Tuesday, October 24, 2006

TV Notes

I've been watching of bunch of new television shows now that the White Sox season has ended. Unfortunately the remote mostly ends up on TLC, HGTV or the Travel Channel. My wife enjoys home improvement and traveling, and since we can afford neither, the least I can do is let her watch a few tv shows.

Of the three, the Travel Channel has the most interesting shows. Anthony Bourdain can be fun to watch even if he is in love with himself (or maybe because he is). And just last night we watched a fascinating show about the Yawalapiti tribe of Brazil.

It's a tribe that lives completely independent of modern society, although the Chief did sport a pair of glasses in a few scenes. The glasses were about the only piece of clothing I saw on the show. They seemed to have something over their lower privates but I couldn't be sure as the Travel Channel thoughtfully blurred the screen whenever those parts were displayed on camera.

The tribe didn't seem to do much more than bullshit and wrestle all day. On special occasions even the females wrestled each other.

Did I mention they were nude? This is obviously a patriarchal society.

The women weren't exactly ready to appear in a Victoria's Secret catalogue but definitely scored an 8 out of 10 of what I call the National Geographic Scale.

Anyway, I would like to thank my wife for opening my eyes to the stimulating television that exists outside of sports.

But back to sports for a moment. Slate had a nice article calling bullshit on the stupid talk of the Tigers somehow boosting the spirits of Detroit. It's not like Detroit never sees a winner, as both the Pistons and the Red Wings have been good for a long time. My only complaint about the article was the awkward swipe at Reagan. I don't think Detroit's hardships in the 80's can be blamed on "Reaganomics" as the writer states.

Another show I have been watching is Studio 60, which showed great promise in the pilot but has gone downhill since. Dan Kois, in Slate, touches on some of the problems but seems too focused on the show -in-the-show being not funny. That's certainly the case but not the shows biggest problem.

The biggest problem is that Sorkin is trying to recycle West Wing political themes for a show that is supposed to be about sketch comedy. So what storylines do we get: the religious right go after the show, someone digging up dirt on the network president, rubes from Ohio who don't even know the "Who's On First" sketch, the network trying to get an audience for a show about the UN, reminiscing about Hollywood blacklists, giving someone from the inner city a shot at making a better life, etc.

Please, this is supposed to be a behind the scenes look at a sketch comedy show. It doesn't have to be funny but does it need to be so serious?