Pop Culture Odds and Ends – In Like A Lion Edition

We’ve made it to March, which means we’re close to having survived this brutal winter. It’s a good thing too, because people are starting to get a little stir crazy. It seems like everyone lately – including me – has been pretty cranky and generally not in a good mood. I know that I’m tired of being cooped up and unable to plan much of anything because of the weather. So now I’m overcompensating for that by completely overbooking myself for the spring and summer. I just put something on my calendar for August and there aren’t many free weekends in between. Good for the blog, but I’ll resent this ambitious scheduling somewhere around July when I just want to relax. Obviously, I’m never happy.

But something that will make you happy is this week’s pop culture roundup. As usual, it’s chocked full of all sorts of pop culture goodness. So sit back, relax and catch yourself up on all the pop culture that you might have missed in the last week. It’s better for you than Vitamin D!

 

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  • Jon Stewart showed up in an unexpected place – WWE’s Raw:

 

  • Also…this happened:

 

  • Here’s a photo of a junior high Prince on the basketball team:

 

  • Watch Stephen Colbert talk about his Catholicism…..and check out his beard!

 

  • I don’t know how I missed this, but Larry David was on 60 Minutes:

 

  • Adam Savage remade the Overlook Hotel maze from The Shining:

 

Time for some trailers….

  • A new season of Community is almost here:

 

  • Season 3 of Orphan Black:

 

  • A new trailer for Get Hard:

 

  • Yet another new trailer for Fast & Furious 7:

 

  • A sneak peek at the new season of Childrens Hospital:

 

  • Carly Rae Jepsen dropped a new single:

 

Shia LaBeouf & Mia Goth Enjoy A Little PDA

  • Taylor Swift – baby whisperer:

 

 

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups.

  • A Wes Anderson supercut:

 

  •  What is Wes Anderson directed X-Men?

 

  • A supercut of people karaoking the greatest song of all time:

 

  • A supercut of advice from Frank Underwood:

 

  • Kelly Clarkson and Jimmy Fallon do the history of duets:

 

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  • House of Cards, the sitcom:

 

  • A supercut of fake movies in real movies:

 

 

  • Fifty Shades of Wayne:

 

  • And finally, Who’s the Boss of Wall Street?

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Goodbye Pawnee Edition

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Last night, one of my favorite sitcoms ended its run. Parks and Recreation never was a huge hit, but for its loyal fanbase it was one of the funniest and sweetest shows around. Parks and Recreation is the reason that I knew Chris Pratt was eventually going to be a star and brought the awesomeness that is Ron Effing Swanson into my life – not to mention reinforce the comedic genius that is Amy Poehler. When The Office ended its run, I was ready for it to go; that isn’t the case with Parks and Recreation, which has given us some of the funniest episodes in its final season. I’m so sad that we now live in a world without Pawnee, Indiana.

Ironically, I almost gave up on Parks and Recreation. As a political scientist, I was psyched for a show that was based in the world of local government and had high hopes. When the show finally debuted, I just didn’t dig it. That first six episode season was rocky – they hadn’t figured out the Leslie character and she was too close to simply being a female version of Michael Scott. I decided the show just wasn’t for me after that and had to be talked back into watching the second season; one of my friends assured me that the show had found their groove and was vastly improved. I was skeptical, but after his constant badgering I conceded, gave it another look and was instantly smitten. Since then, I haven’t looked back.

So in honor of the end of Parks and Recreation, “treat yo self” to this week’s pop culture round up. You deserve it.

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  • Ron Swanson get the Shepard Fairey treatment:

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On to non-Parks and Recreation related news…….

  • I didn’t watch much of the Red Carpet coverage, but I missed this earlier John Travolta creeper moment:

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  • Conan and Billy Eichner try out Grindr:

 

  • More bloopers from Game of Thrones:

 

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  • Even Jimmy Page thinks these pint sized percussionists rock:

 

  • Colin Firth is rocking a killer stache in True Detective 2:

 

  • A new poster for The Avengers: Age of Ultron:

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  • Who knew Christina Aguilera was so good at impressions?

 

  • The Kimmel School of Perfect Acting:

 

  • Do you want to see a NSFW version of The Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers staring James Van Der Beek and Katee Sackhoff? Of course you do:

 

  • This is from a few weeks ago, but cracked me up – Kid Theater with Michael Keaton:

 

Time for some trailers….

  • The final season of Mad Men:

 

  • Only a few more days until the third season of House of Cards:

 

  • A new teaser for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D:

 

  • The Goldbergs are doing a Ferris Bueller themed episode (including a Charlie Sheen cameo):

 

  • Wayward Pines, the new series from M Night Shyamalan:

 

  • Kristin Wiig in Welcome to Me:

 

  • HBO’s Scientology documentary, Going Clear:

 

  • Mark Ruffalo and Zoe Saldana in Infinity Polar Bear:

 

  • A trailer for Street Fighter V:

 

  • A trailer for a movie about Marshawn Lynch, starring Marshawn Lynch:

 

  • A sneak peek at the new animated short, Frozen Fever:

 

  • Sleater-Kinney teamed up with Bob’s Burgers for their new video:

 

  • Bob Odenkirk was turned into a cake:

 

  • Benji Madden had his wife Cameron Diaz’s name tattooed on his chest. Ah, modern love:

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Thinking bout you❤️❤️❤️ #LuckyMan

A post shared by Benji Madden (@benjaminmadden) on

 

  • R.I.P. Harris Wittels, executive producer on Parks and Recreation, creator of the term #humblebrag and all around funny guy.

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups.

  • Frozen meets John Carpenter’s The Thing:

 

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  • Sesame Street parodies House of Cards:

 

  • Sesame Street also took a shot at a Birdman parody:

 

  • A medley of songs from SpongeBob Squarepants:

 

  • A supercut of Danny DeVito’s best moments from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia:

 

  • Warren G and Kenny G got together to perform “Regulate”

 

  • And finally, Limp Bizkit meets Seinfeld:

 

A Reader Suggests: Fictional Restaurants

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It’s been a while since we’ve done a reader generated topic, mostly because no one has been submitting any ideas. Believe me – I’d love to let you guys to the work for me; coming up with blog topics is harder than y’all think. A few months ago, my pal Dino sent me this article from The A.V. Club about fiction restaurants that their writers would want to patronize as possible fodder for the blog. It was a great topic, but I wanted to mull it over since they highlighted some of the more obvious choices. Los Pollos Hermanos from Breaking Bad? Of course! Who doesn’t want some fried chicken with a side of meth? I’m fascinated by the burger of the day specials on Bob’s Burgers, so I would absolutely drop in for a bite if I was able. A chance to experience Luke’s gruff demeanor and watch some classic Lorelei and Rory banter at Luke’s Diner from Gilmore Girls – count me it! I’m positive that a night at Jack Rabbit Slim’s (Pulp Fiction) would be memorable; I’d absolutely order a $5 milkshake. The A.V. Club writers know their way around pop culture references, so if I was going to add anything to the conversation I was going to dig deep to think of some other fictional restaurants where I’d like to dine.

But I love a challenge, so I’ve been mulling this around in the back of my mind. I wanted to pick restaurants that I actually wanted to frequent – either because of the food, the ambiance or the people – rather than simply restaurants on shows that I like. They had to actually serve food as their primary purpose, so as much as I would love to hang out and throw some back beers at Paddy’s Pub it couldn’t make the cut.

So with those limitations in mind, here are some of the pop culture eating establishments where I’d like to spend some time:

The Dream Café (Seinfeld)

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I bet you thought I was going to say Monk’s, which wouldn’t have been a bad guess. I am, after all, a little obsessed with Seinfeld and the diner was one of the gang’s favorite hangouts. But other than spending some time with Jerry, Elaine, George and Kramer, there isn’t much to recommend about Monk’s; the food never looked that appetizing (especially when Paco was working) and fittingly not too much really happened there.

Instead, I would rather dine at the establishment run by Babu Bhatt. The Dream Café had something for everyone; where else are the specials tacos, moussaka and franks and beans? Nowhere! No matter what you were craving, they had it on the menu – until Jerry came along and ruined the whole thing. Plus there were never any other customers, so I’d have the run of the place and it would be nice and quiet. On a good day, you might even get to help someone cheat on an IQ test.

 

Merlotte’s (True Blood)

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True Blood is borderline unwatchable at this point, but I still think Merlotte’s Bar and Grill might be a fun place to grab some onion rings. Seriously – I don’t know how they film those things, but they look delicious. I have no idea if Lafayette is actually a good cook or not, but I don’t know that it even matters – just to see him back there, throwing around some witty one-liners would be reason enough to give them my business. I imagine that the service sucks – one waitress in particular is always late to work or distracted by some drama – but the  visits from supernatural creatures and the cold beer would make up for it. You literally never know what is going to happen while you’re there. Sadly, Eric Northman makes fairly infrequent appearances at Merlotte’s which is probably the biggest mark against the establishment

 

Desautel’s (Treme)

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I am way behind on Treme, but one of the things I enjoyed about the show is learning more about the culture of the city of New Orleans. Not only has Treme expanded my knowledge of music, but it has also made me want to make a trip to the city just to taste some of the food thanks to the story lines involving chef Janette Desautel (Kim Dickens). When the show begins, she is struggling to keep her restaurant afloat after Hurricane Katrina and anything that she makes always looks delicious. I’m not even sure if I would actually like some of the food – I’m a total wimp when it comes to spiciness – but I’d be willing to give it a try. I’m craving crawfish and muffuletta just writing this – two things I’ve never actually had to eat.

Mel’s Diner (Alice)

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This one makes the list simply so I can hear Flo say “kiss my grits.” End of story.

 

Freddy’s BBQ Joint (House of Cards)

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Good BBQ is hard to come by and apparently there is no finer BBQ than Freddy’s. If Frank Underwood is willing to take time out of his plotting and scheming for some ribs, that’s some good eats.

 

JJ’s Diner (Parks and Recreation)

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Like Leslie Knope, I am a girl who loves waffles. I would eat waffles multiple times a week if it was socially acceptable. I’ve been known to give waffle irons as gifts, even to people who don’t really want them (I’m looking at you, dad). So if JJ’s Diner waffles are good enough for an overachieving perfectionist like Leslie, then this is a place that I need to be. And if I ever tire of waffles (heresy!), I can always try the heart-attack inducing The Four Horse-Meals of the Egg-Pork-alypse (a twelve-egg scramble, bacon, sausage, ham, hash browns, chicken-fried steak, and a giant tower of buttermilk pancakes).

 

Nuovo Vesuvio (The Sopranos)

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The Sopranos is one of my all-time favorite shows; not surprising given the brilliant writing, the gifted cast and its unflinching look at the mafia. But somewhere around the second season I noticed an interesting side effect – this show was making me hungry. By the time each episode was over, I was starving. I’m not even a big fan of Italian food – well, American Italian food – but all the meals on the show looked amazing. This was especially true of the Artie Bucco’s Nuovo Vesuvio, a frequent hangout of the Soprano crime family. Not only is the food mouthwatering – at least in the beginning – but there is always the possibility that you’ll be the witness to some illicit mob activity. That might not be appealing to everyone, but that’s a fun night for me.

 

Joe’s Pie Diner (Waitress)

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I’ve always thought that the 2007 film Waitress is underrated and deserved a wider audience. In the movie, Jenna (Kerri Russell) is stuck in an unhappy marriage and banks on winning a pie contest with one of her creative concoctions to earn her the money she needs to flee her husband. Her pies are regularly served at Joe’s Pie Diner and have secret names related to what is going on in her life. The marshmallow mermaid pie is called “biblically good” in the film, which is a pretty sound endorsement. Plus you get to hang out with Andy Griffith and that’s always a win.

 

Phil’s (Murphy Brown)

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The bar and grill frequented by the staff of the television newsmagazine FYI, I’m not sure if the food is the real draw. As a political scientist, I’d love to hang out at a watering hole frequented by DC insiders and politicians. Yup – I’m a government nerd, but I’d have a grand time speculating on all the backroom deal and political intrigue that was occurring in this Washington institution.

 

Steak Me Home Tonight (Happy Endings)

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I’m a big fan of food trucks; I was frequenting them way before it was trendy to do so. Back during my ill-fated tenure at UConn, one of the few things that really made me happy was a food truck on campus that made what seemed like the greatest breakfast sandwiches of all time. I looked forward to grabbing a bite there once a week – my treat for making it another week in the program – and I would be so bummed out if I missed them. That’s part of the thrill of food trucks – their unpredictability. There’s a burgeoning food truck scene here in Albany, which is quite the positive development. So it’s no surprise that I’d want to swing by Dave’s Steak Me Home Tonight from Happy Endings (R.I.P. – still not over it). I love me some cheesesteaks, which happen to be Dave’s specialty, and who doesn’t love some punny word play with their sandwiches. Plus he won the coveted “Truckies” award for best sandwich in Chicago – and those are people that know their sandwiches – and Colin Hanks has been known to drop by, so you know this place is legit.

Now it’s your turn – what fictional restaurants would you want to break bread? Sound off in the comments section. Bon appétit!

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