January 2008 Archives
Keckler joins The Telefile for a rant on the new and "improved" Masterpiece Theatre, now going by "Masterpiece" -- and pissing her off.
What is your problem, PBS? No, really -- what did I ever do to you? All I EVER did was LOVE you. I counted on your programs, your non-advertising bumpers, your soothing constancy. There was even a parentally-restricted time in my life when I watched only you and no one else. So why did you have to go and turn me into a "that's not how it used to be!" crank? At the (sort of) tender age of 34, no less!
I suppose you're now going to go and pretend you don't know what you did? Fine, I'll tell you: Masterpiece Theatre. Oh, sorry, it's Masterpiece now, isn't it? What -- the second word was too much to handle? We live in such an impatient blog-ridden society that no one can manage to wait around for a two-word title? Wait, I know -- it was the use of "Theatre" and not the Jane Austen, Elizabeth Gaskell, and E.M. Forster that made the series seem too intellectual for all those PBS-watching theatre-phobes. Like Masterpiece alone is so much better. It's just hanging out there all cold and unfinished. "Masterpiece" what? Society? Barbecue Sauce?
And what is up with that new intro? Instead of a wending trip through library piles of gold-stamped, leather-bound books, you're giving me animation? A Reading Rainbow-esque book flipping leaves so bizarrely long and pliable they look like Kleenex? Growing up, I didn't WANT an animated book; I WANTED gold-stamped, leather-bound books! You made me want them! You made me read them!
I loved it when Ricco went to talk to Shifty to complain about Rehab Shelly, and he was basically doing the bit with, "Bitches, eh?" And Shifty's all, "Don't tug on Rehab Shelly's cape, man. She'll kick your ass." Figuratively speaking, of course. I loved the fact that Ricco got zero traction with Shifty, who appears to really want to get well and get back to his family, and who's not having any of anybody's nonsense. Who knew I liked Shifty?
On the other hand, how revolting to see Daniel Baldwin buddying up to Ricco with the "Jessica Sierra only sees abusive fathers and boyfriends in you because she's a 21-year-old who's been rejected" routine. I have news for you, jerk: Jessica sees abusive fathers and boyfriends in Ricco because Ricco is an addict who gives so little of a damn about his girlfriend that he tried to frame her for an accident when he thought she was dead. Ricco's "I can be an addict without affecting my kids" was the biggest ocean of denial the show has seen since Baldwin claimed that his fat cells were leaking ancient cocaine.
In other news: I can't stand Jeff's girlfriend, who appears to be posing for the cameras at all times; I have never loved Dr. Drew more than when he told Jeff, "I need you to act as though you're sane"; Jeff is never right about anything related to his treatment, but he was certainly right that Dr. Drew looked hot in his T-shirt and jeans. My attachment to Dr. Drew feels very incongruous in the context of this depressing show.
But really, I'm all about the head shake and the loving tribute to Monica! The Musical.
- People with "hilarious" accents singing super-sexy songs so that we can all imagine how hilarious it would be to have someone hit on us who doesn't even speak good English. Imagine how funny that would be!
- People declaring themselves to be past contestants reincarnated, particularly when their comparisons force me to admit that they are worse than people I didn't like in the first place. I do not want to use the sentence "You, sir, are no Taylor Hicks."
- People dressed like animals.
- People dressed like patriotic symbols singing the national anthem.
- People dressed like belly-button models.
- People who bring their indignant relatives, who are prepared to speak directly to Simon on their behalf.
- People who won't stop singing when they are asked to stop singing, particularly if they have to be removed by security.
- People who attend festivals of any kind in costume.
- Girls who think they sing like Mariah Carey.
- Boys who think they sing like Michael Jackson.
- People who audition in pairs.
- People who pretend to have serious personality disorders.
- People who actually have serious personality disorders.
- That song about looking in the mirror and seeing yourself.
- People who clearly did not look in the mirror and see themselves before auditioning.
- "Other door."
- People who lead with their severe illnesses that are possibly made up.
- People who needlessly flew thousands of miles to audition.
- People who audition more than once after appearing on the show as bad auditions.
- "Get Here."
- People whose behavior would not be tolerated by the police.
- People whose behavior would not be tolerated by Supernanny.
- People with stuffed animals.
- Paula Abdul pretending it's kind to tell delusional people to keep pouring money down the sinkhole of singing lessons.
I am endlessly irritated by the entire phenomenon of people who want to demonstrate their character and uniqueness by listing all the things they decline to consume (such as, in this case, mass-market yogurt) or the kinds of businesses they keep out of their neighborhoods simply on the basis that small businesses are presumed superior to large ones. There are small businesses with rotten selection, bad product, cranked-up prices, terrible conditions for workers, and a total lack of character. There are also large businesses with great selection, great products, good pay and benefits, and many good reasons to patronize them. Haven't we all just kind of...outgrown this whole thing by now? Aren't we past romanticizing every retail establishment smaller than Starbucks?
At any rate: slow clap, North Beach. May similar kindness be extended to you someday.
- George Clooney (ER; E/R; Sisters; Bodies Of Evidence; Roseanne; Baby Talk; The Golden Girls; Murder, She Wrote; Hotel; The Facts Of Life; others)
- Daniel Day-Lewis (Frost In May, a BBC miniseries that barely counts)
- Johnny Depp (21 Jump Street, Hotel) (what's with Hotel?)
- Tommy Lee Jones (One Life To Live, Barnaby Jones, Charlie's Angels, Family)
- Viggo Mortensen (Search For Tomorrow, Miami Vice, High School Narc) (hee, High School Narc)
- Cate Blanchett (Heartland) (Australian miniseries...whatever!)
- Julie Christie (A For Andromeda, The Saint)
- Marion Cotillard (things in French and Highlander)
- Laura Linney (Tales Of The City, Law & Order, Frasier)
- Ellen Page (Trailer Park Boys, ReGenesis)
- Casey Affleck (The Kennedys Of Massachusetts) (also starring Steven Weber as JFK!)
- Javier Bardem (Tango) (best unrelated thing about his IMDB entry: a movie called Jamon, Jamon, which IMDB helpfully points out can be translated as either "Ham, Ham" or "Salami, Salami")
- Hal Holbrook (half the miniseries in the known world, including Lincoln, North & South, and Emma: Queen Of The South Seas; Designing Women; Evening Shade)
- Philip Seymour Hoffman (Law & Order)
- Tom Wilkinson (Crime & Punishment)
- Cate Blanchett (again!)
- Ruby Dee (The Stand; The Fugitive; Police Woman; Spenser For Hire; etc. etc. etc.)
- Saoirse Ronan (Proof, The Clinic) (these are both Irish; it's okay if you didn't see them)
- Amy Ryan (As The World Turns, Home Improvement, I'll Fly Away, Homicide: Life On The Street, Third Watch, Law & Order...oh, and The Wire)
- Tilda Swinton (Your Cheatin' Heart)
It's bad enough that, yesterday afternoon, relatively bored while cleaning the apartment, I chose to flip between the Chargers-Pats game -- I don't even like football, understand, and I particularly have no use for the Patriots, but on the off chance that the entire offensive line got food poisoning and gave San Diego a chance to win, I wanted to be watching -- and a well-meaning but profoundly odd re-enact-umentary about the Jonestown massacre called Jonestown Paradise Lost.
I already know way more than I should about Jim Jones, for which I totally blame PBS, because watching the fantastic Jonestown: The LIfe and Death of Peoples Temple got me really into the subject. I don't "like" it, exactly; it's more that I really can't wrap my head around the fact that that condescending, paranoid asshole managed to do away with hundreds of people. He's just so ridiculous, really, and yet he still has power over the culture, that he perpetrated this horror while being, in fact, cheesy beyond belief.
In any event, I watched about half of it, and then I had to stop, because the guy playing Jim Jones had such a flagrant Canadian accent, and was so clearly too good-looking for the part, that I couldn't take it seriously. But before I finally changed the channel for good, I saw an ad for a National Geographic show that sounded even more absurd than what I was watching: Dangerous Encounters: Undercover Hippo.
No, seriously. A guy is going to dress up in a life-sized hippo suit, steer the hippo-bot/AT-AT hippo into hippo territory, and see what happens. And based on the preview, what happens is that the real hippo gets FUCKING PISSED.
With that said, I kind of want the t-shirt.
The less good news is that it's hard to tell how complete the import of the old mailing lists was, so our advice to you is to go and check your subscriptions at the mailing lists page. You may or may not find that you're signed up for all the lists you want, and some shows are new since the last time the functionality worked, so by all means, take the opportunity to check on your subscriptions and make sure that you're signed up for what you want to be signed up for. We sense that the imported lists we've got now is as good as it's going to get, so rather than having everybody report whether you do or don't find yourself missing from lists, just...start from scratch and sign up again.
In other words: mailing lists are open; it's a new day. So get yourself on the lists you want, and we hope it all goes swimmingly from here.
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