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Keep Your Feet on the Ground And Keep Reaching For The Remote June 18, 2008

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, TV.
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It was for most of the people in my generation, the show we honestly believed we could someday be on. It had everything one could hope for in an 80’s TV show. Blue and red laser lights in glass tubes? Check. Fog at inopportune moments? Yup. A synth heavy opening theme complete with star wipes and Polaroid picture outlines of last week’s show? Oh, hells yeah. And the host? Big, sweaty, with that kind of assistant principal thing going on. It was Star Search. It was Ed McMahon. It was our dream.

And when it left the air, it left, not with a bang, but with a whimper, we wondered how? This show which produced such talented mainstays as Rosie O’Donnell, Alanis Morissette and the guy from the commercial that did the thing with the thing, couldn’t just fade away. Like a supernova, it collapsed into itself. It exploded and left its talent full goodness all over our TV landscape.

Think about it? They packed so much talent and had such a laundry list of people waiting to get on that the show begat other talent competition themed extravaganzas. And now each show was its own entity. Like Europe after WWII or when the Beatles embarked on solo careers, each section of the show now had its’ moment to shine.

The comics? Well, NBC gave them Last Comic Standing. They even employed semi-famous judges to rate the talents of people who are marginally less famous than they are (a Star Search tradition). And while Bill Bellamy is only slightly less sweaty than Ed McMahon (anyone who actually signed on to be in DefJam’s How To Be a Player cannot not HAVE a post traumatic sweat disorder), the show still gives you comics, fighting it out to be the next person to host a VH1 reality show, open a Harris Teeter in Wisconsin or date one of the ugly interns on an E! show. The comics still have chance to shine, even if they’re not getting 3 and ¾ stars anymore.

The singers? Of course, you’ve got your American Idol, your Nashville Idol, your Singing Office, your Rock Star: The Search to replace a guy who was only marginally successful and died due to asphyxiation related to masturbation (though they shortened that to INXS, which I think was a good choice). And now, not only are there the marginally successful judges, but we get to see the audition process. Star Search just gave you the best of the best. Our tastes have changed though since the go get em 80’s (I think it has to do with the fact that 1 out of every 3 people was on cocaine) and we now want, nay, NEED to see people fail. And fail miserably. And rewind to the exact moment when they have the realization that their dreams are shattered. Now that’s worth a hundred version of Mariah Carey for me.

The Spokesmodels? Thanks Tyra! You have given us a whole show based on a medium where there is no speech required. It’s all about looks and body type. And while you are trying to manufacture drama by placing several women in a house, the whole point of the old Star Search was you only heard the models talk when sending you out to a commercial. While your show provides more opportunities than Star Search could, it’s not as much fun watching girls frolic in a hot tub than watching them play in a Hollywood constructed beach scene. Call me crazy but if I want to watch women I have no shot with dance around, I’ll head to the strip club. At least there they have a good buffet.

Which brings us to the dancers. And while I don’t think I ever saw a good set of dancers on the show (or a group that didn’t rent their clothes from Stereotypical Pseudo Gay Leotard Emporium…where every fifth headband is free), apparently there are millions of them. TV has given us So You Think You Can Dance, Dance Fever, Step Up and Dance, America’s Best Dance Crew, Your Mama Don’t Dance, Dancing With The stars (where the marginally talented are no longer judging but getting involved), Dance, Dance, Dance, Baked beans and Dance, and of course, Hey, Douchebag, Get Up and Dance! Apparently there are too many amazing hoofers that one, nay, seven shows was not enough. I have never seen these people. I know no great dancers. Maybe I am spending my time at too many suburban weddings, night clubs and the local Y, but I know nobody who dances that well. Maybe that’s why? Maybe they are all waiting somewhere in a giant cattle call, hoping David Hasselhoff gives them a thumbs up.

So Star Search may have left but its babies still dot the landscape like so much tasty goodness. Maybe that’s why the Arsenio Hall retread never succeeded. Because a house divided against itself cannot stand. Abe Lincoln said that.

And the Gettysburg Address received….3 and a half stars.

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Sweet Georgia Brown Noise June 3, 2008

Posted by doctorolove in Pop Culture Rants, Sports.
1 comment so far

That loud scream, a mixture of joy, sexual jubilation and outright orgasmicness, emanating from the NBA offices last week did not come from another Kobe Bryant paramour. It did not come from Charles Barkley realizing he had one more Ring Ding in a box he once thought empty. And it wasn’t from Marv Albert, realizing that a local Victoria’s Secret was having a “Going Out of Business” sale. Nope, it was from none other than David Stern.

The NBA had fallen on some tough times. Recently it was reported that Mr. Stern was only wiping his ass with fifty-dollar bills, instead of his old standard, 1000 cut Egyptian sheets wrapped in fifty-dollar bills. TV ratings were down. Refs were throwing games to appease mobsters (in real life, too, not just in bad Adrian Grenier movies). And the dumb as rocks children who were once able to jump to the NBA straight from their sham high schools had to attend college for AT LEAST ONE YEAR. That could mean injury, underperformance, or worse, the idea that they might actually like learning and put off the fact that their likeness would be sold on everything from shoes to Beanie Baby figurines for a whole four years.

Nope, Mr. Stern got his wish when the Celtics of Boston and the Lakers of Los Angeles managed to wade through the sludge of teams who sell tickets only in their hometowns. This was David and Goliath (wait, both teams are among the biggest moneymakers in all sports…) This was Bird vs. Magic (wait, Larry Bird now resembles John Holmes without the huge wiener and Magic has enough popcorn at his chain of movie theatres to garner his own zip code….). This is Kobe vs. Kevin Garnett. This is that weird white Lurch guy against the guy who schooled Denzel Washington (no, not Ethan Hawke…). This is Phil Jackson…zen master…against Doc Rivers, whose previously claim to fame was, um, that he once was in a highlight film because he was in the camera’s view of Dominique Wilkins. This is green vs. purple. This is the Hulk’s color scheme taking on human form and fighting against one another. This is money in the bank. A series that takes an amazing rivalry (which hasn’t happened more than two times a year since 1987) and puts it on network TV. Yup. NBA. This happens.

But is Lakers-Celtics the greatest rivalry in sports? I mean, it did have a series of Sega Genesis games, with graphics only slighter stronger than Konami’s Double Dribble, named after it. It boasts some of the greatest players in all of history having taken part in it. And again, it’s all about the color scheme.

While I am in the Red Sox vs. Yankees camp of something being even more monumentous in terms of sheer hatred and the Duke-UNC rivalry being as close our nation has gotten to beating up and hating your kinfolk since the Civil War, neither of these holds a candle to the greatest rivalry in sports history.

Yup, the Harlem Globetrotters vs. the Washington Generals.

Now, one may say, it’s not a rivalry if one team consistently loses. One may say it’s not a rivalry if the teams don’t have some sort of geographic proximity. And some more may say it’s not a rivalry if one team is allowed to utilize buckets of confetti borrowed from the Rip Taylor collection. I say, Pshaw on all of you.

These teams have played an astounding 15,000 plus games against one another. And the Generals have won maybe five of those (Stats not confirmed…in fact, five may be a little generous.) So how can it be a rivalry? For that reason alone. Five times in over 15,000 tries. Meaning that should you actually be present for one of those wins, you are truly, for that day, in love with your team. The Yanks and Red Sox beat up on another and often find the word curse and spooky and Goose Gossage’s moustache bandied about. But they beat one another so often that to witness a victory by either team is just another day. Sure, you get angry and you curse the guy in the cubicle next to you with the “Tessie” ringtone, but you move on.

And Duke-UNC plays twice, three times a year at max. They could play for another 7000 years at this rate and while people are teleporting to their flying cars, each time will have one more than five…thousand times. Not five.

And to actually win five times, while the other team is pantsing you, or bribing the ref, or hiding the ball under their shirt takes moxie. It takes luck. It takes one of those cheat codes you put in your Madden game that allows unlimited stamina. But it has happened.

A rivalry can be one sided but to truly achieve monumental status, one team’s victory has to mean something more than a year of bad blood or the occasional hangover at work the next day. It must be momentous. It must be life changing. It must involve confetti.

And besides, have any Laker or Celtic been on Scooby Doo?

No, Pau Gasol was not the Creeper zombie guy…next question…