Things I Discovered a Little Late, Yet Somehow Just in Time

There is nothing better than stumbling upon a TV show, an indy band, or a website that is well-known to the world-at-large but, for one reason or another, is entirely foreign you. While everybody else slavishly awaits the next installment of whatever it is they have grown to love, you are granted the distinct pleasure of sifting through months (if not years) of content at your leisure. And for that brief moment, the world is at your fingertips—commercial free and, god willing, at no charge.

Without further ado, here is a list of the favourite things that I have recently stumbled upon and fallen in love with, yet were widely known to the world long before me.

Music — The Decemberists

decemberistsThe Decemberists, that eclectic 5-or so-piece band out of Portland, Oregon, continue to blow my mind with their combination of astute storytelling and tight instrumentals. Their music falls along a wide continuum that stretches from the whimsical ballad to the epic tale. They have all the charm of an indy band but without all the pretentious baggage that is typical within the indy scene.

By the time I got around to hearing about The Decemberists, their considerable talents were already well-known and they had five studio albums under their belt. Densely layered, their albums reward multiples listens, and for a solid two months they made my 45 minute commute to work much more a little more tolerable.

TV — Arrested Development

Like the 40 million or so fans who now loudly proclaim Arrested Development to be their favourite TV show, I never once got around to checking it out while it was still on cable. And like damn near everyone else, my first exposure to the show came by way of the torrent download legally-purchased boxset. I guess I must have been busy or otherwise distracted for the two or so years that the series ran, during which time it quietly racked up 6 Emmys and a Golden Globe.

arrested developmentMost people now agree that the marketing department at Fox is largely to blame for the show’s poor audience ratings (see David Cross’ rant). Others insist that we simply weren’t ready for Arrested Development, as though the show were somehow too complex or overly nuanced for the simple audiences of the early twenty-first century to comprehend, let alone appreciate.

I firmly believe that the short lifespan of Arrested Development is precisely what allowed it to achieve the degree of comedic perfection that it did. Less is often more, and as Ricky Gervais has repeatedly shown us, it is better to go out after a short, beautiful run (The Office, Extras), then to torture fans with a sitcom that refuses to die (Friends, Cheers, Saved by the Bell).

Web — Jake & Amir

Early last year I received an email from a friend containing only a cryptic URL (JakeAndAmir.com) with a simple instruction, “Watch it.” Curious as I am, I visited the website and watched a couple of videos, which I then summarily dismissed as crap. A few months would pass by before I would inexplicably return to the site and realize that I had completely passed over some of the funniest sketch comedy that the web has to offer.

jake & amir JakeAndAmir.com is the brainchild and namesake of College Humor co-workers Jake Hurwitz and Amir Blumenfeld. The site is made up of an ongoing series of short sketches that easily demonstrate just how fresh the straight guy/funny guy routine can be when placed in the right hands.

I am reluctant to provide any more details since nothing I can say will do the show any justice and will only make me sound like an art school douche. My only recommendation is to visit the site, navigate back to the earliest videos, and start watching from there. I should warn you that while the videos get off to an arguably slow start, they quickly gather momentum and never look back.

Podcast — The Ricky Gervais Show

I have no idea how I managed to remain oblivious to the Ricky Gervais phenomenon for as long as I did. And while it will do nothing to enhance my reputation as a critic of the arts, I must confess that I only became aware of the comedic genius of Gervais in the dying months of 2006.

ricky gervais showAnd if this confession isn’t enough to sully my good name, I must also admit that I was somewhat surprised to learn just one month ago that Gervais, along with Stephen Merchant and Karl Pilkington, had done three seasons worth of podcasts (for a total of 24 half-hour episodes) for the Guardian Unlimited.

The Ricky Gervais Show has proven itself to be absolutely hilarious and is perfectly suited for those of us with long commutes or ample amounts of time to waste at the office. One caveat: I would recommend not listening to this show while in the company of a hyperactive friend or a chatty wife, either of whom will fucking ramble on in your one ear while the other ear strains to make out the one or two punchlines that their voices don’t quite manage to overpower.

The first season of The Ricky Gervais Show was made available for download free of charge, and so I have no problem informing you that the torrent file can be found here. The second and third seasons of the show were not free, and so it would be morally wrong for you to click here in the hopes of finding all of Ricky Gervais’ podcasts in one convenient torrent.

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~ by Sean Best on January 29, 2008.

One Response to “Things I Discovered a Little Late, Yet Somehow Just in Time”

  1. See, Jake and Amir used to be WAY better (understand pee yourself funny) about 1 1/2 years ago, before Amir turned into a pansy and Jake turned into an ass. They have a vimeo account with out takes and what not – stuff that doesn’t make it on the blog. They also have a couple of other blogs you should check out. One about sandwiches and something to do with robots. Also… Daniel Daylewis doesn’t even know Heath, weird.

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