Pop culture update: October

Starting this month, I will try to offer my recommendations for what to watch on TV, see in theaters, and listen on CD. These so-called "updates" will not deal with pop literature, since I have a fair amount of disdain for most popular fiction and because I simply don't have time to fit in leisurely reading with my already full reading load. For those who would like to offer their two-cents on such material, I more than welcome your comments.

What to Watch on TV: The Adam Carolla Project
So I know this might get me in trouble, but I have a serious confession: Adam Carolla and the "Love Line" radio show played a minor but consistent role in my adolescent maturation. On most weeknights, I would have his show with Dr. Drew on in my room while working on trigonometry and AP history. It's a little sad, but nevertheless true. Now, in my graduate education, he is the one person who can sustain my attention to television, outside of Seinfeld and Friends reruns. His new show on TLC is, of course, quite funny. But there's something particularly fascinating about this new "home improvement" experiment. The show is, to put it lightly, a study in incompetence. Everything that can go wrong does go wrong, and it's almost always due to "human error." What makes this especially intriguing for me is that nothing riles me more than incompetence. Amy can attest to this: I get extremely impatient when anyone does not do a satisfactory job, or at least attempt to do something at a satisfactory level. (I realize the problems inherent in this pet peeve of mine.) But surprisingly I love watching this show. There is something infinitely interesting in watching incompetent people deal with the consequences of their own incompetence. Beyond that, however, there is also a certain level of heart and depth in watching these life-long buddies work through their differences, and seeing the relationship between Adam and his wife. For those who want a very different take on "home improvement," this is for you.

What to See in the Movie Theater: Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Is there anything more endearing than the characters of Wallace and Gromit? Answer: no. This movie, though short, is lovable, wonderful, technically superb, and emotionally satisfying. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Ever since Chicken Run, I have waited anxiously for this film to arrive. Now that it has, I am not disappointed.

What to Listen to on CD: Apologies to the Queen by Wolf Parade
Wolf Parade, like last year's great new band, The Arcade Fire, hail from Canada, and are the Canadian equivalent to Modest Mouse. Except for one thing: they're better. Without a doubt, Modest Mouse have established themselves over the years as one of the greatest indie rock bands. And with only their debut album, Wolf Parade do not have the years of experience to prove their worth ... yet. Their first album, taken by itself, is magnificent. While not quite as epic as last year's Funeral, Apologies to the Queen is still a musical and lyrical tour de force. There is hardly a track on the album that does not have the potential to stick in your head for days -- the only exceptions being, possibly, "Fancy Claps" and "Killing Armies," which, while not weak, are not quite as strong as the others. The first song might turn off some listeners because it does sound a little too much like a long-lost Modest Mouse track, but such a reaction quickly dissipates in the sheer joy of hearing great music.

Comments

Shane said…
adam corolla?! oh david, say it ain't so.

shane
D.W. Congdon said…
Sadly, it is so. But hey, the new TV show is pretty good.