Monthly Archives: September 2011

New Fall TV (Hate, Date, or Mate)

Hate –

The Playbook Club

Imagine a cool new TV show just like Madmen, but without good writing, and really weak direction, and no great art direction, and mediocre, strained acting, and presto… you have The Playboy Club.

The Playboy Club might be the lamest piece of TV drama programming that NBC has puked up to date. It is so cliché and tired it is a challenge to generate words for it that aren’t equally cliché and tired. This is a truly uninspiring bit of misogyny. It does serve to remind us of how in many ways the media age managed to co-opt the women’s liberation movement and turn the agitating domestic servants into objects of pleasure all while granting the illusion that this would somehow make women freer. In the 1960’s the male dominated establishment, said to the progressively pushy fairer sex, “Sure you can take a bigger, more visible role in the affairs of the world; would you mind trying this mini skirt on?” And so the 60’s ushered in the women’s new found power to compete economically with men as long as they used their bodies to do it. And hurray, now we have a show to celebrate that Faustian victory. Avoid this show like a date with a drunken life insurance agent.

Unforgettable (seems a bit forgettable)

I don’t really hate this show but I also wouldn’t date it. I am an easy target for procedurals where the star has special acuity-think Monk, Psyche, Lie to Me. Yet this show seems like such a retread, with little promise, maybe it gets better with time but I would be unwilling to give it the time.  The supporting cast of characters is flat, the art direction is uninspired… and so I pass.

The Secret Circle

Really why do I even take the time to watch anything the CW puts out? (Maybe because with the show Nikita they eeked one out.) The Secret Circle continues CW’s strong tradition that “if we program for the sixteen and under we don’t have to put any thought into the writing.” This show though was worse than simply unimaginative; it also seemed at times to border on child pornography. It’s a bit disturbing, not because it is a moralistic issue, but because it just such a bad idea. It takes an extraordinary level of talent to turn pedophilia into literature (think Nabokov) and these writers aren’t even in the same universe. What you are left with is the idea that you can simply attract views by depicting tantalizing teenage sexpots. That is the very definition of prurient pandering. Sigh…

Date –

Up All Night

This new comedy is like 7UP: Light, fizzy, and a little too sweet, but still, if you’re thirsty it might be refreshing.  I don’t think it can compete with comedies like Raising Hope or 30 Rock, but it is a funny look at being new parents and has Maya Rudolph as a comedic gold mine. Not much else to say, check it out if you have the time, no foul if you miss it though.


The new Sarah Michelle Gellar vehicle is a thriller based on an evil twin sister plot. And I don’t hate it. (Could CW come up with a second show I sort of like?) Watching the pilot was like a first date that you feel isn’t going to work out at first but by the end of the night you are surprised and you are willing to go on a second date, at least to see where things go. This show is fraught with pitfalls and could spin out quickly but I’m hoping (improbably) that the writers have a good story up their sleeves. Let’s wait and see…

Mate –

Prime Suspect

Maria Bello is a superlative actress and she might be in the best new police procedural in a long time (at least since Homicide.) The first episode hooked me with good writing, and well-developed characters all around. I also loved the stressed out art direction, and slightly manic lighting. If you can nail the roles and avoid tripping on the story you are half way there. Prime suspect is definitely half way there. To go all the way they will need to work hard to uncover police stories that matter. No easy task in this overdone genre. But one possibility is to go very deeply and meaningfully into what it means to stand up for justice in a world where injustice seems almost predestined. How does she compete not just as a woman in a man’s world but as a conscious being in an entropic material world?

I recommend this show just to enjoy the craft displayed by Maria on the now not so small screen in your living room.

Let me know which shows you will hate, date, or mate.


Why I am joining the Tea Party

I have had enough of trying to think and talk about what needs to be done. Now it is time to go with what I feel (frustrated). I have been a liberal lefty for a long time, and I’m tired of not getting any traction. It might be nice to see things get done for once. Maybe it is time to let the poor fend for themselves. After all,  if they had just worked harder they would be further ahead. Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry will create clear lines between the haves and the have-nots. But maybe that will make life easier, and I certainly won’t have to worry about what side I am on. I am tall, white and male; the trifecta of blessed in America.

With more deregulation and less government interference the odds of my getting ahead in America go up. Should I be penalized because somebody else was born poor and black, or in the wrong country? And I know it makes no economic sense but demonizing illegal immigrants is going to improve pride in America because at least we are standing up for our rights. If we let a bunch of busboys and gardeners have their way we lose sight of what make America great: we are a nation of rules and rule followers. Without rules we will have chaos, with rules we can focus on what is important, getting ahead and getting laid. Yes I said that. Let’s be honest getting some is the American Dream.

I for one am willing to put up with a little more inequality, if you can’t cut it and turn violent, well that’s what the prison system is for. A system, by the way, that should be privatized, so that American entrepreneurs can turn the sweat of those who couldn’t cut it into a healthy profit. Profits create jobs for those who deserve them.

Maybe it is time to give a world that is anti-intellectual, anti-art, and pro-patriotic a chance. Then we can focus on family values and for families without healthcare and housing we can all chip in and bring back volunteerism. We can take care of our own – just like the olden days; we don’t need a government telling us what to do. And we can stop worrying about the myth of climate change. There is nothing in wrong with the environment that can’t be fixed by free enterprise. Industry isn’t going to ruin its own back yard.

Join me in this growing political movement where the objections of the left can be overcome by believing in what we believe. In this new world order the courage of our convictions is all that matters. We are not alone we have FOX news on our side and many members of congress. But our great hope is the weak-willed liberals.  They are lazy and apathetic. They are not organized and have no sustainable new movement to carry them forward. They lack a clear voice, leadership, and a commitment to make their goals and values clear to the majority of Americans.

That’s why I am joining the tea party: less thought, more vitriol. It just feels right.


Bobby Smile

Proud American

September 11, 2011

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