porcelainandporcupines

Archive for the ‘great achievements in Western Civilization’ Category

Shaun of the Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes and the Bandit

Any Which Way but the Planet of the Apes

Dunstin Checks In to the Planet of the Apes

Bob and Carol and The Planet of the Apes and Alice

Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes Goes Shopping

The Planet of the Apes Must Diet!

TPotA Punk!

Sex, Lies, and the Planet of the Apes

How the Planet of the Apes Got its Groove Back

The Planet of the Apes’ Day Off

Pretty in the Planet of the Apes

Bad News Planet of the Apes

Star Trek II : Wrath of the Planet of the Apes

Madea’s Planet of the Apes Reunion

The Best Little Whorehouse in the Planet of the Apes

Planet of the Apes / Victoria

When the Planet of the Apes Met Sally

Harry and the Planet of the Apes

The Planet of the Apes Bogus Journey

Night on Earth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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It was with no small amount of sadness that I read the news last week that HBO decided to cancel Bored to Death. In the recently ended third season the show –  about a fictionalized version of Jonathon Ames, a writer with whom I have no familiarity outside of Bored to Death, so what creative liberties have been taken with his person I couldn’t tell you (makes you wonder why I brought that up, doesn’t it?), who, after a wrenching breakup with his girlfriend in the series premiere, becomes an unlicensed private investigator by placing an ad on Craigslist – the show was really beginning to find its footing. If you’re wondering why I or anyone would spend three seasons watching a show of uncertain balance that could also fairly be described as being a bit too enamored of its own cleverness, I’ll tell you*. Better yet, I’ll show you:

 

 

That, dear readers, is Ted Danson, in character as George Christopher, who, himself dressed in character as Don Quixote,  in the middle of a not-entirely-tuneful rendition of “The Impossible Dream,” realized that he had wronged his daughter and set off at a gallop through the streets of Brooklyn to apologize to her. And though it cannot be argued that it took a writer – and likely a clever one at that – to conceive of the scene in the first place, I, along with anyone else who watched the show – and there were dozens of us – would respectfully yet adamantly suggest that it took Ted Danson to make it amazing.

I lack the actorly vocabulary to fully describe the level of craft that Mr. Danson brings to the role of George Christopher, but I have watched enough television in my life to know an outstanding performance when I see one, and to refer to Ted Danson in Bored to Death as outstanding is to insult Ted Danson. George is the only character to mature throughout the course of the series, going from a one-note older man trying to hold on to his youth in the first season, to facing his mortality and a (n ultimately incorrect) diagnosis of cancer and settling into his role as elder statesman and father figure not just to the kid from Rushmore who plays Jonathon Ames and Zach Galifianakis who plays Ray, but also to his own daughter, in the second and third. Again, it is a writer who set up the story arc for George, but, after seeing Ted Danson in the role, it seems unlikely that any other actor could have so effortlessly conveyed each phase, the transitions between them, and still made the character – ridiculous though he could be at times – likeable throughout.

Alas, with the cancellation, George Christopher will ride no more. Stacy Keach, who I have oddly been fond of since his portrayal of the lovelorn Union soldier who tragically loses both his wife and one of his arms in The Blue and the Gray, which we watched in Mr. M’s class in 5th grade, will not be reprising his role as the seedy owner of second-rate sperm bank and Jonathon’s real father (ummmm, spoiler). And the television landscape will be home to fewer Boo Radley and Harrison Bergeron references.

None of this is to say that you should (or should have) watch(ed) Bored to Death. But even if you don’t get a nerdy little thrill out of a good Boo Radley reference like I do, you probably should watch the episode where George sings “The Impossible Dream”. And then tell me how to start a fan campaign to get Ted Danson an award for it. Because, once you’ve seen it, you’ll agree : he’s earned it.

*Also, each season is only 8 episodes, so it was never too much of an investment of my time.

 

I have said a lot of negative things about Twilight, and its sequels, over the years and, while I regret none of them, there is one thing, one thing that I never mentioned, one thing that those who are familiar only with the movies will discover this weekend when they see Breaking Dawn, one thing that Stephanie Meyer did spectacularly right. I speak, of course, of the scene in which [major spoiler alert! ] Bella gives birth.

I don’t want to get into all of the pros and cons (mostly cons) of a story in which a vampire can father a child; I will, however, on that subject say that Angel, a form of vampiric entertainment superior to Twilight in every way possible, went down that road as well. Rather, it went down it one better, as both Angel and Darla, mother and father, were vampires. And while I loved Connor dearly, it was not because of any strongly held beliefs that the (un)dead should have the same reproductive capabilities as the living, nor because I was interested in the challenges facing vampire parents.*

(Incidentally, I’m not riding the big old zombie wave that I think has probably crested by now, but just in case it hasn’t – when the zombies start having babies, the time about which Kenny Rogers sang so eloquently – the time to fold ’em – has come.)

Connor’s birth was itself spectacular, as it occasioned the total disintegration of his vampire mother (while it was, obviously, raining; that show was so good), but it has nothing on the birth in Breaking Dawn. In Breaking Dawn. . . man, I don’t even know how to explain this; I could try to give some background, but that wouldn’t actually make anything clearer. So I’m just going to say it:

In Breaking Dawn, Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Let me repeat that: Edward chews the baby out of Bella.

Understand? The love story that apparently has defined a generation culminates in the undead husband CHEWING HIS BABY OUT OF HIS DYING HUMAN WIFE.

Again, it is beyond my capabilities to describe how incredible this scene is, so you’ll have to take my work for it, but it’s phenomenal. And not just because you briefly have hope that Bella might die, but because, in the 2000+ pages of the entire series, this birth scene is the only one that’s appropriately disgusting. Something which no one will read and think “How dreamy; I hope some day I will meet the man who chews our child out of my uterus. With his teeth.” For one brief moment, the reality (such as it is) of this relationship – that Bella has to die to be with Edward, and that he is literally ripping her apart – shines through the romantic gauze, and it is beautiful.

Also, on a visceral level, it’s just gross. I’ve avoided the Twilight movies up to now, mostly because I was afraid of choking on my own rage and Twizzlers, but also in part because there was nothing any filmmaker could bring to the story that you can’t get from the book itself (maybe some lip biting and b.o.). But this birth? I’ve imagined it so many times, I might have to see if it looks like I pictured. Although, even without seeing it, I am already disappointed that they didn’t shoot it in 3-D.

 

*It was because Connor was delightfully psycho. Seriously – that kid caused some trouble.

 


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