Desperate Don't Sue From the Wizards Who Brought You the First-Ever Dual-Topic, Dual-Column Blog from Way Back When Life Imitates Blog Link-Pandering OC-centric Old School Original Video Sorta Dumb, Right? Whatever, Go Read A Gossip Blog Then

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.

Desperate Don't Sue Hive-Minded Life Imitates Blog Likely to be Misunderstood Link-Pandering OC-centric Old School Original Video We Made Peace With It and Did It Whatever, Go Read A Gossip Blog Then

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.

OC-centric Shallow

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”.

OC-centric Shallow

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.

OC-centric Shallow

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.

OC-centric Shallow

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.

OC-centric Shallow

For Ruth, the O.C., florid and pure

there it was.
The endowment was bequested
to POETRY magazine.
The Eli Lilly widow’s 2003
was a banner year
for gifts, for life, for language,
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
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
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.

OC-centric Shallow

Save the O.C. for a later date

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.

OC-centric Shallow

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.

OC-centric Shallow

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, can you? You just can’t.