We've already seen our country torn apart by senseless squabbles, seen justice get really, really perverted, and lost one of our nation's finest moderators today–isn't it time for us to finally come together? After all, this is supposed to be the year that we commit to rebuilding and strengthening as a nation, yet the news has been full of the exact opposite: impending strikes, cheap digs, hurtful comments, and giant steps backward for former pioneers who once upon a time bridged the divide. As the ironically named War asked, "Why can't we be friends?" Is it because you're so stupid? Well, if it's any consolation, we're willing to overlook that for the sake of fostering harmony. Come over here and heave those dry sobs into the warm bear hug of Friday Buzzkills. Then maybe we'll go get some ice cream. - Hey, remember how much fun we all had during the writers' strike? All those great books you finally finished, and all of the meaningful bonds you forged with your family because you weren't telling them to shut up during The Office? Remember how every week you'd click on Newswire and read some hand-wringing report stemming from some bitter soundbite offered by a picketing writer or huffy studio head? Wouldn't it be great if we could do that all over again? Well, in sequel- and remake-crazed Hollywood–whose sense of nostalgia, judging by proposed projects like this My Tutor update, has both the historical perspective of a mayfly AND doesn't factor in whether anyone actually enjoyed the original–the old is always new again, so it's already time to be looking at extending the strike franchise into a summer tentpole: According to the Alliance Of Motion Picture And Television Producers, a de facto strike "limiting the green-lighting of features and disrupting pilot production" has already begun as the June 30 end of the Screen Actor's Guild's contract looms and the threat of work stoppage becomes all the more likely. Many of those in the post-production community, still smarting from the writers' strike, characterize the possibility of a SAG strike as "catastrophic," since the possibility of working with game and reality shows–a lifesaver during the writers' strike–is out of the question, considering all of those employ SAG talent to throw to commercial break in between offering disingenuous encouragement. Luckily most of the TV shows you love are unaffected at the moment, but already many film producers are racing to wrap their projects before the deadline, or even signing guaranteed-completion agreements as a contingency plan, which leads to perhaps the biggest buzzkills of all: Strike or no strike, we're not getting rid of G.I. Joe, Transformers 2, High School Musical 3, or Lindsay Lohan's Labor Pains. Just once, couldn't they try to put a positive spin on things?
- Hey, remember how much you loved
Alvin And The Chipmunks? Wouldn't it be great to see that hollow CGI-meets-live-actor-mugging-to-two-tennis-balls-against-a-green-screen format applied to something else you used to cherish as a wee innocent babe, before postmodernism sucked all the joy out of everything? Well, in blah blah blah Hollyblah, your childhood is like Jodie Foster in The Accused, and you know, maybe it shouldn't have walked into this bar with its Smurfs hanging out. Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation have announced plans to produce an Alvin-like "hybrid" version of Belgium's original blue man group The Smurfs with a script from Shrek sequel scribes David Stem and David Weiss, all but guaranteeing that the film we be full of soon-to-be-dated pop-culture references and colored by an ironic detachment that exhausts itself trying to be "hip." And as if that weren't depressing enough, a statement from Columbia co-president Doug Belgrad ("We're very excited to introduce a new generation to Papa Smurf, Smurfette, and the other smurftastic Smurfs") offers an early glimpse of how smurfing painful its inevitable ad blitz will be. Holy smurfing smurf will it ever. - But the return of The Smurfs does have one bright side: Its vision of a utopia where people are judged according to their most accessible character traits rather than the color of their skin is an excellent model for the kind of harmony we're supposedly striving for in the Obama age. Too bad those crusty Gargamels at Fox News have to come down and spoil all our singing and dancing and harvesting smurfberries with their very un-smurfy racism: Wrapping a stellar two weeks that saw Fox News commentators making hee-larious jokes about "knocking off Obama" and anchor E.D. Hill wondering aloud if The Obamas' affectionate bump was a