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Posts Tagged ‘Busted’

After a pretty intensive happy hour last night, I went home to my busted-ass couch to watch my busted-ass TV that has no cable because T*** W***** is, as RK pointed out, fucking ridiculous. So right – I was obviously watching Fox’s Wednesday night bonanza of American Idol (total shitshow) and then the delightful surprise of “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

For anyone who didn’t see this show (apparently 34 million people did see it), it works like “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”, but the questions are all derived from elementary school textbooks and are not multiple choice. And they also have a band of five telegenic children who serve some kind of purpose I don’t really understand. They could just be there to shame the adults who have never heard the word “trapezoid” before. So the adults try to answer the questions and if they can’t, they have “life-line”-type options, like cheating off of a fifth grader. If the contestant gets a question wrong or cannot answer, the game is ended by Jeff Foxworthy (of all people) compelling the loser to say “I am not smarter than a fifth grader.” Literally, they must say those words.

I don’t really know how I feel about all this. It was like watching one of those dead baby jokes come to life. Yes, this is a good analogy. The show itself is grotesque – watching adults writhe over truly stupid questions like so many dead babies in a pile. And then Jeff Foxworthy mincing about on stage like he’s some kind of fucking super-genius ruling over the Kingdom of Incompetence is like that one live baby at the bottom. And then making them admit they’re not as smart as a 10-year-old? Ah, that’s the live baby going back for seconds.

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Jeff Foxworthy – the live baby 

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Last night I had a dream – a flash of unconscious thought really. I was walking on a dark street and became aware that there was someone walking behind me. It was a tall, thin man, wearing a trench coat and clutching a shot gun. It was then that all my fear melted away.

I was safe in the sights of this psychopath, because he was Omar Little, Baltimore’s drug-laden Robin Hood on The Wire.*

Having dreamed about Omar, I thought it might be time to make my feelings about him known in the public sphere – or the “blogosphere” if you want me to vomit on myself.

First of all, Omar is a total badass and is admirable and exemplary in that way. Proof of bad-assedness: gigantic scar across face (which, admittedly, is the actor’s and not technically Omar’s), trench coat/shot gun combo, and the courtroom smack-down in Season Two.

Secondly, Omar is more than a character. He is a statement about agency. In the world of The Wire, there are two strong bureaucratic institutions that control the power – the Police and the Drug Trade. In both institutions, you see a very specific ranking system which at the low end features Hoppers and beat cops and goes all the way to the top, to Avon and the Mayor. The ranks are solidly established, although there is possibility of (limited) vertical mobility. Essentially, once you are in the system, your entire purpose is to perpetuate the institution and the circumstances which allow the institution to exist.

Omar is remarkable because he is not part of either institution, but is able to move freely between them, exploiting the institutions and the circumstances that they create. While others go on as cogs in either the law enforcement or drug machines, Omar is a vigilante, a free agent, going around and fucking things up. He can be compared to another floater, Bubbles, who putters about in both scenes, but is not part of either and wholly reliant on both.

Thirdly, Omar remains a pillar of moral fortitude – albeit the fucked up, killing-is-okay moral order of Baltimore. He is the most consistent character despite the fact that he is not compelled by any outside forces to act in a specific way. While the other characters – both the drug dealers and the cops – constantly stab each other in the back or undermine each other to get a sliver of the power available within their respective institutions, Omar adheres to a strict behavioral guideline from which he never wavers. It is something special to run around as both the most feared man around and the most morally righteous (which is why his face-off with BrotherMouzone is interesting – but a story for another time).

Finally, Omar is a poor, gay, black man and I’m going to go ahead and say it – members of this group do not traditionally hold a lot of power in society. This just makes it all the better that he is the toughest, most righteous, most powerful person on The Wire.

So, in conclusion I can say with little hesitation that if Omar were walking behind me with a loaded shotgun on a deserted street, I wouldn’t be scared. I would just wonder how I ended up in a TV show.

 

*Just to address one concern – yes, I often dream about The Wire, and no, I don’t think I need to get out more.

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Not Hot: American Idol – Season 100

American Idol sucks (sux) this season. I can feel it already. Did you watch it last night? Because I did. And I was very disappointed with its not hottness. Here’s what I thought:

That big, southern guy should’ve been better. Although, do we really need another Taylor Hicks? No, we don’t. That Korean (represent!) guy was really nervous, and it showed (pit stains). Though, I admire (but also find annoying) the fact that he took off his shoes. That takes balls, and some serious dedication to Asian tradition. But I did not like that guy who supposedly reminds people of Justin Timberlake. Yes. Definitely. This guy totally, really, truly reminds me of a busted version of Justin Timberlake. And singing my most hated song, no less. (I Don’t Wanna Be by Gavin Degraw– hate it.) Although, his performance wasn’t awful, despite his aversion to a steady head. Then there was that guy who sang a Richard Marx song. Haha, Richard Marx. Who is this guy? Me, ten years ago? Go write me a love letter. But you know who I do love? The Indian kid. I am In love with him. I may have fallen asleep during his minute and a half long performance, but boy is he cute. And 17. Then there was the Jack Osbourne look alike who is 28. 28? He looks 18. Go grow some wrinkles. And I definitely hate the last singer’s guts. He has the eyes of a sad woman, and embodies a weird eagerness that makes me want to punch. Not a fan.

So there you have it, my American Idol review. I might not watch this season if this awfulness continues. But we’ll see.

PS If Paula doesn’t learn how to articulate her thoughts into a coherent sentence soon, I’m going to post screen stills from Junior High School. Which, if you haven’t seen it already, is a musical from the 80s with Paula before her nose job.

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