Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bottled in Cork

True fact: I hate music. I also hate women, mexican food, and freedom. That said, I love music videos. TRL is probably my favorite show and I watch it everyday off of a collection of VHS tapes that I keep in my bedroom. I also really love Paul F. Tompkins, so the new Ted Leo and the Pharmacists' video for "Bottled in Cork" is pretty good.

Monday, August 23, 2010

True Blood 3.10: Blah Blah Vampire Emergency

Oh, True Blood! So full of twists and turns! How do the writers and actors keep all of these plotlines straight? Answer: they don’t! They just add and add until all that’s left is some mud-colored television show and we, the people, nod our heads yes and scream for more. More Sookie sad mouth, we say, and they give it to us! Less men with body hair! It’s ours! Less clothes! More blood! Nakey nakey stakey stakey! But we are not grateful. No. We will keep asking, keep begging, and True Blood will continue to provide.

Now let us recap.

Last night’s episode was all about discoveries. Lafayette discovers his witchy heritage, Tara discovers who really shot Eggs, Jason discovers werepanthers, Sam rediscovers his past as a murderer, Hoyt and Jessica discover they still love each other, and, in the biggest reveal of the night, we find out what Sookie really is. What she is, it turns out, is part fairy. LE GASP! Fairies exist, too, because this is Bon Temps and of course they do. Nothing can be simple and everyone has to be a special twinkling star. So Sookie is a fairy (barf), which finally explains why everyone is so darn interested in her. Vampires love fairies so much (it’s science) that they will forgive Sookie for being an awful self-centered person.

Having learned about her mystic origins (which have something to do with rape? Ugh, I don’t know), Sookie still decides to forgive Bill for almost killing her in the back of a moving truck (I have yet to forgive him for the “almost” part), though she’s starting to doubt his intentions. Her doubts grow greater when Eric decides to Inception her and enter her dreams for a little chat and tickle.

“Don’t trust Bill,” he says. “Why?” Sookie asks. “Just because,” he answers, but it is more than enough. Come dusk, Sookie scampers off to Fangtasia where she and Eric kiss for realz. Before things can get too heated, Awesome Pam barges in and suggests that Eric use Sookie as leverage with King Russell (who is harboring some major bloodlust, especially since the loss of his husband Talbot. Gay vampires be stakin’, I guess). Rather than putting it to Sookie, Eric seemingly complies with Pam’s plan and throws our little fairy bar maiden into his basement dungeon. My feeling is that he has plan of his own, one that doesn’t involve handing Sookie over to the enemy, but we’ll see. Maybe we’ll get lucky and everyone will forget she’s down there. Bye, Sookie! Sorry you had to starve to death!

Hey, remember Eggs? And how Jason shot him dead? Well, on Sookie’s stellar advice, Jason decides to tell Tara the truth and she gets predictably angry and sad. Welcome back, annoying Tara! She was getting way too proactive and reasonable for awhile there, so it’s good to see her back as her normal horrible self. Anyway, she runs off to somewhere and hopefully gets hit by a car. Meanwhile, Jason finds a panther in his bedroom; only it’s not really a panther. It’s actually his girlfriend Crystal, but she can turn into a panther when she wants to. Weres: they’re not just for wolves anymore.

Both Sam and Lafayette take separate journeys to the past. Lafayette does so when his boyfriend Nurse Jesus convinces him to go on a V trip and they discover that his great great grandmother was some sort of medicine/witch woman that used spells to keep her slave master from raping her (maybe she should have used a spell that would have kept him from enslaving her, but who likes to think of these kind of things?). So, Lafayette is special, too. Like I said, everyone’s a unique star. Sam’s trip to his past is slightly more personal. High from a fight and drunk on whiskey, he flashes back to his days as a slick jewel thief who bedded dames in motels (I swear I’m not making this up), that is until one of the dames gave him the run-around and he shot her and her boyfriend dead (still not making this up). Now, Sam’s shrouded past is both tragic and violent. Great.

It feels like only yesterday that I decided to recap this show with such expectations and enthusiasm. Ah, to be young again. Only two episodes left and this season is done FOREVER.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Marcel The Shell with Shoes On

Last fall, while I was interning in New York City, I would spend every Wednesday night in the back room of a bar called The Lovin' Cup in Williamsburg. In many ways, The Lovin’ Cup is a good representative of what many hate about the area—the beer is expensive, it’s directly across the street from an American Apparel, and I once saw a bartender wearing a top hat. That said, it is home to one of the best weekly comedy nights in all of New York and it’s totally FREE (music to an unpaid intern’s ears). The guests they get to perform are incredible—over the 3 months I was living in Brooklyn, I managed to see Aziz Ansari, Mike Birbiglia, Reggie Watts, Kumail Nanjiani, Natasha Leggero, and more—but few are as funny and likable as the show’s regular hosts Max Silvestri, Gabe Liedman, and Jenny Slate.

While I love Max and Gabe, it's Jenny who holds the special place in my comedy-loving heart, thanks somewhat to her love of fart noises and the fact that she was so damn nice to me when I finally worked up the courage to introduce myself after a show. Regardless of the reason, I really adore Jenny Slate and basically anything she's a part of. Like this newly released short, for example:

MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON from Dean Fleischer-Camp on Vimeo.

Monday, August 9, 2010

True Blood 3.8: Where the clicker?

God help us for it is once again that time of the week when we must delve into the world of True Blood. I act as though the duty to recap this show every week was thrust upon me by some external force, but, alas, it wasn’t. Rather, it was a decision that I made because I thought that it would be a fun way to push my writing (how na├»ve I was!) and now I must live with the consequences. Oh, woe! Woe for now I must drag you with me into the pit of despair that Alan Ball has created for us! Though the path is littered with the bones of the poor lost souls that came and failed before us, we must, by Zounds, carry on.

Unfortunately, Sookie is carrying on as well. Newly awakened from her coma (boooooo), our lil’ bottle-blonde banjo strummer finds herself face to face with Bill Compton’s bangs. Sure, she loves Bill Compton’s bangs more than almost anything, but, considering that Bill Compton’s bangs are the reason that she was unconscious to begin with, she can no longer reason the two of them together. Plung plung plung, goes the guitar. Ruh ruh ruh, goes the fiddle. Yes, it is sad. Both parties are crying, while a third party (hint: the third party is me) is falling asleep on her parents’ sofa. Ruh ruh ruh, indeed.

So Sookie heads back to Bon Temps only to mope around and be passive aggressive to the people who care about her. She’s particularly rude to Tara even though Tara has saved her life at least three times in the past few days and is experiencing some hardcore PTS of her own. Sookie could care less because she’s too busy making half-passes at Werewolf Alcide and ignoring the advice of everyone she comes into contact with. One such piece of advice comes from Eric Northman, who, through a messenger, tells Sookie that King Russell is coming for her and she better run. Rather than listen to a thousand year old vampire with insider information, Sookie does the usual stomp'n' holler, shoutin’ “Come ‘n’ git me! I ain’t scared a’nothin’!” all while doing a rain dance in her backyard.

Speaking of Eric, our sweet Golden Prince of Scandinavia, what is he up to? Why, playing chess with Talbot, of course! The game of the sexes! A centuries old symbol of courtship and flirtation! How subtle. Anyway, Talbot gets bored and demands that Eric takes off his clothes and Eric is like, “okay” and does it. And then they start kissing, which is super racy and sexy actually pretty boring. Things progress and Eric asks Talbot, the clear bottom, to roll over and Talbot is like, “no probs,” which is wrong because it is in fact MAJOR PROBS. “Russell killed my family,” Eric growls, causing his corn silk mane to quiver ‘bout his head. Talbot’s eyes widen, but he is too slow. Eric stakes him in the back and is left standing naked, triumphant.

While one vampire has come out on top (HACHA!), another is left dejected. Bill, back in Bon Temps, is doing his same old “it sucks to be a vampire” routine (even though it clearly doesn’t). “I’m no good to anybody,” he opines and is, in many ways, right. He should probably kill himself, but he doesn’t. I suppose this is good for Jessica, his neglected baby progeny, who has been stuck at his mansion and negotiating the terms of vampirism all on her own. Still, she needs a father figure (don’t they all) and Bill is the best that she can do. To make up for his absence, Bill decides to give her some fighting lessons, which end up coming in handy once Russell and his werewolf gang show up at Sookie’s house. Once the fight is over, however, Bill again forgets about Jessica (who, last he saw, was badly injured) because Sookie tells him that she still loves him and suddenly it’s bone o’clock. This bone o’clock is different than the others, though, because Sookie puts him in a chokehold and he puts her in one and—zzzzzzzzzzzzz. I DON'T CARE.

What bugs me most about True Blood these days is not the amount or quality of graphic sex and violence, but how the writers are using that sex and violence to cover up weak plotlines and character development. Ultimately, Bill and Sookie could perform Bukaki and it still wouldn’t be edgy because they, as characters, are completely dull. The same can be said about Eric rolling around naked with Talbot. To me, the idea of two men having sex with each other is neither abnormal nor taboo, which allowed me to see what wasn’t there—emotional investment in either characters' storyline. Ultimately, I’ve come to the realization that I don’t care what happens to a single person on this show (except Lafayette…maybe), but, seeing how the current season of True Blood is getting the highest ratings of any show in HBO history, I don’t see them turning things around anytime soon.

Oh, well. I’ll still be tuning in next week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Happy Holidays from the Davies family!

Back in the winter of '91, when my dad sat us 'round the dining room table to tell us his plan for our annual Christmas card, I was a little skeptical.

Like they say, hindsight is 20/20 and only now am I able to see my father's concept for what it truly is: a wholesome and not-at-all terrifying expression of my family's love for each other.

(Found via Boing Boing)

Monday, August 2, 2010

This clip is up here. We are down there.

On the extensive list of things that I hold dear, Stephen Colbert is #4 and the Real Housewives franchise is #7 (to give you some perspective, beer brats are #2 and my mother is #16). This clip of Stephen reenacting the infamous "this is you, this is me" fight from RHNY with Bravo's Andy Cohen has definitely pushed it's way into the top 5. Skip to 4:12 for the good stuff.

Speaking of Mad Men...

Did anyone else notice the helvetica poster hanging in the Sterling Cooper Draper Price work room? It's the orange one with the black and white lettering and I really really want to own it. Would the Mad Men set dresser who (no doy) reads this blog contact me immediately? THANKS.

On a related note, I'm thinking about doing Mad Men recaps for the rest of the season but I'm hesitant because a.) recaps are time consuming and b.) I don't know if I can handle writing about a show that's actually good. Sadly, my key (sole) talent as a writer is my inability to convey anything without a layer of contempt or sarcasm and I don't know how I'd function when facing something as streamlined and well-crafted as Mad Men.

Any thoughts either way, cyber friends?

Well, that was fast

Nice work, Twitterbot.

True Blood 3.7: I thought you came to flirt

Last night’s episode of True Blood opened with Sookie Stackhouse Christmas tree shopping with her mother, brother, and new step father. Amidst the Douglas Firs and Scotch Pines, our young heroine happens upon Vampire Bill, that kid for the neighborhood who, at one time, was hopelessly in love with Sookie’s hard-hearted mother. He hasn’t been around much in the past season (he’s been too busy making gimp lanyards) but now he’s back and has his heart set on Sookie. He’s eerie, our Bill, but he and Sookie have so much in common, especially now that Sookie’s father Sam Merlotte has relocated to the city where he’s quickly crumpling beneath the weight of booze, sex, and work. Bill’s vampire father is also gone, leaving Bill lonely and bitter. Strange as it seems, Sookie is touched by Bill’s forward and destructive attempts to relate to her. What an intriguing and not-at-all-boring relationship.

Meanwhile, in the thriving metropolis of Bon Temps, Merlotte’s Bar is kept busy by a new account with Pond’s cold cream and preparations for the staff Christmas party. Though he is the bar’s namesake, Sam is quickly losing his authority at the establishment and in his personal life. We see his self-destruction manifested as he drinks himself into a stupor and makes several drunken passes at various women. Eventually he lures his new hostess Vampire Jessica into his trailer for some not-so-sexy sex— all through the fly of his wrangler jeans. The next day, he gives her a big Christmas bonus, leaving the poor vampire girl to feel like a vampire prostitute. Also: Sam’s real name is Dick Whitman!

Sam and his protege Tara at the Merlotte's Bar Christmas party.

I’m so glad that this show is on the air and bringing such well-rounded human characters into our lives. And we mustn’t forget the style! And historical references! The sixties must have been such a gas! The Vampire Civil Rights movement? Clearly the best of all civil rights movements. The well-paced story telling keeps me so engrossed, I can hardly wait to tune into AMC for the next episode.

Upon editing, I’ve realized that I may have confused last night’s True Blood with last night’s Mad Men. Since last night’s True Blood was one of the worst hours of television I’ve ever seen (it was so bad that I can’t even work up the energy to mock it), I will let the mistake stand. In hindsight, I actually made True Blood sound like a pretty cool show. You’re welcome.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Congratulations, Lisa!

Forget about the Chelsea Clinton nuptials. America's REAL most iconic daughter is getting married today!