Quote of the Day

"We're only here briefly, and while I'm here I want to allow myself joy. So fuck it."
- Amy, Her.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Trailer Tuesday: Movie:The Movie

Technically not an actual movie, but a fun little jab at Hollywood's most popular genres, Movie:The Movie is a must see 9 Minute short featuring many, many familiar faces. Check it out:

Yup, that's that.

Stay tuned as I've caught wind that a new Avengers trailer is launching tomorrow, which is just begging for a breakdown...


Thursday, 23 February 2012

RE:View: Garfunkel and Oates - Slippery When Moist

The ukulele/guitar sporting comedy duo are back, with their third studio album, featuring all the wacky, crude and awesome things we've come to expect from the girls' music. This time releasing a full 13 tracks - some old, some new, some really new - Garfunkel and Oates aren't just talking about sex and relationships this time, bringing a whole slew of lyric bases and genre mick-takes.

1. Wow - In this exciting, fast paced ditty (lasting only 35 seconds), the two present a song that is oddly ambiguous in meaning. At first, it seems like a straightforward introduction to the new album and their upbeat, quirky style, sounding not far from a 90s cartoon theme tune. But listen properly to the lyrics and you'll notice it has a nice feel-good factor, telling you "You're really cool" in a sweet pick-you-up notion. In some ways, it seems just like a Thank-You from them for shelling out £7.99 for this digital-only download. All in all, a fresh, fun start.

2. Go Kart Racing - While this one may be based on true events, don't expect some deep, soulful Adele style song. No, because this is Garfunkel and Oates, so naturally the line after "Go kart racing" is "accidently masturbating", and the rest of the 2:04 song is spent describing this awkwardly pleasurable situation... Not one for the Grandma, but plenty of knee-slapping one-liners and an insanely catchy hook will have you repeating this at all the wrong moments. The key-change at the end is something to look forward to, and just the mere fact that this is classic chord strumming simplicity keeps it from getting too outrageous.

3. I Don't Know Who You Are -  Riki and Kate's ability to nail real world, day to day awkward situations in their lyrics really shines through in this one, because I'm sure we've all had someone come say "Hello" and not have an effing clue who they are. Again, simple chords rule the rhythm (with the addition of some chimes at times), and the pair's vocals sound really gentle, tidy and right on throughout. Ironic, considering the C-bomb gets dropped early on...

4. Handjob, Blandjob, I Don't Understand Job - The rudest, funniest and richest song on the album, as G'n'O tackle that tedious problem of how to jerk a guy off. It really is as explicit as it sounds, making no apologies for likening a penis end to a "Darth Vader Pez Despenser" and the 'nads for The Muppets' Statler and Waldorf. There's a ton of celebrity references, some of which are a little vague, while others are absolute genius ("More singled out than CHRIS HARDWICK!"). The synth-dance beats busting out in the back lend it another flavour too. A gem, but just be careful of repeating it out in public...

5. Save The Rich - Like "Sex With Ducks" from their previous album, "Save The Rich" takes a satirical poke at political issues, this time with the whole Economic Inequality deal that swept over America this last year. Based on keyboard, and with a patriotic vibe going on, the song really takes off with the blatant tongue-in-cheek lines like "Children to exploit" and "Without their 7th home, how will they make it through?". The proper recording is also a vast improvement on the ropey YouTube version they'd uploaded a while back, allowing full appreciation of the song's entirety.

6. Hey Girl in The Moonlight - A good ol' classic that first appeared on their debut album, Music Songs, this one is undeniably Garfunkel and Oates, with their awkward-moment lyrics, sweet chordal structure and in a delightfully quick fix of 1:21. Quite a defining song for the duo, which works really great if you're craving a lil' comedic motivation.

7. The Ex-Boyfriend Song - Sensational. Truly, this is just a complete comic masterpiece. 6 seconds long, but just so god damn funny. You have to hear it to believe it. Moments like this is what reminds us that Garfunkel and Oates are still entirely original.

8. Silver Lining - Another one from Music Songs, but one that definitely needs more exposure due to its brilliance. It's obvious the gals can do comedy, but with Silver Lining things sound a bit more serious and surprisingly it works rather wonderfully. Sure there are some humourous beats in there, but ultimately this is about picking yourself back up after a break-up or similar incident and feeling good about yourself. Actually quite touching, this song stands out as a cute, self-esteem boosting tune that plays beautifully on the ears.

9. I Would Never (Have Sex With You) - What I love about this track is its familiarity. Taking on a bouncy, joyful and classically 40s sound, I Would Never gives some of the cleanest (but nonetheless fun) lyrics and has an honestly jolly warmth to it.  If you were looking for an upbeat, bob-along song, then this is it.

10. Google - Kicking in to ballad mode now, with the contrast between daftly apt lyrics of Googling a potential date, and the strong flow of the very power-ballad chorus. Of course, there's a few iddy-widdy bridges that serve as nice breaks (and sound oddly like nursery rhymes) and the last line's a killer.

11.  I Would Never (Dissect a Ewe) - In a meta-esque throwback to No. 9, the girls prove their comedic ability, literally riffing off their own material in side-cracking, gut busting self-mockery. Yep, taking all the same parts from the previous tune we're now rewarded a piece about science class and dissection of animals (hell, you may even learn a thing or two). I presume this started out as a joke and then blossomed into a fully realised, awesomely laugh-tacular song, which is something no other artist could probably get away with. Enjoy, but just watch out for that "Sheep Ghost"...

12. My Apartment's Very Clean Without You - We go melodic with this piano/vocal track, which gives out the pretence of being some sort of meaningful sad song, and then makes it all ironic with the whole "I'm glad I dumped you, because you messed my place up" theme. More variation like this is always welcome, and does a decent job of rounding out the album before the final track, in a calm, sophisticated and truthfully funny way.

13. Go - Coming full circle with an identical set up to No. 1's Wow, Go does pretty much the same thing, except in an even more grander fashion. That Feel-Good factor is now amplified and set to a more Motivational pace, urging - daring - you to "Go Live Your Dreams" and is amazingly inspirational if you really listen to it. A very sugary high note to end the album, making anything that you didn't like (somehow) become forgettable in place of this diamond. Le fin.

A great album for any comedy loving fan, with a musical heart that you'll be hard pressed to find elsewhere. The only downside: could've done with a couple more songs, maybe a special "Featuring Guest Star..." one. But the comedy within its own self, even outside of the music, is a sure selling point that makes it clear that Garfunkel and Oates have a vivid staying power, and a bright, jolly future ahead.

4/5 Stars

Buy It Now On iTunes!   


Sunday, 19 February 2012

RE:View: The Muppets

Spoiler Level: Minor

After years of minor TV movies and cameo appearances, The Muppets finally return to the big screen, and they're bringing all their charm, magic and beauty with them. Yes, despite all the worry, The Muppets come-back is a spectacular one that doesn't take itself too seriously, in true Muppets style, and delivers on almost every level.

  The story sees mega-Muppet fan brothers Walter (a little Muppety man in his own right) and Gary (Jason Segel, who also co-wrote and got this whole thing together), as they make their way to LA to see the legendary Muppets' Studios, along with Gary's long-time girlfriend, Mary (Amy Adams). But little do they know that their journey is going to involve reuniting their heroes, The Muppets to save their theatre from evil oil baron, Tex Richman (Chris Cooper).

This set-up to reintroduce the Muppets to a world from which they were staling with a humbling self-referential cheek, is what gives the story a very warm heart that hearkens back to the Henson days of Muppetery. In other hands, this could have seemed like a cheap and easy way to make another Muppets film, but in Segel (a self-proclaimed Muppet-nut himself) and director James Bobin's hands, it just works. Segel's love for the Muppets is ever present in the charming script, with some definite connections between his own fandom and the characters of Walter and Gary.

An old favourite and a new favourite.
With Walter, the team have truly struck gold, presenting one of the most likeable, relatable characters I've ever encountered. If you don't immediately fall in love with him, I think it's safe to say you have no heart. Not only that, but he's given a wealth of development despite the lime-light being shared between Kermit, Miss Piggy and everyone else. Watching Walter fulfil his destiny in becoming a Muppet is a heart-touching experience, worthy of any good Human centred story; perhaps even exceeding it in terms of emotional beauty.

Once Walter, Gary and Mary are all set up into proceedings, the film kicks into nostalgic high gear with the entrance of Kermit and his buds. Taking on a classic "We're getting the band back to together" vibe, we get to see the "Where are they now?" for the old gang, including Fozzie as a failed motel entertainer, Gonzo as a plumbing entrepreneur and Piggy as the editor of Vogue magazine. Again, the universal wit of The Muppets shines through this, giving out laughs for the kids, the adults and even a few subtle ones for the adult adults. One Liners, Set Piece Gags, Running Puns, Meta Mocking and "What's Going on In The Background There?" are all at the very forefront of the jokes, with the hits far more frequent than the 1 or 2 misses.

  The characters still feel like the ones we'd left behind, saying what you'd expect and acting as they would, resonating the Henson/Oz spirit that made them the cult-phenomenon that they are today. When they get on that stage for the "Save The Muppets Telethon Spectacular Show", everything comes flooding back and you just live in that Muppet world for those moments. The transition into a new era has gone as smooth as it could; the magic always intact - never the thought of "there's actually a bunch of dudes with their hands up some puppets behind it all". The truth is that when you see Kermit sitting on that log with his little banjo, singing "Rainbow Connection" with the same innocent earnest as he did 33 years ago, it is just pure, undeniable movie magic. Heart-String-Tugging indeed.

 Which brings me to the music, because of course, it wouldn't be the Muppets if there wasn't any giggle-a-long (and often strikingly meaningful and touching) songs. Flight of The Conchord's Bret McKenzie provides some of the greatest Musical numbers - even by Broadway standards - that you'll hear in a long time. Alongside the classic Muppet tunes and some renowned pop hits that have been "Muppetefied", McKenzie, like Segal, has embodied the old school Henson style, with the shiny, upbeat "Life's A Happy Song", the brilliant, Oscar Nominated ballad, "Man Or Muppet" and the villainous "Let's Talk About Me" rap from Chris Cooper (which comes off hilariously dastardly - hilarstardly). Tongue in cheek and gloriously Muppety, these new songs are sure to be well remembered, repeated and rejoiced. Oh, and the Conchord's style is so awesomely echoed throughout.

Ah, and the cameos, the glorious, glorious cameos. Whilst some may be missed by those less familiar with American TV and culture, those that get them will be overwhelmingly pleased. Their presence is frequent, with some well loved show-biz faces popping up in some delightfully funny places.  Believe me, one in particular was so exciting and genius that I was giddy beyond belief. And naturally, they all reappear in the during-credits "Mah Na Mah Na" theme, to much (in my head) applause.

 Sure it's got its flaws; some things don't get enough time as they deserve to truly flourish, predominantly in the relationship between Mary and Gary which feels a tad rushed and unfocused. A few Muppets, while featured, seem neglected (more Gonzo, Rizzo and Sam The Eagle please!), but it's justified with the obvious time constraints. Baddie Richman could have done with some extra motif via exposition too, but that does get cleared up in a cut section of his rap.

 But this is The Muppets: those things don't matter. We're not looking at an ultra serious movie here, after all. It's got all the elements it needs, and is fuelled by them to no end, resulting in an almost perfect rendition of The Muppets to date. And it's like Henson always said: "If it's too good, then it's not the Muppets". What Segel, Bobin and McKenzie have done is extraordinary; a true movie feat - to take something that's relevance was fading, and replenish it to audiences which will remember and love and crave, want, whistle and cry for more. One thing's for sure: THE MUPPETS ARE BACK.

The Beloved just got Reloved:
4.5/5 Stars
*Kermit Flail*


And stay posted for my upcoming review on The Muppets Original Soundtrack!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

5 Ways Tai Chi Can Change Your Life

For about 18 months now, I've been taking Tai Chi classes. Yep, that's right, Tai Chi: that slow moving, serene, "breath-a-lot thing" that you've probably seen on TV and read about in countless types of media. It's often said that the art form of Tai Chi can "enhance your fitness" and become an almost therapeutic relaxation method, even prevent you from falling ill so often and improve your memory. But then there all these other things I've found have improved within my life since starting, which don't always get the exposure they deserve. So I'm here to set things straight, and reveal to you the secret, dazzling underbelly of true Tai Chi, and the seriously amazing effects it can evoke.

1. Patience
The movement of Tai Chi is all about control through fluidity, and being able to sustain a usually slow pace through the "Form". This "Form" consists of a set of moves (in mine, known as The White Crane Form, there are 65), which all have a potential for martial application. Where I train, students are drip fed the moves, allowing only a new move to be learnt once the previous has been fully understood and executed.

  This long process can often be frustrating, practicing over and over the same set of moves before another can be given. But this creates patience. A sturdy amount of it too. When you're going through the Form, one's choice to take it steady means it often will take a while to get through the entire set, and so to stay cool and determined with that, you have to be patient; there's no other choice. When this occurs on a weekly basis, you truly begin to build up that core control of time that can be transferred to almost everything else in your lifestyle.

2. Reflex
Although Tai Chi is considered a soft-style martial art, it doesn't mean that its application for self-defence is any less lethal than that of its sister art, Kung Fu. Just take a look at this video, and then try and tell me that Tai Chi is just for old people and self-proclaimed hippies:

Whilst it would take an incredibly experienced student to pull off the level of martial prowess demonstrated in this video, those with even the base skills of Tai Chi can and will feel the affects it has on stance, reflex and retaliation in the face of physical adversity. Just the other day I found myself at odds with a significantly larger guy at school, as he held a plastic ruler carved crudely at the end to mimic the aesthetic of a knife. (Don't worry, it wasn't anything serious, he was just joking around for the most part.) So as he feints a lunge at me, I find myself grabbing his forth-right arm, and going into a move reminiscent of one known as "Cross to The Stretch". Next thing I know, his head's recoiling from my outstretched palm that somehow found its way to his face, giving him a sharp smack on the nose.

   Although he was surprised I was capable of such resistance, he luckily accepted my apologies and wasn't that bothered over it (he's hard skinned, let's say), so just shrugged it off and walked away. But the point I'm trying to make is that without my Tai Chi knowledge, there was no way that whole encounter would have gone the way it did. The reaction I had was a subconscious reflex, embedded within me simply by the 16 or so moves I know and the year and a half of Tai Chi lessons.

 To be honest, I didn't even know myself that I was capable of such self defence, but that just goes to show how much Tai Chi does for you behind closed doors. And it's not just defence these newly found reflexes could come in handy, as things like catching, landing and stopping could all be improved by the form. So ultimately, Tai Chi could one day save your life, and you wouldn't even know it until it happened...
(Disclaimer: Tai Chi not actual form of life insurance)

3. Focus
When practising Tai Chi and its forms, you're often encouraged to go into the "Thousand Yard Stare", detaching yourself from everything else around you, yet still being fully aware of their movements. It's an odd concept, but an easy one once you get the hang of it. The process of this creates a link between you and your motions, allowing an intense focus to take hold. Your eyes remain coldly on that far point in the distance, yet your mind - now clear of distractions -  moves your limbs in a poetic fashion, layering that muscle memory deep into the brain's excesses. As this happens, there should be silence all around, with nothing but the tip-tap of that essential foot work to accompany the steely resolve of someone thinking and living solely within those Tai Chi movements.

  Besides making you feel undeniably mystical, the Thousand Yard Stare can be applied in other life-situations that require focusing a huge deal on physicality and even mentality. For me, I try this before and after exam papers, when I've got a few minutes either side of the test. When you get into that rock-solid frame of mind, nearly anything seems possible. Matched with the necessary "Breath in through your nose and out through your mouth", this aspect of Tai Chi can bring a shed-load of focus into whatever it is you need doing. Unless it's the Force: believe me when I say that Tai Chi does not give you Jedi powers. Stupid internet rumours...

4. Rhythm, Grace and Balance
People often forget that "Martial Art" is a two word phrase, and that that second word is just as important as the first. When you see someone performing Tai Chi, regardless of the style, you can't deny its strangely hypnotic attractiveness. The slow lull of timed movements like a stream rolling smoothly down its course is what makes Tai Chi so unique; what makes it an art. And this lends the participant an entire skill set of  wonder...

Just your average Tai Chi student.
   With your knees bent slightly to keep a constant, unbreakable stance, your breathing synced perfectly with the shift in move to move, and your motions kept tight and fluid, there comes a certain sense of euphoria within yourself. The combination of rhythm, grace and balance is hard to explain, though it's a very useful thing to have indeed. Nearly tripped over? Don't worry, you can just ease yourself back onto stable footing now that Tai Chi has taught you your centre of gravity. Lunging for that tricky shot in [insert preferred racket sport here]? No problem: a simple lean and glide will make it look graceful. Tapping out of time to a song? Just breath, think about the beat - really listen for its heart - and apply your form-based rhythm to catch up. Heck, I'm even willing to bet that the timing that rubs off from Tai Chi can even improve your comedic timing: just as long as there's no "chi"eap stereo"tai"pe jokes...

5. People Will Think You're Awesome
Whenever I get round to telling people that I do Tai Chi, there's always this underlying smugness about it, because people are usually surprised; followed by impressed. At least that's the way it seems when their eye-brows peak and their eyes widen, mouth opening to say something like "Really? Cool.", and then bow down to your utter epicness. Okay, so maybe the bowing happens metaphorically, but the fact remains (despite no independent studies to say so): Tai Chi sounds awesome.

  An interesting and culturally varied activity like this has the power to turn people's perceptions from boring office worker to sophisticated zen master; naive teenager to mature and cultured young adult; fitness meat-head to calm and focused health enthusiast. Then there's a shroud of mystery around this Asian phenomenon, that acquaintances find fascinating - like an ancient, deadly secret that only Tai Chi students know.

Socially, this can give great benefits. It's a topic that sparks talking points (What? Where? Why? Is That...? I used to do... etc), gives another dimension to character and generally puts you in a light that makes you seem more down to earth, more approachable, more diverse. Slap Tai Chi on a good CV, and employers can see (if they're worth their salt) that you've got a level-headed work ethic, a sturdy determination and a edgy personality that'll be great for the chosen job.

Plus you'll look like a bad-ass. So if all else fails, there's still that...


If this piece has you interested in Tai Chi, and you want to find out where to learn, simply google Tai Chi + your local area and see what comes up. You'd be surprised at how popular and common it really is. And if that local area happens to be Horsham (UK) or its outlying areas (West Sussex), why not try White Crane Academy and see me there!


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

RE:Action: Grimm

The new US supernatural/detective series, Grimm, debuted on UK screens last night (via Watch) after enjoying a good 4 month lead in the states.  The show - which features unique, modern day spins on the classic tales of The Brothers Grimm - boasts David Greenwalt as one of its creators, whose previous credits included Buffy and co-creating Angel. Good things were expected, especially with a premise like that in a time where supernatural, urban fantasy and take-a-classic-fairytale-and-put-it-in-current-context are all the rage (see Once Upon A Time, Supernatural, Vampire Diaries etc).

       However, for me I felt this pilot episode was a bit of a mixed bag. Whilst this nice blend of conventions was nice and all, the episode itself was propped up against these inspirations, often borrowing a little too much than it oughta. That may just be me going into it too comparatively with the other shows, but you've got to admit the blatant likeness to Supernatural... Although it can hardly be blamed for this, because after all, it's just trying to find a niche here and prove to the networks that they're worth the budget. And if it takes a few creative clich├ęs to get that, then so be it, at least for the beginning. But I digress...

  At the heart of the episode was Nick, our protagonist who quickly discovers he is of the Grimm blood-line, gifted/cursed with the abilities to spot the hidden creatures of myth and fairytale that murk in our humble societies. Actor David Giuntoli seems like a good fit for the "every man thrown into a world he doesn't yet understand" role, and plays it with an admiral sense of likeability. His ties with his girlfriend and cop-partner look like they could blossom, and the unlikely duo of him and reformed WereWolf, Siras, is what may give the show a true, honest rhythm and heart, as well as a few much needed comedic beats.

 But it's hard to forget the fact that the first half of the hour-long drama was rather lifeless for such a cult-induced show like this. Unfortunately, we're given some bland dialogue (how may times are you going to yell "WHERE IS SHE!"?) and cheese-ridden plot points ("Your parents didn't really die in a crash!" No sh*t...)  that whilst still hold the narrative together fine, don't have you laughing or rooting. Just watching, really. The second half, however, things picked up into a more intense, thought provoking show.

  Which brings me onto the baddie of the pilot; an obvious choice in "The Big Bad Wolf", riffing on the Red Riding Hood tale to a successful effect. The wolf, known as a "BlutBad", presents an eerie representation of the story's modern portrayal: a guy kidnapping a little girl and keeping her in a basement, bordering on grooming her. This slight connotation of paedophilia was a unique angle, and a ballsy one at that, which thankfully paid off in execution. The guy doesn't dress as Grandma, he acts like her; a feminine man in touch with his delicate sensibilities, providing plenty of frightful ideas. And when we see the cop duo go in to take him down, the show amps up the tensions and puts audience on edge in the suspense and terror of it all.
Not so hot... Good make-up though!
The final few scenes give us an indication of some possible story arcs (the Police Chief's a villain, the blonde woman a haggley thing, etc) and reminds us that Grimm has got a 22 episode season ahead, regardless of what went wrong earlier. We see that Nick is a flawed protagonist in the way he jumps the gun in the Hospital and earlier in the arrests, so his character definitely has mileage on it.

Let's also not forget that for a limited budget pilot, the whole thing still looked pretty damn good. Granted, the monster transformations were a bit goofy, but the tranquil woodland house and its interiors were marvellously bright and full of wonder. This fairytale aesthetic which managed to transfer from page to screen creates a neat juxtaposition to that of the gritty police department scenes, serving the show a uniqueness in that respect.

 I think that as long as Grimm can rectify the script/dialogue issues, slowly fleshing out the show's conceivably deep mythology into that of a living, breathing world, then it should see itself well into the next season at least. This wasn't by any way a bad episode, and maybe I was a little too scrutinizing, it's just that for the whole project to survive, it needs to fall away from the crutches of Angel and Supernatural, find its own swing and really shine as an individual programme.

The potential is there; it's got some fresh ideas, gorgeous looks and great action/thriller/horror attributes. So now it's just up to the next few weeks to see whether Grimm can take hold of itself and thrive upon its own merits. Because if it can, then I sure as heck want to be there watching it...


Trailer Tuesday: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

This week has seen the release of the first trailer for Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, featuring everybody's favourite Founding Father, and a bunch of evil, blood sucking vamps. Tim Burton's attached (to no surprise), but Johnny Depp isn't (to much surprise). So feast your eyes on this here trailer, complete with state of the art, essential bass drops - because these days, a trailer isn't a trailer without them.

Yes, this is an actual thing, and comes from a novel of the same name. The author has also written the much praised Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which sadly hasn't yet got the screen adaptation it deserves. "Oh Mr Darcy, your brains are so divinely exquisite".

     Later on this year comes Spielberg's very own take on Honest Abe, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as the man himself, in Lincoln (an odd name, I know). Well that may be all well and good, and a sure-fire Award Baiter, I doubt it'll have the top-hat wearing Pressie wielding huge axes and pulling off unimaginable stunts. Then again, I've been wrong before...


Monday, 13 February 2012

9(ish) People We Need To See In Husbands

Last year, writer/producer, Jane Espenson launched the laugh-a-minute web series, Husbands, which focused on the unlikely gay couple of reality star Cheeks (YouTube Sensation, Brad Bell) and pro baseball player, Brady (Sean Hemeon). Swept up in a wave of uniqueness, the 11 episodes of the series (each at around 2 and a half minutes long) became the new kid on the block for internet-comedy, that brought something fresh and untapped into its hilariously written scripts from Cheeks and Espenson, but with a TV-level of aesthetic, thanks to director Jeff Greenstein.

     While I've praised Husbands heavily in the past (a write-up which actually found its way on to their official press page), it's now time to look toward the show's future. Whether it'll return to the web or wiggle its affectionate way onto network television is yet to be seen, but if the acclaim that the first season got is anything to go by, I think we'll certainly be seeing more of this independent, potentially ground-breaking series. And so it is that my mind drifts to the kind of guest stars that would be perfect for a cameo - or even a recurring role - next time around, following in the footsteps of Nathan Fillion's brief (but awesome) appearance in the third episode.

Shall we begin?

Jim Rash
One of my favourite characters from NBC's Community is, hands down, Dean Pelton (played by Jim Rash). As the overtly camp and flamboyant dean of Greendale College, Rash frequently steals the show with his impeccable comedic timing and physical presence, often taking the well written lines to entirely new levels of funny. This kind of camp is textbook Husbands material, and something that could be mined for all manner of hilarity.

    Although it pains me to say it, Community is treading a fine line this year, with a potential cancellation once the season is out, due to poor ratings (somehow!) and a slouch in marketing on NBC's behalf. This means, if worst comes to the worst, Rash could find himself out of a job soon - but the silver lining is he could then have time to appear on Husbands. And Jane's a big fan of Community (so I've heard), making it an even more promising venture if things pan out.

    Anyone who's seen Rash in action knows that I need not describe the kinds of character he could bring to the show  - just that it will be gut-busting fun. Heck, best case scenario: Community gets renewed (Six Seasons and a Movie, baby!) and Rash still makes a cameo. Win Win. And probably another Win.

Felicia Day (and the rest of The Guild cast)
Felicia became an internet phenomenon after creating her very own web series, The Guild, which was literally the show that started this web revolution for creative media. Now a goddess among geeks, Felicia and the rest of the talented Guild crew are five seasons in with no signs of slowing down, as she even expands into a variety of other web shows (See Dragon Age: Redemption).

When I participated in Jane (@JaneEspenson) and Cheeks' (@GoCheeksGo) Husbands Twitter Q&A at the beginning of the series, I asked whether a Guild/Husbands crossover would be on the cards, to which Jane replied: "We would totally be open to a crossover with The Guild! Love them! Love Felicia Day!", and Cheeks chipped in with: "Ha! Those worlds colliding would be hilarious! :D". So at least one side is up for this, and what with Jane and Felicia being rather good buddies, I'd say it's definitely plausible.

    How the two show's casts would mingle would be a very interesting thing to see, and how they are brought together would be quite the complex scenario (they are, after all, completely different character archetypes). But I'm sure the talent of Jane and Felicia's writing could make it all work out, with some hilarious consequences no doubt: Bladezz chatting up Haley, Brady being weirded out by Vork, Cheeks having a spa day/shopping trip with Clara. Yep, I can hear the laughter already...

   And hey, even if it wasn't a crossover, and just Felicia cameoing, that'd still be awesome and sure to attract a lot of viewers. I could imagine her as some sort of Celebrity-Gossip Blogger trying to get the low-down on Cheeks and Brady; prepared to do ANYTHING to get the scoop. Yep, still hearing the hypothetical laughter.

Neil Patrick Harris
Anyone who's seen NPH on How I Met Your Mother knows he plays Barney, the ladies' man; a player down to the core. But in real life, it couldn't be more different. Yep, Neil is 100% gay, contrary to his popular character. And that's not the only surprise he has up his sleeve (literally), as he's multi-talented in almost every performance based area: Acting, Singing, Dancing, Comedy, Magic - you name it, he does it.

       Now Neil's no stranger to web-shows either, thanks to his starring role in Joss Whedon's hugely successful Dr Horrible. With a fan base the size of a city, Neil could bring a huge number of new-comers into Husbands - even if it was a two second cameo. And the great thing is that he could play anyone due to his diverse acting capabilities: friend, foe, bub or babe, he'd be sure to mix things up with the Husbands guys. Whatever it is, this would be a guest star of LEGEN-wait for it-DARY proportions (just as long as he's wearing a suit!).

Wil Wheaton
An odd choice, I know, but one that could work. Former child star Wheaton managed to dodge adult-failure by garnering a big fanbase around him through his blog and various other internet projects, taking his nerdy attributes and using them to become a cultural icon. Nowadays, he can be seen turning up on a number on niche shows like Eureka, The Big Bang Theory and of course, The Guild.

    But one thing we've learnt from his roles on these, is that he is very good at playing the douche. A sharp tongue and a stone-heart drive his (purposefully) dislikeable characters into classically pantomimic, villainous territory. This is where Husbands comes in: Wil plays a stereotypical, homophobic meanie. After slating and belittling the guys, they fight back to him in some deviously funny ways, ending in tears of sorrow for Wil and tears of laughter for us. And just for pure speculation, Jane recently contacted Wil privately through Twitter for unknown reasons... Suspicious, eh?

Sean Maher
Last year, it came as a bit of a shock that Maher, who played Firefly's Simon Tam, turned out to be gay, AND has been happily living with a nine-year partner and their two kids. So that's twelve years in Hollywood, and no one really suspected a thing.

    Now the great thing for Sean is that Husbands could be a great stepping stone for his coming out shindig. While his "secret-gay-guy" role in the short lived The Playboy Club never got anywhere due to its swift cancellation, Sean has yet to truly shine in a role that reflects his newly revealed place in life. So with Husbands, he could jump aboard into perhaps a recurring role, as his ties with Jane and series costume designer, Shawna Trpcic are still pretty tight (at least I like to think).
 What I could picture him as is a fellow Baseball player of Brady's, who also comes out after seeing Brady's warm reception into the world of gay. But Cheeks being Cheeks sees him as a no-good copycat, out for Brady's heart, and inevitably creates some hilarious, inadvertent chaos. An episode entitled "Swing and a Miss", perhaps?

Riki Lindhome & Kate Micucci (Garfunkel and Oates)
Garfunkel and Oates are a comedy-folk duo, made up of comedic actresses/musicians Riki and Kate, who are often found on YouTube singing downright dirty-crude songs, that'll bring smiles to your face and suggestive thoughts into your minds; but ultimately, it'll bring laughs to your life.

   Having signed a deal with HBO to make their own show pilot last year, and enjoying a successful career due to their mass-internet fanbase since their arrival, the girls are obviously not shy to either medium. You may even recognise Kate from Scrubs (as Season 8's Gooch) or Raising Hope, Riki from her countless bit-parts on tons of shows, and the pair of them from my RE:Commend of them and their awesome music.

    Now let's transfer their skill-sets to Husbands, and it's awesome all around; I smell a musical number (or even a musical episode!). And if their "Sex With Ducks" and "Gay Boyfriend" songs are anything to go by, I'd say the two would be rather delighted to appear on the show. At the same time as giving us pure entertainment, they could also build up some hype around their upcoming show, which is already being dubbed "Glee with dick jokes".

Alec Mapa
Alec is one of those people whose face you know, but the name escapes you. He's one of America's finest "That Guy"s, making appearances in everything from Friends to Marley and Me, and had a recurring role as the gloriously camp fashion show presenter on Ugly Betty. Again, this is a no brainer for Husbands, clicking perfectly with Cheeks' humour, and giving us some cultural diversity along the way.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I happen to recall Mapa getting in touch with Jane (via Twitter) shortly after the premiere with regards to the show and appearing on it. This may be "totes" jumping the gun, but I reckon this one's already locked down, if not in serious consideration. Possible roles: Cheeks' agent, Cheeks' mortal enemy (because he is also a gay reality star) or even a reprisal/reference to the Ugly Betty role, as some sort of reporter?

Hayden Panettiere
By having Haley, Cheeks' BFF, in Husbands (played by the wonderful Alessandra Torresani), the show is given another dynamic, from which some great storylines could sprout from. And therefore comes Hayden, another lavish young blonde who could amp up some tensions in the show. Just imagine her as Haley's rival, hating each other since high-school, and now in very similar life-roles. Why not throw in the classic sitcom trope of "OMG, look: a group of people exactly the same as you!", with Cheeks also having a parallel who hangs out with Panittiere's character. Stink eye would be given, drinks thrown into pretty faces and hysterical nonsense all around.

     Why Panettiere though? Well, we really haven't seen much of her since Heroes, and her similar age and style to Alessandra makes her the perfect candidate for a mirror-like character. Them both having come from Sci-Fi show backgrounds (Alessandra on Caprica; Hayden on Heroes) furthers the similarities and could provide some referential easter egg moments. And if that doesn't work out, well it wouldn't hurt to have an non-identical twin-sister come visit, would it?

John Barrowman
Another thing that I brought up during the aforementioned Q&A was the prospect of good ol' John making an appearance later on, to which Jane and Cheeks both whole-heartedly agreed would be awesome, with a "We'd love to have John on Husbands! That would be amazing!" and an "Omg, he endlessly flirts with both of them and causes drama! (Comedic drama, obvi)" from the pair, respectively.

Now remember, Jane was writing and co-exec-producing on Torchwood: Miracle Day not long ago, and Husbands' director, Jeff Greenstein is an exec on Desperate Housewives; both shows that Barrowman has been involved in (obviously the former more than the latter). So basically, the links are there, and it'll only take a few phone calls (and a lot of crossed fingers) for John to be getting his camp on, and causing mayhem with Cheeks and Brady in pure Husbands style.


While we may not get to see all these familiar faces making a well-deserved appearance, it's safe to say that no matter where Husbands takes us, it's sure to be one heck of a funny ride (but you've got to admit, some of those set-ups I've plotted do sound pretty rad, right?). Jane and Cheeks may have started work on the next bout of episodes, but that doesn't mean a couple cameos can't be thrown in for good measure.
Whatever happens, let's just make sure we keep watching and supporting the show, via:


Wednesday, 8 February 2012

RE:Commend: Garfunkel and Oates

When you look at the great, old-school rock'n'roll duos from the late 60s to early 80s, the groups "Simon and Garfunkel" and "Hall and Oates", come to mind. And when you look at these two closely, you'll realise that within the duo-dynamic, one of them is the all-singing, all-dancing front man, while the other often waddles around in the background, awkwardly strumming away at a six-string. This, of course, is a notion that comedians/actors/musicians, Riki Lindhome and Kate Micucci have tongue-in-cheekily picked up on, naming their two-girl comedy folk band after these underplayed "second bananas", in the form of Garfunkel and Oates.

    But the sweetly ironic thing is that these guys are anything but "second bananas", with enough pure, undeniably raw humour in their off-beat songs to claim them as top banana; every time. Just have a listen of any one of their songs, and within moments you'll be giggling at the crude, cutesy and ultimately true lyrics that accompany the Ukele/Guitar combo they've got going on. There's an upbeat tune about getting your medical marijuana licence featuring comic, Doug Benson, in "Weed Card"; a melodical venture into the true thoughts of everyone with "Pregnant Women Are Smug"; and a no holds-barred, F-Bomb-athon in the aptly named "F**k You" (which surprisingly starts out as a pretty little love-song). Other highlights include "Handjob, Bland Job, I Don't Understand Job", "This Party Just Took a Turn For The Douche", and the Christmas-themed, guest-star packed "Present Face".

   While their humour is certainly that of an adult-level, it's hard to disagree with their explicit lyrics when they're used to such amusing comedic affect; gangsta rap, this is not. And so it doesn't come as much as a surprise that the pair have landed a pilot deal with HBO, with a show that's promised to be "Glee with dick jokes". Think of them as a female version of the hilarious Flight of The Conchords, and you'll get an inkling for how funny this show could be...

  With a mass internet fanbase that rises day by day, two albums already produced and a third to be released later this month, it's safe to say that these gals are sticking around the comedy-music scene for a while. So start getting used to them now, and be thankful for the uplifting laughs they'll bring you: line by line, lyric by lyric, chord by chord.

So check out this G'n'O classic, "You, Me and Steve":

And don't forget that Garfunkel and Oates also have a website, a Youtube Channel, a Facebook Page and Twitter! Plus all their albums are available via iTunes: what are you waiting for? Go buy!


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Trailer Tuesday: The Avengers Super Bowl Trailer

Not an official poster, but still a sweet fan attempt. 
It's that time of the year again, when America celebrates its national, irrelevantly named sport in the annual football play-offs. While I may be scratching my head at the sheer hype around this (coming from a purely British point of view), I struggle to deny the awesomeness of the many trailers that get rolled out through the ad-breaks. Last year I covered the Captain America Super-Bowl spot, and this year I guess it's only fitting if I do the same for its "OMGWTFTHISISGOINGTOBESOAMAZING" predecessor, in the shape of The Avengers. 

   It may only be a minute in length, but by-jove it's SO tantalising for the ol' Nerd Glands (is that or thing, or does it just sound dirty?). Anyway, let's get on with this:

  • 0:11 - After a brief into featuring the usual "Citizens running from explosions" and a lead in from Captain America, we're treated to the brief appearance of the Quinn-Jet (or at least something along those lines). This may or may not be on the mighty Helicarrier (a flying aircraft carrier)...
  • 0:14 - More of NY getting bombed, but this time we can see the secret aliens behind it; flying bike things, eh? More on them later.
  • 0:17 - The Chrysler Building as an electric conductor for Thor (supposedly)? That's some powerful voltage...
  •  0:26 - Thor also gets to ride a jet himself, Norse style (which involves surfing it like a frigging bad-ass).
  • 0:30 - Whoa, whoa, whoa: pause your players a second! That right there is our currently unknown alien force that allies with main villain, Loki. So, Bipedal: Check; Greyishly Skinned: Check; Lightly Armoured: Check; Tribal-Looking: Check; and 3 Toes: Check. Conclusion: Uncertain (still). While producer, Kevin Feige, has said that the alien menace have been in the comics, it's hard to determine exactly which ones from this. Feige also stated that their actual identity isn't going to be "impactful", teasing perhaps a lesser known race (no Skrulls for sure, then). My money is on the Badoon, a race of war-hungry, reptilian creatures with no superpowers to speak of, but a high disregard for the female gender. Now this is where my theory comes into play; the Badoon look like they have their spines on their front, and if you look at the armour of the aliens at this point, they look like they have a part running down that area. Also, the Badoon despise and enslave the females of their planet, and Writer/Director/My God, Joss Whedon is renown for his strong, female characters (just don't ask him why). For him, who better to write in as villains, than a race that opposes the very things he stands for? Of course that's just one idea, and there are dozens of other speculative thoughts out there (the name Thanos has been thrown around a lot...)
  • 0:36 - Iron Man's little battle here looks to be one of the film's finest action sequences, with some beautifully colourful CGI in play, as well as some realistically shaky camera work (not unlike Whedon's Serenity flight sequences).
  • 0:42 - Oooh, the money shot. Our six heroes in a badass, surround pan - yep even the Hulk's there. Have I mentioned yet that I'm rather excited for this movie?
  • 0:50 - Ah, time for some Tony "Snark", courtesy of Whedon's Wit: "Earth's Mightiest Heroes, type thing" and "We have a Hulk" are certain to become quote classics. And may I say that Loki looks lusciously dapper in that Green/Black outfit of his, while Stark's Black Sabbath T-Shirt is another great example of Whedon's work; pop-cult references all the way, baby!
  • 0:56 - And SMASH time. Hulk's new CGI upgrade and Motion Capture system sure does show here, in a great Jump'n'Smash example of rage. 
  • 1:00 - Le fin... for now. Note: For Americans, that May 4th is correct, but here in the UK we have been blessed with an April 27th release. Midnight launch, anyone?

This is in fact the third trailer for The Avengers that I've broken down so far, but what can I say? April 27th, hurry the heck up! For more on The Avengers, as well as Trailers, Reviews and other kinds of Entertainment Awesome, make sure you stick with me, right here, at Dude Meister Blogs.