New York Times: read it before the whole news site vanishes behind the paywall!) that the damned thing cost the studio $150 million and two years to make.
••• I think I have a little crush on a cartoon character (again): Cheryl (or Carol) from "Archer," a TV-MA animated Cold War spy-spoof on FX. Strong recommendation for this show: It's slick-looking, flash-style animation, with handsome, realistic character renderings (it looks a bit like a Saturday Morning version of "Mad Men") and some of the sharpest , funniest writing of any current series, period. It shares a heritage between creator Adam Reed's heady earlier series, particularly "Sealab 2021", and, of all things, "Arrested Development" (Jessica Walter, Jeffrey Tambor and Judy Greer do voices on it).
It's always a kick to see a character who is set up to be an ignoramus, because if it's written and performed well, you're both amused and a little bit stunned. Cheryl (or Carol) as a character reminds me a bit of Larry, Darryl and Darryl from "Newhart" (1982-1990), who had the ability to throw down absolutely amazing non-sequiteurs. But Cheryl (or Carol) is better because she's smoking hot as well. No Uncanny Valley in "Archer," no sir. Full episodes are available on IMDb.
••• The awful events unfolding in Japan make a mockery of any comparison to fictional disaster or fictional anything, really. Having said that, I should point out that I'm not the first person to draw the most obvious comparison, or at least one that is culturally appropriate: Godzilla. A raging force of nature that destroys indiscriminately and lays waste with a plume of radioactive fire. It's so terribly apt that one could almost see it as science-fiction time loop, a 50s monster inspired by events that occur in devastating cadence half a century later.
Domo. He's NHK's mascot (and mine too, kinda): a squared-off, stubby-legged monster with beady eyes and a huge, toothy square mouth. Check him out: he's cute enough with the napped fur and outreaching arms, but he's got teeth. Big sharp pointy ones. There's an unlikely mix of winsomeness and determination to him. He always shows his mouthful of shark-like teeth to the world, almost like a challenge. Any culture that can produce a little character that embodies such a dichotomy of cute and tough can internalize these qualities, and they can do anything-- And that is something we at Hang A Lantern On It definitely believe.