I’ve been making allusions on Facebook and Twitter about how I just got a bunch of summer concert tickets to give away, and yeah, we got ‘em. I’m not saying what or where the shows are for yet — but they’re pretty good shows within a hour’s drive. And they’re not Mountain Laurel tickets. Not yet at least. You gotta stay tuned if you wanna win, hopefully I’ll be announcing a contest for some of the tickets starting next week.
One other concert note — tickets for Janet Jackson at Bethel Woods go on sale at 10 a.m. tomorrow. That’s probably my favorite Bethel Woods show in its six years of concerts. No matter what happens with Mountain Laurel, having Bethel Woods nearby is a blessing if they’re gonna keep getting shows like that.
On to the links, and again today, we’re pretty much all TV all the time with finales happening and upfronts next week. We’ll try to squeeze in some movie news next week. Major spoiler alert for finale recaps, so they’re way down there at the bottom.
Forget everything you know about the recent history of Two and a Half Men. Dispose of all the news you heard of about Charlie Sheen. Think of it like any other show just starting out. Now go back to 2003 when it premiered. If you heard the news “Ashton Kutcher to star in sitcom that’s sure to be a hit,” that would excite you, right? It was a different time for Kutcher, he was the megastar of all teen heartthrobs, was in the process of turning himself into a movie star and was about to marry Demi Moore. He was everywhere. But go ahead and drop all of the celebrity stuff. If someone told you the guy who played Kelso on That 70s Show would be about to star as a rich guy who does nothing but sleep around and spout presumably funny stuff, you’d be interested in that, wouldn’t you? Now it’s eight years later and he’s about to step in to the marquee spot of the highest-rated sitcom on TV. Shouldn’t fans of Two and a Half Men — I am decidedly not one of them — be excited? I didn’t think there was anyone that could fill that spot — but I forgot about Kutcher. There isn’t a better choice in Hollywood, and fans should be elated.
Perhaps NBC has learned its lesson. After botching its chance in the reboot adventure genre not once (Bionic Woman) but twice (Knight Rider), maybe it’s best for the network to stay out of the reboot pool altogether. With that kind of spirit, it decided to give one of televisions best creative guys, David E. Kelly, the ol’ “thanks but no thanks” treatment on his version of Wonder Woman. The press was bad from the start, with wardrobe malfunctions and leaked scripts that were about as well-liked as a brain tumor. I’d like to say this will stem the tide of the reboot machine, but I’m not a moron.
NBS is going to be the first to announce its 2011-12 schedule Monday morning, but its already got a jump on it. Parenthood and Harry’s Law will be back after NBC said Thursday that Chuck would return. I can tolerate Parenthood in small doses, it’s one of my wife’s favorite shows. I’ve decided I have enough of my own family drama instead of watching a fake family go through it in the name of my own enjoyment. It’s a good show, it’s just not something I go out of my way to watch. Never saw Harry’s Law, have no interest, and if I want a Kathy Bates fix, I’ll just wait until times like last night when Jo visits the Scranton office.
Not so fast, all of you (me) who were writing the obit for Breaking In. After Fox canceled it Tuesday, now there’s already talk that the network may figure out a way to bring it back. Two possibilities here. First, Fox got down to the nitty gritty, looked at its schedule (which it will announce Monday) and said, “Holy poop, we’ve got nothing. Like, we’ve got less than nothing,” and it started thinking about what it could get back. Breaking In got decent ratings, but that was probably only because of the American Idol factor. Second, Fox looked at it’s schedule and said, “Hey, we’ve got three good comedies here! If we could only get one more, we can make a comedy night, run it for four years and then sell it in syndication and make enough money to buy 30 percent of Africa!” I’m thinking it’s the second one. So maybe Fox is ready to launch a comedy night since it’s the only network of the big four that doesn’t have a non-animated one.
Finale reviews from last night:
VAMPIRE DIARIES: (MAJOR SPOILERS COMING) Here was my tweet right after I watched the Vampire Diaries finale last night. Well, it came after my wife and I spent about five minutes talking about it to make sure we knew exactly what happened in those last couple minutes: “so next year, will there be a vampire diaries spinoff, ‘the vampire whisperer’?” You know, because I’m so witty and all. Oh, and I threw in the #TVD hashtag, cuz that’s how I roll. Anyway, here’s my interpretation. Actually, it’s more of my wife’s, and I really liked her theory, so I’m stealing it and calling it my own from here on in: Jeremy is now some kind of medium between dead vampires and the real world. This happened after two things: 1. Drinking — or at least getting the taste of — Caroline’s blood. 2. The “consequences” that came from Bonnie’s mumbo jumbo witchcraft that brought him back to life. The witches that saved him apparently needed some kind of person that could connect with dead vampires from the beyond, and because Jeremy at least had a little vampire blood in him, now he’s the man. Or something like that. Feel free to debate this point in the comments. The happiest person in all this? Kayla Ewell, the girl who played Vicki for the first seven episodes of the first season but got killed off, never to be heard from again. She was destined to be signing autographs for $5 a pop 10 years from now at Fangora Fests in Secaucus, but then she got the got the call that she’s being brought back. Good for her! Then there is the Stefan issue. Props to Pocono Record page designer extraordinaire Andrea Higgins, who predicted that Stefan would die in the last night’s finale so that Damon and Elena could hook up next year, and then he’d be brought back to life somehow while his bro and ex were bumping uglies or something. I said no way — the show wouldn’t be as good without Stefan. The writers knew this too, so they came up with a compromise — kick him out of the country for a while as Klaus’s lackey. Perfect! Now Damon and Elena can go at it, and Stephan will jump back to Mystic Falls in December for the fall finale or something and we get the brother battle we’ve been waiting for. Bing, bam, boom. I’ve said it before, but I remain constantly impressed by Vampire Diaries because something is always happening. We’re talking 24 in its heyday on the something-is-always-happening meter. It’s the one show I watch where I’m always surprised when it’s over, because the hour seems to fly by. In a whole season of work this year, you could count the number of down moments on one hand. Impressive. FINALE GRADE: B+. SEASON GRADE: A-.
COMMUNITY: How smart is too smart? Yesterday I mentioned that 30 Rock has become too wacky, a weird paradox since the reason we always liked it is because it was so wacky. Now here we are with Community asking a similar question: Has it become too smart? It’s the ultimate network comedy for smart humor. If you haven’t been watching from the jump, you’re going to miss out on approximately 10 percent of the jokes because you’re just not accustomed to the flow, the dialogue and the nature characters’ relationships. The show already has established those things, and proved multiple times this year it’s not going back and explaining them to you if you missed it. Sorry. But even if you’re missing out on that 10 percent, you can still appreciate the other 90 percent of hilarity that routinely ensues. As long as you can appreciate meta jokes (I love them), pop culture wisecracks (can’t get enough) and smart humor that will go over the head of at least 50 percent of the population (love that the best). For someone like me, Community is that beautiful trifecta I can’t get enough of. But even I admit that it was borderline annoying this year. Maybe it was annoying to the writers too because the two-part paintball finale basically blew up the so-so direction the show had been headed in for most of the last two months that started with the extremely disappointing My Dinner with Andre parody in March. That was the peak of “too smart,” parodying a cult-cult-cult movie that about 10 of its fans have seen. Don’t believe me? The limited run reissue in 1999 made $5,000. But the paintball finale dipped back into the well that made its first season so enjoyable. Pop culture parodies, meta jokes (the groaning every time someone mentions Jeff’s leadership cracks me up) and some actual plot development that makes me excited for next year. Can you imagine Study Group B, with Pierce, Star-Burns, Senor Chang, Fat Neil, Magnitude and Vicki? That could be next year’s paintball episode — send them to a retreat and let them go at it. There could even be a running gag in each episode where one of them tries to take Pierce’s spot in Study Group A. Geez, I’ve just written half their season for them! FINALE GRADE: A- (Part 1 A, part 2 B+). SEASON GRADE: B.