The Silver Lining… #4 Was #1 On Oscar Night!

The 84th Annual Academy Awards occurred last night, and as the infamous they say:

 Oh boy, did the stars come out!

But I noticed one thing that I’m sure ABC the Network wasn’t too happy about… there were a lot of NBC stars there!  Current ones!

Aside from someone obvious, like Alec Baldwin of 30 Rock (he was at the one of the special events… I think the one Oprah won at), you had plenty of Thursday night’s Must See TV Comedy Night Done Right:

Although they weren’t nominated for anything, Tina Fey of 30 RockEllie Kemper of The Office, and Maya Rudolph of Up All Night were there as presenters, and:

Oh boy, did they represent!

Three funny ladies in three serious dresses. Did they all go to posing school together?

Then when it came to Oscar nominations, you had Kristen Wiig of Saturday Night Live who was up for Best Original Screenplay:

Her "Bridesmaids" script had pooping in sinks! Oscar nod!

And then the big winner was Jim Nash of Community.  He won Best Adapted Screenplay for The Descendants:

He's the bald one mocking Angelina Jolie's earlier pose.

The best part is this is how he usually appears on Community as Dean Pelton:

These are just the tip of the Oscar's bald head!

So what does this mean ultimately?  NBC is consistently in last place of the four major networks, but they had the best showing at the Oscars.  That’s a sign of the massive amount of talent found there that dumb audiences aren’t finding!

CBS, which is in first, had only one star present… the Best Supporting Actress-nominated Melissa McCarthy of Mike & Molly:

She was hilarious on SNL, but I've never seen her show.

But she was in the movie written by  SNL  star, Wiig!

In closing, here’s what NBC’s owner, Comcast, might be saying:

Oh boy!  Oh boy!  Oh boy!

This is what I’m saying:

Oh boy, Community should be sitting pretty for a while now!

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The Silver Lining… Episode I: The Phantom Mess, I Mean, Menace

What’s that old saying?  Time heals all wounds.  Well, time might not heal all, but it sure can heal some.

Over the weekend, I went to the show to see the re-issue of Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace in 3D, and you know what?  It wasn’t as bad as I remembered, and here’s why:

1) It has two of the best characters in all the prequel story lines.

Darth Maul and Qui-Gon Jinn, which translates to "Half Slice" and "Hole in Chest"

I always maintained that Liam Neeson brought a gravity to the Jedi Knight Qui-Gon Jinn that Ewan McGregor never could to his Obi-Wan Kenobi.  I still don’t know if it’s his size, voice, or demeanor, but when Qui-Gon defies the Jedi Council to stand by his belief that Anakin is The Chosen One, his conviction is convincing.  Everything in the Star Wars universe we know and love hinges on his gut feelings, and we buy (and buy and buy) into it, too.

As for Darth Maul – once a bad-ass, always a bad-ass… until he falls down a pit like other fan favorite, Boba Fett.

2) Jake Lloyd is a much more tolerable Actor! than Hayden Christensen.

If he says "wizards" one more time!

Notice I didn’t say “better.”  He’s a kid, for Yoda’s sake.  What am I gonna do?  Ridicule him like how… he… will… eventually… kill a bunch of Padawans?  I also think this video existing helps his situation:

3) Jar Jar Binks wasn’t as jarring.

He's wearing Pajarjars.

I’ve come to Jar Jar Binks’ defense before (or at least George Lucas’ decision to include him), so it was no big surprise to me that this time around, he hardly annoyed me.  That’s probably because he was a big surprise in the first place, much like the Midi-chlorian debacle (which was nowadays just as negligible).

4) Were there more practical effects and sets in Episode I?

Seemed like it to me.  To all you non-film school students, practical effects means “it’s really there.”  Episode II and III relied heavily on CGI, whereas this one went partially old-school, and the look of the film benefits greatly.  Palpatine’s senate office looks real when he’s in it; Anakin’s Podracer and Naboo Starfighter look real when he’s in them.

There was an article I read (that I don’t feel like looking for) that stated mixing CGI and practical effects tricks the mind much better.  That’s why Jurassic Park’s dinosaurs were so convincing for early CGI.  It even explains why Ray Harryhausen’s clay figures can mess with us – they really exist.

Now I’m not knocking CGI in lieu of practical effects either, and here’s proof:

"There is no try... only do-over."

(For the flip side of this Silver Lining, check out this article on Time Magazine’s site.)

The Silver Lining… The Heart Hand Gesture

The HeartMark™ is trademarked?!

Trends.

They’re always stupid.  Pet rocks, sequenced gloves, pogs… and now this.  The inescapable heart hand gesture.  It’s everywhere.

Aeroswift™

But would you believe some lady “claims” to have the trademark on it?

This lady looks like she makes many "claims"...

She even licenses it out allegedly (although it just looks like she just made a list of places she’s seen it used and retroactively authorized it).

(SIDENOTE: Did she donate the gesture to Show Your Hearts?  It could be a tax write-off.)

My hope is that it actually is trademarked, and that she’s making bank on its pervasiveness.

I mean, what she claims is not impossible.  She could figured it out during a round of This is the church and this is the steeple gone bad.  I haven’t seen it in use until recent years, and it seems like a simple gesture to devise.

But was she the one who told Taylor Swift about it?  Because Swift claims she invented it, and her fans claim that Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, et. al. stole it from her.

All that matters is did this woman really trademark what she calls The HeartMark™?  Because I have an idea of my own:

My trademark... Deez Nuts™.

The Silver Lining… Nielsen Ratings

(SIDENOTE: This category of post used to be In Defense Of, but I’ve seen tons somes of In Defense Of’s all over the TripleDoubleU, so I’ve decided to change my angle on the same subject.  Voilà The Silver Lining!)

The People Meter, a.k.a. The Grating Ratings Box

When I was a kid, it was my dream to be a Nielsen Family.  In my mind, the concept was simple: we must watch TV.  (Or if NBC still had their druthers, we Must See TV.)

In reality, though, it’s not that simple (here’s the simpler explanation).  Nielsen is a monopoly (TiVo is a distant second in terms of tracking viewership).  And mostly families considered “less-well-off” (TRANSLATION: anyone that can’t afford to time shift the shows they watch or skip commercials) are the sample public.  What this means to TV fans is if you can skip past the commercials, that show will get cancelled.

So shows like Firefly and Arrested Development, and more recently, possibly NBC’s Community, suffer because their fans don’t watch commercials (“commercial-watcher” could become a fairly cruel epithet… at least as cruel as “mouth-breather”).

So where’s The Silver Lining?

In a nutshell, the Nielsen Ratings are a good indicator if the show I’m watching is actually good or not.  It didn’t used to be that way when we only had three channels to watch, but in these days of cable and the TripleDoubleU, the converse is true.

Don’t believe me?

American Idol gets high-ratings every year, and for most seasons, I’ve watched it.  I know it’s brain garbage, but the Nielsen Ratings prove that it is gray fecal matter.  Need another example?  American Horror Story’s season finale drew the highest numbers for FX ever, and that show sucked.

That’s really what this post is about… how much American Horror Story sucked.  And LOST, too.  Remember when that had high ratings?

So in closing, I must stick to my guns and not waste my time on any “popular” shows.  If a program makes it to a second season and the ratings were decent, that series just might be my cup of T… V.