Open Thread for July 2, 2010

*whistles* Be kind to your dear Open Threads, for a pop culture round-up is coming … Good morning, all! Happy Canada Day (July 1) or Independence Day (July 4) to our friends on the North American continent. First, what’s going … Continued

*whistles* Be kind to your dear Open Threads, for a pop culture round-up is coming …

Good morning, all! Happy Canada Day (July 1) or Independence Day (July 4) to our friends on the North American continent.

First, what’s going on in movies? M. Night Shyamalan’s The Last Airbender opened to universally scathing reviews. Roger Ebert, Owen Gleiberman, A.O. Scott, the A.V. Club – all of them hated this bomb. Compared to The Last Airbender, the mixed reviews for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (“one more walk on the mild sides”, “a ho-hummer,” etc) seem like angelic choruses. Question: is this M. Night Shyamalan’s last picture, or does he have one more flop in him?


Watch any six episodes of this show, and you'll be better served.

Second, American television icon Larry King announced his retirement this week. After twenty-five years hosting his talk show on CNN, and just as long on the radio, Larry King has been famous for his non-threatening interviews and oddly hunched shoulders. He has interviewed every sitting President in that time, the biggest names in arts and entertainment, and Ross Perot. Thankfully, he’s not leaving on the wings of a scandal. Question: who’s going to replace him on the mic?


Mightiest shoulders in broadcast journalism.

Anything we missed? Sound off in the comments, for this is your … Open Thread.

38 Comments on “Open Thread for July 2, 2010”

  1. TomFool #

    I’m curious what people here think about the choice of Andrew Garfield as the new spiderman.


  2. RiderIon #

    I’m pretty sure this is going to be M. Night Shyamalan’s last big budget film. I don’t think this is entirely his fault as the writer had to distill twenty four 22 minute episodes down into an hour and fifty minutes of screen time. And from the reviews, they didn’t do that very well. It comes down to how we ascribe agency for films and M. Night is going to take the brunt of the criticism as a result. I was also surprised how the controversy surrounding the white washing of the cast disappeared after the inital backlash. It’s Asian characters in an Asian themed world and the only Asians are the bad guys has some unfortunate implications. I’m also not sure if I can take the villian of the film, Admiral Zhao, seriously because he’s being played by Asif Mandhvi (apologies if I butchered the name I’m going from memory), a Daily Show regular correspondent.

    As for Larry King’s retirement and who will replace him, people still watch CNN?


  3. Mark #

    I know you guys already overthought Karate Kid extensively (karate vs. kung fu, etc.), but I just saw the remake last weekend and one thing really bothered me. Ignore this if you already covered it in the podcast.

    Mr. Han (Jackie Chan) is insane. Not just a little; I’m talking real, bats*** crazy. Mr. Miyagi lost his wife and son, so he gets sad one day a year and gets drunk to cope with it. That’s normal. Mr. Han, on the other hand (or “on the other Han”!…sorry, forget I wrote that), lost his wife and son in a car accident, so every year he spends the entire year meticulously returning the car to mint condition so that he can drunkenly smash the hell out of it on the anniversary of the accident. He’s only drunk while he’s smashing it; the rest of the year, he is sober and aware of what he’s doing, fixing the car with full knowledge that he will smash it up again. I’m not a psychiatrist, but that kind of patient, intentional obsession is clinically insane. Like Norman Bates, Annie Wilkes, Dr. Moreau-style insane. Definitely not someone I’d leave my kid with.


  4. Trevor #

    The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced that Glenn Beck and “MASH”s Frank Burns are seperated at birth, or that Beck is the real-life counterpart to the fictional Ferretface in the way he myopically views the world and America. Not sure if I can get an article out of that, but felt like sharing it.

    M. Night Shamalamalamadingdong is still getting studios to bankroll his movies? He’d be the Uwe Boll of this generation, if Boll wasn’t still alive.


  5. cat #

    “I don’t think this is entirely his fault as the writer had to distill twenty four 22 minute episodes down into an hour and fifty minutes of screen time.”

    Isn’t M. Night the writer?


  6. Bob #

    Okay – I’ll say it. I like ‘most’ of M. Nights movies. And by most, I literally mean most of the parts of his movies. I felt that The Happening, Lady in the Water, The Village and Signs were all crappy movies. However I also feel that if they were edited down to about 45 minutes and made into a TV show, you would have a great groundbreaking show like Amazing Stories, The Outer Limits or Twilight Zone. While the lights are dimming in his movie career, I think he is immensity talented and still has a long career in Hollywood.

    As for Larry King, his rating have been going downhill for a long while and CNN waited till he had the record for longest show by the same host in the same time slot (Just got in Guinness for it). Its ironic because he is getting shown the door by CNN and is not going out on top – Unlike the ending of Seinfield


  7. Gab #

    Yes, my heart sank to the lower recesses of the Earth when I realized _The Last Airbender_ is getting such crap-tastic reviews. Not only because I love the series (it’s true, watch any random six episodes and you’ll have a jolly-good time), but because I mourn for Shymalan a little. It does sound like this could be the end of his film career, which is rather sad for me. I’ve defended him on this site before, but that can only last so long.

    @RiderIon: Unfortunately, Shymalan *did* write the script, and one theme I saw in a few reviews is basically summed up to how one of the reasons the script failed was because it reflects his arrogance and self-importance. Sad. But he did sort of rail about the racism stuff a while ago:

    Larry King: You forgot to mention his suspenders. It’s all about the suspenders. I never thought he was successful because of skill, though. I realized at an early age that he is, in fact, a terrible interviewer because he asks really obvious questions, and easy ones- he got such big names because they knew an interview with him would be “safe.” It always seemed more grueling to be on _The Today Show_ or heck, _Regis and Kathy Lee_, than his.

    Maybe James Lipton could do a crossover.

    Spider-Man: I’ve never seen Andrew Garfield in anything but those two Dr. Who episodes about Daleks a few years back. From what I remember, he seems good, but it isn’t like he stands out in my memory as being amazing, either. I haven’t searched the internets yet, but I imagine some fans are going to get mad because he isn’t American. I don’t care all that much- if he proves to do a good job, more power to him. I just want a good Spider-Man movie, one that will make up for how the previous series of films went downhill.


  8. Trevor #

    The best thing about Larry King is that he provided the inspiration for Norm MacDonald’s skits on SNL as King, typing away at a keyboard while spouting non-sequitars about whatever subject caught his fancy. Priceless.


  9. Wade #

    It seems really unfair to call Shyamalan one of Hollywood’s worst filmmakers. Sure, he’s an absolute terrible screenwriter, but the guy directs a really great looking movie. Even Lady in the Water, which was as pretentious and idiotic as they come, had a wonderful look to it (but maybe that’s just me). I think if he’d just stop insisting on writing all of his own movies, or at least giving his ideas to real screenwriters, Shyamalan might be able to pull himself out of this downward spiral.

    He’s got another great movie in him, but for the love of god let someone else write it.


  10. RiderIon #

    @Cat + Gab: I was not aware that he was also the writer. Then it definitely is his fault. Take that, M. Night Jambalaya!

    As for Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man, my friend of mine summed it up pretty well: “A 27 year old British actor no one has ever heard of is playing a teenage American Peter Parker who everyone has heard of.” I’ve never seen any of his work and looking at his filmography, he must of really impressed a lot of people to get such a big role. I’ve reserve judgment until we see something concrete as 2012 is a far way off.


  11. Jon Eric #

    About that other Avatar: I’ve heard that this film fell flat on a number of counts, including tepid action, bad special effects, poor (virtually non-) use of the 3-D, and especially wooden acting. Well then, why the heck did he go through all the controversy of casting a white kid to play an Asian when the white kid isn’t even particularly famous or a particularly good actor? Huh?

    About Larry King: He was never an exceptional interviewer, but he always had something of a magnetic personality. And his guest-swap with Stephen Colbert was brilliant. He doesn’t really have a clear successor, as far as I can tell, but CNN seems to be moving away from his style of reporting, anyway.

    About Andrew Garfield: Who?


  12. John Perich OTI Staff #

    I like the idea of casting no-names in a Spider-Man reboot. It shakes us out of our expectations.


  13. Jesse #

    Andrew Garfield’s best work is in a a movie called Boy A in which he BAFTA for Best Actor. He was incredible in that and he’s been on my radar ever since. I’m surprised by the casting of him as Spider-man but pleasantly so.


  14. Timm #

    It looks like The Last Airbender is on its way to a $60 million 5 day weekend. Not spectacular, maybe, in second place, sure, but with a little bit of legs and overseas sales and he’ll be live to film another awful movie. It’s far too early to call Airbender a flop, regardless of how bad the reviews have been.


  15. Gab #

    @Timm (especially): If _The Last Airbender_ made that much money the weekend the third _Twilight_ movie came out, I’d say it did *damn* well, and actually, the studio may take up the next two films. Even if it fails artistically, if it’s able to make *that* much bank, the studio won’t care and would *gladly* keep going.


  16. shawn Pitre #

    I am a huge Avatar fan.

    I could forgive the casting.

    I usually don’t go with a lot of these reviews before I go see a movie, I like to have an open mind and go see a film if it looks really good or fun.

    However…If it’s getting panned as much as this, I think I’m going to have to re-evaluate my position on this one.

    Or perhaps watch it on lin…er…*cough* get a scene by scene review of it from that guy I know on the internet. Yeah… that’s what I meant.


  17. Jon Eric #

    Oh, I just noticed that, though I whined about The Last Airbender‘s seemingly tone-deaf choices, I didn’t actually address the question that Perich initially posed.

    Shyamalan has storytelling in his soul. He is arguably not very good at it, but he truly loves making movies, and I suspect that even when he has a hard time finding the money for them, he will find a way to continue doing it. After all, Ed Wood kept on getting funding, flop after flop after flop. Shyamalan may or may not ever get to work with a big budget ever again (the jury’s still out on whether the film will be a box office hit, because, after all, how do people get to find out it’s bad until at least a few of their friends have seen it?), but worse comes to worst, he’ll keep on makin’ movies and loving every minute of it.

    Also, I hope I didn’t seem overly dismissive of Andrew Garfield. He can probably do a good job with the role, assuming that this unanimity of other commenters know what they’re talking about. And Perich is right, too, casting unknowns can be a really good idea when you’ve got this much of a legacy to live up to.

    I’d like to see Donald Glover in the role somehow, but with a Sony-backed film, that was never going to happen. Maybe someone can make a pilot episode of a new Spider-Man TV series starring Glover?


  18. Gab #

    “Maybe someone can make a pilot episode of a new _Spider-Man_ TV series starring Glover?”

    I actually think that could be a great success. Superman had _Smallville_, and that show has been around for ten years now, right? I think it is proof that if done correctly, an entire series can revolve around a comic book character, so naysaying it because of the source material wouldn’t be very sound. Other than Glover, the casting of unknowns would be best for a series, too, so that expectations are on those performances themselves and not compared to others; also, it would enable the characters to “grow up” on the show, since it would depict the evolution of Peter Parker from geeky school kid to awesome superhero over a more lengthy amount of time, given the differences in storytelling capabilities of a series versus a film.


  19. Valatan #

    I love how everyone on this thread is proclaiming stuff about Shyamalan’s career without having seen the movie.


  20. Valatan #

    While we’re talking reboots–before the batman reboot, there was apparently talk of Clint Eastwood playing an old, washed-up Batman that couldn’t quite cut it anymore.

    That could be horrifically bad, but it certainly is intriguing as an idea. Of course, now it would play like a campy No Country for Old Men.


  21. Megan from Lombard #

    @Valatan- sort of like a ‘Batman Beyond’ type Batman or a ‘Knightfall’ type Batman? If it was the former and the movie was about how he was training the “next” Batman in a Gotham where crime had taken over then I think that it would be really interesting. The later would be as well but at the same time it would take a more obsessive, dark route.

    @Rider- I litterally laughed out loud when I found out that Aasif Mandvi was playing the role of the bad guy. Also I heard that the ‘Daily Show’ was going to do a little segment on the movie with Aasif (he’s also posted a youtube video about how the Daily Show helped him prepare for the role of a villian).


  22. RiderIon #

    @Val: I just got back from the movie. I had a free pass so I didn’t pay for it. So I can say the following without prejudice:

    The Last Airbender was quite simply one of the worst movies I have ever seen. I’m going to put thoughts to paper after I’ve had some sleep. My ice cream is only doing so much to calm my rage at how bad this film was. I can see no reason why M. Night Shymalan will ever do another big budget film again. Directing, pacing, the script were all awful.


  23. Gab #

    I agree with Megan about a Clint-as-Batman and the two approaches. He could actually do a *really* good job playing an old, wizened and lecturing Bruce Wayne. Of course, a nod to Dirty Harry or William Munny would be appreciated. Even if subtle. “I’ve come to kill you, Joker. For what you did to Robin.” ::geeking out::


  24. Timothy J Swann #

    Apropos of nothing, Gab and Mlawski, and all other Whovians, to fulfil the other half of the obligations that all Open Threads discuss Spiderman and Doctor Who, my brother recently summarised (with spelling mistakes and snark) The Pandorica Opens – – on which I contributed about a hundred jokes, all of which he chose to ignore whilst demanding that I remain and help him.
    Includes my personal favourite line that River ought to say: “Spoiler Warning: You’re An Idiot.”


  25. Megan from Lombard #

    @Timothy- I’m not really a big fan of River (IMO Moffat’s tried to force her on the Doctor and he doesn’t seem like the type to settle down and have a wife…although in ‘Partners In Crime’ he did seem like he wanted to have someone to care about, that wasn’t a companion that is.) but I do love the way she tries to guess the Doctor’s timeline by throwing out random places.


  26. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @Timothy: Those stick figures are adorable. Amusingly–or disturbingly–Amy still bugs me when she’s in stick figure form. Bah.

    @Megan: Totally agree. Can’t imagine the Doctor settling down with anyone, except maybe Romana. And even when they were together, their relationship still had a teacher/student vibe at times. (Which makes sense, seeing as he was, what, 700 years older?) Well, actually, I could have seen Nine hooking up with Rose for a time, had he lived longer, but that relationship was doomed to a quick death no matter what. The way I see it, those two pretty much worked only because the Doctor at that time was reeeeally screwed up. Most earlier incarnations would never have gotten so close to a human, but Nine (and early Ten) was so emotionally fragile that he had to let someone in–preferably someone young, sweet, and impressionable. But I could never see Ten with River, and I don’t really see Eleven with her, either. I may change my mind when it actually comes up in the show, however.

    Big Doctor Who post coming soon–probably next week–so I’m going to sit out any further conversations about The Pandorica Opens/Big Bang/this season in general. Everyone else feel free to say whatever you want.


  27. Megan from Lombard #

    @mlawski- I’ve been refusing to talk to the Doctor/Steve Moffat since ‘Cold Blood’ how ever the trailers for the next episode airing on BBCA (the one with the flat and the creepy girl) looks like it is going to be amusing in it’s own way and is starting to win me back over (plus I’ve heard that Moffat doesn’t let us Whovians down for those episodes). Also I want to know what you think about the rumored Who movie starring Depp as the Doctor. From what I’ve read and my friends have said it sounds like the writer has no idea what Doctor Who is all about and I’m sorry, but I just can’t see Johnny Depp as the Doctor…

    I’ve noticed that Doctor Who has taken on a much darker tone, there’s hardly any of the romping around space and time that was there when RTD was running the show and I think that that’s a positive change because we’ve all been told/seen that where ever the Doctor and his Companions go there is trouble (heck he even refers to himself as ‘The Oncoming Storm’ after the Dalek’s gave him the monkier hoping to strike fear into those he goes up against) and I think that we’ve all come to expect that there’s bound to be trouble and consequences when the TARDIS lands.

    And I was silently flailing when I heard that Lady Gaga might be guest starring in an episode next season. At least the Costume Department won’t have to create something for her…


  28. Gab #

    Dr. Whovians: Mayhap I’m a wuss, but I don’t want to be spoiled, so I kind of didn’t read the comics yet… I will, I will, I promise, just not yet.

    BUTBUTBUT. I will say that I think part of what the writers were *all* hoping for with River was a shock for the audience- the idea that the Doctor, from all we know, wouldn’t want to settle down was, perhaps, part of the point of her in the first place. A slap in the face and a double-take, “Excuse me, she’s his WHAT?!”

    As for Depp:

    Probably a good thing.

    And as for Lady Gaga: Any props they gained for having Neil Gaiman write an episode next season are more than negated by that. Lady Gaga? Really? REALLY?


  29. Timothy J Swann #

    @Megan – what did you dislike about Cold Blood, except that it was sort-of boring? Do trust me that the lodger is a hilarious episode. Perhaps more so for Brits who appreciate James Corden (when he’s not in sole charge of his writing – I mean, if you haven’t seen Gavin and Stacey, do so now). Let me give you one out of context non-spoilericious quote that I love to pieces from that episode – The Landlord: Has anyone ever told you that you’re a bit weird?’ The Doctor: ‘They never really stop.’

    This comic sums up my thoughts on a purely American adaptation, if you’ll forgive my horrible parochialism. If you’ve seen the Paul McGann TV movie (the 8th Doctor), you’ll see the creeping influence of it wrecked the film.

    @Mlawski – I will pass on the compliment to my brother and post the rest when he gets round to doing them.


  30. mlawski OTI Staff #

    Ah, Cold Blood. That I can talk about without spoiling my article.

    People. Cold Blood is bad. I don’t care if Moffat is playing eleven-dimensional chess or not. If it’s possible for any episode of anything to be objectively bad, Cold Blood is that episode. I almost rage-quit the whole series after watching it. Why?

    1. It makes no sense. First the Doctor’s all anti-violence, but then he loves the Silurian doctor-man who just vivisected a human without anesthetizing him. Why does the Doctor love Silurian doctor-man? Because he conducted creepy medical experiments on a human child but didn’t actually kill him. Uh, great? (See, Doctor? This is why you shouldn’t have skipped Torchwood: Children of Earth. Then you would have realized how uncool this is.)

    2. It makes no sense. We were led to believe that a Crack would erase someone’s history if that someone fell into it. Now Rory gets erased just because some light tendrils come out and poke him. But the Doctor’s perfectly fine even though he stuck his entire arm inside.

    3. It makes no sense. We were told in earlier episodes that the memories of time-travelers like Amy aren’t affected by the Cracks’ memory-erasing powers. Now, all of a sudden, Amy IS affected by the Crack’s powers. This sudden retcon is bad enough, but it happens exactly when Rory is dying, sucking all possible emotion out of the scene. Instead of thinking, “Oh, no, poor Rory!” I spent the whole scene grousing about how Moffat and co. keep changing the rules.

    4. It’s pretty darn sexist. I’ve tried to overlook this season’s sexism, because otherwise I wouldn’t enjoy any of the episodes, but in Cold Blood it’s just ridiculous. Really, ALL of the male characters are smart, noble, or smart and noble and ALL of the female characters are evil, stupid, or evil and stupid? Jesus.

    Do I hate Cold Blood more than The Beast Below? Hmm, it’s a tough call. On a positive note, American fans, The Lodger is absolutely hilarious. That and Vincent and the Doctor saved this season for me.

    @Timothy: That Ctrl+Alt+Del comic is also hilarious. Thanks for the link!

    Aaaaahhhh!! Must…stop caring…about Doctor Who…. It’s only staying on my mind now because I just got a few friends to start watching the Eccleston season. Actually, I started them off with Blink, which is a really good gateway-drug episode, seeing as you don’t need any background knowledge to enjoy it.


  31. Megan from Lombard #

    @Timothy- I hated ‘Cold Blood’ for most of the reasons mlawski cited, most of all what they did to Rory.

    @mlawski- from what I infered Rory got sucked into the light therefore that’s why Amy “forgot” him, although I do agree with you on the whole rewriting what we already know about their memories.

    @Gab- that’s a good thing! And Neil Gaiman is going to write an episode? I just squeed a little :D She hasn’t been confirmed as a guest, but just rumored. Also I’m waiting for the Elizabeth Bathory story we were promised…


  32. Timothy J Swann #

    @Megan – all I’ll say is keep watching. But interestingly, I thought erasing Rory was the only interesting bit of that episode. It made Amy’s Choice that much more poignant, and it introduced a bit of mortal danger which is often lacking.

    @Mlawski – I was arguing with my friends and my brother about this, they suggested because the clerics weren’t as entwined in her timeline, she was a distant timetraveller who could recall dispassionately, whereas the absence was more significant with Rory. But you’re right, it was inconsistent, I just think I didn’t mind because it was dramatic.


  33. Gab #

    @Megan: I am not necessarily ANTI-Lady Gaga, but I’m not a fan. I often don’t like what she sings about (namely the abuse), but I’ll admit she has a pretty voice- I’d like her a lot more if she tried to do stuff more like Bette Midler or Sarah McLachlan, stuff that could show off her lungs and that wasn’t about enjoying getting beat up by your boyfriend. And her visual aesthetic doesn’t appeal to mine, but I can understand how it would appeal to people that are not me- it’s art, and art is very subjective.

    Personally, I see no value in having pop singers in guest roles on shows period, though, so it’s not necessarily just a disappointment that it’s her specifically, but that it’s a guest appearance by a pop singer at all. It’s one thing when a popular actor makes an appearance on TV because, you know, it’s acting. But a singer, that just irks me. Another example: I was a HUGE N*Sync fan when I was younger (throw stones later, I’m proving a point), but I was angry when they were on _Sabrina the Teenage Witch_ because I knew they wouldn’t be as relevant as the show itself if the episode was being watched ten years later (old soul, what can I say?). I knew all the words they were singing, but I wasn’t watching _Sabrina_ to watch Lance (my favorite- throw stones later, I’m proving a point) shake his rear- that was what I watched concert specials on Disney for and saw them live for. I realize it’s all marketing and branding now, and I realized it then. And it irks me. I can’t think of another word.

    No, I’m not opinionated at all. Now let the stoning commence.


  34. kittiquin #

    Lady Gaga sings about liking rough sex, which is a completely different deal to being “beaten up”. When it’s consensual, even actual violence and pain takes on a different dimension. (Story: one of my friends once called me up at 2am and made me come over to her house so she could show me the various bruises and bite marks her girlfriend had left on her. Some of them were bleeding slightly. She was covered in bruises. I would have been filing assault charges, but she was totally psyched, I’ve never seen her so giggly and excited before. I mean, she actually made me get out of bed so that I could see them before they started healing.)

    If they could integrate Gaga into the story as an actual character, ideally without having her sing (a TV show should never change the format for a guest star – and there’s no natural reason for a musical interlude on Dr Who), she might be ok in a Doctor Who episode. But it would be entirely unnecessary, and a PR move that would make the episode dated in just a couple of years.

    The thing that always bothered me about guest stars is that they remind you you’re watching TV. They never quite integrate into the show, they just bring to mind producers, and ratings, and the PR machine. There are exceptions – Michael Jackson on the Simpsons worked, because he had an actual function in the episode. In the Simpsons episode where Milhouse is cast as Fallout Boy, Mickey Rooney had no real function but he was funny anyway. Ok, all I can think of are early Simpsons episodes now.

    Late Simpsons episodes, however, illustrate my problem with celebrity guests perfectly.


  35. mlawski OTI Staff #

    @kittiquin: I think there’s a really interesting Overthinking It post in your comment. When do guest stars work, and when do they not? For me, it has to do with how the guests are advertised (or not). You’re exactly right: if a guest star is hyped by commercials before the show airs, the guest appearance makes you remember that you’re watching TV. A good, recent example was when Lisa Kudrow was on Cougar Town earlier this year. Cougar Town actually turned into a really funny, sweet show, but that Lisa Kudrow appearance smelled like desperation.

    Mickey Rooney on The Simpsons, on the other hand, was great, because he was there only for a very brief cameo, and it was hilarious. I don’t remember, but I doubt the advertisements for The Simpsons back in the 90s hyped up his appearance beforehand. Another good Simpsons-related example was Leonard Nimoy’s random appearance in the monorail episode. When you see someone like that show up out of nowhere, yes, it pulls you out of the episode, but in a good way. It’s like, “Oh, haha, it’s Leonard Nimoy! Hilarious.”


  36. Valatan #

    Another exception: when they work in the guest star to be a semi-recurring role. Like Mel Brooks on Mad About You.


  37. Gab #

    @kittiquin: The lyric I’m thinking of particularly is “let him hit me,” so whether it’s during sex or not, it constitutes being beaten in my mind. And the consent part is what bothers me, whether it’s during sex or not. I realize some people enjoy that kind of sexual act, but I am not of that camp, so I still am uncomfortable with the subject matter. I’m not saying she can’t sing about it, either- I’m just saying I’d like her songs more if they weren’t about enjoying being hit in *any* context, because the notion gives me, personally, the willies. And, I’ll be forthcoming and admit I started disliking her music *more* when I saw a first-grader singing and dancing to “Poker Face” at the end of May, so perhaps I’m just being too defensive of my own beliefs “FOR THE CHILDREN!!!” Again, I’m not saying she shouldn’t be singing about it, I just don’t like hearing it myself (and get disturbed when I see little kids singing it). She has free speech and freedom of artistic expression, and I totally respect that- and I don’t DISrespect others for liking her, either.

    I’m on the same page with you about celebrity guest stars. I think what you pointed out about the “dated” aspect is why I find singers harder to accept in guest appearances than actors. For some reason, I find music acts “date” things a lot easier than actual actors. I do suppose if they were able to integrate her well enough, she could do a good job, just as any actor would. If she wasn’t pitched as Lady Gaga, Pop Singer Extrordinaire, but just as Lady Gaga (since she uh, doesn’t have any other name, right?), or, most ideally, not pitched *at all*, I bet she could rock it.

    Which segues a bit into a small caveat. For me, I find the best guest appearances (meaning the ones I find most convincing or enjoyable) are ones integrated well and aren’t really advertised or pushed all that much prior to the appearance. Constantly blaring it and shoving it down the throat of the audience (ahem, me) is somewhat of a turn-off and yes, reminds me I’m watching something on TV. It sort of breaks that fourth wall in a negative way.


  38. kittiquin #

    I had to google “let him hit me”, and the only occurance I could find was in Pokerface, when it works as an allusion to playing poker –

    Fold him
    Let him hit me
    Raise it
    Baby stay with me

    I don’t think it’s about being hit (as in, slapped) at all, it seems like she’s talking in card-game metaphors about their relationship. (And it wasn’t actually about rough sex either. My mistake.) I do agree that five-year-olds should not be singing that song, but five year olds also shouldn’t watch Dexter or operate heavy machinery. This is not a fault on the part of the heavy machinery, it’s a matter of proper supervision and restrictions.

    I think I’ve figured out why big-name guest stars always stick out to me: they’re in the wrong universe.

    TV shows are not realistic, and we don’t really want them to be – we want people who are smarter, funnier, more interesting than ourselves. We want a world where interesting things happen, and where they happen with a consistent, familiar rhtyhm. TV occupies a different space from real life, so when somebody we recognise as inhabiting our reality turns up, it doesn’t mesh. Lady Gaga is a real person, so when she stands on the same set as the Doctor, she will remind us that the Doctor is not. (The whole thing smells like a false rumour, but, theoretically).

    This is the same reason once an actor reaches tabloid saturation they no longer function properly as an actor. I can’t see Angelina Jolie as anybody but Angelina Jolie these days, because I know too many facts about her that have confirmed her as a real person in my mind. Singers are even worse, because chances are, you’ve seen them perform as themselves.


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