Smart Girls Who Do Stupid Things

Sometimes…

This Girl Noticed This Earlier Than I

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Remember this post, and this post about Comcast’s weirdly excellent blurbs for their shows? Well this tumblr WTF Comcast has a whole slew of others. I’m super relieved that either the whole company has a sense of humor, or one particular person has the best job in the world.

TTMMW: Spanish Separatists Say Sorry

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This title is totally false, btw.

(Pictures of) Snow (in Black and White)

Fulton Fish Market, New York, 1946, by Harold Roth [Monroe Gallery of Photography]

This guy has a great NPR voice, and found some pretty pictures.

Blizzard of ’96, what what: 11 Biggest Blizzards In New York [Buzzfeed]

And just in case you didn’t get enough, on January 11, 2011, there was snow in 49 of the 50 states. CNN explains that “We’re all feeling a little ‘snowed in’ this winter.” Yuk yuk yuk.

Other Pretty Stuff
1.

“Save or Delete Jungle Book” by banksy

2.

This collection features many industrial design visionaries whose names the public doesn’t know, like Frederick Hurten Rhead who created the highly collectable and often copied Fiesta ware.
Postal Service Honors Americans Who Left A Stamp On Design [NPR]
For other stuff about brilliant designers, read this review of a new book about the Eameses.

3. New York (subways) are a place for beautiful people. Check them out, if you haven’t already been caught staring in real life, like I probably have.

4. This guy is adorable, if paranoid for good reason. When I was growing up, my upstairs neighbors’ climbed to the top of the Brooklyn Bridge before the gates on it were super reinforced. It seemed a lot easier than this.

UNDERCITY from Andrew Wonder on Vimeo.

5. This weeks offerings from Design Milk include edible Jelloware cups, beautiful geometric woven rugs, and really nice woodworked sculptures that do double-duty as furniture.

“News”
1. The Onion‘s fake sports news show Onion Sports Dome debuted on Comedy Central, and they poke excellent fun at the redundancies of sports broadcasting.

2. Spain’s Basque “separatists”, the revolutionary group Eta, declared that they would stop the violence, but explained that they would continue their “indefatigable struggle” for a “truly democratic situation in the Basque Country”. The Spanish government has responded that until they are disbanded, their call for a truce would not be taken seirously. See, not all Basques are bad…or something: Spain’s Basque separatists Eta call ‘permanent truce’ [BBC]

3. If you click on the link, you will see an actual picture of the family and friends of murdered Portuguese journalist Carlos Castro into the New York City subway, as he requested. I totally feel him.

4. A story that hits home for some of us: Mark Wahlberg says he quit smoking weed because of his kids:
“I stopped smoking weed for my kids. One day, we were driving and you could smell it from somewhere. My daughter asked what the smell was so I told her it was a skunk. Then she said, ‘Sometimes Daddy smells like that!’ to me and my wife. So I knew I had quit.”

People Who Do Art
1. Bob Dylan has signed onto a six-book deal with his published Simon & Schuster. One book will be based on his Sirius/XM radio show Theme Time Radio Hour (listen to it! Especially the episode of about “Time”, where he plays “60 Minute Man” by Billy Ward and the Dominoes). On the response to his first book Chronicles: Volume 1 (read it!) he told Jonathan Lethem for Rolling Stone that “The reviews of this book, some of ’em almost made me cry – in a good way. I’d never felt that from a music critic, ever….Most people who write about music, they have no idea what it feels like to play it. But with the book I wrote, I thought, ‘The people who are writing reviews of this book, man, they know what the hell they’re talking about.’ It spoils you.”
“60 Minute Man” — Billy Ward and the Dominoes

2. Report: Etta James suffering from dementia [UPI]

3. Sissy Spacek is going to write a memoir. Also, her daughter is really talented and I would watch I’m Reed Fish, of course on Netflix Instant, for this scene:

4. Joss Stone is kind of a ditz and never wears shoes, but she’s smart sometimes:

Watch She And Him On Silent

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She & Him – Don’t Look Back from Merge Records on Vimeo.

They’re pretty. Retro pretty. I too want to lie on a shag carpet and giggle over my dreamy manfriend.

(Internet) Television: The Glee Surrounding Glee

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I wish I knew how I felt about Glee. I haven’t missed an episode since the series’ inception on Hulu, yet I wouldn’t consider myself a “fan.” I find plenty to cringe at week to week—like Mr. Schue kissing Coach Bieste for no particularly good reason—yet I couldn’t stop grinning during the mash-up of “Umbrella” and “Singing in the Rain.” That little earworm was so cheerful it actually worked to lift my mood. I listened to it at least once a day for a week after the episode aired.

I’m not the only one who feels conflicted about the show. On an episode of this season’s The Office, one of the characters threw a Glee-watching party at his apartment. While sharing her opinions about the show, Kelly (Mindy Kaling) raised issue with the rampant plot holes and inconsistent characters, citing specific examples and quoting episode titles, and finally calling Glee “irresponsible.” It’s funny because she couldn’t have possibly had leveraged these specific, detailed critiques without having watched the show obsessively. She’s a very particular kind of “Gleek” who happens to hate everything about Glee. I’m very much the same way.

The A.V. Club’s Todd VanDerWeff reviews Glee for their TV Club, and has pointed out several times that the show has three principal writers, who trade off episodes to scribe. This has led him to the “Three Glees Theory,” which is that these three writers have three different opinions of what the show should be, which results in a confused and overall schizophrenic tone. VanDerWeff’s theory is catching heat in the critical world, and it has definitely influenced how I experience Glee. Really, I’m judging Glee by a different metric than I would normally use for TV shows: it’s all about the writing. I’m more acutely aware of the tone of an episode of Glee than I am for The Office because Glee’s is so much more likely to change unexpectedly. It isn’t the “good” or “exciting” kind of unexpected, either—it’s just downright confusing. Mr. Schue’s character has alternated from “inspiring educator” to “senseless dick” so many times that it not only affects the tone of an episode, but the entire purpose of the show. Is Glee about the kids or is it about Mr. Schue? Is it carefree entertainment where the plot is less important than the peppy songs, or is it an after-school special meant to teach us about tolerance? These abrupt shifts grate on my nerves and I wonder why I continue to watch.

Yet, it can be argued that Glee is easily a much better show than a lot of the other programs on television today. It stacks up snappier production values and acting than any daytime soap, and manages to choreograph and rehearse at least three songs per episode to boot, which is not an insignificant task to accomplish. Yet, none of this matters to me because I’ll still feel betrayed by a preachy episode for no sudden reason.

Why are the standards are so high? How can I feel “betrayed” by a TV show that has no clue who I am? I would say that the medium in which the program is delivered has a great effect on this. Because I only watch television streamed over the internet on my computer, I’m automatically weeding out things I would not watch (Hulu’s insipid commercials being the one exception). This shallows the pool of comparison against any other TV show because I’m only watching shows I want to watch. So when I watch Glee, I’m not comparing it to Two and a Half Men or Dancing with the Stars. I’m comparing it to Arrested Development, to 30 Rock, to Community, to The Venture Brothers, and to all my favorite shows. I’m sure I wouldn’t watch Glee at all if it didn’t have moments that stack up against these titans. I’ve also found that the more time that’s passed since I’ve seen a show tends to lionize it in my opinion: I only recently rewatched all of Arrested Development, and I was surprised to find that it wasn’t as flawless as I had thought. I had forgotten about the jokes that didn’t land so well, and had only remembered the funniest bits. How can any program measure up to that kind of pressure week after week?

At the end of the day, Glee doesn’t owe me anything. Clearly the show has proven to be enormously successful and popular as is, as the cast’s grubby little hands clutch Golden Globe after Golden Globe.  Yet I can’t help wishing that the show will rise to the challenge of being quality television in addition to being good entertainment. While I see the great in the show that everybody loves, it’s still not perfect, and I want it to succeed at being perfect so bad. I still want those grin-worthy, glamorously overproduced moments because they’re so unlike anything else when it comes to TV. Rachel Berry’s teeth are so sparkly when she belts “Don’t Rain on My Parade,” they’re like diamonds. But when I am given these diamonds encased in a cheap pewter ring of broad clichés and endless, unrealistic fake-pregnancy plotlines, it feels like being socked in the gut.

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