1. Banksy Visits Woodland Hills!

    Everyone’s favorite British graffiti artist Banksy has left dreary, merry olde, rain-soaked, proper-opper England and high-tailed it for tony Woodland Hills, the nicer part of the toilet that is the Valley, of the toilet that is Los Angeles. Of the toilet that is Southern California! I looove LA! We love it!

    Where was I? British graffiti guy, Banksy, Woodland Hills – ah yes! Everyone’s favorite British graffiti artist Banksy has left merry olde England and high-tailed it for tony Woodland Hills where he’s left his mark – and, brother, I have proof! Irrequivutable proof!

    Feast your peepers on this!

    It’s on this…I don’t know what it is, some sort of electrical box. Or telephone switchbox, like with all the wires in it. I don’t know what they’re called. Anyway, it’s on one of those – and I saw another just like it on the opposite corner!

    So that’s totally Banksy’s stuff, right?  I think so. I knew you’d want a closeup so I took a closeup, too. Here:

    Now I know some of you are going to say, “Oh, sure, Ted, to the untrained eye, it may look like Banksy’s work, but it’s not his. It’s not his work, I tell you.” Some of you are going to say that. So I took a super-closeup and got this:

     

    How’s that for proof! It’s on one of the dog’s front legs, sure. You can’t really see it in the other photos, because it’s really small.

    Anyway, there you go, Banksy fans!

    As to what he’s trying to say with this piece, I think it’s obvious: Something about crass commercialism, and corporate England, or in this case corporate America, and the government, and probably the military, and maybe the media, too, right? Oh! Oh! And Mickey Mouse! And also to please be considerate and clean up after your dog. No one wants to step in a big pile of dog crap you just left on the sidewalk, am I right?

    Thanks, Banksy!

    Posted by on August 4, 2011, 9:00 AM.

  2. Two and a Half Men!

    A couple of months back, you’ll remember that Charlie Sheen was, oh, in the news quite a bit. I was assigned a little piece on that whole ongoing train wreck.

    Much like you, I’d never seen “Two and a Half Men,” so I had to start watching it, and fast. Fortunately, all the local stations in Los Angeles play nothing but episodes of the show twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. I needed only to set the DVR, and wait patiently for a few hours before I had caught the legal limit.

    So I sat down and began watching the show. The verdict (and I know you’re dying to know, never having seen the show yourself): Viewers watching “Two and a Half Men” are bombarded with the television equivalent of that which caged monkeys are known to throw at those who watch them. (The difference being, of course, most people at the zoo try to avoid getting hit.)

    Look, I gave it a chance. I sat through nearly three dozen episodes from half a dozen different points in the show’s run. I’m pretty sure I got a good cross-section of what the program is about.

    I don’t think I’m a hypocrite to say I liked “Married…with Children” which is the closest thing I can think of to compare it to. Both are sitcoms built largely on crass one-liners focusing almost exclusively on obnoxious insults and sex with a laugh track cranked up way too high.

    But somehow “Married…with Children” had – now don’t laugh! – heart. For all their bickering and put-downs, the Bundys stuck together and ultimately supported each other – sure, it usually took a common adversary to get them there, but then it was “Whoooa Bundy!” and look out. Then someone else was on the receiving end of all those one-liners. Uh-oh!

    …And there’s “Two and a Half Men” – the sitcom where everyone simply hates each other. Charlie hates Alan. Jake hates his father. Alan’s ex-wife hates him. The harpy mother hates her two sons. The housekeeper hates them all. These are characters who loathe one another. Everyone has unbridled contempt for everyone else, including Charlie for all the women he bangs.

    The comedy on “Two and a Half Men” is juvenile, but I can’t fault the show too much for that especially given the fact that “Married…with Children” wasn’t exactly known for its subtlety or sophistication either. But “Men’s” punchlines are much raunchier and almost all have to do specifically with Charlie Harper’s penis, testicles, or, most often, the semen they produce. Think I’m being over the top? From Season 5, Episode 4:

    Charlie: We’re going slow.
    Berta: Really?
    Charlie: Yes, we’re getting to know each other as people before we jump into bed and get to know each other as, you know, animals.
    Berta: Just do me a favor and make the first time at her place cause you’re gonna spring forth like a water-wiggle.

    That’s a little out of context, so let me explain the joke to you: If Charlie has intercourse with the woman they’re referring to there at his house after the dry spell he’s going through, it’s going to be up to the housekeeper to mop up all of his copious ejaculate the next morning. Someone give this cornerstone of the Tiffany Network’s Monday night lineup another round of Emmys!

    And yet, “Two and a Half Men’s” worst offense? Not Chuck Lorre’s aptly named vanity cards, surprisingly. No, the most offensive aspect of the show was the idea to accompany every last goddamn scene change with the single sung word “…Men!”  I can’t help but think that this was a decision that everyone from Les Moonves down to the guy who arranges the Snickers bars on the craft service table regretted halfway through the pilot episode and for some reason known only to them, they just felt it was too late to change it.

    Anyway, the biggest laugh I’ve gotten from this show came today, when I read this online:

    CBS entertainment president Nina Tassler…said “Men” will remain “smart, irreverent and risque.”

    Oh, sure, if one word comes to mind when mentioning “Two and a Half Men” it’s “smart.”

    There’s a scene in the Mike Judge film “Idiocracy” where 26th century moron Frito Pendejo (Dax Shepard) is laughing at a TV show titled “Ow! My Balls!”

    Judge could have instead used clips from TV’s current number one sitcom and made just as strong a point.

    “…Men!”

    Posted by on , 5:36 AM.

  3. Netflix!

    So there I was, dicking around online on my Netflix account trying to decide what to add to my queueue next.

    Netflix helps me make smart viewing choices by taking what I’ve recently watched and liked, and using that to help suggest other movies and TV shows I might also enjoy. For instance…

    I enjoyed “Smokey and the Bandit” (as did we all), and so they suggest, of course, “Smokey and the Bandit II.” See?

    Huh. I guess they didn’t. That’s odd. Well, sure, I like Bill Cosby. And he is kind of an iconic comedian like Jackie Gleason…so maybe that’s the connection. But it’s strange they’d recommend a DVD of standup after I liked a filmed comedy with a plot. I guess I thought they’d recommend one of the sequels to “Smokey and the Bandit,” or maybe “The Gumball Rally,” or “The Cannonball Run.” Or something with Gleason, Burt Reynolds or Sally Field in it. But I trust Netflix’s judgment.

    Let’s try another one. Ah, “Clue.” No doubt recommended to me because I recently watched “Murder By Death” and loved it, just loved it.

    What? Because I enjoyed “The Princess Bride?” Weird. Well, they are both comedies. Maybe they have some of the cast in common.

    Next:

    Not sure I get that one. “Terminator,” sure. But “Caddyshack?” What am I missing here?

    Let’s try it again.

    So, according to Netflix, “Lady and the Tramp” plus “The Rockford Files” equals “The Dick Van Dyke Show”…? I could almost buy this if it was just “Lady and the Tramp” because I always thought Rose Marie sounded a lot like Peggy Lee when she sang. But “The Rockford Files”?!

    Onward.

    Oh, okay, that makes a lot more sense. Netflix realizes, doesn’t it, that “Soap” is a soap opera spoof in sitcom form, while “Rockford” is just the best goddamn detective series that ever aired…? Just what kind of kooky algorithm is Netflix using to arrive at these suggestions?

    Oh come on, Netflix! That’s George C. Scott up there, not John Denver!

    Now wait a minute…! This is a documentary! Walken has nothing to do with it! He didn’t narrate it, he didn’t produce it, nothing! I looked it up!

    How the hell…?! “The Endless Summer”?  From “The Best of Chris Farley”?!

    Okay.  Okay, we’re done here.

    Posted by on August 2, 2011, 9:00 AM.

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