Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

"How you doin? I love it when a plan comes together. Is that your final answer? Yeah, that’s the ticket. D’oh!"

Cable network TV Land is counting down the Top 100 Greatest Catchphrases in December, but put out its list so we could all bicker and reminisce over their choices and presumably tune in and watch. OK, I’ll bite. Reading over their collection, I could picture so many of them, not just from the episodes, but from friends repeating them, t-shirts and parodies. Some of them were real monsters, but they have all lost their impact when stripped of context.

TV catchphrases really don’t add up to a whole lot of conversation, but they do tend to stick in your head. They also age poorly, being unable to escape the moment in time when they captured the elusive pop culture zeitgeist. I’m sure many of these phrases were a mixed blessing – helping to catapult a series and a star into the limelight and forcing them to repeat it for the rest of their lives. Just ask Gary Coleman. (Ok, not anymore: RIP.)

But with that being said, here’s my Top 10, chosen on the basis that I repeated these phrases at some point in my life, over and over and over again:
  • D'oh! (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)
  • De plane! De plane! (Tattoo, Fantasy Island)
  • Good night, John Boy. (The Waltons)
  • Holy ______, Batman! (Robin, Batman)
  • No soup for you! (Soup Nazi, Seinfeld)
  • Oh my God! They killed Kenny! (Stan and Kyle, South Park)
  • Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids! (Trix Cereal)
  • Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? (Arnold Drummond, Diff'rent Strokes)
  • Yada, yada, yada... (Seinfeld)
  • Yeah, that's the ticket. (Jon Lovitz, Saturday Night Live)
And now as a cheap ploy to fill an incredible amount of space, here is the full list:

- ... if it weren't for you meddling kids! (Various villains, Scooby Doo, Where Are You?)
- Aaay! (Fonzie, Happy Days)
- And that's the way it is. (Walter Cronkite, CBS Evening News)
- Ask not what your country can do for you ... (John F. Kennedy)
- Baby, you're the greatest. (Ralph Kramden, The Honeymooners)
- Bam! (Emeril Lagasse, Emeril Live)
- Book 'em, Danno. (Steve McGarrett, Hawaii Five-O)
- Come on down! (Johnny Olson, et al, The Price is Right)
- Danger, Will Robinson! (Robot, Lost in Space)
- De plane! De plane! (Tattoo, Fantasy Island)
- Denny Crane. (Denny Crane, Boston Legal)
- Do you believe in miracles? (Al Michaels, 1980 Winter Olympics)
- D'oh! (Homer Simpson, The Simpsons)
- Don't make me angry... (David Banner, The Incredible Hulk)
- Dynomite! (J.J., Good Times)
- Elizabeth, I'm coming! (Fred Sanford, Sanford and Son)
- Gee, Mrs. Cleaver... (Eddie Haskell, Leave it to Beaver)
- God'll get you for that. (Maude, Maude)
- Good grief. (Charlie Brown, Peanuts Specials)
- Good night and good luck. (Edward R. Murrow, See It Now)
- Good night, John Boy. (The Waltons)
- Have you no sense of decency? (Joseph Welch to Sen. McCarthy)
- Heh heh... (Beavis & Butthead, Beavis and Butthead)
- Here it is, your moment of Zen. (Jon Stewart, The Daily Show)
- Here's Johnny! (Ed McMahon, The Tonight Show)
- Hey now! (Hank Kingsley, The Larry Sanders Show)
- Hey, hey, hey! (Dwayne Nelson, What's Happening!!)
- Hey, hey, hey! (Fat Albert, Fat Albert)
- Holy ______, Batman! (Robin, Batman)
- Holy crap! (Frank Barone, Everybody Loves Raymond)
- Homey don't play that! (Homey the Clown, In Living Color)
- How sweet it is! (Jackie Gleason, The Jackie Gleason Show)
- How you doin'? (Joey Tribbiani, Friends)
- I can't believe I ate that whole thing. (Alka Seltzer)
- I know nothing! (Sgt. Schultz, Hogan's Heroes)
- I love it when a plan comes together. (Hannibal, The A-Team)
- I want my MTV! (MTV)
- I'm Larry, this is my brother Darryl... (Larry, Newhart)
- I'm not a crook. (Richard Nixon)
- I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV. (Vicks Formula 44)
- I'm Rick James, bitch! (Dave Chappelle as Rick James, Chappelle's Show)
- Is that your final answer? (Regis Philbin, Who Wants to be a Millionaire)
- It keeps going and going and going... (Energizer Batteries)
- It takes a licking... (Timex)
- Jane, you ignorant slut. (Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live)
- Just one more thing... (Columbo, Columbo)
- Let's be careful out there. (Sgt. Esterhaus, Hill Street Blues)
- Let's get ready to rumble! (Michael Buffer, Various sporting events)
- Live long and prosper. (Spock, Star Trek)
- Making whoopie! (Bob Eubanks, The Newlywed Game)
- Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! (Jan Brady, The Brady Bunch)
- Mom always liked you best. (Tommy Smothers, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour)
- Never assume... (Felix Unger, The Odd Couple)
- Nip it! (Barney Fife, The Andy Griffith Show)
- No soup for you! (Soup Nazi, Seinfeld)
- Norm! (Cheers)
- Now cut that out! (Jack Benny, The Jack Benny Program)
- Oh my God! They killed Kenny! You bastards! (Stan and Kyle, South Park)
- Oh, my nose! (Marcia Brady, The Brady Bunch)
- One small step for man... (Neil Armstrong)
- Pardon me, would you have any Grey Poupon? (Grey Poupon)
- Read my lips: No new taxes! (George H.W. Bush)
- Resistance is futile. (Picard as Borg, Star Trek: The Next Generation)
- Say good night, Gracie. (George Burns, The Burns & Allen Show)
- Schwing! (Mike Myers and Dana Carvey as Wayne and Garth, Saturday Night Live)
- Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy. (Lloyd Bentsen to Dan Quayle)
- Silly rabbit, Trix are for kids! (Trix Cereal)
- Smile, you're on Candid Camera! (Candid Camera)
- Sock it to me. (Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In)
- Space, the final frontier... (Capt. Kirk, Star Trek)
- Stifle! (Archie Bunker, All in the Family)
- Suit up! (Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother)
- Tastes great! Less filling! (Miller Lite Beer)
- Tell me what you don't like about yourself. (Dr. McNamara & Dr. Troy, Nip/Tuck)
- That's hot. (Paris Hilton, The Simple Life)
- The thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat. (Jim McKay, ABC's Wide World of Sports)
- The tribe has spoken. (Jeff Probst, Survivor)
- The truth is out there. (Fox Mulder, The X-Files)
- This is the city... (Sgt. Joe Friday, Dragnet)
- Time to make the donuts. (Dunkin' Donuts)
- Two thumbs up! (Siskel & Ebert / Ebert & Roeper)
- Up your nose with a rubber hose. (Vinnie Barbarino, Welcome Back, Kotter)
- We are two wild and crazy guys! (Steve Martin and Dan Aykroyd, Saturday Night Live)
- Welcome to the O.C., bitch. (Luke, The O.C.)
- Well, isn't that special? (Dana Carvey as The Church Lady, Saturday Night Live)
- We've got a really big show! (Ed Sullivan, The Ed Sullivan Show)
- Whassup? (Budweiser)
- What you see is what you get! (Geraldine, The Flip Wilson Show)
- Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis? (Arnold Drummond, Diff'rent Strokes)
- Where's the beef? (Wendy's)
- Who loves you, baby? (Kojak, Kojak)
- Would you believe? (Maxwell Smart, Get Smart)
- Yabba dabba do! (Fred Flintstone, The Flintstones)
- Yada, yada, yada... (Seinfeld)
- Yeah, that's the ticket. (Jon Lovitz, Saturday Night Live)
- You eeeediot! (Ren, Ren & Stimpy)
- You look mahvelous! (Billy Crystal as Fernando, Saturday Night Live)
- You rang? (Lurch, The Addams Family)
- You're fired! (Donald Trump, The Apprentice)
- You've got spunk... (Mr. Grant, Mary Tyler Moore)

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    Where There's Not a Lot Goin' On

    It may seem that that Iraq is spiraling into civil war, with an increasing death toll and factions fighting each other in the streets. But democracy is breaking out all over – you can tell because Iraqis can now watch Canadian TV!

    One of our most popular homegrown shows, Corner Gas, is now being broadcast in Iraq, along with 25 other nations worldwide. It’s great to see the genial comedy, which is often described as Seinfeld on the Prairies, get international recognition – especially in the U.S. where we have a definite cultural trade deficit.

    But I keep wondering about Iraq. I honestly didn’t even know many people had enough electricity to run a TV, let alone spend some of that time watching the exploits of small town Saskatchewan folks. Perhaps, in an effort to bridge what I can only imagine is a cavernous cultural gap, Brett Butt and the gang will relocate to Baghdad for a few episodes…
    Hank: Uh, I just tripped an IED and blew up The Ruby again.

    Brett: IED, IED, IED. That’s fun to say.

    Oscar: You’re both jackasses!
    OK, maybe that’s not as good of an idea as it seemed. Best of luck to the denizens of Dog River, it’s nice to see some good news about Canadian TV once and awhile. And to CTV, don’t rest on your laurels. You’ve proved you can recognize and nurture a hit show – now do it again.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    These Pretzels Are Making Me Racist

    The Michael “Kramer” Richards apology tour is so transparent it’s painful to watch – yet I cannot look away. Today the disgraced “funny man” appeared on Rev. Jesse Jackson’s radio show to do his mea culpa shuck and jive, which would be OK if it wasn’t so contrived. Last Wednesday he hired publicist Howard Rubenstein, who reportedly has strong ties to the black community. His first order of business? Setting up a call to Jackson.

    What’s making this so galling is how obvious it is that Richards is being told how to limit the damage of his comedy lynching of two hecklers. It’s like a little kid apologizing because he’s being forced to, not because he feels sorry. Why Jackson agreed to be Cosmo’s beard is a mystery. Richards’ puppet master also announced that the so-called comedian has begun psychiatric counselling for anger management – it’s not quite rehab, but it’s close.

    In another “everybody does it” excuse Richards claimed the racial epithet he spewed during his act is used frequently in the entertainment industry. “I fear that young whites will think it's cool to go around and use that word because they see very cool people in show business using that word so freely.” Oh yeah, teenagers will be swearing like Richards because he’s so very hip. I still have my bets that the tour will make a stop at Oprah’s this week.

    Speaking of comeback attempt tours, Britney Spears is trying hard to shed her mom of two image and she’s dancing like she’s never danced before. More to the point she’s been partying all weekend with Paris Hilton, sans underwear.

    Taking a page from the world’s most famous heir-head, the newly single Spears flashed a throng of paparazzi, showing her thong-less self to the flashbulbs. At least she didn’t have one of her kids with her, so no need to apologize.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    Best in Show

    The results are in and Popped Culture is moving on to Round Two of the Canadian Blog Awards! Many thanks to my tens of fans, random strangers and friends whose arms I twisted to vote. Your dedication has me listed in third for the Best Entertainment Blog with the second round of voting beginning on Saturday. Come on, you’ve gotta vote if you want a piece of the huge endorsement deals that I’m sure will follow my win.

    Well democracy in action took out my good friends at Nik at Night, Scandal Sheet and Menard Communications, a couple of others are joining me in Round Two, namely:

    Best Activities Blog: My Dinner Table
    Best Sci/Tech Blog: Amber Mac

    Share the love, people.

    Lindsay Fully Loaded

    Lindsay Lohan may soon be one of the most remembered actors of her generation and not for her role in Bobby or any of the other projects she has lined up. The National Enquirer is reporting that Lohan overdosed on a deadly cocktail of cocaine and painkillers earlier this month and had to be revived by a doctor. The doctor then flushed the cocaine and bagged seven different prescription drugs, telling the star she needed to go to a hospital and rehab. She did neither.

    Becoming a serious actor and being lauded for your performances is one way to Hollywood immortality. The other is to die young and pretty, a la Marilyn Monroe. Though maybe she’s just a wealthy, famous 20-year-old who’s having a little fun. You know, a shining example for your little girl (or boy, who am I to gender stereotype?) But she’s not trying to be a role model, right? Well, then maybe her people should reconsider the My Scene Goes Hollywood: Lindsay Lohan and Limo doll set, which is described thusly:

    “A great gift for ages 6-12 Years. The doll captures the likeness of Lindsay Lohan, and the fun trendy outfit expresses Lindsay's fashion-forward sense of style. The My Scene Lindsay Lohan doll is ready to hit the red carpet with a full movie premiere outfit, faux fur-trimmed coat, director's chair, velvet-style rope and lots of fun movie-themed accessories. Movie stars always arrive in style, and this luxurious SUV party limo is decked out with glitz and glam from door to door, including working lights, a beverage bar, fancy seats and a real hot tub.”

    Ah yes, every little kid needs an SUV with a bar in it. At least it is realistic and you can slam it into Barbie’s camper, much like the real Lindsay does. Personally, I’m hoping for a Peter Doherty doll with Real Shooting Up Action for Christmas. (And thanks to Bulletproof Bracelets, where I first came across this wonderful toy.)

    What, Can't You Take a Joke?

    No rehab yet for Michael Richards, but he is moving along with a textbook example of crisis management as he tries to salvage his career from his most famous appearances in years – a rage-infused, racist rant at a comedy club. KKKramer has hired a high-powered publicist who has got him putting calls into Reverends Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton. If he isn’t on Oprah by the end of next week I will be shocked.

    But is it too late? He is now everyone’s punching bag and an instant punch line for every other comedian. The NAACP, for one, isn’t buying his contrition, saying it "is indicative of the type of denial that too often accompanies racist rhetoric." There is also confirmation that he shouted out anti-Semitic remarks during another standup comedy routine in April. Just role-playing, says Howard Rubenstein, Richards apologist-for-hire.

    The guys he heckled don’t accept his apology either and have hired a lawyer and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx wants to lay a beating on him If that wasn’t enough, the t-shirt companies (who print at the speed of light) are weighing in with their opinion as well, further imbedding his new image deep into pop culture. It’s not looking good, Cosmo.

    Celebrity See, Celebrity Do

    Hang him upside down and stick a fork in him, Michael Richards career is done. Already fading away, the former K-K-Kramer decided to give his career a poorly thought out publicity boost, Mel Gibson style.

    During a failed piece of standup last Friday, Richards was taunted about his lack of comedy skill, and he decided to prove the heckler right by launching into a racial epithet-laden rage that cleared the room. Richards, who is Exhibit One of The Seinfeld Curse, has already begun the de rigueur rounds of celebrity apologies – most likely because his What’s the Deal With N-----s? routine was posted in all its bigoted glory on the gossip site TMZ.

    Appearing last night on the Late Show with David Letterman during a segment with Jerry Seinfeld, Richards said he was sorry and that he was not a racist. If that doesn’t take, expect to see him check in to rehab in the next week for drugs/alcohol/exhaustion or a tearful admission to Oprah about being abused as a child. As Cosmo’s former lawyer Jackie Chiles would have said: “It's outrageous, egregious, preposterous.”

    In other news, it appears Fox has finally found something that even they find unpalatable. The usually, umm, cutthroat Rupert Murdoch has put the kibosh on O.J. Simpsons “fictional” confession If I Did It, Here's How It Happened. Seems the tycoon came to the realization that an interview and book of Simpson graphically describing how he would have carried out the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, stating that it “was an ill-considered project.” Gee, ya think? Anyway, I’m glad to see them come to their senses and I just hope it isn’t all being saved for MySpace.

    Blame Canada!

    Oh my God! They killed Squiddy! You bastards! To draw attention to Canada’s opposition to a ban on bottom trawling fishing, Greenpeace has turned to a group of foul-mouthed fifth graders – Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman.

    An animated short featuring ocean creatures that look and sound similar to, but not exactly like, the denizens of South Park has hit the web, calling attention to Canada’s role in helping to destroy the sea floor. Bottom trawling destroys marine habitats as the heavy nets drag along the ocean floor, gathering everything in their wake.

    Canada is opposing a ban on the controversial fishing practice on the pretext that it is unenforceable, but this is yet another example of Stephen Harper’s Conservative government turning its back on the international community.

    It’s interesting to see Greenpeace turn to the pop culture side to get the message out. It’s a bit rough-edged, but I and many others know now about the current U.N. fisheries talks and my government’s “screw you guys, I’m going home,” attitude. Mmmm hmmm.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    Nobody Does It Better

    James Bond is dead. Long live the new James Bond. After a couple of years of waiting (and gnashing of teeth by some petulant, stuck-in the-past fans), Daniel Craig, the new face of 007 has made it to the big screen and truly brought the legendary franchise into the 21st century, by stripping him down to the basics in order to rebuild him.

    When Pierce Brosnan was unceremoniously dumped as the world’s most famous spy, I was not happy. Brosnan hewed most closely to the Bond I was introduced to – early ‘70s Roger Moore, and managed the role with more swagger and fewer quips. But once he was gone the realization set in that the franchise had, despite raking in record box office takes, had lost its already tenuous grip on reality. The stories and villains had spiraled out of control, as has the gadgets and miraculous escapes. While these were the essential elements of every Bond movie I had grown up with, the films now bore more of a resemblance to Goldmember than Goldfinger.

    The release of The Bourne Identity in the same year as Die Another Day set the bar higher for any spy film that was to follow. Compared to Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne, Commander Bond looked soft and effete. Bourne could beat someone half to death with a rolled up magazine, while Bond was rolling about in an invisible car. It was hard not acknowledge that the torch had been passed.

    That didn’t mean that it was time for James to slip quietly into the night though, and the producers recognized it. They returned to 007 creator Ian Fleming’s first novel, Casino Royale, and hired a relatively unknown actor for the role, eschewing the A-listers circling the part. And the results are a fantastic success. Craig plays a much harder Bond, disassociating himself from what he does with arrogance instead of smarmy one-liners. He’s rough around the edges and less than infallible. He makes mistakes and is more than willing to get his hands dirty – dispatching bad guys up close and bloodily personal. Craig comes across as leaner, meaner and far more believable because of it.

    The film even deals with one of the most improbable aspects of a secret agent – the fact that he tells everyone his name. It is one of many nods to the character’s long lineage, from the vodka martini to the Aston Martin and a reinterpretation of a famous scene from Dr. No. This Bond film hasn’t forgotten where it came from, but nor is it tied down by history – jettisoning Q, gadgets and Miss Moneypenny, at least for now. The critics that were up in arms with the choice of Craig as the new face of 007 have been silenced.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    Me and the Boys

    My name is Bond. James Bond. That line always gives me a thrill. The first 007 I ever saw on the big screen was Moonraker – at a dive-in with my 17-year-old aunt who was supposed to take me to something far more age appropriate. In retrospect, it was hardly the best introduction to the franchise, but outer space and a huge, metal-mouthed villain named Jaws and I was in a 9-year-old’s idea of heaven.

    Over the next few years I saw Bond films mostly on TV and mainly starring Roger Moore. For the longest time I thought he was the only actor to have ever portrayed the suave secret agent. As a kid, my favourite was Live and Let Die, featuring the fat southern sheriff, J. W. Pepper. Thinking about it now, that might have been because I also loved The Dukes of Hazzard (Boss Hogg) and Smokey and the Bandit (Sheriff Buford T. Justice). It wasn’t until years later that I heard of the word blaxploitation and saw how campy and full of ‘70s kitsch the film was.

    Eventually I was introduced to oeuvre of Sean Connery – he was a harder man, more willing to lay a beating on anyone, including woman. Such was the time I suppose. Still I found myself drawn to Diamonds are Forever, one of his last runs at the character. Nowadays I give high praise to From Russia With Love and Goldfinger, which are the true origins of the Bond and Austin Powers film franchises. It was those movies that introduced gadgets to 007, including the Aston Martin and gadget man Q.

    At the end of Grade 9, my graduation gift was a movie – and I chose to go and see The Living Daylights. It was Moore’s last portrayal of the role of Commander Bond and he had become increasingly creaky. The film itself was a pastiche of ‘80s pop culture, with a Duran Duran theme song, a villain played by Christopher Walken and Grace Jones as a Bond girl May Day. Again, not much of a film to speak of.

    When Moore retired (and it was about time) the producers installed Timothy Dalton, whose characterization in The Living Daylights was darker and more serious than the light-hearted jokiness of Moore’s performance. I wasn’t a fan, which is ironic as that’s what I’ve been hoping for in the new Bond.

    When Dalton was replaced after two films with Pierce Brosnan (who I had enjoyed in Remington Steele), it was like a return to a young Roger Moore. I liked what he brought to the role, but by the end of his run it was the stories that had gotten out of control. Invisible cars and a diamond-encrusted villain were too much and even showing Bond being held prisoner and tortured didn’t do enough to ground the spy in reality.

    So tomorrow we are going to go and see Casino Royale (and our first time away from Tristan) and I’ll get a look at the new face of Bond. Can Daniel Craig take 007 into the new century or is he a spy out of time? I’ll find out soon.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    Naked Gun 44 1/4 - Nordberg gets The Chair

    O.J. Simpson is no longer looking for the real killer, having come to the same conclusion we have all come to – he did it. Of course seeing as he has been found not guilty of murder, the former actor (and football player, so I’m told) has had to find another way to confess.

    In If I Did It, Here's How It Happened, O.J. “tells for the first time how he would have committed the murders if he were the one responsible for the crimes," said a statement from Fox, describing an interview with The Juice at the end of the month. The book will be followed by the publication of a similarly titled book, proving conclusively there is no such thing as bad publicity.

    I’m not easily shocked, but this is just twisted. If, as he has so often claimed, he is innocent, why would he possible want to imagine himself as the killer? If he did kill his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman (but the glove didn’t fit!) than this a disturbingly cynical attempt to profit from a crime. Back off O.J., that’s Hollywood’s job.

    I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that someone is willing to publish and air this nonsense, but I suppose there’s a buck to be made. Next up on Fox – When Killers Attack! followed by World’s Slowest Police Chases.

    Canadian Blog Awards Don't forget to vote Popped Culture
    for Best Entertainment Blog.
    C'mon, you know you wanna.

    You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

    I’d like to thank my agent, my lawyers, God (in that order), and all the little people who helped me get where I am today. Oh, I told myself I wouldn’t cry. Hey, don’t play me off!

    Ok, that may be a touch premature, but I have been nominated for Best Entertainment Blog over at the Canadian Blog Awards. What fun! I of course only got into this blogging thing to feed my raging ego and to accumulate wealth, fame and everything else that comes with getting millions of hits a day. Ask me how that’s working out…

    Nonetheless, I do appreciate the nod and glad that someone out there likes what I do. If anything it means I will be exposed to a few new good blogs that I’ve never seen before. If you feel like voting for me (oh yeah, I forgot to mention that part) I won’t say no, but don’t feel obligated or anything. Ok, I'm begging.

    There are also a few of my friends nominated, so check them out as they are all worth reading (and voting for):
    • Scandal Sheet – The nastiest celeb gossip wrap-up around. Wonderfully catty.
    • Nik at Nite – Pop culture insight, bar none. Better than Lost itself.
    • My Dinner Table – The mouthwatering site of a dedicated foodie, from gourmet to street meat.
    • Menard Communications – Opinionated, mouthy, sarcastic and idealistic all at the same time.
    • Amber Mac – The Geek Goddess, the Queen of Web 2.0.


    We interrupt this Bond Week marathon (cough, cough) with this breaking news from two days ago (gimme a break, I have a newborn): The Simpsons Movie Trailer – in Glorious 2-D! – has been released.

    Ok, it’s not so much a trailer as a teaser, but hey, who am I to argue with their nomenclature? You can watch a huge version of it over at Apple or, like most things these days, the YouTube version. (Update: Seems YouTube is trying to purge the trailer off their site, on the behest of Twentieth Century Fox. Yeah, take that fans providing free viral advertising! What were you thinking?)

    It has a very Wile E. Coyote feel to it, which is appropriate after Sunday’s homage to classic Warner Bros. animation. Many might have seen the trailer in Sunday during the episode, but not us Canadians. Due to the wonders of simulcasting, we were treated to a Tim Hortons or Leons commercial instead. But whatever, that’s what the interweb is for.

    There wasn’t anything about what the movie is going to be about, but it hardly seems to matter. Which is why I’m not really looking forward to it. The Simpsons have been on the plains of Africa, been to outer space as well as heaven and hell. What more can they do in a feature length film and a larger budget that they can’t already do during a regular season, beyond a long story?

    I’m a huge fan (we had a Simpsons cake at our wedding) but I’m just not excited about the movie. Maybe a when the show was a cute little toddler of four or five I would have been interested, but now that it is a full-grown adult of 18 the idea has grown a little long in the tooth.

    But who knows, perhaps it will surprise me. South Park managed to create something unique with Bigger, Longer and Uncut, so I have given up all hope. And of course this won’t be the last we hear of the movie – they are going to beat this until the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be.

    From Ian Flemming, With Love

    It’s Bond Week here at Popped Cultre. With Casino Royale and a new James Bond on the horizon, I thought it would be interesting to see where the film version of 007 originated. The franchise was in need of a revival – the stories had become bloated and Bond was out of touch with today’s world. Not to say Pierce Brosnan wasn’t doing a good job, but radical change was required.

    Back in 1962, James Bond was new to the silver screen – a character know only from the Ian Flemming novels. With the relatively unknown Sean Connery’s appearance in Dr. No, the first Bond film, many of the icons of the franchise were put into motion. We are introduced to the high-society dapper spy, who has expensive tastes and never has a hair out of place. We learn what he drinks (vodka martini, shaken not stirred), what gun he carries (the Walther PPk), meet his boss M, the flirty secretary Ms. Moneypenny, and CIA Agent Felix Leitner – all who make repeated appearances over the years.

    We also get a taste of the Bond “wit,” when a hearse full of bad guys goes off the road and explodes (natch) and 007 dryly remarks: “I think they were on their way to a funeral.” Connery, in a documentary following the film, says that kind of one-liner was introduced by the Bond series. So we now know who’s to blame.

    Dr. No also introduced the theme music, the opening sequence through the barrel of the gun and the most persistent of Bond’s enemies, SPECTRE (SPecial Executive for Counter-intelligence, Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion) and their over-the-top underwater lair. Last, but not least is the ubiquitous Bond girl, taking the form of Honey Ryder, played by Ursula Andress. When she emerged out the water in a less-than-skimpy white bikini, she stepped into movie history and set the standard for all Bond girls to follow.

    Notably, the movie was gadget free – no secret spy gear, no tricked out car, no Q. It was just Bond and his Licence to Kill, which he does, remorselessly shooting an unarmed man. He was a colder character in the beginning.

    It was fascinating to watch all the pieces come together for the first time and the longevity that many of them have had. What will survive into the newest incarnation? We’ll know in a week.

    Cultural Learnings of Frat Boys

    If you’ve made an ass of yourself, don’t call more attention to it. It’s a simple lesson, but one clearly lost on a pair of frat boys who drunkenly mouthed off in a scene from Borat.

    The two idiots appear on camera, talking trash about women, Jews, how minorities in the U.S. "have all the power," and wishing they had slaves. Oops. Best to crawl under the floorboards of the frathouse and wait for a few years. But not these boys, no sir, they are suing 20th Century Fox.

    The pair were allegedly assured the faux documentary wouldn't appear in the U.S. and claim they signed the movie releases after "heavy drinking." The suit states that since the release of the film they have suffered "humiliation, mental anguish, and emotional and physical distress, loss of reputation, goodwill and standing in the community..." and are seeking unspecified damages. Note there was no denial of what they said.

    I can’t think of a better way to ensure everyone knows how ridiculous you are than suing the most popular film in North America over something you said. As for the movie itself, they couldn’t have asked for better publicity than if they had created this as part of their marketing plan. Of course that’s just me being cynical…

    Denise Richards Will Cut You

    Denise Richards, the B-actress best know for being the Charlie Sheen’s ex (and Wild Things) has added paparazzi vigilante to her oeuvre. On the Vancouver set of Blonde and Blonder (which I’m sure will garner her an Oscar nod), Richards had a run in with a pair of local photo leeches, who were watching Richards and co-star Pamela Anderson. From there the stories diverge. "I saw one of the photographers, went up to him and offered to give him a few nice shots and asked him to please leave so we can focus on our scene,” states Richards, ever so reasonably.

    Not so, claims shutterbug Rik Fedyck. “She came running up the stairs, she went at my partner first. After five minutes of calling him a cocksucker and everything else under the sun, she noticed him looking at me and said, 'Are you fucking paparazzi?’”

    At that point Fedyck decided to give a frank assessment of her life so far. “I said to her that she didn't know me but I knew her. That she was a homewrecker. I also mentioned to her that in my opinion she doesn't know how to keep her men happy.” Not surprisingly, she lost it and tossed the cameramen’s laptops off the third floor casino balcony, hitting the arms of a 90- and 81-year-old woman who were sitting in the lobby.

    Richards apologized to the women, the paparazzi and agreed to pay for the computers, avoiding any legal trouble. "It is not in the public interest to forward criminal charges regarding this matter," said an RCMP spokesman. It’s likely not in the city’s interest to charge any actor, no matter how unhinged, lest it seem like an unfavourable place to shoot. And now we’ve all heard of Blonde and Blonder – well worth a few thousand for some laptops when compared to all the free publicity. It’s all part of the wonderful mystery of filmmaking.

    R.I.P Britney Spears

    So Britney (or perhaps her manager and mother) finally came to her senses and cut off K-Fed, her wannabe rapper hubby. Congrats! You’ll soon be a 24-year-old single mother of two – just what every little girl dreams of. Her formerly glamorous career, now thoroughly slathered in tabloid mud, has been on a steady decline ever since Federline emerged from under his rock and wormed his way into the pop princess’ life.

    Of course it's all too late anyway – he’s already sucked all the magic (and possibly money) out of her. She’s now an empty shell, an abandoned trailer up on blocks and K-Fed has run off with all the smokes and Cheetos. Before becoming Mr. Spears he was an unknown backup dancer, now two years later he has an album out which, no matter its artistic merit or lack thereof, is one more album than you and I have.

    As for Britney she has had a meteoric career arc, from child star, to chart-topping pop ingénue to Beverly hillbilly, all in a short dozen years. That’s hardly what you would refer to as longevity. Sure, she’ll make a run at the charts again and the media will herald her comeback, but we will have moved on. She just can’t capture our attention in the same fashion anymore.

    If her star hadn’t been tarnished enough, it looks like Fed-Ex isn’t going to go down without a fight and is seeking custody of his spawn and spousal support. Look for it to get ugly – what’s he got to lose? And if that wasn’t enough it looks like the last refuge of a dwindling celebrity career – the ubiquitous sex tape. Rumours of the tryst have floated about for years and now there is rampant speculation that Kevin may have leaked it as a bit of mean-spirited revenge. Again, it won’t hurt him any.

    So long Britney – I know you won’t go away, but to me you’re already dead.

    Operation Enduring Occupation

    The Simpsons have never shied away from politics – they have pilloried politicians left and right, taunted and fought presidents. Mr. Burns runs the Springfield Republicans and Mayor Diamond Joe Quimby embodies the worst of Democratic corruption, but I’ve never considered the show to be particularly partisan. Tonight’s Treehouse of Horror episode changed that.

    In the final segment, The Day the Earth Looked Stupid, my favourite aliens Kang and Kodos invade Springfield after a War of the Worlds-esque radio show leaves the townsfolk with their guard down. Three years later, after the pair has reduced the town to ashes, they begin to have second thoughts:
    Kang: "The earthlings continue to resent our presence. You said we'd be greeted as liberators."

    Kodos: "Don't worry. We still have the people's hearts and minds." (Holding up a heart and a brain).

    Kang: "I don't know. I'm starting to think 'Operation Enduring Occupation' was a bad idea."

    Kodos: "We had to invade. They were working on weapons of mass disintegration."

    Kang: "Sure they were."
    A less than subtle message, airing just days before the U.S. mid-term elections. The message was loud and clear and was likely the reason producers left out the line: "This sure is a lot like Iraq will be,” was left out. It wasn’t necessary.

    Seeing as the Treehouse episodes take a year to produce, it’s amazing to see such a blunt political message – I would have been surprised to see something like this air in 2005. It is an indicator of the mood of a nation that has been at war for years.

    The Simpsons weren’t the only primetime-animated family to take on the Iraq war. Family Guy enlisted Stewie and Brian and sent them through basic training, in full Stripes style. After arriving in country, they end up shooting each other in the foot to get sent home with Purple Hearts. No luck, until remarkably democracy kicks in and Abu Ghraib prisoners turn into frat boys and burka-clad women turn into bikini-wearing car washers.

    The next scene shows George W. Bush “the one guy who predicted this” trying to get a slinky to work on the White House stairs. Two popular shows directly tackling the war on the same night? It is quite an indicator of the mood of a nation that has been at war for years.

    Come On An' Join Our Convoy

    Cause we gotta little ol' convoy, rockin' through the night
    Yeah we gotta little ol' convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?
    Come on an' join our convoy, ain't nothin' gonna git in our way
    We're gonna roll this truckin' convoy, cross the USA
    Convoy... Convoy...
    It’s odd, I know this song, but I can’t say I’ve ever listened to it. I know the lyrics, but I’ve never seen the movie based on it. Watching My Name is Earl this week, Joy, Randy and Earl broke into the chorus of Convoy and I realized I knew it from watching The Simpsons. Homer gave Bart a radio microphone and he sang Convoy to Marge in the kitchen to test it out.

    What I realized was that it didn’t matter that I didn’t know the source material to get the joke. It’s a CB joke, I get it, and I’m sure that it happens a lot – people getting the reference without knowing the origin. I recall finally seeing Gone With the Wind and realizing how many references there were in The Simpsons to the film. The jokes were still funny, but were that much better when I had something to compare them to.

    So many shows are built upon an understanding of the pop culture that came before it that you are bound to miss something along the way. Of course it’s also just as likely you’ll come across the reference somewhere else, so the next time you see it, it will be part of your references. It’s all very circular.

    Yeah, we got a little ole convoy, ain't she a beautiful sight?