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2012: A Year That I Mindlessly Consumed Entertainment

Abhay Khosla

I wrote one of these elsewhere in 2011, a year-end best-of / worst-of wrap-up piece, but I thought I’d do this here this year, if that’s okay. I can’t promise this is going to be a very edifying affair for anybody– my memory is not great so this is just what I can remember of 2012.

I’ll start with comics, in case you want to stop there. Thank you for your consideration.

FAVORITE COMICS

Graphic Novels– Oooh, How Fancy.  I missed a lot of the big books of the year this year, like every year– year-end list are always a subject of a lot of guilt for me for being such a lazy reader.  But the book I found myself most responding to this year was Joost Swarte’s IS THAT ALL THERE IS?

It caught me at the right time– it came out right around the time I’d been going back through the non-Moebius-Corben wing of the Metal Hurlant crowd, guys like Serge Clerc or Yves Chaland, the guy who don’t fit the stereotype of what that magazine was all about. Daniel Torres wasn’t a Metal Hurlant guy but I found an old Heavy Metal with a long stretch of Torres– man, oh man.

IS THIS ALL THERE IS? was a career retrospective of Swarte’s decades in comics, collecting all (or nearly all– I remember getting confused on that point) of Swarte’s work in a slim volume, Swarte being more influential than prolific. The economics of American comics and the attention economy make that a difficult choice, I suppose, but Swarte sure does make a persuasive case for it: boy, these are some pretty comics.

Swarte’s comics play around with the form, but that doesn’t consume the whole thing– there are still cartoon characters in there, and more importantly, dirty jokes. See, e.g., the comic about sentient used-condoms– I really admire that Swarte didn’t use his limited output as any kind of excuse to keep him from making a comic about anthropomorphized used-condoms one of the cornerstones of his curriculum vitae.

Serial Comics– The Kind with Staples.  On the non-graphic-novel side, oh, I liked the usual suspects, I suppose.  I mentioned enjoying SAGA here, I believe. ZAUCERS OF ZILK– I thought I would just be reading that for Brendan McCarthy but that actually had a whole thing going on, a whole presentational style that I thought was exciting. Definitely MULTIPLE WARHEADS– that and SAGA alone would have made this a great year for me. What little I saw of MIND MGMT (I’m behind there). I really hadn’t liked this latest series of CASANOVA because a lot of it seemed to be purposefully avoiding or dismantling the things that I liked about CASANOVA to begin with. That said, I thought that last issue of that series landed completely– I remember putting down the last one of those convinced the right choices had been made and excited for whatever comes next, if there gets to be a next. I always just feel really excited to pick up that book. What I saw of the Roger Langridge POPEYE was pretty impressive.

Oh, and any year with an issue of TALES DESIGNED TO THRIZZLE… Some bow or curtsey is required in the direction of that.

For the mainstream, I only read FURY and the FLASH– those were the only books where I could go, “I don’t care if I feel dirty reading these” (which… look perhaps it’s not rational, but I tried to pick up a couple of the celebrated books du jour and just couldn’t feel right about myself, for various reasons… I don’t suggest there’s anything wrong with you if you weren’t likewise afflicted, but I just have to admit to that particular malady myself). FURY is obviously the better book, the one where  I find the story interesting, where I’m compelled by the AMERICAN TABLOID atmosphere of it all to keep reading, to find out  “what happens next.” The FLASH is just the one that makes me happy to see the performance– I don’t really care about what he’s drawing; I just want to see Francis Manapul do his job.

The Small Press– Who?  I read a lot of great small press comics, this year. I just want to list them all, but I guess that’d defeat the point of a Best-Of situation, right? Thanks to anyone who sent me one out of the blue, especially Gordon Harris sending me PEDESTRIAN and Austin English sending me the DOMINO BOOKS releases.

My friend John launched a Cleveland horror anthology that sure was good times, but my opinion there is biased.

The two things that I most reacted to?

(1) Michel Fiffe’s work– I think I’d seen a little of ZEGAS while it was being serialized online, but ZEGAS combined with a Suicide Squad homage comic that he did (and I think I’m expecting COPRA in the mail soon)?  That is some exciting stuff to open a mailbox to; I’d rank that alongside anything else I read this year, easy-peasy.

(2) I really liked this Ryan Cecil Smith thing SF…? Tucker Stone and some other people had been talking it up– it’s, like… like a cover version of a Leiji Matsumoto comic, I think. (I don’t really know enough about Leiji Matsumoto to really understand what was going on from that perspective). I really dug the whole package there, though, like on a “look at the way the ink is on the paper” level, and spent a while just sort of paging through it… The story and art were good but that was more a parts-greater-than-sum thing that involved a reaction to the texture of it, for me, a pleasure that’s more difficult for me to articulate …

Webcomics– What Kind of Weirdo Cares about Webcomics?  Easy call: best thing I saw this year was Click and Drag by XKCD. I just thought that was an achievement.     Not just in its size and scope, but there are so many killer jokes in there… Plus, I loved how people took it and made their own thing with it– people who made better scrolling versions, maps, what have you.  I’ve talked about it with friends and compared experiences of it– my “I got lost the cave system for a half-hour” vs. their “who are you?  why are you talking to me?  why are you drooling on yourself?”  My very best friends.

What else… found myself looking at anything on the Study Group Comics site; Project Ballad;   I don’t go to What Things Do enough, as often as I should, but whenever I do is edifying, I suppose. Kate Beaton’s post-hurricane New York comics.  I know Cameron Stewart finally wrapped up SIN TITULO but I haven’t sat down with it yet– but… I have just no doubt based on what I read before it deserves to be on her; that thing is great. Super Mutant Magic Academy and Softer World both continued to kill it for me.  And I may be biased, but Eat More Bikes has killed me this year…

Writing about Comics– The Sport of Kings.  I tried to keep a list of favorite writing about comics last year, but I didn’t do that this year so I really feel badly that I can’t make a better list there.

David Brothers and Tom Spurgeon come to mind first.

I haven’t finished it yet, but Sean Howe’s Marvel book! Especially that stretch in the 70′s.  That is a book I’ve wanted to read for so many years and he did a better job with it than I’d even hoped.  I’m still working through that, though.

I spent a lot time surfing by the Comics Journal website so perhaps I got lazy and stuck to their work more than I should’ve.  That said:  Chris Mautner talking to Eddie Campbell, and Tim Hodler talking to Chris Roberson. Plus, I enjoyed their coverage of the big stories in comics like Spain Rodriguez passing away or the anniversary of the Hernandez Brothers– those all lead to pieces I recall having enjoyed. The Kirby Hand of Fire roundtable. I can’t say I agreed with him, but I thought Darryl Ayo talking about Ben Marra was worthwhile– I enjoyed thinking about it afterwards, certainly. I sure envied the angry reaction that Sean Rogers’s essay on Flex Mentallo was greeted with, though I suppose I liked that book much more than he did.

Finally, a lot of women wrote  about cosplay after the Tony Harris thing.  I felt like I learned a lot about a world I didn’t really understand before, and I was thankful for that.

I just feel like I’m forgetting a lot– I regret not having kept any notes, and so, if I’ve forgotten something any of you have written, I apologize because I appreciate that there are people out there willing to take the time to try to make my expeirence of comics richer. And obviously, getting to be a part of the Comics of the Weak gang occasionally means I get to be next to writing that I think very highly of, whether from Tucker Stone or Joe McCulloch or Tim O’Neil. That’s been a pleasure.

LEAST FAVORITE COMICS

Jonathan Hickman’s SECRET. Jonathan Hickman’s SECRET.  Jonathan Hickman’s SECRET.

This was a badly executed attempt at doing an opaque “70′s suspense thriller.” Two issues crapped out, and then I haven’t seen it again.  Did I miss the rest?

I have to admit that I hated that comic in a way that was really fun and enjoyable, very pure– everything should be as fun to hate.

It wasn’t a “so bad it’s good” experience– I might be too old for that sort of thing to have much purchase with me. No, it was just thoroughly shitty– dull non-characters, pages crammed with dialogue none of it interesting or memorable, a total obliviousness to the visual possibilities of comics, action-crime comics by guys who just can’t sell that they’ve ever met a tough guy in their life. It all felt phony and un-lived.

Also: “ooooh, Jonathan Hickman is a designer“– shouldn’t there be ANY evidence of that anywhere besides a cover? This is just boring flat grids, humdrum word balloons, dialogue shoved in caption boxes for no discernible reason, same-old same-old tedium aside from a mostly-embarrassing attempt at doing something novel with the color.

Did Steranko never exist? Is David Aja not making comics right this second? Can we quit praising guys for having design skills just because their covers kinda sorta resemble books?

But I loved hating SECRET. I adored hating SECRET.

What I like: you can go and make a million comics for Marvel or DC, but when the time comes to make your own, the blank page is waiting for you.  You have a blank page, and have to make up your own world, and your own characters, and you can’t ride off Jack Kirby’s coattails, or the coattails of the generations that preceded you.  None of the experience of riding on other people’s accomplishments will help you when it’s you and a blank page. You can’t pretend to be interesting by having a “massive outline,” or by killing Sue Storm, or by having the X-Men fighting the Avengers.

The blank page will eat you alive unless you come at it with some goddamn fire in your belly, no matter who you are, and you can’t build muscle to deal with that by lifting 5-pound weights. This isn’t just a terrible comic by people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing– it’s a terrible comic by people who don’t seem to know what they’re doing who have made a TON of other comics.

And I fucking love that.

Look, maybe that guy’s hit before– I know a lot of people are huge fans, of some of his Image books. Obviously, the MANHATTAN PROJECTS was one of the big hits of the year.  Me, I tried the first issue of that, and put it down not feeling any need to find out more about what an actually interesting history wasn’t in any way like. I didn’t see the appeal.  But it’s a big hit.

But that fact that we’re all equally susceptible to failure, that the really fucking weird hype of “Writer with a Big-Name Because He’s the Guy Who Writes Speedball for a Living has Decided to Make Image Comics” (how weird is that hype!  To me, it’s weird because it highlights how UNUSUAL it is to routinely expect artists to fucking create things), that hype can still result in the biggest pieces of shit I’ve seen this year, I find all that invigorating personally. I take it as a reassurance as to what really matters.

Get that fire in the belly, kids.

Least favorite writing about comics.  Comics Blogger has a list you might find yourself sympathetic to.  It includes one essay that I think has to be hands-down winner for the year, though it also includes people I do like or at least feel a fondness for in that they’ve been a small part of my own life for however long.

Look, my official policy is anyone engaged in writing about comics occasionally will say some impressively stupid shit just unavoidably in the ultimately worthwhile process of saying anything at all, that we are all lucky to be celebrating a unique art form with a grand history stretching in both directions, and that if we didn’t celebrate it, the businesspeople and employees whose care comics are temporarily in sure as shit wouldn’t bother.

That said, it’s also my policy to be wildly enthusiastic about smack talk, of any kind or nature, whether I agree fully with it or not, because I enjoy it, because I find negativity funny and entertaining.  (Also, I’m just happy I didn’t end up on there because oh brother, I probably came close more than once– “Hey everybody, people tweeted jokes about Green Lantern I didn’t like. Derpity-derp-derp. Here’s a youtube video of meerkats“).

I would just add in conclusion, that regardless of how you feel about Comics Blogger’s list, however aggrieved, we can hopefully set aside our petty differences, look to our common humanity, and agree that MTV Geek was fucking robbed. MTV Geek is a clown car.

MOVIES

Favorite.   My top 10, from 1 to 10, I’d go… DJANGO UNCHAINED, THE RAID: REDEMPTION, CELESTE AND JESSE FOREVER, 21 JUMP STREET, THE GUARD, THE MASTER, RUBY SPARKS, KILL LIST, LOOPER and MOONRISE KINGDOM.

The Guard and Kill LIst might both be technically 2011 movies; also, while I really liked LOOPER, I remain convinced that the story in LOOPER made no goddamn sense whatsoever. Everything else was a pleasure without asterix.

Least Favorite. This is a tough call, but I’d say PROMETHEUS because I was looking forward to it more than THIS IS 40.

PROMETHEUS was beautiful to look at, and had some riveting sequences, but on the other hand, I was humanly capable of understanding the story to THIS IS 40 while I was watching it, which gives it a slight edge for me in that I find that to be an important part of going to the movies to me.

After those two, I would go with JOHN CARTER– I thought that stunk, and its failure becoming some kind of cause celebre among geeks was fucking embarrassing to watch.  “Why didn’t the advertising BLAH?”   Because the people responsible for advertising that movie had the thankless task of selling a massive, stinky turd.  The end.  Thanks, and remember to tip your waiter.

MUSIC

Favorite. I really loved the music I was listening to this year– I was in a very Albert Brooks in Modern Romance “I love my albums” place with music this year.

Favorite? I’d go with Killer Mike’s R.A.P. MUSIC, with the new Fiona Apple just narrowly behind as a strong second. (Apple had great songs but I had a tough time getting used to how they were arranged, while Killer MIke’s arrangemnet made more sense to me…?).   I really liked that Japandroids album, too…

But what felt unusual… I even liked the big shallow pop hits of this year, for the first time in a long time. Call Me Maybe being everywhere made sense to me, and sure, the lyrics are a little suspicious but that ONE DIRECTION song– when I saw them perform on SNL, I wasn’t thinking “Oh, Boy Bands again, I’m so angry because this isn’t intended for my precise demographic.”  It seemed like a good idea!  The song is catchy, and those kids seem preferable to that crazy Justin Beiber guy — is he driving 1000 miles per hour down LA streets?  Why we let that kid become a huge monster made a lot less sense to me.

Least Favorite.  I didn’t really understand that thing where people got all worked up by that K-Pop song, Gang-something style. The whole appeal of all that was really inexplicable to me– I was just really mystified what people got out of that. Is it that he yells into a girl’s butt? I guess…?  Or people sure like lassos, all of the sudden!  I don’t know– I just didn’t follow what happened there. It was obviously a mass phenomenon, but … so are fainting epidemics.  I just was very confused by it.

TELEVISION

Favorite.  My top 10 was (1) MAD MEN– the Roshomon episode (there was a stretch of episodes where it became like a series of short stories that were just relentlessly wonderful to me), (2) BREAKING BAD — I’d say the one with the laptop, (3) the Parker Posey episodes of LOUIE, (4) the final episode of COMMUNITY, the last I’ll ever see of those characters (no thanks to a no-Harmon version– I’ve seen a Marv Wolfman Howard the Duck) sent off in a way that felt so loving to the characters, the actors, the audience, everybody, everywhere, (5) the Year in the Life episode of CHILDRENS HOSPITAL, (6) the episode with Nicola on the train of THE THICK OF IT, (7) HUNDERBY– the one with the medical exam, (8) the ice rink episode of PARKS AND RECREATION, (9) THE ERIC ANDRE SHOW– whichever one had Dolph Lundgren, and (10) the Los Angeles episode of EAGLEHEART.

Honorary Mention.  It’s not TV– it’s CHANNEL 101, but I was very lucky to find myself in the audience for GUMBEL and OH SHIT, as well as the finale of INTIMATE INDISCRETIONS.  I don’t think my heart ever felt as full of love for my fellow man as watching those final seconds of each of those shows, each of which could not be more different than the other.

Least Favorite. THE NEWSROOM, but that was a show I religiously hate-watched– everything I’d mock and deride Aaron Sorkin for was just front and center in that show. I was really delighted to hate it, like I was delighted by SECRET– as a flaming, jaw-dropping confirmation of my preexisting negative biases.  Setting that aside, I was really disappointed by DEAD BOSS– maybe it got better but I couldn’t get past the first of those.

Books

Books. I read books this year but nothing I’d want to admit to– didn’t feel like I made good choices there so I found my choice in reading a little embarrassing. So.  Oh, I really liked Jonathan Lethem’s book about THEY LIVE.  I’ll cop to that…

Videogames

Favorite. HOT LINE MIAMI. Terrible boss battles, but I really admired the game design for everything else.  I love how it milked each moment of gameplay.

Least favorite. MASS EFFECT 3; a giant “what was the point of all that time spent” bummer. Don’t make me ask that question, games! Sort of put me off games, in general, which hopefully takes because … I just don’t want to play them– I don’t feel good about the time they take up.  We meet all of these characters so we can run past them on the way to some lame “so, uh, which ending do you want?” finale…?  What?  Also: a game where it’s embarrassing to complain about the ending because the fanboy gamers threw such a horrible endless hissy fit that I’m not invariably included in their membership.  Ugh to it all.

Comedy Podcasts

I don’t have any recollection sufficient to identify my least favorites but.  The ones that come to mind, sitting here today…

(1) Todd Glass on the WTF Podcast;

(2) Riki Lindholme and especially the second episode of Kumail Nanjiani talking to Pete Holmes on YOU MADE IT WEIRD;

(3) Key & Peele on the NERDIST– real pure comedy nerdery, why I listen to that show at its finest;

(4) any episode involving Sona screaming at RJ and Bley on RJ AND BLEY SUCK AT GIRLS– this show popped up on my tumblr dashboard one day but when they bring on their friend Sona to scream at these guys, that has become one of my favorite things and I wish it happened more; they really deserve it; and

(5) I was there for it, but the Harmotown where Rob Schrab got pulled onto the stage was just a joyous thing to be in the audience for and I’d expect/hope that joy would translate to anyone listening.

Honorary Mention. Michael Chabon on Michael Silverblatt’s Bookworm. I just liked how Silverblatt sounded like he was about to have a powerful and overwhelming orgasm talking about Chabon’s new book. Sold me on it.

FOOD

Favorite.  I really got into lobster rolls this year– I’d say the Loster Rolls at Son of a Gun were a highpoint.  I’d just be sitting around and just find myself thinking about lobster rolls.

Least favorite.  The place is out of business now so it’d be rude to identify it by name, but it was a weird “what if Subway sold sushi” place that just closed down by where I work. Subway shouldn’t sell sushi.  Was that not obvious?

PURCHASES

Favorite.  I got an IKEA bookshelf that really ties my apartment together. I don’t know what my place was like without it anymore– it’s been a real gamechanger.  I’m glad I finally have a chance to tell you about it, as it has been near to my heart.

Least favorite.   iTunes deleted all my contacts for my phone for some reason I couldn’t fathom, so I had to pay to buy a software that would recover my contacts.  I resented it not being free.  Is that unfair to the purchase?  It is.  But … but make your own damn list!  How dare you question my least favorite purchase of 2012?  HOW DARE YOU?  HAVE YOU NO SHAME?

25 Responses to “ 2012: A Year That I Mindlessly Consumed Entertainment ”

  1. Was the Schrab episode the one with the competing butt stories? I tripped myself on the treadmill listening to that.

  2. An absolutely terrific companion piece to the Swarte book is Yves Chaland’s Young Albert, which I’m tempted to declare the most critically slept-on comic of the year by 10,000%, but… when the thing’s only released as a $90 limited edition, I guess there’s only so much reaction you can expect.

  3. Exactly, the competing butt stories. Exactly that.

  4. “a game where it’s embarrassing to complain about the ending because the fanboy gamers threw such a horrible endless hissy fit that I’m not invariably included in their membership. Ugh”

    I don’t understand this line of thinking- actually I DO, but seriously- does the fact that a certain segment of the population you wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire agrees with you on something really keep you up nights? Do they really make you look uncool just because you had the same reaction to the ending they did? Why is that a hill worth dying on?

    “I’m just happy I didn’t end up on there because oh brother, I probably came close more than once– “Hey everybody, people tweeted jokes about Green Lantern I didn’t like. Derpity-derp-derp. Here’s a youtube video of meerkats“”

    Hitching your cart to the S.S. Tucker probably helped you out in that regard. I’d approve of that link if it wasn’t Ken Lowery. Fuck that guy.

  5. We have similar tastes in film. The Guard was just terrific, wasn’t it?

    But I am intensely jealous that you’ve been to at least one Harmontown. But did you show up as Jareth that one time?

  6. I thought the WTF interview of Key and Peele was way better than the Nerdist. In fact, I can’t recall the last Nerdist I really liked, and often skip it completely. Three times a week is just too much.

    I thought Harmontown was great until they started the endless D&D game. It still has its moments, even in the game, but I hope they stop that soon.

    Oh, and back to K&P, their show is on my list of best TV, maybe even #1 on that list, except the second season wasn’t as good as the first. And I just got the third season DVD of COMMUNITY, and it was even better than I thought on first viewing. I’m glad Harmon got to do an episode with a series finale vibe, though I’m not sure i can resist at least checking out the post-Harmon version if they ever bother to air it. Every time I’m looking at my TIVO season pass list I’m tempted to delete COMMUNITY.

    I was pretty disappointed by Howe’s book, especially after so much praise by people I respect (or used to respect…). Some of it was real sloppy, and I thought it was way too generous to people like Jim Shooter.

  7. Every time I see you write about Community, I always think about finally breaking down and watching it. My little brother was the guest star in an episode (I want to say Luca was the character? Something Russian, I am sure) and I still ain’t got around to it.

    Get yourself an Android phone and you will never have to pay for a utility again. You may choose to, but you won’t have to…

  8. Wow, thanks for mentioning us, Abhay!

  9. [...] hey, thanks Abhay! Getting mentioned at all in your year-ender was an honor and a [...]

  10. Great job, as always! Might I suggest http://www.cavecomedyradio.com for your 2013 Favorite Podcasts list. Roundtable of Gentlemen, Nobody Asked You, NYC Crime Report with Pat Dixon. I could go on and on.

  11. JOHN CARTER was not that bad. No, it wasn’t great and I wouldn’t even argue that strongly it was all that good. But it was significantly better than a lot of other big budget fiascoes, like BATTLESHIP for example.

    Mike

  12. Oh man, you mean SECRET by Jonathan Hickman wasnt just some weird feavor dream where I hallucinated the whole thing?
    Thats good to know.
    Cant believe everyone just gave Hickman a free pass on that one and never mentioned it again. Strange.
    I did read issue 5 of Manhattan Projects and it was kinda goofy and fun, but not something I can recommend for more than $2 on comixology.

    Harmontown is weird. The DnD game, while it does have its moments, turns to shit as soon as anyone has a plan that last longer than the sentence they are currently saying (not including Spencer). They’re both really funny and really witty guys, they just need a format rather than just drunkly rambling on stage.
    Thats my two cents anyway as someone whos never been there.

  13. “I don’t understand this line of thinking- actually I DO, but seriously- does the fact that a certain segment of the population you wouldn’t piss on if they were on fire agrees with you on something really keep you up nights?”

    Fair point. But I just feel like the level of hysteria around that ending was “bad for games.” It’s a bad ending but I don’t think it’s a bad ending anyone’s going to learn from, especially, as a result…

    I thought they did a really fantastic job on that second game, the Seven Samurai one, otherwise I wouldn’t have cared.

    “But did you show up as Jareth that one time?”

    No, but I sure made it a point to go to that night. I think I have photos of Jareths on my phone somewhere… Fun night.

    “I thought the WTF interview of Key and Peele was way better than the Nerdist.”

    The WTF interview was better at getting to find out about those guys as people, but the Nerdist guys seemed more interested in what I’m interested in which… how do they make that show?? What’s the mindset they bring to that show. Plus, there’s a whole stretch where they’re all talking about classic SNL, or other sketch shows, that I just remember being in love with… The second season was so good– that dubstep sketch… I really admire how sharp and thoughtful they are at talking about what they’re doing.

    “I thought Harmontown was great until they started the endless D&D game.”

    The first week of that was unbearable, but Erin McGathy yelling “Adventure!” has become one of my absolute favorite things, though. It’s had rough weeks, but Greg Proops + D&D was solid, and Spencer makes me laugh, adds something…

    (I can go completely my own ass on it actually because… because Spencer was just some guy who raised his hand, you know? But you see the nature of creativity in that… over time, on a creative endeavor, things just accumulate, a supporting cast forms, a groove is dug into a thing, a guy in the audience becomes a part of the show, things transform, etc. and… anyways, I go up my ass about it but I like that Spencer is a part of the show…)

    “Might I suggest http://www.cavecomedyradio.com for your 2013 Favorite Podcasts list.”

    Thanks– cool, Lisa Hanawalt has a podcast…? Didn’t know. I like her comics. Thanks.

  14. “Thanks– cool, Lisa Hanawalt has a podcast…? Didn’t know. I like her comics. Thanks.”

    YES! I forgot about BABY GENIUSES and the Lisa Hanawalt comic book connection. Glad to help!

  15. I’ll have to go back and check out the Nerdist K&P interview again. At the time I hadn’t been watching their show, and while it got me curious, I didn’t get around to checking it out. I think the first season had just wrapped up and they weren’t doing repeats in Canada yet. By comparison, by the time the WTF interview was done, I was already downloading the first episode. I’d probably appreciate the process stuff more now.

    I think Harmontown must be a really different experience if you go live. For me, a little McGathy goes a long way, and Proops just doesn’t do it for me. I will grant that Spencer does manage at least one laugh-out-loud line an episode.

  16. Thank you for hating on The Newsroom. I’m with the TWoP recapper, but I still find other working journalists inexplicably defending it. What gets me is that for all the righteous speechifying, the people at that gorram show do BAD AND LAZY JOURNALISM. In fact, they’re walking examples of how not to do it. Perhaps if it were a satire, I could get behind it (and the Canadian “The Newsroom”, which I think you can find on YouTube, is just that, and pretty good).

  17. Oh man, I really dug the Canadian Newsroom– I could never talk anyone into watching it back when, but I was really excited when I found it. I don’t know how it’s aged but at the time, there weren’t a lot of shows in that Shandling Larry Sanders vein, so I was really excited by it. At least, the first series (first and second?)– the one I saw ended all Fellini. (I think there was a special too with someone going into a coma? This was years and years ago– I think I saw that). Just loved the dialogue– plus, probably had a crush on that intern character…

    I think I read that Finkleman came back later with some series about starvation in Africa or something…? Or he tried making a new series of the Newsroom and it wasn’t as well received? I just never really heard about Ken Finkleman since but he never really made any splash in the US to begin with so I wouldn’t even know where to look, really… It just was this thing that turned up in the video store I used to haunt, which specialized in interesting things like that… Has he done anything since worth checking out?

  18. The frustrating thing about the Sorkin NEWSROOM is that it feels like it’s about 80% of the way to being a really good show, but the remaining 20% actively undermines the rest.

    I loved the original series of Finkleman’s NEWSROOM. Even have a script book for it somewhere. And yet I can’t even remember if I saw the follow up series.

  19. Finkleman returned to the Newsroom with a TV movie and two more seasons (after a trio of TV mini-series that were a bit more experimental and damn hard to find) — he later followed that up using the George character for a Curb-esque show called Good Dog for HBO Canada that morphed into a ‘Fox News in Canada’ Newsroom update of sorts retitled Good God for its second season that was quite good. I’m not sure if it’s slated to return for a third season…

  20. Mateor, Enver Gjokaj played a character named Lukka in an episode of community. I wouldn’t start with that one, but it was really funny (he’s pretty great in everything I’ve seen him in).

  21. Best best of list of 2012.

    Oh Shit was the best until Channel 101 started crapping out on me (EP 07). All that stupid deconstructionist stuff I guess they do on Community but with the sincerity of just two dudes making it and those details like the parties and the real people they run into on the streets.

    Those were actually two Louie episodes that stuck out as bad to me, but I think the “Manic Dream Pixie Girl” essay had a big effect on me.

  22. Yeah, that’s him. I managed to watch some of his last series, (highlighted by the episode his twin brother was also in) but since I don’t watch TV often, I usually miss his stuff.

    But seeing Abhay so enthusiastic about Community always makes me consider giving it a shot. I always had a bad taste in my mouth about that show since Chevy Chase gives me hives. But people seem to think I could get past it…

  23. [...] first few Copra issues by saving me from comic book cabin fever. Big thanks to Matt Seneca and Abhay Khosla, [...]

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