Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Classic TV Show Open Of The Day

Talk about some F-ed up shit. This one used to scare the crap out of me and my sister. It came on at 9:00, our bedtime, and if we lingered as the 8:00 show was going off, all my parents had to say was, "Ironside is about to come on" and we would scatter like cockroaches and dash for our beds. I remember plugging my ears so I wouldn't have to hear the creepy siren sound in this open.

Fuckin' Quincy Jones.


Oh, and remember: smoking kills. Or at least maims.

Worst TV Series Endings Of The Day

From last year -- was their Sopranos prediction spot-on or what?

Twin Peaks
We never quite got Twin Peaks, what with its waltzing midgets and dense dream sequences involving pregnant, shrieking coyote-women. Its unresolved cliff-hanger ending, in which Special Agent Cooper sorta half-becomes the baddie Bob, didn't help matters much. It's never a good thing when viewers can't understand what's going on without the assistance of somebody armed with Cliffs Notes, diagrams, and, for reenactment purposes, sock puppets.

So wait—Sydney was working for the secret, secret, secret quasi-governmental cabal or the secret, secret ULTRA-secret one? Prophet 5, SD-6, The Covenant, Rambaldi… What's this about who's what? If this impenetrably plotted show had dressed Jennifer Garner as conservatively as the Law & Order gals, it'd have been off the air in about 18 seconds.

Quantum Leap
You gotta love shows on the cusp of cancellation that don't see the writing on the wall. The last Quantum Leap, a fairly typical episode with somewhat of a cliff-hanger ending, was appended with a simple "Dr. Sam Beckett never returned home," which would've been all well and good, except for the fact that the entire show was premised on the dude returning home. It was the prime-time drama equivalent of a football game ending in the middle of the third quarter without an explanation.

After Bruce Willis started mowing down baddies in Die Hard and Cybill Shepherd squeezed out her twins (which accounted for her absence in the postcoital fourth season), neither star had the slightest interest in being on the show anymore. So you send them out quickly and quietly, right? Uh, no. The last Moonlighting ep showed Maddie and David rushing around like vertiginous chickens as the show's set was disassembled around them; they even got lectured by ABC executives. There's a fine line between "breaking the fourth wall" between viewer and show and "crapping" all "over" "a creative endeavor" that had once "meant something" to a gazillion "viewers."

The Sopranos
We're putting this one on the list a few weeks in advance (and no, we haven't received advance screeners). If David Chase and co. stubbornly refused to tell us the fate of the Russian left in the woods way back in season three, we have little hope that they'll answer any of our other questions. Our best guess: The Sopranos ends with Tony eating something (turkey? gelato?) with the same look of bemused annoyance that he's worn for the last three seasons shrouding his face. And every reviewer in the universe will laud Chase's "bravery" for having plotted such a daring, dramatically unconventional climax.

St. Elsewhere

After multiple seasons of Howie Mandel high jinks, we learned that the whole thing took place (or didn't take place) in the mind of an autistic kid. No, seriously.

Leaving the gang in prison after finding them guilty of violating a Good Samaritan law—what's up with that? (Utter that last clause in a nasal, New Yawk whine, if you will.) The conclusion may have been true to the show's no-hugs, no-learning blueprint, but it wasn't remotely…what's the word we're looking for here…funny, perhaps? Costanza deserved better.

The show spent its final season methodically and nonsensically killing off most of its memorable characters (e.g.: Warden Leo Glynn got stabbed as part of some conspiracy involving the governor and Said got shanked for being too righteous or something). But the blow-off of the series-long Beecher vs. Schillinger subplot remains several levels beyond unforgivable. After all the rape, kid-killing, face-pooping, and sublime nastiness, Beecher accidentally kills Schillinger during a prison performance of Macbeth? That's all we get for our emotional investment in the feud? Fuck you. Really. Fuck you.

The X Files
By the time The X Files was mercifully euthanized—roughly 40 episodes too late—the show's black-oil, sewn-eyed-aliens conspiracy had long since ventured into the realm of the absurd. In the finale, the show attempted, through some kind of court-martial proceeding involving Mulder and lots of flashbacks, to dig itself out from under a trash heap of red herrings. Alas, the explanation made things even worse—it exposed plenty of holes in the storytelling. And that was before a helicopter materialized out of nowhere and killed the Cigarette Smoking Man for the 11th time.

Vid Of The Day: Runway Tumble

I guess this is a bit old but I'd never seen it. Enjoy. I did. Another great submission from The Courteous Chihuahua, who just launched her own blog. Check it out.


Vid Of The Day: Why Women Need Catalogs

From The Courteous Chihuahua, who would never do something like this.


100 Greatest Novels Of The Day

From the board of the Modern Library at Random House, the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1900.

What? No Grisham or The Bridges Of Madison County?

But seriously... what about To Kill A Mockingbird? Of Mice And Men? The Old Man And The Sea? I realize the latter two are short works, but I found them every bit as powerful as The Grapes Of Wrath and A Farewell To Arms, if not more so.

What others are missing? This list came out in 1998; do any books of the last ten years belong here now?

  1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
  8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
  9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
  10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
  13. 1984 by George Orwell
  14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  21. HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
  23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
  24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
  25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
  27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
  28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell
  30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
  31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
  33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
  34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  36. ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
  37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
  39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
  45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
  47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
  48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
  49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
  50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
  52. PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
  53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
  57. PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
  58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
  59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
  60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
  63. THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
  64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
  69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
  70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
  71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
  72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
  73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
  77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
  78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
  79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
  80. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
  83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
  84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
  86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  87. THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
  88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  89. LOVING by Henry Green
  90. MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie
  91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
  92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
  93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  96. SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
  97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
  100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington

"Caption This" Photo Of The Day

A photo from Bubbasmom, who writes: "There's a dickhead in the pool!"

Let's hear yours.


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