Sunday, June 15, 2008

Soundtracks For Summer: "L"ove Shack

Part 5 in my "Soundtracks For Summer" Series.

Happy Father's Day, everyone. I know Sunday is a low-readership day, and this one will probably be no different.

For this occasion (and the fact that I'll be out of the house most of the day doing Father's Day stuff), I've decided to combine a "Soundtracks For Summer" entry with today's "Things That Start With ___" entry for the first and possibly only time ever, since both of these start with L.

Sung famously by the B-52s for their 1989 "Cosmic Thing" album, it's among their most legendary of songs. I always thought they recorded it earlier than that, this simply plays and sounds like a true 80s Song. As I said in the entry for B, if you've gone your whole life without listening to this one, you're either deaf, or a cyborg.

This a plain, flat-out funky dance song. The Love Shack seems like the best place in the entire world where "Love Rules" and that you can dance the day and/or night away, either on the floor or horizontally. I prefer the latter. As such, whenever I go clubbin' or something, this song MUST be played at least once on the DJ's mix list, or else there will be blood. Horrible, deadly, remixed blood all over the headphones. I'll never forget that funeral.

There's also a great summer memory behind this song. When I went to Cedar Point, I had to try out their Johnny Rockets, a now-chain restaurant that was still small back in 2003. It's a retro 50s-themed joint with all sorts of cosmic knickknacks like...well, imagine Arnold's from "Happy Days" and you got this place. They're most famous for their burgers and shakes, and I must say, I remember both being quite good. I also noticed that there were jukeboxes at every table.

When I stumbled upon "Love Shack," I said "Hey, Love Shack! I'll put some money in!" What I didn't know until the song began to play was that when this specific song was played in the jukebox, the entire staff runs out to the dining area and dances to the song. It was a funny yet odd experience. Fortunately, it seems that they only dance to it once an hour and not every single, freaking time someone pops it into the jukebox just to see if they'll do it again. It's another detail that I like about Cedar Point, they acknowledge that the little dance is completely stupid and undignifying, so they put their limits on it.

Some other facts about this song: There was an actual Love Shack that Kate Pierson lived in (which the song was written about), and it ended up burning down in 2004. Also, the lyric "TIN ROOF!/ Rusted!" means nothing, it was simply an ad-lib made by Kate in the recording session. It does NOT mean she was pregnant.

Now, as promised, here are some other things that start with L.

Lindenhurst: The town that I live in. It's not quite Suffolk County, not quite Nassau, but it gets the job done. It's your standard boring old small town in suburban Long Island. We used to have a bowling alley. It closed. We had a nice little second-run movie theater. It also closed. All of the fun stuff is either in the neighboring Babylons and such or in other towns on the Island. Hell, even our carnivals are somewhat pathetic, but mostly because they often make the mistake of scheduling them during larger festivals in Riverhead and Farmingdale.

My friends often groan at the fact that Lindenhurst is so far away from them. To them reading this: How the hell do you think I feel?! I drive 20 minutes to school every day, and I most often miss out on stuff because of the distance factor. There are days when I wish I could step out of my house and literally push the entire town 10 miles east.

The only real famous people that came from my town are Pat Benetar (no, the High School does not have a wing devoted to her), and the guy who played the Dad on the Wonder Years. I hope to be next.

Last Comic Standing: This is by far the only reality show I have watched, and have watched religiously. The basic premise is to find next great stand-up comedian in the country. There's the audition round (seriously, why do we need to see bad comics?!), then the semi-finals in Vegas where the best from all of the Audition Round compete to be whittled down to 10 or 12 finalists. Then the real "reality" part begins, where all the finalists live in a house together and participate in challenges, with one cast member being booted off each week until 5 are left to compete in the final round of pure stand-up material.

In recent seasons, there has been less and less footage of the house shown (fans complained about the lack of house footage in Season 4 to the point where there was no house at all in Season 5), and more and more bad comedians shown in the audition rounds. If you must know, The first season is by fay the best one, even if Dat Phan was crowned the winner. He beat out Ralphie May in the finals, and eliminated Dave Mordal in the House round. If Dave had won, he would've won the entire contest. Still, the dynamics we saw were amazing: drama (mostly between Dat and the other 9 housemates), actual sweet moments (the relationship between Dave and Rich Vos), some great unscripted moments (a mouse invading the house), a great Hide-and-seek prank where Dat Phan hid in the house while no one looked for him, and an actual alliance that formed, mostly from the East Coast comics: Vos, Ralphie, Dave, Tess and Cory Kahaney. It was also the only season so far where an actual unknown was crowned the winner. Sure, Josh Blue won Season 4, but "Mind of Mencia" of all places granted him his first major exposure in the industry.

This show has had its ups and downs. The first one, obviously, was Dat Phan. He's funny once, but thanks to the reality aspect and constant filming, that one set where he imitates his Vietnamese mom is all that he has. Another controversy struck in the second season where celebrity judges Drew Carey and Brett Butler (and all of us watching at home) were shocked at the fact that favorite Dan Naturman didn't move on to the finals while Ant & Gary Gulman, clients of Exec Producer Barry Katz, did. There was also the fact that Season 3, which pitted the Season 1 team against the Season 2 team, premiered less than a month after Season 2 ended. This was also the only season to be cancelled, as NBC pulled it off the schedule the exact week before its finale was supposed to air.

The current Season, the sixth, is probably the first season since the first that does not seem to be dominated by well-knowns and not-as-well knowns. Thanks to some spoilerage, I've learned that 12 finalists will move on this season, with only two of them being relatively familiar in the comedy world. About damn time, NBC.

In case you were wondering, here is every past LCS winner & runner up:

Season 1: Dat Phan (1st), Ralphie May (2nd)
Season 2: John Heffron, Alonzo Bodden
Season 3: Alonzo Bodden, Dave Mordal (which would've made him the best of Season 1!)
Season 4: Josh Blue, Ty Barnett (the lack of footage of him during the House round took us all by surprise by how kickass he was in the finals)
Season 5: Jon Reep, Lavell Crawford (a favorite of mine, wanted him to win)

Late Night w/Conan O'Brien: My favorite of the Late Night talk shows. Every night, I tune in to the hilarity and lose some major sleep over it. It's one of my goals to see at least one taping of it. It's filled with some of the most bizarre and random humor, although some segments have been getting repetitive. What is the point of showing fake State Quarters when there's only three left? Or SAT analogies now that they finally dropped them from the test? The celebrity surveys...Please don't get me started. The eccentric characters more than make up for it, which include The Evil Puppy, The Masturbating Bear, The Interrupter, Joel Goddard, Abe Vigoda, James Lipton, Little Jay Leno, the Fed-Ex Pope, the Kayak Guy, S&M Lincoln, Quackers the Shit-Eating Duck, The Fun Hole Guy, newcomer Euro-Trash Guy, and of course, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.

There's also the existence of "Random Arbitrary" characters such as Gorilla Nurse on An Old-Timey Abdominal Exerciser while playing Juice Newton's "Angel In The Morning," Castro Rabbit DJ, Hasidic Rabbi Tortoise Riding a Mechanical Bull, The World's Fastest Menorah, Fire Hydrant Pimp Riding a Skateboard, Cactus Chef Playing "We Didn't Start The Fire on The Flute," and Scuba Diving Meatloaf Sitting in a Wheelchair ("Chattanooga Choo-Choo" plays whenever the camera cuts to it). I swear I'm not making any of these up.

When the writers went on strike, it proved to be a blessing in disguise. Since there was no one to write his monologues or repetitive sketches, Conan had to improvise. This was hands-down the greatest month in the show's history. Conan started small like seeing how long he could spin his wedding ring on his desk, climbing up into the rafters, and creating his own German Disco Light Show. There was also an increase in Remote segments, which were always awesome. He had filmed in his Late Nite offices (played a real guitar while some other staffers were playing Rock Band), hid in his studio while an NBC tour ran through, helping out a staffer's problem in the Late Nite Men's Room, the infamous Conan/Colbert/Stewart fight, as well as visiting the apartment of director Jordan Schlansky (with Conan discovering that this health nut ate Gingerbread Pop Tarts). Then zaniness took over when Conan decided that he wished to fly through the studio via a Zipline to the point of adding rockets, rocket boots, an Oscar Meyer sticker to help sponsor the event, and using the Zipline to save Lincoln from being shot by John Wilkes Booth. He then branched out in how he present the show from his desk, like having his desk at the back of the studio, behind the audience.

And then there's this. Behold: THE SUPER-DESK!!!

Let's see Leno pull THAT off. It must have been epic to have been in that audience that night.

I apologize for the Lack of a witty title today, expect one tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, Last Comic Standing. I've only watched one episode of the new season so far, but I've watched every other season regularly. My first Angelfire website was all about how awesome I thought Dat Phan was in season 1. What a disappointment he turned out to be; I still hope maybe one day he can turn it around and maybe just be an actor since he obviously has trouble writing material.

I hated the lack of house last time around. The only change I do think is an improvement is I actually like Bill Bellamy over Jay Mohr. Jay Mohr is a funnier comic, but I thought he wasn't the greatest host, and I thought he was a little too supportive of certain comics he was affiliated with as opposed to the nobodies like Dat.

God, I forgot that Reep won last time. No wonder I don't care about this season, even though they added the super wonderful Oscar Nunez and Angela Kinsey.