The Five Deadly Venoms – An Introspective

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If you’ve read me before, it’s no finding of the lost ark that I specialize in the obscure, the bullshit, the altogether foolish. I’m fine with that, and if you’re reading this, then you are too. Today’s subject is the prime spectacle of 1980’s “Kung Fu Theater,” the television venue that not only led to my obsession with kung fu movies, but the Venom Mob in particular. They were a talented group of players for Shaw Brothers Productions, and their most revered film is entitled “The Five Deadly Venoms.” I worshiped this movie when I was a kid, but subsequent viewings have led me to wonder about all the plot problems within. Continue reading

Characters From Television Who Wouldn’t Miss Us.

ArchieNah. Too easy.

When you’re as obsessed with TV as I am (there I said it), strange things pop into your head. Things like ranking the women from “B.J. and the Bear” in terms of hotness and imagining a dogfight between Airwolf and Blue Thunder. Recently while thinking back on old episodes of “Dallas,” I wondered if J.R. would just be happier in life if no one else was around. My answer to my own question was “no” because then he’d have no one to pull diabolical schemes on. This abstract thought mutated into something more befitting a man with tons of time on his hands: What TV characters would benefit from being around less people? Or, if no one was around, would this person even give a shit?

Below are a few candidates to this foolishness. And I’m wholly open to further suggestions. Movie characters don’t count. As in, Hannibal or Norman Bates – TV people who originated from film.

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Carl Brutananadilewski

Aqua Teen Hunger Force’s disgruntled neighbor would do just fine without us, and he’d be especially happy to see the end of the boys next door. This master pervert knows he’s way too gross to be around, so he’s got no desire for a relationship. He’d be fine in life with just some porn and the occasional hooker call.

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Data

Yes, the android from Star Trek:TNG. He’s got no emotions (on the show) so he wouldn’t get lonely. In fact, if all other life were wiped out, Data would probably get more shit done. Here is a YouTube video that goes well with my topic.

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Morgan Jones

One of The Walking Dead’s best characters and you only see him in a couple episodes. Well that’s because he’s insane. And he’s built up an immunity to giving a fuck. And knowing that you can’t trust anyone during a zombie apocalypse makes him the smartest crazy person on TV.

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Burt Cooper

“Mad Men’s” only real paternal figure walks aimlessly through life, all shoeless and clueless. This guy goes to work every day and no one notices because he hasn’t done shit for six seasons but get paid. If everyone just disappeared, he wouldn’t notice. He’d go to work, stare at the painting in his office for eight hours, then go home. Every day. This could probably be due to his missing testicles. In which case, I don’t blame him for giving up.

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Doctor House

Because he’s a dick, that’s why. He’s a mean piece of garbage. If he could have a whole city block to himself, with no responsibility or person to get on his nerves, Housey would just sit at home and do drugs all day with zero repercussions. He hates everyone and everything. Even the people he likes, he hates.

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Grizzly Adams

This man was happy living his everyman frontier life until a murder framing sent him hiding in the woods. And he liked it! With wild animals as his new best friends and the random encounter with an old guy named Mad Jack, Grizzles ended up doing better without us! Hell, one could even argue that Mad Jack was a figment of his imagination.

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Scrooge McDuck

Face it, as long as he’s got his stacks of money to roll around in, we could all go to hell for all he cares. His isn’t a story of misanthropy – it’s one of indifference. Cash > people. Just look at him up there making out with a handful of singles. I don’t even want to think what he does to Benjamins.

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Beavis and Butthead

Ever see the show? These two morons only seem to notice when the other one isn’t there. So as long as they can goof off as a pair, nobody else need exist. They can get through an entire day just throwing trash cans at each other. I’ve seen these clowns be on the verge of saving someone from mortal danger, wander off distracted and leave the bastard to die. Do the math.

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Henry Bemis

From the amazing Twilight Zone episode “Time Enough at Last,” bookworm Bemis hides in a vault at his bank job so that he can read without anyone bothering him. So when WWIII happens and humanity bombs itself back into the stone age, Bemis sat pretty inside the protective confines of the vault. When he emerges to find Earth all FUBAR’d, the only thing on his mind is tearing ass to the library. If he spent one second saying “Oh no! The world is over! Oh God, the poor people!” it was a fast second. This joker was glad to see us go.

Now, I’m no genius – in fact, I’m far from it and this blog is proof. But I think this is a pretty comprehensive list, and if I missed anyone, I need to know. Don’t feel sheepish about adding that two cents.  Sharing is caring!

My Twilight Zone Series Review

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I thought I saw them all as a kid, but lately found out how very wrong I was after marathoning the hell out of the series thanks to Netflix and boredom. In fact, thank goodness for Netflix and boredom because I missed some awesome episodes.

Overall, the series is a winner. It stands bravely in the face of unforgiving years and creator Rod Serling’s writing still manages to amaze and surprise in most cases. There were times when I’d figured out the plot and denouement within the first couple minutes, making it a very boring viewing. Yet, there were other times, as with the creepy “After Hours,” that kept me guessing up until the end.

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Standout episodes in the series include “To Serve Man,” a story about alien inv…uh, visitation; “Time Enough At last,” with Burgess Meredith; the very unsettling “The Hitchhiker;” and the terrorizing “Living Doll,” starring Kojack himself. Part of the fun is seeing well established and retired actors show up in black and white with bright baby faces, like Burt Reynolds and Robert Redford. Conversely, you will see aging actors taking final bows, such as Buster Keaton. All in the same crazy series chock full of martians, space travel, hell breaking loose…absolute FEAR..

But they weren’t afraid to experiment and take chances. From hackneyed depictions of the future to outright soapbox preachy-ness, one could even consider the series as a trailblazer in showing what and what NOT to do. It’s safe to assume that, despite the writing, shooting some episodes on video to cut costs was a dismal failure. Indeed, the very last episode suffers from a case of the “fuck its”  where Scout from “To Kill A Mockingbird” plays a little girl with a crumbling home life. When the outside shoot had to be voiced over due to technical difficulties, they decided it would cost too much to fly her back to Hollywood, so her lines were dubbed by June Foray. So, sometimes the little girl sounds like Scout, other times she sounds like Rocky the Flying Squirrel from the Bullwinkle show. Not kidding.

The series also failed at producing two very important elements: funny scripts and showcasing minorities. Not even the comedy timing of Carol Burnett in “Cavender Is Coming” could float the terribly unfunny ship that had to resort to goofy music cues to tell the audience when to laugh. And despite the importance of entries like, “The Big Tall Wish,” we didn’t get any others with an all-black cast. This quote from Serling makes me feel like he’s not at fault for that:

“Television, like its big sister, the motion picture, has been guilty of the sin of omission… Hungry for talent, desperate for the so-called ‘new face,’ constantly searching for a transfusion of new blood, it has overlooked a source of wondrous talent that resides under its nose. This is the Negro actor.”

But, the series is legendary because of its triumphs. It spawned a movie and 1990’s revival. And though the comeback was unsuccessful, it gave us the fine sequel to the epic “It’s A Good life” starring original key cast members. So if you’re not revisiting this fantastic series or checking it out for the first time out of curiosity, then you’re missing out on a great example of TV’s strong childhood.