Friday, April 6, 2012

Life in Song: We Like Sportz

Life in Song is a series which will likely never finish. It is not, as originally conceived, a span of my hundred favorite songs; rather, each post covers one song randomly selected from a list of those which immediately evoke a memory or other emotional response. Entries will likely be uncomfortably candid and melancholic, as they attempt to recount a song's personal significance and also its context in my psychotically detailed fantasy life.

Song: The Lonely Island - We Like Sportz

Thoughts: I certainly was not expecting this to come up. The sort of song that I would have skipped over were I trying to begin the Life in Song series, "We Like Sportz" is a comedy track propelled into personal meaning by a slew of excellent lines, a great video and fondness for its deadpan witticism shared by friends. I'd forgotten I'd put it on the list of eligible titles, but who am I to argue with the exhausted self that composed that list?

Defining Era: 2009, summer.

Vital Lyric: "I'm the other team captain and I choose you too."

First Exposure: It took a while for Incredibad to find me. I don't recall feeling particularly indignant about The Lonely Island's mainstream popularity but I had become less enthusiastic about them than I had been in one collegiate period. 2009 is an unfortunately hazy year, as my surroundings were more homogeneous than any other, making it difficult to place at what point the dam broke between it and me. (I wouldn't pursue The Lonely Island with as much vigor as I had in 2006 until last year when "Jack Sparrow" reignited it all over again.)

Prominent Memory: Yes, in keeping with the flavor of Life in Song, it is certainly possible for me to ground such a silly song into my standard melancholy carping. No one I know appreciates the song, quoting it still to this day, as well as the other Guy 1 and Guy 2 videos, as much as Kevin. His AIM icon was, perhaps still is, a picture of Jorma's face in the music video and, at my behest, he made me one of Akiva's. Thus, I remember the night in the closing winter of 2009, where we fought, possibly over Lady Gaga (and why I was at fault for not liking her), or possibly something later, quite disastrously; in a way we hadn't for some years but would many times since. So stunned and distraught that our friendship had gone agley, I changed my AIM icon to what it remained until, well, today, if I'm not mistaken.

It is incidents like that which will forever keep him and I from having the 2 Guyz friendship I wish that we could.

Alternate Memories: This one is simple. Skyping with the chums, discussing Lonely Island, meaning that Jeremy was present. Without needing the slightest substantive provocation, I began to blast the song loud enough for my cohorts to hear it. I didn't keep it on too long, not too long, but I remember feeling acutely into the melody of the song at that moment. It stands out.

Fantasy: Like most Lonely Island videos, this one has its place on Kids in the Hall, my fantasy sketch comedy show, taking the name of the actual sketch comedy show from which relatively little content has been mentally appropriated. As this song is one in a series, it would appear on the second or third season. I would need further consideration to determine which of the Guys I would replace.

Out of Ten: 5.9

Audiosurf Score: 59,412 (Nearby: 2, Global: 7)

Some Levity: Difficult. Alternate Memories is fairly positive, considering that the conversation was with (as of now) sustained chums rather than with lost ones. Guess I'll travel to that mostly excellent visit I had with Paul and Amy in the summer of that year, the former of which played me a few of the CD's tracks that I hadn't heard; the latter of which became abruptly far too drunk one night of my stay, a night in which we'd earlier watched Dragonball Evolution for some damn reason, and collapsed miserably in the bathroom. The next morning, the first thing she said was "Man, that movie was so bad it made me throw up."

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Life in Song: Dressed to Kill

Life in Song is a series which will likely never finish. It is not, as originally conceived, a span of my hundred favorite songs; rather, each post covers one song randomly selected from a list of those which immediately evoke a memory or other emotional response. Entries will likely be uncomfortably candid and melancholic, as they attempt to recount a song's personal significance and also its context in my psychotically detailed fantasy life.

Song: New Found Glory - Dressed to Kill

Thoughts: Still catchy after all these years (this may be something I end up saying a lot). This was a good song to come up, although it will be difficult to determine what to write for this and what to write for its sister track.

Defining Era: 2001, season unknown.

Vital Lyric: "'Cheer up,' my friends all say. You're better alone anyway."

First Exposure: After their cover of "My Heart Will Go On" first led me to New Found Glory, it was "Better Off Dead" and "Dressed to Kill" that seemed to arise arbitrarily from Napster. This was the era where I, as a young and ignorant ephebe, saw my musical triumvirate transition from "Weird Al, showtunes, and Japanese techno," to "New Found Glory, Less Than Jake, and the Bloodhound Gang." Not necessarily a change for the better, but it did allow a few more options.

Prominent Memory: This one is highly connected to its fantasy. In ninth grade I was still dream-pining for Shiva, whom this song transports me to quickly, and the first zygote of my imaginary band was taking shape. Thus, "Dressed to Kill" is one of its first songs, along with some others I'll write about and many that I won't. I contextualized this one a degree further than most others. This takes us all the way back to performing at my summer camp as the Cliché Teenagers. (To go further back than this, which I don't think I'll have to do for Life in Song, would be to reach the Naked Oompa-Loompas).

Alternate Memories: It was in boarding school that I got my first New Found Glory CD, New Found Glory (aha). I suppose I should first recount that initial work program in which I had the audacity to bring my portable CD player with me and listen, visually rocking out, to the disc while standing in formation to chuck chopped wood down the basement. Dolores noticed (everyone noticed, but I noticed her noticing), asked what I was listening and was not visually disgusted when I told her. Sink would condemn me for my taste in the band.

Fantasy: So, the lyrics do sort of lend themselves to fantasy. The singer references going on tour (no, he references being always on tour, which I've mentally changed for so long that I forget what it was originally), which I applied to myself as, I suppose, the Cliché Teenagers began their burgeoning success and I dealt with the ramifications of that in my rocky relationship with Shiva. The lyric "I'm always dressed to kill" is still pertinent, as Artist on Artist favors that kind of ironic cockalorum. That said, I doubt this is actually one of my songs in that universe; if so, it is a vestige.

"I can't dream anymore," the song repeats (I think I heard this once as "can't train anymore"), which I suppose struck me as too poorly poetic even then, so I conjured up Shiva being a sort of mentoring songwriter for me, at camp, who called the process of writing "dreaming." Dumb, but there's something that seems, to me, lovely and innocent about it, which was endemic of my fantasy loves at the time.

It's too bad that "Dressed to Kill" seems neolithic to me now, as lyrics such as "And I can't stop pretending that you're forever mine" could be plucked from any modern Artist on Artist number. Perhaps this was one of our songs in our early, faltering days at H Street.

Out of Ten: 6.1

Audiosurf Score: 163,694 (Nearby: 1, Global: 1)

Some Levity: Many memories arise from the self-titled album on which this song appeared, the brightest one forever being its indelible and inarguable sticker declaring the CD "catchy pop punk from the heart." More than a decennium stands between it and me but it remains unforgettable.

On Audiosurf, someone called Atma commented "I listened to this when I was still happy." I don't know if that counts.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Watering: The A.V. Club, Patrick Klepek

Watering entries are personal diaries, alluding to this post's conclusion. They are a potpourri of recent thoughts and experiences (one might even call them a blog, if one were to be so common), published when I have no other projects to work on, in order to ensure I've written something for the day.

I wonder if I should create a "Fuck The A.V. Club" post label. It's a sentence I think disproportionately often compared to how much of their stuff I actually read. I don't know if it will come up regularly.

Can't quite tease that last sentence into a joke about their staff having trendy bouts of New York City bulimia, so I'll just move on.

I am open to correction, but The A.V. Club bothers me initially because I find something pretentiously indulgent about its genesis. While yes, it existed nominally prior to The Onion's Internet presence and installation in the mainstream, it didn't earn its sententious identity until it finally came to fruition in the last decade. And that was seemingly only a result of funneling the well-meaning hip, young audience of The Onion into a charmlessly sincere and ostentatious cesspool of yuppie bohemia. I've seen the site refer to The Onion as its sister, rather than its parent. That's the sort of thing that gets my goat, and I'm not even an Onion fan.

So, I bring this up because I was searching for information on what is happening between Chevy Chase and Community, hoping to find confirmation that his character was being killed off. I was led to this article, which prompted yet another Watering entry, meaning I probably won't actually get to another Life in Song before the countdown to realizing it was a rash and very bad idea reaches zero.

I want someone to tell Sean O'Neil that putting the word "feud" in quotation marks doesn't actually spare you the indignity of covering a Hollywood feud. I know that after Rachel Maddow criticized chest-beating, pugilistic political headlines it's unfashionably masculine to treat an animosity between two people as an animosity between two people but you don't get to have your cake and eat it while writing an incendiary gossip column and maintaining the prideful insistence that "no one really feuds, this isn't pro wrestling," just because you threw down some dissociative punctuation.

In the article, O'Neal uses the "feud" once normally (must have slipped by the editor) and twice thereafter in quotes. He uses it, in quotes, a further two times in his follow-up. Who is he ostensibly quoting? Deadline? Himself, having allowed the word to originally escape naked, shivering the cold winter without its protective coat of irony? To hell with that. He admits further down that he perpetuates (I'd say "peddles") gossip, but with the same textual smirk of nonconfrontational nonconformity.

Fuck The A.V. Club.

Dreamed the other night about Patrick Klepek of Giant Bomb. A lot of issues there, although in finding that link I did see that he is a year older than me, so that's one issue resolved? I had dreams, years ago, about Anthony Burch. This probably isn't normal. Can't decide whether these unrequited astral connections are more or less emotionally harrowing with male gaming journalists than with the standard imaginary night sylphs. Dreams about those I envy make me feel sycophantic, insecurely reverent. Patrick was nice to me, we shared a chocolate pastry.

There's projection and other problems in this post, hovering like flies over my forthcoming Player Character column. I accused Sean O'Neil of being incendiary and not copping to it - a very apparent theme in Rebel Yell, in which I reiterate a number of times that I hope not to offend (most of) the people I mention, then proceed to indict them from my little computer chair. As well, admitting to envying the "them" about whom I write might not be any sort of revelation, but it could undermine the point I try to make.

I hope the column stands.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Watering: Hauppauge troubles, WrestleMania thoughts

Watering entries are personal diaries, alluding to this post's conclusion. They are a potpourri of recent thoughts and experiences (one might even call them a blog, if one were to be so common), published when I have no other projects to work on, in order to ensure I've written something for the day.

It's nice to wake every day with something to be excited about. With all the budding projects I have encircling me right now, my personal space is one of boundless potential, soon to be desaturated into a destitute aura of obligation and tedium.

One such happiness marred was my receipt of the Hauppauge 1445 HD-PVR Gaming Edition (along with my SSD). Curiously, it's fifteen dollars more expensive now, looking at Amazon. I suppose that pleases me in some spiteful way. I initially thought their included component cable was faulty, when strange horizontal lines began running through the image on my PlayStation 3. While there are cases of people attributing this to the Hauppauge, it seems that the real problem is some electrical gibberish on account of using components. Will try using a two prong adapter.

Didn't isolate this problem without some frustration. Tried the cables on the 360, compared with standard, no noticeable different. Had the 360 sat on my chair as the television was covering most of the table. Worried about ventilation but couldn't see any obvious problems. When I went to turn it on again, I saw my console red ring for the very first time.

It was rather pretty, in a terrifying way. The contrast of colors, the haunting significance, the immediate rush of adrenaline. Like looking at a beautiful, poisonous flower or staring into the face of God before you're liquidated into LCL. (I can't believe I was able to make that reference from memory.)

An immediate moment of clarity: I could purchase another 360 from eBay and give no money to Microsoft. But perhaps that's similar to perpetuating the diamond trade even by wearing synthetics. I searched for temporary, towel-based solutions (later, I would commend myself for not panicking - quite an Adamsian morning), leading me to discover that the truly dreaded red ring was three sections of the circle, not the full four. I'd simply not plugged my AV cable in all the way.

The so-called fear of God dissipated. I was left with the feeling that I ought to repent.

The Wii looked fine as well, although, having returned Skyward Sword, I had no games with which to see if switching cables had miraculously cured my black dots. Selected Super Mario Bros. 3 from my downloaded incunabula, not the most strenuous test for my newly acquired technology.

Combined breakfast and lunch into a nice meal over an episode of Peep Show I'd had in mind, having been too busy with the PVR to acknowledge the zeitgeber of morning.

Was going to write a Life in Song this morning, actually, before things became eventful. Now that I'm watering, I suppose I should talk about WrestleMania.

The conversation was good and pleasant, so I'm happy to say that I was wrong in my prediction that I'd regret looking forward to it, even despite Banky's absence for much of the show. Skype also helped expedite the evening, keeping the demons of delivery at bay. I was wrong when I assumed they would become worse with time. Now, I only think they'll become worse with depression or frustration. Perhaps it is working it against me that I've been in a good mood lately.

This is cyclical.

WrestleMania: Punk and Jericho did not open, which was good. Dragon's eighteen second loss did. Rock won, which surprised until it was made clear that he's in for Backlash, at least, the following night. Two people later, in the chat, were fans of Triple H and Undertaker. In Skype, we found it hysterically bad. Tim kept a count of finishers, marking attempts as halves but not counting sledgehammer shots. Eleven. We may have been petulant, laughing at their now seemingly lauded match, but it was a lot of fun.

My consoles work. My computer will arrive in total tomorrow. I know what my next step is to fix my PlayStation's issues. All in all, not as bad a day as it could have been.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Life in Song: Walter Reed

Life in Song is a series which will likely never finish. It is not, as originally conceived, a span of my hundred favorite songs; rather, each post covers one song randomly selected from a list of those which immediately evoke a memory or other emotional response. Entries will likely be uncomfortably candid and melancholic, as they attempt to recount a song's personal significance and also its context in my psychotically detailed fantasy life.

Song: Michael Penn - Walter Reed

Thoughts: This is the very first episode of Life in Song. I'd considered starting yesterday but chose not to for reasons of time. Additionally, just as finding the perfect song on my iPod with which to begin my walk in the morning is often a fifty-skip struggle, none of the songs that came up then were just right to be number one. Today, as though blessed, this song was the number drawn and I immediately knew it was the right place to begin.

Defining Era: 2007, winter.

Vital Lyric: "Tell me now what more do you need? Take me to Walter Reed tonight."

First Exposure: Home from college for the winter, I was able to catch up on the third season of House. This song plays at the end of "Fools for Love," which began the Michael Tritter arc. (It is also featured the medical mystery resolution of the two lovers actually being half-siblings, which struck me quite sadly that this was apparently devastating for them). Featuring a nice hook and somewhat ambiguous historical allusions, two things which will captivate me quite reliably, it transformed the otherwise dull scene of House's arrest into something that seemed fairly momentous.

Prominent Memory: I had had an online romance with Flower since the summer of 2006. She was at that point and possibly still the most attractive woman I'd conned into undressing for me, while lying about my weight and identity. That December, learning I'd returned to New York, she was insistent that we finally meet. I resisted at first. She wanted me to come on the thirtieth, claiming she was lonely, being sexually explicit, threatening that I would no longer see her on camera if I didn't. I caved, but it was too late by then. We agreed I'd come the next day, the thirty-first, the last day of the year. She was having a New Year's Eve party that night, but I could arrive, make love and leave before then.

She was staying alone in her father's apartment in the Battery Park Ritz-Carlton (half-hotel, half-apartment building). I spent the subway ride staring at my reflection in the opposite window, trying to convince myself that I wasn't too fat, that my hair wasn't too unkempt and haphazardly dyed, that my clothes weren't too poor. Thinking it totally sensible that she could grok me in person as she had over the Internet. Disembarking in a section of Manhattan to which I'd never before been, I considered trying to buy condoms at a Rite Aid, but was running late and lost.

"What a way to conclude 2006," I thought, wondering if everything could really work out.

I found the building hours after I should have. She was becoming frustrated waiting for me. The door man let me in. I still believe he thought I was a drug dealer, on account of my appearance and the brevity of my stay. I did not belong there. The apartment was the greatest I've ever entered, worth millions of dollars, window-walls overlooking the water south of Manhattan. This changed everything from that point of my life onward.

We sat. I felt the sexual tremors of imminence. She was not outwardly disgusted with me, but she didn't initiate anything either. Then, so quickly, the first of her friends arrived. I will never be convinced that she didn't have some silent way to signal them, once she saw me. They were courteous; they offered me marijuana, which I declined with the persistent lie that a friend and I had a contest to see who could stay sober longest. That sounded plausible to me, at the time. I left. I went home.

I listened to "Walter Reed," affixing my pain and turmoil to it. Days later I pressed her until she admitted that she found me unattractive. We never spoke much after that. Our differing interpretations of the events caused a rift between me and Kate. I skipped work (having just begun my internship two days prior), prompting my stepmother to grow enraged and complain that she needed space, and other things. I relayed her ranting to anyone I could reach on AIM, none of whom should have been told. It was a mistake. Later, in the gap of time before our first show, I sat on a bench with Leo and told him how much I love songs that allude to history, despite my lack of historical knowledge. It must have been apparent that I was bothered. He asked and I stayed coy. It was a good moment.

To grouse: I feel that this memory may set an inaccurate precedent for the Life in Song series. I believe very few will actually have such relatively meaningful stories. More will just be the soundtrack to my depression in various rooms.

Alternate Memories: "Walter Reed" came up twice more. Once, the drive home from college. ("All I want to die is hide, it's graduation day.") Of course, it wasn't meant to be the drive home, it was meant to be the drive to Philadelphia, but that's another story. I believe I chose it manually before shuffling the rest. "There's nothing here worth saving," the song said, reflecting on how fleeting I saw college by its end. Then, years later, I began the move to California with this song. I don't know if I chose it. I thought I would play music, but we switched to comedy and podcasts immediately afterward. My father asked about the aforementioned lyric. Of course it was intentional. The song was funereal then, as I looked back at my home for what has remained the final time.

Fantasy: While not a showstopper, "Walter Reed" is a reliable weapon in fantasy band Artist on Artist's arsenal. Its use of historical and military references make it characteristic of my more painful lyrics. Probably early-mid tenure at H Street, retired and used sparingly in later years.

Out of Ten: 8.3

Audiosurf Score: 58,553 (Nearby: 1, Global: 5)

Some Levity: I bet this space will be the hardest of any to fill. Let's see: "Walter Reed" led me to look up its namesake and his hospitals on Wikipedia. For some reason, he came up in conversation during my internship. I was able to note his influence in treating yellow fever, or something. Criminy, who brought up the person, seemed dubious - I think he had a different concept of Reed. That's not the levity. The levity is the time, at the same job, I sat on the couch as I did often and one of the other employees didn't realize that my arm was between his and the armrest, and failed to realize it for a long moment as it slowly downed on everyone that he had embraced me in this minor way. Barton commented something to the effect of: "When ten seconds lasts a lifetime."

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Seasonal Lag: It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (S7)

Seasonal Lag began as a Flixist c-blog. It covers the most recent season of a given television show, examining it episode by episode as well as against the series as a whole. So named because I am very poor at following shows weekly, or at all.

Note: This blog was originally written for and published on Flixist.

Hello, my name is Jason Savior and this is Seasonal Lag, an attempt at a regular community blog which takes its name from an obscure atmospheric phenomenon in order to offer a haranguing and frequently dilatory retrospective on the most recent seasons of some of my favorite (or most ably tolerated) television shows.

Rejected title: Seasons Beatings, alluding to that charmingly effete way Internet critics have of threatening verbal whallopings to the subjects of their scrutiny which don't impress.

This week's box set is the seventh season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, now extensively truncated to It's Always Sunny in the same irritatingly marketing-approved manner that a certain News Corp-owned science and nature channel was rechristened Nat Geo to better its odds of survival in the hazardous ecosystem of basic cable, a rare implicit endorsement of such a concept by its parent company.

Where We're At

Premiering on September 15, 2011 and concluding three months to the date later, Sunny's ten episode seventh set a new high in viewership for the series while generally maintaining the same low of its brow. As raucous and grotesque as the show has become, the early seasons of Sunny bear as much similarity to its most recent as the Frank Reynolds-portraying Danny DeVito does to the former star of such family-friendly, biology-based comedies as Junior.

While the scatological depths to which it sank in 2008 irreparably soured me on the show in some ways, I remain as much of a fan as anyone of the instantly recognizable patter style of its dialogue. Season seven preserves the status quo of late, keeping topical episodes to a relative minimum and focusing mainly on gang escapades and hijinx. Season four is spiritually reprised with another out-of-time Holodeck episode as well as a continuity-honoring finale. Treading new ground is what garnered the most buzz prior to the premiere: Rob McElhenney's Bale-esque weight gain in order to advance Mac's character. It was a bold move that fit the character well and left me genuinely impressed, particularly as I was forced to alter my mind's eye fantasies of he and Kaitlin Olson having rapidly paced quip-ridden sessions of lovemaking in order to include another fifty pounds of fleshy anatomy (not Axel Lee).

Episodes 1 - 4: Hummingbirds

The season opens strong with "Frank's Pretty Woman," an episode which intelligently highlights some comedically compelling aspects of the non-Garbage Pail characters and introduces viewers well to Fat Mac (Big Mac?). A later episode explains Mac's portliness in greater fashion, yet without the knowledge that this was forthcoming, I was actually quite content with the only exposition being Mac's stubborn and characteristic insistence that he was bulking and the rest of the gang's disgust. Throughout the first several episodes, Mac's wordless background eating provides a very funny bit of business (one might say he chews the scenery by chewing chimichangas, but they'd be misusing the expression and would have to edit their original draft of this c-blog in order to note as much).

The titular prostitute, by the way, is played by Alanna Ubach, whom my childhood brethren will remember as being the original lab girl on Beakman's World. She is pictured below, preparing for the role as Frank's lover opposite another cartoonish man-rat.

Using the episode to reference Dennis and Dee's crack addiction went a long way for me as a sign that the show is set in the real world with some sort of modest facsimile of consequences, which I believe makes the gang's behavior funnier than if it were ultimately a random series of inanity.

A thread ties episodes two and three together, as they (along with episode eight) are the season's only ostensibly au courant offerings. Both tackle pop culture items which are, if not totally reviled by the mainstream, at least viewed with a certain condemnation: the modern Jersey Shore and child beauty pageants. These two aspects of quintessential Americana owe their recent spotlight to nauseous reality programs. Interestingly, "The Gang Goes to the Jersey Shore" and "Frank Reynolds' Little Beauties" both refuse to indict in any meaningful way these subjects of popular scorn, deliberately keeping the gang as the most hapless and deplorable people on your screen. While upon consideration this is consistent with the show, as it has never been one to use its license for transgressive comedy as a soapbox, it did seem somewhat odd to present every Toddlers & Tiaras mother in a Philadelphia dive bar as a supportive parent in possession of a healthy moral barometer. The Jersey Shore episode, likewise, concludes the Mac and Frank B story with a guido ex machina, to satisfying comedic effect.

Finally, the first RCG-penned episode of the season, "Sweet Dee Gets Audited," is an early high point, marrying a fitting coda to season six to an in-bar subplot which acknowledges Frank's seedy business background. It also features, helped in good part by a physical performance from Olson worthy of an animated GIF, the best classic Sunny title card smash of the season, a comic novelty of which I'll never tire.

Episodes 5 - 9: Emotional Battery

We hit a mid-season lull with "Frank's Brother," commonly considered the worst of the lot, despite the guest appearance of multi-talented Wire alumnus and heartthrob Lance Reddick, whose performance is so competent that one forgets this is possibly his only credit in comedy. Like "The Gang Cracks the Liberty Bell" in 2008, such episodes almost demand sympathy from the viewer - the makers of the show know as well as the audience that the concept is kitsch, but we're expected to allow it so that the regulars have a chance to stretch out of the confines of the established setting. I'm reminded of interviews with the cast of Next Generation I saw as a child in which they all seemed genuinely grateful to get out of their Starfleet uniforms and into a malfunctioning Holodeck at any given opportunity, while the audience was left to grin and bear noir detective Picard or Deputy Alexander.

In "The Storm of the Century," Dennis' sexual parasitism is played well, although hardly approaching previous heights such as "The D.E.N.N.I.S. System." Aside from the payoff of Dee's sudden distrust of machinery, the episode falls flat and, in an extremely unjustified claim, feels something like a webisode. A step up from "Frank's Brother," but the show wouldn't return to form until the following week with "Chardee MacDennis: The Game of Games," my favorite of the season. A bottle episode, of which I am continually a fan, it delivers a potent dose of gang antics without the hit or miss element of an intrusive straight man or one-off oddball. Additionally, it further mines the rich vein of the gang's history growing up together; the various hints of their high school and college years bearing fruits such as Chardee MacDennis greatly enhances the show's present.

"The Anti-Social Network" works well, particularly because of how great seeing the characters' egos bruised by minutiae is as a story seed when it doesn't lead to wild, costumed overcompensation. The labyrinthine Catfish subplot is actually difficult to parse and may or may not completely, fully make sense. Allow me to seductively disrobe and don my "Genius at Work" t-shirt in order to ask: why would Sally's fake Dylan page be friends with the gin bar? Boy, I really hope somebody got fired for that blunder.

Some consider "The Gang Gets Trapped" the season's best and, while the concept is intriguing and the final reveal is succulent, it is somewha -

Wait! Maybe Catfish, in an attempt to inhabit the Dylan character, mentioned being a patron of the gin bar in her conversations with Sally, who then friended the bar in an unnecessary and potentially dangerous attempt to add to the profile's authenticity. Shit.

Perhaps... this genius at work... must humbly acknowledge the work... of geniuses.

Episodes 10 - 13: Plan B

Randall Einhorn is credited as co-director of "How Mac Got Fat," evidence of the fact that the episode's pre-Big Mac scenes were filmed but unused last season. I'd like to know more about this - if episodes reaching production but being dropped is common, if it was dropped in prospective service of Mac's weight gain, so on - but I've been unable to find any interviews on the subject. One thing is certain: seeing thin Mac again sheds total illumination to McElhenney's decision, as the contrast leads the viewer to, more than ever before, experience that sensation of "Wow, does anyone else realize how incidentally attractive and doe-eyed this guy is? I wonder if that's positively influencing my opinion of his performance. I bet it's not, I bet he's just very talented and also happens to be very handsome. I wonder what kind of father he'd be."

It is a private monologue which all actors hope that their audience members have individually recited.

"How Mac Got Fat," as I stated earlier, is in some ways superfluous. The embiggening may have been funnier without explanation, although it doesn't obviously detract. Similarly, "Thunder Gun Express," whose thin premise and obtrusively cheesy countdown clock deflates the season's momentum at first, no major apparent problems and some especially funny interplay between Dennis and Mac are memorable upon second viewing.

And like Glenn Howerton defibrillating Jason Statham at gunpoint, the season jolts to its conclusion on a high. "The High School Reunion," parts one and two, echo "The Nightman Cometh" in their grand nod to the series as a whole and surpasses it in their writing and scope. The reveal of Mac's name, despite the distracting continuity error on the placement of the tag itself, is very rewarding, as is Dennis' feverish descent in the second half. Returning cameos from Judy Greer and Jason Sudeikis draw good reactions from the gang, while Mary Elizabeth Ellis' drunken Waitress exudes an irresistibly vulgar eroticism. The dance routine is sublimely haunting.


It's Always Sunny is signed for another two seasons and it will be interesting to see how things continue, as there remains a muffled progression in the lives of the characters within the show. With the quiet cessation of Boldy Going Nowhere's development early last year, only the three leads' blossoming film careers could take attention away from the series. The seventh season, with few outright moments of disgust and the occasional modicum of lucidity displayed by Charlie, keeps the quality of the show afloat, so far abating yet another case of virtually all long-running sitcoms' moribund predilection toward utter caricature.

That's it for Seasonal Lag this week. Thank you for sparing me some time.

Seasons Beatings might have been the title of a WCW pay-per-view.