Listening to: Lenny Kravitz, "American Woman"
Reading: Scott Pilgrim Gets It Together
Watching: MST3K - 102 "The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy&am
The past six months have been a whirlwind of social activity for me, which is another reason why my art output has been somewhat more minimal than usual. But hey, meeting new people, making friends, and building meaningful relationships is pretty important too! And through this activity, I've met many kind folks who have been super awesome to me - and who've turned me into a fanboy of a number of things I never would have found otherwise! Here's some of what I've discovered lately through my social circle:
- "South Park". This is the big one, of course. I was formally introduced to the show via the complete first season on DVD, and now I've seen damn near every episode, while versing myself in the show's quotables ("I don't think I'm very happy. I always fall asleep to the sound of my own screams...") and teaching myself how to draw in that paper-cut style. It's a lot more challenging than you'd think.
- "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". For a long time, I thought this show - and by extension, everything on Adult Swim - was just cheaply animated junk that only stoners could appreciate. But then I sat down and watched, and I discovered something amazing. This show is actually kinda clever. Yes, it's about talking food, but the dialogue the characters speak is surprisingly witty. I never would have expected this much effort from a show with such a minuscule budget.
- "The Mighty Boosh". Now I don't normally go for British humor, but somehow, this show transcends the culture gap. I've only seen five episodes (that is, one quarter of the show's entire run), but every one of them made me laugh out loud. Everybody talks about Old Gregg, but for good reason, dammit - that's a frickin' funny episode. ("Pipe?" "Sure." "Beard?" "No thanks." My God, I was on the floor.) I'd get the DVDs if they weren't so goddamned expensive.
- M.I.A. I'm a rock fan first and foremost, but I'm not really picky - any genre of music can pique my interest if it's done right. And M.I.A. manages to do everything right. Her voice is awesome, her lyrics are clever, and her songs are exquisitely catchy and danceable. "Galang" is probably her most well-known one, but I still find myself humming more obscure titles like "Boys" and "Bucky Done Gun" at odd intervals. And I swear, "Bingo" will never get out of my head - and I'm perfectly fine with that.
- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I like Johnny Depp, but not to the obsessive point of most of his fangirls (I'm not gonna worship him blindly; I thought Alice in Wonderland stunk, for one). But he's great as the slurring, fidgety Raoul Duke, another freaked-out weirdo to compliment the rest of his roles. Seeing him try to talk Benicio Del Toro out of electrocuting himself in the bathtub is equal parts hilarious and disturbing. And visually, this film is a jaw-dropper - if you're too afraid to try drugs but want to get an idea of what it's like, this pretty much covers everything. Also, damn, what an awesome soundtrack!
- "Avatar: The Last Airbender". When the movie came around, I figured I should probably give this show a look. And boy, am I glad I did! This easily ranks among the best cartoons Nickelodeon has ever given the world - it's smart, it's exciting, it's funny, it's touching, it's everything anybody could ever want in a TV show. As for the movie...let's just forget it ever happened and move on with our lives.
- "The Critic". I'd watched this show before, but that was five years ago, when I didn't really know much about pop culture. Thus, most of the jokes went clean over my head and I just shrugged it off. Now that I know about every major motion picture of the '90s, this show suddenly makes a lot of sense. I must say, I think I slightly prefer Season 2, when Jay became less of a loser - it's not that he wasn't funny before, just that after seeing the world dump on him for 13 episodes, you kinda want him to be happy for once.
- "Clerks: The Animated Series". I've seen Clerks, and I'm quite fond of it (even though I think Mallrats is funnier), but the show slipped under my radar, as it did for most of America during its shameful two-week run on ABC. But still, thanks to the magic of DVD, I've found that Dante, Randal, Jay, and Silent Bob are still entertaining even when they can't cuss or make drug references. Also, props for a wiseass clip show that puts even "The Simpsons" to shame in that department.
- "Phineas and Ferb". I thought "Kim Possible" was the only great Disney show to come out of the 2000s. Turns out I was wrong. This show isn't just funny, it's relentlessly funny - seriously, gags come flying at you with the force of a pitching machine. It's formulaic, sure, but the formula allows for a great amount of flexibility. And even though at the end of the day, you know Phineas and Ferb won't get busted and you know Perry will defeat Dr. Doofenshmirtz, it's so much fun to watch them that you just don't care.
- Scott Pilgrim. Okay, move over, Bone and Watchmen - I've got a new favorite graphic novel. If you're thinking of seeing the movie this August, but you've never read the books, do yourself a favor and quit reading this right now, then run out and pick up all six volumes. Then read them and gain experience points. This is the cleverest thing I've ever read, taking every romantic cliché it can think of and throwing it through the wringer, while still coming across as utterly sincere. And it's just as much fun to look at as it is to read - Bryan Lee O'Malley's flat, thick-lined, pie-eyed style is a delight to behold.
- Transformers. Okay, you know what? I know there's no deep story to this movie. I know that it's basically just a toy commercial. But dammit, it's an entertaining toy commercial - and that's coming from someone who has never watched anything Transformers-related in his life prior to this. (Shocked? So were my friends.) I can take or leave the stuff with the human characters - Shia LaBoeuf plays a great motormouthed geek, but Megan Fox seems to be covered in a fine layer of oil - but the robots themselves are what grabbed my attention. When it comes right down to it, my Y chromosome still gets a kick out of watching giant robots blowing shit up.
And yes, in case you're wondering, there will be fan art.