Rip the Pearl Necklace

I just watched Gotham on Fox.

After an hour on Twitter, discussing everything I liked (and hated) about the premiere with a buncha strangers I decided to come here, stand on my soapbox and rant a bit.

What the fuck, Fox?

Seriously?

The original logline for the show, the basic premise that intrigued me, AND THE WHOLE INTERNET, was: Gotham City before Batman. A police procedural set in the seediest, most corrupt, crime infested city.

The idea was intriguing. “But who would watch a Batman show without Batman?” I heard a ton of people who weren’t hardcore fans of the universe ask.

Smart people. That’s who.

I wanted to see a few good cops trying to go up against a corrupt system, just trying their best when even the highest ranking officials in the city are on the mob’s payroll. I wanted to see characters only tangentially related to Batman because Gotham City itself should’ve been the main character.

I’ll argue that Gotham City is Batman’s true nemesis, more so than any of the Rogue’s Gallery. Gotham killed his parents and Gotham never changes despite all his efforts to clean it up.

Having a dark, gritty series that showcases just how fucked up a place Gotham is would have given us a better appreciation for everything Batman does in his Sisyphean quest for justice.

“But Josh, you foolish asshole,” I hear you screaming. “How do you make that interesting to the average viewer?”.

The same way that DC Comics has been doing it for almost 80 years! Good writing and interesting characters.

They have so much lore to borrow from. They could’ve stolen from the best and it would’ve been completely within their rights. Take a bit from Grant Morrison, a huge chunk of Geoff Johns’ Earth One, add a dash of Scott Snyder for flavour and the makings of an awesome show are apparent right from the start.

Make Thomas and Martha Wayne THE MAIN CHARACTERS.

At least for Season 1. You make Tom an idealistic physician with political aspirations. Everyday when he drives past the Solomon Wayne Court House on his way to work at the Alan Wayne Memorial Hospital he can’t help but feel like the city that his ancestors built is going to hell and he’s doing nothing to stop it. So he runs for mayor hoping to right some wrongs.

Meanwhile Martha Wayne (who in this version was born Martha Arkham) struggles with mental illness. It’s a Gotham urban legend that her father went insane and murdered her mother when she was a girl so the people of Gotham all gossip in hushed tones about how all members of the Arkham family are crazy. Going all the way back to when Jeremiah Arkham built the famed Arkham Asylum for his insane daughter, mental illness is suspected to be heredity in the Arkham bloodline.

Martha’s dependance on Lithium and her dangerous bouts of manic depression are a huge scoop for the gossip magazines and threaten to derail Tom’s mayoral campaign. So she puts on a happy facade and plays the doting wife all the while she’s terrified that her genes have poisoned the mind of her young son who is already displaying sociopathic tendencies that she hides from her husband. She doesn’t want him to see any doctors because if is is diagnosed then she can’t keep living in denial that he’s a normal little boy.

The whole season is about the campaign leading up to election. The mob wants the incumbent Mayor to win and the throughline of the show is a plot to murder Thomas if he wins, but to leave him and his family alone if they can force him to drop out of the race through intimidation, or just steal the election all together.

Jim Gordon, who is still a uniformed cop, is assigned to protection detail. He’s one of many body guards for Thomas and Martha Wayne but most importantly he’s not a boy scout. He’s a bent cop, “on the take”. That’s the way it works in Gotham. He’s not a bad guy, he’s just pragmatic and accepts that he can still do a modicum of good as a member of the police force, but to survive he has to occasionally turn a blind eye on some shady dealings. He spends a lot of time with the family and bonds with Bruce.

Jim and Tom become good friends. They spend a year getting to know each other, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY, the audience gets to know him. And Martha.

That way when they’re killed after he wins the election AT THE END OF THE FIRST SEASON we give a shit about it. We’re not just sad because the TV is telling us to be sad and sad music is playing on a close up of a kid with a sad face.

We’ve lost characters we care about.

THEN in the second season Gordon is a detective, he’s personally invested in the case. He DOESN’T WANT to turn a blind eye anymore. He’s gonna solve the murder BY THE BOOK.

This is called character development. Growth.

He’s not just a cookie cutter good guy. He knows that by seeking justice he might even implicate himself, but his guilt just won’t allow him to just let it go.

Now little Bruce’s problems seem to come from the trauma of losing his parents and not inherent mental instability so he continues to go undiagnosed and without the medication and therapy that he needs. His obsession with revenge starts and we see his quest for justice as more of a poor kids delusion and we sympathize with him.

There’s so much potential story and character study here. It’s like ripe fruit begging to be picked and instead we get the exact same origin we’ve seen in film and TV a million times. We get Catwoman witnessing the Wayne’s murder, The Riddler working for GCPD, The Penguin ratting out the mob to Jim Gordon and Poison Ivy namechecked FOR NO FUCKING REASON.

We all love Batman and I guess the guys who created this show thought we’d like the show more if they crammed a whole bunch of nods and references to Batman in THE FIRST GODDAMNED EPISODE.

Remember how much we all LOOOOOOVED it when Anakin Skywalker built Threepio?

What makes Batman so interesting, at least to me, is how ineffectual he is.

He could probably fix the city with his mind and his money, instead he puts on a mask and beats people up. The truth is he creates the villains he fights. If not directly (like Two Face) then by just appealing to the crazies sense of the dramatic. When a psycho criminal sees a guy dressed as a bat, he decides to wear clown make up.

This was my main issue with all the recognizable villains that popped up in the premiere. They shouldn’t exist without Batman.

Last winter Kevin Smith and Paul Dini recorded an episode of one of my favorite podcasts ever: Fatman on Batman. They discussed a dream project of theirs, a TV show (like Smallville), that took place during Bruce Wayne’s youth.

The zeal and pure enthusiasm with which these two dreamers talked about this TV show that would never be, got me really excited. I can’t help but feel that the creative team either heard the show, or the massive fan response on Twitter, and at the last minute scrambled to include as many of those ideas into Gotham as they could.

I was hoping for a more subtle approach.

The show is called Gotham.

Instead they gave us the prequel to Batman Begins: Batman Before.

I’m gonna keep watching because I really want to love this show.

It’s just that so far, there’s seems to be too much Batman in a show that was supposed to be about Gotham City without Batman.

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Eat the Giant Cock

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I watch a lot of television. Well, to be fair, I use my laptop to watch a lot of TV shows.

I bought every season of It’s Always Sunny on iTunes.

I watched all of The League on Netflix.

Recently I illegally downloaded The Americans which is something I never do.

I like to pay for my entertainment. I know many people who work in the entertainment industry and it makes me feel guilty to steal movies and TV shows.

I felt so guilty about stealing from Keri Russell that I turned off the computer and started watching some actual TV.

I feel like subjecting myself to watching the commercials is my way of paying my way.

Rogers is currently offering a free preview of FXX and I caught an episode of The League on TV for the first time.

Right before it started the gravelly voiced announcer warned us about the content and finished by saying “Viewer Discretion Advised”.

I stopped to think about that warning.

What the fuck does it mean?

Based on the definition above that warning makes no fucking sense.

What they SHOULD say is Content Creator’s discretion is tempered by advertiser’s openmindedness or lack thereof.

My understanding of television standards maybe be incomplete and I’m probably talking out of my ass BUT I PAID FOR THIS URL. I OWN THIS PEICE OF INTERNET REAL ESTATE AND I’LL USE IT TO GET UP ON A SOAPBOX AND MAKE WILD, UNINFORMED, PROCLAMATIONS!!!

Cable networks like AMC and FX operate outside of the control of the FCC. They use that freedom to let Ruxin call Taco a “shit sipper”, to let Dennis and Mac call Dee’s boyfriend “retarded” and to let me see Keri Russell’s bare ass and some Russian broad’s “underboob”.

They have freedom to say the swears that delight me so.

But they ask for MY discretion?

My understanding is that they can drop F-Bombs and show some real tits and dicks but the reason they don’t go full Showtime and HBO is because they think advertisers will pull out if the show is to risqué.

Dis some bullshit!

Remember that episode of Breaking Bad?

I.F.T?

Skylar White’s last line in that episode is “I Fucked Ted” and it’s so goddamed impactful.

I watched that episode on Netflix.

No censorship.

I can’t IMAGINE watching on TV and having an ADR with poor syncing, change the line to something lame like “hump” or “screw” or even worse a god dammed fucking BLEEP.

We need more dirt on TV.

The characters need to talk like real people.

I want to see GIANT COCKS on NBC.

I want to see an episode of Friends With Better Lives where some lady tells her fella that she won’t blow him until he gets rid of his bush.

I wanna see that episode!

James Van Der Beek needs to get his balls waxed.

That show would break all kinds of records!!!

He gets some tiny Asian lady to wax his taint.

AND WE SEE IT!

They show it all.

In motherfucking HD, yo!

They show her spreading that wax on Dawson’s browneye and YANKING IT OFF!

I wanna hear him shout as she pulls off that first strip.

He lets out a loud, “MOTHERFUCKER!!!”.

That’s my vision for the future of broadcasting.

The FCC is just a bunch of fucking buzzkills.

They should all go suck a giant cock…

and fucking finally let me see Keri Goddammed Russell’s tits for once.

Jesus!

Spank the L’il Monkey

Recently I’ve become more candid with what I choose to discuss with friends and strangers.

I literally don’t give a fuck!

If you think any topic is “off limits” I don’t want to talk to you.

When I sit down with a group of people I’ll flat out ask what kind of porn (if any) you like to jack off to.

I recently engaged in a THREE HOUR recording session with Kyle.

With careful editing we can maybe turn it into an episode of Betcha Forgot and maybe just a random VTAN Podcast about deflowering young ladies back in our highschool days.

More than likely the majority of our conversation will be lost in my personal archives and never released to the public.

It bothers me because while I have no problem discussing sex very frankly, I don’t want to drag other people into uncomfortable territory.

Since I can’t make a podcast without someone else to talk to, I guess it’ll have to be an ol’ fashioned blog post.

No fancy audio.

So, why title the entry with a euphemism for masturbating?

I’m currently in a period of self imposed celibacy.

For those of you who know me, I don’t have to tell you how I was drownin’ in da pussy for all of 2012-2013.

I look back and remember it like a montage in a sex comedy.

I’m fucking crazy. It’s not an exaggeration to say that I’m fucked up on the head.

I’m not fit to be dated by anyone.

I should be nobody’s partner.

Add to that, I take medication that supposedly makes me less crazy. It also negatively affects my libido.

When I started my “Year Without Poon” back in December I thought it would be hard (pun intended).

Recently I’ve discovered that I have lost all interest in women.

I know that sounds like I’m “comin’ out”, but I assure you, my heterosexuality is locked firmly in place. I can’t help it, I was born this way.

I just don’t want to date anyone.

Over the last few months I’ve discovered that I’m not even interested in jackin’ off.

I have almost zero sexual desire.

I’m interested in learning about the masturbatory habits of other’s just because I want to compare them to my own. You always want to see if you’re “normal” based on the standards of others.

So if I walk up to you , or even just message you online and ask “How often do you masturbate? Do you use porn? What kind?”

Don’t be alarmed. More people should be open about it.

It’s not the type of thing to be ashamed of.

Stay tuned.

Depending on how the audio is edited you may or may not hear more about me and Kyle and our sick and deviant behaviour.

We’ll see.

Missing the Damn Point

I’m about to show everyone the depths of my insanity.

Admittedly I usually am the type to dramatically overreact but let that not allow you to discount the SCIENCE I’m about to drop on your face, INTERNET!

I am a dreamer. Unlike Mötley Crüe, however, I am about to make it evidently clear that my heart is not o’ gold as I switch settings from normal (for Josh at least) to BATSHIT VEHEMENCE.

As a Champion for Imagination I have to speak up.

Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is the worst fucking thing to happen to storytelling and should be seen as nothing less than a personal attack, A HATE CRIME EVEN, against storytellers or anyone with enough whimsy to see the inherent value in daydreaming.

Pictured: Hate Crime

Pictured: Hate Crime

In the past I’ve railed against people who “judge books by their covers” and who, in general, form opinions before collecting all the facts. It’s the reason why I’ve suffered through every single goddamned episode of The Big Bang Theory. I feel that it’s the only way to speak with authority when I say that it is THE WORST MOTHERFUCKING SHOW IN HUMAN HISTORY. It’s a right that I have earned through hours of torture at the hands of Chuck “Fuck-me-in-the-eye-hole” Lorre.

Pictured: Hate Crime

Pictured: Hate Crime

But when it comes to the new hashtag@mittymoviedotcom the trailer and the short clip I saw on Ellen today are enough for me to risk absurdity by declaring, sight unseen, that this movie is the slimy afterbirth of a bloody abortion of cinema.

I know you must be thinking, “Tell us how you really feel, Joshie!” and I’ll concede that it may not be completely out of line to call the Hyperbole Police on me, but there is some truth fueling my rage.

The tagline is “A life discovered is better than a life imagined.”

FUCK YOU 20TH CENTURY FOX! FUCK YOU RIGHT IN YOUR FUCKING DRUMS AND SPOTLIGHTS! YOUR FANFARE WILL NEVER AGAIN PRECEDE A STAR WARS MOVIE AND SO I NO LONGER OWE YOU ANY LOYALTY. FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU, FUCK YOU,
FUCK YOU!

Earlier this year Brad Pitt took my favourite book, tore it to shreds and wiped his ass with the scraps. Whether or not World War Z was a “good” movie is not the issue. He took a ground breaking, genre bending, cerebral and emotionally jarring, global scale masterpiece and churned out a generic ‘spolsion heavy action hero movie.

I don’t care that the plot deviated, my teeth gnash because the “creative minds” behind WWZ completely missed the point of the source material.

I’ve said numerous times that World War Z is not about zombies and these movie producers proved me right.

They took a story about the unpreparedness of world governments when dealing with disaster and the necessity of global cooperation and they turned it into a story about zombies.

More specifically a story about one man’s journey to TREK ACROSS THE GLOBE, REUNITE WITH HIS FAMILY AND SINGLE HANDEDLY SAVE THE WORLD from zombies.

Pictured: Hate Crime

Pictured: Hate Crime

Missing the Damn Point.

Now here comes Mitty, a giant lump of coal in my Christmas stocking.

Missing the Damn Point.

From what I can tell (and the tiny part of me that desperately wants to enjoy this movie hopes I’m way, way wrong) this Mitty movie is about a pathetic schmo who whittles the day away “zoned out” in his daydreams and learns that he needs to step up and have a REAL adventure in order to have a fulfilling life. They’re telling us all that our dreary boring lives aren’t good enough unless we’re jumping out of helicopters or street luging down some Icelandic mountainside.

Ben Stiller himself says “It’s about a daydreamer and a guy who sorta lives in his head and then he’s kinda forced to go out into reality.”

Any half-comatose jughead with a 7th grade education and A FUCKING LIBRARY CARD can tell you that is NOT what this story is about. That is, quite possibly, the exact fucking opposite message that is contained in James Thurber’s FOUR FUCKING PAGE SHORT STORY!

Walter Mitty is a story about a man whose overbearing tyrannical wife leaves him feeling worthless and emasculated. In order to cope he takes comfort in the adventures that he creates in his dreams. The story professes the VALUE OF IMAGINATION.

In this GoogleflixTweetbookXbox4 world I can’t think of a more necessary message we need right now.

Kids today can’t entertain themselves the way they used to. Most adults have forgotten how.

J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst recently released S. an amazing new book with a complex story that seemingly couldn’t possibly have been told in any other medium. ALMOST IMMEDIATELY the Internet is buzzing with “I can’t wait for the movie” and “Is it available for e-readers?” proof that our collective imagination is stagnating.

Every day another remake, adaptation, reboot or comic book movie is greenlit. Netflix is making a Jessica Jones series.

Don’t even get me started on Guardians of the Goddamned Galaxy.

Our lack of imagination makes it impossible for us to accept something we haven’t already seen. It’s the reason a Walter Mitty movie was even made in the first place. Movie studios scoop up the rights to any IP with a built in fanbase because they know they can sell it.

But again, they just don’t seem to be getting it.

Why go to all the trouble of adapting a story if you’re only going to strangle it to death and display it’s hollowed out corpse as your “version of it”?

World War Z would have been fine, and would’ve pissed fewer people off if it had been called Zombie Wars.

Ben Stiller turned 4 pages to 125 minutes. What we’re left with, I’m sure has nothing more than a passing resemblance to its namesake.

He should’ve called it Daydream Believer, licensed that Monkees track for the soundtrack and called it a day.

[note: it’s been almost three months since my last post. depression and poor physical health has made it impossible to motivate myself to write. the outraged fury that this innocuous episode of The Ellen Degeneres Show stirred in ma bellay finally shook me out of my funk. don’t get used to it. i might not be back for another three months]

Disturb the Sleeping Giant

Thanks to an unfortunate, yet serendipitous, typo I’ve started using a new internet acronym that I’d like to share with you all.

WYF!

It stands for “What ye fucke!” the olde timey way of voicing one’s displeasure without spelling out full words and still retaining a bit of quaint ol’ fashioned charm.

Right now it’s the only invective that adequately expresses how I feel about the newest trailer for World War Z.

Brad Pitt...Go Fuck Yourself!

Brad Pitt…
Go Fuck Yourself!

What ye fucke, indeed?

In order to give everyone a bit of context, and I’m sure it will become clear in the coming paragraphs, I am obviously deeply disturbed when it comes to my love for this book. World War Z is my 100% absolute favourite book EVER!

This movie, on the other hand…

On the short list of things that I don’t joke about, one of the very few topics I consider out of bounds, or taboo is Cancer. My aunt died of brain cancer when I was a teenager. She was one of my favourite people in the world. Her passing is still among the worst days of my life. I don’t take it lightly.

That being said, this movie looks like the cinematic equivalent of infant bone cancer. They could’ve called it Osteosarcoma and it would have been a more appropriate title.

That’s how much I love this book and how bad this trailer made me feel.

Ridiculous hyperbole aside, people who are unfamiliar with the book often ask me “What’s it about?” and I have never been able to answer that question in less than 45 minutes. Lots of folks will try to deconstruct it and say dumb things like “It’s about zombies!” and to them I say, after a chastising (but affectionate) backhand to the face “That’s like saying The Bible is about a bunch of shepherds!”

Cmdr. Shepard Systems Alliance N7 Special ForcesFirst Human Spectre for the Citidel Council, Messiah

Cmdr. Shepard, Systems Alliance Space Navy: N7 Special Forces,
Citadel Council’s First Human Spectre,
Carpenter and Messiah.

I went on a crazy rant about it on this week’s Long Distance Bromance so I’ll try to reign in the ire on this blog. The less I talk about it the better, because so far it’s just been a source of grief and it get’s me irrationally angry the more I think about it. Over the past few months I’ve been making a concentrated effort to feel better about myself and life in general so I won’t say any more on this sore subject. You’ve got to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative,

So instead of the anti-Brad Pitt tirade that will make me seem even crazier, I want to take some time to write about something positive.

I went on a date Thursday. It was the second time I went out with this girl. She’s super cute and super cool and I’m eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see her again. In addition to being very pretty she’s a great conversationalist and funny too. The plan was to meet for a quick bite to eat, she was taking me to sample some of Kensington Market’s finest vegan desserts. We ended up staying for hours just talking and laughing until the guy behind the counter’s dirty looks forced us to stop loitering long after we had finished.

Not wanting the fun to end we wound up wandering around aimlessly taking in the mild weather and sporadic sunshine just enjoying one another’s company. At one point during our walk we found a pair of discarded books just laid out on the ground. We each took one, sort of as a souvenir.

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“I’ve often felt like a discarded book… waiting for someone to take the time to stop and pick me up off the floor.”
-Unknown Hipster Poet

We wrapped up the evening back at my apartment where we got a little snuggly on my couch and tried to outmatch each other while watching Jeopardy!

Sounds like a dream girl, amiright?

Most people will probably take for granted the normalcy of this kind of interaction and are probably asking themselves, “So what? Big Deal!”

The big deal is that I’m notoriously misanthropic. I don’t get along with very many people and the times when I actually DO find people I like, they, for whatever reason, don’t seem to like me. To find someone who piques my interest AND who can tolerate me is amazing.

Again, I feel like I’m flogging a dead horse with all the podcast plugs but I tell some crazy online dating horror stories on the newest LDB. I wasn’t having the best luck and was feeling discouraged but one of my favorite bloggers has been a source of inspiration with her recent positive experiences in the world of internet dating. Read her blog, she’s insightful and snarky!

At this point I’m not expecting too much. I’m happy just getting to know this girl and am looking forward to spending more time together. Where it goes nobody knows, but what I do know is that I’ve been on 2 dates with this girl and I’ve enjoyed every second. We’ll all just have to stay tuned to see what happens next.

Defend the Opposing View

I’ve taken a lot of heat from readers because of my rant against Jim from The Office a few posts ago. They say that I’m crazy for saying that a guy shouldn’t approach a woman in a friendly manner and then attempt the transition to a romantic relationship.

To all these people I say “WRITE IT IN THE DAMN COMMENTS”

I’ll defend my position here but I’m done with acknowledging feedback for this blog that comes in the form of text messages, phone calls and face to face conversation.

If you want to tell me I’m wrong or call me crazy do it in a way where everyone else can chime in too.

So, why do I consider Jim a spineless jerk?

jim

Look at that mug and you’ll have your answer!

I’ve mentioned in previous entries how I usually have to end up apologizing for myself because I muck up many social interactions. Sometimes I’ll say things that I don’t think would be taken offensively, but end up hurting people’s feelings or leaving them scratching their heads asking themselves “What’s wrong with this asshole?”

Other times I’m openly hostile to people when meeting them for the first time.

Usually it’s in forced social situations.

Parties or gatherings where I don’t know most of attendees are the worst. I decide pretty quickly if I don’t like you and it takes very little to get on my bad side.

I’m like that dog who needs to be locked in the bathroom whenever the owners have guests over because he always bites strangers.

It happens because, in life when I don’t like someone or something I just avoid it completely. If I’m stuck at a party and there’s someone I don’t like or a stranger I feel is being particularly “douchey” my first instinct is to leave but if I have to stay out of obligation I don’t have it in me to keep a civil tongue.

This is why I’m not well liked by many people and why when asked, I usually say that I’m not a nice person.

On the reverse side if I do like you then I will go out of my way to make it known. Most of my good friends will, if they have a good enough memory, remember a time very early on in our relationship where I’ve flat out said “We should be friends!”

When it comes to dating I’ve explicitly said at one point or another, to every girl I was interested in, “I don’t want to be your friend” and, as you’d probably expect by now, I’ve had to apologize for saying it.

I’m my head it’s one of the finest compliments. It means that I’m attracted to you and that even now my intention stretches beyond just friendship.

I live in an uncompromising world of blacks and whites and, this may further demonstrate just how crazy I am, I’ve always seen that as a good thing.

Everyone gets hung up on the “he refuses to be accommodating” part and they forget that uncompromising literally means that my values CAN NOT BE COMPROMISED!

I’m like a goddamned superhero!

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

He seems like a well adjusted fellow, right?

In a world of mutual exclusivity I’d rather not be your friend and keep you as a romantic possibility.

This has led to a few instances where I end up not interacting with a woman I like and they end up thinking I’m ignoring them. The truth is that if I’m not yet ready to “make a play” I don’t want to start her down the path of platonicity because I’d never entertain the idea of romantically pursuing a friend.

So in short what I’m saying is that I believe that a man who builds a friendly relationship with a woman he’s interested in is completely disingenuous and whatever romantic relationship ensues is built on a foundation of lies.

So to all the “Jim Halperts” of the world who disagree, I don’t care what you believe, this is just how I feel on the matter so go suck a lemon!