“Netflix noted that the series has ranked as its No. 1 show in 94 countries including the U.S. and said that it had “pierced the cultural zeitgeist” with skits on Saturday Night Live and memes on TikTok gathering more than 42 billion views.”
Footnote: The population of earth is a bit less than 8 billion. Only 4.7 billion of them have access to the internet, and only about one billion use TikTok. So on the average, every TikTok user has viewed 42 memes from the ol’ Calamari Game.
Illusions Perdues (“Lost Illusions”) is a new adaptation of a typically prolix Balzac work. Balzac was a literary giant. If you want to know what France was like in the second quarter of the 19th century, he is your go-to source. But he was not known for being succinct or for sticking to the point. In the course of a relatively short life (he died at 50 or so), he wrote approximately a bazillion words. His works make the efforts of Turgenev and Herman Melville seem as sparse and economical as a Hemingway short story. The book is filled with digressions, and is interrupted by the separate literary efforts of one of the characters, a poet. None of those poems were written by Balzac, but by several of his literary colleagues. In other words, as an emperor is supposed to have said to his court composer, “Too many notes, mister Mozart.”
I guess there are two sides to that coin.
Here’s how an Amazon reviewer describes the book (or books – it can be published in one volume or three):
“Lost Illusions is a long and sometimes tedious novel about a young poet from the provinces.”
Here’s how Goodreads describes the same work:
“Balzac’s Lost Illusions is a massive literary undertaking, and an attempt to delve deep into the world of humanity with all its great deeds and basest desires.”
So its massive scope is either a reflection of great depth or excess verbosity, and Balzac was either an encyclopedic chronicler of his times or a guy who just couldn’t shut the fuck up.
Gustave Flaubert probably summed up Balzac’s strengths and weaknesses as well as anyone. He was filled with effusive praise for Balzac’s unsparing portrayal of society, while at the same time deploring his tedious prose. Flaubert once wrote of Balzac: “What a man he would have been had he known how to write!” (Quoted by Graham Robb in “Balzac: A Biography.”)
Anyway, the filmmakers managed to condense this sweeping story into a good movie of normal length, and it included some nice nudity by Salome Dewaels.
“We got a fresh batch of inside info about Donald Trump in a new bombshell book from former Press Secretary Stephanie Grisham. Trump got a colonoscopy without anesthesia so late night hosts wouldn’t make fun of him, so Jimmy does all of the Trump colonoscopy jokes we were deprived of.”
The two Jimmys had a slightly different take about what was up Trump’s ass:
Fallon: “Yeah, the colonoscopy was no big deal — the only things they found up there were three polyps and Rudy Giuliani.”
Kimmel: “The doctors said the hardest thing about giving Trump a colonoscopy was getting the camera around Mike Pence’s nose.”
It even provided work for his son, Mario, in two ways. First, Mario played a kid in the film. Second, Mario grew up to make his own film (Badasssss!) about the making of his father’s film, in which he played the part of his father.
We saw the usual combination of problems that plague this and all other award shows – crappy shows nominated because they have good intentions or are politically correct; crappy minority performers nominated as tokens, winners who won as compensation for not winning something else in the past, plenty of Twitter outrage about some crap or another, boring speeches, and an occasional deserving winner.
You can’t take this seriously. Remember these are the same voters who decided that Frazier was a better comedy series than Seinfeld – five years in a row!
Compounding the cluelessness of the voters is the sheer volume of choices. The overwhelming quantity makes it exceptionally difficult for anyone to choose winners and losers, even if they believe that winners should be chosen. Who has the time to made studied, measured, contemplative choices? There are now about 500 original scripted series on TV and/or the streaming providers. There are about six of them (The Crown, Ted Lasso, Hacks, Mare of Easttown, Last Week Tonight and The Queen’s Gambit ) that won almost all of the awards, and I don’t even have time to watch all of those six, so the other 480 (or so) just get lost in the shuffle.
The guard has been changed. Netflix won more awards than HBO for the first time. In fact, Netflix won more than HBO and Disney added together.
The Handmaid’s Tale was awarded 21 nominations with zero wins, setting the all-time futility record.
Two unidentified topless women worked in Kirby’s car wash. The topless gimmick was a last ditch effort to save the business.
Season 4, episode 5
Arliss tried to sign a top schoolboy baseball prospect, but that involved going to unusual lengths toward servicing the client’s needs. The prospect wanted to date Arliss’s executive assistant, while Arliss himself had to provide sexual services to the kid’s parents – both of them!
Ginger Justin, as the mom, exposed her nipples and offered a brief look at her bottom covered by only the thinnest thong.
Season 4, episode 9
Two well known and gorgeous softcore actresses, Susan Featherly and Lorissa McCormas, played nude Twister with Kirby. Although there was no clear lower frontal nudity, both of the women exposed their breasts and buttocks in clear light from multiple angles. Featherly is the blonde
The scene had absolutely nothing to do with the plot, and was completely unnecessary. In fact, it was in a cold open, before the credits. Gratuitous nudity exemplified!
Perhaps the most interesting thing about this scene is the eventual fate of Lorissa McComas. Possessed of an immediately likeable naivete and sweetness, she was loved by everyone she met. Because these qualities came across on film as well, she was highly successful as a stripper, model, softcore performer and entrepreneur. Despite all that, she could never escape an unhappy, and some say abusive, marriage. According to the authorities, she committed suicide in 2009 by discharging a shotgun into her head. Many people have questioned this official ruling, postulating that her husband was responsible for her demise. There is even a blog dedicated to seeking the truth about this matter, although efforts to re-open the case have proved nugatory.
I had subscribed to HULU to watch Arli$$, but I soon got hooked on watching TV classics. One thing I watched today was the very first episode of SNL (they have every episode since season 30, plus the first five seasons).
Some things I had forgotten, or never knew:
Michael O’Donoghue was the first person ever to appear on camera on SNL, and his was the first voice to be heard. John Belushi and Chevy Chase were also in the cold open. O’Donoghue and Belushi did the skit, while Chevy basically just came in at the end to say “live from NY …”
Announcer Don Pardo flubbed the cast intros, calling them the “not for ready prime time players.” There was nothing to do about it because it was live TV, so he pushed forward.
The first episode credited nine members of the players. In addition to the familiar seven, the list included George Coe (!!) and Michael O’Donoghue, who was also the head writer. I remember O’Donoghue vividly, not only from this show, but also from his work at the National Lampoon, but I didn’t know he was credited as a player in the first show. I didn’t remember Coe having been in the show at all, let alone credited among the original NRFPTP.
The friggin’ bees were there from the very beginning.
The first show featured two musical guests (Billy Preston and Janis Ian) who did two numbers each. It also featured four stand-up comics: host George Carlin, Valri Bromfield, Albert Brooks and Andy Kaufman. Carlin did several live monologues; Bromfield did one; Brooks provided a short film but did not appear live; Kaufman did his Mighty Mouse bit live – which means he never said a word. There was also a live performance by the Muppets, and it sucked mightily.
That episode was so fully packed with performances that, in contrast to the modern shows, there wasn’t much screen time for the players, and they were credited only on a single typed list, meaning Pardo did not read their names individually. Thanks to Weekend Update, Chevy was an exception. That feature gave him both substantial face time and a chance to identify himself by name. Not only were the “not ready players” shunted aside, but Billy Crystal’s appearance was cut, even though he had killed at dress rehearsal. (And Bromfield was told to cut her five minutes to a tight two.)
The second episode offered the players even less screen time – basically none at all, except for Chevy. Paul Simon was the host and sang about a thousand songs: by himself; with Garfunkel; with a chorus. His two musical guests sang more songs. Garfunkel sang a solo. Simon also played basketball against Connie Hawkins, winning despite the Hawk’s 16-inch height advantage. Given all of that plus the Muppets, Weekend Update, and the Albert Brooks film, there was nothing for the repertory players to do. They came out in their dumb bee costumes, and Simon told them to get lost. That was it. Marv Albert, hosting the one-on-one hoops competition, got more time than all of the players added together. In fact, Bill Bradley of the Knicks, presenting Simon a huge basketball trophy, also got more lines than the “not ready players” – and that wasn’t many lines!
Norm’s video podcast, Norm Macdonald Live, was uneven in quality, but the two episodes with Gilbert Gottfried had me in stitches (1, 2). Norm and Gilbert reminisced about earlier show biz types, and were merciless in their ridicule and mimicry of other performers and each other.
He was a personal favorite, and he died much too young.
He would hate to hear that I wrote that. If Norm wrote this obituary, he would begin it with, “I never really cared for the man.” As for the “dying young” thing, I’m pretty sure Norm would have pointed out that 61 is a ripe old age for somebody who angers OJ. I also believe that Norm would have been disappointed to die this way, quietly, a victim of cancer. I think he would much rather have been slain by one of the many people he offended, preferably by either OJ or a relative of the crocodile hunter.
“I was a hick, born to the barren, rocky soil of the Ottawa Valley, where the richest man in town was the barber.”
Norm never held back, never pulled a punch. As a host, he never let the world forget that OJ was incredibly guilty. As a guest, I still credit him for arguably the greatest talk show appearance of all time, not just because of what Norm said about the beloved, recently deceased and widely mourned crocodile hunter, but also because of the way he frustrated Jon Stewart and the audience, and his brilliant piece of unscripted improv at the end when Stewart put him in the hot seat. His last line, a perfect example of using callback for comedy, completely surprised me (and Jon), and had me laughing out loud.
That appearance was my quirky preference among Norm’s guesting duties. Most people prefer his appearance with Courtney Thorne-Smith on Conan.
He was so successful in comedy that he came very close to becoming the richest man ever to come out of the Ottawa Valley. He would have made it to #1, but as luck would have it, he died before the barber.
But the best thing about Norm is that he was more than just a fearless comedian. He was fearless in all his endeavors. He would try anything in life, just as in comedy. In fact, one time, on a dare …
Reading between the lines, the reason is this: posting social media pictures and videos of herself in which she is waving her bare ass at the camera is not particularly helpful to support her case that she is a fully mature adult and can behave responsibly without a conservator.
This is bad news for those of us who support this behavior and encourage her to act as immaturely as possible, in the hope of seeing those pictures of her jiggling bare ass. I think, however, that her strategy will only be disappointing to perverts in the short run. If she gains total autonomy, we should soon see her acting totally irresponsibly.
I’ve been doing this so long that I almost always recognize the celebs I find on the internet. Not in this case. I didn’t know who she is or what she is up to here, other than having fun in front of a camera. But there is something about this that caught my eye, so I guess I’m now being introduced to her and the fascinating subculture she inhabits.
IMDB says she is about to star in something called, or more accurately NOT called, the “untitled Kansas Bowling film.” I figured at first that it was some kind of sports movie spoof like Men With Brooms, or more specifically Kingpin. WRONG! It turns out that Kansas Bowling is somebody’s name, and that somebody is a very prolific actress and director in the world of micro-budget horror and other transgressive films and videos, in the manner of Troma and perhaps even sub-Troma, if that is even possible. Her very entertaining Wikipedia page mentions that “Bowling was the first inductee into the Troma Institute For Gifted Youth,” so her parents must be proud and elated.
Here are more tidbits from that page:
“Drangsal released a ‘controversial’ video for their song ‘Magst Du Mich’ directed by and starring Bowling and her sister, Parker Love Bowling, referencing pizzagate conspiracy theories and acting as ‘Hillary Clinton’s sex slaves.'”
“Bowling directed the video for the band Collapsing Scenery’s song ‘Resort Beyond the Last Resort.’ The video is based on Boyd Rice’s 1994 pro-rape manifesto ‘Revolt Against Penis Envy.'”
There is plenty more in that same vein in the Wikipedia article.
It’s a shame that her sister is named Parker Love Bowling and not Irene Love Bowling. That prevents her from using the moniker I. Love Bowling.
Anyway, enough about the Bowling sisters. On to Cynda McElvana, as promised
Last week the company said it would ban porn, starting Oct. 1, citing pressure from banks and payment companies. They just reversed that.
They apparently decided, “Fuck those guys if they don’t want our business. The money from porn is so sweet that we can BE a payment company, if necessary.” It seems that their bankers and billers backed off, presumably not wanting to eschew their share of those sweet, sweet porn bucks.
As I see it, OnlyFans facilitates willing exchanges between buyers and sellers, and everyone wins. The women who provide the content are prospering, the clients are satisfied, OnlyFans gets a nice cut, the payment companies and bankers make money and the government gets tax revenue. The services are provided virtually, so they create no public health challenges, preventing society’s high sheriffs from applying the logic they often apply to sexually-oriented transactions in the flesh-and-blood world. There may even be a health benefit from keeping the clients in the virtual world and off the streets, thus avoiding physical contact with strangers during a pandemic. Moreover, the transactions are not publicly accessible, so there is no chance that children or the general public will accidentally stumble upon XXX material. The explicit material on OnlyFans doesn’t seem to be harming anyone. I say let ’em do their thing.