McDonald’s Angus Line Shuffled Off to Crowded Burger Graveyard

The Navy Pier McDonald’s in Chicago is one of tens of thousands of locations expected not to mourn for the recently departed Angus line.

I was so underwhelmed by the McDonald’s foray into the world of Angus beef usage that I missed the announcement last month that their three quasi-fancy Angus sandwiches are being discontinued and replaced by an entire line of Quarter Pounder with Cheese spinoffs. I’m surprised their demise took this long.

Full disclosure: my first job was a twelve-year stint at McDonald’s, ten of those in management. My wife likewise did time there until she found the gumption to exit long before I did. We bear the company no ill will and we still eat there more frequently than the average ex-employee. That being said: large portions of our respective tenures were spent watching new products die.

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The Star Wars Spinoffs You’ll Never See

Star Wars, Ice Cream Maker Guy

Not coming soon: “Star Wars Origins: Ice Cream Maker Guy”

From the Department of Completely Expected Developments:

This week Disney confirmed they have plans afoot to initiate aesthetic strip-mining and merchandise-driven IP expansion for their latest acquisition, the world-renowned Star Wars universe. We already knew director J.J. Abrams had signed on to captain the ostensible Star Wars Episode VII for release in 2015, but Disney has no moral imperative to stop there. At the very least, we’ve been duly notified of two proposed film spinoffs in the works: one based on Boba Fett, because chicks dig guys who act tough and die quickly; and one based on young Han Solo, which will hopefully be more action-packed and less educational than The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

Expect many more theoretical projects to be announced in the days ahead as assorted Hollywood professionals shelve their own original ideas and instead spend all their waking hours competing for a turn at being a cog inside Disney’s newest money-making machine. Odds are the following proposed spinoffs will not be a part of any future PR announcements:

* Star Wars Origins: Ice Cream Maker Guy — If you blinked at the wrong moment during the Bespin sequence in The Empire Strikes Back, you missed the fleeting seconds of screen time that comprised the complete career of Willrow Hood, more affectionately known to sarcastic fans as Ice Cream Maker Guy. Last seen (and only seen) carrying a large white cylinder through the crumbling halls of Cloud City, Hood’s meaningless presence has taken on a life of its own in recent years, with enough apocryphal trivia accumulated to support a Wookieepedia entry several hundred words too long. Every single sentence of that entry will be tossed out in favor of an origin story written from scratch. The ideal actor for this role, in my flexible mind: Community‘s Danny Pudi. (It does not have to be Donald Glover. Don’t be racist.)

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Holding My Breath Until I See Spinoffs from “The Wire”

Bunk, McNulty, The WireAfter months of squeezing in an episode here and there whenever time permitted (which was rarely), tonight I finally finished watching all five seasons of The Wire. It’s sixty episodes of the most politically charged, complicated, incisive, meaningful, profane, discomfiting, provocative, challenging television I’ve ever seen. It’s not a show for everyone, but following the storylines of its roughly eight thousand different characters (give or take three) became an unprecedented adventure that part of me secretly hopes has left me scarred and ruined for any other TV show or fictional tale that dares to try impressing me in the future. Its multifaceted examination of life on the streets of Baltimore at every level made my own lower-class upbringing look like the life of a prince, put my comparatively benign hometown in perspective, and has made it hard for me to read any local crime news without wondering how much they’re not telling us.

That being said: the fan in me is disappointed that five seasons is all there is. I’m glad David Simon and company were allowed to tell the stories that deserved to be told, though a September 2012 interview at Salon.com reveals he had more ideas in store and collaborators itching to join him. Unfortunately, no more stories or extensions are forthcoming because America forgot to tune in the first time around.

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