I started visiting sites like The A.V. Club and Flavorwire a few years ago, where I was introduced to incredibly intelligent and articulate writers, dissecting and expounding on everything from complex novels and films to why anybody would choose to watch Duck Dynasty. I’ll be reading something by Todd Vanderwerff and suddenly realize that the episode of television that I thought I understood, I did not understand at all. I try to reach that level of analysis with everything I write, but usually I don’t have the time to scrutinize every joke in an episode of Community that I would like. One day I’d like to make a career out of this, but to do that I know that I actually have to write more than I currently do. So to find the middle ground between getting a job writing for Previously.tv and just calling it quits and and becoming the world’s saddest administrative assistant, I’m going to try to write less about more. I’m going to make it my goal to write something about everything I read, listen to, or watch everyday. I won’t be able to churn out 1,500 words on every piece of pop culture I consume like I would like to, but I will try to get my opinion across as succinctly as possible. I’m still going to write longer pieces, but posts like these will become the majority of my blog. So, let us begin.
Community Season 5, Episode 3: “Basic Intergluteal Numismatics“
I already wrote about season five of Community starting off as a promising one, and last night’s episode continues the trend of solid episodes. I was nervous that we were getting a concept episode so early, because I was enjoying the direction Dan Harmon was going with in the first two episodes, but my fears seemed to have been misplaced. Harmon is in full meta Community mode this season and that apparently applies to homage episodes as well. This time, David Fincher (Se7en, Zodiac, Fight Club) gets the parody treatment, as Jeff and Annie try to solve the case of the Ass Crack Bandit. Director Tristram Shapeero hits every beat perfectly, right down to the specificity of having multiple suspects drop whatever they were holding to bolt when confronted by the would-be detectives. But Harmon doesn’t even seem to be interested in telling straight-forward homage stories this season, as the episode quickly becomes a study of Jeff and Annie’s penchant for teaming up in safe, non-sexual situations. Episodes like this one often bring up the Annie/Jeff relationship question, usually concluding that despite their attraction to one another, their age difference will always keep them just friends. This episode doesn’t change that answer (as it shouldn’t) but it at least doesn’t pretend that one single revelation could simultaneously cancel out both of their feelings. Less successful is the sudden, and unnecessary, announcement of Pierce’s death. It’s meant to shock by coming out of nowhere, but ultimately doesn’t add anything to the episode.
Young Avengers Issue 15 (Finale)
Kieron Gillen seemed like he had so many ideas about where to take these characters after the Mother arc, so it’s incredibly depressing to me that this book has to end. I’m still relatively new to comic books, especially mainstream superhero comic books, but it seems to me that team books work best when the team at the center is one you would want to hang out with. The last two issues of Young Avengers were literally a party you wouldn’t ever want to leave, a perfect metaphor for how a lot of people felt about the book. Kate, Marvel Boy, and Loki all appear in other current series, but I need Miss America, Hulkling, Wiccan, and Prodigy to join a current book quickly. Young Avengers took fan-service to the next level, actively engaging in social media outreach that never felt desperate or unnatural. If you had told me before reading YA that a Marvel series would end with Loki uploading a picture of his friends to Instagram, I would probably have rolled my eyes, but Gillen has developed enough cred over fifteen issues that he actually hits the emotional target that he’s aiming for. Extra special points for taking a team with three LGBT characters and basically doubling down in the last few pages by nonchalantly announcing three other character’s queerness. I’ll definitely be reading about Loki’s gender fluid adventures in his new series.
Parks and Recreation Season 6, Episode 10: “Second Chunce“
Leslie Knope can simultaneously be the kindest, smartest, most genuine person on Parks, and also the most naive. Enough episodes involve Leslie deluding herself, going to insane lengths to reach an unreachable goal, only to be brought back down to earth by those around her. The writing on Parks is so good, that usually her bouts of naiveté read as charming, but sometimes it just does not meld with her character. Leslie is politically savvy enough that she should know that running for office immediately after being deposed is a terrible idea. The fact that it takes Jennifer Barkley (who is nevertheless, fabulous) to bring Leslie down to Earth, when all of her friends are telling her to calm down, is a little disappointing. Hopefully this will set up a different arch for Parks that doesn’t focus on Leslie’s political career. I still want Knope for Mayor in 2014, but we need a little breather.