Archive for June, 2021

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 7

June 28, 2021

Gene Wilder

Gene Wilder was born Jerome Silberman in Milwaukee. Wilder has repeatedly told the story that got him into performing. His mother was diagnosed with rheumatic fever in and the doctor told young Jerome to try and make her laugh. His older sister was an actress and he was inspired by her. He grew up a bit and got involved in the local theater scene. He was cast in his first paid role at age fifteen. He studied theater at the University of Iowa. He then studied in England before returning to the States to study at the HB Studio. After a stint in the army, he started to get work as an actor and studied under the great Uta Hagen back at the HB Studio. He then studied under Lee Strasberg at the urging of Charles Grodin. Through his connections, he started to appear Off-Broadway and on Broadway. It was during this time that he met Mel Brooks and Zero Mostel which led to him being cast in The Producers. In the seventies, his movie career picked up even more as he worked again with Mel Brooks and started his partnership with Richard Pryor. In the eighties, he started to work primarily with Gilda Radner who he later married. He remains a comedy legend although he died in 2016.

He would be perfect for the Muppet Show because of his great comic timing that is born out of his deep knowledge of the art of acting. Every role whether it was serious, comedic, or even parody was grounded from a very real place. He is one of the best actors who ever lived. He has worked with a lot of crazy and wacky comedians and kept his head so working with the Muppets would be no problem.

Cold Open: Gene assures Pops that he will be able to deal with the insanity backstage and is immediately confronted by Lew Zealand, Animal, and Gonzo.

Guest Arc: Honeydew and Beaker’s newest Muppet Labs invention has warped reality making things really weird. The Muppet Theater is invaded by evil doubles of the cast and Gene Wilder.

Guest Acts:
“Crazy” (Masser/Goodrum) with the Electric Mayhem
Kermit tries to interview Gene at Rowlf’s Piano but finds the double instead, chaos ensues when the other doubles arrive with Rowlf stuck in the middle
“Puttin’ on the Ritz” (Irving Berlin) with Kermit and then most of the cast

Pat Benatar

Pat Benatar was born to European immigrants in Brooklyn with the last name of Andrzejewski. Her parents let her sign up for voice lessons, supporting her interest in singing. That interest led her to the stage as early as Elementary school and by high school, she was starring in stage musicals. She was all set to attend Julliard to be a coloratura but ended up pursuing a degree in health education instead. She got married to her high school sweetheart and got a job as a bank teller. She was inspired by a Liza Minelli concert to quit her job to pursue a singing career. She worked as a waitress while finding gigs and amateur nights where she could. That led to a record deal and she started to rocket to success. She had album after album and hit after hit. Hers was actually the second music video to be played on MTV after “Video Killed the Radio Star”. She was touring as late as 2019 (her 40th-anniversary tour) and may still tour again.

Benatar would be great for the Muppet Show not only because of her singing talent but her background as a performer and actress as well. She designed her whole look and reinvented herself from an opera singer to a rocker with relative ease. She knows what it takes to put on the best show and had released five albums by 1983.

Cold Open: Miss Piggy is picketing backstage in an effort to get more stage time when Pat walks in and supports her.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy protests that the show needs more female representation and Kermit agrees and enlists Pat Benatar, Annie Sue, Janice, and Miss Mousey to provide it.

“Hit Me With Your Best Shot” with cannons by Crazy Harry
“Love is a Battlefield” with the Electric Mayhem
“Heartbreaker” with the Electric Mayhem

Carol Lawrence

Carol Lawrence was born Carolina Maria Laraia and was the daughter of two Italian immigrants who ended up in Melrose Park, Illinois a suburb of Chicago. She lasted one year in college before she left to pursue acting. Her decision paid off as she found herself on Broadway at age twenty. Five years later she originated the role of Maria in West Side Story on Broadway, a legendary role. She played the role for years. She stayed on Broadway through the sixties but when the seventies rolled around, she moved on. She became the shining jewel of The Muny in St. Louis, Missouri where she starred in many famous shows and usually in the lead role. She went back and forth from there to Broadway well into the 2000s. She also made many appearances in television shows through the decades. She was a consummate leading lady and delighted many audiences.

She would be perfect for The Muppet Show because of her obvious experience on and off Broadway and her experience on television as well. She worked with a lot of different casts on a lot of different shows which shows that she can adapt. She also starred in the show Camelot which would serve her well in a fantasy tale like Cinderella.

Cold Open: Scooter comes to give Carol her warning but Miss Piggy is bringing in the glass slippers. Unfortunately, Carol points out that they’re glass shards foiling Piggy’s plot.

Guest Arc: The Muppet Theater puts on the Cinderella story with Carol as Cinderella, Gonzo as Prince Charming, Miss Piggy as the Evil Stepmother, and so on.

“I Feel Pretty” with Camilla and the chickens
“I’m a Brass Band” at the ball
“If My Friends Could See Me Now” (Coleman/Fields) back in the royal court

Poor Unfortunate Souls: Atlantica Pt. 9

June 26, 2021

Belle and Ariel had made an attempt at the ritual after lunch the next day with some favorable results. They had painstakingly designed the ritual and had ended up creating a portal the size of a teacup. They went back to the drawing board and made corrections and revisions and then two days later they were ready to try again. Ariel was busy deciding who was going to make the jump through the portal. Belle had begged off, claiming that she was a researcher and not a fighter. Aurora and Esmerelda eagerly stepped up to volunteer and Tiana insisted on coming as well. Belle and Ariel arranged things for the ritual again and got everything ready.

It was at that point that there was a commotion from the guards at the gate. Aurora came running and reported that a raven-haired woman was approaching with a huge crowd of people. Something about the description irked Ariel and she went to the wall to see for herself. Aurora and Belle followed her with Belle being very nervous about this sudden turn of events. They climbed to the top of the wall and Ariel froze before turning to Belle.

“Go and protect the ritual site,” Ariel said. “Please stay safe. If things go wrong here, I’ll send you a signal and you should try to escape through the portal with anybody else you can grab.”

“What’s the signal?” Belle asked, turning a bit pale.

“Oh, you’ll know it,” Ariel said. “Now go. Grab Tiana and bring her with you.”

Belle ran off back toward the library and the ritual site. Aurora turned to Ariel, trusting her completely.

“What’s going on?” Aurora asked, peering down at the crowd gathering at the gates.

“That’s Ursula,” Ariel said, pointing at the dark-haired beauty in the center of the crowd. “She took that form once before. She called herself Vanessa then. It didn’t fool me then and it doesn’t fool me now.”

“How do you want to play this?” Aurora asked. There was no second-guessing, just two women who trusted each other.

“We open up the gates,” Ariel said. “I’m tired of hiding. It’s time to fight.”

“And if that means that we don’t make the portal?” Aurora asked, again without judgment.

“Then hopefully Belle and Tiana find help and bring it back here,” Ariel said. “In the meantime, we throw open the gates and go to war. Remember that all the others are just puppets.”

“So we cut the strings,” Aurora said, already heading toward the ladder to climb back down. As she went, she started to spread the word to remind people not to kill anybody. Of course, everybody already knew that but it was helpful to be reminded right before the heat of battle.

Ariel headed to stand at the gate and took a deep breath before motioning for it to be opened. She hoped she was making the right choice. As the gates creaked open, there was “Vanessa” standing front and center.

“Nobody’s fooled, Ursula,” Ariel called out and drew her sword. “It’s time we ended this. For good this time.”

Ursula laughed and somehow her deep, husky voice came out of that lithe body. “This is just a more convenient form on land, child,” she said. “I’m not caught up on appearances. I’m into power.”

“You always were,” Ariel said. “I’m here to take the power back.”

“I’m here to bring you back into the sea in chains,” Ursula said. “Then I can take both of your thrones.”

“You won’t return to the sea again,” Ariel said calmly but with great determination. “You’ll fall right here. Right now.”

Again that deep, rolling laughter. “Bring your best, child,” Ursula said softly.

At that point, chaos erupted as both sides clashed together in battle. Ursula produced a sword from somewhere and she and Ariel started to fight. Their fight was fiercer than anything going on around them. Ariel had learned a lot of fighting from Eric and Ursula was obviously just as skilled. Arrows rained down from the wall, finding their targets and shooting to maim and not kill. The whole time, Ariel and Ursula were deadlocked.

Ursula surprised Ariel by transforming her sword into Triton’s trident. Ursula swung the magical item at Ariel and hit her hard, sending her sprawling to the ground. Ursula pointed the trident at Ariel and it crackled with energy. She had the redhead dead to rights. Ariel was suddenly enveloped in smoke and she felt herself get pulled to safety by Esmerelda just as a beam of energy hit the spot where Ariel had been. Aurora leaped forward and brought her heavy sword against Ursula’s trident and sent it clattering to the ground.

Ursula let out a cry of rage and transformed into her normal form, reaching out with her tentacles. Ursula managed to grab hold of Aurora and Esmerelda and two other soldiers with her tentacles. She reached out for Ariel but Ariel barely dodged the sea witch’s grasp. Ariel dove for the trident and grabbed it, rolled to her knees, and pointed it at Ursula. There was a moment of realization on Ursula’s face before Ariel sent a beam of energy through Ursula’s torso. The sea witch went limp and bled out on the stones outside of the gate. Ursula’s army went equally as limp and fell to the ground.

Aurora went to pick Ariel up. “We have to get to the ritual site,” Ariel said. “I’m tired of this. I’m tired of waiting.”

“I agree,” Aurora said. “What should we do with Ursula?”

“Burn the body,” Ariel said and started walking back toward the castle.

Media Update 6/24/21

June 24, 2021

Ali

This movie had been on my list for a long time and it was time to finally watch it. The story of Muhammad Ali’s life has always been fascinating to me. I have always had an interest in the sport of boxing despite the health problems involved. Ali was a genius in the ring and his life had a lot of high points but a lot of low points as well. This movie covers Ali winning his first heavyweight championship from Sonny Liston until his championship victory against George Foreman. Throughout, the movie also covers Ali’s conversion to Islam and changing his name from Cassius Clay to Cassius X and then changing it again to Muhammad Ali. It also covers the legal battle he faced when he refused to be drafted to the army to fight in Vietnam. It deals with his friendship with Malcolm X and the eventual falling out with the Nation of Islam. It deals with his friendships and work relationships with Howard Cossell, trainers Angelo Dundee and Drew Bundini Brown, and his father. They also did not shy away with his disastrous marriages. Will Smith did a great job as Ali and his supporting cast was just as excellent. My only real problem with the movie is that it is very long at 2 hours and 37 minutes. I recommend this movie.

Ruby Bridges

I am surprised that I did not see this movie growing up. It is a Disney Channel original movie under an educational label and would have aired during the Magical World of Disney. The movie covers the real life story of Ruby Bridges who was the first African-American to desegregate an all-white elementary school in New Orleans. It covers her first day at school through the end of her first year in school. I was pleasantly surprised that the movie felt very accurate to what my research showed from interviews with the real Ruby Bridges. Chaz Money was one of the best child actors I have seen as the almost beatific Bridges. Lela Rochon had a heck of deserved spotlight as Ruby’s mom, Lucy. Michael Beach also shined as her father, Abon. Penelope Ann Miller was sweet and likable as the only white teacher willing to teach Ruby for an entire year. Kevin Pollak plays a psychologist, an actual figure from the history who donated his time to study and assist Ruby. I recommend this movie.

A Ballerina’s Tale

This is a documentary about ballerina Misty Copeland who broke barriers as a black ballerina in an astonishingly recent story. This documentary follows a day in the life of Copeland as it tells her story. It also interviews all of her friends, past cast members, and plenty of professionals. The documentary is very well done and while it is not super educational, it does feel really good. I recommend it as well.

Music of the Week:

Rico Nasty – Check Me Out

Nao – Another Lifetime

Masego, Don Toliver – Mystery Lady

Zoe Wees – Girls Like Us

Mashup of the Week:

decentwifi – TELL EM + BEAT BOX

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Juneteenth”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I finished watching Trial By Media Season 1
I watched The Devil Next Door
I watched more Sex Education Season 1

A Relatively Quick Summary of Psychonauts Pt. 2

June 21, 2021

(Continued from last time)

Raz rushes to save Lily by descending into the depths of Lake Oblongata in a bathysphere, throwing caution to the wind. He finds a strange bubble of air under the surface which allows him to combat the giant Lungfish in its own habitat. The Lungfish tries to kill Raz over and over but he manages to outsmart the beast. With the Lungfish temporarily knocked unconscious, Raz is able to enter its mind.

When you come to, you find that you are suddenly gigantic. In a role reversal, you are now a kaiju in Lungfishopolis, towering over tiny versions of the Lungfish. The citizens flee in terror from you and the military tries to attack you. However, you are contacted by a rebel force inside of the creature’s mind. These forces work with you to fight through the city. You arrive at a tall tower which turns out to be a mind control device. It is guarded by a personification of the device in the form of Coach Oleander as a kaiju. After destroying the Coach kaiju and the device, the Lungfish is free. Introducing itself as Linda, it offers to ferry you across the lake.

You arrive at an island in the middle of the lake and at the gates of the Thorney Towers Home for the Disturbed, an abandoned asylum. The place may have been abandoned by the original owners, but the Coach and his assistant Dr. Loboto are in control now. One of the first things that you notice is that the place is littered with jars that contain the brains of your fellow campers. At this point, you can rescue the brains and bring them back to Ford to be reinserted in their bodies, earning your fellow campers grudging respect. Back at the island, you find the gate locked but an odd man named Boyd is standing in front of the gate acting as a security guard. You enter his mind.

You find yourself in a house with Boyd who is in full-blown conspiracy theorist mode. When you exit the house, you immediately figure out that there is a huge conspiracy at play. The suburban neighborhood looks sunny and nice but it is soon clear that everything is manufactured. Everything and everyone is watching you. You encounter strange spindly men in trenchcoats and fedoras. They are obviously trying to act like normal people but failing at anything resembling ordinary behavior. You also encounter little girl scouts who seem a little too defensive when you question them. You navigate a strange mystery and eventually battle the Scout Leader and awaken Boyd’s dormant alter ego, the one Coach groomed for violence.

Back in the real world, Boyd is broken free of Coach’s influence and is back to his destructive ways. He unlocks the gate for you, allowing you to slip inside while he starts to try to burn the place down. You discover that some of the patients are still around and one of them is guarding an elevator that will lead you up into the tower where Coach and Loboto have Lili. Luckily, this ex-patient is nearsighted so all you have to do is assemble a vague Loboto costume from items that the patients have. The first patient whose mind you enter is Gloria, a faded ex-actress who clings to her memories of show business and suffering from bipolar disorder.

Raz finds himself in a huge theater with a cast of misfit actors on stage and a long-suffering stage manager just off stage. The audience is empty except for Gloria’s inner critic, a big bully who constantly insults whatever efforts are going on stage. Raz befriends Gloria’s inner performer, the part of her that delights in acting. There is also a Phantom in the theater who ruins any performance that Gloria’s inner actress takes part in. You get the actors on stage to reenact scenes from Gloria’s childhood to help to understand her and to gain access to the catwalks where the Phantom creeps. When you finally confront the PHantom, you realize that it is the critic. You battle the critic and defeat him, causing him to shrink and allow Gloria to stop being so hard on herself, freeing her from her doubt and pain. She still has bipolar disorder, of course, but it is a little easier to shoulder now.

You next enter the mind of Fred, a hapless guy who is locked in an internal battle with his ancestor Napoleon Bonaparte who seems to represent Fred’s lack of confidence. When you arrive in Fred’s mind, you find Fred and Napoleon fighting over a board game. You are able to shrink down and enter the game in order to help Fred win. You help recruit soldiers and a carpenter to act as his army. Along the way, you convince Fred to believe in himself and give him a little push to confront his ancestor (a split personality) and gain a measure of freedom and peace.

You next enter the mind of Edgar, a hulking painter who is blocked by trauma from his past. His mind looks like a Spanish villa done up like a blacklight poster. The place seems to be one long street and a giant bull is continuously running through the level, threatening to clobber you. You must navigate alleys and sewers to find ways around the bull. You can also utilize art itself to form useful objects, doors, and ladders to continue the level. You have to fight four luchadors to obtain access to the final boss. In the middle of a bullfighter’s ring, you pierce the bull with spears. It is only then that you find out that the bull is Edgar himself and represents his own anger that he can’t move past. You find out that his girlfriend left him for another guy in high school and it destroyed him, turning him from a jock to an artist. When you defeat the personification of the guy who stole Edgar’s girlfriend, it shows Edgar how pathetic his ex and this guy were and how silly it was to fixate on all of it. He forgives them and forgives himself.

Free to continue into the tower, you travel to stop Coach Oleander and Loboto’s plan and rescue Lili. Once there, you are able to rescue Lili along with Sasha and Milla, impressing your Psychonaut heroes. Coach Oleander is not done and puts his own mind into an even bigger tank which Raz has to fight. Raz has a tough fight against the tank and defeats it, exposing Coach’s brain. Both Raz’s and Coach’s brains end up in the same tank and Raz is sent into a mixture of his own and Coach’s nightmares.

You awaken in The Meat Circus, a mix of the Coach’s childhood being bullied by his butcher father and Raz’s childhood growing up in a traveling circus. It seems they both had overbearing fathers. The two blend together to create a huge vertical level with a sinister edge which Raz much climb. Along the way, you encounter Coach as a child and repeatedly protect him against threats to allow him to be happy, something his father never allowed him to be. Finally, you confront Coach’s father but he teams up with a memory of Raz’s overbearing father to create a dangerous behemoth that takes all of your skill and power to defeat. At the last moment, Raz’s actual father mentally projects himself into the mix and helps Raz save the day. It turns out he was only tough on Raz because he was worried and protective but he is proud of his heroic son.

With the day saved, Raz is made into a full-fledged Psychonaut, fulfilling his dream. A future romance with Lili seems all but certain and his relationship with his father is on the mend. As things wrap up, they get word that Lili’s father has been kidnapped and Raz, Sasha, and Milla spring into action to save the day once again.

Movie Poster Project Pt. 1

June 19, 2021

This got stuck in my head as neat art project. I decided to make horrible films made by a fictional production company called Wowie Films. Here are the first four posters.

Media Update 6/17/21

June 17, 2021

Rachel Gets Strange

Strange indeed. This movie is a very awkward but intensely interesting low-budget movie. The story is that the titular Rachel is still dealing with being left at the altar by her fiance and is suddenly ready to shake out of it. What follows are spoilers but frankly, there is no spoiling this movie. It is about the journey and not the destination. She is convinced that she needs to sleep with somebody to reenter her life. Much of the movie is spent with her trying to find a stranger to have sex with. Awkwardly. Then, at the 11th hour, vampires attack. Yes. Vampires. Jennifer June Ross plays the lead and she owns the role and the movie as she embodies a very awkward and sarcastic character. Ben Huber plays one of the possible men and has a lot of sitcom humor energy. The rest of the cast is pretty quirky and weird and very captivating. The movie really sucked me in and I did not even care that the promised vampires had not arrived yet. I was just taken in. I recommend this movie.

Sex Education

This had been on my list for quite some time. This show is a British production about a young man whose mother is a sex therapist and how that impacts his social standing and changes the school he attends. The show stars Asa Butterfield who is great at playing a deeply troubled yet intelligent and good guy. Gillian Anderson is, of course, brilliant as the sex therapist mother and just really makes the show. Emma Mackey plays the tough, resourceful partner in crime of the main character. I really liked the performances of a lot of the other kids in the school as well. I especially liked Ncuti Gatwa, Connor Swindells, and Aimee Lou Wood. The humor in the show is great offbeat and purposefully awkward but it feels very real to how teenage life felt. As you would expect, it hinges a lot on sex so if that is not your cup of tea then it might be too awkward. I recommend this show.

Bonding

I was interested in this show as part of an ongoing search for accurate shows or movies about the BDSM community. Unfortunately, this is yet another production that is not really all that accurate. However, it is pretty funny. The episodes are also about 15 to 17 minutes long so it is easy to binge. Zoe Levin is very funny as a professional dominatrix who is also a graduate student in psychology. Brendlan Scannell is arguably the star of the show as the nervous failed standup who signs on to be a dominatrix’s assistant. The comedy is very good but I think I will give it a pass because the sex humor is very juvenile and the BDSM is innacurate.

Music of the Week:


The Chainsmokers – Don’t Let Me Down

Seether – Betray And Degrade

The Sunday Estate – Fight Me

Illogic x Odd Nosdam – Right the Ship

Mashup of the Week

iWillBattle – Don’t Bring Me Down, I’m Levitating

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Sex and Comedy”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
I started watching Trial By Media Season 1
I watched Longshot

The Muppet Show Season 6 Pt. 6

June 14, 2021

Lily Tomlin

Who knows where Lily Tomlin was headed after attending a technical high school and then getting into Wayne State University in her hometown of Detroit. However, she auditioned for a play and that was it. She had been bitten by the showbiz bug and she changed majors. She graduated from college and started to do stand-up comedy, hanging around in Detroit before she headed to the New York City scene. She decided to continue to study acting at the HB Studio. She got onto the Merv Griffin Show and then the Garry Moore Show which primed her for the biggest upswing in her career. She landed a part in the cast of Martin and Rowan’s Laugh-in where she developed several memorable characters and honed her craft. Her success with Laugh-In also got her a hosting gig on Saturday Night Live. Meanwhile, her movie career also picked up as she was cast in Robert Altman’s Nashville which got her an Academy Award nomination. She was in tons of other hits like 9 to 5 and All of Me. Her career has continued to flourish and she is still a very big star.

One of the reasons that Tomlin would be perfect for The Muppet Show is that she already had experience with Sesame Street at the time. She sang and signed the famous song “Sing” on the show along with other appearances. At the time she was a renowned comedian who also had singing and acting chops which would serve her well on the show. She had worked on one of the most famous television variety shows in history which would be excellent preparation.

Cold Opening: Scooter comes in to give Lily her warning but apologizes when she’s on the phone (a little bit like Ernestine) but when he leaves she reveals the phone isn’t even plugged in.

Guest Arc: Sam the Eagle is on the warpath again, trying to make the show more classy. He has doubts about Tomlin but she promises to be on her best behavior and ends up mocking him.

Guest Acts:
“Dancing Queen” (Abba) with Miss Piggy and full-size Muppets who can dance
Lily has a scene with Sam the Eagle where she pretends to be as dour and serious as he is (a la The Consumer Advocate Lady)
“The Last Duet” (Manilow) Lily does sign language while singing and Animal struggles to keep up so Sweetums steps in.

Donald O’Connor

It is hard to pin down exactly where Donald was born since his parents were a vaudeville team and were always traveling. It is agreed that it was somewhere in Illinois and probably in Chicago. Apparently, his parents started his dancing career at 13 months by holding him by the back of the neck as he wiggled around to the music on stage. Unfortunately, a lot of his family died during his early childhood leaving him with only his mother and an older brother. The three formed a dancing act and Donald got to be really good at dancing without any formal training. In fact, he never did go to school at all. He made the jump from vaudeville to film when he was hired by Paramount mostly to play kid parts and, of course, to dance. He then moved to Universal where he was quickly paired with Peggy Ryan as their version of Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. The Andrews Sisters were usually along for the ride as well. Not long after he came back from the War, he had a much-celebrated role in Singin’ In the Rain. He continued on Broadway, film, and television until his death in the late 90s.

Obviously, O’Connor would be great for the Muppet Show because of his experience as a performer and also his many skills. While he was not the dancer in the 1980s that he was in the 50s, he still knew how to dance and sing and he had great comic timing. On a side note, Singin’ In the Rain is one of my favorite musicals. O’Connor was a legendary performer in musicals on stage and screen and was great at adapting to the needs of their show.

Cold Open: Miss Piggy brushes past Scooter as he gives the warning and spills coffee on Donald.

Guest Arc: Miss Piggy is excited to sing with Donald but spills coffee on him and tries to make it up throughout the show but keeps accidentally injuring him. In the end, he promises that there is no problem between them.

Guest Acts:
“Make ‘Em Laugh” with Fozzy and Gonzo
“Merrily Song” with Kermit at Rowlf’s piano
“It’s Delovely” with Ms. Piggy

Jerry Orbach

Orbach’s dad was born in The Bronx and his father was a vaudeville entertainer. He never performed on stage with his father but he did eventually leave college at Northwestern University a year early to pursue acting. He studied at the legendary Actor’s Studio under Lee Strasberg. He made his way onto Off-Broadway and Broadway. He quickly made a name for himself in tons of shows and was in the original casts for The Fantasticks, Chicago, and 42nd Street among many other shows. He started work in television and film working as a regular on Murder She Wrote and Dirty Dancing. He had his last major singing role as Lumiere in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. After that, he was cast in the role he is now more known for as Detective Lennie Briscoe in Law and Order.

Orbach would work for the Muppet Show because he was a Broadway legend who was just starting to work more on film. He has a brilliant singing voice and a charm that served him very well in his career. Although he was starting to take on more serious roles, I think he would relish the chance to have some musical fun with the Muppets.

Cold Open: Jerry goofs around with Pops, putting on that charm

Guest Arc: The Muppets are excited when they hear that a Broadway scout will be at the show so they get Jerry to help them out. It turns out to be band info that Scooter heard.

Guest Acts:
“Lullaby of Broadway” with Rowlf, Kermit, Fozzie, and Piggy
“24 Hours from Tulsa” (Bacharach) with Lubbock Lou and his Jughuggers
“Razzle Dazzle” with the Electric Mayhem

Poor Unfortunate Souls: China Pt. 8

June 12, 2021

Aladdin and Anna signaled and Merrida brought the wagon around. After they loaded up, Merrida was perched on top of the wagon, staying low and almost looking like a pile of rags. The others huddled near the front with Anna driving. They tried to go as fast as they could but there was suddenly a shrieking cry from above. Four dark monsters with wings had spotted them and were wheeling around to come after them. They were the same as the creatures the three of them had seen before but none of them knew they could fly.

They dove as one and Merrida sprang to her feet and manage to fire three shots in rapid succession. She nailed two of the beasts but her third shot was deflected. The beasts landed hard on the wagon and Aladdin climbed onto the back, sword in hand, and sliced at one of them just in time to save Merrida from getting hit. Together, Merrida and Aladdin fought off the beasts. Aladdin skewered one on his sword and the other fell under the wagon’s wheel, bringing it dangerously close to breaking. Still, the wagon kept going and the witnesses were dead. Hopefully, they could get back without alerting any more of the army.

The rest of the ride was a lot more peaceful and they made it back to the compound quickly. Rapunzel was instantly there checking them for wounds, fussing over them while Mulan checked over the fireworks. Both the fireworks and the three heroes seemed to be alright. They had an impromptu meeting right there in the courtyard next to the wagon.

“Excellent!” Mulan said. “This is exactly what we need. With this, we’ll be able to distract the evil army and inflict damage on their defenses. If it creates an opening, we can slip through and see what we can find.” Her excitement was infectious and everybody’s spirits around her rose. For those who knew her, knew that she was the hero of China and had been honored twice by the Emperor. The outsiders saw that and got the message. Mulan was a big deal and her people believed in her.

“We need to move soon,” Anna said. “We encountered some of the creatures on the way back and they weren’t easy to kill.” She was still a little rattled by the experience but that only made her resolve to keep helping all the stronger.

“But they did go down,” Aladdin said. “I think this plan could work. They’re not unstoppable.” He was right, the monsters had not stood up very well to their weapons.

“The dragon is another thing entirely,” Mulan said. “but we will cross that river when we reach it.” This made them all picture a dragon which definitely brought up different pictures but none of those pictures were good.

“I once took on a giant snake,” Aladdin said, trying to be encouraging. “For a few seconds, at least.”

“I think we work well together,” Merrida said. “The fight on the wagon proved that. We’ll do alright.” She was proud and brave but her words seemed to be more than just empty bluster. It was more like hope.

“Then we’ll make our move after sunset,” Mulan said. “That will increase the effect of the fireworks and give us cover otherwise. Rest well and I will give the soldiers their orders in the plan.”

“Are you forgetting something?” Anna asked. “You’re needed here. They need a leader and if we fail, they’ll need somebody to come up with another plan. Not that I expect us to fail or anything. We’re going to do great.”

“I have to go,” Mulan said. “We have to put everything into this plan. I cannot stay behind just in case. The backup plan will just have to be thought of by somebody else.”

“Maybe I can do it,” Shang said, walking out of the infirmary. He was not quite standing upright but he was walking and he was conscious which was a great improvement.

Mulan rushed to hug and kiss her husband. “Shang!” she cried out. “You’re alright?”

Shang nodded. “I’m getting there,” he said. “I need you to finish this so I can get some more rest, though.” He looked tired but determined. This was the man that Mulan had fallen in love with and she was overjoyed to see him on his feet again.

“That’s the plan,” Mulan said. “I need to go with these outsiders to try and make that plan a reality.”

Shang smiled. “If anybody can pull off a crazy plan to save China, it’s my wife,” Shang said. “I believe in you.” The two of them kissed again.

“I’ll be back as soon as I can,” Mulan said. “I promise.”

Media Update 6/10/21

June 10, 2021

Raya and the Last Dragon

Walt Disney Animation Studios has been very strong in the past decade and so I was excited to check out the latest movie. This movie is an original story and not based on an existing story like many Disney movies. The movie draws on southeast Asian cultures such as Korea, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, Phillipines, and more but it takes place in a fictional land. It is a feudal story that takes place in a dystopia after a great disaster. The lead is played by Kelly Marie Tran who is so good at being a strong warrior, a sarcastic joker, and a loving person. She is opposed by Gemma Chan, a fierce yet highly charismatic young woman. Akwafina plays probably her best role to date and was instantly likable and a lot of the heart of the movie. They are joined by Benedict Wong, Izaac Wang, and Thalia Tran. The movie is absolutely gorgeous (as Tangled, Frozen, and Moana were) and the animation is so fluid and fun to watch. The story has a lot of heart but also a lot of comedy for a story set in a dystopia. I recommend this movie.

Kaboom

I am not really sure how to describe this movie or begin to explain it. It is billed as David Lynch for the Coachella Generation and that feels strangely correct. The movie is a mish mash of David Lynch, Donnie Darko, a sex comedy, and a dash or two of John Waters. The movie stars Thomas Dekker who plays a young queer man who is definitely too much in his own head. He stumbles onto a mystery and becomes absorbed by it. His partner in crime is played by Haley Bennett who was my favorite as a sarcastic no-nonsense character. They are joined by Juno Temple who plays a young woman who appears to be ditzy but is way smarter than she seems. Roxane Mesquida is great at playing a totally insane character. There are a lot of great side characters who just deepen the mystery and made me laugh or tilt my head to the side in confusion. I had no idea where the movie was going next at most points and I really enjoyed that feeling. I recommend this movie.

D.E.B.S.

This movie pretty much caught me by surprise. I was expected a fun little girl power spy movie but instead I got way more than I asked for in the best way. The movie follows a paramilitary school for young women called D.E.B.S. (Discipline Energy Beauty Strength). Sara Foster plays a young woman on the verge of graduating who is questioning a lot of things in her life. Much to her surprise, she ends up romantically entangled with a super villain played by Jordana Brewster. The two of them are so good together and a lot of the movie was just me marveling at how well they managed that relationship. There were plenty of other fun actors in the movie as well. The movie very much felt like a gayer version of the Josie and the Pussycats movie. It is a movie that is really campy and easy to discount but once I watched it, I saw a lot of to love. I recommend this movie.

Music of the Week:

My Best Friend’s Hot

Castration Squad – A Date Wth Jack

PVRIS – Hallucinations

The xx – I Dare You

Mashup of the Week:

GC Mashie – How You Like Confidence

Weekly Update:
This week’s theme is “Pride 2021”
I watched more Watcher videos
I watched a lot of Twitch and YouTube
i watched more Elementary Season 4
I watched more of The Irregulars Season 1
I started watching Monsters Among Us Season 1

A Relatively Quick Summary of Psychonauts Pt. 1

June 7, 2021

Psychonauts is the story of Razputin, a young boy who was born with psychic powers but was forbidden by his father from using them. He grew up idolizing the Psychonauts, a team of elite agents with psychic powers. He decides to sneak away from home to attend a psychic summer camp run by the Psychonauts to achieve his dream of joining the team. When he appears, they decide that he can participate in activities at least until they can call his parents. He is introduced to the other weird kids at camp most of which do not initially want anything to do with the weird new kid.

You officially start the game by heading from the cabins to Coach Oleander’s treehouse for Basic Braining. He introduces the main theme of the game by pulling you into his mind. When you regain consciousness, you are in an obstacle course that the Coach has prepared in his mindscape. The course is themed after a war zone in keeping with the Coach’s seeming obsession with the military. He berates you through the entire level as if he were a drill sergeant, insulting you to get you to work harder. As you navigate the course, you get comic relief from your fellow campers and you start a rivalry with bully Bobby Zilch and meet the inquisitive Lili Zanotto. While most of the others struggle, you are able to navigate the course. You also learn the psychic power of throwing a telekinetic punch. When you are the first to reach the end of the course, you get the first inkling that something might not be as it seems. A corner of Coach’s mind reveals that he has a secret. You see a glimpse of an odd blueprint.

After that, you get to explore the campgrounds for a bit and interact with your fellow campers. You get handed a list of items scattered around the camp for a scavenger hunt. This hunt will take most of the game to complete since you need certain powers and upgrades to find some items. You meet a strange man who is the camp’s janitor, chef, ranger, and waterfront manager. You are told that Psychonaut Sasha Nein wants to see you. It seems that you impressed him while navigating Coach’s mind and he wants to put you through some advanced training/experiments.

You travel to Sasha’s lab and he officially introduces himself and shows you his Brain Tumbler machine. The machine allows you to enter your own mind. You enter a landscape that reminds Raz of the traveling circus he grew up in. However, when you enter a circus wagon, you end up in a much stranger place that does not look like your mind. Curious, Sasha asks you to explore more. You encounter Censors, little creatures that try to eliminate rogue thoughts. When the Censors become too much for Raz, Sasha pulls him out and tells him that he needs to find Ford Cruller to be issued permission to be trained in marksmanship.

At this point, you are pointed to the camp’s ancient fast travel system which leads you to Ford Cruller, former Director of the Psychonauts. He is the guy who you have seen serving in all of the odd jobs around the camp. His psyche has been shattered in battle and he is confined to his lab with various personalities slipping out to watch over the camp. Ford takes a shine to Raz and teaches him more about the Psychonauts and grants you permission to learn a long-distance telekinetic attack.

You travel back to Sasha who pulls you into his mind. His mind is very ordered and provides a course to practice your new long-distance attack. Sasha carefully lets Censors loose in his head to give Raz some shooting practice. Unfortunately, Raz gets impatient and floods the place with censors which leads Sasha to briefly lose his fastidious control. This eventually leads to the escape of the Mega-Censor, a giant beefy censor who rampages across Sasha’s mind. Sasha steps in to help out but is ambushed which leaves Raz to fight the Mega Censor alone. Once he does, he is then clear to use his new marksmanship badge outside of Sasha’s mind. Sasha sends you back into what you are sure is not your own mind now where you battle to a mysterious tower. To get to the top of the tower, you will need additional training.

You head to meet Agent Milla Vodello who brings you into her mind for training in the use of the Levitation power. Her mind is a mix of a pinball machine and a never-ending party as the free-spirit as a contrast to Sasha’s more uptight personality. This is the mind where you learn pretty much the rest of your movement tech in the game as you learn how to float on currents and move at high speed on a ball of energy. At this point, your fellow campers start to encourage you. Except for Bobby Zilch who makes a return appearance to race Raz. With the Levitation badge, Raz can reach the top of the tower.

At the top of the tower, Raz finds himself inside of the blueprint that you glimpsed in the Coach’s mind earlier in the game. It was a blueprint for a tank and you witness a fellow camper get his brain sucked out and placed into the tank which makes it a robot with psychic powers. After beating the tank, you realize that a man named Loboto has teamed with the Coach to create these tanks to take over the world. You head to rendezvous with Lili who has been conducting her own investigation only to watch her get kidnapped by a giant Lungfish.


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