#SetTheVCR: A&E's Michael Jackson Cultureshock
We lost Michael Jackson on June 25, 2009. Monday June 25, 2018 at 9pm we get A&E's Cultureshock: Michael Jackson’s Final Curtain Call which clearly revisits MJ's final days. Single Tear.
An ending is just a beginning: Cultureshock is A&E's pop culture five-part docuseries from producer Morgan Spurlock and Entertainment Weekly. Basically A&E’s pop culture 30 for 30...only it’s 5 movies. And...A&E is 34 years old. So 5 for 34?
Anyways the 5 documentaries “take an in-depth look at the untold stories behind watershed moments in pop culture that have had a lasting impact on our society.” Eh we’ll see how that all works out. ESPN’s 30 for 30 are fantastically solid so I’m hoping for that quality.
Michael Jackson’s Final Curtain Call is the first doc. S'directed by directed by Thom Zimny who recently directed Elvis Presley: The Searcher (Must See TV!) and 3 Bruce docs: Wheels: The Making of Born to Run (haven’t seen this one), The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town (good...check it out) and Bruce Springsteen: A Conversation with His Fans (s’a bit cheezy; see it on a lazy Sunday).
Michael Jackson’s Final Curtain Call is of course about MJ’s final days...I so hope it’s not some tawdry TMZ gossip but actually recognizes and cements MJ’s GOAT status while mourning what we lost...we take too much of our pop culture for granted.
The Osbournes: The Price of Reality follows on Monday, July 2 at 9pm. I can pass on this; not much interest... Alison Ellwood is the director don’t know her work that well.
The Rise of Trash TV is Monday, July 9 at 9pm. So in for this one! Featuring interviews with Jerry Springer, Sally Jessy Raphael, Geraldo Rivera, Laura Grindstaff, Dr. Drew Pinsky, Maury Povich and more.
Freaks and Geeks: The Documentary is Monday, July 16 at 9pm...the profile of the cult classic series has all the kids buzzing. Some friends saw it at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival and had good things to report.
The last doc...the one I long to consume doesn’t have a confirmed air date...yet: Chris Rock’s Bring the Pain. This was the Jordan like rise of Chris Rock where now he, Dave Chappelle and Louis C.K. battle it out for comedy’s top spot. Bring the Pain’s subject matter requires a savvy deft director but unfortunately we get W. Kamau Bell who talks and worse thinks like a Twitter account so I dunno how this’ll turn out.
What’s fascinating about doing a 2018 doc on a 1996 stand up special is that...traditionally most comedy doesn’t age well. You get that one group of people who apply today’s sensibilities to the work ("I can’t believe he said retarded!!") which is always stupid while overlooking the actual jokes and there's the real obvious that lotta comedy doesn’t age well...the references, the targets (what’s the deal with President Nixon! Carlin’s Seven dirty words etc) it all gets dated quickly.
Most music can be timeless you can go back to any song in any era and it'll hold up. In comedy...well ain't nobody going back to Bob Hope, right? Certainly there's bits that endure: Eddie Murphy Ice Cream, Bill Cosby Dentist and other similar classics because fans actively keep them alive; constantly injecting them into our pop culture proceedings (in the last week on social media I saw an Eddie Ice Cream meme and an Andrew Dice Clay reference...neither of which were obscure; the intended audiences responded positively.)
So Set the VCR accordingly...this is where we've been and who we are.