Pop Culture Father’s Day

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In honor of this Sunday being Father’s Day, I thought it fitting to take a look at some of the great television dads. This proved to be a slightly harder task than I anticipated – it was a lot easier to find TV fathers that are kind of the worst (Walter White, Tony Soprano, Donald Draper, etc.) or where being a father is a pretty minimal part of their character (the kids were pretty incidental on Everybody Loves Raymond; in plenty of other shows, male characters are fathers in name but we never see them interact with their kids). It doesn’t help that a classic sitcom trope is that fathers are buffoons that know nothing about raising no babies. But even with the cards somewhat stacked against TV dads, I was still able to find plenty of examples of fictional fathers that I wouldn’t mind having.

Dr. Cliff Huxtable (The Cosby Show)

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OK – let’s get the most obvious and yet awkward choice out of the way. Cliff Huxtable’s popularity has dipped a bit recently given that the man who portrays his and is synonymous with the role is an alleged sexual predator. I get that and I did actually consider not putting him on the list for fear that this was kind of a gross choice. However, I decided that most (but not all) of my readers can distinguish fact from fiction and separate the ickiness of the actor from the greatness of the character. And by any metric, Cliff Huxtable was a pretty amazing dad. He was hands on and involved in their lives and was always there with some words of wisdom or to intervene when he saw his children straying from the correct path. He was funny and silly, but also strict and willing to get tough when needed. He was a good husband, which is also an important part of being a good father. Cliff Huxtable is really the standard by which I judge all other TV dads – I grew up watching The Cosby Show and the character made a distinct impression. That’s what makes all this nonsense with Bill Cosby all the more sad – not only is there the obvious disgustingness attached to his alleged actions, but in the process a classic TV character has been forever tainted. Cliff Huxtable would have been outraged by Bill Cosby.

 

Coach Eric Taylor (Friday Night Lights)

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Not only was Coach Taylor a great dad to his actual daughters Julie and Gracie, but he was also a father to all the players on his high school football teams. Perhaps because my own father was a volunteer coach for close to twenty years, this resonates with me all the more. Coach Taylor treated his players with dignity and respect and was a stand-in to so many of them that lacked a present and engaged male role model. Nowhere was this more evident than in his relationship with his starting QB Matt Saracen. Some of their scenes together are the most poignant and heartbreaking of the run of the series. Eric Taylor was a just a good man that cared deeply about all the young people in his life. He even loved little Gracie Bell, even though she looked like an alien. Every kid should have a man in their life like Coach.

 

Eddard (Ned) Stark (Game of Thrones)

Eddard-Stark-Cripples-Bastards-and-Broken-Things-1-04-lord-eddard-ned-stark-30086296-1280-720The landscape of Game of Thrones is littered with nothing but tremendously shitty fathers; I can’t even imagine what Father’s Day would look like in Westeros, since most kids either don’t know the true identity of their fathers or their dads are kind of heartless or sadistic S.O.B.s. Perhaps that is why Ned Stark stood out on the show, despite the fact that he didn’t last particularly long playing the game of thrones. Unlike most of the fathers on Game of Thrones, Ned seemed to actually like his kids and see them as actual people rather than pawns or a necessary evil. He cared for them all – even his “bastard son” Jon Snow – but he had a particularly special relationship with his daughter Arya, who wasn’t interested in conforming to what society expected of her. Ned stood up for and protected his children at all costs, even when it was politically not the savviest decision. He instilled in them a sense of right and wrong; Ned was a decent guy in a world in desperate need of decent guys. Perhaps he should have hardened his offspring more to the realities of the world that they were living in, but hindsight is 20/20. In a fairly shallow pool of candidates, Ned Stark is easily the best father in Westeros.

 

Burt Hummel (Glee)

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I tired of Glee pretty quickly, but the one thing that I thought always worked were the scenes between Burt Hummel (Mike O’Malley) and his gay son Kurt. Kurt is initially afraid to come out to his father, worrying that his blue collar dad will be unable to accept him, but those fears are unfounded. What I especially liked about the relationship between Burt and Kurt is that while they love and accept each other, the show doesn’t shy away from Burt struggling a bit to understand his son. They are two very different people, which I think is an important dynamic for the show to address. But Burt always has his son’s back and proves to be a solid stepfather to Finn as well. Even when I was rolling my eyes at the rest of Glee, the moments with the Hummel men were always so beautifully done and touching that it kept me watching the show much longer than I think I would have otherwise. Full disclosure: I stopped watching Glee somewhere in the third season, so if Burt suddenly became a monster or a terrible dad I wasn’t around to see it. Unlikely, but frankly nothing was impossible on Glee.

 

Sandy Cohen (The O.C.)

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Loyal readers of the blog have probably picked up on the fact that I have a special spot in my heart for the teen soap The O.C., which is particularly amusing given how old I was when the show debuted (I was in grad school) and my usual taste in television (dark and twisty). Not only did The O.C. introduce viewers to a lot of great indie music, Benjamin McKenzie and the term Chrismukkah, but it also had a lot of great characters, foremost among those Sandy Cohen. Sandy is a bit of a fish out of water in Newport, which is perhaps why he connects with the troubled Ryan Atwood (McKenzie) and brings him home with him. Sandy is a great father to both Ryan and his son Seth; he is very present in their lives and ready to advise them as they make their way through adolescence. Sandy is a relatively permissive father, but still provides both of his sons boundaries and stability. Plus he has amazing eyebrows.

 

Louie (Louie)

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Louie is a great, if occasionally weird, show and one of the dynamics that I enjoy the most is Louie’s relationship with his daughters Jane and Lilly. Even with all the other stuff that happens on the show, the one thing that comes shining through is Louie’s love of his children; they are always his priority and watching single dad Louie navigate slumber parties and interactions with other parents provides a lot of funny moments for the show. Louie is exasperated by fatherhood, but he also clearly loves it. He really wants his daughters to grow up to be decent people and tries to instill in them the values that will prevent them from becoming a**holes (that’s how Louie would probably phrase it). Louie provides perhaps the most modern view of fatherhood; the reality is that a lot of dads today only get to see their kids part time and have to make the most of the timeshare arrangement.

Bob Belcher (Bob’s Burgers)

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Bob is probably the best of all the animated fathers (Homer Simpson’s heart is in the right place, but he’s a moron); he is able to navigate his children’s, shall we say, unique personalities and make them all feel loved and validated. He’s usually the voice of reason in his family, but he’s also proven a willingness to go above and beyond for his children. Financial necessity means that he is also his children’s employer at the restaurant, but he tries to make sure that they have some semblance of a work/life balance. Bob knows that his kids are a little weird, but he loves them regardless and just as importantly, he understands them. He doesn’t try to make them something that they are not while still trying to guide them into making the best choices. Not always an easy task when your children are Tina, Gene and Louise or when they are goaded on by the unbridled enthusiasm of their mother Linda. Bob is the glue that holds the Belcher family together and grounds them.

Your turn – who would get your vote for best television father? Nominate your favorite TV dad in the comments below. Hope everyone has a wonderful Father’s Day!

 

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 – Getting Old Edition

It’s my birthday this weekend, which is usually cause for celebration, at least in my eyes. Everyone else just kind of humors me. This year, however, I’m just not feeling it and am kind of dreading having to say that I am a year older. There is not legitimate reason for this apathy – it isn’t a “milestone” birthday or anything – and I know turning a year older beats the alternative, but I’m just not in a celebratory mood at all this year. Perhaps I’ve finally gotten over the excitement for my birthday that everyone else got over when they were a kid. Perhaps it is because this year a lot of people have yet to respond to my unofficial party or can’t come. Perhaps it is because I do so many awesome things throughout the year that I don’t really need this excuse to make a big deal out of one particular day. Whatever the reason, as Saturday approaches, instead of my usual giddiness, it’s being greeted with a shrug. I’m happy to see my friends, but that’s about it.

Pop culture, on the other hand, still makes me excited and I had a lot of fun compiling your biweekly roundup of all the pop culture goodness that you might have missed. I just kept finding all sort of cool things to include. So while I attempt to determine what exactly is bumming me out, kick back and enjoy:

  •  Congrats to Bob Newhart for winning his first Emmy! The full list of Creative Arts Emmy winners can be found here. The Primetime Emmys will air on September 22. There may be a live blog.
  • The West Wing fans – Allison Janney performed “The Jackal” last night on the newly revived The Arsenio Hall Show.

 

  • Everyone that I know that watched the Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Canelo Alvarez fight last weekend was disappointed. Snoop Dogg Lion, however, won over a pound of weed on that fight.
  • After a lackluster performance at the box office, the planned sequel to The Mortal Instruments has been delayed indefinitely.
  • A new season of Key and Peele debuts tonight:

 

  • Best. Parents. Ever.
  • Doctor Sleep, Stephen King’s sequel to The Shining, will be released next Tuesday.
  • People keep making Breaking Bad musicals. Check out Walter White and the Mazing Blue Crystal Meth:

 

  • This is probably NOT a good sign: Pirates of the Caribbean 5 has been shut down indefinitely for script maintenance. Probably for the best; this movie is wholly unnecessary.
  • Eddie Murphy did a reggae song with Snoop Lion. I have no idea if this is supposed to be a joke or not:

 

  • The O.C.’s Sandy Cohen and Ryan Atwood (Peter Gallagher and Ben McKenzie in real life) reunited at Gallagher’s daughter’s concert.
From @petergallagher

From @petergallagher

  • The O.C. is getting a a remake – in Turkey.
  • I am a fan of both Metallica and bluegrass, so I really enjoyed this cover of “Enter Sandman:”

 

  • The first three hosts for SNL have been announced; Tina Fey kicks the season off, followed my Miley Cyrus and Bruce Willis.
  • Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” video is greatly improved with the addition of Nicolas Cage:

 

  • Watch this guy do 13 Muppet impressions in a minute:

 

  • Speaking of Muppets, they did all sorts of great stuff since the last round up. Cookie Monster spoofed some movies:

 

  • Elmo (or a reasonable facsimile) hung out with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen:
@SirPatStew

@SirPatStew

  • Grover sang with Dave Matthews:

 

  • Cookie Monster also found some time to hang out with Loki:

 

  •  UC Irvine is offering a free online course on The Walking Dead. I’m not a huge fan of the show, but I may have to take this just for kicks. I’m thinking that could really spruce up my resume.
  • Ha! Watch Todd from Breaking Bad gun down Justin Bieber:

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No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

No Biebers were harmed in the creation of this GIF

  • He’s still really good looking, but I’m not digging Joe Manganiello as much without his beard.
  • Eminem turned up during the Michigan/Notre Dame game. It was awkward, to say the least.

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  • Michael Jackson’s Thriller recreated with LEGOs:

 

  • Britney Spears is rumored to be earning $15 million per year for her Vegas residency. Seems as good a reason as any to finally plan my first trip to Vegas.

 

  • This local sports anchor worked 41 Seinfeld references into his segment:

 

He also did a segment full of old school rap references and wrestling references. I think this guy and I could be fast friends.

  • Also announcing tours: Robin Thicke, Jay Z and Kanye (the latter who I am going to see in Madison Square Garden!)
  • Cecily Strong is joining the soon departing Seth Myers at the SNL Weekend Update desk. The last few people to sit at the desk (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jimmy Fallon) have gone on to some pretty great things.
  • A writer at UPROXX wrote a tribute to one of the greatest episodes of It’s Always SunnyChardee MacDennis. I wholeheartedly concur.
  • The Ohio University marching band preformed a rendition of Ylvis’ viral sensation The Fox during their game against Marshall.

 

Haven’t see the video for The Fox yet? Here it is, in all it’s weirdness. Watch it now, thank me later.

  • Breaking Bad fans are the best. Los Pollos Hermanos now has its own Yelp page, full of reviews.
  • Fiona Apple covered “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka for a Chipotle ad:

 

Trailers! Get your trailers here:

  • Nicole Kidman in Grace of Monaco:

 

  • National Geographic’s Killing Kennedy, starring Rob Lowe and Ginnifer Goodwin:

 

  • Kill Your Darlings with Daniel Radcliffe and Michael C. Hall (that’s kind of a weird combo):

 

  • Will Forte and Bruce Dern star in Nebraska, the latest from director Alexander Payne:

 

  • James Franco and Jason Statham are in a movie together. Yes, I’m serious.

 

  • A photo of Justin Bieber holding a script for the upcoming Batman vs. Superman movie almost broke the Internet.
@justinbieber

@justinbieber

No – he isn’t playing Robin.

As always, we end with the supercuts and mashups:

  • Who knew that Marty McFly was such a screamer?

 

  • A Billy Joel/Kanye mashup sounds way better than you would think:

 

  • Blurred Sanford mashes up Blurred Lines and the Sanford and Son theme song:

 

  • This supercut proves Bill Murray is an awkward kisser.

 

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail gets a modern trailer remix:

 

  • Les Miserables…..with light sabers:

 

  • Good Will Batman (NSFW):

 

  • It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia gets the Cheers opening credit treatment:

 

  • And finally……The Dukes of Heisenberg:

 

Have a great Wednesday!