Monday, February 18, 2013

Some random thoughts, rants, and suggestions

Haven’t done this in awhile so what the heck?  

True story: Was in a restaurant Friday night. By mistake we made reservations for four instead of two. The cute Millennium hostess showed us to our table and asked if two others were joining. Wiseass that I am, I said, “No. They died.” And she said, “Please don’t make this awkward for me.” Lena, I want a dollar if you use that.

Happy birthday to my lovely wife, Debby. Here's how wonderful you are -- today has been declared a national holiday.  I promise much love and no singing. 

In a recent study of which country has the most sex on flights, the winner was Great Britain. My first thought was DOWNTON ABBEY.  Can't you just see Anna & Mr. Bates getting it on in the Hindenburg lavatory?

Mike Piazza is a dick. Roger Clemens now has my permission to drill him.

Attention bartenders: Ginger ale is not Sprite with a splash of Coke. If you don’t have ginger ale say so. Even drunks know the difference. If someone ordered whiskey do you think you could just substitute vodka and he'd never notice? Rule of thumb: The determining factor in what makes ginger ale is not color.

In another defensive battle, the Western NBA All-Stars beat the Eastern All-Stars 143-138.  What a joke!  Why not just give each team 120 points and let them play for five minutes? 

Why am I not surprised by last week’s Carnival Cruise line mishap? They are floating trailer parks. Here’s the account of my one (and only) Carnival cruise.

UP ALL NIGHT was finally put out of its misery.  Yanked in November after filming 11 single-camera episodes, it was being retooled for 5 additional multi-camera episodes.  Then the creator left.  Then the showrunner left.  Then Christina Applegate quit.  Then the order was cut to one.  This has become the "Terri Schiavo of sitcoms."  Mercifully, they've pulled the plug. 

COMMUNITY’s ratings fell 42% -- a series all-time low -- in its second week. Maybe if they change the format to multi-camera….

Congratulations to all the winners of last night's WGA Awards... especially Chris Terrio for ARGO.   Spielberg's probably saying, "Why didn't I get him to write LINCOLN instead of that Kushner hack?!"

If you ever get the chance, see Linda Eder in concert. Imagine Barbra Streisand but she doesn’t charge $2000 a ticket and she doesn’t take the attitude that she’s doing you a whopping big favor.

Spotted Saturday on Pico Blvd.:
In an attempt to gain credibility, Fox News has hired Herman Cain. I only wish I were joking.

Do you “hate-watch” any shows? Those are shows you can’t stand but are compelled to watch anyway. It’s not a healthy thing to do and I am proud to say I don’t do it… now that PARTNERS has been cancelled.

I will not be reviewing this year’s Grammys. But I will be filing my annual bitchy recap of the Oscars… next Monday morning. A lot of suspense this year. Who will win the Second-Best Director Oscar (since the REAL Best Director, Ben Affleck wasn’t nominated)?

Compliments of Dodger historian Mark Langill, this was my most prized possession growing up.   Vin Scully & Jerry Doggett were my constant companions.  Like imaginary friends only better.  At 10-years-old they told me I should drink beer. 

There's a great program being offered by the Writers Guild Foundation.  A course called MY ANATOMY OF A SCRIPT.  Each Thursday night a different showrunner or filmmaker is interviewed at the WGA on 3rd and Fairfax.  This week: Graham Yost of JUSTIFIED.  In future weeks: Robert & Michele King (THE GOOD WIFE), Ben Lewin (writer/director of THE SESSIONS), and many more.  Here's where you go for information.   I'll see you there most Thursdays.

The Girl Scouts are getting smart.  They're selling their cookies this year next to ATM's. 

How many key Major League ballplayers are going to be injured playing in the silly World Baseball Classic?

Looking for immortality?  Become my 10,000th follower on Twitter.

If Spielberg loses the Best Director Oscar to Ang Lee Steven's next picture will be THE SIEGRRIED & ROY STORY.
Tomorrow: I try my hand at writing a scene for GIRLS.  Wish me luck.


Thomas said...

I had to stop "hate watching" Fresh Meat. As a student, they got students... so... wrong... The first episode was hilarious. Every other episode was crushingly bad.

Mitchell Hundred said...

I don't really understand why everybody is so enamoured of Argo. It's a good movie and all, but the attempts at character arcs or development felt really perfunctory. Affleck didn't do a bad job, but there are more deserving directors (Quentin Tarantino, Kathryn Bigelow, Wes Anderson, Joe Wright, Rian Johnson) who got snubbed this year.

dubdynomite said...

I'm not surprised Community's ratings are down in it's second week back. The first episode was just ok. Barely. The second was not good.

The tone of the show is entirely different. It's just not the same show without Dan Harmon.

Fans like me will probably watch this season out of loyalty, and then pretend season 4 doesn't exist once the show gets cancelled. As bad as the first two episodes were, I don't think the show will survive.

Rich said...

Yes, I had a Dodgers transistor radio. And since the Dodgers were on KFI 50000 watt clear channel radio, I could get the broadcast in Spokane (then a Dodger farm team) when we went on vacation.

Kirk said...

Ginger Ale and Sprite aren't even the same color. The first is gold, the second clear-colored. They're both (along with 7-Up) served in green bottles, so maybe that's how the mixup occured. Sprite really should be confused with Cream Soda, as it's closer to that color. But the bottles are different.

KGHanson said...

WAY off-topic but that Dodger transistor radio you show in your post - the speaker grille is a precise match of the 'mic grille' material used in the 1960's Star Trek series for the communicators.
The late, celebrated, prop maker Wah Chang was known for using many obscure found items in his prop builds - the Coronet transistor radio speaker grille (of a certain type) is one of the harder to find.

LouOCNY said...

You should take Debby camping for her birthday.... ;)

normadesmond said...

i hate-watch "american horror story."

jessica does a fabulous job, but the
show is just one big eye-roll after another.

(EXCEPT the name game dream)

Scooter Schechtman said...

The ginger ale soliloquy was classic late-nite-at-the-cruise-ship-bar philosophisin'.
I once gave a similar dissertation about vermouth.

Mac said...

"In a recent study of which country has the most sex on flights, the winner was Great Britain. My first thought was DOWNTON ABBEY."

You need to aim a little lower, like the last flight out of Manchester to Alicante after the holiday-makers have spent the evening in the airport bar. I took it once (for budgetary reasons) and sex on that flight is not only highly likely, its pretty much mandatory. Terrifying - think "Jersey Shore" but not nearly so classy.

Mac said...

"In a recent study of which country has the most sex on flights, the winner was Great Britain. My first thought was DOWNTON ABBEY."

You need to aim a little lower, like the last flight out of Manchester to Alicante after the holiday-makers have spent the evening in the airport bar. I took it once (for budgetary reasons) and sex on that flight is not only highly likely, its pretty much mandatory. Terrifying - think "Jersey Shore" but not nearly so classy.

Anonymous said...

Clemens: screwed the fans in Boston by becoming fat; threw at Piazza's head; threw part of a baseball bat at Piazza; took steroids; took more steroids; lied to everybody in the world.

Piazza: insulted Vin Scully.

Levine: Clemens should throw at Scully.

Glad you have your priorities in order.

chuckcd said...

I agree about the WBC.
Bad timing and injuries just waiting to happen.

Oliver said...

Community's ratings crash is down to people rubber-necking the premiere, seeing it's a trainwreck without Harmon, and tuning out. At least it settles any lingering debate about how instrumental he was to the show.

NBC's ratings disaster, along with their unparalleled ability to shoot themselves in the foot, rolls on uninterrupted. They averaged 1.2 in 18-49 last week, and it was a sweeps week.

They invited Mike Tyson onto SVU as a ratings stunt and the show got its lowest ratings ever. Hiring a convicted rapist onto a show about sex crimes wasn't a smart decision.

Frank Jay Gruber said...

How about we start a trend launching new sitcoms with names reminiscent of successful shows? Ex. Before taking his first tentative steps back into the dating world, a middle-aged divorcee first dyes out the gray in his pointy goatee. We can call it The Dark Van Dyke Show. By the time viewers realize Mary Tyler Moore isn't in the show we already have them hooked.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

I used to hate-watch Hogan's Heroes.

Unfortunately, it ended up growing on me, thus I now just watch it. M*A*S*H is still far superior, though.

Brian Berry said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Berry said...

I used to hate watch Girls, but it became so stupefying dull and unfunny I stopped.

I watched the first couple of episodes of Revolution to confirm how awful it was, but that's not hate-watching, I suppose.

I don't hate-watch How I Met Your Mother, but as the storylines got more surreal, I just decided I don't give a crap anymore. Cast are still excellent, though.

Jeffrey Mark said...


I collect little made in Japan transistor radios. Your Dodgers KFI radio was made in Japan and worth some good money on ebay. I know it's sentimental to you...but...if you ever need a little cash you would make about $200-250 for it. Hell, I'd offer that to you...but I know it's priceless. Great little radio.

John from London said...

Doh! How many times do we have to say this?

Downton Abbey tells you NOTHING about the UK today!
Downton Abbey tells you NOTHING about the UK today!
Downton Abbey tells you NOTHING about the UK today!

You should watch the London 2012 Olympics opening, again.

What is it about Downton Abbey and the US? Is it one of those cases of reinforcing prejudices?

RCP said...

Always enjoy your thoughts/rants/suggestions, Ken - and also your hilarious account of your Carnival cruise: "Among the questions asked various crew members on Carnival cruises: Does the ship generate its own electricity? (No, idiot, they roll out a long extension cord)."

I hate to appear unsophisticated, but how the hell do people of normal proportions have sex in an on-flight lavatory?

"Hate-watch" - The Lawrence Welk Show - with its nightmarish world of carefully smiling, Happy People singing about hair ribbons and cotton candy - yet I can't stop watching - help me...

Wendy M. Grossman said...

I would love to go to those LA writer things, but it's a bit expensive...

Since today's posting is random tit-bits, I feel comfortable in pointing out the death, today, of one of Britain's greatest comic (and all-purpose) actors, Richard Briers. Probably most Americans have never seen him except as a largely unnoticed courtier in Kenneth Branagh's HAMLET, but Briers is I guess comparable to John Ritter: he was working constantly in all kinds of vehicles, and his work always looked effortless, whether it was in drama or comedy, on stage, on TV, or in a movie. He was best known for a pair of 1970s comedies, THE GOOD LIFE and EVER DECREASING CIRCLES, but he was in much, much more. The Guardian has a well-written obit here:

There was one other way in which Briers, by all accounts, resembled Ritter: he was famously one of the nicest, most genial actors to work with. He got to live to 79, a lot longer than Ritter did.


Jim said...

Shows I "hate watch:" "Suburgatory" and "The Neighbors." What were they thinking at The Alphabet Network?

Mike said...

@John from London: Relax, my brother. Let me hate the Americans for both of us. Then one night, when they're all asleep, we'll take our revenge.

Pamela Jaye said...

I was trying to hate watch Do No Harm, but I only got to do that for ep 2 before the network wished up. I did read all 4 Twilight books, tough. The girl who was snark blogging them, sadly ran out of steam in book 3 chapter 9. I was enjoying watching her count adverbs per chapter.

Cory said...

I have no idea if I hate-watch Whitney, but I do watch it now with a kind of awe...the literally go entire episodes without anything remotely funny as they recycle old plots from terrible 70's sit-coms. Last week, Whitney's obnoxious brother-in-law visits and she promises not to be rude to him.

Except, his wife WANTS her to be rude to him! Bwa-ha-ha....

Seriously, are they going out of their way to make an anti-comedy show as some sort of social experiment? The first season was mediocre, but this season is aggressively terrible.


D. McEwan said...

I hate-watch Smash. Honestly, their idea of improving it was losing Debra Messng's scarves? They shoudl have kept the scarves and lost Debra.

As for Deb's ex-bosses, the creators of Partners, a friend of mine in London who often works for the BBC IM'd me this morning to say he was just home from seeing a taping of a multi-camera pilot by these same two guys.

This time, they've dumped doing a gay-straight relationship show and have gone all the way and written a show about a pair of gay lovers. The lovers? Get this. --- Wait for it --- Sir Ian McKellan and Sir Derek Jacobi. Yes, two elderly, openly gay Knights of the Realm playing an elderly English gay couple in London - written by Americans.

My friend said it was pretty good, but that Sir Ian, never having done sit-com before, was nervous as hell and fluffed lines all through the shoot. Sir Derek had no such problems. Seems he had sitcom experience on some little American show called Frasier.

Johnny Walker said...

Ha! Just four nights ago I had a similar Ginger Beer/Bartender snafu. It was clearly the poor girl's first night as a bartender (she looked far too happy to be there), and she was totally lost at my request.

Luckily her supervisor sees her struggling, comes over to help.

"You mean Crabbies? You want Crabbies, right?"

I have no idea what the supervisor is talking about.

She continues: "Ginger beer. Alcoholic ginger beer."

"No", says I, "just... ginger beer".

I can't help but feel worried for my country's future when bartenders get confused when confronted with an order for something without alcohol in it.

D. McEwan said...

"YOU SHALL NOT --- Line?"

Johnny Walker said...

@Mac - Yikes, that sounds horrible!

@dubdynomite - I haven't watched the second episode, yet. I found the first one to be passable... just. I was kind of hoping (I don't know why) that it would get better as time went on. Bah. Just like me to fall in love with a show just as its ruined.

I wonder what NBC is making of their decision to fire Harmon now? Do they still think it was the right choice? Were they just hoping to get the episode numbers up "syndication level", and don't really care?

Jason said...

I'd never heard of Linda Eder until someone gifted me with her CD of Judy Garland songs for Christmas. She's very good and I've been listening to her quite a bit.

Little Miss Nomad said...

I LOVE Community, and I can't give up on it even now, but it definitely feels all wrong. Britta and Jeff's repartee in the last episode was particularly too much. I've already seen the Inspector Spacetime episode, btw, which is a bit better. But not a lot. Somehow it seems they're both trying too hard and not hard enough. Gah.

Anonymous said...

Richard Briers played Polonius in Branagh's HAMLET - hardly "largely unnoticed"...

Fuck that annoys me.

Harold X said...

Farmers Market probably has about the same number of unemployed writers hanging out as the WGA -- but the beignets are better.

Janice said...

I hate-watch THE OFFICE. At this point I'm hoping for a Sopranos ending. My God, they even have me hating Erin.

Rob said...

Hate-watched Last Man Standing to support Nancy Travis but I finally gave up on it. Hate the random anti-Obama lines shoehorned into the scripts like the CBS vagina jokes, and the recast daughter and baby daddy are a cut-rate Gloria and Mike Stivic. So unfunny and uninteresting he makes the kid at the store look like a comic genius.

Oliver said...

The last time I watched Whitney, I thought it was just a badly made version of a failed 90s NBC sitcom.

On one hand, it clearly isn't good and it's amazing that it's airing on NBC in 2013. On the other hand, it is a sweet harmless throwback and bad in a way that's somewhat charming.

I'll certainly take it over a Chuck Lorre show or 2 Broke Girls any day.

Mike Barer said...

I keep telling myself to stop watching 2 and a Half Men. Alan has turned into the big sleeze bag his brother was and the other character is not realistic.

Mike Schryver said...

An American here who's familiar with Richard Briers. I hadn't heard that he died. Very sad. I know some people think THE GOOD LIFE is insubstantial, but it really affected my approach to life, and Briers' portrayal of Tom Good was a big part of that.

Also, Linda Eder is fantastic.

Storm said...

THANK YOU for the Ginger Ale Rant! Ginger ale is my very favourite soda, and when I either don't feel like drinking booze or feel like I've had enough, I switch to ginger ale. And half the time, the fool will do the Sprite/Coke Maneuver, right in front of my face. STOP. Do you NOT HAVE ginger ale? Then you should have SAID SO, you silly bitch. Pour that mess out and give me a Coke, and you'd best be putting some cherries in it to appease me.

KGHanson, you rock AND rule. I'm completely serious. I'm a Trek costumer, and Wah Chang is a demigod to me. Peace, and long life.

NBC is so stupid (how stupid ARE they?), they held off returning "GRIMM", one of their only popular/liked shows (certainly the only one I/we watch here at Command Base Alpha) until March, AFTER Feb. sweeps. AND I had to look this info up for my own self, because since there'd been no sign or word of "Grimm" in a few months, I was afraid those dildos had cancelled it.

I'm hate-watching "Supernatural" at this point; it should've ended in 2010, like the show's creator intended and wrote when he left. Then the CW decided to keep the show going without him, and it's been completely pointless ever since. I had to sit/cry through them killing off my favourite character, Bobby, then feel all happy when he came back as a ghost, only to be crushed again when they put his ghost to rest for good. I have no earthly idea why I bother anymore, except that they're so sexy; why my straight husband still watches is a greater mystery.

VERY sad to hear about Richard Briers; when I lived in London as a child, "The Good Life" was my favourite comedy, besides "Mind Your Language". He really did seem like someone I'd like to have as a neighbour in real life, so pleasant and affable. (Confession: The terrible crush I had/still have on Felicity Kendall was one of the things that made me come to Realize Some Things About Myself at an early age.)

Cheers, thanks a lot,


vw: suckin... as in "Network TV is suckin HARD these days, eh?"

Larry said...

I tried to hate-watch THE NEWSROOM but it was just too painful.

Anonymous said...

Every weakness on Community that I used to work hard to overlook, and mostly succeeded, are now like an army of Godzillas invading my personal Tokyo.
Maybe they should force the writers to keep working on their scripts till 4 in the morning on the day of the shoot. Maybe the new producers need the phone number to Harmon's Adderall dealer. Maybe Chevy and the tall guy should switch roles.
Hell if I know.
All that went through my mind as I was watching the second episode was, "why are they showing the tall guy's chest in every scene, but no annie's boobs, yet they're still making me watch annie trying to be funny?"
This is what this show has turned me into. I'm mean now. And I know it.

Nisha said...

I like this relationship article, Thanks so Much

Anonymous said...

I hate watch Curb Your Enthusiasm - because I hate the way the show makes me feel. Got that same feeling watching I Love Lucy.

I know that the hate watch you meant is what I call my guilty pleasure show is probably a very bad Bravo reality show, maybe Real Housewives of NY.

John said...

Agree totally with Carnival Cruise. It's a floating Walmart. Totally disagree about Herman Cain. He is a self made millionaire who, other than some politcally motivated attacks out of Chicago when he was running for President, has been known as man of high character for a number of years. I guess we should watch someone who we should really respect, Crown Heights own Al Sharpton on MSNBC. His presence on MSNBC proves what a joke that whole network has become.

Mike said...

Not just out of Chicago, but the same building where Oprah and David Axelrod live, the only residence east of Lake Shore Drive.

D. McEwan said...

Storm, having a crush on Felicity Kendall shows exquisite taste. I saw her onstage in London in 1994 in a Feydeau farce titled An Absolute Turkey, which it was not, as the show was farce done to total perfection. I was nuts for Kendall's charming, hilarious performance, and I'm a gay man. She's magnificent. (Sorry about Richard Briers. I saw his Polonius, of course, and remember him from a classic Doctor Who episode under the 7th Doctor, over 20 years ago.)

John, all are aware that Herman Cain is a successful self-made man (though you couldn't pay me to eat one of his pizzas, and I love pizza), but sadly for him, he got lots and lots of TV exposure during his ludicrous presidential bid, and we all also got to hear how abysmally dim and overwhelmingly ignorant he is. The man immortalized the phrase "Ubekibekistanstan" as now a short hand reference for not knowing what the hell you're talking about. As a politcal commentator, he's a clown, a pathetic clown.

Community has certainly sunk low, but as long as Joel McHale, aka, "The Tall Guy," is as buffed up as he is now, he's welcome to work shirtless all he likes. He should host The Soup shirtless also. Adorable little Mr. Glover is encouraged by this viewer to work shirtless more also, and maybe pantsless as well.

cadavra said...

And once again, I go out on a limb to say that I loved PARTNERS and was crushed that it was cancelled so quickly, despite being watched by twice as many people as that Thursday night crap on NBC.

There, I said it.

Storm said...

Douglas, you lucky slag, I could strangle you, I'm so jealous! She's still so lovely, and was fantastic in her guest appearance with the Tenth Doctor ("The Unicorn and the Wasp"). She's way up on the List of Women That I Now Realize I Had Girl-Crushes On, right next to Bernadette Peters and Stockard Channing.

And she's mentioned in one of the best gags from one of my Top 10 Shows, "The Young Ones":

Vyvyan (to uncooperative washing machine): Oh, la-di-dah! Look what I found in my laundry bag! All of Felicity Kendal's underwear, and it needs a good wash!

Washing Machine: [opens up] Phwoar!

Cheers, thanks a lot,


Todd Ayres said...

I hate watch "2 Broke Girls." Just terrible, but Kat Dennings just has some sort of aura that makes it impossible to turn away.

I also hate watch "Happy Endings." When it makes me laugh, I laugh hard. When it makes me cringe, it makes me cringe just as hard. Sometimes you just want them to slow down and de-hyperize a bit.

Looks like this is a popular topic. Might make a good poll for a future post?

D. McEwan said...

Yes, Storm, she was lovely and funny on Doctor Who, where she was married to Christopher Benjamin whom, co-incidentally enough, I saw onstage in London that same week I saw her, playing the evil Judge Turpin at the National Theatre in Sondheim's Sweeney Todd. (BTW, the butler with no lines you see setting out the buffet in that Doctor Who episode is David Tennant's father. He was visiting the set, so they costumed him up and stuck him in a couple shots.

Lloyd said...

The Terri Schiavo joke was distasteful to me. I'm all for irreverent humor, but this was a pretty raw case as it unfolded and I don't think that it's a joking matter.

"Pulling the plug" on a on a tv show is a business decision. Allowing a woman to die is a moral decision, there is no comparison, I don't think her name should be used in this way.

Just my humble opinion.

Storm said...

Douglas, my darling... can I please be your online hag? I worship you.

Cheers, thanks a lot,


D. McEwan said...

Be my guest, Storm. If you go to Ken's "Links" list and click on "Tallulah Morehead," you can read my blog.