6.30.2009

Seinfeld on HBO

Over the weekend Dan and I were talking per the usual about the history of American situation comedy. We both agree this rather stilted and (let's be honest) horrific form reached its zenith with Seinfeld. Dan ingeniously pointed out that what makes Seinfeld so great is the way it addresses risque topics without directly mentioning them.

This lead us into an odd reverie: what if Seinfeld had been on HBO? Here are a few screenplay excerpts we 'unearthed'...

Episode 411, "The Contest"


Jerry's apartment, enter George.

GEORGE

Well, I'm out.

JERRY

You're no longer "Master of your domain?"

GEORGE

Nope! Not even slightly!

Cut to George's apartment. Ultra-graphic porn mags are strewn about the room. George, naked except for a pair of knee-high socks and his glasses, sits on a soiled brown couch vigorously masturbating to a magazine open on a music stand in front of him.

GEORGE

Oh baby. Don't fail me now!

George explodes, ejaculating all over the magazine.

GEORGE

FUCK!!! I'm out of the fucking contest. Son of a fuck!

George kicks over the music stand and begins violently turning over furniture. Cut back to Jerry's apartment.

JERRY

Couldn't resist the urge to throttle the hell out of your penis for a full day. What kind of animal are you?

End Scene


Episode 606 "The Gymnast"



Jerry and George are talking in Jerry's apartment.

JERRY

Well, George, can you believe it, she broke up with me.

GEORGE

Why?

JERRY

Well...

Cut to Jerry's bedroom. Katya is on top of Jerry, entwining her legs with his as she violently thrusts her pelvis into Jerry's crotch.

KATYA

Fucking fraud!

JERRY

What?

KATYA

Comedian? I don't think so. Your endurance is barely beyond that of an eight year old in my country, and believe me, I would know.

JERRY

Really?

Katya rolls out of bed in a derisively athletic manner.

KATYA

You are no fucking comedian.

She spits on Jerry's penis.

End Scene

Episode 724 "The Invitations"



St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, the ER. Susan is wheeled in on a stretcher by a group of medics who are simultaneously giving her chest compressions and using a plastic respiration device to stimulate her breathing. They are in a great hurry. George trails, a little way behind, jogging but not looking overly distressed.

MEDIC

We need a crash cart here, stat! She's coding!

They wheel her into an open room and flop her onto an operating table. A doctor tears off her shirt as a crash cart is wheeled over.

GEORGE

Bye, honey!

DOCTOR

Clear!

He applies the paddles to Susan's chest whose lifeless body jumps a little from the shock.

NURSE

Nothing.

The door to the room closes and we follow George as he wanders out into the waiting room. Jerry arrives just as George sits down.

JERRY

I just got your message, what's up?

GEORGE

I don't know. She'll be fine.

JERRY

So the wedding may be off, eh?

GEORGE

You know the sex wasn't that good.

Elaine enters, with Kramer following.

ELAINE

What's up? Is Susan okay?

GEORGE

She's fine.

The doctor we saw previously enters. He puts his hand on George's shoulder.

DOCTOR

We did everything we could, but, I'm sorry, your fiance has passed.

GEORGE (semi-ecstatically)

She's dead?

The doctor nods solemnly, with a look of shock creeping over his face.

GEORGE (shouting)

I'm free, baby! Free!

ELAINE

She was kind of a bore.

Kramer and Jerry both nod.

End Scene

6.25.2009

RIP Michael

I will miss you.

love
Nostradamus

6.23.2009

5 Least Favorite Simpsons Characters

Okay, after several days' intermission, I am back to watching a few episodes an evening as a way of winding down before not going to bed.

Per a request made over reader by The ACTUAL God, I am now going to list my five least favorite Simpson's supporting players. This is bound to anger some people, but I live to court controversy! So, without further prologue, to the list!

5. Sideshow Mel: With the ouster of Sideshow Bob as Krusty's sidekick in Season 1, there was an opportunity to introduce a novel and original character, but instead we got Sideshow Mel, who hardly develops at all throughout the first six seasons or so. When he does develop, we learn he is little more than Sideshow Bob redux: over qualified as an actor, highly intelligent, and righteously indignant at Krusty's assaults.



4. Patty Bouvier: My choice of Selma for top five was probably my most controversial call, but the only surprise here is that Patty isn't lower on the food-chain... Aside from her ill-fated relationship with Skinner in Season 2, she isn't developed all that much in early on except as the satisfied half of the Patty/Selma codependent pair. Later, in Season 16, she comes out as gay, a gesture I took and take as a complete publicity stunt. As such, it did little to redeem her in these judgmental eyes.

3. Reverend Lovejoy: He's boring and pointless for the most part. Sure he has a good line here or there but in the episodes he is featured in he's awful. And his back-story of being brought to apathy by Flanders' constant complaining is weak, in my book. Also whatever happened to that daughter of his...? (More on guest stars later)


2. Gil Gunderson: Gil is only introduced in the 9th season. There really weren't that many bad supporting characters in the early days. But Gil, clearly premised on a character played by Jack Lemmon in Season 8, which character was in turn based off of Lemmon's role in Glengarry Glen Ross. I just don't like Gil's sad sack routine. I don't believe it in the way I believe Herb Powell as a hobo. Does that make sense?

1. Ned Flanders: Sure, he's funny, but mostly he pisses me off. He totally ruined The Simpson's Movie, and most of the episodes he features in are sub-par. Is he necessary? Of course. But do I have to like him? Absotively posolutely not!

6.20.2009

NBA Draft

It's coming up! I love the draft. Thought I'd throw together a quick look at who should take whom where. Explanations and analyses to come... In the meantime enjoy some great Tyreke Evans highlights

1. LAC-Blake Griffin
2. MEM-Ricky Rubio
3. OKC-Tyreke Evans
4. SAC-James Harden
5. WAS-Hasheem Thabeet
6. MIN-Johnny Flynn
7. GSW-Stephen Curry
8. NYK-Jordan Hill
9. TOR-DeMar DeRozan
10. MIL-Jrue Holliday
11. NJN-Earl Clark
12. CHB-Gerald Henderson
13. IND-Austin Daye
14. PHX-Brandon Jennings

Jennings may go higher, but word on the street is he is slipping...

6.19.2009

Wolfgang Amadeus Awesome--Phoenix in Williamsburg

(Cross-posted at Wave on Wave on Wave)

I have been incognito for a while now, but I'm happy to report that The ACTUAL Rich and I were able to attend one of the musical highlights of the season last night. I could dive right into the concert, but the whole night deserves cataloging.

On the corner of Bedford and North 7th in Williamsburg I waited for a full five minutes for Rich to appear; I knew he would be late because I had caught an unprecedented sequence of transfers in journeying from my SpaHa Palacio. Entering the subway the 6 met me and and at 86th street the 4 was waiting--a minute on the platform at 14th street brought the L into my view, and there I was, at Bedford Avenue waiting under scaffolding, shielding myself from the droplets that had previously stained my iPhone's face and rendered texting temporarily impossible.

Gott sei dank, Rich appeared: 'There are several good options, Mexican, Mexican, Burger...' 'Burger.' And so it was.

After dinner we headed a bit north of Williamsburg to a spot preselected by our resident gormand, The Black Rabbit, notable for its variety of absinthe cocktails... Rich and I each had an absinthe/sugar/water cocktail in the true Hemingway style... The bar tender really did right, also, it was an absolutely wonderful drinking experience...

Having downed our magnificent Van Goghian cocktails, we wisely headed south again, back towards North 6th Street and our inevitable collision with destiny!

The show was unbelievable. The crowd was moving and, unlike any Williamsburg crowd in memory, all were instantly gyrating as if to subliminal tones, to triggers--and what was most special is that the band, during moments of pause or hypostasis (ie when a pause called for the lights to Vogue-like freeze-frame) were so beyond game, so full of love for the crowd that they mugged insatiably and gorgeously... There were moments when I thought I could detect the insatiable flare of The Revolution in Thomas Mars's loving mutuality with the crowd, but this is probably another of my base projections... After all, this latter-day Lafayette, in Obamerica, surely has no place...

That aside, the second encore track, single '1901' drove the crowd to a Segovia bull-fight level of madness! When Mars leaped into the crowd the full body of the audience accordingly surged forward, each 'hey hey hey hey" sequence thereby successfully embodied...

Best show of 2009 so far (slightly displacing "Little Winngs" Todd P show...)...

Dig the revolution in this Letterman video:

6.18.2009

Dan/Tom: A Sonnet on Shared Authorship

Dan/Tom

Sometimes a pairing means more than it seems,
Sometimes it is a simple meld of minds
Collaborating on discourse of memes
And other times it is a love that binds:

With you two and the memes you have traversed
We can discount the latter option now
And thus experience stereotypes reversed--
Traditional partnership, no more, and how!!!

We work together when we all work best--
Whether together in life or in the mind
Whether the other is present or the test
We work at hovers patiently behind--

One entity we are, but not so fat--
Uh, not that there is anything wrong with that!

Five Favorite Simpsons Supporting Players

I was telling Dan/Tom that in place of doing anything productive (aside from writing a few pages of the novel here and there), I have been dealing with a rampant bout of insomnia by re-watching the first six seasons of The Simpsons (mostly via these somewhat-low-bit-rate streams). Season One is fun but uneven, and Season Two (while generally great) is still working a few things out.

By Season Three we are in the Golden Age, which, in my most honest estimation lasts from Season Three through Season Five. This is very strict, I realize. Much of Season Six is excellent, and some of my favorite episodes are in Season Seven, but by Six we have real signs of decline (The Critic cameo being foremost among them, but also the repetitive Marge storylines that start to bleed into each other)...

In any event, anywhere in Three to Five you are guaranteed a good show. Virtually every episode (except for the clip show) is worthwhile and probably has some number of memorable, definitively original Simpsons' moments...

With this as backdrop, I thought I'd give a brief run down of my five favorite supporting characters from the show:

#5 Selma Bouvier: While she often appears to simply blankly repeat the pronouncements of her more dominant twin Patty, in the episodes in which she is showcased (her ill-fated marriages to Sideshow Bob and Troy McClure, and her musings on lonesomeness in the brilliant "Selma's Choice") she is shown to be one of the most sympathetic figures in the show. The dialectic of her dependence on her sister with her desire to marry and escape her identical twindom is rather deftly handled in these particular episodes.

#4 Moe Szyslak: Moe, with his relentless threats of suicide, with his sometimes manifested homicidal rage, with his utter lack of social intelligence (most obviously in his relationships with women and his prank call demeanor)--Moe, along with Groundskeeper Willie, is the most obvious example in the show of a total social pariah who nonetheless is integrally involved in the affairs of life--it is a 'meme' going back to Dickens--but this manifestation in this medium is momentous.

#3 Principal Skinner: I refer to the pre-Tanzarian Skinner, of course, but remember the early Skinner was a really dark figure. He had horrifying flashbacks to The Nam during announcements on the regular, he was a pathetic underling to Chalmers (later they seemed to become friends)... Oh yeah, and he had a relationship with Patty Bouvier... Whoops! When we got to see Skinner all Mike Bradyed out after he lost his job, that was the bomb. God I love that cat... Oh yeah, and his mother! Hilarious!


#2 Lionel Hutz: This was a really tough call. Ideally, I would present some kind of McClure/Hutz hybrid, because really, Phil Hartman was simply wonderful in both roles. But Hutz wins out because he appears in more episodes (I think) and is generally more despicable/absurd/insane ('Say hello to Miguel Sanchez!') than even fish-fetishist Troy.



#1 Charles Montgomery Burns I don't think there is a better boss figure in all of literature; sure there are the Critch family in Lawrence's Women in Love and of course the despicable Scrooge of Dickensiana... But really, Mr. Burns contains all of these traits, and so much more, from his ambiguously gay relationship with Smithers to his inability to remember his employees, to his talent for Seussian meter and lyricism, to his Yalie status, to his various incarnations as a youthful freeloader, to his Charles Foster Kane moment... Many people complained of the Simpsons Movie (which was worthless) that it featured too much Flanders and too little Burns... I could not agree more. Bravo, Monty! 'To friends he's known as Monty but to you he's Mr. Burns!'

6.03.2009

Precision

A friend of mine who's been around for a while (50+) walked out of his office the other day to an astonishing sight. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was standing on the corner, apparently minding his own business. My friend, a huge basketball fan, felt compelled to say hello.

Friend: Hello, Kareem.

(Kareem does not move)

Friend: We actually met once before... It was back during my freshman year at Harvard, up in Cambridge. You were there for the summer taking a class in Arabic. Summer of 1974.

Kareem: That was 1973.

(Kareem walks away).

6.02.2009

In Sparpe We Trust--A Sonnet for Tom Lehman

In Sparpe We Trust

If programming confuses me (it does),
And html has left me in a tizzy,
And blog templates have almost made me dizzy—
Then I must turn to him simply because
He does it all, a wiz, in fact, he was
When he was born, or so it seems, busy
At every moment—calm and not a sissy,
Nor ornery—his coding can’t but buzz!

And randomly he realigns our lives,
Takes our years out of sequence, redisplays—
Our past in his new vision cleanly thrives
Unfettered from the previous waylays
Of fate and sequence—pure genius that dives
Deep underneath vicissitudes of days.

6.01.2009

The Start of June--A Sonnet on Summer Vacation

It's six o'clock and yet it feels like four
The sun is shining, cats are on my lap--
Two times already today I've taken a nap--
I have no urge to do anything more
Than lie here, arms akimbo on the floor
As air conditioning blasts fall on my back--
I think about playing "Rush 'n Attack"--
Decide that level one will make me snore--

In summer there is never any need
To do more than you want--Thus every day
Is just a lazy, sunny meme, a splay
For splayas as they jaunt. Yes splay indeed,
The wise man says, let go without delay--
For summer loafing is the splayas' creed.