The Week In TV: What Do You Watch During The Summer?
• Treme wrapped its first season last night with an episode that was probably among its best so far, though it also highlighted some of the show's weaknesses. Creighton's suicide (post-reveal spoiler!) was a sad twist meant to play on the death of the blogger who inspired the character, but having him succumb to a sadness about his dying New Orleans felt like too much of a cheat, both for the character and for a David Simon show in general. (If anything, it would've been more in line for him to just suffer perpetually with little hope. Bleak, but better than the alternative.) Yet that story also let Melissa Leo do some of the best acting on the show as Toni mourned the loss of Creighton. I loved seeing Janette and Davis get one last day together, but I was even happier when Annie showed up at his door, if only because it gave me hope we might never see Sonny ever again as long as TV exists. Albert and Delmond had some good father-son love-hate moments, too. Overall, a solid ep. But I have to wonder: Where do we go from here? Is the show just going to be a reworked version of New Orleans unfolding five years after the real events surrounding Katrina? There's no denying that Treme is a fantastically realized world, but I'm drawn to it more out of habit than love or fascination. I'm curious to see what happens when it returns next year.
• The NBA Finals happened last week, and I know this because I read news stories about riots in Los Angeles. I lived there for five years, and I know that there are unhinged fans in every major city in the nation, but I cannot for the life of me figure out why people riot when their team wins. They should be happy, not militant. Am I missing something? Anyway, Game 7 of the series was the most-watched NBA game in more than a decade, pulling in 28.2 million viewers. So sit back and enjoy the victory, Lakers fans, because in a few months it will all start again and your win will mean nothing.
• TBS this week released a video of Conan O'Brien arriving by caravan at their studios. The network is taking every opportunity to hype the fact that they've got one of the favorite late-night hosts of the younger generation, even going so far as to launch an Emmy campaign for his work at NBC. That's how happy they are to have him: They're willing to help his old network win awards. Remind me again why NBC let him go?
• Survey time: What do you watch during the summer? It's a decent time for some cable shows -- True Blood returned recently, and Mad Men comes back in about a month -- but there's honestly not much on. What do you watch? Reruns? TV on DVD? Do you turn off the set and actually communicate with other humans? What do you do?
• For those who didn't know, HBO partnered with Disney/Pixar for Toy Story 3:
• We all know by now that, for no real reason, this is the year of Betty White. A Snickers ad that ran during the Super Bowl, hosting Saturday Night Live, and outliving the other Golden Girls have put her in a prime position to be embraced only quasi-ironically as a cultural mascot. As if to drive this home, her new sitcom, TV Land's Hot in Cleveland, premiered the other night with almost 5 million viewers, making it the most-watched telecast the network has even seen. Which, good for them, I guess. I always wondered what would happen if a rerun-dependant network took Liz Lemon's theories about being hot in Cleveland and build a series around them. But there's no denying that the show wouldn't have garnered those ratings if this weren't serendipitously the year we all decided to remember we love Betty White (and we really do). It seems likely the ratings will decline soon, and unless TV Land has ridiculously low standards for what it takes to keep original programming on the air, I can't see this lasting past its 15 minutes.
• This is why they hate us:
• So, we're coming up on a big day at the end of June. No, not my birthday, though that is indeed happening in a week and Mayor Parker told me I can have the day off. I'm talking about the one-year anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, or as you might know it, the one-year anniversary of the time period when Americans shat themselves blind with feigned sorrow as the family members of a tortured man took turns using his corpse to promote their own business interests. This Friday, multiple networks are airing specials dedicated to Jackson, but I'm with Variety's Michael Schneider: Animal Planet's "Michael Jackson & Bubbles: The Untold Story" sounds too amazing for words. Set your DVRs accordingly.
• The World Cup is still going (it runs through July 11!), and I'm pretty sure the U.S. is still involved. I know there was much weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth the other day when a U.S. goal was ruled ineligible and the game ended in a tie. But really, can't we all agree that no professional sport should allow a tie as a final score? This makes the World Cup look like international T-ball. Soccer fans, set me straight.
• I'll leave you with the latest bit of brilliance from Jon Stewart. The Daily Show still provides the best political and media criticism on the air, and this inspired rant is one of the show's real keepers:
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