07th Aug2015

West Week Ever – 8/7/15

by Will

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community-season-6-cast

This week, Joel McHale confirmed what most of us already knew – that Community is over. He explained that Yahoo wanted another season for their Yahoo Screen portal, but they simply couldn’t afford the cast since their asking quotes  have gone up since the show began. Because of that stupid #sixseasonsandamovie thing, they’re still saying they’d like to do a movie. Honestly, I don’t even know what that would entail. How do you translate a sitcom into a theatrical feature? Has that been done before? I mean, it works the other way around. Movies get TV adaptations all the time, but not vice versa. I can’t think of a Community storyline that would even be worth a theatrical release. Keep in mind, I have the same reservations about an Arrested Development movie. Just let these things die, so they can be fondly remembered. Show creator Dan Harmon has said that he’d be interested in writing the script once he’s gotten to a place where he misses the characters. So, we’re at the whim of his sense of nostalgia.

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In other TV news, there were a lot of casting reveals for the DC shows on The CW. First up, Casper Crump has been cast as season one big bad Vandal Savage for Legends of Tomorrow. Also, Falk Henstchel has been cast as Hawkman in the series. Meanwhile, The Flash has cast Wally West, who will be played by Keiynan Lonsdale. I haven’t heard of any of these weird-named dudes. Lonsdale’s Australian, so he’s probably done a stint on Neighbours or something – that’s like a rite of passage down there. Anyway, a lot of people not familiar with DC’s New 52 reboot didn’t realize that the new Wally West is Black, so of course the usual complaints spread across social media: “Why make him Black when he’s always been White?” As my pal Tim would call it, #rabblerabble.

WallyWest

Even I’ll say that New 52 Wally seems like diversity solely for the sake of diversity. Then again, I guess his race never really had an impact on who he was, so he could be anything. The problem, however, is that Wally had quite the legacy. He’s one of the few heroes who replaced his mentor and it STUCK. Most of my generation grew up with a Wally West Flash and NOT a Barry Allen Flash. Barry was boring and DEAD by the time we started reading comics. So, to just randomly introduce him in the New 52 universe like, “Hey, here’s Wally – only he’s not the dude you remember, and he’s Black now” kinda seems disingenuous. My problem with introducing him on the show, however, is that it just seems too soon. They couldn’t wait for season 3? I mean, we’ve just gotten used to Barry, and we like him, so why dilute that with Kid Flash or whatever Wally’s going to become on the show? My biggest issue with the Greg Berlanti DC shows is that I fear he spreads himself too thin. Arrow was great until The Flash came along, and then it started to suffer creatively. This season, he’s adding Supergirl and Legends of Tomorrow to the docket. One can only imagine what that’s going to do to The Flash, and I shudder to wonder how much lower Arrow can go.

photovisi-download(1)You know who almost had the West Week Ever? Hollywood divorce lawyers! This week alone saw the announcement of splits between Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani, Reba McEntire and Narvel Blackstock, and Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy. Plus, the week kicked off with the annual, yet erroneous, announcement that Will and Jada were calling it quits. In the words of Carrie Underwood, “There must be something in the water.” The Gavin/Gwen split wasn’t a total surprise, as I recall hearing that things had been rocky ever since the paternity test revealed that he was the father of model Daisy Lowe. The Reba divorce is pretty sad, as they had been married for 26 years! That’s my biggest fear: to get old and divorced. Young divorce is fine, but divorce after you’re all used up? No siree, Bob! And I’m pretty sure that the Kermit and Piggy thing is just publicity for that The Office-inspired Muppets show coming to ABC this Fall. They break up all the time, so who really cares? I mean, they were broken up in Jason Segel’s The Muppets back in 2011. Did everyone just forget that? Anyway, I can’t even think of a celebrity couple I’m rooting for at this point. You’re just courting disappointment with that game.

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This week saw the Television Critics Association’s Summer press tour, where TV critics were introduced to the stars of the upcoming new network shows. Yesterday was Fox’s day, where three things happened. First off, it appears that critics were shown a clip from the X-Files reboot, and the consensus was not good. I’ve heard that it almost played like parody, and it wasn’t clear if that was the intention of the scene. Second, they announced that Prison Break was returning for a 10-episode event, similar to last year’s 24: Live Another Day miniseries. Apparently, the original stars are on board (interesting, since they’re both attached to Legends of Tomorrow, so I guess they’ll film this while they’re on break?), and some of the deaths from the original series seem like they’re being retconned in order to make this work. I watched the first episode of Prison Break, but I just couldn’t get on board for that series. I didn’t feel like it would last long enough for a resolution. I was wrong, but I still don’t feel like I missed out on anything. Finally, Fox also updated the status of bringing back 24. They said that Kiefer Sutherland isn’t interested in returning right now, so a new 24 would probably feature new characters. It’s just not 24 without Jack Bauer! If I wanted to watch an entirely new ensemble, I’d just tune into ABC’s Quantico (Sundays this Fall!).

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Oh yeah, Fox also did something else: they confirmed plans for an television spinoff of the X-Men films. They said that they’re close to a deal, but they’re waiting to see if Marvel will approve it. Since Fox only owns the X-Men rights, don’t look for any crossovers with Daredevil or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The big question, though is what does Marvel get out of the deal? Right now, Fox has already lined up writers and showrunners, so this will happen sooner rather than later. I’m OK with this idea if they’re really allowed to run with it. Maybe focus on some mutants who don’t get any movie screentime. I mean, I’m pretty sick of the Xavier/Magneto dynamic. WE GET IT ALREADY! There are other characters. Hell, some of the X-Men’s best adventures occurred when Xavier wasn’t even around. I don’t see why they have to be in all the movies. I’m scared however, this will be some watered down thing, so as not to step on the toes of the film division. Remember what happened the last time we got a watered down X-Men television show? It was called Mutant X

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The box art was revealed for this Winter’s LEGO Avengers. I have SO many comic-based LEGO games to get through, but I’m a sucker, so I’ll probably get this one, too. It helps that they’re releasing it on “older” systems like Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, as not all of us have graduated to the next generation. I really wish Rocksteady had done this with Batman: Arkham Knight. I mean, it kinda sucks that there’s a trilogy of games that can’t all be played on the same friggin’ system!

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*Sigh* So, I guess I’ve gotta talk about Fantastic Four, huh? The movie officially comes out today, but the review embargo was lifted on Wednesday and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve heard everything from that fact that it had a strong 2/3 but tanked the 3rd act to the whole thing was just a disaster. You know comic folk can be a passionate bunch, so I’m not really sure who to believe. I’ll see it, but I’m easy to please when it comes to comic book movies. To date, out of all the ones I’ve seen (no, I still haven’t seen Catwoman), I only hated Elektra and The Dark Knight Rises. I was actually fine with the two Fantastic Four films that we already got. It probably helps that I’ve never really liked the comic version of the team, so I didn’t have high expectations. Anyway, they say that this version borrows heavily from the Ultimate Fantastic Four comic, which should be a good thing, since I love the Ultimate Marvel Universe. Sadly, I found that book to be so boring that I still have about 20 issues I haven’t read, and the book’s been cancelled since 2009. Then, things took a real bad turn last night when the movie’s director, Josh Trank, tweeted this:

Trank

So, Trank’s basically blaming the studio. Not a great move from the guy who was pushed out of his Star Wars directing gig due to his erratic behavior. So far, the only hit he has under his belt is Chronicle, and I’m not sure how long he’s going to be able to coast on that. Is there any coming back from this? Is the movie so bad that it’ll sink his career?

No links this week, as I’m behind on my blogs, so let’s get to the meat and potatoes: Who had the West Week Ever?

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On Tuesday night, Conan O’Brien probably saw his biggest ratings since his move to cable. No, it wasn’t because of a guest, but rather the fact that the Deadpool trailer was slated to premiere during the episode. In fact, the episode’s rating was TV-MA because they would be showing the red band, not safe for work version of the trailer. Welp, once the trailer debuted, it seemed there was a huge divide between those who loved it and those who just weren’t feeling it. I fell into the latter camp.

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First, let me explain that I consider myself a Deadpool fan. I haven’t been there since his debut in X-Force, but I’ve been reading his book for the past 8 years or so. I’ve also gone back and read the older stuff, so I think I have a pretty good handle on the character. He’s not a top-tier character, so you might not be familiar with him. Deadpool is Wade Wilson, a mercenary who underwent an experimental procedure to cure his terminal cancer. As a result, he emerged with a healing factor, and it might’ve done something to his brain – making him think he’s a character in a comic book, and resulting in his breaking the 4th wall to interact with the reader. He’s like a cartoon character, and though violent, it tends to be a cartoony violence. Think Roadrunner cartoons. If you saw him, you’d probably ask “Why does Spider-Man have all those swords and machine guns?” That’s basically his look. He’s not someone to be taken seriously, especially in recent years where he’s been trying to be accepted by the hero community.

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So, imagine my surprise when they created a movie not about cartoony wacky Deadpool, but sadistically violent Deadpool. This is a far departure from the way he’s been presented in recent years. The violence and language are so amped up that it’s going to be rated R. So, all that said, I really don’t know who this movie is for. My main issue is the R-rating. While his video game was rated Mature, I think they’re cutting out a big swath of the potential audience by making it 17 and up. Parents like to take their kids to comic book movies. Not this one. Add in the fact that he’s not a hero. He’s a mercenary. He kills for money. He’s not saving the world, or fighting aliens. He kills mobsters for other mobsters. I don’t know if you’ve read the recent Deadpool book by Gerry Duggan, but Deadpool really doesn’t kill all that much anymore. He’s kinda gained a conscience, and even has a daughter. If you’re a fan of that Deadpool – ya know, the one currently making money for Marvel – this movie ain’t for you. My pal Carlin brought up the fact that Deadpool’s recently been featured in the Ultimate Spider-Man cartoon, which his son loved. Unfortunately, this is not a movie that he’ll be able to share with his son.

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I’m not saying that a PG-13 rating would make the movie a success, but an R will certainly keep it from being one. There are only 2 R-rated comic book movies that have been successful: Blade and Kick-Ass. Blade’s success has more to do with folks’ love of vampires (and then-love of Wesley Snipes) than the character of Blade. And Kick-Ass was just a fluke, as seen by the failure of its sequel. Even Spawn, a movie about a soldier for THE DEVIL, managed to get a PG-13 rating when it probably should’ve been an R to be “faithful” to the source material. Marvel really needs to rethink how they want to allow Deadpool to be used. He can’t be their Mickey Mouse AND their Terminator. I think this movie is a thematic misfire, but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Anyway, everyone was talking about the trailer Wednesday morning, and it sparked some of the best online discussions I’ve had. So, for all of that, the Deadpool trailer had the West Week Ever.

15th May2015

West Week Ever – 5/15/15 (Upfronts Edition)

by Will

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This is gonna be a long one, so strap in and get comfortable. Last year, I did daily posts about the network upfronts announcing their new shows and schedules. This year, we’re doing it all here. But first, some movie stuff.

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I really put Redbox to work over the past few days, catching up on some films I’d missed in theaters. First up was St. Vincent. Starring Bill Murray and Melissa McCarthy, it’s basically about the friendship formed between McCarthy’s son and Murray’s curmudgeonly character. It’s one of those films where Murray actually kinda acted instead of just playing himself. It’s a cute film, and I recommend it – even to those folks who tend to hate McCarthy. Don’t worry, as she doesn’t tumble over anything in this movie.

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Next up, I watched Chris Rock’s Top Five. At its core, it’s a Cinderella story. No, really. If you watch the film, you’ll know what I mean. Anyway, Rock plays Andre Allen, a comedic actor who’s at a point in his career where he wants to be taken seriously. He spends the day with reporter Rosario Dawson, as he does press to promote his new drama about a Haitian uprising. Over the course of the day, we find out about his drinking, his sham relationship with a reality star, and his fears about his own abilities. In terms of casting, it’s basically a modern-day Harlem Nights. You have never seen a collection of Black comedians of this caliber since that film. It’s a movie built on cameos, from Ben Vereen playing ANOTHER deadbeat dad to Seinfeld making it rain in a strip club. And there’s an AMAZING DMX cameo. Trust me. Anyway, I really liked this movie, and I’d definitely watch it again to see if there are any cameos that I missed.

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Finally, I watched Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance). For almost a year, I’ve been hearing about how great this movie was, and what a great job Michael Keaton did in the role. Now that I’ve seen it, I have to ask: did we watch the same movie? No me gusta! It was a little too artsy for me. Now, I have simple tastes, but I was a theatre kid so I got most of what was going on. It was the whole battle of “celebrity” vs “actor”, and Keaton’s character just wanted to leave behind a legacy outside of the fluff of the popular Birdman franchise. He was already a celebrity (something of a hasbeen), but he wanted to be taken seriously as an actor. I get that. But it was still kinda weird to me. Like, why did he have telekinesis? At times, it felt kinda Black Swan-y to me, but maybe that’s what they were going for. Part of my review isn’t even the movie’s fault; the first disc I got from Redbox was warped, so I was only able to watch 2/3 of the movie. I had to get a refund, get another disc, and give the movie another try before I was able to finish it. So, I didn’t feel the movie was good enough to warrant all that I had to go through to watch it. What did you all think of the film?

Now, for the upfront news. Let’s look at Fox’s offerings:

Grandfathered – Tuesdays at 8:00

I really like how this looks. It’s got a Raising Hope element to it, while everyone loves John Stamos. That said, he hasn’t had a ton of luck with his starring vehicles (Thieves, Jake In Progress). It kinda bothers me that it doesn’t have a lead-in, and is expected to kick off the night. More importantly, it’ll be going against The Muppets on ABC. I think those are different audiences, but I’d feel a lot better about it if it were placed after New Girl. The problem with that is that New Girl isn’t coming back until midseason because of Deschanel’s pregnancy. I really want this one to work.

The Grinder – Tuesdays 8:30

Who doesn’t love Rob Lowe? And Fred Savage is acting again! This looks very “Fox”, but I still like it. The potential problem is that it doesn’t have an established lead-in (Grandfathered), and it’ll be going against Fresh Off the Boat on ABC. FOTB experienced a ratings dive last season, so I honestly don’t see it as a threat. I just wonder how the freshman Fox comedies are going to do without help from established shows.

Minority Report – Mondays at 9:00

I never saw the movie, but I know the general gist: in the future, crimes are predicted before they’re committed. This is the kind of show that Fox LOVES to kill. They give it a chance and they kill it. It’s expensive sci fi, and the ratings are never high enough to warrant season 2 (see: Almost Human, Terra Nova). Fox should be given credit for giving these shows a chance, but instead they just have a rep for killing them. It’s got the plum post-Gotham timeslot (to the detriment of Sleepy Hollow, which moves to Thursday), but I don’t know if that’s going to be enough to save it. Speaking of Sleepy Hollow, Fox seems to love that White guy, Black female partner trope.

Rosewood – Wednesdays at 8:00

There’s quite a bit of an obsession with pathologists on TV lately. Pathologist obsessed with death becomes the go-to guy for the Miami police department. This feels a lot like Forever. It stars Morris Chestnut, so it helps the problem if the lack of primetime diversity. I’m just scared this might be 2015-2016’s Backstrom. I don’t think this one survives.

Lucifer – Midseason

I said this about Constantine, and I’ll say it again here: I don’t think the Bible Belt is ready to embrace a show about the Devil as the star. Not on network television. I don’t care how far we’ve come as a society. I don’t care if it’s a “smart” show. The same people who would like this show are the ones who hate The Big Bang Theory. You know who LOVES The Big Bang Theory? Middle America. It’s a midseason show, so I figure Fox is using that time to figure out just how to properly market it. NBC couldn’t call Constantine “Hellblazer”, likely for the same reasons. No matter what it was called, the show is now gone. I don’t think this one has a prayer (heh) either.

The Frankenstein Code – Midseason

Take everything I said about Minority Report, and multiply it times 2. This show will not last.

Bordertown – Midseason

Originally scheduled for the 2014-2015 television season, this show has been bumped to next season. And it STILL doesn’t have an airdate. Fox must have faith in it, since it’s executive produced by Seth MacFarlane, but it just doesn’t seem as good as his other shows. I also hate the animation style. I don’t like animation where you can’t tell if a character is supposed to be attractive or not (see Bob’s Burgers). Anyway, I say it gets one season (since animation has lead time), which will then end up being aired late Sunday night on Adult Swim (see Unsupervised).

Now for ABC’s shows

Dr. Ken – Fridays at 8:30

I like Ken Jeong, but this show isn’t exactly reinventing the sitcom wheel. Considering the edgier comedic films he’s done, I’m surprised that he went for such a cookie-cutter multi-cam family show. That said, it multiplies the Asian American representation in sitcoms by 100%, so it helps to diversify the shows on the air. I hate the Friday timeslot, as this ain’t TGIF. Last Man Standing isn’t that strong of a lead-in, so it won’t be of much help to this show. I just KNOW some executive recommended pairing this show with Fresh Off the Boat before someone shot him down.

The Muppets – Tuesdays at 8:00

I’ve never understood the Muppets, so I’m probably not the best one to cover this one. Sure, the Jason Segel movie did well, but the sequel did not. It seems like the success of the Muppets hinges on the presentation. This show is basically The Office with Muppets. I don’t really like what I see, but again, I’m not the target audience. It’s going against Fox’s Grandfathered, but I think they’ll have different audiences.

The Real O’Neals – Midseason

I really like what I see here. It’s like a better, single-cam almost-prequel to CBS’s cancelled The McCarthys. ABC only seems to really have two nights for comedy (Tuesday and Wednesday; I don’t really count Friday), so I’m not really sure where it would go at this point.

Uncle Buck – Midseason

This actually looks a lot better than I was expecting. We basically got the whole pilot in the trailer, but I would watch this. I could see ABC doing something like swapping it in for Black-ish for a few weeks, which would then result in an outcry that ABC refuses to have 2 Black shows on at once. Heh. Anyway, this might just work.

The Catch – Midseason

This looks good. It’s a Shonda Rhimes show, so I expect nothing less. I said I’d watch How To Get Away With Murder, and then I never got around to it. I’d say the same about this, but maybe I’ll just catch it on Netflix. This one’s a hit. Shonda can’t fail.

Of Kings and Prophets – Sundays at 10:00

STOP TRYING TO MAKE THE BIBLE “COOL”! This was clearly made in response to NBC’s A.D. The Bible Continues, only I’m pretty sure ABC probably thought that series was going to be more successful than it has been. Networks keep trying to make these shows because they want their own Game of Thrones. The problem is that you can’t make that show on a network television budget, with network standards and practices. You just end up with a neuter version, which no one wants. Fox learned this last season while making Hieroglyph, which they canceled before it even aired. This show will not succeed.

The Family – Midseason

I like this. A year ago, I probably wouldn’t have had a lot of faith in it, but ABC had a lot of success with Secrets & Lies, and this is in that vein. I can’t wait to watch this!

Quantico – Tuesdays at 10:00

ABC has had a problem with this timeslot for the past few seasons. Most recently occupied by Forever, it’s the hour where ABC dramas go to die. I like what I see, though. It’s basically 24 with a less experienced agent. It also helps that it’s led by a woman of color. It’ll be interesting to see what happens here.

Oil -Sundays at 9:00

Kinda cared more about this when it was called Dallas. ABC needs a soapy drama to replace Revenge, but that show never really did that well. Neither does Nashville. ABC wants to stay in the sudser game, but the numbers just aren’t there. Who knows, though? It might work.

Wicked City – Midseason

I don’t really even know what’s going on here. I don’t think it fully captures the 80s aesthetic for a “period piece”. I don’t see this one really getting off the ground.

I really only care about one thing on CBS:

Supergirl – Mondays at 8:00

Well, this has certainly gotten folks talking. From Greg Berlanti, who’s given us Arrow and The Flash, we get a show about Superman’s cousin, Kara Zor-El. First of all, why is it pronounced “CAHR-uh”? Anyway, I have a lot of issues with what I’ve seen in the trailer. Why does everyone know her identity? By the end of the trailer, everyone seems to know except her boss.

Also, I hate that they made her cousin such a big part of her identity. Why couldn’t they live in a world where there’s no Superman? The problem with this is the same problem I had with Birds of Prey: when you mention that someone bigger and more important exists, the audience is just waiting for him to appear. In BoP, we all wanted Batman on TV, and here we’re all going to want Superman. Now, Warner Bros had a show about Superman that ran for 10 years, yet he never really “showed up”. Why would they do anything differently here? Too much is predicated on making her cousin proud or “Your cousin sent you a gift”. Considering this show is supposed to take place in the “Berlantiverse” (has anyone coined that term yet?), I don’t like the idea that there’s a Superman out there in the same world as The Arrow. I liked that Arrow was kinda grounded, and this season sorta threw all of that out the window. I know there’s bigger threats and whatnot, but I wasn’t prepared to jump right to the House of El.

Anyway, I’m still not sure why this just didn’t get put on The CW. I mean, CBS owns half of that network, and it’s where the other Berlanti shows are. It’d make things more convenient for crossing over (which is something they’ve said they would like to eventually do) if they were on the same channel. If you’re not a show about the FBI or some other acronym, CBS doesn’t really know what to do with you. It’s also interesting that for the first time since 1949, CBS has no comedies on Monday night, instead giving a slot to Supergirl. And it’s going up against Gotham! If I had to choose between dark, nonsensical Gotham and bright, optimistic Supergirl, I know what I’ll be watching Monday nights.

As for NBC:

The Player – Thursdays at 10:00
I don’t even know what’s going on here. They bet on crime? Anyway, I don’t see this one making it, which is sad ’cause Wesley could use the money. They say that it’s by the executive producer of The Blacklist, but that’s not entirely a vote of confidence as that show’s been slowly dying since the move to Thursdays.

Blindspot – Mondays at 10:00

This trailer is just exhausting. It’s Memento with a hot chick. Again, this thing seems too steeped in its own mythology to be accessible. I don’t see a second season for it.

People Are Talking – Fridays at 8:30
I really want this to work, as I love Mark-Paul Gosselaar. Just like Fox makes expensive sci fi shows just to cancel them, NBC loves to make multicam sitcoms only to cancel them. It’s a miracle that Undateable is still around, really. And for some reason, they’ve decided to program Friday night with comedies like ABC. Maybe the DVR numbers will be decent? Anyway, it’ll be going against ABC’s Dr. Ken, which also has an uphill battle for that night and timeslot.

And of course, while I was writing this, the trailer dropped for The CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow:

I’m so behind on Arrow and The Flash that I don’t really feel qualified to have an opinion on it. I like what I see, but I need to catch up before I can get really excited, as I know some of the groundwork had been laid over the past few episodes. It’s The CW, which kinda has a low bar for success anyway, so this show will do just fine.


Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – Mondays at 8:00

This is the only other CW show I’m looking forward to. It was originally created for Showtime, but got picked up for network instead. This chick seems insane, and I’m curious to see how they get a whole series out of this premise. That said, it’s got an Asian American love interest – how often do you see that?! And it’s half musical? Yeah, I’m already there. Anyway, it airs the same time as Supergirl, so I’ll be DVRing it. Or maybe I’ll just lose interest, like I did with Jane The Virgin.

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Another week, another guest spot on The Mad Cast. I love talking Mad Men with Corey, and we discussed a pretty powerful episode this week. Give it a listen!

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-Fox announced that the next and 15th season of American Idol would be its last. And there was much rejoicing. Not from me, however. It may have slowed in recent years, but Idol gave us Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Clay Aiken, Fantasia Barrino, Adam Lambert, Chris Daughtry, Jennifer Hudson, and Scotty McCreary. The Voice, for all of its accolades and ratings, can’t say that about a single contestant. And I didn’t even list only winners. Being on Idol was enough exposure to launch a career. The Voice, however, has yet to create a household name. So, le roi est mort. Vive le roi!

-Contract negotiations broke down, so Harry Shearer is leaving The Simpsons. Last time that happened, they killed Maude Flanders. I doubt they’d kill Ned Flanders, Principal Skinner, Kent Brockman, and Mr. Burns, though, so I expect them to find replacement voices. The show’s been on for almost 30 years – it’s not like there aren’t other, cheaper folks who can do those voices now.

-Fox has greenlit a New Mutants film spinoff from the X-Men franchise. It’s to be directed by Josh Boone, who also did The Fault In Our Stars, so I expect it to have teen angst and all of that. I wonder if this is taking precedent over the X-Force film that was being discussed a few months back.

Legends of Tomorrow

-Caity Lotz will be playing The White Canary on DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. In the comics, that minor character was originally Asian, so brace yourself for the “whitewashing” thinkpieces…

-The trailer for Jem and The Holograms was released, and the internet went crazy – in a bad way. It doesn’t seem to be about a rocker who uses hologram technology to save the world. Instead, it’s about a shy singer who’s trying to find the motivation to make her voice be heard. Instead of “Jem is truly outrageous”, the tagline should be “Jem, like, can’t even!” Some people have said that the haters aren’t embracing new ideas, but there’s nothing “Jem” about this. Why use the name and the franchise if you’re not going to do anything with it? That’s like if G.I. Joe were about a dude named George Indicott Joe, a former soldier who’s now a plumber in Queens. It’s just a waste.

-In comic news, the identity of “She Thor” was revealed in this week’s Thor #8. I thought it was just gonna be Lady Sif or something. I was wrong. Here’s a hint, though: she was in the movies. My pal Kevin over at Team Hellions has the scoop!

Links I Loved

Ben Savage on Boy Meets World, Girl Meets World, and the Meaning of Life – Vulture

Figures of Empire: On the Impossibility of Superhero Diversity – Snoopy Jenkins

Ranking EVERY Villain of The Avengers Comics – The Robot’s Pajamas

What the Number of Action Figures You Own Says About You – UnderScoopFire

As you can see, there was a LOT of television news this week, and I didn’t even cover all of it. The week belonged to the networks as they rolled out their Fall schedules. There will be some winners and a LOT of losers, but it’ll be interesting to see how it all plays out. It may seem like a cop-out, but I feel like the major broadcast networks had the West Week Ever.

03rd Apr2015

West Week Ever – 4/3/15

by Will

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So, last weekend I finally got around to watching St. Elmo’s Fire. If you’re not familiar, it’s one of the Brat Pack films from the 80s, though it’s nowhere near as critically acclaimed as The Breakfast Club; I never realized that until I started reading old reviews after watching the movie. Anyway, if this movie were released today, it’d be called White Privilege. It’s the story of 7 college friends who graduate from Georgetown University and embark upon adulthood. The problem is that most of them suck at life, and aren’t very good at being “adults”. Emilio Estevez stalks Andie MacDowell, Rob Lowe sleeps with everything with a vagina, Judd Nelson cheats on his girlfriend in order to pressure her into marrying him (yeah, that plan makes no sense), Andrew McCarthy is obsessed with Judd Nelson’s girlfriend, Demi Moore sleeps with everything with a penis, Mare Winningham has NO self esteem, and Ally Sheedy is just there. I know it came out during the “Me Generation”, so I’m sure it spoke to a lot of people at the time. Looking back at it now, however, it’s just hard to like any of the characters. Living in the DC area, it was cool to see what Georgetown looked like 30 years ago. I also enjoyed seeing the Q107 sticker on the pay phone (Q107 was the predecessor of WRQX/Mix 107.3, which is now the struggling “DC’s 107.3”). From where I stand, the best thing about the film is David Foster’s “Love Theme”. Just listen to it:

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Next up, I watched the documentary POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold. From Super Size Me‘s Morgan Spurlock, the doc follows Spurlock as he tries to finance a movie completely from sponsored endorsements. Meanwhile, he delves into the practice of branding and how it affects our daily lives. For example, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo has outlawed all outdoor advertising, so there are no billboards, no bus ads, and no corporate graffiti. As a result, local businesses have to rely upon referrals and word of mouth in order to stay afloat, yet everyone feels that the move allows them to fully take in the world around them without being assaulted by ads. I liked Super Size Me, although I completely sided with Big Mac (Spurlock’s girlfriend, now ex-wife, was a vegan chef. He got sick because he simply wasn’t used to eating meat. It wasn’t all McDonalds’ fault. Plus, nobody should eat that shit THREE times a day. Even I know that, and I DO IT). Anyway, it was funny watching the man who singlehandedly destroyed the Super Size option go out into the world and try to court sponsors. I mean, everyone’s already seen what he did to McDonalds, so how could brands be sure that he’d portray them in a positive light? As interesting as the movie is, it’s still built on a weak premise. It’s not like he’s actually courting brands to help finance some sort of Hollywood blockbuster. No, he’s courting brands to sponsor the documentary that you’re already watching. That is the movie. It’s very meta. It was definitely an interesting documentary, but I think I expected more from it.

Jay Mohr

On the standup comedy front, I caught the Showtime special Jay Mohr: Happy. And A Lot. I’ve been fascinated by Jay Mohr ever since his stint as a featured player during the SNL dark years of the early 90s. I’ve even read his book, Gasping For Airtime: Two Years In The Trenches of Saturday Night Live. His body of work isn’t very memorable, but he did create Last Comic Standing, which has been pretty influential in the standup world for the past decade or so. Then, to cap it all off, he married Nikki Cox, who was quite the hot number in the late 90s. Anyway, I really enjoyed the special, which surprised me since my recent track record with standup specials hasn’t been so great. The material isn’t stellar, but some of it spoke to me. For example, he said that married couples don’t have to have shared interests, but rather need shared hates. Maybe my wife and I are terrible people, but that’s definitely true for us. Then, he capped off the special with a pretty killer Norm MacDonald impression. I’m not so sure I’d recommend it, but I enjoyed it.

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Ciara Renee has been cast as Hawkgirl in the CW Arrow/Flash spinoff, while Arthur Darvill has been cast as Rip Hunter. I don’t know either of those actors. I like what The CW’s doing with Arrow and The Flash, but I fear they’re about to dilute the brand by adding this 3rd show (possibly 4 if they keep Supergirl in-universe). As good as The Flash is, I feel like the quality of Arrow has slipped a bit, with the good stuff going over to the former. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m used to binge-watching Arrow instead of consuming it on a weekly basis, and I’m not so sure that’s working for me.

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Meanwhile in live action comic adaptations, an April Fools video with Ryan Reynolds claims that the Deadpool film will have an R-rating. Now, I’ve heard folks longing for this in the past, and I don’t quite understand it. Why does it need to be an R? I consider myself a Deadpool fan, but I don’t go way back to his origins. I’ve been a completist since his series started during Secret Invasion, and I’d read some Cable & Deadpool before that. In all of my Deadpool reading, I haven’t experienced anything that indicated a film adaptation would need an R-rating. The comic is not for mature readers, so it seems like it would translate more to a PG-13, with one “fuck” thrown in for good measure (that’s allowed in PG-13 movies).

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The speculation surrounding a reboot earned Full House the West Week Ever back in August. Well, it looks like we’re closer to getting Fuller House (that’s the name they’re using now) after all. Reportedly, the show is headed to Netflix, and will focus on the friendship between Candace Cameron Bure’s DJ Tanner and Andrea Barber’s Kimmy Gibbler. Considering how much Candace has gone on the evangelical offensive over the years, I wonder if that hurts the potential audience for this show. Anyway, score another one for Netflix. Right now, I’m sure Yahoo Screen is looking into rebooting Empty Nest.

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-It was reported that Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje has been cast as Killer Croc in DC’s Suicide Squad movie. I have no clue how to say that dude’s name. If I ever met him, I’d have to play the “What’s up, my brotha?” card. Anyway, that guy from Latino Review who loves scooping stuff reports that Suicide Squad will take place between Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice in the span of the DC Cinematic Universe. *Yawn*

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In the world of music, Jay-Z and his Illuminati friends announced the purchase of Tidal – a new streaming service that costs more than most other services because the artists want to make more money. There was a press conference and everything. It ended with them signing a document that you’d think was the Hip Hop Magna Carta or something. Anyway, the files are supposedly of a higher quality, but you won’t be able to tell the difference if you’re listening through headphones. Good luck with that, Hov!

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In the world of television, Weird Loners premiered on Fox Tuesday night. It feels like someone found some old Happy Endings scripts, but there were food stains all over the best jokes. Seriously, this show feels like it really wants to be HE, complete with the casting of Zachary Knighton, but the rest of the cast just isn’t that strong. Plus, I can’t get over how that one guy looks like Nick Swardson if he really let himself go. Anyway, I guess I shouldn’t expect too much from “The creator of The King of Queens, and the executive producer of New Girl.” What’s it about? Four people who are unlucky at love kinda band together as friends. Oh, and 3/4 of them are kinda assholes ’cause that’s how they make sitcoms now.

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Meanwhile, in the world of television, South African comedian Trevor Noah was announced as the new host of The Daily Show. And the people rejoiced…for about a day. Then, someone checked out his Twitter history and discovered that he’d said a bunch of off-color stuff. Ya know, like a comedian. You ever follow a professional comedian on Twitter? With the exception of very few, they’re all just throwing shit out there to see if it sticks. If it gets retweeted or favorited, excellent. A lot of them come off as insecure when they do this, and it’s not necessarily coming from some place of bravado. If anything, they’re tearing others down in order to feel good about themselves. Whatever. I’m not a licensed shrink. All I know is that Comedy Central decided they wanted to go the comedian route for the job, and they knew what they were getting themselves into. Comedy Central has already said that they stand by him, so I expect nothing to come from this. Plus, Stewart’s fans are gonna hate any replacement in the beginning, just because he’s not Stewart.

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This week also saw the premiere of the Comedy Central Roast of Justin Bieber. SNL‘s Pete Davidson was great (I had no clue his father was a firefighter who died on 9/11), but Martha Stewart was surprisingly brutal. My pal Chris Piers pointed out that there’s no way she wrote those jokes, but I just give her credit for saying them. The roast ended with a well-written, yet clearly staged, apology from Justin himself for his outrageous behavior. Even though it was somewhat canned, I felt like it showed a lot of maturity, and I’m eager to see where his path leads him. After all, Justin Timberlake was once just “that guy in that boyband”, and look at him now. I’m not saying Bieber is that multi-talented, but I’d really like us to get to a place where “Justin Bieber” isn’t an instant punchline anymore.

 

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I loved this article about the making of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. My favorite part is that they acknowledge that Raph has mental problems. I’ve always felt this, but had never seen it actually written anywhere. Seriously, if Raphael is your favorite turtle, I wonder about you…

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This week, I had the pleasure of joining Corey and Eclectik over on the UnderScoopFire Podcast. We discussed all of the pop culture stuff we’re looking forward to during the months of April through June, and it was a lot of fun. I was really starting to think that folks were tired of having me on their shows, so it felt really good to get back in the swing of things. Anyway, give it a listen!

Things You May Have Missed This Week

-Speaking of Turtles, Stephen Amell has been cast as Casey Jones in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2. Sure, movies trump TV, so this is good for his IMDB page, but it almost feels like a lateral promotion.

-Hugh Jackman announced that Wolverine 3 will most likely be his last appearance as Wolverine, after 17 years in the role.

-It was announced that season 6 will be Downton Abbey‘s final season. I still have seasons 4 and 5 on my DVR, so I’m not quite sure if I’m saddened or relieved by the information.

-In other news about shows I need to watch, House of Cards has been renewed for a fourth season on Netflix.

Gnardians of the Galaxy, the porn parody of Guardians of the Galaxy, released its trailer. Nope, I’m trying to be Safe For Work, here!

Cougar Town‘s series finale aired this week. One day, I’m gonna have to catch up on that show.

-Fresh off the cancellation of What Not to Wear, Clinton Kelly will be getting a new show on TLC where he and Real World: Brooklyn‘s Devin Symone will give social media makeovers to folks looking for love. Think of it like What Not To Catfish.

-This week on The Today Show, Darius Rucker said that Hootie and the Blowfish would reunite, but it was simply a matter of timing. Uh-huh. He’s gone Full Timberlake but doesn’t want to admit it. I’ll believe this reunion when I see it.

Wrestlemania 31 was this week. So that happened. Technically, I’m a WWE guy whenever The Undertaker is involved, but even I couldn’t get excited about his match against Bray Wyatt. Anyway, The Dead Man won, so I guess I’m happy. I tend to care more about the Hall of Fame ceremony than the actual event; I’ve got it on my DVR, but haven’t had the chance to watch it. So, look for my thoughts next week.

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I love Scientology. Let me rephrase that: I love all secret society-ish things, and Scientology happens to fall under this banner. Over the years, I’ve read and watched a LOT of stuff about the religion, and I continue to be fascinated by everything that I discover.

I can be a Judgy McJudgerson at times, but I try not to criticize anyone’s religion. At the end of the day, we’re all just trying to make it in this life, one day at a time. Some folks need some sort of coping mechanism to do this, while others don’t. Plus, and some folks won’t like this thought, but all religions have their farfetched aspects. Yup, even mine. We criticize Scientology because our parents are older than the religion, and the idea of Xenu and whatnot seems hokey as Hell. The funny thing about Xenu is that that information isn’t even available to Scientologists until they fork over the money to learn it. It’s not like that’s their pitch to the man on the street. No, for that they use e-meters to give you “stress tests”.

Anyway, based on my fascination with all things Scientology, I knew that I’d have to watch the documentary Going Clear, based on Lawrence Wright’s book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief.  It was SO GOOD! I was already familiar with the concept of Operating Thetans and the Sea Org, but the doc does a good job of explaining these things for the uninformed. Not only does it cover the celebrity aspect, like John Travolta and Tom Cruise, but it also documents the abuse and the living conditions suffered by the more common members of the religion. Tom Cruise may seem like an all-powerful supervillain, but that’s because he’s got money. If you or I joined Scientology, we’d be drafted into their space Navy on a billion year contract, doing menial labor and making about 40 cents a day. This is the side of Scientology that no one talks about.

I could understand the attraction to celebrities, but I’ve never quite understood why an average Joe would join up. For this, I’m not sure the documentary did the best job of explaining. I mean, it seems like a rich celebrity club, with tax-exempt status, but the celebrity aspect is so small compared to the men and women who raise their families in the religion. According to a 2008 study, about 25,000 Americans identified as Scientologists, and Tom and John are only two of them. Outside of the celebrity world, who are these people? What’s the draw? In the footage that they showed of the annual conference, there were Black people in attendance. How, pray tell, do you get a Black Scientologist?! The documentary focused on Hollywood members, like writer/director Paul Haggis, but I would’ve liked more info on “the little people”. I guess there’s only so much you can fit into two hours, so I’ll need to check out the book (Lindsay read it and highly recommends it).

If you have even a passing interest in Scientology, I really think you should give this documentary a shot. It’s worth it just for the story about how they “recruited” Tom Cruise’s new girlfriend. So, for being the most interesting thing I consumed this week, Going Clear had the West Week Ever.

10th Jul2014

West Week Ever – 7/11/14

by Will

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OK, it’s the question on everyone’s mind: Where’s LeBron going? Ha! I’m just kidding. We don’t care about sports around here!

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I know this isn’t up everyone’s alley, but I’ve spent the past week binge-watching The Cleveland Show. Before I get the MacFarlane haters, let me explain: I’ve been a longtime viewer of Family Guy and American Dad, but Cleveland flew under my radar. I’d heard a lot of people write it off as just “The Black Family Guy“, but I’ve come to realize that it’s so much more than that. At least in the beginning. If you skipped the series, here’s the premise: losing everything to his ex-wife in the divorce, Quahog resident Cleveland Brown packs up his stuff and his son and sets out for California so he can become a scout for the Dodgers. On the way, they stop through Cleveland’s hometown of Stoolbend, Virginia, where Cleveland runs into his high school sweetheart, Donna. After a whirlwind courtship, Cleveland decides to stay in Stoolbend, and he marries Donna.

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For the first season and a half, it’s a show that has a lot of heart, as it deals with the trials and tribulations of a blended family, in a way that Step By Step and The Brady Bunch never did. Donna has two kids of her own, who want nothing to do with Cleveland. So, Cleveland’s caught between trying to raise his own son (who he’s not sure is a genius or a moron), while trying to earn the respect of Donna’s children. For the first 1.5 seasons, it’s more of an animated sitcom than it is a “cartoon”. By that, I mean that it’s more akin to King of the Hill than it is Family Guy. With the exception of the talking bears, the rest of the show is pretty grounded in reality. Injuries that would kill a person actually kill them in the show, and the cutaways aren’t as out-of-left-field as they are on MacFarlane’s other 2 shows. I also didn’t realize that Cleveland had its own Lacey Chabert situation (Chabert played Meg Griffin on Family Guy before being replaced by Mila Kunis), as Nia Long voiced Donna’s daughter Roberta for the first 13 episodes and was then recast with Regan Gomez-Preston.

Anyway, it’s a pretty strong show…and then the second half of season 2 hits. Ratings weren’t where Fox wanted them, so the show was retooled to be, essentially, The Black Family Guy. Since that seemed to be the formula that worked, the cutaways became more fantastical, and the family dynamic took a backseat. It’s a really sad development, as the family aspect is what set it apart from the other 2 Fox Macfarlane shows. In Family Guy, they happen to be in a family, but there’s never really been a loving dynamic amongst the characters. The same is true for American Dad, especially once it becomes The Roger Show. Cleveland, however, had an 80s spinoff feel to it, with a similar conceit. Once it abandoned what made it special, it no longer really deserved to be a show. And after 4 seasons, it was quietly canceled by Fox. Cleveland and his family have since moved back to Quahog and rejoined Family Guy, but that just means they’ll be part of the Griffins’ craziness and we probably won’t get much focus on them again. That’s really a shame, as I had really come to appreciate the Brown-Tubbs family.

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After Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy announced their departure from The View, it seemed like it was time to stick a fork in the longtime talker. After all, Whoopi Goldberg was the only co-host left. Then, they went crawling back to Rosie O’Donnell. Right now, it’s looking like Rosie’s coming back, but she’s got a lot of demands. One of the biggest is that she refuses to work with any reality TV stars, which has thrown a wrench into the process of filling the other seats, as the producers had been looking at folks like Bethenny Frankel. I say cancel the thing and let The Talk fill that gap on television. I’m probably just saying that because I’m an Aisha Tyler fan…

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The DC TV Universe is getting bigger next season, as it’s been announced that Firestorm will be showing up on The Flash. Even more with keeping it in the family, he’s being played by Arrow star Stephen Amell’s cousin, Robbie. I grew up a little too late to really like the original Ronnie Raymond Firestorm, so part of me is like “Why couldn’t they go with the black Firestorm?’

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Speaking of The CW’s DC shows, Brandon Routh just experienced the worst pop culture demotion since Kirk was busted back down to Captain. It appears that the former big screen Superman will be showing up as the small screen’s The Atom on Arrow. A lot of people online seem excited about this, but I’m not one of them. Sure, he’s attractive, but I’ve never really liked his acting. He wasn’t the worst thing about Superman Returns, but he certainly wasn’t the best, either. It seems like Arrow can do no wrong, however, so maybe this will work out in the end.

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A little known fact is that Lindsay and I collected Hasbro’s Marvel Mighty Muggs. I finally thought we had a complete collection, and then they had to go and announce ROM. Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Space Knight, the ROM Mighty Mugg will be released at San Diego Comic-Con later this month, and will then be available on the Hasbro Toy Shop website. Ugh, I hate using that site, but it looks like I’m gonna have to do it if we’re to keep our collection complete.

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The primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced yesterday, and folks have been talking about some of the shocking snubs. For example, The Simpsons wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Animation Program for the first time in its existence. What surprised me, however, was that Regular Show was nominated in the Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program for what is one of its best episodes, “The Last Laserdisc Player”. It’s too awesome for me to even try to summarize here, so see if you can find it online somewhere.

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How I Met Your Dad just won’t die! Even though the pilot has officially been scrapped, the creators are now starting from scratch, trying to develop it in time for the 2015-2016 television season. Everyone’s been released from their contracts, so it’d be an all-new cast from the one in the pilot. I’ve said it before, but the HIMYM finale killed any interest I had in seeing this succeed.

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My buddies over at UnderScoopFire! commemorated their “100th” episode this week. Anyway, The gang’s almost all there, so be sure to head over and check it out.

-Eva Mendes/Ryan Gosling

Links I Loved

32 Things about Disney’s TRON on it’s 32nd anniversary [Classick Cinema] – Cold Slither Podcast

I Just Inherited More Vinyl Records Than I Know What To Do With. – ShezCrafti

What Movie Evokes the Most Passionate Response When You Tell People You’ve Never Seen it? – UnderScoopFire!

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This may be the most controversial West Week Ever winner since I’ve been doing this, but it had to be done. A lot of the “cool kids” will say they don’t like country music, and that’s fine. I’m not one of those people. Plus, country has changed so much in the past 5 years that it’s not anything like what you think country is when you make jokes about it. The current stars were raised on country and hip hop, so there are more modern influences on the genre. Plus, things like Big Smo and “Dirt Road Anthem” have helped meld the worlds of country and hip hop. Still, through all of this, there was one bastion of Old Country left. Sadly, he had retired in 2001 and decided to just do Vegas shows. That was until yesterday, when Garth Brooks announced that he had a new record deal, he was going on tour, and he would allow his catalog to be sold digitally. At a time when Country needed him most, Garth has answered the call. Will he fail? Will he succeed? Is there even a place for him in today’s country? That all remains to be seen, but this is still the return of the old guard to take back what was his. Sure, he had a misstep with the whole Chris Gaines thing (I really need to do a Track Star on that album), but he’s one of the most successful artists of the past 50 years, regardless 0f genre. So, for getting back on the horse one more time, Troyal Garth Brooks is having the West Week Ever.

 

27th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/27/14

by Will

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Last week, I finally got to see 22 Jump Street, and it was HILARIOUS. It’s the same exact movie as the first one, but it pokes fun at that fact. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the end credits show what the next sequels would look like in the franchise, like 23 Jump Street: Medical School and 41 Jump Street: Magic School. I want ALL of these sequels to happen!

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There’s been a lot of movement on the casting for the Netflix Daredevil series. While I was on my bye week, they announced that Rosario Dawson had been cast in an important role – believed by many to be Elektra. Yesterday, it was announced that Elden Henson had been cast as Matt Murdock’s friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson. Apparently he was in The Mighty Ducks, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen those movies that I don’t remember him.

The Flash

The pilot for The Flash leaked this week, and I had to watch it. Usually, I’d do a whole post on the thing, but I figure I’ll wait until everyone’s had a chance to see it. Barry has a Spider-Man quality to him, which makes me like him. It’s better than Smallville, and more engaging to me than Arrow. Nice Easter eggs (Ferris Air, Iron Heights, etc). It’s gonna be like Smallville/Misfits, though, where every villain of the week is gonna be a result of the same phenomenon that created him. I won’t say any more, so as not to give away spoilers, but I’ll just say that the final scene gave me chills. Oh, and I love Tom Cavanagh in everything, so there’s that.

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Speaking of TV, when does The Goldbergs get great? I mean, ABC’s been airing it twice every Wednesday, giving me a chance to catch up on the show that all my friends love. That said, I like it, but don’t love it. Does it hit its stride at some point? Is this it? I really want to love it, but something’s missing for me. Maybe I just don’t wanna revisit the 80s. Maybe it’s the fact that it won’t commit to a year, instead going with “1980-something”.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but someone redid the credits as if the show were an 80s action series.

I’d totally watch this show.

I never watched Wacky Races, but I did enjoy the “Fender Bender 500” shorts on Wake, Rattle, and Roll. This was a pretty cool commercial, giving us a live action Wacky Race.

I hate when a song paints a pretty clear story that’s completely ignored by the video. That’s the case with Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender”. In the song, a girl’s trying to get over her ex, so she needs a night out where all she does is drink and dance. It even goes as far to spell out what she’s wearing (favorite dress and sky high leather boots). The video does NONE of this. Instead, it has Kate Upton getting into a drinking contest with Arrested Development/Veep‘s Tony Hale. I guess it’s good for all you Kate Upton fans, but she’s dressed like a housewife.

I received my first check this week for work done for a comic company. That’s a pretty big milestone for me, and I kinda don’t wanna cash the check. Something like that should be framed! Anyway, I’ll talk more about it when I’m given the OK. It’s really nothing major, so don’t get too excited.

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Be sure to check out my review of Mattel’s DC Multiverse figures over at The Nerds of Color. I’m not really an action figure reviewer, and it shows, but I still had a few thoughts on the movie-inspired figures.

Links I Loved

Hey Squirrels, Electric Hatchback Cars, 80s Lovers and Cheap Piñatas – Can We Talk? – UnderScoopFire!

The Drive (and Despair) of The Rock: Dwayne Johnson on His Depression, Decision to Fire Agents and Paul Walker’s Death – The Hollywood Reporter

Mr. Serious Presents: A Love Letter to Batman ’89 – UnderScoopFire!

Looking Back at Batman: The Animated Series – The Nerds of Color

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So, this week saw the 25th anniversary of 1989’s Batman, which ushered in a new era of comic book movies. It also seemed to have a profound effect on the lives of geeks everywhere. In the past week, I’ve been on 2 separate podcasts about the impact that the movie had on pop culture, plus my pals over at The Nerds of Color have christened this “Bat Week” in honor of the anniversary. Since I’ve been on those podcasts, I really don’t have much more to say about the movie than what I said there. If you’re interested, check out the final episode of The Cold Slither Podcast, as well as the latest episode of Hard N.O.C. Life. In any case, for making us believe a man could dress up like a bat and fight crime, Batman had the West Week Ever.

20th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/20/14

by Will

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So, I took a week off. No one seemed to notice, so I guess you either had an awesome Friday OR nobody reads these things. Anyway, I was on vacation, and when I’m not at work, I don’t really know what’s going on in the world,. So, I took a breather. I hope you’ll forgive me :-p

 

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First up, the United States Patent Office canceled the Redskins trademark, seemingly in an attempt to get the team to change its name. Of course, there are folks excited about this, while there are others who don’t understand what the big deal is about the name. The way I see it, there are really only 2 opinions to have on the matter: you can admit that it’s racist OR you can just not care at all. I fall into the latter camp, as I’m not a sports guy, but I can also admit that it’s pretty racist. I know that folks don’t like change, and there’s the whole matter of “tradition”, but it’s a pretty negative name. I feel like everyone has their own limits of decency, and this just doesn’t set off any alarms for some people. I’m sure, however, there are names out there that would get people upset. I mean, what if the team were called the Washington Holocausts or the Washington Pontius Pilates? Oh, suddenly some folks are starting to get uncomfortable. Good. And don’t try to say “Those are different”, ’cause they really aren’t. I’m not really sure what the big deal is about changing the name, as it’s not like the Redskins have this record that would be tarnished by a name change. For the most part, they’re an expensive, yet shitty team. Hell, a name change might help them out. Take a page from comics, and reboot the whole damn franchise.

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In other controversial news, American Apparel ousted Dov Charney as its CEO and president due to sexual misconduct. If you’re not familiar with American Apparel, they make uber comfortable t-shirts, but charge, like, $30 each for them because they’re made with sweatshop-free labor. Oh, and most of their print ads look like scenes from snuff films. Most of the employees look like aspiring Suicide Girls, so Charney was like a kid in a candy store. He’s admitted to having sexual relations with employees in the past, but says that it was always consensual. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink, Dov!

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In tech news, Amazon unveiled the wholly unnecessary Fire Phone. Seriously, was anyone waiting for this thing? Sure, it’s got “3-D” capability and whatnot, but what bothers me is that it’s running a modified version of Android, with a curated list of apps. As someone who owns a Kindle Fire, the native apps kinda suck on that thing. Sure, it was essentially an Android tablet, but the apps were treated like a gated community and you couldn’t get a lot of the things that were popular on the Google Play Store.

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On the music front, I’m surprised I’m saying this, but I find I’m a big fan of country rapper Big Smo. I was first introduced to Smo on an episode of Bar Rescue, as he was helping Jon Taffer to fix up the local watering hole that had given him his start. I had never heard of him, and kinda thought he was a joke. Next, I heard he was getting his own reality show on A&E, showcasing his life as he’s just about to break out as a mainstream artist. I watched the premiere, and I actually enjoyed it. Still, I wasn’t exactly sure I was down with his music. I grew up listening to country, and though I like a lot of today’s music, it ain’t “country”. This is especially true of the latest craze in the genre: country rap. However, I ran out of podcasts to listen to this week, so I fired up Spotify and decided to listen to all the Big Smo they had. I’m now a fan. As I said on Twitter, his music sounds like the soundtrack to a Louisiana prison break. I just wonder where he’s gonna get airplay, as he’s too country for hip hop, but too hip hop for country. Here’s his single “Workin'”:

While we’re talking about country stuff, have any of you seen this new Auto Trader commercial with the Dukes of Hazzard? I refuse to believe that the Dukes own a smartphone or tablet. I refuse!

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I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favorite shows is Catfish, especially due to the live-tweeting experience that comes along with it. It seems to bring out the detective in everyone, and some enterprising sleuth has started this site which compiles the social media links of the various guests featured. Wondering what was so intriguing about Solana’s Instagram? Well, here ya go.  Remember Instagram fame whore Antoinette? Here she is. It’s that simple. It’s probably best to check the site after the episode, as it can spoil whether or not the Catfish is real, but it’s still a fun way to kill some time.

 

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Lifetime has announced that  it will be airing the TV movie The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story on September 1st. Here’s your first look at the cast. Though not based on Dustin Diamond’s Behind the Bell tell-all, it does promise to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the salacious activities of the castmates. I don’t watch Shameless or Degrassi, so I don’t know who any of these kids are, but they were cast by Saved By The Bell‘s original casting director, so there must be something to them.

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Marvel Comics released their solicitations for August, which included 15 books with $4.99 price tags. This, folks, is the beginning of the end. I don’t think the industry can survive $5 books, especially if they’re simple monthlies. Event books can do it, as they only occur for about 6 months out of the year, but $5 for the foreseeable future is just too much. If you’re doing $5 and above, you’ve got to sweeten the deal. I’ve grown to like the European model, where they sell compilations of recent issues for about $7-9, which is fine because you’re getting over 100 pages of story. 40 pages at $4.99, however, just ain’t worth it ($3.99 comics are usually 22 pages). Few people realize it, but there was a $9.99 issue of Deadpool just two months ago. It was a special issue, as Deadpool got married, but I still don’t think it needed to be $10. $7, maybe, but not $10.

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In local news, there’s a war brewing at my apartment complex between Comcast and Verizon. Up til recently, Comcast was our only option, but FIOS was installed over the past few weeks. Now, they’re both vying for our love. Yesterday morning, Comcast gave breakfast bags to everyone leaving the parking lot. Don’t get too excited – it was juice and a breakfast bar, but it was something. Tomorrow, they’re mounting an assault at the pool. Comcast is going to be giving out delicious, hate-filled Chick Fil A, while Verizon is going to be giving out Rita’s. I’m not quite sure how you can mobilize Rita’s, but I’m curious to find out. I plan to suckle at both of their teats, enjoying delicious chicken and custard. I can’t wait!

 

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This was a sad week for me, as it marked the end of the Cold Slither Podcast. Not too long ago, I hated the idea of podcasts. Thought they made no sense. Who knew I’d end up guesting on some?! Anyway, I think I hated podcasts because I thought they were some kind of NPR-ish attempt to talk about boring stuff. Then, I found UnderScoopFire! and Cold Slither about the same time, as we traveled in the same Twitter circles. I had a long commute to work, and since I was taking the Metro, radio wasn’t going to be an option. So, I decided to take the podcast plunge and downloaded their most recent eps on my phone. And I was HOOKED! Podcasts didn’t have to be about obscure indie records or sociopolitical climates of third-world nations. Here were some guys just like me, who happened to like the same stuff I liked. Over the course of the next few years, I had the pleasure of guesting on the show a few times, and I was always welcomed with open arms by Classick, Tim, and Eclectik. They really helped me out by allowing Will’s World of Wonder to sponsor their Slither Madness Tournament, and they were always gracious about providing plugs for my store and blog. All seemed right in the world of the slither and then they just disappeared. Classick went back to school, while Tim and Eclectik focused on their solo projects. It was like when your favorite band breaks up and the members go their separate ways. You have to respect the decision, but you always secretly hope that they’ll one day reunite. Well, the Cold Slither Reunion happened last Tuesday night, as they had a live Google Hangout to record what would be the final episode of the Cold Slither Podcast EVER. Once again, I was honored to take part, as we discussed 1989’s Batman. Mainly, I was just glad I got a chance to say goodbye. The Cold Slither Podcast will live on through its website, and more podcasts are expected to be brought under  the CSP umbrella, so I look forward to seeing what they have in store. Anyway, for giving me years of enjoyment, for giving my ventures tons of exposure, and for going out while still on top, the Cold Slither Podcast had the West Week Ever.

06th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/6/14

by Will

 

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So, I finally saw Ted. I guess to commemorate the release of A Million Ways To Die In The West, Ted was brought back to Redbox and I was able to snag it during one of my many trips to 7/11 last week. In all, I really enjoyed it. Someone described it to me as a “live action Family Guy“, and it did not disappoint. I especially loved the world in which it was set – where folks just accept this sentient bear, and that he’s such old news that they don’t even turn and stare at this point.

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I also watched the pilot for Tagteam on YouTube. I never would’ve known about this had the Nerd Lunch Podcast not mentioned it last week, so I thank them for that. If you’ve never heard of it, Tagteam was an ABC pilot from 1991 that aired the night before Super Bowl XXV. In it, Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper play pro wrestlers who find themselves banned for life from wrestling because they wouldn’t throw a match. Without any real skills, they struggle to figure out what to do next with their lives. After foiling an armed robbery at their local grocery store, they decide to join the police academy so they can keep taking down bad guys. On their first case, they’re assigned to guard a witness to a murder, but they end up suspended when their veteran partners are attacked and the witness gets away. In the end, the two use their wrestling skills to take down the hitmen and deliver the witness to the courthouse just in time for her to testify. Ya know, given the era in which it was made, it didn’t suck. I guess ABC just didn’t get the ratings they’d hoped for. It had that Glen A. Larson style of violence, where folks are shot at but not killed. To me, however, the most baffling aspect was that Ventura and Piper were going to be working the undercover unit, having been midcard tag-team wrestlers in their former career. Sure, the average guy on the street may not recognize them, but eventually someone’s gonna say “Hey, didn’t I see you wrestle at the Garden?” or whatever.

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On the Netflix front, I watched Women Who Kill, which is nothing like it sounds. It’s a standup special featuring female comedians. In all, there were four – Amy Schumer, Rachel Feinstein, Nikki Glaser, and Marina Franklin. If you know your comedy, you’re probably asking “who?” to that last one. As the only black woman on the special, Marina’s not as well known as her white contemporaries, which is a crime because she is hilarious. Amy has her own show, Rachel is a co-host of Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, Nikki was a co-host of Nikki and Sara Live!, but Marina’s biggest credit is Best Week Ever back in ’04. It just goes to show the divide in opportunities in comedy. Give Marina some work!

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I’ve got more DVDs than I’ll ever watch in my lifetime, but I’m trying to make a dent in them. Since they’re short, I decided to watch a few of the DC animated movies. First up, I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood. The problem with these things is that they try to tell 6 month story arcs in 77 minute cartoons. Sure, a lot of those comics are decompressed, but the DVDs tend to tackle pretty major storylines that need a chance to “breathe”, so to speak. It’s been so long since I read the actual Red Hood story that I couldn’t tell you if it was accurate or not. The major beats were there, with Ra’s Al Ghul, etc, but it still felt rushed. My favorite part of the DVD, actually, was the Jonah Hex DC Short that was included on it. I think it’s because if you pay close attention, you’ll see and hear a cowboy motorboat a prostitute in the background.

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Next up, I watched Batman: Year One. Again, it’s been so long since I read the story that I don’t know how accurate it was, but it was an entertaining watch. It’s basically Jim Gordon’s story, and I didn’t even realize it he was voiced by Bryan Cranston until I saw the credits. My problem with the movie is the same problem I have with the comic: WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES JR?!!! Sure, the comic has recently tried to reintegrate him into continuity, but they made him psychotic and didn’t do a great job explaining where he’d been. I mean, this seminal storyline introduces the fact that Gordon has a kid, and then the next 25 years are spent ignoring that kid and focusing on Gordon’s niece/daughter, Barbara.

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It was a big week for director news, as Marvel announced that Dr. Strange will be directed by Scott Derrickson. Derrickson’s mainly a horror director, and I’m not a horror guy, so I’ve seen nothing that he’s done. Next up, Josh Trank has been announced as the director of the first standalone Star Wars spinoff. Again, I haven’t seen Chronicle, but I’m looking forward to his Fantastic Four reboot, so I’m not all that familiar with his work. Meanwhile, the hunt is still on for a replacement for Edgar Wright on Ant-Man.

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I’ve come to realize that Jamie Lynn is the more talented sister in the Spears family. Sure, everyone knows Britney, but a lot don’t realize she has a younger sister, Jamie Lynn, who rose to fame as the star of Nick’s Zoey 101. That all came to an abrupt end when Jamie Lynn got pregnant at the age of 16. Now 23, she’s embarking on a country career with the release of her first EP, The Journey. And if you like country music, it’s really good. Vocally, she’s an actual, talented singer, unlike Britney who does that whole breathless moan thing. Anyway, here’s her first single, “How Could I Want More?”

A Guy Love Reunion!

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes Revisits ‘U Can’t Touch This,’ ‘Poison,’ and Other 1990 Jams – Vulture

Mr. Serious Presents: Power-Ranking this Season’s 5 Freshman Comedies that Got Renewed – UnderScoopFire!

Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness – Box Office Insider

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Nerd Thoughts! – The Robot’s Pajamas

America’s Best News Channel Is Owned by Arabs – Huff Post Media

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This week, I did things a little differently. Ya see, nothing really stood out to me as having had THE West Week Ever, so I opened it up to votes on Twitter. Based on the suggestions I got, I was amazed by how different all of our tastes are. Orange is the New Black is coming back, but I’ve never seen it, so it doesn’t hold a ton of meaning for me. Sure, Reading Rainbow had a pretty incredible Kickstarter campaign last week, but ol’ literate Kunta Kinte doesn’t do much for me. Speaking of Kickstarter, a couple of smaller boutique toy companies also had a good week promoting their respective toy lines, but I knew next to nothing about them. Someone even mentioned Mario Kart 8, but I still haven’t played the GameCube version that I’ve been sitting on for years. Finally, @crookedninja recommended Ghostbusters. Eureka! I LOVE the Ghostbusters franchise! This week has seen an explosion of Ghostbusters-related news to mark the 30th anniversary of the franchise. First, the LEGO CUUSOO Ecto-1 set was finally released at retail, allowing fans the chance to build the famous car. Next, it was announced that the original film will be getting a theatrical re-release on August 29th, to be followed by a blu-Ray release on September 16th. Ghostbusters has often been called the perfect movie, but I’ve always been more of a fan of what the movie led to, i.e. toys and cartoons. I still have my Ghostbusters firehouse and proton pack, and I was a HUGE fan of The Real Ghostbusters. I’m actually kind of ashamed that I didn’t think of it myself, as the Ghostbusters franchise has truly had a banner week. So, for tugging on the nostalgia heartstrings, and for being all around awesome, Ghostbusters is having the West Week Ever.

27th Jun2013

Ladies & Gentlemen…

by Will

…Mr. Conway Twitty

Come back tomorrow for:

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03rd May2013

West Week Ever – 5/3/13

by Will
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Who had the West Week Ever? Read on to find out!

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So, I saw Iron Man 3 last night. No spoilers here, but I enjoyed it. I realized something about the franchise as a whole: I never thought I’d say this, but I prefer Terence Howard’s Rhodey to Don Cheadle’s. Even though their relationship ebbs and flows, Tony and Rhodey aren’t the buddy cop movie that they are in the Cheadle movies. Cheadle’s kind of a simp (check urban dictionary if you don’t know what that means). Give him a suit, and he’s happy. Howard, however, gave a little more push-back, more resistance with Tony, which is more inline with the character. Plus, Howard felt more like a military man, while Cheadle feels like an off duty cop. You don’t get the same sense of decorum from him, and he’s out of his uniform more than he’s in it. Howard recently said that Cheadle was always the first choice, and that his agent had gotten him the role. That’s why he wasn’t too upset when he was recast. Still, I have to think the casting director thought they’d be getting House of Lies Don Cheadle, when they instead got Golden Palace Don Cheadle. Other than that, I’ve got no major fanboy quibbles with the film. We’ll discuss more once everyone’s seen it.

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Speaking of comic book movies, Justin Aclin wrote a great post about colorblind casting in superhero movies. If you didn’t know, a rumor surfaced this week that black actor Michael B. Jordan is being courted to play Johnny Storm in the Fantastic Four reboot. Just like with the Donald Glover/Amazing Spider-Man controversy, there’s a bunch of “Why are you making him black? He’s white! I’m not racist for saying that! He’s always been white!” Well, maybe that’s why the franchise doesn’t work. I actually liked the last two Fantastic Four movies because A) I didn’t expect much and B) they were comic accurate, as they were just as boring as the books. I swear, I don’t care how you try to jazz them up, the Fantastic Four concept is boring as fuck. They’re sold as “Marvel’s First Family”, but they’re only interesting when they’re dysfunctional. My very first issue was when Sue redesigned her costume to make it more revealing so that Reed would notice her. Here she was, the MILF of the Marvel Universe, and her husband didn’t even pay attention to her.  That was interesting. Instead, they do a bunch of boring shit now. Maybe it’s the state of the world, or I’m a huge cynic, but I’d probably enjoy it more if they were constantly in need of family counseling with Doc Samson or something. The boring, white, milquetoast family just doesn’t interest anyone anymore. So I say make him black. Stir the pot a little. Hell, cast Jaden Smith if ya want. And make Reed Richards from India. Not all smart guys are white, and comedian Russell Peters taught us you can have an Indian dude with a Western name.

The greatest trick the devil ever played was convincing us that Coolio was ever a “gangsta”.

On a related note, who the fuck is L.V., and whatever happened to him? Oh, he was shot? I guess he was the gangsta referenced in the song!

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This will only interest local folks, but it’s worth discussing. Last Saturday, after 24 years on the air, local DJ Jack Diamond was canned from his morning show. This is a big deal, as he was an institution around here. He had the show for 24 years! Hell, most radio stations flip formats after 4. I discovered him just as I was catching up to contemporary music.

A lot of people know this, but I listened to country from birth til about the age of 10. I got out just before Garth Brooks, which is why I don’t get the hype, nor do I chime in with all the drunks when they start singing “Friends In Low Places”. At this point in time, it may be hard to believe, but there was no real “pop”. Sure, there was NKOTB, but most of that stuff played on stations we’d now label “adult contemporary” (a post for another time, but “pop” didn’t really make a comeback until around ’95). I used to carpool with a teacher at school, and she’d listen to Jack Diamond’s show. Jack’s sidekicks were Barbara Britt and Bert. The inside joke of the show was that they only had “7 beloved listeners”. They had normal morning show banter, but it was safe for kids, and there were no cheater scams or sex tales. I loved it so much that I went home and changed my radio’s dial to Jack’s station. I used to sleep with the radio on, so I got used to Don Henley and Wilson Philips singing me to sleep and waking me up. Eventually, “pop” would make its triumphant return, and I’d move to stations that played that music. I left Jack Diamond behind, and eventually Barbara and Bert left, too. Jack got new sidekicks and kept chugging along. Over the past year, I’d heard rumblings about contract disputes, but never thought it was serious. Meanwhile, the story got Shakespearean. You see, Bert spent the last 10 yrs or so building his name in Atlanta – basically becoming as big a star there as Jack is here. So, imagine everyone’s shock last Saturday when it was announced that not only was Jack fired, but Bert would be taking over his show. The student becomes the master. Anyway, I wish Jack well. I’d heard he was kind of a dick, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from a local celebrity. I’m sure he’ll land on his feet somewhere, but it’s a sad day for DC radio.

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Last weekend, I had to go to Ocean City for some mega birthday weekend for some of Lindsay’s friends. On Saturday, we went out to dinner, but as we pulled into the parking lot, we noticed what appeared to be a young couple putting their child in their trunk. Immediately, I knew the dad was a douche because he was wearing salmon pants. For you folks “secure in your masculinity”, that means “pink”. The girls were in a hurry to drink, so we didn’t linger. Once inside, we tried to verify amongst ourselves that we had all seen what we thought we had seen. The couple came in, and dude was drunk as shit. Oh yeah – there was no kid with them. So, we start wondering “Did they put the kid in the trunk so they could keep drinking?” Pink Pants was shitfaced, and his wife just had a doting headshake about her, kinda like a 50s sitcom mom. PP started talking to the folks in our group, but no one would ask about the kid. I really wanted to know, ’cause he might be running out of air. I forgot to mention that we all work for schools, so, technically, we’ve got to report this kind of thing to CPS. The problem is that we had NO PROOF. Eventually, someone asked him and he got really pissed. He said something like, “Yeah, I shoved him down in there”, and we couldn’t tell if he was joking or not. At this point, I decided to take a cue from Spider-Man: “Sorry, man. Not my problem.” Of course, this means Pink Pants would later kill my uncle. Eventually, a girl in their group screamed, “You’re an embarrassment!” at PP. They left soon afterwards. Once they were gone, I said a quiet prayer: “Everyone has a moment to be a hero, and I chose to ignore mine. I treated it like a bus, figuring another would come along. Anyway, RIP Trunk Kid.” Later that night, we saw the couple pull up to Seacrets in a cab. Still, no kid with them. So, either they left him with the grandparents, or they simply got tired of the smell…

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Did I go too far there? Good, ’cause I needed to brace you for another controversial thought. This will probably keep me from ever running for public office, but here it goes. Dear homeless women: YOU’RE DOING IT WRONG! I staunchly believe that there should be no such thing as a homeless woman. Due to sexual politics, no woman should ever find herself out on the streets for a prolonged period of time. Why is that? Well, I’m glad you asked. The world is FULL of quiet, soft-spoken, possibly ugly, lonely men. These aren’t the guys who are trolling bars for minge. No, these are the guys who lived with their mother until she died, and now they don’t know what to do with themselves. They’re used to being taken care of, but don’t really know how to fill that void. If I were a woman who was either homeless, or felt an onset of homelessness on the way, I would seek out these men, and I’d be just fine. Some of you are probably saying, “But you’d be using him, and that’s not cool.” We’d actually be using each other. I would cook for him and do whatever else, and we would take care of each other’s needs. “But you wouldn’t love him!” Let’s be mature about this. The western concept of love is some Hollywood bullshit. Everyone wants that story of “I was in the supermarket, and we both reached for the same cantaloupe!” That’s sweet, but what I’m describing is not much different from an arranged marriage. I feel like two things might happen: A) you’d actually be into him instantly OR B) you’d learn to love him. I’m not saying you have to be in love with him, but you’d still come to respect him for what he had done in your life. Sex isn’t everything. Hell, if I had to bang an old man every couple of weeks, instead of fending off rapists and getting a meth addiction on the streets, I say, “Saddle up, grandpa!” The man put a roof over your head, let you drive his car, and kept you safe. You would fucking learn to love and appreciate him. Believe that!

Links I Loved
c2e2 2013 Round Up! (The Robot’s Pajamas)

Team Hellions UnderScoopFire! Takeover (Team Hellions/UnderScoopFire!)

(Aunt) May Day (Cold Slither Podcast)

Reunited with an Uncanny piece of my past… (Branded In The 80s)

This Week’s Posts
Monday Musings – Mutation Inconsistencies in the 80s TMNT Universe

Thrift Justice – That Figures

And be sure to check out Will’s World of Wonder for all your action figure and collectible needs!

One of them is old-timey “happy” to be playing basketball, while another just lost his morning job. One just sold her staged “sex tape” to Vivid for $1M, while the other is Iron Man. But only one could have the West Week Ever.

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You know who he is. He’s Iron Man! In the words of Stan “The Man” Lee, “Nuff Said!” This is why Robert Downey Jr/Tony Stark had the West Week Ever.

12th Apr2013

West Week Ever – 4/12/13

by Will
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Who had the West Week Ever? KEEP READING!

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We took a week off, but we’re back! Why am I saying “we”? I’m the only one here… Anyway, it’s been an interesting week online, to say the least.

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Anyone remember back when The Craft came out, and every white girl you knew decided she wanted to be a witch? This was right before her “Lesbian, For The Attention” phase. I’ve been thinking about college lately, as I’m avoiding committing to my 10 year reunion. One thing I laugh about every time I think about it is the time my friend Ted and I got two girls to kiss. Not just a peck, but full on making out. They were SUCH attention whores, and I was such a douche. Anyway, I said, and I quote, “No one will ever take this away from us!” How sad was it that I considered that to be a high point in life? Now I think about it and just laugh and laugh. At myself.

My pal Jon over at Double Dumbass On You sent me this clip last night:

I have so many issues! First off, this kid’s belly button makes me retch. I’m sorry for any of you guys with outies, but it looks like a tumor or something. I’m also really curious about the cultural distinctions in the video: only the “white bitches” (that’s not derogatory – that’s their music video rank) actually pop their booties near the kid. The black girls keep their distance, probably because he’s their cousin or something. And how hard up for meth do you have to be to perform in such a thing? Take a look at that one chick – sure, she’s poppin’ her cheeks, but it looks like no one told her she’d need waterproof mascara. And what’s with that other chick?! SHE AIN’T GOT NO BOOTY TO POP! Did she win a contest or something? Or was this community service? Was she being held hostage?

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He’s the biggest boss that was fired this week: Rick Ross lost his Reebok deal after rapping about rape. Not sure why you’d have a fat guy promoting your athletic shoe, but whatever. America. So, with this precedent, I bet we’re gonna take a whole bunch of other shit off the shelves and out of the iTunes store, right? RIGHT? Oh, this was just an isolated incident? Even though hip hop’s been saying fucked up shit forever? Oh, OK. I’d get some heat for this if I actually had a sizable black readership, but I’m constantly amazed by the shit Black America gets mad about. No, I’m not justifying rape or rape culture. I just don’t get how hip hop culture chooses its battles. I mean, how does Rick Ross even still have fans to be angry? Everybody makes fun of his weight, everyone makes fun of his titties, everyone makes fun of his dislike for wearing shirts. Hell, everyone mocked him when it came out that he was a fraud and former prison guard. There were MANY chances to get off that train, and folks stayed on. What he said was wrong, but he’s targeted because America’s on High Rape Alert in the media. Once the focus shifts over to gun control, the entire hip hop community better be scared. Oh, They don’t rap about guns and getting shot anymore? Fuck, what is hip hop about these days? Oh, right – they rap about going to Cuba.

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OK, I need some help with this one. I’m not exactly loved in the G.I. Joe circles of the internet, for whatever reason, but I need someone to clear something up for me. You see, my love of G.I. Joe came from my older cousin, Oliver. He lived in New York, and was about 6 years older than me. I eventually inherited his Joe collection once he discovered girls, but I have a very distinct memory that I can’t back up. One year, in the mid 80s (I know it was mid, as this was the ONLY time I’d ever seen Knight Rider toys at retail), his family came down to visit and we all went to Toys “R” Us. He got one of the most recent Joes, as I couldn’t wait for him to open it so that I could play with it. Here’s where it gets weird: I remember him taking something out of the pack, and pop it in his mouth. Originally, I thought it was a backpack, but it was an odd purple color at a time when G.I. Joe hadn’t journeyed too far from actual military colors. I remember going, “Ew, why did you put that in your mouth?!” and he told me that it was candy and began to chomp away. Now, since then, I have noticed many different G.I. Joe pack-ins, from body transfers to standard mail-in pamphlets, but I’ve found no reference of a candy promo. I always thought it was a Bonkers chew, but I can’t any proof of such a pack-in. So, was he just fucking with me OR was there actually a candy pack-in for G.I. Joes back in the 80s? Help me, Internet!

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While I’m help from the Internet, I’ve got another question: do any of you have music in your iTunes that you’ve never heard? Here’s my dilemma: I am a music HOARDER. I’ve forgotten all the stuff I have, but I feel like I have to give everything a “once through” before it gets synced to my iPod. That way, I can weed out tracks I don’t like and save some space. At least, that was the original intent, when I still had a 30 GB iPod. About a year and a half ago, my wife got me the 160 GB iPod where space isn’t an issue. But I’ve never taken it out of the box. Why? Well, I got a new computer during that time, and all my music is scattered across multiple external hard drives. Every time I have an extended break, my plan is to finally get everything on the new iPod, but it never happens. A bigger problem is that my music comes from the back alleys of the internet, so I have to clean up tags and album art; it’s the OCD in me. So, I’ve probably got as many gigs of music I’ve never heard as I have of music that’s already been vetted. So, do I suck it up, throw everything on the iPod and discover the songs that way, or do I continue on my “preview” path, which just prolongs my getting the iPod set up? Anyone else deal with this? Thoughts?

My posts this week have been all over the place, so we can’t go with the usual list format. First off, I threw together the rare Sunday post in order to submit my uber popular submission for the League of Extraordinary Bloggers’ weekly topic. Then, I felt guilty for missing last week’s West Week Ever, so I pseudo made up for it on Monday with The Week That Wasn’t. Then, I brought back Thrift Justice Road Trip to talk about the antique mall that I explored with @LamarRevenger. Finally, I was welcomed to pen a guest post over at The Cold Slither Podcast’s site to commemorate the start of the Masters Golf Tournament. So, be sure to check out all of those links!

Speaking of Lamar, I’d like to congratulate him for his winning prediction in the Cold Slither Podcast’s Slither Madness Tournament! It couldn’t have happened to a greater dude, and he’ll be receiving something from Will’s World of Wonder. Be sure to check out the site yourself, as I’m sure I’ve got something you’d love to add to your collection! Why catch waves or fill yourself with rage when I’ve done the legwork for you?

One set race relations back to House of Buggin’ levels, while one set off the boners of fanboys everywhere. One punked everyone with a tweet, while the other is the world’s most famous Kim Jong-Il impersonator. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever!

PsyFeature

Sorry, America, but it’s my site. I could’ve gone with LL and Brad, but they released a newer song by week’s end. I couldn’t give a shit about Carrie Kelley, and I REALLY don’t care about Morris Chestnut. So, that leaves us with Psy. This week, he released “Gentleman”, which everyone expects to replace Gangnam Style. It won’t, but people can still dream. Apparently, there’s a dance with it, but the video isn’t out yet. Anyway, it’s got a good beat, and the man shouts “Westside!” More appropriately, he correctly shouts it as “West SaYEED!” Get this man a Green Card! You can listen below, but for this, Psy had the West Week Ever

UPDATE: The video has arrived! If only I’d waited 24 hours…

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