Saturday, February 4, 2012

Maybe It's for the Best

As anyone who has ever watched TV knows, lots of shows don’t last very long. Loads get canceled only a few episodes in, getting next to no time to find an audience Others are just plain dead on arrival. It seems sometimes like shows that are complete crapfests get to live on ad nauseum despite their utter lack of value, while quality programs hang on by a thread until they’re finally taken out behind the shed.

I work at a CBS affiliate, and at the beginning of every summer, we receive pilot episodes of all the new fall shows. They’re almost never a finished product. For example, music from Inception was used for the Person of Interest pilot, and William Shatner’s son on [Bleep] My Dad Says was decidedly cuter before his part got recast. It has become something of a sport to try and guess which shows will survive. My track record isn’t that great, although I’ve learned that if I enjoy a show, that typically means it’s marked for death.

Another random fringe benefit of working here is that, after shows have run their course, sometimes I can get my hands on the show posters that hang in our lobby. (I’m still bitter that the Three Rivers poster - featuring the absolutely edible Alex O’Loughlin - was scooped up by someone else.) Two such posters hang proudly in my office featuring the casts of The Class and Out of Practice. I loved both of these shows, and that’s probably why neither of them lasted a whole season.

It’s probably a good thing they got canceled, because otherwise members of both casts might have missed out on later successes. Both shows had cast members who went on to star on the ABC hit Modern Family—Ty Burrell played a womanizing plastic surgeon on Out of Practice and Jesse Tyler Ferguson played perpetual underachiever Richie Velch on The Class. Andrea Anders (The Class) went on to crack my shit up on Better Off Ted (another show that got canceled far too soon), and Jon Bernthal (The Class) is busy these days running from zombies on The Walking Dead. I don’t even want to think about Out of Practice’s Christopher Gorham missing his chance to play the titular character’s adorkable love interest on Ugly Betty.

So the next time your favorite show gets the axe, don’t let it get you down. Think of it as a natural step in the actor catch-and-release program.

Brian 5 = Badass?

About a month ago my brother and I went to see Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, which we thoroughly enjoyed.

Unfortunately for us, we were seated behind a group of chatty teenagers. After giving them about a 2-minute grace period, I leaned over and said, politely but firmly, “Can you please stop talking? Thanks.”

Mind you, I’m not an intimidating guy by any stretch of the imagination, but they went from mid-morning chat show to Tibetan monastery in 0.3 seconds. In fact, they ended up leaving halfway through the film.

Now if I’d only had the balls to say something to the dude who kept kicking my seat.

Who Needs Context?

In October of 2010, I traveled to Europe with my friend Adam. During our visit to Amsterdam, we stayed with the handsome and hospitable Tom and Ben along with our friend Kirstin who was studying in Edinburgh at the time.
One evening, we took a respite from international tourism and settled down to what proved to be a riotous evening of ... playing board games. Make that one board game: The New Yorker Cartoon Caption Game.
Basically, you try to provide the funniest captions you can to random, captionless New Yorker cartoons that are drawn from a deck as your token reaches certain spaces on a board. The funnier you are, the more quickly you reach the end.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, my friends and I were consuming whiskey as we played, which probably upped the hilarity factor. Still, I share with you now my recently rediscovered answer sheet, presented without comment or context.
  • "And behold, they reached the last resting place of King Mehem-toast-tep."
  • "This is what Betty White was doing five years ago."
  • "Who d'ya have to fuck with a carrot nose to get a drink around here?"
  • "If I gotta swim with the fishes, I wanna look good doin' it."
  • "The cross? Oh, just angling for church sponsorship for the marathon."
  • "And as the old millionaire burst into a cloud of dust, he handed his accountant a balloon with a '$' sign on it."
  • "Have a nice recovery, Miss Smith. I took all the pills I could find in your medicine cabinet, so you're going to need to stop by the pharmacy."
  • "Casual Friday's, guys! Not formal! We wear our tuxes every day of the damn week!"
  • "I'm sorry, sir. Our new head chef used to work security for a bank."
  • "I know you guys had a rough time during the first movement, but we're gonna go back out there and beat the Boston Philharmonic's ass."
  • "Bet you wish you had bought that fall coat now, huh? Idiot."
  • "... and in summation, gentlemen, that's how babies are made."
  • "Steven Spielberg is vacationing here. That guy's just auditioning."
  • "Sales for loincloths have plummeted. It seems, gentlemen, that I'm the only idiot who wears them."
  • "Don't you hate being in a cartoon that doesn't lend itself easily to a caption?"
  • "Excuse me, sir. Is the bar tender here?"
  • "Cute, Earl. Very smooth. Wearing sunglasses but then sitting outside? Very low profile. By the way, I'm a horse."
  • "Fuck. The Cherokee have discovered Twitter."
And finally, everyone's favorite caption...
  • "Yeah, I've always said I didn't fuck that alien, but I totally fucked that alien."