Category Archives: Network TV Slut

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

Hey! Where Did That Elevator Shaft Come From?
Characters we really don’t miss after being written off the show.Killing Shannon is the only thing Ana-Lucia could bring to Lost viewers.

Actors have it tough. Okay, that’s not entirely true; unsuccessful actors have it tough. Successful actors have maybe the cushiest lifestyle known to man. This is why I find it so fascinating when actors, finally basking in the success of a popular show, manage to screw it up. Whether it’s a DUI charge in Hawaii or a defamatory remark made backstage at the Golden Globes, I guarantee you, where there’s a successful show, there’s an actor one drink too many away from being written off. Sometimes it’s sad to see characters that you really like leave (Dr. Romano on ER!), but then there are times when it’s the best thing the writers could have done. The following is a list of three characters whose death or departure I cheered rather than mourned.

Ana-Lucia-Lost
Could Michele Rodriguez be more annoying? She plays the same character in every movie she’s ever been in, and yes, that includes Blue Crush. The whole “Ana-From-The-Block” thing got really old, really fast and the character brought absolutely NOTHING to the show beyond saving all of us from the ill-conceived Shannon-Sayid relationship. Although the producers denied that Rodriguez’s DUI charge had anything to do with her character being written off the show, I don’t buy it. I think she was skating on thin ice and the drunken driving charge was the straw that broke the camel’s back. In my opinion, it’s not a coincidence that the one season with Ana-Lucia was BY FAR the worst season of Lost, and at least for this viewer, her death was welcomed.

Dr Burke – Grey’s Anatomy
Well this was one of the more bizarre celebrity side stories of the year. Isaiah Washington goes to rehab, not because of drugs, not because of alcohol, but because he has a big mouth and a bad temper. Maybe instead of rehab, he should have gone back to kindergarten to learn not to call people names, especially not derogatory homophobic names. I’m happy that Isaiah Washington is no longer on Grey’s Anatomy simply because I don’t want to have to hear about this story anymore! At this point, it’s a little early to decide if the show will be better or worse for the decision but if it means putting the final nail in the Isaiah-Washington-Verbal-Diarrhea fiasco, then I’m ALL for it.

Terri Bauer-24
When I first started watching 24, I looked up the name of the actress playing Teri Bauer on IMDB to try and figure out which producer she was married to because I could not believe that she had been cast in that role by merit. First of all, she looked about 5 years older than her “daughter”. Secondly, she was just plain terrible! You have to be a pretty bad actress to not have any chemistry with Kiefer Sutherland. There’s nothing that frustrates me more than an actor who is given EVERYTHING to work with (a good cast, a great script, killer concept) and yet manages to do NOTHING with it. Thank GOD the writers decided to make Jack Bauer a little more complicated by killing his wife. Teri Bauer’s memory has much more of an impact on the show than the actress playing her ever could.


Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

Let’s Hear It For The Boys

Before he was McDreamy…

I love the Eighties. Although I am more a product of the nineties since my formative teenage years occurred during that decade (flannel shirts anyone?), I still hold a candle for the decade of power ballads, side pony tails, shoulder pads, snap bracelets, mall rats and most importantly, cheesy romantic comedies. One thing I love about TV these days is that it has afforded some of my favorite 80s actors a medium to break into super stardom. The following is a list of my favorite 80s actors that have resurrected their careers, or completely redefined their legacy through the small screen rather than the silver screen.

Patrick “McDreamy” Dempsey

Before Grey’s Anatomy came along I don’t think many people had any idea who Patrick Dempsey was. Of the people that knew who he was, a lot remembered him only as Reese Witherspoon’s sweet faced fiancé from Sweet Home Alabama or from his 3 episode stint as Will’s boyfriend on Will and Grace. The true 80’s nuts out there will always know him as Ronnie Miller from Can’t Buy Me Love. It’s hard to believe but for almost 20 years, McDreamy’s most famous role was as a geeky teenager who bribed the popular girl in school to pretend to go out with him. Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of one of the most unrealistic medical shows in television history Patrick will now be remembered as second only to George Clooney in the TV Doctor with the best hair category. Oh yeah, and for being a pretty good actor too.

Kiefer “I Can Play a Good Guy Too!” Sutherland

I love Jack Bauer. You would think that his intense, half whisper would get annoying, but it doesn’t. You would think that his saving the president, world and universe several times over would get annoying, but it doesn’t. You would think that after 6 seasons, I would have developed some sort of aversion to the excessive use of the line “I did what I had to do” as a moral justification for torture, but I haven’t. The main reason I love Jack Bauer though, is because that character has made me realize just how much I love Kiefer Sutherland. To be honest, I’ve always been afraid of Kiefer because of his tendency to play bad guys. But then, all of a sudden, he takes the role of Jack Bauer, conflicted family man and serial bad ass. I love that he’s the only guy who can get away with breaking the rules, I love that his biggest weakness is his love of the ladies, and most importantly, I love that Jack Bauer has redefined Kiefer’s legacy as more than just the scary guy.

Jason “Teen Wolf Too” Bateman

Before Arrested Development, Jason Bateman was on his way to becoming a “never quite has been.” He did flirt with success, mostly based on the fact that he was Justine Bateman’s brother and had some supporting roles in which he was hilarious (The Sweetest Thing, Dodgeball anyone?), but it wasn’t until Arrested Development that he really broke out into true stardom. Part of the reason I like Arrested Development so much is that it’s the show that keeps on giving. The humor is so subtle that it truly gets funnier the more you watch it. Each episode is like watching a 30 minute Wes Anderson movie. Unfortunately, the average American doesn’t like to use their brain when they watch TV, so while the critics loved it, the ratings never picked up. Jason Bateman was the cornerstone of this groundbreaking show, and thankfully, he will now be remembered for more than some cheesy 80’s TV shows, and surfing on top of a van in a werewolf costume.

Jeremy “Not Just John Cusack’s Sidekick Anymore” Piven

Jeremy Piven grew up with John Cusack, and spent the better part of 2 decades playing his sidekick. You probably didn’t even realize it, but he’s in pretty much every John Cusack movie ever made. Thanks to a little show called Entourage, the secret is out. Jeremy Piven is hilarious. Sure, those of us lucky enough to have seen PCU knew this for years, but now instead of being remembered in the ranks of Clint Howard, he’s getting the credit he deserves as one of the funniest comedic actors of our time. Tell you friends to watch Entourage, and don’t forget to “hug it out.”

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

Simple TV for Simple Minds – Shows to Watch When You’re Sick
You’d have to have a head full of Robitussin to enjoy a made-for-TV movie starring Jason Priestley

Since I’m writing this week’s edition of Network TV Slut through a haze of Sudafed and Nyquil, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about my favorite shows to watch when I’m not feeling well. Call it the chicken soup of TV. The following shows will not upset your stomach, will help soothe an aching head by not forcing you to think, and will generally ease you into your cold-medicine-induced slumber with their non-controversial plot lines.

3. The Disney Channel

Yes, I said it, The Disney Channel. Sometimes, you just want to go back to a simpler time, especially when you feel like crap, and this is the place to do it. It’s really refreshing to watch TV shows where the main characters are dealing with sibling rivalries, the cute eighth grader they have a crush on and breaking their curfew, rather than cheating husbands, black smoke monsters and sex offenders. Okay, you might have to pull your blinds down so that none of your neighbors see that you’re watching it, but you also might be surprised at the therapeutic effect of a good episode of Even Stevens.

2. Any ABC/FOX/Family Channel made-for-TV movie

If you haven’t checked out these movies while under the weather, you’re missing out on a GOLDEN opportunity. When else do you have an excuse to spend two hours watching pure bubble gum for the mind that most of us secretly enjoy. Trust me, it’s impossible to justify watching I Want to Marry Ryan Banks, starring Jason Priestley as an uber-famous movie star (HA!) struggling to find true love on a reality TV show, unless you’re drinking some serious cough syrup.

1. Reruns of any NBC comedy that was popular during the late 90s and once aired on Thursday nights, such as Friends and Will and Grace
Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy each and every one of these shows, but controversial and thought-provoking they are not. They all have generally the same premise (i.e. twenty-something New Yorkers living in huge, beautiful apartments they realistically couldn’t afford) and the story lines require very little concentration. In addition, a lot of the humor is in the physical/obvious realm, perfect for a foggy head that needs some cheering up. Even someone in a coma could find the humor in Jack pushing his son off the dance floor at Junior High Prom to steal the moment with his Justin Timberlake “Dirty Pop” impression. It’s the vanilla of comedy, and it’s perfect for when you’re not quite up to snuff.

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

The Top Five Reasons You Should Be Watching Lost Again

I don’t normally devote these bi-weekly diatribes to any one show. As I’ve said before, I’m a network TV slut, not a network TV serial monogamist. But this week is different. This week, I’m going to honor the best comeback of the season just in time for its season finale tonight at 10pm. So, without further ado, here are the top five reasons you should be watching Lost again.

*Warning, there are some spoilers lying ahead for anyone who stopped caring about this show as soon as Echo was killed by the black smoke monster. Oh, I guess that was kind of a spoiler too. Oh well, if you didn’t see that death scene, it was as ridiculous as it sounds.

Okay, NOW without any further ado, are the top five reasons you should be watching Lost again.

5. Because they’re tying up loose ends and giving us some answers instead of constantly introducing new mysteries.
Even if these answers are things that true fans have suspected/predicted for years, it’s nice to get some official resolution. In the past ten episodes, we’ve learned that Clare and Jack are half-siblings, why Clare was kidnapped, how Locke became paralyzed, just how big of a liar Ben actually is and that Locke’s dad was the original Sawyer. Although I still don’t know anything about the damned polar bear, and 4-8-15-16-23-42 mean as much to me now as they did at the end of Season 1, at least I have some peace of mind rather than constant frustration.

4. Because, as embarrassing as it is to admit it, I’m honestly scared again.

I first started watching Lost during summer reruns after its first season (once again, I was late getting on the bandwagon). I would do my laundry and watch Lost. The laundry room at my old apartment was across a dark parking lot, in a creepy dark end unit next to a dark forest with cougars and lions. Okay, the lions and cougars part isn’t true, and it was in downtown Santa Barbara not Twin Peaks, but it was still dark and scary at night! I almost left my laundry in the dryer a few times because I was scared of Lostzilla jumping out of the bushes at me. Now, I’m not that hard to scare, so it’s saying something that I haven’t been too scared to go outside while watching this show since Season 1. That was until last week. We all knew Charlie wasn’t going to die, and we also knew that when he popped up in that underwater hatch, there was no way he would be alone. But awareness didn’t make it any less nerve wracking. I shocked even myself when I covered my eyes in pathetic fear. With that instinctive (and embarrassing) move, I regained my respect for the writers and my faith in the show.

3. Because even the lame filler episodes are being tied back in.

With all the unsolved mysteries, we really don’t have time for yet ANOTHER Hurley episode about his bad luck. We get it – he won the lottery, he has bad luck, I REALLY DON’T CARE ANYMORE! I think the writers thought that if the episode co-starred Cheech, and gave us a break from Jack’s incessant crying, we would be happy. Well, I wasn’t, and that fateful episode was almost the nail in the coffin for me. But then, last week, in a seemingly boring scene reemphasizing that everyone on the island has daddy issues, they showed us that Roger Workman was in fact Ben’s dad!! Okay, it doesn’t make up for wasting an episode on Hurley and Cheech, but at least I’m being rewarded for watching it.

2. Desmond and Juliet.
I love these characters. Desmond is Scottish. Enough said. Plus he keeps having visions of Charlie dying. While I would prefer it if Charlie ACTUALLY died, I’ll take what I can get. Juliet has evolved into the most interesting character on the show. She’s even making the Jack, Kate, Sawyer love triangle almost interesting, and that’s hard to do.

1. Because there’s an end in sight!
ABC recently announced that Lost will only run for three more seasons! Some Lostaholics are upset by the impending cancellation but in my opinion, mediocre ratings are the best thing that could have happened to this show. The countdown has begun! The writers officially have 49 more episodes to explain the damned polar bear, and every other stupid mystery that was trotted out during their “We’re number 1 in the Nielsen ratings and will never be cancelled” phase. Note to the Lost writers: Your days are numbered! Get on with the explaining! And no more polar bears!

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

The Best Shows I Wasn’t Watching
Scrubs is the Network TV Slut’s favorite hospital show. Now that’s a bold statement.

I have never claimed to be a trendsetter. In fact, most of the time, I miss the bandwagon completely, and enjoy trends several years after they have gone out of fashion. Unfortunately, this applies to my TV watching as well, and some of my favorite shows became my favorite shows because of DVD box sets, iTunes downloads and the invention of Tivo. Part of me feels guilty about this, because I know that TV shows live and die by advertising dollars which are directly correlated to viewership. The other part of me really enjoys watching some of the best shows on TV without commercial interruption. So here it is folks, my three favorite shows which I have never watched in their regularly scheduled timeslot.

1. Arrested Development
I think I originally rented Season 1, Disc 1 after watching Dodgeball for the umpteenth time and realizing, once again, the extent to which Jason Bateman steals the movie. I really wanted to see Pepper in a different role, and when I went to the video store, Teen Wolf Too was checked out. I meandered on over to the TV section, and Season 1, Disc 1 turned into a three-day marathon of non-stop Arrested Development. I can’t do this show justice by trying to explain just how original and funny it was. The loss of Arrested Development was truly tragic, and I feel partially responsible because I didn’t discover its hilarity until after it had been cancelled due to low ratings.

2. 24
I still don’t watch this show during prime time because I’m only on Season 4 but I don’t feel as guilty because, clearly, it has enough viewers. I actually have to pace myself when I rent the DVDs because if I get too many at once, I literally wouldn’t sleep for 24 hours. It’s THAT addictive. Yes, it’s slightly cheesy, yes, Jack Bauer has saved the world in 24 hours several times over, but you know what, suspend disbelief for a few hours (or 24) and just enjoy it for what it is: a unique, fun, suspenseful and entertaining take on the serial drama. Plus, in how many other shows does the main character come back from the summer hiatus addicted to heroin? Oops…I hope you’ve already seen Season 3.

3. Scrubs
I was only introduced to Scrubs when I moved into my sister’s (Dr Lynnabelle) old house earlier this year. When Lynn moved out, she left me with her DVR because my Tivo was being held hostage at my old apartment. Since I knew I would eventually get my Tivo back, and along with it my regularly scheduled programming, I didn’t take the time to reprogram Lynn’s DVR, and instead watched whatever she had on there. It became abundantly clear that being a TV Slut doesn’t run in the family, as this amounted to episodes of Law and Order SVU, the Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and Scrubs. Period. While I desperately missed my daily recordings of Friends, Gilmore Girls, Beverly Hills 90210 and Saved by the Bell, I embraced the opportunity and watched some Scrubs. Scrubs is now officially my favorite hospital show on TV, which is saying a lot for an admitted Grey’s Anatomy addict. I thought I had once again completely missed the bandwagon as there were rumors that this year would be the final season of Scrubs. The most recent reports state that Scrubs will be back for a seventh and final season next year. Mark my words, I’m learning from my Arrested Development mistakes, and tuning in…well, maybe I’ll just Tivo it.

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life

The Yankee Influence
The Yanks have no one who compares with Gareth Keenan

I was raised on British humour. Actually, scratch that, I was raised on Scottish humour, which is undeniably funnier than English humour, but for argument’s sake, we’ll just wrap all of the jokes originating from the United Kingdom, under the banner of “British Humour.” It’s hard to describe British humour and I’m not even going to try. I just know that the shit is funny and I also know that whenever the Brits come up with a groundbreaking funny show, American producers are lined up around the block, waiting to pounce. Now, very occasionally, this idea works, and the American version of the show isn’t that bad. But in my opinion, the vast majority of the time, the American version is so much worse than the British version that I just don’t understand why they do it. So here it is folks, my top 3 British TV shows that were transformed into an unwatchable American equivalent.

3. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
It’s true, white people love Wayne Brady, but the American show just doesn’t measure up to the original. Although the producers kept some of the original British cast (albeit, the American and the Canadian) and generally kept the same format, they made a couple of major mistakes. The first was that they didn’t realize that you can’t get away with the same jokes on ABC that you can get away with on Channel 4; the FCC just won’t allow it and the humor suffered because of it. The second mistake…Drew Carey. Oh, Drew Carey! I know that it was probably his idea to Americanize the show, and that’s why he was allowed to be involved in it, but he really shouldn’t have been. Clive Anderson’s dry, sarcastic, unscripted comments were a huge part of what made the show hilarious. Very few people could have filled his seat. Drew Carey didn’t, and shouldn’t have tried.

2. Coupling
I would like to know who thought making an American version of a British TV show that was a remake of an American show would be a good idea. Coupling was a British knockoff of Friends and, honestly, it wasn’t that funny in the first place. Most of the jokes that were funny were too risqué for American audiences (see FCC regulations above), so seriously, whose idea was it and do you still have your job?

1. The Office
I’m having a hard time with this one because I like the American version but how can you have an article about the American influence on British television without mentioning The Office? Yes, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, yes, Steve Carrell is funny, yes they’ve finally figured out that word for word translation of the British show isn’t a good idea, but it’s just not the same. Nothing will ever compare to the hilarity of Tim putting Gareth’s stapler into a jelly mold (that’s Jell-O for my American readers), or “Gareth Keenan Investigates” or David Brent’s inspirational speech. If you like the American show, seriously, don’t watch the British one. It will just ruin it for you. RUIN it I say because although John Krasinski looks uncannily like Martin Freeman, Jim ain’t got nothing on Tim.

Network TV Slut (or, What Lost, Desperate Housewives and American Idol Have to Do with Your Life)

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
What’s not hot about Saved by the Bell? Nothing!

It might come as a surprise to some to learn that although I am a self-admitted TV Slut, I haven’t had many long-term relationships with TV shows. But then again, I’m a TV Slut, not a TV Serial Monogamist. It’s a big deal for me to commit to watching a show at the same time every week, and it’s hard not to be bitter when those relationships end badly.

Some of my TV break-ups were just sad, abrupt and unexplained: Arrested Development, My So Called Life, how I miss you so. But with others, something just changed. My shows became something I didn’t recognize anymore. Those are the hardest to let go. When do you throw in the towel and admit to yourself that the characters and plot lines you fell in love with aren’t the same anymore?

In no particular order, and in true Nick Hornby style, here are the top 3 all-time worst break-ups of my TV watching career.

3. Saved by the Bell
Some would argue that this was never a “good” show, but I LOVED it. I still sport a Bayside Tigers T-shirt that my sister bought for me, and I still love Zach Morris, but sometimes, I just have to wonder, “What happened?” I tried to stick with it. I suffered through the Tori years, telling myself that the Zach/Tori love affair could somehow compare to the Zach/Kelly years. But then came The College Years, The New Class, The New Class with Screech and Mr. Belding… Eventually, I couldn’t take it anymore, so I broke it off. Thankfully, I can still relive the glory years by watching reruns on TBS and the beauty that is DVD box sets: Hot Sundae, dance-offs at The Max, Jesse’s father’s wedding in Palm Springs and using fake IDs to get into The Attic. Hot.

2. Dawson’s Creek
Maybe it was because when this show started, I was a sophomore in high school, as were Dawson, Joey, Pacey and Jen. Maybe it was because my friends and I were obsessed with Joshua “warm ears” Jackson ever since having a Mighty Ducks marathon at my house several years prior. For whatever reason, I fell in love with Dawson’s before the pilot even aired. We had a good run. I loved this show solidly for 3.5 seasons, tuning in every Wednesday at 9pm. But then, suddenly, and with only a few episodes left in Season 4, Pacey and Joey broke up. With that breakup went the chemistry that was keeping the show together, and everything started falling apart. Suddenly, every male character ever introduced to the show fell in love with Joey. Then they introduced Audrey, Joey’s obnoxious roommate, who became Pacey’s love interest?! Like he would stoop SO low. Then, the writers started ripping off story lines from sub-par Giovanni Ribisi movies, and with that came the dreaded Pacey goatee. All I can say is that I’m glad I got out when I did and I don’t know why they even bothered making DVD box sets of the final 2 seasons.

1. Lost
I’m still casually dating Lost. It has a place on my Tivo and I check in every now and then, but the passion is gone. I very much would like the writers to pull it out of the downward spiral it’s been in since the beginning of season 2, but it’s not looking good. I could go on for pages about how I feel about the writers being slaves to formats, introducing new characters when we already can’t keep track of the ones we have, boring storylines, and so many loose ends that I can’t even keep track of them, but instead, all I will say is, “It’s not you, it’s me.”