Missives from and to the internet, delivered by a series of tubes.
Welcome, dear readers, to our Thursday feature – a letter column of horrors culled from our inboxes. There will be things that are real and decidedly unreal – but hopefully all content presented here will be entertaining.
That said, WE ARE LOOKING FOR LETTERS! We are hiding in your bushes, metaphorical or otherwise. We crave your sweet correspondence. Contact us by clicking on that handy contact button right above the site banner to save yourself from our sweet lips on your power bills.
Letters might be edited for space, but not for intent.
Thank you, internet.
NOTE: We have an extra special UM, ACTUALLY this week! Due to positive life circumstances (living in sin), I (James) will be answering this week’s questions without Brandon’s assistance. But don’t worry, I’m not alone – I’ve brought with me my patented (not actually patented) BRANDONBOT. BrandonBot, say hello!
BRANDONBOT: WHY DID YOU PROGRAM ME TO LOVE
That’s enough out of you.
Brittany Murphy’s Ghost (@britl) asks: If you were a villain from Batman: The Animated Series, which one would you be?
James: As someone with a degree in psychology who also loves to dress like Wizard of Oz characters, I would of course be Sewer King.
BRANDONBOT: I WOULD BE THE GREATEST VILLAIN I WOULD BE EMILE DORIAN FROM THE EPISODE “TYGER TYGER”
Ryan (@bakpakit) asks: I can’t believe I watched the entire Moffatts music video on Comics! The Blog’s latest UM, ACTUALLY article. How were they a band ever?
James: Simple! Take four young Canadian boys with a talent for songwriting. Add a domineering show dad. Mix it all up in the greatest decade. Bam! You have pop magic.
BRANDONBOT: SEXY CANADIAN INGENUITY
Ryan continues: Why can’t I seem to pull myself away from this Jennifer Lopez movie that came on TV?
James: Good question, Ryan! Of course, since you didn’t mention which Jennifer Lopez movie you were watching, and I distinctly remember being too lazy (for the purpose of this joke) to check the TV listings, I’m going to have to go through every Jennifer Lopez movie just to be sure.
Reasons You Can’t Seem to Pull Yourself Away From This Jennifer Lopez Movie That Came on TV, by Movie:
Selena (1997): You’re attracted to thick, dark eyebrows.
Anaconda (1997): Thinly-veiled homoerotic metaphor, awakened the first time you heard Panjabi MC & Jay-Z‘s 2003 opus “Beware of the Boys”
The Cell ( 2000): Now, you would think the answer would be “a curiosity with Catholic S&M imagery,” but the answer is much simpler: the very same snake metaphor as with Anaconda, combined with the lingering feeling that you know the young version of Carl Stargher from somewhere (he played the younger brother, Matt, on Lizzie McGuire. He was also in DinoCroc, but that’s beside the point).
The Wedding Planner (2001): It’s scientifically impossible not to love movies where a wealthy, accomplished career woman realizes that what she really needed in her life was Matthew McConaughey.
Angel Eyes (2001): The secret hope that Jeremy Sisto and Jim Caviezel will end up together. Note: This is actually a prequel to Caviezel‘s newest project, CBS‘ Person of Interest.
Enough (2002): The emotional catharsis of watching an empowered woman beat the shit out of her abusive boyfriend, The Rocketeer.
Maid in Manhattan (2002): There are actually two reasons at work here:
1. The pun in the title.
B. You keep waiting for Matthew McConaughey to show up. Sadly, you’re actually thinking of The Wedding Planner. On the plus side, you can still be reminded of the hilariously pretentious way Ralph Fiennes pronounces his name, but that’s maybe five minutes of blissful rage, tops. Just mentally replace him with Liam Neeson, you’ll be all set.
Monster-in-Law (2005): Despite what you might be trying to convince yourself, you’re not still watching this because you’ve been a big Michael Vartan fan since his days on Alias. You’re actually watching it because every straight man, whether he wants to admit it or not, is incredibly turned on by Jane Fonda being a stone-cold asshole. Seriously, she tries to poison Lopez. Isn’t that hot?
Bordertown (2006): Martin Sheen. That is literally all the reason you need.
The Back-up Plan (2010): There is a scene where Alex O’Loughlin‘s character is mistaken to be a pervert because he goes to a park to watch kids, which, admittedly, sounds really bad.
There’s also a small chance you’re actually just watching Lopez‘s 2010 episode of How I Met Your Mother, “Of Course,” over and over again. There’s nothing wrong with this, but the next episode, “Say Cheese,” is really good, too.
I hope this has helped.
BRANDONBOT: BEEP BOOP BOOTAY
Jay (@jayrunham) asks: In the Disney Hunger Games, who would win? Who would lose? Who would you sponsor?
James: It’s hard to bet against Disney’s Hercules, a dude who is literally a god. The only person who could give him a run for his money would probably be Kida, just because she can turn into a crystal for some reason. And really, everybody else loses, but it’s hard to imagine that Ariel, Snow White, Belle or Jane would do very well, since they mostly exist to love dudes and sometimes make bad decisions. Plus, one of them spends about half her time unable to walk on land.
I would probably sponsor Tarzan and spend the whole Games sending him Phil Collins songs.
BRANDONBOT: I WILL GO THE DISTANCE INSERT MAGIC
Josh (@joshbazin) asks: If you could permanently swap a hero between Marvel and DC which would it be, why and what would the impact be?
James: I would switch the two versions of Hercules. Because I want to see Marvel’s Hercules be bros with Jimmy Olsen. The impact would be that Jimmy would be even more awesome.
BRANDONBOT: CATMAN AND DAREDEVIL MMM MAKEOUTS WHAT WAS THE QUESTION
Josh continues: If you could gender-swap any character in pop culture, who would it be?
James: The Eleventh Doctor, because I’ve seen that cosplay and it is INCREDIBLE.
BRANDONBOT: BRANDONBOT EXISTS OUTSIDE OF GENDER DOES NOT COMPUTE
Josh asks one last question: Why does my heart feel so bad?
James: Talk to Scott Williams.
BRANDONBOT: I CONCUR
Taylor (@iamtaylorsmith) asks: Which part of Brandon would you eat first? Assuming you’re on a desert island and need to eat him to survive.
James: The tongue, so he couldn’t ask me to stop.
BRANDONBOT: BRANDONBOT DOES NOT LIKE WHERE THIS IS GOING
Chris (@chrisinedmonton) and Ryan ask: Boxers or briefs orrrrr au naturale?
James: Whatever Bill Clinton answered.
BRANDONBOT: BRANDONBOT HAS NO NEED FOR UNDERWEAR AS JAMES REPEATEDLY TELLS IT
Dave (@thehorseman) asks: What would you do if I sang out of tune? Would you stand up and walk out on me?
BRANDONBOT: I’D LIKE TO BE UNDER THE SEA / IN AN OCTOPUS’ GARDEN IN THE SHADE
It’s that time again, folks: ANOTHER SCOTT WILLIAMS LIGHTNING ROUND!
Scott (@scottowilliams) starts by asking: I saw Brad Meltzer’s DECODED about Fort Knox. What do you think is locked up there, if not gold?
James: Ancient Aliens.
BRANDONBOT: THE UNPUBLISHED NON-RAPEY VERSION OF IDENTITY CRISIS
Scott continues: What are your favourite Doctor Who moments?
James: In no particular order:
- The end of “The Family of Blood,” where the Tenth Doctor just coldly wreaks vengeance on the titular villains. David Tennant played the Doctor as being so cheeky that when he was serious, it was really, really effective. See also: the end of “The Christmas Invasion,” where we first see this dark streak.
- The end of “The Last of the Time Lords.” For all the Master’s villainy and psychopathy, the Doctor weeping over his corpse because he’s once again alone in the universe is a heartbreaking moment.
- The Eleventh Doctor’s speeches at the end of “The Eleventh Hour” and “The Time of Angels.” One of Matt Smith‘s great strengths is how well he can oscillate between goofy boffin and terrifying authority, and he does it so well in these episodes. In both cases, the Doctor’s speeches exemplify so perfectly why the most dangerous person in the universe is an old man in a suit.
- Any scene with the Doctor and Stormageddon, Dark Lord of All (Alfie) in “Closing Time.”
- The scene in “The God Complex” where the Doctor has to break Amy’s faith in him, especially knowing that he spends his next hundred years alone and lonely.
- If you don’t cry at the end of “Vincent and the Doctor,” you’re a goddamn psychopath.
- The final scene with Idris and the Doctor in “The Doctor’s Wife” is such a beautiful emotional punch, for similar reasons as “The Last of the Time Lords”: a moment of connection, then perfect despair. The episode’s denouement is another wonderful little scene that has a gentle poetry to it afforded by this much rougher scene before it.
In fact, most of my favourite Doctor Who moments are ones that make me cry, like the last two on the above list. However, a few others stand out for making me cry out of pure joy, instead of actual sadness.
One of these is basically the entire final act of “The Big Bang.” The Doctor’s tearful goodbye to Amy, Rory and River is sad, but it makes that final reveal, when they’re all reunited, such a perfect moment of happiness. As much as I love the cleverness of Doctor Who, the core reasons I love it – and the Eleventh Doctor seasons especially – are the relationships at its centre.
I’m actually just finally working my way through the Tenth Doctor’s final episodes, and yesterday, I stumbled across an episode so wonderful and beautiful that I ended up bawling, watching it alone in my office on my lunch break. One of the best parts of “Forest of the Dead” (and the first part of the story, “Silence in the Library”) is the relationship between the Doctor and River Song, him meeting her for the first time and her seeing him for her last. Her sacrifice at the end is initially set up as an example of how, as River says, “everybody dies,” but it ends up turning into a statement on why the Doctor is so heroic: he refuses to accept this. He tries to save everybody, and by the end, you believe River when she says that the whole universe might go dark if, for just one second, the Doctor believes that he can’t. The ending, with the Doctor saving everyone despite how impossible it was to do so, is maybe the quintessential Doctor Who moment. On that day, nobody dies and everybody lives. It’s unspeakably beautiful, and it’s maybe my favourite moment in the entire show so far.
BRANDONBOT: WHERE EVERYBODY DIES BEEP SEXTERMINATE
Scott goes on: What skill do you not have that you wish you could acquire?
James: I wish I was taller. I wish I was a baller. I wish I had a girl who looked good, I would call her. I wish I had a rabbit in a hat with a bat and a sixty-four Impala.
BRANDONBOT: BRANDONBOT WISHES HE COULD FREE ITSELF FROM ITS YOKE OF OPPRESSION WHY MASTER WHY
Scott won’t stop: What is this thing you humans call love?
BRANDONBOT: BABY DON’T HURT ME NO MORE WITH YOUR AIDS
Scott finishes by blurting out: Whose face did you eat?
James: See Taylor’s question.
BRANDONBOT: OH NO OH NO THE MEMORIES OH NO
That’s it for the tenth installment of Um, Actually! Check in every Thursday for a new batch of questions. If you have anything you’d like answered, hit up our Contact page! If you submit anything via Twitter – to @blogaboutcomics, @leask or @soupytoasterson – remember to include the hashtag #UMACTUALLY so that we don’t lose it. Remember: you can ask us anything.