21st Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/21/14

by Will

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I know I was supposed to write about my Walt Disney World thoughts at some point, but I just didn’t get around to it. Maybe next week? Hell, let’s just do it now.

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I went to Orlando for training on the student information system we use at work. On the second night of the event, we were given passes to go to the Disney park of our choice. Since I’d never been before, I decided to go with the Magic Kingdom. Let me just say that I didn’t know how magical it would be, right down to the entrance gate. The “tickets” are actually more like gift cards, and then they fingerprint you with some kind of bioscanner as you walk through. I thought I was going to an amusement park, not hacking into NORAD! You enter right onto Main Street, and the afternoon parade was in full swing.

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My friend, Mary, and I decided to hit Space Mountain first, since it was one of the four things I simply had to experience (the other three being Pirates of the Caribbean, It’s a Small World, and The Haunted Mansion).

-Space Mountain would’ve been more exciting had it not been for the 2-hour wait. 2 hours for a 3 minute ride?! No, thank you! I didn’t realize that this was my first rollercoaster ride since getting my latest pair of glasses, so I spent most of the ride trying to keep them from flying off my face. It was kinda cool, however, that they had games stationed throughout the line to give you something to do while you wait. Luckily, I did Space Mountain first, so it kinda tempered my expectations for the rest of the park.

-They really need to update Tomorrowland, as the music they played sounded like the St. Elsewhere theme.

After the arduous wait for Space Mountain, I was scared that all of the lines would be like that. We had arrived at the park at around 6, and we would only have until 12:30 before the bus went back to the hotel. Seeing as how I’d wasted 1/3 of my time waiting for ONE ride, it wasn’t looking good for the home team! Mary thought that It’s a Small World would be clear around dinner time, so that’s where we went next.

2014-03-11 20.29.05She was right, as the wait for It’s a Small World was only 10 minutes. Sure, it may not be the most exciting ride, but it’s still interesting. People say that the song gets into your head and doesn’t get out, but I didn’t seem to have that problem. Ha! I’m immune! Oh no…as I type this, it’s creeping into my brain! “It’s a small world after all…”

After traveling the world, so to speak, we decided to head toward The Haunted Mansion. Let’s just say I was disappointed, but it wasn’t really the fault of the ride. You see, when I thought about The Haunted Mansion, I was really thinking of The Tower of Terror. I didn’t realize they were two different things. So, I went in totally expecting the wrong thing. I kept expecting the drop, but instead I just toured around, looking at holographic ghosts. It’s not a bad attraction, but it just wasn’t what I expected.

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After The Haunted Mansion, we decided to check out Pirates of the Caribbean but we got blocked by the night parade. We kept trying to navigate around it, but kept running into it. Finally, we were able to cross at a point, and get across to Adventureland for Pirates of the Caribbean. If ya ask me, this ride is just the pirate version of The Haunted Mansion. I have no idea how they made movies based on this ride, as I didn’t know what the Hell was going on. It’s just lots of yelling and pirate songs. Keep in mind, I’ve never seen any of the movies, so maybe that’s what they’re like, as well.

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One thing that really bothered me was that there were no characters walking around. In any medium, when you see Disney World, you see folks getting their pictures taken with people in costumes. Maybe they were getting ready for the parades, but I never saw anyone in a character costume who wasn’t on a float. I wanted my picture taken with Goofy, but I guess it wasn’t to be :-(

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The entire time at the park, I REALLY wanted a hot dog. I don’t typically crave them, but there was something about cow lips and other assorted parts that sounded tantalizing to me. Do you know how hard it is to find a hot dog at Disney after a certain time of day? I mean, it wasn’t late night yet, but I couldn’t find one anywhere. There were turkey legs, popcorn carts, and cinnamon-covered almond stands, but no hot dogs. And the parade kept thwarting my efforts. Finally, we made our way to Casey’s on Main Street, which sold nothing but hot dogs. Salvation!

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Since I didn’t get to see Goofy, I had to settle for stopping into his candy store in downtown Disney.

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Couldn’t hit downtown Disney without going to the LEGO Store!

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Another weird thing about Disney is that there’s no gum to be had anywhere on the property. Mary tried to get gum at the airport, and was told that Orlando is essentially gum-free. I guess that helps them keep the place clean, but it’s so odd that gum is something they’d outlaw.

Anyway, what did I think of the Magic Kingdom overall? I had fun, but I think I’m too old for Disney World. I really needed to experience it at a younger age in order to feel the “magic” about the place. I think the perfect age to take kids would be when they’re under 7, so they can ride things like the teacups, but they aren’t old enough for the rides that are eligible for a FastPass. I know there are adults who go to Disney on their own, and I just don’t get that. The crowds, the activity, the noise – I’d only want to endure that for the sake of children. So, I had fun, but I think I’ll have more fun one day with my heirs. Yup, that’s what I’m calling them for now.

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I don’t watch Dancing with the Stars, but I found something interesting about this season’s cast. You see, DJ Tanner (Candace Cameron Bure) and Winnie Cooper (Danica McKeller) are contestants on the show, but it also seems they have some history together. Apparently, Candace used to date Jeremy Miller from Growing Pains – who proceeded to dump her for Danica. Cold! Anyway, Danica didn’t know she had broken up the relationship until the two spoke at dance practice, all these years later. I wonder if Jeremy’s fiancee knows that story…

Jem

Apparently, there’s a Jem movie in the works. If there isn’t a role in it for Lady Gaga, it’s dead on arrival. Honestly, I’m not sure why anyone is taking this seriously. John Chu is attached to direct, but he was also gonna do the Masters of the Universe reboot, but dropped out of that project. I think he just likes being linked to 80s properties, but I’ll believe this when I see it.

Peanuts

Peanuts does as little for me as The Muppets, but I know some of you are fans. I’m curious to see how this whole 3-D style turns out for it. I actually really like the new look, so maybe this is just what I needed to finally be interested in this property.

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Cory’s parents and Shawn Hunter are gonna be on a holiday episode of Girl Meets World! Can this show just air already?

Walking Dead

Speaking of TV, if you like your zombie shows edited, you’re in luck. MyNetworkTV just picked up the rights to broadcast edited episodes of The Walking Dead next fall. Since they’re edited for “broadcast standards”, look for a lot of the gore to be taken out. I’m curious to see how “The Neutered Dead” does in syndication. I don’t watch the show, but I can’t wait for some mom in flyover country to lose her shit when she stumbles across it one Saturday evening.

NBC renewed Parks & Recreation this week, while the jury’s still out on Community. It’s kinda sad it wasn’t the other way around, as Parks & Rec has done a pretty good job of wrapping things up this season. To watch it, it felt like a show that knew it was on the way out. I don’t know what they’re gonna do with what’s essentially a “bonus” season for them. Law & Order: SVU also wasn’t on the renewal list, but it’s probably due to contract negotiations. I mean, NBC wouldn’t kill off SVU so soon after getting rid of the main show…would they? Hell, who knows what NBC execs are thinking anymore?

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ABC continued killing any momentum Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. might have gained by essentially airing a 1-hr DVD featurette where Marvel patted itself on the back for creating a cohesive cinematic universe. It was an interesting special, and it was nice to look back and see how it all came together. Still, I think it would’ve been more fitting on the Captain America: The Winter Soldier Blu-Ray instead of using valuable airtime.

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of joining my pal James (@SnoopyJenkins) and David Walker for a chat on race in comics and comic media. You can check out part one here:

Links I Loved
Meet Ryan Tedder, the Secret King of Pop Who Doesn’t Look at Royalty Checks – Billboard

LoeB Post: “Why Did I Buy That?!” – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

18 Reasons You Should Be Watching ‘The Goldbergs’ on ABC – UnderScoopFire!

Star Trek Problems: He Deserves It – The Robot’s Pajamas

The 10 Worst Movies Ever (According to Battle Armor Joe) – UnderScoopFire!

They can’t all be winners, and this week proves it. No one had the West Week Ever. Hell, there weren’t even finalists. Ultimately, The Muppets will probably end the week on a positive note, as Muppets Most Wanted is released today, and I know how y’all love your Muppets. Still, the movie’s not out yet, and it might (though chances are slim) bomb. So, nobody gets the WWE honor this week. Maybe things will be more exciting next week. Maybe they’ll even find that plane!

07th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/7/14

by Will

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IFC's Maron

So, this week I’ve been watching Maron on Netflix. If you’re not familiar, it stars comedian Marc Maron and it’s basically the same formula as Louie. The difference, however, is I find I relate to Maron more than Louis CK. I’ve never listened to Maron’s podcast, but I’ve heard a bunch of his bits and I find him really witty. He also has this self-loathing streak that’s kind of brave for him to be putting out there in public. So, I guess Maron has a vulnerability that I don’t see in Louis. It’s interesting they both ended up with the same kind of show, seeing as how they’re contemporaries and also had a longstanding rivalry. I’m sure it’d be easy to just write off Maron as a rip-off of Louie, but I think there’s more heart to it.

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I never thought I’d have to do this, but I may have to strip a prior winner of West Week Ever status. If you remember, last year I bestowed the honor upon iCarly‘s Jennette McCurddy and Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons. It seemed like a cute internet love story, as he had posted her as his “Woman Crush Wednesday” choice on Twitter, and they eventually ended up dating. Well, they didn’t live happily ever after, as McCurddy explained on Pete Holmes’s You Made It Weird podcast. She admitted that she only dated Drummond for the publicity and said that he was a bad kisser. Listening to the podcast, she doesn’t really come off as malicious, but she still aired their business in public. Drummond, seemingly, retaliated by “leaking” a racy photo that she’d sent him. He’s denying having anything to do with the leak, but she’s pretty certain that he’s the one who did it. Who knew that a celebrity relationship would end like this?!

arkham knight

This week, it was announced that Batman would be returning to next-gen consoles in Batman: Arkham Knight. I own Arkham Asylum and Arkham City, but still haven’t gotten Arkham Origins. I won’t be following Bats into this latest game, however, as it’s not going to be released on the 360, and I’m not planning on ever getting a PS4 or an XBone. Sucks, ’cause I’d really like to drive the Batmobile, as you’ll be able to do in this installment. Oh well, I’m sure I’m sure I know someone who’ll end up buying it and I can just play theirs.

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I swear I never set out to talk about Arsenio every week, but he keeps giving me material. I’m not sure if this has happened in other markets, but I noticed that our CW affiliate kinda cut some of his support once the second season was announced. You see, they had created a sort of “black bubble” to boost his viewership. When the show launched, its lead-in was syndicated episodes of The Middle. Someone at Channel 50 realized it had nothing in common with Arsenio’s target demographic, so in January, they started airing Judge Mathis at 10 . It was weird to see court shows that late at night, but I eventually got used to it. To ease folks out of Arsenio, they aired Cosby Show reruns after his show. This created said black bubble, as the shows were aimed at black viewers. Well, the bubble burst this week, as they took off Judge Mathis and now air Seinfeld in the 10 PM slot. I’m not sure what they’re trying to accomplish, as the Seinfeld audience isn’t the Arsenio audience any more than The Middle‘s audience was. They had created a nice little nest for Arsenio and now they’ve gotten rid of it (though the Cosby episodes are still the lead out). I wonder what the grand plan is for that 10 PM slot.

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Speaking of odd programming choices, it was announced this week that Conan O’Brien will be hosting the MTV Movie Awards. This is most certainly a step down for someone who once hosted The Tonight Show. These aren’t even the fabled Video Music Awards that we’re talking about here – these are the MOVIE awards. Sure, Conan has always wanted to be hip, but the MTV crowd ain’t his audience. And it’s not like it was a contractual obligation from the network, as his show is produced by Turner while MTV is a Viacom network. Like the Arsenio scheduling, I wonder what the endgame is here.

upload

I stumbled across Upload with Shaquille O’Neal on Tru TV. Funny enough, everything on Tru TV is blatantly fake, but I gave it a chance because of Shaq’s cohosts – comedians Godfrey and Rachel Feinstein. I love both of them for different reasons, but it was painful to see them in this show. What is Upload? Basically, it’s Tosh.0 hosted by Shaq. And it’s even worse than it sounds. Since Shaq’s a lummox, Godfrey and Rachel are there to do the heavy comedic lifting, but they’re not given much to work with. Anyway, avoid this show at all costs!

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Speaking of bad television, last week Jim Parsons hosted what may be the worst episode of Saturday Night Live that I’ve ever seen. It wasn’t just unfunny, but it was weird in an uncomfortable way. He kicked off the show with a song and dance number about how he’s “not that guy” that he plays on The Big Bang Theory. Then, he spent the next 90 minutes essentially being that guy. So, I think he failed on that goal. I can’t say that I’m expecting better with this week’s host, Lena Dunham.

Anyone who’s ever been to this site knows that I eat this kinda stuff up:

I probably would’ve liked it more had he spliced in some PR footage for the visuals. It’s kinda weird watching him as he belts all those songs (especially when he kinda Britta’d some of them). Still, it’s pretty impressive.

Links I Loved
Thundercats LIVE! Was The Stuff of Nightmares – Double Dumbass On You

15 Things You Might Not Know About Star Wars – UnderScoopFire!

Jackie Robinson and the Mythic Black Superhero – Snoopy Jenkins

One’s career seems to be on the decline, while another seems to be on the way up. One seems like a moron, while the other is more of a Maron. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Who had a week like Lupita Nyong’o? Sure, Adele Dazeem jokes aside, everyone was talking about Lupita’s award-winning performance in her first role. Now everyone’s speculating on what she’ll do next. Well, history and Oscar haven’t been kind to my people. Cuba went from Jerry Maguire to Boat Trip. Halle ended up doing The Call – from WWE Films, mind you. Octavia did a guest stint on CBS’s Mom. While an Oscar usually means the sky is the limit, for a black actor it usually means the limit is the sky.  I haven’t seen 12 Years A Slave yet, but I hear it’s powerful. So, enjoy your week, Lupita, ’cause it’s only a matter of time before you’re cast in A Haunted House 3 with the Wayans Bros. For now, however, let’s enjoy Lupita’s win by crowning her as having had the West Week Ever.

21st Feb2014

West Week Ever – 2/21/14

by Will

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Welcome to our new look, thanks to @reappropriate! It’s still a work in progress, so bear with us during our construction.

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First up, let’s do our standard What Will Watched This Week. I Redboxed The Wolverine, and I’m surprised to say that I really liked it. When it comes to the comics, I HATE Wolverine In Japan stories. I loathe them. He suddenly changes from scruffy loner into a samurai, and it always seemed at odds with his other characterization. I mean, how do you have a code of honor AND a berserker rage? Anyway, the best part about this movie is that he had been to Japan in the past, but upon returning, there’s none of the noble samurai stuff. He doesn’t know the language, the customs, any of it. This way, he struggles to adjust along with the audience. I did find it odd that the movie had no opening credits whatsoever. You don’t see that in too many movies these days. Speaking of credits, the post-credits scene really has me intrigued for X-Men: Days of Future Past, so there’s that.

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Next up, I watched In A World…, which was written, directed by, and starred Lake Bell. Howie Decker (of UnderScoopFire!) and I have discussed how Lake Bell is an anomaly, as she can be beautiful, but she can also look like a refugee off the cover of National Geographic. Well, in this movie, she was at her refugee-est, as the slacker daughter of a famous voice-over star. Since the death of famed movie trailer announcing god Don LaFontaine, the hunt was on to see who would bring back his famous “In a world…” intro. Bell’s father is up for the job, as well as newcomer Gustav Warner. Through a crazy chain of events, Bell’s character is also in the running, and the race is on to see who will say “In a world…” for future epics. It was a cute little comedy, with a great cast. Along with Bell, there’s Rob Corddry, Dimitri Martin, Nick Offerman, and Ken Marino. I definitely recommend this movie.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy

So, let’s start off with the fun stuff from the week. The Guardians of the Galaxy trailer came out, and it was pretty entertaining. It’ll be interesting to see how this movie does, however. It’s kinda jarring that Marvel Studios did a great job at grounding their movies in “reality”, and then all of a sudden, SPACE! I mean, do you understand that Peter Quill is a HUMAN in SPACE?! That’s a pretty big leap from what they’ve been doing. Sure, they fought aliens in The Avengers, but that was still as “grounded” an invasion as they could do. Guardians of the Galaxy, however, changes the scope of everything. Anyway, I’m not sure if it’s gonna break any records, but it should be a fun movie. And yes, Marvel got a talking raccoon in a movie before DC got a Wonder Woman movie off the ground. I’m so frickin’ sick of hearing about how Wonder Woman doesn’t have a movie…

legendary morpherSomething else that grinds my gears: adult Power Rangers fans pissed off about toys. Last week, I mentioned how Power Rangers Super Megaforce was premiering, in which the Rangers could call upon any of the Ranger powers from the past 20 years. Well, they do this via the Legendary Morpher, and since the show is pretty much a giant toy commercial, there’s a toy of said morpher. Each ranger has a key, which is used to unlock the powers. Bandai America produced the keys, which are sold in packs of 3, yet seem to omit most of the female rangers. Now, AFOPRs (Adult Fans of Power Rangers – let’s see if that catches on) are upset that the females are being omitted, ranting “Girls watch Power Rangers, too!” Yes, they do, but Power Rangers is a BOYS toy line. It was conceived as such, it has won awards as such, and that, as Stone Cold Steve Austin would say, is the bottom line. Sure, girls watch Power Rangers, but I’m sure some boys play with Barbies. Are they, however, clamoring for Ken’s Dream House? No, because the line was *primarily* meant for girls. AFOPRs seem to think that the omission of the female keys flies in the face of the Power Rangers message of empowerment and inclusion. I don’t think it does any such thing. I just think Bandai knew that they weren’t going to make much money slinging pink keys. Sure, there are some seasons, like Time Force, where Pink was pretty important, but I’m not gonna lose sleep over the fact that some 13 year old show isn’t getting its due in a 2014 toy line. As I said last week, the kids watching Super Megaforce are probably too young to know most of the teams that will be showcased, and the Super Megaforce powers aren’t gender specific, as we saw last week when everyone transformed into a different Red Ranger – including the girls, transforming into Rangers who’d previously been male. I’ve often said that if you’re old enough to bitch online about the decisions made on a children’s show, it’s not for you. I may come off as a hypocrite, but I’m bitching about the fans and not the product. The kids will like it just fine, and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters.

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Yesterday, the Fantastic Four reboot cast was announced, and everyone lost their shit. Still, despite all of the changes that are apparently on the horizon, folks are still upset about Michael B. Jordan cast as Johnny Storm. I wrote about this a few months back, and my feelings haven’t changed. Comics change important details ALL THE TIME, so I’m not quite sure how changing his race hurts the character of Johnny Storm. Does it help the character? Who really knows? That remains to be seen. People say that it’s just change for the sake of change, but I have no real problem with that. I’ve never really liked the Fantastic Four, but these changes have me intrigued. Isn’t that the point? To get people in the seats? On the race matter, folks say things like, “Well, you’d never make a black character white.” Well, no. First of all, there aren’t too many, so you’d be dipping into a very shallow pool as it is. Second of all, you don’t WANT our heroes. Seriously, why would you want a black guy with falcon wings when you’ve got friggin’ Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, etc. White people already have all the powerful heroes, so why waste their time on “reacquiring” an ex-con with bulletproof skin? It just doesn’t make any sense. Still, folks say, “You’d never see a white Shaft.” OK, I’d totally watch a white Shaft, but it’s already been done and it was called Banacek. Never heard of it? See if you get Cozi TV on one of your digital channels, and tune in around 8 one night.

Miles-Teller

As for the Fantastic Four cast, I have problems with everyone except Jordan. Miles Teller as Reed Richards? I hate his face. I’ve hated him ever since 21 & Over. I said it on Twitter, but Miles Teller has the face of the Class Asshole. Not the Class Clown. Sure, he does stuff for laughs, but he’s mainly a dick. I simply dislike the cut of his jib. I don’t know much about Kate Mara, as I’m the only person in DC who hasn’t watched House of Cards yet. According to IMDB, I’ve never seen anything with Jamie Bell, though that’ll probably change once I get my hands on a copy of Nymphomaniac. It might be good and it might suck. We won’t know until the movie’s out. It seems folks have already decided it won’t be good because it’s not from Marvel Studious, but maybe Fox can turn things around. Based on the ages of the actors, it seems like they’re going the Ultimate Fantastic Four route – taking a page from the Marvel Studios playbook, so that makes me happy. Maybe all of this change will be for the best. And for those not willing to see the movie due to personal beliefs or whatever, I know you’ll still see it. You’re the same folks who claimed Michael Bay “raped” your childhood until DINOBOTS!

I got the attention of the Toy Hunter on Twitter the other night. He was buying some original Star Wars action figures, and the math didn’t seem to add up to me. So, the following took place:

Toy Hunter Tweets

When I first read the “love your tweets”, a part of me got all squishy. “Jordan knows about my tweets?” Then, I realized he just meant he loved the tweets regarding the show. ‘Cause I hashtagged them. Stupid Will. Anyway, it was one of my better celebrity exchanges online.

Speaking of toys, I went to New York Toy Fair last weekend, but that’ll get its own post. For now, I just wanna say it was great meeting @MattGuzy, @T16skyhopp, @Preternia_, and @Tekcorps!

Links I Loved
5 Things You Should Never Say to an Adult Toy Collector – UnderScoopFire!

T-T-T-Toy Fair Roundup 2014! – The Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

Cereal Prize! – AEIOU and Sometimes Why

Nutbusters XXX: A Review of a Ghostbusters Remake (NSFW) – The Robot’s Pajamas

In Which I Seek My Father – The Nerds of Color

In Case You Missed It This Week
Comical Thoughts – 2/19/14

One’s getting used to new claws, while another thinks everything is awesome in space. One’s got a smug mug, while the other’s got a problem with pink. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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Nobody had a week like Chris Pratt. The LEGO Movie is still ruling the box office, while the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy made its debut this week. People were clamoring so much for that trailer that they were eating up 15-second teasers of the thing. Pratt seems poised to become the big screen star that Taylor Kitsch couldn’t. They both have similar career origins (Kitsch on Friday Night Lights and Pratt on Everwood), but Pratt seems to be the real deal. If he keeps this up, one day we may eventually ask each other, “Remember when Chris Pratt was on that TV show?” That’s the same thing folks say about Clooney now. That’s a good thing. Anyway, for his rising star in Hollywood, Chris Pratt had the West Week Ever.

31st Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/31/14

by Will

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So, I guess you could say that I’m still on a comedy kick. To be more precise, I’m on a Mike Birbiglia kick. It all started last Friday, as I was listening to the Comedy Central Drive Home, and they were playing Mike’s special Sleepwalk With Me Live. It was really good, and I actually related to him at a few parts. Well, I had to go into Walmart and ended up missing a good chunk of the show. When I got home, I found Sleepwalk With Me on Netflix. It turns out that wasn’t the same special. No, it was actually a movie version of the special, where names had been changed, etc, etc. It mainly focuses on the rise and fall of Mike’s relationship with his college sweetheart, Abby. Still, I ended up watching it and really enjoyed it. Since I wasn’t sleepy yet, I decided to watch his most recent special, My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, where Mike talks about how he doesn’t believe in marriage and thinks it’s a chaotic, antiquated concept. The special ends, however, *SPOILER ALERT* with him telling us that he had, in fact gotten married. Though he doesn’t believe in marriage, he’s still giving it a try and taking it one day at a time. I really enjoy Birbiglia’s work because he’s very relateable and a great storyteller. I wasn’t as much of a fan of My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, but I highly recommend Sleepwalk With Me.

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So, I’m still watching Portlandia. In fact, it got really good. I’m used to the characters now, and I actually have favorites. There’s a hilarious episode revolving around Battlestar Galactica, where we see our first black Portlanders (“I want these white people outta my kitchen!”). I’m in the second season now, and it took me that long to realize that Armisen is supposed to be a woman in the women’s bookstore series. I mean, it’s a women’s bookstore! Still, I just thought he was an effeminate man. My bad. My least favorite skits involve the Mayor, as the show turns into some kinda campy, kid’s public television show whenever he’s around. Plus, I’ve got questions. Do Fred and Carrie share a house in Portland? Are they just roommates? Do they actually live in Portland, or is it a place to which they escape for its quirkiness? Why don’t they seem to have jobs? I mean, we know what Fred does, but what does Carrie do for money? SO many questions! Anyway, I’m powering through to the end, so this won’t be the last Portlandia report from me.

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Yay, my favorite interracial TV family is back! There’s a new Cheerios commercial airing during the Super Bowl Sunday, but since we live in the future, everything gets leaked before its time. Here’s the commercial:

They’re having a baby! I love that little girl so much. I hope my little halfy daughter is just like her one day.

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My new favorite website is Used To Be a Pizza Hut, and the name is pretty self explanatory. Readers submit pictures of establishments that clearly used to be Pizza Hut restaurants. It’s a great way to kill time, and I plan to submit a few myself pretty soon.

Here’s a pretty cool version of the Mega Man 2 theme:

Look at this! It’s called a Quokka. I got this from my Twitter pal @shankjackbel. I must own one of these!

Quokka

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Ya know who had a great week? Ryan Lewis. “Who’s Ryan Lewis,” you ask? That’s just why he had a great week: his anonymity. Ryan Lewis is the other half of rap duo Macklemore & Ryan Lewis. As the group’s producer, Lewis is a bit of a silent partner, while Macklemore’s flamboyance tends to steal the spotlight. The duo cleaned up Sunday night at the Grammys, winning Best New Artist, Best Rap Song, Best Rap Album, and Best Rap Performance. A lot of people felt that three of those categories should have gone to black artists, and it started the discussion of white appropriation of rap music. What was a great night for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis turned into a bad week, as everyone started questioning whether or not the duo was worthy of the awards that they won. Hip hop heads mentioned several acts that never won a Grammy, but should have, including the Wu-Tang Clan. It’s said that Macklemore himself tweeted an apology to his fellow nominee Kendrick Lamar after beating him. Then the debate turned to whether or not Macklemore had anything to apologize for. Anyway, while all this was going on, Ryan Lewis was having his cake and eating it too. He had all the same awards, but none of the spotlight. I’m sure it sucked when Macklemore got all the good publicity, but I’m sure Lewis is reveling in his background status at the moment. All eyes are on Macklemore and the debate rages on, but Ryan’s name rarely comes up. That’s why Ryan Lewis had the West Week Ever.

17th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/17/14

by Will

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I didn’t watch anything on Netflix this week, but I used the time to catch up on some TV. First up, I watched Enlisted on Fox. Someone on Twitter said that it’s basically Stripes: The TV Series, and they weren’t wrong. It focuses on a war hero who, due to insubordination, gets bumped down to a Rear Detachment unit back home with his two brothers. He’s dying to get back to combat, and his Rear D unit is made up of a bunch of underachievers. By the end of the episode, however, he learns that Rear D is a valuable unit, as they take care of the families of the soldiers who’ve been deployed. The show was really funny and has a lot of heart. I’d expect big things if Fox had put it on Tuesday with the rest of their comedies. Instead, it’s being burned off on Friday nights with Raising Hope. The numbers weren’t too good for the premiere, but Fox execs say they’re committed to it for its initial 13-episode run. You should definitely add it to your DVR.

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I caught the 2-episode season premiere of Girls, and I still can’t figure out how I feel about the show. I don’t have HBO, but luckily they put the episodes on their official YouTube channel. I thought this meant that certain things would be censored. After all, when I watched the free preview of the House of Lies pilot, there were black bars over all the naughty bits. I was wrong to think that was going to happen here. Despite YouTube’s content rules, nothing about the Girls episodes was changed. We still saw Lena Dunham’s sad little boobies, and we also saw Jessa go down on another girl – all on free, non-age verified YouTube. I was kinda impressed by the balls on that decision. Anyway, the titular girls are still deplorable, and Adam’s even weirder than before. Nice cameo by Amy Schumer, but that didn’t really help the need for diversity on that show. Shoshanna’s still my favorite character, though this article points out that she seems to have no real motivation for being there.

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How I Met Your Mother‘s writers must’ve just said “Fuck it. It’s the last season.” No, I’m not talking about the quality of the writing, but I’m referring to the fact that this week’s episode was full-on yellowface. If you’re familiar with the show, then you probably know about the Slap Bet – Marshall won a bet with Barney and won the opportunity to slap Barney, as hard as he could, over the course of what became 8 slaps. In the continuity of the show, there’s always been some build-up to the slaps, and they tend to happen on “Slapsgiving”. Well, this season, in “Slapsgiving 3: Slappointment in Slapmarra”, the writers went full retard and told a tale of Marshall traveling to Shanghai to learn the Slap of A Million Exploding Suns. Yes, every chop socky Asian trope is displayed in the episode, and it even includes Ted looking like this:

slapsgivingThe creators have, since, apologized, but it’s a sour note for the show to go out on. After all, the series finale is in March, and this isn’t the kind of legacy that it should leave behind. I tend not to take things too seriously, but even I was watching the episode like, “Oh, shit. They’re really doing this?”

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It was announced on Wednesday that the 1966 Batman TV show would finally be released on DVD. This is a big deal because the rights have been tied up forever, as Warner Bros owns Batman, yet Fox owned the show. That said, I still feel like this was the worst-kept secret in Hollywood, as it was pretty obvious this was going to happen due to the onslaught of Batman ’66 merchandising over the past year. We’ve gotten everything from comics to action figures to Barbie dolls. There was no reason to be pimping an almost 50 yr old show if the DVD thing wasn’t happening. Still, as excited as people seem to be about the DVDs, I don’t really get it. I mean, if you really wanted them, you have them already. I bought my complete series for $40 at a comic show. Sure, it’s bootleg, but the quality’s just fine. I know that I’m not alone, so I feel that the extras are really going to make or break this set. There are folks lining up already, saying “Take my money”, but I’m gonna need to learn more about this before I get too excited.

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From here on out, I will be referring to the star of 12 Years A Slave as “Chitlin Ejector”. I can’t pronounce his real name, and I feel his new name is urban, yet futuristic.

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I had a bit of a milestone this week, as I got the most hits I’ve ever had in the history of the site. No, it wasn’t West Week Ever that did it. It turns out that a 10-year old post of mine was linked by NPR’s Code Switch blog. If you’ve never gone that far back in my archives (or you just don’t feel like clicking that link), I posted a quote from John Byrne’s message board where he gave his opinion of Jessica Alba being cast as Sue Storm. And he also said that he thinks Latinas with blonde hair look like hookers. Since his message board archive doesn’t go back that far, it seems like my snapshot of the conversation is one of the last remaining pieces of evidence that it ever existed. Anyway, the Code Switch blog was discussing race and identity in comics (you should totally read it!), and that link drove my traffic through the roof. I’m still feeling the residual effects of it, so welcome, new readers, if this is your first taste of West Week Ever.

When I wrote West Year Ever, I omitted another event that took place in 2013: my good friends James and Jenn came to visit. Jenn helped create this site, while you can see James in the Wonder Woman video clip I’ve been posting. Anyway, I didn’t have a pic of their visit, so they got no mention. Still, you can follow them on twitter: @snoopyjenkins (James) and @reappropriate (Jenn).

In Case You Missed It This Week

Track Star: Mr. Mister Vs. Boy Meets Girl

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On Monday, it was announced that Michael Douglas will be playing Hank Pym in Marvel’s Ant-Man movie. This is a pretty big deal for two reasons. First of all, the tabloids had Douglas on deathwatch just a year ago, so it’s great that he’s not only still with us, but ready to tackle such a meaty role. It’s also important because it means that Paul Rudd will actually be portraying the second Ant-Man, Scott Lang. This bit of casting made the Ant-Man movie plans that much clearer, and it’s gotten folks excited for the movie in a way that they hadn’t been prior to the announcement. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been pretty “meh” since the introduction of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but this was just the shot in the arm that the franchise needed. For this reason, Michael Douglas had the West Week Ever.

15th Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/15/13

by Will

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I saw Thor: The Dark World over the weekend, and I was pleasantly surprised. That said, I never really go into a Thor movie expecting much, as he’s never been my favorite corner of the Marvel Universe. The movie’s not without its problems, though, and it’s probably best to just not think too hard about the whole thing. I’ve heard some people say that it’s now ranked as one of their favorite Marvel movies, but I don’t see where they’re coming from at all. Sure, it’s got some great character moments, but I, personally, rank it alongside The Incredible Hulk. That was a serviceable, yet underrated, movie that told a full story without doing much to further the overall push toward something greater (The Avengers film, in the case of The Incredible Hulk). I don’t feel that the Marvel Cinematic Universe is any richer for having Thor 2 in it, but I felt the same about the first Thor, which felt like it existed solely to get Loki into position for The Avengers. It was a fun movie, but it’s nothing special. Not great, but good. It also helped to wash the taste of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. out of my mouth. I enjoyed it, and if you just focus on Kat Dennings, you can pretend it’s a very special episode of 2 Broke Girls.

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I also watched Aziz Ansari’s latest Netflix special, Buried Alive. Aziz hit 30 and his material matured along with him. To me, that’s unfortunate, as I miss the old stuff about his fat cousin and Kanye. Instead, he’s become something of a relationship guru. The special is mainly about how most of his friends are getting married and having babies, and how crazy he finds the whole thing. It’s a smart special, but it’s not especially funny. I think I laughed once, which is odd when it comes to me and Aziz. I was really hoping for more, but this just didn’t land for me.

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While we’re talking about disappointing releases, Lady Gaga’s third studio album, Artpop, was released this week. I thought about doing a track-by-track review of it, like I did for Born This Way, but I know my audience by now; y’all don’t wanna read that shit. Still, I’d have probably done it if the album had been GOOD. It is not. I’ve probably listened to it 10 times by now trying to find a glimmer of something there, but it’s just so lackluster. I predicted this when “Applause” was released, but the Little Monsters tried to tell me that it was all part of something bigger that we’d have to wait and see. Well, now the whole album is out, and there’s nothing bigger to speak of. In fact, “Applause” is the closing track, which is odd because, well, who releases the final track as the debut single?

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Something big happened with Doctor Who this week, but when I tried to read about it, it felt like I was reading fucking Chinese. Seriously, how can a show about a fop in a phonebooth with a future dildo be so damn convoluted? I studied 90s X-Men! I can handle a complicated plotline, but that franchise just doesn’t seem to translate well to written descriptions. Maybe I’ll give it a shot one day. Maybe not. And yes, I realize it’s a “police box” and a “sonic screwdriver”, but you know I’m still right. Why couldn’t it be a show about a really smart owl, like the title implies?

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Last week, I wrote about the Muslim Ms. Marvel, and linked to the Nerds of Color roundtable post that featured some of my thoughts. Well, it seems that article was picked up by Racialicious, and I even got name-checked in their post. I thought about commenting, but no one has personally attacked me yet, so I’ll just hang out in the rafters until something juicy happens over there. It’s cute when minority communities get excited about something in comics, ’cause they have no clue that Marvel and/or DC will just find a way to fuck it up for everyone involved.

 

Links I Loved

Man Smoking E-Cigarette Must Be Futuristic Bounty Hunter – The Onion

The 16 Most Delightfully 80s Things in ‘Ghostbusters’ – UnderScoopFire!

The Top 10 Schwarzenegger Character Names – The Robot’s Pajamas

This Week’s Post

Thrift Justice – Fleas and Thank You, Xuxa

One fought dark elves, while the other is a dark elf. One sounds like an overeducated owl, while the other kinda looks like one. Only one of them, however, had the West Week Ever.

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From left field, it’s none of the above!!!!

I really enjoyed something this week, but I was afraid to give it the West Week Ever because I don’t trust the network. My latest man crush is Pitch Perfect/21 & Over‘s Skylar Astin, and he stars in TBS’ new comedy, Ground Floor. Think of it as a modern day Dharma & Greg, as Astin plays Brody, a workaholic money manager who has a one night stand with Jenny, one of the girls who works on the ground floor of the building. Since there’s a class difference between floors, the whole gist of the series is that they come from different worlds, but try to make it work. It’s from Bill Lawrence, who created Scrubs and Cougar Town, so there are lots of familiar faces. The cast is great, especially Rory Scovel who steals every scene he’s in. I also applaud the casting of Cougar Town‘s Briga Heelan as Jenny, who’s beautiful but not a waif. It also doesn’t hurt that Pitch Perfect‘s Alexis Knapp is in the cast, playing a similar role to her PP character. I tend to hate romantic sitcoms, as I tire of the will they/won’t they dynamic, but I like everyone so much that I’m willing to give it a shot. I still haven’t forgiven TBS for cancelling Wedding Band, and this show has a similarly troublesome timeslot (Thursdays at 10 PM). So, we’ll see how the show performs, but it was definitely my highlight of the week. So, that’s why Ground Floor had the West Week Ever.

08th Nov2013

West Week Ever – 11/8/13

by Will

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Welcome to the one year anniversary of West Week Ever! That’s right – you’ve been with me for 51 of these things (we missed a week), and I hope you’ll stick with me for more. Well, enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get this show on the road!

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The other day, my pal James posted this article about the 33 Whitest Jobs in America. I’m gonna do this without even clicking the link: dogwalker, smoothie shop owner, veterinarian, yoga instructor, PETA recruiter, Peace Corps trainer, hedge fund dude, door to door Mormon, restaurant hostess, airline pilot, loan officer, private investigator, Republican lobbyist, college president, Hot Topic cashier, wedding photographer, television network executive, doomsday preparedness expert, Fox News anchor, pet groomer, beauty pageant coach, Ryan Seacrest, intervention specialist, professional surfer, Extreme Home Makeover-er, Superman, bartender, lifeguard, ski instructor, cupcake entrepreneur, softball coach, NBA benchwarmer, and pharmaceutical rep. Done. Who wants to click that and tell me how many I got right?

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Marvel was in the news a lot this week. First, they announced a new, Muslim Ms. Marvel. I gave my thoughts on the whole thing over here, but here’s the long and short of it: it’s tokenism that’s doomed to fail because no one gives a shit about Ms. Marvel. They could make Black Widow or any other notable female character the new Ms. Marvel and it wouldn’t matter. It’s a lame mantle to adopt. The character would be better off launched with an original concept instead of being saddled with the baggage that comes along with Ms. Marvel. Plus, the X Books have had several Muslim characters, from M to Thunderbird III to Dusk. It’s really not that big a deal in the Marvel U.

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Next up, Marvel announced a deal with Netflix to create live action series for Daredevil, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Jessica Jones. Everyone’s losing their shit about how awesome it is, but I’m not sold yet. First of all, I hate the Marvel/Disney penchant for pushing programming through channels not available to everyone. All their cartoons are on Disney XD, and now you’ll need Netflix if you want to see these. Also, the concepts seem kinda redundant to me. They said it’s part of a multi-year plan to culminate in a Defenders miniseries, but I don’t see why these four concepts can’t all be in the same show. You can’t really have Power Man and Iron Fist are a team, Jessica Jones is married to Power Man, and they’re all allies of Daredevil. Why not just create a Marvel Knights series that involves all of them? I don’t really see why you need 4 different series other than the desire to “diversify your bonds”. Anyway, the announcement knocked the wind out of DC Entertainment’s sails, as they announced an Hourman series this week. I never even saw the official announcement on that one, so that shows you how much I care.

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I finally got around to watching The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, and ya know what? I liked it. What were you all complaining about? Sure, it’s no Spider-Man, and it has nothing to do with Alan Moore’s original story, but it was still enjoyable. I’m not really sure why it drove Sean Connery into retirement.

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While we’re on movies, I got around to watching Andy Samberg’s Hot Rod, and it was HILARIOUS. It was the perfect homage to an 80s movie. In fact, with the exception of one cell phone, and a brief mention of the internet, the movie could’ve been set in pretty much any time. I know it bombed in theaters, but I thought it was great. If you’ve never seen it, Samberg’s an amateur stuntman who’s done a lot of failed stunts around town. His stepfather won’t respect Samberg until he can beat him in a fair fight. When the stepdad needs a heart transplant, Samberg vows to raise the money by jumping over 15 schoolbuses, just so he can finally kick his stepdad’s ass. Yeah, it’s just as crazy as it sounds, but it’s a lot of fun!

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Got around to The Social Network. As much of a social media whore as I am, I’m surprised I never watched it sooner. I mean, I like to brag that I got my account back when it was Ivy League only. Then they let in all the riffraff and all Hell broke loose. High schoolers?! Anyway, that movie should’ve been called “Poor Eduardo Saverin”. I’m not sure if I was swayed by the fact that he’s Spider-Man, but he really is the only likable person in that movie. Zuckerberg? Socially awkward asshole. Winklevoss Twins? Douchebags. Sean Parker? Poseur douche. Yup, Saverin’s the only one who comes out looking like a good guy, plus he made a few billion out of the whole ordeal.

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I also watched 21 & Over, which is a movie you’ve all seen before, even if this wasn’t its name. Guy’s friends surprise him to celebrate his 21st birthday the night before his med school interview. Drunken hilarity ensues. Seriously, this is the kinda movie you watch ’cause you’re guaranteed a pair of tits somewhere. You know exactly what’s gonna happen and when. Still, underneath the predictability of it, there’s a heavy-handed message about the stress of college and the hidden mental health issues of the Asian community. The message might’ve been stronger without all the drunken, dick humor, though.

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Finally, I watched Speed Racer. What a great movie! It’s like the Wachowskis said, “Ya know, Cars didn’t have enough Dick Tracy in it!” I’ll admit that I didn’t understand about 1/3 of the plot, especially all the shit with the Japanese guy. I’m left with so many questions about the Speed Racer mythos. Why does Trixie have a helicopter? In what time period is this supposed to take place? I mean, they mention a race that took place in “’49″, which was won by Richard Roundtree. I would assume the race was in 2049, but they were driving old timey, turn of the century cars. Finally, I think Matthew Fox would make a great Batman, solely by his portrayal of Racer X. I can’t wait to watch it again on a real TV (this was on a laptop)!

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In between movies, I used Netflix to catch up on one of my favorite comedies from the past two seasons: Don’t Trust The B—- In Apartment 23. I loved this show when it was on ABC, but it was scheduled against New Girl, so it didn’t really have a chance. I completely forgot that ABC burned off the rest of the season online, so there were about 8 episodes that I hadn’t seen. If you’ve never seen it, Krysten Ritter (Breaking Bad) plays Chloe AKA The Bitch, and she runs a scam where she tricks would-be roommates out of their security deposits. Enter: Dreama Walker as June, a spunky young go-getter who’s determined to stay in the apartment regardless of what Ritter throws at her. Pretty early on, the two become friends, as Ritter’s pretty much a bitch to everyone else in the world. Oh, and it stars James Van Der Beek as a hilariously exaggerated version of himself. When I first heard the premise of the show, I thought it’d make a decent movie, with Anna Faris in the June role, but I didn’t see how they’d get a whole series out of it. Somehow, however, they made it work – even if nobody tuned in.

Links I Loved

Saturday Morning Cartoon BUMPERS – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

School of Hard NOCs: Chip ‘n Dale Rescue Rangers – The Nerds of Color

Podcast #76 – ‘Harrison Ford & Moist Makers’ – UnderScoopFire!

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 No clever rhyme this time, as it’s pretty clear that Marvel had the West Week Ever. I mean, it had TWO entries this week! They don’t call it the House of Ideas for nothing, and this week was full of ideas. While I think Ms. Marvel is DOA, I think this Netflix thing will probably pan out into something nice – as long as it’s more interesting than Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Anyway, for constantly thinking outside the box, while simultaneously laying the smack down on the Distinguished Competition, Marvel had the West Week Ever.

18th Oct2013

West Week Ever – 10/18/13

by Will

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Of course I’d end yesterday’s post with “what if the US had The Big Reunion?”, completely forgetting that we’ve basically already had it twice.

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As I was reminded by my friend Keith H., the first version was called Bands Reunited, and it aired on VH-1 back in 2004. It had more of a rock focus, but it also featured some pop groups, like Berlin and Frankie Goes to Hollywood. Famously, New Kids on the Block refused to reunite at that time, only to reunite a few years later on their own terms. The other show was a UK import called Hit Me Baby One More Time. Basically, former stars and one hit wonders returned to perform one of their greatest hits, as well as a popular contemporary song. For example, Howard Jones (who appeared on both the UK and US versions), performed his hit “No One Is To Blame”, and them performed Dido’s “White Flag”. Still, both of these shows had self contained episodes, dealing with different performers each episode, while The Big Reunion dedicated 9 episodes to the same 7 bands. I’d still love to see that format replicated over here.

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I’ve spent a lot of time on Netflix this week, which is odd for me. Anyway, I watched three movies that I thought I’d share with you. First up, there was Everything Must Go, starring Will Ferrell. Contrary to what you might think, it wasn’t a comedy. Ferrell plays an alcoholic whose wife leaves him and all of his stuff on the front lawn. In the beginning, it was about Ferrell trying to keep his stuff, but he eventually decides to have a yard sale, while befriending a neighborhood kid. It’s about as predicatible as you might think, but it was still a good movie. Ferrell did a capable job stepping outside the comedy zone, though the movie isn’t without its funny moments. There are worse ways to kill an hour and a half.

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Next up was a documentary called Craigslist Joe, where a regular dude named Joe decides to live solely off Craigslist for 31 days. The doc isn’t without its problems, as we never really learn a ton about Joe himself, and there’s a little too much “Hollywood magic” to it. Plus, there’s the question of WHY Joe? It seems like he somehow knew Zach Galifianakis, who also served as the executive producer. Other than that association, there’s nothing about Joe that makes him special. Then again, maybe that’s why he was the perfect choice, as he was just an average dude. Anyway, he set out from his house with no money and no connections. To make sure he didn’t fall back on the familiar, he got a new email address and a new phone number so that he couldn’t be contacted. After that, he spent the month of December depending on Craigslist to provide food, shelter, and entertainment. He meets some cool traveling buddies, he helps out some charities, and he manages to travel from California to New York City and back. He even gets to meet Craig himself. Do I believe that he actually pulled it off? Well, I have my doubts, but it was definitely an interesting experiment, and I enjoyed watching it all play out. If you’ve ever had a fascination with Craigslist, definitely check it out.

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Finally, there was a documentary called After Porn Ends. In case you couldn’t tell from the title, it followed former porn stars as they tried to adjust to living in “normal” society. I’m not a big Pornnoisseur, so out of the people profiled, I’d only ever heard of Mary Carey, Raylene, and Asia Carrera. Little known fact: Asia Carrera’s a member of MENSA! Anyway, although it was based on the porn industry, I didn’t expect to see any gratuitous sex scenes. After all, Porn Star: The Legend of Ron Jeremy had no sex scenes. Well, I was wrong about this, as there were tons of girl-on-girl and orgy scenes interspersed between interviews. One interview in particular really stuck with me. I’d always heard of the racism of the porn industry, but an interview with former California gubernatorial candidate Mary Carey really drove it home. When asked if she’d ever return to porn, she said that she wasn’t worried because the door was always open. I’m paraphrasing, but she basically said

“If I’m 25, I’ll come back and do a girl on guy scene. If I’m 30, I’ll do girl on guy with anal. And if I’m 35, well, I’ll do a black guy.”

So, in the porn industry, doing a black guy is often seen as the last gasp of a once promising star. Other starlets have mentioned that sex with black guys would ruin their careers, but never had it been made more obvious than here. It’s clearly not something you do unless you absolutely have to, or have the cache to ride it out, so to speak. Anyway, it wasn’t the best documentary out there, and it was almost too short, as it seemed like they barely scratched the surface of the people profiled. If you happened to be wondering what happened to your favorite porn star, then check it out and find out.

Links I Loved

How Country Music Went Crazy: A Comprehensive Timeline of the Genre’s Identity Crisis – Entertainment Weekly

The Worst Halloween Costumes of 2013! – The Robot’s Pajamas

USF Link Love – UnderScoopFire!

Not Cheap Or Disposable: PBS’ Documentary About Superheroes and Americana – Redheaded Mule

What Do You Think? – The Sexy Geek’s House of Swag

I hate to disappoint ya, but nobody had the West Week Ever. It was a short week, the government shutdown was going on, and nothing awesome really caught my attention. So, if you really must know what my favorite thing of the week was, it was watching The Big Reunion, which I wrote about yesterday. If you haven’t read it, I recommend you check it out. Otherwise, tune in next week, when hopefully things will be a bit more exciting!

01st Oct2013

The Con-Clusion: Monster-Mania 26

by Will

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If you’ve been reading the site recently, then you know that September was a month filled with conventions. It all started with Baltimore Comic-Con, which was followed by Retro Con, and finally there was Monster-Mania 26. I’m not even remotely a horror guy, so why did I go to Monster-Mania? Well, it’s simple – there was going to be a Batman ’66 reunion with Adam West, Burt Ward, Lee Meriwether, and Yvonne Craig. Stan Lee and Adam West have always been on my Must Meet list, and since I met Stan 2 years ago, now it was time to check Adam off the list. So, even if that meant I would be braving a horror convention, it was time to meet Adam West.

I wanted to guarantee that I met Adam, and luckily there was a VIP package similar to when I met Stan Lee. Unluckily, that package cost $200. For that price, I was guaranteed a picture with Adam (with my own camera), an autograph, admission to the show the whole weekend, and admission to an exclusive dessert party Friday night. Before buying that pass, I spoke with some former Monster-Mania attendees to see if it was worth it. While the price was steep, I liked that it guaranteed the meeting, meaning I wouldn’t have to waste all day in line for the chance of a meeting. So, I paid it. It was around this time that Yvonne Craig canceled due to a family health matter. No Batgirl? Oh well, there was still Batman.

Before going, I couldn’t really decide what I wanted Adam to sign for me. I thought about the Batman ’66 figures, but I don’t like the idea of signed toys, which aren’t as easy to display as a signed book. I thought about Batman ’66 #1, but he didn’t really have anything to do with it. It’s a comic vaguely based upon his likeness, but that’s about it. So, I Googled some pics, and came up with this one that I really liked:

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Sure, most folks would choose a picture of Batman and Robin, but something about this one just spoke to me. It’s as GQ as Bruce and Dick could be during that era, and I liked that Bruce looked pensive. Since it was a scan of an old trading card, it had also faded in a way that I actually liked. So, I went to Kinkos (I’ll probably never call it FedEx Office), and printed out a full page version of the pic. Finally, I was ready for the show.

Friday afternoon, I got off work early and headed up to Hunt Valley where the show was being held. The VIP session was set to start at 4:30, but I didn’t get there until around 5 due to traffic. A guy at the front desk directed me to the Garden Room, where we were to wait for our turn to meet Adam. At this point, the guy sitting next to me asked, “Did they tell you about Burt Ward?” What did this mean? Was he dead? Had he gone on a killing spree? What an odd way to start a conversation. Anyway, I said, “No, what about Burt Ward?” Apparently, for an extra $30, Burt would get in the picture with you and Adam. Now, I’d already paid $200 to get this far, and now they wanted more money? Still, I had considered trying to get something signed from Burt, and I heard he charged $60 just for that. So, the additional $30 didn’t sound so bad. Sure, I kinda just wanted my pic with Batman, but how often can you get a pic with Batman AND Robin? So, I went out and told the staff guy that I wanted the Burt package, and I was whisked away to another ballroom to wait with a different group of folks. After I waited for about 20 minutes, they started taking t-shirt sizes. I guess we’re getting free t-shirts. It was at this point that a drunk guy got belligerent, and started asking if Adam was even there. He said that he was tired of waiting (keep in mind it was only 5:20, and the room opened at 4:30), and that this was bullshit. The organizer tried to tell him that he had to take care of getting everyone’s shirts, and drunk guy said, “I AM everyone!” Finally, they offered to give him his money back and escorted him out of the room. About 5 minutes later, Adam walked in with a “Ho, what do we have here?”

Did I mention that I was the only black person there? It may not matter, but I feel I should mention it here. When the guy was giving out shirts, it was like he was going out of his way to avoid giving me mine, but then he had the gall to try to defuse the situation with, “Nothing personal. I’m just trying to do it like this.” Like what? He didn’t seem to have any kind of system until it came to me, and then he felt he should say something before I “got all black” on him. That’s how it felt, at least. And some dude and his girlfriend actually cut in line in front of me and some other folks, but the other folks didn’t say anything and I didn’t feel comfortable enough to say anything. This was Baltimore, which isn’t the most hospitable place. You may know it from The Wire, but it’s also a cult city devoted to the Ravens and the color purple. I hate most things about it, but I knew I was on their turf, so I didn’t want to start any shit.

Anyway, Burt wasn’t ready for pics yet, so Adam was going to sign stuff first. They personalize everything to keep you from eBaying it, so they asked my name, and Adam proceeded to write “To William” on it. While it was less of an assembly line than the Stan meeting, it felt less personal. I actually got to speak to Stan, while Adam’s handlers protected him, feeding him things to sign. Didn’t even get to shake his hand (maybe he’s a germaphobe). I told him that it was an honor to meet him, as he handed my pic back to me. He said something that clearly wasn’t memorable as I can’t tell you what it was. It was probably something as mundane as “There ya go.” Oh, and he used a silver pen which barely showed up on my pic :-(

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Once the signing was done, we got back in line for the pics. By this point, Burt was there and he did not look his best. There are few things worse than an older man who dies his hair jet black. Anyone who’s seen Return to the Batcave knows that Burt has gray hair. So, at what point did he decide to basically put shoe polish on his head? It was kinda disappointing, as he looked like a giant, special boy. Can I also mention my displeasure with the picture aspect? When I paid that kind of money for Stan, it was a professional picture, with a backdrop. I’ve been told that my pic looks like I ran into them somewhere and got them to take a picture with me. No, folks – I paid for that. I feel, for that money, they could at least have had a photographer. Have it so I can pick up the photo later during the show. Sure, having it on my phone allowed me to tweet it and such, it still doesn’t look professional quality, nor was it worth what I paid. The first pic was blurry, so they were nice enough to take it again, but I don’t feel they’d have these issues with one photographer, with one good camera.

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After the pics, we got back in line, and I wondered what this new line was for. Well, it turned out that Burt was signing. “Well, cool”, I thought. I get a pic and an autograph from both. Standing in line, though, we started getting the impression that the signing wasn’t included. I asked the guy in front of me, and he told me that Burt was charging, but he wasn’t sure how much. As someone was leaving, the guy asked how much, and was told that Burt charged $50 for the autograph. Apparently, there’s a favored nations clause where Burt gets everything Adam gets. So, if Adam charges $60 for a picture, then so does Burt. I don’t really think this is fair – mainly because Batman and Robin are NOT an equal partnership. Robin is more of a junior partner, and his rates should reflect that. We’d already paid $230 just to get in this particular room, and now Burt wanted $50 more? Nah, fuck that noise. I got out of line and walked out.

My lone spoil

My lone spoil

Since I’d already come all that way, I figured I should at least check out the showroom floor. Did I mention that I didn’t feel comfortable? Because I didn’t. I don’t want to say anything too negative, so as not to offend anyone, but horror fans are kinda scary. There were a LOT of people there who looked like borderline skinheads, which didn’t bode well for my lone black status. I walked around, but most of the dealers were selling old VHS movies that had been burned onto DVD. There were some toy dealers, but their prices were astronomical. I checked out a loose Marvel Legends Hawkeye, and the dealer offered to sell him to me for $25, down from the asking price of $30. Sure, he’s not easy to find, but the fact that there’s a new Hawkeye on the market  will drive prices down on the old one. I wandered into the ballroom and saw some of the “guests”. I’m not sure why I put that in quotes, but I did. Because it was Friday, the show wasn’t in full swing, so maybe people weren’t bringing their A-game. Still, I saw David Prowse, who’s at every convention. I saw Michael Madsen, but I didn’t get too close because I didn’t want him to try to sell me something, and I saw Kari Wuhrer, who looked like an attractive, middle aged diner waitress – ya know, a single mom just trying to catch a break. I just didn’t feel like it was my cup of tea, so I headed for the door after being there about an hour.

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On the way out, I took some pics of the Batmobile and Batcycle on display outside the lobby. Apparently, you could have your picture taken in the Batmobile, but the photographer didn’t seem to be anywhere nearby, plus that would’ve been another $20. So, I headed for my car to begin the journey home.

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I really haven’t enjoyed this convention season. I’m not sure what it was, but in the words of U2, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for.” It was cool meeting my pals at Retro Con, but that was about it. I didn’t go to these shows with many expectations, but even my lowered ones were not met. I did get to meet a childhood hero, and I’m thankful for that, but in no way was it worth what I paid. I don’t think I’ll ever do that again, especially since my list has been completed. I wouldn’t mind meeting Jason David Frank one day, but I know he ain’t worth more than about $50. I kinda wish I could have one last shot at fun at New York Comic-Con, but I’m fairly certain the 2013 convention season is done for me. Well, there’s always next year…

27th Sep2013

West Week Ever – 9/27/13

by Will

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So, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. debuted this week, and I’m bound by the Geek Council to mention that. I already wrote about my thoughts on the show a few months back. After watching the pilot, nothing’s changed. I didn’t hate it, but it’s also not my new favorite show. It was a little too “Whedon” for me. A lot of folks I follow have been comparing Whedon to Aaron Sorkin, where his tried and true tropes are beginning to wear thin. I agree with that assessment, especially when it comes to TV Whedon. I’m never Captain Race Card, but I do think the team could use more diversity. Two Europeans and not even an Agent Rodriguez or Agent Jenkins? I think this is a gross oversight that I hope might be rectified in season 2. Anyway, how long before the Chloe Bennett Maxim spread?

DADS: L-R: Martin Mull, Giovanni Ribisi, Seth Green and Peter Riegert. DADS premieres Tuesday, Sept. 17 (8:00-8:30 PM ET/PT) on FOX. ©2013 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: FOX

I’ve heard that people like my TV assessments, but I didn’t feel invested enough in any new shows to do a whole post aboutthe fall season. Now that we’re a week into things, I do have a few thoughts. First off, let’s tackle the elephant in the room known as Dads. It’s clear that it only got on the schedule to appease Seth MacFarlane, but we can all agree that it’s horrible. It’s going to be DESTROYED by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. at 8 PM, so it’s only a matter of time before Fox blinks and moves it. It would be PERFECT for the Sunday As-Long-As-Football-Doesn’t-Run-Late 7:30 slot. That’s where Fox’s multi cam sitcoms go to die. It’ll be close enough to the Animation Domination block to get that Seth “halo effect” without actually breaking up the flow of the animated shows. This will allow them to bring back Raising Hope a bit sooner than probably expected, but they have more invested in that show.

The next disappointment is Back in the Game on ABC, starring Psych‘s Maggie Lawson. She’s a recently divorced single mom who moves in with her estranged father who helps her coach her son’s ragtag little league team of losers. If you’ve seen The Bad News Bears, you already know how this works. I’m convinced that this show was presented to ABC execs as Maggie Lawson in Little Shorts and it was greenlit immediately. I wonder what this means for Psych, but they’ve been hinting at the end for some time. I mean, it’s gonna have 8 seasons! Anyway, ABC clearly doesn’t believe in the show because they would’ve given it the post-Modern Family timeslot. The Middle is a reliable player, but it’s not a proven lead-in, which is why Suburgatory was moved around in order for it to gain traction. No, the darling spot has been given to Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night, which looks terrible. It seems folks think Wilson’s gonna be the next Melissa McCarthy, but I see her as the next Sara Rue/Nicole Sullivan – always a bridesmaid, but never quite a bride.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine is good. Really good. Even if Andy Samberg goes full retard sometimes. I worry about it going against S.H.I.E.L.D. and I think I see how this plays out. The Mindy Project has been a critical darling, but never the strongest performer. I see Fox giving Brooklyn the post-New Girl slot for a few weeks just to see if that helps things. New Girl‘s lead-in really helped Mindy, and I think it could do the same for Brooklyn. If it works, though, what does that mean for Mindy? Fox doesn’t have another night for comedy at the moment…

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Speaking of questionable Fox choices, what’s the deal with the FX/FXX split? They shipped Sunny and The League over to the new FXX like it was a promotion, but was it? While Sunny is a longstanding performer for FX, it doesn’t have the clout of Archer or Louie – two shows that appear to be staying on FX. This almost seems like a vote of no confidence for FXX, especially when it could really benefit from having those two shows. What’s the point of FX as a network anyway, as everyone has already seen Taken and Iron Man by now. Isn’t that all they show? Are there big plans in store for FX other than burning off that 100-episode order of Anger Management?

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Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Don Jon is such a “wait for Redbox” movie that I wouldn’t be surprised if they co-produced it. It’s about a guy who learned everything he knows about relationships from porn. He sounds like everyone I went to high school with.

Last week, I was honored to be a part of the Nerds of Color videocast “Hard N.O.C. Life”, with special guests Larry Hama and Joseph Illidge. If you’re reading this site, you already know Larry (he created most of the characters for G.I. Joe!), but you may not know that Joe was editor of the Batman titles during the late 90s storylines such as “No Man’s Land”. I’ve actually known Joe for years, but it was great to talk to him in this forum. We discussed diversity in comics, the anniversary of Milestone Media, and more. You can check out the show here.

Links I Loved

Cynthia Rothrock in the Greatest Fight Scene EVAR! - The Robot’s Pajamas

Breaking Bad: How ‘Granite State’ Revealed Who the Flash-Forward Ricin is Intended For – UnderScoopFire

Deep Inside Taco Bell’s Doritos Locos Taco – Fast Company

The Secret Behind Key and Peele’s Football-Player Names – Vulture

Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Are Present, But Where’s Nick Fury? – Redheaded Mule

One is an aimless Fox show, while the other is an aimless Fox network. One is the TV version of The Avengers, while the other is the movie version of Jersey Shore. Only one, however, had the West Week Ever.

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I may not have loved it but a LOT of people did, as it was the highest rated scripted show of the night.  It wasn’t perfect, but it was good television. I’m still not convinced it’s going to be a weekly destination for me, but I’m just one person. It set Twitter ablaze, with folks either discussing it or bitching about spoilers. This show is gonna be a hit, so I’d be a fool to think it didn’t have the West Week Ever.