23rd Dec2015

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 12/23/15

by Will

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Happy birthday to me! No, seriously – it’s my birthday. I’m officially older than Jesus, and I’m not quite sure how to feel about that. Yay? Anyway, you’ll all be with your families/favorite prostitutes on Friday, and tomorrow’s the eve of those festivities, so I figured I’d probably better post this today if I wanted anyone to actually read this thing.

brent morin

Since it’s been a short span of time since my last post, I haven’t really watched much of note lately. I did, however, catch comedian Brent Morin’s Netflix special I’m Brent Morin. If you’re not familiar with him, he’s one of the leads on NBC’s Undateable (probably my favorite sitcom at the moment), but he was a standup for years before getting that gig. It was a serviceable special, but nothing to write home about. I really like Morin, but I’m not sure he was ready for his own one-hour special. There used to be a progression to these things. You’d get a Comedy Central Presents half hour, and if that went well, you might get another. And then you start talking about a one-hour special. Sure, Morin cut his teeth as a production assistant for Conan O’Brien, but I don’t feel like he earned a special yet at this point in his career. Anyway, I fell asleep on it twice. That’s not to say the quality of the material was bad, but I just feel like he’s better suited to the sitcom world.

Speaking of Netflix, we got a teaser for Fuller House. It’s meant to tug on the nostalgia heartstrings, but I’d have preferred them just use “Everywhere You Look” instead of Miranda Lambert’s “The House That Built Me”. The song choice gives it a somber sort of tint, and not something I want to look forward to watching. It’s got quite the “very special episode” vibe. Anyway, all 13 episodes of the series will debut on February 26th. Hopefully it’ll be a lot easier for me to binge than Jessica Jones has been (I’m still only halfway through episode 3 of that one).

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I can tell you who had the West Week NEVER, and that’s Steve Harvey. If you haven’t seen the news clips/online memes, here’s what happened: Harvey hosted the Miss Universe Pageant on Sunday night, and mistakenly announced the first runner-up, Miss Colombia, as the winner. He, then, had to come back out and apologize, while also citing the true winner, Miss Philippines. Now there are conspiracy theories. Was it intentional or a true mistake? Ya know, I wouldn’t care if it was orchestrated because it got people talking about the pageant. Beauty pageants are as useless as The Voice in creating household names, and nobody would’ve been talking about Miss Universe Monday morning had it not been for Harvey’s gaffe. People claim that Harvey should’ve known better, as he’s a host for a living, but he was out of his element on this kind of world stage. I mean, this is the guy who continues to say “theyselves” in his Family Feud intro on a nightly basis, so he’s not the most polished speaker. People are wondering “Will he bounce back from this?”, and the answer is YES. It’s not like it was Miss America. We Americans don’t really give 2 shits about things that affect the rest of the world, least of which being other countries’ beauty contestants. Had he done that for Miss America, then it might be a different story. We still like to pretend that contest matters, for whatever reason. It’s not like Harvey was booking any gigs in Colombia anyway, so this’ll all blow over before you know it.

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Anyway, like every other person in America, I saw Star Wars: The Force Awakens last weekend. At the end of the day, I enjoyed it. I’m not the most hardcore Star Wars fan, so I probably didn’t have as many nits to pick. Like, I don’t feel qualified to rank it with the other movies in the franchise (especially since I’ve yet to watch Episodes II & III). Still, I had thoughts as I sat through the movie, so I felt it was my duty to share them with you:

  • Was that guy supposed to be important that Poe was meeting with?
  • The Star Wars franchise sure loves that Keira Knightley bone structure.
  • I love how General Hux gives no fucks about Kylo Ren. He’s in his freshly tailored getup, and he’s forced to work with this kid who’s cosplaying as his crazy, evil grandpa.
  • Captain Phasma? More like Captain Ass-ma. She joins the Boba Fett Club of all style and no substance.
  • As a Black guy, I kinda hated the bait and switch done by Star Wars marketing. If you managed to avoid the trailers and TV spots, this wasn’t an issue. However, all interviews and everything else pointed to this being Finn’s story. Instead, it’s Rey’s, and Finn isn’t even conscious at the end of the movie. I was hoping for a role model for my future son. I guess I’ll just have to settle for one for my current daughter.
  • So just anybody can wield a lightsaber? I thought you had to have The Force to do that. Everyone else uses blasters
  • You mean to tell me that in their +30 year partnership, Han has NEVER fired Chewie’s bowcaster? Whenever I learn a friend has a gun, the first thing I do is ask to touch it!
  • Where the fuck was Constable Zuvio?!
  • I really could’ve done without the Original Trilogy cast members showing up. Chewie’s role could’ve been accomplished by a newly introduced brute/Wookiee character, while the death was needlessly telegraphed. And Leia was borderline USELESS
  • My goal in life is to be the Greg Grunberg to someone’s J.J. Abrams…
  • How much did Mark Hamill get paid for this movie? SAG rates tend to be based on dialogue, so…
  • The range of emotions on Mark Hamill’s face is quite fascinating. He goes from Puzzled to Possibly Horny to Mildly Constipated to Contentment all in about 10 seconds before the credits roll.

Like I said, I’m not the biggest Star Wars fan, so if you want some more intelligent posts about The Force Awakens, head on over to The Robot’s Pajamas, as they’ve been cranking them out all week. Still, the movie is breaking almost every box office record known to man, so that’s enough to get it the West Week Ever for the second week in a row!

In the meantime, I thank you for reading, and I hope you all have a Merry Christmas! If you don’t celebrate, enjoy your Chinese food or simply your Friday.

04th Dec2015

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 12/4/15

by Will

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bernie

First up this week, I watched the film Bernie. You’ve probably never seen it, as it was a smaller black comedy, but Jack Black stars as Bernie Tiede, an effeminate funeral director who befriends Marjorie Nugent (Shirley MacLaine), the meanest and richest woman in the town of Carthage, TX. The movie surrounds the townsfolks’ reactions when it’s revealed that Tiede killed Nugent and kept her death a secret from everyone. It’s based on a true story that happened back in 1996, and Tiede was actually released on bond earlier this year. The movie is interspersed with town gossip from both performers and actual residents of Carthage, and they really help make the film what it is. I’m used to Black in goofy roles, but he was really great here. I highly recommend this movie.

Next up, I’ve got a bone to pick with Disney Channel. You see, a one-hour special is NOT an “Original Disney Channel Movie”. That is merely a SPECIAL. Anyway, I caught The Lion Guard: Return of the Roar, which is basically the pilot for an upcoming animated series. Returning us to the world of The Lion King, Simba’s now an old fuddy duddy (voiced by Rob Lowe, of all people) with 2 kids, Kion and Kiara. Since Kiara’s older, she’s being groomed to be the future Queen of the Pride Lands, while Kion is kind of the screw up. So, imagine everyone’s surprise when it turns out that Kion has The Roar, which is a power that draws upon the spirits of the ancestor lions. The prophecy is that the person with The Roar would be the leader of The Lion Guard, which is an assemblage of lions that are responsible for protecting the Pride Lands. Unfortunately, the last one to possess the power was Simba’s uncle Scar, the last leader of the Guard who went on to destroy the other members. When the Hyenas catch wind of Kion’s new power, they see him as a threat and decide to attack before he had assembled his team. Which just makes him assemble his team faster.

Bunga

Where to begin with this story? First of all, it’s not very good. It feels like a cash grab, as Disney returns to one of its deepest wells. In some ways, it could be seen as an anniversary project, but in that case it should’ve come out in 2014. The animation is basic and not very detailed. Part of me was sad that carefree Simba grew up to essentially be his father. I know he has responsibilities as King of the Pride Lands, but it felt like he really hadn’t retained much of his time with Timon and Pumbaa. He’s all business. Speaking of Timon and Pumbaa, they show up because their nephew, Bunga, is a honey badger who’s also Kion’s best friend. Bunga is probably the brightest spot of an otherwise mediocre story. In an #AllLionsMatter twist, Simba gets pissed at Kion for recruiting non-lions to The Lion Guard. They somehow managed to get James Earl Jones back for a cameo, but it just felt wasted. And the whole thing about The Roar seems to come out of nowhere. I mean, a big part of The Lion King focused on Simba trying to find his roar. Once he did, he never became the leader of the Lion Guard. And at that time, Scar no longer had the position because he lost the power after killing the rest of the Guard. So, it would’ve been ripe for Simba to take over. But of course this never happened because this was NEVER PART OF THE ORIGINALLY INTENDED STORY. It’s just a retcon. Also, the special has about 4 forgettable songs that don’t even deserve to be part of The Lion King canon. I guess you could say it introduces The Lion King to a new generation, but the whole Power Rangers of the Pride Lands angle doesn’t work for me.

Chaos On The Bridge

On Netflix, I caught Chaos On the Bridge, which is a documentary that covers the first 3 turbulent seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It’s a documentary that basically supports my longest held belief about The Next Generation: the show didn’t get good until creator Gene Roddenberry died. It’s a terrible thing to say, but the evidence pretty much supports it, combined with the fact that Roddenberry was physically in no shape to be running a show. In a nice little Trek twist, the film was written and directed by Captain Kirk himself, William Shatner. My biggest problem is that, at 59 minutes, it felt rushed. It also didn’t help that it’s filmed in this music video/motion comic kind of format that makes it feel like the whole thing is simply the trailer for a much longer movie we never get to see. Some of the things I already knew (TNG was slated for Fox before it got syndicated, Diana Muldaur never really clicked), but some stuff was new (they basically fired Gates McFadden for being uppity, Roddenberry had a mistress). It was interesting that the various Star Treks were indicative of where Roddenberry was in his life. During the original series, he wanted to be the ladies man who captained the ship, while he wanted to be the wise, old sage during the TNG era. He had delved into the study of secular humanism and, unlike most sci fi, he felt that things would actually get better for humanity as time went on. In his mind, by the 24th century, humans would have eliminated all conflict, which was a BITCH for the writers, as drama is fueled by conflict. It was really interesting to hear how this was received behind the scenes, and how writers found ways around it. If you’re a fan of the TNG-era Trek, I highly recommend this documentary. If I had one complaint, I only wish it were longer.

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In TV news, Adult Swim announced that Samurai Jack would be returning to the airwaves in 2016. I’ve only seen one episode, and didn’t really understand it. Still, people I respect rave over it so maybe I’ll give it another shot one of these days.

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Meanwhile on TV, FX announced that You’re The Worst has been renewed for a third season. This show features one of my favorite TV relationships, so I’m really happy about this news. If you’ve never seen the show, it’s about struggling writer Jimmy and hot mess Gretchen who have a one night stand after a wedding. Even though they’re both not “relationship people”, they still feel like they’re a good match for each other, so they try to make it work. This season’s been particularly dark, as Gretchen’s dealing with severe depression and basically pushing Jimmy into the arms of another woman. Oh, and it’s a comedy. Anyway, I highly recommend it.

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I’m not really one for Lifetime Christmas movies, but ’tis the season and all that. Well, imagine my surprise that the Winslows are coming back in The Flight Before Christmas. Airing tomorrow night, Reginald VelJohnson and Jo Marie Payton of Family Matters fame will be reunited in a Christmas movie starring Mayim Bialik (that’s not weird to anyone else? Was Kellie Martin busy?). Anyway, Bialik plays one of two travelers who end up stranded in Montana when their flight is diverted. And I take it they fall in love, or discover the true meaning of Christmas or some shit. Yeah, I won’t be watching this, but I look forward to someone making GIFs of all of the Winslow scenes.

BP

In comic news, we saw preview art this week for Ta-Nehisi Coates’s upcoming Black Panther run, and I am NOT digging it. I’m somewhat familiar with the work of artist Brian Stelfreeze, as I even have a Batman sketch from him. That said, I was expecting something a little slicker, a little more stylized. I’m hoping these are just sketchbook doodles, and that the finished product will have more Wow Factor. In regards to the story arc, part of me wonders why Coates is even wasting his time on this. I mean, on paper, he’s the smartest person to work for Marvel in a long time. He won the National Book Award for nonfiction. He won the MacArthur Genius Grant. Why is THIS guy writing something like Black Panther?

Meow

Speaking of Black Panther, there was quite the controversy this week as Entertainment Weekly revealed their Captain America: Civil War cover. While Black Panther is featured prominently between Captain America and Iron Man, his appearance is notable for 2 other reasons: 1) he’s not unmasked like the other two (EW said that was Disney’s call) and 2) the word “Meow” is written next to him. They went on to say that he that he “has claws that a Real Housewife would envy.” A lot of people took offense to this joke, as it seemed like they were trying to emasculate one of the few marquee Black superheroes. I was busy while the controversy was blazing across Twitter, so it was basically over by the time I learned about it. At the end of the day, I think it was just someone trying to be cute, but I can see where folks were coming from. EW Senior Writer Anthony Breznican was really receptive to the online criticism, and he seemed glad that people had pointed it out. I think they’ll be hesitant to do this kind of thing in the future.

batman-vs-superman-dawn-of-justice

So I guess we’ve gotta talk about that Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, huh? First off, during this week’s Gotham, viewers were treated to a 30-second tease of the movie. Featuring Batman in a trenchcoat, being unmasked by Superman, the snippet did nothing to excite me about this movie. Then, Wednesday night, Ben Affleck went on Jimmy Kimmel Live (seriously, how is Kimmel getting all of these exclusives?!) and brought the full trailer with him. You’ve already seen it, so I’m not gonna go and post it here.

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To me, it was the trailer equivalent of Fant4stic Four: The first 2/3 were serviceable, and then it just went off the rails. I was fine with the footage of Clark and Bruce. I’m now more intrigued about Affleck’s portrayal of Wayne. In fact, I’m more interested in his Wayne than in his Batman. And then the fighting started. OK, whatever. It’s a common comic book trope: when heroes first meet, they have to fight ’cause of “misunderstanding” or whatever (Imagine how many fights would’ve occurred on Three’s Company if they had thrown down at the hint of every misunderstanding. It would’ve been a bloodbath! But I digress…). We knew they’d fight, so the trailer shows them fighting. I get it. Then Wonder Woman shows up, and we see the very minute they STOP fighting! Um, wasn’t that the point of getting us to see the movie? You wanted us to want to see the end of the fight? Welp, we’ve seen it. But then the biggest slap in the face happens: the movie features Superman foe Doomsday.

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Even if you don’t read comics, if you were in alive in 1992, you know that Superman “died”, and he was killed by Doomsday. I don’t need the guy who FUCKING KILLED SUPERMAN to be in Henry Cavill’s SECOND appearance as Superman. Pace that shit out! It’s like they couldn’t fucking wait to use Doomsday and, frankly, the DC Cinematic Universe hasn’t *earned* that yet. That’s a development for the Justice League movie or something – not movie #2 when you’re still world-building. BUILD the world before you start tearing it down. The inclusion of Doomsday in this movie is just such a fan service kick to the balls to me. It’s not needed, and it’s just one more unnecessary aspect to an already crowded movie. They already had me, and then they pushed too hard. As I said on Twitter, I was on board with the trailer until Doomsday showed up. It’s like getting ready to have sex with a hot girl and then her penis is bigger than yours. Think about that for a minute.

Goldberg

In social media, I had another exchange with a Hollywood type. Rather, instead of an “exchange”, Adam F. Goldberg, creator of The Goldbergs, decided to reply to a tweet I posted back in October. Kinda weird he decided to even acknowledge it, two months later – especially since I didn’t even tag him in it. I swear, these people need to quit it with the TweetDeck filters and go about doing their jobs. I didn’t even reply, as I didn’t feel like his reply warranted it. And it does still bother me they won’t commit to a year. That 70s Show never seemed to have that problem!

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On the podcasting front, I had the pleasure of joining the Recurrent Events Podcast again last night. We discussed Ecto-Cooler, Gremlins 3, Rambo and more. Be sure to check it out here.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

Pamela Anderson Playboy

-After asking her sons’ permission, Pamela Anderson will grace the cover of the final “adult” issue of Playboy. No, really.

-MTV has decided that the post-Millennial generation will be known as the “Founders”. That’s some sci fi level shit right there. They’re gonna kill us all, aren’t they?

-Coldplay will play the halftime show for Super Bowl 50. I can’t figure out if this is better or worse than Bruno Mars’s rumored return to the halftime show.

-DJ Earworm released the 2015 “50 Shades of Pop” edition of his annual United State of Pop mashup, and I only recognize about 3 songs. I’m officially an old man.

Links I Loved

We Were a Nielsen Family — Here’s What It Was Like – Vulture

Ten 80s Cartoon Characters Who Are Impossible to Christmas Shop For – UnderScoopFire

Star Wars The Force Awakens Countdown T-Shirt Challenge Day 3 – The Robot’s Pajamas

Sunset. – Team Hellions

Wrestler Executes Devastating Finishing Move with His Penis – SB Nation

Flarrow Crossover

This week saw the premiere of “Heroes Join Forces”, the 2015 iteration of the annual crossover between The Flash and Arrow. The 2-night event featured the debut of Hawkman and Hawkgirl, reincarnated Egyptian lovers on the run from the immortal Vandal Savage. Executive producer Greg Berlanti said that the goal of the event was to make the episode of The Flash feel more like an Arrow episode and vice versa. On that count, I think they delivered. The crossover started with Team Flash making the trip to Star City to get protection for their friend Kendra who’s been targeted by Savage. Kendra doesn’t seem to understand why she’s a target, and Barry Allen doesn’t feel like he can offer the protection that she needs. They all get attacked by Savage, Hawkman appears and tries to remind Kendra of their past together, and Oliver discovers a secret from his past. And that’s just part one! The next night, it’s Arrow‘s turn, as everyone gets together to devise a plan to take Savage down once and for all. Oh, and Barry does some time traveling. If you couldn’t tell from my brief synopsis, part one was clearly the strongest of the 2 episodes, but it was a great crossover that laid more of the groundwork for the upcoming DC’s Legends of Tomorrow (premiering January 21st!).

I was late to the Arrow bandwagon, but it’s now one of my favorite shows. Meanwhile, I’m still technically on season one of The Flash, so there was a lot going on that went over my head. That said, I still felt like more happened on The Flash than on Arrow over the course of the 2 nights. I skipped out on Smallville before they started introducing every DC hero and their mom, so it’s kinda of novel to me to see this DC team get formed. At this point, we already have Green Arrow, Black Canary, The Flash, The Atom, The Hawks, and Firestorm in continuity. Not to mention John Constantine and the other folks slated for Legends. Plus, there have been a LOT of hints of Hal Jordan, so it’s only a matter of time before he joins the party. I really like what Berlanti is building here, and this crossover just got me more excited for Legends of Tomorrow, so “Heroes Join Forces” had the West Week Ever.

13th Nov2015

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 11/13/15

by Will

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crazy-ex-girlfriend

Since we’re a few weeks into the television season at this point, I think I can safely say that The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is my favorite new show. When I first I heard about it, I was oddly intrigued, but then I completely ignored it once it debuted. After reading @zacshipley’s tweets raving about it, I decided to bingewatch the first four episodes last Monday. Viral video star Rachel Bloom stars as Rebecca Bunch, a high-powered New York lawyer who has something of a quarterlife crisis. After a chance meeting with her high school summer crush, Josh, she decides to quit her job and follow him to West Covina, California. Once she gets there, she has to start her life over, and try to convince herself, and everyone around her, that she didn’t actually move there for Josh. Oh, and it has musical numbers, because she’s kinda crazy. Bloom is great in the role, and I think she may be my new celebrity crush. Seriously, every scene she’s in costars her cleavage to the point that the show ought to be called Crazy Tits or something. Anyway, the ratings ain’t so good for the show, but The CW is required to have a certain amount of programming from both Warner Bros and CBS. It currently has tons of WB shows, but not many CBS shows, of which Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is one, so that might save it. Anyway, if you want a wacky show, with shades of Felicity meets Glee, then I highly recommend checking it out.

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In other television news, it was announced that The Real Housewives of Potomac would be premiering in January on Bravo. I’m not sure what’s more surprising to me – the fact that they’re trying again in this region after the disaster that was The Real Housewives of DC OR the fact that they seem to have found the only 6 Black women in Potomac. If you’re not familiar with Maryland, Potomac is a really rich, predominantly White suburb of Washington, DC. I’m pretty familiar with it, as I live about 15 minutes away. Demographically, the makeup of the cast should be closer to The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Instead, it’s closer to that of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Anyway, I don’t really plan on watching this, as the only Real Housewives cast I ever liked was New York City. I might watch the premiere, though, just to see if I recognize landmarks.

Into-the-Badlands

In terms of shows closer to their premiere date, Into The Badlands premieres on AMC this Sunday night. I’ve heard people excited about it since it because it’s a martial arts drama featuring the fight choreographer from Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Most of the advance reviews I’ve read, however, haven’t been positive. I know it’s somewhat groundbreaking to have an action show with Asian leads, but this show just looks dreadful to me. Somehow they even got Russell Crowe onboard, but every time I see a commercial for it, it looks like it should be on the Action Pack of the mid 90s. Remember the Action Pack? Does this ring a bell?

Anyway, I’ll watch the premiere just to see what all the fanfare’s about. I might even be proven wrong. But for now, I don’t have high hopes for whatever’s waiting in those Badlands.

snowpiercer

Finally in TV news, it appears they’re going to make a TV series based on Snowpiercer. I really enjoyed the film, but would this be a prequel? I mean, there were about 15 years of train life that we never saw, so I guess we could see the beginning of things when the CW-7 was first released into the atmosphere. Then, we could see culture being recentered around the Great Engine. Actually, this sounds kinda interesting the more that I think about it. I just wonder if it matters that we know how it all ends. Maybe it’ll be “based” on the movie the same way that FX’s Fargo is “based” on that movie.

Becky G Yellow Ranger

About 2 weeks ago, it was announced that recording artist Becky G had been cast as the Yellow Ranger in the upcoming Saban’s Power Rangers (I still really hate that name). While they’ve cast a bunch of unknowns in the other roles, Becky probably has the most star power on the team after a recent stint on Empire, not to mention the social media following she’s got for her music. This casting news doesn’t really make me any more excited for the movie, though, as January 2017 feels so far away to me.

jem

In other movie news, the Jem and the Holograms movie has been taken out of theaters, only 2 weeks after its release. As one of the biggest bombs in box office history, the move isn’t very surprising. When it comes to 80s properties, Jem isn’t very high on my list. I don’t pretend to know the ins and outs of the franchise. I’ve seen a few episodes and I read the first story arc of the IDW comic. Still, I think I know the general gist of it. Jerrica Benton has some computer A.I. called “Synergy” that transforms her into Jem using futuristic hologram technology. And she’s in a band, whose rivals are The Misfits. And to my knowledge, the movie contained basically none of that. Great job, Universal. It’s a shame, too, for a couple of reasons. First off, Universal has had an amazing year, with the release of Minions, Furious 7, and Jurassic World. They made over $4 BILLION on those 3 movies alone! Second, it seems like director Jon Chu supposedly pitched a faithful adaptation to the studio, but was rejected. So, he ended up making whatever it was that ended up onscreen. Ya know, I had no real interest in the movie before, but now that it has this reputation, I have a morbid curiosity to check it out. I can’t wait for it to end up in the Walmart $5 bin.

usf

In a bit of sad news, on the UnderScoopFire podcast this week, host Corey announced that the show would be coming to an end at the end of the year. They are quickly approaching episode #150 (through some dubious math, mind you!), and figured it would be a great note on which to go out. Fear not, listeners, as God closes a door and opens a window. While the USF show will be coming to an end, Corey will be starting a new show early next year in much the same vein as what he’s doing now. The only bright side to this is that I will go down in history as the Champion for Life of their “What’s The Scoop?” gameshow. So, before they shut down the USF feed, you better check out my sidebar and check out the episodes where they had me on as a guest!

Christmas

In a bit of local radio news, we have a station in DC, WASH, that always switches to Christmas music at this time of year. They’ve been doing it for years, and it gets earlier and earlier each year. Well, their rival station, WRQX, is flipping formats and decided, “Ya know what? We’re gonna do the nonstop Christmas music thing, too.” They were scheduled to make the switch at noon today. Well, WASH got wind of their plan, and said “Oh no you effing don’t!” and they flipped the switch to their all-Christmas format yesterday. So, by the time you read this, we’ll have 2 stations playing nothing but Christmas music, yet nobody who’ll play Phil Collins. Look, I love Christmas music, as this is the season we celebrate the miracle birth of the Baby Will. That said, there are only so many times a day you can hear Wham’s “Last Christmas” before you want to go on a Michael Douglas, Falling Down rampage. God help us all!

Links I Loved

The Nod: A Subtle Lowering of the Head You Give to Another Black Person in an Overwhelmingly White Place – Medium

BREAKING: Friend Who Just Got Motorcycle Already Dead – The Onion

Mail Call From Pop! Pop! It’s Trash Culture (Halloween Edition!) – Horror Movie BBQ

aziz

OK, I owe Aziz Ansari an apology. Over the past year or so, I’ve written about how I don’t like his recent transformation. In the beginning, when we met him on Human Giant, he was the wacky Indian dude. He was hilarious as Tom Haverford on Parks & Rec. And his standup specials were hilarious, as he recounted tales of hanging out with Kanye, as well as joked about his little cousin Darwish. Then, about a year ago, something changed. He suddenly became the relationship guru for the digital age. His act started incorporating some heavy stuff, such as his uncertainty about marriage, and how texting has ruined the art of dating. To me, it would have been one thing if this was just a portion of his act, but this was his WHOLE ACT. It seemed like the old, fun Aziz was gone, and we were left with the older, more introspective Aziz. No me gusta! So, when I heard about his Netflix series, Master of None, I wasn’t too optimistic, as I figured it would be a showcase for Nu Aziz. And I was right. But I was also wrong.

Master of None is a 10-episode series streaming on Netflix, and it’s some of the best television I’ve seen in a long time. While it does explore modern relationships, it also goes into things such as the immigrant experience and the racism in Hollywood. When a friend wonders why a sitcom can’t have two Indian guys, Aziz reminds him that the public isn’t ready for that yet, seeing as how they just got used to the idea of 2 Black guys on a show without it being considered a “Black show”. When he realizes he’s kinda been a dick to his dad, he and another first-generation friend decide to take their parents out to dinner, to hear stories of the old days. And what follows is an examination of the immigrant experience that you don’t often see on television today. Sure, Nu Aziz was there, but old wacky Aziz was there, too. In the first episode, he and his friend Arnold go to a toy store, and Old Aziz comes out to play.

Meanwhile, the supporting cast is amazing. Aziz’s lesbian friend Denise steals every scene she’s in, while his friend Arnold is the giant man child that we all know and love. The biggest surprise to me, however, was Noël Wells. When she was on SNL, she was totally forgettable. I can’t remember a single thing that she did. Here, however, she’s a delight as love interest Rachel. When we first meet her, again, I wasn’t expecting much from her. But as their friendship and relationship progress, she really comes into her own. A TV critic that I follow on Twitter acknowledged that it wasn’t that she was untalented on SNL, but rather she was very talented and SNL simply didn’t know what to do with her. I’d have to agree with that assessment. The biggest star, however, had to be Aziz’s real dad, Shoukath Ansari, who plays the father to Aziz’s character, Dev. Everything he said cracked me up, but he also brought a lot of heart to the series.

So, was I wrong about Aziz? Yes. He’s still got it. I enjoyed Master of None so much that I’m actually going to pick up his book, Modern Romance. A lot of people are described this show as Aziz’s Louie, so if you like that show, you’ll definitely love this. Even if you don’t like it (which I don’t, really. I’ve always related more to Maron), you’ll still love this. So, Master of None had the West Week Ever.

29th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/29/14

by Will

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My birthday was pretty low-key last Tuesday, as most of my family members were under the weather. So, I spent the night clearing off the DVR. What did I watch? Well, I’m glad you asked! First up was Ride Along, starring Ice Cube and Kevin Hart. I’d love to travel back to the 90s and tell Ice Cube that his future is filled with cop roles. He’d probably shoot himself, unraveling time and space as we know it! Anyway, Kevin Hart gets accepted into the police academy, and to prove himself to his girlfriend’s cop brother (Ice Cube), he goes on a ride along. And hilarity ensues. Or does it? I enjoyed the movie because I love Kevin Hart, but it’s formulaic as Hell. Unless you’re a Hart fan, just skip it because you already know exactly how it’s gonna play out. There are no “Shyamalanian” twists or anything. It’s got some high speed chases, but felt like something directed by McG. Decent way to pass some time, but it’s not worth owning or anything.

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Next up, I watched Walk of Shame, starring Elizabeth Banks. This movie was released directly to Video On Demand at the same time as its theatrical release. That should tell you all you need to know. Actually, the dual release probably helped it, as it was only released in 51 theaters and made a paltry $38,000 on a $15 million budget. Banks stars as TV reporter Meghan Miles who’s dying to get a network anchor job. Her opportunity arises, but she may lose it due to one very bad day following a one night stand. If you’ve ever seen the Michael Douglas movie Falling Down, think of this as a comedic version of that same template. A whole bunch of shit happens to Banks, while she runs around in a tight yellow dress. If that sounds like something you’d like, then this movie’s for you. Like Ride Along, however, this movie was SO formulaic. You haven’t even seen it, but you probably know how it’s going to end. So, come for the humor, stay for the tiny yellow dress. It’ll be worth a watch once it comes to FX, but you definitely shouldn’t go to any trouble to watch it or anything.

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Finally, I watched R.I.P.D. This movie wants to be Men In Black so bad, but I don’t have a problem with that. I actually really enjoyed it and it’s a shame it bombed, as I’d be down for a R.I.P.D. franchise. Poor Ryan Reynolds can’t catch a break, as I’m sure he thought this would be a success when he heard that Jeff Bridges was in the cast. He certainly needed a win after the failure of Green Lantern. Sadly, the box office didn’t feel the same way. Reynolds plays a pseudo-dirty cop who’s killed by his partner. Once dead, he’s recruited into the Rest In Peace Department, and learns that there’s a whole supernatural world outside of the world that he knew. The R.I.P.D. is tasked with apprehending “deadoes” – evil souls that fell through the cracks of judgement. Teamed up with Western lawman Bridges, Reynolds vows to stop his former partner before he initiates a ritual that will return the dead to the Earth. One thing I found interesting about the movie was that it was the most secular take on the afterlife that I can remember. They deal with death, life after death, and the concept of evil souls, yet they never mention God. They do mention judgement, and that everyone has to take their chances with it, but the R.I.P.D. doesn’t work for the Man In The Clouds. They do seem to answer to a collective of elders from on high, but there doesn’t seem to be an ultimate, supreme being amongst them. The special effects are really good, as many of them are worth the price of admission alone. If you ever get the chance on a rainy Saturday, definitely give this one a chance.

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It was announced this week that Justin Lin, director of much of the Fast & Furious franchise, will be directing the 3rd movie in the Star Trek reboot series. I don’t even know what to make of this news. First of all, it makes me think the Enterprise is gonna have a NOS button and have 13 warp nacelles, but maybe I’m being unfair. He’s proven he can do action, but can he do science fiction? Notes trickling out from the studio report that they want the movie to be more like Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – whatever that means. Are they looking for more humor? More derring-do? What exactly would make Trek like GOTG, and would that even be a good thing? And is Lin the one to provide that? After a lot of shake-ups, it seems like Lin was simply the last man standing. After all, Roberto Orci dropped out of the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers reboot in order to helm Trek 3, only to be sent packing months later. These developments don’t make me feel great about this next installment, especially when I wasn’t such a big fan of Star Trek Into Darkness.

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In a reversal of fortunes, it appears that The Interview will see the light of day. There were screenings of the movie on Christmas Day, but you can currently watch it online via Google Play, YouTube, and XBox Video. I haven’t had the chance to watch it yet, but rest assured I’ll share my thoughts once I do.

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According to the infamous Sony hack, Idris Elba was being considered for the role of James Bond. Of course, this would make him the first Black Bond, and certain folks, like Rush Limbaugh, aren’t too happy about it. I think the Bond franchise has done a pretty good job of changing with the times, so maybe it’s time for a Black Bond. Elba is certainly dashing, and he’s got the acting chops. It’s just a question of whether the audience is ready. After all, the racebending Annie remake isn’t doing so well in theaters, but it remains to be seen if that’s because of Black Annie or if it’s simply not a good movie.

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This week, I discovered the Cartoon Network series Clarence, and my world was changed. I haven’t loved a cartoon this much since I discovered Regular Show. If you’ve never seen it, the show’s about a little fat boy, with an annoying voice, named Clarence. While that description might not sound positive, he’s actually an endearing character. Clarence is joined by his friends “Sumo” and Jeff. Here’s where things get interesting. Sumo is basically white trash, while Jeff’s parents are a lesbian couple. These two would never be friends naturally, but Clarence serves as the link between the two. I’ve never seen a kid’s cartoon have a depiction of lesbians before, and I’m also intrigued by its exploration of Sumo’s socioeconomic status. I making it sound heavier than it is as, on its surface, it’s just a goofy cartoon. Under the hood, however, there’s a smart, interesting show that you should check out.

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If you’ve seen Love Actually, then you know that the song that’s #1 at Christmas is a big deal in the UK. This year, that prestigious honor went to The X Factor winner Ben Haenow, with his cover of OneRepublic’s “Something I Need”.

I have a passing familiarity with the Kids React series, but I simply had to watch this. Folks forget that Power Rangers is over 20 years old, so of course the early days of the franchise might seem odd to today’s kids.

Jimmy Kimmel adds dialogue from Maury to Rudolph footage, and hilarity ensues:

Every wrestling fan has seen the video of Booker T calling Hulk Hogan the “N-word” but here he is, actually addressing the situation:

Here’s how Craig Ferguson signed off on his final episode of The Late Late Show. As a fan of finales, as well as The Drew Carey Show, I especially loved this:

 

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-Helena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton have split up after 13 years. Yes, that sound you hear is everyone making the same “Who gets custody of Johnny Depp?” joke.

-The trailer for the Entourage movie was released this week. No, I’m not linking to it ’cause that show was full of douchebags. The only one I liked was Turtle ’cause he was fat and goofy. Then he lost all that weight, and now I’m a hater.

-Halle Berry-starring Extant will be back for a second season. I guess Halle’s gotta keep up with that child support. In any case, it seems that most of the supporting cast will be gone for the new season.

-Forbes named Adam Sandler the Most Overpaid Actor of 2014

Links I Loved

The Long, Powerful History Of Stephanie McMahon Slapping The Hell Out Of People – UPROXX

Miss Cleo on Her Allegedly Fake Patois and Getting Ripped Off By the Psychic Readers Network – Vice

20 Songs Turning 20 in 2015 – Mashable

Pam and Tommy: The Untold Story of the World’s Most Infamous Sex Tape – Rolling Stone

The Invention of the Slurpee – Gizmodo

5 Disturbing Things I Learned in Scientology’s ‘Space Navy’ – Cracked

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I don’t have many decades-spanning friendships, so I cherish the ones that I do have. I wanna tell you about my friends James and Jenn. I first met James over 16 years ago, at the airport waiting to fly to Cornell. We were both attending Accepted Minority Student Weekend (yeah, that’s a thing), and we hit it off immediately. This was before the age of Facebook or really even cell phones, so I didn’t really think I’d see him again after that weekend. So, imagine my surprise when I ran into him during orientation, and he introduced me to his girlfriend, Jenn. This was funny to me because we had basically just gotten to campus, and he already had a girlfriend?! Surely, he wouldn’t be talking to her by Thanksgiving, right? Right?

Wrong. James and Jenn became some of my closest friends over the next four years, as we took trips to the comic shop, and they came to support me at my a cappella concerts. Still, this was just gonna be a college relationship, right? They’d move away to jobs and that would be it. Again, wrong. They moved to Tucson, Arizona and later moved to New Haven, Connecticut. They’ve been together FIFTEEN years now and I joke with them about how they could have a kid in high school by now.

Well, a few weeks ago, James contacted me because he needed my help. After fifteen long years, he’d decided that it was time to propose. He saw no reason to wait any longer. And he wanted me to sing. Now, I haven’t sung in about 10 years, but they still listen to my CD, so I had remained a part of their relationship in that capacity. So, last weekend, I hopped on the bus, and joined them during a New York City weekend where the surprise was going to go down. We went to a museum exhibit on the Chinese Exclusion Act (way more interesting than you might think), and then had dinner at a vegetarian restaurant (I love my meat, but it was actually pretty good. Except for the cornbread. That was a hate crime.). After dinner, James started talking about Cornell and how they used to come see me sing. This was my cue. I did a verse of Drops of Jupiter, which was their favorite song of mine. When I was done, he presented the ring and she was blown away. And she said yes!

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As I said, James and Jenn have been some of my closest friends for a long time, and I wouldn’t even be blogging without Jenn (she’s created every incarnation of this website). So, I’m ecstatic for them, I love them, and to me, they clearly had the West Week Ever.

22nd Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/22/13

by Will

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Who knew you guys would like a post about Pure Moods?! That was my most popular post in a LONG time. Hell, it even did better than West Week Ever. So, after today, every week will be Pure Moods Friday!

I’m kidding. Even I can’t eke that much material out of a compilation CD series. Still, I’m glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for reading it!

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I found myself in the middle of a flame war this week, as I cosigned a friend’s opinion on a porn star’s bad tit job on Twitter. Turns out said porn star knows how to use Google, and got all offended. Hey, get mad at your doctor, not us! Anyway, this led to a rebuttal post, then her PR guy got involved, trying to make me and a bunch of folks look bad. At the end of the day, I’m not sorry for what I said, which was that she was either dumb or just got around to googling herself since the offending tweet was sent a month ago. I, personally, didn’t say anything about her atrocious tits. Whoops! Oh well.

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It took an SNL performance and several more listens, but Artpop has finally grown on me. The strongest songs are “Venus”, “G.U.Y.”, “Dope”, “Gypsy”, and the title track, “Artpop”. Still don’t think it’s as strong as Born This Way, but I was pretty hard on it last week. It also debuted at #1, so it’s got that going for it. Still, 5 strong songs out of 15 isn’t great, especially when it’s the other songs that’ll probably be released as singles.

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Something’s been bothering me about this season of How I Met Your Mother – have they retconned Robin’s sister? If you go all the way back to season 2, Robin’s younger sister, Katie, comes to town and plans to lose her virginity. The gang talks her out of it, and she decides to wait. And then she was never mentioned again. In the middle of all the Robin/Robin Sparkles flashbacks, it’s almost like she was an only child. Apparently, Robin lived with her mom during the Sparkles years, so maybe it’s a half sister? Either way, she hasn’t been mentioned since that episode, yet there’s a wedding on the horizon, and still no one’s mentioning her. Hell, they finally broached the topic of Robin’s mom (who won’t be making the trip to the ceremony), but still haven’t mentioned the sister. This seems kinda sloppy for a show that has always tried to do right by its continuity.

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In the past, I’ve written about Geeks for Tots – the holiday contest run by The Robot’s Pajamas. Sadly, due to work and school commitments, Geeks for Tots won’t be happening this year. All is not lost, however, as Infinite Hollywood has an alternative: Infinite Toys for Tots. Basically, the site will match any toy donation that you can prove with a picture of you dropping a toy into a Toys for Tots bin. GFT used to get a lot of backlash for the fact that donors could win prizes for donating. People would say, “Why can’t you just donate for the pleasure of doing something good?” Well, this does just that, as you get nothing but that squishy feeling! You can read more about it here, but let’s help some less fortunate kids to have a great holiday season!

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Speaking of the holiday season, now would be a great time for you to revisit Will’s World of Wonder. We’ve been quiet, but we’re still alive and kicking. In fact, I recently added a bunch of vintage Power Rangers zords, as well as some other trinkets. When you’re looking for something special for the fanboy in your life, choose Will’s World of Wonder!

Though I haven’t sung with them in 10 years, my collegiate a cappella group, Last Call, just released their new album. It sounds great, and if you’re a fan of music without accompaniment, you can get it from iTunes. Here’s a sampler:

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes on TRL, Jesse Camp and 1998’s Other Big MTV Moments – Vulture

Stretching Spandex Over Melanin Won’t Make Comics More Diverse – The Nerds of Color

Tanya Tate’s Boobs (Risky for Work) – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 50 Sexiest People Born in 1985 – UnderScoopFire!

Comics are for Children – The Nerds of Color

Best-Lock Continues Its Reign of Terrible Licensed Construction Toys with Stargate SG-1 – Double Dumbass On You

One had a city in the palm of his hands, while the other was just holding her boobs. One is helping the needy, while the other is kinda seedy. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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No one had a week like Batkid. Technically, he probably should’ve had the West Week Ever last week, but his takeover of San Francisco happened after the post was published. Still, nothing that happened this week even came close to the media juggernaut of a little, cancer-stricken kid fighting crime with 10,000 volunteers in his corner. They say that the whole day will end up with a price tag of $105,000, but who cares, really? It seemed like a pretty fun day for all involved. If anything, I feel sorry for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, as this just raises the bar for them. It used to be kids only wanted a giant ice cream sundae or a few minutes to visit with John Cena. Now, they’re ALL gonna wanna take over cities. The charity world will never be the same after this, and that’s why Batkid had the West Week Ever.

01st Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/1/13

by Will

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This one is hard for me. West Week Ever started out as the weekly spot for me to not only ramble about pop culture, but also really delve into the “science” of social media. That’s never been truer than today. You see, this week I found out that I lost a dear friend. The problem, however, is that I don’t know how I’m supposed to feel. You see, I’d never actually met this person. This was an online friendship. However, it was deep enough that it taught me that you can have actual, meaningful connections with people you’ve never met. It was my first such friendship, and it paved the way for a lot of the connections I have online today.

I’ve mentioned this person in the past. Back when I did Follow Friday, I was known to refer to her as “my favorite woman on Twitter” (it was cool – my wife didn’t tweet much at the time). It’s funny – when she first followed me, I thought she was spam. Non-descript avatar, seemed to be following a shit ton of people. Unlike a lot of people, I’m not waging a war against spammers, so I just let her be. Then, we actually started to interact. She was in grad school, while also working as a nanny. She loved that job and was always referring to her “girls”, like they were her own kids. She was curious about life and LOVED to dance. She fell in love, and shared her joy with me. When she dealt with something I had experienced, she came to me for advice. She was one of the first people to know about my engagement. She actually downloaded my a cappella mp3s from my college days, and was probably my biggest (and last remaining) fan. As sweet as she was, you’d never know about the things she had going on in her life. Eventually, because of those things, she kinda left the online world behind her.

Around the end of the holiday season, I started thinking about her. I remembered she didn’t celebrate Christmas (non-Jewish white girl, not celebrating Christmas? You’re missing out!), and that was always quaint, yet weird, to me. I remembered her last email to me, right after my engagement. It ended in sort of an ominous way. You know how when a TV show has a finale that’s not really advertised as a finale? Well, it was like that. She was going through her stuff, and I had a wedding to make happen, so I let it simmer. This was around the same time that Catfish on MTV was gaining traction, and while everyone online had jokes like, “Haven’t these people ever heard of Google?”, I started to wonder myself: was this friendship real? Was this person real? I had done my due diligence, so I managed to tuck it in the back of my head, and go on with life. So, when the holidays rolled around, I thought it would be a good time to check in. And that’s when I knew something was wrong.

Minutes after I emailed her, I got an auto response telling me that all inquiries about her should be forwarded to her sister, and it listed her email address. Whatever was happening here, I knew it couldn’t be good. Had something returned from her past? Was I really being  “catfished” and this person was simply tired of the charade and was ready to come clean? I wasn’t sure. I simply forwarded it to her sister, prefacing it with an explanation of how I knew her. And then I didn’t hear back. Until yesterday. In the middle of a work meeting, I saw that I had an email, and I knew who it was from when I saw the subject line. Something told me not to deal with it then. It would be there when the meeting was done. And I managed to stick to that for most of the meeting. Then, my mind began to wander and I gave in. After the first line, I wished I had waited.

The reply was from my friend’s sister. She was telling me that my friend had actually passed away back in July, from an aneurysm. I don’t get into this with many people, but there’s actually one thing off limits to me when it comes to joking around: aneurysms. It might seem like an odd thing to have off limits, but there’s a reason for it. You see, when I was 3 years old, my dad died from an aneurysm. Not only did that cause pain at a young age, and lead me to grow up without a father, but aneurysms have served as a sort of biological boogeyman ever since. You don’t know how you get them. You can just be living your life and BAM. And that’s what happened here. She had returned home from school, was getting ready to face the world as a grown up, and it all ended in an instant. So, as for my life’s scorecard, Will: 0, Aneurysms: 2. That’s two people who were very important to me, yet I didn’t know all that well, taken by aneurysms.

Again, this is a weird place for me. I’m not new to death. I was raised by the Black Golden Girls. Some random Alabama cousin dies every month. I’ve probably been to more funerals than birthday parties. It’s just amazing that someone you’ve never met can have that kind of effect on you. Before her, I was mainly following comic blogs, and not really interacting on Twitter. I really considered her a friend, as I consider many of you. You may see me as the obnoxious guy, telling bad jokes all the time, but I do it for you. I’m just the insecure guy trying to impress his friends in the lunchroom. It’s just that our lunchroom is digital. Whenever I think back to how stupid it might seem to worry about losing followers and whatnot, I think about situations like this and realize that many of you are so much more to me than that. And while that may seem sad, it’s the future. I know because AT&T commercials have been selling that dream for 20 years. Anyway, there’s no real conclusion to that. I just had to get it out. Maybe some of you will feel it’s a bit much, but I hope that maybe some of you can relate.

Whew!

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OK, so I was also invited to participate in UnderScoopFire’s list of The 50 Funniest Women of All Time. This was harder than you’d think, and I even had to poll Lindsay for her opinions. Basically, each of us submitted our Top 25, and then Howie Decker used his trusted methodology to compile the list. At the outset, it was never meant to be a DEFINITIVE list. Anyone who’s been on the Internet for a week knows that these are great for generating discussion. Still, some folks on Twitter were all “Fuck yo’ methodology” and “Where’s Megan Mullally?” I don’t wanna sell out the system because I like how USF’s lists are done. All I can really explain is my thinking on the matter.

First off, Sarah Beattie is an actual comedy writer, so even if I disagree, I defer to the pro. That said, I feel the need to bring up something I discussed with Howie. This was a really hard list to make because you have to be honest with yourself and ask “Do I really think she’s funny OR do I just think she’s hot?” Yeah, this may seem crass and sexist, but it’s an important aspect of comedy to recognize. This list wasn’t limited to the world of standup, but let’s just look at that subset for a bit. Male comics aren’t hot. They’re typically shlubby, balding and/or insecure. Dane Cook was the first, modern-day standup heart throb, which I think is the source of a lot of the ire directed at him. Sure, he’s not the strongest comic, but I think guys in the audience never felt threatened by comics until him. With Dane,  here was a guy who could easily fuck their girlfriends. That’s threatening. Now there’s the flip side. There’s an up and coming crop of SMOKING female comics. This isn’t to say they’re all not funny, but it does mean they bring something extra to the plate to compensate for weaker humor, if needed. I think they use their looks as a crutch. Take Amy Schumer. She’s cute and witty, and she’s studied every rape joke that Sarah Silverman has ever written. Still, she’s too green to be on a list of the BEST OF ALL TIME.

To me, a few people on this list haven’t paid their dues enough to be here. Along with Schumer, that includes Plaza (she’s one of the Best of Right Now, but time will tell), Farris (she plays dumb girl roles, not funny girl), Fisher (she married a funny guy), Schaal/Lynch (future Hall of Famers, but not there yet), and McCarthy (still coasting off that ONE good Bridesmaids performance). And that’s not even taking into account the people I just never found funny; I can still recognize their contributions to the “art”. So, that’s the beauty of democracy: everyone gets a voice, but not everybody “wins”. Still, I was honored to have been chosen, and I just wanted to shed a little light on my thoughts of the final tally.

Before I go, HUGE shout-out to my man @RobotsPJs who hooked me up with some Hostess goodness. Be sure to check out his Snack Reports over at The Robots Pajamas!

This Week’s Post:

Thrift Justice: Bipartisan$#!+

And check out my current eBay auctions!

 

28th Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/28/12

by Will

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I wasn’t really sure if I was gonna post this week, but here I am – one year older, but not much wiser.

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Santa was good to me, as you can see.  No, I’m not crazy – “Santa” was ME. I found all these in the days just before Christmas and my birthday, and Lindsay wrapped them for me.

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She got me these items, as well as some nice and well-needed clothes. And please don’t start with the “Why didn’t you get the Blu Ray?” I’m not ready to upgrade my entire collection just yet. I wanted to keep things consistent!

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I also bought my first Transformer at retail in I don’t know how long. He just looked cool, and since I got his “predecessor” recently, I felt like this was a proper bookend piece.

Speaking of Santa, I’ve been thinking a lot about Die Hard. At the time of the first movie, Lucy and John Jr are still the right age to be doing the Santa thing. Now, if that’s the case, the Christmas depicted in the first movie would mean the jig was up. I mean, I’m sure they were glad their parents weren’t dead, but I’ll bet they also really wanted one of those Nintendos everyone was talking about. I’ve wondered before: at what point do the McClanes just stop celebrating holidays?

Ever notice how so many aspects of Christmas sound like drugs? “Yo man – I got that Kris Kringle, I got that Rudolph. You got the cash, I got that Good King Wenceslas!”

Got this from a Google+ pal (see, it IS good for something!): If you’re in the PA area, you MUST check this place out! It looks so awesome.

I wanna talk about Will’s World of Wonder. Someone recently asked me if I’m “still doing that”. The short answer is “yes” (and they clearly haven’t been reading these posts, where I pimp the site on a weekly basis). This is gonna sound like sour grapes, but here it is: I’m still selling, just as actively as ever. I just got tired of the hustle, especially when it wasn’t getting me anywhere. I currently sell on the site, Craigslist, and eBay. I made the decision to stop posting links on Twitter because it was really just spam. Twitter makes up almost none of my customer base. Plus, I felt like no one on there wanted what I was selling. I speak better in analogies: I’m Pepsi, but everyone keeps raving about how great Coke is – to my face, even. So, why continue the Cola War when I could just be Dr. Pepper? So, the store is still going strong, but at this point I figure everyone knows where it is and to check it at their leisure. And if you read West Week Ever, then you can always take the link at the bottom as your cue to check in and see what’s new.

Speaking of Cola Wars, I was recently introduced to Sarsi, which is a Coke product that’s essentially Filipino root beer. I have a Filipino godson, and his family is constantly introducing me to stuff I never dreamt I’d consume. Sarsi smells like licorice, which I hate, but tastes so much better. It’s like the Scotch of soda – you don’t guzzle it, but sip it. Nurse it. Think back to days gone by.

Last night, I had the pleasure of joining TimDogg98 and ClassickMateria for a Comic Book Chronicles episode of the Kliqnation Podcast. I’ll post a link when it goes live, but I’ll give ya a teaser: we discussed comics. What, you want more? Fine, more specifically, we discussed Amazing Spider-Man #700 and the events within. It was a great time, so I hope you’ll check it out.

Anyway, that does it for this week. Oh yeah, since the world was supposed to end last week, could we refer to every event going forward as “Post Crisis” now? No? OK. See ya in 2013!

21st Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/21/12

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9 It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas! And I don’t know what I want. I’ve become a hard person to shop for, as I tend to just buy what I want, or I want something that’s really obscure. Right now, I’m working on a long-term project I’ll tell you about one of these days. If anything, I’d ask for stuff to help that out, but again, it’s really only the kind of thing I can do myself. Ooohh…vague!

I am so NOT in a Christmas mood. Between all the stuff in the world, and the fact that I feel like I just took down the last Christmas tree, the season just kinda snuck up on me. Anyway, I got awesome holiday cards from the folks at UnderScoopFire and from Claymation Werewolf, which helped to move me towards the Christmas mood.

Earlier this week, I professed my love for SiriusXM. On that note, two songs stood out to me as the Best of the Week: Courtesy of 70s 0n 7, here’s “The Best Disco In Town”, by The Ritchie Family. More than a medley, but not quite a mashup – this song perfectly captures every hit of the era.  

Here we have the SiriusXM exclusive of Colbie Caillat’s cover/mashup of The Script’s “Breakeven” and Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car”. I’ve always felt that Colbie doesn’t get enough credit. She’s cute and talented, but she’s always on the periphery, like some kind of surf bunny Jack Johnson.

I made the mistake of jumping from the middle of Burn Notice season 2 to tonight’s 6th season finale, and I didn’t have a clue what the Hell was going on. When did the halfy from Third Watch join the team? I guess I’ve got a lot of catching up to do. Gotta say, this whole “Miami A-Team” routine has really aged the group, especially Michael. Even his voiceovers sound old and tired. He’s starting to look like someone’s fit dad. Anyway, WHAT THE HELL DID MICHAEL DO?!!! I have to wait until summer?! olivia It turns out Pawn Stars fired Olivia because she used to be a Suicide Girl. Apparently, she used to be called Belladonna Suicide. There also happens to be a hardcore porn star named Belladonna. I swear, I have never had so much trouble finding porn online in my life. Anyway, I’m not surprised. I mean, she kinda had a stripper vibe to her, and they are in Vegas. To be honest, Suicide Girls is a little higher an echelon than I expected for her. I mean, it’s not like SG has a mansion, but they all have that “I’m a 25 year old Women’s Studies major (when I’m not working at Color Me Mine) because I took time off to travel with my boyfriend’s band” vibe to them. She doesn’t really exude that energy to me.

TMNT_brandsplash_712

While I write this, I’m also catching up on my backlog of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episodes. I haven’t really mentioned it, but I LOVE that show. Am I the only one who wants to hug Mikey whenever he’s onscreen? To be honest, up top I said I didn’t want anything for Christmas, but I want those friggin’ action figures. Foolish me thought they’d be around forever, and now they’re harder to get than plutonium. I did, however, luck into 2 of the Classics the other day, but Lindsay’s making me wait til Christmas to open them. Plus, they’re my two least favorite Turtles (Raph & Leo). Anyway, if you’d told me 20 yrs ago that I’d be asking for Ninja Turtles for my 31st birthday, I’d probably want to high five my future self. Young Me was too foolish to know how sad this is.

Did you donate to Toys for Tots this year? If so, don’t forget to enter Geeks for Tots. Funny story: I donated but forgot to take a picture.  It didn’t really seem appropriate, being a sponsor and all. Plus, the setting wasn’t right. Ya see, instead of a dropbox, I had a different scenario: a good friend of mine threw a birthday party for his son. Since the kid wants for nothing, they asked that we bring something to donate to Toys for Tots. Little did we know that 2 Marines would actually show up to dine with us and pick up the toys. It was a pretty cool event, but it meant no pic of me dropping an Elmo into a giant giftwrapped box. Yes, we got an Elmo. It wasn’t his fault! He thought Kevin was just hugging those boys!

Anyway, I hope y’all have a Merry Christmas/scrumptious Chinese food dinner, and don’t forget to read this week’s posts:

XM Marks The Spot

Thrift Justice – Taking It To The Next Level

And feel free to spend your hard earned money at Will’s World of Wonder!

07th Dec2012

West Week Ever – 12/7/12

by Will

It truly was the West Week Ever! First off, y’all apparently had no thoughts on the Chris Brown post. Or you didn’t wanna share them. Either way, I felt what I said needed to be said. We now return to our regularly scheduled programming of pop culture and toy talk.

So, this was on the side of a site I was visiting:

I can’t hit her! She’s a girl! Yeah, Chris Brown sucks, but this doesn’t really send a great message, either. She’s not even wearing protective headgear!

I was on a podcast that went live this week, thanks to the guys at UnderScoopFire! That intro may be the best thing I’ve ever heard, and I plan to somehow make it my outgoing voicemail message. I had a great time discussing the aforementioned Breezy situation, spoilers, Twitter and more! I had no clue I’d trigger the shitstorm that arose in the comments section, but that was fun, too. His words ONLY MADE ME STRONGER!!! Anyway, be sure to give it a listen!

-Anyone remember when voice-tracking was the greatest kept secret in radio? Not sure what voice-tracking is? OK, basically, it’s when a DJ records a bunch of non regionally-specific banter between songs so that it can be used in another radio market. So, your favorite afternoon drive-time DJ actually does nights on a station in Arizona with the same format. It used to be kept quiet because it’s the boogeyman of the industry. I mean, why bring attention to the fact that a station owner could save money by hiring fewer DJs to man their stations? Anyway, this is how The Kane Show airs in DC, as well as 5 other stations. Or how Rob Kruz does night work halfway across the country. Nowadays, they talk about it like it’s nothing. That’s an important development, almost like when WWE finally pulled back the curtain to show how they did chair shots and table smashing. I mean, you do what you gotta do, lest you end up with a JACK format (no DJs, so no jobs), but I’m still surprised by how brazen it has become.

Speaking of radio, I just spent an afternoon studying how War of the Roses is made. It’s all fake! Why can’t ANYTHING in “reality programming” be REAL anymore?! I mean, there’s no way they’d get permissions from both parties, but still! It’d come off as more realistic if they didn’t have 2 different ones per week. Anyway, I stumbled upon this article that lays it all out.

 

So, I found this video this week. If you’re not familiar with the artist, it’s Shannon Bex – also known as “the white girl who wasn’t Aubrey O’Day in Danity Kane”. Don’t know who or what a Danity Kane is? You clearly didn’t watch Making the Band. Anyway, I’d heard that she wanted to go country, but I’m perplexed by this video. I haven’t watched CMT in a bit, but me thinks there be too many folks of color in this clip. I mean, it shows she’s “hip”, I guess, but the whole exercise just comes off as stilted. Also, she needs to go back to her old look, as the blonde think just makes her look like every other country starlet trying to fill the Taylor Swift gap.

Finally, something cool happened to me in the last week, as I got the attention of one of the writers of Power Rangers. Not just any writer, but the guy who wrote the anniversary episode “Forever Red” – Mr. Amit Bhaumik. His story’s pretty interesting, as it seems that he started out as just a superfan writing fanfic. Next thing you know, he’s working on the real deal. Anyway, last week he was talking about the change in Jason’s (original Red Ranger) personality from his last appearance in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers to his return in Power Rangers ZEO. His character had been written out to go to an “international peace conference”, yet he came back like the conference was no longer an issue. So, I tweeted:

Shortly thereafter, I see this in my mentions:

He retweeted me! But that’s not all. Yesterday, I sent him the link to my Power Rangers theme post, and not only did he retweet that, but he also weighed in:

Look, I’m sorry I’m fanboying, but THIS IS A BIG DEAL TO ME! You’ve seen the Power Rangers posts! Anyway, that capped off my week on a good note.

I can’t go without mentioning Geeks for Tots. It’s a fun contest where you could win awesome prizes by donating to Toys for Tots. Some people resent the idea of “being rewarded” for doing a good deed, but you shouldn’t think of it that way. It’s a great cause, and you’ll be helping less fortunate kids to have a happy holiday season. Here’s an interview I did with the Geeks for Tots founder last year, and be sure to visit the site for more info. I’m not just a Geeks for Tots booster, but I’m also a sponsor. This is a VERY important weekend for the program, as the dropbox items will be collected soon. So, let’s get out there and put some smiles on some tiny faces!

Anyway, be sure to check out this week’s posts:

Comical Thoughts – When You’re A Spy…

Play It Again, Karone: A Look Back On 20 Years of Power Rangers Music

And feel free to buy something from me at Will’s World of Wonder!

07th Mar2012

Thrift Justice: The Hardest Thing I’ll Ever Have To Do…

by Will

Cue the 98 Degrees! So, in all my thrift trips, I come across things which I just can’t justify buying. Sure, they’d make great conversation pieces, but that’s also the road to life as a hoarder. It’s hard, though, leaving this stuff behind. How will I ever be the King of Kitsch if I don’t buy all this stuff?! Thanks to the miracle of camera phones, I can’t take a little bit of the item with me, without having to store it somewhere. This time around, I thought I’d share a few of those thought-provoking items with you!

This…this I actually bought. I didn’t mean to buy it. It just happened to be in an action figure grab bag that I bought. Yup, it’s The Crocodile Hunter, Steve Irwin, in scuba gear. In fact, if you take the mouthpiece out of his mouth, and remove his goggles, he has a horrified look on his face. No, this wasn’t made after his death as some sort of joke piece; this was made before his death. THIS FIGURE PREDICTED HIS DEATH! I just couldn’t have that in my chi, so back to the thrift store he went.

In case you can’t read it, the tagline is “Now the excitement of the Double Dare game show is in a book!” BULL and SHIT! If you’ve EVER seen Double Dare, you know that there’s no possible way to capture that in print form! Unless the pages are made from sheets of Gak, this book is full of lies. This sounds like the product of Marc Summers’s OCD: “Guys, isn’t there a…cleaner way we could do the show? How about a book? Yeah, where they’d only have to touch pages and there’d be no goo! I’ve gotta go count the fringe on my rug now.”

I’m not sure if it’s the result of new meds, but I had a dream yesterday where a panda bear fell in love with me. It knew English (no accent – very impressive) and had an unhealthy infatuation with me. It lived in a shopping mall, and my family thought it was the funniest situation. Because my family would find something fucked up like that to be funny. Anyway, I think this thing might have been messing with my brainwaves. Don’t look into its eyes!

Try not to pay attention to the dead baby legs in the bottom corner. No, you need to focus on the cover. Here’s a little backstory. This is actually on the cover to a “rainy day detective mystery book”. The selling point, however, is that the book provides “Hours and Hours of ‘By-Yourself Enjoyment'”. And get this – the “By-Yourself Enjoyment” has the little “rights reserved” R after it. So, not only does this sound like some kind of sketchy, masturbatory manual, but someone actually OWNS the phrase “By-Yourself Enjoyment”! Mind. Blown.

This would be the official timepiece of my Man Cave. I love everything about it! The 80s flair. The shoddy, “I made this in woodshop” nature of the clock; the brunette who looks like Kelly Kapowski after eating a well-needed sandwich. The wine glass stickers that had been affixed to give it a bit of a feminine touch.

I feel like I could’ve made this…ya know, if I hadn’t quit woodshop. Funny story, that. The one year I went to public school, I was all set to take woodshop, but my mom didn’t trust the kids in the class to not saw off my hand. So, I made the social faux pas of telling the teacher in the middle of class, “My mom’s not sure she wants me in this class”. From that day on, the supposedly sweet girl around the corner decided to call me “faggot” every day on the walk from the bus. Good times. Anyway, this clock reminds me of what might’ve been.

This couple has never seen a black person. Their eyes are just incapable of focusing on that spectrum. The same with poor people. The dude, however, looks like a character Will Arnett would play.

I love children’s programming, but I hated the FUCK out of Big Bad Beetleborgs (later Beetleborgs Metallix). It was your standard “pretty kids turn into Japanese heroes” show, but this seemed to cater to a younger age than Power Rangers. To drive this point home, the show’s “mascot” was Flabber, who’s pictured on the box. Flabber is what you’d get if Jay Leno were a Liberace impersonator and then you murdered him. He was this gaudy, ghostly fuck who was supposed to lend comic relief, but he was just annoying as all Hell. Plus, the show featured one of the TV tropes that I hate most: Grandma who doesn’t act her age. Get the fuck off those rollerblades, grandma! You want your fate to be at the hands of a death panel?!

Finally, we have this little gem. I’ve heard of “tough love”, but DAMN! Yes, I understand the purpose of the “For Dummies” brand, but didn’t anyone think about this one before they sent it to press? I can see the Amazon listing now “People who bought this also bought “Suicidal Thoughts for Asshats” and “A Very Fat-astic Paula Deen Christmas”

So, as you can see, I buy a lot of shit, but I don’t buy everything. Tune in next time, when I’ll show you some of the recent stuff I hid in my trunk until my fiancee fell asleep!

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