Pop Culture’s Relentless March Continues


This episode was noteworthy as being Jon Wurster’s debut script for Monk. Wurster, as well as being Superchunk’s drummer, is the character playing half of Scharpling & Wurster, alongside Monk writer/producer Tom Scharpling. You can catch them weekly on the Best Show on WFMU, or on their compilations through their Stereolaffs labels. Their material started as a sort of Phil Hendrie-esque prank on the audience, before turning into something more. Over the years they’ve woven an comedy world centred on New Bridge, NJ. It’s a world populated by a range of malicious idiots, all played by Wurster, who ring into (or are rung by) Tom Scharpling’s radio show, and invariably end up threatening to kill Scharpling by the end of their phone call. It’s a wonderful thing, and I highly recommend checking out the Best Show podcast.

So how does Wurster shape up as a Monk writer? If you like the episodes that focus on comedy then this should work wonders. There is an element of mystery, but it’s fairly obvious, and there’s never really a question of whodunnit. It’s more an opportunity of Shalhoub and guest star Peter Stormare to indulge in some great comic acting. Not my favourite episode of the season so far, but still full of good fun.


Apart from Yatterman, this adaptation of Shigeru Mizuki’s original Kitaro manga was the only winter anime that caught my eye. This time in the popular noitaminA slot, rather than more family friendly slots that the GeGeGe no Kitaro anime have occupied, it’s a lot more macabre that the previous shows. As AniPages Daily has mentioned, the OP is probably more impressive than the show itself. Unfortunately, set against last years Mononoke, the show fails to really inspire the right sort of mood. It’s close, but the bar has been raised. That being said, it’s still better than most shows, and I may come back to it later, if the word is good about future episodes.


Not exactly got my finger on the pulse for this one.

This was, well OK. I wasn’t angry at it in the way I was after I watched the first episode of Gundam SEED. It didn’t feel like they were trying to remake a previous Gundam series. Instead it unfortunately reminded me of the dreadful Dancougar series from last year. Both felt like hamfisted attempts to say something important about the world today, but with giant robots. As it turned out this first episode of Gundam 00 wasn’t anywhere near as clumsy as Dancougar, but it was a bad first impression. The main problem was that a lot of the characters seemed very faceless in this first episode, only the strategist and the sniper seemed to get personalities, and they were both fairly one note. I’m not sure there’s enough to entice me to keep watching.