Irrelevant Troubadour


The Top 9 Worst Shipping Pormanteau Names

Shipping is a strange and woolly phenomenon.  I mean, I can understand why people do it and find it fun–it’s fun to speculate about romance, after all, and it’s much easier and less risky to do it with fictional characters than with real people.  Heck, I’ve even had brief fascinations with ‘ships in my time (not telling you which ones–people I know in real life read this thing and I gotta hide my powerlevel!)  Still, this doesn’t negate the fact that a lot shipping is extremely silly.  That, I imagine, is one of the big reasons behind its appeal.

One aspect I never will understand, however, are the portmanteau names.  You see them in mainstream gossip mags all the time–Brangelina, TomKat, etc. etc.–and they never stop being silly-sounding.  What’s even worse is when fans start to identify themselves via their ship names, leading to large groups of otherwise sane teenage girls referring to themselves as ‘Zuatarans’ or ‘Harmonians’ like they’re aliens from a 1950s B-movie.  With that, I present the top nine worst shipping portmanteaus.  Please note that in this list I’m not bashing the pairing in question (for most of these, I haven’t even seen/read the canon in question), just the name, so don’t worry, I’m not internet persecuting you.

9. Suzalulu (Suzaku/Lelouch, Code Geass)

god damn CLAMP people are skinny

Hot hot figurine yaoi used completely without permission from someone named milk_of_time's Livejournal

This one just sounds silly.  I think I had a mai tai at a tiki bar called ‘Suzalulu’ once.

8. Spuffy (Spike/Buffy, Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

a-blah, a-blah!

I have no idea who made this but it's pretty silly looking.

I absolutely refuse to ever watch Buffy (watch me get hooked on it a few months from now and start writing vampire slashfic or something), but I’ve known enough enough fans of the show to know that shipping is serious business.  The shipping names, though, are not, as evinced by ‘Spuffy’.  And its rival ship, ‘Bangel’, doesn’t get off easily either.

7. Logurt (Wolverine/Nightcrawler, X-Men)

hey, they could've been listening to "car talk"
No idea where this is from.

Don’t you want some delicious Logurt?  It’s the cultured pairing!  Hee.  I slay myself.

6. Gwack (Gwen/Jack, Torchwood)

one classy waterfoul

Google Image Search is my friend.

Gwack gwack gwack!

5. USUK (America/United Kingdom, Axis Powers Hetalia)

checks and balances motherfucker
Have a diagram of the US and UK govermental structures from Wikipedia.

I’m sorry, I really am.  I just can’t help but read it as “u suk”.  And names for slash ships should generally be a bit more eloquent than YouTube comments.

4. KatPee (Katniss/Peeta, The Hunger Games)

he is hiding something

I got this image from someplace called "sillycats.net". I won't be surprised if they've conquered the entire internet within a year.

Eew.  Now I have even less of a reason to ever read these books.

3. Kum (Kurt/Sam, Glee)

i really can't imagine someone wearing this in public, even though zazzle says it's "rated G"

You can actually purchase these shirts from Zazzle, though I have no idea why you'd want to.

Kum.  Kum.  Kum. There’s no way to say it that sounds good.  In fact, Glee in general is really bad with it’s shipping names: it’s also given us “Furt” (Finn/Kurt, sounds like an armpit farting noise) and “Puckleberry” (Puck/Rachel, sounds like something old people have to eat).

2. Rwanda (Ralphie/Wanda, The Magic Schoolbus)

not even gonna make any jokes

Image courtesy of the US State Department

I don’t know which is worse, that there are Magic Schoolbus shippers out there, or that they decided to name their shop after one of the most war-ravaged countries on the planet.  Like, I feel bad making jokes here.  Let’s go on to the next one.

1. Chair (Chuck/Blair, Gossip Girl)

really, it's just a chair

A chair. Just a chair. That's all it is. A chair.

So you ship Chair?  Because I ship End Table!  I hate those people who ship Sofa, though; that pairing is so OOC.

There are plenty of pairings out there that take names from real-life objects and phenomena, but I’m singling this one out because it just seems so silly to go on the internet and say “Chair forever!” or “I hate Chair!” or “I wish more people wrote about Chair!”.  It’s just…Chair.  I don’t know what else to say.

—-

Well, I hope you learned something about the magic of shipping.  I know I certainly didn’t.  But wasn’t it fun not learning anything?

And before you ask, me and my girlfriend’s portmanteau couple name is “Weaselboner”, so in a way making this list was cathartic.

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Sabbath Assembly, Restored to One
March 8, 2011, 5:23 pm
Filed under: music

We have gathered here today to give praise unto our Lord the TV Tropes Album Exchange Club.  Our sermon today concerns Sabbath Assembly’s album Restored to One.  Let us pray.

Reading criticism of this album,  the main question people have about this is, “Is this for real?” My answer: kinda. The question remains, though: what would posses a bunch of psych-rock nerds to cover the hymns of an obscure 60s and 70s religious movement?

One thing this album is most emphatically not is a hipster piss-take. Even if Sabbath Assembly perhaps doesn’t respect the content of these songs (more on that later), they certainly respect the music. The thing that grabs me most about this music is that, for an album of quasi-satanic hymns by people who’ve been involved with Sunn O))), No-Neck Blues Band, and Six Organs of Admittance, this album is remarkably normal-sounding. It’s got some psychedelic tinges, such as the raga rhythms on “Glory to the Gods in the Highest” and the queasy organ on “The Power that is Love”, but mostly these songs are backed with a pretty standard pop-rock sound. The vocals, though powerful, sound almost syrupy-sweet. Yet that adds some power to this album, I feel; had it been loaded down with a bunch of drone and psychedelic effects, the album would’ve come off as trying too hard. Instead, the music is allowed to breathe and to assert itself, and it benefits from it.

Besides, the inherent strangeness of adapting hymns to a rock format is psychedelic enough as it is, giving the entire affair a very devotional air (as I’m sure was the original intention). Indeed, these are some damn catchy hymns, and it’s good that Sabbath Assembly saved this music from languishing in obscurity. This album is, if nothing else, a great historical document.

That, in fact, is this album’s main problem: it has trouble becoming more than a catchy historical document. When singer JEX sings, “Recieve our devotion, Lord Satan, ” it really doesn’t feel to me like she’s actually devoted to Satan. This, for me, robs this album of a lot of its emotional content. Many of the previous reviewers I’ve read have talked about how creepy this album is to them, but I’m not hearing it. To me, this album is like looking at the gravestone of a stranger: you feel as if it’s an important symbol for someone evoking memories and emotions, but to you it’s just a stone with a name on it. For an album about orgiastic devotion to a deity, there is very little religious feeling—of any kind—to be had here.

Still, I can’t say I didn’t enjoy this album. It’s great music. It just didn’t hit me, mainly I think because it didn’t hit the people making it.



OutKast, Stankonia
March 3, 2011, 8:27 pm
Filed under: music

Howdy folks.  You know what time it is?  It’s TV Tropes Album Exchange Club time!  This is a review of OutKast’s Stankonia.

So this album is amazing. Let’s just put that out on the table where we all can see it.

It’s strange: my usual wall-of-text tendencies have deserted me for this album. Partly it’s because I don’t have a lot of experience in the criticism of hip-hop; partly it’s because I can’t really find many major flaws in this album to nitpick. Instead, I think I’ll just go though it and point out the moments on this album that most struck me.

  • I quite like “Gasoline Dreams”. The psychedelic guitar backing makes the whole thing sounds amazingly vicious.
  • Some great wordplay in the super-cool “So Fresh So Clean”. “A leopard-print teddy…Pendergrass” indeed. Though I don’t know why Andre 3000 felt the need to namecheck Anne Frank; that only works for Jeff Mangum.
  • I know it may be a bit overplayed, but I don’t think I can gush enough about “Ms. Jackson”. Seriously, this song has everything I like: backwards drums, slap bass, a hooky chorus, and lyrics that manage to tell an impossibly complex story, a conflicted internal monologue.
  • “Snappin’ and Trappin'” is another great song, but I can’t help but notice how much Big Boi manages to overshadow guest rapper Killer Mike.
  • “Kim & Cookie” is hilarious.
  • Oh man, “I’ll Call Before I Come”. I actually did a double take when this song came on. Why? Because the kind of vintage synth-funk backing they’re rapping over sounds exactly like Sly and the Family Stone’s There’s a Riot Goin’ On, one of my favorite albums. Seriously: compare “I’ll Call Before I Come” to this:
  • “B.O.B.” is, according to Pitchfork, the best song of the decade. For once, Pitchfork isn’t all that off.
  • The only song I really didn’t like all that much was “We Luv Deez Hoez”, though that may be a result of my hatred of fake laughter.
  • “Humble Mumble” seems to be a favorite here, and I offer my complete agreement.
  • “?” could’ve been a good deal longer. It could’ve been a great song on its own; instead it serves as an intro to the great dark soulful number “Red Velvet”, but it could’ve stood on its own.
  • Then again, I also thought “Cruisin in the ATL” could’ve been its own song, so what do I know.
  • “Toilet Tisha” is way better than any song with the word “toilet” in the title has a right to be. It also manages to be scarier than any “horrorcore” rap I’ve ever heard; it perfectly captures the nightmarishness of the story it tells in the music.
  • Hey, is that Cee-Lo Green on “Slum Beautiful”? I knew him mostly as a singer, but he’s a rather taleneted rapper too. Cool.
  • Not sure I would ever listen to “Stankonia (Stanklove)” on its own, but it makes a great album closer.

So in summing up: yeah, I really liked this album.