Thursday, April 26, 2012

Quote of the Day (5/18/11) (The Tenth Doctor Week Two)

Martha: When you say "last time", was that you and Rose?
The Doctor: [he pauses, somewhat taken aback by the question] Um... Yeah! Yeah, it was, yeah.
Martha: [looking put off] You're taking me to the same planets that you took her?
The Doctor: [surprised, oblivious] What's wrong with that?
Martha: [disappointed, upset] Nothing! [starts to stalk away] 'Cept have you heard of the word "rebound"?

Delete "The Avengers"!

So Whedon's big film was deleted at a preview screening?

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Those who do not get Stephen's seal of approval, he warns, received instead his "walrus of condemnation."

Appropriately, the Fringe season finale has two possible endings

There's two of everything, of course.

Dr. Jeff Frame

My doctoral student Jeff Frame successfully (brilliantly) defended his dissertation today: Reinventing the Reel: The "Omnis" Text in Nonlinear Film Discourses.

Congratulations to Jeff and many thanks to Allen Hibbard and Robert Holtzclaw who served as readers.

I have the honor of hooding him on May 5th.

"The Avengers," "General Hospital"

Doctoral student Corine Mathis reports that yesterday (April 25th) on the daytime soap General Hospital the show's resident hacker/geeky character, Spinelli, asks a poster for The Avengers for guidance about his problems, saying "WWTAD?"

Artist of the Week, 4/26/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Pelvis Series, Red with Yellow

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Colbert Reams Doucy

That FOX News single-handedly precipitated an Obama/Romney kerfuffle (over being born with a silver spoon) received little exploration by the MSM. But Colbert was, in reductio ad absurdum fashion, all over it. Brilliant--and hilarious.
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"'The Simpsons' Tells Fox to Eat Its Shorts"

Terrific piece by Forrest Wickman on Slate on The Simpsons' long tradition of biting the hand that feeds them.

Artist of the Week, 4/24/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Jack-in-the-Pulput, VI

Sunday, April 22, 2012


Just learned that when CBS aired a 20th anniversary tribute to All in the Family in 1991, the network found the material way too controversial.

Isn't cultural supposed to evolve, become more open-minded?


Eleanor Clift not a fan.

Artist of the Week, 4/22/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Red Snapdragons

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Opening Crawl from "Letters of Transit"

They came from the future. At first they only watched. Arriving at key moments in human history. We called them OBSERVERS. But in 2015 they stopped watching… and seized control. Citizen uprisings proved bloody and futile. Those who survived became known as “Natives.” In an attempt to show their allegiance, some Native factions became “Loyalists” and were marked by the OBSERVERS. The original FRINGE TEAM fought the invasion, but was quickly defeated. FRINGE DIVISION was allowed to continue at a reduced capacity, but only to police the Natives. The resistance was quickly overcome… or so they thought. (Fringe 4.19)

"Prime-Time Property"

Another Vanity Fair slide show--this one assessing the real estate values of television homes.

Famous Movie Trees

Vanity Fair has the (completely unexpected) slide show.

Artist of the Week, 4/21/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Oriental Poppies

Friday, April 20, 2012

Charles Blow on the Danger of Romney

I have no personal gripe with Romney. I don’t believe him to be an evil man. Quite the opposite: he appears to be a loving husband and father. Besides, evil requires conviction, which Romney lacks. But he is a dangerous man. Unprincipled ambition always is. Infinite malleability is its own vice because it’s infinitely corruptible by others of ignoble intentions.

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.


Just watched (well, quit half way through) Immortals (starring Mickey Rourke and the next Superman, Henry Cavill), and it's absolutely awful. Close to unwatched.

"The Avengers": Rave Early Reviews

Here's a taste.

Tip of the hat to Jesse Williams.

Felicia Day on "Supernatural"

So the Buffy and Horrible veteran will appear on April 27th--with a sword apparently--in an episode entitled "The Girl with the Dungeons and Dragons Tattoo."

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

On Garry Trudeau:

He never really got to know the inner me [when he was on the show]. Luckily, there is no inner me.

Stephen wants to be on the Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People list as many times as the Dalai Lama:

I am gunning for you Lama. I am going to make you wish you were never reborn.

"Worst Heroic Lead Characters"

The Onion AV Club picks them. Two Whedonverses leads are nominated. (I agree with Adams. Don't agree with VanderWerff.)

Sam Adams
I realize Whedonesque readers will have my head on a stick for this, but Dollhouse felt like a potentially great show hamstrung by the weakness of its lead actor, Eliza Dushku. As Buffy’s badass slayer, Faith, Dushku worked perfectly as a warped mirror image of Sarah Michelle Gellar’s virtuous vamp-staker. But even though Whedon wrote Dollhouse with Dushku in mind, she seemed hopelessly out of her depth as a mutable “doll” required to take on a new identity almost every week. There are successful, even great, television actors who are essentially one-trick ponies: They do one thing, and they do it well. January Jones may be a terrible actress in everything else, but she’s still great on Mad Men. Dollhouse, however, required serious chops, not just to realize the show’s role-playing conceit, but to lure the audience into feeling for characters who were, at least theoretically, blank slates. Enver Gjokaj, Amy Acker, and Alan Tudyk nailed their personae, while Olivia Williams and Harry Lennix gave the show the gravitas needed to ground its potentially toxic premise. Even Fran Kranz, who for most of the two-episode run functioned as an animate dispenser of Whedon’s trademark neologisms, found new depth in his amoral tech geek as the show wound down. Dushku was the weak link, and she stayed that way, no matter how often Dollhouse stripped her down to her skivvies.
Todd VanDerWerff
You know what? I didn’t really like Buffy Summersparticularly as Buffy The Vampire Slayer went on. Even when I enjoyed the character, more or less, I enjoyed the people around her a lot more, and by the last season—when she was given lots of dull, repetitive speeches about the nature of leadership and heroism—I was actively hoping the show would go find something else to pay attention to for a while. (That said, the final moment with her in the series finale is quite good.) I respected what Joss Whedon was doing with the character and skewing the traditional hero’s journey through a feminist perspective. But at the same time, I found Sarah Michelle Gellar’s work wildly inconsistent. She’d be brilliant in one episode (“The Gift,” say), then seem like she’d rather be doing just about anything else in the next. Buffy is one of my favorite shows ever made, and saying that when I found the center of the show so often lacking just suggests how good the show actually is. 

Artist of the Week, 4/20/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Hibiscus and Plumeria

Thursday, April 19, 2012

New Whedonverse Companions

Two new tie-in books for this Spring's Whedon films.

I already have the Cabin one and just pre-ordered the Avengers tome.

An exciting time.

Heard on "The Colbert Report"

Do you know what it's like to be Greek and not be able to cook? It's like being French and not knowing how to have afternoon sex.
Arianna Huffington

"Gateway Hug"

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"The Bland Leading the Bland"

Colbert's characterization of a Romney/Rob Portman ticket.

Stephen finally concluded that the perfect running mate for the Mittster would be his shadow.

Why? Because it would change positions every time Mitt does!


I was already looking forward to the new HBO Julia Louis-Dreyfus series before I learned that it was created by Armando Iannucci (In the Loop, The Thick of It).

Artist of the Week, 4/19/12: Georgia O'Keefe Week

O'Keefe, Cow's Skull: Red, White, and Blue

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Monday, April 16, 2012

Friday, April 13, 2012

"Television Creativity"

Yet another Kindle book, this one collecting my various essays on the creators of contemporary American television.

"The Cabin in the Woods"--Salon Likes It

Andrew O'Hehir offers mostly high praise.

And so does Roger Ebert.

With most genre films, we ask, "Does it work?" In other words, does this horror film scare us? "The Cabin in the Woods" does have some genuine scares, but they're not really the point. This is like a final exam for fanboys. 

"The Cabin in the Woods"

Just got back from seeing this deliciously horrifying film.


O'Hehir Interviews Joss Whedon

Whedon talks to Salon about Cabin and The Avengers.

Artist of the Week, 4/13/12: Pieter de Hooch Week

de Hooch, The Courtyard of a House in Delft

Monday, April 02, 2012

Harry Crews (1935-2012)

I have written before (here and here) on this blog about Harry Crews, who passed away yesterday in Florida. (That's his Olan Mills photo on the left; his adult self below on the right.)

But there's so much more to say about him. Our paths intersected during my days at the University of Florida, 1973-1975, 1976-79, both before and after I received my Ph.D. in 1978.

As a lover of the grotesque, I admired his work, of course: Childhood: Biography of a Place, Feast of Snakes, Car. But the man?

I remember when an office mate enrolled in Harry's creative writing class returned from a session white as a sheet. Harry had shown the class his leg, where his then girlfriend Sharné had carved her name with a knife--including the accent mark!

I remember when he collapsed behind me--"Jesus! Jesus!" he yelled--onto the safety island between the Krystal across the street and Anderson Hall.

I remember when, lecturing, completely drunk, to an intro to fiction course in a huge lecture hall, he explained that an "omniscient narrator is somebody who doesn't know what the fuck is going on." Now a full professor in a department that had once denied him admission, he was prone to garbled tirades against other English faculty.

I remembered losing my post-doc when I led a revolt against the continued assignment of a perpetually inebriated, three sheets to the wind, mad man to teach such a course.

Goodbye Harry.

Weight Lost

Had my first physical since 2009. Official loss of weight since then?

Fifty two pounds.

I am a shadow of my former self!

All My Books

All of them, including the Portuguese versions of the Lost books and the recent Kindle books. Twenty "real" books; twenty eight in all.

Artist of the Week, 4/2/12: Brueghel Week

Brueghel, The Tower of Babel