Thursday, December 21, 2006

TV 4th Quarter Report - 14 Shows That Entertained Me in 2006 - Part II

Well folks.. … Christmas is almost here.. Instead of repeating last year’s column about A Jewish Guide to Christmas Movies, just Click Here to go back to the archives where I write about my 3 traditional holiday movies. This year I don’t have an elf picture.. but we have Something Even Better!

By the way, Scrooged will air at 12 midnight Sat. night/Sunday Morning on The Family Channel., TBS will run a 24 hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” and NBC runs “It’s a Wonderful Life” on Sunday Night at 8pm.

I will have to skip IAWL this year.. because Sunday night I will be going to an Avi Maza concert… It‘s a fundraiser for The Highland Park Conservative Temple and Center (where I met Trophy Wife 5 years ago) which readers of this blog know was badly damaged in a fire last August. Here is more concert info - … And of course, they will be serving Chinese food - as they said in “A Christmas Story”…. fa ra ra ra ra. The Chinese PC Police say that everyone is allowed to laugh at that scene… except Rosie O’Donnell! Now I see she is in a war of words with Donald Trump after her comments on "The View" about his treatment of "troubled" Miss USA. That whole thing was a publicity stunt for his new season of The Apprentice. Now he wants to sue sweet Rosie for her comments about his $ problems in the early 90's, and he called her fat. Heck his dad ended up buying a ton of casino chips to get some cash into Donald's troubled casino. By the way, on that same episode that right wing nutjob Ms. Haselbeck goofball while speaking to Senator Clinton compared our staying in Iraq to taking an antibiotic - you have to keep doing it till the infection is gone. Huh?

Now time for part 2 of our “14 Shows that Entertained Me in 2006”… Today, we cover the cable shows.

1. MATCH GAME ON GSN - My favorite TV show of all time, it is a cultural phenomenon that just can’t be duplicated or explained. T’was the night before Thanksgiving, the Match Game DVD had just been released, and I visited 7 different stores in a futile attempt to buy it, only to end up in eBay hell! I bought it from this goofball on eBay and 22 long days later it finally arrived…and then I discovered that the 4th of the 4 disks… is defective! I cant blame the “power seller“ for that…. but I was quite ticked that it took so long to get here! The seller is one of those people who went to one of those “Make Money on eBay” seminars and ended up selling DVDs by hooking up with a dvd warehouse and a shipping company. The seller sets up the eBay auctions himself and then tries to make sure that the warehouse gets the stuff shipped out and delivered before the buyer gets antsy and goes for the negative feedback! Selling dvd's on eBay was a concept I mentioned in this column back on July 29th, (see the archives).

What really grinds my gears about this particular power seller is his policy that he will not leave positive feedback until he gets positive feedback from the buyer.. And.. if you give him a negative, . he sends one right back at you.. which is incredibly absurd because if you check his profile, he has sold about 70,000 items and you will see that in the last month alone he has 350 negatives and 350 neutrals… This means that people who paid him, didn’t get their product, and then complained in negative feedback, will find their percentage score take a bigger hit than the seller, even though the buyer lost his money!! It is so totally absurd that eBay allows this kind of practice! Anyway after numerous emails and some lying on the sellers part, I did get my dvd and being the positive feedback ho that I am, left him a snarky positive comment: “Good guy to buy from if you are not in a hurry to get your product; my dvd took 22 days to get here”. I’m sure some might criticize my positive score for this scoundrel.

Anyway, rumor has it that a new syndicated Match Game is coming out next fall - but I don’t know if this will really see the light of day. Deal or no Deal has spawned a big game show revival just like Regis’s Millionaire did a few years back. This week's 5 day run of "Identiy" is a good example - but don't you think it jumped the shark in the 2nd episode when Penn Jilette had that little guy on who won the jackpot? And didnt seeing the little guy standing next to the towering Penn make you realize that you now have the new Mr. Roarke and Tattoo for the next remake of Fantasy Island?

The 70’s Match Game worked because they got a well known host, who was smart enough to put his ego aside to play straight man to the B Listers who adorned the 6 seats. But it’s impossible to duplicate the Match Game magic from the mid to late 70s… because with the exception of Kathy Griffin, B list celebrities don’t want to admit that they are B-listers. Hollywood Squares had Peter Marshall playing straight man to his panel, but the Squares usually booked more famous celebrities.

Now if you get a host who is willing to play straight man, you might have a chance of having a show. Ryan Seacrest actually does this well when he plays 2nd banana to the singers and Simon Cowell.... But no remake will ever be as good as the original. And for those of you who weren’t around in the 70s, the premise of the show is very simple.. A sentence is read with a word left out and replaced with a “blank”.. Six stars jot down an answer; the contestant then has to give the same answer. Could it be any simpler? Check out this clip for an example…

2. THE FAMILY GUY - (Cartoon Network and TBS) - Absolutely brilliant and was left off last week’s network list because the Fox episodes get rerun pretty quickly on cable. Seth MacFarlane is a genius and his tale of a doofus of a father with a loving wife and 3 kids is a warped Simpsons featuring bizarre flashbacks and a talking baby and dog who happen to be the 2 smart characters on the show. Everyone hears the dog speak, but only the dog understands the baby….I just got on the show’s bandwagon last summer,… even the supporting characters are hysterical, the wheelchair bound Joe the Cop, the sexually confused soft talking Cleveland Brown, and the man ho Quagmire.

3. LARRY KING - CNN - The king of 70s talk radio and talk tv, his nightly chat fest may have a dull guest or two, but that doesn’t stop Larry from conducting the best interviews. He was ranked # 3 on my Top 14 Talk Show rankings.. behind Letterman and Carson. Over the years he has had his share of bizarre interviews such as Tammy Faye Bakker who sadly appears to be at the end of her rope with her battle against cancer. Larry holds his own with all kinds of guests including Roseanne Barr who got him to admit that he doesn’t have a clue about how the internet works. Its kind of strange - Larry is a great interviewer, because of the combination of his lack of preparation - and his natural curiosity.. I’m surprised he hasn’t gotten curious about all the porn he can get free on-line!

4. DATING SHOWS ON MTV - Family Guy was my show in Summer ‘05 and Next and Parental Control were the TV highlights of Summer ‘06… along with “Why Can’t I Be You?” with Nick Zano which was THE best makeover show and seems to have disappeared off the network.. Of course if there was a regional TV Guide, I would know when its on.. But whatever the case may be.. all these dating shows owe their popularity to Chuck Barris who created the original Dating Game. Next is fun for its pure chutzpah and Parental Control gives the parents the big thrill forcing their kid’s detested boyfriend/girlfriend to watch a video of their kid on a date with a person the parents would prefer to see as the new paramour.

5. SHALOM IN THE HOME - I always like watching the Chabad Telethon for the Dancing Rabbis and the Ultra Orthodox hosts who are not very savvy about camera angles and video production in general due to the fact that they don’t watch TV. Rabbi Shmuley Boteach who is the coolest Lubavitcher has been racking up the shekels with his books.. starting with Kosher Sex…. Now he gets a new wardrobe and an RV and gets to head out for a little Dr. Phil Orthodox Jewish style.

I really have to give Shmuley credit for tackling issues that undoubtedly make him uncomfortable.. He counseled a family with a Jewish guy that gave up his religion and converted.. And then there was the episode with the lesbian couple who was invited to the Boteach home.... with his 10 chasidisih kids. Well as it turns out, Shmuley informed us he has a gay brother, and it was nice to see that he is a lot more open minded to these people than what we saw in “Trembling Before God”. I haven’t seen SITH in awhile, so I don’t know if it is coming back again. I checked his website and there is no mention of new episodes,.

6. ENTOURAGE - The story of a Hollywood actor who hits it big and still has his 3 childhood buddies hanging out with him all the time. Matt Dillon’s brother Kevin is actually a great actor playing the ego maniacal frustrated actor “Drama”. In one of the funniest scenes on TV this year, Drama runs into some gangsters who hang him over a hotel balcony but as he faces possible death, he is thrilled when the guy who is threatening to kill him recognizes him from a past acting job.

7. THE SOPRANOS - Yep this was the year we got HBO and I was not sure I wanted to like this show.. But interestingly enough having also seen all 3 Godfather movies this year, and now a full season of The Sopranos, it appears that the program really does not glorify gangsters. I’m not that emotionally attached to the characters , but I did watch the season to see what all the hype was about.. And I guess the show is OK… It’s a total waste of newsprint that the Ledger had a weekly recap.. yet they don’t have a New York Rangers beat writer! The Rangers have been much improved the past 2 seasons.. yet the paper chooses to have a beat writer covering the Knicks… who are absolutely awful. By the way the reason Isiah Thomas wasn’t suspended for that disgusting fight that he instigated was because NBA Commissioner David Stern doesn’t want to suspend the man who will be doing the post game locker room interviews at the NBA Finals, after the Knicks fire that slimy smooth talking used car salesman sleazebag.

Three that would be here if it was a Top Ten List..- The now cancelled Rita Cosby and Lucky Louie plus Password on GSN. Cosby was a walking train wreck.. You just cant look away when she is on a roll.. Especially with her breathless excitement about stories created by news producers who have nothing better to do.. ie Natalie Holloway, the guy that fell off the cruise ship, etc. Nothing about the Holocaust going on in Darfur, or other important stuff. Nonetheless, her show was very freaking watchable.. especially her golly gee shazam fascination with the BTK killer who used the “k” from a kosher symbol for one of his taunting ransom style letters.

Lucky Louie was a sitcom that was so adult, I cringed for the parents of the actress who played the little kid. It was strange to hear the f word followed by a laugh track.. But the scene where the Kramer esque neighbor used Louie’s shower, and then walked right past poor Louie with his shmeckle sticking out was just so unexpectedly hysterical, especially since it had never ever happened on a sitcom before.. except behind the scenes on the Different Strokes episode with the molester in the bike shop. This is the same “I can’t believe I just saw this on a sitcom” shock viewers felt in the 70s when Archie Bunker was constantly shooting off his mouth with his “politically incorrect“ commentary. Incidentally, Lucky Louie was cancelled after one season.

Finally, Password is just a fun game..… I’m surprised they don’t try to remake it.. Its always amusing to see the same star appear on GSN reruns of Password Plus the same week as Super Password - Last week, John Astin was on both shows.. showing up with a big bald spot on Password Plus from the early 80s, but a full head of hair in the early 90‘s Super Password! Then again Entourage’s Jeremy Piven also has a lot more hair than he did in the Seinfeld episode he appeared on in 1993. It’s a Christmas Miracle!

Ok folks.. time for the wkly NFL picks.. last week we had our 2nd straight winning week going 9-7 and now we are 18 games under (we were –25 2 wks ago!) at 100-118-6. The Amazing Pumpstradamus lost last week and is 9-5-1. Here we go!

Minnesota 3 ½ point doggies over GREEN BAY – The game nobody sees on the wacky NFL Network that will air that wacky Rutgers bowl that no Cablevision customers will see.

Kansas City 6 1/2 faves over OAKLAND – Not even sure KC deserves this much respect… this may be the toughest pick of the week.

GIANTS 3 over New Orleans – I am still on the bandwagon for another week.

Titans 4 ½ doggies over BUFFALO – 2 teams streaking to the finish that should look even better in 2007.

Carolina 6 ½ doggies over ATLANTA – IF the Giants are winning, this will be a HUGE game for the scoreboard watchers.

ST. LOUIS 2 faves over Washington – The locals must be happy that Jason Marquis went to the Cubs.

Colts 9 faves over HOUSTON – Blame the Texans for the Rutgers TV fiasco – they own that wacky bowl game.

Baltimore 3 doggies over PITTSBURGH – That oughta put the kibosh officially on the Steelers much to the chagrin of Steelers fans and my buddy Brian whose father in law created the Nate the Dancing Elf video.

CLEVELAND 3 faves over Tampa Bay – Is this gonna be the Gus Johnson game? Great call on the miracle Lee shot in the Knick game Wed. night!

DETROIT 5 doggies over Chicago – Do the Bears really have anything to play for now that they have iced home field?

New England 2 ½ doggies over JACKSONVILLE – THE game of the week for Jets fans who should want the Jags to lose while Denver and the Bengals beat up each other in the wild card race. See Pumpstradamus below.

Bengals 3 doggies over DENVER – Im really down on the AFC West wanna-bes. Hopefully the airport is shoveled out so the Bengals get home for Christmas.

SAN FRAN 4 faves over Arizona – Another pair of mediocre teams that are still amazingly alive in the pathetic NFC Wild Card race.

San Diego 4 ½ faves over SEATTLE – The AFC teams are just so much better plus we could have an 8-8 team win the NFC West.

The Jets 2 ½ doggies over MIAMI – Huge game for the well coached team whose home field is Giants Stadium.

Philadelphia 7 doggies over DALLAS – The Eagles may win more games than the 76ers and the Flyers – combined!

PUMPSTRADAMUS PICK OF THE WEEK: Pump lost last week to fall to 9-5-1. This week in honor of the Family Guy's hometown of Quahog we will go to.. New England for the Patriots-Jaguar game. Sayeth the Pump: "Take New England because they are closer to The North Pole and Santa Claus. New England is 2nd in distance only to Seattle."

Next week: A special podcast chat with... Pumpstradamus


Pump Sperling said...

HEY, with all this mysterious hair regeneration, how can I get on Password?! (as the schmeckle once said, "I'm not just the president of the hair club... I'm also a member !" hey-ooohh!)

Nate said...

Very clever! i guess we can't all have hair like "The Donald". Is it me or does it appear that this whole Rosie - Donald is a big publicty stunt for The Apprentice and The View. Some of Donald's comments have been so vile and nasty,("I don't care what Barbara Walters says publicy - she also hates Rosie") he couldnt be that big a shmuck.... or could he?

Pumpstradamus said...

Who knows! After Borat, we can never really tell the difference between reality and a publicity stunt. Unless, of course, we witness "The Donald" and Rosie wrestling naked in public. shudder!