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81

Monday, July 2, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

'The Legend'
continues

Typical MacFarlane
humor evoked in 'Ted'

Reach for the stars

Monday, July 2, 2012
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
The value o soul

15

Four years after
AtLA, creators craft
another hit show
By PROMA KHOSLA
Daily Arts Writer
If every TV writer took notes
from "Avatar: The Last Airbender"
and its new spinoff "The Legend of
Korra," the world
would be a better
place. It's been *
four years since L
the flawless AtLA
series finale aired of Korra
on Nickelodeon,N
and in the interim Nickeladean
creators Michael
Dante DiMartino and Bryan Koni-
etzko have been hard at work tanta-
lizing fans with whispers of a new
series. Expectations for "Korra"
were through the roof by the April
14 premiere, and by the season fina-
le last week, the show proved every
bit as epic and calculated as its pre-
decessor.
"Korra" showcases superb evo-
lution by the creators of the AtLA
universe. Republic City is modern,
complete with tall buildings and
early 20th century cars, but it's still
clearly part of the spiritual world
introduced in the original series.
The rise of pro-bending is the per-
fect illustration of life in the ele-
mental nations during peacetime;
bending becomes a sport instead
of just a tool for survival and com-
bat. Even the weekly episode recap
- with black-and-white animation
and narration that sounds like an
auctioneer in the '50s - is a decid-
edly modern (and charming) inno-
vation.
Perhaps DiMartino and Konietz-
ko are aware of the resonance their
series had with audiences across
age demographics. In "Korra," the
characters are older, the moral
dilemmas greater and the political
allusions more overt. Amon, (Steve
Blum, "Lilo & Stitch") like many a
madman of historical significance,
wants to "cleanse the impurity" of
his society. Of.course this is sense-
less; different kinds of people
should be able to coexist. Yet there'
are moments in the show - such as

councilman Tarrlok (Dee Bradley
Baker, "Adventure Time") arresting
innocent protesters - when bend-
ers abuse their power and you see a
shadow of Amon's point.
Similar to AtLA, almost every.
single character on "Korra" is com-
plex and absurdly likable. Most
notably: Lin Beifong (Mindy Ster-
ling, "iCarly"), chief of Republic
City's metalbending police force.
Like her mother Toph (Kate Hig-
gins, "Naruto: Shippuden"), Lin
likes to stay emotionallyuninvolved
- but when she cares, she will risk
everything in her power to do the
right thing. At first, she opposes the
Avatar, seeing Korra (Janet Varney,
"Judy Moody and the Not Bum-
mer Summer") as an entitled hot-
head, but takes her side in the fight
against Amon. Her heroic deeds in
the penultimate episode are more
poignant than most primetime
dramas - between that and the
fact that Zuko's grandson is called
General Iroh (and both are voiced
by Dante Basco, "The Debut"), you
may just tearbend.
The characters of the original
series make appearances, but only
where appropriate. An elderly
Katara (Eva Marie Saint, "North by
Northwest") sends Korra off as she
embarks for Republic City from the
Southern Water Tribe. Aang (D.B.
Sweeney, "The Event"), Sokka and
Toph appear in flashbacks as seen
by Korra while she meditates - it's
a pretty awesome way o: making us
forget that they're dead. There are
also a few ingenious nods to AtLA,
like "Flameo Instant Noodles" and
the fantastic organization known as
CabbageCorp.
If there's one complaint to be
made about "Korra," it's that the
show had to be a miniseries. Ten
episodes in a season isn't enough
for the kind of undetectable and
masterful character development
in AtLA. Asami's (Seychelle Gabri-
el, "Falling Skies") transformation
from I-want-to-hate-her-but-she-
has-no-flaws to pouty girlfriend is
not only abrupt, but mildly disap-
pointing; after introducing a bad-
ass non-bender with brains and
beauty, reducing her to stock jeal-
ous female is unfair to the character
and the audience.
See KORRA, Page 9

'These bath salts are amazing. Actually, I'm getting hungry, I'll call you back, John.'

By AKSHAY SETH
Daily Arts Writer
Sitting through a Seth MacFar-
lane movie, the very first of itskind,
was a lot more straight-forward
than expected:
full of crude *
jokes, foul lan-
guage, idiotic TEd
behavior and
man-children. At Quality16
Even the titu- and Rave
lar vulgarity
spouting teddy Universal
bear is noth-
ing unexpected given MacFar-
lane's series "Family Guy". To be
completely honest, there's nothing
really new about this movie. It has
the look and feel of a two-hour long
"Family Guy" episode because, at
the end of the day, it is.
And if you're not particularly
fond of the unique brand of humor
MacFarlane popularized through
his TV shows, steer clear of this
film because chances are you're
not going to have a good time. As
for the rest of us MacFarlane fans,
buckle up because "Ted" really is a
hilariously entertaining ride.
The movie starts off in the
suburbs of Boston where a lonely
kid, John (Mark Wahlberg, "Con-
traband"), wishes for a unique
Christmas present - one that will
be "truly alive," keeping him com-

pany for the rest of his life. In clas- At times, that hilarity is
sically unexplained fashion, the stemmed by a slightly inconsistent
cute little teddy bear, Ted, comes script, but the faults in the writ-
miraculously to life and everything ing are outweighed by material
starts to look up. John finally has a that is largely original and funny.
friend he can count on and Ted, the MacFarlane, who also provides the
first living, breathing stuffed ani- voice of the vulgar teddy bear, does
mal in history, becomes an interna- an excellent job of writing around
tional celebrity. the banality of the plotline. It's the
typical man-child story we've seen
so many times over the past few
* t d years - a man bitching and moan-
ing for two hours before finally
bearybecomes a coming to terms with his age and
responsiblity.
world-wide hit. But MacFarlane finds a way to
use the beaten down nature of the
story to his advantage - some-
thing he's done on his TV shows by
But of course, life takes its crafting detached-yet-intelligent
unavoidable toll and the two bud- dialogue that always manages to
dies end up becoming beacons of maintain an air of self-awareness.
mediocrity, taking bong hits while In effect, MacFarlane is taking
eating Cap'n Crunch on John's a step back and telling us "yeah,
couch. The only thing keeping the I know this crap's been put on.
two, well at least John, remotely screen before. I'm here to tell you
attached to everyday responsi- why it's stupid." His approach
bility is his girlfriend Lori (Mila never appears as heavy handed
Kunis, "Friends With Benefits"), as, say, the "Scary Movie" fran-
who eventually gets fed up with chise because he genuinely tries to
his cannabis-fueled lifestyle and imbue his work with those cliches
offers him an ultimatum - kick out we see every year.
Ted and move forward with their Once we're hooked in and
relationship or find someone else expecting what we've been trained
to sleep with. Consequently, the to expect, MacFarlane catches us
grown man and teddy bear finally with the punchline that reminds
attempt to unlatch and hilarity us why he really is more a satirist
ensues. than a comedian.

In April, astr:
deGrasse Tyson gave
Launch Keynote add
National Space
Symposium in
Colorado Springs,
Colo. Though it
didn't receive
extensive news
coverage, Tyson
passionately andI
eloquently present-
ed a clever solution
to some of the cur-
rent problems in
our country: dou-
ble NASA's budget.
In the middle of,
times and a heated
funding for NASA pr
high on the priority l
and average Amer
Tyson argues that
ment in NASA could
spirit of innovation t
economy grow in the
now, according to Ty
get is only half of o
U.S. tax dollar - a ve
compared to the amo
government is spend
grams and services.:
budget to one penny
lar, which is still ave
Tyson claims that
for space exploratio
expand tremendousl}
With an expander
Tyson has called for
fleet of many differer
craft and other tech
serve a variety of u
"Whatever the need
they geopolitical, mili
space becomes that f
Tyson also used the it
system put in place by
hower in the 1950s as
need for a diverse to
craft. "The interstate
everybody in whatev
That's how you grow:
An increased NA;
also benefit our econ
nearer future. "The.
drivesthe culture ofli
the culture of innovat
economies of the 21st
declared emphaticall
be more innovative t
waysto explore the fin
has captured the ima
Americans at some pc
Instead of investing i
or industries that ma
invest in something t
to be innovative and
imagination of a nati
could use some inspir
More importantly
projects conducted-1
have important psycl
for the country. "Not,
vate, these innovati
lines," Tyson said."

ophysicist Neil
the Symposium
ress at the 28th.

work their way down the educational
pipeline. Everybody in school knows
about it. You don't have to setup a pro-
gram to convince people that being an
engineer is cool. They'll know it just by
the cultural presence of those activi-
ties. You do that, and it'll jump-start
our dreams."

MICHAEL Let's dream
SPAETH
~AETHagain.
tough economic,
election season,
'obably isn't very I doubt politicians are going to cre-
ist for politicians ate responsible and lasting solutions
icans. However, to larger national and international
a small invest- issues anytime soon - issues involv-
spark a renewed ing much greater sums of money from
hat will help the the government and throughout the
long-term. Right rest of the economy. Therefore; why
son, NASA's bud- not give a small amount of money in the
ne penny on the budget to some of the few people in the
try small amount entire country who aren't restrained
unt-of money our by political or business considerations?
ing on other pro- Scientists at NASA are interested in
If we double that expanding scientific knowledge and
'on the tax dol- exploring new frontiers. I fully trust
ry small amount, people who are drivenbypurescientific
the possibilities curiosity, not the next election cycle.
o and discovery And besides, politicians should
y. be eager to increase NASA's fund-
d NASA budget, ing because when we clearly lead the
the creation of a world once again in space explora-
nt types of space- tion, we inject new life into the spirit
inology that can of American exceptionalism, which
ses for humans. has been on life support.as our politi-
s or urges - be cal atmosphere has become more toxic
itary, economic - and polarized. Yet, at the same time,
rontier," he said. we also promote a globalized perspec-
nterstate highway tive focused on our common human-
President Eisen- ity. Tyson claims that several events
an analogy for the in 1970 - the passage of the Clean Air
llection of space- Act, the creation of Earth Day and the
system connects establishment of the Environmental
er way you want. Protection Agency - Weren't just coin-
a system." cidences. After seeing the first photo of
SA budget could Earth from space in 1968, we began to
omy in the much focus on the planet we share. This kind
culture of NASA of benevolent, globalized perspective
nnovation, and it's is sorely needed in this era of con-
ion that drives the stant division and hostility, and this
t century," Tyson perspective is also well-suited for an
y. And what can increasingly globalized economy and
han finding new interconnected Internet culture.
ial frontier? Space As college students, we already
ginations of most have big dreams about our individual
oint in their lives. and collective futures. We're going to
n new businesses be the innovators of the future, so we
ay fail, we should havea responsibility to spark that spirit
:hat is guaranteed of innovation right now. Let's tell our
also captures the friends, neighbors and elected officials
on that definitely that a small investment in innovation
ation. and our ability to dream is worth the
, an increase in short-term political inconvenience.
by NASA would Let's show the rest of the world why we
hological benefits should dream again.
only do you inno-
ons make head- Michael Spaeth can be reached
"Those headlines at micspa@umich.edu.

I can't count how many
times I've heard it: "When I
graduate, I'm getting out of
Michigan."
As the first
half of sum-
mer draws
to a close,
many stu-
dents have
fled Ann
Arbor - and VANESSA
the state of RYCHLINSKI
Michigan
altogether
- to other
economic and cultural epicen-
ters, and not just the class of
2012. The ever-more impor-
tant internship, by many con-
sidered vital to the undergrad
experience, has drawn many
students to greener pastures.
The allure is understandable.
Exodus is all too easy - espe-
cially when your state has
been one of those hit hardest
since the recession.
Despite Republican Gov.
Rick Snyder's opponents pre-
dicting a continued spiral
downward, however, things
have begun looking up. The
film industry is set to thrive in
2012, and Michigan recently
grabbed the 25th rank in eco-
nomic outlook on the State
Economic Competitiveness
Index put out by the American
Legislative Exchange Coun-
cil. Detroit's increased hiring
market also was the topic of a
June 12 Forbes article. Despite
these encouraging signs, how-
ever, May's unemployment
tally is a depressing 8.5 percent
and sits at the unlucky spot of
13th-worst in the nation. Luck-
ily, many talented students
have found options outside
the mitten. Cities such as New
York, Washington D.C. and
San Francisco have all beck-
oned with the promise of a bet-
ter work experience - one you
can't get anywhere else.
They're not the only lucky
ones, though, and there are
some experiences here that you
definitely can't get anywhere
else.
I attended the Semester in
Detroit student showcase dur-
ing the second-to-last week
of June to speak with stu-
dents who had volunteered to
learn and work in Michigan's

once-glorious metropolis. The of urban revitalization. Claire
University's Detroit Center is noted that working in Detroit
located in Midtown, housed is a definite future prospect.
blocks from historical build- "Just being here is so inspir-
ings such as the Fox Theatre, ing," she said. "When I look at
the Detroit Institute of Arts Brush Park ... there's so much
Museum and the Detroit possibility in those vacant lots
Opera House. I was both sur- and that's just beautiful."
prised and impressed by the
students who participated
in this year's program in an Detroit's culture
array of organizations run- -
ning the gamut from theater can'tbe found
and community outreach to
city and state government to anywhere else
law and social justice. a
For LSA junior Erin Kirk-
land, an aspiring journalist
and managing photo edi-
tor at The Michigan Daily, Alana Hoey is a senior in the
it all started with "the same School of Art & Design with
stories that you hear at every a second independent study
family party." These were major in Urban Planning.
all connected in some way to Alana felt that her intern-
Detroit, the place where her ship at Pewabic Pottery was a
parents were born and raised unique opportunity. Pewabic
before settling in Farmington. is known locally for commu-
After hearing so much about nity outreach. When asked if
the "good old days," she won- she would consider returning
dered how to connect to the to the city to work, Alana's
history of the city - without response was simple: "I'm
any undue dewy-eyed nostal- me here." Alana is one of two
gia - and of her family before in this year's program who's
moving forward. Though she native to the city and has many
doesn't feel entitled to the ties to the community. Her
designation of "Detroiter" grandfather came to Detroit
after one semester, she told during the automotive boom
me she plans to apply to the at the turn of the century,
Detroit Free Press and other when Henry Ford was offer-
non-profit organizations after ing $5 a day to new workers.
graduating. "I still do dream Her mother also helped found
of working for the New York an inner-city school in 2001.
Times," she admitted, "but Though often protective of
I've re-evaluated, and I think Detroit, Alana expressed the
there's a lot going on here." wish that friends would see for
Originally from Washing- themselves as some of her fel-
ton D.C., LSA junior Claire low students had done.
Jaffe interned for The Hub of Certainly it would be inter-
Detroit, a program in which esting to observe if the number
participants learn to assemble of students investing in Detroit
a bike they may keep upon was closer to 200 rather than
completion. Part of her intern- 20. But' it's still invaluable
ship included making and that these 20-odd students
traveling her own bike routes have seen same of the spirit of
throughout the city. One of Detroit - beit in a bike shop or
her favorite neighborhoods is a health center or girl's shelter,
Brush Park. "There are these in a councilwoman's office or
amazing mansions, and then on a wall mural. That spirit is
you turn your back and it's indicative of a special culture
a completely vacant lot with flavored with innovation and
grass up, to your waist and tenacity that you just can't find
the skyline behind it - incred- anywhere else.
ible," she said. An Urban Plan-
ning minor, Claire believes Vanessa Rychlinski can be
it's important to study urban reached at vanrych@umich.edu.
sprawl and re-inhabitation and
approach the puzzling problem

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