February 2008 Archives
WAIT. Hear me out! I know that Adult Swim is kind of hit and miss. You love Harvey Birdman, and then they come out with some crap like Squidbillies. But Frisky Dingo is really good: it's the epic struggle of a superhero (Awesome-X) and a supervillain (Killface), who are also sometimes best friends...when they're not trying to blow up the planet, maintain Train Island, or run for President. And yes, I realize that if you've never seen the show before and just tune in on Sunday night at midnight without any kind of context, it's going to seem insane. But that's how Glark and I first saw it: we were on vacation and saw, like, the eleventh episode of the first season's thirteen, and although it made no sense, it was so funny that we immediately had to watch the whole season. (It's available on iTunes for $10 or something -- COMPLETELY WORTH IT, I PROMISE.)
Seriously? It's hilarious. I don't even want to tell you too much about plot lines because I don't want to wreck it for you. Just trust me.
1. Miley Cyrus didn't trip on her heels! And Colin Farrell wasn't drunk (or if he was, it wasn't why he slipped on the way to the podium), and John Travolta wasn't pulled downward by the weight of his own irrelevance. All of them slipped on some kind of silicon spray used by stagehands. I'm just going to pretend they use Pam, because that's funnier.
2. Did you notice that Brad Renfro wasn't in the "In Memoriam" montage last night? I confess that I totally didn't, because I was waiting for whatever beautiful shot of Heath Ledger they picked from Brokeback Mountain. Anyway, apparently Renfro was left out on purpose. Cold.
3. You know the conventional wisdom that David Letterman has never hosted the Oscars since that one time, in 1995, because he stank up the joint -- conventional wisdom, by the way, that I never credited because I thought he was hilarious? According to Nikki Finke, it's not true: she says the AMPAS asks him back every year but he always says no. Aw, Dave.
4. Finally: you've read all the red-carpet commentary from people who actually know about fashion. Now, read BestWeekEver.tv's Red Carpet Recap Written By A Straight Dude.
In case you're not so over the whole thing already that you're under it -- and Joe R and I have pretty much had it with the Academy by this point -- here's a quick rundown of notable coverage around the internet.
You can start right here on TWoP with the real-time blog of the telecast, featuring me, Joe R, Odie, and Matt Zoller Seitz. We've also put together a Fametracker-style Galaxy Of Fame that you may care to enjoy.
Elsewhere, Joe R presents his alternative nominees; Green Cine Daily analyzes the victories (and offers a buttload of links to other critiques of the telecast, the winners, and What It All Means); A.O. Scott puts the Oscars in context; and you aren't only one wondering what the F was going on with some of those outfits (no more drunk stitch-and-bitches for you, Mrs. Day-Lewis) -- the Fug Girls have got you covered.
As we work our way through the vintage 90210 episodes on SoapNet -- I believe the "Jackie is pregnant with Cheating Mel Silver's baby" episode is airing today -- I'd like to take a minute to celebrate one of the unsung performances of the show's breakout second season: Jenny O'Hara as Dead Scott's unstrung mom, Pam Scanlon.
Mrs. Scanlon is dreadfully uncomfortable to watch. This isn't unusual for a 90210 guest star of the era, since they usually can't act (see: Sue Scanlon); are the nexus of some ham-handed One To Grow On subplot that makes them central to the gang's doings, never to be seen again; and got dressed in the early nineties, enough said. But O'Hara is genuinely hard to watch from a character standpoint, because we had, or had friends who had, moms like this -- not getting the difference between a kiddie party and one for teens; total hard-asses about getting the cake lit on time; aggressively frumpy and unsophisticated.
O'Hara is a Hey, It's That Incompetent And Mean Nurse Or Overinvolved Mom, and with good reason; her disapproving frown is the best in the business. We salute you, lady.
This...is how fanfic gets started, isn't it.
The best part, though? The best part is where the dads take turns guarding a big plate-glass target shaped like a house, where the other team tries to fire big Nerfy projectiles that break the "windows" of the house and get points. And what does the dad use to defend the home? A tennis racquet and a frying pan, of course.
That's right -- Dad is literally defending the home using a frying pan. I just...I don't know what else to say. Except that I missed the beginning, got to the end, and literally shouted out loud in my living room, "OH MY GOD, that IS Dan Cortese!"
I understand the idea that Idol is supposed to be finding fresh-faced young talent that's undiscovered, but isn't the idea of that supposed to be that you give somebody a chance who's desperate to get one? If it is, I have to point out: you know who's more desperate for a chance than somebody who's never been given one? Somebody who's been given one and had it blow up miserably right in her face. Come on, what's more inspirational than a comeback tale from somebody who's already failed once? Isn't that the American dream, even more than being randomly discovered at a soda fountain? Can a serious case be made that discovery is any greater to see than rediscovery?
Unless you are enormously naive, which you are not, you know perfectly well that the fact that Carly Smithson flopped with her first album could -- and probably does -- have more to do with the fact that she was turned over to incompetent middle-managing nitwits who didn't know what to do with her talent than with the fact that she was untalented. Is that the story Fox is going to go with? Probably not. Is it inspirational for them to take potshots at the stupidity and short-sightedness of a music industry so fundamentally inept that it couldn't turn this beautiful, talented girl into someone capable of selling more than 378 copies of her album? Of course not.
The fact is that Carly Smithson is a more inspirational story than they're telling you. She is potentially being rescued by 19 Entertainment from...an experience very much like what people believe is the worst side of 19 Entertainment. Of course they're not going to present it this way, that one record company has already squandered her talent so royally that she wound up anonymous after $2.2 million was blown on marketing her. They're not hiding the fact that this is her history so you'll like her; they're hiding the fact that this is her history so you don't think about the fact that being the subject of a huge marketing push -- like Taylor Hicks was, like Katharine McPhee was, like Ruben Studdard was -- isn't enough to make you a star. The show's mythology is that a record company taking you under its wing is the same as becoming a star; her story proves that's not the case. Her previous failure to launch interferes not with the image anyone is trying to present of her, but the image they're trying to present of themselves.
This has nothing to do with "she's not undiscovered, and thus we've been snookered." This has to do with the fact that she is exactly the kind of person whose resurgence is so against-the-odds that it's much closer to the actual image of what this show is supposed to be able to accomplish than is the story of some spoiled brat who's been singing in county fairs up until now but has never seen the actual seedy parts of the music business.
When people questioned her teariness, I was stunned. Of course she's the most teary! She's the most shocked. She's the most keenly aware of the thin line between success and failure.How do you think it felt to have everyone counting on you, whispering in your ear that you were going to be a success, pouring money into your future greatness, and then selling 378 copies of your record? There is nobody in this competition, it seems to me, who's more equipped to know what it is to scrape the bottom of the hopeless barrel than this girl. This is potentially a great story. A great story. I saw her referred to somewhere, quite derisively, as "leftovers." Is it really true that the record industry is so good at capitalizing on talent that anyone who wasn't successfully marketed by one company and one company's marketing team can be dismissed as undesirable, somehow second-class and second-rate, for life?
There's no scandal here. She is undiscovered. She's undiscovered instead of non-discovered. First she was discovered, and then she was un-discovered, and her odds of ever being discovered again were a damn sight worse than the ones that were facing Katharine McPhee after she, per Wikipedia, had won a local L.A. theater award as a pretty young belter. There's nothing to complain about. Idol is fundamentally dishonest, yes, but not because of this. Here, they want you to believe that she -- like all the rest of the contestants -- is somebody who could really use a break, and it's exactly true.
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