Well I Discovered a Cartoon Called Adventure Time and Everybody Already Knows About it

So the title of this piece pretty much says what happened; I just found out about Adventure Time. And I like it. I’m not sure why and I’m not super dooper crazy about it. But generally I like it. I mean, it’s no Fullmetal Alchemist but it’s waaaaaay better than most animated American shows made for kids.

Here’s the deal; looking back I’d say I like a lot of cartoon shoes about boys with magical powers and/or doing adventures. It probably started for me with Prince Planet. Back in the day that was MY SHOW! And yeah Clutch Cargo and Johnny Quest were a lot of fun-but I think even then I understood that shows were crazy informative with real facts and that left a lasting impression. Hence my degree in Anthropology.

But even in recent years I’ve gravitated to super boy type shows. Dexter’s Lab, Danny Phantom, Ben 10 and of course Fullmetal. Hell, maybe I want/ed to BE a super boy.

At any rate Finn and Jake on Adventure time represent a real departure from even the shows I listed. I’d honestly have to say it captures ACTUAL young people’s state of mind most accurately. I mean, looking back on my youth I think that’s how I thought when I was 11-13. And that’s certainly one of my favorite age for girls; its before they get sexual and self-conscious and they’re still loud and full of energy and can still run and jump rope and they’re funny and make funny faces. That all disappears by 14 for them. And in boys, they’re not quite ready to get in the chest pounding he-man fist fights but they’re brave enough to go on little adventures and try stunts. But they still sorta, kinda believe in magical of fantasy type reality. They haven’t quite closed the door on the realm of the spooky. And parents usually let them run around alone a little. In this era of abduction that’s sort of going away, but generally moms and dads will let them run around out of sight so kids that age can still do little adventures.

So this show seems to catch that spirit. I mean there’s a lot of funny voices, and yelling and screaming and wailing and every little thing is GIANT. Plus they use tons and tons of hip lingo, just like real kids. So it feels real. And let’s not even talk about the romance. All the romance that’s going on is this conflicted and confused and unrequited stuff. I think that tone the show goes with really captures that brief time in our lives very well.

Anyway, here’s a link to the pilot episode.

Mr. Box Office and The First Family Are Byron Allen’s Squandering Talent

Byron, Byron, Byron. Even your name foreshadows your character. So about a month or 2 back I put a few comments on the forum section of the Internet Movie Database about these 2 show I accidentally stumbled across. The shows were so bad, but the people were so famous I was confused. I mean, I was asking myself, are these new shows? Old? New, but produced overseas or something? I just couldn’t figure out what the deal was. So I went to IMDb to try and figure out what was going on.

The 2 shows are new AND they’ve already been given a 100 episode greenlight. That could be 4 or more CALENDAR years that these shows are on the air. As bad as they are, So down below you can see my reasoning on how and why this happened. But right now I’d like to talk about the squandering issue.

You see, both of these shows feature large cast or relatively well known and strong performers. But they’re terrible shows. The word “hack” comes to mind. You know those punch lines you see coming a mile away and those plot twist you see26 minutes in advance. I mean, you can figure out a whole episode as soon as they come on. And it’s just hard, hard, hard to believe that somebody saw these and said, “Yes! In fact give me BOTH shows.”

 

Well, the key to the groan level quality is Byron Allen.

UPDATE. Can you believe since I wrote this article, I”ve had a good look at my stats, and it’s funny as hell. In fact it’s the funniest thing about Byron; the people searching for information about his shows can’t believe how bad his stuff is. Check out this search string right below. The funny thing on TOP of the funny thing is that my page is the 35th result.

Byron Allen awful

It’s weird, during the 80’s Byron and Arsenio had a sort of neck and neck thing going in terms of their acts; a sort of non-threatening “isn’t that strange” take on things. But Arsenio zigged and Byron zagged and they had totally different careers.

Byron just kind of stayed in that bland, ho-hum type humor. When it’s just him, his humor doesn’t hurt so bad, but once an entire show, with a full cast, is built around what he thinks is funny–it just doesn’t result in belly laughs.

Looking back, Byron disappeared for a looooong time, then it seemed like he came up with the idea “if I can’t BE in showbiz I can get a press pass, interview people, and at least share the screen with people who ARE in showbiz.” And he did that for a while, sold that interview show in syndication, built up his bank account, met a bunch of people and built up a track record.

Cut to a few years later, he came up with the comedy round table show where HE didn’t have to be funny, just host funny comics. So he did that for a while and then decided to go for the Tyler Perry sit-com model. And now we’ve got Byron producing this sit-com and the equally painful to watch First Family.

So I give the man an A+ for sticking to it all these years. But a solid D for execution. Given his history and knowledge of the industry, for him to have put that much effort into casting but NOT into writers is criminal. And why I agree with the thread’s main point-this won’t last long.

Later I said

well, I did say the guy had a serious knowledge of the industry. So I’m guessing he worked some incredible deal; like maybe cutting production cost to the bone and showing stats to prove it would still be profitable. Then getting the 100 episode commitment to convince the actors to get on board.

“It has been cleared in more than 85% of the U.S. Entertainment Studios first shot pilots for the sitcoms, which are getting initial orders of 104 episodes each.”
http://www.deadline.com/2012/05/byron-allens-entertainment-studios-clears-syndicated-sitcom-block-for-fall-12-launch/

But it’s shocking and insulting that enough people would collectively push this kind of crap on viewers. It’s really insulting and pretty much says “they’ll watch anything.” But who knows, maybe there’s a master plan to get REALLY good by episode 99.

Breaking Amish. Entertaining But Very Depressing

I’m not sure if I’ve ever described a TV show that way, but that’s probably the most concise and accurate way to go in this case. So you probably “get” the entertaining part but you’re wondering about the depression angle. Well tonight’s the last night AND the after show so my pain is at an end.

Well, I’ll tell you; it’s the lying and hypocrisy. That’s just so sad to see. As you may or may not know The Learning Channel, AKA, TLC has been running a Sunday night hour long cinema verite “reality show” called Breaking Amish. The show follows 5 young people, 3 females and 2 males, who have decided to test the waters outside the Amish community for a period of time that appears to be about a month long. One of the females is from a similar-to-Amish religious community called Mennonites.

It is part of the Amish way, from the little I know, to allow young people to basically leave the community and go live among non-Amish. They call the rest of America “the English” and obviously this term dates back to when they first got here and so the big divide in those times was not just religion but part of that early American language division. A time when Dutch was just one of many languages that immigrants spoke when they arrived. These days most people who come here already speak English. And American English to boot.

So that’s my standard show description. But basically it’s MTV’s “the Real World; Amish Edition.” Because they’re taken to NYC and put up in a place they probably couldn’t afford for very long and then followed around with cameras recording the same junk that all young people do. Romance, wondering about the future, fighting and drinking.

Now, obviously the big deal here is that these guys are coming from a place of VERY low technology. And have to learn about not just computers and cell phones but elevators, coffee machines and electronic room keys. But there are other things they experiment in our modern culture like tattoos and piercings.

So what’s the problem?
Well, listen I’m not going to recap all 10 episodes but what CONSISTENTLY happens is the display by the 5 of lying and hypocrisy. And it so sad because they “free.” I mean, they got “out” for all intents and person and are able to make decisions for themselves. So to see them fall back on clearly what is standard behavior within the Amish while being OUTSIDE the Amish is just sad. Now let’s be real. They’re very young people. With 8th grade educations. So nobody is expected deep and philosophical paradigm sifts. But to repeat the very behavior they claim to be trying to get away from is just a lack of self-awareness that’s hard to watch.

IT all starts when the group is initially talking about this Kate person they’ve heard about but haven’t met. They’ve hears she’s attractive. And she is. I’d say she has more than a passing similarity to my own girlfriend-also very good looking. But they start also hearing how she’s all “stuck up.” So they’ve pre-judged her And of course they see that quality in her despite it not being there. She is not only humble, but possible the ONLY cast member that regularly defends the Amish ways!

And by the way this “judging” issue comes up a lot. Both Rebecca and Sabrina are constantly screaming Don’t Judge Me! And yet they never, never stop doing it. Comical. Well, tinged with sadness. Because both of those young ladies have terrible situations WITHIN the Amish and Mennonite community. Rebecca has an absent and adulterous father and Sabrina is adopted. So they’re both tainted if you will by their standards. Plus Rebecca has no fucking teeth. I mean she actually had her damn teeth taken from her. Crazy.

But staying with the Rebecca issue; she gets involved with Abe-to the point that they decided to get married. But turns out she was ALREADY married and divorced. And she saw nothing wrong with hiding this fact, i.e. a lie of omission.

Sabrina pulls a similar lie near the end of the series by revealing she was involved with some other guy. And if the hinting is accurate-she and Jeremiah get sexually involved. And no big deal I guess, since they’re over 18 and they too were both in marriages that ended.

Let’s stick with these 2 for a second. Jeremiah turns out to be a true sleazball. He is not just a little on the sexual side (which I’m actually cool with but he’s just clumsy and loud about it) but he is very, and I mean very, manipulative. And he engineers all kinds of devious and nasty business.

Similarly, Sabrina fabricates a pretty odd “witch” accusation against Kate. I’m talking Cotton Mathers old school accusation.

Kate of course has the best chance at a post Amish life. She’s pretty enough to actually get into a modeling agency and starts going out on calls. But you know the world, even if she doesn’t make it as a model, being attractive is a pretty good lock on better opportunities. But here’s the catch; she’s also model crazy. There is some footage of here not just drinking until she’s totally out of it, but these very odd private moments of recording herself. Way weird. Oh and by the way, turns out she was hiding a drinking and driving arrest record. I still don’t know where that mysterious arrest report came from. That’s like, the only real puzzler I saw on that entire show.

Finally Abe goes home, they kick him out. More specifically, his bother does. The reason is that he’s doing non-Amish stuff. So guess who shows up at the party and gets a lap dance? Mr. pious-ass brother.

So virtually every single one of them on the show lies and proves to be a solid hypocrite-even when given a chance to make a clean break from their insular culture. I guess, I was just hoping they lived a little better than all of us who live SUPER non-religious lives. NOPE. People are people.