Sunday, February 24, 2008

Live Blogging SNL*

Opening sketch: I can't wait to see who's playing Obama! Yes, I totally love the way they're skewering the media. This is awesome. Obamagirl! Sweet. But you're way off on your lipsynching. Way, way off. Ouch. Damn, I wish I'd seen the debate Thursday night, but I was blogging and forgot about it. Nice touch with the Obama stalker, and Kristen Wiig is Campbell Brown! Cool! Dude, Fred Armisen totally got Obama's cadence and stacco down. Wow, Obama won 31 out of the last 38 states? Hot damn. Hillary's screwed. Heh, this is great, the way they're mocking the "we can change" slogans. SNL is back, baby! Aww, poor Hillary, trying to get a word in edgewise. They really do make you feel bad for her.

Opening credits: Yay, new featured player! That's pretty unusual for a mid-season show, but we might as well consider it a new season for all the time that's passed.

Monologue: Tina Fey! Black dress...they all wear black dresses. She looks nice, though. Aught-seven? Who says that? Anyway, yay for writer's strike mention. Heh, I love the jargon. Nice. Tina Fey was rarely in sketches; her claim to fame was her superb job as Weekend Update anchor, but it'll be great to see her actually perform. Steve Martin! Cool. Possibly a way to (subtly) promote his new book? He started out as a writer? Well, that makes sense. "Look at those writers--you want to end up like them, all, all...weak, weak and...young?" Yes, yes I do! I would love to work on Saturday Night Live! Hmm, I wonder if those (very young) writers are actually writers, audience members or extras. Steve and Tina are great, look how well rehearsed this is, but boy do those slaps look f.a.k.e.

Annuelle: This is totally Tina. It's female-centered. She wrote Mom jeans, remember, and that extra-large 1950s maxi-pad commercial. Totally her: icky feminism, cringe-inducing.

Rock of Love: Wow, nice job with Tina. Those lips! Those breasts! The makeup! They really did a nice job. Oh, Amber. I've never liked Amber. I know what's she getting at--those retardedly ugly women who brag about everything, even though what they're saying makes no sense, and it's just to make themselves feel better. I wonder if we can call this a resurgence of the women. Wait, is Maya Rudolph off the show? I didn't see her in the credits. Even the featured player is in this skit, and so far, the women are carrying this show. We'll have to see what happens the next few episodes to see if this is a premature theory. [on the disgusting kiss between Jason Sudeikis and Amy Poehler] Man, people do sick things in the name of comedy. It's always sloppy licking kisses, or nudity, too. "Skills to pay the bills"--excellent line. That was awesome, that list of reality shows!

Wilco next week. Interesting.

Commercials: That voiceover for dogs sounds like Zach Braff making funny noises. Notice how many actors do voiceovers in commercials nows? John Goodman (who's hosted SNL something like 15 times) for Dunkin' Donuts..."We all had to do what we needed to do to pass the time..." Very NBC, acknowledging things. April 3rd. The Office is coming back April 10, which you didn't mention...

"What the hell is the bitch saying?": This could be fun. Oh, the first one she's talking about her dog. Yep. Hey, that Casey girl (featured player) is sure getting a lot of face time. Maybe because it's her first show? Good for her. I'm not feeling the casual use of "bitch" here. It's just another reason (TV reflects real life; real life reflects TV) why people toss it around so often. And it's another Tina Fey trademark.

"21" promo: This sounds a bit like Good Will Hunting. Ooh, this sounds like a book. Oh, I want to see it. Now the good movies are coming out.

Car commercials: President's Day was last week, so why are there still President's Day sales?

12:10. Weekend Update should be next. It's always on at midnight/12:15. Up, nope, it's Carrie Underwood.

"Drillbit Taylor" promo: One of those comedies that's sold by the fact that it's "funny" and by its star.

iPhone commercial: iPhone and Facebook team up...oh no. No, it's not that great! We don't need to check Facebook every hour! Ahhhhh!

Quarterlife! ...That's not blogging, that's livejournaling.

There's President's Day and cars, movies and cars, that's what advertised at 12 am.

Weekend Update: It's Mike Huckabee! Man, the media loves Huckabee. I know they've wanted to do something with Huckabee for a while. He's such a good sport, shame no one will vote for him. Heh, I love he skewered that retarded "miracles and math" line. Javier Bardem as Dora...oh! Hmm, that toy doesn't sound like a toy but a gadget for adults. Must everything have iPod hookups attached?

Women's News: Yes, yes!! Tina doing what Tina does best! Oooh, potshots at Lindsay. I'm sure Tina's disappointed at her, she always really liked her and thought she was very talented. See Mean Girls commentary for this, and the fact that Lindsay hosted SNL and cameoed a few times. Oh man, this is why I loved Tina Fey: This smackdown is BEAUTIFUL. This is AWESOME. She's totally right, too. Blindly following Oprah, "bitches" being the type of people who solve problems, and get things done, the inane comments of Rush Limbaugh...oh man, Tina Fey is THE SHIT. Whoo!!!!

Sela Ward shilling for toothpaste...

Trump sketch: Where do they think up these celebrities? Oh, Casey's Rachael Ray isn't good, though it's high time someone impersonated her. Gene Simmons good, and Amy Poehler's old man from Six Flags is inspired.

Does Will Ferrell ever get tired of making goofy sports-related comedies? This is at least the 5th president's day car per break.

Wedding toast: Do his insults make any sense? Making pipes?

Milkshake skit: Ohh, this is from "There Will Be Blood." Der. I only know that because someone told me that line days ago. This is too insidery because it's all based around the Oscar-nominated movies.

Mr. Peterman from Seinfeld (John something) for Toyota Corolla. But no President's Day slogans!

"Baby Mama" promo: Hmm, very Tina Fey--this is what you get when women get to write and direct their own movies. Wow, that sounds like an insult. I still wouldn't pay to see the movie.

President's Day cars. At least they acknowledge they're going to extend the sale. And Greece x2.

Lady Business: Another Tina Fey creation. I like the high-heeled shoe on the end of the y. Well, this concept was asking for it.

A lot of commercials have voiceovers.

Goodbye: Man, SNL looks like so much fun. Tina Fey, come back soon!

*The sentiments are live, just transcribed and edited the next day.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New York Mag awesomeness


This is why I love the media, why I love the internet, why I love (and hate) our culture. If you're a public figure, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT, you have to watch out.

Another reason why New York rocks my socks? Their website has full-text cover stories, I don't have to pay, and their website is chockablock with loads of fascinating stuff.

Vanessa Grigoriadis has also become my new favorite: I'm dying to read her cover assessment of Britney Spears (as soon as I can get my hands on it comes my long-awaited Britney and celebrity post), and her cover story on Gawker was quite awesome.

Now I'm all happy and I really, really need to get to bed.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Should Dexter air on CBS?

Dexter, the Showtime show about a serial killer, is going to air on CBS tonight. Dexter is an R-rated, dark show, with adult themes and content. That’s why it’s on cable. This is the first time that a made-for-premium-cable drama has been repurposed to air on network television. As part of a contingency plan from the writer’s strike, CBS will air all 12 episodes of the series’ first season consecutively.

Of course, Dexter has to be edited. Time constraints demand it (commercials make broadcast television free, remember), and there are those pesky regulations. Although TV is far from stringent (just notice how many times you hear “bitch”, then think of your grandparents), broadcast cable cannot have nudity, anything termed “indecent”, and basically anything on HBO, Showtime or FX falls into that category.

While I am all for watching unedited, uncensored episodes of cable products, from The Sopranos to Sex and the City, this is a good move because it will expose the show to a wider audience. When Sex and the City was first syndicated to TBS back in 2004 and then later to the WB, I was horrified. How could that happen? How in the world could those episodes stay intact? For someone who knows the original versions well, watching a network edit is just plain wrong. It’s jarring. You know where the swear words belong, you have a feeling that something’s missing. But while newbies might chuckle at an obvious switcheroo from “asshole” to “jerk”, for the most part they don’t notice anything because they have nothing to compare it to.

While this maneuver isn’t going to win Showtime many new subscriptions, it will probably land Dexter a few new fans. Although it may not seem that A&E's versions of The Sopranos did much good for that series, Sex and the City's enduring popularity with both a whole new set of fans exposed by syndication and old fans reinvigorated by daily or weekly viewings has made the show even more of a cultural touchstone than it already was. Just look at the box office draw for the movie this summer to prove it.

I’ve never seen Dexter before, because I don’t have Showtime and have never had access to it. I want to watch Weeds and The Tudors too, but until they are available free online or I can easily get them on DVD I can’t watch them. For all the talk about how Netflix and the internet have revolutionized the television/movie viewing market, it doesn’t reach a fraction of the audience that a broadcast premiere has. Showtime only reaches 16.3% of television households. Believe it or not, there are people out there who do not have cable, even basic cable. CBS for many people is the first channel on the dial, and many people flip through to see if anything catches their eye. There are people out there who have never heard of Dexter because they do not have Showtime, and are certainly not going to get it.

In this age of media integration and synergy, it seems like only a good idea to share resources and to “borrow” shows to fill up time. After all, when Law and Order: Criminal Intent was cancelled by NBC because it was the lowest-rated L&O and couldn’t possibly compete with its sisters, USA picked it up. CI was saved, and it fit right in.

The broadcast networks have history, power, and money on their side, and they can use this to push shows that a Bravo or a USA cannot. There’s still a lingering legitimacy that a broadcast show has over a cable program, even though pay cable like Showtime and HBO have become prestige programming. Broadcast television by its very nature is supposed to be mainstream and somewhat populist; it has to serve a wide audience. This idea might be losing credence in an age of narrowcasting, niche, and long-tail markets, but these small populations only go so far. Most people want ideas and creations to reach the widest audience possible, no matter how offbeat and off-putting the subject matter is. By putting Dexter on CBS, CBS is legitimizing the show in a way its being on Showtime doesn’t do; while it will probably lose prestige, it will gain new viewers. The creators, at least not now, do not have to worry about marketing to that audience and making a broadcast show; that is up to marketing people at CBS. CBS is saying that the country is “ready” for a show like Dexter, and it’s hard to argue with them, considering that edgy and dark dramas are popular all over the dial, and they feel that as a crime drama it fits in well with their slate of CSIs.