Can’t we even have an honest to God awkward situation anymore without the participants packaging it and turning it into a meme? Is there any piece of human existence that isn’t just fodder to be Shared and Passed Around and turned into some sort of viral fodder?
This is ultimately the legacy of Lorne Michaels. It’s bad enough that anything funny or fun that happens is immediately packaged and exported, with its sequel and follow-up ready on the loading dock right behind it. Anything slightly enjoyable in the Michaels world soon makes 50 zillion loops around the web until even the most ardent fans are choking on it and overflowing like diners gorging on Olive Garden all-you-can-eat breadsticks.
It’s bad enough our comedy has been completely ruined by the memeization, but to have even our fights and tension and horrible moments too, this is too much.
Had a wonderful conversation with the utterly charming and delightful Martin Freeman about The Hobbit, in which he came clean about Smauglock, his Tumblr movement, and standing up to the Geek Mafia. He said:
BF: Knowing what this character means to the geek world, did you feel the weight —
MF: Of a million geeks! It’s probably like feeling the intimidation of the mafia. It was like pissing off the Crips. The geeks are going to get me! But no, I think I tried not to think about it, really. Like with anything I’ve done ever. I’ve had a few parts that are very beloved to people from literature, and I can’t play that. I can’t play their expectations. That’s not the screenplay you’re making. It’s not a democracy in the way that I’ll go and find out what Russell thinks out there in Oregon. I’m afraid he doesn’t have a say. He’s either going to like it or he’s not going to like it, and believe me, we want him to like it. But we have to get on with the job of making a film. But Peter is a geek. He’s an absolute self-confessed Tolkien geek. So you have one at the helm.
After which I asked him the big question the world has been dying to know. “Are you aware of Smauglock?
"The network product line was largely geared toward big events, so we became the Big Event network,
A TV critic once asked Paul Klein, “How do you know when you’ve got a big event?”
Klein said, “We sit around a table, and people throw out ideas, and somebody says, ‘That’s a big event,’ and that’s when we know."
Over at BuzzFeed I have thoughts about House of Cards and the phenomenon of yet another media explosion over a show watched by a tiny fraction of the public, conflating the tastes of upscale, aspirational urbanites with the world at large. My thoughts include:
The new Netflix series House of Cards, directed by David Fincher and starring Kevin Spacey, opens with a scene featuring Spacey strangling a dog to death in the street. So perhaps it’s time to change the name of the rule to “strangle the dog,” a signal to viewers that a series will be highbrow, serious, and edgy.
The original BBC House of Cards is the best miniseries ever made. I explain why in this piece. If you watch the remake without watching the original first, I have strong doubts that I can ever forgive you. God help you all.
20 years ago if you had said that one man would be in charge of both the Star Trek and the Star Wars empires, you would have been called a fool, a lunatic. Or worse.
If you had said that that one man would be the writer of middle of the road, by the numbers romantic comedies like Regarding Henry and Jim Belushi’s Taking Care of Business, you would have been called not just a lunatic but a dangerous radical. The authorities would have been summoned, and I would have led the lynch mob to bring you and your heretical ideas down.
And yet, if you had said all those things, you would have been right! And you would have had the right to come and laugh in my face today, enjoying the fruits of your wisdom.
Including - pictured above - the moment “official” historians would have you forget; Abrams on camera turn as an angry young Harvard student yelling at his parents in the 1991 film, Six Degrees of Separation. Relive it all at BuzzFeed.
As I crept from the room, I found myself crushed into a tight air pocket with Mel Gibson. Feeling completely awkward, lacking for words and wanting somehow to keep the good spirits of the night alive, I blurted out, “Good to see you here!” He didn’t miss a beat, nodded and said, “Yeah. You too.” Everyone was an old friend at the Globes.
This week I had the journalism opportunity of a lifetime to sit down with the legendary Kim Richards and her sister Kyle. I have written before about how if you were young in the 1970’s, Kim Richards was like Angelina Jolie and Helen Mirren combined into one star of such power that all the matter in the universe could not sustain it.
We spoke of their new project; appearing as contestants in the extremely important and culturally relevant Fox show, Stars in Danger: The High Dive. As one who is terrified of heights, I stand in awe of what the RIchards put themselves through. Kim was already a hero. But now she’s a triple hero. And of course, as ever, she is a poet. On making her dives:
There were times I really wanted to just roll down the diving board. and roll off. Like i didn’t really want to jump. I just didn’t want to dive or jump. I was just like — sigh — just let me roll.
A post-modern prayer for us all. Lord, just let us roll.
So much can go wrong when you are planning a big dinner to try and talk a few mil out of your visiting American relations. Without American handouts, there is no Downton. Without an incredibly lavish dinner, there will be no handouts. Without souffles there can be no lavish dinner. And without heat, there is no souffle. And so, for want of a chimney sweep, the kingdom was lost.
11. When the man you are in love with has a messed up arm, is old enough to be your father and looks even older and everyone makes a big deal about it.
Once your two sisters have gotten hitched, when most of the boys you know got themselves killed in the Great War, when the farmer’s wife has chased you off the farm and even the chauffeurs have been snatched up, well, then it is time to stop philosophizing and grab whatever meat is left on the table. And if what’s left is a doddering Quentin Crisp lookalike with a funny arm, so be it. But it doesn’t help things when people make such a big deal about it when you’re trying to get yourself married before it becomes completely embarrassing.