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Monday, Mar 1, 2010

Like most shows on Comedy Central that aren’t fake newscasts, The Sarah Silverman Program has aired quite sporadically since its 2007 premiere, with hiatuses that can times last longer than a year. But regardless of its spotty production history, it’s a quality program.


If it’s your thing, that is. It certainly isn’t for everyone. Although Sarah Silverman is approaching 40, her sense of humor is perpetually eight years old, but I mean that in the best way possible. She can also be quite offensive, so if you’re sensitive about that kind of stuff, maybe you should stay away.


Whether or not you find the following joke hilarious will probably be a tell tale sign of whether this is something to add to your DVR schedule:


Sarah approaches a series of political campaign posters for the mayoral candidate Terry Grossnickle. Always up for some mischief, she breaks out a pen and says something along the lines of, “Grossnickle? This is too easy.”


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Friday, Feb 26, 2010
Big changes ahead for Season 6

Since it premiered on the WB (now the CW) in 2005, Supernatural has been largely a cult favorite. Despite the fact that it is one of the network’s highest rated shows, it has consistently been beaten in the ratings by its Thursday night competition. However, everything from comic books, novels, calendars, trading cards, shot glasses, and a fantasy role-player game has been created for its devoted fanbase. The love of its fans has even been controversially parodied by the show in reference to the fictional Carver Edlund’s Supernatural book series featured in recent episodes.


Series creator and current show-runner Eric Kripke has said in the past that he intended this current season to be Supernatural’s last, and the show dealt with the storyline that the apocalypse is approaching. However, ratings for the show are up, so it was announced that the CW is renewing Supernatural for a sixth season this fall.


But how will the show continue? Writer Sera Gamble revealed to the Chicago Tribune that the apocalypse plot would end this season, so that storyline won’t be dragged out any longer. Not to mention that Entertainment Weekly broke the news that Kripke is leaving his show-runner status to Gamble, possibly changing the show for better or worse. Meanwhile the show’s fans seem to be divided into two camps, those who feel that the show has run out of ideas and “jumped the shark” (as a recent episode was sarcastically named), and those who feel that the show is at its creative peak, thanks in part to the addition of new characters.


Whatever happens, some interesting television is ahead when Supernatural returns from a hiatus on March 25.


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Thursday, Feb 25, 2010

After what was generally perceived as a lackluster performance from the girls on Tuesday, the Top 12 boys took the stage last night in hopes of infusing American Idol’s ninth season with some excitement and energy going forward. Unfortunately, at least half of these guys bombed. However, a few came out firing, with the kinds of song selections and lively performances that suggest high stakes and last chances, a marked difference from the girls the night before. The boys’ stories were already tangled with drama, given the plot twists associated with Mike Lynche (reportedly kicked off, but apparently not), Tim Urban (a last-second replacement for Chris Golightly, who was kicked off for (allegedly) lying on his application about a recording contract), and Todrick Hall (criticized last week for (allegedly) abandoning his childrens theatre company, leaving several kids and parents with unrefunded fees). Simon was in a particularly nasty mood last night, thank god, and he unloaded ruthlessly on almost all of these guys, but there were sings of life in this particular minefield. The awards:


Best Performance:  Cay-Jay!  Should we just give him this thing now?  Andrew Garcia may have been the frontrunner going into the evening, but Casey James‘s breezy version of Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” made him the early man to beat. His performance was nothing earth-shaking—what might have been nerves translated into uncontrollable smiling—but James has a clean, pure tenor, and he corners a market like no one else on the show. Much has been made of Kara’s crush on Casey, and certainly James’s looks aren’t going to hurt him at the polls, although that Lady-and-the-Tramp hairstyle was a tad rigorous last night.


Tagged as: american idol
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Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010

There are those out there who prefer the audition shows to the actual American Idol competition, and tonight’s first live broadcast, on which the Top 24 girls competed, proved that those audition lovers might be on to something this time. Oh, yes, it’s ladies night, oh, what a night… if you enjoy maudlin, uninspired singing over lugubrious arrangements, followed by awkward prattle from the judges. It was a very disappointing night from the girls, especially since the ladies are, by and large, a far stronger collective than the boys and Simon had made news this week by predicting that one of the girls would win the whole thing. And what’s up with the tacky set changes, with the judges sitting in front of an under-the-sea backdrop that cuts out the audience?  Boo. Then again, perhaps that nautical motif is appropriate, if only because the evening indeed felt like watching a sinking ship. In any case, here are the evening’s awards:


Best performance: It’s tough to come up with anything here, as none of the 12 singers flashed anything truly special. The night was dominated by mid-tempo songs and, call it nerves, every performance was oddly distant. I’ll give last night’s edge to Ashley Rodriguez’s version of Leona Lewis’s “Happy”, although with reservations. She’s one of the only girls who has the chops, the performance skill, and the presence to be taken seriously as a potential star. If anything, she pushed a little hard last night; if she relaxes, she’ll be a standout. Runner-up: Crystal Bowersox has a chance to catch fire. Advice: Lose the harmonica. She can’t really play it, and it just got in the way when she needs to be leaning into that mike and belting with power.



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Wednesday, Feb 24, 2010

This is the first Olympics that I have viewed in a post-Tivo world. The DVR is such an omni-present part of my TV viewing experience that I am now finding myself struggling to view the Olympics without mediation by my Tivo. Like so much about the Olympics, though, I am torn about how Tivo affects it.


The biggest problem is also the greatest strength—the ability to fast-forward. Once you start picking and choosing your way through a five-hour portion of Olympic coverage, it becomes very clear just how little you care about most of what is going on. In most cases, it simply is not compelling to watch a bunch of people who you do not know engage in the same task over and over again. You sit and watch the clock as various people ski down a hill (or, even more identical, race down a bobsled or luge course), wondering what you are supposed to be looking for. The carefully-packaged back-stories are only provided for people who will medal or crash… oh, or Americans—is our narcissism any clearer than in how we cover the Olympics? But without these segments, the actual competition is meaningless.


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