Tag Archives: Rick and Morty

State of the Season 12 – Rock and Roll, Reading, and Remembering

Hello and welcome to any and all who find themselves here! As is customary for my every 13th post I look back at the last 12 for a retrospective of the previous “season” of this blog. Let’s hop to it!

Back on May 8th, I tossed the second of my four-part inspection of the T-shirt worn by Jeff Ament of Pearl Jam at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony. This was followed by the final two parts over the next couple of weeks. Ament’s shirt contained a list of names of bands and artists he and his bandmates feel deserve inclusion into the Rock Hall. Some I know and agree with, others I was less familiar with. In an effort to educate myself further on all these acts, I listened to a cut of each act’s discography and sought the best (or my favorite) of the bunch to feature.

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – Vol. 2”

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – On Being the Third Part of Jeff Ament’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Shirt”

“Waiting in the Wings of Rock and Roll – The Final Chapter”


“Never Forget Our Heroes” is my Memorial Day post that attempts not to remember fallen soldiers and service members, but those translators who have been forgotten by the US government in the mire of political bureaucracy. This came from a featured segment on Last Week Tonight with John Oliver that I include.


“With a Little Help from My Friends” – I was committed to sticking to my original plan to release a celebration of The Beatles for the anniversary of their most famous album. I did so even in the wake of Trump pulling the US out of the Paris Agreement, and I am pleased that so many cities, businesses, and communities have all stated that they will continue to honor the international agreement on climate change mitigation. With a little help from my friends indeed.


“Da na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na That Man!” is a eulogy of actor Adam West. Fox Animation recently churned out a video compilation of his best moments as Mayor Adam West on Family Guy:

“Paul! That’s a person’s name!”


Indeed it is, Mayor West, and it is Sir Paul McCartney who is the focus of “Happy Birthday Walrus Man!” where I listed some of the best songs written and performed by McCartney over his career with The Beatles and Wings and on his own. He’s referred to as Walrus Man because he was the walrus! Don’t believe me? Well check, check it:


“Rowling Along the Reading Rainbow” is my thanks to J.K. Rowling for writing the book (series) that got me jazzed about reading. I’ll send another shout out to her for today right here and now: Happy Birthday to you and Harry!


“The Magical Mystery Tour is Waiting to Take You Away” – There’s that Walrus again. Expanding upon my fantasy book series fandom like a literary Bran the Builder, I next turned my attention to the A Song of Ice and Fire series. The featured picture is artwork of my favorite sequence from the books, the wildling attack on the Wall. Fantastic fantasy.


While the show, Game of Thrones, does not always nail some scenes like that battle, it has put together some excellent moments, including some that did not occur in the books. You may even call these moments “Epic! Badass” as I did. Enjoy these 10 scenes that may have fallen off your radar from the first six seasons of the show.


“Astronauts Without Borders” is a celebration of the docking between Apollo 18 and Soyuz 19 that took place in 1975. It was the first time two countries planned and enacted a mission to connect spacecraft in flight and kicked off a grand partnership between the scientific communities within the USA and the USSR/Russia that continues today as it always has – separate from politics.


“Nobody Exists on Purpose. Nobody Belongs Anywhere. Everybody’s Going to Die. Come Watch TV.” – Game of Thrones isn’t the only anticipated show that’s back. Rick and Morty made their long awaited return last night on Adult Swim, and Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon and company keep finding humor in the existential dread that surrounds us all. Props especially to Chris Parnell who manages to make us pity and laugh hysterically at the plight of pathetic Jerry whose name is dragged through the mud by even the wind.

Since next Sunday is six long days away, check out the Non-Canonical Adventures of Rick and Morty to help hold you over.


In addition to this recap, I’d like to wish the best to the family of Sam Shepard, who died from ALS on July 27. An actor on the stage and screen best known for his roles in movies like The Right Stuff and Black Hawk Down, but his true passion was as a playwright. Shepard penned 44 plays and won a Pulitzer Prize for Drama with his work Buried Child. He also co-wrote some film screenplays, was nominated for an Oscar for The Right Stuff, and even played banjo on Patti Smith’s unique cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”. R.I.P.

Thanks for reading, watching, listening, and enduring some bad jokes in all along the way. I hope that I provide quality entertainment and ideally some education along with it; if I do, I hope that continues, but if I don’t, I hope it begins. Most of all, I hope you’ll check back in here next week for more fun.

Until next week,

Alex

Nobody Exists on Purpose. Nobody Belongs Anywhere. Everybody’s Going to Die. Come Watch TV.

As exciting as it has been to have new Game of Thrones episodes to watch over the past two Sundays, it pales in comparison to the return of one of the greatest shows ever made. Rick and Morty returns with the long-awaited second episode of the even longer-awaited third season this Sunday on Adult Swim at 11:30pm EST. If you’ve read some of my stuff before then you know I’m a big fan of both, but where George R.R. Martin’s incredibly intricate world and detailed characters are my preferred option for fantasy, mystery, and speculation, Rick and Morty is a show with an unending universe, nay, multiverse of possibilities that always surprises with how delightfully strange, silly, and smart it can be. Among poop jokes and quick quips about random pop culture are some brilliant subtexts that call into question everything we take for granted. I’ve never seen a show so masterfully handle sensitive subjects like religion so succinctly in such a skewering manner as the B-plot of an episode that runs 24 minutes. 24 minutes! You can learn more about what is going on with that particular episode from Jared and the Wisecrack crew:

When it comes down to it though, I love Rick and Morty because it connects with me so well. Rick and Morty just get me, man. This is of course true for many others, and the show has been a major common interest for some of my best friends and I over the last three and a half years.

Rick and Morty has also helped me to sort out my own stance on religious belief. I have always been a spiritual soul (perhaps “soul” isn’t the right word for this, but I like the alliteration). I attribute this to a degree to my years of Catholic education, the latter nine of which were at Jesuit schools. The Jesuits follow the example of the founder of their order, St. Ignatius of Loyola, in seeing God in everything.  Between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere! Yes! Even between the land and the ship. Of course the previous sentence is a line offered up by Yoda to Luke to teach him about the Force, which should indicate where most of my sense of spirituality comes from. I do not identify as a Jedi on my census form; I still mark Roman Catholic when asked about my religious affiliation, but where once I believed in the whole truth of the dogma, then to most of it, then to some of it, and now to almost none of it that is not historical at its core (the Romans did some not so nice things to the people of Jerusalem; there was a dude named Jesus who earned some friends among these downtrodden folks; the Romans perceived him as a threat and encouraged his execution, etc.).

My continued education in science, theology, and philosophy – which remember all occurred at Catholic schools – really cast doubt on what had frequently been presented to me as “the way it is”. The teachers and professors who challenged me to challenge my own beliefs were my Bruce Hornsby. No one person or event brought about my shift from faithful to factual, but all played a critical role in my growth as a person and my understanding of the universe (or perhaps multiverse!).

My favorite scenes in Rick and Morty were some of the final pieces for my personal philosophy regarding life as I know it. The first time I saw the show was midway through the first season and I binged all six episodes that had been released at that point. The sixth and final episode I watched, “Rick Potion #9”, might just be my favorite episode yet. The ending of it is one of the finest wrap-ups I have ever seen in any TV show, and again it was all done in less than a half hour. With the world wrecked by his Cronenberg-like mutants, Rick portals himself and Morty to a universe where the two of them have returned things to normal and promptly died. Rick explains nonchalantly how there are infinite realities and encourages Morty to not worry about it, but it’s all too much for Morty to take and we see his wide eyes gazing around this new, yet familiar world in shock while Mazzy Star’s “Look on Down from the Bridge” perfectly matches the tone on the scene.

I knew I would love this show forever after this. I never expected the wild ending filled with hilarity and high-concept sci-fi, not to mention the use of one of my favorite band’s best songs to wrap it all together. It was love at first sight. What a show, and what an earth-shaking bolt of doubt sent to my core. On the one hand, it’s a cartoon telling fart jokes, but on the other it has got some things to say and they are not always easy to hear. Just two episodes later, in another round of what seemed to be senseless humor for the sake of it, Rick and Morty offered up the best line I have ever heard in my life. That is not hyperbole; Morty’s words to Summer in “Rixty Minutes” are my mantra now. They have become a truth that I live by, and they were part of a B-plot to a primary storyline that consisted of Justin Roiland’s freestyling improvisation that had been animated.

After learning that she was an unintended pregnancy that prompted the marriage of her parents and would not have existed had they not decided against the abortion they were considering, Summer plans to pack up and run away when Morty takes a break from Ballfondlers to give her the dose of reality that I have titled this post after.

My dad was never much of a religious man, but he told me he and his fellow soldiers would offer up their own prays of sorts at times during his tour in Vietnam. He quoted the old adage, “There’s no atheists in a foxhole.” It makes sense that our natural fear of death is easier to accept when you believe there is something waiting for you after your life on Earth ends. We even see ultra-cynic Rick experience this from time to time:

Gotta love those countless Schrodinger’s cats to represent uncertainty.

It’s important to separate belief from fact. This is something that is easier said than done, but it is critical to ensuring that we do not take what is objective and muddle it with what is subjective. Facts can be proven as they have evidence that can be observed and replicated to back them up. Belief is what we choose to accept in the lack of evidence. Some beliefs can be disproved by established facts, i.e. global climate change is human caused and happening; there are hats. Belief in a deity or deities, or belief in an afterlife get tricky because these are not things that able to represented directly by scientific data. We step more within philosophy and the utilization of logic, especially in regards to what has been seen and what is most likely to be less false, but not necessarily more true.

Enjoy the continuing new season of my favorite television show on today, and enjoy your life and share it with others regardless of their beliefs. One of my friends questions the validity of the moon landing and I still speak to him. My oldest friend with whom I have made many great memories graduated from the University of Michigan and I still hang around with him. The point is, we are all different in less important ways yet have so much in common in what really matters. Religious belief can be helpful to help one find peace in the everyday, as well as for healing someone who has endured trauma. As long as religion promotes living in harmony with your fellow man, then it can do tremendous good. Many hospitals are managed by faith organizations, even more schools offer a better education in some areas (mine included), and mission work throughout the world helps to provide both by treating illness and educating populations without proper health care or formal schooling available. As long as faith does not become a banner of hate or blind following, it can help bring humanity closer to itself. Kindness is key, and ideally we can carry on with it without the need of enticement of eternal happiness.

Thanks for reading and watching! Portal back here next week for the quarterly recap in the State of the Season. As always, send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com.

Don’t trip along the way,

Alex

The Magical Mystery Tour is Waiting to Take You Away

Last week I discussed how J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was what stirred my interest in reading books and the impact it continued to have on me as I grew alongside the characters. I also mentioned how Harry and his time at Hogwarts was my first foray into fantasy literature, but it has not been my last. The natural next step was turn to the OG of modern fantasy, J.R.R. Tolkien, and I did when I read The Hobbit for my freshman English class in high school. I loved it and vowed to someday read its larger and more famous continuation The Lord of the Rings, and I accomplished this near the end of my college career. I loved it so much that it instantly became my favorite book and I ran out and bought the movie trilogy on blu-ray. I even went so far as to develop my own version that takes place in the real world and features my school friends and I striving to save our university from an evil politician who wants to turn it into an open-air shopping complex with a large CVWal-Rite drugstore in the middle of campus. I meticulously matched my friends, associates, and enemies to the assembly of characters in the book and began writing in the three volume style Tolkien utilized. Taking my favorite parts of the book and movies, I formed an enormous outline and wrote many major sections of it. I have not written any more of it for some time now, but I finished a little over half of it, which while certainly condensed from the original text and screenplays, is about 150 pages worth.

The short version is that I really like The Lord of the Rings. But I’m not here to talk about Middle Earth today as that was the second volume of my trifecta of fantasy which has followed a nice mature progression. Where Harry Potter was my initial step into fantasy and covered teenage life better than anything else I know, Tolkien’s works, especially The Lord of the Rings introduced me to a larger world that was heavily influenced by his own love of language and experiences in war. Rowling’s world was my elementary fantasy education, and Tolkien my high school and college, which helped prepare me for my graduate level fantasy that combines the young growth of Potter with the brutal conflict of Tolkien and amplifies them to a degree that makes you shout aloud, “no, no, no, no, no, no, no, NO, NO, NO, NOOOOOOOOOO!” as you read along in horror that this character will join the countless others who died before him or her in grisly fashion. I am referring to, of course, the wacky world of Westeros and Essos created by George R.R. Martin as the setting for his masterful Song of Ice and Fire book series.

Thus far there have been five books published in the long (looooooooooooong) running series with two more on the way. Filled with intrigue, political and literal backstabbing, and so, so much death, they are some of the best books I’ve ever read.

There are other books pertaining to the lore of the Seven Kingdoms and beyond written by Martin, as well as many more pieces of Ice an Fire related merchandise, however those all pale in comparison to the massively popular television series Game of Thrones that brings the stories to vibrant life with top notch set and costume design and cinematic effects, not to mention some terrific acting and choreography. Oh, and there is also some really good directing, and of course writing, including an episode a season from G-Mart himself. The show has been going on for six seasons now and recently dropped the extended trailer for the upcoming Season 7 due out later this month on July 16.

This is exciting for any Ice and Fire fan as the show has firmly caught up and gone past the reach of the most recent book, A Dance with Dragons. We got a lot of totally new things last season, but we are in completely uncharted territory now, and given the slow-working pace of Martin’s book writing we can safely expect the TV series to wrap up before the release of the next book, The Winds of Winter. George, if you want to Rick and Morty us and just drop The Winds of Winter into bookstores on the eve of Season 7, I would not be hurt; quite the opposite, actually.

I did not start into Martin’s fantastical take on the War of the Roses until well after its show’s popularity soared like Balerion the Black Dread. About three years ago, I was hanging out with a couple of friends from work who lived together. Their combined surprise that I had never turned a page or watched a scene of Martin’s masterwork led to one lending me the first book, A Game of Thrones, and the other lending me Season 1 of the show. I read the book first and then watched Season 1 and then begged for more. My book friend lent me the second story, A Clash of Kings, and I tore through it like the Mountain through a horse that has displeased him. Another friend provided me with Season 2, and I went online and ordered my own set of books and started into book three, A Storm of Swords, my favorite of the books so far. I kept up this trend of reading at least a book ahead of each season until I was in the same spot as my friend who first got me charging into this tale like a Dothraki bloodrider. We watched the whole of Season 6 together with only minimal insight into what may happen based on what from the books had not been yet touched upon in the show.

There is still some speculation as to what may be in store for those still living, especially in regard to those who are not, and one of the best outlets for any Ice and Fire intel is Alt Shift X’s YouTube channel that breaks down theories as wild as the Free Folk north of the Wall, some of which are quite intriguing and may be on to something. He and his team of Thrones experts look at the books and show (and now trailers) to discern what’s happening in Westeros and what may happen next, and a few of the theories they have delved into have been confirmed by occurrences in last season. Additionally, last season was extensively covered as it was almost entirely new material in the narrative, and Alt Shift X broke down each episode. Don’t be scared away by the length of the videos (all are about 10-20 mins) as each do a excellent job of laying out all the necessary information and leave you wanting more. If you’re an Ice and Fire fan, I invite you to check this channel out. Even if you’re not all caught up or are just starting into this fantastical fiction each video’s title lists which books and seasons it’s subject touches upon so you can avoid ruining what’s to come, for as is oft said, the Internet is dark and full of spoilers.

I’m pretty darned stoked for the new season of Game of Thrones, and I know I’m not the only one. This show and the book series it draws inspiration from have become incredibly big on a global scale with millions of watchers on the couch biting their nails in nervous anticipation of who might will die next. With completely new territory to explore, it doesn’t get much better than this. We are truly lucky to have Season 7 coming our way in just a couple of weeks. The only way I could be more excited for a show is if… oh holy shit. Wubba Lubba What WHAT!?!

I’m not going to move anything but my eyeballs on Sunday nights this summer.

Thanks for reading! Please send any questions, comments, or suggestions to monotrememadness@gmail.com. Sail on back here next week for more fantasy and adventure, or whatever else I feel like writing about; I don’t know what I’m going to be feeling over the next week.

Bonkers,

Alex

I Want That McNugget Sauce, Morty!

Bringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbringbring!

Guess who’s back? It’s the R&M. Some of that real Mr. Poopy Butthole, ooh wee!

The  newest class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame have all waited at least 25 years to be inducted; they can wait another week for me to discuss their discography. Right now, we have much more pressing business to get to. Rick and Morty are back in the hizzouse!

I pray that you were able to partake in the inexplicable airing of the first episode of the latest season of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon’s sci-fi/comedy cartoon Rick and Morty on Saturday. In case you missed it, follow this link to Adult Swim’s website where the entire series, including the season three opener, is airing right now. If you were able to catch the long-awaited episode we had all given up hope on any time soon, much like the next Song of Ice and Fire book (goddamnit, George!), well, you should probably go binge through the series and watch it all again anyway, but at least you got to take part in the greatest April Fool’s Day prank ever.

I’m not much of a fan of the dipshitted antics that are traditional of April 1st, in fact, on this blog I once included this webclip from Last Week Tonight that discourages carrying on the pranks usually pulled by people who enjoy having some social license to mess with others for one day a year. Furthermore, no information can be taken seriously without double-checking it to verify its authenticity. This is why it was so madcap brilliant for Roiland and Harmon and Adult Swim to suddenly air the third season opener of Rick and Morty on the one day when the unexpected announcement of the series’ long-awaited return would be brushed off by most as bullshit.

Only it wasn’t!

Rick and Morty really came back and gave us one of the best episodes in the series yet! Featuring a virtually omniscient and omnipotent Rick battling wits with an insect intelligence agent voiced by Captain Tightpants himself, Nathan Fillion! And yes, just as he declared, the powers that be delivered this episode roughly a year and a half after Mr. Poopy Butthole speculated how Rick would get out of his cliffhanger jam and proceeded to roll in pepperoni pizza spilled on the floor.

Now it is worth noting that we still will have to wait longer for the rest of season three, but it has been advertised as airing this summer, and while those promises of return in the past 1.5 years have been empty, this one seems to hold a bit more water given that we have now seen a fully-fledged premiere episode.

After constant questions regarding the return of the beloved series, the show’s creators and staff finally got nagging revenge on the rabid fans by sneaking episode 3.01 out when any of us least expected it. I can see them smiling smugly as their handiwork was broadcast over the internet on a loop for four hours and people scoffed at the idea that such a ridiculous occurrence would ever happen. I bet they laughed as jubilantly as Rick did when he manifested that butt in a coffee mug. The creator is always in control of his work of art, after all.

I for one am glad I took my friend’s excited text serious (thanks, Chris!), and I am excited for what the future holds for Rick, Morty, and the rest of the Smith family across the multiverse, although it’s nice to see that some things never change:

1.01

3.01

There is now a bizarrely adamant assembly of people demanding that McDonald’s bring back the Mulan-inspired McNugget dipping sauce that Rick claims to be his “one-armed man”, the driving motivation of his life’s every action. I don’t remember if I ever tasted the apparently delicious condiment during its brief tenure, but I do know that I can get on board with nine more seasons of the smartest, funniest show on television.

If summer is too long for you to wait for the continuing adventures of this daring duo, then you can get a sneak peak at some of this season’s offerings that Adult Swim has already released:

And who can forget this gem:

Thanks for reading, now get to watching some Rick and Morty! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please send them my way via monotrememadness@gmail.com. Be sure to portal back here next week for the previously promised coverage of the 2017 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class. Stay beautiful in the meantime, and remember…

He who controls the pants controls the galaxy!

Alex

I [heart emoji] U

What is love? Baby, don’t hurt me… because I do not have a definitive answer to that question. Perhaps it is due to love being an ever-evolving concept for humanity. It itself is not tangible, but its effects are. We do things because of love. Love is not able to be physically sensed by sight, sound, taste, smell, or touch, and yet we undeniably feel it. I mean really, emotionally feel it. This emotional sense of love enacts a tangible chemical reaction within us. Our body’s recognition of a loving situation prompts hormones and neural synapses to do their thing and feel that love tonight.

Of course, we can physically make love as a means to share and show love, but as with so many other detectable and quantifiable measures of love’s presence and action, this can be scientifically simplified from the lofty romantic ideals we desire it to have. Making love is, after all, just another way to say sexual intercourse. Or is it? Sex without love is quite real and happens frequently in relationships that have lost their luster or maybe never had it for one reason or another. This is saying nothing of cases of sexual assault. The presence of love is not directly correlated with the occurrence of sex. However, sex can be an extremely loving process (it doesn’t sound very romantic described simply as a process either). Two or more people can enjoy a beautiful experience that bridges the gap of emotional and physical love. Such an experience is nice, but it does not raise love up with enough escape velocity to propel it out of the reach of party pooper science.

To explore this further, let’s have a listen from the sword’s tip of scientific brutality that is Rick Sanchez:

To Rick, love is what it is empirically quantifiable as. He labels the aforementioned feeling as a compulsion to breed, a primal, instinctual, animalistic draw to propagate the species with one’s own DNA. This is the love that I have learned about in biology classes that is responsible for animals doing their damnedest to survive long enough to spawn some offspring. Evolutionary success is all about getting your genes to the next generation. For Rick and these instinct-driven critters, love is just your body’s way of accelerating this when a potential mate steps onto the scene, i.e. your biological clock. It’s difficult to tell if animals even feel love as we do, seeing as relationships that seem loving, such as the bond between humans and dogs, have been explained away by real-life Ricks as a co-dependency that began thousands of years ago to provide wolves with better sources of food and humans with protection and hunting assistance. Dogs aside, do all humans even feel the romantic love Jerry waxes poetic in this clip? Considering the state of his marriage, Rick is right to criticize taking advice from him (or me for that matter, being an unmarried, unattached young man without much relationship experience), but is Morty even feeling real love? He probably thinks he is, pining for Jessica under the impression that to be with her is achieving a real-life Disney-esque true love in which they’ll live happily ever after. He may be right, but he may also be young and unable to grasp the complexities of a sustained human romance. His inexperience may have him believing his first love is his final love, which is certainly not always true. Not to mention, that as a teenager, Morty is locked and loaded with hormones that signal his body’s growth into sexual maturity and that evolutionary compulsion his grandpa talked about is kicking in and making him pick out prospective targets.

While funny, and painfully accurate on many fronts, we must remember that all three of these men are ill-equipped to fully judge how love works because of their lack of experience  for various reasons. Morty has not yet experienced romantic love; Jerry’s marriage occurred more out of need than desire; and Rick squandered his marriage with bad habits and scientific pursuits (not necessarily the same thing, I might add to potential scientists). They are poor representations of love experts, and Rick’s cynicism may be appropriate for his own failed marriage and his son-in-law’s ailing one, but it is not representative of all marriages. Many marriages are happy from start to finish, many hit bumps here and there and go in one direction or another, and many end prior to death doing them apart. The often wrongly stated numbers on divorce skew the perception of good or bad marriages that truly are a mixed bag with mostly happy results. And that’s just marriage; there are other relationships, both old and new that work just fine and seem to be flush with l-o-v-e.

Want another sci-fi based explanation of love? Here is the famous, or perhaps infamous key plot point in Interstellar (spoils ahead):

It is interesting to consider how true this is that love is the only thing besides gravity that we know of that is not bound by spacetime. It may be presented on-the-nose in the movie (which if you have complaints, please watch this Movies with Mikey episode), but it is remarkable how love affects us across distance and time.

I am thinking of love right now because two of my best friends just got married. I have never known a couple as well as I know them (nor have I loved a pair of people like I love them), and I can honestly say that they love each other. Whatever love may be, they have it, and lots of it. I know this because I have noticed it in everything they do together and apart, great and small, simple and intricate, over the last nine years since I met them, to when they got together, to their matrimonial union, and beyond. Seeing their love for one another, the love between other couples I know well, and the love my parents shared, especially through my father’s death, I can say that there is something going on there that is benevolent and beautiful. I do not believe that I have yet experienced it as they have, but maybe so. Clearly not being married or even in a relationship I am not in the same company of paired love as others, but even when I have been it has never been with a person that I loved, a fact made evident by the end of those relationships. Most of the time things have ended before they started. When I was younger I was frequently on the infatuated side of unrequited love; now I find myself increasingly being the one setting the record straight for someone looking in my direction (ugh, that sounded disgustingly self-centered, true though it may be). Many times I have let something with the potential to grow slip away because of some ineptitude to pursue it further. Certainly there is some inexperience at play here, but could there also be some lack of love that kept me from working harder to get one of my bulbs to blossom? In order words, if I had really been in love, would I have made more of a move? Last year when I met my latest ex-girlfriend, it was months after I had let another woman with whom I instantly connected better with slip away. As a result, I vowed to not ever let this happen again, and I told myself that I would make a more concerted effort with the next person who caught my eye, regardless of how she measured up. I did just this and… it didn’t work out. I was with her long enough that my body began to produce those wonderful and terrible hormones that are like beer goggles for the heart, and I stayed with a person who I didn’t like after initiating a relationship I only started out of an ultimatum to myself I only made because I still felt bad about not trying hard enough with a better match for me. Ironically, and hilariously, I passed my ex on the highway on my return home from my friends’ wedding. Perhaps it means something, or perhaps it’s just a funny coincidence, either way, she really needs to fix that dent and get a new rear license plate – I mean, I have felt the love emanating from others who deeply love one another, so maybe, just maybe I will be lucky enough to one day experience what they already do. I hope so, even if I have to wait a while for it.

Thanks for reading! I hope that you find love in a person, place, and or thing that allows you to feel and practice it safely for you and others. Feel free to contact me at monotrememadness@gmail.com with any questions or comments, and come on back next week for a little more love from yours truly.

XOXO,

Alex

Pluto is a cold, cold celestial dwarf

In the wake of NASA’s New Horizons mission that recently snapped some racy and revealing pictures of everyone’s favorite dwarf planet, as well as my continuing fight against the powers of evil, I present you my tersest post yet. Once more I steal the oeuvre of those more entertaining than I, but when it’s the best from the bizarre brains of Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon on the week’s eve of the second season opener of their magnificent show Rick and Morty, I feel completely justified in copping out. So enjoy, write back if you want to see something specific appear on this blog in the future (monotrememadness@gmail.com), and read with your TV watching eyes.

http://www.adultswim.com/videos/rick-and-morty/something-ricked-this-way-comes/

Stay scientific,

Alex

It’s Another Appreciation of the – URP! – of The Simpson’s

If you saw The Simpson’s last night then you witnessed the best cartoon on television today… absolutely show up the long-running show that helped pave the way for it. For those who missed it, yesterday’s episode entitled “Mathlete’s Feat”  featured a guest animation by Justin Roiland, Dan Harmon, and the team at Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty during the traditional “couch gag” that opens each Simpson’s show. The result was about two and a half minutes of unorthodox traditional cold open that was at least 100x better than the episode that followed it. Observe:

This is how you couch gag, bitch.

Now there is no question that Rick and Morty is the best cartoon, nay, the best show on TV today, but we can’t forget that while it has fallen very, very, very far from its lofty level of quality, The Simpson’s is still an entertaining show, and one that I have previously described is a comfort to have around. For this reason I am happy to see that Fox has extended the show’s contract for at least two more seasons, meaning that the finale that Rick and Morty crashed the party (teehee) won’t be the last time the Simpson family rushes for the couch. However, the show is losing a major player in Harry Shearer, the voice actor who plays key characters like Mr. Burns, Ned Flanders, and Principal Skinner. The plan for Matt Groening and the gang right now is to keep rolling with someone new doing the voices as close to Shearer’s signature as possible.

Given this recent news I felt it appropriate to look back on one of my favorite episodes, “A Streetcar Named Marge” which has prominent contributions from Shearer’s Flanders. The episode serves as both a parody and an homage of Tennessee Williams’ classic stage play A Streetcar Named Desire. Throughout the episode, the play and 1951 film based off it are loyally and lovingly referenced in such moments as when Homer observes Marge rehearsing her role as Blanche DuBois with the next door neighbor, Ned Flanders, and shouts up at the window “MARGE! MARGE!”

The basic premise of the episode is ridiculous as usual: Marge grows tired of her dull, repetitive role as a stay-at-home mom and auditions for a theater production. Simple enough, yet the production is a musical version of A Streetcar Named Desire. She ends up winning the lead female role of Blanche, and her success is received with little notice by her family. Homer is particularly indifferent towards his wife’s involvement in the musical. Marge utilizes Homer’s apathy to fuel the anger in her performance. Eventually, Homer realizes that his lack of interest in what makes Marge happy makes him selfish and conceited like Stanley Kowalski in Streetcar. In the episode’s final moments, Homer sweetly apologies for the way he’s acted and promises to be better in the future.

The general theme sharply points out how musical theater can sometimes take certain works, including award-winners like Streetcar, and stretch them too far. My favorite example of this is when Apu, playing a newspaper delivery boy ponders whether to accept Blanche’s sexual advances in a musical soliloquy. Some subtler themes also arise, as in the very beginning of the episode when the Simpsons are watching the Miss America pageant, an event that exhibits the bold fakery of feminine beauty. This pertains to both the false face that Marge as Blanche puts on in her out-of-character performance, as well as the reference to the original play in which Blanche is an aging beauty queen.

In classic Simpsons fashion, the episode also contains references to other popular culture items. First, while Marge attends stage practice she is forced to place Maggie in a day-care facility. The only one left that is not currently under investigation is Ayn Rand Day Care where helping others is forbidden. Maggie encounters trouble, though, when the facility caregiver cruelly locks away her beloved pacifier with the other children’s pacifiers. Maggie carries on by doing her best to channel Steve McQueen as she is assisted by the other children in her attempts to break into the pacifier locker. As she carries out her valiant efforts, the whistling theme from The Great Escape plays. Once Maggie succeeds in liberating the pacifiers for each child, the babies quietly suck away at them in eerie unison. Homer, Lisa, and Bart come just in time to pick up Maggie and observe the children who do not seem to notice them as they quietly back out of the day care. The scene pays homage to the ending of The Birds. In case you miss it at first, Alfred Hitchcock walks by with his dogs as the family runs away to Marge’s play.

As usual the show is filled with multiple references to American popular culture from high society to film lore to beer commercials with its fanatically colorful and animated (both satirically and literally). The Simpsons have always captivated America and me ever since we first saw them hop onto their living room couch. I definitely love Rick and Morty’s current adventures more than the going’s-on in Springfield, but I will always enjoy classic episodes from America’s original cartoon crazies.

Thanks for reading! I hope you will direct your comments, questions, and hate mail to monotrememadness@gmail.com. I also hope you’ll enjoy the film Mad Max: Fury Road which has earned the honor of Best Movie I’ve Seen This Year… So Far. I doubt it will hold the title with a Bond and Star Wars film still to come, but I imagine it will be in my top five by year’s end.

Keep on surviving,

Alex