Tim + Alex dot com

The collected works of Tim Maytom + Alex Spencer. Look on them, ye mighty, and despair.

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Tim + Alex Get TWATD #34: Lost Connections + Unresponsive Narrators

Once more, we return. Once more, we have changed formats. It’s for a good reason, though – we managed to hit the first stretch goal on our brand new Patreon, which means Tim + Alex will be writing one essay each, every time a new issue of WicDiv drops. With a bit of luck, this will remain our format for the rest of the series – but you know what we’re like.

(Warning: Below the cut are lots and lots of spoilers for everything up to issue #34. Also, much wankery.)

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Welcome Back to The OC: Episode 1.1

While Alex’s first major solo project under the Tim+Alex banner concerns one of the fundamental pillars of modern pop culture, I’ve chosen something that, while perhaps not the opposite of that, is certainly diagonal from it. I’m going to be revisiting The OC, a teen drama that ran for four seasons about 15 years ago, and that is now primarily remembered for launching the career of the guy who plays Young Commissioner Gordon on Gotham and its insanely catchy theme song.

Why The OC? It’s a question I’ve been asking myself as I say down to begin this project. It’s a show I have fond memories of, certainly, but it wasn’t something that I watched religiously, certainly not past season one. The show is neither an underappreciated one season gem that was ignored at the time, nor a cultural behemoth that is still revered. It came, it kick-started the careers of some young actors, revived those of some older ones, and then it left after the appropriate amount of time. It’s not exactly crying out for a critical reappraisal. Yet here we are.

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Eye on Springfield: The Simpsons, Season One

There aren’t many things in pop culture as huge as The Simpsons. In the sense of how dominant the show became as a cultural force, but also just the sheer amount of it that exists. 629 episodes as I write this, quite probably more by the time you read it.

It’s an impossible thing to hold in your head all at once, even if you have seen all of those episodes, but I reckon most people have a very specific idea of what the show is. The types of jokes, the structure of episodes, all the stuff that makes it The Simpsons.

Most people also have an idea of when it stops being, in any meaningful sense, that show. You’ll hear people talking about the Golden Years, and the darkness that has followed. No one quite agrees on the exact boundaries of this golden age, but the rough agreement seems to be seasons three to nine.

I’ve never been exactly clear on my own canon. It’s my favourite TV programme of all time – possibly my favourite thing of all time – but I’ve never watched the episodes in anything even approaching the correct order. I can reel off favourite jokes, episodes and characters, but I couldn’t pin down the era when the show feels most like The Simpsons to me.

Hence, this here project. I’m going to watch through all of the seasons in order, one a month, and report back. Starting here, now, with…

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Tim + Alex Kill the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Incredible Hulk

Welcome, True Believers, to our new monthly blog series! This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so we’ll be taking it on one film at a time, asking questions like: How do these movies stack up after a decade of the MCU? How was cinema’s first connected universe built? And what even is a superhero film?

After covering Iron Man last month, this time we’re moving onto the black sheep of the Marvel family…


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Tim + Alex Get TWATD: Putting on a Show

Here’s an incredibly obvious statement: The Wicked + The Divine is a comic about performance. Like, yeah, dude, do you remember the very first double-page spread? It’s like page 10 of issue #1.

‘Performance’ is always the word WicDiv chooses for the gods doing their artistic thing. Not show, or concert, or act. Most likely, that’s to help separate it from music – especially important when dealing with past pantheons, with their writer gods, cinema gods, theatre gods and so on – but I think it’s a telling choice.

Look at what Ananke – who is presumably the arbiter of this vocabulary – has to say about performance, in issue #9:She means that it’s easier to decapitate a god when they’re performing, but it makes sense because of the truth in the underlying metaphor. Art is a way of bearing your soul to people, and doing that live, with people in the room, who probably paid to be there? Well, I’m just thankful I’m a writer.

This isn’t the only kind of performance in WicDiv, though. There’s also a kind that has the opposite effect: performed identity.

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Tim + Alex Kill the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Iron Man

Welcome, True Believers, to our new monthly blog series! This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so we’ll be taking it on one film at a time, asking questions like: How do these movies stack up after a decade of the MCU? How was cinema’s first connected universe built? And what even is a superhero film?

We’ll be starting, unsurprisingly, with the very first MCU movie…

IRON MAN (2008)

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Top 5 Films of 2017

The calendar may officially have turned over to 2018 now, but that won’t stop us from looking back at the year that’s just gone. In that spirit, here’s five of 2017’s films that stood out as particularly excellent.

I cannot, unfortunately, claim to have seen all of this year’s films, so I’m sure there are obvious choices that escaped me. I’m particularly gutted I didn’t manage to make time for The Big Sick, Detroit, Logan Lucky and Call Me By Your Name, and I’m not sure if Don’t Think Twice even showed up in the UK, tragically. Hopefully by the time 2019 rolls around, I’ll have crossed at least some of those off my list, but until then, head below the cut for my Top Five from this year. Oh, and if you haven’t seen them, consider this your spoiler warning.

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Top 40 Songs of 2017: 5-1

Here we are. Finally, the top five tracks of 2017, as 100% objectively selected by Tim+Alex. In case you want to do a quick rundown before you dive in, you can find links to each part of the countdown below:

40-31 – LCD Soundsystem, Kendrick Lamar, Miley Cyrus
30-21 – Taylor Swift, Kitty, Los Campesinos!
20-11 – Steps, St Vincent, Dua Lipa
10-6 – Lorde, Charli XCX, Paramore

Let’s find out what’s left below the cut.

Happy New Year!

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Top 40 Songs of 2017: 10-6

Happy New Year’s Eve! As we approach the top of our tracks of the year list, a couple of changes to the format. First, both Tim + Alex are writing up each track, trying to explain why we landed on these choices together. And because that means longer entries, second, we’re splitting the top 10 into two halves.

Here’s a playlist of tracks 10-6, but as ever there are embedded YouTube videos for each song below the cut, along with lots and lots of words.

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Top 5 Comics of 2017

We’re now staring down the barrel of 2018, so it’s time for a few non-music recommendations from the year gone by. Here are five of the comics I enjoyed most in 2017, in no particular order.

There is a glaring exception in the form of The Wicked + The Divine but frankly I have already spent more than enough words on that comic this year. If you want to read us going on about WicDiv, head here. Otherwise, see you below the cut.

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