Friday, October 31, 2008

Campaign to De-humanize Doctor Who

Is it just me, or is the Time Lord becoming way too human? What's the point of having more than one heart if you're just going to act like you only have one heart?

I just don't think the writers are seeing things from a superior being's point of view. See, a Time Lord would see us humans the same way we see hamsters. We're cute and fun and entertaining to have around. And if you lose one, you get another. You don't pine season after season over the cute little hamster that you lost somewhere. Why would you? You've got other cute little hamsters. To think we humans make that much of a lasting impression on the universe is total megalomania. Ego check: we're hamsters, not heroes.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Gavin & Stacey

When I found out Hollywood is thinking of doing a US version of Gavin & Stacey, I got a real sick feeling in my heart. Gavin & Stacey is so perfect as it is. It's sort of like saying, hey, let's remake the Queen for American audiences. Why?

Gavin & Stacey is a fantastic British comedy written by James Corden and Ruth Jones (they also play Gavin and Stacey's respective wacky best friends). There isn't a real story: a Welsh lass and an Essex lad fall in love and decide to get married. So, all you have left is the writing, which is brilliant, and the acting that delivers the brilliant lines, which is perfect. My favorite gag this season involved one of Nessa's many lovers who died trying to fake his own death. The whole bit is delivered and received with total seriousness — perfect comedy.

The scenes with Nessa (Ruth Jones) are always funny, but when they also involve the two mothers, Pam (Alison Steadman) and Gwen (Melanie Walters), it's Christmas dinner in a snow globe: shake and watch with wonder. You've got energy vampire Nessa, world-weary at twenty-something. Add Pam, the nervous little mouse who wants desperately to seem hip, the classic people-pleaser. Stir in Gwen, small-town mom who rather enjoys having a gay son — so handy when you go shopping (think the shopping part in Welsh — for some reason, it's much more funnier delivered in a Welsh accent). There's a running gag involving Pam that's getting more and more ridiculously funny: she, for some weird reason, tells Gwen she's a vegetarian, when she's actually a raging sausage-eater, and she's too embarrassed to tell Gwen otherwise so now whenever they eat together, she has to fake vegetarianism when she doesn't really even know what that involves beyond eating disgusting soy sausages. Man, Alison Steadman is really running with this.

The show's had two seasons. After the first season, I was really nervous that they were going to make a second season — sophomore slump and all*. Could the fun possibly continue after the honeymoon? Yes! Hooray James and Ruth!

Here's a quick glimpse.

*I mean look at what happened to the Sarah Silverman Show. The Silverman writers should have packed their bags after the first season and just added "I'm Fucking Matt Damon" as an epilogue.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Heroes, Why I've Given Up

So for two seasons they had this bad "company" that controlled everything but now this season the bad "company" turned into a good "company" so they needed a bad "company" to replace the good "company" that used to be a bad "company". Riiight, dudes.

Heroes never really captured me anyway, but I kept watching because it was interesting. And Hiro was so cute. And okay, the "save the cheerleader and save the world" spiel was cute too. What I didn't like was all the repetitive graphic violence — like did they have to keep showing Claire throwing herself off buildings and stuff? I mean, how many times did I have to keep watching gross compound fractures heal? And did I really have to see her stick her hand down the disposal just to see what would happen? Adding to that, there's this real coldness to the show, in the color palettes, the stories, the deadness of the heroes. And now the story's crap.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

HDTV Is Scaring Me

HDTV is not kind to women. At least not to women with heavy plastic surgery. The living dead on HDTV suddenly become the ghoulish dead. If I were the women of Hollywood, I'd get together and form a Middleman conspiracy to kill HDTV. Or lure Max Factor back from the dead and have him reformulate all his make-up because something has to be done. You women are scaring me.

You know what else doesn't work on HDTV? Commercial food. Like Wienerschnitzel's chili dogs, which look like they're covered in shit from a dog that ate all your Ex-Lax -- isn't that taking "truth in advertising" a little too literally? Their chili dog isn't that bad. And why does everything at Olive Garden look like it was nuked from a packet (maybe it is). Campbell's soups look cold and congealed, El Pollo Loco chicken looks like plastic, and everything from Lean Cuisine looks like airline food. And I'm talking cattle class.

Of course, my big fear is that to the rest of America, this stuff does look good enough to eat. And what does that say for the American diet?

Oh — the one food product that does translate well is hamburgers. I guess glistening fat always looks good.

So what's the connection between insecure actresses who get too much plastic surgery and food pumped full of additives? I'll leave that for you guys to answer in the comments!

HDTV is going to be one tough learning curve.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Mitsuwa Man

Today, I'd like to talk about the Mitsuwa Man, or Mitsuwa Takashi as he's also known on KSCI. For about five minutes every Sunday, Mitsuwa Takashi pops up during Japanese programming to offer sage advice (and to plug Mitsuwa, a Japanese shopping center). There's something really scary about Mitsuwa Takashi, and yet, at the same time, equally appealing, which is even more scary. He's got this elvish face with a Pokemon smile, his eyes fiery with friendliness as he acts as the anointed clown/court jester of Mitsuwa. You just have to catch the opening segment where he dances with balletic grace while holding a rice cooker on top of his head.

A typical segment runs like this. Mitsuwa Takashi will offer advice on, say, how to clean your jewelry or get more gas mileage out of your car or what to do with gloves. If it's a Japanese holiday, he'll help you make decorations out of cucumbers. Maybe he'll talk to the Mitsuwa fish man. And then he might end the segment by dispensing more advice to some hapless viewer who has sent in a letter. Like "Dear Mitsuwa Takashi, I came to L.A. last year fired up by my dream of becoming a director. It's been a year and nothing's happened and I feel really bad. What should I do?" And he'll say something like, "Oh, yes, there's nothing like that wonderful enthusiasm you first feel trying to make your dreams come true. Why don't you try to resuscitate that feeling? Do you remember what you first ate when you came to L.A.? Maybe Kentucky Fried Chicken? Or a nice taco? Go and get some chicken and all those feelings will rush back into you. But if things get really bad and you've lost all hope, why don't you come and work part-time at Mitsuwa! Where you'll be able to use your Japanese!"

At these moments, how can you not love little Mitsuwa Takashi? (BTW, Mitsuwa Takashi, I can't speak Japanese, but Kentucky Fried Chicken isn't resuscitating me so can I come work part-time at Mitsuwa, too? I have Japanese friends and I've eaten a lot of ramen through the years, if that helps, and I can say "konnichiwa" and "kore wa nan des ka". Oh, "moshi-moshi" too!)