Monday, January 15, 2007

The State of the Union, in Television

Tonight, in honor of the Golden Globe Awards, (and because I have a deadline, so I'm procrastinating) I present to you...The State of the Union, in Television

Category: Most overrated show currently on the air

The Nominees: "24"; "Ugly Betty,"Two and a Half Men"

The Winner: "24"

The Why: The first season was fantastic television, definitely. It was original and compelling. I watched every episode practically on the edge of my seat. But then, it just got old. The fact that people are still watching this show baffles me. The fact that it's still getting so much praise from so many people—not just people who watched America's Funniest Videos with Bob Sagat and liked it, or people who are prone to enjoying stale plot lines and done-to-death stories, but discerning people--is almost beyond my comprehension.

Here's what I can say about this:

I haven't watched an episode of "24" since I gave up on the second season and that stupid presidential campaign plotline. [Once Nina's betrayal was revealed (a true shocker) and the wife axed, the show just stopped being interesting.] But, I'm willing to wager a fair sum that the much-touted season premiere will involve all of the following:

non-white terrorists attempting to blow something up, probably with a dirty bomb or stolen nuclear device; their plot will be discovered with barely enough time to stop the attack, and the only one on the planet who can possibly stop it is...Jack Bauer; a "twist" whereby some relatively minor but not totally insignificant character turns out to be working for the other side (the audience is expected to be shocked); lame dialogue vaguely referencing hardware, military equipment, or some sort of dull technology crucial to the detonation or transport of said bomb; an explosion; a gun fight; some painfully bad melodramatic acting on the part of victims and CTU staff; the frequent and urgent uploading of data; a constipated-looking hero, scruffy but undeniably handsome, grunting rapid instructions into a radio or cell phone to someone who has to do what he says or they'll die—wait, no, the whole world will die; tension between characters based on something from the past, that something is supposed to pique viewers' interests when it fact it's nearly impossible to care; poorly dressed CTU agents processing data as fast as they can in rooms that seem to be made entirely out of dark concrete and metal; men and women in navy blue clothes; Jack Bauer in a white tee-shirt.; a desperate middle-aged female; desert-like locations, such as scrubby California hillsides or "terrorist encampments" somewhere like Afghanistan; guns; sweat; blood; planes; SUVs; and a threat to the survival of the United States of America, which will somehow--in just one hour--be thwarted until next week, when all of these things will happen again. And again. Until someone finally takes the goddamned show off the air.

The Category: Best Boobs in a Sitcom or TV Drama

The Nominees: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Ghost Whisperer"; Salma Hayek, "Ugly Betty,"; Felicity Huffman, "Desperate Housewives," Katherine Heigl, "Grey's Anatomy"

The Winner: Jennifer Love Hewitt, "Ghost Whisperer"

The Why: This show is sheer crap, but Jennifer Love Hewitt has the best rack in television.

The Category: Most Surprising to Still Be on the Air

The Nominees: "What About Brian," "Ghost Whisperer," "Ugly Betty," "Men in Trees"

The Winner: "What About Brian"

The Why: I began watching this show because JJ Abrams was attached to it. And it stars a single thirty-something person, surrounded by married or coupled friends, which I can relate to. I still watch it every week, but it should have been canceled a long time ago. It's like "thirtysomething," only duller.

The Category: Best New Show
The Nominees: "Brothers and Sisters," "Ugly Betty," "Heroes," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip"
The Winner: "Heroes"
The Why:
This is the best new show since "Lost."

The Category: Best Show in Syndication
The Nominees: "That 70s Show," "King of Queens," "Sex and the City," "Seinfeld," "Friends"
The Winner: "That 70s Show"
The Why:
Because I love it. Because I continue to enjoy episodes even after I've seen them three times. Because I'm nostalgic for the basement I spent my teenaged years in. Because its the perfect cast. Because Donna is so hot. Because the writing, acting, sets, costumes, and directing are brilliant. And because I miss having it be on the air.

The Category: Worst Formulaic Show on TV
The Nominees: "House," "Law & Order: Criminal Intent," "Law & Order," "CSI: New York," "CSI: Miami," "Numb3rs," "Bones," "Crossing Jordan"
The Winner: "House"
The Why:
While other shows, such as "Bones" and "Crossing Jordan" just suck out loud, and CSI: NY is actually painful to watch, primarily due to a shitty casting job, "House" takes the cake because it is the most strict in its formulaic approach, and because it wastes so much great talent in the process. Give us a new approach: stat.

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