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December 04, 2012 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2012-12-04

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam

T D nTuesday, December 4, 2012 - 5


TV themes set the tone

dependably edgy on
latest album
Daily Arts Writer
With her recent No. 1 hit, "Die
Young," Ke$ha's new record
Warrior will likely fly off shelves
- especially
given the eter-
nity fans have
waited since Warrior
her debut studio
album, 2010's Ke$ha
Animal. RCA
Warrior dives
into a new style for the queen of
all things trashy, Dr. Luke and
Ke$ha are still connected at. the
hip. Given the sensations that
Luke has generated for Ke$ha
as her executive producer, it was
wise not to mess with success.
The record's first track, "War-
rior," catapults headfirst into
everything expected '- overpro-
duced chorus vocals, acoustic
white-trash rap verses and biting
kick drum. No complaints there.
It's the atmosphere of this track
that strays from expectation,
however. "Warrior" carries a seri-
ous tone, "fighting 'til the end"
because there's "something that's
inside of us, it's how we've always
been." It seems similar to how
someone might "fight 'til (they)
see the sunlight," but the melody
of the song feels distant from the
carefree rebellion of "Tik Tok."
"Warrior" might leave its lis-
teners more afraid of Ke$ha than
in love with her, but once they
queue up "C'mon" and "start sip-

"Dirt and glitter cover my face."
ping on a warm Budweiser," the
fans will resume their infatua-
tion with her grungy, untroubled
style. Don't overlook the clever
play on words, either. Ke$ha isn't
a thief who "steals some bubble-
gum from the'corner Maximart,"
so much as she's poking fun at her
famous songwriter, Max Martin.
Don't expect anything heart-
felt from the sentimental sound-
ing track "Thinking of You." The
emotion in the melody is audible,
but the lyrics intentionally gen-
erate a few laughs. Admit it: If
you could be Ke$ha for a day, you
would flaunt to that ex-boyfriend
of yours that your "song's on the
radio" and he has to "see (your)
face everywhere (he) goes." And,
of course, there's nothing quite
like a "suck my dick" line com-
ing from a female pop star. If,
for some reason, a fan wanted a
softer side of Ke$ha, they'd best
do their soul searching in "Wher-
ever You Are" and "Wonderland."
Luckily for Ke$ha, her screwy
rap-tune music and bellicose
nature are enough to lure a crowd
beyond 13-year-old girls. That

said, a reasonable chunk of her
fan base will enjoy the '70s-style
rock portion of the album. Iggy
Pop lends Ke$ha a helping hand
in the search for her inner punk
rock on the track "Dirty Love,"
while Patrick Carney steers herin
a blues rock direction for "Won-
derland." A round of applause is
in order for avoiding basic col-
laborations with Nicki Minaj and
Of these classic-style tracks,
the most likely to strike a chord
with a modern crowd is "Only
Wanna Dance With You." A
catchy beat that doesn't sound
completely synthetic? Apparent-
ly, such a thing isn't extinct.
Dr. Luke must've been ecstatic
when he heard that, for the first
time, Ke$ha wanted guitar on
a record. There's nothing like
being SNL's lead guitarist for
seven years, only to have one of
your biggest stars refuse your
instrument of choice. Fear not,
though. Warrior still brings out
the Animal in Ke$ha, even if she
feels-more like Iggy Pop and less
like P. Diddy.

once knew a girl - a friend-
of-a-friend - who had one
of the most annoying habits
I could ever conceive. Sophomore
year, we would occasionally
watch "How
I Met Your
Mother," and
she would
hum the
theme song
for the rest of
the day. I
humming I ALPERN
can handle.
Maybe a
Mr. Alpern did hum a merry tune
himself on occasion. But this
girl was committing a far worse
crime, a deeply unforgivable sin:
The tune she was humming was
The first time, I thought it was
a mistake. She deviated slightly; I
pretended not to hear it. But she
picked up steam with her "cre-
ative license," adding in notes and
mini-solos within her interpreta-
tions. I became increasingly more
The theme to "HowI Met
Your Mother" is nothing short of
perfect for the tone of the show.
A catchy series of "ba's" is sung
as photos of a sepia-toned Neil
Patrick Harris gesture's in the
audience's general direction.
The simple tune is more than an
introduction; it's the homey, com-
forting embrace of a show that is
TV's soul food. It's mom's "Wel-
come Home" mac & cheese.
So you might understand that
hearingthis epitome of comfort
corrupted was difficult to toler-
ate. The show's theme song was
ruined for me; I was no longer
roped into tranquility by the
enticing, soothing melody.
This probably sounds like
the rant of some TV-obsessed
fanatic lila "The Cable Guy," but
I assure you I hold only a handful

of show
have th
so cons
ful TV
to do -
that "n
flix wh
great sr
and ca
most m
ever, al
of the b
(even ti
stuffy a
"The Bi
to snag
a Half A
if nothi

vs so close to heart. And of a nutshell inside of a 20-sec-
ngly, even less of those and sound bite. It's difficult and
ieme songs that bait me immensely important, which is
istently into watching probably why those shows that
r episode. spare no expense are able to boast
-all, that's what a success- such successful themes.
theme song is supposed Interestingly enough, most.of
to lure you into clicking my more contemporary favor-
ext episode" link on Net- ites aren't in the leastbit catchy.
en the credits have just With the advent of successful-
to roll. And it's why most but-deeply-serious shows, some
hows have inviting, brain- theme songs can't be composites
ly catchy intros. of bubblegum pop and main-
et HIMYM for a minute, stream hooks.
nsider the other popular Consider "Friday Night
over the past couple Lights." A good theme would
s. "Friends" had one of the need to evoke the disquieting
emorable theme songs adult topics present in the oth-
most single-handedly erwise hopeful world of sports
sible for any knowledge - a task that's undertaken with
and The Remebrandts amazing adeptness in the haunt-
he name sounds about as ing, atmospheric piece of music
nd dated as you can get). created by Explosions in the Sky.
ig Bang Theory" managed Another fantastic theme song
an original song by the is effective in all the ways you'd
ked Ladies, and "Two and never expect: that of "American
Men" 's song is memorable, Horror Story." You'd never hum
ng else. the song - I don't even think it's
possible to do so - but the tones
and sounds make the introduc-
s : tion often scarier than the pro-
Ceme S S gram itself
e real M TV. Itshould be obvious that I
often cherish the musicbefore my
favorite shows. And I don't doubt
that you do too - bring to mind
ughout history, TV show the themes to your own favor-
songs have themselves ite TV hits. Whether it's "The
e representative of the Simpson," "True Blood" or even
ive shows. One cannot the opening twang of "Breaking
think of "Happy Days" Bad," the intros conjure up the
ist the ditty from creeping best and worst moments, the rises
eir thoughts - "Sunday, and falls and the reasons you fell
y, happy days!" in love with the show in the first
ct, the melodies of clas- place.
e "Sanford and Son" and So please, next time you watch
effersons" are so ingrained that perfect TV show, listen
pop culture, they've to the music, enjoyit, hum it
become comedy fodder throughout the day. Just try and
h other popular shows and stay faithful to the tune itself (for
ilms, like "Scrubs" and HIMYM's sake).


and res
into thi
In fa
sirs lik
"The J
for botl
major f
In th
tu bes:
the sho,

c Thunder."
e end, a theme songneeds
musical encapsulation of
)w; an entire series inside

Fresh faces elevate
raunchy 'Ben and Kate'

Atpern mill be there ton
you. To be there for him too,
e-mail ealpern@umich.edu.

Senior Arts Editor
Deconstructing the notion of
the "traditional family" is the lon-
gest living trend in American sit-
coms. Norman
Lear made it an A -
art form with
"All in the Fain- Benan KIte
ily" and "The
Jeffersons." Midseason
r eToday, "Modern F ks
Family" is the
most obvious
rebuttal of the conventional family
structure in TVcomedy, though its
values in other areas are not quite
as progressive as its initial the-
sis (according to one of the must
recent episodes, pregnancy makes
you dumber). And Ryan Murphy
- known fur making shows that
shout at you - tuok this crowd-
pleasing formula and created
NBC's "The New Normal:'
Enter: "Ben and Kate," FOX's
newest family sitcom about single
mum Kate Fox (Dakota Johnson,
"The Five-Year Engagement")
and her screwball brother Ben
(Nat Faxon, "Allen Gregory"),
who moves in with Kate to help
her raise five-year-old Maddie
(Maggie Elizabeth Jones, "We
Bought a Zoo").
While FOX's other new sit-
com, the Mindy Kaling-produced
"Mindy Project" boasts veterans
of the trade (the writers' room is
stacked, with high-caliber guest
stars rolling every week), "Ben
and Kate" is a project of relative
newcomers. But there's no learn-
ing curve to be seen: Johnson
and Fxn'scapacity for deliver-
ing unforced comedy shines right
from the star ( -
Though Faxon is given the
more over-the-top, near-slapstick
moments, Johnson is the show's
must pleasant surprise. She lands
all the physical moments, wheth-
er it's by imitating her hunky new
boyfriend's sex face (which hap-
pens to also be his guitar-playing
face) or failing the art of flirting
("What's bippin'? What dues that
mean?!"). And her perfectly awk-
ward reading of lines like, "We
are gonna have the sex" makes it
easy to root for and laugh at the
on the surface, Johnson falls

Well, this guy became

"Jesus is blonder than I remember."
under the category of "awkward times, the character seems too
hot girl," a sitcom trope epito- overstuffed, perhaps because
mized by Zooey Deschenel's Jess Faxon doesn't quite possess the
on "New Girl." But the writers nuance of Johnson. But the char-
have infused Kate with honesty acter's best moments come when
and complexity, making her much sharing the screen with Ben's best
more than a manic-pixie fantasy. friend Tommy (newcomer Echo
It makes sense that she's hilari- Kellum), whose matter-of-fact
ously awkward and unseasoned reading of even the most hyper-
around men. Having Maddie at a bolic lines makes you wonder how
young age took her out of the dat- this is his first stint as a series
ing game for a while, and jumping regular.
back in is a work in progress. . And the vodka-soaked cherry
on top of it all is Lucy Punch's
("Bad Teacher") BJ. As Kate's
The real wonderfullycrass bestfriend (her
counterargument to Kate telling
modern family. her to take things slow with a new
guy she's seeing: "I'm extraordi-
narily good at sex and I like it.")
and a self-indulgent bartender
Plus, Kate is completely aware ("I'm lazy! Alert the media!"),
of how dorky she is, and that BJ is a biting hot mess, or, as she
makes it all the more fun. She's puts it herself, a glamorous enig-
OK with being that girl who ma. Punch's wry humor brings
dresses as Babe Ruth Bader Gins- a whole new facet to the show's
berg for Halloween and being that repertoire, and sometimes she
mom who dresses her daughter steals scenes with so much as an
as Baby Gandhi and Mini Marie expression (her reaction to Kate
Curie and Tiny Geraldine Ferraro admitting that she hasn't had sex
and a personified representation in57 months is priceless).
of the death of print journalism ... But "Kate" doesn't only deliver
instead of the standard princess the sex jokes and physical comedy
outfit. There's never a tempta- gold. Like any great family sitcom,
tion to pity Kate or pray that she it gets gooey when it needs to, seal-
get her shit together. It's easy to ing every episode with an irresist-
accept her eccentricity, because ible warmth without trying too
she does. And once again, John- hard. The series stitches together
son plays the character with an a family made of its instantly
infectious sincerity. endearing characters and refresh-
The series seems slightly less ingly simple comedy, proving that
certain of Ben, a supercharged it is still possible to powera sitcom
man-child who returns to town with off-kilter family dynamics
for selfish, naive reasons - name- and make it feel new. Even with a
ly, to stop the wedding of his ex rookie-studded cast, it's easily the
- but stays for heartfelt ones. At best new sitcom this fall.

What will you do?
Anything you want.
You've written your own game
plan so far in life. Why not take
it one step further and become
a Rhodes, Marshall, or Mitchell

:he United States of America, 1992-2000
Come to a Rhodes/Marshal /Mitchell Orientation Session:
Monday, January 28, 2013 e 5:00-6:00pm
Vandenberg Room, Michigan League
Wednesday, January 30, 2013 . 5:00-6:00pm
Kuenzel Room, Michigan Union
Tuesday, February 5, 2013 * 5:00-6:00pm
Boulevard Room, Pierpont Commons
To learn more, please contact the Provost's Council on Student Honors at
734-763-8123 or visit the website at



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