Tuesday, July 26, 2005

The Student Has Become ... The Teacher!

Yep, I, who was once a lowly rookie page, is now the one dispensing my own world-weary brand of informative advice to the newest crop of fledgling newbies who enter the page program with bright-eyed hopes and Hollywood dreams. Funny how I still have no idea what the hell is going on most of the time.

Take today for instance. It's 9 am and I'm supposed to have a tour. Next thing I know it's 9:30 am and I'm escorting a group of eight-year-old child actors across the NBC Studios, explaining to them why we keep every prop that has ever been used on Days of Our Lives and informing them as to the meaning of a parabolic camera lense. Craziness.

Yesterday I was excited for the Tonight Show, as I mentioned, because Alannis Morissette was going to be live and performing a vintage (if accousticed-up) version of a classic Jagged Little Pill song off her new anniversery album. At one time, during those crazy days of middle school, I will freely admit to you, I loved that album. So I was pretty disappointed that she chose to sing the song "Perfect," which is unlikably mellow and boring, at least in my humble opinion. Sure, maybe it pleased the hardcore Alanis fan, but I was hoping to see her belt out some angst-ridden old-school femi-rage song like "You Oughtta Know" or "All I Really Want." Oh well. Never liked her all that much anyways ...

Also appearing on yesterday's show was Marishka Hartigay (again) of Law and Order: SVU fame, and some championship poker player from Australia, who as I described to my friend Kirsten, currently studying abroad (or is that a few broads? hehehe) in the land down under, was responsible for a pretty funny scene. Basically, in the middle of this guy's interview with Jay, about 15 of his "mates" who were in attendance randomly stood up, upon hearing mention of their native land, and belted out a bellowing chant of everyone's favorite international chant of patriotism: "Ozzie Ozzie Ozzie, Oy Oy Oy!" three times in a row. Pretty cool, though pushing the limits of acceptable Tonight Show decorum.

On a random tangent, that chant made me remember how hilarious it was on the British version of The Office whenever Gareth would answer his office phone and greet his friend Oggie on the other line with a chant of "Oggie Oggie Oggie, Oy Oy Oy!" Oh and I'll say it one mo' time for the haytas out there - the British Office = great, classic, amazing, hilarious, tragic, a masterpiece. The US version = mediocre, sometimes funny though rarely hilarious, Americanized dumbed-down network TV recycled attempt at being original.


- speaking of likes and dislikes, I have long ago succumbed to the awesomeness that is "I Play Chicken With the Train" by the unlikely (or is it?) pairing of Big and Rich featuring Cowboy Troy. I never thought I'd love a song sung by a country music band and a rapping cowboy, but dammit all ... I can't get me enough of this song, especially now that it plays EVERY DAY before the Tonight Show. And I'm not alone, for once! Cowboy Troy fever has caught on at the page program and everybody is loving them some urban country hip hop funkayness. Ya' dig?

- also gotta mention that the song, don't know it's name, by the Kaiser Chiefs that plays before Leno every day is really growing on me as well. Will have to look into their band. Luckily, not every song in that opening music montage has caught on with me, and I can still say with plenty of confidence that - don't you worry, Rob Thomas sucks as much as ever.

- Interesting that this new class of pages contains yet another BU grad who as far as I know I have never met. I guess that happens when you have 30,000 undergrads, but still ...

- Speaking of pages, my blog has somehow become a new topic of discussion in certain circles of the ol' workplace. So, um, hello pages. Glad you're finding some time in your busy schedules to read my little rants. Actually, now that I have your attention, go back and read every post I've ever written. It's good for ya' and hey it's not like you have anything better to do!

- Finally, it's time for: DANNY'S BIG REVELATION OF THE DAY:

- While eating some dinner tonight I was watching a classic episode of The X-Files on DVD, as has often been my custom of late. While watching the episode, entitled "Eve," I realized that one of the characters in this story about a government-sponsored mass-cloning experiment was, in fact, named "Eve 6." Hmm, I thought, I wonder if there's any connection with that 90's rock band, Eve 6? A quick Google search later, and lo and behold - there is! The not-so-kick-ass "modern rock" band was actually named after the character Eve 6 from this extremely-kick-ass episode from the X-Files' first season! Finally, the connection revealed!

On that note, it's 'bout that time again. Time to sign off and say - until next time.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Song Remains The Same ...

Is it already the end of the "weekend?"

The quotes are due to the fact that for the last few weeks us pages must WORK ON SATURDAYS. Okay, let's not gloss over this, it friggin' sucks! Sure, our bosses might say, it's more hours. Yeah, we get paid 9 friggin' 50 an hour. I'd prefer my saturdays be free, thank you very much. All this work explains why for the last few Sundays I have been dead tired and have little to no will to do anything productive. It's difficult to even keep straight all the stuff I mean to do. There's so many emails, phone calls, resumes, legal stuff, etc. etc. etc. how can anyone possibly manage it all?

Last week at NBC was just a bear to get through. It was ridiculously hot all week, which made working at the Tonight Show a real test of endurance. Also, I was ticketbox head for three days last week (counting last Saturday) which I can't say I really enjoyed. However, there were a few highlights, one of which happened Friday ...

Because ROBERT PLANT was in the house! You know, Robert Plant, of Page and Plant, of ...



I was in utter disbelief through much of Friday while working ticketbox, as among the throngs of people coming to NBC, a staggeringly small amount had any real familiarity with ARGUABLY THE GREATEST ROCK AND ROLL BAND OF ALL TIME. Among my fellow pages it was no different. I was just in complete shock at this. Led Zepellin is one of those bands that seemingly every kid or teen should discover at some point and realize their greatness. Hell, I remember The Onion doing a mock news article a while back poking fun at how each new generation discovers the band and thinks it's some big revelation, when they are in fact only catching on to what most others have known about for years. The headline was like "Local Teen Discovers Cool New Band - Led Zeppelin." or something like that. But honestly, it is mind boggling. On Friday of this week the talentless and dumb as a doornail, soon to have her own behind the music special Jessica Simpson will be on, and yet for some inexplicable reason people will actually CARE. WHO GIVES A CRAP? These people should be lined up and forced to listen to some real music and bow before the rock god that is Robert Plant, who at one time was regularly singing, as Jack Black and Tenacious D called it, the "best song in the world." Rock and freakin' roll.

Anyways, Plant kicked ass. The first song he did for the show was a little muddled sounding, a bit uneven. But the second one, a new song like the first, was a classic sounding, pulsating, rocking little number that got the crowd pumping their fists and cheering and flashing the devil horns like it was 1979. Plant even broke out some vintage mic-twirling maneuvers, and didn't let his advancing age stop him from dancing around like he was on some legendary drug induced hallucinigenic trip through the Mines of Moria. Rocking.

Also, I SHOOK HIS HAND - AND - I TALKED TO THE VOICE OF LED ZEPPELIN HIMSELF! I WAS FACE TO FACE WITH THE MAN WHO SANG STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN, BLACK DOG, AND DAZED AND CONFUSED! During my lunchbreak I watched his rehearsal in NBC's midway area, and suddenly he was done and walking right towards me and the other priveleged few who were watching. A bunch of crew-guy types shook his hand and relayed all these old timey stories like "yeah man, you rock, I saw you play in Vegas when I was DJ'in at this little place on the strip ..." So there I was ... in the words of Dio, the last in line. I stuck out my hand and said "Hey, I'm a big fan." And that was about all I could muster before The Man himself smiled, thanked me, and walked off to do those things that rock n' roll legends do. Still, that was, easily, the biggest thrill I've had at NBC in a long, long time.

And there I was at work trying to explain to my coworkers and other random people why this was so awesome, as if I was talking about some obscure indy band or something. WAKE UP PEOPLE, this is ONE OF THE MOST LEGENDARY FIGURES IN MUSIC EVER, SO GO AND BURN YOUR NELLY CD'S AND GET WITH THE BY-GOD PROGRAM!

Moving on ...

This week at work:

It's that time again - new pages! Oh boy, what will this new class bring to the table? I thought by this point I'd long have gotten an assignment and be pitching my script ideas to the NBC brass, but oh well, I guess it's my destiny to show these new kids how it's done. Luckily tommorow should be a good show, as one of my faves from those angst-ridden days of middle school, Alanis Morisette, will be playing on the Tonight Show. Now I already saw her play one of her new-school accoustic versions of songs from Jagged Little Pill a few months back on Ellen ("One Hand In My Pocket"), so I'm curious to see what song she'll do this time. Although I doubt it's a likely candidate, I'd love to see her play "All I Really Want", easily my most enduringly favorite song from that album.

The Weekend that Was:

Pretty busy this weekend. Friday went out with some pages for dinner at BJ's Bar and Grill in good old downtown Burbank, and then saw Bad News Bears. Saturday I trekked over to Santa Monica to partake in the birthday festivities of fellow page Diane "The Explosion" Panosian, who in her own words wanted her b-day to be celebrated in the only way befitting her -- insanely! Haha, I'll leave it at that.

And what'd I think of THE BAD NEWS BEARS?

- The movie turned out to be pretty funny, though I was surprised to find that it was a nearly scene by scene remake of the original version. Billy Bob Thornton was great, and the cast of kids was top notch as well. However I did feel like the movie had some pacing problems, and the climactic championship game seemed to go on and on forever. While the simplistic structure and plot worked in the original, it felt dated and slow here. On the other hand, there were plenty of good laughs and a lot of the one liners delivered by the kids and Billy Bob were gold, and Greg Kinnear was also in top form as the rival coach. I'd say this is one that's better suited for kids, but the language and adult humor might put off parents from bringing younger children to see this. Odd how this version is actually toned down from the 1980's orginal, yet still seems pretty shocking in an age when most kids' sports movies follow the clean-cut mold of The Mighty Ducks and other such Disney-ified fare. This is definitely a movie about dirty, foul mouthed, punk kids, and for that you've gotta appreciate it, even if the concept is nothing new, just one that's been gone for a while. Still, I would definitely rank this below School of Rock on the Linklater-directed kids comedy scale, as that movie was just bursting with energy and freshness while this one really felt like a remake of a concept that has since been done to death. Very funny at times, but slow at others, Bad News Bears is definitely worth checking out to see a kids' sports movie that for once is as rebellious in its nature as the badly behaved kids whose stories it tells. My grade: B


- Daaaaaaaaaaamn, this weekend's season-finale episode of Justice League ruled it. Suffice to say any fans of Paul Dini and Bruce Timm's seminal animation work from throughout the last fifteen years owes it to themselves to check out this episode, which ties together threads from nearly every DC Comics'-based animated series created by these two. Amazing, amazing stuff.

- Mediocre Family Guy tonight. It was paced so that nearly every quickly-cut scene was immediately followed with one of the show's trademark random cutaways. The Stewie-Brian office subplot was funny, but only highlighted the disjointedness of the A-plot. Note to Seth McFarlane: scrap American Dad and concentrate on making Family Guy great again.

- I find it funny that the LA Times carries Joel Stein's weekly opinion columns. I mean, I think the guy is a hilarious writer, but his columns have no place in the op-ed section of a major news publication. Put him back in Entertainment Weekly where he belongs, and get rid of Stephen King, who clearly has little interest in writing about pop culture on a regular basis.

- Too funny that The Island made only 12 million it's opening weekend - that's terrible! Maybe now the studios will stop giving these big movies to Michael Bay, who in my opinion has made exactly one truly entertaining movie - The Rock, while being mostly responsible for utter crap like Armageddon, one of my least favorite movies of all time. Now I still kinda want to see The Island out of curiosity, but I have a feeling that, like I Robot, it's going to be one of those movies with a cool concept where it could have been much, much better in more capable hands (in the case of I Robot - I blame the writing, studio interference and casting of Will Smith, not the director, Alex Proyas, who is great).

- And that's all for now. New pages, get ready, you have NO idea what you're in for ...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Is It Clobberin' Time Yet?

So yesterday's post got deleted due to some crazy internet shutdown I experienced yesterday. So now, the short version:

1.) I didn't get the Studios Production assignment at NBC. And that sucks. This was my last real chance in the near future of participating in an assignment via the page program that I was really interested in, and now it's back to square one. So now it really is time to reevaluate. Not saying that I'm leaving NBC yet, and defininitely not saying I'm through with showbiz. Hells no. But this is really frustrating, because the page program is supposed to give you that first foot in the door and so far it often seems like it's just giving an extra shove to the lucky few who already have both feet inside and their coat already hung in the closet, if you know what I mean. I mean, I come from Bloomfield freaking Connecticut, knew absolutely nobody in the entertainment biz, and my parents and I are making a huge investment to allow me to have moved all the way to CA on a moment's notice and live here on a laughable salary with no health insurance. I can't claim any connections, ins, or special treatment to have gotten this far. All I can claim is a passion for entertainment and creativity and a willingness to work hard, which at this juncture apparently amounts to jack squat. Oh well, don't count me out yet Hollywood - because you damn sure won't get rid of me that easily. And for now I'll stick to being the best damn tour guide at NBC - at least they can't take that away from me.

2.) Yesterday also brought about some very sad news for any of us who were fans of one of the all time great comic book artists: Jim Aparo, who tragically passed away yesterday. Aparo, a masterful artist with unparallelled longevity, was one of my earliest artistic influences and someone whose work I greatly admired and often sought to emulate. When I wrote a column on this blog a few weeks back about the greatest Bat-artists ever, I had this to say about Mr. Aparo (paraphrased here):

To many, he is THE definitive Batman artist. Aparo drew Batman throughout the 70's, 80's, and 90's, and when multiple generations of Batfans think of Batman, they envision him as drawn by Aparo, who seemed to know just how long to make the ears, how dark to make the shadows around the cowl, how sharp to make the gauntlets on the gloves. He just did Batman right, as he should be. His versions of Bruce Wayne, Alfred Pennyworth, the Joker, Commisioner Gordon - all classic - he picked up on the move towards realism that others had started and refined it, until Batman simply existed as drawn by Jim Aparo - his Batman became THE Batman, to the point where any other artists' rendition looked a little off, because it could only be viewed in comparison with Aparo's classic, elegant rendition.

Jim Aparo was for me, as he was to many, one of the first artists whose distinct style I immediately recognized whenever I saw it in print. He was so prolific that the thought of no new material from him is almost incomprehensible. For me, art, especially comic art, has always been one of my passions along with writing, and my younger years were often spent at my bedroom desk, drawing away at superhero epics and fantastic adventures. The character I drew most was Batman, and often I'd sit with a Jim-Aparo drawn comic book carefully open to a page featuring one of his trademark dynamic poses, dynamite storytelling sequences, or clean, distinct figures. All I can say is that it truly is a Dark Knight indeed.

Anyways ... back to the present ...

Well today was crazy at the Tonight Show. CRAZY. In a BAD way. Basically, my job today was floor seater - I had to fill the lower levels of the studio with audience members, keeping in mind that many of the seats were taped off, reserved for people on the show's guest list. So I get that part of the job out of the way and then stand in the entrance hall to the studio, checking in groups of people as the come in and occasionally escorting them to their seats if they had ones which were specially reserved. So it seems we're all clear, show's about to start ...

When suddenly Scott, our audience coordinator, runs down the hall, yelling for me to bring this woman to an empty seat in the FRONT ROW. Empty seat in the front row is NOT GOOD, since if unfilled it looks terrible on TV. So I run out as the opening theme song plays, and Jay Leno is ABOUT to come onstage. And guess what? NO EMPTY SEAT IN THE FRONT ROW. So I'm standing there, RIGHT IN FRONT of where Jay would come out to do his monologue, like a deer caught in headlights. I was totally panicking, as I had no idea what to do with this woman. So I see no seat in the front row, but look up and see THREE taped off but unfilled seats a few rows up, which is equally bad as those seats should have been filled as well. Something went very wrong in the seating process. I reach up, lean forward, yank off the tape, and point to the woman to sit in one of those seats, AS THE BAND KEEPS PLAYING MUSIC TO DELAY THE START OF THE SHOW. Oh my God. I duck under the camera, run off stage, and run back to Scott to tell him what happened and that there's still TWO EMPTY SEATS right in the front section. I'm not really sure how this mixup occured, but suffice to say I was totally traumatized by all this and stood in the back the rest of the show mentally recreating the scene and trying to figure out what the hell happened. Half a second more and I would have had to do the freaking monologue. Oy - not fun.

What else?

Today on the show Kyra Sedgewick aka Mrs. Kevin Bacon appeared (eh, okay, kind of weird), as did D.L. Hughley (surprisingly he was hilarious) and none other than Patti LaBelle performed (wasn't a fan going in due to years of parentally-induced overexposure to her and other adult contemporary artists) and wow, she tore the place up! So much so that for the first time I've ever seen, the crowd burst into unbridled applause midway through her song. Her voice was spot on, and she was really putting it all out there, quivering and shaking with emotion and showin' the young 'uns how it's done. Now there is a true American Idol.

Monday I saw the odd pairing of Sen. John McCain with the always insane Gary Busey (McCain looked ready to run for the hills while sitting next to Busey on the couch ...). Yesterday Diane Lane appeared as did Len Berman, the innovator of sports bloopers broadcasting - plus Babyface appeared, to which I say: eh, whatever.

Tonight I finally saw FANTASTIC FOUR. My quick review: Pretty much sucked. The cast aside from the miscast Alba was actually pretty good (Chiklis and the guy who played Johnny Storm were great, Mr. Fantastic alright, and Dr. Doom kind of miscast as well but still decent), but the direction by Tim Story of TAXI fame was attrocious and the script and plotting was abysmal. The f/x were poor, the set design boring, uninspired, and not befitting characters that were so artfully and imaginatively co-created by one of the greatest artistic visionaries ever, Jack "King" Kirby. The uses of the 4's powers was very limtted and rarely exciting, and the pacing was just way, way off. And yet, despite mostly reeking of sucktitude, the best thing that I can say about this movie is that despite how wrong it got it, if they can get a decent director and script for the sequel, this first one actually set things up quite nicely for a potentially kickass part 2. So get James Cameron aboard, mine Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and John Bryne and Mark Waid for the plot, up the f/x budget, and bring on the sequel. But as for this one, it gets a far from fantastic grade of C -, and ranking amongst the worst comic to film adaptations to date.

Alright, more later. And since the movie lacked any real drama, conflict, or great action moments, I have to get this out of my system:


Monday, July 18, 2005

"Hey, Remember The 80's?"

On the topic of last night's episode of Family Guy, it really was a jump the shark moment in the show's history.

I mean, it was only a few weeks ago that I was thinking "wow, this is great, the first show to be written by people who see the humor in He Man nostalgia." Last night I laughed my ass off at the brilliant A-Ha "Take On Me" music video parody. I then laughed again at the Neverending Story bit. And then, after all that, they had the audacity to throw in an extended Goonies joke ON TOP of all that? Come on, how much 80's nostalgia can you shoehorn into one friggin' episode? Save it for another time, for the love of Chunk. There's only so many times that Family Guy can throw in a an out of nowhere 80's pop culture reference and expect it to be hilarious on novelty value alone. And hey, it's not like I was ever a huge Family Guy fanatic. Yes the show is often funny as hell - even last night's episode, while obstensibly weak, had a good seven or eight laugh out loud moments. But please, this show pales compared to classic Simpsons (from which it generously borrows many of its plots and gags ...), even when it's at its best. Still, I hope that this show can continue to work at being funny with its own brand of crazy humor, not simply by getting all Goat Boy on us and doing the animated version of I Love the 80's.

Speaking of weird nostalgia ...

Man, SURREAL Tonight Show today, as the ever-entertaining Gary Busey, looking like a circus freak just released from solitary confinement, came face to face with Senator John McCain. Talk about an odd couple, McCain looked like he was going to jump out of his seat and run for the hills.

Oh yeah, since I don't think I ever recounted it ...

... Last week I observed the pilot episode of a new talk show hosted by Megan Mullaly (once again sorry if the spelling is off) of Will and Grace fame. The show was kinda interesting in that a lot of the old Dennis Miller crew (and audience!) was there, so it was like a weird, mini-reunion of sorts, and everyone was really nice who was working there. On the other hand all I really did was stand outside in the 100 degree heat and direct people where to go, then inside the studio and did crowd control / bathroom runs as needed. AS for the actual content of the show, overall, to me, it was pretty underwhelming. The taping itself was grueling to endure, as it lasted a good three hours of straight-through shooting. Some of the guest interviews were mildlyentertaining, but overall the format of the show came off like a less fun and natural version of Ellen, and Mullaly seemed pretty sedate and static compared to her crazy/quirky on-screen persona, which really only shone through in some of the pre-taped sketches that aired during the taping. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Cameron Diaz ~! was a guest on the show, and her segment was fun thanks to her energy and pepiness. Less excited to see Tonight Show regulars Wanda Sykes and Bradd Garett, who are both very funny (especially Garett, who I admit had some hilarious stories on the show), but not that interesting to me, as I've seen both now multiple times on Leno and Ellen. Mullaly's various other segments were mostly pretty lame, and the show's big gimmick, the "whatever room" (where random guests and audience members are taped showing off a hidden talent) seemed really forced and trying way too hard to be goofy / funny. Overall I can't say the show was that great, but of course I am by no means its target audience so I guess I'm not the best one to really judge. If you like Megan Mullaly, you might want to check this out when it appears on TV in 2006.

Anyways, time for sleep. Tommorow it's back to tours and Tonight Show, where Diane Lane and Babyface will be all up in the heezouse.

Oh. Joy.

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Dog Days of Summer

So it's summer time and I am working working working.

Yep, NBC is now giving tours on Saturdays, and yours truly is givin' them. So if you're in Burbank anytime and want to know all about the Tonight Show, Days of Our Lives, and the history of the NBC peacock logo, be sure to stop by, pay yor $7.50, and say hello.

All this walking in circles around the NBC Studios on weekends makes my life very busy. I hardly know what day of the week it is at this point. All I know is that I somehow put in all these hours at work amidst a really bad case of "flu-like symptoms" (that's what all the bigshot movie stars have these days I hear ...), a four day visit from my brother Matt, interviews for NBC assignments, at which I just can't seem to catch a break, a TICKET FOR NOT FULLY STOPPING AT A STOP SIGN RIGHT OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT (see last entry for angry rant ...), and more.

Still, I managed to have a pretty exciting weekend despite working on freakin' Saturday. Friday I went to my first ever Dodgers game, which despite a losing effort from the team was a great time - some quality bonding time with my fellow nbc pages. Then, Saturday, in honor of various birthday festivities, some of the pages and I packed into a LIMO and acted like the big deal showbiz peeps that we soon shall all be, cruising down to Hermosa Beach for a night on the pier done in style. Good times.

Because of all this work and other craziness I am now way behind on my movie viewing. Still have yet to see two highly anticipated summer films (Wedding Crashers and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) and one less anticipated but still a must-watch for all True Believers (Fantastic Four). We'll see what can be done about that this week.

This week is an equally crazy schedule -- not only was I running the dreaded NBC ticket box all day Saturday, but I'm back for more tommorow AND Friday. Damn. Plus more work on Saturday, again. Ugh. This week also will bring word on the status of my assignmet application, which for various reasons I am holding out only the slightest of hope for actually getting. If I don't get it, then I may have exhausted my window of opportunity at NBC. And seriously, that sucks. This opportunity is why I dropped everything and moved to California on a week's notice, so I'd like to see some dividends. We shall see what happens.

Anyways, I'm sick of thinking or talking about work, so ...


- Holy crap, you want to know what one of the best shows on TV is? JUSTICE LEAGUE on Cartoon Network. I've been taping this badboy every week for the last few months, because it friggin rocks lately. This weekend's epic finale was simply awesome - I think this is the first TV cartoon drama to ever give me chills. Wow, what an ending to the five part story that's been running over the latter part of this season. If you are even slightly a geek, you owe it to yourself to watch this by any means necessary.

- Emmy Nominations: well they are getting it more right than usual, but there is still plenty of BS here. Desperate Housewives as a potential best comedy is just pushing it. Is it really a better COMEDY than say Arrested Development? Please. Now I'll answer your question: "Danny aren't you upset that there were no nominations for the year's best new show, Veronica Mars?" Yes, yes I am. Honestly I'm not sure if any particular dramatic performance on the show is worthy of an individual acting nomination, especially when looked at through the lense of what the Emmy awards typically look for. But come on, this was the easily among the best dramas on TV this year, so it should have been nominated. On the other hand, Lost got a lot of Emmy love, despite being a show that was occasionally brilliant but ultimately inconsistent. With Mars out of the equation, there's no question in my mind that 24, not Lost, was overall the best drama on TV. Nonethless, the one nomination that REALLY stood out above all others for me was Terry O'Quinn as best supporting actor for his AMAZING work on Lost. This guy has been a favorite actor of mine since his underrated, mysterious and creepy turn as Peter Watts on Millenium (note: how Lance Henrikson never won an Emmy for this show is beyond me). Anyways, O'Quinn provided Lost with many of its best moments, and Walkabout, the ep that focused on his character, was easily the best of the season and one of the best eps of any show this year. What other major omissions were there? Well, you can find much more fervent fans of the show than me to tell you that Lauren Graham is loooooong overdue for a nod for her quirky portrayal of Laureli Gilmore. Also, the most underrated show on TV is still the former critical darling Malcolm in the Middle, which is now off everyone's radar. This show should get more nominations, without a doubt. More on the Emmy's later ...

- Hogan Knows Best - not sure what to think. I think I'd rather see the Hulkster delivering his patented legdrop against the forces of evil than delivering his brand of parental guidance to his uninteresting kids.

- Who knew that Balki Bartokomus was a perv?

- On Friday saw Papa Roach play at the Tonight Show's summer outdoor concert series. Mostly pretty lame. But, next Friday, Robert Plant will be getting the Led out on the show ... daaaaaamn!

That's all for now, brutha.

Thursday, July 14, 2005



Today, on my way to work, I got a TICKET. What for, you may ask? Oh let's see, for NOT COMING TO A FULL STOP AT A STOP SIGN! Which stop sign was this, you may ask. Oh, I don't know. Just the one RIGHT OUTSIDE MY FREAKING APARTMENT!


And guess what? In freakin' Burbank, California, you don't simply mail in a payment to cover the ticket fine. Oh no. You GET A FREAKING COURT DATE ... FOR NOT COMING TO A FULL STOP AT A STOP SIGN. I call B.S.

Honestly, WTF? This cop is trying to be all friendly and crap, asking me about NBC and stuff, seeing as how I was in my uniform. Holy lord. Here I am, for all intents and purposes LEAVING MY OWN HOME, and I'm talking to a cop on a motorcycle pulling me over like he's some badass because me, a freakin' NBC PAGE FROM BLOOMFIELD BY GOD CONNECTICUT did not come to a FULL stop at the stop sign RIGHT OUTSIDE MY APARTMENT. Did I zoom by it? No. I halted, slowed, etc., and then, as I was the only one in sight, I TURNED RIGHT. Should I have come to a full, complete, total stop? Um, yeah, I guess. Okay, fine, yes. YES. Hear me, I said YES YES YES YES. Did I? No, not technically, no, I guess not. Okay? NO.

So now, on August 15th, at 8:15 am, I must report to the Burbank courthouse to do God knows what. SCREW THIS. Honestly I am in disbelief. So now I can say hello to my insurance rates increasing even more following April's TOTAL CRAP accident which is being blamed on me despite it CLEARLY being the OTHER WOMAN'S FAULT (why? Because she SPED INTO A SHARP LEFT TURN WHEN I HAD A GREEN LIGHT AND RIGHT OF WAY.). And all this because I was on my way to work to see an important speaker at NBC, had a clear road, and get picked on by some jerkoff cop for not coming to a complete stop, a few yards away from the entrance to my apartment building. Awesome.

Yeah, I've got some other things to say, but this post of ANGER needs to stand on its own. God bless America, glad to know our street cops have their priorities in the right places. Oh, and California drivers suck and on a daily basis nearly kill me because of their TOTAL IDIOCY BEHIND THE WHEEL. And Schwarzenneger, you may be a badass in the movies but you can kiss my ass because the roads and highways in your state are total crap and do nothing but cause congestion and reaffirm predictions that the world will end due to overpopulation and / or poisonous gasses from car emissions. Oh wait, who am I to question a guy who in his twenties was bypassing formal education for shooting steroids up his ass, doing lord knows what other drugs, and gangbanging girls on the bodybuilding circuit.

Ticket and a court date for a stop sign right outside my freakin apartment ... ridiculous. Who's with me?

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Fly A Starship Across the Universe Divide ...

A few days ago I suddenly went on this huge Johnny Cash listening binge, even though up until now I have never really been into him. Man, this guy was truly one of a kind. Incredible lyrics, makes ya feel like you're sitting around a campfire or something - each song is like a folk story brought to life. Yep, big revelation, I know, I'm only a few decades too late. But anyways just thought I'd share.

Well the reason there's been so few updates lately, at least by my standards, is that, well, for one thing, I've been sick. Really sick. No, nothing that bad, but I just had a cold / flu that just hit me like a brick wall. Thursday night I started feeling a little weird but Friday I got to work and was like oh damn, I am sick and sick bad. I actually had to tell our supervisor that I couldn't do my tour - at that point my head was spinning and I was quickly losing my voice to boot. Suffice to say, Friday I got home and instead of going to see Fantastic 4 as planned, I lay curled up in the fetal position, shivering, for like three hours, unable to move. Saturday was only a little better. Sunday I started to improve, and Monday I was a bit better though still suffering. Today though I got a second wave ... I felt really out of it and had NO voice the whole day. I somehow did a tour in the morning despite barely being able to speak and each word being tough to get out. Ouch, just thinking about it is making my throat sore. Well hopefully tommorow brings better health. But man, the last few days have not been fun.

It probably didn't help things that yesterday my brother Matt was in town, so I probably overextended my vocal chords catching up with him and whatnot. For the record, after resuming our decades long rivalry in the world of videogame competition, I emerged VICTORIOUS in a classic WWE Smackdown Iron Man matchup that came down to the wire. This was especially sweet as my track record in that game against my brother is, um, not so great, to say the least, especially in our classic matchup of him as Kurt Angle vs. me as Chris Benoit. But yesterday, the Danny B of old emerged and reclaimed the PS2 wrestling crown. Awwwww yeahhhh. Matt is in the LA area until Thursday, during one of his many stops on the summer-long USY on Wheels roadtrip, where he's a counsellor, leading a group of high schoolers on a bus trip across the USA. Not a bad gig. So while today Matt was hitting up Disneyland with his group, tommorow we will likely meet up for round 2, possibly seeing a showing of Batman Begins as Matt has yet to see it. No, he is nowhere near as big of a Batman fan as me, but my had been anticipating the movie for quite some time.

Speaking of movies, curious about Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Island, and Wedding Crashers. The latter could be funny but I am pretty sick of the OVERHYPED Vince Vaughn, who is now doing the same tired schtick in every movie he's in.


Still waiting to hear about the assignment I interviewed for in production. All I know is I really want to get it and get things moving career-wise. Again, wish me good luck!

Last week I was in the office all week so I didn't see any Tonight Show tapings. After a few weeks of being MIA though I made my return to Leno today (despite having no voice and feeling like I might collapse at any moment ...). Okay show with Dakota Fanning, who at 11 is seemingly smarter than about 90 percent of Leno's audience. She is really ana amazing talent and I think she'll be around for a long time after she has outgrown the role of child actor. Terrance Howard was on from the upcoming movie Hustle and Flow, which actually looks kinda intriguing. Rascall Flatts played, who I had barely heard of but is apparently a top selling country band? Who knew? Can't say I understand why. Oh well. Of course I won't be working the show Thursday to see Billy Corgan perform, which I'd love to check out as I was a big Smashing Pumpkins fan (along with everyone else) back in the day. Tommorow I'm actually working a special taping - a pilot for a new talk show starring Megan Mullaly (sp?), the sidekick girl from Will and Grace with the funny voice? I have no idea what the show will be like, hopefully good, since I'll be there all day.

Some RANDOM THOUGHTS, then it's time for bed.

- Okay, let me just throw this out there. When I'm sick, I don't need people urging me to do stuff even though I'm sick. How is this helping or being considerate? I'd much prefer someone to just say they hope I feel better rather than not being understanding that I feel like crap.

- Holy lord, the cast on the Real World: Austin is made up of the stupidest people ever. The conversation they had tonight about the war in Iraq had to be the most inane, uninformed talk that anyone outside of some militia group in Arkansas has ever had. Okay, they showed like 10 seconds of it on MTV, but it went something like this:
Idiot 1: Stop talking about how you're in the military, I don't believe in war.
Military Chick: Shut up you're a moron.
Idiot1: Why are we even in Iraq? Why?
Idiot 2: Because 4,000 people were killed!
Idiot 1: But, um, no!
Idiot 2: Oh you've been watching Farenheit 9/11!
Idiot 1: But ...
Idiot 2: That's not even a documentary!
Military Chick: Yeah you don't know what you're talking about!
Idiot 1: What do you know you're just a nurse?
Military Chick: So, I saw lots of dead people.
Idiot1: No, you are.

Unbelievable. These guys and gals would be right at home on today's edition of Jaywalking, which, sadly, no longer surprises me with how dumb the people on it are.

- The dude who plays Bush on Leno is a FREAK. He looks exactly like W with his makeup on. Everytime I see him I think it's the real deal.

- Alright - got to rest up so I can beat this crazy cold and be ready for Meagan Mulalalalaly's show tommorow and more Baram-stlye shenanigans with my brother. Kicking his ass on the ol' playstation takes a lot out of ya, you know.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I remember when "minding the gap" was the biggest concern ...

Just a quick post to express my sadness and anger over today's incidents in London.

For those who don't know, I lived in London for a semester of study abroad two years ago during my junior year of college. It was an amazing, amazing experience and I really came to know and love the city (even if the food was mostly pretty bad ...). But the city is so full of color and history and interesting accents and fantastic stories. What happened today is just a real, real tragedy. It's absoultely crazy - I stopped at the King's Cross tube stop on the London Underground multiple times, mostly in the course of running errands for Twenty Twenty Television during my internship. One of today's bombs went off right in between King's Cross and Russell Square, which was the route I took during my many trips for Twenty Twenty to do research for them at the University of London, which is just off the Russell Square stop on the tube. Russell Square was maybe my favorite spot in all of London - there is a huge park there with a giant fountain and plenty of benches to sit on, and a snack shop across from the University that was perfect for taking a leisurely lunch break at. And that route that I took so often was bombed ...

I just hope that everyone I know who's in London is safe and okay. To my friend Mimi from BU who is studying there now, to the Goodman family who lives in Edgeware on the border of London, to everyone at Twenty Twenty - hope you're okay and safe and doing well.

And to our government: come on guys, even if this doesn't turn out to be an Al Queda attack, it definitely underscores the need to find and capture Bin Laden - not soon, but NOW. This should be, and should have always been, priority number one.

And to those responsible and any who support them: So, let's see - this will accomplish ... what? Nice job, you guys are real martyrs, real heroes. Take one for the team. (note to government spies who may or may not be monitoring my blog - this is sarcasm). Seriously, screw these people who think it's cool to blow up subways. If your leaders spent money on public services rather than funding terrorism, maybe you'd have public transportation of your own other than the odd camel or two.

Alright - more later on NBC, interviewing for assignments, etc.

For now, cheers mate.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Did I Do That ...?

Well I don't really like reality TV, but I am sitting here watching and laughing at the WB's Beauty and the Geek on the recommendation of my friend Mike Zoosman. Well, not a recommendation exactly. It's just that Mike, my former Camp Shalom co-counsellor, informed me that one of the show's finalists, Richard Ruben, is in fact a friend and classmate of his from his days as an undergrad at Brandeis. So last week I watched the show for the first time -- hilarious! Not that it's a great show or anything, but it's just so funny - Ruben is obviously playing it up for the cameras, as Mike confirmed, but that's no surprise as he is an accomplished actor. But the funniest thing is that Ruben, even with his over-the-top, played for laughs twist on the Woody Allen neurotic Jewish guy persona, is SO freakin' real it's not even funny. I mean most of the country is probably looking at this guy like he's the biggest freak ever, which is sad because hey - this is US. Go to any college Hillel, any Jewish day school, any JCC, and you'll see THAT GUY everywhere. I can think of like 7 or 8 guys from the BU hillel alone, off the top of my head, that were just as geeky if not more so than Ruben's TV persona. Now don't go around calling me a self-hating Jew or anything - I love it! Look at this guy, he's hilarious, crazy, but basically just a nice guy ... and yet look at him compared to Chuck, the other finalist on the show. Chuck just is not in on the joke. But anyways, it's nice to see this key segment of the population - the lovable yet ultra nerdy, annoyingly neurotic yet bitingly humorous, Jewish young adult uber geek, represented on TV. And the man can play the piano to boot. And what do you know, the women on the show, the "beauties," are actually three dimensional people, who make the Real World girls look even more paper thin and trashy than they usually do in comparison. And hey, it's a pretty decent reality show with realistic, well-rounded cast members and some pretty cool (if oversimplified for TV) social lessons. Not bad, not bad.

So ...

What's been going on ...


Well, tommorow is the big day - an interview for one more assignment - the Producer's Second Assistant assignment over at Universal Studios. Now apparently the previous holder of this assignment is a PA over at Arrested Development. Sounds good, sign me up. So I'm really hoping this goes well. After my last few assignment interview experiences, I really don't know what to expect anymore. But this is it - it's on like donkey kong.

Otherwise, just been chilling this week as ticket office head at NBC. Not missing too much cool stuff on the Tonight Show, though I wouldn't have minded being there for tommorow's show, featuring Jessica Alba and Magic Johnson. Oh well.


A belated Happy 4th of July to everyone.


That's about all I got for now. Except ... come on, people I've got over 3000 hits as of this week and yet few comments - leave me a comment, even if it's to say you think I suck!

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Pink Floyd Rules and MTV Can Suck It

Just some quick thoughts on today's amazing Live 8 concert, which I completely forgot was even today, until this morning when I turned on the TV and saw - hold the phone! - MTV playing music! But I had actually been looking forward to this show for a while, and even though I had to friggin' work today I caught up on the concert later in the afternoon via TV and the internet.

It really is a sad commentary on the state of music in today's pop culture. When the show is stolen by three bands whose heyday was thirty years ago, it's a testament to the staying power of legends like The Who, Pink Floyd, and Deep Purple, but a wakeup call that real music, real rock n' roll, is all but left out of the equation in certain mass market circles (MTV I'm lookin' at you ...).

When I was younger, MTV was a gateway into this other world of rock populated by the likes of Tom Petty, Guns N' Roses, Nirvana, Aerosmith, Genesis, the Beastie Boys, Green Day, Metallica, and Pearl Jam. MTV was my first introduction to many of my all time favorite bands - and without it I might never have found so much of that great music. What do kids find now on MTV? It's nothing cool, nothing new, nothing exciting, that's for sure. It's regurgitated pop-cultural waste. Now this is an OLD complaint, that much is obvious. But watching Live 8 today, as much as I appreciated the fact that it was even carried on TV, it was painful to have to hear some lame-ass "VJ's" interrupt the songs and practically explain to the audience why people like Bob Marley and Stevie Wonder and The Who and Pink Floyd were considered great. Oftentimes they'd interrupt performances right in the middle for no discernable reason just to provide needless banter. Sorry but I don't need some LAME "personality" named Sway telling me how he is a "real" Bob Marley fan.

And then there was the real highlight of the day - Pink F'n Floyd -- reunited! Damn that was sweet, I had chills the whole time they were playing. They seemed like they hadn't missed a beat. Now again, I am by no means a hardcore Floyd fan, but I remember being in elementary school or middle school and hearing "Another Brick in the Wall Part 2" on the radio, and thinking it was absolutely right on - we don't need no education - hells yeah! How can ya have yer pudding if ye don't eat yer meat? One of the first albums I ever bought was Pink Floyd's The Wall, and it was so different and weird and thought-provoking compared to anything I'd ever heard. So to see Floyd on stage on my TV playing "Wish You Were Here," "Money" and "Comfortably Numb," well, daaaaaaaamn was that sweet. Of course, MTV, during an absolutely mind-blowing performance, CUTS AWAY TO SHOW THE VJ'S TALKING! And then, they cut back to Floyd, and then, they CUT TO COMMERCIAL BEFORE THE SONG WAS OVER! Dammit, that sucked. MTV did an overall crappy job of cutting to commercials right in the middle of songs, I mean they cut off Bon Jovi right in the middle of Living on a Prayer ...! That ain't right.

Overall though I really enjoyed what I saw of the show. Floyd was amazing. Paul McCartney, Green Day, The Who, Madonna, U2, and more were great. Hats off to Green Day, by the way. They are really stepping up as the ambassadors of modern rock, carrying on the spirit of bands like The Sex Pistols and The Clash, and hey, their cover of "We Are The Champions" undoubtedly kicked some ass.

As for the cause itself, honestly I don't understand how a show like this can benefit anything in a major way. The problem of Africa is so complicated and deep-rooted, I just don't know how the poverty and disease there will go away anytime soon. But hey, there's always hope, I guess, and barring that, there's always rock and roll - maybe not on MTV, but it's there.