Friday, January 11, 2008

Spider-Man's "Brand New Day" Unmasked: They've Failed; Just When It Counted Most, They've Failed

AKA: Why Amazing Spider-Man #545 and #546 Are Total Disasters

OK, a word of warning: If you're not a fan of the Spider-Man comic books you'll probably want to check out right now. I don't want to alienate any one, but this “One More Day/Brand New Day” situation has me seething, and I have to vent somewhere.

This is the most asinine, ill-advised, wrong-headed move in all of comic book history and I am not exaggerating. It fails on so many levels it's PATHETIC, and I can’t imagine it won’t be ret-ret-conned within a year or so. Don’t get too attached to these new villains and characters, because I predict they’re ALL gonna be jettisoned completely when Marvel wises up and tries to erase this debacle from history.

For those of you who don’t know, here’s a quick paraphrase of where we are: Joe Quesada, the EIC of Marvel Comics, decided that Peter Parker’s 20-year marriage to Mary Jane (in real time) was a storytelling hindrance and he needed to get rid of it SOMEHOW, without killing her off or divorcing the characters, which he believed would age them.

So, he came up with this cockamamie notion of Peter Parker making a deal with the devil (Mephisto, in the Marvel U) to save his Aunt May’s life… on the condition that he would “lose” his marriage to Mary Jane in the process. Somehow… we’re not quite sure how… all the events “pretty much” played out the way we remember them the past 20 years, except that Peter and Mary Jane weren’t married. Oh, and everyone has forgotten that Spidey unmasked in public. And Harry Osborn is alive. And Peter’s living with Aunt May again. And hundreds if not thousands of little things we don’t know about have changed too. RIGHT. OK.

Once that outlandish, out-of-character plot contrivance was clumsily executed in the 4 part “One More Day,” we were then told by Merry Marvel that we should embrace “Brand New Day” as the jumping off point for the “second chapter” in Peter’s life. (You would think they’d want to avoid words that remind us of John Byrne’s “Chapter One.”) We’re also being told we should “LOOK FORWARD!” (read: not back at that crappy Mephisto stuff.)

Sorry guys, the ends don’t justify the means, and it’s not so easy to just “roll with the punches.” I submit this would be true even for readers who have never read a Spider-Man comic book before "BRAND NEW DAY.” This is just too egregious to overlook; and violates so many rules of good fiction/narrative that one would have to be brain dead to not be at least SOMEWHAT troubled by the whole thing. This has nothing to do with me being "older" (late 30's) by Joe's standards, and thereby lacking the ability to relate to this "younger" incarnation of the character. This has to do with bad storytelling, plain and simple. Tell a good story, and people will want to read it, regardless of their age. Tell a sucky one, and they'll flee in terror.

So why does the overall structure of “Brand New Day” suck so much? Let us count some of the ways.


When you watch an ongoing TV show, you know that the characters are really just actors and everything you see is fiction. However, when we immerse ourselves in fictional characters, we imagine them to have full lives and memories that extend back before the show (and presumably after). That’s why we ask questions like, “what do you think happened to them after the episode ended?” Likewise, we don’t imagine that when a character leaves a scene, that they simply cease to exist. At the very least, they exist no less than before they left the scene.

In other words, we develop a coherent, working model of the characters which allows them to be “real” within a certain schema. To introduce a plot device which effectively replaces characters with parallel-universe versions of themselves and remember a world that may or may not have existed, is to SERIOUSLY undermine the reader’s attachment or investment in that world. BND feels flat, forced and artificial at every turn, and I blame Joe Q., not Dan Slott.

Here’s an analogy: If someone came along and told you all the characters on the TV show “Brand New Jar” are all brains in a jar (for example), and possess no physical bodies, that would overshadow your perception of what’s happening on the show. This would be true even if you had never seen the “One More Jar” episode. You wouldn’t have to. You could TRY to “look forward” and get involved in what the characters are doing now and become invested in their lives, but that nagging feeling that they’re all just jar-brains is going to undermine everything you see.

There is no doubt that the weight and meaning of every event you witness in that context would be altered, because what you’re seeing is LESS real (in a sense) than fiction already is. Even worse, what if someone told you that before everyone became jar-brains in a fictional world, they were ACTUAL PEOPLE in a fictional world? Wouldn’t that dampen your enjoyment of those characters even more? I think it would have to.

Now, at this point I would expect Mighty Marvel to protest “mightily” that Peter and his friends aren’t jar-brains, they’re the real deal; they actually ARE Peter and Mary Jane and Harry Osborn, etc. I flat out reject this. Either Peter and his cohorts in “Brand New Day” are from a parallel reality, where all the events THEY remember actually did occur, or they are altered versions of the original characters living in a world which has been seriously tampered with to confirm their falsified memories.

If we accept scenario A, we are not reading Amazing Spider-man anymore, we are reading Amazing Parallel-Reality Spider-Man. That’s fine, I guess, but that means we don’t get to read about the Spider-man we all knew and loved for the last 20 years plus.

If we accept scenario B, the altered “one-Peter/one-universe” scenario, then why should I care about ANYTHING that happens to the characters in Brand New Day? They’re living a lie, and I can’t tell them!!! Everything they do is a hollow mockery of what really is, or what should have been, until the devil came along. They have memories of things that never happened, or altered memories of things that did. Worse, nothing has a feel of permanence. What’s to stop the devil from sashaying into town and shaking things up again? Who gives a crap what happens to so-and-so at the end of “Brand New Day?” It can all be undone with a little mystical mumbo-jumbo, if need be, at least in THEORY. It doesn’t matter if the editors say these changes are permanent; the narrative is FOREVER UNDERMINED. It doesn’t feel like anything’s at STAKE anymore. I don’t think they realize how damaging this Mephisto contrivance really is to the integrity of the story.

I believe part of the problem is Joe wants to have his cake and eat it too, and he expects us to just “accept things” that aren’t clear, using the pretense of “magic.” Well Joe is no Criss Angel. Marvel expects us to believe that Peter in BND and Peter in OMD is the same guy, but that can’t be (in a very real sense) without having him and the rest of the world live a lie. And that’s a problem.


We could almost make sense of all this if we view “Brand New Day” as the adventures of parallel reality Spider-Man. But Marvel is trying so bad to resist the notion of parallel worlds in its main universe that the whole concept as executed in BND is an unholy, unintelligible mess. If this was a parallel reality, we could at least believe these characters have SOME sort of claim to legitimacy. We could imagine that they have full lives that are playing out differently than 616 Spider-man; we just never got to see them before. Obviously, it would take some time for the reader to get invested in such a story. But it could be done. Unfortunately, as many people have pointed out, Marvel already has an Ultimate line which ostensibly serves this function.

Likewise, rather than EARNING our emotional investment, Marvel wants to hedge its bets by keeping up the pretense that this is the SAME Peter Parker in the same universe (with altered memories) and we should still feel the dramatic gravitas that stems from a lot of key moments in Peter’s life. They want to cherry-pick what we should keep and we should dispose of. In other words, they implore us to “LOOK FORWARD!...but oh! -wink wink- Keep this! And this. Oh, and that wasn’t too bad, if we tweak it a little… but LOOK FORWARD, true believers!” To which I answer: Huhn?

The end result of trying to straddle two different narrative interpretations is the story loses its power on both counts: It has neither the dramatic impact of watching a whole new reality reveal itself, nor the emotional impact of watching the same character in strange new circumstances.


Did no one think this was a bad idea? I know they’re probably planning on using Mephisto for some “dramatic” stories down the line (who the hell knows anymore), but if this is really the new status quo, and the beginning of a “bold new chapter,” couldn’t we have predicated it on something other than the Prince of Lies? Sort of taints/overshadows the whole thing, doesn’t it?

If you don’t think that’s a big deal, let me re-emphasize for you: PETE’S ENTIRE LIFE IS NOW THE DIRECT RESULT OF MAKING A PACT WITH THE MASTER OF ALL THAT IS EVIL. Not only that, but the REST OF THE WORLD HAS CHANGED TOO!!!! So now the entire universe is a grotesque, Diablo-determined distortion of what was and was “meant” to be. And try not to think about the butterfly effect of all the people who will probably live or die because of the imperceptible changes in the fabric of reality, because Joe sure isn’t. That was really nice of Peter to do that.

Of course, all Peter’s worried about in OMD is HIS kid who won’t get to be born. I’m sure Marvel would probably tell us that no one else will have their fate changed in any appreciable way by this pact. Are we really supposed to believe that an event like having Harry back from the dead (for example) wouldn’t have major repercussions on people’s lives, somewhere along the line? And yeah, this time PETER would be responsible for things that go wrong. Most of the time Peter just whines about stuff he really has no control over. This time he’s FULLY responsible for SCREWING THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE. Wow.

Ah, who cares, if it gets us to where we need to be, right? NOW LOOK FORWARD, DAMN YOU!


This has been mentioned in reviews and on many message boards already, so I won’t delve into it much here. Suffice it to say, Peter would know better than to make a deal with Mephisto; he would know that Aunt May wouldn’t want him to change reality so she could live; he would at least contemplate the consequences of such a drastic, sweeping change; and it’s questionable he would willingly give up his marriage to MJ for such a selfish reason. (HE can’t live with the guilt over May? How narcissistic can they MAKE this “lovable” loser be, for kripe’s sake?)


There is nothing wrong, in theory, with wanting Peter to seem younger and more unencumbered. But the whole “swinging single” vibe which pervades the comic book is downright weird. And the first page of BND, JOKE OR NOT, plays like a big middle finger to the fans. (I don’t know if I should admire or be pissed off by the colossal balls on Marvel. It’s like they’re re-affirming their intentions and really want to rub your face in it. It reminds me of George Bush stubbornly digging his heels in the sand, refusing to admit he’s made any real mistakes and foolishly thinking he’ll be vindicated by history after his presidency goes down in flames.)

The 2 page “crib notes” in Brand New Day really captures the outdated creepiness of it all. JRJR gives us a lovely rendition of Gwen and Mary Jane with the caption “Pete’s Girls” (because that’s really all they are, ya know) and a brief description of their roles in this brave new world. Hey yeah, and one of ‘em’s DEAD! WHOA, DON’T BRING ME DOWN MAN! BUMMERS-VILLE! (CUE TEARS) OK, ENOUGH OF THAT! NOW LET’S GO SHOOT SOME WEBS!!! THWIP! THWIP!

Even though the early Spider-man stories were groundbreaking in many ways, they were still pervaded by a sensibility that was informed by the era in which they were created. To try and shoehorn that sensibility into a 2008 comic book, especially one that’s being built on the flimsiest of premises, is a risky endeavor at best. In more capable hands, it could be a bold statement of artistic intent. In Joe’s hands, it comes off as inept attempt at shipping a few more units and recapturing the glory days he never knew, but is single-handedly trying to destroy.


Some of the more pivotal moments in recent Marvel history have been either shrugged off or fudged in an attempt to get this clumsy reboot off the ground. Spider-man’s unmasking, Peter’s running from the law, Aunt May’s shooting, Aunt May’s discovery of Spider-man’s identity, Peter Parker’s rebirth, organic webshooters… like ‘em or hate ‘em, these storylines could have given GOOD writers years and years of fertile material. Many fans were looking forward to seeing these issues addressed or resolved in a dramatic, ORGANIC fashion.

But there is nothing organic about BND. (Guess that’s why they got rid of the organic webshooters.) Apparently, Joe’s plan for the past few years has been to just throw as many crazy plot devices out there as possible because he knew he was going to flush it all away with OMD/BND. Viewed in this light, Spider-man’s unmasking comes off like a cheap ploy to sell more comics instead of a measured attempt to tell good stories. It’s shoddy; it’s a disgrace. People care about these characters and the editors are just screwing with them.


Now that Marvel is claiming Peter and Mary Jane were never married, (and Harry is alive, and the webshooters are back, etc. etc.) hundreds of issues of backstory have been rendered inaccurate or unclear in Marvel’s ongoing continuity. This is not the same as ignoring an arc of Ghost Rider, or pretending a year or so of stories in Moon Knight was a dream. This is far-reaching and almost universal damage to the Marvel U. at large.

Marvel (or Joe) can poo-poo this and say the stories are still there and people can read them at anytime, but that shows a stunning failure to grasp what comics are all about. Part of the fun in reading comics is immersing yourself in a sweeping mythos that you can go back and explore at any time. At the very least, you know there IS a history even if you don’t read the old books. Spider-man and Mary Jane’s marriage is not a small thing that can be undone without affecting tons of stories, because Spider-man is their flagship character and is ubiquitous in the Marvel U.

Not only that, the dramatic import of an event like Harry’s death has just been completely negated by his return. How the writers cannot see this is beyond me. Part of the reason Gwen hasn’t come back (except as a clone) isn’t just because her death defines a lot of who Spider-man is; it’s because it would drain, in hindsight, a lot of the drama associated with her death scene.

It is disingenuous for people like Joey Q to just say, “The old stories are still there for people to read.” If they REALLY believed this, then why the hesitation in bringing back Gwen? I’m sure there are writers who have wanted to do this. And hell, that would make Pete seem even younger if his FIRST girlfriend was still around! The reason they DON’T bring Gwen back (at least not yet) is because they KNOW comics aren’t only about what’s to come, but the drama derived from what has come before. To feign ignorance of that fact just to forward some hackneyed agenda is downright insulting.

The craziest thing of all, believe it or not, is that I am by no means a continuity nut. I don’t care if they play fast and lose with the rules from time to time, or prune away stories that were kind of crappy to begin with. But this is like cutting off everything below the waist just because a toe is infected. Were things really THAT bad that there was no other solution other than throwing the entire Marvel Universe into a state of flux? Considering the amount of ass kissing for JMS at the end of OMD you would think things were going GOOD for Spidey!


While the goal of Brand New Day is, ostensibly, to return the character to his roots, I can’t help but feel like this is just another trip down a well-traveled road, and the device used to get us here ain’t helping things. There MUST have been a better way to inject freshness into the title than THIS. Or, maybe not. Maybe The House of Ideas has just gone to the well one too many times over the years and sucked the very life out of their most important property. It’s very hard to come up with fresh, new stories that are “true to the character” when you’re cranking out like 986 books a month that feature that character. Maybe it’s too late to reverse the rot. Maybe it’s time Marvel stop relying on Spider-Man to prop up their sorry asses every two seconds and actually have a new idea for once.


In summary, I’d like to mention that when I first heard about OMD, I actually thought the concept was intriguing. Peter has had a lot of tragedies in his life, and another death would be redundant at this point. But I think there is pathos in the idea that two lovers would just forget each other and not even remember the love they shared. It’s a different kind of tragedy, I thought, and I held out hope that OMD and BND could be good.

Boy was I wrong. The execution has been horrid (barring some decent writing from JMS in spots), and you can see the hand of editorial mandate forcing the pen across every page. That can’t be something an EIC aspires to, can it? To make you PAINFULLY aware of his involvement? Basically, OMD comes off like a rush job designed to get rid of Mary Jane as quickly as possible without tapping into any of the real drama inherent in the scenario.

BND then grabs the torch and ends up feeling ephemeral, fake, inconsequential and unearned, asking us to empathize with characters just because they are running around with the names of characters we once cared about. Sorry, no dice. The whole thing is built on the most dubious of foundations, and as a fan, I hate it. A house built on a weak foundation is doomed to collapse, no matter how great the paint and wood and furniture inside are.

The most ironic thing about all this? They didn't want to kill Mary Jane so they devised OMD, which ended up killing all three of the leads instead. Peter, Mary Jane AND Aunt May have now been, in effect, killed and replaced by alternate reality versions of themselves. R.I.P. , guys.

Way to go, Marvel.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tag, You're Sh*t

On my ride into work this morning, I saw a newspaper ad for the new horror movie “One Missed Call,” which I’m sure will rival the Exorcist (in terms of sheer mind-numbing horror and changing the pop culture landscape), and I think this movie may hold bragging rights for the worst tag line ever.

The movie itself seems to be about a group of average, run-of-the-mill teenagers (you know, the kind who just happen to look like supermodels) who drop over dead when they see their text messaging rates from Verizon, or something like that.

Anyway, the tag line for this little cinematic gem is - get this - “Scream and Scream Again… You Just Missed a Call.”

Excuse me?

First of all, there was already a movie CALLED “Scream and Scream Again” with Vincent Price, if I’m not mistaken. (I’d have to check to see if the tag line for that movie was “One Missed Call.”)

Secondly, Wes Craven’s Scream was, what, like 57 years ago now? Can we get over it already? It’s pretty sad when filmmakers are still trying to subliminally trick moviegoers into thinking their latest 88 minute crap-fest has some tenuous connection to the Scream trilogy. And once wasn’t enough for these guys! They had to shove the word in there twice, in the hope that ADD-afflicted youths who only glance at the movie ads for .3 seconds will mistakenly think this is the fourth installment in the Scream franchise and race right off to the theater, where they can talk on their cell phones and not watch the damn thing anyway.

Thirdly, and most importantly, what the hell does that tag line even MEAN? Why would someone scream because they missed a call? That makes no sense, unless you’re a very lonely man waiting for a call from Jessica Alba and you were organizing your shoe horns when the phone rang.

Actually, given the fact that we live in a society filled with rabid consumers and technology fetishists who can’t bear to be separated from their latest rheumatism-inducing gadget for more than 5 seconds at a stretch, maybe that IS a good tag line. I know the commuters I ride with every morning might scream and writhe in agony if they missed a call and felt deprived of another precious opportunity to inflict their asinine conversations on everyone else on the bus.

Still, it’s a pretty lame tag line, no matter how you slice it. Even if we give the filmmakers the benefit of the doubt, and assume that the tag line makes more sense after seeing the film (maybe you die if you miss the call? Sort of like “The Ring” in reverse?), it’s still pretty weak taken on its own merits. To make this even more obvious, consider a few of the greatest tag lines of all time:

“In space, no one can hear you scream” (Alien)

“Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water” (Jaws 2)

“Be afraid. Be very afraid.” (The Fly)

“You’ll believe a man can fly” (Superman)

"The night HE came home" (Halloween)

Simple. Succinct. Powerful. Provocative. These movies could have blown (they didn’t, excepting maybe Jaws 2) and we’d still remember those amazing tag lines. Krist, I was scared to even LOOK at the ads for “Alien” when I was a kid! I had to hide the newspaper in the other room under a stack of books, because if I got too close to that picture of an alien egg and that scary tag line, I might wet my 10 year old self. I didn’t even know what the hell the movie was about! It could have been a documentary about omelets for all I knew. But man, what a tag line. The marketers for “One Missed Call” (even the title is weak) could take a lesson from those cats.

I can’t even imagine someone got paid to write the tag line for One Missed Call. Something tells me I won’t be missing this flick very much when I make a point of not seeing it this weekend.

Perhaps next time they can go for the honest approach when it comes to writing the tag line:

“Scream and scream again. Cause you just pissed away 10 bucks on a movie that sucks ass.”

Friday, January 4, 2008

The Death of Music, Part 3: Myths and Fallacies

A lot of music out there just flat out blows. I can make such a scientific, iron-clad, empirically-based claim because I think about this stuff a lot. In fact, while you're wasting time sleeping, I'm probably thinking about music. That's right; after you go to sleep, I put on the face paint and camouflage pants and cut myself across the chest with a bowie knife, and then sit there and think about music. I'm that intense when it comes to this stuff.

During my many hours of silent rumination, I've often wondered what is going through people's minds (or not going through their minds) when they create some of the god-awful aural pestilence they mistakenly label "music." In my more Socratic moments, I entertain the notion that no man willingly creates a 4/4 turd-jamboree and calls it a song, any more than a man can knowingly and willingly do wrong.

Perhaps, I muse benevolently, these deluded souls aren't TRYING to produce crap, but are merely the victims of wide-spread misconceptions that have slowly seeped into the public consciousness and are killing music from the inside out. Some of the more prevalent myths and fallacies about music have become so ingrained in our culture that we just take them for granted and don't even notice them anymore.

It's sort of like our skewed value systems: we recognize that rampant materialism (for example) is probably a non-viable and damaging mindset, and yet materialism informs a lot of what we say and do. So how do we deal with this? We live in denial; we try to pretend it's okay. We keep believing the system can somehow sustain itself even though it's built on a seriously shaky foundation. The same thing goes for music: we've built an elaborate house of cards with dubious principles and wrong-headed ideas about what constitutes "good" music, but Tiger's charging through the living room with shampoo all over his fur, and that house of cards is about to come crashing down on us pretty hard.

It is my belief that the first step to recovery is recognizing some of the more damaging and widely held beliefs which serve only to undermine music. Hopefully, by analyzing these "myths," we can shine a little light on their illogical or harmful nature, thereby debunking them and loosening their vice grip on both musicians and listeners alike.

With that in mind here are some of the "music myths" that really need to HEY HO! LET"S GO!

1) Serious musicians/artists only sing about serious things.

Hands down, one of the most wide-spread and potentially stifling beliefs out there. This is why we have so many people singing about pain and suffering and trying to sound either melancholy, enraged, or just plain "deep," even when they don't feel that way, or have nothing interesting to say. Somewhere along the line, we got the idea that to be a real "artist" you have to only concern yourself with "weighty" matters. But the secret to being a great artist is being serious about your art, NOT making "serious art" just because that's what you think you have to do.

2) The more stripped down the production on a song is, the more "real" it is.

More romantic nonsense. One man squeaking away on his acoustic guitar strings and singing in a barely audible whisper about how he spotted your yellow sun dress out of the corner of his eye at the local library is no more "real" than the 11 man band with 5 synthesizers, a vocoder, 3 oboes, an accordion, and an electric violin. First of all, all the musicians involved, if they're guys, probably just wanna get laid. And if they can do that by making you think they're "rootsy" or "avant-garde" or "able to play a flute with their butt cheeks" or WHATEVER the hell it takes, they'll do it. Second, there is nothing more intrinsically "real" about one sound over another. What matters is the "intent" of the lyrics/music and how effectively it is conveyed in the context of the artists' unique vision. In other words, I'll take Kraftwerk over Van Morrison any day.

3) True artists never let "commercial" considerations taint their art.

In a perfect world, maybe. But we don't live in a perfect world, and people are a mass of conflicting interests and desires. To expect music to be some holy, pure entity untouched by lowly human concerns such as putting food on the table is unrealistic, and I would even go so far as to say damaging. Not only that, some of the greatest songs ever written were designed with the explicit intent of creating great art AND having commercial success. In some cases, the goal of commercial success can even bring out the best in some writers. The Brill Building staff and Motown writers spring immediately to mind. Hence, the issue is not whether or not you care about commercial success, because there is no one who plays music for a living (other than some of the millionaires and masochists) who doesn't crave SOME degree of success, even if it's just enough to enable them to keep playing. The issue is whether or not you allow an unchecked or unhealthy desire for success to compromise your artistic decision-making, rather than enhance it.

4) The more notes a musician plays, the better he is.

Also known as the "virtuoso" myth or fallacy. There are tons of TECHNICALLY proficient songwriters/musicians who can make their fret boards or drum sets literally burst into flames with their crazy, animated, frenetic playing. Usually these musicians send aspiring, would-be musicians into fits of glee. And 99 out of 100 times I could care less. Someone once said that the notes you choose not to play are just as important as the notes you choose to play, and this is 100 percent true. Crazy soloing may have its place, in moderation, as a vehicle for demonstrating a musician's dexterity from time to time. However, too many people look up to these performers simply because they are doing something they can't. It is not enough to play thousands of notes: the secret is to select the most effective notes that communicate the feel of the song. Otherwise, you're just talking and talking, and you're not really saying anything.

Well, that's it for now. I'm not really sure if this exercise will actually accomplish anything; more likely than not the problems endemic to modern music are merely symptomatic of questionable thinking on a larger scale. For example, would you honestly be surprised to learn that a culture that pathologically venerates "the individual" and "doing your own thing" (as opposed to, say, promoting the common good) was also responsible for some of the most self-indulgent, narcissistic, and frighteningly average music ever heard by man? I know it sure as hell wouldn't surprise me. (The fact that evil people can often appreciate and create good music is neither here nor there.)

Still, if you'd like to send me some more myths and fallacies for our next installment, feel free to do so. Maybe together, we can rescue music yet.

But I'm not holding my breath.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

For Immediate Release: VH1 Debuts "I Love the First Couple of Days of 2008"

Perez Hilton, Tila Tequila, Sanjaya Malakar, that guy you once saw on Comedy Central at 4:25 in the morning, and Kathy Griffin are just a handful of the mega-superstars on hand this weekend as VH1 takes a nostalgic look back at 2008: the first two days that were.

Yes, it's all here... the highs! The lows! The low-lifes getting high! VH1 is the place to be this weekend, rather than actually going out and experiencing LIFE, for god's sake.

Who could forget the time Ryan Seacrest (doing his best imitation of a man not itching for Dick Clark to pass on) introduced The Plain White T's, who, shockingly, chose to perform "Hey There Delilah" on Dick Clark's rockin' New Year's Eve? And who could forget the man who shot himself in the head immediately thereafter, mumbling something onlookers believed to be, "Not again, not again?"

Likewise, who could forget that classic-moment when "New York" of "Flavor of Love" held her very own January 2nd special to look back on the "I Love New York" reunion show from January 1st? You'll thrill to New York's fond recollection of the precise moment she found true love for the fourth time this season.

That's right, all your favorite celebrity moments from early-early-early 2008 come flooding back this weekend... so get your ark ready! After all, who doesn't get misty recalling the 905th time we ran a feature about Lindsey losing a dangerous amount of weight, immediately followed by our 906th "ultra-scalding hot-supermodel" swimsuit preview! And who doesn't get choked up remembering the time Britney smacked right into a stop sign... while walking?

Of course, it's hard to forget these things when we run clips of them 98 times a day under the flimsy pretense of "mocking them," but JUST IN CASE you had a mild stroke and lost some valuable celebrity-devoted neurons, here they are again, in all our painfully unaware self-aware glory!

Plus, we'll be featuring some awesome clips of the Republican candidates on the campaign trail in Iowa this week. During the clips, our retro-licious hosts will make some disparaging comments about the candidates' clothes, or their sex lives, or something else completely irrelevant to politics, because it's all the same anyway, right? Never let it be said VH1 isn't doing its part to reduce everything in this ADD-addled society to roughly the same post-modern status, where a potential leader of America might as well be the guy who sang "Chocolate Rain."

Yes, you'll get it all... the snide comments! The derision! The irony! The easy-reaches! The thinly veiled contempt! Or, as we like to call it, "affectionate nostalgia." For two solid hours, you'll hear celebrities get a good roasting from grade-A superstars like the chick who came in third on Survivor! You know, the type of person who will undoubtedly command awe and reverence when we look back on 2008 twenty years from now.

VH1: I LOVE THE FIRST COUPLE OF DAYS OF 2008 premieres this Saturday night, immediately followed by the 100 most crotchiest-crotch-shots of 2007! Check your local listings for more info. (Cemetery listings, that is. You'll definitely want to off yourself after watching this one.)