The suddenly über-hip and ubiquitous Betty White hosted Saturday Night Live this past weekend and the cast paid tribute to her by singing The Golden Girls theme song. Well, frisky old Betty turned all those fuddy duds on their heads when she went all metalcore on their asses.
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In the wake of Lost, ABC has been blatantly scrambling to fill the mystery show void with transparent clones: Flash Forward, Happy Town, and V. Despite aping all the superficial qualities of their predecessor, none of these posers have managed to muster the quality or following of the real McCoy. This video from this weekend’s edition of The Soup sums up the trend in a nutshell.
Conan O’Brien stopped by the Google megaplex at part of their @Google series. He takes the stage to the tinny sound of bagpipes before launching into a bit about the silliness of being labeled a “Googler”. Guess he’s on the tech circuit now following his appearance at Twitter and Intel corporate headquarters previously. He says he’s just looking for “free stuff” by way of explaining his recent residency in the Silicon Valley. O’Brien deliciously skewers Google corporate culture too.
Volumes could be written about You Can’t Do That on Television, the Canadian kids’ show which ran in the States on the cable channel Nickelodeon all through the 1980s and into the ‘90s. Subversive in its silliness as great comedy often is, YCDTOTV offered a brand of children’s sketch comedy that has yet to be duplicated to this writer’s knowledge. And the intro to the show fairly neatly captures all that makes the show itself great.
The theme music is bizarrely catchy, an odd marching-band arrangement punctuated by screams. This gives a very definite Monty Python feel to the intro, as does the use of cut-out animation. Then, there is the cutting imagery of the “Children’s Television Sausage Factory”, mechanically cranking out “product” of child actors on an automated assembly line. This ought to resonate with anyone who has ever noticed how insultingly bland and rote a lot of children’s televison can be. Then, the kids are loaded onto a bus and cut loose in a TV studio. The face of Les Lye, the actor who played all of the adult male roles on the show, in various costumes and with various voices, is stamped with the show’s title. This is a fairly empowering image for the young viewer, a sort of “We’re Not Gonna Take It” for the Romper Room set.
One often wishes to take care to not tread down the glittery lane towards nostalgia, lest one gets stuck living in the past. So it is nice to see that something one grew up watching turned out to be far more layered and interesting than one could have articulated at the time.
Just watch for the green slime.
You might remember from 2007, FOX’s short-lived, American Idol-inspired The Next Great American Band TV series. The highlight of every episode was the spirited, country-flavored performances of the Clark Brothers, who went on to be named the show’s winners. Legal setbacks and record company mergers delayed their promised album deal prize, but now the group is back with a new name, Sons of Sylvia, and a new album.
To help promote Revelation, which was released in the US this month, their official website is offering a free MP3 download of “John Wayne”, a possible future single. Tinted with the western sounds of the mandolin and dobro guitar playing that made them stand out on television, “John Wayne” is a fierce ode to chasing down the one you love, like John Wayne would have done in one of his movies. Starting slow, it gradually builds up to an intense, fiery chorus that has the passion of a revivalist preacher.