Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, March 10, 2021

In noting that Andy Richter’s upcoming reunion with Conan O’Brien as sidekick on “The Tonight Show” represents more of an exception than a trend, NYT’s Alessandra Stanley pinpoints why the onscreen TV wingman is now superfluous:

But the demise of the second banana is also a fallout of the interactive age. Now that everyone feels entitled to a say — by blog, text message or call-in vote to “American Idol” — the audience has become the sidekick. Laughter and applause come on command, then a chosen few in the studio are rewarded with humbling on-camera cameos, whether it’s dancing with Ellen DeGeneres, turning stupid pet tricks with [David] Letterman or licking a lawn mower on [Jimmy] Fallon’s show.

So we’re all just a bunch of second bananas, reacting to the performers on-stage — whether that stage is television, YouTube, blog, or whatever. And since that reaction is broadcast for public consumption, it’s reinterpreted as participation in the extended whole. You don’t have to tell me: The tagline that I fashioned for this here blog — “Read. React. Repeat.” — is a paean to the Digital Age back-and-forth. (Sorta.)

As far as late-night specifically: What originally endeared me to “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” was, in fact, the re-introduction of the sidekick on that show. And since the O’Brien-Richter matchup operated more like a collaborative tandem than as the presumed mentor-tutor dynamic (as acknowledged by O’Brien himself), the relationship worked. Frankly, I think the former sharp comedic energy has been lacking since Richter left, and having him back bodes well for an 11:30 version of Conan (sorry, Mr. Letterman).

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/10/2021 12:48:32 PM
Category: Celebrity, Internet, Pop Culture, Society, TV
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An almost-wholly personal blast from the past: I’ve come across the only promotional blurb that ever solely sold me on a book.

That book is an obscure one: “The Shattered Horse” by S.P. Somtow. I haven’t read it in years; I might still have my 20-year-old paperback copy somewhere in storage (I’m not inclined to dig it out). I remember it as an eye-opener for my teenaged self because it involved a down-and-dirty deconstructive interpretation of ancient Greece and Greek mythology, casting both in a much more paganish guise than I had known up to that point.

Anyway, the author (who, to his credit, was actually slumming when he wrote this) crafted this fantasy novel around one simple idea: That Astyanax, the last heir of mythic Troy, survived his apparent infant death and grew up to restart the Trojan War.

And here’s the language that sold me:

An era of myth is ending, an age of heroes and bronze; the time of iron and armies awaits, as yet unborn.

The link is Astyanax, son of Hector, direct descendant of the Olympian Skyfather, and heir to the now ravaged lands of Troy.

Within the city walls, the great wooden horse of the Greeks lies shattered, its terrible task fulfilled, and beggars scavenge in the ruins of the once great palace. The young king returns to claim his land, though his dreams of glory and vengeance lie in dust. To save his kingdom, Astyanax must relive the acts of his uncle, Paris…

Kidnap eternal Helen - and start the Trojan War. Again.

What can I say? Something about that last line, with the free-standing and ominous “again” finalizing the concept, grabbed me. The book itself ended up a worthwhile-enough read.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 03/10/2021 11:24:28 AM
Category: Creative, Publishing
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