Archive for the ‘TV’ Category

Wish you weren’t here

April 26, 2020

Uncomfortably dumb.

“Miley Cyrus plays Pink Floyd?”

All in all, you’re just another shtick in the mall.

 

R.I.P., Jim Lehrer

January 23, 2020

It’s -30- for Jim Lehrer, co-founder of “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour” on PBS.

Lehrer started out as a print guy, and maybe that’s why I liked him. He worked for papers in Dallas, where he covered the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and then shifted to TV, where he and Robert MacNeil were all over the Watergate hearings. He went on to moderate a dozen presidential debates.

MacNeil praised Lehrer for his “very direct manner of interviewing” and his “extraordinary ability to listen.”

“You know the hardest thing to do on TV is listen,” he added.

Sometimes the hardest thing is to watch, especially given the motley crew of talking heads that fills screens these days. Unlike the bulk of them, Jim Lehrer will be missed. You can read his obit in The New York Times here.

R.I.P., Terry Jones

January 22, 2020

One of our family jokes is, “’Ee’s not the Messiah, ’ee’s a very naughty boy!”

That was only one of the innumerable killer lines delivered over the years by Terry Jones, who died at home Tuesday. He was 77, and had suffered from primary progressive aphasia, a cruel disease that stripped him of his marvelous powers of communication.

As a member of Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Jones generally wrote with Michael Palin, co-directed “Holy Grail” and “Meaning of Life” with Terry Gilliam, and flew solo as director for “Life of Brian,” which gave us that family gag we use so often.

Condolences, peace, and egg and spam; egg bacon and spam; egg bacon sausage and spam; spam bacon sausage and spam; spam egg spam spam bacon and spam; spam sausage spam spam bacon spam tomato and spam, or Lobster Thermidor au Crevette with a Mornay sauce served in a Provençale manner with shallots and aubergines garnished with truffle pâté, brandy and with a fried egg on top, and spam, to Jones, his family, the surviving Pythons (“Two down*, four to go,” notes John Cleese), and their friends and fans.

* Cleese forgot to count the Seventh Python, Neil Innes. No spam for him.

Super, heroes

December 11, 2019

“Just one more thing. …”
Photo hijacked from the Internet. So impeach me already.

So this is impeachment.

With just two counts at the moment — basically, being a dick and punking Congress — it feels a lot like a cop catching one of the FBI’s Most Wanted driving a stolen Brinks truck full of automatic weapons, fentanyl, and dead teenagers, and then warning the guy about a busted taillight and waving him on before getting back to his donut.

I’m not sure this is gonna be must-see TV for a viewing audience grown fat on “Watchmen,” “Avengers: Endgame” and “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” It’s more like Mickey Mouse.

And anyway, seriously, fuck a bunch of Batman. I think a lot of us would settle for Columbo right about now.

Channel surfing

November 12, 2019

TV or not TV? In this case, it’s definitely TV.

Any of yis care to weigh in with a recommendation for a new TV that’s not insane?

I’m hunting one for the mom-in-law, who needs it for the new digs. Nothing huge, probably a 43-incher or under, and preferably a model with easily navigated menus and a remote that doesn’t look like the dashboard of the Millennium Falcon. Just your basic Ralph Spoilsport model, a personal remote-controlled, picture-sized color TV, with matching brass knobs, the kind where you reach above the bar and press the button right there under the handy laminated imitation-masonite Wild West gun rack with the look of real wood, for the channel of your choice.

We’re dealing with the elderly and feeble-minded here, which is to say me, a guy who hasn’t set up a new TV in the better part of quite some time.

Thanks for the insurrection, and now back to our morning concert of afternoon showtime favorites — the Magic Bowl movement from Symphony in C Minus by Johann Amadeus Matetsky.

Keep on the sunny side

September 20, 2019

We’ll go honky-tonkin’ ’round this town.

Anyone besides Charlie Pierce and me digging the latest Ken Burns documentary, “Country Music,” on PBS?

I’ve watched the first three episodes and my toes have been tapping throughout.

I didn’t grow up on country music, though the old man was from Florida by way of Louisiana and mom was out of Iowa. They were into crooners like Frank Sinatra and big bands like Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.

Country got me as a hippie, of all things, when the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Brothers, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, and other alt-country groups were ascendant.

Those dudes get their due in Episode 6, and I can’t wait. Yeeeeeeehawwww, etc.

The doors of perception

May 2, 2019

The’ hell is that? Jon Snow lopping the noggins off wights? The Night King riding Viserion to battle like Robert Duvall in a Huey? Melisandre lighting it up? Nope. Just Maester O’Grady taking a picture of his TV in the dark.

And now, for something completely different. …

If you thought Sunday’s epic battle between the dead and living seemed a little, well, dark, even for “Game of Thrones,” you’re not alone. But before you dash out to buy a new TV, attend ye to the wisdom of Maester Devin Coldewey at TechCrunch (h/t Jason Snell at Six Colors).

Speaking of the walking dead, Matthew Butterick (h/t John Gruber at Daring Fireballhas a few words to say over the lumbering carcasses of the typographical foot soldiers employed so far by the Democratic candidates for president. The lede? It kills:

“You cannot bore people into buying your product,” according to David Ogilvy. So true. Nevertheless, election season arrives, and radical boredom inevitably becomes the preferred strategy for most candidates. Let’s have a look at the typography anyhow.

And yes, today’s headline is drawn from William Blake via Aldous Huxley and Jim Morrison.

Oscar Mayer’d again

February 25, 2019

Lights, camera, inaction!

Well, I see there’s still space on my shelf for that Oscar. Also, for the Emmy, Reuben, Pulitzer, Peabody, MacArthur Fellowship, Nobel, etc., et al., and so on and so forth.

I’ve seen just one of the Academy’s picks — “Black Panther,” which like “Wonder Woman” drew raves but to me seemed like just another superhero movie. As a comics fiend I appreciated that genre for a while, but I’m finally over it. You can paint it black or pink, but it’s still basically what Herself calls “punch porn.” Another franchise, like Mickey D’s, with about as much nutritional value.

Now, TV, that’s the thing. There’s some great stuff happening on the small screen, which these days seems bigger than the one down at the multiplex. A favorite around here is “High Maintenance.” On the surface, it’s about a bicycling weed dealer and his clientele, but there’s plenty of depth to the thing. It’s like peeking into random windows as you stroll down an unfamiliar street.

Still, there are some movies worth watching. And one of them has its roots in a TV show. We checked out the 2018 documentary “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” this weekend and it was surprisingly revelatory and touching.

I wasn’t a “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” kid. “Captain Kangaroo” was my guy. I knew Mister Rogers primarily through the various sendups on “Saturday Night Live,” National Lampoon’s “That’s Not Funny, That’s Sick,” etc.

But Fred Rogers comes off looking like much more than a punchline — he seems like a thoughtful gent whose own childhood was not all that rosy and who came to believe that children’s TV had a higher calling than selling toys.

Some lovely filth, Kaintucky style

December 16, 2018

Cyclocross! Getcha cyclocross here! Get it while it’s hot!

OK, so more like “Get it while it’s cold and sloppy.”

• Late update: Congrats to Katie Compton on No. 15! Damn, I love watching her race. She puts on the Great Stone Face, hangs out the “Open for Business” sign, and goes to work serving out heaping helpings from that 55-gallon drum of whup-ass.

No laughing matter

October 9, 2018

ABQ Studios. Just take a left turn at Albuquerque.

No joke: Netflix, which seems to have cornered the market on standup comedy, is investing in Marc Maron’s old hometown of Albuquerque.

The streaming service is acquiring ABQ Studios from Pacifica Ventures, with a $14 million economic-development assist from the state and city, and says it anticipates bringing a billion smackers and up to 1,000 production jobs per annum over 10 years to our little corner of the cinematic universe.

Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.

Netflix has produced in New Mexico before, of course — there’s “Longmire,” “Godless” and some Adam Sandler vehicle that I will watch just as soon as there’s nothing else on TV and I’m chained to a chair with my eyelids wired open.

And ABQ Studios, which opened for business in April 2007, has hosted everybody’s favorite Duke City drug drama, “Breaking Bad,” along with bits of Marvel’s “Avengers” franchise, according to Variety.

“Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix veep for physical production.

“The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”

This has to be considered good news, which we so rarely discuss here, and I’ll look forward to learning more of the deets once the cheerleaders drop their pompoms and the joyful noise abates somewhat.

In the meantime, if you don’t have a Netflix subscription please acquire same with all possible speed. We need to make that $14 mil’ back before all these Netflix execs get their cars stolen.