Monday, November 25, 2013

Family Guy - My Thoughts on "Life of Brian" (Season 12, Episode 6)

Brian died. I cried. When I heard that they would be killing off a main character in Family Guy, he was my first guess. Something about his being the dog made the choice likely to me. Stewie could eventually build another time machine and bring him back, but that writing choice seems both tired and entirely too obvious to me. Seeing as how a lot of viewers feel that the show is getting stale, the writers should make Brian's death the beginning of the end of the show. Instead of continuing on a painful downward trajectory, it could rally and go out on a gloriously morbid last hurrah, fitting of such a crass and an irreverent program.

This is how it would go down: The main characters would be killed off one by one. They could even bring in more characters like they did with Brian's replacement, Vinny, until all of the main characters are replaced. While this seems absurd, complete or almost complete main character replacement is not unknown to television. The British seem to be quite fond of this sort of storytelling. Some examples of my favorite shows that use the "character replacement technique" (a term just coined by me) are Doctor Who, Being Human (UK), and Misfits. (Painfully, this did not go very well for the previously delightful Torchwood, which went considerably downhill after rebooting with an American cast... It still had its smattering of enjoyable parts, though.) Admittedly, Doctor Who has successfully continued on for many seasons and Being Human (UK) and Misfits continued their respective stories on for a fairly decent run before wrapping things up. Considering the nature of Family Guy, however, they could conceivably and appropriately make their series finale much more abrupt. (Think of the end of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Man, I am really fixated on the Brits, aren't I?) Seeing as how the new characters would most likely never replace the original ones in the hearts and minds of fans, such an abrupt ending seems all the more apropos. I acutely felt this way about Being Human (UK). I mean, come on! The new crew wasn't bad, but how could the chemistry between Annie, Mitchell, and George ever be replaced? What were we talking about originally? Oh, right, Family Guy. And if they decided that they really didn't want to discontinue the show any time soon, this method gives them a fresh set of character for which to write.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Movie Watching Project

I first posted this to my facebook notes on September 13, 2011 as "Movie Recommendations for Dave." Dave is my fiancé. The project has been very slow going due to a) his busy schedule and b) his extreme reluctance to watch movies in general. He doesn't like most movies. Rare, but not unheard of. I felt, however, that his limited viewing experience made him unqualified to decide that he wasn't a movie person. Thus this project was born and, much to his annoyance, he is my lab rat.

The following is a list of recommendations compiled from various people. The fact that he has not seen (or even heard of) some of these movies will amaze you. Others are more obscure and are simply on the list because one or more people thought that he should see them. Concerning the groups of movies and directors on the list, he may have seen some of these, but it was easier to just group them together if he hadn't seen most. Some of these movies I also don't like. A few I also have not seen.

Dave gave each viewed movie a rating from 1-5 stars. He also has some very amusing comments for some of them. Enjoy and feel free to contribute.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Obscure, Half-Forgotten Childhood Memories

There are certain things from most people's childhoods that they can't quite remember to the extent that they would like. I'd like to describe two of them from mine in the hopes that someone, somewhere can help me rediscover the sources of my twisted upbringing.

1) One of my most beloved books from my very early childhood is about a little girl who goes on a surreal adventure. She dies (or almost dies) at one point, so someone whom I believe to have been a shaman forms her into a pod, plants her, and grows her back to life.

2) When I was in middle school in the early to mid 1990s, there was a computer game that came preinstalled on our computer. I think that we had a Gateway at the time. Do people still buy those? Anyway, it was a basic math game in which hedgehogs ate worms and made (I assume) unintentionally disturbing sexual noises.

These examples have been bugging me for many years. Please, help!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Breaking Bad

After completing Breaking Bad, I'm fairly certain that this is the most profoundly moved that I've ever been from a series finale...simultaneous emotions of achingly sad and exhilaratingly euphoric. I cried briefly last night, but spent much longer being simply stunned and just trying to breathe. Now that it's all over, I was thinking about starting The Wire, but don't feel that I'm ready, yet, what with me still reeling from Breaking Bad and dealing with The Walking Dead again soon...I need a comedy.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Hazards of Reading

Am I the only one who has a difficult time shifting focus back and forth between text and pictures when reading a graphic novel? It's almost disorienting for me.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Torchwood/Twin Peaks Crossover

Torchwood should do a crossover with Twin Peaks. It would be funny to have two Agent Coopers.

Theme Songs

Does the Breaking Bad theme song remind anyone else of the Firefly theme song?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

This crosses Are You My Mother? with "Are you my mummy?"

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Doctor Who: Season 7 - My Thoughts After the Seventh Episode

I am doubtful about the recent (since Clara) writing on Doctor Who. The show seems to have gotten too "huge" for its own good. I know that they are building up to the 50th anniversary, but the majority of the moments don't need to be so cartoonishly uber epic. Also, I like Clara, but she seems like a caricature. She doesn't possess the feel of being a real person that was had by previous companions. The constant quick, witty banter gives the show an air of a comedy from the 1940s. I suppose, though, that if she turns out to be a Time Lord or something, it makes sense for her to be talking like The Doctor.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Romance of Housework

The other day on 60 Minutes, Sheryl Sandberg made an off-handed comment about how young women (I'm not sure what Sandberg defines as "young" for women), unlike their older counterparts, are unlikely to find it romantic when the person with whom they are in a relationship does housework. I found this assertion to be absurd. Personally, I've always found it to be romantic. I don't presume to speak for all women, but I don't recall ever speaking to or even hearing about a woman who doesn't feel the same way. Has Sandberg been talking to an entire demographic of women whom I have never encountered, or is she simply speculating?

Thursday, February 21, 2013

How to do a Doctor Who/Sherlock Crossover (Wholock)

Many fans of Doctor Who and Sherlock fantasize about a crossover of the two beloved television series. These fantasies range from having a G rating to those of a much more adult nature. While I have been known to indulge in the latter, it is not the sort of fanfiction that will be discussed in this article. This hypothetical mashup is referred to as Wholock. Even the current puppetmaster of the two shows, Steven Moffat, thinks that it's a fun idea. While we all know that the chances of such a fanfiction-esque presentation are slim to none, I have spent a decent amount of time dreaming up a couple of valid ways to make it so.

Idea #1:

Since they've already established Sherlock Holmes to be a fictional literary character in the Whoniverse, it seems impossible that Doctor Who and Sherlock could ever do a crossover. It would be possible, however, if they made Sherlock a show in the Whoniverse. They could then make Sherlock a holodeck-type character, much like what they did with Moriarty on Star Trek: The Next Generation (with bonus points if they make an uber meta reference about ST:TNG). It would also be cool if they mentioned the Doctor Who episode "Silence in the Library."

Idea #2:

My second idea involves both time travel and an alternate universe. Ideally, Sherlock Holmes would reside in the universe in which the Meta-Crisis Doctor and Rose are living. Someone from the current Doctor's universe could go over to Meta's universe and observe and/or interact with Sherlock. They could then return to our universe, before the time in which the Sherlock Holmes novels were written, and regale Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with these tales, thus inspiring him to write the series. Perhaps the travelers could even be Vastra, Jenny, and/or Strax. The icing on the cake with this concept would be that we could actually see David Tennant, Billie Piper, and crew.

I am obviously hoping that these ideas are seen by the proper eyes and put into production (perhaps leading to my hiring as a permanent writer for one or both shows), but am not holding my breath any more than I am for the... intimate... details that I would like to see included. Torchwood, you are sorely missed.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Who's the Caboose? Review

Who's the Caboose? is a mockumentary in the style of The Office. I heard about it while listening to the podcast WTF with Marc Maron. Being a fan of his as well as many of the people in the film's cast, I figured that it was worth a watch. Well before its time, it is a simple, yet compelling commentary on the nature of Hollywood. Susan and Max are a young couple who are both comedians. Susan decides to move to Los Angeles for auditions during pilot season. Max reluctantly follows her with no intention of participating in the local culture. Very shortly into the film, I could sense that, despite his reluctance, Max would get drawn into L.A.'s environment of vapidness and greed, while Susan would experience more tribulation than she initially anticipated. I did not, however, anticipate just how many sudden changes they both would experience, both positive and negative. This film is by 90s alternative comedians, for 90s alternative comedians, but still holds appeal for a wider audience. As a side note, there are some hidden gems by the graphics entry assistant near the end of the credits.

Eraserhead Review

I was expecting Eraserhead to be at least somewhat decent after all of the hype that I've heard. I found it, however, to be awful. I suppose that it was intended to be an avant-garde commentary on the stark hopelessness of postmodern life or some such simplistic college film student cliche. Anyway, it turned my brain to mush, so I'm just going to conclude my review with a list of adjectives: weird, confusing, depressing, unsettling, grueling, boring.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Twin Peaks

The television series Twin Peaks' original run was from April 8th, 1990 to June 10th, 1991. During that time, I was 8 to 10 years old, so I probably was not mature enough to appreciate it. For years, the only thing that I really knew of it was the parody sketch that they did on Saturday Night Live. I recall being intrigued by this sketch despite not understanding the context. (As a side note, watching it now, it's cool to see Conan O'Brien in a sketch and Victoria Jackson before she went batshit crazy.) The memory of this stuck with me and, finally, after over two decades, I decided to give the series a shot. 

Ignoring the fact that, sometimes, the chronology of fictional media is intended to be consumed in a wibbly wobbly way, I started my viewing with the prequel film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, which aired in 1992. My initial reaction was, "Da fuck did I just watch?" I realized too late that I should have researched it more thoroughly beforehand. Not having watched the series, I had no context for all of Twin Peaks' idiosyncrasies and surreal happenings. This brought up many questions which I eagerly wanted answered. Thus I ended up with a compelling reason to watch the show, despite much of the mystique of Laura Palmer's murder already being ruined. Truthfully, I found the film to be melodramatic and badly acted. I also, however, found its surreal retro campiness to be appealing. I attribute this mostly to 1) the quirkiness of the setting and many of the characters and 2) my suspicion that, like movies such as The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Mean Guns, the nature of Twin Peaks is intentionally tongue-in-cheek. Also, for some reason, I have a soft spot for a spectacle of tacky early 1990s fashion. 

I've read that the creators of the show felt that the storyline went downhill after they were forced by the studio to reveal Laura's killer. I'm not sure if I am in the minority of fans or not, but, sometime in the second season, I actually began to tire of that initial plot line and started to enjoy the show more after they moved on from it. Before that point, the show relied too heavily on sappy soap opera moments. I'm still uncertain if these scenes were supposed to be parodying soap operas or they were done in earnest. Either way, they were getting tiresome. Speaking of such, though I felt bad for her, I was getting tired of Josie, as well.

You would think that, being a fan of The X-Files and having a crush on David Duchovny, I would have known long ago that he was on Twin Peaks. I even recall, years ago, finding a picture online of him in drag. I somehow, however, remained oblivious until his entrance and was pleasantly surprised by his character. David is quite good at playing a trans person and Denise was a damn good character. I would have liked to have seen more of her on the show.

Why did certain characters barely get any screen time? All-of-a-sudden, Donna Hayward had sisters and then...what...were they shipped off to boarding school? In general, why did the town of Twin Peaks have such a notable lack of children..and pets, for that matter? As for Mrs. Horne, I understand that Ben wanted to hide a lot of things from his wife, but it's like the writers forgot for a while that they had created her. In particular, where the hell was she while he was having a nervous breakdown? I was actually surprised when she showed up at the Hayward's house.

Seeing as how the movie was made after the show, it's understandable that the show doesn't mention David Bowie's or Chris Isaak's characters. If they started up the series again, though, it would be cool to see their stories expanded.

It was cool to see Molly Shannon, if only briefly.

Sundry brief observations:

In dialogue, they occasionally use the wrong character names. For example, there's a scene in which Donna is on the phone with Ed and Nadine comes on the line. Donna calls her "Annette." Am I missing something here?

Nadine's age is said to be 35, but Ed and Norma talk about how they broke up 25 years ago. From previous context, their breakup was established to be around the end of high school. From what I gathered, they are all supposed to be around the same age. So...huh?

At least one person who worked on the show had a great love of pan-up-from-feet camera shots.

I don't know who I want to bang more: Dale Cooper or Jack Wheeler. Oh, hell, just give me both at once...and include Audrey for good measure.

I was amused when I realized that I write somewhat similarly to how Cooper speaks.

If there were an award for the most unresolved cliffhangers in a television show, I'm fairly certain that Twin Peaks would be a clear winner. I would love to see them continue the story.

Update: They are continuing the story!