The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized."

The Television Will Not Be Revolutionized."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

"California Gold."


I wonder if there were any occasions, caught on camera even, when at the end of filming an episode of Visiting Huell Howser said, in his end of show round–up, "this is a true example of... California's gold!"

Then somebody says, "It's an episode of Visiting, not California's Gold."

"Oh mah gosh."

Are none of the things and places visited on Visiting also California gold?

I submit to the court that they are.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"Housewives Is An Existentialism."


Existentialism is an old–fashioned thing to get worked up over. 

To have existential crises is a modern–day nostalgic luxury. It's a willfully "retro" stance. 

Still the Housewives of Atlanta seem to have transcended mere postmodernism and rediscovered the authentic existentialism, "in good faith".

The funny things they do––!

I was watching some old episodes I'd missed in 2015, because I was in England. This was when the Housewives went to the Philippines, while NeNe Leakes was on Broadway. 

(There were scenes where "Greeg" Leakes would ferry NeNe about midtown Manhattan and take her to one place or another and act like he was her benefactor, when in fact he was just holding the door for her with his hand out. Like the homeless people at Los Feliz Post Office. Either NeNe or Bravo was paying for everything. Creepy crazy opportunism of the man called "Greeg".)

They climbed a mountain on the backs of shetland ponies and then they pitched golf balls off the peak into a lake far below.

It was not explained why or wherefore they did it. 

And now, in the new series, as a signal that her anger management psychotherapy was working Porsha invited all the characters to a mall where they went into these two rooms and tried to solve pre-set mysteries in a limited amount of time.

Phaedra was with Kandi and Sheree in one room, donning deerstalkers and wielding magnifying glasses. If they were struggling with one of the puzzles, they could incur a time penalty to receive a clue to help solve the puzzle. 

Phaedra said, "Shall we just get a clue on this because I'm super–confused with this one."

Kandi said, "I hate to waste clues. "

She said it in an odd voice, but that was only half of the fun. She also said it like it was a general maxim she followed for life. "I always hate to waste clues." Like she was always in situations in day-to-day existence where she had clues, and she hated to waste them.

These are grown women who have run out of conventional things to do. They have exhausted the bounds of normal human relations. They have also plumbed thoroughly the mysteries of abnormal and abhorrent social behaviours. They have hollered, cried and laughed with each other. They have "read" each other and "cast shade". They have thrown canap├ęs and cheap plonk at each other on numerous occasions. They have accused each others' husbands of being homosexual on numerous occasions. They have run the gamut as far as social norms and extremes go.

The following week they were playing lazer tag and strafing each other in the face with virtual pulses of ultra–mutually–assured–psychic–destruction.




Friday, October 21, 2016

"Mary's Spitting Out Teeth." Or, "Mary Berry Biscotti."

Every time Paul Hollywood gives Mary Berry a biscotti to try and she bites down on it and you hear this tremendous crunch, I expect in the next moment to see Mary spitting out all her teeth.

This grand old woman is very decrepit. Don't be deluded. People think, "Mary only popped up on the scene in the last few years. She's going to be around for years." People think, "Mary's on TV. She cannot die." Nice thought but wrong. She's old and she's going to go quite suddenly. Old man Death is like God in the Bible, who "cometh like a thief in the night."

Mary will pine and keen and sicken and go down hard and fast. People will be looking at their newspapers in disbelief. "But she was only on TV last year, eating biscotti! Admittedly her teeth all fell out live on air, but I thought there were years in the old girl."

Like Spiderman's Aunt May. When Spider-Man first appeared (1962) Aunt May was a timorous old Civil War widow ("hard-boiled dog-faced Civil War jarhead veteran"). Now they've reinvented her as a semi-sexy GILF. Awful creepy move. 

Marvel readers, like viewers of Bake-Off, hate to accept that even the well-oiled body ("the well-tempered clavichord") is mortal, does wither and sicken on the vine, and begad and begob verily it shall croak.

Please. As you go about your banal day to day activities do me a favor would you and REMEMBER YOU MUST DIE.

Update, 2017.

We complain about globalism, but in phone calls home I am refreshed to realise that the British and the Americans remain supremely uninterested in 98% of each other's business or "news." We were told that "the UK" was collectively livid about Trump claiming that the British bugged Trump Tower on Obama's behalf. Apparently this went by with minimal comment in the UK.

Also, I would get updates on Bruce Forsyth's death vigil from MSNUK on my Hotmail account. Was Britain uninterested in the mad doings of Old King Trump but wringing its hands over the noble battle between Brucey and the Reaper? 

My only remark was, predictably, a facetious one, and it serves as an addendum to the "Mary Berry Biscotti" remarks.

I said: "Come children. Come diddums come. Bruce is not to be uniquely exempted from the rough handling and bad mistreatment that is to come for all of us from Mistress Death. Bruce must die! In fact it could be argued by the Sophists that nobody deserves to die more than... Bruce Forsyth!"

[Reader:  "So, you're not unduly upset by the news then, Fabian?"]

Monday, December 21, 2015

"I Am Sidon Ithano." Or, "Sarco Plank, C'est Moi."

[Portions of this post originally appeared in an email to M.K. Price of Northamptonshire, England. Reprinted by kind permission.]

We saw The Force Awakens on Friday in Glendale. Grown woman dressed up as a Jawa. Check. Putzes that spend their whole lives in pajama bottoms . Check. He was there at the cinema in his pajama bottoms and Yoda t-shirt. Whose favorite character is Yoda? While there is the life in me give me Hammerhead, Bossk and Greedo. 

I avoided all spoilers so was happily shocked and saddened by the "aha moment" (Oprah), the "pinch me moment" (my wife) when "Rilo Kiley"  ––


–– drove a light saber through Han Solo's lower intestine, shook him off his sword into a bottomless pit, and then the planet blew up. Wife goes, "Do you think he's alive?" 

I especially recommend the scenes on Jakku, the "Niima Outpost" there, and in the orange dwarf woman (okay I'll bite, Maz Kanata)'s rebel compound –– albeit it was rather a nebulous place designed expressly for Mos Eisley / Jabba's sail barge junkies like me. (It's a castle, it's a dive bar.) We got to shamelessly relive our cantina highs and they got to showcase the Henson monsters and assorted bounty scum. 

As I said to Pete Kline on speakerphone in the car heading over there, "There is a rarefied breed that eschews the spaceship chases and aerial sharp-shooting showmanship as routine and dreary. There is a refined element, an elevated subset, a high cultus, which drifts deliberately to the lower psychosociogeographic strata of the galaxy spaceways; what Jesse Lemisch would call Star Wars from the bottom up." I rather rasped this –– leered it, with my lips recoiling from my teeth, over-enunciating it, in a Massachusetts mid-Atlantic accent, and Pete hung up.

The final reveal, Mark Hammil, was somewhat bathetic after all that came before it, further fumbled because of the wretched poor man's Joker impersonation, the bum hash bad ham fist of a performance he gave a week earlier as The Trickster on The Flash. I cannot take Luke so seriously after that disgrace. I bet J.J. Abrams was livid when he saw that on his TV screen.

Boring. I'm being boring. Okay, that's me. Boring work to do.

"Getting Out of Boring Time Biting Into Boring Pie," as God Is My Co-Pilot useda say.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

"Top Chef, Low Man on a Totem Pole."

Kwame on Top Chef said a funny thing yesterday. I happened to hear him saying it because I was watching him on that same TV program Top Chef at the time. 

Talking about his meteoric rise to "James Beard nominee status" he said, "I was literally the lowest man on  the totem pole." 

He went on to explain that he was not strictly somehow mystically embedded within a totem pole, where he was the bottom face, but he was actually (or, to use another synonym of actually, "literally") a "line cook in a kitchen."

People never tire of misusing the word "literally" and I never tire of pointing it out when they do.


Wonder which of us is the more boring.


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Related: I was walking around in Iliad Books today, saw a woman with blue hair. I thought, "She looks like a Top Chef character."


Has it come to this?

Saturday, November 14, 2015

"New Fargo. New Kit-Kat. All Bad."

The new series of Fargo is marvelously terrible. It's mortal grievous.  It's so bad it should be proverbial. It's a simpering, dainty thing like the saccharine Garrison Keillor dreamt it up after one of his midnight snacks of whoopee pie, johnny cake and fiddle-faddle. I recently wrote to a dear old friend in the old country, who actually said that the new season of Fargo was of the same high calibre as the first. I said:

I sat watching the first two episodes with wife, exploded: "Was this written by fifteen year olds?" Every five minutes the number, the age of the showrunner, would go down –– by the end of the first episode I was attributing it to a long table of eleven-year-olds. Not even precocious ones. Vapid, unrealistic, childish stuff! I prefer to watch I Zombie. It's not Shakespere but it is a d___ sight better than the execrable Fargo (or, as it's known Farce-go, or, as it's known, True Detective Season Two in All Its Lurid Bad Awfulness Deluxe 2.0.) 

There are elements of the supremely bad Wes "Park Slope McSweeneys" Anderson in it –– I was waiting for Bill "If I Came Any More Overrated I'd Be in Sonic Youth" Murray to come limping on set and do one of his gnomic turns–– and there are bits baldly redolent of Quentin, the Mule-Faced Woman. Bad preceptors!

You shall not read ill of it, though. I have lately realised that bad reviews are now routinely buried by multinational corporations. They hire people to do it. It's an actual job people do. The other day I tried one of the new three-fingered Kit-Kats. It was bad to have. Garbage in the mouth. Like eating Fargo Season Two in fact. I couldn't believe Kit-Kat had so willingly pissed away their advantage in the game of chocolatiers! I couldn't believe they had whored out their good name and the delicate and exquisite memories we had of Kit-Kats as children. I googled "THE ALL-NEW KIT-KAT IS HORRIBLE" looking for support from the hoi polloi and amazingly nothing came up. 

It wasn't like when I was hating Matt Jackson on Jeopardy and that was (apparently) simply me being cussed and negative. (I looked on Survivor Sucks, where one finds trolls congregating to seethe, to see if anybody else hated Matt Jackson. No such dice.) I knew that other people must hate this new inferior Kit-Kat, so where were they? Answer is, the Kit-Kat people hired "Reputation.com" or some equivalent to kill or hide all the bad reviews, to throw them to p.9999 of any Google search, those back pages where my works are usually to be found (or rather are not to be found –– ever) ––  and to glut the first hunnerd fifty, two hunnerd pages with empty boring puffs.

Believe the same thing has happened with Season Two of Fargo, because it's execrable and nobody says so. I have to believe that not everybody is that critically compromised. 

We all know about the new Golden Age of Television, it is by now a critical cliche, and it doesn't mean that everything that comes out under that aegis is actually any good. 

Folks, I give you Fargo Season Two. 

This episode, the discussion about shampoo (MOTIF: GANGSTERS TALK ABOUT TRIVIA), the gangsters' niece talking all tough (MOTIF: GANGSTER WOMEN ARE WITTY) while the silent redskin gutted a rabbit (MOTIF: GANGSTERS ARE COLORFUL AND OFF-BEAT), the hackneyed 1970s clothes (MOTIF: THE SEVENTIES WERE INTRINSICALLY AMUSING). Afros, knit sweaters, Dundreary sideburns. Ugh. Tired routines were being shamelessly egested and swatted about the soundstage. Old lees and curds sold as new stock. 

"The top of the pot is popped off with the froth."

I'd like to have been a fly on the wall when that acclaimed genius the "showrunner" had pitched this one. "Gents, have I got an idea for you. Idea's this. The movie Fargo."

"You want us to make the movie Fargo."

"I want you to make it again, but with less-talented actors and without the Coen brothers."

"Kid how could it fail."

The best thing on this episode was the commercials.  They had a new Norm MacDonald KFC one. 

Maybe I ought to go over to FX and make a pitch. 

"Fellers, let's make a TV show based on Norm MacDonald pretending he is Colonel Sanders."


Sunday, November 8, 2015

"A Heist Is a Prison Escape –– Sometimes."

The other day I was trying to make it through the Lee Marvin film Point Blank, but it was no use. It couldn't be done. Still, I now know that the film begins with a heist that takes place in an abandoned prison. So I thought, even as my toes were curling at the badness of the film, "Governor Cuomo was right. Sometimes a heist is a prison escape."

As Laurence Remila used to say –– on a near-daily basis –– "Mea friggin' maxima culpa."

Or was it Cicero.