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Jan 312011
 

Another classic MTV animated series from the 90s was Aeon Flux – The Complete Animated Collection (1995-1996). Even though shows on MTV are well known for their brand of humor, this one is far from humorous. It’s more like a sci-fi drama.

Aeon Flux is a secret agent, who dresses like a dominatrix and has the cat-like skills of Violet from Ultraviolet. In a futuristic city, she engages in a never-ending struggle against the corruption of her arch nemesis/lover Trevor Goodchild.

Some of the situations involve some pretty sick stuff. Things like turning a man’s abdomen into a private bedroom and robotic consciences made of wire insert themselves into people’s navels. That almost makes me want to cringe. I don’t care if it’s only a cartoon.

Aside from Aeon and Trevor, it’s difficult to tell who is on which side. It tends to start with Aeon having an ally, then he/she suddenly turns on her, or kills other innocents. You never see it coming until near the end of the episode. There are even times when Aeon gets killed, but she somehow always manages to survive in the next episode.

This was a good series, even though it only lasted for a short time. It took me awhile to figure out that the Aeon Flux logo of the fly caught in eyelashes represents Aeon’s skill and quick reflexes. How clever that is.

Sep 012010
 

The clay animation series called Celebrity Deathmatch (1998-2002) is another great example of MTV’s brand of humor. Various celebrities battle each other in a wrestling ring and are featured in a parody manner. The celebrities are paired up, usually based on common talents most of the time. But what really makes this show different from pro-wrestling, is that the fighters use dialogue during the bout, expressing their hatred towards one another and even using movie titles and song titles as puns. That is so clever.

However, the story lines mainly focus on the two commentators, Nick Diamond and Johnny Gomez. Sometimes things that go on in their personal lives affect them on the job. It helps bring the show to a more adventurous level, don’t you think?

Sometimes Nick and Johnny use the movie and song puns as they call the fights. Not only that, but they have such unique names for the different fight moves like the Mormon munch, the Belgian helicopter, and the Winnipeg wax job. How do they come up with those?

Starting in the second season, the series added a time machine to bring back currently deceased celebrities to fight in the ring. That helps add to the educational level to the show. Celebrity Deathmatch was an excellent source of learning about celebrities that I knew very little about. However, this is a parody series, so the portrayal is never completely accurate.

I don’t really know how a winner is chosen for each bout. It could either be based on the personal issues between the fighters, or it could be about which celebrity is more popular or the least irritating. Heck, there were even times when both fighters lose… their lives. It’s always unpredictable.

The show abruptly ended after season four. A few years later, it was brought back. Only to be abruptly cancelled again after only a short time. I must admit though, that newer version wasn’t as good.

This was a very clever series. I liked it, even if it does seem like Nick and Johnny don’t care when anyone dies in the ring. “Somebody dies every night on this show. That’s part of the fun.”

Jul 162010
 

Back in 1996, I remember when the Spice Girls were on MTV with their first music video “Wannabe”. There they were, Ginger Spice (Geri Halliwell), Sporty Spice (Melanie Chisholm), Scary Spice (Melanie Brown), Posh Spice (Victoria Beckham), and Baby Spice (Emma Bunton), a quintet of gorgeous pop stars. Each Spice Girl is different, which makes them a great team of singers. “Girl power!”

Soon more music videos followed and they just got better and better. Even the “Pepsi” commercial was awesome. I became so into their music that I not only got all of their albums, but each of their singles too. The only reason for that was because each single also included a bonus track, which wasn’t featured on any of the albums. I don’t understand why that was.

I also used to collect Spice Girls merchandise. Most of which was the little unauthorized biography books and issues of Spice Girls magazines. Remember these?

In 1997, shortly after the release of their second album, the Spice Girls had their own movie called Spice World. It was most often described as, “A rip-off from A Hard Day’s Night“, but I thought it was a creative film based on the misadventures of these lovely pop stars as exaggerated stereotypes of themselves.

As the Spice Girls travel with their road manager Clifford (Richard E. Grant), they ride in a double-decker bus that works like a five-person apartment. Each Spice Girl has her own section filled with their favorite things based on their personas. Now that’s impressive. Did those doors say, “Maximum Capacity 5 Girls”?

The Spice Girls have all sorts of strange encounters. For instance, while in the woods, they find aliens from outer space who are very big fans. The aliens wanted tickets to their concert at Albert Hall, but they were all sold out. It doesn’t surprise me. I can remember hearing on MTV news one time that tickets to other Spice Girls concerts get sold out as quickly as 12 minutes. I wonder if that’s a world record.

Another interesting scene was when the Spice Girls spend the night in a big old house where Damien (Richard O’Brien), a paparazzi, sneaks around like a ninja to collect some dirt on them. Somehow I can definitely see the paparazzi as ninjas with cameras. Think about it. They hide in the shadows and sneak around while stalking their targets. Then after taking a shot, they quickly disappear without a trace. Later comes assassination, courtesy of the dirt on the tabloids. It goes to show that all celebrities have to be cautious because those paparazzi ninjas are everywhere.

Then there’s a scene about the Spice Girls as the “Spice Force Five”. Emma is the martial arts expert, Mel C as a counter espionage agent, Mel B as the explosives expert, Geri as a master of disguise, and Victoria who just looks good. I could see this as a TV series. Too bad it never happened.

The Spice Girls may have their differences, but they seem like a fun group. When things got tough, they stuck together through it all.

If I had to choose my most favorite Spice Girl, it would be a tie between Baby Spice and Sporty Spice, but it was really what the five of them could do together that truly makes the Spice Girls a top singing group to me. That’s why I felt that everything changed after Geri left the group when she did. In fact, it wouldn’t have made any difference if any one of the others had left instead. Soon they all went solo. Some of those albums were good, but the originals Spice and Spiceworld are the real classics.

Mar 312010
 

In celebration of my 100th post, today’s topic is on one of my all time favorite singers, Weird Al Yankovic. He writes great comedic songs, though many of them are spoofs from other hit songs from many different artists. The music is the same, but the lyrics are still original and all written by Weird Al himself.

I can still remember Weird Al’s first album “Weird Al” Yankovic back in 1983 when I was very young. One of my most favorite songs from that album was “My Bologna” (spoof from “My Sharona”). Even now I still collect his albums. Here are some of his classics in casette tapes.

The fact that Weird Al spoofs many different songs is how I first knew about the “real” versions. Whenever I hear any of those on the radio, the first thing that always comes to mind is the Weird Al version, which is usually better. Let’s face it, many other “real” songs I’ve heard have lyrics that I don’t understand at all, but Weird Al’s lyrics do make sense to me and I find that very helpful. Heck, some of these songs even sound better on the accordion, in my opinion.

As for Weird Al’s music videos over the years, which you can find on Weird Al Yankovic – The Ultimate Video Collection, they are hilarious. There was a time on MTV when some videos are played, then Weird Al shows his version right after each one. Most of the comparisons were very different, with the exceptions of “Fat” and “Eat it” (spoofs of “Bad” and “Beat it”). I can definitely see the strong similarities with those Michael Jackson videos. I’ll tell ya. When it comes to simple gags, Weird Al spares no expense.

Weird Al was once labeled as the Elvis Presley of The Dr. Demento Show. In fact, Dr. Demento himself has made cameos in quite a few of these videos, mainly the older ones.

Weird Al is best known for his Hawaiian shirts, but he’s had many different looks. Of course it’s all based on the song he performs and what artist he’s spoofing. It must be tough going through all of those costume changes for every live concert. Come to think of it, back in 1997 the very first live concert I’ve ever attended was a Weird Al concert. I still have the souvenir T-shirt I got from there. Too bad it doesn’t fit me anymore. It was such a great experience.

That’s it for now. Check my blog for part 2, where I’ll be talking about Weird Al Yankovic in movies and TV.

Mar 222010
 

This teen comedy produced by MTV Productions stars Jon Heder in his breakthrough role as Napoleon Dynamite, a gawky teenager, who is delusional and blunt. It’s so funny.

According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Tina Majorino was a child star, but left acting to finish high school. This film was the start of her comeback costarring as Deb, the pretty and sweet teen. I just love her.

The story line goes in several directions. First, Napoleon and his best friend Pedro (Efren Ramirez) try to get dates for the school dance. Meanwhile, Napoleon’s brother Kip (Aaron Ruell) and his uncle Rico (Jon Gries) try to raise money as door to door salesmen in order to buy a time machine online. After that, Pedro runs for class president and Napoleon tries to help him out. Part of his campaign included breaking a piñata that looks like his opponent Summer (Haylie Duff). It looked like a pretty one, but it was only shown briefly. Too bad Pedro got in trouble for it.

Napoleon has some interesting catchphrases that really stick out. Some of my favorites include “Gosh!”, “Idiot!”, and “Lucky.” I have to ask though. What is up with those moon boots? I used to have a pair just like that… when I was in second grade!

Napoleon also likes to shop at thrift stores. It was where he found that dance moves VHS tape, which really pays off later on. You never know what kinds of things you’ll find in those places. It’s like the old saying, “One person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”

At MegaCon 2010, while my sister was getting Virginia Hey’s autograph, I went to the table right next to her, where I met Ellen Dubin, who played the role of Trisha’s (Emily Dunn) mother, Ilene. She was very nice.

 

It was amazing to find that Ellen Dubin was in this movie. In fact, she told me that this autographed photo here was from her own camera and the only one from the set. Her agent was sitting next to her and told me how rare it was.

This is a good movie. In fact, I can see a possible TV series coming from this. I’m still surprised that there wasn’t a sequel yet. Just like with Who Framed Roger Rabbit.