22nd May2015

West Week Ever – 5/22/15

by Will

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So, this week I watched The Wedding Ringer. Let me be clear – I had no intention of watching this movie. However, I signed up for Redbox alerts, and I ended up with a promo code for a free rental. When I got to the machine, there were so many movies that I wanted that I kinda panicked. As a result, I picked The Wedding Ringer before I really thought it through. I like Kevin Hart, but I have an irrational dislike for Josh Gad. I’m not really sure why, but it dates back to NBC’s failed 1600 Penn. Anyway, if you’re not familiar with the movie, Gad is a successful lawyer who has no friends due to his workaholic nature. So, with his wedding coming up, he realizes he doesn’t have anyone to be his best man and groomsmen. Enter Hart, who plays a professional best man for people in similar situations. Gad pays him $50,000 to pretend to be his best friend and best man. And then hilarity ensues. A lot of folks said that they preferred this movie the first time, when it was called Hitch and starred Will Smith. I never saw that movie, though, so that didn’t color my experience. I really enjoyed it. Like, really. So much so that I’ve forgiven Gad for all past transgressions. It’s not gonna win an Oscar or anything, but it was pretty funny, and everyone did a good job in their roles.

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On TV, this week saw the series finale of Mad Men. Considering the show was such a critical darling, I didn’t see a lot of fanfare surrounding the end. I didn’t notice any of the stars doing the late night talk show route or anything. Did I miss something? Anyway, I liked the episode well enough, but it felt superfluous. Had the series ended with last week’s episode, I probably would’ve felt a lot better about the ending. I’m still processing my thoughts on the episode, but it feels like the kind of thing that I’ll appreciate once some time passes. Anyway, I was honored to join Corey for the final MadCast ever, where we discussed the episode in more detail, so you should definitely check it out. Apparently, according to one commentor, we took the “hipster route” when discussing the episode, whatever that means…

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Meanwhile on TV, I caught the premiere of Sing It On, which airs on Pop (formerly TV Guide Network). Produced by John Legend, the show follows 5 collegiate a cappella groups on their road to compete in the International Championship of Collegiate A Cappella (ICCA). Legend is one of the few of us who actually made it big, so he’s probably a good choice to be behind the show. That said,  the show is filled with insufferable brats. I sat there wondering, “Was I ever like that?” One group said that they consider their members to be at least a 7 on the Hot or Not scale. I got so fed up with their personalities that I didn’t even make it through the first episode. Looking back on my a cappella days, the whole thing should be fun. These people become your family and your social outlet, but there’s nothing worse than a group whose sole purpose is to dominate the ICCAs. Trust me, as I’ve been there. I can’t imagine how these kids are gonna feel when they look back on this experience through the lens of what will be a forgotten reality show. It’s kinda sad, really.

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Speaking of disappointing musical reality shows, Sawyer Fredericks won The Voice this week. Not only does he have the eyes of a soulless automaton, but his win also reinforces the White Guys With Guitars conspiracy theory that they’re the only ones who can win reality competitions these days. My pick for the win was Meghan Linsey, and I still think she’ll have a brighter future than Sawyer. Regardless, winners of The Voice don’t go anywhere. In 8 seasons, they have yet to create a household name.

Meanwhile, I realized that we’ll never get my dream season of American Idol: the All-Star Deathmatch. I had this idea a few years ago, and I’d still like to see it happen. You round up all of the Idols of the past 14 seasons and pit them against each other. Ultimately, the quest would be to find the greatest Idol of all time. Some of them will go fairly early, but can you imagine Kelly Clarkson going against Carrie Underwood? That would be amazing television, but of course no one is willing to put their hard-fought career on the line for what’s essentially a reality show parlor trick. I still think it’d be a great season, though.

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In movie news, potential concept art leaked for the zords in the Power Rangers film reboot. Based on the text on the pics, these appear to be concept art of the Pink Ranger’s Pterodactyl Zord. Honestly, it looks pretty cool, and it’s way more detail than I expected them to put into this movie. I just hope it’s not brazenly CGI like in the first movie.  These are being snatched down everywhere, thanks to Lionsgate and Saban, so I’ll either get a traffic boost and/or a cease and desist. Let’s see what happens!

I’m not sure how many of you remember, but a few years back, I had this quest to become Everyone’s Favorite Blerd. That was before every Black kid and his sister was using that word. Then, I realized I’d never achieve that goal as long as Andre, The Black Nerd existed. He’s everyone’s favorite blerd, and I have to recognize that. But this week, I actually got on his radar. This exchange happened on Twitter:

Blerd 1Damn right!

Anyway, I thought that would be the end of it, but then this happened:

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*Schoolgirl giggles* OMG! Andre knows who I am! And he thinks I’m cool! If only we could combine our powers somehow…

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

Thrift Justice: YSE – Holy Deal, Batman!

-Netflix announced that BoJack Horseman season 2 will debut July 17th

-Alfonso Ribeiro was announced as the new host of America’s Funniest Videos

Links I Loved

Highlights from the AC Boardwalk Con! – Dinosaur Dracula

That Time the Avengers Hung Out with David Letterman – The Robot’s Pajamas

AC Boardwalk Con Adventure Part 1 – The Sexy Armpit

Summer Swap 2015 – AEIOU and Sometimes Why

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In the late night wars, I have to admit that I was Team Jay. Yes, even after the Conan debacle. At the end of the day, Jay didn’t screw over Conan, but rather NBC screwed them both over. For some reason, David Letterman’s humor just never really connected with me. Still, I realize that his show was a late night institution that will never be replaced. Wednesday night was his final show, and I originally planned on skipping it. As fans spent the day tweeting about all he had meant to them, I just didn’t feel worthy to partake in the festivities. After all, I had backed the wrong horse. Then, as the minutes ticked away, I realized that I was missing history and I’d probably regret it.

I turned on The Late Show just in time to catch the final Top 10 List performed by 10 of the show’s favorite and most frequent guests. The likes of Alec Baldwin, Jerry Seinfeld, Tina Fey and more, came out to deliver their lines for the last time. I remarked on Twitter that it was funny that we had mini onstage reunions of Seinfeld (Jerry and Julia Louis-Dreyfus), 30 Rock (Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin), and SNL40 (everyone else), yet nobody acted like they even knew each other – let alone worked on successful shows together. It was somewhat strange, but it just put more emphasis on that fact that the night belonged to Dave.

David Letterman was an institution. If you were promoting a project, you either did The Tonight Show or you did “Letterman”. This was true for 33 years, over 2 different networks. I could become an overnight success tomorrow, but I’ll never get the chance to say that I was on Letterman. That thought just made me kinda sad. Stephen Colbert will be sitting behind the desk in the coming months, but it won’t be the same. The late night format is nowhere near what it used to be, and it’s sorely in need of some diversity. Letterman himself said that he would’ve recommended a woman or a Black person, but he was not consulted about his successor. What I’m saying is that I don’t think there’ll be another late night host who’s at it for 30 years. The format just isn’t going to sustain that kind of longevity anymore. Leno did some fill-ins on The Tonight Show before Carson officially retired, but Letterman was at it much longer. In terms of sheer longevity, there was only one king of late night, and that was David Letterman. I may not have always gotten his humor, but I understood his impact. And for that, David Letterman had the West Week Ever.

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.

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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!

07th Jan2015

West YEAR Ever – 2014

by Will

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The time has come to say goodbye to another year, and boy was 2014 a doozy! They say that every day is a blessing, but that was hard to agree with some days last year. It seems like it was rough for a lot of people, and it didn’t help that we had to deal with things like hacks and the word “bae”. In any case, this is where we take a look back and see what kind of year I had as I was bringing you the best in pop culture entertainment. Well, that was the goal, at least. Anyway, let’s get started, shall we?

Milestones of 2014

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I finally gave in to Brian K. Vaughan’s Saga

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Mister Mister squared off against Boy Meets Girl in audio combat

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I was linked by NPR’s Code Switch blog

I met @smurfwreck & @shezcrafti at a toy show

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I discovered that the Quokka exists

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I reviewed Superman: Earth One Volume 2

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I had some thoughts on some comics

I had a Twitter dialogue with the Toy Hunter

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I went to Toy Fair and finally met @MattGuzy, @T16skyhopp, @Preternia_, and @Tekcorps in the flesh!

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I went to Walt Disney World for the first time!

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I dissected the problems with the How I Met Your Mother series finale

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I reviewed the classic Nick Fury Vs. S.H.I.E.L.D.

There was a Free Comic Book Edition of Thrift Justice

I previewed the upcoming fall shows from Fox, ABC, NBC, and CBS

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I examined what made The Cleveland Show special

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I discussed FX’s new comedies Married and You’re The Worst, and got a tweet favorited by co-star Aya Cash.

The cast of Power Rangers Super Megaforce said my name! It’s recorded!

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Special Forces got his own spinoff installment of Thrift Justice!

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I rebooted Three’s Company!


We said goodbye to Jimi Jamison, former lead singer of Survivor

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I made my annual trip to the Baltimore Comic-Con

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I discovered Nymphomaniac and Bojack Horseman

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Special Forces and I made the trip to Wizard World Richmond and I met Tommy, The Green Ranger!

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I did the Warrior Dash in Connecticut

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I finally met @Classickmateria and we (including Special Forces) met up with @LamarRevenger at Retrocon

Lindsay and I celebrated our second anniversary!

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I found out I’m gonna be a daddy!

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I made my return to the New York Comic-Con, where I met up with @Tekcorps and finally met @BionicBigfoot

I was invited to participate in my pal Dex’s Halloween Countdown, over at AEIOU…And Sometimes Why.

I hit post #900 on version 2.0 of the site!

2014 Hidden Tracks

While I tend to talk about everything on the site, there are a few things that happened during 2014 that I never got around to blogging about. First of all, I had my first paid writing gig, which was printed in Bleeding Cool Magazine. I interviewed the creative team behind Boom! Studios’ Hexed ongoing series. Seeing as how almost no comic shops carry Bleeding Cool (and the interview wasn’t published on the website), I have yet to actually see it, but I still got paid, so there’s that.

Near the end of the year, I found myself on TMZ Live, talking about Nicki Minaj’s ass. It all started when I replied to one of TMZ host Harvey Levin’s tweets. The next thing I knew, the TMZ account was asking me if I wanted to be a part of that day’s TMZ Live broadcast. I was getting off work early, so I figured “Why not?” They called me up, and had me talk about Nicki’s ex-boyfriend. Apparently, he’s been having suicidal thoughts since she broke up with him. My response basically boiled down to “Can you blame him? Have you seen dat ass?” I made Harvey laugh. And then they didn’t use the recording. Womp womp.

West Week Ever Recipients of 2014

1/10/14 – Sasheer Zamata

1/17/14 – Michael Douglas

1/24/14 – Richard Sherman

1/31/14 – Ryan Lewis

2/7/14 – Facebook

2/14/14 – Michael Sam

2/21/14 – Chris Pratt

2/28/14 – Jimmy Fallon

3/7/14 – Lupita Nyong’o

3/14/14 – Walt Disney World

3/21/14 – N/A

3/28/14 – Psych

4/4/14 – How I Met Your Mother

4/11/14 – Stephen Colbert

4/25/14 – Lupita Nyong’o

5/2/14 – John Boyega

5/9/14 – Now That’s What I Call Music

5/16/14 – Superman vs. Batman Batsuit

5/23/14 – Michael Jackson

5/30/14 – Charlie Cox

6/6/14 – Ghostbusters

6/20/14 – The Cold Slither Podcast

6/27/14 – Batman (1989)

7/3/14 – Community

7/11/14 – Garth Brooks

7/18/14 – Marvel

7/25/14 – SDCC 2014

8/1/14 – @MattGuzy

8/8/14 – Guardians of the Galaxy

8/22/14 – Taylor Swift

8/29/14 – Full House

9/5/14 – 14 Year Old Boys

9/12/14 – TMZ

9/19/14 – Alex Trebek’s mustache

9/26/14 – Forever

10/3/14 – “The Simpsons Guy”

10/10/14 – The Flash

10/17/14 – Arrow

10/24/14 – Avengers: Age of Ultron trailer

10/31/14 – Marvel Studios

11/7/14 – Taylor Swift

11/21/14 – Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B

12/5/14 – The Flash/Arrow Teamup

12/12/14 – Girl Meets World

12/19/14 – Ascension

12/29/14 – James Lamb and Jenn Fang

Totaling things up, we have a five-way tie, as Lupita Nyong’o, Taylor Swift, Marvel, Flash, and Arrow each won 2 weeks out of the year. Lupita doesn’t clench West Year Ever, as most of her impact came in the beginning of the year. The Flash doesn’t get it because, while it’s a great series, its second West Week Ever win was the result of a teamup between it and Arrow. The same goes for Arrow itself. So, that brings us to Taylor Swift vs. Marvel. Technically, Marvel Comics won one week, while Marvel Studios won another, and they’re not really the same thing. So, that leaves us with Taylor Swift.

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Taylor Swift’s 1989 was arguably the best pop album of 2014. Really a Robyn album in disguise, the synth-heavy 80s-inspired offering picked up the ball from Miley’s 2013 Bangerz and ran with it. It was a milestone for Taylor, as it officially marked her transition from country to the mainstream. She also rocked the industry model, when she took all of her albums off of Spotify. Everyone thinks that streaming is the future, but Taylor is one of the biggest artists to simply state that the model didn’t work for her. In October, she became New York City’s newest ambassador – due in part to her track “Welcome to New York” from the album. 2014 was the year that the ladies took back pop music from the guys, and Taylor led the charge. When everything’s said and done, nobody had a 2014 quite like Taylor Swift, and that’s why she had the West Year Ever.

2014 was also the second full year of West Week Ever, and I couldn’t do it without you, the readers. Thanks for all your support and I hope you’ll stay with me into 2015!

05th Dec2014

West Week Ever – 12/5/14

by Will

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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-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

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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.

17th Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/17/14

by Will

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The week started with a quick trip up to NYC for the New York Comic-Con. I hadn’t been to the show in years, as it tends to fall on the weekend of my anniversary. You see, the show used to kick off the convention season in February, and then someone got the bright idea to move it to October, thus thwarting my plans! I caught an early morning bus, and got to the show about noon. Remember how I got into Toy Fair? Well, seeing as how the show was sold out, I employed a similar tactic to gain access to NYCC. My name for the day was “Juan” (When I was gonna write a standalone post recapping the show, I thought about calling it “Juan For The Road”, but I got lazy).

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Anyway, after about 10 minutes on the show floor, this chick came up to me and gave me a card about a Dark Horse series called Concrete Park. I looked at the card, and knew she only gave it to me because I was black. I looked up at her, and blurted out, “Hey, I know you!” It was actress Erika Alexander, better known as Cousin Pam from The Cosby Show/Maxine Shaw from Living Single. She had written the comic, and told me to come by the Dark Horse booth at 1 for a free signing. I later went to that signing, and got the above pic taken with her.

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Soon afterwards, I met up with my pal, Jay, and we tried to navigate around the show floor. There were simply too many people there. With a reported 151,000 attendees over the weekend, NYCC is now even bigger than San Diego Comic Con. There have been a lot of articles lately blaming cosplayers for the decline of convention commerce. The argument is that cosplayers jam up the walkways, and take attention away from the professionals trying to make a living. Up til now, I’d been on the side of the cosplayers, as I thought this was just a case of sour grapes from the comic folks. After NYCC, however, my opinion has changed. They really do congregate at the WORST places for photo ops, and it was hard enough to get through as it was. I saw a lot of great cosplay, and would love to have taken pics for a blog post, but I wasn’t about to add to the traffic jam. It’s a shame because there was so much great stuff to see, but no time or space to enjoy it.

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Jay had a 2:00 bus to catch, so after he left, I finally got to meet my Twitter pal @bionicbigfoot (Chris). We’ve been trying to meet for some time, and I’d missed him at Toy Fair. He’s a great guy and the best Archie historian around! At the same time I met him, my buddy @Tekcorps (“Sprocket”) came up and we all walked the show floor together. They got some great deals on dollar box comics, but I just couldn’t find anything to spend money on. The toy selection wasn’t that great, and I couldn’t find any comics that I needed to fill gaps. Still, it was great hanging out with those guys, as it definitely made the trip worthwhile. After Chris left to do an interview, Sprocket and I headed to Artist Alley to see what we could find. It was there that we ran into Twitter buddy @T16Skyhopp (Nik). Since the show was winding down, Sprocket and I decided to leave before the mass exodus of people. We were both headed to Penn Station, so we were gonna split a cab. Unfortunately, we found ourselves on the wrong side of the street of the first available cab. We walked out into the street just as the light turned green, and almost got his by a bus! Let’s just say the cabbie wasn’t too pleased with our stunt, but our money was green, so… Anyway, Sprocket hung out with me as I waited for my bus, and I got to know a lot about him, Eventually, we parted ways, and I headed back home. In all, it was a great trip, but not necessarily because of the convention. The show, itself, was just too much. I’ve been to San Diego, and this felt worse than that. I don’t really like crowds, so this was not the place to be. I didn’t really get anything awesome, and I took part in virtually NO convention programming. What made it a great trip, however, were the people. It’s always great to put a face to a Twitter name, and I look forward to hanging out with them again at Toy Fair. Oh yeah, I’m going back. I just need to figure out who I’m gonna be…

 

Civil War

So, some pop culture news. Reports surfaced that Robert Downey Jr. would be appearing in Captain America 3, seemingly kicking off the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Civil War storyline. If you’ve never read it, Civil War featured Iron Man and Captain America on opposite sides of an ideological battle. Following the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut, the public calls for regulation of super beings, complete with registration with the government. This was the side that Iron Man chose. The Cap side, however, believed that registration was a violation of their rights, and that they had no reason to make their identities public. As we saw in The Winter Soldier, Cap is already in a place where he doesn’t exactly trust his government, so things are likely to get worst before they get better for him. Still, this movie isn’t coming out until 2016, which feels so far away, so I’m going to wait to get excited about it.

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Speaking of comic movies that are so far away, Warner Bros finally revealed their plans for their comic book movie universe. Ten movies are slated through the year 2020, and the list includes:

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice directed by Zack Snyder (2016)
Suicide Squad directed by David Ayer (2016)
Wonder Woman starring Gal Gadot (2017)
Justice League Part One directed by Snyder, with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams reprising their roles (2017)
The Flash starring Ezra Miller (2018)
Aquaman starring Jason Momoa (2018)
Shazam (2019)
Justice League Part Two directed by Zack Snyder (2019)
Cyborg starring Ray Fisher (2020)
Green Lantern (2020)

Where to even begin? It looks like the reports of Momoa as Aquaman were correct, but it’s a shame what’s happening with The Flash. This news should’ve been announced at SDCC, before the premiere of The Flash. Instead, they allowed The Flash to break CW viewing records, and now folks are falling in love with a hero who won’t get a shot at the big screen. This is reminiscent of when Brandon Routh was cast in Superman Returns, while Smallville was a television hit. Things didn’t work out so well for Routh (who now finds himself on the TV version of a DC franchise, Arrow), and I don’t see it working out for Ezra Miller. I don’t know anyone who wants a Cyborg movie, but it shows DC beating Marvel to the punch in terms of diversity, as the slate includes a solo movie for a woman and a black hero. Still, Marvel has several mystery movies that haven’t been announced yet, so they could still shock us by announcing Black Panther or Captain Marvel. I think it’s funny that the Shazam movie is 5 years away because it’s almost like they’re waiting for a star to rise who can hold his own against The Rock. It’s odd that they would cast the charismatic actor as the villain, as there really isn’t anyone who can currently match him onscreen. It almost would’ve made more sense for them to have cast him as Captain Marvel, which would’ve been terrible casting, but would’ve solved the problem of needing a hero with star power. Anyway, I’m sure there are folks out there excited by this news, but I’m not one of them. It’s not the projects themselves that leave me wanting, but it’s the fact that they’re so far away.

Tyrus

In wrestling news, my recently-released favorite WWE wrestler, Brodus Clay, has resurfaced in Total Nonstop Action as “Tyrus”. I love me some Brodus Clay, but I don’t love him enough to watch TNA Impact every week. I just can’t do that to myself. So, I wish him luck, but I’ll catch up with him when he eventually makes his way back to WWE.

This has not been a great week for me on Twitter. First off, some dude called me a “Geekmudgeon” because I hate-watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. It’s just not a great show, and it’s too bad people can’t see that. Anyway, it escalated to the point where I ended up blocking him, and I never block anyone! Things got worse, however, the next day. You see, I had missed the premiere of Casey Wilson’s Marry Me, and tweeted about it. In that tweet, I also kinda mentioned that the fact that it starred SNL alum Tim Meadows meant that it wouldn’t last. It’s true! Look at his IMDB! Anyway, guess who Twitter searched his name?

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Not only did he find it, but he retweeted it! Then, when I acknowledged that I noticed his retweet, he retweeted that! It’s like he wanted to mobilize his fans against me, but nobody said a thing. Why don’t people ever see when I say good things about them? I DO! Sometimes.

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Have you been listening to Classick Team-Up lately? Not only did he have the debut of the Thrift Justice duo on a podcast, but he’s also had some great interviews with @LamarRevenger and @P0lishPhen0m lately. Head over to the Cold Slither Podcast Network to check it out.

Arrow

“YOU HAVE FAILED THIS CITY!” Oh man, oh man, oh man! Guys, I am so late to the party here, and I completely acknowledge that it’s my own fault. You’ve been telling me that Arrow was great, and I just wouldn’t listen. I reviewed the pilot when it first aired, but then I never went back. Last Saturday night, I decided to rewatch the pilot on Netflix and I’ve been bingewatching it ever since. I’m still on season 1, so please don’t spoil anything for me! I LOVE this show, and I think I prefer watching it like this, as I don’t think I could wait a week between some of those cliffhangers. Stephen Amell is great as Oliver Queen, and he’s like a young, hotter Chris O’Donnell. Meanwhile, Laurel is like a pretty Maggie Gyllenhaal. And socially awkward Felicity Smoak is my new favorite fictional character. Everything I thought about this show was wrong, and I can’t get enough of it. I want to discuss it with folks and shout it from the mountaintops, but I’ve got to get caught up first. I’m sure this probably should go to NYCC or the DC announcements, but nothing rocked my world this week like Arrow. For that reason, Arrow had the West Week Ever.

 

03rd Oct2014

West Week Ever – 10/3/14

by Will

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The week started off with a trip to Retrocon, where I finally got to meet @Classickmateria, and I was reunited with @LamarRevenger. I made the journey with @trooperlite, and I think a good time was had by all. If you want the full story, though, be sure to check out the Retrocon recap podcast on the most recent Classick Team-Up.

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As I promised last week, I ended up buying Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 while at Retrocon. As a result, I haven’t been to bed before 2 AM any night this week. If any of you are on XBox Live, my gamertag is THRIFTJUSTICE.

 

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In celebrity news, George Clooney got married, and the vaginas wept of millions of women who never had a chance. Meanwhile, both Amanda Bynes and Michael Phelps were arrested on DUI charges this week. This is just par for the course when it comes to Bynes, as she’s just as much of a trainwreck as Lohan, but it was a bit surprising for Phelps. He was caught with marijuana a few years back and had to publicly apologize but I’m not sure how he’s gonna handle this one. What about the kids, Michael? What about the kids?!

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It was reported that The Rock will lead the Baywatch movie adaptation. I don’t really have a lot of thoughts on this, as this movie has been in the works for years, and nothing has ever come of it. Plus, from all reports, it’s supposed to be a hokey comedy instead of a cheesy drama. I’d rather it be the latter.

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In Marvel movie news, some less than reputable sources are reporting that Psych/The West Wing star Dule Hill has been cast as Luke Cage in the upcoming Netflix series. By the end of yesterday, most of those sites had removed the story, but it’s definitely interesting casting if true. I like Hill, but I don’t think he has the build to pull it off. I’m still in the Isaiah Mustafa camp, but I think most of the world has forgotten him since Old Spice stopped running those commercials.

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Now, for some TV news. It was reported this week that two of my favorite new shows this season, Satisfaction and You’re The Worst, have officially been picked up for second seasons. I’ve already explained my reasons for liking these shows, so this is great news to me. Next summer can’t get here fast enough! For some reason, though, they’re shipping You’re The Worst off to FXX, which is really just a Simpsons depository in between episodes of The League. I still feel like Fox doesn’t have a lot of faith in the network, and it’s where Totally Biased went to die. Hopefully folks will be able to find it in its new home.

Community

Over in the Community saga, Yvette Nicole Brown has announced that she won’t be continuing with the show when it moves to Yahoo Screen. She needs to care for her ailing father, so her character, Shirley, will be written out of the show. The actress will, however, be popping up as recurring characters on the reboot of The Odd Couple, as well as on USA’s Unbenched. So, she can’t do full time work, but she’s still available for cameos. Whatever. Part of me wonders if she just wanted to get off that sinking ship. It’s sad that Community no longer has any black cast members, but maybe they knew something that we don’t.

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In the ratings game, things aren’t looking good for 2 ABC fan favorites. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had its lowest ratings ever this week, and this is just the second episode of the season. If they want this thing to see a third season, they better start talking to Jeremy Renner’s people for a cameo (he’s the only one from the movies I could realistically see taking a TV paycheck). Meanwhile, Black-ish‘s ratings dropped from the premiere. This sort of drop is usual, as most of the looky-loos who checked out the pilot have moved on, and the show is settling into its natural audience. The problem, however, is that this week’s ratings were in the same range as the second episode of Rebel Wilson’s Super Fun Night last season. Why is that notable? Well, Super Fun Night ain’t on anymore. I think Black-ish is safe for now, but whether or not it gets a second season depends on what ABC has ready for midseason. Fresh Off The Boat still needs a timeslot, but I really don’t see it having the same acclaim as Black-ish. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Ello

In the social media sphere, everyone’s been talking about Ello. While it has prematurely been called a “Facebook killer”, it’s certainly loved by privacy advocates, as it has no ads and you don’t have to use your real name. Right now, it’s invite-only, and just seems kinda barren. If you’re over there, give me a follow at williambrucewest. Let’s see if we can make that thing exciting!

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Speaking of social media, my Tumblr popularity keeps chugging along, as this Deadpool pic has gotten over 142 likes and reblogs. It’s funny how things over there don’t even make a dent on Instagram. I just haven’t figured out how to crack IG, but I’m enjoying the attention I’m getting on Tumblr. If you wanna follow me there, it’s wbwest.tumblr.com.

Links I Loved

Sh*t You Guys, A Real Life Version Of Bill Brasky Has Passed Away – UPROXX

7 Horrifying Lessons Learned Directing a Porno – Cracked

Classick Cinema: My Pitch for a Proper Sequel to “Gremlins” – Cold Slither Podcast

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Nobody thought it would ever happen, and now that it has, I can’t believe it didn’t happen sooner: The Simpsons met The Griffins in the season premiere of Family Guy, called “The Simpsons Guy”. The Griffins’ car is stolen while they’re passing through Springfield, and Homer and Peter team up to track it down. Meanwhile, Stewie idolized Bart, while Lisa found out that Meg was a natural on the saxophone. After Peter and Homer end up on opposite sides of a lawsuit, the episode is capped off with a Peter vs. The Giant Chicken fight, only Homer’s standing in for the chicken. It’s even more absurd than it sounds, and I loved every minute of it. I know some folks think The Simpsons is past its prime, but I always enjoy it whenever I tune in. Moreover, some folks just aren’t fans of Seth MacFarlane’s humor, but I certainly am. All of these themes were dealt with in the episode, and it delivered more than I ever thought it would. I think both shows brought their A-game and I wouldn’t be opposed to them crossing over again at some point in the future. In any case, for completely blowing my socks off, “The Simpsons Guy” had the West Week Ever.

09th May2014

West Week Ever – 5/9/14

by Will

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The week started off with The Simpsons LEGO special. Plainly put, I wasn’t impressed. Seeing as how I’m the only person in America who didn’t see The LEGO Movie, maybe I’m missing something. That movie looked fun, but I just didn’t get around to seeing it. The Simpsons episode, however, was just weird. They made good use of the LEGO, but it was just jarring and the animation seemed stiff. Anyway, I’m tempted to collect those Simpsons LEGO minifigures, but I keep telling myself that I’ve retired from that game. I’ve got about 100 of those things just gathering dust in cases at the moment.

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Later Sunday night, I caught David Spade: My Fake Problems, as Comedy Central wrapped up Stand Up Month. Just as unfunny as Tracy Morgan’s special. What’s up with those former SNL guys? Is stand up just not their thing? I missed the first half hour, but I caught him talking about his hernia operation. I didn’t know what to expect, as I don’t think of Spade as a stand up comedian, but I was hoping to find it more enjoyable than I did.

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The trailer for Gotham was released. Still, I’m not impressed. It looks like a fan film with established actors. Plus, I have no desire to see Gotham pre-Batman. All of Bruce’s training happened away from the city. Even if the show lasts 10 years, we’ll only get to Bruce turning 18. I just don’t see the point when there are other DC properties to mine, like they did with Arrow. Plus, it seems like they’re introducing all of Batman’s colorful rogues prematurely, as they don’t really arise until Batman first shows up in Gotham. For instance, they said that we will see Joker. Why? Based on Batman history, he shouldn’t even be Joker yet because that night at the ACE Chemical Factory will still be years away. Whatever. I just don’t see the value of a show about Batman that doesn’t feature Batman.

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Fox has also announced that Damon Wayans Jr will be a series regular next season on New Girl. I’m happy for him ’cause I like that dude and want him working. Still, it drives home the fact that Happy Endings is never coming back. I feel like a kid who wants his parents to get back together and it just ain’t happening.

 

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Catfish came roaring back this week for its third season, and it did not disappoint. Twitter is an amazing place while that show is on, as everyone becomes an insulting detective. Trust me – it’s a lot more fun than I’m making it sound.

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So, they’ve announced a new Power Rangers movie. In fact, they’re calling it a reimagining of Mighty Morphin, so I guess it’s going back to its roots. I’m not surprised, as something like this was inevitable. The trick was simply waiting til the point where people would care again. They struck at the right time, as every news outlet was covering the news yesterday. I’m gonna reserve judgment until I see a trailer, as there are so many ways that this could go. My problem, though, is that people who have been unabashed about their hatred of the property are still gonna come out of the woodworks, saying “They’re ruining my childhood!” It never fails. I’ve stuck by the franchise for the past 20 years, but I also know how cheap Haim Saban is. This thing is probably gonna be done on the cheap, and the fact that it’s a collaboration with Lionsgate doesn’t put me at ease ’cause they’ll just turn it into an angsty teen romance. So, let’s just wait and see how this plays out.

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Speaking of movies, they just announced that Reg E. Cathey will be Doctor Storm for the Fantastic Four reboot. They made him black, y’all! That was quite the switcheroo, and it makes Kate Mara’s Sue Storm the odd one in the family now. I can’t help but think the studio is just trolling the fandom at this point. And it’s HILARIOUS!

Last week, I had the pleasure of joining the Nerd Lunch Podcast, as they discussed TV theme songs. It was a lot of fun, and I realized I’m kinda obsessed with all incarnations of Knight Rider. You can listen to it right here.

 

Links I Loved

The 24 Least Insurable Characters in Television and Movies – UnderScoopFire!

League Post – Would You Rather…? -AEIOU…and Sometimes Why

10 Triumphs and 10 Failures of MOTUC – Crooked Ninja Turtle Gang

5 RaNdOm AcTiOn FiGuReS – Raging Nerdgasm

In Case You Missed It This Week:

Thrift Justice: YSE – FCBD Edition

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Now 50. Man, I never really thought I’d see that number. Of course, in the UK they’re up to Now 87, but we’re not here to talk about that. The US version of Now That’s What I Call Music debuted in 1998 as a compilation of the hottest singles of the time. CD singles were going away, but full albums also weren’t all that appealing to some folks. They didn’t want the filler songs – they just wanted the hits. That’s where Now came in. The first volume was comprised of songs from Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Janet Jackson, Hanson, Aqua, and more. You can’t get more 1998 than that lineup. With each subsequent release, Now embodied all that was popular on radio at the time. Some volumes are better than others, but that’s really the fault of then-current popular music. There reason I thought I’d never see a 50th volume is because CDs are almost dead – especially the kind like Now. It was a compilation of all the top hits, but why would anyone buy it when they could just cherry pick those songs off iTunes? Once iTunes hit the scene, Now became “The Little Compilation That Could”. Sixteen years later, and it still survives in the face of the Apple juggernaut. I used to love Now until I started making my own CDs, and even then I was using its track listings as guidelines. So, for providing music fans with only the hits, and to commemorate its 50th US release, Now That’s What I Call Music had the West Week Ever.

21st Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/21/14

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

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.

2014-03-11 20.47.39

candace cameron danica mckellar dancing with the stars abc

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!

14th Mar2014

West Week Ever – 3/14/14

by Will

oie_922142seDasWF9

I was in Orlando for work all week, so I didn’t know if I’d get around to writing this. Forgive me if it seems scattered; I just had a few thoughts I wanted to “put to paper”, so to speak.

BurnettE

Ya know, it’s kinda surreal to be on a flight, while watching news coverage of a flight that has disappeared. JetBlue has Direct TV, so I happened to catch Erin Burnett (Mmmm…) as she covered the flight on her show, OutFront. That was followed by Anderson Cooper (Mmmm – equal opportunity!) doing the same exact thing. I don’t know what happened to that plane, but there are some crazy theories going around. I just hope they eventually find something, ’cause I don’t want another Amelia Earhart situation.

Speaking of JetBlue, they have BLUE potato chips! BLUE! And they’re pretty good, too.

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Good news on the TV renewal front, as TBS renewed Ground Floor, while CBS renewed Two and a Half Men. I know it seems like they’ve run out of stuff to do on that show, but I still enjoy it. I also find it amazing that it gained such a powerful second wind after Charlie Sheen left.

Wrdq_2009One of my favorite things about traveling is checking out the off network TV offerings. In Orlando, they have this Channel 27 that’s unlike anything I’ve encountered. It’s not a CW and it’s not a My Network TV. It’s an independent channel kinda like we used to have before UPN and The WB came along. For instance, I had no clue The Cleveland Show was in syndication. We don’t have that in DC, and the American Dad reruns that we do have are at 4 in the morning. Also, I learned about a tabloid news show, called OK! TV, which is basically TMZ meets Extra. I didn’t even know such a thing existed. I love shitty television! Steve Harvey’s talk show comes on at 9 PM. And I thought late night court shows were weird!

barrydtreasure

I had no clue that Barry Weiss from Storage Wars was getting his own show, Barry’d Treasure. First Hester left, then Balelo died, and now this. I don’t even know why they keep Storage Wars going, now that it’s basically just Jarrod, Brandi, and Darrell.

Turbo

This amazing poster almost makes up for what was an absolutely terrible movie. I stole this off Jason David Frank’s facebook page, and it’s for Turbo: A Power Rangers Movie. It’s funny how many people don’t even realize there was a second Power Rangers movie. I think most of my generation had moved on by that point (it was season 5 by then). Plus, people tend to forget that the first movie, technically, isn’t in continuity, while the second one is. You could watch the first movie without really ever having seen Power Rangers before, but the second one was basically a TV movie that somehow got a theatrical release.

AFB-logo-newSpeaking of Power Rangers, I had the pleasure of joining @Engineernerd of the Action Figure Blues Podcast and @ExveeBrawn of Superhero Time to discuss the Power Rangers toy line. Could Power Rangers be the best toyline of all time? Listen along, as we make the case!

cw-flash-costume

The suit for The Flash was revealed this week. Like some other folks, I think it looks kinda Daredevily, but it could work. I’m probably not even gonna watch the show, so I don’t have a horse in that race. I still haven’t watched Arrow since my review of it last year. Ever since I binge watched Breaking Bad, something’s been broken in me. I just can’t handle one-hour dramas at the moment. Maybe one day, but not now. Arrow, and The Flash, will just have to wait.

gotham-bar-big

And no, I’m not excited about Gotham, either. I mean, who really wants a Batman prequel? I have no interest in the goings on of pre-Batman Gotham. Just like with the Birds of Prey show, the only draw will be the hope of seeing Batman. Since most of Bruce’s training occurs outside of Gotham, I just don’t see what the appeal of this show could be.

IMAG0744

I found this at Toys “R”Us this morning, but I just can’t justify a $79.99 price tag (it’s sitting in a different spot in the pic for better lighting). It’s a gorgeous piece, and it’s heavy, but $80?! I’ll just continue to be content with my original one.

My Twitter bestie, Brandi, does comedy, and here’s a set that she did when Jackie Kashian came to town.

Links I Loved
65 Songs You Will Never Be Able To Listen To The Same Way Again – Buzzfeed
Blockbuster Video Presents: The UnderScoopFire Tournament of Super Powers – UnderScoopFire!
Hands On With Marvel Unlimited – Double Dumbass On You

2014-03-11 22.09.34

Ya know what had the West Week Ever? Walt Disney World. I went there for the first time, and boy do I have some thoughts. But you’ll have to wait until sometime next week for those 😉

26th Feb2014

A Day in the Life of “Keith”: My Trip To Toy Fair 2014

by Will

IMAG0480_opt

So, I went to Toy Fair last weekend. Not sure what Toy Fair is? Well, that means you’ve clearly never read this post in my archives. Yes, though it’s an industry-only event, this was actually my second trip to the trade show. The New York Toy Fair happens every February at the Javits Center, and it gives buyers a chance to see the hot toys slated to come out for the holiday season.

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How did I get there? Funny you should ask. You see, my good friend, Keith, works for a well known comic publisher. Said publisher recently announced they were launching a toy line, so it was only natural that they go to Toy Fair. Well, the announcement was a bit premature, as they really didn’t have anything to show for themselves. Still, a pass to the show had already been procured. Keith really couldn’t care less about Toy Fair, but he knew that I felt the exact opposite. I LOVE Toy Fair, almost as much as I love getting into stuff not open to the general public. So, it was then decided that I would become Keith. Yes, I would skin him and wear his pelt around the convention floor. No, it wasn’t that deep, but I would be assuming his identity for the day. There was one catch, however – they would be checking photo IDs when giving out badges. Keith is tall, slim and white. I am none of those things. So, how would I get in? That’s when we devised an Oceans 11 type plan. I don’t wanna help expose the holes in Toy Fair security, so I’m not going to go into detail. Let’s just fast forward and say that I arrived at the show Sunday afternoon.

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After getting “my” badge, I texted my Twitter pal Matt Guzy (@mattguzy) who was already on the show floor. He came out, and I finally got to meet him after all these years! We walked around the floor, as he explained the ins and outs of Toy Fair from the press perspective. He’s formed relationships with industry public relations folks, so he knows how to get into all the cool parties. I could learn a lot from him!

We saw Grumpy Cat, who's really more like Lethargic Cat

We saw Grumpy Cat, who’s really more like Lethargic Cat

After walking around for about an hour, we ran into my Twitter pal Nik (@T16skyhopp) who, along with Sprocket (@Tekcorps), happened to be doing press for Online Action Figure Entertainment (@OAFE). I also got a chance to meet my Twitter pal Jon (@preternia_). Matt had to run off to an appointment, so I hung out with these guys on the convention floor. Sprocket showed us a bunch of pics from that morning’s LEGO showcase, as well as some pics of the Hasbro Preview from the night before. We walked around to booths for 3A, NECA, Diamond Select and more. They were all heading to the Mattel presentation, but I didn’t want to risk it seeing as how I wasn’t exactly who my nametag said I was. In fact, I was being introduced as “Keith” to most folks, but Nik somehow recognized me just by walking by. And Sprocket told me he reads West Week Ever, so that made me feel awesome. At that point, I pretty much abandoned the Keith facade.

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After the other guys left for the Mattel presentation, I walked around on my own. You ever want to experience true discrimination? Walk the floor not wearing a Buyer badge. Exhibitors will bend over backwards for buyers, as those are potential customers, but they’ll pull down the blinds on ya if your badge is not of the buyer ilk. You’ll see a smiling spokesmodel handing out something, and as you get closer, you’ll notice her glance at your badge. Once she sees “exhibitor”, she assumes you’re just like her, so her smile changes into a dismissive look, and she scans the crowd for the nearest Buyer badge to engage. I’m not sure if it’s the same thing for those with press badges. I’d assume the exhibitors would be more friendly to them, as they need them to get the word out about their product, but I could be wrong.

I could post a bunch of pics of Guardians of the Galaxy or Ninja Turtles toys, but there are already sites dedicated to that. I like to show the side of Toy Fair that folks don’t generally know about. It’s a huge venue, and there’s everything from action figures to airport gift shop toys. Tons of websites are devoted to the former, but they rarely think about the latter. So, you’re not going to see any top secret reveals here, but you just may see a 12 foot Batman!

I told ya you'd see this guy!

I told ya you’d see this guy!

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Stuffed Peyton looks like he’s been seeing MJ’s plastic surgeon. I still kinda want one, though

Vroom! Vroom! Bdee! Bdee! Vroom!

Vroom! Vroom! Bdee! Bdee! Vroom!

 

This thing didn't work all that well, but it looked cool. The marbles went EVERYWHERE!

This thing didn’t work all that well, but it looked cool. The marbles went EVERYWHERE!

 

Ceiling Pikachu watches you while you masturbate!

Ceiling Pikachu watches you while you sleep!

Skylanders had their own corner. I kinda thought they'd be over by now...

Skylanders had their own corner. I kinda thought they’d be over by now…

 

LEGO basically had its own little city, but you really couldn't see anything unless you had an appointment.

LEGO basically had its own little city, but you really couldn’t see anything unless you had an appointment.

 

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30th anniversary merchandise or marshamallow gun promo? How about both!

30th anniversary merchandise or marshamallow gun promo? How about both!

 

Speaking of Ghostbusters, this one's kinda sad now.

Speaking of Ghostbusters, this one’s kinda sad now.

 

Beanie Babies may be over, but that's not stopping the TY empire!

Beanie Babies may be over, but that’s not stopping the TY empire!

This is why Grumpy Cat was in attendance.

This is why Grumpy Cat was in attendance. I wish there was a real life Boo ’cause I’d rather meet him.

Needless to say, there was no Beastie Boys blaring from their booth.

Needless to say, there was no Beastie Boys blaring from their booth.

So, after all of these pics, I’ll bet you think Toy Fair’s pretty exciting, right? Well, it isn’t. Don’t get me wrong – it was cool to meet some web pals, and it was cool to be in an event that was kinda seekrit, but there’s no real excitement to be had. I was just talking to Matt, telling him that I was having trouble wrapping up this post because it doesn’t really seem very exciting. He pointed out that it’s probably because Toy Fair isn’t very exciting. Sure, it’s probably nice for buyers and exhibitors, but there’s a reason it’s industry-only. Beside the chance to see some stuff before the general public, there’s not much more to it. You can’t buy anything. There aren’t any crazy kinds of sweepstakes. Most of the big reveals are spoiled online before the show. And besides walking by Jordan Hembrough, and passing Grumpy Cat, there aren’t really any celebrities. At the end of the day, it’s just a trade show like any other, only it happens to pertain to the toy industry. So, did I have fun? Sure, it was a nice way to spend a Sunday. Will I go back? If given the chance, I sure would. Maybe that seems contradictory to my stance, but I’m a sucker for bragging rights. Anyway, for actual Toy Fair coverage, be sure to check out Awesome Toy Blog, OAFE, and Preternia.

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