Author Archives: Michael

September’s A Long Way Away

…and a very, very long time to wait for a new episode of Modern Family. Even though it’s only been two days since the finale, we don’t blame you if you’re in MF-withdrawal. Since September’s a long time to wait, hopefully this video of Jesse Tyler Ferguson (“Mitchell”) covering Lady Gaga’s “Alejandro” will be able to give you a quick fix:

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Retro-Embarassment

Check out this hilarious video from viral site Everything is Terrible! We love it for two reasons: 1) reminding us why 90’s fashion shouldn’t come back; and 2) making us cringe from embarassment…over the internet.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Thank You For Being a Friend (at Any Age)

Yes, it’s true that Blanche, Dorothy, Sophia, and Rose don’t exactly make most think of fashion and fornication like the names Charlotte, Carrie, Miranda, and Samantha do. However, there’s something about these South Florida retirees that has struck a chord with viewers of almost every age for the past two decades. While the show ran initially on NBC in the 80’s and early 90’s, it has settled into a nice retirement of nearly constant reruns on Lifetime. This “second life” has given the show a whole new generation of viewers. So, when Nylon posted its thoughts on a potential cast for a younger version of  The Golden Girls, it gave me an interesting idea. Since that other foursome of (sometimes) single ladies got a prequel, why can’t the Golden Girls as well? 

Friendship is golden at any age. via NylonMag.com

Imagine this potential episode – “Pussycat” Sophia and her cross-dressing brother Phil pick up high school senior Dorothy from the prom, where Dorothy’s high school sweetheart, Stan, had just knocked her up. While driving Dorothy home, their car accidentally hits Rose, a tourist who is visiting New York from St. Olaf with her eight siblings in search of Bob Hope, who she believes is her biological father. Offering to help Rose find her father out of guilt, Sophia and Dorothy venture into the city to find Bob Hope. However, they instead confuse him with lookalike Curtis Hollinsworth. After a long conversation, Curtis introduces the three ladies to his daughter, Blanche, who lovingly only refers to him as “Big Daddy.” It could work, right? I guess it is a bit of a stretch… 

-MK 

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com

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Glee Goes GaGa

While every other show is busy wrapping up its season (or series), Glee still has a few songs to belt out before school’s out for the summer. Of those remaining, next week’s Lady Gaga-themed episode, “Theatricality,” is probably the most hotly anticipated. Revolving around introverted Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), the storyline will focus on self-expression, and culminates in Tina becoming a goth. Yeah. Keep in mind, this is the same show that recently named guest star Jonathan Groff’s character “Jesse” pretty much solely so it could use the song “Jessie’s Girl.” We never said we watched this show for the plot…

Regardless of the questionable storyline, we can’t lie about our excitement to watch “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face” as performed by McKinley High’s finest. You can download those songs from next week (and others from the rest of the season) for free here. I think it’s safe to say that as long as the show keeps up the quality of its musical numbers, Glee’s got a halo around its finger around me.

Are you in Glee's orbit? via TVovermind

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Link It Up: 5.21.10

Yesterday was the Hubble Telescope’s 20th birthday. I bet its images today are as hazy as its memory of last night… [via Wired]

Is marijuana on the path to legalization? 49% of us hope so. [via LAist]

Bret’s back. Read the first excerpt from Imperial Bedrooms, the sequel to 80’s classic Less Than Zero. [via Esquire]

Good riddance. Jesse James is packing up and leaving LA. [via CNN]

Century Cityscape. via Flickr

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Tackle Traveling

While Americans may be more culturally, technologically, and politically splintered than ever, there are a couple things almost every American agrees upon – terrorists are bad, Lady Gaga is strange, and traveling sucks. The first too are probably going to be with us for a while, so we should just get used to them. But traveling? There are steps you can take to make it much less painful. Here are some of our recommendations.

Take a trip. via Flickr

airportdining.net – Although airplane food has actually improved over the past few years, $5.00 for a box with crackers and some craisins is hardly a value. Instead, picking up food in the airport is always the way to go…but’s always a gamble. Do you take the mediocre options at the beginning of the terminal (Manchu Wok, Freshens, etc.) or do you risk it and hope there will be better options closer to your gate (CPK ASAP, Wolfgang Puck Express, etc.)? Well,  you no longer have to guess. Airportdining.net maps out terminals for you, allowing you to plan out your dining before you even check in. Now, if they can just do something about having to go to the bathroom on the flight…

seatguru.com – There’s a lot of strategy to picking the best seat on a plane – maximizing leg room, ensuring proper distance to a TV, staying away from the engine, etc. Seatguru.com can help you pick the best seat from your available options by using a simple color-coded guide. However, even though you may get the best seat on the plane, you’ll still be at the whim of rogue threats that you can’t control. Crying babies and obese people are menaces that even technology hasn’t been able to stop.

bookingbuddy.com – Although it’s basically just a newer version of kayak.com, this site is a little easier to use. Search multiple airlines and hotels all at once to try to save money – even though you’ll probably still end up spending a bundle no matter what.

trekamerica.com – Remember going abroad? Well, your college days may be gone, but you can still travel like you once did. Trek America will help you put together a customizable travel package for you, based on your trip length, preferred destination, and budget. Who needs Ibiza when you have Vegas, anyway?

tripit.com – For those of us who haven’t “made it” yet – and don’t have an assistant to book their travel, this site will be your virtual subordinate for you. Simply set up an account, send your hotel, flight, and any other confirmation emails you’ve received, and TripIt will put together a full itinerary for you, including weather details, entertainment ideas, and suggestions for to make your travel simpler.

worldsbestbars.com – Once you have all the details set, it’s time to let loose. This one should be pretty self-explanatory.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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Looking at Lost: The Literary Connections

Sure, Lost may be regarded as one of TV’s most well-written shows, but it should also probably be crowned television’s most well-read as well. For a show that’s mostly known for its confounding mysteries and flawed characters, its packed in more literary allusions than almost any other show in TV history. Sure, some of these references have been blatantly obvious (such as Sawyer reading Richard Adams’ Watership Down early in the show’s run), but many more have gone under the radar and been left up to viewers to discover. Here are our favorites (there are way too many to include every reference):

Desmond's Odyssey. via Flickr

The Odyssey by Homer
In one of the most famous epics of all time, Greek poet Homer tells the story of Greek warrior Odysseus. After fighting in the Trojan War, Odysseus embarks on an epic journey across the Mediterranean to return home to Ithaca, and his patient wife, Penelope. In the process, he gets shipwrecked, encounters mythic monsters, and is manipulated by the Gods of Mount Olympus. Similarly, Lost tells the story of a man named Desmond (oDYSseus/DESmond?), who embarks on a journey, only to get shipwrecked, encounter monsters, and be manipulated by Jacob and the Man In Black in a long attempt to get home to his patient wife, Penny. Coincidence? (While I’d love to pretend I thought of this, it was actually TIME’s James Poniewozik who made the connection for me in this great article about Lost‘s cultural significance)

Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Carroll’s psychedelic tale about a girl who falls down a rabbit hole has been widely interpreted in pop culture. Its veiled references to drugs, history and politics, and mathematics are all steeped in urban legend. Lost has used Alice extensively throughout the shows run, evening naming two of its episodes “White Rabbit” and “Through the Looking Glass.” In the aforementioned season three finale, we also see Dharma’s underwater Looking Glass station for the first time. The station’s logo? A rabbit with a watch – another direct reference to the novel, in a scene where Alice first encounters the White Rabbit looking at his timepiece. Along with these references and many more, the show’s manipulation of space and time is a theme that Carroll constantly explores in his work.

The Bible – by ummm…
I almost didn’t include this because pretty much every great piece of art and literature has in some way been influenced by it (even when they advocate otherwise). However, since its been referenced so many times, it’s probably necessary to include. Besides the obvious episode titles (“The 23rd Psalm,” “Exodus,” “Fire + Water”, etc.), character names (Adam, Eve, Jacob, or the blatant Christian Shephard), Lost has also used biblical imagery continuously throughout the show. During season 6, young Jacob even appeared to the Man in Black with his arms outstretched and bleeding (“The Substitute”). Hmm, wonder who that could be referring to…

The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
For a while, many people thought that the Island was merely another version of “Narnia” or “Oz.” That’s been pretty clearly disproven over the years, but he connections to C.S. Lewis’ seminal saga are still interesting nonetheless. The most obvious link? Doomed anthropologist Charlotte Staples Lewis…or should I call her “C.S. Lewis?” Also, of all the Dharma Initiative stations that we’ve seen over the years, one is unique from the rest in its site off the island. The Lamp Post station, run by Eloise Hawking, is a direct reference to the lamp-post in Narnia that marks the point which links the imaginary and real worlds together. In Lost, the Lamp Post is the real world location that tracks the Island’s position (imaginary world?).

Island by Adolus Huxley
This one is a little more obscure. In the first part of Huxley’s novel about a cynical journalist who gets stranded on an island, the protagonist is “Lying there like a corpse in the dead leaves, his hair mattered, his face grotesquely smudged and bruised, his clothes in rags and muddy, Will Farnaby awoke with a start.” Sound familiar? It’s exactly how the first episode began, with our cynical protagonist, Jack, in the middle of the jungle. I know what you’re thinking…but unfortunatley, I don’t know if Amazon’s express delivery will get you the book (and last chapter) before Sunday’s finale.

Lost's Lamp Post. via Lost-Media

Finally, Lost has been riddled with different philosophical references over time: David Hume (Desmond Hume), Rousseau, John Locke, Anthony Cooper (historically, he was John Locke’s philosophical mentor, in Lost he was John Locke’s father), Jeremy Bentham,  and even Zen-master Dogen.

For a show that has posed so many questions over the past six years, it’s a good thing we know its creators are well-read. Whoever said TV rots your brain? They were clearly lost. And while we may all be looking for some final answers and closure from Sunday’s finale, if history is any indicator, we’ll likely be asking questions for hundreds of years to come…ok, that may be an exaggeration.

-MK

Contact the author at mksmogger@gmail.com.

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