Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Some random odd and ends. Hey, this is how Larry King started.

Only in LA. It was 113 here Monday afternoon, highest it’s ever been since Joan Collins was born (1877). I kid you not, this became a story: It was so hot that a crew member on DANCIN’ WITH THE STARS and an audience member of THE PRICE IS RIGHT felt ill. But here’s the really really good news, the story goes on to report – neither show had to interrupt production!!

Okay, I admit it. I like HAWAII 5-0. I guess you have to buy that the governor can have her own four member police force but the show is fun. I don’t know what I enjoy more, the beauty shots of Hawaii or seeing them drive through Oahu without any traffic. The Oahu I know is the Eisenhower Expressway at 5 PM. The show stealer is Scott Caan. And I’m thrilled Grace Park is aboard. Every week I watched Battlestar Gallactica just waiting to see her surf.

In American, marriages fell to a record low in 2009. This is according to the U.S.Census Bureau and confirmed personally by me based on the lack of proposals this season on DodgerVision.

Who's going to take over for Rahm Emanuel?  Does Jim Wiatt have a brother?  

This is why networks generally don’t give second season pick-ups based on premiere numbers alone. BOARDWALK EMPIRE got good ratings its first week, HBO renewed them, and week two their numbers plunged 31%. Oh well. It’s not like BOARDWALK EMPIRE is an expensive show to produce.  I love how shows will get big samplings, the network will then tout them as "America's New Number One Smash", and by December they're shit canned.

Who had LONE STAR as the first show to be canceled?  Big question for Fox:  what to do in its weekend encore slot?   Don't they still have 18 unaired TIL DEATHS? 

Finally saw the pilot of @!&!! MY FATHER SAID. Excruciating. Like having your wisdom teeth removed without an anesthetic while passing a kidney stone while Kathy Bates is crushing your ankles. The show starts with a testicle joke and goes downhill from there. Then it's just a barrage of cheap, easy, classless, obvious, tasteless gags. I’m surprised even the laugh machine didn’t groan. Yes, Shatner is miscast but so is the son. I hated him even more.

Plus, without great writing and sparkling casts, all these new multi-camera shows feel so retro and stale. The bad joke rhythms, the laugh machine guffawing at nothing, the actors trying way too hard, the living room and coffee shop sets that all look the same.  Save money.  Just reuse the sets from DAVE'S WORLD.

I know James Burrows is getting a lot of heat since he directed most of these misfires, but hey, he didn’t come up with these premises, he didn’t cast these shows. You think Lubitsch could have made @!&!! MY FATHER SAID work?

Glad you guys liked my Monday discussion of how we broke that episode of ALMOST PERFECT.  Assuming I don't forget how to upload video (a BIG assumption) I'll do this more often.  

Now that the baseball season is ending (although the Dodger season ended weeks ago) here are my picks for the various awards.  Let the angry debate begin. 

NL MVP: Carlos Gonzales
AL MVP: Josh Hamilton
NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL CY Young: C.C. Sabathia
NL Rookie of the Year: Buster Posey
AL Rookie of the Year: Danny Valencia

I love Rebecca Hall.

I also love DEXTER. It’s so deliciously… disturbed. In Sunday’s season premiere he tells his wife’s kids and parents that their beloved mother/daughter was murdered… while wearing Mickey Mouse ears. Poor Julie Benz.  First ASK HARRIET and now this.

Karissa Shannon not only has a sex tape, she also has a trailer. I can only pray there will be a "Making of" feature on the DVD. 

Steve Miller from the Steve Miller Band will be teaching music this year at USC.  And the amazing thing is this isn't a reality show (unlike Tony Danza's year teaching high school in Philadelphia).  I look forward to the USC marching band playing "the Joker" and "Abracadabra". 

Headline in the HuffingtonPost: Octomom Has A Yard Sale With Bras, Bikinis To Avoid Foreclosure.  Free ball.  I leave that one-liner to you.


The Milner Coupe said...

I wanted to hate Hawaii 5-0. But it was great. Shot like a film with enough respect to the original series, there wasn't much not to like.

The stunts were off the charts as well. Hope they can keep it up. Caan can be the new Magnum figure. Minus a foot and a half of course. But he was funny when he was supposed to be.

I'll keep watching. Aloha

Troy said...

Loved your comments on "@&^# My Dad Says".

Here's mine:

We all know how difficult it is for a writer/producer to get a show on TV nowadays, let alone network TV in the Fall. So you get your Big Chance. It's a premise with some built-in interest. It's got Shatner. It's heavily promoted. You know you only have a few precious minutes to hook the thumb-twitching audience... you COLD OPEN with a jokeless routine whose only (alleged) punchline from your star is "Guts or Nuts?"

Are you kidding me???

Apparently not, because that's what they did. What they did afterwards I'm not so sure of because--


--I chose to go elsewhere.

I guess that punchline should have been "Guts or Nuts or Ruts".

Alyson said...

I finally got the guts to watch the premiere of Dexter last night. I was honest to god scared to watch - not because of any gore, but because I didn't want to see how they would handle Rita's death. So far so good, but I have to admit, I was genuinely upset when the show ended. Rita took a lot of flak the past couple of seasons, but I always liked her, and thought she played a vital role in Dexter's world. I've also loved Julie Benz since Buffy, and am sad she will no longer be on the show (I assume.) Glad she got a new show and is at least still working.

Also, both Michael C. Hall and Jennifer Carpenter were brilliant in the premiere.

John Leader said...

When "Dexter" told his step-daughter, "I'm sorry for your loss," it was excruciatingly perfect.
Just an amazing show.

Bunkum said...

Hi Ken, I'm a big fan of your work - including this blog, so thanks for entertaining me over the years.

Can I ask you a favour though as a UK fan? - we're only on season 4 of Dexter over here, so please warn us next time you give away the ending of a US show!

Having said that, I've always been annoyed by Rita, so at least it's something to look forward to.

Simon H. said...

You got most of the Baseball awards right, but considering the Reds have made it into the postseason for the first time in 15 years, I would say the NL MVP should go to Joey Votto, who played just as well as Pujols and Gonzales down the stretch, but is the only one of them that's going to the postseason. Surely that would be the deciding factor in what was a very close race.

Anonymous said...

That wasn't Rita's parents that was with the kids, it was Paul's (Rita's ex-husband and the children's father).

Also, I thought $#*! My Dad Says was hilarious.

jlhpisces said...

great post. I agree that Scott Caan is excellent in Hawaii Five-0 - but I must be the only person on the planet that watched and loved Three Rivers, glad to see Alex O'Loughlin again. Also, the whole Kathy Bates\smashed ankle thing ties in since that was James Caan. :) Is it true that she really broke his ankle? OUCH!

Simon H. said...

So after I saw $^&* my Dad Says, someone I know put it best when she said "It's like the remade All in the Family, except they found a way to make it not remotely funny". A truly wretched show that's probably going to last longer than it deserves to because of it's solid lead-in.

As for James Burrows, I thought he did a good job directing the "Better With You" pilot, which steadily improved as it went on. I don't know if the show is ever going to be great, but he helped create a mood and style that will probably have me coming back for a few more weeks to see if they can expand on their promising premise.

Tom Quigley said...

"Headline in the HuffingtonPost: Octomom Has A Yard Sale With Bras, Bikinis To Avoid Foreclosure. Free ball. I leave that one-liner to you."

Maybe not quite dealing with exactly the same thing, but a few weeks ago during the tainted egg news stories, I wrote the following:

When the Octomom heard about the massive egg recall, she panicked... But then breathed a sigh of relief when she found out they were talking about chickens....


BTW, was she offering any package deals on the kids at the yard sale?...

the same chris said...

Who would buy Octomom's Bras? There is no other woman with eight boobs that i know of. (uh..just a try)

Gary said...

Felix Hernandez has all the best numbers for the AL Cy Young, except for wins, which he can't control since he pitches for a team that is allergic to scoring. But, since the award is for the best pitcher, not the winningest, Felix is a runaway winner.

Richard J. Marcej said...

I love Rebecca Hall too, unfortunately her character in the mediocre film, "The Town" has to be one of the dumbest characters, ever, in a movie. Completely unbelievable!

Also, I agree with you about Shatner being miss cast. The man has NO comedic timing.

YEKIMI said...

I made it through 2 minutes of "Mike & Molly". I made it through 13 minutes of "$&^# My Dad Says" before I turned it off. Maybe they should just change the titles to "Shit That CBS Shows".

Paul said...

I hope Valencia wins Rookie of the Year, but the fact that Austin Jackson has played a full season may help him win. Which would be sad, considering how much more important Valencia has been for the Twins.

Rafe said...

This relates to something you posted here, which reminded me of a question I meant to post for Friday consideration:

It seems that a lot of sitcoms start off with pilots that are heavy on repeating setup-punchline. Watching them are painful as it's just setup-punch, setup-punch for 22 minutes. @#$! My Father Says is like that, as is Outsourced, both of which I expect to be cancelled. Looking back, pilots of The Drew Carey Show and other successful comedies are like this too, but eventually found their feet.

The question: It looks like writers/showrunners have to create two shows - the setup-punchline version that appeals to suits in order to get a show picked up, and then a toned down version that's actually watchable by an audience to keep the show going. Is that the case or are these just bad sitcom pilot examples?

Mac said...

According to Nielsen ratings "$#*! MY DAD SAYS is the top new program/comedy in adults 18-49."
Personally I'd sooner watch a William Shatner Sex Tape than another episode of that show, but clearly many would disagree.
The next few weeks will tell whether or not those 18-49's manage to sober up, or whether this will herald an epidemic of shows based on Twitter postings. Which would relegate Swine-Flu to the second biggest threat to us all.

Anonymous said...

And now we can look forward to a string of Twitter inspired series.

Next up Don't Tell Steve.

It's just a matter of time until Shut-up Little Man becomes a series.

D. McEwan said...

Actually, I enjoyed Punctuation Marks My Dad Says. The first five or ten minutes were pretty bad, but I warmed to it as it went along, and by the end, I was liking it. Not loving, liking.

Hawaii 50-0 has been okay so far, although it's far more actiony, and far less outsmart-the-bad-guysie the way the old show was. Appealing cast. 100% less Jack Lord.

Yes, every year a show's premiere gets a big rating and it's "The New Big Hit!" And then the ratings plummet because it's crap. You'd think they'd learn this by now. First week ratings are meaningless. Third week ratings are when they count. I assume that's why sweeps are in November and not September.

Max Clarke said...

Yes, it hit 113 in Los Angeles.

It was so hot in LA on Monday, Sally Menke died.

Terrible shame. She did such a good job shaping Tarnatino's movies. Makes me think of the relationship between Scorsese and Thelma Schoonmaker.

scottmc said...

I would agree with Simon H. that Joey Votto rates the edge for NL MVP over Joey Gonzales. The discrepency between his Coors Field numbers and his road numbers work against Gonzales for me. Also, I would pick the Rays Price or one of the two Boston starters over Sabathia. But if Sabathia should win that would be fine.

Dana Gabbard said...

I watched the second episode of Hawaii 5-0. I thought it was solid TV, with good actors but a few things kind of threw me.


How did the mobsters get wind of this super secret device? I want to see it as a hint of a season long storyline of who the mole is in the local military but maybe it was just sloppy writing.

Why not get backup when they found where the bad guys were holed up? An assault by three people looked very foolhardy.

McGarrett apologized to Grace Park's character for having her be in harm's way and entoned one of those "we're family and we'll always make sure you're safe" macho but caring stuff TV seems honor-bound to have leading chracters spout. Since the woman is becoming a cop she knows danger is part of the job. What she should be pissed at is the lackluster background checking that meant the neighbor who should have been easy to flush with a phone call or two was instead allowed to kidnap Park and the kid. Sloppy!

Anonymous said...

Posey is good, but I have to say that Jason Heyward has had the most impact of any NL rookie.

Tom Twine said...

Isn't TWO AND A HALF MEN already reusing the sets from DAVE'S WORLD?

Look closely, my friends.

(Captcha word: "oxivio". Ask your doctor about "Oxivio". Use only as directed.)

Mary Stella said...

NL Cy Young: Roy Halladay

No debate here. Go Phillies. Let's shoot through the playoffs and head back to the World Series.

I'm glued to HBO to watch Boardwalk Empire. I know my interest is ramped up because I'm from Atlantic City so seeing my hometown in the oldddd days before my mother was even born is cool. That said, I've enjoyed the first two episodes and look forward to this Sunday.

escalante blogger said...

I miss this show. I love Lost television series.

Cap'n Bob said...

I, too, would like to see King Felix Hernandez with the AL Cy Young. The other day he pitched a two hit game and lost 1-0. With a real team behind him he'd easily be a 20-game winner.

I heard Octomom made $26,000 at her garage sale. Considering no one who shops these things ever pays more than 25 cents for an item, that's not bad. But she was hustling photos and videos of herself and any shopper dumb enough to pay her prices for those items.

Anonymous said...

Anybody who leads the league in ERA, innings pitched, strikeouts and quality starts is clearly the best pitcher.

King Felix is the best pitcher in the AL and deserves the Cy Young award. Wins are overrated. If you team doesn't score you can't get wins.

trickydick said...

King Felix all the way. you need to pull your head out of your NL boxscores Ken. it's a no brainer. Love the blog.

By Ken Levine said...

King Felix is certainly worthy and you know my bias towards my beloved Mariners. But here's the tipping point for me -- every five days CC pitched in stressful situations, ballgames with more at stake. Hernandez did not.

But Hernandez certainly had a Cy Young worthy year. As did David Price. As did John Lester. But I had to pick one.

Trickydick said...

That is an interesting take Ken. On the flip side, there's some interesting analysis that's been done regarding the level of competition that each guy has pitched against. Felix had a significant advantage. I'll see if I can dig up a link. I still love the blog.

blogward said...

Shatner, miscast? As some scriptwriter said, why use two words when one will do? Went off Dexter when Jimmy Smits started - it was getting as camp as the old Batman.
Octomom yard sale... hmmm... shouldn't that be to avoid thirty-twoclosure?

Tom Quigley said...

I think I'd almost prefer to hear "@!&!! THAT SHATNER SAID", based on any occasion that Priceline doesn't send him his checks on time...

Lou H. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jbryant said...

"...their beloved mother/daughter was murdered… while wearing Mickey Mouse ears." [Groucho imitation]: How she got into Mickey Mouse ears I'll never know.

gwangung said...

King Felix is certainly worthy and you know my bias towards my beloved Mariners. But here's the tipping point for me -- every five days CC pitched in stressful situations, ballgames with more at stake. Hernandez did not.

And that's the fault of the pitcher, how? We're evaluating the pitcher, not the team, right?

Hm. Methinks you're evaluatin' the wrong things there (aside from the fact that Felix pitched better than Sabbathia when given no run support).

poker affiliate said...

I think Josh Hamilton will win the AL MVP, but missing the last month of the season should have some impact on the voting. There is no way Felix can with CY Young will basically a 13-12 record, baseball maybe recognize new statistics when evaluating players but that will be too much to overlook.

Unknown said...

Do you think that boardwalk empire dropped so much because it just moved so slowly when compared to shows like dexter or similar genres like the sopranos?

Anonymous said...

Sabathia over King Felix? No way! Dig deep into the stats.

Unknown said...

Bleep My Dad Says - the best parts of the show are the teasers. Kind of like the tweets. Add more and it falls flat.

Shatner is excellently cast if all they showed were the teasers.

Kate said...

Coming very late to this post...

I tuned in the Hawaii 5-0 because of Grace Park. After BSG, she spent two years on an amazing drama called The Border in which she played a very competent and kick-ass DHS agent. The Border got cancelled last year because intelligent Canadian TV can't compete with Grey's Anatomy and CSI. I still have problems seeing Park in this baby role after her last two series.

I've seen most episodes of Hawaii 5-0 but to say that it needs one quarter the brain of The Border required is being generous. It has all the things the male 18-49 demo wants -- male bonding, guns, explosions and car chases, sexy women in skimpy clothes, next to no character development, pretty scenery -- but it's like drinking light beer or wading in a stream so shallow you can see the bottom clearly.

I think that's the problem of shows living or dying based on demo ratings. There are certain things that bring in ratings, and other things that don't (such as complex ideas) and everyone on network TV shoots for the ratings grab. That's why the shows on cable TV are qualitatively better, because In Treatment can get away with less than 1 in the demo and even Mad Men only does less than 10 million on its best night. Even something like Burn Notice, which seems similar to Hawaii 5-0, can be so much richer in terms of the story telling because it doesn't have to shoot for the highest demo ratings but can hold back and tell a larger story.