Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Half Man. Half Machine. All Blog.

Hello there, true believers, and welcome to another at-work edition of my blog to end all blogs. Yes, things are tranquil right now here in primetime development, so I thought I'd kill some time by entertaining the millions and millions of readers out there with another daily dose of Danny's Digital Domain. Ya' dig?

Not too much to update as far as work goes. Still plugging away. Yesterday however was the morning from hell, if you wanted to know. So I ordered all this paper for our office. We needed a lot so I ordered 15 orders each of holed and non-holed paper types. Whoops, turns out that one order of paper wasn't one ream like I thought, it was one big box containing ten reams of paper. Suffice to say, we got A LOT of paper. Luckily I channeled my inner attorney-at-law and convinced the delivery guys to return half the shipment. Still, that left me with 150 packs of paper. Damn ... so yeah, I had to do a lot of box-moving. Guess I picked the wrong day to wear a sweater to work ... Then -- I had to deal with all the new gadgets I had purchased for our kitchen, namely, the coffee maker, which I knew would be an issue since I never drink coffee and therefore am terrible at making it. So yeah, the new coffee maker uses a larger filter than the old one ... so after using the too-small old filters, I open the machine to empty out the old filter, and its filled with water and coffee rinds, and spills all over the place. I must say I did a very good and thorough job of cleaning up this mess, but no, it was not a fun morning, and I felt like I had bathed in coffee (which I kinda had) all day.

So yeah, there's my crazy work story of the day. Haven't seen too many celeb-types lately as pitching season is pretty much over, though I did greet Jay Mohr the other day. Yeah ... pretty ... coool ... huh?


- FOX has done it again. After pretty much giving the best comedy on TV, Arrested Development, the axe, they go and cancel REUNION in the middle of its season. Now I was really starting to get into this show. Yes, it is cheesy as hell, but it was good, over-the-top, melodramatic fun. And it delivered a pretty compelling mystery - one that was set to span a full 22 episodes. So now we'll get a truncated finale, which is too bad. This show had a GREAT concept and could have caught on if it wasn't always preempted by baseball and whatnot. Another one bites the dust.

- Meanwhile, who wouldda think it, but SURFACE is nearly the sole survivor of the battle of the network scifi shows trying to capitalize on the success of Lost. A textbook example of how bad reviews doesn't always mean bad ratings, Surface is actually doing decently well for us at NBC even as Nightstalker and Threshold are cancelled at ABC and CBS. Good riddance to those shows, and it'll be interesting to see what happens to Surface from here.

- PRISONBREAK FINALE: Pretty awesome episode. Great scenes with the two secret service agents, with Michael and his brother, etc. Very intense. Of course there's some crazy lapses in logic (they're just gonna leave Lincoln Burrows totally alone and unguarded in the infirmery ...?), but like 24 you just have to kind of run with it and go along for the ride. Prisonbreak has an awesome cast, great pacing, and a lot of excitement, and is the best new show this year. Now, what is up with the cliffhanger? We have to wait until March to get a resolution on whether or not they escape? I blame this one more on the inept programmers at FOX, but still ... lame. My grade: A -

Speaking of 24, those promos have me hyped! You just know that 24 is going to kick some ass Jack Bauer-style come January. And in a super-cool move, they've cast PETER WELLER, aka Buckaroo Banzai, aka ROBOCOP to play a mentor figure to Jack Bauer. "You have the right to remain silent!" Indeed.

Yes, Robocop is one of the best action movies of all time. I dare you to tell me otherwise.

Alright, that's all for today.

Baram Out.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

There Was Turkey For Me, and Turkey For You

A belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. As the contented nothingness of the holiday weekend gives way to the return of the working week, I hope we can all look back at a few days of peaceful tranquility and say: "ahhh, that was good."

I feel I can, because, man, that extra little time off really gives ya that necessary buffer zone to just kick back and relax. Sure, I had to work on Friday, don the page polyester, and give two tours after a long absence from the NBC tour-giving circuit. But despite every fiber of my being wanting to sleep late on Friday, and despite the painful reality of having to get to work early after a mere one day off, the suffering was soon alleviated by a multi-hour nap that was just what the doctor ordered. Of course, even with a little extra time added to my weekend, I still have so much stuff left undone, but hey, it's the holiday, it's all about doing nothing, right? And I mean a GOOD kind of nothing. Not doing nothing like just sitting staring at the computer screen wondering how best to spend your carefully planned time. But doing nothing as in realizing that there's nothing more pressing to do than to just kick back and give the ol' PS2 a workout, ya know?

Forgive me for all this nonsensical rambling, I think I'm still feeling the after-effects of all that turkey, or something. Speaking of which, our little Page-Giving Thanks-Giving Feast was a good time, with lots of hearty food, mostly courtesy of fellow page and Julia Child-in training Abby W, who brought it on like Donkey Kong, serving up some home-cooked servings that left noone hungry for more. All that was missing was my uncle Michael to declare that the stuffing (if there was any), was, indeed, "well-stuffed." And of course there is no other experience that can quite replicate my hipster-Rabbi great-uncle Elliot belting out jokes and songs, Zaydee reading yet another Turkey Day proclamation from former CT governer Wilbur Cross, or the madhouse that m house becomes as we strive to vacuum, dust, and scrub every inch so that it meets my dad's notoriously demanding demands for cleanliness. On second thought, maybe a change of pace for one year wasn't such a bad thing after all? After all, we did have nearly 80 degree weather here in LA last week. Now isn't that something to be thankful for?

But don't worry all those in CT-land. I'll be back soon to visit and I can't wait for one more round of do-nothing vacationing, as I am beginning to think that the lazy life might really be my natural state of being. At least that's how it seems in the face of 11-hour workday NBC corporate craziness, which has a tendency to make a lazy day of relaxation look like just baout the greatest thing ever. And hey, maybe it is.

And now, back to our regularly scheduled blogging:


- Oh man, at work? Already? Yeah, and look at the time, it's been about a month already since I started my assignment, and my thoughts inevitably turn towards the unclear future ahead. So ... what the hell am I going to do next? Yes, I REALLY have to start thinking about life post-NBC pagedom. My ideal is probably to be a writer's assistant, but yeah, those types of gigs are not exactly a dime a dozen. So if you are one of those people who has, like, connections all over town (in a good way I mean), then give me a hand will ya, hook me up. Seriously, if anyone has any ideas or connections, fill me in!


- Okay, I hear it every day - people discussing LOST like it's ULYSSES and people dissing VERONICA MARS simply because they don't know what they're talking about. And yet while Lost continues to falter this season, Veronica Mars' second season is beginning to hit its stride, and just delivered another A-level episode. So let me quickly summarize while you should be watching MARS on Wednesdays and merely taping or Tivo'ing Lost to watch for later, even at the peril of god-forbid being excluded from water-cooler discussions the next day. So ...


- CHARACTER THROUGH PLOT: While Lost needs to use contrived, formulaic flashbacks every episode just to give overly long explanations of why their characters are the way they are, the characterizations on Veronica Mars continually evolve alongside the unfolding mysteries of the show, and are revealed organically.

- CONTINUITY: While Lost has more loose ends than an unmade bed, Veronica Mars is meticulously plotted and mapped out, so that when mysteries are solved, you know you were i good hands all along as the pieces of the puzzle fit neatly into place. Lost has posed about 5,000 questions, none of which will likely ever be answered in a satisfactory way, simply because it's clear that the writers and producers never had a clear vision for where they were going with the show. So while you can legitimately watch Veronica Mars and piece together all the clues, trying to figure out how the island , the numbers, Walt's powers, the hatch, the Others, etc., all fit together on Lost is pretty much a lost cause (pun intended).

- ATMOSPHERE: While Lost gets all the comparisons to shows like X-Files, Veronica Mars shares an important quality with that show - it is positively dripping with dark, foreboding atmosphere. As a matter of fact, the whole show is film-noir DARK, with nary an "awww isn't that cute" moment in sight. Lost on the other hand is filled with wannabbe-Spielbergian moments that are just oh so cheesy, and that usually come wrapped in an all too convenient montage. Oh look, let's watch everyone hug for ten minutes in this past week's episode. Hmm, maybe the reason for all those montages is that nothing actually happens.

Okay, so I'm not here to just bash Lost. The thing is that I completely want LOST to be good. That's why I keep watching. There is so much potential in the show. The cast is great, the premise has SO MUCH possibility. And I am eagerly waiting and hoping for that potential to be fullfilled. But it is possible to have great characterization that is a natural extension of an ongoing PLOT. Everything doesn't have to stop just so we can find out that Ana Lucia was a cop. I've been reading a lot of Grant Morrison-written stuff this weekend, and that man packs more ideas into a single page of his writing than an entire season of Lost. And don't try and tell me the show is ABOUT the characters. EVERY non-procedural TV show is about characters. This show is about characters but also a lot more. What that more is though, has totally disappeared into the background, because the writers seem too afreaid to step up to plate and craft a real story that dazzles the imagination, that's more than just a soap opera set on an island. So come on behind-the-scenes people, step up the game! And everyone, watch Veronica Mars - it's dripping with dark atmosphere, rife with mystery, and is the best show on Wednesdays at 9 pm.


SIMPSONS: A plot that lasted the whole ep makes this a decent effort, though what it had in structure it lacked in funny. Some good lines, Milhouse's middle name is Mussolini!, and an overall old-school tone made this, despite a lack of laugh-out-loud moments, one of the more solid efforts this season. My grade: B

FAMILY GUY: Alright, I guess there's no point in resisting it anymore, Family Guy is funny again. But I am stil lworried that it's becoming more "did you see what they just did?" funny and less the clever, downright hilarious, and innovative show that it originally was. Still, as far as offensive humor goes, this is still must-see material, and some of the gags this week were pretty freakin' funny (the doctor's schtick, Peter addressing the room full of fat people ...).
My grade: A -

And that's about all I got for now. I'd write more, but my sleep schedule is WAY off from this weekend and I can already tell that tommorow might potentially be one reaaaally long day at work. Luckilly there's the kinda-finale of PRISON BREAK tommorow, which is pretty much guaranteed to rule all.

So that is all for this EXCELLENTLY-EXECUTED posting. I bid you all goodnight and / or good morning, and good luck.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

"And the Flames Went Higher ..."

Man, it's been a CRAZY week.

I guess part of it is just that the holiday season is approaching, but things just seem to be moving at a strange, dream-like pace lately, and everything seems just slightly removed from reality.

My last post was on Wednesday, and that post now seems like it was made ages ago.

So Thursday I'm at work, in the middle of the usual craziness. My cell phone rings and I answer it on a whim. It's someone calling from Boston University's Daily Free Press newsapaper. They're telling me that they saw via The Facebook website that I was friends with someone - with a girl named Anne Meadows. I was, but more of an acquaintance, really. I mean, I had had a ton of classes with her at BU together we slogged through professors Cavalieri and Schneider in writing and production classes, and we always got along well, and joked a lot, and she was undoubtedly talented, smart, and one of the nicest people I had come across at BU's College of Communication. One of those people who you can't help but call your friend even if you weren't particularly close outside of classes. I knew she had moved out to LA. I had talked to her online, asked her about her job at Disney, I even invited her to my recent birthday celebration, hoping to get back in touch and reconnect with some of my old BU pals who had moved out here. She was unable to attend, but I always kind of assumed that at some point soon in the near future we'd finally hang out. It wasn't meant to be, I guess ... it turned out that she had passed away. She was dead at the age of 22, and the Free Press was calling me for a tribute story they were doing to run in Friday's edition. My hands shook as I asked the guy on the phone to repeat what he was saying, and I was in complete shock and disbelief. I tried to go about the rest of my day, but my head was swimming. I don't really want to go into it anymore than this on the blog, but suffice to say that the whole thing is just sad, just a tragedy, and just not right. I only hope that for the people who were truly close to Anne - her friends, her family - that they can find peace and solace in the face of a life being so tragically cut short, in the knowledge that Anne made many people's lives better in the short time she was here.

By Friday I had had some time to process, but of course Friday turned out to be just about the craziest and most ridiculous day at work ever. The Current Primetime group who we at Development have shared our offices with are moving out, and on Monday they'll be in new offices down the hall at NBC. So of course nobody in my department stopped to plan for the fact that Current was taking everything but the kitchen sink with them to their new offices. That meant we were left without a fridge, copier, water and soda supplies, coffee maker, paper, microwave, toaster, and few office supplies. And guess who was given yet another trial by fire and suddenly put in charge of getting all of this stuff THE DAY BEFORE CURRENT MOVED OUT FOR GOOD? Yep, that poor soul was me. So with nary an ounce of guidance, I had to order all of this crap online, set up new accounts, go through miles of corporate red tape, and try to explain to all my coworkers what the hell was going on. Not fun. The only positive is that taking on this responsibility hopefully earned me some brownie points with the assistants and execs who I work with, but on the downside it provided for the most stressful day ever. Because as all of our weekly scripts were coming in on Friday evening that needed to be printed and copied, we found ourselves without a big copier that could handle the task of reproducing them quickly. Of course, utter chaos ensued.

All of which added up to the fact that I was more than ready to leave work on Friday and see Harry Potter 4. Now I don't really like Harry Potter all that much, but the sight of wizards couldn't have been more welcome after the two days from hell.

So, yeah, I know it's a bit of a jarring change of subject matter, but here's what I have to say about the latest Harry Potter, namely Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire ...


Okay, so I can't say I've really LOVED any of the Harry Potter movies. And I felt basically the same about this one that I have about the others. I enjoy the characters, the f/x, the IDEAS behind the whole premise, but the movies, as a whole, kind of bore me and feel pretty lacking. This one especially had some cool scenes, but felt like it was just that - a collection of scenes with no real sense of a coherant plot that was driving the action. Sure, there's the TriWizard tournament or whatever, but this setup, which was the focus of the movie, felt more like a diversion from the real, more important plot that was happening in the background. And sure, I understand the need for setup, but this is the fourth movie, how much setup can you have? And yes, I realize that obviously, this is just following the books. But guess what, all you Harry Potter elitists ... THESE ARE MOVIES, THEY DON'T HAVE TO AND SHOULDN'T NECESSARILY FOLLOW THE BOOKS TO THE LETTER. WHY? BECAUSE THE MOVIES INEVITABLY SUFFER FOR DOING SO. But Danny, you ask, aren't you the same geek who complains when Alfred Pennyworth doesn't have a mustache in Batman Begins like he does in the comics? Why yes, yes I am. But while I do have a problem with movie adaptations altering key details or plot points for no particular reason, I also have a problem with jumpy plots in movies that lack coherance or dramatic stucture. As they stand now, I see these Harry Potter movies basically as a fun diversion, a collection of cute little ideas and characters that exist in a fun and magical world. But are these anywhere near the same league as, say, Lord of the Rings or even the original Star Wars trilogy? Oh hells no. That being said, let's give some credit to how great the cast is in these films. Alan Rickman is pure money as Snape. Mad Eye Moody, despite a stupid name, was great. All three kids are golden, and totally embody their characters. On the bad side, Voldemort looked like a poor man's Nosferatu, which was kind of a letdown after so much buildup. The movie was entertaining enough, but in the final assesment is merely decently entertaining. But seriously, the whole Harry Potter thing really does kinda scare me with its weird ability to inspire grown men to dress like its lead, KID characters. Are there ANY nerds that are creepier than Harry Potter nerds? I think not. My grade: B -

The next day I took in yet another much-hyped movie, but one that was totally different ...


I've talked on here about my growing appreciation for the music of Johnny Cash over the last year or so. So I have really been looking forward to this movie for a while, and it didn't disappoint. Like a good Cash song, this movie sticks inside your brain and refuses to leave - it's simple yet ressonant, deceptively powerful. Firstly, the performances in this film are great. Joaquin Phoenix is great here. While he looks and sounds differently from the Johnny Cash most are familiar with, at the same time, he embodies Johnny Cash in an eerily accurate way. He lacks the exact look - the craggy face and old-past-his-years visage, and he lacks the exact sound - the deep gravel in his voice and always earnest tone. But yet ... he is very, very, convincing. And in terms of his acting, of his ability to draw you in - well, the mimicry is almost spot-on, but the performance as a whole, well, it's a home run. And Reese Witherspoon ... she has come a long way here from Legally Blonde. In easily her best performance yet, she is charming and subtley pained as June Carter, Johnny's unattainble object of delirious affection. And hey, X-Files fans, Agent Doggett, aka Robert Patrick, does an awesome job here as well as Johnny's disapproving father - in a scene-stealing performance. This movie, for what it is, basically fires on all cylinders with superb acting, rousing musical set-pieces, a deliberate but absorbing pace, and moody, era-evoking cinematography - taking us back to the birth of rock and roll in a land populated with the likes of Elvis, Orbison, Dylan, and more. But what is this movie? Well, it's less a full biopic and more a love story between Johnny and June. And it's a very, very good love story - inevitably an Oscar-worthy one at that. But I did leave with a feeling that it oculd have been slightly more, as the movie stops short of giving us a full picture of the life of Johnny Cash. When the courthsip between Johnny and June is over, so is the movie, even though it feels like there is so much more to tell, and a larger context that the whole thing should be put into. We get intriguing hints of something more - scenes of Cash mixing with other rock legends, of his desire to represent society's outcasts (ie the transcendant concert scene in Folsom Prison). When I got home from seeing this movie, I watched the amazing music video for Johnny Cash's cover of NIN's "Hurt", released in the months between June's death and his own, and it left me dying to see how the Johnny Cash from Walk The Line became the wizened, fatherly, world-weary Johnny Cash from "Hurt." I guess there is only so much you can put into one movie, and I did just complain about Harry Potter's lack of focus, but I do think that an extra ounce of context would have pushed this movie from the realm of "great" into that of "classic." As it is, the main focus, the love story, is presented with all the drug-fueled passion and fiery angst that seeped into so many Cash songs of the time. The power of this movie is that it will make you need to know more about Johnn Cash - you will need to hear his music, need to find out what happened next, and need to learn about his place in rock history. And most likely, you'll have his infectious songs stuck in your head for days to come - I know I do. My grade: A -

Okay, some quick capsule TV REVIEWS:

- MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE: Wow, GREAT ep this week. Maybe with Arrested on the chopping block people will come back and appreciate the original single camera sitcom. This was vintage Malcolm, full of clever plot points and with no shortage of laugh out loud humor. My grade: A

- KING OF THE HILL: Best ep in a while. Classic Hank vs. Everyone Else premise, and even though it mortified Hank, ya gotta love the idea that his precious town of Arlen was founded by a bunch of hookers. My grade: A

THE SIMPSONS: Dayum, this episode was BROKEN. The main plot began TWENTY MINUTES INTO THE SHOW! Worse, if given time, Homer running for mayor could have actually had some potential. That is just terrible writing, and more evidence to the fact that the producers of this show are currently either hacks, barely trying, or both. That Ricky Gervais-penned episode cannot come fast enough. My grade: C -

FAMILY GUY: After a run of a few above average eps, this one was back to the land of lameness, with few legit funny moments and enough totally nonsensical 80's references for four episodes (yet ANOTHER Transformers joke? They should give it up, they will never eclipse the classic "Optimus Prime? YOU'RE Jewish?" joke). Sure, the Disney parody stuff was kinda funny (can't go wrong with a Captain EO joke ...), but we've seen it done better in classic Simpsons (Itchy and Scratchy Land anyone?). This one had its moments, but was kinda pushing it. On the other hand, after careful conisderation, I am upping my grade slightly solely due to the hilarity that is "Peanut Butter Jelly Time!" My grade: B

Last Week's SMALLVILLE - freaking awesome. Superman vs. Milton Fine in full-on evil Braniac mode! The threat of ZOD! Antarctic Fortress battles! Lex for Senate! Lois at the Daily Planet! This episode could do no wrong, and was one of the best, most action-packed episodes ever! Dare I say it was BETTER than that new Superman movie teaser? I might go there, because, unlike the teaser, this week's Smallville didn't need the Donner Superman's theme music or Marlon Brando Jor-El voiceover narration in order to kick some ass! Oh no you didn'. Yes, I did. My grade: A

- Dude, PRISON BREAK is gonna rule this week. Last week's was good stuff, and the question of the TV week is now: WHO is gonna get ousted from the group of prison escapees? My bet is on ... Michael's cellmate - sure, the two are friends, but what does he bring to the table?

- If nothing happens on LOST ... everyone will still watch it.

- Bring on NARNIA, RENT, MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA, and possibly AEON FLUX (I was a HUGE fan of the cartoon but the movie could suck ...).

Well, sorry for starting the post on such a downer this week, but as you can see it's been a wild ride the last few days and all one can do is keep on truckin'. Thank God for the holidays this week as the prospect of a shortened work week is making the impending thought of the MONDAY OF DOOOM a little bit easier to swallow.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my BU partners in crime ... HAPPY BIRTHDAY AKSEL, and HAPPY BIRTHDAY ERYKA. Don't worry guys, there will be more good times to come. But my question for Eryka, my favorite honorary Wiccan-turned-Jew, is ... did you once again partake of Rabbi Schmooley's Cake of Immorality? Man, has it really been a year since I was in NYC feasting at the craziest Shabbat dinner / duel Birthday party of all time in the house of rabbi turned media mogul Schmooley Boteach? Man how time flies. Seriously, Happy Birthday to the both of ya's - I am playing Shakira's "Whenever, Wherever" right now in your honors.

" ... And time keeps dragging on / But that train keeps a-rolling ..."

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Live from NBC ...Political rantings, TV Reviews, and MORE

Well here's yet another post that is coming to you straight from the halls of NBC Studios in Burbank. I've been filling in for an assistant the last few days in comedy development, so it's been an interesting change of pace, although it can get pretty slow at times.

Yesterday though I did get to work on The Tonight Show, which turned out to be a pretty great edition of the show, relatively speaking, at least. Classic show guest and Johnny Carson fave Joan Embry was on with her usual menagerie of wild animals, the highlight of which was probably the gigantic python they brought out, which had to be one of the biggest snakes I have ever seen, and looked about ready to crush anything that moved. The sloth and armadillo were pretty sweet as well. Then I have to give props to, of all people, Melissa Etheridge. Yep, Ms. "Come to My Window." Not only can the woman rock, but she has a pretty inspirational story, having survived cancer over the past year. She seems genuinely humble, and her raw emotion and desire to overcome her situation translated into her musical performance, which was some old-school John Mellencamp-style classic rock that made the entire audience stand up and cheer in the midst of the music. Gotta love it.

Otherwise things are okay at work. I still need to adjust my sleeping schedule better because I am just not getting enough sleep. The thing is I don't really feel tired at night, for the most part. Lack of energy, yes, but not tired like I want to lie down and go to sleep tired. Just in the morning I feel totally out of it. Man, the concept of waking up and feeling refreshed and ready to go has been pretty foreign to me for say the last few years. How does one achieve this? The last time I remember waking up and being totally energized was back in the day waking up at like 6 am for my weekly dose of cereal and Saturday morning cartoons. What happened, I ask you?

Hey, interesting to see how low Bush's approval ratings are lately. As is evidenced by the dead-on impersonator who appears on Leno, many of us cannot help but think of Bush as a complete moron, and even his former supprters seem to be having their doubts lately. Personally, I think that the Bush administration could be on the verge of a huge scandal (even more so than what's transpiring at this very moment ...), because I think it seems obvious to many that this whole CIA leak thing originated from somewhere very close to the top of the administration, and that it was done to help lend one more means of justifying the war in Iraq and giving it legitimacy in the minds of the government and the press. The fact that Bob Woodward is now testifying that a high level administration official originally tipped him off as to the CIA operative's identity points to the fact that this could be another Watergate-type affair if the public ever learns the whole truth behind what transpired. I think that it's pretty clear - Bush had his own agenda for going to war, and he was grasping at straws to explain to the public why were sending our troops there. It's funny though, we didn't really need alterior explanations for the first Gulf War - everyone pretty much knew that it was a strategic war that was being fought to prevent a rogue nation from getting ahold of valuable resources, namely oil. So why the subterfuge this time? Honestly I don't understand, but I guess the main reason was that as we can see, the real war on terrorism, undoubtedly the country's real top priority at the time, was being neglected in favor of the dismantling of Saddam's regime. The sad part is that Bush's war was so confusingly justified that people like John Kerry were at a loss to un-justify it to the public. But in the beginning, you had these Niger reports that conveniently pointed to WMD's being sold to Iraq, all courtesy of insider leaks that obviously had a manipulative agenda. But in this day and age conspiracies like this rarely work (Clinton couldn't even keep his sex life a secret), and eventually, the truth will come out.


MY NAME IS EARL - Wow, "Joy's Wedding" probably my fav episode thus far in Earl's short life-span. Had some good laughs, good characterization, and a good little plot to boot. Up until this point I have not really found much appeal in The Crabman, but I finally came around this episode and found him to be hilarious. My grade: A-

THE OFFICE - Easily the most improved show on TV. And it's funny, think of classic shows like Seinfeld or The Simpsons -- they weren't that great in their first or even second seasons. At this rate The Office could keep improving exponentially, and become a classic in its own right. And hey, the ratings are up too. Dwight is to this show what Kramer was to Seinfeld, and like I've been saying he is totally owning this show as of late. My grade: A -

VERONICA MARS - I know, this is almost a week late, but last week's ep was another great one, with classic pulp villainy in the form of movie-star gone bad Aaron Echols, and his twisted son Logan, and an ever evolving mystery that is worthy of comparison to Chandler and Hammett. For those who think this is a teen show akin to The OC, think again. Sure, there's teen soap aspects to the show, but this is a moody, gritty, and superbly done mystery show. My grade: A

GILMORE GIRLS: Hmm, this ep was a little too soapy for me. For one thing I was not a fan of Rory's "please, hire me" act at the newspaper. Working as an entry level assistant right now, I can tell you that no boss would hire someone who just barges into their office and demands a job, no matter how much of a TV cliche it may be. The Luke-has-a-daughter stuff was kind of interesting, but also pretty over the top for this show. It does set up an interesting dynamic though. Still the best pure character drama on TV, and the dialogue, as always, was bursting with wit and charm. My grade: B

WWE RAW: I watched and bittersweetly enjoyed this Monday's tribute to Eddie Guerrero. Apparently a lot of others did too, as it drew a huge rating, topping many of the broadcast network's offerings that night. Man, it is still unbelievable to think that Eddie is gone, but the deafening chants of "Thank You, Eddie" that rang out throughout the stadium on Monday were inspiring and moving, as were the brutally emotional testimonials from Eddie's friends and coworkers. To see men with nicknames like "The Crippler" and "The Animal" break down in tears while describing Eddie's heart and character is not an easy thing to watch, especially in the case of Benoit, usually stone faced and stoic, who could barely contain himself as he paid tribute to his best friend. But the performers still went out and put on a spectacular show, with a number of inter-promotional matches that were a treat for fans and a nice tribute to the man affectionately known as "Latino Heat." Viva La Raza indeed.

- Oh, on one other note, so I'm talking to a fellow page who started recently and he is telling me that Arrested Development is crap and one of the worst shows on TV. WHAT?!?! How can you work in TV and not appreciate this show? Okay, I understand if it's not quite your cup of tea, but come on, at least acknowledge its genious. I mean, Elvis isn't my cup of tea exactly, but I'm not gonna go and say he's crap. The fact is that Arrested was better-written, acted, plotted, smarter, and flat-out funnier than any other comedy on TV from the last few years, and its a tragic shame that it's cancelled. 'Nuff said.

Oh, and by the way what's up with no new STELLA on Comedy Central? I need my fix of surreal absurdist whacked out comedy, dammit all.

- Alright, that's about it for now ...


- Will anything actually happen on LOST tonight?

- Will it draw a ridiculously high rating regardless?

- I saw in Newsweek that there is some new trend in middle schools and high schools for kids to actually hang themselves and then untie the ropes or whatever just as they begin to lose conciousness. And apparently a lot of deaths have resulted from this moronic practice. No kidding. Well, I guess I'm at that stage where I can look at these kids and ask: "What in God's name is wrong with these kids today?" In my day we used to play some Super Nintendo when in need of a nice surge of adrenaline or play sports, or whatever .. pretty much anything except freakin' hang ourselves. Seriously, who does that?

- Yesterday Al Roker and Jesse "The Body" Ventura came in to give pitches at NBC!!! "Well ya know somethin', Gorilla?" Jesse Ventura flat out rules, and could kick Ahnold's ass to boot.

On that note - later.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

"Viva La Raza ...!"

Well I was all scheduled to go back to my regularly scheduled blog posts after this past Friday's brief foray into angsty livejournal-esque musings, but first I gotta reflect on a tragic event that occured this weekend.


I am just completely in shock and in a state of disbelief that this great wrestler passed away. For years I have been an Eddie Guerrero fan, and to have him pass away at the young age of 38 is simply unbelievable. I became a big Eddie fan back in his WCW days, and have avidly followed his career since. Eddie was one of the few guys who could both work a mic and work a match with equal parts skill and charisma. He was one of the elites, among the greats like Flair and Michaels, who could put on a five-star match on any given night but also get the crowd either behind him or against him, able to inspire chants of "Eddie!" or "Eddie Sucks!" at a whim. Hailing from one of the great wrestling families, the legendary Guerrero's, Eddie wrestled in Mexico, Japan, ECW, WCW, and WWE, and went on to win numerous titles in all of those feds, reaching the absolute top of the industry almost two years ago, when he became the WWE World's Heavyweight Champion. Eddie had a number of memorable in-ring feuds, and spectacular matches with the likes of Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio Jr., Chris Benoit, Chavo Guerrero Jr., Rob Van Dam, and many more. He was one of the original "Radicalz", who changed the face of the Monday Night Wars by suddenly jumping ship from WCW to the WWE back in 2000. I saw Eddie Guerrero in person many times over the years, and he never failed to entertain. I saw him in Hartford soon after his WWE debut, in an awesome 8 man tag match. I saw him live this past March in LA at Wrestlemania, where he nearly stole the show in his opening match with Rey Mysterio. Eddie was a guy who was an inspiration - he overcame many personal demons, and came back a few years ago after a prolonged absence from the ring, and shattered the glass ceiling that had been holding him back, ascending to amazing heights. The moment at the end of Wrestlemania 20, where he and fellow journeyman Chris Benoit stood in the ring together, each as a first-time champion after 20 years each in the business, was one of the most memorable visuals ever for fans of the two men. Eddie was a master of the interview, delivering spine-tingling, dramatic promos when called upon, and gut-busting humor when appropriate to the angle. He was a master ring technician, a spectacular high-flyer (his top-rope frog-splash was always a thing of beauty), and most of all someone who always gave 100%. And he will go down as one of the best of all time in his chosen field, someone who tragically died while in the prime of his career. RIP Eddie Guerrero.

Moving on to slightly less tragic things ...


- Well I covered all the bad stuff in my previous Friday post, so for a change of pace here's a few cool things that happened lately at the ol' Peacock network:

- I met Claire Forlani! Yep, the girl from Mallrats and Meet Joe Black! The British up-and-coming actress was at NBC to give a pitch for a TV show. She seemed really cool and had a biting sense of humor, very Bri'ish. I didn't even realize who she was until later ...

- Also, in the completely random department, Sean Hayes from Will and Grace was in giving a pitch the other day. He stopped at my desk and noted the large jar of brads I have on there, and said "hey, you know what they call those?" "bradd pits!". I found that comment kinda amusing but laughed like it was the funniest thing ever. Oy ...


SMALLVILLE - Whoah - awesome episode this past week! One of the best in a long time, with Tom Welling showing some acting chops, a mind-bending story, and good ol' fashioned action that packed a punch. Hey, I'll even give the writers a free pass for resorting to the beyond tired plot device of having someone on the show's memory / personality altered. Why? Because the execution in this case wsa damn good and plenty entertaining. Man, it's an exciting time to be a Superman fan. Smallville is hitting its stride again, We've got two Supermen seemingly headed for the mother of all showdowns in the pages of the kickass Infinite Crisis, and the Superman movie teaser is set to debut this coming week - all I can say is that it had better not suck! As for Smallville - keep it up! My grade: A

REUNION - Another episode with more twists and turns than you can shake a stick at. Aersome bait and switch here, as they totally made us think that Haley from the OC was the one who was gonna be killed, only to reveal that it wasn't so at the last possible second. Nice! This show is doign some great melodrama right now - The OC could take a few lessons. My grade: A -

MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE - very good ep this week, too bad nobody's watching anymore. Funny stuff as usual with Hal and Dewie, the Reese / Lois stuff was gold, and they actually had an entertianing Malcolm A-plot to boot. Let's hope that this show can find a cecond life now that Arrested D is gone. My grade: A -

THE SIMPSONS - Decent episode this week, though nothing great. Still, probably a good 7 or 8 jokes this week that made me laugh out loud, which is pretty good, relatively speaking. Still, a broken plot and an inconsistent tone led this to be a merely non-terrible episode in the grand scheme of things. Though Moe whispering his money-making scheme to Homer, and Homer's confused reaction, was pretty freakin' funny. My grade: B-

FAMILY GUY - Pretty funny stuff again this week ... could this show be making a comeback? Gotta love Stewey's college-boy antics, and hey who ISN'T a sucker for A-Team based humor? Sure, I've complianed before about the gratuitous use of random 80's references, but a whole subplot based on Peter and his friends becoming The A-Team? Alright, I'll bite, that's kinda funny. My grade: B+

Arggh, still have yet to watch last week's Veronica Mars and OC. Did watch Prisonbreak, finally. Good stuff ... but:

DAMMIT ALL, THEY ARE CANCELLING ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT. This sucks. Come on, FOX, what the hell? I know, they brought it back after a disappointingly low-rated 2nd season, but then they throw it into an untested Monday night timeslot oppossite football? And they give the craptacular War at Home a cushy Sunday night slot between Simpsons and a resurgent Family Guy? Ridiculous, I tell you. Arrested should have stayed on Sundays, where FOX has always had an established comedy block. And why not at least give the show a little time, or a time slot change, before giving it the axe? It's only been preempted by baseball for the last few weeks. But no, FOX is intent on rerunning Prisonbreak seemingly every other Monday at 8. Add Arrested to the ever-growing list of FOX shows that never got their due despite being great or potentially classic TV: Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Undeclared, Futurama, Family Guy, and now Arrested Development. I swear, FOX has a knack for putting on some great comedies, but their scheduling and promotions departments completely and utterly SUCK. From keeping Futurama at 7pm on Sundays to sticking Family Guy on random Tuesdays to moving Arrested to Mondays where it had to anchor the bland Kitchen Confidential ... UGH. Oh well ,at least we can look forward to more STACKED. Whoop-de-friggin'-doo.


- Kirsten, I gotta agree with you, Wednesday nights at the Pour House in Boston was some good (and cheap!) times. You just can't beat the two-dollar chicken sandwich. And many of you know how I feel about a good chicken sandwich.

- Crossing my fingers that the NBC execs will like the awesome pilot script I mentioned a few days ago. They are meeting about it on Monday or Tuesday, so hey, maybe there can be hope for netwrok TV after all ...?

- Those American Dad cameos by PAtrick Stewart are kinda cool, I guess, but that show isn't that funny and is slightly grating in my opinion. So ... Can't we get a new TV show starring Patrick Stewart, preferably as someone who kicks serious ass? I'd watch it.

Dayum, I can't believe it's already time for another week of work. Think positively ... think positively ... serenity now, serenity now!

You heard me.


Saturday, November 12, 2005

I am a Highwayman

Well I didn't intend on posting anything on a Friday night. But I am. Good Shabbos.

Tonight was one of those nights that makes you want to curl up in a ball and remain in the fetal position with head buried under pillow. I was totally exhausted from this week at work, and maybe that contributed to what happened. But damn, worst Friday night ever.

So despite being tired, I decided to meet some friends in Santa Monica. Of course the plans got all screwed up and I didn't set out until pretty late, still feeling tired / hungry / drained despite my efforts to get myself energized and ready to go.

So I am still not sure what happened, exactly. But I am driving down Wilshire, can't find the place I'm looking for despite seemingly being in the right place and following my Map Quest-ed directions. So I turn around, try to retrace my path, and before I know what hit me I'm off on a side road heading to god knows where. I try to get back to Wilshire and I get even more off track. And then it spirals and gets worse and worse, and suddenly I'm in a place where the street names are totally unfamiliar, where seemingly no one speaks English, and all I want is to go home.

At first I continued on my quest to find my destination. But soon I gave up and my new goal was just to find the freeway and go home. Finally I did and here I am. So there was my Friday night, totally wasted, and not even wasted in a good way, like it would have been if, say, I had stayed home and played videogames.

I am feeling so tired and wiped out right now I can barely think straight. But I had to write something just to try to get this nightmarish night out of my system.

Weird. I am notoriously horrible with directions, but since I've been in LA I've been pretty good about at least being able to find places via printed out directions when the occasion arises. I need to look at a map and figure out what happened.

This sucks.

For the last few weeks I've felt like I don't have time for anything, and when I do have time for things I feel too tired to do them.

And holy crap, work today was like a freaking kindergarten class. So much inter-office drama, it's ridiculous. Sitting at a desk all day and making copies of TV scripts should NOT be this freaking stressful. At least I hopefully earned some brownie points by being able to stay cool. Everyone should have to be a teacher for a week to learn how to be professional and exert patience under pressure.

I think ideally my Friday nights would be spent around challah, wine, and candles at the Shabbat dinner table. It's nice to have something you do every week, that you can always count on, that is actually relaxing and meant as a way to wind down from the stresses of the week, that is tradition. Sure, sure, laugh all you want ... but for most of my life, every Friday night was spent with my parents, grandparents, and cousins, eating dinner together and partaking in the various Shabbat traditions. And while it was sometimes a chore to have to put up with it all, and sometimes a burden to have to always help prepare for the meal, there was still nothing quite like that feeling of being home on a Friday night, stretching out, taking it all in, and feeling spiritually satisfied, knowing that this was a night for nothing but food, family, and the comfort of knowing that all the concerns and worries of the week could be put aside. Even at BU, there was that communal nature to our weekly Friday night festivities at Hillel The feeling of entering a place and knowing practically everyone there, of hearing everyone's greetings and well-wishes, of laughing, joking, discussing issues both serious and trivial, and sharing together in a hearty meal and a lively gathering. Gatherings like those make you realize that despite all the weird, crazy, or just plain ridiculous people you encounter at work or school or wherever, you can always count on the ability to go home and be with family of one kind or another.

I don't know, I wanted to become a writer to create things that inspire the imagination, that provoke creativity, that inspire ideas. And yet sometimes all I see around me is an uninspiring, neverending cycle of, (to paraphrase the great Charles Nelson Reilly as Jose Chung), the same old crap.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

"I Got FREE LOVE on the FREE LOVE FREEWAY ..." - Lost-bashing and lots more

- Okay, this is my first ever post ... from work! So bear with me here.

- I mainly just want to post quickly about last night's LOST. Okay, this show is completely treading water now ...


... Everyone thought that Shannon would die, and guess what, she did. And was it through some ingenious plot twist, some long-built up to conflict? Nope, it was all a big accident, that will surely lead to weeks' worth of more treading water as the survivors on the island brood, mope, and engage in pointless philisophical debates. Basically, this episode was 55 minutes of people standing around and talking. The last 5 minutes, suddenly the rain is pouring and the mud is everywhere and everything is all ominous like something major's about to go down. We see ghost-Walt for a few seconds, for no apparent reason, and then the tail-end survivors mistake the pursuing Shannon for one of The Others (who are apparently everywhere even though we've never really seen them ...), and boom, a gun goes off and Sahnnon's a goner. Wow, how lame. At least they made the right choice in terms of which character to kill, as Shannon was pretty annoying and kinda useless without her brother Boone to play off of. Now Maggie Grace can go off and try to make a movie career, which is already off to a wonderful start with The Fog remake. Honestly, where is the human drama here? We get subplots that go on for years without even being addressed, zero plot development, and no action with any kind of dramtic weight behind it. But the problem is that the writers have crafted a situation where the audience demands answers due to the way the plot's been set up. In the early years of The X-Files, there was kind of a murky atmosphere where things were kept mysterious, but it was okay because there was more a general feeling of "hmm, I wonder what's going on here ...?", rather than on Lost where the writers pose questions A, B, C, D, E, and on to Z , yet leave each and every one of them hanging. Hence the treading water. So yeah, everyone wants to know who dies, because at least its SOMETHING that we know FOR SURE. At least to this point on Lost, dead is dead. But take away the obligatory "shocking" moment, and what is left? A bunch of nonsensical, vague talk about missing kids, The Others, and, um ... well, nothing, pretty much.
My grade for the ridiculously ratings-grabbing very special episode of Lost: C

- Oh yeah, I actually watched the 34th season premiere of That 70's Show, and they are still working the same formula that they always have. Kelso acting stupid, Fez with his quirky one-liners, Red threatening to kick someone's ass. Only know they are without the show's MAIN CHARACTER, Eric Forman, yet the whole gang still inexplicably hangs out in his basement. Hey, I still laugh at the show, but it probab;y should have retired along with Topher Grace. This is probably one of the most formulaic comedies on the air, but it's still good for a laugh or two, if you're like me and have always found Fez's jokes about girls and candy kinda funny. My grade: B

- Oh man, I totally forgot that the great Christopher Lloyd is on STACKED, of all things. Kinda sad.

- I watched last Thursday's Reunion and man that show is getting kinda good. I am psyched for tonight's ep to see who dies and who killed them. Now with all the melodrama that's led up to this point, this is gonna be a death with some meaning behind it.

- Still haven't caught this week's Prisonbreak or Veronica Mars yet, though I have them on tape.


Still plugging away, still not adjusted to these long-ass days, so yeah I am still pretty much drop-dead tired all the time these days. I do now have access to IM at work, so you may occasionally find me online during the day now. I have seen some VERY interesting scripts over here lately, including one cult-fave comic book adaptation that I SO want to reveal, but won't for fear of getting fired. Suffice to say if this news was on like Ain't It Cool News or some such site, fanboys across the world would be drooling and feeling vertigo (hint, hint) over the prospect of this show making it to TV. And lo and behold, the pilot ep is GREAT and actually extremely faithful to the source material, which means yeah, it prob will never see the light of day. But if it does, watch out. And don't worry, despite the fact that I have NO influence at this point, I'll try to be an advocate for this in any way that I can.

Speaking of nerdy stuff:

- Infinite Crisis 2: Dammmn, great comic, tons of pieces being moved into place, and we are on our way to a conflict of truly epic proprtions. Awe-inspiring art from Phil Jiminez, and an ultra-tight, meticulously plotted script from DC's master and commander, Geoff Johns --- plus a sweeet sequence done by original Crisis artist and detail guru George Perez, who also pencilled an iconic cover. Awesome stuff, and I think it's on;y gonna get better as the intensity gets ratcheted up. My grade: A


I mentioned how John Cougar Mellencamp's "I Need A Lover (Who Won't Drive Me Crazy)" is a newly-discovered classic 70's cheese-fest of classic rock awesomeness. So here are some other classics of pre-Hair Metal hokiness that take themselves very seriously but have some great if slightly questionable lyrics:

- Foreigner: "Hot Blooded"

- Bad Company "Feel Like Makin' Love"

- Electric Light Orchestra "Do Ya Want My Love?"

- Rush "The Trees"

- Jefferson Starship "We Built This City (On Rock and Roll)

- Alice Cooper "I'm Eighteen"

Alright, back to work. Experiment successful? You be the judge ...


Sunday, November 06, 2005

Hoorah. I Come Down on the 'Net Like The Righteous Hammer of, well, MC Hammer.

Okay so let's get right down to it. Won't bore you with too much work-related stuff today. Except to say that holy lord I can't believe it's almost Monday already. This week should be another long one, though it will be interesting since yet another new crop of pages will be starting this week. Being on assignment in the development department, I doubt I'll see them much if at all, but still, always interesting to see who the latest recruits are. I am being pulled once this week, tommorow actually, to work at Ellen, so just when I thought I'd seen the last of those crazy fans, heard the last of that awesomely bad 90's techno music, and done my last round of duty escorting lines of shaky-kneed women to the restroom before the show - well, they keep pulling me back in.

It really is hard to manage to get enough sleep though to be alert and ready at work. Honestly, I don't know how you're supposed to do it. You get home at 7:30, eat dinner, and then it's time to go to sleep before you know it. I have so much I want / have to do. There's tons of stuff I'd like to read, movies I'd like to catch up on, writing I'd like to make progress with, people I'd like to keep in touch with. But when? WHEN, I ASK YOU?!?! What inevitably happens is that I stay up too late, get too little sleep, wake up feeling like crap the next day, struggle to get to work on time, and the cycle begins again, until the day comes when I fall asleep in my clothes on my bed and unintentionally get 10 hours of sleep, though its never really good sleep since I'm in my clothes and probably sleeping on top of my keys or something. So again I ask, how do people do it? And don't tell me coffee - tis' the devil's drink, I tell you!

Anyways, enough of this depressing crap. The good news is that my flight is booked - I'll be home in CT from December 17th to the 26th, so if you're going to be around let me know! Aaah, I can already feel the arctic winds and picture the gloomily grey New England skies of Connecticut in late December.


- JARHEAD Review:

Caught a free screening of the latest picture from Sam Mendes this weekend, and it definitely turned out to be one of the best movies I've seen over at the Universal lot since starting as a page. Now I've read a lot of reviews of this film that start off by discussing whether or not it's a war movie or whatever, or whether it's political, or whether it's this or that. The bottom line is that this is a very well-acted, well-shot, and beautifully put-together character study of young soldiers, and everything else is secondary. On the other hand, while the movie has no real overt message, political or otherwise, it ultimately does work as a commentary on the Gulf War, and on the pointlessness and futility of war in general, particularly in the modern era where corporate interests and political gain tend to dictate who we fight and why more so than in previous generations of warfare. It's an intense movie, and a thought provoking one at that. But much of the credit has to go to the actors, who are all stellar in their performances. Jake Gyllenhall gives easily his best acting job yet as the lead - a conflicted, tense, confused young "jarhead" who is trying to come to terms with the harsh, alien world of the armed forces that he's been suddenly thrown into and encompassed by. Peter Starsgaard (sp?) is solid as an emotionally bottled-up, slowly-losing-it marine, and of course Jamie Foxx brings badass charisma to the necessary role of take-names and kick-ass drill seargent, in his first real followup to his Oscar-winning role in Ray. Watch out for cameos by Jim from The Office and President Palmer from 24 as well. And oh yeah, Sam Mendes direction is amazing - with stunning images that look like paintings. The arid desert, the burning oil wells in the night, the all-americana of the soldiers returning home - all have a darkly storybook quality about them. But this movie is down and dirty, unrelenting and yet uneventful. Nothing really happens, and that's kind of the point - this is "the suck," where it's more about waiting and hoping for a moment of glory and getting hyped up for a war that is being fought less on the ground and more in the offices. So in that respect the movie never really achieves greatness, because it just lacks a real narrative - it's more a collection of scenes that are etched together to prove a point. But the superb acting of Jake G carries those scenes and weaves them together to form a poignant character study. So no, it's not a great movie, in the real sense of the word great. This isn't a movie that will make you stand up and cheer. What it does it it immerses you in a foreign place - it puts you there in the desert, in "the suck" and almost seems to make you an honorary jarhead. It makes ou feel what the characters on screen are feeling in a way that few other movies I've seen have been able to do, and that is probably it's biggest accomplishment. Not great, but damn good nonetheless, and refreshing in its honesty and realism. My grade: A -


King of the Hill - nice to have Hank and the gang back on TV, in what I stil lsay is one of the most underrated shows of the last few years. Unfortunately this wasn't one of its stronger episodes, despite the usual top-notch voice work, especially from the always hilarious Stephen Root as Bill (you may also know him as the Stapler Guy from KOTH creator Mike Judge's Office Space). Anyways, just happy to have the show back on the air, as its a real comfort show in my book. My grade: B

The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror - Well, no big surprises here, as let's face it, the Halloween episodes have sucked pretty badly for the last six or seven years (in addition to rarely actually falling on or before Halloween - come on FOX!). But the idea alone of the annual show is just so rife with potential hilarity, and those early editions of the Halloween eps were just so freaking classic, that every year I loyally tune in hoping for the best. Guess what, as per usual, the ep had a few funny jokes, particularly the third segment which saw a witch turn all of the Springfield characters into their halloween costumes, but overall things feel very flat more often than not. I mean come on, an AI parody? A freakin' I? Are you kidding me? MAYBE I'd care if this was oh, four years ago, but now? Just sad, really. The saddest thing is that, I don't mean to brag, but I could so write a better Halloween episode, in my sleep. HIRE ME, Matt Groening!!!

Family Guy - Well, even when this show is struggling to be funny, it sure is one ballsy program. This entire ep was basically one huge rip on the FCC , which was kinda funny on premise alone. Now obviously the random 80's references are getting WAY old (hey look, it's APACHE CHIEF, who is clearly inherently funny, so we don't even have to write an actual joke, just SHOW HIM and people will laugh! Yeah, that's the ticket!), but I gotta admit that seeing GI Joes' DESTRO as head of the FCC was pretty amusing. And even though the jokes were hit or miss, wow they really pushed it all the way to 11 in this one. I gotta wonder what the FCC ppl think. So yeah, points for effort, that's for sure. My grade: B+

Malcolm in the Middle - Yeah, yeah, I know this was on Friday, but it SHOULD be on Sundays instead of the super lame War at Home, so that poeple might actually watch new episodes of tone of the best and most influential sitcoms ever. Let's give some credit to Malcolm, because were it not for its single camera style and lack of laugh track, shows like Arrested Development and My Name is Earl would never have seen the light of day. Yes, the show is past its prime, but its also consistently inventive and funny, unlike say The Simpsons at this point in its lifespan. I taped Friday's ep and watched it today, and it was as quirky and funny as ever. The Dewey traps Reese in a box subplot was ingenious, and how many other shows would CGI-animate a killer bee and send it on a madcap carchase arounf the city in pursuit of a hapless Hal? Something this good should not be in TV timeslot hell. My grade: A-

Speaking of Arrested Development - PLEASE watch the double episode dip from 8 to 9 pm tommorow (Monday) on FOX. This show is way too good to get such low ratings.

The OC - Finally watched Thursday's ep, and things COULD be on the way to getting better with a seeming end to a number of major storylines. But for now we were still stuck with more Dean of Discipline lameness, more pointless meddling from Jeri Ryan (six or so eps in and we still have no clue what she is really up to), and more "tension" between Ryan and Marissa in their neverending on-again off-again romance (ooh, next week is even MORE trouble! excited?). I hope it's not the case, but we may be witnessing one of the fastest total shark-jumpings ever for a show that was once the end all be all of primetime teen soaps. On the plus side, I can never get enough of Sandy Cohen's bagel-and-schmear jokes. My grade: C

Smallvile - meanwhile, has been really good. Whereas they once had cheesy plots that totally dragged down the characters, they now still have the extra cheesy storylines but seem to be having a lot more fun with it, and are remembering to highlight the character stuff too. See this week's ep as an example, as Lois infiltrates a strip club (~!), but guess what, there was lots of cool character stuff mixed in, some good action, and classic good vs. evil conflict. Let's hope Bryan Singer is watching and taking notes. My grade: B+

Oh yeah, I never really watch it but I did catch part of tonight's LIVE debate on The West Wing on THE BEST TV NETWORK EVER - NB-Flippin'-C. If only our actual politicians were so articulate and well-spoken when faced with live TV cameras rolling.

Alright, on that NBC-related note, I must bid you all goodbye for now. For tommorow, it's Monday once again. As the jarheads say: "Welcome to the Suck."

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

It's Hasslehoff's World, We Just Live In It

So we've had some interesting people coming in lately to give pitches over in the development office. David Arquette and Courtney Cox, Al Sharpton, Stephen Baldwin, Jon Lovitz ... but today an unmistakable international icon of schlock graced us with his presence ... yes - the man, the myth, the Knight Rider himself -- David Hasslehoff! Definitely one of the most amusing things I've seen in a while. The guy just has an aura of eccentricity that makes you understand immediately why those wacky Germans love him so darn much. And oh yeah, if you're curious, I did in fact exchange "hello's" with the man himself.

Otherwise, things still chugging along at work. The days are long and mostly uneventful, and there's a lot of going out to get people lunch, making endless copies, fridge restocking, and sitting at my computer wondering what exactly I should be doing at any given moment.

Today however I was pulled by the powers that be to work at the Tonight Show, which I'll be doing tommorow as well. But holy lord, worst Tonight Show ever. We had an all-star lineup of Dr. Phil (for the 10-billionth time), Dennis Rodman (terrible interview - Jay thought anyone cared what Rodman thought of Ron Artest's suspension, one year AFTER the infamous brawl?!?!), and Dwight Yoakam, who annoyingly had to perform his song twice due to technical difficulties. And wow, the monologue was one clunker of a joke after another, with multiple slip-ups by Jay, comedic timing that was WAY off, and a disturbing clip of Jay's head superimposed over a male stripper where, well, let's just say that certain areas were NOT blurred out as thoroughly as they should have been, and therefore I now have a nightmarish image of a gyrating Jay burned into my brain. Man, today's show made it clear that Conan cannot get here fast enough. The only thing that could have saved it was a Gilbert Godfried appearance, but alas, no such luck.


- Well, the NBA season is back. Seems like only yesterday that Reggie Miller retired and the Finals commenced, and San Antonio reigned again as champs. But wow, I'm watching the NBA game on ESPN right now, and Bill Walton is in rare form, spouting Neil Young references, declaring Smoosh Parker the best player on the floor, and comparing the style of play to the ebb and flow of sand dunes in the desert - dammit all. Gotta love the classic Bill Walton rants and raves and exclamations of disbelief, even if he is pretty much a complete moron. Just kidding Bill, you're an original. And speaking of Reggie Miller, nice to see him as part of TNT's Inside the NBA team. Funny how my two all time favorite players, Barkley and Miller, are now doing TV broadcasting together. I guess I've just always like players with TV-ready, outspoken personalities. I read an article on predicting that Miller would attempt to stage a comeback later in the season. If he did, he'd be following in Barkley's footsteps. But hey I wouldn't mind seeing Miller Time one mo' time. Anyways, I'm pretty much an independent observer this year with regards to the NBA. I always have a soft spot for Houston, Phoenix, and Indiana, and I'd love to see the Celtics make some kind of impact, but overall there's no one team who I'm 100% behind. But you can rest assured that my hatred for the Lakers, and my strong dislike for teams like San Antonio, Detroit, Philly, and New Jersey will remain intact for the time being. I guess I don't have the same dedication as my brother, who has remained a diehard Utah Jazz fan long after the retirement of his boyhood idols Stockton and Malone. Don't worry Matt, the Jazz will probably suck once again this year.


As much as I can't help but bash NBC despite working there, you gotta like their Tuesday nights with My Name is Earl and The Office, easily the new Must See TV, at least as far as NBC is concerned. Last night's Earl was a decent episode, though the emphasis on little heartwarming tales is a little grating. I wish the show could channel some of the wit of the Cohen Brothers, as it already seems to be channeling their style. Last night's ep was decently funny, my grade is: B. The Office is really hitting its stride lately though. Last night's ep, featuring a fight between Michael and Dwight, was among the best yet. Rain Wilson as Dwight is totally owning this show lately, and the whole cast seems to be improving and bringing their A-games, making the increasingly sharp scripts all the more funny. My grade: A -


New, work-related pet peeve. Why do people feel the need to make random exclamations, directed at nobody in particular, while sitting at their desks? Like why must people say things like "Oh, what do I want for lunch?" or "What is wrong with the Olsen Twins" while staring at their computer screens and not really addressing anyone? I hate this. Mainly because it replaces any real, direct communication. I wish that instead of these random exclamations basically intended as a means of calling attention to oneself, people would actually just say "Hey Danny, what do you think of ...?". My point is, enough with these desperate, interoffice cries for attention. If your question or statement isn't interesting enough to direct towards any one person, then most likely, it's so random an/or stupid that NO ONE CARES, so just keep your mouth shut. Who's with me?

Rant over. Should really go to sleep early tonight. Week almost over. Lakers suck. Goodnight.