Saturday, September 02, 2006

Short Takes - September 2, 2006

Yes, after a brief hiatus it's the triumphal return of Short Takes, what I hope is my weekly column of TV news that's interesting to me, as well as a our recurring feature Who does the PTC hate THIS week? So without further ado, let's go to press.

Come back anytime "Barney": Longtime readers will remember just how much I enjoy the spewing of Brent "Barney" Bozell - so nicknamed by his repeated efforts to "nip it in the bud! Nip it! In the bud!" Well news has reached us that Mr. Bozell will be stepping down as head of the Parents Television Council (PTC) as of January 1, 2007, to be replaced by PTC Executive Director Tim Winter. Bozell will remain as head of the politically right-wing Media Research Center and will remain on the board of the PTC, but as he says in his letter of resignation "For 11 years I've been leading the PTC while simultaneously running another national public policy organization, the Media Research Center, and serving on the boards of a number of other groups. This was possible when these organizations were smaller, but not anymore. It has simply become too much for me, and with a large family, it's just not healthy for me. More importantly, however, it is not healthy for the PTC." His decision to drop out of the leadership of the PTC rather than the Media Research Center should prove - if such proof were really necessary - of where his priorities lie. Still I'm sure will be hearing more statements from Bozell, probably with the same amount of comprehension and logic that he's displayed in the past.

Ah Nuts!: Or to use one of the depressingly small number of curse words in my French vocabulary (my high school French teachers didn't teach me those words although I'm sure Mrs. Hall knew most of them) Merde! Donald Trump has fired Carolyn Kepcher from the Trump Organization, including the TV show The Apprentice. Kepcher, who was general manager of Trump's Briarcliff Golf Course and one of his other golf properties. According to Carolyn "After 11 years with the Trump Organization, Donald and I had different visions for my future role in the company." However sources report that Trump was concerned that Carolyn was spending too much time promoting herself and not enough time managing the golf course, what with writing a book and speaking engagements. That's what happens when you create a star Donald, they get asked to write books and do speaking engagements for more money than even you'd be willing to refuse. Of course, according to Trump he did her a favour by firing her. Carolyn will be replaced on the show by Trump's daughter (ugh) Ivanka, at least for a large number of episodes.

Readers of this blog will of course have caught the subtle hints that I am in fact in love with Carolyn, although of course it's a love that can never be. In fact one of my favourite moments from The Apprentice came in the second season when the newly hired Kelly Perdew pulled out Carolyn's chair for her as he had for the various women apprentices on the show that season. Carolyn smiled! Trump turned to him and said "you don't to do that anymore, you've been hired." All of which goes to prove a couple of things: 1) that West Point still takes the "gentleman" part of "officer and a gentleman" seriously, and 2) Donald Trump is no gentleman (but then we all knew that from the time he dumped Ivana, and then Marla - because he didn't want to "work" to maintain their relationship). He just proved it yet again.

New additions to my cable TV lineup: Shaw Cable, which is my cable provider as well as the provider for most of western Canada, has become the first cable company in Canada to add AMC to their cable lineup in spite of the fact that the channel has been licensed in Canada for almost 10 years. Oh....Joy! I understand that they show movies in between commercials. On the other hand it is replacing The Golf Channel, so it isn't a total loss (Golf Channel moves to the digital tier).

Also added to the digital tier is a Canadian time shifting package to go along with American channels from Spokane (for me - from Detroit for areas which normally get Spokane channels), although the Canadian package will cost and extra $3.99. This would normally not be of interest to me because most of the programs on these channels are available through the US packages, but one of the channels they're adding is CITY-TV from Toronto, which is a channels showing programs that aren't normally available here. I'll have to think about whether or not to add this package.

Who does the PTC hate THIS week?: When I took my brief hiatus from doing this, I missed informing you of some prime hating, including another jab at poor Michelle Lamour for her second appearance on America's Got Talent. (Incidentally they were concerned - for reasons known only to them - after her first appearance that she shouldn't be competing with an 11 year old girl; the same 11 year old girl who won the entire competition.) Currently on the PTC's hate list:
  • DaimlerChrysler for not pulling their advertising from Rescue Me: According to the PTC "DaimlerChrysler is the Second Foreign Auto Maker to Endorse Graphic Rape on the FX Show", the first being Toyota (those evil degenerate furriners). Note this little item from the PTC's diatribe (italics mine): " Content provided by DaimlerChrysler includes a storyline wherein Tommy's ex-girlfriend Sheila drugs him with date-rape pills and Viagra then has sex with him while he is unconscious." Apparently DaimlerChrysler wrote that scene and sent it to the producers - that's the only way it could really be provided by them. And then there's this little bit of Bozellian rhetoric: "Millions of families are offended. DaimlerChrysler is essentially telling these families - including soccer moms - who buy its vehicles that it does not care about the filth it's dumping into their homes on a weekly basis. DaimlerChrysler is telling families that it will continue to support shows that contain graphic rape and brutality. Its corporate values are reflected in the content of the programs they sponsor. Where is the corporate responsibility? The irony is that DaimlerChrysler is spending millions of dollars advertising its commitment to improving air quality with environmentally-conscious vehicles, but apparently could care less about the cultural sewage they are helping FX dump into millions of homes on advertiser-supported basic cable." Will no one think of the children. Oh wait. Rescue Me is a show that's shown at 10 p.m. so children shouldn't be watching.

  • NBC and the Emmy Awards for not bleeping Helen Mirren and Callista Flockhart. Coming up the steps at the Emmy's Helen Mirren apparently nearly tripped and stated that she nearly went "tits over ass" or as the PTC would have it "t*ts over a*s". Horrors! There are children watching! The PTC is filing with the FCC over the airing of this "obscene" language. As "Barney" Bozell puts it "It is utterly irresponsible and atrocious for NBC to air this vulgar language during the safe harbor time when millions of children were in the viewing audience. People are getting sick and tired of networks allowing unedited profanity on their award shows in front of millions of youngsters, and with NBC this practice is becoming habitual." Of course it's only obscene in the Central and Mountain Time Zones since the offending words were uttered in the third hour of the broadcast which is after 10 p.m. in the Eastern and Pacific time zones. The funny thing is that I'm pretty sure that I've heard the words "tits" and "ass" used numerous times in recent years in shows that the FCC (prodded by the PTC) have not found obscene.

  • This week's "Worst Show Of The Week" was The Teen Choice Awards on Fox, for numerous dire, evil, sexual things. "Wearing the mask of an awards show which recognizes achievement in entertainment from a teen perspective, the show is nothing more than a publicity stunt to give entertainers a platform to plug their latest album, movie, television show, or tour to impressionable teens." Wow, your kidding, an awards show that was meant to promote things. What will they think of next? And then there was this: "The Teen Choice Awards Show did a great job of acknowledging the dangerous behaviors that teens partake in. The only problem was that the manner in which these behaviors were acknowledged actually promoted them. For instance, Marlon Wayans presented an award for best video. It is no secret that many teens are posting inappropriate information and pictures of themselves on Myspace and therefore being targeted by sexual predators. Wayans irresponsibly jokes that 'you’ve got to be naked to get in my [Myspace] top 8.'" And how about the depravity of this: "In addition to the verbal indecency, the show featured teenage girls in bikinis bathing in an on-stage hot tub directly in front of the podium. The hot tub served no purpose other than to establish the show’s atmosphere as one catering to sexually charged youth." According to the PTC, "The Teen Choice Awards is the perfect opportunity for America to witness how the entertainment industry views youth. Ignoring the potential celebrities have to encourage healthy behavior in teens, they manipulate teens by appealing to their vulnerabilities, insecurities, and temptations to benefit their careers." Oh, by the way, the nominees for the Teen Choice awards are selected by the readers of Teen People Magazine who must be between the ages of 13 and 19, and selected "by a committee of Teen People, Teenasaurus Rox, Bob Bain Productions, and Fox representatives."

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