Been & Going

[California Seething] Shark-noir-do

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SPOILER ALERT: This post may contain details and information that could spoil the experience of watching Sharknado 3. Then again, it would be hard to imagine I could possibly spoil the experience of watching Sharknado 3 Cal Seething- 081115- handsawany more than the bozos who made the movie already have. And therein lies the biggest mystery of Sharknado 3. No- it’s not whether Tara Reid lives or dies at the end- I guess they’ve just left that up to Twitter to decide- so do yourself and America a favor and hashtag “#AprilDies” on everything you Tweet – because the most believable part of her performance is her prosthetic chainsaw attachment which is the most human thing about her. But, anyhow, the biggest mystery about Sharknado 3 is – how did they manage to ruin something that was already so terrible to begin with? Look at it this way, any chef can screw up beef bourguignon- but it takes a special kind of incompetence to fuck up Ramen- and that’s exactly what the geniuses who made Sharnknado 3 did. How the hell did they manage that? All they had to do was take a cheap, pre-packaged shark movie, boil it in shlock til it was dumb enough to be funny but not so long that it was reduced to a brainless mush, and add in a shiny flavor packet of Gen-XCal Seething- 081115- ramen in-jokes (Ian Ziering is cinematic MSG) and voila- a Sharknado 3 that doesn’t suck. Just a tasty little movie with no nutritional value that’s even more delicious when you’re wasted. They followed this recipe and produced two perfectly good (or, let’s keep it real, perfectly bad) Sharknado movies- but they messed it up badly with the third one.

First of all, they overcooked it- going well past the “brainless mush” stage until nothing was left but a gelatinous glob of gore and idiocy. Then they emptied an industrial sized canister of celebrity cameos into the glob (David Hasselhoff is cinematic Cheez Whiz), deep fried the whole thing in product placement and served it with a side of cynical self-awareness- like oh oh oh- we know it’s dumb so that makes everything ok. Well, I’ve got news for you guys- it doesn’t. Dog shit with parsley is still just dog shit- and yes, I realize I just pulled off the extremely rare “metaphor inside a metaphor”- the blogging equivalent of the flashback inside a flashback. And, yes, I realize that was actually a metaphor FOR a metaphor- which is even more rare- as rare as a unicorn or a Lincoln Chafee supporter or a transgendered Republican reality TV star. Come to think of it- why isn’t Caitlyn running for president? I mean – Olympic champion, successful businessman, conservative Christian,Cal-Seething--081115--voltr pop culture icon and now a WOMAN??? That’s something for everyone! She’s a one woman Fox News debate! She’s five candidates in one- she’s GOPTron! Hell, she’s even got a black son in law (or, ex-step-son-in-law- close enough). Now if she can just get Khloe to marry Pitbull she’ll be UNSTOPPABLE.

Which gets me back to my original point- how did the producers manage to screw up Shaknado 3 so badly? The movie starts with a tornado full of sharks hitting Washington DC and destroying the White House- could there be any better metaphor for the election??? I mean, come on – 10,000 sharks hit DC and not a single one has Trump hair- how did the producers miss that? It’s like striking out at kickball. Sure, there was a tiny nod to political satire with Cal Seething- 081115- cubancoulterPresident Mark Cuban and Vice President Anne Coulter (easily the scariest part of the movie) but they could have done so much more. For instance: Obama orders Congress to evacuate- the Republicans refuse and are eaten by sharks. Trump says the sharks are murderers and drug dealers that are attracted by Megyn Kelly’s blood. Bernie Sanders has some great ideas but #SharkLivesMatter shouts him down at a rally which the mainstream media won’t cover. Jeb Bush claims he’s half shark, Fox News claims the science is still out on sharknados, Jimmy Fallon says the sharks can eat more than Chris Christie, Marco Rubio compares the sharknado to an abortion, and a shark eats some lion no one’s ever heard of in Zimbabwe and Facebook loses it’s GODDAMN MIND. Meanwhile Hilary hangs back and doesn’t say a damn thing cause she knows sooner or later the sharks are all gonna Cal Seething- 081115- hilaryeat each other and, when the storm clears, she’ll be the only one standing. Yup- that’s Hilary- President of a ruined nation, its institutions of government destroyed, standing knee deep in shark guts- but- hey- at least she got to be what she always wanted to be when she grew up- so the American Dream is still working for somebody. Slow clap for Madame President. Credits. And THAT’S how you make a Sharknado movie in Washington.

Sadly, though, that’s not what the producers of Sharknado 3 did. Instead, they expected us to believe that Mark Cuban is leader of the free world, an action hero and a passable actor- in ascending order of implausibility. Seriously, Cuban hasn’t been this unconvincing since he met with DeAndre Jordan. And then, after Cal Seething- 081115- iwojimaour heroes raise the American flag Iwo-Jima style in order to impale a flying shark, the worst thing to happen to Veterans in this country since the VA, the movie leaves DC for Universal Orlando- a perfect example of cynical corporate interests ruining something that pretty much sucked to begin with. Hey- come to think of it- you could say the same thing about the Republican party- so maybe this movie is a sly political satire after all!

Anyhow, back in Universal Orlando, Tara Reid is about to give birth to Ian Ziering’s baby (the Cal-Seething--081115--bodersecond scariest thing about this movie) and is hanging out with her mom, Bo Derek, who, in the movie’s only pleasant surprise, looks refreshingly human for an actress her age. Things just get dumber and bloodier from there and the whole thing ends up in outer space with Ian Ziering, David Hasselhoff – who turns out is a former astronaut (one of the less plausible things about the movie) and also Ian Ziering’s dad (one of the most!) and Tara Reid, who was fortunate enough to find a petite maternity space suit at the very last minute. Actually, that’s not really so surprising – what’s surprising is that they take the opportunity to do product placement “Finn- I don’t care if I am pregnant. If you’re going into space to save the world I’m going with you. And besides, I found the cutest little space suit at Pea in the Pod, and I’m just dying to try it out!”

Anyhow, they are launched into space by NASA on a secret space shuttle with the intention of creating a huge explosion which will somehow end the sharknado, which is TOTALLY PREPOSTEROUS. I mean, everyone knows if you want to blow something up in space you hire Space X. But anyhow, the explosion thing doesn’t work and they have to use the old SDI (“Star Wars”) satellites from the 80’s instead to fire a laser pulse into the heart of the giant storm. Well, before the ghost of Ronald Reagan can say “I told you so- wait- what were we talking about again?”, Hasselhoff leaves the shuttle to float out to theCal-Seething--081115--hoff satellite and hit Ctrl-Alt-Delete on it so that it can fire the laser- even though he knows it means he will die in space because the shuttle doesn’t have enough fuel to come back and pick him up. Which I guess is supposed to be heroic, and I guess we’re supposed to be inspired by his courage when one of the movie’s final shots shows him standing on the surface of the moon- but I have to wonder – if he could float 240,000 miles to the moon how come he couldn’t float 50 feet back to the space shuttle? But then again, I suppose I too would rather suffocate in the infinite blackness of space then spend ONE MORE FUCKING MINUTE ALIVE with Tara Reid #AprilDies.

Anyhow, sharks in space, something something something, space shuttle destroyed, Tara Reid gets swallowed by a shark, Ian Ziering goes in after her and she gives birth to her baby while plummeting to earth in the belly of an enormous flaming shark, ultimately slicing it open from the inside with the buzzsaw attachment on her hand (man, that thing can act!) and handing the mewling infant to Ian Ziering before slicing her way out of the carcass of the beast. And it’s perfect cause this is exactly what she wrote in the birth plan she gave her doula except for the Enya and aromatherapy candles.

Oh yeah, sharks also eat the cast of the Today show but spare Kathy Lee and Hoda because they’re in recoveryCal Seething- 081115- aprildies and at the very end of the movie, a giant hunk of space debris falls out of the sky on Tara Reid and, we, the viewers get to vote on Twitter if she lives or dies – and FOR THE LOVE OF GOD AMERICA, I’m begging you once more to tweet #AprilDies. An America that doesn’t want to kill Tara Reid just isn’t an America I want to live in.

Alright, so, yeah, Sharknado 3. Total crap. The worst movie of the summer not featuring Planned Parenthood. I’ve already written 1500 more words than that fucking movie deserved. And maybe the reason I’m being so critical of it is that I’ve been obsessed all month with the TCM’s Summer of Darkness- DVR’ing 24 hours worth of film noir classics every Friday in June & July and slowly working my way through them. Now, some of you may not be aware of what film noir is or have any knowledge of classic cinema- and that’s OK. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with being a culturally illiterate philistine wallowing in the excrement of your cinematic ignorance who thinks that being a sophisticated movie goer means spending $15 to see Pixels at the Arclight in Sherman Oaks. You know, per se. Hey, it’s your money (Mazal Tov, BTW, to the fast food workers of New York State for their recent minimum wage increase. They’ll be earning no less than $15/hour state-wide by 2021, which is perfect as it gives McDonalds exactly enough time to perfect the robo-cashier. Just hand over your money to the animatronic clown, kiddies, then never stop screaming in your sleep.) If you want to spendCal-Seething--081115--pixel your hard earned cash watching Adam Sandler, Kevin James and Josh Gad (add Jack Black and you’ve got the Mount Rushmore of Ugh) fight classic video game characters in a movie that’s been hacked to pieces so that it be sold to the Chinese (I suppose it’s only fitting. First we ruin Chinese food to make it palatable to Americans now we ruin American movies to make them palatable to the Chinese), that’s your terrible choice to make. Who am I to judge? (GUILTY!) Hey, we all have our taste in crap- I liked the first two Sharknado movies and I’m a sucker for the Fast & Furious franchise. But, sometimes it’s good to know that there’s something better out there and that’s when I turn to TCM. Because like Monterey Park hot-pot in a world of Panda Express- TCM has the real thing.

So what is this film noir thing anyhow? First of all- it’s important to know how to pronounce it- it’s not “Film New-ahh” with a silent “r” like it’s en francais or something – it’s “Film Newarrr” with the “r” pronounced American style. Cause while the name may be French, the film movement is as American as French Fries or French Dressing, although to be fair- the stories are actually told through the international language (film- what were you thinking?) Anyhow, there are a million ways to define Film Noir (or “freedom flicks” as Lindsay Graham called them in the mid 2000’s) but I like to start with this quote from Walter Neff, protagonist of Double Indemnity, the best film noir of all Cal Seething- 081115- nefftime:

“Yes, I killed him. I killed him for money – and a woman – and I didn’t get the money and I didn’t get the woman. Pretty, isn’t it?”

And, weirdly, enough, it is pretty. Cause that’s what film noir is all about- making bad choices while looking good. And while I realize that could also be the logline for Models, Inc, it’s nevertheless true of film noir. Now, some of these choices can seem innocuous at first- pick up the wrong hitchhiker, notarize the wrong document, go home with the wrong guy and, boom, just like that your life can be changed forever. In these movies, fate can seem arbitrary and cruel- like a pop-quiz from the universe designed to test your character.

But in most film noir, the choices are not so innocent. Take our friend Walter Neff. Now, Walter has things pretty good. He’s a charming, handsome bachelor with a good job that allows enough flexibility to go bowling in the afternoon (my lifelong dream) and an apartment in Hollywood with underground parking- which in and of itself is something worth killing for (“I killed him for off-street parking- and an open-plan kitchen- and I didn’t get the parking and I didn’t get the kitchen”- House Hunters Noir!)

But he is dissatisfied. He’s restless. We’ve all felt it. This country was founded on restlessness and dissatisfaction- it’s at the root of the American Dream. But it’s dangerous. Hell, there’s nothing more dangerous than restless, dissatisfied white people- just ask anyone we haven’t killed yet. Now for the first 150 years or so of this country’s existence the answer to restlessness and dissatisfaction was always “go west, young man”. But Walter Neff finds himself in sunny Los Angeles- as far west as he can go. I mean, technically, I suppose technically he could move to Santa Monica but then he’d have to give up his underground parking spot and THERE ARE LIMITS. So, what does he do? He goes slightly north-east instead to the home of Mr and Mrs Cal Seething- 081115- walterandphyllis.Dietrichson somewhere in the hills. He is hoping to renew Mr Dietrichson’s car insurance but ends up concocting a much deadlier plan when he meets Mrs Phyllis Dietrichson, a very sexy woman with a really unsexy name.

In fact Walter and Phyllis sound less like a couple of sex crazed killers and more like my grandparent’s friends from Congregation Beth Emeth. Sure, Phyllis hosted a killer Hadassah luncheon and Walter was a hoot at the Brotherhood breakfasts, but my grandparents had to cut them off when they caught Walter cheating at canasta. He couldn’t help himself. He’s no good. He’s rotten. That’s the reason why most noir heroes and heroines make the terrible choices they do in response to their dissatisfaction. They’re rotten. And it’s the only reason we viewers need- we don’t need to know about their terrible childhoods, we don’t need to hear about how they are victims of society, how they suffer from FFS (Femme Fatale Syndrome.) Everything we need to know about their backstory is wrapped up in this quote from The Hollow Triumph – “It’s a bitter little world.”

The men and women of noir have been kicked around their whole lives and so they are shitty people with poor impulse control who are likeable because they are so damn cool. It’s a blast to watch them try and get away with stuff the rest of us barely dare to think about and cathartic as hell when they fall on their chiseled faces with success just tantalizingly out of reach- tripping over their shoelaces at the finish line of the marathon. Or- better yet, they cross the finish line and feel warm and safe all wrapped in the shinyCal Seething- 081115- marathon insulated blanket of success only to fall into an open trench reaching for someone to hug.

And in the best noir flicks, what trips our heroes up is not their wickedness but their inconvenient humanity- the shot they can’t take, the heart they can’t break, the home they shouldn’t try to go back to but can’t help themselves, the lover they can’t leave behind, the betrayal they never see coming. And sometimes, it’s just the fact that they can’t live one more day with their horrible, rotten selves and so they jump in to that open trench with a crooked smile on their face and leave the rotten world behind.

As for Walter Neff- I won’t tell you exactly what happens to him. Suffice it to say he makes some bad choices and they don’t turn out well. He doesn’t get the money. He doesn’t get the woman. And he’s probably gonna lose his parking spot. A bitter little world indeed.

There’s a lot more I can say about film noir and, in fact, I’m going to say it! In my next post, though because I’ve already wasted your whole fucking lunch hour (sorry). Why not? What am I supposed to do instead of wallowing in the great films of the past- deal with reality? Seriously??? Have you seen that place? There’s random violence, Cal Seething- 081115- debatesanctioned brutality and a perfect storm of right wing lunatics gathering in the skies above Washington threatening to strike the White House in 2016 (GOPnado). And since Shitnado 3 was such a major disappointment and I refuse to gorge myself on the globs of orange chicken being vomited out in 3D from IMAX screens, I turn to noir for distraction instead- a cool, dark cafe away from the blazing sun. And you know what, it’s nice in here. I think I’ll stay awhile. I mean, just look at what’s waiting for me in the outside world- armed white supremacists marching around Ferguson,  Trump gaining in the polls, the Jets punching each other in the face- why not live in the past??? The present blows! But the sad truth is that sooner or later I’m gonna run out of noir flicks on my DVR and I’m going to have to return to the present- and in anticipation of that terrible day- allow me to just say one thing- #AprilDies. It’s the least I can do to make the world a little less bitter.

[Kicking Back with Jersey Joe] Jersey Joe’s Top 100 TV Themes (81-90)

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Last week, we kicked off the summer by checking out the bottom ten of my 100 favorite TV show themes of all time.  This week, we’re looking at 81 – 90.


This is more than just a top 100 countdown list.  Each show theme has been judged by theme song, style of video presented, and effectiveness at introducing what the series is all about.


Without further adieu… Here’s the next ten:



Airdates: 1989-1990 (NBC) & 1991-2001 (Syndicated)



Oh, Baywatch!  How I used to rush home from high school to watch your reruns everyday at 4pm on WJAC!  What a perfect time for this show, right before the 5pm news!


The real beauty of this show was the slow motion running shots.  But, most people don’t remember this actually started on NBC in 1989.  The ratings from the first season weren’t that great and the show was cancelled by the peacock network.  It was David Hasselhoff himself and the producers that kept the show alive when they pooled together their own money and took the show into syndication, where it was a hit!


Over the 12 seasons, the main cast of the show changed quite a bit.


With ratings dropping, the producers decided to move the show.  They first tried to move it to Australia, but after from protests at the local town where they wanted to shoot, they settled on Hawaii for season 11.



By this time, the show was suffering from series writers block and ratings continued to sag.  Hasselhoff left the show after a season into this format, and without the main star, it was canceled after the second Hawaii season.  Here’s the last and final series intro with a completely different song:



One of the strangest things this series ever did was the dark, detective spin-off Baywatch Nights.  The show ran for 2 seasons and had Hasselhoff battling murders and aliens!  While it’s technically a different show, I had to make a note of it!  Here’s a look at the opening credits with the song After the Sun Goes Down.



Season 1 was more of a murder/detective theme.  But, it really went sci-fi for season 2.  You now had Mitch the lifeguard battling ghosts and aliens.  It didn’t work and the series was canned.



#89 THAT ‘70S SHOW

Airdates: 1998-2006 (FOX)


I generally hated this sit-com, but I must be in the minority because it was a ratings hit for a long time.  I remember seeing the original FOX upfront presentation where the working show title was Hanging Around.  By the time it hit the air, it was under the name we all came to know, That ‘70s Show.



They even did a special Christmas intro for a holiday special!



For me, it was one of those shows where the kids seemed to be too old to be – kids.


As the years went on, the stars made bigger names for themselves.  For the last season Topher Grace and Ashton Kutcher left to become movie stars.  The show just wasn’t the same and could only last one more season.  It’s hard to keep a show on the air when you lose two of the main cast members.  Here’s a look at the opening from the final season:



The show was supposed to start in the 70s and end in the 80s, but the FOX programming bosses decided to create a spin-off That 80’s Show.  It was awful and lasted less than a season.  Remember this?  (the show open was as bad as the series and it doesn’t count for our top 100 list… just mentioning it here for the sake of bringing it up.)




Airdates: 1985-1992 (ABC)


This guy could get out of any situation with a pocket knife and duct tape!  It was amazing to see what invention MacGyver would come up with to get of a life threatening situation week after week.



Whether it was a big explosion, government corruption, or a murder spree – it was great to see MacGyver figure his way out and beat the bad guy.  Too bad he never came up with a how to book!



Airdates: 1981 – 1993 & 1997 – present (Syndicated)


What you are about to witness is real.  These are not actors; they are actual litigants with a case pending in Civil Court.  Both parties have agreed to drop their claims and have their cases settled here, in our forum, The People’s Court.



The People’s Court is television’s first ever dive into bringing court cases to the airwaves.  While a similar show aired briefly in the 1960’s, the latest version helped spawn all the court show wannabe’s the dot daytime TV.


The original series was hosted by Judge Wapner and taped in Los Angeles.  The latest series was first overseen by Judge Ed Koch, who passed away last year.  The second judge was Judge Judy’s husband, Judge Jerry Sheindlin.  He was too busy trying to copy the angry attitude of his wife and was replaced by the current judge, Judge Milian.


The latest version was taped in New York City, but last year production moved to Stamford, Connecticut.



Even over all these years, that da-da-dah three note theme is one of the best.  You know it’s time for court when you hear that music and the bongos kick in!  It’s also great that the set has remained basically the same for over 30 years!  Why mess with a winning formula?



Airdates: 1987-1991 (Syndicated)


How would you like to freeze time by just pressing your two index fingers together?  Who wouldn’t, right?



This show was one of a package of sit-coms that were available for local stations to air, usually on the weekends in the late 80’s.  This series dealt with a woman, who unknowingly marries a space alien and has a daughter who inherits her father’s alien powers.  She is also able to talk to him, once per episode, by a diamond shaped device voiced by Burt Reynolds.  The sit-com dealt with her growing up without a father and maturing into a woman, all while trying to hide her special powers to fit-in their California neighborhood.



Airdates: 1993-1995 (FOX) 1996-1998 (WB)


They just don’t make cartoons like this, anymore.  The Animaniacs were both for kids and parents, alike.  Many of the jokes were either topical, political, or classic TV satire that was way over some kid’s heads!



This series was basically a spin-off of Warner Bros.’ Looney Tunes and Tiny Toon Adventures.  These three characters had been created decades ago; then locked up in the studio water tower for being so hilariously out of control.  Although, we’re still not sure if they are cats, dogs, or just weird.


Most of the episodes where three short stories, just like the old Looney Tunes did.  This may be the funniest cartoon show ever created!  My favorite was their running gag that mocked William Shatner.  That was pure gold!


One of their greatest bits was when Wakko sang every nation of the world!  Pure genius!



This show should have run for a long, long time.  But instead, the network wanted to take two of the genius mice characters, Pinky & the Brain and give them their own show.



Airdates: 1986-1990 (SHOWTIME)


If I ever had an intro to my own TV show – I would want a song like this!



The premise of this series was great.  Garry was the host of a late night talk show.  This series gave viewers a behind the scenes look at this home life and setting up for the show.  He would also frequently break TV’s fourth wall by talking directly to the audience.



Airdates: 1996-2005 (CBS)


The simple piano theme really didn’t fit in with the show’s material, but somehow it did work.



The early seasons of the show would have some kind of set up intro like this, but sadly as the seasons went on, they would drop any opening songs and roll the credits during the first few minutes of the show.  It was another victim of shows ditching their opening credits for more ad time.  I don’t know, maybe I’m a sucker for that soft jazz piano?



Airdates: 1981-1990 (CBS)


I have to admit… I never watched this show.  I remember the opening credits from when my grandmother would watch this every Friday night.  It came on right after Dallas and we only had a couple of channels to choose from.  (Who remembers having to turn the antenna and actually tune in a station?)



The show dealt with a rich family that owned a California winery.  It was part of CBS’s Friday night soap operas full of money, crime, and power.  Even after all these years, that powerful orchestral opening still stands out to me.



Airdates: 1990-2000 (FOX)


Here’s another show that I never really watched, but everyone recognizes that opening theme!



A show about a bunch of rich kids in California ended up as a ratings blockbuster for FOX and just about every teen in the country was watching.  As the series went on there were a few cast changes, but they always kept the theme generally the same.  Every season they would do a new shoot with the cast laughing and carrying on in front of a white cyc.  We all do that with our friends, too… Right?



In later seasons, the parents would be dropped from the series and from the opening credits.


THE 411


What: TV Theme Songs


Use: themes used to open a TV series or cartoon


Purpose: introduce main cast and introduce audience to the theme of the series


Numbers reviewed: 81 – 90




I hope you enjoyed the look at these second nine themes.  Sorry that I wasn’t a fan of all the shows, but I am a fan of all the themes!


Check back next week when we take a look at numbers 71-89.  We’ve got a talking horse, a pen that sings, and the king of late night!


I don’t own any of the rights to these, nor did I upload them to YouTube.  This blog is presented for educational and informational purposes.