Reuniting Zack Attack, or The Slow Redemption of Jimmy Fallon

But in my heart it was so real. If you google “Jimmy Fallon” and “douchebag” together, you’ll get 17,000 hits. Well, 17,000 and one, now.

I don’t get what happened. But somewhere between ’00, when he was SNL‘s resident wunderkind, and ’08, when he was tapped to take over the Conan spot, everyone in our generation collectively turned on Jimmy. Maybe you could chalk it up to a couple shitty movies, but since when have SNL grads done otherwise? Case in point.

Around that time, I actually started to feel for the dude. Did I see myself in Fallon? A kid, once crushed on by white girls (and boys) everywhere, later forgotten, and later reviled: you’re damn right, man. I feel bitter for Jimmy, and felt a sense of redemption (misplaced, perhaps) when I heard about his latest stint on the Late Show.

Well, so far, it’s been rough. But the guy certainly has a knack for bringing old obsessions out of our dusty childhood closets. First, there was the Public Enemy reunion. Then, we saw the old curmudgeonly Muppets, Statler and Waldorf, toss a few zingers at Fallon and Jason Segel. And, if he actually manages to pull off last week’s Saved by the Bell reunion announcement, and get the Hot Sundaes and Zack Attack to reunite in one late night spandex and shoulder-padded jam out, then I think, collectively, we ought to forgive Jimmy for whatever he did that pissed us off. Make it happen, America.

Talkin' 'bout friends

[Update: Head on over to “Do As I Write” for a pretty hilarious, if skeptical, look at Fallon’s plan to reunite the ‘Bell’ cast.]

– Thumbu Sammy

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How the Old Testament Spoiled Kings

Amour fou
Amour fou
Well, Kings has survived another week, and there haven’t been a great deal of changes from where we last left off: King Silas is still suspicious of David; David is still infatuated with the King’s daughter; and Jack is still miffed at David’s meteoric rise to fame. Thankfully, all the prophetic signs and wonders that got my goat last week have abated for the moment, or at least, have become more ambiguous (Ian McShane snapping a deer’s neck was much more ominous than David dreaming/seeing the phrase ‘don’t go’ over and over). The teen melodrama subplots, unfortunately, don’t seem to be going away soon, and David is still squeaky clean as ever (are we really to believe that making out with some random chick is to be read as a moral trangression?). But hey, when you cast two Desis in a scene together on network TV, all is easily forgiven.

Here’s my guess as to where it’s all leading, thanks to an intense half hour of wikipediaided catechism. The show, as everyone has already pointed out, is built on the Old Testament narratives of David, Jonathan (Jack), and Saul (Silas) and the trifecta’s struggle for power in the old Israeli kingdom. And so, if creator Michael Green stays true to his source material, then the likely outcome is this: like Saul’s son Jonathan eventually siding with David instead of his father, Jack will side with David as the legitimate heir of Gilboa. Though in the Bible, the J & D relationship is a deep, homosocial (scholars say -erotic) love, I’m guessing in the show things will stay tame; Jack will first envy (as we’re seeing now) David, then fall head over heels for him, with David responding in more tepid, bro-like ways. Maybe with a dap, and a “thanks.” Crushed, Jack will die. Silas will keep trying to kill David, to no avail. Facing an insurmountable rebellion led by David, old Silas will commit suicide. And if the show survives long enough, David will be crowned King.

That’s more or less how it all goes down in the holy book. Will it play out that way in Kings? Maybe. Still, it doesn’t really matter. Assuming that Green is interested in subverting the classic Biblical narratives in interesting ways, and in exploring what the narrative could mean in a modern day dystopia – well, that’s enough to compel me. Now, to rope in the twenty million others watching Amazing Race.

– Thumbu Sammy

NYPD ’72

I’ve been a Milch fan before I knew who Milch was. Back in middle school, when rumors spread that NYPD Blue would show a little booty on network television, I’d tune in and get roped in by the plot lines. A decade later, Deadwood came around, reinvented the language of the Western, constructed a microcosm of the brutal evolution of American society, and knocked my ass flat OUT. That said, when the memo arrived (nine months late) that Milch was working on another cop drama, it made me pause. Not ’cause I doubt Milch has another masterpiece in him, but because it’s hard to see what Milch could offer the police teledrama genre now, in a world after The Wire.

Wishing he had Jessie's girl, circa '94
High Tide: Wishing he had Jessie's girl, circa '94
For all the haterade that was thrown at Milch after “abandoning” Deadwood for John from Cincinnati, I was at least slightly interested to see how he could revive the blonde-surfer-beach drama, which had been completely gutted with the mid-90s straight-to-syndication likes of High Tide, Baywatch, and all its abysmal spin-offs. Well, as we all know, he didn’t. Maybe he wanted to inject American television with a dose of magical realism? Maybe he needed some sun, after three years shooting in Nebraska? All I know is, in hindsight, that whole idea seemed like it was concocted during a bout of LSD-reflux. John Monad from Cincinnatti – the levitating, reincarnation of that older J.C.? C’mon, man.

But let’s do like J.C. and forgive, if we can’t altogether forget.

What could Last of the Ninth possibly offer that David Simon hasn’t already? Here’s a summary according to The Hollywood Reporter: a period piece, set in NYPD 1972, “about an older detective’s mentoring of a young detective returned from Vietnam in a department fiscally crippled, under attack by revolutionaries, and which has been brought by allegations of systematic corruption into public disrepute.” Wait, that actually sounds good. A cop drama before the War on Drugs dominated cop dramas. As long as this dude doesn’t turn up…

Never again.
Never again.

– Thumbu Sammy