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Katie who?

Katie who?

Well, since I’ve previewed the other two networks, decorum dictates that I devote a day to everyone, so tomorrow will be Fox, and Thursday will be devoted to the CW, where I’ll probably just re-post my rant about the advertising on Teens Doin’ It!, um, er, “Gossip Girl.”

Anyway, the three TV shows CBS seems to be heavily pimping for the fall are “The Mentalist”, “Gary Unmarried” and “The Ex-List”. And by heavily pimping, I really mean, “There’s no way CBS thinks these shows have a real chance.”

The Mentalist” stars Simon Baker as a guy with really sharp powers of observation who solves crimes.

Yawn. This show appears to be “Psych” but without the humor, the put-upon black costar, and Corbin Bernsen. In case you’ve never seen “Psych”, the lead character uses keen observational skills as well, but he plays it for laughs. There appears to be pretty much no difference between these shows except one is on broadcast television.

Let’s move on to “The Ex-List“, a show where a lonely single girl finds out from a psychic that she has already met her soul mate, and if she doesn’t reconnect with him in a year, she will die alone. So she lists every guy she ever hooked up with, befriended, or dated, and goes back to seek them to see if they are indeed The One.

First of all, this show just screams “cancel my ass!” Why give her one year? And what if the show’s a hit, how can you continue to sustain it if you have a finite list? Second of all, how dumb is this woman to believe this psychic? If this person is your soul mate, how the fuck can you put a clock on it? How come they didn’t connect the first time? If they’re a random person you ran into, wouldn’t you just run into them again at a more cosmically opportune time?

Third, shouldn’t you automatically sue this psychic for malpractice when this woman inevitably goes back to the abusive, coke-and-porn addicted, egomaniacal asshole who she just couldn’t give up and it took four breakups and a restraining order for her to finally see the light? You know he’s out there, but somehow they’ll skip that episode.

Besides, this show is slated for Friday nights, meaning it’s aimed at married women who can feel superior and go “Thank my lucky stars I’m not single and trolling the streets for ass tonight.” I don’t give it much of a chance. 

Finally, we have perennial comic underachiever Jay Mohr in the sitcom “Gary Unmarried“, about a newly divorced dude who has to juggle a new ex-girlfriend, two kids, and an ex-wife, who also has a fiance. Blah.

The single dad embarking on the world of dating is comedy gold! Why give him a steady girlfriend right out of the box, that makes no sense. I mean, I understand some dudes are strictly long-term relationship one woman guys, but that just makes this an extended family sitcom.

The spice of the single-parent sitcom is that that they characters get to be loving, doting, responsible parents who also get to juggle the issues that come along with trying to laid. It’s the reason “Two and a Half Men” is such an inexplicable massive hit. Yeah, Charlie sheen my be “acting” like a womanizing douche, but you see the interaction with the kid, and then you think, sure, he can’t form a true emotional bond with a woman, but he can be close and caring with people in other ways. When he’s not screwing over some lady he picked up at bar the night before. So the audience has it’s dirty fantasy cake (“yeah, dirty bachelor, you go!”) and eat it with responsibility while looking to the future (“aw, he just taught the kid a valuable lesson about not quitting!”)

Kids humanize the womanizer/man-whore. You take that element away in “Gary Unmarried” and you just have a show about a perpetually annoyed guy. I don’t give this one much of a chance either, unless they retool the show by dumping the girlfriend and creating a storyline where he has to hide his newfound dabbling in fetish parties from his ex-wife and kids.

Finally got my butt into the theater to see consensus American movie of the year “No Country For Old Men” (I hope to see what appears to be #2, There Will Be Blood, sometime this weekend), and I’ve got some thoughts. If you haven’t seen it, you may possibly be spoiled if you read too much. All six of you.

I really enjoyed it, it’s visually quite stunning. While the story of the average Joe in over his head against a ruthless, psychopathic criminal is nothing new, I think what gives the movie its heft and meaning is the excellent job the file does of evoking the legend and majesty of American West as the backdrop for modern-day savagery. The source material by Cormac McCarthy needs to be credited for that as much as the stunning cinematography.

Also, there’s never not a moment of dread and anticipation in the film once it gets going, even in its calmer scenes. That’s always impressive to me in this day and age when it’s pretty hard to find new ways to keep people on the edge of their seats. The performances are all very good.

The bad news: the ending. While I didn’t hate the ending, and may have a bead on what they were trying to do, I’m not sure if it was the best ending. Having Tommy Lee Jones tell a story about meeting his dad in his dreams probably was meant to continue the theme about the reality versus the legend of the West (it’s just as savage now as ever, there just isn’t any varnish of faded memories on it now) and kind of works.

The final scenes involving Anton Chigurh, and whether he spares the widow of Llewelyn Moss, the ensuing random car accident and interaction with two youths much like Moss’ earlier in the film…I don’t know. I guess it was trying to show that a psychopath has no choice in his fate, it is just who he is, and he’s like the coin flip…wherever it lands, the decision is made for him. Not really sure it worked. But it has engendered discussion, and for a movie to do that after you leave is never really a problem.

So, overall, I can see why many consider it the yeatr’s best movie. I just haven’tt seen enough films this year to say it is, but it doesn’t seem particularly irrational to me.  I definitely classify it as “worth seeing”.

Note: At some point, my buddy Joe and I will make up alternate absurd endings for this movie. It’s been a tradition of ours since we saw “Million Dollar Baby” and amused ourselves for hours afterwards by creating alternate endings. The clear winner in that one, by the way, was Joe’s scenario where Morgan Freeman winds up stealing Hillary Swank’s insurance money from Clint Eastwood and says “…and that why she was my Million Dollar Baby.” Then of course, fade to credits.

Or maybe you had to be there. In any case, next time I see Joe, we’ll do the same, and I’ll share the results with you.