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What are You Watching # 9

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Spanky

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Black Thorn
The funeral scene was moving. The death scene was shocking. Poor Jax was devastated.
The death scene shocked me. I was not expecting it. I don't remember the funeral, though. But I really like that actor, even going back to that alien abduction show he was on. I just thought Opie was sorta the heart and soul of the show.
 

Oromous

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Sineya

Just watched this insightful video and it has made me look at the appeal of The Simpsons differently, something which I didn't before, embarrassing enough.

I guess to me, watching the first five seasons of The Simpsons, the show has always been more about watching this charming family of middle-class characters get through quirky lives and occasionally face hardships that would leave me bawling. I guess I didn't really think much beyond that. This lack of perspective was probably due to me not growing up alongside The Simpsons during the '90s (and also the fact that I'm not an American to begin with). But as this video has pointed out, The Simpsons is about counterculture, something many Gen X-ers would have probably understood what it really meant when thinking back to how '80s sitcoms forced this wholesome family value onto the audience. It was a satire of the many aspects of American society, from money problems (a usual Simpsons family issue in S1-3) to manipulative employers (Mr. Burns) to educators not really giving a damn about their students' well-being (Mrs. Krabappel). It wasn't out to make the audience feel good; it was practically a Black Mirror-esque satire reflecting the many problematic parts of our lives. And as this video points out, one of these issues is celebrity worship, something that later seasons have embraced instead of satirize.

Looking at The Simpsons via this perspective, it has made me appreciate season 5 a lot more because, in spite of its gag-heavy episodes, there has always been some form of satire of American society in every episode, having something more to say about the superficial ways we worship a plastic (Lisa vs. Stacy Malibu) or the hypocritical way we protect animals that can be just as much of an a-hole as us (Bart Gets an Elephant). There's always a meaningful message there that reflects on American culture.

And it's not just about its parables either, but also its style of humor: it's far more layered. Modern sitcoms, not just Simpsons, rely on fast jokes that end with a punchline that ultimately triggers the ensuing laugh track. Simpsons' early seasons can't function this way because its comedy wasn't written in such a format; the later seasons, however, are. As pointed out in the video, Classic Era Simpsons had their jokes written over a really long time. They are layered and complex, often having multiple comedy elements (not just a build-up to a punchline) synchronizing together in a single scene, scenes that can be as short as 15 seconds. The example joke with Homer in the airport given in the video shows just how much weaker and less compelling the punchline humor can be compared to something more layered like Homer realizing the fat-shaming of American airports; the latter has something more to say while making us laugh, the former doesn't and feels cheap. It might make us feel good for a moment like junk food, but doesn't really leave us appreciating the overall experience in the long term.

And that, that is the problem with modern Simpsons: it's cheap and easy humor that doesn't try to be anything better. Just another sitcom. Considering that Golden Age Simpsons was the epitome of counterculture, this fall is much more devastating than if any other sitcoms had such a decline. Simpsons became the very thing they made fun of, pop culture itself.
 
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Hunga Munga
Hunga Munga
At one stage Simpsons was the best thing on television . Seminal show but I haven't bothered with it for a long old time.

Taake

Keeper of the Continuum Transfunctioner
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Black Thorn
Swedish show Partisan

If you ever get a chance to watch it, with subtiles of course, I’d highly recommend it. Very unsettling and creepy. Never trust an eco-friendly farmer with a gated community ;)

It also stars Fares Fares, who is a brilliant actor.
 
Spanky
Spanky
that looked good!

Hunga Munga

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Watched a load of Cougar Town , meh .

Was just browsing Prime and discovered this old dubious 'gem' from my childhood . This show used to be difficult to find on VHS/DVD etc . Tried a few episodes last night :)


 

Oromous

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Sineya

Even just watching a summary of the story reminds me just how much I liked the animated movie. It certainly wasn't perfect, but I've always liked how it handled gender representation much better than any of the earlier Disney animations thus far, including Pocahontas (which, even though was technically the first Disney cartoon to have a female warrior, was problematic for other reasons). Tarzan is still my favorite of the Disney Renaissance because it really subverted the traditional Disney musical in a dramatic cinema sense (so effectively that other Disney imitators failed to replicate the formula and brought the end of the Renaissance Era), but Mulan subverted the traditional Disney princess cliche in more ways than one.

Great movie worth remembering and no remakes required. Go watch the original.
 

Priceless

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As I've gotten rid of Netflix I've started watching a lot of British shows from the 70's and 80's; Van der Valk, Hazell, The Persuaders, Rumpole etc. It's like entering a different world.
 

Hunga Munga

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As I've gotten rid of Netflix I've started watching a lot of British shows from the 70's and 80's; Van der Valk, Hazell, The Persuaders, Rumpole etc. It's like entering a different world.
I did the Honor Blackman years of 'The Avengers' recently . That was pretty awesome . Dipped into 'The Professionals' for a few eps on Amazon Prime , probably won't do the whole thing though.

'St Elsewhere' (on All4) was great, will definitely finish that one in time .
 
Priceless
Priceless
I'm watching the Emma Peel years of The Avengers :)

Oromous

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Sineya

Seems interesting... a movie about failing to kill Sean Bean. 🤣

Jokes aside, the high-concept story caught my attention. I doubt it would probe into the idea of how much the "possessor" retains her identity when possessing someone, or explore any kind of thought-provoking themes in the same way Ghost in the Shell did with identity existentialism, but it will probably still be a pretty decent thriller.
 

Oromous

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Sineya
Starting the second season of Millennium and I can already tell I'm not gonna like it already. They changed Frank's ability to a supernatural one instead of the more realistic "instinctual thinking, picturing what a criminal's mind is like" from season 1. @Spanky was right.

There was also the way they framed the episode that feels gaudy and overdramatic for me, the way they zoomed in on Frank's face when his wife's in trouble. Ugh, it just feels contrived. And when the Millennium group enters the airport, the way the camera just frames them from a low angle in this sinister way, you can already tell that they're probably the bad guys this season, or at the very least, they're up to something. I don't think I ever noticed this kind of cinematography work in season 1; it's more subtle back then.
 
Spanky
Spanky
It's a shame, because of how good the first season was. But yeah, there was just so much melodrama and ... spooky spooky ... instead of being more grounded like the first season.
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