Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Posts Tagged ‘Jay Leno’

Following a long hiatus…some random musings…

Posted by Mr. Feeny on February 1, 2010

Wow, I’ve been gone so long that I’ve been replaced by a mysterious Asian doctor. From the 1970s no less. Wait a minute…have I flashed forward or backward on this blog?

I apologize to all those many (read: three) followers of my posts. I just underwent a major relocation and have been getting used to a new job. Plus, no internet or TV for a span there. As such, I’m woefully behind on several of my second tier shows: House, Brothers & Sisters, Amazing Race (I don’t think I’m ever going to be able to finish that one). But my top tier is still alive and kicking (until my satellite started giving me choppy reception [first week I’ve had it] and forced me to stop watching HIMYM and 24 and turn instead to the blog).

To get back into the flow of things, I just thought I’d put a few thoughts that have been swimming in my head down on paper. A little something for everyone.

  • Easy prediction for this year in television: 24 will have¬† a poor season. I thought this before the premiere two weeks ago, and nothing has convinced me otherwise. My rationale is purely unscientific. 24‘s even-numbered seasons are always a disappointment. Season 2 was the best of them, but compared to any of the odd-numbered ones, it was cluttered, dull and lacked story. Season 4 was convoluted and required more leaps in logic than normal. Season 6 was a disaster. So clearly Season 8 will be bad. So far, it’s been lackluster. Some good things, but nothing that wows me. I wouldn’t be terribly sad if this were its last year. I feel like 24 has run its course and deserves an ending now. As long as Logan and Tony make a return.
  • Dana Delany deserves an Emmy nomination. She has been fantastic as Katherine on Desperate Housewives. She has perfectly hit every note in her jilted lover/delusional/psychopath/depressed character arc. Her last two episodes were especially sensational, as her lies became public knowledge, and then weeks later, when she opened up to a psychologist. Felicity Huffman is always the Emmy voters’ default Housewife nomination. But her time has past. It’s Delany’s turn to be recognized (though Huffman’s scene in “If…” while dealing with her would-be disabled child in the future was simply astounding. Her best performance yet).
  • Another not-so-bold prediction: NO ONE will be satisfied when LOST ends. There is simply no way. They have opened up too many questions for someone after the finale to say “hmm, now it all makes sense.” Doors will be left hanging open. And all those viewers who aren’t as obsessed with the mythology will still not be happy because of whatever explanation is provided. They’ll find it too preposterous, or a cop-out. The talk the next day will be nothing but “Really!?! That’s it!?!” That’s not to say it won’t be received well. It will have the most split fan reaction since The Sopranos ended. But still, no one will be completely O.K with it.
  • ShamIdol. Only about 5% probably got to the judges.

    American Idol‘s sham production just continues to infuriate me. Yet I still watch. Because I want to see what the next big thing will be. What millions of Americans will be talking about. But I can not express to you in words how infuriated my logical persona gets when Ryan Seacrest and the editors/producers just straight up lie to the “stupid” audience at home. Take the Chicago auditions. They say that 12,000 people tried out. And they show them at the United Center. So tell me, why is it the judges are all in front of a window looking out on Michigan Avenue??? No where near the UC. Do they ever mention that? No. They imply that all 12,000 get to see the judges. When in fact, the producers screen the masses, then pick who they want to go to the actual auditions. If that’s the way they do it, fine. I understand. It’s a huge amount of people. But don’t lie about it.

  • HOWEVER, American Idol, there are tons of great singers in that line. And only a limited number of people can see the judges in two days. So, since you saw everyone, why waste half of the audition slots with people who don’t stand a chance? That’s not fair. It’s just not fair!! For a few weeks of entertainment, you trot out these jokes, instead of giving great singers a chance. You pick the best and the worst and let the judges see them. But what if the second-best would have been well-received by the judges. Kris Allen might not have made the cut. How many Kris Allens and Jordin Sparks are out in that crowd that you turn away because you have to give William Hung his 15 minutes?
  • Rant over.
  • Survivor‘s twentieth season is going to be fantastic. Heroes vs. Villains from past seasons. Going all the way back to Colby and Jerri from Season 2: Outback. Don’t miss it!
  • Better Off Ted has quickly risen to be one of my favorite comedies on the air right now. So witty and casual with jokes, that you might almost miss them. Love it. Watch it on Hulu.
  • I had a great insightful column that I half-wrote about the Conan-Leno debate. But…’s kind of old news now. So no need. The general point: I love Conan, but he was wrong to refuse a slightly later timeslot. He’ll never be as big as he could have been in the Tonight Show chair for decades. But NBC is the one to blame for everything.
  • I finished Season 1 of The Wire. My friends were right. Fantastic show. Not ready to call it one of the best ever, but it was incredibly entertaining after a mercilessly slow beginning. Moltisanti is correct: the character investment is superb. Not in terms of where people came from, but what they’re about. We don’t know their history, but we know their emotions.
  • I’m hoping Damages has a good rebound season. I’ll do a review on it after a few more episodes. But Martin Short, Lily Tomlin, Keith Carradine, Len Cariou (of Broadway fame)…all fantastic supporting characters this season. And I’m very intrigued by this year’s flash forward scenario……..SPOILER………..death becomes Tom Shays.
  • I just want to mention how good a year I had in reality predictions. My Dancing with the Stars selection won it. My Top Chef pick finished in the Top 3. My Survivor pick finished in the Top 4. And my three picks to be the last three standing in The Amazing Race finished 1, 2, and 4. Not too shabby.

That should tide you over for now…I wonder if my satellite’s back. I could watch Damages

By the way, thanks to CJ for keeping this thing going. It would have died had it not been for her. I’d compare her to a TV character or actor who did that with a show…but I can’t think of one. Suggestions?


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The Jay Leno Show: In a word — Awkward

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 14, 2009

That word was already spinning through my head while watching the first 40 minutes of The Jay Leno Show, which premiered tonight on NBC. Everything seemed strange and out of place. His monologue, his bits, his interview. It just wasn’t right. It was The Tonight Show without The Tonight Show. It did not feel like I was watching a new program. More on that in a moment.

But the most awkward and uncomfortable moment came three-quarters of the way through, during the Kanye West interview. Leno lucked into already having the infamous rapper scheduled to appear on tonight’s episode. To Kanye’s credit, he didn’t pull out after last night’s embarrassment with Taylor Swift. But he clearly didn’t know what to say when Jay sat down with him. He just kind of muttered some ragtag apology.

But then, Jay asked what could be considered a clever question…but just came out unsettling and like he was pouring salt in Kanye’s gaping wound (not that I feel any sympathy). But Jay asked Kanye what his mother would think about his behavior…His dead mother. The silence lasted at least 15 seconds, as he began to cry and Jay patted him on the knee. Suddenly The Tonight Show morphed in Dr. Phil. Leno really is breaking new ground! Unbelievably awkward. Not exactly comedy.

That was just the lowlight of an otherwise lackluster and tired premiere. leno-kanye-west_lHere’s a rundown of how the show went. Tell me what’s unique.

– Jay enters and shakes everyone’s hand
– Jay delivers a monologue of rapid fire jokes
– Kevin Eubanks laughs at Jay’s jokes and adds nothing else
– Jay and Kevin poke fun at each other in pre-filmed bits
– Jay sends a correspondent into the streets to toy with people
– Seinfeld and Jay sit in matching chairs and try painstakingly to avoid conducting a typical interview…and fail
– Oprah makes a surprise video appearance
– Jay splices together a fake interview with President Obama
– Jay asks Kanye if his mother’s rolling in her grave
– Kanye, Rihanna and Jay-Z perform together
– Jay shows everyone funny headlines from around the country

That was it. That was the show. It’s all been done before. By Jay. On NBC. Only 1 and a half hours later. The network’s been promoting it as a unique experiment, to have this comedy show air every day. But clearly the only unique aspect is the timeslot. Does anyone really love that tried-and-true format above so much that they’d want to watch it at 9, then at 10:30 with Conan or Letterman (or Kimmel…I guess), then at midnight with Fallon or Ferguson? Too much of the same. I guess the set was a little different…and having Oprah. But that’s all.

Jay doesnt have to do it just like Dean. He could give Bob Newhart the right-sized stool

Jay doesn't have to do it just like Dean. He could give Bob Newhart the right-sized stool.

Here’s what would make this show better. Model it after an old-fashioned variety show. Keep it casual. That doesn’t mean conduct an interview without a desk. It means have a chat on barstools, ala Dean Martin, and just joke around. Not an actual interview. Stars acting like stars, but in an everyday setting. Or put together live — not filmed — skits, ala Flip Wilson or Johnny Carson. Give us something we haven’t seen from Jay or any of his guests. It actually is a good idea to offer comedy at 9pm. I’d choose it over a lot of shows if it were original. But not the same comedy you get later.¬† At least for this episode, all he did was string together the same gimmicks with new spins that he’s done for years.

One more thing on the word of the day. I thought a lot of the humor was very awkward as well. As in inappropriate. There’s a difference between primetime and late night. And the language, punchlines and visuals were not primetime-friendly. I cringed each time.

I’ll probably watch the rest of this week to see if it becomes something different. But as of now…

Grade = D+ (it doesn’t fail because I do think Jay’s funny and did laugh at times)

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Jay Leno’s TIME

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 3, 2009

Just when you thought we post nothing but novels on our site, here’s a really short one.

TIME has a great in-depth article on “The Jay Leno Show” and what it could mean for television’s future. I highly recommend it. The article. I won’t know if I recommend the show until it premieres a week from Monday.

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