Tag Archives: Television

1.21 Gigawatts: “Mermaids, New Evidence” – When Faux-cumentaries Attack…Again.

-Sarah Keartes

Described as the “rotting carcass of science TV,” Mermaids: the Body Found was the most appalling piece of docu-fiction I had ever seen—until last week.

Up from the depths of the Animal Planet sludgy abyss swam a new “documentary:” a follow up to The Body Found which originally aired as part of “Monster Week” (telling).

Mermaids: The New Evidence, which set an all-time ratings record for the network (3.6 million viewers), has the internet abuzz once again as scientists around the world desperately try to expose the film for what it is—not real.

The sister films combine documentary filmmaking techniques such as narrated reenactments, interviews, and vlogs, with debunked “evidence” and “theories” to drive home the main point: mermaids are real, and they are being concealed by marine biologists and the government.

“After watching this I said to myself ‘if the videos are real then it’s not a matter of it being a theory, it’s actual fact – ‘mermaids’ DO EXIST’. But that was the big ‘if,’” one viewer said.

“Ninety percent of the ocean is unexplored and you’re telling me #mermaids don’t exist,” said another, a statement which has been retweeted more than 800 times.

Firstly, there is no debate to whether or not either faux-cumentary is fake; the disclaimer at the beginning of both films clearly states:

“None of the individuals or entities depicted in the film are affiliated or associated with it in any way, nor have approved its contents. Any similarities to actual persons living or dead are entirely coincidental.”

Most (if not all) of the scientists, government officials, and professors in both films are in fact, actors, including the returning “Dr. Paul Robertson” (played by Andre Weideman) flaunted as “a former researcher for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration” (NOAA).

After The Body Found aired in 2011, NOAA released an official statement to clear up their implied contribution to the film.

“The belief in mermaids may have arisen at the very dawn of our species…But are mermaids real? No evidence of aquatic humanoids has ever been found. Why, then, do they occupy the collective unconscious of nearly all seafaring peoples? That’s a question best left to historians, philosophers, and anthropologists,” they said.

NOAA was not notified that the second documentary would be aired.

“They [NOAA] handled it beautifully—with aplomb,” Animal Planet GM Marjorie Kaplan said of NOAA’s response to the first mermaid special.

She added she was “pleased to note [that] you can’t be sued by the government” even for implying that they are spending billions concealing the entire cast of The Little Mermaid.

With so much previous evidence, why then are people still being dooped?

“The fact that the mermaid shows are fiction was easy enough to miss. Animal Planet certainly played up how authentic the illusory evidence was, including faked vlogs that didn’t bother to say that they were scripted,” science writer Brian Switek said in his National Geographic blog post.

“The channel’s page about Monster Week—of which the mermaids sludge was a part—likewise touts ‘physical evidence linked to the existence of mermaids’ without saying the show is a fantasy,” he said.

Like many people who have “Mocked the Doc,” I have taken some flak for my involvement in the “#mermaids” twitter conversation.

“Just because you have no imagination, doesn’t mean you have to bring us down with you, scientists and science people have no appreciation of fantasy—it’s sad really,” one person, let’s call her “Ursula” said in an email.

Anyone who knows me well  knows that I am more into fantasy than the average Joe—hell I’m still waiting for Robb Stark to come back from the dead and swoop me up riding Falkor so that we may run off into the double Tatooine sunset together.

I do not take issue with mermaids. I do not take issue with mermaids on television. But masquerading fiction as fact using debunked information—and on a network with a reputation (or at least a former one)—is fundamentally wrong.

“It’s not satire. It’s not parody. It’s a giant middle finger to the public,” Marine biologist Andrew David Thaler said.

Follow Sarah on Twitter!

Image by Pets Advisor.

Watch if you need a chuckle: the best comedy skits of all time

-Emily Fraysse

Growing up watching Saturday Night Live (when it was actually broadcasted live) and Mad TV with my father, I was introduced to the world of short, hilariously creative skits. Day and nighttime television shows like Ellen, Jay Leno and, Jimmy Kimmel have joined in on making funny shorts. Here are my top eight favorite skits of all eternity (not in any certain order):

#1 “Hot tub! Hot tub!….. too hot!”
Saturday Night Live’s James Brown Celebrity Hot Tub Party with Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy may not be the best actor of all time, but jeez, this skit is good.  What gets me is how simple it is, but when performed, it’s incredibly funny. My father showed me this and I was in hysterics. We still quote it together to this day.

#2 SNL Jeopardy with Sean Connery, Minnie Driver, Jeff Goldblum, and Will Farrell

This combination of actors should make more skits together because of their combined brilliance. Will Farrell plays Alex Trebek, the host of the television show Jeopardy! and the others actors play the wacky contestants.

#3 “Dennis Quaid is here!”
Dennnis Quaid on the Ellen Show

The first time I watched this, I was on the floor crying. With Ellen DeGeneres telling actor Dennis Quaid what to say out loud to the employees at local coffee shop, Dennis parodies the egos that many celebrities tend to have.

#4 “Did I feel a thumb? No thumb. No thumb.”
David Beckham gets a massage on the Ellen Show

This is another one of Ellen’s clever “Hidden Camera Fun” pranks, where David Beckham does everything Ellen DeGeneres tells him to do. The woman who is giving the massage has no clue that this is happening as she complies with Beckham’s extreme and silly requests.

#5 “Remember when you were with the Beatles?”
Chris Farley interviews Paul McCartney on SNL

Anytime a video or a movie has Chris Farley in it, I have to watch it. In this skit, he is interviewing music legend Paul McCartney with basic, obvious questions that also make me laugh, even years after I’ve seen it.

#6 “That’s something else…Hey!”
Harry Caray Show with Jeff Goldblum and Will Farrell

Farrell plays Harry Caray, a crazy Chicago Cubs Broadcaster with a constant head nod who has a show called “Space the Infinite Frontier.” He asks Dr. Ken Wallen (Goldblum) ridiculous questions like, “Would you eat the moon if it was made of ribs?”  The responses from both actors are priceless.

#7 “Wow! A battery and an onion!”
Worst Christmas Gift montage from the Jimmy Kimmel Show

This brilliantly done segment started when Kimmel challenge parents to give their child an awful present and then film them opening it. The kids’ reactions are legendary.

#8 Great Day with Andy Samberg
“My heart is racing bum-bum-bum-bum-buuuummmmm!”

My friend showed me this a few weeks ago, and knowing how funny Andy Samberg, I knew I was in for a treat. Samberg sings in this SNL Digital Short about his great day, which is pretty dang great.

Popcorned: Arrested Development Season 4 – Watch it again, and again…

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-Casey Klekas

I’m in the awkward position of wanting to write about Arrested Development without spoiling it for everyone, including my editors who have yet to finish all fifteen episodes. I, on the other hand, watched six episodes starting at 12:01 a.m. Sunday, May 26. I fell asleep for a few hours then watched nine more. At times, I wished I hadn’t binged my way through the whole season, but at other times I was happy to power through. If I can make a recommendation, I would suggest not watching them straight through, which if you haven’t started already you probably won’t at all. You’re probably pacing yourself. Good thinking. I will use my best judgment to avoid spoiling anything for anyone. I’ll say as much as I can for those of you who are still in the process.

We should bear a few things in mind when enjoying the new Arrested Development episodes. First, they are longer than the old ones by upwards of ten minutes. More can be done in this time, but it also gives the characters a bit of breathing room rather than sketch on top of cousin on top of Ann. The extra time gives a new feeling to the show and more gags make it into the final cut as opposed to the ruthless editing we see in the old seasons.

The season evolves around a few central events, which, through each episode, we see through the eyes of a different family member. (Actually, Michael has two episodes, as does George Sr., Lindsay, Tobias, GOB, and George-Michael. Maeby, Lucille, and Buster only have one.) This makes some scenes in the initial episodes a bit hard to understand, but the jokes pay off in later episodes.

The season is indeed a puzzle with more pieces falling into place as every episode goes by. Some are not very uplifting, as the family has fallen on hard times (Oh, prison, shoddy land deals, and bankruptcy. So I guess kind of like the first three season). And yes, there are characters I wanted to see more of in the first few episodes, like Buster and GOB and George Michael. But as it turns out, they appear more in the second half of the season, so power through.

I was happy to see so many great themes come back. Ann as plant, Ann as egg, GOB’s panicked stuttering, Bees!, the comical miss-readings (mostly Tobias’), finishing each other’s sandwiches, sisters who “whore it up,” banners, getting blue/blown, hop-ons, and some pretty hot ham-water.

While they could have just run off the fumes of the old episodes–which maybe is what some of you had hoped for–I was actually happy to see the introduction of so many new running jokes like the “Showstealer Pro Trial Version” watermark over clips from old seasons. (I won’t spoil all of them.)

But seriously, whatever doubts you might have about the new season will be erased the more episodes you watch and the more times you watch them. Just like the old seasons, and Jessica Walter, the show gets better with age.

Image by Chris Favero.

Popcorned: "Arrested Development" Developments

arrested-development-season-4

-Casey Klekas

In less than a week the new season of Arrested Development will be on the nation’s Instant Queue. In case you haven’t been re-watching every episode like me, here’s where we left off:

Michael, George Michael, and a hidden George Sr., are on their way to the model house in Cabo. Lucille was driving the Queen Mary along with Tobias, G.O.B, the captive investors, and the hot se—er, sailors. Forty-year-old Lindsay is not a Bluth (she was almost a Sitwell!). Buster is in the water with a loose seal. Maeby is meeting with executives trying to sell the family’s life story as a TV series, which is denied, “But maybe a movie!”

So, where are we headed? Well, in case you missed it, they’ve released a trailer for season four, and it has revealed a few delicious nuggets to chew on until May 26th.

George Michael goes to school at UC Irvine, hinted on a pennant during Michael’s intrusion on his son’s dorm room, where he finds George Michael and his cousin Maeby continuing their hidden affair. Recall, at the end of season three Michael told his son that he and his cousin were not indeed blood relatives, but still family. We will have to wait to see more of Les Cousins Dangereux.

It’s hot at the airport where Michael asks the cab driver if he knows of a “good place to live,” because he’s “looking for a new start.” The sign says Sky Harbor, an airport in Phoenix, Arizona, which suggests that it is cut from episode one of season four, titled The Flight of the Phoenix. Michael burns his hand on the taxi’s door handle, not unlike the Cornballer from season one. In another scene, Michael appears to be buying a new car. Later, Michael stands in front of a new housing development managed by “The Michael Bluth Company,” which is stalked by a vulture, “Not a great sign.”

Lindsay has short hair in one scene, then long hair in another, where Tobias suggests getting her to that acting class. Tobias later sees the sign he’s been waiting for: a model Hollywood Sign saying “Hooray for Tobias.”

Maeby has grown into a fine young woman. At one point in the trailer she is startled by an ostrich inside the Balboa Apartments.

Michael approaches Kitty, who still holds some grudges from when Michael threatened her, then tried to blow her up with a boat. Hopefully she has a man in her life.

We see G.O.B. with his characteristic charm trying to pick up a woman at a bar. He also has some new magic act that looks like it might have “Roman Slave” as its title.

Lucille is dragged away by the police at a seafood restaurant, possibly Senor Tadpole’s, threatening Buster with abandonment. Buster is fitted with a shiny new hook. In one scene, he reveals that he has not outgrown his love for juice.

Well, that’s all I could gather from the trailer. Again, the new season will be released all at once this Sunday, May 26th. Thank heavens it is also Memorial Day weekend, and thank heavens for the auto-play feature at the end of every Netflix episode.

Image from http://www.redcarpetnewstv.com.

"The Bachelor": The Formulaic Falsification of Forever

-Emily Fraysse

The visions of a Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty love story are seen as pipe dreams to young women. Those visions are reserved purely for the fairy tales they grew up reading. This changed in 2002 when The Bachelor debuted on ABC. The show began by generating perfected, artificial settings where regular, very attractive single women get the opportunity to “win” their prince charming. Every episode strives to reassure the viewers that the process of cocktail parties, single and group dates, and eliminations work to single out the woman that fits the bachelor’s needs and desires, and, ultimately, to fall hopelessly in love. The reality television show illustrates what this “true love” looks like—or, what it should look like. Once the bachelor picks the last girl in the season finale, he is supposed to propose to her (although they are allowed to refrain if they don’t feel ready).

To make a relationship last on a round-robin-dating show such as The Bachelor, the women have to do two things in order to “win” him. They must be able to fully immerse themselves in the man whom they have never spoken with before, and they must do so incredibly fast. They must be willing to show affection toward him physically, either during their one-on-one time or later on in the show if they get offered to spend the night with him in the Fantasy Suite. The same goes for the bachelor, as he is also required to show a certain amount of physicality towards to the women. On season 14, Jake Pavelka was seen as a questionable bachelor candidate in the eyes of Entertainment Weekly when they wondered if “Jake’s crushingly boring style of courtship” would even be worth watching. Yet, later in that season, Corrie Adamson, a 23-year-old virgin, explained to Jake that she was saving herself for marriage. Jake replied with, “I completely respect where you’re coming from, and that’s not an issue for me” just before he sent her sobbing to the limo back to her home in Alabama. The realm that the show creates has twisted what is considered “normal” in a typical, long-lasting relationship.

If a candidate does not perform as expected, they may give off the vibe that they are just not that into him or that they are holding back. During the six weeks that the women and the bachelor have together, they do not have any other choice but to show that they are falling in love in order to keep him in the end. For the women who are more hesitant to show their true feelings usually end up getting eliminated. By giving the bachelor constant, over-the-top affection and attention,  they have a better chance of “winning” him.

For the women on the show, it is all about attempting to stand out among the sea of love-hungry females by dramatizing and aggrandizing their proclaimed love for the bachelor. By placing the contestants in various environments, situations, and challenges, they attempt to stimulate a “real-life” effect, except most people don’t fly to their dates in a helicopter or constantly go to extravagant locations.

To the younger eyes, this show can seem very inappropriate and unrealistic. Not too long into the show, the contestants still standing are offered the Fantasy Suite date, which is not exactly a “normal date.” This is telling society that although he is dating multiple women at one time, this is what is considered normal and almost mandatory to do if you are dating someone whom you would like to spend the rest of your life with. In order to capture a man’s heart, the women must perform an intimate act, which seals the deal and reinstates their affection for him. The show enforces bizarre claims of sincerity and a belief in love.

For the young women watching the show, the program could send mixed signals and ideals about what is considered appropriate, normal, and morally right in a relationship. The show tells the audience that it is “okay” and “normal” to sleep with your escort of the evening, that no holds are barred, and that it is okay to put aside your morals to snatch up the man and do what is best for a show dependent on high ratings. Although it is a new generation of thinking when it comes to dating, relationships and marriage, it does not mean that basic morals are thrown out the window. The “Prince Charming” fantasy lives on in The Bachelor, which oozes magical matchmaking powers, “true,” “real” romances, and horseback rides on the beach into the setting sun. The show is not meant to be taken seriously and is in no way a model for the public’s own conduct.

Image from http://beta.abc.go.com/shows/the-bachelor

Pop-Culture Connoisseur: Love "Downton Abbey?" Check out ‘Parade’s End’

-Brianna Huber

I’ve reached the point where I feel like everyone’s seen Downton Abbey except me, which is slightly ironic given the love I have for all things British. There was a recent point when I honestly heard the show referenced on a daily basis.

Given the current popularity it’s attained on this side of the pond, I must recommend the miniseries Parade’s End.

Based on a four-part novel of the same name by Ford Madox Ford, Parade’s End is the story of Christopher Tietjens (Benedict Cumberbatch), a Yorkshire man with strong moral convictions who becomes caught in a love triangle between his beautiful but manipulative wife Sylvia Tietjens (Rebecca Hall) and an adoring young suffragette named Valentine Wannop (Adelaide Clemens). The story takes place against the backdrop of World War I.

The series starts the night before Christopher and Sylvia’s wedding and we immediately see Sylvia sleep with another man. Christopher learns of Sylvia’s infidelity, but being the honorable man that he is, refuses to divorce her or condemn her for her actions in order to protect her reputation. In the world of Parade’s End, reputation is everything and the wrong rumors can ruin a person.

Sylvia is an interesting character in that she torments her husband, but does so because deep down, she really does love him and wishes he would give her some sort of reaction that shows he genuinely loves her. She wishes he would get openly angry with her for cheating on him and the fact that he doesn’t drives her mad.

Valentine crosses Christopher’s path on a golf course when she interrupts a cabinet minister’s game with a protest for women’s suffrage. It’s clear that Christopher is immediately taken with her, but he refuses to show or act on those feelings.

Parade’s End is part love story, part war story. When The Great War begins, Christopher is called away to serve on several occasions and is ultimately sent to the front lines. The story isn’t so much about the war as it is about what goes on around the war and how it affects the people back home.

All of the characters in this series are complex and multi-dimensional. Sylvia is manipulative and callous, but she also loves her husband despite their completely different worldviews. Valentine is sweet and modest, but she is also Christopher’s mistress in a sense. For a while, I couldn’t decide who I wanted Christopher to end up with. I read the first part of Ford’s book and hated Sylvia then, so I was surprised by how sympathetic I sometimes felt toward her in the TV adaptation. I even grew to like Potty Perowne (Tom Mison), one of the men Sylvia had an affair with. He fought alongside Christopher in the war and was honorable in his own way. Christopher’s best friend and confidante, Vincent MacMaster (Stephen Graham) is overall good-natured, but is willing to take credit for calculations Christopher did at work. He also starts an affair with Edith Duchemin (Anne-Marie Duff) who is otherwise married to a deranged clergyman. Initially vulnerable and timid, Edith takes on a more malicious streak as time passes.

At first, I didn’t think of myself as someone who would be one for English period dramas, but I easily grew attached to these characters and caught up in their stories. After enjoying this series so much, I’ve decided I just may have to make the time to check out Downton Abbey after all.

Parade’s End originally aired as a five-part miniseries on BBC Two in the UK and HBO in the US. The series will re-air with one episode per night on HBO2 West starting on Monday, March 4 at 8 p.m.

My grade: A

Follow Brianna on Twitter!

Image from the BBC Media Centre.

Pop-Culture Connoisseur: BBC’s Sherlock vs. CBS’s Elementary

-Brianna Huber

When word that CBS was planning to create their own modern-day take on Sherlock Holmes reached the creators of BBC’s Sherlock, they did not take the news well. Sue Vertue, an executive producer of Sherlock, told the press that CBS was interested in doing a remake of the BBC series; but after their interest came to naught, CBS went their own route, and Elementary was born.

When news of Elementary first appeared, I worried that it would be an Americanized rip-off of the BBC series. To add to the drama, CBS cast Jonny Lee Miller as their Sherlock Holmes. Miller was already friends with Benedict Cumberbatch, the BBC’s Sherlock Holmes, after the two actors starred together in a National Theatre production of Frankenstein.

While I worried about developments with Elementary, I was also undeniably curious. When the show’s pilot aired on September 27th last year, I tuned in. It’s been almost a whole season now and I’ve actually grown to like the show. It’s completely different from BBC’s Sherlock and for me, the two are able to peacefully co-exist.

Sherlock begins when Sherlock Holmes and John Watson (Martin Freeman) are introduced by a mutual friend because they’re both in search of a flatmate. They move in together at 221B Baker Street in London and adventure inevitably ensues. A lot of characters from the original stories by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle are around – including Detective Inspector Lestrade (Rupert Graves), Sherlock’s brother Mycroft (Mark Gatiss), and of course, the nefarious Jim Moriarty (Andrew Scott) – but there are also new ones, like lab tech Molly Hooper (Louise Brealey) and Anderson (Jonathan Aris), whose sole reason for existing seems to be to annoy Sherlock.

Sherlock and John are now on a first-name basis. Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is often bitter and aloof, with moments of genuine affection here and there. If Sherlock lets his warmer side show, it’s usually only around John. When he makes deductions, he talks so fast it’s hard to keep up, but that works well in giving the viewer a sense of what it might be like inside his head. Freeman’s John is a retired army doctor who’s recently returned from Afghanistan. Where Sherlock’s the brain, John is the brawn and the heart. When Sherlock goes overboard with his deductions or insults someone, John is the one to smooth it over and bring him back into line. As in the ACD stories, John acts as a “reflector of light” for Sherlock to bounce ideas off of.

Elementary is different from Sherlock in almost every way. Instead of London, it takes place in New York; and instead of having a white, male Watson, the show has Lucy Liu as Joan Watson.

The set-up is that Sherlock is just out of drug rehab and Watson has been hired by Sherlock’s father to be his “sober companion” and prevent him from relapsing. Watson is a former surgeon who left medicine after one of her patients died on the operating table. Both Sherlock and Watson have their own emotional baggage and aren’t as quick to take to one another as their BBC equivalents, but when they do, their dynamic is wonderful.

Compared to Cumberbatch’s interpretation, Miller’s Sherlock has a much softer side. He’s nicer. He still comes with plenty of eccentricities and a dark side that comes out on occasion, but his sarcasm has a more lighthearted vibe to it. He’s more open to input from others, as well as the possibility that he can sometimes be wrong.

Cumberbatch’s Sherlock is tall, svelte, and wears suits and dress shirts while Miller’s take on the character is a bit scruffier, covered in tattoos, and wears jeans and ironic t-shirts.

In Elementary, Watson’s role in Sherlock’s life is a lot more hands-on. In Sherlock, Sherlock and John are best friends and would each die for the other if necessary, but Sherlock does most of the deducing and John’s sort of along for the ride. With Joan Watson, we get to watch her grow. With each new case, she learns more about how Sherlock operates, or draws from her medical background and makes her own intellectual contributions to solving the mystery at hand.

While Sherlock has a large number of ACD characters, Elementary has very few. For a while, I worried that the show didn’t feel “Holmesian” enough and too much like another police procedural, but after seeing the most recent episode, I have a newfound hope. Right now, with our first hint toward Moriarty, there are a lot of possible routes for the show to take.

When Elementary first aired, it created a great schism within the Sherlock Holmes fandom–BBC fans on one side, CBS fans on the other. Since then, things have settled down. It’s clear now that Elementary is nothing like Sherlock. It’s possible to be a fan of both shows at the same time.

If you’re a fan of Sherlock Holmes and haven’t yet seen either of these two shows, I recommend checking them out; and if you like them both, don’t worry about picking a side.

Images used in illustration from BBC Press Office and http://fempop.com

The latest and greatest show from the land of good manners: Downton Abbey

-Emily Fraysse

Luscious parties, serious scandals, elegantly beaded floor-length dresses, secret romances, and long afternoons spent drinking tea while discussing the latest gossip are all characteristics of the latest television drama, Downton Abbey. It’s almost like the The O.C., except instead of alcohol they drink tea and it is more – how should I put it – polished.

Set in the early 1900s during a post-Edwardian age, the series follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in their stunning English country house. Since the show first aired in 2010, the American and British people have been seduced by the traditional, sophisticated drama, and have been captivated by the crazy antics of the characters.

The first season kicks off with the news of the “unsinkable ship,” the Titanic, submerging into the Atlantic Ocean. Subsequently, the heir to the estate does not survive (as far as the characters know). With the uncertainty of who will now be titled the heir of the gorgeous manor, WWI hits.

Downton, in Season Two, then becomes a hospital for the wounded and the effects of the war are seen throughout the household. The plot thickens with scandals, blackmail, as well as many twists and turns to keep you on the edge of your chair. The point of view goes back and forth between the lives of the wealthy elite and the lives of the servants and then to how both interact with each other.

The young women of the Crawley family, Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil have especially stood out to me. They are smart and beautiful, yet are often times seen canoodling with different men while wearing in the most flattering, conservative clothes. Maggie Smith, who plays Violet, the Earl’s mother, is an absolute hoot with her witty comments and sensible advice to her nieces.

The series covers a variety of topics that were present during the turn of the century including women’s suffrage, the repercussions of war, class hierarchy, the progression of clothing from tight corsets to more flexible clothing styles, and the development of technology like cars, the telephone, and phonograph,

The mass appeal and success of the (so far) two-season-series is seen in the collection of awards it has accumulated including Emmys and Golden Globes.

Season Three, airing January 6th in the United States, will reveal new faces and the beginning of the charming and glamorous 1920s. Long story short, you should get some Earl Grey tea and biscuits and hop onto Netflix where you can instantly watch Season One. You can watch Season Two on Hulu Plus (free subscription for a week, just in case you change your mind later and don’t want to pay). After a few episodes, it’ll be hard to get the opening tune out of your head. And to put down the biscuits.

Image from http://www.flickr.com/photos/e86036/6546797747

My Three Favorite Shows are Going Away and I'm Not Sad About it

-Eder Campuzano

Remember when The Simpsons was funny?

I sure do. Before the show relied on musical interludes and awkward sight gags to coax chuckles out of its audience, it absolutely shined with witty dialogue and inane situational humor. You know, stuff that literally made you laugh out loud.

Time hasn’t been kind to the citizens of Springfield, which is why I’m kind of glad the folks at 30 Rockefeller Center; Pawnee, Indiana; and Greendale Community College won’t suffer the same fate.

In case you haven’t heard, last week NBC renewed 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and—my personal favorite—Community for the 2012-2013 television season. Then it’s one final curtain call for Liz Lemon, Leslie Knope, and Jeff Winger.

And you know what? I’m not too sad about it.

Yes, it would be amazing to get a few more quality years from these series. But do we really want to see each of these standout shows slowly and steadily decline in quality like their yellow-skinned, animated counterparts (or even their Thursday night NBC contemporary, which has already suffered the loss of Steve Carrell and loses James Spader and Rainn Wilson next year)?

Naw, I’m good.

I’d rather remember these three shows as they were, before their primary writing staffs leave to pursue other projects or their best actors do the same. Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly glad Arrested Development lasted as long as it did and not a season more.
Things grew a bit stale after the first few episodes of the show’s third season. And when creator Mitch Hurwitz heard about Fox’s decision to cancel, the way his writing staff worked it into scripts was nothing short of magic. S.O.B.s, anyone?

Who knows where the Bluths would be today if the show were still on the air. I think we’re better off without the knowledge.

Besides, it’s not like cancellation will stop people like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, or the ensemble cast of Community from creating more quality content. Remember Freaks and Geeks, the quirky sitcom about a bunch of high school outcasts? That obscure, one-season gem produced some of the hardest-working people in the business today.
From actors Seth Rogen and Jason Segel to executive producer Judd Apatow, I’d say those folks are doing pretty well for themselves. By the way, how long do you think it’ll be until James Franco solves the planet’s energy woes?

Even Arrested Development is coming back for a final season and a movie. I’m remaining cautiously optimistic about it. I just hope we get closure on that whole GOB and Anne thing (I know what you’re thinking: “Who? Her?”).

Call me a downer, but we’re better off saying adios to 30 Rock, Parks, and Community while they’re still in their prime. It’s better than watching time take its toll on their quality.

Besides, if they became too mainstream, that’s three fewer things hipsters could condescendingly claim knowing about five years from now. And then what would they fill their Netflix instant queues with?

The British predecessors to whatever the hell is on NBC in 2017. That’s what.

A New Look for Dr. Suess

-Jamie Hershman

When I was a child, bedtime stories always included Dr. Seuss’ lyrical and whimsical tales. I was fascinated with the colorful drawings on each page and the way the words just flowed in a perfect, yet fun, rhyme. Dr. Seuss allowed me (and thousands of other children) to lose myself in a fantasy world of made up creatures and places.

Theodor Seuss Geisel, known more famously as Dr. Seuss, originally worked as an artist for an advertising agency, but eventually moved to children’s writing. Dr. Seuss’ first children’s book, And to Think I Saw it on Mulberry Street, was published in 1937, and one of his most famous books, The Cat in the Hat, was published in 1957.

Dr. Seuss’ books were just as popular in the 1970s as they were the 1990s. But with the advancement of technology in the 21st century, reading has become second place to electronics such as the computer and TV. Children are reading less because there are other interactive options. They are playing educational computer games or watching TV shows that teach, as well as entertain.

When I asked the children I babysit if they’ve ever heard of Horton Hears a Who! (one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books turned into a movie in 2008), they both responded with “I love that movie!” After hearing the word movie, I was shocked. These children have never enjoyed the experience of sitting down with a Dr. Seuss book and getting lost in his made-up worlds. I was disgusted that the name of Dr. Seuss had turned into a business rather than staying true to the written word. I was closed-minded and believed Dr. Seuss should solely be reserved to books.

But, then I thought about it for a little and actually realized Dr. Seuss’ books being turned into movies is a great thing. Children nowadays probably wouldn’t be exposed to Dr. Seuss if it wasn’t for Horton Hears a Who! and The Lorax being turned into movies. Dr. Seuss’ legacy is still alive and more profound than ever because the movies are creating interest in the books amongst children.

Some of my fondest memories from my childhood include Dr. Seuss’ books. They remind me of a time of fantasy and constant imagination. The lovable author’s books have been able to conform to a technology based society, and I am happy to see children currently enjoying the books that I grew up with.

Parents love the author for his positive messages, and children love him for his fun-loving rhymes and pictures. Dr. Seuss will always be a legendary children’s book author, where his writing will be able to be enjoyed through many different mediums for many more years to come.