Day: July 6, 2012

Easy Meat

Paris, 1980; the audio's better quality than I expected from the video quality.

I read something Frank Conniff wrote a few years back, to the effect of, "The two best TV dramas of the past decade were The Sopranos and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And the reason people who watched Sopranos didn't watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer is because it was called Buffy the Vampire Slayer."

So with Zappa (himself an MST3K favorite). He was easy to dismiss as a novelty act, with song titles like Easy Meat, Yellow Snow, Titties 'n Beer. Fail to look past his often-adolescent humor and you could easily miss the sophistication of his lyrics, his intelligence as a social commentator, and his sheer musical talent. You could miss one of the greatest American composers, on par with Gershwin and Copland, and absolutely unique in the rock genre. (If you want to constrain him to a genre.)

I always got the impression that, like many great American artists, he was better-appreciated on the other side of the Atlantic. The last two nights' videos were of shows in Germany, and tonight's is in France -- where I think it's fair to say they considered him something of a...

...what's the word? A supreme talent? A very smart man? Damn, there's a word for that; tip of my tongue...

Great Opening Titles: Get Smart

Going farther back with this one -- to 1965.

Classic. From the blaring horns to the fast car and especially Adams's confident bearing, we're treated to a show where the funniest thing is how serious it's pretending to be. And then the increasingly ridiculous door sequence (later to inspire another great TV sequence, the theater doors on MST3K), and finally -- that phone booth. The first of many far-too-conspicuous hidden spy devices. (A surprising number of which were some sort of phone...)

Simpsons did this one, too, but I can't find it online. Fox seems to be pretty aggressive in taking down couch gag montages. Because I guess that interferes with people buying DVD's or watching syndicated episodes or something, somehow.