New Brad City: 10 Favorite Brad Moments from Happy Endings

31 Dec

No one seems to pay for cable these days, but chances are, if you own a tumblr account or have access to .gifs, you’ve seen Happy Endings. The fast-paced, precisely-timed sitcom about dysfunctional friends living in Chicago has absolutely hit its stride this year in its third season, fleshing out its six kooky main characters and allowing each actor to really settle into his and her role, no one more so than Damon Wayans Jr, who is absolutely delightful as Brad Williams. Devoted husband, best friend, and candle enthusiast, Brad has dominated the season with .gif-worthy antics, sassy quotables, and weird voices all your friends have surely tried to impersonate. Here, I look back on Brad’s 10 best moments in 2012 season.

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The Wanderer: Dirty Beaches and Rock Iconography

8 Feb

In underground music, in spite of insisting that things like back-stories and personae are stupid and that music should be all about the music, man, most of us rock fans are suckers for iconography. It’s what separates the Ramones from the Wipers, the Strokes from A.R.E. Weapons, the notable faces from any culture or subculture from the undervalued artists and also-rans. Kurt Cobain used it to his advantage and became the biggest rock star in the world by pretending it was the very thing he didn’t want. Stephen Malkmus’ persona came from slight shrugs and Delphic lyrics, eventually becoming a slacker poster boy in the process. Even if you feign not giving a shit hard enough, you can become an icon from it. Your personality is turned into your persona, it goes the long way around.

Others have made their rock star careers much simpler by just plucking the best fruit from the trees of culture, combining many elements– including their own experiences– and fusing them together in order to cultivate an image that they see fit enough for their type of performances. 50’s iconography started to pop up in little corners of music in 2011, white t-shirts and sock hop dresses rippling in the wind down a long stretch of highway. It was an era hardly tapped by the preservationists of culture up to this point– except during the seventies, with Happy Days appropriating the fifties and early American punk nicking the aesthetic of surf culture and then feeding it back to them in short, distorted, provocative blasts– as the four decades that come after it have been endlessly mined for style and inspiration. I’m not exactly complaining that people had to live through post-punk two separate times; I’m just saying black fades in the laundry when you wash it too often.

The 2011 appropriation of 50s culture seemed fresh because it’s been a while since the last time anybody’s bothered to swipe cues from it. And out of the people who pinched a few tricks from the era, no artist did it with as much panache and creativity as Alex Zhang Hungtai, who records under the name Dirty Beaches. Continue reading

The First-Annual Parks and Recreation Power Rankings!

30 Dec

Let me tell you something everybody already knows but seems afraid to say: Parks and Recreation is the best sitcom on television.

Anchored by the best ensemble cast since Arrested Development and led by a showrunner who wrote for The Office back when it was actually funny, the town of Pawnee, Indiana is coming up on Springfield for title of “best use of an entire community in a television series.” Its motto is “First in friendship, fourth in obesity,” its most beloved public figure was a 25-year-old mini horse with diabetes, whose funeral rivaled Prince William’s wedding ceremony in terms of pomp.

Save for the final season of Friday Night Lights and the penultimate season of Breaking Bad, you’d be hard-pressed to find a show that had a better 2011 than Parks and Rec. Season 3 rescued itself from the chopping block, suffering both a shortened order and a stint in mid-season purgatory to become pretty close to a mainstream critical darling. With the relatively new acquisition of Rob Lowe and Adam Scott, the Parks team bolstered their cast and hit their stride in their third season. Season 4 jumped that hurdle in its first ten episodes, currently enjoying a run as not only the best season of an already great show, but one of the best seasons of television any sitcom has had in years.

To celebrate Parks and Recreation’s banner year, Man-Size has decided to tally the contributions of the show’s characters, highlighting the ten of them who performed the best in 2011. And don’t forget to grab an Entertainment 720 gift bag (complete with fedora!) on the way out. Continue reading

Sarah’s Top 10 Crushes of 2011

30 Dec

Creatively, 2011 has spoiled the shit out of us. We’ve been damn lucky audiences to be able to sit back and watch masters of music, movies, and TV bust their asses off for our pleasure. Everyone has been on top of their game, and they deserve all the year-end love they can get for how well they’ve done. But that’s all been covered, and I’d like to give appreciation for other gifts. Like hotness, for example. AND OH MAN, DID 2011 DELIVER ON THAT FRONT.

Below are the dudes whose talents, charm, good looks, and general perfection ruined my life most this past year. Just remember boys, the ranking doesn’t matter. You are all winners.

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Top 10 TV Characters of 2011

29 Dec

If you watch as much television as I do, meeting a new character on a show feels like adding someone new into your life, like that time I’d had the feeling I met a new guy but realized it was just because I’d been watching so much Lee Pace on Wonderfalls. Related: I could watch him hang out in a wooded clearing wearing a Northface fleece and drinking coffee forever. Call me Lee, whenever you get an inkling to do so. Anyway, like meeting a new person in real life, you’re somewhat wary of them. There’s a looming unfamiliarity and hesitance but eventually you both chip away those walls and gain an intimacy and connection.

This was easily one of the best years of television in awhile (ironically, the same year my bank account decided I could no longer afford cable) and with a dwindling amount of reality shows, an increase in programs based on the supernatural, and network television’s slow but sure move to creating storylines and cinematography that could rival film, this year gave way to some amazing TV. Also, we had Whitney.

In any case, here are my top 10 favorite new friends from 2011.

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Is the cast of “The Fades” undead?

26 Oct

Growing up with the characters of teen melodrama had a tendency to make me feel like a third grader in class with Billy Madison. Dude, you were clearly supposed to be out of here fifteen years ago, I am not fooled. Fortunately, British TV has been doing a great job of casting their shows with people who don’t look all that different from how I did in high school. While shows like Skins call for actual kids to play kids, BBC Three’s new show The Fades was lucky enough to find magical adults who somehow look the part. Seeing its season finale tomorrow night, the show takes an influx of flesh-eating ghost-zombies to a high school full of inconspicuous actors who are actually in their 20’s. While quite a few cast members have only been out of school for a couple of years, we are convinced some of these dudes might actually have Benjamin Button Syndrome.

Below, we count down The Fades cast members most likely to be ageless beings.

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The best fake musical ever is real now

19 May

A year at an arts heavy college lead me to find musical theater excruciating, but damn if I don’t absolutely adore comedy musicals. Avenue Q? Dr. Horrible? The musical episodes so many awesome shows find obligatory (Daria‘s is still 100% perfect)? This is something I have found repeatedly in comedy duo Jon & Al’s crumbelievable “Put the Fucking Lotion in the Basket”, a Silence of the Lambs parody with SINGING LEGOS that you must watch if you haven’t:

Now wasn’t that perfect and beautiful? Don’t you wish it was real? Well, this summer, IT IS.

After successful runs in London and New York’s own Fringe Festival, Silence! The Musical is hitting Off-Broadway for real from June to August. New Yorkers averse to the price of Book of Mormon (which I’m still sure is worth it, but I understand), you now have something fun to do in the mess that is midtown. All the hits are sure to be present, from Hannibal Lecter’s tender ballad “If I Could Smell Her Cunt” to Buffalo Bill’s sassy new jaunt “I’d Fuck Me”.

With this and the Big Gay Ice Cream Shop opening, summer in the city is sure to be ridiculously great. I’m so jealous of you.

Silence! The Musical hits Theatre 80 from June 24th to August 14th.