28 December 2005

Borders Extravaganza, Simpsons Season Seven...

I had a few X-mas items to do some exchangin', including a nice little Borders gift certificate to go with it, so after work yesterday, I hoofed it over to the Columbus Circle Borders to get my shop on. Not surprisingly, the line was ridiculous and filled mostly with exchangers.

Ultimately, I pulled in:
  • The Simpsons Season 7

  • Aesop Rock- Labor Days

  • "Vengeance" by George Jonas

  • "The Plot Against America" by Philip Roth

  • Not a bad haul. I've always wanted to read that Roth novel (I finished Lincoln last night, and I'm already almost through Chuck Klosterman's "Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs," something I've wanted to read for a long while) and "Vengeance" is the book Munich was based on. Also, I needs my Aesop Rock.

    One quick thing on the Klosterman book, too- my favorite passage in it so far is (besides his virulent hatred of Coldplay, which I share) his discussion of the quality of debate between Real World castmembers on the show. This is something Mike and I have been saying for years- and likely something people who enjoy actually communicating have been saying as well- these people simply can't argue a point. They can't do it. Like, say, when one of them opens a letter addressed to the other. One gets mad, the other defends themself.

    They miss the big picture, get all emotional, let the subject be reframed over and over again, never address the actual issue and usual resort to name-calling and bravado over being "right" or "wrong." It's tremendously frustrating, yet slightly appealing, because, to quote Mike, "if I was ever in an argument on this show, I'd wipe the floor with these people. They'd all have to go into counselling after I was done with them. I could start a cult out of the castmembers, because I'd have them eating out of my own hand."

    The line at Borders was ABSURD, and while they were cool with an exchange-without-receipt, they did the old "we'll return it for the sale price" shenanigans. I fuckin' hate that shit. Anyway, I feel bad for the employees of that store. That place was torn to bits when I got there, and it was only like, 6:15.

    I also felt bad for them because they were hosting an event that night for Criss Angel, the magician featured in the A&E show "Mindfreak," which has the single greatest opening theme song/ montage in TV history. He's this fruity goth magician that's totally in your face and extreme- sort of like the lead singer from Extreme crossed with Robert Smith, but less cool/ talented (yes, I know Gary Cherone isn't talented and Robert Smith isn't really cool- you get the picture).

    The Borders lady announcing the event kept saying, "...so if you're ready to have your mind BLOWN, come stand in line and meet... CRISS ANGEL!" I still hope that was scripted and provided by the Mindfreak folks- for her sake and mine. In case it didn't go without saying- I wasn't ready to have my mind blown. Some other time, I guess.

    I will say- I was impressed by Criss' turnout. It appeared that every local D&D chapter was seemingly emptied out for his appearance.

    OK, now I'm just being a dick. D&D kids are way too cool for that toolbox.

    In the history of TV shows, The Simpsons season 7 may be one of, if not my absolute favorite season of a TV series. It's right up there with Seinfeld season 4, LOST season 1, The Wire season 2, Mr. Show season 3, Twin Peaks season 1, The Larry Sanders Show season 3, The Office season 1, Curb Your Enthusiasm season 3, Beverly Hills 90210 season 3, Chappelle's Show season 2.

    It's unreal- almost like my TV version of Nevermind- one of my favorite bands, with just the perfect, flawless lineup of killer shit after killer shit. I don't know of any American prime time TV series being this unbelievably great this late in it's run. The Simpsons peak is just mind boggling- it starts around season 3 and just soars right around to the end of season 9. No other show was ever that consistently great- not Seinfeld, not anybody. Unprecedented.

    Here's the list from season 7:

    1. Who Shot Mr. Burns (Pt 2)

    2. Radioactive Man
    3. Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily

    4. Bart Sells His Soul

    5. Lisa the Vegetarian

    6. Treehouse of Horror VI

    7. King-Sized Homer

    8. Mother Simpson

    9. Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming

    10. The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

    11. Marge Be Not Proud

    12. Team Homer

    13. Two Bad Neighbors
    14. Scenes from the Class Struggle in Springfield

    15. Bart the Fink

    16. Lisa the Iconoclast

    17. Homer the Smithers

    18. The Day the Violence Died

    19. A Fish Called Selma

    20. Bart on the Road

    21. 22 Short Films About Springfield

    22. Ragin Abe Simpson and His Grumbling Grandson in "The Curse of the Flying Hellfish"

    23. Much Apu About Nothing

    24. Homerpalooza

    25. The Curse of 4 Ft. 2

    Now, if I were to go through and list my favorite Simpsons episodes, first of all, it would start with "A Fish Called Selma." Filling out the rest of the list, however, would require I sift through episodes like "Radioactive Man," "Bart Sells His Soul," "King Sized Homer," "Marge Be Not Proud," "Two Bad Neighbors," "Lisa the Iconoclast," "The Day the Violence Died," "Much Apu About Nothing," "The Curse of 4 ft. 2." I'm not even being liberal in including so many episodes- this season is a legitimate barn-burner (no idea what that even means)- EVERY episode is great. EVERY SINGLE ONE. There isn't ONE bad episode. It's unreal.

    Plus, it features guest spots from Bob Newhart, Paul McCartney and Sonic Youth, features the best "Treehouse Horror" episode ever, and the awesome conclusion of the Mr. Burns cliffhanger. I specifically recall in high school hearing that Sonic Youth was recording a version of the theme song for the end credits, and that I wanted a tape of it, 'cause I was (and still am) really into Sonic Youth. So, I got my tape recorder to hold up to the TV speakers as it played, live on the air. Came out sounding GREAT, too (I actually have it in listenable form now, years later, on the Songs in the Key of Springfield CD). Then, I went out with all my friends and we scored with a bunch of chicks.

    I made the last part up.

    Seriously though, is there anything better than "Planet of the Apes: The Musical"? Or the sarcastic guy yelling to 300+ lb Homer, "Hey fatty, I got a movie for ya- A Fridge to Far!" Or Uncle Moe's Family Feedbag? Or Homer in 3-D? Or President Bush spanking Bart? "The Goggles, they do nothing!" "Who Needs the Quik-E-Mart?"

    I can't say enough about this season. Please- if someone can find a flaw, tell me. I don't see it.

    Finally, thanks to a wonderful bit of unsolicited kindness from Joanna at The Best Sox Blog on the Net (my words- it's Empyreal Environs, fool), I have a "button" one can use when linking to me, if one were interested in doing such a thing.

    Pretty cool, huh? If you're interested, you know the routine...

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