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Monday, November 13, 2006 :::

Pop Culture Catch-Up

I used to spend a lot of time on my website talking about The Decemberists and Gilmore Girls, but I let those obsessions slide while waiting for a new album and a new season, respectively. Well, The Decemberists were in town last night, so I attended the show (solo... thanks, Stacy). Their new album is astounding, and they put on a great show as always, even while lead singer Colin Meloy was taking time out between songs to barf backstage. That sounds very rock and roll, but honestly, he claims he just had the flu.

I brought my camera but only had the opportunity to snap one picture before a steroid-enhanced bouncer threatened me with a menacing glare. Had he not been distracted by some drunk bimbo who started throwing elbows by the coat check, I may have lost the camera altogether. The picture didn't turn out so great, so I turned it into a collage by adding in my new Decemberists T-shirt, which, if it's anything like my last Decemberists T-shirt, will be getting a lot of wear:

The Decemberists are as awesome as always. I can't tout them enough. Gilmore Girls, on the other hand, is working my nerves hard. Not only did they do a complete 180 (and a total disservice to their characters) by barely even recognizing the Luke and Lorelie split-up that we spent three years preparing for, but everything about the show seems a bit... off. Sure, there is still some witty banter, but the characters aren't as true to themselves anymore, the plot development moves at a glacial pace, and irritatingly phony side characters like Kirk get WAY too much screen time. Worst of all, the show, which always felt like it was building toward something bigger, seems to be spinning its wheels in anticipation of an unknown future on a new network. The "Big Picture" has been lost in a tidal wave of restructuring by new writers with no solid direction. Even after all that, it's still one of the best shows ever on television, but the magic is gone.

The biggest insult of all might be the horrible "girl talk" round table discussions they have after each episode, produced in some half-assed target-marketing attempt by a loathsome facial soap company, that depict an obnoxious group of fresh-faced twenty-somethings philosophizing about what they think of the latest episode with an utter lack of understanding or profundity that is nauseatingly embarrassing, to say the least. That these spots are even allowed to air within any proximity to the actual episode shows a gigantic lack of judgment by the show's new producers, and pretty much acts as the final nail in the coffin for me. After six great years, The Gilmore Girls and I may be breaking up. It's a sad realization, indeed.

So if you're impressionable or at all prone to influence: go buy any Decemberists CD and the first season of Gilmore Girls on DVD and you won't be disappointed. Trust me.

::: posted by dan at 9:45 PM :: [ link ] :: (13) comments Social Bookmark Button

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13 previous comments:

The original writer left. The difference is definitely noticeable on GG.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:11 PM  

I agree. The pointless meandering of the current version of the Gilmore Girls is painful. It almost (but not quite) makes me long for a Daniel Palladino written televised play.

P.S. Sorry about your pants. That sucks.

By Blogger j, at 1:00 AM  

They show those annoying girls discussing Veronica Mars, too. I think the product they represent is American Eagle, since they are referred to as the "aerie girls." Does the CW even know who watches their shows? Neither GG or VM is heavily watched by 14 year old girls.

By Anonymous BH, at 11:06 AM  

Yes...unfortunately the GG of old left with the Palladino's. The writing isn't nearly as fresh as it always was...and I fear that is what's missing the most.

Oh...and the 'chic talk' seriously has to end!

By Blogger ntrudr, at 11:43 AM  

Oh good, it's not just me. The last shows have been a chore to watch. However, I'm kinda falling in love with Veronica Mars. I'm glad they put that on afterwards. It doens't hurt that's it's filmed in my fair city. The dad's office is actully at the end of my street. Film nights are kinda a bitch, but the "oh oh oh! *pointing*" when we see something we recognise is cool.

And yes, the round table with the girls is totally insulting.

By Blogger elcynic, at 5:34 PM  

I am not a regular watcher of GG, so I can't really give an informed opinion... except that I really think Michael is hawt.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:37 PM  

oops... I meant Christopher... see? I am not a loyal fan.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:50 PM  

I'm not a fan at all of GG. In fact, GG replaced a far superior show called "Popular" which used to be on at the time GG now airs. Popular had incredible writing & was so witty, funny, intelligent & filled w/pop culture references that were too sophisticated for the teenage set even though it was about two teenage sisters. Popular ran for two seasons before GG took it's slot dammit & GG never came close to it.

By Anonymous August, at 3:23 AM  

LOVE the Decemberists. Hate television.

Dan, kill your TV. People who talk about TV shows are the least interesting of all people. You, my dear, do not fall into that group. You are charming, funny, artistic, witty, handsome, and smart

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 PM  

There are many great things happening on TV! Discounting television altogether is like throwing the baby out with the bathwater. I can understand why discussing television may seem boring to those who haven't seen the shows, but in reality discussing TV should be no different than discussing cinema or literature or music. TV gets a bad rep because of certain crappy shows, but there are awful popular novels (DaVinci Code) and terrible popular movies (You've Got Mail, Con Air, The Island) and bad popular music (Britney Spears, P. Diddy) out there, too. TV does not stand alone when it comes to churning out bad product. The first few seasons of Gilmore Girls were better written and more entertaining than most Oscar calibur pictures. The first ten seasons of the Simpsons provided some of the finest satire ever produced. The Daily Show is a cultural masterpiece. And if the subtleties of The Office don't make you laugh, then you need a new sense of humor. Let's not forget classic shows either, that rival the best in classic literature, like Twin Peaks, Strangers with Candy, Arrested Development, The Twighlight Zone, Pee Wee's Playhouse, Sex and the City, Northern Exposure, etc etc etc.

Granted, there's a lot of crap out there, too. Most sitcoms are beyond awful and most reality shows scrape the bottom of the barrel. Even game shows have been reduced to random acts of chance rather than the interesting knowledge-based quiz show days of yore. But regardless, nothing has ever made me happier than sitting through an hour of American's Funniest Home Videos. So it can't be all bad. And if you had seen the first three seasons of the Gilmore Girls, you'd understand.


And thanks for calling me charming, funny, artistic, witty, handsome, smart, charming, funny, artistic, witty, handsome, smart, charming, funny, artistic, witty, handsome, smart,charming, funny, artistic, witty, handsome, and smart. It's much appreciated.

By Blogger dan, at 9:43 AM  

I saw Rory (Alexis Bledel) in line at The Ghost Bar in Vegas last year. Very cute, but I'm a nobody and she still needed us to get her in since we had finagled our way in (if you consider throwing the doorman $30 per dude "finagling"). Anyway, word to the wise Rory, $50 will get you in anywhere in Vegas....and I mean anywhere.

By Anonymous Kennedy, at 12:49 PM  

I've always said, if Shakespeare were alive today he'd be writing for TV.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:41 PM  

OMG Dan, speaking of 'The Office', if you haven't yet checked out the original series (BBC) absolutely barely holds a candle to this one, which still makes me laugh until I cry!

By Blogger ntrudr, at 5:11 PM  

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