Friday, February 29, 2008

Lost - be careful what you wish for

I don't mean to rain on the parade, but last night's episode shows the promise and the problems that viewers are going to face over the next three seasons. Yeah, it feels really good to finally get answers, but pretty quickly those answers start to feel pat. Empty. Hollow. It's inevitable.

Take Faraday's deus ex machina about how Desmond needed to find an anchor. Could this anchor be a person? Why yes, I suppose it could. It was all tied up in a neat bow. And that made for a nice, tidy, nearly self-contained episode. But it's not a construct built to withstand intense scrutiny.

And I know, it's fiction, but because these answers have been built up for so long, it's only natural that the audience's expectations are sky-high. Also, I think it's only natural that the mysteries have more gravitas than the answers ever will. That's just human nature, to be intrigued by the unknown.

Otherwise, pretty cool episode. We're reminded for the first time this season why Desmond is such a cool character, we get to see the boat and meet some of the folks on it, we get a few hints about Ben's mole (there was some speculation that the mole was Ghost boy and that that whole thing about $3.2 million was a code, but now I'm not sure... depends on the timing, right?).

Idol eliminations

Well, it was bound to happen - one of my favorites getting unceremoniously dumped. And, on the basis of Wednesday's performances, it's hard to argue that Alexandréa Lushington deserved to be in the bottom two. It was probably the cargo pants that put her over the top. I have no complaints at all about the other three, although it's bound to get harder from here on in.

On a related score, I've been reading a lot of complaints about Amanda Overmyer. The most consistent theme is that you could walk into half-ass honky tonk in the country and find a singer just like her. And I think that's true. But none of those other singers are on "American Idol." The show always gives this sense that these singers competed against the entire country just to get this far. And, you know, sorta, but at this point, they're simply competing against each other. And that gives Overmyer a big advantage because she's different. I've already forgotten which one of the identical 17-year-old blondes got voted off last night.
Ultimately, I don't think she'll make it even Sanjaya far, but probably farther than you'd think.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Idol idle

I can't muster up the enthusiasm to do a performer by performer breakdown, but I just want to take exception to the "David Archuleta rules the universe" meme making its way around the Internet this morning.

Yeah, the kid can sing. Yes, he's genuine and charismatic. Sure, that was a very good performance.

But I will swear to my dying day that his version of John Lennon's "Imagine" just murdered the song. It was an awful, pop, boy-band arrangement that sucked the heart right out of the music. Archuleta did a very good job delivering it, but still, if that was the original version of the song and Lennon's was the cover, no one would remember the original and the cover would be a monster hit.

Let's not let him slide just because he's 17.

Elsewhere, I liked David Hernandez, David Cook and Chikezie. I don't think trying to out Freddie Mercury Freddie Mercury is ever going to be a good idea on Idol. I'm beginning to think covering Karen Carpenter ought to be in the same category. Jason Castro is my favorite among the guys, even though he stunk it up last night.

I really do think a guy will win this year. There just seems to be a yawning charisma gap on the women's side.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

More Seacrest, Busey

Nut graph - and I do mean nut:

"Well, what I wanted to do was, when I first saw you working, I said, ‘Who is this guy?’ And I said, ‘Oh God, this isn't going to work.’ And then you captured me. You are to me, when you're working, an innocent champion of honesty," Busey told Seacrest. "Your heart has a way to embrace the truth in your delivery without looking like you are reading a script. Everything looks spontaneous. What spontaneity is — spontaneity comes from an invisible idea that is there before the creation began. And you have that naturally, so I just wanted to pay you a compliment. But I didn't know you were in the middle of an interview, I was just moving through there."

Monday, February 25, 2008

Top Gear returns

Top Gear returns to BBC America tonight for a new season.

If you haven't heard me harping on this before, "Top Gear" is the greatest show on television.

"The Wire" might be the best, "30 Rock" might be the smartest, "Friday Night Lights" might feature the best acting, "How I Met Your Mother" might be the funniest, "Pushing Daisies" might look the best, but for sheer bitching British awesomeness, you can't beat "Top Gear."

Given that NBC is doing an American re-make, you should definitely start watching the British version now so you can properly sneer at how inferior the re-make is. And, if you get the chance to watch older episodes, look for the Toyota truck durability test, the Southern U.S. road trip and the amphibious cars - all totally hilarious. Plus maybe the Reliant Robin space shuttle, just because it was so frickin' cool.

Plus, tonight's episode puts Helen Mirren behind the wheel of a reasonably priced car. Be still my heart.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Oscars, hoo-ah!

This morning, I ran the Incline. Then I changed the oil in the trucks. Then I broke up some ice next to the garage with a pick axe. Then I lifted weights. And now I'm watching the Oscars.

Which one of these activities does not belong?

Trick question - None!

With "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country For Old Men," this may be the manliest Oscar ceremony in recent memory. Those movies have the body count of a Stallone flick.

Sure, there's chick-friendly fare like "Juno" on the block, but there's also the slasher-flick musical "Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber of Fleet Street," bad to the bone gangsta flick "American Gangster," and Western muscle from "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford."

Bullets and blood are the theme this year, enough of each to satisfy even a Jet Li fan.

And on to the show...

Jon Stewart starts off with a writer's strike joke. And then another one. I think most TV fans are doing their best to forget the strike ever happened. Still, the "the fight is over, so welcome to the make-up sex" line was pretty good. And, "All I can say is, thank god for teen pregnancy."

"Even 'Norbit' got a nomination. Which I think is great. Too often, the Academy ignores movies that aren't good."

In recent years, the trend has been to start out with a sorta-major category, like supporting actor. This time, they go with costume design. Which is to say, they start off with a let-down. And, thinking back, last year, they had models wear the costume design nominees so viewers could see what they looked like in a real-worldish setting. Which was cool.

The Oscars' 80th retrospective was actually more restrained than I was expecting. There's nothing the Academy loves more than a retrospective, so I expected to see that go on for half an hour.

The Steve Carell-Anne Hathaway bit was funny... Carell going on about serious documentaries and Hathway going "Steve, we're doing best animated feature." I sorta wondered if "Persepolis" had a shot at that one, but of course anything by Pixar is going to be the overwhelming favorite.
Bird gives a nice speech, about advice from his guidance counselor - "What if movies didn't exist? I'd have to invent them. And it went on like this. And I only realized recently, he gave me the perfect training for the movie business."

Makeup. They're really stacking the early deck with the, um, less star-studded awards. And "La Vie En Rose" gets it. I've always thought there ought to be some way to differentiate the special effects-oriented makeup, like that in "Norbit," from the traditional makeup, like "Rose."

Amy Adams does the first best song nominee, "Happy Working Song." She sounds good, assuming she's not merely lip-synching, but there's no production to it at all. There's always a big production around the songs! Boo! And that song especially, called out for dudes in cockroach suits or something (if you saw "Enchanted," you're with me on this).

Stewart - "In case you're wondering what we all do here during commercials breaks, mostly we just sit around, making catty remarks about the outfits you're all wearing at home. That's right! It goes both ways people"

Why the hey is KRDO running weather alerts for the freakin' mountains? If you're in the mountains on the way back to the Springs, you know it's snowing.

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson - Visual effects give the movies a sense of wonder and exhileration. They also provided nightmares for a certain 8-year-old little kid, who at the time thought the face-melting scene from "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was very real. He's over it now."
Actually, the joke was better with the delivery, but still a good line.

Visual effects - Golden Compass. Hah! Both Warren and Kimball got shot down on that one. I thought "Compass" looked a little cheap, although the ideas were dynamite.

Art direction - Still with the working man's awards. Really, I think they needed to throw an acting award in here. "Sweeney Todd." Because there can't be a Johnny Depp movie that goes Oscar-less.

Supporting actor - At last! Obviously, I spoke to quickly on the retrospective thing, apparently we'll get dozens of little retrospectives throughout the night. I do, though, like the Oscar memories thing with past winners. The Michael Douglas-Katherine Zeta-Jones one was pretty good. Jennifer Hudson presents, proving that she's not really an actor. I mean, really, she couldn't even read her line. That's horrible. She couldn't even pronounce Oscar.

Anyhoo, if Javier Bardem hadn't won that, it would have been the biggest upset of the night, guaranteed. I have no idea what he said, but I think it was sweet he dedicated it to his mom.

I really didn't want another writer's strike joke, but "Oscars Salute to Binoculars and Periscopes" was pretty funny. The bad dreams one, not as much.

Owen Wilson's presenting?! Whoa. Probably best that he doesn't stop to crack a joke at his own expense - anything he said would just be sad. Live action short - Does this mean there's going to be a run on French movies tonight? That would be an interesting trend. Or maybe the trend is acceptance speeches in foreign languages.

This will have to go under Least Welcome Animated Presenter: Jerry Seinfeld in his Bee Movie character. We got enough of that on NBC last fall. Gag me.

Supporting actress - Hey, there's an upset. Tilda Swinton. "Happy birthday man. I have an American agent who is the spitting image of this. Really truly, the same shaped head and it has to be said the buttocks." "George Clooney, the seriousness and the dedication to your art. Seeing you climb into that rubber batsuit from 'Batman and Robin.' The one with the nipples. On the set, off the set, hanging upside down at lunch. You rock, man."
That might win best speech in my book.

Adapted screenplay - "No Country For Old Men." Start of a trend? Ethan (or maybe it's Joel?) Coen - "We, ah... thank you very much." That could be best speech, too.

This is weird. Now they're doing "That's How You Know," and this time, it's a big production number. With Kristin Chenoweth. So weird. Dammit, I demand my giant cockroaches! I drink your giant cockroach milkshake! I drink it up!

Nice to see "Bourne Ultimatum" win one. I think Matt Damon deserved at least a nom for that one. I think he deserved it at least as much as Johnny Depp or Tommy Lee Jones. Plus, it really wouldn't kill the Oscars to have a hit movie get nominated for something besides effects. What was that award for, anyway?

Sound mixing - "Bourne Ultimatum." Still, Matt. Yeah.

Best actress - I'm pulling for Ellen Page here. Only 'cause "Juno" was my favorite movie of the past year. But no, Marion Cotillard wins. Eh. Whatever.

Best song - Falling Slowly. I hadn't heard that song, but everybody's been talking about it like it's a mortal lock. Now that I have heard it, I have to say, eh. I mean, it's more serious than any of those from "Enchanted," but still, hardly immortal music.

Editing - "Bourne Ultimatum." Bourne is turning out to be the big winner tonight. That's kinda funny. Still, Matt. Yeah.

Stewart - "Film editing. Yeah. Someone just took the lead in their Oscar pool based on a guess."
Harsh, but true.

Foreign language film. It's odd, "The Counterfeiters" is the only one of these I've seen. I usually do better. It was, if you're wondering, just OK. Makes me wonder if the others were really mediocre, since it won.

Best song - "Falling Slowly." No surprise. "We shot this film two years ago. We shot it with two handicams. It cost $100,000. This is amazing. Make art." Pretty good speech, but leave two seconds for your partner, you know.

Stewart waving "Once's" Marketa Irglova back out so she could say thanks was maybe the nicest moment of the night.

Documentary short - "Freeheld." Hey, I've actually seen that one! It was at the Rocky Mountain Women's Film Festival. Pretty straight-up doc, but well done. The RMWFF has had a knack for picking Oscar winners recently. "Born into Brothels" showed their a couple years back.

Man, is Harrison Ford looking old. Doesn't bode well for "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of Metamucil," or whatever they're calling it.

Best actor - DDL. No surprise.

Best director - Coens. No surprise. Great speech by Joel, though: "I don't have anything to add to what I said earlier."

Best film - "No Country." That, by the way, gives Kimball Bayles the edge in his epic grudge match with Warren Epstein. It also means Warren will be cleaning the theaters sometime this week.

That was an anti-climatic finish - and 15 minutes early! Crazy, crazy stuff.

And Jon Karroll's not wearing a tux this year. Color me disappointed.


OK, now that I've asserted my testosterone quotient, some Oscar pre-game.

First off, I kind of expected TV Guide's coverage to be less cringe-worthy without Joan and Melissa Rivers. But NO, it's actually even worse. Completely unwatchable, in fact. I had to turn away after Lisa Rina made some ridiculous recovery after (incorrectly) saying that Amy Ryan is from Boston. "That's how good you were, I could have sworn you were from Boston."

Meanwhile, E! is actually pretty entertaining. Seacrest is showing what George Clooney, Daniel Day-Lewis and Helen Mirren would look like in Javier Bardem's bitchin' '70's 'do from "No Country." Made me laugh.

Also always worth watching, Jason Bateman:

"It's amazing how real it looks," Jason Bateman reacting to Ryan Seacrest gushing over George Clooney's hair.

"It's basically like watching inside except without the comfy socks." Also Bateman.

John Travolta... that's some creepy-ass hair. Why is The Rock there? And how did he steal Travolta's hair?

Seacrest comparing grocery lists with Steve Carell? That's a little strange.

Seacrest gets to the bottom of The Rock's presence - he's presenting. "As long as the material is good, I'm happy." Ooooookay then, Scorpion King.

Good Lord, who's that with Seth Rogen?

Amy Adams, Castle Rock's finest, is looking good, apparently presenting (maybe with The Rock).
Seacrest - "You know what's great about these shows, there's literally no plan, there's zero script and it's live so you can't go back and do it again." There's the sunny side of the street.

YAY! Gary Busey goes nuts and assaults Seacrest on live television. AWESOME! "You, yeah, you. I've been looking for you for years." I suppose this only proves Seacrest's point, but I'll still make fun of him.

"I've been in a lot of situations on live television. I don't even know how to explain what just happened. And the terror on Jennifer Garner's face. The interesting thing is that, as that went down, everyone was just milling around like nothing crazy was happening... I think that was an interesting, compelling exchange that will be replayed for quite awhile."

Not nearly in that league, but still funny - "I like you so much more now." - Keri Russell, to Seacrest after he spontaneously busts into Young MC's "Bust a Move."

Eh, nothing else struck me from the E! pre-game. We'll switch over to the official red carpet show now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lost - Does Aaron count as one of the six?

And, if so, does Claire count as one of the eight original survivors? It's Jack, Kate, Hurley, Sayid and possibly Aaron and possibly Ben, if you're counting. That's all six, potentially, although it leaves the two who didn't make it up in the air.

Actually, for all the mumbo jumbo, it was a very straightforward episode. It was clear pretty early on that Aaron was Kate's baby, that she was going to get off the charges (seems like there was a LOT more evidence on her than just her mom's testimony, but whatever). Ghostbuster's extortion deal was the opposite of interesting. The final reminder of the time lag was kinda cool.

I don't know why they keep making Locke be an idiot, it seems like more people would pick up on that and stop trusting him so much.

Idol eliminations

Well, those were pretty hard to argue with. Simon was uneccesarily mean. And does a fine, but perfectly forgettable, innocuous pop song actually help Paula's career in some way, given that the electronic effects sort of imply that she's lost the very limited singing ability she once had?

Idol lip-synch scandal

Love this. They're accusing Australian Michael Johns, but others may have been as guilty.

I didn't really notice it at the time, but in retrospect, it did seem like something was going on.

Forget the ringers and the rigged voting, if this one's true, it basically throws the entire Idol premise out the window: Seeing how these supposed amateurs face up to the pressures of the camera and the audience is pretty much what the game is about.

I don't see how this won't blow up into a big, darn deal.

Of course, the funniest thing about it is that Johns' dubbed "Light My Fire" was still totally lackluster, despite all the praise the judges heaped on it.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Idol idle

This is pretty interesting to me. I'm used to wondering whether the acoustics in the studio are totally different than what comes through the TV - 'cause the judges obviously are never hearing the same thing I am. But I'm also used to the girls being better than the guys at this stage of the competition.

And tonight, the girls are sorta stinking it up. I mean last night, I think David Archuleta (baby-faced kid), Jason Castro (dreadlocked kid) and Robbie Carrico (phony rocker) all did great, and a handful of the other guys did OK.

So far with the girls, I think Amanda Overmyer (the rockin' nurse) and Alexandrea Lushington (um, I dunno, the one wearing fatigues, I guess) were great and all the rest were... eh.

For a season that was supposedly loaded with ringers, the only interesting performances are coming from genuine outsiders. I suppose that's kinda heartening.

Oh, and I totally forgot the best part: Seacrest and Amanda Overmyer were talking about how her car got wrecked by a semi on her way to Hollywood, and whether the driver was watching the show ... and Overmyer goes "He's like, 'I hit that.'" Sooo awesome. Seacrest didn't have the common humanity to fall down laughing, but I'm 100 percent certain Randy and Simon were on the floor.

Fox renewals/ABC returnees

A few surprises. I never thought "Back to You" would make it back.

"New Amsterdam" and "Canterbury's Law" are coming in March. "Amersterdam" is a pretty bad vampire tale, without the vampire. "Canterbury's" is an OK, if histrionic, lawyer show with Julianna Marguiles.

Over at the alphabet, we learn "Lost" returns at 9 p.m. April 24 (still Thursdays), "Ugly Betty" same day at 7, "Desperate Housewives" 8 p.m. April 13 and "Grey's" at 8 p.m. April 24.

Monday, February 18, 2008


If you perused the ads in Sunday's paper, you may have noticed that you can now get an HD-DVD player for a $150. Such a deal!

OK, maybe not so much. Unless your Betamax VCR is feeling lonely.

I've watched the high def DVD wars with interest - there wasn't much rhyme or reason to why Blu-Ray seems to have prevailed (other than perhaps a Microsoft endorsement is the technological kiss of death). It's amusing that Sony is winning this time, 30 years after Beta bit the dust.

The bigger question is, can any kind of DVD player survive in an age of online streaming and movie downloads? I'd argue yes, although the quality difference between regular DVD's and high-def DVD's may not be great enough to get a critical mass going before the equation does change.

Obviously, streaming offers unacceptable quality on anything larger than a laptop screen. And downloads are pretty slow, even over a highs-speed cable line. And high def downloads are an order of magnitude slower than that. So, if the easiest way to download a movie is to let your computer complete the download overnight, the time advantage versus getting the movie in the mail via Netflix isn't that great.

Moreover, the technology for getting a movie from your laptop to your TV is still rudimentary and much more of a hassle than many people want to do just so they can relax and watch a movie.

Now, I think those objections are going to be overcome, it's just going to take another three or five or seven years (depending on how quickly higher bandwidth can be rolled out). That's plenty of time for a movie lover to get a good return on their investment for a new DVD player. I'll probably get one, at least once you can buy a Blu Ray for $150.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

NBC renewals

No word on number of eppys, but here are the dates:

"My Name Is Earl" - April 3
"ER" - April 10
"30 Rock" - April 10
"The Office" - April 10
"Scrubs" - April 10
"ER" - April 10
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" - April 15
"Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" - April 15
"Law & Order" - April 23

"Chuck," "Life" and "Heroes" won't be back until the fall.

Jericho fans better stock up on peanuts

It's not looking so good for CBS' pity project.

If it keeps up those numbers, "Jericho" will be lucky to get through the seven episodes that are already in the can. If you're a fan, maybe you should get used to watching it on your computer screen.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Slap bet, coming to a TV near you

CBS sent out a list of what's coming back when and with how much.
Here are the highlights:

"How I Met Your Mother," March 17, nine new episodes
"The Big Bang Theory," March 17, nine new episodes
"Two and a Half Men," March 17, nine new episodes
"CSI: Miami," March 24, eight new episodes
"Cold Case," March 30, five new episodes
"Criminal Minds," April 2, seven new episodes
"CSI: NY," April 2, seven new episodes
"CSI," April 3, six new episodes
"Without a Trace," April 3, six new episodes
"Ghost Whisperer," April 4, six new episodes
"Numb3rs," April 4, six new episodes
"NCIS," April 8, seven new episodes
"Moonlight," April 11, four new episodes
"Rules of Engagement," April 14, six new episodes

"Shark," "The Unit" and "Cane" are TBA, but they should be back at some point. This schedule seems a little optimistic to me, but I assume they know what they're doing.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

"Daisies," "Money" coming back, "Jim" maybe not so much

ABC picks up "Pushing Daisies," "Dirty Sexy Money," "Samantha Who?" and "Private Practice," among others. "According to Jim" and "Cavemen" are left out in the cold. Yay!

"Samantha Who?" might kick out a few more episodes in the spring, but the rest probably won't be back 'til fall. Still, good news all around.

Elsewhere, we'll (OK, I'll) get a few more episodes of "Reaper" yet this season. Along with more "Gossip Girl," which I know is the show everyone actually cares about.

Monday, February 11, 2008

This is the end

OK, it's fer real now. The strike is history. Officially, tomorrow, but really, now. Writers will once again get back to writing on Wednesday. Hip-hip-hoorah. There should be new episodes of many shows by late April.

Sadly, every victory comes with a cost. "Friday Night Lights" may have played its last game on Friday. "24" won't be back until next year. Who knows what'll happen with "Lost"?

Pour a 40 on the ground to remember the ones who didn't make it, won't you?

Friday, February 08, 2008

Good news

The writers strike is now clearly winding down, so much so that TV Guide's David Ausiello has a list up of when we can start expecting new episodes from our favorite shows.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

"Lost" again

Kind of a shaggy episode. That's a shame after last week's tour de force. Maybe it's just that the newcomers off the freighter can't act. At least, that wasn't helping anything.

Having said that, Locke and Charlotte was a pretty funny scene - all subtext. And the lust in the Losties' eyes looking at the chopper.

And, OK, pretty good ending. But Michael Emerson is always good.

UPDATE: A few morning after thoughts. In this week's TV Talk column, I was talking about "Lost's" vast online universe. Somewhere in there, might have been the Find 815 game, there was a reference to Oceanic (or someone) sinking another jetliner to pose as 815. Obviously, we're seeing that played out in the show now. I'll try to find the reference.

Also, "Tall Walt" was a funny, if cheesy, explanation. As was Locke getting shot right where his missing kidney would be.

So, what do the rest of you think about the show's committment to sci fi ghosthunting? Obviously, there were strong elements of that in the past, but I think it was easier to accept them when they were confined to the island. After all, we've been conditioned since the first episode to understand that the island is full of weird things. Well, now we're clearly seeing weirdness out in the real world. I think it'll be a tricky line for the show to walk.

Survivor: Fans vs. Favorites

Eh, didn't do that much for me. I've been a pretty spotty "Survivor" viewer for a few seasons now, so I only recognized maybe half of the "favorites." Slightly less than that with Johnny Fairplay gone. And what was the deal there? Did he really want to leave and they edited to make it look otherwise, or was he played and covering it up? I'm not sure they showed us enough to tell?

Anyway, "Survivor" has to come up with a fresher idea than this to reinvigorate the franchise. It's just tired.

Best sweeps story?

What's your favorite sweeps story from the local stations?

Eric Singer's return to the Texas 7 has gotten the most play, and it's a pretty interesting story, even if the presentation is a little breathless.

KOAA has had the Gazette's Tom Roeder checking in from Iraq - although I haven't seen them use Dave Bitton's video in those reports. You'd think I'd know, but, eh, not so much. Actually, I think James Jarman's prostitution and child predator stories are really their big sweeps stories.

KXRM had Mike Conneen's trip to the Philippines with a medical group (and the beer-fetching dog!).

What's KKTV's big enterprise story been? I guess I haven't seen them promoting anything sweeps-style.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Oh, it's on

Conan, Colbert and Stewart were doing a late-night roundabout last night. Conan's segment got the best bit, though:

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Cutthroat bitch is back!

Yay! Just a quick "House" note. Didn't see that coming, but it's the most welcome twist of the new year. For those who didn't follow the "Survivor: House" shenanigans, Cutthroat Bitch is the affectionate nickname House gave to one of his fellowship applicants (supplicants).

Anyway, she (Amber) was a surprise last-minute cut. Surprise because she was a fan favorite for her Machiavellian schemings. And now she's back. Sleeping with Wilson. Yay!

Super Bowl - winners and losers

My favorite? The FedEx giant pigeons. It was quirky, but also had some simple physical humor.

After that, Shaq the jockey. Funny, well executed, unexpected.

Justin Timberlake was funny on several levels.

I should stop to ponder whether "funny" is the thing a commercial should be going for, but really, I'm viewing this as entertainment, not marketing and I don't think it's possible to do a decent drama in 30 seconds. I think the Tide to Go ad was probably the most effective sales pitch.


I hated the GoDaddy ad. Hated the Careerbuilder ads. And I'm hoping that's the end of the line for the Bud Light "now with..." ads.

Fourth quarter commercials

Coke blimps - Memorable visual.

Nice looking Giants drive to take the lead, 10-7. Yay.

Coke political consultants - James Carville on a Segway is sorta amusing.

E-Trade - Love that it plays off of how creepy talking babies are.

Gatorade Man's Best Friend - So your product tastes like dog water? Innnteresting.

Bud Light Will Ferrell - Who doesn't love a little Will?

Don't look now, but with three minutes left, this is almost starting to get interesting.

Victoria's Secret - Think about this: What they're selling here is nacho cheese-breath sex. Sounds a little nasty to me, but whatever turns your crank.

Duuuuuuude. That was an amazing, amazing pass play. If you're watching, you know what I'm saying.

Wow. Was Burress wide open on that TD. History could be made.

Wow. What a finish. I was kind of, sort of, a little bit right about the Giants not being able to score. But Brady played a pretty poor game and the Giants put together a couple of drives. Football, man. You just never know.

Third quarter commercials head shrinker - That did nothing for me.

Sales genie - OK, offensive Chinese stereotypes to sell sleazy websites. That's an, uh, intersting idea. I still don't know what that company does, but I now hope they're bankrupt really, really soon.

Vitamin Water Shaq as jockey - Completely awesome, especially the kid picking his nose. Having said that, this is the commercial I'm most likely to remember, while totally forgetting what it was selling.

Bud Light cavemen - Saw the joke coming. It made my friend Christopher laugh.

Ice Cubes Carmen Electra - I totally missed the point of that.

Bridgestone - Alice Cooper, Richard Simmons, pretty funny.

Careerbuilder - Creepy freakin spiders. These guys are totally trying to give me nightmares and it's sort of pissing me off.

That Bellichick challenge was one of the stranger things I've ever seen, coaching-wise. But they got a first down out of it, so who am I to judge?

UPDATE: At Christopher's insistence, I went to to watch the Danica Patrick commercial. I'll summarize to save you the bandwidth: It's a stupid beaver joke. I guess Patrick has decided that she's never, ever, in a million years, going to win a race. Sad, really.

Hyundai Genesis - Boring, but a nice-looking car. I guess that's the point.

Bud Light flying - I'm over this campaign. Although, again, this would have rocked if it was Randy Moss.

JUST A QUESTION: Could this be the most boring Super Bowl ever?

Second quarter commercials

Fed Ex pigeons - Liked that one. Giant, night-vision equipped pigeons. That's good stuff.

Tide to go - Surprisingly effective ad, with the stain talking louder than the interviewee.

Budweiser Clydesdales - I liked the Rocky thing. Maybe just because that's a really pretty horse.
Iron Man - I'm still not sure if this movie is going to rule or completely suck, but Robert Downey Jr. should make it interesting. The commercials really offer no clues either way.

Toyota Corolla - Badgers. Heh, love it.

Leatherheads - I've been hearing about this movie forever, but this is the first clip I've seen. Pretty funny.

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - I hope your kids weren't watching that intro. I loved that the camera switched to a different angle just as the, um, guitar was about to meet the heart.

Um, so now it's halftime and the PA system is playing "Freefallin'" ... presumably to prepare the crowd for Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers playing "Freefallin'" two minutes from now.

Garmin Napoleon - The commercial? Eh. Loved the car, though.

Oh for gawd's sakes. It's like the Giants aren't even trying to cover the spread. This is why I don't bet. Now Eli is just grounding the ball so he won't get hurt.

Careerbuilder heart - Well, that was arresting imagery. Probably not going to forget that one. Unfortunately.

GMC Yukon hybrid - I'm not sure Sisyphus was really the image they want associated with a hybrid that gets like 18 mpg.

Bud Light Carlos Mencia - "We make sandwich, I am meat" was the only funny one.

Planters "hot" chick - Funny, but it's not doing wonders for my appetite.

t-mobile Charles Barkley - Barkley is always funny. It's not always intentional.

Pepsi Justin Timberlake - That made no sense at all, but it's the funniest thing I've seen in quite a while.

Doritos giant rat - What the heck was that? But, I give them surprise points.

First quarter commercials

Bud Light fire breather - Funny, but would have been 100 times better if it starred Tom Brady.

Audi - Eh, OK. The horse head in the bed has been imitated to death. Sharp-looking car, I gotta say.

OMG - Are you seeing the hoodie Bellichick is wearing? Paging the fashion police, we have an emergency!

Pepsi Max - I'm not sure anyone wants to remember "A Night at the Roxbury," but otherwise, not totally sucky.

Sales genie - Can anyone explain to me what the hay this company does?

Bud Light - Hollow soiree. Whatever.

Underarmor - There's $2.7 million that could have fed the homeless.

Did you see that Brady pass? I think he hears the footsteps...

Bridgestone animal avoidance test - Would have made a better Saab commercial.

Doritos - Come on, we've had enough "American Idol" allusions in this game. Can't we see more beer commercials?

So far, all my favorite commercials have been the Fox promotions. That Terminator throwing the football robot around was funny.

I'd just like to point out that, after what I'd describe as a pretty poor looking offensive series, the Patriots just scored easy as pie. I'm changing my prediction to 42-16. - Those commercials keep getting more annoying. Get off it. You're not going to show Danica Patrick's boobs on the Internet and we all know it.


As long as we're waiting for kickoff, I might as well throw out a prediction. This isn't a game I particularly care about - I'm a Packers fan (although props to the Giants for sticking it out through a game the football gods were clearly intent on giving the Pack 400 chances to win).

The Patriots are one of the less likable teams in recent memory. I mean, they're not like early '90s Cowboys unlikable, but they're definitely not all soft and cuddly. And, for an underdog, the Giants aren't all that likable, either. Manning is a charisma zero. Even the cuddlier Coughlin 2.0 is still one of the colder fishes in the coaching sea - right behind Belichek. I wish Tiki Barber were still playing.

Despite that, I guess I'll root for the underdog. It'll be a more interesting game that way. I think the Patriots would be remembered just as much for falling on their faces as they would for going undefeated. They'd be a cautionary tale for the ages.

Anyway, I think the Giants defense will give the Pats fits, but New England is still going to score. The Giants O may simply... not.

So, I'll throw it out there: Patriots 28, Giants 13.

What I am liking about the pre-game

The player profiles are pretty good. The Junior Seau piece I'm watching now (that's a darn pretty surfboard Junior's got), the Michael Strahan home videos. The Belicheck thing, eh, not so much.


Honestly, I've got nothing against Paula Abdul. I really don't - she's weird, but she's funny. Now, having said that, I'm pretty sure that those vocal distortion effects are what performers do when they can't sing anymore. And Paula's dancing looks like it could use some digital effects, too. At least Randy has the good sense to hide at the back of the stage.

More pre-game

This Ryan Seacrest on the red carpet thing is pretty... weird. Maybe this was their best shot for a celebrity love fest in February with the Oscars still up in the air (although it's looking like the strike will be over with sooner rather than later). I mean, I guess it's as good a time killer as anything else, and certainly better than more Frank Caliendo.

Props, however to Laurence Fishburne, who came up with a pretty perceptive comment:

"How do you choose between the underdog and the undefeated? How do you do that?"

Anyone catching this bizarre New York-Boston smack talk-off? I guess the sports writers are on strike, too. Somebody wasted an entire day filming that garbage.

Frank Caliendo? Really?

"If you've never seen Frank Caliendo, you'll get to see plenty of him over the next three hours."

I'm assuming that's a threat.


I'd just like to point out how unacceptable it is that it is now 7:33 a.m. Sunday morning, I've been awake for 20 minutes, and yet I still have to wait another 27 minutes for the Super Bowl pre-game to start.

Why, that's a mere eight hours of pre-game before kickoff. A network that cared would start the pre-game the night before so that I could arise this morning, refreshed and rejuvenated, and immediately turn on the TV.

That is all.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Just for the heck of it

Well, everybody else is linking to it, I might as well, too. Mildly NSFW (language).