Buffy gets a spinoff, Doplh Punishes, and Pam and Jim get hitched

Oct. 4-10: Kenneth Branagh is unto the breach, Rick Moranis is an SNL god, Bandstand has no beat and you can’t dance to it, The Limey goes postal, Angel takes the case, The Punisher uses his superpower – guns, Vince Vaughn retreats, Dolly goes blue, a house-hunting empire is born, Monty Python’s down a man, and Superstah! All that and more this week on Thirty Twenty Ten, your weekly look back on the week that was 30, 20, and 10 years ago.


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4 thoughts on “Buffy gets a spinoff, Doplh Punishes, and Pam and Jim get hitched

  1. Steve and Monique did fall out, it was over her Netflix/boycott stuff. His POV differed from hers, and she felt he wasn’t supporting her so they fell out

  2. The 1989 Punisher Movie illustrates the fundamental nature of the character; outside of the Marvel universe he’s utterly uninteresting. Hear me out: The Punisher’s origin story is that he’s ex-military and his family got killed so now he’s going to use guns to kill bad guys. You might have heard that origin story before in oh…. EVERY GRITTY ACTION MOVIE FROM THE 1980’s!!!! It’s utterly possible that someone has LITERALLY (not figuratively-literally, but literally-literally) seen a movie with that basic gimmick 100 times or more. And the 1989 movie removed what few things set the Punisher apart from the generic 80’s action vigilante (Microchip, his Symbol, and … uh … the Punisher Dog?). BUT, where I think the character of the Punisher can become interesting is if you set him in a comic book world. People always ask, “Why doesn’t Batman kill the Joker?” as if Batman was the only one who could kill the Joker. Why doesn’t some guard in Arkham, who likely was friends with some other guard who the Joker has killed, just shoot the Joker in the back on day and say, “He was trying to escape for the 10th time so I shot him to stop him from escaping?” The reason is because it’s a comic book world and it has to operate by comic book rules to work. BUT, in such a world a character like the Punisher can become an interesting plot point specifically because he acts like a generic 80’s vigilante instead of a generic super-hero, and hence is a wild card and can interact with that world in ways that other’s cannot. That’s what makes him interesting, the world he lives in not the character he is.

    Also, the Punisher grew in popularity in the 1970’s and reached his height in the 1980’s and early 1990’s. To understand the character I think it’s crucial to understand the world where he was effectively born. Because from 1960 to 1990 the US crime rate did not double. Nor did it triple. It QUADRUPLED.
    That’s huge! Insane really and should be mentioned in each and every discussion of 80’s vigilante movies in my opinion. For 30 years the methods the police had been using had utterly failed to stop the rise in crime and while we know _now_ that around 1990 was “peak crime” in the US, nobody at the time had a clue that was the case and most people probably just thought crime would keep rising and rising for the simple reason that it had risen and risen for -thirty-frickin-years already. Think of how long that is as a span of time. Imagine you were a 18 year old in the low-crime year of 1960 and at a very steady rate until you were 48 (so college, young adulthood, and then past middle-age) the crime rate just kept getting higher and higher and higher and nothing the police were doing seemed to stop that rise? That would be frightening as hell! Wouldn’t you be scared? And if you were 48 in 1990, about the perfect age to be a Studio Exec who can green-light films or to be a Marvel editor who can push comics, wouldn’t the appeal of “JUST SHOOT THE CRIMINALS!” stories be harder to resist making?
    So keep in mind that social trend that made the Punisher become a big time comic book hero … for a while. Because social trends continue until they don’t and while almost no one expected it to do so, crime did drop and drop hard. By 2000 it was pretty obvious that the drop was real and deep and by 2010 it was obvious that the drop was long lasting. So we arrive where we are today where the for various reasons (And the reasons for the drop in crime are a 500 page book at least) the crime rate has been steadily falling for almost all the time that everyone under 50 has been conscious of crime rate as a “thing” that can fall. So the appeal of the Punisher is greatly diminished in 2019 for the simple reason that the world that gave birth to him is pretty much dead.

    America Bandstand, a show that started in 1952 ended in 1989. Frequently when you see a period film most of what you see is very very specific to exact time it is set. Everyone is listening to songs utterly emblematic of the year it is set, wears fashion emblematic of the year it is set, and watches shows and movies emblematic of the year it is set. But here in 2019 I have plenty of clothes a decade old and I often listen to songs and watch movies that are twenty years old or older. And that doesn’t even account for pop-culture that is on but feels outdated. And that’s why despite American Bandstand running on TV for every year of the 1980’s I’ll be shocked if it ever appears in a period film about the 1980’s because it feels so un-80’s like; despite technically being more a part of the 80’s then ALF was.

    SNL. Why don’t hosts usually do the cold open? It seems like it would be a good way to draw in the audience who is, presumably, tuning in for the host.

    Like all right thinking people, I Love Dolly Parton and side note: Dollywood opened in 1986 but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t covered on the show. Not casting blame! You’ve got tons to cover but I think It’s a really interesting park because it’s been pretty successful for 30 years now while being SOMEHOW not owned by Disney or Universal. II don’t know if you’d ever want to cover it, but if you did and needed a specific date it got a new ride in Spring of 1990 which is as good an excuse as any if you want one.

    Limey. It has a commentary track where the director attacks the writer. Damn, I’ve got to listen to that someday. What is the most confrontational commentary track you have ever heard? For me it’s Deathstalker where star and director start out hostile to the female star (who is not there for the commentary) and by the end are openly insulting her.

    SuperStar. I wonder if you could pull of an Avengers/Expendables of SNL skit characters for a movie? Like have an overarching plot with one set of characters (Wayne and Garth get my vote!) but have as many other ones as you can fit in play a role too? Doable?

    Harsh Realm. I have such vivid memories of watching the pilot for this as it happened at one of my very first fraternity parties I ever attended as a member. Some seniors had an off campus house and as we were a dry fraternity all drinking happened there. It was LIT! So of course while everyone else was getting hammered I got enthralled in a cheesy Fox sci-fi show that was canceled after a couple of episodes. What I really remember is the character experiencing VR as it actually was in 1999 (clunky and awkward) and going, “Is this all?” and the VR operator being very disappointed that he wasn’t impressed. Later he finds “super-VR” (or whatever) that was going to be the thrust of the show but I love that they showed “real” VR for what it was in 1999. And I love that a joke-fake grudge word for bummer became the title for a show.

    I…. I wasn’t aware of it before now, but I kind of want to watch Island Hunters now…. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R2A5BY-a13c

    50th anniversary of Monty Python. I tried to watch the entire series when I was 23 and couldn’t get through it, despite loving Grail and Bryon. Anyone watched the entire series recently? Also, what is the best documentary on Monty Python?

    I haven’t watched it in 15 years but in my memory Angel is an evergreen show. This may be heresy, but I liked it better than Buffy. In fact, I stopped watching Buffy entirely around season 4 and only ever watched it when there was an Angel crossover. The basic startup of the show was incredibly sound because it was the same perfect set-up as Rescue Rangers; Adventure was literally their jobs. Why are our heroes looking for the sacred artifact? Someone hired them to. Why are the heroes protecting this guy from the demons that are attacking him? He paid them money. Every and ANY adventure hook had an easy shingle to hang from; the heroes for hire sign on their door. My only wish is that that they would have taken over the Evil Law Firm earlier. Personally I loved all the moral compromises they had to make and thought it fit the theme of, “How do you balance adulthood with your ideals,” better than any other supernatural show I’ve seen.

    The awarding of the Nobel Peace prize may be in October, but the nomination deadline for it is is 31 January at 11:59 PM. Obama became President on January 20, 2009 at noon. This means that he was nominated based on his performance during his first ELEVEN AND A HALF days in office. I admire the guy, I really do, but I find him getting nominated for the highest humanitarian honor in the world for his ELEVEN AND A HALF days of being in office to be utterly ridiculous and that mocking of it is completely justified. https://www.nobelprize.org/nomination/peace/

    They have scrubbed it from the net, but I always loved this SNL Sketch; https://snltranscripts.jt.org/91/91hwilt.phtml

    Graham couldn’t be here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ox9bcx_LZMs

    Cleese’s eulogy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i3f8_gMo1Ws

  3. Like Sara, I have a small part of my brain dedicated to the Frasier episode Radio Wars. Unfortunately, instead of me conflating I’m In The Mood For Love with Kelsey Grammer, my brain just decides to loop the Morning Zoo radio sting. About Kelsey Grammer. In the bath. Yeah, about once a month my brain sings “Frasier Crane’s Humongous Ass Contest” at me, and now I know that my brain has been doing that for TWENTY YEARS, I’m going to have a little lie down.

  4. Hot take, the Office episode where Pam & Jim got married is one of the worst episodes. It totally gets off the rails when Andy stabs his scrotum, and Pam has to drive him to the ER in the middle of the night. The viral meme reference at the end is so cringy–happy Jim realized it too.

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