TV Diary

1. The New Adventures of Old Christine
I had pretty low expectations for this, considering the undistinguished history of new shows starring Seinfeld alumni, especially since CBS tossed it out as a mid-season replacement, not even really in the middle season but in fucking March, which seems like a serious vote of no confidence. But this is actually pretty promising! Julia Louis-Dreyfuss's character has a lot of her usual mannerisms but isn't overly Elaine-esque, and the territory of divorce humor they're charting isn't too played out. And I like that the New Christine is kind of a normal 30something, and not an exaggerated trophy wife type, it makes the premise a little more believable. Andy Richter had a great cameo in a couple episodes, although a few episodes in when Wanda Sykes suddenly showed up as her best friend, it seemed like it was just to appease network notes demanding a sassy black friend. The ex-husband is played by Clark Gregg, who I've always liked despite him usually playing smarmy corporate types in movies like Hoot and In Good Company. He was also the guy in the last 2 episodes of Sports NIght who bought the network, and I always kinda wished I could see a 3rd season with him in the cast. Anyway, I kinda hope Old Christine makes it to the fall schedule, could turn out well. And at the moment, CBS Monday night is actually maybe the most solid 2-hour block of network comedy in a long time, maybe since NBC Thursdays' golden era. How I Met Your Mother is easily my favorite sitcom on TV right now, and King Of Queens and 2 And A Half Men are better than they're given credit for.

2. Yo Momma
I've had a couple conversations with people lately about how appallingly bad this show is even by the standards of MTV's usual attempts at comedies and game shows. I mean, trying to turn "yo momma" jokes into some kind of gritty 8 Mile-style competition with racially diverse crowds cheering the participants on is sketchy enough as a premise, but even the execution is pretty lacklaster, especially because Wilmer Valderrama is shockingly ineffectual host. As much as I loathe Punk'd and the way Ashton Kutcher hosts it, he at least has the obnoxious energy that MTV loves, while Valderrama has that mumbly, deer-in-the-headlights persona that you usually only get for long stretches of time on television when SNL decides to let a professional athlete host an episode. He makes it hard to believe that this guy is a professional actor who's usually pretty funny when in character, let alone the kind of pimp who's been romantically linked with every other starlet in Hollywood.

3. The Showbiz Show With David Spade
I thought I was sick and tired of basic cable shows with nonstop quipping about pop culture news, but I think I'm just sick and tired of Best Week Ever, because shows like this and The Soup are way better just for having an actual writing staff and a host instead of a dozen C-list comics ad libbing badly. Plus Spade kind of started that whole smartassing-about-celebrities school of humor with the Hollywood Minute, so he might as well get his own show in the format. My favorite bit is probably "couch trip," where they show a celeb repeating themselves in different interviews, so far the best one was a montage of Robin Williams making the same Brokeback Mountain jokes over and over, which was just frightening. The most fascinating thing about the show lately, though, is the fact that Spade himself has been implicated in the whole Heather Locklear/Richie Sambora/Denise Richards/Charlie Sheen scandal, and that they've actually done some funny bits about it. Also, it was pretty funny when they had Kid Rock parody his own sex tape.

4. South Park
Those episodes about Family Guy may have ruined FG for me forever. Or at least, I won't be able to watch it for a while without saying "You think that's bad!? What abou the time I was David Hasselhoff's car!?", etc. I love how explicit and ballsy it was compared to all of The Simpsons' half-assed little jabs.

5. Mad About You
Should I be embarrassed that I'm kind of nostalgic for this show? I go through phases where I'll watch certain syndicated old shows a lot for a month or two until I get sick of it again, and lately I've been catching this on Nick At Nite pretty often. It was definitely kind of an inconsistent show, and there are entire episodes where everyone seems to act out of character, and it's weird seeing the first season where there was a guy named Selby instead of cousin Ira, but when it was good, it was a pretty funny show. Also, Mad About You Aliens is classic.

6. VSpot Top 20 Countdown
VH1's old video countdown always had pretty boring hosts, and you could never really trust their rankings since it was one of those vague 'we base the lists on a variety of factors' deals which basically means the network gets to make up the list. So it's cool that they revamped it to be based entirely on viewer votes, and got Matt Pinfield to host. Even if his music trivia encyclopedia schtick is no longer as impressive as it was when I was a 13-year-old staying up late every Sunday to watch 120 Minutes, I still kind of like seeing him on TV.

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That "The Soup" so consistently makes me laugh is surprising. What's not surprising: that people look at me like I just handed them a turd on a platter when I tell them "The Soup," a pop culture quip show on E!, is actually funny. Nobody I know seems to watch it.
Yeah, people should not front on The Soup. I wonder if they kept a lot of the same writers from Talk Soup, because the tone is consistent with TS at its peak, which was often pretty great.
They work that "we're so lazy and have no production values" shtick as well as Conan before he got the big raise. That might sound like a backhanded compliment, but it is not at all. The sound of three people laughing in the background is actually considerably funnier than the sound of 300.
I totally get what you mean, good comparison. Man, I wish there was some kind of best-of DVD of early Richter-era Conan.
why do I feel like a sellout for liking Earl and The Office?
because Earl is a mediocre show based on a bunch of tired trailer trash jokes, and the US version of The Office looks like those Burger King and Raisin Bran commercials that try to look like quirky workplace sitcoms.
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