So, a few weeks back I posted the “best of” clip that had been making the rounds, but someone finally posted the entire Jamie Kennedy-hosted KDOC New Years Eve special. Seeing it in its entirety, I think the editing of that clip really contributed to its “trainwreck” status. When watched as a whole, it’s not THAT bad. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not great television, but it’s kinda what you’d expect from a UHF channel with no budget. It’s clearly a giant commercial for Carl’s Jr, but outside of a few technical difficulties, it’s really just marred by F-List celebrity appearances. I mean, when was the last time Shannon Elizabeth was relevant? I’ll say, however, that the musical performances were actually kinda good. Macy Gray really delivers during her set, and that’s not something I ever thought I’d say. And Bone Thugs just seemed happy that someone wanted them to perform somewhere. Sure, no one was manning the censors, but that was hardly the end of the world, as no one was watching this thing unless it was on in a hospital waiting room and folks had lost the remote. The worst part, honestly, is a tie: the skits promoting the Commerce Casino were lacking until the very last one AND they seemed to seek out REALLY HOT representatives for their causes who neither have a grasp on the English language, nor do they seem comfortable on television. Based on how we report these things, it’ll go down in history as THE WORST NEW YEARS SPECIAL EVAR!!! but I think folks were being unfair. I was going to post the link to the full thing, but it’s been snatched again. Womp womp.
Because I tend to lag behind the rest of the world (I hate hype, so if you tell me something’s good, I’ll do my best to avoid it), I finally sat down and watched the UK version of The Office. I went into this expecting to hate it, as Ricky Gervais has simply evolved into such an unlikable character in recent years, but I really enjoyed it. I’ve said it before, but I’m always amazed how UK shows manage to make you care about characters and story in a mere 6-10 episodes per season. Cable’s getting better at it, but you walk away from UK shows thinking, “Wow, was that really only 6 episodes?!” There are also different forces at work, though. The US likes to milk a concept for as long as possible, while UK likes to stop while they’re ahead. Also, there’s the business angle: US have to attract advertisers, while the BBC is publicly funded. 22 episodes of How I Met Your Mother would be a lot more exposure for Olive Garden than 6 episodes.
That UK model really comes across here – 12 episodes and a special were ENOUGH. I think of all the obstacles and foolishness we had to endure for Jim & Pam, when Tim & Dawn’s courtship was paced perfectly. We didn’t need to see their wedding, or babies, or Dawn trying her hand at sales. Gareth doesn’t devolve into the cartoon that is Dwight Schrute. The Michael/Toby animosity is more logically replaced by David/Neil. Speaking of David Brent, who decided that Steve Carell was the one to play that role? Michael Scott has heart, and the first few seasons show that he simply didn’t know he shouldn’t say certain things. David Brent, however, is self-centered and insecure. He’s slightly deluded, and somewhat malicious in the attempt to “fake it until he makes it”. Michael Scott is more akin to Sheldon Cooper while David Brent is George Costanza. The thing is George Costanza was never a leader, so you begin to fear for what’s going to happen under Brent’s leadership, especially as he continues to delude himself even more. Once you get to the Christmas special, you’re starting to think “He’s going to kill himself before this is all over.” Anyway, the series leaves you wanting more, while respecting your intelligence enough to know that you don’t need more.
This week, I also found myself watching good night, and good luck. I used to be a whore about Hollywood Video’s used DVD sales, so I’ve owned this thing for years, but never sat down to watch it. I remember all the awards buzz for it, but I was greatly disappointed. First off, the forced black & white didn’t really fit because it was a post-production effect. Also, it’s sad, but I sat there thinking “Mad Men does a much better job at capturing this era.” I think my main problem, though, is that I just can’t really wrap my head around McCarthyism. It really seems like one of those things you had to live through to understand. As I said on Twitter, it really seems like, for one brief moment in time, certain white people understood the fear inherent in “passing”.
I recently discovered Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing radio show. He has some really great discussions with people you don’t always get to hear in this format. So far, I’ve listened to his interviews with Judd Apatow, Chris Rock, Billy Joel, and SNL writer Paula Pell. They’re not all promoting something, so it allows for a good chat about anything and everything. Baldwin’s surprisingly good in the host chair, but he has a tendency to interrupt guests. I don’t have too much of an issue with it, as I’ve heard podcasts do a worse job of that. I’ll say the biggest issue is that the show lengths are inconsistent, and then endings just sneak up on you. Some episodes don’t come to a natural coda in the conversation. It could just as easily be going to commercial, but it’s actually the end of the show. You’re left thinking, “Is that it?”, but I guess it’s a good thing if you wanted more.
I love Happy Endings, and it needs your help, but we’re not going to talk about that now. No, I want you to know about the other best show you’re not watching (because the folks scheduling TBS are drunk), Wedding Band. Starring David Silver and the black guy from Lost, it’s a comedy about a wedding band called “Mother of the Bride”. David Silver is the womanizer, Lost black dude is the black womanizer, who’s also a session musician for real artists, there’s a fake Jack Black, and a milquetoast (that word’s not used nearly enough anymore). They work for Jan Levenson-Gould (who doesn’t get nearly enough credit for her cougar status), who runs a big time party planning operation. So, every episode features the band getting more involved than they should in the lives of the people they’re playing for, meanwhile trying to pull off some caper behind Jan’s back, and David Silver typically bangs the hottest guest star of the episode. The humor is kinda sophomoric, but it still has heart. Also, the band puts their own spin on popular hits that you’re familiar with (that are also available on iTunes). My biggest problem, as mentioned before, is the scheduling aspect. TBS airs new episodes on Saturday at 10 PM. The core audience of this show ain’t watching Saturday at 10 PM! That’s like if BET aired new episodes of The Game Sundays at 11 AM. Hell, I love this show, and I’ve gone three weeks entirely forgetting that it’s on. Sure, I can set a “season pass” on the DVR, but I was born when Reagan was in the White House. I’m used to hitting Record 15 seconds into a show. I’m just old fashioned like that. Anyway, the season finale airs tomorrow night, and I hope it’s done well enough that it gets a season 2.
This Week’s Posts:
And, as always, be sure to check out Will’s World of Wonder for all your toy & collectible needs!