Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Shout! Shout! Let It All Out!

These are the things I can do without:

"Jon & Kate." Who cares? Apparently, 9.5 million TV viewers, according to the Nielson numbers. What I want to know is who are these 9.5 million people and how can I avoid them? Okay, so here's the premise: this couple has twins, and then she pops out a litter of six. Once upon a time, to become a celebrity you needed talent at a legitimate art or craft, such as acting, dancing, music, or comedy. These days in America, you get over 9 million viewers just for doing the same thing a sow can do. Stop it.

This just in: some kids graduated from high school! There are roughly 50 school districts in my area of media influence. Every year around this time, they hold commencement ceremonies. They did it last year. They're doing it this year. They'll do it next year. It is a predictable event, and, unless the valedictorian accepts her diploma in the nude, not unique from any other commencement ceremony. Therefore - say it with me, news directors - This is not news. Stop wasting my time putting graduation stories in the newscast.

Sportscasts that forget to bring us the actual game. "And now let's go up in the bleachers and check in with Joe Schlock who's found some fans to talk to. Joe?" Joe then proceeds to yak with a fan, a group of fans who drove all the way in from Gemethefugoutta, West Virginia, or some old timer who remembers the big game on this day in 1957. "That was quite a day, wasn't it?" asks Joe. "Yeah. Yeah. It was quite a day," says the old timer. Meanwhile, the game itself is reduced to a postage stamp image on the screen, where we strain to see the grounder that got through the gap and the runner sliding at second. The only people who actually benefit from this is the local Radio Shack, who sees a run in replacement remote control sales the next day after hundreds of baseball fans threw theirs at the screen yelling, "Shut the **** up!"

Shows that have no ending. The Season Finale has become a tired excuse for not bothering to write a proper climax and wrapping the story. In other words, if they didn't slather it "A gripping finale that will leave you breathless" promotional blather, you'd swear it was just a show without an ending. Southland left me absolutely dumbstruck. Someone want to tell me how the policewoman and the gangbangers traded multiple rounds of serious firepower outside her house without anybody hitting anything? Come on. That getaway car should've looked like Swiss cheese. A blown tire, at least. How did the banger completely miss the policewoman, the house, the trees, Planet Earth with an automatic going like blazes? Then, on Sunday night, NBC reran part one of The Last Templar without bothering to tell anyone watching it was a two-part movie to be continued Monday. Oh, no, let's leave that to the affiliates to explain to the viewers who called to basically ask WTF? The difference between "Who shot JR?" and "Who cares?" is in the construction of solid storytelling from beginning to end... within this episode. That's called a "Cliffhanger." To do otherwise is called, "Cheating the audience."

Dramas that ask me to endure a badly sung, maudlin song during the final five minutes. This ain't Titanic, folks. ER was the worst. It's gone. Let's just let it go. If I want a reason to kill myself, I'll just look at last quarter's 401k statement.

Radio stations that stop the music at 4:20AM only to run six minutes of PSA's and a spot for a "get it up" pill. Hey. If you didn't sell the time, shut up and play the music! Corner the 23 year-old program director (an honorary title, at best) about this malady, and he'll eventually blurt out that the automation makes him do it. No, asswipe, you are supposed to run the radio station, not the computers. And if somebody in San Antonio tells you to subject your listeners to this crap, you say, "Okay." And then you go ahead and do the right thing anyway. Because a company that's a kabillion dollars in the red obviously doesn't pay attention to the details in the individual markets. And maybe one of the reasons you're so deep in debt is because you've pissed away your listeners playing six minutes of clutter for no reason. Grow a pair, Sparky.

Publications with web sites that take decades of credibility and prestige and flush it down the toilet faster than you can say, "Mortgage rates are lower than ever." Hey, US News and World Report... do you have any idea how difficult it is to focus on an article on North Korea's nuclear ambitions and whether or not China's condemnation is nothing more than lip service, when the there's an animated horse's ass wiggling along the right column? Either ask me to subscribe, or switch to reporting on Jon & Kate. At least I can read about horses asses while I'm looking at one.

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