Saturday, May 30, 2009

Two more thoughts on Adam Lambert...

... well, three.
  1. I still find the guy really likeable. And I sincerely want him to have a long and successful career as an artist, whatever that means.
  2. I've said this for as long as I'd been watching American Idol this season: I find that Adam Lambert's singing voice sounds an awful lot like Brian McCarthy's. Except I think these days, Brian is now known as Owen McCarthy. Either way, he was the lead singer for the Everyothers, the band for which my cousin played bass. And every time I watched Adam sing on AI, I would think of Brian. Owen. Whoever.
  3. This has probably more to do with the folks at 19 Entertainment than Adam, and I'm not sayin', but I'm just sayin'. Enough with the Donnie Darko version of "Mad World." Please. I used to love that song. Mostly because you never heard it except on 80's flashback programming, and only then if you were lucky, and it was usually the original Tears For Fears version. But now that it's become Glambert's signature song, it's waaaaaaaaaay overdone. Please, for my sake, give the song some breathing room. Like seven or eight years' worth.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Children's Programming

In the interest of fairness, since I bashed Hip Hop Harry the other day, I feel the need to provide an example of a *good* children's television show.

Exhibit A: Pinky Dinky Doo

Why It's Good:
  1. It teaches new vocabulary words. Each episode introduces a new word, and every time a character uses that word, Mr. Guinea Pig heralds its use with trumpet fanfare. (reminds me of what Mrs. Bender used to have us do in the Intermediate Unit - in our writing pieces, whenever we used a new word, we were to draw blue flashes around it. When you're a third or fourth grader, that's pretty kewl stuff.)
  2. It teaches narrative elements such as sequencing and summarizing. Yeah, pretty heavy stuff for preschool television, right? After each episode, Pinky and her brother Tyler play games like "What Came First?" and "Who Said That?" to test viewers' comprehension skills.
  3. It has a hand-drawn, collage-like look that's not unlike another favorite of mine, Blue's Clues. Rather than utilizing slick 3D computer animation like some kids' shows, characters and backgrounds in PDD looks like something a kid could draw him or herself.
  4. It has a kid's sensibility. Character names include Bobby Boom, Daffinee Toilette, and Nicholas Biscuit. One episode takes place in outer space, and the kids' spaceship is shaped like a giant toilet. It's purely a sight gag; the shapeship's appearance is never mentioned. Kids are treated like intelligent beings who get such a joke, not objects to which writers must condescend.

Thank you, Jim Jinkins for creating a terrific kids' show.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Genius or Exploitation?

I watched Adam Lambert on Regis and Kelly today.

You know, they call him "Glambert," the guy with the black nailpolish and eyeliner ("guyliner" to be precise) who everyone was convinced would win American Idol but didn't? Yeah, that guy. I really enjoyed watching him on AI, but after his interview with Reege and Kelly, I'm not sure how I feel about him anymore.

He told the hosts how instead of viewing AI as a competition with other singers, he looked at it as a competition with himself, that each week he strove to perform better than the week before. Loved that Zen-like twist on competing.

Then he went on to say that he approached his audition for and experience on AI not as a competition to win, but rather as a platform to become a mainstream artist. Sure explains his reaction to Kris Allen's win, and yes, Jennifer Hudson also said something similar, but for some reason this left a sour taste in my mouth.

Maybe because it's so soon after the finale that Adam has exposed AI for what it is - not just a means to discover as-yet undiscovered talents, but also a platform for aspiring (and semi-seasoned) artists to springboard their careers.

I wonder how Simon Fuller feels about this.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kiddie Kritique

I admit it. The title sucks today. Can't think of anything more clever right now.

So this afternoon while T was at his program, J and I watched some television. The first show we watched was his current favorite, Hi-5. In the beginning, as with most children's shows, I found it kind of annoying, but after a few (hundred) viewings it's grown on me. The songs are catchy and, most important, the content is age appropriate and rather unoffensive. After Hi-5 was a program called Hip Hop Harry.

Hip Hop Harry. Where to begin? As you might gather from the title, the show features a character named Hip Hop Harry, which is actually some person in a bear(?) costume. But not just any bear, oh no. Let's just say that Harry's costume was probably designed by Jack Donaghy - oversized T-shirt with the manufacturer's label on the lower left front, baggy shorts, humongous white sneakers with untied laces spanning the eyelets, and let's not forget the massive "H" chest medallion hanging from what appears to be some sort of gold drapery roping.

The show also features some children and a teenager or childishly dressed adult, all stereotypically attired with oversized pants and shirts for the boys, and cropped jackets for the girls.

I was so dizzy from the camera work - arcing pans, quick zoom in/zoom outs - that it was hard to focus on the dreck these kids were saying. Today's episode was all about how hip hop music contains elements of other genres - classical, country, etc. Naturally, there was the setup dialogue ("I love hip hop music! Is there any other kind?") accompanied by the requisite mugging to the camera, followed by H3 (takes too long to type Hip Hop Harry so many times, so from this point forward, we'll call him "H3") explaining from behind his two turntables and a microphone that yes, Virginia, there are other kinds of music played on ... gasp! ... REAL INSTRUMENTS (demonstrated by the kids with FAKE, SYNTHESIZED EXAMPLES), and if you just give it a chance, doggone it, you just might like all kinds of music.

I think I'd like to meet H3's head writer and the suit who greenlit the show and punch them both. Kids deserve so much better than this crap.