Last time on TV Tuesday, I ran out of time to write about a collection of sitcoms I’ve been watching that are all produced by, sometimes written or directed by, and in one case even starring: Kenya Barris.
His first creation, the family sitcom Black-ish, is probably the most well-known. That show has a spin-off, Grown-ish, as well as a prequel, Mixed-ish. He also has a family sitcom on Netflix, #blackAF, in which he stars as a fictional version of himself.
I really like these shows, in part because they’re pretty good — fun and funny with good characters — but also because I think it’s so important for us white folks to sometimes just STFU and listen to Black voices. Most of these shows make deliberate attempts to reach out and share something important.
Last night I watched — for the second time this week — Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (2019), which is the latest episode of a saga polymath auteur Kevin Smith has been telling since 1994 with his first film, Clerks. The arc of that tale contains one of my very favorite movies, Dogma (1999), wherein we learn that God looks exactly like Alanis Morissette.
If you’ve never heard of Jay and (his “hetero life-mate”) Silent Bob, you’ve missed a minor cultural phenomenon. Clerks is a cinematic landmark on par with Reservoir Dogs, and is preserved in the Library of Congress as “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” In my book, it’s all three.
I’ve been waiting well over a decade to see these guys again!
The post’s title is the name of a trope, and while you may not know it by this handle, you have probably run into it. Perhaps from someone combining the terms “old hat” and “just” — or maybe using the more continental “cliché” (ooh la la) about something once revered as ground-breaking. The trope arises from not recognizing the originator of ideas now in common use. For example, Airplane! and Die Hard seem lost among all the similar films that followed.
But this post really isn’t about the trope or the Seinfeld TV show. The title just makes a neat kick-off point and offers some connective tissue. I really do mean I don’t find Jerry Seinfeld all that funny. Ironically, I think the man is a comic genius, and I have high regard for his comic acumen. Yet his stand-up routines leave me cool.
So this post is actually about stuff I don’t find funny (and why not).
I stayed up later than I should checking out NBC’s new comedy, Go On. I meant to just watch the first episode to see what it was like, but I enjoyed it so much I had to stay up and watch all five episodes available on OnDemand.
Actually, there were six episodes available, but the sixth was still in the 30-minute “all the commercials” mode. And since NBC has joined with others that disable the fast forward in OnDemand [spit, a pox on your house], I’ll hold off until they put up the shorter version with only the NBC promos and PSAs. Those versions are 22-minutes (or 23 or 24 tops), which means eight minutes of commercials I don’t have to ignore.
So NBC can kiss my big hairy ass when it comes to commercials, but I think they have a real gem in Go On!
Earlier this week I read an NBC News blog post that cited a Telegraph (UK) post concerning the funniest movies ever. The British article involved a study by a movie subscription service. The study attempted to rank the funniest films ever based on laughs per minute. The NBC article added their own informal staff picks to the mix.
What tickled me is that the Brits named Airplane! as the funniest movie ever. I’m not sure I have a definite all-time #1 pick, but Airplane! is unquestionably in the top three. A while back, I wrote about my funniest films, and Airplane! was my first pick (of four—third place had a tie).
So the Brits and I share a funniest movie pick, but we diverge from there.