Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sepinwall on TV: It's Festivus again -- and boy, are we disappointed

Today's column is the annual Festivus list, where I air all the grievances I have against the members of my TV friends and family who disappointed me in 2008.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

From Jan:

I couldn't agree more, Alan. I've quit watching "Heroes" and "House" is only a once-in-awhile. "Gray's" I sort of half watch while I'm working on something else, although, fortunately, I missed the whole sex with a ghost thing totally (was on vacation). I didn't buy the whole Denny story line originally, and I don't think he's hot. I don't think McDreamy is dreamy, either (I realize I may be the only person in the US who feels this way. What's with the two or three day growth of beard? I don't find it appealing at all.)Now if Kevin McKidd is going to be on, or even Eric Dane, I might make the effort.

The Emmy hosts were worse than I had thought they could be, and you had only to compare them with Ricky Gervais, Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, or Don Rickles to see what the awards might have been.

Don't like Leno; never watch his show. Won't watch it when it's in prime time. More time for cable, I guess: "Burn Notice," "The Closer," "Psych," even "Monk," "Skins," "Brotherhood," "Summer Heights High," "Graham Norton," "Big Love," or whatever else I've recorded to watch when I have time. Of course, there's always movies to watch, so I guess I'll live; but what a disappointment the direction of the networks is taking.

AS said...

That year it was on, back when I was in... junior high, I think, I totally loved Jennifer Slept Here. In retrospect, I can't remember a single thing about the show other than that Ann Jillian was in it. And that the Disney Channel kept showing Babes in Toyland that year because "a very young Ann Jillian" was in it. There you go.

J said...

Finally, after all these years, I've figured out what Manimal was missing: GHOST SEX.

I get the reasoning, but was sad to see Amy Ryan's name on the list. I guess I prefer to be grateful that an Oscar-nominee ducked in for a great limited run than to be resentful she got out before things stopped clicking.

Karen said...

Terrific column, Alan. I would have more to say if I hadn't already agreed with all of these points as you've brought them up in your blog posts, but it was nice to see them all in one place: especially the perfectly articulated diss of Thirteen and the Heroes volume 3.

Happy (dismal?) Festivus to you and yours!!

Alan Sepinwall said...

I get the reasoning, but was sad to see Amy Ryan's name on the list. I guess I prefer to be grateful that an Oscar-nominee ducked in for a great limited run than to be resentful she got out before things stopped clicking.

Ryan's entry isn't much like the others on the list, but I always wind up with at least one show or person that I truly loved being put on the list for the simple act of leaving. And dammit, I really miss her, even though The Office has still been pretty good without her.

Anonymous said...

Alan,
You've mentioned Bill Simmons a few times here, so I assume you're a regular reader of his. I would imagine you've already seen this clip from his most recent article, but I think this might be the biggest disappointment of all- Along the lines of the Tyree catch, here's a clip of Drew Carey proving that he is a wholly unworthy successor to Bob Barker:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGZqEOhwTaE
(I don't know how to properly link here, sorry)

Alan Sepinwall said...

I saw that, and there's been a lot of speculation that the fix was in -- or, at least, that TPIR powers that be thought the fix was in -- which is why Drew was so understated in his reaction. He didn't want to be seen acting giddy about a guy who might have cheated, which in the long run would be worse for his rep than seeming disinterested in a historic TPIR moment.

On the other hand, if there was no suspicion at all, then Drew just hates the job and wants out.

Danny Cohen said...

I appreciate you using Festivus properly to air your grievances, unlike those goons over at TVSquad where they wish and hope.

Anonymous said...

I didn't think of this when you asked for suggestions, but I have a MAJOR grievance with Harvey Weinstein. Instead of doing the honorable thing and allowing Project Runway to stay at Bravo where it's a huge success and a perfect fit, he negotiated to have it moved over to Lifetime. Not only is Lifetime a major step down from Bravo, but all the legal issues have put the entire next season in limbo. Thanks for nothing, Harvey!

Stef said...

Great list, Alan. But I am surprised that you didn't save Amy Ryan for your "best of" list, but I can see how her leaving is a worst while her appearance was a best. On the other hand, I would be tempted to add "too many guest stars / Will & Grace syndrome" as a grievance towards 30 Rock.

(Note to Jan above, you're not alone, I'd also prefer McKidd or Dane or even Alex over McDreamy any day.)

LA said...

Alan - Perfect list, bravo.

Jan and Stef - WORD!

Anonymous said...

Alan,
Being a Giant fan makes me a bit biased, but it seems pretty obvious from their broadcasts that both Joe Buck AND Troy Aikman hate the Giants....so the non call for the Tyree case is simply par for the course. I hate announcers like Buck, who just come across so smug...at least I can tolerate ex-athletes, since they played the game...what did Buck ever do but have a very famous father??

renton said...

Amy Ryan's comments to Entertainment Weekly in the current issue makes me think she regrets leaving, too.

At least they didn't kill her off and then let her have ghost sex with Michael.

Anonymous said...

I've forgotten how bad the Emmys were until you've mentioned it.

That was awful. Were they trying to show they desperately need writers?

dark tyler said...

And, speaking as a Greek, kudos on naming the illness the writers of 'House' are suffering from! Where did you get that?! It was equally amazing and random as when Tina Fey explained on '30 Rock' that Charlton Heston's last name means "poop him" in Greek.

dark tyler said...

(Except if "anti-triskaidekaphobia" is an actual word in English. In which case, erm, great column anyways!)

Nicole said...

Triskaidekaphobia is a real word... we hear about it every Friday the 13th. Adding "anti" is creative licence, of which I approve.


I'm still amazed that Shonda thinks she is that creative by ripping off from Ghost, a pretty cheesy 90s movie. Does Denny say "ditto" too?

Rick said...

triskaidekaphobia is definitely a word meaning "fear of the number 13", so anti-triskaidekaphobia would naturally be the opposite. As much time as House spends on Thirteen, you could make a case for triskaidekaphilia (love of thirteen) or triskaidekamania (obsession with thirteen).

Also Fey's family is very Greek- I think she has a parent or other close relative who speaks very little English. I would guess the Heston joke came straight from Fey herself.

kwig said...

I've been saying it for months, Heroes only works as slapstick comedy. It's like the 3 stooges, only there's like 35 stooges, distributed between Moes, who tell other characters what to do but don't really have good ideas to begin with (Horn rims, Robert Forster, Malcolm McDowell etc.), Curlys/Shemps, who fuck up any and every task they're set upon and are somehow dumber still than the other characters (Peter, Sylar, Veronica Mars, Cheerleader, Hiro etc.) and Larrys who are just there to fill out the group (Ando, all 3 Ali Larters, Mind powers and fast runner etc.) and Mohinder who manages to be all 3 all the time, he might as well be poking himself in the eyes.

Also they're always hitting each other and hurting each other, with a lot more blood but not a whole lot more consequences than with the Stooges.

I never really liked the show, but I've been watching it in this mindset and it is good for more than a few laughs. Festivus is also about altering one's perspective to overcome certain difficulties, ie; avoiding the fiasco that is modern day xmas or learning how to enjoy a truly awful television show.

Mo Ryan said...

At least they didn't kill her off and then let her have ghost sex with Michael.

See, now, if Carell and Ryan did this on The Office, it would be hilarious! Or at least intentionally amusing.

Great list. As for me, I'm more meh about the Project Runway dispute. I've got some fears that Lifetime might mess it up, but then, seeing two seasons in one year just about put me off the show (esp since season 5 was so lame). I don't mind waiting another year to see it, frankly, and I say that as a past obsessive fan of PR.

Thanks for doing the concise, accurate venting for us!

Stylist Mick said...

Good list as usual. 'Heroes' has just devolved into this maddening experience that truly poops on the near brilliance of the first 21 episodes of the series. At this point, I don't even think Bryan Fuller can save this show.

Oh. One more thing --- I'm not even a Giants fan and I had the Super Bowl saved on my DVR for an extended period. After awhile, I just couldn't listen to Buck butcher that call when other news outlets use the superior Marv Albert's work for Westwood 1. That man can do no wrong in the sports arena. Outside of that, however, is still another story.

Andrew said...

There is little to disagree with in this list. Especially since you've pointed out what's so aggravating about Joe Buck. He doesn't enjoy the game of football at all and his calls are joyless. And this is Fox's top announcing team?

Now that the airing of the grievances is complete, time for the feats of strength. Remember, Festivus isn't over until you pin Jerry Stiller.

Anonymous said...

Great column. As a huge Giant fan who has watched the Super Bowl about 4 or 5 times on DVD, I can tell you that it's transparent that Buck was rooting for the Patriots. He needs to stay away from football and is a horrible announcer.

By the way, I know it was last year but I heard Richard Belzer interview David Chase on Air America. Chase finally seems to explain the ending as he explicitly states that Bobby's "never hear it" line has to do with the end.

Just go to the final 2:30 of the interview.

http://premium.airamerica.com/BelzerandDavidChase

I found it in the comments from this excellent read:

http://masterofsopranos.wordpress.com/the-sopranos-definitive-explanation-of-the-end/

Anonymous said...

DEXTER and HOUSE are dead to me. I love hugh, but it;s over, baby. The new team, and keeping the old team around, killed it for me.

HBO continues to go down the toilet, especially announcing the coming soon show HUNG. Is anybody really wanting to see a show about that? Even if Alex Payne is involved? Maybe if Jon Hamm was starring, but he isn't, so I'm not.
I'm hoping when HBO hypes it this fall, they proclaim it "from the network that passed on MAD MEN."

Anonymous said...

"If you're a Giants fan who still has Super Bowl 42 on your DVR hard drive (you know who you are)"

I still have Michigan's 2006 47-21 win over Notre Dame on mine. If you are a Giants fan, I recommend never deleting the Superbowl. In a few years, you'll lose the the NFL equivalent of Appalachian State (The Lions?) then have the team's worst year in history, but you'll be glad you always have a good memory on the DVR to watch after soul crushing losses.

Kensington said...

If Michael started having ghost sex with Holly, he'd probably assume she was a cylon and make other Battlestar Galactica episodes. That would probably be pretty funny.

BigTed said...

I think the right word for "House" might be triskaidekamania. But despite that -- and despite the repetitive kvetchy banter between House and Wilson and House and Cuddy -- I still find the show watchable.

Unlike "Heroes," whose awfulness is only exceeded by the seriousness with which it takes itself.

tracey said...

Regarding Drew Carey and The Price is Right: somebody over on TVSquad said that he was in the audience when that episode was taped. He talked about what happened from an audience member's point of view. See Comment #10 from Steven 12-16-2008 @ 7:17PM on this post.

Tom C. said...

Man, that parking meter thing from season one of Heroes really got under your skin, huh?

dez said...

which next fall will take over the timeslot NBC once ruled with the likes of "Hill Street Blues," "St. Elsewhere," "L.A. Law," "Law & Order" and "ER."

I know you have column inch/word limit restrictions, but you couldn't have thrown in H:LOTS instead of one of the above? For shame, Alan! I'm afraid I'm going to have to pin you.

Chaddogg said...

Actually, I think the word is triskadekaPHILIA (as in love of the #13)...but I digress.

Great list of grievances. I especially agree with Heroes (I couldn't even make it thru the first episode this season), Amy Ryan (I miss her -- it is a grievance that she's not on the show with Michael), and the absurdity that is ghost-sex on Grey's Anatomy (which is calling for its own "Really?!" with Seth Meyers and Amy Poehler segment at this point).

A few more:
- The Bones' revealing of who the Apprentice was. I still don't buy it, even with the added layer of complexity added this season. But I'm glad Sweets is a series regular.

- Mamma's Boys -- you actually could do a pretty full post just on reality televsion's continuing ability to find new lows.

- NBC's Olympic Coverage: overall pretty good, but I would have loved to see more of it LIVE.

- USA's cancellation of "The 4400" -- this one still hurts. I loved that show. What Heroes could have been....if its writers were intelligent.

Alan Sepinwall said...

NBC's Olympic Coverage: overall pretty good, but I would have loved to see more of it LIVE.

If I had had more space and time, I was going to air a grievance about NBC including the "LIVE" chyron on the West Coast feed, which was never live.

dez said...

^I got into more arguments with people over that "live" chyron than anything else about the Olympics. "Why would it say 'live' if it wasn't really live?" BECAUSE NBC SUCKS, THAT'S WHY!

Kensington said...

"The Bones' revealing of who the Apprentice was. I still don't buy it, even with the added layer of complexity added this season. But I'm glad Sweets is a series regular."

Wait, Bones has gone back to that? I haven't seen much of it that season, but I'd be interested in seeing that.

As for Sweets, I like him, too, but it's eerie how he still looks like Sam Weir to me.

Joel Keller said...

@Danny Cohen: Alan does Festivus his way, we at TVS do it ours. We do plenty of bitching too... we just spread it out :).

Pamela Jaye said...

this post looks yummy. now that i have suceeded in getting 8 hours sleep, i hope to get to it. (but i just got three books from the library - about interns! and i haven't seen the last 4 eps of boston legal!)

Matthew L said...

Alan,

If you haven't seen it, thought you might be interested in this article on the CNN website - http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/TV/12/22/the.wire/index.html

It's apparently about how The Wire compares to reality, written by someone who grew up in West Baltimore. I don't know what the article is like - I started reading it, but the second paragraph had a major spoiler about a death in the fourth season - which I've just started, so I really wish I hadn't seen that. So I stopped reading it. But I thought it might interest you - and any others that have finished the show.

Antid Oto said...

I'm grateful that you took my Jezebel James suggestion...unless of course you thought of it independently.

Anonymous said...

Not real impressed with Blake's commentary on The Wire that was referenced in Matthew L's comment above. Blake really only commented on Season 4 in his piece. I wonder if that's all that he watched.

dez said...

^I wonder that, too. If Cutty knew how to get there from here, he'd have done it himself. What he says fits his character. Blake seems to think Cutty only says that because the writers want Cutty to say that (er, sorry for the vagueness, trying not to further spoiler Matthew L.).