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Thursday, 08 June 2017 10:33 Jennifer Devore
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"I am so surprised you watch that. It just doesn't seem like you."

Yes, I do; and, no it doesn't. Allow me to share my Pop secret with you, kittens.

The Real Housewives of Orange County, S12 (L to R) Lydia McLaughlin, Tamra Judge, Shannon Beador, Meghan King Edmonds, Vicki Gunvalson, Peggy Sulahian, Kelly Dodd. Official Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo (Granted via permission of NBC/Uni Media Village)

This gape-jaw surprise, that I watch The Real Housewives of Orange County, amongst other RH franchises, is an alarm I have heard more than once. It's true, it does not fit my modus operandus for TV viewing. My druthers lean toward Arrested Development, TURN, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Versailles, Anne With an 'E', Flaked, The Durrells in Corfu and Absolutely Fabulous. Well, shame be damned, in fact, I do watch RHOC, RHONJ, RHOA and RHOBH. If it pleases the court ... my argument for the defense.

  • It's the hair. It's so preternaturally, perfectly shiny. The ladies are like Anne Rice characters, their hair is so lustrous. I have good hair - don't hate me because I'm beautiful - yet, even with my Aveda products and healthy eating habits, I can't get that level of luxe.
  • It's the wardrobes. I am an unapologetic clotheshorse and totally besotted with everything sartorial, from thrift store-finds to true vintage, from couture to cosplay.
  • It's the parties. To quote Panic at the Disco, "Don't threaten me with a good time!" I am always available for a gathering: theme parties, costume extravaganza, cocktail soirées, fouffy dinners, wine lunches, posh teas, pool bashes and beach bonfires. (Anything except a BBQ in an inland park or a day on the Colorado River.)
  • It's the mise-en-scène. Like Gwen Stefani, "I'm just an Orange County girl living in an extraordinary world." The establishing shots of the O.C. (Psst, don't call it that.) form a character all her own.

I know Orange County as well as I do a fake Prada bag. I even strayed from my usual genre of 18thC. historical-fiction (Savannah of Williamsburg Series) and penned a bikini-and-martini, contempo novel titled The Darlings of Orange County: a scathing, satirical, love-hate letter to Orange County, currently being adapted to a screenplay. Yours Truly has lived up and down the Orange County coast: Balboa Island, Corona del Mar, Irvine, South Laguna Beach, Dana Point and San Clemente. Summers not spent in Hawai'i were spent on the sand at 52nd in Newport Beach. In college I worked at Disneyland, Neiman-Marcus at Fashion Island and Ruby's Auto Diner in Laguna Beach. Whilst my husband (known to many as The Viking) was in grad school at Chapman University's Dodge School of Film and Media Arts, I worked at Diedrich's Coffee in Dana Point's Ocean Ranch and taught French, Etiquette and Shakespeare at Broderick Montessori School in Dana Point.

Both Mum and Dear Old Dad count Chapman University amongst their alma maters, undergrad and grad school; for a time, Dear Old Dad was a Freshman-psych prof at Chapman. My fave little cousin, Bex Boo, is currently a BioSci major at UCIrvine. Natch, I, also, attended UCi and Chapman.

So, big whoop bully for you, JennyPop. Now, why do you patronize such sub-mental pablum and waste such precious time? (Including writing this post?)

Fair nudge, fair reader. Moving on ...

Here's the crux, the psychological explanation from a shrink's kid ... It's the LOTR-style, epic quests for friendship, oft abysmally failed, these ladies pursue. It's the quest that truly draws me, season over season, city after city. Like Siggy Flicker (my fave Housewife) of The Real Housewives of New Jersey I want everyone to be friends and love each other, cheesy as that reads. Perchance it's projection. I find my friendships, although scant in number, sacrosanct. There are lines one does not cross, rules and ethics inherent and sans exception. When a guy or gal finally crosses my threshold from "that _______ " to "my friend ______", I am loyal to the end. When I say I would take a bullet for them, I mean it. (Although, I likely will not loan my new Charles David over-the-knee boots, my Waterman pen or any of my Von Zipper sunglasses.)

Ergo, I marvel at what these ladies will not only perpetrate, but endure, and still come out of their catty battles as "friends" ... until the next season. What some folks call friendship, fascinates me. (Advisement: Do not get me started on what Zuckerberg and Facebook have done to dilute the word "friend".) In short, The Real Housewives is a Chaucerian cautionary tale draped in Chanel, a Medeival, morality play shrouded in Moschino. It is fabulously, terrifyingly didactic.

The Real Housewives of Orange County, S12, The Newest Housewife, Peggy Sulahian. Official Photo: Tommy Garcia/Bravo (Granted via permission of NBC/Uni Media Village)

Note: This season might proffer a bit more gravity, in Peggy Sulahian. Housewife #100 was born to Armenian parents in Kuwait and has been in the U.S. since the twee age of one. Whilst Lady Fortuna has largely spun her Wheel fortuitously for Peggy - an oceanview home in Crystal Cove, a loving husband and three healthy, beautiful children - the Wheel has had its bad spins. At the age of fifty-one, Peggy's mother passed away from breast cancer. Recently, after finding a lump, Peggy opted for a radical double-mastectomy, to be extra cautious. RHOC S12 finds Peggy on the eve of her reconstructive surgery. From all accounts, like so many other victims and survivors of this dreaded thief in the night, Peggy has a confidence and inner power that poises her perfectly to melée with The Real Housewives. I mean, really. After the early death of a mother, the threat of the C-word and a voluntary, double-mastectomy,  what on Earth could Vicki Gunvalson and Kelly Dodd do to this lovely lady? Bring it on, S12.

 

The Real Housewives of Orange County S12 premieres on BRAVO, July 10, 2017 @ 9/8c.

@JennyPopNet (Insta and Twitter) #RHOC #RealHousewives #PeggySulahian

 
Tuesday, 20 December 2016 11:45 Jennifer Devore
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Merrie Christmas and Happy Hanukkah to all!

A very special Merci beaucoup! to all whom have supported my novels and other writings (including my San Diego Comic-Con coverage) throughout 2016 ... not to mention for your patience whilst Savannah of Williamsburg Book IV is being published! (My part is done! Book IV written and edited! Just waiting on my publisher. Tick tock, tick tock.)

Now, if you haven't been watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I urge you to start. No time for a review right now (Christmas shopping, partying and such); yet come 2017, there shall be appropriate JennyPopCulture praise posted.

For now, Happy Holidays from Harvard hottie Rebecca Bunch, Esq., aka the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and your California Christmas girl!

Psst! 2017, BTW ... bring it.

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Follow @JennyPopNet Twitter and Insta

 

 
Sunday, 28 August 2016 15:57 Jennifer Devore
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As author Jennifer Susannah Devore works diligently, her wee fingertips tattered to the bone, editing Book IV of her Savannah of Williamsburg series of historical-fiction, she finds herself currently obsessed with AMC's resplendent, American Revolutionary War drama, TURN: Washington's Spies.

Well, of course she is, you roll your eyes. She's JennyPop. Anyone who knows her even moderately well knows of her love affair with the 18thC.: art, architecture, fashion, history, literature and so on. To boot, the series is shot on-location in Virginia, including her fave American hamlet, her former home of Colonial Williamsburg. I wonder if the cast hangs out at The Green Leafe? JennyPop wonders. Oh, wait., she recalls. It's closed for renovations. Maybe they go to Blue Talon Bistro? she adjusts her curiosity.

In between long bouts of editing, she has, of late, been curating her own TURN soundtrack. Odd, you might think. Yes, one could agree. What a glorious waste of time, you amend. Again, yes, one could agree.

Regardless of your opinion, she has gloriously wasted her time for you, the TURN devotee. As you await the fourth, and, sadly, final season on AMC, fret not. If you find yourself mourning the loss of Major John André, fretting over the emotional well-being of Miss Peggy Shippen-Arnold, terrified of Captain Simcoe's next psychotic demonstration, curious if Mary Woodhull will take to attempted murder again and hoping against hope that Anna and Captain Hewlett find true love together, you can always watch and re-watch the series on Netflix and Amazon Instant, buy the Blu-Rays and, if you so choose, peruse JennyPop's TURN soundtrack and perchance create your own playlist.

Aside: One of JennyPop's dear friends, Lance Pedigo, former Head of Music for Colonial Williamsburg and former head of the CW Fife and Drum Corps, leads the sad, drum procession to Major John André's hanging at the end of S3e10: "Trial and Execution".

 

JennyPop's TURN Soundtrack

 

"Don't Cry" (Major André's and Peggy's lament) by Guns N' Roses

"Centuries" by Fall Out Boy

"Regular Army O" by Mick Moloney

"Sucker For Pain" on Suicide Squad soundtrack

"Stressed Out" by Twenty One Pilots

"Renegades" by X Ambassadors

"Strip" by Adam Ant

"Little Talks" by Of Monsters and Men

"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen or Panic at the Disco!

"Fake It" by Seether

"Stand and Deliver" by Adam Ant

"God's Gonna Cut You Down" by Johnny Cash

"How I Could Just Kill A Man" (Simcoe's theme) by Rage Against the Machine

 

 

What would you add? Curate your own and share @JennyPopNet! Feel free to share mine!

 

#TURN #MyTURNSoundtrack #TURNAMC

 

 

 

 
Tuesday, 11 November 2014 10:33 Jennifer Devore
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Sometimes you just want black goo instead of gravy on your Tofurkey. Luckily, there's the SyFy Thanksgiving weekend marathon ... starting with the Helix Black (Goo) Friday Marathon.

Leave the Tofurkey carcass, and that annoying cousin visiting from Cal Tech, on the front porch as a decoy and enjoy a horrific, Holiday weekend of persistent pestilence from SyFy: Arctic goo, King-sized Troubles, a cross-country zombie muster and so much space turmoil. Just in case football, Free Birds, A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and a Friends Thanksgiving marathon don't fill up your plate, unbuckle your pants, America; SyFy is serving up a heaping, fleshy platter of Helix, Haven and Z Nation. To boot, because there's always room for pie, SyFy's got a steaming side-board groaning under the weight of a two-day gorge-fest of seminal silver-screen sci-fi.

The gooey, geeky, goodness all begins Thanksgiving morning, Thursday, November 27th at 9:30a.m. (EST/PST) with 2001: Space Odyssey. Pour some more Baileys in your Sbux Italian Roast, tie on the apron and then fire up the kitchen viewing device to watch Star Trek Nemesis, Space Cowboys, Stargate and Poseidon while you help Grandmama boil the cranberries and glaze the yams. Be careful, though and don't fill up on all that cheese; there's so much more to come!

After everyone's had a crowded but good night's sleep, heat up a big bowl of leftover succotash and get ready for all-day heebie-jeebies on Friday, November 28th, 6:00a.m.-6:00p.m. as SyFy runs The Black Goo Friday Marathon: Helix S1 in its entirety, including cast interviews and a never-before-seen sneak-peek of S2, which will premiere Friday, January 16, 2015 at 10:00p.m. So many monkeys!

By Friday night, you'll probably want to go to bed early. Fight that urge, schlubs, and stir up your adrenaline with WWE wrestling, viral zombies and New England supernatural scares the Puritans failed to notate in their daily journals of weather and midwifery. Original episodes of Haven (7:00p.m.) and Z Nation (10:00p.m.), plus WWE SmackDown (8:00p.m.), comprise your SyFryday primetime line-up.

Now it's Saturday and if you haven't devoted yourself to a gym-day by now, you're not going. Just own it, pull on your fave Quiksilver surf poncho and drawstring pants, grab a heaping helping of Mom's baked cheesy potatoes and claim your Sheldon-spot on the couch.

SyFy's weekend film-fest commences Saturday, November 29th at 10:00a.m. and then again on Sunday, November 30th at 10:30a.m., giving you an extra half-hour to crawl out of bed and beg one of your visiting relatives to make you coffee, probably that Cal Tech cousin. Filmic treats to nosh all weekend will include Fifth Element, Terminator 2, Blade: Trinity, The Happening and, just to get you in that festive, snowy, cozy-indoor, Christmas spirit, 30 Days of Night.

Happy Holidays, Freaks!

 

FYI:

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 96 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.  NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation. (Syfy. Imagine Greater.)

Original press release info provided by Garrott Smith, Digital Publicist, MXM #ContentMarketingAgencyoftheYear

Want some inside-Helix ? Enjoy Jennifer Susannah Devore's Helix S1 review, including an interview with Catherine Lemieux (Dr. Doreen Boyle) and Mark Ghanimé (Major Sergio Balleseros). Follow/Tweet @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @SyFy #scifi #ThanksgivingTV

 
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 18:15 Jennifer Devore
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Hold on to your tether lines, space cadets! SyFy is adapting 3001: The Final Odyssey for TV!



The telescopic future has arrived. Sir Arthur C. Clarke's 1997 novel 3001: The Final Odyssey will be adapted into a TV-miniseries, Syfy announced from New York on November 3, 2014. The engines powering this adaptation are H-town legends Ridley Scott (Alien, Blade Runner, Killing Lincoln) and David W. Zucker (Numb3rs, The Good Wife, Killing Kennedy). Scott Free Productions and Warner Horizon Television will helm this spaceship; whilst Stuart Beattie (Pirates of the Caribbean, Collateral) will pen the series and serve as executive producer alongside co-executive producer Clayton Krueger.

Epic science-fiction in the man-versus-nature vein, Sir Clarke's final "Odyssey" tale puzzles out the human tale first regaled with 2001: A Space Odyssey. With the initial discovery of protag Frank Poole's frozen body floating alone in space, 3001: The Final Odyssey proffers a pendulous swing of personalities, most at-odds and combines character dissonance with a backdrop of mesmerizing, visual stimuli and the maudlin motives behind Mankind's final chapter.

Publication of Sir Clarke’s “Odyssey” series spans nearly thirty years: 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968); 2010: Odyssey Two (1984); 2061: Odyssey Three (1989); and, 3001: The Final Odyssey (1997).

The original film, Oscar-winner 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) directed by Stanley Kubrick, won an Academy Award for Best Visual Effects and was nominated thrice for Best Director, Best Writing, Story and Screenplay and Best Art Direction. 2010, was the only other novel to be adapted to film: 2010: The Year We Make Contact (1984), written, directed and produced by Peter Hyams and starring Roy Scheider, Bob Balaban, Helen Mirren and John Lithgow. Kubrick and Clarke family estates extend full support for SyFy's 3001: The Final Odyssey series.

“I have always been a fan of Clarke’s extraordinary ‘Odyssey’ series, and certainly Kubrick’s adaptation of 2001. I am thrilled to be part of bringing that legacy to audiences and continuing the great cinematic tradition that this story and its creators deserve,” said director and producer Sir Ridley Scott.

“Arthur C. Clarke is the father of modern science fiction,” Syfy president Dave Howe stated. “We couldn’t be more excited to be working with Scott Free and Warner Horizon Television to bring to the screen, for the very first time, the final chapter of this extraordinary masterpiece.”

Additionally and apropos, Syfy revealed a greenlight on another Clarke novel: Childhood’s End. Production begins late-2014.

 

Production Company Particulars:

  • SCOTT FREE

Scott Free Productions was formed in 1995 and is the film and television production vehicle of acclaimed film directors, brothers Ridley and Tony Scott.  Scott Free Television produces the Emmy® and Golden Globe®-nominated, Peabody-acclaimed drama, The Good Wife for CBS which just began its’ sixth season. Earlier this year, Scott Free produced Klondike, Discovery's first scripted miniseries, and the Emmy nominated Killing Kennedy for National Geographic. Upcoming, Scott Free is in prep on The Man in the High Castle for Amazon Studios, and in post-production on Halo: Nightfall, a digital feature for Xbox Entertainment. With offices in Los Angeles and London, Scott Free works closely with RSA Films, one of the world largest and most successful commercial production houses in the world.

  • WARNER HORIZON TELEVISION

Warner Horizon Television (WHTV) is one of the entertainment industry’s leading producers of scripted series for the cable marketplace and primetime reality series for both network and cable. A division of the Warner Bros. Television Group, WHTV was founded in 2006. WHTV’s current scripted programs are Rizzoli & Isles for TNT; Ground Floor, Sullivan & Son and the forthcoming Buzzy’s for TBS; and Pretty Little Liars for ABC Family. Its unscripted series are The Voice for NBC and The Bachelor franchise — which also includes The Bachelorette and Bachelor in Paradise — as well as the upcoming 500 Questions for ABC.

  • SYFY

Syfy is a media destination for imagination-based entertainment. With year round acclaimed original series, events, blockbuster movies, classic science fiction and fantasy programming, a dynamic Web site (www.Syfy.com), and a portfolio of adjacent business (Syfy Ventures), Syfy is a passport to limitless possibilities. Originally launched in 1992 as SCI FI Channel, and currently in 96 million homes, Syfy is a network of NBCUniversal, one of the world's leading media and entertainment companies.  NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.  (SyFy. Imagine Greater.)

 

Thank you to Jessa Phillips of GoodToBeAGeek.com and Garrott Smith, digital publicist for MXM, (#ContentMarketingAgencyoftheYear) for press release info.

Follow and/or Tweet @JennyPopNet @GoodToBeAGeek @SyFy #scifi

 

 
Wednesday, 24 September 2014 14:45 Jennifer Devore
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Chris: Yay! A crossover always brings out the best in each show! It certainly doesn't smack of desperation. The priorities are always creative and not driven by marketing...

Stewie: Okay, that's enough.

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The first taste was doled out in an almost masochistically small dose, like a wildly-anticipated Beaujolais delivered via medicine-droppers used to feed baby squirrels. Magnanimously proffered to those willing to wait hour-over-hour at a Family Guy Q&A panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2014, The Simpsons-Family Guy crossover episode sneak-peek was released for semi-public consumption. After that, after July of 2014, it seemed an eternity before it would eventually air. Late-September? Narf! That's so far away! Still, patience endured and summer passed by and September 28th hath come, and now gone, at long last: Family Guy's S13-premiere, "The Simpsons Guy", was easily the highlight of the annual, autumnal, FOX Animation Domination kick-off: minus American Dad and Bob's Burgers, both to air their season-premieres in October.

Like an easy-peasy, light clean-up of an early-autumn backyard in Connecticut, "The Simpsons Guy" (S13e1) raked in 8.4 million viewers, a whopping 73% increase over last year's premiere, "Finder's Keepers" (S12e1). "The Simpsons Guy" hit a ratings jackpot, at least compared with Sunday night's competition, nailing the #1 entertainment-slot amongst the advertiser's drool spectrum of 18-49, 18-34 and 25-54-year-olds.

In addition, airing at 8p, before the well-marketed crossover at 9p, was the less-marketed season-premiere of The Simpsons: "Clown in the Dumps" (S26e1). In an episode wherein a long-time Springfield resident dies, it culled the same 8.4 million as Family Guy's premiere would one hour later. In between the two premieres, it seems some 3 million folks left for pie during Brooklyn Nine-Nine (garnering a mere 5.4 million), but came back for the big crossover event. Sadly, and not like funny-clown-sad, the best bit of "Clown in the Dumps" was the couch gag: a brilliantly abstract, odd and futuristic, nearly-alien, maybe singly-cellular, microscopic take on the Fave Yellow Fam by filmmaker and animator Don Hertzfeldt (Bitterfilms.com).

 

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Crossover efforts, similar to reunion shows, are oft just that: efforts. They take Uncle Scrooge vaults of gold to produce, they must tempt the talent on a variety of facets, they endure countless hours of human toil and tug mercilessly on heart-tethered artistic vision. In the end, inevitably, the effort pleases the diehards and pisses off swaths of critics, antis and Hakken-Kraks. "The Simpsons Guy" was a full-frontal effort and, by early accounts across social media and professional and amateur reviews alike, this one was well-executed and, if not to be repeated, a welcome visit to Springfield.

Lois: Oh, this Springfield place looks nice. We should visit here again.

Brian: I dunno, Lois. This seems like a one-shot deal.

In sly, Seth MacFarlane style, he and writer Patrick Meighan take the sword at an angle in addressing popular rants and accusations aimed at Family Guy for one thing or another. In this case, the masses debate whether or not Peter Griffin and crew, and maybe even, to further the matter, American Dad's Stan Smith and upright, uptight family, are direct rip-offs of Homer Simpson and his brood. Probably.

Peter: That's pretty good, right?

Homer: No. It's not good. This beer tastes exactly like Duff. It's just a lousy ripoff.

Peter: Hey, whoa whoa whoa! It's not a ripoff of Duff! It may have been inspired by Duff, but I...I like to think it goes in a different direction.

Homer: No, this is just the same as Duff, but, like, worse.

Peter: Hey, come on, now, this is my favorite beer you're talkin' about. Hell, I work for the company. It's my livelihood.

Moe: Oh, yeah? Well, your livelihood is based on fraud.

Deftly, metaphorically played out in a Springfield courtroom during the trial of Duff Brewery vs. Pawtucket Brewery, a plethora of evidence is set forth for the jury of viewers to contemplate: did Pawtucket steal Duff's formula? No matter how much you may love Pawtucket Patriot Ale, if it pleases the court, Duff Beer was here first. Within the trial, the courtroom-scene is a curious stage all its own, with Simpsons characters sitting next to their FG counterparts: Carl and Cleveland (Yes, b/c they're the two funniest guys in their towns.), Lenny and Quagmire, Springfield James Woods and Quahog James Woods, et al. In the end, after thirteen years of speculation, months of anticipation and :43 of running-time, Judge Fred Flintstone finds that the defendant, Pawtucket Brewery did indeed rip off the plaintiff and that Duff Brewery is victorious; he also declares both beers "pale imitations" of his favourite brew, BudRock. Ha HA!

"The Simpsons Guy" was a chortling good hour of old catchphrases, new references and B-story character pairings that work far better than one might of thought: Lisa and Meg, Marge and Lois, Bart and Stewie and a beautifully done, Algonquin Dog Bowl summit of Santa's Little Helper and Brian. To boot, because it's just good fun to toss them into the mix, American Dad's Roger the Alien takes a spaceship ride with his old summer camp buddies Kang and Kodos; whilst Bob's Burgers' Bob Belcher takes a vintage plane ride with Homer and Peter: Oh, we gotta carry him 'cause he can't fly on his own.

Homer introduces the Griffins to donuts, Lisa introduces Meg to the soul-lifting power of music and Bart introduces Stewie to the prank phone-call, the playful nature of the prank escaping Stewie. (Note that both Bart's and Moe's telephones are landlines. Classic.)

Moe: Moe's Tavern, Moe speakin'.

Stewie: Hello, Moe? Your sister's bein' raped!

Still, if there is one complaint, it is only one, if not terribly long: the legendarily exhaustive, time-enough-to-brush-your-teeth, Peter-and-the-Chicken-(insert-Homer-here)-Fight. If it helps to understand the overbearing Chicken Fights, Seth MacFarlane noted in a 100th-episode, behind-the-scenes interview that he admired Steven Spielberg films and, notably, his lengthy fight scenes, particularly in Raiders of the Lost Ark, between Indy and the Nazis. The Chicken Fights, including the nearly five-minute run-times, are odes to Mr. Spielberg.

Comic Book Guy: Worst. Chicken fight. Ever.

Now, for all the applause and general pleasure over "The Simpsons Guy", keep in mind the numbers. Sobering as it might be, Family Guy's 8.4million-viewer premiere, whilst better than anything most of us have produced, is still embarrassingly low compared to, say, the season premiere for CBS' The Big Bang Theory, bringing 18.1m to its Monday night, double-premiere: "The Locomotion Interruption" and "The Junior Professor Solution". Even CBS' abominably bad, contrived and belaboured, wannabe geek-drama Scorpion debuted with a strong 13.8m viewers, all according to Nielsen. Meanwhile, back at FOX, the BAFTA-worthy, überbrilliant Gotham quizzically garnered even smaller numbers than Family Guy at 8.2 million: likely the same demo though and with healthy support from the 18-49 crowd. Of course, all these ratings are outstanding, given the modern competition. Come on, kids! Everybody into Stewie's time-machine!

In the days of yore, from TV's beginnings in 1941, with RCA's WNBT (now WNBC) and CBS' WCBW (now WCBS-TV), through the '70s and '80s heyday of cable/satellite TV, to FOX's birth as a TV broadcast network in 1986, a 25%-market share (of approx. 80m TV-viewing households), was cause for celebration; even a 10%-share was a big deal. Today, with approx. 115m TV-viewing hh and more content than choice can comprehend, anything north of about 5m viewers is considered work well done! For reference, the most-watched series-finale ever is M*A*S*H's "Goodbye, Farewell and Amen" (S11e16: 1983), with 125m viewers, a 77%-share of the then-83m hh; the most-watched broadcast ever is "Super Bowl XLVIII" (2014) with 111.5m viewers and spikes of 167m viewers, a 69%-share of today's 115m hh.

Apropos to our general, geek-TV interests, Sleepy Hollow's S2 premiere lured a respectable, but lightweight 5.5 million into its catacombs and graveyards, though down staggeringly from 10.1 million for its series premiere, last year. As much as some of us love an inky dark, Gothic mixture of American Colonial fantastic-history, 18thC. imagery, 19thC. literary foundations, 21stC. cop dramas and Tom Mison's well-chiseled, posh, theatrical rants on the deplorable state of contemporary America, perchance 2014 is not the year for a dark drama based, fundamentally, on a headless, satanic minion hell-bent on beheading his foes. Perchance just not right now.

In the end, most will agree Duff and Pawtucket both make a pretty damn good brew and, after all, hanging out with old friends and enjoying a pint or two, or three, is really what matters. Speaking of old friends, in the courtroom scene of "The Simpsons Guy", Matt Groening sits somewhat obscured in the very back row, directly behind Bonnie and Joe Swanson. Upon close inspection, in the spirit of Carl and Cleveland, James Woods and James Woods, etc., I searched for the Seth MacFarlane counterpart to Mr. Groening ... did I miss him? Did anyone out there see him? If you did, LMK @JennyPopNet or @GoodToBeAGeek #!

Peter: I'm sorry we fought. I just wanted to make you laugh and cry. I'm a Family Guy.

Homer: I understand. I'm a The Simpsons.

Now, because this stuff is important, especially if your name is listed:

Family Guy (S13e1) "The Simpsons Guy"

Production companies: Fuzzy Door Productions, 20th Century Fox Television

Directors: Peter Shin, Dominic Bianchi (supervising dir.)

Creator: Seth MacFarlane

Developers: Seth MacFarlane and David Zuckerman

Writer: Patrick Meighan

 

Aside: Next week, October 5, 2014, is the Season 5 premiere of Bob's Burgers ! Thank goodness I was way off four seasons ago! Meet me back here for my S5-premiere review. Need more animation and JennyPop until then? Read her Bongo Comics article, Bartbarians at the Gate: 20 Years of Bongo on the Digital Frontier, from the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con Souvenir Book!

Follow @JennyPopNet and/or @GoodToBeAGeek

#

 
Tuesday, 03 June 2014 15:39 Jennifer Devore
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If summer calls for sans souci, seaside days of sun and sticky sand, then summer nights, especially Fridays, demand a touch of gold bling and a white linen blouse to accentuate that tan, plus just enough coconut rum to help lull you to sleep by the sound of lapping waves ... but watch your back, and your neck. Blackbeard's in town for the summer and not since Jaws has the beach looked more inviting, relaxing ... and deadly.

 

In a sea of fictionalized Blackbeards, the latest incarnation cavorts freely outside the traditional, Pyrate King design book. Clean-shaven (gone is his namesake beard tied with multiple bows of red and gunpowder fuses), bald and casually styled in island linens and sandals, casting off his trademark black velvet frock coats and leather bucket-top boots, NBC's Blackbeard appears more Gob Bluth than Rob Zombie. A mesmerizing figure to start, John Malkovich (Shadow of the Vampire, Being John Malkovich, Dangerous Liaisons, The Portrait of a Lady) portrays the 18thC. pirate with a soothing deadliness that lures the viewer into a unsuspecting trance: his escalating diatribes seep forth with an almost musical, rhythmic, Eminem-cadence, like an unsuspecting frog in a warm pot of slowly boiling water. Before you, or the frog, realize what's occurred, your kidney has been cut out; but Blackbeard has left you a lovely shrub glass of port to ease your dying moments.

Given to way too many police melodrama and hospital backdrops, broadcast television has bravely left the shore of predictability and NBC has joined the ranks of writers and producers currently exploring that century replete with not just high theater, but some damn fine wardrobes. Turn, Sleepy Hollow, Salem (although 17thC.) and now Crossbones have all not only done their homework, rewarding writers and creators whom clearly have studied their Colonial American history, but have skillfully engaged a 21stC. audience barely capable of understanding the difference between Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Button. This engagement may be partially due to a sagacity on the part of casting agents.

Be they Founding Fathers like George Washington, philosophers like René Descartes or medieval authors like Geoffrey Chaucer, varying forms of media have forever presented us with whiskered old men; when, in fact, most of them were in the ascent and apex of their careers about the same time as many of us today: 20s-40s. FOX's reiteration of Sleepy Hollow casts the beauteous, theatre-trained Englishman Tom Mison as the heretofore, nebbish Ichabod Crane; AMC's Turn gives us the chiseled Ian Kahn as George Washington and now NBC's Blackbeard is a far more contemporary, if not quite Chris Hemsworth, version of Blackbeard than any who have come before him. Whilst the historical-figures are given to us, visually, as men with whom we can identify by today's standards, there is no mistaking the sartorial and language cues of the period. The frock coats and cloaks are as billowy and majestic as the dialogue. Contractions, abbreviations and slang be damned, the King's English is securely, blessedly in place here.

Just as Bauhaus furniture was a severe reaction to Victorian and Edwardian flourish, perchance, conversely, this 21stC. trend toward the 18thC. may very well be a flouncy reaction to today's nonchalant, terribly casual yet, simultaneously, hyper-agitated, get-it-by-yesterday, 140-character, "WhereUB?" schlubby kind of modern lifestyle. Casual historians and professional researchers alike of the Colonial period already know what TV audiences are just now learning: the 18thC. is far more hip than you thought and a dash of formality, in language and dress, is desperately craved.

Crossbones writer Neil Cross (Luther, MI-5, Doctor Who) knows both sleek, crime drama and dazzling, costumed fantasy. His treatment of the notorious Blackbeard, living an alternate, 1729 existence on the secret isle of Santa Compana, wherein he was never slain in 1718 by Lt. Robert Maynard and the British Royal Navy, is a thoughtfully imagined life of a temporarily land-stalled pirate, seeking to steal a proprietary technology, a chronometer, that will have him back on the Spanish Main and on top of the world by summer's end.

"I thought it was a excellent piece of writing," said Malkovich of The Devil's Dominion, episode 1. So taken with it, he agreed to the role of Edward Teach, a.k.a. historically as Blackbeard or Thatch, upon finishing the script, he said in a Reuters interview.

As with many a film and theatre fixture gracing the small-screen as of late, Malkovich commands your attention. As author Jennifer Susannah Devore wrote of Tom Mison in a review of FOX's Sleepy Hollow, "Mison brings a decidedly non-telly flip-of-the-cape to primetime viewing.; so can it also be said of Malkovich in Crossbones.

Pleasingly, Crossbones also employs the considerable talents of Englishman Richard Coyle (Covert Affairs, Coupling, The Whistleblowers) as Dr. Thomas Lowe, posing as ship's surgeon, serving as foil and nemesis of Blackbeard. "Ohhh, Geoffrey!"

If you find your summer lacking the proper amount of tropical sun, salty nights, Beach Bum Rum, silk-embroidered frock coats and Shakespearean-level dramaturgy, Friday nights on NBC, in a clandestine cove somewhere in the Caribbean is just the place to pile your purloined silver platter high with the spoils of privateering, pirateering and stagecraft that far excels the likes of standard, broadcast production.


Crossbones airs Fridays at 10/9c p.m. on NBC.

 


... and in case ye be needin' a pirate chanty fer those summer nights ...

A pirate chanty from Savannah of Williamsburg: The Trials of Blackbeard and His Pirates, Virginia 1718


"Me Cup Is Broke!"

lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore


Blow me sails full! Blow on! Blow on!

Pour me ale full! Flow on! Flow on!

Me treasure be waitin', me lady tried 'scapin',

Me gold chest it swells, soon we'll all go to Hell!

Ye Caribbean Sea so hot it drains me wit!

DREAD! Me cup is broke and who will fix it?!

 

Blackbeard's Chanty:"Me Cup is Broke!"Music by PBIII, lyrics by Jennifer Susannah Devore

 

Be ye a musician? The above-recording is by PBIII. Record your own fine tune to "Me Cup Is Broke!" and share it @JennyPopNet or Savannah of Williamsburg's Facebook Page!

#Crossbones #pirates #summer

 
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Meet Miss JennyPop

Jennifer Susannah Devore

Jenny Pop is the acclaimed Author of the Savannah of Williamsburg series of books and The Darlings of Orange County. In addition, Jen is a prolific consumer of media and pop culture. Never leaving the house without her journal and fave Waterman pen, an old-fashioned, analog book (usually Hunter S. Thompson) and a fresh coat of lipstick, she is constantly on the hunt for fun, espresso, animation  and comics of any kind and always ready for an impromptu day at Disneyland.  JennyPop.net is a natural extension of  Jen's World; so, spend some time visiting. You'll have fun, she promises!

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The Darlings of Orange County

The sexy, cashmere beaches of southern California aren't always what they seem. The dirty little secret here is what it takes to survive. Everyone has a trick up their silk sleeve. Liz Lemon meets Parker Posey, Veronica Darling is smart enough to know what it takes and is willing to soil her soul to bring Hollywood to the California Riviera. The Darlings of Orange County is a salacious, hilarious, harrowing romp chock full of eco-terrorism, horse-racing scandals, weed deals and the obligatory lipstick-lesbian affair that inevitably leads to murder. It all climaxes in a white-knuckled, glitzy, celebrity-stacked Laguna Beach Film Premiere that spells success for Veronica Darling and trouble for her friends and family.

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Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Savannah Prudence Squirrel

Meet Miss Savannah of Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. Equal parts Amelia Earhart, Lucy Honeychurch, Scarlett O'Hara and Miss Piggy, Savannah is a scholar, adventurer and a lady. Moreover, she is a pebble in the silver-buckled shoe of injustice and with her best pals she is not a squirrel to challenge. She carries  the Magna Carta in one paw and the latest Parisian silk bag in her other. Whether fighting to end slavery, arguing for freedom of the press or scheming to end a duel, Miss Savannah does so with wit and persistence. Read more to meet her best friends and accomplices: Ichabod Wolfgang and Dante Marcus Pritchen. Prepare to also meet pirates, a Venetian fox and an Irish gull, The Commodore!

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Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

Hannah Hart, ghost dame of the Hotel del Coronado

So, here's the low down, all you Joes and Janes ... I'm Hannah Hart, dead girl. Don't fret, it's actually a sweet dish being dead. Having perished in 1934 in a terrifically vicious accessories incident with actress Ida Lupino, I reside where I died: San Diego's gorgeous Hotel del Coronado. It ain't a bad gig at all, really! Great weather, swanky guests (not to mention a few fellow ghosties), amazing amenities, my own private turret overlooking the sea and all the java juice and giggle water I can handle; plus, these bartenders know how to make a Planter's Punch like nobody's business! See, I've been waiting for this Internet thing forever ... now, instead of slamming doors and moving lamps, I get to wag my tongue all I like at goodtobeageek.com

Abyssinia, kids!