Sit Down, Shut Up

There are two new shows on my radar right now. The first is a comedy from the creator of my favorite comedy show that used to be on television (that is, arrested development), Mitch Hurwitz. In fact it even features some of the stars from that amazing TV show including Jason Bateman and Will Arnett. The show is sit down, shut up. Based on the Australian show of the same name (except animated, where the original was a live action sitcom) the show fits nicely into its 8:30 slot in FOX’s (fox the same company that cancelled arrested development) Animation Domination Sunday.
So why is it good?
Well I haven’t actually said it was good yet. But I will. Though it might be a little too soon to tell (having only seen one episode), the half hour comedy has the potential to be a spectacularly good program. Mixing animation on top of real photographs the show does something I’ve never seen a network animation do before. Next is the comedy. While some have called it nothing “above sniggering double entendre. Seemingly preoccupied with impressing teenage boys,” I think the comedy works well. One of my favorite parts of the show is Mitch Hurwitz style of comedy which includes the small double entendre (small nuts, rush the d, Miracle Grohe), which then builds to a bigger joke later in the episode/season.
Another Arrested Development?
The show would appear to be off to a start that mimics arrested development, creating a core group of viewers who truly enjoy the show. But then again it might be too early to tell. The whole show is very fast paced, and the number of cast members is somewhat astounding I can definitely see the point that the show is abrasive and a little off putting. In my half asleep state I was caught unawares as the show launched quickly into motion. Regardless what anyone else thinks, or any of the critics think, I’m going to continue watching this show, because I’m interested to see where it goes from here.
…Although for it to fail would be alright so long as Mitch Hurwitz moved straight to the Arrested Development movie…

you can watch it on here!

TaskFox (or Ubiquity) preview for Firefox

Looks neat. But do we need to add this functionality to Firefox (or all browsers)?
The problem for me might be that we’ve gotten to a point in browser design where everything can be contained inside one (tabbed) window, that we are now going back into multiple windows (as the developer in the video suggests). Despite this fact the ideas behind Ubiquity is creative and looks to me like a great addition to the functionality of a web browser.

SOTM: 22 by Lily Allen

I finally got the new Lily Allen album last week (It’s Not Me It’s You was released at the beginning of February) and I’ve chosen the fourth song off the album as my song of the moment.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were bopping along to smile, and hearing tales of people getting robbed in LDN. In each there was a crude note of truth, a revelation of the terrible nature of human society—each and every vice. Well I’m happy to say that this latest album is exactly the same. In fact the album opens with Lily Allen singing about how everyone is on antidepressants. One of my favorite songs off the album is 22 (coming in a very close second in F*** You, which might equate to how sesame street would tell someone to go F*** themselves in a song). Well 22 is like all other Lily Allen songs in that it tell a story, this one happens to be about a girl who, even though she’s only 22, her life would seem to be over. ‘She’s got an alright job, but it’s not a career.’ The song itself is upbeat, starting with a humming organ and moving into a finger snapping beat. The sung lyrics of the verses are nicely contrasted with descents and ascents in the music behind. You’ve also got to love the electric-xylophone type sounds (or perhaps the piano in the bar of old western films) that make up the background of the verses. Overall it’s a very sing-along-able song, and despite its ‘down’ sort of nature is very ‘up’.
My only complaint about the song is how it ends. The song is in a nice little solo, and all of a sudden its over (I guess a bit like the life of the character).

the DiggBar - a Revolution for Social News Agregation

I'm a fan of social news aggregates, the likes of which include and the idea behind them is that users submit articles they find on the web and other users vote for or against (in Digg's case 'digging' or 'burying') depending on whether they are relevant or interesting. the best articles will be displayed more often to the most number of people. now thats a very simple version of what exactly goes on, there are whole algorithms that deal with what is most popular and what gets 'front page' status.
the DiggBar.
digg just released its latest, and perhaps most important, adition to the site--the diggbar. Launching on april 2nd, the diggbar is essential a tool bar containing all the most important functions of Digg (comments, digging, burying and favouriting). but its much more than that. the diggbar also alows users abreviate urls. for example the url for this blog is Digg has now essentially become a url shortening service (along with the likes of simply put infront of any url and digg does the rest for you. along with this added functionality the diggbar gives related articles and also articles from the same domain.
Why I Like It
My method to Digging or Redditing has always been to click on multiple links, on say the homepage, read them and then go back to either digg or bury them. this becomes problematic for links say in the most popular section, or when ive gone to different pages. with the diggbar the articles are displayed inline with the functionality to digg and bury--all in the same page. for me this move makes sense, and its one of the best things digg has done as a site in the time ive been using it. the added usability to the site is astounding, and a much needed bonus feature for the 'original' (i use that term lightly) social news agregate. Congrats Kevin Rose.

I Love You, Man

Derived from the comedic genre that gave the Office life, this sometimes vulgar, always awkward and mostly funny comedy stands apart from its competition. The premise: what if a guy never had any guy friends, only girl friends. What if he then had to find a guy friend(s)? The abstract and ridiculous premise sets the tone for the overall movie staring Kevin Rudd (finally he takes lead actor in something), Jason Segal, the ever-funny Jaime Presley, and two parts of NBC’s up and coming show Parks and Recreation.
Why it Works
It is a comedy after all, and like I stated the movie derives a lot of its comedy from the absurd proposition around which the movie is based. How exactly does one go about finding a best friend? NBC’s the Office’s lifeblood during its first season was the awkwardness that surrounded the central character Michael Scott. It would seem in this movie that Kevin Rudd is channeling his inner Michael Scott as he looks for help to find a friends from his brother (the more and more popular Andy Samberg) or goes out of dinner dates with Thomas Lennon (aka short shorts from Reno 911). Whether is Rudd’s inability to formulate complete and coherent sentences in short succession while nervous, inability to do any type of accent or interactions as he try’s to make a best friend the comedy shines through leaving you laughing for most of the time.
Some critics have called this movie smart and intelligent. And while I can’t say I totally agree with them wholeheartedly (screaming in peoples faces on the boardwalk, and falling on your ass while playing Rush on guitar), I do believe there was some level of smart occurring here. The relationship between Rudd and Segal is something I haven’t seen on screen before. Through this chemistry we find both the most bizarre and the most truthful lessons of the movie.
This was overall a good movie, very funny in places and a good use of good and underused comedians. However, I don’t think it lived up to the hype I at least had for it in my head.

1) Watchmen 2) Benjamin Button 3) I Love You Man 4) The International 5) Taken

“In the End…”

This Thursday marked the end of 15 years of ER. Over the past decade and a half, the peacock has brought America through the halls of County General in Chicago and into the lives of the people who worked there. It is probably for this reason that this show resonated with the people who watched it week in and week out. The serious character development that made ER the program is was, as the characters struggled with the everyday life of an emergency room.
Ever the Same
So it is sad to see this program leave its hallowed spot at the end of Thursday night. Even for a casual viewer like me, ER has always been something of a spectacle. An hour of non stop drama, both in the thick of a heart pounding mass casualty trauma, and with the heart wrenching complicated relationships and lives the staff lead. While the show might have fallen from it high back when its first seasons were airing, the core dynamics of the show have remained the same (at least for the episodes I have watched). It’s been good these past few weeks and especially in the final episode to see characters from years gone return to the show, reprising their roles and showing why we love ER. If you haven’t had a chance to see the Retrospective, take a look at it on HULU. You can see the effort and emotion that the actors, directors and writers really put into creating a show with such a reputation and history.
(It was also nice to see the opening credits return from their three year hiatus)
After It’s Gone
It was a show that survived the reality show invasion, remaining tied to the network that had developed the movie-like program. And what doubles the gloom following the departure of such a strong player is the thought that there won’t be a chance for another ER. With Jay Leno taking the 11pm time period, larger budget products cant get a foot in the door with NBC instead looking to the lower cost talk show as an option for entertainment. You can see my opinion on late night, talk shows and jay leno here.
One More Thing
I’m a huge fan of Michael Crichton—Michael Crichton being the brain behind the beginning of ER. So it’s kind of sad to say that he never saw the end of the show he started 15 years ago. It’s also sad to say that there won’t be anymore amazing books by this one of a kind author. So rest in peace Dr. Crichton, your novels, shows and movies will forever assert your creativity and intellect.