Monthly Archives: February 2013

The Pope’s Last Supper

The Pope-a comes to Visit

Today Pope Benedict XVI officially resigned from the Church, waving goodbye to the Vatican and the millions of Catholics who believed he was infallible. But what did he do for his last night as Pope? Well, as you might imagine, he celebrated with a big pasta dinner, and things got a little pazzo (like Gallagher show crazy). See exclusive footage here.

When can only hope that the next Pope demonstrates such mercy.

 

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Filed under God Laughs, The State, TV Killed the Music Video Star

‘Survivor: Caramoan’ – Battle of the Bulge

Reynold Survivor Immunity IdolLast week we talked about our disappointment in the casting of Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit to Quit, as the producers seemed to have emphasized loud, dramatic, troublemakers over solid, interesting, sane players. We drew attention back to Survivor: Palau, which featured none of those emotionally unstable, wildcard types and, yet, proved to be perhaps the show’s finest season. Why? Because this show is so good, because it puts ordinary people in such incredible, extraordinary situations, that you don’t need to manufacture drama. If you just let the game play out, let the interpersonal dynamics take over, then you have magical theater. The kind that we actually do get at the end of last episode of Caramoan. However, while the denouement was a pleasant surprise, what the episode mostly did was grant attention to the two most volatile personalities out there, Brandon and Shamar, validating their petulant and borderline-psychotic behavior.

Russell Hantz, for the record, was a fascinating, nuanced character (at least at first). Brandon Hantz, on the other hand, is all the worst parts of his uncle, all id, no strategy. He may have his uncle’s blood, but that doesn’t mean he got his gift for the game, or even his flair for havoc.

Actually , Brandon that’s literally how genetics works. DNA is passed down through generations. Although, what you might be feeling is those leeches sucking out your blood. You should probably get a medic to look at you.

More: A pocketful of Shamar, a pocketful of Kryptonite…

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Filed under Analysis, Century 21 Reality, Tribal Council

In Defense of Seth MacFarlane: Comedy is in the Eye of the Beholder & Peeling Back The Onion

Seth MacFarlane OscarsFirst, some context: we are not especially devoted Seth MacFarlane fans. For a time we watched Family Guy semi-regularly and certainly were a part of that groundswell that helped resurrect the show from its premature grave. But do we consider ourselves MacFarlane evangelists or advocates? Not at all. We still haven’t seen Ted, and are not exceptionally eager to do so. We rarely watch American Dad and we can’t say for sure that we’ve ever caught an episode of The Cleveland Show. We were, however, impressed with his performance hosting the SNL premiere, and it demonstrated that not only could he do funny voices and write an off-color (and oft-humorous) joke, but he could also perform, and perform live, which is not always second nature for a writer-producer-voice actor. Did that mean we were thrilled to learn he was tapped to host this year’s Oscars? No, not really. We thought it was somewhat a knee-jerk, ill-advised decision (probably due, paradoxically, to his mess-up when presenting at the 2012 Emmys). But we knew, at least, that he could hold his own on stage, singing, dancing, cracking wise, and thinking on his feet. Was he going to offend some people? Probably. But that would come with the territory. Wouldn’t that be by design? If you wanted someone with only a love of musical theater and a flair for singing and dancing, then wouldn’t you just turn to Billy Crystal for a record 74th time? So, with Seth MacFarlane, that’s the package, that’s the deal (a faustian bargain, depending on your point of view): some dick and fart jokes and some mildly anti-Semitic and racist humor mixed with some sprinkles of old Broadway.

So were we surprised that MacFarlarne’s hosting turn this past Sunday night was met with a mix of disappointment and outright scorn? No, not at all. That was to be expected. But, after seeing the show, we were taken aback at the amount of criticism leveled at MacFarlane because, frankly, for someone who trades in abortion jokes and greased up deaf guys, we found his material relatively mild. It was almost as if we were watching a different show, different from the one that so much of the (tweeting) public found so repugnant, so misogynistic  and racist and base. And, to our surprise, we found ourselves in MacFarlane’s corner. Not because we found his turn especially remarkable. But because it wasn’t that bad. And, more importantly, it wasn’t that vile.

Read on: 9 things that we didn’t find so sexist, and a rotten Onion…

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Filed under Analysis, Fashion Show at Lunch, In defense of:, Lists, Other people's stuff, The Big Screen

‘Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites’ Premiere – History Repeats Herself

Survivor Former Federal Agent Phillip Aaaaaaaanaaaaaaand we’re back! For Survivor’26th season they’ve returned to the Philippines and revisited a familiar format with Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit to Quit. Except, this time around, the “Favorites” aren’t necessarily favorites, or heroes, or even skilled players. They are, for the most part, memorable personalities, some remembered for as much bad as good. Whether that was a wise  casting decision will be borne out over the next few months. However, before we dive into the new season, let’s take a brief look back, way back, to Survivor: Palau. 

Why return to the 10th season of this long-running series, which premiered in early 2005? Because, after recently completing our second viewing of the season, we feel confident in asserting that Palau is the strongest and most entertaining entry in the Survivor pantheon. And why do we say that? Well, let us tell you, in list format:

Read on: Five Keys to Palau and Phillip Puts the Team Together

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Filed under Analysis, Century 21 Reality, Lists, Mancrush, Tribal Council

Parting Shot: Pains, Train & Automobiles

Picture 15

Are you Sirius? 

(taken before this SNL sketch, which proves, once again, that they are reading our diary)

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Filed under Marconi & Cheese, Parting Shot, Saturday Night Live, Tyranasaurus Sex

In Memoriam: Ed Koch; Cool Old Guy First, NYC Mayor Second

Mayors, and politicians in general, usually possess the stereotype of being buttoned up, polished, careful with their words and actions. They’re not usually schlubby Jews with thick Noo Yawk accents and the kind of appearance that more resembles the Uncle at your Bar Matzvah who drinks too much Kiddush wine, commandeers the microphone and tells hackneyed jokes than the leader of the most influential city in the world. But former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, who died early this morning, defied those stereotypes, and many others. Indeed, had you presented a four-year-old me with a photo of our Uncle Morty side-by-side with one of Koch we would have been hard-pressed to tell the difference, and that, perhaps, speaks to his appeal and to his legacy.

There are two real cornerstones that shaped our youth and who we are today: The Mets and the Muppets. And Koch had a history with both of them. Before we every really knew Ed Koch as the outspoken Mayor of New York City, we knew him as a Mets fan, an old guy in a Mets hat who seemed to be of some import but we weren’t really certain what. Our first memory of the late Mayor is probably his brief appearance in the 1986 Mets music video “Let’s Go Mets Go,” popping up next to NYC luminaries such as Robert Klein, Howard Stern, Twisted Sister and Gene Shalit, seeming more like a crazy, die-hard fan than a political heavyweight. But Koch proved you could be both simultaneously, and few reveled in the Mets World Series victory more than Koch. You can accuse some politicians of feigning allegiance to their local teams, especially in times of triumph, but you can’t say that about Koch and the ’86 Mets.

Our other early memory of Koch – and something of a rite of passage for NYC Mayors – was his work with the Muppets, offering a cameo in The Muppets Take Manhattan. Certainly, a Muppet film taking place in the country’s largest city would require an appearance from its leader. But that much, a rote cameo, was somewhat perfunctory. What was special about this particular cameo was that Koch felt right with the Muppets, that his off-kilter brand of governing was somehow complimentary to the bizarre, left-of-center sensibility of the Muppets. They were, in a way, a natural match, with Koch even appearing in “The Great Muppet Look-Alike Contest,” a feature in a 1983 issue of Muppet Magazine, paired up with Gonzo naturally. And he was right at home sparring with Gonzo again in Muppets Take Manhattan. 

Twins.

We’re too young to have really understand Koch’s impact as Mayor of New York City. We think he generally did a good job, but that might be because we like him, because he remained a visible, outspoken presence in NY life. We’re not even familiar with his hosting turn on SNLthe third piece of the triptych that helped define our personality along with Mets and the Muppets. But we know that he was a fan of and a part of two things that we love, that are a part of our very makeup. And he’s also an integral part of another strand of our DNA, New York City. We’ve come to love this city the way that Koch did for so many decades. He was a quintessential New Yorker, a wise-cracking, tough-talking, bald-headed Jew who became Mayor.

Only in New York.

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Filed under Checks & Balances, In Memoriam, Intersection of the venn diagram of things that I love, Local Flavor, Matt Christopher Books