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A final cheer for the Overrated

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead - Seas3 Episode 1 - PhoCredit: Gene Page/AMC

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) - The Walking Dead - Season 3, Episode 1 - Photo Credit: Gene Page/AMC

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Updated: December 15, 2012 6:09AM



Every time I hear “Fiscal Cliff” I wonder if he was on “Schoolhouse Rock” or “The Electric Company.”

And if I see one more viral video parody/tribute/salute to “Gangnam Style,” I’m going to ask Gen. Petraeus if he can drive me right off that fiscal cliff.

Meanwhile, we’ve gone from hearing “Skyfall” is the “best Bond movie ever” to some critics saying it should be given serious consideration as a Best Picture contender.

Hold on. Let’s take a deep breath. Time to look at some pop culture phenomena that have either worn out their welcome or are receiving an inordinate amount of praise.

The newest wing of the Museum of the Overrated, Overused and Overplayed is now open.

Take it down a notch

Last year at this time, if someone had had mentioned a fiscal cliff, you might have thought he was talking about that mailman guy on “Cheers.” It’s not as if the term didn’t exist, but who was using it and in what context?

Then along came Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke. As Paul Waldman in the American Prospect points out, Bernanke’s testimony before the Financial Services Committee on Feb. 29, 2012, included the assertion, “Under current law, on Jan. 1, 2013, there’s going to be a massive fiscal cliff of large spending cuts and tax increases.”

Today a Google search of “fiscal cliff” yields some 643 million entries. Is there an anchorman or talk show host who hasn’t uttered the term?

Making matters worse, the overused metaphor is also a misleading. When you go over a cliff in real life, you generally don’t do anything other than fall to your death.

“The ‘fiscal cliff’ isn’t like [a real cliff] at all,” writes Slate’s Matthew Yglesias. “Rather, it’s a set of policy changes … that if they were all locked into place would constitute a significant drag on economic growth over the course of the year.”

Yes, but saying we’re approaching a fiscal cliff, with all the cartoon imagery that entails, is so much more dramatic.

And speaking of dramatic — ooh, overused segue alert — there’s no denying the “holy bleep!’ punches contained within nearly every episode of “The Walking Dead” in Season Three, which is shaping up to be one of the best seasons of any TV series ever. (Overhype alert?)

That said, Andrew Lincoln’s Rick, more or less than leading man of the series from the get-go, could stand to take it down a notch. Even when he’s just staring someone down, he’s often overplaying it.

Granted, Rick is currently in the midst of a [SPOILER ALERT!] major meltdown after suffering a catastrophic lost, but going all the way back to the series premiere, this guy’s been bringing the ham. Part of the problem is the British actor sometimes seems to be wrestling a Georgia accent to the ground. Lincoln’s a good actor — you might remember him as the guy with the cue cards who was mad about Keira Knightley in “Love Actually” — and sometimes his intensity is perfect for the moment on “The Walking Dead,” but more often than not he seems to be onstage, playing to the back row, with even the zombies starting to wonder what the deal is with this guy.

Another British actor enjoying a great run right now: Daniel Craig. “Skyfall” is on its way to a potential $1 billion in worldwide box office and is garnering maybe the best reviews of any James Bond film in the 50-year history of the franchise. Even Roger Moore is saying it’s the best Bond movie ever.

It’s not. It’s probably in the Top Five, but if you think “Skyfall” is better than “From Russia With Love,” “Dr. No,” “Goldfinger” and even the first Craig-as-Bond film, “Casino Royale,” might I suggest you go back and watch those films.

Roll over, Tide

Now we come to Alabama, where the Tide was on its knees last week, praying for a comeback victory against feisty Texas A&M and its teenager quarterback, known as Johnny Football.

When a last-ditch effort fell short, some about 100,000 crimson-clad fans were stunned silent while the Aggies and a small band of their fans went wild. The 29-24 upset was particularly sweet for fans who believe Bama’s Nick Saban is the epitome of the mercenary coach, hopping from job to job in search of bigger paychecks and personal glory.

It also put a fast stop to the ridiculous question we kept hearing: Could Alabama beat an NFL team?

No. They would get crushed. And so would speedy Oregon, and so would Notre Dame and its vaunted defense, and so would Kansas State.

The worst NFL team is still collectively larger, stronger, faster, quicker, smarter and obviously more experienced than the best college football team.

Finally, if you’re planning on doing some sort of “Gangnam Style” viral video or Christmas card or New Year’s theme party, you should change those plans right now. The expiration date was Nov. 1.



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