Archive for August, 2008
Several billion years ago, give or take a few billion, a few neutrons decided to get together with a few protons and form what has been called the Big Bang, which pretty much started the universe as we know it. As things cooled down stars, galaxies, and planets were born. On the planet we know as Earth some primordial ooze became cozyu with their amino acid friends, creating the baseline needed for life. At about that same time this season of America’s Got Talent
premiered aired on NBC.
Okay, I may be exaggerating a bit here, and my science may be slightly off, but it does seem to me that AGT has been on the schedule a bit too long. Premiering on June 17th, most of the shows that aired before the Olympic break have been just the tryouts. Only the very end of July and first few weeks in August dealt with the callbacks and elimination of those initially chosen by Piers, Sharon and the Hoff. Finally, we are now into the live competitions and eliminations, which means two nights of AGT a week for the next several weeks. According to the schedule posted at NBC’s media site, that puts the finale of the show around October 1st! Nah, that can’t be right.
Nearly five months seems an incredibly long time, particularly since the other talent-based shows that aired this summer, So You Think You Can Dance? for instance, completed their runs weeks ago. Yes, the Olympics put a hold on AGT, but that still doesn’t account for the duration it took to get to these live elimination rounds. To me, the whole process of getting to this point was, well, pointless.
There are just too many people chosen to go into the callbacks. As the viewing audience, we really only get to see an handful of those performers doing their full acts. In many cases they seem to be aired if they are downright awful or are so heartwarming that their acceptance into the next round is telegraphed by sappy music. Even when we get to the first round of culling we only get to see a few snippets of the performers before judgment is made.
Now, you fans of AGT may be shaking your fists at me right now, exclaiming to the flat screen that Dance and American Idol also have their lengthy weeks of tryouts. This is true but, for some reason, they are more tolerable than those on AGT. Actually, to clarify, the audition episodes for Dance are definitely more interesting. Perhaps it’s the fact they are concentrating on one aspect of talent only and not jumping across the board from singers to dancers to guys who play music with a circular saw on a metal plate attached to their chest.
Plus, for the most part, we get to see the full auditions for the performers on Dance and Idol, which allow the viewer to maintain a closer connection with the candidates as they go through this nerve-wracking process. With more of the emphasis on the auditions rather than the eliminations America’s Got Talent runs the risk of losing viewers, despite its popularity. As has been the case with American Idol, fans tire of the tryout process and want to get right into the competition. That’s where they link up with a favorite or rally against an opponent. The rest of the episodes, many say, are just filler.
Loading up on competition shows in the last half of the season doesn’t help AGT either, particularly when these shows move well into the fall viewing season. Despite the fact American television networks are moving to a year-round schedule viewers still have that mental barrier separating their summer viewing with their fall viewing. With networks like FOX and CW kicking off their new primetime schedules right at Labor Day, AGT runs into a potential wall as the show’s fans move towards their normal viewing habits.
What it comes down to is this: America’s Got Talent needs to thin down a bit. Seven weeks of tryouts is just too long. One month of tryouts, at the most, should be the limit before callbacks and eliminations begin. By doing this, you have a show that can keep the attention of the viewers and, potentially, allow for some breakout stars that can be a benefit for all parties involved with the show. Keep it the length it is right now and the network may be the one that does the eliminating.
A roundup of TV people from in front of the camera and behind the scenes who have passed away.
- Jeff MacKay: He was a veteran character actor who you know as Mac from Magnum, P.I. and his role as Bud’s father on JAG. He was also a regular on Tales of the Gold Monkey and Baa Baa Black Sheep and appeared on other shows such as Diagnosis: Murder, Outlaws, Airwolf, The Greatest American Hero, Hardcastle and McCormack, and the original Battlestar Galactica. He also appeared in such movies as All The President’s Men and The Wild,
Wild West Revisited. He died of liver failure at age 60.
- Ruth Cohen: Variety says she appeared in more episodes of Seinfeld than anyone besides the regular cast, and I couldn’t figure out who they were talking about. But Cohen played Ruthie, the cashier at Monk’s, the restaurant the gang hung out in. She also appeared in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and The Golden Girls, among other shows and movies. She died of a heart attack at age 78.
- Fred Crane: He’s best known for his role as one of Scarlett O’Hara’s boyfriends in Gone with the Wind, but he also appeared in many TV shows, including Peyton Place, Lawman, Hawaiian Eye, Surfside 6, and General Hospital. He died at age 90.
- Geoff Theobald: He directed several game shows over the years, including Let’s Make A Deal, Lingo (80s version), Pitfall, and Windfall. He died at age 74.
Oh, boy, I can’t wait! Finally, after all this time we’re going to get to go behind the gates, into the exclusive, much-discussed but rarely filmed Martha Stewart estate. Actually, not the whole estate, but part of it. On her syndicated show, Martha Stewart’s 153-acre Bedford, New York farm will be on display in the season ahead.
When the show returns with new episodes on September 15, Ms. Martha will share all the fun stuff she grows and prunes and plants. You know what this means, don’t you? Compost heap! Seriously, Martha believes in natural recycling.
There will also be her state-of-the-art greenhouses and her extensive flower and vegetable gardens. Over a hundred guests will join Martha on her tour of the farm.
Chances are they’ll we warned to watch their steps, lest they step in something foul. And knowing how testy Martha can be, they better keep their hands in their pockets, too. You know, look but don’t touch.
While the guests will be enjoying the green grass and soaking up the bucolic beauty, they will not be invited inside the manse. Well, they have to save something for next season, don’t they?
In other Martha Stewart Show news, on the food front, chef Emeril Lagasse has been added as a regular contributor, providing his essence and bams with every dish. Emeril, you recall, is now part of Martha’s media empire, so it’s not like he could say no to the boss.
Also, Sarah Carey, host of PBS’s Everyday Food, has been tapped to do a weekly Cooking School segment commencing October 21.
Welcome to Super Skank Wednesday. This is where I celebrate the awesomely skanky people on the following shows: I Love Money, Charm School, New York Goes to Hollywood, and The Surreal Life. Basically, I’ll discuss the skankalicious shows that make VH1 the network it is today.
This Wednesday let’s do another picture book fairy tale. I’m learning a lot from I Love Money. How about you? After the jump, I have a piece I call “12 Pack’s Destruction, A Tale of Hubris.” I’m not a betting woman, but I don’t think anyone on ILM knows what the term “hubris” means.
12 Pack’s Destruction, A Tale of Hubris
After Megan’s elimination of Rodeo last week, the blondes met to discuss strategy for how to proceed in the game. Megan, subversive as always, wanted to look out for her showmance WhiteBoy. Other topics up for discussion were the Democratic National Convention, Sara Tancredi’s return to Prison Break, and what they would read for next month’s book club.
Brandi C: But I heard The Secret Life of Bees was great.
Pumkin: Brandi, please stop pushing for The Secret Life of Bees. We decided on The Red Tent.
The money grubbers got their call from Craig and headed to the beach for their first big solo competition. They would have to stab each other in the back. Well, they would have to throw these awesome ninja stars at paper mache versions of themselves.
Let’s stop the story briefly and look at the amazing dolls VH1 came up with for the competition. I know, I know. I’ll get to 12 Pack.
First the awesome ninja stars and a safety note. Whoever thought it would be a good idea to let these maniacs throw sharp objects should be fired get a raise.
Now the dummies. There’s our boy 12 Pack. How could they forget his ink? Where’s his black dragon on his bulging bicep? Where are his bulging biceps?
Here’s Megan. The likeness is uncanny, except for the eyes that need to be at least three times smaller.
And then there’s Real who looks like a pirate or Little Richard. I love his doll.
Finally we’ve got WhiteBoy. See how they tried to add his peach fuzz? VH1’s blog said that they made him look like a burn victim.
Okay, back to the story. The Entertainer was the first to go. His amazing summer league softball skills came in handy and he landed a knife in Hoopz. He did a celebratory dance to, er, celebrate.
The Entertainer: Yeah Hoopz! And check out my awesome dance. I saw Michael Flatley do this when I took my mom to see Lord of the Dance on Broadway. Bada Bing!
Next up was Pumkin. She put an ax in WhiteBoy and was promised a “special treat” from The Entertainer. I shudder to think how a “special treat” might materialize.
More people threw axes. Toastee missed several times. WhiteBoy was out first. Megan went against her alliance’s plan much to the shock of both Brandi C. and her nipples.
Nipples: Did you see that? I can’t believe my eyes.
Brandi C.: I know. I’m baffled, girls. Just plain baffled.
In the end, it was our boy 12 Pack, Real, and Toastee. Real put a knife in 12 Pack but it was 12 Pack who decided the next paymaster. His first mistake? Putting a knife in Real and making Toastee, an alcoholic porn star, the paymaster for the night. See, at least 12 Pack knew where Real stood; Real would protect his Stallionaires. But Toastee was a wild card. Still the muscle man opted to give her the win. He was blinded by both his overconfidence and his desire to get WhiteBoy out of the game.
Real: Damn, it’s sunny out today.
12 Pack: I need a pedicure.
Toastee: I’m getting a nice tan here.
12 Pack: Alright I won!
Heather: Yay for us! Carry me off the sand. I’m getting it in my toes.
The Entertainer: Carry me too. *whispers* I love you.
While 12 Pack and his crew were celebrating and forgetting that they DIDN’T win, Megan was scheming with her fellow blondes about how to keep WhiteBoy in the house.
Megan: Here’s the deal. WhiteBoy needs to stay because he’ll protect us. And if he’s still here, the two sides of the house will fight. Then we move in and pick up the pieces.
Brandi C.: I think what you mean is, “I want WhiteBoy to stay because I have weird insecurity issues and he provides a much needed validation.”
Megan: Shut up! God, when are you going to get over the book club thing?
12 Pack thought it best to talk with Toastee. Obviously, she would go along with his plan to eliminate WhiteBoy.
12 Pack: You know, Toastee. With great power comes great responsibility.
Toastee: Is that from a movie?
12 Pack: No, I came up with that myself.
But it was too late for 12 Pack. He should have enlisted his other team members to work on Toastee, promise their allegiance for WhiteBoy’s dismissal. Megan was fast at work. In a short time, the amazon woman arranged a meeting between Pumkin, Toastee and the Stallionaires. Real apologized to Pumkin for threatening her life. WhiteBoy promised Toastee a place in his alliance if she came through at eliminations.
WhiteBoy: Yo, Toastee. I swear on this picture of Peter Gallagher on my arm that I will not come after you, yo.
Toastee: That doesn’t look anything like Peter Gallagher.
WhiteBoy: Yo, it’s from when he had longer hair.
And here’s 12 Pack’s biggest mistake: he agrees to go into the lockbox! The meathead believes that he and Toastee are so close that he can go on the power outing and not be in danger of elimination. Poor 12 Pack. He missed it when his English class read Julius Caesar in high school. He didn’t get the point when he learned about Napoleon in history class either.
12 Pack: I’m going in the box tomorrow. Toastee knows that with great power comes great responsibility.
Megan: I think you may be the stupidest person I have ever met. By the way, is that from a movie?
12 Pack: No, it’s not. But it has a nice ring to it, like it could be.
Now, let’s stop the story once last time to look at pictures of The Entertainer and a Mexican medicine woman.
And one more of The Entertainer falling in love with a turkey…
Sorry, I had to break up the story. It was getting too deep. I needed to have a laugh before I could finish.
Anyway, The Entertainer, WhiteBoy and 12 Pack went on a power outing with Toastee. The guys had their souls cleansed by a Mexican medicine woman then they ate lunch at a nearby restaurant. As far as I can tell, turkey was not on the menu. 12 Pack made one last attempt to solidify his friendship with Toastee.
12 Pack: You complete me, Toastee.
Toastee: I think that came from a movie.
12 Pack: No, it came from my heart.
Despite putting his neck on the line, promising his allegiance, and professing his love, 12 Pack was still in danger of going home. He could have used that $250,000 for his clothing line.
At eliminations, the three guys came in their Sunday bests. WhiteBoy, in a t-shirt that both remembered his comrade and reiterated how he lives the life of a thug. The Entertainer, thankful that his mother remembered to press his Tony Soprano shirt. And 12 Pack, who is making a solid effort to bring back the zoot suit.
Toastee called up The Entertainer first. She gave him his check after insulting his intelligence several times. (Are they insults if they’re true?) Then Toastee called up 12 Pack. He gave her his word, but he gives his word to everyone. So, Hasta la vista, baby. And yes, that is from a movie.
And just like that, 12 Pack was gone. Heather was shocked. Megan was pleased. WhiteBoy was relieved.
Until next time my friends, have a Happy Super Skank Wednesday!
Jessica Alba Jessica Alba was in West Hollywood picking up some coffee and a snack yesterday. The new mom was showing off her post-baby body and her all too familiar bitch face.
Alba just doesn’t want to smile anymore does she? You would think being a new mom, getting back into serious shape, having some nice cleavage, and being in a stable relationship would be cause for smile…..oh not with Jess. She did bust out the pigtails to give herself a more approachable young look, but even her amazing acting abilities couldn’t fool the cameras into thinking she was happy.
(S04E07) The Closer continues to get some great mileage out of the supporting cast in season four. With episodes featuring Flynn and Provenza already in the books, this week Sanchez steps to the front of the stage. The resulting story was quite a bit darker than what we saw with “Dial M For Provenza.” As Sanchez dealt with the murder of his younger brother, we got to take a closer look at him than the usual episode provides.
I actually came into this one knowing nothing about the story. Because of that, the “sudden death” at the beginning of the episode caught me completely off guard. Seeing Sanchez at home, working on his Moto Guzzi, I expected we were finally getting a little peek at the man away from work. And, I suppose that’s what we did get. It just wasn’t what I thought we would be seeing.
The murder, and the aftermath, painted quite a picture of Sanchez and his environment. The fact that his brother was gunned down in the street, the ambulance drivers afraid to enter the neighborhood, and his reaction at the hospital combined to provide a whole load of back story for the detective. They also set the stage for what I found to be the most interesting scene of the episode. Seeing the whole team, and their spouses, gathered at the hospital was both strange and moving. Everyone wanted to help, but nobody knew what to do. That feeling rings so true.
The case itself was interesting in that, much like the team, we didn’t have a suspect in sight for most of the episode either. So often, a parade of possible perps is presented right away, and the game is narrowing the field down. This time, there was nobody. It really helped to amplify the tension the team was feeling as the days passed and they were no closer to finding the killer.
That lack of suspects was also a good point to bring back Ramos (Stephen Martines). His question, about why priority homicide was focusing on this case in particular, while other cases were being handled by robbery/homicide was so thinly veiled, but it seemed fitting for his character. I really enjoyed how Brenda spun it back on him with how his paper covers those same cases.
And in the end, the big break that ended up solving the case came from Fritz. It’s nice to see that relationship work out on the professional level, but it does leave me thinking about what we haven’t seen from the relationship on the personal level. After seeing no followup on the big fight in “Live Wire” and now no followup to the “good schools” discussion from “Problem Child”, I’ve resigned myself to the fact that we are not going to see the Brenda/Fritz relationship develop. We are just going to see snippets of it as it goes along, and be left to fill in the blanks.
For me, that story is good enough that I do want to see more of it. At the same time, I get that The Closer is a cop show first, so I’m ok with it. Even if you find those strange gaps from the end of one episode to the next somewhat frustrating, what the show does do, it does very well. And really, it’s enough to keep me tuning in every week.
In the midst of all the drama, Provenza did provide the comic relief. His whole scene, from pulling up his pants to get in the boat/pool, to the 12ft/16ft law game, was very funny.
I totally fell for Brenda’s cell-phone ruse too. I thought that she just wanted the photo, not realizing she was going to use it to uncover Tao’s indiscretion. T-Mobile is getting some good product placement.
Kevin Bacon returned to the director’s chair for the third time. He also directed “Blindsided” and “Serving The King: Part 2.” Here he is at work.