Saturday, September 22, 2012

Friday, September 21, 2012

HAVE WE SHOWN YOU HOW TO START A NUCLEAR WAR YET?: Look, I'll watch Helen Mirren in pretty much anything, but this? A play with her reprising her role as Queen Elizabeth II, imagining her audiences with the twelve prime ministers who have led Her Government? Yes, mum.
A LANNISTER ALWAYS WINS HIS EMMY:  The problem with the Emmy Awards is that they neither succeed as recognition of merit or, as the Grammys now do, as spectacle. But we go into Sunday night with the awards show we have, and not the awards show we want.  Matt Zoller Seitz lists five races which excite him, while Sepinwall and Fienberg continue their omnibus will/should wins.  Wiki has the most concise rundown of the major categories, but, really, is there ever going to be as tight and well-regarded a category as 2005's Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series?
David Shore, House, "Three Stories"
J. J. Abrams, Jeffrey Lieber, and Damon Lindelof, Lost, "Pilot"
David Fury, Lost, "Walkabout"
Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, Rescue Me, "Pilot"
George Pelecanos and David Simon, The Wire, "Middle Ground" 
And I'll remind everyone, again, that among those actors who never won an Emmy for their iconic roles are Hugh Laurie, Jason Alexander, Steve Carell, Martin Sheen, John Goodman, George Wendt, Noah Wyle, Angela Lansbury, Elizabeth Montgomery, Delta Burke, and, thus far, Jon Hamm.
LOOK 'EM IN THE EYE, AND SPEAK FROM THE HEART:  That was some lovely television last night, and a hell of an affecting three-parter from Mr. C.K. When even Jay Leno moves the story along in welcome ways, you know you're watching some fine tv occupying that odd dramedy space which the show does. [Bonus: Louis C.K., on Letterman, 1995.]
SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE STOPPED THE FIGHT, AND TOLD ME IT WAS HIM: Thirty years later, the NYT checks in with Ray Mancini and the family of Duk-koo Kim.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

ONE NINETY-SIX DAYS MORE:  The Les Misérables team wants to show off the fact that everyone's singing live in the movie.
WALKING AND TALKING:  Because it's ostensibly a nonpartisan election, I think I'm allowed to link to this web video which a number of former West Wing cast members did in support of Mary McCormack's sister's bid for the Michigan Supreme Court, and there's a hell of a nice little Martin Sheen callback joke at 2:50.
SHAKEY:  The NYT's David Carr got to hang out with Neil Young for a few days in advance of next week's release of Young's memoir. Great not-that-longread:
NETWORK NOODLIN': Andy Denhart would like to see the tv networks broadcast reality tv formats other than competition shows and heavily formatted shows like Undercover Boss with "outcomes and stakes in every episode," and experiment with more documentary-style series, especially the job-focused ones which are so prevalent on cable.
ACTUAL SITE NEWS:  Over the next few days, I'll be migrating our Comments server from JS-Kit/Haloscan to either Disqus or itself, because we now have to do something.

Echo appears to have remigrated all of our comments back into Blogger, making that a viable option, but my sense is that Disqus is a better platform overall. If we do move to Disqus, we are going to be losing previous threading as well as anonymous comments, apparently (but can thread moving forward), but on Blogger we'd lose the ability to "like" each others' comments.

Thoughts? Clock is ticking.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

"WITH SKIN DRIPPING OFF HIS FINGERS":  With those words, reminding us of the awesomeness of Michael Skupin, Wild Boar Killer, Survivor officially came back. Now, I didn't see the prior Penner or Russell Swan seasons -- I can see what y'all like in Penner -- but Skupin? Dude was a hoss, and I'm giddy. (Also heralding its comeback? The return of a Survivor tradition: Probst hectoring female competitors about an alleged lack of effort during a challenge.)

So I guess no one's allowed to admit their true careers anymore on the show, not in this post-Hogeboom universe. Jeff Kent claims to make his money from racing motorcycles (ha!); Blair From Facts Of Life won't volunteer that she indeed roomed with Jo, Tootie, and Natalie; heck, even RC the I-banker (and possible Parvati wannabe) will only admit to being an executive assistant.

In the meantime, we've got many of the things I love in season openers, including scrambling for provisions, furtive alliance-forming and HII-seeking, fire-starting, multiple injuries, and, thank goodness, a blessed idiot who has no idea how to play the game.  It's Survivor 25, and I'm ready to have some fun.
A THIN LINE SEPARATING CREEPY-CUTE FROM JUST PLAIN REPULSIVE:  No one else did, so Nathan Rabin watched The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure as part of his AV Club "Flops" series:
Here’s one of the many perplexing elements of The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure: Sometimes the words to its songs appear at the bottom of the screen, but most of the time they don’t, so audience members are often asked to sing along to songs that 1) they’ve never heard before, 2) they consequently don’t know the words to, and 3) are fucking terrible. Those three qualities make The Oogieloves In The Big Balloon Adventure the sing-along family movie that’s impossible to sing along to.

CALLTIME:  I have seen in my day candidates who were not crazy about dialing for dollars, with clipboards full of donor data instructing them on the asks, but never one who was as self-destructively dismissive of his need to do so as Tommy Carcetti. (Verisimilitude note: and that's why there's always a Finance staffer in the room with the candidate to keep him disciplined.)

But Candidate Littlefinger is, of course, not where most of our attention goes in the Season 4 opener of The Wire, "The Boys of Summer," and for once I'm not sure if you actually want to click on that Sepinwall link insofar as his having seen the full season encouraged him to provide more background information on the four new protagonists --  Namond, Randy, Michael, and Dookie -- than what David Simon provides through this first episode. (Other recaps: AVClub, Guardian.) What we know is that they are already surrounded by a world of drugs and violence, one in which the consequences thus far have been bruises rather than body bags, but given Randy's involvement in Lex's murder (and the fact that this is The Wire), things are about to get worse, and Dookie's knowledge about homing pigeons may not be of much currency for long.

[In other news, I'm not sure what I appreciate more: assistant principal Marcia Donnelly's pure Bal'mer accent, or Snoop's ... whatever you call it, that nail gun scene is what closed-captioning was made for.]

Haven't said much about the police, and I'm not sure what to say. McNulty's living a family life, and Cool Lester Smooth is still awesome. Herc's wearing a suit and Prez is about to enter a whole new world of confusion. Just remember: I Am Lovable And Capable.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BRAUGHER HOUR!  Our friend Alan Sepinwall previews the fall tv season.  What's already set for your DVR?
"THIS REMINDS ME OF THIS ONE TIME WHEN I WENT TO A TECHNO PARTY IN THE WOODS, AND I TOOK SO MANY DRUGS THAT I TRIED TO EAT A PINE TREE": "New Nordic" may have supplanted Spanish molecular gastronomy as the world's hippest food trend, and the Washington Post has visited Copenhagen's Noma restaurant to explore the purported joys of such dishes as "pickled quail eggs smoked over hay;" "carrots that had been cooked at low temperature for hours, served over black hay ash and sorrel sauce;" "frozen cod liver that was sliced thin, which we were told 'has to be eaten immediately because it’s melting;" "langoustines, served on a rock, which you dragged through seaweed powder and oyster sauce;" "caramelized cauliflower covered with evergreen branches and served with whey, pine oil, and horseradish crème fraiche;" and "raw Danish squid served with unripe sloe berries and pickled Douglas fir."

As Eric J commented in April 2010 when Noma was named Best Restaurant in the World by Restaurant magazine, "It's amazing how many of the dishes on Noma's menu sound like what you'd make in the middle of February when the pantry is empty and you're just trying to stave off starvation until the winter is over."