Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 8/22/21 — 8/29/21, Part One (American Justice to Dragnet)


And so another week comes to a close.  You may remember that, last week, I announced that I was taking a break from watching the news this week.  Well, that didn’t happen.  Instead, I spent most of this week worrying about everyone stranded in Afghanistan and getting increasingly more and more angry with the government that appears to have abandoned them.  That the attacks on Thursday were expected by anyone who had been actually paying attention to the situation did not make them any less horrific.  I watched a lot of news this week.

Here’s some thoughts on the non-news related programming that I watched:

American Justice (Tuesday Night, A&E)

A&E has apparently decided to revive the old true crime mainstay, American Justice.  I watched an episode of Tuesday and while it was well-put together and it highlighted an interesting crime, it just wasn’t the same without Bill Kurtis introducing the story while standing behind police tape and wearing a trench coat.  Dennis Haybsert does a serviceable job as narrator but no one can replace Bill.

Bachelor in Paradise (Monday and Tuesday Night, ABC)

David Spade’s time as guest host came to an end with this Monday’s episode and I was sorry to see him leave.  He had exactly the right “who cares?” attitude for this silly show.  As for the rest of the episode — well, I’m glad Demi is there because she brings the drama and she doesn’t pretend to be impressed by anyone.  And I have to applaud the show for taking a lesson from Paradise Hotel and intentionally embracing just how silly and stupid it all is.  Unfortunately, a lot of the people on the show are kind of boring when left to their own devices so let’s hope that the rotating hosts can keep things lively.

On Tuesday, Lance Bass took over as host.  Also, Thomas — one of the more controversial bachelors from the previous season of The Bachelorette — joined the cast.  As soon as he showed up, Aaron — who was also on the previous season of The Bachelorette — started to complain that Thomas wasn’t on Bachelor in Paradise “for the right reasons.”  Like, seriously, Aaron — take a Midol and shut up.  There are no right reasons for being on Bachelor in Paradise.

Bar Rescue (Weekday Mornings, Paramount)

I watched Road House on Wednesday night so I had to watch Bar Rescue on Thursday morning.  I don’t remember much about the two episodes that I watched because they do tend to all blend together.  Mostly, I just remember Jon Taffer yelling a lot and the guest bartenders saying stuff like, “We’re going to keep the cocktails basic because all of you suck.”

Big Brother (All the time, CBS and Paramount Plus)

This season is turning out to be fairly dull but I’m still watching the show and writing about it over at the Big Brother Blog!

Dragnet (Weekday Morning, MeTV)

Because I’ve been sick and dealing with some other things, I started this week with a month’s worth of Dragnet on the DVR!  On Sunday, I started watching.

The first two episodes that I watched were recorded on August 2nd, a Monday.  These episodes also started the third season of the show, which was rechristened Dragnet 1969.  The third season is the season that focuses on what the 60s version of Dragnet was best-known for, Joe Friday and Bill Gannon lecturing hippies.  The first of Monday’s two episodes was one of my favorites.  Joe and Gannon are assigned to appear on a public affairs talk show where they debate a hippie newspaper editor and an sanctimonious professor.  Joe and Gannon win the debate but the hippie (played by Howard Hesseman) gets all of the best lines.  The host of the show wears a good deal of love beads, just to make sure that the audience knows he’s a commie.  The 2nd episode featured Joe and Gannon working the night shift in the Juvenile Department, which meant dealing with a suspected shoplifter, an abandoned baby, and a stoned hippie who insisted on being called Prince George.  Joe was tough but fair and probably didn’t convince a single person to change their ways.

On August 3rd, a Tuesday, the first episode of Dragnet featured Joe and Gannon trying to convince a group of black high school students to consider a career in law enforcement.  Not surprisingly, many of the students were not particularly enthused about joining the LAPD.  Gannon and Joe decided to recruit a black cop who was a former football player to make their case for them.  The cop was reluctant but Joe told him, “If you talk to these students now, you might not have to put handcuffs on them later on.”  The episode got even more cringey once it became obvious that a young O.J. Simpson was playing one of the high school students who was debating whether or not to become a cop.  This was followed by yet another cringey episode, in which Joe and Gannon headed up the Command Room to coordinate the LAPD’s response to the “civil disturbance” that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  Again, the show meant well (i.e., “Look at how professional the police were, even at a moment of great unrest.”) but it was hard not to cringe at the sight of the command center — staffed by several dozen white officers and one black patrolman whose only function in the story was to ask Joe and Gannon to explain things to him — smiling as they bragged about how the LAPD was doing a better job of keeping the peace than other police departments that night.  There was little thought given as to why people across the country were rioting. 

On August 4th, a Wednesday, the first episode of Dragnet featured Joe and Gannon pursuing dishonest tow truck drivers.  Get ’em, Joe!  As opposed to the previous four episodes, there was little moralizing or preaching to be found in this episode.  Instead, Joe and Gannon just did their jobs.  I liked it because, as a result of watching too many episodes of Parking Wars, I don’t particularly like tow truck operators.  This was followed by an episode where Gannon and his wife went to Joe’s apartment for dinner.  Joe dealt with some noisy neighbors.  I always enjoy episodes where Gannon and Joe are off-duty because they act exactly the same as when they’re on duty.  They don’t even loosen their ties.  During the course of the dinner party, someone tried to burglarize the building’s laundry room so, of course, Joe and Gannon drew their guns and ran out of the apartment.  Arrests were made and the laundry room was safer.

OJ On Dragnet

On August 5th, a Thursday, the first episode found Joe and Gannon working in the Robbery Division. They weren’t investigating crimes. Instead, they sat in an office and dispatched other officers. They did interrogate one quasi-hippie who tried to hold up a convenience store. He was shocked to discover he was going to jail! Take that, you ungrateful hippie! This was followed by an episode in which President Johnson came to town and Gannon and Joe coordinated with the Secret Service to keep him safe from all of the L.A. hippies. Though it should have been fun, it was actually a pretty boring episode.

On August 6th, a Friday, the first episode featured Gannon and Joe escorting “one of those lady authors” as she did research on a story about women at the police academy. The writer made the mistake of telling Joe, “I’ve never been high on cops” so it soon become Joe’s mission to educate her on why the police are important and also why she should totally be high on the cops. The writer wanted to do a profile on recruit Anderson. Unfortunately, Anderson’s fiancé didn’t want to her to become a cop. It was a bit of a mess but everything worked out in the end. Anderson decided she wanted to be a cop. Joe replied, “Well, I’m glad to hear that. A lot of time and money has been spent on your training.” Awwwww! This was followed by an episode in which Joe and Gannon met with business owners and encouraged them to start a neighborhood watch. “Get involved!” Joe commanded them. It was a bit dull.

On Monday, August 9th, Dragnet returned with two episodes. The first one was one of those unfortunate Dragnet episodes in which Joe, Gannon, and a private busybody citizen attempted to reach the kids. This time, they recruited a bunch of anti-drug teens to come up with posters and slogans that could be used to keep other teens from smoking marijuana and dropping acid. The anti-drug teens were so incredibly earnest and square that it was hard not to feel that they probably drove more kids to drugs than away from them. The 2nd episode featured Joe and Gannon investigating a case of police brutality. It turns out that the detective did go overboard but it was just because he was frustrated by not being appreciated by all the hippies on the streets.

On Tuesday, August 10th, the DVR did not record Dragnet. Maybe I forgot to set it. Maybe the cable was temporarily down in the middle of the night. It happens but, because Dragnet is an extremely episodic show (with every storyline resolved within 30 minutes), missing an episode is not as big a deal as missing an episode of modern show would be.

On Wednesday, August 11th, the DVR did record. The first episode found Joe and Gannon working the telephones at the police station, dealing with various situations that occurred as a tidal wave rolled towards California. Two hippies showed up at the station, demanding their right to hang out with their hippie protest signs. Joe kicked them out. This was all observed by a priest who was taking notes for an article. Fortunately, the priest learned that the police should never be doubted. This episode ended not with the usual details about whether or not anyone was convicted of a crime but instead with the narrator ordering the audience to appreciate the cops who work the front desk. This was followed by an episode where Joe and Gannon helped to train dogs to sniff out narcotics at the airport. Apparently, this was a new thing in 1969. The highlight of this episode was a lengthy dog training montage in which Joe and Gannon watched as dog-after-dog failed to track down the marijuana. Fortunately, the dogs got their act together by the end of the show.

On Thursday, August 12th, the first episode featured Joe working undercover to take down a crooked vice cop. As I’ve said before, I love it when Joe and Gannon go undercover because neither one of them is ever the least bit convincing as people interested in breaking the law but no one ever seems to notice. Joe pretending to be on the take and awkwardly reacting to a flirtatious waitress made this a classic episode. The second episode featured Joe and Gannon dealing with spoiled middle-class teenagers who thought it was no big deal to steal cars. Interestingly enough, I instantly recognized that one of the teenagers was played by the same actor who appeared as a LSD-loving hippie in the first episode of the third season. I looked up Lou Wagner on the imdb and discovered that he played four different characters — all of them out-of-control teens — on Dragnet. Wagner is also one of the two last-surviving cast members of the original Planet of the Apes. (The other is Linda Harrison.) Wagner played Lucius, the young chimpanzee who helped Taylor to escape. “Never trust anyone over thirty, Lucius,” Taylor told him at the end of the film.

Lou Wagner on Dragnet

Friday, August 13th, got started with an episode in which Joe and Gannon used a gigantic, bulky, multi-part computer to track down a gang that was stealing disability checks. This was one of those fun episodes where everyone was amazed by technology that was top-of-the-line in 1969 but which looks like an antique to modern viewers. There’s a certain amount of elitism that goes with laughing at an episode like this because it’s not like anyone in 1969 could have imagined what the world would be like in 2021. But that’s okay because, seriously, watching Joe and Gannon stare in amazement at that huge computer with its dot matrix printer was just too much fun. This was followed by a rather effective episode in which Gannon and Joe investigated a case of child abuse.

Monday, August 16th, started off with an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigates a series of burglaries being committed by someone calling himself The Crimson Crusader. He only stole comic books and movie posters but still, theft is theft and no one gets away with breaking the law when Joe Friday’s on the case! The second episode featured — YES!!!! — Joe and Gannon going undercover to investigate a prostitution ring. This time, they pretended to be farm equipment salesmen who were in L.A. for a convention. Once again, they didn’t even bother to loosen their ties before going undercover. Everything about them screamed, “Cop!” but no one seemed to notice. The undercover episodes are some of my favorites.

Tuesday, August 17th, got started with an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated a gang of check forgers. Did I mention they were hippie check forgers? Joe and Gannon had to decide whether or not to trust an informant. Did I mention that he was a hippie informant? This was a fun episode, as most episodes where Joe and Gannon have to deal with hippies are. Whereas past episodes at least humored the idea that hippies were idealistic but misdirected, this episode left no doubt that they were all crooks sponging off of decent society. This was followed by an episode in which a child was bitten by two dogs that might have been rabid and Joe and Gannon had to track down the dogs. AGCK! Rabid dogs are actually one of my big fears so this episode actually effected far more than you might otherwise expect.

Wednesday. August 18th, started off with an episode in which Joe, during his opening narration, explained that “Hippies see the world as being square. They want to change the world but, like all of us, they get overanxious. That’s when I go to work.” The actual case, though, had nothing to do with hippies. It involved Joe and Gannon trying to discover who had abandoned a 4-day old infant in a garbage can. It turned out that the culprit was Donna, who was knocked up by her boyfriend Tony right before he left for Vietnam. This was actually a pretty serious episode and it was pretty well-done. Joe and Gannon’s fury that someone would be so irresponsible as to abandon a baby was palpable. “You’ll never make mother of the year, lady,” Joe snarled as he arrested Donna. This was followed by an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated a case of embezzlement at a department store.

Thursday, August 19th, started off with the final episode of season 3 and yes, once again, Joe went undercover! A militia leader approached Joe about getting a licence to sell machine guns. Joe pretended to be willing to help but it was just so he could arrest the guy for illegally selling guns. Interestingly, for a season that loved to scold hippies, the third season ended with Joe arresting someone who disliked the counterculture even more than Joe did!

The second episode to air on August 19th was also the first of the show’s fourth (and final) season, during which the show was called Dragnet 1970. It featured Joe and Gannon investigating the shooting of two police officers during a liquor store robbery and it was actually a very serious episode, one that featured none of the preachiness that dominated season 3. This was a straight police procedural and it was well-done, if a bit dry. To be honest, it was so serious that I kind of found myself hoping a hippie would show up, just so Joe could yell at him.

Friday, August 20th, started off with an episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated a double murder. The killer turned out to be a nerdy college student who wrote “gloomy poetry” and who claimed to be an exisentialist. “What’s an existentalist?” Gannon asked the student’s English teacher. “No one knows,” the teacher replied. This was followed by an episode with Joe went undercover — YAY! — to arrest a jewel thief. Helping him in his undercover operation was a policewoman. “Don’t worry,” the captain assured Joe and Gannon, “she’s capable and she looks good out of uniform.” Yes, welcome to 1970.

That brings us to this week!

On Monday, the first episode featured Gannon and Joe, waiting for a missing man to show up at a hospital. As they waited, they also investigated a series of other cases. One man brought in a dead woman who he claimed has just passed out in his car. It turned out that she was actually living with the man when she died but, because the man was on probation, he didn’t want anyone to find out the true circumstances of her death. Still, it was determined that she died of natural causes so the man was “released into the custody of his probation officer.” It was a bit of a dry episode, to be honest. It needed some hippies. This was followed by another dry episode, in which Joe and Gannon tracked down a burglar who was also a con artist and a bigamist. The criminal insisted on being called “mister.” Joe informed him that, from now on, he’d only be known by his prisoner number.

Tuesday returned us to the deadly world of hippies! This time, Gannon and Joe were investigating the case of a 12 year-old who overdosed on seconal. It turned out that he got the pills from the local hippie commune. While this episode featured some pretty Manson-like hippies and a scene where Gannon and Joe lectured a bunch of new teachers on the dangers of drugs, it actually wasn’t as campy as the anti-drug episodes that aired during the show’s third season. Still, I did have to smile a little when Joe and Gannon made a point of warning people about taking the meds that I take every day for my ADD. This was followed by an entertaining little episode where Joe and Gannon had to determine whether the man who had confessed to a murder was actually guilty. In typical Dragnet fashion, this episode featured a length explanation of how finger printing worked.

Wednesday featured two excellent episodes. The first featured Joe and Gannon investigating the disappearance of a high school student who turned out to be not quite who she was believed to be. An actress named Jill Banner gave a great performance as the missing girl. The second episode featured Joe and Gannon going to court and helplessly watching as three burglars they arrested were allowed to go free because a material witness was not able to make it to the trial in time. It was a well-acted episode and it was interesting that the point of the episode seemed to be that it was better that the three burglars go free than that they be convicted in an unfair trial.

Jill Banner on Dragnet

The first of Thursday’s episode was an interesting if somewhat dry one. A prisoner in Colorado was up for parole but he still had a 14 year-old arrest warrant in Los Angeles so Joe and Gannon had to investigate the old crime and see if there was still enough evidence to justify charging the man. It turned out there wasn’t. Interestingly, after season 3 was all about criticizing the Left for being too easy on criminals, the first few episodes of Season 4 seemed to emphasize that the importance of protecting the rights of even the most obvious of criminals, even to the extent of letting a guilty man walk rather than violate proper procedure. This was followed by an amusing episode in which Joe and Gannon investigated a series of burglaries that had been masterminded by a diabolical and clever 12 year-old.

Friday started off with Gannon and Joe arresting a con artist and sending him to jail. It was typical Dragnet stuff. This was followed by another Dragnet drug episode, in which Joe and Gannon searched for a missing addict who, having completed rehab, had fallen back into his old habits. This episode was actually handled fairly well, largely because the addict was hooked on heroin, an actual dangerous drug. (Previous Dragnet drug episodes often portrayed marijuana as being the most dangerous drug on the planet, which made them easy to laugh at.) Still, it wouldn’t have been an episode of Dragnet without at least one scene of Joe telling off a snooty pro-drug academic and that’s what happened during this episode. Then again, snooty academics are kind of annoying so it’s always fun to watch them get put in their place.

Wow, I watched a lot of Dragnet last week. In fact, I watched so much that, for space considerations, I’m going to have to divide this post into two separate parts. So, look for part two of my week in television to post in about ten minutes!

Lisa Marie’s Week In Television: 8/8/21 — 8/14/21


I’m healthy again this week, at least physically.  (I’m stressed out mentally but that’s a story for another time.)  Here’s what I watched:

Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

It appeared that Rene and LeClerc were about to executed by the Communist Resistance until it was discovered that Denise, the leader of the communists, was Rene’s “childhood love.”  So now, Rene has to marry Denise, despite the fact that he’s already married to Edith.  Meanwhile, the two British airmen decided to surrender themselves to the Germans but they could not find an officer to surrender to and surrendering to an enlisted man just wouldn’t be the right thing to do.  So, they ran off to search for Officer Crabtree.

It was a chaotic but funny episode, as they tend to be.

The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Night)

This week was the finale of The Bachelorette!  Still mourning the loss of Greg, Katie got engaged to Blake.  In fact, she basically just told Justin to go home so that she and Blake could spend all of their time together.  For all the talk about how Katie was all about ending drama, this was certainly a messy season and it only got messier when Blake met Katie’s mother and her aunt.  Her mom actually had some intelligent things to say and was right to be skeptical.  Katie’s aunt was perhaps the scariest person to ever appear on The Bachelorette and it was hard not to feel that her main concern was just making sure that Katie would forever be as miserable as everyone else in the family.  Katie and Blake got engaged in the desert, in a ceremony that was so pretentious that …. well, Katie and Blake are both fairly pretentious so I guess it was appropriate.

I watched the episodes with my girls, Evelyn, Emma, and Amy, and a bottle of wine.  Between the four of us, a lot of snarky and unrepeatable comments were made towards the television on Monday night.  That’s really the only right way to watch the finale of any season of the Bachelorette.  Admittedly, I’m not much of a drinker, which is another way of saying that a little Chardonnay puts me flat on my ass.  Evelyn says that I was drunk before I finished my first glass.  Personally, I think it was probably more like two glasses.  The point is that this messy show is the only thing that ever drives me to drink.

As we watched Katie scream at Greg at the reunion show, we all agreed that Katie is still in love with him and that she only got engaged to Blake as a sort of rebound revenge thing.  It was interesting to watch Katie literally transform into the villain of her season before our eyes.  If Blake and Katie break up (which they will), will Blake appear on a fourth season of the Bachelorette?  I guess we’ll find out.  Have they broken up already?  I don’t know, I was dealing with a sip of Chardonnay

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Bar Rescue (Sunday, Paramount TV)

I watched an episode of this on Sunday morning, while I was trying to work up the strength to get out of bed and start my day.  Actually, since I wasn’t wearing my contacts or my glasses, I didn’t so much watch it as I listened to it while squinting.  Taffer was yelling at some blurry guy who I guess owned a fetish bar of some sort.

Big Brother (All the time, CBS and Paramount Plus)

Yep, I’m still watching this and writing about it over at the Big Brother Blog.

Court Cam (Wednesday Day, A&E)

I only had this show on for background noise while Windows was doing an update.  At this point, it seems like they’ve repeated every episode of Court Cam at least a hundred times.  I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve seen Amber Guyger received a hug from Botham Jean’s brother before going to prison.

Fantasy Island (Tuesday Night, FOX)

Fox’s Fantasy Island reboot premiered this week and the first episode was stylish but also a bit predictable and, dare I say it, a little dull.  Roselyn Sanchez seems like a good choice to play the proprietor of Fantasy Island but it’s already easy to see that the show, much like last year’s attempt to turn Fantasy Island into a film franchise, is probably going to get bogged down in its own mythology.

Fasten Your Seat Belts (Wednesdays, A&E)

Originally, I was pretty skeptical of this show, which is made up footage of people acting either silly or crazy at airports and on airplanes.  But the two episodes that I watched on Wednesday morning were actually kind of cute.  It helps that Robert Hays is a very charming host.

Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)

I watched an episode on Monday.  Chandler and Monica returned from their honeymoon, convinced they had made new friends, just to discover that they had been given fake numbers.  (Chandler was particularly shocked as all he did during the entire honeymoon was “joke and joke and joke!”)  That was just the B-plot, though.  The main plot was Ross and Rachel again trying to figure out who was responsible for their latest tryst.  It was a cute episode, featuring Joey’s “western Europe” story.

I watched another episode on Thursday, this one featuring Monica obsessing on whether or not the maid had stolen her clothes.  Needless to say, both she and Chandler went a bit overboard in their investigation and they were soon left without a maid.  The debate over whether or not the maid had stolen Monica’s pink bra — which Monica later discovered that she was actually wearing at the time — was one that I could relate to, as Erin and I have had similar debates and oddly, many of them have centered on a pink bra.  It’s a cute bra and I’m pretty sure that I’m the one who bought it.  My sister disagrees.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

After taking two weeks off for the Olympics, Hell’s Kitchen returned this week with an episode in which Hell’s Kitchen hosted a charity dinner.  Needless to say, it was a disaster and Victoria’s dream of being head chef at Gordon Ramsay Steak came to an end.  Why does Chef Ramsay always agree to allow charities to hold events at the restaurant?  It’s always a disaster.

Kids Behind Bars: Life or Parole (Tuesday Night, A&E)

As the result of a Supreme Court decision, prisoners who were sentenced to life imprisonment when they were juveniles are being given new sentences and, of course, A&E is there to record every dramatic and heart-wrenching moment.  It all feels a bit exploitive, of course.  I watched two episodes, both of which were painfully heavy-handed as far as who the cameras focused on and on whose pain was considered to be more important, the victim or the victimizer.  A&E undoubtedly gets good ratings from shows like this but they still leave you feeling icky after the finish.

Lauren Lake’s Paternity Court (Weekday Morning, Channel 33)

I watched two episodes on Tuesday morning.  The first episode was memorable because there were two possible fathers and both of them looked exactly like Breaking Bad’s Jesse Pinkman.  The second episode featured a married couple that was being driven apart by accusations of infidelity.  No one drags out reading DNA test results like Judge Lake.

Lonesome Dove (Wednesday Night, DVD)

I’ve been watching this classic 1990 miniseries with the #WestWed live tweet group, hosted by Matthew Titus.  I watched the first two episodes this week.  It’s the story of a cattle drive during the dying days of the old west, featuring great performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Diane Lane, Chris Cooper, Fredric Forrest, and especially Robert Duvall.  Even Steve Buscemi showed up during the second episode!

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

There’s a chance that Moone Boy might be leaving PBS’s schedule next week.  If so, this week’s episode was a good one to go out on.  When Liam and Debra go on a anniversary vacation to the beach, Martin and Padriac head down to Dublin (“where the streets all have names,” we’re told) to stay with Martin’s uncle.  When we last Uncle Danny, he was pretending to be a roadie with U2.  However, in this episode, Danny is honest about his profession as an encyclopedia salesman.  Through a series of events too complicated to explain in a capsule review, Martin and Padriac spend the week selling encyclopedias while Liam is tempted by an ex-girlfriend who happens to be at the same resort as he and Debra.  It was funny, sweet, and just silly enough to be effective.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright got a dog to protect the shop while Granville feared that he might be the father of Maureen’s baby.  Silly, Granville!  You have to have sex with someone to get them pregnant and that’s definitely something Granville’s never done.

Seinfield (Weeknights, CBS)

I watched two episodes on Sunday.  I relate so much to Elaine Benes.  During the first episode, she went hoarse after spending all night yelling at a barking dog.  (Like I said, I can relate.)  During the second episode, she worked with a potentially psychotic co-workers and still managed to put out the latest edition of the J. Peterman catalogue on schedule.

I then watched two episodes on Thursday.  The first featured one of my favorite Seinfeld characters, Bob Cobb.  Bob is better known as the Maestro.  The Maestro told Jerry that there were no houses for rent in Tuscany, which of course led to Jerry and Kramer going to Tuscany just to spite him.  The second episode featured Jerry and Kramer switching apartments due to the red neon sign of a new chicken restaurant.  I laughed.

S.W.A.T. (Wednesday Night, CBS)

When this show suddenly came on my television on Wednesday night, I was shocked to discover that it still existed (because, seriously, I figured it had been canceled after one season) and that Shemar Moore is still the most boring man on television.  I would be lying if I said I actually paid attention to the episode, of course.  I had it on for background noise.  I imagine that’s the way many people use this particular show.

Tokyo Olympics Closing Ceremonies (Sunday Night, NBC)

Remember how, last week, I said I was okay with the idea of the United States not winning the most gold medals?  Well, I may have been fooling myself because, when I found out the U.S. had defeated China in the gold medal race on Sunday afternoon, I was incredibly happy and excited!  Congratulations, Team USA!  (Especially those of you who went to the Olympics to try to win, as opposed to just trying to promote your brand or your politics….)

Though I missed a lot of the 2nd week of the Olympics, I did catch the Closing Ceremonies and I found them to be very moving.  This year, more than any other, the International Games truly meant something.  Congratulations to everyone who competed (but especially to the ones who won)!

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

PBS is apparently intent on breaking my heart as it appears that this is the last episode of Upstart Crow that they’re going to broadcast for a while.  Of course, it was also the last episode of the show’s third series.  It was followed by two Christmas episodes but, unfortunately, those episodes don’t appear to be in the show’s American syndication package.  Hopefully, I’m wrong and this will be corrected but, right now, PBS doesn’t have the show on its schedule for next week.  Of course, PBS doesn’t have any of their other regular British sitcoms scheduled for next week, either.  So, we’ll wait and see, I guess.

This week’s episode — wow, where to even start?  It started out as a typical episode of Upstart Crow, with Shakespeare blowing off the confirmation of his son, Hamnet, so that he could attend the first annual London Theatrical Awards.  Shakespeare confidently expected to win because, due to the Plague, his plays were the only ones running.  However, Robert Greene produced a one-night only showing of one of his plays and then paid off the voters so that he swept the awards.  The highlight of the ceremony was not Shakespeare winning (for he won nothing) but instead a tribute to the “late” Kit Marlowe (Kit, who faked his death, attended but told everyone that his name was Kurt) and the caustic hosting of Will Kempe.  It was all very funny, especially if you’re into awards shows.

Empty-handed, Will returned home to Stratford, where he discovered his family in mourning as Hamnet has died, of the Plague, the night before.  Though the agnostic Will did not believe that he would be reunited with his son in Heaven, he pretended that he did to comfort his wife, Anne.  It was a powerfully handled scene, wonderfully written and performed by the entire cast.  It ended the show on a melancholy note but also a historically accurate one.  Hamnet Shakespeare did die at a young age, presumably of the Plague.  The episode’s final scene of Will and Anne sitting silently in their room was sad but also somewhat comforting.  In mourning, they had each other.

Lisa’s Week In Television: 7/4/21 — 7/10/21


Twonky

This week, I mostly used the television for background noise.  Here’s some notes on what I watched:

allo-allo

Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

A camera was dropped off that could save France but, unfortunately, it landed in a vineyard.  So, of course, it fell on Rene and everyone from the café to work in the vineyard to retrieve it.  I find myself relating to Michelle of the Resistance.  “I shall say this only once!”

bachelorette 2021

The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Night)

If I hadn’t already read all the spoilers about who Katie is going to end up with, I probably would have been more excited by the return of Blake.  But …. eh.  I’m ready for this season to be over.  I really need to stop reading spoilers.

bar-rescue

Bar Rescue (Wednesday, Paramount Network)

Jon Taffer and Mia Mastroianni were outraged to discover that a country-and-western bar was not serving fruity, beach-themed cocktails.  Mia gasped as if she had just seen the worst thing in the history of terrible things.  Taffer yelled a lot.

Big Brotehr 23

Big Brother (CBS and Paramount, 24/7)

Big Brother is back!  It’s taken them 23 seasons but Big Brother finally has a season where there’s more than two people of color in the House.  It’s the most diverse cast ever but everyone is still making the same stupid mistakes that previous houseguests made in past seasons.  I’ve been writing about it over at Reality TV Chat Blog!

children hosptial

Children’s Hospital (Hulu, Thursday)

I watched two episodes of this classic show on Thursday.  The first was the special “lost episode” from the 70s, in which Dr. Lola Spratt joined the staff and was immediately dismissed by everyone because she was a woman.  (“The operation has been canceled!  The patient doesn’t want to be operated on by a woman!”)  Dr. Glenn Richie also joined the staff and attempted to prove that he wasn’t a “baby killer.”  It all ended with an orgy.  The second episode I watched was the British version of Children’s Hospital, which aired on “BBC10” and featured a French mime.

court-cam

Court Cam (A&E, Wednesday)

“This defendant thinks he’s going to get away with lighting a joint in the middle of the court room but the judge ain’t having it!”  WHY DO I WATCH THIS STUPID SHOW!?  Actually, the answer to that is pretty simple.  It makes good background noise.  I may watch but I rarely pay attention.

Dragnet

Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)

Monday’s showing of Dragnet got started with an episode in which Friday and Gannon teamed up with a bunch of old women to take down two con artists who were posing as bank examiners.  It was a good and straight-forward police story and one that, despite Dragnet’s reputation, featured absolutely no crazy hippies.  The second episode featured Friday and Gannon solving the murder of a 66 year-old man.  It turned out that he was murdered by a young couple but they weren’t quite hippies as much as they were beatniks with bad attitudes.  Still, the episode was very well-done, with the audience ultimately sharing the cop’s disgust over the murder.

Both of Tuesday’s episodes were rather dry, which I guess is a polite way of saying dull.  The first one dealt with Gannon and Friday tracking down two men who had been holding up candy stores and a good deal of time was spent explaining how a lineup works.  This is one of those things that I imagine was fascinating in 1967 but today, it’s a bit less so.  The second episode featured a gang selling fake furs.  Gannon went undercover to bust them but it turned out that going undercover just meant showing up in a hotel room, lying about your profession, and then pulling out your badge a few minutes later.

Wednesday started off with Gannon and Friday being called in to investigate a jewelry theft, just to discover that it was actually insurance fraud.  It was, again, all a bit dry.  The second episode was better, with Gannon and Friday tracking down two men who shot a cop.  One of the men was played by none other than Dick Miller!  As usual, the focus was on everyone doing everything “by the book,” which was quite a contrast to the rogue cops who would later come to dominate television.  Gannon and Friday, it would appear, took quite a bit of pride in being dull.

On Thursday, Friday and Gannon worked traffic and continually arrested the same drunk driver until that driver ended up killing two innocent people and losing his legs.  Again, it was a fairly dull episode but the message was a good one because people really shouldn’t drive drunk.  This was followed by an episode in which Friday teamed up with the department’s chaplain to take down a crooked accountant.  Everyone assumed that a preacher couldn’t be a good cop but he proved them wrong, I guess.  It was a weird episode.

On Friday, Joe went on TV and gave an interview about various type of scam artists to look out for, particularly magazine subscriptions salesmen who claim to be veterans.  This was followed by a murder investigation, one that again was handled very succinctly and by-the-book.

These old episodes of Dragnet are interesting from a historical point of view.  From the an entertainment point of view, they’re kind of dull.  But I know that the show is eventually going to exclusively became about Friday and Gannon putting hippies in their place so I’ll keep watching in anticipation.

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

The chefs had to cook for Chef Ramsay’s daughter’s birthday party!  Needless to say, it was pretty much a disaster.  Megan Ramsay sent back one plate of noodles because it was flavorless and I was like, “YESSSSSSSS!” because, seriously, the episode needed some more yelling.  The Red Team lost for the second service in a row.  Payton was sent home.  Boo hoo.  I liked Payton.

Love Island

Love Island (CBS, Weeknights)

Love Island is proof that someone watched Paradise Hotel and thought to themselves, “The only thing that would improve this show would be if the people involved were just a little more shallow.”  I watched two episodes, one on Wednesday and one on Thursday.  I like the snarky narrator but, honestly, I’m already watching The Bachelorette, Hell’s Kitchen, and Big Brother so I’ll probably skip out on the rest of Love Island.

moone_boy_title

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin’s starting at a new school but he’s still got his imaginary friend, Sean Murphy, at his side.  This week’s episode was sweetly humorous and had a lot of dancing.  Martin developed a crush on his art teacher, which I found amusing since I once thought I might became an art teacher, specifically so I could inspire young minds to embrace abstract thinking.  But then I realized being an art teacher would also mean having to tell children that their talent was inadequate for my class so I changed my mind.  I’m just too nice.

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

I watched episodes from season 2 on Thursday, season 3 on Friday, and season 4 on Saturday.  My favorite remains Jim and Pam staying overnight at Dwight’s beet farm.

open-all-hours

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

Arkwright continued to steal from his customers while Granville drew plans for a bomb behind the counter.

parking_wars

Parking Wars (Weekday mornings, A&E)

I watched an episode on Thursday while I was getting ready for my day.  The parking cops were all acting like martyrs because people didn’t like them.  Who knew that civil servants could be so whiny?

1-upstart-crow

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

As Will Shakespeare struggled to write A Midsummer’s Night Dream, he told Kate and Bottom about the time he met an actual fairy named Puck.  Puck sold him the dust that he used to make Anne fall in love with him.  Kate and Bottom both felt that it sounded more likely that Puck was drug dealer.  Poor Shakespeare …. will he ever win?

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/20/21 — 6/26/21


This was a sad week, as far as television goes. Due to the PBS pledge drive, I didn’t get to watch any of my usual British sitcoms. Plus, Baywatch came to an end so now I have to find a new old show to binge.

202ONE U.S. Olympic Trials (Friday Night, NBC)

I watched the gymnastics trials on Friday night. Simone Biles is amazing. That said, I’m cringing at “202ONE.” Rethink this, NBC.

That said, I’m definitely looking forward to the Olympics this year. I am an Olympics fanatic and I make no apologies for it. (I do, however, prefer the winter games just because of the curling and the skating.) Especially when compared to some people, I managed to stay pretty positive last year but I did get pretty upset when they had to cancel the games.

The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)

The Bachelorette was very emotional this week but, of course, The Bachelorette is emotional every week. Katie isn’t going to put up with any drama or fights this season but fights and drama are kind of the main reason for watching this show. Oh well. Thanks to all the brave internet sleuths out there, I already know how things are going to end. Personally, I think Katie made the right decision, assuming the spoilers I’ve seen are correct.

Bar Rescue (Monday Morning, Paramount)

John Taffer is helping bars survive the Corona Pandemic by yelling at their owners. I hope that strategy works. Watching the latest episode, it occurred to me that the show is currently in a strange place. The whole appeal of Bar Rescue has always been the chance to watch Taffer act like a dick. But it’s not as much fun to watch Taffer yell at people when those people are on the verge of losing their livelihood due to a pandemic. As a result, Taffer has been trying to balance being belligerent with being a nice guy. The end result, so far, has been kind of awkward.

Baywatch (Weekday Evening, H&I)

My Baywatch binge came to an end this week as H&I reached the end of the series and started over again from the start. Here’s my thoughts on how this oddly addictive show wrapped things up.

On Sunday, Mitch and the lifeguards went to Australia! Wait a minute, what? Yes, they actually did This is not a joke. It was a two-part episode called Baywatch: Down Under. After Jake, a lifeguard who had never previously appeared or been mentioned on the show, learned that he had a son in Australia, he went to meet him and Jake’s best friends — who, again, never before mentioned this Jake over the course of the previous 9 seasons of the show — accompanied him. The majority of the two episodes focused on Jake and a bunch of new Australian lifeguards. That’s because Baywatch: Down Under was actually a pilot for a Baywatch spin-off that didn’t happen. It was also kind of a wasted two parter, though the Australian scenery was lovely.

The first of Monday’s episodes featured Mitch and Cody rescuing a violinist who was being held prisoner on a boat. What’s odd is that the episode opened with Cody mentioning that he had broken up with his girlfriend Lani (who was played by Carmen Electra during the previous season). However, since Cody had already been seen flirting with and dating other women all through season 9, that would seem to suggest that either Cody and Lani were already broken up or Cody was just a no-good, dirty cheater. I’m going to guess that, for whatever reason, season 9’s episodes were shown out of production order. As if to prove my theory, the next episode featured Hobie living back at home with Mitch despite the fact that he had moved away to live with his mother earlier in the season. Did the Baywatch producers just not care about continuity? No wonder the show only lasted 11 seasons!

On Tuesday, the recently returned Neely Capshaw tried to 1) seduce Hobie, 2) get Mitch fired, and 3) drug Alex with sleeping pills. This would have all been fun if Gena Lee Nolin was still playing the role of Neely but, for Season 9, Baywatch replaced Nolin with another actress who just have didn’t the same skill when it came to making evil entertaining. Needless to say, Neely did not get away with it. The second episode featured George Hamilton playing himself and really, what more did you need? Well, how about Manny getting paralyzed as a result of a lifeguard accident? After it happened, Manny was bitter but, this being Baywatch, he eventually made peace with his new circumstances.

On Wednesday, season 9 ended not with a bang but with a whimper. The episode was split between Cody searching for a missing boat and Alex trying to figure out who was making elaborate sand castles on the beach. David Hasselhoff and Michael Newman, the two mainstays of the show, were barely featured. As Season 9 came to an end, so did H&I’s collection of Baywatch episodes. Seasons 10 and 11 were rebranded Baywatch Hawaii and, apparently, they were not included in the syndication package. So, the second of Wednesday’s episode was the first episode of season 1, which I really didn’t have much interest in rewatching.

So, I’m done with Baywatch for now. The two seasons of Baywatch: Hawaii are, of course, available on Prime but …. eh. Nine seasons in five months was enough for me, at least for now. Baywatch was an entertainingly dumb show and I’m sure I’ll occasionally catch an episode whenever I’m bored and I want to see some ocean scenery or maybe Cody in a speedo. For now, though, I’m ready to move on and binge another old show.

Court Cam (Wednesday, A&E)

Plenty of drama in the court this week! Court Cam is such a ludicrous show but it’s also rather addictive. Between the showy but shallow editing and Dan Abrams’s breathless narration, it’s hard not to crack a smile while watching.

Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)

The current season of Hell’s Kitchen feels like some sort of demented boomer fantasy. Take the most emotionally fragile 20 year-olds you can find and force them to work for the most abrasive man on television. I’m just waiting for one of the chefs to mention needing a trigger warning.

Anyway, both the red and the blue teams screwed up this week so Chef Ramsay sent two chefs home and then reorganized the teams. I hope it helps because the diners at Hell’s Kitchen deserve the best food possible.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

As soon as Intervention started on Monday night, there was a loud boom of thunder outside, followed by lightning and then pouring rain. Looking around the house, I realized that I wasn’t sure where Doc was so, naturally, I assumed he was outside in the storm. Panicking, I ran out to the backyard and stood there, in my bathrobe, and yelled, “DOC! DOC!” There was no sign of Doc so I ran back inside, grabbed a flashlight, and ran back outside. Shining the light around the backyard, I continued to call for the cat even as I got more and more soaked.

Getting no response and fearing that my beloved cat had been swept away by the storm, I turned to reenter the house and that’s when I saw Doc, sitting inside on a kitchen counter, and watching me through the window with a somewhat bemused expression on his face. (Trust me, cats can be bemused!)

I stepped back inside and, once I finally dried off and changed clothes, Intervention was nearly over. However, the end title cards informed that me that both Nicholette and her father have been sober since 2018 so good for them.

The Love Boat (Sunday Evening, MeTV)

The Love Boat crew goes to Australia! Julie is getting married! Captain Stubing is on the verge of having an affair with Katharine Helmond! Gopher and Doc are competing to impress the new cruise director! Isaac is making drinks while Vicki sacrifices her childhood to essentially do slave labor on a cruise ship! Meanwhile, special guest star Jose Ferrer has captured the missing link and has chained him in a cage that’s been kept in the cargo bay …. wait a minute, what!? Yes, it was a strange episode. Australia looked great, though!

Mom (Friday afternoon, Paramount TV)

I watched four episodes of this long-running commercial for the recovery industry on Friday. Actually, I don’t know if I really watched them as much as I just had them on for background noise. This is probably one of my least favorite shows ever, a 30-minute exercise in 12-step propaganda. Every episode I see of this show, I just find myself wondering if the title characters have ever met anyone whose life isn’t a depressing hellsack. That said, it’s obvious that some people like this show because it’s been on for what feels like 40 years

The Office (Comedy Central, Friday Evening)

I watched the final four episodes of season 4 (Did I Stutter, Job Fair, and the two-part Goodbye Toby) and Season 5’s Weight Loss premiere. Out of that set, Job Fair was probably the weakest, just because it had an entire subplot involving Jim and Andy golfing with a potential client. Jim begging the guy for his business was just cringey and Andy — who was always the most inconsistently written character on the show — was portrayed as being such a cartoonish idiot that it was difficult to watch. Much better was Goodbye Toby (in which Andy was a much more likable character) and Weight Loss (featuring that iconic proposal scene). Did I Stutter is one of the best and most underrated episodes of The Office, with the final conversation between Michael and Stanley being one of the show’s strongest moments.

Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness (Wednesday and Thursday, Netflix)

I reviewed this Netflix docuseries here.

The Vow (HBO2, Saturday)

The Vow, which originally aired last year, was HBO’s lengthy docuseries about the NXIVM cult. This show started with great fanfare and acclaim, the majority of which tapered off as it became clear that The Vow was produced by a bunch of former cult members who were trying to make themselves look better and more innocent than they actually were. The Vow is famous for a scene in which former NXIVM dude Mark Vicente rages that anyone can get sucked into a cult. That may be true but, judging from The Vow, it helps to be intellectually shallow and emotionally needy. Since it doesn’t take much research to discover that Vicente was far higher-up in NXIVM than The Vow acknowledges and that he financially profited from the cult’s pyramid scheme-inspired structure, it’s hard not to feel that Vicente doesn’t really have the moral standing necessary to portray himself as being just another NXIVM victim.

Anyway, HBO2 aired the entire series on Saturday. I rewatched a few episodes and I have to say that I was kind of surprised to discover that Mark Vicente and Sarah Edmondson came across as even more unlikable and disingenuous that second time I watched than they did the first time. Supposedly, there’s a second season of The Vow on the way so I guess we’ll get even more chances to listen to Mark Vicente brag about co-directing What The Bleep Do We Know.

That’s it for this week! Next week, I’ll be selecting new shows to binge!

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/13/21 — 6/19/21


Yes, I did watch some television this week.  However, I didn’t actually take any notes about the shows that I watched so this edition of Lisa’s Week in Television might be lacking a little in detail.  Sorry about that!  To be honest, I spent most of this week adjusting to the arrival of summer temperatures and I ended up devoting most of my attention to the air conditioning.

Still, here’s a few thoughts about what I can remember about what I watched this week:

Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a bit of a silly episode this week.  (I know, I know, they’re all silly.)  Rene had to fly a kite in order to make the new radio work.  (Don’t ask.)  Mimi, the new waitress, was disguised as a nun and she ended up getting twisted in the kite so she ended up as a flying nun.  It made no sense but, perhaps for that reason, it made me laugh.

The Bachelorette (Monday on ABC)

This week, Katie was stunned to discover that one of the bachelors might not have been there for the right reasons!  She sent Cody home because he was apparently only there to increase his profile.  Usually, it takes a few more episodes for The Bachelorette to reach the “He’s not here for the right reasons” stage.  The fact that this season got to it during the second episode worries me a little because this is a franchise that is always at its worse whenever it gets self-righteous.

(I always remember the episode of Burning Love, where the bachelors had to make sock puppets.  Adam Scott said, “This is so stupid.” Cut to Joe Lo Truglio: “And I was like — hey man, I’m here for my son.  Take this seriously!”)

In other news, Mike read a really awkward letter to his “future wife,” explaining why he waited until marriage to have sex.  Like I said, it was hella cringey but it pretty much guarantees that Mike will be the next Bachelor.

Bar Rescue (Sunday Night, Paramount)

It’s been a while since I watched this show.  Watching it on Sunday night, I discovered that John Taffer still apparently believes that not knowing how to run a bar is the worst crime known to man.  “YOU’RE OVERPOURING!  THAT’S MONEY DOWN THE DRAIN!”  Relax, John.  It’s just a bar.

Baywatch (Weekday evenings, H&I)

H&I has started in on the NINTH season of Baywatch and I have to say that I’m getting the feeling that, by the time this season rolled around, Baywatch was just repeating itself and going through the motions.  Every episode that I watched this week featured a storyline that had been done in a previous episode.  So, I guess if you’re wondering how many lifeguard stories there are, the answer is 8 seasons worth.

Let’s see how much I can remember about what I saw this week:

On the first of Sunday’s episodes, the Baywatch lifeguards had some competition from a private security company called — I kid you not — Bayguard!  Mitch and Cody had to prove that Baywatch was just as good as Bayguard, which they managed to do by rescuing a boy in a storm drain.  Mitch and Cody spent a lot of time rescuing people from storm drains.  The second episode was a sweet story about a little boy named Timmy who really liked dolphins.  Timmy also got trapped in a cave so Mitch and the lifeguards had to save him.  It was typical Baywatch stuff but David Hasselhoff always did his best work with the unabashedly sentimental storylines.

On Monday, a mysterious figure was roaming the beach and saving people from drowning!  Could it have been the klutzy new maintenance worker played Brooke Burns?  Since Burns was already featured in the opening credits wearing a Baywatch uniform, that was a pretty easy question to answer.  This was followed by an episode where April felt guilty about a swimmer dying, which was pretty much a remake of an earlier episode in which Caroline felt guilty about a swimmer dying.

On Tuesday, Hobie made his first appearance of the season.  Despite being Mitch’s son, Hobie had been missing in action for the previous few episodes.  (In real life, actor Jonathan Jackson was dealing with an addiction to cocaine that basically led to him being fired from the show.)  Hobie was arrested after a boat he was driving crashed.  However, it turned out that Hobie was not at fault!  Knowing that this episode was kind of meant to be a wake-up call to Jackson about his own behavior made the whole thing awkward to watch.  This was followed by an episode in which one of the lifeguards was selected for Jeopardy.  Unfortunately, she was later disqualified when it was discovered that she knew someone who worked on the show but Alex Trebek still made an appearance and was his usual charming self.

On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch having a mid-life crisis, which he previously had two seasons ago.  This was followed by an episode were Mitch befriend an orangutan.  Strangely, Mitch didn’t mention that — during season two — he befriended a chimpanzee.

On Thursday, Cody started using performance-enhancing drugs to increase his chances of going to the Olympics, much as several other characters have done on previous episodes of Baywatch.  This was followed by a skydiving episode which was basically a remake of the skydiving episode from season six.  Of course, the previous episode turned out to be a dream whereas this episode was real.  MITCH CAN SEE THE FUTURE!

On Friday, Mitch adopted a new son named Tanner.  (Hobie, we were told, was now living with his mother.)  This was followed by an episode where April and Craig finally broke up, which seemed appropriate since April was like 19 and Craig was nearly 60.  Craig apparently is a hotshot defense attorney but he was nowhere to be seen in the episode where Hobie was in jail.  Craig is a bad friend.

On Saturday, Peter Barton co-starred as a race car driver who was officially sponsored by …. wait for it …. AOL!  As a result, the entire episode featured people talking about how much they loved AOL.  Mitch’s adopted son even checked his AOL account and got the “You have mail” prompt.  “Hey, pal,” Mitch said, “you got mail!”

When future historians research the 90s, they’ll just watch episodes of Baywatch.

Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)

Don’t talk back to the judge or Dan Abrams will put you on TV and make fun of you.

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

There was a lot of raw chicken being sent up to the pass this week.  The blue team lost again.  This seems to be the way that it goes every season, though.  The men start out losing, the women get overconfident, and eventually both teams kind of crash and burn.

Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)

The intervention didn’t work this week.  Kelsey went to rehab but relapsed.  It was sad for I’ll give Intervention some credit for admitting that these things don’t always have a happy ending.

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

Martin graduated from national school and attempted to make sure that his name would be remembered by future classes!  I remember, in high school, I was convinced the future students would never forget my graduating class.  In retrospect, I’m not sure why I thought that.  It’s not like Saved By The Bell, where the members of the New Class where still talking about the time Jessie got hooked on caffeine pills.  Time marches on.

The Office (Saturday Afternoon, Comedy Central)

Amy Adams just wanted to sell purses.  Michael bought her a $10,000 espresso machine. CRINGE!  Still, hilarious though.

Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

It was a typical episode of Open All Hours.  Arkwright abused Granville while Granville silently plotted his revenge.

The Powers of Matthew Star (Sunday Mornings, MeTV)

I was dealing with insomnia on Sunday so I did watch an episode of this old sci-fi series on MeTV.  (I used to set the DVR for it but, up until this week, I had kind of lost interest in it.)  Peter Barton — yes, the same Peter Barton who appeared on Baywatch this week — played an alien who was pretending to be a normal high school student.  In this week’s episode, Matthew Star traveled to the Bermuda Triangle and got a tragic message from his homeworld.  It was pretty silly but, as the title character, Peter Barton was sincere enough to nearly sell it.

Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)

Screech got struck by lightning and suddenly had the power to see the future.  Zack tried to use Screech’s powers to cheat on the History midterm.  Unfortunately, Screech lost his powers and Zack got an “F minus …. for scamming!”

South Park (Wednesday Night, Comedy Central)

“Free Hat!  Free Hat!”  Actually, I don’t remember which episode it was that I watched but the Free Hat episode is always a good a default to go with.

Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Incredibly proud of his new play, Will Shakespeare is stunned to discover that the few women in his life are not as enamored of The Taming of the Shrew as he is.  Will simply cannot figure it out!  This was a funny episode, mostly because it was true.

 

 

 

Guilty Pleasure No. 46: Bar Rescue


 

As I write this, I’m watching Bar Rescue on the Paramount Network and I’m trying to figure out why it is that I like this annoying show.

Bar Rescue, of course, is one of those shows where a jackass goes into a failing business — in this case, a bar — and basically screams at everyone for an hour until the bar starts making money.  It stars Jon Taffer, who has all of the charm of a low-level gangster who desperately needs to make his quota for the week or else the capo is going to break his thumbs.  The main them of each episode is that Taffer takes “bar science” very seriously and apparently cannot fathom a world where anyone tries to do anything different or quirky with their business.

If you search the internet, you’ll find all sorts of stories about the bars that Taffer “saved.”  A good deal of them went out of business after Taffer gave them their makeover.  Several of them immediately went back to the way they were running things pre-Bar Rescue.  Some of those bars have survived and some of them have not.  Taffer always makes a big deal about renaming almost every bar that he saves.  It’s rare that anyone sticks with Taffer’s new name.

I have to admit that I rarely drink so I’ve never really cared that much about bars.  In fact, it’s kind of hard for me to imagine anyone caring about the decor of the place where they’re getting drunk.  That may be one reason why I always find it oddly compelling to listen to Taffer rant and rave, as if designing the perfect bar is somehow the same thing as restoring the Sistine Chapel.  Whenever Taffer brings in his bar experts, I find myself smirking a little bit because Taffer’s experts are usually just people who are obviously angling for a show of their own.  The “experts” tend to be so condescending that I actually look forward to people talking back to them.

Speaking of people talking back, another reason that I watch Bar Rescue is because there’s always a chance that someone might throw a punch at Jon Taffer.  Seriously, he’s just obnoxious!  It’s interesting to compare him to someone like Gordon Ramsay, who is just as loud and overbearing but who also somehow remains likable through the whole ordeal.  Taffer just comes across as being a bully.

(What’s funny is that, while I was researching the bars that the show previous rescued, I came across several comments from people who worked at those bars.  Most of them said that Taffer was actually very polite and rather affable off-camera.  He plays a bully for the ratings and …. well, Hell, I’m watching so I guess it’s working.)

Watching the show in the age of Coronavirus, Bar Rescue almost feels like an artifact from a different age.  Today, I watch it and I notice the huge crowds of people, all pressed up against each other in the bar.  I notice all of the hand-shaking.  (Taffer almost always shakes the bar owner’s hand at the end of each episode.)  Just the fact that the show features a different bar every week makes Bar Rescue feel like something you might find in a time capsule.

Like I said, I don’t usually drink.  But, as soon as all this is over, I’m going out and getting so drunk.  (Well, buzzed.  Actually, I’ll probably just go out and have a glass of water while everyone else gets drunk.  But still, I’m going out, dammit!)  Until then, I guess I can just watch Bar Rescue….

Previous Guilty Pleasures

  1. Half-Baked
  2. Save The Last Dance
  3. Every Rose Has Its Thorns
  4. The Jeremy Kyle Show
  5. Invasion USA
  6. The Golden Child
  7. Final Destination 2
  8. Paparazzi
  9. The Principal
  10. The Substitute
  11. Terror In The Family
  12. Pandorum
  13. Lambada
  14. Fear
  15. Cocktail
  16. Keep Off The Grass
  17. Girls, Girls, Girls
  18. Class
  19. Tart
  20. King Kong vs. Godzilla
  21. Hawk the Slayer
  22. Battle Beyond the Stars
  23. Meridian
  24. Walk of Shame
  25. From Justin To Kelly
  26. Project Greenlight
  27. Sex Decoy: Love Stings
  28. Swimfan
  29. On the Line
  30. Wolfen
  31. Hail Caesar!
  32. It’s So Cold In The D
  33. In the Mix
  34. Healed By Grace
  35. Valley of the Dolls
  36. The Legend of Billie Jean
  37. Death Wish
  38. Shipping Wars
  39. Ghost Whisperer
  40. Parking Wars
  41. The Dead Are After Me
  42. Harper’s Island
  43. The Resurrection of Gavin Stone
  44. Paranormal State
  45. Utopia