Before heiress Paris Hilton became famous for her "home movies," she filmed a show called The Simple Life which shows what happens when you take rich city girls and transplant them to a farm in Arkansas. In each episode they find new and unique ways of offending their hosts and just about everybody they meet, which makes for terrific entertainment. It should surprise no one that both Paris and co-star Nicole Richie (daughter or Lionel Richie) ended up doing whatever they wanted, while acting however they wanted, whenever they wanted to do it.
In other words, they were behaving just like every other "that's hot" woman on the planet. The only difference is that they were filmed and have become television stars because of it. Forget baseball, this is exactly the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an American.
Yet another killer episode of Alias tonight, which is pretty sweet considering we've been waiting weeks to see it. What's truly amazing is how creator J.J. Abrams is totally fearless when it comes to reinventing the show. You never know which characters are going to live, die, change, disappear, reappear... or even if the entire concept of the show is going to be altered.
I have to admit that the ending was not as shocking to me as it could have been... they are running out of people that could switch from good to evil or evil to good (an Alias hallmark!), so it was only a matter of time before they got around to it. But still, the way everything dropped into place was pretty slick. Now if only they would find something to do with Dixon! His character used to be kick-ass cool when he was out on missions, but now he's barely in the show at all. Maybe he'll turn evil next.
I have no idea how Trey Parker and Matt Stone continue to churn out South Park shows that just keep getting better with each new episode. I've been too busy to watch television for the past few months, and have just been letting everything stack up on my Tivo. Well, the thing is finally getting full, so I've been trying to squeeze in a few shows here and there to make some room. Among those were about 6 episodes of South Park I hadn't seen.
I haven't laughed that hard in a very long time, which was surprising because none of the episodes had my heroes Terrance & Phillip in them.
Probably the best episode ever was one called "Christian Rock Hard," where Cartman decides to form a Christian rock band to become rich and famous (since he has no talent, he figures Christian rock is the way to go... it seems to sell no matter how bad it sucks), and Stan, Kyle, and Kenny get arrested for downloading music off the internet. The usual hilarity ensues. If you haven't checked out South Park in a while, it is just as insightful, timely, and damn funny as it's ever been.
I rarely have the time to just sit down and watch television and, on those rare occasions that I do, I usually end up watching only those shows that I have my Tivo record. But today was a little different. I had so much work to catch up on that I didn't want to risk being distracted by something "good" so I just parked the television on VH1 and left it there.
My plans for non-distracting television were dashed when the Bands Reunited: A Flock of Seagulls episode came on. I already had it recorded on my Tivo DVR, but became instantly captivated and couldn't help but watch. Something about seeing people who have long since put their mega-star life behind them and moved on... only to be mercilessly ambushed with the prospect of a reunion with their old band mates... it's just compelling television.
Since I am a huge fan of AFOS... this episode was fantastic for numerous reasons (not the least of which is hearing them play again!). The stories behind the rise and fall of the group is just the icing on the cake.
But then VH1 continued on with more Bands Reunited episodes, including Frankie Goes to Hollywood and Klymaxx... each with loads of drama involved in getting the bands back together again. This is a really cool series that will captivate you, even if you don't like the bands they feature.
Now if only VH1 would provide an RSS feed for the companion blog to their other amazing show Best Week Ever, I would be really happy.
Okay. I am officially addicted to VH1's new Bands Reunited show. The only problem is that it's not enough... I want MORE. I want to see Flock of Seagulls and Berlin's entire reunited concert! Not just the few songs they put at the end of the show, but the entire concert!! And what about a tour? I'd pay serious money to see some of these bands play. But even that is not enough... I want more bands to be reunited!
The original Depeche Mode... the original New Order... the original Thompson Twins... Breathe... Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark... Information Society... Johnny Hates Jazz.. The Kane Gang... The Psychedelic Furs... Talk Talk... When in Rome... THE SMITHS! Ack! So many cool bands from the 80's that I'd give anything to see back together, even if for just one night. The possibilities are endless, and just thinking about it makes me sick with anticipation over what new shows VH1 might dredge up for the next batch of episodes.
Ooooh... Romeo Void and The Alarm are just around the corner...
As most people who know me knows, I am a huge fan of television legend Betty White. She can take any role and completely own it, and then eclipse anybody else who dares share a scene with her. Well, Betty was on Ellen today and revealed that she is guest-starring on three(!) episodes of The Practice starting February 15th! Sweet!
As I have mentioned many times, I absolutely loathe those Pier One commercials featuring a screaming Kirstie Alley dressed in dumb-ass prom dress rejects. Every time one of her insanely stupid ads airs, I want to puncture my ear drums and then gouge my eyes out.
Why in the hell would an advertiser want to annoy prospective customers of their product like that? Because it works. Pier One reported drastic increases in foot traffic (around 12-17% depending what you read) after the Kirstie Alley campaign began airing.
But, mercifully, they've hired a new commercial spokesperson to replace her: Queer Eye for the Straight Guy's Thom Filicia. This is quite a coup, because Thom is really good at his job (have you seen some of the things he does on Queer Eye?) in addition to being on a very popular show. Apparently, Thom is also in discussions to create his own line of decorator goods there as well, which means I may actually have to step foot in one of these places one day.
Continuing on with my infatuation with VH1's Bands Reunited, I just watched the last episode of the series for another old-time favorite group, The Alarm, and found it to be one of the best yet (unlike the episode for Squeeze, which was not only boring but disappointing as well). Oh how I hope that VH1 continues on with another season. Sure it won't be quite the same surprise when old band-mates are ambushed (since everybody knows about the show now), but there are so many bands out there left to be reunited...
Alrighty then... a show of hands as to how many people are actually gullible enough to believe that Justin Timberlake's exposure of Janet Jackson's breast during the Super Bowl Half-Time Show was an accident due to a "costume malfunction." Nobody? That's what I thought. It seemed like a very deliberate act to me (I =ahem= watched it on Tivo several times to be certain) and the fact that she "just happened" to have a nipple shield seems to confirm it, because something like that just can't be comfortable (not to mention Justin singing "gonna have you naked by the end of this song").
Even more compelling is this pre-game news release by MTV which is now mysteriously absent from their site, but freely available in Google's cache...
Shocking moments indeed! But how hard is it to shock America when all it takes is two seconds of breast on television to freak people out?? Personally, I was more offended that Kid Rock used the American flag as a poncho, but what do I know? Anyway, that's television for you... make no mistake, it was absolutely planned. Janet and JT had to do something to counter that kiss between Madonna and Britney! I just wonder how Britney and Madonna are going to top it at the Grammies this weekend...
Well crap! The WB Network has just cancelled one of my favorite television shows: Angel. What a horrible way to start my day! What's really surprising is that this is turning out to be one of the best seasons of the show ever, and the addition of James Marster's Spike to the cast makes each new episode a classic ("feel my wrath you barrel tossing monkey!"). I thought the ratings were doing okay as well, which is why this is a particularly puzzling thing to have happen.
I honestly don't understand how The WB can afford to lose a show with such a devoted following considering that most of their other shows suck ass. It especially doesn't make sense when you consider how much money that they are making off of video and DVD sales for both Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You'd think that they would want to keep that franchise cash cow going for as long as possible.Oh well, that's one less thing I have cluttering up my Tivo next season. I suppose that I should be grateful we got the 100+ shows that aired, and hope for occasional TV movies of the "Buffyverse" in the future.
I had never watched The Practice past the first few episodes, because it just seemed like David E. Kelley overload, and not terribly interesting. As I wrote a while back, Betty White is guest-starring for three episodes so, naturally, I had to tune in and watch.
Wow. Not only did Betty kick ass playing a bitter, money-grubbing old tyrant... but the show is fantastic! James Spader is riveting as a the lead lawyer who engages in questionable activities (and even more questionable ethics) in defense of his client. I wish I had known that the show ended up being this interesting when Spader came on board at the beginning of the season.
Back to Betty... she's amazing, of course. I always love it when she plays against type and isn't afraid to portray somebody nasty! She not only holds her own in every scene, but really makes herself out to be loathsome, which is pretty tricky when she looks like somebody's sweet old grandmother. I sure wish more directors would realize how nifty it is to put Betty White in their shows. How cool would it be if the head of "The Covenant" on Alias... one of the most ruthless and powerful people in the world... ended up being Betty? That would be totally sweet! Too bad we don't get another new episode of Alias for three frickin' weeks!!
I am not deaf, so I can only imagine how much it sucks not to be able to hear the world around you. I can only guess at the daily difficulties involved in striving to live a life no different than that of hearing people when so much of our world is dependent on sound for communication. And now I can only sympathize that a deaf American's life is going to suck a little more because the U.S. Department of Education consists of f#@%ing fascist morons that feel deaf persons are no longer capable of deciding for themselves what is "educational" entertainment on television.
A press release by the National Association of the Deaf says that almost 200 television programs have been declared "inappropriate," and will no longer be eligible for Closed Captioning (a.k.a. "subtitles") funding. At first I was nonplussed at this news, because there is so much crap on television that 200 of the worst shows would hardly be missed. And then I read the list and saw it had all kinds of inoffensive programs that should totally be captioned. What the f#@%?!? These are not shows featuring hard-core pornography or gruesome and gratuitous violence... these are staples of the American television experience! If I were deaf, and all of a sudden found out that I could not watch my favorite programs, I'd be pretty pissed. Here is just a small sampling of shows I enjoy that I could no longer watch (shows with an asterisk* are cartoons for heaven's sake!):
Do you notice how many cartoons are on that list? And I only listed a small handful of those I like! How much does it suck to be a deaf kid and not be able to watch all the shows your friends are watching? Apparently, this all has to do with their "educational value" which is ludicrous. I learn more in an episode of Law & Order than I learned most days in college. And I have yet to see an episode of The Simpsons that didn't have some interesting facts and a moral lesson of some kind. This is not a judgment call about education, it's censorship. What if you wanted to be a professional baseball player or race car driver when you grow up? Wouldn't sports and racing on television be educational then? What if you are a professional animator... watching cartoons is educational research! All the world is experiences to be learned from... even TV shows.
I am absolutely outraged that a country founded on freedom is run by government agencies that would deny freedom of choice from deaf Americans. Who is the government to say what programs are of educational value when our schools suck so bad? I notice that The Prince of Egypt is deemed educational... but to whom? Well, since it's a Bible story, I'd imagine that it's only educational to deaf Christians, so now we are having the government dictate which religions are educational?
Spread the word. Write your congressman. Let the government know that "We The People" will not tolerate censorship for any of its citizens. If you don't act now, how long will it be before cartoons, sports and other cool shows are denied to all of us because they lack "educational value?"
Is it my imagination or is Scrubs getting better with every new episode? I just got through watching last week's masterful guest appearance by Brendan Fraser off my TiVo and can't recall a television show since Cupid that was so touching and funny at the same time. — Speaking of Cupid, who do I have to kill to get that show out on DVD? — I still can't sleep and, even when I take sleeping pills, I still only get a maximum of 2 to 3 hours each night and it's starting to freak me out... time to go to the doctor I guess. — I want to take a Geek Cruise and I have no idea why, since this is the type of travel I usually laugh about. — I need a camera phone so I can have a moblog like Joi Ito. — I want my motorcycle back but found out today it will either be late this week or early next... stupid weather. — The wait for Kill Bill 2 is killing me. — Is there anything more painful than liking somebody who doesn't like you back? I hope not. — Is my lack of sleep making me delusional, or does John Stewart from The Daily Show have a better handle on the nation's politics than any major network? — I've started playing all those awesome old Infocom text adventure games and find them just as engrossing now as I did in the early 80's. — In exactly one month I have to start traveling again, but I'd rather just stay home this year. — Is it unrealistic to still believe that this world will eventually know peace? — I had to use a Windows PC for just 15 minutes today, which only reaffirmed to me how damn lucky I am to use a Macintosh. — I am wide awake despite taking two sleeping pills and a couple Excedrin PMs an hour-and-a-half ago, and getting no sleep the past two weeks. It's going to be another one of those nights.
I love my television and, thanks to TiVo, I am able to watch it with such efficiency that it doesn't pose any big infraction on my life (it's amazing how you can watch an hour-long program in about 20 minutes once you pass through all the commercials and boring bits). If you are looking for a distraction, here's a few suggestions...
Wonderfalls: I've only seen one episode of this new show, but am already hooked. If you missed it, you are in luck because they are running an encore Thursday on FOX (9/8 Central). A young woman named Jaye hears voices from inanimate objects that compel her to get involved in the lives of others in interesting ways. Really cool, WATCH THIS SHOW!!
Alias: The best show currently on television. If ass-kicking spy drama is something that appeals to you, then this is the place. Jennifer Garner is both beautiful and deadly.
The Practice: I never really cared for this show until this season when James Spader joined the cast as attorney Alan Shore. Now I don't miss a single episode (I wish all drama television were this funny and thought provoking). If you haven't watched in a while, now is a good time to start... Shore has been fired from the firm and a really ugly battle is about to commence that's certain to be entertaining.
Angel: When Spike joined the cast this season, a good show became amazing. And now that wimpy Fred has turned into an evil goddess with a shot at redemption, I can't imagine what cool stuff is about to go down. Unfortunately, the show has been cancelled and this is the last season, so best watch it while you can.
Law & Order Criminal Intent: The best of the Law & Order shows and the best cop drama on television period.
Scrubs: Finally a comedy on television that actually has some intelligence to it without becoming boring (like Frasier). This is about the only show that I don't end up fast-forwarding through... you just can't, because there is never a dull moment.
I'm With Her: No, I don't know why.
Sure there are other shows I watch, but these are currently the only ones that I obsess over.
Yikes. I am sure there is something really creative that I could do for a theme like "television" but I have no idea what that my be (and I make it a point to visit the Theme Thursday site only after I have already posted mine). Instead I tried to visualize what comes to mind when I think of "television," and the short answer is that I don't. Once you go Tivo, you'll never go back to live television again. That being the case, I thought I'd take a photo of what I see every time I turn the TV on...
It's really too bad that that came up with such a goofy mascot for such a seriously cool and useful product.
The best show on television you probably aren't watching is called Wonderfalls airing Friday nights at 9:00 on FOX. I'm totally hooked, but am fearful of getting attached to it since something this cool is just too good to last. Nope, it will undoubtedly be cancelled so that we can get yet another mind-numbing "reality" show. How sad. You should give it a try before it disappears forever (UPDATE: This coming week, they are airing it on Thursday, April 1st... then it's back to Fridays again).
In other television news... while watching tonight's excellent Wonderfalls, I saw this really cool commercial for AXE body spray. It's kind of a nifty chain-reaction type thing...
Not only is the ad itself terrific, but now I can't get the song out of my head... "You give me love... love... love... love..."
I'm liking the idea of TV shows being released on DVD (and there is even a cool site devoted to the subject). As more and more programs are released, I get more and more excited at the prospect of being able to watch long-forgotten and long-cancelled shows that I enjoyed at one time, but have no way of watching now. Nothing would make me happier than finally having Cupid and Oh Grow Up! released on DVD so that I could see them any time I want... very few shows currently on the air even come close to their quality.
I spend most of my time fast forwarding through commercials on television because they are stupid, unimaginative, and just plain boring. But now American Express has figured out how to make a commercial that people are going to want to watch. Even more impressive - though the commercial is five minutes long, I've taken the time to watch it three times! I'm half-way tempted to sign up for an AmEx card, just to support this stroke of brilliance and encourage other companies to make more interesting ads.
What would it be like to have Superman as your best friend and just hang out? If you are Jerry Seinfeld, it would be something like this...
Even better news... AmEx is making more of these cool "webvertisements," and it will be interesting to see who pops up next. When can we see Wonder Woman meeting David Letterman?
I knew that a show as good as Wonderfalls was too good to last and, sadly, I was correct. According to creator Tim Minear's fansite, the show has been cancelled. WTF?!? How is it that any show with even the slightest glimmer of actual intelligence can't survive? Instead, we get an endless barrage of "reality" television programs that are so dumbed down that they might as well be spoon-fed to the audience.
Conclusion: People are too lazy and stupid to want to think while being entertained.
The truly moronic thing here is that there are 13 episodes of Wonderfalls completed... what happens to them? Can FOX find it in their heart to air them at midnight Sundays (or some other crap time slot) just so people who like the show can watch them? I mean, THEY'RE DONE! Is it too much to hope that they can be released on DVD one day?
If it's unique, different, smart, intelligent, witty, and unpredictable... very soon now you won't find it on network television (no matter how many rave reviews it receives). I wish networks wouldn't even bother ordering great shows like Wonderfalls to get people's hopes up when they have no intention of marketing it, supporting it, or giving it a decent time slot. Just bring on another episode of "Extreme Makeover Blind Date Celebrity Challenge" and stop wasting our time. Dumbasses.
I just got done watching the Biography tribute to Phil Hartman and it once again hit me how much I miss that man. He was unquestionably one of the funniest people on the planet, and his work on Saturday Night Live makes him my favorite SNL player to date (who could forget Phil as Sinatra? Donahue? Clinton? and so many others?). And then there were his standout characters of Lionel Hutz and Troy McClure on The Simpsons. And, of course, his brilliant performance of Bill McNeil on News Radio.
Every time I hear a voiceover that Phil did... or run across an old show or movie Phil was in... my heart sinks a bit as I wonder how many other wonderful projects he could have made for me to laugh with had he not been killed. Phil, you are much missed.
It looks as though more excellent television is heading to DVD... I'm especially happy about Quantum Leap and Tour of Duty (which are on my wish list), but am dismayed that crap shows like Saved by the Bell, Andromeda, Punky Brewster, Mutant X, Star Trek Voyager and, heaven help us, Who's the Boss are being released when amazing shows like Wonderfalls, Cupid and Oh Grow Up! are not. Oh well, I suppose I should be thankful for what I can get rather than lamenting what I cannot...
Yikes... I'm going to go bankrupt over the next few months!
When I get back from a trip, the first thing I do is check out my TiVo to see what television shows have been recorded while I was away (the answering machine and unpacking will just have to wait). After watching Tina Fey on SNL and an interview with Tina Fey on Ellen, I've decided that I have a crush on her. It's hard not to have a crush on a woman that's this smart and funny.
Okay, she's totally hot too. I think it must be the glasses.
I still cannot figure out what is so astoundingly difficult about The Friday Five that "April is a busy month" is a rational excuse not to post five simple questions. I think people are going to start abandoning it if this keeps up. Anyway, I am once again going to post up my own questions so I don't get out of the habit. I was talking with some people about the end of the television show Friends yesterday, so maybe that's a timely topic?
1. What is your favorite episode of Friends? That is amazingly difficult because there have been so many excellent episodes (particularly in the early days), but "The One Where Everybody Finds Out" is the one I most often think of when I think of the show now... it's the one where Phoebe accidently finds out about Monica and Chandler's relationship, so she conspires with Rachel to mess with them by pretending to be attracted to Chandler. Not only do you get a hilarious faux-seduction scene with Phoebe and Chandler, you also get Chandler and Monica saying they love each other, which is a much more defining moment for the show to me that the whole Ross/Rachel thing. Close runners up would any of the "flashback" episodes and the shows where we get to see Phoebe with her twin sister Ursula.
2. Who is your favorite Friends character? That's a close call between Chandler and Phoebe... but in the end I'd have to say Chandler. Most of the funniest moments have him in them.
3. Who is your least favorite Friends character? ROSS... could he BE any more annoying? Though Monica does have her stupid moments too.
4. Which of the Friends characters are you most like? Just like Chandler, I also have disastrous luck with women and an often-inappropriate sense of humor.
5. If they were to make Friends all over again today with an entirely different cast, who would you like to see on the show? I can't imagine anybody else playing those parts but, just for fun, here's my go at it: Phoebe: Tara Reid plays ditsy well and, from her guest appearances on Scrubs, I know she could also have a serious side and fit into a group dynamic with no trouble. Monica: Caroline Dhavernas from the short-lived (but amazing) show Wonderfalls could easily bring another level of irony and wit to the character, all while making her less compulsive and whiny. Rachel: Jessica Alba would totally kick ass in this role. Chandler: This part is almost impossible to cast better than Matthew Perry, but I think The O.C. alum Adam Brody (who plays a similar character anyway) would be a good choice. Joey: The show always suffered a bit from a lack of diversity (as MOST shows do) so why not convert from a struggling actor to a struggling singer and put Usher in the mix? Ross: It's not hard to top David Schwimmer's whiny, spineless take on the character, and I think someone like Breckin Meyer could do a much better job of it.
Friends has had their ups and downs over the years, but very few American television programs have this consistent level of quality, so I will definitely miss it (though not too much, because I've been buying all the DVD sets!). In the end, it's probably best that they are calling it quits while the show is once again on a high note, but I can't help but wonder what would have happened if we would have gotten just one more season...
After a nasty lull when Phil Hartman left, Saturday Night Live finally seems to be gaining some momentum again. I used to just tune in for a bit of Tina Fey deliciousness on "Weekend Update," but more and more I find myself actually watching the rest of the show. Last night's episode had some really great moments, particularly the "Harry Potter" sketch with Rachel Dratch somehow creating the best Potter parody I've yet seen...
The sketch revolves around the kids returning from summer vacation to find that Hermione (guest host Lindsay Lohan) has gone through a bit of a... uh, development... since they saw her last...
Then Fred & George stop by and make a play for Hermione...
Of course she'll have none of that...
Fred & George: Well, if you'll excuse us, we're off to beat a couple of bludgers.
Harry: Ah! Going to play some Quidditch?
Fred & George: Uh, no.
It's time for some spells... but the magic doesn't seem to be working! Are you concentrating?
By the time Horatio Sanz shows up as Hagrid, you just know this is one of the best SNL sketches ever! You're Hermione? Yikes!
Hagrid: Alright. I better go out to the woods and tame my dragon.
Harry: Ah! You got a new pet?
Hagrid: Uh, no.
Next week we've got Jennifer Aniston hosting before the Olson Twins do the season finale. SNL seems intent on going out with a bang this year.
People who attempted to record the last episode of Friends on TiVo got screwed. NBC shifted the timing of the show so that the final 5 minutes ran over the 9pm stop time, and that just sucks. I'd imagine that they did this intentionally so that they could sell more of the upcoming DVDs... but mostly they did it because they are assholes that have no problem with crapping all over the fans that have made this show and their network #1. I have a growing fear that this type of "anti-TiVo" terrorist tactics will become more and more popular with networks as time goes on. Perhaps network execs feel that people won't record shows on TiVo, but instead go back to watching TV "live" so they don't miss anything (thus unable to fast-forward past commercials and piss off advertisers).
There are several fatal flaws with this kind of dumbass thinking: 1) This same type of whining has already been done before... it was called the VCR. 2) Shows continue to have more and more advertising with less and less actual show, so it's no wonder people want to fast-forward through the crap in the first place. 3) Very few television programs are actually worth having to sit through advertising anyway. 4) Once you've had TiVo, you are never going to go back to the "old way" of watching television (at least I won't), so all these tricks to get people to stop recording are futile when all you're going to do is make people stop watching altogether. 5) The shift towards paid, advertising-free networks like HBO that have quality programming instead of an endless parade of lame reality shows will eventually bury networks in their own feces. 6) The real problem with network television is thinking that increasing the amount of advertising, tricking viewers with TiVos and VCRs, cutting production values, and not supporting new shows is a fair trade for paying TV stars millions of dollars... it isn't. I'll take a well-written, well-acted show with no big-name stars any day.
And how was the last episode of Friends?? Pretty uneventful. Everything turned out exactly like everybody thought it would and nothing really happened that made the episode necessary. The result being that this is the weakest episodes in the entire 10 years the program has been running... not the best way to end an era.
I am a big fan of Survivor despite the fact that I loathe "reality television." It's the most passive genre of TV entertainment, requiring no imagination or involvement by the viewer and very little creative energy (or monetary investment) on behalf of the networks. Maybe I've still got a soft spot for Survivor because it was the first reality show to catch on here in the States, and was unique at the time. Of course now there is an avalanche of crappy imitators and each new copy is worse than the last. I'm left hoping that this is the year the reality bubble will finally burst, and the entire fad will collapse on itself.
Unfortunatly, there's not much chance of that happening. People are getting lazier and lazier and want to think less and less, which means the popularity of these dumbass shows will undoubtedly continue to grow.
Back to Survivor All-Stars, everything pretty much ended exactly as I had predicted it would. Rob is a master manipulator, played the game better than anybody in recent memory, and deserved the win (sure Amber may have won the game, but make no mistake that it was Rob who was the big winner by getting cutie Amber and her million!). The proposal was the icing on the cake, but also not unexpected (it was just too corny to not have it happen!).
About the only thing I didn't expect was all the losers turning into a bunch of whiny bitches at the final tribal council. I mean, come on! You've all played the game before, you know this was going to happen... so why in the hell act so betrayed and shocked? Lex, Kathy, Alicia, and Big DUMB Tom (the lamest of the bunch) are all pathetic losers who don't deserve the million because they obviously don't know what it takes to win it. Shii-Ann and Jenna were the only ones that really "got it," which was a surprise.
Poor Jeff Probst. This is one of those jobs where there is no way to not come off looking like a complete tool... yet he somehow makes it work for him.
I'm beginning to hate hotels. I can't go to the restaurant because the season finale of Alias is on in just 15 minutes. So I'm off to find a vending machine for dinner. Unfortunately, the machine on my floor is broken. I decided to go to the lobby because the gift shop is open until 10, but they are closing an hour and 10 minutes early (change the damn sign idiots!). So I go up a floor, but there's no machine... I go up another floor to use that one and it too is out of order.
What the hell? Sure this is just a Holiday Inn, but it's a nice Holiday Inn. Things like this shouldn't happen. I shouldn't have to waste twenty minutes buying a snack. When I finally find a working machine on the 4th floor, I find pork rinds mixed among the over-priced goodies for sale. Who in the hell eats pork rinds any more? Who would want to?
So here I sit eating crap that's not pork rinds and watching Alias. As usual, the show kicks ass. It's only been running for 5 minutes and there is already more action happening than in an entire hour in other so-called "action" shows. Oh goody! Marshall just got shot! I hate Marshall! DIE MARSHALL, DIIIEEEEEEEEE!! Yeesh, the opening credits haven't even come up yet! This rocks!
Oooh... now Vaughn has caught up with his very naughty wife. You've been a very bad girl Lauren... I have a feeling this is not going to be pleasant. Yes! Beat her evil ass with the crowbar! Again! Again! DIE LAUREN, DIIIEEEEEEEEE!!
Bummer, Alias is over now. As usual, a terrific cliffhanger ending for the best show on television.
Sigh. I've read that ABC will not start the fourth season of Alias until JANUARY 2005! That sucks, but the good news is that they plan on airing 20 weekly episodes with no interruption. This will be a pleasant change from the way ABC keeps pre-empting the show this past season. And hey, anything is better than cancellation.
I have to get up at 5am for my first flight. Usually this wouldn't be a big deal because I only sleep from around midnight to around 5am anyway, but all this travel has messed-up my already messed-up sleep schedule. I've been sleeping from around 2am to 7am as of late, and so I can only imagine what an unpleasant day I have awaiting me. I should have just gotten it over with and bought the pork rinds.
An open letter to the inconsiderate dumbasses "partying down" on the 42nd floor of the Hilton Towers New York outside my hotel room at midnight last night: I realize that getting older must be a traumatic experience. I'm going to be there soon enough, and understand your pain... I really do. You are getting older, but don't want to be older, and so you compensate by acting like you are in a college frat house whenever you get away from home even though you are pushing 50.
That being said, there is no reason that I should have to suffer because of it. When you walk through the halls of the hotel screaming "WOOOOO HOOOOO!" and laughing hysterically at anything your drunk ass perceives as funny (which, apparently, is everything)... you don't look "young and cool" your look "old and stupid."
So next time you feel the urge to act like a daft prick and disturb the peace and serenity of those around you at obscene hours of the night... why not try acting your age instead? You are on the executive level of the Hilton on a Wednesday night, not a beach house in Ft. Lauderdale during Spring Break weekend.
In other news: My ride to Newark International this morning at 6am was sure interesting. My cab driver decided to cram his way into a toll lane after coming off the New Jersey Turnpike. Unfortunately, he did so right in front of a very impatient person and got broad-sided by a van. To make matters worse, the lane he fought so hard to enter was an EXPRESS-PASS lane and he didn't have one.
This is going to be an interesting day, I can just tell.
UPDATE: It turns out my day is not a total loss... Aint It Cool is reporting that Wonderfalls, one of the best television shows ever (that was stupidly cancelled after only a few episodes!), is being prepped for a DVD release by the end of the year!
The end to a very challenging weekend for me was made a little better with the Series 4 premiere of Coupling on BBC America. While not the most brilliant of episodes, it did wrap up in a clever way. I was worried knowing that Jeff wouldn't be back this time around... but his replacement, Oliver, seems like he may actually benefit the show. Seeing the group through the eyes of a newcomer might make things more interesting? Time will tell I guess.
In other news, I gear up for a fast this week (it's one of those things I try to do every 9 months or so, and I'm running late). While I never look forward to starving myself for days at a time, the benefits of fasting are pretty hard to ignore, so off I go.
I wish the sun weren't going down just yet... I sure would have liked a motorcycle ride in today.
In what can only be described as "a moment of brilliance," Comedy Central has hired British talk-show host Graham Norton to create a version of his program here in America. Of course, given our uptight nature about sexual innuendo and raunchy comedy, I have to wonder just how much latitude Graham will have... I dread the idea of us getting a watered-down show when the original was so damn funny.
It remains to be seen if Graham's rather elevated sense of humor will play well to the average dimwitted American television viewer that prefers their laughs spoon-fed to them, rather than actually having to think about something. I can only hope. But the big question that has to be on everybody's mind... will Graham bring DoggyPhone and Betty to New York with him?
All will be revealed tomorrow night on Comedy Central. Here's hoping that it doesn't suck!
I don't get Showtime, so I kind of missed out on an intriguing program called Dead Like Me. Since the first season was just released on DVD, a friend has been begging me to buy it, telling me that it's her favorite show. So I went ahead and got it, and she's right... it's pretty great. Which begs the question: Does series mastermind Bryan Fuller wake up and say "I am such a friggin' genius!" to himself in the mirror each morning? If I created something this brilliant, I know I would be.
The show centers around a girl named George who dies when a toilet seat from a Russian space station falls from orbit and vaporizes her in an explosion. Rather than continuing into the afterlife, George becomes a "Grim Reaper"... one of the legion of undead who collect the souls from the dead (or about to be dead) and escorts them into whatever awaits them in the great beyond. She's actually part of a team of "Reapers" who are directed by their leader "Rube" (deftly played by Mandy Patinkin).
It sounds odd, I know, but what makes the show really special is the black humor which permeates every scene. Sometimes touching, other times funny, but always interesting and smartly written, It's kind of a look at life from a not-quite-living perspective.
Might be worth checking out at the video store if they have it. The opening credits showing Grim Reapers in black hooded robes with scythes doing everyday normal things like going to work, doing laundry, and playing basketball is reason enough.
Betty White has been nominated in the "Best Guest Appearance in a Drama" category for her role of nasty Catherine Piper on The Practice. Obviously, I think she deserves to win, but she's in competition with Marlee Matlin (who actually was pretty good on Law & Order: SVU) and Sharon Stone (also guesting on The Practice, but nowhere close to Betty's performance) so her odds are probably not that great. For those unfamiliar with my Betty White psychosis...
Yes, I will say it again: Betty White kicks ass. After Elizabeth Hurley, she's about the only big Hollywood star I have any interest in meeting.
By far the most inspiring Olympic event I've witnessed so far was the Women's Marathon Run. Averaging a 5 minutes 35 second mile in up to 100-degree heat, Mizuki Noguchi of Japan brought home the gold after a grueling 26 miles. In addition to the difficult conditions, she also had the added pressure of following up the previous Japanese win from Sydney 2000. You kind of get a sense that near the end there, the poor gal was running on empty... but the minute she entered the stadium for that final lap and realized she was going to get the gold and started waving to the crowd... well, moments like that are what makes the Olympics worth watching (photo taken from Athens2004.com, which will probably merit me all kinds of nasty threats from the IOC because they just don't appreciate free promotion for their site!)...
The drama escalated earlier in the race as British world champion Paula Radcliffe dropped out in tears. Whether it was the heat or emotional pressure did her in, it's hard to tell. In any event, it was a heart-wrenching moment that all of Great Britain must have felt.
Another inspiring moment was American Deena Kastor as she worked her way from 18th place, picking off the competition one by one to win the bronze. Where she found it within herself to keep progressing like that I have no idea. When they talk about triumph of the human spirit, stuff like this must be exactly what they mean.
All I know is that I could barely run a mile, let alone 26, in 100-degree heat (well, okay, I would have a hard time running a mile in sublime temperatures with a light breeze... I'm kind of a weenie that way).
I woke up to find that I have no Internet. What am I supposed to do now? What's going on in the world? I suppose that I shouldn't complain... in the four years I've had DSL this is only the second time it's gone down. But it does mess up my daily routine in a way that I'm not quite ready for. I wonder what's on television this morning?
Gah! I should have never looked! Morning television is crap! You know this is true when the most interesting thing on in the 100 channels I receive is Little House on the Prairie.
And speaking of Little House, what in the heck happened to that show? I was never a big fan... boring people in a boring place doing boring things in a boring time just doesn't appeal to me (Oh no! Laura lied to Ma and Pa! The humanity!). This morning I find out that things on the Prairie certainly have changed since I last bothered to watch all those years ago. Laura got married, her sister Mary is blind and married and running a school for blind children, somehow they have a brother named Albert (I thought they had a younger sister named Carrie?), and Nellie is married and no longer a bitch.
There were two episodes back-to-back, but there were from different seasons of the show which was confusing. I flicked back-and forth through the first episode, but watched the second. How could I not? Pa is living in the city(!) and his son(?) Albert is in a gang and addicted to morphine? Cool! It's like a really, really clean version of Trainspotting or something!
I've never been so relieved to go to work in my entire life. I hope my DSL is fixed tomorrow morning.
James Doohan got a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Finally, after all these years, the genius that is "Scotty" is recognized. Now that I really stop and think about it, he is probably my favorite Star Trek character. Nothing is quite so cool as when Scotty starts to lose it in the engine room! He is also responsible for my favorite post-original series moments... particularly the guest appearance he had on Next Generation and his work in Star Trek IV ("Computer? Hello computer!").
I wish him nothing but the best...
Photos by Jason DeFillippo from the induction ceremony can be found on Blogging.LA. It looks like some other Star Trek faces showed up including Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, and Grace Lee Whitney? That's pretty swell of them. Is there a transcript of the speeches floating around the Internet? I'd love to read what everybody said.
While working at home, I usually have VH1-Classic running in the background so I can listen to all that old 80's music I just can't seem to leave behind. Most of the time, I barely realize it's there, unless some song catches my attention that I need to buy from the iTunes Music Store. Well, if it is available from the iTunes Music Store! All too often I find that an artist I want is plagued by having only "partial albums" for sale. Then I have to decide whether I want the music bad enough to buy it on CD, or just forget it.
Usually I just forget it.
Anyway, I really took notice when a commercial for a new season of Bands Reunited came up. Woo hoo! I've blogged about this excellent show a few times before, and have been looking forward to this. Here's the line-up this time around:
Only five episodes? Bummer. I hope they're good ones.
Flying home from Seoul was made interesting by a layover in Anchorage, which seems like kind of a bizarre destination for Korean Air to fly (Alaska?). The 7-1/2 hour flight was made bearable because I had the newly released Batman: The Animated Series Volume One on DVD. What's amazing is that the 28 episodes in this set are superior to any other rendition of Batman I've seen. Better than the crappy Adam West TV show. Better than many of the comic books. Certainly better than any of the movies (yes, even the Tim Burton ones).
The quality of the stories are top-notch, deftly blending action and drama in a way rarely seen in "American" animation. Even better, the writers are respectful to the source material and aren't afraid to build stories across several episodes (Harvey Dent is introduced five episodes before Two Face is born, for instance). Even one-note characters like "Mr. Freeze" in the comics are fully realized in episodes like the brilliant "Heart of Ice," which strikes a tragic note while not being too heavy-handed.
As if it weren't enough that the show is well written, it's also beautiful to look at thanks to the obvious influence of the Max Fleischer Superman cartoons from 1941. The colors are suitably dark and moody, enhancing the stories with a kind of "retro-futuristic" look that suits the Batman mythos perfectly. Characters are well-drawn and animated, with featured players lovingly crafted. I dare say that Poison Ivy is actually sexier in the cartoon than Uma Thurman's scary take on the character in the embarrassing Joel Schumacher directed Batman and Robin movie.
Voice talent is perfectly cast, with Kevin Conroy (Rusty Wallace from the excellent Tour of Duty series) providing an appropriately heroic tone for Batman/Bruce Wayne. Guest stars include Michael Ansara (Mr. Freeze), Adrienne Barbeau (Catwoman), Roddy McDowall (Mad Hatter), Ron Perlman (Clayface), and many others... with the obvious highlight provided by Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, as The Joker (who knew?).
Because the show was produced using traditional hand-painted cells that are overlaid and photographed with a film camera, there is a lot of dust "pops" and specs running through the picture. It's a shame they couldn't have cleaned up these imperfections in a computer somehow, because it can be distracting at times. Petty bitching aside, this is a purchase no animation aficionado or Batman fan should pass up. I can only hope that a second volume is on the way, along with other Warner Bros. super-hero cartoons like Superman, Batman Beyond and Justice League. Boxed sets are definitely the way to go with animated series.
Security: The big news in travel this week is the impending "update" to airport security, which allows TSA screeners to more thoroughly pat-down people with suspicious bulges in their clothing. To alleviate fears about possible misconduct, the TSA assures passengers that any pat-downs will be performed by screeners of the same sex. That's terrific, because having the "suspicious bulge" in my crotch patted down by another guy while the entire airport watches makes me feel so much safer about flying.
20/20: Lucky us! Barbara Walters has an exclusive interview with child-raping piece of shit Mary Kay LeTourneau this Friday on 20/20! I hope I can overcome my compulsion to watch. Can somebody remind me again why it is that she isn't still in jail?
Incredible: Yet another trailer for The Incredibles is out. I can't possibly express how badly I want to see this film, which looks like it just might be the best thing Pixar's done yet. Having Samuel L. Jackson as a super-hero doesn't hurt, but having Brad Bird (of Iron Giant fame) writing and directing is the movie's biggest asset.
Stonebridge: The number of blog visitors I am getting because of the ass-hats at Stonebridge Life Insurance continues to grow. It would seem these idiots are still harassing people with their never-ending telemarketing calls. Tired of the constant hang-ups, victims are entering the phone number from Caller-ID into Google and getting my blog entries bitching about it here and here. Pathetic. At what point is the FCC going to step in and bitch-slap Stonebridge Life for this abuse?
Miami: The ads for the season opener of CSI: Miami are saying that "one won't survive." Is it too much to hope that David Caruso's character is the one to die? I would actually watch the show if he weren't on it because I like Emily Proctor. Why not put her in charge?
Emmy: For the most part, I think the Emmys completely suck. Rarely does the person or series most deserving of the honor ever win... heck, most of the time they aren't even nominated. Where is Wonderfalls? Dead Like Me? Angel? And sure Scrubs was nominated for best writing (and lost) but it deserved so much more, because it is easily the funniest sitcom running right now. And don't even get me started about Sharon Stone winning over Betty White for best guest appearance. Still, a few nice things happened: Drea de Matteo, The Daily Show, and James Spader all deserved those wins.
I've been pleasantly surprised with the terrific new television programs showing up this season. So much so, that they're starting to back up on my TiVo. The latest David E. Kelley lawyer drama Boston Legal is deliciously good, with James Spader and William Shatner turning in jaw-droppingly good performances. Desperate Housewives shows promise. Lost is as brilliant as I had hoped it would be. Veronica Mars is far better than we deserve. And C.S.I. New York has redeemed the crappy Miami imitation with a darkly different take on the original.
Compare these five (six if Life as We Know It lives up to the buzz) to how many series from last season I am still watching: just two. Arrested Development and Joan of Arcadia... and if Joan gets any more whiney, I'll be down to one.
Now if I only had time to watch all of them.
Shock: Will somebody please tell Pizza Hut that having Miss Piggy sell pizza topped with Canadian Bacon is just wrong?
Disbelief: Why in the heck does CSI Miami (with dumb-ass David Caruso) get a new guy that's incredibly competent while over at the real CSI (with cool-ass William Petersen) they've turned the once-competent Greg into a bumbling moron? I know that Greg has always been a bit awkward socially but, when it came to the job, he was always brilliant... now they move him out to the field and he's suddenly stupid? Why?
Anticipation: It's the Boston Red Sox vs. the New York Yankees. Again! Boston hasn't won a series since 1918... is it too much to hope that this will be their year even though they went insane and traded away Nomar?
Disgust: Political ads have always been pretty nauseating, but the recent crop of television ads are just horrendous. In my home state of Washington, incumbent Senator Patty Murray is in a fierce ad-battle with candidate George Nethercutt, and they both end up looking like complete asses. Nethercutt is a total bastard that's using 9/11 as a battering ram to scare people into not voting for her... Murray is a total bitch that's using public health as a wedge to manipulate people into not voting for him. Stop attacking each other and attack the issues you dumbasses.
Hilarity: Yet another amazing presidential debate parody on Saturday Night Live. How do they do it?
Horror: I'm out of bread. How am I supposed to make toast now??
Mars: I know I should stop being amazed at how wonderful the new television show Veronica Mars is, but I just can't help myself. Every episode is better than the last (much like Boston Legal and Lost). The October 12 episode had a twist near the end that completely caught me off guard, and that almost never happens! I am thankful that the show is on UPN, because ABC would have probably cancelled it by now.
Repeat: The only down-side of watching Veronica Mars is that the theme song is the infectious We Used to Be Friends by Dandy Warhols. Now I can't get it out of my head and, by the time I finally do manage to forget about it, a new episode of Veronica Mars is on again.
UFO: I don't know if I believe in alien abductions or not, but it would sure explain a great many things. Nobody can have as bizarre a life as mine without alien abduction in there somewhere.
Clarification: And when I say that, I mean aliens abducting me... not me abducting the aliens. Though that too would explain a great deal.
Cellular: When I renewed my contract with Verizon wireless, they completely screwed up my billing. Every month I get an outrageous bill with insane charges. Every month I call Verizon to get it straightened out. Every month Verizon throws meaningless numbers at me in an attempt to "explain" their unexplainable mess. Every month I beg them to just give me a pay-off amount so that I can bring my account current and be done with it. Every month I disagree with the charges, but relent and pay anyway so they will just leave me alone. Every month I send in the money they ask for, and it makes no difference. Every month my bill arrives with a mystery "past due amount" that makes no sense. Every month I waste time and energy with Verizon that could be spent doing something else.
Work: I have four days in which to complete two weeks worth of work. I guess that means I have four 20-hour work days ahead of me. It's not the first time but, honestly now, I'm getting entirely too old for this crap.
Doggy: Neil has a calculator so you can find out how old you are in dog years. Apparently I'm 270 years old. See, I told you I'm too old for this crap.
The blogosphere (if not the entire Internet) is abuzz with The Daily Show's Jon Stewart's brilliant appearance on Crossfire, and with good reason: he spanks host Tucker Carlson on air... hard! For those who have never heard of it, Crossfire is a political show whereas a guest is invited to sit between a Left-Wing guy (in this case, Paul Begala) and a Right-Wing guy (the afore-mentioned Tucker Carlson) while the two of them battle it out over political and social issues. The guest is trapped in the crossfire of the two hosts, hence the name of the show.
Basically, Stewart sat down and was instantly on the attack, bitch-slapping the show for "hurting America" and calling Tucker Carlson a dick. And he's right. On both counts. And that's the reason his appearance is so noteworthy, Jon Stewart actually had the balls to say what so many haven't: shows like Crossfire and Hardball are not debate shows at all, they're two-dimensional puppet shows by partisan hacks that services their respective party agendas and nothing more. Debate actually explores the issues at hand with intelligent conversation. Crossfire doesn't really explore anything at all... it's Left vs. Right tearing into each other in black and white terms for nothing more than entertainment value. Since issues can so rarely be boiled down to black and white, it's a war that nobody (including viewers) can win.
It must be pretty good to be Jon Stewart just now. As if it isn't enough that he is championing true political discourse in the media, his show recently won two Emmys for the second year in a row, and his book America: A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction just hit #1 on the best-seller list...
The book is a parody of the past, present, and future of politics in America and well worth a look, so be sure to check it out at your local library or go ahead buy a copy so you can treasure it for the decades to come (Barnes & Nobel had the best picture for me to steal, so here's their link). I've also noticed that the Crossfire appearance is hitting the web in video, and it's worth tracking down.
One of the pitfalls of being a television junkie is the risk of getting attached to a show that gets mindlessly cancelled. It happens far more often than it should because networks are just too trigger-happy when it comes to showing their viewers a little gratitude and respect. One such casualty of the television landscape was Farscape on the Sci-Fi Channel. This time it was especially gutting because the show's writers were told that the series had been renewed for another season, but then the order was rescinded at the last moment which left us with a heinous cliffhanger.
In an effort to appease the thousands of outraged fans (like myself) who cried out for blood when Farscape was cancelled, Sci-Fi graciously ordered up a four-hour mini-series to tie up all the loose ends. The result is Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars.
Overall, I have to say I enjoyed the show very much. The pace was recklessly fast... bringing about death, destruction, and a fairly satisfying conclusion to the story. For that much, I have to thank Brian Henson, David Kemper, and the entire cast and crew of Farscape. It's been a great ride, and I can only hope that we get to visit their little corner of the universe again one day.
I've returned from vacation and was looking forward to getting caught up with work, watching all the shows stacked up on my TiVo, and relaxing a bit. Alas, it was not meant to be. I've got a quick trip to Chicago ahead of me instead. Oh well.
TiVolution: I did manage to watch a few new shows that I am obsessed with. Namely, Veronica Mars, Lost, Scrubs, and Boston Legal. Seven hours of brilliant entertainment (2 episodes each) that have restored my faith in television. Every week Lost tells the background of a major character (in flashbacks) that explain how they got to where they are now, and I am captivated. Though I have to admit being a little nervous about what will happen when they've run out of characters to explore. Since only 48 47 people survived, what happens afterwards? Knowing J.J. Abrams, something spectacular.
Hope: Dare I get my hopes up again, only to have George Lucas dash them to pieces? The trailer for Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith is all over the Internet and looks fantastic. Hearing James Earl Jones' voice as Darth Vader again after all these years is chilling. All that and Wookies too!!
Weight: The government has just released a study that reveals that the increase in average weight by 10 pounds of Americans in the 1990's has caused airlines to burn 350 million more gallons of fuel at a cost increase of $275 million in the year 2000 alone. But that's not the real problem... despite the fact that 65% of Americans are now classified as obese, airlines continue to pack seats closer and closer together. Planes that used to have 5 seats across now have 6. Planes that used to have 38 rows now have 42. If you are over 5'6" tall (I'm 6'2") then flying coach is absurdly uncomfortable no matter how much you weigh. If you're obese, you can diet. There's nothing I can do to make myself shorter.
Belated: Boston Red Sox World Series Champions. At last.
Treason: I received a surprisingly literate (but no less disturbing) email labeling my blog as "treason" because I don't support the president "who won fair and square." This is odd because at no point have I ever said that I "don't support the president." As an American, I'm pretty much obligated to respect the office of the president and support our country. For the record, what I don't support is the notion that Americans (or the world, for that matter) should not disagree with the president or question his actions. This is the very foundation on which the country was founded, and to imply otherwise is what I consider to be treasonous.
Foxy: Firefox release candidate 2 has been released for MacOS X. I find myself using it and Safari almost equally now.
Trash: If you've read my blog for any length of time, you already know I loathe Cnet. What I don't understand is why everybody doesn't loathe Cnet. Their anti-Apple rhetoric, anonymous editorial policy, and biased "journalism" makes them a source of "news" that should be wiped from the face of the internet. Just look at this URL to one of their stories at news.com:
Uhhh... "iPods are the tools of the devil" ?!? Even their URLs are biased. Worthless Cnet asshats.
Waahhh: I don't want to go to work today. Given the 3-hour time difference plus this antiquated daylight savings nonsense I am working on, the day seems half over even though it hasn't even began. Oh well, at least I get to leave early so I can pack my suitcase and head out again. Maybe gaining 2 hours in Chicago this weekend will fix me up?
I've been running through the episodes on my newly acquired The O.C. - The Complete First Season DVD set and am, for reasons unknown, not completely embarrassed to admit it. Sure it's the kind of teen angst that I ordinarily loathe, but it's also so smartly written and has such high entertainment value that there's no way I can bring myself to stop watching. It's like soap opera that's been perfected to some kind of art form.
Basically, it's the classic "fish out of water" tale that shows what happens when a kid from the wrong side of the tracks (Ryan) is tossed into the bizarre world of the uber-wealthy in Orange County, California. There he is adopted by the Cohen family and meet's their son (Seth) who is the ultimate comic-book reading geek/outsider that I can relate to so very well. How their worlds collide and then overlap should be boring melodrama that has been seen a billion times before but, in reality, is surprisingly fresh and captivating.
It doesn't hurt that Seth has some of the most amusing dialogue on television.
Now that the second season is airing on FOX, it would seem that Seth and Ryan are trading places. Seth is quickly becoming the bad boy in the family, while Ryan is trying to get his life together. Who knows where that will lead, but I'll be watching.
Okay, I'm a little embarrassed about that.
I tuned into Jeopardy to see if minor trivia deity Ken Jennings was still dominating any mere mortals that dare to compete against him. Unfortunately, regular episodes of Jeopardy have been suspended in order to run two weeks of Collegiate Jeopardy competition. With nothing better to do until The O.C. came on, I decided to watch. The ultimate winner of the game, a guy from Carnegie Mellon University named "Kermin" (who is a computer science major), was so far ahead that he made a clever Final Jeopardy wager of $1337. For anybody familiar with hacker-speak, this was pretty cool.
And what kind of nifty name is "Kermin?" Kind of like Kermit and Herman all smashed together, but not.
I've been a bit under the weather lately, which has involved my working at home from time to time. Since I live in an apartment complex, I usually like to work with some background noise playing to mask the distractions caused by the other people living here. Usually, it's a DVD of some television show or an old movie that I've seen before (if it were new, I'd want to watch instead of work).
Since they just released the third season of The West Wing, I decided I would start watching the entire series from the beginning. It's an excellent show, especially the earlier seasons, and I was interested to know how they would run when viewed back to back to back. The dialogue is so dense, that I was guessing it would be exhausting.
But it's not exhausting, it's exhilarating. Except for just one thing... one thing that has driven me bat-ass crazy nuts from the very first episode... I loathe the character of "Toby Zeigler."
I don't know if it's how the character is written, or (more likely) how actor Richard Schiff portrays him, but I loathe him. From his very first scene in the very first episode where he's a total prick arguing with a flight attendant, to every other scene he's ever appeared in... I loathe him. He's an arrogant, obnoxious, irritating asshole that disrupts the "flow" of the show, and I wish there was a special feature on the DVDs that would allow you to view a version of each episode that's Toby-free. Something tells me it would be much better that way.
White: Snow has finally come, and this time it looks like it may stick around for a while. Hopefully at least long enough that we don't have a drought next summer. It seems that we get less and less snow every year, and it comes later and later. When I was a kid, the snow was so deep here we could tunnel under it. When my mom was young, it was so deep here they could jump off the roof into it. Now we're lucky to get 12 inches. Yes, global warming must be a myth.
Filibuster: I just passed episode 2.17 - The Stackhouse Filibuster - in my continuing marathon of West Wing episodes. I think this is my favorite so far. I don't remember seeing it when it was originally broadcast, so it was an even bigger treat. The look on the senator's face when he was near exhaustion and was asked to yield the floor for a question... well, it was television magic.
Henley: You can't buy any Don Henley on the iTunes Music Store! I find it kind of strange, however, that you can buy a huge chunk of the Eagles' stuff there. What's up with that? Even worse, two of the Eagles collections are dreaded "partial albums" and it gets stranger when you see how they've screwed up The Very Best of the Eagles... they chopped three songs out of "disc 2" (The Long Run, In The City, and Those Shoes) and then smooshed everything else together into two 15-track "discs" so it's impossible for a customer to figure out which tracks they will be missing if they purchase it (unless they are already familiar with the album, as I am). Now, I don't blame Apple, because they don't create the content... that's done by the record companies. But whoever is responsible needs to know that proper track numbering is important to maintain (especially when they've decided to not upload the entire album).
Memory: Earlier today I forgot which Metro station was the stop to visit Notre Dame in Paris. And I really hate it when I forget simple things like that. All I knew was that it started with a "C" and was probably something like "Citrus" or "Citron" or something. To Google it would be cheating, so I decided to forget about it and it would come to me. But it didn't. And so just now I decided to bite the bullet, only to find out that the answer was the "Cité" Metro stop. Argh.
Anybody who has read this blog for any length of time knows how much I love Betty White. Fortunately for the world at large, Betty shows no sign of slowing down and is making frequent guest appearances on various shows.
This past Friday, Betty was her usual brilliant self on a total crap show that I never watch called Complete Savages (directed by Mel Gibson, of all people... yes, the Mel Gibson). Of course, she totally owned. This time she played a horrible old lady with one leg who lives next door to the Savage family. Leave it to Betty to elevate an unwatchable show to watchability.
Adding to my Betty high, DVD Talk has posted a short (but no less terrific) interview with her on the release of the first season of Golden Girls on DVD, which you can read here.
Here's some previous Bettylicious posting on Blogography...
We need more Betty.
I had the afternoon off so I decided to catch up with my sleep, catch up with my laundry, and catch up with dozens of little things I've been putting off... like updating the layout for my blog. Nothing drastic, mind you, just a few changes to separate the content a little better. It's always bugged me that everything here isn't really contained, but floating all over the place. I also wanted a new header that could have swappable graphics (this time with cartoons!).
And then, fifteen minutes later, I've got it roughed out (thanks to the glory of CSS). Naturally, it looks fine in Safari and Firefox on my Mac (it usually does) but, the problem is always, always getting it to render properly in that bug-ridden pile of crap known as "Microsoft Windows Internet Explorer." It never fails... it takes just fifteen minutes to get what I want, and then I'll end up spending hours trying to make it work in Windows. Well, it's late, and I just don't have the heart to see how bad it looks in IE, so I guess that will have to wait until the weekend.
And, speaking of catching up, I also managed to watch yet another amazing episode of Veronica Mars from last night ("Annoy tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind!!"). This show is simply too good for television. Seriously, broadcast television doesn't deserve a show this perfect. Veronica Mars is deliciously complex, cleverly written, brilliantly acted, and shockingly addictive. I think it just might be my favorite show currently on television...
I can't imagine how they are going to manage to keep the intricate web of character relationships going for the entire season but, since Rob Thomas (of "Cupid" fame) is involved, I suppose I needn't worry about it. All I can do now is curse myself for not having saved every episode on my TiVo, and then wait patiently for new episodes to air next year.
Well crap! Showtime has cancelled Dead Like Me, which is easily one of the more inventive shows on television. I guess that means I can dump the channel, since the only reason I bought it in the first place was to watch this one show. It really pisses me off that they don't at least allow the creators of the show to wrap up all the loose ends, and Dead Like Me had more than most. It must really suck to be Bryan Fuller. This is the second utterly brilliant show of his to be cancelled (the other being the amazing Wonderfalls). I wonder if he'll just give up trying to create intelligent, thought-provoking shows and start creating crappy reality shows like everybody else.
In movie news, there's finally a trailer up for the adaptation of Frank Miller's Sin City... and does it ever look delicious! It would seem that they went for a literal adaptation of the comic's visual style, and I'm quite happy about that. Almost as happy as I am about the sweet hoteness that Miller & Rodriguez have lined up for the female cast (including a disturbingly sexy Alexis Bledel... Rory from Gilmore Girls is hot?!? Who knew?). Yowza! Sin City indeed...
Oh yeah, they've got some other guys in it you might have heard of before... Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Michael Madsen, Bruce Willis, Benicio Del Toro, and Elijah Wood. My gut tells me the film will be fabulous, but I can't help but be pessimistic about the film's chance at commercial success.
It really is too bad that the American population at large is so stupid when it comes to entertainment. It really would be nice to have decent shows on television and movies in our theaters.
I'm truly sorry, but I feel I must get serious for a moment because I have something serious to tell you. It is news that may surprise you, scare you, and shock you to the very core of your being. It may even cause you to question your faith in a higher power, or deny the fragile reality of our existence in this universe. There is something horrible going on. And, even though you may be blissfully ignorant of it as I was, it has been going on for some time now... eating at the very fabric of our society.
I am telling you this as a warning. If you would rather not be made aware of this heinous truth... if you would rather deny the sad inevitability of the horrors I would say to you... then do not scroll down this page!! Turn away now. Go no further. Leave this place of tragedy and ill omen! Just look at the picture of a cute kitten and abandon this blog thinking happy thoughts. Do not read past the kitten unless you are ready to be forever changed...
Are you still here? Are you sure you want to be here?
Okay then, here it is...
Tony Danza has a talk show.
I know. I know. I could not believe it either. My TiVo has this wonderful feature that let's you punch in a keyword and have it then record all television programs which contain that keyword in either the title or show description. One of the keyword sets on my list is "Teri Hatcher." Ever since rediscovering her sweet hotness on Desperate Housewives I've kind of had a thing for Ms. Hatcher's fine self and want to see more than what I can get Sunday nights from 9:00-10:00pm. Can you blame me?
Oooh... got kind of a Teri "fire and ice" thing going on there! Anyway, this morning as I was leaving for work, I noticed that TiVo was recording something. Curious to know what it might be, I turned on my television and there he was... Tony Danza with his own talk show.
You read that right... somebody is actually paying Tony Danza for intelligent conversation and witty banter. At first I was in denial. It couldn't be true. It must be some kind of horrible, horrible holiday prank. But oh no, a quick trip to The Futon Critic, and I see that the show is very real and has been since September. The Tony Danza Show is a frightening actual television program.
At first I clung to the hope that the idiotic characters he plays in shows like Taxi and Who's the Boss? was some kind of elaborate acting job. Surely to get his own talk show he must be a brilliant man with a savy intelligence and witty repertoire? So I washed the blood from my eyes caused by my brain starting to explode and proceeded to watch. But hope springs eternal, and Danza is just as unconvincing hosting an interview as he ever was as an actor. Even the delicious Teri Hatcher could not save him, and that's saying a lot. It's worse than you can possibly imagine... so much worse.
Oh well. I'm sure he's laughing himself to the bank... making more money an hour than I make in a year. I just continue to be dumbfounded that good shows Dead Like Me and Wonderfalls keep getting cancelled so we can put shit like Tony Danza on the air. WTF?!?