Ah, it’s so nice to have the return of television shows. Castle was good as always, Community was great and 30 Rock was hilarious. I’m intrigued by The Event; it had a slow start but really built up, and I’m hoping the show goes somewhere (that is, doesn’t bomb like Flashforward where nothing happened). We’ve got Undercovers and SVU recorded but haven’t watched either yet.
So, um, welcome back, TV. We missed you.
September 23rd, 2010 - Posted in tv
In the Family Guy episode Patriot Games, there’s a part where Peter scores a touchdown and proceeds to sing an entire song from a 1957 Broadway musical. I remember being really annoyed by this because, aside from not getting the reference, the five minute piece served as little more than filler, ultimately wasting around a fifth of the episode. Recently I saw that Seth MacFarlane is in talks to record an album of 40s and 50s show tunes. I then quickly realized what was going on here: Seth MacFarlane is super alt.
Consider this: within the hipster movement, you’ve got a bunch of people who are trying to bring back really old school styles from the 40s and 50s. They have ridiculous mustaches, wear vests and things like that. Having a working knowledge of show tunes from eras like that is totally within hipster territory. And recording an album of such songs? Even more alt.
But here’s the subversive part: MacFarlane has managed to integrate his hipsterness with his TV shows by working obscure references into episodes. What’s a better way to show how you know something that no one else does than to insert references into a show that’s watched by millions? Totally alt. Further, MacFarlane is taking his fame from such references and is funneling it into an album of music that’s predicated on that same obscureness! He’ll now have an album proclaiming how alt he is – but having an album released on a major record label is decidedly not hipster. It’s brilliant.
So well done, sir: you’ve managed to turn your hipster self into a cash cow that’s also mainstream.
August 8th, 2010 - Posted in essays
I grew up watching Iron Chef Japan on Food Network. This was back in the early days, before Guy Fieri, Paula Deen and the Neelys ruined the whole place. But back then, there was something magical and hilarious about the show. Maybe it was whatever crazy thing Kaga wore each week; or the frenetic atmosphere of everyone running around; or maybe just something about the dubbing. Some combination of all of those resulted in a show that drew me in.
But I think above all, it was the music that drew me in. At the time I didn’t know the music was mostly from Backdraft (there was a little Glory in there as well) but the cues they used just fit so well with what was going on. A month or so ago we started getting the Cooking Channel, the sister channel to Food Network. And I was so excited when I saw that they were going to air the original Iron Chef!
If only. The dialogue and spectacle of the show were all there, but the music.. they gutted the Backdraft music and replaced it with some horrendous generic piece of crap. Maybe it was just my nostalgia kicking in, but something just didn’t feel right. Could the people at Scripps really not find some better piece of music? Hell, just use some epic-sounding trailer music; there’s plenty of it out there.
But oh, how disappointed I was. Scripps, if you’re reading this, I implore you to bring back the music that you used before. Pay Hans Zimmer his rights to the music and just be done with it.
August 2nd, 2010 - Posted in tv
I’ve seen ads for Seinfeld on several subway trains recently, so I have to ask the question: why? The show started in 1989 and finished twelve years ago, and they’re still advertising it? I can understand Fox not having much TV to put on past 11 PM and using Seinfeld as filler, but why would you advertise for that? Just seems to yell out, “Hey, we’re desperate, so come watch really old TV!”
June 30th, 2010 - Posted in tv
In an epically epic rant on his Fox News show today, Glenn Beck said the following:
Do you remember what happened right after 9/11 with Rudy Giuliani? Do you remember Saudi Arabia came and said, we want to help. This guy [pointing at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al-Saud] came over and said ‘I want to give you a $10 million dollar check.’ Rudy Giuliani said, you see that over there? I don’t think we want your help. You already sent us help. And you flew that help into the plane, into the the trade centers.
Now see, the funny part is that, according to Wikipedia, that prince owns 7% of News Corp – the company that owns Fox News. Way to bite the hand that feeds there. God I hope someone smacks him down for this.