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What I Watched Last Night

What kind of TV watcher am I? I didn't even know Live Earth was on last weekend. There I was, watching You, Me and Dupree instead because I needed the laughs. I think I was better off because the movie was pretty funny and nobody mentioned the environment once. Besides, if Al Gore can help fund something as big as the Internet, he certainly can figure out a way to make solar power affordable for everyone.

*

Monday night's viewing on Fox-TV began with a miserable program called On The Lot, where would-be directors try to make the least dopiest short film each week on one of the Universal Studio backlots until all but one is left standing at the end of the season. I found this show by accident because I was doing something else at the time and was too disinterested to change the channel. Christ, how many more shows can there possibly be where contestants get voted off? I know! How about one called Float My Boat, where at-home viewers pick off the crew of cruise ship one by one until just the passengers are left to steer the damn thing back home? Or into an iceberg. Or a reef. Whichever comes first. Now that would be fun.

Judging the mess are actress Carrie Fisher and director Garry Marshall. Fisher is aging like a carton of bad milk, and she needs teeth that don't make her sound as if she's harboring a speech impediment. Marshall is pure Borscht Belt and keeps reminding me of the episode o Cheers where John Mahoney played hack jingle writer Sy Flembeck.

According to the show's Website, famous directors Jon Avnet and Brett Ratner are supposed to be judges, but they're nowhere to found on Monday's show. This left largely-unknown guest director Luke Greenfield to help paddle the sinking judge boat.

Host and entertainment trend prognosticator Adrianna Costa is what Rachael Ray would be if Ray woke up with a bad attitude and decided to be annoying. She's wearing a lilac-colored mini-length mumu with a big ribbon hanging off the shoulder. Who dresses these people?

Anyway, directortestant Zach shows his short film Time Upon A Once, where half of everything moves backward or forward at the same time. There didn't seem to be much of a plot, but that doesn't stop Greenfield from saying, "You're a natural storyteller, man." I couldn't figure out the story. Marshall liked the dog featured in the film and called Zack's short "esoterical." I'm guessing that's Hollywoodspeak for "What the hell was that?"

Directortestant Hilary is showing a Western about a guy with a donkey tail. Letting people like this run amok is why Hollywood is allowed to bastardize the original Underdog into something horrifically wrong.

Eventually, one of the five directortestants was eliminated. I don't know which. I was busy watching WGN-TV's online Doppler radar coverage of the thunderstorms traveling toward Chicago.

*

Lot was followed by Hell's Kitchen, which is still pretty much the only reason to turn on a TV set Monday nights. Pushy cheftestant Melissa, banished by Chef Gordon Ramsay to the men's Blue Team, spends the whole show looking like she woke up in a Dumpster. "Everything she touches, she screws," Ramsay yells before telling her at the end of the show to pack up her attitude and horseshit scallops and piss off for good.

For its inability to beat a nanny, a short order cook, and a pastry chef at making the most creative lobster dish, Blue Team spends the hour separating the recyclables from a mountain of stinking kitchen trash dumped behind the loading dock, which leads Blue Team cheftestant Rock to give an impression of Clubber Lang that would probably even scare Mr. T.

Nobody on Blue Team still has a clue about how to cook risotto. Or mashed potatoes, for that matter.

*

Old School Soul music is dead. It must be if Kool and the Gang have to resort to hawking their new double-CD album for $19.98 (including a bonus promo CD and a pin) on the Home Shopping Network for a half hour.

Still, you gotta love a band with an actual horn section.

*

Kathryn Ware checks in from the John From Cincinnati Sub-Desk.

Episode 5: His Visit: Day Four

I really dig the theme song. Hold on, I've got to find out what it is.

Well, "Day Four" was relatively dull; one of those set-up episodes, putting the pieces in place for more exciting developments down the road.

Alternate titles for this episode: "Cissy's Bad Day" or "Rebecca De Mornay Is One PO'd Broad."

I haven't been this perplexed by a TV show since Twin Peaks. Everything is a puzzle. Everything could mean something - or nothing. Take, for instance, John's sleeping on the floor of Cass's hotel room. Does he have back problems or . . . does it mean something?

De Mornay's Cissy starts the episode in Hysterical Mode when she discovers Shaun's porn-star mother Tina is back in town to see him. Cissy quickly accelerates to Full-On Freak Out Mode, where she remains for the rest of the hour. Whenever her grand-maternal instinct kicks into high gear, it's exhausting to watch.

Far too little of Bill (Ed O'Neill) in this episode; just a brief conversation with Zippy the Parrot in which the bird gives Bill more "unalterable instructions." But first, Bill has to take a leak and that's the last we see of him. I think it's an unwritten JFC rule that bodily functions must be mentioned at least once per episode.

What seems weirdest about this scene is the sound of thunder in the background. A thunderstorm in Southern California? I grew up in San Diego and thunder was practically unheard of - literally. So again, you have to wonder . . . does the thunder signify something?

Cissy is completely insane, raging like some second-rate actress in a Greek tragedy, beating on Kai's trailer and rocking it back and forth while she yells bloody murder. "Kaiiiiii. Get to the shop . . . Get down there and keep an eye on Shaaaaun . . . Lock the door behind yoooou. Don't let anybody in . . . I'm going home so that if she comes baaack I will be there to put a bullet in her heart."

I'm guessing they shot this scene first, since De Mornay's voice in the previous scene sounded raspy, as if she was coming down with a cold or had been yelling at the top of her lungs like a mad woman.

I'm noticing characters spend a lot of time communicating but not looking directly at one another in this episode.

Tina doesn't seem evil but her hooking-up with Linc cannot be a good thing.

Cass spends the day shooting video of John in the park dancing with Hare Krishnas and jumping into the ring with some "Eco-Warrior" wrestlers, ending the match in a group hug. The episode's Big Mystery: Cass asks John to prove to her that something Big is going on by levitating in the air the way Mitch did. John tells her "The camera is up in the air." There's something on the camera, but we'll have to wait until next week to find out what it is.

*

Visit the What I Watched Last Night library of goodness.



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Posted on July 11, 2007


MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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