Thursday, February 11, 2010

Community Booster and a Plea to the Neilsen Families

I read in today's paper (the Oregonian) that the show Community (NBC, Thursday nights) is not doing well in the ratings and might not be picked up for another season. NO! So, here's me being a Community booster. The show is really funny and it would be a shame if it was cancelled because of low ratings. Not just a shame, it would be stupid.

The title comes from the fact that the show is set at a community college where a disbarred lawyer is struggling to get his college degree and his life back in order as the leader of a pack of nerdy misfits. May not sound hilarious, but much hilarity ensues. The show features Chevy Chase--which may be a turn off for some people, but he's really funny on Community--although he's by no means the star. The rest of the cast are all great and each character has their own funny subplots and back stories built around their particular reason for being at a community college. Plus, the show just has a lot of tight, snarky, pop culture humor that makes it a blast to watch. They've already had a character dressed as the Beastmaster while whacked out on a combination of Viagra and hallucinogenic drugs for God's sake! And the very funny actor Ken Jeong (Knocked Up, Pineapple Express, Role Models, the Hangover and Couples Retreat) is great as the Asian Spanish teacher Senor Chang.

Apart from all of that, I love the show because it reminds me of my own experience at community college. Yes, that's right. I went to Harper College for a year when I was trying to "figure out what to do with my life" but before I had embarked on the path that eventually led to my current, fabulous career. And you know what? It was just like Community (only less funny at the time.)

So, skip Vampire Diaries (aren't we all getting tired of angsty, good-looking-vampire-boy-toys?) or record it, and watch Community. Especially you Nielsen Ratings families.

In fact, as long as you Nielsen Ratings families are reading this, can you please just start watching better shows in general? You guys watch some real crap and it winds up getting a bunch of great shows (that I'm sure scads of other people are watching) cancelled. Really, do us all a favor and please try some more science fiction, some more horror, some more great comedy. Expand your horizons. The world of television has so much to offer you...


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blitzkrieg of the Flower People

So, I've gotten twenty-nine emails in the past two days from various on-line flower shops trying desperately to remind me that Valentine's Day is approaching and I will feel like a robot-style cold-blooded jerk if I don't send a big bunch of flowers to everyone I know, but especially my wife.

Twenty-nine emails is such a dramatic jump in the volume of communications from the flower people over previous years that it has started me speculating that maybe they are in severe financial straights or something. You know, what with the recent global economic meltdown and the toughest financial conditions since the Great Depression.

Ah, the Great Depression. I've been hearing an awful lot of references to the Great Depression lately--but somehow, the conditions I see around me don't seem to really stack up to that level of global calamity and misfortune. Sure, times are tough--don't get me wrong--but they're not as tough as they were for as many people. Folks are still buying Taco Bell and Oreo Cookies. Still watching enough DVD's to keep those red kiosks in business and ensure that Lion King Two is never available to rent when my kids want to watch it.

Of course, all of this depression era thinking and self reflection has got me wondering about whether people even celebrated Valentine's Day during the Great Depression or whether it's just another one of those holidays made up by the greeting card, candy and flower people to milk us out of more of our hard earned cash during a global economic crisis in which we need it more than ever. Boy, they would sure be robot-style cold-blooded jerks if they were up to something as nefarious as that!

Well, as it turns out, Valentine's Day isn't just a recent addition to the calendar and people were celebrating it, not just during the Great Depression, but since 496 AD. Which is a while ago. I mean, 496 AD makes Valentine's Day a contemporary of Christmas. That's old.

So, anyway, I guess that's legitimate enough to clear the names of the greeting card, candy and flower people this time. They didn't manufacture the holiday out of whole cloth the way they did with Secretary's Day and the Fourth of July. Still, twenty-nine emails is about twenty-eight emails too many. Enough with the constant bombardment! My wife doesn't want flowers! That would be too easy.