Saturday, May 22, 2010

HEY, HEY, DON'T YOU WALK AWAY FROM ME. YOU DON'T KNOW WHO YOU'RE DEALING WITH. DON'T EVER TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO, EVER. THIS IS DESTINY. THIS IS DESTINY. THIS IS MY DESTINY. I'M SUPPOSED TO DO THIS, DAMMIT. DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T DO. DON'T TELL ME WHAT I CAN'T... Unlike ER, The West Wing and The Sopranos, we haven't endeavored to do full team retrospective coverage of Lost in anticipation of the finale with all sorts of lists the way we've done before. For me, at least, the nature of the mystery-filled plot makes me feel like I can't fully evaluated the show's greatness until it's all over and (mostly?) explained, until it's clear how much of this was conceived as a whole piece (or at least skillfully retrofitted with the early clues) as opposed to a jerry-built mishmosh for which some of the pieces never truly fit. (Hurleybird, anyone?)

That said, when you take a look at this list of top 50 unanswered questions from the end of season two or this list of 100 from April 2009, I'm actually pretty confident that remaining questions worth answering will largely be resolved, and that Damon and Carlton will take care of the audience in the end. Maybe even WAAAALLLLT! too.

As you prepare for tomorrow night's finale -- and do review Isaac's 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2010 summaries when you have a moment -- how about we just delight in listing all the little things about this show which have entertained us, moved us, surprised us or made us smile since Jack Shephard woke up in a field of bamboo. I'll start with a few:
  • Dharma sharks
  • The Pierre Chang orientation videos
  • "The Constant" and "The Variable"
  • The reveal at the end of "Walkabout"
  • "Kate, you're not my type."
  • Not Penny's Boat
  • "Dude, you've got some ... Arzt ... on you."
Your turn.

added: Before this season started, we opened a Final Season Prediction Pool, with questions ranging from "Who are Adam and Eve?" to whether the Kwons or Humes would live happily ever after to identifying three characters who would die this season -- and a lot of you named Sayid. Your answers are compiled here.

Friday, May 21, 2010

MY LITTLE PONY GONE BAD: In things nearly as disturbing as the London Olympic Mascots, I give you 55 Bad Unicorn Tattoos. (HT: Jezebel)
GOT A POCKETFUL OF QUARTERS:As Google's (playable!) logo reminds us today, it's the 30th anniversary of Pac-Man. Let's remember with Buckner and Garcia.
IF WE DON'T GET SATISFACTORY ANSWERS IT WILL BE DAMON AND CARLTON'S FAAAAAAAAAUUUUUUUUUUUUULT: One thing that frustrates me about the end of Lost is a key mystery that I doubt will be resolved yet isn't on the level of mere trivia: What is so special about Walt Lloyd?
MS. KLUGH: How old was he when he started speaking?

MICHAEL: I, he...

MS. KLUGH: Did he have any illnesses growing up? Headaches? Fainting spells?

MICHAEL: What? No! I don't -- I wasn't there. He was half way around the world. Why are you asking me all these questions?

MS. KLUGH: Did Walt ever appear in a place he wasn't supposed to be? You say he was half way around the world -- did you see him?
However mythic and sci-fi the island itself and the phenomena on it are, the people on it are recognizably human with two exceptions: Desmond, with his time flashes and imperviousness to electromagnetic radiation, and Walt, who can do this:

We are told that Jacob wanted him on the island. We see him luring an Australian bronze cuckoo to its death. We know that he's the one the Others wanted to take from the raft:
MR. FRIENDLY: Just sit down, Jack. Nobody's going to hurt you. I come in peace.

LOCKE: How do you know our names? [Mr. Friendly just smiles.]

JACK: You took Walt.

MR. FRIENDLY: Walt's fine. He's a very special boy.
But why? Why did Walt seem to understand the island so soon? Why did he warn Locke about opening the hatch before Walt knew it existed? Why did he appear to both Locke and Shannon as a vision? What is the nature of his gift? Of all the unanswered questions, it is the disappearance of Walt from the final story which frustrates me the most. Clearly, there was at one point a plan for Walt, but it certainly seems to have been abandoned. A nudge towards an answer to all this is something I'd like Sunday night to complete the series.

The thing is, we're going to have to take the boy.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

MEKKA LEKKA HI, MEKKA CHANY HO: The live Pee Wee's Playhouse revival is coming to Broadway this fall.
UP OR DOWN, IN OR OUT: There've been times that Grey's Anatomy has worked spectacularly well, and there've been times when it hasn't. Tonight's finale was decidedly the former, despite one moment that violated the "show, don't tell" principle (which I'll talk about in the comments). And Ron Butterfield and Graham Chase in the same episode is always going to be appreciated in these parts. There's much to discuss, but out of courtesy to those on the West Coast and those who are watching on DVR, let's keep it in this thread rather than the earlier thread, OK?

ETA: Shonda speaks (at much greater length than she does in our comments), including discussion of the first draft of the script, in which another character got shot, and a brief description of 18 minutes that were apparently cut and will appear on the DVD.
HARD DRIVER OVERLOAD: Now that all 5 networks have announced (the CW's schedule is boring, aside from the happy news that they're moving Life Unexpected to Tuesdays at 9, where, at least in the fall, the only other non-reality options are NCIS: LA and a pair of new Fox comedies), time to start figuring out the DVR dilemmas for the fall, and it looks like every night at 8 offers interesting choices (while 10 PM is something of a wasteland, particularly on Wednesday, with all three networks trying to launch new legal dramas).
  • Monday (Chuck v. HIMYM/Rules of Engagement v. Dancing With The Stars v. House v. 90210)--Chuck obviously gets top priority, but those with dual tuners have a tougher call. HIMYM has had an off season this year, and pairing it with the execrable Rules of Engagement isn't a plus. Given that it streams the following day, while you have to wait a week and a day for Hizzy on Hulu (due to the USA repeat contract, I believe), House may dislodge HIMYM from priority on the DVR. (And the news that we'll be Thirteen-free for a chunk of the season is nothing but goodness.) My understanding is that 90212.0 got much better this season with a new showrunner, but dropped the nostalgia elements that were likely this audience's primary interest, and are dropping adults pretty much entirely.
  • Tuesday (Biggest Loser v. No Ordinary Family v. NCIS v. Glee v. One Tree Hill)--Again, this is a battle for second priority after Glee. NCIS will assuredly rule the roost in total viewers in the fall at least, but given that half the cast is still negotiating and the show works because of the easy chemistry between the cast, I may drop it for Ordinary Family. I'm surprised the CW is sticking One Tree here, given that it and Glee would seem to be directly competitive--maybe they're hoping that the timeslot finally kills this cockroach of a show.
  • Wednesday (The Middle/Better Together v. Survivor v. Undercovers v. Lie To Me v. Top Model)--Actually, this is an easy call for me for Undercovers, and I may give Better Together a shot, but those who are fans of reality have a tougher fight, with Jeff Probst taking on Miss Tyra--both shows are going to have to show that they are doing one of their "good" seasons, rather than yet another rehash of the same thing we've seen too many times before, in order to prevent audience defection. The couple of times I've watched Lie To Me, I've enjoyed it, but it got a marginal renewal in what has turned into an exceedingly tough timeslot and will have a new showrunner--seems like it may not last all that long there.
  • Thursday (Community/30 Rock v. Big Bang Theory/*#@! My Dad Says v. My Generation v. Bones v. Vampire Diaries)--Bones and Vampire Diaries will continue to appeal to their audiences, which I'm not a part of, but the other 3 networks are all making an interesting play. If word on My Generation is strong enough, I may give it a shot over CBS's traditional sitcoms, but if it's not so good, I'll try some Shatner.
SEE YOU IN THE NEXT LIFE, BROTHER: A menu of potential reactions to Sunday's Lost finale:
  • OMFG my mind is blown
  • OMG I'm satisfied
  • O I'm disappointed
  • OMG I'm enraged
  • OMFG I intend to murder Carlton Cuse and/or Damon Lindelof for wasting the last six years of my life
  • All my questions have been answered
  • All my questions have been answered with other questions
  • I had never watched the show before this episode, so I found the extended "previously on Lost segment useful
  • I got home late, please tell me what happened in the first 23 minutes
  • What obsessive web site will I run now?
  • That confirms the theory I proposed after Season 2, Episode 3
  • I wish that were more like the theory I proposed after Season 2, Episode 3
  • I can't believe they never told me who was shooting at them on the outrigger
  • Don't discuss this show, please, I plan on watching several weeks from now
  • The show is fundamentally flawed because Russell didn't win
  • It certainly was an unusual choice to introduce an entirely new group of characters two hours and twenty minutes in
  • Needed more Bai Ling
  • The explanations were unnecessary -- they should just have trusted their audience's working knowledge of speculative quantum physics
  • Excellent work by special guest Judy Greer
  • The dinosaurs were a bit much
  • So it was because she was a lesbian
  • Jack is kind of a dick
AT BEST, HE POSSESSED NOTHING MORE THAN A CONTRACTUAL RIGHT TO A SEAT FROM WHICH TO WATCH AN NFL GAME BETWEEN THE JETS AND THE PATRIOTS, AND THIS RIGHT WAS CLEARLY HONORED: The Third Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of the complaint filed in Carl J. Mayer v. Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots and the National Football League, filed by a New York Jets season ticket holder who believed his September 9, 2007 ticket entitled him "to observe an honest match played in compliance with all laws, regulations and NFL rules" when instead he got SpyGate. The dismissal rests on the grounds in this post's caption, but I do enjoy the language regarding fan's rights which I'll include below the fold:
IT'S NO WORSE THAN HOT DOG FINGERS, GOVERNMENT-CREATED KILLER NANO ROBOT INFECTION OR COUNT CHOCULITIS: Texas Rangers catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia has come down with a severe case of Mackey Sasser Syndrome.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A MESSAGE FROM OUR FRIEND SHONDA RHIMES: "Please watch my finale. It is a good finale. It is a finale I love. If you watch it, I will give you candy. Okay, not so much candy as the thought of candy. Or as Cristina Yang says in Season One: candy but with blood which is so much better! Does that help? Okay, just watch it. Thank you."

AMERICA VOTED: I failed to write about Idol last night not out of protest or boredom but because I was out at an election night celebration. (Okay, my candidate lost, but Fantasia and Musiq Soulchild performed anyway and then I moved onto a gathering of Dem staffers who did win their races.)

Anyway, last night was straight down the middle, with yet another butchering of the meaning of That Leonard Cohen Song. There's just not much to say about this unsurprising season; the right two performers made the finals, and neither of them will become America's Next Pop Superstar.

Wenlock (L) and Mandeville (R), London 2012's newly-debuted Olympic mascots, salute their Fuhrer. Wenlock is named for a minor Shakespearean moneylender; his one-eyed scowl approximates his namesake's contempt for his clientele. Mandeville, the mascot for the Paralympics, bears a stylized resemblance to an early Paralympian afflicted with a rare genitalia-freezing disorder.
THANKS FOR VOLUNTEERING, BUT WE'RE ALSO GOING TO RUN SOME BASIC COMPETENCY TESTS: I may or may not have more thoughts about last night's Lost later, but for now: what's with the abrupt character endings? It seems to me that one should put at least as much thought into a character's end as his or her beginning. But this show has a history (with Ana Lucia, Libby, Walt, Dogen, Lennon, Irina Ilana, Irina's Ilana's henchman, the guy on the plane who Locke shot, and various others, plus one or more tonight) of just giving them the business out of the clear blue sky. Very strange tic, if you ask me.
HAS THE TRIBE SPOKEN? Even though CBS is America's #1 network, it's making more changes to its lineup than ABC did. A few of note:
  • 2 of the 3 CSI shows have timeslot switches, with Sunglasses of Justice ceding Mondays to Hawaii 5-O (which, if it fails, can we finally concede that Alex O'Loughlin is not going to be a big TV star?) and moving to Sundays at 10, and CSI: NY being sent to Fridays to plug Ghost Whisperer's hole (they did not flip CSI and Mentalist, despite early reports).
  • Survivor moves to Wednesdays at 8, where it takes on what's typically been a non-competitive slot
  • Leading into CSI on Thursdays is a new comedy block, led off by Big Bang and followed by Shatner comedy Bleep My Dad Says. (Setting up an interesting comedy fight between CBS and NBC on that night, and making me wonder if ABC may move My Generation, which would seem to have a similar demographic appeal.)
  • The powerhouse Tuesday lineup remains unchanged, despite some noise that they were considering moving Good Wife to Fridays.
  • Criminal Minds' spinoff isn't on the fall schedule.
Aside from Bleep (which will either be hysterical or horrible--no real middle ground there) and Daniel Dae Kim and Grace Park's involvement in Five-O, none of the new shows seem terribly interesting (new Chuck Lorre sitcom, Jim Belushi/Jerry O'Connell legal drama, Tom Selleck procedural).

ETA: I will say that the new Five-O credits are just about perfect in their mix of modern and nostalgia. (No rolling wave to start, but still the thumping drums.)
KEEP BELIEVING, KEEP PRETENDING: Twenty years ago this week -- yes, we're getting old -- Jim Henson passed away. Wired's GeekDad blog has some touching tributes -- including footage from his memorial service (which, to be clear, is the model in spirit if not in scope should anything unfortunate ever happen to me) -- but it's Drew McWeeny who may capture Henson's essence most succinctly and accurately:
Looking back now, I mourn the hole that his passing left in the entertainment landscape of the last two decades. We needed Jim Henson, even if we didn't totally realize it when he was alive and working. Not just for his sense of humor or his dedication to education or even for his finely attuned moral compass, a genuine rarity in this industry. No, we needed him because he was fiercely devoted to original storytelling, the creation of characters, and the way technology enabled storytellers to build new worlds and do things that seemed impossible. He was a visionary, and he was ahead of most people in the rush to embrace digital tools both for post-production and for on-screen character work. It's not just his films that we've lost in the last 20 years... it's the ripple effect that his work would have had, and that's where I think the entire industry has suffered for having lost him.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

AND THE BAND PHOENIX IS FROM FRANCE: A PSA from us to you--AriZona Iced Tea is made in New York, so continue to enjoy the whole family of fine AriZona products regardless of which side of the immigration debate you find yourself on.
ALPHABET SOUP: Even though it's losing Lost, ABC is generally in a pretty good place right now, and its fall schedule shows it--3 unchanged nights, and not a single timeslot change for an existing show. Of interest:
  • Tuesday has a strange flow, with family-friendly superhero drama No Ordinary Family taking on NCIS, Glee, and Biggest Loser to lead off the night, a Dancing results show at 9, and gritty documentary-style procedural Detroit 1-8-7 ending the night (in one of the few 10 PM slots where there's not currently a procedural).
  • The 8:30 slot on Wednesday gets filled by Better Together, which sounds like Modern Family minus ten years with a splash of Dharma and Greg, and the night closes with The Whole Truth, which sounds like Law & Order - Cops + Defense Attorneys.
  • Creator of seriously weird (and I mean that in a good way) cop drama The Unusuals gets another crack with My Generation, another docu-style drama, this one about folks gathering for a 10 year high school reunion--we'll see if this can work where ABC's had trouble in recent years--leading off Thursdays.
  • A fairly aggressive move on Friday by launching a Dana Delany-led procedural at 9--will be interesting to see if it can find a footing where shows like Women's Murder Club could not.
  • ABC has two big problems in that Dancing can't run year-round, and their serialized stuff does not repeat well at all, so has a bunch of stuff at midseason, including a new Shonda-produced show about doctors in South America, a Matthew Perry-Allison Janney-Tommy Schlamme sitcom, a sitcom with a dubious premise but an interesting cast (Eliza Coupe, Elisha Cuthbert, Casey Wilson, Damon Wayans), and the return of V.
ETA--Alan points out that I'm wrong--there is a half-hour timeslot shift for The Middle, which I tried, but didn't take to, in part because of my general distaste for Patricia Heaton--and offers some more thoughts of his own.

Monday, May 17, 2010

WELL, I GUESS IT WAS GOOD SEEING CHRIS KATTAN TEMPORARILY EMPLOYED: I suppose there might be something interesting in seeing people react to their being depicted in fiction, but I'll bet you any two random people at the Jamaican Jerk Hut could've come up with a better way to do it than what we saw in tonight's HIMYM. It's been a bad season, with no real momentum towards finding YM, no interesting emotional arcs, not even a great catchphrase I can remember.

Still, one thing almost redeemed the episode: the use of one of my favorite musical cues in recent cinema. I speak, of course, of the Running Through Heathrow music at the end of Love Actually. Other than that, I'm sure the writers were proud of their work in the in-front-of-the-screen scene, but that was just a dreadfully uninteresting half-hour of television.
REVIVER: Sarah Bunting thinks Survivor now needs to return to its roots:
Recent seasons have concerned themselves less with pushing the players' physical boundaries while living in the wild, and more with setting strategic hurdles; reward challenges center around food as often as they used to, but the contestants don't seem desperately hungry, as they did in the past, but rather merely bored with an all-coconut diet....

The "Survivor" premise still has plenty of life left in it, but between the goofy extra gameplay elements and the favoritism shown to various non-winners, it seems like the producers don't trust that premise to yield good television. Going back to basics -- dropping the contestants in the middle of nowhere with a canteen and their conversational skills -- is the best way to get the show back on track. And now that it's gone back to the all-stars well three times, it's probably the only way left.
The other route I'd consider are themed seasons: an all armed forces season, lawyers v. doctors, an international season with English speakers from twenty different countries, an all-college student edition, all female season -- something that's about "how is this group of people going to interact in the jungle?" rather than just the pure strategery. They've ramped up the new strategic elements as far as they can go, and it's time to step back.

added: This may as well be our omnibus Survivor catch-all post; Dan's interview of Colby is posted, revealing a strategic side the producers didn't show us ("I really had convinced everyone of this sort of apathetic player who could just take it or leave it. It was part of my strategy and it worked,") with more to come, and anyone with further thoughts on any aspect of the show can place them here.
HE'LL KNOW FOR THE FIRST TIME, IF HE'S EVIL OR DIVINE. HE'S THE LAST IN LINE: I missed the news yesterday that one-time Black Sabbath front man Ronnie James Dio died of stomach cancer at the age of 67. I don't have anything particularly weighty to say except that -- with Black Sabbath or solo -- he was one of those acts that always sounded better at full volume.
SOMEWHERE, ROGER EBERT IS ANGRY:It's rare you see a Times review that says what's being review "sets a new standard for sophistication and ambition," and a "tour de force." It's even rarer that you get those words invoked in praise of a video game, but the Times does so today with a review of Red Dead Redemption that may have actually persuaded me to go out and buy a copy at full price.
NOW LET ME EXPOUND ON MY OVERCOMPLICATED, SEEMINGLY PERFECT, BUT INEVITABLY FLAWED PLAN: I haven't watched Survivor in eons, but I wanted to offer a couple of thoughts on other programming from last night. The presence of Sideshow Bob usually bodes well for The Simpsons, and last night was no exception, with some genuinely funny "housing bubble" material, a lot of solid throwaway jokes ("No Pepper," for instance) and Sideshow Bob's latest diabolical plan to kill Bart ringing of a crim law final exam hypothetical. In contrast, I haven't been as annoyed by a season finale in a long time as I was by the Brothers & Sisters finale. Part of that may have been because the "which Walker isn't coming back!" plot point was spoiled long ago, but I was still annoyed by (among other things):
  • Random Saul plotline that seemed to serve as nothing more than a PSA that "older gay men should get HIV testing." (Though it gave Rifkin a fine, largely wordless, moment at the end of the episode.)
  • Amazing appearing/disappearing characters--Tommy and Luke both disappear intermittently without explanation (as do Sarah's kids)--it's just lazy writing.
  • Leaving major plot threads not cliffhanging, but just dangling--the nature of Robert's "secret business" remains utterly unclear, for instance, as does exactly what EvilSchemingManWhoseNameICan'tRemember knew about the magic of "Narrow Lake," and I'm still unclear on how exactly Ojai Foods managed to fail so quickly.
  • Dei Ex Machinae galore--The entire family (though coming from different places and going to different places) winds up in a car accident on the same stretch of highway? The ludicrous resolution to the "Narrow Lake" plotline?
For a show that was, once it found its bearings in a rocky first season, a fairly smart drama with a little political edge, Brothers & Sisters just tanked this past season into CW-worthy (and I mean that in a bad way) soap opera theatrics. They're doing a flash forward to start next season (not to be confused with the now cancelled FlashForward), which I hope helps it regain its footing.
NO PROGRAMMING FEATURING RYAN SEACREST (THIS GUARANTEE GOOD ONLY IN THE FALL): Fox's fall schedule is pretty blah, and while they announce a "midseason schedule," everyone knows that'll change, but a few thoughts:
  • I'm glad to see the enormously fun Human Target picked up for 13 more episodes, but am concerned by the Friday dumping slot for it, particularly for a young-male-skewing show.
  • Odd that The Good Guys, which Fox is launching with a lot of fanfare on Wednesday, gets moved to the Friday dump slot in the fall (though what we've seen of it seems like it may make a good pairing with Target).
  • Lonestar (which sounds like an effort to reinvent Dallas from the description) gets the House leadout, but doesn't seem from the description to be a terribly compatible leadin.
  • Given how bad Sit Down, Shut Up was, I probably shouldn't be that excited about Wilde Kingdom, which again reunites Will Arnett and Mitch Hurwitz, this time with Keri Russell, but it's worth a shot.
  • Most inexplicable decision--your Super Bowl leadout program? A special new episode of Glee. Strikes me that the football audience may not be the most likely folks in the world to convert into Gleeks.

I've told this story before, but perhaps not here: back in 2005-06, when I was involved in the rulemaking process before the Federal Election Commission concerning the application of campaign finance law to the Internet -- and mind you, involved in it while representing some of the more tech-savvy and tech-forward clients one could have -- the concept of an online video service that was a free platform both for content creators and content viewers was beyond our realistic comprehension. YouTube's existence was not inevitable, nor was as a free content publishing service for that matter.

We were smart enough to know that any regulation shouldn't be focused on "blogging" but rather should be platform-independent, but all the end regulations regarding disclaimer and disclosure focused on campaigns paying to place their video content online, leaving what some would call a loophole insofar as campaign ads created for YouTube don't have to identify who paid for it or include the otherwise-mandatory "stand by your ad" disclaimer.

All of which is to say that technology can transition from idea to reality to cultural fixture pretty darn fast these days (though, not always: when's the last time you used Yahoo! or Altavista?), and becoming the brand in the meritocratic Internet is quite an accomplishment. So congratulations, YouTube, and let's make some friends today.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

THAT'S HOW MUCH GAME I'VE GOT: Survivor results! After the fold.
PEACOCKING: After last year's debacle known as The Jay Leno Show, NBC inarguably had the most rebuilding to do, and their primetime schedule for next fall shows it. More than half of the lineup is either new shows or shows with new timeslots (though the David E. Kelley drama with Kathy Bates as a "renegade patent lawyer" is being held for midseason). Dan Fienberg has some thoughts--a few of mine:
  • Even though I'm sad we'll be waiting till midseason for new Parks & Rec, I think it's a good thing, less for P&R than for The Office. A number of writers from Office left to go help P&R, and it's shown in the shows' respective qualities this year. The scheduling may allow some folks to write for both shows, which will help The Office, which has had an off season this year (at least from a bringing-the-funny perspective).
  • I like the pairing of 30 Rock and Community, the two more reference-heavy, manic, and cartoonish shows on NBC's Thursday lineup--it's far more compatible than Community-Parks and Rec.
  • Launching J.J. Abrams spy drama Undercovers Wednesdays at 8 is definitely a competitive move--that's a wide open slot right now, and Wednesdays generally are a pretty open night. (The choice to slot SVU at 9 is less explicable, and putting the thus far uncast LOLA in the Wednesday at 10 in the slot that the Mothership held for 16 of its 20 seasons may not endear fans of the original show to this spinoff.)
  • The gutsiest move? Launching Jimmy Smits drama Outlaw (about a SCOTUS justice who quits the bench in order to create a practice to "help the little guy") on a Friday night. For the past few years, networks have largely written off Friday and Saturday nights, opting to use it as burnoff territory, for programming that they know has an exceedingly limited audience (Dollhouse), or old-skewing stuff. However, remember that CSI launched on Friday, and Friday-Saturday have been home to big hits like ABC's TGIF lineup in the 90s. I think this is less NBC playing a weird game than it is an effort (perhaps a misguided one) to say that they're interested in competing in every timeslot on every night.
I HAVE DEVOTED 20 POUNDS OF MY LIFE TO CHIPWICHES: So said Richard LaMotta (cousin of Jake), the 67-year-old inventor of the Chipwich, who died of a heart attack last week.

It strikes that the the early 1980s were an era for innovation in the ice cream novelty industry -- between LaMotta's creation, the related Oreo ice cream sandwich and the Dove bar -- and we haven't seen anything breakthroughs quite on that level since when it comes to handheld single-serving products. Instead, we saw the upscaling of product through Ben & Jerry's and the like, and more recently the whole gelato wave. Isn't it time for a next-generation red, white and blue popsicle?