- Phil Berquist
This week has been full of firsts for me. It was my first time to report to jury duty, first shot at using public transportation, first time attempting to navigate downtown by myself and first real-life courtroom experience. Now don't get me wrong, I have watched countless trials in my life. I've seen drug dealers put away, predators taken off the streets and dangerous criminals locked up indefinitely. The only difference is, all the ones I watched previously were on TV or in movies (mostly Law & Order S.V.U., if we're being honest).
Deep in my heart of hearts I have always had a taste for justice. I long to see bad guys punished for their wrongs and justice executed to the fullest extent of the law (the Lord has used this desire to completely wreck me and my understanding of grace, btw). So, as you can imagine, this week I was a teensy bit excited to get to be a part of the justice system. I hated the idea of commuting downtown, but I was eager to experience the process and bring scumbags to justice! I tried to play it cool during the questioning... mainly I tried to leave out my thirst for justice and overwhelming experience as an investigator (read: law & order addict). While some aspects of this experience were exactly what I imagined, other parts were new and (somewhat) disappointing. As the lawyers began questioning us during voir dire, it became clear that being charming and relatable was just as important as the questions themselves. The first lawyer up was all smiles. He thanked the jury profusely and made sure to make everyone feel important when they were giving their answers. The second lawyer started out just as charming as the first, but was quickly put in his place by the judge when he started to get a little too chatty about the case... there were warnings and objections and everything! Unfortunately, at the end of voir dire I was not selected to be on the jury. In fact, they didn't select anyone from my side of the room because the first side had more than enough candidates. C'est la vie. Maybe next time I'll get the chance to experience all the ins-and-outs of the actual trial. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to S.V.U. reruns, where the bad guys always lose and the good guys always look fabulous in the pursuit of justice!
Sidenote: The coolest part of this whole process was finding out that there is a "white noise button" that the judge presses every time the attorneys approach the bench. I always wondered how the rest of the courtroom didn't hear those discussions!
as i've mentioned before, i love when jimmy fallon creates humor "on the side" of whatever is planned to happen on his show. check out his audition for "the next batman":
it may be a bit of a leap. but this:
reminds me of this:
not gonna question plot holes, guess at theories or try to pinpoint the theology of losticism. just gonna throw these out there:
-i think it would have been better to have jack's death scene on the island be the end. the sideways world/limbo story line was "neat," but kind of just came across as a way to make the masses happy and keep people on the show. i like how they went about it and realize that this season was made complete by that whole gimmick, but i don't think the story needed that arc at all. it was just the twisty mystery of this season.
-the jack vs. MiB battle/showdown/duel was SO fantastic! the stare down, jack with a flying superman punch in the rain, etc. epic.
-really enjoyed the eye closing in the bamboo bookend. (as stated before, i think that would have been better left alone without the "closure" of the happily ever after. but i'm not HATING that they added all that.)
-thoroughly enjoyed the star wars references (that i caught, anyway): "i have a bad feeling about this" and "yeah, he's worse than yoda."
-and, of course, loving that jack was the hero (despite what some naysayers may say ... or naysay.) "looks like you were wrong, too."
-little perturbed/disturbed by the wife-swapping and love polygons that permeated the series/finale.
-out of all of the reunion-flashback-memory-trigger things, i enjoyed charlie/hurley (because of hurley) and charlie/claire (because of charlie) the most.
-and i don't know if you saw matthew fox on jimmy kimmel last night but i believe his tears were real. that was the first time he had seen the finale, he said. (and can we get this dude an emmy, please?)
i wanna give a shout out to the year 1985. it was, pop culturally, a really transformative year for me. not the actual year, per se, but what came forth from it. such as...
ronald reagan is sworn in for his second term
we are the world
i love the description on this particular youtube upload: "its by michael jackson and a couple of people. and its super touching :]"
the dairy queen blizzard
the tv show growing pains
a ton of great movies, including a few of my absolute all-time faves:
spies like us
back to the future
some killer cartoons:
and one of the biggest, eternally insignificant, influences of my entire life: the nintendo entertainment system
1985... my hat's off to you. (readers, if you're not standing and applauding by now, i worry about you and am sad for you.)
honorable mentions: microsoft windows 1.0 is released (figured that might draw some jeers), teen wolf, disney's gummi bears, jem
i may be getting old(er) but i'm still young in SOME senses. this was confirmed to me the other day when my mom had me set her DVR for tuesday night to record all her faves. she later commented that it's her favorite night of tv.
i thought to myself, "self, tuesday is the void of the tv week*. it's the one night i could go without and not think 'i missed such and such.' funny that it's her favorite." i ASSUME it's a generational thing. could be wrong i guess.
mom, you read this blog. wanna set me straight in the comments section? ; )
on the other hand, i do like to watch monk and psych with my parents on fridays. next thing you know i'll be wearing black socks with tennis shoes and shorts (like my brother...)
*tuesday used to have house, right? but now it's on monday? i guess tuesday has AI when it's in season. still, thursday is the king of the tv week... not tuesday.
mule train came up on my ipod this morning. it always reminds me of this:
once again, the fickle masses and almighty dollar have given the proverbial axe to another slew of shows. i don't know how some of the surviving shows made it through to another season and i hate that others didn't. here's a quick rundown of some, imo, notables.
-pushing daisies: been over this already, but wanted to re-mention it. also wanted to note that they'll be airing new eps in the next few weeks, so MAYBE we'll get some closure on this short-lived series.
-the unit: sorry, mom and dad. fans can always watch allstate commercials and hope one of those wrecks getts REALLY out of hand. from what i've seen, the unit combines the shoot-first-ask-questions-later and body count of 24 with the marital dynamic of a "good" lifetime original movie. not really my bag.
-kath & kim: i didn't even have to watch this show to know it was horrendous. they got this one right.
-knight rider and harper's island: REALLY?! NO WAY! (i guess those weren't really notable cancellations)
-my name is earl: i admit, this ole grey mare ain't what she used to be. not as upset with its cancellation as i am with the decline of the show. glad pressly got an emmy out of it, though. she quickly (and somewhat sadly) became the only bright spot. (i did read that 'earl' is being shopped to other networks.)
-king of the hill: hats off to a good show with a good run. i didn't keep up with it, but i did appreciate it. chagrined that my hank hill impression isn't as valuable if no one knows who he is!
-the unusuals:last, but not least, is a show i really enjoyed and HOPED would have some staying power. i thought the cast acted well (jeremy renner, amber tamblyn, harold perrineau, adam goldberg, and kai lennox were ALL great), the quirks were outlandish but still believable enough to watch, the soundtrack was cool, and the stories were fine. so what happened, america?! "blech," i say. not cool.
with these cancellations (and many more), come some new contestants to vie for america's downtime. one promising new show that caught my eye is community, brought to us by nbc. the blurb in entertainment weekly reads, "joel mchale heads up the cast of a comedy about a community college full of misfit students and teachers. funny and clever, with chevy chase costarring." now, mchale was pretty horrible on the improv flash in the pan, thank God, you're here, so my hopes aren't too high.
at least my survivor and 'idol' picks were victorious. so not all hope is lost, ha.
i'm so glad tv isn't important. then i'd really have something to be upset about.
i'm no long-timer. last season was my first season of AI to ever watch. i'm definitely not hard-to-the-cizz-ore 'cause i fast forward through everything but the actual performances and simon's critiques. i've even stopped listening to paula's nonsense as comic relief, but am tempted to see what she has to say every time simon starts with something like, "i REALLY need an interpreter to know what she's saying."
alas, just give me the talent and the most to-the-point, realistic judge (i realize he words things more harshly than necessary at times, but still).
all that being said, i see things that fuel what i hope will play out for this season.
my early favorite was danny gokey... but my new fave is kris allen.
to compare to last season: gokey is my jason castro. i liked jason from day one, but he kinda fizzled for me. kind of a one trick pony. no progression. i see that with gokey, too. kris is my david cook. cook last season kinda grew on me and kept me rooting for him week after week with variety and execution. that's what kris is bringing to the table for me. cool arrangements, masterfully executed. winning combo, if it were wilsonian idol.
now... adam lambert... (prepare to hate) is my david archuleta. he's talented, no doubt. i just don't like what he does. archuleta and lambert are VERY different, i realize. but in my book, they're both talented singers who i don't want to listen to. lambert is quite the showman. very impressive, but i don't want an album of it. he's like axl rose meets geddy lee meets elton john... in a bad way.
and sadly, over the past two season, i can't figure out why girls are still even contestants on this show. good luck, ladies. adam is DEFINITELY the only person with eyeliner who has a chance.
(and the rest of you, i guess. but specifically the roberts girls, who haven't wavered in their HSM proselytizing!)
mr. walter disney gets weird, but just dismiss him...
i never gave up on snl. of course, i started watching live eps in the late 80s after the anthony michael-hall, terry sweeny years. not sure i would have lasted through those.
my appreciation really intensified after reading Live From New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests and Gasping for Airtime: Two Years In the Trenches of Saturday Night Live. it's crazy what goes into making each show... even the bad ones!
i'll admit. the show has had some really unfunny patches and REALLY UNFUNNY CAST MEMBERS, but each season has had a few cast members who are just funny to watch... even in unfunny skits.
most recently, thanks to tina fey's palin sketches, the masses are tuning in again. while the show is not the best it's ever been, i'm still watching AND still laughing thanks in large part to kristen wiig. everyone knows she's the goldmine on the show and it can get annoying seeing her featured so prominently in so many sketches. give her a break. she's done so many characters that they're starting to overlap. please, snl, use her sparingly. i could have done without gilly this past week... but not without her kathy lee gifford impersonation! check it out below.
WARNING: PG-13 (i wanted to rate it so no one gets offended. i've been more sensitive after our student ministry took heat for showing remember the titans on the way to camp several years ago.) also, i tried to use hulu's clip editing feature to get rid of the pelvic thrusting at the end, but i'm not sure it's working every time or at all. so when doogie shows up, you can stop after he "krunks it" and save yourself the blushing.
while the chases, hartmans, ferrells, murrays, murphys, feys and poehlers are gone, the current cast (in addition to wiig) has some really solid performers (hader, sudekis, thompson) who shouldn't be ignored and the new chicks (elliot and watkins) seem promising, too.
granted, the show ain't what it could be and i fast forward through 99.9% of the musical guests. but i'm committed to this relationship. a 34-year-old show should be allowed some misses. snl at it's worst was still better than mad tv, imo.
give it up for danger mouse.... (and penfold)
this is a list of recent and not-so-recent things i've observed that made me think "are you kidding me?! what were they thinking?!" in no particular order:
-ABC cancels Pushing Daisies. this is one of my favorite shows. and i watch a LOT of shows. the american tv audience is stupid (my blog, my opinion). reminds me of FOX's ridiculous canceling of one of the greatest shows i've ever seen. "PD" wasn't exactly one of the greatest shows i've ever seen, but still a stupid move.
-the Snuggie infomercial loses me at 1:05. it looks so warm, comfy, and natural until i see it in the stands at the game. it looks like a family of monks or de-hooded jawas mixed in with all the normal people. to paraphrase brian regan, "ain't gonna move a lot of [Snuggies] this way."
-DIRECTV had me mildly entertained with their recreations of classic movie scenes to hawk their wares until they used the little girl from the Poltergeist movies who died (before the third movie was even released) at the age of 12. blech. who were the ad wizards that ok'd that? what was craig t. thinking? coach must be strapped for cash. whatever the case, it turned me way off.
-the BIG XII conference is apparently the only BCS conference with a championship game that does NOT defer to head-to-head games when two teams are so closely ranked in the polls. (of course, they are reassessing the system, now!) don't get me started, don't EVEN get me started...