OK, quiz time! What the hell is Cinco de Mayo. Yes, it means “Fifth of May”. But what does it stand for? Give up? You don’t know why you’re about to swim in pitchers of frozen margaritas and flauta and chimichanga platters tomorrow? Wear a stupid sombrero and attend some loud fiesta? Read the rest of this entry »
5 WAYS TO MAKE ABC’s “THE CHEW” TOLERABLE
The loud trainwreck that is “The Chew”, which premiered this past Monday on ABC not only as yet another food-theme show but also as replacement for “All My Children” the 40+ year legendary soap that ABC killed earlier this year, has not been the smashing success that the network had hoped. Or is it early to tell? Read the rest of this entry »
So, you’ve all been shopping, haven’t you? Of course you have! We’ve seen you schlepping those shopping bags up and down the escalators at the malls. We’ve seen you stand in long lines at Macy’s just to get gift boxes –that’s the 6th floor at “Gift Wrap”. Just from a cursory glance it really does seem like there are a lot more people out there spending money, so there must be some kind of economic recovery going on. Yes, the economists declared the recession to be over in June 2009, but unemployment has slowed things down, or at least the perception that the economy is still tanking. We don’t think so. We have proof. Read the rest of this entry »
On her website, Marcela Valladolid recounts how almost 12 years ago, she went to Food Network and initially proposed a Mexican food cooking show. She approached Food Network exec Bob Tuschman, who is still the head cheese by the way, but nothing really came of it. Back in 1998, the Food Network was still admittedly a mini-wasteland of basic, uninteresting fare like “Emeril Live” and a lot of infomercials.It’s hard to believe that Mexican food would be given much space back then. Read the rest of this entry »
David Letterman’s admission of an extortion plot and sexual liaison with his own female staffers at the Late Show on Thursday night’s broadcast was surely disturbing, but it also made for compelling TV. Letterman revealed that he had been blackmailed by someone for $2 million who had information about sexual relationships Letterman had had with female members of his own staff over the years. Letterman claimed he had testified with a grand jury and that he had been cooperating with authorities to expose the extortion case. He was also coming clean, so to speak, as a way of saving himself, his family, friends and co-workers, and, he said, his own job. It’s probably a good idea that Letterman was so forthcoming, but the way he did so in front of his studio audience was unsettling, at times humorous, to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »
A Personal Foul
Keyshawn Johnson is not an interior designer. But that’s what the producers of his new eponymously named reality series want you to believe.
In this by-the-numbers show, “Keyshawn Johnson: Tackling Design”, it’s unclear what the focus really is. Is it a how-to show on turning a drab home interior into something vibrant and fresh, complete with actual instructions or at least a few minutes discussing how to use flocked wallpaper or how to use primer to paint walls?
On that score, the show fails miserably and no serious aficionado of HGTV would ever take this half-hour show seriously. At least on “Color Splash”, the fey host with the sleeveless tees shows an admirable sense of aesthetics and an overall vision of how to really transform, say, a family room. Read the rest of this entry »
Once again I have squandered several weeks of Saturday night summers by watching TV. Last year it was “Swingtown”, the retro series whose plot seemed only to consist of upwardly mobile Chicago swingers in the bell bottomed, sideburned 70s. It even had a cool soundtrack that CBS endlessly plugged; a Time-Life 70s hit collection CD was hawked every week in a commercial by that old Easy Rider himself, Peter Fonda! Read the rest of this entry »
Unmasking the Truth
The New York Times is reporting today that AT&T, one of the principal corporate sponsors of “American Idol”, may have unfairly swayed some votes in the final vote between Adam Lambert and eventual winner Kris Allen. Apparently, AT&T is admitting that it was asked to provide free cellphones at two local parties in Arkansas, and it went so far as to instruct the home state residents of Allen on how to send text messages for free. Read the rest of this entry »
This Friday (May 29), ABC will air a special called “Un-broke: What You Need to Know About Money”, which will attempt to explain this current recession to a distinct audience that pretty much needs it –the same young people who get roped into credit card debt, live well beyond their means because they have to have the 22” rims, and who may well find themselves, like so many people across America, broke. Knowing that our attention-addled youth won’t listen to some hand-wringing let’s-get-in-a-circle like Linda Ellerbee used to do on Nickelodeon, or a Nightline-type discussion by Robert Krulwich, ABC decided to bring out some big guns. Enter Will Smith, the Jonas Brothers, Samuel L. Jackson, Cedric the Entertainer and others, along with “Good Morning America” contributor Mellody Hobson, who try to talk to young people without talking down to young people. Read the rest of this entry »
As we try to figure out what “Rat Pack” means for this week’s American Idol musical theme, let’s step back a bit and assess what seems like a litany of lowlights and few highlights of this lackluster season. We are down to the final five contestants, one female and the rest male. Read the rest of this entry »
Spring 2009 TV
Spring finally arrived on Friday and you’d think the only event worth catching on TV is all the March Madness basketball on CBS. There have been some thrilling games for sure and the Sweet 16 will continue to battle it out this week and lead up to the Final Four –and huge ratings for sure—all the way into April.
Spring is also the time for networks, both mainstream and cable, to unveil some “mid-season” programming right after the hoopla of the large events like the Oscars and Grammys, which roll through town in early to mid-February. Sweeps period is still February, but given the recent writers’ strike, it seems like some of the old calendar dates for TV entertainment are changing. For one thing, TV is now pretty much all season. Large-scale productions like the dull “Kings” on NBC or new sitcoms (what, I thought they were dead) like “Better off Ted” and “In the Motherhood” are starting later than what used to be called “mid-season”. A couple of shows, a crime drama on NBC with Ben MacKenzie (“The OC”), called “Southland” and a sitcom with veteran Bob Saget called “Surviving Suburbia” (not a catchy title) bow on April 9 and April 6, respectively. Read the rest of this entry »
I, Larry Thomas, Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi will personally autograph photos of my alter-ego. You choose which photo and you choose what you want written on the photo and I will sign it just that way, but you must tell me or I can’t send it until you do, please, this is important as I don’t know if you forgot or if you are assuming I’ll sign it generically, please don’t leave that blank.
Without a doubt, Seinfeld spawned some of the most memorable and recognizable catchphrases in the history of American pop culture. Among the most notable: “Yada Yada Yada”, “shrinkage”, “master of your domain”, “No soup for you“, and “Not that there’s anything wrong with that”.
The dilemma, however, is that such fame and whirlwind nostalgia can actually work against you (in the world of acting), especially if you’re Larry Thomas, who played the infamous Soup Nazi. Read the rest of this entry »
The Golden Globe Awards are no longer the joke they used to be in, say, the 80s and 90s. Once derided as that “other” movie awards show that has been the domain of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. While it isn’t the Academy Awards and it isn’t about what the Motion Picture Academy thinks, the Globes have become more prestigious and therefore meaningful because the movie awards derby has been so saturated in the press –thank you, Access Hollywood and all the other movie promo shows—that it’s become almost a cottage industry. Read the rest of this entry »
Back in the 90s there was a TV show called “Cheaters”. Deliberately cheesy and tackily filmed in Texas, the show busted real-life adulterers out in the open. With cameras in tow and cuckolded hubby or wife, we got to see the cheaters usually in the act and then, well, fists went flying and so did the expletives. Afterwards, there was a semi-serious but always ludicrous announcement on the screen that invited viewers to call in if they too suspected that their spouses were cheating. Now this was entertainment! Read the rest of this entry »
Rocco diSpirito is a tool. He was the guest judge on last week’s episode of “Top Chef: New York”. Somehow he doesn’t have the flair and respect that someone like Thomas Keller or Daniel Boulud have earned, or even a Mario Batali with his orange Crocs. No, Rocco is all about being Rocco, getting maximum face time and talking too much. Sure, he was once a hot young chef in Manhattan (Union Pacific), then he had the ruinous reality show on NBC, “The Restaurant”, that exposed him in rather unflattering ways. No, Rocco is someone who is around still to add a name or B-level kitchen cred to this show, and besides, it looks like Padma likes him. Even the wonderful Fabio, intensely full of natural (and not manufactured) charm himself, couldn’t resist digging at him in an aside —that Rocco is American, not Italian—but in some ways I suppose he understands the appeal. Read the rest of this entry »
After Week Eight’s GREATEST EPISODE EVER in the “Survivor” enterprise, this week’s episode was CBS’s way to do the yearly Thanksgiving catch-up. This is the time for all families who have been belching up their turkey meals on a Thursday night to snooze in front of their fireplaces and remind themselves what a blast Survivor Gabon has been this season. And, there is ample opportunity to hop in and join all the shenanigans. Because this week, CBS managed to actually show not just some nicely edited recaps from the first several weeks, but it also unveiled some of the contestants’ application videos. Some were quite revealing because it helped explain some of the treacherous and evil behavior of some of the castaways up to now. Read the rest of this entry »