Marge: Revenge never solves anything!
Homer: Then what's America doing in Iraq?
I'm always somewhat underwhelmed by these "vignette" episodes, and I think I've figured out why: a full episode allows more room for the comedy to breathe and stretch out. There's more time to let gags simmer, to have better set-ups and thus bigger payoffs. Cramming three mini-episodes into a half-hour doesn't afford this luxury, and I think the episode suffers for it.
Bill Moyers is returning to PBS. More exactly, he's returning with a new version of Bill Moyers' Journal, Moyers first public television series that debuted in 1972. He hasn't exactly been absent from PBS, appearing in two PBS specials this past year. Moyers last series for PBS was NOW, which was accused of having a liberal bias by PBS board chairman Kevin Tomlinson, who secretly hired a consultant to monitor the program. Speaking at a conference in 2005, Moyers stated:
One reason I'm in hot water is because my colleagues and I at "NOW" didn't play by the conventional rules of Beltway journalism. Those rules divide the world into democrats and republicans, liberals and conservatives and allow journalists to pretend they have done their job if, instead of reporting the truth behind the news, they merely give each side an opportunity to spin the news.
The new series will debut on April 25 with a report on the media's role during the time leading up to war in Iraq.
I know, I know, it's already near the end of October, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out this amazing list of horror stories suggested by comedian, actor and nerd Patton Oswalt. The man clearly loves to read and just looking over his MySpace posts I had to add about twenty new names to the list inside my brain of writers I need to check out. While I love Oswalt's comedy, it's actually kind of refreshing how seriously he seems to be taking this task, giving his own critique of each of the stories not as a wise ass comedian, but as a book lover trying to convince someone these tales are worth checking out. I hate to admit it, but the only two stories he's mentioned so far that I've actually read are "The Jaunt" by Stephen King and "The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs. I really need to get a hold of some of those books.
[via CC Insider]
CBS' Innertube broadband site has an occasionally interesting series called Animate This! in which stars from different series tell stories about being in the industry which are then animated for comic effect. Some of the stories, such as Jennifer Love Hewitt's recollection of singing as a young child at a Texas fair, aren't that interesting, while others, such as Jeff Probst story of scuba diving while taping Survivor and ending up away from the boat with producer Mark Burnett and circled by a shark like the movie Open Water, are somewhat more gripping. The series is animated by Renegade Animation, the same studio that does Hi HI Puffy Ami Yumi on Cartoon Network.
[via Cold, Hard Flash]
(S01E04) "The End of the Whole Mess" is one of my favorite Stephen King short stories for two reasons. One, it's written by a protagonist who is slowly losing his mind as the story progresses, much like an earlier short story of his titled "Survivor Type" (from the Skeleton Crew collection). The other reason I like it so much is that it's very unstereotypically King. It's a very touching and very human story about misplaced good intentions, those same intentions that pave the road to Hell, as the cliche goes.
In the story, the teller is Howie Fornoy, a freelance writer. In the TV version he's a documentary filmmaker and he tapes his final moments on Earth rather than writing about them, which makes sense, this being a television episode after all. Howard is played by Ron Livingston, and his younger brother, Bobby, is played by Henry Thomas. The two brothers are intelligent kids with intelligent parents, but Bobby is especially so. Howie describes him as a kind of wandering genius, someone like Da Vinci or Einstein flittering from one interest to the next like a compass trying to find True North. Bobby finally finds his True North when he and a team of researchers discover a town in Texas called La Planta where the water contains proteins not found anywhere else, including one only found in the human brain. It turns out the water acts as a kind of "calmative" that renders the entire town and its people completely passive and nonviolent.
I have an insatiable appetite for useless information. When something or someone in the world of entertainment catches my interest, I want to know everything I can about them. I listen to DVD audio commentaries incessantly, I scour the internet for meaningless trivia about TV shows and actors... it's almost like a sickness.
It's my love of meaningless tidbits that drew me to VH1 Storytellers more than any other live performance show (save for Sessions at West 54th). The idea of the show was very simple: a band or solo artist would perform in an intimate venue in front of a few fans and then talk about their songs. The show only lasted one year, perhaps because not everyone cares as much about Michael Stipe's incoherent ramblings as I did, or watching Billy Idol flirt with young girls in the audience. Still, the show offered an interesting look at the creative process. Considering that VH1 is now nothing more than a channel where people talk about stuff from the 80s twenty-four hours a day, you can't blame me for pining for a show that was actually about music and not, you know, how awesome BurgerTime was.
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