Posts Tagged ‘television (TV)’

Two men enter. Hilarity ensues: A tribute to Key and Peele

September 28, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 28, 2013

As I wrote last month, for years I have lived without a television in my various homes. And as I alluded to in that piece (without saying it explicitly), for years I went without watching much in the way of web video.

Why not? Well, there were various reasons. (There always are with me.) One was that during two lengthy periods from 2008 through 2011, as web video was really taking off, I didn’t have Internet available at home. Another was that my tentative experiments watching web videos weren’t very successful: For whatever reason, they just didn’t load or play very quickly on my Macintosh laptop.

My aversion to web videos started to change in mid-2012, after I got a tablet. Web videos still sometimes can take a second or so to load on the device, and occasionally the playback annoyingly stutters or pauses when it outpaces the download. But this seems to happen relatively infrequently with the tablet.

So I ended up spending time with the tablet’s YouTube application, finding videos that I liked and subscribing to the “channels” that purveyed those videos. While I branched out a bit, discovering the Crackle service, my preferences when watching videos on the tablet boil down to these characteristics: short and funny.

By short, I mean no more than five or six minutes (but not ultra-short, which I consider anything shorter than two minutes). By funny, I mean — well, take a look at the channels to which I’ve subscribed: College Humor. Funny or Die. How It Should Have Ended, whose humorous animated shorts improve on the endings of popular movies and video games. The Onion. Screen Junkies, who first drew my attention with their hilarious Honest Trailers. (Sample lines from their skewering of World War Z: “[A]nother zombie movie… But this time, it’s got Brad Pitt! Get ready for the big-screen adaptation of the best-selling novel that’s got everything you loved about…the title! And nothing else.”)

But that’s not all! Here are some of my other channel subscriptions: Sarah Silverman. Comediva, whose work puts female comedians front and center. Potter Puppet Pals, which spoofs the Harry Potter series. Rachel Does Stuff, which boasts singing, stand-up comedy and sketches from Rachel Bloom. 1A4Studio, which condenses popular films into hilarious one-minute animated “speedruns.” TransolarGalactica, which puts a darkly comedic spin on space opera.

Oh, and then there’s Comedy Central.

Which brings me to the point of this post — the confession that I must offer to ease my troubled soul. You see, my friends… My name is Matthew E. Milliken, and I have Key & Peele fever.

Who or what, you may ask, are Key and Peele? I’m glad you asked! Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele are comics who have an eponymous variety show airing Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on Comedy Central.

And did I mention that Key and Peele are downright hysterical? Because they are.

You may already know Key and Peele from their first East/West College Bowl skit, which lampooned the names of NCAA football players. Or perhaps you caught the duo in 2012 portraying President Obama and Luther, his “anger translator.” If comedic parodies of horror films that not-so-subtly comment on societal racism is your bag — that’s a well-established subgenre, right? — then perhaps you’ve seen Key and Peele’s “Suburban Zombies” sketch. Or maybe your passion for social justice and hiphop led you to see the pair’s Gandhi vs. Martin Luther King Jr. entry in the second season of the “Epic Rap Battles of History” web series.

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Football, television and beer: Rambling thoughts on these three things

September 9, 2013

By Matthew E. Milliken
Sept. 9, 2013

At the beginning of 2002, I moved out of my childhood home (at a rather advanced age — but never mind that) and into a small studio apartment on Broadway near Columbia University, where I was then pursuing graduate studies at the renowned journalism school. One of my grandmothers lived in Murray Hill, another Manhattan neighborhood, and I would typically visit her at least once a week.

We would sit and talk, and we would go out to eat for dinner, as I remember. But many afternoons, I would disappear into her bedroom for a few hours. That’s where grandma kept her television — a popular entertainment device (as you know) that I did not have in the cluttered studio where I lived.

Like many people, I have a love-hate relationship with television. I find it entertaining and boring and seductive and frustrating. I frankly love to tell people that I live without a television.

Or, to be a bit more accurate, I loved telling people that I live without a television. I hate that at this point in the early 21st century living without a TV no longer marks me as a particularly distinctive individual.

The issue here, as with so many facets of modern American life, is the Internet. Thanks to YouTube and Hulu and Netflix, and probably other stuff that I’ve yet to encounter, one can live without a television and yet watch oodles of its programming on one’s computer. Much of this streaming content is relatively current. Some of it is made available, legally or not, as it is actually being broadcast.  Read the rest of this entry »

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