of Thrones
1. Parks & Recreation

Honourable mention to 'Burning Love,' the very funny web series that spoofed the Bachelor/Bachelorette reality shows.  Had I included it, I would've been top 10.
So of the Best Comedy/Best Drama nominees, my votes go to 30 Rock (one final capper to a great final season) and Game Of Thrones, which is just taking over all our lives.  Left without a nomination was Parks & Recreation, on such a groove in its fifth season that it really is the best pound-for-pound show on television today.  I felt S4 was weakened a bit by the 'Leslie runs for city council' narrative arc that tended to dominate things, but S5 just had a bunch of smaller arc that kept things fresh and always, always funny.  As noted earlier, Poehler's inability to win an Emmy is ridiculous and it's weird overall that this great show hasn't been showered with more Emmy praise.  I'll just presume the Emmy voters all live in Eagleton.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Michael Jordan: The Fallon Interview

As I tried to make perfectly clear during this post where I ripped her SNL career, I really am a fan of Kristen Wiig.  To wit, this routine that was clearly thrown together five minutes before she went onto the Fallon show.  I'm frankly disappointed in Fallon's lack of questions about Space Jam, which would cover roughly 90% of any future dialogue I might have with Jordan.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kyle & Mark On Arrested Development (S4)

What better way to celebrate the long-awaited return of Arrested Development than to have a long-awaited NEW TEAM UP between Kyle and I?  Here's our take on AD's fourth season after we've each had six weeks to fully digest the new episodes.  There are a ton of spoilers ahead so watch the episodes first, for the love of Zod.

Mark: So readers, if you can believe it, it's been over FOUR YEARS since Kyle and I last teamed up.  Man, where does the time go?  Kyle, give the people an update on what you've been up to since 2009.

Kyle: Called to the Bar, baby, two heartbreaking playoff runs by the Tigers...not necessarily in that order. Wait, no, EXACTLY in that order.

Mark: As for me, I got a new pair of sneakers.  They're good....not great.  So to sum up, both our lives have been jam-packed with new developments.

Kyle: It's been a wild ride...

Mark: Our development certainly hasn't been "arrested," to say the least. #Segueway

Kyle: Pun count: 1.  To be clear, my position on puns remains unchanged: I'm against them.

Mark: You're pundeterred

Kyle: Jaysus. We're in trouble.  But, hey, it's good to be back. Has anything changed on the internet since 2009? [Does quick Google search] Good Lord.

Mark: Geez, Twitter was barely a thing in June 2009.  And "Pinterest" was only the name of my Harold Pinter fan page on Geocities

So just because I mentioned segueways, did you know that in the original series, every time GOB rode up on his Segway, it led to a change in topic?  His Segway was literally used as a segue between scenes.  This blew my mind.  How layered is this freaking show?

Kyle: That is amazing. I can't remember the article that comes up in, but it's one of those "50 crazy cool things you didn't know about Arrested Development," and I swear 44 of them are completely made up and/or utter coincidences. The GOB thing appears to be legit.

Mark: And you could do another 50 things from this fourth season alone.  On a scale of 1-10, how mind-bending did you find the story?

Kyle: In terms of paying off things in ep 16 that came up in ep 1? Probably a solid 8.5...but I'm honestly not sure if that really enhanced my viewing experience. You? I know you were considerably more impressed with the storytelling than I.

Mark: I'm a sucker for any show that makes you really think and pay attention.  I watch so much TV (shocking!) that it's fairly easy for me to predict story turns just because I'm used to watching shows and anticipating the narrative twists.  With AD, though, it took me a couple of eps just to catch onto what they were doing, let alone where the story could possibly be going.  I was very impressed.  I'm in awe of the sheet narrative conceit that was at play here.  You'll appreciate this, or be enraged by it, but one reviewer compared the new season to a TV version of Infinite Jest

Kyle: TEAM UP OVER.  Gah...I mean, superficially, sure,, this is hurting my brain. We need to move on. (Interesting though...will need to get that source from you. Also, read IJ...and we can do a 50,000 word team up. Now if THAT isn't a selling point, I don't know what is.)

Mark: Sold!  We can expect that team-up to take place around 2017.  What didn't you like about the way the episodes were made/structured/designed, etc.?

Kyle: It's a good question. I guess I feel as though my initial confusion as to what the hell was going on wasn't worth the long-term payoff (i.e. plotlines making sense in the back half of the season). I've heard from many different critics that the show really improves once you go through it a second time, but I honestly think that's asking a bit too much of viewers.  Do you think Hurwitz deliberately made it more layered for binge-viewing?

Mark: No question.  I think Hurwitz's logic was, "people will watch this over and over, and they have the means to do this easily given the Netflix venue, so why not give them something to really sink their teeth into?"  Of course, that's a different animal than, "let's make this as funny as possible."

Kyle: True...although how is that any different than purchasing the full season DVD three months after it airs?  Re: the latter point: very true.

Mark: To defend Hurwitz, though, I'd argue that a major part (maybe THE major part) of AD's brilliance is how everything is so layered and how it demands rewatches.  So the fourth season took that to the Nth degree

Kyle: Good point re: the connection between its brilliance and its layeredness (is so a word).

Mark: It is now!

Kyle: I suppose I feel as though if Hurwitz consciously sacrificed comedy for the sake of continuity, that was a massive miscalculation (which is to say: I wish the individual episodes were funnier as opposed to simply parts of a whole)

Mark: Fair point.  In the original 53 eps, there wasn't a dud among them.  You could argue the two or three worst individual AD episodes all happened this season.

Kyle: OH, I assume we're getting to that...

Mark:  It's been pretty much universally-agreed upon that the two George-centric episodes were stinkers, and nobody seems to like the first Lindsey ep either.

Kyle: Why Hurwitz would front-load with George Sr. eps (two of the first five, I believe), is absolutely beyond me. The second George Sr. ep is the first and only time I contemplated simply not finishing the was endless.

Mark: Plus the Michael episodes have a lot of new information.  So, when all five of these come within the first six episodes, it definitely makes for a slow start.

Kyle: I still think the ordering needs to be called into question, since the first third really crushed my enthusiasm for the season, while the last third was pretty brilliant (but, because of the slow start, only helped raise the season on the whole--in my mind--to slightly above-average).  But, with all the information that needed to be dumped (as you mentioned), maybe this was a necessity.

Mark: It's weird that Hurwitz originally said "you can watch the eps in any order!" when that's clearly not true.  Maybe he figured to get the info dump episodes out of the way early so we enjoy the uninterrupted run of gold in the latter half/third of the season.

Kyle: Yeah, there's absolutely no logical explanation for that statement (which he rapidly distanced himself from in the weeks leading up to the premiere). He must have been hitting the sweat lodge pretty hard...Speaking of sweat lodges, I just discovered that Dan Harmon is in one of those scenes (ep 2, I believe). I apologize if this is not even remotely new information.

Mark:  He was one of the gurus, yeah.  I thought it looked vaguely like him, or the guy who played Dan Dority on Deadwood.

Kyle: (Confesses he still hasn't seen Deadwood.)


Kyle: Made the chapter in Sepinwall's book a little inscrutable...

Mark: I may be influenced by the low quality of the George episodes, or this could be the reason for their low quality, but it occurs to me that George Sr is the weakest character on the show.  He was kind of the McGuffin of the first three seasons rather than a fully-developed character, who was funny in contact with others but never needed to be on his own.  George as a solo act carrying two episodes, however....not so much

Kyle: Wow...never really thought about George Sr. that way, but you're totally right.

Mark: Even the thought of George as the mastermind behind all the schemes went out in the window in the S3 finale when he revealed Lucille was behind everything.  So George was really left with no character beats aside from being an incompetent con basically GOB without the magic

Kyle: Or as Oscar's foil, which never failed to entertain prior to this season.  Should we use this as a jumping off point to discuss the merits of having character-centric episodes? Are you--as I am--pretty unconvinced that this was actually a necessary evil?  We've heard so much about it being impossible to reconcile everyone's shooting schedules, but how, exactly, is this any different than getting an ensemble together to film a movie?

Mark: I think it was such a challenge getting everyone back and on board and they compromised with the "character episode" idea.  So Hurwitz decided that instead of the cast intersecting and mingling like they always did, he'd have the story do it instead.  You'd think for a S5 (now that it's more of a proven entity that another season could actually happen) they'd get everyone locked up and reunite the Bluths.

Kyle: The only full-cast scene that springs to mind is the strategy session in Lucille's living room where Michael tells everyone to go fuck themselves. Can you think of another one?

Mark: That was the only one, which they wisely kept going back to as much as possible (and it was funny since they kept revealing more jokes to it, like Ann hiding in the corner or it actually being George Michael's off-to-college party).  There was the scene following the yacht theft thought that was clearly heavily green-screened.

Kyle: Gosh..forgot about it being college party. Banner reference and everything!  Also, not to be uncharitable, but--really--it's not as though any of these actors (Bateman and Cera aside, I suppose) are such successes OUTSIDE of AD that they shouldn't have attempted to make time for the series.  OK, "uncharitable" is being charitable.

Mark: I get that schedules were busy but man, THAT busy?  They barely had any scenes with three Bluths at any given time

Kyle:  I think doing S5 the same way as S4 would be a huge mistake...

Mark: I was just stunned that, of all of them, Tony Hale ended up being the busiest. Buster was barely in the season at all, aside from his centric-episode (which was admittedly terrific)

Kyle: That was a great episode. I will never tire of that oversized hand gag. Never, I tell you.  I could see AD conflicting with Veep's shooting schedule given that Veep S2 just ended.

Mark: Very possible. And lord knows Arnett was busy with Up All Night HA HA HA HA

Kyle: LOL

Mark: I was expecting the whole family (and the whole plot) to finally come together as one at Cinco De Quatro at the end, but nope.

Kyle: I think that might be my biggest issue with the whole season, in that S4 appears to be building towards something big, seeminly just after Cinco de Quatro (nearly every episode culminates at Cd4) and then it just peters out. That was frankly baffling.  You know what, just in typing that, I'm totally kind of getting that Infinite Jest comparison. How about that...

Mark: Yeah, I mean your boy DF Wallace wasn't exactly big on wrapping up endings either, ya know.

Kyle: Too soon.  Also, wish you hadn't used "wrapping."

Mark: That wasn't a suicide joke!

Kyle: OH...never mind then.  Great, so now I'm the weird one.

Mark: At the end of Broom Of The System I was like, "did the last 20 pages fall out of my book, or what?"

Kyle: lol...yeah. BotS literally ends mid-sentence, so that's a fair point.  Am I right that there are only two or three scenes max that come chronologically AFTER Cinco de Quatro? (there's a chrono supercut out there, I just haven't seen it)

Mark: The only post-Cinco scene that comes to mind was maybe a quick shot of Lindsey at her future campaign headquarters?  The total lack of closure is the best hint yet that there's more AD coming, whether it's a fifth season or a movie.  If nothing else, we need to see George Michael's chicken dance

Kyle: That was cruel, wasn't it?  Really felt like Hurwitz was winding up the true fans there.

Mark: That was one of two moments in watching the series when I literally said HOLY SHIT out loud.  The other was when they finally showed Tracey Bluth, in such a throwaway moment.

Kyle: Yup...certainly unexpected.

Mark: And it was Maria Thayer, one of my 'should be a bigger star' candidates!

Kyle: She will always be "that girl from Forgetting Sarah Marshall" for me.

Mark: That's right!  Her and McBrayer!  The ultimate coupling of "indeterminate age" actors

Kyle: Can I use this as an opportunity to reference one of my all-time favorite lines on the show? (Tobias: "And second-of-ly, I know you’re the big marriage expert. Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot. Your wife is dead. [beat] I’m sorry. That was 100% inappropriate, and I do apologize profusely.") Yes, I think I can.

Mark: That was an amazing moment.  If the show wasn't so tightly plotted, I'd wonder if Cross had improvised that.  So I guess given the season's format, we should state how we watched all the new episodes.  You spread them out over a week or so, right?

Kyle: My intention--though, in retrospect, it makes zero sense--was to marathon the whole season in one (or maximum two) nights. It ended up taking me about ten days. (I will throw Carrie under the bus a little bit here, in that she fell asleep approximately five minutes into 90% of the episodes she watched with me, creating a whole "should I watch another one, or pack it in?" dynamic; though, in fairness, I usually kept watching,) You?

Mark: Husband of the year.  I semi-binged.  I watched three on the first day, I think four the next day and then crammed the rest into the third day.  And this was after rewatching the original 53 episodes in the week prior, so yeah, it was real shut-in of a week for me

Kyle: And did you go through S4 a second time? If so, at what rate?

Mark: Haven't watched it a second time yet, though I plan to.  I might've spread my initial viewing out a bit more had that last half of the season not been so good.  It was around the first GOB ep or the second Tobias ep that it all started clicking and paying off and feeling like the old AD, and I just didn't want to stop once the season finally got on a roll.

Kyle: That sounds about right.  My other big complaint about S4 is how limp the political commentary was compared to the show's original run. There was some decent stuff with the housing crisis (Lindsay and Tobias's NINJA loan springs to mind), but the whole Herman Cain thing really fell flat. How did that land for you?

Mark: Didn't land well with me either, you're right.  The problem was that while the original series' political humour was about stuff that was happening directly at the time, S4's material tried to touch on everything over the last seven years and felt scattershot.  Like, a Herman Cain spoof in 2013 is yesterday's news

Kyle: Good point. The Cain thing just felt really easy too...a caricature of a caricature (though I suppose you could say the same thing about the Dubya stuff during the first go round).

Mark: Bush was still president then, though.  Cain was barely relevant even when he was running since he was so obviously a joke candidate.  It's unfortunate since Terry Crews is a funny actor but he didn't have much to do.....yet Herman Love had the most screentime of any tertiary character save for Lucille and maybe Rebel or Ron Howard

Kyle: Yup...that was a miscue for sure....and the wall stuff was pretty shitty too.

Mark: Yeah, boy, the wall jokes.  George not being able to decipher that drawing was a real jump-the-shark moment for his character

Kyle: ...and the interminable explanations...double and triple crosses. It's the only time AD has ever been actively unfunny for me. (And in an episode featuring the wonderful John Slattery to boot--I feel sick.)

Mark: At least Slattery himself was pretty funny.  He was arguably the best of the new characters.

Kyle: Not exactly stiff competition, mind you.

Mark: The more minor the 'new' characters got, the better, it seemed.  Like, Kristen Wiig and Max Winkler just had a few scenes each but they killed.  Andy Richter as his various brothers never stopped being funny for me.  Tommy Tune as Argyle Austero was hilarious just because it's freakin' Tommy Tune.  But the ones they tried to build episodes around (Herbert Love, Marky Bark, even DeBris though I liked her the most) fell flat.

Kyle: Oh, forgot about Tommy Tune, that was quality.  Marky Bark was atrocious. DeBris had her moments.

Mark: The only funny bit about Marky Bark was that it came out about a week after the series was released that Brad Pitt legitimately has a type of 'face blindness'

Kyle: Yeah, that was definitely some odd timing.  Did you read the bit about people speculating that the whole face blindness thing was a commentary on Portia de Rossi being virtually unrecognizable compared to version 1.0?

Mark: See, I was wondering about that.  She looked a lot more 'normal' in the red wig and shorter hair later in the season, so was the heavily-plastic'd look just part of her character in the early going?

Kyle: I don't think so...

Mark: De Rossi looked pretty normal on Better Off Ted

Kyle: Yeah, that's true...but she also had that whole severe look thing going on...could be deceiving.  Hmmm...apparently it's DeBriE.

Mark: Ah, I seE

Kyle: well played.  So what DID work for you, comedy-wise?  Any runners that you found particularly memorable?

Mark: I enjoyed Barry's trial...them never mentioning the word 'Google'....Michael continually revisiting his roommate vote-out plan to see where it went awry....the aforementioned scenes with Wiig and young Winkler....and maybe it was just the comic nerd in me but they made every pun possible involving the Fantastic Four and they were all funny

Kyle: The vote-out stuff was hysterical. I was stunned to discover that some critics pointed to that as an example of the show having lost its fastball.

Mark: It's probably because I'm a Survivor fan, but I never fail to be entertained by idiots out-thinking themselves by coming up with overly-complex voting schemes.  Oh, and the slow reveal of why George Michael was so popular amongst his neighbours in the model home neighbourhood. That was amazing.

Kyle: The neighborhood stuff was outstanding.  I really dug the Maeby yearbook sequence (a nice shout out to the Steve Holt stuff in the original series), and GM and P-Hound being so dismissive of the woodblock apps out there.

Mark: And the neighbourhood of model homes was....a fake block.  Boom!

Kyle: Nice.  Oh, can't forget "ANUSTART." I'm ashamed it's taken me this long to reference it.  And, hell, it was fun to have so many John Beard cameos.

Mark: Even he got his own storyline!  Of the old supporting characters, I think he, Bob Loblaw, Carl Weathers and the Richters came off the best.

Kyle: Ron Howard being kind of a dick was thoroughly enjoyable too (particularly him telling Michael it would be more fun if his wife died on camera).

Mark: That whole episode at Imagine was weird, just because it was SO naval-gazing and there was SO much obvious green-screening.  Yet still, it was funny.  You forget that Howard is a good comedic actor himself.

Kyle: Agreed...he was a pleasant addition.  Definitely took me ages to make the connection between Barry buying the step-ladder at the hardware store and his trial. So maybe it's less that I don't like layering and more that I'm just an idiot.

Mark: "And that, was a Bob Loblaw law bomb."  "That was a low blow, Loblaw."

Kyle: lol, speaking of Ron Howard: did you encounter any issues with the sound mixing/editing (I can never remember which is which). It definitely seemed as though Howard's narration cut off some dialogue it wasn't meant to.

Mark: Not that I can recall.  The only editing issue I had was that the episodes all seemed five minutes too long.

Kyle: LOL. Oof.  Absolutely. Longest one was, what, 38 minutes? That's pretty unforgivable....or it was in this context (Lindsay or George Sr.). If it was George Michael, that would be fine.

Mark: You mentioned favourite running gags...what were your top one-off gags?

Kyle: Has to be the Buster-Lucille smoking scene, no? You?

Mark: Oh man, that was way up there.  That's one case where it didn't need to be edited down, since it kept going and going and getting funnier every time.  For me, the giant 'HER?' sign in the church was a laugh-out-loud moment.  Or Peter Scolari starring in the Spanish version of Angels & Demons knockoff, or GOB and Tony Wonder talking themselves into sleeping with each other.  The Christian talk show called "And As It Is Such So Also As Such Is It Unto You," or the club actually being named "And...Jeremy Piven." 

Kyle: LOL...those are all great.  Though I found John Kasinski's cameo a bit distracting, "you're not charring my tree" is a pretty awesome line.

Mark: And sadly, the joke about George Michael not knowing who Lucille Austero was turned out to be not exactly accurate.

Kyle: Yeah, I assume your reaction to the GM-Lucille Austero thing was the same as mine ("could that possibly be true?").

Mark: There's a scene in S2 where at one point someone refers to Buster and his girlfriend, and GM goes, "that's his girlfriend?  I thought he was her nurse."  So you can argue that George Michael didn't actually MEET Lucille at this point, but he'd know something of her, I guess.

Kyle: Yup.

Mark: Man, if only that had turned out to be true.  Maeby turning out to be Lindsay's guru was a nice gag

Kyle: Yup...that was good. It was really only when Lindsay came back to the U.S. that her storyline went to shit.  Do I still find myself humming "Getaway"? Yes, yes, I do.

Mark: Hurwitz has now spent a solid decade teasing his old Golden Girls buddy Marc Cherry.  That's amazing.

Kyle: Indeed!

Mark: Favourite episodes?

Kyle: Tough one. One of: Senioritis (4.12), It Gets Better (4.13), Off the Hook (4.14), or The B-Team (4.04). A New Attitude (4.11) is close. I honestly can't pick one, but I'm thinking Senioritis or It Gets Better would probably get the nod. You?

Mark: I agree. Both eps (and Off The Hook) are helped by the fact that we'd seen so little of Maeby, GM and Buster up to that point that it was a relief to finally get to their episodes.  I'd go with It Gets Better, Senioritis and Off The Hook are the best ones, with honourable mention to the two GOB eps and the two Tobias eps.

Kyle: Sounds about right (in that you're agreeing with me...)

Mark: And I think we similarly both agree that 'Double Crossers' was the worst of the season and (imo) the worst of the entire series

Kyle: 100%

Mark: One other topic of'd you feel about Michael being essentially the villain of the season?

Kyle: Can't say I ever became totally comfortable with it. I read somewhere recently that what made the original run so great was that Michael behaved like he was so much better than the family, yet routinely demonstrated himself to be more than capable of being just as self-involved as the rest of them (essentially, yeah, GOB's an asshole, but he KNOWS he's an asshole, while Michael thinks he's the good guy but is nearly as much as an asshole as GOB) and to a certain extent that's true (I'm thinking specifically of Michael dating GM's teacher --Heather Graham-- in S1, even though he knows it's wrong, along with pretty much the entirety of the Julia Louis-Dreyfus plot), but I think this season took that to its logical extreme (Michael in full asshole mode) and was worse off as a consequence.

It might be trite to say that the show like this needs an emotional center, but I think it's true...and I think that's supposed to be Michael. And for him to act like an oblivious sociopath (I suppose that's probably redundant) for virtually the entirety of the season was really jarring.  Arguably it would be ok if you simply shifted that center to George Michael, but given that he had such a small role until the final five eps, that really wasn't possible.  You?  Article that cited that approximate thesis is here, btw:

Mark: True. It's like Michael needed the rest of his family to essentially induce him to be a good guy, if just to spite them or be superior to them if nothing else.  Without his family all around, Michael was a rudderless ship.  S1-S3 Michael wouldn't have tried to so blatantly fool his son re: them both dating Rebel.  Though there was a really nice acting moment from Bateman....when he's describing Rebel to George, he goes "she's Tracey, Dad" with such desperation that you can see he legitimately believes he can recapture in Rebel the love for his departed wife.  That almost excuses the lengths he goes to in trying to break up her and George Michael.

Kyle: Yup, it definitely leads to a couple of surprisingly moving emotional beats (the one you just referenced, plus the punch at the end of ep 15). We're so trained to see Michael eventually come to his senses once George Michael is involved that when he gets hit, it really (sorry) lands.  I also really didn't like him living in GM's dorm room (even if it set up my favorite scene of the season). It just felt so tonally off that I could never really get over it.

Mark: True.  It took Michael's cluelessness about his son to a pathetic extreme.

Kyle: I'm fairly intrigued as to where this takes the show, since the Michael-GM relationship has always played such a central role on the show and now it's in shambles.

Mark: Presumably S5/the movie would end with them reconciling

Kyle: Has to be, right?  Do we agree that S5 THEN a movie is more likely than just a movie?

Mark: I've never seen the need for a movie.  If this season tells us anything, it's that Hurwitz simply is overflowing with material and needs at least a full series to get it all in.  (Remember, S4 was supposed to be just 12 eps and kept growing and growing.)

Kyle: That's true. do you rank the seasons now?  (must be done to scale)

Mark: S4 has to be at the bottom because this was the first AD season that had duds. That said, I still think it was very entertaining and it lived up to the series' reputation. I'd go S2, S1, S3, S4

Kyle: Yeah, I go back and forth between S1 and S2, but Amigos (2.04, I think) is my favorite ep, so S2 gets the nod. My order is exactly the same. However, if S1 and S2 are both 9.5s or 10s, and S3 is let's say an 8, I think S4 is like a 5.5 or a 6. Seems harsh, but I'm not sure if I'm willing to go any higher.

Mark: I'd say S3 is only a 9 since the Rita storyline isn't great on a rewatch.  I'd rank S4 higher than that, maybe 7.5 just because the payoffs were largely worth it and because I loved the narrative conceit so much.  I'm giving them points for the attempt, basically.

Kyle: Rita story is a pretty major misfire, but ok.  It's also worth noting that S4 suffers in large part because it's being compared to Pantheon seasons.

Mark: No question.  Impossible expectations, really.  No other (American) series had tried anything remotely like this, coming back after so long for a revived series

Kyle: Absolutely.

Mark: And, given the cast limitations, they were forced to do something different and possibly outside of Hurwitz's comfort zone.  Had all nine cast members been fully available and ready to go, who knows how S4 would've played out.

Kyle: Which is why I kind of wished he'd waited until that situation presented itself, but I guess the counter-argument is that he had to do a (somewhat bastardized) S4 to give himself the opportunity to do a "proper" S5 or movie.  Now or never, essentially

Mark: Indeed.  It'd already been seven years, he had to strike while the iron was lukewarm, if not hot

Kyle: yup

Mark: Bottom line, you're happy to have more Arrested Development in your life

Kyle: I'll admit that I was pretty massively letdown WHILE actually watching it...and even (albeit less so) after finishing it. But, yeah, for sure. But my enthusiasm for S5 will definitely be significantly impacted by what kind of format Hurwitz embraces/is forced to accept. If it's an ensemble situation, I'm all in. If it's piecemeal, boy, I don't know...You?

Mark: I'm all-in, regardless.  I can't conceive of there being new Arrested Development out in the world and me choosing to not see it.  I don't care if Hurwitz delivers S5 in the form of 1500 Vine videos, I'll watch

Kyle: Oh, there's no way I won't watch. I'm just worried that the show runs the risk of losing what really made it special if they go the same direction in S5 as they did in S4.  Having said that, even below-average AD is still better than most comedies out there.

Mark: And really, I'd argue that even if S5 is also a letdown, it still won't erase the legacy of S1-S3.  It's like how the Simpsons can make B/B- seasons forever and it still won't detract from their first decade.  Let's just hope the next iteration allows for more than three Bluths to be in the same room at the same time.

Kyle: Sounds good.

Mark: Odds on what happens first....Arrested Dev's movie/fifth season, or our next team-up?

Kyle: borrow a line from the Sorkin supercut sequel, I think it's 6/5 and pick-em. I'd really like to finish the movie thing, but who knows? I'll give us the slight edge...

Mark: We could've finished the movie series ages ago but ONE of us had to go and have a child, KYLE.

Kyle: I know. I ruined things for everyone.

Mark: Didn't even name her Markette, either.  I won't lie, I was offended.

Kyle: lol...if you would've let me use a "q" I think I could have convinced Carrie. NOW who's being selfish?

Mark:  :(

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Ten Actors Who Should Be Bigger Stars
10. John Michael Higgins
9. Anna Faris
8. Clifton Collins
7. Maria Thayer
6. Alfred Molina
5. Jennifer Ehle
4. Corey Stoll
3. John Ortiz
2. Jim Broadbent
1. Greta Gerwig

Ten U2 Songs That I Really Sing The Hell Out Of In The Shower
10. Walk On
9. Angel Of Harlem
8. Lemon
7. Stay
6. In A Little While
5. Bad
4. Mercy
3. Stuck In A Moment You Can't Get Out Of
2. All I Want Is You
1. Moment Of Surrender

Ten Favourite US States
10. Ohio
9. Delaware
8. Washington
7. Minnesota
6. Illinois
5. Wisconsin
4. Michigan
3. California
2. New York
1. Pennsylvania

Ten Favourite Toes
10. Fourth toe, right foot
9. Baby toe, right foot
8. Baby toe, left foot
7. Middle toe, left foot
6. Fourth toe, left foot
5. Middle toe, right foot
4. Second toe, right foot
3. Second toe, left foot
2. Big toe, left foot
1. Big toe, right foot

Ten Best Martin Scorsese Films (that I've seen)
10. Casino
9. The King Of Comedy
8. The Age Of Innocence
7. The Aviator
6. Raging Bull
5. Hugo
4. The Last Temptation Of Christ
3. The Departed
2. Goodfellas
1. Taxi Driver

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Amateur Dream Analysis

DREAM: I'm at my bank, taking some money out of the ATM.  I'm just typing my password when I get a strange sensation that I'm being watched, and turn to find Gordon Pinsent peering over my shoulder, about two inches away from me.  Yes, that's right, veteran Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent.  I say, "Do you mind?" to which Pinsent responds, "Oh, don't mind me" in kind of an enigmatic tone of voice.  He then half-smiles, also in kind of an enigmatic kind of way, and backs slowly out of the bank entrance.  There's a customer at the other ATM who looks sort of like Luis Guzman, who's been watching this whole thing, and he just responds with "Damn, that was creepy."  And then I woke up.

: Like most Canadians, I have nothing but admiration for Gordon Pinsent.  What's not to like?  Good actor, liking him seems vaguely patriotic and he was also the voice of Babar.  I shit you not, Babar was voiced by Gordon freakin' Pinsent, a fact I just learned via Wikipedia.  That's awesome.  I wish I was wearing a green suit right now.

Hey wait a second.  Pinsent is Canadian…he gives off a vibe of being trustworthy….green is the colour of Babar's suit…my dream was in a bank….oh man, this is just one giant TD-Canada Trust allegory, isn't it?  (All that was missing was those two old guys whose entire lives seems to revolve around being surprised that banks' operation procedures have changed since the 1950's.)  And since Pinsent was sneaking, it's because I'm secretly afraid that the bank is being dishonest with my finances?  It's a pretty nice little theory….except I don't bank with TD.  Huh, okay, back to the drawing board. 

In general, I'm pretty anal about personal security.  It's a well-known punchline amongst my friends that my banking practices are straight outta the stone age.  I don't use web banking, I use personal cheques all the time and I even have an old bank book I update whenever I personally visit the bank and have the teller take care of my business for me.  I freely admit that this is silly, since lord knows I trust computers to do everything else for me, yet for banking I'm still very old-school.  It's probably because I'm dealing with such enormous sums of cash in my personal accounts.  *polishes monocle*  *straightens top hat*

So this dream could be about my paranoia about banking in general, since even when doing everything in person, it really does leave one even more open to invasion of privacy.  Like, for instance, Gordon Pinsent doing the creep to try and ascertain my pin number.  Why Pinsent?  Is there some kind of PIN number/PINsent connection?  Was Gordon SENT to get my PIN?  Did he actually see enough to glean my entire password, which is why he didn't care that I spotted him?  Or, since he was standing so close in the first place, maybe Pinsent didn't care if he got caught and was just being a jerk.  So many questions, so little relevant analysis…uh, in this post titled 'Dream Analysis.'

The Luis Guzman-looking guy, I dunno, I just assume that Guzman in real life is constantly bemused by everything around him.  Frankly, now I want to see a TV show where Guzman and Pinsent team up to solve crimes.  They can call it Gordon And Luis, which will also draw in confused viewers who think it's a show starring those two guys from Sesame Street.

Thursday, July 04, 2013

The (Second) Greatest Event In TV History

I'll be honest, I didn't find this one quite as great as the original GEITH, mostly because a) the original was just so random and out of nowhere, b) the original didn't have Paul Scheer providing a dead weight comedy bit at the end, and c) Horatio Sanz is involved in this one.

Also, if I can get on a rant, modern television series are sadly lacking in elaborate opening title sequences.  How is the 2044 answer to Adam Scott supposed to recreate the opening title of, say, Mad Men?  Just actually drop a guy off a building?  Murder will probably still be illegal by 2044 so that won't work at all.

"Welcome back to this!"

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Other People's Writing

* Pitchfork's Ryan Dombal profiles Daft Punk in an article that needs to be read for the layout alone.  Make sure your browsers are up to date.  I've gotta say, not that Daft Punk's "Random Access Memories" album isn't any good, but the true triumph of this record was its absolutely A+ marketing campaign.

* Bit of an older piece here, but ESPN's Wright Thompson looks at Michael Jordan's current life as Jordan turns 50 and it turns into an examination of Jordan's past and his insane competitive streak.  I did not expect that anecdote from the set of Space Jam when Jordan bet Wile E. Coyote $300,000 that he could catch the Roadrunner.

* Okay, so we're officially into the Grantland portion of this post and what I love about this website is that not only will you often find great writing, you'll often find great writing about subjects you didn't realize you were so interesting.  For instance, Bryan Curtis' profile/interview with Richard Simmons, which is one of those instances where you realize, "I've been aware of this famous person for my entire life and yet really have no idea about their backstory of how they even rose to fame in the first place.  I am legit intrigued to read this."  It also gives me an excuse to link to Simmons' legendary Whose Line Is It Anyway appearance that nearly left Drew Carey and Greg Proops dead from laughter.

* Also from Curtis, we've got his look at the decline and apparent cancellation of the New York Times' iconic "Sports Of The Times" column.  Hey, if the Times needs someone to write it, I'll throw my hat into the ring.  Hope they like columns about new names for the Raptors

* We're two weeks into these "Rembert Explains America" pieces and they're rather hit and miss, but this entry where Rembert Browne checks out a natural bridge and an offbeat artist's creations is pretty entertaining.

* Eric Raskin's oral history of the 2003 World Series Of Poker, the event that basically started the mid-2000's poker boom as we know it.  So really, I indirectly have Chris Moneymaker to blame for my losing that slap bet to my buddy Kyle.  Dammit, Chris.

* Very powerful story by Robert Andrew Powell about Richard Swanson, a man who died en route during his planned walk from Seattle to Sao Paulo in time for the 2014 World Cup.

* Alex Pappademas interviews Damon Lindelof about his past and future projects.  The good news is, there isn't any of Lindelof's usual tongue-in-cheek "ha ha, we sure blew the ending of Lost, didn't we, gang?" spiel since as a fan who was really into that show, man did that get annoying after a while.