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Monday, September 06, 2004


Where Are the Mod Squads of Today?

I read Entertainment Weekly's Fall TV Preview this weekend. It made me very sad. I don't watch all that much television, especially on the networks, but there's usually something every year that sounds at least vaguely intriguing. It's inevitably either far less intriguing in execution than it is on paper or far too outside the normal network parameters for executives to allow it to live. This year, though, there is nothing.

By the time Friends was finally put out of its misery, a good five years too late, I wanted to claw my ears out any time that perky fucking theme song rang out. Now they're going to keep Matt LeBlanc's character on the air so it can continue to decay and putrefy in front of a national audience. Did AfterMash teach us nothing? I think you need only think of the fact that the supporting cast of Seinfeld has about forty-five failed sitcoms between them since that show's overblown and un-funny finale to illustrate that, once you've been on the air for ten years in a row, we're tired of seeing you. The cast of Friends should be kept apart by restraining order and should be forced to wear lowjacks so we can thwart any attempts to do a reunion special.

There's another CSI and another Law & Order on the way. Is there some aspect of forensic investigation or police procedure that the other twelve versions of these shows aren't exploring adequately? Will every city in America with a population of over 8,000 be getting its own CSI? Will every position in a police department be made the subject of a Law & Order? Someone needs to step in and stop Bruckheimer and Wolfe before these shows metasticize to the network bone and crowd out all other shows.

At least these shows are up front about being the same goddamn thing on a different night. CBS appears to think that it's fooling someone by having different names for its sitcoms, but there's not a one of them that couldn't be described by the sentence, "Working stiff has to deal with sassy wife and irrascible father/father-in-law." They've got about five of them now and they're coming out with two more. Unfortunately for the national IQ, that's not a joke. I guess there is that one with Charley Sheen, where there is no wife, unless you count Jon Cryer, which I do.

This year sees all sorts of Hollywood Royalty returning to the small screen. Shannen Doherty! John Goodman! Dean Cain! Those dipshits from Party of Five! Are we being punished for our sins? Is the apocalypse actually nigh? Why can't they just let these people turn up on the occasional reality show? They're taking work away from other actors. Okay, Goodman doesn't belong on that list, I admit. But the man needs to stick to supporting parts in movies. He's got more television misfires than goddamn McClean Stevenson. I say, three strikes, you're out. Once you've proven that you can't star in a decent series, you stop getting chances.

There also needs to be some regulation of the night-time teen soaps. If they're going to all feature kids who can't be distinguished from each other, they should have to either wear nametags or be given some kind of interesting disfiguring scar, because I can't tell any of the guys on The O.C. from any of the guys on One Tree Hill from any of the girls on Everwood. Back in the day, the guys on 90210 at least grew different lengths of sideburns.

I would like to suggest, additionally, that euthanasia be considered as a humane option for E.R., That 70s Show and David Caruso. The first two out of respect for what they were in the beginning and the last just to make the world a better place.

I believe I'll be getting a lot of reading done this fall. So, thank you, networks, for driving me to the library. Where I'll be until you see the light and bring back The Waltons.

I suppose you are allowed to take poetic license, but you DO watch a lot of TV. Let's be honest here. PUHLEEZE!!! And, how long have I been bugging you about getting a library card?
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