Monday, May 28, 2012

Nathan Fillion/Jason Bateman/"Castle"

When one of the suspects refers to Castle (Nathan Fillion) as "Jason Bateman," he replies: "That got me out of a speeding ticket once."

Turns out this has a long history.


Painter of the Week, 5/28/12: Paul Cezanne Week

Cezanne, The Great Pine

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tony Soprano Explains a Bust Out

HuffPo posted this today, but I have been talking about it for a week.

Whedon on "Dollhouse's" Non-Cancellation, Topher

This is several years old but I only just discovered it. 
Fox forgot to cancel my show... Very awkward. They looked and said, 'Oh, this is our bad. We forgot to cancel your show. You're going to have to make more.'--Creator Joss Whedon, discussing Dollhouse coming back for a second season.
I also loved this observation (from the Paley Center Dollhouse conversation):
That Topher—what’s wrong with him? He just creates these character people and then he just puppets them around and he thinks it’s OK to do that. Who’s he based on? What monster?


Of the top 20 rated scripted shows on television only two (Castle, Modern Family) are NOT on CBS.

Heard on Morning Joe (5/24/12).

"Network Jumpers: 'Cougar Town' and 12 Other TV Series Saved by a Switch"

A Hollywood Reporter slide show.

Mitt and SF

So the Mittster enjoys reading science fiction, counting among his favorites the magnum opus of the worst science fiction writer of all time (and Scientology founder) L. Ron Hubbard: Battlefield Earth.

Now if he had disclosed that he was a big fan of Philip K. Dick or James Tiptree, Jr.--that would really have been news.

Painter of the Week, 5/24/12: Paul Cezanne Week

Cezanne, House of the Hanged Man

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Film Made by Jed Whedon and Company During the WGA Strike

"HBO Signs Director to Two-Year Deal"

The director is Jay Roach (Recount, Game Change).

Might this be a first for television?

Misreading a Headline

When I saw this headline on Slate . . .

Doctor Who Helped Capture Bin Laden Jailed for Treason

. . . I had to read it twice to realize it was not about "the" Doctor.

"If You Want Another Debt And Spending Binge, Vote GOP "

A definitive post from Andrew Sullivan.

And yet the right continues to paint Obama as profligate.


Almost finished with a marathon watch of Season 1 of Grimm.

It's a lot of fun--a solid B series.

I've noted many similarities to (rip-offs from) Buffy and Angel--not surprising given that former Whedon right-hand-man David Greenwalt [pictured] is one of Grimm's co-creators/showrunners.

Especially like Silas Weir Mitchell as Nick's Big Bad Wolf compatriot / informant Monroe.

Painter of the Week, 5/23/12: Paul Cezanne Week

Cezanne, Crysanthemums

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Betting Board from "The Cabin in the Woods"

Whedon as a Teenage Girl

In their joint interview in The Cabin in the Woods: The Official Visual Companion, we find this hilarious and revealing exchange between Cabin's co-authors, Drew Goodard and Joss Whedon. (You should know that they wrote the script locked, upstairs and downstairs, in an hotel room.)

Drew Goddard: I knew that when Dana came to reading the diary itself, like I said Joss loves prairie folk, and I thought, “I bet he’s going to want to write this,” so I yelled downstairs, “Hey, do you want to write the diary?” And he goes, “Yeah, I do,”  and then—I’m not kidding you—six minutes later, he ran upstairs with it, this full page, this beautifully written horror diary of a prairie girl. I was like, “How did you write that that fast?” And he’s just like, “Some things I was born to do.” [laughs] He cranked that diary out faster than I’ve ever seen anyone write anything. I couldn’t write my own name repeatedly as fast as he wrote that diary. It was amazing.

"The Avengers" New Worldwide Gross

Fresh from kicking Battleship's stern, now $1,180,378,000.

The Gods

The Lord of Light wants his enemies burned, the Drowned God wants them drowned. Why are all the gods such vicious cunts? Where are the gods of tits and wine?--Tyrion Lancaster on Game of Thrones ("The Prince of Winterfell")

Painter of the Week, 5/21/12: Paul Cezanne Week

Cezanne, Bathers

Saturday, May 19, 2012

"The Museum of Old Pop Culture References" Redux

I forgot in my earlier post to show Conan's very helpful street map to the Museum.

It's located, hilariously in the Twin Peaks Shopping Plaza, between Friends' "Central Perk" and Mystic Pizza's Mystic Pizza.

Gus in Greendale

Delighted to see Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) on Community this week--playing Pierce's half-brother.

Glad to see he got his face back.

Playing the Cop

Joyce has always said that I have a copy buried inside. Two recent cases-in-point.

(1) MTSU is  now a smoke-free campus. When I stopped by on a Friday afternoon to check my mail I saw a Campus Food Service employee brazenly standing outside the little shop on the ground floor of Peck smoking. I called CFS and reported him.

(2) Every single day I find myself seething at fellow drivers who never bother to even pretend to stop at stop signs or who turn right on red without a pause. (This pet peeve can be tracked back to an expensive ticket I was given back in Huntsville, AL days when I failed to legally stop--in a legal stop, I learned, the car rocks back on its axles.)

So, yes, I am a bit of a cop. A very liberal cop, but a cop nonetheless.

"'Moby-Dick' Pictures

Received my copy of this yesterday and it's pretty amazing.

"NRO Retracts Plagiarism Charge Against Elizabeth Warren"

Oh good grief! Dirty politics, meet the academy.

Painter of the Week, 5/19/12: Paul Signac Week

Signac, Above Saint-Tropex, the Customs House Pathway

Friday, May 18, 2012

"The Museum of Old Popular Culture References"

Conan took us on a tour last night--lead, appropriately, by L.A. Law's Corbin Bernsen--which explained its vital educational mission: to help young people get references by late night comics to the likes of M. C. Hammer and Madonna (ouch).

"Alien Still Hasn't Gotten Around To Listening To Whole Voyager Golden Record"

How on Earth (or off-Earth--this story comes from "47 U. MAJORIS STAR SYSTEM") does The Onion get these exclusives?

Another recent headline is more down to earth:

Court Orders To Adopt Bankrupt Bookstores' Cats

"Ridley Scott says Blade Runner 2 dumps Deckard for a female lead"

Read about it on Blastr.

"'We stuck your girlfriend on an island': 22 main characters casually dismissed in sequels"

The Onion TV Club takes inventory.

Painter of the Week, 5/18/12: Paul Signac Week

Signac, Snow, Boulevard de Clichy, Paris

Thursday, May 17, 2012

"10 of the Most Profound Sentiments Ever Uttered on 'Community'"

i09 has the list.

Left on the Cutting Room Floor

So Jimmy Kimmel decided (on the advice of Jake Tapper) not to use a dead baby joke at the White House Correspondents Dinner (as he told Howard Stern):
KIMMEL: I had some jokes about — like Rick Santorum. I said something like — well, I didn’t say it, but: Newt Gingrich’s campaign is so dead Mitt Romney wants to baptize it and Rick Santorum wants to put it in a jar and show it to his kids.
STERN: You didn’t want any abortion jokes?
KIMMEL: People went like, uh-oh. I ran it by people who go to this thing.
Good decision.

"Billy Budd" Discussion on "The Sopranos"

I had already planned to show this scene in my Moby-Dick class in June when I discovered this transcription in Andrew Delbanco's brilliant Melville: His World and Work.

(At the dinner table at Meadow's apartment)

Finn: Did you like Billy Budd?
A.J.: It was OK. My teacher says it's a gay book.
Carmela: Oh, that is ridiculous! I’m sorry, but Billy Budd is not a homosexual book.
Meadow: Actually, it is, Mother.
Carmela: I saw the movie, Meadow, with Terence Stamp.
Colin (Meadow’s roommate): Terence Stamp was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.
Carmela: I don't know about that. But Billy Budd is the story of an innocent sailor being picked on by an evil boss—
Meadow: —who’s picking on him out of self-loathing caused by homosexual feelings in a military context.
Carmela: Oh, please!
Alex: Actually, Mrs. Soprano, there is a passage in the book where Melville compares Billy to a nude statue of Adam before the fall.
A.J.: Really?
Tony: I thought you read it.
Carmela: So it's a Biblical reference . Does that make it gay?
. . .
Tony: Must be a gay book. Billy Budd is the ship’s florist, right? (Laughter)
Meadow: Leslie Fiedler has written extensively on gay themes in literature since the early ‘60s—Billy Budd in particular.
Carmela: Well, she doesn't know what she's talking about.
Meadow: She's a he, Mother, and he’s lectured at Columbia as a matter of fact.
Carmela: Well, maybe he's gay, you ever thought of that?
—“Eloise,” The Sopranos (4.12)

Has there ever been a television series with dialogue like this? Go here to see a catalogue of intertextual references/allusions in The Sopranos.

Painter of the Week, 5/17/12: Paul Signac Week

Signac, Snow, The Dining Room

Monday, May 14, 2012

Maureen Ryan on "The Avengers"

I did not know that the great TV critic Maureen Ryan had joined The Huffington Post, but here is her fine piece on The Avengers.

Whedon at the Movies [updated]

Here are Whedon's grand totals, updated with last week's Avengers numbers. The film just went over a billion worldwide!

Box Office for Whedon Doctored/Scripted Films
Worldwide Gross
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Toy Story
Alien Resurrection
Titan AE
The Cabin in the Woods
The Avengers
 Updated Total (5/21/12)

"Hip" and "Hep"

On last night's Mad Men ("Dark Shadows"), dinosaur Bert Cooper seeks to correct asshole Pete Campbell's use of the word "hip." "Hep," he offers as a replacement.

Looking up the two words at we discover the following definition of hip:

adjective, hip·per, hip·pest. 1. familiar with or informed about the latest ideas, styles,developments, etc.: My parents aren't exactly hip, you know. 2. considered aware of or attuned to what is expected, especially with a casual or knowing air; cool: The guy was not at all hip—atotal nerd. in agreement or willing to cooperate; going along: We explained our whole plan, and she was hip.

"Hep," on the other hand,  glossed as "aware, up-to-date," was

first recorded 1908 in "Saturday Evening Post,"but said to be underworld slang, of unknown origin. Variously said to have been the name of "a fabulous detective who operated in Cincinnati" or a saloonkeeper in Chicago who "never quite understood what was going on ... (but) thought he did." Taken up by jazz musicians by 1915; hepcat "addict of swingmusic" is from 1938. [my italics]

No wonder Bert Cooper--"never quite underst[anding] what [is] going on ... (but) [thinking] he [does]"--offers his correction.

Johnny Carson

On the 20th anniversary of Johnny Carson's retirement, Bill Maher remembers the legendary Tonight Show host.

To read my own piece on Johnny, go here.

Painter of the Week, 5/14/12: Paul Signac Week

Signac, The Papal Palace, Avignon

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Hulk in "The Avengers"

Whedon clearly loves the Hulk as much as I do. I don’t want to spoil any specific gags, but Hulk steals the whole goddamn movie. He gets three of the five biggest laughs in the film, and the film’s single most satisfying moment (I’ll just say it involves a very shocked looking Loki). My adult-ness was powerless to Hulk in The Avengers. When he was on screen my decades stripped away and I was left a 10-year-old boy, drooling with pure, guiltless, innocent joy. It was almost a religious experience. When Cap takes charge of the Avengers during the final battle, barking orders to our other heroes, then turns to a seething Hulk and says, “Hulk… smash” I literally teared up — from happiness! On my deathbed I very well may look back on my life’s brightest moments and have to decide if the birth of my first child should be above or below watching Hulk go completely apeshit in The Avengers. And I can’t leave out praise for Mark Ruffalo either. Eric Bana was a terrible choice for Banner. Too big, too handsome, and totally unbelievable as a rage-tormented genius. Edward Norton was a step in the right direction, but though many Hulk fans dug Norton as Banner, I did not. Ruffalo is perfect, especially for Whedon’s take on Banner, weary but with a sense of humor about it all. Ruffalo lacks the smugness that Norton brought to the role, and his look offsets him from the tall and buff actors surrounding him. After The Incredible Hulk I thought it would probably be best to retire the franchise and just keep Hulk for The Avengers. Now I’m not so sure. I think I’d like a Ruffalo solo film.
--Joshua Miller,

Painter of the Week, 5/11/12: Egon Schiele Week

Schiele, Agony

Thursday, May 10, 2012

From 'Buffy' to 'The Avengers': Joss Whedon's Best and Worst Projects

Matthew Perpetua rank orders them in a slide show for Rolling Stone.

"'Avengers' Damage to Manhattan Would Cost $160 Billion, Disaster Expert Estimates"

Hollywood Reporter has the exclusive.

Barack Obama vs. North Carolina on Gay Marriage

The seemingly gay Stephen takes on "gay-mageddon."
The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Barack Obama vs. North Carolina on Gay Marriage
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Jon McNaughton's "Nation Under Socialism" Artwork

Stephen takes on the new darling "artist" of the radical right.

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Jon McNaughton's "Nation Under Socialism" Artwork
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical Humor & Satire BlogVideo Archive

Painter of the Week, 5/10/12: Egon Schiele Week

Schiele, Self Portrait with Raised Right Elbow

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Joss Whedon, Murderer

Blastr has a great slide show of notable deaths in the Whedonverses. Spoiler warning.

Matt Taibbi on the Election

"The people who work for the wire services and the news networks are physically incapable of writing sentences like, "This election is even more over than the Knicks-Heat series." They are required, if not by law then by neurological reflex, to describe every presidential campaign as "fierce" and "drawn-out" and "hotly-contested."

But this campaign, relatively speaking, will not be fierce or hotly contested. Instead it'll be disappointing, embarrassing, and over very quickly, like a hand job in a Bangkok bathhouse. And everybody knows it. It's just impossible to take Mitt Romney seriously as a presidential candidate. Even the news reporters who are paid to drum up dramatic undertones are having a hard time selling Romney as half of a titanic title bout."

Tip of the hat to Andrew Sullivan.

Brave Obama

Proud of Obama for coming out in support of gay marriage. Brave move, which I predict (I hope) will help him in the election.


That number is the total gross for all of Joss Whedon's films, script-doctored / written / directed, including the latest numbers for The Cabin in the Woods and The Avengers.

Painter of the Week, 5/9/12: Egon Schiele Week

Schiele, Autumn Trees

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

"Lady Lazarus"

In my essay "’The Catastrophe of My Personality’: Frank O’Hara, Don Draper, and the Poetics of Mad Men" (Reading Mad Men. Ed. Gary Edgerton. Reading Contemporary Television Series. London: I. B. Tauris, 2010), I briefly speculate about the possible intersections of 1960s poet Sylvia Plath and the series.

I didn't realize then that a Season Five episode (last Sunday) would borrow the name of one of Plath's most famous poems.

Rory Gilmore (Alexis Bledel) talks about her role in "Lady Lazarus" in Slate.  

"Mad Men" and Death

Daily Beast has a story and a compilation video (below) detailing Season Five's obsession with death.

'Avengers' Writer-Director Joss Whedon on His 'Insanely Massive Ego'

Hollywood Reporter has the video interview--on how Whedon pulled off The Avengers.

"Avengers," Hulk Smash

A recalculation of The Avengers' opening weekend box office has the total at $207.4 million.

Add to this the international take thus far at $441.5 million, and the grand total so far is $648,900,000.

Painter of the Week, 5/8/12: Egon Schiele Week

Schiele, Mother and Two Children

Sunday, May 06, 2012

John Sweden No More

Once upon a time Joss Whedon was frequently called John Sweden by the suits in Hollywood.

After this weekend I doubt anyone will forget his name again.