Gubernatorial strategy

For those of you who don’t live in California, you’re missing an odd show. We’re having a special election next week – no candidates, but the Governator wanted to push through some special propositions to give him more control, to reduce the ability of others to criticize him, and to get a redistricting of the state between the usual redistricting periods, which is expected to be to his party’s advantage. And the battle over these things has been playing out, of course, in TV ads.

At first, the “pro” ads mostly starred the Governor, talking about why these things were needed. They were far outnumbered by the “anti” ads, run mostly by the very folks that the Governor sought to silence. And as time went on, the pro-folks were reminded of a very tough fact: Californians don’t like the Governor. Oh, we may have elected him by a large margin not that long ago, but that was the party. Since then, the hangover. The Governor’s proven weak at working with the legislature, actually getting things done. After taking on the previous incumbent as overly indebted to special interest, he’s taken insane amount of special interest money. And that’s turned off many folks who shared his stated values to begin with.

So they pulled the ads starring Arnold – just think of it, not long ago advertisers would’ve been glad to spend millions to get this guy to do ads for them, now he was giving the ads for free and getting rebuked for it.

But that didn’t mean that Arnie wasn’t in any of the ads. The anti folks took advantage of the dislike for Arnie, and put footage of him into many of their ads.

With a little over a week to go before the vote, Arnie’s started appearing in ads again, making some admission of personal imperfections (or at least to having a learning curve as governor). Perhas that will work.

But I’ve gotta admit, disliking the governor and his gang is so strong, I’ve been tempted to vote against even the one proposition that I agree with in principal.

Published in: on October 31, 2005 at 1:00 am  Comments (1)  

Presidential strategy

Currently The West Wing is in the midst of a presidential campaign between Alan Alda and Jimmy Smits, playing both as reasonably reasonable presidential folks. So, assuming the series survives that long (which is an open question, the once-powerful show having dropped a lot of viewers over the years), who is the new president, the new focus?

I think I’ve figured out what they’re going to do. They’re going to let the viewers decide. Put it up to an online vote; Rock Star: White House, as it were. This would build attention, and get viewers feeling committed by being involved. (Of course, theres the risk that the folks who voted for the losing candidate would feel more disconnected from the show…)

And in some ways, this entire replace-the-president situation is ideal for a TV show. With the way that cast salaries automatically go up as a show gets older, making it harder and harder to make the series affordable to continue, having a legit excuse to dump the entire long-running cast (or keep one token favorite for continuity). Perhaps they’ll even pull a Boston Legal, continuing it as a new series, creating a new rerun package in the process.

But I could be wrong…

Published in: on October 31, 2005 at 12:12 am  Comments (1)  

Blog experiment – open comments

As an experiment, I’ve opened the blog up for comments. Now anyone can comment.

I will not avoid deleting comments I think are inappropriate, and may revoke this all with no notice. But hey, feel free to post away!

Published in: on October 23, 2005 at 2:20 am  Comments (6)  

This Week in Flawed

Alas, last night we got to see that the “This Week in God” feature has not moved with Stephen Colbert to The Colbert Report; rather, it is staying with The Daily Show to be delivered by Rob Cordry – who is far more about getting people to laugh at his character than at the situation being described. And thus shrivels a greatly insightful piece.

Published in: on October 21, 2005 at 1:30 am  Leave a Comment  

A Colbert Report Too Far

It is well established that we here at Nat’s TV consider The Daily Show to be some form of wonderful, using an often-cutting parody of newscasters to deliver extremely pointed parodies of current events. One of the key practitioners has been Stephen Colbert, who plays the smug intellectual to a hilarious T.

But now Colbert has graduate to his own series, following The Daily Show four times a week. Judging from the first episode of The Colbert Report, it’s focusing on the parody of the newsmen, ripping apart commentary formats, and leaving the actual current events to The Daily Show. Even the scheduled guests for the week are all press folks, apparently doing their kindly in-on-the-joke-so-they-can’t-really-be-going-after-me appearances.

Problem is, as great as the gag is, spreading it out to two hours per week would seem to be spreading it far too thin. Commenting on events means that there is always fresh things to comment on; commenting solely on the deliverers of the news means one is playing with a limited range, one that renews slowly. One episode a week might be worthwhile (say, Friday at 11, taking the one weekday that The Daily Show doesn’t cover), but it’s hard to see even the talented Mr. Colbert keeping this from getting stale quickly at this rate.


Gilmore Girls tonight invoked one of my favorite place names. The real Chargoggagogmanchauggauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg isn’t the name of a street; it’s the name of a lake in Massachusetts, although in a rush people call it simply “Lake Webster”. (And yes, the name does supposedly mean “you fish on your side, I’ll fish on mine, and nobody’ll fish in the middle.”)

Published in: on October 18, 2005 at 11:43 pm  Comments (2)  

How I Met Your Freaks And Geeks

Minor Freak/Geek crossover tonight, when How I Met Your Mother series regular Jason Segel (Freak) appeared in a scene with Samm Levine (Geek). (Samm was one of the annoying guys outside the club.)

Apparently, Kitchen Confidential is no longer being produced, so Freaks won the Freak vs. Geek ratings competition.

Published in: on October 17, 2005 at 11:36 pm  Leave a Comment  

Working in advance

I’ve already noted a couple of guest appearances of Tom Irwin this season. Catching up on Night Stalker, I find another one… but this is one that Irwin filmed years ago. Running on a TV in the scene is a scene from My So-Called Life. He’s everywhere!

Published in: on October 17, 2005 at 6:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sorkin's coming back

NBC has a new Aaron Sorkin series for next year! Yeeha!

Published in: on October 17, 2005 at 1:11 pm  Comments (1)  

Don't forget

The Colbert Report launches tonight, after The Daily Show. Colbert was certainly the best of the supporting players on The Daily Show, and I hope he can keep his sharpness for four episodes per week. (If I have one big hope, it is that he will keep his masterful “This Week in God” segments, and actually make them weekly. I’d gladly buy a DVD just of the past installments of that feature.)

Published in: on October 17, 2005 at 11:50 am  Leave a Comment  

An unexpected death

The Associated Press is reporting that Charles Rocket has committed suicide. They’re focusing on his work on SNL, which is less famous in its existence than in his firing (he uttered a notorious four-letter word on the air). I guess I know him better for a range of scammers and stuck-ups he has played over the years; when I think of Rocket, I think of his work on Moonlighting as Bruce Willis’s brother, trying to move a product called “Rich and Thin” at seminars using a rap sales pitch. I last saw his work a couple weeks back, when I watched Dumb & Dumber for the first time. The moment he appears, you know he’ll be a stuck-up bad guy. That’s the kind of specific talent he had.

We’re bound to see some reporting on the “string of tragedies” that has hit Saturday Night Live alumni; those counts tend to overlook the sheer number of folks who have been in that cast over the past thirty years. That’s not to say that there is no link between the sort of excesses that made Belushi and Farley the figures that they were and their deaths, it’s just that in the past commentators have made it sound like there’s some sort of SNL curse.

Another thought on the coverage of this: he actually died ten days ago. If there was any coverage of it, well, I missed it. And yet the ruling of the death to be a suicide seems to have gotten enough attention to be seen. Perhaps I was just otherwise occupied (and ill) when the death was initially reported – but perhaps the media just considered him to minor to worry about until the death became salacious.

Ah, well. This is more detail than I should probably have gone into on a post that I shouldn’t have made. After all, it’s not as though Rocket were some large figure in my personal landscape. I have no idea what sort of personal situations brought him to this, and frankly it’s none of my business. Is it sad? Yes, but most deaths are. This one’s just a bit more famous than most.

Published in: on October 17, 2005 at 11:38 am  Comments (2)  
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