March 26th, 2007


TV Shows Fallen By The Wayside

There were a couple of pretty important albums that have come out within the last month - at least, as far as 2007 goes - and I'm currently in the process of reviewing both of them. So don't worry! I'm on the case!

In the meantime, you'll just have to hear about my wild and crazy weekend. Full of boozing. And losing. And an ample amount of snoozing. And it all started after work on Friday, with a can of chili ($1.79), two six-packs of Guinness ($20), and the final two episodes of Freaks & Geeks. It's impossible to tell where that show would've gone had it stayed on the air. Even more impossible to tell would be what the hell NBC was thinking when it cancelled Freaks & Geeks and what show could've possibly been so adequate as to replace what's hereby going down as a Top-Five Never-Should've-Been-Cancelled-Show-Of-All-Time. Here's the official list, in order:

1. Nowhere Man
2. Arrested Development
3. Newsradio
4. Freaks & Geeks
5. My So-Called Life

And now that this post has gone down this particular path, I feel at this time that I must explain my answers. Also, I feel at this time I must explain why the following shows didn't crack the Top-Five, in order:

6. The O.C.
7. Deadwood
8. Family Guy
9. Reunion
10. Martial Law

First of all, Nowhere Man - the only official listing for the now-defunct WB network - was only around for one season. A semi-serialized 1-hour drama, it ended on a cliff-hanger so intriguing, so maddening, I was sure the next season would only serve in producing more questions than answers. But, we never got the chance. And why? This was the WB when it first started; what the hell did the WB have to televise that was so great? They needed to squander a couple more million dollars on Dawson's Creek? Bullshit!

Anyone who's anyone can agree that Arrested Development was treated rather poorly in its run. Season Two was cut from 24 episodes to 18, and Season Three only ran to the 12th or 13th episode. That's a travesty, because there just aren't any weak shows in the bunch. The only reason I ranked this ahead of Newsradio - which is widely believed to be my favorite show of all time - is because Newsradio got a full 5 seasons.

Still, Newsradio belongs up there on the list because - in spite of Phil Hartman's murdering bastard of a wife - the writing was still top-notch and Jon Lovitz was coming into his own as a viable character on the show. They were moving out of the city, into the New Hampshire countryside, and I was elated at the possibilities for the crew. Plus, no other show has inspired me to create a web page specifically devoted to how I wanted to murder every NBC executive known to man.

Freaks & Geeks was special. Not your typical teenage/high school dramedy. Plus, it had Biff from Back to the Future as the gym teacher. Stellar cast, stellar writing, stellar acting.

I'd throw My So-Called Life into that very same realm, except this was by no means ANY kind of a comedy. There's only one word to describe this show: real. Real and gritty and painful and inspired. And hacked down in its prime after only a handful of episodes. Damn you ABC, not since the premature demise of Dinosaurs have you aggrivated me so!

And then you see number 6 on my list and you say, "But asshole, you're ALWAYS talking about how great the O.C. was and O.C. this and O.C. that and what's the fucking deal?" Well, I'll tell ya, I would've only given this show another season and a half as it is, so really I'm not too broken up about it. So there.

Deadwood is simply the greatest thing HBO has ever crapped out and it's a damned shame it ended after three seasons (with two 2-hour movies to wrap things up). I mean, getting me interested in an old-west type show, that takes something. Abundant use of the word Cocksucker for starters.

Now, I know Family Guy is back on the air and making Fox a bundle in DVD sales, but it WAS cancelled for a couple years, and it NEVER should've been! All kinds of momentum was lost in that period. When it came back for Season 4, it was okay, but it wasn't anywhere near as funny or clever as it was in it's prime through Seasons 2 and 3. Now, it's almost painfully bad. I think South Park exposed something here with the Family Guy type of humor. Random, irrelevant jokes can be really hilarious, but eventually you're going to run out. Plus, they keep reusing old gags that needed to be one-offs, not recurring characters. I'm looking at you Giant Chicken who Peter fights with in a mortal struggle between good and evil and poultry.

Reunion (yet ANOTHER Fox masterpiece), was only supposed to be on for one season. One season, 20 episodes, comprising a 20-year murder mystery between six friends. It was getting killed in the ratings by everything that CBS had to offer since Fox - in its infinite wisdom - decided to put it on Thursday nights. No matter WHAT Fox put there - as long as its name wasn't American Idol - the show was going to get killed. So, what do they do? Instead of letting Reunion run its course and chopping it off next season's schedule, they decided to kill it after seven or eight episodes and never finish the rest of the series. Only later, in an afterthought of a news article, did I find out it was the daughter whodunit. That revelation would've cemented Reunion as the best 10 minutes of television each and every week it was on.

And finally, cracking the top 10 because it makes me chuckle, is a little CBS kung fu drama Martial Law, starring Sammo Hung. He gave inspiration to all of us overweight, out-of-shape bastards out there, as he was easily the fattest, ass-kickingest personality on television. AND his sidekick was Arsenio Hall. I don't really know what happened. They gave him the spot right after Walker, Texas Ranger, I mean, HOW do you fuck that up??? I'm telling you, he was like a short, Asian, fat, karate-chopping MacGyver. There's no way 2 seasons was a sufficient length of time to tell this man's story. He had so many donuts left to eat!

The Rest of the Weekend

Do you know who's hilarious? Eddie Izzard. Do you know who's disturbing to watch perform stand up while NOT dressed in drag? Eddie Izzard.

I hereby shout out Celina here for sending out a collection of Eddie Izzard DVDs for Emily and I to watch. At my drunken zenith on Friday night (a full 10 bottles of Guinness and a half a bottle of wine), I sat and watched one and a half sets of stand-up with Emily before we both passed out. Here's what I remember:

Early Eddie Izzard dresses as a boy, not as the Executive Transvestite I've come to know and admire.

Understanding the Brit-ish dialect is exceedingly difficult when you've consumed 10 bottles of Guinness and a half a bottle of wine in the period of a few hours.

Recalling any of the funny humor (pronounced yoo-mer) is even more exceedingly difficult when yadda yadda yadda.

So, I've got some watching to do. With my Freaks & Geeks binge officially over, I should have ample time this week to pound out a few hours of Izzardmania.


Somehow, I managed to wake up before 10am on Saturday. No worse for the wear, really. I got out there, mailed off a package to my dad (brutally late for his birthday, but what are ya gonna do), ate some White Castle for lunch, sat around and watched some more Season 1 O.C. action, and got out to The Black Sheep to finally catch some of this college basketball tournament.

Of course, now that I'm finally in front of a television, I'm bombarded with crappy games. Memphis/Ohio State was competative until about 10 minutes left in the second half. Then, after the first 10 minutes of the first half of the UCLA/Kansas game, the Bruins were in control and cruised to an easy victory. La dee freakin' da!

Probably pounded out six or seven beers in that period, then walked my ass across town to the P.I.T. (People's Improv Theater) to see Murderfist. As usual, just an amazingly funny show. Sketch Comedy at its finest, folks. I couldn't possibly rave enough about this show, but I also couldn't possibly tell you what happened exactly as I was TANKED. I got there 45 minutes early and tacked on another three bottles of Stella to my count. Fucked up doesn't even begin to explain where I was. Let me just say this, Murderfist is fearless. There isn't any amount of territory they're afraid to tread upon. Nor is there any amount of pasty white fatbelly they're afraid to unleash upon.

Jenny and I were there for that. It took a while to get home, as we had to transfer trains on a Saturday night. Somehow, I managed to not pass out and sleep through my stop, but I was down for the count shortly after arriving home.

Yesterday saw me highly hungover. Perfect time to get all my grocery shopping and clothes washing out of the way. I didn't start feeling normal until around 5pm. Needless to say, there wasn't any unnecessary milling about outside of the apartment.

I'd like to take this opportunity to say that the Chinese place right next door to me makes the absolute BEST dumplings ever made. Potstickers, I guess, but they call them dumplings. 8 for $3.50. Fucking outstanding.