- Knows the value of nutrition
- Never gives up (strong to the finish)
- American serviceman (Navy)
- Stands up to bullies
- Hard working
- Kind hearted/helps those in need
- Animal lover
- Believes in the value of boundaries (“That’s all I can stand. I can’t stands no more”)
- Understands that “No” means no
- Can use his pipe to make a steam whistle sound
- Poorly educated/bad grammer
- Resorts to violence as a means of settling disputes
- Tattoos (hey we’ve all got them but tattoos=/=Ward Clever)
- Bizarre elephantiasis of the forearms
- Bad posture
- Frequently travels
There’s no two ways around it: jerks are funny. For some reason, one of the most amusing things you can see on a television show is a character who is a total, unmitigated, incorrigible jerkwad. This comedic device works so well that television shows like Archer and House MD have “this guy is a jerk” as their entire premise! In fact, far from being reviled, these characters are beloved. Archer’s entire character just comes out to being a jerk, but for some reason, you still see him on Archer t shirts. So what gives?
I think that it’s ultimately funny because of incongruity. It’s funny when someone is a jerk because it’s something you don’t see every day, and something you don’t expect. We’re accustomed to living in a world with standards, with certain expectations and rules. Humor, at its root, is largely about incongruity, and people acting like jerks provides a ready source of incongruous humor. Even slapstick cartoon gags, such as stepping out of the way and trippings someone or slamming a door in their face as they’re running toward you, are a species of comedic incongruity. They don’t fit with their surroundings, and that’s the point.
The second big reason is the mean-spiritedness of it. Not to say that everybody is secretly mean, but we all have a little bit of schadenfreude in us. Every single one of us can think of a time or place where we would have loved to pop off with some horrible response to a person who was annoying us. Shows like Archer can provide stress relief in this way, because they allow us to get our jerk fix vicariously. Maybe you can’t be a jerk when you’re mad at someone, but you can have that experience vicariously by watching the right TV.
A third reason is that it allows for situational comedy and wordplay. When someone is being a jerk, it’s much easier for the show’s writers to steer it into an absurd situation, because unrealistically jerky behavior can plausibly lead to situational comedy. Additionally, there is all kinds of fun to be had with the verbal aspect of humor. Think of R Lee Ermey’s insulting monologues in Full Metal Jacket. Part of what makes those monologs funny, besides the sheer crudeness, is the creativity of the verbiage in the insults he uses, the sheer strangeness of what he says.
So in summary, jerks in TV are funny for the following reasons: they’re incongruous, they play to the pent-up meanness in all of us, and their attitude allows us to experience novel situations and dialogue. So the next time you see someone in an Archer t shirt, think of this article. You know why they’re wearing that shirt, and you know why everybody finds shows like Archer funny.
Dave C: Team America vs Thunderbirds.
Dave I: Good one. Thunderbirds had better vehicles but Team America had a psychic. I’d go Team America.
DC: Their wonton use of violence would be a big plus.
DI: Just remember that violence settles everything. Plus their leader is a sarcastic sexual degenerate.
DC: I love the opening scene in Paris.
DI: Thunderbirds were kind of wimps really. Team America vs G Force.
DC: Team America. Awesom-o 4000 vs Wall-E.
DI: From the Simpsons?
DC: Awesom-o was when Cartman disguised himself as a robot to trick Butters. (South Park image from our newly updated cartoon t shirt category)
DI: Awesom-o wins based on name alone. Barbarella vs Cherry 2000.
DC: Cherry 2000.
DI: Remember the good old days when a quest to save your sex android was considered a reasonable movie plot line?
DC: The 80s…plus you got to see a bunch of other girls naked on the way.
DI: These days the plot would be the android is a hot research scientist with a cure for a global pandemic. Also there would be zombies.
DC: Dino vs Scooby Doo.
DC: Doo. F*^% autocorrect.
DI: Dino. He trained by fighting a saber tooth tiger.
DC: I thought he was always running away.
DI: No he used to fight too. If it was a contest to see who could run away the fastest I’d bet on Scooby Doo.
the Infamous Dave Inman
Dave I: Loki vs Lex Luthor (Battle of the L’s)
Dave C: Loki. Pogs vs Pet Rocks.
DI: Pet rocks. At least you can throw them at your enemies and idiots who collect pogs. Batman vs Tallehasse.
DI: Yep. It would be a cool battle though. Zombie Batman vs Tallehasse.
DI: I don’t know. When you got zombie all your training and equipment goes out the window.
DC: But he’d still be covered in Kevlar.
DI: True. Also the inherent Batmanness would probably carry through.
DC: Tick vs Loki.
DI: Tick. Close one though. Tallehasse and his crew vs Evil Ash and his Army of Darkness.
DC: Ash and Horde.
DI: Sad but true. Treebeard and the Ents vs the evil trees from the Evil Dead.
DC: Evil Dead. Boris and Natasha vs Mandark.
DI: Mandark. Boris and Natasha couldn’t beat Bullwinkle. Natasha and Boris vs Gargamel. Battle of the failed villains.
DC: With Azreal Gargamel.
DC: Goonies with the older brother.
DI: What if Scrappy joined up with the Goonies?
DC: Goonies for sure. Scrappy was the muscle.
DI: I see him as more of a detriment. Either that or a soccer ball. One Eyed Willie vs the Scooby Doo gang. (image from a great cartoon t shirt in my collection)
DC: Willie 100 years dead.
DI: Lol. Would they survive even the first trap?
the Infamous Dave Inman
Dave I: Buffy the Vampire Slayer vs the Munsters. With Spot.
Dave C: Munsters. Ever see Herman pissed?
DI: True. Might go badly for Granpa though. She is expert at vampires. Ghostbusters vs Evil Ash?
DI: Ghostbusters vs Big Ben from House with the M60.
DI: Big Ben vs the Winchester Bros from Supernatural.
DC: Ben was really tough. Haven’t seen Supernatural.
DI: You should watch Supernatural. It’s fun and has like 10 seasons. At least the Winchester Bros bring guns. Ghostbusters vs Beetlejuice.
DI: I agree. Unless they say his name three times.
DI: Partrick Sqayze in Ghost vs the Ghostbusters.
DC: Graboid. Aquaman vs Space Ghost.
DI: Space Ghost unless the Phantom Cruiser crash landed in the ocean. Blip from Space Ghost vs Gleek from Super Friends. Remember that Blip had a jet pack.
DI: Tough one. I’ll say Clint Eastwood unless they are fighting in a zombie apocalypse.
DI: Sorry Walker apocalypse.
DC: But the man with no name was a ghost.
DI: Ever get annoyed at the Walking Dead for not just saying zombies once in a while?
DC: High Plains Drifter he disappeared at the end. Ghostbusters vs High Plains Drifter! LOL!
DI: True. Blip vs Chim Chim. And as much as any sane human hates Chim Chim remember he could fix cars.
DI: That’s because you are a sane human.
DC: Never mention Chim Chim to me again.
the Infamous Dave Inman
(Mach 5 diagram from the cartoon t shirt category)
The other day I was going through the cartoon t shirt category and came across this gem from Popeye the Sailor. I used to watch the Popeye and Friends show every Sunday morning and enjoyed it a lot. In many ways Popeye was kind of of the make role model I’d wished I’d had so this morning I wondered if Popeye would make a good father figure for young Dave.
Here are the points:
Looks like the pipe steam whistle thing puts him over the top. In general I think the personality traits of bravery and integrity would make him a good role model but his archetype is well past his time. These days we could never have a cartoon about a smoking mumbler who associated with prostitutes and brawls with street thugs. We wouldn’t want kids to know that such things ever existed in our country and they might have to deal with them one day.
the Infamous Dave Inman
Therefore, heteronormativity is the word and law on television. We see Mulan (the only gender non-conforming Disney Princess, which is its own can of worms) fall in love with Aurora on Once Upon a Time, only to hear that her lady love is totes preggo with Prince Phillip’s baby right before Mulan was about to confess her true love. Oops. And we get forced, awkward, sometimes unintentionally hilarious or even repulsive scenes of Castiel having sexual relationships with random female characters with whom he shares little to no chemistry, in or right after episodes focusing on how much he and Dean love and need each other. (Curious George T Shirt making my exact face when Cass started making out with Demon Meg) Take that as you will, but I can’t help but feel it as a slap in the face.
But times are changing, sometimes even for the better. In the series finale of Nickelodeon’s Avatar: the Legend of Korra, (SPOILERS!) the love triangle-square-thingy was resolved by putting the two female leads together. And this is on an animated all-ages family show, as opposed to a rated TV-14 cable network show marketed on it’s sex appeal, especially to straight (or queer) women. That speaks to me of hope and of comfort.
The story. Hiro (Scott Adsit) is a precocious 14 year old who makes money in illegal bot fighting. He is pulled out of a jam and into college by his older brother Tadashi (Daniel Henney) who convinces him to try to get into the robotics program by impressing Prof. Callaghan (James Cromwell). Hiro does it by inventing microbots that merge to form a big robot amoeba. That night there is a fire and Tadashi and Callaghan are killed and the microbots destroyed.
While in the mass of depression Hiro activates Baymax, a giant rubber healer robot Tadashi invented. Baymax wants to heal Hiro and so helps him follow his last microbot only to discover a bad guy is building thousands of them for some reason. Hiro hooks up with a bunch of his other nerd friends and in order to stop the guy with the microbots they make superhero costumes for themselves. Baymax turns from a super sweet balloon guy into a killing machine and there is a “twist” that comes from no where and does nothing other than give the bad guy a reason to be bad.
So worth seeing or not? I’d say yes, but when Wreck-It Ralph came out I saw it four times in the theater and then bought it on DvD and have watched it probably a dozen times since. I could easily not see this film again for several years if ever. I would put in on the level of Frozen (another film that I thought was less good than apparently every other American alive or dead. Maybe I am just tilting at windmills here (or maybe my “alternative” childhood has given me a different outlook on life. Thanks dad) Image courtesy of the cartoon t shirt category) and I’m sure you will see a lot of toys, video games, shirts, and Halloween costumes for all the characters. Your kids will enjoy it as long as death doesn’t freak them out and you will not be totally bored so I’d say go for it. 3 of 5 phasers.
the Infamous Dave Inman
A sci fi movie for people who aren’t sci fi fans.
This has been an ugly trend in Hollywood. Vampire films for people who know nothing about vampires, zombie films for future zombie chow, and comic book movies for idiots who spent their high school years having sex with girls instead of hanging out in the local comic book hole like a normal person. It’s Babies First Sci Fi Movie and like anything associated with babies is cute and fun for a while but eventually gets messy, smelly, noisy, and unnecessarily complicated.
This film is very visual and I have huge respect for physical effects over CGI. However the story is really kind of dumb and derivative of many other (better) sci fi movies and stories in the same way that a blue wall is derivative of a can of blue paint. Again, I’m sure it will seem very cool and original to anyone who can’t tell you whether or not Yoda ever said “Live long and prosper” but for anyone who has ever read Clarke, Vonnegut, L’Engle, Heinlein or any of several hundred authors (or TV shows and movies) it will all seem like a badly done parody of those ideas.
The there is the science. If science were a small child Christopher Nolan would have been arrested and listed on the Megan’s Law website toot sweet (Get out of my lab image from a real scientist, Dexter, is courtesy of the cartoon t shirt category). I see this as absolute contempt that he and Hollywood has for we the audience. This film will only work if you know absolutely nothing about physics, astrophysics, chemistry, relativity, or quantum theory. I am a nerd who loves science and enjoys it when a film at least makes passing eye contact with science at a cocktail party. However I am willing to forgive some bad science if it is in the interest of furthering a decent plot but a lot of this crap was completely unnecessary and only advanced this ponderous and convoluted morass of plot holes and threads.
What’s better than a horror movie where lots of scary stuff happens? How about a horror movie where no scary stuff happens?
This is a film that suffered from the Curse of the X-Files. The problem the X-Files suffered from was every time you were 100% convinced you were about to see an alien, ghost, Bigfoot, or chupacabra only to have it turn out to be a cat or some damn thing. X-Files was 85% set up, 14% misinterpretation of data, and 1% actual aliens.
That’s not to say it’s a bad formula. The X-Files was wildly successful and that formula rocked for setting atmosphere and that is what this film also does. If setting up creepy situations is your goal this film could be your YouTube instructional video. The problem is when it actually came time for something to happen the creepy atmosphere stopped off at the Hum Drum Truck Stop and took a little snooze in the back seat of its car.
The story is pretty much the love child of an episode of Supernatural mated with Scooby Doo (image courtesy of the cartoon t shirt category). I have to admit serious disappointment in the level of creativity displayed here. The story was every bad horror/ghost cliche done in a dead boring order. Why not have the Ouija board be a key to a portal to the Lost City of R’Lyeh and the kids have to wander around trying to avoid Cthulu and his minions. Of course at that point the movie would have been a rip off of Hellraiser II but honestly it would have been a lot more fun. How about the Ouija board is connected to the ghost of a girl killed by a serial killer and she is trying to give them clues to who it is before he kills off half the local high school? The police are desperate to find him but no one believes the kids except for one desperate cop out for revenge for his daughters death (in this case played by James Woods). Either of these stories would have been better than the formulaic dross this film is comprised of and I just thought of them while sitting here at my desk.
Kind of a throwaway episode in my opinion. Not really bad enough to be great, but not really great. I did like seeing McCoy bitch out Spock for playing chess only to have Spock throw it back in McCoys face, but not an episode that comes rushing back to my head when I think about Star Trek.
However I did like this episode because it, like a couple others (Obsession for one) gives us a nice glimpse of Kirk as a junior officer. During the series and in TWOK he refers to himself as a very serious and by the book student at the Academy and young ensign. Too bad JJ Abrams never saw any of that and just wrote Kirk as Spicolli meets Johnny Bravo (image courtesy of our cartoon t shirt category).
The other cool thing from this episode is for once Kirk got bit on the ass by all his womanizing. One of the women he had a “close encounter” with, Lt. Shaw, shows up and takes the case as prosecutor against him. She claimed it was merely professional duty but there is a part of me that likes to believe she relished roasting Kirk over the coals.
The Infamous Dave Inman