"The Clip Show" / The TV Whore
May 12, 2006
TV Reviews | May 12, 2006 | Comments ()
Welcome back to another episode of “The Clip Show.” Following, you will find some random comments, rants and ponderings about various things TV. If you’re too busy watching “American Idol” to read this article, I understand — it would appear that nothing is capable of competing with the ratings of the “AI” juggernaut.
I’m just not that Desperate — OK, so here’s the thing. I rarely give up on television shows anymore. I work from home, which means that I pretty much have the TV on all day, and I can therefore watch a ton of TiVo’d shows that I might not watch if I had a normal office job and my television time was a bit more precious. As a result, I still watch shows like “Alias” (shows that I used love but that have become shadows of their former selves) or “Bones” (shows that are competent enough, but nothing to write home about). But a girl’s still gotta have her limits, and “Desperate Housewives” has now exceeded those limits. As of this moment, its entitlement to a Season Pass in my household has been revoked. I only started watching the show last season because of the pre-premiere hype. And while I didn’t love the show, I didn’t disdain it either — it was good for the occasional laugh, and the storylines kept me interested enough. Plus, it was a pop culture phenomenon, and I love keeping up to date with things that are in the public consciousness. But I can’t say any of these things about it anymore. It’s become boring, self-indulgent, melodramatic tripe and I just can’t even bare it anymore. For your own sanity, if you’ve been watching, I suggest you follow you to me the Promised Land and just give up on this bitch now. [Author’s note: per the comment below, perhaps it’s supposed to be “bear” rather than “bare,” but I’ll leave it to you to decide if I made a simple typo, a Freudian slip, or meant what I typed.]
Night of the Living Reality Show — We’ve got a trilogy of reality show staples throwing new seasons at us this week. First there’s “The Apprentice,” coming on Mondays instead of Thursdays (Mondays, 9 p.m., NBC). In light of the fact that this show has been on a steady decline season-to-season, this past week’s Donald Trump vs. Martha Stewart flap has the stink of a Hollywood PR rep’s grimy hands all over it. I would bet dollars to donuts that some Burnett or NBC exec told Trump to fire off shots at Stewart, knowing she wouldn’t let them simply slide, and that they’d get themselves some free publicity. Well played, kids, well played. Of course, this doesn’t mean that the show itself will be any good. I even thought about not bothering with it this time around, but since the only other thing on Monday nights right now is “24,” I need something to watch during the doldrums of Tuesday afternoon. Plus, it gives me another show that I can bitch and moan about sucking, so that’s always good.
Dawn of the Reality Show — The second reality show coming back to life is “The Amazing Race” (Tuesdays, 9 p.m. this week but then 10 p.m. regularly, CBS), hopefully with all remnants of the atrocious “Race Around The Family Room” edition washed clean. I have every expectation that it will return to its good ways because there are no annoying kids this time around and, more importantly, everyone involved seems to understand the folly of their attempt and have recommitted to doing what works. So here’s to hoping this show is, to borrow a friend’s description of things that are good, tits. And unlike “The Apprentice,” I will be watching this one live (as much as I love the TiVo, if the competitive reality shows are worth their salt, I’ll still watch live — only “The Amazing Race” and “Survivor” generally meet that standard for me anymore).
Day of the Reality Show — Finally, season who-the-hell-knows of “The Real World” (Tuesdays, 10 p.m., MTV) is being thrown at us, this time coming from Key West. I used to watch this show religiously, but I find myself becoming more and more detached every season. It’s probably due in part to my getting older, but I can’t blame it entirely on that because I still love the “Real World/Road Rules Challenges.” Ever since the Las Vegas season, “The Real World” just hasn’t been that entertaining to me, even though the bar for “entertaining” for these shows is very low. I suspect that I’ll end up doing the same thing with this one that I did with the last season (which I have already forgotten the city of) — I’ll probably try to watch it when I can think of it, but won’t bother giving it a beloved Season Pass. Unless there’s rampant sex, alcohol abuse, and arrests.
Fuck the FCC — According to various news reports from last week, any day now the FCC is going to impose sanctions against Fox, NBC, and CBS for various “indecencies.” These are going to be the first such penalties imposed by the FCC in about a year, since the new Chairman Kevin Martin took over from Michael Powell last March. Apparently these sanctions and rulings will also include a list of more words that can’t be used on television including “a four letter synonym for excrement” which I suppose is either “shit” or “crap,” which is exactly what these ruling will be.
Yes, dear, I am a geek — I am giddy as a school girl that ABC has picked up a drama series called “Masters of Science Fiction.” The purpose of this show, which is set to consist of at least four one-hour episodes, is to feature the works of many well known sci-fi authors, and they’re currently in negotiations with, among others, the Isaac Asimov and Robert Heinlein estates, and Harlan Ellison. Huzzah! Heinlein’s work has routinely been abused by Hollywood, and I’m going to pretend that I, Robot never happened, so I really have no cause for celebration or expectation of anything but the same ol’ schlock. But like a moth to the flame, I’m excited anyway, and will tune in and hopefully not be disappointed (but at least if I am, it will provide for excellent Pajiba-style ranting).
It doesn’t mean I’m going to eat their chicken, but still — Props to KFC, which has put out a new commercial geared towards TiVo by including a hidden message that entitles you to a free sandwich, but which can only be seen when the commercial is watched frame-by-frame. I haven’t seen the ad itself, but I know it got a lot of online discussion last week in the TV and tech circles, and KFC got itself some solid word-of-mouth advertising out of it. Anyway, the reason I’m giving KFC some props is because it shows a willingness to work with new technology, rather than just crying about it, which is so often the case these days.
It doesn’t mean I’m going to watch the show, but still — NBC has put the pilot to its new show, “Conviction,” up on iTunes, two weeks before its network premiere. I think this is a fantastic idea. I haven’t actually watched the show yet, although I did download it, but again, big ups to NBC for taking advantage of new technology. I would actually like to see networks take this a step further. During the despair of summer-network TV, why not post some of the pilots they’re thinking about giving orders to, and testing the waters. Granted, the demographic is somewhat smaller, in location and age, than what the networks are interested in as far as the big picture goes, but it would still give them free input and advertising. Hey big networks — if any of you want to hire me as your Technology Marketer, I got a ton of ideas like this!
A friendly reminder — There are several shows, three new and one returning, hitting the airwaves next month, and I’d be remiss in not mentioning them. On March 12, HBO brings back “The Sopranos” after what seems like an eight year absence. I’m cautiously optimistic that it will be a good season, as they allegedly build up towards a series wrap-up when the second half of this season airs next January. This optimism is strengthened by the fact that I thought the last season (which I’ve been watching reruns of just to remind myself what the fuck happened) was a marked improvement from what came before. Following this, HBO hits us with a new show, “Big Love,” about a polygamist and his three wives. Looks like it has potential, and I’ll always give new HBO shows a shot, since they succeed more often than they fail.
In addition to the HBO stuff, CBS puts out “The Unit,” starting next Tuesday (March 7). I’ve read mixed things about the show itself, but it’s brought to us by David Mamet and just as I’ll always give HBO shows a try, I’ll always give a shot to anything new from Mamet. The next night, March 8, F/X premieres “Black. White,” the documentary show about a white family and black family that are put into each other’s shoes. I don’t know what the show itself will amount to, but it’s certainly an interesting premise and may be worth a check-see.
We interrupt this frakking rant — I was going to conclude this edition of “The Clip Show” with a bit of a rant against “Battlestar Galactica” and the turn it’s taken in the second half of season two. I even had two long paragraphs of notes that I was going to include. But then I got around to watching this week’s episode, “Downloaded,” and all just may be forgiven. This week was fucking fantastic, top to bottom, and it gives me hope that the season is going to ride out on a high-note. I’ve decided to save my criticisms until all is said and done, and I’ll probably devote a full column to the show once the second season is under wraps. But in the meantime, I just wanted to give a big thumbs-up to this week’s episode, especially the spectacular use of Baltar as Caprica Six’s snarky imaginary friend.
You can thank me later — Finally, I leave you with this website,which could save your life if you’re ever abducted by aliens. Cheers.
Seth Frelich is a television columnist for Pajiba. He lives in Washignton, D.C. and couldn’t be happier that summer “intern season” is finally here.