Let's play a game, shall we? I am going to list the contents of my Tivo DVR. The date is September 10, 2005 and, just for fun, let's see how long these current television programs stay on the air. As of today, I have the following series on my programming schedule:
The Comeback….Lisa Kudrow's fantastic tour de force as a sitcom actress trying to return to TV with her own reality show.
Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D List…the same show as above, but with actual reality. If you never appreciated this redheaded firebrand before, you will after watching her day-to-day life in LaLa Land. Big kudos here.
Entourage…From Mark Wahlberg comes the second season of this phenomenal comedy about show biz hangers-on. The scripts are gold. Jeremy Piven has found his niche at last and Kevin Dillon was robbed of his Emmy nod this year. He is amazing.
Stargate SG-1…the first six episodes of this new season are all you need. With a decade under its utility belt, the syndicated juggernaut reinvents itself this year replacing Richard Dean Anderson with Farscape's Ben Browder as Lt. Colonel Cameron Mitchell. The first half dozen shows of the new series featured the amazing Claudia Black (also from the late, lamented Farscape) and it was worth the price of admission just to watch these two back in action with a chemistry that usually doesn't happen on the small screen. Man, this was great TV.
Family Guy…just keeps getting better. MacFarlaine is a bona fide genius.
The 4400….USA Network's Emmy nominated mini-series from last season was MUCH better this year with new characters and enough twists to keep the show from predictability.
Rock Star INXS…the guiltiest pleasure of the summer. Cheers to Dave Navarro for adding the much-needed rock cred here. The singer-less band went through a pot pouri of wannabees searching for a new sensation. As lame as some of these clowns were, any of them can outsing the winners of American Idol. 'Nuff said.
We mourn the cancellation of Dead Like Me. We cheer the renewal of Arrested Development.
We adore Denis Leary in Rescue Me…his Emmy is long overdue as well. Should have gotten one for The Job. And another for his No Cure For Cancer stand up special of a decade ago.
Huff, with Hank Azaria…surprising performances from a show that, frankly, I thought would go nowhere. Check out Oliver Platt for tips on how to be the consummate actor.
Celebrity Poker Showdown…the best two hours on the tube. Have a brewski with Dave Foley and watch the stars, most of whom have checked their egos at the door, agonize like you or me, about the best Texas Hold 'Em hands and all for charity. Foley gets drunker with each episode as they tape three per day at the Palms in Las Vegas. He's worth the trip all by himself.
Medium…Arquette rocks and her TV hubby, Jake Weber, is also a star on the rise. It's a bit hokey, but hey, it's better than nine tenths of the programming from the Big Three Networks.
Monk…it's better than the critics say. Shaloub is a swarmy god and his OCD is as big a part of the show as the mysteries ever were. That's why we watch, you morons! Duh!
American Dad…we'll see how long Fox gives Seth Mac Farlaine's gentler version of Family Guy. Me? I like it a lot, but what do I know?
Then there's the political shit…and I watch it all.
Tivo loves Dennis Miller, even though he took a turn a few years back HARD to the right, he's still hilarious and, although it's bizarre to hear some of his Republican theories advanced over the airwaves, he's still got a sense of humor about it and the talent that we've loved for decades still survives under a coat of conservatism.
But I also watch Al Franken whose daily Air America radio show is broadcast on the Sundance Channel. Now this guy is LEFT, no doubt about it. But traditional left. He Bush-bashes but rehashes the same old stuff attacking the right but offering few solutions. Still, he's brilliant and his co-anchor, Katherine Lanfour, keeps him on-topic most of the time. Once in a while though, he does turn into Stewart Smalley…loving caregiver…and, that's alright.
Then there's Real Time with Bill Mahar and he's left of LEFT, being of the Libertarian Party. His theme should be Anarchy in the U.K. and its fun to hear him and his largely Democratic compatriots trash everything that we hold dear as a nation. He's a crackpot, but he's still better than all the O'Reily's , the Robertsons and the staff of Fox News put together.
Slings and Arrows…a classy and brilliant Canadian Dramady featuring the amazing Rachel McAdams and a superb Shakespearian ensemble cast was an unexpected treat from the Sundance Channel.
And, in the better late than never category, I finally got hip to CSI about three years later than all of my contemporaries following the inclusion of our song, Outside Chance, in last season's finale directed by Quentin Tarantino. Now I watch the show whenever I can catch it. They got me. Damn!
This season my happy tivo also will record
My Name is Earl
The Amazing Race 8
The Apprentice…both the Martha and the Donald
But I'll wager that more than half of these programs don't even last until the next media column. Entertainment is transient, eh?
The only foolproof television AT ALL is Cartoon Network's Adult Swim block of nightly programming.
The Venture Brothers
Aqua Teen Hunger Force
Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law
And of course, Family Guy.
You won't find better at-home viewing. And that's the name of THAT tune.
Saw a wonderful movie:
From my good friend, Penn Jillette (of Penn and Teller fame) and comic Paul Provenza comes The Aristocrats. How many ways can the world's funniest comics tell the world's filthiest joke? A true social experiment, this film is for the perverted little Margaret Meade in all of us and should be preserved in a time capsule representing the twenty-first century at its best. Michael Moore and Morgan Spurlock, beware. Comedy is still king.
Saw a great play:
Here in Seattle, before its Broadway run, I took my sixteen-year old co-ed to see the new musical Princesses. It's high school girls on the social ladder and it's a real audio-visual treat. It ain't deep, but it sure is entertaining. It comes from producers, the Steinkellners, who were a part of TV's Friends team, with music from the dudes who did Disney's Mulan. Take your kid to see this one…she'll love you for it.
In the car, we are listening to:
Eno…Another Day on Earth…his first studio album since the seventies when he started producing a little band called U-2. Maybe not as cohesive as Warm Jets or Another Green World, but a pleasure to hear over and over again. Put it on a loop, Kevin.
The White Stripes…Get Behind Me Satan. I've been yelling about the Whites for a few years now. It seems that they are everyone's darlings now, but remember this…I didn't jump on any bandwagons here-I was PULLING the damned wagon for God's sake. Nice to hear Jack grow and Meg not. That is their charm.
Garbage…Bleed Like Me. Shirley Manson is too sexy for her own good. I keep hearing rumors about the group disbanding. That would be a real pity. Unless Shirley wants to be the next Gwen Stephani, she should try to enjoy her success without getting personal about it. I mean, take it from a pro, Honey…you're only out there for an hour and a half…you can get along for ninety minutes, can't you? I mean, there is a ton of cash involved here. If Simon and Garfunkle can do it…if Emerson tolerates Lake and Palmer for an hour and half, then you can do it too. This is a business we're in; not a social club.
Take a lesson from the Rolling Stones. A Bigger Bang is everything we Mick and Keith lovers have been waiting for. God, they sound amazing. Don Was is the exemplary minimalist producer and hearing Jagger and Richards working together despite, or maybe because of Charlie's throat cancer, is a thing of rare rock beauty. No one does it better than the Stones. We are all blessed to be alive in their lifetimes. OK, that might have been a bit much.
I am officially burned out on Green Day. Don't want to be an idiot any more. And the McCartney album still isn't out yet, so I can't dislike him again…yet.
By the by, my very own solo album, Dust Bunnies, drops on November 8th. It's already on the internet and downloadable at itunes, Napster and any number of other services. These are hand-picked selections from the corners of my mind…some of the songs that I've always wanted to record, but never had the time or money. I went into Billy Bob Thornton's home studio and came out with an album that was actually seven years in the making…. But you can read all about that project in this column's sister edition posted at
where you can also link to photos from the upcoming Rhino film, My Dinner With Jimi, a full-length motion picture that should be in distribution sometime in 06.
See you there, kids…
And stop asking about next year's Zappa Plays Zappa tour…
We will know the status of that event as the time draws nearer.
Stay safe and send money to the Red Cross and the Salvation Army to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, OK?
Thanks for reading me,
The Artist Formerly Known As Eddie