Malcolm Gladwell

July 12, 2008

Is it me or is Malcolm Gladwell increasingly looking like Sideshow Bob from The Simpsons?


Flight of the Conchords

June 15, 2007

Here is the catch with the new comedy series Flight of the Conchords: the music is the only bit that is funny. Now, this is particularly interesting to me, since I don’t like musicals at all; but what these two New Zealanders, Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, do with music is absolutely incredible and refreshingly hilarious.

Flight of the Conchords is a comedy duo that got a new series on HBO and the first episode was broadcasted on 17th June 2007. The plot of the episode is not important or very relevant. The show is actually quite boring, as the authors described in an interview for NPR Fresh Air, but I think the series is likely to get better with time. However, the high point of the episodes is the three musical acts. The musical acts are funny, very well acted, highly relevant to the story and completely idiotic. In this aspect I strongly disagree with Dave Morgan’s review.

Act 1 shows them at a party where Jemaine sees this girl called Sally. The singing totally silly but, yet through the lyrics, is actually totally appropriate; “Let’s get in a cab, I will buy you a kebab”.

Act 2 shows them recording a video and singing their stand-up act hit The Humans Are Dead, which includes gems such as “We used poisonous gases and we poisoned their asses”. You can see this particular bit here.

Act 3, the final musical act, it is the classical love song, completely turned around; ““These aren’t tears of sadness, because believe me I just have been cutting onions. I am making a lasagna”. Again you can see a teaser here.

I have a brain haemorrhage every time I see a musical. I change the channel, leave the room, I simply cannot cope with people dancing and singing whilst pretending to say something to each other. Even when Woody Allen tried with Everyone Says I Love You I wasn’t really happy with the final result. Maybe I am getting old, but Flight of the Conchords have made the musical a possibility for me.

Sealab 2021

June 13, 2007

Very few things are better than Sealab 2021. In a sea of people that think that TV is getting worse, I actually think quite the contrary and I think TV is getting better and Sealab 2021 is the proof of that. The problem is that rubbish TV is growing exponentially making it very hard to find the great gems out there.

Sealab 2021 is something unique in television. It has, quite simply everything a TV show needs to be a universal success: intelligent political/social commentary, plenty of good jokes, plenty of silly jokes, lots of pop culture references (to make some of us feel intelligent) and meaningful/sensible violence. However, the show isn’t a global success. The main reason for this is that it is showing on Adult Swim and its 12 minute long episodes make it awkward for normal TV channels.

Here are the reason why I think everyone should be watching Sealab 2021. The show’s main character is Captain Murphy (voiced by Harry Goz) is everything you want in a lead role. Some sort of a wiser older Homer Simpson. Throughout the series Murphy slowly comes through as a totally iconic figures. It helps that he gets the show’s best lines (e.g., “Remember, is not what The Party can do for you puddy, is what your puddy can do for The Party” or “I said a little! He is barely alive enough to kill.” or “We have bigger problems than a butter shortage”). Sadly, Harry Goz died in September 2003 and he took Captain Murphy with him. Personally, I think the series never quite recovered from this.

The music in the show is great and always meaningful to the story. No superfluous music stuff here. The theme song is a masterstroke by the band Calamine created especially for the show. It does exactly what every theme tune should do: making the series instantly recognisable. Listen to it on YouTube and you will be singing along to the theme tune almost instantly. The show has also a continuous collaboration with nerdcore rapper MC Chris.

The episodes are true genius. They only last 12 minutes (in the classic Adult Swim style) and the writers manage to pack unimaginable amounts of fun and action. It is very hard to describe the impact they have or the stories they are trying to communicate. They are all different and invariably end with all the crew dying in some freak accident – this is a perception actually as someone pointed out to me. The best way to do this is to use You Tube and suggest some of the classics: The more serious episodes like Happy Cake (”I don’t know, it is French. It’s crap”), sci-fi non-sense with Lost in Time (”Does vaporise mean nothing happened to it?”), theatre-like episodes like All That Jazz (”Hey, some sort of rescue toaster”), evil empire stuff with Der Dieb (”That’s the problem, we don’t know which throat to slit”), pure non-sense with tons of pop-culture references with Vacation (”uh-oh”) and the political ones with Article 4 (”ui, mis huevos!”) and Red Dawn (”There is a spectre haunting Sealab, and that spectre is my 5 year plan”).

After 52 episodes Sealab 2021 came to an end. Enjoy them.

Ricky Gervais: one love

March 30, 2007

One of the funniest sketches available on the web. Ricky Gervais makes some interesting points about morality and it is more thought provoking that it may seem in the beginning. Enjoy.

Mélissa Theuriau

March 26, 2007

This woman became an icon overnight thanks to YouTube. Despite the US continuously looking for beautiful women to front their TV programmes, they continuously fail, because their definition of beauty is so incredibly narrow. This gives hope and potential to women in other countries. This one is French and they have successfully manage to create an instant success out of a newsreader.

Info: The music in the video is Enya – Skin 2 skin.

Update: As someone pointed out: this video has stalker written all over it.


March 23, 2007

This video, done for comic relief in the UK, shows why Tony Blair is, without a doubt, the most impressive politician of my life time.