The Week In TV: Sharktopus!
I'm not sure what the medal count is, I'm definitely ready for spring, and I look good in an elegant ladies' pantsuit. This was the week in TV Land:
The return of Rousseau Claire!
• In 2006, I watched the final four episodes of Arrested Development as they aired on Fox opposite the opening ceremonies of the Turin Olympics. That pretty much sums up my feelings toward this year's Vancouver Games: I'm sure plenty of people will watch, but I'll probably look for something else. There are several reasons for this. I'm never that interested in televised games, period, and the winter Olympics always feel to me like a weaker, less iconic version of their summer counterparts (something tells me Jesse Owens will always rank Shaun White in the pantheon of history). I've also got a very low tolerance for jingoism and shlock, both of which are pretty much the only fuel in the Olympics' engine, as witnessed by the masturbatory remake of "We Are the World" that I couldn't even make it through:
So if the Games are your thing, go for it. But NBC, I'll see you in a few weeks.
• Turner Classic Movies is in the middle of its annual month-long salute to Academy Award winners, which means my DVR will soon fill up with standby movies to watch when there's nothing else on. (Hello, Chinatown, you beautiful beast you.) Now, I tend to side with the New York Times' Manohla Dargis on the awards, who said, "Let's acknowledge that the Oscars are bullshit and we hate them." I mean, really, Crash? Dances With Wolves over GoodFellas? Anyway, the good news is that there are a lot of great movies who've won the award, and TCM is running a marathon of modern classics all month leading up to the ceremony. Definitely worth checking out.
• I'm disappointed that we'll be without NBC's Thursday comedy block for a couple weeks, because last week was another solid entry for younger shows Community and Parks and Recreation. I'm really enjoying the way Community creator Dan Harmon and the rest of the writers are dealing with the tension between Jeff and Brita; rather than having them hook up immediately and regret it, or go through a series of predictable beats, they've actually turned them into friends of a sort. It's not that the attraction isn't there; it's that there are other things to do for now. As a result, Brita's felt more like a part of the study group instead of just the bitchy loner Jeff is trying to nail. Nice work. Plus, the montage of Abed and Jeff getting wasted and doing the dances from The Breakfast Club was fantastic. Best new show of the year.
• Here's a follow-up to the Jon Stewart/Bill O'Reilly brief from last week. Stewart did O'Reilly's show, but the interview was brutally chopped up. As I said last week, it's a bit disingenuous for Fox News to put the whole interview online but not tell viewers it's there; when Stewart has a piece run long -- as he did just the other night when talking to Newt Gingrich -- he tells the audience and the guest that the upcoming commercial break will be an edit point but that the entire segment will be on the show's site. The Gawker folks have a good round-up of everything that didn't make it to air. Short version: Stewart made some good points that O'Reilly just plain ignored. Thanks for the healthy debate, Fox.
• SyFy is making a movie called Sharktopus that will be directed by Roger Corman. I present this fact unadorned by commentary because I honestly do not know what the hell else there is to say. The network has long been in the business of making awful, awful telefilms, but this looks to be in a whole new league of crazy.
• MTV redesigned its logo this week, cropping the top and bottom, thereby eliminating the words "Music Television." Blah blah blah this is where you say they haven't shown videos in a while so what's the point. And, well, you're right. MTV has never really been about videos; they're about defining and reflecting the youth culture, and for a while, that meant broadcasting music videos. But really, videos haven't been part of that culture --or not an integral one -- since the early 1990s. If you can keep the same demo captive with Jersey Shore, why bother with five-minute movies set to pop songs? A person born the day MTV launched is now 28 years old, and most current MTV viewers were conceived when Pulp Fiction was in theaters. Trimming the network logo was a minor cosmetic change. The real move happened years ago.
Looking forward to this week, there's the Olympics on NBC pretty much every minute, but really there's not much on the nets beside Lost. Claire is the new Rousseau, yo.