Underrated Overrated


Special holiday episodes: Yes, they can be horribly contrived and about as subtle as a Christmas tree falling into your living room, but the season can bring about some pretty memorable holiday twists. “Seinfeld’s” rise of “Festivus,” “The Office” goes to Benihana and “Community’s” sweetly twisted dip into stop-motion animation are just a few entries in the canon, and who could forget that it was a holiday short that first brought us “South Park”?

Spoon: As the avalanche of year-end best-of lists pile up, it will be interesting to see who remembers this Austin, Texas-based band, which might’ve released its strongest album yet in the dark but immediately catchy “Transference.” Of course, given that Britt Daniel & Co. further perfect their own brand of twitchily obsessive guitar pop with every album, it may be easy to take them for granted, but this kind of excellence deserves better than that.



Hanna-Barbera’s style: Though we respect the iconic status characters from this studio have enjoyed (not the least Yogi Bear, who earned a movie reboot this week), from an aesthetic perspective they long represented the cost-cutting nadir of TV animation. Whatever comes of Jellystone Park’s big-screen debut, we’re comforted knowing Yogi finally looks “smarter than the average bear” after years of only moving one body part at a time.

Diddy’s musical endurance: Given what Kanye West is doing with hip-hop on the justly hyped “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” doesn’t ‘00s favorite Sean “Diddy” Combs sound all the more dated with Diddy-Dirty Money and the recent album “Last Train to Paris”? Not that there’s anything wrong with an energetic set of club-bangers, but at this point the acting chops Combs showed on “Get Him to the Greek” are far more interesting than his rap skills.