Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It's my birthday too, yeah

Today is my birthday, which may have contributed to yesterday's long dark tea-time of the soul. As John Astin liked to say on "Night Court," I'm feeling much better now.

There's so damn much on every Tuesday night that it's difficult to get through it all for a timely Wednesday morning blog entry (especially in a week where I'm still catching up on Sunday and Monday shows). Would it kill the networks to put some decent stuff on, say, Friday? Please?

Anyway, on to what I've already seen (comments on "Commander-in-Chief," "Amazing Race" and others to follow):

"How I Met Your Mother": I was on the verge of writing a column about how this show has fallen prey to Herskozwickitis, a disease (named after the "thirtysomething"/"Once & Again" guys) where a TV show's supporting characters are infinitely more entertaining than the leads. I enjoyed everything about last week's episode except the Ted stuff, and had concluded that maybe a "Valerie's Family" situation was in order -- maybe change the title to "How We Dumped Your Father"?

This week's, thankfully, was strong in all parts, easily the funniest they've done since the pilot. Jason Segel got to dance (took 'em long enough), the subtitles in the club was a joke I hadn't seen before, and I could relate to both Ted's hatred of clubs and Marshall's fear of becoming a boring married guy. Good stuff, and if they can do episodes like this every week, I won't care if we don't meet the mom until season three.

"Gilmore Girls": Wow, was that a waste of time. When the writing is clicking, it doesn't matter if nothing happens in an episode (which is most of the time), but this was an episode with no plot and no memorable banter. When even Richard and Emily aren't funny, there be problems.

"My Name Is Earl": This is the first episode so far that didn't make me wish it was funnier. (It helped that Victor Fresco, creator of the brilliant "Andy Richter Controls the Universe," wrote the script.) The ESL classroom scenes were great (the first time I've liked that particular joke since they did it in "Stripes"), the flashbacks to Bad Earl were good, and Giovanni Ribisi (who'll always be the kid from "My Two Dads" to me) provided some additional Bad Earl-type mischief.

"The Office": First real dud of the season. Greg Daniels (the executive producer, who wrote this one) has been making a concerted effort to make Michael less of a bad guy this year -- not mean, just socially clueless -- and this went so far in that direction that I spent most of the half-hour feeling sorry for him. The Dwight/Jim scenes almost saved it -- almost.

"The Daily Show": One of two shows I watch every weekday ("PTI" is the other), and I won't be commenting on it all the time, but last night's Bill O'Reilly interview was just so damn bizarre it warrants mentioning. The interviews have always been the weakest part of the show, since Jon clearly feels uncomfortable savaging people to their face. This is the closest I've seen him come to outright dissing a guest, and he only started doing that after O'Reilly baited the audience and got repeatedly booed for it. But the mockery was still pretty gentle, and not helped by O'Reilly's belief that he should be funny, too. (At least, I hope O'Reilly thought he was being funny, because the alternative is too scary to contemplate.)

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