Category Archives: Spectacle

Report from CES: Qualcomm Clearly Trying Too Hard, and The Verge Wins the Internet Today

“The Internet of Everything!” Please let’s make The Internet of Everything Bowl (featuring two 7-5 teams, natch) happen this year (around Dec. 23, natch). (Photo credit: The Verge)

So, the CES is happening now in Las Vegas — the big annual conference that highlights consumer electronics — and Qualcomm had the honors of delivering Monday night’s keynote presentation. Lovingly documented by The Verge, the presentation featured:

* Three actors depicting hip new youth in a way that makes The CW look PBS-staid by comparison
* Big Bird alongside a man wearing what appears to be a Big Bird pelt
* Maroon Five, with Dido overdubbed on the feed (creating a decidedly different experience for those in the arena vs. the rest of the world)
* Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer doing the Running Man (literally)
* Guillermo del Toro showing a room full of a technology professionals a slashery vampire scene from Blade II
* Bishop Desmond Tutu
* An electric-powered Rolls Royce

All of this (especially jumbled into one presentation) is sort of over-the-top awesome, hatched up by a team no doubt wanting to make a splash, and ending up making a different sort of Twitter-snarky splash. (Really, the best part of The Verge’s coverage is using tweets to help narrate the evening’s programming.)

At the end of the day, though, phrases like “Born Mobile,” “Generation M” (or, worse, “Gen M”), and “The Internet of Everything” has the unmistakable waft of marketers trying too hard to make hip lingo happen. Mobile’s an increasingly important technological sector, to be sure, but today’s youth are never, ever going to call themselves Gen M. (But then again, we’re also skeptical that Kimye will stick as a name for Prince Kanye and Princess Kim.)

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And That’s Why KDOC Can’t Have Nice Things: A Live New Year’s Eve Broadcast Gone Horribly Wrong

TV history, being made. (Photo credit: Mediaite.)

At one time, L.A. independent TV station KDOC was owned by a group of investors who included Pat Boone. Its history is full of randomness, and its current lineup of shows includes “We the People with Gloria Allred,” “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” “Married … with Children,” “Law and Order: Criminal Intent,” and “South Park.” For this most recent New Year’s Eve, they decided to do a live broadcast, starring a random assortment of entertainers from the 1990s, with a production crew seemingly angling for new levels of amateurism.

The YouTube clip below is simply why the Internet had to be invented. The five-plus minutes below, as reported by Mediate, tweeted by Patton Oswalt, and lovingly circulated by fans of steaming hot spectacle, attempts to compress the awfulness of this broadcast into a single lowlight reel. (NSFW, unless you have headphones.)

(Update: YouTube video has been pulled, but the Mediaite link above should still be working.)

The cast of players include Jamie Kennedy (who has not aged particularly well, nor has he surpassed his career apex of Malibu’s Most Wanted), Bone Thugs-N-Harmony (who overseason their performance with all kinds of words you’re not allowed to say on TV), Shannon Elizabeth (Shannon Elizabeth!), Macy Gray (who is barely coherent in her attempts to guide the audience through the final ten minutes of the year), a woman in the audience who reads the teleprompter along with co-host Stu Stone, two delightfully saucy women who are inexplicably pulled up on stage to detail their resolutions for 2013 (“Get rid of all my haters”), and some dude who offers a 12-letter-bomb to punctuate his response to Stone’s innocent-yet-leading-to-trouble inquiry, “What’s your name?”

From the highlight reel’s initial burst of brilliance (in which Kennedy doesn’t know they’re on air and F-bombs his way through the confusion) to its glorious finale (a fight breaks out on stage behind the hosts attempting to say farewell, which Kennedy matter-of-factly notes with a mix of defeat, bewilderment, and acute awareness that this is about to become viral on the Internet), it’s a cornucopia of incompetence and faulty judgement. You’ll laugh. You’ll cringe. You’ll speculate on the employment future of everyone involved with the KDOC New Year’s Eve special.

The Royal Baby (Well, At Least, America’s Royal Baby)

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Who’s excited about the Kimye baby? The Kardashians! And their producers! Graphic credit: New York Daily News

You’ve heard, by now, that Kim Kardashian and Kanye West are having a baby. Kim is 12 weeks along, which means, with a gestation period of around 40 weeks, that we’ll only be inundated with updates about this storyline for another 28 weeks. Then there will be a birth around mid-summer, and then there will be a paparazzi scramble for first baby photos which may or may not involve dressing up like hospital staff, and it’s going to be such a beautiful celebration of the miracle of life.

Clearly, Kanye’s found the love he talked about not getting enough of in 2011’s “Monster” — as he noted in 2012’s “Clique,” “My girl a superstar all from a home movie,” which is, well, a rather doting, boyfriendy, euphemistic version of how Kim first entered public consciousness.

Given that Kanye is documenting the relationship in real-time as well as in his music — he delivered the “she’s having my baby” news during a New Year’s Eve performance of “Runaway” in Atlantic City, after all — 2013 should bring us some awesome stream-of-conscious, Kanye-talking-about-whatever’s-front-and-center-in-Kanye’s-mind rapping about 3 a.m. bottle feedings and diaper changes. (Question: Does Gucci make diapers?)

But, unfortunately for Kanye, Kim Kardashian brings with her the rest of the Kardashian Klan and the camera crew (kamera krew?) that is surgically attached to it, which might be a little too much spotlight for Mr. Hard to Be Humble When You’re Stuntin’ On a Jumbotron.

E! (of course, E!) has announced that it will be filming throughout the pregnancy. Us Weekly reports:

“Kim and Kanye are an incredibly dynamic couple, and their baby news is just so exciting,” network president Suzanne Kolb tells The Hollywood Reporter in a statement. “Like so many Kardashian fans, we love it when this close-knit family gets even bigger.”

(A Hollywood Reporter source hints that their infant will appear on camera, saying that the network “will continue to cover all aspects of Kim’s life as it always has.”)

And this New York Daily News article does an outstanding job of capturing the Kardashian Klan’s subtle, understated, taking-to-Twitter joy about the whole thing. (Special points to Kendall Jenner for trying to get Kimye to happen. Nothing will ever beat Brangelina as a celebrity couple name. Though it turns out Kimye is, upon a quick Googling, gaining a bit of traction. THIS CANNOT STAND.)

Also, Glamour’s already attempting to name the baby. (Limiting themselves to K names, of course.)

In-utero Twitter account? Side-by-side baby bump comparison photos of Kim and Kate Middleton as the royal pregnancies progress? Gossip mags clamoring to be the first to announce the gender once it becomes possible to do so? Look for this to reach new levels of amazing in the coming 28 (again, that’s 28) weeks.

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Jake Owen, Meet America (Via the Orange Bowl Halftime Show)

Jake Owen, flexing at the Orange Bowl. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, by way of Roadrunner.)

By the way: There are 35 bowls in the college football landscape, and January 1 is no longer the most important day of bowl season — the better bowls continue into the next week. The big bowls don’t even consistently fall on the same days anymore, for reasons that will be boring and not germane to this. What is germane to this: This year, we have the Orange Bowl as the final game of New Year’s Day, which means the super-long halftime show (once astutely mocked by the Simpsons, once inadvertently mocked by Ashlee Simpson’s performance) is returned to its rightful place of entertaining families numb from the day-long football marathon.

But, because ESPN is airing the Orange Bowl, it’s no longer quite the horriblawesome convergence of art and sport that it tried to be during its bygone-era airings on NBC, including a magic show gone awry, the Disney Electrical Parade inside a stadium (where it was never meant to be), and the most uncomfortable ZZ Top may have ever been.

Well, at least it’s no longer that for TV viewers. I’m sure that people inside the stadium were exposed to the full onslaught of pointless backing dancers and superfluous laser displayes. But those of us in TV land only saw three minutes of Jake Owen — one of those performances which look potentially parodic, but dishearteningly reveals itself to be real via the sort of earnest delivery that says, “We’re making art here — it might be bad art, but it’s art.”

America got to witness “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” which, according to this article, confirms that the chorus forwards the sentiment, “Never gonna grow up! Never gonna slow down!” — with verses that detail hanging out and drinking beers by the fire, to which Owen added Orange Bowl-specific lyrics about hanging out about the Orange Bowl.

(Sample, non-Orange Bowl referencing lyrics: “Blue eyes and auburn hair/Sittin’ lookin’ pretty by the fire in a lawn chair/New to town, and new to me/Her ruby red lips was sippin’ on sweet tea.” Lyrical analysis: Jake Owen admires women at parties with the limited vocabulary of many of his fans. Auburn hair is fairly exacting, though, so points for that.)

Though I’d rather see wind-blown magic or crotch-centric performances from the likes of The Boss and The Purple One’s Super Bowl extravaganzas when I’m witnessing halftime entertainment, it’s nice to see that there’s some level of pomp in the Orange Bowl shows — Owen did plenty of good-looking country-singer flexing to augment what the drill team armada in front of the stage was doing. (And a quick note on his band: Banjo player. Always awesome.)