Time Travel

What We're Loving - Days of Future Past

This week, in honor of the DCH Prom (get your tickets here), the What We're Loving Crew travels back to the bygone days of high school, and shares their memories of the pop culture that shaped them into the men and women they are today. conan-walker-lever-late-night-e1397435431476I attended senior prom in the spring of 2004 in Mansfield, TX. Now I understand that many of you view me as the peak of cool, which is fair as I’ve been known to sometimes receive comments on these blog posts, but dear reader, I haven’t always been like this. Back in high school, I was a staunch nerd who wore pleated pants and moved midway through my junior year. Basically, I didn’t have a ton of friends. In fact, I think it could be easily said that the person I spent the most time with during my senior year was Conan.

I wasn’t always familiar with the work of Conan O’Brien. I’ve always been more old man than child and didn’t often see the benefit of staying up past 9:00 pm. So when I first saw the ad on Comedy Central stating that the network was going to start to re-air Late Night with Conan O’Brien every morning, I didn’t know what to expect. At the same time though, I didn’t have much else going on, so I decided to give his show a shot and it quickly changed my life. Soon, I wasn’t just watching the morning re-run, but I was actually staying up until 11:30 to watch the original airing. That’s 11:30 PM! Don’t tell my parents.

I loved everything about Late Night with Conan O’Brien and in 2003-2004, he was knocking it out of the park on a nightly basis. This was the time that amazing improvisers that I’ve come to adore later in life, people like Jon Glaser and Kevin Dorff, were creating some of the most memorable bits and characters in the history of the program. The best example is the Walker, Texas Ranger lever, which still might be the funniest thing I’ve ever seen on a talk show. I remember watching Walker as a kid and being really confused as to whether I was supposed to take it seriously or laugh at it, and Conan’s show allowed me to view a dramatic show through a humorous lens. It sounds dumb, but I had never been given that sort of permission before I watched his show. Also, even though Conan was constantly poking fun at anything and everything, I never got the impression that his humor came from a mean place. The way his guests responded to him in each interview, you could tell he was well liked and respected. His ability to walk that line between laughing with someone and laughing at them is something that I still strive to accomplish.

Fun note: This past spring, I actually got the opportunity to see Conan O’Brien live when he came to Dallas. It was one of the coolest events I’ve ever attended because this man gave me something to look forward to each day when there weren’t many other reasons to wake up. And the way he went about earning those laughs on a nightly, or in some cases, morningly basis, was highly influential on the person I am and the person I continue to work towards being. I got a TON of things wrong when I was 17, but loving Conan was definitely something I got right. - David Allison

vimeo.com.Entertainment Tonight and Insider turn digital dreams into reality with Avid HD News solutions on VimeoEleven years feels like a lifetime ago, while simultaneously feeling like yesterday. I've heard that happens as you get older and the decades start zooming past you. Now I can agree with all of those fogies that time does speed up as you get older. I graduated high school on May 31, 2003, the day before my 18th birthday. And just a few weeks after my Senior Prom. That's a lot of coming of age milestones crammed into a pretty small window of time. I've spent the past few days really trying to step back into my younger self. What did I like? How did I think?

I liked a lot of things because I thought it was funny to like them more than liking them because I actually appreciated or enjoyed them. I know at some point I found a "Retro Dance" channel on the digital cable set of audio channels. I fell in love with the words "Retro Dance" as a genre of music . I did a persuasive speech in English class on the topic of Disco and its need to make a triumphant return. I don't think any of my friends or classmates actually believed I was into "Retro Dance", but I think I had my family going. My dad talked to me quite a bit about Donna Summer.

I had the Entertainment Tonight theme song as my ringtone on my Nokia. Yes, it was a midi. Was I a fervent fan of Entertainment Tonight? No. Was I even a mild fan of Entertainment Tonight? No. Did it crack me up when people would first have a look of "this sounds familiar" to "oh, I know what this is" to "why?"? Yes, it did.

Again for English class assignment, we had to bring an ornament for Christmas that meant something to us along with a quote, and present it to the class. Most everyone else had something meaningful: Bible quotes, a line from a Maya Angelou poem, or just something generally moving. I brought a McDonald's toy that was some sort of pink creature with a weird nose. I couldn't identify it. My quote, "I've always wondered what a lifetime supply of pudding looked like" was from the movie, Dude, Where's My Car? I thought it was a solid choice. Though if we can get real, I'm sure I was using this sort of wall of funny as a defense mechanism against exposing any honest feelings.

At some point in my twenties, I started to appreciate things for more than their ha ha, ironic value, and I daresay cultivate a deeper, more refined taste. But if I had need for a ringtone (I prefer my phone on silent), I would totally seek out Entertainment Theme song. In midi format. - Ashley Bright

Pulp_Fiction_coverThe year was 1995. I was a senior at small quaint Mt. Greylock Regional in Williamstown, Massachusetts. And I was in love with Pulp Fiction. My love affair with Quentin Tarantino’s second film began the previous summer. On a visit to NYU I picked up a copy of Film Comment and discovered that Pulp Fiction had won the Palm D’Or at Cannes. Being a fan of Reservoir Dogs, I was excited to hear about Tarantino’s next film. There was no real internet, no blogs back in 1995. I received all my movie news from television and magazines. Even before I saw a frame, Pulp Fiction became an obsession. Over the next few months, I gobbled up every morsel of Pulp info like a Big Kahuna burger. I read every article, tracked down the influences, watched Tarantino on Charlie Rose. As soon as the soundtrack came out, I bought it. My friends and I would listen to it in the car on the way to school every morning, trying to decipher as much as we could about the movie from the dialogue samples.

Finally, in October, the movie opened. I watched it Friday afternoon, right after school. I felt I knew so much about the movie that I wouldn’t be surprised. But I knew nothing. The parts I knew about – the watch monologue, Pumpkin and Honey Bunny in the diner, Zed’s death – were better than I imagined. And the parts I didn’t know about – Bret’s big brain, the adrenaline shot, the Wolf – were like nothing I had ever seen. A celebration of genres and stories and actors and cinematic moments, and everything worked. Everything but Tarantino’s performance as Jimmy. That naughty-naughty move he does with his fingers when Jules makes fun of the hand-me-down clothes makes me cringe every time.

I saw the movie again on Sunday. And again a week later. And again a few weeks after that. All told I saw Pulp Fiction six times in the theater. On my spring break trip that year, I laid in bed one night and started quoting the movie, word for word, from the beginning, while waiting for the room to stop spinning. I reached the cab conversation with Esmeralda Villa Lobos before I passed out.

There’s been a kind of revisionist history over the past fifteen years in regards to Tarantino’s oeuvre. Some people will say Jackie Brown is his best movie. For others it’s Inglorious Basterds. Django Unchained has its supporters. Those are all great movies, but Pulp Fiction is still the masterpiece. In the cinema of my lifetime there are two distinct phases: Before Pulp Fiction and After Pulp Fiction. The movie changed movies. To be there, to see it happen as it happened, that was truly special. – Ryan Callahan

imagesAh, prom season. The year was 2008. It was a simpler time when we were all "Bleeding Love" with Leona Lewis, getting "Low" (… low low low low low) with Flo Rida, and it was relevant, even humorous, to quote "My New Haircut" and "Unforgivable" through the high school hallways. I was loving all of those things along with my peers, but there was one thing I was very alone in loving. I was completely alone in being obsessed with the Australian comedy show, The Chaser’s War on Everything. The Chaser is an Australian comedy group, and this show was a satire of…well…everything. If you put The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, The Soup, and Candid Camera into a blender and mixed them all up, this show would appear in your glass when you poured it out, and it would taste damn good.

After everyone in my house went to bed, I would watch clip after clip on Youtube. It was just me, my dark bedroom, and Australian satire for hours. I couldn’t fully appreciate the jokes poking fun at their politicians, but I was completely on board at all of their merciless jokes at the expense of journalist Anna Coren and the rest of the Current Affairs/Today Tonight news team. Another part of the show I had no problems fully appreciating was Chaser member Andrew Hansen, my first internet-love. One segment he appeared in was "If Life Were A Musical." He and the other Chaser members broke out into song and dance directed at unsuspecting people on streets, in stores, and even once to The Veronicas. I was convinced he and I were perfect for each other, and I would imagine him singing songs to me and making me giggle. I haven’t thought about him in years, but writing this is bringing back so many old feelings. So...I think now is as good as time as any to make my move. Andrew Hansen, in the slim chance that you’re reading this: will you please go to DCH’s prom with me? I promise there will be singing and dancing and summer romancing. Come on. Make this girl’s high school dreams of come true. Just dance with/marry me already! See you Saturday! - Amanda Hahn

What We're Loving: Time Travel, Poor Translations, Classic Sitcoms, Barbie Sex

Rick and Morty Rick and Morty is the best show on television. There. I said it. Maybe that’s an overstatement, I don’t know. What I do know is that it’s the only show that I actually look forward to watching each week. Rick and Morty airs on Cartoon Network weekly, or more importantly, the newest episode is released each week for free on YouTube, then falls behind a paywall when the new episode comes out. It follows the adventures of Rick (basically a drunker, angrier version of Doc Brown from Back to the Future) and his nephew Morty (basically a younger, borderline special needs Marty McFly with natural awkwardness that makes him shaky instead of Parkinsons) as they travel throughout space and time, procuring seeds from inter-dimensional beings, saving an amusement park inside someone’s body, traveling through someone’s dreams in a parody of Inception, or escaping a reality simulator within a simulator within a simulator on an alien spaceship. The show, co-created by Community mastermind Dan Harmon, is worth watching for Rick’s dialogue alone, but the show is so layered (especially for having a run time of just over 20 minutes) that you’ll only appreciate it more with multiple viewings, as I have. Like a lot of viewings. Like I may have a problem. Like I can’t speak more than six words without slipping into Rick’s drunk stuttering voice. “M-M-Mo-Mor-Morty-Morty…” RUNNER UP PICK FOR THIS WEEK: 12 Years a Slave. - Nick Scott

Tiny Fuppets

Scott Gairdner got a tv show greenlit! I know that at face value the previous sentence is one that no one, except myself and maybe Scott Gairdner’s parents would care about, but trust me when I say this is big comedy news.  The animated Comedy Central show will be known as Moonbeam City and is set to star the vocal talents of Rob Lowe, Will Forte, and Elizabeth Banks, among others.  But Gairdner is the real reason to check out this show.  Over the past few years, he’s written some great stuff for Funny or DieConan and created my favorite animated web series, Tiny Fuppets. Moonbeam City won’t come out for a while, so let’s pass the time by watching some of the adventures of Kormit, Gonzor, Animanuel, and Tummi.

I love these shorts because they combine absurdist humor and translation of a translation dialogue. You know you’ve gone to Google Translate before and just typed in random words only to see the truncated, harsh translation that comes in return. Only me? Okay, that’s cool, that’s probably why I account for about 40,000 of these videos 50,000 views.  Also, Tiny Fuppets is essentially a play off of Muppet Babies, which was perfect television and never should have been cancelled. Yes, I’m implying that a show about cartoon baby versions of puppets should’ve had a Simpsons-like 30-year run, but I can stand by that statement. - David Allison 

Larry Sanders

I recently watched the final episode of The Larry Sanders Show as research for a new comedy project. The Larry Sanders Show is a classic HBO comedy that aired from 1992 to 1998 that follows Larry Sanders (Garry Shandling), a late -night talk show host who has to deal with the stresses of running a show and the antics of his celebrity guests. I had never seen a single episode before. I wish I had. I wasn’t sure what to expect but based on the description I was given by a friend, I did anticipate tears. Commercials can make me cry, so a final episode of a beloved television show is guaranteed tears. What I didn’t expect is how much I would enjoy the show as a whole. It was hilarious, absurd, and touching. I was particularly drawn to Arthur (Rip Torn), the producer, and Hank (Jeffrey Tambor), the sidekick co-host. Arthur is an old pro who keeps all of his feelings about the end of the show to himself to stay strong for everyone else. He’s kind of what I strive to be emotionally. I freak out if someone knocks on my front door even though I know I ordered a pizza 20 minutes ago. Keeping calm is not really my forte. Hank, on the other hand, is more like what I am now. He just wants to say goodbye to the America he’s talked to for the past 10 years. He knows there’s probably not much demand in show business for a former late-night talk show co-host. All he asks is a small farewell of his own and a moment of recognition. Watching him not get it is crushing. He later blows up at Larry and Arthur, demonizing them for not letting him have his final moment in the sun. I loved him for that. I would have had the exact same reaction. His anger was mine anytime I've been irrationally angry at a friend, whether I’m in the wrong or right. Also, Jim Carrey kills a rendition of “And I Am Telling You.” This show is a little older so if you’ve already seen it, watch it again. If you’ve never seen it, let’s have a marathon together, I’ll order pizza. - Sarah Wyatt  

Elect H MouseNelly Reifler’s debut novel, Elect H. Mouse State Judge, is a twisted, surreal, fever dream of a noir story and the funniest thing I’ve read in months. On the eve of election for State Judge, the daughters of candidate H. Mouse go missing. Fearing public ridicule and certain loss at the polls if he turns to the police - after all, how can he handle the duties of State Judge if he cannot protect his own family? - H. Mouse turns to the only people who can help him, a pair of sex-obsessed detectives/bagmen/fixers named Ken and Barbie. Now, it is important to note that H. Mouse is really a mouse, and Ken and Barbie are really Ken and Barbie dolls and this whole story takes place in the landscape of 70’s toys and memories. Despite the presence of childhood toys and mice politicians, this is no children’s tale, no silly story, but a dark and serious exploration of what it means to be a father, what it means to be a family, and the compromises we make to hide our weakness and vulnerability from the world. There is terror, there is violence and there is a whole lot of graphic Ken and Barbie sex. The book is deeply moving, darkly funny, and, at 103 pages, the perfect single-sitting read. – Ryan Callahan