Thursday, May 31, 2012

Garfunkel and Oates: 29/31

Shit just got real.

Garfunkel and Oates have been getting pretty dark lately. I hope they're just having fun and that's not how they actually feel! Then again, what do I know? I'm only twenty-five! Clearly, I better enjoy it while it lasts!

[via Gawker]

Time Piece: An Experimental Short by Jim Henson

I got a chance to watch "Time Piece" at the Jim Henson and Muppets exhibit at the Museum of the Moving Image last summer. It's definitely an experimental short. As a film studies major, I understood where it was coming from, as there are similar works during that time period. I'm not usually a fan of experimental shorts - I love me some narrative - but this is surprisingly narrative for experimental video and employs lots of unique rhythms and patterns.


If you like what you see, the full version is available here.

[via Neatorama]

The Great Tomato Genome Project

Science! What has it done for us today? Well, I'm not sure, but in five years or so, it may bring us tastier tomatoes using less pesticide.

The NY Times reports that Plant geneticists (niche job, much?) have spent nine years decoding the tomato genome to better understand how to avoid the fruits from ripening too fast while in transit without losing the flavor and color from that ripening process. Will they succeed at giving us tastier tomatoes? Only our future selves know for sure!

[via Gawker]

Stately Sandwiches

Stately Sandwiches, a very silly blog that make me incredibly hungry. So far, the Massachusetts is my favorite, but there's no Texas yet!

The North Carolina isn't so bad, either!

[via Neatorama]

Accio Spells! Harry Potter Spells Super Cut

Not sure why you'd care about just seeing the spells (maybe see the different ways they were handled by different directors?), but it's kind of like watching a super-condensed version of the series!


[via ThinkProgress]

Neil Gaiman's Make Good Art Makes a Good Comic

Zen Pencils published a great condensed, comic version of Neil Gaiman's recent graduation speech, with the tagline "Make good art." 

Read the the full version here. It's short, funny, and sweet in a twisted kind of way.

[via Neatorama]

Puppy Club: Dinner

Too cute. Dinner can be so complicated for puppies sometime, but it's clearly the most exciting (and frustrating) time of day!

[via Neatorama]

Monday, May 28, 2012

Legislation Watch: State-Based Universal Healthcare Act

This probably won't get passed, but wouldn't it be great? A way for states to set up and pay for their own universal, single-payer healthcare coverage.

[via ThinkProgress]

TEDx: Bill Harley on Stories

In case you forget, let me tell you a story...

[via ThinkProgress]

Robert Carlock's "30 Rock" Seasons 1-6 Highlights

Onion AV Club has a great read about the development, growth, and favorite moments of Robert Carlock's time during the past six seasons of "30 Rock."


Pixar Stories!

Pixar has been releasing cute two-minute animations about the intra-office adventures the staff has. A lot of these are on their DVD's, so I've seen them before, but I thought I'd share them here, too!

Here's one called: "Where's Gorden?"

And another: "Clean Start"

You can see a lot more at the pixarsuperfan10's YouTube page.

[via GITS]

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Super Cool, Super Scary Science Thing: No-Needle Injections!

I know what you're thinking, "I get how no-needle injections are super cool, but how are they super scary?" They're super scary when they're made from super-fast streams of liquids that literally push apart your skin cells without breaking them, getting inside you so fast and smoothly that you can't even feel them, and leaving you with a hole that heals itself "in a day or so."


Or it could just be a great new way to get your shots.

You decide.

[via Scientific American]

Great Interview with a "Parks and Rec" Writer

HuffPo TV has a lovely interview with "Parks and Rec" writer, Aisha Muharrar. It's really funny and informative about what it's like to become a writer and work on my favorite sitcom! Take a read!

Here's my favorite bit:

3. Aisha's first big break came when she interviewed with Bill Oakley and Josh Weinstein, two writer/producers who ran The Simpsons during seasons seven and eight. While she had initially interviewed with them to be their assistant, the job never materialized. However, the two were willing to read her writing. They were so impressed with her work that they offered her the chance to write for Sit Down, Shut Up! While the show didn't last long, it led to Aisha landing an agent and being sent out on her first staffing season. She met with different shows, but the best fit came when she met Greg Daniels and Michael Schur of Parks and Recreation.
How cool, right?

Also, you can watch Aisha in this super funny FoD video she wrote and produced, "Black Best Friend." It's funny because it's true!

New Brave Featurette: "Cutting Class"

AGGGHHHHH I can't wait another month for "Brave" to open, can you? I hope, hope, hope it's great!

In the meantime, enjoy!

[via Big Screen Animation]

Forty Minutes of HIMYM Bloopers

Hey kids, did I ever tell you the story of when we all watched forty minutes of "How I Met Your Mother" bloopers from seasons one through five on YouTube?

I didn't? That's because it's happening right now! Enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Otis the Labradoodle

Enough TV talk - We all know what's really important: a poodle mix with an adorable name! So, courtesy of The Daily Puppy, here's Otis the Labradoodle!

Women in (Writing) Pilots, 2012

Deadline's got a decent article about the percentage of women who wrote the pilots that were picked up for the fall 2012 season. Unfortunately, it doesn't go into the percentage of pilots that were ordered to series for 2012. It would be really interesting to compare the two.

Basically, the gist is that ABC, NBC, and the CW are leading the charge (especially the CW) for developing shows written by women. ABC with 36%, NBC with 42%, and the CW with 50% (shabang!). FOX and CBS are apparently doing way worse than last year: 19% for FOX and 24% for CBS. At least we know that FOX picked up two comedies with female showrunners, most importantly Mindy Kaling's! So apparently even though they only picked up a few, they were the best ones. Not good, but not the worse. CBS has no excuses, though. "Super Fun Night" was going to be awesome! Yes, I'm still upset. Oh, well.

I'm glad that for the most part, the trend from last year seems to be continuing, though I wish it was steadily increasing instead of jumping up and down so frequently, but what can you expect? That's TV.

Advice to New Showrunners (from a Showrunner)

I really enjoyed this article, "Congratulations, Your Pilot Just Got Picked Up. Here's What You Have to Do: Everything" by Noah Hawley via Hollywonk.

It gives new showrunners ten tips on how to keep their jobs while producing a great show, and, wow, it looks tough! There's some great advice in there about how to be a "yes person" without being a Yes Man - a way to keep you and your vision safe while maintaining a strong relationship with the people who decide your show's fate.

Lip-Dub Marriage Proposal

This has been rolling around the interwebs today, and while plenty of those faux-impromptu-dance proposals aren't my thing, this one is pretty darn cute. Mainly because it's not in a big, public place, and everyone was clearly having a ton of fun doing it.

[via Neatorama]

Friday, May 25, 2012

Upfronts! ABC

Speaking of "Once" - let's move onto ABC. I'm a big, big fan of "Happy Endings" so I was excited to hear their new slate with trailers here. Unfortunately, nothing they picked up is really making me sing "Joy to the World" but then again, I didn't start watching "Happy Endings" until this season, so I've been proven wrong before.

My quick drama bit: They didn't pick up "Beauty and the Beast" whereas CW picked up theirs. I have a sneaking suspicion this is for two reasons: 1) Seriously, only one network should have a B&B show at a time. I think that is legitimate despite the fantasy/sci-fi craze right now. 2) Frankly, it would have been uber-expensive and with the pickup of "Once" ABC is going to want to spend their CGI dollars bolstering and expanding that hit instead of supporting a newbie. I did want to see that pilot, but I think it was a wise decision.

Onto the comedies!

"The Neighbors" (suburb full of aliens - literally) and "Malibu Country" premiere in the fall. While I love the idea of a high concept alien comedy, the trailer didn't thrill me:

I'm just a little worried it'll be one-note all the way through, though I do love the colorblind casting of the aliens!

In the spring, we'll get to see "How to Live with Your Parents (for the Rest of Your Life)" starring Scrubs' Sarah Chalke. I'm a "Scrubs" fan, so I'm posting this, but I think it's going to take a few episodes to win me over, if at all.

Plus, "The Family Tools" which is another silly name, starring a bunch of silly people. But I do love J.K. Simmons, so I'll give it the pilot (but that's probably it).

Phew! I'd say onto CBS, but I'm super disappointed they didn't order "Super Fun Night" that I may not post about their two new comedies at all. Take that, most popular network!

Upfronts! NBC

So here we go. By only ordering half seasons for "Community" and "30 Rock" NBC has given themselves more room for new comedies, and they've jam-packed it. They also seem to be building a new Tuesday comedy block alongside FOX and ABC, so we'll see how that plays out. Here's the schedule. That link also contains trailers - so whatever happened with FOX didn't happen with NBC. NBC FTW!

My second most anticipated show of next fall is NBC's "Go On" - It's a risky show, dealing with grief, acceptance, and moving on with your life amongst a room filled with equally fractured people, but I want it to work. Plus, it's got a former "Friends" writer at the helm, and Matthew Perry as the star. That's not necessarily a recipe for a hit, but I'd like to think it'll give it a boost in the right direction. What do you think?

Less exciting are, "Guys with Kids" from Jimmy Fallon (Fallon I like, but he's not starring, and the stars they do have don't seem all that exciting, considering the loose premise), "The New Normal" from Ryan Murphy (clearly riding the "Glee" train, pass), and "Animal Practice" (I love monkeys. I hate monkeys in TV shows. It's not a realistic portrayal! People will think they can have monkeys as pets and that is bad. Otherwise, I'll wait until the premiere to assess.)

For midseason, they're going with "Save Me" (Anne Heche, born again prophet... is there such a thing as too high concept?), "1600 Penn" (obviously, NBC doesn't think so... but waiting until after the election to premiere this show is ridiculous. Everyone is going to be washed out on politics after November. But, clearly they want to hitch their wagon to Josh Gad's star, and that's not a bad idea) and "Next Caller" starring Dane Cook (Ummmmm... is this 2006?)

Anywho, as you can see I'm not tackling the dramas. I'll leave that to someone more qualified. That being said, there's nothing this season that really strikes me the way "Awake" did, and, well, look how that turned out.  Then again, I wasn't expecting anything from "Once Upon A Time" and now I'm a bona fide Onceler. Who knows?

Upfronts! Fox

It's upfronts season! In case you haven't already checked out the new lineups and schedules from this year's pilot roundup, here's the link to FOX's. Unfortunately, no trailers there, but plenty of cast photos and series blurbs.

The biggest, most exciting pilot of the season is, of course, Mindy Kaling's "The Mindy Project". No, not the best title, but way better than either "Mindy" or "It's Messy". But, hey, "New Girl" is a pretty terrible name and that show's great! I'm positive that this one will be, too.

Fox is actually doing pretty well in terms of pilots this year. In another strong move, they ordered "Ben and Kate" which looks promising, about two siblings, one a single mom, the other a mostly-deadbeat, who unite to raise the sister's child and help put her life back on track.

Another one I'm looking forward to is "The Goodwin Games" from HIMYM creators Carter & Bays. It's another ridiculous HIMYM-style setup: a deceased father wills $23 million to his kids, but they have to play an endless set of games to determine who wins the money. Plus, there's a random guy playing for it, too. I think the strength in this is that the money is clearly a Maltese falcon - there's no need to actually determine a winner, and the games can be as ridiculous or mundane as the writers want week to week, so I think it will take a little while longer to get bored of this premise than with HIMYM. I could be wrong, though.

It doesn't premiere until midseason, though, sorry!

Anyway, three strong sitcoms is more than I expect from FOX in a given year, so I'm super pleased with what we've got. Frankly, even though NBC ordered about half a billion sitcoms this season, I think FOX is leading the pack. But we'll get to that...

PS. Anyone know why some of the upfront trailers are being taken down? Even though they were initially posted by the broadcasting company (this one apparently is a different version than the one they had posted previously). Annoying!

Adorable Animation: Crayon Dragon

Toniko Pantoja is a 2nd year student at CalArts, but you wouldn't know that from the work. It's very nearly professional-level with top-notch storytelling so often lacking in animation students' work. Maybe this is why so many of the great Disney/Pixar directors and animators come from there.

Lovely. Adorable. Super sweet. Looking forward to seeing more, Toniko!

[via /Film]

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Pixar Movie Time this Weekend!

Pixar's bringing some of my favorite movies to AMC theaters this Memorial Day weekend only: Toy Story, Ratatouille, WALL-E, and Up!

Get thee to a theater! Seriously, these movies were made for the silver screen. Enjoy! Or, in most cases, re-enjoy!

[via /Film]

Give Wind Taxes a Break

Seriously, we do this for oil companies all the time it costs us billions of dollars in lost revenue every year, can't we renew the tax credits for wind companies to keep them afloat in this growing market? If not as support for renewables, then at least for the 3,500 jobs that will be lost if they expire?

Come on, Congress, get it together.

[via The Hill]

Annette Insdorf Celebrates Cannes Celebrating Philip Kaufman

My incredibly intelligent and insightful film professor and advisor, Annette Insdorf, author of Philip Kaufman, wrote this analysis of the premiere of Philip Kaufman's latest work, "Hemingway & Gellhorn" at this year's Cannes Film Festival. He has also been invited to give the "Master Class" an honor bestowed on only a select few auteurs, including Martin Scorsese.

It's a quick read that gives you insight into the new film and its development at HBO.


[via Huffington Post]

Just a Reminder

In case you forgot that the Supreme Court is deciding the fate of millions of Americans' healthcare in a few weeks, and that their decision will be either entirely constitutional or entirely political.

Top Ten Obamacare Benefits at Stake for Women, ThinkProgress

122 Million Americans with Pre-Existing Conditions Spend $4,844 More Per Year for Healthcare, Think Progress

REPORT: Retirees to Save $20K as a Result of Obamacare, ThinkProgress

Insurers Will Pay $1.3 BILLION in rebates to $16 Million Americans Because of Obamacare

Just think about that before you ruin American lives, Justices.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

The Real Hunger Games

ThinkProgress posted this video earlier today as a call for action against Paul Ryan's plan to cut back the SNAP program and other programs that help keep Americans out of poverty and give them and their children enough meals to live on while they get on their feet in these hard times.

You can read more about the issues and how to get involved at ThinkProgress.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice Sendak: Chicken Soup with Rest

Acclaimed author and all-around incredible person, Maurice Sendak, passed away at age 83 today. I can only assume that he's In the Night Kitchen now, dreaming and going on adventures with his dog Jennie and all his other friends who passed away before him. What a happy reunion they're having today.

Numerous blogs have covered his death with videos and tributes and quotes. Here are the links to the ones that have helped me remember this humble truth-teller today:

Maurice Sendak, Author of Splendid Nightmares, Dies at 83, NY Times

Bill Moyers: My Time with Maurice Sendak, HuffPo

Wild Things: Drawings, Quotes, and Memories from Maurice Sendak, Gawker

Remembering Maurice Sendak, ThinkProgress

'Where the Wild Things Are' Author Maurice Sendak Has Died at 83, /Film

Safe journey, Maurice. I hope there is a hot bowl of soup waiting for you when you arrive.

Fight Obesity with Economics, not Health Campaigns

File this Live Science article in the "Super Obvious Why is No One Listening?" folder: educating people about obesity won't help them make better choices, but limiting their access and economic preferences for unhealthy, over-processed foods will. What's the best way to do that? Government regulations.

It's a long article, but you get the point: de-incentivize unhealthy foods, incentivize healthy ones, and you end up with a healthier, better country. Also, private industries self-regulating? A big old pile of B to the S.

[via Neatorama]

Blast from the Past: We Need Strong Women in TV... in 1997

How little has changed. This NY Times article, "Strong Women in TV: They'd Sure Better Be; Progress, but Slowly, on Camera and Off" reads like it was written about this past Fall's new crop of series. While you could argue that a lot has changed since then, you'd probably lose.

Just read this section and tell me you haven't heard this sentiment dozens of times this year:
"On the one hand, never have so many television shows focused on female lead characters... But many women in television complain that the medium remains a male-run preserve, both behind the camera and in front of it. Precious few women run these new shows. And often, they say, the characters still hew to male stereotypes of women"
Or this one:
Ms. Mandabach said: ''What I'm bothered about is that most of the women you see happen to be victims of some kind. There's still very little diversity of characters.'' 
The most notable, and upsetting quotes, though, would probably not be repeated these fifteen years later in print, but I'm sure they're still floating around certain offices and in certain showrunners' and executives' heads:

- Bonnie Turner, on Sally in "Third Rock": "She's a warrior and a woman. Really, nobody would believe this of a woman on television if she wasn't an alien."
- Steven Petermen, on women in the writers' room: ''The view is that women won't write the hard jokes. It's not true, but there is that perception."
- Steve Levitan, creator and executive producer of ''Just Shoot Me,'' said he felt the male-female differences were real. ''If we had more woman writers, I think the humor would be toned down,'' he said. ''I think a woman will watch a man's show... but a man will not watch a woman's show, and we have to remember that.'' [Uhhhhh... Barf.]
- Theresa Rebeck, on her work on "N.Y.P.D. Blue": ''A lot of people wonder how a woman like me can write for a show that's macho, but you know the question is never asked the other way around.''

Will this ever change? For minorities and other underrepresented groups in addition to women? I certainly hope so!