Monday, June 30

The Middleman Blog & Origins

The ABC Family's new series The Middleman is much like Men In Black and the Ninja Turtles, that it is based on a comic book that is every little known. According to its Wikipedia article, the Middleman was first conceived to be a television pilot but was worked as a comic book, limited, and ended up as graphic novels.

If you love The Middleman and don't mind getting spoiled, check out the blog.

Sunday, June 29

Little Known Muppet Projects #2: Inner Tube/Lead Free TV

Remember The Jim Henson Hour? It aired in 1989 on NBC on Sunday nights. I was excited to have the Muppets back on TV and religiously watched it. I was saddened to find out it was canceled, I always felt it needed more of a chance. But in truth, at the time, I was 7 and found it a bit alienating. As a kid, you are used to consistency and the show didn't offer that. I think it needed time for people to get used to it, then change it up. And according to Jim Henson's first idea, he wanted each week of the month to be different. Every first week would be The Storyteller, the second would be Inner Tube (which was renamed Lead Free TV in his pitch reel), the third would be a special and fourth anything goes. Back to the pitch later. Inner tube was a pilot he tired before the Hour.

InnerTube was a 10-minute 1987 pilot that was similar to MuppeTelevision of The Jim Henson Hour but had different characters, except for Digit. Also the puppet characters were made of foam latex, they were kinda creepy to me or still are. The cast includes the two harried mechanics Jake and Henry; a futuristic band (featuring Digit on keyboards, with a different, more robotic voice); Crasher, a wild loudmouthed punk character who mostly crashed into other TV shows or people's households; and Glitch, a computer animation that would mischievously interrupt transfer. Kermit and Miss Piggy would have made brief appearances in the show.

In 12 minute pitch for the Jim Henson Hour, Inner Tube was renamed Lead Free TV. The pitch was hosted by Jim Henson and accompanied for each week he explained with Kermit, Gonzo, Ms. Piggy, and Animal. It is available online and very delightful. The idea of these four types of episodes was dropped when The Jim Henson Hour was produced. The Storyteller did air as part of the show, but it was in half-hour episodes. Also, although the MuppeTelevision segments of the show as it was actually produced are similar in format to Lead Free TV, the Lead Free characters were replaced by the Muppets; some familiar faces, others new characters.

Oh Digit. I was both interested by him and scared by him. I liked the MuppeTelevision segments and welcomed him into the Muppet clan. Sadly the only 'new' Muppets to appear in other Muppet specials was Bean Bunny and Clifford, who no longer appears with them. Bean Bunny even cameoed in Muppet Babies. Digit however appeared on a video game. it always interests me how some Muppet characters bounce from one project to another and then never appear again. For example, Clifford joined the Electric Mayhem band as the sax player (In The Muppets at Walt Disney World) and then hosted Muppets Tonight with opened eyeballs. He still appears in specials, as he is puppetered by Kevin Clash, who is also responsible for Elmo.

Little Known Muppet Projects #1: Little Muppet Monsters

I didn't want to call this 'failed' projects because they were all amazing, but they were either changed or canceled. I used to watch Muppet Babies religiously through the 80's and 90's but I don't remember Muppets, Babies & Monsters. The first season of Muppet Babies did very well in the ratings, so CBS decided to expand the series from half an hour to a full hour in 1985, pairing Muppet Babies with Little Muppet Monsters. The umbrella title for the hour-long package was Muppets, Babies and Monsters. What I do remember is The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, which the show Little Muppet Monsters was mentioned.

The show was anchored by three young Muppet monster siblings: Tug, Boo, and Molly. They lived in an apartment belonging to the adult Muppet Show characters and called them 'uncle.' Cameos would be supplied by Scooter, Kermit the Frog and various penguins and rats. Recurring animated segments included "Pigs in Space," "Kermit the Frog, Private Eye," and "Muppet Sports Shorts" (featuring Animal). Muppet segments included "Fozzie's Comedy Corner," with Fozzie discussing issues related to old jokes, illustrated through animation, and Gonzo presenting a cavalcade of weirdness, using silent film footage. Each episode also featured an original Muppet song. Only 2 of 18 episodes aired.

According to Muppet Wiki, Storyboard director Scott Shaw discussed the show in MuppetZine issue #3 (Winter 1993): "The concept of this second half-hour was neither simple nor particularly well-developed. A trio of new (live-action) Muppet Monster Kids, working from the basement of the adult Muppets' home, create their own television station which broadcasts only to the TV sets in the house upstairs. Although eighteen episodes were produced, only two of them ever aired; Henson Associates and CBS agreed that the concept had never been properly thought out and just wasn't up to Henson's high standards. To Jim's credit, it was his idea to pull the show from the Saturday morning lineup.

I've always felt that the juxtapositioning of live-action and animated Muppets invited an unfavorable comparison, to which the cartoon version inevitably suffered; the puppetry was just too good. The combination of Muppet babies, adults and kid monsters was very disorienting. Also, due to a lack of development time, the concept -- and therefore, the writing and designs -- never quite jelled. The now-vacant second half-hour was filled with repeats of the first season's Muppet Babies episodes, and the ratings stayed strong."

I admit it is indeed confusing. One episode is available on the internet now, and to see the Muppets we known from the muppet show to be in muppet form, adults and babies in cartoons is disorientating. Also, the adult muppets look creepy animated, I guess because we are used to see them without feet. The three monster kids were also seen briefly in the special The Muppets: A Celebration of 30 Years, which was broadcast in January, 1986. The special was shot before the decision was made to take Monsters off the air, so the show cheerfully plugged the Muppets' latest production -- even though that production had been canceled four months earlier. So I was confused to see it as I never seen or heard of them before.

Saturday, June 28

George Carlin Day

I love George Carlin, he was a great man, actor, and comedian. I first discovered him when he had that FOX sitcom. Today, this Saturday, I tuned in on Bravo in the morning and they were showing the Actor's Studio with George Carlin. I never sat down and watched it before, he was a very smart and linguistic man. And of course, at night NBC showed the first ever Saturday Night Live, in which he hosted. And as you may or may not know, NBC and Bravo are both owned by GE.

Thursday, June 26

Carlos Mencia admits to homophobia

At least he admitted to it. he has been pretty gay friendly on the show, but he got pretty homophobic last Wednesday when talking about gay marriage. Maybe he was making fun of homophobes. Almost every instance there was a near-naked man or two men kissing, he kept saying he was averting his eyes or looking at their boots. At one point he was screaming so much with angry that he burst in laughter and admitted that was filled with homophobia. It was great, I could breathe again. I was afraid he was perpetuating homophobia among the young Latino youth. The majority of his audience is frat boys, young Latinos and 'gangsta' boys, who all like him love Scarface. But thank god he had enough insight to point it out. He hilariously had Cheech Marin as the father of one half of a gay marriage.

Gay Parents adopting issue on 30 Days

This Tuesday there was an impactful and important "30 Days." If they repeat it or if you can get it online or ondemand, please see it. It was an awesome program. "30 Days" if you don't know is a FX program done by Morgan Spurlock who did Supersize Me and the premise is a person must spend 30 days with a family or person of opposing view of an issue. In this one, a mormon mother and wife lives with two gay men and their four adopted children. It was very well researched and showed many different views to the issue. Included many pro-gay groups and also anti-having gay couples adopting children lead by a woman that had a bad experience that damaged her sexually and psychologically by her father who suddenly introduced his lover and it was complicated. Anyhoo, this woman could be construed as a cookie-cutter stereotype or cartoon character, but she did show more than one side. And even though at some points I hated her and what she had to say, the one-hour episode had lots of important things to say.

I was kinda disappointed they concentrated mostly on her and not the couple she stayed with but maybe because they were a bit more reserved than last week's hosts---last week was about a meat-eater living with vegans and the vegan host was a bit more outspoken. So, yeah what was funny was that this woman in this episode was crying and hated being confronted and kept saying she wasn't an expert on the subject and what is funny about that is that is how I feel most of the time when confronting hostile straight people. What I hate the most is when they don't see homophobic and say they aren't but still say hurtful things and are so smug about it. So she felt attacked but that is how we feel most of the time. In the end, she didn't want to change or budge, even though she has grown to love them and didn't like that the kids didn't hang out with her anymore--it was because of the conflict between her and their parents. Many of the pro-people were pushing on her that if gay parents can't adopt, then many many children end up with no homes. And I agree, many they came up too absolute and too strong, but maybe that is how it was edited, but they could have attempted easing into it.

She expected to be civil with everyone even though they have opposing views and that is not a bad idea, it might be naive but it is an ideal. I wish we could all come to compromises in the name of our children's safety. And just because they are raised by a straight couple, it doesn't mean they will be raised by sane and people of honor. One thing I liked what one of the parents said, "Gay parents are not accidental parents." Indeed, they are the only parents who choose to be parents and are not like.. oops. I'm late!

Sunday, June 22

Taco Bell's stupid "Queso Dip"

Taco Bell has this new "Queso Dip" and the commercial makes it sound like it is 'crazy and spicy' dip. But it is CHEESE! Queso or Cay-so means cheese. If the Taco Bell dip is spicy, then that is theres but don't call it 'queso' if it is just CHEESE.

I looked it up and it is an actual spicy salsa called 'salsa con queso' and that is salsa with cheese. Salsa typically is spicy.

Thursday, June 19

Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List tonight was a riot

"Kathy Griffin: Life on the D-List' is really funny all the time but this time, it was just a riot. Team Griffin went to the hometowns of Tom and Tiffany and it was fucking awesome. Very memorable stuff. Poor Kathy was feeling out of place, no one caring for her. But it was so funny when she became scared of Tracy as she got a chicken as a gift and then she heard a horse whine. Kathy was happy to meet Tiffany's grandma Millie, who helped her from HSN. Jessica even has Millie to tell them to get Blackberries. They have been fighting for the 'Berries.'

Torturing and making fun of Tom is a treat. love his brother. And it is no surprise everyone loves Tom, he is goofy, shady, skeezy, kinda fulgy fuckable. The show is so freaking funny. When Kathy said 'yes' when agreeing to adopt a gay crack baby, she seemed so WASP, showing more levels to the comediane... comic.

Tuesday, June 17

Disneyland in Brazil?

Just when you thought Disney Resorts had learned their lesson with "Eurodisney," there are plans to build in Burle Max Park, which is a nature reserve. The capital's government has offered Disney a 30-year lease on 175 hectares (432 acres) in Burle Marx Park for the attraction. So far it is a rumor and supposedly in the works,so it may not even happen.


Monday, June 16

The Middleman Premiere Review

When I first heard of this new ABC Family Show "The Middleman," I thought it would be campy and lame and forgettable. About an original unestablished superhero that fights aliens, mad scientists and such like MIB. With those addictive commercials that are played repeatedly, it got to me. Surprisingly, it is fresh and skewers in between harmless family fun to randy adult Buffy-era. Now that I mention Buffy, it is not like. It reminds me more of the pace of those hip movies like Clockstoppers or Hellboy. Our heronie Wendy (Natalie Morales) is a temp, bouncing temp job to temp job who looses her job because of a monster causing arson at her job and her getting blamed for it. She gets dumped by her dumb rich boyfriend and she lives in a warehouse with an artsty liberal granola chic. Wendy herself is an artist, just making money to do her art.

In the monster attack, the Middleman (Matt Keeslar) comes into her life and tests her, must to her chagrin because he is the one who planted her and prevented her from getting a new job. She eventually joins him, he picked her out because she didn't flinch, she knew what to do. The Middleman himself is seemingly goody-good Dudly Do-Right (who is referenced by her) who doesn't curse and say cute sayings from the 50's--which is pointed out by Wendy. And she curses and every time someone curses, it is bleeped out and their mouth is covered with black bar. Even though the villain of the day was a lame gorilla suit, the show has sharp writing and lots and lots of innuendo. For gods sake, there was a strip club in a scene for more than 5 minutes. Also, the word 'lesbian' is mentioned in the first two minutes of the episode. The show to me is a delightful mix of The Rocketeer, MIB, Big Wolf on Campus (a former ABC Family show) and a little Buffy. It has its own style. And Keeslar is delightful, he doesn't come off with super seriousness in his lines nor too tongue-in-cheek, he takes thrill in the role.

Favorite Quote: "Quit calling me f****n dubbie."

Sunday, June 15

Cleveland Moves into his own Spin-Off

Cleveland Brown of "Family Guy" is getting his own spin-off "The Cleveland Show" scheduled for mid-season 2009, after Family Guy and has a 13-episode commitment. He moves to Stoolbend, VA with his son, his high school sweetheart Donna, her teenage daughter, and her 5-year-old son. The wacky neighbors include a loudmouth redneck couple, a British family seemingly stuck in the Victorian era and a family of bears in this "Family Guy" spin-off. Cleveland Jr.has also become fat, kinda like the friend of the son on "American Dad." I am not surprised Cleveland is saddled with a family much like his copycat predecessor but I am glad that there is no alien or fish in a bowl. The bears seems like trademark Family Guy of droll anthropomorphic characters. Most fans feel the same about not wanting Clevealand away from the original show, I think it is an odd choice to spin-off, it is like spinning off Lisa off the Simpsons.

Sad part is that Cleveland is the ONLY African-American lead character in any form of TV Show in the next season and pointed out by Entertainment Weekly, FOX did not have the balls to have it up for fall, but mid-season. I like the logo but Donna looks like Lois. I would have rather some one-off character get a spin-off like Herbert the pervert (what kind of pitch would that entail right?), Adam West, or the news anchors. Hey, how about a Trisha Tankanawa spin-off? Being the only adult American cartoon to be lead by an Asian. But I don't like how the Bears have Latino accents!!! If they wanted Latinos, they should just have Latinos. Okay now we are more invisible and bears, of course the voice actor is probably not hispanic.


The Importance of Father's Day

Anyone that says Father's day is a waste of time, that fathers don't do anything, that mothers do most of the work such as in pregnancy and carrying the child. The pain of childbirth and what it does to a woman's body and the bonding of breast feeding. There is a reason why partnership parenting has proven so successful. I think whoever that says father don't do anything, or men as parents in general are bitter and didn't have a good father. I have been really blessed and I am not just saying that to have a father, not a perfect father, not a flawless man but a honest man, a father willingly do what is right and be there for me in all the trappings of life. When my mom didn't fully accept the fact that I am gay, my dad has been a bit more understanding.

Wednesday, June 11

Will Smith on Despierte America

Yesterday morning, I was a the gym and I don't watch Univision but since there is a lot of Latino people who watch nothing else but Univision. Despierte America is a low-rent "Good Morning America" with no fancy big window facing the crowd, in fact there is no crowd. And the show is not above having lame Mexican prop jokes. SO to my surprise, Will Smith was there. They NEVER NEVER have any American celebrities, the closest thing would be J-LO and see hasn't graced in their show in years. Will Smith attempted Spanish at first, saying he wanted to but when the hosts really started getting into it, he could barely grasp what they were saying and was just nodded.

Will Smith sounded like any Miami American child of Latin parents, not too sure how to navigate through Spanish, sprinkling English words and trying to translate grammatically. This is not insult, at least he was trying. When he started talking about his new movie Hancock, he started getting into English. And then all of the sudden, the translator started translating into spanish and he had a deep voice.

Tuesday, June 10

An Ode to Tomatoes

Oh Tomatoes...
We have pronounced them To-Mat-toes and To-Mey-toes...
Tomatoes, we have debated if it is a vegetable or fruit?....
And no we can't eat you Tomato.*
We have taken you for granted, Tomato.
We didn't know how important you where...

*I am aware that the ban is off in some cities.

Monday, June 9

My Take on Hilary Clinton and her Presidential Campaign

A few months ago when Hilary Clinton appeared on "Saturday Night Live" and was interviewed via satellite on "Daily Show with Jon Stewart," I thought it was not a good move and it would be her end. Of course it wasn't, it actually helped her. Weeks later, Obama and way later McCain appeared on the Daily Show and McCain appeared on SNL. And this year, the presidential candidates have gone down to the most embarrassing low-down things gimmicks such as appearing on WWE for god's sakes. And while there was Obama's former pastor and talk of racism still being rampant in this country... gender is still a big issue and I think still a big one. There is no lie that the media really rammed into Hilary and I am not whining or complaining, it is the bare facts.

When pundits and news anchors claim that straight married men in America claim that they won't vote for Hilary because they believe her voice is akin to 'their wife's squaking.' And even the thought of saying something relating to that in a similar stereotype to Obama will just not even be thought of. And when Obama was named the Democratic candidate and Hilary conceded, there was no breathing room and all the media were grilling Obama if he wanted Hilary as a vice-president or in the words of Katie Couric, 'would be ulgck!' And the Daily Show made a delightful parody of what America would think about the race of the vice-president of Obama related to movie box office ratings such as:

Obama with a white man = 48 hours, Lethal Weapon
Obama with a Latino man = boxing
Obama with an Asian man = Rush Hour, of course
Obama with Clinton = Driving Mrs. Daisy

Me and my friends have feared for months that a Obama and Clinton would be in danger of an assignation attempt. I think it would be awful if anyone is even phantoming it. And Clinton would be at least fulfilling one historic role for women as a Vice-President. But I thought there would be a lot of heavy feelings of resentment through their campaigning but some insiders said they have put that away. Endorsing Obama was a smart move on Clinton's part and her speech was nice and his of course came out a bit condensing--the part about his daughters, but maybe it is coming from the heart. A lot of talk has been happening about Collin Powell becoming Obama's running mate, but many people forget that he is a conservative republican. I think he would be a good match with McCain and give his campaign a big boost--women love him and he brings gravitas. But he is also a a moderate Republican, Powell is well known for his willingness to support liberal causes so it can't be ruled out.

Wednesday, June 4

Is it me or is The Happening ... ?

Is it me or is the 'big secret' of M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening about a little child and their toys? Many people have criticize Shyamalan's movies and those 'twist endings,' including me but if this is the case, then it is way obvious this time. Or could this movie's big ending be that it has no secret ending? When advertised, Sixth Sense and Signs are mentioned, not The Village, Unbreakable or The Lady in the Water. I am just surprised he gets to do movies anymore. Can't he find a new shtick?