Another week, another collection of television shows! Here’s what I watched this week. As you may notice, there’s not a lot. This week turned out to be an unexpectedly busy one. Perhaps next week I’ll finally be able to get caught up with everything. Here’s hoping!
Alllo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
At this point, I’m not even sure that I remember why Herr Flick was chained up in that dungeon but the Resistance and a reluctant Rene got him out of there on this week’s episode. Meanwhile, Officer Crabtree was still incapable of mastering the French language and the English airmen were still hiding in barrels and responding to everything by saying, “Jolly good show, old boy.”
Upon doing some research, I discovered this week’s episode was actually the first episode of the show’s 5th season. Because there was apparently some interest from American broadcasters about perhaps bringing the show to the U.S. or doing an American version of it, the 5h season had 26 episodes and were designed so that commercial breaks could be inserted, just in case the show ever did appear on an American network. As such, much of this week’s episode was designed to fill potentially new viewers in on who everyone was and how they were related to each other. Needles to say, it was all a bit frantic but still funny.
The Bachelorette (Monday Night, ABC)
This week, Katie challenged the men to see who could go the longest without masturbating. I’m not sure how that’s supposed to help her find a husband or how that goes along with the whole idea that Katie is supposed to be the sex positive bachelorette who is going to help this franchise get with the modern era. It was all pretty dumb.
Anyway, this week, Katie declared for the 100th time that she doesn’t have any interest in any drama and then she dramatically sent Hunter home.
Big Brother 23 (Sunday, Wednesday, and Thursday, CBS)
I’ve watched every season of this show and I’ve achieved every writer’s dream of getting paid to write about and yet, it’s something that I rarely brag about. You can read my current thoughts about the show and the live feeds over at Big Brother Blog.
Dragnet (Weekday Mornings, MeTV)
I forgot to see the DVR to record the two episodes that aired on Monday morning. It happens and since Dragnet wasn’t a serialized show, missing two episodes doesn’t make it any more or any less difficult to follow the rest of the series.
I did remember to set the DVR for the rest of the week, however. Tuesday got started with an episode in which Friday and Gannon dealt with a teenage genius who had a rebellious and homicidal streak. Despite getting a warning after throwing a beaker of acid at a jock, he later decided to hold an entire party hostage with a grenade! Friday and Gannon agreed that it was all the fault of parents who don’t teach their kids to respect authority. While it was easy to roll my eyes at some of the more didactic parts of the episode, it was interesting to see how this 1968 show foreshadowed many of the subsequent school shootings that would follow. As well, the episode ended with a Spaghetti western-style stand-off between Gannon, Friday, and Grenade Boy, which was actually pretty well executed. This was followed by an episode in which Friday shot and killed a man robbing a store and was subsequently subjected to an investigation by the police’s “shooting board.” As with many early episodes of Dragnet, the emphasis was on the process. As someone who has seen her share of cop shows, it’s weird to see something Dragnet where everyone brags about how they go “by the book.” There’s no room for any renegades on this show!
Wednesday featured Friday and Gannon going undercover to catch a couple of hotel con artists who were pretending to be cops. I love episodes where Friday and Gannon go undercover because it’s not like either one of them ever makes much of an effort to change their behavior or appearance. They don’t take off or even loosen their ties. They still sound, look like, talk like, and act like cops, But, because all of the criminals in L.A. in 1968 were apparently really stupid, no one ever notices. This was followed by an episode about a bank robber whose M.O. was to abduct innocent women and force them to help him carry out his crimes. At the end of the episode, he attempted to abduct a karate instructor and Friday and Gannon pulled up just in time to see her kicking his ass. Yay!
The first of Thursday’s episodes opened with Gannon telling Friday that “there’s a football game on the old tube,” and that Friday was welcome to come over and watch it. Friday agreed but, once they arrived at Gannon’s place, it turned out that Gannon’s neighbors were just as annoying as any everyday criminal. The main lesson here seemed to be that Friday and Gannon acted exactly the same off-duty as they did on-duty and that Friday was just as stiff and formal at home as in the office. This was followed by an episode in which Friday and Gannon attempted to track down a sergeant who, as a result of burn-out and general depression, had developed a drinking problem. Friday and Gannon help him see the errors of his way, largely by telling him to drop the self-pity act.
Finally, Friday started out with an episode in which Joe and Gannon arrested a veteran burglar named Charles Smith. Charles Smith was a courtly senior citizen but he still had to go to jail. He didn’t seem to mind, however. It was all a part of the job. The second episode featured Joe and Gannon fighting the evils of …. you guessed it …. MARIJUANA! These are the type of episodes that Dragnet is known for, the episodes where a grim-faced Joe debated long-haired draft dodgers who thought smoking marijuana and otherwise breaking the law was no big deal. And it’s true that this episode — called TheBigHigh — had its share of campy moments. Just hearing Joe explain that “dealers say smoking marijuana is like heaven but the users discover its Hell,” was enough to make me laugh out loud. It was also hard not to laugh at the scene where a clueless, pot-loving suburbanite told Joe and Gannon that, “Once the young people cut their hair, put on a suit, and start voting, marijuana will be legal!,” just for Gannon to confidently reply, “I don’t think so.” The show ended with that suburbanite’s toddler drowning in a bathtub because her stoned parents forgot about her, a scene that perhaps would have been more effective if not for the total overacting of the actor playing the stoned father. It was all pretty melodramatic but, to be fair, it was also rather sincere. As opposed to something like ReeferMadness, you got the feeling that Dragnet actually did believe in what it was saying, even if the show was totally clueless about the effects of drugs or the lifestyle of anyone under the age of 50. The final shot, of Jack Webb’s Joe Friday crushing a baggie of weed in his hands was handled well, even if the show’s insistence on solely blaming marijuana seemed to kind of let the dumbass parents off the hook.
Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, Fox)
Poor Kevin! As hard as he tried, he just couldn’t get it together during service and Chef Ramsay kicked him out of the kitchen and off the show before the final order was even served. I imagine the same thing would happen to me if I was ever on Hell’sKitchen. I’d probably survive a few nights based on my charm but eventually, I’d get kicked out during the middle of an episode. I would cry and cry, too. It’s probably a good thing that I’ve never been on the show.
Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)
Elann had a drinking problem but then she faced an intervention and got help. As the show came to an end, she talked about how much better she was feeling about life. Then a title card appeared that informed us that, after getting sober, Elann still struggled with depressing and took her own life in 2019. It was heart-breaking and a reminder that getting sober is important but it’s not a magic cure-all.
Elann’s episode was followed by one featuring Caitlin, who was addicted to crack cocaine. “Crack is my boyfriend,” she said. This episode was hard for me to watch because I’ve known many people like Caitlin, who was obviously very intelligent but also very defensive and angry. Unfortunately, Caitlin relapsed after getting treatment and, at the show’s end, was described as “living on the streets.”
Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)
On a special Halloween episode of MooneBoy, Martin and Padraic built a raft, which they planned to sail into town so that they could “freak everyone out.” Needless to say, the river did not cooperate and they instead ended up on an island with a castle and an eccentric caretaker. Meanwhile, Martin’s mother defended the right of her daughter to be a reader at Mass despite being pregnant and unmarried. She also impressed the priest with her knowledge of Simon and Garfunkel trivia. It was a good episode.
The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)
On Tuesday night, I watched several episodes from season 6. Admittedly, season 6 is not my favorite season, as it featured the terrible storyline where Jim was co-manager and a lot of nonsense about Sabre. Season 6 was when TheOffice started to get noticeably cartoonish. That said, a cartoonish Office is still better than a lot of other sitcoms out there and it was nice to rewatch Jim and Pam’s wedding.
Open All Hours (PBS, Sunday Night)
This week, I decided to pay attention the plot as opposed to just focusing on Granville’s quickly decaying sanity. Apparently, Arkwright — a man in his 60s — had never seen his girlfriend’s bedroom and he decided that the best way to fix that would be to fake a burglary. Granville went along with the plan, presumably because it was either do that or continue to fantasize about murdering the entire town.
Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33)
I watched two episodes on Tuesday night, one of which featured Jerry indirectly getting Babu deported and the second of which was the classic Festivus episode. I preferred the second episode.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
Ever since I first started watching UpstartCrow, I wondered how this comedy would deal with the tragic death of Christopher Marlowe, who is portrayed on the show as being Shakespeare’s free-loading, hedonistic best friend. This week, I discovered that handled it by having Marlowe fake his own death. Yay! Marlowe lives! As well, as Kate pointed out, with Marlowe believed dead, that meant no one would ever try to promote any weird theories about Marlowe secretly writing all of Shakespeare’s plays. If only Kate were right!
(Seriously, the Shakespeare-Didn’t-Write-His-Plays people are the worst. And no, I don’t care what Derek Jacobi has to say on the matter.)
The other major development this week was that Shakespeare wrote out the outline for a play to be called Hamlet. However, when he tried to explain the plot to his colleagues, they all assumed it was a comedy. When they heard about Ophelia drowning in the duck pond, they asked Shakespeare if they could have a duck on stage. Will was not amused. And yet, as silly as this show is, it’s hard not to think that it probably does get more right than it gets wrong. Shakespeare is such a mythic name that it’s easy to forget that he was once just a playwright trying to make a living off of his writing. Every classic work of art started as a rough draft and was probably dismissed, out-of-hand, by people who should have known better. UpstartCrow is a good reminder of that fact.
This week, I mostly used the television for background noise. Here’s some notes on what I watched:
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!”
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 (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 Brother (CBS and Paramount, 24/7)
BigBrother is back! It’s taken them 23 seasons but BigBrother 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’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’sHospital, which aired on “BBC10” and featured a French mime.
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 (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 (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 (CBS, Weeknights)
LoveIsland is proof that someone watched ParadiseHotel 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 TheBachelorette, Hell’sKitchen, and BigBrother so I’ll probably skip out on the rest of LoveIsland.
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 (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 (Sunday Night, PBS)
Arkwright continued to steal from his customers while Granville drew plans for a bomb behind the counter.
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?
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
As Will Shakespeare struggled to write AMidsummer’sNightDream, 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?
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)
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!
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 TheBachelorette 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 SavedByTheBell, where the members of the NewClass 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 OpenAllHours. 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 TheTamingof the Shrew as he is. Will simply cannot figure it out! This was a funny episode, mostly because it was true.
I’m a little bit late in posting my week in television. That’s because it’s been a long week, both in television and out! Here’s some thought on what I watched:
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
On Sunday’s episode, with Rene back at the café and Maria in Switzerland, a new waitress was hired. Recommended by the Resistance, Mimi LaBonq was just as short as Maria and, it would appear, just as obsessed with Rene. She was also just a bit more homicidal than Maria, attempting to poison Herr Flick and later beating up an Italian officer. While Mimi was attempting to kill people (albeit bad people), LeClerc was delivering Rene’s new radio and Michelle of the Resistance was insisting that she would “only say this once.” And, as always, it was all a hundred times funnier than it sounds.
Having watched enough episodes, I can now see that the humor of AlloAllo really does come down to the fact that everyone has such a bizarrely idealized view of Rene. “This is the bravest man in France!” Michelle will announce while Rene scurries behind the bar and tries not to get spotted. The absurd cluelessness of everyone involved is never less than fascinating.
The Bachelorette 17 (Monday Night, ABC)
Yes, we’re doing this again. Katie Thurston is the latest bachelorette and Chris Harrison is no longer the host. While I can understand Katie’s decision not to keep the creepy RV guy around, I wish she had because, judging by last night’s episode, this show could really have used a dose of that weird energy.
Baywatch (Weekdays, H&I)
Life on the beach continues, though I do have to say that appears that, in its later seasons, Baywatch started to frequently repeat itself. How many time can the exact same thing happen to the exact same lifeguards?
On Sunday, lawyer and former lifeguard Craig Pomeroy returned to Baywatch so he could defend the right of one of his clients to die on the beach. Once his client did die, Craig was free to once again become a lifeguard so I guess it’s good that the old man hired probably the only lawyer in the world who was probably for the opportunity to switch careers and take a massive pay cut. This was followed by an episode in which a woman disappeared into the ocean because Cody left his lifeguard tower early. This would seem like a massive dereliction of duty but the show suggested it was no big deal because it was Cody as opposed to some random lifeguard. Everyone loves Cody!
On Monday, Caroline returned to Baywatch and got held hostage by a criminal. How many times has this happened to Caroline? It used to happen frequently to her sister as well so I guess it’s a Holden family trait. This was followed by an episode in which Craig and April got trapped in a sunken power station. They survived and it looks like there might romance in the air, despite Craig being in his late 40s and April being 18.
The romance continued on Tuesday, when Manny broke up with April and Craig helped to capture a bunch of reckless jet skiers. Though April asked Craig to take her to a charity dinner, Craig eventually convinced Manny to take her instead because, again, Craig is like nearly 100 and April is 18. This was followed by an episode where Cody was trapped underwater and had to be rescued …. wait a minute, didn’t the exact same thing just happen to April and Craig!? Neely also admitted that she was hooked on pain pills that the real reason she took a leave of absence from Baywatch was so she could have a baby.
On Wednesday, the first episode featured Lani losing her hearing. Fortunately, she got it back at the end of the second episode because no problem ever lasts longer than two episodes. During the first episode, Mitch met a woman who was riding a horse across the beach. In the second episode, cop Garner Ellerbee returned to capture some drug dealers and he als rode a horse across the beach.
On Thursday …. well, who knows? Cody made the mistake of betting Mitch’s new boat as a part of some silly competition, which is something that I’m pretty sure Logan did at some point during the show’s first two seasons. During the second episode, Mitch rescued a swimmer who may been sick, which again is something that happened frequently in the past. As a result, all of Baywatch had to be quarantined! Only Newman could work the beach, which meant he got to save a bunch of models who were posing for the …. ahem …. new Barbara’s Boutique Catalogue.
Friday was a weird two-part episode. As occasionally happens when an old show is airing on the retro channels, the show suddenly skipped over a handful of episodes and we jumped, without warning, into the future. All new opening credits! All new cast intros, with several regulars now missing! Suddenly, Mitch was married to Neely and Neely was played by an entirely different actress! Anyway, the marriage didn’t last because it turned out that Neely was lying about seeing her ex in Alaska (?). I guess maybe it all would have made sense if the episodes had been shown in their proper order but …. oh well! The main thing is that Neely and Mitch were no longer married at the end of it all and Neely was no longer a part of Baywatch.
On Saturday, Mitch was stalked and held hostage by a psycho babysitter. Didn’t that happen to Mitch at least once a year?
The Brady Bunch Variety Hour (YouTube)
I watched the first episode of this 1977 TV series. The Brady Bunch sings! Fake Jan turns out to be more likable than Real Jan! Peter Brady conspires to replace his father with Tony Randall! Donnie and Marie Osmond stopped by! Clowns swam underwater! The entire family and Alice the maid did the Hustle! It was …. well, it was something.
Cellmate Secrets (Monday Night, A&E)
On this new Lifetime/A&E show, cellmates of infamous criminals talk about what it was like living with a temporary roommate. This week, I learned that Casey Anthony was apparently manipulative and heartless. Shocker!
Championship Boxing — Wilder vs Fury (Showtime Extreme, Friday Morning)
This was a boxing match from 2018. I’m not really a boxing fan, though I do like to see what everyone in the crowd is wearing. The match was between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder and it ended in a draw. Personally, I wish they both could have won. I cringed every time I saw a punch land to the head. That can’t be good!
At one point, during the fight, one of the announcers pointed out that “The Black Panther is in the crowd,” and the camera cut to Chadwick Boseman talking to Mario Lopez in the audience.
Cheaters (MTV2, Friday Morning)
I watched three episodes of Cheaters on Friday morning, from two to three-thirty. Unfortunately, the guide didn’t list what year they were from but Joey Greco was hosting and, just from the fashion choices made by some of the cheaters, I’m going to guess the episodes were from 2009 or 2010. Cheaters is, in many ways, a terrible show but it’s also a Dallas-based production so I’m happy it’s out there. One of my favorite things about Cheaters is that the cheaters often get busted at places that I’ve actually been to. I’m like, “I’ve been to that restaurant!”
Anyway, all three episodes featured cheaters who didn’t show enough contrition upon getting caught. Joey Greco’s self-righteous commentary was hilariously overwrought. All in all, this is a show for the entire family.
Court Cam (Wednesdays, A&E)
The judges were all sarcastic. The defendants were unrepentant. To be honest, the main thing I remember was that someone in the gallery kept yelling at the accused criminals because he didn’t think their bail was high enough.
Degrassi Minis (YouTube)
DegrassiMinis was a series of 5-minute short films about Degrassi! They typically had titles like “What if Jimmy could walk?” or “What if Craig married Ashley?” They presented an alternate reality to the show’s reality and they were often disturbing as Hell. I watched “What if Jimmy hadn’t gotten shot?,” which featured Jimmy getting a basketball scholarship while a bitter Sean watched from his wheelchair. So, I guess if Rick Murray hadn’t shot Jimmy, he would have shot Sean? But, in the “real world,” it was pretty much established that the main reason Rick brought the gun to school was to specifically shoot Jimmy, whom he incorrectly believed has been behind the plot to bully him. So, if he couldn’t shoot Jimmy, why would he then go after Sean, a character who he didn’t even know? Why not go after the other people who he thought were in on the plot?
In short, this mini made no sense but both Daniel Clark and Stacey Farber gave good performances as Sean and the ever-loyal Ellie. Seriously, even in the alternate timeline, Ellie didn’t get enough credit for putting up with everyone’s crap.
Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33)
On Tuesday’s episode, Ross adapted a British accent while teaching and he didn’t both to let Rachel know that he hadn’t actually gotten their Vegas wedding annulled, which was kind of messed up to be honest. On Wednesday, Joey agreed to keep an eye on someone’s Porsche. Joey soon started to pretend that it was his Porsche. It was kind of a stupid storyline but the criminally underrated Matt LeBlanc did a great job selling it.
Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Monday Night)
Chef Ramsay’s attempt to mentor Generation Z chefs hit a snag on Monday night when one of the chefs imitated Ramsay getting mad about a dish being undercooked. The problem was that the dish was undercooked and the chef in question was one who had undercooked it. Can you guess who ended up going home at the end of service?
Intervention (Monday Night, A&E)
As I’ve said previously, I always have more sympathy for the druggies than I do for the drunks. On Monday night, Pam struggled with both drugs and alcohol so my feelings were mixed. Still, she went to rehab and appeared to be doing better at the end of the show so good for her.
Last Man Standing (Sunday, Newsnation)
There are certain shows that just make perfect background entertainment. These are the shows that you have on television while you’re doing something like cleaning the house or trying to organize your movies. They keep you from getting overwhelmed by silence but, at the same time, they don’t really demand your attention. Most of these shows tend to be sitcoms and rather old-fashioned sitcoms at that. LastManStanding is a perfect example. Starring Tim Allen as the often-confused father of three daughters, LastManStanding was one of the sitcoms that was always more popular with audiences than critics. I can’t say that I have ever regularly watched it, though the few times I have both watched and paid attention to it, it seemed to be an inoffensive sitcom that, more often than not, worked because of its cast and despite some heavy-handed writing.
For whatever reason, Last Man Standing is one of those sitcoms that always seems to be airing somewhere. On Sunday, it aired on Newsnation from early in the morning until late in the evening. I had it playing in the background while I did some work around the house. I can’t say that I really paid much attention to it. Tim Allen was confused by his daughters. His daughters were competing for his attention. One of the daughter’s had a liberal husband, who was basically the world’s biggest wimp. It felt more like a series from the late 90s than the 2010s. But no matter. It helped me focus on the work I was doing around the house and that was really all I needed.
Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)
Martin became an altar boy and found out the truth about the Mass Mafia. It was an enjoyable homage to Goodfellas, even if it did end with the Godfather theme playing over the end credits. I especially like the fact that Martin’s confirmation name was also Martin. “That will be easy to remember.”
(For the record, my confirmation name was Sofia.)
The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)
On Sunday morning, I watched Safety Training and Product Recall, two classics from season 3. SafetyTraining featured Michael thinking that he could safely jump off the building and onto a bouncy castle. ProductRecall featured Andy dating a 16 year-old high school student. Funny episodes but what the Hell was going on in Scranton!?
Actually, my favorite part of ProductRecall was Michael calling the press to let them know about the offensive watermark because, otherwise, how were they going to find out?
Open All Hours (Monday Morning, PBS)
Poor Granville. His entire life revolves around that morning milk delivery. Some morning, the delivery’s going to be delayed and Granville’s going to snap. It won’t be pretty.
Parking Wars (Monday Morning, A&E)
“I love South Philly but if you’re parked in the wrong place on one of my streets, you’re getting a ticket.” Oh, shut up.
Seinfeld(Weekday Night, Channel 33)
I watched four episodes of this 90s sitcom, two on Tuesday and two on Wednesday. Two of the episodes dealt with the production of a pilot that was written by Jerry and George. I’ve always like the episodes with The Pilot, if just because of the way that Jerry Seinfeld poked fun at his own acting limitations. (“Because he’s my butler!”) George’s obsession over the box of raisins was another classic, cringey moment.
As for the other two episodes, one dealt with George trying to hire a secretary to which he wouldn’t be sexually attracted (it did not work) and the other was one of my favorites, in which Jerry and George try to figure out how to perfect the roommate switch. (“I’m not sure of the exact pronunciation but I think it’s called …. ménageatrois?” “Oh, that’s wild.” And, of course, later: “I’m not an orgy guy!”) Really, putting George in any position of authority just seems like the ultimate HR nightmare.
Storage Wars (All Day Tuesday, A&E)
I watched several episodes on Tuesday and, as tends to happen with A&E all-day marathons, they all blended together. But no matter! The good thing was that the majority of the episode were from the first three seasons, when the whole show was about Dave getting on people’s nerves and Barry acting all eccentric and somehow managing to injure himself every time he tried to clean out a locker. To be honest, I don’t think the show has ever really recovered from losing Barry as a regular.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
Realizing that his new play, TwelfthNight, just isn’t working, Shakespeare comes up with the brilliant idea to turn it into a jukebox miracle! Everyone loves the play once the music of Thomas Morley is added but then Morley himself refuses to sign over the rights to his music. Oh, Shakespeare, will you ever learn?
Jeff and I finally got to go to the lake this week! This was something we had been planning on doing since Valentine’s Day. Our plans were originally put on hold by the big winter storm and then after that, we decided to wait until Spring Break was over so that we could have some peace and quiet.
We went up to the lake on Monday and, though we have a TV up here, we decided to watch it as little as possible. As a result, there’s not a lot listed below but that’s okay. Sometimes you need a break from all of that!
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
Bit of a disjointed episode this Sunday but Allo Allo appears to have been a show that was at its best when everyone was scrambling around for various reasons. Herr Flick was looking for the painting. The Resistance stole a lawnmower engine. Rene just tried to keep things calm at the café. It was a funny episode, even if I did find it next to impossible to follow what was actually going on.
Baywatch (Weeknight, H&I)
Because I was on vacation, I only watched Sunday’s episodes of Baywatch this week and I have to admit that I was busy packing at the time so I didn’t really pay much attention. The first episode featured David Hasselhoff being stalked by a psychotic Australian lifeguard. Oddly enough, the first season of Baywatch also featured a self-centered Australian lifeguard, who Hasselhoff was constantly reprimanding. You have to kind of wonder what Baywatch had against Australian lifeguards.
The second episode featured Mitch’s son falling in love with a terminally ill girl. That was sad but, then again, that also seems like something that happened fairly frequently on Baywatch. There was one episode, if I remember correctly, where Mitch’s son fell in love with a homeless girl and then another where he was in love with a babysitter who was being stalked by a gangster or something like that.
The drama never ends on the beach.
The Floor Is Lava (Netflix)
I watched three episodes of this silly Escape Room-style game show on Netflix. Then I realized that the contestants weren’t actually falling in real lava and I lost interest.
Hell’s Kitchen (Fox, Thursday Night)
Even though we had a general no network TV rule in effect for most of the week, Jeff and I did watch the finale of Hell’s Kitchen on Thursday. Unfortunately, the supercool Mary Lou lost to the superbland Kori. I’m guessing Kori won because she’s older and has more experience than Mary Lou but it was still an extremely disappointing way for an otherwise good season to end.
The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)
On Sunday’s episode, the old guys were extremely excited when Sally had to temporarily move in with them while some work was being done at her house. They even bribed the man who had been hired to do the work to drag things out so that Sally would have to stay with them for more than a week. Unfortunately, it didn’t really work out as Sally found the old guys to be too formal and the old guys were upset by Sally’s habit of blurting out the news after reading it online, therefore spoiling the 10 O’clock News. Finally, the old guys tried to finish the work on Sally’s house themselves and things got screwed up even further. As usual, the performances of Jane Asher, Roger Lloyd-Pack, and Clive Swift did a lot to make up for a generally predictable storyline.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
Another episode, another 30 minutes of waiting for Granville to snap and kill Arkwright. This time, Arkwright deliberately misspelled the word “special” to encourage people to come into the shop. Granville looked like he was on the verge of snapping but he stopped himself at the last minute.
The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)
This week’s episodes were a bit boring. The first one dealt with four cops going undercover at a singles complex to catch a serial killer. Unfortunately, the identity of the killer was revealed during the first minute of the show so there wasn’t much suspense. The second episode featured Andy Robinson (he played the Scorpio Killer in Dirty Harry, which came out a year before The Rookies started to air) as a criminal trying to harass the wife of one of the police officers. One of the things that I’ve noticed about The Rookies is that each episode is self-contained. There’s no continuing storylines, like we’ve come to expect from television shows today. Instead, every episode is some new, huge drama that will last an hour and will never be mentioned again. The main characters are continually getting shot at, kidnapped, and threatened but apparently, it has absolutely no effect on their psychological well-being. It’s good to be them, I guess.
Saved By The Bell (Sunday morning, MeTV)
A girl named Christy wanted to join the wrestling team! GASP! Zack helped to get her a spot on the team but then got embarrassed when she beat up two Valley High bullies who were giving him a hard time. Jessie went from supporting Christy to condemning her when she thought Christy was trying to seal away Slater. Fortunately, by the end o the episode, everyone had learned a valuable lesson and had become a better person. Christy was never seen again.
South Park (Sunday Morning, Comedy Central)
The gang went to the rain forest and discovered that it totally sucked! I know people who actually find this episode to be incredibly offensive. Personally, I think it’s hilarious because being trapped in the rain forest probably does suck.
Unsolved Mysteries (Netflix)
On Wednesday, me, Case, and Leonard live tweeted an episode of Netflix’s Unsolved Mysteries. It was about whether or not people in Japan were being haunted by ghosts following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. It started out a bit depressing but, by the end of it, it was actually rather touching and life-affirming. Personally, though, I don’t believe in ghosts.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
William Shakespeare was nearly humiliated by his rival, Robert Greene, and Kit Marlowe stole another play. All in all, it was just another day in Elizabethan London.
Yes, Minster (Monday Morning, PBS)
Poor Jim Hacker! On this week’s episode, Jim again tried to cut back on government waste and Sir Humphrey again conspired to keep him from doing that. This time, Sir Humphrey’s scheme was to distract Hacker by telling him about the sorry state of the UK’s nuclear fallout structures. Jim went on another crusade, one that was going well until he accidentally insulted the Prime Minister during a television interview. The thing that makes Yes, Minster such an interesting show is that you’re natural inclination is to be on Jim Hacker’s side (he means well) but, at the same time, there’s something delightfully entertaining about watching Sir Humphrey thwart all of those good intentions.
“Girl, you watch too much television.” Someone said that to me once right before they cut me out of their lives and, I hate to admit it, but they may have been right. I probably do watch too much television. This upcoming week, my goal is to watch a bit less.
Anyway, now that I’ve acknowledged my television addiction, here’s what I watched this week:
Allo Allo (Sunday Night, PBS)
“That stupid Englishman who thinks he can speak French is here!”
“Good moaning. I was pissing by and I have a massage from the Resistance.”
Allo Allo is a British sitcom from the 80s, which I just recently started watching on PBS. It takes place during World War II, in occupied France and, despite being made by the same people who did Are You Being Served?, it’s actually very funny. Essentially, it’s about Rene who owns a cafe and who keep getting dragged into the plans of the Resistance, the Germans, and the British airmen who are always hiding somewhere in the building. There’s also a running joke about the search for a valuable painting and the various forgeries of it that are floating around town. Last Sunday’s episode featured the Resistance holding a forgery of the painting for ransom. The humor was frequently crude and pretty much dependent upon the viewer knowing all of the pre-existing jokes but it was performed by a lively cast and it was hard not to laugh at the “stupid Englishman who thinks he can speak French.”
American Idol (ABC, Sunday and Monday Night)
As I said the last time that I wrote about this show, I’m not really that much into American Idol anymore. I do watch it on occasion but I wouldn’t necessarily say that I really pay that much attention. The whole show is rather bland and the refusal of the judges to risk their popularity by actually being brutally honest with the singers is a bit of drawback. I often just have the show on a background noise, barely aware of what’s actually happening while it’s on.
That said, I was as shocked as anyone when it was announced, on Monday, that Wyatt Pike had left the show. Why did Wyatt Pike leave? No one knows. In typical American Idol fashion, a vague statement was released that revealed next to nothing. It’s at times like this that I miss Vote For The Worst because that message board would have been on fire with speculation as to why Pike had left the competition. Of course, a lot of the speculation would have been a bit mean-spirited but that’s the internet for ya.
(I was devoted reader of Vote For The Worst but I never commented on the site because I knew, deep down, I was probably too nice to be a part of the community. I always agreed with the site when they trashed production for forcing the singers to sing out-of-date songs and for trying to manipulate the viewers by getting the judges to only praise production’s favorites. But I was also one of those “Can’t we all be happy for the singers?” types and I knew no one wanted to hear that. Still, as biting as some of the comments on the message boards could be, the site was always a valuable reminder not to take American Idol or any “reality” show too seriously.)
Anyway, I’d like to say that Wyatt Pike left because he didn’t want to have to sing whatever song Kara DioGuardi wrote for the finale but then I remembered that it’s been like 12 years since Kara was involved with American Idol and that tells you just how closely I follow the show.
America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night, FOX)
This week was the first season finale of the America’s Most Wanted reboot. It almost might be the finale of the show itself as it has apparently been struggling in the ratings. To be honest, the show’s mix of modern technology (like the CGI versions of the fugitives) and old school recreations of the crimes that the most wanted are accused of having committed has always felt a bit awkward.
Anyway, last night’s episode featured a murderous rapper named Maurice Nesbitt and an environmental terrorist, among others. As I watched the show, I was mostly hoping to hear that Raymond McLeod, the grotesque body builder who was profiled last week, has been captured. No such luck.
Baywatch (Weeknights, H&I)
Baywatch was consistently silly this week. Sunday featured an episode in which Mitch fell in love with a literal princess and it pretty much just got sillier from there. I guess these episodes are from the third season of the show and it appears that it was during this season that Baywatch went from being semi-serious to being so unserious that it occasionally bordered on the surreal. It’s hard not to feel that David Lynch could have worked wonders with Baywatch.
On Monday, things got even stranger as Mitch put on a fake mustache and Stephanie wore a blonde wig so that they could go undercover to capture a master criminal played by John O’Hurley of Seinfeld, Dancing With The Stars, and Family Feud fame. This was followed by an episode that opened with a murder but which was mostly made up of footage of David Hasselhoff playing basketball and Pamela Anderson being stalked by a nerdy newlywed.
Tuesday’s episodes, I didn’t pay much attention to. I was busy cleaning the house so they were mostly on as background noise. The first episode was something about criminals wanting to blow up a pier. Under normal circumstances, blowing up a pier would be a bad idea but these criminals wanted to blow up the pier while the governor was standing on it! The second episode was about Mitch’s father wanting him to take over the architectural firm. Apparently, Mitch’s parents thought that he was wasting his life on the beach. Of course, Mitch is in his early 40s and lives in a pretty big house so it’s kind of hard not to feel that maybe his parents should have had this conversation with him two decades earlier.
On Wednesday, the first episode featured Mitch hiring a sexy housekeeper named Elke. Hijinks ensued! The second episode featured Mitch having to deal with hundreds of UFO enthusiasts flooding the beach. During this episode, Mitch insisted that he didn’t believe in aliens or anything supernatural so I can only imagine that this was before Baywatch Nights. It’s always struck me as a bit odd that Mitch would battle vampires and demons at night and then, during the day, go back to being a laid back lifeguard. But I guess you do what you have to do. Maybe it’s a California thing.
Thursday’s episodes produced a good deal of tonal whiplash. The first episode was a rather grim story about two lifeguard being held hostage in their tower by a sociopathic criminal. I’ve noticed, on Baywatch, that the beaches were always attracting sociopaths and the lifeguards often seemed to end up getting held hostage. I guess it goes with the job but still, I would probably get freaked out after the third time it happened. I would probably look for another job, one that didn’t involve trying to enforce the law while wearing a tight bathing suit. The second episode of the night featured a non-lifeguard pretending to be a lifeguard in order to impress his mother and it was absolutely nothing like the first episode. The two episodes were so different that it was hard to believe that they both took place in the same television universe. Again, it’s hard not to feel that the show missed an opportunity by not asking David Lynch to direct an episode or two.
Friday’s episodes saw Mitch getting paralyzed during a rescue but he didn’t let that stop him from thwarting a hitman. By the end of the second episode, Mitch could walk again and the mafia had been defeated so yay!
Finally, Saturday’s episode featured a surprising amount of kickboxing, which apparently all of the lifeguards were totally into despite no one having mentioned anything about it in any of the previous episodes. There was also this plot about a sleazy French photographer trying to take Pamela Anderson away from the beach. He would have succeeded if not for a fact that a child conveniently had to be rescued from drowning. Having been reminded of why being a lifeguard is so important, Pamela was able to say, “Au revoir, creep.”
Couples Court With The Cutlers (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)
If you think you’re significant other is cheating on you, you can take them to Couples Court where Judges Keith and Dana Cutler will determine whether or not it’s true while a national audience watches and makes fun of you. This show is actually more enjoyable than most other court shows, just because the Cutlers are generally likable and their advice usually makes a little bit of sense. Still, it’s hard not to laugh whenever their grim-faced lie detector guy announces the results of the test as if he’s just returned from interrogating the Boston Strangler or something. In the past, the Cutlers have also used “voice analysis” to determine whether or not someone’s lying. I guess that’s what you do when you can’t afford to hire the polygraph guy for the entire week. “Voice analysis revealed that …. SHE IS NOT CHEATING!” Everyone can be happy with that.
Friends (Weeknights, Channel 33 and many other stations, not to mention HBOMAX)
On Thursday night, I watched the episode where Chandler was dating Rachel’s boss and, even though he couldn’t stand her, Chandler still couldn’t bring himself to break up with her because he was Chandler and he had issues with that sort of thing. It was a funny-enough episode but I guess it was filmed at a time when Matthew Perry was still doing drug because he looked distressingly thin and I actually found myself getting a little freaked out over how sickly he looked. I’m glad that he apparently got all of that worked out. As for the rest of the episode, I actually preferred the subplot, which featured Monica and Phoebe competing over who had the best dollhouse. Phoebe’s dollhouse was the most popular but it was also the most dangerous because it ended up bursting into flames towards the end of the episode.
Gangs of London (Sunday Night, AMC)
Gangs of London is a show that originally aired in the UK in 2020 and which is now airing here in the States on AMC. On Friday, I finally got to watch the first two episodes and it’s really not bad. In fact, it’s actually pretty good. It’s stylish and it’s violent and it does, at times, test how much patience one has for scenes of men glaring at each other but it’s also very well-acted and it makes great use of its gritty London locations. So far, the show has dealt with the aftereffects of the assassination of the man (played by the great Colm Meany) who, for 20 years, ruled over London’s underground. Now, his family is trying to maintain their power while everyone else is looking to move in on their territory. One of the most interesting themes of the show is that the majority of London’s crime families are international in nature. Just as the world has changed, so has the nature of organized crime. These aren’t just a bunch of London hoodlums fighting over an alley or a block. Instead, these are mobsters from all over the world, all fighting for control of a major city. It’s a complicated but definitely compelling show. I will continue to set the DVR for it.
Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night, FOX)
On Thursday night, the final two chefs were revealed. Next week, Mary Lou will be going up against Kori in the finale. Mary Lou better win, especially since Declan deserved Kori’s spot. Go, Mary Lou, go!
Hill Street Blues (Weekday Mornings, H&I)
Jeff introduced me to this show last year and I’ve been setting the DVR for it ever since. Hill Street Blues originally aired in the early 80s. It was the first of the big ensemble dramas, following a bunch of cops and detectives as they patrol a really depressing and unnamed city. It’s very much a show of its time but it’s mix of humor and tragedy is surprisingly effective even if it is sometimes dated and the show was really well-written. The characters are especially interesting. Alcoholic detective JD La Rue is my favorite! This week, I noticed that the story editor was Mark Frost, who later collaborated with David Lynch on Twin Peaks. As odd as it may seem, it’s easy to see how the gritty toughness of Hill Street Blues led to the surreal and dream-like drama of Twin Peaks. They’re both ensemble show that require viewers to actually pay attention and think for themselves.
Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)
I kind of watched the second episode of Kung Fu. I have to admit that I occasionally found myself struggling to remain interested in it. It’s just such a CW show and, as a result, it’s a bit predictable at times. That said, Olivia Liang is doing a great job in the role of the lead character and it still feels like the show has the potential to become something special. Personally, I find the family drama to be way more interested than all of the mystery surrounding the death of Nicky’s shifu. I especially like the relationship between Nicky and her sister. It feels real. Olivia Liang and Shannon Dang are basically the two main reason to give Kung Fu a chance.
The Last Drive In (Friday Night, Shudder)
Joe Bob and Darcy and the iguana are back! The third season of The Last Drive-In started on Friday. The first film that they showed was Mother’s Day and I missed it because I was busy hosting the Friday Night Flix live tweet. However, I did catch the second film that they showed, Lucio Fulci’s The House By The Cemetery. Needless to say, I had a great time watching one of Fulci’s best films. Joe Bob was as likable as ever. His special guest was Eli Roth. On the one hand, I felt the Eli tended to ramble a bit too much (I wanted to get back to the movie!) but, at the same time, his love of the horror genre always came through. It was fun, that was the important thing. I have to say thank you to my friend Jason for correctly guessing and letting me know that Joe Bob was about to show a Fulci film.
No one can needlessly drag out the reading of paternity results quite like Lauren Lake. It’s almost like a very sadistic style of performance art, the way she tortures the people in her court by getting them at their most vulnerable and then slowly opening the envelope and very precisely and slowly reading every single word of the results. “These results were prepared by DNA Diagnostics, a subsidy of the Rand Company of New Haven, Connecticut, a division of Petrolli Incorporated of Newark, New Jersey and they read as follows. In the case of….” GET ON WITH IT, JUDGE!
The Masked Singer (Wednesday, FOX)
On the one hand, The Masked Singer is an entertainingly strange show and it’s usually fun to try to guess who the celebs under the masks are. On the other hand, it’s hosted by an anti-Semite and one of the judges is an anti-Vaxxer. As I watched the show on Wednesday, I found myself wondering how Jenny McCarthy has managed to more or less get a free pass despite the undoubtedly large role she played in popularizing the anti-vaccine movement. And then you’ve got Nick Cannon, who was ranting about the Rothschilds just a few months ago, serving as the show’s host. My advice would be to replace Jenny McCarthy with …. well, someone who doesn’t have a history of putting people’s lives at risk. And then replace Nick Cannon with Joel McHale and Robin Thicke with Mark McGrath. (Ken Leong, of course, is more than welcome to stay.) Seriously, this is an entertaining show so it would be nice to be able to watch it without feeling guilty about it later.
Speaking of Mark McGrath, he was eliminated this week. He was the Orca.
The Office (All The Time, Comedy Central)
Monday evening, I watched Basketball and Hot Girl from Season 1 and The Dundies from season 2. I rarely drink but when I do, I’m a lot like Pam at the Dundies.
The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)
On Sunday’s episode, one of the old guys finally moved out and got his own flat. Unfortunately, it turned out that he was miserable living without his best friend and housemate so, eventually, he moved back in and everything got back to normal. It was a bit predictable but it was still a cute episode. The flat had an alarm system that was so sensitive that anyone who visited basically had to crawl across the floor to prevent it from going off. That was fun to watch.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
Arkwright and Granville made it through another episode without killing each other, though both clearly wanted to. It’s a bit of a depressing show but I guess we should be happy no one died.
Protection Court (Weekday mornings, Channel 33)
Protection Court is a reality court show where we watch as people request that the judge grant a restraining order against abusers and stalkers. It’s a disturbing show. Speaking as someone who knows firsthand what it’s like to be stalked, watching this show on Monday morning brought back all of that fear and dread. I’m not really sure why I was watching in the first place.
Rebel (Thursday nights, ABC)
Rebel is a show about a paralegal who gets results not through any real knowledge of the law but instead by yelling at people until they give her whatever she wants just so she’ll go away. We’re supposed to like her but the show is so heavy-handed and the character is such a scold that you actually end up feeling sorry for the heartless corporations. You’re like, “Really? You polluted that river? Well, at least you’re not yelling at me right now.” The main problem with the show is that the main character is actually nicknamed “Rebel,” which …. I mean, yeah whatever. What a waste of Katey Sagal’s talents.
The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)
This Sunday, the first episode of The Rookies featured Michael Ontkean shooting and killing a suspect who he thought was shooting at him. It later turned out that the suspect was unarmed and was instead carrying a camera that apparently sounded like a gun. I don’t know, it was weird. On the one hand, the episode did a good job of showing how a tragedy like this could happen and Michael Ontkean gave a good performance as someone haunted by a terrible mistake. On the other hand, this episode was from 1972 and was so firmly on the side of the cops that it’s hard to watch it today without cringing a little. It’s not so much that the episode justified the shooting as much as it didn’t even seem to entertain the thought that any rational person could possibly believe that Ontkean had been too quick to fire his weapon.
The second episode was incredibly silly, largely because it featured Roddy McDowall as a professional hitman trying to take out an informant in the most unnecessarily complicated way possible. If you were trying to assassinate someone before they went into the witness protection agency, would you kidnap a cop, hold him hostage at a public airport, and demand that the informant be turned over to you so that you can kill him? That’s what McDowall does! Like seriously, this guy is supposedly the best assassin in the world and that’s the best plan that he can come up with! Needless to say, it doesn’t work out for the bad guys but still, anything from the 70s that features Roddy McDowall as a villain is going to be entertaining.
Seinfeld (Weeknights, Channel 33 and a host of other channels, as well was Hulu)
The episodes that I watched on Thursday was a Christmas episode. Elaine was dating a creepy communist named Ned. Kramer was working as a department store Santa, or at least he was until he got too political. “Hey,” a little kid yelled, “This guy’s a commie! Commie! Commie! Traitor to our country!” That made me laugh. Finally, Jerry raced an old acquaintance from middle school and he beat him by cheating. That made me laugh too.
The second season of Tough as Nails, the bizarre reality show about blue collar people competing to see who can be the first to complete various blue collar tasks, came to an end this week. I guess Scott won and good for him. He got $200,000 and a truck.
Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)
Upstart Crow is a British sitcom, one that imagines the life of William Shakespeare, his friends, his family, and his co-workers. Shakespeare is a pompous social climber with a neurotic side. His co-workers are constantly trying to take advantage of him. His family can’t understand why he won’t ever just write normal and simple dialogue. His friends are, for the most part, idiots. His wife doesn’t respect him and his landlady’s daughter, Kate, is determined to use him to become an actress despite the fact that women are not allowed to appear on stage. Each week, Shakespeare struggles with a new play (or, occasionally a sonnet) and his struggles are usually used as a way to satirically comment on modern events.
PBS just started airing Upstart Crow at the start of this month. Right now, they’re on the first series, which originally aired in 2016. Personally, I’m growing to really like it. It’s a fun show, one that’s rewarding for students of Shakespeare and for those who love a mix of high satire and lowbrow comedy. Like a good Shakespeare play, it appeals to both the nobility and the plebeians. I especially enjoy the performances of David Mitchell as Shakespeare and Gemma Whelan as Kate.
My favorite joke so far has been the portrayal of Christopher Marlowe as a vapid self-promoter who frequently steals Shakespeare’s plays and tries to pass them off as his own. Take that, Marlovians!
The Voice (Monday Night, NBC)
I’m always a little bit surprised by the fact that I always set the DVR for this show because it’s not like a really pay that much attention to it while I’m watching. I think I just like the fact that it’s so ludicrously overcomplicated, what with the battles and the judges stealing people and the judges saving people and it’s always kind of fun to see how silly the judges get when its time to play up all the drama.
Add to that, I like Blake Shelton. I like Nick Jonas. It’s nice that Carson Daly has a job.
Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)
I got a bit of a scare last week when it appeared that PBS was going to stop showing Yes, Minister and instead start showing — ugh — Are You Being Served in its place. Fortunately, it turned out that it was just an error in the guide and Yes, Minister did indeed air Monday at midnight.
(Actually, it started about six minutes late, due to ‘Allo ‘Allo and Open All Hours running late.)
This week’s episode was …. well, it was okay. It was about Jim Hacker’s attempts to bring more women into the civil service and Sir Humphrey’s old school panic regarding the prospect. On the one hand, the episode did a good job of showing the extent that an “old boys club” will go to keep women from advancing. There was a great scene in which all of the heads of the various departments said that they fully supported equal opportunities for all people before then giving increasingly flimsy excuses for why they personally wouldn’t be promoting any women. But then the show itself ended with a woman turning down a promotion because she didn’t want to be viewed as just being a diversity hire and that felt a bit like a cop out. Still, the episode had many funny lines and three great performances from Paul Eddington, Nigel Hawthorne, and Derek Fowlds.
I’ve recently discovered that Yes, Minister eventually became Yes, Prime Minister and I’m certainly hoping that PBS will show those episodes as well. It would certainly be preferable to Are You Being Served.
Another busy week so, once again, I’m running behind on watching some things that I really want to watch. Hopefully, I’ll get caught up with shows like The Walking Dead, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and The Serpent during this upcoming week!
American Justice(CIN, Monday Morning)
I watched two episodes of this old true crime series on the Crime and Investigation Network. One episode was about teacher Pamela Smart convincing her students to murder her husband. The other was about a crazed Texas deputy who murdered a woman with whom he was obsessed. The most memorable thing about the episodes was the very precise and dramatic narration of Bill Kurtis. Kurtis sounded like a such a stereotypical anchorman that he became oddly fascinating to listen to. Discovering that there were journalists who actually sounded like a comedian doing an imitation of a journalist felt a bit like stumbling across Bigfoot after watching a movie about the Abominable Snowman.
America’s Most Wanted (Fox, Monday night)
The revival of America’s Most Wanted is entertaining in its tabloid-like way and it might even lead to the capture of some bad people. That said, it’s hard for me not to worry about the idea of the show eventually being used to track down people who have criticized the government or who have been accused of thought crimes. As dramatic as that might sound, that is the way our culture seems to be heading.
Until then, though, I really hope that this week’s episode leads to the capture of grotesque bodybuilder Raymond McLeod, who apparently murdered his girlfriend five years ago.
Baywatch (H&I, weekday evenings)
On Sunday’s episode, Billy Warlock got hit on the head and ended up fantasizing that he was starring in an episode of Gilligan’s Island. That was seriously the entire episode and you know what? It was actually kind of cute. It was an episode in which Baywatch acknowledged that it was silly show and not meant to be taken seriously. It fit into my thesis that Baywatch was meant to be a satirical. Of course, that episode was immediately followed by an episode in which David Hasselhoff was trapped underneath an old shipwreck. That episode took itself very seriously and was full of flashbacks to previous episodes, forcing me to consider that the Gilligan episode might have just been an outlier.
Monday’s episodes did little to settle the question as to whether or not Baywatch was meant to be taken seriously. The first episode featured Shauni (Erika Eleniak) freaking out after thinking that one of her friends had been eaten by a shark. It was all very dramatic and it too featured flashbacks to previous episodes and it ended up with a very important message about not pressuring your daughter to the extent that she ends faking her own death while swimming around Shark’s Cove. (That’s a rather ominous name for any part of the beach.) That would seem to suggest that Baywatch took itself seriously. The second of Monday’s episodes featured a beach bum/poet who discovered a stolen jewelry box on the beach. The poet was such a silly character that it was hard to believe that anyone involved could have taken that episode’s script seriously. In other words, when it comes to the Is Baywatch Serious Or Not debate, Monday’s episodes constituted yet another draw.
Tuesday’s episodes led to another draw. The first episode featured Hasselhoff breaking into the headquarters of a multinational corporation to track down evidence that they were polluting the bay. It also featured a character who was a lifeguard-turned-environmental activist and it took itself very seriously. The 2nd episode, however, featured an illegal poker game and a B-plot in which Billy Warlock stood up to his girlfriend’s snobby family. It also featured Erika Eleniak dramatically announcing, “He’s a lifeguard!” when someone tried to stop Billy Warlock from giving CPR to a woman who had drowned. The 2nd episode, again, seemed to suggest that the show was in on the joke.
Wednesday’s episodes broke the tie, with both episodes being ludicrous enough that it was hard not to believe that the show had to be at least a little bit aware of how silly it was. The first episode featured a gypsy fortune teller. The second featured David Charvet battling evil surfers. At the same time, the 2nd episode also featured Alexandra Paul as Stephanie, a woman from Mitch’s past, and Hasselhoff acted the Hell out of being shocked to see her. Based on Wednesday’s episodes, it would seem Baywatch did not take itself as seriously as David Hasselhoff did.
Thursday’s episodes — well, who knows? You had a two parter that started with Mitch getting all weepy over a dead uncle but you also had a subplot about the search for a lost gold mine. And, to top it all off, you had Pamela Anderson, Nichole Eggert, and David Charvet all showing up for the first time. (Though all three were in Wednesday’s episode, it appears that H&I showed the episodes out-of-order.) Who knows what to make of all that?
Friday’s episodes both dealt with Nicole Eggert and David Charvet struggling to make it through rookie school and they were both silly enough to make me think that Baywatch was in on the joke. Saturday, however, featured not only a native American activist with magical powers but it also ended with a PSA about the dangers of huffing inhalants. It seemed to be taking itself pretty seriously, even if no one else was.
In the end, all I can surmise is that Baywatch took place in a strange dream world where everyone was in on the joke but they still took the joke literally.
Court Cam (Wednesday Night, A&E)
With the cancellation of Live P.D., Court Cam is A&E’s newest way to 1) exploit people during the worst moments of their lives and 2) justify keeping Dan Abrams under contract. This show is made up of courtroom footage, all breathlessly narrated by Abrams. A typical episode will feature several stories. There’s usually one story that ends in a brawl. There’s at least one sarcastic judge story. There’s at least one story where the defendant begs for mercy. It’s all pretty exploitive and, of course, it’s also fully on the side of the system as opposed to the people living under it.
“But Lisa, if you hate the show so much, why do you watch it?”
Each episode is only 30 minutes long and it passes the time. Plus, occasionally, they’ll show footage from DFW and I’ll spot someone I know.
The District (Weekday Nights, H&I)
Last week, I said that the main appeal of this old show was watching Craig T. Nelson somehow find a way to overact in every single scene in which he appeared. It turns out that appeal is actually kind of limited. On Tuesday morning, as I watched Nelson’s Jack Mannion violate the Constitutional rights of suspects and browbeat everyone who works for him, I realized that the act was no longer particularly amusing so I think I’m done with The District for now.
The Drew Barrymore Show (Weekdays, Syndication)
I caught an episode on Tuesday. I was depressed for hours afterwards. Drew used to be so cool and now she’s hosting a talk show for people find Ellen DeGeneres to be too challenging.
Kung Fu (Wednesday Night, The CW)
I wrote about Kung Fu and my mixed reaction to pilot over at SyFyDesigns.
The Old Guys (Sunday Night, PBS)
This is a British sitcom that aired in the UK in 2009 and 2010. In America, it just recently started airing on PBS. It’s about two …. well, old guys. Tom (Roger Lloyd-Pack) and Roy (Clive Swift) are old and they are housemates and they’re both in love with Sally (Jane Asher). This Sunday’s episode was called “the triple date” and it found the two men competing to see who could go on a date with Sally, who apparently didn’t realize she was on a date with either of them. It was amusing, largely due to the performance of Jane Asher and the two men. Sadly, both Lloyd-Pack and Swift have since passed away.
Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)
This is an incredibly depressing British sitcom about two men and a grocer’s shop. Arkwright, the older of the two, is always trying to cheat people out of their money. His nephew, Granville, always appears to be on the verge of walking into the middle of traffic. The show originally aired in the 70s and 80s and, in America, it’s pretty much a PBS mainstay. I have to admit that I don’t usually pay much attention to the show when it’s on. I usually just watch it because it’s the lead-in to Yes, Minister and there’s not really much else on at 11:30 on Sunday night. That said, the few times I have really paid attention to it, I’ve found it to be well-acted if a bit grim. The bits where Arkwright has to deal with the customers are occasionally amusing.
Don’t even ask me what happened during this Sunday’s episode. I think Granville was in love but he knew it would never work out because he was stuck in a go-nowhere life. By the end of the episode, he appeared to be borderline catatonic due to the overwhelming misery of his existence. It was hard not to feel bad for him.
The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)
I’m still setting the DVR to record this old 70s cop show. Though the storylines are predictable cop stuff (albeit from the point of view of idealistic rookies as opposed to cynical veterans), it’s still pretty interesting if you’re just looking for a show with some early 70s flavor.
This week’s episode featured special guest star Lou Gossett, Jr. as a criminal-turned-preacher. The older cops suspected that he was just running a scam. The Rookies — Georg Stanford Brown and Michael Ontkean — felt that he was sincere in his desire to reach people and atone for his past. In the end, the show left it somewhat ambiguous as to just how sincere Gossett was. Gossett gave an excellent performance as the preacher and the show actually treated his congregation of hippies with a bit more respect than you might expect from an early 70s cop show.
The SAG Awards (Sunday Night, TBS)
This year, the televised SAG Awards were handed out in an hour and there weren’t any awkward attempts at either comedy or political pontification. To be honest, it was probably the best awards show that I’ve seen so far this year. Here’s hoping the Oscars pay attention to how SAG did it.
Shipping Wars(Vice, Sunday afternoon)
I wrote about Shipping Wars a few years ago. I watched two episodes on Sunday, though I mostly just had them on for background noise. The people involved in the show are always too angry and their customers are always too unlikeable for me to really spend too much time really paying attention to Shipping Wars.
The first episode featured Jen delivering bottled water to hurricane victims in Louisiana while Roy delivered a boat and acted like a jackass. It was typical Roy behavior, which made him entertaining to watch even though you wouldn’t want to actually have a conversation with him. When Roy suddenly died in 2014, Shipping Wars brought on a handful of people to try to replace him but none of them could. Certainly not Dusty! Don’t even get me started on freaking Dusty.
The second episode featured more of Roy being a jackass, this time as he transported a Cadillac to a 50s diner. It also featured Robbie and Chris transporting a deactivated nuclear missile. It would have been more fun if it had been an active missile but still, just the strangeness of that situation explains why Shipping Wars was briefly a popular show.
Storage Wars (A&E, Tuesday Night)
I watched four episodes. None of the storage lockers had any cursed amulets and dead bodies inside of them. I was disappointed.
Tough As Nails (CBS, Wednesday Night)
This reality competition show doesn’t really make a lot of sense to me. Two teams, made up of blue collar, salt-of-the-Earth workers, compete to see which team can be the first to complete various blue collar tasks, like cleaning windows on an office building or installing drywall. It seems like the show would be more interesting if it was like middle-management types and low-level executives having to do the hard work while being instructed and judged by construction works and plumbers.
Still, I watch almost every week, just because the show is hosted by The Amazing Race’s Phil Keoghan. Love ya, Phil!
Wipeout (TBS, Sunday Night)
So apparently, this is a thing again. Wipeout is a game show where teams make money if they can manage to cross an obstacle course without falling or dying. It used to be on ABC, where every episode ended with John Henson saying, “Big balls,” with a creepy smile on his face. Now, it’s on TNT and it’s hosted by John Cena, who just can’t quite match Henson when it comes to being creepy.
Anyway, on Sunday night, they reaired the first episode of the reboot. It aired after the SAG Awards. I have to admit that I mostly just had it on for background noise. Every time I looked up at the TV, people were either jumping on top of or falling off of big rubber balls. I imagine the reboot will probably run until 2060 and I’ll never watch another episode.
Yes Minister (Monday Morning, PBS)
Well, sadly enough, this week’s episode of Yes, Minister is the last one that’s going to be aired on my local PBS station for a while. Next week, Yes, Minister is being replaced by …. ugh …. Are You Being Served? Imagine, going from one showing one of the wittiest and most intellectually engaging sitcoms of all time to showing a hundred episodes of Are You Being Served?
Fortunately, this week’s episode was a great one. It featured both Paul Eddington’s Jim Hacker and Nigel Hawthorne’s Sir Humphrey testifying at a committee meeting about cutting government waste. For once, Hacker actually got the better of Sir Humphrey. Both Eddington and Hawthorne, both of whom are sadly no longer with us, gave brilliant comedic performances. It was a joy to watch.
(UPDATE: I wrote the above on Monday afternoon. When I checked on Tuesday morning, the guide had been changed and apparently, Yes, Minister is going to continue to air on PBS! So, I guess the listing for Are You Being Served was an error. I also checked with KERA.org and found no plans to replace Yes, Minister with Are You Being Served so, hopefully, all that frustration was for nothing! I’ll find out for sure on Monday at midnight, I suppose.)
Watched But Not Reviewed:
American Idol (Sunday and Monday Nights on ABC)
‘Allo ‘Allo (Sunday Night on PBS)
Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday Night on Fox)
Hill Street Blues (Weekday mornings on H&I)
House Hunters (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
House Hunters International (Tuesday Night, HGTV)
Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)
Welcome to the first ever edition of Lisa’s Week In Television! Because of the holiday weekend, there’s a lot of streaming shows that I haven’t gotten a chance to watch yet. And I will also admit that I watched a lot of old TV shows over the previous few days. Then again, I always end up watching a lot of old shows, if just because I always enjoy seeing how people dressed and spoke in the past.
American Idol (Sunday and Monday Night, ABC)
I was recently trying to remember when the last time was that I was emotionally invested in American Idol and I think it was way back in 2007. That would be the sixth season. I thought Blake Lewis was totally adorable and I was actually really upset when he lost to Jordin Sparks. That’s nothing against Jordin. At the time, I just had a weakness for beat boxers.
Ever since then, American Idol has mostly been background noise to me. It’s one of those things that I watch out of habit and it’s rare that I ever pay that much attention to it while it’s on. When the show started, it was always interesting to see how brutally frank Simon Cowell could be but, after Simon left, no one was willing to play the villain and the show’s gotten rather bland as a result.
Anyway, on Sunday and Monday’s episodes, the judges announced the top 24 singers. I have no idea who any of these people are. I just know that none of them will ever win my heart quite like Blake Lewis performing Time of the Season.
Baywatch (Weekday Evenings, H&I)
Yes, the show about lifeguards is now airing on H&I. Hopefully, Baywatch Nights will eventually follow. There’s always been a lot of debate about whether or not David Hasselhoff is self-aware in the style of William Shatner or if he actually took Baywatch seriously. Having watched a few episodes of the show, I still have no idea. On the one hand, Hasselhoff certainly seemed to be taking thing very seriously. On the other hand, how could anyone actually take a show like Baywatch seriously? I mean, you would have to have somewhat of a satricial spirit to just be involved with the show, wouldn’t you?
Speaking of taking Baywatch seriously, Tuesday’s episode featured Danny Trejo as the father of a gang member. Trejo wanted his son to stay in the gang and was upset when Billy Warlock tried to recruit him into a lifeguard program instead. However, when Trejo subsequently fell in the ocean just to be saved by his own son, everyone learned an important lesson.
City Confidential (Sunday Afternoon, CI)
This show, which originally aired on A&E 20 years ago, is actually two shows in one. The first half of every episode always deals with the history and culture of an American city. The 2nd half always deals with some crime that happened in that city and which, we’re told, changed that city forever. Each episode was narrated by actor Paul Winfield, who always sounded somewhat amused no matter how heinous a crime he was describing.
I watched two episodes, one about Milwaukee and one about Carlsbad, New Mexico. My family briefly lived in Carlsbad when I was growing up so I found that episode to be interesting. What can I say? I have a weakness for true crime shows hosted by sardonic narrators.
The District (Weekday Mornings, H&I)
The District is a fairly predictable cop show that aired for four seasons at the start of the century. I had totally forgotten about it until I stumbled across it on H&I during a bout of insomnia. It’s about Jack Mannion (Craig T. Nelson), the hyperactive police commissioner for Washington D.C. Pretty much the only interesting thing about the show was Craig T. Nelson’s frequently bizarre lead performance. Nelson’s not exactly a low-key actor to begin with and The District cast him as a frequently married, show tune loving cop who enjoyed yelling at people. The show’s producers basically gave Nelson a license to overact and he took full advantage of it. With each episode, you think that Nelson can’t possibly go more over-the-top and, with each episode, he proves you wrong.
Tuesday’s episode featured him crashing a meeting of the Washington D.C, city council and, when he felt they weren’t paying attention to him, climbing up on a desk so that he could better yell at them. Later, when Mannion had to interrogate a young child who had witnessed a crime, he got her to answer his question by having a tea party with her. That’s Jack Mannion for ya!
Hell’s Kitchen (Thursday night, FOX)
Even though I’m not really a huge fan of yelling at or insulting people, I’ve always liked Hell’s Kitchen. Some of it is because of those moments (which usually happens towards the end of the season) when Gordon Ramsey reveals that he’s not quite as fearsome as he pretends to be. (He actually does seem to get emotionally invested once there’s only 6 or 5 chefs left.) Plus, since I can’t cook, I guess I find it interesting to watch people who actually can. This latest season, which is drawing to a close, has been one of the better seasons. Myself, I’m totally cheering on Mary Lou! Go, Mary Lou! You got this!
King of the Hill (Hulu)
This is still the best and most authentic TV show ever made about Texas. Watching it today, it’s also a nice alternative to the more mean-spirited programming of Seth MacFarlane. Let it never be forgotten the Fox cancelled King of the Hill to make room for The Cleveland Show, of all thing. Fortunately, King of the Hill can currently be watched at any time on Hulu.
Saturday morning, my sisters and I watched three episodes while we were preparing for the day — the episodes where Hank goes down Aisle 8A, where Hank goes to New Orleans, and where Dale thinks he’s rabid. We agreed that Boomhauer is one of the greatest characters of all time.
Law & Order: Organized Crime (Thursday Night, NBC)
I reviewed the first episode of Law & Order: Organized Crime here.
Law & Order: SVU (Thursday Night, NBC)
I used to watch SVU religiously when I was in high school and college. However, as I got older, I kind of lost interest. That said, I did watch it this week because Elliott Stabler (played by Chris Meloni) was making his first appearance on the show since leaving 8 seasons ago. Thursday’s episode also served as a backdoor pilot, of sorts, for Law & Order: Organized Crime.
The episode was …. okay. The mob stuff was predictable but it was nice to see that Chris Meloni and Mariska Hargitay still had their old chemistry. That said, Stabler seemed to be even more tightly wound than he did during his time as a regular on SVU and that’s really saying something as Stabler always seemed like the cop mostly likely to beat a suspect to death during interrogation. (Of course, Stabler’s wife was injured by a car bomb and later died during the episode so Stabler had good reason for being wound up.)
A lot of people on twitter freaked out over the fact that no one on the show was wearing a mask. Calm down, people, it’s a TV show.
The Love Boat (Weekday Evenings, Decades TV)
Ah, The Love Boat. If there’s any show from the 70s and 80s that deserves a revival, it’s probably this one. Movie and television veterans play the passengers of a weekly cruise, falling in love and taking part in other hi-jinks. Every episode that I’ve ever seen of The Love Boat has been charmingly silly and, quite frankly, I think that’s what we need more of in the world. Add to that, the cruise ship industry took a hit with the pandemic. A Love Boat revival might help revive it.
Monday’s episode featured Zsa Zsa Gabor and a bunch of people who I didn’t recognize but who all appeared to be having a great time on the boat. Zsa Zsa was determined to win back her ex, even though he was planning on marrying someone else. The other stories dealt with a kleptomaniac who kept accidentally stealing stuff and a TV actor who feared that he would never be able to live up to his heroic image. In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.
Wednesday’s episode was a Christmas episode from 1980. Dorothy Lamour was one of the passengers. Father and son entertainers ran into each on the boat after having not spoken to each other for years. A stowaway pretended to be the child of a wannabe womanizer. In the end, for all the passengers and crew, love won.
My Evil Sister (Sunday Afternnon, CI)
I watched this on Crime and Investigation on Sunday morning. As the youngest of four sisters, it’s hard for me not to be intrigued by the fact that there’s so many evil sisters out there that they could actually produce an entire TV series about them. The episode I saw featured two stories, one about a sister who killed her lazy sister and then tried to frame local drug dealers and the other about a girl who shot her adopted sister because she felt her sister was keeping her from being popular in high school. Scary stuff! I’m glad my family likes me! (I say this as I nervously glance over my shoulder.)
The Office (Comedy Central)
I watched a few episodes of The Office on Thursday and Friday. I always feel like I’m taking a risk whenever I watch The Office on Comedy Central because there’s always a chance that they’ll be showing episodes from Seasons 8 or 9. Fortunately, on Thursday and Friday, they were showing episodes from Season 5. Jim and Pam hadn’t gotten unbearably smug yet. Andy and Angela weren’t quite as cartoonish as they would later become. Best of all, Michael was still on the show so I got to watch him once again fall in love with Holly Flax. Though The Office was pretty uneven after the third season, the few episodes of season 5 were all gems.
Parking Wars (Monday Morning on A&E)
I wrote about this annoyingly addictive show a few years ago. I watched two episodes of the show on Monday morning, as I was getting ready for my day. Even though I mostly had it on for background noise, I still couldn’t help but think about how this show, which aired its last original episode nearly ten years ago, feels like the perfect show for the current era. A bunch of self-righteous bureaucrats make life difficult for their fellow citizens and, whenever they’re challenged on it, they respond with a bunch of “If you had followed the rules” bullshit. Watching this show always makes me want to park in front of an expired meter and then rip up the ticket.
The Rookies (Sunday Morning, H&I)
The Rookies is a cop show that aired from 1972 to 1976. H&I just recently started showing the show. It airs on Sunday morning at 2 in the morning. I decided to set the DVR to record the show, just because it was a show that I’d never heard of. I’m like a cat when it comes to being curious about stuff.
Anyway, The Rookies is about three cops who are …. can you guess it? …. rookies! One is black. Two are white. One has a wife, the other two single. Whenever they drive their car around the city, 70s wah wah music plays in the background. From what I’ve seen so far, it’s pretty much a standard cop show. One of the cops is played by Michael Ontkean, so it’s possible to view the show as being a prequel to Twin Peaks, if you’re so inclined.
I watched Sunday’s episode off of the DVR. The first episode featured a criminal turning into an informant and putting his life at risk. In the 2nd episode, Ontkean was shot in the back and had to undergo an experimental surgery to regain the ability to walk. The stories were, in no way, surprising but it was a chance to experience how people talked and dressed in 1972.
This docuseries took a look at the ancient Roman chariot races. It was actually pretty entertaining. I enjoyed the descriptions of life in ancient Rome and, even better, they showed how to build and steer a chariot! As I’ve said many times on the site, I’m a history nerd. I love stuff like this.
Saved By The Bell (Sunday Morning, MeTV)
Ah, Saved By The Bell, the oddly popular and incredibly dated high school sitcom from the early 90s. Don’t ask me to explain why Saved By The Bell remains so watchable, despite being terrible in almost every way. It’s just a part of the culture and, perhaps more importantly, there’s never been an extended period of time when it hasn’t been on TV somewhere. One of the many places where it can currently be found is as a part of MeTV’s Sunday morning lineup. I always seem to end up watching it, even though the show makes me cringe in so many ways.
For instance, on Sunday morning, I watched three separate episodes. First off, I watched the infamous Running Zack. This is the incredibly problematic episode where the blonde, blue-eyed, and very pale Zack Morris discovers that he’s a direct descendant of the Native American Chief Joseph and he responds to this news by putting on an elaborate headdress and then giving a speech to his class. It’s really …. not good. Zack, however, does subsequently win the big track meet. If I remember correct, his Native American heritage was never again mentioned on the show.
Running Zack was followed by a far more entertaining episode, Jessie’s Song. This is the “I’m so excited, I’m so excited, I’m so scared” episode, in which Jessie gets hooked on caffeine pills. Everyone always laughs about the scene where Jessie freaks out but I think the extremely 80s music video is even more memorably weird.
Jessie’s Song was followed by The Fabulous Belding Boys, in which Mr. Belding’s supercool brother, Rod, showed up as a new substitute teacher at Bayside. After getting all of his students excited about going rafting for the senior class trip, Rod ditched them all for two stewardesses. Fortunately, Mr. Belding stepped up and took Rod’s place, showing Zack what being a hero is all about. This is actually one of the few episodes of Saved By The Bell that actually works as something more than camp, with the normally underappreciated Dennis Haskins getting a chance to show what he could actually do with some halfway decent dialogue.
Yes, Minister (Monday Morning on PBS)
This is a BBC series, which originally aired back in the 80s. It’s about a government minister named Jim Hacker (Paul Eddington) and two civil servants, Sir Humphrey (Nigel Hawthorne) and Bernard (Derek Fowlds), and their efforts to help Hacker run his department while also making sure that Hacker doesn’t actually accomplish anything. It’s a hilarious show, one that Jeff recently introduced me to. Even though the show is very British and 40+ years old, it’s still easy to see parallels between the show’s portrayal of the British government and the realities of Washington, D.C. I guess bureaucracy is universal.
This show airs on Monday, usually at midnight. I always set the DVR for it, though I’ve lately been staying up to watch it just because PBS is so inconsistent about keeping to their posted start and stop times. Back in February, when Texas got hit by that winter storm, an episode of Yes, Minister was the last thing that I watched before the rolling blackouts began.
This week’s episode found Jim Hacker going to a farm for a photo op and essentially screwing everything up. The show is at its best when it pokes fun at Hacker’s self-righteousness by revealing him to be just another clueless politician and this episode did just that. (In all fairness, though, Hacker also consistently means well and, occasional pompousness aside, actually is the type of person you would want in office.) Though the show may be an old one, it’s kind of what we need right now in the Age of Big Government.
I meant to do this a lot earlier in the month but with the combination of the 4th of July and some other things I had to attend to, I didn’t get the chance until now. In just a few hours, the 2018 Emmy nominations will be announced. Hopefully, it’ll be a good morning for Twin Peaks!
Anyway, here’s who and what I would nominate in the major Emmy categories if I had all the power. Please notice that I just said major categories. There’s like hundreds of different Emmy categories, the majority of which aren’t ever awarded during the prime time awards show. As much as I’d love to post every single category, it’s late and I’m not sure that you really care who I think should win Outstanding Art Direction For An Informational Program, 30 Minutes Or Shorter.
Anyway, here are my picks. Obviously, I’ve only nominated films and TV shows that I actually watched during the 2017-2018 season. For the most part, I also limited myself to the shows and performers that have actually been submitted for Emmy consideration. You can see a full list of all the submissions here.
Anyway, here are my nominees. (Winners are in bold.)
Best Comedy Series
The End of the Fucking World,
Best Drama Series
Game of Thrones,
Outstanding Limited Series
The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story,