Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tom Bosley, Bristol Palin, Jenny McCarthy, and Cliff Lee

Miscellaneous thoughts or “Attention-deficit blogging”:

Bristol Palin finally got raves from the DWTHS judges this week…for performing in a gorilla suit.

What an awful week for sitcom parents. First Barbara Billingsley (June Cleaver) passes away and now Mr. C., Tom Bosley of HAPPY DAYS. He was a lovely man.

Explain to me why ABC says COUGAR TOWN is a hit when last week MODERN FAMILY finished 18th and COUGAR TOWN finished 46th.  

JACKASS 3D unseated SOCIAL NETWORK as the top box office film this weekend. Now that Aaron Sorkin has graciously contributed to this blog, maybe Johnny Knoxville will write a piece for me responding to concerns about his treatment of “midgets”.

Best-written show on network television is THE GOOD WIFE. And it’s getting better. But it’s like Christine Baranski is in a different show. Everyone else is so nuanced and subtle and she’s Norma Desmond on Mountain Dew.

With the Giants now up on the Phillies two games to one in the NLCS, they’re going baseball crazy in San Francisco. Ticket scalpers are getting top dollar for kayak space.

Is it just me or is DEXTER not clicking this year? I used to love his internal narration. He was always wrestling with his inability to fit into society. Now he’s giving you a laundry list of things to do today. Dump the body, buy baby oil, get over to the deserted shack before the girl he drugged wakes up. I might as well be watching JERSEY SHORE.

Plus I miss Julie Benz.  Why couldn't the Trinity Killer have offed Angel & Maria instead?   Their subplot is so unengaging I'd rather just watch Dexter cut up the bodies and stuff them into bags. 

ABC just cut V’s order to X.

Self-proclaimed sex and romance expert Jenny McCarthy has a new book out. Love, Lust & Faking It: The Naked Truth About Sex, Lies and True Romance. In what is maybe the most informative advice book since Teri Hatcher’s, Ms. McCarthy strongly advocates honesty in a relationship, even if it sometimes is very difficult to do. She gave a personal example (re he and her new boyfriend Jason Toohey) in a recent interview to PEOPLE magazine. "If he wants Chinese [food] and I don't, I say it." Wow! Say what you will, the woman has courage.

Has BIG BANG THEORY gotten really silly this year?  I fear that show has "Jumped the Superorder Selachimorpha".

Remember when the President of the United States coming to your town was a big honor?  Now it's a fucking nightmare if you live in Los Angeles.  Last time President Obama was here it resulted in massive gridlock.   Well, this Friday he's baaaack!!  If he even dreams of winning California again he best be tooling around in a Kia. 

Hey TBS, if you’re going to replace Chip Caray with someone who’s not a real baseball announcer, why not just let Conan do it?

Isn’t this an incredible photo? Taken during last week’s spectacular thunderstorm.

On CASTLE Monday night Nathan Fillion had to say this line after seeing a murder victim with a syringe puncture: “Looks like someone gave her 20 C.C.’s of death.”   As my daughter Annie said: "David Caruso is angry he didn't get to deliver it."

Cliff Lee just cost the Yankees game three of the ALCS and probably another $20 million in the contract they’re going to have pony up to get him.

I’ve given up on BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

Scott Caan steals HAWAII 5-0. The watchword all over town will soon be “Book Dano!”.

Bob Uecker – get well soon.

Mel Gibson will appear in HANGOVER 2. Unless he’s eaten by a tiger (for real) I have no interest in seeing it. And even then, it better be graphic.

42 comments:

Emmett Flatus said...

Again this week that dancing show on ABC that precedes Castle ran seven minutes long. Evidently ABC is clueless that some viewers record their shows and that recording devices rely on the published times to start and stop so Castle was chopped. At least ABC does have some shows available online.

Laci said...

i haven't watched Dexter yet this season.... and I was wondering if it was going to go downhill since Clyde Phillips left... I am glad that I didn't pony up the extra $7 for showtime this season.

Steven said...

The announces doing the championship series on TV don't hold a candle to Jon Miller and Dan Shulman on ESPN radio. Joe Buck is OK but he's so polished that he's afraid to sell big game moments by showing any degree of emotion, plus he's brought down by Tim McCarver. A couple of years ago Buck admitted on radio that he thought baseball was slow and took too much effort to follow over the course of the year when compared to the NFL so I don't even know why he's still doing the games. Get somebody in there who cares about the game!

I think Ernie Johnson only got the job for the ALCS because he's been affiliated with turner sports for a number of years and it's obvious he doesn't seem to have the greatest rapport with Darling and Smoltz. It really bugs me how Smoltz only provides mainly pitching related analysis and leaves the bulk of the work to Darling.

Scott H said...

I got through 3 episodes of "Boardwalk Empire" before I bailed. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one. "Well produced" does not equal "entertaining" or "absorbing".

Ken, did you ever work with Tom Bosley? It sounded like you spoke from personal experience. I'd love to hear about any professional interaction you had with him.

Troy said...

"THE BIG BANG THEORY" has now become "THE SHELDON SHOW".

Get ready for the 2-part episode where Sheldon jumps a cybernetic shark with a Segway.

Troy

Warren Z said...

Hi Ken, Friday question for ya.

If you were to write for a show like Modern Family, where every episode is based around a theme (sometimes loosely, sometimes not so much), would you start by determining the theme, and then work out each of the storylines from there? Or would you figure out the plots first and tweak them, if you need to, to fit a particular theme?

Many thanks.

PatGLex said...

Agree with Steven about Miller/Shulman. I usually only manage to listen to the games on radio driving back home anyway. The TV games are oh so deadly.

And: agree with you on Scott Caan. When I saw the pilot, I gravitated to him first. [I'm not an Alex O'Laughlin fangirl.] I enjoy his take on Danny a lot. Can't wait to see where he goes from here.

Phillip B said...

Back when WGN-TV was using a series of celebrities to fill during Harry Carey's recovery from a stroke, Tom Bosley did a Cubs game with Steve Stone.

I read that Bosley actually went to Iowa and did two Triple A games to prepare. Always thought that showed amazing character and good judgement - and I hope you did get to know him.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen my recorded Castle yet. You mean I'm going to lose the ending, where they reveal the killer?

Tell me what happens, and I'll check back after I watch the beginning.

J Lee said...

Fun -- or really depressing -- trivia fact -- the four expansion teams that entered MLB in the 1961-62 seasons have as many combined World Series titles as the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Florida Marlins. And the Rangers (nee Senators) and Angels combined have one WS appearance in 50 years ... which is still better than the Giants, who haven't won anything since Willie's basket catch in the Polo Grounds in '54.

Based on that, it's hard to root for either the Phils or Yanks to come back, though I'm sure the Fox Broadcasting people will be jumping off the building and onto 48th Street if the end up with the Texas-San Francisco Series (I can see the Foxies pleading with Bud Selig to allow both teams to re-activate Nolan Ryan and Barry Bonds just to bump up the ratings a bit)

jbryant said...

BOARDWALK EMPIRE has indeed been a frustrating experience. FWIW (probably not much) I thought last week's episode was possibly the best yet, with much stronger writing and, particularly, direction than previous weeks. And speaking of midgets, the little people in that episode were, to a man, superb actors. The show should be about them instead of Don Knotts IS The Godfather (no disrespect to the great Buscemi).

Anonymous said...

Are you not having a Sitcom Room seminar this year? I missed out last and have been kicking myself since.

Armando

Jeff said...

Speaking of jumping the shark - Community did this Space Simulator thing that was weird -

Get back to campus!

amyp3 said...

Mooselini's kid will win this sham. Jennifer Grey and the other professional entertainers will have unfortunate hunting-related "accidents" during the shooting of a fluff piece. Plus the voting is being handled by Diebold.

You heard it here first.

One of the first posts I wrote on my blog was re: how I choose what team to root for in a series/ game where my first picks aren't involved. For instance, as a confirmed Northerner/Easterner it’s always a northern team over southern. Except where the Yankees are involved. Although I rooted for the Yanks in 2001. Who the hell didn’t? And besides, they were playing Arizona.

This time again I’d choose NY v. Phillie. NY v. SF would be second choice.

VP81955 said...

I'm sure the Fox Broadcasting people will be jumping off the building and onto 48th Street if the end up with the Texas-San Francisco World Series.

No, they will order the teams to dress up in Cowboys and 49ers jerseys, if only to make Joe Buck feel more at home. (Did Joe work any Rangers or SF Giants games for Fox this season, or were those assignments shunted off to the "B" or "C" crew?).

Jim, Cheers Fan said...

I’ve given up on BOARDWALK EMPIRE.

I forgot to watch the second episode and never got around to catching up. I liked Buscemi, and I heard the Al Capone storyline got interesting, but I just didn't care enough to tune back in.

I remember when Happy Days first started, it was a pretty good, low-key show. I remember a funny bit with Bosley when he was trying to watch Jackie Gleason while some family crisis was erupting around him. It was weird to watch how it became a constant stream of audience overreactions: wild applause every time a character made an entrance, wild cheering at worn out Fonzie jokes, silly "wooos" every time Joanie kissed Chachi (and I'm not at all embarrassed that I remember those characters' names. I'm not). It really earned the right to be the first show to jump the shark.

Mac said...

A Mel Gibson comeback is less likely than a Jesus comeback, but then Mel thinks that's going to happen as well.
RIP Tom Bosley. Fondly remembered.

Mike said...

But it’s like Christine Baranski is in a different show. Everyone else is so nuanced and subtle and she’s Norma Desmond on Mountain Dew.

Thank you so much. Having a TV professional agree with me makes me feel so much better about myself and my opinions regarding TV.

God I wish that was hyperbole

te said...

Did you see the end of last week's (the 11th) Castle, with a written tribute to Stephen J. Cannell, followed by the Cannell/typewriter logo? Very nice. And of course he'd appeared in a couple of episodes, playing a mystery writer.

Anonymous said...

On the subject of TV, but generally off topic... I still don't get Modern Family. The self-conscious and by now cliched camera movement. The more than cliched mockumentary. Except for Ed O'neil, the people who have that network/over the top/sitcom-like veneer, especially Ed's wife. I know, I'm basically alone here.

D. McEwan said...

"Explain to me why ABC says COUGAR TOWN is a hit when last week MODERN FAMILY finished 18th and COUGAR TOWN finished 46th."

It's called "lying." They hope that if they just keep saying it, it will become true.

I haven't seen Boardwalk Empire but I have given up on The Event. When there are two or more episodes sitting unwatched on my DVR, I know I'm not motivated.

Same with Hawaii Five-0. It has become so formulaic so fast that I feel like I've seen the same episode three times.

Well, I won't be seeing Hangover 2. What are they thinking? Are they intentionally trying to reduce their audience? Mel is no longer a star; he's an anti-star. His presence reduces a property's value.

My DVR had no problem with Castle this week. It had the last 30 seconds of DWTS, and all of Castle. A look at the onscreen schedule showed that DWTS was scheduled to run a bit overtime. Sadly, the DVR couldn't compensate for the writing. Were Richard Castle a real writer, I would not want to read his books. And gracious, I didn't even recognize A Martinez at first. I realize he's 62, but that werewolf TV series he did briefly wasn't all that long ago.

@Warren Z, speaking for myself, choosing a theme and then writing to it will always result in terrible, didactic writing. Write your story first, and let the theme (or themes) emerge, and reveal itself to you. Then, when you rewrite, you can write to emphasize your theme more. But imposing a theme is, for me at least, always a mistake.

@te, actually, I believe, if I remember right, that Cannell was playing himself in his Castle appearances. But the tribute (which my DVR caught with no problem) was sweet and respectful.

Tom Quigley said...

When I saw the title for today's column, I thought the topic was going to be four people Charlie Sheen hasn't yet had sex with...

Ref said...

OT, but Friday question: Any connections with the fabled "Dr. Demento?"

te said...

Cannell was playing himself in the card-game scenes; not as a TV writer-producer, but as a fellow mystery writer. Which, of course, he was; with several not-bad books to his credit.

He also appeared, sort of, as a mystery writer on Tenspeed & Brown Shoe. As Jeff Goldblum's character's favorite mystery writer (not named Stephen Cannell) you could spot his photo on the back cover of the fictional mystery novels.

wv: "Morion" -- William Randolph Heart's less-bright paramour.

Lou H. said...

Based on that, it's hard to root for either the Phils or Yanks to come back, though I'm sure the Fox Broadcasting people will be jumping off the building and onto 48th Street if they end up with the Texas-San Francisco Series.

Not sure it matters; ratings will be low regardless. Three million people in Philadelphia, NJ, and NYC can't get Fox because of the Cablevision dispute. My dad, a Phillies fan, will be watching thanks to his rabbit ears, so Fox can count on having the Ester-C demographic for sure.

"THE BIG BANG THEORY" has now become "THE SHELDON SHOW"

It became that in the middle of season 1. I still love the show, but at some point they're gonna start reusing gags, Sheldon will reach puberty and start dating, and the show won't be funny any more. Oh, sorry, I'm thinking about that other show.

I usually catch baseball games on the radio. It's so much better to lay down, close your eyes, and draw the field in your mind. Watching it on TV is just too jarring, what with them cutting to a different camera angle every few seconds as if it were a security camera at a guard's desk.

Grubber said...

I won't be watching Hangover 2 if Mel is in it, but I must say, playing hungover wouldn't be a stretch for him......

VW: sistroes -- sister hookers?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for making me laugh out loud:)

Daniel S. said...

i won't be seeing the hangover sequel unless they cut mel gibson.

The Milner Coupe said...

What's wrong with Bob Uecker? Nothing serious I hope.

Michael Zand said...

I too have given up on Boardwalk Empire. Given the pedigree of the creator and producers I expected a lot more. The historical setting and the costumes are really terrific. But the caliber of the writing and acting only aspire to be cut rate and predictable knock off of the Sopranos. Here you have the opportunity to give us a window into a different place and time. It wouldn't have cost anything more to, at least, research the vernacular and idioms of the era for more veracity. I'm not saying everyone has to go around saying "23 skidoo" and "Oh you kid" but, c'mon. As written so far, you could transplant the dialogue from every episode to a modern day gangster story without changing a single word. I know for a fact there were significant differences in the slang and idioms eighty years ago. The closest BE has come so far was the really great scene during Nucky's birthday party between the old Pols and Margaret where she stood up to their hidebound attitudes toward women. But other than that it's been pretty standard fare.

And then there is the terrible miscasting of Steve Buscemi as Nucky Thompson. Yes, he's a fine actor but he just doesn't have the weight (dramatic or otherwise) to carry a show. His nasally voice is like a buzzing mosquito and his physical presence wouldn't intimidate anybody. The biggest problem with Buscemi is that he’s just, well, creepy. His love scenes with the extremely sexy Paz de la Huerta and also very hot Kelly Macdonald, frankly, make me cringe. But, the most disappointing thing about the show after the promising pilot is the predictable writing. I don't know about you folks, but I can see the next three scenes coming a mile away. Was there any doubt when Capone screwed the Irish gangsters that they would then wreak mayhem with Jimmy's cute hooker girlfriend? Last night, you could literally pre-count the beats between the time Jimmy left the room and Pearl (the cute hooker) killed herself. I'll even go out on a (very short) limb and make my predictions for the next episode. Jimmy and Capone are going to mess up the entire gang -- especially the guy -- who disfigured Pearl. Jimmy's baby mama is going to start an affair with the photographer. Lucy and Margaret will enter into a protracted catfight over Nucky with Margaret ultimately prevailing because she's smarter and, well, just "better."

Future episodes: Margaret will succumb to the dark side of Nucky's life and enjoy the fruits of his "evil." Agent Van Alden will develop feelings for Margaret and then be doubly betrayed when she chooses Nucky over him. Nucky's brother will betray him at some point. (See Fredo from Godfather 2) Jimmy will come home and kill the photographer that his baby mama is sleeping with, causing an irreparable rift between them. These are just off the top of my head. Now that I've said them, my only hope is the writers prove me wrong. C'mon, guys. There's so little quality tv out there. We're all pulling for you but you have to surprise us every now and then with something -- anything.

m said...

I'm leaving my comment in two parts because Google is telling me it's too large to process.
Part I:
I hate to say this but after the last few episodes, I'm very disappointed in Boardwalk Empire. Given the pedigree of the creator and producers I expected a lot more. The historical setting and the costumes are really terrific. But the caliber of the writing and acting only aspire to be cut rate and predictable knock off of the Sopranos. Here you have the opportunity to give us a window into a different place and time. It wouldn't have cost anything more to at least research the vernacular and idioms of the era for more veracity. I'm not saying everyone has to go around saying "23 skidoo" and "Oh you kid" but, c'mon. As written so far, you could transplant the dialogue from every episode to a modern day gangster story without changing a single word. I know for a fact there were significant differences in the slang and idioms eighty years ago. The closest BE has come so far was the really great scene during Nucky's birthday party between the old Pols and Margaret where she stood up to their hidebound attitudes toward women. But other than that it's been pretty standard fare.

Michael Zand said...

whoops. Seems like it worked anyway. Sorry about the double post.

YEKIMI said...

What's wrong with Bob Uecker?

He had to have another heart surgery on top of the one he had earlier this year.

Paul Duca said...

Referring to your comment about scalping kayak space for Giants games....I thought their current ballpark was in the middle of the city, not in the water like Candlestick/3Com.

AlaskaRay said...

Tom Quigley said...
"When I saw the title for today's column, I thought the topic was going to be four people Charlie Sheen hasn't yet had sex with..."


I wouldn't be too sure about that!

Ray

SCDP said...

Couldn't agree more about Dexter. I'm bored out of my mind with the show so far this year. The third episode showed promise and I thought it was picking up but nope. This past Sunday was back to dullsville.

Angel and LaGuerta just need to get lost in the Everglades somewhere and get eaten by gators.

chuckcd said...

I liked the Big Bang episode with Katee Sackhoff and George Takei,
I thought it was pretty funny.

Daniel S. said...

Mel Gibson has been cut from The Hangover.

mrswing said...

I bailed on Boardwalk Empire after episode 2 because I just didn't care about any of the characters and there was no discernible major storyline (apart from How Prohibition Made The Mob Great which we've seen like, oh, one hundred times at least?) to keep me hooked. Shame about the amazing production design.

Haven't given up on The Event though. It's no less silly than most of 24, is actually still moving forward with the plot and I like Jason Ritter as supercapable everyman hero.

BBE4 is decidedly less good than last year (too much gross-out attempts) though this week it was back on target somewhat. Community keeps pushing the boundaries of the genre in surprising ways, but will the boundaries ever break or snap back? The excellence of the Modern Warfare episode (one of the best shows EVER) is somewhat of an albatross around the series' neck - it's unlikely to be equalled, let alone bettered, but of course they'll keep trying - and unfortunately failing - to hit the bullseye so spectacularly again.

lucifervandross said...

I think big bang has gotten sheldon heavy because the Leonard/Penny tension was getting pretty thick on episode 2, and rather than push that issue (something I assume they want to save for later) they have moved on to sheldon.

The Amy Farrah Fowler thing doesn't work for me because I have a friend that is almost Sheldon (an asexual, borderline aspergers case, with a highly religious mother, and we're all in texas), and he wouldn't stumble into an asexual male/female relationship that is basically dating. Doesn't make sense, it's kind of a betrayal of the character.

Possible Jump. Kind of a limited premise, i mean, once Penny and Leonard Happened at the beginning of season 3, I mean the whole crux of the show was "solved" and rather than delving into their relationship, they quickly made it fall apart so they could try and return to how things were. It's like they want a "sam and diane" but they have nothing else to run the show.

lucifervandross said...

Also, can i second the "sitcom room" question?

Clint Johnson said...

I shouldn't be surprised that they cut Mel from Hangover 2. He is a substance abusing, loudmouthed bigot... but that isn't why he is a pariah. Oliver Stone and Sean Penn aren't any better but I got a feeling that most of the people who vehemently denounce Mel Gibson would trip over themselves to work with either of them.

Mel Gibson is a Christian conservative and that is why he is ostracized...and I say that as an atheist libertarian who disagrees with just about everything he holds most dear.

You know, I would work with Mel Gibson over Oliver Stone or Sean Penn- it looks like Mel is only an asshole when he drinks too much while Oliver and Sean seem to carry that around with them always.