How To Watch The Simpsons…These DaysPosted: December 31, 2014 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: comedy, fans, Humour, pop-culture, quality, television, The Simpsons, writing 1 Comment
You might have heard of it?
The Simpsons is regarded by many to be the premier of comedic writing- the kind that could mix intelligence and silliness, darkness and hope, satire and sheer comic hilarity; all in beautiful yellow.
However, The Simpsons is alright becoming a name synonymous with a subject being past its prime and absurdly so.
Unfortunately for The Simpsons, this prime was supreme and the fall was slow, with an impact that is still yet to come and is longed for by fans the world-over.
There are a variety of reasons by which this decline in writing quality came about.
Wackiness. Wackiness kills me.
In The Simpsons of late, the wackiness goes on too long and is rather, in all actuality, rude. To keep a single joke going for the best part of a minute is for the writing to insist upon itself, as well as insisting on viewer either encountering humour or uncomfortableness. It is as though the writers are aggressive in their stance on this- you will either laugh or you have to wait for this private joke of theirs to end.
There is also a trend of breaking the 4th wall for humour’s sake. This occurs too often with sadly no humorous payoff and tends to be facilitated by the modern show’s biggest failing- the grating change of beloved characters so as to drive a change of the show’s current direction; wackiness.
Here’s the awfulness of the situation for me: Bart and Lisa saying, feeling and doing things that children simply wouldn’t do.
It sucks, and that’s a cheap criticism from me, but that’s because it sucks.
I do have a suggestion for all those involved in both watching and writing The Simpsons.
I’ll start with the writers and it’s likely that they’re suffering the most out of this ordeal.
I truly feel that the current writers of The Simpsons are a talented bunch, particularly with the modern style of writing (a focus on randomness and cheekiness) and the fact that writing an episode of anything is no simple task. Not only that but also they have been hired by The Simpsons to write The Simpsons- a compliment comedy writers dream of.
Therein lies the problem. Writing for The Simpsons is such an enormous goal achieved that it must seem impossible to walk away- to the same degree that executives at Fox would find it impossible to abandon such a money-maker.
Who wouldn’t want to write for The Simpsons’? It is perhaps the greatest television show of all time and is certainly a towering pinnacle of quality writing up to series 9- what writer wouldn’t expect great things to follow once they are part of The Simpsons’ writing staff? You’d be working for your heroes. Only, your heroes are now long gone and you are bewilderingly trying to improve and modernise the Mona Lisa.
I understand that modernisation is necessary to keeping something fresh and enjoyable, and perhaps The Simpsons could have used well such a reboot, but in this case the process of modernisation has clearly floundered and failed. Not to mention that the show did encounter a reboot in so far as writing and style went; it was this reboot that made it of the quality that it was.
However, for The Simpsons to thrive in regard by critics (you and I)- it must die and be only remembered as far as the quality went.
The writer’s attempts at humour and plot need their own show with different characters, instead of taking a show and characters in which people are lovingly invested and forcing changes in their direction and charm.
It is unpleasant to take these established characters and alter them for the purposes of their own plots, at least in as far as the quality of the show went. It was great for the show to change Homer over time and to portray him a little more dopey and tad more nutty, but this personality change only exaggerated the point that he was kind, loving, and adorably incompetent at all else. Recently, the changes of character have been to engage plot-loops, rather than the audience.
Other than that, the humour sadly is sub-par and that is the final fault- regardless of The Simpsons’ format being used and abused. I have no advice for this- just move on with your writing career and practise…maybe read some books.
Ultimately though, the writers are selling themselves short by writing for The Simpsons. They are never going to match the class and innovation of humour- all intelligent, silly and touching, that The Simpsons writers up to series 9 were producing, using a much later and soiled product. We have here some young writers, attempting their own modern humour and innovation of plot, who are being consistently shot-down by every critic owing largely to them working on The Simpsons’ format.
Certainly The Simpsons’ should have died over a decade ago- likely with a finale viewed by the most of the world in possession of a television, but as much as that affords you in artistic merit (e.g. Breaking Bad), it doesn’t bring in the assured pennies. The Simpsons- a most regrettable Cash-Cow.
I feel a great deal sorry for the current Simpsons writers- I’m sure they’re trying to maintain quality and loved the show as much as we all did. But it’s not often I recommend someone to flee but I do so now to The Simpsons’ writers with a hope that they can bugger off and succeed with their own product. I’d look forward to watching it.
My advice to those that miss The Simpsons’ for what it was is as follows: watch up to series 9 only, and the never, EVER, watch even one single episode of the latest seasons. To not watch it to remove their audience, and with no audience there is no money and without the money that The Simpsons’ perpetually assured simply via name: The Simpsons’ shall finally die and belong only to its past and lovers- you and me.
The Simpsons’ from series 1-8 is a pedigree of what people like me want to do to you: make you laugh, make you admire, listen and feel touched by characters and plots that can honestly alter one’s perception of oneself and how we seek to continue. Mostly laugh.
What we must not forget that for as long as The Simpsons’ was distressing us past-quality, it was still bloody good for an awfully long time- 8 years. For 8 years it was what it was and we should not only be grateful for the good times, but also bask in them.
Still; always a fan.
How To Watch Wrestling.Posted: December 15, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 90's, comedy, funny, nostalgia, pop-culture, Popular Culture, pro wrestling, Society, Sociology, Weird, Wrestling, wwe Leave a comment
I make all sorts of noises when I’m watching wrestling.
I watch a hilarious amount of comedy, and although I enjoy it beyond belief- I won’t be laughing for most of it.
I guess I just one of those quite quiet kinds of guy.
I am noisiest when I am involuntary.
And I am most involuntary when I am watching wrestling and I’m doing my ‘vowel-thing’.
Not just vowels though- because I’m a fan, and because I’m a fan I compliment and I criticise. And sometimes, like a true fan, I sometimes go quiet. Because…”ssshhhh”…I’m watching wrestling.
Sitting there, sometimes standing (I am excitable), I watch as I did as a child, focusing on the screen with such a willingness to let my eyes to lose their potency to see things at a distance that I required very strong glasses by the time I was eight and I’d become something of an expert. At least as much of an expert as someone that has no one to counter them can be. When you’re on your own, you’re normally correct purely as a matter of majority.
Now, first things first (which I hear is a fairly popular place to start), I am fully aware that wrestling is largely an act. The wrestlers don’t hate each other, the storylines (known as kayfabe) are…storyline…, and nobody is from a place called “Part Unknown”.
But I feel that the argument about the business being fake is redundant, OBVIOUSLY it is storyline and OBVIOUSLY (obviously enough for me to over-do CAPS LOCK) they aren’t trying to kill each other. They are, however, at times pushing themselves so close to danger that you could argue they are trying to kill themselves for your entertainment. The point is to NEARLY kill yourself; people will always like that about you.
The catalogue of injuries that a professional wrestler obtains throughout a brief career is extensive and, one would assume for a regular person, lifestyle changing. A blow to the knee like that would be something that men would tell each other whilst in a pub and promoting their appearance of manliness. It can work, but it is undoubtedly more manly to not refer to this at all, unless prompted to by others. This is what pro-wrestlers do. They don’t talk about it, they just suffer it and smile.
A specially designed steel chair being whammed into the head is something that most people could deal with, but afterwards they’d likely be allowed to go home from work, whereas wrestlers go to work to have this done to them, and although it is withstandable- it really, really hurts.
From what it would seem from some consequences, it might hurt so much that you strangle your family and leave a bible next to their bodies (for further info research BENOIT). Other times you might turn out like the world-famous (now perhaps more owing to movies than wrestling) actor Dwayne ‘The ROCK’ Johnson. He is healthy, wealthy and wise, and doesn’t look like he’s ever cut his own forehead open to make you happy. This process is known as ‘blading’, where a wrestler cuts his forehead to make the blood come out to the sound applause.
I have also watched local wrestling from the ringside, and enjoyed this enormously too, with the added spectacle of the more BRITISH side of wrestling which amounts more to size than muscle (these men’s skin wobbled a lot, but they consequently made everything else wobble even more).
It was here that you really appreciate the main formula for pro-wrestling. Kick him in the face as hard as you can, so that it is as loud as possible, whilst hurting him as little as possible. This happens nightly for some and all the training they can do is how to get kicked in the face and deal with it, and how to kick someone else in the face, whilst doing a flip (entirely necessary) and not hurting them to the degree that they cannot continue.
You can tell this is true by the way that they get back up again.
You can also tell by the sound. You see this, and you will let loose some vowels of your own.
I love this, the athleticism and the hard-knocks of it all. My appreciation is a mix of pity and jealously. Pity that your wage is balanced on your getting harmed as loudly as possible, jealously that you’re managing it whilst apparently still able to do rudimentary addition.
The storyline aspect is another criticised theme of pro-wrestling, and is another part that I am enthralled watching.
On the television, WWE and TNA offer this soap-opera version, whilst local wrestling offers the pantomime alternative.
The soap opera version has a tremendous ability to tap into the general feeling of (mainly) the USA. Looking at how in times such as the Gulf War- the main ‘HEEL’ (bad guy) was a disgraced US soldier named Sergeant Slaughter with his ‘manager’ (out of ring side-kick) of an Iraqi general named ‘General Adnan’– a man who actually went to high school with Saddam Hussein. His opponent- the American hero Hulk Hogan- would enter flying the stars and stripes and saying he was doing it for the brave guys and gals over there and that he was doing it because he was a patriot that loved freedom, Coca Cola, and the free market.
The two would wrestle, the ‘heel’ would cheat, Hulk would use his good old fashioned American know-how, guts and heart to push his way out of the ‘Arabian’ submission manoeuvre (actually called the ‘Camel Clutch’) and start punching the bad guy till people got the metaphor. The metaphor was that he was America, Slaughter was Saddam Hussein and punching was the beautiful export that ensured American victory in the name of freedom and further punching.
This was of course in the early nineties, and though times have changed the formula remains- stay current with what the people are up to.
Lately, people are losing their homes and jobs, whilst ubiquitously using social media. Therefore, WWE storylines incorporate wrestling characters that are bankrupt, being made to do what the evil ‘heel’ character demands in exchange for help with their mortgage. Or- wrestlers actually complain and fight about what someone said about them on Twitter of YouTube. Being able to ‘follow’ or be ‘friends’ with these wrestlers is magic to the children.
This formula differs from the local-ring wrestling, which incorporates pantomime aspects so as to bring out the cheers and jeers. References to suggested homosexuality of the opponent, hide-and-seek, arguing with the audience, things to do with testicles and references to popular culture- all these things can be found at a local wrestling show…and it works.
The fans, the true fans- truer than me, are a special breed of people. They are also involuntary, but they seem to really believe what’s happening in front of them. The typically middle-age-plus woman will have taken her young grandchild and will be yelling at the ring and staring with such burning intensity that she surely emits more enthusiasm than any latter generation.
She is wearing her favourite wrestler’s T-Shirt, and her toy- figure of him is in the glove compartment of her car. She could tell you how to watch wrestling with far more experience and sheer guts than I could ever replicate. Partly because I understand the business, and she genuinely believes this foreign man has hypnotised her favourite, number one, lovely hair-cut, always smiling and oh-my-what-nice-legs wrestler. And as I said- the other guy is foreign! Not even a foreigner from this country…from a dark country…plenty of sand. Maybe too much sand- the measure of a man.
I watch wrestling to enjoy the soap-opera silliness that can make a stadium erupt in gasps, to enjoy the pantomime hilarity of two men running around the ring and leaping into the front row of very-grasping women. I watch to enjoy the athleticism that these performers risk showing at the expense of never being able to do the move, or walk, again…and I watch to enjoy the part inside me that makes those vowels exit.
But mostly, I watch because I used to watch it with my grandmother- a lady who, whilst watching, would be far louder than I. Gutsier too.
Last things last (also a popular order). Wrestling is fun, and that’s all. It has no great message aside from being something to be enjoyed by the entire family. It is pantomime and I recommend it.
It is an ancient business, and when watching, on a TV or at a show, you’re going to appreciate why.
Either that, or have someone hit you in the head with a folded steel chair- that is definitely something you should try in the home.
I’m Not Going To Reminisce About The 00’s.Posted: August 17, 2013 Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: 00's, 90's, comedy, funny, history, language, pop-culture, purpose, such a shame, technology, Weird Leave a comment
Oh fuck, the 00’s.
What are we going to do now? All we have in relation to something worth talking here about is war and computers- and I’m not good at either of those things. Computer illiterates in foxholes equate to me wondering why more things aren’t to do with long walks and pretty girls- generally.
Those are the few things that set me apart from people who are set to perfection in the previous decade of ours. ‘Pretty girls’- generally, is a common passion, but is something that I find hard to omit owing to being something of a self-composed poster-boy for virility, an image that takes time, trousers and embarrassment to accumulate. I like accumulating things though- it amounts to something.
As for the good longs walks- they remind me of being an ape (an essential quality in someone worth knowing) and of being some sort of dignified author that would actually have done nothing for the cause of female emancipation from the drudgery of being slammed with the dick of ancient history till now. Another thing about the 00’s: penis trumps vagina. A good long walk might remind you of that, but in the meantime (whatever that is) it will promote that ‘distinguished author’ look that you’ve been trying so hard to maintain. Put that pipe away.
You wouldn’t have gotten these things from the 00’s. The 00’s amounted to, as far as I can remember: war, computers and Robbie Williams being really popular. Possibly more popular than Diet Coke, which is impressive, and something that I can only hope for this blog to me someday. I say more popular than Diet Coke because I’m realistic. Regular, full-blooded Coke doesn’t need to advertise, it just needs to be guaranteed.
Perhaps if females and walking had been promoted as much as the 20-teens has begun to, we might have missed out on the following.
It turns out we do have cultural contributions to our species that goes beyond Robbie Williams. We have the music videos. Music video’s with sheer-white backdrops, metal bands and boy bands both wearing black and both trying to look tough and dangerous (whist both trying too hard at that). Baggy trousers- coming from an age of men trying to conceal weaponry, to boys trying to look like men trying to conceal weaponry, and finally to children attempting to look like most other older boys do, whilst also using the opportunity to hide their physical frame from the world because they’re only kids, and kids are stupid.
This was a time in which things were made glossy and I don’t know why. The perpetual addition of cheese to foodstuffs (and barely, thankfully, limiting itself there) was a component of the times.
All those dead Iraqi’s really ruined the decade for me, as well as those about the rest of the planet that were butchered for all the other just causes that some god likely encored. What really twists the blade for me here is the fact that this is not a 00’s exclusive, but it is…is…an example of a generation that knew it had the means to alter and chose not to. The excessive’s of laziness were on the eye-watering rise throughout these pitiful ten years, and the blame lays not at feet, but lays in the lies of the minds of those of us that know what I’m talking about. Myself included; it does feel lovely not to be annihilated on a Sunday afternoon. What a…foreign thing to happen. This was the war aspect. Very happy that no cheese was added.
So long playing in the streets. Hello, latest acquaintance of the species- massive heart disease, diabetes and general paleness. The revolution of video game sophistication amounted to the heaviest generation that we have had for a long time. Mother’s loose a third of their body weight at birth and all children can be heard walking from afar. As they walk- their foreheads jiggle.
This is what the 00’s gave us, and what’s even worse is that it gave us…us. Apologies, but we are the generation prior that laid the foundations for the end of children and the start of wars by regrettably not being as astounding as the technology that raced alongside us. Albeit that we have learnt to share, and to learn and to give a little grace when required, we are still very willing to lose our ape-ish-ness and indulge in raising fictional crops on a figurative place, inviting others to waste their time and insisting on yourself giving up the fun you were born with rights to. This has been the computer aspect.
Don’t you dare blame the 60’s- that’s not your job and if you even think about blaming the 40’s then your laughable, it was the 00’s, purely on the basis that this was the latest decade do nothing but withhold and indulge.
We haven’t even legalised Mary Jane yet. And that’s our fault. That’s all our fault. Fucking do something you shitty little population- nothing would happen if it weren’t for you taking part, why should this be any different. The 00’s was the perfect time to do that and, my word, wouldn’t it have helped.
Let’s ‘hark’ back now, something I don’t often do, but since we’re reminiscing we might as well ‘hark’ simultaneously along with that. It’s good for your vocabulary. Let’s hark back to the ‘penis trumps vagina’ situation.
We’ll you’re right- women and their vagina’s are doing fairly well these days, indeed, they are doing for themselves- but therein lies the issue that I have with the 00’s here. Why was it up to key particular women to do this? Why not all of them? Why not all of us- men and their penis’ included (naturally- never omit a man’s junk)?
You see, we are the time that we live in, and without the positive action of a massive population, spurred on by those individuals that seem to matter for some reason, there will be no change. Don’t leave change up to individuals because it is knackering and depressing to do so alone. Just look at all those dead people you’ve heard of; that’s why you’ve heard of them and that’s also a substantial contribution as to why they are dead. And the centuries probably did them no favours either.
You, the population over there- hiding behind the Apple store! Go outside and make change, but for the love of all that is worth mentioning- don’t let advertisers see you do it. If you do- they’ll claim you and say you’re using their phone or their network to be the essential repetition of ‘new generation’ (being cool and free and buying our product just like you should. Keep watching your TV and shut up, you filthy little consumer).
This mind-set of sit-down, consume and distract yourself was all over the 00’s, and the brilliance of technology has had a central goal of luxurious entertainment, equating to all meaningful progression becoming a side-line to the main game. This is why women are paid less- because blasted by Angry Birds and Netflix- you really don’t give a fuck.
So now we’re in the 20-teens and so far I’m liking it. I think people are getting to grips with being apes and being in charge. Just look at the US. Here comes Mary Jane. Well done.
War and computers, eh?