Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Snow Day edition

Another day, another snowstorm – I am really beginning to hate living in Upstate New York. It’s been a bad winter for everyone and the fact that Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow is not a good omen. We’re getting up to a foot today and there are rumblings of a Nor’easter headed our way on Sunday. This may be the winter that finally breaks me.

Thankfully I am working from home today so I don’t have to go out in this mess and I am looking forward to participating in a conference call this morning while still in my pajamas. I feel terrible for the people who don’t have that luxury or who don’t have a very understanding boss and are bracing this weather to go into work today. Stay safe!

For those of you that are snowed in, hopefully my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories will help keep you warm and make you forget about all the white stuff piling up outside. Maybe there’s even a thing or two in here to help you keep the kids entertained.

  • In honor of the weather, check out this side by side comparison of the beginning of The Walking Dead and Atlanta after 2 inches of snow paralyzed the city:

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  • Benedict Cumberbatch dropped by Sesame Street:

 

  • The good people of Savannah, GA had to watch the same boring Super Bowl that the rest of us did, but they also got to watch this ridiculously epic local commercial for a personal injury lawyer:

They are the clear winners of Super Bowl Sunday.

  • Last time it was Liberace, this time it’s Peter Pan. Bill Murray knows how to make an entrance:

 

  • Steve Carell’s college mustache is OUTSTANDING:
  • A gag reel from Thor: The Dark World:

 

  • David Beckham – fan of LEGOs. He just became more perfect.
  • One unknown perk of winning the Super Bowl – you get to hang out with Beyoncé and Jay Z:
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@BrooklynNets

  • Neil Gaimain reads Green Eggs and Ham for charity

 

  • Former Olympian Tara Lipinksi skated a The Big Lebowski-themed routine on Fallon:

 

  • Conan is the king of the remote segments; in this one, he tries to sell some of his old memorabilia:

 

  • The cover for Vanity Fair’s Hollywood issue has been revealed:

VF Hollywood

Julia Roberts is one lucky duck!

Trailers:

  • Seth MacFarlane’s A Million Ways to Die in the West (Red Band – NSFW):

 

  • Kevin Costner’s Draft Day:

 

  • Transformers: Age of Extinction:

 

  • The Amazing Spider-Man 2:

 

  • 24: Live Another Day:

 

  • Vampire Academy:

 

  • Liam Neeson in Non-Stop:

 

  • From Dusk Til Dawn – the series:

 

  • A trailer for the video game Thief:

 

  • The Amanda Knox story inspired a feature film, Face of an Angel:

 

  • The final Divergent trailer:

 

  • Another interesting trio: Aaron Paul, Rob Thomas and Bill Murray at a Kings of Leon concert:
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@ThisisRobThomas

  • Animator Arthur Rankin, Jr., who was responsible for holiday classics like Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, passed away.
  • This week is Beatles week at Late Night with David Letterman.
  • As a fan of the original cult classic, I was impressed with this trailer for a fake Warriors reboot:

 

  • There were beer drones? Why am I just hearing about this now that they are grounded?

As always, we end with the Supercuts and Mashups

  • A supercut of Oscar visual effects winners:

 

  • A Superman vs. Jesse Eisenberg supercut:

 

  • Grumpy Cat in Frozen:

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  • This supercut ignores the so-called plot of the first 3 Transformers movies and just focuses on the actual transforming:

 

  • A mashup of every Harrison Ford movie:

 

  • Mr. Freeze sings “Let it Go”

 

  • And finally, a supercut of all of Tina’s moans on Bob’s Burgers:

 

Spring can’t get here quickly enough!

Pop Culture Odds and Ends – Awards Season Edition

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – no, not Christmas, but the beginning of awards season. While some people are looking forward to decorating their tree or picking out the perfect present, I am anticipating all the great new movies that are coming out and who will be nominated for all the top awards. To me, December 25th is the day that The Wolf of Wall Street comes out; is there something else going on?

Until we are inundated with awards ceremonies, kill some time by perusing my biweekly roundup of pop culture stories that you may have missed. There is a lot of pop culture goodies this week.

  • Someone made a recreation of the mall chase scene in The Blues Brothers with LEGOs:

Shh….don’t tell anyone, but I’ve never seen The Blues Brothers.

  • Stephen Colbert, a huge Tokien fan, will have a cameo in the second The Hobbit film.
  • I am still mad at you people for not watching Happy Endings, but you can redeem yourself when the entire series airs on VH1.
  • This is great – some child actors re-enacted the “triple-dog-dare” scene from A Christmas Story on a NYC subway:

Seriously – my subway rides are so boring compared to this.

  • Lady Gaga is going out on tour; I’m trying to convince myself that I don’t have to go.
  • The Anchorman 2 publicity train made a stop at Saturday Night Live last weekend:

 

  • Ron Burgundy does some legendary sports calls:

 

  • Though his hosting duties on Sportscenter were scrapped, ESPN released Ron Burgundy’s interview with the great Peyton Manning:

 

  • Starting December 27th, AMC is airing every episode of Breaking Bad. So all you people that haven’t caught up officially no longer have any excuses. It will be followed by a marathon of The Walking Dead.
  • If you are still on the fence about seeing Frozen after my review, watch the full performance of the song “Let It Go.” If that doesn’t convince you, nothing will.
  • Everyone’s favorite local sports anchor is back with a segment with 43 Christmas Vacation references:

 

  • Speaking of…meet the contestants for the 6th season of perhaps America’s greatest reality show.

 

  • See Mad Men’s John Slattery before he became a silver fox:

 

  • Some Breaking Bad graffiti turned up in Leicester Square:

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  • There is a petition to name a newly discovered planet after Doctor Who’s homeland Gallifrey.
  • This star of Inside Llewyn Davis does a folk version of Katy Perry’s “Roar” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon:

 

  • Dann Florek (Captain Cragan) is leaving Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
  • We have done something to anger the Gods; Rebecca Blank (“Friday”) is back with a new song, the aptly titled “Saturday.” Only 5 more days to go and this nightmare is over:

 

  • The Kardashian/Jenner clan (klan?) have released their Christmas card and it’s batshit crazy  (and missing a lot of people):

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  • The Killers cast Owen Wilson in their new music video:

 

simpsons poster

 

  • I have never had a barista this talented:

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  • Watch Snoop and Martha Stewart make some mashed potatoes:

 

  • Chris Elliott will appear on this season of Community.
  • Bart Simpson made an appearance on American Dad:

 

  • Actress Malin Akerman and her husband have split.
  • Jay Z ranked his own albums.
  • Benedict Cumbatch reading R. Kelly lyrics is fantastic:

 

Trailer break!

  • Barefoot with Evan Rachel Wood

 

  • A red band trailer (NSFW) for Jason Bateman’s directorial debut, Bad Words.

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Community:

 

  • Channing Tatum and Mila Kunis in Jupiter Ascending:

 

  • A teaser trailer for the new season of Justified:

 

  • The Asylum is really committing to this whole shark thing with Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark (yup – that’s Debbie Gibson):

 

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s new reality show is coming in January:

 

  • Heisenberg Bryan Cranston in Godzilla:

 

  • The Amazing Spiderman 2:

 

  • The ABC comedy The Goldbergs will do a Goonies inspired episode.
  • In advance of Muppets Most Wanted, Disney is releasing a series of web episodes. The first one features Gordon Ramey (and The Miz, if you know the WWE):

Serious question – when did the Swedish Chef start having human hands? I noticed this during the Lady Gaga special on Thanksgiving and it FREAKS ME THE HELL OUT.

As always, we end with the Mashups and Supercuts:

  • Bohemian Rhapsody meets Star Wars:

 

  • President Obama sings “Jingle Bells”

 

  • The Hungover Games (a parody of The Hunger Games and The Hangover, among other things) is a REAL MOVIE:

I am totally watching this.

  • Mean Elves (Mean Girls/The Hobbit mashup):

 

  • A Doctor Who/A-Ha mashup:

 

  • A mashup of 68 songs from 2013:

 

  • 50 TV theme songs in five minutes:

 

  • And finally, Sesame Street has been killing it with their parodies. See them take on Lord of the Rings in Lord of the Crumbs:

Heather’s 2013 Fall TV Schedule

Last night, the temperature dropped to the 50s in the part of the country and it remained chilly when I left for work this morning. In a nod to the weather, I swapped out my normal open toed shoes for my pair of knee high boots. The first football game of the season was on last night.  As I dodged school buses on my way to Dunkin Donuts for my pumpkin coffee, one thing became very clear to me.

Fall was here.

Now, technically I know that autumn doesn’t really arrive until around September 21st, but there is no denying that summer is beginning to beat a hasty retreat. Some of the trees are already beginning to change and you can already buy Halloween candy in some stores. I am personally excited about this as fall is my favorite season. Not only does it bring my birthday, but I love the weather, the food and the activities that come along with the season. Most importantly, fall means the beginning of a new TV season.

This is always a slightly stressful time for me as I try to decide which new shows to check out, which shows to drop and how to maneuver all my timeslot showdowns. These are pretty minor problems in the grand scheme of things, but deciding which shows deserve my precious leisure time is not something I enter into lightly. As painful as it is to watch a show that winds up being canceled or turns into a dud, I also hate to be not watching a show that becomes a pop culture phenomenon. I take this stuff seriously.

This season has been a particularly difficult one to navigate as there are just so many new shows to consider. I generally don’t jump on board with new shows during their first season unless there is something that definitely speaks to me or the critical buzz is unanimous; I’ve been burned once too often with shows that I got invested in only to be reminded that middle America and I do not see eye to eye on what makes a great show. The odds of any new show making it are pretty slim, but with many of my old favorites now gone (Adios 30 Rock) I do have more free time to take a chance on a newbie. And that is a dangerous thing for me.

This isn’t finalized, but here is my preliminary TV schedule for the fall of 2013. I’ve indicated the shows that I’m on the fence about – several of my regular series have become boring to me or have dipped in quality – and the new series that I’m willing to gamble on. It’s funny how daunting TV can be when you write it all down.

Monday

Here’s the shocker of the week – I currently have NOTHING on my agenda for Monday nights. I bailed on How I Met Your Mother for good last year and have no regrets and while I enjoy The Voice enough, I know I won’t become a long time regular viewer. I might be convinced to give the new programs Sleepy Hollow, Mom or The Blacklist (I do love me some James Spader) the chance, but as of now none have sold me. I figure I’ll primarily use Monday to catch up on the clusterf*ck that is my Sunday nights. More on that below.

Tuesday

8 pm – Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (ABC) new

8:30 pm – Brooklyn Nine-Nine (Fox) new

10 pm – Sons of Anarchy (FX)

Given my love of The Avengers, taking a shot on a TV show based in that world isn’t much of a stretch. I’m not as confident about Brooklyn Nine-Nine – my comedic sensibilities do not really match up with the live action comedies on Fox – but Andy Samberg, the great Andre Brauer and generally positive buzz are enough to at least temporarily overcome my trepidation. I’ve been in on Sons of Anarchy since the show debuted and while I think that the later seasons have failed to meet the quality of the earlier seasons (especially season 2), I still quite enjoy the ride. Plus there are worse way to spend an hour than looking at Charlie Hunnam.

I had considered watching The Vampire Diaries spin-off, The Originals, but was underwhelmed with the backdoor pilot. I also decided that a woman in her 30s should probably limit herself to watching one show on The CW – and even that might be too much.

Wednesday

9 pm – Modern Family (ABC) tentative

10 pm – It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX)

10 pm – American Horror Story: Coven (FX)

10 pm – Nashville (ABC ) tentative- watch on demand

10 pm – South Park (Comedy Central ) dvr later showing

10:30 pm – The League (FXX)

I’ve watched Modern Family since it began, but have become increasingly less impressed with it as the show progresses. I like some characters a lot – primarily the kids – but I don’t think I’d really miss it if I dropped it. I may skip a few weeks and see how I feel – it’s not a show that you need to watch every episode. 10 pm has become a surprising logjam; I will definitely watch American Horror Story live, since that show is too bat sh*t crazy to miss. I still have yet to catch up on Nashville from last season – I watched up until Thanksgiving – so that may just be a sign that I’m not all that committed to the show. South Park re-airs later in the evening, so I’ll just DVR the show then.

Thursday

8 pm – The Big Bang Theory (CBS) watch on demand

8 pm – The Vampire Diaries (The CW)

8 pm – Parks and Recreation (NBC)

9:30 pm – The Michael J. Fox Show (NBC) new

10 pm – Parenthood (NBC)

10 pm – Scandal (ABC) tentative

While I like The Big Bang Theory – one of the very few things I watch on CBS – I can easily catch up on it when it is on demand. Parks and Recreation is my primary focus on Thursday nights; no matter how hard I try I can’t seem to quit The Vampire Diaries, so I’ll DVR that to binge watch multiple episodes on the weekend. I’ve loved Michael J. Fox since I was a little girl (my college admissions essay was about him. No joke – I got into a doctoral program writing an essay about the actor), so I’ll absolutely tune in when he makes his return to television. My only concern is that my comedic sensibilities have changed quite a bit since he last graced my TV and that my affection for the actor will not be enough to keep me interested. Parenthood makes the big mood to Thursday nights, which will mean that the Bravemens will simply make me tear up closer to the weekend. I’ve yet to watch any of the previous seasons of Scandal, but people will not shut up about this show so I may catch up and give it a whirl to see what all the sudsy fuss is about.

Friday – TV Wasteland

10 pm – Dracula (NBC) new and VERY tentative

I may DVR Dracula simply because I’m curious to see what NBC is going to do with this familiar story and partially out of some interest in whatever Jonathan Rhys Meyers does. I don’t expect it to be good, but what else am I going to watch on a Friday (assuming I’m even home, which is a big assumption).

Saturday

Various – College Football

If I’m around, a good chunk of my Saturdays are spent watching Notre Dame games. Otherwise I’m out and about and if I am home, this is time to catch up on anything I haven’t cleared off the DVR yet.

Sunday – TV Nirvana

8 pm – Once Upon a Time (ABC) tentative

8:30 pm – Bob’s Burgers (Fox) on demand

9 pm – Boardwalk Empire (HBO) on demand

9 pm – Homeland (Showtime)

9 pm – Revenge (ABC) tentative

10 pm – Eastbound & Down (HBO) on demand

10 pm – Masters of Sex (Showtime) new

10:30 pm – Hello Ladies (HBO) new

I’ve soured quite a bit on the ABC shows; Once Upon a Time, which I initially loved, is beginning to feel a little played out and boring and Revenge kind of went off the rails last season. I’ll give both a few episodes to convince me to stay around. Of the two, Once Upon a Time is the more likely to be dumped, though I’ll tune in to watch Nick Swisher’s wife as The Little Mermaid. I love Bob’s Burgers, but until football season is over the likelihood of games running over and throwing off the delicate ecosystem that is my DVR schedule necessitates me catching the show on demand. I generally like Boardwalk Empire, but I don’t love it, so for now it will get watched at a later time. Same goes for Eastbound & Down. Homeland must be watched live so as to avoid spoilers, though I do have my concerns that a certain character is still on the show. Despite my trepidation about new shows, I will give almost anything on HBO or Showtime a chance. So Masters of Sex and Hello Ladies will get the nod at 10 pm, at least until I make a decision about either show.

I may be missing a show or two and this may evolve as we get into the season, but this is what I predict my TV schedule looks like, plus Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Daily Show and The Colbert Report. It is a healthy dose of TV, but thanks to the miracle that is the DVR I can skip through commercials for a lot of these shows and compress my necessary viewing time. Still, there is no denying that I love my TV shows.

What’s on your fall viewing schedule? Any new shows that you are excited about? Any old shows that you are breaking up with? Sound off in the comments below. For a fairly comprehensive list of season premiere dates, click here.