Friday, June 30, 2006

So I watch more TV than a normal person. So what?

My combined passion for food and amazing stomach capacity has been part of my reputation at work for a while. But I guess now people are starting to catch on that I have a second, almost competing love — also known as television.

Exhibit A: a conversation with one of my co-workers

Co-worker: I don't have Tivo, but I have something like Tivo.
Me: DVR?
Co-worker: No, it's not DVR, it's something else. I love it.
Me: How many recorded hours does it hold?
Co-worker: Oh, lots!
Me [getting excited because maybe I want to switch to this product]: Really? Because I only get 35 hours with DVR.
Co-worker: [unbridled laughter] Oh, I think it's actually a lot less than that.
Me [trying to look like I'm not the extreme couch potato that I have just revealed myself to be]: Oh.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

I've fallen for "Windfall" -- much to my chagrin

I can't believe it. "Windfall" actually has me hooked.

I tuned in to the pilot because of all the hype, but it was so bad that I ended up turning it off partway through. The next week, I happened to catch the tail end of the episode when I turned on the TV; of course, the previews of the upcoming episode intrigued me, so I purposefully watched it the next week. But once again, I couldn't stand to make it all the way through and ended up giving up three quarters of the way through.

And yet, today when I saw a commercial for it earlier in the evening, I couldn't resist — I programmed my DVR to record tonight's episode. And in pressing the buttons on my remote, something clicked. I finally came to terms with the fact that I enjoy "Windfall." Even if the show is sometimes so painfully poor that I turn it off in disgust, I just keep coming back for more. And the act of programming the recording into my DVR was proof that I could not deny.

So what did I do next? Changed the programming to record not just tonight's episode but the entire series. My God, what have I come to?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Lifetime cracks me up

I just saw a hilarious commercial on Lifetime. The entirety of the commercial consisted of the following:

"Mom at Sixteen" and "Too Young to Be a Dad." Buy the double feature today on DVD.

Priceless. So priceless, in fact, that I don't want to ruin the delight with commentary. Just bask in its many levels of — what I can only imagine is unintended — comedy.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Syndication and the City

Last night I was over at a friend's place watching "Sex and the City" on TBS, and we both commented that we had seen this particular episode before. It was the one where Charlotte meets some celebrity actor at the gallery and becomes part of his entourage for the night.

My friend and I watched as Charlotte and the actor made out in a car. Later we watched as they hung out at a lounge with a crew of obnoxious people. A few moments into that, we watched as the actor blew marijuana smoke into Charlotte's mouth and tried to get her to join in. And then we watched as Charlotte said, "No, I don't think so," then got up and left. And then, to my astonishment, we watched the scene end.

If you are any kind of "Sex and the City" fan at all, then you know that in the original version of this episode, Charlotte actually leaves because the actor asks her to do something much more obscene — this is a family blog, so I'll just say that it involves her going to the bathroom, doing something with her hand, then letting him smell her finger. But in the syndicated version, they made it some sort of weird after-school special where Charlotte overcame peer pressure and found the courage to say no to drugs. Hilarious!

The funniest part of this all is that it turns out my friend had never seen the original episode, just this version on cable. It makes me realize that there's a whole generation of people out there who will watch syndicated "Sex and the City" and get a completely skewed perspective of the show. Kind of like people who watch "Love, Actually" on a plane, perhaps never realizing that an entire storyline involving movie body doubles has been edited out.

To me, this raises some interesting questions. Can someone say they've seen a TV show episode (or a movie) only if they've seen the original, unedited version? Do the differences actually matter? Oh, well. No time to dwell on these issues. "The Hills" just finished recording on my DVR, and I must go watch it now. Jason's back!

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Not so sweet on "Sugar Rush"

So, it's been over a month since my last post, which, I know, is bad for a blog. Even the summer TV season provides some new episodes amongst the re-runs. Luckily, I have a readership of zero, so no harm done.

Unfortunately, I don't have any kind of spectacular insights to offer in this first post back from oblivion. Instead, I just want to say this: I don't understand how Warren Brown has a show. He's the host of "Sugar Rush" on the Food Network, which has a wonderful concept: as the Web site describes it, the show "showcases the most sinful, the most artistic, and the most theatrical desserts on the planet." Now, I LOVE food — even more than I love TV, which is saying a lot — so of course I'm already a sucker for gustatory TV. But sweets being almost universally enjoyed, a show like "Sugar Rush" should be a shoo-in with everyone.

Why, then, did the Food Network make Warren Brown the host? Maybe he approached them with the concept — I don't care. They should have stolen the conceit and put someone else in charge or just waited until another chef pitched a similar show. Because Warren Brown is totally stilted and stiff in front of the camera. Since ostensibly he's passionate about the topic, he should be able to speak in an unaffected way; instead, he sounds like he's reciting a rehearsed speech, inserting a pause in between every clause as if he were standing behind a podium. I hate that in any form of public speaking, but it's even worse on a show like this. As they made perfectly clear on the competitive reality series "The Next Food Network Star," it's critical that the host come across as personable and natural. So why oh why don't they do something about Warren Brown?

And although, yes, I do tend to be incredibly critical, I don't know if the public would consider my standards in this department to be particularly high. While everyone was criticizing Al Gore of being too robotic during the 2000 presidential race, I found him to be perfectly warm and affable. So you can imagine that when I posit that Warren Brown is wooden, that's really saying something. Lest you think I'm exaggerating, just watch the show yourself.