Pop Culture Status Report

What to do when your pop culture is too scattered and unfocused for one in depth blog post? That seems like the perfect time to do a little status report on what pop culture I’m currently consuming and how I feel about it. What am I loving? What has lost favor? What is boring me to tears?

  • Currently reading: Game of Thrones, Book One by George R.R. Martin

I started reading this book forever ago, but then I was enjoying the HBO program so much that I didn’t want to spoil what was coming next. The show has progressed far enough that it seemed like a good time to pick this back up and start over; it will be a good refresher on the characters and their backstories. And after reading the Gillian Flynn books (Gone Girl, Sharp Objects and Dark Places), I need a change of pace. The events in Game of Thrones can be just as awful as what happens in the Flynn books, but at least they aren’t so rooted in reality. Dragons aren’t real, right?

  • Currently cracking me up: Grantland’s “Captain’s Log”

Baseball isn’t really back until Grantland contributor Mark Lisanti starts writing his fictional account of what Derek Jeter’s journal entries would look like. You don’t have to a Yankee fan to appreciate them, but if you ARE a Yankee fan you will appreciate how spot on that they are. They are just ridiculous funny and extremely well done. I wish I had thought to write something like them.

  • Currently listening to: Joshua Radin, Underwater

I’m taking a break from my Justin Timberlake obsession to branch out and try new music. I’m sure my co-workers appreciate the change; I think they were a little tired of The 20/20 Experience. I’m in a singer/songwriter frame of mind currently and after a guest appearance on the season finale of Cougar Town, I’ve put Radin on heavy rotation. It’s soothing background music to have while I’m working – one of the occupational hazards of listening to so much Timberlake was fighting the urge to get up and dance in my office. No one wants to see that.

  • Currently over: The Following

I had my problems with Fox’s show The Following from the beginning, but it has gotten really terrible really quickly. I’m now more hate-watching the show than really even enjoying it, but since this is a short season and there really isn’t anything else on Monday nights I’ll see it through to the end. Plus I am kind of curious how they are going to resolve all this nonsense. When Kevin Bacon accidentally tweeted a spoiler for the international audience, I didn’t even remember that major plot point happening and I had JUST watched it.

  • Currently on the fence about: Revenge

I don’t know if it is the unpredictable scheduling of new episodes – ABC sees to bump this show a lot and show re-runs at odd times – or if it is just the overall muddle direction of season 2, but I am just not enjoying Revenge as much as I did last year. The Revenge plots have gotten really complicated and I just can’t be made to fully care about the Initiative or what they are up to. I don’t like the love interest that they have brought in for Emily and the fact that haven’t found a way to fill off Declan yet is frustrating. But the show can still deliver on occasion (a recent death of a character that I wasn’t necessarily all that fond of resonated far more than I anticipated) and Nolan is usually good for some fun quips), so I’m not completely over the show. I’m hoping that they can resolve some of the story lines I am less intrigued by and regroup for next season. An explosion that wipes out about 50% of the cast might not be the worst idea in the world.

  • Currently surprised by: Hannibal

Most of the new programs that NBC has trotted out recently have been horrific (Ready for Love, case in point) and the idea of yet another show that focuses on a serial killer, especially a serial killer that has been featured in books and several movies (and played by Anthony Hopkins to boot!), made me a bit skeptical of NBC’s new hour-long drama Hannibal. I tuned in last Thursday expecting to quickly lose interest, but was surprised to discover that Hannibal was extremely well done, creative and engrossing. I’m actually quite interested to see where they go with this show and am looking forward to this story being told. The acting is quite good – Mads Mikkelsen puts his own spin on Dr. Hannibal Lecter and brings something new and different to a character that is already familiar to many. I already gave the show a season pass on my DVR and no one is more surprised by that than me.

Things I’m looking forward to this weekend:

  • The Masters – I know a lot of people think that watching golf is boring, but I am not one of those people. I always try to watch each of the major tournaments and the Masters is my favorite of the bunch. Augusta National is so beautiful that it provides a picturesque backdrop for all the drama to unfold. And believe it or not, there is drama in a golf match. All eyes are on Tiger Woods as he attempts to move one step closer to being the competitor that he used to be. I’m pretty neutral on Tiger – I have my issues with him, though none of them have much to do with his extramarital activities – but it is always exciting to see an athlete try to recapture some of their former glory.
  • Saturday night I am going to see comedian Amy Schumer perform, which I am very excited for. She can be crass and isn’t for everyone, but I find her hilarious. She’s probably most famous for her participation in the Comedy Central roasts, but her stand up specials are a lot of fun. She also has a new show debuting on Comedy Central later this year. Should be a good time.
  • My DVR is already set for Louis CK’s new standup special that is airing on HBO Saturday night. He is my favorite comedian working today (sorry Seinfeld) and I have no doubt that this special will be just as  fantastic as his previous work. The guy is a comic genius and always has something interesting to say. My only regret is that I didn’t jump on the chance to see him live during this tour when opportunity presented itself.
  • Going back to the movies – believe it or not, I haven’t been to the movie theater in over 3 weeks, which is a lifetime for a person like me. Part of that was because I was away and part of that has been the dearth of free previews lately, but mostly I’ve just needed a break. There haven’t been any movies that I’ve been dying to see and I was going to the movies so often that the people who work there were starting to recognize me on sight. This weekend two movies come out that I am excited about – 42 and The Place Beyond the Pines – so I think it is time to make my triumphant return to the theater. I’ve missed the walnut brownies from The Spectrum.
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