Tag Archive: TV


It should come as no surprise that my crippling Peter Pan complex has plummeted to new depths.

Several weeks ago, the missus and I went out to a movie with another couple, and when we came home, we found out that our kids had been introduced to a Cartoon Network show called “Regular Show”.  I’d never heard of it.  Mainly because my kids typically don’t watch Cartoon Network – most shows are a bit over their head, and there’s no fucking way they’re getting exposed to the Adult Swim stuff at their age.  And I’m a fucking grown up which means I don’t watch cartoons – society tells me that I ought to bewasting my life on shit like “Homeland” or “Breaking Bad” or some other  TV drama I’ve actively avoided.

But the kids started raging on and on about “Regular Show”.  That, and “Adventure Time”.  I’m savvy to “Adventure Time” and I’d watched a few episodes in the past.  The cult following that show has built up over the past few years didn’t go unnoticed.  But I’d never pushed “Adventure Time” on my kids.  First of all, the only thing I’ve ever pushed on my kids was Star Wars.  Because I’m a responsible parent, damnit.  And even so, I’ve only pushed hard on Episodes IV, V, and VI, because a) they’re the only legitimate Star Wars films as far as I’m concerned, and b) any kid who goes through life without a proper appreciation for the original trilogy means that they have horrible parents who have failed them.

Anyway, “Adventure Time”?  I get it, but I can’t be arsed.  If you watch it, you know it can get pretty fucking dark.  It’s like preschool animation of Hayao Miyazaki films.  I’m not letting my kids watch Studio Ghibli films yet.  So, I’ll let them ask for “Adventure Time” when they think they’re ready for it, and not a minute sooner.

But I didn’t know jack shit about this “Regular Show” that my kids suddenly can’t get enough of.  So before I let them watch any more, I had to watch a few episodes myself to gauge the level of appropriateness.  Responsible parent!  The 8pm time slot for the show suggested that this might not be your average “Phineas & Ferb” fare.  Or maybe it was, I had no fucking clue.

So one evening, after the kids had gone to bed, and the missus was out, I grabbed a couple of brews, sank into my couch, and watched a half-dozen or so episodes of “Regular Show”.  This is how fucking lame I have become, as a parent.  I’ve got the whole joint to myself, and what I do I do?  I sat down and watched fucking cartoons.  Didn’t even occur to me to do other sorts of cool shit I used to get up to when I had the whole place to myself – like fire up the hi-fi, make a mixtape, harass celebs on Twitter, grind out some tunes on the guitars, go wrench my bikes, work on my screenplay…  We all know I made that last one up because I realized the rest of the things I listed were all pretty fucking lame, too.  Shit, I suck so much I want to puke.

Anyway, half a dozen episodes of “Regular Show”.  Which turned out to be no big feat since each episode’s only about 10 minutes long.  But… that’s a quality 10 minutes of show there, people.  As I suspected, it’s got all the adult subtext that’s almost entirely lost on a pair of unwitting kids.

Regular Show

You could google the show, but maybe I can save you the trouble: it’s about two buddies – Mordecai, a bluejay, and Rigby, a raccoon, and their misadventures with their friends (a fat Frankenstein idiot, a ghost with hand on his head, a yeti in skinny jeans, a fancy pants gentleman with a lollipop head) with whom they work at a park run by their boss, Benson, who’s a gumball machine.  Got it?  Good.  Because that’s the completely sane part of the show.  This premise exists with no explanation whatsoever.   And there’s no need.  Every episode, something bat shit insane out-of-this-world happens to Rigby and Mordecai.  Flaming Cadillacs fly out of the sky, space babies rule the outer universe, alternate planes exist where no rules apply, trippy dreams with fanged milky midgets, dodgy smugglers with a gunpowder and salsa side business in Mexico, the list goes on.  Is that part fucked up enough for you yet?

And that’s why I’ve started watching goddamn cartoons again.  I’ve lost count of how many episodes of Regular Show I’ve watched now.  Without my kids.  Seriously, WTF is wrong with me.  But I’ll happily watch it WITH my kids.  It’s one of these nonsensical cartoons that I can watch with my kids – they’ll laugh at the literal silly stuff, and I’ll crack up at all the fucked up subtext that soars over my kids’ heads.

In fact, thanks to “Regular Show”, my younger kid crafted this whole idea on how he wanted to celebrate his sixth birthday – like this:

Nothing made this kid happier than orchestrating his own “Guys’ Night” with he and his brother – and me – spending the evening making overblown nachos and gorging on them in front of the TV, walking around in our underwear, speed-building Legos, stuffing our faces with birthday cupcakes, farting in the bathtub… and of course, watching a shitload of “Regular Show”.  Shit, if they had a palate for soda (which they don’t), they’d probably have wanted to polish off a six-pack of Mountain Dew before crashing at 4 in the morning.

And there you have it: a perfect circle.  I’m now reduced to parenting by way of cartoons.  Idiot.



Well of course this has bloody spoilers in it.  So don’t say I didn’t warn you.  But it’s fun to judge an entire season of a show – heck, a whole show – based on just one episode.  So, let’s do it: here are the top 5 reasons the latest season of Downton Abbey will suck ass.



1.  O’Brien’s bangs are no longer menacing.  There’s no denying that the coiled springs over her forehead were the prime source of her devious power.  She’s Medusa in a maid dress.  Which was awesome.  But nooooo, now they’ve gone and fashioned her bangs differently.  They’ve gone from evil windings to what looks like the spider from Cut The Rope.   That is so not awesome anymore.   That’s like changing up Darrin on “Bewitched” and hoping no one notices.  Or that girl from the Fresh Beat Band.  Bullshit.

2.  No mention of Pamuk (yet).  He’s been the most recurring unseen character since Vera and Maris.  In season 2, it seemed like whatever Lady Mary did had some direct correlation to that dead git.  This first episode in the third season?  Nothing.  Not one whisper.  It’s like the dead Turk never existed.  What a letdown.  The least they could do was something like what Simon Pegg suggested in his tweet.

3.  Are they trying to make Thomas more likable?  Shit, I found myself agreeing with him not once but twice.  TWICE!  After the second time, I punched myself in the face to make sure a third time wouldn’t happen.

4.  They’ve taken the zingers off the boil.   It’s like the writing has been dumbed down to something worthy of Home Improvement.  When the Countess Dowager says that Shirley MacLaine’s character reminds her of “the virtues of the English”,  Matthew Crawley walks right into it and asks, “But isn’t she American?” “Exactly.” So, so awful.  For God’s sake, Julian, stop cribbing dialogue from awful shows like How I Met Your Mother or hackey shit like that.  Honestly, I half-expected a laugh track to erupt after that exchange.

5.  Oh shit, here come the Americans.  Clearly creating a program that is uniquely British is a limiting proposition.  I mean, why not dilute a clever formula?  About 8 million people tuned into ITV on Sunday to watch the show.  That’s chump change compared to what you could get in America.  Sooooooo… if you wanna appeal to ‘Murrrcans, hell, you’ve got to make sure you include loads more Americans in it!  That’s why Yanks have no patience for sports like Formula 1 or soccer – a glaring absence of formidable Yank talent.  No way Downton’s gonna fall into that trap (not when the estate’s going broker than broke!).  So, cue the new Yank cast, and cue all the lame “pompous English vs. brutish American” jokes!  Ugh.


Downton Abbey’s broken the golden rule of quality British television: two seasons and you’re out.  You quit while you’re still ahead.  Good shows are only good for two seasons.   Don’t believe me?  I present exhibits A, B, and C:  The Office, Spaced, and Fawlty Towers.   I rest my case.


Yes, there is an overwhelming amount of teeth-gnashing and grumbling over the Jets’ brilliant move to pick up Tim Tebow.  I know my Twitter feed and Facebook updates page practically imploded with Jets fans seeming to perform a virtual mass suicide yesterday.  Poor Jets fans.  And yesterday was the one and only day I was rooting harder than I’d ever rooted for the Jets.

But I can’t help but see the upside of this whole circus around Tim Tebow playing for the Jets.  I only see fun and good things.



Let me explain:

  • By releasing Peyton Manning, the Colts put a domino effect into motion that pretty much guarantees that the Jets will have the Colts’ 2011 season record for several years to come.  As if it was as simple as taking off a sportcoat (clearly not a yellow sportcoat) and putting it on someone else.  Which sets up the next point…
  • The Jets will also have a lock on the first overall draft pick for 2013 and several years after that.  Not because they’ll trade up, but because they’ll have earned it outright.  Who gives a shit about the loss of your fourth- and sixth-round draft picks?  You’re number one, baby!
  • With all the money the Jets will save from all the costs of not going to the Super Bowl anytime in the near future, maybe they scrounge up enough money to entice Sean Payton to sign on as head coach after his one-year suspension is done.  Because this is clearly the last year that Rex Ryan will be allowed anywhere near the Jets.
  • They made everyone think they were signing another QB, but what they’ve really done here is fortify their running game.  This is sort of chicanery is super-competitive cloak-and-dagger shit.  Cheer up, Dirty Sanchez, you’re still on deck to throw 50 interceptions this coming season!
  • With a fresh face in town, maybe Ford will be inclined to replace Derek Jeter in all those gawdawful commercials.  Anything to get Jeter’s shitty acting off our TVs, amirite?
  • The media can’t seem to get enough of Tebow.  Nevermind that anyone with any working knowledge of football knows that he’s a textbook disaster of a football player, because who gives a shit about facts, it’s the media we’re talking about!  So what better market for Tebow to be in than New York?  You know that every network in NY just pissed themselves in delight the minute the pen left the signed contracts yesterday.  Huge win for the media, guys!
  • Antonio Cromartie was clearly not happy with Tebow coming to town.  But these two are gonna get along just fine. They’re going to be BFFs halfway through training camp, I just know it.  Cromartie clearly loves children, and Tebow is all about pro-life.  These two are all about babies and children and shit.  And if babies and children can’t bring us together, what will?

Thanks for this move, it’s going to be an AWESOME year for EVERYONE, guys.  The atmosphere in the league has gotten quite dark in recent years – crippling head injuries, player stomping, bounties, and a myriad of other fiascos.  This trade injects a healthy amount of much-needed comedy and levity into the sport.  The Jets are being the Jettiest they’ve ever been.  And all is right in the universe.

This past Sunday, I had grand ambitions on how I’d spend my evening.  I thought I could settle in the basement workshop and change all the strings on my guitars.  Or I could sift through my CDs, rip a bunch of songs and make a cool mix tape.  Maybe I could write another blog post, this time pointing out what a colossal waste of time the NBA Slam Dunk contest was (it was fucking terrible, done).

But, nooooooo.  I got the message loud and clear that my attention was needed in front of the TV watching the goddamn Oscars with the missus, and she’ll have no argument about it.  Having kept some ungodly hours at work last week, leaving her to deal with our two ingrates single-handedly meant that I owed her, and if that means three hours of mental flagellation in front of the TV, so be it.

5 minutes into the Oscars, I wanted to throw myself out the window.  I mean, seriously, who gives a shit.  All this pompous, self-congratulatory bullshit celebration of a horribly, horribly mediocre industry filled with awful terrible people.  Billy Crystal going the extra mile t to prove that nine times is way too many times.  And what the fuck was all that circus bullshit – did anybody understand what that was going on about?  Seeing all the cringeworthy banter from plastic-faced people like Gwyneth Paltrow made me want to pull a Sylvia Plath and wear my oven as a helmet.

But this isn’t about the Oscars.  No, this is about what saved the Oscars for me: Twitter and live blogs.

There I was, stretched out on the couch, iPad in hand, my eyes darting between the TV and my Twitter feed.  And Gawker’s live blog.  In particular the live blog made the whole affair not just survivable, but actually enjoyable.  It didn’t make me like the Oscars, but I do know the hilarity of the live blog couldn’t have happened without that train wreck on TV.

And Twitter.  Seeking out the #oscar hashtag provided a steady stream of bullshit comments.  Some funnier than others, most quite dull.  The tweets seemed to average one comical comment for every thirty or so dull-as-fuck ones.  Yet I still tracked the action on Twitter like some degenerate gambler at a racetrack.  Somehow I seemed to be seeking validation for my agony of watching the Oscars.  And I realized that this wasn’t the first time I felt dependent on tweets and live blogs while watching TV.  I did the same thing with the Grammys.  And the Super Bowl.

Why the fuck can’t I just sit and watch TV like a normal human being anymore?  How did I suddenly develop this unnecessary dependence on mobile devices piping in a steady stream of social commentary horseshit?  It’s not like most of the shit on Twitter is stuff that I really need to know anyway.  Most of the time, it was like “OMG, did u c Nicky Minaj perform! WTF!!” (no, Sherlock, you were the only living person tuned to the TV at that moment in the Grammys, the rest of us several million folks collectively got up to go take a slash), or some pointless declaration like “Go Giants!! #patriotsuk” (that’s right, because without your all-important tweet, the Giants surely would’ve lost the game).

And it’s not limited to big TV events, is it.  I mean, Vanity Fair tweet throughout every episode of Downton Abbey every weekend.  Why do I know?  How the fuck do you think I know.  It’s Downton Abbey, for God’s sake.  We’re all tweeting… about poncy poms sweatin’ their virginal reputations… and emotionally-barren old ladies being snippy to each other.  Dear God.

The day I find myself checking my Twitter feed or live blogging while watching an episode of Phineas & Ferb with my kids, I’m throwing my phone through the TV, I swear.  That’s probably going to happen this weekend.


Maybe that title is a bit of an overstatement.  In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s an overstatement, but I like the way it sounds so I really can’t be arsed to change it.

In any case, about this most pointless of streaks.  Most people are able to boast of a streak – or streaks – that are worthwhile.  Baseball is full of ’em.  But it’s not only relegated to pro sports, is it.  Shit, someone who’s been a vegetarian for any extended amount of time is on a streak.  A ridiculous, highly unnatural meat-free streak, but a streak nonetheless.  I’ve got other friends who have streaks, some bragworthy, some WTF-worthy: running around Central Park every day for 15 years plus, seeing every area Springsteen concert since the 1984, and so on.  So what have I got?

I have watched every Formula 1 race since 2000.

That’s it.  That’s all I’ve got some.  A 10-plus year habit of watching a fucking two-hour car race every two weeks from March through October.  On a whim, I turned on ITV one Sunday in March in 2000 and was instantly hooked on watching 20+ open-wheeled cars with wings fly around a track at 200mph for two hours.  I could barely tell one driver from another, one team from another, and yet I was riveted.

But let’s be clear here – I’ve spent the better part of these 11 years bitching and moaning about F1.  Everything pisses me off about F1.  The consistent inconsistency of the rules.  The perennial parade of incompetent drivers who couldn’t parallel park a Ford Focus but yet gain race seats because some rich fuck of an uncle who owns a chain of tanning salons in Peru and generously hands bags of cash over to shitty F1 teams.  The misguided technical philosophy that overemphasizes aerodynamic grip over mechanical grip.  The stupid forgettable teams that have come and gone.  It all fucking pisses me off.

And yet I can’t tear myself away from the sport.  My fortnightly weekend schedule is driven (ugh, pun not intended) by these races.  Even when I’m sick of how a race season is progressing, I still watch practically every lap of every race.  I can’t stop.  Somehow in my head, if I miss just one race, I stop being a qualified F1 fan.  Somehow I lose my ability to be knowledgeable on this insane sport.  Also, in my head, missing just one race would mean I’m a colossal failure.  Like that even makes any lick of common sense.   I can’t bring myself to stop this record of watching these races.  A record with which I can do absolutely nothing.  It’s not a skill, it’s not an achievement that anyone else aspires to, it’s not something that I can bring up in interesting conversation, and folks go, “Wow, that’s brilliant.”  Instead, I’d get quiet looks that scream, “What a complete fuckwit.”

It’s such a stupid streak to keep.

And when I look back at this stupid streak, and all I can imagine is me sitting in front of my TV watching a race one day – and being at the receiving end of an incoming ICBM – and muttering, “Oh, I’ve wasted my life.”  I don’t want to be Comic Book Guy.  The Comic Book Guy of F1.

There was a time when I could watch something like this, admire its production, maybe critique its overuse of rack focus… appreciate it for the creative.

However, all I can think right now is, “who the fuck is gonna clean that shit up?”

[Originally posted December 2010]

For what I do for a living – or at least pretend to – I don’t watch anywhere as much TV as I should. Odd, but true. I really should be more tuned into the primetime line-ups, all these new series on cable that have rabid followings, and I probably should start getting my news from folks other than Stewart and Colbert.

But my loathing for TV is my own.  I refuse to be one of these puritanical, sanctimonious douchebag parents who deprives his kid from watching any TV because he somehow thinks he’s going to raise kids who are above it all.  Bullshit, you stop your kids from watching TV, and your kid’s gonna be the only little shit in school who can’t keep up with everyone else.  ”What’s Phineas & Ferb, guys?” *Punch!!* That little shit’s gonna grow up to be some freakish hermit, and take to the top of a clocktower with a high-powered rifle one day.

So I let the kids watch some TV.  And when I do, I realize that there are some bullshit shows on TV for kids.  I try to limit my kids’ exposure to these bullshit shows, which seem to have been developed for the express purpose of fucking up my kids and pissing me off all at the same time:

Wonder Pets

The Wonder Pets. Never has a show made me want to punch a duck so hard.  And that includes watching Oregon football games.  I don’t care that the show looks like was made out of cut outs from some National Geographic Kids magazine.  Or the fact that’s painfully formulaic – which friggin’ kid show isn’t.  Or the fact that their flyboat looks like the single-most unimaginative piece of shit on TV since Star Trek’s sad excuse for making someone an alien is to put some Play-Doh on their foreheads.  I can almost live with that bullshit on this show.

Because what sends me right over the edge is that fucking stupid yellow duck, Ming Ming.  What on God’s green earth would you put a character with retarded speech impediment in a kid’s TV show?  Elmer Fudd notwithstanding, natch.  Why does this stupid duck mispronounce all Rs as Ws?  Let me get this straight – an Asian duck who can’t pronounce the letter R. The last time I saw something this suggestively racist, Mickey Rooney was slagging off Audrey Hepburn from the top of the stairs. WTF.  It’s not cute, it’s not clever, what it is is really bloody annoying.  I’ve got nothing against that turtle, I’ve got nothing against that guinea pig, except for the fact that for the longest time, I thought the guinea pig was a boy guinea pig named Lenny, not a girl named Linny.  Guinea Pig Crying Game aside, that duck is the one who pisses me off.  I wish that stupid flyboat would end up in a fiery crash with her in it.

Little Bear

Little Bear. If you wanna raise a delusional pussy, a daily helping of Little Bear will get you ahead of your goal in no time.  What a piece of shit this show is.  First of all, no one has a name in it.  The animals are all named what they are: Cat, Duck, Snail, whatever.  What kind of precedent does that set with the kids?  But that’s nothing compared to the entire premise of the show: Little Bear is a enormous wuss.  The stupid cub never gets into trouble, never kicks up a fuss, never bitches when he can’t get his way, never gets his ass handed to him, and everything’s all sweet and nice well-mannered.  Everything is just hunky-fucking-dory all the time.  What kind of bullshit is this?  What is this supposed to be, some kind of example for the kids?  When was the last time you had your kids mimic any of this horseshit?  That’s right, never ever ever.

Wifey cleverly pointed that Little Bear was created by Maurice Sendak.  Which is bewildering.  How does the same guy who create Max, a pretty average loony kid who acts out and screams and is enough of a horror show to make a bunch of monsters his bitches, also create Little Bear, who is arguably most nauseatingly saccharin-filled wussbag on TV?

If any kid acted like Little Bear, he’d get the shit kicked out of him in school.  And that’s just in kindergarten.  I’ll be honest, I’m a bit disappointed my kids haven’t yet turned to me in the middle of this show and said, “Dad, what the hell.”

Little Bear is a pansy-assed little shit.

Yo Gabba Gabb

Yo Gabba Gabba. I don’t fucking get it. Not in the whole Barney-sorta “you-have-retarded-children-so-they-watch-Barney” kinda not get it.  No, I don’t get what the fucking grown-up appeal is.  You got dozens of celebs (OK, maybe celebs is being a tad generous here) who make cameos week in and week out. Yes, yes, the celebs are for the parents, I get that (hooray for Biz Markie – but my kids think there’s something seriously wrong with him).  But why this fucking show?!  These celebs all say they love Yo Gabba Gabba. And I’ve got friends who say they love Yo Gabba Gabba – I don’t talk to them much anymore.

What is it, the Pong-like music that sets you back to your youth? Is it like “Saved By The Bell” and me in college, i.e. it’s dreadful but you just can’t stop watching (and you’re pretty incapacitated from the night before and you just can’t be arsed to look for the remote to change the channel)?  The folks I know who love it don’t love it out some ironic humor standpoint – they truly fucking love it.

Clearly it’s hip enough to get that buck-toothed cyclops into a Kia spot. Maybe there’s some hipster thing going on here, and if so, then I’m pretty sure it’s lost on me. And the worst part – the WORST! – is that because of this stupid show, my kids now know who Jack Black is, and they fucking love him for it.  Sonofa… I’m such a colossal failure as a parent.


Lazytown. More like Creepytown.  Why the hell are some characters fully human and others puppets?  What is the point of this?  Anyone else feel a sense of overwhelming creepiness everytime this mustachioed hero shows up on screen with his pencil-thin mustache and bulging muscles constantly flipping around and doing somersaults for no reason, like a juiced-up rhesus monkey on crack?  Calm the fuck down, you ‘roid-soaked freak.  And stop with the bullshit that anything can fixed by eating a bag of baby carrots, drinking your milk, and doing 200 push-ups a day.  Yeah, we get that physical activity is good.  I like that everyone else in the town is fuck-up, but you get to bounce in off your hot-air balloon and save the day because you can do back flips and not get winded.  What kind of story is that to tell kids?

And I can’t even be arsed to get into what the deal is with the pink girl, i.e. why is she the only other human-looking person, and where the hell are her parents, and what is her bizarre relationship to this ‘roid freak, Sporticus.  God, Iceland is bizarre place.