Saturday, May 13, 2006
Among his other credits? The strummy guitar character themes from Felicity, the whispered "Go now, go now!" that began My So-Called Life, the distinctive quick blues-y guitar chords that marked another episode of Sports Night, as well as themes and/or scores for Thirtysomething, Once and Again, The Wonder Years, and I'll Fly Away. He's won 13 straight BMI TV Music Awards, including the lifetime achievement award. There are many things I'll miss about not having new West Wing to watch any more. Not hearing his scores is near the top of the list. The good news is that Walden will be among the TWW alums joining Studio 60. Personally, I can't wait to hear what he comes up with.
Friday, May 12, 2006
So go ahead and pick your favorite examples of episodes, plots, quotes -- from Two Cathedrals to Sam Seaborn's agonizing over a pardon to a scene that ends with the four words "Because I could die" -- from the times when Aaron Sorkin tugged you some place special.
You might enjoy this resource.
Looking at the top 20, the boys' names are fairly static. The only name new to the top 20 this year is Jonathan, coming in at #19. Dylan, last year's #19, is out of the top 20. And there was no movement whatsoever among the top 7: Jacob, Michael, Joshua, Matthew, Ethan, Andrew, and Daniel.
Not so much movement among the girls' names as between last year and this year, either. The big news is Ava, which leapt from #25 last year to a red-hot #9 this year. The only other name new to the top 20 is Mia at #17. Dropping from the top 20 are Lauren and Kayla, last year's #16 and #18, respectively. Emily, Emma, and Madison remain the top 3 girls' names for a third consecutive year.
Of course, the real entertainment value of the list lies less in monitoring the top 10-20 names than in watching the trajectory of individual names over time and assessing whether a particular name has jumped the shark or will have jumped the shark by the time one's wee offspring hits the first grade. Have fun.
- Mondays---8 PM, "Friday Night Lights" (to get the football fans), 9 PM, "The Black Donnellys," 10 PM, "ER"
- Tuesdays-- 8 PM, "Heroes," 9 PM, "The Singles Room," 9:30 PM, "Untitled Tina Fey," 10 PM "Law and Order: SVU"
- Wednesdays--8 PM, "Deal or No Deal," 9 PM, "Kidnapped," 10 PM, "Law and Order"
- Thursdays--8 PM, "My Name Is Earl," 8:30 PM, "20 Good Years," 9 PM, "The Office," 9:30 PM, "Scrubs," 10 PM, "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip"
- Fridays--8 PM "Raines," 9 PM "Medium," 10 PM, "Law and Order: CI"
- Midseason replacements on the bench: "Crossing Jordan," "Conviction," "Dateline," "The Apprentice: LA."
I really think that Thursday lineup from 9 on could be NBC's best shot at regaining its prior glory, and I think they're insane if they don't try "Friday Night Lights" on Monday.
I actually just wanted to take a moment to offer up a little bit of praise for two scenes from the season's final two episodes. #2 is Rory's goodbye to Logan. Say what you want about the Sherman-Palladinos' lead foot this season, but they do know their stuff when it comes to capturing the hyperdramatic angst of being a college girl in love. #1 actually came last week, when Lorelai finally realized why Emily and Richard had been skulking around Stars Hollow secretly meeting with real estate agents. The scene was one of those heart-wrenching Emily-Lorelai moments that, while doled out sparingly, hit the mark every time. Especially Lorelai's reaction.
So go ahead, Amy and Dan, blow up Gilmore Girls and run for the hills. I can't stand Lorelai and Luke together anyway. Let's just hope that the Klum-stalker has a little of the magic pixie dust lurking somewhere within.
- First of all, this is sort of interesting. Note the latitude and longitude coordinates.
- Here's a nice long bit of reading about all things Dharma-related.
- Suzanne Ryan over at the Boston Globe's TV blog points out an interesting tidbit that I'd missed: in the Swan station's orientation video, one of the narrator's arms appears to be fake or dysfunctional, the film is dated 1985, and it was shot in black and white. In the Pearl station's video, the same narrator seems to have two working arms, and the video is dated 1980, but it's in color. (Also -- and this is the only part of this that I can actually take credit for thinking up -- wasn't this week's orientation video in VHS format, versus an actual reel-to-reel film for the Swan one?) The narrator also introduces himself by two different names in the orientation films -- Mark Wickmund vs. Marvin Candle. (Does anyone still have "Orientation" saved on their TiVo to confirm all this?)
If anyone's found any other entertaining minutiae, pass it along as we get ourselves revved up for the final three hours of the season.
Thursday, May 11, 2006
80. Marzipander to our marziphantasies! Your marzipanoramic marzipanoply should include marzipansies, a marzipanzer, marziPeter Pan, a marzipanda, a marzipangolin, a marziPan paniscus, marzipanpipes, a marzipancreas, a marzipanther, and marzipots and pans, but should by no means create marzipandemonium. Presenter must be suitably attired in marzipants. [23 points]
94. An Obama-signed Obama sign. A Keyes-signed Keyes sign. An Obama-signed Keyes sign. A Keyes-signed
Obama sign. [2 points; 2 points; 4 points; 4 points]
124. Who wears short shorts? Why, tenured faculty members, of course! [10 points]
167. Hostess Pie ads featuring the characters and styles of the following: Neil Gaiman's Sandman, Alan
Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Art Spiegelman's Maus, and Frank Miller's Sin City.
Mmmm, pies. [5 points per ad]
211. That's a hell of a book, Dr. Seuss. What do you call it? "The Aristocrats!" [12 points]
Past lists going back to 1987 are available here, but go find us some more goodies for 2006.
More in the comments.
All live in shelters now, enjoy constant medical attention and, on weekends, stroll into town to take in the sights. "Nukak life is hard in the jungle," Dr. Maldonado said. "You wake up thinking about food and you go hunt, you go search for nuts. So when they see us they think their food problems are over."
That is not to say the Nukak do not have plans.
Ma-be explained that the idea is to grow plantains and yucca and take the crops to town. "We can exchange it for money," he said, "and exchange the money for other things."
With this passage from the Simpsons episode Boy Scoutz 'N the Hood:
[Homer searches under the couch for a peanut]
Homer: Hmm . . . ow, pointy! . . . Eww, slimy . . . . Oh, moving! . . . . Ah-ha! [finds twenty dollar bill, then says remorsefully:]
Homer: Aw, twenty dollars . . . but I wanted a peanut!
Homer's Brain: Twenty dollars can buy many peanuts!
Homer: Explain how!
Homer's Brain: Money can be exchanged for goods and services.
Relatedly, the Flinstones meet Alloy Entertainment.
Edited to add: Apparently a few of you can't access Maxim Online at work, so until you get home, here is the list: 1. Dusty Baker; 2. Ron Gardenhire; 3. Mike Hargrove; 4. Buddy Bell; 5. Bob Melvin.
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
One episode, two hours to go, and they've never had a bad finale. Even in the season we'll pretend never happened. So even if your attention has lagged a bit over the past few months, come back next Wednesday.
But there are certainly things to like, and like them I do. Sloane's conversations, although a rather hackneyed technique in the abstract, do solve the customary "what the hell is he thinking and are they ever going to tell us?" Sloane problem that we've suffered through for nearly five seasons. It's also always nice to see a couple of folks from the good old days. (Even though Mr. Cosmo told me the other day that all TV stubble is apparently fake stubble concocted with glue and dyed sawdust, or something like that, which has seriously damaged my affection for certain permashadowed television characters.) And Cartagena is awfully nice this time of year.
I, in my eternal Alias optimism, feel that we're well positioned for a blowout last three hours of one of my all-time favorite shows. I will maintain this view unless and until I'm proven wrong. Let's hope I'm not proven wrong, eh?
(Tentative rules for this year: select three spellers, at least one of whom must be a first-timer and only one of whom can be a 4x entrant or higher, and you get one point for every word spelled correctly in the oral rounds. As always, eternal fame and glory are your sole prizes.)
Tuesday, May 9, 2006
Well, probably not Charlie Sheen.
I think things ended up okay, especially given the Levy film roles we presumably would have missed had he taken this job . . .
Elliott: Always on My Mind
Taylor: Jailhouse Rock
Daughtry: A Little Less Conversation
And while we're at it, what's your favorite Elvis song? I'm kind of partial to Burning Love, myself.
(Feel free to use this thread for post-AI reflections as well, including your thoughts as to who should make the final three based on the strength of their entire oeuvre.)
Things I enjoyed about this week's Grey's Anatomy:
- The actual storyline. Big-haired southern family was great, particularly mama of big-haired southern mama-to-be. This is twice that GA has gotten me crying with the mother-daughter speeches (the other one being the mother giving her teenage daughter a speech about what to do after the mother dies of cancer, back a few weeks ago). What's with this show and the mother-daughter speeches? Do they not know that they make pregnant mothers of Cosmo Girls weep in front of their TVs?
- Izzie and Meredith in the bathroom discussing life, the universe, and everything whilst white-stripsing their teeth and plucking their eyebrows, respectively.
- Christina in a punchy mood. Particularly the cheerleading before the arrival of the ambulances. Self-explanatory.
- Cranky imperfect jealous McDreamy. He's being violently unfair to Meredith, in my view, but it's much more McHuman than his usual toothy-grinned McPerfectness.
- Meredith not backing down in the face of cranky imperfect jealous McDreamy.
- McVet's "scary and damaged" speech.
- Callie. I don't like Callie. I'm sorry. It's not her fault. I think I just have a thing about Sara Ramirez. I didn't like Spamalot, didn't particularly care for A Class Act. She just doesn't do anything for me, and I just don't care about the character or her weird living arrangements. I do, however, think that the Callie Peeing scene was magnificently played by all three parties involved. (But dude, you know your boyfriend lives in a house with two women -- why would you assume that no one was home in the morning and that it was therefore not worth throwing a t-shirt on before wandering off to the bathroom? Seriously.)
- McVet. I like McVet as a character, but thus far he's being treated the same way as Patricia Clarkson was handled during the first season of Murder One -- the significant other outside the scope of the "real story" whose air time is limited to a one-on-one scene at the end of every episode. I realize that as a non-Seattle Grace employee, he's unlikely to show up at the hospital and start horse-birthing in the middle of a surgical floor, but still. He at least needs to make an appearance at the bar or the house or something.
The last couple of episodes have felt a little disjointed to me, so here's hoping that next week's big three-hour finale (two of which hours fall on my birthday, which is a pleasant treat) is an epic blowout worthy of the show at its deeply enjoyable best!
Monday, May 8, 2006
So whether your thing was the Peters Projection Map, the rules of presidential succession or Qumari politics, this thread is open for all discussion of the times that the show got the politics right and made wonky stuff interesting and cool . . . or for reminding everyone when the show got things wrong.
You're President Josiah Bartlet. It's your last day in office. Do you pardon Toby Ziegler, commute his sentence, or do nothing? (As a viewer, what would you like to see happen, as as a student of the show, what do you expect?)
Odd that for the penultimate episode, there was no Jed and no Josh, but for those who demanded one last C.J.-centric hour, well, there you are. (And in this light, are you happy about the flash-forward which started the season, or is the connecting of the dots just not that interesting?)
Does there come a time when one is Too Old To Rock, or are you fully encouraging of such developments?
Sunday, May 7, 2006
Ultimately, though, I'm guessing the most important conversation of the week was one Carmela had at the Festival. Who broke up with who when, Tony?
edited to add: Sepinwall's take: "Over the years, people have complained that this show glamorizes the mob. Whether you buy that or not, David Chase and company are making sure to clean up any mess on the way out the door. These guys have always been pathetic, selfish losers, a fact being hammered home more than ever. . . . All these characters are on a ride, all right, but it's not a roller-coaster with dips and curves and loops. It's the baggage carousel at the airport, and they just keep going around and around in circles, seeing the same disappointed faces as they pass, waiting for someone or something to take them somewhere interesting. Pretty soon, that ride's going to crash just like those teacups at the St. Elzear feast, and when it does, the damage is going to be a lot worse than a kid with a bloody mouth."