True Detective, Ballers, and the Church of HBO

As of writing this I am watching a television show that involves an overweight Middle-Eastern man and his poor attempts at shooting a revolver at an expensive bottle of whiskey.

Tyrant is back.

But that’s not why I’m here; That’s not why I’m writing this. That’s not why, after several shots and more than a few beers later, I’m blowing the dust off of this awful blog and explaining to you, the readers, why HBO has made it clear that we’ll never get our Sunday night’s back.

I’m here because The Rock saved us again, and this time it’s on subscription television.

I don’t want to get too ahead of myself, because we first need to discuss the season two premiere of True Detective and why Vince Vaughn is more than tolerable (for once), and why Colin Farrell- the man I thought would be this seasons savior (and, fuck, still could be)- beat a man within half an inch of his life, all while telling said man’s son that he was going to “buttfuck your father with your mother’s headless corpse on this God damn lawn.”

Wow… was that not the realest shit you’ve ever heard? Colin Farrell is the greatest actor of this or any generation.

For real though, that was the line of the century. If you watched the episode, did that scene give you goosebumps like it did for me? As soon as Farrell -who plays Detective Ray Velcoro this season- slipped the iron-knuckles on, we knew shit was going to go down, but NEVER did I imagine it would be as hostile as that encounter was. That scene, that one scene, was better than all of season one of True Detective (is he being serious? You’ll never know…).

All jokes and weird murder-rape threats aside, I enjoyed episode one because it gave us exactly what we needed after an incredible season of a television show that made us all obsessed with Matthew Fucking McConaughey: it gave us something new to watch. Again.

And not only was it new, it was good. It was entertaining, and captivating, and dark, and mysterious, and different. But also, it was oddly familiar, like we’ve been here before. It was like ordering an item off a menu that has no description for it, a dish that you can’t pronounce and when the server brings it to your table…oh! It’s just tacos. Nice. We love tacos.

I enjoyed our first full look at what season two has to offer because of how different it was from any episode of that first amazing season of True Detective– I don’t want Nic Pizzolatto to try and present us with a regurgitated version of the story and characters we loved. I don’t want another Yellow King, or Louisiana bayou, or Rust Cohle. I mean, I do, I want all of those thing. But what I really want is there to be a clear cut difference between these stories. Season one put a lot out there- it raised the bar of what a television show could be in terms of story, incredible camera shots, and characters.  It’s going to be hard to live up to Reggie Ledoux stalking around his property in his underwear, carrying a machete and rocking a fucking gas mask.

But most importantly here, I wanted to be excited again. I want to feel anxiety because I can’t wait to see what happens on the next episode. I want to go online and see what everyone else is thinking- what fan theories are floating around out there and what angles people have discovered that I never even thought to consider. That was half the fun of season one: guessing just what the hell was going on. I want to know we’re going to witness an awesome story unfold on our television screen, one that will give us amazing characters and locations and shots and a mystery that will keep us guessing until the last episode of the season.

I want to be excited to see Colin Farrell’s mustache each week.

Fortunately for me, I already am. True Detective is back and it’s all over the place and I love it and you should love it too and here’s why.

Vince Vaughn- I know, right? I’m a Vince Vaughn fan in that I liked Dodgeball and Old School. Swingers was garbage. I feel like (and I know I’m not alone here) I find it difficult to take him seriously. I had a lot of reservations coming in to season two of True Detective, and not just because I was nervous that it wouldn’t be as exciting season one, but because Vaughn was going to play a major role in this show. A pivotal role- the role of the main villain, Frank Semyon.

I didn’t have much faith in Vaughn, but, with all of that being said, episode one surprised me; He was good. He was a tamed down criminal, a potential villain that we didn’t see the true evil in just yet. There’s certainly some kind of evil there, in that he’s clearly playing the crime-kingpin-gone-legit card, and I hope his truly evil side reveals itself slowly. Which, if season two is anything like season one, will be a nice, slow process. His character gets shit done, and I’m excited to see what kind of shit that will turn out to be. I’m much less worried about Vaughn’s acting ability in a more serious role, especially now that we’ve seen the connection between him and Farrell’s character. Which leads me to…

Colin Farrell- I don’t curse regularly, but fucking good fucking FUCK: this mother fucker right here is going to make this whole season worth watching. Episode one threw a lot at us at once in terms of Farrell’s character, Detective Ray Velcoro, but here’s what we know so far.

He’s got a weird ginger son that may not be his because…we’re just not sure. Neither is he. His wife was raped and nine months later gave birth to his son, a son that he seems to resent because of this uncertainty. Adding something even more bizarre to the mix, Frank Semyon apparently knows who committed the rape and now, in present day, has Velcoro (seemingly) completely indebted to him. Velcoro is on Semyon’s payroll hard, in that our man is getting money and bottles of Johnny Walker Blue poured down his throat to do Seymon’s dirty work, all while the crime boss just shakes his head in disbelief.

I’m very excited to see where Farrell takes this character, because if this first episode is any indicator, he’s still got a ways to fall before he hits rock bottom. And I really don’t doubt that we’ll see him get there. As the episode unfolds, we really get a chance to see what his character is: harmful. He’s ethically depraved. He has some morals, but I wouldn’t consider most of them to be positive or “right”. He’s bribing people: a lawyer, and even his own son (gifting new shoes for your kid doesn’t make you a good dad, Ray). He’s violent- we see that when he is sent to beat on the reporter that may or may not reveal what Semyon and his crew really are: the Darth Vader/Empire of the fictional city of Vinci, the setting for season two. We see his violence again later on in the episode, when he pays a visit the father of the child that bullied his son (I’m sure I’m not the only one that is interested to see if anything happens from this, including repercussions his son may face at school…).

Velcoro is an alcoholic and somewhat involved with drugs. He’s damaged- all three of the detectives this season are. I don’t have any doubt that Velcoro will have the most interesting back-story and character arc this season of the three protagonists, although it’s far too early to tell if that arc will be a positive one, or he will just evolve into a more evil, crooked cop/person.

Furthermore, episode one raised two questions about Velcoro that I keep coming back to: did he kill the man that Semyon told him raped his wife? Sub-question: does Semyon know more about the rape than he is leading Velcoro/the audience to believe?

I think so. I think the picture of the man that Semyon gave to Velcoro was a fall-guy, someone to put a face to the crime and to see if Velcoro would take matters into his own hands, or go arrest him and let the justice system do its work. I also think that it could have been a gauge that Semyon used to test Velcoro, to see if he could be bought. Now, do I think Semyon would go so far as to set up the rape of a police officers wife to see if the cop could become crooked? Maybe. Maybe not. So far, there’s nothing there to indicate that he’d be that evil to do something, but you never know. We didn’t think a landscaper could be the mind behind bizarre and brutal cultist murders either.

The other question is: what the Hell was up with that weird hologram(?) of the woman swimming in the bowl of milk at the apartment of missing city official Ben Caspere? Velcoro said something to his partner along the lines of “tell me you see that too?” referring to the strange hologram, but his partner made no indication that he did indeed see it. Which leads me to believe that it could have been a hallucination that Farrell was experiencing. Farrell’s partner seemed to be a bit outspoken, so for him to not acknowledge that he did see the hologram of the nude woman swimming in milk is just a little bit odd to me (if the situation could be any more fucking odd…). That being said, nothing else in the episode indicated that Velcoro was experiencing hallucinations, although he did miss a week of time when he thought his son was going on a camping trip the following weekend, when it was really took place during the previous one.

In terms of how this character is in “present day”, Velcoro doesn’t seem to care about any of it. The boozing, the drugs, working for crime bosses- it’s all part of his life. During the flashback where Velcoro is speaking with Semyon about the rape of Velcoro’s wife, he looks pretty clean cut. Something changed him, because now he looks like shit. His looks extend into his personality traits too- he’s impolite, reckless, but I wouldn’t necessarily say that he’s dumb. He knows what he’s doing, he’s a functional alcoholic and he’s good at it. It may have been the rape, but I know we’ll see a bit more into what led to his downfall. The shot of Semyon sitting opposite Velcoro, like they’re old business partners was all we needed to see. That scene in the bar was one of the best of this episode that had plenty of…

Awesome shots- As usual. Season one of True Detective was great in terms of camera work. That season also gave us the incredible direction of Cary Fukunaga, who provided us with amazing shot after amazing shot of the Louisiana bayou, odd locations, and great driving scenes. He didn’t return for the sophomore run, but I still think that season two is off to a pretty good start. Immense, expansive landscape shots are nothing new to True Detective, and season two has some wide shots of an industrial landscape that is just incredible.

There’s something about California that is captivating, and the industrial side can look just as impressive as the immense forests up in NorCal. I’m very excited to see where this season takes us.

I’ve see some discussion that season two of True Detective may have been influenced by the David Lynch film Mulholland Drive, and I can’t say that I disagree. Although so far, I think this season has this kind of creeping feeling to it, like in the Lynch film Inland Empire. I can’t exactly put it into words yet, but when I can I will let you know.

*Note: if I had to pick one favorite shot so far (besides the wide angle shots of the industrial section of the city), I’d say it would have to be the one of Semyon sitting opposite Velcoro in the booth at the end of the episode. It was clear who had the power, and even though Velcoro was trying to be defiant towards Semyon in the scene, Semyon was the clear winner here (if you can even call either of them a winner)*

Rachel McAdams- not sure if I even need to go on. McAdams rules, and I love her as an actress and, my Lord, is she good already. She’s stern- stern, but fair. I don’t even know what that means. But what I do know, is that her character has something to prove to us and to herself and to EVERYONE, and we desperately want her to. This series needs a strong female character and McAdams and her portrayal of Detective Ani Bezzerides can bring that to us if the writing allows her to.

Episode one shows two sides to Detective Bezzerides: a person that is lost, and a person that is hungry for success. The former person has, from what we see so far, a troubled love life and definitely some reservations regarding sex. We see that with the love interest she has in the beginning of the episode, and then later on when she discovers that her sister is a camgirl. She can’t fathom working in the pornography industry, even though there is something going on with her in the bedroom (bondage? something more?).

The latter person, the one that’s looking for success anywhere she can find it, is going into situations with what seems to be little-to-no background information, hoping that she gets lucky. We saw that with the “sex-cam” bust, which was no bust at all really. She had a shitty hunch, and, more than anything, discovered that her sister is more than a fuck-up than she is (well, maybe). At the end of the episode we see her getting kicked out of a casino- looking for success in the wrong places.

Also, you heard it here first: Bezzerides is going to cut someone’s dick off this season. She has way too many knives to not do it. Mark my words- it’s happening. And I’m not saying that because she’s a female detective and it would be emasculating for the person she does it to, but because SHE.IS GOING.TO CUT.SOMEONE’S ENTIRE DICK…OFF.

Right now, I have a feeling that Bezzerides is going to be my second favorite character this season, coming in close to Velcoro. Frank Semyon will be good, and I think all three will be better than Taylor Kitsch’s character, Officer Paul Woodrugh.

I don’t know much about Kitsch, besides that he was John Carter and was on the television show Friday Night Lights. So far, I like his character and I think Woodrugh will bring an additional…something to the group dynamic that will be Velcoro, Bezzerides, and he. Not to mention, a crazy backstory.

So far, we don’t really know too much about Woodrugh besides the fact that he seems like a good cop. I mean, he turned down a damn blowjob from some hot young starlet driving a red convertible! However, was this because hes a good cop, or because he has erectile dysfunction? Or is it something more? The scene with him and his girlfriend (at least I assume it’s his girlfriend- ALSO: is she the “missing” sister from earlier on in the episode that Bezzerides and her partner were asked to investigate?), we’re shown that he has to take some sort of pill to achieve/maintain an erection. Is this e.d., or could he possibly be gay? Or maybe it’s something else and I’m just not seeing it yet- I’m interested to see his character grow (not a boner joke).

The story so far- corruption and some kind of multi-billion dollar high-speed rail system in California. We have four main characters: a troubled young officer of the California Highway Patrol who may be gay and definitely has a scarred past (he has the broken body to show for it), a crooked detective that actually seems like a pretty good cop, another detective with something to prove not just to her father, but to herself, and a crime boss turned “legit”. Oh, and a super intricate murder that no one can explain.

Seriously, with this murder…what the hell is going on? Ben Caspere, a city official and (possible) right-hand man to criminal Frank Semyon, winds up dead. Oh, and he just happens to be a total sex freak. And he’s not just “dead” dead, but SUPER fucking dead. Like, his dick was cut off and he bled out because of it. And someone burned out his eyes with acid. And they did it while, presumably, wearing a raven mask. And then, in True Detective fashion, they made a big scene of his dead body which would ensure that it would be found. Jeez…

The whole stabbing of Caspere’s groin is explainable (there’s a chance next week that we will learn his dong is missing), but the missing eye thing is interesting. If he was truly working with Semyon on the highspeed rail deal, maybe…he saw something he shouldn’t have? Maybe it’s a warning to Semyon and his co-investors?

It’s going to be a weird season.

Earlier in this post I said that it’s going to be hard for season two of True Detective to live up to season one, but you can’t really look at it that way yet. Once season two has had it’s finale, then we can all sit back and line them up, side-by-side, and judge them both for what they were. I want to say that I won’t do that before season two’s finale, but I know I will. Right now, I just want to look at season two for what it is: something totally brand new, interesting, and mysterious. So far, it does have some similarities to season one, but we need to let it grow on its own without comparing it to its older sibling.

Ok, on to Ballers.

I’m not sure if Ballers is for everyone, but it’s definitely the most important television show on the air right now. “Why?” you might be asking me, SCREAMING at me through your computer. The answer is simple: Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is the greatest actor of this or any generation. “But you said that about Colin Farrell!!” you might continue to yell, possibly between bites of a sandwich. What kind of sandwich is it? Maybe it’s not a sandwich at all…

Either way, we needed this television show, and this show needs us in order to be successful. I sure as hell know I don’t want to be the one that holds Ballers back, especially if Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson finds out. Do you want him knocking on your door, asking why you’re not enjoying his new HBO show?

I didn’t think so.

Hear me out though. There has to be a combined effort here, with us giving in and embracing everything that we want in a TV show: flashy cars, flashy personalities, The Rock, the city of Miami, Rob Corddry’s blad-ass head, bathroom sex, football. And Ballers is giving us exactly what we want. Hell, what we deserve.

Ballers is like a less shitty version of Entourage, except it won’t last nearly as long or get its own movie. And make no mistake, Entourage IS shitty. Ballers is supposed to give us a look at the lives of the individuals that manage the money and (apparently) public appearance of athletes, specifically football players, as well as a look at the lives of said players. The Rock, playing ex-NFLer turned businessman Spencer Strassmore, realized that there can be life after football. In his case, he didn’t shy far from the game, and that’s good news for us because if this was a show about him becoming a fishing boat captain or some shit, it would be unwatchable.

Well, not unwatchable because The Rock is still in it, but it’d have a way worse story-line and zero shots of topless models. Probably.

Strassmore is a charming, intelligent financial adviser that has kept his ear close to his previous profession: NFL linebacker. We see some scenes of his past, and it’s clearly difficult for him to have left the game. It also seems as if he had to retire due to physical limitations, possibly injuries that were playing related (I’ll be shocked if we discover that Strassmore was using steroids, I don’t think The Rock would allow something like that for a role that he’s playing).

Sidebar: did they HAVE to pick the Buffalo Bills as the team that Strassmore terrorizes in his flashbacks? What the fuck, man…fuck the Dolphins.

The episode unfolds and we’re introduced to some interesting characters: the All-Star that’s cheating on his wife and ends up getting killed by his mistress, the ex-pro that doesn’t know what to do with his life after the game, the current NFL All-Star that can’t keep his nose (or, in this case, his dick) out of trouble, and Rob Corddry. They’re all there. They’re all wonderful. Wonderful location, wonderful cast, and a wonderful idea for a television show.

I have nothing else to say, you just need to experience Ballers for yourself and take my word for it.

Now, please, go watch True Detective and Ballers. And if he asks, tell The Rock that he’s got another grandsla-err… touchdown on his hands.

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Television, True Detective | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Game of Thrones – Season 5: A Finale Review

written by Steve Kochems

So for those of you who haven’t read it, last week I wrote a review of the nine episodes to date of Game of Thrones season 5. If comparing it to a cancer wasn’t clear, I’ve not been a very big fan of these nine episodes. But what did I think of the tenth? Did it cause me to change any of my assertions from last week? Well, let’s start with the episode.

Below there are spoilers, for both book and show. You’ve been warned.

GoT

In the fiftieth episode of Game of Thrones, we picked up with the most disappointing man in the seven kingdoms, Stannis Baratheon. After burning his daughter alive last week, the sun has come out and paved his way toward Winterfell. Unfortunately, half his men deserted him after his late afternoon bonfire. On top of that, his wife has hung herself, so I guess it’s not all bad for ol’ Stannis. But the downers keep coming as his fanatical priestess joins the abandoners. Yet, Stannis decides they will still march for Winterfell.

However, he’s routed by the calvary of House Bolton. While his demise likely gives some satisfaction to the Brienne of Tarth fans, it comes at the cost of a character who paid for the sins the show forced him to commit. Of all the quarrels I had last week, the one with Stannis’s story was the one that bothered me most because the character was not one who required change nor was his quest so extravagant that the show could not afford either the budget or screen time. Like Mance Rayder before him, Stannis is given as fitting an ending to his character as the show could permit, but it still does not forgive his early demise.

From the moors of Winterfell, Sansa watches in horror along with the viewers. After lighting a candle to signal for help (help which ran off to do some busy work), the eldest Stark daughter looks for a way out of the city. After she’s confronted by Ramsay’s partner in crime, her fate only changes thanks to an intervening Reek, who murders the Ramsay loyalist by dumping her over the rail down to the cold pavement. Realizing they are now in this together, Theon and Sansa jump from the walls of Winterfell out into the snow.

After a season that went from speeches of not being a victim of circumstance to once again being a victim of circumstance, Sansa takes a leap of faith along with Theon for some new hope. I don’t find as much optimism in this as I might have should Stannis been allowed to establish siege lines, but there is some hope hidden away in an episode this season. If you’ll recall, the acting Lord of the Vale has been given permission by both the Throne and the Bolton’s to march his army on Winterfell, though their reasons differ. And if casting rumors are true, there may be some Kraken’s still present in the north, looking to take things in a new direction. However neither of those things are known to Theon or Sansa, which on some level makes their leap even more inspiring. There is no hope out there, but they know what is left for them in Winterfell. Let’s just hope this hunt goes better than the last time Theon fled from Ramsay.

To the south of Westeros, the quagmire known as Dorne finally causes some movement that matters beyond the sands of Sunspear. Ellaria’s betrayal not only puts Doran and his heir Trystane in a rough spot, but leaves our beloved Kingslayer left in limbo, even with him not knowing what has occurred in the capital. Unfortunately, we still know so little of Doran and his bastard nieces that it’s difficult to be excited about a return to Dorne next season. More talks in extravagant sets and locations between eight people in an otherwise populated country. What makes King’s Landing feel real isn’t the Tower of the Hand or the small council meetings, it’s Flea Bottom. It’s the extras. Dorne’s given us nothing like this. And to make matters worse, I don’t believe it will be ending well for Jaime.

Speaking of the capital, one of the major bright spots to this episode and to the season as a whole was Cersei Lannister. It was no secret to book readers how this storyline would play out, but seeing her brutal walk to the Red Keep was perhaps the pinnacle of season 5, standing high and relatively alone with Hardhome. While insults and excrement were flung at the disrobed Queen Regent, her eyes stayed focus on the Red Keep, on seeing her son. And once she completes the long and painful hike, she finds there is more than a red cloak waiting for her. Qyburn, the disgraced Maester who was once saved by Robb Stark’s wife and later saved Jaime Lannister’s arm, presented her grace with a season long gift of a new Kingsguard member who may certainly come in handy if her trial becomes one by combat. If Cersei’s look gives any foreshadowing, she’s not likely to forgive and has never forgotten.

Across the Narrow Sea, Arya learns a terrible lesson and absolves some of the problems I had with the Faceless Men last week. As I had hoped, Jaqen H’ghar is a face. The one who helped Arya is no one. The one who trained her is no one. If she truly wishes to be no one, it comes not with her face (which will be a detriment to the show, since Maisie Williams is one of their best). It also shines out as an example to those who say you cannot be as slow or detailed as the books. While it isn’t a word for word translation, the general trajectory of Arya’s season 5 storyline follows book 4 without dipping into book 5. It’s a slow burning, character driven storyline and one of the best for a season of low points.

Further east, Tyrion, Daario, and Jorah try to figure out how to govern Mereen and summon a dragon back from the skies, but can’t agree which is easier. They split up, leaving Tyrion with Grey Worm and Missandei to govern the city while Jorah and Daario set out to find their departed queen. Of the former, one can’t help but be excited at the idea of Tyrion once again being in a position of power. The late inclusion Varys to the mix adds nostalgia, though I wonder what his absence in his book storyline will bring.

Far beyond the city walls, Dany finds herself with a lazy and wounded Drogon. Impatient as she is, Dany wanders far away from her dragon (she’s clearly never played cyvasse with Tyrion) and is quickly surrounded by a khalassar. I get the sense by her leaving a clue behind, she’ll be taken prisoner by her former comrades. The book leaves a similar cliff-hanger, however it’s image of her feasting on a roast horse with Drogon might have the literary Dothraki singing a different tune. At the core though, her disemboweled storyline wouldn’t make sense if they left it with that anyhow. Making it a redemption storyline for Jorah buys her some more time and potentially derails a popular fan theory of Dany becoming a villain, but as with Stannis, Mance, Doran, Jaime, Tyrion, and essentially the season as a whole, it is inside the shades of gray we learn the important details of a character and invest ourselves. One cannot be a hero and rule with fire and blood. Show Dany doesn’t seem like she’ll be forced to learn this lesson.

Finally, Jon Snow fell for the red herring we all did this past week. A leaked “previously on Game of Thrones” clip put so many on edge for information Benjen Stark (arguably the largest mystery in A Song of Ice and Fire). His brothers of the Watch cornered and Julius Caesar’d his ass, but the real question is why. The easy answer is bigotry and revenge, as it’s rightly pointed out earlier in the season that thousands of years of war aren’t quickly forgiven. Additionally, word does return to Castle Black that Stannis has failed, but that matters little in the show since Jon provided no assistance to Stannis.

Jon’s fall is presented as one of a leader ahead of his time who could not convince his subordinates of a new direction and was ultimately too proud to recognize the danger around him. “Traitor” is the sign they post once their Lord Commander is in a dark corner, but it’s not the accused who ought be looking into a mirror. Ser Allister Throne drives a knife into Jon and says, “for the Watch.” For his brothers who died and those Thorne feels Jon is dishonoring by permitting the Wildlings to come through the Wall. Is that worth committing mutiny, especially considering those Wildlings are already through the Wall and swore themselves to Jon, not the Watch? It seems a steep price to pay for an old hatred.

For a more in depth analysis, I strongly urge any book readers to read Adam Feldman’s The Mereenese Blot, but the main point I’d like to withdraw is that the Watch must murder Jon in this moment if they are to survive as an organization. A major part to Jon’s story in season 1 is whether or not Jon thinks he can keep his vows. His father has been executed and his brother rides for war, but the Watch plays no part in the wars of the seven kingdoms, as Maester Aemon would certainly tell you. Currently, the North is held by the Bolton’s and any political movements could be seen as a direct violation of their authority. If Jon were to commit such actions, the Bolton’s would be well within their legal right to sack Castle Black in retaliation. Not including Jon’s advice to Stannis never puts the show characters in danger of this.

Additionally, Jon never actually commits treasonous actions in the show. Letting refugees past the Wall is by no means a political action so any assault by the Bolton’s would cause riots in the North anyway. Therefore, Jon’s betrayal can only really be attributed to bigotry. All it would take is two scenes with Stannis where he gives him advice on the terrain (or those who occupy it and perhaps how to convince them to join him) before the higher members of the Watch and maybe one letter from Ramsay to push Jon over the edge. Without any declaration or intent from Jon to actually violate his vows, his brothers are nothing more than murderers and oath breakers themselves.

In the book, Jon decides he must ride on Winterfell. He tries to diffuse a situation (a potentially orchestrated one) and his brothers stab him in public before he can do something that puts them and their organizational duty in danger. Jon picks family over duty and is stabbed because of it. If the Wildlings come down on the Watch, that is still not as bad as an institutional declaration of war on the Bolton’s domain. Eastwatch by the Sea won’t be sacked because Jon Snow was stabbed, nor would the Shadow Tower. But if Jon leads brother’s in black on Winterfell, the Bolton’s will clear the Wall clean of crows. They kill Jon (with tears in their eyes) for the Watch.

But I don’t think I can really be surprised. It’s the culmination of a season full of actions without intent, or with cheap one-lined intent. As season 6 is just now being inseminated into the womb of HBO, what will nine months of contractions and formula yield for our surviving characters? Well, I need some time to digest and think about that.

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Books, Game of Thrones, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Game of Thrones — Season 5 is the Terminal Cancer of Narratives

written by Steve Kochems

Allow me to preface with a paragraph about me to ensure that all those who proceed with this article are clear on my background. I graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s of Art in Creative Writing and Cinema and Screen Studies. I received the Georgia Barnes Award in 2010 and was a finalist for the Hollywood Screenwriting Competition in 2012. In the last three years, I’ve taken a slight hiatus in that realm as I have a family now and a job that occupies much of my time, however I find myself always drawn to intriguing narratives, strong characters, and clever criticisms found in fiction that hold relevance in our world today.

For three seasons, the Game of Thrones television show was the pinnacle of a gravitating narrative filled with flawed but resolute characters who would inevitably clash. George RR Martin’s world was never about good vs. evil, but good vs. good, evil vs. evil, and all the grey in between. And HBO did this while covering an unadaptable series in only ten hours per 1,000 pages of book. In 2012, the show was recommended to me. I remember watching the first episode and while very little movement occurs, narratively speaking, the depth in which the characters were motivated hooked me. I flew through seasons 1 & 2 and had four months until season 3. Impatient as I was, I purchased all 5 of the novels and even though I knew the outcome of books 1 & 2, started at the beginning. Before season 3 was over, I had read all five books and confirmed what I had already known: this was a show worth watching. It was worth annually paying for HBO for these ten hours. Without any doubt.

(I shall now insert the complimentary spoiler warning for seasons 1-4 and books 1-3. The titular list will contain an additional warning.)

Game of Thrones

Season 4 came along and the divergence from the novels grew wider. While the natural process of adaptation was present in seasons 1-3, the adjustments could be easily explained and understood. For example, removing Barristan Selmy from the small council so you could emphasize the gap between Robert and his small council of Yes Men vs. Ned Stark as the lone voice of reason regarding assassinating a child was a necessity for the medium of film (and even more so television). In season 2, forcing Theon Greyjoy to decide between who he was and who the Iron Born demands be actually exceeds the scope of his story in the book. His brutal and botched execution of Roderick Cassel is one of the more troubling moments in the series, but anyone who’d watched up until that point knew why Theon did it and what it meant for his character going forward; He’d made his choice.

Now, I could write an entire article on why the finale in season 3 is patient zero for the calamity we now see before us, but I shan’t ramble too long. Season 4, the gap grew wider and became harder and harder to explain. It still contained what I’d argue are three of the five best scenes in the entire series, but like most cancers it is a slow process of turning your own body against you. Season 5 promised major deviations. Sansa had reached her end point of book 5 in the season 4 finale, as had Bran (who fortunately was benched this season). The show cut out huge chunks of an Iron Born storyline that even book readers may groan about (potentially punting to season 6) and very nearly cut the Dornish storyline as well. A prominent duo of characters by the name of Griff and Young Griff were also removed, despite the prospect of their inclusion resulting in significantly more screen time for the show’s lead, Peter Dinklage. But with four seasons of deviations in the bank and forty entertaining hours behind us, it would be unreasonable to not give the show the benefit of the doubt.

Alas, in a season full of perverse, shocking, and mind-boggling changes to a book series that is currently available to everyone, I find myself utterly bamboozled. The finale is yet to air, but generally if a chef undercooks my chicken, burns my pasta, and includes a turd in my salad, I don’t find much desire for dessert.

(Your final warning… Below contains spoilers for, well.. everything)

Lest I be labeled an unreasonable pessimist, allow me to first list the five best deviations from the book to this season:

Honorable Mentions:
Brothel Characters – Mother of Dragons
It’s a minor mention in an otherwise convoluted scene, but the idea that a prostitute would change her image to play another character on the show makes that individual all the more real. Imitation of Dany as a character by another character is not only clever, but an imitation of our world.

Sailing through Valyria
In one of the more beautifully shot sequences, Tyrion and Jorah’s banter against the backdrop of a ruined Valyria is one of the better translation of words to film.

Lieutenant Mace Tyrell, Police Squad
From his introduction, Mace Tyrell is everything the head of a noble house in Westeros should be, minus the ability to lie. This bumblefuck is played so well and convincing that it almost undermines the cleverness of every other Tyrell. It’s clear why that more than any other house is consider a matriarchy, because the men are either not interested in marriage to a woman, crippled, or oblivious.

Janos Slynt’s Execution
One of the great scenes in the book is added to by season 5. Having Slynt appeal to Jon’s greatest weakness adds drama to an already intense scene. And unlike Jon’s choice in season 3 to NOT kill the innocent farmer, he does what is necessary by finishing off Lord Janos.

The Departure of Mance
While I’ll miss the late King Beyond the Wall, the book narrative often felt cheap. If Mance had to go out, show Mance did it perfectly. And while the reason for which he was executed is flawed (more on this below), the character was put into circumstances and held his convictions over his life, something the character always swore he’d do if the time came.

Ramsay Bolton
Yes, below you will read his most dastardly act as one of the low points, however I consistently see show Ramsay with more depth and humanity than book Ramsay. His desire for acceptance and fear of his position within House Bolton, along with his anger as his only vessel through which to express that, creates a fully flawed, terrifyingly human character. Book Ramsay is seen as little more than a brutish psychopath, mainly because we only see him through the enslaved eyes of Reek and, unlike the show, were not present for how Ramsay broke Theon. His ability to turn charm on and off with menacing plans hidden behind big blue eyes makes show Ramsay far more interesting.

Hardhome
At number one on this list, Jon never goes to Hardhome in the book. Other issues come up and you hear only a few raven scrolls of detail regarding what may have happened. But giving Jon and Tormund a chance to fight the dead together let’s Jon prove himself to the wildlings, uncover something new about how to defeat the Walkers, and makes for a damn entertaining scene. It also makes use of it’s medium on a level the book likely could never attain (The Battle of Blackwater gave me the same feeling).

Got you feeling better about this season? Good, now here’s my five reasons Season 5 is the terminal cancer of Game of Thrones:

Dishonorable Mentions:
Jaqen Ha’gar – The Last Faceless Man
Unless the finale reveals that the man we’ve seen this season is another faceless man who’s taken the name and face of Jaqen (assuming these assassins allow rotations), you mean to tell me he left Arya at the end of season 2 and was just hanging out in Braavos? He just happens to open the door with another face (and body)? Alright clever fellow, then tell me why he was in Westeros and the black cells to begin with?

The Sand Snakes, by Michael Bay
Nipple breast plates. Hardened women who show tits and fight. Tell me 5 things about them as people. I’ll wait.

Barristan Selmy Bounced from the Club
The greatest fighter and most noble character in the book’s history is killed in an alley way by masked terrorists. I know Dany has a similar line about the way in which he died being less than he deserved, but be honest with us. Dany’s entourage in the book is like 7 or 8 people, which had been reasonably cut to 3 or 4 in the show, but if Selmy is around then there was no room to move Tyrion or Jorah in. Call it what it is, show Selmy is simply not as important of a character.

Sons of the Harpy – Please don’t take off our masks
Daario and Greyworm find one of them hiding earlier in the season, but all these dead men should provide some connection, right? Ask your new husband Hizdar if he knows them. Fuck lady, it’s better than evidence, these are the terrorists! Try to connect the dots or show us there is no logical connection!

The Major Players Major Failures
When did Varys decide Dany should be on the throne, before or after he followed King Robert’s order to have her assassinated?
How does Littlefinger know nothing of Ramsay Bolton? Didn’t he just have the flayed bodies of two Northern lords hanging up in Winterfell?
Like Dany’s investigation into who leads the Sons of the Harpy, the audience shouldn’t be screaming options at the television when characters act so foolishly.

Lannister Love – Not Enough Crossbows
Once again, patient zero of the show’s cancer is episode 30. Jaime and Brienne need an arc, so they return to King’s Landing and Jaime learns things have changed. In the book, Jaime returns right after Joffrey is poisoned and Cersei gives herself to him right there (it’s not a rape scene in the book). Also, Jaime is the POV and he sees, along with the reader, all the reasons Cersei is awful that he never saw before. This, along with the influence of Brienne, pushes him to leave so he can help end the war peacefully.

Now, I actually don’t mind Jaime going to Dorne as it’s a nice way to introduce the Dornish and keep a staple character active. And it’s also true that the Dornish storyline is a relatively isolated one for the majority of book 4. Bringing Bronn is a huge plus, too. But season 5 lays out a convoluted redemption arc for Jaime from the guilt he feels toward what happened to Tywin and never being a father to his bastard children. Plus, if he had a royal decree to return Myrcella to King’s Landing, why not just walk in with it?

There are larger issues that land with Cersei’s decisions but I’ll give the show it’s due and agree they explain these away. The real issue will be going forward with Jaime and Cersei’s relationship. There is a pivotal moment in book 5 that I shan’t spoil should it be recycled into season 6, but it’s liberating moment for Jaime. And we’ll never be able to truly believe that moment when/if it happens because Jaime is the rejected lover, not Cersei.

A Journey to Essos – A long drive for someone with no where to be
Speaking of Lannister’s, most will agree that any storyline adding Tyrion Lannister will be better for it. He’s a dynamic character, a witty underdog in a world of brutish violence. And while his arc for book 3 / season 4 arc was diminished, it’s his season 5 arc that is truly lacking. Just to recap, he departs Westeros in a box with Varys and arrives in Pentos at the palace of Illyrio Mopitas (no picture available). Varys lays out his plan to put someone worthy of it on the Iron Throne.

I’ll just briefly mention two things from the book. First, Tyrion arrives in Pentos and speaks with Illyio Mopatis (the man who arranged Dany’s marriage in season 1), who reveals a good deal of what is considered the Varys/Illyrio Conspiracy. Varys vanishes after book 3 for some time. Second, Illyrio sends Tyrion with Griff to Volantis. This makes Tyrion’s abduction by Jorah Mormont important because his destination changes. He’s not just gone from advisor to prisoner, but he makes a conscious choice to no longer be a pawn in the Game of Thrones.

In the end Tyrion makes it to Mereen anyway with minimal struggles and will help Jorah fill the void left by killing Barristan Selmy. So instead of having a conflicted, noble knight having to sort out the mess left behind in Mereen, it’ll be a pragmatic dwarf, a sellsword, and an old bear with greyscale on his hand. All men with nothing to lose and minimal reputation to uphold, which restricts the conflict to how to beat the Sons of the Harpy instead of at what cost will you defeat them. Now I ask you, which is more intriguing?

The Curious Case of Doran Martell
As I mentioned before, they nearly didn’t include the Dornish storyline. Instead, they severed it with character cuts (two of Doran’s children) and backfilled with Jaime and Bronn to help bridge the gap. In hindsight, I’m not sure which I would’ve preferred, to be honest. The Dornish storyline from start to finish has been a complete mess. Can anyone tell me what we’ve learned from it?

Dorne (or Sunspear, as that’s the name of the capital city despite what the opening credits would have you believe) seemingly has no guards except for Areo Hotah and his two dozen men. There are people in the city who cry out for vengeance and war, yet we never see them. Ellaria Sand demands vengeance for Oberyn’s death and means to dismember Myrcella despite knowing Oberyn’s view on innocent girls. And has anyone come up with five details about the Sand Snakes as people yet? Hell, how many of you know their names?

But the biggest disappointment (thus far) in Dorne has been the head of House Martell. Since his other two children aren’t part of the show, I’ll stick to the narrative presented in Season 5. In episode 9, Doran decides to let Jaime go and take Myrcella back to King’s Landing because King Tommen demands it. Additionally, he sends her betrothed, his only son Trystane, to King’s Landing with them to take Oberyn’s seat on the small council. In the Stark/Lannister conflict, a major part of the leverage was Robb held Jaime and Cersei held Sansa. Neither wanted to see their family killed.

For Doran to not only give up his leverage and insurance over House Lannister, but include his only son and heir leaves me baffled beyond words. Maybe he could send Areo Hotah, his trusted advisor? Or now that Ellaria has dropped her vendetta, maybe her or one of her daughters would be a sufficient replacement? In either choice, Cersei gains little leverage over House Martell. What qualifies Trystane to represent the interests of Dorne? Dr. Bashir is pretty loose and is taking a high risk / low reward choice with his son’s life, something his character is very cautious about when it comes to the lives of other children. If only he had some plan, like a grand conspiracy or something.

The Narrative Fighting Pits:  Violence as Fireworks
One of the most unique elements of Game of Thrones has always been it’s willingness, or even eagerness, to use graphic violence and sexuality within the narrative. It’s a vessel through which they move plot or character. A simple example is Theon’s castration and torture. His character is dramatically different as a result. Dany is “married” to Khal Drogo in the pilot episode and Drogo “consummates” the marriage. From this, Dany learns if she wants to be more than a pawn she needs to gain some control over her husband. She does this by starting in the bedroom. There is character movement either initiated by or as a result of the violence.

Another important example of this is Joffrey’s violence toward Sansa in season 2. It’s difficult to watch and reprehensible, but what do we as an audience gain from viewing it? Well, Sansa, like Theon to some extent in season 3, has her preconceived notions of chivalry shattered. It’s no mistake that her two greatest allies in King’s Landing are Sandor Clegane and Tyrion Lannister, neither of which are knights, while Meryn Trant and Mandon Moore beat her in public. It’s a criticism on traditional stories of knights and princesses while also developing Sansa, the Hound, and Tyrion as characters (as well as Joffrey to some degree, though he learned little in 32 episodes).

In episode 6 we endure Ramsay “consummating” his marriage to Sansa. Sansa learns she’s married a monster, something she feared would be the case. She also learns Theon is a complete thrall to Ramsay. She realizes she’s in a very dangerous and vulnerable position now, something her previous screen time in season 5 had been spent discussing (mainly about not being a bystander). Theon learns Ramsay is a monster, which he knew. And Ramsay continues to be Ramsay. What have we as an audience learned? It’s an awful scene that is difficult to watch, but for what reason?

What do we learn by seeing the Sand Snakes execute a helpless merchant, who by the way, helps them? What do we learn from Sam protecting Gilly from his brother’s who want to rape her? While not specifically violent, how much does the plot progress with the two minutes spent in the Dornish dungeons between Bronn and the Sand Snakes? I know: blood and tits. Is that why you watch the show? Violence and sexuality without plot or character progression is little more than fireworks or masturbation.

This is exactly, and ironically, what Dany opposes about the fighting pits. To have it so embedded into a storyline yet be disregarded by the show runners would be ironic if the violence portrayed wasn’t so horrible. And to be fair this isn’t really a narrative cancer that cannot be repaired, it’s actually more sinister considering these are show created scenes. If this is the mode through which they carry the show forward, without a thorough blueprint available, season 6 and beyond will be more of the same.

Stannis the Fanatic
Number one here would be how Stannis Baratheon embodies the ethical gray area. His rigidity and strict adherence to the law is something he’s violated once in his life, when he chose Robert over the rightful, yet mad king. He burns his brother by law for refusing an order. He uses Melisandre’s magic to murder his brother Renly Baratheon, as he illegally proclaimed himself king over Stannis. And he smashed Mance Rayder at the Wall to protect the realm he’d fought so hard to rule.

His drive toward the throne, unlike Renly’s, was not out of a desire to rule but what he felt was his obligation. He tells Ser Davos in season 3 that he never asked to be king, but his nature is as such that he cannot step aside from what he feels is his duty. He feels so strongly about this that despite Tyrion’s wildfire burning most of his fleet, he continues his assault on King’s Landing. He rides to save the wall from forces that far outnumber him (and even more so in the book: the show has him down 10-1, book is more like 250-1). And later, as the show eventually came around to, he trudges through the snows on to Winterfell, where is he again outnumbered. All things he’s done are driven by him fulfilling his duty as King, which includes preparing for the invading White Walkers, but are done within the confines of the law.

However, in season 5, Stannis Baratheon starts by coercing Jon Snow to convince the King-Beyond-The-Wall to bend the knee and join his army. When Mance refuses, Stannis will execute him by immolation. It’s well within his right as king to execute someone, but in the domain of the Nights Watch there are few justifications to warrant it. One that is universal to the Watch and Westeros is deserters of the Watch are executed. This is never brought up in season 5 as justification for executing Mance Rayder and in its place Stannis attempts to coerce a member of the Watch to do his bidding, therefore potentially violating the oath of the Watch.

While I understand the slow burning plot of the books would never fully translate to the show, having him quickly move from Castle Black out into terrain he knows little of with a foreign army seems tactically foolish. Book Stannis brings plans before Jon Snow, putting Jon in a position to consider his own oath, to discuss with someone from the land how best to liberate it from the remaining Greyjoy invaders and the treacherous Bolton’s. This builds conflict for Jon internally and shows Stannis’s strategic expertise. He ends up outside Winterfell at the end of book 5 with little more than a skeleton force and a plan. He has no magic (Mel is at Castle Black), he has little more than his will and wits. That’s Stannis fucking Baratheon.

Instead in episode 59, Stannis decides he must burn his daughter to appease Melisandre’s god to melt the snows so they can move forward to Winterfell. I understand the common laws of Westeros would not result in Shireen as his official heir, but she is all he has in terms of an heir. I understand that whoever rules over the dead matters little, but Stannis isn’t so foolish to disregard that part of conquest includes marriage and alliances. It’s cutting off your nose to spite your own face. It also asserts that over the past four episodes he’s gone from a touching reveal of himself as a father (as emotional as you’ll ever see him) to spurning Melisandre for even suggesting such an idea, to accepting it because Ramsay burned much of his supplies and logistics. Remember, this is the same man who held Storms End under siege for months with no hope in sight. He made book fucking soup for his family to live on! And this guy feels these snows put his army under such distress that he needs to burn his daughter alive?

This is the fundamental issue with this season. There are plot points HBO knows they need to hit for the show to continue on George RR Martin’s trajectory, however they haven’t spent the time to correctly develop the characters intentions. It’s not the “what” that I take issue with, it’s the “why” and the why is everything in fiction. What good is Brody’s need to kill the shark in Jaws without seeing the carnage it’s causes first? In A New Hope, what reason does Luke Skywalker really have to take on the Empire if they hadn’t murdered his family? No matter how interesting a story, without character motivation made clear it’s only as good as fireworks.

By the Monday morning, they will have exhausted 98% of Martin’s available text. And while they know the general outline of how he’ll proceed in books 6 and 7, HBO is proving to have inept writers without a thorough outline from Martin’s hand. But, the show will remain a smash hit and rake in millions. We’ll remain in denial about it’s quality because of it’s past success and continued attempts to reassure us it is the same quality it always was with violence and sexuality while lacking the narrative structure atop which it’s built. Like a crumbling home or cancerous body, we won’t know the extent of the illness until it’s too late.

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section below!

Posted in Books, Game of Thrones, George RR Martin, Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Edmonton and Number One: A Tragic Love Saga

Two questions for you, fellow hockey enthusiasts: “What the actual fuck?” and “How did this happen AGAIN?”

Hockey fans all over the country watched the NHL Draft Lottery this past weekend, but those of us from Buffalo and Phoenix paid extra close attention. We had to, because our entire fucked up, catastrophic, impossible-to-watch-but-can’t-look-away-from car wreck of a season came down to this one night. Coyotes and Sabres fans alike, we all had one question on our minds: was The Tank about to be worth it? Was the big payoff only a few minutes away?

As it would turn out: NOPE.

Well, Yes and No, but we’ll get into that in a minute…

We all knew what was at stake here, especially after one of the longest and most painful seasons in the history of either franchise. And after the past few seasons, that’s really saying something. Buffalo hasn’t broken 40 wins in a season since they went 43-29-10 back in 2010-11, the very same season that they last made the playoffs (they ended up getting booted by Philadelphia in the Quarterfinals). The 2014-15 season, the most recent and second in a row that Buffalo would finish dead last in the league, resulted [[SOMEHOW]] in more wins than they tallied in 2013-14, seeing the boys in Blue and Gold go 23-51-8 compared to the previous seasons finish of 21-51-10.

The final game the Sabres hosted this April, a regulation loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins (boo), was like a weight being lifted off of the chest of an entire fanbase. An entire city, really. There wasn’t much hockey related stuff to be excited about- we were losers again, we lost our coach and a lot of our more skilled players, and the media was BRUTAL about all of it. Now, I can’t speak too much for the sports media in Phoenix, but the main radio/television sportscasters and reporters here in Buffalo have all but lost their collective minds, talking about how it’s morally wrong to lose out on purpose to get the best pick in this year’s draft (the sexiest draft in years, I might add), and something that I’ve honestly never heard of before: ethics in FANDOM.

Excuse me, but fucking HOW? How can you root for a sports team incorrectly? How is being excited for a loss somehow evil and unethical when the team’s management was putting a squad out on the ice that COULD NOT POSSIBLY WIN THE GAME? Rooting for the Sabres to lose was the hockey equivalent of rooting for the sun to rise: it was going to happen, and it was going to happen every damn day. Cheering for a team to lose so they can immediately get better the following season (assumed, obviously) is not the proper way to be a fan of a sports team?

The big argument was that near the end of the season, Sabres fans were actually cheering the scores of opponents. That rightly didn’t sit well with some of, if not all, the players, but if fans pay for a ticket then they can cheer for whoever the hell they want, right? Personally, I would never go to a home game and cheer an opposing team’s goal, but you better believe I did at home. I think we all did by that final regular season loss to the Penguins.

I think the thing we learned here is that when sports writers get sick of bad mouthing the players, owners, management, coaches, league, rules, uhh…equipment managers, they have nowhere else to turn for their bad-mouthing fix than the fans. They need something to write about, you know? And that’s screwed up, man. We’re all sick of the losses and even more sick of the local reporters and personalities bitching about the fans (only in fucking Buffalo, right?), and hopefully after this year’s NHL Draft, we won’t have to hear it ever again.

I think a lot of fans in a lot of other cities don’t realize that. The Buffalo sports media literally bad mouthed the people that buy their newspapers, watch their television segments, and listen to them on talk radio, all because they wanted the team to finish last so they could get the best possible chance at the top two overall picks in this year’s NHL Draft. They despised the idea of fans wanting their favorite team to lose, but in actuality all they wanted was for the team to get better, and this was the only way how- the front office made sure of that. Montreal sports media might be notorious for being hard on the players and management, but I’ve never seen writers talk shit about their audience before.

But I’m getting off topic.

More importantly here though is we all saw what happened Saturday night, and boy was it painful.

As a Sabres fan, I can’t say I’m all that surprised because this town, Buffalo, New York, has some kind of sports curse on it. If something can go wrong for a Buffalo sports team, it will. Buffalo Bills? Cursed. Buffalo Sabres? Cursed. Buffalo Blizzard? Folded (like you knew who they were anyways…). So why is anyone surprised that the one time all the cards were stacked in Buffalo’s favor, the tower came crashing down?

My first reaction when the Draft Lottery concluded was disappointment and anger, but that didn’t last very long. Now I just think what happened, the 28th place Edmonton Oilers winning the chance at the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, well…that’s just plain funny. Buffalo is guaranteed the second overall pick (Operation Tank: Accomplished!), and Arizona is stuck with the third overall pick- not bad, but their ultimate goal of losing out just wasn’t as robust as the epic losing power that is found in Western New York.

We’re pros at it, trust me.

So why is it funny that Edmonton ended up with the first overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft? You read this far, so you might as well keep going because I’m about to lay it the fuck out and hurt your brain at the same damn time.

First of all, it couldn’t have happened to a worse franchise- I know there are a lot of articles online right now explaining why that is and you can read up on all the dynamics behind how Edmonton getting a shot at the first overall pick is a nightmare, but damn. It’s a tough pill to swallow, especially considering two teams literally traded away their best players so they could lose out and not look like they were doing it on purpose (even though it looked like they did it on purpose, because…they did it on purpose).

The motivation to initiate “Operation: Mega Tank” this season was clearly there though: this draft contains what many believe are two “Generational Players” which is a phrase I’ve never heard before but one that we’ll all be hearing a ton of in the weeks leading up to the Draft. Generational Players: guys who are studs in every aspect of the game. Guys who can turn the game around simply by being on the ice, by being that X Factor so many teams would kill for. Guys that struggling teams like the Buffalo Sabres and Arizona Coyotes can build their franchise around for years to come.

The Generational Players I’m talking about (as if you didn’t know) are Erie Otter’s forward and hockey prodigy Connor McDavid, who is set to go first overall in this year’s NHL Draft (congrats Edmonton, lol), and Boston University freshman forward and 2015 Hobey Baker Award winner Jack Eichel. Fun Fact: the last freshman player to win the Hobey Baker, awarded to the best men’s ice hockey player in the NCAA, was The Mighty Duck man himself: Paul Kariya.

McDavid, who had a respectable 44 goals/120 points in 47 regular season games this season for his Erie Otters of the Ontario Hockey League (compare that to a measly 28 goals/99 points in 56 games last season…fucking scrub) is being compared to the likes of Sidney Crosby and, since Edmonton will have the first crack at him in the Draft, Wayne Gretzky.

In fact, Gretzky commented that McDavid is the best up-and-coming player he’s seen in the last 30 years. Gretzky was PLAYING 30 years ago! I know this isn’t what he meant, but it’s the way I’m going to interpret it: Wayne is saying that compared to McDavid, everyone in the past 30 years has been shit and this dude has come to lay waste to rinks all over the NHL, descending upon the ice with a flaming hockey stick and nourished only by goals and assists and rage. He’s going to score a goal on you and then fuck your girlfriend and there’s nothing you can do about it.

Or whatever he meant, I don’t know…

Jack Eichel, on the other hand, has 26 goals/71 points in 40 games (don’t forget that nifty Hobey Baker Award win on top of that) as a college freshman for Boston University this season. A big fear that many Buffalo fans have is that he may just stay in college and not even come up to the pros for next season, but the amount of money they’re going to flash at him will make it worth the trip up to the NHL. Eichel is being compared to Alex Ovechkin (I don’t see it) which is a fitting compliment to McDavid’s Crosby comparison. Another player Eichel is compared to? Connor fucking McDavid.

That brings up another question: who would you rather have? A kid that can tally 5 goals a night, or a kid compared to the kid that can tally 5 goals a night? It’s tough to say, as they have such similar skill sets but most “hockey experts” like McDavid more. Personally, I would have rather had Buffalo get a crack at McDavid- Eichel is just as good (possibly better? Only time will tell), but the name Connor McDavid is enough to bring UFAs flocking to Buffalo and cause jerseys to fly off the shelf.

Side Note: have you seen the list of Unrestricted Free Agents for 2015? It’s nuts. Martin St. Louis, Mike Green, Shawn Horcoff, Antti Niemi, Sergei Gonchar, Justin Williams, Michael Ryder, Francois Beauchemin, Jarret Stoll (lol), John Oduya, Derek Stepan,  Jonathan Bernier, Braden Holtby, Joel Ward, Peter Budaj, and the list just goes on and on. Crazy.

Buffalo is also currently without a head coach. If they had been able to grab McDavid, what coach wouldn’t want an opportunity to help mold a player like that? I’m not saying Eichel doesn’t have that same effect, but still- a chance to coach the next Gretzky? And that responsibility could very well be falling in to the hands of Todd Nelson? I’m not trying to sound unfair to Nelson, because Edmonton has gone through several head coaches the past five seasons, as has Buffalo, but c’mon, son! I would except to see a coaching change there soon, but we’re talking about Edmonton here and if there’s one thing they don’t know how to do right now, it’s manage a hockey team.

And believe it or not, I actually LIKE the Edmonton Oilers! Can you believe that shit? After all the bad stuff I just said (and will say) about their franchise. Its Dynasty from the 1980’s was a few years before my time, but I’ve watched plenty of reruns of those games and read the history of how dominant those Oilers crews were-  the product they put out on the ice season after season was magical. Gretzky. Mark Messier. Grant Fuhr. Paul Coffey. Jari Kurri. Glenn Anderson. Andy Moog. Craig MacTavish. All coached by the legendary Glen Sather. The first year the Dynasty won the Stanley Cup, they had FOUR players with more than 100 points in the regular season; Gretzky led with 87 goals/205 points, and Anderson just missed out with 99 points. Statistics like that are simply amazing.

But a lot has changed since the Championships the Oilers collected in the 80’s and the consistent playoff runs they had in the 1990’s. The same can be said about the Sabres and Coyotes, too. But Edmonton is the hockey equivalent of the Bermuda Triangle. Players go in, and then they vanish. Guys who should be on the first line drop to the third. Players that should be tallying 60 points a season are putting up numbers that are more embarrassing and painful to watch than the time Ben Stiller zipped his balls up in his pants.

I truly can’t imagine being a hometown fan of the Oilers and watching this team game-in and game-out and it’s just the same thing each night. It must be a brutal feeling- I should know, I’ve been living it with the Sabres for just under half a decade. And I’m still saying that being a diehard Edmonton fan would seem like it would feel worse even after the Sabres have come in DEAD LAST for the past two seasons.

Being an Edmonton Oilers fan must be a lot like being a Buffalo Bills fan. Each season they bring in a new coach and new players and they make all these outlandish promises and the fans get all excited and amped up for the new season and then WE MISS THE PLAYOFFS FOR FOURTEEN STRAIGHT YEARS. FUCK YOU, DOUG MARRONE! AHHHH-but seriously come on, guys, let’s make the playoffs this year.

To further understand why the 1st overall pick in the 2015 NHL Draft couldn’t have happened to a worse team (besides maybe Boston, because fuck the Bruins always and forever), you need to look at Edmonton’s draft record. The first NHL Draft was held in 1963; Edmonton didn’t join the NHL until 1979, where they were previously part of the World Hockey Association (WHA), which was, you know…the league that the film SlapShot was based on. By the time of the merger, Gretzky was already an Oiler- Wayne was never part of any NHL Draft, instead signing a contract when he was only seventeen (the NHL had rules about signing players under 20, the WHA did not), which is kind of crazy if you think about it.

Now, if I’m going to fucking do this, it’s going to be done right, but there’s one thing you need to know about NHL Drafts before we start: picks don’t always pan out. In fact, most picks only see a handful of games in the NHL, if any at all. I’ll mention some of the bigger of the names selected each Draft, but not all of them because you’ve never heard of them and I’m kind of lazy and tired and I’ve been writing/editing this post for days now. So, let’s go all the way back to Edmonton’s first NHL Draft, in the magical year of 1979, the very same year Sid Vicious died of a drug overdose (not relevent to this story at all, I’ve just been trying to fit that into a post for a while now, kind of a weird thing to know…)

1979, Edmonton took Kevin Lowe (21st overall in round one), Mark Messier (48th overall in round THREE!), Glenn Anderson, and three other guys that didn’t even play a combined five games in the NHL.  Lowe played most of his career in Edmonton, and he was part of the Dynasty years. He coached the team for a brief stint and currently sits as the President of Hockey Operations for the Oilers (this will come up again later). I don’t think I need to tell you about Mark Messier- guy was a damn stud. Anderson was another key member of the Oilers Dynasty team, racking up a ton of points in the 12 seasons he wore a Blue and Orange jersey.

1980 saw more great picks for Edmonton, who managed to snag Paul Coffey (6th overall pick), Jari fucking Kurri, Walt Poddubny (only played one season in Edmonton), and goaltender Andy Moog, and four other guys that never played in the NHL. 1981 was similar, with the Oilers taking my dude Grant Fuhr (8th overall), Steve Smith (not that one, this dudes from Scotland and also he’s never played in the NFL), and Marc Habscheid. 1982, you got Jaroslav Pouzar and Raimo Summanen. 1983, Jeff Beukeboom and Esa Tikkanen. 1984, Todd Ewen way down in round 8.

Out of the twelve picks from 1985, the only player really worth mentioning is Kelly Buchberger. The 1986 Draft…let’s just skip this one, ok? 1987 brought Brad Werenka, Geoff Smith, and Shaun Van “Gogh” Allen to Edmonton. 1988, Francois Leroux, Len Barrie, and Shjon Podein. 1989 saw Josef Beranek and Anatoli Semenov.

Now we’re in the 1990’s (that’s Brisk, baby!). Some big names from this decade: Martin Rucinsky and Tyler Wright (91), Kirk Maltby (92), Jason Arnott, David Vyborny, and Miro Satan (all in 93), Ryan Smyth (94), Georges Laraque (95), Boyd Devereaux, Tom Poti, and Fernando Pisani (96), Jason Chimera (97), Shawn Horcoff (98),Mike Comrie and Alexei Semenov (99).

Ready for the 2000’s? Let’s see if any of these names ring a bell: Matthew Lombardi (00), Ales Hemsky (01), Jarret Stoll and Matt Greene (02), Marc-Antoine Pouliot, Zack Stortini, Kyle Brodziak (03), Devin Dybnuk and Rob Schremp (04), Andrew Cogliano (05), Jeff Petry (06), Sam Gagner, Riley Nash (07), Jordan Eberle (08), and Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson (09).

Now we enter the era of First Overall Picks. It should have been a happy, promising time in Edmonton, but so far it’s brought nothing but grief. Starting in 2010, Edmonton drafted Taylor Hall (first overall) and Martin Marincin. 2011 saw them take Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (first overall), Oscar Klefbom, and Tobias Rieder (who coincidentally now plays for Arizona). 2012, the Oilers took Nail Yakapov (first overall). In 2103 they were cruelly denied the first overall pick, instead taking Darnell Nurse seventh overall. Nurse, by the way, is awesome. He plays in the OHL with Sault Ste. Marie (currently in the race for the OHL Championship, against none other than the Erie Otters), tearing it up on defense and DEVELOPING HIS GAME LIKE HE SHOULD BE (hint: Yakapov). In the 2014 season, Edmonton was finally cut a break and given the third overall pick, which they used to grab Leon Draisaitl.

So in six NHL Drafts, Edmonton has picked: 1st overall, 1st overall, 1st overall, 7th overall, 3rd overall, and, unless they trade this year’s pick, 1st overall.

Remember, the NHL created this lottery system to make the Draft less biased and more fair for all the teams. So why is it that the same franchise, who have squandered their last three first overall picks, gets yet another first overall pick? Why isn’t there some rule in place where if you get two first overalls in a row, you get the second overall pick (or worse) in year three? Or one first overall pick every three years? Or some other fucking stipulation that stops shitty teams that don’t know what to do with young, talented players from getting said young, talented players?

It’s frustrating from a fan’s standpoint and I can only imagine how the Arizona brass feel right now.

So why did I do this? Why did I list players that Edmonton has drafted on to their team since the Oilers were a part of the NHL? Because they used to be smart- they saw what parts that the team needed to fill and they built a contender. And also to show you that sometimes, draft picks don’t matter all that much. In fact, a lot of players that a team will select in the Draft don’t even make it to the NHL; But not this year. 2015 is the biggest draft in recent memory and a team that literally doesn’t know what to do with hot young players has a chance to get the next Gretzky.

Out of all the number one picks Edmonton has had (3 so far, 4 after this season unless they trade the first overall pick away), only Taylor Hall has really lived up to (not exceeded) expectations. Nugent-Hopkins and Hall should be tearing that division up, backed by a strong supporting cast of veteran skaters. Yakapov should have been down in the AHL, developing his game and getting used to North American hockey, not playing 81 games a season in the big league.

Oilers management is like a gang of alchemists from the Middle Ages. Except, instead of taking ordinary metals to turn precious, they start with gold and turn that gold to shit. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Taylor Hall deserves to be on a stacked team, one where he ISN’T relied on to be the best player. So does Jordan Eberle, and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, and Nail, and Viktor Fasth and ALL THOSE GUYS that wear the blue and orange (or copper, whatever). These guys are all good, they’re pros and they need to stop being dicked around by management and a coaching staff that doesn’t know what the hell is going on.

The Sabres and Buffalo Bills cleared house a few years ago when new management took over (Terry Pegula now owns BOTH teams, thank you very much) and shit is definitely looking up here in Western New York. I’m not too well versed on the financial/ownership situation in Edmonton, but they need to do SOMETHING or else it’s going to be a PR nightmare when McDavid has 33 points in 82 games.

At this point, I’ve been writing this post on and off for three days, and I no longer even remember what I set out to do. Originally, I opened a blank document and just typed “FUCK EDMONTON” knowing it would turn into something, but I don’t even believe that anymore. As I said earlier, I like Edmonton. The Oilers are like a lovable bunch of scamps, a bunch of kids trying to be as cool as their Big Brother that won a shit load of Championship, but just can’t get their shit together no matter how lucky they get with draft picks- the pieces refuse to fall into place and it’s tragic and heartbreaking and I just want to go rescue Yakapov and tell him that “it’s alright, there are better teams and you’ll get through this, my dude!”

If anything, I should write “FUCK THE NHL DRAFT LOTTERY” and be done with it, but I’ve come too far and typed too many words to be that easy on Bettman (like he’d ever see this, but, “Fuck Off, bud!”) and the ever changing shitty system fans are forced to deal with season after brutal season. This draft system is dumb, and the league is going to keep changing it because why not? Why shouldn’t a team that hasn’t gone .500 since the 2007-08 season keep getting the first overall pick? Why shouldn’t that same team get four of the last six first overall picks? Is this the leagues way of throwing the Oilers a bone because they haven’t had a solid playoff contending team since the 90’s? This squad keeps getting worse, season after season, and now they have a chance to corrupt the assumed best player since Wayne Gretzky? They haven’t tarnished enough young talent already?

Another question to ask re: Edmonton sucking is “What’s the remedy?” I don’t know, but the situation there is bad. Could we potentially see McDavid pull what Eric Lindros did to Quebec back in the 1990’s and refuse to show up when they draft him? Honestly, not a chance- McDavid is going to suit up for whatever NHL squad takes him because he’s got shit to prove and the kid loves hockey. It’s not even an option, and McDavid doesn’t seem like a diva like Lindros was. The situation is eerily similar though: amazing young talent getting shipped off to the worst team in the league, set to take on the roll as cornerstone of the rebuilding franchise…

I don’t know the first thing about managing a hockey team, but I think if Edmonton is able to gut their management/operations (Kevin Lowe, Craig MacTavish, Rick Carriere) and replace them with a team of guys that have some actual vision, get a head coach that can help these young players develop their game (keep Craig Ramsay in house though, dude is amazing), and go balls out by signing talented free agents and trading for key players (wow, that sounds so damn basic “trade for a good hockey team!”), they MIGHT not mess this up. I think realistically, Hall or Nugent-Hopkins will be on the trading block –possibly both –and we could see a big move up to Edmonton sooner rather than later. But right now, with the things they are…it STILL doesn’t look well.

Ask yourself this: if Connor McDavid signs with Edmonton, will they make the playoffs? Not “will they become a better team?” but “will they make the playoffs?” Not a chance. Not with management the way it is now and the roster they currently boast. No one player is that good. But if McDavid went to any other team, I’d be much more optimistic on what that team will accomplish in 2015-16.

Giving Edmonton the first round pick is like giving someone that doesn’t know how to drive the keys to a Lamborghini. What’s the point of having a fast car if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing with it? It’s disgusting, the amount of wasted talent on their current roster. And if the league/system doesn’t change, it’s just going to continue.

I wonder what it’s like to root for a winning team? Hopefully Sabres and Oilers fans can find that out together.

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WSP Episode XX – #IDARB Timey News

posted by @heyitskamo

Welcome Back!

It’s been a bit since our last episode, and boy do we have a lot to talk about. From gaming/social media sensation #IDARB, to thrilling chili cook-offs, Mike and I get right back into the swing of things to bring you another EXTREMELY ENTERTAINING AND ALSO QUITE GOOD EPISODE of Warp Speed Podcast.

We also got a budget from our studio (finally!), so we are very happy to introduce some new members of the Warp Speed Podcast team, as well as a brand new segment to the show. They will be bringing Mike and I, as well as you listeners, the latest in gaming and pop culture news. We hope you like them as much as we do!

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

WarpSpeed Quickies – The Office

posted by @heyitskamo

I hate The Office. I hate Rainn Wilson. Mike loves The Office. That’s pretty much it…not much else to say here.

Listen to what happens when we decide to give Mike a shot at convincing me that The Office isn’t terrible.

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , ,

WSP Episode XIX – Christmas Beef

posted by @heyitskamo

What a year. Guardians of the Galaxy, the Sony hack, Jennifer Lawrence nudes, a whole bunch of other stuff- 2014 was a crazy time to be alive. I think there were even a few new video games released. If you’re having trouble remembering just what went down this past year, why don’t you get comfortable and give our new podcast a listen?

From things we can’t stand about Christmas, to the Best of the Best of 2014, Mike and I talk about our favorite (and least favorite) things about the past year. Let us know in the comments if we missed anything (we were drunk when recording this, so we definitely did)!

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

American Horror Story S4E5

I’m going to do something different for this week’s episode. Doing a live blog/Morning After post is pretty difficult because I can’t pay much attention to the actual episode while I’m writing, and I REALLY want to be able to pay attention to this season, especially after last week when shit popped OFF!

This week’s post is going to be me posing and answering some questions- we’ll see how it goes.

What the hell is up with Emma Roberts and O’Hare? Are they father and daughter, or just a team of con artists?

Why the FUCK did Dandy just admit to killing the maid? It was totally unprovoked- why wouldn’t he just play dumb? He seems really dimwitted anyways, I can see him getting caught by the end of the season…or maybe killed when someone finds out what he’s been up to? I don’t see why he would tell his mother here- he is a spoiled brat but their relationship doesn’t seem like he would find it necessary to tell her anything about the murder of the maid.

When will Elsa catch on to O’Hare’s scam? He can claim to be from Hollywood for awhile, but I really don’t see his Hollywood TV Producer sham going very far- Elsa seems like a smart lady, or at least clever enough where she won’t let him pull the wool over her eyes for too long. Is he going to face carnival justice?

How are the writers going to keep Kathy Bates’ character going? She basically had her death warrant signed by the doctor- was he just fucking with her? I can’t imagine he was, so what’s going to happen if she keeps drinking?

Why does Tate keep trying to fuck everyone? And what’s going on with the hermaphrodite? What’s up with all that blood? What’s bleeding the, uh…the ding do- ah never mind.

With Elsa’s terrible showing, O’Hare might have a stronger foothold on her than we thought. This could just be a ploy by the writers to make her character seem more desperate to escape to Hollywood.

Dandy’s mother sort of hinted that his father/her husband was…what? A killer? Her cousin? How did he die?

HOLY SHIT O’HARE KILLED THE TWO-HEADED WOMAN!? Nope…damn. This was a super misleading scene, but good job to AHS for fooling me there. That was very intense. Although I think it’s still too early in the season for me to have any feelings one way or the other regarding if the sisters live or die, you know?

What the hell is Dandy babbling about and why the fuck is he suddenly at a gay strip club? No, not just ANY gay strip club- he’s at a 1950’s SOUTHERN gay strip club. Fucking NO WAY. AND WHY IS THE STRONGMAN THERE? And WHY is he freaking out about another dude/prostitute? Oh…because he loves him apparently.

Is Dandy going to kill the Strongman’s gay lover? If it’s only $20 to take him home, I think Dandy has more than enough money to do that.

IS ELSA PLOTTING THE DEATH/MURDER OF THE TWINS? Nope, she’s just going to…what? Sell them to the rich lady?

Alright, that’s it for this week. What did we learn today? Mostly that our boy Dandy, who has already proved he’s a killer (albeit kind of a shitty one), sort of proved me wrong here in two different ways. “What ways?” you might ask. Well, one, he doesn’t seem all that dumb anymore- he had a plan to find someone to kill, so he went to a bar and found a prostitute, someone he thought no one would miss (mistake, the Strongman is going to lose his SHIT when he finds out that dude has disappeared- I can see someone at the bar ratting Dandy out, too, but we’ll see…), and on top of that, he had a pretty good plan to kill him and get rid of the body. Second, he was pretty damn brutal about the way he killed the prostitute- there was no real fear or hesitation this time around. He stabbed him a TON of times and then the scene turned sort of comedic when Dandy just couldn’t believe the guy wasn’t dead. That shit was crazy.

See ya next week!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

 

 

Posted in Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

WSP Episode XVIII: Monster Squad

Happy Halloween! WSP is back for another one of our SPOOOOOKY episodes. This time The Monster Squadaround,Mike and I sit down and watch Monster Squad, a film from way back in 1987 and not at all affiliated with the Ryan Gosling movie Gangster Squad. Bummer…

This is the first time I ever caught this movie, and it turned out to be really entertaining- different versions of all the classic monsters we know and love (Dracula, Wolfman, Frankenstein’s Monster, The Mummy, and The Creature from the Black Lagoon) terrorize a small town, particularly a group of kids that have a love for creepy monsters.

So, if you’re a fan of Monster Squad, or if you’re like me and have never seen it before, listen and watch along with WSP and let us know what you think!

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Halloween, Movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

WarpSpeed Quickies – The Borderlands Within

posted by @HeyItsKamo

Hi! It’s been awhile…sorry. We’ve been busy playing video games and also liquor, but we’re back and we’ve got something new for you!

We’ve been tossing around the idea of a series of shorter episodes of WSP, just to focus on one or two things in particular in that specific episode. Maybe it’s a new video game, movie, tv show, comic book, or whatever- the first Borderlands 3installment of that experiment is finally here and we have a brand new episode for ya!

Mike and I (along with a few guests) talk about a few new video games, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and The Evil Within. B:TPS is the third installment in the Borderlands universe and it introduces a few new dynamics to the mayhem that is Borderlands. The Evil Within is…scary as shit. Seriously, I hate scary game and I have no idea how Mike and all you other lunatics can even play this thing. Stop it. Just…just stop it, don’t encourage them! Nah, it’s a really cool game though and I love watching Let’s Play videos on YouTube of people getting the absolute Hell scared out of them.

The Evil Within

Join us as we talk about and play these new titles, and don’t forget to tell us what you think if you’ve been playing them!

 

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

American Horror Story S4E4

posted by @heyitskamo

It’s Halloween part two and shit is still fucky at the Freak Show, y’all.

I’m going to do a shortened down version of my “Morning After American Horror Story” post, because I don’t know about you guys, but I got WASTED at my National Cat Day party that I threw all alone with a bottle of Jack Daniels.

Just kidding, I just got back from a hockey game and I’m really excited to play some more Sunset Overdrive (if you haven’t played it yet, it’s fantastic) and LET’S MAKE THIS QUICK, FX!

Edward Mordrake is still on his quest to take a freak back to Hell with him. The freaks all tell him their stories of sorrow- No-Leg-Lady friggin stabbed a dudes leg and he died. Tattoo-Baby-Arms guy (sorry, I still don’t know any names) could never be normal so he “gave them a monster” by inking up his entire body. Elsa offers Mordrake a job(?) and her bribery just enrages him- she doesn’t really want to admit that she’s a freak like the rest of them and Mordrake persuades her (he makes her hallucinate that dead freaks are tearing her prosthetic legs off) to tell him about “her darkest hour”.

Tate and Emma Roberts ran out of gas on the road back to the circus- insert a big bonding scene here where the two of them learn a lot about each other. JUST KIDDING! God damn Twisty the Clown lets one of his prisoners escape and Tate and the girl witness him tackling the fuck out of her on a dirt road. Brutal. Tate is going to try and help her out or something, but we saw what happened the last time he got a bright idea (reminder: Meep is in a shallow grave).

Cut to an insane scene of Elsa in a GOTT DAMN German Sex Dungeon. Women pissing into coffee mugs, a pregnant lady doing some weird sex stuff, Elsa making a German solider walk like a dog and sit on a toilet seat with NAILS ON IT. This scene was pretty intense, especially the part where she talks about The Watchers, the people that would pay to just watch her with clients. Needless to say, she was very popular at the whore house.

Tate and his fortune teller lady pal follow the clown to his camp in the woods. It isn’t showed how long they followed Twisty, but it doesn’t really seem that far…like his camp is JUST off the dirt road…what the hell, clown? Get your shit together, man. It’s like he WANTS to get caught. A commercial, thank God.

We’re back and Elsa goes on about her job at the whore house. She explains how she would star in videos and in one such video (a snuff film) The Watchers from before CUT HER LEGS OFF WITH A CHAINSAW. Jesus, this season is dark. There’s a serious irony factor here because she became famous for her job at this whore house as being the most brutal whore and even more famous because of the snuff video and all she ever really wanted was fame. Not this type of fame though.

Cut to Dandy and Twisty putting on a show for Tate and the kids they kidnapped- shit could quite possibly get even more crazy. Looks like Dandy is going to saw someone in half! That someone just happens to be the girl that escaped earlier on in the episode…sucks for her, run faster next time, girl. Tate saves the day and juussssst before Twisty is about to stab him to death, Mordrake shows up and is THIS the freak he’s taking back to Hell with him? Tate? Or possibly Twisty? Or the fortune teller girl? Ugh

Dandy chases after the escape kids but fucks it up (weird, right?) and it seems like they all get away. Mordrake asks Twisty about HIS story and he tells a pretty heartbreaking tale about why he hates freaks. He seems like a real “simpleton”, what the mean midgets at his old freak show call him, and that really explains a lot about his character so far, except for the whole murdering thing. He left the freak show and was effectively blackballed for life- he heads home but his mother has since passed away- he tries his hand at making toys but the guy at the toy store (the same that he killed earlier on in the series) isn’t having his shit, going so far as to accusing him of being a pedophile, just like those mean midgets did! Cut to a damn scene of him sucking on a shotgun and blowing his damn jaw off. He explains that he still loves kids and only kidnapped them and killed their families so he could make them happy.

Lots of scenes of him with his mask off this episode and it’s incredibly gross and creepy- the makeup effects are incredible.

Mordrake is moved by Twisty’s story. So much in fact that he murders him so he can join them down in Hell. You have to kind of fell bad for him here but he DID terrorize an entire town and kidnap a bunch of people. Dandy returns and puts on Twisty’s mask- he has a serious Heath Ledger/Joker look to him with the big scarred mouth. In the distance we he sirens and Dandy books it- Tate isn’t so lucky, he’s still in the short bus and it’s implied that he won’t be able to escape in time and will have to confront the cops. That might work in his favor though, since he rescued the kids and all. Plus, Twisty is dead and Tate will look like a big hero that saved the town.

Back from commercial and it looks like I called that shit- cops are interviewing Tate and the fortune teller and they think he’s a damn here. Tate’s still pissed about Meep though and tells the cop such (Tate’s so sassy this season!). Elsa finds out about the freak that Mordrake took and seems…disappointed? That’s how I took this scene, at least. The townsfolk show up and they love Dickhands, they give him brownies and shit and IS THIS the moment where he’s finally accepted by normal society!

Our boy O’Hare shows up to the circus claiming to be from Hollywood (an agent, maybe?) and Elsa loses her shit. He’s gonna butter her up and and she’s going to give him whatever he wants (until she and the freaks get wise to him and fucking murder his ass). Dandy, now wearing Twisty’s mask, FINALLY kills his maid. All he needed was the mask to push him to that edge it looks like- while we lost one killer clown in Twisty, we gained another in Dandy who caught his stride.

And that’s it for this week, y’all. Twisty is dead so that story line is put to rest- I admit I’m sad to see him go after his past was revealed, but Dandy looks to have taken his place. Another thing that kind of confused me is that the townspeople and cops must have forgotten that a cop died at the freak show. Everyone seems like that whole thing has been put to bed…for now. It has to come back up at some point- either that or they think that Meep really did kill the cop and it’s an “eye for an eye” type situation and it’s over with. I don’t know. Dumb.

See ya next week!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Television | Tagged , , , , , , ,

American Horror Story: S4E3

posted by @HeyItsKamo

What up, Freaks? What do you think of this season so far? Good? Awful? It’s a bit too early for me to decide, which is usually how it goes for AHS. Season 1 was great but then kind of fell off, while Season 2 didn’t have me hooked until the end- season 3 was pretty excellent from start to finish. Season 4 has potential to be one of the best so far, so we’ll have to keep watching.

Story lines to watch this week? Twisty the Clown (that’s apparently the murderous clown’s name) has certainly caught my (and everyone elses) attention the most so far- he seems to kill for no reason at all, but why keep those other kids alive? For fun? He seems to care about the boy that he kidnapped, he DID get him a toy robot after all… It’ll be interesting to see how he and the rich brat kid interact now that they have “teamed up”, although I’m thinking it’s going to end with one of them killing the other (if the brat kid even has the balls to kill someone). Tate and his desire to be accepted by “normal society” is also going to be interesting- I think we might see him meltdown in Carrie-esque fashion eventually, which would be great. That along with the fact that we know the Strongman is Tate’s father and he doesn’t will make for some good tv.

Other than that, what can I say about Tate that I haven’t said already? The boy has dicks for hands.

Episode 3, let’s go.

We’re in a weird-ass museum with messed up looking animals and body parts sitting in jars. Turns out that it is a museum for freaks, rightly named the American Morbidity Museum. It’s here in episode three that we’re introduced to two returning characters from previous seasons, Emma Roberts and Denis O’Hare (True Blood‘s Vampire King of Mississippi). He’s a doctor and is trying to sell a specimen (a baby sasquatch) to the museum- his outlook on the freaks at this museum is pretty simple: “They were losers in life, at least now they have some value.” After we find out that O’hare is a con-man, the woman that runs the AMM confides to the pair that her museum is failing, and she is willing to pay top dollar for legit freak parts to keep customers coming back. She tells them that she recently paid $5k for the liver of famous Siamese twins. The duo is headed to Florida to see what they can steal (they don’t out right say it, but they are gonna steal some shit, you better believe that).

Commercial, time for a beer.

Oh good, it’s Halloween. I wonder if we’re in for a two-part episode? Kids are running around a neighborhood, trick-or-treating, including one dude dressed like a clown. We see a little girl with her mom and it turns out the girl is scared of clowns- her brother dressed like one to be a dick. Classic. [Going to stop right here: girl is scared of clowns? Murder Clown is DEFINITELY going to show up at some point and murder/kidnap her]. Uh oh…..murder clown is here and he’s creepily staring at the little girl and she loses her shit. Her mother doesn’t give a fuuck. “I find clowns delightful.” What a bitch.

Bold move by the clown here, walking around during the day, but he’s got nothing to hide because it’s Halloween. His costume does look super elaborate though so I’m not sure how he would go unnoticed, a grown ass man walking around in a dirty/bloody clown costume…

Kathy Bates is at the doctor, beard and all. Turns out she’s got cirrhosis of the liver- the doctor gives her 6 months to a year to live. Other than that, Kathy Bates is very good this season.

The Freaks are having a Halloween party back at the circus. They are all going crazy, like, holy shit. Tate is still hung up about Meep, blaming himself for the murder, saying that the group needed a leader and he failed them. Two-headed woman feels bad for Tate (I think she’s got a two-headed crush on him) so she says that they should dedicate the Halloween performance of their show to his memory. But uh-oh, everyone goes ape shit again because FREAKS DON’T PERFORM ON HALLOWEEN…..you dumb bitch! Apparently everyone is superstitious about Edward Mordrake, which is a sick fucking story to add into this show. Basically, Mordrake was an aristocrat/noble with a face on the back of his head. The second face didn’t eat or speak or anything, but it told him (telepathically?) to kill and do evil things, “things that are only known in Hell.” He was very charming and a talented musician and poet, but his second face made him go crazy- he was sent to a mental institution. He eventually escaped from the mental hospital and joined a Freakshow. One Halloween night (a night just like this night, ooohhOOOHHH) he went crazy and murdered the entire troupe of freaks, and then hung himself. If a Freak performs on Halloween, they summon his spirit and he takes someone from that freakshow back to Hell with him.

Jesus!

The rich lady (I looked up the characters name on IMDB, it’s Gloria Mott) is having a Halloween party! The maid is dressed like Woody Woodpecker and she is so miserable and it is just such a great scene already. The brat kid (also looked up this characters name, it’s Dandy Mott, which is awesome) busts into the room and freaks out when he doesn’t like his Halloween costume. The maid gives him a piece of her mind while the mother runs out to buy a new costume, pissing Dandy off in the process- this dude is such a brat. Cut to Dandy up in his room making what looks like a clown costume…oh snap!

Cut to Meep’s damn funeral. Tate’s telling old stories about Meep, how he loved halloween and this and that, blah blah blah. Meep is DEAD, Tate! And it’s YOUR FAULT! Everyone at the funeral throw chicken heads in the grave instead of flowers and then start to bury him up. The girl from the freak museum at the beginning of the episode shows up and claims to be a fortune teller- she wants to join the circus.

I’ll be straight with you: I think AHS is pulling an Addams Family here. An Uncle Fester imposter showed up to rob the Addams’ but then fell in love with the family. Emma Roberts shows up to the Freakshow and is basically there to gain their trust and then the “doctor/con man” O’Hare is going to swoop in and steal something- or more likely someone- and sell their dead body to that lady from the Freak museum. I’m thinking the two-headed woman because if the museum paid $5k for a Siamese liver, what will they pay for an entire body?

Commercial, no more beer :(

We come back into what I have to assume is a dream sequence. The two-headed sisters are getting surgery to remove themselves from each other? Or the one sister paid a doctor to remove the other sisters head/kill her? How would this even work, like, biologically? Wouldn’t they both die if the other dies? Who has the heart? Who has the butt? The more goofy of the two is really scared but the other doesn’t give a fuck at all, she wants the other sister gone. They awake from the dream and the more levelheaded of the two reveals that she wants to find a doctor that will separate them from each other. Talk about awkward…

Cut to Elsa, who is smoking some god damn opium or something in her tent. The fortune teller tells her her future, but a quick sequence of camera cuts around Elsa’s tent makes it seem like she’s making shit up- she looked at some specific things around the room and it seems like she’s just winging it. She manages to trick Elsa, telling her exactly what she wants to hear and that she is going to meet a handsome man that will help invigorate her career (that’s gotta be O’Hare she’s talking about).

Cut to the Strongman lifting weights in his trailer and he’s about to bang the three titty lady, lets see them weird titties! He can’t get a boner though (haha) and she calls him out for it- not a smart move. He ends up getting super angry and lashes out at her. This makes me wonder the real reason they left the Chicago circus. I mean, we saw that they bounced because she was banging some random guy and Strongman killed him, but was she banging the other guy for extra money or because her husband couldn’t “satisfy her needs”. Kathy Bates talks to him after he storms out, and he tries to say he never loved her but he doesn’t seem sincere. She makes it clear that she doesn’t want him to ever tell Tate that he’s his dad.

Side note here: some of the shots this season are fantastic, this one in particular with Bates and Chiklis having their conversation with the back drop of a cloudy, massive sky. The shots of Twisty the Clown’s camp are also excellent.

Cut to Dandy, who is definitely a clown! He puts on this creepy plastic mask, not quite as creepy as what Twisty wears, but it’s still unsettling. They are going to be a funny contrast when we see them together, with Dandy’s clean and expensive looking costume and Twisty’s bloody mess of rags and skin-looking mask. Anyways, Dandy is walking through his house and my guess is his first victim is going to be the maid. Yep! He grabs a knife and stalks up to her. She says she isn’t afraid of him and taunts him into trying to kill her but he pussies out (called it).

Commercial, I found another beer >:]

Emma the fortune teller calls up her con man (boyfriend? father?). She wants to leave the circus because the freaks scare her, but the doctor tells her to stay to see what she can find out, they have to make some money. She tells him about the conjoined twins and he’s fucking PUMPED. They are definitely going to be kidnapping her at some point this season, no doubt about it. He is also about to bone a muscle dude that’s wearing a god damn viking costume. It is also insinuated in this scene that O’Hare has a huge dong.

Back to the two women from the beginning that were trick or treating with their kids. The girl that’s afraid of clowns is playing alone in her room and the way the camera approaches her, it seems like she is about to get the shit scared out of her/murdered. Nope, just her dick brother. BUT WAIT!! Here comes the real murder clown!!!! Murder time. Nope. Shit. The clown just stole him. Boooo!

The two-headed woman is on stage about to practice her performance (but what about Mordrake!?) but Elsa rushes in because SHE has to practice, and they argue about who the real star of the show is, but if it was up to me NEITHER of them would be. My show would be Meep spitting chicken heads at the woman with the three boobs and THAT’S IT. Elsa sings a weird German-accented version of Gods and Monsters by Lana del Rey and it’s only a little bit bad. Oh shit, she summoned that fucked up two face dude Mordrake! She seems pretty happy with herself but now hes gone. Does she want to die, or does she think summoning Mordrake will help her career/the Freakshow?

Back from commercial and Edward Mordrake is here for Kathy Bates! NOOOOOO! I hope she sacrifices the Strongman or something. Bates tells him story of her life in show business and how the Strongman fucked her over and sort of ruined her life. He also made her give birth in front of a crowd, advertising it as a Live Freak Birth. Strongman is a fucking DICK, yo. If Mordrake should take anyone to Hell with him it should be the Strongman (possible hint?).

Dandy shows up at the short bus, dressed like a fancy-ass clown, and he does a half-assed job of scaring the kids that are being kidnapped. Meanwhile, the REAL murder clown shows up the kid he stole earlier on, and he apparently dragged him the entire way back to his camp? Good LORD, he’s gotta have massive traps and shoulders to drag a body that fair.

To Be Continued, just like most Halloween episodes of AHS.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens next week because Mordrake has to take someone with him. The preview kind of made it seem like he’s taking the Strongman back to Hell with him, but I’m leaning towards his wife being grabbed instead. The only thing I can’t see happening is them writing Angela Bassett off of the show, you know? Star Power and all that. Although, that would open up the story a bit more for himself and Kathy Bates, but I’m not sure if that’s even necessary. No doubt that Bates’ character will be dead by the end of the season.

Next week’s preview looks crazy, I am really excited to see what happens with Dandy and Twisty the Clown, Mordrake, and Emma Roberts and her fake(?) psychic powers. I’m leaning towards her getting called out and murdered OR she turns out to really be psychic. We’ll just have to wait and see!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Television, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

American Horror Story S4E2

posted by @heyitskamo

Week one is over. Jessica Lange and the AHS crew have returned, but in this installment there’s no haunted house, spooky asylum, or coven of witches. This run we’re at a freak show, baby. We got a two-headed lady, a geek that bites the heads off chickens, a dude with tatted up baby arms, Kathy Bates has a beard and a fucked up Pennsylvanian accent…but most importantly, Tate is back and he’s got dickhands!

Ok, second episode, let’s go!

We’re back at the circus, probably a good place to start after last week ended with a friggin cop getting sliced up by Tate and company. The freak gang is gathered around a table, while a nearby radio announces that the recent murders around the area are still unsolved- the case took another turn because now we have a missing cop to deal with, but we already know what happened to him (winky emoji). Kids aren’t going to school because their parents are afraid for their safety- cut to a diner, some punk kid is talking up a waitress like he’s hot shit. Fuck you, kid.

Speaking of cops, here come some right now! They’re looking for Elsa, and they’re definitely suspicious of the circus, not just for the local murders but the missing cop too. The shit-pot gets stirred a bit more after the two-headed woman suddenly appears, the same two-headed lady that the cops were guarding in the hospital. The VERY SAME two-headed lady that was found stabbed in a house with her murdered mother dead in the kitchen. The cops tell Elsa that they’re going to set a curfew in town, so her dwindling crowds are going to go down to zilch. Also, [bad Arnold accent] they’ll be back.

The kid from the diner goes to deliver some coffee to the owner of a local toy store and I gotta guess the toy shop guy is already dead- store is quiet, and that’s usually not a good thing on this show. This kid looks like a fucked up Tobey McGuire. He’s startled by a toy robot, and oddly enough the robot is trailing a huge track of blood. Camera cuts to behind the kid and, oh shit it’s the bloody clown boy! Lumpy McGuire follows the track of blood to a severed head on a shelf, which must be the store owner. Lumpy backs up from the shelf and we get our SEVENTH kill of the season- knife to the throat.

Intro. One thing I caught this time around that I didn’t see in week one was there’s a weird doll and it’s got a huge squirming dick and on the tip there is a cowboy boot. What in the GOTT DAMN is THAT about!?

Back from commercial. Is this the episode where we finally go Dickless for Chiklis? Perhaps, but only time will tell…

Tate is on edge- the tall woman and the guy with the tattoos, along with T-dog, go and dig up the dead cops body. Tate wants to burn the body parts up and scatter the ashes, thinking the other cops might find the shitty grave they dug. Tate’s giving us the sob story of “He shouldn’t have called us names, we’re not freaks, we’re regular people, we had to kill the cop, blah, blah, blah.” You fucked up, dude, admit it. They find the cops badge and decide to try and burn/melt it down (this is going to end badly for sure, just bury it or throw it in the pond behind you!).

That snob kid is being a chode. Not sure where to go with this. Uh…I hope he dies soon? Oh shit, he’s drinking cognac out of a crystal baby bottle, it’s got a nipple on it and everything! This dude officially rules now, I apologize for saying anything mean about him. He’s a total brat though, he isn’t getting his way and his mother is giving him shit for it- you need to grow up, that whole thing. He storms out, and the maid busts in, telling the mother that she found some fur and bones behind the shed and thinks it might have been the snob dude that killed the animal (bones belong to the neighbors pet? Cat maybe?)- then she tries to link him to the murders that are going on. Jesus lady, he’s not a criminal mastermind here, he’s just a bratty rich kid. The fact that she thinks he’s capable of murder is interesting though…

Kathy Bates is chilling with a bottle of whiskey and this dude rides up, looking all jacked, and now it’s finally time to go Dickless for Chikless! He’s the strongman apparently, but he looks nothing like Thing from the Fantastic Four, so he can’t be that strong… He’s got a lady with him, his girlfriend/wife, and it’s Angela Bassett, the voodoo witch from last season. He says he just got out of a Chicago circus because they didn’t understand him and his wife, which leads us to a [FLASHBACK]. His wife is banging some dude in a tent and then the strongman comes in and snaps homeboy’s neck. Looks like he’s the jealous/murderous type. Also: OH MY GOD SHE HAS THREE TITTIES! She’s a “full blown hermaphrodite”. Elsa is wary of them, but he seems desperate for a job and doesn’t have any place else to go. Fuck it, he’s staying.

The rich lady is driving down the street, and son of a B if she doesn’t see the killer clown. She pulls over (smart move) and wants to hire him for her son, because he’s an adult child and needs to be entertained by a fucking bloody clown apparently. I cannot place the clowns face, I wish he’d take the mask off.

Commercial- shit’s going to pop OFF soon, I can feel it.

The rich kid shows back up at the circus. He’s telling Tate how badly he wants to runaway and join up with them. “I’m one of you!” He’s begging to join the freak show but Tate is pissed, saying he’d give anything to have a normal life like he does, with normal (non-dick) hands- he basically tells the brat dude to fuck back off to his mansion. Tate is pissed, this ain’t no game!

Ok so the rich mother DID get the killer clown to come back to her house…..what the fuck is going to happen besides the obvious (murder of everyone)? Side note, the brat dude has a fucking croquet court in his bed room, what the hell? That IS kind of baller though…

Kathy Bates is obsessing over the strongman, which we saw when he first arrived- sounds to me like there’s a history here. She goes to see him at his trailer and warns him to get the fuck out and stay away from her son (Tate) and oh shit it looks like he’s the father? Flashback confirms that he was once involved with the bearded lady, so I’m guessing that he is actually Tate’s father. Which raises the question: how you bang out a lady with a beard? Desperation? Drunkenness? That is crazy.

On stage, practicing for the next show. The one sister cannot sing but the other can, and its the one that doesn’t want the spotlight- this is gonna create some good animosity between the two, as well as Elsa who might think she’s going to be upstaged by the duo(?). The strongman, who looks to be taking over and trying to run this shit show, says they’re going to do a 3 o’clock matinee show until the curfew is lifted (they have to make money somehow), but Elsa won’t have it. Night time is for Freaks, baby.

Back at the mansion, the spoiled kid is being a creep and the clown looks incredibly agitated. After a weird sort of puppet show, the clown bashes the brats head with a bowling pin…. and then leaves? He doesn’t kill anyone or anything…what the frig, I wanted blood. Clown dude leaves the house (because fuck that, right? Jeez man, at least rob the place or kill everyone and set up shop there. It’s better than living in a bus in the woods!), we see him walking through a field, with the brat kid in tow. Tate and his freaks show up at the diner he was at in episode one, and it’s about to get real.

Commercial!

We back. The staff and patrons of this diner are pissed. A woman seated nearby says the gang is upsetting her daughter- Tate tells her she’d probably enjoy the show and offers to give her discount tickets. Oh Dickhands, you sly dog! The gang is going wild at the diner, yelling and stuff, and the strongman shows up (he was hanging fliers around town for the matinee show) and tells everyone to get the fuck out- he’s mad because Tate’s giving everyone at the diner a free damn show. Shit gets physical with Tate and the strongman (his father?), and the freaks all leave.

Not sure what Tate was thinking here, bringing them into town like that. Maybe it’s his “we’re normal people, we should do things normal people do, we’re all the same” mentality. I think sometime this season he going to come to the realization that him and his crew AREN’T normal at all, and he’s going to go berzerk.

Back at the bus in the woods, it looks like the kids might be able to escape! The girls is able to loosen a board just as the clown gets back, but it looks like they might be able to make a break for it. The brat kid, who is still following the clown, has also discovered the camp site. I bet he’s (clown or brat kid? Both?) going to end up killing the kids. The girl hits the clown with the board (couple rusty nails going into his neck) and they escape out the front of the bus. The clown is able to catch the little boy and, surprise surprise, the brat kid catches the girl! He’s just trying to help his clown friend! “You’ll have to do a better job of confinement if were going to have any fun.” he says to the clown. Son of a gun, the maid was right. Maybe THIS is the outlet that the brat kid needs: kidnapping and murder.

Also, when the girl hit the clown with the board, his mask fell off and he’s got this brutal fucked up gaping mouth, FUCK was that gross looking.

AHS Clown

COMMERCIAL

Tate and crew are walking back up to the circus, tail between their legs. Tate’s ratting out the strongman to Elsa, blowing in his posters, but Elsa is seeing clearly and is on board with the strongman’s matinee idea. She’s saying how she wants the strongman there to protect them, which does not sit right with Tate, so he tells her about the cop he murdered to try and gain some respect back.

The act starts. The strongman is the…I don’t know the word for this. RingMaster? Anyways, Meep the Geek bites the head off a chicken and the show beings. The two-headed woman sings “Criminal” by Fiona Apple and the crowd (mostly dudes) goes nuts because she can sing really well. There is also a crowd surfing midget, and we’re back to commercial.

The police are back and there’s a lot this this time around. They have a search warrant to see if they can find shit about the missing cop. They search the strongmans tent- after some protest by the strongman, one of the cops tells him that they spoke to the Chicago PD, and they talked major shit about him. Did Tate try and plant the cops badge in his trailer to get rid of him? Yep! But the strongman was on to him and moved the badge. Oh shit, they find it in Meep’s trailer. They’re arresting him and I don’t think this dude is gonna last a minute in that jail cell. We’re about to have a dead freak on our hands. He gets cornered in the jail cell and that’s probably going to be it for homeboy.

Elsa goes to see the two-headed woman while they are sleeping- she wakes up and talks to the dumb one. Looks to me like Elsa is trying to plant the seed of doubt, boys! Is fame going to the other sisters head now too? I don’t know how you can turn two sisters against each other if they are attached at the neck, but this will make next week’s episode a bit more interesting.

Tate’s getting wasted, he feels bad that they took Meep and he’s blaming himself. He wants the strongman gone, and he wants to go confess to the murder in order to get Meep out of jail but uh oh! Too late, Tate! A duffle bag gets thrown out of a truck and on to his doorstep and there’s a dead Meep in the bag. Death number eight this season.

Three important things happened this week. Elsa’s jealousy of the two-headed woman is pretty prominent and it looks like she’s going to try and turn the sisters against each other- lot of interesting things can come from this considering the two are attached at the fucking neck. The rich brat kid looks to be joining forces with the murderous clown. We’ll get to see how the brat spirals down this path and possibly becomes a murder himself (we need an episode of his first murder and his reaction). Although, he might not want to kill actual people, he might just enjoy the “game” of keeping them locked up and scaring them instead. Finally, Tate has a lot to deal with. He killed a cop, is partly responsible for Meep’s death, is trying to stay in Elsa’s good graces, he’s trying to get rid of the Strongman (who may or may not be his father), and he also has a conflict with society not understanding him. It’s a lot for him to handle, which is good because he didn’t play a very big role last season.

Next week is gonna be nuts, y’all!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Television | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

American Horror Story S4E1

posted by @HeyItsKamo

American Horror Story is back! This may be exciting to some of you, but others….maybe not so much. The show isn’t really hit-or-miss for me, I genuinely like it, but I am awful with watching TV shows as they air (I’d rather wait until they are on Netflix or On Demand so I can binge watch like the monster that I am). To be truthful, I’ve never watched an entire season “live” as I usually just go get drunk Wednesday nights and forget it’s on. I’m going to try and do one of these posts right after each episode this season, so we’ll see how it goes (it did not go well last time, made it about halfway).

So now that it’s back, I really don’t know what to expect. I’m going into season four with not much insight at all, which is fine because I hate spoilers. I know there are trailers out there that I can watch, like this one, but I haven’t (OK I just watched that one and, holy FUCK). I know it’s about a freak show or weird circus or some shit, but not much else which, again, is fine with me. Hopefully it won’t be as boring as that HBO abortion Carnivale was. Carnivale was like a shitty predecessor to Boardwalk Empire except boring as shit and starring that dude from the third Terminator movie, where he was also awful.

Ok the episode starting so let’s go.

Yoooo this bitch got two heads for sure, they can’t cut the camera at that angle without hiding something. This is very similar to that one episode of The Twilight Zone, The Eye of the Beholder, where it had the perfect camera angles and shadows so it could hide the big reveal of the women with the hot face and the doctors/”normal people” with the caveman ass pig faces. Either way, Sarah Paulson is so good.

The setting is, Jupiter, Florida, which is going to raise a big flag here for me because nothing good happens in Florida. Nothing. Just check out Florida Man on Twitter.

Ok so this Milk Man (this is putting the setting for this in the 1940s-1960s) is delivering his milk and what the fuck. Why is this dude going into the house? Spoiled milk don’t mean go into the house, my dude! Dead body in the kitchen [Body 1 of the season] and it’s an old lady. Now he’s going up the stairs with a rolling pin? The fuck? You were IN THE KITCHEN! I KEEP KNIVES IN MY KITCHEN AND YOU GRAB A WOODEN ROLLING PIN? We’re about to get our first death of the season, y’all!

Nope, just a long ass scream when he opens a closet door.

Hospital and a body is getting rushed out on a gurney towards an OR. Again, the camera doesn’t reveal the shoulder/head region which is a big hint that some shit is about to pop off. Haha this nurse just puked her guts up because she saw the lady with two heads- doctor confirmed that shit in the next scene as did the preview before the fucking episode, so thanks, FX. Sounds like the dead lady at the beginning of the episode was the mother(?) of the two headed woman, and she kept the two-headed lady a secret? Maybe?

Jessica Lange showed up at the hospital and she has a French accent, not off to a good start even though I really like her. She gets warned that she can’t smoke in the hospital and comes back with, “Lucky Strike, it’s good for you.” I agree. But wait, her place is called Fraulein Elsa’ Cabinet of Curiosities or some shit? That’s German right? This accent is going to get old fast. OH! She’s a candy striper now- she looking to steal the two headed lady? Gah, and she’s holding two balloons, that is great. One is red and one is green, what does that represent? Red bad, Green good? Green can represent envy. Red could mean blood, or murder? Maybe one of them is a killer? Only person that died so far is the old lady so maybe they killed her (their mom?).

OH MY GOD a stop motion clay animation/claymation introduction. Every season has a creepy title sequence but this might be the most bizarre one yet, although I still think season one was the scariest.

And did I just see the name Michael Chiklis?!? We’re going dickless for Chiklis, boys! Can’t wait for Chiky to show up, I hope he’s made of rock, per usual.

Ok, back from commercial. Jessica Lange wants to steal the two-headed girl, and they are on to her because they can talk to each other in their minds- telepathy, if you will. The split screen shot in this scene, showing the perspective from each head of the two-headed woman, is excellent- such a good idea and I hope it continues. Based on their dialogue here, it’s looking like one sister is going to be pretty dimwitted. Dimwitted may be harsh, maybe “innocent” is a better phrase. Also, siiick masturbation joke here. The one sister says that the other “leaves her body” or something along those lines when the other sister touches herself (aka pounds off) and, wow, The Oblongs just ran through my mind, with the conjoined brothers Biff and Chip zoning out in a similar fashion (The Sklar brothers?).

Moving on: Two teens making out in a field. They are definitely about to bang on a picnic blanket, and out of NOWHERE a fucked up looking bloody clown comes into play and it’s FINALLY killing time. Man, that is an incredibly creepy mask. Ok so he’s not gonna kill anyone, just do some clown tricks- nope, time to die everyone. Clown dude stabbed homebody at least ten times that I could count, while the girl got hit in the face with a bowling pin and then ran away. She’s gonna get hit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!with the bowling pin again…

Jessica Lange is being weird in a diner and Tate is back! I still don’t know the actors name and I don’t know the name of any of his other characters in any other season of AHS, but he is my baby boy.  I don’t care. Hi, Tate, glad you are back, my G :)

I’ll be honest, he looks like a god damn greaser or some fucked up Tom of Finland drawing come to life, except he’s wearing some kind of weird leather mittens. He’s got fucked up hands? I hope he has tentacles for hands. OR testicles for hands. Tate Dickhands. TD.

Moving on: look at that little lady! I seen her before for sure, she’s like a World Record holder for smallest lady- pretty cool that she’s on this show. JL and her crew are at their tent/circus lot and the dude she’s renting the lot from is giving them the boot, and all while JL is hanging her underwear out to dry. What a DICK. It’s ok though, I think she’s gonna bang him as a bribe so they can stay there- she really wants this two-headed lady cause that is gonna mean more people come to their seemingly unpopular circus/freak show.

Commercial, posting on Twitter how we going Dickless for Chiklis, baby!!

Ok, we’re back. There’s a group of ladies at a house party talking about bad sex is with their husbands or something, idk. Oh shit it’s Tate. OH MY GOD HE’S GOT DICK HANDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I called it. I fucking called that shit (please see above when I said Dickhands). So Tate is a Lobster-Boy type character this season? Nice, nice. At least he doesn’t have that shit accent he had, bad New York or something, in Asylum.

JL is back at the hosptial, talking to the lady with two heads. She’s still dressed as a candy striper, how? Where is the candy striper she stole this uniform from? She is asking 2H about the murder of their mother. The dumber sister tells a made up story and JL isn’t AHS Kathy Bateshaving it, she’s telling them the story this lady is telling is similar to a popular movie and they need to get their story straight or the cops are going to throw them into a crazy ass jail where they keep people with two heads I guess? How do you jail a two-headed person? How do you HANG a two-headed person? Double noose? The logistics involved is too advanced for my booze-brain, sorry.

Clown man is back and he killed a family. Death count this season as at 5 so far, plus one kidnapping all thanks to fucked up clown baby. Cut to a scene where he’s got two kids kidnapped and he’s keeping them on a fucked up short bus in the hiddle of a Florida swamp. I wish I was making this up but now he’s terrorizing them with balloon animals and kicking their cages. Wow.

We’re back at the first house, where the MilkMan found the dead body, and the two headed chicks are making a break for it and packing a bag, but uh-oh, persistent ass JL is back and these bitches aren’t going anywhere. Naw, son. It’s revealed that the one sister kAHS Clown Dudeilled the mother because she wouldn’t let them go to the movies- classic. Classic daughter-mother murder scenario right here. JL says they’ll be put to death by the state (electric chair, but idk how that would happen when you got two heads on your body) if they run and get caught so here we go, off to the freak show. One sister is pumped. The other, not so much. Bette and Dot Tattler are their names, I think. I don’t know, guys, I’m not the quickest to catch on.

Commercial, sending a second tweet about going D-less for C-lis

Some things get clear: one sister (Bette?) loves the show biz, glamour, fame, etc. The other just wants to chill out on a farm. Alright, hippy, get a fucking REAL job. Both sisters are writing in a diary (similar to the intro, which I didn’t mention earlier because it wasn’t important at all, even now), which gives a nice insight to how fucking totally different they are. Interestingly the more head-wise (pun intended) sister’s head is more straight on the body, while the goofy sister has a crooked head. Something is gonna happen this season and that’s going to change. Goofy sister is gonna be the “leader” head and down-to-Earth sister is gonna be on the back burner. It’s going down, quote me, bitch.

Oh my God Kathy Bates is a God damn bearded lady and she’s so butch and fuck this rules. This is going to be a great season. She’s was apparently a drunk ass bearded lady that also got “rescued” by JL, similar to how the two-headed lady was rescued. She’s got a great accent, idk what it is, Pennsylvania, not California? Not Minnesota but possibly Quaker or Morman or some shit? Fuck, idk, someone tell me! She called the Siamese twins a “headline act” hahaha

The pinhead from Asylum is back and she is painting some nails, my dudes. Tate and this dude with gnar tats and baby arms and some tall lady are hanging a sign for the Siamese twins and then some townies come in driving a truck and break some bottles at their feet and Tate is ready to brawl, he’s sick of this shit, don’t call me a “freak” bitch! JL’s accent fades in and out while she’s talking to the candy striper she stole the uniform from and then she shows this girl a video of her getting down and dirty and smoking some opium with the freaks when she threatens to talk to someone about JL stealing her uniform. The video is seriously a hardcore freak orgy or some shit, I love it. Overall though, it’s a pretty disturbing scene. JL is saying “the people outside this tent are the freaks, they dream of strange erotic pleasures and the freaks here give everything to everyone, they live the life they chose” and so on, I was drinking a beer when she was talking and I couldn’t type.

New scene: is the bearded lady Tate’s mom? Certainly seems like it from this conversation. Tate wants to get the fuck out of the circus and Kathy Bates is saying “naw, son.” He’s fired up and he’s gonna go check on the conjoined twins.

Oh shit, there’s a cop here and the jig is fucking up, boys. Here’s here to arrest the twins, Tate is pissed at the cop for being a jerk. The detective is calling the twins monsters and he knows they killed their mother. The cop gets heated and says some shit he probably shouldn’t have: Tate don’t like being called a freak, so he cuts the cops throat. 1 episode down and 6 people are dead, baby.

Commercial, still no D’s for Mr. C.

One thing I’ve noticed so far is the color in each scene. Colors are great this season, lot of bright reds and blues, but still that dinginess that we are used to with AHS. We’re in the big tent and ready for the first show- there’s a lady in red and she is the for SURE the witch/maid from previous seasons of AHS (Frances Conroy). Her son(?) is a weird ass nerd whom I hate immediately but also love- he won’t last until the end of the season but he’ll be good up until then. This dude is PUMPED for the freak show, like, so fucking Hype. They are the only two people in the crowd, which is kind of awkward. JL is still a drunk, taking shots before the big show, and I love it. Bearded lady gives an intro and we’re about to see a freak show on tv better than any you’ve seen at any county fair or carnival. JL is introduced as: “The Enchantress who holds sway over all of natures mistakes” which is a dope title, imho. JL is singing in a German accent and it sounds ok. This is a super bizarre number and when it ends I’m really not sure if it ever even happened.

I really truly love that every season Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy are catty bitches to each other and have this total hate filled relationship.

Ccommercial, DL for CL

Tate and his crew of freaks…they are butchering the dead cop after a rousing speech by Tate Dogg (new nickname, sick). I have to guess that they chop the detective up and bury the different bits? They ARE in Florida so maybe they put the pieces in the swamp? Episode ends with JL taking off some fake legs- she doesn’t have anything from the knee down (not a good twist, this seems really unnecessary).

I’ll be honest, I really don’t know where this season is going to go. This first episode was OK but I’m really not sure where this is headed. We need to get resolution or something about the murder clown and I’m not sure at all where the dead cop is coming into play but people are going to look into that shit for sure.

Preview for next week? Apparently there’s a hot girl with three titties so, yep, I’m hooked. Let’s goooo!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section.

Posted in Halloween, Television | Tagged , , , , , ,

Next-Gen Has Arrived With P.T.

posted by @HeyItsKamo

I hate scary video games. I’ll play them- of course I’ll play them- but that doesn’t mean I like them. My friends older brother bought the original Resident Evil when it was released back in 1996 on the PlayStation 1, and he was nice enough to let us play the game with him; I was nine years old.

The first cut scene in the game, where Jill or Chris or who the hell ever encounters a zombie for the first time…I still get chills thinking about it. The sound of human flesh being consumed by an undead creature, and then that same monster turns around and he’s all gross looking and covered in blood and he’s just staring at you with that piercing eye? Fuck that.

Seriously, fuck THAT.

Ever since then, I haven’t really trusted horror video games. Kind of a “fool me once, shame on you” type of scenario, but can you blame me? For one particular frightening/creepy scene to stay with someone for that long is just astounding to me. It’s been damn near twenty years and I can still picture that moment exactly as it unfolded, as well as countless others across all gaming platforms.

In Diablo, there’s a dungeon pretty early on that you have to grind out and the room where the main boss is located has mutilated bodies littered all around it, pierced on spikes and shit. The tension we found in Manhunt was what made the game as good as it was, but that also made my anxiety go through the roof. I could barely get through Bioshock: the story, enemies, and that overall feeling of cosmic horror were too much for me at some points. Don’t even get me started on Eternal Darkness and how bad that game fucked with me (any game that has a “Sanity Meter” is a game that you should stay far away from). Even Splatterhouse creeped me out as a kid. SPLATTERHOUSE! I’ll admit that I’m a big baby and the new P.T. demo on the PlayStation 4 took me to the edge and, to be real with you, I’m not sure if I’m even back yet.

It was like ’96 all over again for me.

P.T. (which stands for Playable Teaser) is, for lack of a better word, totally horrifying. “Horrifying” honestly doesn’t even do it justice. I can’t with any clear conscience sit here and write this post and say I wasn’t scared the entire time. Outlast scared me, but this…

This is a photo-realistic screen from P.T.

If I had to estimate my heart rate for the duration of the demo, I’d say it was a steady 160 bpm. I’m not going to go too far into the details of the demo itself, explaining it scene by scene, because there are other accounts out there for you to check out, but I will mention a few moments that stuck out in particular. If you ARE interested in my full take on it, you can check out my live game play of P.T. here (click HERE for a 30 second clip of me getting super scared).

*Quick note before we go forward: P.T. was revealed as a teaser for the new Silent Hill game (known as Silent Hills) with a TBA release date, although rumors are it’s set for sometime in 2016*

So what exactly did P.T. do right with this demo? The short answer here is, well, everything. It isn’t until after you’ve beaten the demo that it’s revealed that this is a sneak peak at the next Silent Hill titleif you didn’t catch the Sony presser at Gamescom, you may have just thought this was a demo for some new game and that it wasn’t affiliated with one of the most popular franchises in video game history. The development team made excellent use of the setting- a single, repetitive hallway, a bathroom, and a garage(?). It’s a claustrophobics worst nightmare. Being in an environment like that (tight spaces with no where to go) with the constant threat of being attacked by a supernatural being was chilling.

The short demo itself was genius- being released immediately for download with as little background information given to the audience as possible was a bold move, but it really Doorworked out. It even had a brutal storyline, following the murder/suicide of a man and his family as a result of some kind of supernatural influences (and also heavy boozing and a possible cheating wife). The look of the game was incredible, with souped up graphics, and excellent use of lighting and shadow; the game looked as true to life as you can get, and it was a great test to see how the PS4 could perform with something that advanced. As far as I have seen, it had the best graphics of any current-gen game that’s been released so far, and that was AFTER the graphics were dulled down to make it look as if the demo was being produced by an indie developer.

When I originally heard about the graphics being reduced in P.T., it made me remember a story I heard about the original Silent Hill. We’ve come a long way since 1999, and when the first SH was created the developers had to add a lot of dark shadows and fog to hide how bad the graphics were- technology just wasn’t there yet for what the team wanted to create. This actually turned out to be positive because it helped create the atmosphere we’ve all come to know and fog is something that any fan of the series is familiar with. Fog is a staple of Silent Hill.

Atmosphere aside, the outright scares that you find throughout the demo don’t even come that often- most of the time I found that my own anxiety mixed with the creepy soundtrack was enough to freak me out. For the hour plus that I was playing the demo, I was constantly on edge, which is exactly what the game was intended to do. I was so dumbstruck with how good the game looked that I forgot I still had to play the game itself and get scared. I find it remarkable that I was that frightened and startled from the demo of a game that isn’t set to release until sometime in 2016. They have, at minimum, 25 MONTHS to put the finishing touches on this thing before it can be released. Doesn’t that, and the possibilities of the final product, scare the hell out of you? And with the advances in technology and new hardware that current-gen systems contain, the final product is going to look, sound, and act fucking real.

The soundtrack (both music and sound effects) was a clinic in audio mastering. It’s a mix between this kind of dark ambient sound and electronic music, mixed with human voices and digitized cuts full of distortion, all of which is reminiscent of previous Silent Hill titles. A demonic voice coming from a portable radio (radio play/static was usually present during a “scary” scene or signified that danger was close in the original SH), a crying/screaming/laughing baby, a bloody paper bag that talks to you about other dimensions in a low, distorted voice…yeah, no thanks. The radio broadcasts and the “other worldly” voice that would talk to you through the speaker later on in the demo were excellent, which is expected from a franchise that has always had top level voice acting.

The control scheme that the demo presented was also reminiscent of Silent Hill- if anything was going to be a dead giveaway that this was in the same vein as SH, it was the control scheme. To my point, umm……not a lot of action to be had with those controls. The sticks control the camera (1st person) and the direction you can walk, R3 zooms in and lets you inspect interesting details in the game, and that’s it. No run, no jump, no punch- just walk, look, and inspect. You continue to embody the idea of the “everyman” character established in this franchise through previous titles- not a ton of combat needed. You eventually get a flashlight in the demo, which is another nod to previous SH titles- your greatest weapon is your own instincts and light.

More impressive than the demo itself are the possibilities it holds for the continuation of the Silent Hill series. At the conclusion of P.T., we get a nice (scare free!) cut scene letting us know that Hideo Kojima, Guillermo del Toro, and actor Norman Reedus will all be involved in some way with the writing and production of the next installment of SH.

Reedus, who’s set to play the main protagonist in the next SH title, is a smart casting move as he has the ability to bring a certain “cool factor” to the series- I mean, come on, it’s Daryl fuckin’ Norman Reedus Dixon, the bad-ass, crossbow-wielding zombie slayer! I hope his characters name is something dope like Peck Benchpress or Gunther Fellhammer or The Rock, but it’s probably going to be something lame. Like, his character will have two first names, a la Frank Scott or something dumb…

More importantly here is that Reedus has the clout to bring a massive audience with him. While some people may not have heard of Silent Hill, most television viewers and video game enthusiasts today are sure to know what The Walking Dead is and that alone will help sell copies of the game. The Walking Dead game series from Telltale is wildly popular with fans of the show, and there’s no way the PR people from Konami could fuck this cross promotion up. They should at least get some commercials for Silent Hills to air in the next coming seasons. Shit, if the game is released off-season, just have a few The Walking Dead marathons air and pepper the game trailer in the commercials! That right there was an all around smart move on everyone’s part.

Guillermo del Toro is also a fantastic addition, since he is going to bring years of production and writing experience to a relatively new and constantly advancing medium. At first this made me feel a bit uneasy, but at the same time you have to remember that this is the man that gave us Pan’s Labyrinth, and brought Hellboy, and The Hobbit to the big shscreen. And while del Toro has minimal experience in the video game industry, he shouldn’t be considered a novice. Up until about two years ago, GDT was partnered up with Volition, Inc. and THQ to work on a psychological horror game series slated to be titled Insane. The man planned on doing EXACTLY THIS ALREADY! Now he gets to join up with arguably the biggest and most well known horror franchise in the history of video games and show what he can bring, but on a much bigger scale. Instead of seeing it as a game del Toro made, now we get to see it as del Toro tagging on with an already grounded and popular franchise. Who knows how much he already had written for the Insane series, but I’d put a good chunk of money down and say that we’ll see quite a bit of what he had planned for that in the next SH.

Maybe another important note to make is that there will be a lot that GDT can add to this game besides just the story, which will no doubt be sinister and way over the top. The production levels of Pacific Rim, Hellboy, and The Hobbit films were all top quality. Splice and Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark were both imaginative and creepy and WEIRD AS SHIT. In one, scientists add human DNA to their genetic experiments and create a messed up monster, and in the other film a gang of blood thirsty demons demand children’s teeth. If demons violently demanding children’s teeth doesn’t sound like Silent Hill, I don’t know what does.

Over everything else though, the thing everyone should be most excited for is the involvement of Hideo Kojima, and what he can bring to the SH franchise. If you think about it, Kojima is a perfect fit for Silent Hill. It’s more than a perfect match, really, because his legacy, which entails the entire Metal Gear series of games (like, 30+ games and that’s NOT counting Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain set to release at the end of this year) is decidedly creepy. From Chico having a damn headphone jack in the middle of his chest in MGSV: Ground Zeroes to the Psycho Mantis boss battle in Metal Gear Solid where that lunatic messed with your television (Eternal Darkness reference?) and read your systems memory card. P.T. had something similar to this, with random screen distortions and a slice at the end of the game that made me think the demo bugged out and restarted (that’s just mean-spirited right there). Again, advancing technology will only add to the ways that video games can mess with us, but I think the next Silent Hill title is going to be borderline absurd with what the developer can do to make this experience as full of torment as possible.

The Metal Gear series is also acclaimed as one of the most well written game series in the history of the medium- this is a good thing for Silent Hills. A simple search of the web and game review websites (like Metacritic, for example) give multiple games in the series mid-90 to high-80 ratings, which is impressive since (as noted earlier) there are like THIRTY DAMN TITLES of that series. If Kojima can bring that style and magnitude of writing to the Silent Hill series, which as you may know desperately needs a fresh take (general consensus: everything after SH 3 is shit, and there are currently 8 titles available to play…), it could be something we’ve never seen before in terms of the realm of SH and the “survival horror/horror/psychological horror” game genre in general. Reedus has the ability to make a new face for the franchise, while del Toro will bring direction and grand production, and Kojima will bring writing and decades worth of experience in the industry. This could be a turning point for Silent Hill.

Another point to add: would Reedus, del Toro, and Kojima risk their reputation’s on a franchise that wasn’t as established as Silent Hill is? Personally, I think the answer is a definitive “No”. Everything these guys are associated with can be considered high quality, groundbreaking, and wildly popular. They wouldn’t sign on for something like this if they didn’t think it was going to “change the game” so to speak. We are going to be in store for something incredible.

Let’s move on to another interesting aspect found in the demo: perspective. Something you’ll immediately notice when running through P.T. is that the camera view is entirely from the first-person viewpoint. This presents a drastic turn from the rest of the titles in the series, with the exception of parts of Silent Hill 4: The Room, and Silent Hill: Shattered Memories (you know, the Wii one…), which flipped around between a first-person and an over-the-shoulder perspective. Psychological horror/survival horror/horror games from the past few years (The Evil Within, Dead Island, Outlast, Left 4 Dead 2, Dying Light, The Forest) have all taken a turn from the SH and Resident Evil franchises heavy use of the third-person/over-the-shoulder perspective and have embraced the more popular first-person viewpoint.

And why wouldn’t it? Popularity of the first-person-shooter genre will only continue to grow and is now the accepted norm. In a time where Call of Duty and Battlefield are two of the most popular franchises and release an annual title, the first-person-shooter reigns supreme. Last of Us, Gears of War, and Grand Theft Auto are ash1 few titles/franchises where third-person is still prominent, but they are being rapidly overrun with a horde of FPS games. Maybe it’s time for Silent Hill to turn in that direction as well.

I’m personally hoping that Silent Hills will continue along with the P.T. demo and stick with a first-person viewpoint, although who knows for sure? The demo ended with Silent Hills protagonist (Reedus) walking down a shadow filled and deserted street, with the camera panning behind him (third-person perspective). The main argument that I can think of to switch it to first-person would be: a LOT can be done with a horror game set in the third-person, we’ve been seeing it for years and it’s been effectively scaring the hell out of us, but first-person is just so much more intense as P.T. proved to us already. With third-person perspective, you can somewhat see your surroundings- first-person binds you to a more focused viewpoint, with straight forward and peripheral vision, but nothing behind your character. You actually have to fully turn in a direction to see what that strange noise just was- it’s more intense and the scares come more often, even if there isn’t anything there to scare you.

The fear of the unknown and the creepy soundtrack have always been the bread and butter of Silent Hill, more so than the creepy monsters that you interact with throughout the series. P.T. had a few moments of “ahh there’s a monster right there and it got me” but the anticipation of something happening and ultimately not, mixed with the grotesque soundtrack…that is what hit me the hardest. The story was dark, as all SH games are, but this was almost too over the top.

In one final strange turn, once you finish P.T. a small disclaimer pops up letting you know that…this could have NOTHING to do with the end product. In fact it’s implied- why wouldsh3 they add that disclaimer if it wasn’t true? The idea that Konami and Kojima could already be fucking with us is an excellent sign of things to come. It’s like they are saying “look at what we can do with one 30 minute demo that has nothing to do with the final product. Look at how good the graphics/soundtrack/story/game play is, look at how scared you are with this demo we put together that isn’t even close to the end result of what we will release to you.” The possibilities of what is to come are astonishing.

The video game industry has gone through a lot of change since the first Silent Hill was released in 1999. A franchise that was once the king of the survival horror/psychological horror genre has been dethroned by more innovative games in recent years, and a succession of misguided releases that didn’t capture the original success of earlier titles in the series has tarnished its once stellar name. A serious revamping needed to be done, and so far it looks like P.T. has changed that. For once we have a bit of light in a series that has been so full of dark.

But seriously, that shit was sooo scary.

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Konami, PlayStation, Video Games, Xbox | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WSP Episode XVII: I Am Podcast?

posted by @HeyItsKamo

We might be A-Holes, but we’re not 100% a Dick.

Join us on WSP this week as we discuss *the best damn movie of the summer (We didn’t see it yet, but Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles did not get good reviews…), Guardians of the Galaxy.

Like everyone else in the country, Mike and I went to see the new Marvel flick this weekend, their take on the classic (and also fairly recent reboot) GOTG comic book series, and HOLY SHIIIIITTTTTT! You see Chris Pratt with them rocket boots and those abs? You see that big-ass talking tree, or that raccoon that shoots the big guns all fast? Mother f*cking THANOS? Daayyuum, that shit was crazy, my dude.

From the movie to the comics, Mike and I talk about our favorite parts of this soon to be classic. A sequel to GOTG has already been announced, so give this podcast a listen and get pumped up for the next film.

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

E3: A Comprehensive Guide

posted by @HeyItsKamo

Hey, everyone. Kate, our friend from Cartridge Kids, put together a nice list of ALLLLLL the new games and hardware announced at E3 2014. So, if you weren’t able to catch this years Electronic Entertainment Expo, or just want to see everything all in one place, look no further! Links are available to check out all the game play and trailers. Thanks, Kate!

Also, check out the last episode of WarpSpeed Podcast right here. Mike, W, and I talk about E3 and the amazing new wet pavement feature in Tom Clancy’s: The Division!

EA

Battlefield: Hardline | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One  | October 21st 2014

Dawngate | PC | Beta open now

Dragon Age: Inquistition | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | November 7th

FIFA 15 | PS4 & Xbox One | September 26th 2014

Madden NFL 15 | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One |  August 15th 2014

Mass Effect 4 | Early Dev

Mirror’s Edge | Mac, PC, PS4 & Xbox One | 2016

NHL 15 | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | September 9th 2014

PGA Tour | PS4 & Xbox One | Spring 2015

The Sims 4 | Mac & PC | September 2014

Star Wars: Battle Front | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | 2015

UFC | PS4 & Xbox One | June 17th 2014

Unnamed Vehicle Game| Early Dev

Microsoft

Microsoft’s News – Microsoft introduced their ID@Xbox, an indie developers publishing program to bring their games to the Xbox One at NO COST to the devs! Catch the trailer Xbox Onefor ID@Xbox right here

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare | PC, PS4 & Xbox One

Note: Xbox owners will be the first to play all of the add-on content (as usual).

Crackdown | Xbox One | 2015

Dragon Age: Inquistition | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | November 7th

Evolve | PC, PS4, & Xbox One

Fable Legends | Xbox One

Forza Horizon 2 | Xbox One | September 30th

Halo: The Master Chief Collection | Xbox One | November 11th

Halo 5: Guardians | Xbox One

Inside | Xbox One

Ori and the Blind Forest | PC & Xbox One

Phantom Dust | Xbox One

Project Spark | Xbox One

Rise of the Tomb Raider | Announced with Microsoft, but no exclusivity was Announced | 2015

Scalebound | Xbox One | 2015

Sunset Overdrive | Xbox One | October 28th

The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt | Xbox One | 2014

Tom Clancy’s The Division | Xbox One | 2015

Nintendo

News: Amiibo

New interactive toys that will work with the upcoming Super Smash Bros. Not only that, but it will be interactive with many other games as well, including Mario Kart 8, Disney nintendoInfinity 2.0 and Skylanders. Nintendo will have the flexibility to use Amiibo in anyway they see fit while in development of future games.

Art Academy Wii U | Wii U

Bayonetta 2 | Wii U | October 2014

Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker | Wii U | Coming Soon

Fantasy Life | 3DS | 2014

Kirby and the Rainbow Curse | Wii U | 2015

Mario Maker | Wii U | 2015

Mario Party 10 | Wii U | Coming Soon

Mario vs. Donkey Kong Wii U | Wii U | 2015

Pokemon Art Academy | 3DS | Fall 2014

Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire | 3DS | November 21st 2014

Professor Layton vs. Pheonix Wright: Ace Attorney | 3DS | Coming Soon

Splatoon | Wii U | Coming Soon

Starfox | Wii U | 2015

Super Smash Bros For Wii U | Holiday 2014

Many new characters were revealed, as well as the use of their newly announce interactive toys, Amiibo.

Super Smash Bros For 3DS| October 3rd 2014

Originally intended for this summer, but since Nintendo is working on bringing all of the characters and levels from the Wii U to its portable version, it won’t be here until October.

Xenoblade Chronicles X | Wii U | 2015

Yoshi’s Wooly World | Wii U | 2015

Zelda: Hyrule Warriors | Wii U | September 30th 2014

Zelda: Wii U | Wii U | 2015

Sony

News: Free-to-Play Games

Sony announced that they will be bringing a whole new set of free-to-play games to its PS4. Shawn Laydon, CEO of Sony, said that over 25 new free-to-play games would be PS4coming to PSN.

Powers – An original show coming exclusively to PSN, adapting the comic book Powers by Brian Bendis.

Ratchet & Clank: The Movie – To promote the movie, Sony has remastered the original Ratchet & Clank game, which will be released for PS4.

Indies – Sony has shown off a big line up of Indie Games that are coming to PS4, including Broforce, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number, Not A Hero and Titan Souls.

Abzu | PS4

Batman: Arkham Knight | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | 2015

Bloodborne | PS4 | 2015

Dead Island 2 | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | 2015

Dead Island’s Beta will be coming exclusively to PS4

Destiny | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | July 17th 2014 (Beta) | Fall 2014 (Launch)

Though the game is also coming to Xbox, Sony has locked in some exclusive content for its version

Diablo 3: Ultimate Evil Edition | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | August 19th 2014

Though the game is also coming to Xbox, Sony has included some exclusive content for its version

Entwined |  PS4 | Launched at E3 $10 

Far Cry 4 | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | November 18th 2014

Ubisoft showed off the first 5 minutes of game play for Far Cry, and Sony is going to take it even farther. They showed off some amazing game play and some beautiful atmospheres. ***Also interesting to note: PS4 is allowing you to invite your friends to play, even if they don’t have the game! This feature is exclusive to PS4.

Grim Fandango | PS4 | 2014

Grand Theft Auto V | PS4 | Fall 2015

Moving from Last Gen to Current Gen as well as PC. Sony revealed that players on PS3 can transfer their GTA online file to the PS4.

Infamous: First Light | PS4 | August 2014

Downloaded content, but also a stand alone game. You do not need to own InfamousSecond Son in order to play, but by owning it you will receive bonus content.

Killzone: Shadow Fall – Interception | PS4 | June 24th 2014 (Free with Season Pass) | August 5th 2014 (Standalone Edition)

Let It Die | PS4 | 2015

LittleBigPlanet 3 | PS4 | Christmas 2014

Magicka 2 | PS4

Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain  | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | 2015

Mortal Kombat X | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | 2015

No Man’s Sky | PC & PS4

The Order: 1886 | PS4 | February 20th 2015

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End | PS4 | 2015

Hardware:

PlayStation Now | July 31st 2014 (Beta Testing)

Playstation TV 

Project Morpheus | No release date yet

White Playstation 4 | September 9th 2014

As a bundle with Destiny, Sony announced a white PS4.

 Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed: Unity | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | October 28th 2014

Interesting to note, that users can jump into single players games just as in the recently released Watch_Dogs

The Crew | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | November 11th 2014

The Division | PC, PS4 & Xbox One | 2015

Far Cry 4 | PC, PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 & Xbox One | November 18th 2014

Just Dance 2015 | PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Wii, Wii U | October 2014

Rainbow Six: Siege | PC, PS4, Xbox One | 2015

Shape Up | Xbox One | November 2014

Valiant Hearts: The Great War | PS4 & Xbox One | June 25th 2014

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Games, Nintendo, Xbox | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

WSP Episode XVI: E3…Weeks Late

posted by @HeyItsKamo

Hi. Nice to see you. Hope you’re doing well. Hey, remember E3 from a few weeks back? You know, the big conference where all the video game boys and girls talk about their new WSP - E3video games? Well….here were are.

Did we purposely wait a few weeks to finally record an episode about this years E3? …yep! Us boys over at WSP thought it would be a good idea to let all the hype die down before we got down to talking about all of our favorite previews from this years Electronic Entertainment Expo.

W joins us this week to talk about the latest and greatest from Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft, EA, and all the other fun stuff we heard about from E3 this year.

Alright, we kind of dropped the ball with recording so late, but give this episode a listen and let us know what you think. Do you have any favorite games or releases that were revealed at E3? Let us know in the comments section below!

As always, please subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

WSP Episode XV: Who Let the Watch_Dogs Out?!

posted by @HeyItsKamo

The day has finally arrived- Watch_Dogs is here! Mike and I jump right into the Matrix and begin hacking so many dogs. Like, SO many. Top Dog Sim to date in my book. Pug, WSP Watch_Dogs/Mario Kart 8golden lab, the Taco Bell dog….

Who am I kidding, there are no dogs in this game. They tricked us!

Either way, we drive right into one of the most anticipated and hyped games of the next-gen consoles, and what we find might surprise you.

All that hacking in Chicago left us a bit tired and high-strung, and what better way to relax from a 20 hour hack-session with Neo and the boys than by playing a nice calm round of Mario Kart 8. I mean, how hard can 150cc really be?

…oh how naive we were.

Join us while we play two new great games, and go off on one of our pantented tangents full of nonsense while we reminisce about Call of Duty: World at War!

Would you kindly subscribe to our iTunes channel (https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/radpocalypse/id728359173), follow us on Instagram at WarpSpeedPodcast, and hit us up on Twitter at @WarpSpeedPodcst? All feedback is appreciated!

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Podcast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Great NFL Boycott of 2014

posted by @HeyItsKamo

I wrote this Tumblr post awhile back about a tweet that I read, claiming that we (the American people, I guess?) should boycott the National Football League. With all the controversial suspensions going on lately, I thought it was time to take another look.Brady LOL

——————————————–

Someone I follow on Twitter retweeted something the other night that caught me a bit off guard. It’s not that I totally disagree with the point the individual who wrote the tweet was
trying to make (hey, you can’t have a “wrong” opinion, right?), but something about it just rubbed me the wrong way.

The more I thought about it, the more perplexed I became. What did they mean? Was this a troll post, used to get angry replies and a rise out of people? Or was this pure ignorance on how the National Football League, and the entire world of professional sports, works?

The tweet read:

“And there are *so many* reasons to boycott the NFL. The brain damage, the homophobia, the racist mascots, the uneven profit distribution.”

I’d like to start off by saying that I’m not claiming to be a huge football or NFL super-fan. I’m from Buffalo, and that alone should be reason enough for me to show a love-hate interest in the NFL and is a good indicator on exactly where I’m coming from. In most respects, I’m more of a casual fan, in that I watch the first few weeks of the season (say, weeks 1-5) and by then the Bills probably haven’t won their first game yet, and my interest has begun to wan significantly. I’m more interested in the return of football season for the chicken wings and beer at the local bar anyway, but after three terrible losses by the Home Team, even delicious wings sometimes aren’t enough to keep me going.

I only mention this because I’m not here to claim that I know a lot about football or the NFL, I only claim to know as much as the next passive “fan” does. Well…maybe a bit more than I’m leading on, but I guess that’s for you to judge.

I think the first sentence of the now Infamous Tweet struck me the most. “And there are *so many* reasons to boycott the NFL.” Well, yeah…of course there are. There are a lot of reasons not to pet an angry dog too. The tweeter goes on to list a few reasons, all good arguments for boycotting the league in my book, but the first sentence is the most important. How would one “boycott the NFL”? You mean, boycott the league completely? How would this even be feasible? You could stop going to games, but then what?

*for the record, this tweet did not come from someone who appears to be a season ticket holder…or someone who has attended many NFL games*

If you were to boycott the NFL, you have to look at the big picture. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar (annually) sports league, providing entertainment for fans the world over, and it is without question one of the biggest and most profitable of the major sports leagues (I keep wanting to say “corporations” although “monopolies” might be a better term…). And when I say “biggest and most profitable sports leagues” I don’t just mean in the United States or in the past 50 years. I mean the entire world and also, well, EVER. Like, in the history of sports on this planet, the NFL is at the top of the pyramid in terms of popularity and profit.

So let’s say I’m on board. I’m going to boycott the NFL! They’ve been getting away with too much for too long, and my Twitter followers and I are going to put a stop to their crap once and for all. In order to effectively boycott the league, I would have to: stop buying tickets to games each week, stop paying my cable and internet provider as most games are televised or readily available online, turn off my radio so I no longer hear the broadcasts of games each week, stop buying NFL related video games (the Madden series, among others), stop buying any NFL related merchandise (jerseys, bumper stickers, coasters, cups, shot glasses, key chains, blankets, coats, gloves, hats, magnets, book marks, t-shirts, toasters, clocks, replica helmets, light switch covers, pens, wind chimes, and so on), cancel my phone/cable/internet account with Verizon, cut up my Visa credit card, cancel my car insurance with State Farm and trade in my General Motors Buick, stop shipping all of my online purchases via FedEx, and stop eating Papa John’s pizza (they suck anyways, sorry Papa).

This also means no more Campbell’s soup for when I have a cold. Big Macs and anything from the dollar menu at McDonald’s are now a thing of the past (probably for the better). Say “goodbye” to 5 Dollar Footlongs from Subway. I also have to stop buying anything made by Mars Snack Foods, who produce Pedigree food for my Doge and Whiskas for my Grumpy Cat. I also have to give up M&Ms, 3 Musketeers, Combos (NOOO!), Milky Way bars, Snickers, Twix, Uncle Ben’s rice, Seeds of Change, Wrigley’s 5 gum, Extra Gum, LifeSavers, Orbit chewing gum, Skittles, Juicy Fruit, and Starburst, the unexplainably juicy soft taffy candy treat.

I also just gave up drinking Bud Light, Gatorade, and Pepsi products. Now I have to go out and buy a Mac because Apple doesn’t sponsor the NFL; Microsoft does, so that also means I’ll have to stop playing NHL 14 on my Xbox 360 and go out and buy a PlayStation instead. I just traded in my Gillette razor for something with a mere two blades- TWO BLADES! I have to shave my face like some kind of a damn savage caveman now! No more Old Spice and no more Duracell batteries to power my, well, just about everything that needs a battery to run it.

What I’m getting at is it would be almost fucking impossible to boycott the NFL, financially at least. It seems that just about everyone is a sponsor, from the food we eat to the internet provider we subscribe to. I obviously went to an extreme with the above few paragraphs, but I’m just trying to prove a point. You can’t boycott the NFL. You can dislike it and not watch the games, and you can try your damnedest not to support the league because of the reasons mentioned in the above tweet, but it’s fucking impossible to boycott this league.

You’d even have to go as far as discouraging the youth from playing football. It’s not like players just decide on a whim to try out for the NFL- that shit is seeded into you at a young age. Kids dream their entire lives of playing for the Dallas Cowboys or New York Jets. You’d have to effectively cut all interest in football so that the NFL runs out of players to recruit. No more Pop Warner or High School football for our sons (and in some cases our daughters). Go play baseball, little Jimmy, the MLB is much more fair.

Next the tweeter gives the reasons for boycotting the league- again; all justifiable if I hadn’t already proved boycotting the NFL is impossible. The first reason, “The brain damage” is probably the one that would (no pun intended) hit closest to home for a lot of fans.

If you thought about it, and probably not even all that hard, you’d be able to name a handful of close friends or family members that have in some way had their lives impacted by sports related injuries. I can think of several, including myself. As a lifelong hockey fan and goaltender, I’ve suffered numerous knee and back injuries, one of which was a year-long recovery from a torn knee that still affects me to this day. I even played football when I was younger, and after a particularly nasty hit in a game late in the season, I quit after our final game- it just wasn’t for me.

Was I scared of getting hurt when I played? Absolutely- how could I not be?

I think the main argument against boycotting due to the risk of “brain damage” would be: it is assumed that players in the NFL (and any major/minor sports league, for that matter) are well aware of the bodily harm and other negative consequences that are a result of playing their sport. Granted, most of them probably aren’t thinking that at the age of 50 they may have to have someone help dress them every morning, but still. The risk has always been there, and it always will be.

Dale Earnhardt drove a car his entire life, but who thought that the way he earned his living would also take his life?

They say to Assume makes an Ass out of U and Me, but I’m sorry- injuries are a huge part of the game and should be expected, even at the professional level where players have access to literally the best doctors on the planet. All NFL clubs have personal trainers, psychiatrists, dentists, dietitians, and the best medical staff that money can buy. Still, the countless head-shots that an NFLer will take over their career will take their toll. These guys might not be thinking they will suffer from brain damage down the road, but that thought should be looming in their minds regardless.

Junior Seau, a 12-time Pro Bowl nominated linebacker for the San Diego Chargers (among other teams), played in the NFL for twenty years. TWENTY YEARS. AS A LINEBACKER! Can you imagine the amount of times violent trauma was unleashed upon his poor Samoan head? He played twenty years longer than individuals who leave football after playing at the college level, and even college players can suffer from brain damage later in life.

Sadly, Seau took his own life, and many suspect that brain damage suffered from hits he took (or dished out) while playing football had a lot to do with his suicide. After his death, it was revealed that he suffered from depression, which is a side effect of a disease known as CTE (Chronic traumatic encephalopathy). CTE affects those with a history of head trauma, something that isn’t new to the NFL and players like Seau. Ex-Buffalo Bills Running back and AFL legend Cookie Gilchrist, who stopped playing the game in 1966, died from the effects of CTE in 2011 at the age of 75.

With all of that being said (and you might think I sound like a real dick here), I don’t have much sympathy for professional athletes that suffer injuries, even those with injuries as serious as Seau and Gilchrist. Back in the days of Gilchrist, the science wasn’t there to prove football will have any type of effect on your brain, which is unfortunate for gridiron legends of days past, but today there is. If individuals still choose to play the game, knowing full well that they can suffer life-threatening, life-changing (and sometimes life-ending) consequences, well, that’s on them. Players today are more than compensated financially (you might be raising a red flag here- just wait until I get to the part about “uneven profit distribution”) for their play.

What, I’m supposed to feel sorry for a guy like, I don’t know, Houston Texans Wide receiver Andre Johnson? Johnson is making $6.5 million this season, and despite suffering a concussion in the middle of September, he was back playing the very next week. He didn’t even miss a game! His head is all sorts of fucked up and instead of saying, “OK, I’m going to take a week off and see how I feel,” he was back out on the field and taking hits not seven days later. You don’t like to see guys get hurt in any sport, but when you put yourself in a situation like Johnson did, it’s tough to feel sorry for them when (not “if”) a bigger injury occurs down the road.

The ways that Gilchrist and Seau died are of course tragic, and it’s sad that it happened the way it did, but no one forced them to play football. You can argue the point that “well, they had no other option, they were only good at football, it was their whole life” and I’ll call bullshit. There’s always another option- Seau and players like him made plenty of money over their career to justify to themselves why playing the game was their “only option”.

Again, this isn’t NASCAR. NFL fans and viewers don’t watch the games and follow their favorite teams to see players get hurt or hurt their opponents, “the crashes” so to speak. It’s not like by watching and supporting the NFL the fans are responsible for the injuries that these guys suffer, especially those that players often times inflict on themselves (hint: running full speed into another person and hitting them with your fucking head). Would it be great if there were tighter rules against head shots? Yes. Would it be even better if helmet technology got to the point where head injuries were a thing of the past? You bet. But don’t blame NFL supporters for “the brain damage”.

It’s tough to blame the league, but who else is there to blame really? The NFL is letting these guys get away with head-shots- granted, they are trying to crack down on the big hits by issuing stricter rules and penalties, but still. I honestly don’t have an answer to the head-shot question- just like fighting in hockey, it will take an on-filed death to change the NFLs outlook on violent hits and head-shots in the sport, but it’s as much a part of the game as halftime and $11 dollar beers at the stadium.

I’m not going to touch much on “the homophobia” point because I’m not in the NFL and I’m not gay. I don’t know what goes on in the locker rooms, what’s said between teammates and opponents. What I can do is talk about the “Machismo” in the world of sports that you encounter at any level.

In organized sports, and even outside for that matter, some individuals think it’s acceptable to use derogatory words to insult opponents and teammates alike. “That’s gay” is, for some reason, used in the place of “That’s stupid/bad/dumb/etc” and I’m still not sure why. I’m a straight guy and I don’t view being homosexual as something that is negative. Is it a huge insult to call a straight person “gay” or “fag” or a female athlete a “lesbian”? I don’t take offense to it when it happens to me, although my fiancée might have a problem with someone calling her husband-to-be any kind of name with a negative intent behind it.

Imagine if someone called you a “fucked up looking trout lover”? How much more offended would you be if they called you “gay” instead? That’s the real question here, as strange as it sounds, because it’s really wider than “the homophobia” in the NFL. It’s not that at all, really, because it’s “your own homophobia” that’s the issue. If you are homophobic, calling a female athlete a “lesbo” or worse may be bad to you, but not necessarily bad to them, unless of course they ARE homosexual or homophobic. They would clearly take offense if they are homosexual, and if they are homophobic, well, what’s worse than calling a homophobic person a “homo”? It’s all about the context.

Using those words negatively is viewed as “being a part of the game” which is obviously fucked up on so many levels, but until it’s addressed at a higher stage, nothing will stop the 16 year-old linebacker from calling the opposing teams running back a “fag”. Even if Derek Jeter tells you not to do it, it won’t stop anything because it’s become so ingrained into everyone that they don’t believe that there is anything necessarily wrong with it, which is wrong in itself.

Unfortunately, “the homophobia” is a part of sports, just like “the racism” and “the sexism” is too. Wait, so you’re telling me that GIRLS play HOCKEY? In the OLYMPICS? Girls? Like, the people that have the boobs? Get out of here, girls can’t play hockey!

“The homophobia” needs to be addressed when players are younger. It needs to be addressed by teammates, friends, family members, or coaches. The NFL isn’t to blame here for bad behavior that stems from years of kids hearing their older brothers call their friends “homo”.

If you remember, Kobe Bryant was fined $100,000 by the NBA for hurling a derogatory slur at a referee. “The homophobia” is being addressed- Deadspin posted a great article about how the NFL is actually leading the world of professional sports in terms of Gay Rights Activism.

I have one name for you: Michael Sam. The first openly gay professional football player is here, and the world is still standing. Dogs aren’t howling at the moon and none of our sons magically became gay. Now that it’s over with, let’s just get back to football.

Jumping from “the homophobia” to “the racist mascots”, I’m not sure I have much to add here. “Racist mascots” meaning what exactly? The Washington Redskins and a handful of college teams with Native American names? The Chicago Blackhawks? Ok, let’s talk about those then, because I’m pretty sure there’s not a team called the Spokane Honky Killers.

The Chicago Blackhawks of the NHL indirectly take their name from Chief Black Hawk of the Sauk American Indian tribe, a prominent figure in the history of Illinois. He was an iconic leader in both relations between tribes and war parties (so, pretty conflicting jobs if you ask me, but still…). He also fought for the British in the War of 1812 and battled against white settlers trying to take over his people’s territory.

So, what was meant as a harmless homage but turned out to actually be more of a huge insult, a hockey team was named after him. Hockey, the sport that is primarily played by European-American white guys…

In actuality, there’s a different history behind the name of the Chicago Blackhawks. The team’s first owner, a guy named Fred McLaughlin, served in the Blackhawk Division in World War I. A group of real tough bastards, they manned machine guns in the 86th Infantry Division. McLaughlin named the Chicago based hockey team after them, not necessarily the Native American chief.

Are teams that use Native American names and logos as their own racist? Yes. Just look at the Cleveland Indians and Chief Wahoo. Should they be changed? That’s your opinion, but it’s not going to happen any time soon. “The racist mascots” are terrible, but not as bad as “the racism” in sports, just ask Richie Incognito and Jonathan Martin of the Miami Dolphins. Groups try and get the racist Native American parodies that teams use changed, but the Cleveland Indians and Florida State Seminoles look to be here to stay.

Last up, we have to touch on “the uneven profit distribution”. This one is a doozy because of the staggering amount of money that the NFL, the teams, the coaches, the players, and the staff make. It’s astronomical.

The National Football League makes anywhere from $10 to $15 billion dollars each season, although this total can differ depending on who you ask (I asked my friend, Google). Merchandise and any product that is “officially licensed”, broadcast deals with television networks (FOX, NBC, etc), and advertisements make up the majority of these profits. Ticket revenue is also shared- I believe the cut is 70% of ticket profit goes to the home team and 30% to the visiting team.

So, now that we see how much money the NFL makes each season, let’s take a look at how much the players get. I have to assume that when the tweeter was talking about “the uneven profit distribution” they were talking about the insane amount of money the NFL makes, and the minuscule cut that the players get. Does the uneven profit distribution also include the coaching staff and trainers, as well as the individuals that work in the stadiums?

The average NFL player makes $1.9 million dollars a season. Compare that to the $5.15 million average salary of an NBA player, the $3.2 million of a guy in the MLB, and the $2.4 million a NHLer makes each year. Seems pretty unfair, huh? Especially considering MLB players don’t have to run full speed into each other and possibly suffer brain damage later in life.

But let’s look at it a different way. Your average NFLer is making $1.9 million dollars a season for playing 16 games- this doesn’t count the four pre-season games or any post-season matches, which can mean an additional three games if the team makes it to the Super Bowl. Starters don’t really play in the pre-season as the games are more of an indicator on how rookies will pan out and which player will start at which position. So let’s stick with 16 games for sake of the argument.

In the NHL, there are 82 regular season games, as well as a pre and post-season.

So your average NFLer is getting $1.9 million dollars for playing in at most 19 games (that’s $100k a game, if you weren’t keeping up). That’s 19 games of big hits, lots of running, and plenty of chance for injury. But here’s another interesting statistic: the average NFL game has eleven minutes of play-time.

NFL games, which consist of four quarters of 15 minutes each, see an average play-time of ELEVEN MINUTES. Some of the elite NHL defensemen (you know, the guys that fucking HIT EVERYONE CONSTANTLY?) see up to 27 minutes a game. A GAME! The average NFLer would have to play almost three games to see the amount of playing time an NHLer sees in one match. Multiply that 27 minutes by 82 games (again, let’s not even count the playoffs or games that go into overtime) and I think the average salary is more than fair for NFL players.

NFL practice squad members (guys that aren’t on the starting roster) make around $6,000 a week. The league minimum for a player on the normal roster, meaning they either do or have a chance to play each Sunday is just over $400,000. If you can’t live off of $400k a year (I’m not going to get into the cuts that sports agents get, and we’ve all watched that 30 for 30: Broke episode) then that’s fucked. I have student loans, rent, car payments, utility bills, credit card bills, just a shit load of bills in general, and I get by just fine and don’t make anywhere near $400k a year.

The real question is, is it fair that NFL players get paid less than other sports leagues? It can go both ways- they play less games that the other three major professional sports leagues in North America, play on average less time each game than the other leagues, but the risk is much higher for injury in the NFL. They also have to maintain a certain physical condition, so that occupies a lot of the players’ time in the off season I’m sure.

I’ll do some quick math for you: NFL teams have 53 men on the active roster. 53 multiplied by $1.9 million is $100,700,000. $100.7 million multiplied by 32 teams is $3,222,400,000. Where does the other $10 billion go? I don’t know, and I don’t care because I don’t even make the league minimum in five years of work.

Does the NFL deserve boycotting? I’m not sure why you would unless you aren’t a fan of football. Boycotting the league won’t do anything; it’s not going anywhere because no matter how strongly you feel against it, the fan base is far too large for a boycott to work. The NHL had a lockout last season and not only did ticket prices go UP, games actually had better attendance once the lockout was over. Fans are crazy, we get treated like shit because we don’t care and because we love it. We love it so, so much.

I mean, we all saw how successful the Occupy Wall Street movement went, and that protest was about OUR OWN MONEY.

Like this post? Hate it? Let us know in the comments section!

Posted in Sports | Tagged , , , , , ,