Awesome Inflation

One example of the titular happiness.And no I’m not talking about Pamela Anderson’s chest. ha-HA! Implants.

I’m talking about how it’s getting harder and harder for something to qualify as “awesome” these days. People have uttered the phrase “there’s nothing any cooler than robot ninja ghost pirate monkeys” so many times that it’s ceased to be true. Somebody could release The Ghost Ship of Dread Captain Jojo-san 3000 today, and I’d go see it, no doubt. But I can guarantee that it wouldn’t be satisfying.

Because if it were possible to make a good movie out of that concept, there’s no way somebody wouldn’t have already done it. We are rapidly depleting our reserves of coolness.

So I’m saying that’s probably why I was disappointed by The Happiness of the Katakuris. Back when I was reading about Takashi Miike and The Great Yokai War, I kept seeing mention of the movie on websites. It was always described as a big departure for Miike; depending on the obsequious-to-hipster ratio of the site, it was either further proof that Miike could do anything, or evidence that he’d sold out.

Either way, I’m damned if I know what to make of it. Did I go into it having too high expectations? If you just read a description of it, it’s a:

  • Japanese
  • black comedy
  • musical
  • with animation,
  • a schmaltzy message about the meaning of life,
  • scenes filmed as if they were from a Japanese TV commercial,
  • and a dance number performed by zombies.

So on paper, it sounds like The Perfect Movie. The reality, though, is just kind of… there. There’s plenty of imaginative stuff in there, sure, but it either draws too much attention to itself, is paced so poorly that it doesn’t have any impact, or is executed so amateurishly that you’re left thinking how cool it could have been as opposed to how cool it turned out.

The movie starts out with a young woman in a restaurant who finds a small white creature in her soup. She pulls it out and screams, the creature sees her uvula, thinks it’s a heart and he falls in love. So he bites off her uvula and is then carried away by a raven. After that is a sequence about five minutes long where the creature fights the raven, gets dropped, dies and is re-hatched from an egg, plus some other stuff I’m forgetting, all in seemingly random order. The creature, the bird, and most of the backgrounds are done with claymation — more proto-“Sledgehammer” quality animation, not Wallace and Gromit caliber. None of the characters from this sequence are seen in the movie again.

I was about to say that “none of this has anything to do with the rest of the movie,” but in a way, that sequence has a lot in common with the rest of the movie — it’s wacky but not in a particularly entertaining way, it’s amateurish, and once it’s over, you’re left wondering what was the point. And the movie has lots of amateurish claymation, but it seems that it was used for budget reasons more than stylistic ones — every time an action sequence starts, it switches to claymation.

So there are deaths followed by musical numbers, and there are transvestites on television, and big musical love songs, and stories about Princess Diana, and a guy drinking water from an inexplicably polluted stream and then getting diarrhea, and a love song done in the style of a karaoke video (complete with cheesy 80’s lighting, and subtitles), and a song with zombies dancing on a landfill, and a volcano erupts, and then a finale song in the style of The Sound of Music.

And still, my reaction is just, “well that happened.” And I honestly can’t tell if it’s because I’m too jaded, or if it’s because the movie isn’t very well-done and it doesn’t have as much imagination as it thinks. The zombie musical sounds cool until you remember it’s already been done. Most of the rest feels like an early Peter Jackson movie.

And of course like with everything “post-modern,” it’s impossible to tell if the acting and effects are intentionally amateurish, or if they just didn’t do a particularly good job. What makes Japanese commercials so cool is that you never get the impression the people making the commercials are on the outside looking in — they’re in it 100%. That’s not to say they’re ignorant of how batshit crazy it all is, just that they’ve committed themselves to being completely and totally batshit crazy to the best of their abilities. (Take the Final Fantasy Potion ad, for example). Adding ironic detachment to that would ruin everything.

But in the end, I didn’t even dislike the movie. The actual ending is kind of sweet and lives up to the promise of the whole concept. And nothing in it, even the nonsensical opening, is blatantly bad. It’s all just not nearly as cool as it could’ve been, and therefore ends up saying nothing. I’m still no big fan of Miike’s, obviously, but at least Audition and The Great Yokai War were memorable.

A Bunch of Noise

What started out innocently enough as a search for “I Want Candy” by MC Pee Pants (second page) somehow ended up with me on the iTunes Signature Maker.

It’s a java app that digs through your iTunes library and generates a file that contains snippets of your favorite tracks mixed together. It’s not exactly pleasurable listening; the author’s sounds okay (kind of like what I imagine an alien SETI program would hear), but it seems like most of them come out pretty atonal.

I imagine the only way to get something that flows well is if you’re one of those people who claims “I have a very eclectic taste in music” but it turns out you listen to a bunch of bands that sound exactly the same, but you have the soundtracks to Manhattan and O Brother, Where Art Thou? to show how diverse you are. Or something.

On the other hand, this is pretty much what it sounds like in my head all the time, so maybe the computer don’t lie.

And speaking of noise, I just realized that I’ve got to be in Florida all next week for work. I’ve known about the trip for a couple of weeks, but I’ve been thinking it was further away. If it’s anything like the last trip, it’ll be that infuriating feeling of knowing I’m at Disney World but being unable to get out and enjoy it because I’m working. And even when I get free time afterwards, it’s no fun going to the parks by myself. Plus, during the week the parks close a lot earlier, leaving only a couple of hours between the end of a work day and closing time. Since I’m contracting, I can’t get into the parks for free unless I’m working there — which means I have to pay full price just to go a couple of hours.

And I’m not really fooling anybody, I realize. Even on a business trip it’s pretty damn cool. At the risk of sounding like I’ve drunk the Kool-Aid: the Disney hotels really just get everything right, and they’re a blast to stay at even independent of the parks. And as for the parks, I’m still hoping I get a chance to check out the new Expedition Everest ride at Animal Kingdom. It’s not supposed to open until next month, but supposedly it’s in “soft opening preview” mode now.

Update: Calendars are hard. Apparently I’m not leaving next week, but the week after. I just wanted to make sure that the Internet was aware of my travel plans. Go on about your business.

Lousy Runs Both Ways

They mock me with their bluegrassEvery time I’ve tried to see Alison Krauss and Union Station in concert, the tickets have been sold out long before I even heard they were going to be in town. One time I even considered driving down to some God-forsaken town in central CA to see them because the Bay Area shows were sold out.

So (duh) I signed up for their online mailing list. I got my first mailing in my inbox today, and they’re coming to the Nob Hill Masonic Center on March 11th! I immediately tried to get tickets online, and all that’s available are two seats way in the back of the far side of the balcony, which, including tickets.com’s bend-over fee, would come to $120! Single seats are easier to get; if I went stag I could sit way back at floor level for just under 70 bucks.

I’m convinced there’s something unsavory going on here. There’s got to be some consortium somewhere buying up tickets in bulk to scalp them. Or some secret concert-announcement service that I’m not aware of. Or the band has a huge fan following and they just won a bunch of Grammy awards and they’re playing in a big city and I missed out because I didn’t get up until 10 and didn’t log in until 11 this morning.

Anyway, the mailing list also linked to this mash-up of “I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow” with “Hollaback Girl.” I can’t say I like it, but I’m baffled and intrigued by it. Something Awful got it right when they said that in a better world, “Hollaback Girl” would’ve been the stupidest song of last year if not for the tragedy that was “My Humps”. And the beat doesn’t quite match up, either. But still, I can’t stop listening to it.

Checklist

One of the consequences of having a spastic attention span is that I’ve got a huge mental to-do list that grows faster than is possible for a mortal human — even one with my considerable gifts as granted me by your yellow Earth sun — to check them off.

And because it’s all in me head, it’s completely unsorted and un-prioritized, so stuff like “do laundry” is right there mixed in with “write a Flash prototype for that card game you want to do” and “make quarterly tax payment” is right below “watch the season premiere of ’24′” and “learn Japanese” and “get medical insurance” are somehow getting exactly the same level of procrastination. Which really doesn’t make sense, and is making me into more of a flake than I ever intended: “Sorry, I would’ve shown up for surgery to give you my kidney, but I’ve been meaning to finish reading this issue of Batman for months now.”

I keep seeing links to online and offline organizers and to-do lists, but have yet to find one that even closely approximates how my brain works. Err, “works.” I need to be able to add entries quickly, the second I think of them, attach notes or whatever other information I need to get it done, reorganize it and assign/change priorities so easily that “organize the To-Do list” doesn’t become another item, and give a real sense of accomplishment once I’ve checked one off. And maybe give me a cookie.

I could write my own, but I hope I don’t have to point out the problem there.

Still, even though technology hasn’t yet caught up with my brainspasm method of neural functioning, I have managed to make some minor headway. I’m assuming nobody reading this cares all that much about Java reflection and persistent object databases, so I’ll leave that stuff out. Even though it’s kind of cool, and isn’t so over-engineered as to be useless.

Finished Shadow of the Colossus
And I’m going to have to recant my earlier reviews of it — interesting concept and presentation and great visuals, but it’s not a good videogame. It feels too gamey, and it’s not a good game; it’s a frustrating game that you only keep playing because the concept is interesting. Sure, the conclusion is satisfying as an interactive movie, but I decided halfway through the last level that there was nothing they could show or do that’d be worth the frustration of beating the final boss.

Watched The Aristocrats
I’d expected it to be more interesting than funny, but it turned out more funny than interesting. The whole “joke as jazz performance” idea isn’t strong enough to carry a feature-length movie, and I’m not really buying it since very few people actually tell the joke. But pretty much all the people they interview came out of it seeming pretty cool and funny, even the ones I don’t usually like. The only ones who still seem irredemably creepy and annoying are Taylor Negron and Andy Dick. And that sleazy guy in the jacuzzi. And the bad ventriloquist.

Updated the website
Not really, but I did finally clue in and add a link to Fingerbutter.com. And that’s interesting either as a comment on the anonymity of the internet or on how dense I am. A while ago I saw via technorati that some new site was linking to mine, and so I checked it out to make sure they didn’t have any of my tasteful but misguided erotic photos on there. It wasn’t until last night that I actually made the connection that it was my friend Joe’s website. Even though his name is on the posts, he links to our mutual work friends, and he mentions stuff I should’ve recognized, I’d just been thinking, “hey, that’s nice and a little odd that some stranger is linking to my website.” I went back through and re-read it all hearing Joe tell it, and it makes sense now. So the lesson is either that Joe needs to add an “about” page, or I need to rethink my life dream of becoming a private investigator, or some combination of the two.

So that’s four down (I also finally saw Conan the Barbarian over the weekend), about a billion to go. Now I’ve got to go buy replacement ink cartridges for my printer, which had been hovering on the list between “write a novel” and “reconnect with friends I’ve been neglecting for way too long,” but just shot up in importance because of “do taxes.”

George Bush Doesn’t Care About Black Puppets

It was pretty asinine how Fox ran all four final episodes of “Arrested Development” in one night, on a Friday when nobody watches TV, and how they kept showing commercials for sitcoms they weren’t cancelling, and how they all looked really stupid and pandering.

It doesn’t really matter, though, because I got to see all four episodes, and they blew me.

Away. I keep forgetting to say “away.” All four of them were awesome, and it was about as perfect a series finale as you’re ever going to get from television. Even if they don’t end up continuing the series on Showtime, it’s okay, because it ended so well. It was funny, and juvenile, and topical, and self-referential, but it also tied everything together brilliantly — the kind of plot twist on top of another plot twist on top of a reference to something that happened two seasons ago on top of an adolescent sex joke that only they can pull off.

My favorite bits that I can remember: the Hung Jury, Maeby’s birth announcement, having to bleep out the mention of “Veronica Mars,” the guy visiting Buster in a coma, Ann-yong’s real name, the cabinets without enough set decoration, Buster’s directions to the cab drivers, the names of the Iraqi streets, every time Ron Howard said “oh my,” and pretty much every time Ron Howard said anything.

The only way it could’ve been more perfect is if they’d been able to get not just Judge Reinhold and Bud Cort, but Jude Law.

That Awkward Phase

Mike MignolaOne day of WonderCon down, and the magic hasn’t really taken hold of my soul yet. I’m hoping that that’s just because it’s a weekday, and most people didn’t have the luxury of working in the morning (I actually got stuff done this morning; I couldn’t be more proud) and then finishing up later that night.

I’m still hoping for big, balls-out displays of nerdosity; that’s a big part of why I bought a three-day pass, after all. I’m hoping that they just have to build to that, because today all I saw was a dull sense of desperation and melancholy. It was like the computer game developer’s conference, but with more women. A middle-aged guy wearing a Captain America T-shirt a couple sizes too small here, Blue Sun and Browncoats T-shirts scattered about, a whisper thin guy dressed up as a vampire there. I want to see full-on I-don’t-give-a-damn-because-I’m-with-my-people men and women in costumes, dammit.

As it was, I got to just be a nerdy fanboy today, instead of looking at them and making fun, pretending that I’m not one. I was hoping to continue my tradition of stalking Steve Purcell, but he didn’t show up. It’s just as well; the last time I saw him was when he pulled up along side me in Emeryville and he honked and waved. That just ruins it. Some people are just too friendly and unassuming to be stalker victims, no matter how much you like their work.

But I think I made up for it around Mike Mignola, though. There was a long line of people at the Dark Horse booth waiting for signatures when I went upstairs to catch the lecture from Telltale Games. When I came back down, the crowd was gone, so I walked up and pulled out my big hardback copy of Art of Hellboy, only to be stopped by a Dark Horse representative telling me that the signing was closed, and they’d had to turn away people 20 minutes ago. And my puppy had died.

So I awkardly and dejectedly put my book back in my backpack and shuffled across to the Metreon to drown my disappointment in soba. Afterward I caught the end of a session about Mirrormask (which I still haven’t seen but is coming out on DVD next week), and then the Q&A with Mignola. He kept pretty much the entire time open for questions, and there were actually some good questions asked — I didn’t see any awkward and uncomfortable gushing fanboy comments (they wouldn’t give me the microphone, dammit) or just dumb questions.

Actually, I did ask what’s the status of “The Amazing Screw-on Head,” and he said they’re finishing up the pilot and it should air on SciFi this year; he hasn’t seen it. He also said that he didn’t plan to do any more Screw-on Head comics, because everything he wanted to do with the characters and setting, he managed to get in that one book.

Other stuff: Hellboy 2 is in preliminary talks and could be Guillermo del Toro’s next movie; it depends on his schedule. A couple of Hellboy animated movies are in the works to probably air on Cartoon Network; if popular, they could turn into a series. (Mignola later said that they’re in the storyboard phase and he’s acting as a consultant and plotter but isn’t directly involved other than that). In the comic books, Duncan Fegredo is taking over art for the next three Hellboy mini-series; Mignola said that he sees Fegredo’s three series as Act II in the Hellboy story, and when he takes the book back over after that, it’ll be the final act. He finally knows where he wants to take the character and the story. He also said he appreciates the time he has where he doesn’t have to draw Hellboy or BPRD, because he can work on side projects like Screw-on Head.

After all that, he went back down to the show floor and signed more books, and I finally got to get an autograph and a sketch of Hellboy. He was selling sketchbooks celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Hellboy, and I bought one of those, too. I’d brought my copy of Screw-on Head, but said it was so dark there was no good place to sign it, but he did anyway. When I told him that I thought that was my favorite single comic book ever, he replied that it was probably one of his as well; he was really happy with how it turned out. And he didn’t want to push his luck and make another story that wasn’t as good.

Later I saw Scott Shaw! (he uses the exclamation point) at a booth and I stopped by to say that I was a huge fan of Captain Carrot & His Amazing Zoo Crew “when I was a little kid.” I guess that was kind of rude, in retrospect. Ah well, I’m still going through my awkward phase. And he reminded me that they appeared in a fairly the most recent issue of Teen Titans, so I came out learning something. Learning is growing.

Really, though: I still don’t get the whole idea of being laid back and chatting with comics creators at these things. You’re in an artificial situation to start with, there are a ton of people who also want to get in to get an autograph or picture or whatever, and besides, what is there really left to say after, “That was so awesome.” I thought part of the appeal of comic books was that once marked as a fan, you didn’t have to make conversation with people or be socially adept.

Social Piranhas

Boing Boing.net mentioned a new show called “The IT Crowd” from Graham Linehan, creator/producer/writer of “Father Ted.” Their angle was the Electronic Frontier Foundation and that it appeals to the sysadmin crowd, but I think it’d be funny even to non-geeks. (Speaking as a geek; your mileage may vary).

The first couple of episodes, and more info, are available online, linked from the “AtariBoy” blog. I got them off BitTorrent and they’re worth blogging about. It’s good, bizarre stuff, and you don’t have to be a fan of nerdity to appreciate it any more than you have to be Catholic to like “Father Ted.”

Still, my favorite line from the first episode is “I’m sorry, are you from the past?”

Oil-guzzling babies (and, suitably, ghost dogs)

Inugami from The Obakemono ProjectConsidering how much I love Pom Poko and tanuki, and I got Taiko no Tetsujin mostly because it had dancing kitsune in it, I’m surprised I haven’t seen all of this stuff sooner:

My new favorite website is The Obakemono Project, which is like a web encyclopedia of Japanese folk monsters and spirits. Each one has a description and a drawing that is dead-on ultra-cool perfect. For example, the Aburaakago is a spirit that takes the form of a baby and sucks all the oil out of household lamps.

Raccoons with giant balls and lamp oil-guzzling baby ghosts. And katsu curry rice. I, for one, welcome our new Japanese overlords.

That site leads to The Fantastic Shigeru Mizuki English Language Resource Page, which showcases the work of the Japanese cartoonist and his manga about bakemono. Pretty cool stuff — reminds me of what you’d get if Rat Fink had centuries of folk stories to back it up.

And another link from the Obakemono forums led to the news that The Great Yokai War is playing as part of the SF IndieFest next weekend. It’s a movie about a kid who has to stop a war between various goblins, demons, and evil wizards. I swore I’d never see another Takashi Miike movie after Audition, but word on the street is that it’s not quite his usual fare and even I would be able to tolerate this one.

Now there’s something to look forward to after Wondercon.

Update: The artist’s website is here at DrunkenTengu.com, and pretty much all her stuff is teh coolest.

Bettie Page

From the trailerThe trailer for the movie The Notorious Bettie Page is up at Apple’s site, and I’m intrigued. Here are the reasons I plan on seeing this movie:

  • I don’t really know anything about Bettie Page, and I’ve heard the movie isn’t just a boring biopic.
  • Come on, look at her!
  • All accounts say Gretchen Mol does a great job.
  • The trailer makes it look like they do a lot of neat stuff with editing and compositing and such; hopefully it won’t be another one of those bait-and-switch deals where the trailer’s cool but the movie’s dull.
  • I’m interested to see what the movie does with it. I Shot Andy Warhol was dull and fairly forgettable, but to its credit it wasn’t sentimental or predictable. Well, except that I could tell going in that it involved Andy Warhol getting shot.

If I’m going to be seeing it, I’d better get myself a wallet chain and some pomade to fit in with the crowd. It’ll be useful in case I want to go to another Reverend Horton Heat concert, too.

Helpless, Damp, and Warm

TiVo LogoThese days when I’m watching my stories, they all start out with the reminder that I could be watching them in glorious High Definition. Why wouldn’t I? I blew a ton of money that could’ve otherwise gone to a charity on a television that was state of the art for at least two weeks after I bought it. And DirecTV makes entering the HDTV generation easy!

Well, easy if you buy a $600 HD DVR with TiVo. And a two-year service agreement. And the additional antenna to pick on-air HD signals, which because of an FCC ruling, satellite providers like DirecTV can’t duplicate. And you may or may not be able to get the $200 rebate on the DVR if you’re an existing customer; I’ve asked four different people (including a confused woman on DirecTV’s call-in customer support, who didn’t know what I was talking about and had to read the website along with me).

And you may or may not be able to find a unit other than through the company directly, as I discovered when I went to two separate Best Buy stores (I wanted to use a gift card, to help soften the blow) and finally was able to chase down somebody to answer my questions. They didn’t know the answers, and it was irrelevant since they were out of stock on the DVRs and weren’t expecting any more.

Because of the break-up between DirecTV and TiVo, they’re now pushing their own separate brand of DVR. But only for the regular models; they’re still selling the HD version using the TiVo service, until they can come out with their own HD equivalent. But they have just launched a new satellite to support MPEG-4 broadcasts of HDTV — which the current HD DVRs can’t work with. So if you buy one now, you’re spending 400 to 600 bucks on something that isn’t guaranteed to be compatible with the service that may or may not launch sometime this year. Possibly.

I looked into EyeTV and other ways to use a computer as a DVR, but haven’t found one that works with satellite providers. Plus the only computer I could spare is the mini, which isn’t fast enough to record HDTV.

The whole business is just giving me flashbacks to when my brother would chase me down the hall, tackle me to the ground, and tickle me until I peed myself. It’s at the point where even I have to take a step back and just say that the whole business is ridiculous. A stupid amount of effort and money for something as dumb and frivolous as television.

In other entertainment frustration news: I lost interest in “24” sometime around the middle of the third season, and I didn’t watch any of last season. But I’d read that the premiere of season 5 was spectacular, not to be missed and all that, so I set it up to record. When I got back from LA and settled down to have my socks metaphorically blown off by the gripping adventure, I found a “partial recording” of the last 30 minutes of the two-hour premiere.

I started trying to piece together what had happened, and as far as I can make out, the TiVo decided to record “Iron Chef” and “Harvey Birdman” over the first hour and a half of the premiere. Except that I can’t find those recordings; they only show up in the recording history. It’s almost like the TiVo knew it’d done something bad and was desperately trying to cover its tracks. I still can’t tell what happened, since it’s supposed to be set up to avoid stuff like that. I can only guess that it’s upset about the whole DirecTV deal and is lashing out at me. All I’m saying is I don’t need my DVR giving me no lip.

I Said Lady, Step Inside My Hyundai

I’m going to take you up to Glendale.

Land at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and groove to the hot hits of the 80s played constantly on the PA system. What’s that playing at the rental car booth? “Who Can It Be Now?” by Men at Work? Oh yeah, gonna get my groove on while I slide up to spend some time with My Lady. She knows how I like it; she always makes me wait, take it nice and slow before she asks me for my driver’s license and credit card. Lady knows how to treat a man, insisting on a second phone number even though I don’t got one; I’ve learned to just make one up, give her what she wants. She gives me a mini-van and won’t hear no back-talk from me. That’s all she’s got. And she knows I gotta drive.

Pick up the key and there it is at the far end of the lot — my Dodge Caravan. Oh yeah, that’s my ride. Got a lady on the side in the security booth. She asks me every time what I do for Disney, and gives me that same look every time when I tell her “programmer” instead of “casting agent.”

Tearin’ up the 5 past the In-n-Out, watchin’ the ladies watchin’ me in my sweet ride. Pulling all up into that ABC parking lot. Putting in my time with The Mouse, then heading back to The BUR for a night on the town. Fine dining selections await, such as the Baja Fresh. But there are cultural options as well, such as Borders and the AMC 12.

So yeah, that wasn’t really going anywhere so I’ll stop now. I got off work a little early tonight and didn’t feel like spending 2 hours stuck in LA traffic to get to Anaheim, so I just came back to the hotel. Maybe I’d be better with spontaneous entertainment if I were in downtown LA (I’m skeptical), but with Burbank there’s just no chance. At least the hotel room has an internet connection and I can smoke indoors.

I thought I would be kind of daring and look at what the titles of the adult movies were, but they’re all pretty generic and dull. Bi Bi American Pie was the closest to what you’d expect from an adult film title, although Real Japanese proudly boasts “No Pixilation,” and they relish diversity, what with Running Wild as the “Gay Alternative.” Considering the hotel, I was hoping that One Night in Paris would be available, but no such luck.

But they don’t have the Cartoon Network or Food Network for some reason, so I’ve been forced to spend hours channel-surfing and browsing the web. And being exposed to broadcast television for the first time in months has really made me realize how little I’ve been missing. In between watching the same episode of “The Daily Show” twice and an Anderson Cooper show about James Frey and his whole book scandal, I watched a whole lot of sitcoms. I keep hearing about “My Name is Earl” and “The Office,” but I just don’t get the appeal.

One that was surprisingly interesting, although I’m not convinced I’d call it “good,” was “Crumbs.” It’s the one with Fred Savage and Jane Curtin. It went overboard with the laugh track and the maudlin moments, but from the pilot it was kind of like Schrödinger’s Sitcom: it had the potential to be either really awful or pretty good (not brilliant, but okay). One thing I liked about it is that they didn’t do exactly what I’m about to do: they didn’t make a big deal about Fred Savage’s character being gay. It wasn’t a total non-issue, but it wasn’t A Very Special Topic, either. I had heard or read about the show before (probably from Entertainment Weekly), but all I took away from it was that it was about a dysfunctional family. So I was surprised when they’re in the middle of the show and all of a sudden (I’d missed the beginning), a friend starts asking him about his boyfriend.

I did a Google search on the show, and I was surprised again. Considering what a ridiculous sham the whole Brokeback Mountain phenomenon has gotten to be, I expected there to be all kinds of attention on it. There are dozens of sites that use the same stock interview, and none of them mention it until a few paragraphs down, when Savage says they talk about his character’s orientation but “that’s not what the show’s about.” Well, none of them except for, of course, The Advocate, which uses the same interview but changes the headline and spins the whole article to make the show sound “Will & Grace” meets “Six Feet Under.” Everybody else just seemed to treat it like it was no big deal. Are people finally starting to realize that it’s not really all that interesting? Whether the show turns out to be any good, I dunno. But I thought it had some potential.