The Week In TV: Boob Tube
The fall TV season is officially upon us, the weather's still inexplicably hot, and we think you're a young Bo Derek stuffed with a Barry Goldwater. This was the week in TV Land:
Katy Perry's breasts bounced from Sesame Street to SNL.
• On Friday, Stephen Colbert gave everyone a reason to remember C-SPAN exists when he appeared before the House Subcommittee on Immigration to testify about his experience with United Farm Workers' "Take Our Jobs" initiative. He was invited to testify by Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., though Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., tried to get Colbert to leave right at the beginning. Lofgren let him stay, though, and he went on to give an amazing, in-character testimony about his experience with the farmers that used satire and phony outrage to make his points with wit and eloquence. Colbert knows that he's not a politician, but he also knows that the line between public servant and trusted public persona doesn't even exist any more, and that any chance he has to get his sharply crafted opinion out there is worth taking. His entire performance is worth watching, as are his pieces about it on his show (here and here), but our favorite moment was when he broke character and spoke simply about how his morality and his faith were driving him to speak up for immigrant workers. Stewart/Colbert 2016!
• NBC's comedy block came back Thursday. We loved Community, but we also enjoyed 30 Rock and were even pleasantly surprised at The Office. The 30 Rock premiere was operating at peak performance, full of references to the series' own surprising longevity that feel earned after four full seasons. We liked seeing Matt Damon as the overly emotional pilot, and it's also smart to set his character up with a gig that lets him be a recurring presence with easily explained absences. We also enjoyed The Office, mostly because it moved away from the hate-fuck of last season and back into the absurdity of life at Dunder Mifflin. This is Steve Carell's last year, and we'd like to see him go out on top with a comedy that used to be so amazing.
• Fox announced last week the final piece of the puzzle that will
unleash Pinhead complete the new version of American Idol: Steven Tyler has been tapped to be a judge. Tyler, who is 62 and whose appearance falls somewhere between badly reconstructed burn victim and makeup test run for White Chicks, is best known to members of the Idol demographic as the guy who sang that song from Armageddon. This means that Randy Jackson, improbably, is the last remaining original judge on the show, and it also ensures that the upcoming season is going to be even more insane and train-wrecky than anyone could have imagined. The original dynamic made sense: Simon's caustic bluster came with spot-on musical insight; Paula was doped-up but personable; Randy was enthusiastic but willing to show his displeasure. Bt who knows how Tyler and Jennifer Lopez will play it? Tyler hasn't had a quality studio album since 1993's Get a Grip, and Lopez hasn't had one, period. They know sales, though; the only question is how inane they'll come off in the show. (Survey says: very.) American Idol isn't over yet, but this is the beginning of the end.