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My Guilty Pleasure: Adam Sandler Movies (Even the Bad Ones)

My Guilty Pleasure: Adam Sandler Movies (Even the Bad Ones)

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Let’s go ahead and get one thing out of the way: Contrary to popular belief, not every Adam Sandler movie is terrible.

Believe it or not, there was a time when zero guilt was assigned to admitting you were a fan of Sandler’s movies. Back in the heady days of the mid-90s, Sandler was, if not the reigning king of arrested-development cinema, at least a decorated member of the Royal Order of Man-Children. Movies such as Billy Madison, Happy Gilmore, The Wedding Singer, and even The Waterboy are revered in most comedy circles and all have proven to be highly re-watchable. Today, you can even get away with admitting a fondness for some of Sandler’s early 2000s work. 50 First Dates is an above average rom-com. Spanglish was sappy and heavy-handed, but The Sandman’s performance was among the film’s few bright spots. And, although polarizing, Punch-Drunk Love is arguably the best work Sandler has ever done (it also happens to be one of my favorite movies of all time).

Even the most ardent Sandler fans, however, have to admit that his IMDB page reads like a list of cinematic punishments in which an actor – any actor – would only participate at the threat of great bodily harm to both him and his next of kin. Over the last fifteen years, Sandler has made some of the most unoriginal, unfunny, groan-worthy, and downright annoying movies of all time. Jack and Jill. I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. Reign Over Me. The remake of The Longest Yard. Bedtime Stories. The Grown Ups “franchise.” If you woke up one Saturday morning with the worst hangover ever and discovered TBS was showing these movies back-to-back all day, and you were given the option of nursing your headache on the comfy couch while watching the Sandler movie-thon or running a half-marathon wearing only flip flops and pants made out of sandpaper, you’d grab your Tevas and your extra-course pants and sprint out the door.

After a string of movies at the start of his career that ranged from decent to very good, Sandler hit the same wall upon which fellow SNLer Eddie Murphy is splattered: He stopped making original, edgy comedies and settled comfortably into the lucrative but inherently awful world of more family friendly fare. Sandler is one of the top box office draws of the last two decades, and his movies – even the really bad ones – have made a truckload of cash. It’s obvious Sandler got very comfortable in the PG-13 world of formulaic, broad comedies (and, really, who can blame him? I’ll bet having all the money is awesome). These days, the recipe Adam Sandler uses to whip up a movie is pretty simple: Find an exotic/opulent locale that would make for a great vacation (Hawaii, South Africa, Cape Cod), cast a hot actress to play the love interest, fill out the rest of the cast with a bunch of old friends and SNL alums, grab the script from the last movie, think about re-writing it but give up and just change all the characters’ names, and then Lights. Camera. Action. Let’s make an Adam Sandler movie!

Despite the fact that the vast majority of his movies are indefensible as art and contain almost no redeeming qualities (comedic or otherwise), I am willing to step forward as part of Funkhouser’s Guilty Pleasures week and admit I love Adam Sandler movies. All of them. Every single one.

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How’s this for putting the “guilt” in guilty pleasures: I have seen almost every movie in which Adam Sandler has starred in a movie theater. By my calculation, that means I’ve spent somewhere north of $230 on tickets alone. Think about that. That means I saw Click in a theater. I saw You Don’t Mess with the Zohan in the theater. I saw Just Go With It in the theater. I saw Grown Ups in the theater. Fortunately, I can honestly say I didn’t see Grown Ups 2 in the theater. However, I did watch it on a DVD from Netflix (which means I consciously added the movie to my queue, moved it to the #1 position, waited three days for it to arrive, opened the red envelope, confirmed that Netflix had indeed sent me Grown Ups 2, and I STILL popped it into my computer to watch. NO ONE MADE ME DO ANY OF THIS!).

What can I say? I just love me some Sandler. There is something about him as a performer that keeps me coming back for more. He has earned an infinite amount of goodwill in my book, and it will never be diminished no matter how bad his movies get. Sure, some if it has to do with the fact that he seems like the most loyal guy in show business, casting his buddies in every movie his Happy Madison production company churns out. And I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that I love the fact that Sandler is one of the few A-list stars who dresses like a complete bum regardless of how formal his surroundings may be (does Brad Pitt have the balls to wear baggy track pants a sweatshirt on The Tonight Show? NOPE!).

I grew up watching Sandler play crazy characters on MTV’s Remote Control and, later, on Saturday Night Live. His run on SNL is probably best remembered for his silly voices and catchy songs, but unlike most recent cast members cut from a similar cloth (Andy Samberg, Jimmy Fallon, etc.), Sandler always had a sharp edge to him that seemed just barely concealed by his overt goofiness. The cherry on top of my Sandler-mania is probably rooted in the fact that I spent my college years listening to Sandler’s comedy albums – most notably 1993’s They’re All Gonna Laugh at You and 1996’s What the Hell Happened to Me. As far as I’m concerned, those two albums deserve to be ranked among the best comedy albums ever. I know that sounds ridiculous, especially to younger audiences who only know Sandler as the Razzie-award winning star of Jack and Jill. But take ten minutes and listen to “The Goat,” the most famous sketch off of What the Hell Happened to Me, and tell me it’s not one of the funniest things you’ve ever heard. From the moment I heard Sandler portray a foul-mouthed goat that longed for nothing more than to pal around with some of the neighborhood kids in between beatings from The Old Man, I was a fan for life. Everyone has that one actor, one band, or one author who, in their eyes, can do no wrong. For me, that actor is Adam Sandler, and his movies – no matter how irredeemable – will always be one of my favorite guilty pleasures.

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If you refuse to cut the man slack for his multi-year detour through Hackville, I don’t blame you. But if you haven’t completely given up on him, I urge you to hold out hope. In recent years, Sandler has shown he might still have a few tricks up his sleeve. His performance in Funny People showed a level of self-awareness (and self-parody) that hasn’t been on display since Punch-Drunk. That’s My Boy was a crude exercise in bad Masshole accents and trying to get too many laughs out of the mere presence of Vanilla Ice, but it was a nice reminder that Sandler can still get down and dirty in a hard-R comedy. And he’s part of two upcoming projects – The Cobbler from writer/director Thomas McCarthy, and Men, Women & Children from director Jason Reitman – that, on paper at least, appear closer in tone to the roles that serve as the high-water mark of his career than most of his recent efforts.

Given his track record, there’s no reason to believe Adam Sandler will ever stop making terrible movies. He still has plenty of genres to pollute…err, explore (Has he starred in a talking animal movie yet? I do not think he has starred in a talking animal movie yet. I’d definitely like to see him in one of those). He’s relatively young and probably has a long career ahead of him making not so great movies. And that’s just fine with me.

 

@TheSEShepherd


Cal Hits the Talk Show Circuit

Cal Hits the Talk Show Circuit

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This week Cal took to the road to promote his new book Players First: Coaching from the Inside Out, and he left no stone unturned in getting the word out. As he continues to promote his book and talk about his signature coaching style, we’ve collated some of his sound bites from those interviews below.

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Morning Joe (MSNBC):
“It starts with recruiting. I tell [players] You’re not taking thirty shots if you come here, because you’re going to have other players who are just as good as you. The most anyone takes historically for my teams is thirteen, fourteen shots….I can’t promise you’re gonna start, how many minutes you’re going to get, all those things. But I’ve started something like thirty freshman in my time, or more now, and it all starts with recruiting.”

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Squawk Box (CNBC):
“People ask me ‘how do you do this? How do you get a new group of freshman year after year, how do you teach this?’ And the thing is, teaching them the grind. How hard it is. Teaching them about servant leadership, which is hard when every player on the team was the star. They never thought about everybody else — now I’m asking ‘please think more about everybody else.’”

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The O’Reilly Factor (FOX News):
“That’s what this book is about. They know that iIm about them and the decisions i make are in their interest, not my own, which is why I have a lot of kids leaving. I’m not influencing them to stay…that’s a big part of this. Do they trust you enough? Do they look at you and say he is going to do right by me? I have got to let them make their decisions.”

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The Dr. Oz Show:
“This book is all about…look, here’s what it’s about. If I eat, you know, a jellybean, or swallow a piece of gum, it might get hung up in my intestines or my colon for three, four days. I’m holding it back. I’m not letting it go forward. But if I’m constantly eating things like cabbage, lettuce — those things are going to ultimately leave and it’s going to be better for everybody, you know, a positive outcome. You can’t be the colon that’s holding things back. You put good into your program, you get good out. Sometimes it happens faster than others.”

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The View (ABC):
“What this book is about it, well, look. It’s about servant leadership. It’s leadership from the inside. If my wife Ellen is used to doing everything around the house herself, that’s no good for her. She’s got me, you know, a teammate. And I’ve gotta be like ‘Look, these shoes need to get out of the hall before someone trips over them.’ So what do I do? I move the shoes. In the same vein Ellen and I also have to work as a team, we also have to trust each other. We work hard together and then, you know, we go to the Olive Garden, then, you know, maybe Orange Leaf.  It’s the reward that comes with being part of that team.”

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Watch What Happens Live (Bravo):
“Listen, what this book is about…it’s about…look, it’s like, you can’t have Brandi and Joyce having a fight right in the middle of SUR, you know? It just doesn’t work. Joyce thinks Brandi’s tacky. Brandi thinks Joyce is using Michael. It’s whatever. At the end of the day, they’ve both got to be able to share the catwalk if Kyle’s fashion show is going to go well, you know? Those are the sacrifices you make. And what you need is a Yolanda, who’s just going to take the initiative and stand up and drag Brandi away from the table. But you also need a Lisa, and a Ken, who’ll help defend Brandi. That’s how it has to be. Not just one person has to step up, everyone does. That’s how a team works.”

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Fresh Air (NPR):
“What this book is really about is servant leadership. It’s about leading from the inside. Look, Terry, did you see David Maisel’s ‘History’s Shadow’ show at the Yancey Richardson Gallery? That’s like, you know, what Maisel does is that he focuses on X-rays as a point of aesthetic beauty, the point at where the visual and the science of the subject intersect to explore the dual processes of memory and excavation. And you know, it’s like when you look at a team like ours — that X-ray has to show a strength from the inside, you know? That natural beauty has to first exist at an internal level. Otherwise, as a team, it’s not art, is it? I don’t know what it is but it’s not art.”
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X-Play (G4):
“Look, it’s like the game Titanfall. It’s just not going to work when one guy’s got a Hammond P2011 and the guy next to him has a Plasma Railgun. You have to get on those headsets and communicate with one another. That’s the only way you sweep Angel City. And it’s the only way you win a National Championship.”

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The Maury Show:
“Listen. After this break, Maury, you’re going to open that envelope. And look — it doesn’t matter if the father of Rhonda’s baby is Taz, Rick or Shondell. What matters is that these four people come together to help this child be the best it can be. Two of these guys are going to have to step up and say ‘what can I do,’ you know? That’s how a team succeeds. But it probably won’t be Dan. Dan is a straight-up buster.”

My Guilty Pleasure: The Celebrity BFF

My Guilty Pleasure: The Celebrity BFF

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It’s guilty pleasure week here at Funkhouser and what should have been a simple theme became less so because… well, I have too many. Oft times what’s considered “guilty” is code for feminine, outside of The Expendables Ocho or Cops: Kate Upton Suits Up; here’s a sampling of my own temptresses–Ellen, Miley, Scott Disick punching mirrors, UK soap Skins, knowing you were trouble when you walked in, Mean Girls, Lana Del Rey, pregnancy porn, shoplifting with Winona Ryder, Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s combined superhuman offspring, on and on…..

But the worst one of all, my most shameful/shameless/shamesloth of afflictions–the celebrity BFF.

As with most things, I blame the Internet.

From Cleopatra to Suri Cruise, we’ve always been obsessed with “celebrity”, but in the tech age, we not only have access via OK! Magazine and Stalker Weekly, but Just Jared, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, like… they may even have Tinder, who knows? Kylie Jenner may totally ask to chat with you on there someday. I once was on Chat Roulette with Joe Jonas–true story (not a true story).

We don’t just want to emulate or live the lifestyle of our favorite celebrities, get plastic surgery to look more like Jenn Aniston, no–we want to be their besties. Take selfies with them, share Ben & Jerry’s, play never have I ever with them.

Most importantly–friendship necklaces.

Here’s my worst guilty pleasures, my most addictive of substances. My fangirl crushes.

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Ellie Goulding — the Instagram Bestie

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Her life is more fun than mine, and she lets me know it. Ellie Goulding–pop star, former beaux of Skrillex, every member of One Direction, is one of the most active celebrities on social media. Girl posts a pic on Instagram, which shows up automatically on her Twitter feed for those of us too dull to have Instagram,* (me) and 17 million likes and 4 million comments later–it’s on every gossip rag in the universe.

She’s doing their jobs for them.

With a voice like an angel is sleeping on her tongue, a rocking hot bod, crazy extensions (girl, that hair ain’t real), a kickass British accent, and more hipster cred than any electropop star that’s danced in a field for the duration of every music video–Ellie Goulding feels like my bestie. I mean… look at all of the intimate moments she’s shared with me. She’s posted pics of herself in cat pajamas JUST FOR ME.

Yes, I have two posters of her in my apartment and Halycon Days is in my desk at work–stop judging me. Ellie, we will be together at last in Cincinnati May 7goodness gracious I can’t seem to stop.

Anna Kendrick — the Twitter Pal

This is my social media machine. No, I don’t have a lot of followers and am annoying and not very good at it, but it’s the only one I feel truly connected to/have. And Anna Kendrick, I know it’s not right, but I feel truly connected to you as well. Guiltily so. Just like your love for Taco Bell. Of course I watched that interview, are you kidding?

She’s one of the finest celebs on the most direct line of communication between fans and celebs, whether it be twittering about awkwardness, alcohol, awkwardness, Aubrey Plaza, did I say awkwardness, other A words, or Newcastle Super Bowl ads that didn’t get made, I feel like we really get each other.

If I could get in the middle of this…. wow, that sounded wildly inappropriate. The only Twitter couple >>>>>Sir Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.

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Jennifer Lawrence — the YouTube All-Pro

THE measuring stick of celebrity–spilling a tin of Altoids makes national news. 

I realize that I took the easy way out, picking a guilty pleasure that’s basically just Buzzfeed, but hey, I’m not cool enough for jazz, so here we are.

Jennifer Lawrence is a fangirl’s dream, wish, hope, and prayer–she drives the Internet, the YouTubes, the Tumblrs; I’m not going to get into posting too much J Law nonsense here as it’s been done WAY too much. Like seriously, even I may be beginning to feel the J Law oversaturation effect–somewhat.

What truly blew J Law up was obviously the Oscars–from tripping her way to the stage to the “I just took a shot” confessional in her press conference interview–she sealed the deal as America’s sweetheart.

Her YouTube fame went from an (albeit large) cult following to legend within the evening–interview admissions of excitable urination, stalking John Stamos, hiding butt plugs under a hotel bed have only fed the fangirl flames, and my undying devotion to the J Law.

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The soundtrack to Pitch Perfect can’t be the backdrop to every workday; sometimes I just need another Jennifer Lawrence funny moments compilation video #7 to get to 5 o’clock.

Perhaps we’re best friends now? Now? NOW?!!!

Thanks for deceiving me Internet. Guess I don’t have any celebrity friends or any real friends.

Guess this was inevitable.

http://www.scientology.org/


My Guilty Pleasure: Jazz Music

My Guilty Pleasure: Jazz Music

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For a person to say he enjoys jazz and smooth jazz music in 2014 is a terrifying prospect, particularly when that person is not:
-a jazz musician
-an aging New York City art gallery owner
-a director of some documentary film about jazz
-a trendy urban bicycle or coffee shop owner
-a person who teaches music
-a person trying to impress friends at a dinner party
-a person who owns an amount of stock in or a percentage of a company which produces albums (with its most-oft recorded albums tending to be jazz albums)
-a Grammy Awards board member tasked with making a decision of the “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” of that year
-2013 “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” Grammy winner Pat Metheny

For some reason, jazz evokes very strong opinions in some people. This is odd, because jazz is not up in anyone’s face. It’s certainly not like that Kid Rock “All Summer Long” song, or whatever this thing is that we’re all currently calling “pop-country.” In fact, if you really want to hear jazz, and I mean real jazz, you actually have to go looking for it. This can be done, most often, by visiting the lower ends of your FM radio dial, which almost no one ever does.

For a musical medium to be technically considered so hip (a term literally created by the African-American jazz scene of the 1930′s and -40′s), there’s nothing dorkier than admitting that you listen to jazz. Instantly, people think you’re an old person, a hipster goofball or a person who clearly is only saying he’s into jazz because there’s no way he’s really into jazz music, right? Right?

Here’s the thing, though: I am into jazz; or, you know, as much as a guy can be who didn’t grow up around jazz at all. At all. I’m not the guy whose childhood was filled with stories of him sneaking into smoky clubs and watching his dad jam with the other guys from the neighborhood, nor did I grow up in the Huxtable household of mid-eighties Brooklyn, where influential jazz musicians stopped by to share stories about the old days and then sit around and play some music. I came to jazz cleanly and on my own, and as such I kind of feel like in a way my affection for jazz music pretty much completely belongs to me. No one ever wants to talk to me about jazz, and that’s fine. It’s preferable. I don’t know everything about it; and the field is so gigantic there’s no way I’d not come off looking stupid because it’s like asking someone “If you’re so into arthropods, why don’t you tell me about all the species?” Jazz music is a big pool; it’s best for each person to just jump in and swim around. Once you start tooting horns about your jazz knowledge you’re in deep water. Because when someone calls you on it — and that’s unlikely in the circles you probably run in, but you never know — you’re going to be in trouble.

I guess I started listening to jazz about five or six years ago; I’m a writer, and I needed some music to play when I worked in my home office. I couldn’t use music I already knew, because mentally I’d be thinking about those familiar songs as I listened to them. I couldn’t use new music with new lyrics, because I’d be distracted by listening to those new lyrics. Chill and ambient music is good for that kind of thing, but there’s little to no variety at all. So I started listening to some jazz radio online, one station out of Chicago and another out of Seattle, and found that it provided a nice soundtrack. Before long I was recognizing names of certain artists and hearing songs which were familiar. And after that, I had to face the fact that I guess I liked jazz music. After all, I was starting to listen to it quite a bit.

I’m not going to tell you to listen to jazz, because that’s a condescending thing to do to someone. We agree there. But what I will say is that you may be surprised to learn that in all the iterations of jazz music, there’s probably some form of jazz that you would enjoy.

Latin Jazz tends to have sort of a Cuban sound to it, if you like that kind of thing. Tito Puente, Chick Corea. You’ve probably heard of these guys, even if you have never listened to them.

Acid Jazz is jazz with disco or hip-hop elements to it, and you already perhaps know or are a fan of some of the names of acid jazz: Jamiroquai, Bonobo, The Brand New Heavies, even elements of A Tribe Called Quest (“trip-hop” is a derivative of acid jazz).

Cool Jazz is probably my favorite. That’s Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Dave Brubeck — you know, the names you could throw out to people if you wanted to look like a real intellectual douchebag. But it’s great music, full of creativity and life. This is often the type of music you associate with a bunch of jazz musicians getting on stage together and just “riffing” (God, I sound so horrible. Ugh. I’m sorry I just typed “riffing.”) together. It’s fun because, if you’re a creative type, it’s very interesting to hear five, six, even eight or nine musicians playing together for the first time and creating something pretty cool. There’s something so improvisational and cool about it. This, to me, is the best kind of music to work to. I mean, really, just listen to this for a little bit:

Smooth Jazz deserves a little defense. Look, I know you are going to say that you hate this; and there’s a reason why you never hear anyone, ever, say out loud that they like it. HOWEVER. There’s a perfect time and place for smooth jazz, and it’s a.) when you want to get to sleep, or  b.) when you need to relax. After all, think about the places in your lives that you hear smooth jazz. Smooth jazz helps you not to freak the hell out when you’re waiting in a doctor’s office, or in a packed elevator, or waiting for 300: Rise of an Empire  to start. Plus, promotional photographs of smooth jazz artists are always THE BEST.

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There are a million more, all with names that will make you sound like a huge a**hole if you mention them in mixed company: neo-swing, neo-bop, novelty ragtime, stride jazz, west coast gypsy jazz, hard bop. Maybe one of these is for you. Maybe you will absolutely hate all of it. Who knows? I’m certainly not here to tell you what you’re going to like. I’m just here to tell you that I’ve become increasingly surprised (and frightened by) my predilection for jazz music. For most of my life, jazz was not only a thing I knew nothing about — it wasn’t on the radar anywhere at all in my life. I knew of it, sure, and knew some pioneers by name, but I didn’t know what it was like to listen to it for any length of time. Now it’s become a slight soundtrack for a lot that I do, and I’m okay with that.

In fact, I’m listening to it right now. So, yeah. It’s whatever. It’s my secret thing. And I’ll own it.

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THE MORE YOU KNOW

If you’d like to know more about jazz music, give the following online radio stations a try. They’re pretty good ones. Or don’t. It’s a free country.

JazzFM - Based out of London, England, a good mix of a lot of different styles.

WHPK – Broadcast out of the University of Chicago, another decent mix that offers a taste of different genres. (Opens in iTunes radio as well)


Guilty Pleasure Week: British Game Shows

Guilty Pleasure Week: British Game Shows

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Welcome to day two of Guilty Pleasure week on Funkhouser.  In day one of our series, Kalan Kucera professed his love for Sweedish Rock Band, Roxette.

When approached with the idea of writing about my guilty pleasures this week for Funkhouser, I realized, not unlike Mark Henry, “That’s What I Do.”  In taking the writing position for KSR, I went with the direction of, I’m going to write about some of the things I like, no matter how ridiculous they are.  Case in point, I have written a number of posts about Professional Wrestling, which is probably my biggest guilty pleasure.  I’ve also written almost just as much as my favorite guilty pleasure movie, “Over the Top,” starring Sylvester Stallone.  I asked my Fiance what my pop culture guilty pleasure was, to which she replied, “You like How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days.”  But c’mon, McConaughey… How can you not like it?  I’ve even hinted at today’s guilty pleasure in a previous post, but not to this extent.

The almighty Wikipedia defines a guilty pleasure as “something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.  The “guilt” involved is sometimes simply fear of others discovering one’s lowbrow or otherwise embarrassing tastes, such as campy styles of entertainment.”  Thanks to pop culture’s extreme grasp on people today, it’s hard for someone to find something that they consider to be a guilty pleasure.  Sure, you may enjoy watching “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” (that’s still a thing right?), but it’s so entrenched in the pop culture lexicon, one might not get to feel guilt from it, just because you need to know about it to stay ahead of the pop culture curve.

What I consider to be guilty pleasures are the things that you enjoy that you have to bring up in conversation with no segue, because no one is going to be talking about it if you don’t.  It’s like someone who does CrossFit talking about how hard their WODs are to a co-worker, who doesn’t do CrossFit, who is in the middle of working on some important project.  That moment of, “I want to talk about this, and will be embarrassed when you turn around and walk away after I’ve finished my statment.”  What I’ve found myself bringing up all the time to people who could completely care less, is my complete love for British Game Shows.

When I was a kid, and I swear that this is a true story, I woke up not feeling well, but probably still could have gone to school.  I, however, had a inkling in my gut that I should stretch this one out to stay home.  As soon as I turned on the television, I came to realize that it was the day that Game Show Network had been added to our cable.  I thought I’d never go to school again.  Also, shows like Press Your Luck would come on right after school on USA in the 4:00-4:30 PM slot on USA, you don’t get that nowadays.  It wasn’t until the era of YouTube that I found the embarrassingly, glorious nature of British Game Shows.

British Game Shows are just clean and well thought-out in nature, clearly knowing the point of what it is trying to accomplish, and being nothing more than that.  That can not be said for what the US tries to pass off as a game show.  Sure, “The Price is Right” and “Family Feud” are classics, but other than that, we’ve got nothing.  These take it to the limit, giving you people who have wanted nothing more in their life than to be on a game show.  Like, bucket list item #1, followed by “get groceries.”  Let’s take a look at some of the categories (that I’ve made up) for British Game Shows, and why I love them so much:

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Guilty Pleasures: Roxette

Guilty Pleasures: Roxette

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Sometimes when traumatic or depressing things happen to us, human beings like to cling to things that make us feel comfortable.  Comfort food, for example.  After a bad day at work some people crave a toasted PB&J.  Some people want chicken n’ dumplings.  I want mole enchiladas and a giant bowl of queso.  There are movies and books so familiar that it comforts us to watch them again and read them until the binding falls off.  Some of these things are… somewhat embarrassing.  Music and movies we love, but we don’t know why and would never tell another soul.  I’m talking, of course, about guilty pleasures.

This week on Funkhouser we’re going to be delving into our own personal guilty pleasures.  Who knows what we’ll stumble upon in the dark, cavernous depths of our pop-culture experiences.  For me, it’s a little bit tough because I don’t feel overly guilty about the things I like.  I don’t feel even a smidgen of embarrassment when I tell people how much I enjoy Troll 2 or reading Shatner’s TekWar series. (Oh, you didn’t know that Shatner wrote fiction?  I even did a book report on Shatner’s The Return in 6th grade.  That book was about the Borg cloning Cpt. Kirk to come back and fight against Picard after the events of Star Trek Generations.  I did this report in song form.  Set to the tune of Jive Talkin’  by the BeeGees.  I was an awesome 6th grader.)  What I had to do then was reach back into my bag of nostalgia and think about all of the things I liked when I was a kid solely because my parents liked them.  I’ve grown to like some of them on their own merit, The Beatles or the Muppets for example.  But then I started thinking about some that I can’t so easily defend.  Little Lord Fauntleroy. A Snow White Christmas.  Blankman.

On top of it all, though, is something I still like, something I know is embarrassing but just can’t help myself with.  Roxette.

For those of you (some might say blissfully) unawares, Roxette is a Swedish pop band.  Describing themselves as “pop rock” they became kind of a big deal in the late 80′s and early 90′s.  I know all about them because they were a band that my mom listened to a lot when I was a kid.  I’m (kind of) embarrassed to say I still know the words to songs like “Cinnamon Street”, “It Must Have Been Love” and “Joyride.” A duo consisting of Marie Fredriksson and Per Gessle, they were a Swedish super group when they came together and even still tour from time to time.  In their heyday they had four US #1 hits and they’re the kind of infectious pop songs that still get produced today (they should be in the same wheelhouse as other famous Swede-Pop band ABBA).  It might not have been as popular, but I would venture to say that any of those three songs is at least as good as “Blurred Lines.”  Instead of waxing poetic about them though, let’s look at three of Roxette’s music videos that really tell the story for me.

(more…)


Now What?

Now What?

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Hey girl. Yeah, you. What’s your name, boo? You lookin’ good. You got a man? He appreciate you? When we gonna hook it up? Aw, don’t play like that. Girl you fine.

Friends, I don’t have to tell you that with the final buzzer of Monday night’s Championship game, the spring of our discontent – like all of our post-basketball-season springs – has officially begun. Now’s the time of the year where we stop talking to one another altogether because there’s simply no new information concerning Alex Poythress’ playing time or James Young’s defense. There’s really just nothing to talk about. But how do we deal with these months before Mark Stoops and his “troops” bring us all back to a much-anticipated football season? Today I’ve put together what I hope will be a helpful column on what to expect over the next months and how to cope. Have a great weekend, everyone, and I’ll see you next week.

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What happened?

What do you mean? Oh, yes, I see. After an amazing, improbable run over the last couple of weeks, our Kentucky Wildcats – playing absolutely amazing basketball – pushed their way to the NCAA Championship Finals and, sadly, fell to UConn in the final minutes.

But we were playing so well. I just don’t understand.

No one does. And yes, we were. But it happened, and now we all have to live with it. We should be very proud of them.

Will there be any more t-shirts I can purchase?

No, not for a while. At least none signifying further progression of the Wildcats’ basketball postseason. Sorry.

Who’s going to the NBA? Who’s staying?

Do yourself a favor and try not to think about that; you’ll only go insane. Just trust that there will be information made available when such exists. No one is going to keep it from you or make you wait more than two or three hours to know it. Just breathe, okay? It’s cool. There is not a person somewhere who has this information and is deliberately keeping it from you, I promise.

Who do you think is going to stay or leave?

NO ONE KNOWS THIS ANSWER YET. Any speculation would be precisely that. Want me to make something up? I can. Dakari Johnson is going to play basketball on a pirate ship. See? I can do this too, Jeff Goodman.

So what you’re saying is that there’s not going to be any more Kentucky basketball until the fall?

Correct.

What am I supposed to do until then?

Now would be a great time to pick up a new hobby. Gardening, maybe. Or purchase some Rosetta Stone software and learn Japanese. But, really, it will just be easier for you to comment in the comment sections of sports websites that anything you read not pertaining to basketball is terrible. It’s just as fulfilling and will really make the next five months fly by.

What about recruiting information?

That’s a good way to pass the time as well. If you like YouTube videos of dunks poorly shot on an iPhone and edited to a Drake song, that is totally the way you should go. Then you can talk about high school recruits a lot, which I assure you is consistently fascinating to everyone you know.

Sounds like the next few months is going to be difficult.

It is, but it’s nothing we can’t all get through together. It’s no walk in the park for us here either, you know. You try finding any relevant information concerning any college sport on June 23rd. Around here we’re all just glad Bruce Pearl’s back, because Bruce Pearl in ninety-five degree weather is always comedy gold.

Well, thanks for nothing. I guess.

You’re welcome.

This has been terrible. I come here for UK basketball and football information – not this stupid crap.

Now you’ve got it! We’re going to have a great spring and summer. LYLAS!


Handicapping MTV’s The Challenge: Free Agents

Handicapping MTV’s The Challenge: Free Agents

I’ve written before about my unabashed love for MTV’s The Challenge, which is why yesterday felt like Christmas come early for me. Last night, the latest season of The Challenge debuted with a new format: Free Agents. And this time around the show is set up to produce maximum chaos.

With each player essentially playing for him/herself as a team of one, a lot of the group strategy from past editions goes right out the window. Each episode, the players will compete in a main challenge where they may be matched up in teams or pairs, or running solo. Winners of the main challenge not only are safe from having to compete in the win-or-go-home competition that determines who is sent packing, but they also choose a male and female player to send in to the elimination round. Where things get crazy, though, is that all the losers from main challenge are forced to participate in “The Draw,” a sort of card-based Russian Roulette where each player flips over a card, and the two who are unlucky enough to see a skull staring back at them are thrown in to compete for their Challenge lives against the earlier nominees.

Given the seemingly random nature of this season’s design, it’s more difficult than ever to determine which of the contestants have a good shot of taking home the show’s ultimate prize (which, I may remind you, probably works out to about $75,000 after taxes. Is that decent money for a few weeks’ work? Sure. Is it enough to justify acting like a complete maniac on national TV? That’s debatable). Here, then, are the contestants who I believe have the best chance of surviving and emerging victorious as season’s end:

 

The Favorites: CT and Laurel

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The inclusion of CT on this list should come as no surprise. Despite the fact that he is one of the oldest competitors on the show, CT is still a freak of nature genetically engineered to crush fools on The Challenge. He came to Uruguay to do two things: flirt with the ladies and bash skulls. He is respected and/or feared by every competitor on the show, and as long as he doesn’t get goaded into punching one of his housemates in the head after a long night of drinking, his odds of taking home the winner’s payout look solid.

Laurel is a tremendous athlete, which gives her an advantage over most of her competitors. But what really sets her apart is her killer instinct. Her gameplay is ruthless, as evidenced by the fact that she has been part of two of the most jaw-dropping confrontations in Challenge history: her drunken, schoolyard-bullying of Big Easy during the “Cutthroat” season, and her complete and total evisceration of Paula during the “Rivals” season. Laurel’s athleticism will serve her well in the competitions, and her scorched-earth approach to her social game means she’s the woman least likely to be pushed around off the field.

 

The Sleepers: Frank and Aneesa

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Frank has proven himself to be a fierce competitor and more than a little bit crazy. In last night’s episode, he drew the short straw in “The Draw” and was thrown into the final challenge – despite the fact that he was one of the top finishers from last season – against bow-tied-and-bespectacled Chet. When the dust cleared, Chet was bleeding from the face and called “uncle,” giving Frank the win. Frank is one of the few contestants who excels at both physical and mental challenges (puzzles, etc.), a fact that should serve him well if he’s forced to compete in the elimination round multiple times.

And don’t sleep on Aneesa. While at first glance she doesn’t look like someone with much of a chance to cash checks at the end of the season, the bottom line is she’s a beast when it comes to elimination challenges. In previous seasons when she faced head-to-head battles, she’s more than held her own. If Aneesa can fly under the radar and not doom herself with an overly aggressive social game, she has a better than average chance of being the last woman standing.

 

The Long-Shots: All of the Rookies

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Rookies traditionally have a tough time on The Challenge. As Challenge-virgins, veterans view them as little more than sacrificial lambs with which to appease TJ Lavin and the MTV gods. However, with so many unknown variables in this year’s game, the rookies’ odds of sticking around until the finals are better than in past seasons. For evidence, look no further than last night’s premiere, when rookie LaToya bested Challenge-vet Jemmye to earn another week in Uruguay. Is it conceivable that a rookie could catch enough lucky breaks to sneak into the money round? I suppose. But in my estimation it doesn’t seem likely that someone from this year’s crop of newbies will leave South America with any cash in their pockets.

 

@TheSEShepherd

 


So You Wanna Make NBC’s Next Sitcom?

So You Wanna Make NBC’s Next Sitcom?

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Or any sitcom really. You’re looking at NBC, so clearly standards aren’t your thing.

NBC announces that it will be crowdsourcing ideas for its next big, successful sitcom that East Asian (Internet) pirates and your great Aunt rather enjoys on Wednesdays after bridge club.

As a bright, motivated, millennial, and college graduate with degrees in philosophy and the archeology of flying spaghetti monsters–YOU need a job now. Like right now. Your parents are tired of footing the bill for your EHarmony AND your Netflix account, along with 79% of the rent that job at Coffee Shop X can’t cover. This is your time to shine right?

Let’s write a comedy show for NBC! You have what it takes!

Step 0.5 Go to NBC Comedy Playground and tell NO ONE.

Step 1: YOU have a great idea for a cutting-edge, new comedy it says. That’s true! You do!

Step 1.5: Wallow in misery with cats watching hours upon hours of Mad Men–surely Peggy will tell you how to give a brilliant pitch? No, not Mad Men Peggy, your tabby cat Peggy. She’s always knows just what to do in a pinch.

Step 1.75 Drink 2 liters of box wine.

Step 1.8 Call your mom ex crying about how this is a stupid idea and how your Snapple computer is just too darn hard to navigate. You need a techie on board. Seriously, you thought this would be like Emma Stone auditioning for Easy A level easy, but who were you kidding? No one else is cute enough to overcome such sh*tastic editing.

Step 1.87 Look at THE ADVISORY BOARD — hold on to your %$#*&^%*&^ hats. You recognize some of these people. Sean Hayes of Sean Saves the World!?? The groundbreaking 15 episode, NBC sitcom of 2013? No way can you live up to that. He looks familiar from something else too… Guzzle more of that boxed wine.

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** Scans rest of list

Jason Bateman, Mindy Kaling, Aziz Ansari, Seth Meyers, Amy Poehler, Craig Robinson, Maya Rudolph Adam Scott, others….– WOW and

Eva Longoria? That’s strange. Did she switch teams? She’s no longer a Spur or an ABC? Wiki tells you Desperate Housewives ended in 2012 and, unlike Glee, kind of was a comedy… so that makes some sense.

Stop procrastinating.

Step 2: Epiphany

Stop trying to be creative. Copy every network not named NBC.  Community, Parks & Rec, and …….. does NBC have other sitcoms? These shows get terrible ratings for a reason.

A) Too well-written, clever, dynamic.

B) Those who enjoy them are similarly too clever to pay for cable or watch live TV. Heard of the Internet? You need R-A-T-E-I-N-G-S. Hold up. That doesn’t look right.  Rateings? Ratings? F IT. Spelling is for olds.

Step 3: Create sitcom gold

All you need’s a title. The rest will come.

1) The Big Creation Theory

Exactly what it sounds like–live-studio audience, creationist nerds with Duck Dynasty beards living together heterosexually (they exist probably), and of course–creationism.  Also, throw in a blonde chick from FOX News, Megyn Kelly perhaps, who moves in next door with her boyfriend, Bill Nye.

Controversy+religion+family+obvious sexual tension=winning.

2) Postmodern Family

Exactly.

Post-Apocalyptic world. 3 families–one gay and seemingly unattracted to one another so as not to put off the straights, one Al Bundy and his mail order bride, one alien-hybrid-human clone + Jennifer Lawrence plastic surgery lookalike girl. Together, they survive The Giver, Hunger Games, Divergent, and whatever other such nonsense can be thrown there way–in 22 minutes of hilarious, mockumentary.

3) How I Created Your Sister

This is LESS awkward than telling you how I met your mother, kids.

4) Quirkayyy Nine-Nine

There are SOME sort of people who still watch cop shows en masse–comedies and dramas. Also that New Girl show. YES, the one with Zooey Deschanel.

Get a similarly small, likeable girl–say… an Anna Kendrick (but cheaper) on board and get her in some police station being all cute n’ incompetent–but don’t count her out on that undercover job in the middle school.

And did someone say zombies? Are zombies a bad idea Amy Poehler? Eva Longoria is totally down for some zombies as she’s (still….) a huge Walking Dead fan. No, Amy, it makes no sense in the context of a sitcom, but this is NBC. Desperate times. *winks at Eva

5) How to Lose Win an Audience in Five Minutes

This is the most off the wall… But you’re full of good ideas in that brain chasm of yours.

So, Matthew McCounaghey’s hot right now. Sounds a lot like… that rom com movie everyone used to like. You know the one. Ya know what else is hot? Juan Pablo. Reality TV. Steal from that too. Have no shame. We NEED more reality television in our scripted television and you know it.

Juan Pablo+Roseanne Barr. Both trying to drive the other away while … unintentionally–fanning the flames of love with many a Vagasil joke and hilarious brake cutting scheme along the way.

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Step LAST STEP

Submit comedy gold to NBC Internets. Impress advisors. Win over rest of Internets. Figure out how to produce a show (learned that from Argo).

MAKE IT RAIN.

Vomit up 17 liters of box wine.

Buy more of that baahhhxxxed winnne? Mom and dad are you proud of me now?

 


Stephen Colbert as Letterman’s Potential Successor: Great Idea or GREAT Idea?

Stephen Colbert as Letterman’s Potential Successor: Great Idea or GREAT Idea?

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As could have been predicted, the days post-David Letterman’s announcement that he’d be leaving CBS’ The Late Show in 2015 have brought upon us a maelstrom of prognostication. Who will fill Dave’s massive shoes? Who ever could?

Names like Craig Ferguson (too unknown?), Ellen Degeneres (too day-timey?) and Chris Rock (too incendiary?) have been bandied about by top pundits, as much as one can be a pundit of guessing late-night successors. Ferguson would seem like the no-brainer — Letterman’s Worldwide Pants produces his show, which itself follows Dave’s at 12:30 — and though it’s long been speculated that The Daily Show’s Jon Stewart was being groomed for the role it now seems that Stewart is in the best place for him (and with total freedom and infinite promotion from Comedy Central to boot). Oddly, the frontrunner has of late come in the guise of one whom many of us would never have guessed: Stephen Colbert. But is it so odd?

The Colbert Report, of course, is all built upon a joke character; his O’Reilly schtick has been luring viewers to basic cable over the last several years, and prior to Report Colbert built his name pretending to be a fake reporter on both Kilborn and Stewart iterations of The Daily Show.

Indeed, it’s often tough to separate Colbert the character from Colbert the person, as Colbert himself noted during an interview with Yale Student News that when he’s invited to speak he never knows which guy he’s supposed to be, so he “just brings both.”

The interesting thing about Colbert, however, is how his patriotic right-wing character, which could have been played for mean laughs, has itself worked its way into being one of the most loveable characters on television. This likely is due to the fact that the real Colbert, as is indicated in many of his interviews sans-showmanship, comes off as a very genuine and affable person. That’s a quality integral in late-night television; could Colbert’s “character” play for an hour each night, through a monologue, two bits and an interview with Will Smith? Perhaps not; but the real Colbert has that congeniality in spades. He’s insanely likeable; perhaps even slightly moreso than his contemporary Stewart, who even in humor can come off as slightly prickly from time to time.

It’s also important to remember that Colbert has a solid background in improvisation. Talk to anyone who’s been through the Second City school of improv and you’ll learn that Colbert — who once performed alongside Steve Carrell and Amy Sedaris (imagine that stage show) — is legendary among the Chicago comedy scene. He can write as well; take a look at a quote from a Daily Beast piece written by former Colbert Report head writer Pete Dominick:

The most impressive feat I saw him pull off in my six years at the Report was when he did the show with no writers at all during the writers’ strike of 2007-08. He and his executive producer and former head writer Allison Silverman wrote the show themselves, and in case that doesn’t seem impossible enough, union rules didn’t allow scripts to be loaded in the teleprompter. He wrote the show, then somehow remembered it. I’ll never forget standing backstage and watching him pull that off almost flawlessly night after night.

Against current hosts like Fallon and Kimmel, Colbert could likely hold more than his own while bringing a hipper crowd to back him up. This hipper crowd could stick around or could start to meander away once they realize the political bent is gone; by that time an older crowd who’d never been exposed to The Colbert Report may have likely realized how likeable Colbert is, balancing out this natural audience thinning (say what you will about older viewers, but if we’ve learned ANYTHING about late night television in the last five years it’s that they’re an absolutely crucial demographic, and if you think Jimmy Fallon isn’t playing to it you’re out of your mind).

Colbert, on paper, would seem like a good candidate for Letterman’s successor; he has the comedy chops, he’s in many ways of the same school of Letterman’s sharpness/absurdity, and he’s nearly instantly agreeable to audiences. It may be a few months before we learn who’ll be taking the stage at the Ed Sullivan Theater, but Colbert could be the most practical choice yet.


Greatest Television Episode Tournament: A Champion is Crowned

Greatest Television Episode Tournament: A Champion is Crowned

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It has been decided.  There is just one show that has risen above 64 competitors.  It pulled the plug on Grey’s Anatomy, Transponstered “The Ones With The Embryos” from Friends, signed off Johnny Carson’s final night on The Tonight Show, helicoptered off the finale of M*A*S*H, knocked off Breaking Bad, and went all in against The Office’s “Casino Night”.  Your Greatest Television Episode of the last 30 Years is…..

Contest Champion

Seinfeld’s “The Contest” proved to be the Master of Its Domain, Queen of the Castle…  Thank you to everyone who voted in our contest, of sorts.  A lot of great response and communication with all of you through Twitter and these threads, and hopefully we’ll pull something together like this again.  Check below for the complete bracket.

Final Bracket

Now we return you to your regularly scheduled programming… @FunkhouserKSR


Sofa Sofa, Burning Bright

Sofa Sofa, Burning Bright

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(h/t hippocampusmagazine.com)

My dear, old soft sofa, With colors so putrid

I must tell you a secret, While I am still lucid.

With the Cats poised to win the title tomorrow,

Your fate has been sealed, though it fills me with sorrow.

For we’ve been through so much in our four years together,

but now you must burn (thank God you’re not leather!).

 

Remember as freshmen, at my first house party

We ate bad Chinese, and you got all farty

Remember the night with Trudy McFrump?

She was too strong, tossed me off you, giving me a head lump.

I spilt Busch upon you, when I was all wasted,

My bills with glue, were on you pasted.

 

Or Sophomore year, when I first got that dog.

It stared at you wild-eyed, tense and agog.

By the end of the month, you were covered in fleas,

missing some stuffing, smelling slightly of pee.

But we sprayed you with Windex for the championship run,

The Undeniables came through and the trophy was won.

Our attempts, then, to burn you utterly failed

Since, because of the dog, to the floor you’d been nailed.

 

Junior year was no cause for excess celebration,

C’s in most classes, an NIT invitation.

But your odorous presence was a mainstay for all,

as a spot to play X-BOX and as the dog’s bathroom stall.

Always food in the cushions, always change underneath,

There was more that you’d given than most sofas bequeath.

 

But this year, you look tired, you look old, you look small

and as I’m ’bout to leave here, think it’s time for the call.

If the Cats win the game, Number 9 as our fate,

We’ll drag you to the corner of Limestone and State,

We’ll douse you with gas, siphoned out of a truck

and we’ll set you ablaze, with a match blithely struck.

And as your stuffing ignites, and your cover’s ablaze

A great tear of joy shall fall from my gaze.

I’ve loved you, my couch, but for 9 you must go-fa,

you were my friend, my partner, my sofa.

 


Greatest Television Episode Tournament: CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

Greatest Television Episode Tournament: CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND

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The time for talk is over, we are down to the final two shows of our Greatest Television Episode of the Last 30 Years Tournament.  It’s between the #2 seed Seinfeld “The Contest” and #5 seed (and almost got left out of the tournament) The Office “Casino Night”.  Now it’s up for you to decide the champion of the Tournament.  If you want to have your Survivor moment, and look back at where we all started in this tournament, take a look at the bracket below:

Bracket Day 10

Alright, let’s do this.  Voting starts now and will conclude at 9:00 PM tonight, right before the National Championship Men’s Basketball Game.  The choice is yours and yours alone…

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Click Here to Vote For #1 Seinfeld or #5 The Office

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Once again, voting closes at 9:00 PM right before the NCAA Championship Game.  As always, let us know your picks @FunkhouserKSR


Greatest Television Episode Tournament: Fawlty Four – Video Edition

Greatest Television Episode Tournament: Fawlty Four – Video Edition

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Here we are… We’ve finally made it to the Fawlty Four.  The last four shows in our “Greatest Television Episode in the last 30 Years” Tournament have been decided.  Out of the “I Want to Believe” Region, it’s #1 Seed The Simpsons’ “Marge vs. The Monorail”.  From the “Masters of Karate and Friendship” Region, it’s #5 seed (and almost not included in the tournament at all) “Casino Night” from The Office (US).  Out of “The Ones Who Knock” Region, obviously it’s Breaking Bad’s “Ozymandias”.  Finally, out of the “You Are Soooo Good Looking” Region, Seinfeld’s “The Contest” defeated M*A*S*H for the top spot.  So the semi-finals are here and you’ve now got the power to decide the final two shows in the tournament.  Voting will run through 10:00 PM tonight, and the Championship Round will take place on Monday, April 7th.  Here is the bracket, take a look back and see all the damage that’s been done to our writers’ hearts…

Bracket Day 9

Because some of the writers are so heartbroken by some of the losses, they’ve decided to take the day off.  That being said, take a look at a clip from each of the four shows remaining.  You must know that these shows are so good because they’ve taken down any high quality version of their clips.  So we hope you like watching TV that someone else filmed from their phone…
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Lyle Lanley and The Monorail Song

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The Confession

Click Here To Vote for #1 The Simpsons or #5 The Office

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Rolling The Barrel

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The Contest Begins

Click Here To Vote for #1 Breaking Bad or #2 Seinfeld

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 So there you have it, The Fawlty Four.  Again, be sure to get your votes in by 10:00 PM tonight, and check back on Monday to see who will be competing for the title of Greatest Television Episode in the Last 30 Years.  As always, share your thoughts with us @FunkhouserKSR


The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For: The First Look at Kelsey Grammer in The Expendables 3

The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For: The First Look at Kelsey Grammer in The Expendables 3

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This week, the world was treated to its first official glimpse of the character posters for the final chapter in one of history’s most beloved trilogies, The Expendables 3. What is sure to be the biggest movie of this August (or, if the universe proves to be a right and just place, ANY AUGUST!!!) is filled to the brim with some of the roughest and toughest names in action movie history: Stallone! Schwarzenegger! Statham! Li! Banderas! Ford! And each of those legends got their own character poster to help whip audiences into a bloodthirsty frenzy as they await the next installment of the greatest action franchise ever to feature Randy Couture.

But amongst the muscled, veiny, cargo-pant-and-black-leather-clad images of these testosterone-soaked alpha males was the one image I’ve been eagerly awaiting ever since I first wrote about The Expendables 3 – or, as I like to call it, E3 – way back in September: The first glimpse of Kelsey Grammer as the film’s bad guy.

That’s right, the man best known for playing mild-mannered psychiatrist Frasier Crane is bringing his signature brand of crazy to the action sandbox. And while it would have been a dream come true to see a poster featuring Grammer after he ‘roided out, hit the gym, and buffed up for this role, the actual end result is even more satisfying. Behold, here is Kelsey Grammer’s for real, honest-to-goodness, not Photoshopped in any way character poster for E3:

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Awesome, right?! I mean, his wardrobe spoils a big part of the movie’s plot – he’s obviously playing a “villain” who’s at least spiritually related to the baddies from old Scooby-Doo cartoons, meaning at some point Sly Stallone or Ronda Rousey or a large log with muscles taped to it will corner a purple Frankenstein-like creature and rip a mask off its head, only to reveal the real threat all along has been mean ol’ codger Kelsey Grammer, trying to scare the Expendables gang away from whatever creepy amusement park he was hoping to demolish and develop into a bunch of condos – but it’s totally worth it to get to see Frasier himself decked out in his frumpy fisherman’s Sunday best!

I think we all can agree that August can’t come soon enough.

 

@TheSEShepherd


Photobombing: Wisconsin

Photobombing: Wisconsin

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Welcome to the University of Wisconsin-Madison! Here you’ll find all the comforts of home wrapped up in an academic enrivonment ready to prepare you for a successful life and career. In these hallowed halls you’ll meet skilled instructors and trusted friends — as well as experiences you’ll never forget!

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Who wants a free hug? This student’s belt clearly wants to give you one. Her colleague’s shirt reads “smile,” perhaps ironically. It’s this kind of friendliness, both anthropomorphic and ironic, which will greet you as you begin your life as a first-year University of Wisconsin student. Get ready for the best times of your life!

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Welcome to the best times of your life! These students are listening intently as their friend and classmate reads aloud to them from his textbook. Slow down, guys!  You have four years of valuable memories to make; try not to squeeze them all into the first month. The residence halls of UW are large enough for everyone to sit, and varying sizes of beanbag chairs are available from your residence hall advisors. There’s plenty of room, so there’s no reason to move your fashionable end-table!

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The student body of the University of Wisconsin is a diverse group, representing all types of people from Janesville to Eagle River. Learn from others who are different from you in a positive environment free from criticism. Notice the exquisite differences in one another and learn to come together as a cohesive community of individuals. Maybe you’ll find we’re not so different after all. You may even meet someone who wears a toboggan.

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Enjoy great meals any day of the week at one of the University of Wisconsin’s top-notch dining halls. Whether your preference is cheese curds, bread, crackers, cheese-filled bread or cheese curds, you’ll plenty of choices just around the corner from your dorm. Don’t worry about the Wisconsin “Freshman Eighty-Five,” it’s simply a rite of passage here at UW!

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Say hello to Bucky Badger, UW’s beloved mascot! Bucky can eat several hundred earthworms and other insects in one night and often digs a shallow pit within his burrow for defecation, keeping his fecal matter away from his food storage.  He most often mates in early spring and late summer and his mates can experience a “delayed implantation” of the embryo until food is more readily available. He also possesses stink glands in his anus which can squirt a pungent liquid up to several feet to deter enemies. If you see him, give him a hug!

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If you need help getting your bearings on campus in your initial months or just need to know where to find the best pizza, stop by and chat with your residence hall advisor Alex Trebek. He will have all the “questions” to your “answers,” if you catch our drift! (Alex Trebek’s game show Jeopardy reverses questions and answers is our drift.)

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Head men’s basketball coach Bo Ryan is currently leading the Badgers into the Final Four in North Texas this weekend. Be sure to cheer him on! Coach Ryan possesses stink glands in his anus which can squirt a pungent liquid up to several feet to deter enemies. Go Badgers! Bring home a national championship!

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You’re going to love your time here at the University of Wisconsin! #diversity

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Looking to make new friends? Stop by one of the University of Wisconsin’s “First-Year Social Hours” to get to know your classmates, colleagues and dorm-mates. Please bring your own protective eye-wear, though the student union will provide the plastic sleeves.

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We can’t wait for you to join us at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and look forward to spending the next four years facilitating the experiences and friendships which will follow you the rest of your days. You’ll never forget your time at UW! Also, for the love of God put some shoes on and get off the Lincoln statue. What’s wrong with you? See you soon at the University of Wisconsin!


Greatest Television Episode Tournament: Only Eight Episodes Remain

Greatest Television Episode Tournament: Only Eight Episodes Remain

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In the largest voting day of the tournament so far, the Syndicated 16 proved to match some of the best programs in television history.  Having to say goodbye to Cheers, The Wire, Lost, Arrested Development and all the others, was tough for the staff at Funkhouser.  Tears were shed, I can assure you.  That being said, it’s time to move on to bigger and better things, like today’s Eight is Enough round.  Who will head to the Fawlty Four?  Who will win in a battle of comedic heavyweights?  Which recently ended comedies will advance?  Will Newhart or Walter White advance as the character who wished it all had been a dream?  Which program will prove it was the best of its generation?  It’s all up to you.  Here is your bracket through yesterday’s voting:

Bracket Day 8

Voting runs through 10:00 PM Tonight, so be sure to get your vote in!  Today’s match-ups are complete with praise from the Funkhouser writers who picked to put these specific episodes in the bracket.  Here we go…

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#1 The Simpsons – “Marge vs. The Monorail”
“Originally airing in 1993, the fourth-season of The Simpsons was when, retroactively, we see the show beginning to move from cruder drawings to the more polishedSimpsons the show would eventually become. The same went for the show’s clever sense of humor, and the Conan O’Brien-written “Marge Vs. the Monorail” helps lay the foundation of intellectual gags the cartoon would build upon in future seasons. Essentially a riff on “The Music Man,” the citizens of Springfield fall prey to a conman named Lyle Lanley (voiced by Phil Hartman) who promises them a monorail will be the answer to all their problems. The episode’s breezy and a corker, from the Broadway-style town hall musical number to the family of possums living in the monorail’s steering compartment. When I think of solid Simpsons episodes — from top to bottom — this is the episode which always springs to mind. It’s a near-perfect example of how smart and funny The Simpsons could be when it was at its best, even though it still had many of its better seasons yet to come.”  - C.M. Tomlin

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#11 The Cosby Show – “Theo’s Holiday”
“Let’s be honest with ourselves: The Cosby Show broke no new ground from a conventional sitcom standpoint. In fact, it could be argued that the show took all the conventions of television’s best family sitcoms and only cemented them further into the genre’s universe. What The Cosby Show is, however, is pure comfort food — who didn’t want to be an honorary Huxtable? They were funny, fun to be around, and they loved each other. There were rarely any “deep, special, serious” episodes of the show; it existed in a Brooklyn where famous jazz players stopped by to jam in the living room and families put on lip-synced pantomimes for each others’ birthdays. “Theo’s Holiday” is The Cosby Show at its best; the family sets up a “real life” simulation for Theo, who wants to move out, and each of the Huxtables play roles in Theo’s alternate new real-world life. It’s meant to teach Theo a lesson, but it also showcases the comic chops of the entire cast (which really was, from little Keshia Knight Pulliam to eldest Lisa Bonet, extremely talented) and shows off just how well Bill Cosby works with his juvenile cast. Go on. Watch it again. It’s weird how the show hasn’t aged at all. And that’s really its beauty.” – C.M. Tomlin

Click Here To Vote for #1 The Simpsons or #11 The Cosby Show

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#5 The Office – “Casino Night”
“The Office, in its prime, proved to be one of the funniest sitcoms in this “Golden Age of Television.”  Take a fairly well known comedian in Steve Carell and put him in what had been a successful program over in the UK.  He was hilarious and awkward enough to take a british comedy and make it work in the U.S., something that not many people can do (see: Coupling or The IT Crowd).  But, while Casino Night has its great Steve Carell moments, including trying to juggle two dates at the same time in Jan and Carol, it’s the relationship of Pam and Jim that drives this episode into the hearts of people who love the show dearly.  The “will they, won’t they” tensions from the first season, all the way from through this season finale, was not in vain.  Over the course of the series, the “documentary” style of the show sometimes got in the way, with too many deadpan looks to the camera (looking at you, Jim), but it’s brilliant in the final moment of the show.  With Pam on the phone with her mom, Jim enters the room and kisses her, and in the docu-style, it seems as though you’re the only one in the room with Jim and Pam.  Its the secret that validated the show as a staple in US television.” – Richmond Bramblet

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#15 How I Met Your Mother – “Slap Bet”
“Try not to think about the controversial finale this week, where Ted and Robin seemed to end up together after all.  The ending is not at all what the show was all about.  This show was really about unfulfilled dreams from youth and how people deal with them as they get older.  The Office was also about longing and about not getting what you want, but it never felt as real as HIMYM.  Unrequited love was never the only thing in their wheelhouse, after all.  In this episode, the group finds that Robin Scherbatsky has been hiding a secret.  Marshall and Barney make a bet (the aforementioned ‘slap bet’) involving Robin’s secret and hilarity ensues as the try to figure out what it is.  Barney loses the bet when they find a video (Barney thought it would be an adult film) that turns out to be a music video from Robin’s youth in Canada.  Robin Sparkles’ single “Let’s Go to the Mall” was a secret Robin wanted no one to know, because being a pop star in Canada is embarrassing.  This set up two of the show’s better running gags, Robin Sparkles and the Slap Bet which, not only provided several more laughs as the show went on, but also gave us a fantastic look at characters we came to really care about.” – Kalan Kucera

Click Here to Vote For #5 The Office or #15 How I Met Your Mother

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#1 Breaking Bad – “Ozymandias”
“Rarely does a television show become an event.  The finale of Newhart was definitely an event because of the surprise twist-ending (no one seems to remember the rest of the episode where a Japanese group buys the entire town and turns it into a golf course).  But the last run of Breaking Bad was not only an event, it captivated the country week in and week out.  The stand-out of the series was this, the third to last episode, “Ozymandias.”  All of Walt’s evil deeds come to haunt him as he is responsible for the death of Hank and Steve Gomez.  He loses his family, he loses his money–his life’s work–and he loses the last shred of himself in the deserts of To’hajillee.  The results are excruciating.  Watching Jesse be taken hostage, watching Skylar tell Jr. the truth about his father, watching Walt crumble as Hank dies.  Each of these would be season-defining events on their own.  Yet here, in this magnum opus of an episode, they’re only an appetizer to the most heart-wrenching moment of the series as Walt and Skylar have knife fight and Walt absconds with baby Holly.  It’s a haunting and chilling episode that will stay with you long after you’ve turned off the television and, quite possibly, the best episode of television ever aired.” – Kalan Kucera

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#10 Newhart – “The Last Newhart”
“In today’s television, series finales are almost the barometer on whether a television show is successful or not.  Take “How I Met Your Mother” this week for example.  Numerous outlets have panned the finale, as well as going on to dismiss the comedy as a whole.  But for some programs, and more specifically Newhart, the series finale is something that the show can hang its hat on and say, “We did it right.”  Newhart followed writer Dick Loudon, writer of do-it-yourself books, who moves to Vermont to run an inn.  To preface this, Bob Newhart previously had a show called “The Bob Newhart Show,” where he played psychologist, Bob Hartley.  At the end of “The Last Newhart”, Loudon gets struck in the head with a golf ball, and the scene fades to black.  The scene returns as Bob Hartley is sitting up in bed, next to his wife, played by Suzanne Pleshette.  He explains that all of it had been a dream.  A DREAM.  It was the only way to explain how Newhart had surrounded himself with the quirkiest of characters, including Larry, Darryl and Darryl.  It was a nod to the people who had been a fan of Newhart over the years, and the reason it’s always on the lists of “Greatest TV Finales” or “Most Unexpected Moments.”  Finales don’t have to be giant epics, or have to wrap things up completely, but they should almost be a love letter to the show, and this was it.” – Richmond Bramblet

Click Here to Vote for #1 Breaking Bad or #10 Newhart

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#1 M*A*S*H – “Goodbye, Farewell and Amen”
“If Seinfeld was a show about nothing, then M*A*S*H was a show about everything.  We followed Hawkeye and company through years of grueling warfare.  Throughout that time we saw them all at their best and at their worst, but they never managed to lose their senses of humor or their perspective.  Even with the awful circumstances of war surrounding them, the MASH unit was cohesive and they were honest with one another.  When, after long years on the front lines of the Korean War, there’s finally a truce, none of the characters quite know how to handle it.  We watch as Hawkeye says goodbye to everyone and to Korea for the last time and as Corporal Klinger (Jamie Farr) decides to stay in Korea to be with his new bride.  The finale was the most watched broadcast television event in the world for 27 years (beaten only by the Super Bowl), a testament to how tight a grasp this ragtag group of doctors had on our collective hearts.” – Kalan Kucera

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#2 Seinfeld – “The Contest”
“Trying to argue to someone that “The Contest” — or Seinfeld itself — is one of the greatest television shows in history is like trying to argue that gravity exists. C’mon, the show ended sixteen years ago and still lives on in syndication more than show that ended two years ago. If you haven’t by 2014 seen every single episode of Seinfeld, you’re both cheating yourself and need to get better cable. There’s simply no excuse not to have ingested the entire, beautiful Seinfeldian universe by now. “The Contest” displays all the qualities which made Seinfeld sing: intersecting subplots serving the greater storyline (the cast puts up money to see who can go longest without masturbating), the selfishness of the characters, the interplay among these characters. Another thing which makes “The Contest” so unique is that it must be remembered that to talk about masturbation (it’s referred to as being “master of one’s domain” in the episode) at 9:00 at night on NBC was incredibly daring. Larry David once said in an interview even he couldn’t believe NBC didn’t kill it. It’s ballsy, hilarious and damn near flawless. This episode is at the top of most top-episode-of-ALL-TIME lists; it’s easily one of the best in the last thirty years. And it earned it.” – C.M. Tomlin

Click Here To Vote For #1 M*A*S*H or #2 Seinfeld

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That’s it for the “Eight is Enough” round of the tournament.  The voting begins now and will end at 10:00 PM tonight.  Make sure you get your votes in so your favorite episode moves on to the Fawlty Four on Friday.  We don’t need another Cheers situation happening, now do we?  As always, share your thoughts on Twitter: @FunkhouserKSR