Friday, September 13, 2013

HA, HA, YOU'RE ALL FOAMY!  It was twenty years ago today that a lanky, ginger-haired unknown hosted NBC's Late Night for the first time. He previewed the show in this op-ed for the New York Times:
The crowd was visibly eager to like the young newcomer, but some seemed puzzled by the radical new set. The backdrop, consisting of 15-foot representations of Mr. O'Brien's laughing head, loomed over his desk and chair, both carved from illegally imported African ivory. While this was somewhat unsettling, an aura of eager anticipation still hung in the air.  
Until, that is, the new Late Night band began to play. Composed of musicians cut by the Boston Pops, the band lurched into an interminable version of "Waltzing Matilda," apparently the show's theme song. The bandleader, a surly cellist, refused to make eye contact with anyone and hissed at a young girl who tried to clap along...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

EXPECTO FILMOCULUS!  So, how do we feel about news that J.K. Rowling is working on an original screenplay (her first) which will be set in the world of Harry Potter in New York around 1920-1930?
THERE ARE NOT MANY WHO REMEMBER, THEY SAY A HANDFUL STILL SURVIVE TO TELL THE WORLD ABOUT THE WAY THE LIGHTS WENT OUT, AND KEEP THE MEMORY ALIVE:  The 2013 Kennedy Center Honors for lifetime achievement in the field of excellence will go to Carlos Santana, Billy Joel, Shirley MacLaine, Herbie Hancock, and operatic soprano Martina Arroyo. Said MacLaine, “The other [awards I've received] are for a part you did or for how you interpreted a character, but this is about how you’ve interpreted yourself.”

Of note, in response to justifiable outrage, the honoring of Santana and Arroyo doubles the number of Latino artists who have been recognized since the Honors began in 1978. Also, for what it's worth, it's hard to remember when last they had only one acting/tv/stage person recognized.
DING!  Don't let anyone spoil for you the cameos in Jimmy Fallon's "Joking Bad". Just watch and enjoy. (Contains references through the end of season four.)

similarly amusing: "What makes The Newsroom the greatest show on television?"

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

ALL HAIL THE SHRINE OF THE SILVER MONKEY: Today's the 20th anniversary of the premiere of Legends of the Hidden Temple, and Buzzfeed has a lengthy remembrance from host Kirk Fogg and Olmec voice Dee Bradley Baker.
"IF WE ARE OFFENDING ONE PERSON, WE NEED TO BE LISTENING, AND MAKING SURE WE'RE DOING THE RIGHT THINGS TO TRY TO ADDRESS THAT":  It sure sounds like NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell's attitudes are evolving towards the nickname of the Maryland-Based Professional Football Team Which Got Run Over By The Chip Kelly Express This Week.
PAGING BIRDIE, THE EARLY BIRD:  Matt Yglesias throws down:
Every sensible person realizes that the only way to improve on the Egg McMuffin is to switch it up and order the Sausage McMuffin With Egg. Is it conceivable that in some remote corner of the universe McDonald's is going to invent a better breakfast product? Yes, maybe. Or maybe not. Asking whether McDonald's can make a better breakfast sandwich than the Sausage McMuffin With Egg is a bit like asking whether God could make an object so massive that he couldn't move it.
(Yes, I miss the old days.)
ALOTT5MA GRAMMAR RODEO AND FUNK-FOLK ENSEMBLE:  Slate's David Haglund notes with disappointment that none of pop music's trios—whether Earth, Wind & Fire, Peter, Paul and Mary, Crosby, Stills & Nash, or other notables—seem to employ the Oxford comma.  (Nor, of course, does Anderson Bruford Wakeman Howe.)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I COULD REALLY GO FOR A WHATABURGER RIGHT NOW:Buzzfeed ranks 39 major fast food chains by how gross they are.  I suspect we will have opinions on this pressing issue, in particular the taco-related matters.
REMEMBER ZELMO BEATY:  Stefan Fatsis explains why.
THE MAILSACK THUD OF ANOTHER BOY GOING HOME TO JESUS:  There's something about the promos for the Million Second Quiz that strikes me as horribly dystopian, one of the stories where the Great Game Show has a dreadful underlying secret or a cost so obvious that no one notices it anymore: Death Race 2000, the Running Man, the Long Walk, the Hunger Games, usw.

Monday, September 9, 2013

MY BABY DON'T MESS AROUND:Want to feel old?  Outkast's "Hey Ya!/The Way You Move" double A-Side Single came out 10 years ago today.  "Hey Ya!" is rightly getting celebrated a lot, but the Big Boi track is pretty great too--can you feel that b-a-s-s, bass?
IN THE CAFETERIA, EATING MY FEELINGS:  The first three SNL episodes of the year will be Tina Fey/Arcade Fire, Miley Cyrus (double duty), and Bruce Willis/Katy Perry. As Splitsider notes, the last (and only other) time Willis hosted, back in 1989, Miley Cyrus wasn't yet born, and presumably he won't be reviving his singing career for the occasion.
MTV COPS:  Nice essay by Brian Doan on the Ebert site on Miami Vice, Moonlighting, Frank's Place, thirtysomething, and the other great mid-80s tv dramas which set the stage for the modern era. On Moonlighting:
It's sleek and character-driven, but it was when it went to series that it really became something new. In an interview with Rolling Stone a year later, Caron would pinpoint why: "I think it has something to do with the fact that while we may be the fifty-thousandth TV detective show, we know we're the fifty-thousandth TV detective show. That's at the heart of it. The show knows a little bit that it's on TV."
THEY WERE NAZIS, DUDE:  A few thoughts on last night's brilliant Breaking Bad, below the fold:

Sunday, September 8, 2013

MARS CURIOSITY: Really, NFL? Given the diversity of choices in staying local and thematic with this year's Super Bowl halftime show, it's Bruno Mars who gets the nod for the Meadowlands halftime gig?

To be sure, Mars has been a fun live performer since he was four, but ... not Bruce? JBJ? Jay-Z? Fountains of Wayne? Southside?
THE REAL SLIM SHADY:  Yeah, this was awkward. The second time you watch it, just watch Herbstreit try to fit in.
AND WHEN THE REFEREE LIFTED ITS LIMP ARM FOR THE THIRD TIME ...  Following up on our February 2013 story, the IOC voted today to reinstate wrestling for the 2020 Summer Olympics, in a 49-24-22 vote over baseball-softball and squash.