Sunday, December 16, 2007

Break Me Off a Piece of....

James Clement from "Survivor: China" .



Photos courtesy: cbs.com

I stopped watching "Survivor" a long time ago because well...because why would you now that Bravo produces reality television? However, has anyone gotten a gander at this season's fine ass James, who just happens to be a gravedigger. (A little creepy, I know, but do you see this man's abs and killer smile. He's like Seal gone right! )If you read People--actually, no one really reads People. It's more like a picture book for the celebrity-obsessed and shallow. Yes, I am hinting for a gift subscription--you already know what I'm talking about as they named him "Sexy Man of the Week" a while back. They're flaunting the drool-worthy photo on the Survivor finale which I've been reduced to watching tonight during the commercial breaks for "Raising Helen" on AMC which is already an admittedly low place to start from.
Sure he's not the most verbose guy in the room and apparently he made the dumbest move in "Survivor" history by not using the immunity idol or necklace or mango--whatever that evil genius Burnett has dreamed up lately--but then with a six pack like his who needs conversation and a million?

Oh yeah, that feral looking little Todd dude won. Yay? Boo? Yawn.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Soul Sistas




Yo, New York! If you've been wondering why so many people ask you about your Muppet band and keep calling you Janice, I think I may know the reason why...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Dude! She's Your Mom...

I'm in the middle of one of those lovely mini "Real Housewives" marathons leading up to this week's new episode (Austin Scarlett will be flitting in to help Lauri pick out her wedding dress. Don't you love it when they crosspollinate these things?).

As usual, there's a whole lot of wrong going on but the wrongest of all has to be newest Housewife Tamra's ubercreepy relationship with her 21 year old son, Ryan who was spawned from a previous, poorer relationship. I'm pretty sure there's going to be an episode this season where they get it on...like with each other. When he's not grabbing her thong underwear out of the laundry basket and showing them to his friends, she's playfully grabbing his ass during a night out drinking together. Shudder...

Tamra's rich hubby Simon either jealously glares at Ryan while all this is going on or displays textbook male "this here's my poontang. Back off" behavior. Who knew a Bravo reality show and Shakespeare could have so much in common.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Let's Get Game Shows Off the Pole


I don’t like to be quizzed. Nor am I a board game enthusiast. I don’t solve crossword puzzles in my spare time. I’d rather look out the window and daydream as the graffitied rocks of the Bronx and train station billboards whiz by my Metro North window. It should come as no surprise then that prime-time game shows are not this avid television watcher’s favorite genre. It ranks with science fiction as one of those elements of television life that generally speaking doesn’t make a dent. In my world, where my remote is a sort of magic wand, I’m free to banish the bare-headed Howie Mandel and his bevy of “Deal or No Deal” beauties to dwell in the periphery, at an unceasing and benign distance.


I didn’t always feel this way. Casting my television memory back to the 1980s, it’s clear that the daytime game shows I grew up with were a different animal. They were chummier than their 21st century, nocturnal counterparts. In most cases, “goofy” would not be inaccurate. But hey, it wasn’t 1990 yet. We hadn’t all gotten the memo from Quentin Tarantino that everything we did had to look like a nerd’s version of cool.

I wasn’t a daily watcher of “The Price is Right” but I understood the feel good place it was coming from, ditto for Dick Clark and his “$25,000 Pyramid” or Vicki Lawrence and Jim Jay Bullock and their giant paper easel on “Win, Lose or Draw”. Though I was never a die hard fan of these shows, their existence was okay by me. I occasionally tuned in to watch with a wary but amused eye, the way you would an increasingly senile grandparent who tells charming stories of a time you can’t imagine really existed and is prone to profanities and random bouts of narcolepsy. Among the game show hosts of that time, Richard Dawson, the original host of “The Family Feud”, looms large. Here was true “cool” personified. He didn’t need a dramatically dark set and busy lighting to tell us so. Dawson was simultaneously gallant and lewd with his famous on-the-mouth smooching of his female contestants who never seemed to mind.

But why dwell in the past when we’ve got greats like Jeff Foxworthy and Joey Fatone to fawn over? Wow…Joey Fatone. How did it all go so horribly wrong? Normally, I wouldn’t even waste my time worrying about the state of the American game show. They’ve always been safely relegated to the fringes. Except, this winter, with the writers’ strike reaching an ugly standstill, I fear that the winter schedules so thick with new prime time game shows will make a run-in inevitable. This new crop of programming continues the trend towards startlingly low brow, besting the likes of “Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader”, with gems like, “The Moment of Truth” which has contestants answering questions like “Do you really care about the starving children in Africa?” while hooked up to a lie detector.

Have we really reached the point where even our game shows have to become sordid? They’ve morphed from endearing grandparent to that second cousin no one talks about with a meth twitch, questionable hygiene and the inability to chew with his mouth closed. Where have you gone, Chuck Woolery? You said you’d be back in two and two.

Monday, December 03, 2007

How the Grinch Stole Television - The AMPTP is way into slogans


With any luck, by the time this column has reached your pretty, overworked little eyeballs Oh Reader from the Future, the writers' strike of '07 will be a thing of the past, a relic from another time like the Dead Sea Scrolls or Larry King. Sure, this might upset some people who have this crazy obsession with being "timely" but pshaw, look on the bright side, man. This pretty much makes you like Indiana Jones of the Information Superhighway, except you've got softer hands and aren't able to pull off the khaki fedora without looking like a major tool. But that's what locked doors are for. Am I right, friend?

Sadly, it's more likely that a discussion of the writers' strike will still be all too timely. Tonight will be another night without stars—well not fresh stars anyway, all the late night shows are still in reruns—and who wants to live in a world where nighttime has the same stars night in and night out. Can you imagine if we had to keep using the same stars every night? I'm talking about the real kind now. That just doesn't sound sanitary. Used stars. Puts one in the mind of Courtney Love. Where's my Purell?

In case you've been trying really hard to be out of it and you've made a remarkable success out of that endeavor, let me fill you in on what's going down. Once upon a time, the networks were like, "Hey, writers, can you like make the stuff we plan on getting filthy rich off of?" And the writers are all, "Sure, Rupert & Sumner and co., can you float me some cash for it though cause like Macs and neurosis ain't cheap." And the networks were all like, "Yeah here's a percentage for every time we make money off your stuff. Let's call it a residual." For a long time peace reigned. Then Al Gore came along Doc Brown style and was like, "Ta Dah. Internet."

As with all new-fangled technologies, the media conglomerates approached the new Bright and Shiny warily. They shook it upside down, poked sticks at it and held it up to the light—none of which is easy while holding a monocle to your eye—trying to determine which end the money came out of. Finally, they figured something out. They would put content on the Internet, full episodes of their shows—in some cases even special webisodes and the money would come from where the money always comes from—ads. The tv bigwigs were so sure of the cash cow they'd stumbled upon that they sued Internet cool kids Google and YouTube that were giving people the means to watch what the nets produced without paying them for it. Why does that sound familiar? Here's where things get curious. The writers were like "Internet residuals? Yes, please." And the TV studios said, "It's mine, mine, all mine." And it was hard to have a logical conversation with them because they kept diving into their sea of gold coins and spitting pearls any time the writers would try to get a word in. Really rather rude. Thus began The Great Writers' Strike of '07.

Until last week, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers (AMPTP) had remained smugly mum. It was as if the writers were petulant precocious children whose ridiculous strike and media blitz they weren't going to dignify with a response. However with public opinion falling majorly on the side of the Writers Guild of America (WGA), thanks to clever internet campaigns waged by sites like unitedhollywood.com and the backing of celebrities, the AMPTP decided to put up their dukes. Their attempts at diminishing the WGA have only made them look at worst like arrogant, condescending purveyors of corporate greed and at best like the uptight and hopelessly out of touch bespectacled PC guy of the popular Mac vs. PC commercials. And file this under creepy: in an Orwellian move the AMPTP actually gave their most recent offer for the WGA a name. Yes, boys and girls, step right up and get a gander at The New Economic Partnership. What will they come up with next, "Shock and Underwhelm"?