Narwhal Party

All In The Game.
03/26/2010, 11:34 pm
Filed under: Books, TV | Tags:

There is a great write-up over at Slate about the academic fascination with The Wire. Read it here. Professors at Harvard, Duke, UC Berkeley, and Middlebury are teaching entire courses on the show, which many people argue is one of television’s greatest achievements. The article points out that these aren’t media classes, but in the social science department. Any fan of the show shouldn’t be surprised by this, after enjoying The Wire’s endlessly wide scope of Baltimore: the streets, schools, cops, docks, reporters, politicians–the ever sprawling American Bureaucracy.

The article also notes some of the required reading of the courses, including the wonderful Code Of The Street by Elijah Anderson, which works in many ways as a compelling companion to The Wire, giving faces and voices to the social mores that drive much of the culture and crime in today’s cities (in this case, Philadelphia). Highly recommended.

And here, you’ve got ten minutes very well spent. The 100 Greatest Quotes from The Wire (NSFW language):

Illustrations by Blake Hicks. More here.


Long May You Run
01/23/2010, 4:39 pm
Filed under: Advice, TV, Words | Tags: , , ,

Conan O’Brien announced on Thursday night’s episode of The Tonight Show that they were simply going to “have fun on television.” It was a sincere statement that Conan and company have always stayed true to, but felt poignant given the circumstances. For his final show on Friday, Conan welcomed Steve Carell, Tom Hanks, Neil Young (with a great performance of “Long May You Run”), and Will Ferrell. Before the epic conclusion to the show, Conan gave a bit of a farewell speech, where he emotionally described the end of his run as Tonight Show host as “joyous and inspirational,” and emphatically implored young people to avoid cynicism. He stated simply, “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” It was a powerful moment in the middle of a hell of a lot of fun. Here’s the speech, via YouTube:

To close out the show, Conan grabbed a guitar, joined the Tonight Show Band, with Will Ferrell (cowbell-in-hand), Beck, Ben Harper, and one of the guys from ZZ Top for what else, but a straight cover of “Freebird.” I can’t think of a better way to close up shop.

Head over to Hulu to watch it in high-quality. Enjoy!

The Final Days
01/21/2010, 5:56 pm
Filed under: TV | Tags: ,

If you haven’t been watching the final week of The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien, be thankful we live in a time when TV can be found online. Take a look at Wednesday night’s episode. Featuring Ed Helms, Masturbating Bear, Adam Sandler (using the C-word), Joel McHale, and the most expensive comedy bit of all time.

Watch it on Hulu here.

It’s pretty thrilling to watch the show lately, knowing that Conan and his staff are running at this thing with no fear. He’s had great guests (Ricky Gervais, Michael Cera, Aziz Ansari), and has completely embraced the fact that he is getting screwed. It’s made for his best monologues since he’s been on The Tonight Show, and Max has been using Classic Rock songs that must have insanely expensive rights. This complete lack of fear is what has made the show so exciting ever since NBC announced its plans to shuffle up the late night line-up, giving Jay Leno top priority. Two more shows remain, and he already has some pretty high-profile guests planned (Tom Hanks, Robin Williams), and I’m sure some more surprises will be in store. If you have a TiVo or DVR, set it now, if not, Hulu’s got your back.

If this whole debacle is confusing to you, don’t worry. A news organization in Hong Kong has summed it up for us:

Welp. That explains it.