Discover more from Follow Friday
Ted Lasso's Origins, Shameless Oscar Bait, and 12-Foot Turkeys
🎶 "Down on skid rooooooowwwwwww...."
Welcome to the second, slightly less experimental edition of the new Follow Friday newsletter!
So far, I’ve found that collecting stuff to share here is a surprisingly fun creative exercise. As the week progressed, I’ve been looking forward to opening the bookmarks folder and picking out the best stuff to share with you. I hope you’re digging it, too.
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The single best thing I saw online this week: This video of an actor named Jackie, who took a clip of President Biden talking about his “mental state" and lip-synced it in three different styles: “Pixar,” “Movie,” and “Claymation.” I promise you will watch this video at least three times; her Claymation impression is especially cool. (@lovegodlovepeople on TikTok)
The best podcasts I’ve heard this week
I always eat up the advertising podcast Tagline, in which Tim Nudd goes behind the scenes of famous campaigns like “Got Milk?” and “We’ll Leave the Light On For You.” The latest episode is all about the unlikely origins of Emmy-winning sitcom Ted Lasso, as an ad for NBC Sports when they picked up the broadcasting rights to the Premier League. It is wild to hear Jason Sudeikis doing “the Ted voice” in a forgettable SNL sketch, and to be reminded how much less likable the character used to be.
I’m trying to keep this newsletter mostly positive in the spirit of the Follow Friday podcast, but here’s one thing about (ugh) Elon Musk: An episode of On with Kara Swisher about how Kara’s opinion of Musk has, shall we say, evolved. (Disclosure for those who don’t know, I produced one of her old
podcatspodcasts, Recode Decode.1) Anyway, this is a very thorough recap of their journalistic relationship, expertly guided by On producer Nayeema Raza. I stopped trusting Musk a while ago, when he started flirting with COVID denialism and conspiracies, but I suspect Kara is representative of a lot of people who feel he’s crossed the Rubicon.
Indiana University students don’t know how lucky they are to have Dr. Jeff Holdeman, the guest on this two-parter episode of Ologies. His field of expertise? “The Vampire in European and American Culture.” Dr. Holdeman is the perfect match for host Alie Ward’s energy and curiosity, and I could’ve happily listened to a third hour of him talking about this stuff. My only critique: Not enough discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer here.
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help i’m addicted to this one youtube video
Little Shop of Horrors, a movie that traumatized me as a child when I rented it from Blockbuster because it starred Rick Moranis from Honey I Shrunk the Kids, got its start as a stage musical in 1982, written by Alan Menken and the late Howard Ashman. They’d later go on to write the songs for films like The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and Aladdin, so their musical comedy sensibilities imprinted on me at a young age. All of which is a long walk to saying that this week I re-discovered this video of the Little Shop Off-Broadway cast performing some of the play’s highlights, and I can’t stop watching it. And when I’m not watching or listening, I’m humming it to myself. Every song is a bop, and the cast is INCREDIBLE. Menken himself is on hand to solo Audrey’s tragicomic “I Want” song, “Somewhere That’s Green,” which might sound a little familiar to fans of “Part of Your World.”
“Melt some cheese … make the world better.”
The potential death of Twitter (any day now…) will be pretty terrible for a lot of online communities and industries, but one of my favorite things about the platform is the likelihood of stumbling into experts. Case in point, author, who this week explained the shared ancestor of two very different words: “Nacho” and “Nazi.”
My most anticipated movies for the rest of 2022
We are in the final six weeks of 2022, which means that the movies vying for Oscars have started flying in at a rapid clip. I raved last week about Tár, and this week I saw The Banshees of Inisherin, which I also loved. Closer to the end of the year, I’ll rank everything I’ve seen, but I spent half an hour this week on Letterboxd figuring out what else is coming out that I’m looking forward to … here’s my current top 5:
Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery — my most anticipated movie of the year, no lie; it’s only going to be in theaters for one week, starting on Wednesday, and I’m making plans to see it twice in that time. And then I’ll probably watch it again when it hits Netflix in December.
The Fabelmans — I was starting to fall off the Steven Spielberg train, but after his near-perfect remake of West Side Story last year I am fully back on, and ready to have my emotions jerked around by this barely-veiled autobiographical movie.
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio — I skipped the Disney+ remake of Pinocchio this year because literally no one liked it, but the opposite seems to be true of del Toro’s take, which is coming to Netflix December 9. Based purely on internet buzz, I think it’s a lock for Best Animated Feature.
Women Talking — This drama about women in an isolated religious colony, directed by Sarah Polley, looks like it’s going to be an upsetting watch, but I’ve heard nothing but great things. The cast includes Rooney Mara and Claire Foy, so we’re about to get a masterclass in eye acting.
Babylon — A 3+ hour epic about the early days of Hollywood is the most obvious awards bait ever. Fine! I loved director Damien Chazelle’s previous films Whiplash and First Man, and I liked most of La La Land. The trailer looks fun, so whatever, get that Oscar, Damien.
Anyway here is a 12-foot turkey
The best thing I’ve read this week
If you care about internet culture like I do, thenis consistently one of the best-value subscriptions on Substack. illuminates the internet better than anyone else I've read through his smart and funny analysis of social media, crypto, weird subcultures, and everything in between. His Wednesday newsletter convincingly makes the case for why Twitter is like a power grid, and why that appealed to someone like Elon Musk:
In a simple power grid irl, you have a power plant generating energy which is then sent out to various transformers. Those transformers then send that energy to transmission lines and substations, which then connect to people’s homes and businesses and make the lights work, etc. With Twitter, I think of it like a power plant that’s using retweets, likes, and quote tweets to generate viral energy. That energy is organized by verified and/or branded accounts, curated, and then sent out into the cultural zeitgeist. Over the last decade, we’ve watched each major section of society start to hook themselves up to this grid.
Palette cleanser: Baby elephant interrupts reporter
… And the rest
How the IPA became cringe; GIVE THIS HOUSE COW SOME ICE; and please give me $80 so I can buy this stupid thing; not stupid: a video tour of San Francisco architecture; ⚠️don’t share your location on BeReal⚠️; Mike Pence’s last days with Killer Robot3000; the U.S. Navy’s most adorable boat; you are not mentally ready for what this dog sounds like; we’ve found it, the worst tattoo of all time; and can someone please cast Lance Reddick as a Batman villain?
So yes, I am the “Eric” she mentions when she talks about going to Tesla HQ on Halloween night in 2018. Left out of the story is how Musk was like an hour late, which I’ve always suspected was intentional.