The Light from the TV Shows: A Chat with Jason Mewes (“King of the Nerds”)

Jason Mewes has been around the block enough times that he’s easily identifiable even when he’s not standing next to his onscreen hetero life mate, Kevin Smith, but the two are teaming up again to serve as judges on this week’s episode of TBS’s “King of the Geeks,” which airs 2/7 at 10 PM. Bullz-Eye talked to Mewes for a few minutes about his TV obsessions, his new gig, one of his old gigs, and an old gig that may yet be a new gig again. Confused? Read on and you’ll figure it out.

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Bullz-Eye: When one of your most famous characters is turned into part of a superhero duo with their own comic book (Bluntman & Chronic), you’ve got pretty good geek credentials, but what is it about you, Jason Mewes, that makes you a geek?

Jason Mewes: Um, I would say…I could be considered a geek in the sense of my love of TV shows, comics, and action figures. I collect action figures, I collect Legos, I have a Batman pillowcase and sheet set, and, y’know, I play video games all day: “Call of Duty,” “Black Ops,” “Lego Batman 2: DC SuperHeroes”… And I guess a love of technology. I mean, I don’t know why I’m obsessed with technology, and some of it I don’t know how to use, but I want it. I have an iMac that I’ve had for a couple of years, but now they’ve got that new iMac and I want to go get it. I haven’t, but I want to, even though mine’s perfectly fine, because the new one’s all sleek and slim and amazing. I have the newest iPad, the oldest iPad, and when the iPad Mini comes out, I want to get that. So I don’t know, I guess I’d just say that my love of technology, games, comics, toys, all that…I don’t know if that makes me a child or a nerd. [Laughs.]

BE: How was the experience of being a judge on “King of the Nerds”?

JM: It was awesome. What they talked about, the content and the debating of each topic, was awesome, not to mention getting to sit there as a judge, but also the hosts (Robert Carradine and Curtis Armstrong)…I mean, “Revenge of the Nerds” was one of my favorite movies growing up. I know the whole song. [Starts singing.] “Clap your hands, everybody / And everybody clap your hands!” That was my favorite. And to be able to meet Lewis and Booger…that was a treat. So combining the stuff that they talked about and that we got to judge them and the hosts, it was amazing.

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BE: Not to divulge any spoilers, but were there any contestants who, when you saw them on the show, struck you as being potential Kings?

JM: Um, you know… [Hesitates.] There’s a lot of great people on the show, so…I don’t know which one’ll be the King. And I don’t really want to give anything away, because they get kicked off…well, they don’t get kicked off, but they leave the show. But…I don’t know, there was a young lady there, I’ll say that, who was really passionate and was really on her stuff. She knew what she was talking about. So we’ll see what happens.

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Coming Soon: A Moviegoer’s Guide to March

Springtime is finally here, and as the weather starts to get a little better, so does your choice of movies. Though March wasn’t always known as a month where you could score big at the box office, Zack Snyder’s “300” changed all that, and since then, the studios have been more open to releasing some of their higher profile films in an attempt to cash in on the pre-summer excitement. If it’s big-budget epics you’re after, or just a great comedy anchored by some big names, then you’ll want to continue reading.

“BEING FLYNN”

Who: Robert De Niro, Paul Dano, Olivia Thirlby and Julianne Moore
What: While working in a Boston homeless shelter, Nick Flynn re-encounters his estranged father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet.
When: March 2nd
Why: This is the kind of film that you’d normally expect to see during awards season, which is what makes Focus Features’ decision to release it in March so refreshing. Of course, it could just mean that the movie simply isn’t good enough to be Oscar bait, but with actors like Robert De Niro and Paul Dano involved, it seems pretty unlikely. Based on playwright Nick Flynn’s memoir, “Another Bullshit Night in Suck City” (a great book title, but hardly one that rolls off the tongue when buying a ticket at the movie theater), “Being Flynn” might just be the film that finally gets De Niro’s acting career back on track. If nothing else, it’s great to see Paul Weitz directing some much headier material following the dreadful “Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant” and “Little Fockers.”

“JOHN CARTER”

Who: Taylor Kitsch, Lynn Collins, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West and Mark Strong
What: After a Civil War veteran is inexplicably transported to Mars, he becomes mixed up in a conflict amongst the habitants of the planet.
When: March 9th
Why: I had never even heard of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ series of pulp fantasy novels when a “John Carter” movie was first rumored a few years ago as a possible directing project for Jon Favreau, but after seeing the initial trailer, I was sold. It’s been awhile since a sci-fi epic has come along that actually looks the part, and a lot of that credit goes to Andrew Stanton, who, although he’s best known for directing Pixar hits like “Finding Nemo” and “Wall-E,” is following in the footsteps of colleague Brad Bird with his live-action debut. While it will be interesting to see what Stanton can do outside the realm of animation, however, the film’s success will ultimately depend on whether Taylor Kitsch can prove to be the action star that Hollywood is betting on him to become.

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HS TV 101: 12 Great Shows Set In or Around High School

High school: it’s a rite of passage we all must endure. Some of us weep when it’s over, others can’t wait to say goodbye forever, but for better or worse, it’s an experience that we’ll remember for the rest of our lives. The same goes for some of the many TV series that have been set in high school. Here at Bullz-Eye, we’ve polled our writers for their favorite shows within the genre, and the end result is, not unlike high school itself, a mixture of both comedy and drama.

12. Life As We Know It (ABC, 2004 – 2005): Lasting only 11 episodes before ABC unceremoniously yanked it from the air, “Life As We Know It” premiered during perhaps the most cancel-happy era in television. Developed by two of the producers of “Freaks and Geeks” (maybe the writing was already on the wall), the series may have ultimately been undone by poor ratings, but the Parents Television Council’s campaign against the show’s sexual themes certainly didn’t help. Then again, when you green light a series based on a controversial young-adult novel called “Doing It” that follows the exploits of a trio of best friends (Sean Faris, Jon Foster and Chris Lowell) navigating the highs and lows of adolescence, you can hardly pretend to be surprised when its characters discuss sex on a fairly regular basis.

Featuring a great cast of young up-and-comers that also included Missy Peregrym and Kelly Osbourne (yes, that Kelly Osbourne, who’s never been cuter than she was here), “Life As We Know It” certainly wasn’t perfect by any means, but it easily outshined similar shows like “Dawson’s Creek” and “The O.C.,” particularly in its handling of its adult characters. The series wasn’t without the usual high school clichés, but the writers never shied away from edgier material, either – like a student having a secret affair with his teacher or a star jock dealing with performance issues – resulting in a smart, sweet and incredibly honest look at how sex changes everything. – Jason Zingale

11. Welcome Back, Kotter (ABC, 1975 – 1979): Despite suffering through remedial classes and acting far more rebellious than was deemed socially acceptable, Gabe Kotter (played by the suspiciously similarly-named Gabe Kaplan) still somehow managed to graduate from James Buchanan High School, but who would have thought that the dreams that were his ticket out would lead him back there? (John Sebastian did, of course, but that’s not really relevant to this discussion.) With his teacher certification tucked into his back pocket, Kotter returns to his alma mater and takes on the challenge of trying to educate the new generation of remedial students. Oh, sure, their names have all changed since he hung around – now they’re called Vinnie Barbarino (John Travolta), Arnold Horshack (Ron Palillo), Freddie “Boom-Boom” Washington (Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs), and Juan Epstein (Robert Hegyes) – but they’re still “sweathogs” all the way.

Most would likely agree that “Welcome Back, Kotter” was at its best when it was still the original four Sweathogs, i.e. before Travolta slipped away from television, put on a white suit, and found big-screen success on the dance floor, but even at its funniest, few would probably describe it as the most realistic look into high school life.

“I don’t think anyone was trying to replicate the high school experience so much as they were trying to service those particular characters and write stories about them,” said Mark Evanier, who served as a story editor for the show. “If you could get a good joke out of it, great…though there were times I think we settled for a decent catch-phrase.”

While the words “up your nose with a rubber hose” lend credence to Evanier’s theory, the Marx-Brothers-inspired chemistry between the Sweathogs helps their slapstick shenanigans hold up nonetheless. And, besides, who needs realism when you’ve got Gabe Kaplan doing Groucho? – Will Harris

10. Glee (Fox, 2009 – present): Is it telling that one of the most popular current shows on TV came it at only the #10 spot? If nothing else, maybe it proves we here at Bullz-Eye aren’t prone to fads. Except that maybe we are, as “Glee” has made it onto our TV Power Rankings lists time and again since its debut. But this list isn’t about what entertains us in the broader sense; it’s about great high school shows. As entertaining as “Glee” can be, it has almost nothing real to say about the high school experience, and in fact most of the high school kids I know find it to be pretty nonsensical.

The one area that it seems to excel in as far as capturing the high school experience is in its ability to play romantic musical chairs with its cast of teenage characters. These kids are fickle, and the only guarantee that seems to come with a relationship on “Glee” is that sooner or later it’s going to end. Some props should probably also be given for their attempt to zero in on the bullying issue that so seems to afflict kids today, but “Glee” chose to unfortunately treat the topic with kid gloves rather than say something truly meaningful. None of this is to say that “Glee” isn’t one hell of an entertaining series, because it is, but anyone looking for something a little deeper would do best to dust off their old DVD of “The Breakfast Club.” – Ross Ruediger

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