Archive for February, 2010


The inappropriate secret agent

“If I did, I’d just scrape all your previous mishaps into a big pile and knit a onesie for it.” – Malory Archer to her son Sterling Archer regarding wanting grandchildren.

If you found that line merely inappropriate rather than entirely offensive, then you may want to check out Archer.  It’s a new animated series airing Thursdays on FX chronicling the adventures of Sterling Archer, an agent for the International Secret Intelligence Service or ISIS.  Archer fits that loose-cannon-with-loose-lips-and-severe-mommy-issues-mold of secret agent to a T.  Fortunately for audiences, the rest of ISIS is just as dysfunctional, ranging from his domineering mother Malory, his femme fatale co-worker/ex-girlfriend Agent Lana Kane, Lana’s new boyfriend/ISIS comptroller Cyril and the lovesick secretary with a fetish for erotic asphyxiation Cheryl Carol.

Veteran voice actor H. Jon Benjamin (Aqua Teen Hunger Force, The Venture Bros., Family Guy, Dr. Katz Professional Therapist) channels an excellent macho jackass as the voice of Archer.   Despite having an excellent supporting cast featuring Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Judy Greer and Aisha Tyler, his voice is reason enough to tune in.   I would listen to him read the phone book…

Fun fact: H. Jon Benjamin also provided the voice for the talking can in Wet Hot American Summer!


Where are you Eric Bana?

The other day a friend of mine said “WTF, Eric Bana?”  Last I knew he was alive and well and appeared in Star Trek, Funny People and The Time Traveler’s Wife this past year.  And that’s my friend’s problem, along with Bana’s current hair (top right).

Bana gained notoriety with American audiences by kicking a whole lot of ass in Black Hawk Down, Troy and that crappy Hulk reboot that got rebooted itself only a few years later.  Hell, Bana was the Bear Jew in Munich long before anyone even knew what a Bear Jew was.  His work got me calling him as Eric Badass.

After building a resume like that, it’s easy to think his recent roles have caused fans some head-scratching:  a less than menacing Romulan out for revenge in Star Trek, a negligent husband in Funny People, an absent husband in The Time Traveler’s Wife, not to mention appearing in the period piece The Other Boleyn Girl. All are a far cry from his days blowing shit up and slicing gladiators’ throats.  His roles may seem like poor career choices, but after seeing how his career started out in his native Australia he seems to be going back to his roots.

Bana got his start on television doing sketch and stand-up comedy.  I recall Judd Apatow saying he let Bana use his native tongue rather than speak with an American accent in Funny People so that he’d do his comedy bits more naturally.  Bana doesn’t appear until the third act, but I thought he injected some energy when the film needed it.  See for yourself.   He then starred in several comedies and dramas before making the jump to Hollywood.

I don’t know if he’s gotten soft in his old age, if he wants to show his versatility as an actor or if he’s simply reverting to the Australian Eric Bana, but I miss Eric Badass.  He was inspired to become an actor after seeing Mad Max and I believe he’s better suited for similar roles.  Unfortunately, it seems the American Eric Bana has been replaced by some wuss.  Never thought I’d say that about an Aussie.


Super Bowl > Super Bowl Ads

The Super Bowl has long been overshadowed by the commercials it shared airtime with, mostly because the game itself was not competitive and ultimately, not entertaining.  This plays a large part in why I think the “game” has become the over-hyped media event it is now.  Thankfully the last couple of years has seen a streak of dramatic, hotly-contested games that have rightfully diverted the attention back to the football field.  Still, for as well as the Saints and Colts played last night, I think this year’s ads were tame with only a few highlights.

  • Doritos definitely scored with its user-generated ads, notably with Snack Attack Samurai, House Rules and The Smackout (the latter two feature some nice slaps).
  • Normally, you can count on Budweiser to deliver the funnies but I found all gajillion of their commercials to be mildly entertaining at best.  Still have to give a thumbs up to the ad wizard using the theme song from Bill Murray’s army slacker film “Stripes” in the “Human Bridge” spot.
  • Boost Mobile’s Super Bowl Shuffle tapped on more 80s nostalgia with a spoof of the 1985 Chicago Bears’ famous song.
  • Those commercials have not changed in years.  That’s a bad thing.
  • The most memorable commercial for me was, oddly enough, an ad not for a product but rather a network show.  Considering the fire storm that erupted last month over late night TV, the last thing anyone would’ve expected was a spot with David Letterman and Jay Leno on screen.  The 15-second spot was promoting Letterman’s Late Show on CBS also featured Oprah Winfrey.  The full story on how it came to be can be found at the Media Decoder blog. has all the ads in one place.  Go here.


Lost Season 6 Premiere

Alternate timelines, a hippy colony and the Smoke Monster revealed highlighted a very dense but gripping premiere to Lost’s final season.  Some nice analyses from Maureen Ryan and Myles McNutt are online.  Regarding the alternate timeline, I think Alan Sepinwall said it best:

It’s a trope of many comic book time travel stories that if you go back in time to change the past, all you do is create an alternate timeline, while the old one you wanted to change still exists. Based on Juliet’s posthumous declaration to Sawyer that “It worked” (and based on Lindelof’s comic book bonafides), I’m going to assume that’s the operating theory here, and that the 2004 scenes aren’t some extended dream sequence.

I’ve always enjoyed seeing alternate realities in long-running stories, dating all the way back to episodes of G.I. Joe and numerous comic books like X-Men and Marvel’s What If? series.  Now we have all season to see how this alternate timeline plays out and where it relates to our protagonists’ situation on the Island.  Can’t wait.

Still, after all these flashbacks, flashforwards, time travel and now flash sideways as some are calling it, it’s been all too easy to get confused as to what is happening now.  It leaves me feeling like Dark Helmet.


R.I.P. Pauly Fuemana

Who?  You know, that “How Bizarre” guy.  The man responsible for New Zealand’s best-selling record passed away over the weekend at 40 after succumbing to a bizarre chronic illness.  Without you I would not have enjoyed instant dance parties in the summer of 1997, so for that I salute you Pauly Fuemana.


Saved By The Bell…Secrets

Not sure which is worse, that Screech managed to get an autobiography published or that anyone actually read it.  However, I’ll have to salute the brave soul at for taking one for the team and sharing what’s in the book so the rest of us won’t have to read it.

So what did he learn from the book? “A really strong look into the mind of a scarred, desperate child star, forever typecast, alienated and altered by his time on such seemingly juvenile television show.”  No shockers there.  But what may or may not be shocking are the allegations that the show was one big orgy behind the scenes.  Read about all 11 of them here.

February 2010
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