Monthly Archives: April 2015

Dance of the Butterfly

Spoiler Alert: Content in this blog post is from the April 29, 2015 episode of The Goldbergs

Feeling like a dork is strangely normal, but only in the rare cases when it’s socially acceptable. In every other situation, the embarrassment is like freaking out in the middle of a high school cafeteria at lunch protesting the lack of chocolate pudding by smashing superfluous pears with slurred speech due to new temporary braces, all while enduring the tragic vision restrictions of pink eye by wearing giant rimmed glasses not considered cool in any decade.

This is Steve Urkel territory, which Erica experienced for the first time in years.

“I’m a butterfly! I’m just going through some stuff, OK?”

For Erica, her unlucky streak began when her unlucky brother Barry unknowingly spread his grotesque pink eye to his sister by laying face down on her pillow. This was after Erica and Lainey informed Barry his “dance moves” were just awkward moves in a small space. Therefore, the BFF’s forbid Barry from joining them on the regionally broadcast sensation, “Dance Party USA.” So, accordingly, Barry took it upon himself to learn real dance moves by asking his surprisingly nimble gym teacher to help him in a comically awkward midnight dance session.

End result: Barry’s dancing on TV with his girlfriend and Erica’s struggling to find her butterfly wings that’s totally not a metaphor for anything related to life and outer appearances.

(The Goldbergs Twitter)

(The Goldbergs Twitter)

The only other Goldberg more unlucky than Erica at this point was Adam. Blinded by the gloriously infinite all-you-can-eat popcorn shrimp Pops won as a bonus in Atlantic City, he was in sheer awe of Pops. Seemingly invincible, there was no end to Pops’ lucky streak of winning at anything gambling-related. Except, what if his bubble of wonderment was popped by his dad? Murray, always the straight-talker with no filter, informed his youngest son of the charade of Pops’ perceived perfection.

Awkward…especially after Adam over-estimated the lucky powers of Pops and nearly lost his entire childhood to his friend in a hilariously predictable game of lunchtime paper football at school. Super mom Beverly came to the rescue, except this was a job for the super grandfather, with or without his leather jacket.

Growing up with two older sisters who were in high school the same time I was in middle school (like the Goldbergs sibling trio), they seemed like they had the inside track on things. Even with all the chaos that comes with high school, there was a sense of control on their parts. And for the longest time, I had been (am) the goofy younger brother with a valuable obsession of insightful knowledge of movies, music and TV. They’ve basically informed me as much. But even when I was going through my awkward phase in middle school (as we all do), my sisters made sure I got to tag along on several occasions. This despite the “coolness” protocol that dictated otherwise.

It wasn’t just the specific activities we did together during this time in our lives, but more so that I was given a temporary visitors pass into their world for a little bit. They’re special memories. While I could list some specific events, it’s tough to beat Erica, Lainey and Barry all dancing and groovin’ together without bounds or concern over looking ridiculous on a popular regionally broadcast dance show.

And yes, “Dance Party USA” was a real thing back in the ’80s!

From Barry trying to a little bit less Barry in front of his admittedly too-good-for-him girlfriend Lainey to Pops passing down his grandfather’s pocket watch to Adam to Erica feeling a glimpse of sibling love to Mr. Meller sharing off some killer dance moves that his ex-wife is surely missing to Beverly losing a war (the card game kind), this episode showed there’s no luck needed when family and friends are involved.

The Goldbergs is simply all-you-can-get awesomeness.

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Transcending Expectations

What’s the opposite of feeling like something’s new, yet with a contemporary twist?

For those who have listened to the single, “Absolution Calling” by the eternally stellar band Incubus, the question above is an appropriate adaptation (and observation) on a key lyrical phrase from the aforementioned song. Taking a bit of a hiatus, which included their iconic singer Brandon Boyd releasing a solo album, the group is thankfully back with new music. Two singles have been released, but when expectations are nearly astronomical, some time needs to pass to allow new material to mix in with their long list of iconic alternative rock hits.

And each listen proves they are still the same remarkable and innovative band, but with fresh stories to tell. In other words, they appear to be at the place any longtime fan would hope for. Their identity remains unambiguous, but with notes that offer an exciting unknown. “Absolution Calling” has produced a psychedelic vibe that’s sincerely driven by rock with peaks that stretches the creative minds of this band to the very ceiling of their studio. And still, the ceiling can be blown off and onto a Southern California beach under the stars without sacrificing quality or character whatsoever.

This next chapter, which will only involve a few new songs on “Trust Fall (Side A)”, sounds like a lost track that should’ve never been lost. It’s a genuine thrill to hear where they believe their music is after all these years and the point where they want to take off from with their fans.

It’s just very nice to know you are back Incubus.

Betting Big on a Message

“I want you to want me”

Late last night, the quintessential ’90s romantic comedy (with raw emotional depth, edge and incredible deftness at the angst and hilarious realities of living within the relentless tornado of high school cliques) 10 Things I Hate About You played on HBO and it was a wonderful escape. This movie, with a pitch perfect cast, shows what can happen when creative storytellers (actors and actresses) are given a creative story (the script) to interpret intersections of romantic quests, heartbreak with seemingly immovable barriers and the continuous dancing on the edge between funny and crude.

For those who have seen 10 Things, the latter always fell on funny.

And that’s the point. The 100-minute movie still sparks repeat views and flashbacks of happy, nostalgic memories because it told a fantastic story that connects with people in a positive light. This despite its all-to-familiar gut-wrenching moments of trying to find and understand love. The journey was tough (with subtle nods to a tame Shakespeare play), but genuinely worthwhile and enjoyable. While I could write a glowing analysis of more than 10 things I love about this movie (c’mon, I had to), the purpose of this blog post is to highlight the investment people will make for a story that takes the time and effort to be worthy of being paid attention to.

There are lots of substantial topics one could write about from this 1999 classic, but the issue today is highlighting its storytelling prowess. If you think about your favorite television commercials or advertisements, falling somewhere within the digital and print universe, odds are high they are clever and likely don’t appear like a linear plug of a product or company. They’re different in some way. These companies made the choice to be distinguishable, while maintaining high standards. And it’s the firms that choose to mix some traditional themes with a little bit of unorthodox communication and engaging characters that establish themselves as more than a product or company.

They become a story worth investing time and money in. These firms elevate their message and image above the competition with the rare quality of continuously maintaining people’s attention, like a movie that’s still as popular, unique and relevant today as it was 16 years ago.

And isn’t the quotation at the top of the page (the name of a song covered in 10 Things I Hate About You, as well as a major plot point) the primary message of any business?

Happy Monday!

David Hasselhoff has a new music video and it’s not an exaggeration to say it’s crazy-awesome-ridiculous for all the right reasons. At the very moment when you think it can’t get any more absurdly risible, he takes it to another level.

Take a deep breath before watching this video:

Have a Hasselhoff-Caliber Week!