Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Warning: I'm feeling snarky today

So here are some random topics...

Now that the MODERN FAMILY adults have gotten a pay raise, the kids want to negotiate pay hikes as well.  I'm not making this up.  Did they not see how hard it was to replace Lilly? Have they not noticed that on MAD MEN every year there’s a different Bobby Draper? Ray & Debra Barone had kids too. How often did you see them? If Haley is shipped off to college she’s back to doing Olive Garden commercials. At what point does this become silly?

At one time you tuned into the Olympics and there was Jim McKay. Now it’s Ryan Seacrest. That’s like saying once we had Brando, now we have Rob Schneider.

I don’t care what anybody says. I love THE NEWSROOM. This week’s was terrific. If we're not going to see Olivia Munn naked at least we get to hear her speak Japanese.  And Sam Waterston finally blew a gasket. For ten years I was waiting for him to do that on LAW & ORDER. Just once I wanted to see him grab Tovah Feldshuh by the neck and swing her around the courtroom like a rag doll.

In 1995 Jeff Greenstein & Jeff Strauss had a sitcom on Fox called PARTNERS. Here’s the premise: two architects are partners. One of them gets engaged, which strains their relationship. They also have an off-beat secretary and the pilot was directed by James Burrows. Now CBS has a sitcom premiering in the fall from David Kohan & Max Mutchnick (WILL & GRACE) called PARTNERS. Here’s the premise: two architects are partners. One of them gets engaged, which strains their relationship. They also have an off-beat secretary and the pilot was directed by James Burrows. If you look real hard you might see similarities. When Jeff Greenstein cried foul Kohan & Mutchnick were baffled and claimed they’re two very different shows. I’m interested to see how this plays out because I have a pilot I’m developing about a straight girl living with a gay guy and they each have a kooky friend. What do you think of WILL & GRACE as the title?

THIS JUST IN:  My book is now available in Audiobook form!  I narrate it myself.  Here's where you go to order.   Imagine me sitting next to you on a 7 hour & 23 minute car ride to Bakersfield.  I'm very excited about it and hope you will be too.  Even if you bought the book, it's different listening to it.  I correct all the typos.  

Actual Huffington Post headline yesterday: MAN SHOOTS FIREWORKS OUT OF HIS BUTTOCKS, GOES TO AUSTRALIA HOSPITAL.

At the CBS session with TV critics, new daytime talk show host, Jeff “Wanna know what you’re playin’ for?” Probst said this: “If you’re looking for Jerry (Springer) or Maury (Povich), this isn’t your show. We aren’t looking for people fighting onstage or paternity testing. If you’re looking for something new, that’s where we are.” He goes on to say his role model is Phil Donahue. Phil’s daytime yak show ran from 1967-1996. What could be newer than that?

I will say this: as much as I love THE NEWSROOM, I can’t imagine watching it in closed-captions.

More book news:  I'm planning some book signings for THE ME GENERATION… BY ME (GROWING UP IN THE ‘60s). You peeps in LA and Seattle – any interest in coming out for something like that? I’ll read, I’ll sign, I’ll explain the Infield Fly Rule. For updates, reviews (got a bunch of really nice ones), photos, and insane videos just visit my website – megenerationbook.com. And please buy the book! There’s no guarantee the public will watch a show called WILL & GRACE.

At 38 Ichiro lowers the average age of the Yankee line-up.

Based on how AMERICAN HORROR STORY finagled its way into Emmy nominations, NBC should enter their Olympic coverage as a mini-series next year.

Why I prefer the Summer Olympics to the Winter Olympics:
Ever have dreams of being a sportscaster? The Houston Astros are looking for a young radio reporter who would be a regular part of the broadcast, interviewing players, and filing reports. The contest is open to everybody willing to live in Houston. Here’s where you go to sign up.

Have you heard the great news? Bristol Palin is going back on DANCING WITH THE STARS! The last time she was on, a man in Wisconsin was so angry he shot his television set. I fear for his microwave. Not only is Bristol a Clydesdale on the dance floor, this time she’ll be competing against four former winners. As if ABC cares. By the way, Bristol’s qualification for being considered a star (besides being the daughter of attention monger Sarah): she’s a paid speaker for teen abstinence. I can’t tell you how many young girls from Ohio get off the bus every day in Hollywood with stars in their eyes and dreams of becoming the next paid speaker for teen abstinence.

The acquisition of Hanley Ramirez will really help the Dodgers… until he turns into Manny Ramirez.

And they wonder why STEP UP REVOLUTION was such a boxoffice flop this weekend. They left in a scene where the dancers break into a party wearing body vests and gas masks and use gas grenades to threaten the guests. Now you might say, how could they be so fucking stupid in light of Aurora? Hey, they did pull the scene from the TV ad.

For all the people in Great Britain who thought it was just fine that the Olympics Lid Lifter was geared just for them and who cares if the rest of the world is left out? --  The Brentwood Cheesecake Factory on San Vicente is closing in September.

64 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Re: Probst - what;'s old is new again. If this means civility, he can go old school anytime.

Andi said...

Please be snarky every day!

Johnny Walker said...

We're never going to agree on the Olympic OC it seems.

I'm in LA throughout September, though (possibly before the closing of the Brentwood Cheesecake Factory). So if there's a signing of sorts around then, I'll be there!

BowlingJoe said...

Come to Seattle! I'll see your "Me Generation" and raise you a "Where the Hell am I?" for signatures.

Andy said...

The closed-captioning on THE NEWSROOM (HBO) was very, very poorly executed when played back on our TV set. We were trying to understand some very quick repartee in the second episode, and there were too many words too fast. It was like going back to hand-writing recognition on the Apple Newton.

Tom Quigley said...

"MAN SHOOTS FIREWORKS OUT OF HIS BUTTOCKS, GOES TO AUSTRALIA HOSPITAL"

That must have been one hell of a hot bean burrito he ate...

Griff said...

"At one time you tuned into the Olympics and there was Jim McKay. Now it’s Ryan Seacrest. That’s like saying once we had Brando, now we have Rob Schneider."

Thank you, Ken. No one has put this better.

Kirk said...

I'm assuming you're merely mocking Jeff Probst for contradicting himself and don't really have a problem with him or anyone else using Phil Donahue as a role model.

Phil Donahue introduced all kinds of taboo subjects to daytime TV, but he did so with intelligence and sensitivity. It was all the Donahue imitators that turned the format into a freak show. In a weird sort of way, Springer and Povich did use Donahue as a role model, but in a half-assed fucked-up kind of way. I wonder if Probst has given that any thought.

Cory said...

Actually I think Step Up Revolution failed because they have made 4 of them now and I've never heard of any of them doing well. Maybe it's time to dust off my script for Plan 10 From Outer Space.

msdodgrblu said...

I said the same thing about the acquisition of Hanley Ramirez.

Sure, I'd come see you in Seattle. If I can bring my copy of _It's Gone!...No, Wait a Minute..._ (I have _Where the Hell Am I?_ as an e-book, so I won't have you sign my iPad.)

Mork said...

I've found over the years that watching television with captioning on a) sometimes helps (especially on shows like Sorkin's); and b) tends to make you become a faster reader. I read a hell of a lot faster now than I did years ago, and between having the captioning on and listening to the dialogue, I think I was picking up much more in "The Newsroom" than I would have missing one of those elements.

And I'm with you on this week's episode; I was a little on the fence about the series in past weeks, what with the extra cheesy endings (Really? They all lined up to drop a check on Will's desk? She not only wrote the "It's not, but it can be" sign, but she still has it with her a month later?) and the whole "jumping around in time for the news events, but the characters have a linear timeline" thing, but this week's episode was the one that won me over once and for all.

Tod Hunter said...

I started watching some shows, like "The Newsroom" and "The Mentalist," with the closed captions on and I don't miss things any more. Some of the "dialogue" is inaudible, honest to God, the words come up on the screen and I DON'T HEAR ANYTHING. I blame too much loud rock 'n' roll starting with the British Invasion.

I'd go to a signing in a minute. Say when. Ill even bring my copy of "It's Gone -- No, Wait a Minute."

--t

Volklfan said...

Friday Question:
Why do you think Baseball is not an olympic sport?

Becca said...

Yeah, Ken...bringin' snarky back.

I think all-snark, all-the-time would be a bit much, but these lovely little snark snacks are just enough. Can't wait for the next dollop!

Kirk: Phil Donahue introduced sensitive subjects to daytime TV with taste and sensitivity for about the first 15 years of his run. By the early '90s, he was wearing a dress to the taping of his show about transvestism. Everybody sells out in the end.

Sunshine Vitamin said...

Borders in Westwood is a great place for signings! Oh, wait a minute -- well, the Westwood public library is also very nice.

Hope to see you somewhere in LA!

Anonymous said...

The last time Bristol Palin was on a man in Wisconsin? Huh?

I agree Ken, it's funnier without the comma.

William C Bonner said...

Newsroom: Did they go anywhere with their rant on anonymous comment sections and community building?

I saw it as a top down old style media rant against community building comment sections, but then it devolved into the general hackability of passwords on the internet.

I'm glad that your system allows anonymity while encouraging otherwise.

Mary said...

Hey! Clydesdales are intelligent beautiful animals.

Orangutanagram said...

That picture is full of ads. Clearly not from the Olympics.

Rob P. said...

Actual Huffington Post headline yesterday: MAN SHOOTS FIREWORKS OUT OF HIS BUTTOCKS, GOES TO AUSTRALIA HOSPITAL.

Was Don Rickles on tour in that part of the world?

Rob P. said...

Actual Huffington Post headline yesterday: MAN SHOOTS FIREWORKS OUT OF HIS BUTTOCKS, GOES TO AUSTRALIA HOSPITAL.

Was Don Rickles on tour in that part of the world?

Anonymous said...

I'm with you, Ken. I have waited for years for Sam Waterston blow up. Loved it. Two favorite lines from this week's The Newsroom: Sloane: Don't call me girl, sir.

Will: Operation Involuntary Colonoscopy

It just gets better each week.

Pam aka sisterzip

Barry Traylor said...

Darn you Ken! I spewed coffee all over my monitor when I read the following "Not only is Bristol a Clydesdale on the dance floor".
I did not realize that Bristol had turned into the Virgin Mary.

cadavra said...

Four more reasons to watch with the closed captions on:

1) On those rare occasions when the sound goes out, you can still follow the story.

2) Lines are frequently cut, bleeped or re-written at the last second, after the captioning has been done.

3) Songs on the soundtrack I might not recognize are identified by title and artist.

4) Some shows use a lot of terminology and acronyms unique to the profession being depicted; seeing those words can clarify them, or at the very least, allow me to look them up during the next commercial break.

Jim said...

I used to work as a closed-captioner -- in fact, I captioned some of the episodes of "Sports Night" for ABC. It was one of the most difficult shows I ever worked on.

To Tod Hunter: You may not be completely deaf yet; you may have encountered a case of a captioner working off a version of the episode that was given to them before the final audio mix was completed.

Eduardo Jencarelli said...

This year, I've started watching Mad Men from the beginning. I was surprised to see David Isaacs listed as a producer on Weiner's staff.

Also, agree 100% regarding The Newsroom. Sorkin's on a roll.

Bob Claster said...

Actual Huffpo headline from yesterday that you may have missed: "Kim Kardashian's Pants Are About To Burst"

As for the Olympics opening ceremony, well, it was essentially about British Exceptionalism, which should teach us how obnoxious it is when we talk about American Exceptionalism.

Thomas said...

Hey Ken, is there any way I can buy your book outside of Audible? I hate the Audible Android app, and because of DRM I can't play it any other way. Will your book be available on any other service?

Ken Levine said...

Thomas,

In a couple of days it will be available on Amazon.com and iTunes as well. Thanks much.

the same chris said...

I have an idea for a show about a lesbian living together with a straight guy and they both have kooky friends. Im calling it "Jill&Gareth".

Brent said...

Ken, until today I've been convinced that you were 100% truthful in everything you wrote. Not any more.

NO ONE can explain the infield fly rule.

If you get to Seattle for a signing I'll show up but I don't think I'll have you sign my Kindle screen.

Off-topic; when is your next scheduled time with the M's?

RCP said...

Love your snarky columns, Ken.

Becca said...

"By the early '90s, he was wearing a dress to the taping of his show about transvestism. Everybody sells out in the end."

If memory serves, Donahue wore a dress because that particular show featured a designer who had a line of skirts for men based on Scottish kilts - see how less absurd it sounds now? A silly ratings grabber, yes, but Donahue certainly redeemed himself by the time he was on MSNBC. He was one of the few in the media who actually did their jobs and questioned the motives for going to war with Iraq. For that, he was fired. Hardly a "sell out."

As for the fool who shot fireworks out of his ass. Well, enough with the cracks.

HourOfLead said...

I whole-heartedly disagree about your take on why Step Up 4 is a failure.

The plot centers on a neighborhood in danger of being consumed by corporate greed which is the antithesis of the current American political climate which places corporations in a position of power and social morality. They, in turn, dictate the direction of political influence via First Amendment rights expressed as monetary donations to third-party intermediaries responsible for garnering political and public support.
The hero of our story is no longer George Bailey, it's Henry Potter.

Or, maybe I've watched too much CNN and Fox News and the movie just sucked?

Carl said...

Ken, snark aside, what is your opinion of children on sitcoms? I've noticed that the shows you've worked on rarely feature them. Myself, I've noticed that many sitcoms will make an effort early on to give the kiddies screen time, then give up and only trot them out when the plot demands an appearance. At risk of dating myself, I always think of a Carol Burnett parody of MAUDE, where people keep saying to daughter Carol, "God forbid you should be upstairs taking care of that son of yours nobody ever sees."

Thirteen said...

Help! Sometime in the last year, Ken posted a hilarious scene from a late 70s, early 80s sitcom -- it's a show-within-a-show format, in which a gay rights activist comes to talk to the producers about the way they handle stereotypes on their show, and there's an amazing reveal at the end where the activist turns the tables on the producers. I can't remember what the show was called, who was in it, or why Ken linked to it (except that it is super funny & smart, which not useful search terms.) Does anyone else remember the clip I'm talking about?

Miike Schryver said...

I'll come to a signing in Seattle, Ken. You can sign my Kindle case!

Anonymous said...

There's no word "wa" in Japanese for Feng-Shui, it still is "ki", as in "chi" in Chinese. Thanks for showing the Oriental people your ignorance, Ken.Cheers!!!

Ken Levine said...

Brent. I'm back with the Mariners the weekend of Aug.17th then pretty stay with them for most of two weeks.

Johnny Walker said...

Anonymous, I believe the preferred term is "Asian", not "Oriental". A classic case of Muphry's Law? :)

Jim Pettinger said...

Re: The Huffington Post. It reminded me of an act I saw once years ago. A few minutes search on Youtube brought up the Firework Dance with Chris Lynham. I saw a longer version of it, but this gets the point across...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBo7-YoVDEw

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I remember the original PARTNERS. I even have a couple of episodes on tape (yes, actual tape). I thought it was promising, but...

I really resent it when shows give characters kids and then pretend they don't exist for any practical purposes. On the other hand...although Bobby Draper gets replaced every year (I think the last but one might have stuck except that Jared Gilmore got picked up for ONCE UPON A TIME), there has only ever been the excellent and soulful Kiernan Shipka playing Sally. It's as hard to imagine them replacing her as it is to imagine them recasting Joan, Peggy, or Don.

wg

Gary said...

Ken, here's a Friday question: In a recent Mark Evanier blog, he wrote about a friend who had a horrible experience working with Mary Tyler Moore. We're always hearing about stars who are nothing like their image, and treat people terribly. Can you brighten our day by naming some big celebrities you've worked with who are pleasant, down-to-earth and normal? I assume they won't mind being named, since this will be a compliment!

Brian Doan said...

Interesting point about PARTNERS. I just finished Warren Littlefield's book, and for whatever it's worth, Kohan & Mutchnick probably come off the worst of the various show-runners interviewed-- very entitled, and kind of passive-aggressive about how much James Burrows contributed to WILL & GRACE.

Tim said...

Reading your post about "Partners" gave me a great idea for a new show called 'Big Wave Dave's".

D. McEwan said...

A Cheesecake Factory is closing? That's catastrophic! Ok, it's one I haven't been to, but I love the Cheesecake Factory (As you know, Ken) and now what will I do if I'm stranded in Brentwood with a cheesecake craving?

Of course I'd come to a ME GENERATION book signing if I can, but where? Have you found a surviving book store someplace?

Your reasons for preferring summer Olympics over winter Olympics (I don't watch the winter games at all) are similar to mine, but I am luckier than you straight guys. The stuffy, pompous old British aren't allowng the women to play each vollyball in bikinis, even though that's the sole reason for the sport to exist. They're wearing some sort of Victorian ankle-length bathing dresses or something. However, the male divers and swimmers are still just wearing lycra fig leaves, and the male gymnasts are still wearing skin-paint jobs they pretend are outfits. I'm offically in love with Danell Leyva.

Bristol Palin as a spokesperson for teen abstinence is like having WC Fields as a spokesman for prohibition.

So the 100,000 plugs for Step Up Revolution they did on So You Think You Can Dance the week Adam Shankman guest-judged didn't work? I'm shocked - SHOCKED!

DJ said...

Sure they're letting the women play beach volleyball in bikinis. It's just that in the night sessions, it's pretty damn chilly in London. That's why some of the women are wearing Lycra body suits under their bikinis.

Anonymous said...

For the record: After you wrote "Why I prefer the Summer Olympics to the Winter Olympics: " I stopped reading...

HourOfLead said...

Had to post this after seeing it on Yahoo News: Brady Bunch Reboot?!?!

Unnecessary. Sorry, but c'mon, CBS! There's a million concepts out there!

Hey Ken, as long as CBS is in the mood to greenlight retreads, how about a MASH reboot starring Ty Burrell as Hawkeye? Maybe Michael Cera as Radar?

http://tv.yahoo.com/news/-the-brady-bunch--reboot-produced-by-vince-vaughn-in-development-at-cbs.html

Anonymous said...

MAN SHOOTS FIREWORKS OUT OF HIS BUTTOCKS, GOES TO AUSTRALIA HOSPITAL.

This happened in the Northern Territory, think Croc Dundee but without the charm and smarts.

If you want fun headlines check NT News regularly. Best I read while working in the NT was Man Bites Dog. Some of my Front Office Staff who shared a house had a glass top coffee table and they cut out all the good headlines like that and stuck them under the glass. Great reading!

cheers
Dave.

Ted Nudejent said...

Book signing in the northwest? I will come. Hey, you could hold it at the Cheesecake Factory in Bellevue (if they're still in business).

The only reliable coverage of the Olympics? Dave Barry is there: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/07/31/2923121/dave-barry-i-did-my-part-to-help.html

XJill said...

Ken,

As a native Houstonian I TAKE UMBRAGE!

That being said, if you have a book signing/talk I will totally come if I can. I'm reading the book now on my kindle. You should have the signing at Bob's Big Boy or Dodger Stadium or somewhere featured in your wild youth :)

Lastly SHANE VICTORINO holy crud.

Anonymous said...

Why not do a reading at Book Soup or Skylight or another L.A. bookstore? You could sign my copy.

Anonymous said...

Why not do a reading at Book Soup or Skylight in L.A.? You could sign my copy.

Mitch said...

Why not do a reading at Book Soup or Skylight? You could sign my copy.

diaoc said...

bang xep hang olympic 2012
1. KKỷ lục thế giới đầu tiên bị phá vỡ tại Olympic 2012
2. Huy chương vàng đầu tiên của Olympic 2012 đã có chủ
3. Bảng xếp hạng huy chương sau ngày thi đấu đầu tiên
4. Bảng xếp hạng huy chương sau ngày thi đấu thứ 2 Olympic 2012

Michael said...

From the list of greatest headlines, a San Francisco reporter once interviewed a woman with a 4.0 at Berkeley and asked how she did it. She said all she ate were beans--soy, kidney, baked, you name it. The headline the next day: Coed Eats Beans to Make Her Astute.

Second-best: The Washington Post food section. You Can Put Preserves Up Yourself.

The Huffington Post has a ways to go.

Anthony Strand said...

Those kids deserve a raise. Nolan Gould and Ariel Winter are the two funniest actors on that show by far.

Frank Abe said...

Of course, your Seattle contingent will show up for a reading. Elliot Bay Bookstore wouold be nice but they're booked a couple months in advance. Also glad to hear you're doing more games, will give us fans something to look forward to just before the rest of the kids are called up from Tacoma.

Johnny Walker said...

One of the victims of the Denver shootings needs assistance.

Just spreading this link for those who might wish to help out:

http://supportcaleb.com/

.

danrydell said...

Ken, don't you find Newsroom over the top? They way they talk about the news in such a over-important way? When they toasted the new Congress, I just wanted to throw up.

Dave said...

For me, the only thing more absurd than Olivia Munn being fluent in Japanese is her playing someone with a doctorate in economics.

cadavra said...

Thirteen: That was what I think might have been the greatest sitcom episode in TV history (no disrespect to our fearless leader, of course): "The Censor" episode of the sadly short-lived THE ASSOCIATES. Ken posted a link to it about a year ago; I think it's at Vimeo.

BTW, you were great on HOUSE. ;-)

Ellen said...

Yeah it's weird with the newsroom, every reason the critics (well alan sepinwall) gave for having reservations about it is valid, but I like it anyway. I'm starting to seriously consider revisiting studio 60

diane said...

A book signing in Seattle - YES YES YES! I'd love to get the paperbacks that I've purchased for gifts signed. Along with my own copy, of course. Looking forward to hearing you on the radio again.