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Tag Archives: delusions of grandeur

By now you’ve heard the news that Jay Leno and NBC have decided to give the late-night talk show format a whirl in prime time. Most articles discussing this potential major change in television programming mention the possibility of enormous profits if this idea is successful. The costs of a talk-show are relatively low in the long run, especially when compared to dramas and sitcoms. If a show that cheap can make make huge profits in late night, imagine the potential earnings of prime-time ratings.

Inspired by a desperate network’s out-of-the-box thinking, the thought came across my mind that that our government, pretty strapped right now but having to spend even more on the strapped economy, could use a little cash infusion itself. Too bad the government can’t put on a profitable, entertaining, and informative show five nights a week and make easy cash.

Wait, why not?

I mean, Barack Obama is all over the airwaves anyway these days, appointing Cabinet members, offering up plans, telling the current President what he should do while reminding everyone that he’s not President yet, and of course, going “Rod who?”

In the interest of a new, more transparent government, and tax deductions for all participating advertisers, live from Washington, D.C., it’s Government Live! With President Barack Obama! (Sometimes, when the President needs a day off, you’ll get Joe Biden. Joe Biden will make a fine David Brenner or Garry Shandling for this generation.)

“But”, the skeptics out there are asking, “what the hell is Barack Obama going to talk about for an hour?” No worries. Like every well-designed show, we have a format all set up: fast-paced, entertaining, informative, and chock-full of opportunities for the people to learn. It’ll be like a civics class every night, except more fun! Check it out:

Segment 1 — What I’m doin’: Basically his monologue, where he pretty much tells the American people what he’s doing to fix the country. About five minutes. The goal is three minutes of explanation and information and two minutes of inspiration.

Segment 2 –The People’s Briefing: The President sits down, takes a load off, and sits down with someone from the government live via satellite, from the field, whether it’s the front lines of the war on terror or restructuring of the auto industry, where people can see results. Not to mention light banter, of course.

Segment 3 — The Big Idea: The evening’s main guest, usually a Congressman or Cabinet Member, comes on to discuss the big issue of the day. It’s a free-flowing conversation, hopefully designed to stimulate thought. Not to mention of course, embarrassing stories and wildly amusing anecdotes.

Segment 4 — Media Roundtable:Everyone loves pundits, but let’s see what we get when they get to punditize in front of the President himself. Sure, it might be awkward at first, but soon, we’ll be hoping for the kind of no-holds barred discussion of the issues you get on…um.. well…uh, it’ll be like a more formal “Around The Horn“.

Segment 5 — Haterade! : In the interest of equal time, this segment is devoted to the opposition. Some Republican comes on and tells you why these aren’t good ideas and what Ronald Reagan would do if he were still alive. Then, as all good American TV does, we rip off the British. Designated Hater of the Day gets a to ask the President three questions in the style of British Parliament : “Whare is the President getting all this money for these public works projects?! Does he hope to simply print it?” It’ll be confrontational, provide the show’s dramatic climax, and lead perfectly into…

Segment 6 — Musical guest: Because you always have to have a musical guest on a talk show. Period.

Segment 7 — 42 cents: In other words, the mailbag segment, where the President talks to the people. From a safe distance deep inside the White House, of course. A nice, snappy way to wrap up the show.

With that kind of setup, you won’t even know you’re watching a government informational program! And with the high ratings you’d undoudtedly get from a nation on edge, you could easily clear about a billion dollars a year! With that kind of money rolling we could easily put, like, a light, easily repairable scratch in the deficit!

Look, we gotta start somewhere. You got anything better, hater?

That’s what they need to call this “Gossip Girl” show, judging from the ads. I cop to totally knowing nothing about the show, its origins, it’s stars, and its purpose. I do know it’s on the CW. (their motto: “We will try just about f***in’ anything.”)

But the ads make it seem like the whole show is pretty much about young, beautiful people doing the nasty. Somehow they revolve a plot around it, because let’s face it, you can’t bone and not have drama. I suspect episodes revolve around who hit it with who and when and what time and what acts were performed. Who boned and thought a relationship was underway, only to find out that the guy they thought they were making love to was getting busy in a horse-drawn carriage the next night. With her best friend, which is female code for arch-rival, of course.

All this is fine, after all, sex has been a staple of the primetime soap opera for years. But at least there used to appear to be some storylines that didn’t involve boning. I believe Dallas and Dynasty were set in the oil industry. It was like, yeah, people were boning, but that was for the express purpose of getting control of the oil. Like the episode where J.R. Ewing gave Dick Cheney a reacharound. Very controversial. But germane to the storyline. (Okay, that didn’t happen.)

But there’s no oil or gold or bread or ant farms or gossip or any other commodity at stake, it appears with this show. It’s not about the trials and tribualtions of class structure and cliquishness among well-to-do, affluent teenagers. Then again, maybe it is. Point is, I wouldn’t know from the ads. Maybe it’s even a show about the trials and tribualtions of class structure and cliquishness among well-to-do, affluent teenagers…who bone at every opportunity.

I guess there’s nothing wrong with that if that’s what the show’s about. But if I ever tune in and detect some semblance of a plot, or see a storyline that is not boning-related, then this show will have done the drooling 40-something “To Catch A Predator” crowd these ads are aimed at a cruel injustice. So it’ll be back to the porn, Viagra and MySpace for them. So sad.

But somehow I doubt it. I’m sure this ad campaign completely reflects the true nature of the show. I won’t watch, but I trust that the season premiere, “Wrong Hole”, will have all the twists and turns I expect (if you know what I mean), and at most ten to twenty lines of dialogue. Mostly about teabagging, hopefully. I’m trusting you, American Bonefest, er Gossip GIrl. Don’t let America, and by America, I mean “assholes who think they’re too good for porn”, down.

It’s a dark and stormy night. Well, it’s more like just raining steadily. Many of my friends pretty much have better things to do tonight, some of it involving dressing up. I am bored.

This is the kind of night where I would kind of consider going out and drinking alone. And by would, I mean, very likely. The proliferation of cheap bars in my neighborhood makes it a serious leisure option for me. I’ve learned to take advantage of it. Being alone, yet out amongst people, is always an interesting thing to do. Sometimes you even get to interact and meet other people.

Other times you interact with no one. You get just drunk and take note of your observations. Like the Washington Wizards fan I saw at Redd’s Tavern last week. I had never seen one in person before, and he was really into it, living and dying with each possession, frantically calling his buddy when their star player went down. Such passion for a franchise I had only known for ridiculously changing their name from “Bullets” about a decade ago.

I’m not really looking for adventure and excitement tonight, but I guess there is always a tinge of possibility when you head out to a public house  and venture outside on a rainy night. Even if you do nothing, at least you can say you did something. So I’ll post this, and go, and I’ll report if anything interesting happens, which it won’t. Sometimes sitting around with your own thoughts is not necessarily a good thing. But I guess that is also what a television is for, right? Nah, not really, not in the age of the DVR, where I can catch with the shows I want to watch and zoom past the commercials I want to miss. Whatever happens to you when you’re outside can’t be altered and fast-forwarded through. That’s why you have to make good things happen when you’re out.

We shall see.