Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Heather’s Frustrated Edition

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So I’m still sidelined with this stupid sprained ankle and I’m starting to lose my patience with this whole experience. This morning I woke up and cried a little, frustrated that I’m in some pain and that this continues to be a disruption to my life. I’m beginning to think that I’ll never feel 100% ever again and I’m ready for this to no longer be a topic of conversation. I just want to go back to normal and not have to curtail my activities; for someone like me who is always on the go and prides herself on her independence, this is a tough pill to swallow. Now of course I know that this is not even that serious of an injury and that there are others that have it so much worse than me. But I’m also allowed to be over this entire situation. I know I just have to give it time, but this is slowly driving me crazy. I’m looking forward to the day when my limp suddenly disappears like Keyser Soze:

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But at least the pop culture roundup was something of a distraction this week; you can’t be sad and annoyed when you’ve fully immersed yourself in all that the world of pop has to offer. So while I look into magic cures that will get me back on my feet again and walking around like a normal person, catch up on all the pop culture that you may have missed in the last seven days.

Quentin Tarantino sat down for a lengthy conversation with New York Magazine.

Captain Obvious George R.R. Martin says that HBO might finish Game of Thrones before him.

Anna Kendrick was interviewed by Elle magazine.

There have been some new developments in the case from Serial.

A believed dead Game of Thrones character (no, not THAT one) was spotted in Belfast (spoilers).

Stephen Colbert announces his full slate of guests for the first week of The Late Show.

Colbert was interviewed by GQ.

Don’t look for Superman in Suicide Squad.

Alfre Woodard may join Netflix’s Luke Cage series.

Perhaps in solidarity with me, Jimmy Fallon injured himself again.

ABC has ordered a pilot for Marvel’s Most Wanted, which is based around Mockingbird.

Bruce Willis may or may not have been fired from Woody Allen’s latest movie.

Jeremy Renner is skeptical that an Avengers/Guardians of the Galaxy crossover will happen.

The Rock to star in a movie based on Disney’s Jungle Cruise ride.

Here’s the Rock dancing:

 

Missy Elliott will be an advisor for Pharrell’s team on The Voice.

Lea Seydoux will star opposite Channing Tatum in Gambit.

James Franco and Bryan Cranston to star in Why Him?

Kanye West will receive the Video Vanguard Award at the VMAs.

Here’s who is performing at the VMAs.

Fear The Walking Dead is the most watched series premiere in cable TV history.

Coming soon…..Star Wars soup cans.

Hulu has ordered a pilot from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg.

The unstoppable Shonda Rhimes has sold another show to ABC.

The director of CITIZENFOUR will do a documentary series on Julian Assange.

John Mayer and The Grateful Dead are doing a ten city tour (including Albany – YAY!).

Fans discovered a Friends subplot that was scrapped after 9/11.

The owner of the Goonies house in Oregon has had it with visitors.

Fox has picked up a comedy from the producers of It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.

Katherine Heigl will join the CBS drama Doubt.

Christian Bale will play Enzo Ferrari.

This post describes what it’s like to be an extra on Game of Thrones.

Bill Simmons, formerly of ESPN, will drop a new podcast on October 1st.

Jon Stewart seems to be enjoying his retirement:

 

J.K. Rowling likes a fan theory about Dumbledore.

NBC has ordered a “sexy soapy Cain and Abel story.” I have no idea what that means and I don’t really want to find out.

Steven Spielberg shut down the idea of an animated Jurassic Park series.

Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs and Chris Gethard to star in Mike Birbiglia’s new film.

The new Ghostbusters reboot has plenty of girl power both in front of the camera and behind it.

One Direction is planning on taking an extended hiatus.

Ruth Kearney will be the female lead in Will Arnett’s Netflix comedy.

The Foo Fighters Rick Rolled the Westboro Baptist Church:

 

It’s the 90s all over again – members of Pearl Jam, Mudhoney, Guns N’ Roses and Screaming Trees have formed a Stooges cover band.

Rayanne from My So-Called Life is now a Countess.

Amy Poehler and Jon Hamm once hosted an “Emmy Losers” party.

Time for some trailers……

Gotham, season two:

 

Dark Places:

 

Two new teasers for the new season of AHS: Hotel:

 

 

Kill Your Friends:

 

Mickey Rourke in Ashby:

 

Andy Samberg in a promo for the Emmys:

 

Ash vs. Evil Dead:

 

A trailer for Banksy’s latest installation, Dismaland:

 

Supergirl:

 

The Final Girls:

 

Hellions:

 

Hell & Back:

 

The creator of UnREAL is developing a series about the NYC restaurant business.

Vin Diesel confirms an xXx sequel starts filming in December.

Rod Man, the winner of last season’s Last Comic Standing, has a development deal for a sitcom at NBC.

Debra Winger has joined Ashton Kutcher’s Netflix series.

Captain America: Civil War has wrapped shooting.

People are naming their kids Anakin.

Kevin Bacon will star in Rear Window on stage.

Matthew Lewis joins Happy Valley series 2.

Anna Bates, serial killer?

Miles Teller in talks for a PTSD drama.

Olivia Munn and Aaron Rodgers prove that the couple that Dubsmash together stays together:

 

Mo McRae will be a love interest for Gabourey Sidibe on Empire.

Anthony Michael Hall will join Brad Pitt in War Machine.

Probably not a great sign…the showrunner of the new fall show The Grinder has left.

Chicago Med is down a showrunner as well.

Universal Studios Orlando will unveil a Fast & Furious ride.

Sam Kinison almost starred in Beetlejuice.

Gabriel Chavarria will appear in War of the Planet of the Apes.

Who said it, Donald Trump or Mr. Burns?

Jay Leno will guest star on Tim Allen’s Last Man Standing.

John Leguizamo will be a series regular on the second season of Bloodline.

Forest Whitaker will make his Broadway debut this spring.

Instagram of the week: Man Buns of Disneyland.

Danzig will appear on Portlandia.

Julianne Moore is petitioning to get the name of her high school changed.

Iron Maiden dedicated a song to Robin Williams on their new album.

Bindi Irwin (daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter) will appear on Dancing With The Stars.

David Beckham hung out with Frozen’s Elsa and Anna:

 

Morrissey is releasing his first novel next month. I’m sure it will be happy and uplifting.

T.I. reportedly owes the IRS over $4 million in back taxes.

Wiz Khalifa was arrested for riding a hoverboard.

The actors who play Tommen and Myrcella Baratheon on Game of Thrones may be dating IRL.

Shannen Doherty has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The guy who spent way too much money to look like Justin Bieber has gone missing.

Tracy Morgan got hitched on Sunday.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a daddy!

Kelly Clarkson is pregnant with her second child.

Shiri Appleby is also pregnant.

Congrats to Alison Brie and Dave Franco on their engagement! The duo somehow dated for four years without me knowing it.

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

The friends sing the Friends theme song:

 

Ricky and Morty: Back to the Future:

 

Mad Max: Fury Road retold in hieroglyphics:

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Taylor Swift and Alanis Morissette do “You Oughta Know”:

 

A supercut of every Jason Statham punch thrown on film:

 

A supercut of Batman’s kill count in the movies:

 

A cover of “Sweet Dreams” by Mumford & Sons, Mark Hoppus and The Vaccines:

 

Mario Skate:

 

Breaking the forth wall:

 

The Weeknd covered Beyoncé:

 

Was Daniel the real bully in The Karate Kid? This edit says yes:

 

Pentatonix covers “Cheerleader”:

 

Secret movie star skills supercut:

 

Here’s a Dr. Dre mashup on the piano:

 

And finally, Black Thought (aka Tariq Trotter from The Roots) raps over the Mad Men theme (NSFW):

Heather Visits The Daily Show (Again)

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Yesterday, I took the day off from work and headed down to New York to see a live taping of The Daily Show; if this sounds vaguely familiar to you it should – I went to see The Daily Show film back in 2013 as well. However, the last time that I went to a taping, Jon Stewart was on leave to work on directing his first film and the great John Oliver was filling in for him. I was fine with seeing Oliver host – I think he’s great and it was kind of like seeing a limited edition version of the show, since he only hosted for a short amount of time – but I also figured that I had all the time in the world to see Stewart sitting behind the desk. Of course, that wasn’t the case, as Jon announced his intent to retire from the show some time this year. As soon as I heard this news, I jumped online and used my secret hacks to snap up a reservation to the earliest show available. Jon hadn’t given a concrete date for when he would be leaving and I figured that tickets were going to get a lot harder to obtain once the news of his departure became well known. I would have been very disappointed if I never got to see Stewart in person, especially since I’ve had reservations to The Daily Show on numerous occasions in the past but have given them up because the timing was problematic or I just wasn’t in the mood to schlep to the City. I was glad that my flippant attitude about my ability to secure tickets wasn’t going to come back to haunt me and that I would actually get to see Jon Stewart before his tenure was over.

I invited my friend Robin to tag along with me, since see The Daily Show is a pretty laborious and time consuming process. It’s a LOT of just standing around and while I’m perfectly capable of amusing myself, it’s always more fun when you have someone to talk to in order to make the time pass faster. You aren’t actually guaranteed tickets when you have a reservation for the show; like all live tapings, they overbook to insure a full audience and it’s typically first come, first serve for who gets tickets. They start the process of handing out tickets around 2:30 pm and we had planned to get in line around 1 pm. We walked by the studio at noon and the line was already the length of the block, so we quickly hopped on line. Getting in line two and a half hours early earned up tickets 75 and 76; people were obviously lining up a lot earlier than in my past trip since I got in line about the same time last time (give or take) and I was ticket # 7. So people are both getting smarter about when to line up and the demand is a lot higher. It’s seems kind of funny to say that I spent most of my day in New York just standing on a sidewalk in Hell’s Kitchen. It wasn’t even an exciting sidewalk – we didn’t see much of anything of interest during our long tenure, though thankfully there was a bodega a few door downs for all our snacking and beverage needs. Some of the people ahead of us in line were hard-core and brought their own camping chairs. This was obviously not the first line that they had camped out in and about two hours in I kind of hated them and their forethought as my back was beginning to hurt.

While the same general procedure was the same for being seated in the studio, it felt like it was a little more streamlined this time and the people were much friendlier than on my previous visit. They still weren’t as friendly as the people at The Colbert Report (RIP) taping, but no one yelled at us, which was an instant upgrade over my previous experience. They have also relaxed the photography rule in the studio – while phones must be put away before the show warm up or actual taping, we were free to snap as many shots as we wanted while we were waiting for everyone to be seated, as long as we stayed in our seats. On my previous visit, we were only permitted a small window of time to take a photo and the fact that some people took some photos before we were given the go ahead earned us a big lecture and a potential loss of the privilege for the rest of us. So I’m glad to see that they have chilled out a bit – I have no problem with their rules and regulations, but there’s no need to be overly draconian about it.

One big difference between my previous visit and this one, other than the host, was that they warned us several times to “not be weird” during the Q&A with Jon. Apparently, as the number of remaining shows that he’s hosting is drawing to an end the “creep factor” of the audience has drastically increased (their words, not mine). We were warned twice outside to keep the weird factor reined in; when someone asked what constituted “weird,” we were told not to ask for autographs, photos, hugs, oddly personal questions and a litany of other examples that clearly indicated that they have had some truly weird stuff go down at these tapings. A good rule of thumb, they said, was that if the question sounded a little weird in your head, it was going to sound a lot weird when asked in front of a roomful of people. We received the same lecture inside the studio, as well as the protocol for any gifts that people might have bought for Jon. None of this was reviewed on my first trip, so things have must have truly escalated in the last 18 months.

It was finally time for Jon Stewart to come out and take some questions from the audience and it was thrilling to see him in person for the first time. He did a really good job with the audience Q&A – he was very adept at moving the questions along and keeping them on track, but in a way where the person didn’t feel like they were being shortchanged or didn’t have his full attention. Someone in the audience asked the question that I had thought about posing (it involved Wrestlemania, not politics), so I didn’t seriously consider raising my hand. Plus for all my disdain for audience questions and mocking the people who ask them, there was a legitimate chance that I might have fangirled out and made a complete fool of myself. So probably for the best that I kept my mouth shut or I could have been a cautionary tale for future audiences.

The show itself was solid as usual, but I was really excited about the guest; not only was I going to be in the same room as Jon Stewart, but I was also going to be in the same room as Peter Dinklage, who plays Tyrion Lannister of Game of Thrones. That’s one of my favorite shows and he plays one of my favorite characters, so I was very happy that I was going to get the chance to see him, even if the experience was limited to three to five minutes and involved me having no direct interaction with him. He was funny and charming and while we didn’t get any Game of Thrones spoilers, he did inform us that the actor that plays The Mountain on the show can eat six whole chickens in one sitting, which is pretty damn impressive. He also shared a funny anecdote about a woman on the street telling him that she hoped he didn’t die; she meant his character on the show, but he didn’t understand that right away and was obviously a little confused by the exchange.

All in all, despite the fact that it involved a lot of wasted time in lines, my second experience visiting The Daily Show was just as good as my first. I can officially cross it off my bucket list – seeing John Oliver host always felt a little like having as asterisk next to it – and I got to help someone else fulfill a pop culture dream in the process. It’s still hard to believe that Jon will be leaving the show after 16 years, but I’m so relieved that I got to see the show before he is gone. It’s really not going to be the same without him.

Some thoughts on Jon Stewart Leaving The Daily Show

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For someone who doesn’t like change, this has been a challenging year in late night talk shows. In the last year, Jimmy Kimmel and Conan O’Brien will be the only constants in late night having kept the same job at the end of 2015 that they had in the beginning of 2014. That’s a lot of upheaval in a small amount of time and it’s kind of stressing me out.

The latest defector is Jon Stewart and this is also the change that hits me the hardest. I was pretty bummed out when it was announced that The Colbert Report was closing up shop, but that loss was tempered by the idea that I still had my beloved The Daily Show and Jon Stewart to ease my pain. Surely he wasn’t going anywhere; he’s sowed some oats taking the summer off to direct a film, but now he was back where he belonged as the head of a parody news program that was more reliable than the actual news. In fact, I’ve had tickets to The Daily Show several times in the last year but gave them up because it wasn’t a convenient time or because I simply because didn’t feel like schlepping down to the City once again. I assumed that I had all the time in the world to see Stewart behind the desk.

You know what they say about people who assume…..

I have been a fan of both The Daily Show and Jon Stewart, individually, for as long as I can remember. I am one of the few people who has been watching The Daily Show pretty consistently since it debuted back in 1996. In those days, the show was hosted by Craig Kilbourn and while it has always been a satire of news programs, the vibe and tenor of the show were decidedly different from its current incarnation. The show was less focused on politics as its bread and butter and Kilborn has a very different persona. I generally enjoyed it – I was particularly fond of Kilborn’s recurring segment “Five Questions” – but the show was nowhere near as great as it is today.

I knew Jon Stewart primarily from his various movie roles and his work with MTV. He always seemed like a smart and thoughtful guy, which was reflected in his humor. I liked him immediately and was a fan of pretty much everything he did; I may very well be one of the only people in America that legitimately enjoyed Death to Smoochy. I knew that he would he would break through eventually with the right vehicle, so when he was announced as the replacement for Craig Kilborn I was very excited at the prospect. I thought Stewart would do a great job, but there was no way to predict how perfect this marriage would actually be.

With Stewart at the helm, The Daily Show ascended to a whole new level. While the show had previously been an amusing diversion for me, it became required viewing once the format moved to a political focus and Stewart was able to infuse the show with his comedic sensibilities. Not only was the commentary more biting, but underneath all the jokes the show became a legitimate way to learn about politics and stay up on current events. Back when I was teaching political science classes, I was especially thankful for the show for engaging my college students in a way that made it easier for us to talk about things. I could start my Introduction to American Politics class my discussing whatever was on The Daily Show the night prior. It made my students not only more interested, but more knowledgeable about the government and they didn’t even realize that they were learning because they were laughing while they were doing it. Anything that would make my students participate in class made me happy, so I am forever indebted to The Daily Show for making my job a little easier. I don’t think it’s overstating things to say that the show has helped create a more informed citizenry; I may not watch the local or national news, but every day I make sure to watch The Daily Show. That’s partially due to the format and the writing, but a lot of the credit belongs to Jon Stewart. What he brought to the show completely transformed it into something quite spectacular. I think Elizabeth Warren said it best:

 

One of the great things that Stewart did while at The Daily Show was to build up a formidable team around him, so while it’s going to be an adjustment to see someone else behind the desk I have no doubt that The Daily Show will be able to live on. With John Oliver over at HBO, there isn’t necessarily a clear heir apparent, but I’m pulling for Jessica Williams to take over. She’s young, she’s smart, she’s proven that she is fantastically funny and it would add some much needed diversity to late night programming. I think she’d do a great job and while she’d never be able to fill Stewart’s shoes I think she’d be able to make the show her own. I’m not looking forward to Stewart leaving, but I know he loves the show enough that he’ll leave it in the best possible shape possible whenever he does step down. Thankfully, I was smart enough to snatch up tickets to the show moments after it was announced that he is leaving, so I’ll finally be able to see Stewart in his element live and in person.

It’s the end of the era for sure – the idea of the 2016 election without Colbert and Stewart is a little heartbreaking – but I look forward to seeing what else Stewart plans to do. Being on TV 4 nights a week for 16 years is a hell of a grind and he’s certainly earned some time off. It would be selfish to wish him to stay if he’s ready to move on. So for now, I’ll just take a little more pleasure in the shows that we have left with him and hope for the best for his replacement. Hopefully some truly colorful characters will run for office in 2016 and make the new person’s job a lot easier.

(And if Comedy Central is reading this – I’m open to moving to New York)