13th Mar2015

West Week Ever – 3/13/15

by Will

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So, I had a bunch of snow days last week, and just didn’t have the motivation to write. We’re back now, however, and we’ve got a lot to talk about!

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Trying to clear off my DVR, I watched the standup special Sommore: Chandelier Status. If you don’t know Sommore, you’ve clearly never seen BET’s ComicView. You’re also probably White. Seriously, except for Celebrity Fit Club, Sommore really hasn’t broken out of the Black Comedy world. Still, I’ve found her to be hilarious in the past, so I thought I’d check out this special. It was really nothing to write home about. It was about an hour’s worth of “Black people do this, and White people do that.” That gets old fast. I think I laughed twice. Kinda disappointing, as I had high expectations for that special.

Aziz

While on the comedy topic, I also checked out Aziz Ansari: Live At Madison Square Garden. Now, I’ve gone on record to say that I didn’t like his last special, Buried Alive, because he spent too much time talking about grown-up stuff like having kids and his fear of marriage. Well, this special was really just more of that. I think I’m starting to realize that I like younger, less mature Aziz who talked about hanging out with Kanye and going to R. Kelly concerts. Older, wiser Aziz is WAY too introspective, and I don’t find a lot of *humor* in what he has to say. He’s more like a relationship guru than a comedian these days, and that’s just not what I’m looking for.

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On TV, I caught The Marine, which has quickly become one of those “I have to watch it whenever I see it’s on” movies for me. I can’t really explain it, but I think John Cena is a pretty good action star. And whatever happened to Kelly Carlson? After Nip/Tuck, she seemed poised for bigger things. Sure, The Marine is just a WWE Studios production, but it was still a job. Nowadays, I hear she’s acting in some online spinoff of Supernatural. Eww, a webseries!

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Speaking of disappointing webseries, this week saw the premiere of Powers on the Playstation Network. If you’re not familiar with the concept, it’s a police procedural based  in a world of people with superpowers, and it’s based on the comic of the same name from Brian Michael Bendis. Now, I have a complicated relationship with Bendis; I used to love everything he did, but then I met him. Don’t meet your heroes, kid. Anyway, as much as I’ve loved his work, I never really liked Powers. I felt it was overrated and moved WAY too slowly. So, I’m probably not the target audience for this show. That said, it was just as bad as I expected. The show had been in development for years, and eventually landed at FX with a pilot starring Jason Patric. FX passed on the series, but the creators were determined to get it on the air somewhere. So, they went back to the drawing board and gave us the show that we have here. The trailer for it made it look like a big budget fan film, and the actual product wasn’t much better than that. It felt like a really bad Canadian series that would air on Syfy. And no, not a American show filmed in Vancouver for budgetary reasons – I’m talking about a show made by and for Canadians, like Lost Girl or something. The effects are hokey, the casting is off (Sharlto Copley? Really?), and it just feels empty, though yearns to be so much more than it is. The series will air exclusively on Playstation Network, but the pilot is currently available on YouTube. If this show is indicative of PSN’s original programming capabilities, I am far from impressed.

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It’s not all bad news this week, though. I have a new favorite reality show: Kosher Soul. Airing on Lifetime, the show follows the relationship between standup comedian O’Neal McKnight and celebrity stylist Miriam Sternoff. He’s Black, she’s Jewish and hilarity ensues! When the series starts, they’re planning their wedding and O’Neal is starting the conversation to Judaism, as it’s important to Miriam that she marry a Jew. O’Neal’s a funny guy, though I’m not that familiar with his standup. He’s friends with other reality show stalwarts like Fonzworth Bentley and Russell Simmons. Meanwhile, Miriam reminds me a lot of Bethenny Frankel – who was my favorite of the Bravo Real Housewives franchise. Right after their wedding, Miriam wanted to start trying to have kids, so that’s where we are at this point in the show. O’Neal and Miriam seem to have great chemistry, and I can see how their relationship has endured for 9+ years. Hell, they may last and they may not, but they’re trying to make it work. I’ve seen no hype about this show, and only watched it because I ran across it On Demand. It doesn’t even have a Wikipedia page yet! So, with my luck, it’ll probably be canceled after one season.

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Had I done a West Week Ever last week, that honor would have gone to The Last Man on Earth. I never thought it had a chance to work, and the jury’s still out on it, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the three episodes that have aired so far. If you haven’t seen it, Will Forte stars as Phil Miller – the seemingly only survivor of a virus that has killed the rest of the world’s population. So, the pilot follows him as he gets used to the idea that he is, in fact, the last person on Earth. Then, at the end of the pilot, you’re thrown for a loop, as you learn that he’s not alone; he may be the last *man* on Earth, but there happens to be a woman – Carol Pilbasian, played by Kristen Schaal. So, then the show focuses on the relationship between the two, as Carol thinks she and Phil are meant to repopulate the world, while Phil really wants nothing to do with her. I thought this would work as a movie, but I had no idea how they’d get an entire series out of it. Three episodes in, and I’m still not sure where it’s going, but I’m enjoying the ride so far.

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So, I was busy on the Internet this week, and some might even say I was trolling. I didn’t think that was the case, but let’s take a closer look, shall we? So, on Monday morning, I was tweeting with a friend about American Idol, and he mentioned Kris Allen. I replied, “Man, where’d THAT dude end up?” And he replied, “In the scrap heap along with Taylor Hicks, Lee DeWyze, and Scotty McCreery.” And then the floodgates opened. We got tons of replies from obsessed fans who clearly set filters for anytime those guys’ names are mentioned. They insisted that Taylor and Scotty weren’t on a “scrap heap”. Turns out they were right. I mean, I already knew of Scotty’s country success, but who knew that Taylor Hicks made $2.5 million last year? Apparently, he’s the first Idol to get a residency in Las Vegas. Anyway, as I got sick of these grannies blowing up my timeline, I tweeted the following:

guarini 1If you’re not familiar, a “stan” is slang for an obsessive fan – based on the Eminem song of the same name. Oh, and Justin Guarini lost to Kelly Clarkson in the very first season of American Idol. I didn’t really have to call out Guarini, but he seemed like an easy target. Kick a man while he’s down, I guess. I was riled up by all the old ladies defending their favorite Idols, and I was really just trying to call out some more fans, as I was amused by their terrible misspellings and grammar. And since he has nothing to do with his time, Guarini responded. He has since deleted his tweets to me, so let’s see if I can do it from memory:

JG: “*stars *shitty”

This was his was of trying to correct me. He thought I meant to say “stars” instead of “stans”. He was also correcting the end of my tweet to read “Justin Guarini ain’t shitty”

And I replied:

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JG: “Hey fan. I know a fan when I see one, fan.”

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Then things took off. He tweeted his response with the period before the @, so all of his followers could see it. So then everybody started favoriting his tweets to me. And then one theatre groupie tried to say that I was kissing up to him. I actually wasn’t. While my tone might seem conciliatory, in my mind I wasn’t done. I didn’t appreciate him reaching out to his followers for support. What I said was true – I had voted for him, and an ex had given me From Justin to Kelly. I failed to add that I sold that DVD and that I thought his album was a piece of shit. Seriously, it’s terrible as there isn’t one commercially viable single on the entire disc. I didn’t add any of this, though, because I had been an asshole and it was probably best to let it drop. The next day, however, I listened to Kelly’s new album and I got the desire to tweet Justin and ask him what he thought of it. I was just about to hit send, but I thought better of it. I like a good feud, but I’m not particularly a fan of a situation where I’m the bad guy.

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Last time, I mentioned that I had a bottle of Pepsi True in my refrigerator. Well, I tried it. And it tastes like bilge water. In the Stevia flavored mid-calorie cola department, Coke Life wins the title.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

– Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke lost a court case against the family of Marvin Gaye, who claimed that “Blurred Lines” ripped off Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up”. This decision resulted in a $7.3 million payout to Gaye’s children. I get that they kinda sound similar, but I really don’t get this decision. Plus, it sets a really bad precedent for anything that remotely sounds like anything else. Thicke had kinda been a bit of a douchenozzle over the past year, so I wonder if that played into the jury’s decision.

–  a new trailer was released for the Netflix Daredevil series. For a great scene-by-scene breakdown, check out this post at The Robot’s Pajamas.

-Rolling Stone had a great minute-by-minute breakdown of the We Are The World recording session on its 30th anniversary.

– Have you ever wanted to see Earl Sinclair from Dinosaurs rap Notorious B.I.G.’s “Hypnotize”? Who cares. Here it is and it’s awesome:

– My pals over at the Nerd Lunch Podcast did a musicals episode that you should really check out.

– At a Disney shareholder’s meeting, it was reported that Star Wars Episode VIII will be released May 26, 2017. Also, Felicity Jones to star in the Rogue One spinoff. I have no idea who she is…

– My pals at UnderScoopFire tackle the Pop Culture Alphabet

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I had no idea I’d love this show as much as I do, and I don’t know what I did with my life before it came along. Yes, I’m talking about Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix. Originally developed by Tina Fey for NBC, the show was picked up by Netflix with a 2-season guarantee. It stars The Office‘s Ellie Kemper as Kimmy Schmidt who, along with 3 other women, has been held captive in a doomsday bunker for 15 years. When the series starts, they’re liberated from the bunker, and Kimmy moves to NYC to start her life over. Since she was in middle school when she was first abducted, Kimmy’s missed out on a LOT, including current music and slang. Once she gets to New York, she moves in with flamboyantly gay Titus Andromedon who eventually becomes her best friend. Meanwhile, she works for a crazy rich lady played by 30 Rock‘s Jane Krakowski, and tries to put her bunker life behind her.

If you loved 30 Rock, you’ll love Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. They share a sensibility, and I’d even consider them in the same universe if it weren’t for the fact that Krakowski and Tituss Burgess are playing different characters. Whenever they watch TV on the show, I keep hoping for a mention of TGS, Bitch Hunter or MILF Island just to confirm that Jack Donaghy and Liz Lemon are in the same city somewhere.

Part of what makes the show work so well is the casting. Kemper is simply adorable as Kimmy, as she manages to capture the wide-eyed wonder that the character would certainly experience by her new surroundings. She spent her adolescent years in the bunker, so her development’s a bit stunted. If you’ve ever seen 13 Going On 30, you know that Jennifer Garner was awkward as Hell as a 13 year old girl who magically becomes a 30 year old. This takes that formula and gets it right. Kimmy may be 29, but she’s still a 14 year old in many ways. And Kemper does an excellent job portraying that. Meanwhile, Tituss Burgess is AMAZING as Titus Andromedon. Everything he says is quotable, and he manages to straddle the line of self-serving and lovable. If you watched 30 Rock, you’ll remember him as D’Fwan – a hilarious member of Tracy’s wife’s entourage. Here, it’s like he’s playing the same character, but cranked up to 11. He and Kemper have great chemistry, and it’s fun to watch their friendship grow.

I don’t want to spoil the guest stars, or where the story goes, as that’s half the fun of the experience. The minute I was done, though, I instantly wanted season 2. I haven’t felt that way since Bojack Horseman – another Netflix series I fell in love with. All of my friends online have been talking about Kimmy Schmidt, so I see that I’m not alone in my love for the show. If you haven’t checked it out, remedy that soon. I’ve heard the first episode didn’t grab some folks, but stick with it. So, for being the belle of the comedic ball this week, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt had the West Week Ever. Troll the respawn, Jeremy!

27th Feb2015

West Week Ever – 2/27/15

by Will

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No, I’m not gonna talk about that dress…

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The week started off with me watching After Earth, starring the men of the Smith clan. I know the movie bombed in North America, and I’m not exactly a “Will Smith fan”, but I really enjoyed it. More than that, I enjoyed Jaden. I know we’re supposed to hate him, since he’s insufferable in real life, but he brought such intensity to his role. I guess there was supposed to be a message in there, that Man ruined the Earth, turning it into something designed only to kill humanity. That message, whether sadly or thankfully, got lost. If it was supposed to be a cautionary tale, it failed on that account, but as a survivalist thriller, I thought it succeeded. Their accents were somewhat off-putting, but I guess that’s somewhat to be expected with it set 1,000 years in the future. It was an M. Night movie, but luckily there wasn’t a crazy twist at the end. I don’t say this often, but I’d watch it again. I’d never seen a Jaden Smith movie before, but I think I might like his acting. What’s happening to me?!

cloverfield

Next up, I finally watched Cloverfield. I’d been curious about it since it was in theaters, but it was never really “my kind of movie”. I don’t really do disaster movies, but I remember it had been shrouded in secrecy, and it was filmed in that “found footage” format. It was about what I expected it to be. I’m glad that the format eliminated the need to explain where the monster came from, or to even explain how/if it was defeated. It’s a shame we never got a sequel, as there are so many questions, but the format didn’t really allow for a sequel. If anything, it would have had to be the same night from a different point of view. I had no clue that TJ Miller was in that movie, but I was also surprised to see friend of a friend Ben Feldman in the film. Too bad his character probably died. Anyway, it was refreshing that the Black girl was the one to survive. At least I think she was Black. Maybe she was a halfy? Who cares. She lived. I didn’t hate it, but I don’t think I ever need to see it again.

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This week saw the season (?) finale of Marvel’s Agent Carter, and I’m surprised to say that I was sad to see it go. When they first announced the show, I thought it was a dumb idea. Nobody cares about Captain America’s stupid girlfriend. Then the show actually debuted, and I found myself drawn to that world. I came to enjoy it much more than I ever enjoyed Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,and I’d rather have 5 more seasons of Peggy Carter than stupid Skye/Daisy Johnson. As someone said on Twitter, Agent Carter did more with 8 episodes than S.H.I.E.L.D. has done with nearly 40. I know part of the problem is that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is so beholden to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while Agent Carter can get away with more, being set in the ’40s and all. Anyway, I have to admit that I need to rewatch the finale, as I was a little distracted when it actually aired. From what I caught, I felt kinda like it wrapped up a little too quickly. I know they only had 8 episodes to work with, but the finale felt somewhat rushed. Again, I need to rewatch it, as maybe my opinion will change. Ratings were never really stellar, with an estimated 4 million households tuning in every week, but S.H.I.E.L.D.‘s ratings haven’t been great since the premiere, so they’re pretty much in the same boat. I think it’ll get a second season, but we probably won’t hear anything until May. According to rumors, the character is in Avengers: Age of Ultron, so it’s safe to say that we haven’t seen the last of Peggy Carter.

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Deadline is reporting that The CW is in the early stages of developing an Arrow/Flash team-up spinoff, starring recurring characters from both shows. Some folks online are saying that it’s essentially a Justice League TV show, but it doesn’t sound like that to me. If anything, it seems closer to the Brave and the Bold team-up concept. I’m glad to see that Brandon Routh’s Ray Palmer is joining the show, as I’ve come to like that character. They also announced that Caity Lotz, better known as Arrow‘s Sara Lance/Black Canary I, is involved, but it’s unknown if she’s playing the same character or a new one. This news is pretty surprising, as there had been rumors of that universe being expanded, but it was assumed that it would probably be an A.T.O.M. or Firestorm show down the road. I know that Flash is firing on all cylinders, but Arrow seems to have taken a bit of a turn in the “suspension of disbelief” department. I’m scared that they might be diluting the brand by rushing another show into development in that same universe – especially since CBS’s Supergirl is supposedly in the same universe, should they choose to cross them over. In Berlanti I trust, however, so I’ll just wait and see.

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Speaking of Supergirl, Calista Flockhart has been cast as Kara’s boss, Cat Grant. I’m not sure how I feel about this casting. If you’ve read Superman books recently, you know that Cat Grant is kinda of a cougary go-getter. If I had to cast the role, I probably would’ve gone with someone a little closer to Elizabeth Banks. Sure, she’s not at the point in her career where she has to do television, but that’s the age and look I would go for.

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DuckTales is coming back in 2017! Yeah, I guess this is good news, but I’d much rather have Darkwing Duck back. Anybody remember Quack Pack? It’s the follow-up to DuckTales where Huey, Dewey, and Louie were teens. Apparently, it was supposed to be an extension of Donald Duck shorts instead of DuckTales, which is why you never see Uncle Scrooge and other DuckTales characters. It seems like most people I know had checked out of The Disney Afternoon by the time that show came along.

the slap

I’m almost ashamed to admit this, but I’ve become a fan of NBC’s The Slap. Sure, it’s got a dumb name, and seems built around a dumb premise, but it’s so much more than that. It really centers around a Greek-American family, and the drama that’s boiling beneath the surface in all of their lives. One character’s marriage is strained, and he’s falling for the teenage babysitter. Zachary Quinto plays a successful car broker, who has anger issues and is also cheating on his wife. Uma Thurman is a successful TV producer who’s dating a much younger man, and finds out that she’s pregnant by him. It all comes to a head one afternoon at a family party. A guest’s child is out of control, and when Quinto intervenes, the kid kicks him in the shin. As a reflex, Quinto slaps the kid in front of everyone. The kid’s parents go apeshit, and the party goes to hell quickly.

Here’s some backstory on the kid: Hugo’s 4 years old and he’s a little asshole. The whole party, he was throwing iPads and having tantrums. Meanwhile, his parents are hippies, and the mother still breastfeeds him (HE’S FOUR YEARS OLD!). He totally had something coming to him, but I guess it was up to his own parents to make that call. I’m completely fascinated by this, as it’s such a cultural thing. Had this been a Black cookout, the party would’ve kept going. When you employ the whole “It takes a village…” model of raising kids, you run the risk of someone else disciplining your child. It just comes with the territory. We live in a society now where people don’t want to raise a hand to their kids, but I just feel like this is the kind of show that could only really be dramatic at this time in history. Anyway, now the hippies are pressing charges against Quinto, Uma knows about Hector and the babysitter, and everyone’s life is in a spiral right now. It’s no Empire, but it’s still a really engaging show. If I had to compare it to something, I’d say it’s like an edgy Parenthood.

coke life

I’m a sucker for gimmick sodas, and my latest drink of choice is Coca-Cola Life. For lack of a better description, it’s what I would call a “pairing soda”. On its own, it tastes kinda janky. However, if you drink it with a meal, the food enhances the flavor and makes it taste like Pepsi. I guess I could cut out the middle man and just drink Pepsi, but I’m just kind of intrigued by how it all goes down. Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with Stevia, so it has fewer calories than regular Coke, but is much more caloric than Diet Coke. A 20 oz bottle of Coke Classic will run you about 240 calories, while the same amount of Coke Life will run you about 160 calories. Pepsi has followed Coke’s lead, releasing its own Stevia-sweetened cola, Pepsi True. I haven’t tried it yet, but I’ve got a bottle in my refrigerator, so I’ll update in the future.

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I debated whether or not to talk about this, as I sometimes think I write too much about Power Rangers – especially since Power Rangers fans don’t really give a shit about my opinion. Still, it was on everyone’s timeline this week, so it bears mentioning. Producer Adi Shankar released Power/Rangers – a dark and gritty short film starring Katee Sackhoff and James Van Der Beek. This film had everything you never wanted from Power Rangers, including machine guns, threesomes, titties, and curse words.

The movie kicks off with the Rangers, suited up, fighting with machine guns. It turns out that Rocky (Red) sold out to the evil Machine Empire, and he’s interrogating Kimberly (Pink) to discover the whereabouts of Tommy, the Green Ranger. So, I’ve got some questions. First off, why Rocky? He was the replacement Red Ranger, yet there’s no mention of Adam and Aisha – the replacement Black and Yellow Rangers. It just seemed like a reach to make him the traitor. And the machine guns? The Rangers are essentially magic, so why bring man-made weapons into the mix? And I don’t even want to get into the social implications of Zack’s interracial threesome.

At the end of the day, it was clear that this was not a love letter from a longtime fan of the franchise. Most fans realized this, and many took to social media to state how displeased they were. Meanwhile, the laymen who do’t realize there have been multiple incarnations of the franchise for the past 21 years, seemed to like it. All the podcast hosts and members of the Power Force (yeah, such a thing exists. Don’t get me started…) decried “THIS IS SHIT!” while most “normal” people were like, “Huh, that was kinda cool.” All day Tuesday, headlines ranged from “You Won’t Believe This Piece of Shit!” to “The Power Rangers Get Gritty And It’s AWESOME!” Needless to say, it was a very polarizing video. On top of that, Saban Brands has been trying to get the video taken down, as it infringes upon their trademarks, and doesn’t classify as “parody”. So far, it has been taken down from Vimeo (that was the version with the titties), and now it’s gone from YouTube, too. I can understand that, based on the tone and language, it’s not the kind of thing that Saban wants out in the world representing his product. Now, the debate has gone from whether or not the video sucked to whether or not it deserved to be taken down by Saban. Those opinions are just as polarized as the opinions on the clip’s quality.

It was clearly a well-done fan film, with great special effects, but at the end of the day, it wasn’t Power Rangers. It was something else entirely, but it just didn’t work as Power Rangers. It demonstrated a lack of knowledge of the source material, as Power Rangers can be gritty without being….whatever that was. Power Rangers has gone dark before. Check out Power Rangers RPM – I recommend it to anyone who’ll listen to me. This, however, ain’t Power Rangers.

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This week saw the series finale of Parks & Recreation. After 7 seasons, and 125 episodes, Leslie Knope dined at JJ’s Diner for the last time. Or at least, I guess she did; JJ’s wasn’t even shown in the episode. Anyway, the episode featured flash forwards to give us a glimpse into the futures of the characters we had come to love. April and Andy had kids, Craig got married, Donna became a real estate mogul, Tom became a motivational author/speaker, Gary/Jerry/Larry/Terry Gergich enjoyed multiple terms as Pawnee’s mayor, and Ron became the head of the Pawnee National Park. Meanwhile, Ben became a Congressman and Leslie ran for Governor of Indiana. We even got a flash forward for fan favorite Jean-Ralphio, as he faked his own death.

The first half hour wasn’t really high on laughs, and went more for the heartstrings. I felt like I was watching the Six Feet Under finale all over again, and didn’t really like the experience. The second half hour, however, felt like classic Parks & Rec, and we even got cameos from Ann and Chris. I’m kinda sad they never even attempted to mention Mark Brendanawicz, but the show really wasn’t very good when he was around, so I can forgive the omission.

By no means was I some kind of Parks & Rec superfan, but I always enjoyed it when I watched it. Its ratings were never anything to write home about, but it was NBC’s “little comedy that could”. Though it was initially developed as a pseudo-spinoff of The Office, I feel like its legacy will be much stronger once history has its say. For one thing, Amy Poehler didn’t leave the show before the end of its run, so it had that going for it. Also, Parks & Rec just got stronger, as the cast gelled and became a well-oiled machine. NBC definitely doesn’t have anything else on its schedule like it, and it will be a long time before a show that good comes along again. So, for giving us 7 seasons of laughs, and for going out on top, Parks & Recreation had the West Week Ever.

23rd Jan2015

West Week Ever – 1/23/15

by Will

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The week started out with me watching The Chernobyl Diaries, which was a departure for me because I’m not really into horror movies. I am, however, into most things Russian, and I’m fascinated by the abandoned city of Pripyat. If you’re not familiar with the whole Chernobyl incident, Pripyat was the city where the Chernobyl workers lived with their families. It’s just tons of apartment buildings and an amusement park. When the Chernobyl reactor blew, everyone had to evacuate immediately, without being able to gather most of their belongings. So, now Pripyat is a ghost town, where nature has reclaimed most of the land, and it just looks like everyone got raptured. It’s beautiful and eerie all at once.

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So, The Chernobyl Diaries was about a bunch of Americans on a European vacation who decide to take a side trip to explore Pripyat. Once they get there, however, their van is sabotaged, and they’re forced to try to survive in what is partially a nuclear wasteland. Spoiler Alert: they all die. What happens to them doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, and I’m still kinda confused after having watched it 1.5 times (it aired again the next morning, and I caught the ending of it).I also don’t get why it has diaries in the title. There was nothing concerning a diary in the entire thing. This isn’t Anne Frank we’re talking about here. Where’s the damn diary?! Since I’m not a connoisseur of the horror genre, I can’t say whether or not I recommend it. Overall, was it a good movie? Not really.

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I also started watching season 2 of Maron, now that it’s on Netflix. I’ve said it before, but I prefer Maron to Louie. I can relate to Marc Maron a lot more. He’s bitter, damaged, and he’s going through the whole “Why are my peers doing better than me?” thing. Sure, that doesn’t paint me in the best light, but I can understand where he’s coming from. He tackles things that speak to me, like how hard it is to make friends as an adult. There’s an episode where he thinks Ray Romano is becoming his friend, when Ray is really just making Marc his bitch. It’s funny and poignant at the same time. A lot of folks are fans of Maron’s podcast, but I’m not sure if they’ve all checked out his show. It’s a great chance to get a glimpse of the man behind the mic.

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In the world of television, it was announced that CBS has cast Melissa Benoist as their Supergirl. I can’t remember if this was ordered direct to series or if this is only for a pilot. In any case, it’s by Greg Berlanti, and the rumor is that his deal to produce the show was that it had to take place in the Arrow/Flash universe. People forget that CBS owns The CW, so it’s definitely doable, although CBS brass have said that a crossover wouldn’t happen too early in the show, as they want Supergirl to stand on her own two feet for a while. I know nothing about Benoist, since I still haven’t seen Whiplash and I dropped Glee years ago, so I have no real opinion on the casting. I’m not the biggest Supergirl fan, but in Berlanti I trust, so I’ll check it out.

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It was announced this week that Milestone Media would be returning to the world of comics. If you’re black, you’ll remember this as the comic company that gave us Hardware, Icon, Rocket and more. If you’re white, then you’ll know it as the company that gave us Static Shock. Yeah, 20 years later, and its only real legacy is Static Shock. I’m kinda conflicted by this news. On the one had, comics could use some diversity, and Milestone had the best shot at injecting that into the industry. However, as someone who has almost every issue of Hardware, I didn’t think they were that good. Maybe they were ahead of their time, and I just wasn’t the right age to be reading them, but Milestone books were just a little too ghetto for me. And I don’t say that because they were black. I say that because they were set in Dakota City, which just seemed like a dark, dank ghetto. There was no joy to the books. They fully encapsulated the EXTREME edge of 90s comics, and just added some color to the mix. That’s not really something I’m looking for in my comics today. The characters made an appearance in DC Comics a few years ago, and it’s not like they really set the night on fire over there. So, I’m not quite sure why this announcement came this week. According to the Washington Post article heralding its return, the creators only promise that the comics will be available both physically and virtually, but they didn’t announce a publishing plan, and they only hope to have some promo art ready by San Diego Comic Con. Right now, it just seems like they put the cart before the horse by announcing this now. I guess time will tell whether or not this was a good idea.

MarvelSecretWars

Speaking of comics, Marvel announced this week that this summer’s Secret Wars will essentially reshape their comic universe going forward. Ripped from the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, the Marvel Universe (616) and the Ultimate Marvel Universe (1616) will smash into each other, and the chips will fall where they may. As Editor In Chief Axel Alonzo stated, it’s like a pizza where some toppings will combine, while other toppings will fall off. the aftermath of the event will be the Marvel Universe going forward. I have so many thoughts on this, and it’d probably be easier to say than write, but this is the medium I have at my disposal, so let’s see how it goes.

What It Means for 616: This is a big deal for the mainstream Marvel Universe, as it serves as the first time that they’ve really embraced a universe-spanning reboot. Sure, DC Comics does this every 10 years through their Crises, but Marvel has pretty much managed to avoid having to do this by employing a loose, sliding timeline. Over 50 years of continuity were somehow crammed into a timeline of about 11 years as far as the characters were concerned. They’re essentially wiping this out for this new future. What’s odd to me, however, is that they’ve gone to great lengths to make the comics more like the movies. They introduced Agent Coulson to the comics, and they halfassedly created a black Nick Fury so that he’d be familiar to moviegoers. Now, they say that their goal ISN’T to make the movie and comic universes one and the same, but their actions say otherwise. So, why do all that only to just blow it all up now? Also, Marvel just did a whole diversity push with Falcon becoming Captain America and the debut of “She-Thor”. What happens to them? This also means that Marvel gets out of the corner it painted itself into in several instances. There’s no need to bring Wolverine back from the dead, because nothing matters anymore. There’s no need to return Steve Rogers to a younger age, because nothing matters anymore.

What it Means for 1616: This sounds like the death knell for the Ultimate Marvel Universe, which makes me sad. Created in 2000 as a newer, hipper take on the Marvel Universe, Ultimate Marvel reimagined classic heroes in modern settings. It was as if the Marvel Universe had started in the ’00s instead of the ’60s. I enjoyed the concept because, to me, it was like what it must have felt like to have been a fan in the 60s. The beginning of the line was full of excitement, as architects like Mark Millar and Brian Michael Bendis introduced us to modern takes on classic ideas. Spider-Man became Ultimate Spider-Man, a critically acclaimed, all-ages take on Spider-Man as a teenager. Avengers became The Ultimates, a widescreen Hollywood blockbuster of a book focusing on new versions of Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk. I became a dedicated fan of the Ultimate U, and I have a full run of every book that’s been released. It’s fair to say that the Ultimate Universe is near and dear to my heart. So, it saddens me to see what has become of the universe in recent years. Unlike in most comic universes, in the Ultimate Marvel universe, dead means DEAD. So, as they killed off known heroes, they never really did much to fill that void. As my friend, Jenn, said, recent Ultimate Marvel has simply been Spider-Man standing amid the littered corpses of reimagined X-Men. There’s only one jewel in the crown of the Ultimate Universe at the moment, and that’s the current Spider-Man, Miles Morales. I’ve written about him at length before, so I won’t get into all of that here. Let’s just say that Miles is one of my favorite characters in recent history. And it’s safe to say that he’s really the only thing left in the Ultimate Universe worth saving. So, I’m sure he’ll survive the event, but at what cost? What happens to his supporting cast, like best friend Ganke, or even his dad?

Anyway, Marvel tends to get West Week Ever quite often, but that’s usually for something that the movie division has done. The comic side of Marvel is constantly coming up with event after event – all promising to CHANGE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE FOREVER!!!! This is the first time, however, that I feel they may actually mean it. So, for that, Marvel Comics Secret Wars had the West Week Ever.

05th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/5/14

by Will

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the-internship-google-movie

So, this whole time I’ve been watching Netflix, I totally forgot that I have movie channels as part of my cable package now. So, over the past week, I’ve had the DVR working overtime to record some movies that I’d wanted to see but never got around to watching. The first movie I watched was The Internship, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson. While I was expecting Wedding Crashers 2, I got something completely different. Vaughn and Wilson star as former watch salesmen who put themselves in the running for jobs at Google after their company folds. As part of their internship, they’re teamed up with a bunch of other “outliers” who also hadn’t been chosen for teams. So, this team of leftovers has to compete against overly ambitious tools in order to win the chance to work for Google. Because their characters were salesmen, and due to their slimy performances in Wedding Crashers, I kinda expected the same thing from Vaughn and Wilson in this movie. Surprisingly, they’re really nice, genuine guys in this film; I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop, but they really served as older, experienced mentors to the other interns on their team. They didn’t try to hook up with young girls, and they didn’t fast talk their way out of trouble. In all, it was surprising characterization in what was otherwise a predictable story. The weird part, though, is how the entire movie is just a commercial for Google and its products. I haven’t seen anything this blatant since 1989’s The Wizard. I checked the wiki page to see if Google invested any money in the project, but of course there’s no information about those kinds of things. I can see why nobody saw this in theaters, but it’s not bad if you catch it on TV on a boring Saturday afternoon.

delivery-man

Next up was Delivery Man. THIS was the Vince Vaughn I was looking for. This could have been a spiritual successor to Dodgeball, as it’s not the same type of humor, but Vaughn plays the same type of character as Dodgeball‘s Peter LaFleur. He’s a down on his luck, middle-aged man saddled with massive debt and no direction in life. This all changes when he finds out that he has 532 biological children due to a mixup at a sperm bank he’d donated to years ago. The center had fallen on hard times, so for several years, it relied solely on his sperm samples for its clients. Now, the kids are of legal age, and have decided that they have a right to know who their father is. Due to confidentiality agreements Vaughn signed when he first donated the sperm, the kids aren’t allowed to know his identity. So, the movie is about how he secretly gets to know his kids, while they are fighting in court to get him to reveal his identity. Like The Internship, it’s a fairly predictable movie, but it’s not without its moments. I hate when people say they got “the feels”, but there are some moments with a lot of heart. This is another film worth watching on cable if you catch it when it’s on.

the-worlds-end

Finally, I watched The World’s End, with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, and those guys. Out of director Edgard Wright’s “Cornetto Trilogy”, I liked it more than Shaun of the Dead, but not as much as Hot Fuzz. Five old friends reunite to recreate a pub crawl they’d started 20 years ago, but never completed. While on the pub crawl, they start to realize things don’t seem right in their old hometown. They discover that much of the population has been replaced by robots, and the pub crawl turns into them running for their lives. My favorite aspect of the movie was that this time Nick Frost is basically the straight man, while Simon Pegg is the fuckup. The ending was kinda wonky, though. Still not sure I know what to make of it all. If you’re a fan of Pegg, however, I’m sure you’ve already seen it, so I’m preaching to the choir.

OK, so there’s been something controversial in the news that I haven’t really been talking about. It’s already polarizing, and has ended some friendships. I’ve come to a place in my life where I don’t like to comment on something if I don’t have all of the facts, and in this case, I have to say that I’m not too well-versed in the major bullet points. It also involves issues of race, which is never a fun topic. Yes, I’m talking about the Star Wars teaser trailer. Didn’t love it, but didn’t hate it. Already, folks have written too many words about the new lightsaber that everyone’s losing their minds over. I’m not a big enough Star Wars fan to have any strong emotions about it, but it’s definitely got me curious.

Squad

Speaking of movies, the cast of DC’s Suicide Squad film has been announced, and it includes Will Smith as Deadshot and Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn. Deadshot is not black, so you can imagine the outcry from fans online. My issue with the casting is that it simply makes Deadshot less interesting. Will Smith only plays Will Smith, so he won’t really bring any nuance to the character. Anyway, Suicide Squad is about a bunch of criminals who are chosen for suicide missions because nobody would miss them. It’s always been an interesting comic book, but I don’t know how it’ll play as a movie, especially since they’ve added The Joker (Jared Leto), who wouldn’t really work in that environment. Yeah, that’s another problem I have with this movie – The Joker. They know they need him for name recognition, but he would never be a member of the squad, as he doesn’t work well on teams.

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

-The Girl Meets World Christmas episode, featuring the original Boy Meets World cast, airs tonight on Disney Channel.

-Marvel went against my choices, and cast Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones and Mike Colter as Luke Cage for the Netflix series.

-Speaking of Marvel, Benedict Cumberbatch was confirmed as Doctor Strange in the upcoming movie.

-Wrestler CM Punk went on Colt Cabana’s podcast to explain why he left WWE. I HATE Punk, but I think I gained an ounce of respect for him after listening to that show.

-Ryan Reynolds has officially signed on to play Deadpool

-90s heartthrob Andrew Keegan formed his own religion.

-TV adaptation of the comic Preacher has been picked up by AMC.

-Madonna named the world’s richest recording artist, with an estimated worth of $800 million

-Terminator: Genisys trailer was released. Still looks like a fan film.

-The 24th James Bond movie was announced. Spectre will star Daniel Craig, Cristoph Waltz, and Monica Belluci

-Parks & Recreation to be burned off with back to back episodes every Tuesday in January. Series finale is set for Feb 24th.

-Fox cancelled Red Band Society at 13 episodes, and has left it off its Spring schedule.

-NBC is ending production on Constantine at 13 episodes, but says that a second season is still possible. Fans are now clamoring for said second season, though it’s pretty safe to say that the show is done.

Olivia

-Twitter got on the case to determine the identity of #oliviafromsonic. Then, it turned out she was a high school junior, and it felt like a Dateline trap.

Links I Loved

Re-Creating My Dad’s Long Lost 1986 Treadmill Mix Tape – UnderScoopFire!

It Happened To Me: Nick Took Over My School And Wouldn’t Leave – ClickHole

A Former Welfare Kid On Why Donating Toys Matters – The Robot’s Pajamas


Too Many Cooks (Looping Cello Version) – YouTube

flarrow

Gotham and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. have their fans, but nobody does comic book drama like The CW. Three seasons ago, they roared onto the scene with Arrow, detailing the exploits of Oliver Queen and his allies as they try to protect Starling City. This season, we got The Flash, as Barry Allen does the same thing for Central City. While the heroes met briefly last season on Arrow, before Barry got his powers, this week was the first time that we got a superhero team-up between the two. On Tuesday night, Arrow, Diggle, and Felicity traveled to Central City on a case, and ended up meeting The Flash and his allies. Barry gets into a fight with villain Roy G. Bivolo, which made him experience extreme hatred, leading to a fight with Ollie. Meanwhile, Dr. Wells and the Flash crew discovered that Oliver Queen was The Arrow. It was a thrilling hour, and that was only part 1 of their interaction. Now, I’ve got to be honest – I didn’t watch the Arrow episode because I’m still in the middle of season 2 in my bingewatch, and I didn’t want to be spoiled by anything. The Flash episode dropped one little tidbit that I hadn’t gotten to yet in Arrow’s second season, but it didn’t spoil too much. Since the Arrow episode would be more entrenched in the goings on of Starling City, I decided to wait it out until I catch up. From what I’ve read, though, part 2 was just as good as the first. These are thrilling comic-based shows that make us excited about their universe, which I can’t say about the aforementioned Gotham, and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is finally starting to understand. In any case, for knocking off my socks with their team-up, The Flash/Arrow Teamup had the West Week Ever.

25th Sep2014

West Week Ever – 9/26/14

by Will

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warrior dash

The week started out with me in CT, taking part in the Warrior Dash. If you’re not familiar with it, it’s basically a mud run obstacle course, but not as hardcore as the Spartan Race. I’d never done anything like it, but my college friends James, Jenn, and Debra wanted to do it, so I decided to make the trip up there. Seeing as how I can’t swim, I was planning to skip all of the obstacles that had to do with water. Little did I realize that the very first obstacle would be in the water. We had to walk through neck-high water to a raft, climb up on it, walk across, and walk to the shore through the water again. I sucked it up and did it, even though I could’ve drowned. When everything was said and done, I didn’t end up skipping any of the obstacles, and I’m pretty proud of myself. I did mess up my knees on the rope ladders, but they’ll heal. If you ever have a chance to do a mud run, it’s definitely something different. I’m still not sure if I’ll do it again, even though my friends are already excited for next year.

black-ops-2

While in Connecticut, I developed an addiction to Call of Duty: Black Ops 2. I am far from a “gamer”, and I especially suck at first-person shooters. Something about this game, however, clicked for me. When we first started playing, I couldn’t even figure out how to turn my head, but by Sunday afternoon, I was killing terrorists with the best of them. Outside of the Warrior Dash, most of our time was spent playing that game. In fact, I played so much that I’d see it when I closed my eyes to sleep. I’m finally able to sleep without seeing terrorists around every corner, but I’m seriously considering buying that game.

kenan

On to pop culture news! It was announced early in the week that Kenan Thompson would be leaving Saturday Night Live at the end of the season. Then, there was some backpedaling, as sources started reporting that the initial announcement may have been premature. So, no one really knows what’s going on right now. It would certainly be a blow to the show, even though some folks might say that it’s been a long time coming. One writer, when speaking to Slate, basically said that Kenan can save any weak sketch, and SNL definitely needs a guy like that these days.

true-detective
The leads for season 2 of HBO’s True Detective were announced this week, and it seems like Vince Vaughn and Colin Farrell will be our new cop duo. I enjoyed the first season, but I fall into the camp who felt it was overrated. Part of this could be due to the fact that I binge-watched it in a day. I felt like it tried to build this weird mythology within the case that didn’t have a lot of payoff. Maybe it’s because every drama in post-Lost television feels it needs something mystical to hook the viewer, but I feel like the show would’ve been just as strong if they’d handled a straightforward murder case instead of the Yellow King stuff. A lot of folks are upset about this casting news, as they were hoping for possible female leads, but I like Vaughn, and I now have HBO, so I’ll give it a shot.

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As a Batman fan, I’m sure some people wonder what I thought about Gotham. Well, to be honest, I only saw the last 15 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was gonna watch it because I really have no desire to see another Batman origin story. I have big problems with the purpose of the show. Unlike Smallville, which is where Clark Kent spent his formative years, Gotham holds very little meaning for Bruce Wayne’s development. I mean, it’s the site of his parents’ deaths, but his training takes place around the globe. If it were a show about THAT, then I’d probably watch. There are a lot of “lost” tales from that era, as we got most of our knowledge of his training from Batman Begins. Other than that, we don’t know much, and I’d be down for a show about that. Maybe a show about Bruce training with Henri Ducard. This show, however, starts with Bruce as a KID, and intends to follow him as such. There’s no story there. In the meantime, I don’t really care about seeing where Edward Nygma and Oswald Cobblepot came from. It’s enough that they exist, but this show seems to want to wrap a nice little bow on all of their origin stories. Plus, it’s only a matter of time before they start teasing The Joker, because they won’t be able to help themselves. I also don’t like the casting, except Donal Logue – who was born to play Bullock. They’re reairing the pilot tonight on Fox, so I’ll watch the whole thing to give it a fair shake, but I don’t think this show is for me.

agents-of-shield-logo
Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. came back and introduced Absorbing Man. It was nice they finally went with an existing, established comic villain, and it was a decent enough episode, but I still don’t really like anyone but Coulson and Triplett. And now there are two black guys, so it’s only a matter of time before one of them dies. On the ratings side of things, the premiere wasn’t much higher than last season’s finale. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: if it lasts until Avengers 2, it will have done its job. This was never a show with the staying power to last 7 seasons. If it turned out to be a massive hit, then that would’ve been great, but the real purpose of the show was the whet our appetites for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in between movies. On its own, it’s a dud, but when linked to that universe, like with The Winter Soldier, it has a lot of potential. The problem with 22 episodes of television is that it has to tread water until these beats present themselves. It’s nice to see that Marvel’s willing to take chances and, luckily, they’re only “miss” has been on TV and not cinematic. I’m saying Agent Carter is a one and done show, while Agents will probably wrap up after season 3.

blackish
The show I was most anticipating was ABC’s Black-ish, which premiered after Modern Family Wednesday night. I’ve loved Anthony Anderson since he was Teddy on Hang Time, and I knew his career would eventually amount to something. It’s a comedic take on the struggle to maintain one’s cultural identity while also fitting in with the world. There’s a lot of “Black people do this, and white people do this” humor, but it wasn’t as hackneyed as your typical Comic View comedian. I think the show has a lot of heart, and it launched to big numbers, so I think it’s a keeper. Unless something crazy happens over the next few weeks, it’ll definitely get a full season pickup. I think ABC’s got a hit on their hands. I am, however, curious to know how white audiences felt about the show. On Twitter, black viewers were pretty vocal in their support, but I wondered if some of the race stuff was too “on the nose” for some white viewers. Anybody wanna share their thoughts in the comments?

FOREVER - Pilot Gallery (ABC/Bob D'Amico) IOAN GRUFFUDD, JUDD HIRSCH

Ya know, I considered giving this honor to Derek Jeter, but then I remembered that this is MY site and that I don’t care about sports. In I know Jeter’s a future Hall of Famer, and I’ve heard he “plays the game the right way”, but I know him more for the notches on his bedpost. Mariah Carey, Minka Kelly, Jessica Biel? The man is only surpassed by Justin Timberlake when it comes to the women who have streamed through his bedroom. No, I decided to take about my favorite show so far of the fall season: Forever.

When I did my ABC upfronts post, I said that this show might have a hard time if it just poses questions without answering them. It’s the only show so far this season to have aired two episodes (it premiered on Monday, and moved to its regular timeslot on Tuesday), so I’ve got more to go on for it than with the other new shows. Forever stars Ioan Gruffudd, whom Americans may remember as Reed Richards in the Fantastic Four movies. I love that guy, and I think he’s my Colin Firth. There’s just something dashing about him, so maybe I’m biased. Anyway, Gruffudd plays Henry Morgan, a medical examiner for the New York Police Department. He knows a LOT about death, mainly, because he can’t die. Sure, he dies, but he always comes back to life – naked and in a body of water. He’s been enduring this cycle for over 300 years, so he’s been keeping journals on his deaths and their different pain levels. Because he’s died so much, he’s great at determining the cause of death of victims who come through the morgue. He uses his knowledge and talents to help the homicide division to solve crimes. Meanwhile, since every post-Lost era drama has to have a mystery to it, there appears to be another who shares his same affliction, and has been watching Morgan from afar. He sends him vague messages, signed by “Your Fan”, and the show is clearly leading up to a big meeting between the two. Here’s hoping it lasts that long. The ratings for both episodes weren’t stellar, but they were steady. If it can prove itself as a reliable performer, Forever just may get to finish out its season. I really hope more viewers give it a chance, as it’s really good and I’m curious to see where it’s going. Anyway, for being my favorite television debut of the week, Forever had the West Week Ever.

22nd Aug2014

West Week Ever – 8/22/14

by Will

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I really wasn’t sure I was gonna write this until about 3 hrs ago, so I apologize if it’s half-assed. I took a break last week, but I hope you enjoyed my reboot of Three’s Company. In the meantime, there’s not a lot of happy stuff going on these days, so I just haven’t really been compelled to write this post. Still, as they say, the show must go on!

sharlto-copley

A few weeks ago, I told you that Susan Heyward had been cast as Deena Pilgrim in Sony’s Powers series. Well, this week it was announced that District 9‘s Sharlto Copley will star as Detective Christian Walker in the series. Not who I would’ve chosen. The problem with this is that he doesn’t seem to have the build that Walker has in the comic, but clearly they’re going in another direction. It was also announced that Ensign Ro, Michelle Forbes, would be playing Retro Girl. I don’t have the Playstation Network, so I’ll probably never see this show unless it hits Netflix or something. In any case, it’s being made, so I’m sure that makes someone out there happy.

cannon carey

The honeymoon is over for Nick Cannon and Mariah Carey, as Cannon confirmed that the couple has separated. Apparently, it can be traced back to a radio interview where Cannon was asked to admit 5 celebrities that he’d slept with. Well, that list included Kim Kardashian, which was a sticking point for Mariah. He’ll be OK, though, as they’re already discussing the division of property. He’ll be crying all the way to the bank!

sorbo

Kevin Sorbo said some crazy stuff about the people of Ferguson, MO. Oh, what’s going on in Ferguson? We’re not getting into that here. Go read a news site or something! Let’s just say that the killing of an unarmed Black teen has sparked protests in the town that have been going on for over a week. Well, the former star of syndicated Saturday fare Hercules: The Legendary Journeys & Andromeda called the people “animals” and said:

“Ferguson riots have very little to do with the shooting of the young man. It is an excuse to be the losers these animals truly are. It is a tipping point to frustration built up over years of not trying, but blaming everyone else, The Man, for their failures. It’s always someone else’s fault when you give up. Hopefully this is a reminder to the African Americans ( I always thought we just Americans. Oh, well.) that their President the voted in has only made things worse for them, not better.”

Wow, Hercules! What would Iolaus say? I guess he won’t be winning an NAACP Spirit Award anytime soon…

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Oh, the Ice Bucket Challenge. Unless you’ve been living under a rock the past 2 weeks, folks have been filming themselves being doused with ice water in an effort to spread awareness about ALS, AKA Lou Gehrig’s Disease. The trick is that you accept the challenge, and then you challenge three other people to do it. They have 24 hrs to comply or else they have to donate $100 to ALS research. I stirred up a mini controversy on Facebook, as I said “The Ice Bucket Challenge is the whitest thing since the invention of brunch.” Some folks tried to say “Oprah did it!”, like that’s supposed to mean something to me. I’m not sure if it’s because Black folks are preoccupied with the Ferguson stuff, or if we would’ve ignored it anyway, but if you look at the videos, it’s a predominantly White thing. I’ve got a friend who posted her office doing the challenge, and the black dude (there was only one) conspicuously didn’t participate. It’s almost to the point where I’m wondering if I missed something in last month’s newsletter telling us not to participate. Oh, you guys didn’t know there’s a Black Newsletter? Anyway, my pal Howie Decker ended up nominating me, and I would’ve complied, but I was out of town for the 24 hr window. So, I gave the money. I did my part. It’s a good cause that’s raised a lot of money, so it should be commended for that. I’ve definitely enjoyed everyone’s videos who accepted the challenge, and you’re all good sports. This might make me a dick, however, but I’m kinda ready for it to be over now.

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Last night, it was announced that Grant, Kari, and Tori would be leaving Mythbusters. Ya know, I think I’ve only watched, maybe, 2 episodes of that show in my entire life. However, anyone who went near a copy of Maxim or FHM in the early ’00s knows who Kari Byron is. She was like a real life Debbe Dunning. Well, Debbe’s real, but she played the Tool Girl on Home…ya know what, let’s just said that joke didn’t land. In any case, I know Kari will be missed. I don’t know about those other dudes.

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This week saw the 25th anniversary of Saved by the Bell. My God, I feel so old. I remember where I was that very day. In fact, it first aired on a Friday night, during one of those Saturday morning preview shows that networks used to have. And I remember thinking “This ain’t gonna last”. It’s not like I had any industry knowledge to go on at that point. I was just a kid who wanted his cartoons, and I knew that this was 30 minutes that could have gone to ALF Tales or something. Anyway, I watched it, and it was OK. Then I kept watching it. And then I fell in love with it and The Guys Next Door and everything that Peter Engel later produced. Seriously, there’s a reason there are TNBC and Saved By The Bell tags in the sidebar! Sure, these shows gave a REALLY false impression of what high school was going to be like, but I feel like I grew up with Zack and the gang. When they worked for Mr. Carosi, I worked at the beach club, too. I know that sounds crazy, but that’s what happens when you’re at an impressionable age. I know a lot of my contemporaries hated the show, but I’m not in that camp. Give me a SBTB rerun any day (except the one where Slater’s lizard dies. I hate that episode). It almost had the West Week Ever, but not quite. We’ll get to that in a bit.

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A few weeks back, I had the honor of being invited back to The Classick Team-Up, over on the Cold Slither Podcast Network. I’m actually the first 2-time guest, which is pretty awesome, and Classick and I had a great time talking comics, movies, and more. You can check it out here.

In Case You Missed It Last Week

Reboot That Bitch: Three’s Company

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This is going to be kinda controversial, but that’s the world we live in these days. Ya know who had the West Week Ever? Taylor Swift, and let me tell you why. All ears and eyes were on Taylor this week, as she released the video for her new song, “Shake It Off”. Written by my musical spirit animal, Max Martin, the song is a departure for Swift, as it’s her first, real pop song. Sure, she’s had crossover hits in the past, and it could be argued that “I Knew You Were Trouble” was her first real foray into pop, but she’s considering this her pop Coming Out. It’s the first single from her next album, 1989, which is supposed to be an 80s-inspired pop album. Those were the magic words right there. I am ALL ABOUT that! Still, you can’t have something without some controversy. The video involves Taylor parodying different dance styles, and the joke is that she’s bad at all of them. Ballet? Bad at it. Cheerleading? Bad at it. And then there’s the twerking scene. No, Taylor doesn’t try to twerk, but she’s got some black ladies in the background doing it for her. And people have said that she’s supporting negative black stereotypes by doing this. The funny thing, though, is that the people saying this have either never seen the video, or they just don’t get the joke. Take a look at it here:

Meanwhile, Nicki Minaj released her new video for “Anaconda” this week, and you can check it out here (but NOT if you’re at work!):

So, tell me – who did more to perpetuate negative black stereotypes this week? Yeah. So, leave Taylor alone, and brace yourselves as she takes over the pop world. It was only a matter of time, and now that she seems to be done with country, there’s nothing we can do to stop her. This is why Taylor Swift had the West Week Ever.

25th Jul2014

West Week Ever – 7/25/14

by Will

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So, I finally finished The Cleveland Show from the bingewatch I mentioned a few weeks ago. All I can say is I really miss that show. It’s too bad TBS couldn’t pick it up when it took American Dad from Fox. Here’s hoping the Tubbs-Brown family gets some kind of spotlight on Family Guy now that they’ve moved back to Quahog.

Satisfaction

Three summer series started last week that have got me thinking. The first show is Satisfaction on USA. If you’re not familiar with it, investment banker Neil Truman is having something of a midlife crisis when he discovers that his wife has been paying another man for sex. He’d been busy with work, but had no reason to think that his marriage was in any kind of trouble. After a confrontation with the other man, Simon, Neil ends up with his cell phone – which includes Simon’s contacts for the other women he sleeps with. Neil, then, starts taking jobs as Simon, sleeping with married women who love their husbands but are unhappy with their sex lives. If you ever watched Nip/Tuck, then you won’t be surprised to hear that Satisfaction is from one of the producers of that show. It has the same feel as Nip/Tuck, and the same sort of “everybody’s got secrets” vibe to it. Both Neil and his wife are doing what they feel they have to do in order to save their marriage, but you have to wonder if it’s even worth saving. After watching the 90 minute pilot, I couldn’t wait for the next episode. It’s that good, and it airs Thursdays at 10.

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While we’re on the subject of marriage, the next show that caught my attention was Married on FX. Starring Nat Faxon and Judy Greer, it’s a comedy about, well, marriage. In the pilot, Faxon’s character wants sex, but his wife (Greer) just doesn’t feel like it. So, she kinda gives him permission to go elsewhere to fulfill his needs. This show also airs Thursdays at 10, and I found it odd that two shows aired at the same time, in which a man sought out sex with others in order to save his marriage. Is that really the state of marriage these days? Man, that’s depressing. I enjoyed Married, as things don’t go exactly as planned, and Faxon eventually realizes that his wife wasn’t really being serious.

I’m not sure how I feel about Nat Faxon, though. On the one hand, he’s got a likability to him almost like a poor man’s John Ritter. On the other hand, I don’t think he’s TV photogenic (something with his teeth), and he’s got a face that I kinda wanna punch. I felt that way when he was on the short-lived Ben & Kate and I feel that way now. Still, I’ll keep watching ’cause I generally like FX comedies, and I’d like to see where this goes.

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Finally, I HAVE to talk about You’re The Worst, which airs on FX Thursdays at 10:30. As an aside, it’s becoming clear that Fox clearly created FXX as someplace to put Simpsons reruns ’cause they’re not using it for anything else. FXX was supposed to be the FX comedy channel, but the only thing they cast over there was Sunny. Chozen was meant for FXX, but they instead aired it on FX after Archer. Archer didn’t make the leap, nor did Louie, and neither did the two series I’ve mentioned today. More and more I find myself questioning why FX ever split into two networks. But I digress…

You’re The Worst is about two damaged, despicable people who realize they’re probably perfect for each other. What makes it notable, however, is the sex. When the show started, it had the usual “This show is rated TV-MA for…blah blah blah”, but I figured someone would just say “shit” a few times. No, I was in for the most explicit sex scene I’ve ever seen on basic cable. This was more intense than anything on Nip/Tuck, and that show kinda broke the basic cable mold. They went from cowgirl to missionary to doggiestyle to oral, and the only catch was you never saw nipple. I don’t know if every episode will be like that, but my inner 12 year old demands more. So, I guess I’ll keep watching it.

Aya

Oh, and co-star Aya Cash favorited my tweet last night!

Purple Zord

In Power Rangers news, toymaker Bandai of America seems to have lost its shit in its ongoing gender war. Recently, they’ve shied away from making female-centered toys, as they maintain that Power Rangers is a boys toy line. This was first evident when they neglected to make Ranger Keys based on female rangers to be used with the Legendary Morpher. There was fan outcry about this, but Bandai didn’t really seem to care. Recently, more of the females have been released, but nowhere near as many as there are of the male rangers. The most recent blow, however, just took place at the San Diego Comic-Con, as the Bandai booth has samples of the toys from the next incarnation of the show, Power Rangers Dino Charge. Though the Dino Charge team will include a pink ranger, Bandai has decided to recolor her zord to purple. Ya know, ’cause pink is a girl’s color.

Someone else must be at the wheel over there these days, as this sort of thing wouldn’t have happened 20 years ago when the line launched. In fact, if you look at something like the Shogun Megazord, the White Ranger’s zord was actually recolored pink for the American version – a move that’s the opposite of what’s going on now. As a male PR fan, I don’t really have a dog in this race. I could get upset about it, but I don’t really know Bandai’s motivations behind their decisions. I remember when they used to make PR toys specifically for girls, and I don’t think those did too well. Maybe making Barbie-esque ranger dolls wasn’t the way to court a female audience, but it’s something that they tried. The whole recoloring pink to purple thing does seem pretty foolish, however, so here’s hoping they reverse the decision before these toys hit retail.

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Last week, I talked about the Marvel diversity initiatives that include Blaptain America and She-Thor. Well, my friend Jenn wrote a great article about what tends to happen when this, as she calls it, “cowl rental” takes place. Hint: it ain’t good. Anyway, you should really go check out her post as she knows her comic history and seems to have a good argument as to what this means for Sam Wilson.


Speaking of the Marvel changes, check out this podcast I did with my pal James. We discussed comic publishers’ problems with diversity, as well as our thoughts on Blap and She-Thor. It’s a good way to kill an hour, so check it out.

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I’m not even gonna pretend like the biggest thing going on this week isn’t the San Diego Comic-Con. It officially started yesterday, so the announcements are still trickling out. Still, these are the things that the geek world will be talking about for the next year. It’s already been confirmed that the Dawn of Justice Batsuit will be present, plus the cast of Avengers 2: Age of Ultron is expected to be in attendance Saturday. Plus, since Sony vacated the release date they had for Amazing Spider-Man 3, Marvel has swooped in and snatched the date. Many feel we may get a hint as to what they plan to do with that date. In any case, even though I have nothing huge to report at this time, the internet will be burning up with con reports and announcements from the floor. So, for those reasons, SDCC 2014 is having the West Week Ever.

20th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/20/14

by Will

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So, I took a week off. No one seemed to notice, so I guess you either had an awesome Friday OR nobody reads these things. Anyway, I was on vacation, and when I’m not at work, I don’t really know what’s going on in the world,. So, I took a breather. I hope you’ll forgive me :-p

 

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First up, the United States Patent Office canceled the Redskins trademark, seemingly in an attempt to get the team to change its name. Of course, there are folks excited about this, while there are others who don’t understand what the big deal is about the name. The way I see it, there are really only 2 opinions to have on the matter: you can admit that it’s racist OR you can just not care at all. I fall into the latter camp, as I’m not a sports guy, but I can also admit that it’s pretty racist. I know that folks don’t like change, and there’s the whole matter of “tradition”, but it’s a pretty negative name. I feel like everyone has their own limits of decency, and this just doesn’t set off any alarms for some people. I’m sure, however, there are names out there that would get people upset. I mean, what if the team were called the Washington Holocausts or the Washington Pontius Pilates? Oh, suddenly some folks are starting to get uncomfortable. Good. And don’t try to say “Those are different”, ’cause they really aren’t. I’m not really sure what the big deal is about changing the name, as it’s not like the Redskins have this record that would be tarnished by a name change. For the most part, they’re an expensive, yet shitty team. Hell, a name change might help them out. Take a page from comics, and reboot the whole damn franchise.

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In other controversial news, American Apparel ousted Dov Charney as its CEO and president due to sexual misconduct. If you’re not familiar with American Apparel, they make uber comfortable t-shirts, but charge, like, $30 each for them because they’re made with sweatshop-free labor. Oh, and most of their print ads look like scenes from snuff films. Most of the employees look like aspiring Suicide Girls, so Charney was like a kid in a candy store. He’s admitted to having sexual relations with employees in the past, but says that it was always consensual. Don’t dip your pen in the company ink, Dov!

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In tech news, Amazon unveiled the wholly unnecessary Fire Phone. Seriously, was anyone waiting for this thing? Sure, it’s got “3-D” capability and whatnot, but what bothers me is that it’s running a modified version of Android, with a curated list of apps. As someone who owns a Kindle Fire, the native apps kinda suck on that thing. Sure, it was essentially an Android tablet, but the apps were treated like a gated community and you couldn’t get a lot of the things that were popular on the Google Play Store.

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On the music front, I’m surprised I’m saying this, but I find I’m a big fan of country rapper Big Smo. I was first introduced to Smo on an episode of Bar Rescue, as he was helping Jon Taffer to fix up the local watering hole that had given him his start. I had never heard of him, and kinda thought he was a joke. Next, I heard he was getting his own reality show on A&E, showcasing his life as he’s just about to break out as a mainstream artist. I watched the premiere, and I actually enjoyed it. Still, I wasn’t exactly sure I was down with his music. I grew up listening to country, and though I like a lot of today’s music, it ain’t “country”. This is especially true of the latest craze in the genre: country rap. However, I ran out of podcasts to listen to this week, so I fired up Spotify and decided to listen to all the Big Smo they had. I’m now a fan. As I said on Twitter, his music sounds like the soundtrack to a Louisiana prison break. I just wonder where he’s gonna get airplay, as he’s too country for hip hop, but too hip hop for country. Here’s his single “Workin'”:

While we’re talking about country stuff, have any of you seen this new Auto Trader commercial with the Dukes of Hazzard? I refuse to believe that the Dukes own a smartphone or tablet. I refuse!

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I’ve mentioned it before, but one of my favorite shows is Catfish, especially due to the live-tweeting experience that comes along with it. It seems to bring out the detective in everyone, and some enterprising sleuth has started this site which compiles the social media links of the various guests featured. Wondering what was so intriguing about Solana’s Instagram? Well, here ya go.  Remember Instagram fame whore Antoinette? Here she is. It’s that simple. It’s probably best to check the site after the episode, as it can spoil whether or not the Catfish is real, but it’s still a fun way to kill some time.

 

SBTB

Lifetime has announced that  it will be airing the TV movie The Unauthorized Saved By The Bell Story on September 1st. Here’s your first look at the cast. Though not based on Dustin Diamond’s Behind the Bell tell-all, it does promise to give us a behind-the-scenes look at the salacious activities of the castmates. I don’t watch Shameless or Degrassi, so I don’t know who any of these kids are, but they were cast by Saved By The Bell‘s original casting director, so there must be something to them.

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Marvel Comics released their solicitations for August, which included 15 books with $4.99 price tags. This, folks, is the beginning of the end. I don’t think the industry can survive $5 books, especially if they’re simple monthlies. Event books can do it, as they only occur for about 6 months out of the year, but $5 for the foreseeable future is just too much. If you’re doing $5 and above, you’ve got to sweeten the deal. I’ve grown to like the European model, where they sell compilations of recent issues for about $7-9, which is fine because you’re getting over 100 pages of story. 40 pages at $4.99, however, just ain’t worth it ($3.99 comics are usually 22 pages). Few people realize it, but there was a $9.99 issue of Deadpool just two months ago. It was a special issue, as Deadpool got married, but I still don’t think it needed to be $10. $7, maybe, but not $10.

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In local news, there’s a war brewing at my apartment complex between Comcast and Verizon. Up til recently, Comcast was our only option, but FIOS was installed over the past few weeks. Now, they’re both vying for our love. Yesterday morning, Comcast gave breakfast bags to everyone leaving the parking lot. Don’t get too excited – it was juice and a breakfast bar, but it was something. Tomorrow, they’re mounting an assault at the pool. Comcast is going to be giving out delicious, hate-filled Chick Fil A, while Verizon is going to be giving out Rita’s. I’m not quite sure how you can mobilize Rita’s, but I’m curious to find out. I plan to suckle at both of their teats, enjoying delicious chicken and custard. I can’t wait!

 

cold slither

This was a sad week for me, as it marked the end of the Cold Slither Podcast. Not too long ago, I hated the idea of podcasts. Thought they made no sense. Who knew I’d end up guesting on some?! Anyway, I think I hated podcasts because I thought they were some kind of NPR-ish attempt to talk about boring stuff. Then, I found UnderScoopFire! and Cold Slither about the same time, as we traveled in the same Twitter circles. I had a long commute to work, and since I was taking the Metro, radio wasn’t going to be an option. So, I decided to take the podcast plunge and downloaded their most recent eps on my phone. And I was HOOKED! Podcasts didn’t have to be about obscure indie records or sociopolitical climates of third-world nations. Here were some guys just like me, who happened to like the same stuff I liked. Over the course of the next few years, I had the pleasure of guesting on the show a few times, and I was always welcomed with open arms by Classick, Tim, and Eclectik. They really helped me out by allowing Will’s World of Wonder to sponsor their Slither Madness Tournament, and they were always gracious about providing plugs for my store and blog. All seemed right in the world of the slither and then they just disappeared. Classick went back to school, while Tim and Eclectik focused on their solo projects. It was like when your favorite band breaks up and the members go their separate ways. You have to respect the decision, but you always secretly hope that they’ll one day reunite. Well, the Cold Slither Reunion happened last Tuesday night, as they had a live Google Hangout to record what would be the final episode of the Cold Slither Podcast EVER. Once again, I was honored to take part, as we discussed 1989’s Batman. Mainly, I was just glad I got a chance to say goodbye. The Cold Slither Podcast will live on through its website, and more podcasts are expected to be brought under  the CSP umbrella, so I look forward to seeing what they have in store. Anyway, for giving me years of enjoyment, for giving my ventures tons of exposure, and for going out while still on top, the Cold Slither Podcast had the West Week Ever.

15th May2014

Upfronts with Will – ABC Edition

by Will

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ABC has Modern Family and Scandal. That’s pretty much all you need to know. They don’t have a ton of failures like NBC, but they also don’t have a ton of hits. They’re still dependent on the aging Dancing with the Stars and The Bachelor, and they could really use some new hits on their schedule. Let’s see what they’ve got in store.

How To Get Away With Murder

I’m not a big Shonda Rhimes person, which means Thursday nights on ABC won’t necessarily be the place for me. That said, I really liked this trailer. I’m not sure what the show will be like, but this trailer does the job of making me want to learn more. Plus, it’s got the Shonda staple of a ball-busting black chick. It’s scheduled for Thursday night at 10, which means its going against Parenthood, which will be in its last season. I see no reason for this not to be a success, as everything Shonda touches for ABC turns to gold.

Cristela

I’ve never  heard of comedienne Cristela Alonzo, but this show brings diversity to the network. It’s going to be paired with Last Man Standing on Friday nights, so it might do OK with the audience looking for that kind of thing. I completely forget that Last Man Standing exists, so I suspect the same fate will befall Cristela. Plus, this trailer did absolutely nothing for me. I thought the show was about the dude, as the woman says nothing. Turns out the woman’s Cristela. You learn something new every day…

Manhattan Love Story

More like Canceled After One Season Story. Nothing about this feels fresh or unique.

Selfie

It’s certainly timely, but I’m not sure Karen Gillan’s character is likable enough to make this appointment television. Plus, the role is such a departure from what folks are used to from her that I doubt she’ll be bringing her Whovian fanbase with her. It seems too cutesy, which is the kind of show ABC picks up every season and drops (see: Don’t Trust The B and Super Fun Night). ABC loves to give these shows a shot, but they never keep them because they don’t have long-term potential. Still, having John Cho in a lead role does help to diversify their lineup a bit. Anyway, it and Manhattan Love Story will have to face off against Utopia and The Voice next season, which won’t be an easy task.

Black-ish

This is probably the show I’m most looking forward to on ABC’s schedule. It not only brings diversity to primetime, but it also deals with the whole notion of whether someone is “black enough”. I can really relate to the subject matter of the show, and it looks pretty funny. I like the cast, with Tracee Ellis Ross and Laurence Fishburne as the grandfather. Anthony Anderson is kinda sitcom Kryptonite, but I’m willing to give him a chance here. It shows that ABC has faith in the show, as it’s been given the post-Modern Family timeslot, which is valuable real estate. I really hope folks give this one a shot.

Galavant

I hadn’t even heard of this show until I was going through ABC’s upfronts trailers. This show’s got it all! Adventure, music, Lassie from Psych. Typically, this wouldn’t be my cup of tea, but I can’t wait to watch this show. It’s not on ABC’s schedule yet, so it’s probably a midseason replacement. Now, excuse me while I watch this trailer 1,000 more times!

Fresh Off the Boat

I’m conflicted about this one. On the one hand, I’ve heard a lot of buzz about it from the Asian community, as they lobbied hard for ABC to pick up the pilot. That said, it’s kinda racist. Like when they’re about to go into the grocery store, and the mom tells him to go with a white family, as he’ll be safe there. Or when she asks him why all of his shirts have black men on them. I’m sure this is probably a common theme in Asian households, so it might just seem funny or relatable to them, but there were certain jokes that sort of stung. Maybe I’m being too sensitive, and I’ll probably give the show a chance once it has a timeslot.

The Whispers

This looks freaky. I was ready to give it a chance until the scope widened. When it looked like it was just a small-town show about imaginary friends, I was intrigued. Then, when the president got involved and it became a worldwide phenomenon, I kinda lost interest. This is the kind of show that’ll be canceled before they answer any of the important questions.

Forever

I like Ioan Gruffudd, as I didn’t hate the Fantastic Four movies as much as others. He’ll always be Reed Richards to me. I also like Judd Hirsch. I’m curious about this show, as it’s an intriguing premise. Basically, the trick is to see how long they can keep killing him before they have to explain why he can’t die. Again, I don’t know if the show will last that long. Right now, it’s scheduled to go against Chicago Fire, so there’s not a ton of competition there. I just hope the audience is ready to go on this particular ride because it seems like the sort  of show where answers will be few and far between.

Secrets and Lies

This feels like Fox’s Gracepoint, but with the pacing of a box office thriller. If it’s a one and done series, I might check it out. I’m certainly curious. Been a long time since we’ve seen Ryan Phillippe! No timeslot as of yet, so it must be a midseason replacement.

American Crime

This looks really good, but it feels more like a movie than a TV show. If this is an exploration on race, I wonder if it’ll start discussions the same way that Crash did. There’s no timeslot yet, so this is probably slated for midseason. I’ll have to check this out when it hits.

Man, there’s a LOT of good looking TV coming from ABC this Fall. It’s been a long time since I’ve been an ABC man, but things may be about to change. What looks good to you guys?

02nd May2014

West Week Ever – 5/2/14

by Will

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I haven’t RedBoxed or Netflixed in weeks, so I don’t really have anything to discuss on that front. I did catch a new standup special on Comedy Central, though – Tracy Morgan: Bona Fide. And it was HORRIBLE. I think I laughed once. I know he used to be a funny guy, so I’m not sure what happened. Maybe he’s just not good at standup? That was what people were saying when he got in trouble for his homophobic rant in his last standup. Maybe he was playing it safe so he didn’t get in trouble again. Either way, it was not an enjoyable hour.

stand up month

It’s currently “Stand Up Month” for Comedy Central and Comedy Central Radio, which is an odd concept. I mean, shouldn’t every month be Stand Up Month? It’s like if MTV christened Music Month or something. Anyway, as part of Stand Up Month, they’ve premiered a new one hour special every Sunday night. I watched Morgan’s, but I listened to Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed and Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago. Both were what you’d expect from their respective stars. Gaffigan did the whole “subliminal voice” thing that he does, while Buress wasn’t as funny as he’d been in past specials. Still, both specials were WAY funnier than Tracy Morgan. If you’ve got Spotify, you can listen to them there.

 

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Speaking of TV, History Channel is creating Pawnography, which is basically Pawn Stars: The Game Show. In the show, contestants will answer trivia from the Pawn Stars cast in order to win items from Rick Harrison’s personal collection. This would be interesting if Rick actually knew a damn thing about most of his items. Instead, they should focus on Rick’s “experts” that he calls on when he needs information on an item. I haven’t watched Pawn Stars in about a year, as it just got too formulaic for me, but I’ll check out a few episodes of this game show.


We FINALLY have a premiere date for Girl Meets World – Friday, June 27th!

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They announced the Star Wars Episode VII cast this week, and I’ve got nothing. I don’t know any of these people except Adam Driver, and he’s got the kind of face that you just wanna punch. It’s pretty cool that a black guy is the lead this time around, but I’ve yet to see Attack The Block, so I can’t say anything about his acting chops. The one thing I noticed about that released pic, however, is Harrison Ford’s pit stain. Once you see it, you’ll never not see it.

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It’s no secret that I love every episode of American Dad where Steve sings. Luckily, the Boyz 12 episode is one of the best examples of this, and it aired on Adult Swim this week. In fact, it’s the second time it’s aired in the past month, but I’m not complaining! The episode led me to directly tweet Seth MacFarlane, asking him to put all of Steve’s songs on iTunes. I don’t even use iTunes, but you bet I would if I could get those tracks! I wish I could show you that I got a reply from him, but it apparently fell on deaf ears. Or deaf keyboard. Whatever you’re supposed to say in a digital society. Anyway, there doesn’t seem to be a high quality video of the song, but here’s what it sounds like:

 

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This week, it was announced that Nick Carter of the Backstreet Boys and Jordan Knight of NKOTB have formed a duo, called Nick & Knight. I’m not making this up. I’m not sure what to think of it. On the one hand, Jordan’s “Give It To You” was one of the best pop songs of the late 90s. On the other hand, Nick didn’t even make a splash when he attempted a solo career. As a boyband fiend, I can’t say that I’m “excited”, per se, but I’m am intrigued. Not only are they releasing an album in September, but they’re also going on tour. If you wanna hear their first single, “Just The Two Of Us”, Perez Hilton has the clip. I’m not blown away by it, but it could be a lot worse.

Death of Wolverine -- exclusive EW.com image

The “Death of Wolverine” storyline was announced this week from Marvel Comics. I haven’t read a single article about it, so I can’t speak with any real authority on it. I’ve got no interest in it whatsoever. “Death” has become such a commonplace gimmick in comics that it doesn’t mean a thing anymore. What it equates to is a really long nap until the character is needed again. I’d be more inclined to read these stories if they’d just call them that, like “Wolverine’s Yearlong Nap”. I’m already filled with a ton of questions. How is he sleeping for so long? Is anyone cutting his hair? Are they feeding him through tubes? That angle is kinda interesting. Wolverine’s “death”, however, means nothing to me. It also doesn’t help that there was a “The Death of Wolverine” storyline only 5 years ago. Have fun with that, Marvel.

Sterling

I don’t talk a lot about sports ’cause I really don’t know what I’m talking about. I do, however, know my TMZ. Over the past week, TMZ acquired recorded phone conversations between LA Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his alleged girlfriend. In those conversations, he told her that he didn’t know why she broadcasts the fact that she hangs around with black people. This was the result of her posting a picture of herself on Instagram with Magic Johnson (btw, follow me on Instagram! @williambrucewest). This resulted in a lifetime ban by the NBA, as well as a $2.5M fine. I guess they needed to make an example of him to show that those sorts of attitudes won’t be tolerated. It’s an interesting contrast to the Marge Schott situation. Schott owned the Cincinnati Reds back when I was still collecting baseball cards (Upper Deck had cool holograms!), and she was known for saying “nigger” left and right. She was only banned for 2 seasons. It wasn’t until she said that Hitler was a good leader that things started to go downhill for her. Facing a third suspension and failing health, she sold her majority stake in the team. At the moment, Sterling insists he won’t sell, while the NBA says they’ll do everything in their power to force a sale. So, comparing the two events, it makes me wonder if Major League Baseball didn’t do enough to Schott, or if the NBA went too far with Sterling. A lot of energy went towards getting him ousted this week, and it worked. It’s dangerous to have people with those views in positions of power. That said, this is only one rich racist. They’re like hydra, and I’m not sure this really makes a dent in the problem. If anything, it’ll just make those people more careful with whom they share their views, but it won’t stop them from having the views. I find the whole thing fascinating, but I’m not sure if I’m satisfied.

Links I Loved

The Secret History Of Britney Spears’ Lost Album – Buzzfeed

33 Amazingly Useful Websites You Never Knew Existed – Buzzfeed

The 10 Worst Slime Toys – The Robot’s Pajamas

Power Ranking the Plentiful Pop Culture Acronyms of the 80s – UnderScoopFire!

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This has quickly turned into Will’s Black Person of the Week. I swear that wasn’t the original intent, but blacks folks be blowin’ up! I may not know who dude is, but I’m not alone. That said, everyone will know who he is for a LONG, LONG time once Star Wars Episode VII comes out. Unless, of course, he ends up like Jake Lloyd. Still, his name was on everyone’s lips this week, and he’s helping a galaxy far, far away to become more diverse. Sure, there are folks who might ask “Wasn’t Mace Windu enough?” or “Where’s the female diversity?”, but I’ve got nothing to really say about that. After all, I’m a Trekker at heart, so it’s amazing I’m even going all out for a Star Wars casting announcement. Yet, here we are. So, for being the guy most likely to have his TIE Fighter pulled over by the space cops, John Boyega is having the West Week Ever.

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