A Stupid Comeback

13 Jun

The good news about writing for a pop culture blog that nobody reads is that when you go into a self-induced-procrastination-coma fueled by unrealistic expectations and crushing personal pressure/guilt about choosing the least practical major in the modern era is that you won’t really be letting anyone down when a time-wasting side-project is temporarily completed and then abandoned. The bad news is that while I was out of the loop, and despite my lack of commentary, pop culture continued to spark all kinds of opinions, stupid and otherwise. I know there is nothing I can do to appease all of the people who don’t read this blog, but at least I can try to get a few truncated stupid opinions up to make up for my unnoticed sabbatical.

Ricky

Carl Wells’ response to Fritz Godard’s piece about new pop gods, was right on, for the most part, but I do take issue with his slamming of Ricky Gervais. Judging the man on cashing paychecks for something he created and because he made Jennifer Garner an “icy bitch” does not diminish his contributions to comedy, and doing so is really just playing the role of spoiled consumer demanding creative perfection while conveniently forgetting about past glory. In part because I had zero interest in how the American Office ended, and part because of Learning Guitar with David Brent was starting up, I returned to The Office in Slough, and so the damming of Ricky Gervais hurt all the more. The man is comic gold and the spiritual grandfather to virtually every half hour sitcom on television worth anything. The Original Office was so brilliant that people weren’t even sure if the comic awkwardness was intentional or not. Now entire careers have been constructed around aiming for the same situation. Any sitcom that isn’t bound to a sound stage, three cameras and a laugh track can thank Ricky Gervais. (It’s shocking to remember that even Seinfeld had a laugh track and a three camera setup) And the miserable end to the American Office could have been avoided if TV executives followed Gervais’ lead on keeping the run to a concise two series and a Christmas Special. The Office UK is still better than 80% of sitcoms on the air today, and if it wasn’t for this show it would be better than 100% of the sitcoms on today. It is slightly true that not everyone can readily watch his shows, but with a little patience and/or searching his shows demonstrate his comic talent and absolutely justify his fame.

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While lamenting my inability to defeat my own desire to do nothing instead of something productive with fellow stupid opinion haver, Caitie, we broached the subject of the new Arrested Development. She is of the mind that season 4 is just awful and anyone saying any differently is only doing so because they longed for the show for so long that they can’t actually admit to themselves that the show is not good. While I’m in the opposite boat where I think people think that the new season is bad because their expectations were tied too tightly to their memory of the first three seasons and the expectations are too high to give it a fair chance. Either way, the fourth season of Arrested Development is nearly impossible to judge on merit alone. It might be genius or a rippling puddle of bile, we may never really know.

One thing that is certain of the fourth season is it severed whatever connection to reality that was at least hinted at on the FOX run. I liked how in the first episode the guys from Workaholics made a cameo and kind of set the perspective for this new world the Bluth’s inhabited. The majority of the fourth season reminds me of the third season when Tobias dressed up as a giant mole, ransacked a cardboard village only to be thwarted by a flying George Michael. That’s the kind of world the whole season takes place in.  There is much more Wee Britain than there is Banana Stand. I’m not opposed to that choice, but after season three of the show I thought to myself, “maybe it’s for the best that that’s how it ended.”  The failure to draw an audience of the first two seasons, wasn’t because of lack of quality, but the third season and FOX’s apparent hands-off approach letting the show beg for an audience led to the silliest of gags of the whole series. Which makes me wonder if maybe TV executives aren’t the assholes we all assume they are, and that some of their notes can actually increase the quality instead of squash creativity as so many creative types are wont to claim.

Either way, it’s impressive that Netflix’s desire to bring back Arrested Development was so complete it didn’t forget to bring back the trademarked under-appreciated status of the show too.

Spoiler

Everyone hates spoilers. But with modern entertainment they are virtually unavoidable. Here’s the thing, do you ever think there were spoilers about the latest Mark Twain novel or Emily Dickinson poetry collection? Maybe, but probably not on such a wide and curse-able scale, because no fraction of human interaction was a permanent, easily-referenced digital record which dictated how many people heard what you said nor measured and judged what was said by stars and page views. And half of the people talking about Dickinson and Twain didn’t rely on their opinion being heard to put food on their table. It sucks that the internet’s main currency is information, and it sucks that promptness can be mistaken for thought, and that things that warrant attention are usually forgot in less than a fortnight. Any conversation about posting spoilers is really a zero sum game. Which is why I make it a point of avoiding anything that could be considered similar taste with anyone who would be willing to talk to me.

-C. Charles

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2 Responses to “A Stupid Comeback”

  1. Carl Wells June 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Another interesting thing about Arrested Development is that most of the fans jumped on the band wagon after it had already passed. With DVD sales and internet downloads out performing the ratings the show got on air. This ties in with your last point about information trends being opinion based and haveing a lasting record. That’s what lead to the shows popularity after FOX cancelled it. I think people just weren’t used to watching the show while it was fresh. That’s why I am waiting to watch Season 4 because like wine I think it will be enjoyed more after some time on the shelf.

    • ccharlesconfidential June 14, 2013 at 1:56 am #

      Yeah, great point Carl. I’ll save the spoilers for you then, but I will say there is a joke that made me think of your email address. Let’s just hope that’s not all it is for you.

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