The Muppets

The Muppets have always been a big inspiration to me. I grew up watching reruns of The Muppet Show, the 9 episodes of The Jim Henson Hour that aired before it was cancelled, the movies, Muppet Babies, Fraggle Rock, Sesame Street and countless other productions. Muppet Christmas Carol is one of my favorite movies ever, and a yearly staple, as is the classic “A Christmas Together” album with John Denver.

This special that was made for The Jim Henson hour but didn’t air until much later on Nickelodeon was one of the first “behind-the-scenes” videos (now a ubiquitous DVD feature) of any kind I had ever seen, and I found it endlessly fascinating. I watched it every time that I came across it on TV. I might venture to say that it has had a profound impact on where my life has taken me.

I’ve taken puppeteering and puppet-building classes, walked around the Muppet Studio in L.A., briefly met some of the current puppeteers, and last year got to make a piece of puppet magic myself.

‘The Muppets’ seems to have stolen our puppet mount-cam idea without either us or them knowing it.

But enough about me. The reason that I’m throwing this out there is that there are other people out there like me. I would venture to say that I’m at the tail end of this multi-generational fascination with these characters. The last great piece of entertainment produced with Kermit, Fozzie, etc., was Chrismas Carol in 1992, nearly 20 years ago.

The Muppets have languished in the years since then, through various changes in ownership and stewardship. There have been two mediocre theatrical movies (the last one still a lengthy 12 years ago), a failed TV variety show, a Christmas special that had its moments, another horrific Christmas special, and the terrible Wizard of Oz adaptation.

This lengthy period of brand failure is exactly what the new movie is commenting on, and it does so in such a marvelous way that all cause for concern about how it treats the franchise’s history should be thrown out the window.

Briefly, the movie’s about a two superfans (Jason Segel and Walter, a new muppet performed fantastically by Peter Linz) who travel from Smalltown, USA to L.A. with Segel’s character’s girlfriend (Amy Adams) and visit the Muppet studios, finding it decrepit and more-or-less closed. Walter finds out that an evil corporation has taken control over the studio, theatre and Muppets name and plans to run all of them into the ground. It’s up to the three of them to get everyone back together to save the Muppets legacy. To say that this bears some resemblance to the current state of affairs with the company is quite the understatement.

I watched the original Muppet Movie the night before seeing this, and I’d recommend you do the same. In addition to being able to recognize a few callback references to the original movie, rewatching “The Muppet Movie” puts things in the new film in such an interesting mindset. Kermit was once an idealistic leader, inspiring friends to uproot their lives and travel to Hollywood to become “rich and famous”. Now though, all these years later, Kermit has become sort of an out-of-touch recluse, living in a mansion with only his 1980s robot butler to keep him company. Any object that could remind him of the past, and the never-detailed, but often inferred event that caused them all to split up, is draped off. (As a side note, I would love to see this dark chapter in the Muppets history. It would be the most depressing scene ever — even more than this and the [i’m not kidding] attempted suicide scene that came immediately before it, which I can’t find now — but it would be so compelling. Side side note: this is the world where Kermit was never born.) He’s not cynical or bitter — Kermit could never be that — but he’s deeply saddened by how much he believes he let everyone down, which is a burden he’s put on himself since the first movie. Now, years after the split, he views his life’s work as a failure and sees getting everyone together as a fool’s errand, but is talked into it.

The rest of the movie parallels the original’s structure, in the “getting the band back together” sense, but it’s almost a flipped perspective. Instead of it being about the hope of becoming entertainers and being able to make people happy, it’s about the notion of losing your friends to infighting, and your legacy to years of inactivity and a company bent on ruining your name and replacing you with other people/characters. While Walter brings new energy and hopeful naivety, the rest of the Muppets seem like old souls. They’ve aged in spirit and seem a little weary. Fozzy looks a little grey. Everyone else has moved on with their lives, and it’s quite the effectively sad portion of the movie.

But the movie is greatly funny. The music is mostly fantastic, especially if you like Flight of the Conchords, whose Bret McKenzie wrote four original songs (and a reprise), and served as Music Supervisor. I didn’t really care for the Amy Adams/Miss Piggy splitscreen duet, but the Jason Segel/Walter duet, “Man or Muppet” is both catchy and hilarious. The direction (by “Conchords” TV show co-creator and director) is great, with extremely minimal CG work and many, many “How’d they do that?” moments. Segel and Adams are cute and bring great likeable human energy, even if their story feels a bit too much in the forefront.

The Muppet performers don’t seem to miss a beat at all. Considering the only original performer still involved is Gonzo originator Dave Goelz, it’s amazing that all of these characters can still “live” and “breathe” when being performed by other people. It has taken me a number of years to get used to Steve Whitmire’s slightly higher-pitched Kermit, but the range of emotion he was able to wring out of that puppet was remarkable. Eric Jacobson (Fozzy, Piggy, Animal, Sam Eagle) and Bill Barretta (Rowlf, Dr. Teeth, Bobo, Pepe, Swedish Chef) are incredible apers of the original Frank Oz and Henson voices and master puppeteers to boot. There is really no difference in the Muppet characters noticeable enough to be a distraction, as in some past productions.

The woman sitting in front of me at the screening and her hippie husband left the theatre complaining about the “Disneyfication” of the franchise. Granted, she was also complaining prior to the movie about bottled water being a scam, but she does have a valid point about the movie, to a limited extent. Yes, everything is slick, polished, and sanitized. There are overhead shots of the Muppet Theatre (Disney’s Hollywood Boulevard El Capitan Theatre repurposed for the exteriors) that show a “Cars 2” billboard prominently in the background. The three new principal roles (Segel’s “Gary”, Adams’ “Mary”, and Walter) do get a little bit too much focus.

But here is why all of those complaints are wrong. Every joke or type of joke in this movie that seemed out of place actually had a precedent set for it in some prior movie or project: breaking the fourth wall, presenting a popular song in a ridiculous way (the muppet show did this every week), the over-top bad guy bent on bringing them down (Chris Cooper, doing a great job in limited screentime), even the ridiculous method by which they travel long distances.

No matter what Frank Oz says, I don’t feel that the characters were ever disrespected, with one possible exception, which I’ll get to later. In fact, I’d say the opposite. The newer characters were either never used (Clifford, Johnny Fiama and Sal Manella were completely absent), or, like Pepe, were pushed to the background entirely. Even lesser-known, older characters like Uncle Deadly, and Wayne and Wanda make appearances.

Oz points to the ubiquitous “fart shoes” joke in the ads as something Fozzie would never do, but in the context of the movie, I think it works. The characters are out of touch and desperate to figure out what people want, and I don’t think Fozzie is below pandering for a laugh. I’d say this movie is truer to the characters than the “World Where Kermit was Never Born” business.

Gary, Mary, and Walter serve as an audience proxy for younger people unfamiliar with “The Muppet Show”. And without Segel’s Gary and Walter there is no real impetus for the characters to reconcile at all, in a not-so-subtle parallel to real-life. Walter and Gary’s storylines are also so simple that they work without being too off-putting, and they’ve found great ways to parallel other character’s stories (the two duets for example).

For me though, and this comes as a side-note, and probably just a personal gripe, but considering he’s the only original performer left, Dave Goelz didn’t have much for Gonzo to do.

I know the last movie, way back when, focused on him entirely, but in re-watching material recently, I’ve realized the hidden layer of soul and sadness that Gonzo can bring, that few others have. The emotion that comes across in this song…

… is something that Miss Piggy and Fozzy are never tasked with. Most of the other characters are just one dimensional, though Rowlf has on occasion brought the emotion in his Muppet Show performances. Because of this, Kermit is left to carry that burden, but his sadness comes from his failures to live up to his ridiculously high expectations of himself as the leader and guy who manages these ridiculous personalities. Gonzo’s pathos has always stemmed from not fitting in, being weird, and not knowing exactly what he is.

Since these characteristics are basically the entirety of Walter’s personality, and his character arc, this brooding side of Gonzo gets pushed to the backburner, and even his comical side does as well. I’d be interested to see his number of lines compared to other characters. I get that not everyone can be properly serviced, but as a member of what I consider to be the core four characters, he feels like an afterthought. You can sense the regret in Fozzie and Piggy, but Gonzo has just seemed to move on. And this overlooking of him is even sadder considering Goelz is the longest-tenured performer here.

I have some mixed feelings about the end, but I have to talk about it in vague ideas. Basically, I feel like it glosses over a majorly important plot point, but the way in which it does this seems to render it fairly unimportant in the overall scheme of things. It sort of takes their literal goal and says their figurative one is more important, which is a great idea, but leaves the main plot as almost a side story.

On the whole though, I felt every emotion I was supposed to, including my normal disinterest in Miss Piggy. I welled up a few times, laughed a lot, and left with a smile on my face, and no feelings of contempt in my heart. I never once thought that they ruined a good thing here, and that’s all I could ask for.

The crux of this movie is whether or not The Muppets are a viable entertainment in today’s pop culture landscape, and I’d say that with the right material (and this is great material… mostly fleece and foam… wocka, wocka), they can be. Let’s hope that the kids that are getting their first taste of these characters feel the same way.

****½

Half Inventing Stuff Part 3, or Other People Stealing Your Ideas Without Ever Having Met You or Knowing that They Stole Something Part 3

barbfume_thisone1
The Bar-B-Fume bottle design and logo from an infomercial I did as a class project in 2002. Graphics designed by Rob Edwards.

So back in 1998, I had an English oral presentation to do in which I’d be selling a made-up product. After racking my brain for hours, my thought process went as follows: “What do teenage girls want? Answer: Guys. Then what do teenage guys want? Answer: Meat. So the way for a girl to get a guy would be by smelling like meat.” The presentation went fantasticly. I had charts and prototypes (sort of… bottles of cologne and body-wash with crudely designed logos). For the women who didn’t want to have to smell the Bar-B-Fume, I invented the “Scent Remover 5000”, which was just a clothespin to put on your nose. I demonstrated how to use the body wash (which for my purposes was just barbecue sauce in a soap dispenser) by smearing it all over my face. And I finished with the tagline, “Ladies, truly the way to a man’s heart is now through his stomach.”

Two years later, the product was revived as an info-mercial for a TV studio production class I was taking, but this time with way better logo design and a killer intro. I can’t attest to the quality of the rest of it. I haven’t watched it in years. You see, I can’t find the tape with that semester’s projects on it. To make matters worse, I can’t even find the tape that has the original speech on it. I have most other semesters’ projects, and I have the other speech we had to give that year in high school, but as it stands, right now the only tangible evidence of Bar-B-Fume existing is the logo I saved.

What makes this important is that Burger King just started marketing a meat-scented fragrance called “Flame”. Here‘s the website. Granted, it smells like the Whopper and not like barbecue sauce, but it’s still enough to have me shouting “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”. I guess I just need to follow through more.


I’m pretty angry.

The Promotion of ‘Borat:Cultural Learnings of Ame’rica for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan’


Maybe this ridiculous outfit is what I need to get the womens. High Five!

This guy is everywhere! I mean it. I mean it. Not just the ubiquitous ads for the movie, either. He may very well be the first person I’ve seen promoting one thing on Letterman, Leno, Conan, and The Daily Show, and a half-hour appearance in Opie and Anthony, in less than two weeks. And not only has the actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, been on all of them, he’s been on all of the as Borat, and done so in multiple segments on at least two of them. On Leno, he made a bed with Martha Stewart, and on Conan, he chased Conan around the stage with a pair of scissors, followed by one of the most bizarre musical performances I’ve seen on his show. In all four appearances the interview topics were different and fresh. Here’s a compendium of all of the media appearances. The guy even had a “float” in the NY Halloween parade, which is basically just a costume showcase and giant party. The “float” consisted of about 20 Borat impersonators. Completely ludicrous. I’m sure he’s got a myspace thing going as well. I have never seen an ad campaign for a film that was so in your face. The thing is, the movie was so inexpensive that it made up its cost in the first week. They can throw all kinds of money into the advertising, and it’ll still come out on top. And it’s an hilarious movie to boot. Congrats on getting everyone in the country’s attention.

*****

There isn’t a person in the country who doesn’t know about this movie. I’m nearly certain. Five stars.

Empty Bookshelf’s First 100 Reviews


Oh, those kids. Always at it. You guys really shouldn’t’ve.

So here we are at the first of what may be a few reviews of our first milestone, 100 reviews. Not only is this the first review of this milestone, but of what could be very many milestones. We here at the Bookshelf like the word “milestone“, and don’t believe in Thesauruses. So here we go, our first hundred in a nutshell.

The first actual review happened way back in October of 2005… remember that time before the Steelers won the superbowl, before “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” movie, before Dick Cheny accidentally shot his friend while hunting, and before Bristol, United Kingdom celebrated the 200th birthday of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (actually April 9) by relighting the Clifton Suspension Bridge?

Dan’s first review was aimed at complaining about post-game hype surrounding an extremely long baseball game. Of course our readers probably care about boring Astros-Braves baseball games as much as they seemed to care about my terrible review of the dictionary. Even though that picture was good, it was nowhere near the five star quality of this image. I too tried my hand at reviewing food, but it was an utter failure. On the plus side, my review of the letter to the editor is one of my favorites, and my first review actually got eight comments, including this link. The few following that grilled chese review focused mostly on music, my opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”, a particular episode of Trading Spouses, and Dan’s opinion of My opinion of “Good Night, and Good Luck”. Dan also said that the Colbert report wouldn’t last, which seems to have been proven false.

October seemed to be us finding our footing.
***

November saw Dan’s Cleveland Trifecta, a diatribe against horses, a road that he liked, an episode of “Coach“, and his complaints about how much he aches, now that he’s an old man. I started the month strong with the Beth review, but struggled through the rest of it, with lame reviews like Thursday, a type of tooth”paste” that doesn’t work for me, and an insightful, yet completely unnecessary complaint about my nosebleeds. My FAO Schwarz review kinda made up for them, but the highlight of the month involved Dan and I sparring about how Christmas is coming earlier every year, and something about me being a time-traveling sheep.

November didn’t see much improvement over October, but the Christmas stuff was entertaining.
***½

December got a bit better, even with a few less reviews. I busted out the old NES games, for a few reviews that I swear are not trying to copy off of XE, another personal favorite, Christmas Cards, Adam’s first review, Dan throwing the hate down on Pitchfork media, and a suprising amount of people commenting on Roger Ebert’s take on video games. The biggest advance in December was the pop-ins, that added added some clarity to our parentheses-obsessed-writing.

December was a highly engaging and entertaining month, even with only nine reviews.
****½

2006 rolled around, and January saw Dan get political, review half of a book, not like warm winters a lot. I only contributed three of ten reviews that month, but all three of them were relatively alright, mostly because “Where In Time is Carmen Sandiego“, and “The Simpsons” after season 9 is so easy to complain about.

January’s topics fell off a little.
***½

February, while being the shortest month, was also a monster for us, as far as number goes. A whopping twenty-one reviews. To be fair, 17 of them came in our envelope-pushing live superbowl reviews, the biggest stunt pulled in the history of reviewing anything and everything on a five star scale. The only other reviews of any substance were my Gauntlet Review of the Beatles albums, and Dan’s digging up of our one-issue underground high-school newspaper.

Despite the big stunt, and two good reviews, February was kinda lacking.
**½

March just plain sucked. Four reviews total. One by me. Three megareviews by Dan.

½

April was slightly better, with another of my top five of my reviews, Legacy of the Wizard. The other four I would give an average of 3 stars to, but since there were only four during the month, that’s going to cancel out the Legacy of the Wizard bonus and take it down a half star.

**½

For my money, May was our best month yet. Dan’s contribution was the lengthy three-part TV landscape review. I threw out quality stuff with my Songs for Silverman, and Degree Navigator reviews. The shorter American Dreamz and Davinci Code video game reviews were serviceable, but my immense LOST season 2 review tops everything.

*****

June fell off a bit. Four reviews total. Split two and two. Mine were based on a ridiculous news story, and anger at other people for coincidentally coming up with the same ideas as me. Dan tried to put everything into perspective by seeing how well the entire history of human ingenuity and artistry stacked up in the interstellar community, and complained a little about how the national geography of roadways isn’t designed to suit his needs.

**

July was filled with the (I gotta admit my ignorance as to the relevance of this phrase… and wikipedia does nothing to help) Navel Gazing set. I was had for a few minutes by a Jimmy Kimmel hoax, and I thought the critics were a little too harsh on Shayamalan. Despite the mediocre numbers for the month, I’d give it a 3.5

***½

This gives us a per-month average of 3 stars, which isn’t too shabby.

In my first ever review, I reviewed the concept of this website. I claimed that we wouldn’t be able to keep it fresh, that we’d run out of ideas, and that we wouldn’t be able to stay somewhat funny at least. I believe my exact quote was “It has the potential to provide hours of entertainment for readers, and shape their lives for years to come. However, the downside is that it could get old real soon, and provide us with nothing but an excuse not to get real jobs.”

Well, I think we’ve significantly proven wrong every single point that I just brought up. We have 29 categories, 19 subcategories, and even two sub-sub categories. We’re still writing about reasonably different things, and while we may have slacked on the funny in recent months, we still bring the ‘A’ game on occasion. As far as my quote goes, I’d be willing to bet that we’ve provided maybe a few hours of entertainment for a handful of people, which probably did nothing to shape their lives for even the near fututre. On the upside, it hasn’t gotten old, and we have gotten real-ish jobs.

For all of these reasons, I’m willing to up our star rating by half a star, over the average rating of 3. I’ve also realized that my method of calculating the rating might not be the best, so I’m gonna throw in another half star for a final rating of 4 stars out of five.

****

And for those of you playing along at home, yes, this technically is the 100th review and so therefore should be included. This review receives 3 stars for not having much to offer in the way of witty musings, and for having a faulty overall rating method, but for packing so many subjects and links into one review.

***

Other People Stealing Your Ideas Without Ever Having Met You or Knowing that They Stole Something

Longest. Title. Ever.


If only they could save the baseball team from utter anihilation.

I’ll try not to make this like Dan’s “Half-Inventing Stuff” review, even though there are some thematic similarities.

What spawned the idea for this topic was actually two events hat occurred in the past month, both of which involved people doing things that I had already done. Chances are that both of these events might turn into “Nate Stories”, and since I don’t believe in editing for content, other than adding to it, just be warned.

So I got a disturbing call a few weeks ago. Nothing’s wrong, and it wasn’t sickening or anything… just upsetting. You see, my sister was at a Philadelphia Phillies baseball game. The fans (the few, the proud), the ones who don’t like to throw batteries that is, (although maybe if J.D. Drew was around), have started a sort of tradition over the past ten years. Groups of people would come and buy seats in the wide expanse of the Veteran’s stadium 700 level… that’s right, back when stadiums had 700 levels. Up there they found the space to spread out, dress up in costume, and display large signs usually featuring the group’s made-up name. This might sound a trifle confusing, so I’ll give you the most prominent example, and probably the one that started the fad. Randy Wolf had just made his MLB debut and a group of fans were looking to come out to support the first of the crop of minor league pitchers that would eventually be considered the saviors of the franchise. (Over the next 6 years, through the ranks came Brandon Duckworth, Brett Meyers, Gavin Floyd, and Cole Hammels. This was supposed to be the rotation of the future, but Duckworth was a minor bust and was shipped off to Texas or somewhere, never to be heard from again…. update, he just started pitching for the Royals I believe and didn’t do so well, and Floyd is back in the minors.) A group of fans looking to show support for Wolf showed up wearing wolf masks, with a huge sign that said “Wolf Pack“. Whenever Randy struck someone out they all did a dance in unison that kinda looks like the lawnmower-starting dance. Eventually other groups began to crop up. What else was there to keep you interested in the upper deck and following a losing team? There was the Duck Pond (for Duckworth), the (Vincente) Padilla Flotilla (a group of guys in sombreros with oars pretending they were in a boat. Whenever he got a strikeout they began to row), once there was (Pat) “Burrell’s Girls”, and the most recent high profile incident was two competing groups out to support backup catcher Sal Fasano… yes a backup catcher. The groups paint their faces to match his trademark moustache and call themselves, “Sal’s Pals” and “Fasano’s Pizanos”. Incidentally, Sal was apparently so overwhelmed with the cheering section that he once ordered them all pizzas.

What this has to do with anything is this: When my sister called me on the phone, she told me of the newest group of supporters, “Flash’s Friends” or something like that. The Flash that they speak of is the new closing pitcher, Tom Gordon. How do they get the Flash from that? Well, he’s nicknamed from the 1930s sci-fi serial character, Flash Gordon. But these “friends” didn’t realize that, or I guess they thought that nobody would get it if they dressed up like Flash Gordon and his friends, because they decided to take it one step even further and dress up like the superhero The Flash, and his other superhero friends. It would be enough for me to say it was stupid that there are two jumps in logic to get from The Flash to Tom Gordon, and that people who aren’t from the area probably wouldn’t understand…. but my major problem with this is that WE DID IT THREE YEARS AGO. There is video and photographic evidence (see above) that not only did we use this gimmick first, but we used it better.

The people in this group had really shoddy costumes, most of them partially storebought, and there were people in the group that weren’t even superheroes. So they did the costume thing poorly, the sign wasn’t as good as ours was… and they didn’t dance after strikeouts, but the biggest problem was that they didn’t think their plan through enough. In order for the pitcher that they were supporting to actually be involved in the game, the team would have to be winning by less than four runs going into the final inning… lucky for them it happened and he came in, but by that time, most of them were tired of standing around in their costumes, and were partly disrobed by the ninth inning anyway. When they finally got on TV, they just like a bunch of half dressed-hooligans, not following through with the bit.

So all of these things led me to being not as affected by it. I suppose that my main issue with this scenario is how it made us look in hindsight. Not only was that experience very important for us, sort of serving as the capstone achievement of my highschool friends buffoonery, but we were proud of both the fact that we were the first ones that we had ever heard of doing this, and the fact that we actually followed through with one of our hair-brained ideas… and were mentioned by the TV coverage as the “Fans of the Game”. This gimmick infringement would’ve definitely sullied the memory and sapped all of the originality from it.

As far as the second incident goes, a little more than a year ago, my friend Adam and I completed our senior video project. Capping off this twenty-six minute opus, was a perfect final sequence/shot, that when seen for the first time with the song that Adam had found, literally gave me chills (literally!), and made me want to watch it over and over and over. I knew that if nothing else in the entire thing worked, that this last part would win people over. You can see for yourself here… it’ll probably give you a better idea as to what I’m talking about. The song is by a group called Thirteen Senses, titled “Into the Fire”.

Needless to say, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that song coming out of my TV a few months later, in the long-form ads for FX’s second season of “Rescue Me“, a show about firefighters. The song fit even more perfectly in that than it did in our project, mostly because of the lyrical contents talking about walking into the fire and such. Also, the ad came and went without much fanfare, and I’m sure that it won’t be remembered in years to come.

Just a few weeks ago, a friend of mine was asking me for names of songs that she might like, and I passed along this title. Little did I know that hours later I would hear the song used in a montage of Jim Carrey’s dramatic moments at the MTV movie awards, a show seen by millions of people per year, and aired about the same amount of times. I hastened to the internets to email my friend to say “THEY STOLE MY SONG!!!1!” The next day, I decided it wasn’t a big deal, and pretty much let the whole thing go…. until about two days after that. I came home late and decided to catcha replay of the season premiere of The 4400, a summer show on USA that that somehow was the most watched basic cable series of last year (or at least last summer?). It was two hours long and started at midnight, and by the end was half asleep, when suddenly, I hear familiar piano chords. Chords I’ve heard hundreds of times. I couldn’t believe it! They were pulling out the end-of-the-episode-montage, and using the song! I was impressed that they actually used the entire thing, and put it to good use, but it was probably the absolute strangest timing ever. Recently, I aslo found out that the song was used in the pilot of “Grey’s Anatomy”, a show that I’ve never watched, and probably never will, but is watched by millions and millions nonetheless. I guess I should just be glad they didn’t use it on American Idol

It reminds me of how way back in 2002-2003, the new Coldplay CD came out, and the WWE/F was the first that I had seen to use a little-known song called “Clocks” to do an absolutely great film/video montage about one of their wrestlers, and my olympic hero, Kurt Angle getting a very dangerous neck surgery and training to come back for the fans and for his family. Soon enough, the song was EVERYWHERE, including the trailer for the movie Peter Pan and a sound-alike version for the New Jersey travel bureau, mostly because they couldn’t afford the rights due to how much they suck. When I showed people the video, all impact was lost because the audience had no idea when this thing was made. The use of the song went from “complelety innovative and perfect”, to “completely trite, cliche, and therefore worthless”. The entire impression of how great the video was was tarnished by the fact that other people used the song after them, rendering it completely useless as any sort of art or entertainment. By that time people had gotten so sick of the song that they probably wouldn’t even watch it just because of the musical selection alone.

What I’m getting at is that now I’m put in this position. This song stands poised to be the next “Clocks”, used in every video that people can put it in, make its way to the radio and soon enough, be so engrained into our public consciousness that you wouldn’t ever want to hear it again. In the event that I would show this video to someone in way to be original, lame-o“. Without having done anything, the value of the piece is decreased tenfold. Sure, you can say “We made this before the song got popular, scuzz-wad”, but that’s like telling a jury to forget a court outburst that’s been stricken from the record via objection. You’ve already seen it, so there’s no letting it go.

You could make the case that every person/group that uses the song in the same manner from now on is just copying off of a set television precedent and therefore should be subject to the same criticisms that I’d get, but it doesn’t matter to them. The song is nowhere near its peak popularity, nor even into the public’s SUB-conscious, and neither do the companies/groups care. If they continue to use the song, what is people saying “that’s already been done before, dill-wad” going to do to them? They’re in a position where if it fits, go for it, because it’s not like the CSI audience is really going to stop watching or feel less inclined to see a Jerry Bruckheimer movie/show.

The people who would be watching my video would be people whom I know, or maybe people I just recently met, but in any case, probably people I want to impress, or at least show that I didn’t go to Hollywood Upstairs Medical College. Having the most impressive part of the video be undermined because of a collective overexposure to the song is something that I would rather do without.

Of course, I could be totally overreacting, and in two years the song could be less remembered than Fastball‘s second single. I also suppose that I could always go back and change what song we used, but that would be like re-doing the end of “Return of the Jedi”, a whole lot of work for something that wouldn’t serve much of a purpose.

How does this relate back to the baseball game? Well, if these people/groups can use this song without knowing that I’d used it previously, and if these Flash’s friends can go dressed like superheroes, what’s to say that our attempt at 30 seconds of JumboTron fame hadn’t been tried before, and done better? What if we were inadvertantly copying off of some other group even though we didn’t know them, and had never seen what they’d done? That would just ruin the whole event for us, and the uniqueness of it.

Personally, I think we should fight these so-called “Flash’s Friends”, because three Frankensteins and a Spongebob are no match for teh Hulk, Superman, Flash, Wolverine, ummm.. Thor, and some girl with an exposed midriff.

Other People Stealing Your Ideas Without Ever Having Met You or Knowing that They Stole Something gets zero stars. It is somethig that will happen over and over in life, and it’s best just not to notice it. The problem is that it gets to you when you no longer can honestly take credit for an idea you had and did, even though there’s evidence you did it before the other person. Rather than feeling good about yourself that somebody else in a higher position than you thought of the same thing that you did, and feeling good about the fact that you’re “on the level”, you tend to feel like you’ve been devalued. The trick is to keep going and come up with something even newer because then you can just show that off to other people instead. Other People Stealing Your Ideas Without Ever Having Met You or Knowing that They Stole Something also makes us look inside of ourselves to determine whether we at any point were guilty of this, and if so make the necessary reparations to those we offended. I encourage all of you to think about this and what it means to you. Until then, Goodnight, and Good Luck, and take care of yourselves, and each other. I’m Andy Rooney… Jon?

The Diet Pepsi Commercials

Without being disgusting, I can’t imagine that “Brown and Bubbly” is the best tagline for well, anything.

I’ll leave it at that.

*

One star, if only because part of marketing is getting “the people” to talk about it in any capacity.