Friday, July 18, 2008

I don't suck!

Thanks much to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. Daily News for his all-too-kind article today on the radio show I co-host, Dodger Talk. Here's the link. He also includes more on his blog. That link can be found here.

This was sure a lot better than the review of BIG WAVE DAVE'S I received from Tom Shales where he basically said I single-handedly destroyed network television.


A Buck Short said...

Very VERY nice. But now I'll be up all night trying to figure out what the "Daily Breeze" is? Ultimately the best thing about the Hoffarth blog is to realize this is a PRINT guy, and even he doesn't want to slow down his train of thought to spellcheck "appetizer." Should put that discussion to rest for this medium of communications once and for all?

Stella Louise said...

Tom Shales also panned Friends and My Name is Earl when they first premiered. He's obviously not the best judge of comedy TV...

Tom Shales said...

TV Preview
"Big Wave Dave's": That Sinking Feeling
Tom Shales
The Washington Post
Aug 9, 1993. pg. B.01

We can think of "Big Wave Dave's" as not only a bad TV show but a harbinger of great disappointments to come. In that one wan way, it's the "Wave" of the future.

CBS is airing six episodes of the slack sitcom in "Love & War's" time slot starting tonight at 9:30 on Channel 9. Think of it as a grimly accurate fall preview: The malaise that sinks "Big Wave Dave's" is much in evidence in many of the new sitcoms that will be following it onto the air in just a few weeks.

It's tired, mechanical and formulaic. It's a reconditioned robot that runs around in circles and bumps into walls.

If you saw the movie "City Slickers," the premise will seem familiar: Three men living in Chicago decide to chuck it all and run away, opening a surf shop on the North Shore of Oahu. In "City Slickers," three guys decided to chuck it all, at least for a few weeks, and head off for a cattle ranch.

A surf shop isn't quite the same as a cattle ranch? True. But CBS programmers never sleep, at least not through hit movies. In September CBS premieres "Harts of the West," a sitcom about a 41- year-old man who uproots his family, chucks it all, and relocates to a ranch in Nevada. And on NBC, Valerie Bertinelli plays a perky cutie who chucks it all and moves to Paris in "Cafe Americain."

Perhaps this is to be The Season of Chucking It All.

Meanwhile, back at "Dave's," things get off to a sorry start. Hanging out at a bar during a Chicago blizzard, two of the friends laughingly make bets about how many people will die as a result of the terrible storm. The joke is especially unfunny in the wake of the tragic floods that have besieged the Midwest in recent weeks.

Somebody at CBS should have had the brains to cut the joke out. Though that is asking a lot.

"This is the lowest point of my life," mopes Adam Arkin as Marshall, a young lawyer. Arkin is presumably speaking in character and not as an excellent actor stuck in a dumb sitcom. A personable and slyly implosive presence, Arkin has to try too hard here to keep himself interested. His fans can take solace in the fact that "Dave's" is unlikely to live beyond the six trial episodes, so Arkin will be free to return to his recurring role in "Northern Exposure."

Marshall's two tag-along pals are a stockbroker named Dave (David Morse, formerly of "St. Elsewhere"), and a typing teacher named Richie (Patrick Breen, of the short-lived "Sunday Dinner"). When they get to Hawaii, in the second half of the premiere, they meet super- creepy Kurtwood Smith, who usually plays hit men or homicidal maniacs but here is supposed to be a macho ex-Marine.

He calls himself "Jack Lord," after the star of "Hawaii Five-0." Ha ha ha ha ha.

Only one person who might qualify as Hawaiian is seen in the premiere. She is played by Elsie Sniffen and identified in the credits as "Polynesian Girl." The producers' patronizing attitude toward Hawaii appears to be that it exists primarily for the amusement of spoiled white yuppies from the mainland.

Everybody babbles on about Ernest Hemingway, just as was done on "Key West," a fatuous Fox flop. May this show follow it to a watery grave.

There is one character on board who knows what's what and who's who and is played by someone possessing appropriate brisk authority: Jane Kaczmarek as Marshall's wife, Karen, also a lawyer and obviously much the smarter of the two. Indeed, she's smarter than anybody else in the show.

Kaczmarek has done a series before and she'll do one again. And one day, we can hope, she'll find herself in a vehicle worthier than "Big Bore Dave's."

KEN LEVINE said...

See? Was I wrong?

Thank you, Tom.

I recently posted the BIG WAVE DAVE'S pilot on this blog if anyone is interested.

But aside from the bad review (trust me, it's not the only one I've ever received) I'm honored that you read my blog. Please don't review it.

A. Buck Short said...

This is starting to feel like “Maritime Provinces” week on Wheel of Fortune for me, but Ken, you do have an opportunity to respond to Mr. Shales’ 15 year-old series challenge.

Outside Moncton, New Brunswick there is a natural wonder called The Amazing Tidal Bore. Never has a natural wonder been more aptly named. At high tide, the Bay of Fundy rises approximately 50 feet from its low ebb. The most extreme tidal difference in the world – not counting the time a pre-surgical Carnie Wilson impulsively cannonballed from the Beachboys’ sloop off Santa Catalina.

Twice a day the extreme tide brings the ocean in over the still outflowing water of the low-lying Pettitcodiac River. This causes a single wave to travel upriver across its full width until the ocean runs out of steam. Same thing at low tide but in the opposite direction.

Unaccustomed to traveling with nautical charts, hoards of tourists wait hours on end to observe this miracle of nature. One of the world’s most disappointing anticlimactic natural phenomenon. Perhaps bested only by New Brunswick’s Incredible Reversing Falls (pretty much the same deal). It’s times like that you actually wish your vacation destination at least included a House of Wax.

But why just tell you about it when we can show you.

OK, the video is a little more dynamic, but still not worth a six hour wait.

Anyway, this “Big Bore Dave’s” thing just might have legs with the Pettitcoddiac’s thriving river rafting industry. Plus you get the Canadian filming incentives, and the guy did seem to like “Northern Exposure.?

Obviously you wouldn’t post the column if you weren’t over it by now, but just in case please be aware that we have shales here in Dallas. Do you know what Chesapeake Energy
finds when they drill under the shales? Gasses.

Finally today's Yahoo news, I discovered another of thos "You know you're in Hollywood" moments: when the attorney for one of the parties refers to the Spears/Federlein custody agreement as a "deal memo."

Gnasche said...

I say we chuck all this writing, reviewing and blog reading and move to Wisconsin. My crusty-but-benign uncle owns a dairy farm up there. A beatiful young waitress with big aspirations works at the local diner, and, as I understand it, the neighbor is a bit wacky.

A. Buck Short said...

OK, I do get the Weekly Washington Post, and really also learned much from Live from New York. Guess I'm just embittered because I still can't figure out if the damned thing is pronounced "PULLitzer" or "PEWlitzer.

John said...

Marvin Kittman was always better than Tom Shales when it came to high-profile East Coast TV critics. And as far as post-game baseball shows go, I always set the low rung of the bar at John Sterling's old Yankees post-game effort on WMCA in the early 1970s, when you really weren't much of a caller unless he insulted and hung up on you (Sterling being to sports talk radio what Mark Levin is to political talk radio today).

VP81955 said...

And as far as post-game baseball shows go, I always set the low rung of the bar at John Sterling's old Yankees post-game effort on WMCA in the early 1970s, when you really weren't much of a caller unless he insulted and hung up on you (Sterling being to sports talk radio what Mark Levin is to political talk radio today).

Makes sense, because John Sterling is to play-by-play what Ted Baxter is to local TV news...with apologies to the fictional Ted. (Perhaps a Kenny Bania analogy would be better.) It says something about the innate strength of the Yankees brand that even a hack like Sterling can't destroy it.

(Also note that starting in the middle of the 2001 season, the promotions people at the Stadium have piped in a tape of Sterling's inane "The Yankeeees winnnn!" after every home victory. I think it's no coincidence that the Yankees haven't won a World Series since.)

Annie said...

Freely (I've got coupons *grin*)associating here with the term, Dodgers:

Back in the days when the Dodgers were from Brooklyn, the sotry goes that my grandparents were bridge partners with the O'Malleys. My grandfather was from the Cooperstown area and was a rabid fan before the dawn of basball, it seems (some very old black and white photos support this).

On the night of the bridge game in a tastefully decorated Flatbush apartment in which Walter O'Malley let slip to my grandparents over highballs that he was *gasp* hijacking the team to the wild west, legend has it that there was some sort of "physical altercation" in which suits were rumpled, dignities were bruised and which resulted in the O'Malleys being ejected from the Greens' apartment never to be seen again.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

A. Buck: love your posts, but please look up hoard and horde for the correct usage.

Wayne said...

A sports book I recommend. My Bat Boy Bays, Lessons I Learned from the Boys of Summer by Steve Garvey.

From from from 1956 to 1961, Garvey was a bat boy for the Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees and Detroit Tigers.

He tells stories about the following showing these virtues.

Pee Wee Reese leadership
Gil Hodges dignity
Carl Erskine honesty
Jackie Robinson passion
Duke Snider persistence
Roy Campanella compassion
Sandy Koufax faith
Mickey Mantle fortitude
Al Kaline perfection

Paul Duca said...

Didn't Garvey also learn from Mantle how to get a little something behind the wife's back?