Jacob Zinn :: journalist + photographer

Stuff Your Dad Likes: Hooters

Posted in Stuff Your Dad Likes by Jacob Zinn on March 8, 2012
Jacob Zinn can’t give you fatherly advice, but he can accidentally delete all your cell phone contacts.

The tight T-shirts. The orange short shorts. The bubbly (but often absent-minded) waitresses putting themselves through college.

Hooters is a white trash paradise built on American values such as freedom and chicken wings. It’s a two-star chain restaurant for the blue-collar working man to unwind after a hard day’s work with a beer in one hand and a burger in the other.

It’s home to both southern flavour and unabashed tastelessness, and if you’re dad’s a NASCAR-watching redneck at heart, he’s likely visited such a classy location.

I don’t think my dad has ever been to Hooters – or if he has, he says it was for the wings. But that doesn’t mean your dad hasn’t enjoyed a titillating Hooters Girl holding jugs in front of her jugs.

Hooters has pretty servers, cold beer on tap, sports on TV 24/7 and greasy, deep-fried U.S. delicacies. It’s the restaurant men escape to when their bachelor pad or man cave isn’t manly enough. (But don’t think it’s a restaurant for men only – every now and then, kids eat free!)

Sure, the food is subpar, but no one really goes there for the food. That would be like reading Hooters Magazine for the articles.

If your dad is like my dad and hasn’t been to Hooters, he’s at least been intrigued by seeing its impact in popular culture. From the running joke in Big Daddy to Lisa Simpson’s Hooters Manhattan Beach T-Shirt from Goodwill, the restaurant is a piece of Americana next to baseball and apple pie.

Even extended franchises aren’t safe from ridicule, like Larry the Cable Guy’s comedy bit on receiving “80,000 frequent boner miles” from Hooters Air, or the sad truth that the Hooters Casino Hotel on the Las Vegas strip has never made money from gambling.

Next year, Hooters will celebrate 30 years as America’s swankiest restaurant with hot pants-clad servers. And after three decades of ziplining orders to the kitchen and precariously carrying them out in front of their cleavage, the Hooters Girls are still orange with pride, and fathers everywhere are tipping them generously for it.

Because, like Hooters, your dad is delightfully tacky, yet unrefined.


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Stuff Your Dad Likes: Sitcom Dads

Posted in Stuff Your Dad Likes, The Simpsons, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on November 8, 2011
Jacob Zinn can’t give you fatherly advice, but he can forget to pick you up from soccer practice.

Do you make jokes at your dad’s expense? Do you ridicule his baldness, beer gut or hygiene? Do you cue the laugh track every time he walks in a room?

If your pops is anything like a TV dad, prepare for a lifetime of embarrassment contrasted by subtle, redemptive qualities and love. He likes TV dads because he thinks they make him look smart. (They don’t.)

Usually, the stereotypical situational comedy father is the main character, but he’s also the butt of most jokes.

And odds are there’s one TV father who your dad relates to the most. If he’s a handyman, it’s Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor. If he’s a single parent, it’s Danny Tanner. If he wears ugly sweaters (or is a gynaecologist), it’s Dr. Cliff Huxtable.

My dad relates to Al Bundy, played by Ed O’Neill, from Married… with Children. He isn’t a shoe salesman and he doesn’t stick his hand in his pants when he watches TV, but he has that same, stubborn work ethic and nostalgic desires.

Day in and day out, Bundy drives to that shopping mall in his rusty beater and puts up with his 40-hour-per-week job, then comes home with no money to show for it, and all he asks is to be left on the couch in peace. (Also, I refuse to believe that my dad feels nothing but indifference towards sex.)

With the fall TV line-up in full swing, your dad has dozens of primetime papas to choose from to offset his poor parenting.

Sunday nights on Fox, the two most idiotic cartoon fathers compete for that Father of the Year coffee mug. Homer Simpson tries to top 22 seasons of stupidity while Peter Griffin lowers the bar on Family Guy.

On ABC, Phil Dunphy, played by Ty Burrell, leads the Emmy Award-winning third season of Modern Family. Coincidentally, Ed O’Neill plays his father-in-law, doubling the paternal comedy.

You’re dad’s not that stupid. (Right?) So let him relive the glory days of scoring four touchdowns “in a single game.”

And take it easy on him the next time he does something stupid. There’s a bit of Homer in everybody. Maybe a bit more in your dad.


FOX in talks for Simpsons Channel

Posted in Opinion, The Simpsons, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on September 18, 2011
I

nstead of Itchy & Scratchy, the Simpsons could soon be watching themselves on their outdated, purple rabbit-ear television.

FOX is reportedly considering launching a 24-hour Simpsons network. Non-stop, ’round-the-clock gut-busting, laugh-out-loud, yellow hilarity–but is there enough for an entire channel dedicated to Homer, Marge and the kids?

Adding Up The Simpsons


22 Seasons on FOX (and counting!)
486 Episodes spanning 178 Hours
15 Seasons on DVD
1000+ Springfieldians
337 Guest Stars as of Season 16
$400,000 Salary of Simpsons voice actors–per episode
27 Primetime Emmys
24 video games from NES to iPhone
2,151st Star on the Walk of Fame
12 7-Eleven’s turned into Kwik-E-Marts
8th -Highest Grossing Film worldwide, taking in $527,068,706
#1 TV Series of the Century as named by TIME magazine


The Simpsons is the longest-running sitcom, animated program and primetime scripted television series in America. With 486 episodes spanning 22 seasons and a full-length feature film, they have a lot to choose from.

The Simpsons is one of those shows that you’ll watch on syndication as you flip channels on a Sunday afternoon, even if you’ve seen it before and you know how the episode ends. But a channel based on reruns that have been rerun for 22 years could get tiresome, and quick.

It would be fascinating to learn the viewership for different episodes; classics from the golden era of seasons three through nine may be the most watched while newer episodes from the last several seasons might plummet in ratings.

It seems obvious that the network would run promotions during different months for holiday-themed episodes: October would run Treehouse of Horror marathons, December would air Christmas and Hanukkah episodes, and specific episodes that coincide with other occasions.

B

ut to stay fresh, the network would need to offer some original programming, like Simpsons documentaries or vignettes with writers, producers and voice actors on their favourite episodes, characters, chalkboard and couch gags, guest stars, et cetera. Off the top of my head, the network could run 30-minute to one-hour specials on:

  • Film Homages: Pulp Fiction, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Graduate, A Clockwork Orange, The Godfather and Indiana Jones (to name a few)
  • Musical Guest Stars: Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, Aerosmith, Michael Jackson, Metallica, NSYNC, Smashing Pumpkins, Ted Nugent, The White Stripes, blink-182
  • Professional Athletes: Joe Nameth, Dennis Rodman, Ken Griffy Jr., Elvis Stojko, Tom Brady, Michelle Kwan, Oscar De La Hoya, Tony Hawk
  • Perfectly Cromulent Words in Pop Culture: D’oh!, meh, embiggen, kwyjibo, cheese-eating surrender monkeys
  • überfans Worldwide: A collection of interviews with self-proclaimed biggest Simpsons fans from around the world.
  • Religion in The Simpsons: A special that explores Ned Flanders’ fundamentalist Christianity, Lisa’s soul-searching Buddhism, Apu’s faithful Hinduism, Krusty’s Jewish upbringing and other beliefs in The Simpsons.

They already have themed DVD releases for Hollywood tributes and religious beliefs, so they wouldn’t have to look very hard to compile these specials.

Groening and the rest of FOX could further break down the subcultures, sociology and psychology of Springfield, even to go so far as to analyze the use of Pavlov’s Theory or the Infinite Monkey Theorem in the show. Heck, they could run a full hour of Homer’s annoyed grunts and still get ratings.

T

he trick here is to appeal to all fans at once. A casual fan who hasn’t seen every episode might watch anything on a Simpsons channel, but someone with Comic Book Guy-level Simpsons fandom might skip newer episodes in favour of “The Lemon Tree” or “22 Short Films About Springfield.”

The Simpsons might be enough to lure viewers in, but at some point, that collection of episodes could rerun itself out. If FOX seriously intends to launch a Simpsons channel, prepare some documentary-style shows filled with interviews and history that will appeal to Frink-type nerds, Wiggum-type simpletons and the Simpson-type typical American family.


Hello autumn, goodbye reruns!

Posted in TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on September 22, 2009

Today is the first day of fall. To most, that means the leaves will darken to shades of orange and brown, the sun will sometimes be masked by cloudy skies and the air in the wind will get a little bit colder.

But to people who don’t get outdoors that much, it means new episodes of TV shows will be premiering in the fall line-up and running through the winter. These folks huddle in front of the warmth of their flatscreens for hours of unnecessary entertainment.

For me in particular, September 27 marks the night the best TV series’ return. Here’s a look at what I’m looking forward to.

American Dad!, FOX
Ever since the pilot aired after the Super Bowl XXXIX wardrobe malfunction, American Dad! has surprisingly been watched weekly by millions. The Smith family back for its fifth season, but expectations are low, perhaps lower than they were last year. Viewers might be able to count on a continuation of dramatic, unexplained widescreen cutscenes that only dedicated fans remember.

The Cleveland Show, FOX
Making its premiere this Sunday, The Cleveland Show is the a Family Guy spin-off featuring Cleveland Brown on his own slow-speaking adventures–only this time, his son is fat. It’s unclear if this will be Clevelands permanent home or if he’ll still be a supporting character at 9:00 when Family Guy starts.

Desperate Housewives, ABC
Heading into its sixth season, the housewives come back to Wisteria Lane after the season five finale’s cliffhanger ending. Expect a new addition the Scavo family, an affair between Bree Hodge and Karl Meyer, and the on-again-off-again relationship between Susan and Mike to be on-again. Again.

Family Guy, FOX
People used to watch the Bradys. Now they watch the Griffins. Though the show has lost some of its unpredictability from the first few seasons, fans come back for the cutaway jokes and potty humour. No cliffhangers, no drama, no plot twists, just laughs.

The Simpsons, FOX
Arguably the greatest animated TV show of all time, The Simpsons starts its 21st season on Sunday. The new episodes have been struggling to live up to the reputation set by previous seasons, but Matt Groening and co. still get the ratings week after week. Homer choking Bart never gets old.

Pig on the lam

Posted in Music, Observations, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on July 12, 2009

We may never see pigs fly, but folks in Barrie, ON saw one float.

On Canada Day, an 18-foot helium-filled pig named Pinky belonging to the Rock 95 radio station got loose.

Since its disappearance, locals have been reporting sightings of Pinky and newspapers have written headlines about pigs flying (the best one: Swine Flew).

Rock 95 issued a $1,000 reward for the safe return of their mascot. They also posted this release on their website:

A nationwide pighunt is underway for Pinky the Rock 95 Pig. It vanished yesterday around noon when it broke the rope attaching it to the ground. Witnesses last saw the pig heading in a northeast direction. Rock 95’s General Manager Doug Bingley issued a heartfelt, emotional plea, “I love that pig,” and then confirmed a $1,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the safe return of the pig. Pinky is 16 feet long, pink, and was manufactured by the same company that built the giant pig for Pink Floyd. In fact, there are only two such pigs in existence. The company said when a call comes in about this kind of pig, they know it’s either Rock 95 or Roger Waters calling.

While Pink Floyd’s pig was for the cover of the Animals album cover, Pinky is the beloved face of Rock 95.

The pig is yet to be found, though children have been calling in with their concerns and the station has recieved a ransom note for the pig.

Let’s hope Pinky doesn’t get away, like Peter Frampton’s inflatable pig on The Simpsons.

Michael Jackson through the years | 1958-2009

Posted in Celebrity Deaths, Music by Jacob Zinn on June 26, 2009

Yesterday, beloved pop icon Michael Jackson collapsed in his California home and was taken to the hospital where doctors attempted to revive him for an hour. He passed away unexpectedly at the age of 50.

Jackson was scheduled to play 50 sold out concerts from July through March to over a million people at the O2 Arena in London. It was named the “This Is It” concert series, meaning they were to be the last shows he would ever play.

Though fans with tickets can no longer look forward to seeing the King of Pop live on stage, they can look back at the legacy he has left behind.

1966 – Started the Jackson 5 with brothers Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon.

1971 – Starred in the short-lived Saturday morning cartoon, The Jackson 5ive.

August 1979 – Released Off the Wall, which featured the singles “Rock with You” and “Don’t Stop ’til You Get Enough.”

November 1982 – Released the 28x platinum Thriller (which went on to sell over 100 million copies worldwide) with title tracks freaky music video and subsequent dance craze.

February 1983 – Released “Beat It” only for it to be covered 25 years later by emo/pop-punk/just-plain-crap band Fall Out Boy.

March 1983 – Had a career-changing performance of “Billie Jean” at Motown’s 25th anniversary, where he introduced the Moonwalk with 47 million viewers watching at home.

1984 – Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Years later, adoring fans mistaken the star of Los Angeles radio personality Michael Jackson for that of the pop legend.

January 1984 – While on the set of a Pepsi commercial, Michael received second degree burns from a pyrotechnics accident.

February 1984 – Weird Al Yankovic releases “Eat It” with a shot-for-shot remake of Michael’s video for “Beat It.” Since video embedding is disabled, watch them side by side (dual monitors preferred) for maximum hilarity.

Also February 1984 – Received eight Grammy Awards: Record of the Year, Album of the Year, Producer of the Year, Best Recording for Children (it was for E.T., okay?), Best Engineered Recording and Best Male Pop, R&B, and Rock Vocal Performances.

May 1984 – Received award from then-U.S. President Ronald Reagan for his charity work.

1985“We Are The World”, a joint effort between the mid-’80s finest for foreign aid in Africa, goes on to reach number one in 17 countries.

February 1988 – Weird Al Yankovic releases “Fat,” a parody of Michael’s “Bad.” Not as good as “Eat It,” but alright. Two Weird Al parodies = major success.

March 1988 – Purchases property to build the $17 million Neverland Ranch.

1989 – Receives the Artist of the Decade award from Liz Taylor, who nicknames him the King of Pop.

1989Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker video game is released, the idea of the game being that you save kidnapped children. Eerie similarities occur in the future.

September 1991 – Appeared in the season three premiere of The Simpsons as a mental patient who claims to be Michael Jackson. In reality, Michael couldn’t admit to it being his own voice due to contractual obligations, but critics figured it was him.

May 1995 – Released the video for “Scream,” a collaboration with younger sister Janet. The video had $7 million in production costs, second only to the video for “From Yesterday” by 30 Seconds to Mars, which cost $13 million.

1997 – The Jackson 5 is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

March 2001 – Michael Jackson is inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

There are many other accomplishments by MJ, but these are just some of the highlights. He was one of the best entertainers to grace a stage and he’s set the bar high for future pop legends.

He might be gone, but generations to come won’t stop listening to his music ’til they get enough.

Lots of dots and umlauts

Posted in Heavy Metal, Music, Observations, TV & Film by Jacob Zinn on June 21, 2009

In heavy metal, it’s not uncommon to find bands with dots over their vowels to jazz up metal up their name. These are metal umlauts, though only a handful of bands can really make it witht them. There are dozens of bands with umlauts, but there are only four worth mentioning here in yet another unneeded hard rock segment on this site.

Blue Öyster Cult

Best known for songs like “Godzilla,” “Cities on Flame with Rock and Roll” and “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper,” Blue Öyster Cult are credited with being the first to have an umlaut in their name. It was either suggested by former member Allen Lanier or music critic Richard Meltzer.

They’ve also grown in pop culture, having those three aforementioned tracks in Rock Band and Guitar Hero games.

“(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” also reached a new audience in a Saturday Night Live skit starring Christopher Walken as record producer Bruce Dickinson (not as Iron Maiden lead singer Bruce Dickinson) and Will Ferrell as fictional B.Ö.C. member Gene Frenkle. In a spoof of VH1’s Behind the Music series, the band is in the studio recording “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” with Frenkle on the cowbell. They stop playing midway as his cowbell-playing proves distracting to the other members of the band, but Dickinson walks in, saying he has a fever and that the only prescription is more cowbell.

Motörhead

Though casual listeners won’t know much beyond “Ace of Spades”, Motörhead were part of the new wave of British heavy metal in the mid-‘70s. Their loud guitar riffs and lead singer Lemmy Kilmister’s distinct voice give them a raw, edgier sound than most acts.

When asked about the umlaut over the second “o”, Kilmister has been quoted as saying, “I only put it in there to look mean.”

More recently, they’ve appeared as a group in Guitar Hero: World Tour (with Lemmy appearing on his own in Guitar Hero: Metallica), and for the last few years, they’ve provided the entrance music for professional wrestler Triple H, who is a big fan of the group.

Mötley Crüe

Made up of lead singer Vince Neil and his “buddies [Nikki] Sixx, Mick [Mars] and Tom[my Lee],” the Crüe are the most famous rock group with the double umlaut. Why two umlauts? The story goes something like this: Mars was in a group called White Horse, a bandmate said they were, “a motley looking crew.” Mars remembered this when forming Mötley Crüe and wrote it as “Motley Cru-.” It was supposedly changed to add the umlauts when the band was drinking Löwenbräu.

Mötley Crüe are best known for way too many things. Wikipedia them if you must.

Spın̈al Tap

Okay, they’re not really a heavy metal group–they’re a parody of heavy metal acts from their 1984 rock mockumentary, This is Spinal Tap. But they do have a discography of 15 studio albums (12 of which are fictional).

Being a spoof group, the Tap put their umlaut over a consonant instead of a vowel, putting two dots over the “n.” They also removed the dot from the “i,” just for kicks.

Like the other three groups, they’ve had a song on a Guitar Hero game (Mötley Crüe had “Shout at the Devil” as the first song on Guitar Hero II). “Tonight I’m Gonna Rock You Tonight” is an encore track on Guitar Hero II.

They’re likely the only group on this list that’s been featured on The Simpsons. At the end of the month, they play the O2 Arena in London for a “one night only world tour.”

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