The Cultural Gutter

the cult in your pop culture

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars." -- Oscar Wilde

High diving boards, banana costumes,
and other risks worth taking

Normal Rockwell Boy on High Dive

I come from a family of eggheads, so summer camp for me was usually something like Mini University. We’d play with metal shavings and magnets, or compete to design the most aerodynamic paper planes, but one of the things we also got to do was use the Olympic swimming pool with a full size, triple-decker […]

RIP, Kate O’Mara

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Actor Kate O’Mara has died. She performed the Rani in Doctor Who, Caress Morell in Dynasty, Mademoiselle Perrodot in The Vampire Lovers and Alys in The Horror of Frankenstein. O’Mara also had roles in Absolutely Fabulous, The Avengers, The Saint, Danger Man / Secret Agent, The Persuaders and Adam Adamant Lives!  The Guardian, Digital Spy […]

RIP, David Brenner

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Comedian and actor David Brenner has died. The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times have obituaries. The Comics’ Comic and The Hollywood Reporter remembers Brenner. Here’s Brenner’s first appearance on The Tonight Show With Johnny Carson.

Star Wars Filibuster, Animated

Patton Oswalt’s multi-franchise super-movie described in his Star Wars filibuster from Parks and Recreation, animated.

Fictional Floor Plans

Interior Designer Iñaki Aliste Lizarralde’s floor plans for houses and apartments from The Simpsons, Frasier, Sex and the City, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Up, Seinfeld, and Friends. (Thanks, James!)

RIP, Bonnie Franklin

Actress Bonnie Franklin has died. Franklin was best known for her role as Ann Romano in the sitcom One Day At A Time, but performed on stage as well as on television. Here she is performing in the Tony Awards in the 1970s. The New York Times has an obituary.

50 Wonderful Things in 2012

Linda Holmes shares 50 wonderful things at NPR’s Monkey See blog.

RIP, Larry Hagman

Actor and director (Son of Blob) Larry Hagman has died. The Guardian has an obituary. Joe O’Shea wrote a profile on Hagman’s birthday last September, which included Hagman talking about what he wanted done with his remains: “I would like to be minced. Did you ever see Fargo, when they put the guy in the […]

Recapping The Jetsons: “Elroy’s TV Show”

At Paleofuture, Novak watches The Jetsons and the debates about television depicted in the episode, “Elroy’s Tv Show”: “The episode highlights the perennial debate over the role of TV programming in the American home. The latter half of the 20th century saw numerous fights over the regulation of TV programming and the battles were especially vicious […]

RIP, Sherman Hemsley

Sherman Hemsley has died. Hemsley was most famous as George Jefferson on the tv show, The Jeffersons and Deacon Ernest Frye in Amen. “Years after [The Jeffersons] ended, Hemsley frequently encountered fans who asked him to reenact George’s famous strut from the show’s opening credits. Hemsley said it was inspired by the Philly Slop, a […]

Breaking Bad + Laugh Track

Breaking Bad re-imagined as an ABC sitcom.

In Defense of Liz Lemon

At The New Yorker, Emily Nussbaum feels compelled to defend30 Rock character Liz Lemon in the face of recent “Liz Hate.”  “[O]ne of the most radical things about 30 Rock [has always been] the way it has continually punctured Liz’s image of herself as a spunky brunette underdog.”  A reader suggests everyone read Tiger Beatdown’s, […]

Nick Offerman Interview

It’s the LA Weekly Blog Food Interview with Parks and Recreation‘s Ron Swanson, oops… actor Nick Offerman.

Dan Harmon’s Circle

You know that movie with the guy who sees some pattern everywhere? Community‘s Dan Harmon is that guy. (via @glinner)

Fandom is Magic

In the year 2001 I discovered a magical world. Not Harry Potter (that was a few years later) and not the Internet (although it was responsible), but a world that captured my attention and hasn’t let go ten years later. It has to do with fanfiction; unpaid fiction that is written by fans of a […]

The Office Romance

Does shipping undermine romance? “The shipper-oriented vision of romance, in which it’s all nothing-nothing-nothing-BOOM! KISSING! has a tendency to devalue actually being happy in favor of being constantly stimulated by drama.” Linda Talks more about love, “Jam” and The Office (US) here.

Joke only about your face, Willis!

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I’d like to change speeds this time out, and cast an eye towards the idiotbox instead of the silver screen. Our location will be New York, where a cast of characters featured a wealthy widower named Philip Drummond (Conrad Bain), who lived in a luxurious penthouse with his nubile teenage daughter Kimberly (Dana Plato). As […]

Well-rendered Television

The show’s opening sequence starts with a woman in a black bodysuit facing off against a hulking monster. When she finishes him off with a jump-kick, the music swells and the words “Game Over” come up. “Did you ever wonder what happens after the game ends?” a voice reminiscent of Laurence Fishburne intones. “Welcome to […]

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  • Of Note Elsewhere

    The Royal Court Theatre hosts a conversation among former Anonymous LulzSec members facilitated by anthropologist Gabriella Coleman.

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    “Japan’s estimated population at the time of their last census was 127 million, and people have been living on this small collection of islands since the Jomon period (~12,000 BCE.) In an increasingly crowded country with a strong traditional belief in ghosts and hauntings, the question of avoiding a marauding ghost becomes impossible to solve, without outside help.”Atlas Obscura has more (with neat illustrations).

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    At Mostly Film, Blake Backlash writes about films “mixing of Hollywood’s Grande Dames with Grand Guignol.”  “Such cinematic mixing of Grande Dames and Grand Guignol had its heyday in the second-half of the sixties, and such films are sometimes (more-or-less) affectionately known as psycho-biddy pictures. They tended to feature an actress over 50 in some sort of peril, a melodramatic plot and a title that ends in a question mark.  But there is another, related tradition that goes back further that I think we could place these films in.” (via Dr. Giallo)

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    “I want to tell you about when violent campaigns against harmless bloggers weren’t any halfway decent troll’s idea of a good time—even the then-malicious would’ve found it too easy to be fun. When the punches went up, not down. Before the best players quit or went criminal or were changed by too long a time being angry. When there was cruelty, yes, and palpable strains of sexism and racism and every kind of phobia, sure, but when these things had the character of adolescents pushing the boundaries of cheap shock, disagreeable like that but not criminal. Not because that time was defensible—it wasn’t, not really—but because it was calmer and the rage wasn’t there yet. Because trolling still meant getting a rise for a laugh, not making helpless people fear for their lives because they’re threatening some Redditor’s self-proclaimed monopoly on reason. I want to tell you about it because I want to make sense of how it is now and why it changed.” Emmett Rensin writes more at Vox.

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    At Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, Elyse has some things to say about reading Romance. “In the end, it doesn’t matter what I read. It doesn’t even matter that I do read, quite frankly. What matters is that we live in a world where fiction aimed directly at women is perceived as garbage. That doesn’t say anything at all about me, it says a lot about what needs to change.”

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    Brain Pickings looks at the life and work of Tove Jansson and the wisdom of her character, Too-ticky. “Too-ticky, the sage of Moominvalley who solves even the most existential of problems with equal parts practicality and wisdom, was inspired by the love of Jansson’s life — the great Finnish sculptor and graphic arts pioneer Tuulikki “Tooti” Pietilä, Jansson’s spouse. The two women met in art school during their twenties and remained together until Jansson’s death more than six decades later, collaborating on a lifetime of creative projects — all at a time when queer couples were straddling the impossible line between anguishing invisibility and dangerous visibility.” (via Kate Laity)

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