Quick Hits: November 18

  • Calvin and Hobbes debuted on this day in 1985. My absolute all-time favorite comic strip, Calvin and Hobbes was the story of a precocious boy and his tiger best friend. Was Hobbes a toy who magically came to life when no one else was around, or was anthropomorphic Hobbes merely a figment of Calvin’s imagination? Refreshingly, that question was never resolved; Hobbes simply was what Calvin needed him to be. The other main characters – Calvin’s exasperated, nameless parents; Susie Derkins, Calvin’s crush and nemesis; Moe, Calvin’s low-Q tormentor; Calvin’s teacher Miss Wormwood and his babysitter Rosalyn – gave us glimpses into Calvin’s world, but Calvin could only truly be himself with Hobbes. Bill Watterson created a magical, larger-than-life world, even while maintaining a notoriously private life.
  • Psych 3: This Is Gus premieres today on Peacock. Our favorite crime-fighting duo, “psychic detective” Shawn Spencer and his endlessly-patient best friend/partner Burton Guster, are back with a new adventure. Psych favorites like Timothy Omundson’s Lassiter and Maggie Lawson’s Juliet return as well. Speaking of which, Omundson and Lawson have begun a Psych rewatch podcast called The Psychologists Are In. I haven’t given it a listen yet, but I think it might be time to do a Psych rewatch myself so I can follow along.
  • Achtung Baby was released thirty years ago today. With a grittier, edgier sound and introspective lyrics about love and sex and faith and loss, the album was more intimate than anything U2 had recorded before. As Steve Morse of The Boston Globe put it, “The songs focus on personal relationships, not on saving the world.” And though it alienated a lot of longtime fans, Achtung Baby is still a triumph, and my favorite U2 album.
Fun fact: I was in the audience at this show. It was September 9, 1992, at the Pontiac Silverdome. My friend and I were pretty close to the stage, maybe fifteen rows back. We lost our minds. One of my favorite concert experiences ever. And yes, I set my VCR to record the Video Music Awards.
  • Steamboat Willie premiered on this day in 1928 at Universal’s Colony Theater in New York City. The short was not Mickey Mouse’s first film appearance, but it was the first to be distributed. Steamboat Willie was one of the first cartoons to use synchronized sound, and is the film that put Walt Disney at the forefront of animation.
  • Malcolm X was released on this day in 1992. The Spike Lee Joint about the legendary civil rights leader features a career-defining performance by Denzel Washington. In one of the biggest injustices in Oscar history, Washington lost Best Actor to Al Pacino (for his hammy portrayal of Lt. Col. Frank Slade in Scent of a Woman).
“We didn’t land on Plymouth Rock, Plymouth Rock landed on us!”
  • The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, the sixth studio album by Genesis – and their last to feature original frontman Peter Gabriel – was released on this day in 1974. Gabriel, who had always written the band’s lyrics, had taken some time off from recording to spend time with his family and work on other projects; the remaining four members – Phil Collins, Mike Rutherford, Tony Banks and Steve Hackett – were left to write and record much of the album on their own. The resulting album is kind of a mess, but has its moments of brilliance.
  • The cast of 3rd Rock from the Sun reunited to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary. These pictures are adorable. By the way, if you don’t follow Kristen Johnston on Twitter, I highly recommend that you do so.

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