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TV Analysis: The Case of the Vanishing Character



Anyone who watches a show for more than one season comes to the inevitable tragedy; your favorite side character leaves a show. No, I’m not talking about when it falls in line with the plot of the narrative; i.e. Gus on Breaking Bad or anyone you love on Game of Thrones. I’m talking about when either contract negotiations go sour or an actor leaves a show to pursue another opportunity, or frankly, the character isn’t working, and they just disappear.

Now, there are two ways to handle this: one is to not acknowledge it whatsoever. Very few people realize that Richie Cunningham on Happy Days had an older brother, Chuck. He went upstairs, never to return, and no one was the wiser. Another great example was Family Matters. Judy, Laura and Eddie’s little sister, just… wasn’t on the show anymore, then Aunt Rachel disappeared, then Grandma Winslow… without any kind of explanation. I guess the rest of the Winslows were just too distracted by the antics of the nerdy neighbor Steve Urkel to notice their family was dwindling. My bet is Urkel was the culprit serial killer, but enough of my FMFF (that’s Family Matters Fan Fiction for short)

The other option, and my personal favorite, is have the characters not only acknowledge cast changes, but to make fun of them. Anyone who has binge watched The New Girl has seen this in the character Coach, played by Damon Wayans. Coach was in the pilot, but was replaced on the second episode by Bishop, played by Lamorne Morris. There are a slew of examples of the writers mocking this, one case where Nick Miller tells his future self, “Don’t be mean to Coach, or he’ll leave us for another group of white people,” which, actually happened. Wayans left the cast of Caucasians on New Girl to be the token black cast member on Happy Endings.

Boy Meets World did this type of thing in spades. Morgan Matthews, Corey and Eric’s little sister, was absent for several seasons. She suddenly came down the stairs, and Corey, aghast, says, “Morgan, long time no see.” Morgan responds, “Yeah. That was the longest time out I’ve ever had.” Two years. No kidding.

The show also had Minkus, the arch-rival dweeb who had stopped appearing after the main characters went into high school. Then, as Corey and Shawn are reminiscing about the friends they may have lost touch with, the camera pans to Minkus. He says that he’s been in the other part of the school and points off camera, then runs to greet Mr. Turner, another mainstay character who had disappeared two years before. It’s season 5, episode 24. I highly recommend you check it out.

Altogether, I don’t envy any writer who has to ax a character for the wrong reasons, but I applaud those who give their audience at least a half-hearted or even comical reasoning as to why a character leaves. I mean, that’s a writer’s job, right? That’s my Entertainment, what’s yours?

Written by: John Stiens

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No Question Mark Box Here; Super Mario Delivers a 1-Up in Theaters



If you were born in the ’80s, ’90s, or literally ANY decade after those, you know about Super Mario. A cultural phenomenon was brought to life on the big screen this last weekend. One that has not only stood the test of time but reinvented itself time and time again. This wasn’t even the first time it’s been made into a movie but, well, let’s be honest.. some of us choose not to acknowledge the LIVE action adaptation of the beloved game from 30 years ago. 

It was pretty bad… But this was animation. ILLUMINATION animation at that. The Universal company that brought us Gru and his Minions, showed us the Secret Life of Pets, and gave us a reason to SING! Still, I had my reservations and even some concerns, especially when the casting was announced. 

 Eyebrows were raised. As big of stars as they were on paper, could they really deliver on voicing characters from a staple of our childhood? They did.

Chris Pratt and Charlie Day may not be Italian, and Jack Black may not be a King or Turtle creature from the Mushroom Kingdom, but they make the characters their own all while paying homage to the lore of a video game. 

From the jump, the story reintroduces us to the brothers that just want to save Brooklyn one clogged sink at a time. We feel an instant connection and relate to these “underdogs of the plumbing world”. The movie is riddled with easter eggs, each of which tugs on the heartstrings of every generation of Mario fandom. And the soundtrack was beautifully put together to not only make us feel like we’re taking a walkthrough of the game but like an experience all its own with some familiar favorites thrown in.

Every word in the movie is pure eye candy for both those that are casual fans, and those analyzing every frame to see what they’ll catch next. Bowser’s ship, the Mushroom Kingdom, Kong’s arena, and the Rainbow Road.. They’re all meant to give us just enough of a “new” look at these amazing worlds, but stay true to how we remember them.

The movie itself moves along at the perfect pace. Although, if you don’t really know ANYTHING about the Super Mario Bros, you may have gotten a little lost and felt left behind in the green tunnel. But that’s ok! It’s an adventure of the imagination and a classic story of a boy that meets a girl and tries to save the world from a monster that wants to destroy it.

What’s funny is that you could easily say this is a story about two characters who couldn’t be more opposite if they tried, battling to win the heart of a princess. Who would’ve thought that the King of the Koopas was just trying to impress his crush?

And that song? Ohhh THAT song! It’s my new ringtone and deserves the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Back to the movie. 

Universal and Illumination clearly understood the assignment. Is it missing some things or could things have been done differently or even better? Absolutely! We’re the worst critics of the things we hold nearest and dearest to our hearts. But if you’re up for going on a 90-minute adventure through amazing worlds, with awesome music, and characters that’ll make you smile and laugh, then this is the perfect movie to spring you into that warm summer feeling.

Plus there’s the whole part with karts and shells, and banana peels and oh my goodness how amazing was that?? It’s enough to make you want to stand up and cheer, then go home and destroy your friends and family on your favorite track haha.

The bottom line, it pays homage in all the right ways to the little guy with the mustache, while giving us something new and exciting. Take the kids and go see Super Mario Bros. You’ll be glad you did!

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Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023



Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Opening Act Saturday, March 25 at 1:30 p.m. on North 200A. Talent confirmed so far to participate in the post-screening panel is Natalie Alyn Lind (Big Sky, The Goldbergs, Gotham) as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince and longtime RWBY cast member Lindsay Jones (Camp Camp) as Ruby, Kara Eberle ( RWBY: Ice Queendom) as Weiss, Arryn Zech (Detective Now Dead) as Blake and Barbara Dunkelman (Blood Fest) as Yang – along with Jeannie Tirado (Soul, Saints Row) as Green Lantern and Tru Valentino (The Rookie, The Cuphead Show!) as a cyborg. Also attending the panel will be producer/director Kerry Shawcross (series RWBY) and writer Meghan Fitzmartin (Supernatural, Justice Society: World War II).

Warner Bros. Discovery Home Entertainment returns to WonderCon 2023 with the big screen debut from DC Animated Films: highlights this year include the world premieres of the highly anticipated Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham and Justice League x RWBY: Superheroes & Hunters Part One the weekend of March 24-26 in Anaheim, California. Both screenings will be followed by panel discussions with actors and creators. Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham premieres at The Arena on Friday, March 24 at 6 p.m. Tati Gabrielle (Kaleidoscope, Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, Uncharted) as Kai Li Cain, Christopher Gorham (The Lincoln Lawyer, Insatiable) as Oliver Queen, David Dastmalchian (Dune, Suicide Squad, Ant-Man) as Grendon, producer/co-director Sam Liu (The Death and the Return of Superman), co-director Christopher Berkeley (Young Justice) and screenwriter Jase Ricci (Teen Titans Go! and DC Super Hero Girls: Mayhem Across the Multiverse).

Both films will have encore screenings in the Arena on Sunday, March 26. Justice League x RWBY: Super Heroes & Huntsmen, Part One will screen at 12:15pm, followed by Batman: The Doom That Came To Gotham at 2:00pm

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Marvel Studios’ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3



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