Monday, July 10, 2006

Short Takes - July 10, 2006

I should have written a bit earlier about the Big Brother: All Stars selections but to be honest with you when I made my little excursion on the "new look" Saskatoon Transit System I got a little too much sun - which is a euphemism for a lot too much sun. It hit me that night and I was in no shape to do anything for a couple of days really. Not the transit system's fault though but my own for trying to walk a couple of miles that afternoon. I think I'll wait until Tuesday - first Power of Veto day - to give an opinion, which should give me a lot more information. Meanwhile check out Jackie's blog for up to the minute details of that minimum security prison I call the Big Brother house. See Jackie has the live feeds, which is giving me a little preliminary feeling of what's going down in the house. Here's a little taster: Nakomis to someone Jackie doesn't identify: "I was an odd child." Why am I not at all surprised.

I shot an arrow... Speaking of odd reality show winners, let us consider the recent exploits of Survivor: Thailand winner Brian Heidik. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Heidik was arrested last Tuesday for shooting a five month old German Shepherd-cross puppy with a bow and arrow. He claimed that he thought the animal was a fox or a coyote, but his wife and former fellow soft-core porn star Charmaine (who also filed charges against him for domestic violence after he grabbed her face and pushed her down) said that he had shot the dog from a range of about a foot saying that he was "tired of stupid dogs on my back porch." Heidik and his wife are legally separated but still live in the same house. Heidik made bail on Wednesday. The dog, Edgar, was being picked up from the by his owner on Thursday.

And yet another crazy: We all know that the United States is a litigious society, but this one just makes you want to shake your head. According to the Boston Herald, Nicholas Christakis is suing Donald Trump and Mark Burnett because he wasn't selected for the first edition of The Apprentice. The suit for $250 million claims that Burnett and Trump (who Christakis never met) engaged in “improper business practices and ethics” and that Burnett “'defamed, slandered and libeled' him in front of a California casting crew during the August 2003 final interviews conducted to hand-pick 16 contenders to become Trump’s one and only first Apprentice.” Christakis's credentials to become the Apprentice might not have been the best though. In 2001 he filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy while in 2002 his family's breakfast restaurant "The Cove" was shut down by health inspectors - the family has sued. According to Christakis, “Mark Burnett passed judgment on me. He thought I was a lunatic.” Well I know where I stand on that one.

Emmy stuff: Of course the big TV news was the Emmy's and that seems to have pushed all of the other business off to the side once they were released - or escaped in some cases. For example Emmy rules VP John Leverence explained to Variety that says Desperate Housewives might not have nee funny enough and Lost too complex to be nominated. "At the panels, the ha-ha comedies had 'em rolling in the aisles whereas Desperate Housewives does a both a drama dance and a comedy dance. Having the dramatic elements in with the comedic perhaps tended to dilute the force of the comedic." About Lost he said "If Lost in fact chose an episode that was midway into a very complex action and you had people in that room who were seeing it for the first time, there's a distinct possibility they might not have gotten it. It might not have had that kind of resonance that a non-serialized program would have." So if I read this right the "Blue Ribbon Panel" system benefits shows that aren't complex and don't require you to watch more than one episode.

Here's another point of view from Tom O'Neil who does the Gold Derby blog on the LA Times' The Envelope awards show site. In the article Emmy Reax: 3 Experts' Smackdown O'Neil takes a contrarian view from most people including the other two people he's talking to (and me): "I think these are some of the gutsiest and best Emmy nominations ever. I agree that they failed to achieve their goal to boost shows on those alternative networks like the WB, UPN, FX, TNT, USA and Showtime, but there's not a single nominee that doesn't deserve to be on the list. Some of the choices are kooky, sure, but marvelously courageous — like Stockard Channing in Out of Practice, Lisa Kudrow in The Comeback and Geena Davis in Commander in Chief. I just love it when the Emmys totally go their own way and don't care if a show's canceled. Well I'm glad someone liked them but really - "not a single nominee that doesn't deserve to be on the list?" - isn't that going just a little bit far even for someone who likes the nominees? He even lauds the fact that four fo the five "Oustanding Actress In A Comedy" nominees came from cancelled shows. According to him that's "what is so GREAT about the Emmys! Shows what great guts Emmy voters have and how little value they put on Nielsens when they look at shows carefully."

A blow for censorship?: That's one way to interpret a recent court ruling. U.S. District Court Judge Richard P. Matsch ruled against firms which "sanitizes" movies (and presumably TV series as well) that are released to home video by selling versions without nudity, sex and violence - but mostly nudity and sex. The suit, brought by sixteen Hollywood directors including Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorcese, alleged copyright infringement against three companies: CleanFlicks, Play It clean Video and CleanFilms. In a statement after the decision Michael Apted, president of the Directors Guild of America declared that "These films carry our name and reflect our reputations. So we have great passion about protecting our work ... against unauthorized editing. Audiences can now be assured that the films they buy or rent are the vision of the filmmakers who made them and not the arbitrary choices of a third-party editor." In his ruling Judge Matsch stated "Their objective ... is to stop the infringement because of its irreparable injury to the creative artistic expression in the copyrighted movies. There is a public interest in providing such protection." Meanwhile Ray Lines, the president of CleanFlicks one of the firms named in the suit stated, "This is a typical case of David vs. Goliath, but in this case, Hollywood rewrote the ending. We're going to continue to fight." He can believe that all he likes, but the fact remains that by producing unauthorized, edited versions of these films for sale these companies were acting in violation of copyright. Bowdler existed in a time before copyrights and even so he was content to "improve" the works of a man two centuries dead.

What the PTC hates now: In what I think might become a new feature here, I'm going to list a few items that the PTC hates, as found on their website.
  1. The rape scene in Rescue Me: they're calling for members to send warning letters to Wendy's, Staples, Visa and Toyota, as well as calling for legislation on cable choice.

  2. Circuit City, for advertising on "shows like Nip/Tuck, Las Vegas, C.S.I. and C.S.I.:Miami - all of which contain either brutal violence or explicit sexual content. Other shows sponsored by Circuit City shared storylines that dealt with child pornography, rape, racial slurs and a young child killed by a sniper while on a playground.

  3. CBS for not paying the Janet Jackson indecency fine yet - they've even set up a little countdown clock.

  4. The "Worst Show of the Week" - America's Got Talent - not because it's a "so good it's bad show" like most of us thing but because "While America’s Got Talent gives every appearance of a being a family-friendly program, on the June 28th episode the highlighted act of the night was a strip tease." Yeah they didn't like Snow White the stripper and forget the fact that the real highlighted act of the night was 11 year old Bianca Ryan. According to the PTC "Should a stripper be competing against an eleven year old for one million dollars?" I'm betting that the eleven year old will be the one who gets closer to the money.

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