Monday, May 15, 2006

Weekend odds and ends

It's Upfront Week, when the broadcast networks announce their fall schedules, which means I'll be busier than usual. But I hope to have time each day to comment at least briefly on each new schedule (and, if not, I'll provide links the following morning to my longer columns about them). Keep in mind that I will only be going to one or two of the upfronts in person, since they're long and boring and designed entirely to cater to advertisers, and since watching the five-minute cut-downs of each new show always ruins the experience of seeing the new pilots. (Those should start trickling in early next week.) So except for "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip," which I read the pilot script of months ago, any comments about new shows will be based entirely on the premise and the talent involved.

For once, I actually watched "Grey's Anatomy" on a Sunday night, but I'll still be watching it on a Monday thanks to this bizarre two-night, three-hour "finale" plan. But depending on how things go tonight (not to mention where ABC moves it when they announce their schedule tomorrow), I'm not sure I'll be back in the fall.

I'm not sure I have ever laughed at hard as an intentionally dramatic moment on a TV show as I did during Izzie's crying jag to convince Denny to let her mess up his heart. That entire subplot underlined everything I've grown to hate about this show and most of its characters. It's annoying enough when, say, Meredith and Cristina are gossiping about their boyfriends in the middle of a bomb scare, but for Izzy to risk two lives (Denny's and the legitimate recipient) because she's getting frustrated at how long it's taking for Denny to get a heart? George should have brained her with a bedpan as soon as he realized what she was up to. Add to that George scolding Callie for daring to speak the truth to poor, fragile Meredith, plus the shooting of Burke, one of the few characters I still like unreservedly, and my patience is really being tried here.

I was still firmly in the show's corner as recently as the Super Bowl episodes, and Shonda has the talent to pull out of this tailspin, but first she needs to take a step back and stop looking at all her stories and characters with unwavering devotion.

Meanwhile, the Julia Louis-Dreyfus "Saturday Night Live" was probably the best episode since the Jack Black show that introduced "Lazy Sunday" and "Christmastime for the Jews." The Al Gore-as-president sketch was the first good political sketch the show's done in years. (You can watch it here until NBC's lawyers get their usual cease-and-desist letter over to YouTube.) The monologue/film clip about "The 'Seinfeld' Curse" was also good, though Julia spoiled a lot of it in promotional appearances a day or two before. (By the way, the "Curse" is one of the dumbest media creations of all time; it's not like Jerry and company sold Babe Ruth for cash or turned away a man and his goat.) And the MySpace sketch (in which the mother of a teenager and a group of pedophiles all take lessons on how to set up a MySpace account) was a rare example of a sketch without an obvious current events or celebrity hook, that had one basic joke but many funny variations within that, and that was just well thought-out from start to finish.

NBC call is in an hour. Back later.


Joel said...

It's really funny how silly the show can get plot-wise, but still suck me in with an ending like last night's. I mean, I agree with you that this whole Izzy/Denny thing gets sillier and sillier as the weeks go on, and this plot choice was the silliest yet. But the confluence of Izzy's nutty plan, Burke's return from the other hospital, and the restaurant shooting made for a hell of an ending.

For some reason, Cristina annoys me more than Meredith, as far as misplaced priorities are concerned. She reminds me of the Ming-Na character on ER, when she was a med student, always competing over cases to strengthen her resume. She'd be so busy competing, she didn't ever notice that she was working on actual human beings. Cristina's like that too... as are Burke and that annoying rival surgeon. I guess they don't care that two people died and two others' lives are in the balance....

Lindy said...

I've never said this about Grey's Anatomy before, but I absolutely hated last night's episode. Even Addison and Burke were being obnoxious! (Fortunately Bailey continues to be awesome, but she was a bright spot in an otherwise stupid and unrealistic episode.) The Denny and Izzy storyline may be the show's worst. plot development. ever. Unless this debacle ends with Izzy losing her spot in the internship program (the only possible outcome if they want to maintain even a hint of realism), I'm not sure if Grey's will still be appointment TV for me. I don't mind the soapy discussions of relationships and the out-there medical cases, but there's a point at which believability is stretched too far for me to still enjoy the show.

Also, Callie should dump George -- why is he sticking up for Izzy and Meredith after the way they've treated her? Even a woman who lives in the hospital can do better.

The ending was promising. I can see how you might be annoyed that they chose to shoot one of the few remaining likeable characters, but they had to shoot someone we'll worry about. I don't believe for a minute they'll kill him off.

sindy said...

I could not agree more with you about last night's GA. I like the show better than you, but recently it's been going downhill at a remarkable pace, and then last night happened. They shoot my favorite character, and yet all I can take away is Izzy's stupid behavior. She should have been shot. Or the writers. I don't know. It's too bad, too, because when the show is good it's really good.

Matt said...

While the Gore sketch was very good (as was Gore vs. Amy on whether or not global warming is "awesome"), and the Seinfeld curse bit OK, the rest of the show left me cold. The MySpace sketch was a single joke pounded into the ground, Amy Poehler's hyper teen character just gets on my nerves (it's like a knock-off of Nicole Kidman's hyper-hypo sketch), the skeevy homeless guy sketch went on WAY too long, and "The Morning Show" lacked a decent punch line to end things.

Anonymous said...

Grey's, Grey's, Grey's... has there been a show in a long time that has been so confident making their characters crazy and unlikeable and uncontrollably emotional? i guess its working cause 23 mil peeps can't be wrong but it is like fingernails on a chalkboard... and could chris o'donnel be less impressive? the last 2 minutes were shocking and surprising so that's cool. but otherwise -- geesh. next season will be a long one.

allan - any take on people who say desperate housewives has gotten better? i think even the "good" version of that show is so stupid and annoying and unfunny, but wasn't sure of your take.

24 better not disappoint!