As promised, we’re going to quickly dip our toes into the somewhat toxic pool of The Newsroom analysis. Like with any review or analysis, anything we say is ultimately futile and inconsequential, because, in the end, it’s not going to change the way you feel about the show, and it’s certainly not going to alter Aaron Sorkin’s vision or persuade him to reconsider his writing style. But in the case of The Newsroom, anything we say, any argument we make, feels especially meaningless in the wake of all the criticism and (less so) praise it’s received. But, hell, let’s be a Greater Fool and try anyway.
Let’s just say out of the gate that we like the show, and while that might put us in the minority we stand by our verdict. But what’s interesting or pertinent to us is not so much that we like it – or if it’s “good,” assuming there’s some kind of objective rubric which can calculate a show’s quality (which there’s not) – it’s the question of whether or not the show is worth watching. And we think the answer is: absolutely. Doesn’t that fact that the show seems to be so reviled (or snickered at) in so many corners yet still watched obsessively indicate there’s something of worth there? Certainly, The Newsroom doesn’t garner the same level of propulsive minute-by-minute Twitter reaction on Sunday evenings as Breaking Bad (nor does it come close to the AMC show’s unanimous, breathless praise), but it’s definitely one of the most talked about shows, even if much of that talk comes with head shaking, finger wagging and head scratching. And if the show was bad, unrelentingly terrible, it wouldn’t have lasted, or at least the discussion would have quieted down. We can’t imagine that if Work It had not been canceled after one week the din about its repugnancy would have continued. We would have had our fun and then watched it fade away, nary giving it another thought. But with The Newsroom the debate continued for ten episodes, and seemed to increase as we approached the season finale. Clearly, people were entertained by the show. Which, we certainly concede, isn’t necessarily the same as enjoying the show.
More as the story develops…
In our discussion last week about Community‘s upcoming move to Friday nights we confidently predicted that, despite swirling rumors, we saw no reason why Dan Harmon would not return as Community showrunner. Perhaps we should have been more precise with our diction. What we meant was that we saw no reason why Harmon would choose not to return. The idea that NBC/Sony would not bring him back never crossed our minds. So while we still stand by what we wrote last week we were shocked and dismayed (like everyone else) when we learned over the weekend that Harmon was replaced as showrunner and essentially fired from his own show (however, unlike everyone else, we read the news on our phone during a bachelor party in Chicago, after sleeping off the night before).
More: examining the body, looking for a motivation…
We’re going to warn you right off the bat that this is probably going to be the most subjective SNL recap we’ve yet written. So if you like your SNL analysis free of emotional attachment, well, then you should look somewhere else (we’re sure the web might offer one, maybe two, other options), because, unfortunately, as we watched this last SNL, hosted by legendary cast member Dana Carvey, our reaction was intrinsically bound up in how we’ve watched this show since childhood, and how the this particular episode made us reexamine and reassess our feelings about the show, Dana Carvey and his SNL era. So, at the extreme risk of being self-indulgent, here we go.
Read on: We mourn our youth and ask the question: who is Dana Carvey?
One of our consistently most popular posts is our review of January Jones’ turn as host of SNL from November of 2009, titled January Jones Was the Worst Host Ever on the Worst Episode of ‘SNL’ Ever, so it’s not surprising that among today’s top search terms is “january jones worst host.” But we’re not going to talk about how terrible she was that night (we’ve spent enough time on that), nor are we going to discuss how horrible we thought she was on Mad Men. No, today we’re going to talk about an upcoming January Jones project that we fear might be just as bad.
Earlier this week the first images from X-Men: First Class surfaced, featuring January Jones as the White Queen Emma Frost, and it doesn’t look promising. To Jones’ credit, the whole photo is panic-inducing, not just her part of it (although the look on her face doesn’t help).
To be fair, director Matthew Vaughn has shot back asserting that this is an unofficial photo that does not reflect the look of the film. Which is somewhat reassuring. Still, that doesn’t make us comfortable with the idea of Jones as Frost, and nor does it assuage our concern that once again an X-Men movie has chosen to neglect the many proven storylines in favor of a hodgepodge of plot points and characters from the comics combined with an original narrative. It just seems silly to disregard so many revered and beloved stories. And by setting this film in the 60s, and including characters who appear in the other films or are related to characters in the other films, it totally confuses the cinematic timeline. We won’t get into the geeky specifics here, but this is why bringing a comic book to the screen can be so complicated. In the comic book world super heroes really don’t age, so it’s no big deal for someone to look the same in 1965 as they do in 2005. But it becomes much trickier with movies, and we think setting this film decades before the previous X-Men films invites too many contradictions. But we’ll just have to wait until June to find out.
And come back here then to read our review, “January Jones Was the Worst Actress in the Worst X-Men Film Ever.”
Sesame Street has long been in the pop culture parody business; in fact that’s basically it’s whole model, come up with concepts that will educate children but also entertain adults. But lately, they’re becoming kings of the genre, with Mad Men, 30 Rock and, most recently, True Blood parodies. And now they’ve moved even further from the mainstream with their version of Old Spice’s “Smell Like a Man” campaign:
Between Grover and Justine Bateman we’re feeling really uncool.
Next up, no doubt, is the Sad Elmo campaign. Or maybe Cigar Kermit.
Not that Jane Lynch was sub-par in her first (of hopefully many) outing as host of SNL, quite the contrary, but it’s that, once again, the material failed to live up to the vast talents of the host. It’s confusing, bewildering and frustrating that they keep wasting their resources. Perhaps, as we felt with the Zach Galifianakis show last season, the writing staff is actually less motivated by a talented host; they rely on the host to elevate the material, so what they deliver is second-rate. It’s just a theory, and probably misguided and misinformed, but you also can’t ignore the body of evidence, because, while this week’s show was better than last week, it wasn’t a great improvement. We saw plenty of Jane Lynch (and plenty of wigs), but nothing truly memorable.
Read on: Gilly on Glee? Is that all you got? Also: who did SNL rip-off this week?
And apparently three-year olds can’t be exposed to breasts but they can watch a parody of a show that is ostensibly an excuse for soft-core porn. I guess this spoof of True Blood is one of those segments that’s really for the adults, because it’s be a sad state of affairs if today’s parents let their kids see Stephen Moyer’s penis, but not the suggestion of Katy Perry’s cleavage.
To be fair, this follows in the proud tradition of Sesame Street’s 30 Rock and Mad Men parodies, two series that are also NSFC. And they really captured Anna Paquin’s essence.
(what a few days for Sesame Street, ehhh?)