Monthly Archives: April 2010

SNL: Gabourey Sidibe and MGMT

ZOË RICE Gabourey Sidibe has been darling and funny in interviews…but how would she do at scripted comedy? The monologue really started for me with “I’m famous now. Suck it college.” And then came the cute little back up dancer outfits. Sometimes it just takes some early 60s spectacle and a big happy woman to put a smile on my face. I had to rewind a couple times to hear the the lyrics, and Gaby needs a better wig, but overall the monologue was very enjoyable, in large part because of Sidibe’s likability.

HOWARD MEGDAL: Wow. As Obama and the Democrats actually get tough on financial reform, SNL portrays him as acquiescing. Happy to see Obama humor-hell, this skit would have worked a month ago! But to do it as Democrats actually hold firm and Obama took Wall Street to task? It was as strange as having a sympathetic priest on the show two weeks ago. Continue reading

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Mario Cuomo In Review

HOWARD MEGDAL: The election of Mario Cuomo would have meant nothing less than the intellectual rebuttal from liberalism needed after Ronald Reagan. Instead, when Cuomo failed to make the 1992 presidential run, conservatives had a 40-year reign in the presidential discourse.

AKIE BERMISS: Mario Cuomo became Governor of New York State in 1983. Several months later I was born. And for the first 11 years of my life — Cuomo was mayor. At the age of 12, puberty hit me like a ton of bricks — it was the end of an age of innocence. So I quite naturally associate Mario Cuomo with the warm and wonderful feeling of simplicity that is childhood. That’s not to say I didn’t have my share of complicated woes from ages 1 – 11 (it was the eighties and New York was basically New Jack City), but if there was one consistent goodness it was Cuomo at the helm of the state.

This also means I associate George Pataki with sweaty hair, pimples, and nocturnal emissions. Which is fair, I think.
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Literally

HOWARD MEGDAL: I am here to propose a 20-year moratorium on the word literally, effective June 1, 2010.

AKIE BERMISS: I don’t want to come off as a jerk but sometimes, it can’t be helped. And, listen, if you ask me: language is language is language is language. If you say it and you are understood, it becomes convention. By and large, I subscribe to this as a rule and usually I am thrilled to find some new idiom, misspelling, or word misappropriation. And I haven’t yet met the linguist who was able to set me straight. But even a guy like me has his limits: its not ok to over-use (or simply misuse) the word “literally.” I know it seems like a nit-picky thing to write a whole discourse on but this is scourge threatening to blight the communication skills of a generation. When in doubt: just leave it out. Don’t say it. Just leave it alone. I don’t care what really awesome thing you were going to say — if its going to be peppered with meaningless literally’s, you can take it elsewhere. Continue reading

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State of the Newt

HOWARD MEGDAL: Newt Gingrich has made little secret of the fact that he wants to be President of the United States. That was clear when he rode an anti-Democratic wave to become Speaker of the House, when he tried to bring down a president, and in every appearance he makes these days with a thinly-veiled PAC geared to return him to the public eye.

DAN SZYMBORSKI: Regardless, Newt’s role in the Republican Party at this point isn’t going to be as a candidate for elective office, but as one of the elder statesmen of the party, which is a role he can handle very well. Newt’s name isn’t of huge value, but instilling an intellectual spirit in the party rather than the kind of lazy conservative faux-populism that Sarah Palin represents can only benefit the party.

CHRIS PUMMER: If Gingrich is the nominee, it’s going to be because the GOP prospects are bleak, the other A-listers have taken a pass, and Newt will be the latest Bob Dole-style firewood thrown into the fires of futility. Which maybe meets his exact place in history. Continue reading

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Talking About Bras

MOLLY SCHOEMANN: Having been blessed with a fairly minimalist bosom, for me bra-wearing has always seemed as though it should be optional.

EMILY SAIDEL: For the past few years Oprah has been promoting proper bra fitting and styling, and I couldn’t agree with her more, because until I went to a specialty store, I had no idea how a bra is supposed to work.

JESSICA BADER: I am happy that I’ve been able to acquire a bra wardrobe that works for my body and the clothes I wear, but I wish it didn’t have to be so difficult. Being outside of the size range acknowledged by major retailers shouldn’t make me feel like a second-class citizen, but too often it does.
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Conan to TBS

AKIE BERMISS: For me, Television fell down the day NBC let Conan O’Brien leave and gave the Tonight Show back to Jay Leno. Television is about suspending belief. In these days, when it is no longer the main thoroughfare for entertainment and information, we are really suspending belief. There’s no real compulsion to gather ’round the tv these days. We’ve got blackberries, iphones, laptops, and: cable. Television is coming up on its emeritus days. And very few things are as synonymous with television as the Tonight Show. And to me, when the Tonight Show fell down — television fell down.

ZOË RICE: With Conan O’Brien’s move to TBS, the scales may be officially tipped. As far as relevance goes, network and cable late night programming had reached something of a balance: The Tonight Show and The Late Show dominated the network market, and The Daily Show and The Colbert Report owned the basic cable share. When everyone assumed Conan would go to Fox, a new wrench was expected to disrupt the network two-party system–how fun it would be to watch Conan battle it out with Jay and Dave within the old establishment. But now, with Conan jumping ship to basic cable, the battle he enters is much broader in scope. Instead of O’Brien vs. Leno vs. Letterman, it’s going to be senior citizen network television vs. young twenty-something cable. The very nature of relevant late-night programming may shift away from the struggling networks, extinguishing one of their last holds on wit and edge. In a couple years, network late night might simply be obsolete. Continue reading

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Earl Barron: Real or Imaginary?

HOWARD MEGDAL: I consider myself to be a knowledgeable basketball fan. I aggressively follow the college game, and an a keen observer of the NBA game as well. So I think I can say this with some authority: I am quite certain that Earl Barron does not exist.

JASON CLINKSCALES: In a realistic sense, Earl Barron is every reason why I hope that more teams, especially high-salary dreamers like the New York Knicks take up ownership in their own NBA Development League teams.

Sure, we should be talking about the players who are trading baskets for the right to play in June’s Finals; and believe us, we will. Yet, in a season where the Knicks just grabbed bodies wherever they could following several cap-clearing trades, there was an intriguing mix of injured former All-Stars, injured could-have-beens and injured who-in-the-hells. Continue reading

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Phone, E-mail and IM Smackdown

AKIE BERMISS: I’ve never liked the telephone. Voices coming from out of nowhere make me jumpy. If I can’t see your face, I don’t want to hear your disembodied voice. It’s just a question of taste, you see. I don’t care about the science — I get how phones work! — its just that I don’t like it. Its a bit too much like having voices in your head or talking to an imaginary friend. I know that speaking on telephones is considered a pretty basic part of day-to-day life for most of the globe, but you can ask all my friends and crushes dating back to Junior High: if I can get out of making a phone call, I will.

HOWARD MEGDAL: For me, the advantage the telephone has over e-mail and IM is a simple one: comic timing.

JESSICA BADER: I’ve never been a phone person. Picking up and dialing makes me feel nervous and nauseous unless I am absolutely certain of who will answer the phone on the other end (and even then I still get a bit twitchy), and the sound of a ringing phone shatters whatever thin layer of calm I may possess at any given moment. Some of it is self-consciousness about how I sound on the phone, some of it is the bad childhood experience of getting yelled at for telling a family friend who called our apartment that neither of my parents were home, some of it is that you’re stuck with whatever flies out of your mouth, even if as you’re saying it you already regret it. Continue reading

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Facebook Pornography

STEPHON JOHNSON: Men like looking at pictures of women? Men like fantasizing about women they know? Men are using Facebook to fufill the first two questions? Fox News isn’t fair and balanced?

JILLIAN LOVEJOY LOWERY: Apparently, instead turning to actual pornography for masturbatory fodder, more and more men are taking matters into their own hands while perusing Facebook photos. Continue reading

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Lost: Week 13

ZOË RICE: We have four episodes left, and about a gillion characters’ stories to wrap up. Lost has officially entered high octane mode. Gone are the days when one episode would follow one character and, in flashback or flashsideways, unveil something either subtly revealing or wildly unexpected about that familiar character. Now the whole cast’s involved, and they’re meeting willy nilly, and we have no choice but to keep up.

TED BERG: Perhaps the crappiest episode in the history of Lost, I think. Nothing really happened in “The Last Recruit” — at least nothing all that interesting. Sawyer wants off the Island. Jack clashes with Sawyer. Shocker. Continue reading

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