Phoebe Waller-Bridge in Crashing

British sitcom Crashing

Recently, too antsy to sleep, I opened Netflix and cued up the British sitcom Crashing, which I promptly devoured. I had heard of the series, because it’s written and created by Phoebe Waller-Bridge of my beloved Fleabag. Although Fleabag is her triumph, Crashing, about a group of not-quite-squatters who live in an abandoned hospital, is extremely fun. Waller-Bridge—who also stars as the aimless, messy Lulu—has a knack for writing deeply fucked-up people, and Crashing is filled to the brim with them. Yet there are also enough hijinks and love triangles to keep the series light and easily consumable. The show’s MVPs are Jonathan Bailey as the grieving, in all likelihood closeted Sam, and Amit Shah as Fred, the sweet object of Sam’s obsession/affection. [Esther Zuckerman]

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Old Bay seasoning

I was randomly paired in college with a guy from Baltimore, and one night, deep in the throes of a GameCube binge, he introduced me to Old Bay seasoning. The spicy, orange-red powder is intended, at least theoretically, for seafood, particularly shellfish; in Baltimore, you toss a bunch of steamed crabs into a brown paper bag along with one metric shit-ton of Old Bay, and go to town. But people the world over have realized there is no reason to stop at crustaceans. Popcorn, pizza, corn on the cob, potatoes, eggs, broccoli, soup: All are rendered fantastically more edible by the blend. An article from GQ postulates that the seasoning’s popularity stems from the way it “seems to always be just one note shy of a complete dish,” generally needing a hint of cumin or lemon or cayenne to carry a dish the rest of the way. But perhaps it is also this “lack” that makes it so compulsively edible, explaining why one bite always follows another, one Old Bay experiment leads to the next, a cycle of increasing Old Bay consumption that ends with a spoon inserted into a jar—no middleman, just straight Old Bay delivered without pretense of nutrition. To some this might sound like addiction; to me, it sounds like true love. [Clayton Purdom]

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Mondo’s Gremlins soundtrack

Mondo has quickly become the industry standard when it comes to vinyl records that are works of art first, music you’ll actually listen to second. Perhaps growing bored with so much pristine beauty, the label is increasingly putting out things it wants you to fuck up. First came the reissue of The Dust Brothers’ Fight Club soundtrack, housed in a glued-shut manila sleeve you have to destroy in order to open. Now comes Jerry Goldsmith’s Gremlins score, featuring packaging whose secrets only reveal themselves if you mistreat it, much like a Mogwai itself. Expose the ultraviolet-sensitive jacket to daylight, and “No Bright Light” messages appear; get the inserts wet, and Gizmo and Stripe are suddenly surrounded by their evil offspring. It’s a deadly serious, anti-static-sleeve-hoarding vinyl collector’s nightmare, but a cleverly realized fun little gimmick for the more casual fan. It’s also a long-overdue, complete archival print of Goldsmith’s work on the 1984 film, which spent decades being essentially lost and only available via bootlegs, before finally getting a limited two-CD retrospective in 2011—one that currently goes for around $90. Now you can enjoy Goldsmith’s delightfully weird “Gremlins Rag” (alongside the rest of his creepy/catchy synthesizer doodles) in full whenever you get bored of playing with the cover. [Sean O’Neal]

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