Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Three Day Weekend Edition

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I was lucky enough to have a three day weekend last weekend and it was kind of glorious, mostly because against every instinct that I had I decided to stay in town. Normally a three day weekend is an invitation to get out of dodge – not that I need much of an excuse to travel anyway – but I opted to ignore those urges and stay closer to home. I was still pretty busy but I actually felt refreshed when it was time to go back to work yesterday, which is not always the case. And I got a lot accomplished, assuming that you use my definition of “watching 9 episodes of Luke Cage.” So I’m taking the controversial stand that I’m in favor of three day weekends , which is a good thing since the way that the holidays fall this year I have three day weekends at least once a month through February.

Also a good thing – pop culture. So get yourself caught up on what you might have missed with this week’s roundup.

Television

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Movies

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Trailers

  • Patriots Day:

 

  • The Great Wall:

 

  • Marvel’s Iron Fist:

 

  • Jackie:

 

  • Power Rangers:

 

  • Stan Against Evil:

 

  • The Take:

 

  • John Wick: Chapter 2:

 

  • The Man in the High Castle, season 2:

 

  • War for the Planet of the Apes:

 

  • Black Mirror:

 

  • Chance:

 

  • Midnight, Texas:

 

  • Salt and Fire:

 

  • Sweet/Vicious:

 

  • Trollhunters:

 

  • Army of One:

 

  • Red Oaks, season 2:

 

  • Sleepless:

 

  • Tangled: The Series:

 

  • Planet Earth II:

 

Music

Books

Podcasts

Theater

Standup

Odds and Ends

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Mashups and Supercuts

  • A soul cover of “Since U Been Gone”:

 

  • 50 Shades of Muppets:

 

  • I didn’t watch the last debate, but I imagine it went something like this:

 

  • And finally, Luke Cage reimagined as a 90s sitcom:

TV Siblings

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Yesterday was National Siblings Day, one of those made up holidays that suddenly appeared a few years ago. If you are on social media, your feed was probably filled with people sharing throwback photos of them with their siblings when they were little. I am guilty of this myself, probably to my brother’s chagrin. While it’s a silly “holiday,” it’s still nice to see so many people paying a little tribute to their brothers and sisters. My brother and I really didn’t start to get along until I went away to college, but I’m proud of the relationship that we’ve built as adults and a day like Siblings Day gives me a chance to share that. Plus there is the inherent possibility of embarrassing him, which is also a plus. We may be good now, but some of that sibling rivalry never goes away.

Because of how my brain is programmed, thinking about National Siblings Day got me thinking about my favorite television siblings. It was kind of surprising how many shows feature siblings, whether they are main characters or one of the siblings is recurring or a guest star. I guess there is a lot of material to be mined from the relationship that people have with their brothers and sisters; they are often the people that know you the best, but there is also often an undercurrent of competition or resentment as well. For siblings that are not part of the main ensemble, their appearance allows the show to explore a side of a character that they don’t normally get to showcase (and, because of the temporary nature of the guest star, that they are not obligated to commit to). I guess since the majority of the population has siblings – other than those lucky bastards that are only children – people identify on some level with these storylines. It may not reflect your sibling relationship perfectly, but just the inherent dynamics of a sibling relationship are something that many of us can easily identify with on some level.

Upon this reflection, here are some of the television siblings that I find the most enjoyable.

Dennis and Deandra Reynolds – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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I don’t want to spend a lot of time analyzing why these siblings were the first that popped into my head when considering this topic; I really don’t think it will speak well for how my brain works. Dennis and Dee are terrible people – Dennis is clearly a sociopath and Sweet Dee is pretty delusional – and they really don’t have that great of a relationship on the surface. Dennis often torments Dee as much or more than the rest of the gang. But because they are both so terrible – a definite side effect of being raised by Frank – when they team up together it is often something to behold. Some of my favorite episodes (Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games or Dennis and Dee Go On Welfare) feature the Reynolds twins working together. Once in a blue moon, there is even some semblance of sibling affection between the two, though it usually doesn’t last long. This exchange from The Gang Goes to Hell (Part Two) pretty much sums it up:

Dennis: “I love you sis.”

Dee: “Whatever.”

 

Monica and Ross Geller – Friends

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Unlike the Reynolds siblings, the Gellars actually seem to enjoy each other’s company. They even have a choreographed dance routine that they used to perform. Ross and Monica being siblings serves an important purpose on the show as it explains why they keep Ross around, since he is pretty much the worst (a fact that I didn’t pick up on when I first watched the show, but that has become abundantly clear in watching it in re-runs). There is also the funny runner of the very different relationships that they have with their parents; while Ross is the golden child that can do no wrong, pretty much everything that Monica does is subject to criticism or mocking. That dynamic resonates with a lot of siblings (I may or may not refer to my brother as “The Chosen One.”) Monica and Ross are a nice example of television siblings that are also really friends.

 

Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia – Parenthood

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While there are lots of sibling relationships on display in the extended family on Parenthood, the relationship between the core four Braverman siblings is the most interesting and fruitful. Like in any family, Adam, Sarah, Crosby and Julia don’t always get along and see eye to eye; these are four very different people with very different personalities. This dynamic was especially put on display when Adam and Crosby decided to go into business together at The Luncheonette. But despite their differences and the occasional conflict, these four rally around to support each other when the chips are down in a way that is admirable. Not all families are as close as the Bravermans – one could argue that they may be a little too close – but the depiction of how the four siblings interact as adults felt very real to me. And kudos to the cast, who managed to make it mostly not creepy that two of the actors playing siblings (Lauren Graham and Peter Krause) are actually a couple in real life.

 

Frasier and Niles Crane – Frasier

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These two had to stick together because I’m pretty sure no one else wanted to be their friends. Frasier and Niles can be exhausting and pretentious, but their similarities only bring them closer together. While they enjoy each other’s company and respect each other, there is also a little sibling rivalry that is still alive and well even in adulthood; that may take a different form for them than with other people, but that desire to one up each other is still there. The world may not always understand them and their fastidious ways, but they always have an ally in each other.

 

Jamie, Cersei, and Tyrion Lannister – Game of Thrones

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Admittedly a controversial choice, given the incest and all, but if I’m picking television siblings that are interesting to watch, you can’t ignore the Lannister siblings. One could easily argue that their familial issues are one of the driving forces of a lot of the conflict in the show. Sure their issues may be less relatable than the others on this list – I’m hoping that co-parenting your children with your sibling or blaming your brother for the death of your mother aren’t things that a lot of my readers have to worry about – but they are still fascinating to watch. While the scenes between Jamie and Cersei are obviously gross, the scenes between Jamie and Tyrion are always great as the two brothers who obviously care about each other try to find common ground after the very different cards that life has dealt them. And sometimes siblings can just never get along, as evidenced by the interactions between Cersei and Tyrion. The only reason that they haven’t killed each other yet is some vague sense of familial connection, but whenever they are forced to deal with each other, you can cut the tension with a knife. The Starks have a much more normal sibling dynamic, but the Lannisters are just way more compelling and complex.

Now it’s your turn – what television siblings are among your favorites to watch? Let us know 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!

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

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  • 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:

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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:

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  • 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.