New this week
SketchHistory, our new look at how some of comedy’s most famous sketches came to be, premièred this week with Mr. Show’s “Dalai Lama” and “Monk Academy.” Mr. Show alums Scott Aukerman, David Cross, Valerie Faris, and Jonathan Dayton gave us an oral history of the sketch, including lines like, “I remember David pitching the idea of slitting one of the fat kids’ throats, and we laughed at that a lot.” There will be many more of these, although we can’t promise to maintain this level of bloodthirstiness.
We also launched Not Optional, a quick guide to the five most essential pieces of pop culture each week. Consider this one of many reminders to get ready for Community next week.
- Scott Tobias got in a few more digs at Gerard Butler with his consideration of deliberately mediocre pop culture and what the “gentleman’s F” really means.
- We tried to prepare ourselves for 30 Rock’s end by looking back on its incredible last season and how it echoes The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
- Todd VanDerWerff considered whether Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood is the greatest television show ever made. Given his love of formal sweaters, we really expected Erik Adams to be the one making this argument.
- If you’re looking to get a whole lot of theme songs stuck in your head, this Inventory of 27 opening-credits sequences that evolved with their series will really help out. Excuse us, we’re going to be singing “Way Down In The Hole” for a while.
- This Was Pop returned to the Billboard Hot 100 for the first time since September only to find a collaboration from Will.i.am and Britney Spears. Genevieve Koski and Steven Hyden now know why they haven’t done this since September.
- Speaking of horrifying things, 50 Cent wrote a YA novel about a bullied, violent kid and his gay mom. Yup.
- Watch Jon Wurster hit rock bottom in a new Bob Mould video and imagine Pulp Fiction with Daniel Day-Lewis instead of John Travolta in Great Job, Internet!
- A couple of new releases made Oliver Sava ask WTF is going on at DC Comics in Big Issues.
- Nathan Rabin continued his quest to read every Kiss autobiography with Ace Frehley’s somehow bland No Regrets. We’re just disappointed none of these books come with a makeup kit for Nathan to try.
- Phil Dyess-Nugent collected 10 episodes of SCTV that make an argument for it being one of TV’s all-time greats.
- 48 Hrs. and Bullet To The Head director Walter Hill talked to us about how all of his movies are based on the premise that “the jokes are funny, but the bullets are real.”
- We know the recent cinema-scape has been less than great, but this list of 17 salvageable flops from the late-winter dumping ground will at least remind you that greatness is possible during this time. Even if it doesn’t appear to be happening right now.
- A Very Special Episode enjoys the appeal of The Avengers’ lascivious vision of Britishness.
- Erik Adams checked in on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries in 15 Minutes Or Less to check out a new, much shorter way to tell the 200-year-old story.
- A wacky murder-musical? From Takashi Miike? Yeah, we had some positive things to say about The Happiness Of The Katakuris.
What are we arguing about this week
AVQ&A published a mere 17 hours ago, but it looks like it’s already managed to annoy quite a few of you. We’re sorry, sometimes certain pieces of pop culture can seem too extensive for us to get started with. Josh Modell hasn’t been avoiding Buffy to punish you specifically. These things just happen.
See: Well, new documentaries Koch and The Gatekeepers both earned good grades. But we can’t quite recommend everyone run out and see Stand Up Guys, or even Warm Bodies. If you’re a Walter Hill fan though, you may enjoy Bullet To The Head.
Read: Bipolar disorder gets an internal examination in Juliann Garey’s sometimes harrowing debut, Too Bright To Hear Too Loud To See.
Listen to: Tegan And Sara fire up the wayback machine and take us to electropop heaven on Heartthrob, and noise-rock supergroup Tomahawk finds its feet on Oddfellows.
Watch: If you haven’t already watched and bawled along with 30 Rock’s flawless finale, we obviously suggest that you do that right now. And then maybe start over again with the first episode. If you need to something to watch between all of those episodes, Netflix is delivering all of House Of Cards, its new political, Kevin Spacey-starring thriller today. Here’s our review of the first episode.