Sunday, November 14, 2010

Worst Game of Concentration Ever

So picture this. You're cleaning out your entire house to prepare for a move across the country and into a smaller apartment. So you're getting rid of roughly a third of everything you own and trying desperately to ensure that what's left is clean, neatly packed, and organized. During this process you have come across approximately 50,000 of those little button cards that come with every piece of clothing you've ever bought. Generally your policy is to throw the little bastards out or into a box for Goodwill, your logic being that if you ever needed such a button, you would never, ever find it again and you would end up replacing all the buttons anyway. But today you recognize one of these 50,000 buttons as coming off your favorite sweater, and you decide to save that button somewhere very safe.

And a day later the sweater shows up with a broken button. Quick! Where did you put the button? In this chaos that is your household in the middle of a move, where is a single, tiny button?

I don't like this game. Not at all.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Suggestion for Conan

Get better closed caption transcription. George Takei did not play Mr. Zolo.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Chuck is Really On a Roll

I've been having a hard time reading Chuck's vanity cards at the end of Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and Mike & Molly. At first I thought this was because the print was getting smaller, but now I realize I'm just getting old. It's a shame because he's been writing some awesome cards:
The number one rule of human behavior might be "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." But the number two rule is "people who try to exert moral authority tend to be hypocritical $#*! heads."
Chuck Lorre Productions #308
The last presidential election proved that we are capable of change.

The following two years proved that while we are capable of change, we won't.
Chuck Lorre Productions #299
To each of these, may I respond, "Word, Chuck. Word."

This reassured me, because many of my inner voices are more than a little douchey, and it's nice to know I'm not alone:
...perhaps more important than do's and don't's is learning to trust in the mysterious power of intuition. The soft inner voice that guides you to a better outcome than experience and logic could ever provide. This is what I call the Zen of Sitcom. The willingness to allow transcendence to play a part in the making of a TV show. Try it sometime in your own job. It can be the source of great inspiration. A word of warning though: it's not foolproof. If your business collapses or you wind up getting fired, you're probably hearing the same voice I listened to when I created Grace Under Fire, Cybill and four or five TV pilots that now function as landfill. If it's possible, try not to listen to that one. As inner voices go, it's kind of a douche.
Chuck Lorre Productions #306, Zen and the Art of Sitcom

I found this one a fascinating glimpse into the world of sitcom censorship:
Five days before tonight's episode was to air, I was informed by a high-ranking CBS exec that the swastika armband on the hot, crazy girl and the Hitler/Charlie Chaplin mustache on Alan were unacceptable for broadcast. In other words, eighteen years after Seinfeld went to a Neo-Nazi rally, forty-two years after Mel Brooks unveiled "Springtime for Hitler," forty-five years after Hogan's Heroes, and seventy-five years after Bugs Bunny and Donald Duck poked fun at the Third Reich, some genius at CBS who will remain anonymous (Marty Franks), decided that Two and a Half Men had crossed a line.
Chuck Lorre Productions #301, Censored
Well, when you put it that way, it certainly does seem absurd.

Two and a Half Men is sort of starting to get on my nerves (Alan is as unlikable as Charlie at this point, and my favorite characters--Evelyn, Berta and Charlie's therapist--really shouldn't be my favorites and have way too little screen time), but I'm a huge fan of BBT, and Mike and Molly seems sweet so far. As a longtime fan, I'm just thrilled to see so much Chuck-Lorre-branded entertainment available, and I'm looking forward to joining the promised Church of Chuck. I'm kind of hoping we can send a mannequin to church while we sleep in:

Thursday, November 04, 2010

It's Just Sick

We've now been locked in a room for JAD* sessions every morning for two weeks.  There is (naturally) an enormous bag of candy.  It has gotten to the point where all candy-related communication is exclusively nonverbal.  

Kara: [Points to bag of candy.]
Martin (who is next to the bag of candy): [Digs through bag of candy looking for Kara's favorite candy. Offers a Reese's peanut butter cup.]
Kara: [Facial expression reflects a certain lack of enthusiasm.]
Martin: [Throws peanut butter cup back into bag.  Offers box of Milk Duds]
Kara: [cups hands]
Martin: [throws candy]

This whole candy-related subtext is going on all day long.  My manager can't keep away from the bag of candy for more than five minutes at a time.  When he walks into the room he sits down and then immediately stands back up and walks over to the candy.  He is pretty skinny, but if he keeps this up he may start to look like the rest of us.

I like to think that the candy facilitates communication. All the other communication in the room is fraught with a certain amount of tension and anxiety.  I think having a parallel conversation going on that's comparatively trivial gives people who represent opposing views or interest groups an opportunity to interact in a friendly way, thus greasing the wheels for consensus on the stuff that matters.

Or maybe I just like candy.

*JAD = Joint Application Design.  This means we lock everyone in a room--Business Analysts, technical folks, and human end-users--and don't let them out until they've designed a system that we think will work.  Candy and caffeine are frequent guests at JAD sessions.  Management typically stops by the room periodically to throw in fresh candy and hose us down with coffee and then locks the door again and wanders off.