Monday, November 27, 2006

"West Wing" Redux?

As you all know (all five of you), I eagerly awaited the premiere of "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip." What I didn't mention on this blog was that the night that the pilot aired, I was suddenly stricken with an unexpected sense of dread. Why? Because I realized that as soon as I saw Bradley Whitford playing Danny instead of Josh Lyman, it would require that I come to terms with the fact that "The West Wing" was really, truly dead.

And at first, this was indeed the case. All I could see in Danny was the absence of Josh. It didn't help that in the inevitable comparisons to my favorite show ever, "Studio 60" overall obviously came out on the losing end. But over time, I've begun to accept Bradley Whitford's new incarnation. It doesn't hurt that he isn't making a deliberate effort to distance himself from his "West Wing" persona. (Obvious to any viewer, plus Whitford said as much in an interview with Entertainment Weekly.)

The real question in my mind is this: Is Aaron Sorkin purposefully trying to evoke the memory of shows past? Maybe he just thinks of the repeats as his own characteristic stylistic choices, which I personally think is valid. It seems unlikely that he could possibly be unaware of the fact that he's recycling his own material. I mean, come on — verbal volleys during walks through strangely convoluted hallways, offices with glass where there should be solid walls, and the clincher in tonight's episode: Matt sending Danny an important note through an assistant, prompting Danny to communicate silently with Matt from a distance via a hand gesture. "West Wing" Season 1 finale, anyone?

Not that I'm complaining. In fact, I love it! Sure, I've been a big fan of Sarah Paulson and Amanda Peet's since their days on the now defunct WB's long defunct series "Jack and Jill." And yes, just like the Chinese investor's daughter from the "Nevada Day" episodes, I have a big crush on Tom/Nate Corddry. But really, it's only the scenes with Matt and Danny bantering that truly quicken my pulse. Oh, Lemon Lyman, how I miss you. Chandler Bing — not so much.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


As a follow-up to my whiny post from yesterday, I just wanted to let everyone know that I made it safely back to New York this evening and have been spending some quality time with my DVR since my return. Funnily enough, last week's episodes of both "Ugly Betty" and "Gilmore Girls" included references to chain mail. The connections you make when you hunker down in front of the tube for hours on end...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

So deprived... Must have DVR...

Although I enjoy traveling to my parents' house for Thanksgiving week, one of the downsides is that they do not have cable TV. In fact, they don't have very good reception for the standard channels either. (And after an affiliate scuffle a few years ago, they didn't even have NBC until the reach from the tower was improved about a month ago.)

So in order to keep up with all my favorite shows, I am relying on my beloved DVR back in New York. But given that I fill up my 35-hour allotment with many a movie that I never get around to seeing, I'm always worried that I'm going to run out of space and that unseen shows will start recording over one another. It's happened before — luckily only to "Gilmore Girls" re-runs that I had already seen.

If Time Warner could somehow set up DVR so that I could control it remotely, I would be willing to pay a little bit more. I think other TV-philes would too. Wouldn't you love the option of DVR Plus with remote management as one of the features? The others could be an increased recording time maximum and/or ability to transfer recorded material directly onto DVD. It's a cash cow, people! Pure TV genius. Are you listening to me, Time Warner?

(Now that I think about it, are these features that Tivo already offers? Or one of the other DVR-like products? I should probably do a little research before I publish this post, but I'm too lazy. Surprise.)

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Vote for Luke!

--Me after Christopher proposed to Lorelai on this week's "Gilmore Girls"

--Me after Christopher called Lorelai "Mrs. Hayden"

You see that aghast look on their faces? That was the same expression that I had as I watched the show — except maybe with a little more disgust and less surprise. I don't know who to be angry at about this, but I am very upset.

Monday, November 13, 2006

My new career?

It's that time again! The return of holiday commercials! I'm such a sucker for that smarmy stuff. But even as I tear up as Grandma draws a map with Cheerios for the most adorable baby ever, I can't help thinking to myself, "Karen, you are in the wrong profession. Appearing in holiday commercials — that's where the real money is."

As I see it, the trick is to be in a commercial with staying power. There's no point in being in a holiday commercial that only sees airtime one season before disappearing into the television ether. But what kind of commercial is guaranteed to be played year after year? A commercial for a big company, you might guess. Good idea. But I've got an even better one: the USPS.

That's right, folks — barring a national catastrophe, there will always be a United States Postal Service. And what better time for it to advertise than around the holidays? "Send gifts to your loved ones with the United States Postal Service!" A timeless message.

So, uh, yeah, if you know of any opportunities for me to be in a USPS holiday commercial, please let me know. Sure, I'm not an actress, nor am I good-looking enough for it to be worth anyone's money for me to just grace the background with my beauty. But I buy stamps occasionally, so I'd say I'm qualified. Don't you think?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

She shoulda made sour grapes ice cream...

On this week's episode of "Top Chef," the Quickfire Challenge was to create an ice cream flavor. The plebian masses would taste all the flavors and vote on their favorites to determine the winner.

Several of the contestants grumbled about having the proletariat as the judges, which I can understand because that was a surprise element to the challenge. I couldn't blame them for being disappointed that they had dreamt up daring, fine-dining flavors (e.g. avocadoes and bacon) when they would have probably gone with tastes with more mass appeal had they known.

However, what I cannot stand is what Emily said in response to a taster's criticism. Emily made what she described as a "calming chocolate and lavendar" ice cream flavor. Apparently, one woman said that it didn't have enough sugar. Emily's response in her confessional was, "The last thing you need with your fat ass is more sugar."

Excuse me?!

As a chef, you don't tell people that. It's not your place. And it also makes no sense. As someone who loves eating good food more than everything else in life (even TV), I am deeply, deeply offended.

Of course, it's likely that Emily didn't even mean what she said and was just speaking off the cuff out of hurt. No excuse, though. It's only natural to be defensive, but please remember that you're on a TV show, so you should really be on your best behavior. There is no reason to personally attack someone like that.

Oh, well. Emily got booted off anyway. See ya!