Off the Edge: Lots of Pretty, Pretty Ones…

Off the Edge

I recently went on a BBC TV binge. I watched a lot of great, strange shows that seem to come out of the UK. I went back to one of my favorites, Spaced, and while on my Frost and Pegg marathon I found the show Hyperdrive and became incredibly addicted to that, even though, like Spaced, it’s a very short series.

While watching both of these shows it occurred to me that these kinds of TV shows would never be made in the same way in the states… Nick Frost, while a great lead and a terrific comic talent, just doesn’t seem like the kind of show runner they like in the states. Nick is a husky guy with irregular teeth. The female lead, Miranda Hart, is a very tall woman, also pretty husky. The other male lead, Kevin Eldon, is a thin, balding man. I started to wonder how this show would be cast if it had been made in the US. Replace Nick Frost with Matt Bomer, Miranda Hart with Nina Dobrev, and Kevin Eldon with Misha Collins. The comedic timing and talent of the original cast replaced by people more pretty and photogenic performers.

The three principles in the BBCs Hyperdrive

The same goes for Spaced Simon Pegg and Jessica Hynes replaced with Josh Lawson and Sara Rue younger, sexier people. Despite the fact that the original story of Spaced kind of had them as 20-something losers.

The Cast of the UK Spaced

Watching those two shows made me wonder where all the regular people are in US TV and films. I know a lot of people who watch shows or go to movies just because they like the way the actors and actresses look. It got me thinking, where are all the “normal” looking people in TV shows and movies? Of course “normal” is very subjective but few people would consider Zoe Saldana, Jennifer Aniston, and Kate Beckensale as “normal;” all of them definitely holding firm positions on the “extremely attractive” to “absurdly attractive” on the physical appearance scale. Shows like Burn Notice, True Blood, Arrow, Supernatural, they may all be great shows with good performances…but are just full very un-normally “pretty people.” Grizzled soldiers, hardened prisoners, brilliant scientists, and slacker losers are all the same chiseled-jawed guys and slim fit girls.

Natalie Portman: Your typical Scientist…

Of course British TV isn’t better in every case, and I don’t watch much TV in general, but I’m hard pressed to think of a US TV show that isn’t chocked full of American Apparel models with Blue Steel expressions and full, pouty lips. Almost universally. Even when a show is built around a personality the rest of it is cast with hot eye candy as friends and family.

Gerard Butler as Attila the Hun…who was likely of Mongol Origin… That’s authentic…

The entertainment industry has become an almost entirely visual medium. Yes of course music is an auditory art, however since at least the advent of film, if not the advent of public performance in general, the visual impact of a performer is often significantly more important than their musical talent…and we all pretty much know it.

As someone who considers himself to operate essentially on the “normal” side of the physical appearance meter it struck me how little of “normal” we see and makes me wonder how much talent goes untapped in the market due to a performer’s appearance. Every piece of our entertainment is now designed wholly to appeal to the attractiveness of the individuals involved. I’d like to see a “return to normalcy” in media. Where talent, personality, and ability makes a show great. The last time I can think of a show not fully stocked with the beautiful people it was Roseanne; a show that started in 1988 and ended almost 20 years ago! I’d say we’re long overdue for a move away from all the beautiful people.

A Love Letter to Psych

I received some bad news this week. To most, this may seem silly or dumb, but to me this was momentarily Earth shattering. Wednesday night, Psych announced this would be the last season. Five episodes left, and they’re done.

I cannot express how much this hurt. I have followed a show since day one, and I wasn’t even sure I would like it. It originally followed Monk, which was a hard show to follow. I loved Monk, and Psych looked a little too goofy for me. Oh, was I wrong.

I’ve wanted to review Psych or at least talk about my favorite episodes for awhile, but it never felt right. I hold it so close to my heart that it’s hard to put into words. I never felt that I could express why this show is so awesome or why it means so much to me.

Therefore, I’m writing my love letter to Psych. I can’t write this after the final episode because I will be a bumbling mess, and sometimes you have to ram an issue head on and never look back. I hope you enjoy what the show means to me…

  • It always makes me laugh. Unless you know me well, this isn’t easy. Psych never lets me down, and it always cheers me up. I have rewatched every episode dozens of times, and I laugh every time. There’s no rhyme or reason to it – sometimes it’s a facial expression, sometimes a one-liner, or even a nickname for Gus. The show isn’t afraid to be silly, and it embraces randomness. We need to laugh often, and Psych brings me happiness in the darkest times.
  • It’s my escape. I’m a full-time everything and work a lot. I seldom have free time, much less undisturbed alone time. Psych is that for me. I don’t want to be talked to or interrupted; that’s my hour to lose myself and relax. I binge watch to get lost and go to a place that’s simple and familiar. I can shut out the rest of the world and not think.
  • It speaks to my generation. So few shows aim at my age group, and the ones that do are very nichey. Psych covers everything from horror movies to wrestling to 80s movies to 90s pop culture. It’s almost impossible to get every reference, and you can rewatch them and pick up new ones. My favorites are the tributes to horror movies (Tuesday the 17th, The Devil in the Upstairs Bedroom, Here’s Lassie, etc.), and I’m not ashamed to say I have watched Tuesday the 17th every Tuesday the 17th since the episode aired, no matter what.
  • It’s love. When you truly love something, you should show it. I have a pillow, hoodie, two sets of PJs, slippers, bobble heads, two pineapples, etsy models, all seasons on DVD, and a shirt. Most of those were gifts, but my friends and family know that Psych is a straight path to my heart. I’m mildly obsessed and proud of it.

Psych pillow

With that said, I will miss the show terribly, but I will always cherish it. Psych has made me laugh, cry, and scream for joy. I want to thank the cast and team who made a great show – one that I have looked forward to for the last eight years. I wish the cast and crew all the best, and hope they continue to brighten up the world. It is with a heavy heart that I say goodbye, but as Chaucer said, “There is an end to everything, to good things as well.”

RevPub Christmas Special Favorites: Part 2

Merry Christmas from Revenant Publications!

If you’re reading this, you must have needed a break from the chaos and holiday cheer. I’m happy to help! In the spirit of the season, here’s my continuation from yesterday’s Christmas specials list:

A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965): I’m mean like Lucy and think Snoopy is the most smart-ass dog ever, so of course this is on my list. This is the only Peanuts special I really enjoy, and it’s message is very sweet. In fact, James even found a “tree” that reminded me of the one the kids took home and loved. The music is fun, too, and it’s a heart-warming little special that delivers a great message.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966): My amazing grandmother used to read this book to us all the time. It’s a terrific story and probably my favorite Christmas special. The Grinch and I are a lot alike: our shoes are too tight, our hearts are two sizes too small, and we hate the whole Christmas season. And like the story goes, our hearts grow, we see the meaning of the season, and have the twinkle in our eye. The TV special comes alive with wonderful, catchy songs and colorful images, and who can forget the Grinch’s evil grin?

Wings – A Terminal Christmas (1990), Twas the Heist Before Christmas (1995), All About Christmas Eve (1996): Wings is one of my favorite shows ever, and I don’t get to work it in nearly enough! The Christmas specials are fun and quirky and real. There’s not much fake Christmas cheer – it’s like watching a group of people deal with the holidays with jokes and lots of sarcasm. Families annoy them and people freak out. Of course, shenanigans occur but everything works out in the end, in its own way.

Spongebob – Christmas Who? (2000) and Fairly Odd Parents Christmas Every Day (2001): Being a parent rocks most of the time, and I’ve enjoyed these gems with my son for years. Once Spongebob learns about Christmas, he tries to bring it to Bikini Bottom. Squidward is the Scrooge character, and it is a fun episode with lots of good songs and sweetness. In Fairly Odd Parents, Timmy wishes every day is Christmas and the repercussions of that wish are awesome. His parents become slugs, the other holidays riot against Santa, and the fairies lose their powers because they have to give them to Santa. The people are exhausted as they sing, “On the 15th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” Both shows are great for kids and adults.

Psych – Gus’ Dad May Have Killed an Old Guy (2007), Christmas Joy (2008), The Polarizing Express (2010): It’s hard for me to pick a favorite from these three; they’re all good for their own reasons. If you haven’t seen Psych and enjoy random fun with a little crime fighting, you should check it out. These specials stand alone, and all are SO funny. One of my favorite consistent themes is the competition between Shawn and his dad to guess what they got for Christmas. There’s nothing like a little game to spice up the holidays!

We hope everyone has a wonderful and safe holiday! Eat lots of food and laugh – it’s almost over!

10 Halloween Specials: RevPub Picks

They just don’t make Halloween specials like they used to… And to honor the great tricks and spooks of the season, we’ve compiled our 10 favorite Halloween specials for your reading pleasure. Feel free to click on the links to watch an episode, and we hope you enjoy this eerie trip down memory lane. We sure did!

James’ Picks

Disney’s Halloween Treat (1982) –This special was essentially an amalgamation of several Disney shorts.  I distinctly remember the Night on Bald Mountain from Fantasia; the Skeleton Dance, which is STILL an incredible piece of music and animation; Donald Duck and the Gorilla, which has some incredible classic humor, gags, and fun cartoon scares; and my favorite, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. Disney’s version remains the most impactful, potent, and well-choreographed version of this story I’ve ever seen.  Disney may get some stick for being an oversized profit-factory now, but this special shows how effective and talented Disney Studio was, especially in the ’20s-’40s.

Garfield’s Halloween Adventure  (1985) – This Halloween special was the special-to-end-all-specials for me as a kid.  I still say “candy-candy-candy-candy-candy” whenever candy is present, and I still get a BIT creeped out by the old man telling the pirate story.  This was the peak of Garfield’s might – I had the plushes, stickers, and books including the comic book version of this episode!  I still love the lazy orange cat, and it’s one of the rare comic strips I’ll stop to read.  This special was by far one of the best single-episode specials (it wasn’t an episode of Garfield and Friends, it aired in prime time every season) ever and remains an absolute favorite.

Roseanne “BOO!” (1989)  – Roseanne had some of the best TV Halloween episodes, but this one is by far my favorite.  When I looked it up to get the title, I had no idea it also had been nominated for awards and was the FIRST Halloween episode they ever did.  I remember it as one of the most fun Halloween family environments I’d seen on TV.  Dan and Roseanne have a “who’s scarier” competition that escalates throughout the episode (from fake injuries, to a roaring chainsaw, to a TRULY terrifying conclusion I won’t dare ruin!), and they happily play pranks on their kids and each other.  It’s the TV-show budget version of the kinds of things my family did for Halloween.  I still love it.

Simpsons – “Treehouse of Horror “ Episodes 1-8 (1990-2002) – It is IMPOSSIBLE to pick a favorite Simpsons Halloween special.  From the first one that taught me Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven when I was 9, to The Shinning, to The Homega Man, these episodes were full of some of the funniest moments the show ever produced.  They’re lack of continuity and fantasy-world nature meant they could get away with anything in them.  Major characters died, fourth walls were broken, and horror conventions spoofed.  Many cartoons since have tried to follow the format, and some have been good, but not as good.  The Simpsons ran their course for me by Season 9, but the first eight episodes of “Treehouse of Horror” are still hilarious for any fan of the horror genre.

AVGN Halloween  (2006-2013, so far!) – It’s hard to pick, but I may have to go with Friday 13thNightmare on Elm Street NES game reviews with a close second being the Dracula and Frankenstein reviews.  I had that Nightmare on Elm Street game, and it was one of the first AVGN episodes I saw (after Ghostbusters and TMNT, games I had as well, though I had Ghostbusters on the Atari Computer).  I had the exact same experience as James Rolfe while playing the Nightmare game, and he not only Captures the mood of the season but also the true strangeness and awfulness of the game.  The Halloween-Texas Chainsaw Massacre Atari episodes, Ghostbusters run, the Castlevania-thon, and Ghost n Goblins are all also amazing Halloween/Video Game entertainment.

Raven’s Picks

Home Improvement “The Haunting of Taylor House” (1992) – I never watched Home Improvement much, but I managed to catch their Halloween shows. This family was the tamer version of Roseanne’s but still fun. I always remember thinking how cool it would be to have a family Halloween, like the Connors and Taylors. It’s hard to beat the costumes, makeup, and insults that fly around in those houses. In this episode Tim builds a haunted house downstairs, and the costumes are hilarious. Poor Raggedy Andy. For a less kiddie episode, check out “Crazy for You” and watch Tim squirm as the secretive Rose sets out to win Tim’s heart. Bum, bump, bum, bump…

Dawson’s Creek Four Scary Stories” and “Living Dead Girl” (2001-2002) – Thanks to my recent binge watching of the show, I came across these little teen-gems. The choice is tough because there were only two Halloween-type episodes, and both were done well. “Four Scary Stories” is exactly that, and a couple are pretty intense for a teen show as they deal with stalking and road rage. “Living Dead Girl” is more traditional by taking place at a costume party on a “haunted” movie set during a costume party. “Four Scary Stories” is creepier and mood-based, and the other is more action-packed. Both are super fun though, and you’ll see a very young Jensen Ackles from Supernatural!

Hey Dude “Ghost Stories” (1996) – Ok, you can tell I’m a sucker for ghost stories and teens. In this episode, the teens play tricks and tell stories to try to one-up each other, especially Brad and Ted. The kids work in several urban legends, and it’s harmless Nick teen fun. Any Hey Dude fan will love this episode. The acting isn’t great, and it’s silly, but it’s of fun with cheesy effects. Even severed hands…

Rugrats “Candy Bar Creep Show” (1992) – Remember Reptar Bars? The delicious chocolate bars filled with green sugary ooze. This is one of the first Rugrats and super cute. The babies learn all about Halloween and wander around trying to get a Reptar bar. They’re too small to go trick-or-treating, but it doesn’t stop them from getting candy!

Psych “Tuesday the 17th” (2009) – I’m kind of cheating with this one, but this episode had to be on my list for three reasons: 1) It’s an awesome tribute to Friday the 13th; 2) I have watched this episode 50 times, and I’m not exaggerating; 3) It’s one of the best Psychs ever. Tuesday the 17th mixes comedy, classic slasher horror, and Psych antics to create a show I must watch every year when I need a good laugh or a good scare. It’s not a traditional Halloween show, but you have to give it props of clean writing, suspense, and a twist. Because there’s always a twist. BWAHAHAHA….

Why You Should Watch Shark Tank

Season five of Shark Tank premiered this week, and to say I was excited would be an understatement.

The cast of Shark Tank
Photo by:

After months of waiting for the new season, I snuggled into my spot on the couch and tuned in. I’m not a fan of reality TV, but something about Shark Tank resonated with me a few years ago. I remember my husband watching one day, and after watching for a few, I was hooked. But why?

Shark Tank is about the American dream of owning your own business and building its success. It’s about everyday people who dream big, create a product or service, and try to get it out to the masses. And of course, it’s about making money.

I think we’ve all fantasized about being our own boss and working our own schedule. Some of us are bored with our jobs, some of us have great ideas, and some know there’s more to life than working 8-5 Monday through Friday for the rest of our lives. Shark Tank gives us hope.

The Show

I won’t bore you with a full review, so here’s a quick summary: Entrepreneurs deliver a quick presentation and try to convince the five investors to join in their venture. Sound boring? I thought so too. I was wrong.

The show’s perfect mix of drama and reality make it a must-see. The Sharks can be ruthless but fair. They sometimes do fight over a business or product, but it’s usually when something is a really great idea or really successful. Other times, there are some really bad ones, and it’s pretty entertaining to watch the presenter get eaten alive.

Life Lessons

Shark Tank is on our list of Inspiration and Resources because it’s a reminder that with hard work, long hours, and dedication you can achieve your goals. Some of my favorite success stories are those business that received an investment, allowing them to expand and create new jobs in our country.

The Sharks are funny, sympathetic, and real investors who give good advice to small business owners – whether they receive an investment or not. Sometimes they’re wrong, but that’s the beauty of the show. At the very least, the entrepreneurs benefit from appearing on the show by also presenting in front of millions of people.

I face palm at least once during the show from either a horrible idea or from asking myself, “Why didn’t I think of that?!” Watching the show inspires me to figure out what I want to do with my life. I keep a list of ideas and products. I don’t talk myself out of anything, and I know the only person holding me back is me.

If you haven’t seen the show, you should give it a shot to at least see some products and ideas people like you have developed into a business plan. You never know what you’ll achieve if you set your mind to it.

Enjoy a sample of the show!

How to be a Good Fan: Wrap Up

Off the Edge

It has been a longer series than I planned, but it helped get some of the frustrations I’ve experienced just being a fan in the current day and age.  As a wrap up, I thought I’d do summation, kind of a quick-n-easy guide to being a good fan.

1.)    Be Accepting, Not Exclusionist:  It’s hard to become a fan of something if people who are already fan exclude you and deride you for not having been a fan as long as they have.  Would you, as a neophyte, want such derision?  If you are criticizing them for not being experts as neophytes, you are now part of the problem.

2.)    Be Discerning for Personal Tastes, but Not Judgmental:  It’s good to be critical and desire the “best” of things, but nothing’s perfect.  And just because something isn’t your cup of tea doesn’t mean it’s bad.

3.)    Constructive Criticism, Please:  Be critical.  Please everyone be critical — don’t just accept what’s been given to you — but be constructive in criticism.  If it’s bad, how could it be better? If it could use improvement, how? If you don’t like it, why?  If enough people say the same thing, maybe it can become something you’ll enjoy.

4.)    Debate, Don’t Argue:  Debating is very healthy for an active mind.  Arguing is personal and taps into aggression.  NOTHING you can be a fan of is worth real rage.  Even the things I love the most I wouldn’t defend with violence.  Even verbal violence.  Would you win new fans that way?

5.)    The Impermanence of All Things:  Possibly most important, remember the impermanence of ALL the things we love.  What we’re fans of today, we may not like tomorrow.  The most important thing to our brains may only hold that position for a brief period.  Before ending friendships, making new enemies, acting like a petulant child over the things we’re fans of, remember it’s just a thing that we like right now.

Of course there are many aspects to being a “good fan” and, of course, many opinions.  It seems strange to think it all comes down to, “can’t we all just get along?” but hanging around the Internet long enough has gotten me to this point!  I think we CAN all get along.  I think various kinds of fans CAN get along, and many kinds of fans can exist within one person — you can be a fan of games, electronic entertainment, sports, literature, history, natural science, etc.  I know you can be, because I am a fan of aspects of all those things.  And if someone wanted to debate them or learn about them, I’d be happy to participate!

I feel sure there will be more topics on fandom that come up, and you can be sure I’ll be happy to post about them!  Until then, I hope everyone makes the Internet a better place to be a fan!