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Link: The Beatles of Comedy

Published on January 12, 2013, by in Link.

I guess this started out as a book/DVD review, but evolved into a beautiful Monty Python eulogy. Not sure I hang with this bit, which reads too much like a grumpy oldster shooing kids away from his lawn: During the Python era, writers like Woody Allen were doing similar comedy in America: popular, slapstick stuff that unself-consciously combed history and high culture for inspiration. What a falling-off there has been since then. Most of today’s popular comedy looks willfully malnourished by comparison. It’s poor form, these days, to know more than your audience. A modern comedian’s idea of an obscure reference is to mention Mr. Miyagi, or the cantina scene in Star Wars. These allusions must be okay, because every other comedian makes them too. Not even Tina Fey can escape the pop-culture echo chamber. Her book,Bossypants, is full of arcane but reassuringly junky cultural references—to Jon from CHiPs, to the guy from Arli$$. While I agree with the frustration of the easy Karate Kid ref, I wonder how much of the distinction is actually due to the fact that the Pythons were working in a nearly empty pop culture vacuum. Today, our shared media history has never left us. It’s everywhere, thanks to television reruns and YouTube and the decision (briefly mentioned in the Python article) to start saving TV shows and movies instead of just throwing them away. A comedian mentions Karate Kid today, they’re dropping something that is thirty years past. What kind of 1938 reference could Woody Allen or the Pythons have mentioned in 1968? Would a critic in 1968 have chided the Pythons for the “Mr. Hilter” sketch as being an example of modern comics too easily dipping into the “Let’s Reference WWII” vault?

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Link: The Tolkien Nerd’s Guide to The Hobbit

Published on January 3, 2013, by in Link.

Loved this Smithsonian article about the delicate steps Peter Jackson has to take with what he can use in his “Hobbit” movies and what he can’t. For example: …Hugo Weaving’s elf lord of Rivendell, Elrond, recognizes that one of the swords recovered from the troll cave hails back to the goblin wars and once belonged to the king of Gondolin, an Elven city that fell to darkness, he fails to mention the king’s name, Turgon, and does not add that Turgon is actually his own great-grandfather. These details come from The Silmarillion and The Book of Lost Tales (published posthumously, in 1983 and 1984). “Elrond could have quite easily have said, ‘Hey, thanks for bringing that back, we wondered what came of that sword over the last 7,000 years,’ but he doesn’t,” Rateliff said. Although the article spells “Gundabad” incorrectly.

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Link: Just Say No to Avatar Land

Published on December 14, 2012, by in Link.

Al Lutz, writing over at Mice Age: Believe me, walking away from that concept now will cost a lot less than building it, then trying to fix and then ultimately replace it; which is going to happen. Yeah, I’ve got nothing for Avatar Land either. At this point, Disney is placing a bet that Avatar 2 and 3 will be super good and justify the theme park addition. Lutz raises the excellent point that Disney could focus on developing stuff from Pixar and Lucas without having to pay the no-doubt-exorbitant rental fees for Avatar. There’s also a point about how the Avatar merchandising went flat, and that you’d think Disney (of all companies) would see that as a leading indicator that Avatar does not have long term support outside of the Holy Shit It’s 3D dollars.

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Link: Meet Mecha Mickey and the Disney Super Sentai

Published on October 28, 2012, by in Link.

Cartoon Brew has a nifty toy of a toy mash-up between the Disney super six and Japanese mecha-combiners. Mickey, of course, forms the head.