Pop Culture Odds and Ends – I’m Back, Baby edition

I couldn’t think of any better way to bring the blog back from its brief hiatus than with everyone’s favorite post, the bi-weekly pop culture roundup. Pop culture stops for no man (or woman) and stories kept rolling out even while I was away, so this post is as much for me as it is for you. So while we all play catch up, enjoy this barrage of links to stories that you might have missed:

  • You people are failing me when it comes to Happy Endings. Shame on you.
  • Kids retell Star Wars in their own words:

 

  • This might be a reason to have a baby – White Stripes songs have been turned into an album of lullabies (just kidding, Mom. Probably).
  • The History Channel’s The Bible miniseries is already out on DVD.

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  • Dang – I missed out on the auction for Tupac’s fedora from the “California Love” video. I look excellent in hats.
  • Listen to a new song from John Legend and Rick Ross.
  • Crackle is now streaming episodes of The Shield for free. Definitely a show to check out if you haven’t seen it. It is where I first discovered the awesomeness that is Walton Goggins.
  • Jimmy Fallon and Jay Leno addressed The Tonight Show succession rumors:

Jimmy, my friend, some unsolicited advice: stop palling around with Leno. He cannot be trusted.

  • The Hollywood Reporter says that Fallon has signed a deal to take over The Tonight Show. Seth Meyers is the frontrunner to take over Fallon’s 12:30 time slot.
  • Steve Buscemi will direct a live Vampire Weekend webcast.
  • Not sure how I feel about this: Amy Poehler is rumored to be dating fellow comedian (and occasional Parks and Recreation guest star) Nick Kroll. Love them both, but I’m still not over her split with Will Arnett.
  • This seems like a waste of perfectly good Easter candy:

 

  • Glee star Cory Monteith has checked into rehab and will miss some episodes of season 4, currently in production.
  • Springsteen has brought someone on stage to sing “Waiting on a Sunny Day” at every show I have been to, but I’ve never seen him do this before:

Lucky kid – and this only makes me love the Boss more.

  • The collected wisdom of Duck Dynasty’s Uncle Si. I don’t watch the show – should I check it out?
  • OK – this kind of freaked me out – celebrities that are unbelievably the same age. The Taylor Swift/Adele thing always kills me.
  • There is adorable and then there is Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Jeopardy! in 1997:

 

  • Cher’s mom is getting a Lifetime movie. It has got to be better than Liz & Dick and the recent Romeo Killer: The Chris Porco Story (based on a murder one town over from where I live).
  • Based on the success of the Veronica Mars kickstarter, Funny or Die has some 90s TV shows that they think should get the movie treatment.
  • Queens of the Stone Age debuted a new song at Lollapalooza Brazil, the band’s first in six years.
  • I have discovered yet another website that specialized in pop culture inspired art. I really think this print would tie my living room together.
  • Tublr of the week: Mean Mad Men (Mad Men/Mean Girls mashup). Totally fetch.

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  • Thanks to a new website, I can listen to many of the Phish concerts that I attended for free.
  • The creator of the 90s Nickelodeon show Clarissa Explains It All has brought the character back as an adult in a new book.
  • Adios TV Guide Network.
  • Watch the cast of The Big Bang Theory do a number from The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Sheldon Cooper in drag is unsettling.
  • Bronson Pinchot hijacks a weather cast on a local news cast. I have no words:

 

  • Actor Richard Griffiths, who played Harry Potter’s Uncle Vernon (among other things) passed away last week.
  • Are Walking Dead and Toy Story the same?
  • The CW has released the first images of their new The Vampire Diaries spin-off pilot, The Originals.
  • Ron Howard will appear as himself on an upcoming episode of Arrested Development. He is also the show’s narrator.
  • I enjoy this collection of GIFs of Daryl Dixon from The Walking Dead sneaking up on people. He is one stealth dude.

And now, some supercuts and mashups:

  • People running in movies:

 

  • I’m glad I didn’t watch this before I flew Southwest last week.
  • All of Woody Allen’s stammers:

 

  • Bill & Ted & Lincoln’s Excellent Adventure:

 

  • And finally, spliced together like this, Fraggle Rock was pretty deep (and a little depressing):

Austen-palooza

Up until recently, my only experience with the work of Jane Austen was from the miniseries or movie adaptations of her work. I started with 1995’s Sense and Sensibility, continued with Gwyneth Paltrow’s Emma and of course included the BBC production of Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth, which I’m pretty sure is required viewing for all women. I think I’ve seen some version of all her published works at some point or another. I even dabbled in some movies about Jane Austen with Miss Austen Regrets.

But for whatever reason, I never had my usual urge to read her original works. I’m normally a stickler for reading the source material. I enjoyed the films and the stories they told, but that was enough for me. I did notice, however, that almost every other woman I knew had read Austen, which did make me feel a little self-conscious. Was I missing a rite of passage? Had I been home sick the day we covered Austen in school? I had enough of a working knowledge of Austen from the films I had seen to get by, but I was always a little disappointed in myself that I was taking the easy way out when it came to literary classics. Not disappointed enough to actually read the books, mind you, but disappointed all the same.

In the end, it was peer pressure that finally convinced me to read my first and only Austen book. The book Pride, Prejudice and Zombies had just been released and was getting a lot of attention, so I thought I’d check it out. The book took Austen’s original tale of Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy and added new scenes about a zombie apocalypse. It was weird and creative and immediately appealed to me. But my friends who are Austen purists freaked out that this would be my first exposure to her books. They insisted that I had to read the original, without the zombies. They guilted me into it, so on a bus trip to Fenway I decided to take the plunge and managed to get through the book. It seemed as good a way as any to get through being trapped on a bus with a bunch of Red Sox fans.

Ultimately, I found it kind of confusing and was thankful that I already knew the basic story before I started. Maybe I wasn’t in the most ideal circumstances to be reading 19th Century literature – there was certainly a lot of jostling on the Mass Pike – but I found the language a challenge and the fact that characters were often referred to by several different names (like Elizabeth’s mother would sometimes call her father Mr. Bennett) confusing. It wasn’t holding my attention. Could have used the zombies.

So it’s not a huge surprise that I found Death Comes to Pemberley ultimately unsatisfying as well. I mentioned in a previous post that I had been reading this book which takes place several years after the events of Pride and Prejudice and features a murder mystery. The author manages to capture a lot of the elements that I didn’t really enjoy in Austen’s work and I thought the ultimate resolution of the murder was too far-fetched and more convoluted than it had to be. I had forgotten some plot points from Pride and Prejudice that were required to fully understand Death Comes to Pemberley. It took me a while to figure out who one character was because the author didn’t waste a lot of time on back story, assuming that most people seeking out this book were Austen fans. So much for my working knowledge. It wasn’t a bad read; I was actually semi-invested in the murder story line until it got too complicated and soapy (oh the irony, right?). I can’t determine how much of my disinterest was the attempted similarity in style to Austen or the actual execution of the story. I think ultimately Austen fans will get a lot more enjoyment out it than I will.

One Pride and Prejudice spin-off that I am enjoying is a web series called The Lizzie Bennet Diaries. The series is a video blog for a modern day version of Elizabeth Benet, a graduate student who lives at home with her two sisters (sorry Kitty and Mary – you don’t make the cut), her doting father and her mother who is obsessed with marrying off her daughters as quickly as possible. It’s a cute and quirky retelling of Pride and Prejudice. The actress who plays Lizzie is a lot of fun and the Lydia character is pretty much how I imagined her – really, really annoying. The series has just started, so Lizzie has only first met Darcy. I’m looking forward to future episodes and how they will interpret the rest of the story.

 

So clearly the lesson here is that when it comes to Jane Austen I should stick to more visual manifestations rather than the written word.