Clorox Makes Things Dirty

A few weeks ago my sister alerted me to an inadvertently hilarious detergent commercial that ran during Mad Men. It popped up again the other night, and thanks to the narration's awkward grammar it's still danged funny. You'll find the relevant lines in the first comment on this post in case you don't catch them or can't play the video.

Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Yes, I know it's Monday night, if not later.

Photo: Mario Anzuoni / Landov via Entertainment Weekly

I couldn't actually "live-blog" during the Emmys because the Internet connection was down (big surprise). But I typed up notes on the laptop anyway and fleshed them out during the commercials and after the show. In the spirit of Bests and Worsts or Cheers and Jeers, they're accompanied by certain exclamations I realized were recurring from my fingertips, so here — at least a day late and probably redundant to countless other cyberspots — are my...

2009 Emmy Yays, Heys, Hmms, and Huhs

Hey! I'm just one letter off the Tetragrammaton.

The Opening:

Yay! Neil Patrick Harris is already enjoyably smooth-with-a-wink. It took me a few sentences to realize that he was doing the faux-newsreel voiceover himself. And that white tux jacket is a bold but winning choice.

I fall into the sliver of my generation that doesn't have Doogie Howser nostalgia, by the way. The series was on during my college years, when my TV time was pretty much limited to the news (including Gulf War I, two Presidential elections, the Clarence Thomas hearings, the Rodney King riots, and the fall of the Soviet Union) and weekly indulgence in Star Trek: The Next Generation. I think the adult NPH is a real hoot, however, on How I Met Your Mother and just in general from what I've seen of him.

Hmm. The song started off a little light. And it's hard for one guy, not hoofing it much (partly 'cause he's singing live, I think, so points for that), to roam a huge stage sans a visible band or backup dancers without looking small. He ended strong and that staccato rundown of the various channels rocked, but some backing vocals might have made it sound meatier.

Hey! Jon Hamm is indeed a very handsome man.

Hmm. So who does have awesome opening montages these days, theme-song or otherwise? I watch approximately two sitcoms, 30 Rock and HIMYM, both of which oddly enough have quick titles with vocals but no actual lyrics; they're both good, although 30 Rock's is best skipped if you're viewing episodes in succession on DVD. I don't follow Desperate Housewives anymore, but its original credits sequence was imaginative and nicely executed. The recently departed Battlestar Galactica had an excellent theme. Big Love and True Blood, both of which I catch up with on disc due to not having HBO, use actual songs very effectively. Mad Men's opening probably gets the gold right now for its music and visuals both — not only wouldn't I think of fast-forwarding through it, I look forward to it.


Hey! That's the voice of John Hodgman. Niiice.

Yay! I'd probably have voted for SNL's Amy Poehler, but I'm glad for Kristen Chenoweth — she's talented, she was on a brilliant-but-canceled series, and she's just so happy about the award. We should ask the Fringe folks how to find the alternate universe where Bryan Fuller is splitting his time between Pushing Daisies and Wonderfalls, neither of which is on opposite Boomtown.

Huh? "Doctors... Patients... Donors..." The come-on for CBS's transplant-oriented medical drama Three Rivers was surely not meant to be a nearly LOL moment.

Yay! On the other hand, this remark from Julia Louis-Dreyfus was: "Amy and I are proud to be presenting on the last official year of network broadcasting." I howled.

Hmm. Jon Cryer seems like a nice guy and the speech opened funny, but I'm not too familiar with his current work, having seen exactly one episode of Two and Half Men. The 30 Rock guys do great stuff, but I'd have voted for NPH (well, if I were actually voting, I'd have seen all the submissions, so maybe not, but presumably). Everyone who enjoys sharp, adult-oriented laughs should at least try HIMYM; I don't think it belongs on at 8 p.m. and can't believe what it gets away with sometimes, but the same was true for Friends.

Hey! Justin Timberlake looks strangely like Simon Baker. He also really does resemble Robin Gibb, even without the suit, wig, and makeup. Why does it feel like the glasses somehow play into that when neither of those dudes wears glasses?

Hmm. I wonder if turning orange is a side effect of certain makeup or tanning products in combination with HD TV cameras, at least as seen on non-HD televisions. David Letterman has been looking orange on my set for a while now, and as of his show's switchover so does Craig Ferguson. Now half the Comedy Lead Actress nominees are orange, and the other half are quite pale (but they wear it well).

Hmm. How do I precede a comment on Toni Collette's win since I've never watched United States of Tara? (You'd think a guy who purportedly blogs on television would have at least HBO or Showtime, I know, but they cost the money.) My pick was Tina Fey.

Yay! Falsely bitter NPH is even funnier than regular NPH. We could've done without the gag cut-in to Jon Cryer's press Q&A, though.

Hmm. Look, I know most of the heterosexual-male population will be rueing the existence of double-sided tape while staring at the astounding adherence of Blake Lively's and (later) Anna Torv's dresses to their — whaddayacallit — boobs. I submit, however, that without such tape we wouldn't have seen any accidental flashing because we wouldn't have gotten that much boobage to begin with. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to figure out exactly how I atone for using the word "boobage" on my blog before Yom Kippur rolls around.

Huh? I do have a sense of humor that can appreciate dark, wicked comedy. But that Family Guy bit with Stewie beating the dog was just wrong.


No offense to those who enjoy it, but I'm not a viewer of "reality" TV — as opposed to what Emmy rightly separates out in the Reality Competition category. I can see enjoying stuff on cable about making cakes and working tough jobs in insane climates and surviving life as a meerkat, but the likes of Jon and Kate and Real Housewives... I'd rather feel better about life in general by watching people triumph than feel better about just my life by watching people unravel and make me thankful that I'm not them (then make me fear for their children's future besides). There's a place in scripted drama or thoughtful documentary for "there but for the grace of God go I"; those stories, though, still tend to be ultimately uplifting and insightful about the human condition. Even the generally positive and thrilling Amazing Race will occasionally linger on behavior that's baser or more manufactured for the camera than I expect or desire to see.

Huh? Race has won an award in every one of the previous half-dozen years it's been nominated, and yet the band appears not to have rehearsed the theme.

Miniseries and Movies:

Hmm. We've already been through me not having HBO, so it's no surprise that I haven't seen any of the nominated material in this category except for 24: Redemption. Yes, I know I can rent the DVDs, but when you're dealing with heavy stuff there's a kind of intertia that sets in if you don't watch it while it's actually televised and there's so much other good material, usually lighter or serialized fare, in your Netflix queue. Anyway, Shohreh Aghdashloo was fantastic alongside Jennifer Connelly and Ben Kingsley in the film The House of Sand and Fog, as well as on 24 a few seasons back, so I'm happy for her.

Yay! I heard Grey Gardens was very good; we really should slot it in for a stay-at-home movie night. Ken Howard just earned bonus points for "I'll make my speech short in the hope that it won't be interrupted by a Congressman or a rapper." And the genuine thanks to the woman whose kidney he now has was even more moving than that was funny.

Hmm. Does anyone else think that ever since Alec Baldwin started doing his great (just great) impression of Tony Bennett on SNL he's been unable to totally shake it off?

Yay! The rumored Dr. Horrible piece has arrived in delightful fashion, and it's legen— [buffering]...


Hey! I just did a search for the supremely funny "YouTwitFace" and found that since Conan O'Brien coined the term it has, as the kids say, gone viral and of course is now an actual domain that (also of course) won't load for me. If you haven't seen the original sketch introducing the term, just Gahooglepedia it — and, please, after the term "Gahooglepedia" goes viral itself, let's all remember that Gahooglepedia is a trademark of Brian Saner Lamken.

Yay! The rundown of Variety Series Writers nominees is always a highlight. I think this year the Late Night with Conan O'Brien Facebook gag was tops, but Billy Crystal's bit for Letterman and Brian Williams' rundown of SNL writers were close behind.

Huh? I'm glad that the Daily Show gang won, but every year it's harder to fathom how that incisive program, like all its brethren (sexist implication intended), has an overwhelmingly male group of jokers with writer/correspondent Wyatt Cenac the only black man in sight. Rather than the lame line "I haven't had anything to say since Bush left office," the gang's acceptance speech could easily have made a topical reference like "Wow. I didn't expect to win. I only showed up tonight because I thought President Obama was going to be here." And then they could've gone home to think about why Congress has larger percentages of color and estrogen than they do.

Hey! Jimmy Fallon took a pretty good stunt fall. We're just about at the saturation point of Auto-Tune jokes, I think, but clearly there's some humorousness left.

Hey! The Sarah Silverman Program's Rob Schrab is up there as part of the group who won for writing Hugh Jackman's opening number on the Oscars telecast. I interviewed him in New York fifteen years ago when he was doing a comic book called Scud: The Disposable Assassin (and performing with an improv group). The series went on a long hiatus before being completed and collected last year by Image.

Hmm. Ricky Gervais is once again proving to be a very funny man whose content and delivery both resonate with the Hollywood crowd. You think he'll finally get tapped to host the Oscars, or is he still too much of an unknown quantity among American audiences who've probably never heard of the original British Office or Extras? Maybe if The Invention of Lying overcomes its leaden title and does reasonably well at the box office.

Huh? Like The Amazing Race, The Daily Show is a repeat winner (and deservedly so), hardly an unexpected win, so you'd think the band could maybe have made sure that the actual melody line of its theme could be heard instead of just that saxophone part. I realize that I've never mounted a live network-television production, but I'm just saying.

Huh? Commercials are mostly getting tuned out here, but this spot for Surrogates drives me nuts with the latest in Bruce Willis' long line of ridiculous wigs. You want to differentiate between the real live guy he plays in the movie from his robot surrogates with the hair, fine, but we all know what he looked like when he had hair, and it was not this. Somebody get Weta Workshop to draw up a short, spiky rug for Willis, please.


Hey! What an unexpected surprise that the Emmys can at least admit that Battlestar Galactica was a legitimate drama series in its quick genre montage, along with one nomination for directing. I promise you all that it's one of the most gripping, thought-provoking, heart-wrenching, character-driven television series you will ever see, and it's now all on DVD for your habit-forming pleasure.

Yay! Michael Emerson takes the well-deserved Drama Supporting Actor trophy, and Lost fans around the world rejoice. He was actually in a dream of mine the night before, using that maddening Ben voice of his, but he wasn't "playing" Ben or even himself — he was a stand-in for someone with whom I used to work. It was quite bizarre, only in part because he popped up in a vast library accessed by a bathroom in my grandparents' old house.

Hmm. Sarah McLachlan's rendition of "I Will Remember You" over the memorial segment was lovely. Her cover of XTC's "Dear God" is excellent, by the way; you should totally Gahooglepedia it on YouTwitFace or just buy it from Imazunes.

Hmm. Do you think it's unfair that Mad Men gets more than one slot in Drama Writing, or is it just unfair that the show is as good as it is? I wonder if part of the attention is that Mad Men feels more "written" than, say, Breaking Bad, although it's hardly the first series to jam up the writing or directing categories in either Comedy or Drama with multiple nominees.

Yay! I should point out when the band is doing something right, after giving it grief for notable missteps earlier, and they pretty much nailed that great Mad Men theme.

Huh? Simon Baker not only bears an unusual resemblance to Justin Timberlake, he's also wearing the same sort of thick-rimmed cool-because-they're-unflattering glasses.

Hmm. I've never seen Damages and so can't really quibble with Glenn Close's win, but I was hoping that Elisabeth Moss would take the statue for her understated work on Mad Men.

Yay! The fact that the Drama Lead Actor slate was so strong makes Bryan Cranston's repeat win even more thrilling. I sure hope this translates into more viewers seeking out the devastatingly good Breaking Bad, whose first season is on DVD and second season is repeating Sunday nights at 12 after the 11 p.m. encore of Mad Men.

Outstanding Series:

Yay! I love Bob Newhart for his charm and humor like everyone else, but seeing him is always bittersweet because he looks and even sounds a lot like my late uncle. This joke about the "minus seven" rating is awfully familiar; I've probably heard him tell it before, but he could read this paragraph back to me and it'd be funny.

Hmm. Since my Internet connection was down I couldn't vote online for this Viewers' Choice thing, and all I jotted down was that True Blood won so I don't even remember its competition. But while my formal review's yet to be hammered out, I recently finished the first season on DVD and highly recommend jumping in. After a few episodes of exposition via clunky dialogue it offers up some intriguing mythology, genuinely fine acting, and deliriously, addictively pulpy plots.

Yay! 30 Rock and Mad Men are both deserving of repeat wins, much as I could argue for some of their competition.

Huh? So the producers put the last award of the night, for Outstanding frickin' Drama, in that slot presumably because they deem it the most anticipated if not the most important result. And then the band is cued to play off its spokesman. Geez. Julia Roberts and Kanye West should've tag-teamed the conductor. "Yo, Stickman. I'ma let you finish, but Matthew Weiner created what this audience voted the best show on TV. On TV!"

Hey! The show ended just as my VCR clicked off after taping Mad Men, three minutes after the hour.

What's the Rosh?

L'Shana Tova!

The blog's come to a halt again, for various reasons, and I might as well announce a hiatus rather than have it feel abandoned. (It seems that whenever this happens I'm able to start posting again, so for all I know — at the risk of jinxing things — this message will get belied, but in case it doesn't there you go.)

Wishing you all a lovely fall, and Happy New Year to those observing it... May you be inscribed in the Book of Life.

The Fugue of War

I highly recommend the UK production In the Loop, especially if you enjoy gleefully cynical inside-politics satire. The film's been out since late July here in the States, in limited release at "art-house" cinemas and multiplexes big enough to spare a screen for independent flicks.

logo 'In the Loop'

To be honest, I'm afraid of how little exaggeration there may be in this (fictional)
tale of the run-up to a war in the Middle East based on flimsy — if not fabricated — material produced by factions in the US and British governments. But the movie is less an indictment of hawkish politicians per se or some would-be filmic roman √† clef about the Bush Administration than it is an all-too-believable comedic gloss on how any perspective can be spun and sold through power, determination, technology, and the right people saying the right kind of thing somewhere amidst the 24/7 media machine.

Ace o' DC

DC Comics logo ® DC Comics.

I've been a
DC Comics reader for about 35 years. While most kids in my generation dropped the comics habit by their teens, occasionally to rediscover the medium in college as it grew up with them, I went the opposite route, hitching my train to the industry and expanding my exposure to the art form. I did have to go cold turkey several years ago, unable to work and in financial crisis, but when I finally, hesitantly put my toe back into the waters the first thing I did was check in on the characters I'd loved most dearly.

DC is different today. And while that's true in the larger sense of these times
vs. those times, I mean that DC is actually different today. Paul Levitz is stepping down as President and Publisher of DC Comics after a long tenure in corporate positions, and its parent company has announced the formation of DC Entertainment.

You can find background, analysis, and gossip on these moves from various perspectives all over cyberspace. I'll post more links and commentary later, but the Internet connection is acting up again. My priority right now is to issue what I will laughingly call a "public" thank-you to a genuinely nice guy for doing his heartfelt best in bringing his perspectives as a reader and creator to the office in the often seemingly thankless job of running DC Comics as a business, and to congratulate him on being able to return to writing one of his trademark features.

O in Sesame

While there may be no I in team, there is a me in Sesame Street, as in "Me want cookie!" And there are two Os in cookie. There is also an O in Elmo, the little red guy who, fair warning, starts talking in that voice of his right away if you visit the show's home page.

You might be surprised at what an O is worth these days, by the way, but I'll get back to that.

Soda-Pop Art

Given the jaw-dropping opening car ride in tonight's Mad Men, it was a surprise and a relief that the sad news later in the episode wasn't more tragic in its scope. I'm not here to talk plot points, though; after tonight, the show might be done dealing with Patio, the diet soft drink introduced by Pepsi-Cola in 1963, and so my window to relevantly blog about it is closing.

Patio bottlecap TM and © 1963 PepsiCo Inc.,
cropped by me from image at USA Soda website.

I'd never heard of Patio, but like most if not all of the products featured on the series it's real — although also like them it wasn't actually handled by the fictional Sterling Cooper agency. The cola variety of Patio was rebranded Diet Pepsi in 1964, according to its Wikipedia entry, which also sketches out why, but other flavors of sugar-free soda continued under the name through the '70s. You can browse through them in astounding detail on the Patio section of the Other Pepsi Products page on the USA Soda website. (What the hell was Devil Shake, and how did they market that one?)

Pepsi Light promotional button TM and © 1975 or so PepsiCo Inc.,
cadged and cropped by me from someone's Flickr page.

Navigation through anything other than the website's main page is limited, so I'll also link here to the parade of regular ol' Pepsi cans through the years if you'd like to compare; the bottles are itemized, too, as you'll see on the Pepsi index page. What interested me most was the Flavored Pepsi-Cola page and its images of Pepsi Light, a version of diet Pepsi with lemon that I fondly remember my parents and their friends drinking in my formative years. Should Mad Men somehow make it to 1975 perhaps we'll see Sally Draper home from Radcliffe sharing one with her dear old mother over frosty conversations about the past.

Harmony and Irony

I saw the, uh, original repeat of Glee's pilot episode the other day and wish I'd been able to post a review before the encore encore tonight. Was it music to my ears? Not entirely, but I'm rooting for it.

The Glee logo is a trademark of 20th Century Fox Television.

Uneven but interesting, the show is certainly worth sampling before the series finally continues next Wednesday, Sept. 9th, at 9 p.m. ET. It was previewed last spring — in prime real estate after American Idol — even though the show's actual debut was always scheduled for this fall. Fox must have felt it had an offbeat winner and hoped to stoke buzz throughout the summer; indeed, reception was generally favorable and songs from the series have been popular downloads on ITunes.

You can still check out the episode online. Whether you should depends on your ability to (1) relate to the politics of adolescence, (2) appreciate tautly sung show-tune versions of pop songs from various eras, and (3) accommodate yourself to entertainment presented with and without irony in quick alternation if not simultaneously.

The first part is easy for me. As for the second, I love good a cappella and enjoy new interpretations of familiar music in general, but when rock, R&B, and other music of rebellion is rendered as crisp musical theater the results can be iffy, as with Glee's incongruously choreographed take on Amy Winehouse's "Rehab"; on the other hand, Journey's already tacky "Don't Stop Believin'" became a nicely arranged anthem and REO Speedwagon's "Can't Fight This Feeling" as sung in the shower by Cory Monteith was, in stark contrast to the original, not only tolerable but kinda nice. The third part is where things get tricky.

Clockwise from top left: Matthew Morrison as Will, Jessalyn Gilsig as Terri, Jane Lynch as Sue, Jayma Mays as Emma

On the Glee homepage you'll see rotating pictures of its cast happily making the L-for-loser sign on their foreheads, and that pretty much sums up the show's tightrope walk over the chasm of self-parody. Will Schuester [sic], a Spanish teacher in Lima, Ohio, has taken over the glee club at cash-strapped McKinley High. His best memories are of performing in that club back in the day, but now his wife is urging him to take a better-paying job in accounting as they try to start a family. The few and proud glee-club kids take their music as seriously as the show itself does, which is more seriously than the show takes the characters.

From the reviews I'd read and the content of co-creator Ryan Murphy's previous series, WB's Popular and FX's Nip/Tuck, the sincerity of Glee surprised me. You almost have to assume that a TV show about the trials of a high-school glee club will be handled with a big wink in today's cultural climate, despite the success of Idol and High-School Musical, especially when it features Jane Lynch as a take-no-prisoners cheerleading coach — Lynch is versatile, but probably best known for her gut-busting deadpan turns in The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Role Models. As Will, Matthew Morrison plays his conflict completely straight, while the adult supporting cast tends toward the patently quirky and the kids are earnest in a way that befits the context but often feels tongue-in-cheek.

Clockwise from top left: Lea Michele as Rachel, Cory Monteith as Finn, Mark Salling as Puck, Dianna Agron as Quinn

Music is a calling to the glee-club students, including, to his surprise, the football star played by Monteith, derided by his teammates for joining the singing social misfits. Lea Michele, from the original Broadway cast of Spring Awakening, brings pipes, ambition, and a hint of crazy to the role of Rachel, student leader of the club and perceived threat to Quinn, the cheerleader girlfriend of Monteith's Finn. Jessalyn Gilsig, late of NBC's Heroes and so together on Fox's David E. Kelley drama Boston Public, brings more than a hint of crazy as Will's wife Terri, the former cheerleader who has a (literal) closet obsession with Pottery Barn and an attitude that feels one small breakdown away from Gilsig's character on Nip/Tuck. Will and Terri have been together since high school and married for five years now, which makes it discomfiting to have the show nudge us into rooting for Emma, the McKinley High guidance counselor played by once and future Heroes guest star Jayma Mays, as she carries an unrequited torch for Will.

So apparently Glee is going for satire with both heart and heaping angst, positioned somewhere between the territories staked out by Judd Apatow (director of Virgin and Knocked Up, producer of Superbad) and Christopher Guest (maestro behind Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show, and For Your Consideration) — but in the PG, broadcast-TV framework of Boston Public and last year's Judy Greer sitcom Miss Guided. As a weekly series, Glee has different parameters than Apatow and Guest's underdog tales: It can't be so potty-mouthed, it probably doesn't have the budget for improv, and most importantly it won't wrap up in about two hours. Rather than introduce an outcast ensemble, put them through comic trials tinged with brutal reality, and end with some semblance of triumph, Glee has to sustain its mix of winking humor and sincerity on an indefinite basis. The tension between when to laugh with the cast and when to laugh at them could be difficult to maintain, especially because serial storytelling often calls for exploring its protagonists' flaws and their antagonists' humanity.

Clockwise from top left: Amber Riley as Mercedes, Chris Colfer as Kurt, Jenna Ushkowitz as Tina, Kevin McHale as Artie

The style and substance of the series have much to recommend, but it remains to be seen whether the joyful, outsize harmonies of the musical numbers can coexist with the storylines' dissonance in tone. Have you tried Glee yet? Did it strike a chord with you or fall flat?

Summer Leavin'

Happened so fast...

Just as August ended and an autumn crispness crept into the air, it
finally started feeling like summer.

We've had weird weather this year like everybody else: a strangely cool start, heaps of rain and hellacious thunderstorms, finally some heat waves. Summer isn't only about the weather, though; it's about traditions, new and old, as with any season.

Last year I found a local Japanese market called Maido and started indulging in anko again. Anko is a paste made of mashed red beans, or azuki, and sugar; the amount of sugar and the chunkiness or smoothness of the paste depends both on individual taste and on how or with what you're serving it. Around the same time I became a regular at Maido, Mad Men's second season began, the Phillies were barreling towards the playoffs, the Olympics started up, and I began watching MSNBC regularly. Yes, I'm what many would call a liberal, as if that magically codifies the fullness of my opinions and convictions. No, I don't always agree with the perspectives of Keith Olbermann, Chris Matthews, or Rachel Maddow, and occasionally find the former as insufferable as I find the latter delightful. Maddow became a guest host for Olbermann and an MSNBC general commentator right when I settled into a groove with the channel, shortly before the Presidential candidates were nominated at their parties' national conventions; I was quite happy when she was quickly given her own show, though alumnic pride was removed from the equation when some basic Googling (which always makes me feel like a stalker) revealed that despite her familiarity she was merely an endearingly snarky, wonky lesbian roughly my age and I didn't actually know her in college.

So the point of the preceding monstrous and poorly structured paragraph is that my August last year was defined in part by noshing on red-bean paste while watching political coverage and Michael Phelps.

There are no Olympics this year, of course, and for some reason since the switchover to digital broadcasting MSNBC has dropped out of my cable lineup. Comcast hasn't stopped offering it, mind you, it's just joined TV Guide and Cartoon Network among the channels that I'm supposed to get with the basic package but that don't come through because of the weak signal to the house. That weak signal is the same reason why I can't upgrade to the actual digital tier with a DVR and all those channels above 100. True to form Comcast has failed to help remedy this even though they stand to gain more money on a monthly basis. At least our PBS station does come through, if sometimes fuzzily, since the digital switchover.

Maybe it's been the weather, maybe the fact that we didn't have a major superhero blockbuster at the multiplex (Harry Potter movies feel more like the fall) or that I didn't make it to fireworks on the 4th of July (after my cousins' backyard blast, that is), maybe it was my abject lack of Mack's Pizza. While the AC unit finally went in the window and other annual events were duly marked, summer just hadn't clicked into place for me until last weekend. The AC was off and the window open, oddly enough, but I had treated myself to some anko after months of abstention and kicked my feet up to watch Mad Men when I was surprised by that tingle peculiar to the observance of a ritual. Since we were up to the third episode already, I concluded that at least two out of three Ms in the unlikely trinity of Maido, Mad Men, and Maddow were necessary for the effect, and had occasion to curse Comcast all the more.

Marvel and the Mouse

You've probably heard by now that Disney is buying Marvel.

Jack Kirby's contribution to Craig Yoe's The Art of Mickey Mouse
© 1991 Yoe, the Kirby Estate, and/or Disney.

I don't have any insight to share at the moment beyond the fact that most of the jokes — some of them made as much warily as humorously — are just that: jokes. The House of Ideas, as Marvel was once known, won't be "Disneyfied" by The Mouse House (or The House That Mickey Built; choose your colorful correlative). Disney also owns ESPN and Miramax, remember.

Plenty of mash-up artwork has made the rounds since the announcement, some of it done for just plain fun long before yesterday's acquisition news. While many of the character smooshes are quite good, and it's interesting to see that Wolverine is as prevalent as Spider-Man when choosing a signature Marvel character to cross with Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck, my favorite is this in-joke (although it should have used the original red-headed Marvel character instead of Eeyore). One of the best-looking and oldest illustrations circulated is the above piece drawn by Jack Kirby and colored by Craig Yoe for Yoe's coffee-table book The Art of Mickey Mouse, in which famous artists of all stripes interpreted the icon; its resurgence in this context shows how closely Kirby is associated with the quintessential Marvel style when he's really genericizing himself and not the publisher.