I'm Lovin' It

“Maybe McDonald’s food is the way it is because Ronald is lonely.”
“Lonely? He’s asexual.”
“That doesn’t mean he’s not lonely. Maybe he needs a car.”

So begins a conversation between characters in Douglas Coupland’s latest novel, jPod, which ends with them writing letters to the fast food mascot, competing to be his mate. Which, inevitably, got me thinking about Mickey D’s. I did my time at a franchise back in high school and I still eat there, even though Fast Food Nation almost did me in.

In honour of Coupland, I went looking for McDonalds pop culture parodies. If Ronald is lonely, where better place for him than a franchised version of Edward Hopper’s diner in “Nighthawks.” It would only have been better if Ronald himself had his back to us.

Ronald probably doesn’t see himself that way, with the Clown Prince more likely imagining himself sitting down to dinner with a group of close friends. Correct me if I’m wrong, but does that make Hamburglar Judas?

Of course not everyone thinks the golden arches is fit for fine dining, or even edible for that matter. For the 50th anniversary of McDonalds, the Billboard Liberation Front created a new billboard called “To Serve Man” which included a Ronald McDonald force-feeding a hamburger to an obese kid. Seems the grease mongers have just been fattening us up for the alien invasion. You bastards!

I have no idea what this one is about, but this cute little Wolverine-like teddy bear seems pissed at Ronnie. If anyone can read this, please let me know. Japanese pop culture is so weird.

When we were in Nagano, you could get a Quarter Pounder, but it came with an egg on top of it. I'd take a swipe at him too.

Some people are a little more obsessed with the junk food clown. A Day in the Life of Miss McDonald is the site of a woman in the Philippines who dressing up like Ronald and goes about her daily life. Sure, why not.

"I bet Ronald is at home as we speak," continues one of Coupland's characters. "He's in his bathrobe and staring out the den window at the immaculately maintained front garden. he wonders if it was all worth it - the fame, the money, the fries - and then he has the moment when he realizes that this is all he'll ever be. It shocks him - the purity of the emotion. He has to sit down in an armchair. He reaches over to the bookshelf and, from between a row of comic book, he removes a bottle of Scotch."

Super Size Me

I never liked superhero comics as a kid. When I was eight a family friend gave me his entire comic book collection, a couple of boxes worth, a true treasure trove. I dug through the pile, separating the Archies, Richie Riches, Casper the Friendly Ghosts and Scrooge McDucks of the collection, separating them from the masked avengers, caped crusaders and their dark-panelled ilk.

I then sold all the heroes.

Their grim worlds just couldn’t compete with the bright fantasies of the poor little rich boy or the thoughts of diving through a bank vault full of coins. I wasn’t ready for their dystopian visions yet, or maybe I just liked the idea of all of that conspicuous wealth. Things sure have changed.

I later came to appreciate the heroes through cartoons, TV and movies. I watched the original Spider-Man with its jerky animation and endless scenes of web slinging off of empty flagpoles. I followed the Super Friends and still snicker at the phrase “Wonder Twins power, activate!” Campy as it was, I still enjoy the old Batman and love the fact that Adam West has pulled a Shatner-esque career revival. Watching the Incredible Hulk was a weekly ritual (he was like The Littlest Hobo, except angry, and I liked him when he got angry.) And Christopher Reeve was Superman, even if he fought Richard Pryor.

So when the comic book movies trend began in the late ‘80s, I understood where they were coming from, at least in a diluted form. I loved Tim Burton’s Batman (even though I thought Val Kilmer was a better choice than Michael Keaton) and I appreciated that Batman Begins toned down the supervillains and grounded the series. Ang Lee did an impression of placing a camera over top of a comic book and yelling action, and his Hulk failed. Whereas Robert Rodriguez’s Sin City succeeded when he filmed a comic book from the inside out, sans animation.

But the series that have captured the spirit, at least as I understand it, are Spider-Man and X-Men. Both tied emotional depth, gravitas and angst to cutting-edge special effects and making things blow up real good. Much like anyone who attempts a dinosaur movie will be compared to Jurassic Park, they have set the bar high for all those who follow.

Which brings me to X-Men: The Last Stand. With original director Bryan Singer off to helm Superman Returns (the most milquetoast of heroes), the reins fell to Brett Ratner, who appears to understand the basics, but has few tricks of his own. It’s as it he decided that everyone knows the characters already, so let’s just get on to the fighting. Which, I admit, looks fantastic. It raked in over $100 million over the weekend, so people obviously agreed, but I hope some of the newcomers go back and watch the first two films to see what they missed. There is little depth or emotional resonance and you need some of both to care. A major character is killed off early in the film and I felt nothing.

During the credits the fanboys sitting behind me in the theatre said, “I bet (Ratner’s) never even read an X-Men comic. Somebody probably just told him who they are.” I haven’t read one either, despite it’s 40 plus years of existence, but even I know this series deserves better than treading water.

Facing the Music

Arcade FireEven after two years of using iTunes to play all my music, I’m still fascinated by it. I think I’m obsessed with stats and I really have no idea why, but there it is.

With that said, I delved into my iTunes and took a look at what the top 10 most played songs were. It’s interesting, I have over 5,000 songs on my iPod but over a third of them remain unplayed while other’s filter up to the top. So I’m going to indulge in a little self-reflection as nothing else in pop culture amuses or annoys me all that much today.

1. E-Pro, Beck, Guero
Guero is best album Beck has put out. It’s a great blend of Odelay, Mutations and Sea Change and I couldn’t stop playing it last summer. I always worry that I’ll get stuck in a musical bubble (and I do have a lot of mid-90s music) so I’m pleased to see more than half of the top 10 is from this decade.

2. Dead Disco, Metric, Old World Underground, Where Are You Now?
This album grabbed both Gill and I from the moment we heard it and wouldn't let go. Since then we’ve given it to friends and insisted others pick it up. I’m happy to see I’ve got a fair amount of Canadian music in the mix – Metric is from Toronto for those who don't know. Who says CanCon rules don’t work?

3. Rebellion (Lies), The Arcade Fire, Funeral
Best Canadian band currently recording. I’d heard a lot about them but not really given them a shot until the unlikely moment when I had to watch the Much Music Video Awards for work last year and their performance stole the show, even though most of the audience didn’t appear to know what the hell was going on. Get this album and rejoice.

4. The Slow Descent Into Alcoholism, The New Pornographers, Mass Romantic
Another great Canadian (Vancouver) band and they are the masters of the power pop song. I expect some tracks from their latest, Twin Cinema, to land in the upper ranks of my play list eventually.

5. Monster Mash, Bobby 'Boris' Pickett & The Crypt-Kickers
We really didn’t have many Halloween decorations this year, just an un-carved pumpkin, so I downloaded Monster Mash, put it on loop on the laptop and dolled out candy to the neighbourhood rug rats.

Metric6. Breakaway, Kelly Clarkson, Breakaway
Damn, Kelly Clarkson? Oh right, Gill and I share the iPod. I'm surprised there’s no Dixie Chicks in this list.

7. Molly's Chambers, Kings Of Leon, Youth & Young Manhood
I was introduced to Kings of Leon through a TV commercial for a car. Not sure which car, but I went and found the song, than the album. I guess ads do work, just not always the way marketers hope.

8. Spirit In The Sky, Norman Greenbaum, The Event Soundtrack
I wouldn’t have thought I listened to this often but it is on the summer party mix so maybe the amateur DJs at our last party dialed it up a lot. They were handing this soundtrack out after a screening of Thom Fitzgerald’s film at the Toronto Film Festival three years ago.

9. Girls & Boys, Blur, Parklife
A classic Blur song. Though never as big as Oasis, they were by far the better of the bands during the ‘90s British Invasion. Enough of the Gorillaz, Damon, bring back Blur!

10. 6'1", Liz Phair, Exile in Guyville
The whole album is Liz at her angriest and I love every moment of it. Just once I’d like to see a Canadian or American Idol hopeful take on one of her songs, but I know it will never happen.

Lost Faith

I’m feeling a lot like Locke these days. Not the 17th century philosopher but the bald, boar-hunting Locke of Lost. Having discovered the hatch is just a pointless psychological experiment, the mystical Locke appears to have given up on the mysteries of the island.

I haven’t abandoned my faith yet, but it is wavering. The finale airs tonight and I hope to get some sign from above (I’m looking at you J.J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof) to justify my devotion, or at least to convince me that I’m not following a deranged cult that is making it up as they go along. I have defended Lost against those accusations before, but I find myself wondering if it isn’t true.

The runaway success of the show came as a surprise to the creators and now, due to the business models of network TV, the pressure is on to continue the show as long as possible and that means drawing out the storyline. To quote a recent Entertainment Weekly cover story: “(Executive producers) Lindelof and Cuse say that they would love to write the drama knowing that it has an end point, ideally about five seasons. But Cuse believes the show can survive on character-driven redemption tales for years…” They say they know they need to deliver the goods and here’s hoping. I can’t follow blindly for much longer.

My crisis does not come solely from the show, but also from my foray into the “Lost Experience.” I just finished reading Bad Twin, a mystery purportedly written by an author who disappeared on Oceanic Flight 815. The book was the first entry into the real world by the fictional world of Lost – a copy of the manuscript was found on the show and Jack grabbed it from Sawyer during a recent episode and threw the last few pages into the fire. I should have been so lucky. Anyone looking for clues to the mysteries of the island could make better use of their time watching each episode frame by frame for all it revealed. The Lost references were few and far between, with only two brief mentions of the Hanso Foundation, despite what a recent ad by the fictional creators of the Dharma Initiative alleges.

The book is a cliché-filled piece of crime fiction, littered with references to redemption, faith and fate and even the author’s name – Gary Troup – is an anagram for purgatory. Which is fine, except that the purgatory theory has been thoroughly debunked: “We have said it is not purgatory, but people don’t want to believe it… These human beings have hearts, and when those hearts stop beating, they are dead,” Lindelof told EW.

With yesterday's announcement of a Lost video game (can I play Charlie on a heroin high?) I worry that the story will get burried in an avalanche of marketing tie-ins. What ABC is trying to do to keep viewers engaged is laudable, but they are going to have to maintain the quality of the show if they hope to be successful.

For a list of Lost Experience sites and other tidbits, check out my friend Jen’s recap over at Dose. Speaking of which, I have another friend named Jen who’s twin Nikki Stafford is writing a guide book called Finding Lost that will be out in September. Which twin is the bad twin is not for me to say, but I have much higher expectations for her book than Gary Troup’s. She is interviewed about tonight’s finale over at Canoe.

Over Dose

Dose is dead, long live Dose. CanWest MediaWorks shut down the youth-oriented commuter newspaper today that was distributed free in Toronto, Ottawa, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Launched a little over a year ago, the powers that be decided that paper was not going to be profitable and stopped the presses, effective immediately.

That’s the dry version. Full disclosure here, I was on contract as a web editor at Dose for the past six months and was lucky enough to work with a group of energetic, talented editors, writers, designers and photographers (and all the other people needed to put together a daily paper) who were excited about what they were creating. It was a fun place to work, with music playing and endless pop culture arguments.

The paper (or magazine as it was called around the office) was created to target advertising at the 18-to-34-year-old market, but over the year it became more than an advertising vehicle. Some things worked, some didn’t, but in every case they were trying for something new and different. Though owned by a major media corporation, it didn’t speak like one.

Anyway, 50 out of the 60 of us are now out looking for work and I wish them all well. The website Dose.ca and the mobile elements will continue and I also hope the best for them as well – it will be a hard road to follow with a reduced crew but I’m sure they are up to it.

For anyone reading this on Wednesday and in Toronto, you can find us tonight at Squirrely's on Queen Street West. If you are looking for an experienced web editor, drop me a line tomorrow when I’ve sobered up.

R.I.P. Invasion

ABC has saved the planet from aliens by canceling Invasion, but the Earth’s win is our loss.

The announcement was lost in the shuffle of big names returning to TV – Matthew Perry, Calista Flockhart and even more Simon Cowell – as the networks revealing their fall schedules this week. I mean the U.S. networks, of course, as the Canadian networks (except the CBC) have to wait to see what they can buy before revealing “their” schedule.

I don’t understand why Invasion didn’t take off. It had a great cast consisting of two blended families trying to stay together as their town is taken over by body snatchers. The show moved at a brisk pace with more reveals each episode than a month’s worth of Lost. And, not to put too fine a point on it, some very hot actors.

Invasion was dropping around half of Lost’s audience, but with a hit like that, who wouldn’t? Why not try it in another slot? Or, just maybe, don’t put the brakes on a hot series by putting it on hiatus for weeks on end.

There is some hope that the new CW network (the blend of WB and UPN) may pick up the show. Of course there are contradictory reports that say talk of that is dying. I hope it has a chance – one season is not enough.

For those who care, the season, and perhaps series finale, airs Wednesday, May 17, at 10 p.m. ET.

Mission: Alias

Ethan Hunt is Sydney Bristow and Mission: Impossible III is a two-hour episode of Alias, at least that’s what I got out of it.

The similarities are, um, impossible to miss. The opening scene started in the thick of the action with Hunt (the always toothy Tom Cruise, who was not horrible) in peril. How did he get there? Flash back to the beginning. This is a classic Alias scene and exactly how director J.J. Abrams began the Jennifer Garner series.

Next we see Hunt at his engagement party where nobody is aware that the purported traffic engineer is actually a spy for the super-secret IMF, much as Sydney is thought to work for a bank and not a black ops section of the CIA. The double life is a central theme of Alias and Hunt and his partners spend a considerable part of the film debating the difficulties of living a “normal” life.

Part of Hunt's team is a geeky, fast-talking techno nerd Benji -- on Alias his name is Marshall. There were many more team parallels, including Luther (Ving Rhames) as Dixon, Declan (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) as Sloane and Owen (Philip Seymour Hoffman) as the evil Sark. And of course there was a cameo by Greg Grunberg who plays Weiss on Alias (and has appeared in every Abrams series.)

No that there is anything wrong with that. Alias always felt like Mission: Impossible so I can see why Cruise brought him on to direct. Of course now he may not have anything left for the Alias movie.

Seeing Double

Haven't we met before? With the release of Poseidon we return to one of Hollywood’s worst habits – remaking films that don’t need to be remade. Poseidon is only 34 years old and stars Gene Hackman. You can still watch Hackman in current films and rent the original, why remake it? Hollywood eats their old, I suppose that’s the case with movies as well.

So in honour of Poseidon I’ve put together the worst and the best movie remakes (to be fair, some are good). I actually did this for work so this allows me to be a lazy blogger and repurpose something I’ve already written. Check out Dose if you want to see the full picture version.

Worst Movie Remakes:
1. Director Gus Van Sant recreated Alfred Hitchcock's masterpiece Psycho shot for shot, but with Anne Heche and in colour. What, exactly, was the point?

2. Take a fantastic French film like La Femme Nikita, lighten the tone and put in a U.S. actor and you get Point of No Return, a pale shadow of the original. Can't people read subtitles?

3. Auteur Tim Burton's version of Planet of the Apes proves why indie directors shouldn't be given massive budgets -- there is nothing to reign them in, resulting in a bloated letdown.

4. Remember when you said how funny Nicole Kidman was? Oh right, nobody has ever said that. Too bad the producers of The Stepford Wives didn't realize that.

5. Adam Sandler, not satisfied with making horrible, but original, movies decided to mess with The Longest Yard. Hits to the groin ensue. Ha, ha.

Best Movie Remakes:
1. George Clooney, Brad Pitt and crew took a huge risk making themselves out as a modern day Rat Pack in Ocean's 11 but they manage it with wit and style. Too bad about Ocean's 12.

2. Though everyone should make an effort to see Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai, the Western version, The Magnificent Seven, is itself a classic. Plus it has Yul Brynner!

3. "Say hello to my little friend!" Al Pacino's bloody Scarface was so succesful at creating a new movie icon, few even realize it based on a 1932 film. What all remakes should aspire to.

4. Director David Cronenberg takes the campy Vincent Price verion of The Fly and adds terror and gore (and Jeff Glodblum), creating a remake that stands above the original.

5. Taking on King Kong for the third time, director Peter Jackson applied modern special effects and proved there was still life in the giant ape. Technology, it's a good thing.

K.I.T.T.'s Knightmare

Knight Rider is racing on to the big screen and there is good news and bad news. The good news is aging lothario David Hasselhoff may be left in the dust. The bad news is Knight Rider is being made into a movie.

I was a huge Knight Rider fan when I was a kid. My family had been living in Papua New Guinea in the early ‘80s and where we were living there was no TV. We flew to Hawaii for Christmas in 1982 to meet the rest of the fam, where I promptly indulged a couple of years of TV withdrawal and saw Knight Rider for the first time. I was hooked.

Back in PNG, a friend had an early VCR (it may even have been a Beta!) and had some tapes of Knight Rider episodes – piracy going hand-in-hand with technology from the get-go. We would watch them over and over than then go outside and reenact the show, as kids tend to do. It was a good thing as I was running out of CHiPs scenarios.

On our return to Canada we stopped off in Los Angeles and visited Universal Studios and I got to sit in Knight Industries Two Thousand and have K.I.T.T. talk to me. It was very cool.

I bring all this up to prove my fandom is legitimate and to lend weight to my plea: please don’t make a Knight Rider film. It was a piece of ‘80s fluff, perfect for a kid but hardly cinema worthy. Even without Hasselhoff (he’s huge in Germany!) it is likely to be campier than the Brady Bunch and any attempt to add gravitas will likely sink like the upcoming Miami Vice film treatment.

I ask again, is Hollywood completely out of ideas that they need to mine cheesy TV series. Even worse, it is former Miramax founders Harvey and Bob Weinstein doing the mining. Have they truly fallen that far?

Paging Dr. Obvious

P.S. Nurses don't look like that either.In a stunning piece of research the medical community has concluded that Hollywood is unrealistic. I’m shocked.

Dr. Eelco Wijdicks, head of critical care neurology at the Mayo Clinic, says film portrayals of comas are wildly inaccurate, in a study published in the journal Neurology.

"They all portray what we call the 'sleeping beauty phenomenon' - nicely groomed. In many of the movies, they look as healthy as can be and then awaken suddenly, in a matter of minutes, and are back to (normal).

"Patients who are comatose have suffered a major brain injury," said Wijdicks, who analyzed more than two dozen films involving a character in a coma for accuracy as part of a study. "And the reality is that patients are on ventilators, there's very sophisticated medical care needed to prevent complications and when they survive that period (if they do), they need a prolonged period of neuro-rehabilitation."

This is, apparently, bad as people may not realize that people are woken with a mosquito, à la Uma Thurman’s The Bride in Kill Bill Vol. 1. Other films that didn't make the grade: The Dead Zone, with Christopher Walken coming out of a five-year coma with heightened mental powers; Regarding Henry with Harrison Ford rebuilding his life after being comatose for weeks; and 28 Days Later where a bicycle messenger who has been in a coma, suddenly awakens, steps out of bed, pulls out his catheter and walks out of the hospital.

So if comas don't make you psychic, perhaps a virus wouldn't turn most of the world into murderous zombies in four weeks. If so, what else has Hollywood lied to me about? Do nerds always win in the end? Do all phone numbers actually have 555 in their digits? Do vehicles really not ignite upon impact?

If you are getting your medical information from a film, you are in for a lot of nasty surprises in your life.

Popcorn Flicks

With a stumbling couch leap, the summer movie season has begun. Mission: Impossible III debuted this weekend with $48.025 million, almost $10 million lower than the previous installment as viewers decided Tom Cruise was just a touch crazier than they were interested in seeing on the big screen, despite decent reviews.

Which leads me to my mini guide to summer in the cinema. I love summer movies – big explosions, over-the-top themes, pure entertainment. There are sure to be some huge hits, some colossal failures and somewhere in there a dark horse that nobody was expecting. So it’s time to turn off my inner art snob until the Toronto Film Festival rolls around in September.

Mission: Impossible III:
While M:I3 makes my list, I view it with trepidation. Cruise has gone way off the scale and while a person’s private life shouldn’t impact my perception of their work, it does. I just watched M:I2 again and it really isn’t that good, despite the direction of John Woo. But we’ve got another chance with Alias and Lost creator J.J. Abrahms at the helm, and how could I miss one of the biggest movies of the summer. (May 5)

The Da Vinci Code:
Like millions of others I’ve read the book and with few exceptions, the book is usually better than the film so I’m concerned but also intrigued to see how the handle the mental work – studying symbols and paintings – in a visually intriguing way. I don’t expect it to be a fantastic film, but it should be entertaining. Just what I want in a popcorn flick. (May 19)

X-Men: The Last Stand:
One of the few superhero franchises that have been consistently entertaining. Great characters and great action – everything a summer movie should be as the mutants must face the prospect of being “cured” of their powers. (May 26)

A Scanner Darkly
Richard Linklater takes on Philip K. Dick’s story "A Scanner Darkly" in the same semi-animated style he shot Waking Life. I’m a huge fan of Dick’s work, which translates well to celluloid – Blade Runner, Minority Report, Paycheck, Total Recall – and like Linklater, but I’m not crazed about the animation overlay. It’s a little clever-for-clever’s sake. Winona Ryder stars – perhaps this is the beginning of her post-shoplifting comeback. (July 7)
Nacho Libre:
Mexican wrestling and Jack Black – what’s not to love? Looks like the best shot at comedy this summer and even better, it’s not a sequel or a remake. Can’t wait. (June 16)

My Super Ex-Girlfriend:
Matt (Luke Wilson) dumps his girlfriend Jenny (Uma Thurman), who turns out to be a spiteful superheroine. An interesting take on the super myth in the hands of director Ivan Reitman – I’ll be there. (July 21)

Of course with the good comes the questionable and the bad:

Superman Returns:
Speaking of comic book heroes, we have the dubious return of Superman, the wimpiest of super pantheon. While potentially the strongest member, Supe has never had any edge – he’s got no personality and no dark side. Call him Mr. Bland. I’m not sure why he needs to be revived on the big screen anyway, as he’s been reinterpreted for years of the small screen. (June 30)

Miami Vice:
This is not a remake of the ‘80s series says creator and current director Michael Mann. Forget what you know of the show says Jamie Foxx, who plays Tubbs. So why bother even calling it Miami Vice or doing a version of it? Are there so few original ideas? The saving grace – seeing a how greasy Colin Farrell as Sonny Crockett can be. (July 28)

Snakes on a Plane:
I’m hoping this is just a huge joke being played by web fans to see what they convince a studio to make – how else to explain so much excitement based on a lame title and premise? What should have been a direct-to-video release is now being pushed by fans as must-see camp. Count me out. (Aug. 18)

Clerks II:
Former wunderkind Kevin Smith demonstrates that his career has as much momentum as his characters, returning to the storyline that made him 12 years ago. I loved Clerks, but Smith keeps making the same film over and over again. Wake me up when he does something new. (Aug. 18)

Boy Howdy: King of the Hill Review

King of the Hill is the forgotten stepchild of prime time animation.

Overshadowed by The Simpsons and Family Guy, the Hill clan has quietly become the second-longest-running comedy on TV. Season 6 showcases how the Texas redneck suburbanites made their mark: by embracing reality and continuity.

Unlike most cartoons, the characters grow if not necessarily improve, as seen in "My Own Private Rodeo." One of the series' longest-running jokes is neighbour Nancy Gribble's 14-year dalliance with native "healer" John Redcorn.

She ends the affair and the storyline by renewing her wedding vows with her conspiracy-minded yet oblivious husband Dale, and invites his estranged gay-rodeo-riding father to the ceremony.

That's how the Hills embrace the comedic peculiarities of daily life. Mmm-hmm. Yup.

Extras: None, it's as bare bones as they come.

I haven't done reviews for years but I'm starting up again. This review originally appeared in Dose on May 3, 2006.

Drinkin’ and Drivin’ Is Bad for Your Career

For any Lost fans who haven’t watched last night’s episode, stop reading now. You’ve been warned.

As rumoured, Anna Lucia (Michelle Rodriguez) and Libby (Cynthia Watros) had some bullet holes put in them at the end of episode. You may recall that these two castaways were both busted minutes apart last December for drinking and driving.

There was much speculation that Rodriguez’s character’s belligerent behaviour extended off screen as well and producers were fed up with her. She told the arresting Hawaii 5-0: "I don’t fucking belong here! Why don’t you just put a gun to my head and shoot me! You’ve already taken my freedom! You might as well take my life too!"

She got her wish. Having just finished her five-day stint in the clink last week her life was taken on the show. Much like on the show, perhaps Watros was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Meanwhile the show's producers insist they weren’t delivering any moral message about the perils of drunk driving. "It's going to look like this is the Lost producers' attempt to say, 'Don't drive drunk!'" Damon Lindelof told TVGuide.com, insisting the decision to kill off the characters came before the incident.

I guess we’ll never know for sure. It’s the great thing about conspiracy theories – they can never be disproved by those who want to believe.

Come on Down to Genpop...

I love Prison Break, I heart South Park and I’m nuts for pop culture mashups, so you can imagine how head over heels I was when I came across Give Me My Remote’s recap of last night’s episode. While brief, it makes me laugh and that’s all that really matters to me.

Speaking of which, my favourite bunnies have posted another 30-second reenactment, this time taking on Rocky. Great stuff and fun to see Apollo Creed as a huge rabbit.

One other bit of amusing news today to file under Celebrities Says the Darndest Things. Just days after Michelle Rodriguez blamed her drinking and driving and other bad habits on her reaction to steroids she was taking for her allergies to cockroach resin, she has already been knocked off the throne.

Professional heroin addict and court attendee Pete Doherty, who was arrested on the weekend after pictures surfaced of him apparently shooting up an unconscious woman with heroin, claimed he was actually just drawing blood to paint a picture with. WTF? Damn, he’s good! I never would have thought of that one.

On a related note, why is this guy a star? He dated Kate Moss (and why is she a star?) and was in The Libertines and Babyshambles, and I can’t think of a single from either. Just askin’.

Oh yeah, I’m also guest editing over at Scandal Sheet again for a couple of days, where I am contributing to Doherty infamy. Go figure.

Brought to You By the Letters F And U

It’s funny how pop culture moments happen. I was having a beer with a friend who works at MTV Canada and he started talking to me about a comedy called Wonder Showzen. I got home that night and opened an Entertainment Weekly that had been lying around and there was a feature.

It’s a twisted take on Sesame Street, with precocious kids asking adults tough questions, letters and numbers teaching lessons that should never be taught and puppet monsters hassling the public. Great stuff. It airs in the U.S. on MTV 2 so I can’t see it, but MTV Canada has a collection on their site, so check it out. There’s my plug (now get it working for Mac!)

But it got me thinking about the rise of adult-themed puppet shows over the past five years. There was Greg the Bunny, a short lived series featuring Seth Green working on a kids show populated by puppets that were foul off screen and treated like second class citizens. It was, of course, cancelled. I still miss Count Blah.

There’s Puppets Who Kill – about a halfway house for criminally insane puppets – a Canadian production that is still airing (I think). The boys from South Park stepped into the realm with Team America: World Police and the vaguely annoying Crank Yankers. My favourite of the bunch is the musical Avenue Q about a bunch of twenty-somethings just out of university. They wonder what to do with a B.A in English, Trekkie Monster sings about internet porn and their Bert (named Rod) is definitely gay and in love with his Ernie (named Nicky). Again, great stuff.

I grew up watching Sesame Street at home, the Electric Company at school and graduated to The Muppet Show. I’ve come to believe that puppets have real lives and as I grew older I thought they must have more complicated lives. Maybe they complain, swear, drink and have sex and aren’t as simple and pure as when I first met them. I’m not, so why would they be.

Anyway, it looks like a lot of people like me grew up thinking the same thing and unlike me, they went out and made shows about it. I’m glad somebody did.