I got a kick out of this Mutts strip from September.
Mutts for 2018-09-13 © 2018 Patrick McDonnell.
The most amusing part to me is that it doesn’t really break the fourth wall but accomplishes something very like what we think of as breaking the fourth wall by not breaking the panel’s third* wall, surprising the characters — and in turn the reader — by suddenly reneging on the contract that allows panel borders to be drawn in the same ink as any lines defining solid objects within a strip’s panels yet be traversable by said objects as portals to the rest of the world being depicted.
[*While I’m not sure the other “walls” have a conventionally accepted numbering, if
you count from the left clockwise in a plane intersecting the flat page or screen (or the proscenium of the stage, from whence the concept originates) — the second/middle wall being the background, parallel to the unseen “fourth wall” through which we view the action — you end up with the left and right walls being the first and third, respectively.]
Higher priorities commanding my attention mean that, even as older posts slowly get refurbished amidst ongoing technical problems, new content here will continue to be sparse at best for a while — so the soup can is long overdue for display. Not the greatest way to mark the blog's anniversary, but that's the way the cookie crumbles... or at least the way to cooking Campbell's. Please check in every now and then.
When Larry Wilmore's abruptly canceled Nightly Show ended this past Thursday,
I stuck around to watch @Midnight. Since the Presidential campaign and the Summer Olympics provide no shortage of springboards for Twit-friendly topical humor, I’m assuming we have the program's two-week hiatus to thank for the evening’s mundane Hashtag Wars category: #BirdTV. Personally, I enjoy having an evergreen subject to riff on given that updates to the blog will remain infrequent for some months, so here, minus a few brainstorms that I’d seen others beat me to when I took a quick scroll through the feed on Twitter, are…
My Top Twenty-Five Avian Television Shows
25. America’s Got Talons
24. The Young and the Nestless
23. Feather Knows Best
22. Sesame Tweet
21. Harpy Days
19. The Eggs Files
18. Gilmore Gulls
17. Fowl Frontal
16. The Dove Boat
I'll wager that most of you are familiar with James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke, a
— really, the — standout feature of his brief tenure as host of The Late Late Show on CBS. You’ve probably already seen its latest installment, in which Corden drives around Manhattan with Lin-Manuel Miranda, Audra MacDonald, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, and Jane Krakowski. So you don’t need me to link to it.
But I just did anyway.
Nor do you need me to tell you that Corden will host the 70th Annual Tony Awards telecast, in which Miranda’s smash-hit musical Hamilton is nominated for a record
16 awards, on that same network this coming Sunday at 8 p.m. ET.
But I just did that anyway, too.
So what can I tell you that you don’t know?
FX will air a marathon of Fargo Season 2 tomorrow starting at 10 a.m. ET/PT.
I can’t recommend it enough. Pretty much everything that TV does well, Fargo does very, very, very well. The cast is phenomenal; the score and soundtrack are just A+; the cinematography is outstanding. Even if the plot and dialogue were nothing special this would probably be captivating television.
But they’re something special indeed. About half of the season’s scripts are credited to showrunner Noah Hawley, the novelist and former Bones story editor who wrote all of Season 1 — and who, given the copious love for the classic 1996 Coen Brothers film on which the series is based, was as bold in doing so as (it turns out) he was justified.
ABC finally canceled Marvel’s Agent Carter last week. The short-run winter series, which spelled the fall and spring halves of Agents of SHIELD these past two years, had been a ratings disappointment. Once star Hayley Atwell was cast by the network in a potential regular-season legal drama, now picked up to series, writing met wall.
You can’t entirely blame ABC, who clearly wants to be in business with Atwell.
SHIELD itself hasn't exactly been a ratings bonanza — due in part to ongoing identity crises, tensions between Marvel’s film and television enterprises that leave the big-screen blockbusters bereft of nearly any reference to (and, thus, what should be no-brainer promotion of) the show, and the general demands that “peak TV” has put on viewers’ time. I’ve enjoyed both SHIELD and Carter, however, even as what they do well makes my frustration over what they could be doing better all the greater.
Atwell has played Peggy Carter on screens large and small, delightfully, since 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger — in a direct-to-video short film that led to the ABC series, in SHIELD flashbacks, and in subsequent movies. Her show has brought us Jarvis in human form, a Soviet predecessor of the Avengers’ Black Widow, and so-called Zero Matter, a.k.a. Darkforce, seen on SHIELD and in the upcoming Doctor Strange. Carter’s fate in the present-day MCU — the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the shared live-action world of Avengers, etc. is known — was referenced in last week’s Agents of SHIELD and current box-office hit Captain America: Civil War, but Agent Carter has always been a period piece, and she’s as much a part of MCU history as Howard Stark.
Stella Saner would have been 100 years old today, had she not passed early in
the morning of January 21st with her daughter, my mother, at her side.
Here’s a lightly edited version of what I wrote to read at her memorial service.