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


Twonky

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

allo-allo

Allo Allo (PBS, Sunday Night)

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

bachelorette 2021

The Bachelorette (ABC, Monday Night)

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

bar-rescue

Bar Rescue (Wednesday, Paramount Network)

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

Big Brotehr 23

Big Brother (CBS and Paramount, 24/7)

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

children hosptial

Children’s Hospital (Hulu, Thursday)

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

court-cam

Court Cam (A&E, Wednesday)

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

Dragnet

Dragnet (MeTV, Weekday Mornings)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hell's Kitchen

Hell’s Kitchen (Monday Night, FOX)

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

Love Island

Love Island (CBS, Weeknights)

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

moone_boy_title

Moone Boy (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

The Office

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

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

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Open All Hours (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

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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?

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

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

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 6/6/21 — 6/12/21


Twonky

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

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 Allo Allo 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.

bachelorette 2021

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

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?

brady buch hour

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

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!

Show Boxing

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

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

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

Degrassi Minis (YouTube)

Degrassi Minis 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

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

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

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

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.  Last Man Standing is a perfect example.  Starring Tim Allen as the often-confused father of three daughters, Last Man Standing 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_title

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

The Office (Comedy Central, All The Time)

On Sunday morning, I watched Safety Training and Product Recall, two classics from season 3. Safety Training featured Michael thinking that he could safely jump off the building and onto a bouncy castle. Product Recall 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 Product Recall 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

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.

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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.

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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 …. ménage a trois?”  “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

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.

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Upstart Crow (Sunday Night, PBS)

Realizing that his new play, Twelfth Night, 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?

Twonky

Lisa’s Week In Television: 3/28/21 — 4/3/21


Twonky

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

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

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

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.

Distirct

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

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

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

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.

Love Boat

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

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

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

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

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.

Rome Chariot

Rome’s Chariot Superstar (Monday Morning, Smithsonian Channel)

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.

sbtb

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.

YesMinister

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.

Watched But Not Reviewed:

  1. ‘Allo ‘Allo (Sunday Night on PBS)
  2. America’s Most Wanted (Monday Night on Fox)
  3. Fear Thy Neighbor (Saturday Afternoon on ID)
  4. Hill Street Blues (Weekend Morning on H&I)
  5. The Killer Beside Me (Saturday afternoon on ID)
  6. The Masked Singer (Tuesday and Wednesday on Fox)
  7. Open All Hours (Sunday Night on PBS)
  8. Temptation Island (Tuesday Night on USA)
  9. Tough as Nails (Wednesday Night on CBS)
  10. The Voice (Monday Night on NBC)
  11. Your Worst Nightmare (Saturday afternoon on ID)

Guilty Pleasure No. 40: Parking Wars


Strange show, Parking Wars.

Between 2008 and 2012, A&E aired 104 episodes of Parking Wars.  Even though the show’s no longer in production, episodes still seem to air on nearly a daily basis.  If you can’t find it on A&E, check on FYI.  If you can’t find it on FYI, check WGN or TBS or any of the true crime networks.  Nearly seven years after it stopped producing new episodes, Parking Wars airs so frequently that one could be forgiven for thinking that it had never been canceled.

It was an odd show.  It was a reality show, one that allowed viewers a chance to see what it was like to be a part of the parking authority.  You read that correctly.  This show was devoted to perhaps the least useful members of law enforcement.  The first two seasons focused exclusively on the employees of the Philadelphia Parking Authority.  Since the members of the PPA were all municipal employees, I’m going to assume that the show’s producers had to get permission from the city to follow them as they worked.  One assumes that the hope was that the show would improve Philadelphia’s image.  That’s why it’s interesting that the main lesson to be learned from those first two seasons of Parking Wars appears to be that everyone should stay the Hell out of Philadelphia.

Seriously, it’s hard to imagine that anyone would book a flight to Philly after watching an episode of Parking Wars.  Not only do all of the traffic cops come across as being assholes but so do most of the citizens that they meet over the course of their day.  Everyone comes across as being a jerk.  On the one hand, you have the motorists who regularly ignore posted signs and who often have no hesitation about double parking or blocking traffic.  At the same time, the show’s parking cops tend to the biggest bunch of self-important pricks that I’ve ever seen.

Each episode is usually divided into three sections.  In Ticketing, we follow some civil servant in a uniform while they walk up and down the street, looking for anyone to whom they can give a ticket.  While they do this, they talk to the camera about why their job is important and why people shouldn’t hate them.  It usually only takes a minute or so to realize that we’re not exactly dealing with the most eloquent or witty group of people here.  Typical words of wisdom: “People think I’m picking on them but ….. I’m just doing my job.  If they hadn’t broken the rules, I would not be writing them a ticket.”  Never mind that, half the time, the parking meters are broken or that the “No Parking” sign has weathered so much abuse that it can barely be read.  Whenever someone asks a legitimate question about why they’re getting a ticket, the show responds with a silly sound effect.  “Only dummies question authority,” the show is saying.  On those occasions when someone actually proves that they’ve been wrongly ticketed (and it happens more than a few times), they’re told to call a number or go to court and get it dismissed.  “Once I start writing the ticket, I can’t take it back,” the parking cop explains, as if that somehow excuses any inconvenience that anyone else might suffer.

The 2nd section of each episode often took place at the impound lot, where the citizens of Philadelphia would go to get their cars after they had been towed.  The impound lot sequences basically highlight everything that intelligent people hate about bureaucracy.  I’ll always remember the woman from Delaware whose car was impounded in Philadelphia, due to a mistake made by the Delaware Highway Patrol.  Even after the woman got a signed letter from a judge in Delaware exonerating her and saying that her car shouldn’t have been impounded, the lot supervisor said that the car couldn’t be released because the state of Pennsylvania still had her on its impound list.  When the woman was told that she could hire a tow truck (at her own expense) and have the car towed to Delaware, the lot workers were shocked when the woman angrily announced that she wasn’t going to pay any more money just because of someone else’s bureaucratic snafu.  When Pennsylvania finally did get its act together and announced that the woman could have her car back, one of the lot workers had the nerve to say, “Y’know, my supervisor went to a lot of trouble for you.”  (From what we saw on the program, it appeared that the supervisor made one phone call, mostly to get confirmation that she should refuse to release the woman’s car.)  The look the woman from Delaware gave that worker pretty much said it all.

Finally, an episode would usually wrap up with a sequence about booting.  The booting sequences dealt with the people who drive around and randomly search for people with multiple unpaid tickets, so that they can put those big yellow locks on people’s tires.  On the one hand, the booting sequences were a bit less annoying that the ticketing and impound sequences because most of the people getting booted did owe several thousands of dollars in parking tickets.  On the other hand, it wasn’t hard to notice that the boot crew usually only seemed to search for cars in lower-class neighborhoods.  It was rare you ever heard anyone suggest maybe going to a rich neighborhood and seeing if anyone there needed a boot.  Instead the people being booted were often the very people who would need a car if they were ever actually going to get the money necessary to pay their tickets.

Throughout it all, the show punctuated every action or comment with a combination of zoom lenses and silly sound effects.  If someone declared that they needed their car for work, we’d hear someone dramatically go, “DAMN!” on the soundtrack.  If the parking cop pointed out a sign that said no parking, we’d get a zoom to the sign along with a smack-smack sound effect.

Even though the show is less than ten years old, watching it can be strange today.  Parking Wars was clearly made before the era of #MeToo.  If the parking cop is a woman, one can be sure that we’ll get at least a few interviews with the citizens of Philadelphia talking about how cute she is.  If the parking cop’s a man, one can be sure that he’ll take the time to leer at any passing women while the camera zooms in on what part of her body has drawn his attention.

Eventually, it would appear that the city of Philadelphia figured out that being advertised as being one of the worst cities on Earth was perhaps not the boon for tourism that they thought it would be and Parking Wars started to focus on other cities.  When they started to film in Detroit, we were introduced to a parking cop named Pony Tail.  Pony Tail was perhaps the most obnoxious character to ever be unleashed on the brave viewers of A&E.  Pony Tail was the type of creep who would brag about how he was punishing evil doers (because being parked at an expired meter is a sure sign of evil) but who would then spend his entire segment pouting after a random passerby yelled out, “Parking Authority sucks!”

Things got even worse once the show expanded to New York and started to feature “independent” towing companies.  If it could be said that the parking cops were at least enforcing the law, the independent towing people were just straight-up assholes.  Whenever they towed a woman’s car and responded to her complaints by calling her “sweetheart” or “honey,” you just wanted someone to jump in and smack the Hell out of them.

And yet, oddly enough, Parking Wars was (and is) addictive viewing.  I can’t speak for everyone but for me, it’s a show that I almost hatewatch.  It confirms everything negative thing that I’ve ever felt or suspected about the people in authority.  If you believe that most people will let even the slightest bit of power go straight to their head, this is the show for you.  If you distrust the government and think that most bureaucrats are petty tyrants, Parking Wars is a show that will confirm your every suspicion.  The best moments of Parking Wars are the ones that suggest that maybe the show’s producers were secretly poking fun at the parking authority’s delusions of grandeur.  I’m talking about the moments when the ticketed got their chance to yell at the ticketers and the ticketers, for the most part, were reduced to weakly saying, “I’m just doing my job….”  Could it be that Parking Wars was one of the biggest practical jokes in reality show history and perhaps Pony Tail and the folks at the Impound Lot were being punked without even realizing it?

Probably not but it’s fun to think about….

Previous Guilty Pleasures

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