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Monthly Archives: September 2012

The Emmy winners are out and other stories

The Emmy winners are out and other stories

The Emmy winners were announced today and we are very excited and a little bit annoyed. Firstly, what? How much cooler and funnier must Parks and Rec, Community and Louie be to be nominated for an Emmy? And hasn’t 30 Rock really run past its expiration date? What kind of world do we live in where Ron Swanson and Abed Nadir don’t even get a nomination for their brilliant performances? Huh?

But yay for Modern Family winning for the third consecutive year and hurrah for Louis CK and Homeland and Aaron Paul and Claire Danes.

Yes, it was a bit tiring that the men on Modern Family monopolize the Supporting Comedy Actor section every year. Which is why I was rooting for Schmidt (played by Max Green field in New Girl) but oh well, Cameron is great too. Ho hum.

Also, Amy Pohler was robbed! Again! And so were Bryan Cranston and Mad Men. Boooo.

P.S – How amazing was Aziz Ansari?! Fish n chips!

Speaking of Bryan Cranston, the meth-cook-in-tighty-whities is directing an episode of Modern Family. Having already directed a few episodes of Malcolm in the Middle as well as Breaking Bad, we know this guy has some serious directing chops. We can’t wait for Modern Family to be back, September 26th is almost here. Also, it’s kind of unnerving to see Heisenberg chilling in a suburban home looking way too normal for comfort.

Fanfiction and its tremendous rise in the past few years is a trend really worth observing. From Harry Potter and Twilight to Desperate Housewives and Friends, writers and fans all over the world are creating incredible plot twists and spinning stories for a large audience that seems to lap them up. Some of them are written beautifully and makes you wonder why these guys aren’t creating their own original work of fiction (Readymade characters with already set personalities are quirks are easier to write about then creating characters of your own and breathing life into them is my opinion). But, most or a large amount of fanfiction is sexual. Character pairings like Draco Malfoy and Harry Potter who get it on in the forbidden forest or incestual relations between Ross and Monica are all over the internet. In this story by Supriya Nair, she explores sexual fanfiction in the world of classic literature and reviews Jane Eyre Laid Bare about, well as you can tell from the title, Jane Eyre’s explicit sex life. Though it is doubtful this will make Charlotte Bronte roll over in her grave considering Jane Eyre is already full of sex, we sure want to know what she would think.

If you are active on Facebook, you might have already seen this link doing the rounds with ‘awwws’ and ‘sooo cutes’. Buzzfeed’s 50 most romantic photographs of all times may or may not have made us weep.

– Sharanya

MTV’s Bring on the Night and the state of youth programming

MTV’s Bring on the Night and the state of youth programming

No TV for young people. Indian television is still stuck in some regressive daily soap infested twilight zone. The youth channels you can count on the fingers of one hand. Good youth channels of course, you can count on the fingers of the hand of that homeless guy whose arms end in a stump. Stilted dialogue and terrible concepts are all we get, packaged into reality shows of the Roadies and Splitsvilla variety or into the unbelievable high school drama like Suvreen Gagal.

Television channels targeting the youth have absolutely no idea what we watch or want to watch. The guys at the helm are clueless old cronies who get offended by everything and the content is filtered through the tight strainer of the standards and practices department. The uninspired television content that we get on Channel V, MTV or Bindass makes me wonder what these channels think of this 20 something generation. Do they think I don’t know they’ve ripped off this particular adventure task sequence from Survivor Australia? Do they honestly believe that this joke is still funny? Yes, Roadies gets their TRPs and dammit yes, putting skimpily clad dancing women on air for 20 minutes in a 30 minute show entails viewing. But this means that I’m not part of the target audience during the concept forming process and not only does this piss me off, it also means it’s where the circle begins. The shame circle of bad TV begins at “That’s too smart for the Haryana audience.” Write that down. It’s true.

As a 23 year-old avid television watcher, I don’t want to watch a show where people don’t talk like me, aren’t funny or where the word ‘shit’ has to be beeped out and replaced with an inoffensive word in the subtitles. I don’t want to watch a watered-down anything with beeps followed by beeps. So, I turn to the internet for my television needs. If an Indian channel were to create a good show I wouldn’t watch it. So, the TRPs would fall and any endeavor to make good television is thwarted right there.

MTV’s Bring on the Night is a show I have been recommending to absolutely everybody I meet. Watch the uncensored trailer! Wait, I’ll buffer it and show it to you! Look, it’s funny and they talk like us!

Sigh. But they can’t. You can’t have people say bhosadike and madarchod on Indian TV. So, I watch the uncensored episode online. And before I go any further, let me just gush over how incredibly superb Bring on the Night is. The first scene where Devang and Patrick talk about superheroes had me in splits. With great pace and story building, cinematography that reminds me of Bejoy Nambiar’s Shaitan and Ankur Tiwari, Dualist Inquiry and others making appearances in the background score, BOTN is making me very excited.  It is directed by the super cool Vishwesh (of Scribe and The Dewarists), written by the incredibly funny Tanmay Bhat, Ashish Shakya and Rohan Joshi, and the plot revolves around four guys who transform a run down old building into an after hours party place.

Is this the dawn of a new day? Is reality television in India reaching its end? Dancing, singing, living in a house and making an ass of yourself and conducting loyalty tests on your boyfriends and girlfriends…Maybe we have milked it for all its worth and maybe, just maybe, its time to put that cow to sleep. In 5 years, or maybe a decade, maybe good fiction will have taken over, pushed the boundaries of what defines entertainment. Maybe we’ll grow up and not be pussies about words like sex and fuck. That’s when I’ll be watching TV made for me.

Please stand up

Please stand up

If you live in Bombay, off late you’re probably measured for coolness by the number of times you’ve visited The Comedy store at Palladium. The Dark knight? Sure. NH7 Weekender? Definitely!  But XXXX’S set at The Store, OMFGSOFUNNYIALMOSTKILLEDMYSELF. I’m not exaggerating. Yes, I admit that the heady rush of exhilaration has died down somewhat. In 2010, it was the biggest thing since Jesus. Suddenly every publication in the country was doing profiles of upcoming talent and writing trend stories that just about stopped short of taking off their metaphorical shirts and throwing them on stage. Acquaintances wanted to be comedians. During sets, women friends made eyes and started touching their hair a lot. Twitter exploded with one-liners from hopeful amateurs. And amateur nights? Yeah, there was probably a bar somewhere in Belapur or Thane, that didn’t have one.

At Project Small Fry, we attempt to document the vein of a subculture that may in the future be held as the first record of the stirrings of a great youth movement. What do you mean, we don’t really do that? Well, the “babble” about TV and books are supposed to be a build up, okay? In any case, we’re a big fan of stand up comedy ourselves. We follow who needs to be followed on Twitter, we go to The Store (if we can afford the tickets) we free ourselves for things like this. All this is reason enough, to try and write about what’s great and not so great, about the stand up comedy scene in the city.

What’s great:

It’s a lovely alternative entertainment option. And it isn’t always expensive. Shows with local talent cost as much as the latest (dumb) Bollywood screening at PVR. And you get to listen to someone poke fun at the latest (dumb) Bollywood screening at PVR.

It will open your life to a lot of off-the-beaten-track entertainment options. Fun fact: Comedians are a restless bunch, always trying to break new ground and work on new cool projects. Like All India Bhakchod, a podcast by comedians Tanmay Bhat and Gursimran Khamba, for example. The more projects, the more laughs. It’s simple maths really.

You will start giving mainstream entertainment the slimmest sliver of a chance. A month ago, the only reason I’d agree to watch even 30 minutes of programming on MTV, would be if you told me that Raghu was converting to Buddhism live on Roadies season 8. Now, when I hear that a comedian I like, had something to do with the script of a television show or wrote such-and-such awards ceremony, I’m more likely to watch. Read Sharanya’s column this week to understand what I mean.

Jokes about Andheri. Jokes about parliament. Jokes about Pooja Bedi. Win.

What’s not so great:

Nine times out of ten, a stand up routine is not somewhere I would take my mother. Now calm down. I’m not talking about the cussing or even the jokes about religion. But, speaking as someone who is actually a patron of stand up, I gotta say, sometimes, comedians get carried away with the laughs. When that happens you can almost see the blood of super human recklessness rush to their faces before they leap, Willy Wonka like, over the line that goes from hilarious to offensive. Check out this clip from Louis, a clever sketch show by legendary comedian Louis CK. Jokes that skim the edges of sensitive issues had best make a point. If it’s a potshot without a point, I won’t laugh. Why should I?

The bandwagon people. These are the people in the audience who are laughing so hard, they’re almost doubled over. “What did he just say? I missed it,” You might ask of such a person. “Oh. I didn’t catch it either,” they’ll reply, eyes streaming over with mirth. So annoying. Though technically, this isn’t stand ups fault. It’s kind of the fault of human nature.

That’s all folks. More about this trend when it develops, I guess. For now, we love how stand up is going in the city. We love the veterans and the newer comics.  We love how fresh and new it all is. We love how funny has become a business and how it’s new enough to not be tainted (as far as we know) with the hypocrisy of most industries in the country. We love that years from now, when it actually is tainted, we’ll be able to shake our heads and say that this, 2010 to 2012, was comedy’s golden era, that we were unknowingly part of a revolution in entertainment and that we wrote about it on Project Small Fry.

Celebrity interviews we love

Celebrity interviews we love

Nolan Gould on Ellen: Nolan Gould is in MENSA, which means he is the exact opposite of Luke, the character he plays on Modern Family. On Ellen, he wowed us with how self possessed he is, how smart he is and how he can match Ellen in a battle of wits.

The Dalai Lama and the pizza joke: He’s peaceful, happy, accommodating and ever so polite and pleasant. Gotta be every interviewers dream right? Oh, except….

Aziz Ansari on Conan: We tried to answer this really important question. Do we love Aziz Ansari for Tom Haverford or do we love him for Aziz Ansari? We were leaning toward the former (He IS a velvet, cashmere, velvet Candy Cane) but then we saw this…..

Louis CK on Conan: Everything’s amazing and nobody’s happy. AMEN!

Hugh Laurie on Ellen: Ba-donka-donk. It’s a fantastic word!

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