Jan. 10th, 2008

phamos: (hotkarl)
Kerry to endorse Obama. Yeah, I'm sure that'll help. Look at Barack's face:

He's all, "Please stop touching me. You carry with you the stench of death."
phamos: (flat albert)
The Daily Show and The Colbert Report have returned to the airwaves after nine weeks of strike-induced absence. Neither host wanted to go back on the air without their writers, but their contracts left them with little choice. I watched the first episodes back of both shows. As we were watching them, Segev said, "Do you support the writers strike?" When I answered decisively in the affirmative, he snapped, "Well, then why the hell did you download these?" I explained that the Daily Show was already paid for, the money already long gone from the iTunes monthly pass I had purchased but not completed before the strike. The auto-renewal has now been turned off, but I'm going to watch the remaining 5 episodes relatively guilt-free. And the Colbert Report...that somehow mysteriously appeared on my hard drive. Maybe the Viacom fairy put it there; I don't know... Suffice it to say that the writers may not have received any income from my viewing of Monday night's Colbert Report, but neither did Sumner Redstone or Les Moonves. (And, to be perfectly honest, I feel absolutely zero guilt about this. The studios are going to have a hell of a time trying to prosecute intellectual property cases on internet downloads of TV shows if they've proclaimed that viewing an entire episode online is a "promotional use" [even when there are unskippable ads embedded] and therefore shouldn't result in residual payments to the writers. If the internet episode has no monetary value, what are you suing me for? Not to mention Betamax time-shifting blah-di-blah...I'm over it. Get your act together, AMPTP.)

So, anyway, the results of the first episodes were mixed. Jon Stewart was widely criticized for being kinda cranky about the fact that the WGA wouldn't break him off the same deal that Worldwide Pants got. I personally think that the Worldwide Pants deal was a bad strategic call on the part of the WGA. They're saying that it's a totally different case because Worldwide Pants owns the rights to Letterman's show, where as Busboy Productions doesn't own The Daily Show or The Colbert Report (Viacom does). But, you know, where I'm standing, CBS is getting ad revenues from Letterman the same way that Comedy Central gets ad revenues from Colbert. The difference really seems to be that The Daily Show has more cachet as a bargaining tool than Letterman does -- higher profile, I guess, what with John Oliver traipsing around New York with picket signs, being all British and cute. Obviously Jon was a little upset, because he wants his show to go back to normal, but he's very sympathetic to labor, and he knows how much he depends on his writers for material. (Last night's episode had a great bit where Jon quoted Cocoon and it flew right over the college-aged audience's head -- he said, "You know, without my writers all my references are going to be from the '80s. I can get up to about Breakfast Club, and then nothin'.") He's conflicted. So Jon's first episode back was a little rough, especially compared to Colbert. Colbert has a huge advantage -- he comes from an improv background, a rich and storied Second City improv background, and is much more able to just wing it than stand-up Jon. Colbert really can just pull stuff out of his ass and be funny at a moment's notice. It's kinda brilliant. But, as I've said before, although I'm a huge fan of Colbert himself, I'm not super fond of the show. Colbert-the-persona is a little hard for me to take in full half-hour doses. If the episodes were Aqua-Teen-sized, then I'd be totally up for it. 11 minutes of Colbert-larity, in and out, boom. But I cant do the full half hour. Which is sad, because half-hour shows are really only 21 minutes long. I have no attention span left.

Last night's Daily Show, however, was leaps and bounds better, and featured a music cue that made me laugh hysterically -- as a response to Hillary's total non-cry heard around the world, they did a montage of presidents and other celebrities crying set to "It's Alright to Cry" from Free To Be You And Me, ending with the classic shot of the Indian crying about pollution. Jon's cultural references really did top off somewhere in the mid-70s. I think Cocoon is actually pushing it, timeline-wise. But that montage totally made me want to download Free To Be You And Me and sing about how William Has A Doll and Parents Are People, People With Children, and listen to Marlo Thomas and Mel Brooks riff about gender roles. Awesome. (Speaking of Betamax...I HAD THAT on betamax! It was part of the Children's Video Library, which had an animated logo with balloons and a jaunty whistled tune. They also put out Benji movies on videotape. I miss my childhood so.) It looks like Hillary has learned the lesson Rosey Grier made clear all those years ago: It's alright to cry. Crying gets the sad out of you.
phamos: (hotkarl)
A couple of weeks ago, for the 20 minutes or so we mistakenly had cable, I saw a graphic on some news channel listing the current poll standings of the Republican presidential candidates. And I swear, when I saw "Thompson," I was like, wait, Tommy Thompson's not running for president...is he? But then up popped Fred Thompson's cheerful mug and I went, oh, right, HIM. Now there is chatter that Fred will be dropping out of the race at some point relatively soon, since his campaign was such a big fat bust. I mean, literally -- I forgot he existed. I don't think he ever really wanted to be running in the first place. He always seemed like this cranky grandpa that the Republican party had woken up from a nap and stuck behind a podium, and he's all, "Can't an old man watch himself in Law and Order reruns on TNT and bone his trophy wife in peace? Grumble grumble grumble...these kids today...uphill both ways in two feet of snow barefoot..."

But then I read that Tommy Thompson actually WAS running for president, for like two minutes, a year ago. I totally missed that. That was, like, when the Republican debates were 27 middle aged white guys in blue suits and red ties all saying the same thing. I just couldn't be bothered to pay attention until we were down to about 10 middle aged white guys in blue suits and red ties all saying the same thing, and then Ron Paul talking about the gold standard. Actually, wasn't Alan Keyes at one of the debates? Wikipedia says he's running...but they won't include him in debates or put him on ballots. Both the media and the Republican party take one look at Alan Keyes and stick their fingers in their ears and start chanting "la la la la la I can't hear youuuuuu!" He apparently hasn't realized that PAUL is the designated nutjob for this go-round, and they can only have one per side. See how poor Mike Gravel has totally been ignored? Throwing a rock in a lake and staring threateningly into a camera for a disconcertingly long period of time just can't compete with UFO sightings, Shirley MacLaine, and a hot British redhead wife with a tongue stud. Plus, Kucinich can sing the hell out of a coal mining dirge.

Duncan Hunter has still not dropped out. He's totally my favorite Republican candidate, because nobody gives a crap about him at all. AT ALL. He's the poor man's Tom Tancredo, which is incredible and fantastic. Also, my spies tell me he's about eleven feet tall. I think he might be a Taltos.

Bill Richardson technically hasn't dropped out yet, either, although everyone's saying he'll do it today. I am grumpy about this, because I have yet to hear any clarification about his policy on wovles. America needs to know why you want babies to get eaten by the many many wovles, Bill! The press has also as yet refused to take seriously this guy's claim that Jeb Bush is all in his house with disease. This is very important. The government owes him zillions of dollars in money. Don't mess with him -- he has 1 million U.S. Military Intelligence Negro Female Lawyers and All the Negro Certified Public Accountants in the United States on his side.


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