mtv

What We're Loving: Branching Out, Lessons for Kids, Collaborating and Listening

Each Friday, DCH performers, teachers, and students offer their recommendations for what to watch, read, see, hear, or experience. This week David Allison wishes Bruno never returned, Jonda Robinson discovers the right time for treats, Molly Jakkamsetti waxes chumps like a candle.  urlIt’s always a strange feeling when a creative person, whose work you enjoy, decides to branch out and try a different medium. For some, like Donald Glover and Hugh Laurie, it works really well. For others, like Bruce Willis, IT DOES NOT WORK. You’ll notice that I put a portion of that last sentence in all caps, which was intentional as I was trying to reinforce just how much it doesn’t work sometimes. Even worse, these ventures sometimes ruin how much you’re able to appreciate the talents that drew you to them in the first place. It was with that level of trepidation that I decided to check out the band comprised of Harris Wittels, Paul Rust, and Michael Cassady. Individually, the three have done some fantastic work (Wittels-Parks & Rec/Humblebrag, Rust- Comedy Bang! Bang!/Arrested Development, Cassady-Earwolf/UCB) so on one hand, it seems like combining their talents had to work. On the other, they’re comedy writers/actors, so the idea of them starting a band is pretty terrible. So how did it end up? I really liked it! I’m rating the work of the band “Don’t stop or we’ll die” as WHAT I’M LOVING THIS WEEK (Note: This instance of all caps was to remind you of the title of this weekly piece).

Now I’m not here to tell you how to spend your money; I’m not Suze Orman. Plus, the production quality isn’t always the best. But you should at the very least check out these songs, and then, if/when you enjoy them BUY EVERY ALBUM THEY’VE EVER CREATED (Caps for commerce). Here are some of my favorites.

Once In A While -Proof that they can play and sing music!

Lectric Roller Skates -The classic tale of the folly of man.

The Ballad of Bird and Fox -A dramatic take on the parental responsibilities of a bird and fox in a crumbling marriage

- David Allison smart-kidsI read an article this week from Time entitled “How To Make Your Kids Smarter: 10 Steps Backed By Science.” Initially I overlooked it because I don’t have kids, and I enjoy naps too much to want any anytime soon. Then I thought about my students, and also myself, and decided that maybe this article could have something that I could use in my own life. Here is the list, along with my translation of what I’m actually hearing them say for my own life:

  1. Music Lessons (Translation: Dust off the guitar that you bought after an inspiring live performance by Sheryl Crow and finally learn how to play “My Favorite Mistake.”)
  2. The Dumb Jock Is A Myth (Translation: Never stop looking for a smart, athletic man to marry.)
  3. Don’t Read To Your Kids, Read With Them (Translation: Kids better start pulling their weight.)
  4. Sleep Deprivation Makes Kids Stupid (Translation: You SHOULD take all those naps. And sleep in when you can!)
  5. IQ Isn’t Worth Much Without Self Discipline (Translation: Get grits...er, I mean, “grit.”)
  6. Learning Is An Active Process (Translation: You should read on the treadmill.)
  7. Treats Can Be a Good Thing--At The Right Time (Translation: It’s ALWAYS the right time for a treat.)
  8. Happy Kids = Successful Kids (Translation: Choose to be happy, so you can be successful. To reference Sheryl Crow again, “It’s not having what you want/It’s wanting what you’ve got.”)
  9. Peer Group Matters (Translation: Hang out with people who are smarter and cooler than you so you can become smarter and cooler.)
  10. Believe In Them (Translation: Believe in yourself! If you don’t, how can you expect others to?)

In closing, I offer you this quote from the article: “Intelligence isn’t everything. Without ethics and empathy really smart people can be scary.” So get out there, smarty pants! You’ve got so much to offer--use these tips and put those smarts to good use! - Jonda Robinson

mqdefaultIt’s been a rough week in Dallas, amirite? Let me take you back to a simpler time, all the way back to 1999, when MTV aired a special called 25 Lame. It was the 25 lamest videos as chosen by then-MTV viewers. The network vowed that once these videos were played on this special, they were never to be seen on MTV again. (Insert your own comment on how they ‘never play videos anyway).’

The hosts were 4 well known comedians: Jon Stewart (He may have just started hosting The Daily Show), Janeane Garafolo (who is seen smoking on set - no e-cigs back then!!), Denis Leary (sardonic as ever), and Chris Kattan (yeah, he was on SNL then). They watched each video and mocked them as they aired, a la Beavis and Butthead, and at the end they would “destroy” the tapes ( I remember one ended up in a blender).

As you would expect, most of them were one hit wonders (The Macarena, Milli Vanilli, and Rico Suave to name a few) and failed attempts by celebrities to launch singing careers (Eddie Murphy and Don Johnson were in the top 5).

The most uncomfortable moment was when Vanilla Ice made a special appearance to destroy his video for “Ice Ice Baby.” The hosts all acknowledged how awkward it was for them to mock the video while Ice is sitting right there. When they give him the chance to destroy his video, he takes a baseball bat and starts swinging around the set, almost hitting the hosts. I’m not sure if it was all staged, but I remember Kattan looked genuinely frightened. You can hear someone off set saying “that’s enough” so I think maybe it was a planned stunt that Vanilla took too far.

If you search “MTV 25 Lame” on You Tube, you may only find this part of the special. I hope you watch more of it, their comments are still pretty funny. Denis Leary describes Four Non Blondes “What’s Up” as the same thing he hears from a lady sitting on a street corner in New York, screaming “HEYY YEAAH YEAAH YEAH”… - Molly Jakkamsetti

#Ashtag Week 6: I Still Know Nothing

This week I'm continuing my foray into the world of today's popular culture. MTV aired their annual video music awards, the VMAs, over the weekend. I do not have cable, so I didn't watch them. Even in my teen years (my peak submersion into pop culture) I rarely watched the VMAs. Although, I did always tune in for the MTV Movie Awards. Who new MoonMans were still a thing?

I probably should have invaded the home of one of my cable-having friends so that I could have watched the awards show and did this piece some justice. Instead, we'll let the Internet fill me in on what happened. As it stands, most of the top searches relate to the VMAs. Blue Ivy, the toddler daughter of Jay-Z and Beyonce, apparently stole the show. Katy Perry tweeted, “OMG BLUE IVY JUST PERSONALLY WAVED AT ME. MY LIFE IS OVER.” The three-piece family hugged and smooched on stage. The audience cooed.

Miley Cyrus won for "Wrecking Ball" and sent a homeless teenager up to accept on her behalf in an effort to raise awareness of youth homelessness, a la Marlon Brando sending the Apache woman up to accept his Oscar for the Godfather. By the by, I'm part Apache and the lady that accepted for Brando kind of looked like my mom in her youth. I just like telling people that I'm part Apache. It makes me feel cool. Alright, I'm moving on. Geronimo.

In reading up on the VMAs, I came across several names that I was not familiar with like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Jessie J. I watched their videos and it turns out that I had heard the songs before. My next sentence is going to get me some dirty looks from folks, but it's the truth. When I had heard the Ed Sheeran song in passing, I thought it was a Justin Timberlake song. My bad.

The number of presenters and performers' names that I had never heard of outnumbered the names that I did recognize. There's a girl band out there named Fifth Harmony winning awards. Who knew? I made it 40 seconds through their video, "BO$$," before I turned it off. The lyrics "Michelle Obama, purse so heavy" were on a screechy repeat. I can only take so much, folks.

I do know of Nicki Minaj and Taylor Swift, who were both heavily featured on the show. I read a recap describing Minaj's wardrobe malfunction as "dangerously close to revealing her upper and lower front." I'm not exactly sure why the term, "upper and lower front" made me giggle, but it did. Neither front was exposed because Nicki Minaj held her dress closed, while she sang... Rapped? I don't know.

This is actually way more clothing than we've come to expect from MTV. It's like they are Amish or something.

I haven't been able to find an actual video of it, but the reviews of Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels' appearance all say it was incredibly awkward. The two were there to promote the upcoming sequel, "Dumb and Dumber To." Carrey fell off the stage doing a dance cracking a joke involving ebola. I hope we've all learned what happens when you make fun of ebola. You fall down. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

I've spent this entire week's #Ashtag recapping the VMAs, and I'm okay with it. In looking at pictures of the red carpet, presenters, and performers, I learned that I still know very close to nothing about today's youth and what they're digging. Honestly, there are entire television shows, music genres, and celebrities that I have absolutely never heard of. So, let's meet back here next week, so I can keep getting a little less ignorant. Or a little more, depending on your perspective.

As a special note because I know you care: I made it to the A-list and I bought that house in Miami I had my eye on. #kardashian:hollywood

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the Improv Training Program at DCH and a level 3 sketch writing student. She performs every weekend at DCH. 

#Ashtag Week 5: Science and Simplicity

By Ashley Bright Welcome back to another week of #Ashtag, where I educate myself of all things trending online. This week, the Internet has been filled with some serious matters and actual news events. Let's not worry about such things here.

Not when there's a video titled "Tortoise vs Truck" topping the YouTube searches. This video contains 34 seconds of a small tortoise chasing a remote controlled truck. The little tortoise appears to be giving it its all in the chase; it really wants that truck. Sometimes life is just that simple. The tortoise just wants to catch the truck.

Another top video this week is titled "Jellyfish Stinging In MICROSCOPIC SLOW MOTION - Smarter Every Day 120." I'm leaving the capitalized words in the title because I am a purist. This video is not as simple as the tortoise vid because it contains words like, "nematocyst." I've never been stung by a jellyfish, but this video did interest me. Maybe the replica of a jellyfish made from a balloon did it for me. Or maybe it's because I feel relatively certain that I have the luck to get stung by a jellyfish, and that's it's just my lack of time in the sea that has kept it from happening so far. The video ends with a call-to-action from James Cook University looking for undergrad and grad students interested in helping to solve the mystery of the box jelly's cardiotoxin venom. Maybe some of the many scientists at DCH will heed that call? Actually, no, please don't move to Australia. I love you guys.

The number one video on YouTube this week is titled, "It's a Shoo-In for Bright Dike." I don't like this title. Mostly because my last name is Bright. But also because the title is wasted opportunity for a pun. The video contains a soccer player kicking his shoe off and into the goal instead of kicking the ball into the goal. Shoe-in, folks, not shoo-in. Also, sports. (This is where I blow a raspberry sound for my own amusement.)

The #ALSIcebucketchallenge has also ruled the Internet this week. I was aware of this because of Facebook. The challenge consists of celebrities dumping water on their head and challenging other celebs and rich folks to do the same in an effort to raise awareness for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. And now you and I both know what ALS stands for. If you knew before this, well good for you. Again, please don't move to Australia.

Compared to all those "prison challenges" she once faced, this Ice Bucket Challenge is probably a breeze for Lady Martha.

Another top hashtag this week is #vote5sos. This is related to the MTV's Hottest that I wrote about last week. Last week, One Direction was topping the list. I knew that One Direction was a musical group. I had even discovered last week that I have heard some of One Direction's music. Until I saw #vote5sos and Googled its definition, I had never heard of 5sos. It's short for the boy band, 5 Seconds of Summer. Again, never heard of them. Based on the photos on their website, they are four teen boys with fairly emo haircuts who are big fans of doing the duck face. According to Wikipedia, they are Australian teens who gained popularity by covering songs and posting the videos to YouTube. They hit it big when One Direction invited them to join their tour. One Direction. Australia. Everything is related. Time is a flat circle.

Speaking of flat circles, I have yet to gain more than 10 K-stars in the Kardashian game. But I did make it to the B-list and I am quickly approaching the A-list. Color yourselves impressed, folks.

Ashley Bright is a graduate of the DCH improv training program and a level 2 sketch writing student. She's also an intern for the DCH blog. You can see Ashley and the rest of her sketch writing class perform their sketch show this Thursday at 8PM at DCH.