22nd Sep2006

My Tribute To UPN & The WB

by Will

“The Warrant!”

So, I have to say, watching the final clip of The WB gets me all choked up. C’mon, Michigan J. takes a bow for the last time! I mean, it’s easy to talk trash about that network, but it truly DID define a generation. It may not have been YOUR generation, nor particularly one that you liked, but it’s branding power was unsurpassed. I mean, this is shown by the fact that it officially went off the air. It had a mission to say farewell to its “creations”, for lack of a better word. What did UPN do? Nothing. They shipped “Smackdown” over to the CW affiliates, and quietly shut their doors. Why? Because UPN never formed an identity. There was a time when it wanted to be “The Star Trek Network”, but it found itself, instead, being the “Crappy Trek Spin-Off Network”. I mean, anytime a network has to cancel Star Trek, in THIS day and age, a franchise that can survive in SYNDICATION, there is a problem.

Sure, The WB bounced around to find its place. There were the early days when it was The Wayans Bros Network, and every show was black except for 7th Heaven. Man, I would LOVE to have been a fly on the wall at those initial launch parties. I’ll bet it was like when a White family accidentally wanders into the ghetto. You’ve got a young Beverly Mitchell & a surpringly-simian Jessica Biel being sized up by John Witherspoon and that guy who played Nick Freno.

After awhile, though, UPN said, “Wait, we want some Black people, too!”. And our buddies at The Frog said, “Good riddance, you can have ’em!”. And that’s how we ended up in the situation where UPN’s biggest shows were Girlfriends and Smackdown, while The WB was a STARMAKER. No, don’t laugh. That network simply MADE stars. You might not’ve thought much of them when you first saw them. I remember thinking, “Man, those Wayans’ll never be as famous as Keenan Ivory.” Or “Man, I really wish Jamie Foxx would get as famous as he deserves to be.” Or even “I really think, with some work, that girl who plays ‘Mary Camden’ could be kinda hot.” And it was like the WB read my heart, heard my wishes, and made them a reality. Need further proof? Watch that final clip (it’s all over youtube), and you’ll notice a familiar celebrity right before Michigan bows: Jamie Foxx. Say what you will (especially you, ‘Diz), but this network helped that man get an Oscar. It kept him working and making the connections that got him in Any Given Sunday, which led to Ali, which led to Ray. Sure, he was on “In Living Color”, but he didn’t get movies back then. That changed with The WB.

Sure, it was the Abercrombie & Fitch of networks, but that was its thing! You want an Aaron Sorkin show to succeed, you take it to NBC. You got a show that’s loose on plot, but full of pretty kids, you take it to The WB. For instance, I LOVE One Tree Hill. I mean, I actually bought the season sets. But that show has no real plot whatsoever. I feel like I’m watching “Swans Crossing” all over again. What would’ve made an above-average afterschool special about the effects of teen pregnancy and the pressures of high school baseketball on affluent white kids, is now entering it’s fourth season! That’s syndication level right there, and that’s where the real money comes in. It’s The WB, baby. It could do no wrong.

Sure, there were a lot of misses. A LOT of misses. But you know what’s weird? The WB ONLY knew how to make stars. It didn’t know how to resurrect has-beens, nor did it know what to do with people who had achieved some level of stardom. Remember “Kirk”? I do. There was no way, especially since he started evangelizing, they were gonna revive Kirk Cameron’s career. Robert Townshend’s “The Parent’hood”? That pale attempt at The Cosby Show trudged along for a couple of seasons, but Townshend, surprisingly, had too big of a name. If a show had any cast member that you’d EVER heard of prior to the show, The WB had problems promoting it.

BUT, you get a show, cast a busty chick named Nikki Cox, whose previously acting was “the blind girl” on a couple episodes of California Dreams, you had a hit. Who cared if it was “Married…with Children: the Remix”. That show lasted 11 years, so surely this would last half of that. And it did. Make a show about some REALLY old looking 15 yr old in Cape Cod, who wants to direct films. Hire a bunch of cute kids who talk about big things. You have a hit. Hell, completley rip off the X-Files and cast a bunch of Abercrombie models. You have a hit.

The WB also learned the value of “keeping it in the family”. The Disney Channel does the same thing. Say you have a guest star, who’s really charamatic and the audience seems to love him. Well, cast him in his own show. We already know the people love him. Who cares what the shows’s about. We need a pilot shot, and we need it yesterday!

Plus, I’ve got a secret for you: I always wanted to be a cast member of a WB show. Why The WB? Because of the friggin’ backlot! It was always a party. In every promo, Keri Russell might be leaving the “Felicity” set and grab coffee with Allyson Hannigan from “Buffy”. It seemed like such a communal atmosphere. They let us into their world, but it also gave off the impression that they were people too, who were young, cool, and loved interracting with each other. I mean, who WOULDN’T love the idea of hitting on Soleil Moon Frye after she came off a long shoot on “Sabrina”? When those kids weren’t working, it seemed like there was always a party, and a singing cartoon frog to boot! Oh, man, I’m about to say “Dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, dubba, double-yoo-bee, YEAH!”

For these reasons, and many others, I will miss the WB. Aside from what you saw on the screen, there was a lot of magic in the process that so many people take for granted. Whether or not you liked what it did, you still have to admit that it did “it”, whatever that might be, well. Now, looking at its metamorphosis, “The CW”, I don’t feel that much is going to change. In all honesty, it’s still The WB, just with Black Sunday. Kinda like in the old days. So, I hope that it continues to be a starmaker and I hope that we are simply closing a chapter on a story rather than the entire book. Until next time, take care of yourselves, and each other.

14th Nov2005

RIP Eddie Guerrero

by Will

“Viva La Rasa!”

Rest in peace, Eddie Guerrero. Wherever you are, I hope you’re putting the Frog Splash on the best on of them! Tell Andre, Yokozuna, Owen Hart, Crash Holly, Miss Elizabeth, and Ravishing Rick Rude that I said “Hi”.

It makes me wonder, though. When The Undertaker finally dies, are we really gonna believe it? I mean, first of all, a wrestler’s death is just a way to let you know the seasons have changed. Since the advent of Stacker-2, there’ve been about 5 wrestling deaths a yr. But also, ‘Taker has “died” about 4 times already. Are we gonna think it’s just a gimmick? How much time will have to pass before we realize it’s “for real”. His usual “death time” was about 6 months, so if they announce his death, and you don’t hear anything for more than 6 months, I guess it means ‘Taker’s dead. Refer back to this entry when the announcement is made.

24th Jul2005

The Epic Battle Hits The Internet!

by Will

“I’d like to make a caramel-colored baby with you.”

If you’re looking for a fun way to kill time, hop on over to the comments section of http://www.livejournal.com/users/palaedorian . My good friend created the site to destroy me, and now the war is being waged, WWE-style, on the blog.

This is gonna sound so sad, but I’ve gotta admit that this is the most fun I’ve had blogging in a long time. I’m sure it’ll get stale SOON. But for the moment, it’s got me looking over my shoulder at work, scared that I’m gonna get fired for laughing so hard.

So, if you love good kayfabe ‘rasslin’, hop on over and blog a steel chair into the matchup. Hardcore rules apply, e.g. anything goes. Anyone’s welcome. Don’t worry if he’s going on and on about some French dish he prepared the night before. The best time to throw someone through a table is when they’re distracted. He might be rambling about his CFA or his LSAT, but what he really needs is a good kick to the junk.

‘Cause this is about one thing, brother. This is about that title. I worked my way up from the mean streets of Wheaton, with one thing on my mind. And the next thing I know, he’s talking smack about wanting to destroy my blog. Well, I want to teach his ass a lesson. But most of all, I WANT A TITLE SHOT!

04th Jul2005

Patriotic Justice: Beaten With A Flag

by Will

Mini Rant

-So, McDonald’s accepts credit cards now. Yeah, I know this isn’t a new development, per se, but still…Just what Americans need: the golden opportunity to get fatter and deeper into debt.

-Hey, welcome back, Coldplay! How we’ve missed you. A new track, you say? Wow, that certainly IS the “Coldplay sound”. Hey, Chris Martin, how about something NEW next time 🙁

-So, I get home the other day, and what do I find? A flag planted in my yard by Tom Powers, the local realtor. Now, Mr. Powers and I go way back. You see, he’s always leaving trinkets on our porches, such as apple butter, yard sticKs, flags, etc. It’s all bribery, so when we decide to sell the house, we’ll think, “Well, that nice Powers guy was always giving us stuff. Let’s choose him!”

But the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. When I was younger, I didn’t get spanked much, but when I did, my mother made sure that it counted But see, Mommy was older and not as strong as your mothers probably were, so she always needed some sort of…well, weapon, for lack of a better word. And what did she usually grab? A yardstick, or a flag. Yeah, she beat me with a flag. Broke the flag stick on my ass. God Bless America, indeed..Generally, she grabbed whatever was sticking out of the umbrella stand. Hence, my discipline sessions were reminiscent of a WWF Hardcore Match. And who, pray tell, do you think supplied most of the armament found in the umbrella stand? You guessed it, Tom Powers. So, unbeknownst to him, Tom Powers is my worst enemy.

22nd Apr2004

Boobygate’s Effect On Dating Shows

by Will

James is going to hate me for taking this stance, but I’m STILL pissed at Janet Jackson! Yes, there are other parties to be angry at, such as JT and CBS and blah blah blah, but she’s the one who took the heat from the Super Bowl, so she’s the target of my ire. Why am I STILL mad? Because of the effect her little stunt has had on my favorite pastime: Late-nite dating shows.

Since these shows have started new midseason episodes, they SUCK. OK, on Blind Date, which has never been the most conservative of the bunch, they now censor anything involving a tongue. Girl licks a guys chest: censored. Sucks a straw: censored. But the BIGGEST nail in the coffin? AVERAGE PEOPLE.

Blind Date has always been like Fear Factor; they’ve had a knack for finding gorgeous people to perform perfectly mundane, and in some cases extreme, situations. The BD formula was simply: See hot guy. Hot guy goes out with hot girl. Two possibilities: A) they hit it off, end up in hot tub and spend the night together, or B) they hate each other, and proceed to insult each other until the end of the date.

Now, that’s all been thrown to the wind! They’re using average looking, everyday people. The kind of people who are obviously REAL, just like you and me. Now, I don’t know about you, but there are very few people I know whose dates I’d like a peek at. Nothing against my friends, but I simply don’t think anything exciting and “LA” is going on during their dates. The appeal of the dating shows was that you were never sure if the people were “real” or if they were actors trying to have a springboard into a career. This theory was also supported by the fact that several of the daters “did the rounds”, meaning they’ve been on every show from “Extreme Dating”, “Blind Date”, and “Change of Heart” to “5th Wheel” and “elimiDATE”.

Since the Super Bowl, not only is the FCC afraid of breasts, but apparently, hot, fake, shallow people are off the menu as well! It’s only a matter of time before they come after the WWE, and that’s when they I’m gonna take a stand!

18th Apr2004

Great Weekend Involving VA, The Punisher, and Kill Bill Vol 2

by Will

OK, let’s see if I still remember how this goes. As much as I hate to admit it, you all know how I LOVE being the resident Eeyore, but this has actually been a great weekend. Got off work yesterday @ 5, which is simply unheard of. Then, I got my long-awaited reunion with VA. Amazing, we’ve known each other for years, but it was the first time we’ve ever gotten drunk together. Anyway, with Alabama Slammers and Chicken Fried Rice, that girl certainly knows how to have a good time. Plus, I now know the Metro goes right to her house, so it’s not gonna be one of those “only-reachable-by-car”. Didn’t get home til about 4 AM ’cause of friggin’ maintenance on the Red Line. I was actually scared I might get stranded in DC, and I mean the Bad DC.

Today was just as crazy and action-packed as yesterday. Finally got some bills paid, which is good ’cause it means I’m being responsible. It’s bad, though, ’cause I’m out $250. Anyway, I think Verizon and I know where each other stands from this day forward. 😛

Anyway, I had to “observe” Wednesday today, meaning I had to get my comics ’cause I was working when they came out on Wednesday. As a caveat, I got SO MUCH Punisher swag today! Free movie poster @ the shop, and free comic at the movie, but more on that later.

After the shop, I just kinda walked around. It was such a nice day, and I didn’t want to waste it. I ended up walking to Toys “R” Us, which turned out to be really weird. Normally, I can slip in unnoticed, and slip back out. Today, however, everyone I ever worked with seemed to be there, and they were all so friendly. They said they genuinely missed me, and it truly felt like it. To be honest, I miss them too. I don’t think I’d ever go back there, but I still love kids and toys. Neither of these loves are being fulfilled @ H&M.

Anyway, I eventually made my way to Silver Spring to comic shop #2, and found the sweetest poster. The guy didn’t know how much to sell it for, for fear of his manager firing him. So, I put it on hold and have to call back tomorrow. I’ll describe it tomorrow if the deal goes through.

Eventually, I met up with Brett and we went to dinner & The Punisher. So, what did I think of The Punisher? He simply didn’t punish enough. He was way too much of a wise-cracking smart-ass for a guy who watched his entire extended family massacred. That was part of the problem. The whole movie was overkill. It was like a bad WWF match. For example, in the comic, Frank Castle’s wife, son, and daughter are caught in mob crossfire, which drives him crazy and causes him to become The Punisher. In the movie, Castle’s entire family, including parents, aunts, cousins, etc, are massacred during a beachfront family reunion. There was no need for them to kill 50+ people! We get the point. It’s kinda like how Eminem wants us to know how he really, really loves his daughter. Enough already. In the end, I enjoyed the movie, but I thought he’d be more stoic than he actually was.

After the movie, I did something rare: I went out again! Don’t ask me why, ’cause it’s certainly not a normal thing, but I met up with Davis and we went to see Kill Bill Vol. II. I can’t even begin to attempt to give a review to that movie. I’ll just say awesome. And not in that “Matrix/Star Wars-justification of crappy sequel” kind of way. Simply awesome movie. Tarantino turned a cliche into something amusing and enjoyable. On the other hand, I can’t wait to hear all the gripes my “debate partner” is going to have regarding the movie’s political incorrectness; we haven’t even discussed “The Apprentice” finale, so I know he’ll be charged and ready to go. Anyway, I know the Japanese, and some Jewish, organizations are gonna be up in arms Monday morning, so Quentin, prepare for the backlash. Regardless, a job well-done.