So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW

The siren’s song of Pro Wrasslin’ hath grabbed me again, and I’m unable to think about much else pop culture wise these days. The groundswell amongst smart marks such as myself is reaching a fever pitch over the announcements concerning AEW — All Elite Wrestling. Financially backed by the Shah family, helmed in-part by Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks, with a growing talent roster highlighted by “Mr. Highlight Reel” himself, Chris Jericho. In short? AEW, more than any other promotion in the states, has the potential to be viable competition to the McMahon empire.

It’s not been this exciting as a fan since the Monday Night Wars… maybe, kinda, almost, hopefully.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #023: MOSTLY IN On AEW”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #022: Runaway with me?

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #022: Runaway with me?

Hulu’s answer to Netflix’s recent run of freshly canceled Marvel Knights series — from the potent Daredevil to the barely passable Iron Fist — is the teen drama Runaways. Based loosely on the Brian K. Vaughn series penned alongside artist Adrian Alphona in 2003, it’s essentially Riverdale-level drama playing lightly on the edge of the Marvel universe. Is this series related to the aforementioned adventures of Matt Murdock, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, or (barf) Danny Rand? Well, your guess is as good as mine after 2 solid seasons. But that’s neither here nor there. With 23 episodes come and gone… the question I’m still trying to answer remains: Is it any good?

Admittedly while I was a big fan of the original digest-sized graphic novel series, by the time I clicked on the show, my knowledge was limited only to broad strokes. I remember the characters and their powers… albeit vaguely. Above all else, I’d remembered so much of the series banked on a very quick cold open scenario — of a group of friends coming to discover their parents were a super-villain cabal, and shortly thereafter being on the lamb. Hilarity, teen angst, and super-powers followed in a delightful romp.

Upon booting up the pilot, everything I’d recalled began to click into place. The cult meeting. The friendly banter. The — gasp! — evil machinations. Powers are discovered. A dinosaur. Aliens. The whole kit-and-caboodle. As the episodes starting ticking off, I noticed how any semblance to the source material seemed to fade off into the Los Angeles smog. What I was left with was a show that seemingly had an amazing budget, a writers room familiar with the original treatment, but an awkward fear to leave their comfort zone. As if, perhaps, the show was being thought of as a broadcast serial versus a binge-worthy show-for-the-millennials. As such, as often as I’d find myself enthralled at various plot points and character moments… I’d find an equal number of times where my eye-rolls were audible.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #022: Runaway with me?”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #021: 2018 Music Rewind

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #021: 2018 Music Rewind

Funny thing (to me at least) is as much as I consider myself a pop-culture connoisseur, the one tent of it I tend never to wax poetic on is music. Where I find that in review of print media, film, and TV all lend itself easily to good or bad — with plenty of grey area between the two — music has long felt an area safe from my I’m right and if you disagree you’re wrong mentality. Why? Because from an early age I found it easy to understand the notion of music taste. That certain songs, genres, and formats could be loved by one person, tolerated by another, and loathed by a third.

As an example, sitting in the family room of my Grandma Mickey and Papa Bernie as they listened to the symphony… I could visibly see their enjoyment of the melancholy cacophony my ears where whispering to me was boring. And then, on the ride home, my mother blares You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) by Jimmy Sommerville — rewinding the cassingle after each play to enjoy it again long before “repeat” was a button on our stereos. My father, to date, owns only a handful of music — he is more apt to listen to literal silence or news radio if he is in control of the speaker-box. Yet amidst what anyone might assert as having no foothold to the larger musical world, my love of music is as much as part of my identity as my love of literally all other mediums combined.

I can go years without needing to read a comic. My Netflix and Hulu queues are choked with shows I know I’ll love that will remain unwatched as I make my way through my 813th viewing of the entirety of Scrubs. To date, I’ve still not seen dozens of mandatory films I should have absorbed years ago. But rest assured: whenever it is time to truly work on anything in my life — be it a comic book I’m drawing, design I’m completing for a client, or even just visiting the gym — music is on and affixed to my head so-as to ensure no other sound makes its way into my sphere.

With that preamble in place, I wanted to call out some music that I stumbled over in 2018 — be it new, or just new-to-me — and share some thoughts about why it wriggled its way into my head and didn’t leave.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #021: 2018 Music Rewind”

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E13 “The Word” Hot Take Recap

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E13 “The Word” Hot Take Recap

  • This is it! Just an hour left to this snuff film. I wonder if they’ll beat Hannah up in front of June for fun.
  • So, did June “plead for mercy” when SHE was accused of infidelity? Is that why she’s not at the bottom of a swimming pool? (Sorry, still making notes on the “previously on…”
  • Oh Martha. You treat EVERYONE like shit.
  • Great catch June! That Childwife WAS a total bitch. Writing in a bible. Thank God she’s chum.
  • Cry, Serena. Never stop crying.
  • Not gonna lie. Hulu’s “10 second rewind” allowed me to watch June smack Voldefred about a dozen times. Think I’ll watch it a few more.
  • I’m still not good with June’s “love” for Nick. So much of this feels false. She knows Luke is alive. She’s seen Hannah. So why can I not accept her feelings for Nick? Oh, cause he’s Nick.
  • Meanwhile in Stepford… the Wives “believe” in Gilead. So that their daughters may grow up… to not be literate. Subservient. And hey! If they accidentally fall in love with the wrong guy? Free swimming pass!
  • And now it’s time for sex with Bradley Whitford. This ought to be nightmarish. Least she brought a knife.
  • Something is really off with Whitford. In a good way. Yay! No sex. But somehow, that makes sense. And hey! Free knife.
  • “We, the conscripted Wives of you impotent idiots we helped usher into power, do ask that at like very least, we let the kids reads the bible. Mmm K?” Aww. Serena is trying to get smacked something fierce. Also? That was your chosen passage? Light in the darkness? C’mon, I thought you were the read brains in the family.
  • AWW MAN! Aunt Bitchbag stabbed and bitch-smacked?! It’s time for several dozen rewinds! NOW FINISH HER OFF!
  • “Call an ambulance! What have you done?” Bitch? Did you NOT see what I did when I stole a car? This was just for funsies.
  • No compassion given to Serena. Sew the seeds, enjoy your fruit, you childnapping thundercunt.
  • Make the Commander some tea, June. HOLD HIS FACE OVER THE OPEN BURNER. “Try for a boy this time…”
  • I hope Commander Bradley Whitford is going on a field trip to the airport, or Vegas or something. He’s all sorts of fun crazy. I was enjoying Annie Lennox…
  • I’m half expecting a boss battle between June and Fred before she can escape. Again.
  • Or is it Nick fighting? Oh, Nick. Now I love you too.
  • Serena. SHE IS NOT YOUR GOD DAMNED BABY. I repeat it. She is not, nor ever was, or will be YOUR baby. Letting a woman be RAPED ritually on your lap, and repeating how much you love the baby never ever ever ever ever EVER gave you permission to STEAL HER as yours. Also? The Blessing of Aaron? Double-screw you. (That has very special importance to me. I do not like hearing it out of her vile mouth.)
  •  But hey. At least she let her go. So, that’s ONE good point for you. Don’t spend it too soon when you eventually burn in hell.
  • Thank god the baby is a sound sleeper.
  • “It will be written into the history books of the Underground Martha Railroad.”
  • Oh, yeah. Remember Luke? Awkward.
  • Hurray! So, June walks as if she hears the harrowing music playing. And… then…
  • I mean. What in the world? Is she going back to murder literally everyone? Because that’s like the only way I “get” that. Nick and the Martha’s just risked EVERYTHING! And I get it. Nicole / Holly / Whatever now has a chance. But, this show has made it clear: Season three will just be crueler than cruel. This is what I’ve been taught.
  • Oh well! Hope ya’ll enjoyed my ramblings.
The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E12 “Postpartum” Hot Take Recap

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E12 “Postpartum” Hot Take Recap

  • No way out. Baby born. A jailed life may be better than being eaten by a wolf. The thumbnail to this episode alone — with Voldefred clutching what appears to be a baby in a blanket — fills me with dread. I know it won’t happen (because again, the thumbnail), but man, it’d be the bee’s knees if June awaited anyone to arrive in a vehicle. She lures them in with the baby. BOOM! Shotgun to their face. Steal running car. Get to Canada. Find Moira and Luke. Arm militia. Invade Gilead. Kill all commanders, wives, and Aunt Bitchbag. Save Hannah. Return to Canada. Live in peace. LET ME HAVE MY FANTASY, DAMNIT.
  • Kidnapper.
  • Go to hell Aunt Bitchbag. “I know this is difficult for you.” Go. To. Hell. Here. Have a fuck-muffin.
  • Nick’s alive! I don’t give a good God-damn.*
  • *Unless he literally murders the Waterfords. A lot.
  • There isn’t a punishment vile enough for literally everyone in the chapel. And yes, I get it. Lydia is trying to do the best in the worst situation. But it truly doesn’t matter to me at this point. The torture they are inflicted on June is such that I can’t think of a way where I DON’T want to have a full episode of Serena, Fred, and Lydia locked in a cage while June, and other handmaids are allowed throw stuff at them. Like dirty needles.
  • Meanwhile, elsewhere in Gilead, we’ve arrived at Commander … uhh… BRADLEY WHITFORD? Did he literally get picked up off the floor from “Get Out”?
  • And here I thought the Waterfords were the worst. They are. But at least they’ll have a wonderful dinner party with the rest of the child-stealing rapist families…
  • Hey! Childwife. Still don’t like you. At all. You brainwashed ninny.
  • “Our baby is so beautiful.” Oh Nick. Get a gun. And a car. Then shoot yourself. Give June the car.
  • This little roleplaying about Maui is making me nauseous.
  • Scream baby, scream. Because the crazy lady thinks she can have you because she wants you. She’s also feeding you a dry-ass titty. And that’s straight up mean.
  • Did Voldefred just ask for a I-let-you-see-your-child-before-stealing-your-second-child-blow-job?
  • By the looks of it, Bradley Whitford beats the crap out of his wife. I started typing this out before he literally dragged her out of the room. Someone get Martin Sheen to knock some sense into Josh!
  • “She wanted everything to be beautiful…” so, you know… marry Satan.
  • Whitford doesn’t drink the Kool-Ade. That’s what is most terrifying.
  • Welcome home, Childwife. Wait. Maybe she’ll be a Handmaid now! Yay!
  • Nevermind.
  • What… no goofy color-coded ceremony for this? Naw. Instead, we’ll just go ahead and watch two CHILDREN be murdered for the sin of love.
  • Cry, Serena. Cry for-fucking-ever. And then die. You STOLE a child. And continue to live in that sin until (I pray) you rot in hell. And I don’t even believe in hell.
  • One more episode to go in season 2. I pray for about 100 handmaid bombs.
The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E11 “Holly” Hot Take Recap

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E11 “Holly” Hot Take Recap

  • The last episode really took a lot out of me, mentally. Tonight’s episode better just be an accidental rerun of Scrubs.
  • A minute in, and I fear I’m watching the end of the Shining.
  • Please, hilariously ironic deity who I don’t believe in… either let June know how to properly hotwire a car… or let this dire wolf she’s confronting be magical.
  • No offense. But who leaves car keys in end tables?
  • I’ve learned enough by now. June will pull out of the garage to a tank ready to blow her up. Or, the Waterfords. Frick.
  • “I’m not leaving here without my baby.” … Once again, I’d like to state for the record: IT’S NOT YOUR BABY.
  • Listening to Serena and Voldefred fight tickles me in ways that make me feel giddy.
  • OK. Now. Get in the car, and haul ass to Lollapallooza. Shoot anyone who gets in the way. And of course, we’ll start labor now.
  • I’m with June. Hospital. Eff all that Doula-hippy-crunchy-midwife birthing. #ImWithPatton
  • Gotta love that old world craftsmanship. But, June… keep that up and you’ll.. you know. Die.
  • I guess we havin’ a behbeh.
  • I think someone told me Elizabeth Moss won an Emmy for this show. I don’t know if that was for Season 1 or 2. But I sure as hell bet “Oh, you DIDN’T do a naked child-birthing scene?” came up when she was discussing challenging roles with her fellow nominees.
  • That baby sure came out clean. And what, no afterbirth? Wait, why the hell do I care if they show that?!
  • Also, this baby has already shown more emotion than the father. So, at least June passed on her humanity.
  • Welcome to the world, Holly. It sucks.
So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In 2018, The WWE was up, down, and all around. As I skirted towards canceling my WWE Network subscription several times… I never mustered the courage enough to say “no more”. I’ll even freely admit the only times I used my subscription was to watch the PPV’s — save, of course, for Crown Jewel and the Super Showdown. It seems the 5 hours of program I pay for otherwise via my cable bill tends to give me enough content in a given week. Such that I’ve never felt a desire to burden myself with NXT, 205 Live, or any other original programming the McMahon family wishes to inundate me with.

With that being said, I still consider myself to be a fan. I follow RAW and Smackdown Live every week, and typically watch more than enough YouTube shows on the subject than I care to admit. With the end of the year upon us, it’s time to do what so many (too many) of us smart marks do; make a list of things to argue about with one another.

I present to you now, without any further needless banter, my 2018 year in review. And because I believe in ending snarky things with a smile, we’ll go in reverse order.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #020: The Year in WWE… The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #019: Into the Fishmanverse

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #019: Into the Fishmanverse

Note: This is a SPOILER-FREE column that celebrates Spider-Man: Intro the Spider-Verse

This past weekend I took my son (in conjunction with my brother-from-another-mother taking his son who is my son’s bff… you dig?) to see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. It was, to sum up succinctly, all the things. It was a visual spectacle. It was deeply diverse in the on-screen cast. It was kinetic in its action sequences. It was heavy on emotional growth. It was a nearly perfect example of what a comic book film could truly be.

As comic book films have grown from niche to the mainstream, my fear has been a dulling of the medium in the macro. Look only to the house of Mouse and Marvel’s 4 phase plan that started with plucky films like Iron Man and period-pieces like Captain America: The First Avenger, all leading to the beautifully bloated Avengers: Infinity War — which itself relies on the eighteen feeder films before it. And with Spider-Man specifically… the Spider-Verse would be (to a degree) the fourth version of the brand in less than 16 years.

But my fears scattered like Thanos-born ashes mere seconds after the glitchy-twitchy introduction of Spider-Verse’s mix-n-match animated style. Brilliantly bright colors build a stylized version of New York that took 180 animators to build. And it absolutely shows. Each of the varied Spider-People that eventually populate the film are rendered hilariously in homage to the worlds that they hail from. Be it the Manga-inspired Peni Parker being animated within the confines of an anime-palette, or Nic Cage’s turn as the monochromatic Spider-Man Noir… there’s a serendipitous presentation here that boasts to the millennial set that style is only surface-deep. And that plays heavily into the story.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #019: Into the Fishmanverse”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #018:  The Fallacy of the Gig Economy

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #018: The Fallacy of the Gig Economy

Welcome back to my little corner of the internet, kiddos. It’s been a while, I know… but to be fair: my editor told me to watch and annotate The Handmaid’s Tale, and frankly it caused me to be a moapy-weepy-sad-cis-mess. But, I shook off the cobwebs to see what’s been grinding my gears lately concerning pop-culture.

And frankly? I got nothing.

I thought about writing an entire article about micro-transactions and DLC for video games — and why I find it to be the most despicable trend in the known universe. But frankly, I get it. If they had sold extra characters for WWF Royal Rumble for my Super Nintendo, I’d have smashed my bank into little kosher piggie bits for the chance to add Duke the Dumpster Droese to my roster. And while I’d love to say I’ve never been tempted by the siren song of an extra five moves in Candy Crush… well, I’d have to be as honest as our current Cheeto-In-Chief in my denial. Moving on.

I then gave some thought about what else I’ve been consumed by lately in the Pop Culture Proscenium. I’m really enjoying The Kominsky Method on Netflix… but c’mon. It’s a show where old white dudes cuss, talk about their dicks, and Lisa Edelstein acts drunk. For that I should waste 1000 words? Feh! And when I’m not making my way through that? I’m literally on my 27th run-through of the entirety of Scrubs. And frankly, you don’t want me to write the 10,000 word screed in my heart as to why that show is the single greatest sitcom of the last 30 years. Fight me.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #018: The Fallacy of the Gig Economy”

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E10 “The Last Ceremony” Hot Take Recap

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E10 “The Last Ceremony” Hot Take Recap

  • The title of the episode is “The Last Ceremony”. This bodes well.
  • Hey! A commander has a heart attack after rape. Praise be! Bonus points for the nut shot.
  • Childwife and ManbabySoldier are sure getting friendly.
  • “Oh, I’m so pleased to be stealing this child!” Go to hell Serena Joy.
  • Make way for Aunt BitchBag everyone!
  • Wowsers. A black commander. A black VIRILE commander. Gird your loins, men.
  • Whoa whoa whoa. Wait wait. The wives have their own fake-birth ceremony? This clinches it. When the season is over? I’m doing some fanfic crossovers where Jessica Jones lays waste to Gilead.
  • Aunt Bitchbag’s spicy mango tea? I see Kermit sipping it already. Also, did June just mildly threaten Serena with an ass whoopin’? June 2. Serena 0.
  • Oh, June. You didn’t think he’d say yes, did you. But I appreciate the moxie. And I LOVE that on her way out she is burning every damned bridge she crosses. June 3. Waterfords 0.
  • Oh. This is. I can’t. I may stop the episode right now. The Waterfords are pure, unforgivable evil.
  • GASP! Childwife and ManBabySoldier! SHE’S UNCLEAN. And Nick likes to watch. Vurrrp.
  • Oh, poor Childwife. You know not what you say. I mean, you figured Nick like June. Good on you for that. But seriously. You’re 15. And this fucked up religious cult you are indoctrinated in has ruined your poor mind.
  • “Please stop crying.” Congrats Nick. NOW you’re a father.
  • PAUSE. Voldefred has a “surprise.” I swear to whatever God-Like-Being that is reading my recaps… If this asshat brings Hannah out as a present for raping a pregnant woman, I’m going to… OK, I don’t know what I’ll do. I’ll be really sad.
  • Fuck the Waterfords. There’s no bounds to the cruelty of this show. “Why didn’t you try harder?”… Tear my god-damned spine out of my body.
  • Telling your own child to “Love your parents” when YOU CAN’T BE HER MOTHER is one of the most gut-wrenching things I’ve seen June endure. AND SHE WAS LITERALLY RAPED AN EVENING AGO. 
  • For fuck’s sake. Nick? SHOOT THE WATERFORDS.
  • Holy shit. Nevermind. Well, I don’t think I can breathe now.