Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pop culture potpouri

I can’t pick up a paper or turn on the TV without seeing another Jodie Foster interview for her latest movie, THE BRAVE ONE (playing soon on an airplane 30,000 feet above you). Who’s her publicist? I’d like to get a fraction of that hype for The Sitcom Room (Notice that shameless plug? But go to it!).

Jodie gasses on and on trying to justify this standard cry vengeance movie. It’s a statement about society, a cautionary tale, a condemnation of violence. Bullshit. It’s DEATH WISH. It’s Charles Bronson. It’s the same story. What new social message are we getting from THE BRAVE ONE that we didn’t get from DEATH WISH or even DEATH WISH II thirty years ago? Come on, Jodie. They’re not going to make you give back your Oscar because you get to shoot people. Cop to it. You had fun. You thought of all those drivers who cut you off. Having to do nude scenes for Dennis Hopper. This film was worth five years of therapy.

From fellow blogger Douglas McEwan (webmaster of Tallulah Morehead’s fabulous site) comes this item from “the Age”, an Australian newspaper:

Dame Edna auctions late husband's prostate

A glass urn purporting to contain the "used" prostate of Dame Edna Everage's late husband has been put up for sale on eBay, with a starting price of $100.

Comedian Barry Humphries' alter ego Dame Edna surprised guests at a
Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia (PCFA) fund-raising dinner last week when she donated Norm Stoddard Everage's prostate as an auction prize.

It sold for $7,000.

Spain apparently is considering adding lyrics to its National Anthem. Get out those pads, kids!

Reason #298,739,092 why I hate Dr. Phil. According to people were there and witnessed it – Dr. Phil screamed off-air obscenities at some poor young Wichita TV interviewer for asking her own questions instead of the ones the publicist had prepared. The direct quote from Dr. Phi was: “Katie Couric asked those questions but YOU couldn’t?!”

Remember when the networks’ premiere week was a big deal? All summer you couldn’t wait to see the new shows. Does anybody give a shit anymore? Now what we’re excited about is the release of DVDs of last year’s shows.

You know it’s the new TV season when Chi McBride, Tim Daly, Jimmy Smits, and Kim Raver have new series. But where’s Peter MacNichol? Has the earth gone off its axis?

With the new season upon us, it’s time for the TV critics to weigh in with their reviews. May I recommend three of the best? Maureen Ryan of the Chicago Tribune, Alan Sepinwall of the Newark Star-Ledger (who writes more than any nine people), and the always hilarious TV GAL, Melanie McFarland of the Seattle P.I.

IN THE SHADOW OF THE MOON is an extraordinary documentary about the U.S. astronauts who went to the moon. Come celebrate the last major thing this country did right.

Good luck tonight to Kelsey, Patty, Chris, Steve, Jimmy and all the other talented people involved with BACK TO YOU.

Funniest animated series I’ve seen in years is CLONE HIGH. It ran on MTV briefly in 2002 and the DVD is available in Canada. The premise centers on a secret government cloning experiment. All the clones are now teenagers together in a high school. Main characters are nerd Abe Lincoln, girl crazed Mahatma Gandhi, Joan of Arc, Cleopatra, and JFK. Supporting cast includes Vincent Van Gogh, Julius Caesar, Walt Disney, and Jesus Christ. So tasteless that MTV pulled it after only a few episodes. Could there be a greater endorsement?

Tomorrow: my thoughts on 30 ROCK.

From Aaron Barnhart’s TV Barn site comes this sick but made-me-laugh headline on the death of one of the original MATCH GAME panelists:



R.A. Porter said...

So wrong. The Match Game music started playing in my head after I read that obit headline.

Tallulah Morehead said...

"Come on, Jodie. They’re not going to make you give back your Oscar because you get to shoot people."

In fact, just the reverse. They gave her an Oscar for shooting Buffalo Bill in that noisy sheep movie. I haven't touched a Buffalo wing since.

Thank you for the lovely plug, but I must clear up something. Little Douglas is NOT my "Webmaster". As if, as the children say when they can't summon up enough energy to speak in complete sentences. I'll bet he told you that, didn't he? So like him.

For the record, Little Douglas is my Webslave! It says so on his paychecks.

Cheers darling.

Anonymous said...

Believe this: Mr. Levine is (almost) always right. He, again, shows his transcendant knowledege of All Things TV by teaching the rest of you about Melanie McFarland. I live in Seattle, so it's easy for me. If you don't, and you enjoy TV commentary, follow Ken's link so you can introduce yourself to Melanie. You'll be glad you did.

The Ump

Tallulah Morehead said...

BTW, besides Match Game, Little Brett was famous for _________? I'm blanking on her career. The one thing I learned from watching her on Match Game was, when in doubt about what word to use, always say "Tinkle".

All I really know about her is that a well-known-to-be-heterosexual man preferred living with Tony Randall to living with her.

"Tipsy Tallulah was so horny, She _________ her brains out."


Anonymous said...

Little Patricia Heaton chimed in on the Sally Field "Controversy" today:

"I've actually become a more violent person since I became a mother, If someone came between me and my kids, they’d be dead meat. So I didn’t agree with that particular statement.”
- Patricia Heaton, responding to Sally Field’s Emmy acceptance speech

Much as I enjoyed Frasier, which was a LOT, and much as I love Fred Willard (Which is also a LOT, a WHOLE LOT!), a show starring Kelsey Grammar and Pat Heaton, on Fox yet, is just way too many Republicans in one place for me to stomach. And just as I was trying to get myself steeled to them enough to be willing to give it a shot anyway, she opens her big mouth yet again.

I won't be watching. Fortunately for her, I'm not a Neilson Family, so I don't count.

Anonymous said...

Ken, you're 100% right about Jodie Foster and her B.S. "remake" of DEATH WISH. The only thing you need to know is...it's a JOEL SILVER movie. The deepest thought Joel Silver ever expressed was '...the only women in my movies are either naked or dead...' [LAT Calendar section; @ 1988]. The ONLY "creativity" in that whole enterprise was Joel and Jodie's agent crafting a line of baloney to tell her about how this film would be "a progressive social statement in disguise" instead of the straight revenge/shoot-em-up that audiences actually go to see!

VP81955 said...

I may not be a fan of Kelsey Grammer and Patricia Heaton's politics, but I am a fan of them as artists, which is why I will try to catch "Back To You" as often as possible. (That, and because it may be the traditional sitcom's last, best hope.) I saw Frank Sinatra in concert in the eighties even though he was far more to the right than I was (heck, in the forties he was probably far more to the left than my father, who was one of those rare types who became more liberal as he got older).

BTW, the Mets are now only 1 1/2 up on the Phillies and the Brewers lead the Cubs by percentage points. If Philly and Mulwaukee claim those divisions and both Arizona or San Diego come out of the West, some people at Turner Broadcasting (which has the divisional series and NLCS this year) aren't going to be pleased having the "wrong" teams in the postseason.

Anonymous said...

I understand that Ken knows many of the talented people involved in "Back to You". But after it crashes & burns (reviews suggest it's cookie-cutter and trashy--even Jim Burrows can't save that) it'll be interesting to hear Ken's opinion on how something with so many talented people turned out so pedestrian and hollow.

Unknown said...


"I've actually become a more violent person since I became a mother, If someone came between me and my kids, they’d be dead meat. So I didn’t agree with that particular statement.”
- Patricia Heaton, responding to Sally Field’s Emmy acceptance speech"

Maybe I am totally wrong but didn't Sally Field say if mothers would run the country they would end the wars (or something to that tone).

So what does that mean? If somebody would do something to Patricia Heaton's kids she would send in other mother's sons and daughters who might also get killed to avenge them?

So if you ask me maybe Patricia got it a little bit wrong. Maybe SHE would go in and try to get those people who hurt her children.

Anyway who knows what would happen.

If you ask me the women running countries in this day and age picked up so many men-attributes that you can't really say they are mothers running countries. Even if Hillary would be elected president I doubt that she would think about Chelsea when considering military action but rather the "good of the country".

So maybe Sally Field should really think a little bit more before blurting out those statements...

Anonymous said...


You hit it on the head for me right there. I guess I've become too much an old fart, and too "seen it all" jaded, in that I would much rather read about the behind the scenes analysis, the post-mortems, the stuff Ken and folks like Aaron Barnhart right about, than actually watching the shows themselves. For instance, never saw Studio 60 but loved reading all the stuff here and elsewhere.


Even though we are probably somewhat opposite in our views, I, too, have gotten to the point where I have trouble separating real-life views of actors with their on screen work. Too bad. I'm sure I'm missing some quality work.

Anonymous said...

Jimmy McNichol has probably been ordered quarintined on Friday nights in 'Numbers,' where the vast majority of the audience is safe from ever seeing him.

Jeremy Spitzberg said...

Clone High! Thought I'd never see it again. My wife and I used to watch it together, and she as a general rule hates animation.

Just ordered from Amazon and mailed to her. She will FLIP!


Unknown said...

I am amazed that Jodie Foster can take that much time off and the best she can come up is Flight Plan and The Brave One (okay, Inside Man was good, but she had a small part in that). Apparently she wasn't reading scripts during her off time.

And I never really understood Sally Fields' speech. Apparently she's never heard of Margaret Thatcher. Or any other female leader, for that matter.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought it was ridiculous to avoid an artist's work simply because you disapprove of their politics, morals, temperament, etc., though of course we all have the right to do so. But how far do you go with it? If you don't watch Kelsey Grammer's show because he's a Republican, do you also refuse to look at Picasso's art because he was a womanizing s.o.b.? Do you deprive yourself of the great performances in A Streetcar Named Desire because Kazan named names? Think of the pain inumerable celebrities have cause their loved ones via substance abuse, adultery, and general assholery. Cross them all off your list and what's left? Reruns of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood?

Anonymous said...

Ken, Peter MacNichol is coming back on "Numb3rs" (yes, that's how they spell it) and will probably return to "24," too.

But we get your point. The real question is, where's Rena Sofer? (Oh, yeah, "24" as well. Is that where perennial pilot cast members hang out now, at least until they're killed off?)

Anonymous said...

Don't worry, jbryant, there's probably someone who boycotts Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood because they can't stand to watch the most decent man on television.

Anonymous said...

That photo, by the way, is a perfect example of why people who use handguns should learn to shoot with both hands. Firing around a left-hand corner with the right hand exposes one to enemy fire -- both her head and upper body are stuck out rather than behind cover. She should be firing with her left hand, then only her hand and a much smaller portion of her head would be exposed to counter-fire. Doing it this way isn't more realistic or more dramatic, it just makes the character look stupid or suicidal.

Anonymous said...

Ah, Sally... didn't you hear? Women got the vote! And guess what?...they vote their mind, not their gender. Surprise! There's also thousands of mothers in the military.... OHMYGOD! How do we explain that!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Sebastian & Tim W,

You are on the nose I think about Sally's remarks. Mother world leaders are just as warlike as father world leaders. I thought Sally's remarks were, in fact, an insult to fathers, as it implies that mothers love their kids while fathers just consider them all cannon-fodder. Sexist crapola. But I WAS offended by Fox deciding to "Protect" me from her comments. How is a pro-peace statement, albeit a confused sexist one, offensive, while Brad Garrett's "Bury My Head Between Her Knees" joke, or the blatently homophiobic Indian Chief in August Shellenber's nomination clip, are not offensive?

And Sebastian's interpretation of Pat Heaton's logic being she'd send other people's kids off to avenge her kids I think accurately shows how off-the-mark she is. But I dispise Heaton, so I am always ready to see her bad side. Ken assures us that she has a good side. It must be the side away from the microphones.

Ridiculous or not, sometimes with some artists, I get to the point where I can not look at them without hearing the evil they have spewed into the world, and I just can not enjoy them anymore, and choose not to support their work. How do I draw the line? I go with my gut. Heaton's public appearances in opposition to stem cell research in particular really inflames my rage, and I can not watch her without loathing, which makes laughing impossible. I just hate her too much. I don't turn off Frasier repeats, but when I learned of all the money Grammar has given to the Republicans to continue their campaigns of evil and death, it soured me on him as well. It he were doing a show without Heaton, but with Fred Willard - whom I adore - I would probably watch.

I'm certainly not ready to declare that BACK TO YOU will "crash and burn". That remains to be seen. Good shows are known to bomb, and lousy shows have been known to last for LONG runs. (ACCORDING TO JIM anyone?) Until we see it (Which I won't be doing) we won't know if it's good or not. I'm not rooting for it to fail, I'm just not going to be watching it.

I don't have any problem with Picasso's womanizing. I've been a confirmed slut for many years myself. Private morals I do not factor in. Politics I do. I'm as partisan a person as ever breathed. My dad refused to ever see any movie with Elizabeth Taylor in it because she was "The Whore of Babylon" (His words) as far as he was concerned.As far as I'm concerned, factoring in all her work against AIDS, Liz is a saint to me. (Yes, she stole Eddie Fisher from Debbie, but that was it's own punishment. He was a booby prize if ever there was one.)

But, apart from his one film with WC Fields, there's no quicker way to get me to change channels than to have Bob Hope pop on. I do have a problem with Elia "The Rat" Kazan. I still watch his great movies (at least I don't have to look at the little slimeball.) but I don't read his books. He was probably the greatest director of actors (As opposed to - say - Hitchcock) of the last century, but he's shit.

Re Jodie Foster: In Bruce Beresford's new memoir (Sadly not yet published in America, but available in Australia), he recounts taking a meeting with Jodie, and her telling him right off at the begining, "There's no point in disagreeing with me. I'm very smart and almst never wrong." Since reading that, whenever I see her pop up in interviews (Which has been a lot the last two weeks) all I can think of is The Infallible Jodie Foster, Girl Pope, tremendously full of herself, yet with a tin ear for scripts.

But what do I know? Unlike Jodie, I err sometimes, but seldom on the side of caution.

Rob said...

This just in, Paula Marshall and Ted McGinley are going to be regulars this season on 24. It goes without saying it will be the final season of the show.

Anonymous said...

In Bruce Beresford's new memoir (Sadly not yet published in America, but available in Australia)...

Getting off track for a second, Douglas, how much of his book is given over to "Driving Miss Daisy"?

Anonymous said...

The difference is that Hinckley didn’t shoot Reagan to impress Charlie Bronson (or Stu Margolin or Vincent Gardenia for that matter). Deborah Raffin, maybe.

Patricia Heaton was nice to my kid on an Alberston’s commercial. Plus I think she is a terrific actress. Great straightman. Dennis Hopper was real down to earth and nice to me – albeit he had just finished a scene nekkid with Amy Locane.

Fox is still pissed Ms. Field didn’t get off before the music. Next year they’re losing the music and introducing the Taser.

jbryant said...
“I've always thought it was ridiculous to avoid an artist's work simply because you disapprove of their politics, morals, temperament, etc., though of course we all have the right to do so.”

C’mon over. I think you’ll
like our waxed fruit still life
by Hitler.

Unknown said...

I *want* to hate Clone High. I've seen so many ideas like this come out wrong... and yet, just reading about it, I'm cracking up. Oh, tell me they didn't screw it up. SO much potential!

Anonymous said...

Ken, this is OT and I hope not an abuse of your bloggspace, but I'm copying the story below in it's entirety from yesterday's Dallas Morning News, because I'm not sure you miss our city quite enough:

Member of Temple Emanu-El synagogue apologizes
He calls gunshot mishap; temple restates its no-firearms policy
09:18 PM CDT on Tuesday, September 18, 2007
By JEFFREY WEISS / The Dallas Morning News

Temple Emanu-El of Dallas is sending members an unusual pre-Yom Kippur message: Please don't pack heat in the synagogue.

And by the way, the fellow who dropped his gun last week is very, very sorry. The special letter, mailed Tuesday in advance of this weekend's High Holiday services, was a reaction to an incident that briefly made last week's Rosh Hashanah service the most famous in the nation. But not in a good way.

A 50-year member of the congregation stood for a prayer Wednesday night, and his legally concealed handgun slipped to the floor and went off. Three people were slightly injured, but the service was not interrupted.

The man with the gun, Marvin Marks, is a retired police officer. He is not to be confused with Marvin Marks, the retired furniture store owner who was sitting one row back and a few seats over and had nothing to do with the mishap.

In the letter, the armed Mr. Marks explained what happened. He said he had started to carry a concealed gun years earlier after being threatened by someone he had previously arrested. Normally, he leaves the gun in his car when he goes places where guns aren't welcome.

"On Wednesday evening, I forgot to leave it in my car. I know this is a poor excuse for bringing it into temple with me, but that is the truth," he wrote.

The gun fell out, he wrote, and although the safety was on, it fired.

Mr. Marks, who is 81, also had a word of apology for his fellow Mr. Marks, who is 86 and had to explain a few times that he didn't drop the gun.

"I hope that this letter will help to clear any confusion," wrote the armed Mr. Marks.
The apology was the younger Mr. Marks' idea, the letter from the temple said, offered in the "High Holiday spirit of repentance and return."

As for the synagogue, it's putting up new signs that make it clear that concealed handguns are not welcome. The old signs excluding guns did not specifically mention legally concealed weapons, temple spokesman Dana Moffatt said.

The synagogue staff has reviewed its security and emergency procedures and decided that – except for the need to change the sign at the front door – everything was handled pretty well.

1) I didn't know Cheney was Jewish.
2) So I guess this means the rocket propelled grenades are out for Purim?

Anonymous said...

a. buck short: "C’mon over. I think you’ll like our waxed fruit still life by Hitler."

Well, I wouldn't buy it, but I think I could look at it without compromising my principles. Do you display it beneath your John Wayne Gacy clown painting? :)

Anonymous said...

jbryant said...
Do you display it beneath your John Wayne Gacy clown painting? :)

Unfortunately, I've got the Gacy clown out on loan to the Whitney.

Cap'n Bob said...

I was under the impression that the only part of Sally's assinine statement to be bleeped was the word "goddamn," not the entire screed.

As for boycotting things sold or presented by someone from a group one finds objectionable, I make a point of missing anything involving a Scientologist. They won't get my dough to support that horrid cult if I can help it.

Anonymous said...


Way way back in the 1980's
Secret government employees
Dug up famous guys and ladies
And made amusing genetic copies

Now their clones are sexy teens
They're gonna make it if they try
Living, learning,
Sharing, judging
It's time to laugh
To shiver
And cry!

You all must watch Clone High...

Harper Luu said...

You may want to put a disclaimer on The Sitcom Room - it sounds an awful lot like the set up for Chuck Palahniuk's book Haunted. If I had $995 and weren't horrified beyond description, I'd be there!