Thursday, July 31, 2008

Could the Dawn Just Break Now, Please?

I've been fighting it all week, the urge to squeal like a little girl over Friday's Breaking Dawn release.

Sure, it's certain to be the number one book of the summer and every article in recent memory has compared Stephenie Meyer to (her holiness) JK Rowling, and, yes, my nineteen-year-old sister and her gaggle of equally obsessed minions have been talking about nothing else (except for, of course, the Twilight movie) for months, but the part of me that would like to retain some street cred as someone with decent taste was trying to push aside the part of me that fell hard for these books last year.

I mean, let's be honest, Stephenie Meyer is never gonna win a Pulitzer (clunky exposition is never the way to go). Edward and Jacob could probably tie for the title of boy-most-likely-to-turn-abusive-if-he-doesn't-get-his-way (that is, if they don't kill each other first). Bella is a total Mary Sue.


So, as I was scrolling through PopWatch just now, I succumbed to the urge to read just one little spoiler. And damn if I didn't pick a good one. And then it happened, that inner twelve-year-old caught hold of my consciousness and made a bee-line for my brain where she promptly started bouncing up and down. Now I've got no choice but to admit that I'm excited. I'll be there Friday night, twenty bucks clutched in my sweaty palm, rocking back and forth onto the balls of my feet, just waiting for the clock to hit 12:01 AM (while trying to block out the sound of over-caffeinated thirteen-year-olds debating Edward v. Jacob and swooning). I'll devour all 800-some pages in less than 24 hours, I'll probably cry, I will most definitely cackle with glee. And then I'll be able to move on.

Until the movie comes out, that is.

Alphabeticals: A is for Arrested Development

If you've never seen Arrested Development I'm telling you now, there is a gaping hole in your pop-cultural education. It's one of those shows that shines in every way, whether that's writing, plot development, characterization, acting, continuity...even narration. It's a show that is so perfect, so flawless, that it only ever managed a cult following (and the heaps of critical adoration that tend to accompany those things followed by cults). What it is, at its most basic, is pure brilliance in half-hour mockumentary form. Like The Office only really really not.

The basics
A family of odd-balls (GOB, the lazy older brother; Buster, the socially awkward younger brother; Lindsay, the socially conscious--so long as it's convenient--sister; Tobias, her analrapist-turned-actor husband; Maeby, their rebellious daughter; Lucille and George, the white-collar-criminal parents; George-Michael, the geeky teenager; and Michael, his father, the straight-man holding the whole family together), the Bluths, are falling apart at the seams when George gets arrested and Michael takes over the company. They all come together in a poorly constructed Model Home while Buster (sort of) grows up, George-Michael battles incestuous feelings for his cousin, no one except Maeby gets a job and Michael struggles to remain sane amidst it all. Plus, it's all narrated by Ron Howard.

Yes. That Ron Howard.

Why You Should Watch
1. The entire cast is excellent, but David Cross as the brother-in-law with acting dreams and an unclear sexual orientation is especially hilarious (an impressive feat with such stiff competition).
2. Pre-Superbad Michael Cera, baby fat and all, was just as good at the awkward pause then as he is now.
3. Cameos from James Lipton, Julia-Louis Dryfus, Scott Baio, Liza Minelli, Martin Mull, Henry Winkler, Harry Hamlin, Zach Braff, William Huang and several other random celebrities.
4. It's a show with undeniable foresight. Watch it and then rewatch it...there's foreshadowing for events in season 3 from the very beginning.
5. The best running jokes on television.

7. Mostly, though, it's a show you'll still find funny on the twelfth or two thousandth viewing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Those Lazy Hazy Not-So-Crazy Days of Summer

I'm hardly a summer person. I'm sure when I was eight I claimed it as my favorite season the same way recess was my favorite subject and dessert was my favorite meal, but the further I get from my childhood, the more I accept that the drowsy, sticky, endless boredom of summer is just not for me.

But there are two things summer will always be good for: reading and catching up on TV.

I am both a voracious reader and a voracious watcher and I often find myself torn between my two favorite hobbies. They're hardly activities that can be done simultaneously, too much plot trying to infiltrate the brain at once (and more than that, I may be the world's worst multi-tasker). The number of summer evenings I've spent trying to decide between slipping into the bathtub with a paperback and curling up under the covers with my laptop and a DVD box-set are too many to count.

In fact, so far this summer I've read twelve books and watched at least 100 episodes of TV (this might be/probably is an under-estimate). Add to that my 2-3 days a week job at a local movie theatre, sleep time (and I'm a big fan of sleep) and all the additional hours I spend checking LiveJournal, reading webcomics, Twittering and refreshing Whedonesque and...I've still got too much time on my hands.

So I've come to you, the good people of the interwebs, to share this love of all things that pop (culture wise). Television will probably predominate (I watch a lot of TV, not all of it "quality"), but books and movies and music are all a part of my cultural diet and will all play a role in this here blog.