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Tag Archives: TV

A Heinous[1] Proposal: Last-Minute Pitch for Punny Fall TV Shows

30 Apr

Now is the time of year when executives at the major national broadcasting networks begin to decide which TV shows they’re going to give pilots to in the fall lineup, and in four short weeks they will announce to America what lies in store this coming September. While there are some clear front runners, it’s still too early to tell which pilots are flops waiting to happen and which will be the next Grimm: the police procedural/fantasy hybrid based in the world of Grimms’ Fairy Tales that is still keeping viewers spellbound three seasons in. Fridays, 9/8c[2].

This dude is just enthralled with Grimm's whatever whatever.  (via digitaltrends.com)

This dude is just enthralled with Grimm’s whatever whatever. (via digitaltrends.com)

There are also some concepts floating around out there that are amazingly ridiculous[3], but the proposed concepts are missing one thing. There is a severe lack of series titles built around fantastically groan-inducing puns[4]. That’s why I’ve prepared this list of pun-based TV pilots that I’m trusting one of you RTVF readers to get into the right hands.

ABC: A drama-comedy about Continue reading

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Your Comprehensive and Completely Unbiased Guide to the Emmys

22 Sep
It's like the Oscars, but with slightly less Billy Crystal.

It’s like the Oscars, but with slightly less Billy Crystal.

If you’re anything like me, or any other person in a first world country, then you spend 90% of your preallocated social time binge-watching TV. Whether it’s through your roommate’s Netflix account that you’ve secretly been using for months (sorry Charleston Nippleberry), or maybe you’re one of those high rollers who can afford to pay for Comcast AND booze, you will make sure to get your daily fix.

The Emmys are like high school senior superlatives; everyone pretends they don’t matter, but they’re thrilled to tears when they get one (#MostLikelyToBeOnCopsClassOf2010). You could plop yourself down on the couch and watch the Emmys live, but let’s be real: ain’t nobody got time for that. Sunday nights are reserved for clearing the empty PBR cans from your apartment and trying to find creative ways to cover your new hickey before work the next day. So don’t bother DVRing it, you can find the condensed version of the probable outcomes below.

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The Netflix Treatment: Which Other Shows Should Be Resurrected?

29 May

Arrested Development caused more of an uproar this weekend than an Apache-themed party at the Arizona capitol building, making every social media account the dumping ground for half-assed references to the banana stands and one-armed men. It’s nice to know that everyone can spoil the fun at the same time! Binge-watching is the new hip thing like moms in bell-bottom jeans or Hillary Duff’s clothing line at Kohl’s. It’s has the fun addictive properties of cocaine and the similar benefits of alienation from friends.

With Ronald Reagan out of the White House and his crack battle long over, there’s no stopping this infectious streaming disease. Plus Barry dug the shit out Continue reading

Sherman Ave’s Dating Profile

14 Nov

A good profile picture should stick in peoples minds.

Haaaiii guyzz, I’m new here. And bitterly disappointed. Was anyone else under the impression that Sherman Ave was a dating site? Kept exclusively for Northwestern’s most heinous sexual predators and most socially awkward? I thought they were just really into necrophilia, seeing as they spend an awful lot of time talking about hooking up with dead historical figures.

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The Politics of Game of Thrones, Or How Westeros Learned to Stop Preparing for Winter and Kill Decent, Honest Politicians and So Can You

21 Apr

Brace yourself... A treatise on GoT, Poli Sci, and Boobies is coming

So your poli-sci professor is dropping Game of Thrones[1] references in class and you have no idea what they mean or how they relate and — what’s that? You don’t go to lecture? So you truly ARE a poli-sci student, then. Well played. BUT if you HAD gone to lecture, you might have wondered how Game of Thrones, a book[2] about dragons and child-rape and hippies,[3] could be turned into a TV show about brothels and betrayal and still have any relevance to your major.

It’s quite simple really: Game of Thrones is the political thriller of the decade. Yes, it’s about sex and violence and incest and decapitation and rape and revenge and boobies, but at its core GoT is all about the political maneuvers of exorbitantly rich people. So it’s an allegory for American politics, and that is RELEVANT. The following is a breakdown of just a few of the political theories and concepts that one can derive from the GoT universe. Mind you, this article delves into some of the issues well beyond the current scope of the TV series, but I will try to keep spoilers to a minimum.

Put another way,
FIRST SEASON SPOILER ALERT THROUGHOUT.

“Knowledge is Power” versus “Power is Power”
Poli-Sci Concept at Play: IR Theories of Liberalism and Realism.

One of the more powerful moments of the HBO rendition of GoT thus far was a particular scene involving Petyr Baelish (aka Littlefinger) and Cersei Lannister. Cersei goads Littlefinger about his lack of nobility, and Littlefinger volleys back with a reference to the fact that Cersei regularly fucks her twin brother Jaime. At this point, Baelish states that “knowledge is power,” launching into a School House Rock sing-and-dance number. Cersei cuts him off in the middle of his tap-dancing solo, replying with “Power is Power” sans accompaniment for dramatic effect.

What should be clear at this point is that Cersei is possibly the worst politician ever. Baelish, on the other hand, is a skilled player of the game of thrones (DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE). Their two statements illustrate their personal realities. Baelish believes in a calculated, informed approach to politics, operating within an ordered (albeit ass-backwards) system that, while not regulated by a higher authority, has a logic and security to it. Cersei, on the other hand, believes that “EVERYONE IS OUT TO KILL MY CHILDREN AND I WILL FUCK THEM ALL WHICHEVER WAY I NEED TO IN ORDER TO MAKE SURE MY BITCHTASTIC CHILDREN RUIN THE KINGDOM.” (Except Myrcella and Tommen, cuz they’re actually not so bitchtastic.) Really though, Cersei believes the world is chaos and the only security lies in loyalty to family. Taken to a macro-political level, Baelish represents the liberal IR approach (minus the supranational authority, mind you) while Cersei reflects the defensive, self-interested, lone-wolf lioness realist perspective.

What's the correct Poli Sci term for 'boning around?'

How NOT to Fight an Insurgency, Cersei Style
            Poli-Sci Concept at Play: “Winning Hearts and Minds,” “Stateness,” and COIN[4] Theory

From the moment Cersei Lannister is made Grand Inquisitor Queen Regent, you know that the Iron Throne Administration is about to suffer a cuntastrophe of heinous proportions. Cersei has one redeeming quality: she loves her children so much that she would bone or kill anybody just to protect her precious incest love-children. While her heart is in the right place, Cersei goes about administering to her son’s kingdom such that EVERYBODY wants to fuck her, and not in the good way. Actually, everyone wants to fuck her the good way too, but in an “I can’t believe you smanged your brother AND cousin and let your son boss you around and made Westeros ripe for invasion by zombie polar bears” angry breakup-sex kind of way. Honestly, the only person in Westeros who didn’t want to bang Cersei is her late husband, Robert Baratheon, and that’s because he was too busy making his own bastard children.[5]

If Cersei ran for an election, her list of policy choices might go something like this: “Kick out all the poor people, appoint all the assholes, murder all the children, throw emotional fits whenever presented with unpleasant realities about politics, and look really feggin’ hawt while doing it.” Unfortunately, these policies are the EXACT formula General David Petraeus derived in figuring out how NOT to fight the Taliban.[6] Truly, Cersei is more alienating than Franz Kafka International Airport. “But it’s for the children,” she says. Except the dead ones, right Cersei? (I must confess I’m way more upset that she killed Sansa’ direwolf, Lady.)

It might not have mattered whether Cersei bothered to court public opinion if Joffrey hadn’t gone and been such a queefsampler. With one swing of a sword, the entire realm starts playing Risk. Or Stratego. Or Monopoly.[7] I was kind of strategy-deprived as a child. Anywho, House Lannister ends up with a pretty broken kingdom to manage. You’ve got flamboyant king-aspirants, grumpy king-aspirants, werewolf king-aspirants, crazy fireproof dragon-lady queen-aspirants, and creepy British people (Greyjoys), all refusing to form alliances, all vying for the Iron Throne. And they all have armies fighting each other and challenging the Red Keep’s authority. Basically, practically nobody wants to be part of the current regime as it exists, and many of them want to redraw the map of Westeros, a set of conditions which qualify as “stateness” according to Linz & Stepan, Poli Sci’s mildly less pretentious answer to Simon & Garfunkel.

Why Tyrion Can Get Away With a Murder He Didn’t Commit by Hiring a Big Dude to Kill Another Big Dude
Poli-Sci Concept at Play: Due Process and the Rule of Law, Patronage Politics

Tyrion Lannister is an incredibly successful dwarf/midget/little person: he’s pissed over the edge of the Wall, slept in a sky cell, fucked bitches, got money, slapped Joffrey repeatedly, been made the Hand of the King, and managed to avoid being tossed like a ragdoll (this is easily his greatest achievement, since normal people apparently can’t help tossing dwarfs). There’s plenty more to come for Tyrion Lannister, too (including tossing, perhaps), but one of the harsh truths of Tyrion’s life is that he still relies on big people to fight his physical battles for him. Tyrion has an astounding intellect, one of those where every split-second quip he makes sounds as if it’s more carefully and meticulously planned than Daenerys’ strategy to retake Westeros (1. Get dragons 2. cross sea 3. ????? 4. PROFIT). Tyrion still can’t escape the violent tendencies of his fellow Westerosi, however, and when those occasions arrive (which they do, often), Tyrion is forced to outsource his own personal security.

But it’s one thing to hire bodyguards, and quite another to convince a man that he should fight to the death to prove your innocence before gods and men. Yes, you heard correctly, the laws of Westeros allow a man accused of a crime to choose trial by combat rather than panel of judges (Germany would never give anything better than a 9.5, anyway). Not only can the biggest bully on the playground defend himself from any crime by taking on single challengers, he can also outsource this service if he’s feeling particularly lazy. GOD DUE PROCESS IS DEAD. Or  I suppose it never existed for Westeros. One can’t help but think this set of circumstances is exceptionally fortuitous for Tyrion, a dwarf with no combat skill in a realm of knights and total tryhards. Well, only so because Tyrion happens to be the son of the richest and most powerful man in Westeros, Tywin Lannister.

So, in other words, if you have enough money and influence, you can get out of practically any kind of legal affair. What does this sound like? No, not life in a third world country, but close. It’s CHICAGO POLITICS!!!@$#!#!@)(@.[8]  Buying off people is only part of the political game in sweet home Chicago, though; you also have to appoint people to political offices based on ANYTHING but merit. Tyrion manages this in spades, although the people he removes (Cersei’s people, no less) in the process are even less qualified than the new administration. Of course, there’s the longstanding problem of needing to continuously appease those from whom you buy your base of support, but Tyrion and co. are YOLO’ing so hard that it’s going to take something special from Cersei to end their p-trip.

Ned Stark was an Honest Politician, Which Was His Worst Decision Ever
            Poli-Sci Concept at Play: The Reality of the Political Arena

If you don’t know by now that Ned Stark is dead and you’re still reading and you’re upset that I’ve ruined ERRTHANG then you’ve already gone too far and might as well keep reading.

Yes, Ned is dead, baby. It sucked. It still sucks. Unlike most people, I had no idea our precious Eddard was going to lose his head Queen of Hearts style (though the parallels with Cersei are striking enough) because I managed to dodge all of the spoilers. Sorry about that. Ned was the last great hope for peace in Westeros, mostly because everyone respected him even if they hated him.

Ned’s death honestly shouldn’t have been a surprise to anyone who has studied how weakly-supported honor systems function in feudal societies run by incestuous blonde rich people, which is totally what politics is, has been, and shall remain forevermore. Ned made a number of grave mistakes in his political dealings, including: trusting people, not having his own massive private army, not courting special interests, relying on the rule of law, depending on mortals, depending on gods, and not taking hostages. In other words, Ned had faith in mankind, and it was a really bad idea. Littlefinger even told him so. And Tyrion, who succeeds Ned as Hand of the King, shows Nearly Definitely Headless Ned what politics are all about: specifically, putting your own cronies in place and making every enemy think twice about their own people.

Ned’s worst mistake EVAR, though, was in not letting sleeping dogs lions lie, especially since one was that total bitch Cersei and another was her mad dog-of-a-son Joffrey, not to be confused with the rabid dog Gregor Clegane, the servant dog Sandor Clegane, or the blue dog from Go Dog Go. It’s generally a good idea for insecure newbie politicians to not start shit their first year in office. But Ned is a man of honor, a man who values principles and the rule of law. Ned just HAD to play “Who’s the Daddy” Maury Povich style, except he forgot to bring the requisite huge tatted-up bouncers. It’s a damn shame, because we all know Ned Stark was basically the only guy south of the Wall who gave a shit about what’s going on north of the Wall. Really, all he ever says is “Winter’s Coming.” That’s like if Joe Biden went around saying “Shit’s gonna go down with China/Pakistan/Iran sometime soon.” In appreciating the exterior threat while political rivals are squabbling for titles, Ned mirrors the professional approach of Vladimir Putin the goddamn Batman. But Game of Thrones would be very boring if Ned had stayed alive and fixed everything, just like our country would have its shit WAY too together if politicians operated efficiently and professionally. Therefore, Ned had to die for Westeros to learn how to function, which it won’t in time for winter, but Ned can’t think THAT far ahead, now can he?[9]

END SPOILER ALERT. Ned Stark dies. The end.


[1] If I know Northwestern students, which I don’t because I have no friends except my mom and Jebus, I’m betting you people are gonna get all upset about how it’s actually A Song of Ice and Fire and how people are ruining your precious book series, this writer included. Face the facts: Game of Thrones is the de facto title now. It’s a way better title, too. Now go back to your disturbingly hypersexualized My Little Pony memes.

[2] I have consulted with George R.R. Martin and he has deemed this summation apt. And yes, I have read the books.

[3] Read as: children of the forest.

[4] COunter-INsurgency theory, not COitus INterruptus theory, although sometimes you think the latter might have helped make the former unncessary. 50% of the time, it works everytime.

[5] The real theme of GoT, more than anything, is that people are sexually irresponsible. Even the ones you think couldn’t possibly be. Looking at you, Varys the eunuch.

[6] Petraeus’ counterinsurgency doctrine also mentioned something about “it puts the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again,” but I figure they don’t have hand lotion or hoses in Westeros so it doesn’t apply.

[7] There’s a GoT board game, by the way. It’s cooler than Settlers of Catan, because it makes you hate your friends. So it’s just like Monopoly.

[8] These are boobies.

[9] The answer is no.

New Year’s Eve Checklist

31 Dec

So Christmas is over and the time for relaxing is behind us. You have only one week left before you need to go back to Evanston. While you probably don’t have your New Year’s Eve plans set yet, follow this checklist and you might make it out of the night with some dignity and a few new friends. At the very least, you’ll have a couple good stories and no less than three inexplicable bruises.

Bonus points if you nail that one dick from Junior Year English Class with the cork.

1. Drink
Going home can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people. It can mean relaxing, watching TV, losing the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, and even reading (as dark as that may sound). However, to most, it probably means raging and drinking with friends and making bad decisions like you’re right back in high school. While most nights on break can feel more casual and laid back, New Year’s Eve is the night where you get to show all your friends and the randos at the party what you’ve learned at a higher learning establishment, primarily your newfound raging capabilities. An innocent bystander at the party might say, “Oh you go to Northwestern? I go to UC Santa Barbara and party on the beach because it’s 70 degrees year round. You must…like…do a lot of work and stuff.” Just wait, person who I’ve never met, because by the end of the night I will not only be blackout and ghostriding down Market Street, but also in the midst of a heinously deep conversion with a cop about the futileness of the Occupy Wall Street Movement and probz will get a fb friend request from him/her in a few days. Where did you say you went to school again, some, like, state school or whatever?

2. Hook Up
Go for it. You’ve been eying her for this whole party. She wants you. Just try to keep it classy and remember you’re not in the keg anymore, and there’s a decent chance that she actually knows where you live.

Nobody said it would be easy.

3. Wake Up the Next Morning
If you wake up the next morning, no matter where that may be, don’t worry, you made it. You made it through another year alive and you’re still raging like there’s no tomorrow. Now try to act like you have an idea of where you are, find your car, and drive home before your parents start assuming you’re dead and rent out your room.

4. Do Not Black Out Before the New Year
Even though counting down New Years may not be the ultimate highlight of the night, it’s up there. Blacking out before New Year’s kind of puts a damper on your memory of the night and it also makes the previous point a little more traumatic. If you can make it to midnight with a little consciousness and the ability to maneuver your two feet then you’re doing well: feel free to do whatever you please for the rest of the night. And remember that only on New Year’s Eve is the saying “nothing good happens after 2 AM” completely null and void. If you go home before 5am you’re doing something wrong. If the party is at your house, then congrats on having wonderful parents, can I like come over? I’ll have Mario Balotelli bring some fireworks too.

You'll always have your bros.

5. Get All Sentimental About Home
Since we’re on the quarter system here at Northwestern, we go back to school only one day after New Year’s. That not only makes this party your last chance to go hard before you head back to school and snow and total heinousness, it also reminds you how much you love being home and how awesome your friends are. So make about 50 toasts over the course of the night, reminisce over past debauchery, and even cry if that’s your thing. Everyone is blackout so they won’t even remember those two guys crying near the champagne.

Andy Shartwood

4 Nuisances Of Being Home

18 Dec

They say there’s no place like home. While it has been quite fantastic to spend some time relaxing at home with my family now that finals are over, there are certain aspects of being home that I had forgotten how much I don’t like. Indeed, sadly, home doesn’t consist solely of gourmet food and a nice bed. So without further ado, I present – in all my glorious bitching – four things that have bothered me since I’ve come home.

Nothing says "Christmas" like a shouting match with your father over light placement

4. Putting Up Christmas Lights
There’s just nothing like a Christmas tradition. Every December, my parents hand me a string of sorry-ass fucking Christmas lights and a ladder (which, incidentally, is about as stable as the Zambian government) and give me one objective: Make the 25-foot leafless tree in front of our house look slightly more festive and slightly less flaccid. It’s especially fun when, after an hour spent climbing around the tree like a paraplegic chimpanzee, I finish decorating the tree to discover that approximately a quarter of the lights actually function. Ultimately, though, it’s worth the Christmas cheer. Every time I look at that pathetic tree and the lights which appear to have been put up by a blind lemur, I am filled with an overwhelming sense of holiday spirit. And by holiday spirit, I mean uncontrollable rage.

3. Losing To My Parents in Scrabble
I don’t know about you guys, but I love shit-talking (Side note: Being from Denver, Tim “The Jesus” Tebow has regaled me with a whole anthology of shit-talking materials). Therefore, when my parents suggest a casual post-dinner Scrabble game, I immediately acquire the attitude of a theoretical lovechild of Terrell Owens and Pau Gasol. This shit-talking strategy pays off richly, seeing as I often demolish my parents and subsequently run naked victory laps around the dining room table. And this isn’t me bragging about my Scrabble skills; the case is rather that my parents don’t give two shits about whether or not their placement of “twat” (I truly wish I were lying about my dad playing that in Scrabble) opens up availability to the Triple Word space. Tonight, however, my shit-talking strategy failed me, as I fell short by one point against my mom. Ugh. Now I just feel like a douche.

2. Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace
I never thought it would be possible to make such a trainwreck out of a movie starring Natalie Portman, Ewan McGregor, and Samuel L. Jackson, but damn it all if it hasn’t been done. I mean, seriously, what a steaming cinematic shitstack. The kid who starred as Anakin Skywalker (out of principle, I’m not looking up the little fucker’s name) is more obnoxious than the Nyan Cat on methamphetamines. And Jar Jar Binks? I don’t know whose idea it was to combine the voice of an illiterate Louisiana swamp-person with the visual representation of a banana peel with birth defects, but that idea single-handedly ruined my childhood. Honestly, the only thing they could have done to make this movie any worse would be casting Nick Cage as Senator Palpatine. Yeah, just imagine it.

"To the nights you wish you could forget."

1. Vodka Commercials
Maybe this is something I’m just noticing now because I spend 8 hours a day watching TV (luhhhh vacation), but vodka commercials are absolutely preposterous. The one that I find most personally absurd is a Grey Goose commercial, featuring the tagline: “To the nights you’ll never forget.” I don’t know what sort of idiots are running the marketing department over at Grey Goose, but they clearly lack a fundamental understanding of alcohol. Granted, the tagline “To the nights you’ll blackout and then discover five weeks later that you vomited gratuitously” isn’t quite as catchy, but it is certainly more accurate. It just seems that somewhere in the attempt to craft a convincing image-based appeal, the morons over at Grey Goose forgot some of the drawbacks of downing vodka. If I were Grey Goose, I’d try something more along the lines of “To the poke wars you drunkenly initiated with the entirety of your high school government class” or “To the texts you receive from your mom the next morning saying ‘You might want to take that video off of Facebook.’”

Sherman Ave Freshman Guide: Academics

10 Aug

So apparently, Northwestern University is a pretty damn good school. But what should you do after you get in? Here at Sherman Ave, we have been painstakingly researching the answers to all the questions incoming freshman were always too afraid to ask, as well as the questions that we totally wished we had thought of before entering this bastion of academic integrity. Our first topic? How to navigate Northwestern’s sea of academic options to engineer the greatest education possible.

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