04th Mar2016

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 3/4/16

by Will

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Howdy, folks! I took a week off because there was just too much going on in “real life”, but I’m back in style. We’ve got a lot to talk about this week, so let’s get to it!

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On the movie front, I found myself watching the Diary of a Wimpy Kid movies. Lindsay had them on, and I caught the tail end of the first one. I liked it so much that I sat and watched the second one, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules. If you’re not familiar with the series, it’s based on the HUGELY successful kids book series, and follows middle schooler Greg Heffley and his struggles. In the first movie, Greg and his best friend Rowley join the safety patrol in order to become popular. Yeah, that goes about as well as you’d expect. In the second movie, Greg and his older brother, Rodrick, despise each other. But when they’re left home together and throw a party, they have to lean on each other to keep their story straight. Meanwhile, Greg is still trying to be popular in middle school, and falls for the new girl in town. I actually really liked these movies, and I’m curious to check out the final film, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days. I was too old for the Wimpy Kid books when they came out, but I’ve always wondered why they resonate so well with middle schoolers. After watching the movies, I think I get it now. If you like innocent fun, or have a middle schooler in your house, I highly recommend this franchise.

F is for Family

On the Netflix front, I finally finished F is for Family. Considering I only had one episode to go, I’m not quite sure why it took me, like, 2 months to finish it, but here we are. Created by comedian Bill Burr, it’s basically an edgier King of the Hill. I really enjoyed the series, but it felt a bit disjointed to rejoin it so long after watching the first 5 episodes, as it was clearly made to be binged. I hope it gets a second season but, unlike most Netflix shows, this one kinda flew under the radar, with little promotion.

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On TV, The Real O’Neals debuted on ABC, and I really enjoyed it. It’s about an Irish-Catholic family whose perfect veneer cracks when all of their drama becomes public during a church bingo game. The parents are getting a divorce, one son comes out of the closet, the other son has an eating disorder, and the daughter has a bunch of stuff going on. And hilarity ensues! No, really. I felt like the show was pretty funny, and seemed like a natural fit for ABC. After Raising Hope, Martha Plimpton has really carved out a niche of “working class wife and mother”, and she’s great in this show. The marketing seems to be making the gay son the focus, but it really plays more like an ensemble show. Its moral is that family can overcome anything. I find the scheduling to be somewhat worrisome, though. While it debuted with 2 episodes on Wednesday, it will eventually move to Tuesdays, following Fresh Off The Boat.  I feel like The Middle and The Goldbergs are better companion shows for this one, but I also know how precious Wednesday night real estate is for ABC. Modern Family ain’t moving, and I think Black-ish has pretty much earned its timeslot at this point. I guess time will tell.

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I’ve also found that I’m back to hate-watching Girls. Why, oh why, do I watch this show? I hate everyone involved with it except for Peter Scolari and Allison Williams (and I still can’t look at her without thinking of her father’s fall from grace). It’s hard to stomach Lena Dunham’s female empowerment shtick when her character Hannah Horvath sucks so much at life. I mean, is she a role model for people? Yeah, I’m having a hard time separating the actor from the role. I don’t expect that everyone should even be a role model, but I feel like there are people out there who look up to her. WHY? And I really don’t need to see her naked anymore. You can call me a body shamer, but it just makes me sick to my stomach at this point. I could just stop watching. I get that. But I still have a morbid curiosity about the whole thing.

power-rangers_612x380In movie news, we got our first cast picture of the cinematic Power Rangers team. Filming has begun, as someone posted a picture of an Angel Grove Police cruiser online. I dunno what it is, but I’m getting a Divergent vibe from this film. I’m not sure if it’s because they’re both from Lionsgate. Or the fact that every teen action movie lately is basically Divergent/Hunger Games/The Maze Runner. Or the fact that the director was also behind Project Almanac. I just feel like it’s gonna be “teen angstier” than it needs to be. I mean, read this from Entertainment Weekly: “The new Power Rangers is a coming of age story for these “disenfranchised and disparate” high schoolers, who are not friends when the new story begins.” NO! I don’t need a Power Rangers team composed of a bunch of outcasts and outsiders. That’s not..breathe, Will. I’m reserving judgment on this thing until I see more, but I don’t like how it’s shaping up right now.

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So, the Ghostbusters trailer came out yesterday. I liked it. I wasn’t wowed by it, but I think it shows promise. Of course, the folks who were against it from the get-go are even more against it now. I think it swayed folks who are on the fence, but it didn’t do anything for the ones who have been against it from the very beginning. I have a long history with the Ghostbusters franchise. I have the Firehouse playset in my mom’s basement. I have the Proton Pack. Let’s just say that I loved me some Ghostbusters. That said, I think I’ve been more of a fan of the cartoon, The Real Ghostbusters, than I was of the movies. I’ve been an unorthodox fan of the movies, as I don’t feel the first one is the sacred cow that some think, and I personally like the second one more (sacrilege!). So, when they announced a new movie, it didn’t really hurt me. When they announced it would be directed by Paul Feig and star Melissa McCarthy, I was ready to surrender my money. The trailer, however, was kinda meh to me. I mean, I’ll still see the movie, but it didn’t get me any more excited than I already was. Some folks are upset that Leslie Jones’s Patty Tolan is an MTA worker instead of a scientist, but I think it works for her. I don’t see Leslie Jones as an actress who’s gonna play anything far from who she really is, so I’m fine with what she’ll bring to that type of role. Still, haters gonna hate. I’m OK if you don’t like the idea of the movie. I get that. Sacred cow and all that. But at least give it a chance before you judge it, right?

agent carter

This week saw the season (series?) finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter. It’s up in the air because it really doesn’t seem like ABC is gonna renew it. The ratings for this season were even lower than those from last season. It also doesn’t help that star Hayley Atwell has landed the lead role in the pilot for ABC’s Conviction. Sure, she could film Agent Carter once Conviction goes on break (IF it’s picked up as a series), as Agent Carter is more of a mideseason fill-in than a full season show. While there was a cliffhangery aspect to the finale, it ended on a note where we could be satisfied if this truly is THE END. Plus, the character keeps popping up in Marvel films even when she doesn’t need to (Ant-Man, anyone?), so it’s surely not the last we’ve seen of her. Meanwhile, ABC renewed 8 shows yesterday, including Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but I doubt we’ll have any news on Agent Carter before the May upfronts.

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Speaking of Marvel television, during my little hiatus, it was announced that Finn Jones from Game of Thrones has been cast as Iron Fist in the upcoming Netflix series. *Sigh* I really didn’t want to get into this, but I guess there’s no time like the present, right? Anyway, I’m part of an online collective called The Nerds of Color, but I don’t really write for them anymore because nobody reads my stuff over there. It was created by a former coworker of mine, Keith Chow, and it originally contained a couple of friends of mine until they were deemed too controversial. In any case, Keith wrote an article about 2 years ago, pleading with Marvel to cast an Asian American in the Iron Fist role.

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If you unfamiliar with the character, Iron Fist is the heroic identity of Danny Rand, a rich White guy who grew up in the mystical city of K’un-Lun after he was orphaned in a plane crash. Rand learns all the kung fu, and gains the magical power of the Iron Fist. He returns to New York, and becomes the best friend of Luke Cage, AKA Power Man, with whom he forms the Heroes for Hire. So, basically you’ve got this blonde guy who’s a martial arts expert, in a mystical Orientalist society, making him a fish out of water. I always thought that made the character unique. At the same time, though, it’s problematic because it basically means this White dude is better at Asian stuff than actual Asians. While I wouldn’t necessarily cast him in the “White Savior” role, it does seem a bit…off. Still, I always kinda rolled it into the “that’s what makes his character special” argument.

Keith argues that you could keep all of these aspects while still casting an Asian American as Rand. His main push for this is the matter of representation. It would mean a lot to Asian American viewers to see themselves represented in the Marvel Universe. He argues that Rand could be alienated from his Asian culture, which would help him to retain his position as an outsider. If you want to know more, just read the post. In all, Keith has a valid argument and I can see where he’s coming from. That said, I don’t like it.

There’s more to representation than just showing up to the party, and I feel like that’s what would be happening here. It’s changing a race merely for the sake of change. Even if it gives the character more depth, does it, then, remain the same character? Danny Rand isn’t that deep. If they cast an Asian American, then the argument would be “Why is he so vapid? Why doesn’t he reflect the best of us?” On top of that, you run into issues with the whole “look at the Asian who’s great at kung fu” thing. In a lot of ways, you’re reinforcing a stereotype for the sake of representation. My friend James took offense to some representation in a reboot of Firestorm a few years back. Sure, the new Firestorm was Black, but there’s also a scene with him in a chicken suit. To James, that cost of representation was too high. I feel that way here. Sure, you get another (definitely sorely-needed) Asian American on television, but at what cost? It certainly isn’t really changing many minds about what they’re capable of. The argument screams “We own kung fu, so we should be the only ones depicted doing it”, but we live in a time and world of cultural appropriation. Nothing belongs to anyone anymore. Ask Eminem and Adele. So, to me, there’s nothing special about an Asian American who knows kung fu. I’m sorry to say that, but if you didn’t know anything about me other than the fact that I’m Black, would you be surprised if I could rap? Probably not. Stereotypes are a bitch like that.

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At the end of the day, though, I just hate change. Sure, you could say that it’s been done before with Samuel L. Jackson and Nick Fury, but even that is a trickier situation. There was some source material for that (The Ultimates comic), so it sort of “cushioned the blow”, so to speak. The Ultimate Universe was a different reality, and in that one, Nick Fury just happened to be Black. If they had made Ultimate Iron Fist an Asian American, I’d probably get behind it. I guess I just have issues with the live action going their own way without cues from the comics. Even the comics make stupid race decisions sometimes, like introducing a random ass Black character who suddenly turns out to be Nick Fury Jr., just so all the comics kinda match the movies. That was a hamfisted move, and as nuanced an argument as Keith makes, casting an Asian American as Iron Fist, in some sort of attempt at cultural reclamation, also feels hamfisted. I’ve been quiet because I really didn’t have an intelligent rebuttal. All I had to go on was how I felt. My problem, however, was that The Nerds of Color never issued a counterpoint. #AAIronFist became the rallying cry of the site, so it was pretty much assumed that if you were with them, then you were with them. Now, since the news broke, people are talking about how disappointed they are in Marvel, and even saying they’re boycotting the show. Look, everyone has drunk the Marvel Kool-Aid by this point. It doesn’t matter if Iron Fist is purple, you’re gonna at least watch the first episode to see what it’s all about. At this point, I feel like it was a valiant effort, and I applaud everyone for their hard work, but I believe it’s time to move on and give Finn Jones a chance. Not a sermon, just a thought.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • Disney announced a Big Hero 6 series for DisneyXD from the Kim Possible creators
  • Nickelodeon announced a TV movie based on the Legends of the Hidden Temple game show. I only saw this thing in hotels (no cable), so I’m not quite sure why everyone loves it so much.
  • The Baywatch film, which is being described as “Avengers meets Anchorman“, has added David Hasselhoff to the cast in an unknown role.

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Everywhere you look, folks were talking about it this week. That’s right: Fuller House debuted last Friday to horrible reviews. But that didn’t matter, because folks ate it up anyway. It did so well, that a second season has already been greenlit just a week after its premiere. In case you’ve been living under a rock, Fuller House is an update to the TGIF mainstay of the 80s and 90s, Full House. In the original, widower Danny Tanner was raising his 3 girls with help from his brother in law and best friend. In this sequel series, oldest daughter, DJ Fuller (née Tanner) is a widow herself, and her sister and best friend help her to raise her 3 boys. I’m only 4 episodes in, but I’ve got thoughts. Come along with me, will you?

  • Jodie Sweetin, Jodie Sweetin! Never has a former meth addiction looked so good. I know every website and Tumblr has been enamored with her breasts over the last week, so I won’t go that route. I’ll just say I was begging for another season just for more Jodie.
  • Critics wanna bash the show, but clearly they forgot that the original series wasn’t exactly Waiting for Godot. It was a cheesy, saccharine show – the kind critics have NEVER liked. That was the plight of the entire TGIF lineup. As hard as they worked, they never go the recognition of other sitcoms.
  • As much as people are loving Jodie Sweetin, I was glad to see Andrea Barber. See, I always kinda had a crush on Kimmy Gibbler. They always tried to paint her as gross, with smelly feet and all that, but I wasn’t buying it. I think it’s because she always had that “Yeah, she’d probably date a Black guy” vibe to her. I guess the producers saw that, too, as her ex-husband on the show is Latino (close enough!).
  • LOVE the updated theme song. Glad to see that Carly Rae Jepsen will be remembered as more than just the “Call Me Maybe Girl”
  • I was kinda disappointed in the decision they’d made with Danny’s new wife. If you followed the casting call, they were reportedly looking for an “Attractive, vivacious and youthful African American woman in her 40s”. That made me think they were going the Niecy Nash route. I mean, could you imagine Danny Tanner married to a Black chick? Nope! And that is EXACTLY why I wanted to see it. Instead, they went with Latina actress Eva LaRue. I used to LOVE her about 20 years ago, when she was making the crappy UPN sitcom rounds.
  • Unlike a lot of sitcoms, I like the kids – especially Max. They feel like kids, and not little adults trapped in kid bodies (I’m looking at you, Girl Meets World).
  • Speaking of the kids, Ramona Gibbler is an interesting character, as she’s the first time hamfisted diversity has been introduced to the Full House universe. Sure, Michelle had a bunch of halfy friends, like Denise and Teddy, but it was never dealt with like “I’m White, and they’re Black”. They just were. Eager to embrace her Latin side, early in the season Ramona comments that the Fullers are the Whitest family around. Yeah, the Tanners/Fullers always have been, but it didn’t seem “in universe” to ever bring attention to that.
  • It was nice that they got back the original Nicky and Alex. Man, the Twin gods did not shine brightly upon them!
  • Joey was married (check the ring), but never mentioned his wife and/or kids. I’ll need to know more about them next season.
  • Isn’t it nice that everyone got to pursue their dreams? Danny and Rebecca are about to have a nationally syndicated morning show (the current climate for those doesn’t indicate success, but whatever), Jessie is the music director for General Hospital, and Joey’s got a Vegas residency. Couldn’t, like, one of them be struggling? Well, I guess they had to write them out of the main show somehow.
  • I know we’ve had over 20 years to kinda hate Dave Coulier, especially after The Surreal Life and the Alanis Morissette drama, but it doesn’t feel like he has “it” anymore. Like, when he was doing his voices, I felt the same kind of sad for him that I feel when Michael Winslow still tries to do sound effects. It’s like “Awww, bless his heart!”
  • Finally, I don’t miss Michelle. Never liked her. Sure, it was OK to have the occasional “You got it, dude”, but she Urkeled that show into the ground. So, I’m not disappointed that she didn’t come back. It was interesting that they had the whole in-joke about it in the first episode, but I’m just fine with her focusing on her “fashion empire”.

Anyway, as I said, I’m only 4 episodes in. I’ve got another 9 to go, but so far I like what I see. They don’t really make television like this anymore, and Netflix is the perfect home for it as it wouldn’t fit on today’s broadcast networks. It’s too sweet and sappy for primetime, but it’s too adult for Nick/Disney (there’s a semen joke in the premiere). So, I’m glad that Netflix exists for these shows that are a bit outside the box. I look forward to the next 4 and a half hours, and I look forward to next season. So, for that, Fuller House had the West Week Ever.

*credits roll*

Best Boy – Some Dude

Gaffer – Another Dude

Key Grip – A Third Dude

*more credits*

 

Still here? Great. Well, I want to have a discussion about sharing. You see, views and likes are nice, but when you don’t share posts, you’re being selfish. To put it in Sunday school terms, you’re hiding it under a bushel. Don’t you want to let it shine?! Surely you have friends who might enjoy some of these ramblings, right? I know you do. Like Greg. Greg would LOVE this post, and you know it! Shares are the lifeblood of sites in this day and age, and we can’t really survive without them. So, like I always say, “Likes are nice, but shares are cares.” Thanks for your time 😉

29th Jan2016

West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 1/29/16

by Will

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We had Winter Storm Jonas come through last weekend, which resulted in over 3 feet of snow. It wasn’t all bad news, though, as I didn’t have to go to work until yesterday – which meant I watched a LOT of stuff. So, let’s talk about some of it, shall we?

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First up, I watched The Martian, starring Matt Damon as astronaut Mark Watney who’s presumed dead and left behind during a mission on Mars. But Watney’s not dead, so he has to survive on the uninhabited planet until help can arrive. It’s a great movie about the power of the human spirit and all that. Still, after watching this and Gravity, y’all can have space. I want NO part of it. Lindsay read the book and said that they cut some stuff (probably for time), but said that the movie was a pretty faithful adaptation. Also, like Gravity, I don’t feel like I ever need to see this again. I wasn’t on the edge of my seat as much as I was with Gravity, though, as Sandra Bullock’s whole ordeal was kinda condensed. Watney is on Mars for months so, while still a tale about survival, the whole struggle has peaks and valleys. Don’t get me wrong – stuff still goes horribly wrong for Watney, but after a while you don’t feel like he’s in that much danger. At least I didn’t. Great movie, though.

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I also watched Pixar’s hit, Inside Out. I’ve got a complicated relationship with this movie. You see, we rented it from Redbox about a month ago and the disc was so scratched that we could only get about 30 minutes into it before it stopped working. So, while snowed it, we tried watching it again, picking up where we left off, and I fell asleep during parts of it. That’s not to say anything about the quality – I was just really sleepy. Still, I didn’t see in this movie what others saw. Just like Mad Max: Fury Road, I thought it was enjoyable, but it didn’t resonate with me like it did with other folks. I’ve heard people call Inside Out the best Pixar movie ever. Really? REALLY? Then again, these are probably the same people who cried at Toy Story 3 (I still don’t get that). I may be a cold, heartless man, but I feel like the last time I agreed with anyone on a Pixar film was concerning the emotional opening to Up. I loved the characters, especially Anger – which is funny, seeing as how I typically think Lewis Black is just a Baby Boomer Sam Kinison whose shtick gets old fast (I start out calm AND THEN I’M YELLING! ‘CAUSE I WANT YOU TO KNOW I’M MAD!!!!). And it was easy to relate to Riley and the stuff she was going through. Still, I think I just expected MORE. Maybe I need to watch it all the way through from the beginning and stay awake this time.

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Next up, we watched Sisters, starring Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. In a flip of their last foray together, Baby Mama, this time Tina played the screw-up, while Amy played the straightlaced one. I’ve often said that Tina Fey tends to suck in comedies she doesn’t write (the aforementioned Baby Mama and Date Night), but this one broke that curse. With a screenplay by Saturday Night Live/30 Rock writer Paula Pell, it played to the strengths of everyone involved as Pell was already familiar with all of them. When Tina and Amy find out their parents have sold their childhood home, they decide to throw one final rager before the new owners move in. The movie was hilarious, and even included a great cameo by John Cena. Plus all your favorites are there: Maya Rudolph, Bobby Moynihan, Samantha Bee, and more. I’m still kinda wondering how Ike Barinholtz got cast as the Cute Guy Love Interest. I mean, was EVERYONE else in Hollywood busy? Don’t get me wrong – he’s capable in the role, but he’s probably the last person I would’ve thought to cast in that role.

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Then, I really wanted to watch Trainwreck, but the version I got was in French for some reason. Undeterred, I decided to watch something else instead. I settled on a new animated release called Batman: Bad Blood. I used to buy all of those DC straight-to-DVD movies that came out, but then they just started cranking them out too quickly. Well, it turns out I’ve missed a lot. You see this movie was a sequel to Batman vs. Robin, which itself was a sequel to Son of Batman. So I had just jumped into the third part of a who-knows-how-many-parts series. It wasn’t as jarring as I thought it would be, though, as you could tell that some stuff had occurred before, but it was pretty easy to figure out what was going on. When Batman disappears after an explosion in a factory, Nightwing and Robin team up with Batwoman and new hero Batwing to figure out what happened. At first, I was thrown off by the animation style, as it was a little too “anime” for me. I should’ve been used to it, as Batman: Gotham Knight had the same style going for it, but I guess I’m just a sucker for the traditional Bruce Timm designs. The other thing that struck me was the fact that this is probably the most mature Batman depiction seen onscreen. There’s blood, they deal with Batwoman’s lesbian relationship, they call each other “bitch” a lot, and a second-tier Bat villain straight up dies in a pretty gruesome way. This was a HARD PG-13. The thing I liked about the movie, however, was the fact that it’s not really based on anything. I used to hate the runtime of the DC animated films, as they tend to clock in around 72 minutes, which isn’t enough time to faithfully adapt a storyline. For example, Superman: Doomsday is so short that it’s basically like Superman takes a nap instead of *dying*. Since this didn’t need to be faithful to any source material, the runtime felt organic and was definitely long enough. The ending seemed somewhat open ended, so I’m hesitant to say that it’s the end of a trilogy. If you like your Batman cold and distant, this is the film for you. The thing to remember is that the movie is more about how Batman affects and influences those around him than about Batman himself.

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Since I stumbled into a saga in media res, I decided to go back and check out Son of Batman to see how it all began. Man, if I thought Bad Blood was dark, they clearly toned things down from when this saga first began. SO MUCH BLOOD! And hookers! Batman is referred to as a “sperm donor”! And Nightwing’s about to tell Robin to go fuck himself! Like, ALL of that is in this film. And even though she’s a cartoon character, Talia’s titties are “on fleek”, as the kids would say. If you’re not familiar with the story, Batman discovers that he has a child with Talia Al Ghul, the daughter of his adversary Ra’s Al Ghul (in the comic Batman: Son of the Demon, Batman sexes her with his cowl on!). The child, Damien, is now 10 years old and comes to Gotham to find his grandfather’s murderer. The movie is a loose adaptation of Grant Morrison’s “Batman & Son” storyline, but I found myself enjoying this movie much more than I enjoyed the source material (not much of a Morrison fan). When I was watching Bad Blood, I found Robin’s voice to be pretty annoying, but it grew on me in this installment. I know a lot of folks hate the Damien character, but I think he’s a breath of fresh air. I really enjoy his “arrogance in a small package” routine, and it definitely comes across in this movie.

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To round out the series, I watched the second movie, Batman vs. Robin. Oh my God, it was SO good! It was definitely my favorite of the three. There are some amazing fight scenes, and it’s REALLY violent. Since Batman is basically fighting what amounts to zombies, he blows them up and cuts their heads off. It’s intense! Loosely based on Scott Snyder’s “The Court of Owls” storyline, it’s about a secret society of rich muckety mucks who have controlled Gotham for years. They decide to recruit Bruce Wayne, but when he refuses, they go after Robin instead. Their army is comprised of reanimated hundred year old corpses, which is why Batman can cut loose on them. My favorite line was probably “Now I’m only gonna say this once, you sons of bitches: Get the HELL OUT OF MY CAVE!” As you can see, that mature tone is still holding steady, but it also gets the players in place for the beginning of Bad Blood. If the movies are viewed as a trilogy, however, this installment hurts the building momentum. After all, the first movie, Son of Batman, is a Talia story and Bad Blood is a Talia story. Having watched them out of order, I assumed that Talia would play some role here, building up to the events of Bad Blood. Instead, the events of Bad Blood kinda come out of nowhere. At the end of Son of Batman, Talia and Batman part ways with an uneasy alliance. In Bad Blood, however, she’s out for Batman’s blood. It almost feels like there’s an installment missing. In any case, I LOVE this Batman continuity. I’d watch a whole season of this if Warner Bros had the balls to produce a series with this tone (they do not). The next DC movie is Justice League vs. Teen Titans, and it appears to be set in this same universe, as Damien is the Robin on the Titans. If that movie is anything like this, I cannot wait!

Last week, everyone was talking about #OscarsSoWhite because no one of color had been nominated in the major categories of the Academy Awards. This week, then, everyone seemed to do a 180 and everything was coming up Black!

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First up, it was announced that Delroy Lindo has been cast as Dominic Fortune in the Mockingbird-centric Marvel’s Most Wanted. This is pretty important because Fortune, created by Howard Chaykin, was originally a White character in the comics. So, it looks like Marvel’s Nick Furying all over again (the character played by Samuel L. Jackson in the movies was also originally a White character in the comics). Dominic Fortune isn’t a huge character, so this colorblind casting won’t affect his characterization, but I’m sure it’ll get someone’s Underoos in a bunch. Most Wanted is still in the pilot stage, however, so there’s no guarantee it’ll be ordered to series at this point.

Corey hawkins

Next up, it was announced that Corey Hawkins from Straight Outta Compton would play the lead, Eric Carter, in the 24 spinoff, 24: Legacy. The series, sadly, will not feature Jack Bauer, but instead will focus on Carter, who’s a military hero who returns home and suddenly needs the help of CTU. I honestly don’t know how CTU hasn’t been absorbed by some other agency, as they’re rife with moles and they tend to be more reactionary than proactive. They never stop the attacks, but they’re always there after they happen. I mean, the poor citizens of Valencia, CA probably wish CTU had been a little more on the ball. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out, though. A Jack-less 24? I have my doubts.

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Finally, it was announced that The 100‘s Ricky Whittle had been cast in the lead role of Shadow Moon in the Starz adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. I have no clue what this thing is about because just hearing the name “Neil Gaiman” gives me a headache. From what I’ve gathered, the book was about the fact that gods only exist as long as people believe in them, and the old gods are now being replaced by new gods, like celebrities and social media. That idea doesn’t sound all that original to me, but it’s Gaiman, so I’m sure there are a bajillion Tumblrs out there dying to prove me wrong. Anyway, the character in the book was somewhat racially ambiguous, so it’s being considered a big deal that they went with a Black actor given Hollywood’s tendency to Whitewash.

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It wasn’t all sunshine and roses for Black characters this week, though, as Arrow bid farewell to a particular recurring character. Usually, the deaths on that show serve to move the story along, but this one just seemed kinda…nonchalant. This has led folks to believe that it was mandated by corporate interests. Since this character will appear in an upcoming DC film (albeit played by a different actor), they are no longer allowed to appear on the TV shows. After all, this is reportedly the same reason that there are no plans for the Deadshot character (who will be portrayed by Will Smith in Suicide Squad) to return to Arrow. It is believed that corporate feels it might confuse audiences to have the same character in two different mediums, played by different people. I think people are smarter than that, but stranger things have happened. I mean, we live in a world where Marvel is deliberately burying Fantastic Four and mutants because Marvel Studios doesn’t own the TV/film rights to those properties. So, it would make sense for DC to be doing something similar. I just feel like this is going to be to the detriment of the shows. Arrow is pretty much the best Batman adaptation on television (let’s face it – that’s what they’re doing with that character), but he’s gonna be severely neutered if all the best characters are slated for film. And what does this mean for The Flash, seeing as how that movie is just over the horizon? The CW’s DC shows have been so good that I’d hate to think that this is the beginning of the end of their quality.

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Speaking of Arrow, it was announced that Stephen Amell will be portraying a future version of his character in the 6th episode of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow. Reminiscent of his depiction in the classic The Dark Knight Returns, this Oliver Queen resides in the year 2046, and is missing his left arm. The episode will also introduce Connor Hawke – Queen’s son and the future Green Arrow.

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In comics news, DC Comics stayed on folks’ lips this week. Right after last week’s West Week Ever went up, Bleeding Cool posted a rumor that DC plans to relaunch later this summer. Apparently, once the main books (Batman, Superman, Action Comics, etc) reach #52 of their current runs, the series will relaunch at #1, with the publishing line mirroring DC’s TV and film offerings. Shortly after this story went up, DC’s co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee tweeted out a cryptic image that only said “Rebirth”. It’s important to note that this is being reported as a relaunch and not a reboot. What’s the difference? Well, a relaunch really just means that you’re restarting the series with new numbering, but the core of the books stays the same. A reboot, however, means you’re starting everything over from scratch. A relaunch is what Marvel does all the time – cancels Uncanny X-Men only for it to reappear with a new #1 a few months later. This is done because companies believe that #1s bring in new readers, as they serve as fresh “jump on points”. That’s somewhat true, but the audience erodes between issues 1 and 2. And the more you relaunch, the more than audience erodes. A reboot is what DC did a few years ago when they introduced The New 52, which was a new universe where (almost) everything was changed and restarted at square one. This is a riskier move because it eliminates everything that came before it, and it squanders a lot of goodwill and faith from longtime fans. The universe they’d grown to love is no longer. It’s DC basically saying they’re willing to risk their dedicated audience if it means they can attract a new one. Now, “Rebirth” seems to be taking a page from Marvel’s playbook, but DC has done so much timey-wimey garbage lately, with The New 52 and Convergence, that I’m not sure DC’s fanbase is strong enough to handle this.

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And the superheroes aren’t the only things DC is revamping. It was revealed yesterday that they’re updating several Hanna-Barbera properties for modern comic books. Above is the Jim Lee-designed Scooby Doo. And I hate it. I hate the hipster douche vibe I get off the guys. Shaggy’s facial hair? Hate it. Fred’s tat? Hate it. Daphne’s just Caitlin Fairchild from Gen13. And I’m so used to Velma being sexualized through cosplay that I’m broken and don’t even know what to make of her design. The line will also include updated versions of The Flintstones, Wacky Races and Jonny Quest. The beauty of this whole thing is that I don’t really have any connection to the source material, so this initiative doesn’t offend me as much as it might others. At the end of the day, these books clearly aren’t for me, and I don’t have to buy them. That’s, like, the most mature reaction I’ve had to something in a long time.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • Reportedly, Paramount and Nickelodeon are planning a film that would feature a crossover of many of their NickToons properties. I never had cable growing up, so this means almost nothing to me.

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  • Mattel just revealed that Barbie will now feature 3 new body types: petite, tall, and curvy. The dolls will also feature new skin tones and hair textures. The one on the right would be referred to by some as Thick’ums Barbie.
  • Joseph Fiennes is in talks to play Michael Jackson in a UK special about a road trip that MJ, Elizabeth Taylor, and Marlon Brando supposedly took after 9/11. Sadly, there’s no #MJSoWhite hashtag.

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Last week, I had the pleasure of joining the guys over at The Nerd Lunch Podcast to discuss shows that we felt deserved the Fuller House/Girl Meets World revival treatment. I think our choices will surprise you! Trust me, you REALLY don’t wanna miss this episode, which you can listen to right here.

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The X-Files came back to Fox this week for a 6-episode “event” series. What that means is that if the ratings are good and they can hammer out new deals, the show will be back. If not, however, they can pretend that it was always meant to be a One and Done series and save face. I was never the most hardcore X-Files fan, as I didn’t even really start watching until season 5. And while a lot of people love the Monster of the Week episodes, I preferred the ones that dealt with the mythology and conspiracy aspects. So, I was pleased that the first episode back was a straight mythology episode. What I was not pleased about, however, is that they’re basically saying everything we’ve known for the past 20 years has been a lie. Now, it shouldn’t be a surprise for a show like The X-Files to throw out a twist or two, but it’s pretty brazen for them to basically say SPOILER ALERT (highlight for text): “Yeah, there are no aliens”. On the one hand, it sets up a new kind of mythology, but it also makes me feel like I wasted a LOT of hours of my life to get to an answer that doesn’t exist. That “revelation” basically turned the entire audience into Mulder. If that was the plan all along, nice work, Chris Carter. Anyway, it’s also interesting that the episodes are airing out of order. While the first and sixth episodes were always meant to be the mythology episodes, they’ve shuffled the order of the middle episodes. The episode that aired in the place of #2 was actually #5, while #4 will air in the place of #5. Episode 3 is only one airing in its originally scheduled order. Carter said that this was done to tell the best story possible, and was achieved by removing some dialogue here and there. That’s why it seemed so jarring in Monday’s episode that Mulder and Scully were just automatically back in the FBI like nothing happened – that was actually the next to last episode instead of the second. Here’s hoping this shuffle pays off in the end. In any case, it seems off to a pretty strong start, and I feel like the only reason it wouldn’t get renewed for another season would be if they couldn’t come to a contractual agreement. So, for those reasons, The X-Files had the West Week Ever.

04th Nov2015

Will’s Really Late NYCC 2015 Swag Grab Recap

by Will

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So, it’s been almost a month since New York Comic Con, and here I am finally putting my thoughts to “paper”. I meant to do it sooner, but there really wasn’t much to say at the time. I mean, I always enjoy the chance to go to a comic con. I missed Baltimore in September for the first time in 10 years, due to my sister-in-law’s wedding. So, NYCC was meant to fill that void. Did it? Not really. You see, Baltimore is still a somewhat intimate show, even as it has grown. NYCC is just straight out of control now. Too many people. No me gusta!

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As you know from my past convention reports, I tend to post a lot of cosplay pics from the show, but I just couldn’t do it this time. That’s not to say that there weren’t cool costumes, but it was too overwhelming. For example, I really wanted to take a picture of Black Dick Tracy, because it was a cool costume AND I really wanted to type “Black Dick Tracy”. Welp, I guess I got to accomplish half that. Anyway, my pal Chris Piers gave me a challenge: he wanted me to figure out which property/character was being cosplayed the most at the show. Discounting all the Harleys, Deadpools, and Banes (I no longer even notice them anymore), I’ve got to say that Rick & Morty won hands down. I know the show is great, but I had no idea it had the reach that it does. To see so many folks cosplaying as the duo means that there’s quite a strong fanbase behind the show. Coming in a close second would be Spider-Gwen crossplay. By that, I mean that I saw a lot of dudes wearing Spider-Gwen hoodies. I still don’t know how that character has taken fandom by storm like it has (I’ve got all the issues, but haven’t read them yet). It’s just amazing to see that it’s taken off so quickly.

So, after quickly realizing that taking pics wasn’t gonna be “the look”, as the kids say, I knew that I’d have to come up with some sort of plan. Since conventions are known for their swag (that’s “free stuff”, for the unenlightened), that was gonna be my ticket: I was gonna see how much free stuff I could rack up over the course of the day. That’s not to say that I didn’t buy anything, because I did and we’ll get to that. Still, I wanted to see what I could get for nothing, and I think I made out pretty well.

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Almost 5 minutes into the Javits Center lobby, and I had my first shot at some free stuff. There was a booth set up to promote Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, seeing as how the free wifi at the show was being supplied by “LexCorp”. All you had to do was follow @AlexanderLuthor on Twitter, show them that you followed him, and they gave you a free LexCorp rechargeable power bank. Score! I hadn’t even set foot on the convention floor yet, and I was already getting stuff. The show was starting to look promising.

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The DC Comics booth, for some reason, was also outside the main hall, so I picked up this Dawn of Justice themed LEGO poster.

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The DC booth was also giving out this free comic sponsored by KFC. I remember reading about this before the show, and thinking I wanted a copy, but I completely forgot about it until someone handed me a copy. I was kinda hoping it would tie into the whole Darrell Hammond/Norm MacDonald thing going on with the commercials, but it seems to be its own thing. All I know is that KFC is doing a lot of head scratch-inducing marketing lately.

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Marvel had a booth set up just to promote the upcoming Netflix series Jessica Jones. I got a promo poster with art by Alias artist Michael Gaydos promoting the show. There was also a preview comic, also with art by Gaydos. I also got business cards for Alias Investigations and Nelson & Murdock – Attorneys At Law. Finally, I got a picture and video of myself at the desk of Alias Investigations.

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The Marvel booth was giving away this poster promoting the animated Guardians of the Galaxy series on DisneyXD. I’ve heard absolutely nothing about that show, either good or bad. Has anyone seen it?

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Marvel also gave out this double-sided poster promoting the ABC Marvel series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.

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I got this Groot crown, also designed to promote the Guardians TV series.

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As for comics, Marvel was relying on their FCBD offering, by giving out copies of All-New, All Different Avengers. I took my copy to Artist Alley and got it signed by artist Mahmud Asrar. I also got a free Avengers comic meant to tie in with the Playmation system that just came out. Finally, I got a Secret Wars print by Skottie Young.

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At the ABC Family booth, they were surprisingly not promoting their upcoming name change to Freeform. I guess the banners and stuff had already been printed up by the time the news broke. Anyway, they were giving away this poster tube promoting their shows Stitchers, Pretty Little Liars, and Shadow Hunter. It wasn’t until I got home that I actually looked at the posters and realized they were commissioned by Marvel:

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I really like the Pretty Little Liars one, as it reminds me of Fables. However, I’ve never seen the show, and have no idea what I’d do with it, so back into the tube it went.

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The Dark Horse booth was also relying heavily on their FCBD offerings, but I didn’t get a chance to get Fight Club or the Avatar book when they first came out, so I grabbed them. I also got a Call of Duty: Black Ops III comic, as well as an ashcan for a comic called Rebels. I just liked the poster for Joe Golem: Occult Detective, but it got kinda messed up on the way home, so I chucked it.

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At the Del Rey booth, they not only gave away a Star Wars sampler, but they also gave away a complete novel – Star Wars: Tarkin. I’m never gonna read this thing, but it was a whole book. For free!

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I’d never heard of 451 Media before, but their booth guys were just shoving these into people’s hands. One guy was like “You want me to sign ’em?” I had no clue who he was, but I was like, “Sure”. It turns out this is a media company co-founded by Michael Bay. Each comic has a card in the back that you scan with an app, and it’ll unlock more content. I haven’t tried it yet, but the art in the books is actually pretty good. I’ll get around to reading them one of these days.

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There was a guy handing out the Den of Geek Magazine as you got off the escalator. Meanwhile, I collect convention programs, so I had to grab one of those, as well.

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All they seemed to have at the IDW booth was this Star Trek: Starfleet Academy ashcan comic. I’m not even sure if I like NuTrek, but it was free, so…

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At the Diamond booth, they were giving out this little Cardcaptor Sakura figurines. No interest in that franchise, but again, it was free.

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At the Valiant booth, I got this 2016 Preview book. I’ll talk a bit more about Valiant later.

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The LEGO booth gave away what is probably the thinnest poster I’ve ever held in my hands. I swear, it’s like 1/2 ply. Anyway, it was to promote the upcoming NEXO Knights line.

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Finally, while not exactly free (I bought the comic at a shop before I left for NYCC), I had a nice conversation with writer David Walker, who signed my copy of Cyborg #1. We actually did a podcast together about a year ago, so we talked about that, and it seems like he might want to do it again soon.

So, in all, it wasn’t too bad of a haul. I don’t want a chunk of that stuff, but that wasn’t the point. I really just wanted to see if you could have an enjoyable experience without shelling out a ton of money. I think you can, as I had fun tracking down all the different swag. But I told you in the beginning that I did buy some stuff, so let’s take a quick look at that, shall we?

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If you read last year’s post, you might remember that I met The Cosby Show/Living Single actress Erika Alexander on the convention floor. It turned out that she and her husband, Tony Puryear, had written a book called Concrete Park. Well, I bought the first volume from them last year, and Tony was here selling the second volume. To be honest, I haven’t even read Volume 1 yet, but I always think it’s cooler to buy a book directly from the creator than at a shop, so I picked up Volume 2.

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Somehow, I found myself in the Valiant booth. Let me tell you a little something about me and Valiant. I’ve NEVER taken them seriously as a comic publisher. Back in the early 90s, when they were first getting started, I wanted nothing to do with their books. When their revival started up a couple of years ago, I didn’t think they’d last a year. Their stuff just never seemed interesting to me. Still, while I was in their booth, I was approached by one of their marketing guys, and he was so friendly. He asked me what kind of stuff I liked to read, and then he immediately was able to find a Valiant book comparable to it. Like Batman? Then try Ninjak. That sort of thing. Plus, since it was the last day of the convention, they were running a special: trade paperbacks were $10 each OR you could get 5 for $30. They were basically giving you two for free. I couldn’t pass that up, and he even sold me a copy of Quantum and Woody that had been signed by the creators. So, I went from completely ignoring Valiant to actually being excited about their output. I’m pretty sure I’ll write about those books once I get a chance to sit down and read them.

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Finally, there was a booth that had trade paperbacks for half price, so I got these 6 books for $5 each. I remember wanting to read Freelancers, plus I’d been intrigued by the all-female Ghostbusters story arc when it came out. I loved the first Dr. McNinja collection, so I was glad to find “Timefist”. I grabbed those Axe Cop books because I enjoyed the first collection, but never really wanted to pay $20 each for the other volumes. At $5 each, that’s just a little over what a single issue would cost, so I jumped on it. Then I got home, and found that I actually already had 2 of them. I really need to catalog my collection so this stops happening…

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In all, did I have a good time? Yeah, I guess so. I mean, I originally wanted to go because I thought it would be a great chance to meet up with some of my Twitter friends. Unfortunately, I never made any concrete plans. So, when I sent out the call that morning, it fell upon deaf keyboards. So, it was actually kind of a lonely experience, to be honest *cue sad violin*. I enjoy comic conventions, but NYCC has gotten to be a bit much. It needs a bigger venue, and I’m not sure that even exists in the city at the moment. As it stands, though, this may be my last NYCC. If I go again, it will be with a strict agenda, i.e meeting friends, checking out particular projects, etc. instead of just wandering around, killing time.

17th Jul2015

West Week Ever – 7/17/15

by Will

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It’s been so long since I’ve done one of these that I’m gonna have to kick the dust off everything. Basically, brace yourself for a whole lot of “This Is What Will’s Been Watching”.

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A few years ago, I read Shopgirl, by Steve Martin (Yep, that Steve Martin). I remember it because we had lost power due to an intense heat wave, and I really had nothing else to do. Plus, as a novella, it was short. I remembered enjoying it, but feeling that it was a bit of a sad story. So, last week, when I saw that the movie was on (also starring Steve Martin), I thought, “Well, I remember liking this. Let’s watch!” I have to say that I don’t remember reading most of what was in that movie. I’m not sure if there was that much of a departure, or if my memory is just that bad. I watched that thing like I had never even encountered the story before, as everything felt new to me.

If you’ve never heard of Shopgirl before, it’s about a girl who works in a department store (Claire Danes), who begins an affair with one of her customers (Martin). He’s not looking for love, but she is. Meanwhile, Jason Schwartzman is there, being Jason Schwartzman – trying to get Danes to notice him. It’s a typical love triangle, and ends like you’d expect. Would I recommend it? Um, sure? I dunno. I seem to say this a lot, but there are worse ways to kill 90 minutes. If you’ve ever wanted to see Claire Danes’s ass, this is the film for you. Other than that, I’m not sure I like Steve Martin in a dramatic role. I know everyone’s doing it, from Robin Williams (RIP) to Bill Murray, and he’s certainly capable at it. I just prefer the Steve Martin who “was born a poor Black child.”

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The next movie I watched was the unnecessary sequel, Horrible Bosses 2. I enjoyed the first movie, as it has a likable cast. Bateman, Sudeikis, and Day? Hilarious! Throw in Jamie Foxx as “Motherfucker” Jones, the ex-con who’s gonna help the guys do in their overbearing bosses? Priceless! I can understand the desire to get the band back together, but there was no real reason for a sequel. The plot is really flimsy, and the antagonist isn’t even technically their “boss”, so the title is a misnomer. This time around, the guys have invented a product to revolutionize the way people take showers, when their investor decides to screw them over by forcing them into foreclosure and taking the product for himself. So, to get back at him, they decide to kidnap his son and ransom him to get back the money they need to pay off their loan. Only the son WANTS to be kidnapped, to stick it to his dad. And then I just stopped paying attention. It got way too convoluted for a comedy. This ain’t Oceans 11! Do not watch!

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On the TV front, there are a couple of new shows I’ve been checking out. First up is HUMANS, on AMC. In the near future, people can buy “Synths” – synthetic humans designed to make their owners’ lives easier. The duties performed by the Synths range from cooking and cleaning to more…sensual matters. The show really sort of focuses on how people react to having the Synths in their lives. Meanwhile, there seems to be a group of Synths who have gained autonomy, and they’re being hunted down because of what they might mean for the future of Synths and humanity. It’s a really interesting show, and if you’ve watched any British shows in recent years (it’s a joint venture between England’s Channel 4 and AMC), you’ll recognize some of the actors – like Katherine Parkinson, from The IT Crowd. It’s an 8-episode season, and AMC has only shown the first 3 episodes so far, so it’s not too late to jump in.

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Meanwhile on USA, I’m watching Mr. Robot. It’s a show about a hacker who gets recruited by a hacker collective known as f society, who plan to take down an evil corporation. To be perfectly honest, the whole take down plot is completely lost on me, but I enjoy the show because I like the characters. I haven’t watched a show with such a morally-ambiguous cast since Nip/Tuck. Now, I didn’t end up finishing that show, as boredom eventually kicked in (some cable network should really be showing reruns of that show. Get on that, somebody!). I hope the same thing doesn’t happen here, as I could feel boredom creeping in during this week’s episode. I’ll still watch for now, though, as the lead looks like SNL‘s Pete Davidson, so it’s fun to imagine that the show is just a really long, elaborate sketch.

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Over on Bravo, I fell in love with the scripted comedy Odd Mom Out. Starring Jill Kargman (and based on her 2007 novel Momzillas), the show focuses on a fictionalized version of Kargman as she has to navigate the excess and affluence of New York’s Upper East Side. When I first watched the show, I thought that everyone sucked at life. Then, I realized you had to get into the mindset of the show. The primary Bravo audience is tuning in for Real Housewives shows, so how would they receive the show? Now that I’ve seen the 6 episodes that have aired so far this season, I love the show. Kargman has this cool vibe to her where I’d really love to be best friends with her. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that she always favorites my tweets when I write about the show. Abby Elliott costars as Jill’s sister-in-law, while The Office‘s David Wallace (Andy Buckley) plays Jill’s husband. It’s not for everyone – especially not the geek crowd that tends to read this post every week – but I think a few of you out there may really enjoy it.

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Finally, over on Fox, I discovered Wayward Pines. I originally meant to watch this show back when I wrote my Fox Upfronts post last year. Then, it debuted and I just kinda forgot about it. Well, I started watching it Monday night and ended up watching the first 5 episodes in one night. I thought it would just be a Twin Peaks ripoff, but it’s so much more, and it’s SOO GOOOD! Matt Dillon wakes up after a car accident and finds himself in a small Idaho town, called Wayward Pines. The townsfolk seem to be filled with fear, hidden behind forced smiles, and everyone’s under surveillance. Dillon tries to leave the town, but finds that he can’t because it’s walled off from the rest of the world. And that’s when shit REALLY gets weird. In Episode 5, you learn the truth about the town, and it will BLOW. YOUR. MIND. The show is executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan, so you really shouldn’t be surprised that there’s a twist. Still, Shymalan’s career has taken a beating in recent years, which is probably why they’re trying to downplay his involvement here. It’s a shame, because this could be seen as his comeback vehicle. The series finale is next Thursday, and I’m filled with questions. Also, I’m kinda surprised that Fox is sticking to this being a one-time limited series, since it seems to be a summer hit. I just can’t imagine they wouldn’t try to somehow develop a second season out of it. Anyway, you’ve got a week to catch up On Demand, so you can watch the finale along with me.

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Yesterday on social media, everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) made the same Ivan Ooze joke about the depiction of Apocalypse in the next X-Men movie (I didn’t even know that many people had seen Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie!). It does, however, lead back to an apprehension I’ve had since the X-Men movie franchise began. While it’s nowhere near as grounded as something like the Netflix Daredevil series, the X-Men movies have been grounded enough in their own version of reality that it was going to be hard to shift into some of the more “exotic” villains like Apocalypse and Mr. Sinister. Based on the world that Bryan Singer created, there would never be an option to go against something like Mojo or The Brood. Luckily for them, they’ve wasted all their movies telling yet another iteration of the Xavier vs. Magneto sparring match. I just think there’s a wealth of characters that could be mined for an X-Men film, but they painted themselves into a corner. Now, they finally decide to go for one of the more outlandish X-Men villains, and this is how it’s received. Apocalypse just doesn’t fit in the world that they’ve crafted. Let’s hope he looks better when they slather him with effects.

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Speaking of comic book movies, the trailers for 3 anticipated films debuted last weekend at San Diego Comic-Con. These included the latest one for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, as well as Suicide Squad, and Deadpool. Of course, bootleg versions of the latter two leaked online, as these things are wont to do, and Warner Bros were none too happy about it. They decided to officially release the Suicide Squad trailer, but only because their hand had been forced by “piracy”. And they made sure to address this while releasing the clip. Fans contrasted this with Marvel’s reaction to leaked Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer, where the company simply tweeted a jocular “Dammit, HYDRA!” Basically, the tone of the Warner Bros message was basically “We had no intention of showing this to you, but thanks to a few bad apples, we decided to show you the trailer as it was originally intended, and not in the low quality version that’s making the rounds.” They seemed to think they were getting in front of the issue, but seemed like such a bunch of crotchety old fogies while doing so.

Anyway, my thoughts on the trailers:

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice – I’m no more excited about this movie than I was before. That’s to say, I’m really not excited about it. At all. I don’t really like the Snyderverse, as I didn’t hate Man of Steel, but I didn’t love it, either. I’m also not sure about Affleck’s Batman. I saw Man of Steel On Demand, and that just might be the case here. The only reason I’d see it in theaters is because Batman’s in it, but I’m not sure this is my Batman.

Suicide Squad – Again, not very excited. I’ve seen people losing their shit, talking about how awesome it looks. I’m happy for them, but I don’t share that sentiment. I can’t get out of my head how someone said that the promotional image of the team made them look like those Homies figures you get out of vending machines. That was SPOT ON! I’m not a big Will Smith fan, I don’t really like this version of Harley, and I don’t even know what to think of Leto’s Joker. Again, the only thing that might get me to see this in theaters is the fact that Batman’s in it.

Deadpool – looks fun, but Ryan Reynolds is box office poison right now. He’s got a string of flops behind him, from Green Lantern to R.I.P.D. to Self/Less. I’ve been a fan since Two Guys, A Girl, and A Pizza Place, but times are not great for him lately. Reynolds aside, I think the biggest problem is the R-rating. I’ve said it before, but I don’t see anything about Deadpool that deserves an R-rated movie. His comic isn’t a MAX title, so it’s not Mature Readers. That means there’s no sex and no cursing. While it could be pretty violent, it’s a cartoon violence, and nothing on par with, say, Punisher. I think they’re really cutting out a big chunk of their potential audience by making it rated R, as parents like to take their kids to superhero movies. The only 2 R-rated comic movies that have been successful are Blade and Kick-Ass. I still say that Blade did well because it drew in the vampire fans moreso than the comic people (Comic fans don’t really love Blade, as he’s never had a series to last more than 13 issues). I got nothing for Kick-Ass. Also, people will debate me on this, but I don’t think Deadpool’s a household name. Sure, comic fans know who he is, but if you showed him to the man on the street, he’d ask “How come Spider-Man has swords now?” I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how this all turns out. Don’t get me wrong – I WANT it to be a hit, but I’m just skeptical right now.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– 50 Cent filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Where’d all that Vitamin Water money go?

– Brandy sang on the New York subway, and was shocked when nobody gave a shit

– I watched the ending to Batman: Arkham Knight on YouTube (way to not release it on the 360, Rocksteady!) THAT’s how you tell a Final Batman Story!

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My pals, Zac and Adam, co-host the No Topic Required podcast, and this week’s episode was very special, as it was the FINAL episode. Luckily, I was invited to take part, and it was a pretty fun time. I’m always sad to see one of my favorite podcasts go (looking at you, Cold Slither Podcast), but I’m sure that Zac will be back with something new once he recharges his batteries. In any case, you should go give the episode a listen!

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You know what didn’t have the West Week Ever? San Diego Comic-Con. Usually an informational mecca for the pop culture set, nothing really came out of there this year, outside the trailers I already mentioned. Marvel and Image had already revealed their big plans, so it was really DC’s con to lose. And lose they did. They announced the Milestone characters would be returning as Earth-M in the Multiverse (meh), Adam Kubert and Klaus Janson would be the artists for Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight III: The Master Race (meh), and Ben Affleck and Geoff Johns would be teaming up for a standalone Batman film (I’m listening…).

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Since I skipped 2 weeks, and left you all without a true WWE in that post, I didn’t want to come back and say that nobody had the West Week Ever. So, you know what had it? Go Set A Watchman, by Harper Lee.

Have I read it? Nope. Have I heard good things about it? Nope. In fact, it’s probably just a cash grab, resulting from Lee’s manipulating caregivers. Still, its release this week is pretty important to the literary world, as it’s the sequel that no one thought they’d ever see. It’s the Ghostbusters 3, Who Discovered Roger Rabbit?, and Goonies II of literature. And that’s gotta count for something, right? I mean, Lee retreated from the fame generated from the release of To Kill A Mockingbird, and vowed to never release another book. Yet, here it is. It almost doesn’t even matter if it’s good or not. The most important thing is that it exists. And as of this past Tuesday, you can own it and read it for yourself. I definitely plan to read it, so I’ll share my thoughts once I do, but for now, Go Set A Watchman had the West Week Ever.

28th Jun2013

West Week Ever – 6/28/13

by Will
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Who had the West Week Ever? Read on to find out!

Song of the Day: Ke$ha – Grow A Pear

Not only do I like the play on words, but I totally used to be this guy. Hell, I probably still am!

Why isn’t Head of the Class on anywhere these days? Isn’t that what TV Land is for? I was listening to 60s on 6 this morning, and the song from Hair came on. It reminded me of the Head of the Class two-parter where they’re gonna do Hair for their school play, but Dr. Samuels doesn’t want them doing the nude scenes. Looking back, why the Hell did they think that would ever fly in a New York public school? Oh, you don’t even know what I’m talking about? OK, Head of the Class was a late 80s show on ABC that chronicled the exploits of the gifted kids in the Individualized Honors Program class at Fillmore High. They came from all walks of life, but all had secret potential just waiting to burst out (audience goes *awww*). Here are the opening credits:

Now, I gotta ask: Did Mr. Moore go through that shit every day just to get to work? Hitchhiking in 80s New York?! He’s lucky he didn’t get strangled. Just buy a friggin’ subway pass. And I love how the whole class is waiting to applaud him for coming to work – you know, doing his fucking job! Anyway, Howard Hesseman also played Dr. Johnny Fever on WKRP In Cincinnati, and I like to pretend that Mr. Moore is just the same character, only he finally got himself cleaned up and off the drugs. Anyway, the legacy of the show is that the fat kid went on to create every tween show on Nick (All That, The Amanda Show, iCarly, etc), while the greaser went on to produce everything else (Smallville, One Tree Hill, What I Like About You).

Bandai America created something I really want, but have no shot at getting: with a production run of 1000, and being released at San Diego Comic-Con, I give you the Green Ranger/White Ranger Edition Legacy Morpher:

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I know you’re saying, “Will, it’s for kids”, but this most certainly is NOT. How many kids items are 24 karat gold?! Anyway, since I’ll never own it, the consolation prize is watching adults losing their shit on Bandai in the comments over on Facebook. Schadenfreude’s the best!

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Have you ever read a book that told you a lot and yet told you nothing all at the same time? That’s how I felt when I read The Simpsons: An Unauthorized, Uncensored History this week. To start, I’m not even the biggest Simpsons fan, but I do happen to be a Simpsons apologist. I don’t watch every episode, but I enjoy every one that I see. I feel like it’s just the “cool kid” thing to say that the show sucks now, but it’s held up amazingly well for its age. Anyway, I bought this book during a buying frenzy when Borders went into clearance mode, and I figured now was as good a time as any to read it. I tend to love a good “oral history” book, but this one was so poorly written. I was amazed by the typos that made it through – sometimes changing the meaning of sentences. It was also crippled by the fact that none of the current staff cooperated with the making of the book, so the anecdotes are taken from old magazine interviews and DVD commentaries. After reading 291 pages, the main point hammered home is that Matt Groening is a lucky dude who has no right to be as rich and famous as he is. The entire Simpsons franchise was a collaborative effort between folks who never got the credit they deserved, while Matt just cashed his merchandising checks. I like books on network television, as well as books on humor. This was both, but it wasn’t really good at being either. I do not recommend this book!

This Week’s Posts

Where’s Mama Cass?

FAIL Call Tuesday – Ironclad Defense

Thrift Justice – The Expendables XI: Never Stop Spending!!!

Ladies & Gentlemen…

One changed his mind, while the other changed her dialect. One returned after many years, while the other may not return at all. Only one, however, could have the West Week Ever.

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I know what you’re saying: “Why Happy Endings, Will?” Well, this was my favorite show of the past 3 years, and this may be my final chance to salute it. You see, today is the last day for another network to swoop in and save the show. After today, Sony’s contract hold on the actors expires and they’re free to take other roles. If you’ve never seen it, you really missed out. Think of a modern day, single camera Friends that’s actually funny. It was also a really clever show, and I’m sad to know it probably won’t be around any longer. So, for all the laughs, here’s to Happy Endings for having the West Week Ever.

11th Jun2013

Thrift Justice – Rocky and the Riders

by Will

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It hasn’t been all bad on the thrifting scene. Yesterday, I showed a bunch of stuff that I left behind, but I have been able to find a few gems lately. So, without further ado…

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I’m gonna lose the respect of a lot of y’all, but I’ve never seen this movie before. I’ve said before that I’m not a Movie Guy, and that’s the truth. Usually, however, I end up making up for it by watching them when they come on TV. Still, when does this come on? Is it a Halloween movie? A Christmas movie? Is this grounds for debate like whether or not Die Hard is a Christmas movie? Anyway, I couldn’t pass it up for under $2. I’ll just add it to the shelf of DVDs I Hope To Watch Before I Die.

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When this first came out, I thought it was pretty stupid. All these years later, I’m still not sure if my opinion has changed. What has changed, however, is the dawn of the Articulated Comic Book Art (#acba) genre. If you’re not big into Instagram, these are guys who pride themselves on taking really cool pictures of action figures, using unique lighting, dioramas, etc. While this is a bit of a lackluster playset, it would make a great ACBA backdrop. The only thing that sucks about it is the “Statue of Liberty” sign, as if no one knew without that.

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As you can see, it’s missing one of the head spires, but I’m not sure that’s really a big deal. That can be hidden well enough from the right angle. Still, I haven’t decided if I’m gonna keep it or sell it. Considering how much space it would take up in a Detolf, I’m leaning towards selling.

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This bad boy is complete., as I learned after 2 hours of parts inspection. Can you say “Cha-ching”?

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I own Arkham Asylum. Got it Black Friday. Haven’t even opened it. My 360 makes me feel guilty, as I have all these games to play, but spend all my time in thrift stores and working on these various sites. I mean, I haven’t even opened Injustice yet! Anyway, this came with the collector’s edition of Arkham Asylum, and you can see there’s a nice life-sized Batarang inside the case. I couldn’t pass this up for $4, so this is definitely in the Keep pile.

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I tried reading this 20 yrs ago when I was first getting into comics, and it bored the shit out of me. Over the years, however, all the industry muckety-mucks couldn’t stop praising it, so I didn’t hesitate to snatch it up when I saw it on the “Humor” shelf. Silly thrift store!

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Before we smelled what he was cooking, “Rocky Maivia” was more of a jester pinata. For those not in the know when it comes to the WWE, this is how The Rock looked when he debuted. This figure is from the pre-Mattel Jakks era, but I don’t care. My Undertaker collection has been discussed, but I also collect figures of other wrestlers I love, like The Rock, Brodus Clay, and AJ Lee. This guy’s going right up there on the shelf with them.

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This is a Kivat Belt from Kamen Rider Kiva – not that I knew that when I snatched it up. I happened to see it on the thrift store shelf, and I know Bandai products when I see them. So, immediately I knew it came from the sentai family, even if I didn’t know from where. Once I saw the Japanese on the battery compartment, I knew I’d hit paydirt (especially for $1.91!). It turns out these things have gone for around $60 online recently.

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Anyway, the Kivat is the transformation device in Kamen Rider Kiva. Since I’d never seen the show before, I decided  to watch the pilot on YouTube, and it made no sense whatsoever. We’re not here for a recap, but here’s what you need to know. The little bat guy is sentient and flies around. When it’s time for transformation, it bites the human on the finger, turning him into a Kamen Rider.

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The belt also included these power cell things. I’m sure some sentai fan will correct me in the comments as to their actual name. Originally, there were 6, but this one only had 2. When they’re placed in the Kivat’s mouth, he speaks Japanese and his eyes turn the corresponding color.

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The belt’s worn upside down, and when transformed, Kamen Rider Kiva looks something like this:

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Well, that’s it for this edition. Thanks for playing along, and we have a lovely parting gift in the form of the home edition of our game. Until next time!

02nd May2013

Thrift Justice – That Figures

by Will

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I’m an action figure guy. That really shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone, but just in case you’re new here, I thought I’d let you in on that little tidbit. So, when thrifting, the main thing I’m looking for is some sort of cool action figure – usually to fill holes in my many odd collections. Here are a few I’ve found recently.

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Everyone remembers the various Playmates Star Trek lines, but the earlier Galoob TNG series gets no love.  Released in 1988, these 4-ish inch figures depicted all of the bridge crew (except Counselor Troi). There was even a role play Phaser and a shuttlecraft playset. When the line first came out, my mom bought my Riker and the Phaser from People’s Drug (it was the precursor to CVS in the DC area). I loved that Phaser, but it went through HELL. I still have it, but it doesn’t have a prayer of working, and I lost ever part that could be lost on it. Anyway, due to a time rift, Riker traveled back in time to fight alongside the G.I. Joes. Later on, I got Picard from a friend, and he joined Riker in his 20th century adventures. So, when I saw Worf (in his rare Lt. JG colors), I had to snatch him up. The odd thing about these figures was that their Phasers were molded into their hands. This is fine for Away Team missions, as they’re always at the ready. In bridge scenarios, however, it’s like everyone’s expecting a Shakespearean ending to things.

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This is probably the only Wonder Woman villain who matters. Get away from me, The Mary Sue! You know it’s true. Anyway, I bought the “classic” Cheetah, as she’s the one who resonated with me from the old Secret Society of Supervillains comic. I really had no desire to buy this one, but I found her for a dollar, so why not?

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I’ve mentioned it a ton of time, but The Undertaker is my favorite WWE character. A lot of people are over him, but that’s exactly why I love him: his gimmick has no idea still “working” in the current WWE climate. It’s like when kids are way too old to still believe in Santa, yet their parents still go along with it (I was that kid, btw). The current WWE Universe is comprised of stars who USE THEIR REAL NAMES! If I were a wrestler, I’d probably be Bruce Williams or some shit like that. Yet, in the midst of all of these steroid case prettyboys, there’s a dude who we’re still supposed to believe comes from Hell, has a mangled brother, gets his power from an urn, and continues to return from the dead more times that Jesus, Jean Grey, and Wolverine combined! Anyway, the larger figure hails from the late Jakks era, after Taker married Sara, hence the neck tattoo. I’ve said it a thousand times, but my favorite Undertaker quote comes from the WWE Unscripted coffee table book. They ask him, “Given the success rate of wrestling marriages, what happens if you break up?” Even though it’s in print, you can still hear his voice saying it: “I guess I’ll have to find another girl named Sara.” Well, they did break up, but his next girl was named Michelle, and he had the tattoo removed. Next to him is a mini Taker who came from one of those little playsets. I just like him ’cause his tiny tongue is hanging out like a puppy.

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I never really collected a ton of Batman: The Animated Series toys while they were out. There were too many overlapping toylines, so I was still busy with the Batman Returns line when B:TAS debuted, and then I moved on to Power Rangers. Still, today’s kids have got no love for the show, as there have been 2 other animated Batman incarnations since then. So, these are kinda plentiful in thrift stores today. Usually, it’s just a bunch of beat up Jokers, but every now and then you can find a Scarecrow, or a Man Bat, or even a Catwoman. So, I’m currently fortifying my villains. I already had Riddler, Joker, and Two-Face from the old days, but I’ve since picked up Man Bat, Catwoman, Penguin, and this guy right here.

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I like Iron Man armors. I wasn’t always that way. Like most comic fans, I didn’t give a shit about Tony Stark until those movies started coming out. Then, I went back and read the “iconic” Iron Man stories (which reminds me – I really need to start doing Adventures West Coast again!), and realized I had been wrong. So, I’ve found myself buying up all the various armor figures I find. I think I have all of the 4″ Iron Man 2 Comic Series figures, and I’ve snatched up an cheap Marvel Legends I can find. I kinda hate that Rhodey’s missing his mask, but it’s still a cool figure.

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MEGO! I got this thing for $2. I was so shocked when I saw him, and snatched him off the peg. I couldn’t believe I’d gotten an authentic Mego, in pretty good shape for such a low price. I couldn’t wait to get on Twitter and boast to all of my followers about him. Until I got him home. You see, his left knee is busted, but you could really tell outside of the suit. So, he casually sits around, hoping that trouble comes to him. Still, he’s a good looking figure!

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I recently said that I secretly collect Marvel Legends movie figures, but that wasn’t the whole story – I also collect ML X-Men. As long as they’re not retail, I’ll pretty much buy anyone who’s even tangentially related to the X-Men franchise. This Storm has some stray marker streaks on her, but she knew what to expect when she left home wearing white after Labor Day!

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Yay! Power Rangers! ‘Cause we don’t talk about them nearly enough on this site. Anyway, I hate the price point of the 4″ figures, so I only buy them used or in gift sets. That explains Super Samurai Green, Dekker, and Samurai Yellow. As for RPM Red, there’s another weird collection I have. Ya see, I used to buy each season’s team, but I got to an age where I didn’t care as much and fell behind. Still, the key ranger in ANY team is the red one. So, if I come across the Red Ranger for a series I don’t already have, I buy him. One day, I may continue to fill out that team, but Red’s really the only one who matters. And the big Lost Galaxy Red is a Super Legends figure, with the same articulation as the MMPR Red figure that’s currently hard to find in stores. He’s got some play wear, but if you’ve ever watched that season, the “battle damage” is on par with what Leo put that suit through.

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Finally, we’ve got the 6″ Flame On Human Torch from the FF movie line. Again, this is Marvel Legends compatible, and he was $1. So I had to get him, and now my FF team is complete!

So, there ya have it. What figures do y’all collect? Be sure to share that in the comments!

21st Mar2013

My (Alternate) Reality

by Will

I’m not always a happy person. Sure, I crack jokes and everything on Twitter, but I guess you could say I’m “faking it until I make it”. Let’s just say it really hits home when a nurse asks you, “Can you remember when you were last happy?” and your answer is “I was probably 12.” Man, this is a downer intro to a post! Anyway, at times, I’ve clung to the idea of alternate realities. Hell, anything’s possible and it’s not like you can disprove the possibility (Ha! Take THAT, condescending Web Atheists!). Maybe there’s a Will out there who’s bouncing off the walls, and people describe him in terms like “effervescent”. If there are other realities out there, just think of the craziness that could be going on. Or let me do the thinking for you!

As our music industry celebrated the release of Justin Timberlake’s single, “Suit & Tie”, this week, in other reality former Backstreet Boy Nick Carter just released “Blazer & Bolo”.

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And apparently he’s a motorboating enthusiast!

Meanwhile, things are getting dicey on the late night talk show scene. After 20 years on the air, UPN has announced that Nick Cannon will be replacing Arsenio Hall as the host of What Up, Moon? Industry experts aren’t sure how to react, as it was only two years ago that Hall reclaimed his show from Damon Wayans, Jr. After touring the country with Skee Lo and Bobcat Goldthwait, Wayans finally landed at NBC, but there are still hard feelings.

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Some third world country is about to get a shitload of Woof shirts airdropped into it

Speaking of Skee Lo, he and his wife, megastar Kelly Rowlands, are expecting their 3rd child. Fans were hoping Kelly would take time off to reunite with Destiny’s Child, but the group has been on hiatus since member Beyonce Knowles was arrested on drug charges back in 2003. She later appeared on the 5th season of Celebrity Rehab, where she proceeded to insult both Rowlands and the DC fans. Needless to say, Kelly won’t be saying Beyonce’s name anytime soon!

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Skee Lo’s “I Wish” is the highest selling record to date

Talks are heating up that Michael Jackson will be taking the judge’s chair vacated by Bobby Brown on The Voice. As everyone knows by now, Brown was recently named the Exec VP of Artist Development for Arista Records, and Jackson is coming off the recent cancellation of his children’s show, Jacko’s World.

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In the book world, bestselling author James Frey is four books into his Little Pieces Saga. He’s been doing the talk show circuit promoting the next installment, A Million Pieces More. Tonight, he’s going to be on Bob Barker’s CNN show and Soledad O’Brien’s show on Playboy Radio. Tomorrow morning, he’ll wake up bright and early to be a guest on Let’s Get It Started With Fergie.

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Even in an alternate reality, douchebags still look like this

In the world of professional sports, NFL commissioner Vincent McMahon has announced that Brock Lesnar’s contract has been renegotiated with the Washington Coloreds. McMahon refused to acknowledge questions concerning the team’s racist moniker. The last time he addressed it was during an interview with Tabitha Soren, where he remarked, “What? Isn’t that what we’re supposed to call them?”

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“The NFL is committed to diversity – unless you’re a minority, bald, and/or have a goatee. Then, you’re clearly a villain.”

In the world of politics, President Clinton just announced, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her butt. Lord knows I tried.” This is the 12th sex scandal for the long-seated president. It was just last year that he uttered the similar words, “I did not have sexual relations with that woman…in her mouth.” Needless to say, there’s no end in sight for the War on Orifices. Pundits are saying that there should have been some sort of provision for removing Clinton from office, but it seems that no one knows the current whereabouts of the Constitution. At present, most US laws are tweeted from China, while forged copies of the fabled document occasionally show up in pawn shops, according to the Pawn Stars Channel.

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“My fellow Americans, tell me you don’t just wanna bite dat ass.

Continental War V rages on, as Germany just fell to invading forces from Poland. The US has been hesitant to enter the fray, however Germany is our leading source for electronics, so something will need to be decided before the Tivo production season kicks into high gear. This has caused China’s statehood talks to stall. If you’ll remember, the US traded the Puerto Rico Territory to Emperor Hirohito in 1952, thus acquiring the China Territory and gaining a US presence in the East.

Meanwhile, plans are underway to commemorate the anniversary of the tragic events of May 4th, 1999. It has been 14 years since the state of Hawaii was vaporized by a militant sect of Jedi disciples, in what is now referred to as Operation: Phantom Menace. This led to the widespread persecution of Jedi, with many leaving the fold due to risk of being charged for treason. The “religion” is currently prohibited on American soil.

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

Photo courtesy of bystander, who decided an Instagram filter should be applied

In the business world, DisMart announced that they’re planning to open a kiosk on the International Space Station. A mere 10 years ago, this would’ve been something out of science fiction. However, after Sir Richard Branson mysteriously disappeared, DisMart submitted a bid for the Virgin Corporation. Pretty soon, Mickey Mouse and Wally the Wallflower will be heading to space!

Well, I think you’ve learned enough about this alternate reality. Perhaps you should count your blessings. I mean, I’ve heard great things about The Diagram 2, but do you really want 14 Skee Lo albums on your mPod? What? Oh, that’s what they’re called here. Ya know, ’cause Microsoft makes them. I’m always drifting off to this world, though, as I have quite the imagination. So, just let me know if you ever want an update on how things are going over there.

25th Feb2013

Because Nobody Asked: Will On Comedy

by Will

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I like funny stuff. Not just “haha” funny, but “clever” funny. As such, I find myself sometimes studying the “science” of comedy. I think it started in college, as I hung out with the sketch group for a bit. I even tried out for improv (this was the height of the Whose Line Is It craze), but that didn’t work out so well. Anyway, I’ve recently been studying up on a lot of the hot folks on the comedy scene. What I’m finding is that my tastes run against the tide of the general public. I’m actually an apologist for some derided comics, while I’m over some of those folks that are adored. In light of last night’s debacle concerning The Onion (not a funny joke, but not as offensive as folks would like to think), I’ve been thinking about my feelings on certain things in the comedic sphere. This is kind of a bulletpoint, stream of conscious post about all of that.

Bossypants – Tina Fey’s book was the epitome of disappointing. If you want an enjoyable book by a “funny gal”, read Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns). Bossypants is written for the person who discovered Tina Fey during the whole Sarah Palin thing and thought, “Huh. She’s kinda funny, you betcha!” It sold well because Tina Fey. Still, it’s probably as enjoyable as any of the movies she starred in. Yup, Date Night was boring, Admission looks trite, and Baby Mama was an embarrassment for both her AND Amy.

Dane Cook – Ya know, I get that he’s a “bro”. I get it. I know why some find him repulsive. BUT if you go back to Harmful If Swallowed, he’s actually pretty good. I think his fame kinda took over and he began to be associated with his audience. His crowd sucks. They just do. They’re frat boys and sorority girls, all drunk, not even getting his jokes. I think he started to pander to them, which was to his detriment. Still, to go back to the beginning, you can see how he made a name for himself.

Patrice O’Neal – Patrice was great. I’m late to that party, but he just told it like it was. He’s really just telling you the truth, even if it’s shit you don’t want to hear. He’s basically that friend of yours that your wife hates: mainly because he’s a bad influence, but also because she knows she’s not off limits. Comedy lost a great there.

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Sam Kinison – All that motherfucker did was scream. His background is more interesting than his comedy  Son of a Pentacostal preacher, with a weakness for booze and pussy. I’d read dime store novels about him, but I wouldn’t watch him scream at me from onstage for an hour. There are times when he makes Andrew Dice Clay look like Jon Stewart. I loved that episode of Married…with Children, though.

Kat Williams – it’s a shame he’s batshit crazy, because he can be hilarious. Maybe he’s hilarious because of the batshit. One word: “evuhreethang”. If you get that reference, you know what I’m talking about. He could say a lot with just inflection.

Chris Rock – This is going to be blasphemy to some, but Chris Rock has not held up well. AT ALL. At this point, Bigger & Blacker has the cultural relevance of a No Limit album. Sure, some of it is still being repeated today, but just to hear a whole bit on the reelection of Marion Barry, almost 20 years ago, combined with the fact that Barry’s STILL invincible in DC politics, it just doesn’t work as well.

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Jim Gaffigan – See pic above. There, that’s his whole act.

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Legit – This is an FX show starring Australian comedian Jim Jeffries. I’d never seen his act, but heard good things. Then, I saw the premiere and it made me want to slit my wrists. Sticking with the show, however, it’s got a lot of heart. In fact, it’s probably more going for it than Louie, but I don’t wish to rile the masses.

Seinfeld – I’m only just now comfortable watching the reruns again. I swear, that finale was some bullshit. I recently read Jason Alexander’s account of it, saying that he thinks he’s the only one who loved it. I’m glad someone did. Anyway, Seinfeld was a great show, and despite what some folks online think, I feel like Modern Seinfeld PERFECTLY captures what the show would be today. You can even hear the voices. Still, I’m torn on Seinfeld’s actual standup. It’s impressive he works clean, but the observational stuff is so common now that it’s almost like you needed to experience him when he was new to the stage. I’ll say this: to me, he’ll always be That Rich Old Dude Who Was Allowed To Date A 17 Year Old. Seriously, that’s when you know you’ve got money: banging minors and people ain’t saying shit. I’m glad that Shoshanna went on to a fashion career or whatever the Hell she’s doing now. Now, he’s just The Guy Who Stole His Current Wife From Her Husband While They Were On Their Honeymoon. Isn’t it funny how nothing negative about him ever really sticks?

Depression – In my quest to be accepted by The Cult of the Funny People, I’ve come to realize a common thread: depression. Now, everyone deals with this differently: meds, drinking, sticking it out, etc, but now I find myself asking “Are they funny OR are they depressed?” It’s almost like I expect depressed people to be funny. It’s like fat girls with big boobs; all that fat ought to be going somewhere constructive. Nobody wants to be the tiny titted fat girl. So, what does this mean? Do I feel like depressed people are just sublimating the depression into comedy? And if so, what would happen if they were avoiding meds but got then started taking them? What if comedy IS their medication? Lots of thoughts on all that.

Richard Pryor – Where Rock is a bit rough around the edges now, it’s amazing how timeless Pryor is. Maybe it’s because he was ahead of his time. Everything he said still works. It’s still just as funny as it was then. And to hear his account of the crackpipe incident is incredible. He turned something painful and embarrassing into such an engaging bit.

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Hannibal Burress/Wyatt Cenac – not only are these 2 dudes that I really admire, but they’re also the guys who made me think “I could do that”. Especially Cenac. It’s not that they made it easy OR that I thought I was somehow on their level. It’s just that I never really related to a delivery style until I found them. Cenac was the only thing I liked about The Daily Show, and even then it was hard to watch because I was sitting there, saying shit like “He stole my act!”

Ron White – the only member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour worthy of his fame, which makes it funny to me that they kicked him out. His approach appeals to most audiences, without the needless hook of a “Git-R-Done” or a “…you might be a redneck”. I almost feel like he’s “Kinison Done Right”‘.

Larry the Cable Guy – this one’s tricky for me. I get the problems with him. I get that he’s essentially a country minstrel act. That said, he’s so good at what he does. Most people wouldn’t even like to admit they’ve given him a shot, but for a certain set of sensibilities, he’s the real deal. I think satellite radio makes this dichotomy clear: There’s Blue Collar Radio and then there’s Raw Dog Comedy. What I’ve noticed is that “blue collar” essentially means “no Jews and no New York”. It’s a southern, working audience, and he’s their Louis CK. He’s basically the stand up version of Hee Haw, but there’s an audience for that. New York comics will talk about the news, or the girl who just dumped them. Larry will do a switcheroo that doesn’t require his audience to really think or feel too much. “I used to be a lifeguard until some blue kid got me fired.” That joke’s smarter than you’d like to admit.

Anyway, that’s some of the stuff that’s been on my mind. I might revisit this later. For those who were looking forward to some thrift store junk, I’m sure I’ll have something for you by the end of the week.

Before I go, here’s a list of Hollywood children who were actual cunts:

1) Dee from What’s Happening

2) Lucy from Peanuts

3) Margot from Punky Brewster

4) Jan Brady

5) Any character portrayed by Stacy Keanan

NO APOLOGIES!

22nd Feb2013

West Week Ever – 2/22/13

by Will

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Today in Black History, Aunt Jemima discovered Uncle Ben’s affair with Mrs. Butterworth, thus splitting Black America’s first power couple.Benmima

Last weekend I had the pleasure of finally meeting Twitter pal LamarRevenger! Lindsay and I were doing a belated Valentine’s Day of wineries and antique shops in Hershey, PA, which put us in Lamar’s back yard. We met up at Crossroads Antique Mall, and had a great time exploring the place. I love meeting you online folks, and Lamar put me at 3. Who’ll be #4?! Only time will tell!

2013-02-16 16.24.14

It was announced this week that game developer Harmonix will stop releasing new music for Rock Band by April (The Robot’s Pajamas has a nice writeup about it). I haven’t touched my Rock Band games in a good 2 years, but this announcement still saddens me. You see, Rock Band was very important when I first started dating my wife. Her roommate had the game, so she spent a lot of her free time getting up to expert in most of the songs. When we met, I’d never played the game, so the formative days of our relationship consisted of her schooling me in interactive classic rock. There was a band featured in the game called Bang Camaro; I claim to be a music aficionado, but I still can’t tell you one of their songs. Anyway, we thought it was the dumbest, yet funniest name, so we dubbed ourselves “Sex Corvette” in the game. Whenever I needed to practice on my own, I had my own side project that I called “Fornication Wagon”. It’s been years since Sex Corvette and Fornication Wagon went out on the road. With this announcement, I think it might be time to get the bands back together. Ya know, for old times sake.

Speaking of music, last week, Shezcrafti and I discovered our shared love of Ace of Base. No, I’m not talking about “All That She Wants” or “The Sign”. Get out of here with that Top 40 shit! I’m talking DEEP cuts Ace of Base, from the albums that most Americans ignored. Sure, everyone owned The Sign (Happy Nation, for you international folks) but their second album, The Bridge, was one of THE BEST POP ALBUMS of the 90s. I’m not even lying. I’m pretty sure I wrote a tumblog about it awhile back, but “Ravine” is one of the most beautiful ballads of the past 20 years. It’s even more impactful when you learn it was written in the wake of a knife attack from a stalker. It turns out we both own all the AoB albums, including the recent one with the new girls. All this time, I thought I was alone, but I was wrong. I’m so, so glad I was wrong!

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People seem to be losing their shit over news that Michael Bay cast Megan Fox in the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. I say “so what?” Think of today’s “starlets”: Miley Cyrus, Vanessa Hudgens, Alexa Vega? You’d hate all of them, and it ain’t like Emma Stone or Jennifer Lawrence is gonna ruin her career with this on her resume. I mean, it’s not like this is the straw that broke the camel’s back. People have hated Bay since he took on the Transformers franchise. The same people who are saying “I’m fucking done with this Turtles movie now!” are the same who were supposedly done when it was announced he was helming it. At what point do you just walk away and stop caring? To complain now, is akin to going “Oh man, Hitler’s killing blacks now?!” Yeah, I invoked the dreaded internet use of Hitler. Anyway, no one ever said this was a movie for old school fans. One thing I’ve never really gotten about TMNT fandom is that the 80s kids think it’s theirs. That’s somewhat true, but there’s also the 2003 run, as well as the new Nick run. Turtles belong to several generations now, and this could just be its introduction to a newer generation. As much as people hate Bay, a lot of folks were paying money to see those “Bayformers” movies, so I guess this movie is for them. It’s not for you. I’m amazed at people’s inability to just say “You know, I don’t think this is for me” and walk away. It took me a while to learn that, but it’s much less stressful!

I hate to be some hipster/old fogey, but I’m tired of the media’s ability to scare us about some shit, and then just move on to the next thing. We’re never told whether or not these things have been cured/stopped/defeated. It’s just on to the next crisis. Here’s a list of things I’ve been instructed to fear in my lifetime:

Radon

Acid Rain

Old Men With Candy

Carbon Monoxide

Mad Cow Disease

Bird Flu

SARS

Super Gonorrhea

To my knowledge, none of these problems have been “solved”, but ain’t nobody talking about them anymore! Did the Super Gonorrhea take out the candy-bearing child molesters? I NEED ANSWERS!

This has been a bittersweet week online. It started great, with me and Lamar meeting up. Then, once I got home, all the crazies came out. I found myself leaving a bunch of toy centric facebook groups because of one bad apple. I’m not sure if you’re all “in the know”, but there are shit tons of toy groups on facebook for trading and buying toys. The problem, however, is that the same people are in ALL of these groups. I talked about it a bit more in-depth in this post. Basically, some one gets accused of screwing over someone, gets kicked out, and then forms his own group. Well, I joined these things to drum up attention for Will’s World of Wonder, but those people are either trying to lowball you or get something for free. Over time, I came to realize it wasn’t worth the hustle over there, but I stayed on in case some good deal came up. The other day, I posted an item I was selling, and specifically said “PM offers”. Some guy decided to start asking questions on the actual post. “How much did you pay for it? Is it the same scale as Soundwave?” At first, I indulged him, but he finally signed off with “OK, just checking”. So, after wasting a bit of my time, I told him “That was a lot of questions for ‘just checking’.” He proceeds to tell me not to get “butthurt about a $20 toy” and that “there are more important things in life to worry about.” I replied that I wasn’t “butthurt”, but didn’t appreciate him using me as his Google research stand-in, ON MY THREAD. Then, he and some other guys start making a side deal, again, ON MY THREAD. Any group with a halfway decent admin would’ve stopped that (trust me, facebook toy group admins are like the goddamned Gestapo. It’s like they were all the last kids picked for sports or some shit), but no one stepped in. When I called him on it, again, he tells me to “stop getting butthurt”. I told him he was being an asshole, and his condescension wasn’t needed. Eventually, like I pointed out above, I realized “ya know, this isn’t for me.” I muttered a “fuck this noise”, and quit the group. I pride myself on not being a “quitter”, but sometimes you just need to realize when something isn’t worth your time and effort. Work smarter and not harder. The decent people I met in those groups are already facebook or twitter friends, so I didn’t lose them. I just cut off the folks who were, apparently, leaving me “butthurt”. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I’m such a jerk – last week, I forgot to include the link for my guest spot on the Cereal Killas episode of The Cold Slither Podcast. You’re all smart, savvy folks, so I’m sure you found it. If not, you can listen to it here.

Also, the Black Dynamite ep of the Traumatic Cinematic Show has gone live, and you can listen to me and the guys here.

This Week’s Post

Thrift Justice: The One With All The Books

Before I wrap things up this week, I wanted to point out UnderScoopFire’s State of the Site/Show Address podcast that went up this week. I love these kinds of posts, as I love to know what’s going on in the minds of the folks I admire. Plus, they serve as a good time to take stock of my own stuff. I’m really happy where I am in regards to podcasts. I always kinda wanted to be a “professional guest”, and I’ve had the honor of being invited on some great shows, having fun discussions with new folks. I never thought I’d get to this point so quickly, but I’m having a lot of fun. As for non-audio stuff, though, I’m still not where I want to be. There are folks out there who can get 10 comments on a post without even posting a link to social media. That is the definition of a “destination site”, and I think that’s where we’d all like to be. I’ve been doing this TEN YEARS. There are more blogrolls I could be in. There are more of your friends who could know about me. I’m harassing Twitter timelines with my links, and I still don’t know if it makes a difference. Hell, maybe folks have learned how to say “Yeah, that’s just not for me”. Who knows? Anyway, it just gives me something to think about. See ya next week!

 

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