Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Guild

It's really hard to write about The Guild. There's this wonderful soft, gentle, rolling quality about it that I really like. But then there's also this tedious thing going on — sort of like what you feel when you're waiting in line at Bed Bath & Beyond, trying to return the Aerobed mattress that sprung a leak and realizing this is the second time this year you've had to do this and you're really hoping you'll one day soon be able to afford a real mattress and that it's a good thing the staff at BBB are so nice and don't make a fuss about returns and exchanges, at least at the BBBs in the Valley (the staff at the BBB at The Beverly Center aren't quite as upbeat).

So what is The Guild? It's a for-web-only series created by Felicia Day and it's about a gang of online gamers. I'm not going to describe the plot because that would do the series a disservice. Let's just say that during Series One there was an anti-love story and an embezzlement plot. Series Two just began and it looks pretty much like Series One.

I like Felicia Day, or at least her befuddled, too-nice-for-her-own-good character Codex. Day is a regular on TV and is probably best known as Vi, one of the would-be slayers on the last season of Buffy. She says she began writing The Guild during the writers' strike when there wasn't anything for actors to do except write. And so she did. The Guild has a good fan base and apparently even inspired Joss Whedon to produce his Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, which, of course, stars Felicia Day. Series Two is even sponsored by Microsoft, so now you have to go to MSN to see the new shows instead of YouTube. But Series One is still available on YouTube and here's Episode One. The episodes are never more than six minutes long so you end up spending more time downloading them than actually watching them. Oh, well.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cooking Japanese Like Morimoto

On the topic of TV ads, I thought I'd also comment on one of the funniest TV ads I've ever seen. It's for a TV show called Iron Chef and it's zany, clever, and soooo fun. The ad is basically a reduced essence of Iron Chef, a weird Japanese cooking competition, with bits and pieces of the show chopped up into a frenetic music video. The featured song is "Cooking Japanese", an adaptation of the Vapors's song "Turning Japanese". The show and song are satirized in the best way possible, and it also humorously captures the cultural confusion and bewilderment of anyone not Japanese. The song is so catchy, I find myself singing it at odd times of the day: "I'm cooking Japanese, I think I'm cooking Japanese like Morimoto..."

BTW, the original "Turning Japanese" is a love song, which I was astonished to find out. Ironically, it works better as a love song in "Cooking Japanese" because the narrator of the spoof is obviously besotted with the show. I like both songs, the original and the spoof. The lyrics of the original have a total post-modern disregard for coherence, which is great. Oh — the rumor that "turning Japanese" is an euphemism for masturbation is false. In case you wondered... ;)