Originally Posted By sodium-wont-you


Fun fact: Justin Roiland (aka Lemongrab, Rick and Morty, and Mr. Meseeks) used to work for Channel 101. He is the evil jazzman in the fourth episode of “Cautionary Tales of Swords.” And if you haven’t seen “Cautionary Tales of Swords”, you are missing out on the best thing ever to be on Youtube.


"The best thing ever to be on YouTube" *sigh*

(Source: sodium-wont-you, via channel101tumblr)

Originally Posted By actor


Since we’ve just finished award season, I guess this is as good a time as any to post this.  This is me, hosting the 2013 Channel 101, Incredibly Prestigious Awards Show.  It was an ass-kicking good time that featured me working said ass off for 2 months before hand, singing, playing piano, naming all 44 shows screened that year in alphabetical order, displaying about 30 cardboard animals that I made and painted myself, drinking about 1/4 bottle of vodka onstage and (much to my shock) winning 3 awards during the course of the night.  

There’s 3 major moments of my life that are spectacular: getting married and the birth of my two sons. But once we clear those away, this easily jumps into the top 10.  It was me, with almost every talent (I didn’t juggle!) and certainly every comedic neuron on display.  20 plus years of performance skills blasting through a 2 1/2 hour (which was about an hour shorter than the previous year’s show) funnel at 250 people who have been my friends at Channel 101 for the last 9 years.  It was one of those nights.  A night that you don’t forget (although time did shift quite a bit when I was playing my “Skyfall” parody song.  It seemed like it was over in about 8 seconds…because vodka.), and hopefully others also never forget.

My opportunities to host the Oscars are slowly dipping in the low, low percentages.  But that’s okay, because I hosted the better awards ceremony already.  And to sum up how I felt that night afterward, I think I’ll quote Walter White:

"I won."

BTW, the 15:00 mark is my big Lion King homage is awesome.  the 1:48:00 mark is where I try to play the Skyfall song in the dark, very, very buzzed.  It’s a train wreck, but a delightful train wreck.  

Each host has put their singular mark on the Channies. Mike McCafferty’s might have been the biggest.

Coming Soon.

Coming Soon.

The Hobbit: The Desperation of Story

I just got back from seeing part two of Peter Jackson’s Hobbit (never-should-have-been-a) trilogy. I was surprised to find the show not sold out, despite being in a prime Saturday night slot. I was less surprised that the audience was visibly (and audibly) disappointed when the movie was done. It may be the first time I’ve heard a movie booed in a theater (by more than one person). And I saw the Star Wars prequels in the theater. All of them.

I have to say, I was quite disappointed in the film. Actually, more disappointed in the film maker, Peter Jackson. The first Hobbit movie was overlong and bloated, but I was somewhat able to be hopeful about this one. The main reason the first one seemed so long was that it took forever for the story to get going. Once everyone began their journey, the film picked up a bit and moved at a reasonable pace (mostly). I’d hoped that would carry over to The Desolation of Smaug. Nope.

I can’t really say more about this movie without going into details, so the obligatory **SPOILER** tag applies from here on out.

Peter Jackson showed a lot of wisdom with his structure of the three Lord of the Rings movies. The Fellowship of the Ring was about the fellowship and it ended with the breaking of the fellowship. The Two Towers was about Saruman’s alliance with Sauron and it ended with Saruman defeated. The Return of the King was about Aragorn’s rise to the throne as the leader of men he was born to be and the destruction of the Ring. It ended with a bunch of things but I don’t have as big a problem with that as a lot of people do.

In each case, Jackson restructured events from the books to give each movie its own complete narrative. Everything served the metanarrative of the destruction of the Ring, but each movie also had a beginning, middle, and end that told its own story.

These Hobbit movies are a mess. This should have been Smaug’s movie. It’s right there in the title. This movie should have been about the journey to, battle with, and defeat of Smaug. It is not. It is very much about the journey to Smaug. It is too much about the battle with Smaug. And it is not at all about the defeat of Smaug. The movie basically cuts to black before we get to that part. And that’s why I, and I suspect the boobirds in the audience, felt cheated by this movie. 

It’s not just that we were left with a not-so-subtle version of ‘to be continued’ (horribly executed by the way - perhaps worse than ‘The Matrix Reloaded’ which is saying something). It’s that the time that could have been used to wrap up this chapter of the story was utterly wasted. And this is almost a three-hour movie. The showdown with Smaug (which dominates probably the last hour of the film) is filled with nonsensical action, which ultimately achieves nothing. It ends with half an hour of the dwarves executing a master plan (which is never explained) that leads up to a dramatic conclusion (which doesn’t work) and ends with Smaug literally flying away into the night (which is maddeningly anti-climactic). 

To top it off, the battle is rage-inducingly interrupted by cutaways to one of the dwarves (who we don’t really care about), his elf girlfriend (a made-up character who we certainly don’t care about), Legolas (who we used to care about but have no reason to anymore) and their fight with CGI orcs in Laketown (which is of no consequence, and thus, not worth caring about). It’s filler at its worst and, worst of all, feels like time that could have been used to give the movie its proper ending. 

Peter Jackson has lost his way. There are, I’d say, four major plots set up in this movie: Bilbo and the dwarves’ battle against Smaug, Gandalf’s investigation into the return of Sauron (a stupid thing to waste time on, because surprise! he’s back!), Bard the Bowman’s quest to redeem his ancestors and kill Smaug, and the completely made-up love triangle between Legolas, Kate elf, and Kili (or Fili - I cared so little, that I don’t even want to look it up). At movie’s end, a whopping ZERO of these plotlines are wrapped up in any way. Smaug flies away into the next movie, Bard and Gandalf both end the movie captured (in different locations), and Legolas chases a forgettable Orc henchman into the night.

Imagine if The Two Towers had ended with that Olympic torch orc blowing up the wall at Helm’s Deep, followed by a dramatic zoom in to Aragorn saying “Oh no! How will we survive this?” And then a cut to black. That’s how this movie feels.

Peter Jackson either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about how to tell this story. The sad thing is, watched on Blu Ray back-to-back-to-back, The Hobbit might be a decent movie. But theatrically, it’s a massively frustrating experience. I’m sure plenty of people will disagree with me, but, two movies in, I think it’s obvious that these movies are a massive missed opportunity. They’re sloppier, lazier (I guarantee that 90% of this film was shot on green screen, which contrasts immensely with the miniatures and amazing full-scale sets of Lord of the Rings) and more poorly constructed than the Lord of the Rings films. Which I love.

I pine for the two movies Guillermo del Toro could have given us. Instead, we get three movies that are 40% the story of The Hobbit, 30% useless tertiary stories from tertiary appendices, and 30% made-up characters who are included for absolutely no reason other than to justify making three movies instead of two.

I imagined many times how awesome a Hobbit movie with the original cast/crew of Lord of the Rings would be. Now that I see it in front of me, I’m not sure how happy I am that my wish came true.

Sour shows

There’s a popular quote (that I first heard from a high school teacher) that says “It’s not the destination…it’s the ride.” That might be great life advice, but I’ve noticed lately that a lot of the things I watch, particularly TV, seem to take it a little too literally. In reality, the best entertainment is a combination of both.

Halfway through tonight’s episode of “The Walking Dead,” I found myself consumed with an overwhelming sense of apathy. At first, I couldn’t figure out why. The episode wasn’t bad…the events that happened were interesting…so why didn’t I care? And then I realized: I’ve lost faith in the ride.

Television is, at its least cynical, a deal between the audience and the show. “Give us some of your time each week and we will deliver a story that you’ll enjoy.” The rules tend to be different for comedies and dramas. The goal of a comedy is to make you laugh. People will forgive a comedy that doesn’t have an overarching storyline because that’s not necessarily what they’re looking for. They’re looking for engaging characters that make them laugh. The great comedies are the ones that can do both, but it’s not a requirement. Comedy can succeed without a consistent throughline. And, in the end, if the characters are given happy endings, we’re all happy.

Drama is different. Drama is inherently story-driven. It’s not about what the characters say, or how they say it, it’s about what happens to them. And what the consequences are. And that’s why dramas have the added pressure of delivering endings that aren’t just satisfactory, but that justify everything that’s come before. No one wonders what happened to Janice from “Friends.” People still wonder what happened to the Russian from that one episode of “The Sopranos.”

Comedy has an episodic A-B storyline. A good episode will start a character at A and end them at B. Drama has a series-long A-B storyline. Characters start at A and get to B in the final episode. Great dramatic series have a flawless A-B journey, one in which there’s no wheel-spinning, no stalling for time. It’s rare. “Breaking Bad” is the closest to that flawless journey that I’ve seen.

"Lost" got it all wrong. It had an amazing A (people stranded on a weird island) and a satisfying B (everyone gets together at the end to go to the afterlife). But it put its focus on what I’ll call A 1/2: they set up so many mysteries and loose ends that were never paid off, that no destination would be satisfactory. "Lost" didn’t just rely on the ride: it was all ride.

Which brings me to “The Walking Dead.” If I could compare it to anything, I’d compare it a soap opera. Soap operas have no end game in mind. The only thing that’s important is the present. What came before doesn’t matter. There is no endgame. It’s all about the here and now. And that’s fine…if you’re into that kind of thing. But I’m not. I don’t get why people watch soap operas. Comic books are the same…no endgame, just the here and now. But it’s a different medium, one where success depends on perpetual continuation.

Dramatic television, at its core, depends on resolution. From the pilot episode on, the great TV shows are working toward that resolution. And I don’t believe that “The Walking Dead” is doing that. Does that mean it will end unsatisfactorily? Not necessarily. But it means that it is losing the thing that sets great TV shows apart from average ones: audience investment. Consequence. The great shows aren’t meant to be a means of indeterminate employment for cast and crew - they’re meant to be satisfying stories. Characters aren’t meant to be zombie bait - they’re meant to be identifiable.

Can “The Walking Dead” pull it out? Maybe but, I doubt it. Are my standards too high? Probably. Will I keep watching the show? Yes. If only because it’s a surprising story, one that keeps you guessing at every twist and turn. But that doesn’t make it a good one.

Star Trek: Into Obsolescence

I saw the new J.J. Abrams movie last week and I’m just now beginning to process how I feel about it. I came out of the 2009 Star Trek feeling like many liberties had been taken with the established universe, but that the movie stayed true to the characters. I was excited by what was to come, what new directions would be taken with these iconic figures. 

I walked out of the action movie that J.J. Abrams just released (I’ll drop the ‘Star Trek’ and just call it ‘Into Darkness’) with a flurry of emotions. Had I just been thrilled by what I’d seen on screen? Yes. Was it a well-made motion picture? Sure. But something gnawed at the back of my mind. Something was bothering me. What was it? Today, I finally figured it out. 

It wasn’t Star Trek. And not only wasn’t it Star Trek, it didn’t care that it wasn’t Star Trek. It flaunted it. What do I mean when I say it wasn’t Star Trek? I mean that it had no qualms about co-opting characters that were established almost 50 years ago and using them to tell a story that had no relation to what had been established before. It was an action movie, plain and simple, that just so happened to use characters named Kirk, Spock and **SPOILER ALERT** Khan. 

And what’s more, no one involved cared. And that’s what bothers me so much. From J.J. Abrams down to Damon Lindelof (who, by the way, needs to stop putting his fucking hands on much-beloved franchises), they didn’t care about alienating established fans of the franchise. For the first time in my life, I felt irrelevant. This movie is for the kids. For an audience that wants to see a whiz-bang action movie. Fuck the characters. I truly believe that the makers of Into Darkness don’t give a shit about people who grew up loving Star Trek. And the sad thing is, it makes sense. Financially, they’re better off going for a target market who knows William Shatner as the guy from the Priceline ads.

I bled for Star Trek. I grew up as a nerdy kid in Arkansas who was laughed at for coming to school dressed as Spock and Data for Halloween. But all that was redeemed because I knew that it was worth it. That the stories being told were worth the derision of my peers. And now I’m being left behind. Star Trek is being given to a new generation. And that generation doesn’t give a damn about what came before it.

I guess my biggest objection to Into Darkness is that it’s cynical filmmaking. You want to take Star Trek in a new direction? Fine. I don’t want to be one of those nerds standing up saying “But the Bones we know wouldn’t use the tricorder like that.” But the movie straight up rubs that new direction in the faces of everyone who loved the old Star Trek. Iconic scenes and characters are obviously in the film purely as “fan service.” But it’s counterintuitive. It’s cynicism at its worst. It’s an insult. I could almost hear the writers saying “Let’s have Spock say this…you know, because people loved it in that other old piece of shit.” You want to make Star Trek into a 21st century CGI Nolanized action franchise? Fine. But don’t pander to me and devalue what I hold dear about the old guard as well.

I’m going to make a controversial statement here. In principle (but not in quality) Into Darkness is worse than the Star Wars prequels. At the very least, George Lucas tried (and failed) to entertain the fans of what had come before. Into Darkness rebukes those fans, uses whatever scraps it wants, and flips a big middle finger to those who disagree. Do I recognize the reality of why it does that? Yes. But I don’t have to like it. And I don’t have to respect it.

Live long and prosper.

Originally Posted By davidseger



Car-Jumper - Episode 8

Hey, the new Channel 101 shows are live! Check out Car-Jumper #8. Also, if you haven’t seen it, check out Tom Kauffman’s cancelled show Strands.

This episode was a fun in-joke experiment, and I’m glad we didn’t suffer from it. I want to keep playing around and trying fun things with Car-Jumper forever. See you at the end of May.

Yeah this is great, what were you worried about?

This is literally what I say to Dave Seger after every screening.

I’m an editor

One year ago today, I published an entry called “I’m a quitter.” I had just quit a job that I was immensely unhappy with to pursue a career in editing. I was scared and unsure of what was to come, but confident that I’d made the right decision. I got a very generous amount of positive feedback from lots of people, many of whom I didn’t even know. So, a year later, I wanted to write a quick update.

As of six weeks ago, I am now officially a full-time editor. I love my job. I’m happy with the work I’m doing. And while I haven’t come close to achieving all my career goals, I feel like I’m on the right path for the first time in a while.

The last year has been one of ups and downs. I had a couple of perilous months during the summer, months where I ran out of money and questioned my decision. But I always came to the conclusion that nothing worth doing comes easily. Slowly, things began to turn around and I started to gain some traction. Today, I can honestly say that I wouldn’t change a thing. No regrets.

I’ve read a lot of criticism about the “follow your dream” mentality, mainly that it’s an irresponsible view on life and that any attempt to find your bliss must also include a heavy dose of reality. I don’t totally disagree with that viewpoint, but I’ve also learned that life is too short to resign yourself to being miserable without at least attempting to blaze your own trail, if that’s what you want to do.

I am extremely fortunate to be surrounded by an amazing creative community like Channel 101. I would not be doing what I’m doing today without people from that community like Dave Seger, Brett Weiner, Jon Hill, Morgan Locke, Ben Pluimer, Mike Manasewitsch, and others who put their own reputations on the line, vouched for me, and trusted me to deliver. I owe each of them a debt that I hope to repay someday.

The most common response I got to my original post from people I didn’t know was “I wish I could do that.” My reply is “You can.” I’m extremely fortunate to be where I am today and I’m aware that it could all turn around tomorrow. But the first step in trying to make your dreams come true is the hardest: committing full-stop to doing it. I’m not all the way there yet, but I’m getting there.

I went from the most miserable I’ve ever been to the happiest I’ve ever been in one year. I bet you can do better.

My honest dating profile

Hey guys, I’m about to post this on OkCupid, updated for maximum honesty. Let me know if you know any matches!

My self-summary
I’m a 30-year-old “creative type” who embraces restriction-free self expression, but most of my creative work is bankrolled by corporations. I’m from the deep South, which means that my childhood friends are all married with children, further highlighting the fact that I live in a state of perpetual adolescence. I am not fully comfortable living in either world. 

What I’m doing with my life
I don’t like to think about this question. One week at a time, bro.

I’m really good at
Procrastinating. “Tossing around ideas” in my head for things I probably won’t make. Also, do you know that game Bubble Shooter? I’m really good at that.

The first things people usually notice about me
I like to think it’s my personality. But it’s probably my social awkwardness. That or my teeth.

Favorite books, movies, shows, music, and food
Movies: The same 20 movies that everyone loves and five token movies by auteurs that I may or may not have seen.
TV: Privately, it’s a lot of Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, and Saved by the Bell on Netflix. 
Music and books: My lack of knowledge is so embarassing, I’m going to skip these two and hope you don’t notice. 
Food: I eat like a seven-year-old.

The six things I could never do without 
Constant validation, booze, tiny victories, relevance (real or imagined) and the approval of others (real or imagined). And The Walking Dead.

I spend a lot of time thinking about
Boobs, mostly. It’s the perpetual adolescence thing. 

On a typical Friday night I am
Playing out scenarios of how the night could go and deciding if it’s worth it to go out. If parking at your party is dicey, I will definitely not be attending.

The most private thing I’m willing to admit
I know that this “honest dating profile” idea is lame and self-indulgent, but I think I’m so clever that mine won’t be. Sorry, it’s not my fault. It’s a generational flaw, if anything.

I’m looking for
Someone who matches my predetermined concept of the ideal girlfriend, which doesn’t actually exist in reality. Sooo…Lisa from “Weird Science?”

You should message me if
You are the slightest bit interested. There’s a 50/50 chance I’ll have the guts to you message you back.

Watch out, ladies!

Why indeed? Your thoughts are prescient.

Why indeed? Your thoughts are prescient.


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