Thursday Quote Day: Bart Simpson

For this week’s “Thursday Quote Day” and for Star Wars Day, here is a quote from Bart Simpson:

“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, contrary to what you’ve just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: The American Revolution, World War II and the Star Wars trilogy.” (Bart Simpson The Simpsons)

Resonating with “This is Us”

Every year during the new “fall season” of TV shows, I’m always trying to watch previews and see what show I want to invest time in to watch.  I have a good number of shows that I regularly keep up with and so anytime there are new shows I want to see if they’re worth watching.  From the first time a saw a preview earlier in the year I knew that I wanted to check out NBC’s new show This is Us.  Even from just the brief few minutes of the trailer for the show, there was a feeling that resonated with me about it.  So I made sure to mark that as something I want to watch.

this-is-us

This is Us is a show about the Pearson family.  In the pilot we learn about a couple by the name of Jack and Rebecca.  They are pregnant with triplets and when the time arrived they got two healthy babies and one that died.  However, there was also an African-American baby that was born that same day that was left at hospital with no one to care for it and Jack and Rebecca adopt him.  Come to find out that the three siblings (Kevin, Kate & Randall) are all grown up in the present day and the episodes weave through the past with Jack and Rebecca raising the children and the present day with the three siblings living out their different lives.

I think resonate is the best word when it comes to this show.  All the struggles and heartaches that these characters face are ones that resonate with me.  I understand and feel when these characters deal with pain, hurt, rejection, hope, loss, fear.  It resonates with me because I struggle with those same feelings.  There are few shows that can entertain as well as resonate.  I can watch an episode (as well as the aftershow where the creator & the cast talk about the episode) and have that episode stick with me for several days.  It sticks with me because I can relate to what these characters are feeling and experiencing.

Whether it’s Kate and her struggles with her weight and relationship issues with Toby.  Whether it’s Kevin and his struggles of feeling ignored or not valued as an actor.  Whether it’s Randall and his struggles with feeling accepted or whether to excel or be middle of the road.  Whether it’s Rebecca and Jack trying to live out their lives and sacrifice their dreams to make the best for their family.  Each story is real because it’s things that are universal.  We all deal with these hopes and dreams and struggles and pains.

It is telling how the show weaves the past with the present and shows that the same hopes and dreams and struggles are there throughout the characters’ lives.  It is the same in our own lives.  There are certain things that we deal with all our lives along with those things that we deal at certain points in our lives.

If you haven’t seen This is Us, you really should.  It is one of those few shows that makes you feel and makes you think long after the credits roll.

Barry Allen and Moving Forward

I have mentioned before on here how much I’m a fan of the comic book character “The Flash”.  I feel like in a lot of ways I can relate to Barry Allen.  So of course I was excited to see the return of the series.  And along with the return gives a lot of entertainment as well as a lot to think about and ponder.

At the end of last season, Barry went back in time to try and fix a problem.  That problem was one that had defined him.  That problem was the death of Barry’s mother by Reverse Flash.  Barry goes back and stops Reverse Flash and prevents the death of his mother.  The season premiere of this season showed the effects of this “Flashpoint” which changed the timeline of what happened not only for Barry but for everyone else.  When things began to spiral out of control, Barry goes back and allows Reverse Flash to kill his mother.

Last night’s episode showed the effects of what happened when Barry “fixed” the timeline.  Relationships were damaged between family and friends.  New enemies began to appear in Central City.  So Barry decides to go back again and try and fix it.  However before he got too far, he was stopped by Jay Garrick (Earth 2 Flash), who knocked him out of the Speed Force and into 1998 (which wasn’t a bad year to be honest).

barry-and-jay

Jay and Barry then sit in a diner and have a conversation.  During that conversation, Jay tries to share with Barry about how trying to “fix” the timeline doesn’t work.  He uses the example of a coffee cup and how it can be broken.  Once it’s broken, even if you try and put it back together again, it still has the cracks and isn’t the cup it once was.  The same for the timeline.  The more one goes back to try and “fix” things, the more it breaks.  Jay then tells Barry that he has to accept what has happened and move forward.

I know for myself that there are those certain moments in my life that I wish I could go back and change or “fix”.  Painful times that I wish didn’t happen or good things that I wish had lasted.  But I cannot go back in time and change things.  All I can do is move forward.  That’s all that all of us can do.  We have to persevere and move forward.  We have to trust God that what hurt and pains that we’ve experienced are not the be all end all of our lives.  That we are not defined by those moments only.  But that we are defined by Him.

It is not easy to move forward sometimes, even for a speedster like Barry Allen.  But it is possible.  It is a daily struggle but it is possible.

Vengeance and Luke Cage

Like most everyone this past weekend or so, I started watching the Marvel Netflix series Luke Cage.  And while I haven’t binge watched it all the way through like some (I’m still a couple of episodes from finishing), I have watched a good amount of episodes since its release.  (FYI, there maybe minor spoilers but nothing major ahead)

luke-cage

And while there are a lot of things to think through with this series, there is one that my mind keeps going back to.  This is due in large part to one character in the series.  That character is one of the major villains of the series by the name of Willis Stryker aka Diamondback.  Many times throughout the episodes that Stryker is on screen he is either quoting Scripture or he’s holding a Bible in his hand.

The backstory of both Stryker and Luke Cage are linked due to the fact of both of them having the same father.  That father also happened to be a preacher who had an affair with his secretary which led to the birth of Stryker.  Stryker resented Luke and the “sins of the father” would later come to terrorize both Luke and the people of Harlem.

Stryker is unfortunately a reminder that you cannot separate the story of the Old Testament with the New Testament.  Much of what Stryker quotes is Old Testament.  He seems to live by the code of ‘eye for an eye’ or even more so a perverted sense of justice.  He hasn’t really known much about the New Testament and grace.  I would imagine the Bible that he carries around Him doesn’t get opened much around the Gospels.

To translate it from the small screen to real life, I think a lot of us live with the sense of wanting vengeance.  When we are wronged, we want justice.  It is that reminder that deep down there is a true moral right and standard.  However, because we all have a sinful nature, it tends to skew it sometimes away from justice and more towards vengeance.  The Apostle Paul reminds us in Romans 12:19 “never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine I will repay,’ says the Lord.”  God is the only one who can rightly judge in the end.  We are to called to forgive, even when we have been deeply wronged.

One of the hardest things in the world to do is forgive.  We see that in stories in TV shows like Luke Cage and in books and movies.  We see it in real life.  When we’re wronged, the default in being hurt is to rage and want revenge.  But like for Willis Stryker, it consumes you and you lose out on all the good that you can be.  Watching this series has reminded me of how much grace and forgiveness is needed in this world today.

The 25th Anniversary Edition 1991 Version: TV Shows

It’s time again for the Anniversary Edition. This is a series where we highlight the 25th anniversary of some of our favorite things. These include movies, TV shows, video games, comics and music that came out during the year of 1991. A lot of big things debuted or made a huge impact that year and so we will highlight some of those in this series.

We have previously looked at the year in music, video games and movies in 1991. We now turn to the TV shows of 1991.  Lots of pretty cool and memorable TV shows debuted in 1991 so let’s get right to it.

Seeing as this was still the era of great cartoons, let us start there.  On Nickelodeon, we saw their first foray into original animation shows.  On August 11th, three shows debuted.  Those shows were Doug, Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy Show.  This was the beginning of the Nicktoons franchise.  Another great cartoon that debuted in 1991 was Darkwing Duck.  Starting on the Disney Channel on March 31 & then later moving to syndication and ABC, Darkwing Duck became another key component in the Disney Afternoon cartoon block.  Other cartoons that debuted in 1991 were Taz-Mania (August 31st) and Pro Stars (September 14th)

Nickelodeon also had Clarissa Explains It All debuted on March 1st.

On the talk show front, there were several pretty big talk shows that debuted in 1991 including two that are still going today.  These talk shows were The Montel Williams Show (September 16th) The Jenny Jones Show (also September 16th) and the two big ones Maury (September 9th) and The Jerry Springer Show (September 30th).

Some other big shows that debuted in 1991 included Blossom (January 5th), Dinosaurs (April 26th), Home Improvement (September 17th), Step by Step (September 20th), and The Commish (September 28th)

Which of these TV shows listed was your favorite? Is there a TV show not listed that premiered in 1991 that you enjoy? Leave a comment and share them here. Next time, we will look at the year in comics in 1991. Until then, crank up the old VCR and enjoy some classic TV shows.

Thoughts on Living in a World of Remakes

“What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.”  Ecclesiastes 1:9

Those words were written thoughts of years ago but they are very poignant even today.  The Teacher (most believe was King Solomon) wrote those words reflecting on his life and the culture of that time.  It could also be applied to the culture of today very easily.  There are many things that translate to this era and time period.

One of those things that has been on my mind of recent has been the prevalence of society to embrace remakes.  You turn on the TV or you go to a movie theater and you are hard pressed to not see a remake or a reboot.  It is everywhere.  Granted, this is not a new phenomenon.  I will say that it has become more prevalent in the last few years.

Why is this so?  There’s probably several reasons.  One, Hollywood is about making money.  These franchises that are getting remade are ones that have made a lot of money in the past and executives probably believe that they can continue to make money.  Two, we as a society are rooted in nostalgia.  Each generation has our shows and movies that we loved growing up and we want to connect with those times again.  So as each generation grows into adulthood, we see “new” versions of classic (to them) forms of their childhood favorites.  Three, coming up with new ideas is hard.  It’s a lot easier to recycle old ideas than is to come up with original ideas (especially when you’re in the business of making money like Hollywood is).

I know some people love remakes and some people hate remakes.  Where do I tend to fall?  I tend to be somewhere in the middle.  I think there are some good remakes.  Most of those tend to be ones that honor the spirit of the original and can also tell a good story.  However, the majority of remakes aren’t that.  Many of them do not honor the spirit of the original.  They also don’t tell a compelling story.  Some are just bad ripoffs or they are just carbon copies and are simply made to try and make money (in some cases successfully and in some cases not).

Because we are made in the image of God, we have a desire to create.  Stories are a part of that.  There are elements in all stories that run as a thread throughout.  I do think that having a prevalence of remakes and reboots isn’t as good as having a prevalence of more original stories.  So when there is a movie or TV show that isn’t a remake or reboot, I try and make a point to watch it.  It may be good.  It may not be good.  But if there is that support for more original content then maybe there might be more of it made so that it isn’t all remakes and reboots.

The Teacher spoke very insightfully of his time and culture.  He also spoke very insightfully of ours as well.