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November 15, 2010 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 2010-11-15

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I

he Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, November 15, 2010 - 7A

I

onan still bitter in
first week on cable TV

Former NBC host
debuts on TBS with
a spring in his step
ByLINDSAY HURD
DailyArts Writer
The long-awaited return of
Conan O'Brien has come, allowing
us all to discover he's pretty much
the same dude he's always been.
hether that's a
good or bad thing
is hard to tell.
The pre-
miere episode
of "Conan" on Weeknights
TBS, which aired at11 p.m.
last Monday, TBS
focused strongly
on his boot from
NBC. In fact, just about every joke
stemmed from O'Brien and NBC
parting ways last January after he
refusedto move into the midnight
slot. Clearly, he's still a little bit-
ter about losing his dream job and
spares no expense to get a few jokes
out of it.
His opening monologue was full
of sharp-tongued one-liners, say-
ing of the new show's name that
he "did it so I'd be a lot harder to

replace." Even Ricky Gervais made
an appearance, wishing O'Brien
luck on this show as well as all of
the other "new shows" O'Brien will
be hosting this year when endeavor
after endeavor fails for him. Those
looking for a big departure from the
standard bitter one-liners from the
past several months will be greatly
disappointed.
The move to TBS has resulted
in a much lower budget than what
O'Brien became accustomed to,
and he won't let viewers forget
that. Instead of his old set at 30
Rockefeller Plaza, O'Brien's new-
est digs consist of a mock seascape,
which toes the line between cool
and tacky. A giant moon wobbles
constantly behind his desk, making
for a few good laughs. When ran-
dom backstage noises interrupted
his interview with "Glee" star Lea
Michele, O'Brien quipped, "Basic
cable. There's a Meineke Muffler
Shop right behind us."
While some things may have
changed, the fundamental way the
man runs a late-night talk show has
not. His longtime sidekick, Andy
Richter, made the leap to TBS as
well, chiming in with comments
from his lectern and the couch. One
of his famous characters, the Mas-
turbating Bear, made an appear-

ance, as well as The Basic Cable
Band, Conan's new house band.
O'Brien's humor is self-deprecating
as ever, and he's not afraid to play
off of it, especially with his recent
pay cut. Itseems that O'Brien really
is down for anything - on Tuesday
he gave away a lock of his beard,
which is something we would pre-
sumably never see from Jay
Leno, NBC or any of the net-
works. O'Brien clearly likes
to have a good time, and now
has more freedom to do so.
Another thing O'Brien has
going for him? His overload of
celebrity friends is more than
happy to visit his new cable
crib. in his first week alone

he had Lea Michele, Seth Rogen,
Jack White, Tom Hanks, Julie
Bowen and Michael Cera.
Only time will tell whether
"Conan" will remain successful -
it was first in the ratings this past
week in the advertiser-coveted
18-49 demographic - but let's just
hope he doesn't stay stuck in the
stereotypical talk show
mold. Since "Conan" is
on cable, he has a heck
of a lot more room to be
funny. Let's just hope
he uses it.

A solid effort for The Concretes

ByA
It'sin
across
many di
each on
in a
fashion.
The Co
latest
WYWH
vocalist
Milberg
the rest
introdu
delic d
around
club-tht
to their
are mov
era but
a retro f
the SwE
with an
influenc
For
goe4
Thou
second
her and
felt Eni
ish cha

ARIELLE SPECINER envelopes the album as disco beats
Daily Arts Writer charge into the tracks, creating
a complex, impressive arrange-
not often that we come ment. Though the melodies and
a band that attempts so harmonies remain stagnant, the,
ifferent genres and makes instrumentals are complicated
ie work and clearly well thought out.
unique The strength of the album lies
On in its background. Though Mil-
ncretes' TMh onciret berg's vocals are captivating and
album, haunting, the instrumental com-
, lead ponent stands out. On songs like
Lisa Friendly Fire "Sing For Me," cascades of spar-
and kling wind-chime tremors grace
of her seven-member gang the track, creating a dream-like
ce fans to a new psyche- atmosphere. On "My Ways,"
ance-pop sound wrapped woodblock clicks keep the rhythm
spacey guitar riffs and of the song intact. The Concretes
umping beats. Compared also play with out-of-the-ordinary
folksy past, The Concretes sounds on "All Day," using interga-
ing ahead into a space-age lactic, discotheque sound effects
also bringing it back with and disco-boogie guitar riffs that
eel. This new direction for shoot across the track.
edes presents itself nicely "What We've Become" also
'80s ambiance and Baltic- combines disco beats and an indie-
ed sounds. scene dreamscape as Milberg
sings, "What do you say we leave
this perfectly good party / You
and I have our own / We can drink
mer folk band whisky and play songs by Squeeze,
s ,'-in-hadelic. John Cale and Paul Simon / And
s p %y0ha ehe we could talk through the night."
The theme of wishful thinking and
longing is what makes the album
gh English is Milberg's title so ambiguous. WYWH leaves
language, WYWH finds the listener pondering if the album
her band executing heart- title is an acronym for "wish you
glish lyrics with a Swed- were here" or "wish you were
cm. A sheer, flouncy aura him" - or maybe it doesn't mean

anything at all.
Windblown reverb dances
around blurry, dark synthetic
sounds on tracks like "I Wish
We'd Never Met" and "Crack In
The Paint." Somber sways of vocal
harmonies coalesce with a bluesy
bass line on the latter, which cre-
ates the album's darkest sound.
This portion of the album taps into
a duskier psyche but is then pulled

out of its slump with the poppy
"All Day" and later, the cutesy,
Zooey Deschanel-esque "Oh My
Love."
WYWH is The Concretes' best
album to date. It's coherent and
flows magically from one song
to the next. If switching up their
sound is what it takes to create a
great album, then let the genre
bending continue.

The Whomping Willow in its golden years.

A 'Friggin' Jersey bore

ByLINDSAY HURD
Daily Arts Writer
When the biggest personality
on a show is some dude from New
Jersey trying to start a business
called "John-
ny Meatballs," '%
the point of
desperation My Big Friggin'
has clearly Weding
been reached.
VH1's lat- Mondays at 9 p.m.
est reality VH1
programming
endeavor follows five couples on
the verge of their wedding night.
We follow them as they fight,
whine, nag and completely disagree
about every single aspect of their
weddings, families and lives in gen-
eral. This show is literally "Jersey
Shore" meets "Bridezillas," but not
in a good way. Everything we hated
about both of these shows, from
whiny girls to trashy guys, is ampli-
fied by five in order to make this one
seem "original."
The network picked not one, but
five of the most obnoxious couples
ever to be the "stars" on "My Big
Friggin' Wedding." Couple one,
Johnny and Megin, are pregnant
and broke because Johnny doesn't
work. Instead, he hopes to get
"Johnny Meatballs" off the ground
by designing lackluster t-shirts for
hours on end when he should be
looking for a real job. Couple two
is Tyler and Aylssa, embarrassingly
sloppy drunks who make unnerv-

ing sexual comments in front
of their two-year-old daughter.
Couple three is Joey and Sandra,
whose biggest means of prepara-
tion for the wedding is to go tan-
ning, over and over again. Tammie
and Danny, the fourth couple, seem
the most "normal" until Tammie
opens her mouth - she literally
doesn't stop talking about herself
the entire time she is on the show.
Finally, Matt and Amanda are the
pair with the wacko Italian moth-
er-in-law who can't keep her nose
out of everyone's business. These
self-proclaimed "awesome" couples
are the lovely people we get to fol-
low for an entire season of wedding
planning bliss - lucky us.
While it can be slightly amusing
to watch people bitch each other
out, the biggest issue with "My
Big Friggin' Wedding" is that it's
all-too-clearly riding on the suc-
cess of TV's "Jersey" obsession. It
doesn't try to present anything new
or interesting about New Jersey,
but rather takes the pre-existing
stereotypes and tries way too hard
to find people who match them.
Excessive tanning, binge drinking
and screaming girls - all stereo-
types taken from "Jersey Shore"
- are the fuel that makes this wed-
ding show run.
What's worse is the question of
why the couples would ever want
to be on this show in the first place.
VH1 constantly mocks them with
cheesy graphics and commentary
that's clearly directed toward a

trashy Jersey mentality. The pro-
ducers edit the show to make every-
one look like a dumbass by having
the star say one thing and then do
the opposite. Alyssa claims she is
the best parent in the world, then
spends all her screen time in the
pilot showcasing her ability to get
wasted quickly. Everything from
the couples' lifestyles to their taste
in clothing and music are dragged
through the ringer while they
clamor for their five minutes of
fame.
An imperfect
marriage of
stereotypes and
.A-
stupidity.
The only upside to watching
"My Big Friggin' Wedding" is that
it makes you feel a whole lot better
about your own life. If you're not
about to marry a dude whose big-
gest aspiration is to have your wed-
ding be an "Italian Guido Club,"
then clearly you're headed in a
much better direction than anyone
on "My Big Friggin' Wedding". If
you're absolutely devastated that
"Jersey Shore" just ended, it might
be good for you to watch something
less ridiculous and offensive for a
change.

DEAR
From Page 5A
me). I don't like to think that I
am influenced by what they have
done directly, but I love their
music. I am a big fan of Talking
Heads," Dear said.
Most of Dear's inspiration
comes from male solo artists who
produce their own music, like
Peter Garbriel and Brian Eno, he
said.
"It would be really fun to col-
laborate with Brian Eno, I am
totally inspired by him and all of
his work as a producer, a solo art-
ist and a band member. So yeah,
that would be absolutely amaz-
ing," Dear said.
But for now, Dear couldn't be
more excited to hit the road and
perform live.
"I just love performing and
freaking out ... I think it's the
most fun in the moments where
it kind of all goes crazy and
everyone zones out in their
own world but comes together
as a collective band at the same
time," he said.
Sure performing has its perks,
but Dear's excitement over
returning to Ann Arbor and his
favorite delicatessen was unpar-
alleled.
"We're excited to come back,
we always have a great time in
Ann Arbor and I can't wait to get
a number 73 - that's my favor-
ite sandwich, with a pickle. And
if you don't want a lot of meat
you should go with the small
size because large is just way to
much. Oh, and tomato soup, got
to get the tomato soup."

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