Monthly Archives: December 2009

A T9 Omission to End 09

When we started this blog back in the Triassic Age of March 2009 one of the regular features was “Words T9 Doesn’t Know.”  As the site has developed, and as we found more entertaining, more useful content to write about, the number of T9 posts dropped (also due to finding less and less T9 omissions and, probably, sheer laziness), but as we look ahead to an even better year at Jumped The Snark in 2010, let’s look back and note one more egregious T9 blind spot:


What if I was trying to text tweet a mystery novel from my cell phone?  How would I let people know that the plot was becoming more complex?  What if I was trying to explain to a drunk friend via text when his Kraft Mac & Cheese would be ready to eat?  Leaving out “thickens” just seems reckless, T9.

And may 2010 be just as reckless.

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Muppet Monday: How the Muppets Are Already Improving Your 2010 (And Why Even Disney Knows That Kermit is Superior to Mickey)

We’ve well-documented how the Muppets are just dominating the end of 2009.  However, will it continue in 2010?  Well, that remains to be seen, but they’ve already made it so your 2010 will be a little better.

A few months ago Disney announced their “give a day, get a day” promotion, whereby if you volunteer for a day at a participating organization you’ll then receive a free one day ticket to a Disney park (I’m sure there are some annoying restrictions, but I’m not going to do all the work for you), and soon followed up with a series of commercials starring the Muppets touting the promotion.  Interesting that they’re using the Muppets and not Mickey and the gang (Disney first made the announcement by having their characters volunteer in five cities, sending Mickey & Co to four of the cities, and assigning Kermit and Miss Piggy to LA, the biggest media market of the five), but when you think about it, it does make sense.  Mickey, and the other full body suit characters, can’t talk, can’t emote, and has no expressions beyond hand gestures and head nods.  The Muppets, on the other hand, feel living and breathing.  You sometimes forget they are not real animate creatures, instead a hand surrounded felt and rubber and glue-on eyes.  But while Kermit can speak genuinely and effectively about the importance of Habitat for Humanity, if Goofy attempted to do the same thing it would seem, well, exactly that.  Goofy.

Below you can see the Swedish Chef wreaking his usual brand of havoc with Iron Chef Cat Cora, and then check out the additional spots with (ABC stars) Taye Diggs (maybe the only man with the power to make Miss Piggy forget about Kermit), Teri Hatcher, James Denton and Sara Ramirez.

The promotion starts January 1st, 2010.  So while we expect big things from the Muppets next year, they’ve already gone ahead and made an impact on the next decade.  Hopefully this also means that if you give a day, you get a day with the Muppets.  A larger presence at the Disney parks is far overdue, and, as Disney has implicitly admitted, Kermit can do more good than Mickey could ever imagine (and, in case you didn’t know, Mickey’s imagination is ridiculous).

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Christmas: The Final Clipdown

SNL might not have always been funny.  In fact, it might have never really been funny.  But it’s always been topical.

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Just try to watch the first few minutes of the Community Christmas episode and not get into some (non-denomination) holiday spirit.

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And before Dwight was Recyclops he would just come into the office with the Christmas goose.  You know, before things got weird.

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Merry Happy to all!  And to all I’m off for buttermilk pancakes!

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Filed under Dunder Mifflin, this is Pam, Good Humor, Saturday Night Live, Yankee Swap

Christmas Eve Clipdown: Muppets. Killing. It. Christmas. Style.

On Christmas Eve My True Loves Gave to Me: One awesome Muppet video.

As if you didn’t know that the Muppets have just been dominating the last part of 2009, they dropped by Jimmy Fallon to put a festive exclamation point on what has been somewhat of a Muppet resurgence (it was a good year for The Roots and Jimmy Fallon as well, in that order).  The Muppets have traditionally done some of their best work during the holidays, and this is no exception, recreating their classic collaboration with John Denver, the “12 Days of Christmas,” this time with Fallon subbing in for the late great Denver (and a few Muppet substitutions as well: hello Sam the Eagle, Pepe and Rizzo; goodbye Janis, Dr. Teeth and Stadler & Waldorf.  Times have changed).

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And in the spirit of the holiday here’s the original:

And because it’s the giving season, and I’m guessing you can’t get enough of the Muppets and Christmas, here’s some more Muppet holiday cheer: A Muppets Christmas – Letters to Santa, A Muppet Family Christmas, A Muppet Christmas Carol, and, for good measure, Jim Henson’s The Christmas Toy (which was arguably later ripped off by Toy Story).

Sidenote: At last night’s pub trivia the final question was “What are all the gifts from the ’12 Days of Christmas?'”  Having just watched the Muppets and Fallon, I had an ace in the hole.  I still could only name about 8 of the gifts (hey, what do you expect from a Jew with a terrible voice?), but thanks to Fozzie I knew that day 7 brought sevens swans a swimming.  Much appreciated, Fozz!

Enjoy!  Merry Muppet Christmas Eve!


Filed under Muppets, Nostalgia Corner, Talkies, Virulent, Yankee Swap

Christmas Clipdown: ‘Lil Pete & Rite-Aid Have the Same Goal

Was there a show more ahead of its time, more under-appreciated, than Nickelodeon’s Adventures of Pete & PeteFreaks and Geeks, you say?  Okay, maybe.  But Pete & Pete is surely up there, and growing from a string of one-minute shorts aired on Nickelodeon during commercial breaks into a full-fledged 22-min series, it featured some of the most unique, quirky characters and stories on TV (back when being “quirky” was still a good thing).  Even though it aired on Nickelodeon, and followed a set of young redheaded brothers, it was far beyond the traditional kiddie fare, attracting guest stars like Iggy Pop, Steve Buscemi, Janeane Garofalo, Chris Elliott and Bebe Neuwirth,  and could be viewed as one of the first single camera, laugh track-free comedies.  Perhaps you could even say that Pete & Pete paved the way for shows like Arrested Development.  But, let’s not get off to topic, that’s a discussion for another day.  Right now it’s all about Christmas.

Pete & Pete often traded in holiday-themed episodes, including Valentine’s Day, Halloween and New Year’s Eve (my favorite would be “Time Tunnel,” set during the Autumnal Equinox, which is not technically a holiday but worth including because of the Pete’s commitment to time travel, something that really hit home with me (make sure you consume plenty of riboflavin!)).  Surprisingly, it took them until the third season to tackle Christmas, presenting us with “O Christmas Pete,” in which Little Pete (Danny Tamberelli, before he lost his boyish charm and went on to join All That), in typical Little Pete fashion, attempts to keep Christmas going year-round and battles the evil garbageman, a typical Pete & Pete villain (they loved to utilize their civil servants).

Keep it going with Part 2 and then the exciting conclusion!

Sidenote:  About 7 years ago, after a Yankee game, I swear that I saw Danny Tamberelli outside the stadium.  I yelled “Little Pete,” but he did not acknowledge me in the slightest.  As a result, I’m positive it was him.

Seriously though, Pete & Pete is probably the best thing ever to air on Nickelodeon (and that’s no small feat (see: Rocko’s Modern Life, Are You Afraid of the Dark, Clarissa Explains It All, Roundhouse, to name a few)) and probably deserved to be on network TV.  And you can quote me on that (seriously, please quote me, I could use the traffic).


Filed under Count Bleh, Discos and Dragons, Good Humor, Nicktoons, Nostalgia Corner, Snick, Yankee Swap

Christmas Clipdown: A Seaver Family Christmas

Even though the cast of Growing Pains was made up of two Jews and a Canadian it contributed its fair share of Christmas themed episodes (likely somewhat due to the presence of at least one Jesus freak).  To continue getting us in the holiday spirit we present “The Kid” from season 2, in which Ben, ever the lovable scamp, brings home a runaway for the holidays.  Will she revert to her street rat tendencies?  Or will her heart by warmed by the goodwill of the Seavers?  Watch and find out…

Parts 2 and 3

Growing Pains would revisit this premise years later when Mike brought home juvenile delinquent Luke Brower.  Of course, this particular hoodlum was played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and he’d stick around for longer than a very special episode.

What’s your favorite Christmas gutter punk memory?

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Entertainment Weekly, You Can Consider My Praise Officially Rescinded

A few weeks back I noted that the cover of Entertainment Weekly‘s annual tribute issue, a look back on all those we “loved” and lost this year, made me feel incredibly mortal and guilty for somehow evading Death’s clutches in 2009.  I did, however, look on the bright side and commend EW for at least not going with yet another Twilight cover.  It still stings to see Bea Arthur’s face, but it was preferable to Robert Pattinson’s bird nest for a week.

BUT!!!  As it turns out the issue I received was the subscriber edition and, unbeknownst to me, there were special collector’s editions on newsstands that featured, you guessed it, the cast of Twilight.  And not one special cover, but three.  Because apparently if you don’t get Entertainment Weekly delivered to your house you don’t care that Patrick Swayze died this year.

A word of warning to Taylor Lautner: don’t you dare try to out-hair touch Kristen Stewart.  She will destroy you in that game.

And, for the record, I’m firmly on Team Bea.

EW did get one thing right in this issue, however: #9 on their “Must List,” My Parents Were Awesome.  This site was created by our good friend Eliot Glazer, and is a wonderful window into the past lives of our parents and grandparents.  Did you know they were cool once?  Yeah, I know, hard to believe, but apparently true.  At the very least they definitely had mustaches (well, just the dudes.  Mostly).

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Have We Entered The Age of Kenan?

We’ve talked about the groundswell of support that has erupted around Kenan Thompson for his work  on SNL this season, and that “What Up With That?” has perhaps become the premier recurring sketch of the season so far, and while we don’t quite buy into all the buzz, there’s no denying he’s having his best season yet.  With his stock at record levels, he was the subject of a profile over at NY Mag, ostensibly cementing this as his breakout season.  Apparently even Lorne Michaels agrees, remarking that “Kenan’s on fire this season.”  Makes sense that Lorne would have a spot for Thompson, because while Thompson has found his groove, there were many sketches in previous years in which Kenan seemed out-of-place, like the SNL intern, incongruous to the rest of the sketch.  Those moments usually resulted some in some of laughter too, but more because they were stilted Kenan Thompson cameos, and not organic comedy.  Now he’s truly enmeshed in the sketches and earning the laughs. Now while we  don’t necessarily agree with any Kenan Thompson “MVP” chants (our allegiance, obviously, belongs to Jason Sudeikis), we’re starting to forgive him for “Deep House Dish” (but there’s still a long way to go).

But let’s not focus on the present, or even the future.  Let’s look back at the past.

And while we’re in the wayback machine, here’s an interview with Thompson I conducted five years ago this month just prior to the release of Fat Albert, and when Thompson was just midway through his 2nd season on SNL.  Interestingly, when asked about SNL he says “Probably one of the most stressful situations I’ve ever seen in life. But it’s only going to last a couple more years and then after that you can do whatever.”  Well, he’s been on the show for six years now and as he’s just hitting his stride it’s probably going to be a few more before he can do “whatever.”  But after paying his dues all this time and likely growing a little wiser, one must wonder if he feels the same way now.  At the moment, something tells me he’s just enjoying it.  But, you know what, I’ll see if I can’t get a follow-up interview.

NY Mag: What Up With Him?

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Muppet Monday: Take That, ‘The Sing-Off!’

The boys of the Beelzebubs aren’t the only ones who are able to make “beautiful” music with just their voices.  Nope. Beaker, Animal and Swedish Chef can hold their own, as shown in the new holiday video from Muppets Studios, the “Ringing of the Bells:”

Doesn’t that just put you in the holiday spirit?

I had intended to post the Kermit/Robert De Niro duet of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” from Saturday Night Live, but even though it was included in “A Very Gilly Christmas,” it’s nowhere to be found on the interwebs.  Tragic.  But, it’s true, it is better to give than to receive.

Anyone else feel like watching Home Alone now?

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SNL & James Franco Hit Christmas Break Early: You Can’t Squint Funny

It’s getting harder and harder to write these SNL commentaries; not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I’m afraid that I’m going to sound redundant, as it seems that I have the same reaction almost every week.  Occasionally there’s a funny, or at least a buzzworthy, sketch, or a Digital Short that goes viral, or a host that either succeeds beyond expectations or crashes spectacularly, but for the most part, week in and week out it’s becoming the same show.  Starting to feel like a broken record.

James Franco had a fairly successful debut as host last season (although I can only seem to remember the glossy Gossip Girl send-up “Murray Hill“), but in the period leading up to this weekend’s show (indeed since Franco was announced as the anchor in the Blake Lively-Taylor Lautner-James Franco hosting triumvirate) it seemed there was a feeling that Franco was going to be some sort of SNL savior, that he’s developed into a comedy wunderkind.  Now, his turn on General Hospital may be generating laughs, but it’s not necessarily comedy (in fact, if you listen to Franco, it’s “performance art“).  And the very reason he was hailed for his comedic performance in last year’s Pineapple Express and his subsequent SNL hosting gig was precisely because he was playing against type.  Before that time he was identified more with his previous characters: the quiet cool of James Dean, Freaks & Geeks sensitive bad boy Daniel Desario, and petulant, moody Spider-man friend turned enemy turn friend Harry Osborne.  Franco was so successful in Pineapple Express because it was somewhat unexpected.  However, now it seems that he’s planted himself in the comedy camp, or at least as some sort of genre chameleon or Renaissance Man, moving between comedy, serious drama (Milk), daytime soap operas and Columbia University.  And with this shift, we’re now less surprised with Franco’s comedy aptitude, and then perhaps set the bar a little too high for his second SNL go-around.

Which is not to say he was anywhere near January Jones territory, not even in the same stratosphere.  He was enthusiastic, confident and capable.  But he also spent the majority of the broadcast squinting severely which gave off the impression that either a) he was struggling to see the cue cards without the use of prescription lenses, b) his eyes are particularly sensitive to the bright studio lights, or c) he was really, really high.  His giggly demeanor and off-beat rhythms didn’t help dissuade the viability of option C.  During the monologue if felt like I was looking at French Stewart, not James Franco.  But he clearly felt very at home, and up for anything (including making out with Will Forte).

Keep reading: Greatest Hits, the return of Fart Face and belated thoughts

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