Pop Culture Gadabout
Monday, February 21, 2005
      ( 2/21/2005 02:28:00 PM ) Bill S.  

"DID YOU PAY THE OTHER MAN WITH A PIECE IN YOUR HAND?" – Monday a.m., and we've got Steely Dan on the CD player. So let's do some bullet points!
  • Nearly forgot to watch the premiere of TCN's Robot Chicken last night – was busy cleaning the ferret cage (now there's a glamorous task!) when I suddenly realized it was five minutes past the short show's starting time. Fortunately, Cartoon Network has the smarts to do what cable nets like Bravo and fx also regularly do: namely, rerun their big shows in the middle of the night. The first major network that does likewise with its primetime lineup could probably rule the world. . .

  • As for Seth Green & Michael Senreich's Robot: I found the show smirk-worthy. A series of teevee parody black-outs featuring kids' action figures and puppets, it's suitably silly without being particularly telling. I'm reminded of the 70's sketch flick, The Groove Tube (which also had its moments), though younger viewers may just wanna think of Family Guy without the, you know, family stuff. (Green, of course, provides a voice for that series, while Seth MacFarlane can be heard on Robot.) More watchable than Tom Goes to the Mayor, to these eyes, if only because it doesn't have the latter's eye-sore visual scheme. . .

  • With Marianne Faithfull releasing a new album, collaborating with the likes of P.J. Harvey and Jon Brion, I was inspired to revisit her landmark thought-I-was-dead-didn't-ya? release, Broken English, over the weekend. Faithfull's seventies comeback is a great dance rock exercise, with songs and performances that truly linger. "Why D'ya Do It?," the bilious kiss-off track that concludes the disc, is the one that got all the initial attention. But I prefer her ravaged and gut-wrenching "Ballad of Lucy Jordan" and the mordant "Guilt" – as well as her scathing version of John Lennon's already mightily pissed-off "Working Class Hero." On one quick listen, the new disc (Before the Poison) doesn't have the same degree of smack-ya-in-the-face power that English had back when most of us still thought Mick's former girlfriend was a sweet-voiced nothing. It's still great to hear this music biz survivor's ravaged voice going strong after all these years, though. . .

  • Keep forgetting to mention that I watched the third flick in the Matrix trilogy on HBO recently. I knew from advanced word that the movie was gonna be bad, but I wasn't expecting to see something that so thoroughly dissolved on the teevee screen. Any movie that'll drop Monica Belluci after the first fifteen minutes (and give her nuthin' to do in that time) just plain doesn't know what it's doing. . .

  • I spent a much more amusing hour-and-a-half this weekend viewing another old comedy courtesy of Aaron Neathery: the Ed Wynn-headlined Follow the Leader (about which: more later). Aaron, on his blog, has responded to the news of a potentially revamped Bugs Bunny by recollecting a cartoon oeuvre that we don't all already know by heart, namely the Screen Gems toons. Worth reading.

  • Here's a good sign: though I haven't read Giffen and DeMatteis' earlier run on the Justice League, I found it breezily easy to get into J.L.A. Classified #4. "Mildly diverting kitsch" it may be, but I found the book much more fun to read than the DCU-shaking "serious" Leaguestuff. Sue Dibney is such a hoot that her every appearance serves as a de facto condemnation of her mistreatment in Identity Crisis – and well it should be. . .
More later.

(Background Music for This Round: Two discs from the Citizen Steely Dan boxed set.)
# |

Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).

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