Wed, 4 December 2013
Ever watch TV? Bet you have. Man, do we have a podcast for you this week -- one of those, "I can't believe we haven't done this one, yet!" shows. This week, we're talking about that great American pass time: television!
We kick it off talking about the first TV show we remember watching, before jumping to how important TV was to us when we were young. How does TV from the past (we focused on 80s TV) compare to things today?
Somewhere along the way, the mini series became a popular thing. We discuss the first mini series programming we remember watching before moving to our all-time favorite mini series. Probably because the mini series at least shot for something more, we jump to talking about the shows that seemed to be forerunners to the more intricate story arcs, characterization, and chances taken with TV today. Also: the most out-of-the-box TV shows we've ever seen.
With the rise of cable, viewers (and creators) have more channels to choose from. Is this better or worse for creators? What TV shows do we feel have had strong writing? And you know you want to find out the most embarrassing shows we'll admit to liking!
In the homestretch, we ask how relevant TV is to today's culture...before calling out the best TV shows of all time (and the worst). We wrap it all up with this question: What is the future of television?
So grab that remote and flip to Men in Gorilla Suits. As always, we'd love to hear your feelings about anything discussed in the comments.
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(Wow, we succeeded going this entire description without saying boob tube! Huhuhuhuhuhuhuhuh...)
Mon, 25 November 2013
With Thanksgiving on Thursday in the states, we decided to release this week's show early...
This week, we're talking about celebrity, and we begin the episode like we begin most episodes: discussing our earliest memories of things (this time, of celebrities). When did we realize there were these things out there called celebrities, and who were the first celebrities to get our attention?
Why are people so enamored with celebrities, and is there something sad about the name dropper...the person who talks about all the celebrities they've met? Is there a difference in the way people view the status of famous musicians, athletes, actors, or even writers -- or is celebrity the same for all? Then the big question: who are our favorite celebrities?
From there, we talk about some of the celebrities we've met...and celebrities we just don't get! It seems many love celebrity scandals -- we discuss why that is before talking about a type of celebrity many don't even consider: the Internet celebrity. There are bloggers, people with YouTube Channels, and podcasters -- some of whom have larger followings than traditional celebrities. Is this new kind of celebrity a step down from what most deem as celebrity, or is it just as valid of those on the red carpet at a movie premiere or awards ceremony?
We then take a turn into the realm of reality TV show celebrities: do they deserve the credit, or are the Kardashians and others the worst of the worst?
This podcast was done at the request of a friend, who pitched a couple questions. The first one: who are our man crushes? (Apparently the Gorillamen have similar tastes in male celebrities!) The second: who are the five celebrities we'd put on our laminated list? Finally, we close the episode out by answering this question: "Would you want to be a celebrity?"
As always, we'd love to hear your answers to any of the topics discussed on this week's episode.
Thu, 21 November 2013
A week from tomorrow is Black Friday. It used to have more meaning, but in recent years, the sales kick off on Thanksgiving Day. Each year, it seems advertising for holiday sales begins earlier than ever before. People complain about seeing Christmas decorations in August, but it apparently works as advertisers push the limits of what the purchasing public will accept.
This week's podcast is all about advertising, starting with the first advertisements we remember seeing. From there, we confess to what capacity we've each worked in the advertising world. (If the podcast had chapter titles, this part would be "Shawn Hangs Out with Molly Hatchet!)
Even with digital recorders, TV still seems like the place for advertising. We discuss whether we even watch ads on television anymore (if we really ever did), before discussing ads that annoy us...and ads we like. (So, obviously, ads do get through to us.) Then on to the big question: has an advertisement ever convinced us to actually buy something? Has an ad annoyed us so much that it's turned us off from purchasing something? Are there right and wrong ways to go about advertising?
We then take a moment to discuss the best and worst ads we've ever seen before discussing if we've ever tried advertising our books. (Answer: no and no!) And then we close it all out discussing the future of advertising. How invasive will it get?!
We'd love to hear about your favorite and most-hated ads in the comments, so jump in and have fun! (You'll make the ghost of Earl Scheib sell his soul for just $99.95!)
Wed, 13 November 2013
What music did our parents listen to when we were younger, and what was the first music we ever owned? Find out right at the start of this week's show. Also find out if either of us ever played a musical instrument. After the trip to the past, we leap to the future, discussing the musician or band that never lets us down...and the band that, when on it, is as good as it gets, but has also recorded some of the worst music out there.
From there, we delve into dislikes, leading off with the band or style of music it seems everyone says one must like, but we don't like. Then: it's time for a moment of hate...find out what band or musician we could do without. (And yes, we said hate. Normally, not our kind of thing, but once Christopher opened his mouth and discussed is irrational hatred for a particular musician, things took a bit of a dip into Negativeland.) You know we usually lean toward positive, though...to the point of ridiculously positive at times. We leave the dislike and hate behind and talk about music's effect on our writing.
Music is a time machine of the mind -- we then talk about the musician or band that transports us to the time we listened to them most. Find out what songs we can't help but like, as well as our guilty pleasure tunes. (Not that we are ones to really care what people think of our musical choices, but we all have those songs that are considered bad that we instead love.)
What do we listen to most these days? How has our tastes changed -- what musicians or bands did we once listen to all the time that we have simply left behind? Find out our biggest music 180s, the bands we once couldn't stand that we came to love. Then it's time for the one-minute lightning round as we rattle off some of our favorite songs (and forget so many others)! The episode closes with what effect music has on us.
We'd love to hear your answers to any of these questions in the comments.
Thu, 7 November 2013
It may sound like a high school civics class, but this week...we're all about government!
We jump right in by asking if America has the best system of government, or if others out there have better ideas? That leads to a discussion about what form of government is the best...and what we feel is best. Of course, we also discuss the worst kinds of governments that have existed and are still out there.
Then, a bit about education: how much government was taught to us in school, and how involved were the classes? Were they biased or open to all kinds of ideas? Did they help us, or have we forgotten all we learned? Do we feel like we learned something, but still ended up lost in a sea of people who didn't?
Next, we get a bit more philosophical. Does a transparent or secretive government best serve the people? Could a complete lack of government actually work? And because Shawn led the charge with this epsisode, could a government like the one in Star Trek ever become real...and if so, could it work? Sticking to fictional governments, we talk about how close or far we are from Orwell's 1984, before wrapping it up with the ideal government we would create, were we put in charge of the world.
(In the end, it is decided: Facebook and dance fighting are the only systems that work! Okay, maybe not, but we do mention dance fighting and the structure of social networks like Facebook as a system of government.)
Wed, 30 October 2013
We begin the Halloween episode of Men in Gorilla Suits as we begin most episodes: by discussing our earliest memories of the topic. Find out when Halloween memories stuck in our brains. from there, it's on to our favorite costumes from our pasts. (This section had a beta listener rolling with laughter at Shawn's choice and our discussion of those cheap, vinyl costumes popular in the 70s and 80s.) The costume talk doesn't stop there, though...we reveal what we'd consider our ultimate costume if we had the talent to make them, and what creature we would want to be if we could change into a monster just like that.
But let's be honest: for many, Halloween is all about the candy! We discuss the best -- and worst -- things people dropped into our Halloween bags when we were younger. Find out if our candy was ever stolen from us [by a band of thugs dressed like the baseball gang from the movie, The Warriors], or if we were ever the ones doing the stealing.
For some, Halloween is about destruction. Find out how many pumpkins we've smashed in our time and any other mischief on October 31st we got into. For others, Halloween is all about entertainment. Find out what books, movies, and music we recommend for Halloween.
In recent years, Halloween has returned to its roots for some, and become seen as evil by others. We take a moment to discuss the religious side of what is largely a secular holiday, before wrapping the episode up with a couple favorite stories from past Halloweens -- and our plans for this year's festivities.
We'd love to hear some of your favorite Halloween memories in comments, so please share.
Tue, 22 October 2013
Oh, hello there, you wonderful, magical being, you. What's that sour face for -- don't believe us? You are magical...and...if you have just $99.99 to spare for our 20-cassette self-help system, you'll realize your full potential! Don't buy it, and continue to be miserable: the choice is yours. Salvation is just a credit card number away...
This week, we're all about self help! Now, we should clarify that there's nothing wrong with wanting to better yourself...even pay for help if needed. It's just, if you're going to take that step, it would seem a professional therapist might be a bit better than someone making up a pile of bullshit about how quantum physics works in an effort to sell you on yet another self-help system...
We begin the episode by talking about what image comes to our minds when we mention "self help." Then, we discuss whether or not any self-help book or system has ever helped us. After that, we leap into self-help things we've been subjected to in some manner. (It's probably pretty clear at this point that we're not the biggest fans of people preying on desperate people and selling them "help" in Holiday Inns across the country. In fact, Christopher is one degree away from someone fairly well known who "helps" people, but is really just out to take people's money...so we speak from some certain experience.)
While on the subject of self help, why not talk about Scientology and other religions that are little more than a pyramid scheme? Are they really out to help people, or is it all about pushing their own agenda? On a smaller level, we ask if there are self-help gurus who actually want to help people more than they want their money. Then we ask if self-help systems have a high percentage of success, or if they are just a scheme to help those running a system make a lot of money.
Then it's time to talk about some of the more outrageous claims made in the self-help industry. You could probably call this section of the podcast, "It's no secret how Christopher and Shawn feel about The Secret!" While hammering those who know nothing about science (but use junk science to back their claims), we roll all over certain health gurus who also make ridiculous claims in their grab for cash.
But while we don't spare the majority of an industry from ridicule, we do acknowledge the marketing machines behind the self-help industry...and how they have used social media to expand their empires. After discussing how easily people are swayed by "facts" that aren't facts, we ask the biggest question of all: "Is there any value at all in the self-help industry?"
We'd love to hear what you think about self help in the comments, and...we hope this episode of Men in Gorilla Suits helps you. If nothing else, we offer it for free!
Thu, 17 October 2013
Recently, Louis C.K. was on Conan O'Brien, talking about how smart phones destroy one's empathy. We begin talking about that, asking each other if we agree with Louis C.K.'s thinking. Then it's on to the physical ways smart phones make us feel when we ask each other if we've ever felt separation anxiety when not able to use our phones.
Like it or not, the Internet (and easy access to technology) has changed the way we do so many things. We talk about why we're online and, as writers, we take a few moments to ask if online promotion has been worth it for us...or if having a "brand," "platform," whatever we're calling it this week is all hype.
Speaking of hype, a lot has been written about how always having access to information has degraded human focus. We ask if we had more focus before or after technology became such an available thing. By reading this online, it's clear that on some level, the gorilla men are okay with technology, but what technology makes us cringe? Do we feel the need to keep up with everything? Can we make it through a lunch without checking for or answering a text message -- find out!
Back to technology's physical effects...we take a few minutes to ask if checking Facebook and other things is a reflex. Do we play games on our phones, or is that the line we draw where we say, "Nope, that eats up waaaaaaaay too much time!"? Then it's on to our biggest tech weakness and a discussion if we can -- or even want to -- change it. Have we ever been so connected that technology has affected our sleep?
Thoreau had Waldon; now, simply taking a one-week social media break is cause for writing articles...we discuss taking social media breaks and ask if we could sit in a cabin all weekend without any tech. Finally, we wrap it all up by asking what is gained (and lost) by always being connected.
If you're reading this and listen to the show, you obviously have feelings about technology and the way we've all come to use it. We'd love to hear your thoughts about this episode in the comments.
Tue, 8 October 2013
Don't walk beneath that ladder, and do be careful with that mirror -- you wouldn't want to break it and find yourself dealing with 7 years of bad luck! This week, we're all about superstitions and luck!
We begin the episode asking each other if we're superstitious and what was the first superstition we remember hearing (it's probably pretty common, and we bet your mother's back was not broken by your actions on a sidewalk). Were we superstitious when we were younger? Find out! After that, we ask how our perceptions of things have changed over the years.
Then we get a little more specific: can superstition be a low-level mental illness, like a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder? Or is it just a thing people do? What influence do different cultures have on superstitions (we give examples we've seen). Then...we move on to luck!
Find out if we consider ourselves lucky people and if there are ways to avoid "bad luck." Is bad luck just a person's lot in life or can things be done to make our own luck?
We close with the silliest superstitions we've ever heard and answering this question: "Who's the most superstitious person you know?"
So avoid the black cats, pick up a penny, and listen to this week's show! (And let us know if you have any superstitions in the comments.)
Tue, 1 October 2013
We're loading this week's show (all about art) a little early. The episode begins by asking the question: what is art? Is writing, photography, film, and dance art? What about video games? (Okay, so those specifics come a little later in the episode.) After establishing what art is, we discuss our earliest memories of art, including the first great works of art we ever saw.
After that, we get into actually creating art. Does one have to be creative in order to make art? Can art be taught? What's more important: creativity or ability? Then it's back to specifics: who are some of our favorite artists? What are our favorite works of art? What's the strangest art we've ever seen?
Then we stroll through the modern art gallery of the mind, asking if modern art deserves the reputation it gets from some people -- and we ask if art critics are good or bad for art? We wrap it up chatting about what we think art will be like in 100 years.
We'd love to hear who some of your favorite artists and works of art are in the comments!
Links to some of the artists and works of art mentioned in this episode: