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October 19, 2009

Porsche Panamera: As ugly as an inside-out monkey

panamera 1b.jpg

Nobody does disdainful, contemptuous, pedal-to-the-metal car automotive design criticism like Top Gear's Jeremy Clarkson, and his take on Porsche's first four door is no exception.

And this brings me on to the Porsche Panacea, which sits in the mix like an apple core on a birthday cake. It seems to have no purpose at all.

I understand, of course, why Porsche chose to build a four-door saloon. It’s the same reason Lamborghini started work on such a thing, and Aston Martin too. These are small companies and it makes economic sense to squeeze as many models as possible from every component. You have the engine. You have the chassis. And you have a lot of people who won’t buy anything you make because they want four doors.

The trouble is, while Lamborghini and Aston Martin clearly employ talented stylists to ensure an elongated, widened four-seat variation on a two-seater theme does not end up looking like a supermodel who’s gone to fat, Porsche plainly gave the job to a janitor.

I actually wonder sometimes whether Porsche employs a stylist at all. Plainly, it had some bloke back in the Thirties, when Hitler created the ancestor of the 911, and it had someone else in the Seventies and Eighties, when it was making the wondrous 928 (the 944 wasn’t bad either), but today, God knows who’s in charge. Someone who, I suspect, has never been to art school.

The original design for the Boxster was exquisite but then someone obviously said: “Instead of making this, why don’t we make the actual car we sell look like that pushmi-pullyu thing from Doctor Dolittle?”


The Cayenne is one of the few cars that look better when a footballer has added 39in wheels, spoilers and wings. Because the bling detracts from the hopeless starting point.

The Panamera, though, is worse. People have tried to be kind, saying that it’s challenging and that it’s unusual. But the simple fact of the matter is this: it’s as ugly as an inside-out monkey. It’s dreadful. Part Austin Maxi, it looks like someone with no talent at all was trying to describe what they wanted to a blind person, over the phone.

I'm getting the feeling that Clarkson's not particularly fond of the Panamera, but I could be wrong.

Posted by Mike Lief at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)

October 14, 2009

Tales from the writers' room

Came across a new blog (new to me, anyway) that should be of interest to fans of sitcom writing: ... by Ken Levine.

Levine has written for MASH, Cheers, Frasier, The Simpsons, Wings, Everybody Loves Rayond, Becker, Dharma & Greg, wrote the screenplay for the Tom Hanks comedy, Volunteers, and currently hosts Dodger Talk, the post-game show on KABC AM-790 in Los Angeles.

His blog is chock-full of interesting stories about writing for TV, as well as some rather trenchant observations on all aspects of The Biz, too. There're five years-worth of posts archived, so there's plenty of reading -- perfect for a rainy SoCal evening.

Posted by Mike Lief at 02:47 PM

October 04, 2009

(Brief) Movie review: Zombieland

Just got back from Zombieland -- the greatest movie in the history of motion pictures, featuring the greatest cameo appearance by a celebrity I've ever seen. Zombies! Automatic weapons! Zombie clowns! And not just one but the two best lines delivered by a dying man EVER.

Hyperbole? Perhaps. But I laughed my butt off at the eye-popping (and ghoul-slaughtering) antics of Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin (the little kid who starred in Little Miss Sunshine).

What a hoot!

Now, I know Zombieland won't appeal to everyone, what with it's off-kilter sense of humor and blood-soaked sense of the absurd. If you can watch the trailer and not crack a smile, then this flick's not for you. On the other hand, if you laugh out loud, I suggest you head down to your local cineplex and settle in for a wild ride.

But do me a favor: Don't be like the parents in our theater who brought their three, preschool-aged kids to this splatterfest. This one's for grownups, albeit deeply immature grownups.

Posted by Mike Lief at 09:58 PM | Comments (2)