Is Conan Going a Little Too Far?

Team Coco gets to fire the first shot across Jay Leno’s bow.

you're better than that, coney

you're better than that, coney

In his first post-Tonight Show debacle television interview, Conan O’Brien told 60 Minutes he wouldn’t have done what Jay Leno did. In Leno’s defense, the way O’Brien is framing it, Leno didn’t have much of a choice. It’s the one thing I agree with Jay Leno on — he didn’t ask for any of this.

He didn’t ask to be put back on The Tonight Show, he didn’t make some kind of power play for Conan to be dropped, he didn’t even ask to have a 10 p.m. show. He thought he was being a good soldier for NBC, which approached him every time to push the dagger deeper into O’Brien’s back.

So when Conan, asked what Leno should have done, says, “Done something else, go someplace else,” that’s pretty vague and really, it’s just not fair. You should never be angry at someone for wanting to work. That’s their right. For Conan to make insinuations that Leno should have staged some kind of boycott, it just doesn’t make sense.

At this point it’s probably a good idea to reiterate I’m firmly on the side of Team Coco and think Leno should have been forcefully removed from the air years ago for being painfully, hopelessly unfunny. But Conan shouldn’t be offering career advice to Leno. It’s more clear every second that NBC is to blame here for over-panicking about 80,000 times in the past six years. They over-panicked when they sent Leno into forced, planned retirement in 2004, they over-panicked when they gave the Tonight Show store to Conan, they over-panicked when they thought Leno might take another job and made one of the worst decisions in TV history by giving him at nightly 10 p.m. show, they over-panicked when the arrangement didn’t work out for three months, they over-panicked when they proposed a 12:05 Tonight show compromise — basically, they over-panicked at everysingle … solitary… turn. NBC shouldn’t be surprised if people start boycotting them for their unprofessional, idiotic and borderline masochistic behavior. Forrest Gump has more sense than NBC at this point. Sally Field should have to have to have sex with the principal to keep them on the air.

even this outfit won't save jonah hex

even this outfit won't save jonah hex

Pick up the paper on Sunday and you’ll see my summer movie preview (I’ll link to it on Monday, I’m sure). But here’s a sneak preview — I don’t like the profitability chances of western comic book adaptation Jonah Hex (coming June 18). At least I didn’t before I saw the trailer. Now? I like its chances even less. It stars Josh Brolin, who I like — how could you not like Brand? — and Megan Fox, who I don’t like. At least it’s getting more and more that way. She may be hotter than all of Jerry on-screen girlfriends on Seinfeld put together, but she’s in danger of becoming non-Transformers box-office poison. The only two major movies she had other than Transformers — in How to Lose Friends and Alienate People and Jennifer’s Body — bombed in the worst way. And her performance in the Jonah Hex trailer doesn’t make it look like she’s learned how to do anything on screen other than look like sex personified. To someone like me who needs something more than just a killer body, she becomes less and less attractive every time I see her say something like, “I ain’t much for being owned” in the Jonah Hex trailer. And is Brolin just channeling Nick Nolte in 48 Hours here? It’s almost like he said, “I don’t think Jack Cates sounded like he smoked more than three packs a day. Let’s kick it up a notch.” As if all that isn’t enough, the hole-in-the-side-of-the-mouth thing freaked me out on post-explosion Harvey Dent in Dark Knight. So it freaks me out just as much when Jonah Hex has it. The more I see and hear about this movie, the more I think it’s a perfect candidate as the official PopRox bomb candidate of summer 2010. I have a three-year streak of predicting the biggest bomb of the summer going right now. I picked Evan Almighty in 2007, The Love Guru in 2008 and Land of the Lost in 2009. Yeah, I’m smart. But don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself in the trailer just released for the movie even though it comes out in six weeks (another foreboding sign):


The other video that comes up on YouTube when you search for”jonah hex trailer” is far more entertaining. I’m not kidding, this is what came up:

We haven’t even gotten Iron Man 2 released, there are two more Marvel movies coming out next year (Thor and Captain America), but people already are starting to worry about the lack of news from the Spider-Man reboot. That’s a little reactionary, no? Actually, don’t even give me news for about a year. The more news I get, the more excited I’ll get and the night before Christmas will last for two whole years instead of just one. I’d rather live my life without worrying about how much a new director and cast is going to eff up one of the greatest figures in 20th century literature — yeah, I said it — instead of at least hoping it can be improved.

so when do we get to see it??? oh right, next week. guess i can wait.

so when do we get to see it??? oh right, next week. guess i can wait.

As long as we’re on Iron Man 2, I was pretty angry when I learned the other day that Iron Man 2 was opening this weekend in a bunch of foreign markets. Hey! Why do people in France get to see it before us?!?!?! I called BS on that immediately, but found out today there is a good reason — it’s Hollywood’s way of making sure studios don’t lose money on their tentpole franchises because of the World Cup schedule. So before half the world outside of the states shuts themselves off for a month to watch the excitement of 0-0 thrillers, the studios want to make sure they’ve squeezed every dollar they can out of Iron Man 2 and Prince of Persia. The good news is Hollywood realizes most Americans like me don’t give two turds about the World Cup and don’t have to counter-program squat. There’s comfort in that.

So is this a matter of the rest of the world just not being as tech-savvy as America, or a sign that Hulu is in trouble? Let’s go with a little of both. Hulu is going to have to hold on for a couple more years before it becomes truly profitable — that time when people become so fed up with their cable bill they just chuck their HD DVR off their roof and just start watching their favorite shows over the Internet. I’m about halfway there. That’s in America — but across the pond, the resistance to Hulu sounds almost identical to the criticisms of its American launch a couple years ago. Seems to be going well over here though. I know I like it, and I thought it would be about as useful as Chandler’s third nipple. Network Web sites like Fox and the CW that make you install their own media players drive me bonkers, so it’s refreshing that Hulu takes about two clicks before you’re watching last night’s episode of Fringe. It’s almost like those networks are steering you to Hulu by making it so complicated to watch something on their own Web sites.

this may or may not be the cast of one tree hill, i wouldn't know

this may or may not be the cast of one tree hill, i wouldn't know

No wonder the CW is still making you install a video player, it still thinks One Tree Hill might somehow be relevant. To answer the rhetorical question — even though I’ve never attempted to watch an episode of One Tree Hill — I’d have to say yes, it’s very bad news for OTH that the network hasn’t renewed it yet for an eighth season. It’s kinda like back in gym class when the two best athletes started picking teams. Did you feel better or worse when you were still available to be picked halfway through? When you saw all the best athletes already picked but you were still hanging out with the kid wearing Rec Specs and jeans — or in this case, Life Unexpected — did that make you feel any better about your situation? So the easy answer is it’s bad news that OTH hasn’t been renewed yet and there is no way to sugar coat it.

There are plenty of shows waiting to take its place and any other bubble show that gets the boot. The LA Times has a very nice compilation of the pilot shows being produced for next season and their stars, but no word on the odds of them being picked up. So if they don’t know, then I certainly wouldn’t and I’m not about to get excited about any of them. We know very little about these shows now, but from my quick scan of the casts, the only things I’d be particularly excited about are Taxman, a comedy starring Martin Short, Orlando Jones and Judy Greer and a cop-type show, Chase, starring Cole Hauser and Amaury Nolasco. Whoops, never mind. Chase is a Bruckheimer show, just found that out. Nuts to that.

Just in case you thought every Hollywood studio just rubber stamps every sequel that comes down the line, leading to things like a third entry in the Step Up series (coming this summer, in 3-D of course!), Paramount decided it doesn’t want to make an Anchorman sequel. That’s fine with me, I didn’t think the first one was very funny at all. But it’s quite puzzling that the studio wouldn’t want to cash in on an almost sure-thing $300 million worldwide sequel that has the potential to do even more business than that. But if you were looking for more lamp love, it seems you’re SOL.  

Wednesday’s South Park did nothing to address the fallout from the censorship of the two-part 200th episode special, particularly the complete bleep of the standard “I learned something today” speech at the end of the show. Perhaps another week.

I didn’t watch Glee until Wednesday, but I feel moved to mention that I too hate Duke like I hate the Nazis. But was comparing Duke to the Nazis too much? Normally, if something sets off a red flag in my mind immediately or when something makes me say, “Oooooooo,” then it usually went too far. And that line made me say, “Ooooooooo.” But break it down and think about it — isn’t The Rick saying he hates Nazis? We’re supposed to hate Nazis, right? I’m confused. Would Duke fans rather he liked Nazis? I’m probably the wrong person to spew about this because as a Carolina fan, I have a long history of Duke hating. But anyway, I’m starting to think it might be fun to Tweet my favorite line from the previous night’s TV. The other candidate for Thursday morning would have been Mitchell from Modern Family, in response to Cameron saying how normal their family is, “That’s what the disabled lesbian shaman who blessed Lily’s room said.” Actually, that’s a good idea. I think I’m going to start that next week. Feel free to send me nominations for the best lines from the previous night’s TV. This is kind of stream of consciousness, but I’m still thinking about how I used to love The Rick.

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