So although this blog is ostensibly about the books I’m reading, as I’m currently mid-Harry Potter-series-reread, I don’t have a lot of new material. But there is a lot new on television, and I definitely watch my fair share of TV. I reduced my cable a few months ago to save on dinero, so now I have your basic Big Three + Fox + CNN + TBS, as well as a host of public access channels I never watch. As a result, I watch a lot more Big Three late night TV than I used to, when I would otherwise be occupied with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert.
I’ve been watching a lot of the new Tonight Show with the floppy haired doofus we know and love as Conan O’Brien. So far, I give Conan a huge A for effort and another A for promise. I especially love the little trips he takes around LA to showcase his new environs. Last night (Thursday), he went to the foley stage on the Universal lot to make sound effects for a Law and Order:SVU episode. Conan in red heels? Check. Conan smashing a bag of walnuts? Check. General hilarity? Check. I feel like what makes him such a winning tv personality is his friendly, amiable nature and his willingness to do pretty much anything for the enjoyment of his audience and — more importantly — himself. If he’s interested in what entertains him, and he’s a smart, eclectic guy, that translates well to the rest of us schlubs who watch him.
I’ve also started watching The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, in part because Ferguson reminds me of a lanky Scottish friend of mine named Christian (or, as he liked to be known as, CMcD, after his initials). There’s an unscripted strangeness to Ferguson that is so unconventional when compared to Jimmy Fallon, whose bowling motif and Facebook updates are quickly getting tired. Craig doesn’t get very impressive guests, however, but he is keen on pushing their buttons and that can make up for my not being interested in his cadre of celebrities.
Clearly, I stay up too late watching TV. But when The Bachelorette is on, it’s still prime time. I blame my friend Shannon for getting me hooked on the last season of The Bachelorette, which followed the hapless Deanna Pappas, who had been spurned on a previous Bachelor season. If you never read People magazine, you might not know that Deanna dumped one Jason Mesnick, who then got to have his own Bachelor season, wherein he proposed to Melissa but dumped her on TV for Molly. Melissa went on to finish 3rd on Dancing With the Stars (ABC is quick on that cross-promotion), and the second runner-up, Jillian, is now starring in the current iteration of The Bachelorette. Pardon me for my ridiculous attention span for this kind of drivel. It is pretty compelling TV sometimes, and utterly cheesy, and occasionally horrifying.
Anyway, so far our heroine has cut a scythe through her initial field of 30 guys, most of whom sport bad grammar and dubious professions (break dance instructor? technology consultant? trucking coordinator?), and I think she’s down to about 13 before next Monday’s episode. The dates she goes on are ridiculous and improbable to the max, but they showcase Jill’s “adventurous” side. She’s pretty cute and a Canadian to boot! But most of these dudes are losers and some of them are pretty weird (one guy has a huge foot fetish and wants to be all over Jill’s tootsies; another seems to have a rage and alcohol problem). I feel that the primary reason why love is so elusive in these dating shows is that the improbable surroundings (not to mention having one subject for 20 different would-be lovers) lend themselves too much to fantasy. No one, in a day-to-day relationship, goes on private helicopter rides and has pop stars sing private concerts for them as a matter of course. Yet this is the scenario for Jill, as she pesters the guys about what kinds of relationships they’ve had before. I almost never see conversations on the show (maybe they’re just edited out) about things like politics, religion, or current events. So much of the aired convos are about relationship history, which is pretty context-free on the show.
So here’s my dating show fix: Send Jill and a beau on a day-long date. First they drive to the bank to make their weekly deposits, etc. Then they pick up their dry cleaning. Grab lunch at Panera. Head to Target or Ikea to pick out some DIY furniture. Go home, and start to put together said DIY cabinet. Fix a dinner of leftovers and hang out in front of their TV. Brush teeth, wash faces, get in jammies. Basically, Jill needs to see these dudes in domestic environs so that she can see who really would be her “best friend/soul mate.”
And you? Did I turn you off with my stunning analysis of The Bachelorette? Do you watch late night TV? Am I really missing anything by not watching The Mentalist?