I do apologize to any readers/followers for my brief hiatus: my two major undergrad research papers on horror films have been taking up a great deal of time, energy and overall brain capacity these past few weeks.
This weekend, though, I finally get to have a little break, thanks to NY Comic-Con! This is the biggest nerdfest of the year (besides its bigger counterpart in San Diego, of course) and you all should know by now that I mean this in the most endearing way possible. For this very belated edition of No Particular Order, I’d like to countdown my favorite pop culture things (television shows, specifically) that often make their way into the panel halls or onto the show floor, in preparation for this crazy weekend!
The Walking Dead
This past summer, after frequent nagging from people who claimed that “if anyone should be watching and loving this show, it should be you, Sara;” I mean, it has zombies, and everyone considers me to be the zombie aficionado (which is a weird thing to claim, perhaps). So clearly I was delayed, and I admit that. But after binge watching all three seasons, I was officially a fan: a mega-hooked, overly obsessive fan. I find everything about it nearly perfect, particularly the action-packed third season, during which I often found myself yelling, crying, and even laughing. I’m more than a little pumped to see the massive increase of walkers in the fourth season, premiering this Sunday on AMC. The characters grow more interesting and engaging and even those you hate end up being beloved, usually too late though (no spoilers here, but you know who I’m referring to if you watch the show). I will also admit that what really hooked me once and for all was episode 6 of season 1 at the CDC. Then, we had the Shane/Rick drama, an emotional and gripping storyline, with Shane being one of the most fascinating and complicated television characters I have ever seen. Plus, I love that the human drama, as in the CDC episodes, really sometimes takes terrifying precedence over the walkers, who are of course awesomely scary on their own. Greg Nicotero is a master at what he does.
However, I will say that in terms of Comic-Con, this show and more specifically its panel is the pinnacle topic and event of the weekend and therefore I probably will be skipping it: I just don’t have the patience, as devoted as I may be to the series, to wait for hours on end to get into a panel room which, chances are, I probably won’t even be able to get into anyway because the true die-hards will probably be camping out in that room from morning until night for their seats. It’s unfair but I will cope by getting my hands on some great merchandise, and I’m definitely wearing my “Property of Daryl Dixon” tank on Sunday.
Comic Book Men
In all honesty, my favorite aspect of this show is Kevin Smith… well okay, that and I’ve been to the Secret Stash before and it is a great store, combining two of my nerdiest loves: comics and Kevin Smith movie merchandise and memorabilia. I love that the show is like a geekier version of Pawn Stars, and the fact that a customer once sold them a book which I own (“Marvel Origins”, except my copy is a lot more tattered) was way too surreal for me. I will admit that I don’t watch the show religiously, but I’m hoping to attend the panel and possibly meet Kevin Smith afterwards. He is one of my all-time film heroes, from Clerks to his more recent foray into genre work Red State and everything in between. Reading his book “Tough Shit” was oddly inspiring for me, and I think people take for granted that Smith is smart, daring, and true to himself. Plus, anyone willing to sell their comic book collection in order to finance a film about nothing and having it become a beloved cult classic is certainly worthy of my admiration.
This show is impeccable and I am hoping to attend its Q&A panel on day 2 this weekend. What I love most about this show is the pacing– the way jokes are seamlessly weaved throughout each episode thanks to meticulously planned animated match-edits and the actors’ own rhythms, making these animated characters some of the craziest on television and their banter certainly some of the raunchiest. I also love how there is a certain layer of satirical intelligence pulsating beneath even the silliest of jokes or story lines. The cold war/spy humor, for instance, or the strange pop culture references, are always adding to the weird but hilarious vibe of the show.
Adult Swim: Robot Chicken and Children’s Hospital
I think the future of comedy, as cliche as it may be to predict such a thing, lies in short form shows like Robot Chicken and Children’s Hospital. Then again, the humor in both is off-beat to say the least, and the kind of rhythm I alluded to in terms of Archer‘s comedic style is lost in both of these shows: in fact, if you go in expecting something remotely traditional or even slightly cohesive, then you will just come back out confused and violated. The one thing all these shows have in common are their references to pop culture, both current and maybe not so current; anyone recall the episode of Children’s Hospital that directly paid a kind of parodying homage to Spike Lee’s Do The Right Thing? Or perhaps you were watching Robot Chicken wondering where the action figures She-Ra and Skeletor and the Smurfs were being dug up and dusted off from. Likewise, both these shows, each approximately 12 minutes long per episode, rely on and gleefully exploit a kind of short attention span from their viewers. That isn’t to say that these shows don’t have their own kind of intellect; to be as reflexive and self-aware of the media around them and to use these influences in such a clever and spoofing manner takes some major creativity and guts. And for that, I love Seth Green, David Wain and Rob Corddry (the latter two of whom I met at last year’s Comic-Con).
This final spot on my list goes to the FX show, The League, partly to really drive home the fact that Comic-Con has a little bit of everything for everyone. When I saw that the cast of this insanely funny comedy was going to be there on day 3 of the weekend, I was ecstatic but should not really have been phased: the convention’s extended reach to all areas of cult and mainstream pop culture of all mediums and genres really makes itself apparent with shows like this. I love the series because it is mindless mayhem and, believe it or not, you don’t actually have to know anything about football, fantasy or otherwise. The cast is probably what makes this show for me though, so again I’m very excited that they’ll be there for a Q&A style panel. I love Nick Kroll especially, his evil sarcasm offsetting the kind of naivete of characters like Taco, played with a dumb kind of whimsy by Jon Lajoie.
Well that’s all for now! I’m going to try to get back to blogging more frequently and regularly. But for now, here was my little TV taste of Comic-Con and I couldn’t be more excited to attend this year and maybe blog about it afterwards!