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Jaybird

Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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  1. Avatar Alan Scott
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    says:

    I saw the pilot, and it was not anywhere near as terrible as I expected it to be.

    The core characters of the GCPD, and the criminals they face, are all fun and engaging. Gotham City looks and feels like Gotham City, the villains have that over-the-top colorfulness while still being grounded in reality that you’d expect from batman villains. But beside from the cops and Cobblepot, all of the remaining references to the batman mythos ranged from dull to laughably bad. Selina and Alfred were particularly cringeworthy–though so far they’re only brief cameos.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Alan Scott
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      If they have this on-demand I may try to watch it tonight, I was curious about it.

      On a whim I rewatched the first two episodes of BtVS (it’s on both Netflix and APrime), and now I am wondering if I will be rewatching at least part of the series for the 4th(?) time.

      If you ask me which show is ‘better’, I might say The Wire.

      But if you ask me which show is ‘loved harder’, it might be this one.

      You remember all the jokes and the metaphors and the operatic emotions, but what you forget is how it’s a show in love with words and language, firing off rapid, smart dialogue that recalls old screwball comedies, or even hardboiled detective films/stories.

      And Buffy Summers and crew are definitely genre heroes built to last, every bit as much as James Kirk et al, or Bruce Wayne/Peter Parker etc.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Glyph
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        I finished season one of Buffy a couple weeks ago. It definitely holds up well. Whedon really has a way with dialogue. I am catching up a few other things, but I plan to finish the series again.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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        I assume he scripted the two-part pilot, and yeah, that dialogue sings. When Giles says:

        “Listen to me… Jesse is dead. You have to remember that when you see him, you’re not looking at your friend. You’re looking at the thing that killed him.”

        Man, that’s good. Imagine Clint delivering those lines.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        Regarding Buffy, I actually recommend skipping the entire first season and jumping in to the second. And even then mostly because there’s a lot of the show’s mythology there. It really begins to come into it’s own in the third.Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        @tod-kelly

        I agree about season 1 (Wheadon always takes time to get good), but I can’t agree about Season 2. The first appearance of Angelus isn’t just a world-building feature, it’s pretty remarkable TV.Report

      • Avatar Tod Kelly in reply to Glyph
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        @james-k Yeah, I get that.

        I do agree that what we might now call the season arc shows are really great. And the decision to replace the Master’s cult with a fun villain like Spike was spot on.

        But the one-offs for me are a little lame, and some of the supporting cast and/or characters are still a little Saturday morning cartoon-y. Willow and Zander become great characters, but for some reason (I think the actors?) it takes them a while to get going.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        Nah, there’s no real reason to skip the first season; for one, it’s short, so there’s not much of it to get through anyway. For another, looking at the episode list, there’s only two outright stinkers: “Teacher’s Pet” and “I Robot, You Jane”, each of which still have some amusing jokes in them (the last scene of “Jane” in particular is one of the funniest closing scenes they ever did), some fun ones (“The Pack”, which is the source of one of Snyder’s greatest lines, and “The Puppet Show”) and several eps that are very good to great (the first two, which contain both the Giles line I mention and his explanation of the Lovecraftian origins/cosmology of this universe) and the final three (“Prophecy Girl” in particular).

        And I’m with James, Season 2 is essential.

        You can stop with Season 5.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        Whedon has a way with dialogue, sort of. He has a way with quirky dialogue. High-school speak, space speak, crazy prophetic hallucinatory speak. He’s good at coming up with gimmicks for his dialogue, but he’s only average with non-idiomatic English. Remember also that this show came out a few years after Friends. It’s easy to forget how much Friends – specifically, Chandler – changed the way TV approached language.

        Here’s my take on the Buffy seasons, in order of quality: 2-1-3-5-4-6-7. Here’s a visual representation: 213–54—6——7.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Glyph
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        I’d move 1 down a bit, probably to after 5, but otherwise your ranking looks pretty much like mine. 4 had some good concepts, but the execution was lacking.Report

      • Avatar Pinky in reply to Glyph
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        says:

        Season 1 was a bit campy, but you pointed to a couple of great episodes there in “The Pack” and “Puppet Show”. If I’d lower 1 on the rankings, it’d only be because I’d moved up Season 3. How was this for a run of consecutive episodes: “The Wish”, “Amends”, “Gingerbread”, “Helpless”, “The Zeppo”, then the underrated “Bad Girls” with Balthazar the giant pudding demon?Report

  2. Avatar aaron david
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    says:

    We watched it and it was decent, but I am not a batfan so couldn’t really tell you how it fits into the mythology. That said, every time someone used a cell phone jarred me slightly.

    Along with all the misc. reading I am doing these days, still working my way through Perfidia which is a beast, in only the best way.Report

  3. Avatar Reformed Republican
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    says:

    @jaybird Did you ever read Top Ten? It is a police procedural, and everyone is a superhero, including the cops.Report

    • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Reformed Republican
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      says:

      Damn! No, I haven’t. I picked up the first 9 TPBs of 100 Bullets today and I considered that a victory.

      Hrm. Now I have to read Top Ten. I will inform Maribou.Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
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        I expect a full report on 100 Bullets. It’s in my queue.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Roger that.

        (I, apparently, need an author for Top Ten. Google is doing little to help me.)Report

      • Avatar Will Truman in reply to Jaybird
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        It was written by this fellow named Alan Moore.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        Never heard of him. But that could be because his beard cast a spell of forgetting on me.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Jaybird
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        It looks like the title is actually Top 10. It is by Alan Moore, but if my memory serves, it does not have any weird sex or occult stuff in it.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Speaking of AM, I just put up some shelves in Glyph Hall to accommodate some books, and I made sure that the top one had enough clearance to house the massively-oversized Lost Girls.

        I do NOT want the kids stumbling across that one before it’s time.

        Like, say, when they are thirty.Report

      • Avatar Reformed Republican in reply to Jaybird
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        My girlfriend was over yesterday, and she was looking at my bookshelves. She asked my what Lost Girls was. I kind of hemmed and hawed a little bit, because it is not the easiest book to explain without sounding like a pervert. I figured telling her it was the sexual adventures of Alice, Wendy, and Dorothy would not go over well.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        Also, did you guys hear his first draft of his new novel is >1 million words?

        …I’ll probably read it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        Alan Moore? Screw you guys. I’m going to be gone for a while.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        This is one of those moments when I feel like the odd duck around here: I’d never heard of Lost Girls and had to look up Alan Moore to be sure I knew who he was (I recalled the name vaguely, in association with The Watchmen, the movie, and V for Vendetta, the movie).Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        (I recalled the name vaguely, in association with The Watchmen, the movie, and V for Vendetta, the movie).

        Alan Moore would greatly prefer that you not recall his name in association with those films.

        You’ll be hearing from his beard/attorney/familiar.

        (in all seriousness, he’s a legend for a reason. Very, very good writer and interesting mind/person, if a bit given to curmudgeonly windmill-tilting in his old age).Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        I’m sure he is, though I admit that the format would make it difficult for me to ever actually try. It’s not that I think there’s anything wrong with the format, it’s just that I find it a bit distracting. My son reads graphic novels and manga, and I’ve tried to get into some of his stuff, but just can’t seem to. In many ways it’s like reading another language that you’re in the process of learning: instead of automatically and unconsciously making my way through the reading itself (as opposed to the story, the characters, the allusions, etc., the sort of things you might want to focus on consciously), I end up doing a lot of effortful, conscious processing of the text that makes it difficult to really get into what I’m reading.

        Maybe I’ll try something that’s much shorter than 1 million words.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        Well, that 1-million-word novel is actually a “traditional” (ha) text novel, not graphic. He has another text-only novel Voice of the Fire, but I’ve not read it (just ordered a used copy, actually).

        In many ways it’s like reading another language that you’re in the process of learning: instead of automatically and unconsciously making my way through the reading itself (as opposed to the story, the characters, the allusions, etc., the sort of things you might want to focus on consciously), I end up doing a lot of effortful, conscious processing of the text that makes it difficult to really get into what I’m reading.

        I’ve heard similar statements from other people who didn’t read a lot of comics as a kid; I guess you absorb a lot of the rules/syntax/ visual “grammar” unconsciously, and trying to pick that up later can be a bit more difficult.

        Not that you want to have to do homework before you read, but Scott McCloud’s Understanding Comics supposedly goes into great detail about that stuff.

        But I don’t know if that’s like reading a book on filmmaking, instead of just watching films, to get into the form.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Maybe I’ll start just reading individual comics, instead of the novel-length versions. That might help. I am in a comic book store every other Sunday already, so it shouldn’t be that hard to find something I would enjoy.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        If you are looking for a single-issue Alan Moore, try Killing Joke. Yeah, the story and themes will be familiar (they’ve mined it repeatedly for the Nolan Batman movies, and its Joker origin story has nearly become canon*, but inexplicably they never just made a straight Batman movie out of it), but that could turn out to be an asset, since you can focus on the text and elegant, near-perfect story structure.

        *though even here they make reference to the fact that ANY Joker origin story is suspect, a product of the most unreliable of narrators.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        Cool. I’ll look for it in a couple Sundays when I’m in there.

        I say in a couple Sundays like I don’t live 3 blocks from the largest comic book store in Austin and therefore can’t just walk over there whenever the hell I feel like it (though the creek I jump across to get to it does contain snapping turtles, so it can be dangerous!).Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Oooh, I don’t know that I’d start with Killing Joke. I don’t know how well it has aged.

        For one thing, I know that I hate the last page now and I didn’t the first time I read it (though I did think that it was kind of a weak ending after such a strong beginning and middle). Additionally, the major plot point of the book hasn’t aged that well given what we know about refrigerators since. If you know what I mean.

        That said, I don’t know which Alan Moore book I’d tell him to start with.

        Promethea? That discusses his relationship with the occult (and how, for him, it’s not scary but beautiful).

        Swamp Thing? If only because the line “There is a house above the world, where the overpeople gather.” is probably the greatest single line written in superhero continuity, like, ever.

        Because it’s Chris, I’d recommend V, but he’s probably seen the movie and that’ll color the book (for the worse).

        But Killing Joke will leave a bad taste in Chris’s mouth, I reckon.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Hmmm. Well, Killing Joke is so short/self-contained it seemed like a good intro, plus everybody knows the basic outlines of the major players so no homework is required. I’ve re-read it recently and I still think it’s good.

        Just out of curiosity, why don’t you like the ending? I think it’s pretty great, myself, both from a structural/symmetry POV, and thematically.

        Honestly, I don’t know that the “refrigerator” critique really means that much here – like the Bechdel Test, it’s more a critique of the entire milieu, than any given work.

        Given the motivations of the characters and the needs of the story, does it work here? Yeah, I think it does, and it’s not as though any non-ink-and-paper persons were harmed in the making of this comic.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        Alan Moore’s fridge isn’t the problem as much as the fridges of his imitators are (see also: e e cummings). Anyway, the moment shared in the last few frames strikes me as a false note.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I imagine Alan Moore’s fridge contains chilled eye of newt. And probably some epic hash brownies.Report

      • Avatar Chris in reply to Jaybird
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        says:

        I’ll probably read it. It’s short, so it has that going for it.

        And Jay, you really need to do a cummings reading. I have a biography sitting on the table in front of me.Report

  4. Avatar Glyph
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    says:

    I finally watched the Veronica Mars movie. It was pretty good.Report

  5. Avatar Will Truman
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    I am slowly working my way through Continuum. I was all set to switch over to Suits, but apparently I am missing half a season. It’s amazing how much spoilage you can get in how few seconds on “Previously on…” recaps.Report

  6. Avatar Will Truman
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    Audiobookwise, I’m chugging through Southern Victory. World War I just ended and Turtledove is not being very subtle with the Confederacy-Nazi direction he appears to be going.

    Unfortunately, I’ve just discovered that audiobooks are not available for the final four books of the series. As best as I can tell, the last four books combined are approximately twice the length of Atlas Shrugged.

    (No politics.)Report

  7. Avatar Michael Cain
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    says:

    Finished reading Matthew Stover’s The Acts of Caine. I enjoyed the first volume, thought the basic premise had real potential for being fun (human Actors transported to a parallel world where standard sword-and-sorcery works, high tech allows people who can afford the bill to directly experience what the Actor goes through). Second volume was less fun, and by the last one the mix of major and minor gods and time-travel loops felt like things had gotten out of the author’s control. Maybe that’s just me — I’ve never been a fan of plots where the gods take a direct hand in things.Report

  8. Avatar Jesse Ewiak
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    says:

    @jaybird , did you ever read Gotham Central? Because well, it’s probably a much better version of what Gotham is.Report

  9. Avatar Saul Degraw
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    says:

    I went to the Big Book Sale today and picked up:

    A book on Brecht, three novels by Isaac Beshavis Singer, The Salerton Trilogy by Robertson Davies, A copy of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, and the Long Weekend by Robert Graves and Alan Hodge.Report

  10. Avatar Pinky
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    says:

    I’ve run through season 4 of The Shield, the show I was making fun of last week. This was the season that FX apparently had a confidence problem, and decided to turn the show into Glenn Close versus Anthony Anderson. Maybe not as funny as other seasons, but I love Glenn Close following her gut, which tells her that the only person in the world she can truly trust is Vic Mackey. Shane bullies Anthony Anderson (who’s acting for the back rows) and ends up lying on the ground and digging though port-a-potties. All this sets up next season’s IA story line, where Forest Whitaker makes Anthony Anderson look subtle.

    There’s nothing in the world that I have less patience for than posturing, and The Shield is a show about posturing. That kind of makes sense in a world of tough cops and gangs, but sometimes the writers forget that the police should be trying to catch criminals, not make them cry. The series really is playground bullying writ large.Report

    • Avatar Glyph in reply to Pinky
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      says:

      the show I was making fun of last week.

      I’m really enjoying your comedic reviews/recaps of Shield – you should expand them.

      next season’s IA story line, where Forest Whitaker makes Anthony Anderson look subtle.

      “Subtlety” is definitely not Shield‘s strength. A certain inexorable, ruthless velocity is (well, that and Walton Goggins/his hair).

      For a different take, AVClub has been doing a TVClub on the show. There’s a commenter there, “Wallflower”, who LOVES the show and has poured a crazy amount of thought/analysis into it. If you read the recaps, make sure you read his comments:

      http://www.avclub.com/tv/the-shield-classic/?season=1Report

  11. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    I am cautiously optimistic about Gotham, thinking the problems are just pilots gonna pilot. That is, throw every idea they have in the mix and see what sticks. It seemed like they had three different directors and showrunners for each third of the premiere episode. If they can settle down to a single signature style, even if – especially if – they can fully realize their melange of Chris Nolan and William Dozier(had to wiki that name), they might do very well indeed.Report

  12. Avatar Tod Kelly
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    says:

    I watched the Gotham pilot. I found it neither awful nor interesting enough to tune back in for more.

    I wrapped up season two of the Sopranos, and, as Jay predicted, found my interest waining by episode three of the third season. I may have to put it away for a bit. I’ve also been catching up on Last Week Tonight, which is really surprising in how much it is both similar and totally different from the Daily Show. It’s much better the the Daily Show, to my taste. Also, the youngest and I have been bachelors, and that means kung fu movies. We watched Bunkaru, Dragon, and Journey to the West, none of which I had even heard of before this weekend. We also watched In the Heat of the Night, which holds up surprisingly well after 50 years.

    I also watched much of the movie Dreamcatcher, which I remember renting when it was first released but couldn’t remember one thing about it, except that I thought there was snow. It turned out there was both snow and a reason I hadn’t remembered much. I didn’t finish it because I was a little bored, even though I was still kind of curious as to where the hell it was going and how all of the back story was going to eventually fill in. The most surprising thing is how I don’t think I knew any of the four main actors at the time, but wow — I sure as hell know them all now.

    On the book front, I finished Bone Clocks and Childrens’ Crusade, and started in on Stone Mattress, the Good Lord Bird, and The Half Has Never Been Told. All are riveting thus far.

    Waiting on the on deck circle that is the floor by my night table is Orfeo, The New Jim Crow, and Whiskey Tango Foxtrot.Report

  13. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    So I discussed the whole “WE NEED TO REBOOT QUANTUM LEAP” issue with friends the other night and they confirmed for me that, yes, they would just screw it up.

    Like, we’d have a dark jumper on show number 2 of season 1. None of this “try to figure out what the point is”. None of this “discovery that, maybe, he’s making things better” crap. We’d hammer all of those issues out in the first couple of shows and we’d probably see the bartender on episode 5.

    Which would suck.

    But, seriously, if they re-did Quantum Leap and didn’t screw it up? That would be awesome.Report

    • Avatar Patrick in reply to Jaybird
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      Reboot Fantasy Island.

      Who’s your Mr. Rourke? Or do you retconn it and not try to Cast Mr. Rourke?Report

      • Avatar James K in reply to Patrick
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        @patrick

        They did reboot Fantasy Island, back in the ’90s. For the record, Malcolm McDowell was Rourke.Report

      • Avatar Patrick in reply to Patrick
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        Was that terrible, or awesome?Report

      • Avatar El Muneco in reply to Patrick
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        OMG, Ricardo Montalban died in 2009 and I missed it…

        One problem we have now is too few of our movie stars are stage-trained actors. You just don’t get the same scenery-chewing overacting from people who don’t have experience with trying to reach out to real people in the cheap seats. And that’s exactly the quality that Montalban brought to all three of his signature roles – Rourke, Khan, and Chevy Cordoba pitchman.

        I might go against type, cast someone like Mike Myers and just have him play it straight – the joke being that the audience is constantly expecting him to break the fourth wall, or jump into a musical number, /and he never does/. Kind of the opposite of Leslie Nielsen when he was cast for “Airplane”.Report

    • Avatar Hoosegow Flask in reply to Jaybird
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      says:

      While not a reboot, Journeyman did have similarities to Quantum Leap. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long.

      They’d definately screw up an actual reboot of Quantum Leap. Sam Beckett was a boy scout (and Mary Sue), they’d undoubtedly go for a darker and grittier version.Report

  14. Avatar Kim
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    says:

    Watched “Fuck this Play” first folio edition — Theater in the Park.
    They pronounced Jacques as Jake-weese.Report

  15. Avatar Maribou
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    There is a new season of Bones on Netflix! AND a new season of Parks and Rec on Netflix! I am spoiled for choice.

    I’ve been reading a lot but I don’t feel like talking about that for some reason. Maybe next week.Report

  16. Avatar Kolohe
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    says:

    The 2nd episode of Gotham did a few things right, but it still got a lot of things wrong. The opening scene between Gordon and his partner was just a mess of writing and directing. It’s not doing character arcs or plot arcs well at all.Report

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