Thursday, February 12, 2009

Random TV link-blogging

Just because my brain's still not functioning properly enough to do longer posts most of the time (last night's "Lost" review was fueled by special medicine and The Killers' "Spaceman" on an endless loop), time for a bit of link-blogging:

• My friend Phil ponders where Joaquin Phoenix's bizarre Letterman appearance ranks among all-time classic Letterman guest meltdowns, including Farrah Fawcett, Madonna and, of course, Crispin Glover. Phil has embedded video for all, and what strikes me about the Phoenix bit is how hard Dave was working to turn it back into a real interview, and yet Phoenix wouldn't (or couldn't) take the bait.

• In a discussion of the rejuvenated ratings for this season of "The Bachelor," Linda Holmes suggests the explanation is simple: people don't like watching reality TV jerks as much as reality TV producers seem to think. I've largely managed to avoid watching "The Bachelor" in all its iterations, but goodness knows I gave up on lots of other reality franchises ("The Apprentice," most notably) when they became too obsessed with finding the next Omarosa.

• Ausiello says that Alex O'Laughlin will be doing a guest appearance on "Criminal Minds." I look forward to all the "Moonlight" fans protesting when his character isn't promoted to a regular -- especially if/when one of them compares herself to Rosa Parks.

22 comments:

Bobman said...

Re: Phoenix. While last night's meltdown was certainly a step above, I've seen Joaquin in various interviews and situations and the guy obviously has some kind of social disease where he is not comfortable in public and goes into a fugue state. I think it's just getting progressively worse as he gets older. Of course, his publicist should know this, so I have no idea why anyone would put him in front of Letterman's audience unless it was a publicity stunt.

Anonymous said...

I think Dave handled that perfectly. I attribute some of Joaquin's odd behavior to the horrible loss of his brother 15 years ago.

Beebo said...

No Letterman guest EVER stopped the show as effectively as Drew Barrymore's topless flash atop Dave's desk.

Craig Ranapia said...

Bobman:

You might have a point there, but I wonder how much of it is someone deciding to try and out-jerk Letterman -- and finding that it's like trying to beat Darth Vader in a fair fight.

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I've had attacks of explosive diarrhoea that were less painful than watching Letterman. Sorry, but the guy's smirking, condescending persona isn't funny, and he could teach Tyra Banks a thing or two about making every damn interview about "me! me! me!" when you're actually the least interesting person in the building.)

I have no idea why anyone would put him in front of Letterman's audience unless it was a publicity stunt.

I have no idea why anyone would do Letterman, period and full stop. Unless they had something to shill, and a publicist who had their children dangling over an acid bath.

Craig Ranapia said...

I've largely managed to avoid watching "The Bachelor" in all its iterations, but goodness knows I gave up on lots of other reality franchises ("The Apprentice," most notably) when they became too obsessed with finding the next Omarosa.

Couldn't agree more. While 'Project Rungay' is one of my guilty pleasures, I do wonder how many of the *cough* attitudinally-challenged folks who end up becoming fan-favourites and/or lasting longer than their actual talent would suggest, hack it in the real world. If I had Tim Gunn's day job (and Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claborne), I sure wouldn't hire someone who bitched a client, had a melt down in front of a buyer or magazine editor, or proved utterly incapable of working as part of a design team.

Bobman said...

I've had attacks of explosive diarrhea that were less painful than watching Letterman. Sorry, but the guy's smirking, condescending persona isn't funny,

GAH, THANK you, Craig, I've been saying this for years while everyone treats him as the second coming.

Fran L said...

You people are, with all due respect of course, Insane. Dave's likable asshole shtick is endlessly entertaining. I don't live in your country. I have to get Dave on youtube. You lucky lucky people can watch Dave at your convenience nightly. I thought that was the best thing about living in America. (which is a very nice country and thanks for all your great TV)

Anonymous said...

reading craig ranapia on every comments section here is the pitts.

Andrew said...

I just needed to post this somewhere: On this week's "Leverage" they made the whole mission a metaphor for chess (or chess was a metaphor for the mission) and their opponent said that she can see every angle and plans for every contingency. As if this metaphor wasn't lazy enough, she has a chessboard just sitting on the table nearby.

But then they have her randomly come up to the board, ponder a moment, and then move a pawn diagonally into an empty square. This is not how pawns move. Ever. I am not a fanboy nitpicker, but if you are going to beat the viewer over the head with chess as a metaphor, you'd think someone would have caught that, no?

Craig Ranapia said...

Fran L.:

Different strokes for different folks, First Amendment, "I may not agree with what you say, but will defend your right to say it" and all that stuff. But I have to tolerate more than enough condescending jerkiness in the real world -- it's called earning a living and having a family. Why subject myself to even more when I don't have to? At least Jon Stewart pulls it off with some self-aware wit, and a decent writing staff who would recognise a (funny) joke if it walked in the room.

In the end, someone likes Letterman enough to pay him to be a jerk five hours a week; and he obviously has an audience. No accounting for taste.

Anonymous:
You're entitled to your opinion, and if Alan chooses to allow anonymous comments that's his business. But you'll excuse me if I don't put much store in the views of people who don't have the guts -- or basic courtesy -- to sign their insults.

Anonymous said...

I'm pretty sure that Leaf Phoenix was faking it last night, guys. All part of that mockumentary thing he and Casey Affleck are supposedly working on. He's been running around doing this bit for cameras for the last few months. Affleck was even with him in the studio, probably filming it all. Dave was either in on it, or figured out early on that Phoenix was screwing with him and let it go. So everyone can probably relax about Phoenix's well being. Totally fake.

That having been said, Farrah Fawcett on Letterman still holds the spot as the best/worst meltdown on TV ever. It's on youtube for any doubters out there.

rachel said...

does anyone remember the west wing quote (I think Sam said it) about style, substance and panache?

I've been googling it for 3 days and can't find it

Fran L said...

Fair enough, Craig. you're right, it's fun to disagree. I honestly think Dave is a rare talent.

Hatfield said...

Well, I will go ahead and sign my name to this comment: while Craig Ranapia sometimes says things that annoy me, I also agree with him sometimes, and besides, the wide range of opinions on here is half the fun. Opine away, Craig!

KC said...

I thought Phoenix was a much better actor. His anti-social, faux-punk rock schtick is really, really bad performance art. Starting back with his announcement to "leave acting to become a punk rocker". Right. It was so obvious, and so bad, it is pretty funny that people are commenting on it like it was real.

Craig Ranapia said...

Fran L.:

Too right - what a horrible, boring-ass world it would be if everyone thought the same. And if Mr. Letterman is making someone happy, he's not a total waste of oxygem. :)

Hatfield:

Like I need any encouragement. :) But I assure you the feeling is entirely mutual: I'd rather have someone post a comment or review I totally disgaree with (and might even change my mind!), than never be challenged. I still find out host's enthusiasm for 'United States of Tara' bewildering, but I get where it comes from -- and his reviews are well-written and decently argued.

dez said...

Starting back with his announcement to "leave acting to become a punk rocker".

Not a punk, but a rapper. And I hope he is totally faking it because I'd hate think he's publicly descending into madness with no one stopping him.

Mike F said...

Couldn't agree more about reality shows. The first season, the Apprentice was one of my favorite shows and it wasn't because it was the most dramatic or because of Trump's catch phrase. It was because it was an interesting, and at the time, and credible business competition between a bunch of very smart people.

Then they started casting dumb loud people and they killed the integrity of the show and it all became about trashing each other in the board room. Ugh.

I'd still like to see a Bachelor who has more than 3-4 amazing adjectives in his vocabulary, but at least this one and most of the girls who made it to the final four seem to be less hollywood, have good hearts and a lot of common sense.

Alan, I know you gave up on Survivor but the last season of the show was maybe the best ever. For my money, its always been the best reality show despite the limitations of its format. While there are some seasons that have been sub par for various reasons, I've come to appreciate the integrity and generally flawless execution of their premise. AND HD has really upped the ante in terms of the visuals.

Karen said...

I have to go with Craig and Bobman on this: I watched the Letterman clip and I saw Dave at his mean-spirited height. I don't know if Phoenix's appearance was genuine or shtick, but there surely had to be a way to deal with it other than insulting him or belittling him in every other sentence. It was painful to watch.

I used to love Letterman, back in the '80s and early '90s, but in the last 10-15 years he just seems cruel. Maybe that's shtick, too, and not reality, but it's why I don't watch him. There's enough nastiness in the world; I don't need to seek it out.

If Phoenix's appearance was his way of opting out of Dave's snideness, I say more power to him.

Craig Ranapia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig Ranapia said...

If Phoenix's appearance was his way of opting out of Dave's snideness, I say more power to him.

ITA with your whole comment, Karen, but the more I think about it, the harder it is not to come to the conclusion that this has gotten more attention than any movie he's done in years. And I'm NOT just being snide and catty here -- Phoenix, IMNSHO, is a talented actor, but all too often I've wondered "What the hell were you thinking when you signed up for this?"

Bobman said...

Maybe that's shtick, too, and not reality, but it's why I don't watch him. There's enough nastiness in the world; I don't need to seek it out.

People in Hollywood who have done his show but aren't afraid to speak their minds usually agree that he's a pompous ass. For example, say what you want about Leno, but at least before the show he comes and chats with his guests and is cordial, whereas if you're on Dave, you don't see him until you sit next to his desk. Doesn't sound exactly personable to me.