Butcher's beef diagram with movies and podcasts instead of cuts of meat

Curated Beef, March 2023


The question for this month is “Is this hobby worth my time?” This is a thorny question. We all value our time differently, we all have different quantities of time, and we all have different hobbies. So I’ll be as broad as possible while still using my own hobbies as examples.

I’ve played Magic: The Gathering off and on since 1994. The card game has changed in dramatic ways over that time, and mostly for the negative. However, its fundamental rules system and its nigh-infinite customizability have meant that it always had a hold on me even when I didn’t want to play it. Magic is massively influential within the gaming sphere, probably even more than I realize (the word tapped to indicate something in play has been used; shorthand for common in-game effects such as tutors, wraths, lords, rituals, mana dorks, counters, doom blades, time walks, etc.). But it is currently run by the same company that has been overproducing Dungeons and Dragons products, so Magic has become more expensive and less interesting over time as individual cards get more keywords, there are more cards printed, and decisions become less important than just having good topdecks.

You don’t need to know what any of that meant. TL;DR is that I long ago soured on the game as my conception of it no longer coincided with its reality. So I made an effect to massively cut back on how much time I spent on the game. I traded in cards from a variety of formats and built just a few decks that can play against each other. I uninstalled the two digital applications from my computers. I occasionally watch streamers play. I made a decision that this hobby was not worth the time being put into it, so I scaled back. I tried out a new game, Marvel Snap, which was enjoyable but I gave up on it after the season pass/daily rewards grind burned me out. It was not worth my time.

I think such periodic reflection is good for a person. I watched a zillion movies over the past few years, and this year I’m at about half the rate of 2022 and 2021. I scaled it back because I no longer wanted to watch stuff just to watch stuff. I watch little TV other than specific shows; I’m far too old to be idly consuming network TV, and I don’t like having a TV on in the background as I do other tasks. I keep trying to put on NBA games while doing something else, but I end up turning off the game and focusing on the other thing instead. This website is a hobby of love for me: I don’t have ads, I don’t have a Patreon, I don’t have a subscription service. I write here because it is enjoyable. There is incidental benefit in having writing samples available on demand, and in having reference points for conversation. But at present, I do this hobby because it is worth my time.

I’m gently suggesting that you do a similar reflection on your hobbies, especially if you have limited free time. There are so many fun things to do in the world; don’t feel compelled to keep the same hobby just because it has been a habit for years. Mix it up a little. There is life outside of home renovation shows and microtransaction mobile games.

On to the arts and entertainments!



Moving Pictures

Fair warning, this is a light month of Curated Beef. But I have two rock-solid recommendations and a legendary comedian’s first new output in nearly 30 years.

Movie releases are going at full capacity by the time March rolls around. These are just some of the movies/shows in March: Shazam: Fury of the Gods; Children of the Corn remake; Creed III; Guy Ritchie’s Operation Fortune; Scream VI; that David Harbour ghost show We Have a Ghost; a Luther movie; Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin’s thousandth team-up Moving On; John Wick 4; Stephen Frears’ first new movie in five years, The Lost King; Adam Driver shootin’ dinosaurs in 65; that Dungeons & Dragons movie that looks like poo; and, I kid you not, a historical dramatization of release of the Tetris videogame.

Should it be your cup of tea, The Academy Awards will be held on March 12, 2023 and Jimmy Kimmel is the host. The Alleged Beef Awards for 2022 were already awarded in December, so the Oscars are so two thousand and late, amirite?



Two food catereres stand ina closet and look out concernedly.

Party Down

Starz (Season 3) on February 24 and March 3,10,17,24,31
Hulu (Seasons 1 and 2)

The revival of beloved 2009–2010 cult classic Party Down arrived on February 24 exclusively on Starz. The six-episode season will release an episode per week (or March 3, 10, 17, 24, 31), so you have time to catch up.

For the uninitiated, Party Down focuses on a fictional catering service in LA, and the crew is composed of actors/writers/comedians just paying the bills while they try (and mostly fail) to make careers in Hollywood. What made the show so refreshing at the time was its combination of incredible talent and sharply written scripts (this show was created by Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas). This was the heyday of improv-heavy comedies on TV and the big screen, so getting a show with whipcrack memorable dialogue was like a glass of water in a Yes-and… desert.

I guess if you are twisiting my arm, I’ll mention the cast regulars of the first two seasons:

    • Ken Marino (Wet Hot American Summer; The State; Childrens Hospital)
    • Lizzy Caplan (basically everything from Masters of Sex to The Interview to Mean Girls)
    • Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation; Step Brothers; Severance)
    • Ryan Hansen (Santa Clarita Diet; Veronica Mars)
    • Martin Starr (Freaks & Geeks; Silicon Valley; the nervous science teacher in the Spider-Man movies)
    • Megan Mullaly (Will & Grace; Parks and Rec; all of those charming commercials with her husband Nick Offerman)
    • Jane Lynch (Glee a.k.a. the source of that meme; A Mighty Wind; Best in Show)
    • Jennifer Coolidge (The White Lotus; Best in Show; the masseuse on Seinfeld; Stifler’s mom in American Pie)
    • Kristen Bell (The Good Place; the titular Veronica Mars)
    • June Diane Raphael (the influential How Did This Get Made? movie podcast; Zodiac; Grace and Frankie)

Many of this elite crew are back, and are supplemented by new characters (including comedy vets James Marsden and Jennifer Garner).

I cannot sing high enough the praises of Party Down. The show simulataneously deflates the idea of being a working actor in LA while also being the kind of show that a working actor would love to be cast in.


Screenshot of promotional poster for History of the World Part II, showing various historical figures

History of the World, Part II

Hulu on March 6,7,8,9

Yes, History of the World Part I came out 42 years ago. Yes, this is not a joke. Mel Brooks is gloriously alive and well despite being a World War II veteran and (seriously) first writing for television in 1949. History of the World, Part I didn’t need a follow-up, given that it was very scattershot in quality. But Mel Brooks also didn’t need to make a Dracula spoof with lovingly recreated lighting from Hammer Horror films. He didn’t need to re-use the actual sets of the iconic James Whale Frankenstein movies when making his masterpiece Young Frankenstein. He didn’t need to skewer history’s shittiest shitheads so provocatively and effectively. What do you want me to say? If you pardon my French, this is MEL FUCKING BROOKS. If ever there was a comedian who earned a legacy layup, it is him (also Elaine May. Elaine, please come back and direct a new movie. (She is! –Ed.)).

So if you didn’t catch the first one, History of the World is Mel getting a stacked cast together for comedic historical recreations. Each vignette parodies some famous historical event, usually with the kind of snappy vaudeville jokes that are Brooks’ specialty. My favorite part about this is the structure of the release: Hulu is doing an old-school Must-See-TV event release schedule, with the show releasing two episodes daily for four consecutive nights in early March.


Four rural residents of Letterkenny stand in snow suits in front of a snow cabin Two members of the Skids group of Letterkenny sit in recliners and grin Two members of the Letterkenny minor league hockey team look troubled



(Content warning: this show tends to leave no conversational stone unturned, so it is not for the prudish.)

This Canadian comedy is currently in its 11th season (it seems, from my research, that the show has two seasons per year, one in spring and one in fall, as it debuted in 2016). Since I first watched an episode in February, I’ve been unable to get the show out of my head. The language is so idiosyncratic and idiomatic that it will take you a season to understand what people are saying, but then you’ll start talking like them and won’t be able to stop.

I haven’t seen a show this fond of wordplay in a long time. The honest-to-god closest analogues would be The Mighty Boosh, Angie Tribeca, Archer, and Police Squad. If you know me, you know how in what regard I hold some of those shows.

The town of Letterkenny, Ontario has 5,000 residents and the show generally focuses on three groups: the Hicks (the main storylines and the ones most likely to go on conversational tangents), the Skids (videogame meth rave nerds who mostly dance and argue semantics), and the Jocks (minor league hockey players who speak slang, and then speak abbreviated versions of that slang, and then riff on slang of that slang of that slang. It’s extra, and it’s great). The Natives are a fourth group that becomes a larger part of the show over time, and are characters who live on a nearby First Nations reservation (and have their own slang).

So if you don’t truck with degens from up-country: have a dart and a Puppers, crush a sando, snuggle up with your billet sister, and figure it out. Pitter patter.



Alleged Beef March Release Schedule

I am currently on the job hunt, so I have not written much. However, I have these features scheduled for March.

(Relatedly, if you need some copywriting, proofreading, or copyediting freelance, hit me up as I will have a discounted rate for the next few months as to broaden my portfolio of samples.)


Connective Tissue: Some Like It Hot

A long-simmering retrospective on the comedy classic Some Like It Hot (1959) and the many films it influenced over the decades.


2018 Alleged Beef Awards (a.k.a., 2018 All-Beefies)

Continuing our backward trot through notable films and performances of each year. See the All-Beefies tab for the 2019–2022 editions.


For Your Pies Only: A Primer on Espionage Comedies

A recent request from a friend prompted a brainstorm of feel-good spy movies. This feature will focus on spy movies that are either outright comedies or are at least feel-good (as opposed to grimdark spy fare, such as your Jasons Bourne, Jacks Ryan, and Georges Smiley).