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Commentary commentary

When it comes to things I like, I am a total geek. Which is to say, I enjoy listening to the commentaries on any dvds I buy. Today I listened to the commentary on Wild at Heart, the sixth episode of the fourth season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The commentary had show creator Joss Whedon, writer Marti Noxon, and actor Seth Green talking about the episode and anything else that came to mind. It was frickin' hilarious. Read more »

Movie Review: <i>The Hulk</i>

The Hulk was always a strange comic book. It got lumped in with the other superhero comics, but it was never quite like the others. Sure, the Hulk was often found beating the crap out of some supervillian-of-the-month, but, unlike the Fantastic Four or the Avengers, he didn't do it out of a sense of moral duty. He didn't do it out of a more personal sense of guilt and responsibility, like Spiderman or Daredevil. Read more »

From the Department of Naughty Innuendo

...comes this amusing selection of thoroughly out-of-context quotes from the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. Nothing spoilery. Here's a few samples:

"What d'you mean, I'm not brave in bed?" said Harry, completely nonplussed. (14)

"There was a groan of bedsprings, and Harry's mattress descended a few inches as George sat down near his feet.
"So, got there yet?" said George eagerly. (100)

People who've read too many Marvel Comics...

will find this amusing. From John Holbo's blog,

I am not alone, I trust, in my bemusement at the Taki/Buchanan collaboration that is The American Conservative.

How to put it?

It's like one of those odd Marvel supervillian team-ups - one of the really incongruous ones, like: Galactus and the Kingpin! Or: the Red Skull and Loki! Just because they're BOTH sinister, doesn't mean it makes narrative sense for them to work together.

Buffy S3 review: "Two slayers, no waiting"

Disclaimer: one fan's opinion.

Season 3 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is considered the best by many fans, and it's certainly the most consistently good. The first few episodes are a little rocky, as the writers struggle to put back all the pieces of Buffy's life they merrily threw in the air at the end of the second season. But by the time we get to the fifth episode Homecoming, a marvelous Buffy/Cordelia bitchfest that turns into an action extravaganza, the show is running on all cylinders, and there are but minor dips in quality for the rest of the season. Read more »

H to the izz-O, V to the izz-A

Language gap: according to the Times of London, a British judge dismissed a lawsuit against a rap group when he couldn't fully comprehend the lyrics. Apparently, British "concept group" Ant'ill recorded a song which was later sampled by British rappers Heartless Crew. The writer of the Ant'ill song, Mr. Alcee, claimed his honor and reputation were damaged by the use of his song on a record "containing references to violence and drugs." Which led to the judge trying to understand what the hell the rappers were saying: Read more »

Ego spike

Washington Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes (who, I confess, I usually loathe) has an amusing column about Spike Lee's injuction against cable channel TNN, who are planning to change their name to Spike TV. I guess there's room for only one Spike in Spike Lee's world. Here's an excerpt:

And did you know that a baby horse is called a "foal," but a baby mackerel is called a "spike" (or, sometimes, a "blinker")?

I wonder if Mr. Lee knows this. He should sue them, too.

Laughing at newspapers

Aussie journalist Tim Blair has got lots of good stuff up, including this amusing newspaper blooper where, according to the Guardian, anti-US sentiment in the Muslim world is both waning and at an all-time high.

Also, check out the amazing story of an Australian contraceptive that causes pregnancy!

Top 10 secondary <i>Buffy</i> characters

I.e., characters who were never in the opening credits. Just a quickie list to balance out all of the serious posts. :)

10. Amy - everyone's favorite ex-rat
9. Joyce Summers - "Have you tried not being a slayer?"
8. Harmony - love that Xander/Harmony slapfight
7. Warren - "You're insane. You're short and you're insane."
6. Jonathan - "Last time we were here, 33.3bar percent of us were flayed alive!"
5. Andrew - "We are as gods!"
4. The Buffybot - "That'll put marzipan in your pie plate, bingo!" Read more »

<i>Buffy</i> S2 Review: Can I get a "hell yeah?"

Disclaimer: See S1 review

S2: Still more episodic than later seasons, but for the most part, the monster of the week episodes are better done than their season one counterparts: funnier, faster-paced, and with greatly improved fight scenes. The only MOTW episodes this season that really fell flat for me were Some Assembly Required and Killed by Death. Read more »

Top 10 <i>Buffy</i> Episodes

10. Who Are You - body switching fun

9. Selfless - the definitive Anya episode

8. Graduation Day, Part 1 - Buffy v. Faith, best fight scene of the series

7. Prophecy Girl - "You have fruit punch mouth."

6. Fool For Love - best Spike episode

5. Dopplegangland - double the Willow-y goodness

4. Restless - my kind of weird

3. Innocence - I want a rocket launcher

2. Once More, With Feeling - "It must be bunnies!"

1. Becoming Part 2 - Best. Finale. Ever.

Buffy S1 Review: In the beginning

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 1

Disclaimer: all of the following is obviously IMO, even though I'll be writing in my best "superior objective critic" authorial voice. I recognize watching a TV show is an inherently subjective experience, and there are probably even some deluded fools out there who don't think Help or I Robot, You Jane are steaming piles of crap. Read more »

Shake your moneymaker

On May 24th, a man named Chris Moneymaker (no, really, that does seem to be his real name) won the last and the biggest tournament in the 2003 World Series of Poker, walking away with 2.5 million (before taxes, of course.) A few weeks before, he entered a tournament at the online poker site for $40. He won, and this gave him entry to a second online tournament, which he also won. This gave him a free seat at the big tournament (normally it costs 10,000 dollars to enter), where he beat out 838 other people to take first prize. $40 to 2.5 mil: not bad, eh? Read more »

Praising, not burying

A couple of weeks ago one of the greatest tv shows ever broadcast its final episode. Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a silly title and was based on a mediocre movie. These two facts kept me from watching it for years, despite several friends who kept telling me it was good. But when I finally started watching it, near the beginning of its fourth season, I got hooked.

It was like nothing else on television, and not just because of its setting, a small town in California where every old horror movie monster (plus a few new ones) showed up to prey upon the unwary. Buffy relentlessly put new spins on old material. Even the show's central concept was a reversal of an old horror movie staple. This time, the young blond girl was ready and waiting to kick some monster butt. And the show was funny. It used humor constantly, to undercut tension, to emphasize character, to underline absurdity. Some episodes would be played mostly straight, while other episodes would gleefully do 110mph into the realm of the absurd. It was often the funniest show on tv, putting the lame laugh-track sitcoms to shame.

Buffy fearlessly mixed genres, using horror, comedy, action, fantasy, romance and a sort of epic melodrama, sometimes all in the same episode. It often had cool fighting scenes worthy of a big-budget movie, particularly in seasons 2-4. It regularly annoyed the censors and prudes, pushing the envelope on what could be shown on broadcast tv. Decapitations, disembowlings, eye-gougings. Lesbian macking, deflowerings, a sadomasochistic relationship. But the show always provided a moral framework, a context to view its characters' actions, inviting discussions of morality. And the show rarely flinched from following the logical repercussions of a character's action, from the bad things that can happen "the morning after" to the effect of constant violence on our hero.

For me, Buffy's biggest attraction has always been its cast of characters. They're strong, smart, cool, sexy, interesting, which is not to say they weren't geeks, snobs, selfish, greedy, or stupid, because they were, at least sometimes. But they're people I'd like to hang out with, people I grew to care about, and for all the show's supernatural trappings, the characters were what the show was all about. Buffy and her friends Xander and Willow were the core. They were sometimes upstaged by interesting secondary characters, but they were always there, our guides, and in the end, the show was always about them and their journey. How they survived high school and became adults. The ways they grew and changed (or were killed and ripped out of heaven, or went evil and threatened the world, etc.) Cheers, guys. I'll miss you.

To comemmorate the end of show, I'll be making Buffy posts all week. Top 10 lists, season-by-season reviews, philosophical ruminations, incoherent ramblings. Stay tuned!