Office Hours: The Summer Vacation Edition!
The concept of having the summer off to, I don’t know, go to some exotic place with my friends and spend the summer working in a hotel and having all sorts of adventures/falling in love/learning about life/growing up is foreign to me anymore, but it’s something that comes up every year since I have decided to work in academia. People ask, "What are you going to do this summer?" like I’m going to tell them I got a job as a waiter or a caddy somewhere, and then are disappointed/confused when I hit them with the list of projects I have to finish by August. The weird thing is that it leads to moments like this, where I’m writing a post about how busy I am while playing Left 4 Dead at 10 in the morning. But that’s my burden.
So if I don’t get a break, you don’t get a break either! Office Hours continues in the summer!
I asked this question in a post in our forums last night, but I think it bears repeating here–with so much of Hollywood’s time and money being spent "reimagineering" old films, doesn’t it make more sense to capitalize on the popularity of some of the stuff in the studio archives by re-releasing classics and cult films for short runs? So, with Star Trek just coming out this weekend, doesn’t it seem like more excitement/support/money could have been made by re-releasing something like Wrath of Khan for a few weeks in advance, and given people the opportunity to take in a real Star Trek double feature on opening weekend? Or what if Temple of Doom came out before Crystal Skull? And, it doesn’t even have to be done to promote something new–Blade Runner, Night of the Living Dead, The Matrix, Pulp Fiction, or even stuff like Casablanca or Godfather/II or Rocky. It has to be pure profit, right? Of course, there is the potential for overkill with this–don’t re-release Meet the Spartans to promote Dance Flick, or the original Taking of Pelham 123 instead of the remake. But in the big picture, why doesn’t this happen, especially when so many people complain about the amount of crap Hollywood releases? Doing something like this should make a ton of money, drive possibly stagnant DVD sales, create a ton of goodwill, and take money away from all of the crappy films being released (Tyler Perry, I’m looking at you.)
This fall, I am going to combine my geek selves and force my students to take part in a semester-long simulation. I’m going to pitch it to them in terms of Lost–you’re forced together, and you’re getting the opportunity to create your own society. I have to give them each certain goals to accomplish and a basic structure just to avoid getting the same confused e-mail 80 times, and I don’t know if I can make "get off the Island" one of them or imbue anyone with any kind of supernatural abilities, but all the same, I expect some people to get really into this. My favorite twist is that if any groups decide to go to war with each other–and I think it’s probably inevitable, since they’re going to be mainly freshman–then the war is decided in a best of three chess match in class. The students I’ve told about this project already got really excited, so we’ll see how it works out. At the end of the simulation, I’m going to have them write sort of a meta-paper talking about the ways in which the theories and concepts we talk about in class can be applied to what they did in the simulation. It’s going to be like running an 80 person RPG for four months, basically. And what’ll be even more fun is in the future, if I have to teach multiple sections of this class, making it that much larger. Obviously, if anyone reading this has ever experienced something like this from the student side, get in touch with me.
So, Dollhouse happened. Yep. If the series dies here, and it seems like it will, I don’t think it turned out all that well. It seems like it could’ve used some revisions at some point in the process, but damned if I know. The way the story unfolded–the timing and pacing of the events, the reveal of Alpha and the backgrounds of the main dolls–just seems like it was awkwardly done. I don’t know why, but I don’t think the show belonged on Fox, and I expect Scifi (or Syfy, or Siffy, or whatever the hell) will pick it up and run a marathon with it this summer and that will be that. I’m not really all that broken up about it being canceled, because that’s life. I am pretty pissed that NBC canceled Life, though. That can’t stand, man. Charlie Crews has been screwed again!
Okay, so instead of writing a 1000 words about how awesome Twitter is, I’m stopping here. Yes, this column is pretty much just a blog post. But that’s what you get from me. You also get this. Enjoy!
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Re: Office Hours #4
I was wrong! I was so shockingly wrong. Dollhouse has been picked up for a second season on Fox, ending Brick and I's pain...for now.