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You Want Thankful? I Got Thankful

November 26, 2010

Let’s be honest, with the world on the brink of a committed nuclear war and the unemployment rate so insanely high it’s a wonder anyone is working any job whatsoever, it’s a little hard to get excited about a new season of, say, The Big Bang Theory. But we do try. So while there are better and stronger blogs committed to commenting on the woes of the globe, we let them handle that. That’s not our job. What is our job, however, is watching television, listening to music and going to movies. Which we do, mightily.

On this Thanksgiving, we’re thankful in general for a lot of things — food, friends, family, a roof over our heads, the freedom to live in a country like the United States, good health and weight loss — but more specifically, we’re oh so thankful for a host of littler things. things which may not seem important, but are.

Oh, how they are.

1.) Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. As the major story in late night continues to be the returning “Conan factor” and its effects on the Leno/Letterman/Stewart/Colbert landscape, Fallon has turned NBC’s 12:30 slot into his own personal playground, where he’s having a tremendous amount of fun. For evidence, just take a look at the very real, normal sit-down he had with a down-to-earth Bruce Springsteen last week (where he channeled Neil Young to duet with the Boss on Willow Smith’s “Whip My Hair”), enjoy his second-segment game shows like “Models and Buckets” or “Dance Your Hat & Gloves Off“,  or marvel at the pure surrealism of Jeff Goldblum and Biz Markie teaming to perform Markie’s “Just a Friend.” Fallon’s strength has always been that he’s a regular guy like us, and he uses that strength to phenomenal effect nightly as he goofs and laughs his way through each hour. He’s loosened up and figured his show out, and while everyone else jockeys for 11:30 strength, Fallon’s coasting with great stuff to fall asleep to every weeknight. Just plain fun.

2.) Britpop. While the American Billboard Charts look remarkably the same from week to week, fantastic radio stations like London’s Absolute Radio, which showcases tremendously strong and on-the-rise British musicians which, without fail, one can normally expect to crest Stateside a few months after they make their splash in the UK. Bands and artists like Snow Patrol, The Thrills and Adele are excellent examples of this, but there’s a host of musicians like The Coral, British Sea Power, The Maccabees, Selfish Cunt, The Libertines and Lemon Jelly — some of them already somewhat known by niche American audiences, some woefully still under the radar — waiting to truly pass through the intercontinental gates to open American arms. Do yourself a favor and spend a few hours a week with any major radio station out of London and discover some great new stuff before your fellow countrymen.

3.) The Return of the Insane Musical Artist. You have to love the gloriously eccentric personalities in mainstream music right now. From Lady Gaga’s insane arthouse-statement attire to Amy Winehouse’s increasingly trashy, bizarre and undeniably cool Johnny-Rotten-meets-Leslie-Gore act to Kanye West and his gloriously crazy Twitter account (sample tweet: I want to edit the film on a boat…where are the good editing boats?), we’re in an era of hugely entertaining characters for pop music and hip hop. Taking a cue from the Joe Cockers and Elton Johns of yesteryear is actually a pretty good idea, and it’s working.

4.) Las Vegas (the city, not the television show). There’s no greater hub of consumer culture than the dizzying city of Las Vegas, and there never will be. Every trip to Sin City is an assault on the senses in every possible way, and no two visits are ever the same. You can like Las Vegas, sure, but once you truly fall in love with the city, it becomes a strange sort of fantasy world to which you know you can always happily return. There’s something comforting about laying awake in bed in the midwest at four-thirty in the morning and knowing that a thousand miles away there’s a place that rolls on through the dark, every night, without ever stopping or letting up. Ever. In that way, Las Vegas is more than just a wicked fun time, it’s a peaceful reminder that some things which are still great and constant in this world. I would submit to you that it’s not terrible to have something like that out there, even in the middle of a Nevada desert.

5.) Our nation’s collective lack of humility. I Love Money. Dancing with the Stars. Skating with the Stars. Jersey Shore. Teen Mom. Keeping Up With the Kardashians. The fact that these shows not only exist, but seem to thrive and have massive audiences means one thing: we, as Americans are neither afraid to make asses of ourselves nor sit on a couch and watch people make asses of themselves. There will always be idiots in this world, and we will always be stupefied by them — stupefied to the point we make them rich and famous. It’s sad. It’s kind of depressing. But it’s also how we roll. And I’m thankful that a lot of us still don’t feel the need to appear so highbrow that we can’t deny watching these things. There’s absolutely a place for them in the world, even though they will never, ever bring anything positive to the table and we accept that.

Don’t forget to be thankful for the little things. And however you’re celebrating the holiday, make it your own. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

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2 Comments
  1. Paul permalink*
    November 27, 2010 1:20 pm

    Don’t hate on The Big Bang Theory. That show is funny.

    • November 27, 2010 9:44 pm

      I wasn’t. Sheldon and Amy Farrah-Fowler are a veritable Frasier and Lilith Sternin-Crane for the new milennium. But compared to the fronting of North and South Koreas, it pales.

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