April 21, 2015

April 21, 2015

And Many More

The Queen turns 89 today.

(Literally, in that today is her actual birthday. This must be clarified because many monarchs get a ceremonial birthday in the summertime to ensure that outdoor festivities are subject to the best of British weather. As a Wisconsin native whose October birthday was often at risk of snow, I consider this a most excellent practice.)

QE2’s one of my personal heroes, and I hope she spends her day exactly as she likes. (I imagine corgis and hats are involved. And tea.) Though some would argue that royalty spend every day exactly as they like, I remit that performing even ceremonial duties can be a grind. So settle down, huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Settle down.

Among the many delightful bits of QE2 trivia, my favorites include:

- She paid for her wedding dress using clothing ration coupons.

- She is the only person in Britain who can drive without a license or number plate on her state car.

- She technically owns all unmarked swans in UK waters and they are reserved for feasting. She also owns the whales and dolphins in UK waters.

Friend-of-blog N pointed out that QE2 is rapidly approaching the record for longest-serving monarch, currently held by Queen Victoria’s 63 years, 217 days. QE2 passes that mark in September. I really, really hope they break out the whale and swan canapes. IF NOT THEN, WHEN?

April 15, 2015

April 15, 2015

Cinco de Quatro

The recent announcement that Arrested Development would be getting a fifth season made me realize that I’d neglected to watch the fourth. I remedied that this weekend, absorbing 15 episodes of Bluthy goodness via my willing eyeballs over the course of two days.

Unlike a number of critics whose reviews I seem to remember reading when S4 was first released, I loved it. I’d forgotten how chock-full AD is of verbal and visual gags. Though 30 Rock, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and others have since inured us to commedia dell’fast-and-furious, AD was really a pioneer in the genre.

My favorite episode? Probably Buster’s by a hand nose, though the machinations of GOB’s “A New Attitude” also had me in hysterics. I’m a sucker for old-school and/or physical gags—pratfalls, revolving doors, and the like—and the scene involving GOB, Egg Ann, and Tony Wonder considering various forms of masked sexual congress required me to spend time in a quiet room afterwards.

Though my favorite moment remains the Lucille/Buster smoking scene.* I could watch an extended cut of this, on loop, for days.

It’s been too long since I watched S1-3 for me to fully appreciate all the callbacks and returning cast members, but good on everyone who returned to or joined the cast. (Though I was hoping for more of both Annyong and Bob Loblaw.) Kristen Wiig as young Lucille in particular was spot-on, and Ron Howard was a much better sport than I would be if asked to play a version of myself.

Things I didn’t care for? The Real Housewives storyline (Bobby Lee notwithstanding), Lindsay’s new face, DeBrie, the three surplus Richters (which ones? YOU DECIDE), and the bees.

Overall, a solid A for me. Curious to see where S5 goes, and whether the banana stand gets resurrected. There's always money in it.

*Favorite visual gag: The tiny “HELP” written on GOB’s finger while he was trapped in the cave, as seen on traffic camera footage.