Saturday, June 5, 2010
First is the casting of Jonah Hill. Hill's a very funny guy, but the role, as scripted, is written as a somewhat uptight rock and roll snob who winds up letting loose. Hill is kind of the antithesis of that, maybe in part because of the baggage he carries from Superbad. He's not bad in the role, but I wonder if the film might have worked better with a dweebier leading man like a Michael Cera or Jay Baruchel.
Second, despite Katherine Heigl's "sexism" shout about Knocked Up, the best Apatovian films distinguish themselves with strong female characters. In particular, while it would have been easy for the title character of Forgetting Sarah Marshall (who makes a very brief appearance) to be a one-dimensional bitch, she winds up being fully formed. Elisabeth Moss seems to be nicely cast as Hill's girlfriend, a medical student who he never sees because of her schedule, but the role is so poorly developed that it can't work, and winds up calling for a naughtiness that she doesn't sell terribly well. Rose Byrne fares better as Jackie Q, Aldous' love interest, particularly by showing impressive singing chops, but the writing fails her, turning her into exactly the one-dimensional bitch that Sarah Marshall wasn't.
There's still a lot of funny stuff, particularly the songs, several of which are co-written by Jason Segel, who gets a "based on characters created by" and an associate producer credit, and a cameo from quite possibly the last journalist you'd expect to see cameoing in an Apatow film. It's also clear that there are probably a lot of very funny alternate takes, improvisations, and deleted material in the vault, as it's clear that the people involved had the time of their life making it. For that reason, wait for DVD.
- Host--I don't watch Dancing with Semi-Famous People, but, by all accounts, Tom Bergeron is among the best in the business at keeping things moving along while still being a pro, and his prior hosting of the Bee has been quite good. Chris Harrison, on the other hand, is not. Understandably, they want a face from one of their shows to serve as a host, but couldn't they have done better? (OK, looking at their schedule, maybe not.) I don't mind Erin Andrews in the Kiss and Cry space, as she's a decent interpersonal presence and fine with human interest stuff (not to mention nice to look at), but she should be paired with someone with a little more background in the Bee.
- Scheduling--A staple of the recent coverage has been the pre-cut clip packages for major spellers. Because of how this year's Bee wound up working out (the relatively lack of people making return trips to the finals, that some favorites went down early), they didn't have pre-cut packages for many of the finalists. Also contributing to the problem is that unlike most sporting events, it's very hard to guess how long the Bee may run (witness the Wipeout filler), and hard to say whether a round is hard or easy, at least once they're off the main word list. Perhaps what they should consider is shifting the Bee schedule a bit, with them completing preliminaries, and then proceeding on Friday till they have completed a round with 20 or fewer left standing. Then, Sunday, starting at 7 EST, we go live on ABC til we have a winner. That lets the spellers rest a little more, which would be well-deserved, and give ABC an extra day to do packages/interviews with any finalists they hadn't done previously.
- Production Values--I admire that they're shooting it in HD and giving it full ESPN treatment, and I appreciate that they aren't putting correct spellings up immediately after Dr. Bailly reads, but giving viewers a chance to play along. However, there's too much split-screening, however, especially on the parents of the finalists--just because you can use a split screen doesn't mean you should. I also don't mind a little gussying-up for TV, but did we need a not-terribly-funny bit from Ferrell and Wahlberg, or the announcers promoing Wipeout, which might be the antithesis of the Bee? (And let us not talk about the bizarro "Do I Have To Spell It Out" musical montage.)
- Setup--At least for the conclusion of the first round, Kiss and Cry was on the stage, which just seems wrong. These are young children, and they should be entitled to a little more privacy after the bell rings, which I'm sure is a very crushing moment. (Though credit to ABC for not forcing folks back to talk to Erin unless they were willing to do so and giving competitors a moment of personal time.)
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wooden built the Pyramid of Success, and assuredly sits at its apex. He was 99.
updated, by Adam: Shonda, Heather, Raf, Cat, and all the Bee veterans, Bee parents and Bee fans who joined us this year -- thank you so much. We've been celebrating these kids for eight years, and am I'm overjoyed by the community we can build here around them and what they can do. It's the insight y'all bring which makes it possible. So thanks for coming, and do stick around -- I'd like to think we've built a fun place for the non-Bee weeks of the year as well.
After being named a Championship Finalist on mid-day Friday, the whirlwind hit. Nerves, joy, exhaustion, exhilaration, fear, disbelief, pinch me-I’m dreaming……and that was just the parents. I’m sure the kids’ feelings were intensified tenfold.
Thursday evening, Scripps held a dinner for the semi-finalists and families and thoroughly explained what Finalists could expect in terms of scheduling for the fortunate spellers that would advance to the ABC Championship finals. So the whirlwind of activity was not a complete surprise. I have to give complete credit to the Scripps officials - they are professionals, well-organized, and go out of their way to ensure that ALL spellers feel like champions, not just the lucky few that advance.
Immediately after the ESPN round finished, the press conference began and the spellers were given a schedule for the rest of the day. The schedule varies slightly each year, depending on whether the finalists will be able to visit the White House. In 2008, the finalists were not able to schedule a visit with the President, so their afternoon schedule went something like this:
3:00 – Press Conference, immediately following ESPN Semi-Finals
3:30 – Snack & debriefing in the Family Room
4:00 – Individual interviews with Scripps PR in preparation for Sat. banquet
4:30 – Hair & Makeup…for the whole family…..parents included!
4:55 – Individual interview with ABC/ESPN hosts (Tim, Paul & Erin in our case)
5:15 - Personal Time & local media interviews
6:30 - Private Dinner for Spellers and Families…security was tight & strictly enforced. Dinner was held in the Family room, and was a nice buffet. Cat was the only person who noticed that the Hyatt Catering staff misspelled “Mediterranean” on the buffet menu …light-hearted moment amidst the stress.
7:30 – Report to the stage. Spellers & families were escorted up to the Ballroom via a huge freight elevator, reserved for high security types, so they did not have to enter in via the main Ballroom.
8:00 – Lights, Camera, Action, Spell!
Here’s wishing all the spellers best of luck tonight, and thanks again to the Scripps staff for giving my family a week full of wonderful memories that will last a lifetime.
"I don't think it's fair that so many got out and some just whooshed along," said 13-year old Elizabeth Platz, as audience members clapped and Kimble attempted a frozen smile. "I'd rather have five finalists than five who didn't deserve it. I think it was unfair."
The 25-word Championship Word List has not always been with us. Until 1999, all spelling in the NationalSpelling Bee was from a single list. Here is a quiz about the Championship Word List:And let's bring in Kennyi Aouad.
1. The 25th word has never been reached. What is the farthest the spellers have ever gone on the list to determine a winner (number of words)?
2. Who is the only pre-seventh grader to spell from the list?
3. Who is the only speller to spell from the CWL twice?
4. Who are the only siblings to spell from the list?
5. Who is the only speller to miss a word on the CWL and come back to win (because his or her opponent also missed)?
I don't know from best, but when I think back on our years of Bee coverage, my favorite speller never to win was Tia Thomas. I loved that she had no poker face -- when the word came out, her eyes told you that that word had no chance against her. And when, once a year, later and later in prime time, she got the one word that she hadn't already mastered, you could see her wobble, flinching as if insulted by a close friend, and it was heartbreaking.
The level of institutional Bee knowledge here today is awesome. Anybody else have a favorite who never wore the crown?
UPDATE: read the comments in this thread for official rules on whether these kids are finalists or semifinalists. However, on ESPN, they did officially refer to them as finalists.
Here are the official rules (reposting them here):
"The semifinals consist of rounds of oral spelling and will likely be concurrent with the competition's live broadcast on ESPN on Friday, June 4. If the ESPN broadcast concludes during a semifinal round, spellers who have not spelled in the round will advance to the championship finals for the conclusion of the last semifinals round.I smell scandal...
The championship finals consist of rounds of oral spelling and are concurrent with the competition's live broadcast on ABC on Friday, June 4, unless the ABC broadcast begins in a round that began during the semifinals. The championship finals will not officially commence until the last semifinals round has concluded, and prizes will be awarded accordingly."
Updated: I went back to review tape. Mary Brooks HEAD JUDGE OF THE BEE said these words: "All of you that are on stage are championship finalists for the ABC Broadcast." Hmm...
Right off the bat, we lose Jeremiah Cortez over “favilla”. After the Neetu excitement, I feel bad for him. We’re all hope springs, change comes, anything is possible…and then he’s out.
A word about these sentences BBC Jacques Bailly is using: they are cute in the extreme and not in a good way. Last year is the only Bee year I have missed so I don’t know what went on then, but when did someone get the idea that to punch up the jokiness of the sentences using the Bee words? Make it stop. Please make it stop.
We lose Anvita Mishra on “nephrocytary”, a word I never want to hear again because it sounds like something scary, a like a sharp instrument a doctor sticks into your nether regions. Then Laura Newcombe is still here after a long debate that led to the spelling of “scrannel”.
“Jehu” takes down Grace Remmer. “Phenazocine” knocks out Vaidya. We lose Aldrin on “chistka”. And now 5 of the first 6 spellers have been eliminated. It’s a blood bath!
Julia Deniss is taken from us, struck down by “poilu”, a soldier in the French army. Merriam Webster shows this word as deriving from poilu meaning hairy. Makes me wonder just how hairy those French soldiers got.
Finally! With “villicus”, Adrian Gunawan advances to prime time. And that’s what this round is really all about, is it not? Getting on to prime time. At least that’s what the announcers keep saying. As if this were not a competition for spelling greatness. As if this was some kind of pageant. This is spelling. This is hard core. They’d spell with or without the cameras.
We lose Gina Lu on “Guarnerius” which is both a fancy violin and the name of the family that made the fancy violin.
Lanson Tang (that name is good, it rolls off the tongue) spells “rhabdomyoma” like it was “cat” and strides back to his seat. He’s in the finals. Elizabeth Platz is through on “matsutake.”
Neetu is back up to spell. “Apogalacteum” takes her down -- AGAIN. It’s over for her. It’s done. Second chance didn’t mean anything changed.
10 year old Arvin Mahankali might be the most adorable little kid in the competition. He’s tiny and cute and talks with a 40 year old’s weariness in a baby’s voice. Love him. And...he's gone.
Will none of my favorites survive?
WHAT? They’re shutting it down! Mid-round! Every speller on the stage is now a championship finalist! What?
I think the decision was made because we were losing spellers left and right. The blood bath was rolling on and there was a serious concern that we would not have any spellers left for the finals.
10 Spellers in the Finals. 5 boys, 5 girls.
Sage Steele is hosting with Paul Loeffler, 1990 Bee finalist, returning for color commentary. In handicapping the favorites, Loeffler mentions Tim Ruiter and Canadian Laura Newcombe.
Mary Brooks is looking snazzy in a black glittery jacket, and introduces the first speller, Rory O'Donoghue from Fairbanks, Alaska. He goes down on "ostrichism."
I admire Dr. Bailly's ability not to crack up when he is reading the pithy sentences written to illustrate the meaning of the word. "Nepenthe" takes Anjali Nair of Arizona out.
Esther Park correctly spells "scholium," bringing us to Brandon Whitehead from California, who plans to participate in the AARP Spelling Bee later in life. He correctly spells "aleatoric."
Super-tall Jeremiah Cortez approaches the mike next. He's one of those eighth-graders who looks like he's 22. The judges want to ensure that he's pronouncing the end of "consuetude" correctly. He is, and he also spells it correctly.
"Diaphanie" seems to shake Anvita Mishra up a bit -- she begins to spell and then stops, asking for more information. She finally spells it correctly, and finishes with a "Yes!"
Commercial break, promising Canadians and Erin Andrews after the break!
Thursday, June 3, 2010
I was Googling today to see if I could find any photos from the event, and though I was unsuccessful, I did find a link to this in the online archives of President Ronald Reagan:
So select two spellers, only one of whom can be one of the three who competed in primetime last year (Tim Ruiter, Anamika Veeramani and Neetu Chandak). You will get one point for each word your spellers correctly spell during tomorrow's rounds of the Bee, which resumes at 10am on ESPN. Most points wins; tiebreaker will be whoever has the individual speller going the furthest. While individual spellers can be used more than once, you cannot repeat the same pairing that someone else has already submitted. First come, first served, and the pool will close when the kids start spelling tomorrow morning.
Previous pool winners are Elicia Chamberlin (Close/Hooks), Professor Jeff and Amy (O'Dorney & Thomas/Horton), KJ in 2008 (Mishra/Shivashankar) and Cagey (Shivashankar/Pastapur) last year.
Since it's my blog, I go first, and I'm taking four-timer Neetu Chandak and Canada's Laura Newcombe. Every other pair is up for grabs. Also, a reminder below the fold:
Of the foreigners, only Tom Winter from New Zealand, Sonia Schlesinger of Japan, Laura Newcombe of Canada and Owayne Rodney of Jamaica remain. All four of them were impressive today.
It's going to take me some time to go through and read about all of these kids. Off the bat, I personally like Michaela Minock of Chicago mainly because in her bio, she states that her true passion is dance. Gina Liu from Charleston, Illinois is a violinist and oboist who creates stop-motion animations in her spare time. I love the well-rounded kids. They make me feel better about the time they spend spelling words alone in a room.
Wanna know more but feel too impatient to wait for me to read up? Stop by here and check the spellers out.
- buh-juh-TERR-ee: why there's only one Canadian here.
- AM-uh-tyoor, AM-uh-tuhr, AM-uh-chur: someone who's not serious about winning.
- REH-juh-mehn: what you need to be serious about winning.
- suh-BATT-uh-kuhl: what you may want from school for the final weeks of training, except for Rule 1, Clause 8.
- TOO-tuh-lihj, TYOO-tuh-lehj: having Kavya as a big sister at the Bee.
- SUHR-uh-guht: sending your big sister Kavya to spell a word for you at the Bee.
- AHB-stuh-kuhl: not having Kavya as your big sister at the Bee.
- uhn-uh-KWIV-uh-KULL: what your decisions at the Bee have to be.
- TA-siht: the understanding that you have with your family that if the Bee doesn't work out, you're seeing To Fly! at the Air and Space IMAX tomorrow.
- uh-GAYP: what your mouth will be when you see To Fly! at the Air and Space IMAX tomorrow.
- ihn-GRAY-shee-ait: what you can try to do with Dr. Jacques Bailly, not that it will work.
- ann-uhk-DOTE-uhl: "So, Dr. Jacques, I head this story about you that one time ..."
- KALL-uhs: "I did not like your story. Go away."
- PEH-nuhns: What else should I be? All apologies.
- REH-fyoos: that wretched stuff teeming at your shores.
- TEH-tuh-nuhs: the shot you'll need if you step into a sharp or jagged piece of REH-fyoos.
- reh-MITT-uhns: "Mom, dad, I'm kinda in a jam here ..."
- LIM-uh-rihk: A five line poem regarding male natives of a Massachusetts island.
- puh-suh-LAN-uh-muhs: scaredy-cat.
- TAHK-suhn: an alarm bell
- suh-NOFF-uh-luhst: dog lover.
- eye-so-KRIME, eye-so-KRIHM: a line connecting places which are as cold as each other.
- mih-suh-NEE-iz-uhm: a hatred or intolerance of something new or changed
- buhl-VEHR-suh-mahn: overturning, reversal.
- uh-PAHL-yuhn, uh-PAHL-ee-uhn: the devil, Kevin!
A question, concern, moment of confusion: There’s a complicated scoring system too hard to explain here (okay not really: Kids take a written exam worth up to 25 points, Round 2 is worth 3 points and Round 3 is worth 3 points making the highest score a kid can get 31 points) but what concerns me is the following rule as quoted from the Bee website: “Immediately after the conclusion of Round Three, Bee officials determine Semifinalists on the basis of points earned in the Preliminaries. No more than 50 spellers will be named Semifinalists.” But what if more than 50 Spellers get a high score? Has it ever happened? What do they do then?
Right now the Californians are spelling. I’m a bit saddened to see that Emma Finch of Salinas, CA could not spell the simple Sound of Music word “edelweiss” – a mistake that will likely haunt her for years to come.
updated: Well, Destiny Su'a knows her cedilla-marked Indianapolis Colts WRs. Jeremiah Cortez was not shang-HIDE by his word, and Anvita Mishra can take her buh-ROOK-see for a walk this afternoon. Thus far, seems like a slightly tougher round. Three words that anyone should be able to get -- those two and day-TAHNT -- but the rest, yeah, you better have studied. ESPN3 has live video here. (Adam)
Update 1:52 pm: Let’s chat about the foreigners. Or to be more precise, the contestants coming in from foreign countries. I’ve already discussed Owayne from Jamaica. But there is also Sonia Ann Schlesinger who came in from Tokyo, Japan. According to her bio, last year when she competed, she was living in DC. Which means that not even a move halfway around the world could deter her Bee-training. She’s adorably cute and I am already a fan. We also have Destiny Su’a from American Samoa, Yelena Persaud from the Bahamas, Jacky Kun Qiao from China, Alyssa Bonisa who is listed as being from “Europe” – which is like saying Vanya Shivashankar (my personal favorite and yeah I’m biased because she was adorably cute when we met her at age 5 as the sister of a champion and also because she is the competition’s youngest speller this year at age 8) is from North America. There’s Tom Winter from New Zealand and Hyunsoo Kim from South Korea, Carmi Thomas from the Virgin Islands and oh yes, the lone Canadian Laura Newcombe. Are there no Bees in their countries, no place for them to hoist a trophy and let their geek flag fly? Is that why they come? Whatever the reason, I always welcome them. And now I have to go look up the definition for "zeitgeber" which sounds vaguely dirty but I'm sure is not. (Shonda)
Update 2:47 pm: Ooooh, THAT is what they look like! (Thanks to my trusty assistant Miguel who is clearly far smarter than I am, I finally have ESPN 3 going on in my office.) Can I just pause to say that Olivia Jacobs from Martha’s Vineyard is the Julia Roberts of the competition? Terribly gorgeous and intriguing? Her word was “errhine” which is defined as “promoting or inducing nasal discharge.” And Noah Gershenson, who just misspelled “superaurale” is a little Brad Pitt with long luxurious hair hiding half of his face. When did spellers get so stunning? How did this become America’s Next Top Spellers?
Hold up. Did Bossy But Cute Jacques Bailly just use the words "match.com" when he put "mandir" in a sentence? BBC Jacques acknowledging the existence of match.com? What is going on?! (Shonda)updated, 3:36 pm: Balderdash, round 3 part 1: moquette (“a small often rounded mass consisting usually of minced tofu or tempeh coated with egg and bread crumbs and deep-fried”); quersprung (“to have been featured in the Kirby Dick documentary Outrage”); crebrity (“one whose celebrity status is credible”); and slurvian (“someone who’s had too much to drink to speak clearly.”)
Round 3, part two is live. (Adam B)
updated, 5:03 p.m. Want to know which kid's receiving the most animus right now? Walter Francis, who just got "animus". Other fortunate ones late in round three: pro-SHOOT-oh, mar-uh-SHEEN-oh, and, of course, shah-den-FROYD-uh. (Adam B)
Updated, 5:27 p.m.: Don't turn around, Kyle Wolford, DON'T TURN AROUND. Uh oh. (Isaac)
- Matthew Luczaj (anyone with a TV -- is this pronounced LOOCH-zai?)
- Mael Le Scouezec
- Alyssa Szczypien
- Zaib Qayyum
The competitors are guaranteed two turns before the microphone today, and if it's like last year expect the morning to be hi mom and dad! I totally spelled this word! and the afternoon (which will be broadcast online at ESPN3 starting at 1:15p eastern) will do more to sort out the less-than-50 semifinalists from the pack.
The Bee's website and Twitter feed promises results as they happen, with AP writer Joseph White and the WaPo's Dan Steinberg expected to be tweeting from the room. We'll be updating this post as the morning progresses.
update, 8:34am: It's on! Ms. Black must feel some sense of seh-run-DIHP-uh-tee to have found such a fitting word, and the kids are 40/44 thus far. (Adam)
update 8:45 a.m.: With my own paper’s kid out in the preliminaries, I’m rooting for Esther Park of Little Rock. And amused she got “POS-um.” I wonder if the political crowd in Arkansas still gets together for their annual POS-um supper? (No, really, it’s a big event). (TPE)
update, 10 a.m.: 152 spellers so far, 137 spelling correctly. Vanya Shivashankar claims a +3, suggesting that no one is forcing yooth-uhn-AY-zhuh on her hopes just yet. (Adam)
Update 10:10 a.m.: It’s so rare that there is a word I’d actually nail, I was sorry to see J.R. Gomoll miss tra-tuh-REE-ah. Is tra-tuh-REE-ah number ten still there in Chicago? (TPE)
Update, 10:30 a.m.: Balderdash time: manciple ("a principle of conduct adhered to by dudes"), parvitude ("a state of being an exceptional manipulator and endurance challenge warrior on a reality tv competition"); gymkhana ("a new form of fighting involving 1984 Olympian Kurt Thomas and ... something Hindu something"); and huckaback ("supporter of an amiable fringe candidate"). (Adam)
Update, 10:43 a.m.: More Balderdash: metagnomy ("a state in which the short stature and brutish irritability of a character is a reference to or metaphor for the short stature and brutish irritability of the author"). (Isaac)
Update, 10:46 a.m.: Liner notes: hooray for the Decemberists ("picaresque") and Jack White ("raconteur"); boo for Simon & Garfunkel ("philippic"). (Isaac)
Update 11:16 a.m. More Balderdash (from the blog stylebook): premorse (“the emotion of grief one has when one learns that someone, whom you had assumed died years ago, has just now died.” e.g., TPE felt premorse when he heard of the well-beyond timely passing of Art Linkletter, whom he could not fathom was still alive.) (TPE)
Update, 11:33 a.m.Round 2 is complete; the spellers will be back at 1:15 p.m., and live on ESPN3 (online). We'll see what we can make of this round, and find out if Tim Ruiter enjoyed a cah-nuh-PAY at lunch. (Adam)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
Rather than being tethered to a desk, Conan walked around the stage, enjoyed vodka and wine, did scripted comedy bits, shot the breeze with his guests and Andy, and played guitar and sang (no band joined him tonight, though Max Weinberg came out from backstage to play drums on "The Weight," the show's encore). Contrast with Jay Leno, who, if you had the unfortunate experience of viewing the earliest episodes of The Jay Leno Show, seemed utterly lost without a desk save for during the monologue. I'm wondering if Conan may try and discard things like the desk and the couch, which have been staples of talk shows for so long, and try something altogether different. I'll say that this show made me very interested to see what he has planned next. Will I watch Coco every night? No. Do I think he could do something very interesting and different with a show? Absolutely.
Well, he just turned 49 in April and ... Eddie Murphy says he's preparing to return to standup comedy, as he discussed with Ellen DeGeneres. "Within the last six months or so, I started getting an itch to do it again. I started writing stuff... I was like, 'I could go and do 15, 20 minutes right now. Maybe in a couple of months I'll start working out again.' But it'll take a year before I'm ready to go on the road... It's gonna take at least a year to get the rust off -- 20 years of rust."
added: You can read about the Jamaican championship here, and his local paper has profiled Rodney as well, including a video feature below the fold:
Today I went into my usual Starbucks and it was playing a woman's falsetto reggae version of Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight." I guess the best gifts are precious because they're rare.
So don't leak it to us. Competitors will receive one point for each word spelled correctly of the 25, and then tomorrow each gets two trips to the microphone worth three points each, and if it's like last year it's one round of smiling and success in front of the parents (posts 1, 2) and then something of an abattoir of young hopes. From there, "Spellers' scores are plotted on a chart. Beginning at 31 on the chart, spellers at each consecutive scoring level are added until a sum of no more than 50 spellers has been attained. All remaining spellers are eliminated. All spellers eliminated prior to the semifinals are tied for the same place."
In the meantime, from the archives are our summaries of the 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009 written/computerized rounds for your amusement. And one more coverage note: we're thrilled to share the news that 2008 finalist Cat Cojocaru will be back again to lend her insight this week.
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Also, a note on a rather interesting rule change: as opposed to previous years in which all 22 Canadian regional winners qualified for the Scripps National Bee, for 2010 only the Canadian national champion will compete in Washington. You can read about Laura Newcombe's journey to her second Canspell title here, but the sad part for regular readers of our coverage is that it means an end to one of our favorite traditions, the annual Canadian Bloodbath Round -- whichever rounds sees the most of our NttN fall, a round we've described in the past as:
"The worst Canadian disaster since Glass Tiger broke up," "the worst Canadian disaster since Thicke of the Night," "must be like what it was like when the Quebec Nordiques and Winnipeg Jets left the country," "like when Neil Young moved to Topanga Canyon," "like when Vince Carter started mailing it in so that he could get traded to New Jersey" and "like Eric Lindros insisting to the Nordiques that he wanted to play for the Flyers," "the worst day for ONttN this year, even more so than Steven Page's leaving Barenaked Ladies" and of which Shonda said in 2008:
"The Canadians fall, the Canadians fall, the Canadians fall like trees. It's a Spelling Bee Battle Field -- these poor Canadians rushing to the microphone only to be beaten back with a horrifying ding. Were they not prepared for the rigors of TV? The joy of ESPN? Because these words did not seem particularly hard to me. But just like that, we have lost SIX CANADIANS IN A ROW. ALL THE CANADIANS ARE GONE. It's tragic. Oh, Canada..."
Monday, May 31, 2010
It's not unlike watching those old black and white silent films from the 1910s, in that you know you are watching something influential and groundbreaking for its time, but its innovations have so much become a part of the culture and improved upon in the mean time that it is almost tedious to watch in its first incarnation.As a special anniversary treat, Andy Denhart publishes the actual Survivor rules for the first time. It's fascinating.
The stereotype that emphatically fits Tim — as well as nearly everyone else at the bee — is the one that can't be avoided: the nerd factor.
The nerd issue came up recently when Tim, filling out a questionnaire for the bee, wrote down Spock from "Star Trek" as his role model.
"We were like, 'You can't put that down, people are going to think you're a nerd,'" Jon Ruiter said. "And he said, 'Helloooo.'"
"He said, 'I'm in the National Spelling Bee. I'm already not cool, OK? There's my nerd factor already,'" Vicki Ruiter said.
However, even nerd-dom can go too far. Last year, Tim wrote in his bio that he does an impersonation of the unusual character Gollum from "Lord of the Rings." Even though his father says the portrayal is "spot on," Tim looks thoroughly embarrassed and sits silently when the subject is broached.
The question I have is are there similar actors in the U.S. who are so identified with a single role that we can't see them elsewhere without that coming to mind? The closest I can think of is David Schwimmer, who, in his brief appearance in Band of Brothers, far removed in time and place from Friends, never manages to be anything other than Ross Geller (oddly, not all the Friends fell victim to this--Matthew Perry and Lisa Kudrow in particular have shown decent range).
Third, because of the East/West divide introduced into the show this year (paralleling the real-life Midland/Odessa divide that's a big part of the original book), the show has found a new way to explore issues of race and class. Now, such issues have typically been the domain of HBO (particularly the David Simon shows), though they find their way on to networks from time to time (Izzie's background on Grey's, Foreman's backstory on House, and some very mild stuff on Good Wife), but rarely in such depth. Credit is also due to the FNL crew for doing it without beating any political message over our head (though I understand there's some pretty expressly political stuff, albeit not on the race/class front, coming down the pike). And, as always, really nice work from Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton is just anchoring the show.