Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Jew Year

On Christmas, Jews eat Chinese food and go to the movies. So what do non-Jews do tonight? Might I suggest a bit of schadenfreude for your vagina (vaginfreude?) by watching the premiere of the TLC reality series 17 Kids and Counting, in which Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar and their family prepare for the birth of their 18th child. In a huge slap in the face to the woman that birthed them, each child has a name that begins with J, like dad. Today, the family revealed on The Today Show that number 18 will be a girl, so I am pulling for Jeanette.

In fact, I would encourage you all to watch The Today Show interview by clicking here. It's funny to watch Michelle Duggar live, as she inserts as many pro-Jesus comments as possible, causing Ann Curry and everyone else in America who prefers making decisions for themself to cringe. The hole gang was gathered outside a church in Florida where the eldest child, Joshua (20), was married this weekend. Unfortunately, Joshua and his wife Anna (20), were off on their honeymoon, squashing all hope I had of Ann asking them what it was like losing their virginity. I KNOW! I'M SORRY! I'M SICK! But come on, these folks sure do have interesting beliefs...

It's Official

I can't bear to watch True Blood anymore. Last night I actually let my boyfriend change the channel to a football game in disgust. When Tara started ranting about how the town still frowns upon interracial couples, I dug my claws in, held on, and hoped for a redeeming scene. What I got was Jason's unstoppable boner as a result of drinking vampire blood. And then, Sookie yelling at her boss for not supporting vampire rights.

Seriously, the phrase "vampire rights" need never have been uttered in this show and it would still be abundantly clear what the writers are alluding to. Alan Ball should have to go to some kind of special writer re-education camp where he can learn the "Show, Don't Tell" rule. Zach Braff should go too. (Garden State: "You see, Natalie Portman, I love you. You've changed my life. You've given me hope..." etc. etc. way to RUIN a perfectly okay movie, J.D)

I hate you, True Blood, I HATE you. You could have been so cool. You could have been Buffy with cursing and fucking and Cajun people. You could have helped me to continue pursuing a lifelong fascination with bloodsuckers and the women who love them, but instead, you had to suck so relentlessly. Die in a fire.


Friday, September 26, 2008

The Office Season Premiere, 9/25/08

It was GREAT to see the whole gang from The Office back in excellent form. And I mean the WHOLE gang. You may remember that at the end of last season, Ryan was taken away in handcuffs and Toby said farewell to Dunder Mifflin for Costa Rica. Well, a supposedly repentant Ryan returned to a Scranton temp agency just in time to fill in for Pam at the reception desk, and Toby was in a horrific zip lining accident and is currently holed up in a Costa Rica Hospital. YAY!

Toby is, hands down, my favorite character on The Office. Which works out well because Paul Lieberstein, who plays Toby, is hands down my favorite writer for The Office. One of the strongest episodes of anything ever continues to be last season's Money, of course written by Paul. "America, irrigation and night time..."

It's hard to write anything of substance since this season premiere has filled me with childlike glee. So I guess I will just ask you to please tell me who your favorite Office character and/or writer and/or writer/performer is, and why.

Oh, and as far as plot goes, Jim and Pam got engaged.


And in The Office: Original Recipe news, there is buzz surrounding Ricky Gervais being the next Oscar host, based on the fact that he managed to be the only sincere presenter at last week's Emmys. I say excellent idea. His nonchalance would hopefully give an organic feel to the ceremony, which not even Jon Stewart has managed to do in his two stints.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


Last night Jonathan, Josh, and I saw the band Calexico and we each thought the lead singer strongly resembled a different character actor. Help us settle this pressing manner in the comments, please.

The singer, Joey Burns (front right):

I think he looks just like Guy Pearce, of L.A. Confidential, Memento, and lots of crap:

Jonathan says Chris Cooper:

And Josh said Steve Carell. No.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

House-a Wowsa Wowsa! House, M.D. 9/23/08

Wow[sa], I thought last night's episode was just great, which is a relief after last week's mournfest.
It was really nice of the House team to let M. Night Shyamalan guest write/direct the cold open. A montage of people collapsing and bleeding out of their mouths!? How very The Happening!

Also, you may recall the news from a few weeks ago that they would be trying out a new character on House, and if successful, he would get his own show. This is actually an old school method of testing out a new show before investing in a pilot or series pickup. The last time I remember seeing this was when Peter Marc Jacobson, the brains behind The Nanny, used an entire half hour of the show to introduce us to a Queens, NY hair salon, complete with a stereotypical Korean nail technician and older, flamboyantly gay gentleman. Needless to say, we never saw this show come to fruition.

But Michael Weston really came through as private investigator Lucas Douglas, who House hires seemingly to investigate his patients, but of course House really wants to investigate Wilson. I was LOLing at their chemistry fo' sho'. Not clear yet if Douglas has enough to carry his own show, and not sure if I would want him to--aren't we done with the male character actors carrying shows trend? Let's get some ladies up in here. And by here up in here I mean in leading roles on network television.

My one complaint is that Douglas, as well as the patient of the week (POW), both fell into the annoying trap of serving as a catalyst for House introspection. Douglas yeses House, and confesses that he is doing so only because this is what he knows House wants (cue House looking off, clearly pondering how he misses Wilson). And when the POW is unbandaged and can see for the first time, House asks her how he looks. Sad, she says (cue House looking off, clearly pondering...everything). I doubt so many randoms in Gregory House's life would actually take this vested interest in how effed up he is. Find a new plot device, writers!

And finally, in my non-technical words...
Symptons: Multiple people, all recipients of organ transplants from the same doner, are collapsing and dying, each because of the failure of a different organ. The one recipient remaining alive recieved a cornea transplant...

Diagnosis: The doner suffered from some sort of infection that caused foreign cells to become part of major organs, but these cells are incapable of functioning in the way they are supposed to as part of their host organ, leading to a gradual failure. POW had "brain but not brain." As soon as the problem cells were removed, she was healthy and able to see better than ever.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In the Papes

In which I follow suit to Pat Kiernan's always impeccable work at New York 1 and take a look at what is going on in today's newspapers. Not like, the depressing financial stuff, but the stuff that matters to boob tubers.

"I call myself a fundit." --Joy Behar

Today, the New York Times' Jacques Steinberg took a look at The View's ever increasing role in the political arena in an article entitled 'The View' Has Its Eye On Politics This Year. The show has evolved from Rosie and Elisabeth's playground fights into a legitimate forum for political discussion and campaigning. (Steinberg notes that Bill Clinton only considered a visit to the show once he had seen McCain on it a week earlier.) Yes, it is interesting how this show has evolved, but it is kind of alarming that there must be such close analysis to the fact that a group of women could be interested in discussing such matters, and that their female, daytime demographic would be interested in watching. BOO underlying sexism.

"The Sixth network is playback." --Alan Wurtzel

Also in the Times, Bill Carter writes of A Television Season That Lasts All Year. This week marks the unofficial beginning of the fall television season in that it is when Nielsen Research starts to pay attention. Interesting tidbit that even I, the most avid tuber, did not know is that the tradition of a television season beginning in September dates back to the fact that this is when new car models were introduced. HUH! Anyway, due to outside factors like a crippling writer strike and competition from other new technologies, big wigs everywhere are claiming that the television season is now year round for both broadcast and development and that this September business is hooey. No matter what "they" say, this ain't the truth. There are still only so many dollars that can go into funding new pilots, and what right minded exec is going to leave money in the bank in case something better comes along six months from now? I will be shocked that if by next year, even after having a full year of this alleged 365 day plan, we don't see the same emphasis on September series premieres.

Mr. Wurtzel does raise an interesting point about digital recording technology, though. When viewers aren't watching network television, it's most likely because they are watching something that is DVRd. It is hard to think something that has brought me so much joy could potentially bring me so much sorrow. I vow to watch one commercial break per episode when watching a DVRd program. You do the same, readers. CLAP IF YOU BELIEVE!...what?

"Serial killers are so common on television that you can't swing a dead cat without hitting one." --Adam Buckman

In The New York Post, Buckman takes a look at CBS' The Mentalist premiering tonight. While his assessment chooses to focus on the cliché, that being television's love affair with serial killers, I commend CBS for doing an okay, just okay, job at creating a show that attempts to put a quirky and highly skilled male lead into a world of mystery (this seems to have become a genre in and of itself). Simon Baker's performance in the pilot is good enough to give this series the old college try.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Schmemmys- Peter Tolan was Right

Wow, what an underwhelming broadcast. The five hosts idea was a cluster fuck. Yes, cute in theory to have the first ever nominees from the reality show host category tag-team hosting duties, but horrible in execution. Heidi Klum has never seemed so E.S.L. And BOY did Ryan Seacrest come across as bitter. He is not a fan of sharing the spotlight, even though there is plenty of spotlight left to go around when it shines on him (Note, whenever Alanna and I see Seacrest, we say in a high pitched voice, "I'm the LITTLEST man in the world." When he has facial growth, we amend the statement, adding, "And I have the LITTLEST beard in the world." Works on two levels.) ABC should have instead selected Jimmy Kimmel to host the show. When he appeared to present the award to one member of the host cluster fuck, Jimmy did look like he's been living life hard since his breakup with Sarah Silverman (check out those puffy eyes and that swollen face), but I still think he would have had it in him.

Biggest congratulations of the night goes to the ever wonderful Paul Giamatti . He won for his portrayal of historically significant one-minute man John Adams. You may or may not remember the fact that Paul Giamatti is my everything. I have saved his acceptance speech in order to digitally insert my name wherever possible. I was happy to see his wife looking very average. He slipped up enough to thank Laura Linney instead of his real wife, so it's not totally out of the realm of possibility that he might slip up and "thank" me. Our day will come, Paul.

You youngins can cry all you want about award shows doling them out to the oldies based on their reputation alone, but if not for Don Rickles, last night's show would have bee unwatchable. And what makes The Amazing Race so amazing that it has won best reality competition show for each of the six years the category has been in existence. I mean, it's a good show, but enlighten me. Thrilling to see the 30 Rock sweep and the BIG win for Alec Baldwin. His cool as a cucumber speech was refreshing on a night of otherwise gratuitous industry masturbation. Although, if I had a emoticon right now it would first be flushed with Giamatti lust, and then be embarrassed for never having seen Mad Men, which won on the drama side. Who wants to cuddle up in bed one weekend and watch 'em all?...Paul?
Outstanding drama series: Mad Men
Outstanding comedy series: 30 Rock
Outstanding host for a reality or reality-competition program: Jeff Probst for Survivor
Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series: Tina Fey for 30 Rock
Outstanding lead actor in a drama series: Bryan Cranston for Breaking Bad
Outstanding lead actress in a drama series: Glenn Close for Damages
Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series: Alec Baldwin for 30 Rock
Outstanding lead actor in a mini-series or movie: Paul Giamatti for John Adams
Outstanding mini-series: John Adams
Outstanding reality competition program: The Amazing Race
Outstanding supporting actress in a mini-series or movie: Eileen Atkins for Cranford
Outstanding supporting actor in a mini-series or movie: Tom Wilkinson for John Adams
Outstanding made for television movie: Recount
Outstanding variety, music or comedy series: The Daily Show
Outstanding lead actress in a mini-series or movie: Laura Linney for John Adams
Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series: Dianne Wiest for In Treatment
Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series: Zeljko Ivanek for Damages
Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series: Jean Smart for Samantha Who?
Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series: Jeremy Piven for Entourage

Friday, September 19, 2008


This past week was the New York Independent Television Festival. Two great things happened as a result of this. One is that in a panel on the future of drama development, Rescue Me co-creator Peter Tolan told us that, "The Emmys can suck a cock." Let's see if they do. Tune in this Sunday night at 8 PM on ABC.

The second great thing that happened was the introduction of Food Party to a broader audience. Food Party was entered in the comedy category, but actually is more of a whimsically, avant-garde cooking show. Within the first ten minutes of watching it, I thought my intelligence was being insulted. But creator and host Thu Tran goes on to actually introduce some unique recipes, albeit not professionally, while also having fun with her cast of disturbing puppet characters and human friends. Appropriately enough, Food Party won the outside the box award.

Below is the first third of the episode that won Food Party the prize. I encourage you to check it out and stick with it. Don't be scared away when the cardboard cutout of a chef starts throwing up slices of pizza--it gets better. Don't you think Thu would be a great contestant to lend some originality to the Next Food Network Star?

Thursday, September 18, 2008


A guy in my office...let's call him John...because that is his name...shared the following casting call with me.

Casting Call: Semi Abound, the producers behind Ghost Hunters on SCI FI Channel, is looking for a person to join the paranormal investigation team on a new series which will begin production very soon. The interested candidate should be a professional full- or part-time ghost hunter, spiritual medium, paranormal researcher or someone who is fascinated by the supernatural. The person must also be outgoing, enthusiastic and ready to join the team as early as September 24. Candidates should send an email to along with name, phone number, a recent photo and a brief description of why you would be great on the show. Applicant deadline is this Thursday.

This means two things. One, you must apply TODAY if you are interested in joining America's blue collar heroes in their multi-show quest. Two is that I am so unashamedly a fan of Ghost Hunters that I LOUDLY AND PROUDLY shout it across my workplace. Good for me.

I wonder what this show will be...we already have Ghost Hunters and Ghost Hunters International, and even though SciFi is cable I unfortunately don't think they'll do Ghost Hunters: Get in Steve's I guess Ghost Hunters Outerspace it is!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

An Interview with Pat Walsh, Writer for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

Here ye! Here ye! The fourth season of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia premieres tomorrow, Thursday, on FX. Check your local listings.

In order to celebrate, Pat Walsh, friend of the Boob Tubers, generally standup guy, and staff writer for the show has granted us an EXCLUSIVE interview. He also has agreed to give us the pictures when he delivers his first baby for a cool two million dollars.

You may be familiar with Pat's work if you have ever visited his acclaimed blog, watched the final season of Rob and Big, on which he and his writing partner Sonny wrote, or took an NBC Studio Tour in New York anytime in late 2004, early 2005. If you like this interview, you will LOVE watching the episode of Sunny that he and Sonny wrote, which airs tomorrow night and is entitled The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis. And if you like Pat's picture, but wish you could see him move and talk, check out his acting debut in an episode airing later this season entitled Dennis Reynolds: An Erotic Life.

And now, please enjoy Pat Walsh: An Interview in Three Hilarious Parts.

For the wannabe writers:

Jeanette: Your friends and blog readers know that your rise to writing success took patience, wit and gumption in varying quantities. For those trying to fill your penny loafers, care to share, in a few lines, what you had to put up with to get to where you are?

Pat: Aside from the constant rejection that goes with trying to be a writer, let me break down what the past few years have looked like for me. I got held up at knifepoint, I had all of my belongings stolen from my apartment, I bought a '97 Saturn that exploded in a month, I lived at the corner of Meth Street and Stabbington Road in Hollywood, I strongly considered semen donation…I could go on. From the day I left college, I have been broke broke broke. This time last year I was temping at State Farm Insurance! But those miserable, lonely, pathetic times gave me stuff to write about. You know who's not funny? Rich people. That's why television sucks, because they'll only give shows to people with proven success. People with proven success are likely rich. And those people can't write shows anyone can relate to, because most of the country is poor. You know what is one of the best shows ever made? Roseanne. They were poor as shit, it was a huge hit, and yet you don't see people like that on TV anymore for some reason. (Also, there was a constant threat of spousal abuse on that show that I found fascinating.) What I’m getting at is that you need to be prepared for a real suicidey couple years if you want to do this professionally.

J: What advice do you have on getting an agent?

P-Money: They all love cocaine, so keep some on your person at all times. Honestly, here's the secret trick on getting an agent -- be a good writer. Connections can help you to some degree, but nobody's going to sign a crappy writer. Unless that crappy writer has cocaine, as we discussed.

J: What was it like coming in on the 4th season of a successful show, where a group of writers have already found their groove? Any hazing?

P: No one made us run through the quad naked or anything, but there's always some hazing in a writers' room. Writers tend to be pretty sarcastic people, and everyone gives everyone else a fair amount of shit. If you wear a pink shirt to work, it’s not going to be an easy day for you. You've got to have thick skin, and you’ve got to be ready to shoot back at all times. That said, you’ll never laugh more than you do in a writers’ room. I’ve been so spoiled on this show. Rob, Charlie, and Glenn are exceptional people, and they are super open to our ideas. That is great because a first year writer on a show is lucky to be listened to, let alone be allowed to write an episode, as Sonny and I did.

J: I was once at an event where Tina Fey's advice to potential writers was to keep on keeping on, no matter what. Seconds later, Lorne Michaels said that at some point if you're not having any success, you should take the hint. If Tina is a 1 and Lorne is a 10, where do you stand? Explain.

P: They're both right, but I'm closer to Lorney. (I call him Lorney.) You have to be persistent and believe in yourself, because no one else will -- absolutely. But to a point. Writing is a very, very difficult business to break into and 99.9% of aspiring writers won't make it. Just because you make your friends laugh doesn’t mean you’re Chris Rock. When I moved to Los Angeles, people told me it's a 7-year town. "Stick with it for seven years, and if you don't make it, try something else." I find that completely ridiculous. If you've been actively trying to be a comedy writer for two years, and you're nowhere closer to your goal, it might be time to rock that GMAT, Chuckles.

J: Sunny aside, what do you think we should be watching this season?

P: Oh man, have you seen the ads for Hole in the Wall? Fat people trying to fit through a hole, so as to avoid getting knocked into a pool. On television! Is that the four horsemen I see on the horizon? Fox owns FX, so I should probably stop knocking their programming. Do any new shows look good? That True Blood is interesting so far, and I certainly appreciate all the nudity. My faves are all returning shows: 30 Rock, The Office, The Shield, Mad Men, and Lost. I pray for another season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, that’s top of the pops. Oh, and I love Tim and Eric Awesome Show on Adult Swim. Those guys have caused me to hyperventilate on more than one occasion, and I'm not a big LOLer.

J: Because your writing partner's name is Sonny and Paddy's Pub is named for you, you Irish brute, true or false, you guys feel you are only claiming what is rightfully yours by writing for this show?

P: True, and it doesn't stop there, Sonny went to college in Philadelphia! And my middle name is Always.

For the Sunny fans:

J: On a show like Sunny, where comedic boundaries are always being pushed, is there any writer's room discussion about how much is too much? Any juicy examples for us? Feel free to make something up.

P: The discussion is never "is this too much?" but "can it be made funny?" A great example for you is that this year we toyed with putting the gang back in high school for an episode (I'll leave details vague incase we use it for a future season). One of the storylines we worked on had the guys trying to stop school shootings. We had a take on it that was really funny, but it just felt…icky. There’s good icky and bad icky, and we always try to land on the good side.

J: This one has two parts. Stay with me. You and Sonny have been doing a crackerjack job running the Paddy's Pub blog. Does this qualify as the kind of new media that had Peter Chernin fearing that he would loser pennies to the dollar to the people that were creating it? It reads as if Peter Chernin's fellow suits have been nowhere near this blog, in that it just reeks of you and Sonny. Do you guys get absolute freedom with what to publish here?

P: Thank you, and we've had so much fun running the Sunny blog (ahem – The writing/producing/editing we're doing does qualify as "New Media," and we are getting paid to do it. I thank the WGA, even though I have to pay them a shocking amount of dues and they still have not provided me with health insurance. I guess it's one battle at a time over there. Second, we pretty much have absolute freedom on the site, yes. We were told there could be no "fucks," but I'm used to hearing that in my personal life anyway. We get crude, especially with Frank's advice column and Dennis' erotic memoirs, but they encourage that at FX. This is a network that showed a major character forced to blow a dude at gunpoint on The Shield. I will say it is massively awkward that our point person for all this content is a very sweet and innocent woman named Colette, and we have to have conversations that start with her asking "is there a funnier word for cock?"

J: Which character is the most fun to write for? And don't say Sweet Dee so Kaitlin Olson will sleep with you.

P: Oh geez, you're asking me to choose between my bosses! I talk a lot like Mac, Dennis, Dee, and Charlie in my personal life, so Frank might be the most fun because it's more of a challenge to write for a 60 year old pervert. Plus, DeVito's voice makes everything you write gold. I think back to season two -- the way he said "your whore mother" had me in stitches every time. The great thing about this show is that you know whatever line you write will be delivered in the most hilarious manner imaginable. This is the funniest cast on television, right down to the ringers they bring for an episode or two each year -- David Hornsby, Artemis Pebdani, Mary Elizabeth Ellis...I could go on. Come on Emmy voters, you're telling me Adrian Grenier is funnier than Charlie Day? You show me a man who has laughed at anything Adrian Grenier has said and I'll drag him into the street and beat him.

J: Give us at least one spoiler for this season. Go.

P: It's the most ambitious season yet, I can tell you that much. The episode I co-wrote – “The Gang Solves the Gas Crisis” – deals with post 9/11 paranoia and proposes a solution to the frightening situation with gasoline in this country. Other episodes...the gang will consider cannibalism. There will be episodes poking fun at Bachelor-type shows and Extreme Home Makeover. We’ll see what Paddy’s Pub was like back in 1776. And watch out for the episode with the musical -- we were on set for their rehearsals and I think that’s going to blow people away. These guys can really sing!

And finally, Pat Walsh, in the words of Bernard Pivot:

J: What is your favorite word?

P: Delicious.

J: What is your least favorite word?

P: Crotch.

J: What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?

P: Porno

(Editor's note: He's not kidding.)

J: What turns you off?

P: Boring people. And they are everywhere in Los Angeles. I feel like I'm in a zombie movie sometimes. "Oh, you want to be an actress, do you? Color me impressed!"

J: What is your favorite curse word?

P: Basically any profanity combo from the movie Tremors. That picture has some of the most glorious swearing the PG-13 rating has ever seen. A few choice examples: "Son of a goddamn bitch!" "What the shit?" and "There are two more, I repeat, two more motherhumpers."

J: If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

P: "The sundae bar is right over there."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House, Season Five Premiere 9/16/08: Please Enjoy Our Rendition of the Theme Song

Back when Alanna and I became House-ites during season two, a magical thing happened. While watching the opening credits, we were moved by the spirit to come up with words to the otherwise instrumental Teardrop by Massive Attack, which serves as the show's theme. Appropriately enough, you will be moved to drop tears when you watch the video below which, for the first time, captures our brilliance. Please enjoy, and feel free to learn and sing along at home.

We'll be back with a more comprehensive recap next week. I don't think you're ready for this jelly--and by jelly I mean a youtube video AND a recap in one post. All you need to know is that emotional dysfunction abounds, per usual.

True Blood: CLUNK!

That's the sound of Alan Ball attempting to deliver to viewers True Blood's central metaphor.

You'd think the images in the opening credits of white children in Klansmen gear and a church sign reading "God Hates Fangs" would be enough, but no: we also need at least one scene per episode of the spokeswoman for the National Vampire League advocating on television for vampire rights legislation. And we definitely need protagonist Sookie Stackhouse telling her best friend who thinks that vampires can put humans under their thrall, "Yeah right, and black people are lazy, and Jews have horns."

CLUNK! Did someone just drop a boulder on my head, or is Ball once again reminding us that vampires are not just vampires, they're also Jews, blacks, gays, disabled people, Alaskan Natives, Maoris, and [insert oppressed population that has at one time or another fought for their civil rights here]?

This parallel is condescendingly, repeatedly spelled out, and then bafflingly undermined, as in last Sunday's episode when the vampire Bill Compton tells Sookie he can, in fact, charm humans into letting him bite them.

Perhaps True Blood still hasn't quite found its legs. Ball's Six Feet Under, too, is embarrassingly heavy-handed in its earliest episodes.

But I can't help comparing this show to my gold standard for all vampiric programming, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Buffy, too, relied upon a metaphorical foundation (high school is hell) but made that truth literal through action, rather than awkward dialogue, over the course of multiple seasons. If Buffy was written by Ball, a scene from its first season might go a little something like this:

Buffy: You guys, weird things keep happening here. I found a dead lunch lady in a locker today. She had bite marks on her neck.
Xander: Wow, that's super scary! Like something out of my worst nightmares.
Willow: I would even call it "hellish."
Buffy: Well, high school is hell after all!
(They all laugh wildly. Then they stop abruptly and stare at each other with expressions of dawning horror. Then they embrace. Exeunt.)

True Blood is not without its merits: I like Brit actor Stephen Moyer as the charming/menacing vampire Bill, and the sweaty Louisiana setting is dark and romantic and unusual in disproportionately-urban TV land. I just hope Ball and his writing team stop treating the viewers like dum-dums who need it explained, again and again, what makes the show's subject matter both alluring and relevant.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Friday, September 12, 2008

What you are doing this weekend

You are watching the season premiere of Saturday Night Live on NBC. Michael "Butthisface" Phelps promises to be about as charismatic as any athlete that's ever hosted the show, but it's the season opener in what should be a very exciting few months leading up to the election. Elusive Lorne Michaels won't confirm or deny Tina Fey's return to play Sarah "Bulldog" Palin (Interesting note: Bulldogs are incapable of grooming their own assholes. Frequently, owners find themselves wiping the area on their own. Are we ready ready for a President AND Vice President that can't wipe their own asses? No.). Also stay tuned this season to see if Michaels is successful in his begging of Maya Rudolph to come back and play Michelle Obama.

Newest featured player Bobby Moynihan (pictured left) will also be making his debut. Another writer/performer to come from the Upright Citizen's Brigade theater, complete with an "I don't give a crap" gut and scruffy hair, my pal Kara is most likely correct in her assessment that he will play a role similar to Horatio Sanz. Keep your eyes open for a yet to be named, female featured player to take Amy Poehler's place when she leaves to pop out the world's funniest baby and star on The Office spinoff in November.

You are also routing for my pal Jennifer McNamara Shroff to win the Emmy this weekend for her brilliant job casting 30 Rock. Her nabbing of Dean Winters alone is enough to secure the statue. Check Sunday to see how she did along with everyone else nominated for this years Creative Arts Emmys.

And you are getting shitfaced drunk. No wait, that's me.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Do Not Disturb is Disturbing- HA! See what I did there?

Even if your alternative is braiding your own arm hair, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not watch Do Not Disturb on Fox tonight. With the exception of How I Met Your Mother, the multi-camera sitcom on network television is DEAD, and Do Not Disturb is just making a sand art of its ashes--and a shitty sand art at that, one that some kid decided to glue feathers and googly eyes all over. I don't know who Jerry O'Connell blew to get Carpoolers off of his resumé, but whoever hired him for Do Not Disturb had obviously never seen that atrocity. And poor Niecy Nash. She finally gets a comedic acting gig that gets her out of her Reno 911 lower-half-of-the-body fat suit and she is forced to resort to ABSURDLY exaggerated, sassy, black lady humor. Watching this show made me feel like I was watching a modern day rendering of Amos 'n' Andy. Am I just being overly sensitive?! Never mind, don't answer that, because answering would require you to watch this show.

And while we're on the Fox berating bandwagon, our pal JJ over at As Little As Possible recently spoke highly of Hole in the Wall the half hour game show in which 2 teams of 3 contestants have to contort their bodies to fit through a hole in the wall or suffer the consequence of being knocked into a shallow pool. Between Brooke Burns shrieking, the way the silver suits awkwardly hug the male genitalia, and the fact that this is not a concept that would keep anything with a vertebrae entertained for half an hour, this is another Fox gem to ignore. JJ, you are intimidatingly intelligent so I can only assume that you have some sort of Post 9/11, existential analysis as to why this show is culturally relevant. But I still think that any and all enjoyment that comes from this concept can be derived from this 4 minute clip of the Japanese original:

Fringe - Pilot, 9/8/08

Fringe, it turns out, is not about the stuff that used to hang off my mom's clothes back when she was a dirty hippie. Instead, it refers to fringe science, AKA license for J.J. Abrams to do whatever kind of crazy shit he feels like doing on this new hourlong drama.

Fringe begins, like Lost, on a plane. But this isn't Oceanic--this is Face Melt-a-Thon Airlines, and viewers are treated not to a crash but an extremely graphic, Cronenberg-esque tableau of passenger's faces falling off. Yumm-o!

We segue to our heroine post-coital with her boyfriend. I call them, respectively, Poor Man's Cate Blanchett and Bland Blond. Honestly, both of them are so unremarkable that I can't recall their actual names. And, of course, they're both FBI agents, a population that TV wants us to believe is consistently, stunningly attractive. In reality, FBI agents look more like this:

Of course these two are on the Face Melt-a-Thon case, and Bland Blond, in pursuit of a suspect, is exposed to the same chemicals that treated us to the visually scrumptious opening scene. His doctors are stymied--if only they knew to summon Gregory House--and PMCB takes it upon herself to find the one man who just might know how to save BB.

First she needs his son, Pacey. Since leaving the Creek, he seems to have fallen on hard times and gained a lot of IQ points, but I have trouble buying him as a jet-setting bad boy. Probably because he looks exactly like all the smart-douchey boys I went to high school with, who are now waiting for their bar exam scores. (Good luck, guys! Hope living your fathers' lives works out for you!) She and Pacey boost his father, who I will call Frank (for Dr. Frankenstein) from a mental institution, and he does the typical TV crazy guy ramble, interspersed helpfully with clues about how to save BB's life. Then he pees himself. Yumm-o!

They go back to Frank's lab at Harvard, which the university kindly left alone for the past seventeen years, and through the power of a cow, a sensory deprivation tank, special K and acid, and the increasingly-transluscent BB, the team (for they are now a team, you see) finds the man who poisoned him in the first place and saves his life.

But wait! It turns out BB was actually in on the whole thing, and they probably shouldn't have wasted their time experimenting and tripping balls to keep him alive. However, there was one positive result of their efforts: Lance Reddick, who serves as the token black guy and their boss, convinces PMCB to continue to work with Pacey and Frank on other mysterious cases, which apparently there are a lot of. "It's like someone's experimenting, only the world is their lab," Lance says. Whoa! And something tells me the team will get one mysterious case per week, and resolve each one in an hour's time, but probably no sooner than 9:54 p.m.

You might think from my sardonic tone that I didn't like the show, but I did. I am a huge sucker for this brand of nonsense. Check back here weekly for my thoughts on our endearingly ragtag crew, and hope with me for more gratuitous shots of PMCB in her skivvies.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'll Never Tell...

Dear Gossip Girl Diary,

Oh boy, what an exciting night! I love the feeling I get in the pit of my stomach as I leave my Hamptons manse for a new year of private school shenanigans, so last night's episode was TOTALLY RELEVANT TO MY LIFE! Here are some of my innermost thoughts on the show. Don't tell anyone, Gossip Girl Diary!

-Really, Nate's mom? You just lived your life in absurd, Hamptons extravagance like nothing was happening, and then mentioned in passing to your son that the federal government is doing an inventory on all your earthly possessions, while you cut lilies that your underpaid gardener put blood, sweat and tears into making look so lovely? Really? Jeez, sometimes I think there are no writers and they just make the stuff up as they go along.

-Oh wait, why don't you just sell those two living mastodons you have following you around as pets to some eccentric millionaire, Nate's mom. That should bring in the big bucks.

-Hmm. I am about to get on a coach bus for a 2 hour ride, but need a little snack. Let me weigh my options...a nutri grain bar? Nah, too convenient. Maybe a handful of delicious and nutritious organic trail mix. Nah, still way too practical. OH I know. How about a tray of gourmet, over sized chocolate covered strawberries. Nice. I definitely made the right choice.

-I really felt Nate's pain in his Ikiru inspired scenes. He just wanted someone to talk to...

-Vivian: What's squash?
Jeanette: It's like tennis, but both players are on the same side of the net, and instead of a net there is a wall.
Vivian: Oh, so it's stupid tennis.
Jeanette: Yes, they should definitely re-market it as such.

On a less disjointed note, Gossip Girl Diary, I am really enjoying the more aggressive Beatrice and Benedict sparring going on with Blair and Chuck. What I once deemed as over-the-top, shoddy acting is now coming across as campy brilliance. Keep it up, Leighton and Ed!


Monday, September 08, 2008

Fringe, Watch It

This upcoming fall season was slowly pushing me towards the realization that when it comes to case-of-the-week, procedural television, we had seen it all. If it weren't for the awe inspiring final two episodes of House last season, I would have been close to being lumbar punctured out. Law and Order (mostly original recipe, but sometimes SVU) has become incredibly dependent on ripping from the headlines instead of crafting crackerjack cases in the writers' room. Even new offerings are falling short. The Mentalist and Eleventh Hour, premiering on CBS on September 23rd and October 9th respectively, both boast well developed and acted, quirky male leads, but the cases presented in the pilot episode are not the awe inspiring webs of intrigue they should be in order to hook a repeat audience (more on these shows later).

In steps Fox's Fringe. Try to set aside enough time to watch the 2 hour premiere tomorrow night, Tubers. You will not be disappointed. Fringe is the next, sure to be successful, notch in J.J. Abrams' belt. Unlike its older brother, Lost, Fringe won't leave you with a case of the WTFs. Yes, J.J.'s fancy for the other worldly is more than present, but putting his voice in a case-of-the-week format was a brilliant idea in order capture a new fan base who don't like to be kept wondering for half of a year why it is the island just disappeared!#7$%9#!@.

Australian actor John Noble (pictured right) STEALS THE SHOW with an incredibly sympathetic portrayal of Walter Bishop, a real, live mad scientist. I know it is always a struggle for overseas actors to take commercial, American gigs without feeling as if they have compromised their legitimacy, but this role could do for Noble what House did for Hugh Laurie.* Noble's chemistry with Joshua Jackson, who plays his son Peter, is delightful! Yes, delightful.

*Every time you say or write Hugh Laurie, an angel gets its wings. Fact.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Sad Alec

Has anyone read the profile of Alec Baldwin in the New Yorker? I know, I know, this is my second blog in a row in which I mention the New Yorker. That is because I am trying to be an intellectual (albeit one who loves television). I also recently ordered Civilization and its Discontents from Amazon. The goal is to make low-brow people feel insipid, and high-brow people feel pretentious. I'll let you know how it goes.

Anyway, the profile is 8,000 words of Alec Baldwin hating his life. One usually expects that lengthy a piece to deal with the history of Russian-Georgian relations or be an excerpt from the latest Junot Diaz overrated piece of crap, but no: it's the guy who starred in The Shadow.

It would be easy to dismiss the piece as a spoiled rich out-of-touch actor bitching about what most people would dream of having, but I don't see it that way. I'm one of the people who really believed Puffy when he sang about mo' money mo' problems. And besides, this man wanted to be President of the United States:

Alec Baldwin began at George Washington University in 1976, with the idea of going into law and becoming President of the United States. At the end of his junior year, he split up with a girlfriend and lost a student-body election. Feeling underappreciated, he transferred to N.Y.U. and began studying at the Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute.

And people expect him to just shut up and enjoy being billed second on an NBC sitcom. This is a man with a level of ambition and audacity that most of us can't imagine. He clearly feels he settled, and worse, only sort of settled: elsewhere in the piece Baldwin says he pursued both fatherhood and his acting career only halfway, hoping to create a healthy balance. Instead he has a half-assed family life and a half-assed IMDB page:

"My life, in some ways, has been a half-measure. I didn’t commit myself all the way to my marriage and family, because I would have given up more. And I didn’t go all the way with just being completely selfish. I always wonder where my career would be if I was more selfish..."

Baldwin goes on to fantasize about being a classical radio host and a retired dude bumming around the Long Island Sound in a motorboat. The truth is--and I suspect he knows this--that he will never be satisfied, and wouldn't be had he been more "selfish" with his career either.

He's basically an insatiable person--so too, I suspect, is everyone. You think you've reached the peak you always dreamed of reaching, only to find another looming overhead. So just remember that when you are laughing at yet another Jack Donaghy non-sequitir, you're laughing at a tormented soul whose desires will only be consummated upon his death.

Have a nice weekend!


I have a very strong like-hate relationship with Entourage, premiering its 5th season this Sunday night at 10 PM. Despite the fact that it is one of the most flawed pieces of television out there, I watch it religiously. Whenever I find myself reaching new levels of disgust at the flagrant displays of sexism, I remember how hot Adrian Grenier is. Whenever I find myself clutching my stomach at the horrendous acting skills of Jerry Ferrara and Kevin Connolly, I again remember how hot Adrian Grenier is. Jerry in particular is so bad, back when The Sopranos was still on as a showcase for Jamie-Lynn Sigler's comparably vomitrotious acting, you may recall that I toyed with pitching HBO a reality spin off called Acting School, in which the pair would learn not to suck quite so much. But it's all good, because, and argue me on this if you must, Adrian Grenier is the most perfect male, human specimen, even when he spent an entire half of last season dressed up as Pablo Escobar/Tony Clifton.

But last week, it was hard to quell the feeling of full on rage that thinking about Entourage usually instills in me. Getting of the elevated subway just blocks from Alanna's home, I was faced with the commotion of a location set. I looked yonder to see a local bar with a fake sing hung above that read Johnny Drama's. With no Adrian in sight and only the slightly off-kilter mug of Kevin Dillon to look at, it was attitude city when a full of himself PA directed me to a different set of stairs FOR NO REASON. I mean seriously, nothing was happening in the area he was keeping clear; I at least expected to see Jeremy Piven taking a shit there or something. As Alanna and I walked by and filming wrapped, Kevin Dillion yelled out, "Thank you, Queens!," and under my breath, I muttered, "For what..."

If you're looking for something to pregame with before Entourage, you might as well keep your dial on HBO all night and catch Alan Ball's newest creation True Blood, premiering at 9 PM. My love for Ball coupled with my mild vampire-on-TV fetish made me salivate with anticipation after reading this script, but when I watched the first episode, it did not translate so well to the small screen. A clever ad campaign pushing True Blood, a delicious and nutritious blood subsitute meant to prevent vampires from killing people, has created buzz, though. And because this is HBO (pay television) and nothing ever gets canceled, you can at least get invested without worrying about cancellation blue balls. Plus, there is always the intense portrayal of vampire on human sex about halfway through the episode to look forward to--if you're into that sort of thing.

Thursday, September 04, 2008


That's what happens when you combine Wednesday and reality. Let's recap.

On Project Runway, guest judge Diane von Furstenberg challenged the contestants to make a look for her fall line, inspired by the film An Affair to Remember. So I know that I have the fashion sense of a blind woman who lets her guide dog pick out her outfits, but to me Diane is not a fashion legend. She introduced the world to the wrap dress and other assorted floral looks that now litter the racks of your local Dress Barn, or better yet Chicos, the store that gave Michael Phelps' mom an endorsement deal inspired by her matronly olympic look. But whatever, I guess I don't know anything because Kenley wouldn't stop crying with joy the whole episode. Anyway, it was Leanne for the win, two weeks running, and Stella got the [leather] boot. Leanne's winning design is pictured left. I really like it. I hope that my guide dog sniffs it out of the closet for me to wear one day.

File this next one under ABSURDLY EXCITING television news. Grant, Jason and the TAPS team were back on SciFi last night with all new episodes in the second half of the fourth season of Ghost Hunters. I love these guys. They're like America's blue collar heroes. I wonder if Bruce Springsteen will ever write a song about them. I'll start thinking of words that rhyme with Grant and Jason.

And in picking up Alanna's slack news, America's Next Top Model's 11th cycle premiered last night featuring the first ever actual transexual contestant--not just some bitchy chick with high cheekbones that gets a bad wrap from Miss Jay. Isis was featured in a photo shoot last cycle. You remember, the one where Tyra had the girls pretend to be homeless in front of actual homeless girls. NICE! Tyra decided to bring Isis back to try her hand at actual modeling, not just homeless modeling. Huh. Tyra has been accused of "tampering with the evidence" before; remember how Saleisha won cycle nine after attending Tyra Banks' Modeling Summer Camp for Really Hot Crazy Girls, or whatever its called? Now she is dragging an individual who has obviously led a somewhat troubled life into her Hot Mess Circus, just for the shock value of having a transexual. Is this morally responsible? How much of an actual career in HIGH FASHION modeling can a transexual hope for? And how long until the townspeople finally take their torches up the mountain, cross the moat, push down the barricades and kill Tyra?

For a more thorough look at ANTM, check out the illustrious Carolyn and Pat at A Blog About Things.

ANTM Apologies

I was supposed to blog today about the premiere of menstrual cycle 86 of America's Next Top Model but I missed the show because I was out with Jeanette at a play about a drag queen who was abducted by aliens, probed, and dropped into a mystical forest, where she ate a magic mushroom. Everything that happened after that was, I think, part of her trip. So it was a lot like watching America's Next Top Model, actually.

For those of you craving excellent TV writing (and aren't yet Beijing'ed out), I recommend you read Anthony Lane's dispatches from the Olympics in lieu of my ANTM scribblings (which will appear here next week.)

Here's Part One and Part Two. He comes across sort of as a higher brow Bill Bryson here, no offense to Bill Bryson, whose patronage I would sure appreciate.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


The much anticipated (yet not anticipated enough to release to critics) premiere of the new 90210 happened last night. I learned the important lesson that if I am going to watch 16 year olds on TV, I prefer them to be having sex. Or doing drugs. Or both. Simultaneously, if possible. While the kids of the hills may boast better acting skills--yay for Degrassi alum Shenae Grimes, who was only nauseating because of her dramatic weight loss--the 10021 and the Gossip Girl gang beats 90210 when it comes to overall entertainment (those Chuck Bass-tards!).

And now some excerpts from my 90210 journal:

-Really? The only organic way to introduce a black character to Beverly Hills is to have him be adopted by a white family? Really? And if there is any sort of implication of sexual chemistry between Annie and Dixon, I quit television. (Just kidding, TV. I could never quit you.)

-Why do the opening credits feel like Darren Aronofsky directed them? I think I just had a seizure.

-Okay my favorite part so far, and it's not even part of the show: watching Jessica Walter/Lucille Bluth do one of those awkward, at the premiere party interludes. She must be fun at parties. The crazy alchoholic type casting has to come from somewhere.

-Here's my ULTIMATE pet peeve of portrayals of classrooms on television, and let me know if you agree. Teacher says, "Let's start with last night's reading..." Thirty seconds later, bell rings signifying the end of class. IF ONLY, TV world, IF ONLY.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

They're back!


Here's what some of TV's biggest stars / the unwashed masses had to say about the Boob Tubers' return...

"update this blog. baby jesus would want you to." --Anonymous

"I'm Chuck Bass. And I approve this re-launch." --Chuck Bass

"Even more than the close quarters of my teenage mother's womb, this blog makes me feel safe and warm." --Bristol Palin's fetus

"what the fuck jeanette, did you go on a writers strike too?" --Arthur

"I lied. I was actually admitted to rehab for being addicted to The Boob Tubers, not sex. Can you blame me?" --David Duchovny

"There are only two things that get me churning with excitement: warm ocean waters and the Boob Tubers." --Hurricane Gustav

"OK, OK, I am gay... FOR THIS BLOG!" --Kevin Spacey

"remember when you guys would watch tv?" --Anonymous

Yes, Anonymous, we remember. And we're going to watch TV better than ever before! Check back soon for uh, actual content.

It's happening...

Have you felt a weird tingling in your stomach these past few days akin to Christmas morning? It's because the BOOB TUBERS ARE BACK starting tomorrow.