12th Aug2008

Saved By The Bell Sick Day & Lil Wayne’s Virgin Fest Failure

by Will

“All of my friends have a ring on their finger, they have someone”

It’s been awhile, and I don’t even know where to begin. I’m actually sick right now, and had a kickass day off work. Well, that is, if “kickass” translates into “felt like I was going to boot for a 24-hr period”. Plus, I’m guessing the abundance of Clyde’s rum & cokes last night didn’t help matters, either.

Anyway, it was a GREAT day for daytime television. First off, I got to watch 2 of my favorite Saved By The Bell sagas, back-to-back. Things started off with the 2-parter where Jessie’s old-ass dad was gonna marry the aerobics instructor and Jessie wasn’t havin’ it! You know, there weren’t a lot of episodes focusing on Ms. Spano, but whenever she got center stage, it was always a doozy. She was a diabolical beeyotch in those episodes. Plus, if her dad owns that resort, she must be LOADED – which, btw, conflicts with the story we were told back in season 1, about her parents being hippy protestors. I mean, her dad is clearly suckling on the big, sweet teat of capitalism now. That was followed up by the “Sorry You’re Homeless at Christmas” saga. Yes, the show does establish Zack as quite the poonhound, but I will never see what he saw in that homeless girl. Sure, she was sweet, but wasn’t that the point? “Homeless girl with the heart of gold”? Zack’s never cared about golden hearts unless he could sell them. The older I get, the more smarmy Zack’s tactics appear. I’ve said it before, but I think if The College Years had made it to a second season, we might’ve seen a very special episode with a date rape charge.

Next, I watched an all-day marathon of the short lived UPN show, Jake 2.0. Damn, was that a good show! Long story short, it’s The Six Million Dollar Man meets Chuck. Anyway, thanks to the show, my new celebrity crush is Keegan Connor Tracy. Go ahead and Google her, I’ll wait.

Then, I watched an entertaining episode of Gunsmoke, complete with William Katt playing a criminal, and a young Nick Nolte as a dead sheriff’s deputy. Say what you will about modern entertainment, but TV was awfully violent back then.

Then, I was surprised to stumble across Love, Actually, which is one of my favorite movies of all time (I love you, Martine McCutcheon!). Plus, this was followed up by A Goofy Movie, another of my favorite movies of all time (I love you, voice of Jenna Von Oy, attached to the sweet ass of Jenna Von Oy!). All this was capped off by a fresh episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, and my regularly scheduled Tuesday night onslaught of Whose Wedding Is It Anyway? If not for the fact that I felt like shit, it would’ve been a great day.

Let me just say that I don’t give a flying shit about professional sports, but I have loved every minute of the Brett Favre saga. You see, ever since There’s Something About Mary, Brett has belonged to pop culture. I don’t think I’d ever visited ESPN.com in my life, but it was a regular fixture on the BlackBerry over the past month. It might be worth me actually paying attention to football this season, just to see how this all plays out on the field.

So, I also went to Virgin Mobile Fest again over the weekend. Not as action-packed as last year. Foo Fighters were clearly the best act of Saturday, while I think Kanye took the title on Sunday. Kanye’s still dealing with the death of his mom, so he just starts freestyling and going on these rants, but you know they’re coming from someplace deep inside. You wonder if he’s having a breakdown right in front of you, but it’s a powerful form of “group therapy”. I LOVED Chromeo, and everyone should buy their album, Fancy Footwork. That’s right, I said BUY. Can’t get “Momma’s Boy” out of my head. The most… interesting performance, however, had to have been Lil’ Wayne.

So, Weezy F. Baby comes out on stage 45 mins late. By this point, the majority of the crowd has already begun to boo the stage. His posse comes out for about 10 mins, and they just strut around to a pre-recorded track. When he finally comes out, Weezy decides to get religious on us. He tells us that, first, he believes in God. He then, for some reason, asks the crowd if they do, as well, which is met with a pretty resounding “no”. Not sure if it was because they’re pissed at him, or if the Virgin Mobile Fest is simply the largest atheist music festival since John Lincoln’s “Jesus Ain’t In My Guitar” Tour of 1987. * Anyway, he goes into all his hits, plus he runs through all the guest verses he’d done on other people’s albums, which was a bit weird. You’d hear the music start for “Put On”, Weezy’d sing his verse, and then he’d move on to the next song. Then, he really kicks us in the collective balls: he surprises us with Kanye coming out (5 hrs before his own set) so they can do the Lollipop Rmx. Kanye gets through his verse, and when it’s Weezy’s turn, he gets 3 words into it, stops, and says, “Aw, man. I don’t even know that verse noway!” And he’s done. He doesn’t start back up. He doesn’t try to finish up by switching to the album version. No, he’s done. He proceeded to tell us hw much he loved us, which kicked off Whitney’s “I Will Always Love You”, and he ran around the stage. Then, they covered him in a red, terrycloth robe and he left the stage. I shit you not…

Energy levels fading fast. Well, that’s all I’ve got until next time. Oh, and I hate the New Facebook. Just sayin’…

*Don’t Google it – I made that shit up.

30th Jan2008

My Chat With William Katt and Star Trek Musings

by Will

“Live every week like it’s Shark Week!”

OK, I’m working on a LONG post right now, so this is gonna be a shorter one.

-So, a childhood dream of mine kind of came true today: I got a phone call from The Greatest American Hero! You know, “Believe it or not, I’m walking on air…”. Yeah. William Katt, star of the 80’s hit. He’s working on a top secret project, but he’d been in touch with one of my teammates at work.

I know I’ve written about this before, but that was probably the only show we watched as a family before my dad died. So, I’ve got memories. Anyway, my teammate told William about me and my fanboyness, so he actually gave me a call. I feel so bad because I was having a bad day and totally answered the phone like an a-hole. When he identified himself, I couldn’t believe it. The dude was awesome. I went all fanboy-stupid and couldn’t really tell you all the stuff that fell out of my mouth. I remember telling him that I was Pippin in high school and that I based my interpretation on video of his Broadway run as the character. Anyway, he was such a nice and gracious guy, and he even gave me his cell. Told me to let him know if I ever needed anything and that he’d be swinging through town on the promo circuit and he’d loved to meet with me. I was floored! One down, only Hasselhoff, Adam West, Stan Lee, John Schneider, and Tom Wopat to go!

-Everyone likes to think of Star Trek‘s Uhura as some kind of pioneer in breaking television’s color barrier. In a way, that’s true. On the other hand, she really wasn’t that important of a character. Sure, they call her the ship’s “communications officer”, but she was really just an operator. She worked the switchboards. So, if anything, Uhura started a longstanding tradition of Black women working at the phone company. Next time your bill payment isn’t registered, or you have to log a service complaint, thank Uhura for your fifteen-minute wait time. In the meantime, enjoy that Muzak!

-Speaking of Star Trek, the trailer for the new movie has got me having a Trekkie relapse. I’ve kept it buried inside since the end of DS9, but I’m feelin’ a resurgence. Sadly, I even find myself liking Enterprise. ENTERPRISE! The Scott Bakula thing that wouldn’t even acknowledge it was a Star Trek show until its third season! Anyway, like the critics used to say, it really is a much sexier show than any of the other spin-offs. Plus, I like when my Starfleet officers curse. You’d never hear Jean-Luc or Will Riker yell, “Well, son of a bitch!” You’ll hear that on Jonathan Archer’s ship. Plus, every woman in the Mirror Universe wears a halter top. It’s the little things in life…

-I have a crazy crush on Jane Krakowski right now. As if Tina Fey and her sexy/geeky/cool didn’t make 30 Rock hard enough to watch, seeing Jane as the aloof, self-absorbed starlet takes the cake. Plus, I have to give her credit for only getting more beautiful with age. Anyone who remembers her from Ally McBeal knows she was “the thick one”. There was Calista Flockhart: the skinny one; Courtney Thorne-Smith: the one that every viewer related to, and Jane: the thick, not as pretty as the other two, one. But at 39, she looks amazing these days. For further proof, watch the 30 Rock eps that either feature her Maxim shoot or her “Muffin Top” music video.

-Speaking of music, Jordin Sparks’s “Tattoo” is a horrible debut single. I mean, it’s catchy. I’ll give it that. Just like Chris Brown’s “With You”, it’s a pretty weak song, with weak lyrics, and a basic sound structure. That said, they’re both catchy as Hell. Regardless, it’s not the debut single of an American Idol.

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but Idol debuts tend to be pretty…meta. In other words, the songs are basically the winner singing about how awesome it is to win AI. “A Moment Like This”? Kelly lived a lifetime to win AI. Ruben’s “Flying Without Wings” doesn’t count because it was a song written for Westlife and just reused (Simon was one of Westlife’s managers). Nobody remembers Fantasia’s “I Believe”, which is sad considering AI alum Tamyra Gray wrote it. Carrie Underwood stole the country crowd with “Inside Your Heaven”, which doubles as a love song, but also affirms that she wants to be in the hearts and minds of her fans. “Do I Make You Proud?” Well, Taylor was hoping he did. And then his label dropped him. Technically, “This is My Now” is Jordin’s debut, which follows the Idol formula, but it never stuck. Now, we’ve got this song that sounds like it was written for JoJo or something. Plus, if it truly is following the this-song-is-about Idol formula, she’s basically saying that the experience is something she’s never gonna be able to shake. It’s grafted onto her for-fucking-ever. Unless she has painful surgery. That’s pretty ominous if ya ask me…The longer this show lasts, the more I’m convinced that the well is running dry.

In fact, I’m starting to feel like those old people who think today’s music is crap. I mean, who thought Keyshia Cole had talent?! Sure, I get the whole she’s-from-the-wrong-side-of-the-tracks angle, but damn! She’s a studio artist , at best, as all the live stuff I’ve seen makes her sound like an epileptic rooster.

-If I see another Arthur Suydam zombie cover on a comic, I’m going to track him down and shoot him in the face. This is a gimmick that has gone on about 2 years too long.

-In closing, apparently, I’m an idiot. I hardly ever comment on the stuff in my comments section as it seems that people find my site 3 months after a post, and comment on something ancient. That said, somebody decided to anonymously point out my idiocy, mainly, because I have class. If you remember my last Whose Wedding post, I pretty much crapped all over a planner named Linyette. Well, my view stands. She’s tacky as hell. I don’t want my party favors to be spray-painted shit from the Dollar Store. Like the commentor said, everyone’s entitled to an opinion, and that’s mine. Thanks for stopping by, though.

14th Dec2007

Dirty Pokemon, Black Snake Eyes, New Knight Rider, and Tribute To Ike Turner

by Will

“I thought you made love like an ugly woman. So present, so grateful.”

Dear TNT,
There are other shows in the world than Charmed and Law & Order. I appreciate what you’re trying to do. You’re going for a whole theme thing. But, really? There’s a whole world of syndicated shows out there, just waiting to be mined. I don’t think anyone’s airing The Fall Guy right now. Or how about that old show, The Wizard, with the midget who made toys that helped him “MacGuyver” out of bad situations? Just a thought…

So, I’ve been losing my mind lately, as Toys “R” Us is now open until midnight for the whole holiday rush. For those of you new to these parts, I work evenings and weekends at Toys “R”Us, or as I like to call it, “my student loan job”. Staying open til midnight can be trying considering that’s just the time at which we start turning away customers. Actually leaving the store is a whole different matter. This past Wednesday, we didn’t get out until 2 AM. Keep in mind that the employees are high school students, mothers, and people with other jobs. It makes no sense to me, seeing as how we have a capable night crew, staffed with baby mama’s and ex convicts. Can’t they clean the store?! But I digress…

During this season, our minds start to wander, and the subject matter of our conversations isn’t exactly suited for our environment. For example, a few weeks back, one of my coworkers remarked that he’s both vulgar and nice. I told him that his Pokemon name would be “Vulgice”. Then, his evolutions would either be Vul-Va or VulGina. Yeah…

Recently, though, we’ve been having a lot of discussions/arguments regarding the upcoming G.I. Joe movie. The guys were remarking that, regardless of how Hollywood decides to fuck it up, the movie won’t be complete without Snake Eyes. Now, this is when one of the guys decided to say that there was a time when everyone thought Snake Eyes was Black, and how disappointed he was when he turned out to be some White guy. Now, first of all, this is a common Black thing to say, as we’re always trying to claim someone in the media. Mariah Carey? She’s ours. The Rock? Yeah, he’s ours, too. O.J.? He’s ours as long as he’s acquitted. Anyway, it was weird to hear this, though, as the assertion was now coming from a White guy.

So, I had to search long and hard and think if there was ever any indication that Snake Eyes was a Black guy. As far as G.I. Joe goes, all Black members have to carry a big ass gun. And rhyme. See: Roadblock; Cross-reference: Heavy Duty. Snake Eyes didn’t rhyme and he carried swords. Not a compelling case.

Then, there’s the fact that Snake Eyes dates Scarlett. Sure, in the cartoon, she was with Duke, but in every other form of media, he’s knockin’ those redheaded boots. Now, have you ever seen a Black guy with a redhead? Have you? For real? If you have, can you find out his secret for me?

Next, there’s the fact that he’s a ninja. I’ll admit that I was surprised he was just a blond cornhusker, myself, as he was a master ninja…who’d fought in Vietnam. This is the real clincher, as I realized there could never be a black ninja. Sure, a ninja might wear Black, but he could never be Black? Why? Because ninjas have to be quiet. There, I said it. You know you were thinking it, too!

A Black ninja would be flossin’ and shit, and would never pull off the element of surprise:
“I’m a ninja, son! Look at this big-ass sword, woadie! I’m ’bout to cut you, fool! You betta check yo self ’cause I’m ’bout to ninja. yo. ass!”

But, knowing Hollywood, if they want to be hip and edgy, movie Snake Eyes will probably be Black. And played by Chris Tucker. Thanks, assholes.

Speaking of Hollywood ruining cool, black concepts, I leave you with this: The other day, I was stalking a friend on facebook, and one of his friends is a page at NBC/Universal. Her status mentioned that she was watching the new K.I.T.T. models roll of the truck. For the uninformed, NBC’s filming a new Knight Rider movie which, if successful, will lead to a new series focusing on Michael Knight’s son. Well, when I saw this message, I almost wet myself. I wanted to send her a message. After all, this woman was like an angel to me; my link to my savior: a talking, condescending car. Just looking at my site, you’ve *got* to see the Knight Rider influence. Anyway, I held off, and decided to find more info on the project myself. And here’s what shattered my childhood memories:

HOW THE HELL CAN YOU CALL THIS K.I.T.T.?!!

I swear, every night when I say my prayers, I pray that someone would bring back Team Knight Rider. Or at least release it on DVD. On the bright side, at least these producers got The Hoff to agree to come back, which is something TKR never pulled off.

This post is dedicated to the late, great Ike Turner. I believe there are two sides to every story, and poor Ike never got his fair shake. So, I hope he’s in Heaven, slapping and beating up angels…

17th Oct2007

Saved By The Bell: The College Years AKA The Adventures of Loser Zach & AC Sanchez

by Will

“In five years, we’ll all either be working for him, or be dead by his hand.”

So, the other morning, I caught Saved By The Bell, but it was from the era that many seem to have missed out on: The College Years. Everyone seems to know about the Miss Bliss stuff, even if they don’t realize that it never really “happened”. The same could be said for the Tori era, as every 20-something has gotten drunk with friends, and the topic eventually comes up, met with a “What the fuck was up with that? Where were Jessie & Kelly?” Sadly, though, most of my generation jumped ship at The College Years/New Class era. It seems they had just had enough. I’m not sure if the College Years attrition was due to the move to prime-time, or sheerly the fact the Bill Cosby was right, and that college truly is a different world from where you come from.

I’ll admit, the college season certainly blew the wind out of our sails. I think the producers had a lot to answer for, as they made high school seem like a veritable wonderland, where everyone was cool and even the nerds were popular. I think I speak for all of us when I say we were quite pissed off to find the contrary to be true. In terms of the college season, though, they were finally honest with themselves. No one was safe. Remember how Zach was the coolest kid on Earth in high school, with his cool hair and his time-out powers? Not so much in the college years. He was doughy, needed a haircut (his longer hair wasn’t even that stylish for ’93), and his schemes just didn’t work anymore. Our hero was now a mere mortal. And it wasn’t fun to watch.

One thing that the college years couldn’t do as well as the original series was the “very special episode”. I remember the Johnny Dakota anti-drug episode, with NBC’s then-president, Brandon Tartikoff. Everyone remembers the “I’m so excited! I’m so excited! I’m so…scared” episode. But did anyone see the College Years’ entry into the field? No? Well, allow me to tell you about it.

Seeing as how college is all about “finding yourself”, SBTB:TCY decided to focus on identity development. There’s an episode where this Latina has a thing for Slater, and begins flirting with him in Spanish. Unfortunately, poor Albert Clifford doesn’t know what the Hell she’s saying. He’s wondering why she thinks he knows Spanish, while she it muy disappointed that he doesn’t know his native tongue. She tries to convince him that he’s from the Southern hemisphere, but he just ain’t hearing it. Let me point out that she’s one of those campus revolutionary chicks. You know the kind…she’s hot because she’s got passion, and usually some weak guy will end up chaining himself to the student union, in some poor attempt to impress her and get into her hemp panties. Who am I kidding? Those chicks don’t wear panties!

So, A.C. calls home and confronts his dad, the good solider, about the crazy things this chick is saying. Well, it turns out that A.C Slater is actually A.C. Sanchez, as his father changed his name when he joined the Army. Apparently, it would help him blend in and move up the ranks better.
Now, A.C.’s got some soul-searching to do. I’ve written about it before, but it’s the whole Bill Cross Model of Minority Identity Development. That was Slater’s “encounter”, so next he throws himself into the cause, and turns on his Zach and Screech because they “just don’t understand”. Eventually, they have one of those sitcom endings, where Slater realizes he’s gone a bit overboard, while his friends reassure him that they’ll accept him regardless of his background, and that they’ll all get through it together.

Here’s what always got me: how the Hell didn’t Slater know he was Latino? How many other Jheri-curled, silk shirt & parachute pants-wearing kids were there are Bayside? None. Now, Slater never exactly acknowledged his geneology in the past, but he once referred to Bolivia. Now, he was an Army brat, so maybe he got confused. However, he couldn’t have thought he was White! First off, he was the only one who could dance. He was even better than Lisa, and her lame-ass “The Sprain”.

In a way, I want to blame Bayside. It was never a bastion of diversity. As far as black kids, there was Lisa Turtle (who doesn’t really count), and there was the Black nerd who had the Wolfman Jack voice. Now, I commend Peter Engel for going with a Black nerd, as opposed to the obvious Asian choice. Then again, there were no Asians at Bayside. I think someone better call the school board! Anyway, the black kids increased their numbers when that old-looking freshman popped up senior year, and asked Lisa to the Welcome Back dance. Man, was she embarassed! But I digress…If Slater had grown up in a more diverse environment, perhaps this revelation, or “revelación”.

It was a heavy-handed attempt at best. On the one hand, I want to commend SBTB for thinking outside the usual box. No zit-before-prom episodes. No we-got-ripped-off-buying-class-rings” episode. Not even a “I-get-radio-signals-through-my-dental-work” episode. The writers were moving to bigger and better things, but it fell with a thud. I’ve always wondered what we might have seen had the show continued another season. Maybe the “Screech celebrates Passover” episode. Or the “Alex has an eating disorder (College Years character; look her up). Or, maybe even the “Zach deals with his collegiate douchebaggery” episode. I’ve got to be honest: Bayside Zach was the kid that we all wanted to grow up to be, while California University Zach isn’t very likeable. Let’s face it, College Zach had “date rapist” written all over him…

24th Jul2007

OutBlacked!

by Will

“You’re, like, my Black Spock…like in Voyager.”

OK, I should be asleep, but I had another weird TVLand observation I needed to write about. After the whole Good Times thing, I caught an episode of Star Trek. A lot of people don’t realize that, despite my love for the franchise, I am not that much of a fan of the Original Series; I like The Next Generation onward. Lately, however, TVLand has been showing the classics, like when the crew goes up against Space Lincoln. Well, this morning was the Khan episode, “Space Seed”.

A lot of you may know Khan as “the villain with the bitchin’ pecs from Star Trek II”. Yes, that is Khan, but he first appeared in the series. When they find Khan, he’s on a derelict freighter, with about 70 other people. They’ve been frozen since the 1990s, and the Enterprise crew tries to figure out what their story might be. To me, though, the crux of the episode is that Khan is such a charismatic motherfucker, and he macks one of Kirk’s women off the bat. This is a process that I like to call “Outblacking”. Kirk was essentially outblacked by Khan. How does this work? Well, let me tell you.

The “outblack” concept was something I came up with in college. When you have a frat party, and one Black guy, the odds are in Black guy’s favor because he has a card that he can play at any point. He can remain quiet and enjoy the dip, or he can bust out and become the life of the party, making the other (mainly White) guys insecure. He has, in effect, outblacked them. But here’s where things get hairier. Say, you have a guy like me as “the Black guy”, but in walks a thug. His street cred is stronger than my kung fu. By virtue of his “keepin’ it real”, I’ve been outblacked. He is then entitled to my women and my kick ass party reputation. From that point, I either have to leave the party, or try to act like we’re friends, so that everyone else thinks we know each other (don’t all Black people know each other anyway?), therefore leeching off his blackness chi. You can see this played out every weekend in clubs across America. It’s the most base form of Black on Black crime.

James T. Kirk is the pimp of the Alpha Quadrant. Because pop culture seems to imply that sex appeal and sheer and utter pimpness are “Black concepts” (see Bill Clinton), this makes Kirk Black. Well, here comes Khan and he seems to snatch the one chick on the Enterprise who wouldn’t give Kirk any play. Surprise, Kirk! You’ve been outblacked! And all it took was a Mexican with Jesus hair. She didn’t even get a chance to see that magnificent chest of his.

I’m thinking about contacting some BET people, and seeing if Outblacked! would make a good show. After all, they put Hell Date on the air, so I really don’t think they can find much fault with my idea…

24th Jul2007

JJ Gives Up His Ticket Out Of The Ghetto: Good Times Analysis

by Will

“Why’d she have to take her candyass back to Norway?!”

Dr. Phil said it was OK to look, but he sure as Hell didn’t tell me what I’d find…

I’m going on very little sleep right now, so bear with me. This isn’t exactly a stream-of-consciousness post, but it’s going to be sort of scattered.

Last night, I caught the oddest episode of Good Times ever. It was like the writers decided to just pretend that the Evans’ weren’t poor. Because anyone who’s ever seen Good Times knows that that is the plot of every episode: we’re poor, we don’t know how we’re gonna make it, but our family will get us through. Basically, the plot of Good Times is pretty much covered in the theme song to 227.

So, in this episode, I guess the producers wanted to try something different. It’s not that the Evans family wasn’t poor now, but it wasn’t the main focus of the show this time around. JJ was putting together a singing group with Michael as the lead singer. Thelma was their choreographer, while Willona was their songwriter. Anyway, GT used to do a lot of “Here’s Michael singing” episodes, as Ralph Carter was a Tony Award-winning musical star. This performance stood out, however, because he was incredibly tone deaf. I guess it just goes to show you that they didn’t overdub back in those days.

So, JJ takes the group to a nightclub because there’s a talent show, with a grand prize of $150. And this money will come in handy because the Evanses are poor. How the Hell they were going to happily split $150 between 8 people is beyond me, but I wasn’t exactly alive in 1976, so maybe things were different then. Well, at the nightclub, they find out they can’t perform because Michael’s only 15, and it’s an establishment that sells alcohol. The group turns on JJ and they storm out of the club. While he’s sulking, he meets Judith Cohen. This is where the episode gets weird.

Judith Cohen is this overweight, self-deprecating, redheaded Jewish chick who wants to be a star. At the same time, she doesn’t chase her dream because she doesn’t believe in herself. Well, JJ finds that he’s a manager without a group, and Judith professes that she’s a group without a manager. Wow, that is some hardcore self-deprecation. So, the decide to join forces, and JJ sees this chick as his ticket out of the ghetto. The part that struck me, though, was that he latched onto her without ever hearing her sing. I thought it was going to turn out that she was terrible, and he’d truly latched onto a loser. In any case, he took her to Thelma to learn some dance steps, and Willona was going to do her costume. JJ was determined to make sure Judith won that competition. All this, and still nobody had heard her sing a note.

Well, competition time comes, and Judith gets onstage. At first, she’s kind of hokey, poking fun at herself in some Vaudevillian act. Next thing you know, she launches into this moving rendition of Send in the Clowns, which had an emotional resonance that I’d never experienced from that show before. Well, of course Judith wins the competition. Next thing I know, there’s Dean Travers from Three’s Company, and for once, he’s not being smarmy. He wants to sign Judith to sing weekly in his restaurant, but that plan is squashed when JJ refuses to hand Judith over to this more established manager who just pops in out of nowhere. Apparently, this guy had clout, and he controlled all of the musical acts in Chicago. If JJ wouldn’t give Judith to him, he’d make sure she never worked again. So, JJ decides that it’s more important for her to showcase her talent than for him to hold onto her, so he lets her go. Yes, he gives up his ticket out of the ghetto (which, oddly, was a white girl), by giving her to The Man. Sure, that’s probably not how I was supposed to read into that episode, and it was 4:30 in the morning, but that’s the message I walked away with. It could also be interpreted that the Black man was never going to better his situation as long as he had something that the White man wanted. Once again, probably overanalyzing. Man, I need sleep…

16th May2007

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

by Will

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

27th Apr2006

Meatwad, NOT Screech!

by Will

“I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”

Why the FUCK is “Saved By The Bell” on Adult Swim?!!!! Somebody answer me! WHY THE FUCK IS “SAVED BY THE BELL” ON ADULT SWIM?!!!! It is for cartoons only! CARTOONS ONLY! We have TVLand for that. Nick @ Nite, if you must. But NOT Cartoon Network. And CERTAINLY NOT Adult Swim. That is reserved for Family Guy and bad anime imports. Thank you, and good night.

04th Dec2005

Entertainment Tonight, You Ignorant Slut!

by Will

“It’s as if Disney’s trying to say to the kids, ‘Screw your parents, just run off into the woods and sing Hakuna Matata and everything is going to be alright’.”

You know who I’ve pitied for quite some time? “Entertainment Tonight” reporters. Why? Because they have to pretend to be excited about a project even when they know it’s going to be a piece of shit. The best evidence of this is watching an episode WAY after the fact.

I once went through this phase where I’d put a tape in the VCR, hit “record” and just walk away. On days when boredom struck, I’d put in the tape and see what I’d recorded. There’s nothing worse than seeing Mary Hart or Bob Goen on the set of yet another Tori Spelling TV movie or yet another 80’s tv show reunion, knowing they couldn’t give two shits whether or not JR Ewing was meaner than Boss Hogg.

I remember when they were on the set of Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie”. Now, I don’t like flaunting this around, but those close to me know I watched PR WAY longer than I should have. I was an uber-fan, but even I knew that movie was gonna be a steaming pile of shit. But Bob Goen just wouldn’t come correct. He was determined to tell me, ME, that this movie was going to reinvent the wheel with it’s colorful costumes and high-flying martial arts antics. That movie went on to gross about 2 million dollars. If you know anything about entertainment, you’ll know that equals “bomb”.

Don’t placate me, ET. We know when something’s going to suck. Trying to make us believe otherwise only outs you as the entertainment whores that you are.

27th Aug2005

Looking Back On Buckaroo Banzai

by Will

“No matter where you go, there you are.”

Soon the leaves will change, and I will be reminded of the tool that I was, growing up. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoyed my antisocial status. My Saturday’s were planned to a T. I’d wake up, partake in some TNBC action, and then I’d hunker down and watch whatever craptastic movie Channel’s 5 and 20 had to offer. But out of their entire film libraries, there are two movies that always put a special feeling in the air:
Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins and The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension . Today, I had the pleasure of revisiting the latter.

Let me try to somehow explain why I ever liked this movie. It’s like the producers went up to a 7 yr-old and asked, “Hey, kid..what do you wanna be when you grow up?” And the kid responded, “I wanna be a super hero, and a rock star, and a rocket scientist, and kill aliens, and have a flying car…” Why do I say this? Because all of the above describe the title character of Buckaroo Banzai. He is all of those things, and I’m not being metaphorical. He is an alien-fighting, rock star, comic book hero, with an advanced degree in physics. Plus, his band doubles as his superhero support team. Yeah, on my most imaginative day, I can’t believe some studio greenlit this, even in 1984.

Just looking at the cast, you get the picture that it’s not gonna be an easy stroll through the park. Peter Weller (Robocop) as Buckaroo tips ya off, but anytime you have John Lithgow AND Jeff Goldblum, you’d might as well send the thing straight to video. Lithgow’s most sane role was the crazy preacher in “Footloose” and “Goldblum” is Hebrew for “hope you’re ready for weird”. And we round it all off with the great Christoher Lloyd. Yeah, it’s no wonder this thing only has a cult following.

But these lameass reasons are the same reason I love it. I can’t believe a studio greenlit this movie! It’s that simple. It’s not even one of those films where you’re like, “I’ll bet this rocks when you’re high.” No, if you watched it under the influence of something, you’d probably go on a killing spree. It’s that much of a mindfuck.

I don’t know what touches more. Is it the bubble-wrap safety goggles? The cowboy named “New Jersey”? Or is it the irresistable “Pretty Tommy”, who surprisingly is NOT a pimp? The aliens disguised as Rastafarians? The fact that they willingly endanger that 11 yr-old kid AND give him a rifle to shoot at people? It makes no sense on paper, and it makes even less sense to watch.

The beauty of the whole film-making process in Buckaroo Banzai is that you KNOW they’re trying to weird you out, but not in that artsy Tim Burton-esque way. There’s no real method to the madness, just a balls-out “why not?” approach. Sure, you could ask, “Why is Buckaroo ALL of these professions?”, but the movie subtlely puts forth “Why NOT?” And once you accept that, all bets are off.

My experience today was just like it’s been the past 2o-odd years I’ve watched this masterful train wreck. The thing comes on, and the events unfold like this:

Minute 1: “Oh, man! ‘Buckaroo Banzai’ is on! Well, got nothing else to do today…”

Minute12: “OK, I think I’ve had about all I can handle.”

Minute 22: “Wow, is Robocop really singing ‘Since I Don’t Have You’? I’m gonna have to see where this is going.”

Minute 37: “I really can’t do this anymore. Fucking Goldblum in that cowboy outfit makes me wanna hit somebody.”

Minute 62: “Man, no wonder Ellen Barkin’s career went nowhere.”

Minute 70: “Guess I’ve gotta ride out this storm.”

Minute 103: “I can’t believe I just sat through that whole thing. Oooh…’Baywatch’!”

Well, the Baywatch part didn’t occur to me today (God rest its bouncy slow-motion soul), but it never fails that the same exact thoughts go through my mind. And I just find it touching that a movie can make me feel the exact same way, each time, over the course of so many years. I think THAT’s what keeps me coming back for more. I go for years without seeing it, and I come back older and wiser, yet I still ask the same questions.

And after 20 years, I still don’t know what the fuck this movie’s about! I’m serious. Something about an “overthruster”, and I know Lithgow looks like he needs a bath…and there’s some guy named “Bigbootie” (Awww….Big booty, big booty, big booty!). But in the whole “how much shit can we possibly cram into this movie?”, the creative team behind the film gave plot a back seat. I’d be so bold as to say there is no plot. These were the 80’s. A time when some bastard created “Toxie, the Toxic Avenger”, and somehow spawned a cartoon out of that. My point is that in the “Me Generation” no idea was too farfetched, and “Buckaroo Banzai” is one of the best examples of that.

Well, that’s enough sharing. Once again, I’m pretty sure that Austin’s the only one reading this who’ll even have a clue as to what I’m talking about, but he’s my target audience for the pop culture throwback posts, so i guess I’m doing my job if he connects. Stay tuned for my next post, which will be a milestone in the Westverse: post #450!