Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Santa Claus is Coming to Town Edition

Bad-Santa

My holiday gift to you is to get you caught up on the all the pop culture that you might have missed while prepping for Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza or just some time out of the office. So before Santa makes all his deliveries, check out this week’s pop culture roundup and have a wonderful rest of the week. The blog will resume its regular posting on Monday December 29th.

 

  • This is just outstanding:

  • Garth Brooks decided to drop by a Justin Timberlake concert:

 

  • SNL spoofed Love Actually in this cut sketch:

 

  • SNL also did a solid Serial parody:

 

  • The cast of Orange is the New Black has their own version of the 12 days of Christmas:

 

  • There was some changing of the guard in late night. The Colbert Report aired its final episode

 

  • Craig Ferguson also ended his run on The Late Late Show on CBS:

 

Time for some trailers

  • The final season of Parks and Recreation:

 

  • The Backstreet Boys have a documentary:

 

  • Chris Hemsworth in In the Heart of the Sea:

 

  • Better Call Saul:

 

  • Will Smith and Margot Robbie in Focus:

 

  • Here’s a combo you don’t expect – Ryan Reynolds and Helen Mirren in Woman in Gold:

 

  • A teaser for season 3 of Bates Motel:

 

  • Alan Rickman and Kate Winslet in A Little Chaos:

 

  • Season 3 of Orphan Black:

 

  • A trailer for the Entourage movie:

 

  • Further proof that Robin Williams was awesome – he and Ben Stiller helped a co-star ask a girl to prom when filming the latest Night at the Museum:

 

  • This is great on many levels –  Ghostface Killah performing at a grilled cheese restaurant called…wait for it….Toastface Grillah:

 

  • In happier news, congrats to Lance Bass on his wedding. Joey Fatone was his ring bearer.
  • Elton John also tied the knot last weekend.

View this post on Instagram

The exchange of vows. #ShareTheLove

A post shared by Elton John (@eltonjohn) on

 

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups

  • Here’s a supercut of dorky dads dancing to “Uptown Funk”

 

  • A tribute to Scrooges from TV and film:

 

  • Star Wars meets Grand Theft Auto:

 

  • This fan-made Marvel vs DC trailer isn’t real, but it’s pretty great:

 

  • Mashing up two Christian Bale movies – Knight of Cups and the Dark Knight trilogy – was a no-brainer:

 

  • Here’s a supercut of people whispering:

 

  • A The Incredible Hulk supercut:

 

  • A mashup of 2014 movies:

 

  • And finally, Home Alone recut as a horror film:

 

Happy Holidays!!!!!

Heather Visits Central Perk

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Back in the day, I was a huge fan of the NBC comedy Friends. The show debuted my freshman year of college, which was really the opportune time for a show like that to come along for me. Not only did it chronicle the relationships of a group of twenty-something year old people, which provided a (fictionalized) glimpse of what life after college might look like, but it was a great show to watch with a bunch of people. Friends became appointment television for my group of friends; every Thursday there would be at least 7 people crammed into my dorm room to enjoy NBC’s Must See TV line-up, which Friends kicked off. The tradition continued when I moved in to my sorority house. Friends was highly quoted within my circle of pals and the Ross and Rachel story line eerily paralleled what was going on with my own romantic life at the time (minus the baby part – don’t worry mom). Chandler was always my favorite, though I had a soft spot in my heart for the rest of the gang too. Even Ross, who in retrospect was kind of the worst. Seinfeld was my favorite show, but Friends best represented that era of my life.

Though my enthusiasm for the show has waned as I’ve gotten older and my tastes in comedies have evolved, I still have very fond memories of Friends. So when I heard that in honor of the 20th anniversary (!) of the show’s debut a pop-up version of Central Perk – the coffee house where the gang hung out and Rachel occasionally worked – would be in New York City the same time that I would be in the City for work, it was a no-brainer that I’d work it into my itinerary. So Tuesday, when my grant writing class had wrapped for the day, I hopped the 6 train to So-Ho for a quick trip down memory lane.

My biggest concern going in was the line to get in; when Central Perk first opened, people were waiting for over an hour to get in. I wasn’t necessarily looking forward to standing around that long, but I was hoping that since it had been open for a while and I was going on a week night that some of the crowds would have died down. In the interest of pop culture I would have waited for however long that it took, but when I finally found 199 Lafayette Street the line didn’t look all that daunting. The end of the line was wrapped around the corner, but that was because they had a system in place to control the flow of people. There wasn’t one long line, but a bunch of smaller lines that were staggered so as to not obstruct the sidewalk; you moved from one small line to another at the discretion of the many employees that were scattered around the block. It only took me about ten minutes to move around the corner and the staff was generally pretty friendly. The pop-up was sponsored by Eight O’clock coffee and all the employees wore shirts that were a twist on the classic Joey line:

 

How you brewin? :-)

How you brewin? 🙂

Despite starting around the corner, within 15 minutes, I had finally made it inside Central Perk. Could the line BE any quicker?

The Central Perk experience can be broken into three components: memorabilia from the show, free coffee and getting your picture taken on the couch from the show. You can do these things in any order, but the first thing that you hit when you walk in is the first display of costumes and props from the show. The space is a little crowded and you are right near the entrance, but people were pretty courteous and no one seemed to mind the close quarters. New Yorkers are not the ogres that they are portrayed to be.

I grew irrationally excited to see the first item in the exhibit, which I almost missed because it was near the window – the white dog statute that Joey bought with his money from being on Days of Our Lives:

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That episode was from my favorite era of the show and it was one of the episodes that I remembered best, so it was really cool to see that in person. I think that statute would look prettyawesome in my apartment, though I imagine I would have had trouble getting it out of the coffee house, let alone on the subway.

Next up were costume from the show:

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Everyone was represented – Joey, Rachel, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Monica – and it was a reminder of what 90s fashion comprised of. I miss that style – so easy and comfortable.

Here’s some Smelly Cat cat litter:

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Then there was the Geller Cup, which I actually had no memory of from the show:

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The second display had some smaller artifacts. Here’s Ross’s Science Boy comic book, Phoebe’s porno and Rachel’s sonogram:

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A closer look at the crib tag for Ross and Rachel’s baby, Emma:

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Joey on the cover of Soap Opera Digest:

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Chandler and Monica’s wedding invitation (and part of Dr. Drake Ramoray’s name tag):

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Monica and Chandler’s wedding vows and Monica’s engagement ring:

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Ross’ laminated celebrity “hall pass”:

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I had exhausted all the stuff to look at along that wall, so to get some coffee I had to heed the words of Ross Gellar and

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All visitors to Central Perk get a free cup of coffee. I decided to go with the Central Perk Roast, since that was a new flavor made especially for this momentous occasion. I figured when in Rome Central Perk, I might as well sample the Central Perk coffee. Service was quick and I was handed what had to have been the hottest cup of coffee that I’ve ever had in my life. Like, this made the coffee from McDonald’s that scalded a woman look like tap water. I couldn’t even hold it, let alone drink it. Seriously – the coffee was burning my fingertips through the cup. I was terrified that I was going to drop it. I took the tiniest of sips and completely burned my mouth. I drink my coffee black, so perhaps some milk or cream would have helped, but they really should turn the temperature down a bit. I get that it’s free coffee and I shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth, but I also shouldn’t have to go to a burn unit either.

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While I gingerly held my cup, I hopped on the line to get my photo taken on the Friends couch. While generally the pop-up version of Central Perk didn’t look a ton like its TV counterpart, the area by the couch was the closest that it came to replicating the experience. Sure, the couch should have been facing the other way if you really wanted to get picky about it, but logistically the set up was worked best for the space. There was a parallel line near the couch line that was for merchandise, though at that particular time of day a lot of items were sold out. I think all that was left were some Friends ball caps and some stickers, neither of which I deemed all that essential or desirable. If I didn’t wear a Friends hat when the show was actually on, I certainly wasn’t going to wear one twenty years after the fact. There was also so coffee to purchase, but since I still had barely tasted my cup of java I wasn’t really looking to procure more of the stuff.

The line for the couch also moved very quickly. You don’t get to sit on the couch for very long – maybe 20-30 seconds – so you have to make the most of your time. First your picture is taken by their photographer and then they will take a photo with your camera. Without even having to ask, the woman took two photos with my cell phone and zoomed in on the second one, which was nice. You can have multiple people sit on the couch and strike whatever pose you want – the person in front of me sprawled out a bit – but I wanted a nice photo and I was wearing a dress, so I went for a pretty traditional option:

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After that, the Friends Central Perk experience was basically over. There were some table over in the corner in case people wanted to stand around a bit longer and watch whatever episode of Friends was playing on the big TV, but there wasn’t much more to see. They give you a business card that gives you instructions on how to download the photo that they took of you online, though I wound up liking the photos from my cell phone more because they were at a better angle. Minus waiting in line, the whole experience took only about 15 minutes, but I think it was worth it. After all, how many people can say that they have sat on the Friends couch? The photo alone was time well spent. If you enjoy Friends and are in the area, I’d say it is worthy of a visit; I’d just caution against thinking that this is a truly immersive experience that will take a lot of time. Even if you pour over every piece of memorabilia and savor your coffee (after it cools off), I can’t imagine spending more than 30 minutes in the coffee shop.

I’m glad that I carved out some time to check it out. I certainly felt a lot of nostalgia and though Central Perk doesn’t necessarily physically resemble the TV version, I think that it still managed to capture the Friends vibe as much as possible. It’s clear that this show still means a lot to people even twenty years after it debuted – everyone that I encountered that was visiting seemed tickled to be there and was smiling. That’s the mark of a show that makes people happy.

Central Perk is at 199 Lafayette Street in NYC and will be open until October 18th.

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Snow Day edition

Another day, another snowstorm – I am really beginning to hate living in Upstate New York. It’s been a bad winter for everyone and the fact that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow is not a good omen. We’re getting up to a foot today and there are rumblings of a Nor’easter headed our way on Sunday. This may be the winter that finally breaks me.

Thankfully I am working from home today so I don’t have to go out in this mess and I am looking forward to participating in a conference call this morning while still in my pajamas. I feel terrible for the people who don’t have that luxury or who don’t have a very understanding boss and are bracing this weather to go into work today. Stay safe!

For those of you that are snowed in, hopefully my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories will help keep you warm and make you forget about all the white stuff piling up outside. Maybe there’s even a thing or two in here to help you keep the kids entertained.

  • In honor of the weather, check out this side by side comparison of the beginning of The Walking Dead and Atlanta after 2 inches of snow paralyzed the city:

BfRO7AnIMAEXzgy

  • Benedict Cumberbatch dropped by Sesame Street:

 

  • The good people of Savannah, GA had to watch the same boring Super Bowl that the rest of us did, but they also got to watch this ridiculously epic local commercial for a personal injury lawyer:

They are the clear winners of Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Last time it was Liberace, this time it’s Peter Pan. Bill Murray knows how to make an entrance:

 

  • Steve Carell’s college mustache is OUTSTANDING:
  • A gag reel from Thor: The Dark World:

 

  • David Beckham – fan of LEGOs. He just became more perfect.
  • One unknown perk of winning the Super Bowl – you get to hang out with Beyoncé and Jay Z:
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@BrooklynNets

  • Neil Gaimain reads Green Eggs and Ham for charity

 

  • Former Olympian Tara Lipinksi skated a The Big Lebowski-themed routine on Fallon:

 

  • Conan is the king of the remote segments; in this one, he tries to sell some of his old memorabilia:

 

  • The cover for Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue has been revealed:

VF Hollywood

Julia Roberts is one lucky duck!

Trailers:

  • Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West (Red Band – NSFW):

 

  • Kevin Costner’s Draft Day:

 

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction:

 

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

 

  • 24: Live Another Day:

 

  • Vampire Academy:

 

  • Liam Neeson in Non-Stop:

 

  • From Dusk Til Dawn – the series:

 

  • A trailer for the video game Thief:

 

  • The Amanda Knox story inspired a feature film, Face of an Angel:

 

  • The final Divergent trailer:

 

  • Another interesting trio: Aaron Paul, Rob Thomas and Bill Murray at a Kings of Leon concert:
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@ThisisRobThomas

  • Animator Arthur Rankin, Jr., who was responsible for holiday classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, passed away.
  • This week is Beatles week at Late Night with David Letterman.
  • As a fan of the original cult classic, I was impressed with this trailer for a fake Warriors reboot:

 

  • There were beer drones? Why am I just hearing about this now that they are grounded?

As always, we end with the Supercuts and Mashups

  • A supercut of Oscar visual effects winners:

 

  • A Superman vs. Jesse Eisenberg supercut:

 

  • Grumpy Cat in Frozen:

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  • This supercut ignores the so-called plot of the first 3 Transformers movies and just focuses on the actual transforming:

 

  • A mashup of every Harrison Ford movie:

 

  • Mr. Freeze sings “Let it Go”

 

  • And finally, a supercut of all of Tina’s moans on Bob’s Burgers:

 

Spring can’t get here quickly enough!