Pretty quick today, it’s a crazy day with the Great Pocono Weight Race coming to a close tonight. Our final weigh-in is tonight at The Lounge at the Comfort Inn in Bartonsville, we’ll announce the winner out there. You mere mortals will have to wait for Sunday’s paper to find out who won.
You can always tell when writers and show runners on TV like an actor as a person when their character gets a proper send-off. The best example is Michael J. Fox’s Parkinson’s-forced departure from Spin City, one of the best TV episodes of the 90s. But other characters have gotten their own finale episodes, like Lowell on Wings, even though Thomas Haden Church hadn’t been on the show for about two months and already was appearing on the vastly underrated Ned and Stacy. You could tell the writers liked Church enough that they wanted to make sure he had some closure. Katherine Heigl? Not so much. Two months after she appeared on Grey’s Anatomy, producers confirmed she won’t be back. Ever. Guess the writers didn’t really care that much about giving her a finale episode since she said the material she was being given wasn’t Emmy-worthy a couple years ago. Imagine that.
Wow. Did I really just have to read 22 paragraphs of Robert Culp’s obituary before Greatest American Hero was mentioned? Where do you think it will be mentioned in William Katt’s obituary? Second paragraph? First? Headline? That’s when you know you’re a fan of a show that no one else is, when the thing you remember an actor for most is buried 700 words into an obit. So if no one watched Greatest American Hero — even though it was on for three years -- then how come George’s answering machine in Seinfeld is so funny? If no one watched GAH, then no one should have got the joke. But everyone got it, and everyone laughed. I don’t remember anyone ever having the I Spy theme on their answering machine.
If you didn’t know The Hills was still on TV, don’t worry, not many other people did either. I hate American Idol as much as the next heterosexual man does, but it deserves all the credit in the world for staying culturally relevant for the last eight years being, like Stern says, nothing more than a karaoke contest on TV. There just won’t be track records like that anymore and The Hills is perfect proof. For the first couple years of its run, you couldn’t turn on a TV without hearing/seeing something about these Heidi and Spencer people. Now just a couple years later, I had to rack my brain to see if I could remember if I realized the show was still on or not — and came up with the incorrect answer. So if we just ride this Jersey Shore thing out, we should be able to make it to the next fad and know that we’ll only have to worry about it for two years, tops. But it’s going to be a long two years.
My list of required viewing was I was a kid was pretty small and included only stuff my parents approved of that we could all watch together as a family with my younger brothers. So it wasn’t all that vast. But one thing I never missed that I haven’t been compelled to watch in about 20 years or so — At the Movies — has been canceled. The last episode is in August. Siskel and Ebert were there every week telling me what I needed to see and what I should see. I would get mad when they gave bad reviews to movies I liked or wanted to see, then completely realized why they deserved the bad reviews when I saw them, even as a 10-year-old. Teen Wolf was one of those movies, I vividly remember them trashing it. Undaunted, I went to see it, and left disappointed even though I now think it’s a hysterical movie because it’s so bad. As for the show now, it’s completely irrelevant since: 1. Whoever is hosting, we can instantly see their reviews four days earlier on their paper or TV station Web site, making this show utterly unnecessary; 2. Siskel and Ebert caught lightning in a bottle and had the kind of personalities that made them fun to watch, and it’s never been captured again on the show; 3. There are no movie-reviewing authorities anymore like Siskel and Ebert were, so your opinion posted on your blog isn’t that much less impactful than whoever would be hosting this show. So yeah, it was time to end At the Movies.
Then again, there are people like Kevin Smith who think all reviews should be banned. I’m sure he’s not alone, but reviews are there for a reason — to let you know if you are about to waste your money. I use them profusely and know that all of my movie friends do too. that’s what make a site like Rotten Tomatoes so useful — you don’t even have to read the reviews anymore, you can just look and see what kind of score it received to see if critics like it or don’t like it. I’ve disagreed with one critics, or two, or three — but it’s going to be pretty rare when I disagree with 200. So when something gets a bad Rotten Tomatoes score, I basically won’t see it at least until it’s on TV somewhere. So Kevin Smith, I like you, guy. But the best way to keep from getting bad reviews is to stop making poopy movies. I don’t remember him crying about critics until he started making bad movies. He didn’t cry in 2008 when Zack and Miri got decent reviews, he’s only bitched and moaned after monkey feces like Jersey Girl and Cop Out, which got bad reviews. Seems pretty convenient.