21) Flash vs. Luthiac
Justice League (Unlimited) is to animation what Avengers is to film. Just this perfect chain of world-building that escalates more and more, delivering all the while. While the first season of Unlimited was quite fantastic, it had one glaring flaw: no Flash. Wally only went as far as showing up a couple times with no lines in group shots. It wasn’t until the following season that he even got to do anything.
Everybody stopped being mad about that after the episode “Divided We Fall”, where the core members of the Justice League are taken apart by the hybrid of Lex Luthor and Brainiac. The villain prepares to kill off Flash, a prophecy set up throughout the season. Flash – the comic relief of the team – frees himself and runs off scared.
…or does he?
I don’t even care about anything after he vanishes. It’s the limit-breaking beatdown that I go back to. The beautiful way the score starts to creep in the moment he hits his first surprise punch. The way Luthor seems so taken aback that he doesn’t even try to come up with any plan, which, if you look at it, means that Luthor’s idea of merging with Brainiac is their undoing, since Brainiac wouldn’t have been so distracted by ego. Flash is someone who’s been ignored from episodes because he’s so hard to write and they’ve even nerfed his powers so much that he had a hard time catching up to a van one time, so his existence on the cartoon is vindicated in this moment where he kicks ass with such speed that he vibrates in place, Zoom-style.
22) It’s the YETAY!
When you ask a wrestling fan about the funniest and most absurd concept in the history of the business, they’ll give you one of two answers. One is the Gobbledy Gooker, a much-hyped and mysterious giant egg that finally hatched to reveal a dancing guy in a goofy turkey suit. Then there’s the Shockmaster, a complete failure of a segment where a new wrestler meant to be the next big thing proceeded to trip on live TV, knocking off his mask and causing the entire scene (as well as his career following) to fall apart.
For me, nothing is as gleefully silly as the Yeti.
The Yeti was born from a storyline involving Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage against the Dungeon of Doom, no doubt the silliest of all major factions in wrestling history. It was made up of an old, fat man barking orders at his “son” Kevin Sullivan and a collection of henchmen wrestlers, all goofy as all get out. The whole thing is such a clusterfuck that I’m going to bypass most of it, but the main conflict is Hogan vs. the Dungeon’s biggest and newest threat, the Giant. The Giant is billed as being Andre the Giant’s son, wanting to avenge his father against Hogan. On an episode of Nitro leading up to their big PPV match at Halloween Havoc, they show a huge block of ice. Kevin Sullivan refers to the figure inside as the Yeti, only he insists on pronouncing it “Yeh-tay”.
At the end of the final show before the PPV, Hogan fights off the Giant in the ring and some crazy lights start going off. The crowd is excited and with only a second of airtime left, the ice on the stage explodes to reveal… a seven-foot-tall guy dressed as a mummy.
And if that doesn’t tell you to purchase the PPV, I don’t know what does.
The match itself continued its clusterfuck ways and by the end, Randy Savage and Lex Luger come to Hogan’s rescue. Soon after, the Yeti follows, accompanied by Tony Schiavone on commentary screaming, “And the YETAAAAY!” Yes, even he’s insisting that not only is this giant mummy a yeti, but it’s pronounced exactly the way Sullivan insisted. Somehow, it’s that little detail that acts as the lynchpin to why this is so wonderfully ridiculous. Hell, they’re so focused on the YETAY! that it’s a footnote that Luger has already turned on Hogan and Savage in the ring. During this beating, the Yeti and Giant bearhug Hogan from each side and Yeti moves his hips back and forth in a way that makes him look like he’s raping Hogan. When he isn’t attacking anyone, he wanders the ring with his arms out like Frankenstein. Despite being in the ring for only two minutes, his bandages have already torn a bunch and we can see plenty of his skin, showing how flimsy a concept the mummy wrestler idea was to begin with.
As far as I know, there was no follow-up to Yeti fighting Hogan. Instead, he faded rather oddly into obscurity with no fanfare. First he started dressing like a ninja instead of a mummy. Then he kept that look and changed his name to Super Giant Ninja. He immediately lost to the One Man Gang and was repackaged for another day.
23) The Music Video for Sexx Laws
Even though I’ve ignored Jack Black’s non-Muppet/Panda movie adventures for the past five years or so, I’ve always been a pretty big fan of the guy when he appears to care. The first memorable thing he did was show up in the video for Beck’s “Sexx Laws”. Beck has always been one of my favorites with Midnite Vultures being one of my go-to albums. Random humor can be funny if done right and it’s done right with the senseless transition from Black at a support group to an invasion of colorful football players.
I seem to recall a version of this video that was nothing but the football players destroying that room with Kenny G playing in the background. It’s been years since I’ve seen it, though.
Black is the one who makes this all come together with his animated almost-straight-man style. Watching a refrigerator bone an oven is okay on its own, but having Black go nuts over it in the background like it’s the last thing he’d ever want to see puts it over the top. For years, my friends and I would quote his little speech at the end.
MTV once had a show called When Bad Videos Happen to Good Artists. After they featured this and Stone Temple Pilot’s “Sour Girl” on it, I knew I had outgrown the channel for good.
24) King-Size Homer
“I hear that guy’s ass has its own congressman!” – Jimbo Jones
Man, I used to be into the Simpsons so much. Season 7 was probably the pinnacle for me and if I had to watch one episode of any TV show once a day for the rest of my life, it would easily be the one where Homer gains a tremendous amount of weight to qualify for disability and work from home.
The whole thing was the perfect storm. Homer was such an entertaining character before he became a hollow parody of his classic self and they found a way to mix stupid jokes with fat jokes and put it to the extreme. The writers were on all cylinders here, coming up with a laugh nearly every minute.
I used to have a hat like that too.
25) Telling Terrible Jokes
It’s rewarding to come up with some spur of the moment one-liner that gets people in the room laughing. That shouldn’t be a surprise. But in a selfish way, it’s just as rewarding to come up with some terrible one-liner that gets people pissed off and groaning. Fozzy Bear understood this.
At work, I’ve gone so far as to have people angrily throw things across the room and even silently walk away while shaking their head. My favorite reaction? Years ago, it was a week after Obama had announced Joe Biden as his running mate and at B&N, we got a big box of Biden’s autobiography. I looked over to my boss and told him, “Man. They weren’t Biden their time on this one!”
He gave me this incredulous laugh with a huge smile and said, “Wow! Are you the Devil?”
26) Fire Ant vs. Vin Gerard
I’ve been to a lot of CHIKARA shows, but this match is easily one of the most fun ones I’ve seen live. The setup is that Vin Gerard is this guy who got excommunicated from the locker room the previous year after it was discovered that he didn’t earn the right to wear his luchador mask when he was wrestling under the name Equinox. Also, as Equinox, he had this bizarre-looking Running Shooting Star Press that never really hit correctly due to his limbs flailing all over the place. He came back without his mask and waged war on much of the roster, with a lot of the masked wrestlers acting as cannon fodder. They were doing this big tournament called Young Lions Cup and before one of the shows, Gerard attacked one of the contestants, Worker Ant. Worker was replaced by his partner Fire Ant and the finals ended up being Fire Ant vs. Gerard.
Wrestling logic suggested that Gerard had to win, likely through dirty tricks, just because they were building him up so much and Fire Ant was just another obstacle, no more special than the last. Instead, we got this amazing match that looked like it could have gone either way until it reached a point where Gerard seemed to have it in the bag. He’d keep putting Fire Ant in the STF, but Fire Ant would roll out of it and escape. Gerard gave him three insanely painful-looking Curb Stomps in a row and he still couldn’t get the win. By this point, all the masked good guys have come out to show their support. Gerard puts him in the STF once again and we get to the ending.
Skip to 4:25 to get to the finale. There’s a music video highlight reel of this match too, but it takes a little away from it all. What isn’t as noticeable on the filmed version as compared to being there live is that right before that Running Shooting Star Press, an incredibly frustrated Vin Gerard starts crying on the spot.
27) Don’t Insult Roast Beef’s Dog
During the first couple years of Achewood, the otherwise likeable Roast Beef came off as just a little too wimpy. He was too spineless and depressed to stand at times and it did a number on his personal life to the point that it ruined his only ever romantic relationship. His spirits improve a little when he gets Weldon, one of those robotic dogs that used to be all the rage (or some of the rage). Pat, the series’ resident asshole, has Beef over to do his taxes and his charming personality finally sets Roast Beef off.
This ends up being Beef’s turning point. While he doesn’t change completely, he at least grows a pair and fixes all of his major problems, eventually getting back together with Molly. Funny thing with Pat is that he gets so offended, not for being threatened, but because it was a homosexual threat. Much later, he discovers that he’s gay and comes to terms with it.
Which leads to Ray asking him, “You scorin’ much dude-pussy these days?” That alone vindicates this entry.
28) The Rorschach Handshake
This scene is actually pretty similar to the last, now that I look at it. Nite Owl plays the Roast Beef role in the sense that he stands up for himself against Rorschach using him and repaying him with verbal abuse, but the scene isn’t so much about him. It’s about Rorschach coming around in his own way by apologizing and owning up to what a bastard he’s been. His whole superhero career has been based on not compromising because he needs to be who he is, but Nite Owl is the only one who’s ever respected him and the only man he’s ever respected on a personal level. As a social retard, he finally finds himself in a spot where he realizes that his actions hurt the one man who matters to him and he has to make it right.
It’s this scene and the mercy he shows the landlady in front of her children that redeem Rorschach’s existence, at least a little bit. Another minor moment that really warms me up to him is when he and Nite Owl are about to go after Ozymandias and they bring up an old adventure together where they took down Big Figure. There’s something nice and reassuring about the way Rorschach wistfully says he thinks back to that moment regularly.
29) The Jackin’ It Song from South Park
To this day, South Park remains super watchable, even though the latest half-season hasn’t been as good as it should have been. The outlier is the episode about bullying, which had a ton of great scenes and gags. References are made to that Kony 2012 guy, who lost his mind and went on a public, naked rampage in San Diego and at the end, Stan finds himself in the same shoes, publicly hated for a well-meaning documentary that went out of control. So he goes off to San Diego to fulfill the rest of the routine.
Not only is it a funny masterstroke (sorry) to end the episode, but it’s CATCHY AS HELL. The night it aired, I knew it would be a little while before I’d get the song off the net, so I kept rewinding it and playing it in the background because I could NOT get it out of my head.
Plus, “Hey, that guy’s jackin’ it!” kills me.
30) Bizarro Becomes #1
Fun fact: I have the Bizarro logo tattooed on my left shoulder. I’ve loved just about every incarnation of the character despite all the different ways he’s been imagined. I remember being a little wary of Geoff Johns’ plans for him during his Action Comics run, but with Eric Powell on art, they completely blew me away. The story has to do with Bizarro creating Bizarro World and being distraught when all his creations – especially Bizarro Lois – see him as some kind of monster. He kidnaps Jonathan Kent and asks for his help in destroying the planet. Eventually, Jonathan and Superman come up with a plan where Superman puts that world’s Metropolis back together, Bizarro wards him off and redestroys it and everyone suddenly accepts and loves him.
Later, in one of the sweetest comic moments, Bizarro gives Jonathan a Superman costume he stitched himself. As Jonathan and Superman rocket off to Earth, Bizarro forces himself to go against his backwards nature and say, “Goodbye.”
That would be fine in itself, but the last two pages make it such a happy ending as we see the follow-up of life on Bizarro World with Bizarro being considered their #1 hero.
The walrus is inspired.
I don’t know if it’s intentional, but it’s the last panel that does it for me. Throughout the entire three-issue arc, Bizarro has been depicted as looking like a hideous monster in every panel. Having gained his acceptance, the smiling Bizarro not only looks more human in this shot, but he’s borderline handsome too.
31) Writing for 4thletter
I don’t drink, smoke or do drugs (yes, I’m one of those), but if there’s anything I’m addicted to, it’s writing. It helps me let off steam, ride off enthusiasm and makes me feel like I accomplished something when I’m done. I can do some huge kind of writing project and finish it, feeling like I need to take a week-long break to recoup and get away from it all, only to find myself asking what I should be working on the next day.
I do it strictly out of hobby and I’ve never really cared that I’ve never had a paid writing gig unless someone insisted I should care. Whatever. I’m having too much fun with this either way. Would I like a job writing? Sure, I guess. But if I write in my free time to get away from the stress of work, what would I do when the stress of work is writing? Karaoke?
That pattern might lead me to getting a job as a karaoke singer and nobody wants that.