Open Thread for June 13, 2009

User comments and commentary.

We’re pretty proud of Ghostbusters Week, celebrating last Monday’s 25th anniversary of the classic film’s release in 1984. What did you think of the coverage?

Any other important pop-culture anniversaries coming up that you want us to cover?

You’ve heard what we have to say about Pixar’s Up already; anything else you’ve seen? Pelham 1 2 3? How about anything a little smaller — The Girlfriend Experience or Food, Inc. (opening in big cities today)?

And what about Summer TV (hope nobody’s caught out by the digital switch)? Burn Notice and Weeds are back, and Nurse Jackie premiered to the biggest audience in Showtime history…liking it?

In other news… Carrie Prejean, Letterman/Palin, Miley+Joe, Chaz Bono… start your overthinking!

14 Comments on “Open Thread for June 13, 2009”

  1. lee OTI Staff #

    Some things Ghostbusters-related that we didn’t get to cover in depth:

    The animated show, The Real Ghostbusters. Anyone remember that from back in the day?

    The upcoming Ghostbusters video game–and feature film, of course. They’d better not ruin the franchise.

    Ghostbusters II and the Statue of Liberty scene: is New York Harbor shallow enough for the statue to stay above water during its walk from Liberty Island to Manhattan Island?


  2. Matthew Wrather #

    Stay tuned for something about the video game — and the E3 conference — next week.


  3. Gab #

    I remember the cartoon. Venkman shared a voice with Garfield. And Slimer was more like a pet than a poltergeist. But I don’t remember any plotty things, so a comparison or canon analysis is out of my range.

    The last episode EVAR of _Pushing Daisies_ is on tonight (Saturday). I love(d) that show. What I find most amazing about it is how easily I suspend my disbelief watching. The world created in the show is so much its own that it’s almost like watching a cartoon set in a magic realm with fairies and unicorns and the like. I genuinely believe pretty much anything is possible in the world of the Pie Maker and Chuck. I’ll miss it a lot.

    I’ve seen random episodes from every season of _Burn Notice_, and I watched it this week. And I wasn’t lost. So my feeling from being able to do this every time is that it’s episodic, but not to the point where there IS no plot- I can always pick up on bigger stuff going on, and there are sometimes convenient flashbacks, too. So kudos to the writers for making something in between a Loony Toon and _Lost_.

    Oh, and since I’m addicted to _Top Chef_, I tried out the new thing, _Top Chef Masters_. I must say, it wasn’t as entertaining as the original series for me. There was too much lovin’ at the judges’ table, but then only one of the chefs got full marks- I would have liked to hear more about what the other chefs had done wrong to know why their star counts were so low. And yet another overnight storage catastrophe- I know it sure looked like it was the guy’s fault, but I’m still a tiny bit skeptical about how MUCH of it was his. And I guess this brings up a question about those situations: Should the crew (or other contestants, really) mention the food is being put in the wrong unit, that a door isn’t closed, etc.? Morally, yes, but in terms of it being “reality” TV, probably not.


  4. neubauer #

    @ lee: Wikipedia answers the Liberty question easily. The height of Liberty from heel to top of her head is 111 ft. 1 inch. The depth of New York Harbor is 24 ft, or just over 1/2 the length of Liberty’s right arm. So in the movie, it would be inaccurate if the water in the harbor went past her knees.


  5. stokes OTI Staff #

    I had no idea that the voice actor for the cartoon Venkman was the same guy who did Garfield on Garfield and Friends! Pretty freaking weird considering that the current voice of Garfield is Bill Murray. (Actually, maybe it’s not weird at all.)

    Gab, I’m with you on Pushing Daisies. Loved, loved, loved that show, and I’ll miss it… but I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. It basically had “CANCEL ME!” tattooed across its forehead.


  6. Gab #

    @neubauear: So the movie was wrong, yeah? Am I remembering the water her chin-ish accurately, or am I making that up?

    The voice actor, Lorenzo Music, was also Tummi (the particularly corpulant one) on the _Gummi Bears_. I double-checked IMDB, but there really is no mistaking that guy’s voice. His record was pretty impressive, though. Bob Newhart, wow. May Lorenzo Music rest in peace.

    Stokes, why did _Pushing Daisies_ have “CANCEL ME!” tattooed on it?


  7. Matthew Wrather #

    I’ve noticed that one of the things we love to do on OTI is to take the rules form one fictional universe and apply them to another. With that in mind, i just read thison Salon, vis-a-vis the second season of True Blood

    So let’s…figure this out: If Maryann is chaotic evil, then Bill is lawful neutral (highly honorable but prone to good or evil behaviors depending on the circumstances), Eric could be characterized as lawful evil (morally corrupt but at least beholden to higher laws), the Christians might be thought of as lawful good (although their rules of kindness and charity are often twisted to enact vengeance against sinners, made reprehensible by their habit of having way more fun), Sookie is chaotic good (confidently breaks the rules based on her own pure-hearted but sometimes misguided instincts), LaFayette, like any scrappy, self-serving survivor, is chaotic neutral, and Jason can only be summed up as highly suggestible.


  8. mlawski OTI Staff #

    I find the D&D alignment system problematic, especially when you try to apply it to real people or even TV characters. Consider Michael Westen from Burn Notice. Is he lawful, neutral, or chaotic? Well, he operates outside of the law and is currently under investigation by the po-lice. So he’s chaotic. But he’s not nearly as chaotic as Fiona, so let’s just say he’s neutral. But he used to work for the government and wants to go back to working for them. Which would turn him lawful again. Plus he has a strict code of ethics and seems to be quite the patriot. Then again, when he did work for the government, the organization he worked for allowed him to constantly break the law. So that makes him chaotic again?

    Let’s leave the question of whether the BN characters are good or evil alignment for another day.


  9. Saint #

    I think alignment works well for TV characters. Most characters in TV or movies are written with a specific set of goals and fears, which they address through a particular style of behavior. A TV writer has to know whether a specific character would care more about doing what’s right (or wrong) than doing what’s expected. It comes down to two simple questions:

    1. Are rules (any rules at all) more important to this character than his or her own desires?

    2. Are the actions the character takes morally defensible?

    With Michael from Burn Notice, we come to the conclusion that he is chaotic good, because he doesn’t follow rules; he employs them. He has particular desires (revenge, saving lives, protecting his friends and family) which he will pursue despite conflicts with any sets of rules he encounters. When he does break rules (as in the season 3 opener, when he breaks into the hotel to make an illegal telephone call) his victims either don’t notice the crime or they deserve some karmic justice anyway.

    Like a lot of vigilantes, Michael is a good person who decides for himself whether a rule is going to work for him. That reluctance to defer to a higher authority is what makes him chaotic, not any affiliation (or lack thereof) with a government agency.


  10. Devonin #

    Don’t discount the possibility of Lawful neutral as a possible way to address the issues you’re having characterizing Michael’s alignment.

    The key difference between Lawful Good (Obeys the laws of the rightful authority) and Chaotic Good (Does what they perceive as right, and damn the consequences) is whether or not one obeys the rightful authority or not. But as has been noted above, while he has chaotic elements, and appears to want to retain some lawful elements, some of his actions (See the whole ‘revenge’ aspect mentioned earlier) might generally be at odds with the generally accepted “good” as well.

    Generally, vigilantes fall into Chaotic Good because of their willingness to work outside the law. However, Lawful Neutral generally functions like “As per Lawful Good ro Lawful Evil, except instead of the legitimate elected authorities, the code to which I am Lawful is my own internal code”

    Chaotic Good is a Rebel, Lawful Neutral is a Judge. Both are the kind of thing you can see a vigilante falling under, but it all depends whether “Doing Good” is the primary motivator or whether “Doing what -I- think should be done” is the primary motivator.


  11. Gab #

    Hah, wow. I should send that to my DM.


  12. Gab #

    Oh yeah, and Stokes: What was with that finale, eh? Those last few minutes- I know *why* but still, I felt rather let down.


  13. Jim Doughty #

    – The “choosing” of Gozer’s form –

    1. If Ray’s momentary slip in thinking of the Stay-Puft marshmallow man was enough to lock in that form for “the destructor,” what about Pete’s comment a second earlier about J.Edgar Hoover? Once he said that, the image of Hoover should have been in everyone’s mind for at least an instant. Why didn’t a 20-story J. Edgar Hoover materialize?

    2. Also… after the guys neutronize the female/humanoid version of Gozer, when its disembodied voice instructs them to “choose and perish,” how does Venkman instantly understand that there will be mind-reading involved? Wouldn’t it have made just as much sense for the “choosing” to depend upon an explicit, vocal decision?

    3. Lastly… Once Gozer has assumed the form of the marshmallow man, does killing it require an interdimensional/quantum solution like crossing the streams? It’s a thousand tons of sugar and gelatin, and it was already on fire. Messy and dangerous, but vulnerable within the laws of our physical universe.

    I’m just sayin’.


Add a Comment