If you've missed the latest collaboration between Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, this is the perfect chance to get on board. Ricky (recently confirmed to return to host the Golden Globes) and Stephen send their sad sack friend Karl Pilkington out to see the world and make fun of him mercilessly as he whines and complains his way around some of the most incredible locales on our planet.
It sounds mean, and it is. But you'll only feel sorry for poor Karl -- who'd be happier at home in his flat with a cup of tea -- for a few minutes. then you'll be laughing too hard to care. This week, Karl takes the legendary Trans-Siberian Express train into China. Fans may remember Karl's feelings about the Great Wall from last season. He was, shall we say, unimpressed.
Pundits and TV viewers from up and down the dial are calling out President Obama for airing his big speech on the troop surge in Afghanistan and preempting ABC's airing of the classic Christmas cartoon A Charlie Brown Christmas. If this causes a move for impeachment, I may never awake from my laughter coma.
Not only was the story the top headline on yesterday morning's Drudge Report, but the pundits really jumped in to turn the President into their own personal Scrooge.
So I was pretty excited to learn that Warner Home Video was releasing a lot of the TV specials, both individually and in collections. On Oct. 20, the Peanuts 1970's Collection, Vol. 1 will hit store and cyber shelves in a 2-disc set. A nice publicist sent me an advance copy, so I'm happy to devote this week's Jane After Dark to this lovely set.
I'm always harping on all the sex and violence on TV right now -- often in shows that bill themselves as family friendly -- so it's really nice to have something you can watch with your kids that you know won't contain anything offensive or off-color. Not only that, the stories usually have a moral lesson, but they don't whack you over the head with it. It's more subtle, wrapped up in the humor and innocence of the stories and characters.
Of course, that isn't always the case. Teachers can also be awful monsters whom we never forget for their ability to patronize, degrade, or humiliate us, often leaving one wondering if the man or woman in question took the job merely to torture students. This, naturally, can lead a kid to fantasize about how cool it would be to fall under the instruction of one of the following actors who, despite likely not possessing any type of teaching certification in real life, would probably be a blast to spend 40-or-so minutes on a daily basis.
Perhaps the reason why America continues to view Christmas less as a time for spiritual reflection than as one for reindeer sweaters, crass consumerism, and suicide contemplation is because our Christmas specials aren't really sending the messages that they claim to be. Sure, on the surface we're told about "peace on earth and goodwill to men, blah blah blah", but there's a bubbling subtext in these specials if you only look hard enough.
I've decided to put my New Jersey state college English degree to good use and break down what Christmas specials are really saying...
I can't disagree. I don't know about you, but I'm always checking my DVR list to see what's stacked up that I still have to watch. It's not that I feel like I have to watch these shows -- after all I recorded them because I want to see them -- but there is a burden attached.
According to Berens, what I'm experiencing is called "opportunity costs," and my TiVo viewing has become -- believe it or not -- homework!
If you are a devoted Arrested Development fan like me, you probably watched all episodes at least five times each if not more. But have you noticed all the Easter eggs featured on the show? They take the shape of props in the background, allusions to other TV series or movies, expressions, etc. If not, you may be interested in the post below where I list some of the Easter eggs featured on the show and where to find them.
If you recently got addicted to this gem of a show, you may want to print this article out and spot the eggs the second time you watch the series. Because, let's face it, you'll want to watch it again! And again! Oh, and again!
On a cool Thanksgiving morning old (Underdog) and new (Stewie from Family Guy) parade balloons battle it out for a inflatable bottle of Coca-Cola. As they cross the skyline of New York City fists fly and heads are butted. But, in the end, neither is the one who claims the prize. That honor goes to the honorable Charlie Brown, who seems to have finally won something in his life.
This was a cute and gentle commercial by Cola-Cola, which rarely disappoints when it comes to Super Bowl ads. I never realized that the Underdog and Stewie Thanksgiving Day balloons had such angry looks on their faces. That was an advantage in this commercial as we saw the two balloons battling it out. I enjoyed when Underdog slammed Stewie against the building. Nice job overall.
- At 7, CBS has a new 60 Minutes, followed by the season finale of Survivor and the reunion show.
- ABC has A Charlie Brown Christmas at 7, followed by The Santa Clause 2.
- NBC has a new Football Night In America at 7, then the Chiefs vs. the Chargers.
- Also at 7: Food Network has the Nigella Bites Christmas Special, followed by Emeril's Happy Happy Holidays.
- At 7:30, The CW has a new Reba.
- At 8, FOX has a new Simpsons, followed by new epsisodes of American Dad and Family Guy, then a repeat Family Guy.
- How The Grinch Stole Christmas (the Jim Carrey version) airs on ABC Family at 8.
- TBS is showing National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation all night.
- At 9, Discovery has Holiday Mythbusters.
- Hallmark has A Boyfriend For Christmas at 9.
- At 10, Showtime has a new Dexter.
10 Zen Monkeys has compiled a list of Charlie Brown's five worst cartoon moments. Check it out on their site which comes complete with YouTube embedded video and spot-on commentary. Continue onto see my thoughts about the list:
I am older than It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.
One year older, to be exact. The classic Halloween TV special marks its 40th anniversary this year, and Fine Living Network is celebrating with several TV and web specials and features. On TV, you can watch a special one hour episode of We Live Here titled We Live Here - In Fear, which will explore three haunted cities around the country: Savannah, Georgia, St. Augustine, Florida, and Memphis, Tennessee. The special will air several times until November 1. Online, you can watch a new reading of the classic Peanuts story by Top 40 icon Rick Dees. And to make your Halloween complete, you can download a wav file of spooky Halloween sounds.
As they are leaving, they realize that Stewie is lost. After Peter goes through a dull lineup flashback we go to Brian searching for Stewie. He's stopped at the booth of the local morning zoo radio show. While I agree with the idea that most morning zoo shows are overproduced to the point of annoying, playing those overly long radio intros again and again wasn't funny. But they did set up for a later point. Anyway, while using the PA, Brian is discovered by the PD of the radio station.
I'm a huge admirer of Peanuts, both the comic strip and the television specials, but I also love to see them satirized. Mad Magazine always had funny parodies of the Peanuts gang, usually having them behave more "adult" than they did at the hand of Charles Schulz. The Simpsons also poked fun at Charlie Brown and his friends on more than one occasion. Matt Groening is actually a Peanuts fan, too, which always seemed to make those moments even funnier.
If you're wondering what Peanuts would be like if the gang had weapons and an insatiable urge to maim and kill one another, I invite you to check out "Bring Me the Head of Charlie Brown." This is an old student film from Cal Arts, and I noticed that the name "Jeff Pidgeon" appears in the credits, which is also the name of someone who works at Pixar. I don't think it's a coincidence, but I sent Jeff an e-mail for verification and I'll update this post when I get confirmation, though I'm ninety-nine percent sure it is him. Also, somebody contacted Boing Boing, where I found this video, to inform them that the names of two Simpsons directors, Jim Reardon and Rich Moore, also appear in the credits.
Update: I received a message from Jeff Pidgeon, confirming his involvement with the project: "It is! Jim and I went to school together. I did the wah-wah voice of the Great Pumpkin."
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