The TV Show Gotham Deserves?

It's Batman, with less Batman.

It’s Batman, with less Batman.

With the return of Fall television right around the corner, stations are gearing up to give us their newest, best and most original ideas. …HA, just kidding! They’re just mining the same dry well they’ve been pumping away at since the ’50s, and this season’s lineup is no exception. A show that’s garnering a lot of attention is the new Fox program, Gotham. Based on the early childhood of Bruce Wayne, before he dedicated his life to becoming a superhero, Gotham explores the people and events preceding the crime fighter’s crime fighting. Gotham may or may not do well, but to me the idea of a Batman show without Batman sounds like a real snoozer. However — competition in the entertainment industry being what it is — every network is probably going to want their own pre-prequel in the near future. So with that in mind, here are my pitches for shows based on superheroes, before the heroes were around.

Small(er)ville: Set in the same town where Superman will eventually land, this show will focus on Jonathan and Martha Kent’s early lives as corn farmers in Kansas, who also struggle with conceiving a child.

Central City: This pre-prequel for the speedster superhero known as The Flash will center on Barry Allen working his way through medical school to earn his Ph.D in forensic science.

Mars: An entire show set in real-time as the future Martian Manhunter makes the five-year journey to Earth alone in his spaceship without any disruptions.

Star City: The story of young billionaire Oliver Queen, living life as a carefree child before he grows up to become the superhero Green Arrow. Basically exactly like Gotham except nobody dies.

Oa: Named after the home planet of the extraterrestrial group known only as The Guardians — the alien politicians who will eventually form The Green Lantern Corps. — this show follows The Guardians in their earliest days as they legislate policy and discuss what sort of jewelry best lends itself to intergalactic law enforcement.

Paradise Island: The early story of Diana Troy (the future Wonder Woman) and her early years on the mythical and magical island of Themyscira, honing her powers and fighting off mythological threats of all sorts while also exploring mystical islands. Despite being the only even marginally interesting pre-prequel story, this show will get cancelled after the first episode just because the primary superhero character is female.

Steel City: Follows the day-to-day life of full time construction worker John Henry Irons (aka the man who will later become the superhero Steel) as he works 16-hour days doing manual labor in a dead-end job.

Gotham Suburbs: The comprehensive story of Barbara Gordon’s childhood years as an awkward preteen student in Gotham’s upper-middle class neighborhood.

Plasticity: The normal story of Plastic Man, which is already boring enough without having to go back to before he was a hero.

Agents of SHIELD: The agents of SHIELD and what they do when the superheroes aren’t around. …Haha just kidding, no one would want to see a premise that boring, no matter HOW desperate they were.

Play on,
Dustin

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Robin Williams

Robin

A legendarily talented man lost his battle with depression (among possible other ailments) this week, and regardless of the circumstances surrounding his death, it is certainly that: a loss.

I’ve been surprised at exactly how effected I was by his passing. A man I never met, yet (like may of you) felt like I knew very well. I shed tears for Robin Williams; for other talents I’ve seen pass I felt like I’d lost something precious (like a priceless painting or a family heirloom), for Robin, it felt like I lost a friend.

Robin Williams was every bit as influential for me (along with millions of others) as Bugs Bunny or The Muppets in forming my comedic sensibilities growing up; in later years I discovered his depth and gifts in the dramatic arts as well — the Yin to his own Yang. I wanted to wait a little bit to write this up — the “But daddy, I want it NOW” internet culture we live in means that there have been plenty of accolades and memoriams already uploaded if that’s what you’re looking for (and goodness knows he deserves all those and more) — but I wanted to offer a little personal perspective after the dust had time to settle.

We have lost many talented artists in recent years, and the part of me that enjoys romanticizing them wants to declare that the young artists we produce now can’t even come close to the level of accomplishment and ability of the legends we’ve seen pass this decade. While that remains to be proven or disproven, when we lose a Philip Seymour Hoffman or a Steve Jobs (or even someone as iconic as Don Pardo, whose voice’s absence will be felt more unmistakably than his name’s for most people), we are losing a distinct presence whose void will never be replicated…even if it is replaced by the next generation.

And of course there is the added sadness of knowing that Mr. Williams took his life. In the days immediately following his passing, there was a lot of debate about who as “at fault.” Whether it was truly his own doing or if it was the disease of depression that was to blame; whether it was a freeing act for him to finally find peace or a selfish act leaving his family and friends alone. And whether the fact that he was in the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease made it any more acceptable. I’m neither qualified nor terribly interested in those debates, so I (as always) strive to share only what I know: that regardless of the true “cause,” that we have all suffered and lost as a result. The truth of the matter is that oftentimes (this being one of them) the cause is less important than the effect. He is gone now, which means that his family has lost out on extended time I’m sure they would’ve wanted with their father/brother/etc., his legions of supporters and admirers have selfishly lost out on being able to experience his gift in the public forum, and he himself has lost out on the joy that comes with experiencing God’s delightful details that permeate every new day (though some days admittedly more visibly than others). Without even realizing it I was mourning the loss of being able to show my kids the man who’d brought me such joy as a child and such reverence as an adult. I’ll still be able to thrill them with Jumanji and Aladdin or bond with them over Good Will Hunting and Dead Poets Society, but there’s always going to be an asterisk of sadness now when I think about the laughs we won’t share because a tremendous man was unable to see or tap into the love and respect that was literally waiting to burst forth from an entire world that wanted to tell him that he was appreciated, that he was wanted.

But of course that last bit is the selfishness of someone who will miss a man he never knew along with the simple joys and complex inspirations he cultivated. The bigger takeaway from this is what can we do for the next Robin? The one who isn’t a movie superstar or a comedy legend, maybe the Robin who’s your neighbor or work buddy or uncle that you don’t facetime quite as often as you mean to. Who is the person in your life that needs to hear that they’re wanted, respected, and loved? A concept that I don’t think I can claim credit for, but one that I stand behind more and more firmly as time goes on and tragedies I’ve witnessed pile higher, is to eulogize the living. The concept is simple, everything you need is right there in the name. Basically it’s what can I do to take all those nice thoughts, words, emotions, deeds, feelings, tributes, etc. and lavish them upon my loved ones in the here and now? It doesn’t have to be extravagant, it’s just finding someone who makes you laugh and letting them know they bring joy into your life. It’s being as appreciative for people in the present as we are after they’re gone. It might not have saved Robin from himself, but at least he would’ve been reminded that there were those willing to fight with him when he didn’t have the energy to fight for himself. It’s not a cure, but it’s a start. It might not have been a victory over his demons, but it wouldn’t have been a loss.

Play on, Robin.
Dustin

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A Man Who Knows Nothing About What It’s Like to be A Woman, But Has Opinions & Advice Anyway

Girls.

You prance around the party showing off pictures of you and your friends and you say “omg these girls are gorgeoussssss.” And you mean it. You’re not saying it to be unkind or ironic or whatever (not usually at least), you really think your girlfriends are beautiful in any way worth measuring and you want your other and you want everyone else to know it. You’re proud of them for who they are, and that makes them beautiful to you.

Then.

Later on in a different interaction you are fixated on a picture of yourself that you are contemplating deleting or having your friend delete due to the obvious litany of physical flaws that stick out to you like an adult male at a Taylor Swift concert. You look at yourself and go “blah i’m ugly and fat and awful what gives.” Your this is too that, your that is too ugh, and your ugh is the most ew that ever ew’d.

But.

The fact of the matter is that when you look at your female friends you are choosing to see beauty in all the ways that they are, truly, beautiful. But when you look at yourself, you are choosing to see ugliness…so much so that sometimes you’ll even invent ugliness where there is none. This is an unfair, unhelpful, and ultimately unhealthy way to look at yourself — at best it’s limiting your own potential, at worst it’s laying the groundwork for some pretty nasty psychological disorders.

Today.

Just today, give yourself the same benefit of the doubt and grace that you extend to those around you. See the picture of the four of you and when you get to you, choose to see the same type of beauty that you create for your friends. The gorgeous qualities they see in you, the unity and freedom that comes from not having to say “make me look skinny” before you ask a friend to take a picture of the group and hoping that people with think you’re just being funny when you say it. Choose to see a better you and a better you will emerge.

We.

All have flaws. No one is saying you have nothing to work on, or that one of life’s great (and most rewarding) challenges is self-betterment (whether physically, mentally, emotionally, or otherwise). But make your elimination of flaws a celebration and a focused journey, akin to successfully surmounting Everest, rather than just a struggle to trudge your way out of the swamp and eliminate the deficit between you and the “normal” people. Change what you can (healthily) change, accept what you cannot, and find joy in the moments in between. Use your friends for support, not comparison, and you will find yourself much improved as you face the true difficulties in store. And PLEASE don’t wear crocs. Ugh.

Play on,
Dustin

Girlfriends

Post script/disclaimer: This post was mildly directed toward women because they — both from societal and individual standpoints — tend to have to more pressure and focus put on their physical attractiveness than men and (at least in my experience) have echoed (or quoted directly) the statements above. HOWEVER, this obviously applies just as equally to men who might struggle with similar issues and/or any human that has ever had any self-doubts or self-esteem issues based on their own flaws (whether real or perceived) at any point in their lives or in the entirety of human history. So there.

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Lamentations

people lament that their brokenness keeps them from finding/being capable of love; that they need to fix themselves or achieve perfection before they can love or be loved. but in reality, that’s nonsense. love is less about filing down your brokenness and imperfections and more about finding the right set of jagged brokenness with which yours most perfectly matches. one precisely square piece in a sea of jigsaw puzzle pieces would be utterly useless and alone. how much better to be a seemingly ridiculously shaped piece that, against all expectations, aligns completely with another, equally ridiculously shaped, broken piece.

stay jagged.

-Dustin

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…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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Things Superman and I Have in Common

With Comic-Con kicking off in San Diego this weekend, and anticipation continually snowballing for the forthcoming DC Comics movie — Superman v Batman: Dawn of a Paycheck — I once again find myself CONSTANTLY having to explain to people “No [sir or madam], I’m not action superstar and mega heartthrob Henry Cavill or any other Superman stud, I’m just a man trying to discreetly order from the Taco Bell dollar menu.” However, just to show that I’m not totally without empathy for the legions of people who can’t tell the difference between me and America’s most iconic superhero, here are a handful of ways in which Superman and I are the same.

Things Superman and I Have in Common:

1) We’re both solar powered.

2) We’re both older than we look.

3) We both love wearing spandex.

4) We are both dog people.

5) We share a love of primary colors.

6) We’re both overqualified for our day jobs.

7) Both of us regret how we dressed in the ‘90s.

8) Neither of us actually need to wear glasses, but sometimes we do anyway.

9) We both have a photographer friend named Jimmy.

10) We’re each always on the lookout for an excuse to take our clothes off in public.

11) We were both raised by loving families in the Midwest, despite not being from that area originally.

12) We both tend to get hung up on one girl for way too long.

13) Both of us love strong and consistent branding, and simple logos.

14) We’re both alien orphans from dying planets who came to Earth with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men — who can change the course of mighty rivers, bend steel with our bare hands, and who — disguised as mild mannered reporters for a great metropolitan newspaper — fight a never-ending battle for truth, justice and The American Way.

15) We’re both reaping the benefits of white privilege in society and the glass ceiling at the workplace.

Play on,
Dustin

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's a...guy who is undressing for the camera.

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a…guy who is undressing for some reason. Honey, call the police.

 

 

…Want more Mind Bullets? New posts go up every Wednesday at noon PST (or as close to that as I feel like), and you can subscribe if you want them delivered right to your inbox! …Or if you’re too impatient to wait that long you can follow me on twitter, instagramyoutube (new videos every Monday), and my boring personal website. Whew, that’s a lot of self promotion…even I don’t like me enough to keep up with all that.

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