Sunday, April 19, 2015

TV: When Messengers Disappoint

Friday, The Messengers debuted on The CW.  To dub it "disappointing" is to be kind -- very, very kind.  "Disappointing" doesn't begin to describe Cindy Sheehan and her Soapbox of late.


As this season winds down, it's worth noting what we said this time last year (April 13, 2014):

The CW really had its best year and should be thinking of how to thank the viewers and expand next season. Beauty & the Beast fans are loyal -- even the switch to another night didn't result in mass defections.  Hart of Dixie is another show that shouldn't get the axe.  It's (a) the only real 'adult' show on the network and (b) able to be plugged in anywhere on the schedule and get solid ratings.

Hart of Dixie did get another season -- it was its final season.

Because of low ratings?

That is what many attempted to insist.

But even when dropped onto Friday nights (a night notorious for low ratings), Hart of Dixie held its own and matched (or bettered) the ratings of Jane The Virgin.

Jane The Virgin is a bomb.

No CW series received more publicity this fall, winter or spring.

And yet the show still can't break out a rating and generally loses a significant number of viewers from its Monday night lead-in (The Originals).

The fate of Beauty & the Beast is different.

It's now becoming what we've long recommended The CW and others do: a summer program of original episodes.

Season three debuts May 21st and runs through August 13th.

If its ratings hold steady as a summer series, season four (which has already been announced) will follow the same pattern

If that happens, we may see a sea of change in TV programming.

For ten years, we've been here covering the media.

While The Water Cooler Set has focused on lies and whoring -- announcing the death of the sitcom, for example -- we've focused on real issues.

For example, we have repeatedly insisted that the networks needed to offer summer programming.

We've noted that the basic cable programs tend to air during the summer and that the pattern of summer TV offering only repeats is part of the ongoing destruction of viewing habits.

We've made our case repeatedly and often by going historical.

The Water Cooler Set can't tell you about it -- mainly because no one Tweeted it -- but we've long noted that the networks used to feel the need for summer programming.  The Sonny & Cher Show, as we've noted was summer programming -- as was the mini-series it led into on the wives of Henry the VIII.

By the 80s, networks were moving away from original summer programming but it still existed.

For example, before Delta Burke and Dixie Carter starred in Designing Women, they were starring in 1982's three-episode summer sitcom Filthy Rich.

And, in the 90s, Fox infamously (and correctly) knew they could turn 90210 into a bigger hit by airing new episodes in the summer.  So season one ended on May 9, 1991 and season two started on July 11, 1991.

Again, if this were all over Twitter, the 'journalists' who 'cover' TV for The Washington Post and other outlets would know about this.  However, knowing about this doesn't mean they'd stop trying to play kool kids.

As we've hectored and annoyed, CBS has had two hits for summer TV (and one break even) -- Extant, Under The Dome and the now cancelled Unforgettable.  CBS is hoping to score another hit with Zoo.  ABC has their summer hits Mistresses (this season without Alyssa Milano) and Rookie Blue.  NBC has no real scripted success to point to (Undateable is unwatchable -- and no longer a summer series) but hopes the 13-episode Aquarius, debuting May 28th, will put them on the boards. Fox will toss out two sitcoms in July.

Last season, The CW took the axe to Star-Crossed and The Tomorrow People and brought back The 100 which stars The CW's very own Maria Bello -- which is not a compliment.  Bello can be 'color' on a show, she just can't be a lead.  As a lead, she repells viewers.

The Hundred concluded is second season last month and did so with 1.4 million less viewers than it had when it debuted in season one.

This should have been the season for The CW but its only real bright spot has been iZombie which regularly and repeatedly outperforms Jane The Virgin in the ratings.

Jane The Virgin is a huge problem for The CW.

Other show runners whose series air on The CW are furious with the non-stop push of Jane The Virgin at the expense of their own shows -- their own shows which actually bring in viewers and do so with very little publicity.

There's also the issue of season two.

When a heavily promoted show like this gets a second season, it becomes the equivalent of a summer tent pole film.  Meaning?  By the rules of TV, Jane The Virgin needs to open a night.

Now it can't.

Without a lead in the ratings collapse even further.

And that's just ticking off show runners even more.

They're getting no publicity -- other than commercials on The CW -- while Jane The Virgin is marketed as if it was a hit.

There's also pressure for Jane to lose the baby.

You know the one she's carrying due to accidental artificial insemination?

The CW commissioned polling to figure out why people weren't watching this heavily promoted show and the response was it's "too icky."

People don't like that she's a pregnant virgin -- some feel it's mocking Mother Mary of the Christian faith, others feel it's reducing women to wombs -- and they have no intention of watching for that reason.

The CW is trying to prod the ones in charge of the show to have Jane miscarry.  They argue that those who watch the show do so for the love between Jane and Rafael and that a miscarriage could up the drama on that as Jane felt guilty (Rafael's cancer means the fertilized embryo she's carrying is the only biological child he will ever have).  Usually, when a network tells producers that their basic concept has an "ick factor" that runs off viewers, the producers are immediately concerned.

But Jane The Virgin has too many chiefs and when producers and executive producers -- a majority of them -- appear to agree with The CW, the next day the number turns into a minority.

But if Jane doesn't miscarry, if she delivers a baby and the ratings do not improve, The CW is making plans to replace it during the second season -- during, not after.

Would an Emmy win for the lead actress change that?

No one in their right mind thinks the weak performance of Gina Rodriguez is worthy of an Emmy.  (The Golden Globs are a joke.  Remember they gave Pia Zadora a Golden Globe for the film Butterfly.)  Rodriguez smiles a lot, whimpers on que, etc.  In other words, she poses.  She just hasn't nailed down a performance.

When you have front runners in the Best Actress in a Comedy like Tracee Ellis Ross, the notion that Rodriguez starring in a non-comedy (it's a dramady -- a hybrid) could win for walking through a lead role is considered laughable.

Laughable is The Messengers.

The point of the show?

Lucifer hits the eart in a ball of fire and fury which sets off waves that leave various people with wings and gifts.

Sometimes the message can bury everything.

What's the message of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox?

A plus for the radio show/podcast, the production has improved and the squeal so many heard last year is gone.

The bad news?

It's determined to be a pointless show.

This month, Cindy did a broadcast on Iraq.

Or something.

She said to her guest, Raed Jarrar, "You were refused entry on an airplane for wearing a t-shirt."

Yes, that is the most important topic in the whole wide world.

"But I'm sure many of my listeners will remember it," Cindy insisted.

The T-shirt said "WE WILL NOT BE SILENT."  It said that in Arabic, it said that in English.

And it's supposed to be the great tragedy of western civilization.

Reality, it was a provocative and controversial fashion choice for airplane travel.

Most Americans cannot read Arabic.  So they see a phrase they cannot read and then "WE WILL NOT BE SILENT"?

They could easily mistake Raed Jarrer -- after 9-11 -- for a terrorist.

He could be at risk of harm on a flight wearing that t-shirt.

Others could be at risk for his wearing that t-shirt.

Too much was made of that incident being "discrimination!"

Idiots -- yes, we mean the Center for Constitutional Rights -- wanted to insist that there was no danger, there was no this, etc.

But Raed wasn't prevented from boarding.

He was provided with another t-shirt and asked to put it over his own shirt.

(Which he did and then whined like a little cry baby after.  Whined and got a six-figure settlement eventually.)

Cindy can't offer that but then she wasn't even listening to Raed's story.

He was in the midst of telling it when she cut in -- whole point for her bringing up his story -- with, "I got arrested for wearing a t-shirt at the State of the Union Address in 2006."

Well when you have nothing to point to with pride these days, we guess you go back to a t-shirt incident in 2006.

The whole point for Cindy remembering Iraq suddenly was conveyed when she trashed Bill Clinton (as worse than Bully Boy Bush on Iraq) and declared/cackled, "And now his wife is probably going to run for president!"

Yes, Cindy, you hate Hillary Clinton.

We know.

We remember how you threw your support behind Barack Obama in 2008.

You deny it today but we remember it.

Your hatred for Hillary was so intense that you helped put the man you have dubbed in some of your writings the  "Obomber" into the White House.

If you're honest Cindy -- are you capable of that anymore -- you know that if Hillary had won in 2008, the peace movement would not have folded camp but instead would have increased their activism.

So not only did you help put Barack in office but you did your part to kill the peace movement.

Cindy officially sat out the 2008 primaries.

Unofficially, she commented throughout by leaving comments on Common Dreams articles where she was embraced by many of the goons who had run her off after she broke with the Democratic Party.

They were so thrilled to have Cindy back in the fold and sharing their love for Barack.

Raed has his own problems.

For example, as Iraq was sinking into despair to the point that no one thought it could get worse, in December 2013, he went on Democracy Now! to talk about everything but the abuses of Nouri al-Maliki and the ongoing protests against Nouri which has lasted over a year.

Sadly for Raed, events bitch slapped him as mere days after his appearance, Nouri was tearing down protest camps and the White House would realize they might have to repudiate thug Nouri al-Maliki (which Barack finally did last June).

Even now, Raed can't talk about that.

"We have to remember," he insisted to Cindy, "why this violence started to be able to get solutions for it."

Yes, we do have to remember.

We have to remember that putting thugs in power is never good.

We have to remember that overturning an election -- as Barack did in 2010 to give loser Nouri a second term as prime minister -- is never good.

We have to remember that silence as a thug goes after the people he is supposed to serve is never good.

 In one of the faux brave moments Cindy is now infamous for, she discussed the fake ass events in DC last month -- put on by The World Can't Wait, among others.

Speaking of the panel she was on, she voiced disgust with another panelist (whom she refused to name) who argued, "It's too late to undue what the United States had done in that region.  Now we have to have a limited bombing campaign against ISIS because they're the bad guys and, hopefully, not too many civilians will be killed."

This was supposed to be a peace event.

It wasn't.

It was the usual rally around Barack crap.

And Cindy is right to be outraged by it.

And we'll half-applaud her for calling it out.

But we'd fully applaud her if she'd had the guts to name the panelist.

If she disagrees with what was stated at a public event -- one supposedly promoting peace -- she owes it to her listeners to tell them the name of the person on the 'peace' panel justifying the bombing of a country.

Raed had his own problems.  Including his hatred of other elements of society.  To her comments, he responded, "Mm-hmm.  Well unfortunately that has been the narrative all along -- that 'we hate violence and we hate dropping bombs but we just have to do it this week because otherwise some baby will get killed or some woman will get oppressed or some group of gays and lesbians will lose their rights."

He is such an asshole.

He's a liar but he's an asshole.

He would go on to note "feminists and women's groups" that were on board for the war on Afghanistan (we hope he meant Afghanistan -- despite repeated lies, the feminist movement did not support the war on Iraq).

Feminists in this country -- including Robin Morgan, Mavis Leno and others -- had been advocating for the US not to do business with Afghanistan under Bill Clinton.  They were successful there.  The reason they opposed it was not because women were being "oppressed."

Women were being terrorized and when Raed gets the giggles over "oppressed," we're reminded what a shameful person he is.

Afghanistan women were denied basic rights, yes.  They were also targeted and terrorized.

To belittle that is to show you're an ass.

Now he didn't belittle the Yazids.

You may remember they were trapped on a mountain in 2014.

We favored aid being dropped to them.

That's all we favored.

If they can't fight the Islamic State themselves?

Maybe they better just stay up on Mt. Sinjar.

They were rescued by the Kurds.

And days later the Yazidi leaders were verbally attacking the Kurds (and have continued to do so).

The Yazidis make a lot of problems for themselves.

The fact that they are seen as worshiping Satan/Lucifer allowed Nouri to target them and get away with it.  It's also why no Iraqi forces were rushed to liberate the Yazidis by Nouri or by his successor Haider al-Abadi.

They did align themselves with American neocons after Barack started bombing but that association has proved problematic.  The necons -- most of whom are not Christian -- thought they could whip up support among American evangelicals -- support for sending more US troops into Iraq.

But that pesky Lucifer issue?

The one the neocons overlooked?

Evangelical leaders haven't.

And while some have been happy to argue for the need to provide aid to the group, none have been willing to argue US troops need to be sent on behalf of this non-Christian group.

Raed failed to note the suffering of Iraqi Christians -- a population that far outnumbers the Yazidis.

But then anyone who thinks its okay to terrorize women, isn't going to be too concerned with most issues.

A number of high profile feminists were brought into the Bully Boy Bush White House over the issue of Afghanistan.

Of those, a smaller number signed up for war on Afghanistan.

Some of whom did so were stupid and believed the rhetoric.

Some  signed up because they believed the rhetoric would help women worldwide.

Some signed up because they felt their presence could ensure that Afghan women would not be forgotten once the war started.

We didn't support the war on Afghanistan.  We aren't the only feminists who refused to enlist.

But above is why some did.

We think they were wrong.

We don't know that they're worthy of Raed's disdain and arrogance.

Again, this was Afghanistan.

It was not about Iraq.

And two years later, with the Iraq War, feminists had seen that the Bully Boy Bush administration would talk a good game on women's security but wouldn't actually do anything to ensure it.

So it's a distortion, a flat out lie.

So is Raed's claim that the US has ever gone to war over the rights of gays and lesbians.

Some people are just morons, some people are just liars and Raed appears to be both.

His homophobia makes him an embarrassment.

His lies make him a danger.

On the left, those of us who are against war, need to make arguments against it.

But these need to be arguments, not lies.

Of Barack's current Iraq 'plan,' Raed declared, "I don't know why people actually think we can bomb a country into moderation and eliminate extremism by dropping more explosives."

But that's not what Barack's doing.

We don't support his 'plan.'

We also don't distort it.

His plan is not that bombs dropped in Iraq will eliminate the Islamic State.

His plan is that bombs dropped in Iraq will send the Islamic State fleeing from some areas, will kill them in others, and this is part of a battle 'plan' that will allow the Iraqi troops to secure an area.

This is Bully Boy Bush's "surge" but with bombs instead of US troops.

The "surge" was a military success and a political failure.

Additional troops were sent in to secure Iraq and this was supposed to provide the space for the government to move forward on political issues.

The US military achieved their assigned task.

But that was step one.  Step two was never achieved.

Similarly today, Barack has noted that the only solution is a political solution and sending US troops into Iraq and providing bombings is supposed to create the space for that political solution.

The bombings started in August.

All these months later, $2 billion US tax dollars later, there is no political solution or even a rush towards one.

And the summer is approaching.

The summer heat will see the Iraqi Parliament go on a lengthy vacation as they do every year.

So the failure to work towards a political solution is all the more appalling.

Raed, to his credit, did call out Barack early in the program in a single sentence.

It wasn't a topic Cindy wished to pursue.

And Barack's name was avoided for the rest of the program.

"People fall for it," Raed insisted of the lie that bombing was an answer to peace.

But he forgot to note that people only fall for lies when the media fails to its job.

The media is more than ABC News.

It includes The Nation, it includes The Progressive, it includes Pacifica Radio, it includes websites.

And it took all of that calling out the lies of the Iraq War in 2003, 2004 and 2005 for the American public to become informed of what was really taking place.

In 2014, this site and all community sites loudly rejected a bombing campaign or US troops being sent in to save the Yazidis.

Where was everyone else?

Oh, was ridiculing the Yazidis which just makes you look callous and push people away from your position.


Everyone was silent.

Has The Progressive done even one article or commentary about Iraq in the last 12 months?

That the media builds consent is not a new revelation.

If Raed's troubled by American reaction, he might take the time to call out the so-called 'left' media and their silence on Iraq.

Cindy Sheehan insisted, "I just want to get people who live in this country to understand these situations."

Then why doesn't she talk about them?

She's need to stop kidding herself that she covered Iraq in that broadcast.

Her program addressed nothing that has happened in Iraq since 2008.

But what's worse is her gross stupidity.

Cindy and Raed were railing against the United States government.

This despite Raed becoming an American citizen.

They were railing about it and seemed to forget that the United Kingdom also declared war on Iraq as did Australia.

They seemed to think abuses took place in the US only.

We'd recommend that they watch the 2014 mini-series The Code -- about torture and secrecy.

It's not set in the United States.

It's set in Australia.

As appalling as their limited understanding of imperialism was, we were equally shocked that Socialist Cindy Sheehan is in fact in servitude of class status.  Listening to her ooh and awe over Iraqi women at the top of the social strata and using them to define 'equality' was highly embarrassing.

Apparently -- Iraqi women who have lost much due to the illegal war -- only matter if they are doctors or engineers.

That's a funny way to build a coalition of international support.

Cindy pretended she wanted to talk about what was going on in Iraq.

But she didn't want to talk about Barack.

Analyst Raed did bring up Barack once.  He also distorted Barack's so-called 'plan.'

Nothing they said addressed any issue that led to over a year of protests in Iraq (from December 2012 through January 2014).

It was a waste of time.

And that's Friday on The CW as well when The Messengers kicked off with a pilot that attempted to be The Event, X-Files, Supernatural, Smallville, Terminator II, Dogma and Dawson Creek all rolled into one -- while basically robbing the opening scene of iZombie.  (CW's message to American women -- do not have a finacee -- but if you do, don't talk about him -- especially not as you leave a hospital.)

Maybe there's hope for The Messenger?  It could improve over time.  We're less optimistic on Cindy.  She's been a public activist since 2005 and she's now glorifying social elites in other countries and gabbing on about t-shirts and other nonsense in a show allegedly focusing on Iraq.

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