Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today's shirt is the second-place entry in their derby titled Band Names Reinterpreted. I thought that, even as geekish as the regulars tend to be, it didn't stand much chance of placing, because it's so obscure. So I'm very pleased how high a place it took (and I enjoyed Woot's as-usual humorous copy text).

The not-very-well-known band They Might Be Giants took their name from the title of a 1971 movie starring George C. Scott and Joanne Woodward. In the movie, a patient in a mental institution who thinks he is Sherlock Holmes wanders modern-day Manhattan getting involved in solving crimes, followed by his psychiatrist, a woman who happens to be named Watson. The film, in turn, takes its title from a quote from the Miguel de Cervantes novel Don Quixote, in which Don Quixote tilted at windmills because "they might be giants." This two-layers-deep trivia connection from a relatively unknown band to a classic, but not well-known, novel, is expressed in an image that doesn't go to any lengths to help the viewer make any of the connections. Even avid TMBG fans could easily miss the intent of the image.

Those who watched Pushing Daisies might be less likely, though. In an episode that was arguably one of the best in a show that almost always hit highs, much of the action took place in a field full of colorful, whimsical windmills, and in one of those windmills. In this episode, the dialogue proceeding along its own perfectly sensible (well, for this show) lines manages to come to a point, very suddenly and without warning the audience where it's going, where someone completely naturally exhorts someone else to make a little birdhouse in her soul.

The show then breaks for a commercial and when it comes back, we are treated to what amounts to a production number in which the characters sing TMBG's most famous song on their way to the field of windmills. It's a typical example of the show's brilliant melding of witty dialogue, complex allusions and interconnections that provide a wealth of things to discover, cheerful humor, and upbeat whimsy.

On the one hand I want to buy the shirt just to cheer on its production, but I have so many shirts... and everyone one I know who'd have the foggiest notion what the shirt is about has already seen it. (Or will read it in this blog!) So maybe actually buying the shirt is superfluous. Rewatching that episode of Pushing Daisies, however, is almost obligatory now.

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