Episode 226: Gilmore Girls Apoocalypse

January 3, 2017

226

Jakob and Mandi discuss the end of all things Gilmore Girls… or is it? Are we going to be subjected to another glimpse of Stars Hollow life in ten years’ time? And so on and so on, forever and ever, the same as Stars Wars and Trek? And what is the cultural relevance of having seen A Year In The Life or not having seen Rogue One. Plus, 2016 takes another life.

A couple quick notes of things I meant to bring-up on the episode but forgot:

Why is it that Gilmore Girls can’t  portray any career accurately? I can only speak from experience of working at a university newspaper and being a musician, but from that I can extrapolate that they way they depict running an inn, diner or kitchen is a weird TV fantasy version as well. One thing I appreciated in A Year In The Life  was that, ten years later, Zack and Lane are still in Stars Hollow playing what they would’ve previously considered sell-out jazz in an alley. Much more realistic than hipsters booing Zack’s on-stage melt-down that breaks up Hep Alien. For a show that claims to love and honour music, the writers sure seem to have never been to an indie show before.

I was really hoping they’d address, or acknowledge, Lorelei’s mental health issues in A Year In The Life and, for a hot moment, it looked like it was finally going to happen when Emily tricks her into attending therapy with her. But the moment passes and Lorelei is left to carry on blissfully unaware of her narcissistic personality disorder, or whatever it is the jumble of anti-social traits the writers have given over the years add up to. Emily does call her out for steamrolling through peoples’ lives but Emily’s opinions of Lorelei have long been positioned to be either ignored or viewed in reverse. And while I can understand why the producers don’t want to diagnose their lead manic pixie dream girl as mentally ill, but if she isn’t then… she’s just a living nightmare and every act of inter-personal destruction she’s committed over the course of 7.5 seasons is, at best, normalized and, at worst, romanticized as a quirky ideal.

 

 

 

 

 

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Episode 223: Marvelous Marvels of Marvel (Luke Cage, Deadpool)

October 26, 2016

223

In this episode Jakob and Mandi chat about the marvelous marvels of the Marvel universe. Well, Luke Cage and Deadpool at least. They also discuss Star Trek: Enterprise Season 3 and Bones Season 11.


Episode 219: Familiar Things

July 27, 2016

219

We liked Stranger Things so much we immediately did an episode on it highlighting some of its weaker points. That’s the normal thing to do, right?

Mostly we try to navigate the myriad of references to classic 80s sci-fi and horror movies (not tropes but actual scenes lifted from movies) in the show and decide if too much of a good thing is too much of a good thing. Watching an episode (or 4 in row) can be like falling into a sugar coma of nostalgia. Stranger Things is such a pastiche, it causes one to wonder if there’s substance beneath the style. Perhaps not. But, ultimately, that might not matter in the same way Eggo waffles are a pale imitation of actual food yet are delicious and satisfying.

Regardless, it can be agreed there needs to be a social media campaign to bring back fan-favourite character Barb Holland. #BringBackBarb #BARBLIVES

 


In typical “nuanced” Nerd Hurdles fashion Jakob comes off somewhat negative about the Stranger Things theme music (by S  U R V I V E) which is very similar, if not pretty much identical, to an album he recently released called Mind Thief. a snippet of which is heard at the end of the episode or can be streamed in full below. Jakob claims his poo-pooing of the John Carpenter-esque synth music in Stranger Things had nothing to do with grapes, sour, or otherwise.

 


Episode 217: Mimico Insane Asylum (Doors Open Toronto)

June 9, 2016

217

Jakob and Mandi take a trip to the tunnels underneath the former Lakeshore Psychiatric Hospital (http://www.asylumbythelake.com)—aka Mimico Insane Asylum, aka Mimico Hospital for the Insane, aka The Police Academy, aka Humber College—during Doors Open Toronto.  They also talk about Poirot: Murder on the Orient Express, Midsomer Murders, London Spy and M:I Rogue Nation.

Mandi’s pictures from the tunnel tour:

 


Episode 216: Netflix Grab Bag

May 9, 2016

216

Jakob and Mandi talk about a totally random assortment of things they’ve been watching on Netflix. Mainly Daredevil Season 2, Downton Abbey Season 5, House of Cards Season 4 (well, the first 3 episodes), most of Poirot, and the Ender’s Game movie.


Episode 175: Hemlock Grove

August 30, 2013

Click to download episode

Hemlock Grove is perhaps the truest definition of a “Netflix Folly” in that it’s a “Netflix Original” series so any lack of quality is the sole fault of Netflix. I talked about the series briefly a few posts ago thinking I’d washed my hands of this dog’s breakfast of a teen horror soap. I wrote:

A Netflix original version of Twi-Blood-Diaries. We watched a whole four episodes before giving up. It wasn’t bad exactly but they were really dragging out the story at about a 2:1 episode to plot point ratio. Actually by episode three it felt like they’d told about one episode’s worth of story. One thing Mandi appreciated was finally there was some vampire enjoying menstrual cunnilingus action—a “sexy vampire” genre pet peeve of her’s is that they never indulge in this obvious opportunity. Anyway, sometimes I think about watching another episode and then… don’t bother.

It turns out I did end up bothering to return to Hemlock Grove a few days after posting the above having found myself in need of something to watch while I ate dinner when Mandi was away for a few days. So I watched another episode, cringed, watched another the next day, sneered, watched another… and so on.

When Mandi returned from her trip, she found herself in the unfortunate position of being forced to watch the remain three episodes with me, I’d passed the point of no return and needed to know how it ended. Welcome home, Mandi.

At this point I’d like to rescind a statement in my previous review: “It wasn’t bad exactly…”

Hemlock Grove really is exactly bad.

It’s partly because they took a book that was more suited to a six episode mini-series and stretched it out to a full 13 episode season. Yet they somehow still manage to rush the ending in the final two episodes. I’ll admit this is only a theory as I haven’t read the book, but I’ve placed a hold on it at the library in order to do a proper comparison—and to answer some lingering questions I have about the plot.

These pacing issues are a good deal of the problem with the series. Also that every second or third scene feels like a non sequitur as characters embark on courses of action for which writers seem to have forgotten to establish solid motivations. It’s unclear if this is a script problem, an issue with the actors’ performances, or if a bunch of interconnecting dialogue ended up on the cutting room floor (or never got shot) for whatever reason.

It doesn’t help the two male leads spend every scene they’re in together trying to out-James Dean each other. The palpable “too cool for school” disinterest in everything that surrounds them makes it difficult to buy their investment in their “quest” to find the rogue werewolf terrorizing the town. The  effect isn’t unique to them, all the characters seem to merely be drifting through life in a state of blasé detachment. Of course this is something that could have had a legitimate narrative or thematic purpose if done artfully.

But it wasn’t.


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