"A joke is never as funny the second time you hear it."
— Calvin, Calvin and Hobbes
"The world is drunk and we're just the cocktail of the moment, pally. One of these days everybody's gonna wake up with a heck of a hangover, down two aspirin and a glass of tomato juice and wonder what the hell all the fuss was about."
—Dean Martin, The Rat Pack (1998 film)
"It's not who does it first, it's who does it second."
"The radical of one century is the conservative of the next. The radical invents the views. When he has worn them out, the conservative adopts them."
"Flaubert established for good or ill, what most readers think of as modern realist narration, and his influence is almost too familiar to be visible."
— James Woods, How Fiction Works (on Madame Bovary)
"Coming up next on E4: Friends — The One Where You Realise That It's Not As Funny As It Used To Be."
— Things You Won't Hear When Flicking Through Satellite TV, Mock the Week's Funniest Book of All Time 2011
"Thing is, though, that it was such a defining soundscape of its era that it sounds terribly dated these days, and the John Landis video for the title track is positively painful to watch at this point."
— J. Eric Smith on Thriller
"The Madonna I saw at the Grammys last night sang a song about equality while wearing a gold grill and carrying a pimp cane just a week after she famously called her child the n-word and wasn't sorry...At a certain point, with age, we lose our grip on which ideas are cyclical and which ideas are perpetual and which ideas have died out. Madonna is just mimicking modes of edginess that worked for her in the past—that were new and important in the past—but what was once progressive nearly always becomes regressive. Because we learn so much all the time. The racial exploitation of Sex-era Madonna was provocative once; now it's just exploitation. So when do we cut our idols loose? When does the Queen of Reinvention run out of raw materials and turn into the, um, Lesser Duchess of Recycling? When does the awkwardness of New Madonna obliterate our teen-feelings for Madonna of Old? When do we ourselves realize that we're falling behind?"
—Jezebel, "Madonna, What Are You Doing."
"NIN was a much bigger draw than Bowie, but because Trent Reznor is not a disrespectful prick, he rightly allowed Bowie a slightly more exalted position on the bill. Here's the deal, though. The overwhelming majority of the coliseum was there to see NIN. The audience was awash with 14-year-old girls in torn fishnets and black lipstick. Even though they probably went off to college, broadened their musical horizons, and became Bowie fans (considering what a huge NIN influence he is), on that night, they were not. ...When Trent left the stage, so did half the audience, some of them crying that they didn't get enough Trent. Bowie "ruined the show" for them. (That's an actual quote from some girl I overheard in the parking lot ... moments before I strangled her to death.)"
"Deus Ex is one of those games where everyone who liked it is now incredibly familiar with the first hour of it; because occasionally they get a urge to give it a replay, and it won't be long before they think to themself: 'Blimey, I don't remember it looking quite this much like ass.'"
— Yahtzee, Zero Punctuation
"Some people look at the quality of these early episodes and complain that today's animated upstarts aren't being given enough time to get their groove going before they get the ax. The error in that logic is that it doesn't apply to The Simpsons. I was there, and I remember the show being a massive hit out of the gate. It was Fox's first show to break the Nielsen Top 30. These 13 eps were all there was for months and millions kept tuning into the repeats. People loved these badly-drawn, out-of-character, seldom-side-splitting adventures just as much as they loved later, better seasons."
— Peter Paltridge, "The Lost Art of TV Guide Advertising Vol 10: The Simpsons"
"Enterprise was a clone of Voyager, which is bad enough. But Voyager itself was already a clone of The Next Generation. So by the time you get to Enterprise, you're watching a copy of a copy of a copy. And much like any Nth-generation VHS dub of a bootleg movie, when everything is said and done, all you're left with is indistinct static. But there's an even bigger problem with being a copy of a copy of a show that premiered in 1987: you end up completely disconnected from everything happening on primetime TV in the 2000s...the simple fact is, the medium constantly evolves, and viewers constantly want something fresh and original. And it's getting harder and harder to do a TNG-style show with self-contained episodes that still feels fresh and original."
"Seagal was unlike any movie action hero before. First of all, he looked liked he was actually fighting. His moves were incredibly quick and brutal, designed to put his opponent(s) down quickly... He was so formidable that even the criminals in his movies noticed. Each of his films invariably contained a scene wherein a worried thug would exclaim, 'This guy’s good!' No sir, not for Seagal the classic 'hero recuperates from a savage beating and comes back stronger than ever' bit. Seagal never needed to be any stronger. The closest he ever came to this was in Hard to Kill, when he was all shot up and put into a coma for seven years. Yet once he woke up he only needed about a week to reclaim his super-efficient killing machine status.
Still, the seeds of Seagal’s eventual downfall were already noticeable in that first film... There were his omnipresent black clothes and ponytail, constants that became more comical with each film. The way his acting never got any better. The stupid way he would hold his pistol sideways all the time. The fact that no one ever shot him from a distance, but invariably walked up to him so that he could do that gun flipping move he trotted out every movie. The silly way he squinched his face when he was supposed to be pissed off. The lack of an adversary who could even marginally challenge the omnipotent Seagal, which eventually sort of lowered the suspense level. Even Seagal’s trademark fighting move, quickly grabbing and snapping an opponent’s arm, became farcical the forty or fiftieth time you saw it."
"Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty received perfect scores and critical acclaim when it was released in 2001, selling millions of copies and single-handedly raising the bar for big action titles... It was a genuine smash hit. But just a few years later, the critics hated it. It went from being called a masterpiece to masturbatory. In some cases, the same people who’d initially given it perfect scores were now mocking it openly, as if it had somehow changed for the worse. It hadn’t, of course, but this didn’t stop them from changing their minds. Calling it convoluted, pretentious, and full of 'metababble', they joined the fans in demanding answers, customer satisfaction, and justice from series creator Hideo Kojima."
—Terry Wolf, MGS2: A Complete Breakdown"
"A lot of people were apparently surprised by how childish and pun-based the writing was. To them I say, again... all the Rankin/Bass specials they love are the same way!"
— Peter Paltridge, Platypus Comix review of A Miser Brothers Christmas
"That's one of the weird parts about what's called originality. It doesn't look original unless you look at the time stamp."