Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

Yesterday as I was coming home from work I met two of my neighbors for the first time. We all just happened to be entering the building at the same time and they stopped to introduce themselves. I actually had a vague idea as to who they were, as I saw them when they moved in; I remember this because it was pretty clear that they were college students and I did a silent prayer that they wouldn’t be too noisy. I’m officially old. We had the following exchange:

Guy: What apartment do you live in?

I point to my apartment (it’s a small building).

Guy (face lights up): OH! You are the one that owns the awesome cat! He’s always in the window so we stop to say hello.

So there you have it – my cat is some kind of celebrity and apparently knows more people in the building than I do. And now I have some insight into what he does all day when I’m gone – lounge in the windows and look for attention. That actually sounds about right.

This encounter got me thinking about neighbors and the people that I have lived amongst over the years. I have a pretty laissez faire attitude toward my neighbors; I’ll always smile or nod my head, but I leave them to their own business unless they engage me in conversation. I generally let them dictate the nature of the relationship and if they want to chat about the weather or sports, I’m more than willing to do so (though I’m also happy to let them do their own thing). While I know most of the people living in my building on sight, I don’t really know any of their names or what they do. So in my head, they are known as “attractive guy who drives a BMW” and “attractive woman who unfortunately lives with the attractive guy with the BMW.” There are children that live in the building, but I don’t think that I’ve ever actually seen their parents so for all I know there is some sort Neverland up on the third floor.

My previous neighborhood had a completely different vibe: it was residential and I was one of only a few rentals on the block. Those people were way too attentive to what was going on in my life; shortly after I moved in I ran out to my car in the rain and suddenly one of the neighbors was knocking on my car window and handing me an umbrella. It was a nice gesture, but made me very aware that people were paying attention. I generally interpreted it as people watching out for the woman living alone (it was an OK neighborhood, but sketchy neighborhood adjacent), which I appreciated, but it still weirded me out a little. They knew who was coming to visit me and were very perplexed by my relationship status (I was actually a little unclear on that too at the time). I guess there just wasn’t much else going on around our little street in Albany. I was the entertainment (other than our neighbor who drove home drunk and smashed into half the cars on the street – THAT was some excitement!).

This of course got me thinking about the great (and not so great) neighbors in pop culture. Sitcoms particularly are a haven for the wacky neighbor that pops in long enough to get a big laugh and recede into the background of the story, though there are the occasional neighbors that are main characters. Some of these people would be awesome to live near, but others would be super annoying – fine in 22 minute increments once a week, but no good as a part of daily life. Helpful or a hindrance, these are the pop culture neighbors that stick out in my mind:

Cosmo Kramer (Seinfeld)


Kramer is of course one of the key characters on Seinfeld, but while I love the character I am not sure how much I would love living across the hall from him. He clearly had some boundary issues and his exploits brought people angrily knocking on his door on more than one occasion. I don’t know that I need that kind of chaos in my life. Still, for all his faults he also brings a lot of excitement and adventure to the table and he always seems willing to go out and do stuff (something that is sadly lacking in my life right now). He’s also loyal and pretty funny – plus he has occasional run-ins with celebrities.

Verdict – Despite some reservations, I’d like him as my neighbor. It would never be boring


Ned Flanders (The Simpsons)


Poor Ned has the patience of a saint, living next to Homer and his clan. While I can’t imagine that I would be any bother, it’s good to know that he’s a pretty tolerant guy on the off chance that I yelled too loudly at the TV during Yankee games. He’s way more religious than I would normally prefer, but he generally doesn’t seem too annoying about it; if I let him live his life, he’d probably let me live mine (while praying for my soul). I could trust him to take care of my cat, a major bonus, and his kids are well behaved.

Verdict – Definitely desirable neighbor material.


Wilson (Home Improvement)


We don’t know much about Wilson – heck, we’ve never even seen his face. There were hints that he had lived a very interesting life, but his main purpose was to give sage advice to members of the Taylor family through the picket fence. He is a bit of a mystery, which could go either way, but I could use some counsel now and again. Plus he always seemed to be raking or doing other maintenance, so at least the curb value of my home wouldn’t deteriorate with him next door.

Verdict – A wise neighbor choice.


Newman (Seinfeld)


Newman was always trying to ruin Jerry’s life, which doesn’t speak well to his character. He was a sneaky guy and the checkered history of postal workers may make him a ticking time bomb. While I kind of think that having a nemesis would be fun, I don’t know that I’d want one who was living so close to me and who could gather a lot of Intel on me easily. Plus I wouldn’t want him messing with my packages from Amazon being delivered.

Verdict – Too risky


Dr. Drew Baird (30 Rock)


Umm…..look at him. If I get to see this face on a regular basis, I’m sold. I don’t care that he is a moron.

Verdict– How quickly can this happen?


Steve Urkel (Family Matters)


Nope – way too annoying. That voice alone is reason enough to veto and I can’t tolerate a lifetime of “Did I do that?”

Verdict – Hell no

Who are your favorite/least favorite pop culture neighbors? Sound off in the comments below.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Christmas Eve Edition

Tis the season of giving and I could think of nothing better to give my dear readers than an extra jam packed stocking of pop culture links. There is a lot in here, which will hopefully keep you entertained as the blog takes a mini-holiday hiatus for a couple of days. If all goes according to plan, I should be back Friday with a Wolf of Wall Street review.

And now, my gift to you: more pop culture knowledge than you can shake a stick at:

  • You can now watch Metallica’s entire concert in Antarctica:


  • Lifetime has also announced dates for their Flowers in the Attic and Lizzie Borden movies.
  • Kate Winslet has picked a name for her newborn son and yes, it’s unusual (though kudos for NOT giving the kid his father’s last name of Rocknroll).
  • STOP THE PRESSES – a Tom Hiddleston/Benedict Cumberbatch dance-off:

I think the Internet just exploded.

  • I do love me some touchdown celebrations, so I appreciate the Wall Street Journal analyzing all 1,150 in the 2013 season:

They also created this fancy chart.

  • Watch Ron Burgundy perform “Ride Like the Wind” on Jimmy Kimmel Live!


  • Paul Rudd told Letterman about the time he tried to break up a drag queen fight while in his Anchorman 2 costume:

THAT should have been added to the movie!

  • Put Conan, Ice Cube and Kevin Hart together and watch the magic happen:


  • Conan also visited The American Doll store.

I think Conan has just earned his way to a season pass on my DVR. He’s killing it lately.

  • Watch a Jeopardy! contestant do his best Bane impression:


  • I enjoyed this Cougar Town ad created from thousands of corks. The Cul-de-sac crew loves its vino!


  • Cracker Barrel pulled, then restocked, their Duck Dynasty merchandise after Phil Robertson’s controversial GQ interview.
  • Justin Timberlake photobombed some people at his concert:


  • Ha! Watch Michael K. Williams (OMAR!) promote the Chalky White line of children’s books:


  • I’ll be on the market for a new car within a year; perhaps I should look into this LEGO car.

For your holiday perusal – a tone of trailers:

  • A new teaser for Community (January 2! Can’t wait!)


  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Orphan Black:


  • Anne Hathaway and Jamie Foxx in Rio 2:


  • A promo for Patton Oswalt’s new standup special:


  • A longer look at HBO’s Looking:


  • An animated trailer for Community:


  • Did the Oscars always have trailers?


  • Ha! Netflix did a trailer for their streaming Yule Log:


  • A trailer for Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel:


  • Dawn of the Planet of the Apes:



  • A red band trailer for 22 Jump Street:


  • The Other Woman starring Cameron Diaz and Kate Upton:


  • The Expendables 3 teaser trailer:


  • Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore team up for what I’m already predicting will be one of the worst movies of 2014:


  • Jon Hamm + Baseball = Heather’s wheelhouse. I will see Million Dollar Arm 100 times.


  • A third season trailer for Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee:


  • I have never seen Kanye as happy as he is in this photo, eating ice cream:



There has been a sudden proliferation of oral histories;

A few quick Mashups and Supercuts

  • Check out this illustrated mashup of memorable pop culture events in 2013:



  • I try to keep you guys up to date, but if you want a real crash course, here’s a three minute video on 2013 pop culture:


  • Watch Jeff Winger and Dean Pelton’s relationship on Community reimagined as a psychological thriller:


And finally, we end with a bunch of holiday stuff:

  • A holiday themed Billy on the Street featuring Amy Poehler:


  • For those of you who feel a little grinchy, an “I hate Christmas” supercut:


  • This never gets old – the Happy Endings Hip Hop Santa dance-off:


  • A Peanuts flashmob? Outstanding!


  • Watch Elf re-enacted with pugs:


  •  Whoa – check out this gingerbread Optimus Prime:


  • A song made only from Christmas tree ornaments:


  • Some guy named Paul inserted himself into Home Alone:


  • In honor of Festivus, a supercut of Seinfeld characters airing their grievances:

I’ve got a lot of problems with you people.

  • “Defying Gravity” as sung by Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer:


  • And finally…..Conan reveals a terrifying twist for Elf on the Shelf:


Wishing you all a very happy holidays – however you choose to celebrate, I hope you are smiling.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Breaking Bad Edition

I normally have a lot of Breaking Bad info in these pop culture roundups, but with the show recently returning for its final eight episodes ever (SOB!), there was more awesome info than normal this week. I’m not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so sprinkled throughout the roundup is an abundance of links related to the show. And for the love of all that is holy, if you aren’t watching this show get to steppin’. You are missing out! So kick back and bring yourself up to speed on all the pop culture that you may have missed over the last two weeks. Let me be your pop culture curator.

  • N’Sync is rumored to be reuniting at the MTV VMAs on Sunday, which now forces me to watch the VMAs. I’m skeptical as I’m not sure what Timberlake gets out of this. But I do hope it happens.


  • Jimmy Fallon is doing a Breaking Bad parody. This will be amazing.


  • It’s hard to get excited about football season when you root for the Bills, but I do love when the Manning brothers do commercials:


  • This is an interesting casting rumor (emphasis on rumor) – could Charlie Hunnam play Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey film adaption? By the time this movie comes out, will anyone still care?
  • Friday Night Lights, the movie? Make it happen!
  • HBO has released a trailer for the new season of Girls:


  • NBC is clearly in the Jonathan Banks (Mike, Breaking Bad) business. After a guest appearance on Parks and Recreation, the actor will be a regular on Community.

A quick break for the depressing stuff:

  • Lisa Robin Kelly, who played Topher Grace’s older sister Laurie on That 70s Show, died. She was 43.

OK – back to the more lighthearted links.

  • Blog fave Dean Winters (Dennis the beeper king on 30 Rock) is headed to the new Andy Samberg comedy Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
  • Oprah gives away cars when she is just a guest on a show. Mental note – get in the audience when Oprah is on a talk show.
  • A trailer for the new season of Homeland:


  • Jay Leno’s last night on The Tonight Show will be February 6th. Believe it when you see it, Jimmy.
  • Mark your calendars: the third installment of Adam Scott’s The Greatest Event in Television History drops on November 7th. Nothing is confirmed, but speculation is that they are doing the opening credits from Too Close for Comfort.
  • Ha! Billy Ray Cyrus does look like fat Mac:


photo from Uproxx

photo from Uproxx

  • Whoa – it’s Walter, Jr. from Breaking Bad:


Photo from Uproxx

Photo from Uproxx


  • A tweet from Sons of Anarchy creator and showrunner Kurt Sutter makes me very nervous.
  • The chicken fight from Family Guy was never one of my favorites, but kudos to these two stunt women for the live action re-enactment:


  • This new trailer for season 3 of Revenge has piqued my interest:


  • The new channel FXX, which will show new episodes of The League and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, launches September. Use this handy website to find out if FXX is available on your cable system (Phew- it is for me!). The network is off to a promising start with a Parks and Recreation marathon.
  • This slowed down version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” is pretty cool:


  • The house from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is for sale.
  • This Avril Lavigne music video is a little nuts:


  • The White House Twitter account made a Mean Girls reference:

White House Twitter_Mean Girls

  • My birthday is a month from today and I would sure like it if someone bought me this Breaking Bad Lego set.
  • Another pop culture roundup, another American Horror Story: Coven teaser:


  • I’m surprised it took so long; watch a guy crowd surfs in order to “Come on Down” On The Price is Right:


  • Benedict Cumberbatch had a message for the papzrazzi trying to get spoilers on Sherlock:


Getty Image

Getty Image

  • In this trailer for Fading Gigolo, watch Woody Allen act as a pimp for John Turturro. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.


  • I’ve always like Donal Logue, so I’m not surprised he helped a stranger propose. P.S. Terriers is now streaming on Netflix – do yourself a favor and watch this late great series.
  • J.J. Abrams released a mysterious trailer on Monday.

Turns out it was for a book.

  • Listen to the Breaking Bad theme played on meth lab equipment:


As always, we end with the mashups and supercuts

  • Mean Girls mashed up with Book of Mormon


  • Here are some super cuts of movie clichés. First up “You just don’t get it, do you?”


  • Phone numbers that start with 555:


  • Superheroes introducing themselves:


  • Vulture put together a supercut of all of John Oliver’s explanations for Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show absence.
  • Nerdist put together a Breaking Bad/Saved by the Bell mashup:

Dustin Diamond was available? I’m shocked.

  • Behind Elysium (A Behind the Candelabra/Elysium mashup)


  • The opening of Adventure Time done in Legos:



Another installment of a Seinfeld/Game of Thrones mashup:


  • Ha! Thor meets Arrested Development in Thorested Development:


  • Breaking Bad recut as a romantic comedy:


  • President Obama “sings” Demi Lavato:


  • Listen to “Total Eclipse of the Heart” in the style of other divas:


  • We Are Never Ever Gonna Cook Together (Taylor Swift/Breaking Bad parody)


  • And finally – Walter White “sings” “My Way”