Thursday, March 30, 2006

A Depressing Development

I knew this day was coming, but now I'm just so goddamn sad about it I can barely contain myself.

Arrested Development is no more. Fox: You've made a huge mistake.

It is one of the most brilliantly complete works of art I have ever been privy to. Every element was perfect: the cast of nine regulars (each of which whom would be the breakout star on any other sitcom) were each a perfect archetype of some sort of dysfunction. The writing was both funny and endlessly self-referential, spreading individual jokes over several episodes and even several seasons, and weaving together disparate plot elements in a way that would make Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David jealous. In order to truly comprehend its full brilliance, you had to treat it as a mini-series, watching it in order. Sure the episodes could stand alone, too, but not with the same richness that several episodes would provide. I've seen each episode at least three times and I still get things I didn't get before.

But it turns out that Arrested Development was just too good for us. We didn't deserve it. As much as I tried to pimp the DVDs out to the uninitiated, I'm afraid it was all just too little, too late. (I know, I was pretty sure that I was single-handedly going to rescue the show from cancellation. I'm shocked at my failure to do so.)

I guess why I'm so depressed on a macro-level is that it so sad to see such adept craftsmanship go unrewarded. This show, even the sub-par episodes, could cram more comedy into 22 minutes than any show I've ever seen. The artistic level is one that I had hoped would be successful to the point that it would spawn imitators, that would continue to create smart, vibrant satire that actually rewarded the viewer for paying attention. Sure there were some cheap and/or obvious jokes here and there, but for the most part the show challenged the viewer to keep up.

And maeby that's why the show never caught on. People don't like to be challenged. Don't take this as me assuming a position of artistic superiority, either. I understand it. People don't want to "work" to understand or enjoy a sitcom, and that's kind of what Arrested made us do. But each meta-joke (Bob Loblaw replacing Barry Zuckercorn, for instance), repetition (Tobias's innocently homosexual proclamations) and "callback" (look for all the foreshadowing in the episodes before Buster loses his hand) is so rewarding that I simply don't know that anyone could ever quite replicate it.

There has been talk of a movie (and if you saw the epilogue of the last episode of the show, it might not surprise you), but even that would only serve as a reminder of all the great comedy we had to miss out on due to the Neilsen ratings system. Never has so much work gone so underappreciated. I can't imagine what Mitchell Hurwitz & Co. could have created in the next 53 episodes.

I think many years from now, the show, which is now a cult hit, will be discovered, much in the way I have tried to get people to discover it: by word of mouth. And I think -- or maybe just hope -- that a decade from now, people will discover the show, maybe as an artifact of a comedy experiment that didn't catch on, but hopefully as a kind of "proto-comedy," a show that inspires talented writers and comedians to aspire to it. Maybe there are just enough people out there who watched Arrested and realized that this is what comedy can be, and maybe they will end up making Arrested the Rosetta Stone of humor, a starting point which influenced a comedy renaissance of sorts.

As it stands, I actually feel a sense of loss, which is very odd because TV and I are not that close of friends. Maybe it's a sense of injustice, like a brilliant album that nobody bought or when your favorite sports team came up just short. I was hoping against hope that they could squeeze just one or two more seasons out of it.

My one solace on this dark day is that we can re-live this triumph of art over commerce on the DVD format. (And by the way, whoever decided it would be a good idea to sell TV shows on DVD should be knighted or something.) They are teasing me saying that there is still a chance that Fox could still conceivably pick the show back up (like they did with Family Guy), if it got enough "support," i.e. DVD sales, which is probably just a carrot they are putting in front of us. But still, go buy the DVDs...

So it is to this program that I give a final "Huzzah!" The great experiment began, and sadly had to end well before its time. With any luck it will continue on in reruns on FX or Comedy Central or something, and others can be frustrated by what they had before them and chose to ignore. Like Mr. Show with Bob & David, the British version of The Office, and of course, Sledge Hammer, it was snuffed out long before its time. Until we say "Annyong" again...

The tears aren't comin'.

The tears, they just aren't comin'...

Monday, March 27, 2006


There's a girl I know by the name of TT, and she just had herself an up and down day.

On the plus side, she made it back to the blogroll after a long absence. Yes, now you have the honor of being exposed to the more than 2000 readers this little word-trap has summoned over the last year or so. (Or the same 6 people that many times. Fine, it's really me just hitting "refresh" over and over again. Happy?)

Ohhhh but on the other hand, she also climbed herself right near the top of my shit-list. She could never reach the top as long as Oprah and Bill O'Reilly are alive but she's like top 12 right now. No, top 14. She's #14 on the list.

So if it's a blogwar you want, baby, you just found it.

Unfortunately, since I don't have a picture of TT, I have to post a picture of her namesake, Oscar-winning editor Justine Wright. Here she is:

(TT, if you could just go ahead and send me a picture so I can post it and then make fun of it, that'd be great. Thanks! Hope your stomach is better!)

I suck do I? DO I????

Quite honestly, I think it's awesome that if you go to google and type in "Bill Shannon Sucks" it will lead you right here. THAT is marvelous.

Sunday, March 26, 2006


Yes, I know, I am obsessed about so many things, and most of them in a self-centered way. Some call me vain. But let's face it, when you are as embarrassingly handsome as I, you tend to meticulously pick apart every aspect of your particular "look." Anyone who knows me knows I spend about 4 hours a day on my looks. Well mother nature helps me with much of that, given that only through sleep can you achieve "bed head."

But anyway, one day, many years ago, and I don't know what day it was, I lost my eyebrows. Or at least about 80% of them. Look at the evidence.

Here is a picture of me from November 1994:

Look at those Dukakisesque, catepillar-like things. It's not like I was that fond of them, but I never realized how promient they were on my face until one day I looked in the mirror and noticed that I didn't really have any.

Look at this picture from March 2006:

Now remember, those are rimless glasses, so there is nothing being covered up. Where the hell did they go? I do have two light, wispy parentheses above my eyes right now, but a far cry from those glorious tufts of yore.

How did this happen? Does male-pattern baldness start at the eyelid? (Not that I ever have to worry about going bald, eh comrades? Eh? ... Ugh...) Did I somehow singe them off in a fire and/or electrical accident of which I was not aware? Is it stress? There isn't anything like an Eyebrow Fairy, is there? Because if so I am owed some compensation. Has anybody ever heard of this?

It's Pronounced "Uh-NALL-ruh-pist"

Fine, so I'm obsessed with a TV show that has been cancelled for over a month and only has like 53 actual episodes. Fine. I admit it. I'm the asshole.

But I'm not the only one, apparently. Two named Justin & Kyle from Progressive Boink have made the Top 25 Arrested Development Moments (and no, smart-ass, "Mr. Wendel" is not one of them). From G.O.B.'s Chicken Dance to George Michael's campaign video to J. Walter Weatherman, they are comic delights that will make you urinate all over yourself ... with hilarity! Huzzah!!!

When you have to lose something that important to you, sometimes the memories are all you have to hold onto. Aw look at us! Crying like a couple of girls...

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Welcome Back, G-MAC!

And I don't mean those bastards that finance my car.

This sonofabitch has been insane the last 72 hours. Where the hell has he been for the last year and a half???

Devo (left) gets the dish from G-Mac.


And Tourney bid???

I never would have guessed it four days ago.