November 11th, 2005

Halloween Cat

I remember

Now most people who know me will not be surprised when I say I'm a big ol' television 'ho. I watch TV almost constantly, and up until recently, most of my viewing centered around plain ol' half-hour sitcoms. Even bad ones used to be pretty good. These days, bad ones are just bad (not even funny bad), and good ones are very few and VERY far between. My viewing habits have been transformed into, oddly, hour-long dramas/dramedys. I used to watch very few of these, with only things like Star Trek to vary my pretty steady diet of sitcoms. Back in the 90's I got hooked on Northern Exposure, and then got into Picket Fences, and came late to Magnum, P.I.; then Chicago Hope because I think I'll watch Mandy Patinkin in just about anything. Then, of course, Buffy and Angel came along. But on the whole, still my habits centered around sitcoms.

Now there are precisely two sitcoms which are worth really paying attention to, and of these? NBC has seen fit to still not put Season 5 of Scrubs on their schedule, and FOX has decided to drop the number of episodes ordered for Season 3 of Arrested Development and has pulled it from the schedule for the rest of November (leaving us at a bit of a cliffhanger). Both, I suppose, make the cardinal error of being smart and funny. (At least, since I get the newsletter, I know Scrubs is finally in production.)

The one new sitcom I liked, Kitchen Confidential, has apparently not exactly been cancelled, but they haven't ordered a full season, either. I do like My Name Is Earl, but since they put it on opposite House, I always forget it's on and haven't taped it since House came back from baseball hiatus. I also like Two and a Half Men, but it's more because of a really stellar cast than the show itself or the writing (it's a throwback to older sitcoms, where the mediocrity of the show is saved by the acting; without Sheen & Cryer, as well as the kid--one of the best kid actors I've seen--Men would reek. I realized it a few months ago when I happened to catch a repeat of an old guilty favorite, Gilligan's Island--yes, I love Gilligan today as I always did--and noticed I was enjoying the fact that the silliness and stupidity was perpetrated by some monumentally fine actors. Watching Jim Bacchus was a joy).

Idiotic sitcoms, with mediocre casts speaking stupid lines in stupid situations which rely heavily on one (or more) of the characters being put down or humiliated, on the other hand, seem to never get cancelled. I guess that's why there are still reality shows, which I thought would burn out by now.

Even The Simpsons, which I still love, is running dry. Although this year's Treehouse of Horror was the best in a while.

I appear to be in the minority amongst the smart folks I hang with in that I still like Lost a lot and have enjoyed this season mightily (am I the only one who noticed they re-cast Vincent? He wasn't a big fat white lab last season). I love House and Boston Legal, NCIS (Donald Bellasarius and David E. Kelley are pretty much responsible for the change in my viewing tastes, I think), and while Criminal Minds isn't any better than other procedurals, go back to that "I'll watch Mandy Patinkin in anything" comment above--he, as usual, is awesome. Of course, it's on opposite Lost and I'm several episodes behind and forgot to record this week's. Just about everything worth watching is on opposite something else so, now, without Arrested Development, there's nothing on Mondays, Thursdays are meh, nothing on Friday, and everything else is on Tuesday and Wednesday. Except Scrubs.

I wish I could afford to buy more shows on DVD. At least Scrubs Season two will come this month (I pre-ordered it ages ago). Maybe if I get some Christmas money I'll finally get seasons 1 & 2 of Titus at last, just in time for S3 to come out.

I realize my tastes are not precisely highbrow. But I admire comedy. Good comedy is probably the trickiest and most difficult thing to achieve in the performing arts, and it takes real talent to balance the absurd and whimsical with timing, pace, and a dash of reality. In the years of watching such things, I've realized it requires someone who is both a comedian AND an actor (some standup comedians just aren't that good with delivering someone else's lines). It amazes me when people are astonished that comic actors are "so good!" in dramatic roles. Piffle. Drama is a snap. If you're a good comic actor, you're going to be incredible in a dramatic role--just TRY and go the other way. I'm much more impressed with dramatic actors who have the ability to play comedy. (One of the reasons I'm enjoying Boston Legal so much is discovering William Shatner's comedic timing. He's awesome!) Comedy should be recognized for what it is and not dismissed as mere fluff, even when the subject matter is downright cotton candy. In the words of George Burns, "Dying is easy. Comedy is hard."

I want Scrubs!!!

(Why does Cairo wait until I'm ready to get up and go to work to get snuggly on my lap? I do realize part of it is to shed on my work clothes, but the purring and the nuzzling and affection--and the gripping my hand with his teeth so I can't type and MUST pet--is very hard to put down.)