We're of the school of thought that a joke requiring explanation is a joke failed. We also spend a lot of time explaining our jokes. The estimable Adam Sternbergh, on the other hand, we always thought tossed off bons mots and witticisms of such perfection they required no explanation. Apparently, however, we were wrong. A friend pointed us the other day to Behind the Approval Matrix, a new-this-week blog that, well, explains Adam's Approval Matrix jokes. Didn't get his reference this week to "That bizarre Elvis Mitchell cameo on Entourage," to pick a random example? Behind the Approval Matrix explains: "According to his Wikipedia entry Elvis Mitchell is a former film critic for the Times, and is one of the most well-known African-American critics in the United States. On Entourage he interviewed Vince, E, and Walsh about the genius behind Medellin." Now you know.
Behind the Approval Matrix [Blogspot]
The Approval Matrix: Week of July 30–August 6, 2007 [NYM]
This season, we’re planning on kibitzing about the show every week with a variety of fellow viewers, all of whom will help us to dissect that episode’s round of flashy dishes and behind-the-scenes treachery.
On the off chance you missed today's USA Today, we thought we'd point you to some big news on the front page of America's paper: The model of America's urban future, apparently, is Jersey City. The onetime industrial burg across the Hudson is "clean, green and growing," USA Today says. It's gaining residents, jobs, and office space, and it's got plans for a "mix of loft-style residential condos and rental units, restaurants, clubs, galleries, theaters and artists' spaces" in the so-called Powerhouse Arts District.
So Jersey City's up-and-coming and a good place for artists. Who knew?Model of Urban Future: Jersey City? [USA Today]
If You Lived Here, You'd Be Cool By Now [NYM]
Dedicated Daily Intel readers no doubt remember Emily Nussbaum and Adam Sternbergh's IM review of 30 Rock's premiere. Emily liked it; Adam not so much. (He likened it to wallpaper.) Five months later, how do their first impressions stand up? They checked in with each other on IM after last night's episode to find out.
Sternbergh: I'm so excited to tell everyone to run to their TVs and watch 30 Rock — oh, wait. It's being yanked off the schedule for six weeks.
Nussbaum: Oh, man.
Sternbergh: Didn't you see the promos for Andy Richter's new show?
Sternbergh:Andy Barker P.I.?
Nussbaum: No, I was too out of it. Oh, the sorrow of it all.
Nussbaum: People! You're watching the wrong TV!
Sternbergh: NBC finally comes up with two shows you want to watch.
Sternbergh: And schedules them IN THE SAME TIME SLOT.
Tina Fey's 30 Rock, her new sitcom-cum-infomercial about a variety-show writer and the glories of the General Electric Company, debuted last night. Was it any good? As the broadcast ended, New York pop-culture gurus Adam Sternbergh and Emily Nussbaum fired up the IM to discuss.
Sternbergh: So, did you laugh yourself silly?
Nussbaum: Yes! I actually liked it a lot, weirdly. Maybe my expectations were low, but I laughed out loud a bunch.
Sternbergh: Boy, then we're going to have something to talk about.
Nussbaum: So, you hated it?
Sternbergh: I didn't hate it. This was my second time seeing it — I also saw the first pilot with Rachel Dratch in the Jane Krakowski role. (Or rather, Dratch in the Dratch role, now played by Jane Krakowski.) Both times, same reaction: pleasant comedic wallpaper.
Nussbaum: I think my low expectations helped. And also the fact that I hate Studio 60: so much.
Nussbaum: I was just plain relieved to find it funny and sort of obnoxious.
Sternbergh: I think at this point we can let the Studio 60: comparisons alone. 30 Rock: is about comedians making comedy, while Studio 60: is about Aaron Sorkin making comedy, which is a whole other ball o' wax.
Sternbergh: So what exactly did you find funny?