Tag: Marc Alan Fishman

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World

With WrestleMania season slowly descending upon us (and go ahead and pencil in a column about that the week of the event, smart marks…), the roll out for the WWE’s Hall of Fame began this week with the news that Degeneration X would be the first of the class of 2019. Entering the hall for the stable will be Triple H, Shawn Michaels (his second Hall of Fame ring), “Bad Ass” Billy Gunn, “The Road Dogg” Jessie James… and Chyna. The news was mostly accepted with some fanfare. DX was the WWE’s answer to WCW’s NWO stable — and was instrumental in eventually helping McMahon’s company to topple the competition at the end of the Monday Night Wars.

In short: the smart marks have their panties in a bunch over the accolade specifically because Chyna herself hasn’t been inducted alone, as the singles star she was for the company. Many feel that this is a backhanded compliment to the late Joanie Laurer (Chyna’s real name) to let her in to the hall without truly recognizing her contributions to the WWE at large. Further to that point, Paul Levesque (WWE VP of Talent Relations and semi-retired professional wrestler Triple H) when asked year after year why Chyna has fallen to the wayside with a Hall of Fame induction, often cited Laurer’s complicated personal issues as muddying the waters to grant her with the tribute.

And with the fanfare of the announcement of induction-by-way-of-stable comes the controversy. And who would I be if I didn’t have an opinion to share on the matter?  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #028: The Ninth Wonder of the World”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #027: Three Wishes for Aladdin…

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #027: Three Wishes for Aladdin…

Image result for aladdinBy now we’ve all seen the “Extended first look” leaked out for Disney’s latest rehashed classic churned-and-burned into a CGI monstrosity, Aladdin. And far be it from me to bury the lead:

It looked almost palatable until Will Smith’s Genie farted out of the lamp.

The movie has a lot going for it on paper. Director Guy Ritchie — notable to nerds first for his Tarantino-by-way-of-the-UK Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels, and Snatch, and later for his turn on Downey-led Sherlock Holmes movies that weren’t half bad. The principle cast, Smith aside, is far less white than one might have feared in the day and age of actually casting things to be true to the source. Heck, even the teeny-tiny-tid-bits of scenery we’ve seen has been lavishly lit and detailed to-the-nines. And while I personally had not seen the The Jungle Book or Beauty and the Beast remakes… my wife and oldest kid have, and they said they were good. Maybe not “great” how my generation once recalled the original animated features mind you, but I’d wholly accept “good” for Aladdin, in part merely to match it’s CGI-siblings in the Hall of Unjustifiable Cash Grabs.

But then… hoo boy. The Genie.

Cooler heads in my social media feeds gently cooed to give it a chance, and denote we’ve not really even seen how things will look. The only taste of Big Willie was a mere 5 seconds of awkward half-introduction. And certainly we can’t extrapolate the quality of the final film from such a hot-take.

But, yes, we can.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #027: Three Wishes for Aladdin…”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…

The other day over on the Unshaven Comics Facebook page (you DO like us, right?), I offered up a little question of the day that sparked the largest block of engagement we’d ever seen on the page. While I’d hoped that it would be some fantastic and layered comic book debate… instead it was a bit of naval gazing instead. I proposed the always-good-during-a-long-car-ride prompt: What would you do with $1,000,000? I then specified (to detract from the typical snark that might come in tow…) that the money was after all taxes were paid. So, like, you wake up tomorrow and are a million bucks richer, no strings attached. What would you do?

Well, for those that participated on our page, it was a ton of practical answers that I both understood and frowned at. Truly, my ilk have all grown up when the most common answers all revolved around paying off debt and traveling. Not that any of those answers should be frowned upon, of course. But I was more hopeful for flights of fancy.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #026: If I had a million dollars…”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #024: Shut It Down

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #024: Shut It Down

Hello, Pop Culture Squad readers. I’m interrupting my regularly scheduled screed on the minutiae of pop culture I regularly consume to bring you a bit of political theater. While my compatriot Mike Gold does it far better than I ever could, after thirty days of the present farce in our fair nation, frankly pop culture isn’t serving me well.

Sure, I want to write about the current slump Saturday Night Live is working through. I’d love to pontificate on my recent rounds of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate Melee Battle Extraordinaire (or whatever it’s actually called on the Switch). I’d given nothing more right now, then the ability to focus on my watching the second (and last, boo) season of The Punisher — and how only 2 episodes in I’m already wanting to scream about the drastic dip in quality.

But no. None of it really resonates with me right now. Because our President and congress have frozen 800,000 people out of earned money — in addition to tens of thousands of independent contractors and related businesses who are all presently suffering — over what amounts to a debate over border security.  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #024: Shut It Down”

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 #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”

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E8 “Women’s Work” Hot Take Recap

The Handmaid’s Tale: S2E8 “Women’s Work” Hot Take Recap

  • The new normal disconcerts me heavily. Because this show has trained me to accept that anything that looks even CLOSE to normal, positive, or happy eventually leads to some awful comeuppance. So, night work with Serena Joy? I give it 3 more scenes before Lydia is giving June papercuts on her eyelids while the Cyclops Handmaid does a jig. Don’t like it? TOO BAD, SHOW. YOU DID THIS TO ME.
  • “I won’t forget this.” Riiiiight Serena. Does this mean you’ll let June see her daughter? FAT CHANCE.
  • Aww. Childbride made Voldefred a napkin. And as a topper? I think he’s kinky for June’s extra cushion for pushing. Vomit.
  • “Here. Let me regift you my music box to remind you that ultimately you’re my property.” Awww!
  • Poor Childwife. She doesn’t get that Nick is just a goth.
  • “You sound just like one of them.”… and THERE it is, kids. A fate worse than a taser to the tit.
  • Hooboy! Moral ambiguity?! Bend the law, you say?
  • The SNEER on that wife’s face when he one-handed hubby sided with Serena was AUDIBLE.
  • Oh, Aunt Bitchbag. Can there be a single episode without her?
  • SHE’S GOT A STETHOSCOPE! GET A GUN POINTED AT HER HEAD, STAT!
  • Meanwhile, in Sad Sack Manor… Voldefred goes on a panty raid? Vomit.
  • It’s like the baby… has lost… her will… to live. I just made a Star Wars Episode 3 reference. Now I feel sick.
  • This gimp-ass bearded impotent bastard is gonna whip his wife like a scolded child. How dare they make me feel bad for Serena. Who I need to remember not only helped launch Gilead… but knowingly choked June while pregnant. This has all better work out in the end… when Serena kicks Fred in the balls, literally to death. And then, downs a fistful of pills and vodka.
  • Childwife can’t be trusted.
  • You know what I just recognized? No real “poignant flashbacks” this episode. Funny, that.
  • I’m honestly amazed Fred didn’t just go ahead and play the Imperial March.
  • And June collapses on a compass. She doesn’t know what way to go. Touching.
  • So, a mother’s love brought a baby back from the brink of death. FUNNY, THAT. 
So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #017: An Oral History Of My Career In Comedy

So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #017: An Oral History Of My Career In Comedy

10 years ago – give or take a year – I toyed with the idea of doing a little stand-up comedy. I knew from the notion itself, it would never be more than a hobby interest, but I figured it would be a good way to determine if I was (as many a friend and coworker would denote) a funny guy. Ultimately, I wound up doing a handful of shows, and called it a day. Why so suddenly serious? I didn’t want to pay for parking in the city, and it turns out I’m hella uncomfortable around drunks. LOL.

Beyond that though, I recognized that to be truly great at stand-up comedy, there is a level of commitment that I wholly accept is beyond my desire to dedicate to the craft. But let me not get ahead of myself. Cue the flashback machine!

My very first set of comedy was performed in the back of a comic book shop, as dared to do by the shop owners. We were all friends at Stand Up Comics in Lansing, IL, and every Wednesday when I’d pick up my books… the shop keep(s) and I would go back and forth about the fake worlds of which we partook. After weeks upon weeks of weekly weak knees… the idea was thrown into the wind: Why didn’t Stand Up Comics have a Stand Up Comedy Night? And with that, I was asked to join a few other shop patrons at an open mic competition.

My first set was short, sarcastic, and overly stuffed full of Jewish jokes and schmaltz. I adopted a “wise guy” persona – easy enough to do in a room full of similarly-minded nerds – and apparently did well enough to be asked to do another set. A far longer set. That set is still available on YouTube (search for it if you dare, cause lord, I ain’t promotin’ it!). I did my best to prepare a wealth of material. Cereal Box Mascots. My problem with the homeless in Chicago. My parents. My Jewishness. I covered it all. And for the most part? I felt like a million bucks afterwards. Enough so that I sought out actual open-mic nights soon thereafter to see if I actually had any chops.  Continue reading “So Long And Thanks For the Fish, Man #017: An Oral History Of My Career In Comedy”

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #016: To Binge or Not To Binge

So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #016: To Binge or Not To Binge

As of late, I’ve been lucky to consume a metric ton of digital media. For those in-the-know, I tend to operate on two screens; one primarily for the drawing work I’m doing for the evening, and the second monitor to play something to keep my ears happy. I tend to toss on Netflix, YouTube, or Hulu, and let a show run while I draw. It’s good for when I need to take a mental break — no, seriously, drawing causes me to intensely focus so I need to take it easy every few minutes — and it’s good to catch up on all the shows in the zeitgeist.

Recently this has meant consuming the second season of Iron Fist, the third of Daredevil, and as of a few days ago… giving Runaways a try over on Hulu. And it got me thinking specifically about the shows I consume week-to-week versus multiple-episodes-a-night— The Flash, The Gifted, and Legion being the most well-known.

Binge-Culture is a thing now, isn’t it? Shows being made specifically to be absorbed en masse as quickly as possible. It allows for motifs (be they visual, auditory, or a combination) to form, fire, and be appreciated far easier than for shows where you return, at most, once a week. But just because binging exists doesn’t mean it’s a valuable tool for every show. Case in point: The Flash (or really any CW show).  Continue reading “So Long and Thanks for the Fish, Man #016: To Binge or Not To Binge”