Pop Culture Odds and Ends – A.B.B. (After Breaking Bad) edition

I’m still adjusting to life in a world where Breaking Bad is over. I find that I’m having trouble getting into my Fall TV shows – I’ve already dropped Once Upon a Time, Boardwalk Empire and Modern Family from sheer lack of interest and I’m pretty meh on the new pilots (more on that later this week). Episodes of Sons of Anarchy are beginning to pile up as well and I haven’t bothered to watch the premieres of Revenge or Homeland yet, so their days with a season pass may be numbered. The good news is that this general apathy means that I have a lot more time to surf the web in search of pop culture goodness to share. So really, my loss is your gain. Kick back and enjoy the fruits of my labor in this week’s edition of my pop culture round up

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  • The cover for the upcoming Ron Burgundy memoir has been released.

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  • Peter Dinklage made a stop by Sesame Street:

 

  • Usher and Dinklage’s GoT co-star Lena Headey also recently made appearances.
  • I am not super impressed with Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience, Volume 2. It just sounds like a lot of songs that were (rightfully) scrapped from the first album.
  • Who doesn’t love a Halloween themed programing? TV Tango has rounded up 360 of them airing this month. That seems a little excessive.

 

  • The opening credits for American Horror Story: Coven has been released and they are unsurprisingly terrifying.

 

  • Game shows are becoming sticklers for pronunciation – contestants on Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune were both penalized recently.
  • A new film starring Meryl Streep, Jeff Bridges, Alexander Skarsgard and…..Taylor Swift? Be afraid, Skarsgard. Be very afraid.
  • It’s been far too long since we’ve had a new Britney Spears video. The wait is over:

 

  • Construction has resumed on the monstrosity of a home that was featured in the documentary Queen of Versailles. Excellent film if you haven’t seen it.
  • I was a big fan of ALF back in the day. Watch him sing “Berzerk” by Eminem:

 

  • The Avett Brothers played some Metal on Fallon:

 

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Breaking Bad in over *sob* but that doesn’t mean I still don’t have some links

  • Sadly, I did not win tickets to the Breaking Bad finale viewing party. These photos from the event make it look like I missed a hell of a time.
  • This one is for my friend Brigette:

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  • Aaron Paul lends his vocal talents – and his catchphrase – to the single “Dance Bitch”

 

  • I would totally read this book:

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  • My pals over at Grantland put together an In Memoriam video for BB’s fallen:

 

  • See how you do on the Breaking Bad superfan quiz (I got 43/50).
  • A Breaking Bad tribute set to Green Day’s “Good Riddance”

 

  • Glee’s Naya Rivera was a proud sister when her brother scored his first touchdown in the NFL:

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  • You can read an edited excerpt from Dave Eggers’ upcoming new novel, The Circle.
  • Watching Conan play Grand Theft Auto V had me literally laughing out loud.

 

  • The Atlanta Braves did a “Blurred Lines” parody:

I enjoyed it, but I’m still not rooting for you in the playoffs. #TeamDodgers

  • For those of you who don’t normally watch baseball but want to get into the playoffs, GQ compares playoff teams to pop culture to help. Ha – the Red Sox are the Lannisters!
  • I may have to buy this Friday Night Lights fanzine just for the Tim Riggins paper doll.
  • Kelly Clarkson lost her fight for the Jane Austen ring that she won at an auction.
  • Watch The Hound from Game of Thrones sing the Rolling Stones. Wait – what??

 

  • The new Sleigh Bells album is streaming over at Rolling Stone.
  • Characters from Bob’s Burgers, Family Guy and American Dad got Simpsonized:

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Stop! Trailer Time!

  • HBO’s new comedy, Getting On:

 

  • A new trailer for The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug:

 

  • The latest from Chris Lilley, Ja’mie King: Private School Girl (I can’t wait!!):

 

  • Aziz Ansari has a special coming out soon on Netflix:

 

  • A Case of You with Justin Long, Sam Rockwell and Peter Dinklage:

 

  • This guy at a Willie Nelson concert apparent subscribes to “dance like no one is watching”

 

  • Guillermo del Toro made the couch gag for this year’s The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror.

As always, we wrap up with the mashups and supercuts

  • A mashup of MacGyver and Archer:

 

  • A mashup of Breaking Bad and Need for Speed:

 

  • Who can resist a Sesame Street mashup? Certainly not me.

 

  • “Get Lucky Wit It”

 

  • And finally – the cast of Breaking Bad sings the N’Sync classic, “Bye, Bye, Bye”

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – No A/C Edition

So as I mentioned yesterday, I’m spending the week in training for my job. It somehow feels longer than a day at work, which may have something to do with the fact that we are trapped in a second floor classroom that doesn’t have any air conditioning. You read that right – 9 hours a day the second week of July in a room that doesn’t have a/c. The room doesn’t even have screens on the windows, which at least means some semblance of a breeze is generated when people swat flies away. It’s hard to concentrate on the finer points of project management when you are ready to pass out. I may just have to roll a cooler into class with me tomorrow.

While I consider options for beating the heat, enjoy your bi-weekly roundup of pop culture stories.

  • Jenny McCarthy is a possible new host on The View. There are multiple hosting seats available – Elizabeth Hasselbeck is headed to Fox News, Joy Behar is also leaving and Barbara Walters is retiring.
  • Ha! An Arrested Development fan put George Michal’s internal clock to the test:

Well played Arrested Development. Well played.

  • Dane Cook is going out on a stand-up tour, his first in four years. I saw him on his last tour; here’s to hoping he improved over the hiatus.
  • Chris Pratt is getting seriously ripped for his role in Guardians of the Galaxy.
  • I’m still sad that no one would take me to the Phish concerts last weekend; they did a first time ever cover of “Energy” by The Apples in Stereo:

 

  • Jay-Z’s domination continues – not only did he singlehandedly get the RIAA to change how they count sales, but the MTV movie awards are getting a special statue for their Brooklyn debut. I have no proof that Jay-Z had anything to do with the Moonman remodel; let’s just call it a hunch.
  • Speaking of Mr. Carter, turns out we share a cereal preference:

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  • Jerry Seinfeld did a Q&A with Jimmy Fallon’s audience:

 

  • I’ve always wanted to go to Universal theme park for Halloween, but now that they are doing a Cabin in the Woods themed maze I REALLY want to go. As you may recall, I was a fan of that movie.
  • Chucky’s back – a new Child’s Play film will come out this fall:

 

  • A new poster for Spike Lee’s Oldboy remake has been released:

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I’m still not totally on board with this project.

Firth deserves better. This Mr. Darcy is CREEEPPPPPYYYY

Firth deserves better. This Mr. Darcy is CREEEPPPPPYYYY

 

  • This slowed down version of the Seinfeld theme is kind of terrifying:

 

  • Pearl Jam announced a North American tour this fall. In other news, I will be traveling to Buffalo, Worchester, Brooklyn, Philly, Hartford or Baltimore this fall on “unrelated” business.
  • James Gandolfini’s legendary generosity continues after his passing; the actor left $500,000 to a friend with an autistic son.
  • David Beckham’s career recreated in LEGOs is impressive:

 

  • The Flintstones and Hong Kong Phooey may get revamps. My childhood continues to get ravaged.
  • Tumblr of the week: Icorns (celebrities as corn on the cob)
  • Anchorman gets the 8 bit treatment:

 

  • Spongebob makes everything better:

 

  • Turns out that I’m not the only person that noticed the Macy’s 4th of July fireworks show “curated” by Usher featured…..well, a lot of Usher.
  • These Game of Thrones mini LEGO figures would look nice to my Walter White and Omar Little figure on my desk. It is really amazing that they give me any responsibility at work – between the bobbleheads, Yankee paraphernalia and other toys, my office doesn’t exactly scream professionalism.
  • I can’t decide if this maid of honor toast is fantastic or terrible. One the positive side, it is original and memorable. Negatives are that it takes attention away from the bride and it is hard to understand. You decide.

 

  • Businessweek (of all places) has an infographic comparing how much money rappers say they have vs. how much money they actually have. Pitbull – your pants might be on fire.
  • Set your DVRs everyone – SyFy debutes Sharknado tomorrow night ( and who doesn’t love a tornado comprised of sharks?).
  •  Is it plagiarism if you steal from yourself? Aaron Sorkin likes to recycle his own dialogue:

 

  • Tomorrow (Thursday) is 7/11 day – head to your local franchise of the convenience store for a free Slurpee.
  • I’m bummed that there is a rift between the band members of The Civil Wars. I like them.
  • Jessica Simpson gave birth to a baby boy, her second child in 14 months. If a celebrity gives birth and no one cares, did it really happen?

And, as always, we end with the supercuts and mashups

  • All the coffee and pie scenes from Twin Peaks

 

  • Johnny Depp does enjoy making weird faces:

 

  • Kevin James sure does fall down a lot:

 

  • A supercut of movie trailers that use the cliché “one man” reference:

 

When does the “in a world” supercut come out?

  • You thought I was out of “Get Lucky” mashups? You would be wrong:

 

  • Actually you would be doubly wrong:

 

  • A Game of Thrones/Gotye mashup (includes major spoilers if you haven’t watched season one yet)

 

  • I totally love this Kanye West/Depeche Mode mashup:

 

  • This Ginuwine/Kill Paris/Daft Punk mashup ain’t bad either:

 

  • This is outstanding – a mashup of The Lumineers “Ho Hey” and Will Ferrell’s Harry Caray impersonation:

 

  • And finally, this may be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen: a “Blurred Lines”/The Cosby Show mashup:

 

 

Stay cool, my friends.

Kevin James – The Palace Theater, Albany NY – 6/2/13

It’s easy to forget that before he starred on King Of Queens and started appearing in terrible movies that somehow make a lot of money (middle America – I will never understand you), Kevin James was actually a stand-up comic.  I tend to think of him as an actor that is funny rather than a comic who successfully made the leap from comedy clubs to the big and small screen. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that his comedy special Sweat the Small Stuff used to be in heavy rotation on Comedy Central, I don’t know that I would have had any exposure to his previous life behind the mic.

Despite the fact that most of James’ projects aren’t my cup of tea – I never took to King of Queens, though part of that could be attributed to my general intolerance of his co-star Leah Remini – I quite enjoyed Sweat the Small Stuff, so I was more than game to check him out live when he came rolling into town. I was kind of curious what his on-stage persona would be; a lot has changed since his last stand-up special, both professionally and personally, and I wondered if “going Hollywood” would have any impact on his performance. Turns out that while the latter has definitely provided him a new source of material, the former hasn’t had much influence on him at all. If you didn’t know that he’d been in a bunch of movies, he appeared to just be a chubby comedian telling jokes about fatherhood and air travel.

While I was amused throughout his set, James is definitely not an edgy comedian. His set is totally PG and family friendly; I don’t think he cussed at any point during the evening. Now working blue is not a requirement for being funny – too often I think comics rely on shock value rather than actually funny or well-crafted jokes to get them through their sets. I think the bigger issue, if there really was one, was that his material in general was a little too conservative and reminiscent of joke areas that many other comedians cover. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t funny, just that a lot of it didn’t feel very fresh. When you’ve watched as much stand-up as I have, you have heard a lot of jokes about struggling with weight gain and issues with family. It’s relatable, but while I chuckled throughout the set none of his jokes felt very memorable. Jerry Seinfeld covers some of the same topics and also is generally very PG, yet I felt like he provides a new and interesting perspective. I’ve left other shows physically exhausted from laughing so hard; Kevin James was perfectly enjoyable, but didn’t have that same effect.

The highlight for me was when he went “off script” and interacted directly with the audience. To me, that makes or breaks a comedian; if they are able to be funny with the random conversations that they have with the crowd, then to me that indicates a smart comic mind that can work on the fly. James did a great job with that – after asking  some audience members about their tattoos, he was able to use the responses to make some very funny observations (though, to be honest, he really lucked out with some of the answers he got. Who knew some of my fellow Albanians had such ridiculous ink?). Per usual, some people in the crowd proved to be an embarrassment by yelling things out, but James also handled that very well. Unfortunately, after he deflected one person, others in the audience didn’t get the memo and continued to yell sporadically throughout the set. No one was heckling, per se, but I don’t know what people expect to happen when they yell out Mall Cop in the middle of his act. This is why I need to be allowed to Taser annoying audience members.

If you see Bob Saget doing comedy live, people are surprised at how different his comedic persona is from his Full House/America’s Funniest Home Videos persona (seriously – Danny Tanner is one dirty bird). The exact opposite is true with Kevin James; his stand-up is pretty much exactly what you’d expect to see in his sitcom or in one of his movies. He seems to be a really nice guy and he certainly is funny, but I don’t think his comedy stylings and my personal preferences are a great match. I enjoyed him and had a perfectly lovely evening, but I don’t know that I would ever have to see him again. He appeals to a wide variety of people, as evidenced by the wide diversity of last night’s sold-out crowd, but I just don’t know if I am one of those people. He made some funny observations, but ultimately I think I like my comics with a little more bite.

Programming note – voting for my summer viewing project will close on Wednesday June 5th. Currently it is a dead heat between The Good Wife and Shameless. Make your voices heard!