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Louisiana Lockdown – What is Angola Prison doing on Animal Planet TV?

Good ol' boys probably think it's mighty funny parading Angola's black prisoners across the teevee, at the whim of an all-white Reality TV corrections officer caste. Inmates are portrayed like the channel's animal kingdom predators, dangerous and unpredictable, but what misconduct is feared, the program doesn't dare tell. For being menacing recidivists, Angola's felons lead the life of choirboys apparently, no mention of the sexual slavery reported in a notorious memoir. What's the HIV transmission rate in Angola? No one's talking about racism. Was "Angola" named for its African population? We've already learned "The Farm" is an immense rural labor camp with a famous gladiatorial rodeo. Hopefully "Louisiana Lockdown" will disclose the reality side of its genre. Until then, the watchdog group most familiar with the mistreatment of Angola's inmates is the humane society.

Scam auction site Swipebids poses French celebrity Melissa Theuriau as generic newsperson all over the web

Penny auction scammers know their audience. Stupid Americans aren't going to recognize one phony news reporter over another, even if it's French anchorwoman Melissa Theuriau. Imagine if Lisa Hartman's misnamed image popped up in embedded advertorials.   Not only are fake "penny auction" news pages posing the A-list celebrity as a generic TV spokesperson, but ads have been placed across the internet, on authentic media like MSNBC. Certainly the banner ad managers of MSM websites know that Theuriau is not shilling for penny auction scammers.

Professional drunkard “Snooki” busted

From the "reality" show "Jersey Shore" where 20-somethings are filmed showing what they would do if they were paid to do a constant beach party. Ok so that's not the OFFICIAL premise of the show, like, when you were 21 did you have a major studio pay your rent, your clothing tab and... YOUR BAR TAB? Sure, everybody did! That's why it's called a REALITY Show! Like, DUH! I wouldn't have mentioned it at all but in "our" national obsession with 24-7 Televised Idolatry somehow this became a Major Story. And one headline compared it, albeit satirically, "Our Long National Nightmare is over- Snooki released" and took the names Martin L King and Nelson Mandela in vain. The charge, surprise: Disorderly Conduct. C'mon, guys, cut the poor girl some slack, huh? She gets PAID to be Drunk and Disorderly. The starting stages of the really tragic disease of Alcoholism is FUNNY! (oh, and the show also pays for her car and her gas. Neat!) It's a sad day for our civilization.

Alfred Lownstein and Carrion Fowl Capital

We got our satellite TV today, and on History International there's "History's Mysteries". War Profiteer/Wall Street Weasel (ok, so the European version thereof) financier Lownstein is flying across the English Channel. End of life history is he's reported to go to the bathroom in his private plane and disappeared Found dead later. My thought, the crew took out the trash and jettisoned it over the Channel. Good riddance to bad rubbish. So why is an 80 year old murder important? The commercials. Borrow money from this start-up upstart bank that I've not heard of before. Buy gold. Sell your "unwanted" gold at a smaller price of course. 17513

Betty White’s muffin on the boob tube

Which came first: the Snickers ad, the Facebook group, or SNL's crowdsourced mandate to fete American sitcom icon Betty White? To me this blonde's netroots smack of a publicist's hand, and White's performance Saturday night all but validated SNL's reluctance until now to spotlight the octogenarian's one note routine. The SNL tribute could laud only her age, raising the specter that a proverbial domestic bread might have been named for her. 16663

GE tv spot brings death panels to life

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING- I like the new General Electric spot meant to warm Americans to digitizing medical records, GE's "health innovation" to more easily share information among health care professionals. A regular checkup becomes slightly obtrusive as the patient recognizes that his entire history is chiming in. Though his discomfort is played for laughs, TV viewers who've been victim to US health care may recognize that the majority of the spectators to this checkup-in-the-round would be actuarial not medical professionals, administrators whose task it is to use medical records to deny coverage or adequate care.

Obesity is office equilibrium state

TRUTH IN ADVERTISING- Jimmy Dean urges its office Solar System to Fight the Morning Fade with fatty pork product. No sign of Pluto, only rotund planetary bodies floating high on chemical flatulence. The spheres are not size-proportional, but their shapes correspond exactly to bodies stuffed with an everyday Breakfast Sandwich. Truth in Advertising? Jimmy Dean isn't targeting breakfast, their Morning Fade is the Snickers pitch, marketing a non-nutritional fix for the predictable post crap-breakfast crash.

Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch

I thought the advent of Youtube would finally lead me to the script for a TV special of the late 70s called Life, Love, Liberty and Lunch. I can find only scant trace of it online. And so I will post sans link. 2650

Suddenly colored television

Immediately after the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center in 2001, the term "Nine Eleven" was already tripping off the tongues of TV talking heads as if it was more natural than saying "last Monday," or "last week Monday," before even we knew the attack was not going to last several days. The day after the election of Barack Obama, a suddenly large proportion of the TV talking heads were black, overnight, like it had become some sort of costume party theme. 6223

Judging a book by an unflattering cover

Britain's Got Talent, Simon Cowell's UK precursor to American Idol, is pulling another Paul Potts out of its hat, flying in the face of its own conventional wisdom that only attractive people could possibly have talent. This time, straight out of a George Booth cartoon, she's "never been kissed" (never had a boyfriend, job, etc), climbed out from under a rock we're supposed to believe, Susan Boyle.   You might well ask, how otherwise would un-pop-culturish faces get a hearing? I share in Mr. Potts and Ms. Boyle's triumph, but the feigned incredulity of the celebrity judges mocks us all. 7445

Obama presidential address to Congress addressed to dueling teleprompters

Have you noticed that Obama rarely looks forward when he speaks, not even by a fraction of 45 degrees? I think this censored camera shot which gives viewers President Obama’s point of view, the perspective exposes his complete reliance on the teleprompters. That’s why Obama turns his head completely from side to side, never facing forward, never appearing to address the majority of the audience who must obviously be in front of him. Anyway, it’s just an observation, but the mannerism has spoiled me for watching Obama make speeches, and I particularly question his use of the teleprompters for his press conference appearance.

Progressive Insurance clown makeup

My favorite TV commercial has to be the Dr Pepper candy aisle parade, but next best is Progressive Insurance's painted lady Flo. The unselfconscious checkout geek is simply a brilliant solution to a daunting PR challenge. Who does not despise their insurance company? We hate their greed and eagerness to invade our privacy, in the person of the operator trying to glean more information than you want to tell, to the adjuster intent on paying out as little as possible. How then does an ad campaign portray an insurance spokesperson who is likeable and still believable? 6549

Life as a ten year old boy at the podium

COLORADO SPRINGS- The voice of Bart Simpson spoke at Colorado College last night. What began as a the memoir My Life as a Ten Year Old Boy, and debuted at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival four years ago as a "one woman play" reached CC's Armstrong Hall looking like 52 card pickup with that too many index cards. There might once have been a day when Simpsons fans raved like Trekkies, but the show's longevity has lapped this generation. It didn't help that Nancy Cartwright dissed South Park and Family Guy as uninteresting. 5536

Electing the lesser of real evil

While it might appear to make no difference if a candidate is Republican or Democrat, I'd say a freshly galvanized non-voter would be hard pressed to suggest that any of the Y2K presidential hopefuls could have performed with more mischievous malevolence than George W. Bush. Disengaged citizens used to be ambivalent about their lack of options. Now we have precedent for thinking very hard about the lesser of evils. We don't want just the better of the worst, we have to be sure to pick the lesser EVIL.   Will 2008 be a veritable toss-up between shills? We need to know for Decision 2008 if there lurks another Alfred E. Neuman Nero in the bunch. 2431

The Spears sisters genetic tree stump

Dumbshell Britney Spears' little sister is having a baby. The clan are mega millionaires, why shouldn't they decide what they please? Clearly they've already decided a premature preteen nose job is fine, even if your face is going to outgrow it. Time for another!   Baby at sixteen. Please. A young mother in Bangladesh is on her third by sixteen. Young Indonesian tsunami survivors were starting second families by sixteen. 2319

We have met the neighbor and he is us

I love Spongebob Squarepants. The show and the person. I revere his inimitable optimism. Patrick I find likewise adorable for his straightforward ineptitude. Squidward would be the foil obviously, a sort of puritan Malevolio ill-joy, a neighbor like Mr. Wilson to Dennis the Menace, but I am determined that Squidward No-pants is something more.   Probably we're talking the usual protagonist, deuteragonist and tritagonist, as comedic trios go. But I chiefly mean to assert that as foil Squidward is no antagonist. Our main character may learn valuable lessons through his misadventures, we may see Squidward suffer over the course of his, but in the end it's the butt of the joke who sees the light. 2239

Is Otis misshapen by BGH or steroids?

I'm not sure that's an udder fastened like a diaphragm over the groin of computer animation's favorite self-effacing alpha bull. While some may speculate that Back to the Barnyard is trying to normalize hermaphrodites in macho garb, a rugged outdoor transvestite perhaps like Eddie Izzard's mannish executive transvestite. I rather think those are fat man boobs channeled from the King of Queens which come of human absorption of BGH, Bovine Growth Hormone, used for dairy cows, and I guess, our man cow Otis. 2209

A. Whitney Brown and The Big Picture

Every year or so I search online to see what cartoonist Bill Watterson might have decided to do since putting Calvin and Hobbes to bed in 1995. I showed less diligence with another favorite social satirist whom I'm thrilled to discover has returned to the spotlight. He appeared reclusive, it turns out he's been mouthing off to great effect on Daily Kos! I can't describe my giddy thrill to see A. Whitney Brown and his insightful Big Picture again. 1797

Goyim in TV land

Why are we promoting dorks like Texas Ranger and Conan O'Brian as centers of attention on television? Is this Hollywood's idea of the accessible every-man? Somebody's got to be laughing their head off behind the scene.   Clearly the standard for leading men is otherwise high. Consider that the Oceans 11 frat pack have no peers to cast in competing blockbusters. There have always been Ralph Kramdens and Ed Nortons, re King of Queens et al, or flat out queens and eunuchs, but where does medialand come off casting Chuck Norris as any kind of Tommy Lee Jones ranger? Norris looks as absurd as the stereotype he pioneered, the white man in Eastern man's pajamas, where they don't tuck 45-Magnums under their judo belts. 1552

’24’ and the high cost of idiocy

Now I think we can begin to put a precise figure on the high cost of idiocy. Here is what it took the Australian government in OZ dollars to get Hicks back out of direct US hands. A mere 1/2 million dollars for one single one way flight! 1288

Channel 11’s take on Dick Cheney’s bet

Last night, watching Channel 11 News, I was taken back about how even local channels in conservative cities like The Springs are beginning to come unglued in their long term backing and pushing for the Iraqi War. Dick Cheney was calling the Democratic Party a bunch of wimps and stating he wasn't worried in the least by their false and phoney opposition to Adminstration plans. He bets that they will fold their cards soon. So what did Channel 11 do? 1226

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