Category Archives: Television

My Important and Precious Oscar Predictions

It’s heady times in Hollywood as everyone prepares for the 83rd Academy Awards on February 27, hosted by jack-of-all-creative-trades James Franco and Anne “The Teeth” Hathaway. At least, that’s what I imagine. Ah, probably most people don’t give a shit. But still… it gives all of us something to think about other than Flavor Flav opening a chicken restaurant in Iowa or the state of the union or Mini Kiss.

I confess to be the kind of person who sits through the entire awards show, minus the musical numbers. I can never stand the musical numbers, which are predictably Randy Newman, a 1980s or 90s female star like Vanessa Williams, Cher or Susanna Hoffs from the Bangles or something more unpredictable, like the year Three 6 Mafia performed “It’s Hard Out There For a Pimp.”

I like the formality of the Oscars. I like how everyone has to look their best. I know that people say award shows like this are bogus but I suspect that if you won an Academy Award you would not feel this way. I would not feel that way. I would be like that Italian guy who so annoyed people with his twee-ness in 1999.
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Dud Gifts On THE VIEW

2EHasselbeck EVILThanksgiving  is one of my favorite holidays because I do nothing. There is little prep work or anxiety beyond going to the grocery store and buying a bunch of food with which to construct a feast. I don’t have to worry about seeing old friends, relatives I don’t enjoy, etc. I take a complete misanthrope’s approach to the entire thing  – I want to watch movies, read books, eat good food and, essentially, hide in my house. This plan of inaction continues into Black Friday, when I watch the action from afar.

This morning, approximately seven hours after the shopping frenzy began, I was sitting on my couch in my pajamas, drinking tea and watching The View. It seemed like an odd luxury to sit there on a weekday and watch TV, or so I thought. I saw Whoopi come out in her usual “leggings-and -oversized shirt” uniform and I thought, “I’m going to sit here and see what they have to offer up.”
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Guard Your Card

This commercial came on TV while Keith and I were watching yesterday. I can’t believe the levels of funny that exist in this :30 spot.


Jesus, what a boring card conversation. I’d rather find out who has prostate cancer or who’s wearing diapers than sit around listening to this. It’s a sunny afternoon, you’re retired, you don’t gotta work and you’re sitting around talking about your Medicare card?

Plus, the very smugness of it. “These cards are super valuable. They mean we get health care, which millions of other people don’t have! Guard it with your lives. Fall on your sword. Once more into the breach, dear friends, and pass the Werthers.”

At least they made it so that there’s a black dude and his wife “schooling” the white folks about this fraud. But did you notice the white guy’s face when the black guy says, “I know the most valuable card you’re holding?” His expression says, “Please don’t shoot me.”

“Guard your caaaaard,” Card-Playing Guy #1 says. “Let me use an analogy that old people with nothing to do all day will understand by hiding my card hand. You understand? Like you’re playing sheepshead or euchre but with your Medicare card.”

“I’ve heard that Medicare fraud is a huge problem for the government,” Card-Playing Lady #2 says. “We must help the government at all costs. Robot 32JAT-541 will play her king of spades now.”

“Not only that,” Card-Playing Lady #1 says. “But stamps are going up another cent in 2011 and they want $1.50 a pound for tomatoes at Byerly’s.”

“We can crack down on criminals,” Card-Playing Guy #1 says. “And feel useful. Like we’re doing something to rid the world of meth addicts, welfare mothers and terrorists.”

Whoa to the kids who come home for Thanksgiving and accidentally see their parents’ cards!

Makes Me Wanna Cry

I saw this TV ad put out by Minnesota Forward this morning. MN Forward is the group that Target and Best Buy gave money to in support of Republican Tom Emmer for Governor.

What I’m wondering is if the production and design teams at Target and Best Buy die a little inside when they see the low-quality production values on the commercials their companies paid for. Target especially, since they put a lot of money into design and art direction for all their ad campaigns. And then to see this… it could make a person lose faith in God.

The title of the ad is “Still Sad? Mark Dayton’s Plans To Raise Taxes,” but a better title could be “Do We Make You Sad? All That Target Money and We Can’t Afford Quality Production Values.”

LOST Extras: New Coffee Table Book

In honor of the final season of LOST, ABC and Grinder Press are releasing a coffee table book entitled LOST’S Hottest Extras: The Castaways You May Have Missed.

Most of us were probably focused on Sawyer’s, I’m sorry, James’s shiny chest or maybe Sayid’s curly locks or even perhaps Kate’s… freckles. Here’s just a sampling of the hotties you missed.

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I’m Not Going to Talk About Avatar

Hooray! It’s Hollywood Foreign Press Association 2010 Golden Globe Awards Eve!

We’re scrubbing floors, tidying up and planning the menu for the big day tomorrow. How about you?

Kidding! Well, OK, I’m planning a menu but that’s mostly because I like to eat things and will make any excuse to do so.

I’ve read some online “analysis” about why the Golden Globes are better than the Oscars. Mostly it has to do with a lack of stuffiness and a willingness for the HFPA to vote their hearts and not according to some old grudge or because someone is blood brothers with Tom Hanks, Steven Spielberg or, God help them, Ron Howard. Or that strange, little Brian Grazer creature who turns up everywhere, his hair like a periscope announcing his arrival.

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Celebrate Life Day with Chewie, Lumpy and the Gang

lumpyTonight is the Third Annual Toys For Tots Screening of the Star Wars Holiday Special (from 1978), brought to you by the MN Film & TV Board, at Bryant Lake Bowl in Minneapolis. There will be a short intro by Transylvania TV (“the retro monster comedy that’s really not for kids”), complete with some trivia questions, Marines collecting unwrapped toys for Toys For Tots and photo ops with a Storm Trooper, Rebel Pilot and Princess Leia from the Rebel Legion. Clint Lugert of THEY Design designed a kickass poster for the event and it will be for sale for $15.

Best of all, you can order up some drinks in the theater and not have to watch this thing sober. I’ve seen the entire special once and that might have been enough for me. I’m going to be there but more for enjoying holiday drinks with friends in the bar than watching the special, although I may sneak in for the part with Bea Arthur. I love Bea, her gangly stature, pessimism and deep voice – and she sings in the cantina for this! She’s my favorite Golden Girl, hands down. RIP, Bea.

Anyway, the theater at BLB is kinda tiny – I think it actually only seats 95 – so there is a chance that some people will not get in. But everyone can enjoy the Treebacca poster! It’s super rad. If you want to buy one online, visit the THEY Design poster store.

Treebacca Poster
Get Yer Poster While Ya Can!

You’re My Present This Year: Weird TV Commercials

One of the most interesting things about the holiday season is all the strange commercials that start popping up on TV. You can usually count on some doozies from Lexus, Kay Jewelers and Folgers and this year is no exception. Here’s my take on the strangest commercials out there this year.

cup-of-coffeeThe number one slot for weird goes to the “Brother Homecoming” commercial for Folgers (an update on the classic “Peter Comes Home” commercial from years ago). The older brother knocks on the front door (weird already) and his sister answers it. Only you have no idea she’s his sister based on his reaction – he’s says, “Do I have the wrong house?” meaning, “You’re one sexy lady!” and she points to herself and says, “Sister! Ha ha ha.” What? I expected them to start making out. She says something like, “I waited up for you all night.” Huh? Really? And then he says, “It’s a long way from West Africa.” Notice he says West Africa, which is nice and vague and not at all threatening so people don’t become sad thinking about Darfur  or upset thinking about Somali pirates.

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This Is No Time For Fun And Games

nyc_prep_shoppingYou know how, when you’re healthy, you sometimes think, “Oh, if only I could stay home today and lie on the couch and watch TV ALL DAY. Or read ALL DAY. And eat whatever I want. And ignore the world?” And then, as soon as you’re sick and actually lying on the couch, watching TV and reading back issues of The New Yorker ALL DAY, you feel horrible, miserable and don’t enjoy it at all? Yeah, what’s that all about? I know life isn’t fair but, come on, throw me a wishbone here.

So, yeah, been sick. Whoopee!!

What it entailed was a lot of coughing, gasping for air, tension headaches, sleeplessness, eating chocolate chips from a bowl while watching TV and periods of restless “clean up” around the house. The cleaning up was me thinking, “Oh, what’s a little illness? I can still dust, vacuum and do laundry… Uh, I don’t feel so hot… all that dusting made me feel… faint…” So then I gave up on productive activities and decided to read books. Catch up on some reading, see? Keep the brain working. Learn stuff. But then that became too hard. “What did I just read? What… Eat cookie? What was that last sentence? What if I don’t really have a cold but instead I have cancer?”

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