It’s Not Hard — Sucky Movies Equal Sucky Returns

Time for our reminders of the week:

The monthly PopRox chat is set for Friday at noon. Yesterday I asked for suggestions on a name for this monthly activity and got a great suggestion from ace Pocono Record designer Andrea Higgins: “The PopRox Nooner.” Good luck to anyone trying to beat that out. Friday at noon we’ll be here with a live chat, taking all your pop culture questions. So get them ready, or feel free to e-mail me with a question in advance.

Today (and a sliver of tomorrow) is your last chance to win Garlic Fest tickets. Check out the rules and entry instructions.

My bookmarks have just about filled up over the last week, so I wanted to clear some of them out. If some of this news looks a little old, that’s because it is. I just found it interesting and got caught up with some other things. Long-winded but pointed Rescue Me “season finale” talk is at the bottom in case you want to avoid it or go right there: 

see this? this is not what a summer movie looks like. don't be fooled.

see this? this is not what a summer movie looks like. don't be fooled.

Spin is hysterical to me. When contemplating why summer movie revenue was down, the first thing Hollywood people mention is that there were only 18 weekends this year instead of 19. Then they go to the World Cup. Then it’s global war- … err, climate change. Then it’s the moon’s gravitational pull multiplied by the planet spinning off its axis by a hair. The last thing people finally come down to is the easy fact that the movies sucked. Even in crappy summer movie seasons, people can always point to about three movies they got really excited for and were really glad to see. What would be those three movies this year? Inception and … Toy Story 3? Iron Man 2? Not that I’ve heard or seen. There just weren’t good movies this summer. The “less weekends” argument kills me because since Hollywood counts Labor Day weekend, then these last three weekends are on the summer books. So apparently we’re counting Going the Distance, The Switch, Vampires Suck and Takers, four movies January would be embarrassed to have? If you’re going to complain about the amount of weekends, then you have to give us something in these last three weeks that remotely resembles a summer movie. This summer movie season should be considered 15 weeks, nothing more.

Looks like Tracy Jordan is going to have to wait another year to start his EGOT quest. It’s tough to tell these days where Tracy Jordan starts and Tracy Morgan ends, but since neither of them won an Emmy on Sunday, there are still only nine people who have gone all EGOT on us. Don’t forgive yourself if you don’t know most of these people, and don’t count Whoopi Goldberg until she wins an actual Emmy. Daytime Emmy’s shouldn’t count, no matter what she says.

So far, I’m enjoying the Kids in the Hall Death Comes to Town thing and meant to post this completely compelling interview with Kevin McDonald a couple weeks ago. The thing got terrible reviews when it played in Canada and some pretty scathing reviews here, and I just don’t get it. I consider myself a pretty detached, objective person, even when it comes to things and people — like Kids in the Hall — that shaped my definition of funny. Maybe because I read all the crappy reviews I went into it expecting zilch. I expected less than that, actually, because I was actually dreading watching it for fear another piece of my childhood would be obliterated and stored next to the ashes of Phantom Menace and Crystal Skull. So far, halfway through its run on IFC, I’ve found it pretty funny. I’m not going to rush out and buy it on DVD, but I don’t even own a season of Arrested Development, The Office or 30 Rock on DVD and those are three of the funniest shows of the last decade. Admittedly, it’s nowhere near the level of the original sketch shows, but after the fiasco that was Brain Candy, I certainly didn’t expect it to be. Those days are gone, and they’re never coming back. But what they’re giving us now in the lovely town of Shuckton — a possible fantasy football team name, you’re welcome — is pretty funny and completely within the realm of the Kids in the Hall humor brand. And because I’ve been quoting it in my head lately for no reason whatsoever …

Looking for the “how to” of how to leave a TV show? First there’s Steve Carell. He’s made like five or six hits, but stayed on his TV show until he was totally clear he would have a successful movie career. Now he’s set for about 10 years without The Office. Then there is Will Forte, who has decided to leave Saturday Night Live just three months after the worst-performing wide release of the summer movie schedule, MacGruber. Kids gather round and take notes, because that’s how you don’t do it. Not surprisingly, his IMDB page is pretty light in the future projects category.

you're goin' down!!!

you're goin' down!!!

There are few people in Hollywood cooler than Bruce Campbell. He’s a legit cult figure who didn’t seem to get discovered until his buddy Sam Raimi got discovered too. Even now, he’s not exactly “discovered,” because a whole generation is only seeing his as Sam Axe on Burn Notice or “that guy who keeps showing up in Spider-Man.” However you know him, the guy just exudes cool. And if you are just discovering him now, you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to see the Evil Dead series.

It’s becoming clear that the Tonight Show debacle is close to the best thing that’s even happened to Conan O’Brien. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be 7 trillion Tweets this morning about the new name of his TBS late-night show that is … BIG DRUM ROLL! … “Conan.” The worst part is TBS probably came up with this after hours and days and weeks of meetings and this was probably the first idea they came up with. Then they went around trying to get more input from every pale Irish person in the business, only to finally settle on “Conan.” This is why I need to be a Hollywood executive, so that I can sit in on entirely frivilous meetings like this and laugh my keyster off at the real big wigs who finally sign off on the first idea that came around after likely spending millions of dollars in market research.

Just in case you were worried about the life-altering consequences if America’s Got Talent wouldn’t come back for another season, come down from that ledge. It will be back next year. And the country rejoices!

i'll be back. i shouldn't, but i will.

i'll be back. i shouldn't, but i will.

Let’s get this out of the way off the bat — I’ll be watching Rescue Me when it returns next year. Keep that in mind over the next couple hundred words when I rip the show a new butthole because of its insulting “season finale.” Get used to those quotes too — because this wasn’t a “season finale.” In my life, I’ve probably watched 500 or more shows, kept close tabs on 200 of them and been a die-hard fan of about 70 or 80. Incidentally, Rescue Me falls in the last category. So I’ve watched enough TV to know how shows are structured, how they work, and how their seasons should run. When something is off, I know it. And something was off with last night’s Rescue Me “season finale” — because it obviously was not supposed to be the season finale. It was supposed to be next season’s premiere, and last week’s episode — you know, the one with the actual cliffhanger — was supposed to be the season finale. Between the show’s time lapse — two months between the last two episodes of this season? C’mon! — the tone of the episode compared with other Rescue Me finales and premieres and the overall feel of the show, this obviously was not how the show was supposed to be scheduled. Trolling through some quick reviews, I can’t believe no one has picked up on this other than me. Something happened with the schedule somewhere that screwed up the works and gave us this inferior product. That’s insulting to TV junkies like me who keep track of stuff like this, and because you’re reading this, people like you too. My theory: The show usually takes a one-week break during its summer run over 4th of July week. That didn’t happen this year, and the FX people said “Oh crap, we have an extra week where we need a new episode.” FX had the luxury of Rescue Me already having filmed its final season over this spring and summer, so the show is basically finished. I’m sure if it wanted to, FX could just run the final season right now. But it decided just to take the season premiere episode and run it as the season finale — and the fans paid the price with a lackluster product. Off the top of my head, I can think of two other times this happened recently:

at least he admitted it

at least he admitted it

–When Scrubs left  NBC in 2008 and before it moved to ABC, NBC had one last episode to burn off after what obviously was supposed to be the series finale a week earlier. So it ran for an extra week and gave us some ill-conceived fairy tale episode and left fans with a big, fat, WTF look on their faces. Then Zach Braff came out a day later and said what we all knew anyway, that this wasn’t supposed to be the finale, but NBC wanted an extra week. In other words, it was so egregiously deceitful and insulting the star of the show had to admit the mistake and basically say, “Please don’t hate us forever, we took it up the tailpipe from NBC.”

–On the short-lived Three Rivers last season, the first episode that aired was not the first episode. It couldn’t have been. The pilot episode actually aired the second week in the run of the show, establishing a wealth of continuity issues that made me think, “CBS doesn’t give a rat’s butt about this show, so why should I?” And I stopped watching. So did America, and it was canned a couple weeks later. It was never admitted, but no one cared enough to raise a ruckus.

Now Rescue Me gets lumped into that category, whether it likes it or not. It shouldn’t like it. Denis Leary should be so p!ssed off he comes out and issues an apology to all the fans who knew something was effed up from the beginning. He should just push all the blame on FX and say, “This isn’t our fault, and we’re sorry for thinking our fans wouldn’t notice.” What are they going to do, not air the final season it already paid for? Just a terrible end to a very sub-par season. “FINALE” GRADE: D-. SEASON GRADE: C.

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