February 27, 2018

Pilot Season 2018: Representation Matters


Thanks to the incomparable Xaque Gruber, who sent me this Facebook message over the weekend, it looks like my name could be immortalized on the small screen.

That is, if a certain pilot gets picked up by a certain network...

Stay tuned.

@TheFirstEcho

February 22, 2018

Obsession of the Week: Janelle Monáe's "Make Me Feel"


Take some art direction from Black Mirror's "San Junipero," inject it with some very Prince-esque funk, and you get the gorgeous music video for Janelle Monáe's "Make Me Feel," a single that is already being hailed as a "bisexual anthem." (The fact that Janelle's alleged boo, Tessa Thompson, also appears in the video only adds fuel to the rumor fire.)

And, regarding certain recent Prince homages, a coworker recently quipped, "Justin Timberlake should take note."

@TheFirstEcho

February 09, 2018

20 Things That Turn 20 in 2018


1998 was a good year. How good? The proof is here in these pop culture relics...

1. Can't Hardly Wait - See future Client List and Ghost Whisperer star Jennifer Love Hewitt play the prettiest girl in school while surrounded by a dozen actors before they hit it big on procedural dramas and milquetoast cable TV movies! Seriously, there are so many familiar faces in this movie...and right now, it is hitting me hard in the gut to think that I was graduating from high school at the same time as these characters. Sheesh.


2. Brandy and Monica's "The Boy Is Mine" - An unrivaled R&B-pop duet that should never be remade. But if both singers want to reunite for a sequel, then by all means: Have. At. It.


3. Armageddon - It's the mind-numbing Bruce Willis blockbuster that gave us Aerosmith's then-ubiquitous "Don't Wanna Miss a Thing" and one scene that will never make us look at animal crackers the same way again.


4. Madonna's Ray of Light - Arguably her best album of this decade. It was experimental, it was existential, and it won four Grammys.


5. Felicity - The WB drama about a college freshman chasing her crush across the country and adjusting to life in New York City gave audiences one of television's best love triangles (FYI - I will always be #TeamNoel) and became one of the most endearing coming-of-age sagas at the turn of the 21st century.


6. "...Baby One More Time" by Britney Spears - It was the music video that launched a pop megastar and millions of schoolgirl Halloween costumes.


7. The X-Files: Fight The Future - Mulder and Scully's first big-screen adventure was a big-budget thrill ride that bridged the fifth and sixth seasons of the sci-fi series. And apparently that "truth" is still "out there" considering they're back on Fox solving more cases and still dealing with that damn conspiracy. Sigh.



8. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling - Four years before everyone bought tickets to see Harry & Co. on the big screen for the second time, fans devoured this bestseller.

9. Semisonic's "Closing Time" - The anthem for every graduation party across the country.

10. Sex and the City - 20 summers ago, the world was introduced to Carrie Bradshaw, Charlotte York, Miranda Hobbs, and Samantha Jones.

11. Deep Impact - The superior giant-meteor-destroys-the-Earth movie of the two that came out during the summer.

12. The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill - Bow down to one of the best albums of the 90s.

13. Charmed - The pitch for this Aaron Spelling fluff probably went something like this: "What if you gave Charlie's Angels a book of spells?"

14. Disney's Animal Kingdom - The theme park in Orlando, Florida opened its gates. Yours truly experienced the magical wonders later that summer.

15. The series finale of Seinfeld - The price for a 30-second commercial during the final episode was a cool $2 million.

16. Dawson's Creek - #TeamDawson4ever


17. Alanis Morissette's Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie - If Jagged Little Pill helped me get through a year of high school, then this follow-up helped get me through a year of college.

18. Fear Street Seniors: Let's Party by R.L. Stine - This installment marked the beginning of the end of a long-running series of horror novels that left a significant impact on my young adulthood.

19. Saving Private Ryan - "All that just to find Matt Damon???"

20. My high school graduation cap and gown - Gulp. I'm learning how to cope with this harsh truth. (More on this later...)

@TheFirstEcho

February 08, 2018

I Was a Guest on 'A Special Presentation'


ICYMI: I was a "special guest" on A Special Presentation, a podcast about "the ghosts of television and pop culture past." I had the nerdgasmic opportunity to share some of my TV expertise, particularly on the seminal 80s primetime soap Knots Landing.

Hosts Jonathan Bradley Welch and David Crabb welcomed me with open arms (and a box of doughnuts) over at the Nerdmelt Showroom on Sunset Boulevard.

Listen to my episode (#27) wherever you get podcasts (like HERE) and enjoy listening to me ramble on about kidnapped babies, corrupt politicians, and other cul-de-sac convolutions.

@TheFirstEcho

February 02, 2018

Song of the Month: February 2018


There must be something in the water over in Australia because the Nation Down Under has been delivering some impressive pop lately. This is the second month in a row in which I've showcased a song from a group of Ozzies.

Sheppard's "Coming Home" is a feel-good bop that any smart music supervisor will want to include in a TV commercial for Coke or some millennial-targeted lifestyle ad campaign. (Or maybe that's just the copywriter in me.) Either way, it's a track that should be added to everyone's playlists as we trudge through another wintry month that needs some sparkle.

Initial Thoughts on Justin Timberlake's "Man of the Woods"


Okay, here we go...

I'll start with some positive: I love "Montana." (Listen HERE.) It's the perfect retro-smooth track that Bruno Mars never released in 2013. It's the musical equivalent of a post-coital cruise in a black Cadillac Fleetwood Coupe at midnight somewhere in 1984. ("Breeze Off The Pond" is a close second.)

Upon listening to the entire album, I've come the conclusion that this thing screams "PLEASE GIMME AN ALBUM OF THE YEAR GRAMMY IN 2019!"

The 30-second bridge in "Supplies" is what the entire song should have been.

The older I get, the more I realize my pop idols are gradually slipping into self-important Adult-Contemporaryhood.

"Young Man" -- as adorable and well-intentioned as it is -- is a ripoff of Christina Aguilera's intro, "My Heart," on 2010's Bionic. Just sayin'. (Both tracks include cameos of each pop star's toddler offspring.)

I could've done without the Jessica Biel-voiced interludes.

"Midnight Summer Jam" is trying so hard to be a cookout anthem.

The following lyric in "Sauce" is a jawdropper: "I love your pink, you like my purple." Say what? Um, no.

And really, was "Filthy" just a leftover from FutureSex/LoveSounds or what?

@TheFirstEcho

February 01, 2018

#TBT: Writing for the Ladies of 'Claws'


Finally getting around to sharing a fun, little teaser I wrote for TNT's Claws last year. Produced by the awesome team at Stun Creative (shameless workplace shoutout), this was, ahem, shot last spring down in New Orleans with Niecy Nash and the rest of the fierce female cast.

Check it out:

@TheFirstEcho

Nostalgic AF: 1980-2000

This is one helluva #TBT. I know I'm getting old when I catch myself listening to the music of my youth more often than I have befo...