To TV or Not to TV??

Okay, so…y’all know I’m not above borrowing a concept I’ve seen on social media and putting my own special spin on it for The Manoverse. This time the inspiration comes not from Pinterest but from Facebook. A former co-worker of mine posted it, and basically one is supposed to just indicate which of these television shows we’ve seen more than ten episodes of with a lil heart emoji. That’s a cool idea, but I think I can improve upon it with pithy comments and my own unique wit. I don’t watch as much television as I used to, and this exercise not only proves that but shows exactly why. Enjoy.

 

 

 

My 600LB Life

I’ve been overweight my entire life. There are legit reasons for that (the main one being that I really like food), and so I sympathize with the struggle of others. But no…I have no desire to watch a reality show about the topic and be “entertained” by other peoples’ problems.

  

911

I don’t know…is this another reality show?? Does it follow first responders to 911 calls?? Or is it a fictional show built around such situations?? Either way, I am not entertained by such things.

  

13 Reasons Why

I remember hearing about the show. Something about teen suicide. No thanks. I’m not a teenager and have no teens in my family. If it’s a good show with an educational message that can positively impact the lives of young viewers that’s great, but it’s not for me.

 

 

A Million Little Things

Almost. I nearly got sucked into this ensemble drama because the ads had a very This Is Us kind of vibe and I am familiar with some in the cast. However, I chose not to become interested because I knew it’d be the kind of show that demands a heavy emotional commitment and that’s just not where I am in my life right now.

  

American Horror Story

Nah…horror just isn’t my thing.

  

Angel

Wasn’t it a spinoff from Buffy the Vampire Slayer?? I didn’t watch the first show, so no…I didn’t care about the spinoff.

 

 Bates Motel

I assume it is loosely based on Psycho?? Once again…not my cup o’ tea. I prefer to laugh.

  

Bitten

I have no idea. It’s either about snakes or vampires. Either way I have zero interest.

  

The Blacklist

I dig James Spader. He’s quirky…kind of a knockoff Jeff Goldblum. But spies & intrigue & the whole “let’s rip off Hannibal Lechter” vibe I got when previews of the show first aired a few years ago just don’t frost my cupcake.

 

 

Bloodline

No idea

 

 Blue Bloods

Tom Selleck is cool, but police procedurals rarely interest me and I’ve never watched a single episode.

  

Bones

I don’t even know what the show is about.

 

Breaking Bad

I see it constantly lauded as one of the best TV shows of the 21st century, but I never understood the popularity of a story about a high school chemistry teacher who becomes a drug dealer.

  

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Nope. Vampires. Zombies. Werewolves. I don’t find any of it the least bit interesting.

 

Californication

Wasn’t that a Red Hot Chili Peppers album??

  

Castle

No…just…no.

 

Castle Rock

I assume it is somehow connected to or inspired by Stephen King?? I don’t know. I’ve enjoyed some of King’s books, but have no interest in a TV show.

 

 

Catfish

I enjoy eating catfish, but knowing what the word means outside of that I don’t believe the show would interest me.

 

 Chicago Fire / Chicago Med / Chicago P.D.

I vaguely recall watching an episode or two of one of these shows…not sure which one. But again…medical dramas & police procedurals have never been something I enjoyed all that much.

  

Criminal Minds

Nope

  

Dexter

I’ve heard people say it’s a good show, but a serial killer?? I’m telling y’all…I need to laugh!!

  

Dr. Pimple Popper

Eww. Is it a medical thing?? A kiddie show?? I have no clue, and I don’t care to know.

 

 Dr Who

I have several friends who really dig Dr. Who, and it seems like the kind of nerdvana that I should be into. It is my understanding that there’s time travel involved, which is cool. But here’s the thing…the original incarnation of Dr. Who premiered a decade before I was even born, and it was a British show. By the time it was revived and available in America (16 years after it had originally ended) I already had preconceived notions and never even thought of checking it out. Don’t misunderstand…people can change and should be flexible. However, I think by the time we are in our 30s the die is cast as far as what kinds of entertainment…TV, music, books, movies…we tend to gravitate toward, and Dr. Who seems to have come along both too early and too late for me.

 

 

Empire

I hadn’t given a second thought to Empire until last year when that idiot actor was in the news for faking an attack on himself. That whole story makes me thrice as glad that I never watched.

  

ER

Once upon a time it was thought to be the best show on television. It launched George Clooney into superstardom and jumpstarted the careers of several others. But it’s a hospital drama, and I don’t do hospital shows. I did watch a handful of episodes in the course of the dozen seasons ER was on the air, and it was a well written program with a top notch cast, but it’s just not my thing.

  

Family Guy

There was a time in my life when Family Guy might have been right up my alley, but apparently by the time the show premiered in 1999 that time had passed. I’m probably missing out on something I’d enjoy, but it seems a bit late in the game to give a rat’s petoot now.

 

 

Friends

Yes yes yes…I loved Friends and still watch the occasional rerun. I am amused by things I read about how offensive Friends is to millennials. I suppose GenX wasn’t all that woke back in the day, and that’s fine by me. We know how to chill out & have some fun without getting offended by every damn thing.

 

 

Fuller House

Yes…I like Fuller House. There, I said it!! Is the acting bad & the storylines cheesy?? Sure. But that’s okay. Not everything has to be award-winning, ripped from the headlines, or deep & meaningful. Pointless fun is alright on occasion.

 

 

Game of Thrones

I tried to read the first book in the Game of Thrones series and made it less than ten pages before realizing that I’d rather take a nap, therefore I never even bothered with the television show.

 

 

 

Gossip Girl

Nah…cause I’m a dude.

 

 

Ghost Adventures

I just can’t get into anything ghost related. I don’t find it compelling entertainment.

 

 

Grey’s Anatomy

I actually did watch the first season…maybe two…of Grey’s Anatomy. It was good…and I’m sure it still is 15 years later. But I drifted away early on and just never got back into it.

 

 

Gilmore Girls

Nah…I don’t think I was the target demo for that show.

 

 

Glee

No, because I have taste. I always imagined Glee as kind of the love child of Cop Rock & Beverly Hills 90210.

 

 

Hart of Dixie

Never heard of it.

 

 

Hawaii Five-0

I assume we are talking about the reboot that premiered in 2010 and not the original that aired in the 1970’s. In that case, yes I watched the first season of the new show, but after that lost interest and have no idea what’s been happening the past 8 or 9 years.

 

 

 

House of Cards

Surprisingly enough, no…I’ve never seen a single episode. I don’t care what the PC Police say…Kevin Spacey is freakin’ brilliant, so I’m not sure why I never bothered with this particular show.

 

 

House

Nope. I’ve been told that I’d enjoy it. I’m not sure if that’s because the main character is loosely based on Sherlock Holmes (who I adore), or because he is a grumpy old curmudgeon (which I am too), but for some reason the show was recommended to me more than once. Unfortunately, my aversion to medical dramas is like a shield on a starship that’s only down every once in a great while.

 

 

How I Met Your Mother

Oh boy…where do I begin?? I LOVED HIMYM. It was right up there on par with Friends. I love a good mystery so I was highly invested, especially in the last few seasons. But then came one of the worst final episodes in television history. After finally meeting The Mother (portrayed by the enchanting Cristin Milioti) toward the end of the series we are given a quick fast forward with the highlights of Ted & Tracy’s relationship, ultimately finding out that in the “present” day of 2030 (when the framing device is set) The Mother is dead and Ted is ready to revisit his long dormant relationship with former flame Robin. Oh yes…Robin. HIMYM spent the last few seasons building up an unlikely romance & eventual marriage between Robin and lecherous Barney Stinson, only to throw it all away in a “blink & you’ll miss it” hot second in the finale. All the character growth that we experienced with Barney is flippantly discarded when Barney & Robin divorce and he embarks on a quest to sleep with 31 women in the space of a month, a plan that goes awry when the final conquest gets pregnant. Look, I’m a sucker for happy endings, but I also know that life doesn’t work like that. To some degree I almost understand what the show’s creators were going for. My father always says that death is part of life, so writing that aspect into the show would be understandable…except for the fact that HIMYM is a freakin’ half hour sitcom. We don’t need deep & meaningful. Just give us our damn happy ending…Ted & Tracy and Barney & Robin all live happily ever after. But nnnnooooooo…they couldn’t do that!! I swore in the immediate aftermath of the finale in 2014 that I would never watch a rerun of the show, and for six years I’ve kept that vow.

 

How to Get Away with Murder

Not the least bit interested.

 

I Zombie

Is that like an iPhone for dead people?? I don’t know.

 

 

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I’ve read alot of comments about it thru the years, but have never given it a whirl. The cast looks top notch (I rather enjoy Danny DeVito’s work), but it’s just something I’ve never given a chance, probably to my detriment.

 

 

Law & Order SVU

Nope. I’ve never watched any of the Law & Order shows. I mean really…why the hell would I be entertained by a program with the word “victims” right in the title??

 

 

Lost Girl

I mean, I hope they find her…but no.

 

 

Making A Murderer

Our culture’s fascination with killing & death mystifies me.

 

 

Manifest

Isn’t that one of those Lost knockoffs that the network will lose patience with and cancel, leaving fans with no resolution?? No thanks. That’s one of the reasons I’m so hesitant to become invested in much on television nowadays.

 

 Mom

Sorry, but I just don’t understand how generational substance abuse can be sitcom fodder.

 

Nailed It

Is it one of those home improvement/renovation shows on HGTV?? I honestly don’t know.

 

NCIS / NCIS New Orleans / NCIS Los Angeles

Nope. Just like the Law & Order shows and the CSI shows the whole NCIS thing has never frosted my cupcake.

 

 

New Girl

I’d love to meet a new gal. Hell, I’d like to meet any gal (within acceptable parameters). But in real life…not on television.

 

Once Upon a Time

In a land far, far away…

I have no idea.

 

One Tree Hill

I was really into One Tree Hill for 2 or 3 seasons. It reminded me of Dawson’s Creek, which is meant as a compliment. Unfortunately, TV shows about high school students tend to grow stale when the characters graduate, and I have no idea what went on with the show in its last half dozen years.

 

 

Orange is the New Black

Women in prison. No thanks. And please don’t take that as a sexist remark. I have no interest in any kind of show centered around prison.

 

Ozark

Never heard of it.

 

Parenthood

In 1988 there was a film called Parenthood with an all-star cast…Steve Martin, Mary Steenburgen, Jason Robards, Keanu Reeves, Rick Moranis, & a very young Joaquin Phoenix, all directed by Ron Howard. It was a good flick that garnered two Academy Award nominations: Best Song (Randy Newman) and Best Supporting Actress (Dianne Wiest). In 1990 Parenthood was adapted for television with the same characters but a whole new cast, including David Arquette, Ed Begley Jr., Thora Birch, & a young Leonardo DiCaprio (portraying the character played by Phoenix in the film). That show only lasted for one season, which is a shame because it wasn’t bad. Then in 2010 NBC decided to revive the general concept of Parenthood, albeit with a whole new set of characters and a more 21st century angsty kind of vibe. I really liked the original film, and enjoyed the first TV show, but by the time the second show came about I was almost 40 years old and not all that entertained by angst anymore. I have enough anxiety & torment in my real life…I’m not amused by it in movies or on television. The cast (Craig T. Nelson, Bonnie Bedelia, Monica Potter, Peter Krause, Lauren Graham) was terrific, and I did watch a few episodes in the course of six seasons, but it was never something I was going to invest in completely.

 

Pretty Little Liars

I don’t think I’m the target demo, and that’s fine with me.

 

Reign

I have no clue. I’m guessing there are dragons, swords, & kings battling over…whatever it is that they battle over. Those kinds of stories can make interesting books, but they don’t seem to translate well to television.

 

Riverdale

On the surface a live action, soapy reimagining of the comics starring Archie, Veronica, Jughead, & Betty sounds intriguing, and perhaps if I’d known about it before its launch a few years ago I may have checked it out. Alas, I had no idea it existed for two years because it’s on The CW, and let’s be honest…most of us forget The CW exists because they do a terrible job of promoting their network and its TV shows. So now we are four seasons in and the ship has likely sailed.

 

Roseanne / The Conners

I didn’t care for the original incarnation of Roseanne back in the 90’s, and a couldn’t possibly care less about the reboot that launched a couple of years ago, despite the titular star bucking the Hollywood lockstep and “coming out” as a Trump supporter. I wasn’t going to get sucked into that tug-of-war. Like everyone else I had my opinions when Roseanne Barr was fired from her own show for a completely innocuous tweet, and that debacle just reinforced my lack of interest in the whole thing.

 

 

Santa Clarita Diet

I’ve battled weight issues my entire life, to the point that I’ve kind of given up. Diets just don’t seem to work for me. I’m almost certain that the show has zero to do with food or weight loss, but I have absolutely no desire to research what it is about, what channel it’s on, or who it stars.

Scandal

If I was going to get into a political soap opera I probably would have chosen House of Cards, but I chose neither. I think the truth is that The West Wing spoiled all political dramas for me because nothing can ever live up to that level of greatness.

 

Secret Life of the American Teenager

Okay…confession time. I actually watched this show for a bit during its first season in 2008. It’s from the same folks who’d created 7th Heaven, a show that I loved in the late 90’s thru its decade long run that ended shortly before Secret Life premiered. The two programs shared a similar vibe, and I was drawn in by the cast, which included 80’s Brat Pack queen Molly Ringwald (as a Mom!!). But I quickly lost interest somewhere in the midst of the second season.

 

Shameless

That was a really underrated song released by Billy Joel in the late 80’s, with a popular cover performed by Garth Brooks a few years later. Oh…it’s a television show too?? I had no idea.

 

 

Sons of Anarchy

That’d be an excellent name for a wrestling tag team. As far as the television show goes, I’ve never seen it and have no plans for that to change.

 

Stranger Things

I’ve heard good things. I had every intention of checking it out. But now, with the show preparing to release its fourth season, I am 24 hour long episodes behind and that just seems like too big of a mountain to climb at this point. Never say never though…maybe I’ll get into it long after it’s over, which isn’t my normal modus operandi.

 

Station 19

I have no idea.

 

South Park

I gave South Park a whirl back in the day, believing it to be a worthy heir to the throne abdicated by Beavis & Butt-Head. I suppose my entertainment palate matured just a bit in those years, so I quickly lost interest.

 

Supernatural

I used to believe I was a sci-fi fan, but I’ve come to realize that I am very selective about the kind of sci-fi in which I invest my time, and Supernatural just didn’t make the cut.

 

Teen Mom

Call me old-fashioned, but I just don’t believe that teenage pregnancy is appropriate fodder for reality television. I am not a fan of reality TV in the first place, and shows like this are among the worst offenders. I don’t understand people who are entertained by the very real & difficult circumstances of others.

 

The 100

100 what?? I need more information.

 

The Tudors

The only Tudors I care about is Tudor’s Biscuit World, home of The Thundering Herd, a delicious breakfast biscuit with scrambled egg, cheese, sausage, & a hash brown.

 

 

The Big Bang Theory

Yes, yes, yes!! I LOVED The Big Bang Theory. I faithfully watched new episodes for a dozen seasons on CBS, and for the past several years reruns on TBS a few nights a week for 2 or 3 hours at a time helped fill some lonely nights for me. I was sad when CBS cancelled the show, but if I’m being honest the quality of the writing had dipped noticeably in the final few seasons. The finale was well done, and surprisingly I haven’t been all that interested in the TBS reruns since last spring.

 

The Fosters

Is it on Freeform?? I believe it’s on Freeform, and for me Freeform is a place to watch old movies, especially during the Christmas season. It is not a channel I click on for original programming.

 

The Good Doctor

Okay…so he’s a doctor, but he’s autistic. That’s nice. But it’s yet another medical drama, and I just can’t do it. I nearly gave it a shot only because of the presence of Richard Schiff in the cast. Back in the day Schiff brilliantly portrayed Toby Ziegler on The West Wing, and I loved that show. But at the end of the day I decided to leave the memories alone and pass on The Good Doctor.

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale

I know very little about the show, but from what I’ve been able to glean it seems like kind of a downer, the kind of thing that critics fawn all over and awards shows shower with praise, but regular folks in flyover country just don’t see the big deal.

 

The Last Kingdom

I have no idea.

 

The Office

I’m way late to the party on this one. First, I have to explain something. I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s, a high water era for multi-camera sitcoms, which is the more traditional format. In the past decade we’ve seen the rise of single camera sitcoms, meaning there is no live audience or laugh track. Since I came of age with multi-cams as the norm that’s what I’m used to. I need a live audience and/or a laugh track. I have had a difficult time adjusting to single camera sitcoms and oftentimes reject such programs right out of the box. Perhaps I need to be a bit more flexible, but I’m just being honest about my experience up until now. It is for these reasons that I never even gave The Office a second thought when it premiered in 2005. I adore the 1999 cult film Office Space, so The Office would seem to be right in my wheelhouse, but I never gave it a chance. However, a few things happened in the ensuing years. Steve Carell became a movie star in films that I rather enjoy. Other stars of The Office went on to have solid careers in movies & television…folks like Jenna Fischer, Ed Helms, & John Krasinski. Internet memes became a thing, many of them featuring characters from The Office. Friends & family began making references related to the show. And now…finally…nearly seven years after it ended its run on NBC, I have begun watching reruns on Netflix.

 

The Originals

Original what?? I don’t know, and it shall remain a mystery.

 

The Simpsons

I may have missed the boat on The Simpsons. I was 17 years old & in my senior year of high school when it premiered in 1989. Perhaps I thought I was too cool for an animated show. Maybe there was something else in that time slot that I preferred to watch (this was way before DVR). I don’t recall exactly why I never got into The Simpsons, but at some point, as I heard more & more about its sardonic humor and funny characters, I began to realize that maybe I’d misjudged it. However, by that time it was way too late. I’m the kind of person who is either all in from the very beginning or not in at all. I may lose interest in a show a few years into its run, but rarely do I begin watching something that I’ve already missed multiple seasons of. I also don’t think that anyone would have ever predicted that The Simpsons would still be going three decades later, which is another reason why I feel like I may have missed out on something I might have liked.

 

 

The Sinner

I am assuming it’s either preachy or dark or both. Either way I’m not interested.

 

The Vampire Diaries

Vampires?? Nope.

 

The Walking Dead

Zombies?? No thanks. I realize that a lot of folks are really into it, but I’m not nor ever will be one of them.

 

The Witcher

Never heard of it.

 

This Is Us

Once upon a time I adored This Is Us. For the first two seasons I was glued to my television every Tuesday night. The mystery of when & how Jack Pearson died was riveting. The show was well-written with a top notch cast. I’ve had a Mandy Moore fetish for many years. Back in the day my friend Stacy would call me whenever A Walk to Remember was on television and I was usually already watching it. At any rate, something happened in the fall of 2018. This Is Us began a story arc about Jack’s tour of duty in Vietnam, and I decided to change the channel to WWE Smackdown. I DVRed This Is Us and told myself I’d catch up eventually, but before long I had about a dozen episodes recorded and knew I wasn’t going to invest that much time in getting up to speed, so I just decided I was no longer interested in the show. Perhaps someday I’ll revisit it.

 

True Blood

Vampires?? No.

 

True Detective

Nah. I’ve got a few friends who are really into this new wave of true crime, but it’s never interested me.

 

Twilight Zone

The original was way before my time. There have been a few revivals I believe, but I’ve just never been into giving any of them a whirl.

 

 

Two Broke Girls

I tried. I wanted to like it, but the humor was just so crude & sophomoric and the characters poorly constructed. I’m stunned that the show lasted six seasons.

 

Vikings

You mean the Minnesota Vikings?? Those are the only Vikings with which I am familiar.

 

The Ranch

The only reason I’ve even heard of it is because it stars Ashton Kutcher. However, I have no clue what the show is about, when it airs, or on what channel I could find it. And I couldn’t possibly care less.

  

Flip or Flop

I actually enjoy the occasional home renovation program, usually on HGTV (I especially like The Property Brothers). However, I don’t think I’ve ever watched Flip or Flop. I believe it’s the one where the hosts were married and now they are divorced, which seems like way too much drama for a fix-up show.

 

The Rookie

It’s a cop show, right?? Nah, not my thing.

 

 

Deputy

I’ve seen ads for it, but have no interest.

Points of Ponderation…..Episode 12.17

A semi-regular attempt to address some of life’s minutiae that might otherwise be overlooked…..

 

 

 

 

I was never really a fan of the CBS series King of Queens, which originally aired from 1998 to 2007. However in the ensuing years I have watched it occasionally in syndication, and star Kevin James has gone on to a mildly amusing film career. So last year when James returned to television in a new series called Kevin Can Wait I watched a few episodes before quickly losing interest. I guess former King of Queens co-star Leah Remini did a guest spot on a couple of episodes of Kevin Can Wait near the end of Season 1, and the ratings spiked a bit…enough for the powers-that-be to offer Remini a permanent role. Okay, fair enough. But in order to accomplish this “retooling” of the series the producers decided to fire James’ new TV wife and kill off her character. I tuned into the Season 2 premier of Kevin Can Wait and have two observations. First of all, the once beautiful Remini has now apparently been frequenting the same type of Botox provider that ruined the formerly lovely face of Meg Ryan. Either that or she had a stroke that I didn’t hear about. Secondly, the way the departure of the wife was written…with a time jump and barely mentioning her “death”…was awkward, badly conceived & executed, and disrespectful to the actress. I had already become disinterested in the show because it was boring, but now I am actively cheering for its demise. Shame on you Kevin James, and shame on everyone involved in the debacle.

 

 

This is Liz Soeiro, a librarian at Cambridgeport Elementary School in Massachusetts. Ms. Soeiro recently rejected a book donation by First Lady Melania Trump, referring to works by Dr. Seuss as “steeped in racist propaganda, caricatures, and harmful stereotypes”. Theodore Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) died in 1991, so if he was a racist surely someone would have figured it out long ago. I’m not sure when this photo was taken, but Ms. Soeiro didn’t appear to have a problem with Dr. Seuss at the time. Perhaps it would be more accurate to surmise that her issue isn’t with Dr. Seuss at all, but rather with President Trump. Maybe the next time someone wants to donate books to the Cambridgeport school library they should send copies of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto. They might be a little heavy for the children, but I have a feeling the librarian would enjoy them immensely.

 

 

Ten years ago I wrote a bucket list of sorts called 45 Things to Do Before the Age of 45. Then on my 40th birthday I did an assessment, at that point looking back on my intentions with a blend of bemusement & melancholy. And now, as I am on the verge of actually turning 45 years old, all I can think is how fast a decade has flown by. Goals change. Life happens. I’m glad I made the list. There are still things that I want to accomplish, but I realize that some of the stuff I wrote down while lying in a hospital bed all those years ago (though it seems like just last week) are largely unattainable for various reasons, and I think I am okay with that. God has blessed me. Oftentimes I am too stubborn to understand that, to my detriment. Some aspects of my life haven’t turned out the way I hoped they might back when I was in college, but that’s mostly on me. I kind of feel like Rocky Balboa in the first film. I might not achieve victory in the traditional sense, but I keep getting back up and have thus far remained in the battle. To paraphrase 2 Timothy, I have fought the good fight. The race isn’t finished, but I am determined to keep the faith.

 

 

One of my bucket list items…one that I have been fixated on for many years…is to visit Las Vegas. In light of recent events one might assume that those plans have changed…but they have not. Let’s be honest…ever since September 11, 2001 most of us have looked at the world a little differently. We exercise a bit more caution and maybe hesitate to put ourselves in certain situations. In some cases it might be excessive fear & paranoia, but mostly I think it is simply judicious restraint. That being said, we still have to live our lives. Take that vacation. Go to the concert or ballgame or wherever else large crowds gather for merriment. Have fun. Be smart, but don’t hide. Artistic types like the Hollywood folks you see on TV & in movies tend to be right brain dominant, meaning they react emotionally. They are the ones that want to spit all over our Constitutional rights every time something tragic happens, and are precisely the kind of keyboard tough guys for which Twitter was tailor made. More logical thinkers understand that evildoers like this guy that shot up a country music concert in Vegas are…duh…breaking existing law and would do so no matter how many additional laws were on the books. I don’t want to dive into conspiracy theories or break down details of the tragedy…this is not the time or place and I am not the right person to do that sort of thing. Neither am I suggesting that we sweep the situation under the rug, throw our hands up, & say “ah well…c’est la vie”. However, I do hope that all the facts come out, mature adults can have necessary discussions, and reasonable decisions are made based on logic & wisdom…not emotion.

 

 

Speaking of television…

A colleague & I were having a discussion about TV shows…specifically the recent trend of remaking/rebooting/reviving shows like Dallas, Full House/Fuller House, Will & Grace, American Idol, Gilmore Girls, Boy/Girl Meets World, & MacGyver. As we were talking we both stumbled upon a revelation about the sly brilliance of the Netflix business model. I had just binged watched the first half of Season 3 of Fuller House, and I was reminded of Sheldon Cooper on The Big Bang Theory, who once opined that “starting to watch a television show that might run for years isn’t a decision to take lightly”. Now I grant you, with DVR & other technologies things are a bit easier than when I was a kid. Back then if you forgot to set the VCR you had to wait for summer reruns to catch a missed episode. But the thought process is still accurate. Though television seasons seem to be somewhat shorter now than a couple of decades ago the fact remains that once one becomes interested in a show you are going to be watching it once a week every week for several months, and I’m not sure our collective attention span is capable of that these days. Netflix skips all of the hassle by releasing an entire season (or atleast a half season) all at once. I asked myself if I would have stuck with corny nonsense like Fuller House if it would have required a long term commitment, and I think the answer (based in part on how fast I lost interest in Girl Meets World a few years ago) is no. But binge watching a whole season during a sleepless night or rainy weekend…yes, I am glad for the short term distraction. Well played Netflix…well played indeed.

The 2016 Sammy Awards – Part 2

SammyAwardeagleBefore we get too far into the new year we like to take a look back at all the highs & lows of the previous year. Welcome back to the show, and if you haven’t checked out Part 1 please do so. Really, it’s okay…we’ll wait.

 

 

 

After another amusing anecdote from our host Steve Harvey it is time to present our next award. He’s been waiting patiently billy_bushon a bus outside…alone & without a live microphone. Please welcome the former host of Access Hollywood, a refugee from NBC’s Today Show, & the nephew of former President George H.W. Bush. Give a warm welcome to Billy Bush!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

The Twitter Award for Most Interesting Water Cooler Topic

 

The Walking Dead

Am I the only person in America that has never seen one single second of this show?? More importantly, is it weird that I couldn’t possibly care less??

 

 

Transgender Politics

In 21st Century America we don’t even know the difference between a male & female. It’s all about how a person “feels”. I think every science teacher I ever had would likely disagree. I don’t follow the crowd. I know what I know and facts are facts. If you disagree that’s alright, but just know that you’re part of the problem.

 

 

PokeMon Go

Back in the summer of 2016 this was a big thing for about five minutes. I’m not sure how it works, but I guess people download something on their phones and then seek out imaginary ghosts or something. Are their points?? Does anyone eventually win or lose the game?? I don’t know. I’m old & lazy. This game sounds like too much work with not enough reward.

 

 

The $20 Bill

Since 1928 the $20 bill has featured the face of Andrew Jackson, who was the 7th President of the United States. But a movement arose to change that for some unknown reason. Folks decided to find a woman’s face…any woman…to put on the bill. I don’t know…equality, inclusiveness, fairness…some politically correct crap like that is to blame. Names that were suggested included Eleanor Roosevelt & Rosa Parks, but a poll that I never even knew existed was apparently voted on by over a half million people and won by Civil War heroine Harriet Tubman. Those new $20 bills will go into circulation in a few years.

 

 

#BlackLivesMatter

I suppose I should tread rather carefully thru this minefield. Suffice to say that I believe it is pathetic that we are still dealing with racism in 21st Century America. However, I think it is worth debating what the bigger issue may be. Is it the fact that racism does undeniably exist?? Or is the idea that, despite tremendous strides in race relations that have seen minorities gain the legal equality that they were denied up until a few decades ago, a portion of the population…both black & white…persists in painting minorities as perpetual victims?? What I find especially disturbing is that this hornet’s nest really got stirred up AFTER the United States took a groundbreaking step by electing our first black President. Whether or not one agrees with President Obama politically the fact is that his election eight years ago was an historic moment that should have cemented the idea of racial equality & harmony, yet things have only gotten worse. I also think it is sad that the law enforcement community has been demonized in the process. I am sure that bad cops have always existed. They always will because there are evil forces in all walks of life. But the Black Lives Matter movement has been all too successful in painting the entire profession in a bad light. I am a proponent of the idea that all lives matter, but some even deem that idea racist. It’s a no-win situation for everybody.

 

 

Harambe

Back in May 2016 a three year old boy climbed into the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo. Patrons looked on in horror as a gorilla named Harambe grabbed the child and dragged him away. Some believe that the animal was trying to be protective of the boy, but obviously gorillas & humans tend to think differently about such things. Zoo employees saw no other solution than to shoot & kill Harambe. Video of the situation quickly went viral, and of course everybody just had to chime in with an opinion. While it is sad that the gorilla had to lose his life, the more important thing is that the young boy was unharmed.

 

 

No Nudity in Playboy

After a half century as America’s preeminent “gentlemen’s magazine” Playboy decided to no longer show full frontal nudity in its photographs in 2016. I am surprised they still publish magazines at all. Any magazine, let alone a nudie magazine. I haven’t picked up a Playboy in atleast 25 years. If a guy needs that kind of…entertainment…I think The Internet & video streaming is probably a more popular choice these days.

 

 

Gun Control

Another year, more mass shootings. Five police officers shot in Dallas in July. Six people killed in random shootings on a single February night in Kalamazoo, MI. 49 people killed & 53 others injured by a gunman at a nightclub in Orlando, FL in June. There are other examples I could cite. No one is arguing that these events aren’t tragic. Everyone would love for it to never happen again. The disagreement comes when discussing possible solutions. Gun control advocates would like to see guns banned and the Constitution’s 2nd Amendment altered or abolished. Many others understand that more laws and/or prohibiting responsible gun ownership will not solve the problem. It’s a debate that has been raging my entire adult life and probably won’t go away anytime soon. Sadly there will be more shootings. We have issues in our nation that run deep and cannot be solved easily. I don’t know the right answer.

 

 

Hamilton

I live in West Virginia. Culture here is severely lacking. I’d like to think that if I lived in New York City I’d enjoy the occasional theater production. In 2016 Hamilton was apparently THE hottest ticket on Broadway. If my information is correct it is a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s Founding Fathers and the first Treasury Secretary who infamously died in a duel at the hands of our third Vice President Aaron Burr. Because we are absolutely obsessed with political correctness in 21st Century America the entire cast of Hamilton…who are portraying historically real people that were white…is black & Hispanic. I am sure this “inclusiveness” is a major reason that the show has received so much praise, although I suppose it is entirely possible that it is legitimately a well-written play with fantastic acting & singing. It received an added level of notoriety a couple of months ago when Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance and one of the actors thought it was proper to address him from the stage, noting how “alarmed & anxious” he & his castmates are about the incoming Trump Administration. Newsflash: it was grossly inappropriate.

 

 

Scary Clowns

In the fall of 2016 various sightings of creepy clowns became a nationwide story. Some of these clowns just stood around looking scary. A few actually attacked people. I have no idea what the heck the deal is with all of it. Don’t we have enough problems to deal with??

 

 

Mannequin Challenge

This is one of the dumbest things I’ve seen in recent memory. It’s not even worthy of my time & energy. Atleast there was a point to the Ice Bucket Challenge.

 

 

Brangelina Break-Up

Angelina Jolie has never frosted my cupcake. She’s not been in a single movie that I enjoyed, and I don’t find her particularly attractive. Brad Pitt has actually been in a few films I like. The two infamously got together back in 2005 when he cheated on wife Jennifer Aniston with Jolie. I was a big fan of Friends. Aniston was one of my favorite celebrity crushes. This made me dislike Brangelina tremendously. In 2014, after eight years of living in sin and adopting a couple dozen babies from Third World countries, the couple finally got married. Then, just two years later, they announced their divorce. Somehow I have found the strength to go on.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

PokeMon Go. I still don’t really get it, but atleast it was harmless fun for a lot of people, and honestly, we could all probably use more harmless fun.pokemon-gs7edge-1

 

 

 

 

To present our next award please welcome the man who dealt a fatal blow to late night television with his 2015 retirement. He’s a living legend who hosted NBC’s Late Night and CBS’s Late Show for over three decades. We’re not sure what he’s been up to for the past year & a half but we are happy to have him at the Sammy Awards. Please give a well-earned ovation to David Letterman!! And the nominees are:

 

 

 

Favorite Television Event

 

The People vs. O.J. Simpson

I lived thru the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial back in the mid-90’s. I’m actually very surprised that it took two decades for it to be made into a movie…or in this case a mini-series. I had really low expectations and assumed it would be…at best…kind of tacky. However, I was pleasantly surprised at the quality of acting & writing. In fact, the show received 22 Emmy nominations and won 9 trophies. Cuba Gooding Jr. hasn’t been this good since winning an Oscar for Jerry Maguire in 1996, and both Sterling K. Brown & Courtney B. Vance were tremendous. John Travolta…well hey, we’ll always have Grease & Saturday Night Fever, right??

 

 

11.22.63

I’m not really a big Stephen King aficionado, but about five years ago he wrote a novel about a guy who goes back in time to stop the Kennedy assassination. Time travel?? JFK’s assassination? Yes please. I gave the book a whirl and was so glad that I did. Just an awesome read. I knew that it’d eventually be put on film, but even I am aware that King’s works are notoriously difficult to translate into movies and the results have been mixed over the years. After a big screen adaptation was scrapped eventually the decision was made to make a miniseries for Hulu, which was a good call. More questionable was casting James Franco in the lead role. Is it a good show?? Yes. Could it have been better?? Yes. I’d recommend it, but I’d also suggest not skipping the novel.

 

 

Stranger Things

I include this only as a courtesy. I have not watched it yet, though I intend to. Friends have told me they think I’d enjoy it. Netflix has already greenlit a second season so I suppose I better catch up ASAP.

 

 

Fuller House

The original Full House was cheesy fun back in the 90’s. I wasn’t the target demo then, and I am certainly not the viewer this follow up is seeking, but I’m a little bit of a rebel like that. Season 1 premiered on Netflix back in February before I began my new job, and I binged it all in one day. Season 2 became available not long before Christmas and it took me a few days to finish. Fuller House isn’t going to win any awards and critics haven’t been kind, but Netflix has already ordered a third season so I guess enough people are watching. Nostalgia can carry something further than one would think, and older fans of the original show seemingly enjoy its “sequel”.

 

 

ABC Fun & Games

When I was a kid my Grandma Pigott loved game shows. She’d watch them all morning long, and then watch the ones that were on in the evening. Sadly game shows have become passé in the ensuing decades, with the exception of the continued success of Jeopardy! & Wheel of Fortune. Occasionally something will pop up for a brief moment in the spotlight, like Who Wants to Be a Millionaire hosted by Regis Philbin back about 15 years ago. In 2016 ABC decided to revive a few old favorites. Family Feud, hosted by our very own Sammy Awards emcee Steve Harvey, has been successful in syndication for about six years. A celebrity version aired this summer for six weeks in prime time. Also part of the fun was a reboot of Match Game, hosted by Alec Baldwin, who is detestable in real life but admittedly very funny when he’s acting. The weakest link in the chain is a revival of The 100,000 Pyramid, which was originally hosted by the late great Dick Clark back in the day and is now helmed by former football player Michael Strahan. All three of these shows are mindless, kitschy fun, and that’s okay with me. Small doses…a month or two once or twice a year…is probably a smart way to go with the idea.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

Fuller House. I said it wasn’t going to win any awards. I was wrong. Look, I realize that it’s not everyone’s cup o’ tea. Many people seek edgier or more intellectually fuller-house2stimulating entertainment, and that’s fine. Sometimes I crave something provocative or profound as well. But I think there’s room for a wide spectrum of choices on which to spend our down time. Fuller House probably won’t make it past 3 or 4 seasons, but for a brief period of time we can atleast appreciate it for the amusing trip down memory lane that it is meant to be.

 

 

 

To present our next award we are happy to welcome to the stage one of the preeminent actors of his generation. He has starred in modern classics like The Shawshank Redemption, Deep Impact, Batman Begins, The Dark Knight Rises, Ted 2, & Last Vegas. Please give some love to Morgan Freeman!!

 

 

caliendo2My apologies. Mr. Freeman is unable to appear on the show tonight. Instead our next award will be presented by comedian Frank Caliendo…doing an impression of Morgan Freeman. And the nominees are:

 

 

 

The DB Cooper Award (For the Person Who Most Needs to Disappear)

 

Senator Joe Manchin

He’s the former Governor and a current United States Senator from my home state, but I’m never quite sure where he stands. Some have opined that he is a rather conservative Democrat, but he sure has seemed to kiss President Obama’s…ring…a lot the past several years. Then, this past summer, Senator Manchin made comments in a conversation about gun control whining about the Fifth Amendment right to due process being an inconvenient impediment. I’m never a fan of politicians complaining about our Constitution. The fact is that America’s Founding Fathers had more common sense & foresight in their pinkies than our entire legislative branch collectively shows in 21st Century America.

 

 

Jon Gruden

Wow, is this guy a clown. I’m not sure why football fans or the powers-that-be at ESPN think he’s entertaining. He makes John Madden seem like Albert Einstein. Please…for the love of God…will some football team out there offer the dude a coaching job and get him off my TV??

 

 

Taylor Swift

She’s still around, though I think her star is fading. Or maybe that’s just wishful thinking on my part.

 

 

Barack & Michelle Obama

Theoretically this will happen with the transfer of power to a new President in a few weeks. However, I have a bad feeling that, unlike other former Presidents who fade into the background and enjoy their retirement, ol’ Barack Hussein & his wife Aunt Esther aren’t really going away. The media loves them and will undoubtedly seek them out at every opportunity to comment on whatever is going on. I have predicted for several years that Obama would someday be the Secretary General of the United Nations, so look for movement on that front in the coming years.

 

 

“Caitlynn” Jenner

Let’s make one thing perfectly clear…Bruce Jenner is a man. Always has been, always will be. “Caitlynn” is a fictional character, not unlike Mrs. Doubtfire, Madea, or Big Momma. Unfortunately, instead of getting Mr. Jenner the help he so desperately needs to treat his mental illness the media & Hollywood has spent the past few years enabling his delusion.

 

 

Stephen Colbert

After a decade hosting a program on Comedy Central that I watched maybe 2 or 3 times Colbert was the inexplicable choice to replace David Letterman on CBS’s Late Show in 2015. I gave the man a chance…I really did. I still flip on over to that channel every once in a great while. But Colbert is just too damn political for a late night network television show. I suppose if you agree with his hateful leftist ideology you might find the guy funny. To each their own. I simply can’t stand the man or his little show, and I think CBS will tire of his shtick soon enough.

 

 

Bill & Hillary Clinton

They’ve written the blueprint for the Obamas. A decade & a half after Slick Willie left the White House these idiots are still around casting a dark shadow on America. Hillary even served in the U.S. Senate & as Secretary of State. Then, as we all know, she ran for President a couple of times, failing miserably on both attempts. Think about it…a majority of Americans outside the Lands of Liberal Make Believe in New York City, Hollywood, & Chicago chose Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton. That’s rejection with a capital R. I’d like to think the latest humiliating defeat would persuade these two to retire from public life permanently, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if she runs again in four years.

 

 

Megyn Kelly

I’m so over her. One would assume certain things about Ms. Kelly since she works for Fox News, but appearances can be deceiving. I’m pretty tired of most of the media, but she especially has tended to make it all about herself this past year. I just want my newscasters to read the news. I don’t need their perspective. I don’t need their personality. I just want honesty & facts. I’d be willing to bet that she will eventually defect to CNN or MSNBC for big money, and that’s well within her rights. Go for it. Pad that bank account. Fancy yourself a star. And while Megyn Kelly is living that dream those of us who want to know what’s really going on in the world will know where to look, which won’t be wherever she is.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

All of Them!! That’s right…it’s a mass tie. Just shut your pieholes. Go away. Get out. Good riddance. Don’t let the door hit you where the Good Lord split you.loser

 

 

 

 

 

rice2Presenting our next award are two of the smartest people in the world…individuals who aren’t usually thought of as tysonentertaining but, like the rest of us, like to let their hair down & relax every once in awhile. She is a former National Security Advisor and served as Secretary of State from 2005-2009. Please welcome Condoleeza Rice!! He is an astrophysicist & author and is the current Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Give a round of applause to Neil deGrasse Tyson!! And the nominees are:

 

 

Most Entertaining Program (Radio or TV)

 

Mike & Mike in the Morning

Once again my morning routine changed a bit in 2016, so watching Greeny & Golic from 6-10am every weekday isn’t really a priority. I still catch the show occasionally and enjoy it almost as much as I ever did, but admittedly the shine has worn off just a little.

 

 

The Young & The Restless

I keep saying I am going to give up my soap operas, but for some reason I don’t follow thru. Even my Dad is hooked on Y&R, which is really amusing to me. The show went thru some behind-the-scenes changes in 2016, but the storylines remain strong & the characters are interesting for the most part.

 

 

MetroNews Hotline

From 3-6pm each weekday afternoon here in WV we have the opportunity to listen to a statewide radio talk show that covers everything from current events & sports to pop culture & the financial markets. It’s comfort food radio, which in my book is a great thing. The program’s original host stepped down a few months ago and I haven’t totally decided how I feel about the new guy, but if I happen to be in my truck when it is on I’ll usually listen. God knows it’s better than the garbage the music stations are playing.

 

 

Highly Questionable

ESPN finally settled on a time slot for this show in 2016, and if I’m home I’ll watch. If I’m not going to be home I’ll almost always DVR it. It’s irreverant, occasionally silly, sometimes informative, & always easily palatable. I’ve even become accustomed to co-host Bomani Jones, who I wasn’t quite sold on a year ago.

 

 

The Rush Limbaugh Show

El Rushbo is still going strong after nearly three decades on the radio. With 2016 being an election year Rush was in his element. I don’t listen often, but always enjoy it when I do. I understand that he doesn’t frost everyone’s cupcake, and that’s alright. I like the show and that’s what matters.

 

 

General Hospital

I’ve been watching GH since grade school. I always say I’m going to stop, but I don’t. There are certainly better things I could be spending time on, but I suppose there are worse things as well.

 

 

Designated Survivor

I never watched a single second of Kiefer Sutherland’s popular show 24, but as soon as I first saw teasers of this new program online several months ago I knew I had to check it out, and after the first episode I was hooked. I rarely even bother with new prime time shows, but this one is a winner. Thru the first half of the season they have constructed a web of suspense & intrigue that rivals any drama I’ve ever seen. It’s a well written show with great performances. I’m not sure if it’ll have legs for more than a couple of years, but I’d be happy to be wrong about that.

 

 

WWE Raw

Monday night is wrestling night. I don’t answer the phone. I don’t make other plans if possible. Maybe I’ll flip back & forth to the Monday night NFL game, but generally my eyes are glued to my wrasslin’ for a few hours. Or atleast that’s how it used to be. I have noticed in the past year I do a bit more channel surfing during Raw, or sometimes I’ll actually doze off. After the demise of WCW and with no viable competition remaining it seems like Vince McMahon has taken his foot off the gas just a bit. WWE has also made a concerted effort to become more family friendly in recent years, which is a blessing & a curse. Pro wrestling has always had its ebbs & tides, and right now seems to be a bit of a lull. Still though, there are weeks when it’s really fun to be a wrestling fan.

 

 

Jeopardy!

I love my game shows, and this is the best one around. It actually rewards people for being intelligent, and really, who could have an issue with that??

 

 

Pardon the Interruption

In contrast to its ESPN brethren Highly Questionable, PTI is proudly & audaciously cantankerous. Hosts Tony Kornheiser & Michael Wilbon like to shout at each other for no apparent reason, but it kind of works. This is another show that I’ll usually record if I’m not going to be home. ESPN has perfected the argumentative sports talk show blueprint and probably ran it into the ground at this point, but after 15 years PTI is still at the top of the food chain with no signs of fading away anytime soon.

 

 

Days of Our Lives

Of the three soaps that I watch this is probably the weakest. There just seems to be something…subpar…about its production. Having said that, after over three decades of viewership the Horton, Brady, DiMera, & Kiriakis clans are fictional families that I have grown fond of, atleast as much as one can care about imaginary characters on TV.

 

 

This Is Us

2016 not only hooked me on one new show…it made me a fan of TWO. I decided to check out This Is Us because of actor Justin Hartley, who left his role on Y&R to star in the new NBC prime time drama. Hartley is a really good actor, and on This Is Us he is surrounded by a talented ensemble cast. The show has a really interesting hook, going back & forth between the current lives of three siblings and influential events in their childhood. Mandy Moore has always been a guilty pleasure (I love A Walk to Remember), and in this show she plays the same character in two eras separated by nearly forty years. The acting is stupendous and the writing is amazing. I expect this show to rack up the awards for however many years it lasts.

 

 

RedZone

There is nothing that I enjoy more than coming home from church on Sunday and settling in to watch seven straight hours of NFL football. No commercials, no timeouts, no halftimes…just football. Every meaningful moment of every game…atleast the ones played on Sunday afternoon. Someone needs to apply this same concept to college football on Saturdays.

 

 

 

And the Sammy goes to…..

 

 

 

This Is Us & Designated Survivor. It’s a tie!! I wasn’t sure if the creative types in Hollywood were capable of creating new & interesting television shows anymore, dsurvthisisusbut they sure hit a two run homer with these. I can’t remember the last time I was actually excited about anything on TV outside of ball games. If you haven’t checked them out yet you’ve only missed one half of one season so it’d be really easy to catch up. Thank you to the creators of these two shows for making me believe in the power of originality again. Kudos.

 

 

 

 

Let’s pause one more time. Stay tuned for the exciting conclusion!!