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The Pop Culture Addict's Guide to Finishing a Dissertation: TELEVISION

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Television

Added 5-02 cover cover
The source: Any VH1 Behind the Music episode
How I came across it: I watch a lot of tv!
The gems: As you're sitting in front of your computer screen thinking, when will I finish writing this section, you see Sheryl Crow, who is musically talented, photogenic and persistent, totally down in the dumps, unable to get her career off the ground. Then you see her career skyrocket to the top.  I don't even really listen to Sheryl Crow, but Behind the Music is always interesting and dare I say, at the risk of sounding supremely cheesy, inspiring, even when the subject is unfamiliar or seemingly not one's cup of tea. I highly recommend this show - I'll go into more episodes later but I'll briefly say that my favorites include Oasis (I don't own any of their albums but the sibling rivalry is sooooo funny and their bravado is also hilarious; plus, they end up being phenomenally successful); Red Hot Chili Peppers (if John Frusciante can come back from the depths of despair, you can finish your methods chapter); and Ozzy Osbourne (this guy's comeback was basically fueled by tlc from his now-wife, Sharon and his love for music and his fans). [Note: Obviously, I wrote this segment before The Osbournes hit tv-land.]

Added 3/04: A few people have inquired about a documentary Johnny Depp made about John Frusciante. This is what I know about it (I found the info at the RCHP website): "The short movie, 'Stuff', came out shortly before Niandra [Niandra Lades and Usually Just a T-Shirt orig. released in 1994 and re-released in 1999] was released to promote John's debut solo album. It was produced by Johnny Depp and Gibby Haynes (from the Butthole Surfers), and contains a cameo by Timothy Leary. It's basically an abstract tour of John's house that later on burned down. It was distributed as a promo by American Visuals (American Records)." You can dl it at The John Frusciante Tablature Archive. The description of the film adds this comment about "Stuff" - "the film's main purpose seems to be depicting the chaos of John's life." I have to say I am getting a little drained just thinking about it. There is lots of info about the man at John Frusciante's official site.

niandra
More info at the forum: Pop Forum. If you don't want to read, it's just that I realized you can dl it from youtube.com and I finally watched it: It runs for 11'38" and had a Harmony Korine sensibility to it. I liked John Cale's version of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" as it ran over the end credits. John Frusciante is only in it for a a few seconds it seemed. Tim Leary is in it for the same length of time. It is mostly somewhat looped footage of a very messy abode with music playing over it. JF speaks for a bit - lyrics? a poem? not sure.

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Instead of links to specific music, here's the top 100 at Amazon.

Added 3-03 cover
The source: HBO's Project Greenlight (2001) - note: the 2003 series is about to kick off
How I came across it: I avidly watched the series last spring. First off, I will pretty much give anything that airs on HBO a look. Second, it was hard to ignore the Matt Damon-Ben Affleck hype.
The gems: In case you missed the hype, the premise is that Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wanted to give first-time writer-director's a chance to make a movie. They sponsored the contest with Live Planet (the production company they have with Chris Moore and Sean Bailey) and Miramax who supplied the $1 million budget (which became closer to $2 million). (Note: I don't want to digress too much here but this year, they separated the writer and director prizes. Also, supposedly, the winners weren't actually unaffiliated. They all work for Disney or something heavy duty industry-like.) This series was brilliant! Just brilliant. They picked this guy (Pete Jones) the viewers like me could love to hate. They edited it so we saw all the mess-ups (I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt that they edited stuff for entertainment value although I do believe everything they showed did actually happen). The website had interesting articles (www.projectgreenlight.com). The script - Stolen Summer - looks fairly maudlin but innocuous. But here's an example of a problem on the set: they are filming a scene where one of the main characters, a young boy, has to swim out in the lake. Problem? The kid can't swim! D'oh! Hello, casting? Oh that was the director's job? Okay. Chris Moore is the only competent person around. He is too hard on himself. He is apologetic for every sane word he says. In short, Steven Soderbergh said it best in EW about his reaction to watching the show: "It's jaw-dropping. That's what most movies are like. I just sit there stunned - they're getting all the s---!" he says. "And the brilliance of it is that [Stolen Summer] isn't something I'd see without this documentary. Now I'd pay $50 to see it."

Added 7-03: I wanted to make an addendum. I was thinking about the gossip I had heard about one or more of the 2003 winners being Disney fellows and realized I should say that it is just hearsay. Also, I have only watched the first episode of the 2003 season. I imagine it is still entertaining but on Sunday nights I have started watching Dead Like Me on Showtime after watching Sex and the City so I end up skipping Project Greenlight. At any rate, I still recommend the first season! Anyway, I am going to take this opportunity to digress and say that I am so excited for the Freaks and Geeks dvd set which is scheduled to be released in December of 2003 [now it's set for 3/04]. It was a great show and the dvd will be chockful of excellent (as opposed to disappointing, I won't name names) special features. Now they need to release Undeclared on dvd! Judd Apatow, you are a television god, and of course, props to Paul Feig!

Added 8-03: News from Film Threat: "THE RETURN OF PETE JONES! Pete Jones, last year's Project Greenlight winner, is making a new film called "Doubting Riley." (Remember, he was the guy who looked like Howdy Doody.) Each week Pete will share his personal diary giving us insight into life after Project Greenlight. Read the first installment on FilmThreat.com this week!"

Added 3/04: A quick note to say that Project Greenlight is moving to Bravo. Seeing as I only watched 10 minutes of last season primarily to see J. Lo walking upstairs in the background (it was still fascinating at that point), I doubt I'll watch it this season. But who knows? Maybe they will grab my interest again. Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Chris Moore sound like they will be as close to the show as the general was in Black Hawk Down as he commanded his men from a completely tech battle station. But to be fair, the general did seem to care about the fate of his men. It just appeared so detached the way the operations and men were blips on the screen. Anyway, per usual, I digress. I won't judge until it starts up again.

satc
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freaks and geeks dvd
Added 11/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the official Freaks and Geeks site:
DVD UPDATE
Posted on: October 13, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW Judd@FreakandGeeks.com
"All is well. The music is clearing. Hopefully it will clear fast enough for a March release. We have a meeting Friday to go over the details of what we want to do. I am also looking into putting out a book of some type. Hopefully we'll have some kind of news for you next week."

Added 11/03: This was posted in the chat transcript of 11/3/03 of Watch With Kristin on eonline.com:
Question:Is Freaks and Geeks coming out on DVD?
Answer:Yes! Linda Cardellini was here last week, talking about her new role on ER and mentioned that it is coming out on DVD. Not sure of the specific date, but I'll find out for you.

Added 11/03: This was posted in the chat transcript of 11/10/03 of Watch With Kristin on eonline.com:
Question: Does Roswell ever make it to DVD?
Answer: No word yet on that, but I did hear that Freaks and Geeks is coming out in March. Whee! The cast is currently doing commentary for it.

Added 11/03: In Entertainment Weekly's 11/21/03 issue, Dalton Ross (you can also watch him on NY1) wrote the following about our beloved Freaks and Geeks:
"Now Apatow reports that the entire series could be coming out as early as spring 2004. 'We saved everything." Apatow says about the planned extras - audition tapes, rehearsals, deleted scenes, and commentary tracks for all 18 episodes. 'We're gonna put out a package that has everything a fan would ever dream of.'"

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
DVD COMMENTARY TAPING
Posted on: November 12, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW judd@freaksandgeeks.com
"We are taping tomorrow. We will record commentaries for six or seven episodes. Over the next four weeks we will record commentaries four more times. They are spread out because different people can only do it on certain days, so we catch everyone when we can get them. Here are some of the commentaries we are doing tomorrow. Kim Kelly Is My Friend with Mike White and myself. Chokin and Tokin with Miguel Arteta, Martin Starr and Sarah Hagen. Noshing and Moshing with Jake Kasdan and Mike Andrews, our composer. We've Got Spirit with some special internet fans of the show. Tests and Breasts with Mr. Fredericks, Mr. Rosso and Mr. Kowchevski talking about how the show has life lessons for kids. Dead Dogs and Gym Teachers with Seth Rogen, Busy Philips, Tom Wilson, Martin Starr, Claudia Christian, Sarah Hagan. Next weeks we are recording with Paul, all the geeks, Jason Segel and Linda Cardellini. James Franco is recording in December. I am happy to say that every actor from the cast will do a commentary on an episode or more, as well as many of the writers directors and guest stars. Lea Shepard is flying in next week. We have tons of funny ideas, so keep reading the board for details."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
DVD MENUS-HELP US!!!!
Posted on: November 24, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW JUDD@FREAKSANDGEEKS.COM
"Anyone who wants to attempt to make a DVD menu should e mail my assistant Andrew at apatowprod@aol.com and he will get you set up with specs and photos."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
SEND US PHOTOS OF YOURSELVES!!!!!!!!!!
Posted on: November 25, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW-DVD JUDD@FREAKSANDGEEKS.COM
"Please send us jpegs of photos of yourselves. We want to do a two page spread of photos of the fans, and anything you have done that is show related, shrines, bumper stickers, you in photos with the cast, you in costume, anything. Send them to Apatowprod@aol.com."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Posted on: November 26, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW Judd@FreakandGeeks.com
"If the DVD comes out this spring, and that is looking pretty good, what can we enlist the fans to do to help us get the word out. Paul and I have no financial interest in the DVD sales, we just want people to see the show, and we would like the project to be successful so the company releasing it gets rewarded for taking the risk, and hopefull we can get other projects, like Undeclared, released. So what can we do to involve everyone? What helps spread the word world wide? What events could we produce? What can we do on the internet? Any thoughts?"

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: Is the DVD being released in Ireland Judd? If so.........
Posted on: November 26, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW Judd@FreakandGeeks.com
"The DVD will be available worldwide, mainly through a website."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: How 'bout alerting Matt Roush?
Posted on: November 27, 03
Posted by: JUDD APATOW Judd@freaksandgeeks.com
"Nothing is set in stone, but the DVD will probably be available at stores, with some specialty versions with extra extras available only to the people who come to this web site. CD's with lots of music and original music from the show is a real possibility."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: JUDD.. so did ALL the Music clear for the dvd?
Posted on: November 29, 03
Posted by: Judd Apatow judd@freaksandgeeks.com
"All clear. Too soon for stories, but everyone was cool."

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: Judd's Ben Stiller Show Commentary
Posted on: December 06, 03
Posted by: Judd Apatow Judd@freaksandgeeks.com
[this was in response to "are you using all the commentaries for FG? 25 is alot."]

The great thing about commentaries is you can listen or not. We did a lot because it was a fun way to all work together again. We never see each other, so we got a chance to catch up and you get to hear it. Listen to one a year and you are covered till 2028.

Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: release date
Posted on: December 11, 03
Posted by: Judd Apatow Judd@freaksandgeeks.com
Looking like April.

Added 1/04: Freaks and Geeks DVD update: This was sent out Friday, 1/23/04. Now that I've ordered my copy, I thought I'd share this with you without worrying about them running out!


The Freaks & Geeks Limited Edition 8-DVD Set is now available for preorder on www.freaksandgeeks.com. Click on the link for all the details. You were among the nearly 40,000 people who expressed interest in seeing Freaks and Geeks on DVD - and we are excited to let you know we are almost done. This special deluxe version will be made in a limited edition run, so please reserve your copy soon so you are not left out.

Thank you so much for your support. This wouldn't have happened without you. Please spread the word by forwarding this e mail to anyone who you think might be interested in learning about what we've done.


Added 1/04:
Freaks and Geeks DVD update
: This was posted on the official Freaks and Geeks site:
Re: How many versions are there of the "Freaks & Geeks" DVD? What are the differences between them?

There are two versions of the "Freaks & Geeks" DVD. "The Complete Series" and "The Deluxe Collector's Edition".

" The Complete Series" is a 6-disc set with a suggested retail price of $69.98. This version boasts all 18 episodes with the original music, 28-page collectable booklet packed with photos, and over 40 hours of bonus material including a Director's cut of the Pilot episode & 29 audio commentaries by every single actor, every single writer, directors, network execs, parents of cast members, teachers in character, the musical composer and fellow fans (including yours truly!). There are also over 60 deleted scenes & outtakes, cast auditions, trailers, promos, bloopers, behind the scenes footage and much more.

The "Deluxe Collector's Edition" will be available ONLY via the internet, and it includes everything on the 6-disc set, plus an additional 2 DVD's featuring even more bonus materials, as well as an 80-page foil-stamped "Yearbook" loaded with photos and memorabilia from the show. The Yearbook also features fan photos, script pages, a quiz, a letter from Paul, a Q&A with Judd, details about every show, a letter from Mr. Rosso, poetry, rock and roll lyrics, reprints of articles about the show and lots more. The 2 extra DVD's contain over 7 hours of extras, including; three live "table reads", a one-hour Q&A with Judd, Paul and the entire cast at the Museum of Television and Radio in Los Angeles, tons more auditions, deleted scenes, promos & outtakes, raw footage of some of our favorite scenes from a single camera perspective, Guidance Counselor Jeff Rosso & Feedback live in concert, the full original electronic press kit, a script that was never shot, a special music and photo gallery, surprise Easter Eggs, even more behind the scenes footage edited by Jason Segal and Martin Starr, and other things that are weird and hard to describe.

According to Judd, "I assumed, for the collector's edition, that you would want everything, and that is what you will get. There are a bunch of classic scenes that we put the raw footage on the DVD. So you see a scene you like all from one angle, one performance. Some of them are amazing, like the uncut version of Bill in the closet at the make out party, and Nick dancing in the final episode. But don't worry, you will be shocked at how much stuff is on the collector's version. I think it is between eight and nine hours of stuff not including the commentaries."

Added 3/27/04:freaks and geeks dvd It's here! Plus, this is so dope: I was so thrilled and surprised to receive my Freaks and Geeks Special Edition dvd today that I immediately went to the Freaks and Geeks message board to share my news. Then, none other than Judd Apatow himself posted right after me. Coolness!

A fellow fan first responded at 8:41AM (Pacific) with:
"I do!
It just came about a half an hour ago.
I have to go look at it now!"

Then I added at 9:18AM (Pacific):
"Same, here! It just arrived. I couldn't think of what package I was expecting. Then I opened it up and read the packing list - Freaks and Geeks! So exciting! I've only just flipped through the yearbook. So far the signatures are awesome. They hearken back to those days. Now I must go so I can watch the pilot!"

Then our darling Judd added:
NEW: It's like Christmas n/t -- Judd Apatow -- 3/27/2004 10:14 AM (Pacific)

And now the fans are writing in fast and furious as they get their morning mail. It really is like xmas.

Added 4/04: Freaks & Geeks DVD Easter Eggs (no spoilers): I love fully-loaded dvds as much as the next media-phile but I don't have a knack (or patience) for locating easter eggs. Thus, I rely on my fellow fans to mark the path and make a yellow brick road for me to follow without exasperation. Two fellow fans ("GregH" and "Jeffrey" according to the F&G message board) collaborated on the following site: Freaks & Geeks DVD Easter Eggs. And while I like it all spelled out, the site is designed so that you can just get the directions and find out the surprise for yourself. Or, if you really need to be spoon-fed, the spoilers are listed as well. Coolness, right? I think so!

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Added 12/03: Freaks and Geeks soundtrack: This was posted on the bulletin board at the official Freaks and Geeks site:
DIALOGUE FOR ALBUM
Posted on: December 06, 03
Posted by: Judd Apatow Judd@freaksandgeeks.com

It looks good that we are putting out a soundtrack. It will have songs, characters from the show singing, and also dialogue from scenes.

WHAT MOMENTS SHOULD WE PUT ON THE ALBUM, DIALOGUE-WISE?

They can't be crazy long. Here are some of my first thoughts.

Daniel asks harris if he's a loser.
Can you fart when you're married.
Neal's dream about making love (rockets).
Drum kit speech from pilot.
Rosso has herpes.
Harold Weir's "she's dead" speech.
Will we ever get girlfriends?
Ken tells Nick and Daniel about his girlfriend's problem.
Ken asks Rosso if he's gay.
Daniel tells Kim she IS a drug addict slut (The Diary).

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Added 6/04:Undeclared on DVD!!! I am going to write a half-baked posting right now and fix it later but my brother was right (I doubted him at first): in the latest EW, it declares that due to the popular response to the Freaks and Geeks dvd, Undeclared will be put out on dvd soon at some yet-to-be-determined date. Like Nu Shooz sang, I can't wait! The other EW announcement was that the Freaks and Geeks soundtrack is still in the works as well as two books of Freaks and Geeks scripts.

Later:

Here is the text from The Entertainment Weekly site:

'Undeclared'
by Alisa Cohen

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. So is a TV show as offbeat and honest as ''Undeclared,'' brainchild of ''Freaks and Geeks'' executive producer Judd Apatow. Fox flunked the campus comedy after just 17 episodes, but now those kooky freshmen will crack wise again on DVD. While no official date has been set, Shout! Factory has decided to release the ''Undeclared'' disc based on ''Freaks and Geeks''' success story: Fans of that dearly departed series lobbied online for its release -- and got their wish April 6. Just think: more sardonic commentary from beer guzzler Ron. More navel gazing from drama stud(ent) Lloyd. More whacked-out cameos from the likes of Will Ferrell and Ben Stiller. And Apatow is armed with an arsenal of extras: ''every deleted scene, blooper, audition,'' as well as uncut, improvised riffs from Loudon Wainwright III, who played not-so-gay divorce Hal, and former Freak Jason Segel (Eric, the obsessive ex). (Posted:06/25/04)

Copyright ? 2004 Entertainment Weekly and Time Inc. All rights reserved.

Added 4/05:

Hot off of the Undeclared website:

Release date of DVD!!!!
Posted By: JUDD APATOW
Posted On: 03/30/2005

?????????????
The DVD is coming out in late August. We have been working really hard on it. it has tons of deleted moments, auditions, rehearsals, an unaired episode, a hilarious script we didn? get to shoot and some footage of Loudon Wainwright live. More info to come.

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Added 8/04: freaks and geeks soundtrack
Here's news about the Freaks and Geeks Soundtrack, the Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, Volume 1 (Newmarket Shooting Script) and even the Undeclared dvd (hallelujah!):

Hey, gang!


Lest you think we've run out of stuff from our cancelled little show, here's two more exciting items from Freaks and Geeks Central (please forgive us we can't let go):

First, we want to announce the Sept. 14 release of the Freaks and Geeks Original Soundtrack and Score, from Shout! Factory. It features songs from the show by Joan Jett, The Who, Styx, Rush, XTC, Paul Feig, and many more, as well as a lot of pieces of your favorite score from our long-suffering composer, Mike Andrews. And as if that wasn't enough, there's also some performances by Mr. Rosso's band "Feedback," Millie Kentner, Nick Andopolis, and a couple more surprises. AND there's liner notes written by critic David Wild and Mr. Rosso, to boot! (Hey, we try to make it worth your while.)

The CD will be in stores on September 14th, or you can pre-order at amazon.com.

We are also happy to announce the release of Freaks and Geeks: The Complete Scripts, in two paperback volumes from Newmarket Press (Vol. 1: Episodes 1-9, Vol. 2: Episodes 10-18). These books contain the actual shooting scripts from all 18 episodes for the first time in print. The books cost $19.95 a piece (hey, we tried to put all 18 episodes in one book, but it ended up being about the size of a cinderblock, so we figured two books would be the most non-hernia inducing). And if you thought we'd ran out of things to say on the DVD commentaries, think again - there are introductions to each episode by each episode's writer, as well as intros to each book by the two of us. We even went insane and put together a little scrapbook at the end of each book from handwritten notes, photos, the series bible, character breakdowns, and whatever other documents we could find.

Look for the script books in bookstores around mid-October, or you can pre-order them at amazon.com (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) or barnesandnoble.com (Vol. 1 and Vol. 2) and elsewhere online.

Finally, we'd like to give a little shout-out to some other releases from our friends at Shout! Factory: the 6-CD Lenny Bruce: Let the Buyer Beware deluxe box set, and the 5-DVD SCTV Vol. 2 box set, featuring Freaks and Geeks' own Joe Flaherty. The Lenny Bruce set contains this very important and hilarious comedian's popular recorded performances, many never-before-released performances, and various private recordings, and is on sale Sept. 14 at record stores and online retailers. And anyone who knows anything about sketch comedy will likely tell you that SCTV was the best thing on TV in the late '70s and early '80s. Heavens knows we watched it religiously back then. SCTV Vol. 2 is available on Oct. 19.

And finally things are looking good for Undeclared to come out in 2005!

So, sorry to get all salesman-y on you, but we're pretty excited about all this stuff. Check any or all of it out if you want, and if you don't, we still love you anyway. We just like coming up with excuses to say hello to you.

And we probably say this way too much, but in light of the soundtrack CD coming out, it seems appropriate... ROCK ON!!!


Thanks,

Judd Apatow & Paul Feig


If you cannot view this message please click here.

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Make sure you replace <your email address> in the body of the email with, well, your email address. Thank you for your interest in Freaks and Geeks.

:: Shout! Factory :: 2042-A Armacost Ave. :: Los Angeles, CA 90025 ::

Added 9/04: freaks and geeks soundtrack

I just got the Freaks and Geeks soundtrack. I know it will be satisfying. More after I give it a good listening.

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Addendum 12/03: the ben stiller show
So I gather from reading Judd's postings that if the Freaks and Geeks dvd does well, Undeclared will have a good chance of coming out too. In the meantime, I just got the dvd of The Ben Stiller Show. This is a good fix for us Judd Apatow fans who want to trace his stand up/writing/producing origins. Judd Apatow (b. 1968) and Ben Stiller (b. 1965) talk about meeting in line at an Elvis Costello concert around 1990 or so. Ben was trying to develop a show for HBO based somewhat on his MTV show and Judd had been doing stand up and also writing jokes for Larry Sanders, Roseanne and Tom Arnold. Judd and Ben decided to collaborate on The Ben Stiller Show which ended up airing for 12 episodes on Fox. It was cancelled unceremoniously and proceeded to win an Emmy for best writing long after it was off the air. Anyway, I only just started watching it so if I get the bug, I'll write more about it later. Suffice it to say that the dvd is loaded with extras including commentaries by Judd, Ben and the rest of gang - Janeane Garafalo, Andy Dick and Bob Odenkirk.

Added 1/04: So, I've been doing some marathon viewing of The Ben Stiller Show (that and season 2 of Dark Angel - Jessica Alba had some corny lines on that show (and she wasn't the only one) but she always came off likable, smart and strong; also, I can't wait for easy-on-the-eyes and fun-to-watch Jensen Ackles in "Still Life" - it's supposed to be great; btw, are we supposed to think that Jensen's character on Dawson's was the father of Jen's baby? Also, I found it amusing that on one of the Dark Angel commentaries one of the producers was saying something about how whenever Jensen was around, all the women on set, including the producer's wife, were all giggly and flirty around him.). There are many funny aspects to The Ben Stiller Show but I must say, I love the B- history student getting sucked into the past and being totally inept at changing anything because she only has a hazy remembrance of what happened. That, my friends, would be me. But on the plane, I was feeling very smart and extremely ignorant all at once (sort of like how watching The West Wing makes you feel) because I was greatly enjoying Sarah Vowell's book of essays, The Partly Cloudy Patriot. I highly recommend it.

dark angel season 1 jensen ackles dark angel season 2 the partly cloudy patriot

I also love the Frankenstein Husbands and Wives spoof. That is just hilarious. In the commentary, they talk about how it's really only funny if you know the movie well and that's actually the mark of a bad sketch when you need previous knowledge of something in order to enjoy it. But they all agreed it was funny. They said someone had been working on a Frankenstein sketch (ultimately played by Ben Stiller) and another writer had been working on a Woody Allen sketch (played hilariously as a mummy by Andy Dick) and they just decided to meld the ideas together. Ben Stiller said it was another example of how they were all aspiring film-makers and wanted to create film-like pieces that went in a different area than traditional sketch comedy. At any rate, it works by me!

Added 3/04: I just read this about Still Life in Watch With Kristin's 3/15/04 chat transcript:
Q: Is there any news on Still Life?
A:Sadly, no. It looks to be DOA.

Q: Why the "no" on Still Life? Too gruesome?
A:"Morbid" is what I heard. But, apparently, the higher-up who disliked it is now gone from Fox, so keep those fingers crossed. It is so, so good.

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Addendum 12/03: kick me
I am going to pick this book up pronto. Freaks and Geeks is the tv version of Paul Feig's high school memories and experiences. I'm sure the book, a memoir, is a good read. Since I haven't actually read it yet, I'm just quoting Publisher's Weekly here: "These interlocking essays on everything from a sadistic gym teacher and geeky after-class pastimes to obsessive romantic tendencies and a prom that wasn't the best night of the author's life are terrifically entertaining, although undoubtedly imaginatively amped up for maximum readability. Feig is the creator of the late-'90s sitcom Freaks and Geeks, a sort of Wonder Years for the Dungeons and Dragons set. Much of the show was based on Feig's own childhood, and this memoir is, in a way, the show's literary equivalent. ... True to form, Feig's mini-hit was canceled after one season, leading to a futile mass uprising, including a full-page ad in Variety, from his fans, who were disenchanted by yet another of life's downers. It is that very audience who will adore this originally written, imaginatively comic missive." Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

A couple of days later: Okay, I now have Kick Me in hand. The good thing about a book of essays is that you can read a few pages and still feel like you got a beginning, middle and end to a story. Again, this book is a good fix for those of us anxiously awaiting the F&G dvd.

Still 12/03: I just read an interesting interview with Paul Feig. He has a movie out called I Am David and a new tv show in the works. Here's an excerpt:

"Q: Is the HBO show another high school program?
A: No, no, it's twentysomething geeks--it's called 'Nice Guys' and it's basically an 'I want a girlfriend, I want a wife' sort of thing with guys who are sort of befuddled about the whole process. I think we've all been there before."

As for Kick Me, I'm almost done reading it. I've been reading it on the train and I keep bursting out with laughter unexpectedly. He is, as we already know from the eps he wrote for Freaks and Geeks (Pilot; Tricks and Treats; Girlfriends and Boyfriends; Looks and Books; Carded and Discarded; Discos and Dragons), a skilled writer.

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freaks and geeks freaks and geeks dvd

Note: For more musings about the high school experience, scroll or click to the magazines section of this page. I wanted to write it in this Freaks and Geeks section but realized this particular entry was just getting too unruly.


Added 1-04

The source: VH1 Bands Reunited Series

berlin romeo void a flock of seagulls klymaxx squeeze frankie goes to hollywood dramarama extreme kajagoogoo the alarm

How I came across it: Good publicity on the part of Viacom/VH1. I saw the ads and thought that it looked like an intriguing show. I had a feeling I would like it even though the bands weren't ones I had particularly strong feelings about. Yet, their songs were definitely in the background of my experience of the 80's.

The gems: I should really be finishing my Lord of the Rings entry right now but I was so moved by this show - Bands Reunited - that I wanted to write about it immediately. I would say out of all the bands that are scheduled to be on the show, Squeeze is the only one I actively listened to when they were together. Oh, and I was a fan of Klymaxx. Meeting in the Ladies Room still goes through my head every now and then. But somehow, it didn't matter to me that I didn't really know who Terri Nunn or Deborah Iyall were until I watched Bands Reunited. It turns out, in case you didn't know, that they were the lead singers of Berlin and Romeo Void, respectively.

The first gem I must mention is the fine work of VH1 host Aamer Haleem. His task of locating and speaking to members of broken up bands and then gently convincing them to reunite with the other members of their groups and possibly performing, is quite challenging. He is a very pleasant person with a polite, friendly yet in-the-know kind of demeanor that successfully gives him entree into the people's homes, workspaces and other personal spaces. Aamer's job is to be part mediator/negotiator, part counselor, part party-planner and through all of this, he is allowed to show his respect and fandom for these people. I have to say, it's an impressive feat.

So let me go on to the band-related gems, keeping in mind I've only watched the first of two weeks' worth of broadcasts and may add more after week 2. To see Berlin reunited after 22 years was really something else. It seems that they had broken up bitterly (mostly due to the break-up of Terri Nunn and John Crawford's personal relationship) and never thought they'd all be in the same room again let alone perform on stage together the songs they had created and loved in their youth. And it was surprisingly sweet and touching to see the reunion of Frankie Goes to Hollywood despite the anti-climactic ending (is there a pun hidden in there somewhere?). The love among the members of Klymaxx, despite the drama with Cheryl Cooley, was also nice to see on tv. It was cool to see how Bernadette Cooper had had a vision of forming her own girl band and how she had succeeded in finding the right chemistry in her band mates (I guess with the exception of a certain guitarist).

All of these onscreen reunions in Bands Reunited made me think about how I recently was able to look at my dissertation again since I had officially turned it in a number of months ago. It really wasn't the hack job I had feared it was. I mean, logically, I knew it had passed the many reviews and undergone the many revisions suggested by the various members of my committee as well as my compulsive self until the product reached at least the minimum caliber expected of such a work and we were all willing to put our stamp of approval on it. I mean, don't get me wrong, I still had revisions to make after my final defense and even then, there was some discussion about making even more revisions but we all reached a tolerable compromise largely driven by my firm intention to finally graduate. I was ready to end my stint as Van Wilder and not end up like Eric Stoltz's character in Say Anything or Matthew McConaughey's character in Dazed and Confused where they were hanging on desperately to their school days or really, in their cases, the memories of their school days. Hey, notice how it's always guys who can't move on? I guess it's because in these particular movies, they are doing it for the girls.

van wilder say anything dazed and confused

At any rate, I knew I could keep editing my dissertation forever but it was time for me to move on. I mean, I admit that even now, I edit this page constantly. It's a hard habit to break and I don't think it's necessarily a bad one. Everytime you look at something you've created, you see it with a fresh eye and suddenly something else becomes clear and needs to be altered.

When I first received the hardbound copy of my dissertation, while I admit I couldn't help being impressed with seeing the title with my name and the official copyright in actual book form, I could not get myself to open it and really read anything. I'm like anyone else. I want to be relevant. I don't want to be dated and feel like I spent all that time only to find I didn't contribute to the existing literature. I think I'm preaching to the choir. You guys know what I'm talking about. It's what paralyzes grad students and possibly anyone in the midst of creating something. We start thinking, what does it all mean? Am I making a difference? Will anyone recognize my work? Is it meaningful now? Will it be meaningful later?

Bands Reunited shows how the members of the bands that are featured also had these thoughts when they were together all those years ago and now as they are older and wiser. And in getting the chance to reunite and perform one more time, I think many of these musicians were able to learn the answers to these questions. Clearly, the bands chosen were relevant at the time of their popularity and have become part of pop music history.

The story of how MTV contributed to the rise and fall of Romeo Void, and did they have some kick-ass songs, is so classic. Deborah Iyall tells a story of how they were on tour promoting their album when MTV came out and started playing their video for Never Say Never. Suddenly, their popularity grew tenfold. At the same time, music became inextricably attached to image, never to look back. The band talks about how for the Girl in Trouble video, the label insisted on having a female "stand in" of sorts, for Deborah although she (Deborah) did end up appearing in the video. Music executives seemed to think that since Deborah Iyall did not conform to their ideal visual image of a promotable young hot thing, they would not give this band the time of day.

Romeo Void said Columbia Records had their back one day and dropped them like a hot potato the next and it was the end of their career. It wasn't the only factor in their breakup but it was a big factor. At the heat of their popularity, all the positive and negative attention was focused on Deborah and the rest of the band resented her. To their credit, and despite rumors, they seemed to have been decent folk and not blamed their woes on Deborah's appearance but more on creative differences. They recognized the shallowness of others and appreciated the talent and heart of their lead singer. And in having the opportunity to reunite and perform one more time 10 years later, the members of Romeo Void were able to enjoy what they had contributed to pop music history and to each other's lives.

A Flock of Seagulls had the Oasis factor where two brothers were in the band together but constantly feuding. Also, they had the Red Hot Chili Peppers factor where one member (guitarist Paul Reynolds) literally had a nervous breakdown (I'm referring to poor John Frusciante who thankfully kicked his heroin addiction and overcame his depression to reunite with his RHCP brothers). Seeing the AFOS reunion, even though I didn't know much about them aside from the infamous hairstyle of Michael Score (and I didn't know his name before now) and their once ubiquitous hit I Ran (So Far Away), brought tears to my eyes. The other one that made me verklempt was the Berlin reunion. During the Klymaxx one, my jaw was on the ground because of the drama going on. And the Romeo Void one just made me feel good. Yes, keep in mind that scenes in Toy Story 1 & 2 made me a bit weepy because I found them so touching. I'm not the most stoic person in the world. But I don't think I'm overly sensitive or emotional either. I just react to what I react to.

toy story dvd set

Anyway, I've said this before and I'll say it again: as you work on your dissertation, don't get too hung up on the negatives. Try to enjoy this time in your life. Your mind is open. You have easy access to the latest literature in your field of interest. Enjoy the technology that's out there - to me, that was one of the best things about being in a university setting, the constant exposure to the newest technology. You have the rest of your life to pursue your interests. If you don't get it all this time, in your next study, you can follow up and expand it. Or, if you are torn in different directions or have started to lose interest in your topic, finish what you're doing and after you graduate, you can completely switch areas and start a totally new line of research. Also, you may feel desensitized to the meaning of your writing right now but one day, it will all become clear. One day in the near future, you will appreciate what you've written and all the work you've put into it. I promise!

Addendum re: Week 2: As I predicted, I must add my reactions to Week 2. The reunion of Kajagoogoo was so sweet. Those guys seemed so down to earth but still New Wave in their middle age. It was nice to see the other four express regret over kicking Limahl out of the band 20 years ago. I loved when Limahl was marvelling over the irony of having to have looked up the lyrics for Too Shy on the internet. I had read that 3 bands on this show do not perform and I can tell you the other two are going to be Squeeze and Extreme based on the fact that it is a one hour show and both of these episodes are only 30 minutes. Bummer. It's so unsatisfying not getting the cherry on top and seeing every band reunite with some success at least just for one night. I can attest to this feeling having watched the Frankie Goes to Hollywood episode. Well, I will write more when I see more.

I'm back. I watched the Dramarama ep and you know what, somehow I don't remember Anything, Anything (I'll Give You). I even watched the Anything, Anything video to jog my memory and not a (x3) damn thing. Still, it's nice to discover an old song that's a good song. I think that was around the time my mind was blown by the debut albums of Biggie and D'Angelo. And I remember listening repeatedly to Des'ree's single You Gotta Be and TLC's CrazySexyCool album. So I must've been giving college radio station picks a rest and still on the TLC tip. Anyway, yay, they got together and performed again for their fans. Very satisfying to watch. I'll return for my peanut gallery comments on the conclusion of this series.

low end theory ready to die brown sugar i ain't movin' crazysexycool on the tlc tip

The next day: Well, only one day left of this great series although I guess the element of surprise is gone now that they are on the air. So if they tried to continue it, it might not be as cool. Have you ever watched the "making of" Real World specials when the people auditioning claim they've never heard of or watched The Real World? I mean, come on, it's been on the air for almost 14 seasons. Anyway, what I'm getting at is that a lot of the charm and/or fascination of Bands Reunited is the friendly ambush aspect of it. After watching the series these past two weeks, broken up bands all over the world must be thinking, "I wonder when VH1 is going to come knocking on my door?"

So today was The Alarm reunion. This is another band I really couldn't tell you much about before today. I didn't even recognize their big hits. But this lack of familiarity did not in any way take away from my enjoyment of their face-to-face reunion and reunion performance. Apparently these guys were friends as teenagers so breaking up was a big deal. Rather than thinking about dissertation-writing, it actually made me think about ties gone by and if 10-20 years apart would be enough to heal rifts, intentional or not, that wedged between parties. Somehow 10 years doesn't quite seem long enough but maybe 20 would do. So I'll give you an update on this in a couple of decades. Thirteen years seemed to be enough for The Alarm to feel good about seeing each other again. Too bad tomorrow's ep is going to end on Squeeze not reuniting. I'm surprised they decided to end the series on a down note. Okay, my last comments will wait till tomorrow!

Special notice: I was just talking about The Real World under this heading yesterday and I just learned that Mary-Ellis Bunim passed away today (1/30/04). She and her partner Jonathan Murray made up Bunim-Murray that created The Real World, Road Rules, Making the Band, The Simple Life and more. She was 57 and had been battling breast cancer. I wanted to take a moment and pay respect to her. She was a television pioneer. I wrote a letter to her once way back in 1993 or so asking why there weren't any Asian-Americans on The Real World in the cast and even just the background, considering they filmed in NY and then LA. I never got a response but I think the next season was San Francisco when Pam was on. So the Bunim-Murray team was already on it by the time I sent my letter. Also, if you know me, you know I was an avid follower of Making the Band (and possibly mocked me for it). Those guys made a good half hour show. They should've kept going so their career would've lasted longer. Mary-Ellis knew her stuff! I'm sure she'll be missed by her loved ones, and fans of her shows will continue to appreciate her contribution to the reality show genre.

Next day: If you are still here, thanks. I know I've evolved from my succinct descriptions to self-indulgent ramblings. Anyway, I watched the Squeeze reunion or rather non-reunion episode. It was nice to see the various members apologize on-camera to each other for bygones. The thing I didn't know and of course loved about their story is how Glenn Tilbrook (lead voice/ guitar/ music) and Chris Difford (harmonies/ guitar/ lyrics) met when they were adolescents and realized they were the perfect song-writing team. I'm already feeling a little hole in my viewing schedule knowing there aren't any more episodes to look forward to of Bands Reunited. Here's to hoping VH1 and Aamer Haleem put out another run of the show with different bands!

Added 2/04: Just saw a trailer for Mayor of the Sunset Strip, the documentary about KROQ DJ Rodney Bingenheimer by George Hickenlooper (Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker's Apocalypse) due out in theaters next month. I was excited to recognize, among the many songs playing in the ad, Anything, Anything (I'll Give You) by Dramarama. Further research revealed that Anything, Anything is on the Mayor of the Sunset Strip soundtrack. Should we be concerned there's a song by Jennifer Love Hewitt on it as well? Anyway, I'm a sucker for documentaries - just remind me not to watch anymore by that poser Nick Broomfield - and I love music, especially rock/pop so this movie should hit the spot for me.

Added 3/04: I haven't seen the movie yet but I did pick up the soundtrack. I thought I should correct my mistake and note that there is a SONG entitled "Jennifer Love Hewitt" by Ronald Vaughan. What can I say. I misread it.

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Added 9/04:VH1's Bands Reunited returns with Season 2 on 9/6/04! I've been chomping at the bit for this show to come back. There is an article about in the 9/3/04 issue of Entertainment Weekly. Apparently, I was only one of 500,000 viewers who watched it the first time around but the buzz grew and I'm sure it did well in reruns. Aamer Haleem is playing host and chief conflict resolution master again.

Here's a good quote: "...executive producer Julio Kollerbohm believes viewers are responding to the universal theme of mending fractured relationships. 'These bands are like dysfunctional families that haven't spoken in sometimes 10 to 20 years. They're making peace with that period in their lives,' he says,'Even if [the reunion doesn't happen], it's going to make for good TV.'"

So let me leave this for now just saying the bands in question are ABC (yes, I was into them), English Beat (oh my goodness was I into them), the Motels, Haircut 100 and NKOTB (yes, that's New Kids on the Block). Let's watch and see. You know I'll be back to share my thoughts. According to the schedule, we'll get 5 episodes next week and then the next 5 in November. Total coolness!


Added 9/04:haircut 100 new kids on the block abc english beat the motels

Okay, now that the first round has aired, I will share my impressions. I guess I'll go in order. First off was Haircut 100 which was sweet. It was sort of a tease though because Aamer et al. were successful in tracking down all 6 members and convincing them to partake in the reunion setting us up for disappointment over them not getting all of the band members in subsequent episodes. I'm sure it was a deliberate choice to start with Haircut 100 and end with The Motels. I found The Motels reunion the most touching. Well, let me back up. How nice was it to see Nick Heyward healthy and warmly greeted by his old bandmates? Actually, the way they all greeted each other was so sweet. Their demeanors were so restrained but I would guess that the emotions were overwhelming and they couldn't quite find the words to express their thoughts (okay, Blair Cunningham hid his anxiety with humor; however he was definitely full of emotion). During the reunion interview, the pain on their faces was so clear when Nick was talking about his breakdown and the break up of the band. But by the end, you saw their true joy in healing old wounds and renewing their unspoken bonds. Very satisfying.

I admit to watching the E! special on New Kids on the Block so I saw how sheltered Jonathan Knight was - he said he didn't even know how to balance his checkbook on his own despite all the money he had. He's the one that dated Tiffany, right? And everyone's issues were aired pretty thoroughly. So, considering how young they were, how big they were and how contrived, well, what's a better way of saying it... carefully constructed they were, I was not surprised that the reunion was unsuccessful. They were on a different plane from these other bands that started as a group of friends from high school or college, etc. Still, it was a letdown based on the premise of the show. But it was cool that Jordan and Jonathan agreed at least.

Watching the ABC episode was the first one that really moved me the way I was touched by the first season of Bands Reunited. There was something about the earnestness David Palmer and Martin Fry exuded that I found appealing. Plus, David Palmer was so striking. In this situation, the partial reunion and performance worked out famously. I guess they figured having the frontperson/lead singer plus the drummer was enough to make a go of it. It was cool how thrilled they were to be reunited on stage despite the glaring no-shows.

The English Beat episode compelled me to go right out and pick up another copy of Just Can't Stop It. I have it on cassette somewhere on this continent. It doesn't have Sooner or Later though. That's a classic for sure. Too bad it didn't work out as a full reunion. I wish they had gone the ABC route but I suppose we should be happy there was a performance of some kind. Dave Wakeling sounded great as did Ranking Roger. Never You Done That was a classic single as well. I know, wrong incarnation. Still, same voices. Anyway, it was disappointing not to see David Steele or Andy Cox. Everett Morton and Saxa showed such fondness for days gone by. It was lovely to see.

Lastly, The Motels reunited. I didn't know anything about them aside from recognizing their singles, but my ignorance didn't impede my total enjoyment of this episode. You know, I never heard this before: take the "L" out of "lover" and it's "over." So cheesy but true. LOL. My favorite thing about this episode was how Guy Perry talked about how hurt he was by Marty Jourard's comments about him on his website. And then Marty Jourard was so happy to see him at the reunion and the first thing he wanted to tell him was how great he sounded on his album (solo album perhaps?). And in the inset, Guy Perry said how he felt so foolish for holding onto his grudge(s) for so long. I watched this one twice because I caught the marathon of reruns.

Ah, all in all, it was cool. I think there was something good in every episode. And the really good stuff was really good!


Added 11/04: The return of Bands Reunited, Season 2, Part 2
Before time gets away from me, I just wanted to mention that on Monday, November 8th, Bands Reunited Season 2 starts up again for one more week. The bands are Scandal (on Monday), Vixen (on Tuesday) and Information Society (on Wednesday; also, they are the only band I know). Then on Thursday, there will be a "behind the scenes" show of Bands Reunited. I'm sure that will be interesting. We got a taste of that in early Season 2, i.e., how long they wait around for the ambush, the phone calls, etc.

Okay, all I can say is, I recommend this show. I'll be watching it and will add more if it seems like the thing to do.


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