Category Archives: Entertainment

Somebunny special

And I don’t mean to make vapid Easter jokes, because I don’t think Easter is about bunnies — not at all.

However, this bunny was special. And while I’m sure you don’t have a spare hour right now to watch this documentary, I hope you will come back and watch it when you do. It’s a really fine tribute to the great Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Yosemite Sam, and dozens of other Warner Brothers and Hannah-Barbera characters that have made his incredible voice an iconic example of American popular culture from World War II to the present.

He revolutionized the way cartoons and voice acting were done, and through his work in radio during the 40s and 50s, as well as his voice-overs for countless Merrie Melodies cartoons, he is still regarded as one of the finest — if not the greatest ever — character actors of our time. (This sentiment is from many of his peers and protégés.)

I did not know that he suffered a life-threatening injury in a car crash in 1961. I also didn’t know his death could have been easily prevented. So sad.

But here’s an awesome tribute to our favorite bunny. I promise you’ll be better for having watched it.

Right now, I’m off to start a fun scavenger hunt with the Js and Grandpa Thriller. Where did we hide those monster trucks and treat baskets…? :-)

Lorne Michaels agrees with me.

Lorne Michaels

Or, he did. Well actually…I didn’t know he agreed with me, as he agreed with me when I was 14 years old. But he agreed, and for the same reasons. In fact, he stole my opinion. OK, we share it.

Is this not making any sense? Right. Let me start over.

I have a confession. I hereby admit to all and sundry that I have never found Carol Burnett funny. Ever. Like, not once. Tim Conway, maybe, on occasion. But I quietly sneered and rolled my eyes at most of the comedy on Burnett’s show. Sue me. Lord knows millions of other people loved the stuff, but it just never “did it” for me. Her googly-eyed, mawkish cheesing at the camera, and especially Harvey Korman’s infuriating breaking of character to fall down laughing at how gol-dern funny they all were just grated on me. Stoney and I always tell our student actors: “You’re funny onstage until you start cracking up onstage at how funny you are. Then you’re not funny anymore.” I stand by it.

Burnett as “Eunice”

Anyhow, I’ve always felt like the Lone Ranger on that score. Almost everyone I knew was all HahahHAHAHAHAAA!!! about Carol Burnett, but I kept quiet vigil during her shows, and while the studio audience died laughing, I mostly sat with this look on my face.

So, my point (and I do have one) is that last night, I bought a book called Saturday Night: A Backstage History of Saturday Night Live, by Doug Hill and Jeff Weingrad. Very impressive. About 65 pages in, I came across this paragraph:

[SNL creator] Lorne [Michaels] made it clear that [Carol] Burnett’s style encompassed everything “Saturday Night” should avoid. It lacked subtlety and nuance; it was…too smug, especially when the performers broke out laughing in mid-sketch, doubling over at the hilarity of themselves. From then on, many an idea would be derisively dismissed on the 17th floor with the words, “That’s Carol Burnett.”

Finally, a kindred spirit.

Now, wait. I know that Carol Burnett is a television icon; someone who, like Lucille Ball, played first string in what was always a boys’ game. She did her own thing on her own show, calling all the shots and doing things her way, which I think is fantastic. She paved the way for lots of other strong women in show business. I just don’t think she’s funny. Does that make me a bad person? Un-Amurrican?

I think Lorne would forgive me.

Finkday Fun

Today, I will go with 70 of my closest friends to the local university’s production of Little Shop of Horrors. Yay! A fun show that doesn’t make you think too much. :P I’m really looking forward to it.

After we get back to school, my fantastic Music Parents Organization is putting on a pizza lunch in my room for my high school choir students. Should be a great day. We can all enter the room and say…



Temperature in Hades: 31

Yep, fiends — it froze over. The Thriller and I went out and bought a Wii system for the grandsons.

I originally swore to never have one in the house, because I knew the two of us could be too easily drawn in by the blinking lights and other shiny things that video games use to Svengali and Rasputinize the unsuspecting, innocent citizenry. But there we were, in the Game Stop, buying the Wii and three games (Madden ’13 and Bigfoot for the boys; and Dance Dance Revolution for Grammie — please don’t picture it in your mind).

Actually, the shopping trip was fun. We took the boys with us so they could pick out their games. It was a true kid-in-the-candy-shop experience (for the Thriller as well). When we got home, they took to unpackin’ and settin’ up:

Jake was on batteries, the Thriller assembled hardware, and Justin read the instructions. :-)

Jake was on batteries, the Thriller assembled hardware, and Justin read the instructions. :-)


After a few stops and starts, the first game was underway:

They played and played. Then they put in the Madden game, and the three of them laughed as the Cleveland Browns were penalized for delay of game over and over and over because Jake couldn’t get the play selection made fast enough, HA. And art imitates life…

Happy Sumday! Before getting back to work this evening, I’m finally going to see Les Mis at the matinee with my cinementor, Tom Hanks. Reviewin’s brewin’.


A little ouchy

It was bound to happen…I mean, I’m not upset or anything, and I **love** Homeland, but Mad Men’s choke hold on the Emmys ended last night. Could it be that the show is approaching yesterday’s news status because the end is near? Same with Breaking Bad, mayhap?

Why do we get so attached to pretend stories on TV? It’s an age-old question, whether its books or movies or plays, I suppose. It’s the transcendent quality of stories that lifts us out of our daily lives and allows us to vicariously experience things we never would consider doing in realtime. I’ve always been a sucker for a fantastic tale.

But, as with all things, I suppose stories run their course in time, and eventually the day comes when things move on. I’m not looking forward to seeing my favorite stories end (MM and BB), but I understand they can’t be endless yarns. Anyway, I’m trying to analyze why I like my favorite shows. Here’s a weak attempt:

  1. Mad Men. Without a doubt, it’s the nostalgia. I was a child of the 1960s, and I remember the clothing styles, the hairstyles, the furniture, the newspaper ads, the billboards, the cars…everything rings true to me. It’s transcendent. Add to that a handsome cast, brilliant writing and great music, and I’m hooked.
  2. Breaking Bad. I guess that, as a teacher, I cannot even fathom doing something like Walt does and actually getting away with it. I watch every week to see how far he is going to go next, and to see Jesse advance in his humanity as Walt degrades his own. Where will all the betrayal and secrets end? We’ll find out this summer, when the final episodes air.
  3. True Blood. I just love vampire stuff. It all started with my accidentally picking up a copy of Interview with the Vampire back in the early 90s. It’s a guilty pleasure. Vampires are dangerous and intensely romantic. And then there’s that whole live forever as an insanely wealthy eccentric thing…
  4. The Newsroom. I really hope HBO keeps this. Aaron Sorkin is not everyone’s bag of chips — I don’t even buy all his ideas — but it makes for great storytelling.
  5. Once Upon a Time. I love fairy tales! And this one has entertaining characters and a wacky, fantastic plot.
  6. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire. I love fantasy and history.

There’s more, but I’m out of time. But if you have time, tell why you love your fave TV or movie. Who knows, maybe I’ll take a recommendation from you. My DVR ain’t half full. :P

Happy Monkday!