West Week Ever: Pop Culture In Review – 6/28/24

Before we kick things off, I’ve got to say that the Hawk Tuah girl completely missed me last week. After I published that post, I realized just how much she’d taken social media by storm! Now, I’m not one for revisions, but I began to wonder if I needed to rescind the West Week Ever honor from “The Internet’s Memesters”, and bestow it upon her. I mean, the purpose of the honor is for it to be a snapshot of what was going on in pop culture at the time. Not everyone cared about Justin Timberlake and his latest misfortune, but there are already t-shirts about this late night interviewee and her thoughts on oral sex. I don’t know if that’s too crass for this little enterprise, so I thought I’d open it up to you, the readers: Should last week’s West Week Ever stay as it is, or should we retroactively award it to someone guaranteed to *checks notes* “spit on that thang”? Sound off in the comments or on social media!

On the movie front, Lindsay and I watched the Netflix documentary Tell Them You Love Me, which is something everyone has been talking about lately. It’s about professor Anna Stubblefield who entered into a sexual relationship with Derrick Johnson, a student who’s both nonverbal and has cerebral palsy. But it’s so much crazier than that! Anna had studied the field of Facilitated Communication, which suggested that nonverbal people do understand language, but they need assistance in conveying their thoughts. So, through Facilitated Communication, an aide assists the nonverbal person by guiding their hand along a specialized keyboard. I’m sure you can see the problem here.

Facilitated Communication is controversial because it’s almost like a Literary Quija board. Is the aide guiding the movement or the nonverbal student? The documentary brings its legitimacy into question, as Johnson’s speech didn’t seem to match his level of abilities. He would allegedly type things like “I wish to know the touch of a woman.” I don’t know about you, but if I had limited speech capacity, and time was of the essence (Each letter of each word would have to be typed out), I’d probably just type “Titties” and call it a day.

Anyway, the documentary covers the saga of their relationship, from beginning to the present day, leaving the viewer with SO many questions. The main controversy seems to be that people see Stubblefield as a sick individual who took advantage of Johnson, while Stubblefield’s account is that she “got rizzed up” by this charismatic man who’s been written off by society due to his disability. Definitely an interesting watch if you’re looking for something to add to your list.

Trailer Park

Here (Theaters, November 15)

Well, first and foremost, I’m glad to see that Tom Hanks seems to be done with his Apple contract. I swear, for the past 4 years he’s been making these movies that looked interesting, but they were on Apple TV+, so I was never gonna see ’em. I don’t loathe A.I. as much as many of you, so I don’t have strong feelings here, as long as it’s used well. This looks good, despite the fact it might set a dangerous precedent, with Hollywood taking away the wrong lesson if it’s successful.

Red One (Theaters, November 15)

I knew this movie was old because I remember seeing JK Simmons getting in shape for this role, and that was about 2 years ago. Apparently it was meant to come out last Christmas, but the strikes yadda yadda. The weirdest part to me, however, is that it was meant for streaming on Prime Video, but is now getting a theatrical release. The timing is right, and it’s got The Rock, but I still think this is clearly a streaming movie, around the caliber of Red Notice. Hey, what’s with Dwayne and Red movies? Anyway, there is a LOT going on here. Probably TOO much. In fact, the only thing that impressed me was how they seemingly pulled Fantastic Four-era Chris Evans through time, to the present day. Anyway, I’ll watch this when it eventually ends up on Prime Video.

Batman: Caped Crusader (Prime Video, August 1st)

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but creator Bruce Timm has been saying that this is the Batman show that Fox Kids wouldn’t let them make in the 90s. And I’m picking up what they’re putting down, as this is basically Batman: The Animated Series one timeline over from what we got. There are 2 changes here that are sort of keeping me at bay, with one that could be helped and one that couldn’t. First off, I love the ambiguous time period of the original show. Like, yeah, it feels like the 40s, but they have computers and TV and whatnot. Plus, if you go over to Metropolis, it’s The City of Tomorrow, with flying cars and junk. This, however, seems pretty set in the 40s, with no modern tech around. OK, fine. I can deal. The second thing, though, is what would have clinched this for me: Kevin Conroy. Now, I’m not sure if he was in talks before he passed away, and Hamish Linklater is doing a good job here, but that Conroy name would have sealed the deal for me. And not as some guest character, like Adam West as The Grey Ghost. I needed Conroy in the cowl. Can’t be done. I get it. But that’s what will always have this in Second Place for me.

Toys “R” Us: The Origin of Toys “R” Us – OpenAi Sora

Some folks online were losing their frickin’ minds over the fact that this thing even existed. “Did you see what Toys ‘R’ Us did?! How dare they?! This is taking jobs away from people!” Calm down. This sort of thing isn’t even new in the world of advertising, as Chick Fil A makes shitty AI “films” every Christmas season. Plus, Toys “R” Us still isn’t a cash rich brand anymore, so they went the cheapest route. In case you haven’t been paying attention, their owners have chosen the most economical paths possible to keep that brand relevant until they hopefully, one day, return it to its former glory. Yeah…that’s not gonna happen – partly because of you. Yes, YOU. I have sat here, watching so many of y’all talk ALL the shit about Toys “R” Us since its demise back in 2017. “I never liked it anyway.” “It was overpriced.” “Lionel Kiddie City was better.” All of that and more. You’ve already turned your back on Geoffrey, so this isn’t for you. Go play your Fortnite and your Candy Crush! Meanwhile, I’ll be over here, printing up some counterfeit Geoffrey Dollars to have for that fateful day, foretold in the Toy Scripture!

Will Around The Web

Adam and I released the latest episode of our podcast Remember That Show?, but this was a Very Special Episode, as it kicked off our summer event, Saved By The Summer. For the next 4 episodes, we will be taking a deep dive into the Saved By The Bell franchise, starting with this week’s episode on Good Morning, Miss Bliss. Up to this point, we’ve covered a lot of shows at different places on the ‘Member Meter, but I feel this is the first show we’ve covered where we’re certain you’re familiar with it. Plus, this serves as a great jumping-on point for new listeners! So, grab your To Go order from The Max, tell Mr. Carosi you’re gonna be late to work, and check it out here!

Things You Might Have Missed This Week

  • It was reported that Michael Jackson was in debt to the tune of $500M at the time of his death. And, really, that’s how ya do it: Check your banking app, crank up the Propofol, and say “That ain’t my problem”, as you pull the lid down on your sensory deprivation tank. Respect.
  • As part of a $500M cost-cutting measure, Paramount has nuked the official websites for Comedy Central, TVLand, MTV, and CMT. Those sites now feature a pop-up, redirecting folks to Paramount+, though much of the content removed from the sites is not available on the streamer…
  • Speaking of streaming, Warner Bros Discovery is changing its strategy, as the upcoming Harry Potter and It prequel series, Welcome To Derry, are being developed for linear HBO, as opposed to debuting on Max.
  • HBO also finally confirmed the existence of Green Lanterns, which has received an 8-episode order.
  • Not to be outdone, Marvel’s Kevin Feige revealed that Fantastic Four will be a period piece, which begins filming the day after San Diego Comic-Con.
  • It ain’t all sunshine and roses for the MCU, however, as Delroy Lindo has become the most recent cast member to abandon the Blade ship.
  • It was a sad week for the Breasterant industry (no, that’s an actual term they use!), as Hooters abruptly closed roughly 41 locations across 14 states. If ya ask me, it’s because of America’s obsession with ass and twerking! I’ve said it before: I’ve never been to a Hooters that deserved to be called Hooters, but I’ve been to many that deserved to be called Cheeks. Time to pivot!
  • If you’ve got a freaky grandma who always wanted to lick the back of Alex Trebek’s head, then you better get her on the house phone, as the dearly departed host of Jeopardy! will be receiving his own commemorative USPS stamp.

There’s a fast food arms race going on, and ya love to see it! Back when Morgan Spurlock (grumbling) died, my buddy Mike asked “Do you think they’re gonna bring back Super Size now?”, like they were waiting for the bastard to die or something! I mean, I wouldn’t be mad at ’em, but little did I realize that they had something better in mind. First, though, let’s back up a bit.

At the beginning of the week, I saw a Wendy’s commercial about their $5 Biggie Bag, and how there were imitators who couldn’t compete. If you’re not familiar with the Biggie Bag, it’s a choice of sandwich, 4-piece nuggets, Biggie Fries, and Biggie drink for $5. Or, at least that was how it was originally sold. Over time, due to this “inflation” every company is lying about, it had climbed to $6. Plus, we need to talk about the Biggie concept: Back in the old days of Super Size, Biggie was a competitor because it was, well, big. Now it’s just a word they slap on packaging, but you are not getting the largest size available when you order Biggie products. But I digress… My curiosity was piqued by this claim about imitators. You see, I am not a healthy boy. I eat more fast food than most people, and I know the ins and outs of most of the promotions these places are offering. Anyway, my question was answered when I later saw a Burger King commercial.

Let me start off by saying that I wouldn’t feed Burger King to my worst enemy. It misses more than it hits, and its nuggets are so bad that they’re practically giving them away at $1.99. Kids will eat any and all chicken nuggets, and most of them won’t even touch the BK nuggs. Well, BK has a meal deal, where $5 gets you a choice of sandwich, 4 nuggets, small fry, and small drink. Not too shabby, if you live in one of those little podunk towns that only has a BK. Ya know, the one where your best friend’s bitch of a sister was the assistant manager until they caught her having sex with her boyfriend in the freezer? But that does nothing for me. So, I’m glad this little pissing match had, at least, forced the price of the Biggie Bag back down a dollar. But I wasn’t prepared for what would happen next.

Tuesday morning, McDonald’s USA president Joe Erlinger appeared on NBC’s Today, saying that customers have told him that they are “stretched”, so as a 4-week promotion, the chain has introduced the $5 Meal Deal. This deal includes either a McChicken or McDouble, a 4-piece McNuggets, small fry, and small drink. I love McDonald’s like it’s a relative. I’ve already figured out how to eat cheaply, as you can get a McDouble and McChicken or 4-piece McNuggets for $3.99. Any size drink will cost another $1.49. If you’re a glutton, you can throw on a small fry, which is about $2.89. That would run me roughly $8 and change, and was a regular lunch order. But now I can get all of that for $3 cheaper?! And it’s food I already like, and not something I’m pretending to like, simply because it’s affordable.

I know the healthy among you won’t like this, or the ones who hate “fast food’s predatory marketing to children” or whatever. You people are what killed the ultra fun sugary cereal industry, and I will NOT let you ruin this! Sure, this stuff is probably taking years off my life, but have ya taken a good look around lately? I’m pretty confident I will have seen enough once my number’s up. So, I’m gonna enjoy today! And, with that, McDonald’s had the West Week Ever.