Brandon Wetherbee is the host of You, Me, Them, Everybody. It records Friday, November 1 at the Wonderland Ballroom with Sadie Dingfelder, Wesley Della Volla, Howard Lester, Haywood Turnipseed Jr, Adam Friedland, Andrew Bucket, Brenda and Katherine Timpf.
Don’t look back in anger. Look back with a judgmental eye. Then close that eye because the advertisement on the next page will make that eye upset.
Esquire, a fantastic magazine with a cable network that isn’t half-bad (really, check out The Getaway, specifically the episodes featuring Joel McHale and Aisha Tyler), features a monthly column entitled, “A Thousand Words.” It’s a look at the pop culture zeitgeist. For their November 2013 issue, the one with Scarlett Johansson on the cover because she’s “The Sexiest Woman Alive (what an excellent qualifier),” the column is about nostalgia, or new vs old when it comes to popularity of TV shows, movies and music.
Writer Stephen Marche does a fine job illustrating his point that shows like 2 Broke Girls, Two And A Half Men and NCIS are more popular than Girls, Louie and Mad Men. The first three shows use the same formula that successful shows in the 60s, 70, 80s, 90s and 00s employed. Magazines like Esquire tend to praise artistic triumphs like Louie and skewer low brow nothingness like Two and a Half Men because taste and stuff. This is due to the old.
People like old stuff. New stuff is hard to digest. If we want to veg out, we want to veg out, not try and think even more. Network programming isn’t about nostalgia, it’s about ease. Same with films. Sequels work. I agree. Here’s where it get’s interesting:
None of this should be confused with nostalgia. Nostalgia implies that the nostalgics recognize they’re borrowing from the past, consciously remembering how things used to be. But when Robin Thicke and the producers of “Blurred Lines” preemptively sued Marvin Gaye’s family because they were so worried about their own liability for copyright infringement, they were kind of showing their hand.
Excellent point. I never thought of that. I’m learning something. Maybe we should take what we’re learning on page 78 of the November 2013 Esquire and question whether or not Thicke’s authenticity is invalid due to an premature lawsuit. Maybe this song is kind of illegal, in some fair version of modern pop music? Maybe popularity of the moment is more important than legacy? Page 78 has a lot to teach the reader.
Page 79 is a full page ad for Remy Martin Fine Champagne Cognac featuring Robin Thicke.
This is great. Everyone gets everything. Writer Stephen Marche gets to write with freedom negatively about subjects of full page ads in the pages of the magazine that employs him. Remy Martin could give a shit what some dude with thoughts thinks when they have Mr. Blurred Lines making eyes at his some pretty lady (more on that later). We’ve come so far that you can literally write whatever you want about whomever you want and there’s no consequences. We’ve evolved as a culture. Or no one cares.
It’s probably the second one. No one cares. Say what you want. It’ll all be fine. This reminds me of Norm MacDonald’s legendary Late Night with Conan O’Brien Courtney Thorne-Smith interruption.
Courtney is there to promote a film with Carrot Top. Norm is there to say what he thinks. Conan is there to make sure everything is OK. Conan sets her up, Norm interrupts and saves an otherwise boring interview. Conan makes everything OK. No one cares and it’s one of the best moments of late night.
Back to Thicke and Esquire. It’s great. And it makes me like Robin Thicke in a weird way. His music is not for me. I’m not his target demographic. He’s going after some Sinatra meets Timberlake meets Diddy lady crooner/cool guy that sorta wears a suit image. He’s doing it quite nicely in this ad. But that pretty lady isn’t some nameless model, it’s talented actress Paula Patton, who also happens to be married to Thicke.
Whatever anyone has to say about “Blurred Lines,” whether the complaint is it’a Marvin Gaye rip-off or lyrical attack on women or a step backwards for pop music, it doesn’t matter. We can say all we want. Thicke is more than happy to smile at his wife while getting paid to drink alcohol.