By Mike Bruu, TSB Sports Writer
1. If you look at all of the American professional sports leagues, one of the things they have in common is an all-star break. This three- or four-day event is dedicated to honoring the game’s greatest players, kicking back and enjoying the sport. So, in honor of the MLB All-Star Game coming up in two weeks from Kansas City, I thought I would have my own little All-Star event at The Numbers Game. This is a special Friday edition that will step away from the world of sports a bit, but rather tackle some music and entertainment topics that have been on my mind lately. So without further ado, let’s talk…pop culture? We’ll go with that. It’s the All Star break; I’m allowed to be a little weird.
2. If you listened to The Sports Bruu Podcast episode where Steve, Angie, and myself discussed the return of the TV show Dallas, you know that we were all going to give the show a chance to stay in the DVR rotation. And after finally sitting down and watching the first two episodes (I’m still a couple behind), I have to say that it will be a very solid middle-of-the-rotation starter. (See, I can’t stay entirely away from sports.) While the show lacks any kind of realism (i.e. the John Ross and his wife making out under spewing oil in the opening scene) and the script is slightly simplistic, it’s one of those shows that is very hard not to get hooked on. There are enough twists and turns to keep you around, and while you can get angry at certain plots and twists throughout, I believe that makes you even hungrier for another episode. One tiny flaw though: is the best place for a secret meeting the 50-yard line of Cowboy Stadium? Just asking.
3. Last night spawned the new Thursday night lineup on FX and the return of several major celebrities … and Charlie Sheen. Cue the rim shot now. But really, Sheen’s new sitcom Anger Management is a slightly more conservative show than Two and a Half Men, but Charlie is still Charlie. And while we “love” him for who he is and for what the entirety of his bit is, his whole act has kind of run dry in my opinion. It’s going to get recorded on my DVR for at least two-to-three more weeks, but don’t expect a groundbreaker with Anger Management.
4. Next up was the return of FX’s original series Wilfred, America’s favorite man-dog. For those who have seen the awkward commercials with Elijah Wood and Jason Gann eating spaghetti, (similar to that of Lady and the Tramp) don’t be too alarmed, because the show only gets weirder from there. Gann plays Wilfred, who is a regular dog in everyone else’s eyes, but through Wood’s he is an Australian man in a dog costume. The show has some very adult content throughout, but the bond between man and dog has never been this fun to watch and observe. There is something truly fascinating in seeing how they build this relationship between a man and his pet when the pet can talk back, while also keeping the purity of the animal and including the natural tendencies of it. I absolutely love Wilfred and you all should too.
5. Batting third in the lineup was Louie, the comedy sitcom starring the great comedian Louis C.K. Louie was a program that I jumped on the bandwagon a little late for, but the ride has been a lot of fun so far. I honestly believe that the show should be approached like a foreign food that you are trying for the first time. The more often you try it, the more you will like it over time. With Louie, you have to understand how the jokes are set up and executed, and instead of getting frustrated at the sometimes slow pace of the show, observe the tiny details and the actions of Louis C.K. and you will understand why he is one of the best comedians on the planet right now.
6. Lastly, I have to get to the massive disappointment that was Brand X. Starring the oh so wonderful Russell Brand, Brand X is a late night “talk show” that has Brand putting his stamp on politics and pop culture. I am a Russell Brand fan and really enjoy his work in motion pictures, but his latest television effort is a massive fail. From talking over his sidekick, Matt Stoller, and one of the audience members he was attempting to interview, to spending the whole opening segment mumbling about the Dalai Lama, Brand X was 30minutes I can never get back. Taking political and spiritual advice from Mr. Brand is bad enough in itself, but if people actually listen to how he feels about life and lives off those beliefs, they probably need a little Tim Tebow.
7. Song of the Week: B**** Bad – Lupe Fiasco. Now before you read the title and freak out, the song is actually extremely positive. The incredible Lupe Fiasco tackles the issue of using the b-word by telling multiple stories about how the meaning of the word can mean so many different things, all of which ultimately demean women. In today’s rap, we have thousands of songs talking about women and sex and all that other stuff, and the b-word is used unfortunately way too much. But with this track and his other single “Freedom Ain’t Free”, Lupe has already dealt with a demeaning curse word and the American economy in his first two singles. Food & Liquor II might ultimately live up to its name as the Great American Rap Album after all.
8. Welcome back, Linkin Park. We’ve missed you. With Tuesday’s release of Living Things, the band that helped me get ready for basketball games back in middle school with their hardcore rock/rap mix returns to their Hybrid Theory and Meteora days. If you love the old sound of Linkin Park with Mike Shinoda having a bigger part of the album vocally, it won’t take you too long to fall in love with Living Things. While you can hear some sounds that were derived from their two-album experimentation with new keyboards and overall concepts, current day Linkin Park hasn’t been this close to the middle-2000’s Linkin Park in a very long time.
9. I literally cannot wait to see Ted this weekend. Seth MacFarlane finally dives into the world of movies and has created the cuddly yet adult little teddy bear Ted. Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis co-star is a film with MacFarlane as the voice of Ted, a stuffed bear that comes to life when Wahlberg is a kid. As Wahlberg grows up, so does the bear as they are seen in the previews drinking together and hanging around nightclubs. As an avid watcher of Family Guy, I have extremely high expectations for Ted. I just hope I haven’t set the bar too high.
10. I still haven’t seen Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I will buy popcorn and drinks if anyone volunteers to take me. At least that statement didn’t sound desperate at all.
11. Call me what you would like, but I still have my ears out for any new Maroon 5 material ever since their debut album Songs About Jane. That album had so much soul throughout that you believed the band could take over the musical world if they wanted to. While their new LP Overexposed isn’t exactly S.A.J, there are still bits and pieces of the band that are more reminiscent of the early days of the band. I love me some Wiz Khalifa as much as the next guy, but please don’t include him on another song. You know whatever he raps will be nothing about the track in the first place, which makes “Payphone” a fantastically frustrating song to listen to.
12. The power of using your song in a movie trailer: Eminem’s classic track “Till I Collapse” is in the Top 10 on iTunes this week after being used in the trailers for Savages. I guess still making money off a track almost 10 years later is a pretty good feeling to have.
13. I would like to give a special thanks out to Michael Skelton, Andrew Williams, and my brother Alex, for hopping on with me this week on The Sports Bruu Podcast this week. I had a lot of fun with the group and I hope you all enjoyed listening to some new voices and opinions.
14. Since I won’t talk to y’all again until after the Fourth of July, I hope that everyone has a fun and safe holiday and gets to enjoy some time with the family. I will be out at the Red, White, and Boom celebration in McKinney, so if you see me let’s talk a little sports and hang out for a bit. I love me some fireworks, baby.
15. I saved the best review for last, and that is the newest masterpiece by HBO, The Newsroom. Starring Jeff Daniels, the show centers around an aging news anchor and his newly appointed staff as they try and revive his journalistic integrity and greatness while rehashing some of our country’s recent tragedies and major events. In episode one the network covered the BP oil spill in Louisiana back in 2010, which was a fascinating look back at an event I should have paid more attention to. I love the sarcastic and egomaniacal character that Daniels plays, because he has room to develop as the shows progresses. The opening monologue by Daniels at the college meet-and-greet is pure television gold, so if anything you need to just hear his rant and subsequent call for hope and just admire the genius of the show’s writing.
16. Don’t worry folks, next week I will be back on the sports grind. I will have my official MLB All-Star Game selections for both leagues, as well as begin a countdown to another incredible season of the NFL by answering some questions heading into training camp. Thank you for attending The Numbers Game All-Star Event. I would like to think that I put on a decent effort for you all this week. Heck, at least I won home-field advantage in the World Series. Until next time, ladies and gentlemen.