Category Archives: video

Five twist endings for current TV shows that need to happen

Twist ending for a popular TV show? That’s preposterous, is what you would say if you had never heard of St. Elsewhere. If a medical drama can end with the whole thing being the twisted fantasy of an autistic child, then certainly popular TV shows today can have twist endings as well. Here are my ideas.

The Venture Brothers

The Monarch kills Dr. Venture. The Venture Brothers die after being attacked by a giant spider, but this time without any clones and so are dead forever. The Alchemist dies of AIDS. Brock dies while attempting to protect David Bowie from a coup by Lady Gaga, who becomes the new Sovereign.

30 Rock

It turns out that the head writer for TGS was actually Aaron Sorkin the whole time! The last scene is Liz cursing out God a unitarian church.

Fringe

Walter and the Walternate find a way to save both universes by diverting the Fringe Event energy into two pocket dimensions they discover via a vortex in a rural Washington State town. Walter comments on the damn fine coffee and pie. Agent Boyles learns of FBI records describing a bald, pale man from another world helping an agent in Twin Peaks during the 1980s, and comes to the conclusion that this so-called “Giant” was actually an Observer.

Unfortunately, following both the town’s history of FBI agents going mad and her own history of being possessed (by both Fauxlivia’s memories and Dr. Bell), Olivia is taken over for a third time by an evil soul from one of the pocket dimensions. The last scene is Olivia brushing her teeth, laughing maniacally in a mirror “How’s Peter?!” How’s Peter?!”

Mad Men

Don Draper finally confronts the core of his problem with women: he is gay. After Sally is killed at Kent state, and Bobby dies in Vietnam, Don takes his own life. As revenge to the Advertising Industry that sucked his life dry, Draper leaves behind a time bomb revenge scheme in the form of his final advertising idea: Erin Esurance!

C-SPAN

C-SPAN concludes its decades of covering politics by revealing that the supposed politicians and representatives on camera were actually actors. In the wake of the Watergate scandal, the Supreme Court decided that American democracy simply was not sustainable and decided to seize control by fiat under the cover of this greatest hoax of all time. Led by head writer William Rehnquist, who would later be joined by David E. Kelley and Aaron Sorkin Michael Bay, C-SPAN capitalized on the idea of letting viewers choose which characters would be on each season, an idea which was later found greater success in the hit show, “American Idol.”

While C-SPAN has been critiqued for jumping the shark with some of its more ridiculous plots, such as Iran Contra, the Monica Lewinsky scandal, Bush v. Gore, and the shooting of Gabrielle Gifford (which was derided as a ripoff of season 8 of Dallas), the show’s longevity is a testament to its constant fan base.

In the last scene, President Beau Biden will finally push the mysterious “Red Button,” and the screen will cut to black mid-sentence, a la The Sopranos.

Evan makes the World’s Worst Mixtape

Here is my Worst Mixtape

This took me way longer than I thought it would. Thanks to Dean, Joe, Eric, Sarah, and everyone who commented on the Facebook thread.

The point of this project was to create a hypothetical mixtape that one could make reasonably attempting to make a good mixtape, but failing spectacularly. As Dean put it, this is like when people play Springsteen’s Born in the USA as a rousing, patriotic, pro-America anthem.

There are many reasons an otherwise proper song would be a spectacular failure on a mixtape. Utter overplay may make a song devoid of any actual meaning, despite its popularity. A songs lyrics may be misconstrued to have a romantic tone, while actually the song is anything but. Young love often drives feelings to insane ends, leading to completely inappropriate emotional exposition via song. Attempts to introduce one’s own personal taste can fall flat. Sometimes songs just interrupt the flow of an album.

Of course, just because it is on this mixtape does not necessarily mean it is a bad song. I tried to emphasize that point by including a few songs that I personally enjoy but would admittedly make awful contributions to a romantic mixtape.

For the sake of this Worst Mixtape, it is hypothetically sent from me, the dator, to a random young woman datee. Of course, knowledge about the datee’s own personal tastes can allow the creation of custom awfulness, which will have to be lacking here.

Now enjoy, or don’t, as is appropriate.

I Gotta Feeling, by the Black Eyed Peas 

Ah, nominated for Record of the Year at the 52nd Grammy Awards, winner of the Grammy for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals. How could this possibly be a bad song to start off mix tape? After all, one would want tonight to be a good, good night with whatever datee is receiving this mixtape.

But a mere scratch of the surface reveals a justified loathing for this ubiquitous song. This ultimate in Secretary Jamz is a hollow, meaningless exploration of studio-recorded noise and misplaced Yiddish. But given the utter popularity of the song, if the datee doesn’t loathe it, she probably already owns it.

And even the datee does like it, how can a song that seems to have a contract with the world to be played every 15 minutes communicate any sense of romance or intimacy? How can it send a message besides one of utter genericness? Unless this is an Annie Hall situation where she’s very shallow and empty and has no ideas and nothing interesting to say, and she’s exactly the same way, this is one of the worst possible choices for a mixtape.

The only way you could choose a worse song if you went with the cover of I Gotta Feeling by Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Chipettes from Alvin and the Chipmunks 2: the Squeakquel.

Tears, by Rush

One of the purposes of a mixtape is to introduce a new romantic interest to your own personal taste in music. This is part of a healthy relationship. So browse through your iTunes when the choice for next song becomes obvious: Rush!

Fact: No girl likes Rush.

“No!” you say. “She’s different! And even if she doesn’t, it probably is because she hasn’t heard their best stuff. I’ll put Spirit of Radio on the mixtape. She’ll love it!”

Fact: No girl likes Rush.

“OK, well maybe Spirit of Radio isn’t completely appropriate for a pseudo-romantic mixtape. But maybe there is a song that will introduce her to Rush while also conveying a sense of romance”

Fact: No girl likes Rush.

“Yeah! I’ll put on Tears, from 2112. I don’t usually listen to the B-side of that album, but it could get her interested in the band and it would be totally appropriate for the mixtape.”

Fact: No girl likes Rush.

“She is going to look so hot wearing my Snakes and Arrows shirt as pajamas after we do it.”

No she won’t.

Toxic, by Britney Spears, as covered in Glee

This may seem like fun little ditty. Hey, maybe she’ll dance to it or do a little strip. Plus, she probably likes Glee. Who doesn’t like Glee? With this song you get the two-in-one bonus.

This Swedish-written, joyless mass may function well as a Kylie Minogue reject, but as sung by a high school Glee club teacher it is just creepy.

This creepiness is further compounded by the lyrics. Who wants to be addicted to someone? We should want to be around people, and they be around us, due to rational decisions or at least the inexorable force of romantic emotions. But addiction? What are we, cigarettes?

(This is) The Dream of Evan and Chan, as sung by The Postal Service

Using a song with the datee’s name in it may seem like a cute move, but it tempts the gods of creepdom. The only thing worse than that would be to use a song with your own name in it. Thus, The Dream of Evan and Chan. Not only does it have my name, but the opening minute is an annoying synth mumbling that elicits responses like “is the CD scratched?” Or for the modern era, “Is the file corrupted?”

Songs like Owl City’s Firefly may be too obvious a choice of wimpy twee pop for anyone besides the biggest middle school Nancy to put on a mixtape, but The Postal Service has just enough age and reputation to make one of their deeper cuts seem like a good idea. It is not. Even for those of us who still like the group and have fond memories of having Feelings to Such Great Heights in high school, the Postal Service still takes part in that Platonic ideal of wuss rock. And you do not want your datee to think you are a wuss. If you want to reveal personal emotion while still retaining some semblance of inner strength, go with Springsteen.

Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, by Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf’s ditty sounds like a wonderful love ballad. It is not.

Inspired by Elvis’ “I Want You, I Need You, I Love You,” Meat Loaf set out to write a simple, popular love song. And upon first listen, it seems like a romantic expression of wanting and needing, explained via routine metaphor. Aww, Meat Loaf is in love. But he isn’t! He will never love her.

That is the message this song sends. This couple may have fun, they may develop emotion for each other, but there will never, ever be mutual love. And is that the message you want to send a datee? “Oh hey babe, you’re great, and we may have a fun relationship, but I will never, ever love you.”

It may be the truth. It may be pretty darn good. But no one wants to hear that two out of three ain’t bad. Believe me, I’ve tried.

There ain’t no Coupe de Ville hiding at the bottom of a Cracker Jack box.

Good song. Bad mixtape song.

The Paw Paw Negro Blowtorch, by Brian Eno

This is a great song about a romance with a man who could set things on fire with his breath. She won’t think it is a great song. She’ll just be confused and slightly angry by the use of the word Negro. Should have gone with Cindy Tells Me or On Some Faraway Beach, instead. Yeah, definitely On Some Faraway Beach.

Making Love Out Of Nothing At All, by Air Supply 

The appropriate response to any Air Supply song is, “Really? Air Supplyinterrobang” This soft rock sentimentality belongs in the bins of 99 cent CDs at the local carwash. But through the reality warping veil of puppylove, these Australian crooners may seem to say everything that words cannot. The specific choice of this song among all of Air Supply is the music video, which I’m pretty sure was made by Tim and Eric.

Any sense of seriousness this song has is completely lost after viewing the music video.

Faggot, by Mindless Self Indulgence

This loosely defined “song” may sound like an appropriate love/sex song to MSI fans, but to normal people it sounds like an Awful. Much like Rush’s Rain, the sort of song that you would put on a tape to try to introduce a datee to the sort of music you like after she said that she hates the genre. But in the end, it won’t engrain her to the music, it’ll just make her hate you too.

La Vie Boheme, from the original Broadway recording of Rent

I once dated a girl who had this song on a friend mixtape. She had never heard the whole song, because the opening several minutes are sing-talk dialogue between the annoying child-like characters who don’t want to have to pay for things. I could not find a youtube version of the song with the broadway soundtrack lead-in, but you can imagine.

And even if you do listen enough to get to the actual song, lyrics about AIDS and azidothymidine are not exactly surefire ways to set the right mood.

How Soon is Now? By The Smiths

You mean the theme song to Charmed?

This and the preceding song would both be examples of, as Eric puts it, “someone trying to demonstrate their eclectic tastes, so [he] would probably include some just-on-the-edge-of-indie bands.”

Your Body is a Wonderland, by John Mayer

With this song, the mixtape saved the best/worst for last.

Singer-songwriter, musician, record producer, columnist, graphic designer, television host, comedian, [and] photographer” John Mayer wrote this song specifically to appeal to annoying girls you hate.

Again, this is a circumstance where if she doesn’t hate it, she already owns it and it was probably “Her Song” for some high school or college relationship with perfectly affable douche who wished he was John Mayer.

Some stand up comedian I cannot recall has a bit about the rather common going back to a girl’s place, where she tries to get the mood all sexed up by turning out the lights and then putting on some music to which she can appropriately undress, only to turn on some John Mayer. In what crazyland do Mayer’s mushmouthed lyrrrrrrarrrrcs convey any sense beyond that of a turgidity assassin. Spoiler alert: the crazyland of 14-year-old girls and those who never grew out of it. Appropriately enough, Mayer says he wrote the song when he was 14.

Ah, it all makes sense.

Admittedly, I don’t recall ever actually hearing this song. I’m sure I had, but I just can’t think of a specific time when I listened to this song. So after sitting down and listening to it, I was reminded of another song with a similar message and lyrics.

I saw The Mountain Goats last night and Craig Finn was there

I first heard the Mountain Goats on KTRU. Or perhaps someone was playing them on her iPod at Coffeehouse. I forget. Though I suppose I didn’t really appreciate them until I heard their songs on Moral Orel. But either way, they’ve been in my usual playlists for a while, and I finally got to see them live last night.

I didn’t think it was a big deal, until I saw that Tim Faust had linked a YouTube video of the concert.

Now, if Tim Faust likes it, it must be gold. So I feel special today for having gone to the show.

The show was pretty darn good. Looking around at the young, white, hip but not entirely hipster crowd, I knew what it was to be a member of a demographic that was driving pop-culture and musical trends.

Anyways, it was at the Bowery Ballroom, which is a comfortably large, yet still intimate space. The layout is somewhat funny, because you walk into an underground bar, and there is no actual sign indicating where the stage is. After bumming around with a $7 beer, I watched what I assumed were some stagehands going into a small door that looked like a maintenance closet. But then more people kept walking in, with no one leaving the supposed closet. I decided to follow, leading up a flight of wooden stairs that culminated at a room teeming with headbobbing 20-somethings enjoying the bearded country meets deathmetal tunes of Megafaun. (Wikipedia calls them Freak Folk).

At the end of the show, the Megafaun guys were hanging out next to the extremely long coat check line, just chatting it up with fans and whatnot. They seemed very laid back and like generally nice guys.

Several minutes after Megafaun wrapped up, The Mountain Goats took their sweet time to get on stage. They really didn’t take that long, and maybe I just don’t know how much time is required to change the stage between performers, but it seems like bands could really improve their turnaround time. I mean, it isn’t like there is some big surprise that they’re going on.

What? We’re playing? Oh man, and I was in my pajamas. And I just started the boss battle on Pokemon, let me just wrap this up and then we can go play.”

Then again, maybe it is some sort of psychological thing, letting the musical palate of the audience cleanse a bit before going out.

Whatever the reason, it was worth the wait. Any concerns I had about not enjoying their newer songs were dashed by the fact that even if I did not know them, the songs were still good. Apologies to the big guy in front of me and the girl to my right for any dance-related bumpings.

Throughout the show, teen girls in the audience (it was a 21 and up show, but I could have sworn it was teen girls) were constantly yelling songs for the Mountain Goats to sing. The yelling started at the very beginning of the show, prompting one person to respond: “Too soon!” However, it became a trend throughout the night, with people just yelling song names, or “Freebird,” or “song title!” But the guys on stage took it in stride.

I suppose the real pinnacle of the show was when Craig Finn from the Hold Steady joined the Mountain Goats on stage to sing “This Year.” (Note the video above).

(Admittedly, I didn’t know who he was, and for a second thought that he may have been Jason Alexander. After all, Alexander is a fantastic singer, and no one can fault his amazing performance in Dunston Checks In.)

Of course, The Mountain Goats closed with “No Children” for their second encore. The audience sang along to the sad tunes, an audience of youngsters joined in an expression of failure. And sometimes that is all our generation has to show for itself. Failure.

Thank You Very Much Warren Christopher

Former Secretary of State Warren Christopher died. While he has a long and important personal biography, for me he will always be the man who put an end to all wars and thus turned America’s youth gay.

Here’s to Warren Christopher, and a life overly influenced by The Simpsons.

Thanksgiving: Frying a turkey and kissing a bulldog

Yesterday was Thanksgiving. My family celebrated in two ways. First, I fried a turkey. Now, usually when people think of frying a turkey, they think of this:

Or this:

Or any of these.

However, our fried turkey looked more like this:

Last Thanksgiving, my mommy ordered an electric turkey frier. This is only the second time we have used it, but so far it has been a wonderful investment. Instead of overflowing oil resulting in redneck fires, we merely have little oil splashes that result in me going “ouchies!” And this year I also injected the turkey with a delicious cajun marinade and then covered it in spices. It ended up looking like this:

Delicious and spicy fried turkey!

But speaking of Butterballs, post-Thanksgiving dinner was filled with Vicktortime with Vicktor de la Panda ben Joseph h’Cohen. Most notably, Nicky tried to give Vicktor mouth-to-mouth by breathing in his nose. Vicktor was not entertained:

But we were very entertained! So Nicky made up for it by kissing Vicktor:

So let us all give thanks for Da’Nicky and Vicktor.

This week in Burn Down Blog

It has been a fun week at Burn Down Blog, and I’ve gotten lots of attention, which I need to survive. How much attention? Well, this clip is not 100% accurate, but does an adequate job expressing my feelings.

Another way in which Houston is like the Simpsons

A few weeks ago commented on the stark similarities between Houston and Springfield, from The Simpsons, noting the failed monorail, tire fire, and other various follies. Well today, another parallelism grew forth from the bowels of the internet.

Houston: City on the Grow(click to play)

And, of course, the Simpsons equivalent.

Though I suppose the Houston video is the sort of 1960s pseudojingoistic claptrap that the Simpsons is mocking. Its just funny to actually see one, because I think that most people’s exposure to this sort of media is through the satirical and mocking references to it, rather than the genuine article.

This reminds me of a time I was in middle school and made a reference to: “If you build it, they will come.” Some other kid thought I was talking about an episode of Married, With Children.

I suppose that The Simpsons is the ultimate source of knowledge of cultural tropes for people who actually haven’t seen the original source, from A Streetcar Named Desire to The Planet of the Apes. Though perhaps these days Family Guy is contesting for that title.