No time for blogging – the more time I spend on the internet, the greater the risk of Avengers spoilers! You find us on Facebook and Twitter, and look around the Archive, we’re going offline until after we see the movie friday night!
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If the Star Wars prequels, as their most vocal detractors would have you believe, raped our childhoods, then it looks like The Force Awakens is here to make sweet love to it, and spend the night, and call when it says it’s going to. This is J.J. Abrams et al. reassuring us, yes, it’s okay to love…again.
(Not that we’re among those detractors. We’re not saying they’re not streets behind the Holy Trinity, but if you can’t just enjoy the odd lightsaber duel or chase over Coruscant, there is no room for joy in your heart.)
There’s been one overwhelming reaction to the trailer, aptly-illustrated by cartoonist Rob Tornoe: by the time we hear the words “Chewie…we’re home,” we’re collectively 6 years old, playing with our Kenner action figures on the floor. Here’s the Millennium Falcon, being chased by a TIE fighter, into the giant Star Destroyer! This area rug is a lake that the X-Wings are flying over! This weird-looking generic robot from that pack of generic space toys Mom got at the Pay N Save for $1.99? His name’s, uh, BB-8! Yeah, he’s a friend of R2-D2! The only difference between J.J. Abrams and the rest of us is that his allowance is bigger.
Of course, now you see the hidden dangers of the Force Awakens trailer. Gonna make things real awkward with Mrs. Richmond…
We were all excited around here when it was announced that Showtime would be reviving Twin Peaks, following the limited-run format pioneered by shows like Fargo and True Detective. That excitement is lessened somewhat by David Lynch leaving the project. But then we got excited anew by the announcement of an X-Files revival, to run six episodes, presumably because any more and David Duchovny will bolt again. Heroes Reborn could recreate the exciting character chemistry of the first season – or it could be like the entire rest of the series.
After that, it just seemed like TV was trolling us. Coach? Really? I’ll only watch that if Craig T. Nelson dies in the final episode – that’s what kept me watching Parenthood to the end. Was there untapped storytelling potential from Full House? And yet, with all these revivals going on, no one will spare a thought for a beloved science fiction adventure that was canceled just as its story arc was taking shape? Man, I miss Babylon 5: Crusade.
The New Adventures Of Beans Baxter was an espionage comedy from Better Off Dead director Savage Steve Holland. It aired in the early days of the Fox network, back when they were the upstart that would try any weird thing they could, including Werewolf and Down And Out In Beverly Hills: The Series. It was best known for casting Kurtwood Smith (Robocop, That 70s Show) as the villain, Mr. Sue.
If you fancied yourself an actor in the Seattle area in the early 90s, odds were good your path would cross with Northern Exposure. Famously filmed in the nearby mountain town of Roslyn, Northern Exposure cast a lot of local faces in parts large and small.
I had been in a few plays around that time, and on one, the mother of one of my castmates turned out to be a talent agent. Lured by the glamour of local commercials and “Crimestoppers” reenactments, I signed up. I did a few screentests, none of which came to anything, then I got the call.
“Northern Exposure needs lumberjacks for a bar brawl. If they like you they could use you again.”
I snapped into action. I threw on my thrift-store flannel shirt, the one I mainly wore when listening to Pearl Jam in my room, didn’t shave, rubbed some dirt on my face, and sent the picture with my headshot and resume. I waited for my pages and looked up how to get to Roslyn from Tacoma.
Short version: they didn’t even consider me. I was too young and babyfaced to be taken seriously as a badass lumberjack.
Nothing ever came of Richmond, Professional Actor. Twin Peaks never came up, as the series had already been canceled. The only gig I got was as a clown at a theater opening, and I didn’t put that on my resume.
I was tangentially involved with Twin Peaks a few years later, when I played Leo Johnson in a locally-produced play based on the series. I got the part because I had a ponytail.
The cast of Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival made a video appealing for Lynch to come back. I still hope they can come to an agreement, if just so that Nadine Hurley has more to do than think she’s still in high school. Dare I hope we get to see Agent Mulder in a dress again?
Full disclosure: I haven’t actually seen any of the Fast And Furious movies. It’s not a deliberate boycott, just inertia; my taste in car-chase movies tends more toward the Road Warrior side. Still, when I saw this trailer, I realized this is something I want to be a part of.
Especially since a sequel to Speed Racer seems unlikely.
We’ve spoken before of the Eternal Hotness Of Helen Mirren. So we fully support her desire to be in the next Fast And Furious. Better still, Vin Diesel is down with the idea. So, producers of the Fast And Furious franchise, let’s make this happen. Even better: Make Helen’s character someone who’s a veteran of Furiousness and Fastitude, who hints at an interesting, checkered past. Then, you do a spinoff movie, set during her younger days, say, the early 70s. And to play the young Mirren? Jennifer Lawrence. BAM. Money-printing license granted.
Incidentally, I went looking to watch the other Fast And Furious movies. Here’s what I found:
Man, this series has been going longer than I thought.
It’s something I noticed years ago: even among those who actively read comics, an individual’s platonic ideal of a superhero character tends to be based on whichever animated version was running when they were a kid. If you’re lucky, you were a kid in the early 90s and your ideal Batman sounds like Kevin Conroy. If you’re unlucky, you were a kid in the mid-90s, and your ideal Spider-Man sounds like Greg Brady.
Mowrer and me? Superfriends was pretty much the only game in town (almost – our ideal Spider-Man sounds like Bumblebee and has an obnoxious dog). For what it was – limited animation, simplistic stories, airing on Saturday mornings back when shaking a fist was considered an act of violence and therefore verboten – it was a good introduction to the characters, giving us a basic grounding for when we got into comics. The last couple seasons, when it was rebranded Super Powers and brought in Jack Kirby’s Fourth World characters as recurring antagonists, actually approached awesomeness, in an 80s Saturday morning kind of way.
Was Superfriends perfect? No – for one thing, it led to a whole generation of comics writers feeling the need to attempt a dark, gritty, post-modern take on Marvin, Wendy and Wonderdog. For another thing, it means a whole generation can’t pronounce “Mxyzptlk.”
Here’s a handy guide, straight from the imp’s mouth.
Got it? You’d think that, as long as Superfriends ran, someone could have made a quick call to DC and said, “hey, real quick question, how do you pronounce Mr. Mishpoyganhyven’s name?”
And we won’t EVEN get into the damage it did to Aquaman’s rep.
Incidentally, why hasn’t there been a teamup between Mr Mxyzptlk and The Impossible Man? Well, according to John Byrne, they’re the same imp:
You would be forgiven, looking at Mowrer and me, for assuming that foods like the ones pictured in today’s strip form the bulk of our diets. You would be a dick, but you would be forgiven.
Fact is, we were both young once, and made the bad choices of youth that lead to physiques of middle-age. And while we’ve been known to indulge in the occasional All-Meat Stink Pie from Pizza Hut during our strip-planning sessions (while sealed in an airtight room with its own bathroom, as mandated by our wives), in the last few years we’ve both made a conscious effort to curb some of our less-than-healthy eating habits.
Which is difficult when Little Caesar’s is wrapping a deep-dish pizza in bacon. I mean, Little Caesar’s is already a den of evil, a place where you can just walk in, plunk down half a sawbuck, and walk out with an entire, not-as-disgusting-as-it-could-be-under-the-circumstances pepperoni pizza. Then they go and make a deep-dish pizza wrapped in bacon. I mean, come on, that would be like dressing Christina Hendricks as Jessica Rabbit. I’m not made of stone, people.
But where Mowrer and I diverge is when it comes to the Krispy Kreme Donut Dog, a concoction dredged from the depths of Food Perdition. This is a hot dog topped with bacon…which is then served in a glazed doughnut filled with raspberry jelly.
The sweet and the savory can go together nicely – as the rise of “salted caramel” as a flavor will attest – but while you had me at “hot dog with bacon,” you lost me at “on a glazed doughnut,” and just pissed me off with “raspberry jam.” Fortunately, I can’t conceive a scenario in which I’ll ever attend a minor league baseball game in Delaware, so I think we’re safe there.
And that’s before you get into Peeps Milk. As in, milk. Flavored with melted Marshmallow Peeps. Also eggnog. Still flavored with Peeps.
The Turducken-Style Pepper Popper remains, for now, fictional. But, given that that’s the only other food mentioned in today’s strip that sounds palatable, maybe some appetizer entrepreneur will see this and make it a reality. Come on, TGI Friday’s, do something right for once.