Splitsider

 
7

If an Attractive Woman is Single, She Must Be Married to Her Job

When you’ve seen as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against it — you start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

Women are under a lot of pressure to get married by a certain age. Women in movies, however, are under geothermal, tectonic plate-shifting pressure to get married by a certain age. The lead female character’s single status is usually revealed through friends, co-workers and family members who constantly bust her balls about it (which is not in any way a shitty thing to do.) Nobody can stanch their amazement that someone who is a dead ringer for Katherine Heigl would be as yet unattached. There has got to be a reason for the tragic crime of being Single While Beautiful, and that reason is this: she’s a very busy businesswoman with no time for love.

These women are perennially married to their work and therefore incapable of finding love (of having love find them via the McConaughey vessel.) Men in similar positions of corporate power, though, have no such troubles. When these male counterparts incur a barrage of crap from friends, co-workers, and family members, it’s because they won’t deign to stop smashing everything in sight for one moment in order to choose, from amongst the many willing bachelorettes, someone to foist their ring upon like a tiara in a pageant. “Surely a handsome young man like you must be tired of getting it on all the time with randoms — why don’t you think about settling down?” READ MORE

6

When Visionary Coaches Recruit Athletes From Completely Different Sports

When you’ve seen as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

Any coach who implements some wacky new strategies to get a team out of a slump might be on the right track. There’s a thin line, though, between following one’s muse and obeying the voices in your head. A losing season is no time for a football coach to test out theories about Kathy Ireland, soccer player, when it comes time for a replacement kicker. Thinking outside the box is great; just not when the box is, itself, located inside a much bigger box filled with garbage-ideas.

Assuming that a player’s skills will hold up in any sport is like assuming a short order cook is also a great dancer because he’s wearing “movement clothes.” Some athletic skills, like speed and agility, are indeed transferrable, but nothing inherently pre-qualifies players in different sports at a professional level. The tennis swing is different from the golf swing and they’re both different from the baseball swing. It’s a fact. Michael Jordan was the most brilliant basketball player in the NBA, but in the MLB he was just a turd out there.* READ MORE

5

Surprisingly Agile Nerds Always Defeat Their Bullies

When you’ve seen as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

When nerds in movies summon the courage to stand up to their bully, they’re always able to throw blows like Marvin Haggler in his prime. That bully gets what’s coming to him, and good! The mere fact of a nerd’s inherent righteousness is enough to temporarily, Magic: The Gatheringly, transform him (always a him) into Golden Gloves titlists. There are exceptions to this cinematic fallacy, of course. After extensive training under Master Miyagi, Daniel-san was able to crane-kick his bully’s ass into begrudging respect. Equally realistic is the dénouement of goofball Seth Rogen-scripted Drillbit Taylor, wherein three nerds combine their efforts and beat the crap out of their bully together. What’s ridiculous and dangerous is the suggestion that by simply desiring to kick a bully’s ass enough to give it a shot, an untrained weakling would automatically succeed. READ MORE

2

Mr. Sunshine Recap: "Heather's Sister"

I’m sure I sound like a broken record at this point — a broken record of a song that you barely tolerated in the first place — but it must be said that Mr. Sunshine should probably be retitled The Allison Janney Program and feature her character as the lead. To that end, the big problem with last night’s episode was that it needed more Janney. Instead, someone on the writing staff decided it was time to really flesh out the back story of bananacakes assistant, Heather. Now that character is more fleshed out than [insert famous fat person], and she also has a crazy sister.

The unspoken assumption at the beginning of this episode is that when Roman committed arson on that golf cart last week, he got demoted, causing Heather to remain in her role as Ben’s assistant. Which is weird. Even though Ben is too frightened by rumors that Heather once lit a person on fire to give her his real phone number, he still keeps her around as his assistant, and even though Roman actually physically lit a golfcart on fire, he is kept around as well, albeit in a demoted capacity. Aspiring writers take note: this is what’s known as “foregrounding your sitcom within a bedrock of reality.” READ MORE

4

Movie Heroes and the Ever-Present Dickface Boyfriend

When you’ve seen as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

According to most movies, if the woman you want to be with is already taken, the man she is currently with will not only be a serious tool, he will likely reveal himself as such in private, as though actively taunting you into sabotaging their relationship. “So I’m going to be unrealistically honest right now,” he might as well say. “I don’t like you, and also I am a total sack of garbage. There are at least four ways that saying this could come back to haunt me, but still I’m saying it: I will always cheat on my girlfriend whom you clearly covet. By minding your own business, you are only helping me ruin her life. However, let’s please pretend that we never had this conversation, Guy I Just Met Recently.” READ MORE

0

Mr. Sunshine Recap: "Employee of the Year"

In the second episode of Mr. Sunshine, it’s the 10th anniversary of Ben's (Matthew Perry) hire date at the Sunshine Arena, and nobody remembers! Last week, on the pilot, it was his birthday that had him all melancholy and reflective. If this show has to work an under-celebrated milestone into every episode, it’s going to get real stale around here real fast. Fortunately, though, we’re starting to see a rhythm established, and a zippy pace, and we have a potential breakout character in Allison Janney’s Crystal, who already owns this show. If next week's episode is centered around nobody remembering to buy her a drink on St. Patrick’s Day or whatever, there'd be no cause for complaint. READ MORE

2

We Were Promised Hoverboards: Slapping Friends

If you see as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

The Myth: If a friend is rambling on or acting hysterical, it is perfectly reasonable to smack them in the face to calm them down. Instead of getting mad at being slapped, the friend will say “Thanks, I needed that.”

The Perpetrators: 27 Dresses, Moonstruck, The Producers, 40 Year Old Virgin, Maverick, Groundhog Day, First Wives Club, Scooby Doo 2

Sometimes being a friend means wearing multiple hats — which is great because hats are not only fun, but they increase the chances of saying the word ‘haberdashery.’ A good friend alternately dons the figurative hats of counselor, wingperson, bartender, and manservant. Rarely is one called upon to act as a prison warden, though. Casually doling out corporal punishment in response to a friend’s momentary panic is kind of an uncool thing to do. It’s pretty much beyond the province of parents and nuns these days, and they're historically fond of eliminating sass-mouth with extreme prejudice. If your friend begins freaking out for whatever reason and needs to pull it together, there are many other ways to calm them down besides slapping them in the face. And there are many ways that person might react to such a blow, but saying “Thanks — I needed that,” is just not one of them. “Ow!”, “Why?”, and *face-punch* are all much likelier. READ MORE

1

Mr. Sunshine Recap: "Pilot"

It is still very much midseason, you guys! That means new shows continue coming down the pike so that we may judge them like the court jesters they are, and decide whether they live

Perry plays Ben, the manager of an entertainment arena (The Sunshine Arena, natch) who spends the pilot episode agonizing about his 40th b-day. He is instantly established as a self-centered clownshoes in the opening scene, shown first being mean to a small child and then trying to impress a passing female by saying important-sounding things into his cell phone (“You tell The Boss that I’m the boss around here, okay?”) The way he talks is kind of funny, though. Ben sounds kind of like Chandler Bing doing an impression of Jimmy Stewart if he were from “Southie.” He is also having a fling with Alice (Andrea Anders), the arena’s marketing director. Their self-referential flirty banter was doing the show no favors by the time we get to the show’s amusing afterthought of a theme song.

Soon enough we meet Janney’s character, Crystal, though, and she is a hoot. Crystal is the owner of the arena, a narcotized matriarch character in the mold of Lucille Bluth, except younger and more aloof. Oddly, though, Crystal is having a difficult time acknowledging her son, Roman, a portly cheerful doofus played by Nate Torrance. As we meet the two characters, Crystal is making strides towards letting Roman into her life; he joins team Sunshine in this first episode.

While Perry’s character, Ben, is interviewing Roman for a job, Ben’s buck fuddy, Alice confronts him about walking out on her that morning. The beat where she doesn’t notice the fact that he’s desperately trying to get her attention the entire time she’s talking is as annoying as it is familiar, but the joy on Roman’s face at overhearing such a fiery, sexual speech saves the scene.

We also meet Ben’s assistant at this point, and she appears to be another quirky side character. Heather (Portia Doubleday) is hyperactive and animated. She is quickly revealed to have previously lit a former employer on fire, and so Ben is scared of her. Not so scared that he would fire her, of course, but scared. She is also wildly turned on by Roman, meaning that, in its very first episode, Mr. Sunshine has already threatened to join the storied legacy of sitcoms featuring a Tumblr.

1

We Were Promised Hoverboards: Elaborate Ruses

If you see as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

The Myth: If you fall in love with someone under false pretenses while conducting an elaborate ruse, your new lover will be mad at you once the truth comes out, but they will forgive you right away.

The Perpetrators: The Secret of My Success, Tootsie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Working Girl, Never Been Kissed, 27 Dresses, Nobody’s Perfect, Just One of the Guys, Yes Man, Failure to Launch, Overboard, While You Were Sleeping, A Fish Called Wanda, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Ladybugs, Avatar, Juwanna Mann, The Hudsucker Proxy, Employee of the Month, Kindergarten Cop, There’s Something About Mary, Opportunity Knocks, Straight Talk, What Women Want, 10 Things I Hate About You, She’s the Man, Whatever It Takes, The New Guy, Boat Trip, Hiding Out, Wedding Crashers READ MORE

2

We Were Promised Hoverboards: Temporary Children

If you’ve seen as many movies as I have — and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns in them. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many of them are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series that investigates these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

The Myth: When children enter an unattached person’s life suddenly and temporarily, that person will be annoyed at first, and try to get rid of the kid at some point, but eventually he or she will be won over.

The Perpetrators: The Game Plan, Three Men and a Baby, Kindergarten Cop, Hardball, Role Models, Baby Boom, The Mighty Ducks, About a Boy, Big Daddy, Stepmom, Raising Helen READ MORE

1

Garfunkel & Oates Get All Over Your Face

Let’s get one thing straight: Riki Lindhome is Art Garfunkel and Kate Micucci is John Oates — not the other way around. The reasons why the musical-comedy duo has come to inhabit these specific roles are actually pretty simple, though. “Riki's Garfunkel because she's tall and blonde,” Kate says. “I'm Oates because I'm short and if I'm not careful, I can get a mustache.”

Over the past two years, Riki and Kate have been popping up on stages and computer screens everywhere as Garfunkel & Oates, building their reputation one ukulele solo at a time. Their original comedy songs run through many different styles, stemming from a shared love of Broadway musicals and 80s pop music, but the thread that binds them together is that they all manage to pack in as many punchlines as possible in the space of a few minutes. Their lyrics read like tight McSweeney’s pieces that happen to rhyme.

The origin story of Garfunkel & Oates starts at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in LA a few years ago, where the two met on separate, boring dates. The two actresses recognized each other from auditions they’d been on, and an instant friendship was born. This friendship turned into collaboration when Riki decided to turn a short film she was making called Imaginary Larryinto a musical. “We sat down with the ukulele and guitar and two hours later we had three songs,” Kate recalls. “It was a surreal experience. Everything just clicked. A few months later, we were playing shows.” READ MORE

11

Mrs. Show: The Women Behind a Comedy Classic

Anyone who took the “Mr. Show Boys Club” sketch at face value might be tempted to skype Gloria Steinem immediately after watching it. The scene opens with the male cast members lounging in silk robes and cravats, brandishing martinis. They’re surrounded by scantily clad young ladies who are identified as The Mr. Show Objects. Soon a female cast member emerges wearing sparkly short-shorts, a tank top that reads “OBJECT”, and a tiny barrel of brandy around her neck like a storybook St. Bernard. When she accuses the show’s two main stars of running a “boys club,” they respond in the most literal way possible, with footage revealing how Mr. Show Boys Clubs have been shaping the lives of young boys and girls for years. Only when we see a montage of these clubs in action, a group of little boys is shown learning how to dance (with cardboard cutouts for partners), while their female counterparts are seated off to the side.

Meeting a staged accusation of sexism with a phony admission of much deeper ingrained sexism is exactly in keeping with the tone of the series. Part of the brilliance of Mr. Show was its encyclopedic hyper-awareness of seemingly everything its predecessors had done — essentially it was a sketch comedy show about sketch comedy — and the lack of good comedic roles for women is something its creators wouldn’t have missed. Bob Odenkirk and David Cross were well aware of the venerable Saturday Night Live’s reputation as a misogynistic institution where men flourished and women floundered. While SNL specifically bore the brunt of this criticism, other sketch shows were said to be unfriendly to women as well. Mr. Show refuted the accusation, though, by continually getting great performances out of its female comedians. READ MORE

1

Perfect Couples Recap: "Three Proposals"

Well, we sure learned a lot about each other week! After the premiere episode of Perfect Couples, I complained that the plot moved along so fast that I barely had any idea of who anybody was or what the hell was going on. This week’s episode moved along at the same zippy clip, only this time every single second was devoted to dispensing new revelations about these characters. I feel like I kind of know too much about them too soon now, if such a thing is possible. Did you realize Dave and Julia are married? Did you realize Rex and Leigh are engaged? If yes on both counts, then your realizations game is seriously on point. READ MORE

0

We Were Promised Hoverboards: Team Infighting

If you see as many movies as I have —and I’d strongly caution against doing so — you’ll start to notice the patterns. Through sheer repetition of stock characters and plot threads, Hollywood perpetuates a lot of myths about modern living that are not exactly true. Many are downright ridiculous. We Were Promised Hoverboards is a weekly series in which I investigate these myths for sociological and comedic purposes.

The Myth: No matter the cause, team infighting will always be squashed by the end of the big game.

The Perpetrators: Cool Runnings, Blades of Glory, Mighty Ducks, Major League, Bend it Like Beckham, The Replacements, Remember the Titans, The Program, Summer Catch, Bad News Bears, Bull Durham, The Cutting Edge, Top Gun, Mr. 3000, Semi-Pro, The Express, Rudy READ MORE