The Tuesday Twelve: TV Shows That Do (and Don’t) Deserve an Afterlife Tuesday, Oct 26 2010 

Life isn’t fair, bubs.  So say Al Gore, Cooper Manning, and anyone who’s ever played second banana to Charlie Sheen. No one knows this universal truth better than the fine people involved in television, from the producers to the writers to the actors. Sometimes you’re the windshield; sometimes you’re the bug.  Sometimes you’re on Friends, sometimes you’re on Studio 60.

Nice guys don’t always finish first, and in the world of scripted television, sometimes According to Jim will stick around, unfathomably, for years, while the genius of Arrested Development gets curb-kicked. At least Jason Bateman gained post-Hogan-family visibility out of that Emmy-winning 53-episode run, and the world got introduced to Michael Cera.

But unfairness sometimes continues into the afterlife. The magic of DVDs (soon to be the magic of streaming video) means that we don’t need to bid adieu to our favorite shows just because the network yanks them or they run their natural course. Insult is added to injury, however, when a program dies before its time and doesn’t even make the DVD-cut.  Today’s Tuesday Twelve is a work in two parts: six “remember me?” shows that aren’t on DVD yet (and likely never will be) flanked by six shows that quite literally aren’t worth the pressed plastic they are burned to.

Please Come to DVD! (Or, Cliffhanging By a Moment):

1. Miss Match.

Who doesn’t love Alicia Silverstone?  She was dirty-hot in the Aerosmith videos, charming as Cher Horowitz, and inspiring as a crusader for animal rights.  In this dramedy, she was a plucky divorce attorney by day who falls into a side business of matchmaking.  Antics ensue. Ryan O’Neal is involved.  Only eight episodes aired in the U.S. but 18 were reportedly filmed.  18!  Ten more hours of Miss Match I could enjoy for $29 or so!  Sob.

Miss Match

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Idol Thoughts – Season 9, Top 10 Wednesday, Mar 31 2010 

So this is like 23 hours late and my last blog was an Idol-related post.  I need to get my sh*t together and share more meaningless thoughts.  Until then … THIS.  Is American Idol. 

Man, remember when Usher was a flaming a’hole on Punk’d and essentially sold his pre-adolescent brother/legal ward down the river?  NEITHER DOES USHER.  He’s smooth over everything tonight, though, and Ryan is delightfully dapper in sunglasses and cracking jokes here and there.  Maybe the whole Ricky Martin thing has him manic.  This is American Idol.  Randy is wearing some sort of argyle Garanimal.  And I yawn. 

Sioban Magnus – “Through the Fire,” OPB Chaka Khan.  “I’ve loved you since age 6!”  Way to make Usher feel utterly irrelevant at age 30.  Her outfit is laughable, all tube socks and fake Chucks mixed with an assymetrical evening goan and a faux-Princess-Leia hairdo.  Hideous monster.  Her voice, all runs and squeaks and breathy disaster, isn’t much better.  Her crutch of screeching has grown old (Simon agrees with me) and her pitch is way off tonight.  Luckily, she’s in the first spot so maybe people won’t remember this performance, per se, they’ll just remember liking her. 

Casey James – “Hold On, I’m Coming,”  OPB Sam and Dave.  That’s what she said.  Typical Casey.  Safe but rugged vocals, capable gui-tar strumming, a bit more of a robotic smile than usual.  I do like his tone, though, and Lord knows the show needs some rock to carry us through the next few weeks when Aaron and/or Katie are still with us. 

“Big” Michael Lynche – “Ready for Love,” OPB India.Arie.  Big Mike’s the first of the Top-12 to assume the creepy halo glow, but he’s set up behind the judges quite arbitrarily.  Too much vibrato, as I always say.  Just SING!   I can barely tell where the notes are supposed to go.  His voice is certainly strong and pretty, but there is too much flourish.  Toward the end, where he pushes into his chest voice a bit more, I’m slightly more entertained, though I wish he’d pick something more up-tempo for a change. 

Didi Benami – “What Becomes of the Broken Hearted,” OPB Jimmy Ruffin (thank you, Wiki, I only know the Paul Young version) .  Oh, Didi.  The crying is not becoming and Usher could not care less about your mental frailty.  She looks lovely – the makeup, the dress, the hair.  And her voice is strong and pure until about halfway through, when she tries to Siobhan things up a bit and “pushes” (tm Ellen) a little too hard.  Decent song choice, decent performance, if a tad old-fashioned as the judges point out.  Still liked her Stones’ performance best of all.   

Tim Urban – “Sweet Love,”  OPB Anita Baker and detested by Lucy for about 20 years.  Ummm.  BLINK, Tim.  You look like Clay Aiken or Zac Effron.  His vocal doesn’t sound terrible in the chorus – strong and rich – but the low-register notes in the verses are a slight challenge.  I hate this song like poison, it reminds me of depressing Sunday nights in 7th grade when I dreaded band the next day, and Tim is certainly not the best singer here, but I don’t have a problem with this performance as a demonstration of vocal ability.  Good range, controlled tone.  Just get the eye-f*cking under CONTROL, man!  Randy? Shut your Garanimal-hole. 

Andrew Garcia – “Forever,” OPB Chris Brown.  Hmmm.  Suspect song choice on a family show, for God’s sake.  But at least Andy’s back with the acoustic guitar and not dancing around like an awkward gigilo.  I’m sort of bored – is it possible his voice isn’t really that good, it just sort of has that contemporary vibe and he highlights it with unusual song choices?  I think that is, in fact, probable.  He hits wrong notes all over the place in his low register and doesn’t demonstrate much range overall.  But I do agree with Randy that it’s the best in a while, because he seemed comfortable for once. 

Katie Stevens – “Chain of Fools,” OPB Aretha Franklin.  Wow!   What an original choice!  I’ve only heard this like 90,000 times in the last eight seasons of Idol.  Haaaate.  She’s gone from virgin to Madonna (circa 1984) and looks not unlike myself at age 8 dressed up in my Mom’s cast-off nightgowns and costume jewelry.  Her voice is a bit shrill and all up in her throat, Shakira style.  She’s trying to walk the stage with confidence, but looks a tad foolish, “If I’m being honest” (tm Simon).  I mean … better than I would be at age 17 in front of millions of folks, but ugh.  So tired of the baby munchkins. 

Lee Dewyze – “Treat Her Like a Lady,” OPB The Temptations.  Usher :hearts: Lee!  I still don’t forgive you for Punk’d, RAYMOND.  Dave Matthews-esque vocals morph into strong, powerful, rock vocals akin to a DAUGHTRY or a COOK.  Ladies Love Cool Lee, keep it up.  This was your moment.  Just stellar.  Love Simon and your drama. 

Crystal Bowersox – “Midnight Train to Georgia,” OPB Gladys Knight and the Pips. Crystal on piano – the big “surprise” of the night.  Simple, soulful, and using the back-up singers to the best of their ability at first.  And like so many of Crystal’s show-stoppers, she swells at the end, shows off her big vocals, and wows everyone.  It wasn’t her best performance of the season, but it was, as usual, one of the best two of the night.

Aaron Kelly –   “Ain’t No Sunshine,” OPB Bill Withers.  What is going on with the Danny Zuko hair.  For as many times as this child has gotten his hair cut, you’d have thought someone would suggest an eyebrow trim.  He’s not murdering the song – all the notes are right, basically – but there is no SOUL here.  Has he ever faced a lack of sunshine in the absence of anyone?  Zoink.

Didi may be in trouble, but will The Powers That Be let another girl go home? If rigged, which it certainly is, then maybe … I just don’t know.  Andrew?  Baby Tim? 

 

“Idol Thoughts” – Season 9, Top 11 Tuesday, Mar 23 2010 

Miley Cyrus as a mentor.  A  MENTOR (or a men-tar[d]), as she says).  I’m sure Andrew and Big Mike and Crystal will take very kindly to being “taught” by a 17-year-old.  Fantastic.  THIS.  Is American Idol.

Lee Dewyze – “The Letter,” OPB The Box-Tops and popularized by Joe Cocker.  Damn. My favorite guy in the death-knell number-one spot. Miley is giving him the eye-f*ck up and down and says what I’ve been saying for week – great voice, sub-par stage presence. And AK points out to me that Miley is in hot pants while Lee is wearing a hoodie and leather jacket – who’s wrong here? He’s trying to Hicks it up a bit, strolling suavely up and down the damn place in a pseudo-suit though is clearly more comfortable rocking a Cars tee shirt and holding a six-string. The vocals are smokey and strong, with fewer pitch problems than usual. Judges are split, Simon repeats his new mantra (“Have a moment [like this]!”).  Lee’s still getting my vote.

Paige Miles – “Against All Odds,” OPB Phil Collins.  Oh, dear. This never ends well for people.  Ugh.  Are these actual notes she’s singing?  It just sounds like breath pushed through a cracked wooden pan flute.  When she gets into her chest voice, she hits a couple – literally, a couple – of fine-sounding notes.  But all in all, an UTTER mess.  Judges agree that she was horrendous; will she get sympathy votes?  It’s a distinct possibility, because they ripped her absolutely to sheds.  Not undeservingly.

Tim Urban – “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” OPB Queen. What can one say. It’s Tim. He’s cute as a button, has a smooth tone, and is perfectly likable in his nautically-themed outfit. The pitch seemed fine, but there wasn’t a whole lot of “oomph.”

Aaron Kelly – “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing,” OPB Aerosmith and ruined by Mark Chestnutt. NERD. Ahem. I saw this song coming up the street in a cab. I think he started too soon (that’s what she said) – but if so, the band caught up post haste. So while Aaron is wee, and annoying, and nearly everything that is wrong with music and America in general, his voice isn’t super terrible (especially given the laryngitis). And the ladies love him, because the ladies are idiots. Whatever.

Crystal Bowersox – “Me and Bobby McGee,” written by Kris Kristofferson, performed by Gordon Lightfoot and made famous by Janis Joplin. Predictable song choice, but absolutely spot-on beautiful. The beginning is quiet and angelic, the end is powerful and literally gives me chills. She’s one of the best contestants on this damn show, ever. Done and done.

“Big” Michael Lynche – “When a Man Loves a Woman,” OPB Percy Sledge. Again with the predictable song choice. My typical problem with Big Mike is overload on the vibrato, and runs all over the place, and that’s true this time around once again. His tone is pleasing as always, however, and he commands the stage like the giant he is. I’m not sure … he’s talented, and seems like a nice guy (did you know he’s a new father?) but something about him is not quite doing it for me.

Andrew Garcia – “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” OPB Marvin Gaye but also performed by Creedence Clearwater Revival. Were they given a list of 25 songs from which to choose? Same shit, different season. In the words of my 24-year-old buddy at work, Andrew is “Supes Totes Awks” without his guitar. The boy pointed to his eye when he said “tears,” people. To his ear when he said “heard.” My f*cking God. There is something about his voice I still like, but the kid is out of his element something fierce. He is off the rails and not long for this world. So sad!

Katie Stevens – “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” OPB Fergie. Well, at least someone is doing something released in the last 25 years. And her hair is so shiny! She sounds fine, sometimes, but also like every young girl who’s been on this show for nine seasons from Carmen Rasmusan to Mikaleh Gordon and everyone ever since. GUTTURAL TONES take over as the song wraps up. And she’s wearing stupid neon suspenders and a peace sign tee shirt (“PEACE RULZ, y’all!”) Ugh.

Casey James – “The Power of Love,” OPB Huey Lewis and the News, and arguably the best song EVER!? I like his rockin’ version; it is making me smile, as does the staccato horn section. Again, his performance was great, his voice was fine, but not showcased as brilliant. One of my favorites of the night.

Didi Benami – “You’re No Good,” OPB Linda Ronstadt. Not sure what is going on … she’s a little uncomfortable and a little off-key at the beginning but pulls it together, a bit, toward the end. Why is everyone singing these hacky, ancient songs?  Again, I wonder who her fan base could be.

Sioban Magnus – “Superstition,” OPB Stevie Wonder. YAWN. What list were these kids given? Only Casey picked something not Idol-esque. Blah, blah, blah. Strong vocals, weird, screech. Side note: all these girls were stuck on a treadmill and are dropping pounds. Please, what is the Idol diet?

I’m just not that excited this season.  Except by Crystal.  And I still like Lee as well.

“Idol Thoughts” – Season 9, Top 12 Wednesday, Mar 17 2010 

Have we all recovered from the loss of Alex Lambert or Lilly Scott?  Didn’t think so.  But while the “right” person doesn’t always win (sorry, Taylor Hicks, love ya, but … no), the Top 12 isn’t always the most talented dozen.  Without further ado.

It’s Rolling Stones night, and rock-and-roll purists of the world grow one step closer to throwing themselves collectively off a bridge.  Bring in Bruce as a mentor, and it’s all over.

“Big” Michael Lynche – “Miss You.”  Wow, I’d totally forgotten Mike had a baby.  Don’t like the chain wallet, dude.  I also don’t like this arrangement, but he sounds fine and swaggers with just the right amount of confidence. A little too much vibrato and falsetto for this song.  The meat of the song is totally ripped out, and it’s just a showcase for runs and glory notes.  But he’s probably fine, even though stuck early in the night.

Didi Benami – “Play With Fire.” Her family gives me the creeps.  Great voice, control of the dynamics, and great stage presence.  Unlike most of these fools, it looks as though she is truly feeling the mood of the song (though I don’t buy her as a dangerous type).  “Couple of pitch problems,” but she sticks the landing when it counts.  And unlike Big Mike, who sang, like none of his song, Didi sings like the entire song.  She’s talented and “commercial,” but what demographic is voting for her?  She’s not a “rocker” or a kid or a diva … she’s just … simply good.

Casey James – “It’s All Over Now.” Total pie-face in the interview.  So the deal with Casey is that he is a hotter Bo Bice.  Bo Bice, shockingly, came in second only to Carrie Underwood that year.  And Casey’s whole package (looks, guitar playing, hair, and yes … I said “package”) is better than just his voice on a platter.  That said, his voice is raw and pleasing to the ear, and I think he’s actually better than he thinks he is.  But I’ve yet to be blown away by any of his singing specifically.

Shut up, Randy.  Shut up, shut up, shut UP!

Lacey Brown – “Ruby Tuesday.” I can’t make up my mind on this one.  I appreciate how she “makes things her own.” Two weeks ago, she took one of my least favorite songs ever (“Kiss Me” by Sixpence) and tweaked it ever-so-slightly so that I liked it better.  She does the same thing here, double-timing the “still I’m gonna miss you” lyric (and changing the last note).  Her tone is pretty, part syrup, part gin, but she doesn’t seem to have as much control as she should, especially when in her lower register.  Last note was rough.  So obviously … she’s never gonna win, but she’s certainly better than I am.  Love her hair, confused by her outfit.  As one friend pointed out, it looks like she has Spanx peeking out from under her skirt.

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Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog Sunday, Mar 14 2010 

Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along-Blog

More Horrible than Barney Stinson

Admission of guilt: I just last week watched Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.  I have no earthly idea why I didn’t watch this previously.  Conceived and produced during the 2007/2008 writers’ strike, this combines three of my favorite things:  the acting (and singing!) of Neil Patrick Harris, the arrogant mugging (and singing!) of Nathan Fillion, and the quirky storytelling of Joss Whedon. Throw, say, Tony Hale into the mix, and it would be a near-perfect custom blend of my own definition of awesome.

And I thought … it was weird.  Miraculously, I was spoiler-free heading into the 42-minute adventure, but it was not exactly what I was expecting.  I mean, a title like Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog leaves open endless possibilities, but what I envisioned in my head did not play out on the screen. I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t the side-splitting hilarity that I expected. Which I guess I should expect from the guy who scribed seven seasons of BtVS.

Speaking of Whedon – and of NPH – they are teaming up again when Joss directs an episode of Glee. Talk about a trifecta! Something to look forward to as I slog through the last 11 episodes (or as ABC says … “Only 9 episodes left … until the last 2 episodes”) of LOST.

Happy Sunday, y’all. And in other, bittersweet news, Corey Haim’s mother has the financial assistance she needs to pay for her son’s funeral. As my dear high-school friend Rashleigh said, “The thought of a pauper’s funeral made me sick to my stomach.”

Idol Season 9 Sunday, Feb 28 2010 

My Next American Idol?

After taking the Lambert/Allen season off, I have returned to the Kodak Theater this year, as it is Simon’s last.  I know they are pimping out the girls for an ultimate winner, but I already have a dark horse for the Elliott-Yamin memorable spot.  You know, the guy who doesn’t get much airtime early on but ultimately has the voice to get some attention.  Bad facial hair and song choices notwithstanding, Lee Dewyze from Chicago is becoming one of my early favorites.

He doesn’t have the looks of Casey James, the cuddly appeal of “Big” Mike, the youth of three of these little a-holes whose names I can’t remember, the mullet of Alex Lambert, or the smooth pipes of Andrew Garcia, but he does have talent and earnestness.  And that took Elliott all the way to spot number 3.  Katharine Mc-WHO?

Of the girls, I like be-dreaded Crystal Bowersox and creepy-but-talented missing Deschanel sister Lilly Scott.  I think “They” want brunette Katie to win, but she is going to crash and burn soon enough.

Maybe once my euchre season is over, I’ll be able to blog Idol a bit.

Seacrest, out.

Lucy Glib

Screw you, MTV! Wednesday, Feb 10 2010 

MTV logo

The day the music (video) died

How long have people born in the 70s been complaining about the lack of music  on MTV?  At least since Dial MTV became TRL, and maybe even since Beavis and Butthead.  At least the cartoon revolved, somewhat, around music.  So today, the network delivered a slap in the face to all the fans of Martha Quinn and 120 Minutes. They ditched the misleading descriptive “music television” from their “MTV” logo.  At least they have stopped being polite and started getting real.

With this change, they are all-but admitting that they are not the network for Unplugged sets and new clips; they are the place for Snooki and RR/RW Challenges. With The Real World, they essentially spawned “reality” television as we know it, and that became the undoing of everything that used to define MTV.  The VJs.  The interviews with up-and-coming rock and rollers.  The world premiere of videos, which people actually cared about.  And even the raffish originality of The Real World imploded upon itself around Season 5, when the cast members were forced to work with each other, rather than continue their “real” outside life and just co-habitate with six other strangers.  Season 8 spawned the real first intra-cast hookup (Amaya and Colin, we hardly knew ye), and it was a downhill slog into hot-tubbing threesomes, alcohol abuse, and dumb guys throwing punches at the Dizzy Rooster.

Have I just gotten old, or has there been a palpable change in what constitutes “entertainment?”  Was the Thriller video not entertaining enough, we need to watch Parental Control and see a Dad try to pimp out his daughter while her boyfriend SITS RIGHT THERE?  What is wrong with people?  Even in the days when Britney was a virgin and Nick Carter was still lovable, there was a bit of attention focused on the music.

Do we need a new Nirvana to come shake shit up again?  Or will MTV as we knew it, with the moon man and the cheeky ads with Pat Benatar/The Who/The Police, be a relic that will never be resurrected?  Do we need a new channel entirely?  Oh yeah … that was called MTV2, and they fecked that up too (2).

“U2, and Blondie, and music still on MTV,”

Lucy Glib

Day that Was … plagued by bad news on the aging celebrity front Tuesday, Jan 19 2010 

Conan still appears f*cked.  Rich and f*cked, but nonetheless.  Until FOX comes along (one hopes!)  NBC, I hope you are satisfied with yourself.  Even Emmy-queen Mariska Hargitay is annoyed with you.

Tiger is reportedly pulling a Duchovny and entering sex rehab.  Wow, how the mighty have fallen.  At least Dave has Californication to blame.

Pacey … I’m sorry, Peter Bishop … I mean, Joshua Jackson, continues to steal the hearts of millions with his sweet and seemingly sincere nature.  Diane Kruger has a fatwa on her head somewhere.

Jeff “Kinicki” Conway took a serious tumble and fears for his life.  Worse news?  Dr. Drew continues to “treat” him.  Worst news?  Jeff appears to still be with that codependent, marginally vampiric nightmare of a train wreck, Vikki.

And 2010 isn’t starting off great as far as the celebrity death toll is concerned.  Dennis Hopper, star of Easy Rider, Blue Velvet, Speed, and more (ahem … Super Mario Bros.) is battling late-stage prostate cancer.  And to ensure quality time with his children, he is divorcing his fifth wife.  Wait – what?

Idol is back tonight with auditions from Chicago.  Didn’t watch the Lambert-Allen-fest last year, but have to tune back in now that it’s Simon’s swan song.  So far from the first two nights, I’m digging Maddy (sweet 16-year old with the special-needs brothers), Jermaine (church-singing lad who cares for his sick Mom)  and Justin (Mormon cancer survivor).

xoxo,

Lucy Glib

Arrested for Jaywalkling? Thursday, Jan 14 2010 

I'm With CocoOkay, my two cents on NBC’s late night … situation, which the ‘sphere is calling anything from a “kerfuffle” to a “clusterf*ck.”  As of a few hours ago, it looks as though the standoff has ended, Jay Leno will reclaim his precious “legacy” that has Carson rolling around in his grave with anger matched only by George Harrison during Idol’s Beatles week, Fallon will keep on being relatively clever at 12:35 AM, and Conan will cart his sorry ass around Los Angeles, a city that has done him no favors, and to where he moved his entire life and staff, oh, SEVEN MONTHS AGO.

Ahem.  Who knows where the fault lies, but I happily blame Jay.  Let’s go back to 2004 (wow, I love Hot Fuss!).  Conan is sniffing around for new opportunities – he’s been the late-late guy, following Jay, for 11 years at that point.  Jay is talking about retiring, even though he still has the number-one show in late night (because the American public is largely stupid).  Like a desperate, nerdy boyfriend, NBC uses this info to keep Conan.  Dangles the majesty of The Tonight Show like a carrot.  He agrees to stay, under the agreement that he’ll host Tonight come 2009.

Fast forward … past Jay stealing Stuttering John in a most unprofessional manner.  Past Jay bragging about his “free comedy show” for the unemployed and depressed of Detroit but then hosting it at a venue in the affluent suburbs with no public transportation in from the city.  Past Jay still telling Lewinsky and Kaczynsky and O.J. and probably John Bobbitt jokes into the mid-aughts.  Jay doesn’t want to retire.  SOB!  He has too much funny in his head and has to share it with the people (I’ve been waiting to see some of this so-called “funny” for 20 years).  I actually read a god-damned quote where he said this, folks.

So Conan contractually still gets The Tonight Show but lo and behold!  Jay bum rushes him to create primetime Jay.  Still with the unfunny, but now up against CSI and other programs that people find actually entertaining rather than something to fall asleep to.  Conan has moved his entire life 3,000 miles but is right where he started – the late-late guy, behind Jay.  Hugs and kisses.

Jay debuts to much fanfare.  No one cares.  Conan debuts with little publicity.  Not many people care.  The Leno ratings become too pitiful for NBC to ignore.  Leno opponents squeal in delight – finally! – just desserts for the man who turned The Tonight Show into a steaming pile of derivative and safe sketches and interviews.  Annnnd … Jay gets canceled and summarily rewarded with The Tonight Show, back in his insidious and doughy little palm.  Conan and Andy get bent over the sink.

Yes, one argues, Conan’s ratings weren’t stellar.  And maybe that’s because his “young,” “irreverent” breed of humor doesn’t jive with Jay’s fans – who, BY THE WAY, weren’t watching his ass in primetime either.  Or maybe it’s because no one wants to watch two hours of talk shows a night.  The double billing split the audience for NBC talk, which is of course what many people expected it to do. Maybe even Jay Leno.

Obviously, I don’t know either of these men personally, but I do know the following.

Conan used to date Lisa Kudrow and got his start writing on The Simpsons. He has floppy hair.

Jay likes cars, has a wife named Mavis, wrote some stupid kids’ book, and has a pronounced chin.  He also – allegedly – hid in closets like a craven bitch when the whole Letterman/Leno/Carson circus was going on.  He also ripped off his “famous” Jaywalking bit from Howard Stern.  Also?  He is not funny. But right now, he’s the smug-ass winner and I wonder when and if karma will come calling.

Despite all my rage, I’m still just a rat and Conan’s unemployed,

Lucy Glib