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Wise Words from Unlikely Sources: The Muppets Take Manhattan

24 Apr

Highlight #1: “Peoples is peoples.”

Highlight #2: Kermit’s facial expression.

A Terrible Revelation: Saved by the Gel

22 Mar

As I followed my usual morning routine of getting ready for work while watching the ever-corny Saved by the Bell, Jessie’s unwarranted verbal attacks on Slater reminded me of something I had recently watched. But what? What other television show highlights a dysfunctional relationship where fighting is the foundation and name-calling masquerades as a display of affection? Ah, yes. That modern-day classic: the Jersey Shore.

Then, I had an epiphany. A total OMGWTF?! moment. The Jersey Shore is just a guido-modified version of Saved by the Bell. Allow me to demonstrate the parallels between Seaside and Bayside:

Sammi “Sweetheart” Giancola, a.k.a. The Sweetest Bitch You’ll Ever Meet, is Jessie Spano. Let’s be honest, if Jessie had a nickname, it would be the same as Sammi’s. Both take crazy pills, one on-screen, one off-screen. Both are in incredibly unhealthy and sometimes abusive relationships with juiceheads. And both are wildly irrational. C’mon Jessie, using Cut Day to protest styrofoam? Which reminds me, Graham and Arvin are one and the same: relationship- and life-ruiners.

Ronnie Magro-Ortiz, a.k.a. Ronnie, is A.C. Slater. Both are gorillas, both are in relationships that neither will ever understand, both have scary dads who make appearances on the shows. And try as they might, both have dorky names. Ronald and Albert Clifford? [Insert clever line about McDonald’s and British people.]

Paul DelVecchio, a.k.a. DJ Pauly D, is Zack, or should I say, DJ Mark-Pauly G. (MPG, you can thank me later.) Both are comical protagonists and fresh-to-death playboys of their respective shows, and believe it or not, both have superpowers. For instance, Zack can stop time and freeze people into one position, and Pauly can stop gravity and freeze his hair into one position. Zack has been saved by the bell, and Pauly has been saved by the grenade whistle. Boom! Got ‘em!

Jenni, a.k.a. JWOWW, is Kelly. Like Kelly, JWOWW is the most attractive, most popular, and coolest female on the show. And Tom is the total equivalent of Johnny Dakota. Dirtbags.

Nicole Polizzi, a.k.a. Snooki/Shnooks/Snickers, is Lisa. Like Lisa, Snooki thinks she looks stylish, spends carelessly ($300 for THOSE sunglasses?!), drinks too much alcohol and has to face the consequences, and is the high school cheerleader that nobody paid attention to. Lisa’s last name is Turtle, Snooki loves her Crocadilly. There are also physical similarities, you know, with their skin color. DISCLAIMER: I am not racist.

Mike Sorrentino, a.k.a. The Situation, is Jeff, with one glaring difference: Jeff is good looking. Both are WAY too old to be smushing with their younger girls, and both are major sleazeballs. Karma is just an updated version of The Attic.  Also, I’m sure if Jeff did a Comedy Central Roast, he would be booed off-stage, too. Yikes.

Vinny Guadagnino, a.k.a. Vinny, is Screech. Kind of awkward, endearing, and… that’s all I’ve got. There were just no characters left. Unless I’m forgetting that Vinny also built a robot named Kevin?

Angelina Pivarnick, a.k.a. Jolie (what?), is Tori. Both are aggressive outcasts, and neither really had a place being on their shows. Thankfully, they only had brief stints in their overall series before packing their garbage bags and heading home. In Season 1 of The Jersey Shore, Angelina’s explanation for not showing up to work? “Honestly, like, I’m sick. When you’re sick, like, honestly, like.” And Tori’s explanation for not showing up to class on the day of her big presentation with Zack?  She “overslept.” Good one, guys.

Gratuitous Rod Belding Photo

Danny, the store owner, has the looks of Rod Belding and the managerial skills of Mr. Richard Belding. The guy gets no respect but has to try to put the gang into place anyway. Sad. (Aside: Mr. Belding is the most inept principal I’ve ever seen. He’s also wildly inappropriate. Why is he hanging out in Zack’s bedroom eating pizza with three teen dudes talking about girl problems?)

We also have our fair share of juicehead gorillas (Ox, Moose, and Brandon Tartikoff), grenades (Wendy and Margo), landmines (Violet and Louise), hyenas (Rhonda and that oily duck, Becky), and DTF bids (Stacey, Ginger, and Robin). And who doesn’t love a good sangwich and glass of Ron Ron Juice at the Max?


Life’s Little Pleasures: #2

9 Mar

Stepping on a really crunchy leaf.


Life’s Little Pleasures: #1

9 Mar

Completing a “very hard” Sudoku puzzle.

Favorite commercials ever.

8 Mar

It’s rare that I laugh audibly while watching the tube, but these Panda Cheese commercials have got me LOLing:

How Connected is Too Connected?

7 Mar

Last night marked the beginning of Boston Restaurant Week, which lasts not for one, but for two, glorious weeks. The boyfriend and I dined at The Capital Grille, and while the food was fabulous, this particular post is about what happened at the table next to us during dinner. It was an appalling commentary of where we as a society have come.

Three gentlemen were enjoying their clam chowder appetizers, each of them focused on their handheld smart phones throughout the course. I found this odd. Why go to dinner with others if you are not going to communicate with them? But, I thought, it can’t possibly last throughout the entire meal…

What a fool this mortal be. Their antisocial behavior continued throughout the main course; each man’s eyes were glued to his phone as he robotically and methodically brought fork to mouth, probably not even enjoying the silky goodness of the 14 oz. bone-in Kona-crusted dry aged sirloin with caramelized shallot butter, creamed spinach, and mashed tatoes!!! (Clearly, I, on the other hand, did enjoy.)

The boyfriend commented that maybe they were businessmen taking care of important business, though regardless of circumstances, this circus was reaching an absurd point. However, one of the three men was dressed like a total schlub, and I thus refute the idea that they were businessmen taking care of important business.

Halfway through the entrée, one of the men managed to put his phone away. What a relief! A human being was restored to this table of cyborgs! Sadly for our friend, his compadres were still carrying out their love affairs with their devices, and so he was left staring blankly at a wall decorated with a moose head. The moose was probably better company anyway.

Wired.

Dessert came. A second man snapped back to life! A real, live conversation using human mouths was taking place! Incredulously, the third man did not put his phone away. He did not speak a word the whole night. He did not put his device down or look up once. After the meal was over, he rose from his seat and walked to the door – STILL entranced by his paramour.

Can you imagine being at a table with these people? While I have never dined with someone so blatantly rude, I have experienced meals with those who begin laughing for no reason – only to realize that they are laughing at something their digital friend just said. What has happened to etiquette? Manners? Normal social human interaction? Don’t get me wrong. Technology obviously has its myriad benefits. Websites like Facebook have revolutionized the way we connect with others, and to be sure, there are perks to that. But it would be asinine to aver that there are no negative consequences to this new way of life. When does being connected become too connected?

Where is that fine line between maintaining meaningful and personal relationships and establishing shallow “relationships” online, for example, in the Twitterverse? I have seen people texting while crossing the street, nearly getting hit by cars, and not even realizing it. I have been subject to conversations that revolve around nothing other than how great a certain device is. There is nothing more boring to me than debating the merits of a Blackberry versus an iPhone. Is this really what people have to talk about now? I am so grateful for my dinky little “feature phone” – a phone without all that glitz and glamour – because my life is not being controlled by a thing. I don’t have to constantly update everyone with every minute detail of my life. I am not trying to display my wit, humor, or trivial information in 140 characters for the joy (or displeasure) of a bunch of followers. I am living my life in the moment instead of interrupting an experience to post about it online as it’s happening.

It’s very Fahrenheit 451ish, if you ask me.

At the rate we’re going, I fear that soon all social interactions will resemble those of the three droids seated next to me during dinner, a future where we have become so “connected” that we can’t turn off. And it seems that sometimes disconnecting is the only way we can savor the real relationships right in front of us and truly connect.

Rediscovering my favorite video games of yore

15 Dec

Sporcle has to be one of my favorite new pastimes (oxymoron?). Not familiar with Sporcle? Play at least three trivia games before reading the rest of this post. I implore you.

Anyway, I clicked on a Sporcle quiz called “Nintendo (NES) Games by Box Cover.” I think I only got four correct, but no matter. One of the missed answers was “Bubble Bobble.” “Bubble Bobble,” I thought to myself. “This conjures images of happiness, bubbles, fun music, and a laughing three-year-old Robyn.” Because I tend to Google everything (e.g. “What does it mean if my dog is sneezing when he’s on his back?”, “Should I store potatoes next to onions?” (the answer is no, by the way), “Why do…” and then leave the rest blank to see what fills in), I searched “Bubble Bobble.” 

The mind is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean unbelievably complex and mysterious. Something about this game left such an imprint on my toddling head that seeing its logo filled me with warmth and memories of childhood. Memories I forgot even existed. I trekked over to YouTube to listen to the melodic sounds of “Bubble Bobble.” Click play now to revel in its delights.

So while I am bouncing my head back and forth–bobbling, if you will–I stumble across this Wikipedia page, “List of Nintendo Entertainment System Games,” eager to rediscover artifacts of my yute. (Forgive me, I just watched “My Cousin Vinny” for the first time.) Now I have images darting through my head of early-90s video arcade birthday parties. I’m standing on a black, plastic crate so that I’m tall enough to stare into the magical screen of wonder. I have endless amounts of tokens, children are running around like chickens with their heads cut off, and boy, life is good. [My family also owned NES but, for some reason (probably because they were awesome), I remember the arcades best.]

Still listening to the “Bubble Bobble” theme song? How joyous is it?

Back to the list of NES games. Here are the games that sparked a nerve in my brain when my eyes passed over their titles:

0. Before we get started, here are some FYIs:

  • I’m going to stop putting all the games in quotation marks now. It’s tedious and unnecessary.
  • All video game titles will be linked to wonderful visuals in YouTube.
  • I’m not including Legend of Zelda, Donkey Kong, or any version of Super Mario, because everyone knows how sweet these games are and everyone played them. My selection below is, in my opinion, more of a unique collection.
  • With that said, I must mention Raccoon Mario, my favorite Mario transformation. Acquiring the Super Leaf turns Mario into a fuzzy, flying furball with unbelievable superpowers. And isn’t he cute? (Don’t worry, PETA: it’s not real fur.)

1. Bubble Bobble, but I think you already knew that.

2. BurgerTime. Holy. Moly. And I wonder where my cheeseburger obsession comes from? The premise of this brilliant game: Chef Peter Pepper must walk over hamburger ingredients (bun, meat patty, lettuce, cheese) located across a maze of platforms while avoiding pursuing characters, including Mr. Pickle, Mr. Hot Dog, and Mr. Egg. While terrifying, this game was also thrilling. And hunger-inducing.

3. Joe & Mac. This Super Nintendo classic, according to its Wikipedia page, “stars the green-haired Joe and the blue-haired Mac, cavemen who battle though numerous prehistoric levels using weapons such as boomerangs, bones, fire, flints, electricity, stone wheels, and clubs. The objective of the game is simply rescuing a group of girls who were kidnapped by a rival tribe of cavemen.” What a bunch of neanderthals. Har, har, har! Sigh.

3. The Disney games for SNES; specifically, Aladdin and The Lion King. These games were not only fun, but they were also challenging, true to their roots, and aesthetically pleasing. Listening to the sounds and viewing the videos provided in the links above really bring me back to the glory days.

4. Home Alone. I enjoyed both versions of this game. It was like you were Kevin McCallister! You were the one pulling all the pranks on those robbers. Eh, the movie was better.

5. Paperboy and Paperboy 2. For some reason, being a papergirl seemed a glamorous job to my four-year-old self. I’m glad I lived out this dream vicariously through the virtual imbecile in these games.

6. Q*Bert. I think I mostly enjoyed the sounds and colors of this game. I don’t think I ever really cared about the objective. And I still don’t…

7. Honorable mentions include Rampage (pretty much King Kong vs. Godzilla) and Marble Madness (a marble in a labyrinth).

Newer game systems like N64 are great, too, but maybe because I still have those systems, they don’t carry as much nostalgic weight. Eh, I don’t mind carrying all that extra BurgerTime weight around.