Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Goodbye To You Edition

 

Pop culture goodbyes are never easy and it seems like they are happening with increasing frequency. This week we not only sad goodbye to Mad Men, but we’ll bid David Letterman an adieu from late night television. Both of these endings make me a little sad; Mad Men was one of my favorite shows of all time and I feel like I grew up with Letterman. So it’s been a rough couple of days for someone like me who doesn’t like change.

But the show must go on. Once again, I’ve searched far and wide on the Internet to bring you some of the pop culture news and highlights that you might have missed. There may be big changes to the landscape afoot, but that does nothing to slow down the pop culture machine. So sit back, relax and get yourself caught up on the world of pop.

  • Here’s Taylor Swift’s new star studded video:

 

  • I have no words for Britney Spears and Iggy Azalea’s new music video:

 

  • Here’s Peter Dinklage signing about the Game of Thrones characters that he’s outlasted:

 

Stop…..Trailer Time:

  • Minions (yay!):

 

  • A new look at Ant-Man, which I am hoping is this year’s Guardians of the Galaxy:

 

  • Maze Runner: The Scorch Trial:

 

  • Pan:

 

  • Netflix’s Between:

 

  • Zac Efron in We Are Your Friends:

 

  • Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak:

 

  • Syfy’s The Magicians:

 

  • Anne Hathaway and Robert DeNiro on The Intern:

 

  • A teaser for Samantha Bee’s new talk show on TBS:

 

  • Masters of Sex, season 3:

 

  • Runoff:

 

  • A new trailer for Pixels:

 

  • American Heist:

 

  • Into the Grizzly Maze:

 

  • Al Pacino in Manglehorn:

 

  • Third Eye Blind covered Beyoncé:

 

  • Christina Hendricks dropped by Sesame Street:

 

  • Here’s Eddie Veddar singing “Take Me Out To The Ball Game” at Wrigley Field:

 

  • Jaden Smith brought the albino Batman suit back for prom:

 

  • The Mountain from Game of Thrones took batting practice with the Phillies:

 

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups….

  • Here are some fan generated opening credits for the Black Widow movie Marvel seems determined never to give us:

 

  • Daryl Dixon in LEGO form:

 

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier is the latest to get the 8-bit video game treatment:

 

  • If Anna Kendrick was the next Indiana Jones, I’d finally watch the franchise:

 

  • Breaking Bad scenes recreated in Grand Theft Auto V:

 

  • And finally, Mad Max meets Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt:

 

 

Jennifer Lawrence on The Late Show

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My late night talk show plate is pretty full; every night I DVR The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. Depending on the guests, I’ll also record the second airing of Conan; even if I don’t DVR the entire show, if I’m up I’ll always pop in to at least catch Conan’s monologue. #teamcoco If Jimmy Kimmel does anything of interest on his show, I catch the highlights online. As much as I like Letterman, he’s often the odd man out; he doesn’t have much of a web presence and more often than not, I don’t pay much attention to what he’s doing on his show. I’ll make sure to tune in for his final shows, but for the most part he’s kind of an afterthought in my late night viewing.

But every once in a while, something happens on The Late Show that is buzz worthy. More often than not, it happens when Letterman really connects with a guest and you see some of his energy resurface. Dave always does a good job, but when he has a rapport with a guest, it takes things to a whole different level. When Letterman is on his game, it’s pure magic. And that happened last night when Jennifer Lawrence made an appearance on his show.

Now, we all know J Law is pretty much America’s Sweetheart; she’s a got charm and charisma in spades and she seems to be very down to earth and honest with who she is. That may all be an act – she is, after all, one hell of an actress to boot – but that makes her a great talk show guest. She’s funny and game and she’s almost always going to give you a great quote. She’s good television.

So putting Lawrence and Letterman together is a guaranteed good time. Interviews like this remind just how much I’m going to miss having Letterman as part of the late night landscape. They sing, they laugh and Lawrence even busts out a Chris Farley impression. That’s an interview worth watching:

 

 

She even took over Letterman’s desk:

 

Jennifer Lawrence and David Letterman = comedy gold.

Letterman to Retire

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Yesterday was a hectic day at work – I was jumping from conference call to conference call, trying to finalize the arrangements for a team meeting for one of the projects I manage and adapting to the fact that our Internet is now running at 45% capacity. There was a lot of multi-tasking and the usual mayhem; I can’t even remember what else I was going when I saw an e-mail from CNN pop up in my inbox. I was honestly relieved to see it was a news update and not another email that was going to generate more work for me to do. I gave it a cursory glance – and then stopped what I was doing to read it again. I’d misread a tweet earlier in the day – it turns out that it was in fact the White House, not the Waffle House, that has been outflanking the GOP on Obamacare – so I wasn’t fully confident in my reading competition.

But I had in fact read it correctly – David Letterman announced that he was retiring.

I was somewhat surprised that the news had as much of an effect as it did; anyone who has even occasionally read the blog knows that my late night allegiance lies with Jimmy Fallon. I watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report every night. I’ve become a more frequent Conan viewer, though I usually watch everything but the interviews. I dabble in Kimmel when he has on interesting guests.

I honestly can’t tell you the last time that I’ve watched The Late Show with David Letterman. With so many late night options, he just doesn’t make it into the rotation very often; DVRing and streaming helps me keep up with more shows, but there is only so much time in a day. Letterman is a causality of my overbooking.

But that wasn’t always the case. From high school until my early years of grad school, I was a regular connoisseur of Letterman – first when he was on NBC with Late Night and then when he moved to CBS to go head to head with Jay Leno on The Tonight Show. At the time, Letterman was the more edgy late night host – Carson was great, but I was clearly not his target audience and we all know how much I can’t stand Jay Leno and his blandness. Letterman was also the only New York based show in the early years, so I felt more of a kinship to him and his affinity for a city that I also love. When I originally dreamed of going to see a live taping of a show, Letterman was who I wanted to see. I especially was a fan of his Top Ten lists, so much so that I basically stole the concept and appropriated it for my own use (in homage, of course).  Many of my friends in college would wake up to find a Heather created Top Ten (or Top Five if I ran out of ideas) posted on the dry erase board of their dorm room, usually recounting some of the adventures that we had the night before. I recently found a treasure trove of these lists and they still make me laugh, even after all this time. When Letterman had his emergency bypass surgery in 2000, I tuned in for his first show back and cried as the thanked all the people that helped him through that scary ordeal. In 2001, Letterman was one of the voices that helped ease the pain of 9/11. I may not have always watched Letterman, but I was somehow comforted to know that he was always there.

Letterman’s retirement announcement is not a complete surprise; he’s the elder statesman in the current late night landscape and his ratings do not come close to the highs of either of the two Jimmys. The success for late night shows are measured differently now – it’s not just ratings, but viral videos that help dictate success and that is a game that Letterman, like Leno, is ill-equipped to compete in. Letterman and Leno was more of an even playing field, but with younger and hipper options in late night Letterman began to seem more and more like the crotchety old guy at the desk. Letterman has been doing a show in some capacity for over 30 years – practically my entire life – so the idea that he would be retiring wasn’t really a question of if, but when. With a young son at home, it makes sense that he would want to leave on his terms to spend more time with his family.

Knowing that something is going to happen and it actually happening are two different things, however, so even if I was expecting this announcement sooner rather than later it still made me a little sad. I barely remember late night without Letterman and its going to be weird to flip through the channels at 11:35 and not see him. He’ll be around at least through 2014 – that gives me a year to try to go to a taping – but his seat wasn’t even cold yet before the speculation started as to who would replace him. There are some interesting ideas out there, but how practical some of them are will remain to be seen. Just please don’t let it be Leno.

Perhaps knowing that my time with Letterman is limited will prompt me to make more of an effort to check in on him; I’m never going to be able to swing watching him every night, but I’d like to watch a handful of shows a month. At the very least, this announcement makes me nostalgic for the era when Letterman was my late night guy; I have a lot of fond memories of those shows from the 90s. So here’s a tip of a cap to Letterman – I’m glad that he gets to plan out his farewell and the late night terrain will be very different without him. In a lot of ways, many of the people who are currently doing shows in late night are able to do what they do because of Letterman.After all, he originated the concept of  Late Night over at NBC, which has served a springboard for a lot of people.  Many of his peers realized that and issued nice statements yesterday.  I think Seth Myers said it best:

 

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Congratulations Dave and best wishes on your upcoming retirement!