Category Archives: Television

Portlandia


I just started watching Portlandia about two weeks ago. Attempting to promote the new season, which plays on Friday nights on IFC, Netflix has the first season streaming and I bit – after all it has Carrie from Sleater Kinney and Fred Armisen. Portlandia has been around for about a year; unfortunately in Florida I didn’t have IFC and didn’t really search it out. Instead the show just came my way and I’m glad it did.

While not all the sketches succeed there are many that do. Below is my personal favorite and is the one which appears at the beginning of the pilot episode:



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The Walking Dead Season 2 (so far)


The second season of AMC’s adaptation of The Walking Dead is taking a break until February 2011 (most likely coinciding with the return of Mad Men) and for the first time since the very first two episodes I’m excited. It only took seven or more episodes for The Walking Dead to actually get decent again, especially after the horribly embarrassing season one finale. I’m willing to suspend my belief and go along for a fantastic ride on most occasions (after all, we’re dealing with corpses rising and eating the living here) but believing the CDC is a time sensitive, thermonuclear device is ludicrous. Please, prove me wrong.
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Something that wouldn’t make it onto television today


ABC, now owned by Disney, wouldn’t let a child smoke on television let alone hold a lit cigarette on a prime-time sitcom. If The Wonder Years illustrates how much changed between the ’60s and the ’80s then the show also demonstrates how much has changed between then and now, the smoke free 21st century.

The Wonder Years


Netflix just put The Wonder Years up a few weeks ago and aside from the theme song change (using a different version of With a Little Help from My Friends) the show is pretty much the same. They did remove songs by The Doors and Jimi Hendrix but the sentiments are still there, wrapped up in a 20 minute expose on suburban America. As a child I watched The Wonder Years on ABC, feeling jealous of Kevin Arnold’s middle school exploits (I was about eight or nine); now I see it as a well made series describing the trials and tribulations of white Americans. Honestly, I’ve seen one or two black people on the show and I’m in the third season.
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Andy Warhol liked pro wrestling?


Yes, it’s true: Andy Warhol liked professional wrestling…or at least he said he did. Here is a clip from a 1985 show I’ve never heard of, The War to Settle the Score, which was a mixture of professional wrestling and MTV style pop music. Warhol appears towards the end, after a bunch of nonsense from Hulk Hogan, Mr. T, and Captain Lou. Good luck.

 

Click here to watch this because MTV is awful…or maybe it’s WordPress who sucks.

What is wrong with Ric Flair?


Ric Flair, one of the most iconic professional wrestlers of the 20th century, is without a doubt an institution. While there are multiple professional wrestlers from the 1970s and ‘80s who are household names – Hulk Hogan, “Macho Man” Randy Savage, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, and “Rowdy” Roddy Piper are a few examples – Ric Flair is the only one of those men still actually wrestling. On September 15th Flair will meet Sting on an episode of TNA Wrestling’s Impact and at 62 years old he’s one of the few professional wrestlers ever to perform at his age. However, it’s not Flair’s in-ring performances on trial here but his absurdity, appearing on his personal website RicFlair.com.

Aimlessly lurking around on the internet this afternoon I did what so many people do on occasion: started typing in random names, phrases, and words, adding .com afterwards to see if they actually exist. Eventually I typed in Ric Flair’s name and found his personal website, featuring very little other than links to his Facebook, Twitter, and online shop. Curiously, I clicked on his shop and found myself amazed at what he’s selling. Below are the most absurd things he’s hocking online:
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King of the Hill


Why am I enjoying King of the Hill so much? I’ve watching many episodes, mostly in syndication, over the years but lately I’ve been watching them on Netflix and it’s horribly engrossing. I’ve only been to Texas two times and although I didn’t stay around long enough to absorb all of this giant state’s color I feel I got a good feel for what the Lone Star State is like – it’s big, sometimes dirty, and people love Texas. Even though the “Don’t Mess with Texas” slogan was created for an anti-littering campaign it’s become the mantra of Texans; it also aptly describes the state’s population and the characters on King of the Hill.
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The Muppets Get Drunk and Screw

I never saw this before but my girlfriend, who is younger than I am, saw this when she was a kid: it’s The Muppets singing Kokomo by The Beach Boys (and not the good Beach Boys but the lineup with John Stamos). This is pretty funny because Kokomo is about going to a tropical island, getting drunk, and fucking. What? I’m not sure those producing this Muppetastic clip realized what they were doing but thankfully they did, because it’s really funny and a little raunchy.


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Mahna Mahna

A buddy of mine is doing a documentary on PBS and Sesame Street. It made me think of this clip (from The Muppet Show), which he showed me last time he visited. I hadn’t thought about it in years.


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Shark versus Zombie


It’s Shark Week again and idiots thinking a whole week of shark shows on the Discovery Channel is intelligent are enjoying lazy times in front of the boob tube. I am one of those idiots – I always end up watching at least one or two shark shows during Shark Week. While watching a show called Sharkman, where some moron tries to hypnotize a Great White I couldn’t help thinking about the infamous Shark versus Zombie scene from Lucio Fulci’s Zombi 2.

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The Very Best of WCW Monday Nitro


I really never watched WCW back in the ‘90s; I wasn’t really a wrestling fan in the ‘90s. I saw one or two pieces of Nitro and remember seeing Hulk Hogan, sporting that fake black beard and riding a motorcycle, and something else involving the NWO but that’s about it. At that point I watched ECW (if I watched wrestling at all). I personally believed the people walking around in NWO shirts were idiots and professional wrestling was for children and rednecks. I still believe this, even though I’m a fair-weather fan, but there is something more to professional wrestling than steroid fueled muscle heads posing to kiss.
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The Osama Bin Laden Collectors Coin


What better way to celebrate the death of America’s favorite enemy than to buy a $50 coin? I saw this commercial the other day and couldn’t get it out of my head. Normally on this blog I discuss film and television, avoiding commercials, but this is one that I can’t pass up. Here’s the video:


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South Park: Goobacks


I haven’t seen this episode of South Park in a couple years but I always thought it was pretty funny. I’ve thought for a long time – and I’m sure I’m not the only one – that South Park became quite intelligent after its first few seasons, regardless of its crass content. This episode in particular is quite telling since it reflects a sentiment held by many in America today: undocumented aliens, especially Mexicans, are the source of their troubles and a threat. This response isn’t new but I haven’t experienced this kind of fervor in my lifetime and I find it quite disturbing.
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Fresh Air’s Terry Gross Interviewing Kiss’ Gene Simmons


**I feel it’s in the best interest of full disclosure that I admit I have a radio crush on Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.**

I was a Kiss fan for about six week and it was probably because I was going to see them live on their second or third reunion tour (featuring all four original members, especially the horribly drugged out Ace Frehley). I got it out of my system pretty quickly after seeing them live – like going to a circus which is only fun for a few moments. Since then, I think Kiss is pretty stupid. Their songs have no depth; they sing about partying (which is funny because Gene Simmons doesn’t drink or do drugs), screwing over women, being screwed over by women, sex, and cold gin (which is funny, once again, because Simmons abstains from intoxicating substances).
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The Future of Television


In a nutshell, part of the budget reduction plans going through the American government right now involve auctioning off some of the airwaves used by local television stations. According to the website thefutureoftv.org around 1/6th of Americans get their television through free means (which means the other 250 million or so pay for it (like me – a huge schmuck)). Last time I checked the FCC’s job isn’t to sell the public airwaves to private companies so we can lose our access to them; their job is to lease these signals to various companies so they can provide us with entertainment and information – information necessary for a functioning democracy (or republic if you want to get technical).
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Data Raps


A friend of mine showed me this video the other day and it came to mind again a moment ago when I started watching an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation. There is an episode of ST:TNG where Data writes a poem about his cat Spot. If you remember the episode you’ll like this video; if you like Star Trek at all you’ll probably like this video; even if you don’t like rap or hip-hop you’ll like this video. Lord knows I’m not a fan of hip-hop and I was thoroughly amused.


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TNA Wrestling: Destination X 2011


On Sunday evening I went to TNA Wrestling’s pay-per-view extravaganza Destination X, held live at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. I went to one of these years ago and didn’t really have a good time; tonight I had a blast. I’ll be the first to admit professional wrestling is plain stupid but that doesn’t mean it’s without merit. The documentary Beyond the Mat sums it up the best when it states, “professional wrestling is theater at its most base.”
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Star Wars Public Service Announcements


My friend Justin posted a Star Wars PSA on Facebook yesterday and I looked to see if there were more. I found a couple which are featured below. They’re a hoot.
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Lost: Season 2


So season two of Lost has come and gone. What’s amazing is that my girlfriend and I finished it in about a week. That’s right: 24 episodes watched in one week’s time. What, do we not have lives? Yes, we do, but we don’t have much money. However, before moving forward I feel it’s necessary to let you, dear reader, know there are spoilers ahead. Then again, I’m probably the last person on the planet to watch Lost so I doubt I’m spoiling Lost for many people.

Season one ended with the gang opening the hatch; season two ends with the hatch’s status in question. This season we’re also introduced to a few new characters (some of who depart quickly) including Anna Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez). I was told she departed from the show within a season because of a DUI – a shame since her character was really beginning to develop and after watching her in Predators and Machete I believe Rodriguez is a competent action actress. The previous characters are developed further and more sexual tension arises between the island’s passionate trinity – Sawyer, Kate, and Jack.
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Lost: Season one


Whatever you do, don’t’ watch Lost!

After my girlfriend’s mother badgered us relentlessly to watch the show we finally relented and gave in; now we’re addicted. In the last week we’ve watched the entire first season (24 episodes) and are already three episodes into the second. I’m not happy about this.

Here are a few observations I’ve made about the show so far. I feel it’s too soon to determine any of Lost’s subtext so I feel looking at certain aspects of the show is a positive place to start.
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Stick Figure Theater: It’s a Wonderful Life

I know these are lazy posts but here is another Stick Figure Theater video from Liquid Television. This time it’s from the Jimmy Stewart classic It’s a Wonderful Life. I swear I’m writing those other posts. =)

Stick Figure Theater: Night of the Living Dead

I was a youth when Liquid Television appeared on MTV but I did catch it a few times. Aside from the Aeon Flux bits I was always a fan of Stick Figure Theater. Here is a great Stick Figure Theater representation of George A. Romero’s 1968 classic: Night of the Living Dead.

Mildred Pierce

So far, I’m loving Mildred Pierce on HBO.  I really need to get around to posting about some flicks where I have indeed read the book, but here I’m hanging my head in shame again.

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The Ricky Gervais Show

Normally I like to explore a film or television show on my blog but when it comes to The Ricky Gervais Show I don’t really know what to say. It’s an animated version of the podcast featuring Gervais (featured on HBO in the United States), his co-writer on The Office and Extras Stephen Merchant, and Gervais’ original producer on XFM, Karl Pilkington. Realizing the unintentional comedic genius they found, Gervais and Merchant incorporated Pilkington into the show and its pure comic gold. He’s an idiot, but he really isn’t; he’s a genius but he’s also a moron. On his website, Gervais claims:

Karl is one of the smartest people I know. He isn’t what you’d call academic. He hasn’t had a great formal education. But he is smart in other ways. He’s what you’d call streetwise I suppose. He has a great emotional intelligence too.
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Sister Wives

What am I going to do when Big Love ends next week? Where will I get my periodic Mormon polygamist fix? Enter Sister Wives, TLC’s latest reality series about a FLDS (Fundamentalist Latter-Day Saint) polygamist family, the Browns, who live in or near Salt Lake City and have twelve children. The Brown’s patriarch, Kody, has three wives (Meri, Janelle, and Christine) and is a freelance advertising consultant (or something along those lines) who practices plural marriage in a large, yet dismally sparse prefabricated home. Where Big Love is intense, albeit sometimes overdramatic, Sister Wives resembles just about every other reality program on the air; the difference is its subject material.

I am fascinated by Mormon polygamists and have been prior to Big Love’s entrance into HBO’s premier line-up five or six years ago. After reading Jon Krakauer’s book Under the Banner of Heaven I couldn’t help finding their way on life intriguing, not because conversion is even a potentiality but because the mindset necessary is so distant from my own. I have no idea what it would be like having multiple partners at the same time, believing in any form of Mormonism, or living in Utah. It all sounds so unappealing. Beginning, Mormonism is such an odd religion; a newer faith and probably the only religion founded in America, aside from Scientology and various cults (Scientology isn’t a cult?). I personally find their formative story absurd but, like most religions, I’m willing to set aside my personal feelings and not insult a Mormon’s faith, at least to their face. However, where Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, or any other belief structure are unbelievable to me and seem a bit outlandish, Mormonism’s reached a new level of silly – only surpassed by Scientology or maybe some New Age religions. All these faiths place the individual, and their relationship with god, outside the context of the world they inhabit. The planet is secondary to humanity, especially in Western Christianity since the Enlightenment, and this is responsible for our current environmental woes.
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