nov 22

15 Quick Observations on TV Programming in 2005

1) The Boondocks is much better than you've heard. Some dude on NPR said he didn't like the show, but wondered aloud whether it was because he was a politically correct white guy. Word.

2) No fibbing, Breaking Bonaduce has been one of the most amazing reality tv shows of all time. The night in which Danny goes ballistic and the producers are all scattering around, dropping their cameras, and trying to prevent him from killing himself or others -- it's that Man Bites Dog moment you wished would happen on every show. The fourth wall has fallen.

3) Talking about Lost is better than watching Lost.

4) Prison Break is less believable than Harry Potter, but ya gotta love these kinds of confined structural puzzles. Marti Noxon of Buffy fame is a producer on the show, and I credit her with every harrowingly claustrophobic moment.

5) Did you watch the short movie that the kids on the Real World created at SXSW? It sucked so hard that they only put it on the internet.

6) There was the briefest moment in the last episode of The Girls Next Door where the lead hen quit playing her role and blurted out something about being a clone who was probably too smart for Hef's taste. Then she cocked her Stepford head back into place, and with a quick giggle was a blonde bimbo again. Those two seconds have made the show the most important reality tv show of the year. It is the definition of simulacra.

7) Because America isn't as classist as Britain, The Office isn't quite as good here in the States.

8) With Bree on the show, I'll watch Desperate Housewives until I'm 137.

9) Did you see that episode of Veronica Mars where Joss Whedon and the lesbian chick from America's Next Top Model guest starred as coworkers in a car rental shop? More of that, please.

10) Invasion is still on the TiVo sked -- just barely. At any second it could take a red state turn, and it's bye-bye baby squid martians.

11) Though it took a while to get used to, shows like Politically Incorrect and The Daily Show have made us accustomed to this kind of joke interview where media celebs are asked a mix of funny and serious questions. The Colbert Report has extended that idea into some sort of hyperreal fantasy of what talk shows are like in another dimension. Let's get this straight: Colbert interviews serious people in character -- and not only that, but pretending to be a real character from another show (Bill O'Reilly). Yes, we live in an era in which no one finds anything odd in what is effectively Space Ghost: Coast To Coast for the Charlie Rose set. Can he possibly do this 200 times per year? I hope so.

12) When did Letterman stop mattering? And why can't Conan stop that humility shtick? And can we possibly say that Jimmy Kimmel is the best thing on late night network tv? Is there any chance Chappelle comes home and saves us?

13) I told you that the new Daily Show set would eventually grow on you.

14) What the hell happened to Wonder Showzen?

15) Fuck you, Fox, for canceling Arrested Development, which actually might have been the best sitcom of all time.


Wonder Showzen is on randomly on MTV2 but it also had 2 episodes on Comedy Central. Maybe they'll pick it up?

posted by tara at 11:11 AM on November 23, 2005

Good thoughts, Rex. Is it ok if I use your blog instead of mine to post my thoughts on the current state of TV? I think Lost might be one of the very few shows that is better this season than it was last season. I still think they'll barely make it to the end of the season before it starts sucking, but it'll be fun while it lasts. I can't believe you are still watching Desperate Housewives. Bree is great, but you'd probably be better of watching old episodes of Melrose Place. Even better than the Veronica Mars episode with Kim from ANTM was the episode of ANTM in which she wins the guest-starring spot. The girls on the show (ANTM) have a pathological need for a villan: first it was Cassandra, then it was Lisa, then it was Kim. They love hating, but it makes for great tv. The Office is no good, in my opinion. Very strained, and it's too dumbed down compared to the British version. Every time Steve C. looks at the camera, he's basically saying, "You Americans are idiots. You would forget this is supposed to be a documentary if I didn't keep looking at you." Annoying. I don't think it's a class issue, I think it's a writing issue. ("Michael says something offensive but not funny. Michael looks at the camera.") What do you think of "Everybody Hates Chris"? I think it's OK, and funnier than practically everything else, but not really appointment television.

posted by adm at 11:44 AM on November 23, 2005

I watched only one episode of Everybody Hates Chris, and thought it was Cosby 2.0 (or maybe a black version of Malcolm In The Middle), so I gave up. People tell me to try it again, but I just can't do laugh track humor anymore. Oh, and I completely forgot my Laguna Beach observation! 16) Did you ever notice that things seldom happen on Laguna Beach? I mean, events are almost always told instead of seen -- oftentimes, they are told over and over again. Laguna Beach is all about the analysis of history -- an event will happen, and then it will get reportrayed by different characters a dozen times. The weird thing is that the audience saw the event, yet the "characters" always reportray it in a way that it didn't actually happen!

posted by Rex at 1:03 PM on November 23, 2005

i'm totally into Lost. Invasion is indeed wearing thin, but can't stop watching. I love the concept of The Colbert Report, but somehow I file it under "non-essential viewing."

posted by chuck at 12:25 AM on December 3, 2005

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