King of the Hill Needs to STAY Dead

The title sounds brutal, I know, but I assure you, I’m a fan.  I love King of the Hill.  Granted, I’m kind of a minority within my circle of friends, and even family when it comes to this, but all the same, I love this show.

In recent months, there’s been talk of giving it the ol’ reboot treatment.  I say this as both a fan of the show who saw how it ended and was legitimately content with this being the last episode, and as someone who’s sick and tired of memberberry culture’s stranglehold on entertainment.  King of the Hill needs to STAY dead.

It hasn’t even been dead for all that long compared to most of the corpses being dug up for nostalgic puppet shows.  If they hadn’t made Jigsaw (AKA, Saw 8), King of the Hill would probably even hold a record for how shortly it’d been resting in its grave before the entertainment industry came wandering into that graveyard with its shovels and marionette strings.

I’ve heard tale that the new King of the Hill isn’t really going to be a full fledge reboot, nor will it be a straight up “picking up where we left off” concept.  Rather, it’s going the “years later” concept seen in such reboots as Fuller House, and Girl Meets World.  The rumor I heard was that Bobby would be college aged, and his parents would be older.  In core concept, this sounds like a fun little novelty episode at absolute best, and like something I’d read on Fanfiction.net at absolute worst.  And I suppose fanfiction made into legit canon can work.  It worked for Adventure Time (though god only knows why).  Unfortunately, fanfiction is also the reason 50 Shades of Gray exists, so…

I see nothing but disaster for this reboot.  Largely because, like I’ve said, it’s a reboot.  It’s starting to get to a point where even the people who WANTED to see the Ghostbusters strap on the packs one more time, or the Power Rangers to morph one more time, or whatever their favorite nostalgic property did one more time, don’t want to see it anymore.  Too little too late, according to my Twitter.  Unless you WANTED to see Predator go on a human hunt one more time.  Or The Usual Suspects do its thing one more time.  Or possibly Highlander endure the quickening one more time.

That much is probably just my personal bias, coupled with the fact that I’m sick of memberberry culture in the modern day.  Seriously, if I knew the stuff I used to watch as a kid was going to still be here as an adult in his thirties…  I don’t know what I’d say.

The thing about King of the Hill in particular, though, is that it ended on season thirteen.  THIRTEEN!  Usually when a show makes it to season SIX, the fanbase is starting to contemplate  maybe moving on to greener pastures, and the creaters start to get lazy.  To put it another way, somewhere around season 6 and season 7 is when a show encounters the problem of seasonal decay.

Seasonal decay is when a show with a lot of power, a lot of influence, and a lot of popularity behind it begins to lose all that power, all the influence, and all that popularity in a very slow, barely noticeable fashion.  It’s more or less the opposite of jumping the shark, where in a show makes a change so drastic and irrational that the fans leave almost instantly.  With seasonal decay, the fans drop out of the fandom at a slower, barely noticeable rate.  You never really notice WHEN the show starts to feel meh…  Unless you’re one of those obsessive idiots who memorizes things in the background of every scene of every episode for no reason other than to prove to your fellow nerds your dick is bigger because you noticed it, of course.  You just sit there, watching your favorite show, but notice that suddenly, everything that used to be funny, cool, and overall interesting about the show is just falling flat lately.

King of the Hill, as much as I love this show, definitely fell victim to seasonal decay.  The Powerpuff Girls is another example of a show that entered seasonal decay, and while I myself didn’t even bother watching it, it’s basically all over the internet that rebooting it definitely didn’t help.  I mean yeah, it didn’t help The Powerpuff Girls any that the reboot looked nothing like the original, and felt more like an episode of Adventure Time as written by the Teen Titans Go staff than a legit Powerpuff Girls series…  But yeah, rebooting it didn’t remedy the decay at all.

And of course, you can’t talk about rebooting King of the Hill without addressing the ginormous elephant in the room: Tom Petty and Britney Murphy are no longer with us, and therefore, can’t reprise their roles as Luanne and Lucky respectively.

I’m not sure how much that’ll bother people.  I’m a bit of a minority within the KOTH fandom in that I actually didn’t mind Lucky becoming a main character marrying Luanne, and getting her knocked up with…  I think they eventually named their baby Grace, but it would’ve been funnier to me if they stuck with Lasagna.  Hell, they could’ve called her Liz for short.  But I digress.

People HATED Lucky.  Him becoming a regular character was considered the closest thing to a jumping the shark moment that show had.  Hell, I distinctly remember a petition circulating through the internet demanding that Lucky be removed from the show entirely!  And you wonder why congress doesn’t take petitions seriously?

I can see that complaint, but at the same time, Lucky was pretty harmless.  He seemed like the kind of guy who, if nothing else, was a product of his environment.  And that environment, for better or worse, was the trailer park.

I suppose it’s an irrelevant observation now, considering Tom Petty’s gone now, and can’t reprise the role anymore.  Sure, you COULD possibly make a claim like “Oh, somewhere in the time skip, Lucky and Luanne moved to Georgia because shut up.”  Still, I have a hard time imagining King of the Hill without Luanne at this point.  And recasting Luanne and/or Lucky would be a bit of a grave disservice just to give some random schlubs in a dormitory their memberberry fix.

Admittedly, at the time of this blogging, the talks between Mike Judge and the network are just that: talks.  Maybe nothing will come of these talks, or maybe we’ll get the reboot after all.  I’m not certain at this point, but all I can say for sure is that the prospect of a reboot doesn’t fill me with a whole lot of confidence, I tell you what.

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NSP at KC for the First Time

Somewhere around June, I heard from both a friend and from their official Facebook page that Ninja Sex Party, one of my absolute favorite comedy and music acts of the decade, was coming to Kansas City for the first time.  The one thing keeping me from running out and buying tickets right away was that the previously mentioned friend beat me to it, and offered to take me and others to the show.

Musically speaking, I believe the YouTuber known as Todd in the Shadows put it best: the 2010s was a mistake.  Musically, this was the decade that gave us such audible atrocities as the dubstep genre, the mainstreaming of indie while still insisting on calling itself indie, the rise of the ukulele and that really obnoxious accent everybody uses when they want to sound like Imagine Dragons, the advent of “trap”, the rise and fall of “bro country”, the rock genre being handed over to the Swedes because American acts like Five Finger Death Punch, Halestorm, and Pop Evil are seriously the best America can do (according to Kansas City radio anyway)…  Hell, the only GOOD things that came out of the 2010s, as far as music goes, is a toss up between “djent”, and Ninja Sex Party.  And for the sake of this ranting raving lunacy I’m calling a concert review, I’m going to say NSP was definitely the best.

NSP has been around since at least 2009, but I personally didn’t hear about them until 2015.  By then, they had two albums in the bucket, and were in the process of pimping their recently released third album, “Attitude City”, everywhere they could.  While I arrived to the party late, the important thing is the party was still happening, and about three years later (give or take), I got to see them live.  And at The Midland of all places.  By KC standards, you know you’ve arrived when you play a venue like The Midland.  It’s not the arena KC folk affectionately call “The Amphitheater Formerly Known as Sandstone”, but it’s definitely up there.

This was a show that was just nonstop.  As a metal guy, I’m used to there being pauses in between bands while the roadies tune up their instruments and make sure the amps haven’t exploded yet.  But I guess when keytars and drum machines are your instruments, there’s very little tuning that needs to be done.  The closest thing to a breather the audience got was Tupperwear Remix Party’s over-indulgent ten minutes of blue light and repetitive noise.  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The show opened with a group I’d never even heard of until that night: a little act known as Booty Patrol.  And that right there is another aspect of the 2010s: the rise in popularity of buttcheeks.  I hesitate to say I don’t get it, largely because there was a time in my life where I myself would’ve probably considered myself an ass guy.  Still, this obsession that the 2010s inflicted on us as a people…  Well, there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing, you know.

Booty Patrol is a group of people who take this cultural fascination, and crank it to eleven.  Their set design, according to a friend, even included a butt-shaped disco ball.  Their set was short, but it was an enjoyable act.  As much as I love to support local, independent, or even just favorite musicians, though, I couldn’t bring myself to buy any of their merchandise on the grounds that walking around with a shirt reading “Booty Patrol” is just asking for an ass kicking from some ultra uptight MeToo type.

TWRP came up next.  I’ve seen these guys live before, and my only real complaint about their performance is the previously mentioned intro.  For TEN STRAIGHT MINUTES!, the stage is empty, the lights are blue, and all you hear is this extremely repetitive beat.  If this is part of the joke…  Honestly, it’s more tedious than funny.

However, aside from that bit, TWRP put on a great show.  Basically, TWRP is the unholy love child of Saturday morning cartoons and Daft Punk.  For some, that’s plenty.  For the rest, all I can say is check them out when they come to your town.

And of course, there was the main event of the evening: Ninja Sex Party.  This was well worth the wait.

NSP was part concert, part epic battle between the team of NSP and TWRP against the evil Lasersaurus.  It was a spectacle that rivaled such epic stage battles as Tenacious D facing off against the dreaded Beelzaboss.

Other highlights included audience members performing The Cool Patrol Dance during the performance of their song “Cool Patrol”, a slow piano rendition of their classic song “Dinosaur Laser Fight”, and of course, my current favorite song of theirs, “Danny Don’t You Know”.

The show overall, regardless of who was playing on stage, was deadest on assuring the audience that they were all beautiful in their own way, and that the power of positivity will overcome all the naye sayers and what not.  I’m not saying I’m against this message (far from it), but man, I am SOOO not used to this sort of thing.  There’s a lot of factors adding in to that feeling of weirdness.

A. I was born out in Western Kansas.  AKA, Catholic country.  One of the first things you learn out there, even if you aren’t Catholic, is shame.  Probably another reason why I didn’t want to get a Booty Patrol shirt.

B. I was a child of the 90s, and a lot of the popular music of the time was stuff like Nine Inch Nails and Nirvana.  Not exactly upbeat cheerful music.

C. The majority of my high school years were spent hanging around metal heads.  As I’ve said countless times: metal heads hate everything.  Including, but not limited to, other metal heads.

Basically, I’m not hardwired to think positively and have pride in myself.  I’m not ASHAMED of myself, mind you, but I’m not exactly popping out of a paper mashay egg, waving a purple flag, and hugging everyone in arm’s reach or anything, either.

I’m not sure if this is the 2010s assuring people that shame is an obsolete concept, or if this is all part of the loud and angry fuck you we hand out to Donald Trump on a regular basis…  Although Danny of NSP did basically include the phrase “fuck politics” in his intro to “Danny Don’t You Know”.

If there was one regret I have about the entire show, it was probably not being able to hit the merch stand after NSP left the stage.  And that’s as far as I’m going to get into that tangent, because it was an awesome show, and I’m not going to let petty things like where someone decided to park get in the way.  Would’ve been nice to snag one of those exclusive copies of the new NSP album, though.  Or even a T-shirt.

Yeah, I won’t buy a shirt reading “Booty Patrol”, but I’ll totally buy a shirt reading “Ninja Sex Party”.  I’m sure there’s a double standard in there for some, but really, the term Ninja Sex Party leaves more to the imagination.  Also, I only had enough money for one.

NSP in KC was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life.  I can’t remember the last time I came home with no voice, sweating like a fountain, and proud of it.  I really hope they come back to KC soon.

Noir: My Thoughts

Christopher Moore is one of my all time favorite authors.  I started with A Dirty Job, then read all three of the Bloodsucking Fiends trilogy, and pretty much set out to read as many of his books as I could possibly get my hands on.

Admittedly, Moore is…  Not for everybody.  Especially in recent years, with stories like Sacre Blue, and Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff.  These are pretty avant gard, considering the guy had made a living telling humorous stories about either a fictional town out in the middle of nowhere, or in a fictional San Fransisco that reminds me of Kevin Smith’s Jerseyverse.  Or Askewniverse.  Or whatever we’re calling the Jay and Silent Bob movies nowadays.  The Jay-And-Silent-Bobiverse?

Also, if nothing came from the 2010s, my fascination with film noir happened in this very decade.  All you bitches feeling nostalgic for the neon-colored nightmare of shoulder pads, toy commercial cartoons, and Reaganomics don’t know nothing about nostalgia.  I was going back to the days when movies weren’t even in color!  I was going back to the days communism actually seemed like a legit threat to anybody!  I was going back to the day when a high budget movie was around six figures at absolute most!  You want to talk nostalgic?  You don’t know.

I forgot where I was going with this.

Oh right, Christopher Moore wrote a noir book!  My favorite author?  Writing one of my recent favorite genres?  I literally commented on his blog: “SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY!”.  No really.  Look for the sample chapter for Noir on his blog (if it’s still there).  You’ll find my comment right there!

ANYWAY…

I really had high hopes for this book.  And…  Not going to lie…  It’s not one of his better books.  Yeah, I’m starting to think I might have jumped the gun on that one.  It’s fucking No Man’s Sky all over again.

It’s not a bad story by any means.  Comedy wise, “the kid” was probably the funniest thing about the entire story.  I mean yeah, the fact the main female character is named after a variety of British cheese is KINDA funny I guess, but a lot of the humor…  I don’t really want to say it fell flat, but considering I read Christopher Moore books frequently, I’m kind of familiar with his pacing, and his style of joke telling.  It’s like watching a new episode of a long-running sitcom that hasn’t managed to hit seasonal rot yet: the jokes are there, and you know they’re funny, but they aren’t really gut-busting hilarious.

The very beginning of the book is basically a fucking trigger warning to all the delicate little snowflakes out there that this book takes place in the 1940s, and therefore may use some slurs that were acceptable then, but aren’t now.  Although I got to say, I was expecting a lot worse than what I got.  Sure, he used the word “colored” a few times, and a few slurs for Chinese people.  I don’t know, maybe having friends who masterbate to Trump and praise “the glory of Kekistan” have desensitised me to the point I feel nothing anymore when I hear racist remarks.  Or maybe I don’t offend nearly as easily as this current generation of weak-willed pussies.  I’ll honestly believe either one.

Get past the trigger warning, and you get a story that is…  Okay.

Really, my only real gripe with the book is that there’s two narrators, and the second narrator waits till way into the book to introduce himself.  The epic reveal…  Honestly, I can’t decide if it’s funny, or dumb.  Possibly both, but maybe leaning more towards dumb.  It’s one of those choices that, on paper, probably sounded funnier.  And at the moment of the reveal, it DID kinda give me a chuckle.  But prior to the reveal, I found myself constantly wondering why it went from first person to third person every other chapter.

The audiobook is read by Johnny Heller.  Heller is a man of about two or three voices at absolute best, and they all have a bit of a Marlon Brando quality to them.  However, it’s a reader that fits the theme of the book just fine, so I give it a pass.

Overall, it’s not the worst book I’ve ever read.  It’s not even the worst Christopher Moore book I’ve ever read.  Really, though, I’d recommend some of his other titles before recommending this one.

Aggretsuko: My Thoughts

Not going to lie, my relationship with anime over the last few years has been…  Rocky.  In my high school years, anime was this amazing beautiful thing that captivated me and mesmerized me.  here and now, it’s a thing that comes around on Saturday nights, and serves primarily as background noise while I do literally anything but watch it.  Because lately, I can predict what the plot is going to be with a grand total of one, maybe two episodes.

Dumdum McRetard wants to become the very best like no one ever was.  Maybe it’s the king of the pirates, maybe it’s the wizard king, maybe it’s the great hokage.  Whatever you want to call the very best, that’s Dumdum’s goal.  Unfortunately, Dumdum has no grace, no tact, no intelligence, no social skills, no table manners…  In fact, why are we even focusing on this guy?  Badass Van Asskicker, Dumdum’s long time rival and significantly more competent counterpart, is often times the more fascinating characters in these shows.  But wait, there’s a twist!  You see, despite the fact Dumdum McRetard is a hopeless fucking idiot with no chance in hell of making it up so much as one rung of the ladder, it turns out he’s the most powerful fucking person in the entire universe!  And thus, he accomplishes his goals based entirely around dumb luck.

The end.

A Carl Rove production.

Lather, rinse, repeat, dub it into English, and hand it off to Cartoon Network for their dead horse of an anime block.

Call it whatever you want: Naruto, Bleach, Black Clover, Fairy Tail, Seven Deadly Sins, My Hero Academia…  Really, at this point, the list goes on.  I’m so fucking tired of this concept!

Netflix does have a significantly more varied selection of anime…  It was through Netflix I watched shows like Welcome to the NHK, and most of Moribito.  Unfortunately, with Netflix, the one fatal drawback is the show doesn’t always come with an English dub.  Yeah, I’m one of THOSE people: the guy who’d rather not spend a binge session reading subtitles and actually hear English come from my anime.  Call me a weirdo if you must, but if I wanted to READ for a few hours, I’d get a book.

So yeah, I haven’t really been keeping up with anime in the last few years.  I’ve heard some titles, found one or two of those titles on Toonami, saw exactly what I was getting, and went back to bingewatching Baskets or something.

Then, earlier this weekend, a friend of mine introduced me, and another friend to Aggretsuko.

I got to say, this show is actually pretty entertaining.  A lot more entertaining than a furry anime based on cubical drone life deserves to be, that’s for sure.

Meet Retsuko.  She’s a “red panda” (which I just recently discovered is a legit thing), working the cubical life, putting up with horrible bosses, and a life that honestly doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere.  But when she isn’t working, she’s going to the local karaoke bar, and screaming her lungs out to death metal!  It’s very Phineas and Ferb in the sense there’s a song of the day, but it’s more akin to Metalocalypse in the sense it’s metal.  I’m fairly certain they rehash the same two or three instrumentals and just put new lyrics to it, ala Nurima Daikon Brothers, but I’m not all the way through the series just yet.

Trust me, this is definitely looking like one of those shows you don’t have to watch all at once if you don’t want to.  if you’re like me, and bingewatching four different things at the moment, that’s a good thing.  Of course if you have nothing going on, and just want to binge the shit out of this show, that’s good too.

The acting, at least on the English dub, is solid.  Although I’m about 85% positive the person performing the death metal is not only a different voice actor from the one providing Retsuko’s voice, but I’m also about 85% positive the death metal singer is a guy.  I could be wrong about that, but as a bit of a connoisseur of the genre, I’m pretty good at picking out female shriekers from male shriekers.  I think I was only wrong once in my entire life, and that was with the band Crisis.

It’s not the kind of show that reinvents the wheel.  In fact, I remember thinking to myself that this was a show that joined the “kids show for adults” fad of the early to mid 2000s about a decade late.  Then again, I don’t expect Japan to be keeping tabs on what’s popular here in The States, so I give this one a pass on that front.

I’m noticing a lot of metal coming from Japan lately.  Between this show, and Baby metal (a Japanese metal band who’s avant gard even by Japanese standards), it’s hard not to notice a trend.  Or maybe metal was always big in Japan, and I’m just now noticing.  I don’t know.  All I can really say is the stuff I’ve seen from Japan lately is a pretty decent change of pace.  The American metal scene right now consists primarily of the djent fad, a few hand-me-downs from Denmark, and Five Finger Death Punch.  If this is the best we can do, maybe it’s time I look into Japan’s metal scene more thoroughly.  And my gateway was a red panda with a cubical job.  Hey, I’ve had dumber origin stories for how I got into scenes and fandoms.  I should tell you my story of how I got into the New Jersey Devils fandom some day.

I’m getting off track.

All and all, Aggretsuko is pretty good.  If nothing else, it’s a very refreshing change of pace for me.

 

Fuck Whales: My Thoughts

I  didn’t find out about the majesty of Maddox until about 2004.  Even then, I only found out he existed because Steakandcheese.com, a disgusting fucking website I used to love that has long since been replaced by a RedTube clone, shared his article entitled “You’re Not Dave Chappelle, and You’re Not Funny.”  This was the article I gladly shared with all my dipshit classmates who thought saying “I’M RICK JAMES, BITCH!” was an adequate substitute for a joke.  Only to be reminded that I was just as bad about “GET ‘R DONE” as they were with “I’M RICK JAMES, BITCH!”.

Regardless, that article led to quite a few nights of reading, and rereading, and occasionally even rerereading Maddox articles, and absorbing the gospel of the almighty pirate lord into my own being.  He basically writes books, and makes YouTube videos now, but I still follow his work fairly closely.

His latest book, Fuck Whales, is the only book of his that has made it on to Audible.com.  I can see why I’m Better Than Your Kids isn’t there, considering it’s mostly a picture book, but I figured for sure The Alphabet of Manliness would be there.  Unless it has more pictures than I remember.  It’s been a while since my friend and I skimmed through that one.

If you’re familiar with The Best Page in the Universe, then you know exactly what to expect from this book.  I don’t know if there are pictures in this book (I got the audiobook, after all), but I wouldn’t be surprised if there are a few.

If you’ve never heard of The Best Page in the Universe…  Well…  I don’t know what to tell you, except prepare to be called several different variants of idiot while the author explains how he’s awesome, how you’re stupid, and how this or that doesn’t work because reasons.  It sounds offensive when I describe it, but then again, I’m not Maddox.

Maddox himself reads the audiobook, which makes the experience even more awesome.  Both because it’s Maddox, and because I always love it when authors read their own books for the audiobook.  One of the reasons Georges St. Pierre’s audiobook is extremely disappointing.  Well that, and the fact it’s one of the most disjointed autobiographies I’ve read since Hunter S. Thompson, but at least you could say HST was probably on ten different kinds of pills.

Fuck Whales starts off pretty irreverent, with such articles as “Fuck Tables” and “Fuck Horses”.  Eventually, though, it gets into some seriously deep shit with such articles as “Fuck Being Offended”.  You read the first couple essays, and get a good little “tee hee” over the absurdism of having a negative opinion about something like a table.  Then you get into stuff like vegetarians who refuse to eat leftover meat, or how we live in a society where bagging groceries is considered less demeaning than doing porn.  the transition from silly to deep is scemeless, and you don’t even notice it unless you’re really paying attention.

All and all, Fuck Whales is a 256 page ass kicking just waiting to be unloaded onto your brain.  And you owe it to yourself to let this book kick your ass.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole: My Thoughts

It’s been a long time since I’ve managed to successfully play a game to completion.  By which I mean I finished the storyline, and not the obsessive compulsive “FIND FUCKING EVERYTHING!” way of gameplay Jirard The Completionist has apparently made a thing over on YouTube.

The last time I ever managed to start a game, and see it all the way to the end, Catherine was the hot new thing everybody was obsessed with.  Before realizing it was just a really pretty tower climber with anime graphics, getting bored, and moving on.  I liked Catherine, but trust me, if I reviewed that game here, we’d be here all night.

South Park: The Fractured But Whole (heheheheh) officially holds the distinction of being the first game in six years I’ve played from start to finish.  Even Killer is Dead couldn’t accomplish that, and Suda51 is pretty much my video game god in adulthood.

The funny thing, though, is I never finished The Stick of Truth: the game that came before this one.  I played it, I made some pretty decent progress…  But then I got beamed up onto The Visitors’ ship, and I distinctly remember that being the point where I decided I’d had enough.  I don’t know if it was a heavy reliance on point-and-shoot puzzles, or if the visitors puzzle was so frustrating that I got annoyed and moved on to…  Whatever I ended up moving on to (2014 is kind of a blur anymore).  I distinctly remember the fart controls in that game being way more complicated than they needed to be.  Oi, the things you think you’ll never say out loud.  And this is coming from a guy who once proudly owned a Sega Genesis game by the name of Boogerman.

Fortunately, I found that you don’t need to finish The Stick of Truth to understand what’s going on in The Fractured But Whole.  The parents appear to hate each other a lot more compared to the first game, but the storyline with the titular Stick of Truth is abandoned completely in favor of playing superheroes.

In all honesty, I never really liked the superhero characters in South Park.  Granted, the Coon and Friends trilogy wasn’t nearly as tedious and painful to sit through as the Imagination Land trilogy, but I just didn’t get into it.  The fact Mentberry Crunch ended up being the savior of mankind was great, and ended up saving the entire thing from being a chore, but honestly, I have little desire to sit through it again.

All that being said, somehow, the superhero characters work better as video game characters.  Maybe it’s because we’re seeing all this from their perspective, and from their perspective, the battles and the overall adventure is loads more epic.  Or maybe I just didn’t give the superhero characters their due the first time around.  Maybe I SHOULD watch that trilogy again.

The combat in Fractured But Whole is an improvement.  Rather than rip off Paper Mario, they decided to…  I want to say rip off Mega Man Battle Network, but I’ve heard others compare the combat to XCOM, and to a similar extent, Mario Rabbids Kingdom Battle.  The latter basically being both an XCOM ripoff, and being the ultimate crossover game that literally nobody asked for.  Seriously, when was the last time the rabbids were relevant?

In any case, combat is based around selecting an attack, and positioning yourself on a battle grid.  Sometimes, the only thing you can do is reposition your party, and other times, you can unload some serious whupass on some sixth graders.  There’s definitely some thought that goes into each battle, and I found it to be a major improvement.  If it ever got tedious, it had less to do with the combat itself, and more to do with the people I was fighting.

Another feature that becomes available in combat is the “microagression” mechanic.  Characters in this game have a lot to say, and if they drop a slur like “queer”, “sissy”, and “pussy”, you can declare microagression, gain a free hit, and negate their turn completely.  It’s amusing enough, although I have to question how I didn’t get a microagression opportunity when one character called me a “homo”, and yet it declared microagression when Butters declares “I’m a healer, not a fighter, although I can do both.”

The story…  Is South Park.  Much like the first game, it’s got some pretty generous amounts of fan service that only long-time fans of the show will really appreciate.  Not to mention they added in tidbits from the last couple of seasons that came after Stick of Truth.  IE, the song “Where My Country Gone” playing over the musack machine in some of the stores.

Once again, you play as a created character, but this time, you can decide what gender they are, what race they are, what religion they are, whether they’re cisgender or transgender…  I get the feeling this was Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s answer to the people griping about how you could only create boys in Stick of Truth.  That, or the addition of PC Principal to South Park canon warrented some PC humor, and this seemed like a good way of shoving it in.  I’ll believe either one, honestly.

Apparently, the game becomes more difficult if you decide to make your character black.  I don’t know HOW exactly, on the count I wussed out and played a white kid.  However, if playing as a cisgendered girl proved anything to me, it’s that it really doesn’t have any payoff what you pick.

My only real gripe with Fractured But Whole is that The cut scenes, near as I can tell, are unskippable.  Not great for when you’re stuck on a boss, and find yourself losing multiple times in a row.

You can turn down the difficulty, or turn it UP if you’re psychotic enough, at any point in the game.  I generally kept it on the standard difficulty…  Right up until I got to the second-to-last boss fight in the game where the superhero versions of you and your friends travel back in time, and fight the Stick of Truth versions of yourselves.  I’ll own up to pussing out after about ten tries with five different arrangements of party members.  Sue me.

And yeah, spoilers.  Whatever: everybody and their mom is putting up Let’s Plays of it on YouTube.

All and all, I enjoyed this game from start to finish.  It had its moments of frustrations, but it only ever felt unfair around the second-to-last boss fight.  And even then, they give you the option to puss out and lower the difficulty.  If anything was ever difficult before and after that, it was either my fault for not checking the objective right away, or because Mitch Conner is a cheating sack of crap.

I highly recommend you play this game.

 

Big Mouth: My Thoughts

Honestly, when it comes to the hip and popular thing everyone won’t shut the fuck up about, I usually tend to be an avoider.  Case in point, I still haven’t read any of the Harry Potter books past The Sorceror’s Stone, I haven’t watched ANY of Breaking Bad, and I actively went out of my way to AVOID House of Cards.  I still don’t know how I got talked into Orange is the New Black, but long time readers already know where I stand on that.  And if you’re new…  Yeah, the book was better.  Oh yeah, did you know there was a book?  And about four different versions of the book are on Audible.com, weirdly enough.  Not sure WHY there’s four, but there’s apparently four.  But I digress.

I usually tend to avoid the trendy things…  Except in the case of Big Mouth, the trendy thing is probably the most polarizing thing out there right now.  I think the only thing anybody can agree on is that the character designs suck.  I’ll own up to having certain designs I don’t like (IE, football headed characters), but really once you see your way past the character designs, the show is actually…  Meh.

I’ve heard the popular joke/statement where someone says it’s all about those awkward years of going through puberty, and “The last thing I ever want to do is relive those awkward years.”  Yeah, at least you had NORMAL middle school experiences.  Got to go to normal middle school, make awkward mistakes around a bunch of other normal kids who knew just as little as you did, and nobody threw you into a special little asylum school where you were a confused thirteen-year-old forced to coexist with a bunch of sixteen and seventeen year old assholes who fucking resented every minute you were in the same room as them, made fun of you for having arachnophobia, and calling you several variations of “gay ass faggot” for liking professional wrestling.  Yeah, you definitely had it rough.  My life was smooth sailing.

Oi, the sarcasm kills me inside.

In all seriousness, though, the show is…  Okay.  It’s not horrible, it’s not amazing, it’s just okay.

Admittedly, I heard one of the guys who wrote Sausage Party was involved with this show, which was a red flag right out the gate.  As mentioned in Red Flannel Radio, I watched about three minutes of Sausage Party, and Immediately called it quits.

But suppose Sausage Party was a fluke.  Hell, it’s happened before.  I mean hell, Rob Zombie makes some of my favorite horror movies of all time…  But he ALSO made a shitty remake of the first two Halloween movies.  Everybody’s entitled to one fuck up, right?

Well fortunately, Big Mouth isn’t as terrible.  Hell, I’m up to episode 8 as of this writing, and…  Well…  I’m not exactly laughing at every single joke the show throws at me.  Far from it, really.  Yet at the same timeI don’t really feel compelled to turn away in revoltion, either.

There are some aspects of the show that are more annoying than anything else.  Coach Steve is that character I know they’re TRYING to make funny, but boy is it not working at all.  I see what MarsReviews was talking about when they mentioned they have a habit of running jokes into the ground.  Yes, I’m familiar with the comedy rule of three, but things like the “shit covered basketballs” wasn’t funny the first time, and it never gets funnier with repetition.

On the other hand, it’s actually an interesting take on the concept of puberty.  The “hormone monster” is unsurprisingly the character they want you to consider your favorite, and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s very Family Guy esque in how it’s supposed to be an entity only kids going through puberty can see and interact with, but sometimes adults can see him because SHUT UP AND LAUGH YOU FUCKING CRETINS!.  That being said, I’ve laughed more at things the hormone monsters and monstresses have said than pretty much any other joke.

Notgoing to lie, this show is pretty fucking gross.  I personally have made peace with the idea that the human body is disgusting, and anyone who says otherwise is either a fucking liar, or they’re more focused on the outside.  They’re more about your image than about the inner workings and the horrible, disgusting smells and objects the body can produce such as feces, urine, tumors, and children.  Fucking grody, man.

That being said, yeah, there’s a lot of masturbation jokes in this.  And yeah, there’s a whole episode about a girl getting her first period.  The worst of it is probably the episode of Jay getting his pillow pregnant in his weird schizophrenic fantasy world.  Part of me definitely could’ve lived a lot longer without seeing a lot of that.  And another part of me can’t help but wonder why I never thought of that till now?  Oh well.

If you can see your way past the grossout factor, it’s actually not the worst thing ever.  Believe me, I’ve seen worse.  Shit, I listen to GWAR for crying out loud.  You want to talk gross…

At the same time, though, I’m not in a huge hurry to recommend the show.  It’s not terrible, but it’s probably nothing I’m going to watch more than once.  As far as recommendations go…  I don’t know, check it out for yourself.  Formulate your own fucking opinion instead of getting it from a half-blind insomniac who probably ought to be writing his next novel instead of spending his Saturday off watching Netflix and listening to Hunter S. Thompson novels on Audible.com.

Disjointed: My Thoughts

Can I just say, I hate a lot of 1960s television.  A lot of it isn’t even 1960s television’s fault, either.  A lot of tropes at the time were REALLY to blame: the canned laughter, the hokey jokes, the acting…  I’m way to used to 90s sitcoms I guess.  Home Improvement was always my jam.  Mostly because things got all splody when Tim tried to fix stuff…  But I digress.

Disjointed’s approach to the 60s esque sitcom was a sort of red flag for someone like me, but honestly, I’m glad I took the challenge.

For starters, the tropes may be there, but the language, and some of the subject matter is a LOT more adult.  And I’m not just talking about the fact the show is set at a marijuana despensery, either.  There’s plenty of dick and fart jokes, F-bombs, and what not that you’d THINK would clash with the kind of show they were going for, but in fact, works perfectly.

The thing I always look forward to in each episode of Disjointed is the animated sequences.  Most of which seem to exist in Carter’s head, but a few take place elsewhere.  I Guarantee that about seventy-five percent of the show’s budget went into those.

I’d say Dank and Dabby were my favorite characters in the entire show, but let’s face it, they were designed to be everyone’s favorite.  They’re the Jay and Silent Bob of Disjointed.  Except Jay’s a black guy, and Silent Bob is a chick who’s anything but silent.  In fact, this looks more like Jay and Jay than anything else.  Fortunately, these guys don’t get obnoxious despite all the potential in the world being right there.

Stories do get multiple episodes to develop (IE, Pete’s weird obsession with his latest bunch of marijuana plants), but for the most part, I’ve found this is a show you can walk away from for about a week, come back to, and not feel like you missed anything TOO important.  Say for maybe the last two episodes, which are a legit two-parter for sure.  I appreciate shows like that.

All and all, I recommend Disjointed.  Admittedly, they do have some real groaners in there (Kim Jong Un-believable comes to mind immediately), but what sitcom doesn’t?  As long as they’re few and far between, and the show holds my attention, it’s all good.

A Series of Unfortunate Events: My Thoughts

Dearest reader,

I strongly urge you to ignore this post, for it is a commentary on a series of events most unfortunate. I strongly suggest abandoning whatever computer, tablet, cell phone, or napkin you are currently reading this on, and pursuing something far more pleasurable like cuddling with a favorite pet, or reading Donald Trump’s Twitter.  For what follows, second handed as it is, is truly unfortunate, tragic, miserable, and will overall ruin your entire week.

If you thought that paragraph was funny… Prepare for countless hours of the exact same thing in Netflix form.

I’ll be honest, I missed out on the A Series of Unfortunate Events books. They started in 1999, but frankly, if it wasn’t Douglas Addams, Animorphs, or an anthology of Dave Barry colums, I wasn’t interested. Not to mention the series apparently went on FOR FUCKING EVER! As much as I loved Wheel of Time at one point, even I couldn’t see my way past book 8 for that very reason.

I saw the A Series of Unfortunate Events movie when it came out in 2004. A lot of people gave it shit even then… And it’s not difficult to see why. Jim Carrey made a passible Count Olaf, but let’s face it, the dude’s career had been going down the toilet since that remake of The Grinch Who Stole Christmas. Add on the fact he was also in The Number 23: a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream made by Joel Schumacher: murderer of careers, and yeah, it’s not hard to see why people didn’t like him.

Also, the movie squashed the first three books into one movie. Never a good idea. Seriously, I think they did that with The Dark is Rising movie, and whew boy, you want to talk about a movie that had me running out of the theater screaming “BETRAYAL!!!”…

Although with all that being said, I actually didn’t hate the movie. Maybe it wasn’t great, but it wasn’t bad. Made me laugh. Which by Lemony Snicket’s standards probably makes me a horrible human being, but whatever. I embraced the backward dark a long-ass time ago, and there’s no looking back now.
At least a decade and a half later, though, we now have Netflix: the greatest thing to happen to television since they started allowing people to say the S-word after 8:00 PM. The only real downside is living on Netflix usually means being a season behind everybody watching in real time. Also, no Game of Thrones, but seeing as how GRRM is holding The Winds of Winter hostage and can’t be bothered to write a list of demands, it’s not so bad.

And now, in 2017, we have an A Series of Unfortunate Events series on Netflix. I’ll own up to have not yet finished the series as of this writing. Frankly, the show all but encourages me to stop fucking watching it every other scene, so can you really blame me for needing a break every now and then?  I love Lemony Snicket’s tactics of getting you to read the book. It’s kind of like Cartman Land’s “You can’t come” approach to advertising in reverse. The Cartman land approach is as follows: “This is the single greatest theme park in the history of the world! The food is great! The rides are awesome! It’s tons of fun! And you can’t come! Haha haha ha ha, nehneh nehneh neh neh!” The Lemony Snicket approach, meanwhile, is more like this: “You don’t want to read this book. It’s horrible. Oh the horrible things in this book are so bad, I can’t even describe them to you without coming off as a horrible person. Here, I’ll even tell you what happens later on in the book in the first chapter! That way, it’s not quite as bad. But it’s still pretty bad. Just sayin’.”

The only real complaint I had at first was Patrick Warburton as Lemony Snicket. I don’t know, I guess I was too used to Jude Law ? All I know is when I thought narrator for A Series of Unfortunate Events, Brock fucking Sampson wasn’t exactly MY first pick. As the series progresses, though, you get used to it. Neil Patrick Harris steals the show, though. In fact, he steals the show, the spotlight, the director’s chair, the producer’s coffee cup (regardless of whether or not it even has coffee in it), the catering, the golden globes in the closet they haven’t handed out yet, AND your wallet.   That’s right, bitch: Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf just stole your fucking wallet, and you won’t even care because it’s absolutely perfect!

I know it’s an endurance test, and you will feel horrible, but I’m actually going to recommend you check it out. Even if it means Snicket spends the rest of eternity giving me that dirty look.

Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors Now Available!

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: My apologies for not getting this out much sooner.

 

I’ve illuded to this project in the past (though not as often as I thought I would when I started this damn blog), but now, it’s here, and it’s available for purchase on Amazon.com.

We all know the story of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory…  Or so we think.  Willy Wonka’s legendary chocolate factory has stood abandoned for decades, and no one is certain of the truth.  However, when an oompa-loompa escapes, proving the existence of oompa-loompas in the process, interest in the abandoned factory is reignited.  Joe Conner: liberal columnist, Ted Branson: conservative talk radio host, Marcus Frey: libertarian YouTuber, and Yasmin Potter: communist blogger, all travel to the factory in search of answers.  However, what they find there may be more horrifying than anybody could’ve ever possibly imagined.  Zombie oompa-loompas, the true and gruesome fates of the ungrateful kids, and a whole mess of other atrocities await you in this delightfully dark parody of a childhood classic.

INTERESTING FACT: this idea formed in my head in 2014.  I was looking for an excuse to take part in NaNoWriMo, and I had two ideas.  I ended up going with a different idea for the 2014 NaNoWriMo, though: a project I pet named “Upton Sinclair in Space”.  It wasn’t until I’d thoroughly given up on being for-real published, and embraced the world of self-publishing and novellas when I decided to finally pen this story.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, as well as the movie…  Maybe even more so the movie, has been a childhood favorite of mine for as long as I can remember.  It was a lot of fun coming up with alternate horrifying endings for the children and their parents, as well as coming up with other possible ideas for horrors to inhabit the factory.  I was initially against the idea of four characters with politically charged ideologies, but after kicking the idea around a little more, I ended up liking it better than just having one guy running away in terror over and over again.  I actually like it better now that I went this route.

I was originally going to hold out for a cover artist, and use this current cover as a sort of place-holder cover.  However, I’ve really grown to like it a lot.  Something about that font.

Charlie’s Chocolate Factory of Unspeakable Horrors is now available for download here:

https://www.amazon.com/Charlies-Chocolate-Factory-Unspeakable-Horrors-ebook/dp/B01HQN8BVI/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1468213562&sr=1-1&keywords=Charlie%27s+Chocolate+Factory+of+Unspeakable+Horrors