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Gay Dogs, the Man of Steel, and Cheap Thrills With Giant Statues: What We Learned at Nerdist This Week

I spent the week on business in Chicago, which, as long as it’s not February and minus 40 degrees out, is fine with me. Chicago is a great city, and there’s nothing like walking across those bridges and around the Loop and the neighborhoods with the theme to the original Bob Newhart Show running through your head, if you’re old enough to remember that — the reruns don’t air much anymore, not like they used to, and that’s a shame. I loved that show, and every time I come to Chicago, I want to put on a hat and overcoat and carry a briefcase and a Tribune and walk everywhere Dr. Bob Hartley walked in those credits, drop by the office and banter with Jerry the Orthodontist, and then take the train out to his highrise apartment where Suzanne Pleshette would be waiting with a martini at the ready while the airline pilot nest door stopped by to make funny quips and innuendo. Alas, I’m not a psychologist, there is no Jerry the Orthodontist and no highrise apartment, Suzanne Pleshette is no longer with us, and any airline pilots I encounter as I head back to Los Angeles had better be stone cold sober and keep the quips to himself or herself.

But one thing Chicago has now that it didn’t have then is the Giant Marilyn. Right there on Michigan Avenue, next to the Tribune Tower and across from the Wrigley Building, there’s a 26-foot-tall statue of Marilyn Monroe in her famous pose from The Seven-Year Itch, her skirt billowing up with the steam blasting from a sidewalk grate. It’s there until next Spring, the latest in a series of odd temporary public art in the city, and it’s a magnet for tourists. Specifically, every male tourist insists on having his picture taken looking up Marilyn’s skirt. I lost count of how many guys did that every time I walked past, and that was a lot of times this week. The height of hilarity, it was. Look! Panties! Quick, get a picture!


(Side note: Wouldn’t that be a great spot for advertising? All those tourists looking up there and finding an ad for Subway or Ford — that’s gold, Jerry)

But people seem to really love the statue, even if it’s, let’s just say, kitsch. I observed the same reaction to the Mary Tyler Moore statue in Minneapolis, the one where she’s flinging her beret. Sure, some people go to art museums, but throw a statue of a pop culture icon up on a sidewalk someplace and there’s a visceral connection that transcends anything you see in a museum. People practically want to CLIMB the things. They see it and light up. The Mona Lisa? Okay, it’s interesting, but a larger-than-life Andy Griffith statue? That’s special.  (And, yes, there IS a Bob Newhart statue in Chicago, on Navy Pier)

None of these examples are quite in the Nerdist wheelhouse, though, and I wonder what characters y’all (there’s the Andy Griffith influence seeping in) would want to see, and where. Obviously, statues of each Doctor Who would be appropriate all over the U.K. But where would you put the 30-foot Chewbacca? Go ahead and make your suggestions for Nerd Culture statues in the comments. And if you come to Chicago while Marilyn’s here, please, refrain from looking up Marilyn’s skirt. It’s been done.

While I was wandering around Chicago and sitting in conference rooms at this convention, what was happening at Nerdist.com? A lot:

1. Kyle reviewed the latest Doctor Who episode, “The Girl Who Waited,” and the Torchwood: Miracle Day finale. He liked one.

2. Chris discovered that his dog Scott might very well be gay. And he’s fine with that.

3. Kiala plunged into the odd world of whispering videos and “SootheTube.” It’s a thing, it’s real, it’s kinda creepy.

4. Jake rolled out an installment of 5 Most Intentionally Funny Videos this week. Kumail Nanjiani’s stand-up Pony-ized was a favorite.

5. They’re auctioning off a walk-on role on Community. Good cause, cool prize.

6. Danny found a graphic depicting 9 famous sweaters. Greg Behrendt would appreciate that. (Not quite inside joke)

7. Jessica reviewed the book Circle 9 by Anne Heltzel. It’s about… well, I’m not sure WHAT it’s about, but Jessica says it’s a keeper.

8. They’re taking votes on who to honor as America’s top advertising icons and which are the best ad slogans. The Domino’s Noid and Burger King’s Herb are not nominated.

9. Chris posted an update about the Stitcher situation, and… it’s a long story.

10. Matthew B. noted the impending theatrical re-release of Ghostbusters. Real Wrath of God-type stuff.

11. Strolling in Chicago past a movie shoot on Wacker Drive, I found a poster with possible Man of Steel spoilers. Or not, but either way, I wanted to rip it off the wall and take it home. Alas, later that same day, it was gone.

12. Emily found a promotional video for the Comikaze Expo featuring Stan Lee being hilariously Stan Lee. Stan Lee is awesome.

13. Nicole found someone selling a Battlestar Galactica Top Gun stein, just like in the TV show, for your fantasy life and more accurate cosplay.

14. Kyle’s latest “Dissecting Trailers” victim: The Double. The title logo has a crack in it, so you know it’s a thriller.

15. An all-star comedy cast vamped to Star Wars clips to promote Stand Up 2 Cancer. Consensus: Emma Stone. Just… Emma Stone. Absolutely.

16. The Nerdist TV show airs September 24th on BBC America, and I was enlisted to explain Nerdist in a sort-of-not-quite-FAQ over at the network’s Anglophenia blog. It’s informative AND tasty.

17. Becca’s Music Geek Track of the Week is Tally Hall (featuring Casey Shea) covering Flo Rida’s “Club Can’t Handle Me.”

18. Podcasts: Fresh off her Nerdist Podcast appearance, Aisha Tyler visited Kumail and Emily on The Indoor Kids. That Comic-Con Big Bang Theory panel Chris hosted became a podcast. Sex Nerd Sandra and her co-workers dished True Tales from the Sex Store. Riki talked to Steve Agee about Making It. The Nerdist Writer’s Panel podcast was a special with Jane Espenson and the director and cast of the new web series Husbands. And once again, Todd Glass had the boss on — that would be Chris — and welcomed Rory Scovel to his podcast home.

19. Live shows for you to see: Chris moderating an “American Dad” panel in Beverly Hills September 21st and the Nerdist Podcast Live in Washington November 6th.

Remember, in one week — Saturday, September 24th — it’ll be time for the Nerdist TV show on BBC America, 10 pm Eastern. Please watch. And as always, enjoy your burrito, or deep dish pizza, or whatever makes you happy right this moment.

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