06th Aug2014

Thrift Justice: YSE – Special Forces

by Will

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Man, it’s been a while since I’ve done one of these posts, so let’s hope I still remember how it goes. If you’re new to this site, Thrift Justice is where I showcase all the crazy stuff I’ve bought at thrift stores. Meanwhile, Thrift Justice: Yard Sale Edition focuses on the crazy stuff I get at yard sales. Got it? Good. This yard sale season hasn’t been very action packed, much to my dismay which means that I haven’t had the chance to write many of these posts. This season, I’ve turned my focus more on bulk LEGO, as I can flip those and make a nice little profit. I figured you wouldn’t want weekly pics of bricks, so I’ve just kinda done that in secret. I, however, am not the only member of the Thrift Justice: YSE team, as my trusty partner Mike, AKA “Special Forces”, is always along with me for the adventures. Mike’s a good friend of mine from my Toys “R” Us days, and he’s the video game guy in our operation. Oh, why do I call him “Special Forces”? That’s a long story for another time. Anyway, Mike’s had a great season so far, grabbing some stuff that has made me jealous. So, this time, I thought we’d look at some of the cool stuff he’s picked up over the past few months.

Artist's rendering of Special Forces

Artist’s rendering of Special Forces

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First up, we’ve got this Nintendo game cabinet. As I’m usually driving, I didn’t even notice this thing on the side of the road. We were driving around a pretty lackluster neighborhood sale when Mike noticed this in some woman’s driveway. It seemed to be kind of an anomaly, as the rest of her items were old Ronald McDonald toys. I didn’t even think the cabinet was official, as Mario looked kinda janky on it, but Mike knows his video game stuff, and quickly looked it up online to verify what he was looking at. He ended up walking away with it for a cool $10, which isn’t bad for a vintage Nintendo piece.

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I’m still kinda mad about this one. Ya see, since I’m driving, I don’t get to see some items as quickly as Mike, as I’m trying not to hit people and other cars. We pulled into a neighborhood sale, and some kids were running a sale in their driveway. Mike saw this Bose Acoustic Wave system and was hopping out of the car before I’d even stopped. Bose is pretty damn nice for your home audio system, and it’s especially hard to find cheap. The kids clearly didn’t know what this was, and totally needed adult supervision to make this sale. They said they wanted $40 for it (which is about 10% of its original retail value), and Mike had the balls to haggle with the kids. He walked away with it for $30. I was mad when I thought that he was gonna resell it, as I knew what he could get for it. Since he decided to keep it for himself, I’ve found it in my heart to be happy for him.

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This Electronic Dream Phone game was an interesting pick, as it was more in my wheelhouse than Mike’s. After all, he’s the video game guy, while I try to make money off obscure board games. We found ourselves at this OVERWHELMING church sale. I mean, this place had multiple buildings, tents, the works. Mike found this, and thought I’d be interested. Looking at it, I didn’t think it was complete, because the box was kinda smashed in and it just felt too light. So I passed on it. Still, it was only $1, so he decided to take a chance on it. Not only did it turn out to be complete, but I think he played it a few times before he sold it. I heard Tyler thinks he’s dreamy!

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The top three games still kinda piss Mike off. Ya see, we went to this sale where a guy was selling all of his GameCube games. The problem, however, was that he had no prices set. Instead of trying to figure out something on the spot, he asked Mike what he was willing to pay for him. Negotiation 101: Don’t throw out the first number. So, already, Mike was at a disadvantage. On the spot, and not taking the time to go off and research on his phone, he gave the guy $20 for the three games you see up top. Once he got home and finally did the research, he realized that they were basically worthless. Like I said before, he usually knows his video game stuff, but this was one of those times when his powers failed him. He still thinks back on this sale and gets mad when he thinks about how he should’ve negotiated a better deal. The bottom game isn’t too clear because of glare, but it’s Videocart-9 for the Fairchild Channel F Video Entertainment System. I’m not a huge video game guy, so I’d never heard of the Fairchild system before we found this game. Apparently, it’s from the late 70s, and would cost around $700 adjusted for 2014 dollars (Thanks, Wikipedia!). I know Mike doesn’t have a Channel F, so I don’t even know what he plans to do with this. Maybe he just wanted a video game relic of the past. Maybe he’ll chime in in the comments.

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This was a product of my benevolence. Ya see, we went to a sale where a guy was selling off his childhood DIRT CHEAP. How cheap? I got an original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Sewer Lair Playset for $1. He also had a ton of vintage Power Rangers zords and role play toys, with their original boxes. I ended up getting the original Megazord, Dragonzord, Thunder Megazord, Tor: The Shuttlezord, White Tigerzord, and the Power Dome for about $40 total. He also had this set here. About 2 years ago, this was a $150 set on the secondary market, but then Bandai released the Legacy Morpher, which sent prices for this down the crapper. Still, it was a pretty cool set, and Mike was clearly interested in it. I figured I’d had enough of a field day with my other finds, and I wanted to make sure Mike walked away with something cool that day (even though this was our first sale of the day), so I let him take it. I thought he wanted it for his personal collection, but it turns out he was gonna sell it. Well, that’s when he discovered what I also discovered when I got home: the guy had left the batteries in all of these toys. These 20 year old toys. Yeah, you can see where this is going. In the morpher, Mike found that the battery acid had corroded the poles, so he tried to solder the contact points, which resulted in him melting a piece of the backing plastic. Yeah, that story didn’t have the happiest ending. But I still look like a prince ’cause I shared my spoils with my friend. Which he proceeded to melt. Anyway, he’d already listed it on eBay, so he was forced to swap it out for his own childhood morpher to complete the sale.

Well, that brings us to the end of this installment, but it’s certainly not the last you’ll hear from Special Forces. If you want to follow his exploits on Twitter, he’s @trooperlite. Meanwhile, be sure to tune in next time, when we look at the crazy board games I’ve been finding lately.

01st Aug2014

West Week Ever – 8/1/14

by Will

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Like a good fanboy, I went to see Guardians of the Galaxy last night and I LOVED IT. A little known fact about me is that I hate Space Marvel. Even though I started reading comics in the era of The Infinity Gauntlet and all that, that stuff just never clicked with me. So, I’ve never cared about Thanos or the Infinity Gems or any of that. So, I went into this movie with its subject matter being a little out of my wheelhouse. That was probably for the best, however, as it meant that I didn’t have the typical fanboy quibbles that tend to arise with comic movies. The cast was superb. I mean, Zoe Saldana got lost in that role, while Chris Pratt is gonna be a big star. Batista was thoroughly entertaining, and Rocket did exactly what Rocket was supposed to do. The 3-D was incredible. I hadn’t intended to see it in 3-D, but I mistakenly thought there was a midnight showing when the last show was a 10:45 3-D showing. There were parts when I really thought weapons flying at me were gonna hit me. Anyway, it’s a great movie and I can’t wait to see it again. I am, however, curious to see how they tie all the “spaceness” of this movie into the “real worldness” of the other Marvel films. Sure, they fought aliens in The Avengers, but those were faceless grunts and haven’t really been dealt with since. Whatever. I’m sure I have nothing to worry about.


While waiting for Guardians to start, I saw the trailer for Annie starring Quvenzhane Wallis. It actually looks really cute, but I’m dreading all of the comment sections of websites I’m gonna have to avoid once that trailer hits TV. It’ll be a whopping “Why are they remaking Annie?”, with a smattering of “Why are they making her black?” Yeah, it’s gonna be a riot…

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San Diego Comic Con came and went, and there were no real clear winners or losers. Marvel didn’t reveal any of their upcoming “mystery” movies, while DC didn’t announce the movie slate that Nikki Finke had leaked a few months back. The omissions were more glaring than what was present. There was no Star Wars Episode VII news, no Jurassic World footage, and nothing from the Fantastic Four reboot. I’m not gonna do a full-scale SDCC recap, as there are other sites for that. I’ll touch on a few things, though.

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Following the debut of some Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice footage, we finally got our first look at Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman suit. I don’t hate it. I just hope it’s her introductory suit and that she eventually ends up in something with some color to it. Twitter was on fire Saturday when the photo was released, but it didn’t move me one way or another. It’s kinda Xena-esque, but isn’t that what it should be? Maybe she comes to Man’s World in this suit, and adopts her more colorful suit later. Who knows? I still haven’t seen Man of Steel, so that shows how much I care about that whole movie universe right now.


Shout Factory announced that they would be distributing Kyoryu Sentai Zyuranger on DVD in the US. This is the show from which the original Power Rangers footage came, so this is a pretty big deal. Up til now, fans were forced to watch subtitled versions that were encoded by other, more die-hard fans. Contrary to the kids show that we got in the US, Zyruranger is a much darker product, and I’m looking forward to finally being able to watch it without having to resort to torrents.

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I finally got around to seeing The LEGO Movie. Man, was that good! I didn’t expect to like it, as I didn’t think any of the trailers looked that funny, nor did you get a good idea of the plot. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I got the disc from Redbox. Did I mention that Chris Pratt is gonna be a big deal? And I LOVED Will Arnett as Douchebag Batman. Anyway, I’m slowly starting to realize that I’m a LEGO fan, which is surprising to me. Up til now, I’ve considered myself more of a LEGO Broker – I find them cheap, and I sell them high. I never stop to think about my personal collection unless it concerns minifigures. I loves me some minifigures. Lately, though, I find myself going to the LEGO Store when I don’t have to, and I found myself disappointed when I realized I’ll be out of town for BrickFair. What’s happening to me?! Am I becoming an Adult Fan of LEGO?

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Did you catch Sharknado 2: The Second One on Wednesday night? If not, you missed a great time. Sure, it’s a bad movie, but it fostered such a sense of community with folks online. I haven’t had that much fun livetweeting since Catfish‘s season ended. If you missed it, try to catch the rerun, as it’s worth it just for the D-list cameos.

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Since I finished The Cleveland Show, I’ve been looking for another light show to binge-watch on Netflix. I ran across a show called Trailer Park Boys that looked kinda interesting. This Canadian show lasted 7 seasons, so it must be good, right? WRONG. I couldn’t get through 2 episodes of this thing. Basically, it’s a mockumentary, like The Office, that focuses on the residents of a trailer park in Nova Scotia, so there’s a lot of dudes talking directly to the camera. This is a big Canadian franchise, with movies and stage shows and everything, but it just goes to show that there’s a different type of humor across the border. Sad, ’cause I really liked other Canadian comedies, like Corner Gas. Anyway, I might give the show another shot, but I might just move on to Better Off Ted.

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Speaking of TV, next week sees the debut of two perplexing shows. The first one is Partners, airing on FX. What’s so odd about it? Well, it stars Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as legal partners. Yes, Frasier Crane and Marty-Mar, in a buddy comedy. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be like Nothing To Lose (anyone remember that movie?), but I don’t expect much. This is another example of a 10/90 deal, which is all the rage in television right now. Oh, you don’t know what a 10/90 deal is? Well, allow me to educate you. 10/90 deals were created by production company Debmar-Mercury, where 10 episodes of a show are created as a sort of “test drive”. If those episodes reach a certain ratings threshold, they will then make 90 more episodes, which basically gets the show to instant syndication. Tyler Perry’s comedies House of Payne and Meet The Browns followed this model, as well as Charlie Sheen’s Anger Management. Anyway, I can see why Martin needs a job, but does Kelsey owe that much in alimony that he’s got to keep working? I mean, he made a shitload of money there at the end of Frasier, yet he’s been working on failed shows ever since (Back To You, Hank, Boss). Anyway, I miss seeing Martin on TV, so I’ll at least check out a few episodes.

The next show that’s already got people riled up is Black Jesus, from Boondocks creator Aaron McGruder. If you haven’t heard of this project, here’s the trailer:

Do I really even need to say more? I mean, blasphemy aside, it doesn’t even look funny. Early episodes of The Boondocks had a cleverness to them, while this just seems like it’s an attempt to see how many groups it can offend. Conservative Christians? Blacks? Mexicans? They’re all there. Maybe the trailer wasn’t cut to show us the funniest  material, but I had come to expect more from McGruder. Just looking at the YouTube comments, I can already see problems looming that are reminiscent of Chappelle’s Show. Dave once said that he quit the show because he realized that folks had started laughing at him during some of the skits instead of with him. There is a difference, and I could see that happening here. Is the audience getting the same joke that McGruder is trying to tell, or are they laughing at the whole farce of it? This show is gonna be problematic…

courtesy of AwesomeToyBlog.com

courtesy of AwesomeToyBlog.com

In toy news, Hasbro showed off Marvel Legends figures of Maria Hill and Agent Coulson from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since I collect movie-specific Marvel Legends, I will DEFINITELY be getting these. I fear that they’ll be pretty hard to find, though, since Hill’s a female figure, and Coulson comes with that suit body that customizer’s are gonna want to snatch up. So, I may have to turn to Twitter connections in order to track these down.

courtesy of AwesomeToyBlog.com

courtesy of AwesomeToyBlog.com

 

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This week, *NSYNC released a new double-CD collection and the group didn’t even know about it. Ya see, it was one of those cash grab “Essential” collections that doesn’t contain any new material. Still, it entered the charts in the Top 10, so it’s got people clamoring for a reunion again. It’s got some deep cuts on it that were never on albums but, being a true *NSYNC fan, I’ve had those songs for years. Yeah, I’m a boyband snob.

Links I Loved
NEW EP: Reappropriate: The Podcast – Ep. 2 | “Thinking Man” Superhero Movies – Reappropriate

5 Ways to Bring G.I. Joe Back to Television – UnderScoopFire!

Meet The Guardians of the [LEGO] Galaxy – Double Dumbass On You

ATB

I may not talk about him, especially since I assume that all of my internet friends know each other, but there’s one friend in particular who’s my favorite person on the internet. Matt Guzy runs AwesomeToyBlog.com, and he’s always my go-to source for San Diego Comic Con news, as he seems to be able to get closer to some companies than other sites. Why is he my favorite person on the internet? Well, there are so many reasons (he designed my website banner, for one), but he solidified that status when he did this:

Those are the Power Rangers! THE POWER RANGERS SAID MY NAME!!!!!! Matt got the chance to meet the current cast of Power Rangers Super Megaforce for a Q&A session at SDCC. Before leaving for the show, he’d asked me for some ideas on questions to ask them, but I had no idea they’d actually find out my name. I may be heavily biased, but it’s my site and I can do what I want. If you want to see some great galleries of the toys from SDCC, head over to AwesomeToyBlog.com. But because he got the Power Rangers…the friggin’ POWER RANGERS to say my name, @MattGuzy had the West Week Ever.

25th Jul2014

West Week Ever – 7/25/14

by Will

photovisi-download

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aya

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

Purple Zord

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

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

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


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

sdcc

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

10th Jul2014

West Week Ever – 7/11/14

by Will

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OK, it’s the question on everyone’s mind: Where’s LeBron going? Ha! I’m just kidding. We don’t care about sports around here!

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I know this isn’t up everyone’s alley, but I’ve spent the past week binge-watching The Cleveland Show. Before I get the MacFarlane haters, let me explain: I’ve been a longtime viewer of Family Guy and American Dad, but Cleveland flew under my radar. I’d heard a lot of people write it off as just “The Black Family Guy“, but I’ve come to realize that it’s so much more than that. At least in the beginning. If you skipped the series, here’s the premise: losing everything to his ex-wife in the divorce, Quahog resident Cleveland Brown packs up his stuff and his son and sets out for California so he can become a scout for the Dodgers. On the way, they stop through Cleveland’s hometown of Stoolbend, Virginia, where Cleveland runs into his high school sweetheart, Donna. After a whirlwind courtship, Cleveland decides to stay in Stoolbend, and he marries Donna.

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For the first season and a half, it’s a show that has a lot of heart, as it deals with the trials and tribulations of a blended family, in a way that Step By Step and The Brady Bunch never did. Donna has two kids of her own, who want nothing to do with Cleveland. So, Cleveland’s caught between trying to raise his own son (who he’s not sure is a genius or a moron), while trying to earn the respect of Donna’s children. For the first 1.5 seasons, it’s more of an animated sitcom than it is a “cartoon”. By that, I mean that it’s more akin to King of the Hill than it is Family Guy. With the exception of the talking bears, the rest of the show is pretty grounded in reality. Injuries that would kill a person actually kill them in the show, and the cutaways aren’t as out-of-left-field as they are on MacFarlane’s other 2 shows. I also didn’t realize that Cleveland had its own Lacey Chabert situation (Chabert played Meg Griffin on Family Guy before being replaced by Mila Kunis), as Nia Long voiced Donna’s daughter Roberta for the first 13 episodes and was then recast with Regan Gomez-Preston.

Anyway, it’s a pretty strong show…and then the second half of season 2 hits. Ratings weren’t where Fox wanted them, so the show was retooled to be, essentially, The Black Family Guy. Since that seemed to be the formula that worked, the cutaways became more fantastical, and the family dynamic took a backseat. It’s a really sad development, as the family aspect is what set it apart from the other 2 Fox Macfarlane shows. In Family Guy, they happen to be in a family, but there’s never really been a loving dynamic amongst the characters. The same is true for American Dad, especially once it becomes The Roger Show. Cleveland, however, had an 80s spinoff feel to it, with a similar conceit. Once it abandoned what made it special, it no longer really deserved to be a show. And after 4 seasons, it was quietly canceled by Fox. Cleveland and his family have since moved back to Quahog and rejoined Family Guy, but that just means they’ll be part of the Griffins’ craziness and we probably won’t get much focus on them again. That’s really a shame, as I had really come to appreciate the Brown-Tubbs family.

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After Sherri Shepherd and Jenny McCarthy announced their departure from The View, it seemed like it was time to stick a fork in the longtime talker. After all, Whoopi Goldberg was the only co-host left. Then, they went crawling back to Rosie O’Donnell. Right now, it’s looking like Rosie’s coming back, but she’s got a lot of demands. One of the biggest is that she refuses to work with any reality TV stars, which has thrown a wrench into the process of filling the other seats, as the producers had been looking at folks like Bethenny Frankel. I say cancel the thing and let The Talk fill that gap on television. I’m probably just saying that because I’m an Aisha Tyler fan…

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The DC TV Universe is getting bigger next season, as it’s been announced that Firestorm will be showing up on The Flash. Even more with keeping it in the family, he’s being played by Arrow star Stephen Amell’s cousin, Robbie. I grew up a little too late to really like the original Ronnie Raymond Firestorm, so part of me is like “Why couldn’t they go with the black Firestorm?’

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Speaking of The CW’s DC shows, Brandon Routh just experienced the worst pop culture demotion since Kirk was busted back down to Captain. It appears that the former big screen Superman will be showing up as the small screen’s The Atom on Arrow. A lot of people online seem excited about this, but I’m not one of them. Sure, he’s attractive, but I’ve never really liked his acting. He wasn’t the worst thing about Superman Returns, but he certainly wasn’t the best, either. It seems like Arrow can do no wrong, however, so maybe this will work out in the end.

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A little known fact is that Lindsay and I collected Hasbro’s Marvel Mighty Muggs. I finally thought we had a complete collection, and then they had to go and announce ROM. Commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Space Knight, the ROM Mighty Mugg will be released at San Diego Comic-Con later this month, and will then be available on the Hasbro Toy Shop website. Ugh, I hate using that site, but it looks like I’m gonna have to do it if we’re to keep our collection complete.

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The primetime Emmy Awards nominations were announced yesterday, and folks have been talking about some of the shocking snubs. For example, The Simpsons wasn’t nominated for Outstanding Animation Program for the first time in its existence. What surprised me, however, was that Regular Show was nominated in the Outstanding Short-Form Animated Program for what is one of its best episodes, “The Last Laserdisc Player”. It’s too awesome for me to even try to summarize here, so see if you can find it online somewhere.

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How I Met Your Dad just won’t die! Even though the pilot has officially been scrapped, the creators are now starting from scratch, trying to develop it in time for the 2015-2016 television season. Everyone’s been released from their contracts, so it’d be an all-new cast from the one in the pilot. I’ve said it before, but the HIMYM finale killed any interest I had in seeing this succeed.

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My buddies over at UnderScoopFire! commemorated their “100th” episode this week. Anyway, The gang’s almost all there, so be sure to head over and check it out.

-Eva Mendes/Ryan Gosling

Links I Loved

32 Things about Disney’s TRON on it’s 32nd anniversary [Classick Cinema] – Cold Slither Podcast

I Just Inherited More Vinyl Records Than I Know What To Do With. – ShezCrafti

What Movie Evokes the Most Passionate Response When You Tell People You’ve Never Seen it? – UnderScoopFire!

Brooks

This may be the most controversial West Week Ever winner since I’ve been doing this, but it had to be done. A lot of the “cool kids” will say they don’t like country music, and that’s fine. I’m not one of those people. Plus, country has changed so much in the past 5 years that it’s not anything like what you think country is when you make jokes about it. The current stars were raised on country and hip hop, so there are more modern influences on the genre. Plus, things like Big Smo and “Dirt Road Anthem” have helped meld the worlds of country and hip hop. Still, through all of this, there was one bastion of Old Country left. Sadly, he had retired in 2001 and decided to just do Vegas shows. That was until yesterday, when Garth Brooks announced that he had a new record deal, he was going on tour, and he would allow his catalog to be sold digitally. At a time when Country needed him most, Garth has answered the call. Will he fail? Will he succeed? Is there even a place for him in today’s country? That all remains to be seen, but this is still the return of the old guard to take back what was his. Sure, he had a misstep with the whole Chris Gaines thing (I really need to do a Track Star on that album), but he’s one of the most successful artists of the past 50 years, regardless 0f genre. So, for getting back on the horse one more time, Troyal Garth Brooks is having the West Week Ever.

 

27th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/27/14

by Will

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Last week, I finally got to see 22 Jump Street, and it was HILARIOUS. It’s the same exact movie as the first one, but it pokes fun at that fact. If you’ve seen the movie, then you know that the end credits show what the next sequels would look like in the franchise, like 23 Jump Street: Medical School and 41 Jump Street: Magic School. I want ALL of these sequels to happen!

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There’s been a lot of movement on the casting for the Netflix Daredevil series. While I was on my bye week, they announced that Rosario Dawson had been cast in an important role – believed by many to be Elektra. Yesterday, it was announced that Elden Henson had been cast as Matt Murdock’s friend and legal partner, Foggy Nelson. Apparently he was in The Mighty Ducks, but it’s been so long since I’ve seen those movies that I don’t remember him.

The Flash

The pilot for The Flash leaked this week, and I had to watch it. Usually, I’d do a whole post on the thing, but I figure I’ll wait until everyone’s had a chance to see it. Barry has a Spider-Man quality to him, which makes me like him. It’s better than Smallville, and more engaging to me than Arrow. Nice Easter eggs (Ferris Air, Iron Heights, etc). It’s gonna be like Smallville/Misfits, though, where every villain of the week is gonna be a result of the same phenomenon that created him. I won’t say any more, so as not to give away spoilers, but I’ll just say that the final scene gave me chills. Oh, and I love Tom Cavanagh in everything, so there’s that.

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Speaking of TV, when does The Goldbergs get great? I mean, ABC’s been airing it twice every Wednesday, giving me a chance to catch up on the show that all my friends love. That said, I like it, but don’t love it. Does it hit its stride at some point? Is this it? I really want to love it, but something’s missing for me. Maybe I just don’t wanna revisit the 80s. Maybe it’s the fact that it won’t commit to a year, instead going with “1980-something”.

I don’t watch Game of Thrones, but someone redid the credits as if the show were an 80s action series.

I’d totally watch this show.

I never watched Wacky Races, but I did enjoy the “Fender Bender 500″ shorts on Wake, Rattle, and Roll. This was a pretty cool commercial, giving us a live action Wacky Race.

I hate when a song paints a pretty clear story that’s completely ignored by the video. That’s the case with Lady Antebellum’s “Bartender”. In the song, a girl’s trying to get over her ex, so she needs a night out where all she does is drink and dance. It even goes as far to spell out what she’s wearing (favorite dress and sky high leather boots). The video does NONE of this. Instead, it has Kate Upton getting into a drinking contest with Arrested Development/Veep‘s Tony Hale. I guess it’s good for all you Kate Upton fans, but she’s dressed like a housewife.

I received my first check this week for work done for a comic company. That’s a pretty big milestone for me, and I kinda don’t wanna cash the check. Something like that should be framed! Anyway, I’ll talk more about it when I’m given the OK. It’s really nothing major, so don’t get too excited.

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Be sure to check out my review of Mattel’s DC Multiverse figures over at The Nerds of Color. I’m not really an action figure reviewer, and it shows, but I still had a few thoughts on the movie-inspired figures.

Links I Loved

Hey Squirrels, Electric Hatchback Cars, 80s Lovers and Cheap Piñatas – Can We Talk? – UnderScoopFire!

The Drive (and Despair) of The Rock: Dwayne Johnson on His Depression, Decision to Fire Agents and Paul Walker’s Death – The Hollywood Reporter

Mr. Serious Presents: A Love Letter to Batman ’89 – UnderScoopFire!

Looking Back at Batman: The Animated Series – The Nerds of Color

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So, this week saw the 25th anniversary of 1989′s Batman, which ushered in a new era of comic book movies. It also seemed to have a profound effect on the lives of geeks everywhere. In the past week, I’ve been on 2 separate podcasts about the impact that the movie had on pop culture, plus my pals over at The Nerds of Color have christened this “Bat Week” in honor of the anniversary. Since I’ve been on those podcasts, I really don’t have much more to say about the movie than what I said there. If you’re interested, check out the final episode of The Cold Slither Podcast, as well as the latest episode of Hard N.O.C. Life. In any case, for making us believe a man could dress up like a bat and fight crime, Batman had the West Week Ever.

06th Jun2014

West Week Ever – 6/6/14

by Will

 

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So, I finally saw Ted. I guess to commemorate the release of A Million Ways To Die In The West, Ted was brought back to Redbox and I was able to snag it during one of my many trips to 7/11 last week. In all, I really enjoyed it. Someone described it to me as a “live action Family Guy“, and it did not disappoint. I especially loved the world in which it was set – where folks just accept this sentient bear, and that he’s such old news that they don’t even turn and stare at this point.

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I also watched the pilot for Tagteam on YouTube. I never would’ve known about this had the Nerd Lunch Podcast not mentioned it last week, so I thank them for that. If you’ve never heard of it, Tagteam was an ABC pilot from 1991 that aired the night before Super Bowl XXV. In it, Jesse Ventura and Roddy Piper play pro wrestlers who find themselves banned for life from wrestling because they wouldn’t throw a match. Without any real skills, they struggle to figure out what to do next with their lives. After foiling an armed robbery at their local grocery store, they decide to join the police academy so they can keep taking down bad guys. On their first case, they’re assigned to guard a witness to a murder, but they end up suspended when their veteran partners are attacked and the witness gets away. In the end, the two use their wrestling skills to take down the hitmen and deliver the witness to the courthouse just in time for her to testify. Ya know, given the era in which it was made, it didn’t suck. I guess ABC just didn’t get the ratings they’d hoped for. It had that Glen A. Larson style of violence, where folks are shot at but not killed. To me, however, the most baffling aspect was that Ventura and Piper were going to be working the undercover unit, having been midcard tag-team wrestlers in their former career. Sure, the average guy on the street may not recognize them, but eventually someone’s gonna say “Hey, didn’t I see you wrestle at the Garden?” or whatever.

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On the Netflix front, I watched Women Who Kill, which is nothing like it sounds. It’s a standup special featuring female comedians. In all, there were four – Amy Schumer, Rachel Feinstein, Nikki Glaser, and Marina Franklin. If you know your comedy, you’re probably asking “who?” to that last one. As the only black woman on the special, Marina’s not as well known as her white contemporaries, which is a crime because she is hilarious. Amy has her own show, Rachel is a co-host of Upload with Shaquille O’Neal, Nikki was a co-host of Nikki and Sara Live!, but Marina’s biggest credit is Best Week Ever back in ’04. It just goes to show the divide in opportunities in comedy. Give Marina some work!

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I’ve got more DVDs than I’ll ever watch in my lifetime, but I’m trying to make a dent in them. Since they’re short, I decided to watch a few of the DC animated movies. First up, I watched Batman: Under the Red Hood. The problem with these things is that they try to tell 6 month story arcs in 77 minute cartoons. Sure, a lot of those comics are decompressed, but the DVDs tend to tackle pretty major storylines that need a chance to “breathe”, so to speak. It’s been so long since I read the actual Red Hood story that I couldn’t tell you if it was accurate or not. The major beats were there, with Ra’s Al Ghul, etc, but it still felt rushed. My favorite part of the DVD, actually, was the Jonah Hex DC Short that was included on it. I think it’s because if you pay close attention, you’ll see and hear a cowboy motorboat a prostitute in the background.

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Next up, I watched Batman: Year One. Again, it’s been so long since I read the story that I don’t know how accurate it was, but it was an entertaining watch. It’s basically Jim Gordon’s story, and I didn’t even realize it he was voiced by Bryan Cranston until I saw the credits. My problem with the movie is the same problem I have with the comic: WHAT HAPPENED TO JAMES JR?!!! Sure, the comic has recently tried to reintegrate him into continuity, but they made him psychotic and didn’t do a great job explaining where he’d been. I mean, this seminal storyline introduces the fact that Gordon has a kid, and then the next 25 years are spent ignoring that kid and focusing on Gordon’s niece/daughter, Barbara.

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It was a big week for director news, as Marvel announced that Dr. Strange will be directed by Scott Derrickson. Derrickson’s mainly a horror director, and I’m not a horror guy, so I’ve seen nothing that he’s done. Next up, Josh Trank has been announced as the director of the first standalone Star Wars spinoff. Again, I haven’t seen Chronicle, but I’m looking forward to his Fantastic Four reboot, so I’m not all that familiar with his work. Meanwhile, the hunt is still on for a replacement for Edgar Wright on Ant-Man.

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I’ve come to realize that Jamie Lynn is the more talented sister in the Spears family. Sure, everyone knows Britney, but a lot don’t realize she has a younger sister, Jamie Lynn, who rose to fame as the star of Nick’s Zoey 101. That all came to an abrupt end when Jamie Lynn got pregnant at the age of 16. Now 23, she’s embarking on a country career with the release of her first EP, The Journey. And if you like country music, it’s really good. Vocally, she’s an actual, talented singer, unlike Britney who does that whole breathless moan thing. Anyway, here’s her first single, “How Could I Want More?”

A Guy Love Reunion!

Links I Loved

Dave Holmes Revisits ‘U Can’t Touch This,’ ‘Poison,’ and Other 1990 Jams – Vulture

Mr. Serious Presents: Power-Ranking this Season’s 5 Freshman Comedies that Got Renewed – UnderScoopFire!

Baywatch Creator on Indie TV: A Producer’s Guide to Avoiding the Upfront Madness – Box Office Insider

X-Men: Days of Future Past – Nerd Thoughts! – The Robot’s Pajamas

America’s Best News Channel Is Owned by Arabs – Huff Post Media

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This week, I did things a little differently. Ya see, nothing really stood out to me as having had THE West Week Ever, so I opened it up to votes on Twitter. Based on the suggestions I got, I was amazed by how different all of our tastes are. Orange is the New Black is coming back, but I’ve never seen it, so it doesn’t hold a ton of meaning for me. Sure, Reading Rainbow had a pretty incredible Kickstarter campaign last week, but ol’ literate Kunta Kinte doesn’t do much for me. Speaking of Kickstarter, a couple of smaller boutique toy companies also had a good week promoting their respective toy lines, but I knew next to nothing about them. Someone even mentioned Mario Kart 8, but I still haven’t played the GameCube version that I’ve been sitting on for years. Finally, @crookedninja recommended Ghostbusters. Eureka! I LOVE the Ghostbusters franchise! This week has seen an explosion of Ghostbusters-related news to mark the 30th anniversary of the franchise. First, the LEGO CUUSOO Ecto-1 set was finally released at retail, allowing fans the chance to build the famous car. Next, it was announced that the original film will be getting a theatrical re-release on August 29th, to be followed by a blu-Ray release on September 16th. Ghostbusters has often been called the perfect movie, but I’ve always been more of a fan of what the movie led to, i.e. toys and cartoons. I still have my Ghostbusters firehouse and proton pack, and I was a HUGE fan of The Real Ghostbusters. I’m actually kind of ashamed that I didn’t think of it myself, as the Ghostbusters franchise has truly had a banner week. So, for tugging on the nostalgia heartstrings, and for being all around awesome, Ghostbusters is having the West Week Ever.

07th May2014

Thrift Justice: YSE – FCBD Edition

by Will

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We’re back! It’s been such a long time, but the yard sale season is finale upon us. While I was gone, the thrift stores dried up on me. I think there are several reasons for this, but the bottom line is that the gettin’ wasn’t good anymore. So, I had to wait around for the weather to get nicer, and for the garage doors to open on an early Saturday morning. I’ve actually been going to yard sales for the past three weeks or so, but it wasn’t until the other day that I finally hit pay dirt. My trusty partner, Special Forces, couldn’t make the journey, so I ended up charting an ambitious route down to Centreville, Virginia all the way to Olney, Maryland. There seemed to be community sales everywhere, and those are awesome, as you can just hop from house to house in the same neighborhood. There were so many sales, in fact, that I blew off the monthly Civitan Flea Market that I’ve written about in the past.

So, why Centreville, Virginia? Well, I was looking for local sales on Craigslist Friday night, and I was getting overwhelmed by all of the possibilities. Just as I was about to close the browser, I saw an for someone saying they were selling superhero toys and graphic novels. DING DING DING DING DING! That’s exactly the kind of stuff I’m looking for when I’m out on the hunt, and even though this sale was almost an hour away, I HAD to see what he had to offer. So, I woke up at 6:30, got some gas, and sped down the Beltway to Centreville. When I got there, I wasn’t disappointed. He had quite a few graphic novels, but I had most of them. He also had TONS of DC Direct and Hellboy figures. They were actually reasonably priced at around $5 per figure, but I steer clear of DC Direct, as those things are just too fragile. Here’s what I did get:

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I actually have most of the stories in the collection, but it was such a beautiful leather-bound hardcover, and I got it for $5. Since this is an older book, it’s no longer the *complete* Frank Miller Batman, as it’s missing The Dark Knight Strikes Back, as well as All-Star Batman & Robin, The Boy Wonder, but I don’t really mind.

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I grabbed this guy when I was pretty sure that I already had him. I hadn’t bought DC Universe Classics/DC Superheroes in so long that I really do have trouble remembering which ones I’ve already bought. I knew I had a Steel figure, but I couldn’t remember if it had the metallic “S” that this figure had. So, for $5, I took the chance. When I got home, it turned out I did NOT have this version of the figure, so I’m very happy, as this variant wasn’t easy to find when it first came out.

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I was really happy to pick up for this figure, as these things originally retailed for $60-80. I always admired them in comic shops, but this wasn’t a scale I was interested in getting hooked on. Still, the guy was selling it for $20 and it was new, so I had to jump on it. I wasn’t sure if I was gonna keep it or flip it until I saw the prices it was commanding on Amazon. So, I went with “flip it”.

I paid a little more than typical “yard sale prices” at the Centreville sale, but I didn’t mind, as it was for a good cause: the guy was raising money for his upcoming wedding. If you’ve been following this site long enough, you’ll remember that’s why I started Will’s World of Wonder, so I was more than happy to help him reach his goal (for an update, I still have about $600 to go before that whole wedding’s paid off. Buy some stuff from me!).

2014-05-03 15_opt(3)Once I was done in VA, I traveled back to Maryland, and stumbled upon a school having a small sale. There were only about 6 tables, and I was about to leave when I saw this guy: The Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue Deluxe SuperTrain Megazord. The guy manning the table was like, “Oh, everybody needs a Transformer!” I didn’t feel like correcting him, and simply asked how much it cost. “$4.00″ I couldn’t believe my ears! This is a big honking robot, and it was COMPLETE. I couldn’t get four dollars out of my pocket quickly enough!

2014-05-03 15_opt(4)I made my way to another neighborhood sale, and found these guys: Movie Masters figures from The Dark Knight, and a Speed Racer Mach 6 Hot Wheels car. I already have the Movie Masters, but I figure I can flip them. After all, that Joker was only available as part of a 2-pack, and I’ve had success selling him in the past. The Mach 6 is for me, as I collect basic pop culture-related Hot Wheels cars. The kid selling the figures wanted a little more than I wanted to pay, but I wasn’t about to haggle with a kid. Luckily, the mom got involved and gave me a good deal. I got the Mach 6 for free. My sweetest haul, however, was yet to come.

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On the way to another sale, I stumbled upon a church sale on a corner. I don’t always have luck at church sales, as you never quite know if the denomination of the church will have issues with certain items being sold. That didn’t seem to be the case here, as I found this NERF arsenal under a table in a LEGO Store bag. The best part: it was ALL $10. I didn’t even stand there to investigate it. I grabbed the bag and headed for the cashier. When I got home, I discovered that it had everything you see in the pic. Needless to say, the lot’s already on Craigslist.

If you looked at the title, you’ll notice that I called this the “FCBD Edition”, as this adventure took place on Free Comic Book Day. In the past, I used to pay a visit to every comic shop within driving distance, as different shops have different books. In recent years, I’ve kind played it cool on FCBD, as it’s not really for me. I’m already a comic fan, so I don’t need to be converted. Back when I worked at Diamond, I helped organize FCBD for a couple of years, and the original intent was for it to bring in new comic audiences. Fortuitously, it tends to fall the day after a big comic book movie release, so the hope is that the movie crowd will want to check out the source material and seek out a comic shop. I can run all over creation trying to collect all of the different books, but I rarely ever read them, and I’d be taking them away from someone who might actually appreciate them. So, my current FCBD consists of stopping at one local shop that also holds a trivia contest. I enter the contest every year, and I’m always either a finalist or the winner (I’m not that good, but the questions aren’t that hard). Well, this year, I WON!!! And here’s my prize:

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The X-Men: Fall of the Mutants Omnibus. Interesting story about this book. When I got to the shop, I really wasn’t feeling trivia. I was happy enough with the spoils from my yard sale hunts, and I just wasn’t feeling very “comicy”. In fact, I was just about to walk out of trivia just as it started. I figured, “Well, I’m already here, so why not?” Now, the funny thing is that once the game started, I KNEW I was gonna win that book. I’m not sure why, but I could just feel it. It was almost like it was destiny. You see, when I first started actually collecting comics, my very first back issue was Uncanny X-Men #227 – the final issue of the “Fall of the Mutants” crossover. I remember I liked the cover and it seemed like a decent jumping on point (a rare occurrence when dealing with X-Men), so I took a chance. 20 years later, and I still haven’t gotten around to reading that storyline to put that issue into context. Now I finally have the chance to read the whole thing, and it’s all because I knew the name of Reed and Sue Richards’ daughter. See, I told you the questions weren’t that hard.

So, what have you all found in the wild lately?

04th Apr2014

West Week Ever – 4/4/14

by Will

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So, I finally got around to watching American Hustle, or as I like to call it, The movie where fat Batman’s married to Mystique, and he, Lois Lane, and Rocket Raccoon screw over Hawkeye. The real star of the film is Amy Adams’s deep cleav, as those puppies are showcased in every scene she’s in. In all, it was an entertaining movie, but I’m not sure I get what all the hype was about.

lettermanThe biggest news of the week is that David Letterman announced last night that he would be retiring next year after 22 years. I’ve, shamefully, always been Team Leno so I don’t really have a horse in this race. Part of me kinda wishes CBS would pull out of late night entirely, as the field has gotten too crowded with late night talk shows. That said, with Chelsea Handler ending Chelsea Lately, this would be the perfect time to get her on a network late night show. I’ve also read that CBS is interested in Colbert, whose Comedy Central deal ends soon. I, however, like the idea of Tina Fey, but I’m not sure she’d want to potentially jeopardize her development deal with NBC. Either way, it’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

himymThis week saw the long-awaited series finale of How I Met Your Mother. As a fan from the very beginning of the show, I have to say that I was disappointed. I’m going to be dropping spoilers, so you might wanna skip ahead if you don’t want to see them. When the show began, it was under the premise that Ted Mosby was telling his kids about how he met their mother. It always seemed a bit odd that he would linger on all of the other women he banged, especially Robin Scherbatsky (yup, I spelled that correctly without even looking it up!). Well, at the end of the series, we find out that Robin and Barney got a divorce three years into their marriage, and that Ted is actually telling his story 6 years after The Mother has died (which I called years ago). So, in essence, telling the story was Ted’s way of getting the kids’ blessing to ask “Aunt Robin” out on a date. So, despite the quest for The Mother, and the will they/won’t they between Ted and Robin, the story ends with Ted and Robin, seemingly, together.

I have several problems with this ending. First of all, I feel betrayed by the final season. Season 9 took place over the span of Robin & Barney’s wedding weekend, all leading up to the big day the week before the finale. Then, merely 20 minutes into said finale, we find out that their marriage only lasted 3 years. Why make us invest that much into the marriage when it was always doomed to fail? Why make us buy into the notion that Robin & Barney were meant to be, when it was all just a stalling tactic? That leads into my second problem with the ending: the timing.

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Ted and Robin had been given too many chances, and Ted had finally gotten to the point of letting go. Had this ending occurred, say, 4 seasons ago, I probably would’ve been fine with it. That said, 9 years was too long for them to simply say “Ted ends up with Robin after all.” Plus, it’s almost like a cop-out. In an exit interview, Josh Radnor points out “…and he wins in the end; he gets both girls.” NO! Ted Mosby has always been about finding The One. His eternal optimism of finding that one special person is the driving force of the show. While people like to say that this story was about the journey and not the destination, that’s not entirely true. It’s about Ted telling his kids about how he eventually found the woman who changed his life and, in turn, gave him said children. For Ted to end up with Robin, he’s essentially telling them that she was The One the whole time, and that The Mother was really just another in a long line of women that he had to meet in order to reach that realization. What a slap in the face to the kids! I’m not OK with that.

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In many ways, the ending was always telegraphed. After all, the show was called How I Met Your Mother and NOT How I Met My Wife, so it was clear that The Mother was out of the picture in some capacity, be it death or divorce. And there was always an added emphasis on Robin – enough so that even the kids picked up on it. Another telling aspect, though, is that the creators once said in an interview that had the show ended a lot earlier, they were going to say that pastry chef Victoria (played by Ashley Williams) was The Mother. If the role of The Mother was so interchangeable, and the ending had been known since the beginning, then she’s clearly not integral to the actual ending of the show. We all should have seen the Robin thing coming, and I feel a little foolish that I wasn’t honest enough with myself to acknowledge that earlier. It’s just that it was NINE SEASONS, and they tried so hard to sell us on Robin & Barney that the lengthy misdirection is almost unforgivable. So, I could accept Ted & Robin, happily ever after, in a 5 season show, but I just can’t accept that as the ending for a 9-year journey.

Speaking of the 9-year stint, the ending came at the cost of character growth. We had watched Barney Stinson mature and finally realize he could settle down with one woman, who happened to be Robin. He burned The Playbook and put a ring on it. Sure, even though the wedding didn’t last, it didn’t make sense for him to just automatically revert back to old womanizing Barney. What about the lessons he’d learned, or the personal growth he’d experienced? The Barney that we saw in the finale was the Barney we saw for the first 6 seasons of the show – another indicator that the show could’ve ended years ago.

When Seinfeld ended, the finale bothered me so much that I didn’t watch the reruns for 10 years. I’m not sure that’s the case here. If anything, I’ll probably rewatch with a more careful eye, but I’m still not happy about how it went out. Maybe in time, I can find some more appreciation in it. After all, some folks out there liked it, but I never really liked the Ted & Robin pairing, so that ending just didn’t do it for me.

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This is Xfinity’s Watchathon Week, where they let you watch full seasons of a ton of shows on demand. Last year, I was introduced to Girls and House of Lies. For some reason, Showtime shows aren’t included this year, so I’m still a year behind on House of Lies and will be for the foreseeable future. So far, I’ve bingewatched season 3 of Girls and I still find them all deplorable. It felt like one of those shows that splits its seasons into 2 parts, as there’s almost no growth amongst any of the characters. It was just 12 episodes where stuff happened, but there was no real forward movement. I’m also trying to get into Veep, but it’s just not doing it for me. I should enjoy it, as I like the cast, but the show isn’t hitting the right notes. I think part of the problem is the dialogue is somewhat rapid-fire, and I really wanted something I could casually have on in the background. I’m tempted to try to get into Game of Thrones, but Watchathon Week ends Monday, and I’m not sure I can get through the first 3 seasons in that span of time.

FamilyFeud2007LogoI recently wondered if there’d ever been a Family Feud episode where one person had won the Fast Money segment on their own. It turns out it’s been done, but it was during the Ray Combs (RIP) era.

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It’s been announced that Pharrell will officially replace Cee Lo on The Voice. I was really hoping for someone as flamboyant as Cee Lo. To be honest, I was really hoping it would go to Gaga. The show needs another female on the panel, and she brings just the right amount of weird to counter Xtina. Plus, Gaga’s in a bit of a transitional period, and it would be interesting to see her cultivate the Little Monsters into future stars. Alas, it’s not to be, as Pharrell and his fountain of youth will be occupying that fourth chair.

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Has anyone seen this thing? It’s a NERF Nuke! It fires EIGHTY darts and there’s even a Nuke launcher that lets it explode from the air. I’d never pay $100 for it, but I MUST see one in action!

Links I Loved

Why We Deserved More From The “How I Met Your Mother” Series Finale – BuzzFeed

The How I Met Your Mother Finale Bailed on the Entire Show – Vulture

Watching Movies in the 80′s. Good Times. – Cool and Collected

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I know I made my case against the finale, but How I Met Your Mother, as a franchise, had the West Week Ever. As much as I disliked the ending, you can’t shake a stick at a successful 9-season run. For its endurance, I’m not quite sure it got the thanks it deserved from CBS. In the past, when long-running shows ended, there was usually some kind of fanfare from the network. When Married…With Children ended, Fox ran a screen card thanking them for all the laughs. USA Network aired the Psych After Pshow after Psych‘s finale last week. NBC has always dedicated the whole night to finales, be it Cheers or Seinfeld. Those shows got one-hour retrospectives, followed by the series finale. Hell, the city of Boston even declared it Cheers Day on the day of its finale, and the cast all appeared on The Tonight Show. I’m not saying that HIMYM was on a Cheers or Seinfeld level, but it had been a staple of CBS Monday nights for almost a decade. Instead of honoring that, CBS rushed it off the air (seriously, what Fall-launching show has a March finale?), and used it to prop up the premiere of Friends with Better Lives. Sure, Cobie Smulders did Letterman that night, but in terms of “look back” specials, the closest thing we got was the cast’s appearance on Inside The Actor’s Studio last week. That was not, however, a gesture by CBS. Maybe that’s just not in CBS’s DNA. After all, I don’t remember similar gestures for Murphy Brown (10 seasons), Everybody Loves Raymond (9 seasons) or Walker, Texas Ranger (8 seasons) – three other longrunning CBS staples. I guess “The Tiffany Network” is too good for a simple “Thanks for all you’ve done for us.” So, if HIMYM can’t get the respect it deserves from its own network, the least I can do is respect it here. It may not have ended to my liking, but it still gave me 9 years of laughter. For that reason, How I Met Your Mother had the West Week Ever.

26th Feb2014

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

by Will

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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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24th Jan2014

West Week Ever – 1/24/14

by Will

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So, this week I spent a lot of my time watching standup specials. When all was said and done, I had watched three, but laughed very little. First up was Neal Brennan: Women and Black Dudes. Brennan may not be a household name, but he should be as he co-created Chappelle’s Show. Since the show ended, he’s been making a name for himself as a standup comedian, and he’s got some pretty funny stuff based around race relations and perceptions. His funniest bit is that he’s friends with a lot of black guys who call him “the N-word”. He says that it happens so much that he finds himself calling himself that word when no one’s around. You need to watch the special to get the whole gist of it, but it was pretty funny.

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Next up was Chris D’elia: White Man, Black Comic. D’elia’s most recent role was as Whitney Cummings’s boyfriend in Whitney, but he’s been doing standup for years. Most of his his act revolves around accents and how women are crazy. To be honest, I thought his Comedy Central half hour special was funnier, but I won’t hold it against him too much. This isn’t the special to watch if you want his best stuff, but if you’re already a fan, you should check it out.

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Finally, I caught Kevin Hart: Let Me Explain on Netflix. Kinda like with D’elia, this wasn’t his best work, but it shows that his act has matured, as he opens up about his infidelity and how it helped him grow as a man. There are a lot of funny bits in the special, but I expected to bust a gut. That didn’t happen.

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While I was on the comedy kick, I wanted to watch more, but didn’t feel like sitting through an entire special. So, I decided to finally give Portlandia a chance. I don’t say this much, but I think it just might be too white for me. I mean, I got a few laughs out of it, but it’s SO niche. I guess you could say that I came for Fred Armisen, but stayed for Carrie Brownstein – who has an aloof cuteness about her. I’m only 2 episodes in, but I think I’ll power through and see what the rest of the series has to offer.

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It’s been sitting on my DVR since about October, but I finally sat down and watched CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story. Before the jokes start, no, it was not a movie about The Learning Channel! I never really processed that TLC basically had the same career trajectory as a boyband. They released 3 albums in about 10 years and then disappeared. The movie suffered from too much creative license. Like The Temptations, events coincided too often in order to make the story more compelling. Left Eye’s dad dies the same day the girls are signed. Chili finds out she’s pregnant the very day she’s asked to rejoin the group. It also skipped a few important parts, such as Left Eye signing the girl group BLAQUE to her label, as well as R U The Girl? – the UPN reality show designed to replace the deceased Left Eye in the group. I still say the second verse of “Waterfalls”, with its oversimplification of HIV, makes no sense whatever.

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I started the week off by going to a toy show in Timonium, MD. In my mind, the show sucked. Pretty hard. The silver lining, however, was that I got to meet @smurfwreck and @shezcrafti in the flesh! Above is my meager haul from the show. Mr. Sinister only cost me $5, and he’s an addition to my X-Men Marvel Legends collection. Doom was carded and cost me $10 – he’s an addition to my Marvel movie figure collection. Finally, K.A.R.R. cost me $7, which was about half what folks were charging for it at Baltimore Comic-Con. I’d actually found K.A.R.R. a few months back, but @smurfwreck seemed to want it more than I did (I really wanted K.I.T.T. and hadn’t found him yet at that point), so I had sold it to him. Now that I have K.I.T.T., the “brothers” can now hang out on my wall together.

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Something hit a little too close to home this week. As you probably know, I tend to write a column called Thrift Justice, where I talk about stuff I’ve recently picked up at thrift stores. For quite some time, I was the only thing that came up in Google searches for “Thrift Justice”. Then, the other night, The Colbert Report decided to use the phrase in their The Word segment. It’s odd, because it seemed to have nothing to do with the topic at hand – the diminishing supply of execution drugs. After watching the segment, I’m hardpressed to understand where or how that phrase even entered into the discussion. Anyway, now my Google hits have been pushed down by political blogs linking to his segment. Too bad I couldn’t get any traffic out of the who ordeal. I had actually let the ThriftJustice.com url lapse, but the minute @OAFE tweeted that Colbert had used the phrase, I immediately renewed the domain – just to cover my ass.

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No one had a week like Richard Sherman. Even if you’re not a fan of sportsball, you no doubt know his name by now. Following the Seattle Seahawks’ NFC championship win, Sherman went OFF on Michael Crabtree of the San Francisco 49ers. We all joked that he “cut a promo”, like a WWE wrestler. He also decided to declare himself the best corner in the game. So, there were accusations that he was a “thug” and that his outburst showed a lack of class. Supporters have said that we have no idea the emotions he must have been feeling, and that we can’t judge him on that. My favorite thing floating around is the whole matter that Sherman graduated from Stanford, so “…not only is he not a fool, odds are he’s smarter than you and me.” Hold on there, sportswriter. I have an Ivy League degree, in just as useless of a major, so we’re probably on the same level when it comes to smarts. He’s just better at football. But I digress. All eyes will definitely be on Sherman during The Super Bowl, and he’s probably responsible for the creation of a few new Broncos fans. In any case, you couldn’t get through the news this week without hearing about Richard Sherman, and that’s why he had the West Week Ever.

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