11th Mar2010

Don’t Wake Me Up If I’m Dreamin’

by Will

californiadreamsheader-764917

OK, so my love for California Dreams has been documented on this site before. That said, I pretty much thought I was alone in the CD fan camp. That’s when Jimmy Fallon came along and rocked my shit.

About a year ago, Jimmy Fallon took over Conan’s job, as the host of Late Night. Nobody really knew what to expect, as his SNL work was decent, but his movies had been terrible. As he took over the position, it was clear that his tenure would be quirky and off the wall.

As an example of this quirkiness, Jimmy decided that one of his first goals would be to organize a Saved By The Bell cast reunion. After all, it was the 20th anniversary of the show, and he wanted to pay tribute to a show we had all watched back in the day. Well, he got everyone to agree (including an AMAZING skit with Mark Paul Gosselaar AS Zack Morris), except Tiffani Thiessen and Dustin Diamond. Tiffani didn’t want to really be associated with the show, as that’s not what she “wanted to be remembered for today”. Dustin, on the other hand, is just an asshole now. So, no reunion.

Fast forward to last Thursday night: Jimmy’s been spending all week celebrating his 1 year anniversary, and he mentions his inability to reunite the cast. It was unfortunate, HOWEVER, he has gotten the next best thing. Without any promos or prior announcement (besides a twitter spoiler from a TV insider), Jimmy has managed to reunite the cast of California Dreams!

They all come out onstage, most of them looking great. Not only does Jimmy let each one give an update on what they’ve been up to, but then he had them perform the theme song! I just about died. In any case, I’ve always got an opinion, so here were my thoughts on the reunion:

-As great as it was to see everyone, not everyone was present. They were missing Lorena Costa (Diana Uribe) and Sly’s cousin, Mark Winkle (Aaron Jackson). It may seem insignificant, but these were 2 regular characters. Not only did the band practice in Lorena’s loft for the majority of the series, but she was also co-band manager with Sly. Plus, she was the rotating love interest whenever the guys got sick of Kelly Packard. Mark was the band’s keyboard player and handled vocals. His character was a bit of a whiny bitch, but he was still a Dream.

-Brent Gore, it was good to see you! As leader of the Dreams, Matt Garrison, Brent left the show after the 2nd season. He looked good, but he kinda looked like Aging Rock Star (think Rick Springfield).

-William James Jones, as drummer, Tony Wicks. Acting hadn’t been so kind to WJJ after California Dreams, as he was only getting cameo roles on shows like Living Single. He looked good, though, and it was great to hear that he’s got a wife and kids at home.

-Jay Anthony Franke, as mysterious heartthrob, Jake Summers. Basically, The Fonz of the Dreams. Oh, Jake, Jake, Jake…it was a brave move coming on TV. There were a lot of expectations, and I’m not sure they were met. He’s gained a bit of weight, and he’s bald. He was still kinda mysterious. Looked a bit like Duff from Ace of Cakes, though…He’s living in Australia with his wife, and they just shot a pilot. Lord knows what it’s about, as he didn’t elaborate. That said, he clearly wants the world to know about it. So there.

-Heidi Noelle Lenhardt, as Jenny Garrison. Full disclosure: Growing up, I was IN LOVE with her! She had an amazing voice, and she was just a striking brunette. She left the show after the first season, so she definitely left me wanting more. Seeing her at the reunion, however, was bittersweet.

First of all, she’s blonde now. Not really a fan. Also, it seemed like she was coming in slightly flat on her part of the song, so maybe she hasn’t been singing much these days. Anyway, I did love the tongue ring she was rocking!

-Kelly Packard, as Tiffany Smith. Surprisingly, there wasn’t much from her. She’s certainly been the most active, as she went on to Baywatch, and co-hosted Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Like Heidi, she said she’s taking care of her family, but mentioned that she had a movie coming out soon. It seemed almost like she was shy, and I felt she should’ve said more since she’s been doing more.

-Jennie Kwan, as exchange student Samantha Woo. She was so cute and nervous, but she was also gracious. Though she didn’t mention it, she was also a member of girl pop group Nobody’s Angel (you’ve seen ’em. They were on that Boy Meets World episode at that diner. Remember?). She was also the voice of Suki on Avatar: The Last Airbender.

-Michael Cade, as sleazy band manager with the heart of gold, Sylvester “Sly” Winkle. Cade looked good. I’ll give him that. He’s charismatic, and he’s still trying to make the acting thing happen. And he’s pretty ripped, especially for a 37 year old.

-When they performed, I wonder how they decided who would sing what parts. After all, “Matt” and “Jake” sang the same parts during different times in the series, as did “Jenny” and “Sam”. I felt kinda like Heidi should’ve sung more (since I felt she was better, vocally, than Jennie), but I guess it was only fair how they did it, seeing as how Jennie Kwan had been on the show longer.

Anyway, here’s the video so that you can follow along at home:

12th Oct2008

How’s Usher Gonna Get Off That Damn Mountain? And Other Reality TV Stuff…

by Will

“You want White Castle, need White Castle, long as you got me it won’t be no hassle.”

– I’m usually not the biggest Weird Al fan, but his cover of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” had me laughing for about 30 minutes. Absolutely priceless!

– I really wanna work for the company in Britney’s new “Womanizer” video. I mean, I never knew the fauxhawk to be “corporate”, but it seems to fly at that organization. Let’s hope this really is her comeback this time. Not the biggest fan of the song, but the video helps to sell it. MUCH better than that anime shit for “Break the Ice”…hey, didn’t that video end with “to be continued”? Let’s hope they don’t make good on that promise. Anyway, Brit’s looking pretty damn hot, so I guess we could all use a dose of crazy, if it does a body that good.

– Speaking of “to be continued” videos, Usher just released the video for “Trading Places”, but it’s just a random-ass R&B video. Last I remember, Mr. Raymond was stuck up on that mountain. How the Hell did he get off that damn mountain?!

– I’ve gone from a state of loving everything on MTV to hating everything on MTV. I guess I finally caught up with the rest of the real world (no pun intended). I was looking forward to Exiled, but realized I’d never watched enough My Super Sweet 16 to really care enough about those girls. I’m SO over The Hills, as well as the fact that Audrina and Whit have spin-offs coming. Don’t care about The Island, ’cause I really wanted a C.T./Dunbar ‘roid rage face-off, but that wasn’t in the cards.

Who the Hell thought Man & Wife deserved to be ripped off the web? It’s like the old Loveline, but nowhere near as informative. If anything, it actually makes me a bit uncomfortable. It’s like an interactive version of those shitty, traveling Black stage shows. You know, they always have names like, Seeing Jesus on the Downlow, and star hasbeens from Good Times & What’s Happening!!.

Sex…with Mom & Dad? Really? Dr. Drew, is this the best you could come up with? Do you miss your boy, Adam? Was he the brains of the operation? Now, this show does NOTHING for me. In the past, MTV sex shows were edgy, like the afore-mentioned Loveline. That was pretty groundbreaking for TV, but this is like Drew needed something to hold him over between Celebrity Rehab sessions. I don’t really think the show accomplishes much other than making the teens, the parents, and the viewers EXTREMELY uncomfortable. If anything, you end up learning the mom used to be a whore, and doesn’t want the daughter to be a whore. But the daughter’s only gonna react with the whole “Let me live my life and be a whore if I want to” response. In some ways, I kinda agree with that, but they could’ve had that “breakthrough” off camera.

The only shows I can still stomach are Making the Band 4 (I TOTALLY called the Danity Kane break-up before the season started!) and Parental Control. Plus, True Life and Made are always good entertainment.

-If you love “meta” humor, you’ll love this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HE9OQ4FnkQ . It’s A-Ha’s “Take On Me”, only it’s been remixed to tell you exactly what’s going on in the video. Watch it and you’ll understand. It’s one of those things where I wish I’d thought of it first.

-I’ve been wondering this for a while, but HD Radio – why? So, you mean to tell me there are secret stations, hidden between the stations I know, playing a bunch of different songs? If these songs are so great, then why hasn’t Clear Channel already shoved them down my throat? They know exactly what I like! No, these songs are being hidden, like ugly children and incontinent pets. They try to sell the fact that it’s near-CD quality sound, but if I wanted that, I’d buy the CD. When it’s free, I can deal with a degredation of sound quality. After all, you get what you pay for, and free radio is workin’ out just fine. Nice try, HD Radio, but you’re gonna have to try harder than that!

So, last night J. Christ. (no, not Jesus – He’s got more important things to do than read this blog; He’s too busy hanging out with all those rappers) told me that I don’t nearly keep up this site enough. I’ve gotta say that she’s right. I mean, in my neglect, I forgot to acknowledge my 5-year blogiversary back in July. I’m a big fan of streaks, and I know I’m always citing the anniversary of when I started blogging, or the anniversary of when I bought the williambrucewest.com domain name, or the anniversary of when I started actually using that domain name – plainly put, I like milestones. Anyway, I started rambling a little over five years ago, and man have I done nothing since then. I find that whenever I do these milestone posts, it forces me to look back in a pseudo-pessimistic tone. Well, I’m gonna try not to do that this time around. But, man, what I’ wouldn’t give to go back to being 13, when all I really looked forward to was a new episode of California Dreams every Saturday, and the promise of a positive, yet unknown future. Well, we can only go up from here, right? In the words of (probably unknown to most of you) Swedish pop star, Bosson, “we live, we die, and we learn to find the things we live and die for.” Guess I’m still learning to find those things. Here’s to 5 more years of the journey.

21st Dec2007

San Diego Dreaming Part 5: You Can’t Go Back Again

by Will

“Where did you come from & are there others like you?”

So, on the last night of the con, Sunday, I had dinner with my friend Gina, and Keith tagged along for dessert. On the way back, we dropped Gina off at this top secret party thrown by Kevin Smith’s View Askew folks; I swear there was a treasure map/scavenger hunt just for admission. Anyway, Keith and I were left to fend for ourselves for the evening’s entertainment. Keith called his friend, Mark, and we ended up meeting back at a hotel bar downtown. We were all settling in, when we were introduced to Rachelle *cue glitter effect and cartoony harp music; throw the action into slow motion, just for good measure*, who’d be taking care of us for the night. Immediately, it was obvious that there was something about Rachelle. First of all, she carried herself so well. It’s hard to convey in words, but she had this confidence, this air about her. Also, she played the role of gracious hostess, without any hit of boredom or condescension. She’d come through, with a simple, “What can I get for you, gentlemen?” and it was like time stopped. She really seemed pleased that we were there. And the feeling was mutual.

Now, Rachelle had this Kelly-Packard-post-California-Dreams look to her. She was an attractive girl, who just screamed “girl next door”. We were all stupid and drunk, so we took a shine to her. Keith, most of all, seemed interested. We sort of had this plan to find him a wife in San Diego, as part of our ongoing quest to figure out our lives by grasping at grandiose straws. It sounds like hyperbole, and you’ll think I’m full of crap, but she really was perfect. She was the that perfect girl you’re always told is out there; the one where God broke the mold when He made her. She’d reinstill your faith in women. I can’t reproduce the conversations of that night as they just flowed. She was witty, she could match you word for word, and she always seemed to find a way to surprise you. An hour into things, we all had a crush on this girl. I think I uttered something like, “Where did you come from, and are there others like you?” Yeah…

So, at that point, she actually pulled up a seat, and we learned about what she was studying in school, how she loved the beach, stuff about her hometown, etc. As the night wore on, she and Keith really did seem to connect. This was awesome, as I’m “Captain Vicarious”, so it was like I had won, as well. Man, I really need to get a life, but we’ll chalk this up as “Will being happy for his friend”. When we were about to leave, Keith said something like, “You’d better be careful, ’cause I’ll totally come back tomorrow night.” She didn’t seem fazed, and said that he should definitely come back. She told him the hours she’d be there, and that she hoped to see him again. We’re all being stupid, obnoxious jerks as we’re high-fiving him, and debating whether or not he should actually go back the next night.

Well, the next night, Keith and I decided to try out the SD bar scene. We went to this place whose name I can’t remember, but we have a picture online somewhere. Anyway, they seemed to be having some kind of private party that we managed to get into, but we realized all of the women were engaged. All of them. WTF?! I’ve found that every woman in SD is hot, tattooed (I swear, every woman had a tattoo!), and married. Well, we got bored with that pretty soon, so we started thinking about what to do next. That’s when we remembered that Rachelle would be working. Now, I was really starting to adhere to that whole “You can’t go home again” philosophy. I don’t know if it’s my disdain for plans, or me just being bitter, but I never feel like those situations end up like you want them to. If we’d just run into her, that would be one thing. But the whole thing was just too…premeditated for my liking. But I was drunk, and we had nothing better to do. So, we start heading in the direction of that hotel. Here’s where you might want to start paying attention, ’cause it’s a doozy:

While we’re walking, we realize we don’t have a camera. For some reason (maybe this blog), I start to think that we need a picture with her, or no one will ever believe the story. Yeah, THAT makes sense. Well, we now had to get a camera to remember this forever. We get to the hotel, and there’s this guy leaning against the outside wall, smoking. Now, if we’re judging a book by its cover, he seemed kind of like the jerky frat guy. Probably has a string of girls whom he treats like shit, while he prefers to hang out with his bros. Anyway, we’re drunk and we need help, so I ask him “Do you know if there’sa drug store or 7/11 nearby”. Oddly enough, he was cool and directed us to a 7/11 nearby. We walk the couple of blocks to the store, we get caught in the maelstrom of the locals stocking up on cigs and soda before the next bus comes along. We finally get the camera, check out, and walk out the door.

Now, I need to explain something else: Keith had had Lasik about a month prior to our trip to SD. They’d screwed up, and the surgery didn’t take, so he was in a sort of “holding pattern” as they waited to see if the eyes would straighten themselves out. He could get by, in that he wasn’t going to walk into traffic or anything, but he couldn’t make out features or details. So, I was constantly describing things and women to him. He’d see the outline, realize it was a girl, and ask, “Ooh, is she hot?!” Got all that?

OK, well, as we’re leaving the 7/11, Keith’s looking across the street to the next block, and he asks, “Ooh, is she hot?!” I was busy opening the camera, so I look up and mutter: “It’s her. Fuck.” Crossing the street, directly at us, is Rachelle in street clothes. She’s no longer the classy, hostess with the mostest. She’s still attractive, but she’s wearing jeans and a t-shirt. And walking, with his arm around her, is fratboy smoker guy who’d directed us to the 7/11 in the first damn place! He’d been waiting for her. It was too poetic to be fake. We’d been crossed by our own savior. So many emotions at once. How was someone so perfect with this guy? Stock dropping rapidly….She didn’t even see us, nor did he seem to acknowledge us. They passed us by, and she, out of our lives. I felt really bad for Keith, ’cause I really did want that unrealistic Hollywood ending. It really wasn’t about me anymore, but I just wanted to witness the whole thing. I wanted the ability to say, “I was there.” But that wasn’t to happen. Because life doesn’t work like that. To quote The 40 Year Old Virgin, “You can’t put pussy on a pedestal”. And that’s why you have to live in the moment, take every experience for what it is, and you can’t build castles on quicksand (yeah, I was going for two California Dreams references in one post; sue me!). Keith was great about it and just kind of laughed it off. That’s the kind of guy he is, and I hope I can learn to do that one day. In any case, I cursed for a couple of blocks until we came up with the grand plan to explore San Diego’s strip clubs. I’m gonna leave that story for another day, as it’s really Keith’s story, and being the master storyteller that he is, I could never do it justice. I will say, however, if you’re in the San Diego area, and you know a redhead with “Danger” tattooed across her lower back, e-mail me!

Keith and I continued to have a few crazy adventures those last few days. We ended up at the beach one day, where Keith and his “mystical connection to the water” forgot to put on enough suntan lotion. You’ve heard of sunburn, but he got sun poisoning. It wasn’t even apparent until about 12 hrs later. The worst part was that we were flying home the next day, which became an unbearable experience for him. The skin behind his knees was raw, so while sitting on the plane, these areas would start to heal, but when he stood up, the wounds would rip open again. His dealt with this for weeks after our return. He was like a blind leper. I probably should’ve just shot him to put him out of his misery. But it had taken so long to get home that I think we were just glad we made it back.

What happened, you ask? Well, when we got to the airport in SD, we were told that our flight was at least 2 hrs late, due to storms in the midwest. We’re waiting for our flight, while Keith just wants to die from the sun poisoning pain. We finally get on the plane, and it has a layover in Phoenix. We don’t deplane, but it sits on the runway for over an hr. Now, Diamond had arranged a shuttle for us, based on our being back to BWI at midnight. Well, with the unexpected delays, and empty promises that “we’d make up the time in the air”, we didn’t get a chance to call the shuttle. Not to mention the fact that I realized they had scheduled my shuttle for a day earlier. So, not only was Keith going to be late for his shuttle, there was no guarantee that there was even going to be room for me. Well, we land at 3 AM and the shuttle’s not there. We call the place, but there’s no answer…because it’s 3 AM. So, we find a Super Shuttle, and I start to haggle. I get him to agree to take us to Timonium for $40 because “that’s all the money we have”. Man, were we about to get hosed. The guy agrees to take us, but he has to drop someone off first. We’re fine with that.

Now, stay with me for this geography: BWI is in Baltimore, but this drop off was near Columbia, about 35 miles in the opposite direction of where we need to go. But we didn’t know that before we got on. We drop the guy off, no problem. Then, about 5 minutes away from the drop-off, the shuttle gets a flat tire. So, we pull off to the side of the road, but the driver doesn’t have a flashlight, so he’s doing this by the light of the moon! Plus, his jack won’t lift the shuttle high enough, so his master plan is to release enough air from the spare so that he can slip on the spare. This whole process takes about an hr. Once he gets the spare on, he realizes he had let out too much air, and the spare was going flat. So, he uses the GPS to find the nearest gas station. When we find it, it’s closed…because it’s 4:00 AM. We manage to get to another station, and he fills the tire. We finally get back to Diamond at 5:30. And we had to go to work that same day. I’d laugh if my entire life wasn’t exactly like the scenario I just decribed. People keep telling me I’ll win one day. We’ll just have to see about that…

So, what did we learn, kids? San Diego’s awesome, but Comic Con is pretty overwhelming. It’s something that you really only need to do once in your life, but also take time to explore the city. Why? Because’s everybody’s hot, and the weather’s beautiful. The most important thing I learned was that whole “live in the moment” philosophy. I can’t say I’ve adopted it, plus it takes a whole lot of alcohol and “what have I got to lose?” attitude, but I’ve certainly acknowledged its validity. I think that’s something we could all take into ’08. And that, my friends, is the story of how the West went West.

06th Jul2007

Harry Potter Asshole, Comics Lifestyle, iPods, and IDE Tags

by Will

“You’re way too beautiful girl, that’s why it’ll never work…”

I’m kind of phoning it in today, so you know what that means: random post.

-I’m trying not to talk shit about people behind their backs. Now, I try to say it to their face. It might be dick, but at least I keep it real. Here’s a fun example: after the librarian free-for-all a few weeks ago, I had dinner with a few “book people”, including a former honcho at Scholastic. The conversation turned to the Modern-day Messiah himself, Harry Potter. Whenever this comes up, I always try to stay out of the conversation. That’s the best way to stay out of trouble. But I’d had too much Pinot, so silence wasn’t an option. If I remember correctly, I came out with a, “Hey, it’s a cute little book and all, but I don’t get how it’s taken the world by storm.” It was beautiful. James & Marcus probably understand the feeling, but it’s basking in your own confrontation. You pushed the right button, and you’re enjoying the swell before the fallout. Being an asshole for asshole’s sake.

But in either the smartest or dumbest move of my career, I managed to spin it ever so successfully. After the shock and silence subsided, I swooped in with the follow-up. “Not to take anything away from the franchise, as I appreciate everything Potter has done for literacy. It’s just that, reading the thing, there was too much of a sense of ‘been there, done that.'” And they totally agreed with me. That’s when I went for the cherry. “I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan, and it offends me that Rowling is a billionaire, using pretty much his ideas, while he died a penniless, suspected child molester.” Let’s just say that the conversation totally swung back in my favor, and I was the belle of the ball. I shit you not. I’d go into more detail, but I really don’t want this anecdote showing up on Bookslut or something. I think I saw a glimmer of my future that night, so I certainly did something right.

It’s bad enough that I’m seen as the Antichrist for not liking a children’s book about a boy witch. Oh, I’m sorry. Wizard. Semantics. It mainly shocks people because I supposedly love all things childish. “Oh, it’s a kids thing? Will would love that!” I do, but even I have my limits. I guess I’m just a snob that way. I’d probably love the series had it not blown up like the Death Star. It’s the same way I abandoned Snow Patrol, 24, and Queer Eye when all they became all popular. I don’t like hype.

-Sometime I love my job, and sometimes I hate my job (yes, I realize everyone feels this way):
Love my job: got paid today
Hate my job: actually looked at the check
Love my job: debated the timeline of G.I.Joe, as it’s actually “work related”
Hate my job: while that conversation was going on, I got about 10 e-mails that could be considered “emergencies”
Love my job: It’s comics. Woot!
Hate my job: Yeah, this is gonna do wonders for that business school application
Love my job: It’s comics, yay!
Hate my job: which forced me to move back home with my mom, setting me back about 4 years psychologically

Fucking comics…

iPod Randomness:
-For some reason, I have about 8 different versions of This I Promise You. Don’t ask me why. It’s not like it was a hot party song, nor were there any remixes other than the Spanish version, Yo te Voy. Wait, I have that, so make it 9 versions. And many of them are live. And it’s not a song that changes much when sung live. That’s a sign of taking boyband fandom too far.

– I have a shitload of Peter Cetera. I remember going through a phase during senior year of Cornell, but I didn’t think I kept all of that stuff. I didn’t even know he had that many songs.

-My iPod really loves Carly Simon. And it’s funny because I only have 3 CS tracks. That’s it. And they’re all variations on the same song. I get it. Something is coming around again: this fucking song! I think it’s the song that comes up the most during shuffle.

-I’ve got a ton of California Dreams songs that are of a quality so low that I should be ashamed to even have them. Not that possessing CD songs isn’t shameful enough. I converted these to mp3 from some Real Audio files I found on someone’s website years ago. The sad thing is that they recorded them by placing a tape recorder up to the TV. So, you can guess that what I’ve got is per-it-ty shitty. But, what can I do? A nigga loves his California Dreams…

-My ‘pod glitched up on me the other day, so even though it was on random, it was playing songs in the exact order it had played them the day before. So, for awhile, I actually thought I had ESP. I was going, “The next song will be Always.” And it was! It wasn’t until about 15 songs in that I figured out what had happened. Or maybe I willed those songs to play. The world may never know.

-You certainly reap what you sow. I have always boasted about how I never pay for music, I get all my tracks from German porn sites, etc, but there’s a downside to this. No, I’m not talking about viruses. I’m talking about IDE tags. You see, when a song is encoded, it is usually assigned an IDE code, which is essentially its name. It’s the thing that, if you bought the song from iTunes, will make your file show up as “Last Call – Drops of Jupiter – Vestosterone”. In a perfect world, the IDE tag will tell you artist, song, and album. This is pretty standard on all legal, copyright protected downloads. BUT, if you get your files illegally, from some weird download site, you’re subject to all kinds of bad IDE tags. Sometimes, a song name might be in Cantonese, so you’ve just got a bunch of symbols and squiggles because they didn’t translate properly. Sometimes, you’ve got an Aretha Franklin song with the IDE tag “Big Old Fat Bitch”. And the problem with the illegal files is that you can’t change the tags (at least not without a ton of unnecessary work), so these don’t organize well in iTunes. So, the upside is I got a hot album for free, but the downside is that I can never find the damn thing because the IDE tags are all fucked up. Sometimes, they’ll even split an album. The first few tracks are by “Fall Out Boy”, while the second half of the album is by “Fallout Boy”, and iTunes doesn’t see fit to link the two. I need to look into a solution for this, as the bulk of my mp3s are from the days before the term “legal download” was even coined.

OK, that’s enough rambling for now…

02nd Jul2007

Surf Dudes, With Attitudes…

by Will

“I’m walking on eggshells here, when I’m used to fucking throwing eggs.”

I f’ing love youtube, for this alone:

Not just the credits, but the music video! This takes me back to such a better time. No student loans. No underpaid job. No heartbreak. No Quartlife Crisis. All I cared about was whether or not I’d get McDonald’s that afternoon (I was a fat kid, and I got McDonald’s almost every Saturday) and I wondered if I’d ever end up with a girl like Heidi Noelle Lenhart (“Jenny”, aka “the brunette”). God, did I love that girl. And she pretty much never worked again. Little known fact: her stepfather is Haim Saban, creator of the Power Rangers and former owner of the Fox Kids Network. That bitch’ll never have to work again!

Why is this show not on DVD?!! The fucking Waltons series is on DVD and that demographic doesn’t even know how to operate a DVD player. It’s a travesty…

16th May2007

Dress My Nest, Scrubs, Reality TV Background Characters, and The Future of Syndication

by Will

“And when the sky is falling, don’t look outside your window.”

So, I actually posted the other night, but due to a faulty wifi connection, it has been lost to space. Yup, no backup and nothing in the drafts folder. It sucks, too, because it was pretty stream of consciousness. I don’t even remember what it was about at this point.

Anyway, I’ve been watching a lot of TV lately, and this is sort of my State of the Television Address:

1) On Dress My Nest, former Queer Eye decorator Thom Filicia redesigns womens’ living areas to reflect their clothing style. This premise sounds sort ot hokey, but I’ll go with it. My problem, though, is with his assistant, Erika. I’ve read a lot of reviews on the show, and the general conclusions is that she’s probably there for Thom to bounce ideas off of, yet comes off sort of useless.

After watching the past 6 episodes, I’ve come to realize what she *really* is: She’s Thom’s hag. You see, we’ve got this whole stereotyped culture where no gay man is complete without his best galpal. And there’s the counter stereotype that no Big City single woman is complete without her “gay husband”. Yet, what strikes me is that Erika is very attractive. Not your standard hag material, which then made me realize that she’s the worst kind of hag: she’s single hottie hag who’s high maintenance as Hell. She’s the chick who just can’t find that “perfect guy”, and falls in love with Thom between her failed relationships. He ain’t having it, and would rather help her pick out a new pair of shoes. Or maybe this is all in my head and I’m going too far…

2) I don’t think there’s a better comedy than Scrubs on TV. That said, I find that Scrubs is usually so wrapped up in gimmicks that the special gimmick episodes don’t work. Case in point, the “sitcom” parody episode was on last night, and it’s really not that funny. I’m not sure if it was supposed to be unfunny, as a sort of slight at the genre, or if the formula just didn’t work for them. Scrubs never would have made it as a multi-camera, live-studio-audience sitcom. Then again, Three’s Company never would have made it as a single camera, non-laughtracked comedy. The musical episode of Scrubs also left a lot to be desired.

3) Man, what happened to The Riches? It started out so promising, and now I don’t even care anymore. I feel that’s the problem with most shows on FX. They are all about these amoral, anti-hero characters, that you don’t know whether you want to root for them or see them get caught in their lies. Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, the Shield, Dirt, The Riches… all of these shows are mired in this, and while it has proven successful, I wish FX would stop going back to the well.

4) I feel bad for the employees of work-based reality shows who *don’t* get to be cast members. From Inked, to King of Cars, to Work Out, there are people who work at these establishments who just aren’t considered “TV” enough to be featured. How does this happen? I mean, do they film really early before the rest of the employees get to work? Do they give them paid days off to repay them for stealing their shot at fame?

If you hop over to www.skysportspa.com, you’ll see that there are about 22 trainers working for Jackie Warner, yet only 7 are in the Work Out cast. Now, I understand the need to keep things contained, but I’d love to swap out a few people. Erika contributed almost nothing to this season, so I’d love to replace her with Aimet, who appears to be the most ripped Black woman I’ve ever seen. In fact, Aimet and a few other of the female trainers snuck into episode 2 this season, when Jackie decided to have her girls night slumber party. They still didn’t let Aimet speak, though. I think they should rotate the cast in and out, because I like the show, but I’m tired of most of the trainers.

5) I am all about the Andy Griffith Show right now. I’m not sure why, but something about its downhome sensibility hits all the right notes lately. Also, Sheriff Taylor has some beautiful girlfriends, from Ellie the Pharmacist to Teach Extraordinaire, Helen Crump. It’s amazing that such a slackjawed everyman pulled women like that. Don’t get me wrong; I know that Andy Griffith was considered a handsome man back then, but there was something very “Clark Kent” about that role. Almost like they didn’t want him to come off too suave, so instead, he becomes this slow, drawling nice guy.

6) Speaking of frumping up for a role, I’ve had a real hard time watching I Love Lucy in recent years. The more I learn about that cast, the more I wish the show had been a reality show moreso than a sitcom. First, Vivian Vance was the hot one, but was uglied up so that she wouldn’t overshadow Lucille Ball. Vance had the more established career, until that show came along and pretty much had her typecast for life. Also, though, anytime I see a Fred & Ethel scene, it’s weird knowing that they’re not acting. William Frawley *hated* Vivian Vance, and on numberous occasions, referred to her as “That cunt”. Sure, it’s a classic sitcom, but I’m wondering “what if?” What if Vance had broken out as a sitcom star? What if she had been cast as Lucy? Would she have, then, married Desi Arnaz instead? It boggles the mind…

7) How I Met Your Mother is renewed for another season! Rock on! This actually wasn’t a surprise to me. I had a conversation with a guy from CBS last week, and I asked him about the fates of The Class and HIMYM. So, when CBS made the announcement yesterday, I was in the know. Man, it’s nice to actually “know a guy”.

8) Nick @ Nite’s qualifications are really starting to piss me off. So, everything I grew up with is now on N@N, yet there are glaring omissions. Family Matters? Hogan Family? Alf? My Two Dads? I know that these things are wrapped up in contracts, but it seems like Nick’s hurting when they resort to showing AFV. I mean, America’s Funniest Videos already comes on 2 other cable networks, which *aren’t* owned by Viacom, so what’s the need to take away a valuable N@N slot with something you can already see 3 times a day. it would be like giving Seinfeld a N@N slot (which, mark my words, should be about 3 years away.)

9)I think The CW or MyNetworkTV should buy up all of the TNBC library and run it weekday afternoons. People my age don’t realize it, but there aren’t any kids programs on basic TV in the afternoon anymore. Fox Kids was sold to Disney back in 2002, Kids WB went weekend only back in 2005. The only programming is on PBS, and it’s mostly for toddlers. The Saved by the Bell rights are always snatched up since it’s considered this “classic”, but I would kill a man to see California Dreams again. Or Hang Time. Or City Guys. Or even the horrible Malibu, CA or USA High (not TNBC, but still Peter Engel shows). When Aaron Spelling died, people always spoke of how many shows he’d created. That’s great and all, but when Peter Engel passes away, I hope he gets the same accolades. The man single-handedly programmed NBC’s Saturday morning for more than 10 years. Sure, a lot of it was crap, but so were most of Aaron Spelling’s creations.

10)Everyone’s worried about global warming. OK, I’ll take on a lesser cause. I’m worried about syndication. There used to be a rule that, to be syndicated, a show needed to be on the air for 3 seasons OR 100 episodes (whichever comes first). 3 seasons would yield about 66-70 episodes, but once you hit the 100 mark, you were set for life. That’s why Tina Yothers doesn’t work. That Family Ties money is still rolling in. You won’t be rich, but you won’t starve either.

Nowadays, though, shows aren’t lasting that long. It used to be that I could predict which shows would be entering sydication the next season. Then, the internet came about, and it would announce these things. But the cold, hard truth is that we’re running out of shows for syndication. These slots are being filled by court shows. Around here, *nothing* entered syndication this year. All they did was shuffle what was already there. Will & Grace, Girlfriends, Friends, Raymond…Nothing new.

Next fall, there’s Chappelle and Family Guy. One is good and one is bad. Family Guy has enough episodes to keep it nightly, but Chappelle only has about 30 episodes available. This can’t be “stripped” (meaning shown 5 days a week) because you’d burn through it in a month. Hence, this is the type of show that you put on Saturday nights, after the news and Mad TV. When no one’s watching. Plus, it’ll be cut for syndication (all syndicated episodes are trimmed about 2 mins to make room for commercials) and edited for content.

I’m not saying that I want crap shows to last just for us to have syndicated shows (this actually happens a lot, especially when a studio is trying to recoup their money). I am saying, however, that we need to find alternative show sources. Maybe go back to the 80’s concept of 1st-run syndication. This is when you take a show that has never been on a network before, and you just put it on a crap station like a former UPN affiliate during a saturday afternoon. Small Wonder, Hercules, Too Close For Comfort, Mama’s Family, Xena and Baywatch were all successful in first-run syndi. Also, game shows, like Jeopardy & “The Wheel” are considered 1st-run syndi. I know that “Tyler Perry’s House of Payne” is adopting the concept this summer, but it’s also simulcast on TBS, so it really doesn’t count.

If we don’t act now, what will our fat children watch on the weekends, as they resist our pleas for them to go out and play? What about the kids?!

22nd Jul2004

Comic Movies, Bank Breakup, and the MP3 Site Of Mine That I’ll Probably Forget About

by Will

I’m too lazy for a big post right now, but I figured it was time for an update.

Quick Thoughts:

– Bryan Singer’s directing “Superman”. Yah! …Which means no “X3”. Boo! There goes the X-Men movie franchise..

-Jessica Alba as Sue Storm in “Fantastic Four”? She’s cute and all, but I hate to admit I was more excited when I heard Jessica Simpson was up for the part…

-I started Driver’s Ed this week. Really forgot what it meant to be 15 yr’s old. No, I was NEVER like that, but it sure is weird. i don’t even get these kids. I made a “California Dreams” reference, and the room went silent. Crazy, young whippersnappers…

-Apparently, there’s a Green Lantern movie in the making, but Warner Bros is gonna make it a comedy, and they’re currently talking to Jack Black about starring in it. For every “Spider-Man”, there’s a “Howard The Duck”….

-I ended my sordid 5-year marriage to M&T Bank, due to “Irreconcileable Differences”. When the teller asked why I wanted to close the account, I simply told him, “You know…I just really don’t like you…I mean, the service is terrible, I’m tired of the charges, and you all had a monopoly where I went to college. But now….I just don’t want this anymore.” Best (and only) break-up speech I’ve ever given, thank you very much!

-For you comic kids out there, pick up The Pulse #4. One of the HEAVIEST and MOST POWERFUL talkers in recent years. Very little action, but really adds something to the whole Spider-Man franchise, especially if you’re a continuity buff like me! I LOVE Bendis!

-And for those of you who’re curious, my songs ARE up now, but the links aren’t working for some reason. I made the HTML tags myself, and I was quite proud, but they don’t seem to want to work. So, for now, just copy the URL’s and enjoy my bootlegged goodness. AND, if that doesn’t work, hope on over to http://www.freewebs.com/williambrucewestmusic/

Go easy on me, ’cause it IS a template, but it’s my first personal foray into site building. I made sure to make it the CHEESIEST, most CLICHE site around. It’s got a midi and a bubble effect. All I need now is a counter, guestbook, and a bunch of Hello Kitty shout-outs to all my girls in my ballet class.I’m not even sure it’ll stick around, but I really needed a place to store these mp3s. So, click and enjoy. Or hate. Either way, drop me a line and tell me what you think.

-Go see “Anchorman”!!! Funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. Funnier than Sealab, Family Guy, or Best Week Ever. Even if you hate those shows, GO SEE IT!!!

21st Sep2003

Am I In The Band Now? Introducing E7

by Will

So, it seems that I’m in a band now. Wait…don’t laugh! It’s not like Aerosmith or anything. We’re called “E7”. At the moment, I sing leads while guitar is taken care of by Mr. Tarek Sultani and bass is covered by Carl….I forgot his last name. Anyway, we’re more of a garage outfit. I think of us as a sort of Cornell “California Dreams”. The other guys are taking it a lot more seriously than I. They’re trying to get an album’s worth of songs, while I was just called in to do one track.

The track came out nicely, and I’m more proud of it than anything I’ve recorded with LC. This solo stuff is hard. I feel like Nick Lachey. I mean, I know I’m not by myself, but I’m the only one singing, so I might as well be solo. In any case, this gives me something to do. Probably not gonna be my big break, but I can at least start piling up potential demos or something. Then, when the time is right, I’m gonna drop those guys and TRULY go solo! Muhuhahahahahaha!!!

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