I can’t begin today without acknowledging the untimely death of Mr. James Gandolfini at age 51. Gandolfini apparently met that type of A-list celebrity that, upon his death, Facebook statuses flooded in with comments about his passing.
Gandolfini is known for pretty much one role, and one role only. That of Tony Soprano from HBO’s landmark drama, The Sopranos.
I’m going to admit, I have never seen a full episode of the show. As a television, film and pop culture nut, that may seem pretty incredulous. I’ve heard account after account about its legendary status. Indeed, its hailed as one of the — if not the — best television drama of all time.
But I was 12 years old when the show debuted. Given its very violent and obscene nature, it wasn’t the type of show that really appealed to me at the time of its heyday. I was more of a Hey Arnold! type of guy at that age. And since I was too young during its peak, I kind of missed the boat, and subsequently never really get into it. I did, however, watch the final 10 minutes of the finale, just because I knew that the entire world would be talking about it for weeks. And just typing that sentence automatically singaled the song “Don’t Stop Believing” in my head.
Though I never watched the show, it didn’t take much to realize that Gandolfini’s portrayal of the intimidating mobster was clearly a very iconic role that resonated in a lot of people’s minds. That was evidenced last night by the outpouring of Facebook posts, and that he was the top trending topic on Twitter for hours after his death.
The suprisingly emotional public reaction may have even inspired me to add The Sopranos to my queue of television shows to watch. I think it’s finally time to witness it for myself, and by doing so, I can perhaps appreciate the craft of Mr. Gandolfini. I came across an interesting and very well-written article on Twitter last night, written by someone who clearly covered the HBO show throughout his life, and he had some pretty remarkable things to say about Gandolfini. For those who — like me — were unfamiliar with the man, you can read that piece here to gain a little more insight about the New Jersey-born actor. I recommend it.
I did, however, see Gandolfini in the 2012 film Killing Me Softly, which I watched several months ago. And I can attest that one thing I remember from him was how overweight he appeared. So it came as no real shock to learn that his death came as a result of a heart attack, and that’s just yet another solemn reminder of the importance of maintaining good physical shape, especially into our later years.
RIP Mr. Gandolfini.
Now onto some lighter stuff.
I was watching television the other day. I can’t quite remember what I was watching, but I’m sure it was something embarrassing. But regardless of what it was, a commercial aired, advertising a show that is beginning on Sunday on ABC called Whodunnit?
Needless to say, the commercial left me in awe that such a show could exist.
See for yourself.
The trailer starts as typically as any other of its kind might, marketing the show as a reality series. It depicts the stereotypical arrival of a dozen strangers into a fancy house, the butler/host walking down the stairs to greet them, and the group toasting wine glasses while smiling jovially.
But then the ad took a drastic turn, and shifted into some type of quasi horror-suspense show, with the contestants being blindsided into a murder-mystery live action game.
Essentially, it seems like a reality portrayal of the board game Clue.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. When the mood of the commercial shifted gears, I thought it was a joke. I assumed it was some kind of parody. I was actually waiting for the Geico gecko to make an appearance and validate the joke. But he never came.
The gecko never came.
Clue is a very longstanding, historically popular game. It will never go out of fashion. So I understand that a network had the idea to try to market off its success. But that they’re still somehow trying to make us truly believe that it is a genuine reality show, and that the contestants are seriously afraid for their lives — that’s when it just becomes an insult to my intelligence. An episode has not aired yet, but I have no problem proclaiming it as one of the dumbest things of all time. Not one of the dumbest shows of all time, one of the dumbest things.
The trailer shows flashes of breaking glass, women screaming, smears of blood, and even leads us to believe that some of the contestants actually die. Heck, at 1:14 in, they even show some type of feral cat in mid-growl. It’s like some type of jaguar or puma.
How the hell can you incorporate a jaguar and/or a puma into a reality show and expect us to take it seriously? This isn’t The Hangover.
Supposedly one of the contestants on the show is “the killer,” which means its not only a ripoff of Clue, but of The Mole, which is one of the most underrated shows of all time. I hope there is at least one person out there reading this who has seen The Mole and therefore agrees with me on that.
I understand that they are attempting to appeal to the type of crowd who likes mysteries, suspense, or storylines that involve the solving of crime. But, here’s the thing — people who enjoy those type of brain teasers are actually smart. There not the same idiots who watch Princesses: Long Island or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. Instead of watching this show, they’ll entertain their minds with a book, or the actual 1985 film adaptation of Clue.
Everything about this show, from its marketing, its production, to even its freaking name — Whodunnit? — is awful. Can you imagine person going up to another person and saying, “Yo, did you watch Whodunnit last night?” Just saying that out loud makes me laugh in the worst kind of way.
The only “whodunnit” that I’m interested in is the person who was responsible for creating this show. Because he or she is the real murderer here.
The murderer of our intelligence.