West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 5/10/24

Ya know, in a different timeline, this week ended MUCH differently. And that’s all I’m gonna say about that! Let me just say that if you were Drake, Kendrick Lamar, a bear, or a man in the woods, then you more than likely didn’t have the West Week Ever.

Meanwhile, this is a Tweet from last week that I was pretty proud of. I meant to share it in the last edition, but I was in a hurry Oh, and for those who need context, at the height of his fame, 39 year old Jerry Seinfeld entered into a relationship with 17 year old Shoshanna Lonstein:


Trailer Park

Apple iPad Pro 2024

So, while not exactly a trailer, it was a preview for an upcoming thing, so I’ll allow it. For whatever reason, folks lost their shit over this commercial. I mean, there have been thinkpieces and Apple has even turned off comments on the post. Now, it may not seem like it, but I actually strive to not be Out of Touch Old Man. That said, I sought this out merely because I’d heard about the backlash, and my response? What the Hell is wrong with society?! I mean, was it just a slow news week? No Met Gala scandals to chase? I am so tired of the “This makes me uncomfortable, so no one else should experience it” mentality. It’s just a bunch of things getting crushed. We’re not talking about Toy Story 3 here! And, as heavy-handed as it was, these folks are missing the point: That all of humanity’s art, culture, technology, etc has been crushed down into the powerful and ultra thin iPad Pro! This is capitalism! This is how advertising works! These people would be upset by the old Maxell ad, wondering how angry the guy’s downstairs neighbors must be regarding all the noise! I’m gonna need folks to get a grip.

Mufasa: The Lion King (Theaters, December 20)


This looks like the kind of video they’d run on a loop at Circuit City, just to show you the “True Power” of a Pentium-charged computer’s graphics card. The computer would never perform this well once you got it home, but the demo was enough to get your dad to say, “Boy, they’ve sure come a long way since the Commodore, huh?”

Eric (Netflix, May 20)

The articles I read about the film made it seem a lot more interesting than this trailer did. I’m not entirely sure what I was expecting. Maybe The HappyTime Murders but played straight? This is less “What If Jim Henson Used His Gifts To Solve Mysteries?” and more “What If John Walsh Had Lost His Everloving Mind?” I mean, the scene where the puppet talks to Cumberbatch in the bathroom? That’s just alcohol induced. That’s as close to a jump scare that this movie can offer, but anyone going into it expecting more of that is more than likely going to be sorely disappointed. Plus, I haven’t been able to look at Gabby Hoffman the same way since Girls. So, I’m gonna have to pass here.

Will Around The Web

Adam and I put out episode 13 of Remember That Show?, where we talked about the old Fox series MADtv. I’ve said it before, but I’m always surprised when I see the episode number, as I swear we’ve been doing this for years, yet the episode count doesn’t support that belief! Anyway, this is also a good time for some corrections. You see, I know a lot of trivial stuff, but there’s also a good deal of “running my mouth” that goes on. So, I sometimes get things wrong. Here are 3 things that have been brought to my attention:

  • In episode 10, we covered Pryde of the X-Men, and I said that the budget for this pilot came from a planned 13th episode of the RoboCop cartoon. Well, listener Shawn Robare pointed out on our YouTube post (Yup, you can listen to the show over there!) that this was an unsubstantiated rumor that has sort of survived the test of time. Pryde had actually begun production around 1985, which means it predated the RoboCop series.
  • In episode 13, my buddy Special Forces pointed out that it was Frank Caliendo, and not Will Sasso, who portrayed John Madden. I swear I saw Caliendo in my head, but somehow said Sasso. My B!
  • Also in this ep, I said that Orlando Jones was The Sprite Guy, when he was actually the 7-Up Guy. Hey, they were both “Uncolas”! Anyway, I blame Adam for not catching that, as he was just telling me the other day that his house was always stocked with 7-Up when he was growing up.

So, let it be said that I’m willing to admit when I’m wrong! However, if anyone makes a habit of correcting me, I will be burying them in the desert with all those unsold E.T. Atari cartridges!

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • There are reports that a Disney+/Max/Hulu bundle is coming, but you may know it better as “Cable TV”…
  • NBCUniversal formally ordered the “reboot” of The Office, which is actually a spinoff, as the new show follows the documentary crew from the first series, as they search for a new subject to follow, eventually settling on a struggling midwestern newspaper. Yeah, I guess NBC wasn’t too excited either, as this show is being developed for Peacock, and not broadcast NBC.
  • Get ready to Move! That! Bus! ABC has ordered a revival of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, this time hosted by the creators of the global lifestyle brand Home Edit, Clea Shearer and Joanna Teplin. Reese Witherspoon is also on board as a producer this time around.
  • Miss USA 2023 Noelia Voigt resigned, citing mental health reasons, only to be followed by the resignation of Miss Teen USA 2023 UmaSofia Srivastava. THERE’S A MISS USA POWER VACUUM! FETCH MY SLIPPERS!
  • Bryan Fuller did what Bryan Fuller does, and that’s drop out of a show he was announced to be involved with – this time Crystal Lake, which is the Friday The 13th prequel that A24 was developing for Peacock.
  • Lauren Graham has been cast as the lead in The Z-Suite, Tubi’s first live action original series, set at a marketing firm that’s thrown into chaos when a scandal results in the seasoned executives being pushed out, and leadership is handed to the inexperienced Gen Z employees. I love Lauren, but not even she can save an idea that sounds this bad. I will say it’s clear Fox is putting their stamp on Tubi (they own it, after all), as this sounds like the kind of show they would have aired back in the mid ’00s, right after The Loop.
  • Rumors of Bluey‘s demise have been greatly exaggerated, as it was announced 20 brand new 3-minute “minisodes” are coming to Disney and ABC this summer.
  • How you doin’? This week saw the 20th (!) anniversary of the series finale of Friends.
  • Tom Cavanagh must have a “Pee Tape” on Arrowverse producer Greg Berlanti, as it was announced he would be appearing in the series finale of The CWs Superman & Lois.
  • Speaking of DC Comics characters, we got our first look at David Corenswet’s costume in James Gunn’s upcoming Superman. Personally, I hate it. It’s too textured. It should be simple. I want it to look like his mama sewed it!

I was about 3 weeks behind on X-Men’97, so I took the opportunity to get caught up before next week’s season finale. Per usual, I’ve got thoughts:

  • So, the Prime Sentinels trashed the mansion, and the X-Men just stayed there? Like, Xavier actually looked around at the carnage, and said “Screw this mess, I’m going to bed”? I mean, maybe someone put him in the bed, but that property should have been condemned at that point. I mean, the Westchester Marriott in Tarrytown opened in 1981, and it surely was an option unless there was a convention in town or something.
  • I already ruined some folks by comparing the Cyclops voice actor’s portrayal to that of Chris Parnell as Jerry Smith, but did anyone else think Captain America’s voice was…off? For lack of a better description, it was like he was portrayed by a Latin actor who was trying really hard to hide an accent. Think Ricardo Montalban playing anyone other than Khan or Mr. Rourke.
  • So, it was luck that Trask turned out to be a Prime Sentinel after he was dropped off that building in Madripoor. Otherwise, Rogue needs to be brought up on charges. That kind of behavior is what leads to a Superhuman Registration Act…
  • Speaking of that, are we gonna gloss over how Wolverine and Nightcrawler proceeded to brutally murder a shit ton of people? I mean, it was “self defense”, and I know they got by Standards & Practices with the whole “They were fighting robots” defense. After all, that’s how the Ninja Turtles were able to beat the shit out of the cartoon Foot Soldiers. Still, at this point, the X-Men didn’t know anything about how Prime Sentinels operated. The script treats them like mindless zombies, but it wasn’t necessarily a “one-way trip”. There might have been a cure! I mean, Beast clearly felt that way, as he spirited Trish Tilby off to a bed for monitoring. Meanwhile, 2 mutants just murdered the inhabitants of a small town. And folks wonder why humanity is scared of them! In a saga where President Kelly points out the optics of the situation, this is the sort of thing he was talking about.
  • I don’t like Roberto. I know we’re supposed to root for him to “come around”. We’re supposed to dismiss any negative aspect about him with “He’s scared and confused”. OK, but I still don’t have to like him.
  • It always bothered me in Star Trek Generations how a cast member would be seen in an older Starfleet uniform and, when we next saw them, they’d be in the more recent uniform, with no explanation whatsoever. So, I appreciated how this show managed to justify having characters segue into other familiar looks from the comics. Roberto takes Jubilee shopping, which results in her adopting what was her “Vampire Era” costume (Yeah, Jubilee was a vampire for a while). Rogue’s grief over Gambit leads her to adopt her green X-Men Legacy era suit. But I still don’t understand the retro suits being used on Muir Island, other than “They were here, so we put them on.”
  • “Operation: Zero Tolerance” is oddly one of my favorite 90s storylines. The comics somehow managed to make an interesting story surrounding Iceman and Cecilia Reyes – a mutant doctor who had no desire to be a mutant. This storyline also introduced Bastion, and the Bastion seen in this cartoon is not my Bastion. Not in his origin or even how he sounds. I get that they had to find a way to “make it work”, but I was somewhat disappointed  by that.
  • Magneto tried. I want to make sure we all give him credit for that. It wasn’t subterfuge. It wasn’t part of some grand plan. He honestly tried to do things Xavier’s way, and he learned that it was just that: a Dream.

I’ve got to shift out of bullet points for  this part, as this might take a while. You see, there’s an online comics blowhard who was posting this week about how it bothers him when Charles Xavier is compared to Martin Luther King Jr. And, while I do feel the comparison is something of an oversimplification, I do think it’s apt. First off, if you had to scribble down a list of “People Who Had Dreams”, it would probably go:

  • Fantine
  • The Everly Brothers
  • Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Charles Xavier

No, Charles Xavier is not the Martin Luther King, Jr that we’re taught about in school. He’s not the infallible leader whose assassination would one day garner him a national holiday. But, ya see, neither was Martin Luther King Jr. At the end of the day, he was human, which meant he was flawed. History has done a great job of sanitizing the whole MLK saga, but this was also a man who was the subject of FBI surveillance. They wrote letters to try to convince him to kill himself, “for the greater good”! He was a man who, allegedly, had extramarital affairs while “doing the good work”. He had struggles and challenges, but he had to keep his eye on the dream of “peaceful coexistence” between the races. So, through that light, I start to understand the Xavier comparisons even more because the best Charles Xavier is the flawed Charles Xavier.

It really comes down to the writer, but I’d say the past 20 years have given us a LOT of examples that show us Charles Xavier is not perfect. He was something of a womanizer himself. He was in love with a teenage girl, who he unethically invited to his school to become his first student. He was a shitty father. He sent an entire team to their deaths and then covered it up. But he did all of this because he thought he was RIGHT. He thought it was all necessary, in pursuit of his dream of “peaceful coexistence” between humans and mutants.

So, as you can see, it’s a bit more nuanced than a lot of folks make it out to be. They both had Dreams, they both inspired people, but they were both flawed. Flawed Inspirational Dreamers. It sounds like the name of a 90s Alternative album. Anyway, let’s just say “I get it”.

Anyway, I’ve recently been trying to figure out what sets this show apart from the original X-Men cartoon. I liked that show a lot in the beginning, but I fell off because I didn’t like how it went about adapting classic X-Men storylines. I’ve discussed this in the past, but that show ran parallel to my discovery of the comics, so I was constantly comparing and contrasting the two. I feel the biggest issue was that the show was locked into the “Jim Lee Era” aesthetic, yet it was revisiting storylines that predated that. So, I’m sitting there, like, “Gambit wasn’t around for The Dark Phoenix Saga!” They were trying to make stories work without having access to the appropriate supporting cast, settings, etc.

I have come to realize that the passage of time is probably the best thing that could have happened to this concept. X-Men ’97 is still locked into that era, however the show is allowed to breathe because it can now adapt storylines that were happening in the comics during its original run – stories the ’92 incarnation couldn’t touch because production simply didn’t work that quickly. So, instead of looking backward, X-Men ’97 looks forward while using familiar storylines. They can do more with them, as they now have more possibilities ahead of them. The original X-Men series could really only hope to catch up to the day’s comics, which would have been fine. But X-Men ’97 now has over 25 years of additional storylines at its disposal, all which help to move the narrative forward. For example, this first season has managed to weave together 1984’s “Lifedeath”, 1985’s “The Trial of Magneto” from Uncanny X-Men #200, 1993’s “Fatal Attractions”, 1997’s “Operation: Zero Tolerance”, and 2001’s “E is for Extinction”. It still runs into some of the original run’s issues, regarding cast (For example, they split up into Blue and Gold Teams, yet the show is Blue Team heavy, as most of the Gold members from the comics have only shown up in cameos), but has managed to work around them. Instead of just being able to pull from past and present, as X-Men did, X-Men ’97 can pull from past, present, and future. I just feel that has enabled it to provide richer storytelling.

Anyway, I’ve rambled enough. X-Men ’97 is a show that never misses, and that’s why it, once again, had the West Week Ever.