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RYAN AND JASON VS SNL

RYAN AND JASON VS. SNL:

LOUIS C.K./SAM SMITH

 

5 SKITS

(3 HITS AND 2 SHITS)

 

THE HITS

DYKE AND FATS

In SNL land, 5 minute skits that should have been 3 minutes feel like they lasted for 30. And then there’s Dyke and Fats, a 2 minute skit that I could have watched for another 30, at least. This is the opening titles for a 70′s buddy-female-cop TV show, starring Kate McKinnon as Les Dykawitz and Aidy Bryant as Chubbina Fatzarelli. I’m not sure what else you would need, but we also get the two of them fighting crime in their own patented, best friend way, as they acrobatically kick a group of criminals, and, for some reason, Dyke stands on Fat’s shoulders as they shoot at the TV screen. This is to say nothing of seeing Dyke hand a hot lesbian a note that reads “Call me. 911,” and then seeing Fats hand that same note to a hamburger. Because she’s fat. Bonus points for the skit never dropping the look and feel of those 70′s shows.  - RH

MONOLOGUE

When Louis C.K. hosts, I get a little giddy now because it means we get a brand new chunk of stand up from the best in the game. This is no exception. He rails on God, wifebeaters and everything that’s just kind of generally shitty in life. He never gets George Carlin level preachy but his message hits just as hard. – JRN

BLACK JEOPARDY

I know Ryan has some rule about gameshows, but I don’t. And this one killed me. There’s no pretention here. They didn’t make a fictional show called “I Know Black People!” or “Black Folks be Krazy!”. They simply decided to take an existing game show and make it, for lack of a better term, black. The structure, the stage and everything else is the show you know and love, but to watch a sweaty Louis C.K. play an African American studies professor against Jay Pharoah and Sasheer Zamata worked on all levels. Pharoah, Thompson and Zamata all killed it to the point that there was a three way tie for best performance. And when Louis is involved as the least funny person in your sketch, you’ve done a really good job. – JRN

THE SHITS

COLD OPEN

Another episode, another cold open with Barack Obama. What has Barack Obama done since the last episode of SNL? He appeared on Between Two Ferns. So this is about that. Why don’t we go back (for the first time?) to having political skits when the writers have something to say about politics, as opposed to forcing it into every show, whether they have something or not. – RH

CHRIS FOR PRESIDENT

This is a rough one. I will start, however, with a compliment: this looks like a shitty ASB presidential video. Good job there. Now, the one thing I would like to tell Kyle Mooney is that if you’re going to parody something that isn’t intrisically funny, add jokes. If you can make fun of an easy target (like this one), make sure that you still add jokes. This skit allowed the premise to make Mooney feel comfortable enough that he didn’t need to search for jokes, which seems to be a more dangerously recurring problem every week for the show in general. Everything needs jokes. That is a simple thing to remember, yes, but an important one nonetheless. – JRN

NEW CAST MEMBER SEASON RANKINGS

Ryan’s Top Eight:

  1. Beck Bennett – Baby Boss returned this week, and basically guaranteed another season for Beck Bennett. He’s becoming a go-to straight man, AND he can turn his body into the body of a baby. Nicely done.
  2. Kyle Mooney
  3. Mike O’Brien – Mike O’Brien rises up the list because of this week’s Darth Vader skit. His range seems to be limited – at least from what we’ve seen so far – but his deadpan is perfectly suited for a skit like that.
  4. Sasheer Zamata
  5. Colin Jost – It’s admittedly a little unfair, as he’s the only one of these seven that gets a guaranteed five minutes every week, but SNL’s new Weekend Update host has proven capable if not spectacular.
  6. Noel Wells
  7. Brooks Wheelan
  8. John Milheiser – The Morwenna Banks of our generation.

 

Jason’s Top Eight:

  1. Beck Bennett – He now officially has a character. He appears to be the least new of all the new guys. In fact, I’d take him over a couple of the vets.
  2. Kyle Mooney – When his don’t-call-them-digital-shorts work, they’re brilliant (and he’s usually solo or just with Bennett). But when they fail, watch out. That aside, he understands the show and seems to be fitting in pretty nicely.
  3. Colin Jost
  4. Mike O’Brien
  5. Sasheer Zamata – Not a lot going on here, but she has a presense and she does bring some energy. I hope we get to see what she can do next season.
  6. Noel Wells – Hasn’t been given a lot. Hasn’t seemingly fought for much.
  7. John Milheiser – Awful. But not as bad as…
  8. Brooks Wheelan – “This isn’t working out. Sorry, but you’re no good at being the straight man and your comedy isn’t really suited for audiences” – What I hope Lorne Michaels says at the end of the season.

NEXT WEEK: ANNA KENDRICK! PHARRELL WILLIAMS!

EVEN MORE JOKES ABOUT HIS ARBY’S HAT!

Listen, Fellas, I Don’t Get It Either – Veronica Mars

In the mid-90s, wealthy film producers realized that creating a broadcast network whose sole purpose was to pander to the whims of teen girls would be a lucrative venture. These (most likely) men were both brilliant and careless, and so, The WB was created. The flaws in this plan began to present themselves roughly 3 years after its inception — the maximum lifespan of your average teen girl’s fandom in any one thing — and the network slowly and systematically moved away from this model before merging with UPN — the Lazarus to a few of The WB’s fallen programs — to create the unholy alliance that is The CW. Through this experiment, we as a culture have learned that teen girls as a demographic are somehow both a rabidly loyal and fiercely fickle bunch. In order to please them, the media as an entity apparently decide that new content must constantly be generated, regardless of its quality. Most of it is horrendous garbage. Every once in a while, though, when no one is looking, you get that monkey that types out Hamlet. The short-lived Veronica Mars is one of those plagiarist-monkey-moments.

It was the best of times, it was the BLURST of times?!

Why Chicks Love It

It’s Nancy Drew for the 21st Century! She’s pretty, smart, and solves crimes on the side. Plus, it’s set in seaside California town, so it gives salivating young girls a glimpse into the polished lives of celebutante Californian teens and their petty troubles. There are love triangles involving equally pretty boys with equally large Scrooge McDuck piles of money. There are scandalous affairs and nefarious dealings aplenty. There’s even a new drama each week for Veronica to resolve, sometimes involving threats from a dangerous biker gang with tattoos! It follows who’s dating whom, who’s just sleeping with whom, and who’s wearing what to the prom. And Veronica, our plucky heroine, used to be part of the In Crowd, but now spends most of her time brutally defeating them in battles of wits. This show does truly tick all the same boxes as your generic Beverly Hills, 90210 wannabe teen soap. At least, that’s what I thought it was about based on the promos I saw when this show was originally airing. I avoided it like the plague during it’s 3 seasons on the air because I had discovered too young that teen soaps became outrageously boring very quickly when there’s no deeper or overarching subplot beyond, “Will Johnny Football Hero ask the slightly less popular brunette to the prom instead of Prom Queen Blonde?” It wasn’t until a few years after Veronica Mars wrapped that I found old quotes praising the brilliance of the show from two of the greatest media figures ever in my mind: my own personal Pop Culture Maharishi, Kevin Smith, and the man who made strong women cool, Joss Whedon. It wasn’t until my personal heroes of screens both large and small told me I should that I decided to give Veronica Mars a fair shake. That’s when I figured out …

They both had cameos, too.

 

Why It’s So Much More Than That

Veronica Mars is nothing like your average teen soap. In fact, it’s more like if Encyclopedia Brown and Cam Jansen grew up, got married, and raised their only daughter to be a jaded and snarky yet wildly resourceful teen detective capable of unraveling the plots of psychotic murderers with barely a broken nail. Instead of being another boring carbon copy of the teen soap that started them all, Veronica Mars is more like a page out of The Maltese Falcon with a twist. Instead of Sam Spade waxing poetic about the getaway sticks attached to his latest sexy widow client, we have a surprisingly determined and gritty high school junior wondering who really murdered her best friend in cold blood rather than wondering if she’ll be a part of the Homecoming court this year. We have a pretty, popular cheerleader whose rose-colored world crumbled around her from the weight of darkness and conspiracy and, instead of crumbling with it, she figured out how to thrive amid the rubble, even as the adults around her struggle to do the same. When this show was originally airing, the teen girl market was mainly pushing and either/or scenario. On one hand, you had strong female characters who were superheroes of one form or another and could face an apocalypse with aplomb. On the other hand, you had smart, “real” girls seeming powerless over everyday scenarios, wasting away as they pine for the ones they can’t have, then cutting off their trademark hair because their hairstyle is thing they can control in their own lives. Out of this dichotomy came a stylized and clever neo-noir show about a “real” girl taking charge of situations that would cause most adults to fall to pieces using nothing but some simple spy gear and an acerbic tongue.

 

PopFilter Podcast 139

Play

This week, the friends tackle double the Bunuel, with The Exterminating Angel and Los Olvidados. Plus, a review of the new Cloud Nothings album.

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

NOAH


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REJECTED TAGLINE: Go, or we’ll flood your face.

REVIEW: The biggest problem with translating a bible story to film, other than the possibility of offending millions of Christians, or turning away millions of non-Christians, is where is the drama. God warning Noah of a coming flood, driving him to build a gargantuan boat in the middle of the desert to the chagrin of his family and derision of the community? Boring. So, what’s a filmmaker to do? Shave his head, give him flaming sword, and send a barbarian king at his big ass desert boat. Now we’re cooking with holy gas!  Now how can Aronofsky make David and Goliath interesting? Give David a  giant sentient spider to ride (and make quips!) Bible movies are easy.

SPOILER:

RATING: **(out of ****)

 

SABOTAGE


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AKA: Arnold’s Back (for realsies)

REVIEW: A weird thing the Avenger’s movie did was make everyone interested in teams far more than they were before. We used to like the plight of the individual, a lone hero against all odds,  perhaps with a plucky sidekick to join. But now it’s about inter group dynamics,  the personalities can clash, group chemistry tried by Ocean’s 11 but no one really cared. We don’t want one-dimensional, one note, one-liner characters, but fully developed (as possible) people interacting. While this film is likely to get Expendables comparisons, it’s only because of the aging action star. In fact, Sabotage is the first full-blown no-tights no-tongue in-cheek action movie to still somehow not get cheesy we’ve had in years. It’s not trying to wink at its stars heyday, or show how silly action movies are. It just jumps forward, guns blazing, and proves action can sometimes be neat even without special powers. It just sucks that it sounds like Arnie’s reading no matter if he’s conveying sadness, anger, or jokes.

SPOILER: Arnold stole the cash. Never expected that, didya? Also, I can’t spell his last name and refuse to look it up.

RATING: ***(out of ****)

CHANALYZE

CHANALYZE

In which we dig in to each specific channel, seeing if there really is something to this whole “channel personality” thing

fox-logo

FOX

 

Did the FOX network create Channel Personalities? I’m not old enough to remember what the world was like before FOX, but I do remember them quickly becoming the network that certainly did not belong to your daddy, or anyone else’s father, unless your father was a rude dude who wore his saggy pants backwards and called things “bad” when he thought they were “good.” The narrative was that God, on the seventh day, created the only three networks that would ever be, until a bunch of fucking punks got together and slapped God in the face, using only audacity and crudeness. FOX  arrived, and there was nothing you suit-wearing suits could do about it.

looney-tunes-bugs-bunny-and-tazmanian-devil-kris-kross

This is what everyone looked like back then. I’m serious. Stop laughing, asshole.

Is this still the case today? Sort of not really. If it is, it’s really just based on history and reputation, as opposed to actual programming decisions. They’re the only major network that supports animated programming at all, having essentially dedicated an entire night to it, every week for decades. This is something that would have seemed crazy 30 years ago, but institutions like The Simpsons, King of the Hill, and Family Guy have made prime time animation a pretty standard thing. They used to be the network with the black shows, but that throne was taken over, and has since been abandoned, by the WB/CW. (A good way to tell if someone is 5-6 years younger than me is finding out they’ve never seen an episode of In Living Color, but have seen every episode of Homeboys in Outer Space and The Wayans Brothers.)

 

It should be noted that, as a sign of their still-relative youth, or their incredible laziness, FOX has 7 less hours of programming a week than ABC, CBS, or NBC. The “Big 3” programs from 8-11, every night, and then lets their affilates pick whatever shitty local news show or syndicated sitcom it wants to air for the other 21 hours of the day. (Technically, Sunday nights from 7-8 also count as prime time, but everyone just airs a bunch of bullshit, so fuck it.) That’s seven fewer hours that FOX has to pay for, seven fewer hours that FOX has to worry about, seven fewer hours FOX has the opportunity to define its brand. What would go in these hours, if FOX had to air something (which seems unlikely, as this is the way its been for almost 30 years, while just about every “old rule” of how television works seems to be getting flushed down the toilet)? Genre dramas and musical-reality-competition shows, based on its current line-up. This leaves FOX in a weird place, priding itself for being less boring than CBS, but certainly without that crazy edge that they think they had in the nineties.

mailman

Other shows in the original WB lineup included Black High School, and Black Mailmen Be Crazy (shown above)

 

Off the top, FOX’s biggest problem might be shows like Almost Human. Almost Human is by no means perfect, but it’s fun enough, watchable, and a perfectly fine replacement when you’re too broke to go to the movies. But even though they are seemingly cutting every corner they can to keep the budget manageable, it still feels way too expensive to stay afloat. It’s really cool that FOX wants stuff like this to work. It’s the only channel that really tries to get these genre shows to stick (sorry CBS, Intelligence doesn’t count) But in order for them to keep paying the bills, it essentially has to become the BIGGEST SHOW ON TELEVISION. In order to become the biggest scripted show on television, it has to be the exact same thing that’s popular right now (another CSI), or come totally out of nowhere for no explicable reason (The Big Bang Theory). As much as it sucks to say, FOX can’t tell themselves that they are going to make a quality show with a cool premise, and guarantee huge ratings. You might be able to do that with the box office returns of a summer movie, but not in network television. So Almost Human will probably spend the rest of its life getting retooled and reshuffled, until all of a sudden we’re three years into the future, and the only time we remember the show is when some nerd on a website screams about a reunion movie, in which Nathan Fillion will play every single part. It’s the fate of 90 percent of the shows like this. And FOX will try it all again next year, with an even higher budget and premise.

 

f667b7a1e6-10-most-expensive-tuned-cars

Next season on FOX: Agent Gold Car: Weekly Explosion

Remember Terra Nova? They wasted so much money, on something that was so cheesy, and the nation collectively cared so little, that I kept looking for Kevin Costner’s name in the credits. I don’t know if television audiences can give FOX what it would take to get a show like this to six seasons and a movie anymore. It’s just not the way the world works, and even if enough people were watching, no one has the tools necessary to measure that. It’s like FOX is trying to out-movie the movies by keeping sci-fi on the televisions. But the one way FOX has messed up the most over the last decade (and relatively speaking, there aren’t as many mistakes as you’d think), is by acting like the movie theater is their enemy, when it no longer is. It’s time for networks to shake the hands of the movie studios, tell them it was a fun, 60 year war, and take aim at their true enemy: all of the other ways we can get “television” on our television. If you want huge ratings, forget it. You’re never going to get that again. But if you want just enough viewers to make a profit, you need to cut budgets in half, or make sure you have a slam dunk on your hands. Shows like Almost Human aren’t going to cut it.

man-soda

What should be on FOX next season: Soda Man, brought to you by Coca Cola.

FOX’s other big flaw (and this has been the case for years now) is not knowing how to take a hit and make it grow even bigger. They really only know how to take a hit and force it so far down our throats that our farts sound like a high school kids singing a capella. Remember The OC? Of course you do. You’re probably like me, and remember it every night before you go to sleep. Although it was probably never the cultural phenomenon that FOX claimed it was at the time, it’s ratings were better than FOX expected. So they ordered way too many episodes, and promoted it to the point where people no longer wanted to be welcomed to the O.C., bitch. Same with those aforementioned Glee kids. People spent the first two seasons mildly enjoying it, the second two seasons hoping all of those singing fucks died from a ball-peen hammer thrown straight at their face, and the final two seasons (this and next) surprised that the show is still on. Is this just the fickle nature of today’s television viewer? Maybe. But it happens enough to FOX to think that their “Next Big Thing” anointments may have something to do with it. All of this means that the ideal FOX show is, of all things, Bones.

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Bones!?!?!?!?

Yep. Bones. Bones just got renewed for it’s tenth (TENTH!) season. Just to put that in perspective, it’s something that’s only happened to about 40 scripted shows in THE HISTORY OF TELEVISION. It’s genre-ish. It looks like a CSI show but somehow  isn’t. It’s runs on a seemingly affordable budget. And it has a fanbase that is fervent enough to watch for the last decade, but was never so big or rabid at any point that FOX felt the need to order sixty more episodes over the next three months or release Christmas albums featuring the characters singing “Deck the Bones” and “We Bones You a Merry BonesBones.”

 

Sunday remains FOX’s most reliable night. It doesn’t pull in the same numbers it did in the heyday of The Simpsons, or when Seth MacFarlane almost took over the network, but it’s still dependable enough. Let’s also not forget to mention that FOX’s Sunday line-up is the home of the single greatest show on TV, so they’ve got that going for them. The FOXiest night of the week, however, might belong to Mondays, despite its lack of cartoons or black people. Monday seems like the night that FOX likes to air its genre shows, most likely counterprogramming to CBS’ powerhouse comedy line-up. Bones will be back here soon, after proving that it could hold on to its viewers on Friday nights. This is also where you would find Almost Human, the critically-hated-but-commercially-decent The Following, and FOX’s new baby, and the most-likely-to-suffer-from-overkill candidate, Sleepy Hollow. This is how a network creates a name for itself. FOX has stepped out as the first of the major networks to tell all of the old rules to go fuck themselves. No longer will they be slaves to pilot season, ordering 100 shows to be made so they can choose one or two of them. No longer will they force themselves to schedule season premieres during the same three week period that everyone else does. I think all of that is fine. Better than fine. Ballsy even. The old rules no longer work, and new rules aren’t going to hurt anything. But what this does do is give FOX this one night, Monday night, all year round. Viewers can tune in every Monday night to see two hour long sci-fi/action/mystery/thrillers no matter what. For instance, half the year will be Sleepy Hollow and Almost Human, the other half will be Bones and The Following. If networks are still really aiming for “appointment viewing,” which is essentially like aiming to open a yellow pages printing press, then this is the only way to do it. Hey, people that like these shows! We’ll put them all here for you! It might just hold off the death rattle of network television as we know it today.

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The best show currently on TV, as if you didn’t know that already.

And then there’s Tuesday. Oh, sweet Tuesday. NBC’s Thursday night line-up used to be the only bright spot of my entire week. There was one or two sweet seasons where The Office, 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, and Community were in peak form, and all other shows could rot on my DVR for all I cared. The closest thing we have to that now, in both quality and diminishing ratings, is FOX’s Tuesday night. The Big Bang Theory wouldn’t stop to pick up the ratings of these two nights if they were lying in the gutter, but for some reason both FOX and NBC enjoyed the critical success and word-of-mouth that came with the less-than-stellar ratings. The problem is that this places all of these shows  perpetually on the cancellation bubble. New Girl, Brooklyn 99, and The Mindy Project (which barely escaped cancellation) have all been renewed for next season, although they’ll probably never feel 100% comfortable. And then there’s Dads. Oh, Dads. It hasn’t technically been canceled, but when FOX realizes that they’re keeping those other three shows around because they’re good, as opposed to ratings bonanzas, they’ll probably want to ditch the one that is both low-rated and one of the worst shows of all time.

 

The only other night that FOX airs a full slate of original, scripted programming, after Animation Sunday, Genre Monday, and Comedy Tuesday, is Friday nights. Friday doesn’t have its own clique at FOX high school. FOX treats Friday night more like a AAAA ball club: shows that have graduated past the minor leagues of pilot season (this analogy is running out of steam), but aren’t really ready to graduate to the big leagues of the other three nights. Raising Hope has already been cancelled, just biding its time until it’s syndication eligible. But no one knows what’s really going to happen to Rake and Enlisted. Both of them are decent enough, and probably deserve to stay on the air. But Rake doesn’t really fit in on Monday, and Enlisted isn’t cool enough to hang out with the Tuesday crew.

 

With all of these personalities, what does that make FOX? What does FOX look like, when we’re finally able to create a laser that we can shoot at inanimate, intangible objects and turn them into humans?

billie-joe-armstrong

The FOX network.

Punk rockers have to grow up. They have to do as much damage, and make their message as clear as possible, while they are an appropriate age. Then they have to mature, while attempting to maintain reasonable amount of that punk rock mentality in every thing they do. Otherwise they’ll kill themselves. FOX was punk rock. Then it matured, and became a legit network. In 2007, it became the most watched network on television. Since 2002, its ratings in the key demographics have left even the CBS’ of the world envious. The only thing left is stabilizing. Moving into the fully-adult phase of the rest of its life. Green Day albums will never again be tagged as “the one where they are maturing.” That part’s done. And although that “mature” album seems hard to do, since there’s so many ways to blow it, the more interesting part is what happens after the maturation has happened. Where does the drama and inspiration come from? What is your next goal, when you’ve already reached what seems to be the final goal of maturity? We haven’t mentioned FOX’s real money makers, the NFL and American Idol, but I don’t think they’re relevant. Not only are they unscripted, but they would be hits on any network. They don’t tell us anything about FOX. What FOX needs to do is get a better understanding of what it is they do. Don’t look at the success of Sleepy Hollow (another show whose initially decent ratings they weren’t able to hold on to) and try to recreate it or exploit it. Instead, I want them to know that they can do the cheesey genre shit while making a quality show. Brooklyn 99 is the comedy example of this. They hired all of the right people to make a cop show that isn’t a cop show, and it isn’t a cop show so well that you don’t even care that it might be the most unrealistic cop show of all time (except for Cop Rock. Always except for Cop Rock). 15 or 20 years ago, FOX was the most unreliable network for me. Every new show was destined to be my favorite of all time, or the worst shit I’ve ever seen. Now, they might be the most reliable of the big five, at least as far as quality goes. Now let’s see if they can finally get people to tune in.

 

- Ryan Haley

The List

The Best Songs of the 1990′s

1995 Edition

I have a lot to say about the songs from this year. I am not going to bore you with some long-winded introduction. Seriously. Here’s the list.

10. 1979 by Smashing Pumpkins

This song, yes this song, is only the 10th best song of the year 1995. Are you fucking kidding me? That’s insane! But it is true. And rather than try to knock this song, I will use its placement to point out that 1995 was not just a really amazing year for music in general, but a spectacular year for rock music specifically. This song, with its cool vibe, mumbled lyrics, distinct melody and unmistakable Pumpkins guitar tones, is and will remain a classic for decades to come.

9. Accident Prone by Jawbreaker

With that lazy bass line, those dissonant chords, the energy, the build up and the tear down, all you can say is…fuck. This song is good. When someone has this kind of unpolished quality to their voice, the only thing you can hope for is that it is accompanied with passion and conviction. Not only is that here in spades, but the structure of this song is beyond reproach. The double time pre-chorus sandwiched between the mellow verses and wide-open choruses creates a song that is nearly flawless.

8. Stars by Hum

Some bands try to bring you in with self-restraint only to build you up to a more rousing section of their songs. With “Stars”, Hum doesn’t give one single, solitary fuck about what some bands do. The song is either at 1 or 10, with almost nothing in between. Every second of every minute is used so judiciously that the song stands as an impressive real-life execution of Phil Specter’s wall of sound theory.

7. Wonderwall by Oasis

You know this shit. It’s all like, “today is gonna be the day…” etc. But when was the last time you really listened to this song? Liam Gallagher’s vocal performance on this track is fucking breath taking. I didn’t think it was possible to be apathetic, desperate and biting simultaneously but that is precisely what he is able to do. And yes, the melody is stupid good. I get it. Damnit, have I mentioned how good this year was for music?

Bunny puppy break!!!!

6. Tonight, Tonight by Smashing Pumpkins

I dare you to hear that first symphonic run of the strings on this track and not get excited for the next four minutes of your life. Billy Corgan has such a grating voice that there need to be some amazing things happening behind it to make it sound great. Somehow, the Pumpkins find a way to make that happen, and never more than on this track.

5. It’s Oh So Quiet by Bjork

Lounge-singer-turned-holy-shit-that-chick’s-super-talented. I don’t know if that was the pitch of this song, but it might as well be. Bjork goes from super cheesy with all of her “shhh” business to a vocal powerhouse with more ease than most people do things like blink and breathe. While both performances are impressive, the fact that they come so closely and flawlessly back to back is what sets this song apart from its contemporaries.

4. High and Dry by Radiohead

Guys. Do you remember Radiohead? Like before they went all “In Rainbows” on us and were making rad music that had all kinds of integrity and beauty? If you don’t, pop this track on and just revel in the soundscape these Brits are able to produce. From Thom Yorke’s effortless falsetto to the acoustic strumming to one of the biggest bass drums of all time, this song has something for everyone. And by everyone I mean everyone who has a brain, heart and a pulse. So…everyone.

3. Champagne Supernova by Oasis

As seen from the Hubble telescope, circa 1995.

The chord and melody structure of this song leave less to the imagination than “Wonderwall” but these lyrics are too good to ignore. And while these chord changes and delicate melody are sort of cheats to get you to feel things, it works. And it fucking works over and over and over. And while this vocal performance isn’t quite as densely layered as others from Oasis, the song comes together in such a satisfying way that you can’t help but be affected by it.

2. Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Smashing Pumpkins

The music on this song is great and innovative and inspiring and important and blah blah blah. Let’s get real; this shit’s all about the lyrics. Starting your song with an a capella “The world is a vampire” is pretty ballsy. From there, shit only gets crazier as Billy Corgan sounds like the saddest, cynical bozo you’ve ever seen with a mangy beard petting an imaginary cat on the corner. Somehow, it totally works and what should come off as insanity comes off as a focused and generation-defining angst.

1. Fake Plastic Trees by Radiohead

Sometimes nothing beats a gorgeous song about fake trees that is totally not an allegory for anything at all. But for serious, this song is the kind of song that if you hear it in the background, you will eventually stop what you’re doing as it takes all of you attention. This might not be the song that changed everything for rock and roll, but it certainly sent everything down a very good and necessary path.

That’s it. Every year, the lists get a little tougher to narrow down. In fact, 1995 was so good that I would like to let you know the songs that just couldn’t find a way on to this list. Honorable mentions to follow! (Also, email me at jasonnoble@yourpopfilter.com to let me know what you think should have made this flawless list)

The Bends by Radiohead

Gorgeous, but not as good as 1979. Sorry, Radiohead but I guess you’ll have to live with only 20% of the list.

Take me Down by Smashing Pumpkins

This might be the most self-indulgent song I have ever put anywhere near a list. But fuck it. This song is dreadfully under appreciated. How do I know that? When you read the title you thought, “what the fuck song is that?” And that, dear readers, is a goddamned shame.

You Oughta Know by Alanis Morissette

Before this song, I don’t really recall too many songs with such a terrible and frightening woman-scorned angle. And boy, there’s not a lot more unsettling than an ex-girlfriend talking about how she’s sure that your new girlfriend will make a really excellent mother.

Just a Girl by No Doubt

Between Alanis, Gwen and Bjork, I definitely made the right decision. That said, this is a nearly flawless tune from a band with a serious up-and-down relationship with the music industry.

Lump by Presidents of the United States of America

This song gave us “Gump” by Weird Al. And for that, I will ALWAYS be grateful to the Presidents of the United States of America.

Brain Stew by Green Day

I know this entire album was a bit of a disaster, but this song (and its brethren “Geek Stink Breath”) proves that good things can grow from both muck and mire.

With Love,
Jason R. Noble

Pop Filter Editorial

POP FILTER EDITORIAL

man-shouting

In which we step from behind the curtain to spout opinions. 

“What’s right isn’t always popular, and what’s popular isn’t always right”- my Mom (and probably someone before her)

             I’m not here to make friends. This isn’t some meet-up group where we’re all into board games, or homemade wine, or wicker dolls, or ukulele metal, and we all end up at each other’s weddings, or at least go hiking once a month. I’m here to talk about a trend I’ve noticed growing, spreading through the masses like the name of the only weed dealer left holding at Coachella. I’m here to talk about bingeing.  Specifically binge watching, I could care less if you drink 30 beers in a sitting, or eat a whole Linda’s Fudge Cake followed by a pint of Cherry Garcia, all drizzled with chocolate syrup. There’s no detriment to those activities that I can see, except for maybe too much fun!

            But binge watching is serious, and needs to stop. Look I get that you don’t want to hear that right now. You’re probably covered in the dust made of Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos and Funyuns, taking a quick internet break in between Felicity and Dawson’s Creek marathons, and the last thing you want to hear is some jerk judging your choices. I understand, truly I do. Those of you caught up with the podcast know we just watched all eight episodes of True Detective in a single day. And that’s just for work. The same week, I watched half of the Wire season 5 because I felt I deserved a “me” day. So I’m not lecturing about something I know nothing about, like some fuddy-duddy preacher telling you not to go screw. Screw away! But maybe don’t do it for six hours in a row.  Wouldn’t you enjoy it more if you took (ample) breaks, refreshed with some juice and hummus, took a shower (you need it) and perhaps even a walk before jumping back into bed?

            Your brain doesn’t want to sit still for hours on end, focusing on the shenanigans of your favorite characters all day. And this isn’t some “TV rots you brain” message. TV is a huge part of my life, and I (scarily) don’t think I would be who I am without it. In fact, I want you to get more out of your TV and movies. I guarantee that in my 8 couchin’ hours of watching True Detective I missed some shit going on. Maybe it was clues to the identity of the Yellow King, or symbolism in the background the director sneakily put in the show, or maybe just a sweet back and forth between Woody and Matty Mac. Did missing stuff completely ruin my experience? Not even close, but I bet catching those things would’ve made a great show even greater. I realized, in that week of two days binging two amazing shows, how much I’ve probably missed over the years of binging. The advent of TV on DVD and streaming on Netflix and Hulu has fundamentally changed the way we watch television. I’m sure you have a friend (or yourself) who waits for the current season of The Walking Dead to be finished so they can knock it out over a weekend. Netflix has even fully accepted this, and that’s why they just release their shows in one batch. It’s become the normal way of consuming TV shows, but friends, it’s a weaker experience.

            Remember the days of waiting week to week (or even-gasp- a month or two for the holiday break) for a new episode? Whether it was Lost, or Buffy, or the West Wing, or whatever, the anticipation and fandom increased from that time waiting. The heated conversations of that week’s events, analyzing, wondering, hypothesizing, yearning, it all led to a deeper and more rewarding experience with that show of your choice. I’m a full believer in submerging yourself in the art you enjoy, but if you want the true experience, do it in bursts. Give your eyes a break, and your brain the chance to assimilate your shows. Say no to bingeing.-MG

*All that being said, I’m still gonna binge Smallville when I’m sick or depressed. But come on—not all shows are created equal.

PopFilter Podcast 138, Part 2

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The finale of the most awaited show of the year: The Filterinos Three finish their discussion of True Detective.

PopFilter Podcast 138, Part 1

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Its True  Detective time! Now that the HBO phenomenon has wrapped its first season, the friends sit down to discuss as much of it as humanly possible. Now that you’ve heard about what every other person on the planet thinks of the show, it’s finally time to see what the Filterinos Three have to say.

Part 2 of this 2 part epic will drop tomorrow morning.

Top Ten

Best Fictional Bars and Restaurants

The Peach Pit – Beverly Hills 90210

90210 - peachpitThe Peach Pit is amazing because of its chameleon nature, rendering it homey diner by day and totally kicking rock club when it becomes The Peach Pit After Dark. The diner is the perfect setting to discuss the eternal teen drama of two girls wearing the same dress to the Spring Dance.  But then if you’d rather rock out to something a little harder than the fast-talking Laverne (aka Brenda Walsh in pink glasses) lip-syncing to “Its My Party,” you can always catch a Color Me Badd or Collective Soul show next door while your friend OD’s in the bathroom. The best part about The Peach Pit is of course kindly and sarcastic saint of an owner Nat who’s always there to give the kids a job and some earnest advice…or in more dramatic soap opera fashion enter into an unwise business partnership with Dylan and walk Donna down the aisle. You know, normal boss stuff.

MacLaren’s Pub-How I Met Your Mother

how_i_met_your_motherMacLaren’s is that magical perfect bar TV bar that never gets too loud for conversation, but is always fully popping with interesting people and adventures. I know I’m getting old because every time I watch Barney try to pick up a girl speaking only Dolphin or the gang  goes rounds making their best Canadian sex position jokes (my favorite is the Reverse Rick Moranis), all I can think about is how nice it would be to find such a quiet, well lit bar. Preferably a bar directly under my apartment where the bartenders know me so well they not only chase randoms out of my favorite booth, but trust me to just get back behind the bar and run the place in a pinch…despite a litany of past untrustworthy behavior like boogie boarding down the stairs. Is that too much to ask?

The Max-Saved By The Bell

themaxSo we can all agree The Max is actually on campus right? That Bayside is just so much cooler than your average school that the cafeteria is really a bitchin’ juke joint run by a magician? After all the place is constantly overrun with high-schoolers, it’s not like you ever see a single other adult wander in and try to get a table. Then again maybe they’re scared off by the constant barrage of charity benefits, school plays and dances happening at any given moment.  Not to mention all the times the gang uses the Max to hold some sort of private club or practice, it’s almost always dance practice…Slater does love himself a unitard.

Paddy’s Irish Pub-It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

paddysPaddy’s Pub is like that really hip, underground spot you drag your friends to ironically to watch the train wreck. Sure sometimes (usually) the waitress double drops the bill or you show up to find a Prom pre-party filled with drunk teens or God forbid you wander into the secret Russian roulette game in the basement. And sometimes the bar is just left swinging open but nobody seems to be working…or even present.  But if you’re lucky, you just may happen to roll in on the day they screen the highly controversial Die Hard 5. Or the day they throw an amateur wrestling match for the troops and debut the hilarious Birds of War themes song. Then again you may have the grave misfortune to be present when the bar is taken hostage by the sweaty and incestuous milk-loving McPoyle clan…so maybe it’s not really worth it after all.

Central Perk-Friends

FriendsMore than the 90’s-tastic hairstyles and baby tees, Friends will end up being most dated by the steady stream of scenes in a coffee shop with absolutely zero laptops in sight. Central Perk is a laid back mecca of comfy couches and cappuccinos, a welcoming place to while away the afternoon with a group of – ahem, friends – talking high school stories, dating mishaps and dinosaurs with nary an employee urging you to order anything or move along and let some other patrons have the big couch, for god’s sake it’s been 5 hours. Unfortunately the coffee shop you’re more likely to find yourself in is the cold, quiet, store with hard chairs and tables like desks for people to type away in silence and glare at the boisterous group laughing in the corner.

Arnold’s/Al’s Drive-In-Happy Days

Happy DaysThe original in 70’s produced 50’s nostalgia, the Happy Days Drive-In will always hold a special place in America’s heart.  And for good reason, it was the heart of the community. The local watering hole where you were guaranteed to see everyone in town and whatever interesting strangers who happened to blow through. Arnold’s, then later, Al’s, was the backdrop for every birthday, first date and dance in Milwaukee. Not to mention the historic setting for man’s first contact with Aliens and the very first and only literal shark jump in television.

Café 80’s – Back to the Future Part II

Back to the future50’s diners are just so played out. I can’t’ wait until 2015 when not only do we get flying cars and holographic movie theaters, but apparently overnight all the boring Ruby’s and Mel’s will turn into robot-run 80’s nostalgia machines. Seriously I can think of nothing I want more than to order a Pepsi Perfect from a floating TV screen bearing a stuttering Ronald Reagan.

The Bronze – Buffy the Vampire Slayer

buffy-xander-when-she-was-badAnother fictional establishment I’d love to frequent, and not just because partying with the Scoobies is literally my biggest dream come true, but because nothing like this place actually exists in the real world. In a show about teenagers battling with demons, witchcraft and one apocalypse after another, the hardest thing to suspend disbelief over is the freaking awesome all ages dance club that serves the high school crowd and adults simultaneously. A live music venue with magical acoustics to allow quiet conversations of both romantic and threatening natures while the band is playing ten feet away. A stage that boasts local favorite High School garage band Dingoes Ate My Baby one night and Aimee Mann, Nerf Herder or Bif Naked the next. Dancing at The Bronze says something about you, it’s how we knew immediately that Season 2 Buffy was a little more jaded when she casually played with Xander’s heart or how close Willow and Tara had become when their tender slow dancing caused them to levitate with happiness. Though it was almost always infiltrated by evil gangs of vampires and you had a 50% chance of being killed there, that’s kind of part of the fun. As always Cordelia explains it best, “The Bronze. It’s the only club worth going to around here. They let anybody in, but it’s still the scene. It’s in the bad part of town.”

Cheer’s – Cheer’s

cheersI mean, not to be totally on the nose but who doesn’t want to go where everybody knows your name? After all, that kind of camaraderie and acknowledgement is probably what kept half of those characters from killing themselves. It’s great to know that even if your life is so depressing you take to drinking away your failed marriage(s) or dwindling career, there’s always some fellow barflies just a few feet away to trade quips with and distract yourself until you have to go home to your mother.

Mos Eisley Cantina – Star Wars

Mos EisleyBecause though old Ben Kenobi meant it as a warning, being told “you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy” just makes the place sound like a stellar hangout.  I mean, it’s an exotic space saloon where you could contract the famous rogue Han Solo (and his magical ship that somehow made the Kessel Run shrink in size) or just bop along to the super catchy jazz stylings of Figrin D’an and the Modal Nodes. Man I hope they just play that one hit over and over.  It’s basically like the Wild West in there, you can openly slice someone’s arm off with a light sabre or shoot a bounty hunter completely unprovoked and apparently nobody bats an eye. Best of all droids aren’t allowed inside, so you can finally get some peace and quiet if you happen to have been traveling with a most neurotic and anxious protocol droid who seems to believe being fluent in over six million forms of communication means he should always be dithering, loudly. – AS

TRAILER TRASH

TRAILER TRASH

In which we review the films opening this weekend, just based on the trailer, to 100 percent accuracy.

MUPPETS MOST WANTED


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REJECTED TAGLINE: Just because no one asked for it, doesn’t mean we won’t make it

REVIEW: Recycled jokes, tired plot-lines, celebrities galore– the Muppets are back! The wackiness and heart used to be so balanced, and it’s replaced with a shmaltzfest of who cares about anything. They sure will make some money, as the Lego movie is finally out of theaters and what else do kids have to watch right now? Nostalgia is a dish best left un-served, and the only people who will enjoy this movie are Felt Fanatics who would say they loved Muppet Babies XXX.

SPOILER:Everything wraps up in a heart-warming song where enemies become friends and Ricky Gervais and Evil Kermit learn the error of their thieving ways.

RATING: **(out of ****)

DIVERGENT


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REJECTED TAGLINE: This Isn’t Your Hunger Games (It’s your kid sister’s)

REVIEW: Full Disloshe- I’m the guy who reads a book before it comes out as a movie so I can bitch about how not as good it was (and the kind of guy who needlessly abbrevies word). Where Divergent starts as poor young adult’s dystopian series, it ends up fairly successfully differentiating itself enough to make it worth reading if you’re into that kind of thing. The movie decided that was too hard, and plays of the generic romance, generic chosen one-ness, generic revolution-ness without any sort of charm. Diverges it does not.

SPOILER: The third book will definitely be split into two unnecessary movies, as is the way of the times.

RATING: **1/2(out of ****)

CountDown: Fictional Chefs

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The series of talking about (sort of) past (sort of) jobs of the friends continues! This week Jason, Mike, and Ryan discuss their favorite fictional chefs in honor of Jason’s favorite pastime- reality shows about chefs.

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

Listen, Fellas, I Don’t Get It Either – Grey’s Anatomy

LISTEN FELLAS…

In which Kerri tackles (as a female writer) the kind of content that’s marketed only to females.

 

I remember when the term “chick-flick” started cropping up. It started out as an epithet of sorts to be used solely towards tear jerkers about middle aged women and particularly terrible romantic comedies with plots so convoluted and asinine that the phrase “suspension of disbelief” washed its hands of each and every one of them. Since then, it seems that all categories of media and genres contained within have their own tiny “chick” niche, from tv to music to books. While I may be completely female, I’m lucky enough to be only about 40% “chick,” 50% on the outside. As such, I am both cursed and blessed. I can’t fully escape being inundated with bits of these little pockets of media that I’m expected to enjoy because I was born with girl parts. However, I’m also lucky enough to be able to discern the hidden gems from the steaming piles of excrement. Not everything deemed “chick” is as terrible as you might think; some of it is much, much worse. And some of it is wildly underestimated simply because it centers on women. I’m here to help you discover the difference.

This is the target demographic, I think.

 

Grey’s Anatomy

I just heard the other day that Grey’s Anatomy, currently in it’s 10th season, is poised to continue on for two more seasons. Doing some quick math, I realized that this show has been on a major network for roughly one third of my existence on this planet and I’ve somehow managed to never view a single episode. Until now, that was something of a point of pride, as I automatically equated it to something housewives watched together over multiple bottles of Skinny Girl wine. Still, ten seasons is nothing to scoff at, particularly with the major networks being so fond of employing that “ax that shit within three episodes”  policy for new shows. So, for the betterment of society and to satisfy my own purely morbid curiosity, I decided to find out what the big deal was. An episode and a half into season one, I’d made my decision.

 

 

Why Chicks Love It

As I understand it, one or both of these Irish fellows has something to do with the appeal

I don’t like to judge books by their covers — or tv series by their opening credits — but in this instance, the Grey’s theme montage basically tells you everything you need to know. They oh-so-cleverly match action from surgical instruments on a tray to a hand curling eyelashes, from masculine hands zipping up someone else’s little black dress to latex gloved hands tying up some scrubs, from an IV bag and down the tubes to liquor pouring into a martini glass, finally ending on two pairs of naked legs entwined on a gurney as someone pulls a surgical curtain closed. Obviously, this isn’t your average steamy evening soap, ladies and gentlemen. This is a steamy evening soap about FABULOUS LADY DOCTORS! They’re smart, educated, and worried about landing a man! Just like you! Lucky for these really-very-pretty-but-only-average-by-ridiculous-Hollywood-standards ladies, they’re surrounded by gorgeous man doctors just a-ripe for the picking. Also, along the way, there are,  like, patients to save, or some junk. To set the scene adequately, the first scene of the pilot focuses on our titular Meredith Grey kicking out the naked (and so far nameless) man she drunkenly hooked up with the night before the first day of her surgical residency, remaining pithy and charming all the while. See ladies! You can have it all! Meredith Grey is like the Marlo Thomas of the 21st Century!

Is It Actually Good?

No, okay!? MY SHOW IS FUCKING TERRIBLE.

NO. Let me reiterate something here: the first scene of the pilot focuses on the heroine — typically a character intended to be redeemable — waking up naked on her own couch on the morning that she’s supposed to start learning how to be a surgeon, realizing she’s late, and remembering the naked dude on her floor whose name she never bothered to learn. This is not Marlo Thomas. This is not a smart, strong woman who makes intelligent choices based on attaining independent goals. This is, in fact, a woman who is barely better than a drunken college freshman trying to make it to their poorly-scheduled 8am. There is one important difference, though; Meredith Grey has successfully managed to figure out how to pull off this schtick all the way through medical school.  Sadly, in the episode and a half I made it through before wanting to scream, I didn’t get the impression that any of the characters were given any more depth than that puddle that forms on my driveway every time it rains. The little bit of humor they desperately crow-barred in for levity was cringe-worthy at best and, in some instances, down right fucking insulting to the intelligence of the masses. At one point, it’s discovered that a patient – the victim of a very violent rape – actually bit off the penis of her attacker. One of our supposedly clever lady doctors takes one look at the tip on ice and says, “Hm. Well, that’s one way to take a bite out of crime.” I mean, rape jokes are almost always a hit, right? People love them and they almost never incite internet flame wars or anything.

ER was on the air for fifteen years. Remember those first few years when it was actually a really good show about the personal and professional lives of truly caring ER doctors and nurses? Grey’s Anatomy doesn’t, obviously, since the show is essentially a direct lift of those last 6-10 seasons that were purely about which George-Clooney-wanna-be was sleeping with whoever replaced Julianna Margulies.

GOOSE FOR LIFE

 

PopFilter Episode 137

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That’s right, folks! 137 episodes! On this episode, Jason and Ryan discuss “Abandoned City” by Hauschka, Comedy Central’s latest offering in “Review”, the Daniel Radcliffe vehicle “Kill You Darlings” and continue their insane nosedive into surrealism with Luis Bunuel’s “L’age D’or”. It’s jam packed with laughs, rants, opinions and actual jam. Hold on to your toast.

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

COUNTDOWN: FICTIONAL STANDUP COMICS

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The second of a 3 part series, Ryan, Jason and Mike continue to look at the careers they had before blossoming into podcasting moguls. This week’s countdown discusses the top 5 fictional comics, because sometimes hobbies are viewed as careers by delusional morons who don’t understand what a career is.

 

Email us to get your opinion on the show: contact@yourpopfilter.com

Or call and leave a voicemail: 1-562 DRDJ POP

 

Review us on iTunes!

 

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Want to record your own podcast? Check out Phantom48 for all of your electronic and recording needs!

MARCH TV EXTRAVAGANZA

MIXOLOGY

mixology

* (out of ****)

 

After three years of reviewing pilots, I think I’m all done. The worst. The WORST. THE WORST. Everyone involved should be banned from television forever. Do not watch, even if every cast member is a close relative of yours. Fuck everything. I’m out.

- Ryan Haley

Ryan and Jason vs. SNL

RYAN AND JASON VS. SNL:

LENA DUNHAM/THE NATIONAL

5 SKITS

(3 HITS AND 2 SHITS)

THE HITS

SCANDAL

Sasheer Zamata gets her first lead role in a skit, and it’s…OK. Her straight-woman acting needs a little bit of work, as she is a little wooden, and too reliant on the cue cards. Maybe I’m underestimating how hard it is to be a cast member, but if you only have lines in one skit, shouldn’t you have them down a little better than this. On the bright side, though, she does have two laugh-out-loud moments that she kills. The premise basically boils down to a Scandal fan, played by host Lena Dunham, gets a job working for the Scandal crew, and is totally out of her league. The skit gets all it needs out of its premise before it bounces, and Zamata shows promise. – RH

WEEKEND UPDATE: MATTHEW MCCONAUGHEY

Taran Killam is out of his fucking mind. Once the McConaughey impression began, I was enamored. Then I closed my eyes and would have bet money that it was actually McConaughey talking. On top of an incredibly accurate impression, this motherfucker has jokes! This is what SNL should be; topical with a spattering of impressions and a strong bank of jokes. – JRN

WHAT ARE YOU EVEN DOING?

I was unsure what to expect when I heard that Lena Dunham was hosting SNL. Was she, like Louis C.K. going to commit or was she, like Louis C.K. ultimately just not going to work? Turns out, she worked more than not because of her commitment and oddly endearing screen presence. While her shtick on Girls can have a melodramatic bent, here she hit most of the notes she needed to and constantly kept it light. Her portrayal of a teen having just hit puberty was pitch perfect as she has no idea what to do while her body is feeling everything ever felt. Bonus points to Pedrad for using her annoying bubbliness to her advantage, Moynahan for doing the most with the least and Jon Hamm for…being there. – JRN

THE SHITS

JEWELRY PARTY

Most of the world agrees that Kate McKinnon and Taran Killam are SNL’s current MVPs, and some people might make a case for Bobby Moynihan and Kenan Thompson being a close second tier. I’m not going to argue, but I think Cecily Strong might be the most underrated. Her pretty quick Weekend Update transition aside, sista’ can come up with some pretty decent characters and voices. That’s what makes this skit hurt more than usual. A DOA premise (a guy reveals to his girlfriend’s friends that he’s a champion of men’s rights) totally wastes Cicely Strong’s Venezulean girlfriend who is confused about the situation. I’m not going to feel too bad for her, though – this entire thing was probably concocted around her ability to do that voice, and that’s not a good way to write a skit. – RH

OOH CHILD

Once you think you have this skit figured out, it hits you with comedy. Unfortunately, that comedy doesn’t come until the last 20 seconds. Lena Dunham does awkward perfectly while everyone else just kind of exists. It’s basically a car with four straight men in it. And while the payoff is there, it is tremendously underwhelming. – JRN

PopFilter 136

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The PopFilter podcast celebrates is 136th week anniversary with a celebration unmatched by anything since last week’s episode, and probably next week’s episode. The friends review the new Sundance Channel show The Red Road, the Howard Hawks’ classic El Dorado, and begin the new PopFilter BlindSpot, director Luis Bunuel. 

Top Ten

Actors Who ARE Their Characters

Mayim Bialik/ Amy Farrah Fowler

As the only legitimate nerd on the Big Bang Theory, I’m convinced the part was written specifically for this former child star. A full two years before neurobiologist Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler met Dr. Sheldon Cooper and became television’s most awkwardly endearing, non-sexual couple, she was discussed as a possible teammate for the gang’s Physics Bowl Team when Raj says “You know who’s apparently very smart, is the girl who played TV’s Blossom. She got a Ph.D. in Neuroscience or something.” And girlfriend does, a fact she gets to throw in the face of any unprepared reporter she wants like the one above at the SAG awards: Not only do Mayim and Amy have the same degree, but the actress’s preferences actually dictate the character’s fashion sense. While Amy’s penchant for grandma sweaters and ankle length skirts are never explained past frumpy nerd wear, in reality Mayim’s conservative Jewish lifestyle mandates long sleeves and skirts below the knee. But apparently has no problem with on-air spanking.

Nick Offerman/Ron Swanson

nick offerman

Though he has implicitly said “I’m not the ultimate male that Ron Swanson is” we all know that’s just a feint to protect his rabidly defended privacy. But there’s just too much evidence to support the theory that Ron Swanson and Nick Offerman are one in the same, I mean the man wrote the guide book to being manly and woodsy. He owns a wood shop in Los Angeles where they take their time building all sorts of things tables and benches the old fashioned, noble way.  So that means every time Ron proves he’s the most awesome person on Parks and Recreation by building his own table or fixing something, it’s really Nick. He’s not miming like some pansy ass actor, he is building with his hands like a Man. Same thing goes for the crazy sex scenes with ex-wife Tammy II played by real-life wife Megan Mullaly. When they destroy everything around them with the ferocity of their lovemaking, that shit is REAL, like Eyes Wide Shut real. We’re getting a glimpse into the glorious sex life of Hollywood’s most hilarious couple and it’s intense. Now all we need to do is catch him, on tape actually rocking out on the sax a la Duke Silver and he won’t be able to deny his true identity anymore.

Emma Watson/Hermione Granger

emma watson

 

 Sure she’s not legit magic, but Emma’s story is elsewise eerily similar to that of her alter ego Hermione Granger. She was a normal (dare I say Muggle) child born into mediocrity but thrust into a glittering and fantastical new world as a child.  A world of fame and fortune so far removed from what the rest of society experiences that turns most impressionable youths vapid and vain but not practical Emma. When asked in an early interview how she planned to spend her first massive movie star paycheck, the 11-year-old sounded completely in character when famously declaring she was “going to stick it in the bank until I’m 21.”  She’s passionate about education, citing her upbringing in a household where pencils and notebooks were treasured Christmas gifts, and has continued to take time off from acting to pursue education at Brown and Oxford. Emma’s comparable values come into play when speaking about the power of being a role model and what Hermione stands for and means to a generation of little girls. “Hermione is so close to who I am as a person that I’ve never really had to research a role. I’m literally rediscovering what it means to be an actress.”

John Barrowman/Captain Jack Harkness

cpt jack

 

 As the morally ambivalent, bi-sexual, rogue Time Agent, Captain Jack is always ready to flirt with and jump into bed with anything with a pulse…regardless of the gender, species or temporal position. On this plane of existence, the always dashing and mischievous John Barrowman has become the king of ComiCon, his panel appearances laced with enough public groping and wildly raunchy tales of Gay Hollywood to charm the pants off of every fan, compatible sexuality notwithstanding.  Half the fun of a Barrowman appearance is the fact that practically one in three fans who gets up to the microphone to ask a question is likely to get kissed or boob honked. John became Jack and then John again at the 2009 ComiCon when his excitement over the spontaneous kiss with The Doctor himself gave him the most epic fangirl nerdgasm of all time…and immediately became the topic of roughly one million new fan fictions. 

Mindy Kaling/Mind Lahiri

mindy

 

Possibly an unfair addition to the list seeing as how she writes the damn show, which maybe requires me to include all comedians with their own shows like Louie CK or Jerry Seinfeld. But it’s really her personal essays and Twitter feed that prove that Mindy is the same celebrity-obsessed and wickedly smart klutz she plays on TV. Equal parts confident and self-deprecating, glamorous and desperate, in every incarnation Mindy is the brutally honest best-friend you wish you had. Further Twitter stalking has provided definitive evidence that she and B.J. Novak have the same super intense friendship and on-again off-again thing they wrote for themselves to act out back on The Office. Just seems like the kind of high drama, narcissistic thing Ryan and Kelly would do…

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

 

The most successful product of the Golden Age studio system, little Norma Jean was plucked, dyed and surgically altered into the epitome of American sexuality. And thus Marilyn Monroe was born, renamed so the alliteration of the letter M subconsciously mimics a moan. Every aspect of her persona was carefully cultivated to project an aura of sex, from her breathy voice to the butt wiggling walk created by shaving each and every left heel just 1/3 of an inch to produce a sexy, uneven gait. But the most important alteration was Marilyn herself, she could only play the silver screen goddess who has held strong to her place in pop culture for 50 years by becoming her inside and out. So as her characters walked the line of innocence and innuendo so did she. And as she fell I and out of love onscreen, so did she off screen marrying and divorcing 3 times.  She played the flirty blonde who could rely on her charm to get away with anything, then proceeded to star in the only Presidential sex scandal the American public finds delicious rather than demoralizing.

David Duchovny/Hank Moody

DD

 

Honestly I think in this case David Duchovny was offered the role of a sex addict and realized that was a great fake thing to say he had and thus explain away any and all despicable behavior in his real life. So Californication is about a sex addict who can’t control where his deranged penis takes him? Psh what a coincidence! So is the case for the big Hollywood actor hired to play him! Maybe Duchovny saw something of himself in this Ivy League writer, considering his background as a Princeton grad with secret book “in a drawer somewhere.”  He’s even quoted as saying that acting Hank Moody is “a wish-fulfillment fantasy.”  So with zero first-hand information or authority in this matter, I call bullshit on Duchovny actually being addled with sex addiction. The man saw his chance and he took it… which actually is a pretty low and thus very Moody-like stunt to pull.

Robert Downey Jr./Tony Stark

Robert downey stark

 

One of these men is responsible for one of my all-time favorite quotes – “Listen, smile, agree. And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway.” Now quick guess who said it, Robert or Tony? Incidentally it’s a real life quote from the man himself, but it would not be at all out of place in a Marvel movie. Because though Robert Downey Jr. will probably never develop Tony Stark’s scientific or engineering skills, they’re essentially the same person oozing the same rebellious charisma. That special blend of anti-authority swagger and tortured genius that makes the public clamor to forgive any and all alcoholic hijinks of these charmingly flawed scoundrels.  Such confidence is completely valid given Downey’s amazing real-life secret power of ever-increasing attractiveness with age. The line between actor and character is so blurred here that sometimes Tony comes out in the middle of a Hollywood Reporter interview, and sometimes Robert’s personal eating habits make it into the middle of The Avengers. He hid food all over the set for continual snacking, so in the lab when Stark offers Bruce Banner a blueberry and Bruce looks kind of amused but takes it? That was a totally unscripted moment of friend sharing snacks and a totally Tony Downey Stark Jr. move.

Jeff Bridges/The Dude

the dude

He’s been the President, an alien, a rock star and more than one cowboy. But the role Jeff Bridges is best known for, the one he constantly quotes himself in interviews and he one he’s admitted to being most connected to is, of course, The Dude.  Much like the Dude, Bridges is a laidback guy who can rock a ponytail and sandals combo that would make most men look homeless. His speech is peppered with liberal usage of California anachronisms “man” and “trip” and he’d much rather just hang out than…do stuff. He’s known for being a reluctant participant, averse to making commitments and protective of his leisure time. Still the most important reason Bridges continually being compared to his defining character after 16 years and countless award winning roles is the fact that he can’t refrain from quoting The Dude himself at least once per interview. Jeff is the Dude, and the Dude abides.

James Dean

james dean

 

 A troubled youth too beautiful and desperate to live for long, James Dean was the living embodiment of his iconic teen rebel role in Rebel Without a Cause. He had a traumatic childhood in which he lost both parents and was a victim of sexual abuse, making a rebellious and brooding young adult. An avid drag racer Dean was banned by the movie studio from racing during filming as a safety precaution, but true legends can’t be restrained. On September 20, 1955 while driving his Porsche Speedster down the highway he tried to get around another car using a “side stepping” racing move, lost control and both cars hit head on.   Dean’s sensational car crash death seemed so perfectly scripted to be part of his persona it had to be either the most daring and committed publicity stunt of all time or the karmic ending to a fame-making deal made with the Devil.  - AS

CountDown: Fictional Teachers

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In this week’s CountDown, the friends get a little nostalgic. The first of a 3 part series, Ryan, Jason and Mike begin to look at the careers they had before blossoming into podcasting moguls. Plus everyone had teachers, except for Jason who was raised in the wild. Though I guess you could say nature was his teacher. And she was a wily witch.

 

Stay after the credits for a rare moment of intimacy among the friends!

 

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