Monday, October 10, 2005

Sunday night TV

I promised the list of Things I Believe for the second entry, but I'm still feeling my way here, and I wanted to get in my reactions to what little non-baseball Sunday TV I got to see. I taped "Desperate Housewives" (which I'm looking forward to less and less) and "Grey's Anatomy" (which I'm looking forward to more and more) to watch with my wife, but forgot to record "West Wing," which I think says as much about the current quality of the show as it does about the new timeslot.

"Curb Your Enthusiasm": After I watched a screener of last night's "Curb" a few weeks ago, I handed my copy to Matt and said, "You'll like it. It's blasphemous." "How blasphemous?" he asked, and as I thought about it, I realized that Larry stealing his father-in-law's "Passion of the Christ" nail to hang a mezzuzah probably wouldn't be in the top five most offensive things the show's ever done.

Frankly, this felt like the kind of episode someone would write if they were trying to imitate Larry, not the real thing. Virtually none of it clicked, though I did laugh at Jeff's reaction to the nail in the foot.

"Extras": This was the first episode when the show aired in England, and the first one I saw, but you can understand why HBO decided to run it out of sequence. I had never heard of Ross Kemp before, and half the jokes depend on familiarity with the guy's career. There's another episode coming up in two weeks built around someone named Les Dennis, who I gather is a washed-up Brit game show host, and it's equally baffling. That's the price you pay when you devote so much time to actors spoofing themselves. If you know who Kate Winslet or Ben Stiller are, it's funny; if you don't, it's a waste of time. I'm trying to imagine the BBC reaction if Gervais and Merchant built an episode around, say, Andrew Shue.

(Also, more than the previous two episodes, this one illustrates why I think "Extras" isn't as good as "The Office": Andy is, deep down, a nice guy in a way that David Brent really wasn't, so I end up feeling sorry for him when I'm clearly meant to laugh at him.)

"Breaking Bonaduce": Yes, I'm still watching, even though I panned it in this review a few weeks ago. It's appalling on a level that even "Fear Factor" and "Big Brother" don't achieve, yet there's an honesty to it that you don't usually find in a genre that has "reality" in the name. This is the episode where Danny attempted suicide (off-camera), and featured more on-screen time for the producers and cameramen than I think I've ever seen on a reality show, outside the first season of "Real World" when no one knew what they were doing. I feel mad at myself for watching this show, yet I have a Season Pass. For now.

Gotta finish up a column about "Gilmore Girls," which I'll link to here tomorrow (the short version: splitting up Lorelai and Rory has really emphasized what an albatross Rory has become to the show), and then I'll get back to the mission statement post. Now if only I can find my copy of Mike Farrell's "My Core Beliefs"...

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