- The final memorial service for Steve Irwin was held earlier this week in Australia. So in one last tribute we offer you a good laugh from "The Crocodile Hunter" himself in this ESPN SportsCenter promo taped only a couple of years ago as part of the most consistently brilliant (for something like ten years now) ad campaign in television history. This alone is worth your visit today:
- As long as we're on the subject of ESPN, it's good to see baseball guru Peter Gammons back in the game after nearly dying of a brain aneurysm this past June. His column, after recounting his medical experience, delves into heavy-duty pitching analysis. And he'll be back on the tube (in a limited role, for now) beginning tonight.
- I like all of Aaron Sorkin's stuff, for some strange reason. (It might be because he and I seem to be interested in the exact same subjects--the presidency, sports, television production, sketch comedy, etc.--though from wildly different perspectives.) But TIME Magazine has his style absolutely nailed this week in their review of his new behind-the-scenes-style take on sketch-comedy television shows, "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip":
In terms of craft, Studio 60 is very good. Sorkin is probably incapable of writing a bad show. But self-satisfied, self-serious and self-congratulatory--that he can do. From the mood lighting and stirring music to the hot-button story lines to the characters' arias on the august legacy of their show, Sorkin makes running a comedy program seem like negotiating an arms treaty. Is your beef with sketch shows that they used to be daring social critiques--("Chizzburger! Chizzburger!")--or that they used to make you laugh? Worse, Studio 60 fails to show us that Matt [Matthew Perry] and Danny [Bradley Whitford] are actually funny. (Witty, yes, but so was President Bartlet.) In Episode 2, Matt has to come up with a knock-'em-dead opening sketch for his first show. His idea is--wait for it--a Pirates of Penzance parody. Studio 60 treats it like comic genius.It's the single most accurate paragraph on Sorkin's work I've ever seen. Yet the guy still manages to sucker me in every week.
- I don't get to watch much television these days, but I do read a lot about television. Out of nowhere, the HBO show "The Wire," heading into it's fourth and final season, is suddenly getting all kinds of rapturous buzz. I don't think I'd ever seen a thing written about it before this month. What gives? Because of all the hubub, I went to Blockbuster and rented the DVD of the first three episodes of season one to take a look myself. It was reasonably good, but it's not like it changed my life or something. It was like "Law and Order" with more graphic cursing. Did HBO suddenly send every TV critic in the country a Beamer?
- I also rented the first disc of "Lost." Never seen it, but I'm tired of hearing about it. So I'll take a look. But I think we need to go back to the days of sitcoms, where you could jump in at any point. I feel like I'd have to clear aside 60 hours just in order to get caught up to date on any one of these supposedly-engrossing, narrative shows I keep hearing about. "24"? There's no way. They're telling me right up front how much time I'll have to invest in it, and I just don't have it. Who has time to get engrossed in one of these deals? Do a miniseries called "5" and I'll think about it.
Related Tags: Steve Irwin, Crocodile Hunter, ESPN, Peter Gammons, Studio 60, Aaron Sorkin, The Wire, 24, Lost