Archive for June, 2010

That’s What I Said… In which I let someone else do the talking.

GleeA few months back, I wrote a diatribe about how Nip/Tuck creator Ryan Murphy let the show careen into soapy, camp shlock while he focused on getting Glee off the ground. Stats show it’s one of the most consistently popular posts on MadTues since its inception.

Well, NY Magazine’s Vulture blog has a name for the ailment that finally prompted Nip/Tuck‘s mercy killing. They’re calling it “Ryan Murphy Syndrome,” and they think Glee‘s showing early signs of infection. At first, it was a line item in a piece  predicting the show’s inevitable backlash:

October: Creator Ryan Murphy allows his more outlandish instincts to take over, much as he did with Nip/Tuck. Good-bye, glee-club competitions and fake pregnancies; hello, serial killer who murders for the cause of full instrumentation!

But in a new piece by Mary-Kaye Schilling, she names the disease, and focuses on its prevalence in Murphy’s work:

Murphy’s second TV series, Nip/Tuck, started showing symptoms toward the end of season two. (His first show, Popular, only lasted two seasons, but the seeds of destruction were beginning to sprout.) After fans embraced the fabulously daring, racy, and well-written show about two Miami plastic surgeons, they watched — at first with nervous discomfort, and soon outright dismay — as it jogged, then sprinted, into a soft-porn parody … for five more years. (Seriously, what was up with the serial killer who had no penis in season two?) The main characters — Drs. Christian Troy and Sean McNamara — started out as merely neurotic (one a narcissist, one a depressive), but by the end of season three they had devolved into grotesque cartoons. Murphy’s approach was like that of a comic who thinks, “If a joke works, then telling it again five times — loudly and more broadly — will make it work even better.”

I’m not a Glee fan, by any stretch of the imagination. But I know a few people who adore the show, and I’m kinda tickled at the thought of them losing their baby, like I lost Nip/Tuck. Yeah, I’m a small, small man in that respect.

I’d love to stay and chat, but I’m determined to be done with the Battlestar Galactica reboot this month. I’m as far in as Season 4.5, and it’s kinda awful. The 3rd-Season Curse lives on.

 READ: GLEE SHOWS DANGEROUS SIGNS OF RYAN MURPHY SYNDROME

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Salsa

I’m often told I spend far more time mocking stuff I don’t like than actually highlighting work I do enjoy. Fair point. But it’s hard to have a balance when the overwhelming majority of media output today is pure shite.

Anyway, while this is 4-month-old ad is ancient by web standards, I figured I should share it because while it may not age like fine wine, it’s like the salsa dip in my refridgerator: still pretty good four months later.

Let’s see HTML 5 do this, Steve jobs.

WATCH: And Then There Was Salsa

TrueBlood3

Charitable Spoiler Alert: Turn away if you haven’t reached the mid-point of Season 2, and want to remain somewhat surprised.

So, HBO’s True Blood is back, and I find myself truly shocked at how satisfying Sunday night’s season premiere was. I used to watch this show in fits of laughter, yelling “this is the worst thing on TV!!” at the screen. Then somewhere early in the second season, it crossed over from “so bad, it’s good” to “pretty good” territory.

I didn’t expect to comment on this premiere, but I found myself reading an open thread at Racialicious, in which Tara’s (Rutina Wesley) state of mind after losing her boyfriend had commenters all in a tizzy. (more…)

Watching this ad always makes me cringe.

See, it’s totally not your grandfather’s hair-restoration foam. That’s probably because gramps’ stuff was more of a potion than a foam. It had shit like goat placenta and eye of newt. But this shit right here? Totally different — the ad tells you as much. How so?

  1. It’s all high-contrast, black-and-white edginess.
  2. The “real-person” actor totally talks like an everyday guy. In all our hey, like.. inarticulate glory.
  3. He’s a total skeptic — like you, a jaded adult Gen-X-er. But Rogaine so totally works “It’s like… nice” [double thumbs-up].
  4. Quick. Cuts. MTV-style. So each. Sentence. Is made up of. At. Least. Five clips.
  5. This product isn’t for “men” like gramps. It’s for “guyyyyys.” 85 per cent of whom totally get their hair back. It’s like… nice.

So you should feel no shame ringing it up at the drug store (is it even available OTC?), along with those rubbers, Astroglide tube, and that “What A Girl Wants” DVD.

That’s What I Said… In which I let someone else do the talking.

Bionic

UPDATE: Now also references a brilliant piece by Eric Henderson of Slant.

Rich Juzwiak is one of my favorite music critics (behind Andy Kellman and occasionally Chet Betz). This is partly because he covers drivel like Christina Aguilera so I don’t have to, but I can always trust his views to be 90% in line with mine.

In his review of “Bionic”, Aguilera’s latest effort at focus-group edge, he suggests that, contrary to its title, this is Aguilera at her most human. Why?

It is desperate for attention (even for the inherently attention-desperate medium of pop music), hopelessly nostalgic (…), cynically provocative… and flawed even when pondering flaws (“I Am” regurgitates the theme of Back to Basics‘ “Save Me From Myself” so much that the I’m-an-asshole-but-love-me-anyway sentiment is now a Christina cliche).

And in half a graf, he perfectly encapsulates what has bothered me about this very gifted vocalist for a decade, now (bold emphasis mine):

 I don’t get the sense that Christina is particularly passionate about any of her disco/house/dubby/adult contemporary/hip-hop dabbling (most of it should be gone next album), but then I wouldn’t get that sense, anyway: I consider her the most fraudulently soulful singer of her time. I’ve yet to buy a word that’s come running out of her mouth. Technically impressive as they may be, her screams of passion just sound like screams to me.

Slow clap. I’ve referred to her brand as “manufactured soul” for the better part of the last decade, but Rich puts it far more articulately.

Still, I can’t say I agree with his track picks. The only cut I found tolerable was “Sex for Breakfast”, which falls short because it’s at best, a poor man’s “Loving Me 4 Me”… and it’s called “Sex for Breakfast”.

But why ruin it for you? Go read it all at FOURFOUR.

Before I go, I’m gonna ask you to contrast this with the review from AMG’s Stephen Thomas Erlewine — the greatest living argument that music critics are a bunch of self-important idiots whose opinions aren’t worth the paper they’re written on. AMG is a web-only publication.

That man is a living bedpan.

UPDATE: And here’s what Eric Henderson of Slant had to say about Bionic:

If analogies fail, boy does she make her bid to grab the gays back from the clutches of Gaga explicit. Considering “I Hate Boys” (except the ones who kiss boys) is closer than I ever thought Christina would ever come to recording a Daphne Aguilera track, it’s ironically also one of many tracks on Bionic that sound tailor-made to accompany the opening credits of Johnny Weir’s forthcoming reality show. None more so, though, than the masquerade ball that is “Glam,” a top-heavy cocktail that mixes one part “Vogue” with two parts “Technologic” and serves with a snap.

Read it all at SLANT

J-Money Wondamix

I know, I know. Another Janelle Monáe post.

But my blog-homeslice and Racialicious cohort Latoya Peterson wrote a great piece for The Root, commenting on Jenny Money’s** place in an industry dealing with the legacy of “race music”.

**Dayo, my musical mirror image renamed her this. Not only does it crack me up, it’s far easier typing for repeated references to an artist with an accent in her name. (more…)

Here are the remaining two videos from the W.W.W. viral promo campaign for Dwele’s upcoming album W.ants W.orld W.omen. Sure, the “W.ants” clip trades in a few tired cliches, but I love the creative, relentless way he drums home the album release date.

For your consideration, The W.W.W. videos. (more…)