Roger Sterling Can’t Remember What Happened. Why Should You?

Time to play catch-up since we’ve gone without links for a while. And by the by, it’s just four days until the Mad Men premiere.

four days!

Did someone say Mad Men? Of course I did! It’s not insane at all for people to wonder whether the viewing public will come back to Mad Men when it premieres Sunday since it will have been gone for 17 months. Especially when the actors admit they’re having a tough time remembering exactly what happened the last time around. The only other show I can remember pulling something like this was The Sopranos — a completely different show with a completely different fan base. And it was only gone for 15 months, from December 2002 to March 2004. But it’s the only one we have to compare, so here goes. The September 2002 fourth-season premiere of Sopranos drew 13.43 million viewers and the season averaged 10.99 million viewers. It was the biggest viewing audience for the show’s six seasons. When it came back in March 2006, the premiere nabbed 12.14 million viewers (down almost 10 percent) and the season averaged 9.8 million viewers (down about 11 percent). AMC can’t afford that kind of drop-off. The season premiere episode has gotten bigger every year, but a 10 percent drop brings it below the ratings for the last two season premieres. It’s been sold to advertisers as a show that’s grown each year, so a 10 percent drop isn’t good enough. Especially when AMC’s other two hits, Breaking Bad and Walking Dead, are growing at a much faster rate. Incidentally, Breaking Bad left the airwaves for 13 months — and came back with its biggest ratings ever for last year’s fourth season. So perhaps AMC knew what it was doing all the time. AMC has done a great job of promoting it, and you can’t swing a dead Internet cat without finding a story about it, so it’s probably going to hit that 3-million-viewer mark. Not to mention Jon Hamm’s ascension as one of the most likable guys in Hollywood, now with a blockbuster (Bridesmaids) under his belt.

that looks like don's seat. move your fat ass out of there.

I’m starting to wonder whether I like Matthew Weiner as the creator and show runner of Mad Men, or whether I think he’s going to destroy the show from the inside. So far, I have to like him since he’s given us four of the best seasons of TV that have ever been made. But the fact that he was ready to walk away from that over a money dispute … that worries the crap out of me. You know what happens when you don’t like your bosses? You half-ass your job. You do just enough to not get fired. Weiner’s already got multi-million dollar offers waiting for him the second he says “done” with Mad Men whether he did it on his terms or not. He doesn’t need Mad Men — AMC needs him. He knows that, and he can half-ass it to the point where AMC pulls the plug first so he doesn’t look like the bad guy. It’s a troublesome situation. Two or three more seasons should work perfectly, then we can all let it go without any hard feelings.

Fox is mercifully benching I Hate My Teenage Daughter, which is pretty close to the worst show of the year. If it’s not, it’s close. Does Jaime Pressly deserve better, or was My Name is Earl just lucky? I’m torn. Maybe I’m just holding on to her Poison Ivy days a little too long. She’s obviously not the same woman anymore.

Portlandia is coming back for a third season. I have no idea what the ratings are and I didn’t watch this second season nearly as much as I thought I would/should, but seeing as it’s the only show on IFC that can get any substantive buzz, it’s a good decision to bring it back. When I do watch, it’s basically the same thing — two funny skits, one pretty boring one. And it’s all hipster humor, good or bad. IFC is doing its due diligence in becoming the cable channel of hipsters, so you might as well go with whatever you’ve got. Except for Malcolm in the Middle. I still don’t know why it’s showing Malcolm in the Middle.

Oh, and there is more news about IFC that I can’t seem to talk about because I’m laughing to hard to an extended version of one of the funniest and at the same time weirdest things I’ve ever watched on TV.

Since I was talking about sketch comedy, I found out a good way to fool people into thinking you’re really smart, and it’s all because of my adolescent Kids in the Hall addiction and the subsequent adoration I’ve had for the show. Have you seen the Target “color” commercials? They’re on NBC’s OnDemand shows all the time.

The other day I was singing along with it, knowing all the French words. My wife was impressed and thought I actually knew some semblance of French. Until I informed her that it was only because I’ve watched this KITH skit probably 500 times and it’s part of what has shaped my definition of what comedy actually is:

Kids in the Hall. Making dummies look smart for 20 years. Except for this dummy:

In a way, it sounds like it makes sense to start an indie TV movement. It worked for movies, right? But there were only a handful of movie studios around to greenlight your movie. Now there is every kind of TV genre on hundreds of different channels done with varying degrees of success and critical praise. If you tell me there is something that will be better on Internet TV than something like Mad Men or Breaking Bad, then cool. I’m in. I just don’t think there is. Then again, that was probably the attitude in 1980. “If you think you can do better than Godfather outside the studio system, be our guest.” Then the 90s rolled around and we got Pulp Fiction. So maybe there are better TV shows to be seen. I just think there are too many TV executives saying yes right now for really good shows to be missed by the mainstream.

the next spider-man villain? well, actually, the next-next one?

Weren’t you getting tired of all those mostly meaningless Avengers updates for the last two months? Me too! So now it’s time for another movie that won’t be out for four months to start getting some much-needed free publicity since the movie studios are so strapped for cash. Enter Amazing Spider-Man! Director Marc Webb said this movie will hint at future villains in the series, on the off chance there will be a sequel or something. I know, dare to dream, right? Now comes the time when I wildly guess at future villains:

–The trailer gives a shot of Oscorp, so obviously there will be a Green Goblin possibility. Hopefully they don’t go back down that route. ODDS: 20-1. There are too many great Spider-Man villains to go back to the well this early.

–Webb kinda hints that it has something to do with his parents. This brings the Chameleon into play, right? He made decoys of Peter’s parents after they were killed. He was the first villain Peter ever fought, and has barely been mentioned as someone who might be viable in the last incarnation. Bringing in Chameleon also opens the door to bring in his half-brother, Kraven the Hunter. ODDS: 2-1. It makes complete sense.

Forget it, I’m not doing anymore. It make too much sense for it not to be Chameleon.

This is like finding a five-leafed clover — it’s a movie franchise that isn’t hitting at all costs! The Jack Ryan franchsie reboot is in trouble after losing its director, and who knows if it will shoot this year or not. Is it weird that I haven’t seen one Jack Ryan movie? Not kidding. I haven’t seen more than a half-hour at any one time of any of them. I always figured Harrison Ford made enough franchises, he should have spread the wealth. Or I just never got around to it. Whatever.

pass.

We’re starting to get a bunch more summer concerts dates — and this one is interesting. Actually, when I say “interesting” I mean “haven’t we seen this 1,000 times before?” KISS and Motley Crue will try to convince you that you haven’t seen this before by actually doing a dual bill — even though they’ll do little more together than high-five between stage changes. They’re coming to Montage in Scranton on Sept. 18. You’re not fooling me, Gene Simmons. I know you just came to Mountain Laurel last year. Adding Vince Neil to the bill isn’t doing it for me.

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