The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep.7”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, for my one hundredth piece of content for this site, there was only one thing I could ever talk about.

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If you haven’t read my reviews of the first 6 episodes of this criminally underrated television series, you should catch up before you read this one so you know what’s happened so far. Click here to do that.

What they did wrong: You’d think after a three month break you’d know to stop asking by now.

What they did right: So we start off with a song and… uh…

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Yeah, we’re right back in the rhythm, ain’t we. So this episode’s winner is the opening song, “Let’s Be Careful Out There” a morning meeting song about listing off the tasks for the day and the shit on the docket.

And with that, I’m back in love with this show.

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                                           I’m sorry I was away so long, baby.

IT USES POLICE CODES AS LYRICS!!!!! If you don’t love the ever loving shit out of that, you can go the hell home. Also, halfway through the song, the officer in charge whips his desk around to reveal it’s actually a piano.

Cop Rock, you haven’t pulled the surprise piano trick since episode one! Nice little moment of nostalgia there.

After the song, we suddenly spot a new cop, who the camera tightly zooms in on. And he looks suspicious, mostly because he is holding a full pipe for no goddamn reason.

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                                                 Dum-dum-DUUUUUUUMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!

But that seems like it’ll be important later, so we’ll get back to him. For now, Ladycop has returned to active duty after being shot in the knee last episode and is right back at work busting perps and fucking her partner Affaircop. Her husband, the Medical Examiner is still suspicious about his wife’s possible infidelity.

In our biggest pollen, I have to name a character. This is Officer Loosecannon’s old partner:

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He’s been present since the beginning of the series but I’ve never had a real reason to name him until now. Last episode, he testified in court against Loosecannon, ensuring an indictment. Because of this just act, he has been christened Officer Whistleblower.

So Officer Whistleblower has been receiving racial slurs and death threats in the mail since he testified, so he goes to Captain Gravelvoice looking for police protection for his family. Gravelvoice grants it, but Whistleblower worries that the other officers won’t do their best since some view him as a traitor.

This fear is confirmed in the next song, where the officers of the LAPD sing passive aggressivly about how “no one can be loyal or trustworthy anymore”. Yep, it’s a song about police protectionism and the blue wall.

Why do people laugh when I say Cop Rock was way ahead of its time?

Next up, we get a scene with our good friend the mayor and her aide.

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                                                                                    This guy.

He is in her office to inform her of his intentions to resign. As he explains, a major magazine is preparing to out him as gay, so he wishes to quit so that his homosexuality doesn’t damage the mayor’s reputation.

The mayor tells him she has no intention to let him quit, and that she’ll help him out with this.

Back in our series-long plotline, Loosecannon is being prepped by his lawyer, a man who couldn’t look more like he was secretly the Devil if he was wearing horns and a tail.

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                                    “The name is mister Cypher. Mister L.U. Cypher” 

Loosecannon tells him the truth, that he shot an unarmed, restrained man. The Lawyer immediately gets to work planning for the trial.

Back with the mayor, she meets with the reporter threatening to out her aide. She reveals that the reporter is gay himself and that his boyfriend is an illegal immigrant. So she threatens to DEPORT him and out the reporter if said reporter doesn’t kill the story.

Jesus, mayor, I approve of the result, but your methods seem a wee bit harsh.

But speakin’ of racial tensions, Officer Whistleblower leaves his house at night to find a burning cross on his lawn. His wife sings to their children about the horrors of institutionalized racism.

In his office, Captain Gravelvoice questions the officers assigned to guard Whistleblower’s house, but conveniently, nobody saw anything. Gravelvoice informs them that, if something like this ever happens again, they will be held directly responsible and dismisses them.

While Whistleblower’s in the locker room, Loosecannon shows up, telling him that, if he needs help going after the people threatening him, to just give him a call. Whistleblower tells him to eff off, but seems to be at least considering the offer.

While, the Medical Examiner tails his wife and her partner on their route, we get back to my favorite character ever:

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                                                Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Oh Officer Singsong, how I have missed you.

So Singsong has been called in to meet with Loosecannon’s lawyer, since Singsong wants to help Loosecannon get off.

… Not the BEST way I could’ve put that.

Almost immediately, The Lawyer starts implying that Singsong failed to competently handcuff the suspect Loosecannon killed, which would make Singsong responsible for the shooting. Singsong angrily denies this claim and leaves the office in a huff. On his way out, he loses track of where he parked and sings a song about being kinda dumb as he looks for it.

Ugh, I wish I could hand out two awards this week. He gets to his car finally, only to realize he’s left his keys back in the lawyer’s office.

Back with the Medical Examiner, he tracks Ladycop and Affaircop to a motel, watches them slowly ascend the stairs and enter a room together. he builds up the courage to enter and then bursts in, gun drawn to find…

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                                                                    Ooooooooooooh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit.

Yeah, turns out they were responding to a call. So Ladycop yells at her husband, telling him that she is furious and can’t trust him anymore, which is mindbendingly shitty. Affaircop also takes a turn shouting at the ME, who leaves, still with his suspicions intact.

Back with Loosecannon, his lawyers explain that they want to fake a crime for Loosecannon to stop, engineering some positive publicity for him. Loosecannon, horrified, shoots that idea down. But he finally accepts to speak at a proto-tea party type group gathering later that night.

At the gathering, we first get a song from a band called, um actually, I’m not sure. It sounded like they called them “Brenda and the Bus Monsters” but that makes literally no sense, so that’s probably wrong. Let’s see what it actually was.Screen Shot 2016-07-18 at 1.26.56 PM.png

                                                                   Well I’ll be damned.

So Brenda and the Bus Monsters sing a song about glorifying Loosecannon’s actions. Loosecannon takes the stage and admits that the man he killed posed now direct danger to him and that he was taking the law into his own hands. The crowd bursts into applause. Amid the applause, Loosecannon seems to realize that maybe his case isn’t as unwinable as he thought before.

And that’s the episode! Another solid one. And I feel like we got everything covered this time, no loose ends.

Wait a second…

WHAT THE FUCK WAS UP WITH THIS GUY?!

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HE NEVER CAME UP AGAIN? WHAT WAS HE DOING IN THE OPENING? WHO IS HE? WHO AM I?

i’m so confused.

Well, here’s hoping that next month (and it will be next month, I promise) we find out.

And from the bottom of my heart, thank you for reading. I never thought I’d hit a hundred posted pieces of content here. It’s honestly a little insane.

That’s all for this week, next week, we’ll have some fun of a different nature.

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The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep. 6”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, guys, you should know the drill by now.

If you aren’t familiar with Cop Rock or my intense love of it, you can start from the beginning here.

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What they did wrong: YOU ARE JUST DIGGIN’ THAT HOLE DEEPER, AREN’T YOU?!!!

What they did right: We start with Officers Singsong and Needsapartner clearing out homeless people from under an overpass. Then everybody starts singing and dancing. Wow, this show is something.

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The song’s pretty good too. Not award worthy, but good nonetheless.

From there we cut to Loosecannon and his attorney girlfriend, who he’s pissed at because reasons.

Next up, Ladycop and Affaircop respond to a disturbance. A dude with a very fucking obvious gun in his pocket is being’ all shouty and when the cops show up, he shoots Ladycop in the knee before Affaircop takes him down.

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Back at headquarters, Singsong approaches Captain Gravelvoice and complains about being made to roust homeless people. Gravelvoice essentially says “eh, whatareyagonnado?” and shrugs it off.

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                                      Awww, I hate it when my two favorite characters fight.

Singsong and Needsapartner get dispatched to go move more homeless people and they do, only to find one of them dead. Singsong is disheartened by this and the response and decides to try and make a difference.

He picks one homeless guy and takes him to lunch, hoping to help him turn his life around. He learns slowly though that maybe this guy is homeless not because of accident but because of his clear mental issues.

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                                                          Very realistically portrayed mental issues.

This isn’t a fun episode.

Moving on, he said while scrambling to find something funny to talk about, we go back to Affaircop, who’s singing to Ladycop over a montage of their relationship while she lays in the hospital.

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SHE GOT SHOT IN THE KNEE. SHE’LL BE FINE. SHE DOESN’T HAVE FUCKING OVARIAN CANCER FOR GODSAKE.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut, her husband the Medical Examiner hears the song. At which point I legitimately yelled out “Oh Shit!”

I might be way too into this show.

In another continuing storyline, Chief Whatthefuck is preparing to go away for the weekend with the Mayor and is nervous about it. To help him, his assistant presses a button on his desk and a trio of backup singers comes out of the closet where the Chief keeps his robot bandit.

…That is a sentence I just typed.

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They all sing a song about how to love a woman or whatever. Later, when Whatthefuck and the Mayor go camping on their date, the Mayor reveals she’s still a virgin, which Chief Whatthefuck gets creepily excited about.

He also uses the phrase “you were saving yourself for me” which, um, ew?

Lastly lets cover Loosecannon’s plotline for the ep.

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                    “It’s This American Life, I’m your host Officer Loosecannon filling in for Ira Glass…”

Loosecannon meets with his new PR team, there to make him seem like a hero before his trial. They sing about it and all play instruments. and it’s pretty great. But not quite great enough for–

I’m sorry, did someone just sing the lyric “You’re gonna be bigger than Oliver North?”

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Loosecannon goes on a talk radio show, where he tells a racist trying to agree with him to fuck off. It is a beautiful moment. He talks about his personal philosophy as a cop and the difference between racism and what he felt were his motivations for the shooting in episode one. And that’s where we end.

Bit anticlimactic.

But that’s it for this week. Next week, another pilot. Next month, more Cop Rock.

The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep. 5”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, Cop Rock takes on social themes like always. If you need a refresher course of the Cop Rock story so far, you can read ’em all here.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.58.27 PM

What they did wrong: WHAT DID I SAY? WHAT DID I SAY?

WE AREN’T FRIENDS ANYMORE.

What they did right: Let’s start from the start and Oh shit–

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Yeah, we open with our award-winning song for the episode. This one is about rich, white businessmen arguing that they shouldn’t be arrested for cocaine possession because they’re white and worth a lot of money. Y’know, like cocaine.

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                                 Well, sorry discount Rick Moranis, you’re still going to jail.

The song’s refrain is the lyric “Don’t mess with my pursuit of happiness”. Which is oh so awesome. And we continue on, since one of the arrested coke addicts turns out to be the city councilman’s girlfriend. The city councilman calls up Chief Whatthefuck and threatens to absolutely slice the department’s budget if she isn’t released. Whatthefuck does so, but isn’t happy about it. But there’s one man much less happy about it:

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                                                         Captain Gravelvoice!!!!!

As we’ve established, Captain Gravelvoice is one stone-cold motherfucker. And he is pissed at this miscarriage of justice. The Chief says there’s nothing to be done, but Gravelvoice doesn’t know about that.

Next, Loosecannon:

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                                              I don’t think he’s ever lit properly in this show.

Loose cannon needs work. He needs it bad. But he is absolutely fuckin’ screwed in terms of police work, so he has to just go take what he can get. So he agrees to be a bodyguard for an event.

Story # 3:

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                                                                                Hi Billy!

So this cop has shown up a bit in the series so far, but not enough to where I gave him a name. So I’ll call him Billy. Because he just looks like a Billy, right?

Anyhoozles, Billy is approached by a movie starlet who is being stalked and harassed by an admirer. Billy and the starlet hit it off, even though the police can’t legally do anything at this point. We then cut to the event Loosecannon is guarding for. A political rally where we get a song about campaign finance donations. It’s pretty great.

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                                          Not “Fuck to the Yeah” great, but great nonetheless.

Then we catch up on drug addict mom from last episode, who is trying to get custody of her child. Wait, shit, now we’re back on Billy’s storyline. Goddamn does this episode not sit still for even a second.

Billy pays a visit to the stalker and threatens him, mostly because he and the starlet are getting cozier than two snuggling bunnies. After he leaves, the Stalker sings a song all about stalkin’.

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I’d call him “Richard Stalkins” but not even a stalker deserves comparison to that sexist human garbage pile.

The stalker goes over to the Starlet’s house, where Billy is spending the night (wink,wink) and breaks in with flowers. Billy pulls his gun and tries to arrest the Stalker, but the Starlet produces a gun of her own and shoots the stalker dead.

The police arrive and Billy confronts the Starlet, who more or less admits she was using Billy, hoping he’d kill the stalker, and when he didn’t, she did it herself. despite this being actual second degree murder (maybe first) and definitely some form of entrapment, the Starlet gets away scot-free and Billy is all sad and stuff.

Captain Gravelvoice organizes a sting to re-arrest the councilman’s girlfriend… and the councilman as well for cocaine use. While he’s in the tub, no less.

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You don’t fuck with the Gravelvoice, son.

And then to wrap it all up, we find out that drug addict mom has been given back custody of her child. Yaaaaaaay! and, in a nice callback to the pilot, we end on her singing her kid a song.

And so we end another episode of Cop Rock with STILL NO OFFICER SINGSONG.

GOD

DAMMIT.

Next time, Cop Rock, you fix that shit.

But Captain Gravelvoice is still awesome as shit.

Signing off.

EDIT: want to see what happens next? Click right here.

 

The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep. 4”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, let’s get back to some Cop Rock! Oh yeah!

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If you aren’t familiar with Cop Rock or my intense love of it, you can start from the beginning here. But this is episode four, so let’s go already!

What they did wrong: Ask me that one more time and we wren’t friends anymore.

What they did right: Ok, so this episode picks up a little after the last one , with Loosecannon’s court hearing. His bail is set and he’s sentenced to jail.

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                          Mustachioed prison guard is my new favorite character.

Loosecannon’s lawyer assures him that he’ll be kept out of genpop, or general population, where all the people are because they will probably wanna murder the shit out of Loosecannon for being a cop. We get a song about Loosecannon scaring the crap out of the other prisoners and then commercial break.

Yeah, the upload I found included the commercials, so between songs and cop stuff, I got adds for old Pizza Hut promotions that have long since passed. Cool. Next, we get our B-story, which is about the Medical Examiner having to go on a diet. Not joking.

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   Thrills! Chills! Excitement!!!!

His doctor tells him he needs to drop thirty five pounds so he has to start eating healthy. This is just a scene, right? Not a full on storyline?

Nope. This is a full plotline that also gets it’s own song.

I love this show.

Also, we get a return of an old character from the first episode!

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                                              CONTINUITY!!!! SWEET!!!!!!

That’s right, it’s the drug addict and baby seller! You may remember her as the one who named her child Crystal.

She returns and tries to get Ladycop to help her get her child back. The child she sold for 200 bucks. Ladycop promises to help and brings in Captain Gravelvoice who immediately arrests the baby seller for, you know, SELLING A FUCKING BABY.

Also, at this point, we discover the show takes place in LA. Cool.

Next, the Captain puts Ladycop and Affaircop on the case of the baby selling ring. To be honest, this episode doesn’t really feel like Cop Rock so far.

We then cut to Chief Whatthefuck, who acts like a sexist psycho and also has a whip for some reason.

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                                                 Ok, now it feels like Cop Rock.

Also HOLY SHIT I DID NOT NOTICE THAT COWBOY MURAL BEHIND HIM UNTIL LITERALLY RIGHT NOW. That is fantastic.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, the best thing.

Ladycop and Affiarcop (while undercover) meet up with the dude who BUYS AND SELLS BABIES. He looks like this:

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                                       Because of fucking course he does.

He gets an entire song about he will totes sell you a baby if you want one. The song is called “The Baby Merchant”. Oh, look, what do we have here.

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There we go, award handed out for the episode. Because this song is perfectly ridiculous in the greatest way. I love it so so much.

BTW, according to the advertisements airing alongside this thing, there is/was a supermarket chain called Foodtown? I like that a lot. It’s dumb, but I like it.

Next, the Medical Examiner is called to the scene of a triple-homicide to do his job, but when he sees it took place at a restaurant, he sits down at the table and starts eating the victims’ food. This makes him the wort fucking medical examiner of all time.

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                                                                        Ew.

Next, we get some stuff where it seems Ladycop is feeling bad about cheating on her husband with Affaircop. Although, considering her husband is currently sharing a meal with three corpses, maybe she shouldn’t be? Affair cop, for his part in all this, starts getting super weird about the affair. This is interrupted by the baby merchant showing up and his ass getting arrested.

He whines about entrapment, but too fuckin’ bad. on the heals of this, the police go and find the drug addict lady’s baby. The baby has been sold to another family, who the police arrest, charging them with SLAVERY.

Cop Rock, I fuckin’ love you.

Also, we get a song about dieting and the newly plastic surgery-d mayor hooks up with Captain Whatthefuck.

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                                                       What the fuck?

So it looks like the nice time the Chief complains about the Mayor “riding his ass” that will have a new meaning. Fun.

And so concludes another Cop Rock episode! Next time, we’ll hopefully get some Officer Singsong, since he wasn’t in this episode. But next week, it’s back to shitty pilots. Here we go!

 

The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep. 3”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, I need some pure unadulterated joy in my life, so we return to Cop Rock. Click here for a link to my previous Cop Rock reviews, ’cause I won’t be summarizing those episodes again today.

Oh, and also real quick, before we get into the comedy and the rock and the funtimes, I’d like to take a quick moment to remind people that, while the French Red Cross isn’t currently accepting American donations, Doctors Without Borders is. You can throw them some money here. And now back to the review.

Alright alright alright, let’s get back into Cop Rock.

What they did wrong: Oh my god!! STOP. ASKING. THE ANSWER WILL ALWAYS BE ‘NOTHING’!

What they did right: The episode opens on Chief Whatthefuck and Captain Gravelvoice as they discuss how to deal with Officer Loosecannon.

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                                   As I’m sure you’ve gathered, the video quality available to me isn’t great.

The captain very strongly argues for Loosecannon to be benched due to the ongoing criminal investigation, but Chief Whatthefuck is against the idea. Chief Whatthefuck laments the days of the old west when a guy like Loosecannon would be rewarded with “a shave and a whore”. Eventually, Whatthefuck agrees to let Gravelvoice pull Loosecannon off active duty. After Gravelvoice leaves, Whatthefuck sings a song about wanting to be a cowboy. A song you can hear by just clicking on this very sentence! Especially since he’s also dressed like a cowboy.

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You thought I was motherfucking kidding, didn’t you?

To be honest, this song actually explains a lot about Chief Whatthefuck’s character, mostly in relation to his attitude towards women and his robot bandit.  Whatthefuck is a man who wants to live in the old west, and he is doing everything he can to replicate that ideal. Ok, so it doesn’t ENTIRELY explain the robot bandit, but to be fair, will anything? So we go straight from this song into the theme song, which I’ve already talked about so let’s get a move on. Next, I actually don’t remember what specifically happened but my notes Just say “Officer Singsong is adorable” so It must have been pretty great.

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Aww, Singsong, you’re the best-iest

So after that Captain Gravelvoice tells Loosecannon that he ain’t gonna be able to police for a little while. Loosecannon is obviously pissed off, as he hasn’t been indicted yet, but he storms off like a pouty child anyway. Next we check in with the mayor, who wants to run for senate. She’s told to meet with two consultants first. Hey, let’s get back to Loosecannon, what’s he up t–

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Of course.

Yep, that is a strip club. And that stripper onstage is referred to by the MC as Gina “The Human Vacuum Cleaner”. I’m… um… I’m just NOT ok with that. Oh, and it’s not like we can just ignore her because she’s Loosecannon’s girlfriend. OF. COURSE. SHE. IS. She actually has a pretty fantastic song about feeling trapped in a emotionally abusive relationship with Loosecannon. Even if that song does begin with the line “God, I hate love.”

Transitioning from one fantastic line of dialogue to another, when we meet the mayor again, she opens by telling her advisors to “cut the bushwush”. I hope everyone who knows me is prepared for me to NEVER STOP USING THAT EXPRESSION. Also, this begins my absolute favorite scene of the episode. Partially because her advisors remind me of Tomax and Xamot.

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Sigh.

And partially because this ENTIRE SCENE is just these two calling the mayor ugly. Too ugly to be elected senator. Have… have you SEEN some of our senators? They say that, when testing focus groups, they said she was “ugly enough to scare dogs and horses” which is some cold shit to say to someone. In order to fix herself, the mayor decides to go see a plastic surgeon. BUT FIRST!

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YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yeah, no,  unlike all my real life crushes, I’m not hiding my crush on this plotline. I loves me some Singsong and Needsapartner. The duo is summoned to the site of a domestic disturbance. They arrive and try to break up the violently arguing couple. Needsapartner deals with the husband while Singsong tries to talk with the wife. While Singsong is focusing on the wife, her husband gets jealous and actually grabs Singsong’s gun from his holster, pointing it at the duo. Note: while I’m sure you’re thinking “boy, Singsong’s an idiot for letting a guy take his gun off of him” know that this very situation is actually a huge danger to real life police officers. It’s apparently actually pretty dangerous to wear a firearm on your hip where anyone can grab it. Officer Needsapartner talks the husband down and he drops the gun. Then he and his wife sing a song about how they love each other and they regret ever fighting and how they’re totes ok now. And then Singsong and Needsapartner JUST LEAVE! Guys! I’m pretty sure the police handbook says your aren’t just supposed to leave a couple together after a domestic disturbance call where one of them PULLED OUT AN OFFICER’S FUCKING GUN!!!!! I don’t care WHAT they sung, arrest those motherfuckers!!

Back at the station house, Needsapartner accosts Singsong for not taking the husband seriously and for letting his gun get grabbed. HEY, Needsapartner! Have you ever considered it might be YOUR FUCKING FAULT for, I don’t know, LETTING the guy you were supposed to be guarding grab a fucking gun???? Maybe?????

But then they make up, so it’s all cool.

Back to Loosecannon, who is trying to bring in a drug bust, despite being benched. Captain Gravelvoice shows up and purposely botches the bust just to get back at Loosecannon because Captain Gravelvoice is one stone cold motherfucker. Loose cannon storms off and eventually does bust a drug dealer, even if he almost gets his stripper girlfriend killed along the way.

As the mayor is being put under for her plastic surgery however, something spectacular happens.

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                                             What’s going on?? I’m afraid!!!!

That’s right, we get a song from the perspective of the plastic surgeon. AND IT’S FANTASTIC!!! It features the lyric “The bigger, the better, underneath the sweater” which is so unashamed about how sleazy it is it’s downright respectable. And then the dancers come in.

Screen Shot 2015-11-14 at 8.17.21 PM                                    YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This song is so goddamn over the top, it finds a new top and then rises over that as well. It’s gloriously ridiculous. And it hands down wins this episode’s award. Which award, you ask? This one:

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                                                                         Told you I’d make one.

Ok, ok, we gotta come down from that somehow. Turns out it’s with another awesome song, “Garbage In, Garbage Out” which is basically about recidivism and police attitudes towards criminals. Also it features a man who I can only describe as the human incarnation of Zoot from The Muppets.

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                                          The resemblance is uncanny.

After this song is over, Loosecannon arrives with the drug dealer he busted, only to find that his partner has given him up. So Captain Gravelvoice places Loosecannon under arrest and…

End of episode. Yep, we both gotta wait a month to see what happens next. Darn. I have to say, I still really love this show. So much. Hopefully it doesn’t let me down. PSSSSHHHH, AS IF THAT WAS POSSIBLE!

‘Til next time, cut the bushwush.

The Black Box Halloween Spook-tacular: “Goosebumps: The Werewolf of Fever Swamp”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

But none of that applies this week, because it’s Halloween!!!

And because I’m too old for trick-or-treating but too young to have to hand out candy to dipshit kids I guess I’ll stay in and watch something! But not just anything, I’m going to watch something that scared the ever-loving shit out of me as a kid. Something that I haven’t seen since. Something that might, in fact give me… Goosebumps.Goosebumps_intertitle

Yes, that’s right, we’re looking at an episode of the classic Goosebumps TV show. I was an avid reader of the books as a kid, and I also liked the show. But this episode left me goddamn terrified as a child. And I’m not the only one. Everyone I’ve ever mentioned this episode around who remembered it immediately shouted how afraid it made them, with more than one friend confessing that it left them with a crippling fear of werewolves in general. And so, having not watched this thing since I was a child, I sat down with the most childish snacks I could find, (a bag of sour gummy worms and a chocolate wolf face) and decided to re-visit my childhood nightmare.

“The Werewolf of Fever Swamp” was originally aired as a tv movie, but was eventually broken in half and aired as the final two episodes of the first season of the television show. It was based on the book of the same name which was the fourteenth book in the series. The book is one of the Goosebumps books I haven’t read, so I don’t know how the tv movie compares, but that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to see just how much of a coward child-me (and all my friends) were, so let’s do that.

The show opens with a bunch of exposition about our main characters. First we have Grady, whose haircut is a hate crime.

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                                                    Yeah, it’s real bad.

Grady is our generic child protagonist which means that he— Wait a second, I get to play my favorite game! Ladies and gentlemen, It’s time to play Goosebumps cliché BINGO!! Because R.L. Stine loves to do the same things again and again and again! If you don’t already have a card, I’ll provide you with one below to print out.

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I…um… I may have spent too much time on this

So anyway, Grady, and his family have just moved to Fever Swamp, which is a swamp, supposedly. “Protagonist has recently moved to a new place”, SWEET, first square filled out!! Grady’s parents are scientists (we’ll get to that) and his older sister is annoying as hell. Immediately, we are introduced to the creepy old swamp hermit, who the show wants us to believe really bad is a monster. Of course, this means that he is the only person in the story who 100% isn’t the monster. It is then that we learn what exactly the parents “experiment” is. They have brought a bunch of deer to the swamp… to see what happens to deer when you bring them to the swamp. No, I’m not explaining this poorly for comedic effect, this is literally all the explanation we get for their experiment and its goal. This is gonna be a long one, isn’t it.

When I say that Fever Swamp is “supposedly” a swamp, that is because, listen good now, WOODS AND A SWAMP ARE NOT THE SAME FUCKING THING!!! This entire thing takes place in some New England-lookin’ woods but every goddamn character in this damn thing keeps referring to it as a swamp.

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                                       Pictured: not a fucking swamp

Then, we are introduced to Will, our protagonist’s token only friend for the story. Will is the neighbor boy who doesn’t seem to have any friends, or, like parents? Or a house…? As far as we know, he could just be a homeless street urchin.

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                  Man, overalls and plaid are not the MOST flattering of fashion choices.

And then this happened:

Will: “Bet you had lots of friends where you came from.”

Grady: “Yeah, 20. Like, right on my street!”

Me: “Are… are they improv-ing right now? Because I find it impossible to believe that ANY WRITER wrote that dialogue.”

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                                         “Ok, we need a place and an activity!”

So Grady and Will venture into the swamp fucking woods because there is nothing else to do. They are in the woods I-shit-you-not 30 seconds before Will shouts “Oh no, we gotta get outta here” and runs away. Will and Grady hide as the swamp hermit passes and they talk super fucking loudly for two people who supposedly don’t want to be spotted. Will tells Grady that the swamp hermit is a werewolf and to stay away from him. Grady rushes home to tell his parents about the swamp hermit bein’ a werewolf, but because his parents are scientists, they don’t believe hi– BINGO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I… I got bingo. I win. Woo.

Anyway, Grady’s parents don’t believe him and he’s all sad about it. But not for long, because he finds an adorable stray doggie he names Vandal, because he’s a huge fan of obscure DC Comics super villains. No, it’s actually because he causes damage to the front hall of their house. Grady convinces his family to take in the adorable puppy dog and this special just got better.

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                  Who’s a good dog? You are!! That’s right, you’re a good dog!!

Grady’s mother mentions that night is going to be a full moon while she’s setting up a telescope because– wait a second. Why does she have a telescope? I know she’s a scientist, but she’s doing, like, biological experiments, she’s not a fucking astronomer. Whatever, so full moon, great, we’ve set that up. God, why the fuck was child-me afraid of this?  Ok, so Will shows up again and talks more about were-persons, or as Will calls them “Were-folk”. I find that INCREDIBLY disrespectful. Everyone knows the politically correct term is “lycanthropically challenged”, god!! It’s 2015, there’s no reason to be discriminatory to the trans-species community.

When Grady comes back, his parents tell him that small animals have been turning up mutilated and they think Vandal the dog is responsible. Because, you know, it couldn’t be one of the thousands of creatures roaming the woods, no, it has to be that one fucking dog. So mom and dad want to get rid of the dog, but Grady says “no, don’t do that”. And his parents are all like “ok, fine whatever”. PROBLEM SOLVED. Grady then wanders into the woods with Will again and BOO THE SWAMP HERMIT SHOWS UP!!!

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                                             BOOJUMPSCARE!!!!!!!!!!!

Will gets away but Grady gets captured. The Swamp Hermit just sort of silently stares at him for a while, then howls at the moon a bit. He’s (spoiler alert) NOT the werewolf, so I have no fucking idea why he does this. Also, it’s a good thing for the plot that the hermit can’t talk, because if he could, he could just tell Grady who the werewolf actually is and end this damn thing right now. Grady escapes and runs back home.

When he gets there, he yells to his parents about how they need to do something about the swamp hermit. When asked why, he responds “because the swamp hermit’s a werewolf” which his parents don’t believe, instead of “THE SWAMP HERMIT FUCKING KIDNAPPED ME” which is the more alarming thing. That night, the night of the full moon, something startles the deer. First off, we STILL have not explained why they have fucking deer but fine, I can deal with that. Because now that the full moon’s out, maybe this’ll get as scary as I remember it being. So, now shit starts to ramp up as the werewolf appears for the first time. And he… looks… absolutely…

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…dumb. He looks dumb. Like, we barely see any of the werewolf suit because if we did, it would look worse than it already does. And it looks pretty bad. Worse, though is the fact that, when it chases Grady’s sister, the special goes into this weird stuttery slow-motion thing. The result is that it looks like Grady’s sister is running away from the “Take on Me” music video. So Grady runs into the woods (yes, a-fucking-gain) looking for Will. But it turns out that Will is the werewolf. My gosh, who could have seen that coming? Oh, all of you guys? Ok, cool. The werewolf chases Grady, until it’s caught by the swamp hermit who starts yelling at the werewolf about how it killed his entire family and waitasecond.

HE CAN TALK???!!!!!! THE SWAMP HERMIT CAN FUCKING TALK????????!!!!!!!!! Hey, swamp hermit, maybe, when you had that kid with the weird haircut in a net in your house, you could have just looked over at him and said “Hey, kid, I know you think I’m the werewolf, but I’m not. It’s actually that douchebag kid you’ve been hanging out with. So, like, watch out for him, cool?” instead of being all silent and weird like an asshole!!

Ok, home fuckin’ stretch now. The hermit is unable to kill Will the werewolf, or the Were-Will-f as I will not be calling it. The werewolf escapes and chases Grady until a lunar eclipse drains him of his powers temporarily. Will pleads for Grady to run away before he changes back, but Grady doesn’t because he’s a dumb fucking moron. Will wolfs-up again and resumes chasing Grady until Vandal the dog pushes him into the one square foot of actual swamp in this forest and he sinks.

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       Yes, somewhere in that too-dark-to-see image is supposed to be a drowning werewolf. Where? We may never know.

Ok, so now that Will has drowned and the swamp hermit has kinda sorta avenged his family, we’re done, right? No, because we have to take a look at the thing from this episode that I actually remember from childhood. Yeah, no, the rest of this special kind of faded from my mind over the years, but not this moment. At this point in the episode, Grady has a nightmare. In this nightmare, Grady’s parents are looking into Grady’s room while Grady sleeps. They remark that it’s good he’s sleeping so peacefully and close the door. And then THE SCARIEST MONSTER I’D EVER SEEN JUMPS OUT OF THE BED AND ROARS AT THE CAMERA!!! Or, at least, that’s how I remember it. As the special approached that scene, I tensed up in front of my laptop, readying myself. And then, the moment of truth. The door closes, the camera slowly approaches the bed. And then…

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Hah, no. That’s not it. That can’t be the thing that scared me so much as a child. No, let’s look at the ACTUAL jump scare.

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Wait, seriously? This is it? THIS is one of the scariest things from my childhood? THIS is the thing that left a friend of mine with a lifelong fear of werewolves? Hey, friend of mine, child-you was a goddamn coward. Child-me was too, but whatever. I mean, yes, the loud roar is kinda startling but that thing looks dumb as fuck. I can’t believe I did this. I took a thing I was scared of and paraded it in front of the world, only to find that I was afraid of a dumb thing. Great. This hasn’t been embarrassing at all.

So, yeah, that’s my Spooky Spooky Ghost Day Special. Awesome. Good for me. Join me next year, when I review something else I was scared of as a child, The Teletubbies Movie. Maybe… maybe that one will actually be scary.

The Black Box: “Cop Rock Ep. 2”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, we’re goddamn home, baby.

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                                                        Oh FUCK yes.

That’s right, it’s time to take yet another look at “Cop Rock”, my new favorite television show of all time. If I’m gonna dive into the hell that is shitty television every week, I deserve a break once a month to talk about something I love. And that something is motherfucking “Cop Rock” . Seriously, watching this was the highlight of my week.  That may say more about me than it does about “Cop Rock.”

So, first thing I need to make clear, this episode picks up directly where the first left off, so if you haven’t read my review of that one, I’d suggest you do that right now.

https://professionaltimewaster.wordpress.com/2015/09/20/the-black-box-cop-rock/

If you’re too lazy to read that previous link, here’s a super brief summary: Officer Loosecannon shot an unarmed cop killer, the medical examiner covered up for him. Ladycop is married to said medical examiner but is sleeping with her partner, who I’m calling Affaircop. Oh, and Chief Whatthefuck (who I mistakenly confused with Captain Gravelvoice last time) has a robot bandit hiding in his closet whom he sometimes duels with. Ok, now that you’re caught up, let’s get into episode two.

What they did wrong: what part of “fuck you” did you not understand?

What they did right: We open on the funeral of the dead cop from episode one. And… um… I kinda thought we already saw his funeral last time. And it was very different. So… I’m super confused already. I mean, maybe I was mistaken, but I think this might be a pretty major continuity erro–

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Is… is that a fucking saxophone? Does that mean?

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YES!!!!!! MUSICAL NUMBER!!!!!! Oh, “Cop Rock”, how I’ve missed you. That guy belting out his song up there is  a guy who, while he was IN the last episode, wasn’t quite important enough for me to mention him. He was the partner of the cop who died, and as such he will henceforth be known as… Officer Needsapartner. So Officer Needsapartner sings about how much he misses his partner and it’s real sad. We are still at a funeral, remember. But hey, if you gotta break into a musical number, I guess you just gotta do it. So, after that we go into the theme song.

I don’t think I talked about the theme song last time, and that was a mistake. The theme is sung by a guy who is probably Randy Newman, but I’m too lazy to actually check so let’s just say it is.

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                                Yeah, that seems like Randy Newman.

As Randy sings, the entire cast sits around him and nods their heads to the music while smiling and laughing with each other. It’s so good. Everyone looks simultaneously like they’re having fun and like they’re super uncomfortable. I want to keep talking about it, but holy shit I’m already at 500 words and I’m less than three minutes into this forty-seven minute episode, I have to pick up the pace.

Ok, so last time I made a comment about how Officer Loosecannon ended the episode by shooting an unarmed black man. Now, this comment was pretty much along the lines of “Ha ha, oh, Cop Rock, you accidentally broached a subject that is super relevant all of a sudden and you don’t quite understand how serious of an issue you just touched on.” Yeah, so it turns out I underestimated this show. At the beginning of the episode, Officer Loosecannon is under investigation by both internal affairs and the mayor.

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Seen here about to scare Dan Ackroyd and Bill Murray out of her library.

During the conversation between Chief Whatthefuck and the mayor, the mayor point blank states the following: “The community is outraged, they’re charging us with the killing of an unarmed black man.” … Well then. Nice job being progressive, Cop Rock, you really don’t get enough credit. And then, the police department launches a full on investigation seeking to bring Officer Loosecannon to justice. Just like in real lif– oh right. Never mind.

After leaving his meeting with the mayor, Chief Whatthefuck goes full on banana-pants crazy. He delivers a line so insane, I just wrote it down verbatim in my notes. “Used to be a woman was like a horse: you could saddle ’em up, no complaining.” Can… can we just take a moment to acknowledge that fucking line? Like, in the way that we acknowledge great works of art from throughout history? Because that line is douchebaggery as an art form. It’s almost impressive. So after this, Chief Whatthefuck goes back to his office, where he has INSTALLED A CARDBOARD CUTOUT OF THE MAYOR IN FRONT OF HIS DUELING ROBOT BANDIT FRIEND!!!

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You thought I was motherfucking kidding, didn’t you?

Then he grabs a real rifle and blows the cardboard cutout away like he caught it breaking into his house. And then he makes this face.

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Can we please move on?

Yes we can, photo-caption-me. So in other news, Ladycop and Affaircop are investigating the robbery of a super rich couple. The two of them sing about how much they want to be rich while probably engaging in pantsless-funtimes in the couple’s bed. Soon after they bring in a police lineup which turns into a latin dance jam about police racism towards the latino population of major cities.

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SO……..HAPPY…………

Yeah, this song is goddamn fantastic. It earns my “Fuck to the Yeah” award for the episode, which will be given to the bestest song in each episode. I’m retroactively giving the first episode’s “Fuck to the Yeah” award to that song about building contract corruption. I’ll, like, make a medal or something for next time. Oh, and also, Jesus Christ, Cop Rock, maybe ease off on tackling cultural issues. What are you, Law and Order: SVU?

Sweet, now let’s get back to Officer Needsapartner and his plotline. He gets a partner! No, I’m not re-naming him. You’re all just gonna have to deal. His partner is my new favorite character on the show.

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The man on the left is Officer Singsong (so named because he loves to sing during scenes that aren’t musical numbers) who is the closest thing this show has to a me. He is a total dork, he just seems to want people to like him, and he tries to just be a generally nice guy, approaching ‘aw shucks’ levels. Officer Singsong is the best. He and Officer Needsapartner slowly bond over the course of the episode and it’s downright adorable.

Back to the investigation, Officer Loosecannon and his partner are interrogating  a suspect with Ladycop in the room. They dismiss Ladycop and Officer Loosecannon SEXUALLY HARASSES THE SUSPECT TO GET HER TO CONFESS!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Would it be better or worse if one of them started singing?

Then, Officer Loosecannon tells her that if she doesn’t confess, he will turn her over to either A: her abusive boyfriend or B: prison rapists.  So she confesses to the crime and gives up her accomplice because that’s a better option than prison rapists. Case closed? The episode ends with the medical examiner finally telling Captain Gravelvoice that he covered up Officer Loosecannon’s murder of the cop killer. Finally, it looks like the captain has enough information to bring Loosecannon to justice. But will he be able to? We’ll find out together next month, when I take a look at the third episode of Cop Rock.

But next week I’ll go back to watching shit because you assholes love to see me in pain.

Guess what? You don’t actually need to wait a month to read my review of the next episode! Do to the magic of space-time, you can read it right here.

The Black Box: “Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, we look at one of the most legendary television disasters of all time.

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Man, we are just breaking all kinds of rules in this column lately. Last week I looked at a show that wasn’t a failure and this week we look at a show that… isn’t exactly a show. No, this is what we call a television special. It was only ever meant to air once. So why am I reviewing it? Patience, reader, it’s a virtue. First let’s get that pesky research stuff out of the way.

“Australia’s Naughtiest Home Videos” was a television special made for Australian Television channel Nine Network. The special was a spin-off of the popular “Australia’s Funniest Home Videos” television show, which in itself was an export of “America’s Funniest Home Videos”. The special was broadcast on September 4th, 1992 and was hosted by Australian radio host Doug Mulray. The special was a compilation of various clips that were considered “too naughty” for the regular show. But again, you ask, why am I talking about this, it was only supposed to be a single episode, so how was it cancelled? Well, I’ll let wikipedia tell you…

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Yep.

What does that mean? Well, pretty much exactly what you’d think. Halfway through the broadcast, at the request of the enraged president of the network, the show just stopped, citing “technical difficulties” and the network switched over to a re-run of “Cheers”. And by, “the president of the network requested the show be stopped” I mean that he apparently called the studio operators and shouted, and I quote, “Get that shit off the air!” That’s one way to cancel a broadcast.

What they did right: I think I laughed twice during this forty-one minute program, and one of those I immediately hated myself for.

What they did wrong: I don’t think I’m the target audience for this show anyway. I don’t even like “America’s Funniest Home Videos”, there was approximately a zero percent chance I would ever like this abomination. And guess what? I don’t like it. This review is probably gonna be a short one, as it’s hard to discuss a show of this format. It’s ten percent clips of the douchey host, ninety percent clips of animals humping things. Or a man lifting a barbell with his dick. Or any other measure of quality content. This was a slog to sit through and I hated every second of it.

Oh, and I feel I should mention that Australia has vastly different content standards than the USA. This means that, yes, nudity is fully allowed, human or animal. This is one of the many ways in which Australian television is not a step up from American television. And no, I’m not going to use any images from those sections of the program. Here, let’s go back to using things wikipedia did, because they handled this show with as much class as possible.

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Well, I mean, that is what that is.

No, the above moment doesn’t work in context. It might actually be worse in context. Also, kangaroos are actually a huge part of this program, so I guess I haven’t been stereotyping Australians all this time. Huh, good to know. Unfortunately, boomerangs, didgeridoos and being descended from prisoners don’t feature in NEARLY as much, so that’s a disappointment. Honestly, it’s tough for me not to just parrot off a short list of all the horrible shit I had to sit through like a war crimes reporter. I witnessed a dog attempt to procreate with an unwilling bird. An elderly woman removed her dentures to grab a message from a stripper’s undergarments. One child grabbed the rear end of another child. A bald man in a mesh t-shirt played a guitar over the proceedings.

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Truly, this is a dark day for us all.

Also, this show was hosted by the human equivalent of a slug, mostly in terms of the amount of unfunny sliminess that spewed forth from his open mouth. The humor in this special is “offensive for offensiveness sake” which I’ve never been a fan of. Mulray manages to be uproariously not funny and unpleasant as fuck all at the same time. The version of this special I watched was the full version, which was aired for archival reasons years after the former head of Nine Network’s death, and after I reached the end of the originally aired footage, I seriously asked myself the question “why the fuck am I still watching this?”

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Pictured: everything wrong with this show, society, humankind…etc.

Every time I review so-called “reality” programming, I just come away angry and hateful of the world at large. “ANV” is a perfect example of what happens when quality control drops out of programming. It’s a microcosm of the shittiest trends in shock-value TV. I hate it, and most importantly of all–

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I’m sorry, we here at Nine Network are experiencing technical difficulties. Please enjoy this regularly scheduled programming.

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Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

“Cheers” was a sitcom airing on American television network NBC in the 80’s and 90’s. The pilot, which aired on September 30th, 1982, introduces the cast and follows Diane’s introduction to the bar’s staff, after her fiancé leaves her. The pilot was the beginning of the long-running tv series, and was rewritten numerous times before making it to air.

What they did right: Nah, just kidding you guys, have a good week!

The Black Box: “The Neighbors”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, I… I don’t even.

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So, I promised I’d review this, but I don’t think I knew what I was getting myself into. This thing is, on a technical level, the absolute worst show I’ve reviewed. “Heil Honey” may have been more offensive, “Allen Gregory” might have been lazier, and “H8R” may have been more morally despicable, but this shit is just baaaaaaad. As in, the absence of anything good. I have ALREADY put more effort into this review than went into the show’s production and I’m two paragraphs in.

“The Neighbors” was written, produced, directed by, and starring living wraith and answer to the D.B. Cooper mystery Tommy Wiseau. If you don’t immediately recognize that name, first of all welcome to the internet, and second, he’s the “visionary” behind 2003’s cult hit “The Room”, considered by many to be the worst movie of all time. Because of his “success” on that front, Hulu decided to give him a sitcom on March 16th, 2015. Yeah, this show isn’t exactly a failed one yet, but come on, how could I not review it? It’s too beautifully awful. You know, like the Hindenburg Disaster.

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                                                        Oh, the humanity!

What they did right: You… you’re kidding, right?

What they did wrong: The show starts with the famous 1812 Overture playing over the opening titles, which is like a beacon of crazy shining from the top of the lighthouse of lunacy that is this fucking show. If “The Room” was Wiseau trying to make a drama and creating an accidental comedic masterpiece, “The Neighbors” is Wiseau trying to make a comedy and creating a surrealist art installation. It’s so fucking weird. First off, I want to talk about Wiseau himself, who stars as Charlie, the superintendent of an apartment complex. Now, I don’t quite understand Wiseau’s clearly inhuman biology, but he doesn’t look well.

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In case you though he couldn’t have a worse haircut than he did in “The Room”

In fact, the term I would use is that he looks like he is in a perpetual state of dying all the time. Like, if he were to drop to the ground dead and cocoon into a husk in the middle of a scene, I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest. I would say that this explains the god-fucking-awful dialogue on display here, but that’s par for Wiseau’s course. At one point, a character shouts “Stop doing vulgar language in here!!” and I gave up on humanity as we know it. Another character tells his enemy that he “crawled out of the chocolate river” because I don’t fucking know. And that’s not even getting to the weird shit.

Like this:

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No, this isn’t what it looks like.

This is from a thirty second clip of a man sobbing and screaming into the camera about his life sucking before wrapping that noose around his neck. He tightens it, and then takes it off and throws it to the  floor because he’s gonna be totally ok. WE NEVER SEE HIM AGAIN. Am… am I haunted for watching this? And that’s not even addressing the actual “characters” of this bullshit. All the characters are residents of the huge fuck-off apartment building Wiseau’s character owns.Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.06.07 PM

                                                                        This one!

And get used to that fucking establishing shot because THEY ONLY HAVE ONE. And they refuse to stop using it. When I close my eyes, I see this damn building. It haunts my dreams. Sorry, got off topic, the characters, right. First we have Philadelphia. Who looks like this:

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           Hmmmm, I feel like, if I used this as this review’s featured image, it would get more traffic than anything I’ve ever written.

And yes, she is always dressed like this. Always. And yes, it does make for an uncomfortable viewing experience. Her character is… pretty much just what you see there. I don’t WANT to say she was cast entirely based on her appearance but… well, I mean, it sure as fuck wasn’t for her acting ability. She seems, I dunno, nice enough, but all she does is walk around and talk at people. But then again, that’s all literally any of these characters do. Speakin’ of…Screen Shot 2015-10-03 at 8.16.12 PM

Let’s talk about Pothead and Chicken Lady. Pothead is… well, what do you think? He has one defining character trait and that’s it. Chicken Lady owns a chicken which escapes out her window and she spends the entire rest of the episode searching for it. I swear to you, I watched this damn thing dead sober. I know you don’t believe me, but it’s true. This woman’s quest to find a goddamn chicken is the A-story of the episode. In this scene, Chicken Lady breaks into Pothead’s apartment because no one in this show locks their doors. The two of them get into a heated screaming match until she leaves.

Similar to this is the scene in which two residents of the apartment complex (one black and one asian-american) get into a shouty argument of racial epithets which eventually devolves into this:

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                              This is the third hug-iest fight I’ve ever seen.

And then they just sort of stop and go their separate ways. Also, the asian-american guy refers to the other guy as “the black guy” as if he’s the only black guy who lives in the building which, as we learn later, is not true. God dammit, at least have your racist characters make some degree of sense! Or have any character make any sense at any point, that would be good too.

Immediately after this scene, we are introduced to the maintenance guy as he gets right to work in a trademark Wiseau sex scene. Oh, and guess what’s practically stamped across his ass?

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                                         IT’S LIKE HE’S TAUNTING ME!!

Fortunately, before these two can find a spiral staircase to screw on, they get interrupted by Basketball Guy who has found something of note.

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                             HOW DOES THIS SHOW EXIST???!!

Yep, he’s found Chicken Lady’s chicken. Which he has developed an attatchment to. And may or may not be fucking. I don’t know, I’d believe anything at this point. He cares for it until the end of the episode, when Chicken Lady takes it back, leaving him heartbroken for the remainder of his days.

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Aww, and they were so cute together.

Let’s get this thing moving, we still have a lot to cover. Especially pizza boy Joe Spielberg (and yes that name makes me just as mad as it probably makes you). He is first introduced delivering a pizza to two women living in Wiseau’s building.

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Are… are we sure this isn’t just porn?

Seconds later, he has decided to move into the building and heads down to Wiseau’s office to do so. On the way, he takes off his shirt for some reason, I guess, I don’t know. And guess who he runs into on the way?

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I REITERATE MY PREVIOUS QUESTION!!!

In the next scene, Wiseau is confronted by one of his tenants, whom I will call Steven because I don’t remember his name and you don’t give a shit what it was anyway. Anyhow, Steven has cheated on his pregnant wife with some guy named Patrick, whose name I DID remember for some reason. And then, all of a sudden, his pregnant wife IS JUST THERE IN THE FUCKING ROOM WITH THEM. Also, her “pregnancy” is super obviously a volleyball shoved up her shirt because no child is that spherical.

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                  Are they gonna name the baby “Wilson”?

It’s towards the end of the episode when we are finally introduced to our final character. And he… is… a surprise.

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Gaaaah, they’re multiplying!!!!!

That’s right, Wiseau plays MULTIPLE CHARACTERS in this show!!! He is everywhere! This guy, whose name is definitely either Blake or Preston or some hideous combination of the two, has a girlfriend who wants to buy a shotgun. So they go over to Pothead’s apartment because he apparently has just so many guns. Blake-ston’s girlfriend uses sexy hypnosis (which is a thing, I guess) to convince Pothead to give her the shotgun for free. I’m not sure why she wants it, but her facial expressions and tone of voice make her sound as if she wants to fuck herself with it.

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                           I only hope that if she does, the rest of the characters follow suit.

Aaaaaaaaaand that’s the episode. If it sounds like I just repeated a bunch of jumbled, non-tied together bullshit, that’s because it is. Wiseau doesn’t know how to write a TV show. Well, I mean, he doesn’t know how to write movies either, but he’s worse at TV. There is absolutely no structure whatsoever and the characters, well, lack character. It is so so so so so bad and I fully intend to review every episode of this thing at some point.

Oh yeah, we ain’t done here.

Not by by long shot.

The Black Box “Cop Rock”

Television pilots are tough to make. It’s hard to introduce the concept and entire cast of characters of a show in one episode and still have that episode hold up on it’s own. But just because something’s hard doesn’t make it any more excusable when you fail spectacularly at doing it. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to The Black Box, where we check out pilots that crashed and burned to see exactly what went wrong.

This week, we review a show that… happens to be one of my favorite television programs of all time.Screen Shot 2015-09-18 at 10.58.27 PM

Yeah, no, I’m sick of reviewing terrible failed television pilots, so let’s check out a FUCKING AWESOME failed television pilot. We haven’t done that since “Manimal” and “Manimal” kicked ass! To be fair, there are, like, a lot less good failed pilots than there are shitty ones, but hey, that doesn’t matter this week. This week, all that matters is the gloriousness that is “Cop Rock”.

“Cop Rock” was the first of its kind: an hour-long weekly police procedural musical. No, I didn’t mis-type any of those words. It’s like “Law & Order”, if the characters randomly burst into song. The show premiered on ABC on September 26th, 1990 and ran for eleven episodes before it was so cruelly canceled. The series was co-created by Steven Bochco, known best for NYPD Blue, Hill Street Blues, and Doogie Howser, M.D.

TV Guide ranked “Cop Rock” as the eighth worst television show of all time, which is bullshit for two reasons: 1. I’ve ALREADY seen more than eight worse shows than this, and I haven’t even been at this four months. and 2. “Cop Rock” actually has the honor of being the first EMMY AWARD WINNING SHOW I’ve reviewed here. That’s right, “Cop Rock” has an Emmy. TWO OF THEM. And it was nominated for three more. So suck on that, TV Guide. You are why print media is dying.

What they did wrong: Fuck you.

What they did right: Literally everything. Where do I even start with this literal masterpiece of televised amazingness? Do I start with the plot? Ok, let’s give that a shot. There are actually a couple in this episode. First we have Officer Loosecannon (what? I’m bad with names), a cop who doesn’t play by the rules.

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                          Pictured: Officer Loosecannon not playing by the rules

Officer Loosecannon is on the trail of a cop killer who slipped out of police custody due to the overcrowded prison system. He tracks him down and, when improper police work means that they have to let him go, Loosecannon goes all “Last Stand of the Wreckers” and executes him before tampering with the evidence to make it look like self-defense. Even though, technically, the cop killer is unarmed. An unarmed black man, in fact. Um…

MOVING ON! Plot two follows a meth addict trying to raise her daughter on her own. After one of the cops gets her out of a prison sentence to give her another chance at life, she tries her best. Unfortunately, she winds up homeless when nobody can help her, and the episode ends with her selling her daughter to a better family for two hundred dollars. Literally, the last scene of this thing is her singing to her daughter as she is taken away. The scene is legitimately heartbreaking and hurt me to my core.

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                           Damn, “Cop Rock”, I was NOT prepared for that.

Although, yeah, I might have felt more sympathetic for Meth-head mom of she hadn’t named her fucking child “Crystal”. The show actually does have its brutal moments. One of the earliest musical numbers is Ladycop’s husband singing about how much he loves her and how he doesn’t understand why she’s with him. This scene is made so affecting by the fact that we as an audience know that she is cheating on him with her partner.

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His song might has well have been Jonathan Coulton’s “Betty and Me”. (Look it up, god, you have Google, you know.)

The last plotline is kind of tied in with the first. This one covers the mayor dealing with the faults in the prison system. And it has musical numbers in it!! I love this fucking show. In fact, the musical numbers literally make every single scene better by one hundred percent. Here is some sample dialogue from a scene of “Cop Rock”.

(the jury returns to the courtroom)

Judge: “Has the  jury reached a verdict?”

Jury Foreman: “We have, Your honor.”

(The judge nods, before pointing to the stenographer)

Judge: “HIT IT!!”

(The stenographer flips open his desk to reveal, not a typewriter, but a keyboard, which he then starts to play. The jury has changed into a gospel choir. The entire courtroom breaks out into song)

ALL OF THAT IS A LITERAL FUCKING TRANSCRIPTION OF A SCENE OF “COP ROCK”!! HOW THE FUCK ARE YOU NOT WATCHING THIS RIGHT NOW?? IT’S SO FUCKING BEAUTIFUL I WANT TO CRY!!!

Also in this show is a scene in which the chief, who I will refer to as Chief Gravelvoice, reveals that he owns two things. He owns the actual guns used by Billy the Kid, and he owns A LIFE SIZE ROBOT BANDIT WHO HIDES IN HIS CLOSET AND DUELS WITH HIM!!!!!!

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                                You thought I was motherfucking kidding, didn’t you?

Even better is that the show cuts directly from the above scene to..

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                                     A police officer’s funeral!!!!!!!

Yep, this show expects us to now be in serious drama mode as opposed to the “holy fuck was that a fucking cowboy robot?” mode I was still in. But again, I can’t fault this show for literally anything when it’s so much fun to watch. It does actually pull off some serious moments, the songs are catchy and fun to listen to, and the acting is so on-purpose cheesy that you can’t help but break a smile. Also, there is a song about governmental offices taking bribes  from contracting companies in exchange for contracts to build public facilities and that is the greatest thing in the whole damn world.

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                                                                 WITNESS!!!!!!

This show is so far up my alley it set up a dive bar. I know some of you probably assumed I was being sarcastic or ironic when I called “Cop Rock” one of my favorite television shows of all time, but I really wasn’t. There are very few shows that give me as much pleasure as this one does. What can I say, it knows what I like.

That’s it for this week, next week we’ll get back to me watching shit that I hate. Oh, but don’t worry, we may not get back to it for a little while, but I am by no means done with “Cop Rock”. I’ve got bigger plans for this one…

Hey there! Wanna read my review of Cop Rock’s second episode? Click right here.