Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Firewall & Iceberg podcast, episode 4: Olympics, American Idol, NBC comedies and more

It's Wednesday afternoon, which means it's time for another episode of the Firewall & Iceberg podcast, this time with Dan and I talking about the Winter Olympics, "Idol," HBO's animated comedies, the state of NBC's Thursday sitcoms, "Burn Notice," "Men of a Certain Age" and "Lost."

Sound quality is much improved on both ends this week. Now we can move on to licking other problems like putting it on the iTunes store, a theme song, etc.


Anonymous said...

I still vote for:

The Fienwall


The Sepinberg

TL said...

Re: iTunes -- I'm no expert, but I think as long as you give the podcast it's own RSS feed, listeners can manually set iTunes to check for it by putting the URL into Advanced>Subscribe to Podcast.

JanieJones said...

Much better sound!
NBC-The Office, no doubt that there is not an end date but I wonder what is going to keep this show sustainable for say at least the next two years?
Burn Notice-I agree with with both of you but dropping the element of the Burn Notice seems like it may get lost in translation to some viewer's (perhaps newer) but I have no idea where Gilroy fits in and have been wondering all of 3.5. I don't like when one of my favorite shows makes me want to change the channel or FF the dvr when a character (Gilroy) is on....However, still love it...I agree with Daniel-S2 - the arc with Shanks' and Helfer (to a lesser extent) has been my favorite thus far. Also, has it ever been established that is was the C.I.A. that Michael was burned from?
Men of a Certain Age-I just love this show. I can't put a tangible finger, at times, why I do, but it's just a welcome and refreshing surprise. Braugher is definitely a draw but Romano has been excellent and Bakula too. I like the story lines.
I think Romano and Royce created quite a gem.

*I like the Sepinburg

*Off topic and know you cannot comment but hope you are enjoying "The Pacific."

Miken said...

I had no idea you could post your name with these posts and not sign up for anything.

That being said, I have a sneaky feeling "The Sepinberg" is going to get some legs in this thread. I was the one who put this last time and I started it in this thread again under anonymous.


Miken said...

By far your best yet. First time I've been thankful for your chapter breakdowns too as I don't watch a couple of those shows and was not interested.

Another reason to look forward to Wednesday's! Keep up the good work.

Also, Dan was far less snarky, I think that led to more enjoyment by me.

themightypuck said...

Theme songs pretty much suck. Keep it under 3 seconds.

Lewah said...

Why don't you like the pre-destination aspect of Lost if you enjoyd the Battlestar Galactica finale? Galactica ended saying that God was responsible for every single event to happen during the series, yet you have no problem with that, yet rag on Lost for using the pre-destination concept?

Please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Alan sounds like ALF

compain87 said...

Enjoyed the podcast like usual, even more enjoyable since they're were no audio problems. I love the segments on shows I watch and even when you talk about shows I don't watch I still am interested (American Idol, HBO comedies[*], Burn Notice).

[*]If Ricky Gervais can get a show from his podcasts then I think Adam Carolla should get a show since he is the new podcast king.

Ya I am still not feeling the name, but I'll tolerate it as long as you keep making great podcasts.

Waldo said...

Mark me down as another not digging the Firewall & Iceberg name.

Jeff said...

If you're still having issues with one voice being louder than another (or one voice in the left speaker and one voice in the right speaker), then you should try Levelator (

It's a free download, and all you do is throw the sound file in and it'll automatically correct the sound levels and spit the file back out.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Jeff, after we recorded this one, I threw it into Levelator, which ironed out most of the volume differences.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Why don't you like the pre-destination aspect of Lost if you enjoyd the Battlestar Galactica finale?

Because the BSG finale suggested that things were predestined on a much more macro level, affecting all of humanity (and Cylons), but also only at certain instances, but that much of what happened on a micro level was the characters doing what they wanted to do.

Lost could ultimately go this way, too, but right now the vibe I'm getting is that Jacob and/or the island has influenced far too much of the characters' decision making, both in the past and the present.

Joe said...

Nice job. But please, don't talk about production issues of the podcast or what you want to do or what you should have done...

Cut to the content.

Too many podcasts spend too much time talking about themselves.

Cut to the content.

Jobin said...

I hate to be such an ogre... but man, Fienberg is brutally unfunny.

When you guys talk shop, it's great to listen to. But the filler mostly consists of Fienberg trying to make jokes that fall flat, over and over again.

Shan said...

If you like to download the podcast and listen to it in iTunes, helpful reminder (for Windows users):

One it's in iTunes, Right Click n the file, and select "Get Info"
Go to the Options tab.
On the Media Kind tab, select "podcast."
Check "remember playback position"
Check "skip when shuffling"

That way, in iTunes (and on your iPod) it will show up in the podcast area (and not in the music files) and play/synch just like a podcast should. works just fine until we get an iTunes feed.

LDP said...

Your podcasts keep getting better, but you're still trying too hard to be funny. Maybe if you focus on the substance and get into a rhythm, the humor will flow more naturally. I think a great example of this is Slate's Culture Gabfest.

Kevin said...

Alan, I’m curious how much of a fan you are of the Gervais podcasts. The first one is available already for free on iTunes, and I agree with you that the animation of Karl makes him seem sadder and more pathetic than he comes across on just audio.

Anyway, if you like the podcasts, the orginal XFM shows are much better. By the time of the podcasts, they’re already aware of the genius or lack thereof of Karl Pilkington.

But on the XFM shows, listening to Ricky and Steve become aware of how much gold they’ve found in Karl and his strange thinking is much better. Best of all, they’re free from the Pilkipedia website.

Tordesque said...

Regarding Burn Notice, my understanding of the current arc is that Micheal's motivations are two-fold:

First, he wants to avenge Diego, who Michael pretty much got killed.

Secondly, he does not want whatever Gilroy is part of to be added to the bad side of his ledger.

I don't see getting back in to be part of it at all.

That being said, those motivations have not been established very well, and Gilroy is exceedingly annoying given the hammy performance of Vance. I can't even really hate this guy like I did Carla or Strickler. It's Michael vs a Cartoon.

Have to hope it's going somewhere, cause I love this show and the characters keep me around.

Hatfield said...

I know this isn't the Lost thread, but in response to Alan's comments about Jacob's influence, I think it's important to remember what he said just before Ben killed him: "Whatever he's told you, Ben, you have a choice."

belinda said...

For me, between Modern Family and Community, Modern Family started off at a high point where all the families are gelling really well, then with the exception of Fizbo, it fell a bit where the cast isn't working as great as it should, whereas Community started off a bit rocky, and has now risen to a really good plateau where the cast is gelling. Different trajectories so far, but both good comedies that have a lot of potential.

As for The Office, I hope they could regain the ballsiness they had last season in doing something big like the MSPC storyline, instead of this season where they had some potentially good storylines in the office only to have them extinguished too fast (usually within the same episode). As for 30 Rock, I just find it to be even more worrisome (than The Office) since they've been losing their creative steam ever since mid season 3 - and given the nature of the show, I'm not sure I can see it get better in any time soon.

Lost: I care enough about the characters to watch, but I'm also hoping the mythology is not some religiousy thing because it certainly looks like it's going that way.

Nicole said...

I haven't been watching much of the NBC coverage because I am in Vancouver for the Olympics and this tape delay thing is nonsense. In the past I would have raved about the CBC coverage, except that this year, CTV overpaid for the rights and they are okay, but not great. It helps that they are supplemented with coverage from TSN and Sportsnet, to cover the events that CTV can't stick with.

With the further integration of the internet into events like this, I am not sure why NBC still tries to work with an antiquated model. What they should do is air things live and then re air the marquee events in prime time.

I should mention that The Colbert Report taped a few shows in Vancouver and I can attest that they were pretty funny. I am not sure what will make it to air, but I can say that Bob Costas has a really good sense of humour.

cgeye said...

One of the things that's elided in BN is exactly which agency Michael came from -- he constantly talks about how he wants to be Over There, where our present wars are.

However, the mention of Afghani or Farsi (but not Spanish) as languages he knows indicates that he was most likely a CIA soldier, like those first overseas casualties of Al-Qaeda just before 9/11.

That used to be a surprise; CIA was associated with intelligence-gathering wonks, with one or two hard men in country, but now we accept that we have secret police, secret soldiers and secret troops just about anywhere the US has an interest. It isn't the image of pale men listening in on phone calls anymore.

Matthew said...

I just want to say that I'm a big fan of the "Firewall and Iceberg" name, and I haven't liked any of the alternatives I've seen mentioned nearly as much, so I would vote to keep it.

Also, thanks for leaving the Lost talk to the end. I usually don't get to watch it until a couple of days after it airs, so it was nice to be able to listen to the rest of the podcast and just hold the last part of the discussion until later. (The previous couple of podcasts, I've had to wait, which was been really annoying.)

I'm really enjoying the podcasts - I felt like the first podcast the two of you seemed almost uncomfortably aware of the recorder and it didn't feel like two friends just talking, but over the past few episodes you seem to have become a lot more comfortable with it all.

Anonymous said...

Olympics coverage is the same old same old. Heavy "personal stories" and "stars" and not as much sport. The signature events are held for primetime and weekends like skating and less well known sports like curling held on cable channels as well as the hockey games.

The tape delay is stupid especially when the results can't be embargoed.

NBC is doing a decent job showing athletes of other countries like in speed skating.

I also noticed that coverage really didn't ramp up until Tuesday the 16th. Between the penning and the 16th it didn't seem like anything was happening. Probably due to the delay in the downhill events because of the weather.

Anonymous said...

Some belated suggestions for the name of the podcast - apologies if any of these have been suggested before (unlikely for the last three):

- The Wahlberg
- Danny SepinWahlberg
- Fien Times with Sep & Wahlberg
- Fien Times with SepinWahlberg
- It's Fien-Ally Here! (OK... maybe Ally isn't the best contraction of Alan...)

Anonymous said...

I'm with anon above:

The Wallberg

or The Wallberg Report

or The Wallberg Review



Anonymous said...

Hi Alan. I hope you're still reading these comments. I downloaded the podcast the other day and put it on my MP3 player. Yesterday when I went to listen to it I couldn't find the file in my songs. I finally discovered that the issue was that the "Title" of the track was "Daniel Feinberg on 2010-2-17" whereas the previous podcast had simply been titled "Podcast 3." I don't care what you guys title it, but in the future could you try to keep the title uniform so that I know what to look for?

LA said...

I'm one of the people who thinks The Office needs an end date. I realize it's not going to happen for all the reasons you talked about (chiefly, it's ratings on NBC). Dan made the argument that it's "righted" itself in the past, but I think it's so off course this time that it's going to take some real hard turns to get back on track. I'm not sure it's even doable. Simply put, I hate to see the formerly brilliant The Office reach a level of mediocrity that it becomes a shadow of its former self. I fear it's entering a territory where its legacy will be that of a show that used to be genius and then crashed and burned, but went on way too long because no one had the balls to pull the plug. That scenario cheapens and demeans its former glory.