How is divorce still a thing?

These two were pretty great. And they still didn't make marriage work.

This movie is pretty great. And as sad as a bag of drowning puppies.

I grew up as one of the few of my friends whose parents weren’t divorced. Sure, my parents fought a lot, and there was a dark period of a few months where Dad slept on the couch every night, even brought is alarm clock out there, would fall asleep to the cable and since the remote didn’t actually turn the TV off, he’d switch it to a dead channel like 999 and let the blank blue screen play all night long. It was rough there, for a while: I was certainly preparing for an inevitable break, for the talk, the sit-down conversation where my sister and I were told that everything we knew was about to be ripped apart, that we would join the bell curve of families on the trash heap who just couldn’t hold it together. I’d hear the fights coming from the living room, my parents somehow still unaware or uncaring that our tiny ranch house carried sound down the small hallway right into my bedroom, and through the heating vents sometimes too.

Somewhere in there, the parents went to some counseling I think, sorted it out, started sharing a bedroom again, and eventually sharing tender moments and what looked like a full, healthy relationship. This was an anomaly among the soul-compacting confines of suburban New Jersey, where it seemed like broken homes were so de rigeur it wasn’t even fair to call them broken homes, they just seemed like the natural evolution of human relationships. You don’t call a kid who moves away to college a “broken” person, after all. Continue reading

Favorite bro from last night’s RNC

In response to the Chris Christie line “They believe in teachers’ unions; we believe in teachers,” this guy, who must really freaking hate teacher unions.


Extry, extry: The Daily News does 404 right

Why did no one tell me the Daily News had such a cool 404 error page? More importantly, why am I getting this 404 error page on a link that you JUST TWEETED 20 SECONDS AGO?

Free idea for Netflix: Shuffle button

A simple idea of how Netflix could regain popular imagination: the shuffle button. This would bring the passive laziness that is so often associated with television watching into the on-demand world. Because staring at a screen with thousands of options of what to watch at any given time is too much pressure. You lose that willful ignorance of turning on the TV and being subjected to whatever the television gods dished out. Continue reading

Things that are better than episode recaps

1. Watching the episode.

2. Not watching the episode. Continue reading

Live from the Pete & Pete reunion show, or: Growing up is for blowholes

Photo via Flickr's Chloe Lee. Click through for more!

On Friday, the creators and entire principal cast of The Adventures of Pete and Pete reunited for one of the first times since the show ended in 1996 which, in case you forgot how old we are, was nearly 20 years ago. The show featured the first-ever live performance of The Blowholes, the fictional supergroup created for the episode about little Pete’s favorite song, featuring Marshall Crenshaw (aka the meter reader), Syd Straw (Ms. Fingerwood!) and little Pete. And it was Kreb-tastic! Here’s them covering the show’s theme, “Hey Sandy” (for which Straw is reading the lyrics off a sheet of paper):

Among the revelations at the reunion:

-Toby Huss (Artie) was the guy in the Mr. Softee suit.

-At one point, Iggy Pop went up to Hardy Rawls (Dad Wrigley) and said “That guy who plays Artie, he’s kind of a weirdo, huh?”

-Alison Fanelli was the only non-blonde, non-monotone actress to read for the part of Ellen. She handed in a resume on a piece of notebook paper with a picture attached. They hired her because of her cute unprofessionalism.

-While filming one day, the crew couldn’t find little Pete on set. Turns out he was in Iggy Pop’s trailer learning to play bass. He was about 12.

-Ms. Fingerwood was originally named something else (which I can’t remember, sorry!), but Nickelodeon deemed it too dirty. So they went with Fingerwood, which was less dirty somehow?

-All the cast and crew commented on how funny it was to see the gang all growns up: “It’s weird to see the Petes drunk on beer,” Straw told the crowd.

-The creators, buoyed by the burgeoning indie rock credentials of the show wanted to use a Pixies song (probably Wave of Mutilation, they said) in one episode. But they didn’t get to use it because it was too damn expensive.

-All the guest stars came through connections the show’s crew had to the downtown manhattan art scene in the 90s.

-Ellen is still totally crushable.

-Nick opposed the use of “blowhole” as one of the show’s standard insults. But as it was just officially defined as a fleshy hole for breathing, they had no grounds to stand on.

-Toby Huss IS a crazy bastard. And it’s great.

And now, let’s reflect why this was such a BFD:

I’ve revisited Pete & Pete a few times over the years, especially as the DVDs were released a few years ago, but it probably never really hit me until last week just how much of an influence it had on own strange maturation. I had grown up watching Nickelodeon, and Pete & Pete landed in that pocket of television where Nick was experimenting with the idea that it was OK to be weird, that it was perfectly acceptable to not want to be a grownup, to live in that world where the gross aesthetics of Ren and Stimpy and the slimy sounding names (like Slurm and Fingerwood) were perfect projections of the kid imagination, before it had been corrupted with pop culture and over-education.  Continue reading

Ted Leo’s comedy debut + a cover of “Just Gimme Little Sign”

Ted Leo guest hosted the Hot Tub comedy night at Littlefield on Monday, which he said was his first time doing anything like that (at least more than the witty between set banter at his shows). And he killed it! It’s hard to go wrong with a bit comparing farts to H.P. Lovecraft titles.

Ted also had this — is it a dig? A snark? I’m not sure what to call it, except maybe accurate — jem: when introducing comedian Jamie Lee, he said, “She was a finalist on Last Comic Standing … which you don’t know about, because you’re hipster trash like me and you don’t own a TV.” And it’s true.

So please enjoy a portion of his cover of the Brenton Wood Song “Gimme Little Sign” from Hot Tub.

Continue reading