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October 17, 2014 - Image 5

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0' The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Friday, October 17, 2014- 5A

* The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom Friday, October17, 2014 - 5A

Ivy League haircut

Mulaney' falters
despite great cast

20TH CENTURY FOX

Butt chin.

Polished comedian
doesn't bring
personality to sitcom
By HAILEY MIDDLEBROOK
For The Daily
John Mulaney could very well
be the brightest comedian in
America right now - though the
man himself,
with his tidy
combed-back Mulaney
hair, tightly
buttoned FOX
shirt, rail- Sundays at
thin physique 9:30p.m.
and overall
dweebish
presence would probably
disagree. When Mulaney first
auditioned for "Saturday Night
Live" in 2008, his looks had
nothing new to offer among
the other gangly, white male
characters like Bill Hader and
Jason Sudeikis. What did catch
the eye of Seth Meyers, the
head writer at the time, was
Mulaney's extraordinary wit.
Meyers called him back after
the audition, not offering an
acting gig, but rather a writing
position on the show. When The
Chicago Tribune asked Meyers
about working with Mulaney,
he said, "I used to tell people
he brought me stuff on his first
day and, by the second, I was
bringing stuff to him, to make it
better."
So when Mulaney left the
sketch series to build his own
comedic empire in sitcom

television - following in
the footsteps of former staff,
members Amy Poehler ("Parks
and Recreation") and. Tina
Fey ("30 Rock") - with "SNL"
executive producer Lorne,
Michaels as well as a live studio
audience, many believed that
his show had the makings of a
"Seinfeld"-esque masterpiece.
Along with Mulaney, the cast
includes famous funny-people
Nasim Pedrad and Martin
Short, both previous "SNL" cast
members, as well as Sam Seaton,
a newcomer to the comedy
scene who's had success in the
TV series "Comedy Up Late."
The first episode follows
Mulaney, playing a more
amateur version of himself,
as he interviews to be a joke-
writer for fast-talking game
show host Lou Cannon (played
by Short). Meanwhile, his friend
and roommate Motif (Seaton),
also an aspiring comedian, is
trying to make his trademark
"Problem Bitch" joke go viral.
Motif's punchline: "if you don't
know a Problem Bitch, that's
'cause you are the Problem
Bitch!"
Mulaney's other friend Jane
(Pedrad) is recently single
and enjoys hacking into her
ex-boyfriend's e-mails to his
new girlfriend, which has
earned her the name "psycho
lady." As a personal trainer,
Jane is competitive and will
not give up her obsession with
getting closure from the failed
relationship. By the end of the
episode, she finally succeeds by
reading an argument via e-mail

between her ex and his new
girlfriend, in which he accuses
his the girl of being a "Problem
Bitch" and admits that while
Jane is crazy, "crazy calms
down but a Problem Bitch lasts
forever."
So everyone wins: Mulaney
gets his dream job, and after
some tug-of-war with Lou
Cannon, his jokes are finally
on-air, Jane gets her "closure"
because her ex-boyfriend
appreciates her madness and
Motif's "Problem Bitch" joke
catches on.
So what's the show's catch?
"Mulaney," with its brilliant
cast and belly-busting potential,
is just not that funny. But how
can this be? How can the genius
behind the flamboyant, bar-
hopping character of Stefon on
"SNL" not make people laugh?
It's not that John Mulaney
isn't funny. It's that he's a writer
and a stand-up comedian, not an
actor. The episode opens with
Mulaney in his natural habitat:
under a spotlight, mic in hand,
reeling off jokes to an audience.
In this setting, Mulaney's quick
wit and somewhat awkward,
flat speech is appropriate. When
he leaves the stage and enters
the sitcom set, however, things
get weird; Mulaney seems
excruciatingly self-aware,
addressing his friends and Lou
Cannon with a formality that's
clipped and uncomfortable.
While his sarcastic, flat
monotone works in his stand-up
acts, it gets old very fast in the
sitcom sphere - a place equal
parts comedy, and situation.

Ben Affleck's
disappointing penis
In "Gone Girl," we see two especially in a world dulled The problem with this
penises and three breasts by formerly radical feminist kind of nudity is that it is
- a ratio that's surprisingly actions. Much like the bra- shrouded under the gauze
even compared to most other burnings feminists of 40 of "drama." No one expects
films. There was a lot of years ago, Femen's goals are "Fast Times at Ridgemont
Internet to undo the shame women High" to treat women with
hullabaloo feel about their bodies and respect or grace, so those
about the remove the stigma from boobs are viewed with a
appear- nudity. shrug and a sigh. But using
ance of Ben So when I'm watching the objectification of women
Affleck's "True Detective," or "Home- and calling it an artistic
dong, land," or, yes, "Gone Girl" choice is, at its core, just as
enough to and I feel uncomfortable by sleazy.
prompt my NATALIE the seemingly gratuitous Of course, this analysis
friend to GADBOIS boob action, am I just being isn't a science; not all expres-
rename the a prude? Sure, I never have sions of female nudity fit
film "Tyler been nor will I ever be a "Girl into these conventions, and
Perry's Diary of a Mad Ben Gone Wild," and maybe my oftentimes nudity is power-
Affleck's Penis" - his wife discomfort is a reflection fully used to demonstrate
(also known a the world's of my own shame. Nudity intimacy or vulnerability.
most perfect human, Jenni- can be liberating; recogniz- Think "Before Midnight,"
fer Garner) spoke about it in ing boobs for what they are, when a love scene between
interviews, and TMZ buzzed basically just appendages for married couple Ethan Hawke
for days. It was a BIG deal. In baby-feeding. (Yes, I just said and Julie Delpy is ach-
actuality? The film features that. Yes, I grossed myself ingly broken up into a fight.
barely a half-second profile out a little too.) But we rarely Delpy's nakedness contrasts
shot of Affleck's genitalia. see breasts presented in this their comfortable familiarity
And that was it. way. (A notable exception is with the metaphoric bareness
I was confused. (I won't the Rose Byrne scene from... .> of being emi nally hon-
admit L was disappointed. - "Neighbo rslthis summer - Jest. Shows lke "Sex and the
because my Grandma reads in which her breasts are City" and "Girls" used female
these columns.) Why was painfully swollen and her nudity to show sexual inde-
there such a public response husband has to milk her. It's pendence and burgeoning self
to this demonstration of pretty gross. And also amaz- esteem. Nudity isn't bad. But
male nudity when we are ing?) showing a naked body with-
exposed to female nudity It seems like female nudity out explaining why this char-
all the time? It's becoming is presented mainly in two acter should be represented
a bigger deal when a female ways; hyper-sexualized, this way is.
actress says she won't do or victimized. Take "True There is no formula to
nudity than when she actu- Detective": a brilliant, doing nude right, and I
ally does. Granted, as a nuanced crime thriller, bet seven out of ten people
eighth grade sex ed graduate critical darling and veritable reading this disagree with me
and occasional "Masters of masterpiece. How do we see from one side or the other.
Sex" viewer I have enough of women's bodies in this show? But while watching "Gone
an understanding of human Either as naked, violated Girl" for the second time this
anatomy to know that men dead bodies, or archetypal weekend, my mom turned to
don't have a "boob equiva- mistresses - dumb and young me and asked "Is that all we
lent" - flashing your tits is and promiscuous and, you got get?" in reference to Affleck's
not the same as showing the it, bare-chested. We never big reveal. It reaffirmed
world your wang. So the pres- see a hint of a penis - and if that there is a disparity
ence of penises vs. boobs in we did, you can guarantee between male and female
media can't be compared. it would be used as a plot nudity in film and television
Moreover, female genital device rather than a salacious - a difference in stakes as
nudity is possibly even less gimmick. well, but still, a problematic
common than male. I know So even in "Gone Girl," conflation of female nudity
that. It's like comparing (and this is my perfunc- with dramatic quality.
apples and bananas. (Please tory disclaimer for "Gone And this lends itself once
pretend to laugh.) Girl" spoilers), Nick Dunne's again to the greater issue of
Furthermore, some femi- 20-year-old mistress' breasts representation in the media.
nist groups have actually play a starring role compared If we see female bodies
tried to reclaim nudity - pro- to Ben Affleck's penis. While either being sexualized or
tests in the vein of "c'mon , this could arguably be seen as being victimized, does that
they're just boobs," protests character development - por- subconsciously tweak how
meant to liberate, protests traying Nick as a shallow phi- we value real-life women? As
meant to shock and engage. landerer, Andie as the perky sexual beings to be viewed
Femen is one such group, teenybopper foil to Amy's and used or victims to be
which holds topless protests cold brilliance - it's still an rescued? I worry it does. Call
in support of sextremism, inequitable representation. me a prude, but I'd rather see
"female sexuality rebel- Andie's nudity seems mainly no boobs and no penises than
ling against the patriarchy," there to serve the male gaze, participate in an industry
according to their website. to add some sex appeal. that uses the female body as a
Though Femen as a group has Because the thematic impli- gimmick.

A Nostalgic 'Smash'

By JACOB RICH felt added a degree of randomness
Daily Arts Writer to each fight, ruining competitive
play. "Smash 3DS" has taken a step
I wish "Smash 3DS" could have firmly in the opposite direction;
comeoutwhenIwasinthe5thgrade: removing tripping and speeding
it would have made my hour-long up competitive play. No, it's still not
I bus rides to and from elementary quite astight as200's"SuperSmash
school incredible. Bros. Melee," the fan-favorite game
It's an almost- in the series, but as a handheld
fully-featured fighterthere really aren't any better
portable version Supe options.
of "Super Smash Smash 3DS Playing multiplayer with friends
*A Bros," one that Sora Ltd.and ran nearly perfectly both locally
0 improves upon Bendai and online. I hardly noticed any
the mechanics of instances of lag. Unfortunately,
its predecessor. the same cannot be said about the
It's unfortunately missing a few competitive online play against
staple game modes, but it's still one random players. In most of my
of the best multiplayer experiences randomly paired matches, there
you can have on ahandheld. was enough lag to completely ruin
"Smash 3DS" touts a staggering competitive play. But "Smash" has
lineup of 49 characters, by far never been about playing online,
the most in any "Smash" game to it's about playing in-person. And
date. Most of the new fighters are it works just as well with the small
interesting, meaningful additions, screen.
especially Mega Man and Pac-Man, The unfortunate letdown of
whose iconic retro images feel right "Smash 3DS" is its lack of a single-
at home among the classic Nintendo player Adventure mode and Event
heroes. Unfortunately, several Match mode. After "Brawl's"
veteran favorites did not return (you fabulously fanservice-y Subspace
will miss Ice Climbers, Lucas and Emissary Adventure mode, it's
Snake), but the 15 new characters very sad to see a "Smash" release
are so much fun to play that I didn't without something comparable. It's
spend too much time missing them. especially disheartening that the
There are also 23 new stages, the game lacks Event Match, which
majority of which hang with the brought enormous gameplay variety
best the series has to offer. to single-player "Smash" and even
Gameplay is much improved featured co-op play in "Brawl."
from the previous "Smash" game, But, in their place are two new
2008's "Super Smash Bros. Brawl." gameplaymodes.
"Brawl" was controversial among The first, Smash Run, is based
hardcore fans of the series, who felt on the City Trial mode from
that the game was dumbed down underrated2003 Kart Racer"Kirby:
to appeal to a wider audience. In Air Ride." Four players run around
particular, a "tripping" mechanic a rather generic environment while
was implemented, which many fighting iconic enemies hailing

from the same games series as
the playable characters; the goal
to collect power-ups which raise
specific statistics. After five minutes
of exploration, these stats come into
play in the end-game challenge. For
this, the players come together to
participate in a randomly selected
activity, usually focusing on one of
the statistics, like running, jumping
orstraight-upfighting.
This mode is forgettable for two
reasons: one, the environment isn't
nearly as interesting as the one in
"Air Ride." I felt this mode lent itself
better to a 3D space, which feels
more natural to explore. Two, I felt
as though success in the challenges
depended more on character
choice and luck rather than the
skill of collecting the power-ups,
defeating the mode's entire purpose.
Furtheringmy disdainforthismode
is its befuddling lack of online play;
it'slocalonly.
The second new mode is "Target
Blast," a brick-breaking mini-game
inspired by "Angry Birds." It's fun,
but too similar to Rovio's megahit.
It'll hold yourattentionabout as long
as "home-run contest" did in each
prior"Smash"game.
Even though I wasn't too hot on
the game's new modes, I still had an
absolute blast with "Smash 3DS,"
and most likely will continue to do
so until "Super Smash Bros. for Wii
U"launches in November. If"Smash
U" offers a better single-player
experience while retaining the
incredible multiplayer of "Smash
3DS," it has the potential to be the
best "Super Smash Bros." game of
all time. But until then,you and your
friends are going to enjoy the hell
out of this one.

a lot of structural issues (dis-
avowing all of Islam as anti-
women being one of them),
their purpose is intriguing,

cations of the scene would
not have changed if we hadn't
seen her breasts, yet they are
shown anyway.

Gadbois is wondering why we
didn't see more Affleck donger. To
answer, e-mail gadbnat@urich.edu.

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