Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Almost Vacation Edition

Just when I thought that winter might finally be behind us, Mother Nature decided that we needed one last storm (I hope!) to make things all snowy and white. I am not a fan. The only thing making this bearable is the knowledge that in less than a week I will be in Florida with some of my favorite people and watching baseball. The idea of sitting in the sunshine and not having to wear a winter coat make me positively giddy. Plus it has been five dark and lonely months since I last saw my beloved Yankees, which feels like a lifetime. I’m ready for our reunion. But never fear, dear readers – you won’t be without the blog while I’m away. I’ve got some posts ready to go up in my absence. I’m just that dedicated.

So while I dream of warm weather while I scrape ice and snow off my car, here’s your biweekly round up of some of the pop culture stories that you might have missed.

  • Today would have been Mister Rogers’ 85th birthday

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  • Christopher Meloni has been cast in a new pilot from Bill Lawrence (Scrubs, Cougar Town) based on the book I Suck at Girls.
  • Jimmy Fallon and Selena Gomez performed “Mario Kart Love Song” last night on Late Night:

 

  • I’m not sure that anyone was asking for it, but Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters is getting a sequel (my guess is without Jeremy Renner).
  • If you’ve got nothing to do this weekend, MTV will be marathoning old seasons of The Real World. The Real World: Portland will debut on March 27th.
  • Safety Not Guaranteed director has been tapped for Jurassic Park 4. I really enjoyed Safety Not Guaranteed – worth checking out on DVD. A sweet and quirky indie.
  • A Walking Dead/Homeland mash-up:

 

  • This dog does indeed resemble Samuel L. Jackson:

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  • The actor who played Captain Peacock on the British comedy Are You Being Served? has passed away.

 

  • The Funny or Die website is venturing into the world of feature films. Their first product is iSteve, a comedic biopic of Steve Jobs and starring Justin Long (which has got to be better than the not intentionally funny Ashton Kutcher version).
  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s production company released a cool short film:

 

  • The blog Thumbs and Ammo has replaced all the guns from TV shows and movies with actors giving a thumbs up. The result is surprisingly positive.

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  • Check out this LEGO paper plane folding machine (it took 600 hours to build):

 

  • I didn’t understand a word of this “March Madness explained with Star Wars” video

 

  • You can watch the first three minutes of the new BBC America show Orphan Black online. The show debuts March 30th.
  • Sigh. I really didn’t need to stumble upon this website of pop culture tribute prints.
  • A Good Times movie is being developed. Not so Dyn-o-mite, though I bet J.J. Walker is available.
  • HBO has released a trailer for the second season of Veep:
  • Vampire Weekend has released two new songs: “Step” and “Diane Young.” Their new album Modern Vampires of the City is out May 7th.
  • Listen to a mix of Justin Timberlake’s “Suit and Tie” and Daft Punk:

 

  • What every home needs – A Breaking Bad terrarium. I’m not kidding – I would put this in my living room.
  • Filming for the third season of the BBC’s Sherlock has begun.  A fourth season is happening as well. More Cumberbatch for everyone!
  • A Shining/Dumb and Dumber mashup:

 

  • Beyoncé has posted a new song on her Tumblr:

 

  • A new red-band trailer for Kick-Ass 2 has been released:

 

  • This is a good dad – a game developer hacked Donkey Kong so his daughter could play the game as a female character that rescues Mario
  • Whoa – Pete Campbell from Mad Men and Rory Gilmore are getting married (well – the actors that play them are, anyway)
  • Watch Usher and the Afghan Whigs perform together at SXSW:

 

  • I can sympathize with Hitler’s reaction in the video I linked to above – I love Google Reader and am very bummed that it will be retired soon. It’s what I use to keep track of all the links that I share with you in these roundups.
  • A new trailer for Despicable Me 2 has been released:

 

  • Cedric the Entertainer is the new host of Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
  • And finally – The Princess Bride meets Game of Thrones:

The Return of David Brent

Back before Ricky Gervais became known as the guy who was the “edgy” host of the Golden Globes (hint: if you are referring to yourself as edgy, you are not edgy), he was the mastermind behind a brilliant little program called The Office. Before America was bestowed its own version with Michael Scott, Jim, Pam and Dwight, Gervias created their blueprint over at the BBC with Tim, Gareth, Dawn and David Brent.

There has been an on-going debate amongst fans as to which version of the show is superior since the U.S. version debuted in 2005.  While I enjoyed both programs, I think that each one bring something different to the table. The British version proved better at knowing when to call it a day; while the U.S. version is limping through its final episodes and is now barely watchable, the original version of The Office was only 13 episodes long – 12 regular episodes and a two part Christmas Special (man, those Brits love their Christmas Specials). The American interpretation is sweeter than the original UK version in many ways. This is most evident in a comparison of the two bosses: while Michael Scott (Steve Carell) is a doofus, it is clear that many of his gaffes and bad behavior comes from a place of loneliness and a desire to make his co-workers his family. David Brent (Gervais), on the other hand, has a nastier edge than his American counterpart and is much more oblivious to how people see him and the impact his behavior has on others. If you look at the early episodes of the American version of The Office, you can see some of these traits still present in Michael Scott; he would lose these as the series progressed.

For the most part, Gervais has retired the David Brent character, save from a surpise appearance on the U.S. version of The Office during Steve Carell’s final season:

 

However, it seems like that is going to change. Ricky Gervais is stepping back into the character for a one-off special that will air on the BBC and on Gervais’ YouTube Channel on March 15th, 2013. The special is part of Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day, a fundraising event that uses comedy to raise money for charitable causes in the UK and Africa. The special will find David Brent ten years after the end of the UK The Office run. From the promotional materials:

The Office Revisited finds David working a menial job while pursuing his true dream: making it in the music business. “He is passing on his wisdom to younger would-be rock stars now and is living vicariously through a young performer, Dom Johnson,” said Gervais. “Well, really he is trying to worm his way back into rock and roll. Fans of The Office will be excited to know we finally get to hear the whole of ‘The Serpent Who Guards the Gates of Hell’ and an amazing Brent self-funded video, ‘Equality Street.’ Horrendous.”

A trailer for The Office Revisited can be viewed on Ricky Gervais’ YouTube page. It definitely has some potential, though I always have some trepidation about going back to spend time with characters that I’ve made my peace with. There is always the fear that it will taint your memory and become a parody of what it once one. But it’s for a good cause and since it is intended to be a one-time only thing, I’m hoping that they will do a nice job with it. This was Gervais’ most iconic role and I don’t think he wants to trifle with it either.

So mark your calendars – David Brent is back for a limited engagement!