Friday, March 10, 2006

The Poop on Pop Culture

Like I said on Wednesday, I’m going to try and make this a weekly feature, showing up on Friday nights or Saturday mornings. Basically it’s going to be a quick hit, Larry King-like thoughts column where I write about anything that pops into my gulliver. Hopefully, I’ll be less incoherent than King, but part of the fun of Larry King is his insanity.

With American Idol on Thursday nights against Survivor, I’m probably one of the only people watching this season of the CBS show. And, while they are trying their damnedest to mix things up, this is a pretty flat cast. Last night, they voted out the astronaut. Oh crap, I forgot to put a spoiler warning in front of that, but no matter … it was really anticlimactic.

Aside from the astronaut and the fighter pilot on the losing team, the only other interesting cast member is Shane and that’s because he is completely and totally bat-shit insane. Courtney is a complete bitch, bordering on being a psychopath and then there’s the old guy who does karate and makes rock gardens on the beach. That’s about it.

Everyone else is interchangeable and this might go down as the most boring season ever. Though in three weeks (the show is being preempted by March Madness for two weeks) someone gets taken off the island on a stretcher. That might be interesting, but unless the person dies … I don’t think it’s going to matter much in terms of rememberability. Ok, that’s not even a word.

Speaking of shows that no one is watching, about a month ago FOX aired the last four episodes of “Arrested Development” and of course, they were awesome. The bad news was they ran them during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics, which meant they got zero ratings. However, the good news is that it looks like Showtime is picking up two years (26 episodes in all) of the show. You know what that means?

I’m getting Showtime. Definitely.

I know what you’re thinking, this is a pop culture entry, where is the stuff about the Oscars? I don’t really give a shit about awards shows so I didn’t watch the Oscars. Sorry about that. The thing is, I didn’t see any of the movies that were nominated either. I wanted to check out “Capote”, “Syriana”, “Crash” and “Good Night and Good Luck”, but I never got around to it.

In fact, my whole going to the movies thing has ground to a complete halt. The last movie that I saw in the theater was the “Fantastic Four”. How pathetic is that? Not that I saw FF, I’m a comic geek at heart and wanted to see it on the big screen, but I haven’t been to the movies since July. And it’s not like I have a kid or anything. Aly and I have just been too damn busy and we’re really turned off by the whole movie experience.

The last couple of times we’ve gone it’s the same thing; people loudly talking to each other, cell phones ringing, people eating three-course meals, yelling at the movie. It doesn’t matter if we go to a city theater or a suburb theater. It’s the same damn thing. People work so hard to get themselves to be a part of the movie, that they ruin the experience for everyone around them.

Am I going to pay $25 to be frustrated by a bunch of jackasses that weren’t given any attention as kids? I guess it depends on how badly I want to see a particular movie.

You’re not going to find a bigger “Leave it to Beaver” fan than me. God, I sound like a fucking dork in that last sentence, but there were a couple of things that bugged me about that show. For one thing, Ward and June claim that they don’t like Eddie at all. They think he’s a liar, a cheat and a sneak. Why do they permit Wally to hang out with him? Why doesn’t Ward grab him by the collar and say, “Listen Eddie, quit pulling that crap around here … I’m wise to you.”?

The most obvious answer is because it’s a television show, but putting that aside for a moment … Wally does everything his parents want, he’s almost like a robot. You mean to tell me that if they sit Wally down and explain to him that Eddie sucks, that he’d still hang out with him? Doubtful.

And that was the weird thing about Wally and Beaver. Left to their own devices, these kids constantly and consistently made the wrong decisions. Every single time. Can you imagine how frustrating that was to Ward? Forget the no sex thing for a second, Ward seemed like a pretty smart dude with a good grasp of how the world works. Wally and Beaver have zero clue, and had to be led by the hand to do the right thing.

That’s ok when you’re in grammar school, but Wally was a senior at Mayfield High by the end of the show and shouldn’t have had his father holding his hand on every decision the guy made. Maybe that’s why they kept Eddie around. Perhaps they thought that if Wally saw that Eddie completely screwed everything up by being sneaky and shifty, Wally would realize that he should act the opposite.

Of course, in the real world, Eddie is probably the head of a company like Enron right now, making eight figures and throwing parties that Caligula would find offensive. Wally is probably some hack accountant, playing by the letter of the law and struggling to get by on $35,000 a year.

I’ll be back next week with more stuff, hopefully it won’t be an admission that I haven’t watched any of the year’s Oscar nominated films, bits about two shows no one watches and an essay about a show that hasn’t had a new episode in 40 years.