(wrote this about a week ago, but forgot to post it.)

Last week’s announcement of a new behind-the-scenes-of-a-comedy-show sitcom featuring the creative talents of Tina Fey carried the implied bad news – Tina is leaving Saturday Night Live. Now, this isn’t just the loss of the sex symbol for those who find brains sexy. It’s easy to forget that she’s been the head writer of the show longer than she’s been a cast member. There’s been good stuff and other stuff along the way , but it’s hard to know what effect her absence will have on the tone of the show. (She can be credited with some of the best stuff – the Jimmy Fallon/Rachel Dratch Boston teen sketches… you know, “Zazu!”.)
Rachel Dratch is also slated for the new show, so I guess they’ll be dipping into the talent pool for more females for the show, and second-stringer Kristen Wiig does seem to hold up her end. … although she’s not as obvious for adding to the main line-up as Andy Samberg. I’d be shocked if Lorne Michaels wasn’t quite happy with that scientific cross-breeding of Adam Sandler and Jimmy Fallon.
Ahhh, the episode just ended, and gathered together for the closing were Tina, Rachel… and Amy Poehler. Is she leaving too?

You know, there are few jobs in entertainment where you can say that going on to be creator and star of a sitcom is a way of spending more time at home with your family… but being head writer and cast member of SNL has to qualify. Good luck, Elizabeth Stamatina Fey!

Published in: on May 28, 2006 at 12:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

If a crash happens in the forest…

I’m watching the Indy 500 (probably won’t watch the whole thing; I’m far more likely to watch a whole NASCAR race as I know the players), and in the midst of an incident on the track one of the commentators refered to it as “a crash involving at least one car”.

As opposed to?

(They are doing something nifty I’ve not seen before – they aren’t cutting away from the race for ads. Instead, they split the screen. The race gets a window about 1/6th of the screen size, the ad gets about 1/3, and statistics, graphics, and the name of the advertiser fill the rest. For the fan, this means that they don’t have to miss anything that happens during the ad. For the advertiser, it means that the fan isn’t getting up and hitting the fridge during the ad.)

Published in: on May 28, 2006 at 12:32 pm  Leave a Comment  

Cloaked comments

I ran across this photo and caption at CNN.com today:

My first thought was that the caption should end with “(seen here not working)”.

Then I realized that the cloak isn’t even in the picture. Which means that perhaps the invisibility cloak is doing it’s actual job, making itself invisible. So perhaps what needs to be added is “(not seen here, working)”.

“Hey, look, it’s Wonder Woman’s invisible airplane!”

“I don’t see any airplane.”

“That proves it’s hers!”

Published in: on May 26, 2006 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

Due Notice

About two weeks ago, we got a notice from our housing complex management, saying that roofs in the complex were being redone, and they would give us a two week notice before it hit our house, so that we’d have time to clear out the patio to allow the roofers to set up their ladders.

One week later, with no other notice having arrived, they started working on the roof.

This morning (a week and change after the previous step), two things happened:

  1. The roofers completed work on the roof.
  2. We got a notice placed on our door by the management, giving us a five-day warning the work was about to start on the roof.

Ah, planning.

Published in: on May 18, 2006 at 9:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Veronica lives!

Not that it wasn’t really known already, but the CW made it official today: Veronica Mars will indeed have a home on the new combo-network. Seventh Heaven is apparently still in actor negotiations, so that’s a maybe.

Published in: on May 17, 2006 at 10:15 pm  Leave a Comment  

Freddie's Dead

In addition to the announcements of new shows for next season, news of various show cancellations is also coming out. Most of these are for things that were clearly already dead, or things that I didn’t really care about. But Freddie? They’ve cancelled Freddie?

I know it wasn’t a critical darling, and it didn’t advance the state of the sitcom art at all. So it always surprised me to have discovered that it was actually funny. That’s all the reason it needed for me. It surprised me with smiles. (Particular points go to the mother character, who got her laughs while speaking in subtitled Spanish.)
A couple years ago, this show probably would’ve survived, just changed networks. The WB and UPN showed a willingness to pick up shows that had aired on a bigger network and had featured some ethnic group that might not drive a big enough audience for the big guys, but could be key in building the audience for the smaller nets. But the the WB and UPN merging, they’re too busy saving their own shows.

Published in: on May 16, 2006 at 11:25 am  Comments (4)  

All good things must end. Some twice.

Sunday night was a night of a couple of key series enders for long-running shows. The West Wing went out respectfully, but without much fun… and fun is the key element that has been gone since creator Aaron Sorkin left ths show and wossisname from E.R. came on. The show has been more interesting this season than it was since Sorkin left, but I still miss what it was. (The promise of a new Sorkin series for the fall has me happy, and it doesn’t hurt that it’s bringing along West Wing vets Bradley Whitford and Timothy Busfield.)

Malcolm in the Middle left us with a hopeful picture of where our characters are heading. Alas, the big funny moment of the show wasn’t funny. The end tied up the series, but didn’t really celebrate the heights of its quality.

But of more conceptual interest is the series finale of Seventh Heaven, a drama which I think I watched one full episode of about a decade back. The WB decided they could no longer afford the show after this season, so the series was tied up, the finale publicized and aired.

But the WB merged with the UPN to form the CW (as of this fall), and they’ve decided they can’t afford not to have the series. So following the finale, the show will actually get at least one more season, which means that this finale is a fake. And that’s a category that I find interesting. A number of shows over the years have had finales (although generally not definitively announced as such) when it was clear that the numbers would not support them being renewed, only to see the network show them unexpected support and pick them up. So St. Eligius hospital (on St. Elsewhere) getting hit by a wrecking ball was not the end (and the real end a year later was far more memorable.) Thomas Magnum dying? Didn’t happen (and in that case the real ending was much lesser.) And in perhaps the most extreme case, the broad cop sitcom Sledge Hammer went into their presumed cancellation
by destroying the entire city where the show took place. Now, I really don’t remember what happened in the first episode of the next season… but hey, what a challenge to face as a writer!

Published in: on May 16, 2006 at 11:13 am  Comments (1)  

A rumor-mill based look at next season

Lyle has a rundown of the schedule rumors for next season. Me, I’m too busy, I’m just going to wait until they’re announced. (But Lyle – Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is interesting only for its cast? A new Aaron Sorkin series looking backstage at an SNL-like show? This may be the biggest “I gotta see that!” show I think ever on my list.)

Published in: on May 15, 2006 at 12:25 am  Comments Off on A rumor-mill based look at next season  

SNL worth catching

We’re just at the beginning of watching tonight’s SNL. The opening sketch was something special, particularly if you like politics. It’s a well-used guest appearance by a certain forer presidential candidate. (And hey, the musical guest is Paul Simon… who was the guest host when they had a brief appearance by then-candidate Paul Simon. Coincidence, or all part of the musician’s master plan?)

The guest host is Julia Louis-Dreyfus, a bit surprising because she has spoken quite poorly of her time as a cast member (although the host is apparently always treated quite sweetly, something which was not always true of female cast members.) And in her monologue, she said that she was the first female ex-cast member to host, confirming something I said earlier:

And that leads to something I’ve been thinking about lately: over the years, plenty of SNL vets return there in some form. Sometimes they have movies coming out and guest-host episodes. Other times, they pop up on a show for no apparent reason. Generally, it’s good to see them. (Occasionally, I wonder if they’re doing it just to maintain union status; I’ve heard of guest spots on other programs arranged to maintain some actor’s health insurance eligibility.) But one thing struck me the other day: I can list probably dozens of such appearances by male SNLers, going back to Bill Murray’s hosting an episode for the first post-original cast, and continuing up to this year’s appearances by Mike Myers, Tim Meadows, and Tracy. And yet, I can only think of one female cast member to return – Jan Hooks used to show up when they needed a Hilary Clinton. It may well be that I’m forgetting some, but even given how unsatisfied some of the female performers felt about their involvement in that show, it still leaves one wondering why there is less of a female return. (Or maybe it’s just that the female cast members never hit it as big in the movies and such as the most notable males, and thus are less likely to be brought in for hosting?)

Often the guest hostings by old cast members are particularly good. It would be nice if they took an anniversary year and treated it as old home year, having a returning-cast guest host every other week, particularly someone who hasn’t done so before. I’d be real happy to see Jane Curtin, say, host an episode.

Published in: on May 14, 2006 at 2:10 am  Comments (3)  

Veronica on the roof

SPOILER WARNING: Veronica Mars season closer.

I was discussing (via email with Lori) the rooftop scene in this week’s VM, and how that whole scene read to me like network interference.

“…and Veronica grabs the gun and shoots Beaver.”
“You can’t have your teenage girl lead shoot somebody!”
“But he killed all those people! And she just saw the justice system fail! And plus he’s threatening her, he still has the taser, so killing him is legitimate self-defense.”
“Killing him?!? That’s even worse. No, you cannot have the title character, a role model for young women, turn murderous vigilante.”
“Oh, okay. Her boyfriend says ‘give me the gun, give me the gun’, and she gives it to him.”
“That’s better.”
“Then he shoots Beaver.”
“Noooo! He’s the love interest. You can’t have him turned into a killer.”
“But he already killed someone.”
“Felix? No, that was a frame.”
“No, Thumper. He set off the explosion that killed Thumper.”
“But not with the intent of killing Thumper. So no, he can’t kill Beaver.”
“Well, the only one left on the roof to kill Beaver is Beaver!”
“Well, yeah.”
“No, you can’t have a teen committing suicide. Might give kids the wrong idea.”
“The idea that once you’ve killed a busload of people, and a planeload of people, and Curly was a motorcycleload of people (I suppose), you might as well stop yourself rather than killing anyone else?”
“Oh okay.”
“We can have him kill himself?”
“Only it has to be off in the background, so we can’t really see it happening.”
:”grrrr. Arrgh.”

Published in: on May 11, 2006 at 2:51 pm  Comments Off on Veronica on the roof  
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