The Worst Video Games Ever Made, the Future of The Office and the End of Fringe

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won't have him to kick around anymore

It just came over that Dick Clark died. Ouch. I’m just barely young enough that I can still remember him on American Bandstand, but he’ll always be the condescending host of $25,000 Pyramid to me. I always thought it was hysterical when he used to talk to the loser of the game after they just peed away 25 large and he would say things like, “What if I said ‘beads’?” Like clockwork, the person would always go, “Ohhhhhh, things we use to make necklaces!!!” That always cracked me up. I know this probably screams gambling problem, but when I think of “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin’ Eve,” I think of the slot machine based on it, not the actual show. But it was a good slot machine! Sands, Showboat and Hilton used to have it in AC. I guess I’m not exactly in Dick Clark’s core audience, so I’ll just shut up now.

sure, scott baio will be fun to have back. but what about franklin? WHAT ... ABOUT ... FRANKLIN!!!

That six weeks or so without any BS Arrested Development news was pretty fun, wasn’t it? Of course it was. Looks like that’s over now, as the AD PR machine is in full gear, even though it’s more than a year away from premiering on Netflix — if it premieres at all (please refer to my Arrested Development news policy). There is one thing that excites me about this latest news though. When/if it ever premieres on Netflix, it’s going to premiere in one lump, all 10 episodes just sitting there for the taking. That’s fun for fans who want to host marathon parties, or lock themselves in a dark, dank room with nothing but a joint and their iPhone to post Facebook status updates about who the show was sooooooo much funnier on Fox, and how they never should have brought it back. Your call. But I have a different idea of why this idea is fantastic: It means I can watch them all during the free month gimmick Netflix streaming offers. We used up my wife’s free month gimmick earlier this year and I plowed through both Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and Party Down — so I think I can manage to get through 10 episodes of AD in a month. I was worried they were going to release one every week, which means I would have had one free month, and two months I’d have to pay for. Frankly, after a month, I had gotten through everything I needed to see. If I stuck around any longer, it probably would have been to get through Downton Abbey. And I didn’t really want to watch Downton Abbey.

stupid game.

The two worst video games, Atari or otherwise, ever made are E.T. and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I will accept no discussion on this. I remember in college talking about the Raiders of the Lost Ark video game with my buddy Ron and saying how much I hated because I could never solve it. The conversation went something like this:

Ron: You couldn’t? It was probably the easiest game ever!

Me: I don’t know. I just kept ending up in a map room, walking over to an altar, the Indiana Jones music started, I got picked up by something, and it took me back to the beginning. (Or something like that, I don’t even remember at this point.)

Ron: What? You solved it. That’s it.

Me: It can’t be. I did it in, like, a half-hour. And I can barely do a spin move in Madden.

Ron: Nope, that’s it. You solved it. That’s all there is.

Me: (Thinking about it for a second) I’m not sure if I’m happy or sad about that news.

Verdict, 15 years later: Sad. And don’t even get me started on ET. If you ever played it on Atari 2600, you know it’s the worst game of all time. If you haven’t, just know it is. I’ve managed to not think about them together in years, until I realized from that AV Club story why I hate them both so much — they were designed by the same person. When I read that, it was like some magic beam of light shone down on me, and everything in the world made sense. I’m pretty sure I’d like to punch that guy square in the nose.

maybe toby will know. is the office gonna keep going on?

I don’t know what to think about this news that The Office could be totally rebooted and started from scratch with only a couple non-essential Dunder Mifflin holdovers hanging around for next season. It’s … weird. I don’t know if I’d follow that show or not. I’d imagine I would, but probably not as fervently. But let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. Let’s remember a couple facts:

–The show’s ratings have gone to hell since Steve Carell left.

–James Spader is leaving. Executive producer Danny Chun is leaving. Showrunner Paul Lieberstein (also Toby) is leaving. Mindy Kaling (also a writer) could be leaving. Ed Helms could be leaving for Kaling’s show.

–The show is in contract negotiations with its biggest stars, John Krasinski, Jenna Fisher, B.J. Novak (also a writer) and Helms.

From those facts, we can deduce that those contract negotiations are going to be EXPENSIVE. After eight seasons, those actors will be talking about raises, syndication residual money and possibly producer titles. The show isn’t as valuable as it used to be since the ratings are gone and much of its top-level creative team is jumping ship. It makes complete sense to try one more year with a new, much less-expensive cast. If it works, fine, if it doesn’t, end the show. Which is what NBC probably will do anyway, even if the cast returns. So why not do it for less money? At the same time, this screams “planted story.” NBC is the laughing stock of TV right now. The Office is its highest-rated scripted series, so to lose it would be to lose the last chip of credibility it has as a creative network. Greg Daniels may have given the call to Nikki Finke to run this for leverage against the actors’ contract demands. “Forget you guys, we’ll just start all over!” he says, as he’s crossing his fingers that none of them call his bluff. Your move, Office cast. The sad part is I don’t think I care that much.

When Leslie Bibb gets nekked and it’s called art and it’s allowed to be plastered all over the Internet … I’m soooooo there. OK, maybe I’m not allowed to put the pic in this blog, but I can certainly link to it with the caveat of “there are naked celebrities in that link, watch out.” But I wouldn’t be very serious or stern about it.

This is the planning I like to see from my TV shows. The people behind Fringe aren’t stupid, they know they’re in real jeopardy of not being renewed for another season. And if it weren’t for the vocal, crazy fans, they wouldn’t have gotten this season. So instead of filming just a crazy cliffhanger to its season finale and then trying to hold the network hostage with threats of angry fans firebombing the offices, the Fringe people just shot two different endings to its finale. One that it would use to introduce a fifth season, and one that it would use to wrap up the series. The network is happy, it gets a clean ending, then extra DVD sales when the alternate ending is included as a special feature. The show’s creative team is happy, it gets to end on (mostly) its own terms. Fans are happy, they get closure. Wait, this is pretty logical, no? Why hasn’t anyone done this before (listen up, Angel)? I feel the need to support Fringe over the next couple weeks, because this really is an acknowledgement that the fans matter. So thanks.

I’m still saying the price wasn’t right for Jason Segal to come back to The Muppets. So when they asked him to do a cameo, turning them down was one final middle finger in Disney’s faces. If you don’t see Segal in a Disney movie for about 10 years, you know why.

i want my own movie and i'll scream til i get it!!!

Good for Marvel, not rushing into a Hulk movie just because Hulk is becoming the talk of Avengers. At some point in the next decade, there will be another Hulk movie. There just has to be. There is too much good material for there not to be. And maybe Marvel finally figured out how to present it in the correct way, so why screw with it? Give Hulk these three Avengers movies, get some good ideas in the meantime, then put him back in the theater in about 10 years or so. by then, no one will even be able to spell “Bana,” let alone remember who he is.

One of these days, I’ll get back to the Tribeca Film Festival. I’ve been saying that for what, 10 years now? Yup, 10 years. I went for the first one in 2002, and that’s it. Bugger. OK, so I’m probably not getting back.

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