(posted by julia prescott)
I spent a Saturday working on this. And by working I mean hanging around Griffith Park and snarking off with Joe Wags and Curtis.
My name is Julia and I Tumbl’d this.
(posted by julia prescott)
When I was younger I often thought of MTV as my too-cool-for-school older brother, always introducing me to pop music I never knew I needed and spouting hipper-than-thou lingo that would make Diablo Cody blush.
I grew up with the naive belief that my early 20’s would be filled with jacuzzi parties and clubbing (where somehow girls never got hit on and were free to dance with themselves), all set to a soundtrack of Green Day and Sonic Youth.
I dreamed of being on “The Real World,” envisioning myself as the cute artsy girl always sandwiched into the cast between the incredibly right-wing sorority girl and the extremely leftist alternative chick. The house would be a constant chaos of arguments, only silencing momentarily to reprimand the gay roommate for turning the fully furnished breakfast nook into a human dart board on a Tuesday night.
It was a sad day when I discovered that my “Real World” dreams would not be realized. This reality-based program does not in any way reflect its namesake. The creatively expressive girl archetype has rescinded into the shadows and has since been replaced with another helping of promiscuous sorority girls, that first girl never caused enough ratings-grabbing drama in the first place anyway.
If the skeptics during the premiere of the original “Real World” thought this was surely a sign of the pop culture apocalypse, then the frontier of MTV’s current heap of programming would undoubtedly send them to their grave.
I’m not here to talk about “Jersey Shore” or other “Real World”-like scenarios whose premise is firmly rooted in the voyeuristic quality of watching young people misbehave in extravagantly furnished houses. I’m here to talk about shows that accent upon the illusion of reality, and hoodwink the younger generation into believing a certain “truth” about being young.
Normally I would never couple the words, “revolutionize” and “The Hills” into the same thought, but it’s the only thing that can accurately be applied in this situation. Who knew that when MTV stuck a camera in front of Lauren Conrad and dared her to shop, eat, and pamper herself on-camera that they would be creating a new genre of television?
Certainly I didn’t, and heaps of other television snobs and cynics, but it’s there – it’s pervasive – it’s generated a profusion of spin-offs and its murky residue has seeped all over MTV (now sans the “music” moniker, another sign of the television end). It’s a hack comedian’s joke that MTV no longer contains anything music-related, but the same could be said for it depicting reality.
There’s a show called, “My Life as Liz,” its basic premise is that it follows the life of an ‘alternative’ teen and the normal rollercoaster ride that is High School. It utilizes the formula set forth by “The Hills” – a show that sells itself as a reality show, but is blatantly scripted. To anyone over the age of 12 who can easily discern the show’s fictional foundation, it reads as a blatant insult. Slowly but surely the network’s programming will resemble one long-winded ‘Punk’d’ stunt.
MTV makes being 21 the end all be all to human existence; at least they did in the late ‘90s. I feel like I’ve spent my life looking forward to being the target demographic for their programming and by the time I reached that point, they’ve lowered the bar so tremendously I can barely catch my breath.
Scours of critics and television philosophers have debated the purpose of an all “reality-based” network (I use that term flexibly) and my guess is that it caters to the phenomenon of the YouTube generation. Perhaps if viewers felt like they could make their own versions of “My Life as Liz” and “The Buried Life,” then they can relate to the programs more.
But that’s just the thing, when you subsidize yourself to that low of a quality bracket, you make yourself obsolete. It’s a classic instance of the “grown-up” generations not understanding the youth’s cultural likes and dislikes, but now that has extended into the territory of twentysomethings in the dark, an alarming concept to say the least.
What’s my proposal? If it’s reality let it be reality, if it’s scripted let it be scripted and if someone strums a guitar and screams, “I want my MTV!” well then they’re certifiably insane. That starry-eyed vision of what used to be a network no longer exists.
My name is Julia Prescott and I’m too young to feel this old.
(posted by julia prescott)
Disneyland has done it again. Just when you thought that all was sacred and nostalgia would cement your childhood memories in their rightful past state, they go ahead and dig up what they so recently buried.
Fueled by the all-mighty dollar, and the terrifying concept of tourists shifting their focus to (gasp) another theme park that may or may not resemble the Harry Potter film series, the big folks at Disney have re-opened the “Captain EO” attraction at the Magic Kingdom. This daring move, surely met with a resonating question of “…too soon?” may delight Disney fans at first, but how long can this enthusiasm possibly thrive before it wanes to a ho-hum shift?
I attended what was still considered within the first week of its premiere just yesterday. I’m not sure what I expected, as I could hardly remember the film from my childhood. What I do remember though, is some shred of space travel and Michael Jackson workin’ it in a white leather spacesuit; what I got wasn’t far from that.
Here’s something that may have fallen through the cracks in your memory: Francis Ford Motha’fucking Coppola directed this movie. Did you hear me? Let me say this the fuck again. FRANCIS FORD COPPOLA DIRECTED “CAPTAIN EO” – Alright – let that seep in for a second.
While waiting in line you may notice a “Behind the Scenes” featurette that more or less details the hair and make-up process for most of the stars. This is meant to give the film more meaning than being just a glorified MJ music video. You’re supposed to wonder at the precision of the artists at work, the shameless moonwalking by the film’s star, silently sip up the whimsey of the furry muppet-like characters with a grain of salt.
The move to bring back what the ‘80s so rightfully spit out seems to be just another chapter in Disney’s “Wouldn’t it be cool if…?” mantra. I witnessed the same concept applied to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchise, a series of films that I’m undoubtedly convinced was entirely written on Denny’s napkins.
Sure, people miss Michael Jackson. You didn’t need a group of touristy white women in the front rows of the Disney amphitheater hooting and hollering at his pelvic thrusts to get this, but it did cement that notion. But how much steam can this brand of nostalgia maintain? How much longer until we become sentimental over something else that is so blatantly ephemeral?
I would like to borrow a concept from the comic Eliza Skinner, who I saw rock it out at UCB’s “Crash Test” last night. She mentioned being excited about the upcoming movie, “Clash of the Titans” and being in a lovely nerd purgatory, sandwiched between the nexus of the idea for the movie, and the imminent disappointment of the off-kilter execution that is certain and inevitable.
I feel like there’s no other way to categorize Disney’s exaltation of “EO”. This is something that most likely started as a ridiculously cool rumor met to resonating nerd applause at their D-23 expo, but is now only a matter of time before the Disney amphitheater is occupied by another so-so gimmick.
I beg the question, how much longer? What’s next? “Wild Hogs: The Interactive Stage Show”? “Tooth Fairy in 3D”? It’s only a matter of time.
My name is Julia Prescott and I’m not afraid to dislike kitschy ‘80s nerd faire.
(posted by ben axelrad)
I get goosebumps when I think about the Closing Ceremonies of the Olympics. In the spirit of sportsmanship all the nations of the world stay united to say goodbye to this two-week shit storm of boring. If I hear one more thing about figure skating it will be the first thing I’ve heard about figure skating and I’ll go homicidal with the next figure skate I find…which will be the first figure skate that I find. I guess what I’m trying to say is, yay for sportsmanship and goodwill.
Saturday Night Live can’t wait any longer for this bullshit party to end so they’re throwing a party of their own this weekend with talented actress Jennifer Lopez as the host and untalented musician Jennifer Lopez as the musical guest. Preview? Eh, if you need it.
Hot damn, Jennifer Lopez is hotter than ever. DAMN! Didn’t she have twins like a week ago? Were they butt babies? Don’t answer that, I enjoy believing they were.
It’s been a triumphant week at Poop or Chocolate, thank you to everyone who stopped by to check out T.J.’s interview or to meet Julia or to call Josh a self-loathing Jew. Even to the guy who popped in just to tell us we suck. Thank you to everyone. Keep coming over and we’ll keep feeding you funny. Have an excellent weekend and see you next week!
My name is Ben and we thank you.
(posted by julia prescott)
I would like to talk to you about the Travel Channel and the power of its star program, “Man V. Food.”
For those not in the know, “Man V. Food” host Adam Richman seizes upon countless gastronomic injustices; it’s a hybridization of escapism meets morbid curiosity. He approaches every meal with the same ferocious fist-pumping tenacity as one would before “the Big Game” in any national sport.
What is it about this program that makes me love it so? Words fail me, so I’ll try and explain it in a singular moment:
Imagine yourself sitting in your old High School cafeteria, only it isn’t old to you at the time, you’re in 10th grade. You take your tray to your table and sit next to your friends, there’s a loud humming of different conversations seeping to the outer limits of the lunchroom. You turn to your friend and ask them what they’re doing over the weekend. They, in exchange, begin to nibble on your personalized pizza.
Suddenly, a tray of stale sugar cookies is knocked over from the kitchen; a blaring clash resonates throughout the Mess Hall. All is silent. Hundreds of heads whip in synchronicity toward the action.
Then, the lovable schlub of the 11th grade nonsensically shoves his arms in the air, shouts, “Yeah!!!” and takes a triumphant bite of his cheeseburger; someone chimes in with a slow clap, and all present rejoice.
He is adored, he is a hero; this boy is a young Adam Richman. Making the mundane unnecessarily epic, cheering on the triumph of a plate of tasty hot wings as if he would the Super Bowl. He represents the guy friend you’ve learned to never live without; he always brought the party, he always brought the enthusiasm, he always brought the pork rinds.
In the introduction we learn that Adam has “every job imaginable in the food business,” and he backs up this statement by consistently knowing what the hell he’s talking about. He’ll casually take a bite out of a pulled pork sandwich and cite the different spices put in the rub without having been told so by the chef, or cut into a slice of pepperoni pizza and describe the different flavors of the cheeses used.
Sometimes you hear that he mobs upon “quantity, not quality.” This would be a worthy argument, but there are pockets within Richman’s show that almost knowingly defy this convention. Moments where he sniffs the aroma of a steaming pile of nachos with the same concentrated focus as a wine connoisseur would breathe in a stiff glass of Pinot. Occasionally he’ll take extra care to remark that not only is the breakfast burrito he’s consuming over 4 pounds in girth, but it’s actually quite delicious.
Though, the main appeal is still within the platefuls and platefuls of food. The show has made a name for itself by trumping its own impossibilities consistently throughout the course of its 2-season run. The 2 1/2 pound Dagwood sandwich challenge in Columbus, OH from Season 1 seems like child’s play compared to the 6 pound, “Big Badass Burrito” challenge Richman faced in Las Vegas, NV in Season 2. Needless to say, in that case Man was not triumphant.
I believe the strongest aspect to Richman’s appeal lies within his simple talent of commanding attention where it needn’t be. He seems like the kind of character that, if in the Old West would quickly be appointed to town sheriff based on his youthful enthusiasm and unequivocal talent for rallying large crowds of gawking strangers.
“Man V. Food” gets a bad rep, but those who criticize it have likely never personally seen it. For if they did, they’d know that there is so much more than a king’s ransom in fried potatoes to be consumed, or a plate of scorching hot wings. Richman interweaves comedic bits in between the gorging sessions to lighten the mood, and I’m positive no other food or travel-based show will consume just as much calories as it references “The Simpsons.”
Some people tell me that I should maybe be doing something more with my life than watching the same re-run of the “8-pound Philly Cheesesteak” episode 5 times over. Readers, I know it’s cheesy to say, but if I’ve convinced just one of you to flip over into the deep-fried side of cable, then suddenly those countless couch potato hours have served that purpose.
My name is Julia Prescott and I still get choked up when Food wins.