Tag Archives: tv

This Show Is the Bomb (I mean, I hope it bombs)

Yesterday I was ushered out of Columbus Circle by NYPD officers while the bomb squad investigated a suspicious package left under a bench near the central fountain. Then I came home and saw on TV a commercial for a new Amazing Race-ish game show Take the Money and Run.

Call me prude, but in this if-you-see-something-say-something age is it really appropriate to produce a show that encourages contestants to hide a locked steel suitcase from investigators? Here, citizen, take this unmarked package and bury it somewhere. Stash it out of sight. And show America the best way to elude authorities while you do it. Moreover: Parody criminality for profit.

There’s a lot of value in that case. But what happened to values?

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The Dangers of Secondhand Seinfeld

Help! I'm too fat to watch this!

Folks have been decrying the deleterious effects of TV for decades — so how did it take this long before someone realized that the tube could turn your brain to mush by proxy?

Harvard researchers this week published a study showing that Fijian teenage girls were more likely to have an eating disorder if their friends own television sets, whether or not they have one themselves. Continue reading

It’s Always Sunny Sells Out in Season Six

When your favorite band — that one you knew since they pressed their first seven inch back in high school — sells out it’s easy to get a little outraged. And it feels entirely justifiable, in a music-snob, self-righteous kind of way. If you’re talking about a TV show, however, one on a mid-tier network that’s already in its sixth season, it’s harder to dignify indignation.

While I can appreciate Coors Light signing on to sponsor FX’s It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the product placement in last night’s season six premier was jarring. Between the Coors bottles, napkins and napkin holders, images of tapped Rockies were present in every shot from the bar.

Distracting for sure, but at least germane. When Dennis and Dee arrange a meeting with their high school crushes at a Subway, though, it’s just silly. The signage is absurd. And they’re there for breakfast. Breakfast? Even if there was some compelling reason within the show’s script to explain why they’d go to Subway, why the fuck would anyone — let alone two drunks without day jobs — go at breakfast?

Oh, that’s right: 

Subtle.

Well, I guess It’s Always Sunny has never been about subtlety. Nor has the advertising world. So maybe it’s a perfect union. I’m sure the characters, our degenerate friends Dee, Dennis, Mac, Charlie and Frank, would sell out in a flash if given the chance.

(Mini review of the season opener: Good. Not amazing, but good. Frank asking the tranny if she had to sell her dick to China? Awesome.)

Breaking News: Fake News 1 Bazillion Times More Watchable and Trustworthy than Real News

Yeah, yeah, yeah, the Daily Show is better than the real news. We all know this already. It’s smarter and more insightful despite being, you know, comedy. Well, I’ve got something to add to the list of reasons it’s better: Integrity.

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The clip above is from earlier this week. It’s an absolutely brilliant, terrifically funny and fundamentally terrifying bit on Fox News’s ties to the potential jihad-jockey who’s potentially involved in funding the potential “Ground Zero Mosque,” and who definitely has a financial stake in the Murdoch company. The discussion segues into a debate of Evil versus Stupid; is Fox News one or the other? I’m inclined toward the former, as the latter — as you’ll see in this clip — is just too unbelievable. But who says stupidity and evil are mutually exclusive? In any case, an utter lack of integrity is hard to argue with.

Last night Stewart hosted NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg to discuss the plans for the Muslim center in Lower Manhattan. It was an interesting and entertaining talk, and I think Bloomberg was calmly persuasive, though he glazed over the emotional aspects a little too easily. (For my part, I’m fully in support of the project as well, but that is the one point on which I have trouble holding ground in discourses about it — throw a a crying family at me and my edgy wit withers ever so slightly.)

At the very end of the segment, in a quick back and forth just before the commercial break when most viewers were likely tuning out, Stewart mentions that he and the Daily Show staff are hosting a benefit dinner for Bloomberg’s foundation. A little friendly banter, a nice way to end an interview. Or is it much more than that?

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I don’t think Stewart was just shooting the shit, I think he was walking the walk. He was, in a subtle way, presenting a disclaimer of having ties to Mr. Bloomberg, his guest. He was doing exactly what he showed Fox to be too stupid or too evil to do: acknowledge a connection between the broadcast and a subject of the broadcast.

Stewart, with his team of goofy sidekicks, holds himself to a standard of a legitimate news organization, a standard that our “legitimate news organizations” often fall short of. Through parody and farce he displays a model of what our Fourth Branch should strive to be. Oh, and he does it sitting down, too.

CNN, et al Ridiculous, SNL Reports

Ug. Spare me.

TV news is getting harder and harder to watch. I’m not talking about the natural disasters, personal miseries and constant flow of global atrocities. It’s the  stations, anchors and correspondents that make me want to tune out. I long for the days when newsmen sat at a desk and told you what you needed to know.  Why is it in vogue for anchors to stand up all the time? Is it supposed to make the news more fun? It doesn’t. Sit down, please, just sit the hell down. Easy on the banter. Standing and chatting doesn’t draw me into the conversation and you’re not half as charming or witty as you think you are. Quit it with the queer sound effects and Top 40 songs. And spare me the citizen journalism; if I want to get my information from some amateur shmo with a goofy handle I’d go online.

The Internet is also where anonymous tweets and personal-opinion emails need to stay. “‘We need better healthcare reform,’ says @robbyray” is not news and I don’t care what Carol29 thinks about Tiger’s divorce. Astonishingly, Saturday Night Live pretty much hit it on the head this weekend. Spot on. Funny? Meh. But spot on:

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Way to go with the astute commentary, guys. Anchors, take note.

It’s Cool to Know Other People Think about This Stuff, Too

Anyone who’s a fan of NBC’s Thursday night line up has likely noticed that while The Office might have jumped the shark when it let Pam and Jim get together and tried to give the former “depth,” newcomers Community and Amy Poehler’s Parks and Recreation have significantly stepped it up after faltering first seasons. (Naturally, 30 Rock is still gold. Just gold.)

Community has really grown on me. Joel McHale, E!’s cute and witty nearly-Talk-Soup host, does a great job in the lead role. And Ken Jeong — remember the crazy naked Chinese guy from The Hangover? — has hit his stride as the quasi-evil Señor Chang. And of course, there’s Chevy Chase, who’s almost being written to adequately. But it’s probably pop-culture obsessed Abed, played by Danni Pudi, who gets me the most. At the end of each episode, he and Troy (Donald Glover) close up the show with 30 seconds of bizarre but understated hilarity that makes it seem like they’ve been a comedy team for years, though I can find no evidence that they have.

This one killed me. It combines three of my favorite things: Batman, candy and talking about candy. Hard to beat that. Enjoy.

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CNN and NBC Get Nasty On Air

CNN’s really going all out to cover this Austin plane crash story. So all out, in fact, that they’re apparently Googling for anything they can find on the suicide pilot Joseph Andrew Stack. And, yes, of course they’re using to the fullest all the technology in the newsroom, from the shmancy big board to desktop PCs. Sometimes, though, when you’re toggling between windows, you might accidentally broadcast more than you meant to. Like search results that include music from the A-Team and the song title “Last Real Nigga Left.”

The broadcaster realized it and quickly opened a new window, but you can’t be too fast for my DVR.

A similar R-rated misstep took place  last night during NBC’s Olympic coverage. It had just become clear that Shaun White had won the gold, and the cameras were rolling at the top of the hill as the news set in and he prepared for a victory run down the pipe. You could clearly hear White say “I can’t ride right now!” and wonder aloud if he should just ride through the middle. You could also hear his coach, once White decided to showcase his crazy McTwist, tell him to “stomp the shit out of it.”

Sometimes I really love live TV.