Sunday, April 17, 2005

Digging into the TV Review e-mail bag

We get lot of e-mails suggesting shows to review and offering opinions. We thought this weekend would be the ideal time to dip into the e-mail bag and share a few of your comments.

The PBS Brit-coms are always a popular topic. Laura wrote, "Fawlty Towers is coming back! Please review it!" William notes Keeping Up Appearances. Charles notes Yes, Minister and urges us to "put down the bon-bons and give it a chance."

Non shrinking violent Paula gets right to the point, "DO YOU HATE PBS! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL IT!" We're reading those as questions, despite the exclamation points.

Wow Paula, you caught us red-handed. That's exactly what we're trying to do. After many meetings with our vigilante cabal (eating bon-bons apparently, see later e-mails) we sat around plotting the best way to kill PBS and the answer was obvious . . . ignore it.

After PBS died, our plan was always to tell the cops, "We didn't cover Brit-coms because they differ depending on what your local PBS station carries." We were pretty sure we could pull that off because they do, in fact, differ. Laura's getting Fawlty Towers this weekend, but others aren't. So we thought we had not only the perfect crime but also the perfect alibi.
Who knew that The Third Estate Sunday Review was followed by our very own Miss Marple?
Paula, you caught us red handed and, after we stop off at the grocers for more bon-bons, we'll have to figure out another plot to kill PBS.

Contrary to opinions expressed in some e-mails, we don't hate everything. We've praised Faith & Hope, Will & Grace and Medium. In an angry e-mail Kitty accuses us of being "snobs. You refuse to cover any show that doesn't meet your eastern elite standards of 'class.'"

Thanks for sharing, Kitty, but we really don't think "eastern elites" sit around discussing What I Like About You. We could be wrong.

Doug of Salt Lake City encourages us "to step beyond your upper class attitudes, lose some of your elitism and review Blue Collar TV which deals with realities that shock your delicate sensibilities."

If by shocking realities you're referring to the fact that in 2005, a show devoid of leading actresses, humor and even what might pass for wit -- well then call us "upper class." (Who knew?) If pandering to stereotypes (including that the working class includes only men and that they're so dumb they only respond to stereotypical "humor") is your idea of a good time, keep watching Blue Collar TV.

Stephanie plays her own version of the Platonic debate, "Matt LeBlanc is not fat and you had no reason to mock his weight! So what if he is heavy, does that make him not funny? When Matt LeBlanc wins an Oscar next year for Joey, I'll watch you eat your words."

Stephanie, LeBlanc being fat doesn't make him funny. Just as LeBlanc's being thin earlier didn't make him funny. While we think LeBlanc stands a good chance of waiting in the unemployment line when next fall's TV schedules are announced, should he win an Oscar for the work he has done on Joey, we will not only eat our words, we'll eat our computer screens. (Note to Stephanie, Oscars go to films, Emmys goes to TV.)

Joey from Phoenix e-mails to advise that, "You don't know the first thing you're talking about!
John Stamos is a nation treasure!" Joey, we're reading your e-mail and thinking perhaps you sent it to the wrong address. We feel you meant to send this to the U.S. Mint. Maybe they'll toss him on a coin. Try the Post Office. Maybe they'll put him on a stamp. But we reviewed a sitcom and didn't see anything worthy of praise. Possibly nation (or national?) treasures aren't cut out for sitcoms?

Lorraine e-mailed to pass on, "For your information, Kelly Ripa's commercials make me smile. I have a really hard life, something you two jokers wouldn't know about as you sit around eating bon-bons, and I really count on those commercials to cheer me up!"

Well Lorraine, keep coming, it works if you work it. Although we're a little frightened by the thought of you rushing to your TV set every time you get a bit of bad news, desperately flipping from channel to channel, screaming, "Where's the Ripa! Where's the Ripa!" On those instances where you're unable to find a commercial featuring Kelly Ripa, might we suggest you look for a Full House repeat? Joey from Phoenix swears Stamos is a "nation treasure."

Jamie of Georgetown tells us that "you're review of Smallville was downright offensive! And where do you get off criticizing Tom Welling or Ashton Kutcher? You're not actors!"

No, Jamie, we aren't. And neither are they.

A very concerned Abe e-mails attempting to do an intervention, "What's your problem with Everybody Loves Raymond? You're always slamming it. Don't you get that EVERYBODY LOVES Everybody Loves Raymond! It really pains me to read your little jabs and quips at that most excellent show's expense. That show has brought a wounded nation together!"

Abe, if "EVERYBODY LOVES" the show, we're not sure why our two voices bother you so.
As for the state of the nation, we're more than happy to join you in blaming it on the show Everybody Loves Raymond. Good point, Abe! As Patricia Heaton's hair color more and more resembles a Tom Ridge color-code alert, we're sure it provides not only easy laughs for many adults but also frightens small children. "Mommy, are we in the red?"

Abe will no doubt be delighted to know that Allyson has sussed us out, "I am on to you and have you two figured all out. You only attack Everybody Loves Raymond and Patricia Heaton because Heaton spoke out for Terry Schiavo!"

Well Allyson, you have figured us all out. Months ago, we consulted our Magic Eight Ball and asked, "In April, will Patricia Heaton take to the chat circuit to speak on the Schiavo issue?" Magic Eight Ball responded, "Most definitely. And her hair will still look like that of a circus clown's." Which is why we've mocked the Heaton from the start. Great catch on that one.

Our question to you, Allyson, do you also use the Magic Eight Ball or did you glean your knowledge from tea leaves? Should we await your e-mail or consult our horiscopes?

A puzzled Ken from Tulsa e-mails offering this, "I keep waiting for a CSI review or a Law & Order review. More and more, I'm beginning to suspect that you think you are too good for those shows." Yes, Ken, we do think that.

Midge e-mails to speak of the healing power of Elimidate, "At the end of the work day, I come home, turn on Malcolm in the Middle, Yes, Dear and assorted other programs. Five hours later, I need some reality and Elimidate provides that. I think you're missing the point."

If you're looking for reality, Midge, we suggest that you stop vegging out in front of the TV for five hours each evening and maybe actually get out in the world. You can find plenty of reality there.

Carter's running an unofficial fan club for Nick Lachey (some sort of save the endangered celebs, we'd guess) and e-mails this neutral, calming statement, "I could scratch your eyes out for what you wrote about him [Lachey]. If you had trouble hearing his soft spoken voice, maybe you both need to stop sending so much money on bon-bons and start using it to buy some batteries for your hearing aids? And that mustache was sexy, don't you get that he's trying to grow up! He is one of the finer things of life!"

Nick Lachey, a few of your favorite things? Of course! That mustache was like "whiskers on kittens." Why we didn't grasp that earlier is beyond us? As for his "trying to grow up," with Lachey closing in on thirty-two we have to wonder why he has to "try" to grow up?

And what is it with our devoted fans and their constant references to bon-bons? Are they trying to sound us out for Christmas gifts? For the record, we prefer M&Ms (plain). If you're planning on spending more, please advise and we'll try to come up with a wish list.

Shelley gets right to the point in her e-mail, as she informs us at the top, "I'm going to get right to the point here, Richard Gere got older, we get it! We get that his pecs sag! We don't need you to point that out!"

As long as we're weighing in on what's not needed, we'd suggest that Gere's participation in shirtless scenes should have stopped about fifteen years ago.

Cheryl, who dubs herself the "eternal teen even as I round forty," proffers via e-mail that "Amanda Bynes is totally happening and the one thing worth watching on TV. I hope you regret comparing her speaking manner to Jack Nicholson and Winona Ryder!"

Actually, we do regret that. On Monday, after we'd both had time to think, we realized that what we should have said was this: "She speaks like the previously unknown love child Winona Ryder and Christian Slater must have had after filming Heathers." Thanks for giving us the opportunity to clear that up, it has been bothering us.

Stella of Rhode Island breaks from the pack to actually praise us for mentioning "Rob Estes who would be my first choice for night on the town that your husband never learns of."

The very wise Juan e-mails that he's "still laughing over the review of The Apprentice."

And the obviously well educated, hugely informed and no doubt dangerously sexy Seth of Brooklyn e-mails to say, "You two crack me up. Keep it up, there's too much shit on TV these days and we need to stop settling for warmed over rip-offs."

We couldn't agree more with you, Seth.
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