EVAN: The idiot box, the boob tube, the . . . television receiver . . . TV’s a pretty important part of our culture, and even as I write this the flatscreen is on, showing the Rockets pretty soundly beating the Spurs-
There are also certain ways that things are done, which is apparent as anything else given the upcoming Super Bowl and the so-called “Ad Blitz”. What we’re here to do is explain how we’d do things, were we the ones running the show.
GORDON: Since you brought up commercials, that’s probably a good place to start.
How about declaring a law that the same commercial cannot be shown twice in the same hour? Continue reading →
EVAN: Human beings and animals that have somehow taught themselves how to read English, welcome to another E>. This week Gordon and I have come off of a mini-hiatus, and as a result are just a tad rusty.
As a result we will be discussing the very broad topic of movies, devoting a portion of our time to each one. Gordon is going to be starting us off with . . .
GORDON:The big screen experience.
If you’ve been to theaters recently (no, Evan, it is NOT spelled “theatre”), you may have noticed a series of ads harping on how “some things just weren’t meant for a small screen.”
“Spectacle” is the term for it. How much is it integral to movies and the movie-going experience? Do we really lose anything by watching a movie on our TVs rather than in front of the big screen? Continue reading →
GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen devoted readers and people who found our blog by googling “dokata fanning playboy.” We’re were to have a frank and open discussion about “The Walking Dead,” both the critically acclaimed television series and Robert Kirkman comic books of the same name.
EVAN: I’d like to issue a fair warning to those who haven’t read the comic series or caught up on the show that there will be SPOILERS. You have been duly warned.
GORDON: Indeed. I’d like to kick things off by talking a bit about how the books and the television series differ, and whether or not that’s a good thing.
EVAN: I think there’s a firm answer there. The show differs a lot from the books, and that’s definitely a good thing.
GORDON: How so?
EVAN: Sticking to the book means that there aren’t any surprises for loyal fans of the series, and keeps them guessing. Furthermore, it allows AMC and others involved to play a little bit more loosely with the way the show is going, without feeling too tied down.
GORDON: I thought about that.
GORDON: At the same time, I feel there’s definitely a lot lacking from the series as a result of their pretty strong (and ever increasing) departure from the source material. Take some of the deaths, like Dale’s and Shane’s, for example. It’s like knowing you’re gonna go get Chinese food versus being surprised that you get some potato chips with your nasty sandwich.
EVAN: I agree. Both deaths were undeniably very well-written and powerful moments. I just think there’s something to be said for not being slavishly dedicated to one vision of the show.
And as far as Dale’s death is concerned, I can easily see his key line being spoken by some other character some ways down the road.
GORDON: I guess my point is that while the show does keep you on your toes, the changes it makes are typically just less impressive than the story itself. I think loyal fans of the series would be just as cool seeing a faithful show as one that goes its own way.
I mean, look at it this way: The books are dark. Really dark. I’m talking Laurie’s comic-book ending dark. It pushed the envelope in ways I just have yet to see the show do. That was a lot of the charm of the books- how unflinching it was. I’m just not getting that same power with the show’s spin.
EVAN: It’s obvious that fans are going to want a show that is as close to what they originally experienced in the comics as possible. I also agree that the comics are undeniably better than the show.
My point is that I think the deviation is good and realistic. Having the Governor both physically and sexually assault Michonne is probably not something we’re going to see. Neither did I think we were going to be witness to a woman and her baby being brutally gunned down.
The writing is weaker, but I don’t think that faults the direction to not stick to the book, it faults the current writers.
GORDON: Interesting, but it seems that the logical solution to that is to try to get closer to the hard-hitting story the books gave us. Here’s what I’m hearing from you:
“The books are objectively better, but the fault is with the show’s poor writing.”
Seems like you either just start trying to write a better zombie story while trying to stay within sight of the original material and characters (which kind of kills the point), or just stick to the material to begin with.
EVAN: I don’t think they’re not trying to write better stories. I’m saying they’re not succeeding. I don’t think they set out to do a bad job.
GORDON: Fair enough. So what needs to be done then?
EVAN: As with most forms of media taking into account constant feedback from fans and acknowledging their mistakes. Season 2 at the farm really dragged on, and was low on the zombie killing. At the very least, this season has given us plenty of “walker”-eviscerating action.
GORDON: No argument there . . . no complaint either. But I don’t think it’s a solution; just something to help ease the need for something more.
EVAN: You do get that not everything in the comics can make it on TV, though, right?
GORDON: Of course. And I wasn’t going to say that. I mean, ever since the season began, I’ve been like: “How the **** are they going to show a baby being shot on national television?”
The rest I could imagine, but not that.
EVAN: Okay, how about we move on to something most fans of the AMC show can relate to: How horrible Andrea is all the time always.
GORDON: That bugs me. I like Andrea. Andrea gets it.
EVAN: Andrea is horrible. Andrea almost shot Daryl in the face. Because she couldn’t listen to people telling her to hold the **** up.
GORDON: That was messed up. But otherwise, I think the criticism of her is all just BS.
I mean, everyone’s like, “Gah- I hate Andrea! Why can’t she see that the Governor is evil?”
And I’m like: “Please. If you had survived as long as she had, which you wouldn’t, you would be groveling at the man’s feet for a bowl of warm soup, let alone a flippin’ suburban paradise free from living corpses.”
EVAN: She only survived because of Michonne, who I don’t like all that much at the moment. And for the most part, I agree with you about the Governor not being a bad dude.
GORDON: Let’s not turn this into my twisted/completely reasonable sense of morality. What I think the show is really lacking is the eeriness. You got that in the first season, when Rick was on his own, that feeling of isolation. Upping the action doesn’t solve that problem, especially as more an more characters come in.
EVAN: What I really want to see is the whole idea, which has been communicated but could be better, that it’s not the zombies you’re afraid of, it’s the people. Two kids die, and everyone things it’s the huge black dude who did it. Turns out it’s the mild-mannered white guy who decapitated these two little girls.
GORDON: Very unexpected. Dang, there was so much good stuff there that we’ll never get to see. . .
EVAN: The theme of the books, if I could sum it up in three words, is “People Are Monsters.” I think that’s really what needs to come out of AMC’s Sunday evenings.
GORDON: I agree completely.
EVAN: We’ve got a little bit of time, do you want to share with the nice people why, barring slaughtering a few US Army men, the Governor’s not such a mustachio-twirling villain?
GORDON: In their defense, that version was pretty over-the-top; like a living Snidely Whiplash.
EVAN: In the books, you mean?
EVAN: What I meant, though, is that as you said people are yelling at their screens, crying “Andrea you dumb blonde, can’t you see you’re making out with the devil?”
GORDON: They are, and without cause (barring knowledge from the book). I mean, people suspect because they’re the audience and can see the big picture. But if we’re talking realistically, they would be more eager than Andrea. I’m just saying the criticism of Andrea as being blind is utter nonsense.
EVAN: And furthermore, what has he done to have anyone assume he’s a bad dude? Taken away their weapons in a peaceful town. Shown them tons of hospitality. If anything, we’d all be telling Michonne to chill the eff out and stop glaring at everyone/thing.
GORDON: Exactly. People need to chill out.
EVAN: And, even though I’m sure we could’ve gone on for another hour, that just about concludes our time. Any topics you have in mind for next week? Probably not something television-related, to avoid the hat trick.
GORDON: True. Let’s talk about food. Let’s hypothesize the greatest food show of all time.