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  April 14, 2007
entertain me! (Pilot #2)

Comedy pilot for AOL. Includes a VH1-styled "fashion police" parody, alongside a short documentary-esque comedy segment about modern urban office life in NYC. Also, puppies.

Hosted by Jordan Carlos. See Episode 1 here.

entertain me! (Pilot #1)

Comedy pilot for AOL. Includes a piece about Ken Burns analyzing NBC's The Office, alongside red-carpet interview footage with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny, et al.

Hosted by Jordan Carlos. See Episode 2 here.

  May 26, 2005
The O.C.'s not on tonight? I think I'll go for a swim, then

oc_caleb.jpgThursday evening, 8 o'clock sharp. I used to spend this special time perched atop my loveseat, giddily staring at the television set and mentally preparing to absorb the wonders of West Coast suburban culture as filtered to me via the broadcast networks.

And then summer arrived, and they all abandoned me. Not the networks, I mean...they're still there, doling out quality product week after week. No, I've got a very specific axe to grind. I'm talking about Peter Gallagher. Mischa Barton. Josh Schwartz. Despots of the airwaves, each and every one of them. And Schwartz? He's their tyrannical leader.

My kids think I have a problem. My eldest son, fully-grown and fresh out of culinary school, has scolded me for what he deems an "unhealthy" interest in the goings-on of fictitious characters and/or executive producers and/or series creators. But my son, you see, never understood my focus, my diligence...

How I hate my son for his lack of compassion. How I miss presiding over real family bonding, such as the antics of Ryan Atwood and his nettlesome older brother, or Kirsten Cohen and her Jewish husband.

Sitting here at work, gazing out the window upon the parking lot below...I'm a sour, lonely, bitter old man. To hell with my initial idea of taking laps in the pool; I think I'll sleep in my office tonight.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. used to air on Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX, but then summer started. It's not yet noon, and my night is already ruined.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, wherein we celebrated our joyous embrace of "all things Newport Beach".

Posted at 12:00 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  March 10, 2005
This job'll require a hammer, some nails, and a good case of the O.C.

oc_juliecooper_det.jpgI've got a second-floor office in Irvine. It's only a few years after the war with the Japs, and there ain't a P.I. left in Irvine that's better than me, but that don't mean business is steady down here. I've got too much time on my hands, kid, and too much whiskey in my desk drawers.

Then this dame walks in. Says she's stopped in from Riverside, but I can tell right away the broad's from Newport Beach. She's got shoreline written all over her. Beachfront property, I'd say. The kind of class babes just don't have in the inland empire. Classy, this babe.

She's got her hair up and her sunglasses on, and I can see she's hiding something. Tears. Maybe she's lost someone or something, or maybe her man's the abusive type...that's for me to find out, is all I know. I'll hear it soon enough.

She starts in with her story, about how her husband's in the real estate game, and her father's a bigtime mover and shaker, a real player. But this dame knows too much about her husband's business, I can tell. Taxes, liens, eminent domain...knows a bit too much about real estate in general. It's clear she's the brains in the enterprise. The father's just the moneyman, and the husband...the husband? What's his role? And why's she crying like this?

I hand the babe a tissue. She dabs her eyes, starts in on her ex-husband. Says he’s on a boat. Something about someone’s sister. She’s bawling again, I can’t understand what she’s saying. She wants my help, she says. Needs to find her ex-husband, but she doesn’t know where he is. Her daughter won’t speak to her, she’s crying, unless she can get this ex-husband to come back to town.

Retrieving a lost love? No big deal, I can handle that. No, she says – he’s no lost love. She’s fine with her husband and his money. This is about her daughter. The broad is taking deep breaths now, trying to tell me about her daughter. The kid sounds like a real rebel. Hellcat with a flask. Bringing punk girls home just to shock mom. I try to be sympathetic, but this sounds like a job for a shrink.

Now she’s getting defensive. I’m the one to help her, she says, not some mental magician. The back story doesn’t matter, does it? She wants to bring back her ex, this Jimmy character, so that crazy daughter of hers will straighten up her act and she can go back to watching her husband’s money. She's glaring at me, now, but she opens up her pocketbook and takes out this wedding photo from years gone by. Coolidge administration, I'd say. That'd make the daughter older than I thought, and this dame...let's just say looks can be deceiving, but age never lies.

And there's a problem. This Jimmy guy...I recognize him. Of course. The dame's trying to read my face, so I whip out my P.I. cards and play poker with her. The boat, the money...I should have put two and two together when the broad came in through the door. Then again, that's why I'm working out of Irvine and not up there in Hollywood with all the other, better, private dicks.

Jimmy, Jimmy, Jimmy. I took him out last weekend under a pier in Long Beach. He'd gotten rough when I confronted him on some outdated loans my client had needed collected, and I'd had no choice but to gun him down. It hadn't been easy, either, and I'm not normally that cold-blooded – I mean, I work in Irvine. But I'd had no choice. And I sure as hell hadn't known he was a family man.

I shake my head. This daughter, there ain't no helping her now.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, wherein Raymond Chandler ravages Mickey Spillane in a shed out back. Intense.

Posted at 3:51 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  March 3, 2005
An O.C. exercise: The Five Obstructions (Well, three, at least)

oc_tate_dancing.jpgBeing a choreographer isn't all that bad, really. It's being a male choreographer that gets somewhat awkward, at times. I mean, I like to dance, you know? And more significantly, I like to envision grand schemes in which others convey the motion of the human form, the ways in which our bodies can take flight while syncing to a hot, hot beat, or a sweepingly majestic orchestral hook...I'm versatile.

No, that doesn't mean I'm gay. I get that a lot. Most men in this field are, of course, homosexual. To such an extent, really, that I felt at some point I'd need to hide my attractions for the female gender, just to get ahead. A man's got to do what a man's got to do, right? And sometimes a man's got to do a man. (I'd use that line a lot more than I do, but, you know, I try to keep this heterosexuality thing quiet.) That was my younger-incarnation line of thinking, at least...Until I began to watch The O.C. every Thursday.

I think it was watching Marissa and Alex share that first lesbian kiss on the beach a few weeks back that really got to me. I mean, yeah, the raging heterosexual in me started getting all lascivious, like, "Hey, you fucking prudish censors, don't pull away now," but the part of me that hooks up with guys like Mark Morris in order to get continued work just flat-out cringed. Like, I was disgusted with myself. Was I pulling a Mischa Barton, and making out with the wrong gender just to advance my goddamned career? I'm so above and beyond that.

When I work with my dancers, I try to instill a sense of pride in the art form in the way in which they approach their evening's endeavors. I try to get them to think about the rich history and tradition of dancing as a mode of expression, to get them to open their eyes to the ways that a graceful, limber body can convey a range of emotions heretofore untapped by the limitations of language. And I think they listen, and understand it, which makes me feel good about my role in propagating this grand pageantry of dance.

In that vein, that commitment to the craft, some of my dancers, though, are hard to get through to...like on this Faith Evans video I worked on yesterday, for instance. The motif? It was a high-school cheerleader-themed video shoot (I think the director was ripping off "Smells Like Teen Spirit," just between you and me) and there was this one girl who kept complaining about her toes hurting. As you can imagine, this happens a lot with dancers. And while lesser choreographers may readily insist that gout is the classic big-red-toe disease – and I'm not naming any names, there – I myself am prone to thinking sometimes a girl just stubbed her toe. Simple as that.

Necole, that's her name, is this totally sweet, pretty young babe. Sophisticated and not at all naive. Given her character, I insisted that she handle the distribution of props to the other dancers. Wait, let me explain. So as part of the routine I had drafted, various dancers congregate on the simulated playing field and toss lightsticks and batons to and fro. It may sound asinine, but, I swear, it really works well with the source material. Faith Evans, right?

This other dancer, a guy named Bradford, whom I had put in charge of managing a difficult baton-twirl/hip-flipping manuever, starts freaking out about how heavy and weighty the baton prop is. And, I swear, he was right. The prop department had whipped up some gargantuan lead-based relic. But we were on deadline, so I insisted Bradford work with what we had on-set. And the motherfucker challenged me! Said, "OK, give it a try, and see how difficult it is!" I'd show him.

So I stand up straight. Curl my toes. Bring my elbow perpendicular to my ribcage, and...a problem. I was dismayed to find that I could no longer control the mighty baton between my legs. It was just too heavy, too dominating, too physical...and Necole, Necole was looking at me. And it hit me, just like that, like that moment on the beach between Marissa and Alex, but from a different angle: I'd had enough of the gay-choreographer charade that was my life. I wanted to fuck Necole. Right then and there. I could see she had it in her, as well. Though I'm no semiotic genius, and am just a fabulously gifted choreographer, I could tell it was the whole baton thing that was getting her attention. This girl, this dancer, wanted to get avant-garde, you know? And engage in some very public, though very intimate, frolicking with the dancemaster. I motioned Bradford over...I had fucked him the week prior, I mean, despite my suspicion that he, too, was straight (It's a sick fucking business, yeah?), so I knew he had no problem with sex, or physicality, or anything of that nature. I clutched Necole's shoulders, and explained to Bradford that he needed to get the photographer's light-deflecting umbrella, and hold it to the side, so as to shield the intense round of fucking that was about to ensue from the rest of the crew. Gaffers can't handle impromptu sex, you know?

Bradford just smiled, and said cryptically, "Farnsworth Bentley is the original personal umbrella holder, that lucky bastard." And I knew then, I had to put on the show of all shows, even for this audience of one. Biggie would've wanted it that way.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, serving as exercises in hating the player, and not the game.

Posted at 3:35 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  February 10, 2005
Scalp thee not, knave, for the O.C. awaits

oc_manifestdestiny.jpgYou peer out across the rolling vista stretching endlessly away from your frame, your gaze occupied by the gently sloping ups-and-downs of miles upon miles of unfettered grain, sprinkled with two distinct herds of buffalo, and what appears to be a small outcropping of what must be oak trees. Oak trees, yes? The horticulturist concurs. This is the Other Country, he says. The O.C. But what is that over yonder?

It appears to be savagemen on horseback. Reds. Indians. The horticulturist nods again; yes, they are Indians, and that is what they are to be called (as though this were really his specialty; James merely tagged along on your voyage out West to escape the clutches of your sister's affections, and while you understand this motive, you nonetheless resent his schooling Degree from that University in the Northeast––though not his presence, as his understanding of the numerous families of barley and grain has proven to be quite useful for your campfire dining endeavors of late).

But digression is your latest endeavor, no? The savages, the Indians...they appear to be rapidly approaching your camp. What will become of this, James asks you, and you nod in Daniel's direction. A thuggish lad by nature, Daniel has proven to be quite...versatile in your travels. And handy with a shotgun, too, though you recklessly traded away far too many shells at that last outpost in Nebraska several nights ago, because you were overloaded with ale and that gentleman who claimed to have traveled all the way from Southern California mistook you for a Betting Fool. And wound up being quite right, it seemed, as the ale had its way with you, and you were suddenly awakened several hours later by a comely red-headed whore's bottom perched atop your face in an upstairs parlor. Several shells short. Even sturdy Daniel had proven unable to re-acquire them.

How you could use those shells now, you yell at Daniel! O, to fire gracefully upon these savages, and thereby prevent a recurrence of the episode in Missouri Country even earlier, when you found your youngest compatriot scalped mercilessly after he forced his way upon the Red-skinned lass your crew had encountered as you swept across the great Mississippi River. Victor had never been much much of a ladies' man in Virginia, and after the Depression of 1839, and his loss of steady employ at the stitcher's place, he asked if he, too, could come with you as you set forth to cross the frontier, and establish a legacy anew in the Western Territories––particularly Southern California, as you heard they were riddled with wide-open ports which served as gateways to the Sea, the open Sea, and you aspired to return to your Father's once-proud tradition for shipping. You would make your money back, and start life anew. Crates beckoned, they did. 'Twas destiny, and 'twas manifest.

But these Indians, these savages! They arc across the nearest crest of grain-laden hills, far too close for this to be a pleasant experience. James corrects you, and asserts that they are, in fact, cresting atop what is actually an offshoot of maize, and is therefore not a grain in the literal sense. James can be quite a cretin, and you've more than once grown weary of his verbal antics. Most notably, just the other evening in the Kansas Territory, when he kept your entire camp up well past nightfall with his forlorn tales of what he imagined young adulthood must be like out West.

While you enjoyed hearing his fantastic stories of neighborly betrayal, and wanton adolescent lust, which reminded you of your own boyhood, you felt his characters lacked the great depth that only a Serious Novelist could bring to such a tale. And these names he used were quite questionable. You were proud of characters such as Caleb and Luke, who would carry themselves in a good Christian fashion, but Marissa? Seth? Sandy? Were these not the ideals of Jewry embodied in James' storytelling? His schooling had poisoned his Nature, it seemed.

And Nature is now unkind to you, too, as the savages are upon your camp. It seems these Redskins are of the same bloodline as those Indian females that several of your men had been, well, rather...aggressive with yesterday morning after your morning baths. James had warned your lot about the perils of this sort of sexual and physical recklessness, but the gentlemen had laughed off his concerns as they wantonly had their way with the Red women. And now, it seems, there is, indeed, a price to pay; James, that smug bastard... Oak trees, maize, and immoral sexual congress.

You toss aside your rifle, and the empty, spent shells, and you run. You run, run, run across the fields. You know not where you go, but the West beckons. James' Other Country, his O.C....it's there, a ways across the horizon.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, embodying the Manifest Destiny inherent in Rupert Murdoch's modern-day empire.

Posted at 7:01 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  February 3, 2005
For Ruth, the O.C., florid and pure

seth23.jpgSo,
there it was.
The endowment was bequested
(requested?)
to POETRY magazine.
The Eli Lilly widow's 2003
was a banner year
for gifts, for life, for language,
and
you've felt a renewed hope for
your dead, dead
(Empty? Forsaken? Barren?)
Poetry. Poesy, posies...

You prey upon the culture
around you, within you, upon you
and you are Us. And

You are thus told, nay
commanded, commandeered, commended
to know about The O.C..
Newport. The lives of the rich
(Empty? Forsaken? Barren?)
in turn prey upon you.

And you love Seth Cohen. Desire
knows not these constraints,
these passionate ties
of 8 through 9pm on Thursdays.

They occur
religiously
regularly
gaily
gleefully

And you take a breath (deeply!). And
contain your desire, and
sit up in your couch, and
Grab your notepad.

Are you pretty sexy?
What sort of knickers are you wearing?
These are not lines that Seth would ask of you.
He listens not to you, but he reads
and, verbally, you smile upon him (deeply!)

And the theme music begins. This

Means you are the Winter to his
Summer.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, which may or may not avoid both iambic pentameter and high-school caliber angst.

Posted at 7:16 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  January 27, 2005
Save the O.C. for a later date

OC_map.jpg

You're so goddamned livid right now. The DVR is fucking up, again, and keeps looping the first few frames of tonight's episode of The O.C., which you had set to record because you were in Queens visiting your old friend from college. Well, not so much a friend, but an ex-lover. Girlfriend, whatever. You broke it off with Claudia before graduating, you recall, and that worked out fine until she moved to Astoria and called you up saying how nice it would be to visit her using the fucking 7 train. As if, man, as if. That line on the map is fucking purple, and you look that homo shit right in the eye, and renounce it like there never was a Bravo Network. But you had a momentary relapse and went out to some goddamned Greek restaurant to have a catch-up dinner with her. Fuck, it was tedious, and she kept talking about how Manhattan real estate was so over-rated, but at least you knew you had your DVR slated to capture The O.C. to its 80-gig harddrive. The grape leaves were worth it, though, as was your knowledge that you had hours of available recording time free on your machine.

At least you think you did; the tech/sales guy on the phone wasn't entirely certain, but then again, he was working out of some fucking province in India. So you're now back at your place in Gramercy. And you're feverishly gripping the goddamned all-in-one remote, and trying to get the episode to play, because it's approaching midnight and you need to get into work tomorrow before 8am. PLAY, goddamnit. Peter Gallagher's face is frozen in some actorly-contortion, and the image keeps flickering back and forth between two consecutive frames of video. The DVR's interface is just hanging there onscreen, its cutesy late-'90s fast-forward and rewind arrows just taunting you with their promise of television on your terms.

You hit the exit key rather ungracefully, and you're now out of the onscreen programming guide. You were almost clumsy in your haste to remedy this shit. Got to be more pro-active, responsible. Rational. Calm.

You select tonight's episode again. And it jumps to the credits, the fucking end credits. 1:00:01, it says on that cutesy little bar at the base of your 32-inch television screen. That's just what you needed, right, for it to be midnight and Point Pleasant to come on and taunt you with its insipid content. It's not nearly as inspired as The O.C.. You fucking have to find out what's going on with that Mexican gardener boy, and Julie Cooper's reconnection with Mischa's dad, and that hottie bartender. Yeah, the hottie bartender. Blond. And fucking bisexual. You read online that there's going to be some lesbian shit in upcoming episodes, and, despite your general protestations of all things homo, you can, and will, make an exception when it comes to some tongue-kissing action between Mischa and the blondie.

But these Point Pleasant title sequences are just hanging there, teasing you. You put your hard-on away. You bring up the dialog box, the one that says, "Play from the beginning," and, fuck, fuck, it does just that. You are content. Peter Gallagher appears onscreen again, only as he's speaking fluidly, now, that single-frame grab you were subjected to moments ago seems so much more appealing. Almost Emmy-winning in caliber. He's going to wreck the rich motherfuckers in Newport! Low income housing, he's saying, low income housing. Tell that shit to Claudia, maybe, because, fuck, Astoria pissed you off tonight. And now you're distracted, so you try to rewind a minute or so. And, again, the screen fucking freezes. Fuck you. Time Warner Cable is getting a curt little phone call first thing in the morning tomorrow. You'll be at your desk, and your friends will be talking about The O.C., and you're going to hate them for that.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.-centric entries, now collected in a limited-edition DVD box set, retailing for $34.97 at your local Best Buy. Formatted for Region-1 players.

Posted at 5:31 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  January 20, 2005
The Way to a Girl's Heart is Through Her O.C.

ben_pool_1_72.jpg"Other strategies are being considered, such as having a regular column devoted to 'The O.C.,' the Fox show, which is a huge hit among girls in their twenties'so much so that the CollegeHumor boys have discovered that discussing the show’s plotlines is an excellent way of striking up a conversation with a girl." -Funny Boys, by Rebecca Mead, The New Yorker, Jan. 24, 2005

Hi, is this seat taken? Oh, god. That sounded so cheesy. I mean, that's worse than asking your sign, right? I'm such a cheeseball.

My name is Dave, what's yours? Marissa? Like Marissa on The O.C.?

What? You don't watch The O.C.? Ha! I totally knew you'd be into The O.C.! Not that you're, like, a 'type,' I mean, you're not a cliché.

You know what the best part of The O.C. is? During the winter, it's like a blast of sunshine in my apartment. Isn't that weird how some shows totally make feel, like, seasons? Like, I always need to wear an extra sweatshirt when I watch The Ice Storm! Weird, right?

Or, like, some albums are the same. For me, Bob Marley is spring. Whenever I put on Legend I just feel I'm on spring break in Jamaica like I was junior year of college.

Have you ever been there? Oh my god, it is awesome! It was just me and my boys for five days: sleeping late, drinking, hanging out on the beach all day. And there were so many hotties—

Wait, that sounded so childish. What I meant was, there were great people from all over, just meeting each other, hooking up... God, I'm sorry. I sound like such a fucking fratboy.

I'm really not like that. I mean, I was in a fraternity, but I'm a regular, down-to-earth guy. I mean, the fact that I would admit to watching The O.C. is, like, totally proof of that. If I were some sort of macho frat dude, would I admit to watching a show that's—let's admit it, okay, Marissa— is kinda gay. I mean, it's totally the sort of show that some closet case would watch at the gym before having down low sex in the locker room, right?

But, um, the fact that... What the hell was I saying, Maria? I mean, Marissa? Wait! Where are you going? I was gonna buy you a drink—and not in a cheesy way!

Wait, come back.

Fucking bitch. If we were in college she'd worship my di-dick. Damnit. I'm so lonely. Why am I so very lonely?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursdays at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C. crapola

Posted at 4:03 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  January 13, 2005
Though, after a great deal of effort on my part, I just can't get into Drea de Matteo

oc_julie.jpgApparently, The O.C. is all popular and shit, and a lot of people seem to like it. They're all, like, "We love The O.C.!" We, however, are alternative-minded types. We vote Nader. We drive Toyota Scions. We shop at fucking Trader Joe's and buy their cheap-ass wine. And then we don't get drunk, we get intoxicated. And, also, you know what? We watch Joey.

That sounded more hostile than was intended.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: When we had a bit more time than at the present, it turns out we were all just a bit too O.C.-centric.

Posted at 5:16 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  January 6, 2005
This is the sound The O.C. makes

OC_soundtrack.jpgYou're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song. You've been saying this to yourself since you saw Beck open for Beth Orton at that secret show he did at the El Rey for her a few years back, only, for you, it wasn't a secret show, because you knew about his playing an intimate acoustic set hours in advance. And when an excited hush fell over the floor when Beth Orton came out to announce her opening act, you smiled knowingly. Your friends said you glowered, but that was most likely because you thought Orton's Central Reservation was such a letdown. You have nothing against Beck.

Besides, he's the old guard. You're all about Rooney, now, and The Walkmen, and labels like Sub Pop. You adored Eric's Trip way back when, and you've been listening to Minnesota's slowcore riot act Low well before they first appeared on "Music From the O.C. Mix 3: Have a Very Merry Chrismukkah". Fuck, you had that original EP before the word "Kranky" was being whispered by every other record-buyer at Amoeba. You know droning music, and you're not even Finnish like that Mika Vainio motherfucker. That shit's just noise. Static. Like Felix Kubin on fucking heroin. You know this because you got yourself a Nord Lead years ago, just so you could create your own take on the percussive mathematic chaos of labels like Schematic and Warp. You were going to outshine Autechre.

But then you ended up having to work seventy-plus hours a week at your marketing firm during that product launch for Coke's newest clear soda, and you lost interest. You fucking hated clear soda. You did, however, develop a severe drinking problem, in that other sense of consuming fluids. And started to appreciate the way that vocal-based indie music better complemented your commute on the fucking 10 freeway as you rolled into work later and later after those long nights out, and you tuned off KCRW and KXLU and popped in the latest Doves record. That somehow led to your getting, finally, that old Unkle record from 1998, which you had ignored for so long, because you never liked DJ Shadow, even when he did his own production work, much less his manning the decks for that cross-eyed James Lavelle motherfucker as he did on this record...but then you heard Ian Brown sing on that remake of that one song, and Richard Ashcroft, and Thom Yorke, and you were hooked. It was like the Britpop fad from the mid-90s, all NME and shit, but, somehow, cooler. Like, Flaunt- or index-caliber. And so you bought the soundtrack to Jonathan Glazer's "Sexy Beast" because Unkle collaborated with South on it. And you grew to love South, too. Those beats were so slinky. And the guitars, so synthetic. You traded in your Nord Lead for a Fender Stratocaster and an amp. You couldn't really figure out which effects pedals to get, so you winged it, and fucked around with the sounds as they ran through your G4 laptop.

And it all sounded like shit. It certainly didn't sound like Interpol's first record.

You had somehow failed to capture that mélange of angst and self-loathing and morose despair that ran throughout "Untitled". Instead, you had penned a series of asinine ditties that sounded more like the fucking Shins, which was ok, except you weren't into Sub Pop just yet, so it wasn't ok at the time. You were a wreck. You hated yourself, and your friend Leslie, who had played drums on the record in certain parts, invited you over to her place in Los Feliz to watch this new Fox TV pilot for which she had done some of the casting. And when The O.C. began, and you heard those first few strains of Phantom Planet singing their rapturous hit "California", you were hooked. Really, it was, just...rapturous (and yes, you fucking hated the DFA up to this point, so re-treaded disco beats had been done to death as far as you were concerned, and you were instead eagerly seeking out guitar hooks).

Phantom Planet, man...You still hate Jason Schwartzman. He was at the Wiltern once while you were watching Damien Rice play, and he just looked so fucking smug. Then he made some small talk with the bandmembers, and they ushered him backstage, and you really, really hated him. You fucking love Damien Rice. And you're going to write the perfect three-minute pop song about that. It'll be like that song that girl group wrote about David Duchovny in 1998, only less stalkerish. Probably more like the song Ben Gibbard wrote about Evan Dando in 2001 as part of the build-up to his later Postal Service success. You could totally do that. Three minutes. That's all you need. Now for some inspiration...sixty fucking minutes thereof.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: You can't stop R.O.C.K.ing, can you? You just can't.

Posted at 4:06 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 30, 2004
The O.C. Shall Set You Free

003OC.jpgYou've never seen The O.C., but you're sure it's pretty good. You're gonna watch it tonight, though, since there are two back-to-back episodes.

You need to watch it, especially since your career is in the crapper and your New Year's resolution is to write a decent spec script and land an agent. Maybe then you can move out of Culver Fucking City and get a decent car like a Mini-Cooper or a BMW or, seriously, a Prius, please, a Prius, and maybe finally get a development deal with a major. Then, barring any further complications, get laid without paying for it.

It wasn't supposed to be this way. When you moved to L.A. five years ago, you were bursting with ideas and potential. You were gonna be David E. Kelley, Joss Whedon, and J.J. Abrams combined.

Now, look at you. You're writing questions for a kids' basic cable game show that unwisely has the word "Cyber" in the title. In '98 it seemed like such a great title, what with the web-television convergence plan the 29 year-old producer pitched: now, the website's been dead since 2003 and that 29 year-old producer drives a Boxter and is developing a show with Jon Lovitz for Gavin Palone. (Why won't that fucker not return your goddamn calls?) You still live in a one bedroom—and not even a big one by L.A. standards— and you're not in a union. You can't get a single agent on the phone and most of your friends with deals laugh and say they'll call you when they need a little 'cyber' touch. Assholes. It wasn't your idea: you weren't even part of the show until last year!

That's why tonight's O.C. is so important. You're not gonna just watch, you're gonna study it, figure out what makes it tick and become an instant expert. It'll be like when you pulled all-nighters in school: you'd spend a couple of hours catching up on all the Folk and Myth readings you'd snoozed on while attempting another round of 'Poon submissions, then spend the rest of the night just banging out the paper. And some of them were great! One professor—okay, one adjunct—even suggested you submit your paper on The Family Guy ("In the Family Way: Stewie and Freud's Theories of Early Childhood Sexual Development") to a journal. You could've had a big career in academia, pounding out searing interpretations that turned conventional pop culture 'wisdom' on its head. You might've even gotten to write for the mainstream: Times op-eds, maybe some droll "Shouts and Murmurs" for The New Yorker.

Instead, you're basically rephrasing Trivial Pursuit questions for 9 year-olds. You need to do something better with your life, something more meaningful.

Like writing for The O.C. If you could just watch the show, get a sense for its rhythm, internal logic, and... that third thing the screenwriter of the Justine Bateman film suggested in that Learning Annex class that cost you $400, you can do that. (Where are your notes?)

You need to hitch yourself to this show: It's like this year's Ally McBeal or Popular: It's the show, and only a quality O.C. spec script can change your life—can make your life. You can almost envision your plot already: it'll be something about a foreign exchange student from Sudan and it will address genocide and female genital mutilation. And a love plot. A love triangle. God, this is gonna be so good: your script is going to fully embody the show while simultaneously transcending it! Where's your notepad? This is too good to forget.

After that, it's a top tier agency. Then a good writing gig. Then a side project and movie sale. Then a producer job. Invites to Stuff parties and the "Midsummer Night's Dream" party at the Mansion. Then, who knows? All this from The O.C.! Can you feel it? I can feel it!

Tonight I will watch The O.C.; It better be pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursday nights at 8PM EST on FOX. Even when they're just reruns.

Earlier: O.C.

Posted at 11:55 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 23, 2004
No O.C. Post This Week

001omen.jpg
Do try to contain yourself.

Earlier: O.C. junk.

Posted at 7:59 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 16, 2004
An Exclusive Excerpt from the New Osama bin Laden Tape

OBL.jpgIf it is not too unseemly for a man of my wealth and abundant religious and intellectual gifts to complain, I must say that the hardest part of being on the run in the mountains of Tora Bora is how often I miss my favorite infidel television program, The O.C.

Why are you laughing? Who says that a righteous man, a man who seeks to break the back of the American Satan, cannot enjoy a few laughs once in a while, a little eye candy? I work 24 hours a day to destroy America and the secularist lambs that follow it like, well, like lambs. Can I not take one hour a week to bask in the comforting Southern California glow of The O.C.? Can I not spend a little Osama time in the land of perpetual summer time?

Do you know what I go through just to see the show you infidels take for granted? It must be taped off a secure satellite feed by one of my operatives, and then smuggled inside his rectum as he traverses the unforgiving Afghan terrain to whatever cave or modest safe house I am inhabiting that day. All this, so that I may re-immerse myself in the travails of the Jew Seth Cohen and the Christian Ryan Atwood? (Don't even get me started on Chrismukkah: I love it, but I don't even know which part of that holiday I'd want to destroy first if I had the chance.)

While I enjoy the jihad thing, the best part of my week is watching The O.C. while eating some sugar free SnackWell Cookies which have also been smuggled to my lair in someone's rectum. (What? I do not judge your infidel food—and I saw Supersize Me!)

Now do you understand why I often appear cranky and irritable in the videos I send to Al Jazeera? I am usually mad because my holy soldiers are so often captured or killed by your army as they make their way to me with my tapes! I have missed whole plot arcs—and I would thank you not to tell them to me, I fully intend to see them eventually—and while reading infidel websites like Television Without Pity help, it is just not the same. I want my O.C., and without it, Osama becomes a grumpy Gus!

Let me be truthful with you: I am very ill and the only thing that is keeping me alive at this point is The O.C.. I have been going through the motions of hating America for over a year now (frankly, you can all fuck yourselves, I'm so over you), but what keeps me going is this show, this popular culture phenomenon that we share together.

It's actually quite nice to be a part of something, instead of always being on the outside looking in. I do not know you, but because of The O.C., I feel we could be friends. Maybe we can IM a bit after the show tonight, if you're not too busy? If not, I can come visit you soon at your home.

Actually, I can almost guarantee you that I will be visiting you at your home soon. I hope you have some sugar free SnackWell Cookies. I do love them so.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs Thursday nights at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Other thoughts on The O.C

Posted at 3:44 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 9, 2004
The O.C.: It's way, way better than getting instant messages about that new red-headed girl that Grant likes

oc_rachelbilson.jpgYou need to set your away message right now because it's almost 8 o'clock and you have to watch The O.C. because it's Thursday and it's on right now. Kelsey says she'll text you later, and next thing you know, you're down in the den, sprawled out alone on the couch, your eyes glued religiously to the sights of Seth Cohen and Marissa Cooper being introduced onscreen as you strain to hear the sounds of Phantom Planet singing plaintively about what is totally your favorite state, and you totally said that to Mr. Roberts last week when he was running through the geography prep quiz in fourth period, and he chuckled because he's so old and doesn't even watch TV, probably.

Whatever, because when they show Summer Roberts on the TV you always cringe! She looks just like your sister Justine, who graduated from law school at Berkeley two years ago, and it was called Boalt, and anyway she is so much older than you, and Mom always rubs that in, because Mom is 57, and Justine is 27, and you were Mom's "surprise" 12 years ago and so you're totally able to stay up later than both Mom and Dad because they go to bed so early. Like, they'll probably be asleep by the time The O.C.'s over. Justine's almost like your Mom anyway, because she always talks about how she was the one who changed your diapers and babysat you when you were a crying infant, and she totally wrote about that in her law school applications, about how that early responsibility had made her a strong leader, and you're so sick of hearing it, but you still love her because she's your sister.

Also Mom keeps saying to be nice to her, too, because Justine is sterile and her uterus doesn't work properly and she can't have children of her own, so raising you comes a close second in her book, that's what Mom says, and you also overheard Justine talking about it with her last year when she visited over Christmas. And that's why Justine has a job at this place called UNICEF where she says they help kids in other countries. Maybe even Mr. Roberts would know where they are? Whatever! You're all about Newport Beach.

Ryan is being such a jerk this week.

The Summer Roberts girl's sweet like your sister too, but Kelsey always tells you every single Friday before homeroom how much she likes Summer on the show, and you're tired of your sister, and also Summer, too. Maybe Summer can't have kids too? Anyway she's too young and she's not going to have babies yet anyway. You hope you can have kids someday, unlike Justine, and you're going to rub it in her face when you do, and she's an old lady. You get bored when they cut to the stories about Sandy and Kirsten, though they seem like a cool Mom and Dad. Marissa is totally your favorite one on The O.C., because she tries so hard, you know? That's really important, you think. And you forgot to put your away message on, and you're still signed on, because you can hear IM's coming in on the computer in the hallway. It's probably just Grant, and you don't even like him anymore anyway. You totally never did, and that was all a big mistake anyway, he doesn't even watch The O.C.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Additional OC-centric material...

Posted at 5:32 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  December 2, 2004
The O.C.: Don't even worry about coming out of this closet

oc_tatedonovan.jpgYou're looking good lately. Really nice, even. Those pecs...you're packed tight, man. Nicely chiseled. You're working out, aren't you? Yeah. You are.

It's reassuring to know you can watch The O.C. every Thursday night while you're on the stairmaster at Bally's 24-Hour-Fitness, plugged in to little more than a set of earbuds and, don't you know it, an entire world of opulent gorgeousness. This is the sort of drama you dream about mindlessly as you polish the sweat from your glistening calves. Of course, the television sets lined up next to the one blaring FOX's hottest second-season property may try and distract you with their depictions of a smirking Bill O'Reilly or some aging Matt LeBlanc character study, but you won't be swayed. You understand guys like Tate Donovan, you really do.

He looks a lot like that guy who comes in on Tuesdays. That guy. He lingers around the benches for about thirty minutes. Eyes you as he pulls up his socks around his shins. You're sure he's the most beautiful man you've laid eyes upon...at least at this gym, right? Ha. You know what I'm saying. You're a total pro.

And Catherine keeps calling you from the car. You just know she'll be home before you, destined to get off early from her freelance gig at Leo Burnett. Why don't you tell her about this guy? This perfect specimen of O.C.-esque beauty laying out in front of you, his arms pushing and pulling on the bars of a free-weight machine, such that you're just positive what he's doing with those lifts could "plug-n-play" nicely with your own frame.

You're glistening, again. Sweating. Excited. And Catherine keeps on fucking calling you, and you just let it go to voicemail. What the fuck, right? Let her bring something back from Koo-Koo-Roo or California Pizza Kitchen for the two of you to eat later that night. The fuck if you care, right? You're all over this guy. All over him. And he's reading you just right.

Time to towel off, then. You nod at each other. It's not even like some obscure code anymore. You know the drill. And he doesn't even bother wrapping himself in a towel as the two of you leave the gym's shower and head to the back lockers. Again, you know the drill. And, fuck, it's a good thing Catherine doesn't, right? God, would your life be over, or what?

And speaking of, you better finish up in here. Hurry. Hurry. Hurry. Right there. Sharp, so sharp. This may or may not be the world's longest commercial break, but you don't want to miss seeing the end result of Marissa's hooking up with the pool boy. Pool boys. So perfect. So very, very right.

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: Obligatory Pop Culture Entry to Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs; O.C.D.; The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend; The O.C.: Your 'Not Guilty' Pleasure.

Posted at 4:44 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  November 24, 2004
The O.C.: Your 'Not Guilty' Pleasure

001gallagher.jpgGod, it's so weird being home for Thanksgiving: sleeping in that narrow little bed, feeling like you have to ask permission to go for a drive like you're a teenager even though you're twenty-nine.

It's even weirder now that you're divorced. Everyone's being all cool and polite about it, which makes it a little easier to be here alone for the first time since high school. Your "funny" uncle hasn't made a single joke about wanting the money for that fondue set he got you and your ex from Crate & Barrel, and even your usually snide little sister hugged you a little longer and asked, "How are you, sis?"

Sure, your mom cut out an article from The Times 'Style' section on "starter marriages" (never mind that the article was printed before your wedding hit the skids last winter in Aspen—has mom been saving it all this time?), and she keeps offering you herbal tea and wanting to talk. You can tolerate it, especially since she paid for your ticket home.

But there's one hour Thursday night when they all better steer clear of you: 8 PM EST, when The O.C. airs.

If any of those fuckers even tries to talk to you during The O.C., you're going to explode in a screaming fit, thrashing about and destroying your father's fancy new stereo and reducing your mother's precious Hummels to dust. For real: no jury in the land would convict a 29 year-old divorcée for killing her entire family on Thanksgiving night if they knew that all she wanted to do was watch The O.C.

Shit. Now you'll need a good lawyer. Not one of those awful public defenders with dandruff and a baggy, hand-me-down Brooks Brothers suit. (Can't you get it tailored—it only costs like forty bucks?) You'll need one of those slick ones who do pro bono work, especially for still pretty women accused of crimes of passion. Maybe he'll even be sexy like Peter Gallagher on The O.C.

After a long, public trial, dutifully covered in People and on CNN ("Whoa, is that Dominick Dunne in the audience of my murder trial?"), you'd be acquitted when your motive is fully explained: Not guilty by reason of O.C.

It'll be hard to put the trial behind you (and, you know, the death of your whole family, including your "funny" uncle), but you've always been remarkably strong. You pride yourself on having only cried at work once—that goddamn toner got all over your skirt, it wasn't your fault—and even when your ex was playing all those sadistic mind games, you never once threw it in his face that you knew it would be a bad idea to marry a Jew. (Situational anti-Semitism: so weak.)

Yes, you are a strong, independent woman, and now that your murder trial is behind you, you will fulfill your destiny by finding a nice man and bearing his children. But there's something you need to do first: you need to go to the video store and buy the DVDs of the last two seasons of The O.C., since you sort of lost track of the show while you were in jail. Today is the first day of the rest of your life, and The O.C. is there for you, unlike those dead jerks in your family. Now, who does a woman have to kill around here to get some service at this fucking Blockbuster?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.: I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX

Earlier: Obligatory Pop Culture Entry to Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs; O.C.D.; The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend.

Posted at 1:00 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  November 18, 2004
The O.C.: Your One and Only Friend

002oc.jpgYeah, you've kinda lost your edge. You're still listening to that Spin Doctors CD from college and you couldn't tell the difference between The Hives and The Vines if your life depended on it. (And back-channel al Qaeda chatter indicates that millions of Americans' lives may, in fact, depend on knowing the difference between these two bands.)

That's what's so great about The O.C. You can feel cool again, plugged in. When you watch The O.C., you feel like one of the cool kids, instead of a paunchy, weak-kneed loser sliding into a wide, ugly middle age of quiet desperation, which is what you are.

But, man, for that hour The O.C. is on, you're that kid in the front row at the pep rally, applauding for your incredibly cute girlfriend, the head cheerleader. Sometimes your dumb friends make jokes about her being the head cheerleader, but screw 'em, they're just jealous. You guys are a good couple and nothing's gonna come between you. I mean, not until college at least.

College is gonna be great. No parents! No dumb rules or homework! Will you pledge a fraternity? Maybe! Will you finally get to have a threesome? Maybe! Will you make friends for life who will support you, care about you, hook you up with awesome jobs when you graduate? Maybe!

Then again, maybe not. Those guys are so selfish. None of them return your calls and the last time you hung out with them, they made fun of your job, your Today's Man suit, and your studio apartment. Such snobs. Maybe you should call that girl you dated in high school, that cheerleader you dumped freshman year of college when you were sure you'd be getting tons of dorm room nookie.

What, she's married now? To whom? That guy from your fraternity? Goddamnit! Those jerks! Well, there's always The O.C. Now you feel better, don't you, ya fuckin' loser?

Actually, I've never seen The O.C.; I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs at 8PM EST on FOX.

Earlier: O.C.D.; Obligatory Pop Culture Entry To Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs.

Posted at 5:06 PM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  November 11, 2004
O.C.D.

001mischa.jpgAs everyone knows, today is a special day. It's a day when we take a little time to think about the brave people who give their all and pay the ultimate price for us to live better lives.

No, I do not mean the veterans. (Don't you read the right side of this website? We fucking hate the soldiers and we're huge supporters of the insurgents: I have a picture of that dreamy Muqtada al-Sadr hanging in my cubicle.)

I'm talking about The O.C., of course! Today is episode two of The O.C.'s second season, and I, for one, am excited.

I'm so excited about The O.C., I can hardly think of anything else. This past week's news cycle is just a blur to me: Is Yasser Arafat alive or dead? Did someone in Bush's cabinet resign or get fired or something? Honestly, when I get the paper, I just turn to the TV section to see if there's an article on The O.C., like a cool lifestyle piece on people having parties to watch the show, or style pieces on fashion inspired by the wardrobe, or some sort of medical study on how watching The O.C. can clear up your skin. How come no one has written these pieces yet? What are journalists focusing on that's so much more important than The O.C.?

Here's what I like about The O.C.: It's an escape, okay? I can put aside my own life for a little while and immerse myself in the lives of some truly amazing characters. You might find this hard to believe (especially coming from someone who puts his thoughts on the internet for the world to read—sans payment), but I'm happy not to think about myself for a little while.

When I watch The O.C., I almost never think about that mole on my shoulder that's been getting bigger and becoming bumpier, or the fact that skin cancer runs in my family, and I don't have a doctor or health insurance. I don't have to think about the fact that I had to buy new pants one waist size larger than my last, or that the last time I did any exercise was in high school gym class, and even then, I mostly faked stomach aches so I wouldn't have to change in front of all those vicious jocks who'd snap me with towels and call me a "queer." (Me, a queer? I wasn't the one who was walking around half naked, patting my teammates on the butt and saying, "Good game, big guy." I mean, so what if I had a picture of that dreamy Moammar Qaddafi hanging in my locker? I have a soft spot for dynamic, photogenic despots, okay?)

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, The O.C.. I also like that while watching The O.C., I can use my mind to manipulate space and time, opening a portal to an alternate universe better than our own. What? You don't do that?

Continue reading...
Posted at 11:58 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
  November 4, 2004
Obligatory Pop Culture Entry To Prove We Haven't Become Humorless Prigs

001OC.jpgThe O.C. is back! Dude, The O.C. is totally, totally back!

And not a minute too soon. Nothing makes me forget the difficulties of being an adult than watching a bunch of attractive actors play out fantasy scenarios of the awesome teen years I never had. After a long day of commuting to work, being belittled and humiliated by employers, forced into small talk with ignorant coworkers, trips to the ATM to see you have less money than yesterday, skimming magazines and seeing images of a good life you will never be able to attain, and commuting home to your tiny, over-priced hovel for another night with the partner you've settled on, nothing speaks to you like The O.C., baby!

Guys, isn't it so awesome that you can ogle the chicks on the show even though they're underage? It's like an hour-long suspension of all known statutory rape laws. They're so much younger than your wife or girlfriend, and it's a lot safer than talking to girls in AOL chat-rooms or flirting with your daughter's friends. And you can totally masturbate to it if you watch it in your den with the door closed.

And ladies, isn't it so great that you get to be in love with that nerd character, even though when you were in high school, you would've wanted nothing to do with him and probably spent the majority of your day making his life a living hell? But compared to your insensitive, foul-smelling, hairy-backed manchild of a husband or boyfriend, the so-called man who makes love to you with the repetitive, passionless finesse of a Punch Press, that O.C. geek is like prince charming. You even cut his photo out of Entertainment Weekly. You are too cute!

God, when did your life start to suck so bad that the completely fictional lives of imaginary rich kids become the ultimate escape? If you think about, you almost want to cry. You almost want to shoot yourself with a diamond bullet that would tear you apart, shattering the numbing boredom of your life, the endless trips to the gas station, the loading and unloading of the washing machine, the mortgage payments, the judgmental glares of all those people who think they're better than you even though you try your best to be a good person, the microwaved leftovers that are still cold in the middle, that feeling you have after three beers on a Sunday, sitting on the couch not quite drunk but dimly aware that this is it, this is all there is to your life. And you're, what, 32? Jesus.

Yay! The O.C.! Yay!!!

Okay, that was a complete failure. I've never even seen The O.C.. I'm sure it's pretty good.

The O.C. airs 8PM EST, on FOX.

Posted at 10:47 AM in a OC-centric, Shallow fashion.
Make our "team" part of your "team"
jean-paul tremblayJean-Paul Tremblay written-ed, directed and co-produced a bunch of so-called "comedy" and "video" content, is notoriously competitive, and nonetheless settles for bottom-tier tokenism. Repped by John Herndon at Grape Dope Entertainment. Thrill jockey!
matt haberMatt Haber has written for The New York Times, Esquire, and The New York Observer. He is not allergic to pet dander and can do "ethnic" accents if the part calls for it. He is repped by Candy Addams at Entertainment 4-Every-1. Feeling special?
Guy Cimbalo is so cute! Yes, he is. Who's a cute little Guy? You are, you are! Guy's our very own star of stage and screen and is repped by Jeff Kwatinetz at The Firm. Rowr!
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