Category Archives: Television

Is the Russian Trump operation ongoing?

If you’ve not been watching Rachel Maddow connect the dots on Trump and Russia, you’ve been missing a thing of beauty.

Alaska is the most sexually diseased state

Jimmy Kimmel has fun with STD stats. Close behind Alaska are Louisiana (2), North Carolina (3) and Mississippi S (4). Hmmm, I wonder what these states all have in common?

Could it be they are all red states that went for Trump? Could it be they are all states with voting adults who vote in sanctimonious and religiously hypocritical ways? Or could it be these are states which receive more in federal funding than they give into the federal treasury, thereby forcing blue state residents to pay for the federal benefits they receive?

Let’s just say they are all states that stand to lose more under a Trump presidency than any others, and leave it at that.

As for the Alaska numbers, in a footnote state officials revealed that many of the state’s out-of-wedlock births and STDs were among Sarah Palin’s children, thereby skewing the numbers.

Ha! Kidding!

 

When incompetent cartoon characters match real life

It’s striking how often The Simpsons and Family Guy inadvertently anticipated today’s Republican Party.

Mother of Dragons

Some parents are too cool for words. 

Looks as if it was taken at a ComicCon somewhere.

Ivanka and Kellyanne in the same boat

Jeez, Kellyanne.

When Mika and the gang think you’re not credible enough for their “Morning Joe” shitshow, you’ve fallen fast and hard.

Just crazy, thisTrump adviser

George Stephanopoulos finds the spine he lost during the election and shuts down the lies of this guy who is turning out to be a main attraction in the freak show that is the White House.

McCarthy was back as Sean Spicer

SNL is on fire. And good thing, too. Because we need this kind of stuff to drive Donald over the edge and speak truth to dumb power.

McCarthy is Spicer’s doppelganger

The real Sean Spicer (left) and Melissa McCarthy as Sean Spicer.

The resemblance is uncanny.

Imagine if you were the first person to say to Melissa McCarthy, “Ya know. Sean Spicer actually looks like you. He even sounds like you.”

You might have noticed at the beginning of the SNL skit with McCarthy that much of the audience starts laughing from the beginning at how much McCarthy has taken on the annoying look and feel of Spicer. 

If Trump thought he could bully a bunch of New Yorkers into backing down he is learning how foolish that really is.

The biggest miscalculation that Trump and his minions may have made is to believe on some level that they don’t need all the networks and television show and actors and musicians and comedians who make up American pop culture.

They do.

Steve Bannon has spent too much time in the bubble that is Breitbart and the wacky online right-wing. He thinks he is more powerful than American pop culture.

He is not and never will be.

There are good reasons why so many totalitarian regimes are scared of American pop culture. For better or worse, it is everywhere. And once it turns against you, you have lost in ways from which you will likely never recover.

Meanwhile, Sean Spicer The Original is none too happy about all of this SNL fun at his expense in one of the most talked about skits in a very long time:

SNL had Melissa McCarthy on this weekend to lampoon tSean Spicer, though it would seem that the White House Press Secretary isn’t exactly enraptured by how the comedy show portrays the Trump Administration.

McCarthy depicted Spicer during the White House Press Briefings, and she attracted critical acclaim for replicating Spicer’s contentious engagements with the press corps. Extra asked Spicer for his thoughts on the sketch, and his reaction was that McCarthy “could dial back” with her impression and she “needs to slow down on the gum chewing; way too many pieces in there.”

Spicer eventually turned his attention to Alec Baldwin, who returned this weekend with his impression of Trump making phone calls to foreign world leaders. Trump has complained about SNL‘s mockery of him before, and Spicer more or less said he agrees with the president’s opinion.

“Alec has gone from funny to mean, and that’s unfortunate,” Spicer said. “SNL used to be really funny. There’s a streak of meanness now that they’ve crossed over to mean.”

Awwww. For all the insults conservatives love to lob toward progressives about “poor little snowflakes needing safe spaces,” it strikes me that conservatives — especially Trump himself — continue to be the hypersensitive ones.

But we knew that already.

(Note: OK. It’s Doppelganger not Doppleganger. Corrected. Thanks for pointing out my mistake.)

Mary Tyler Moore is no more

Mary Tyler Moore is dead. 

The video above is, of course, one of the most famous episodes of The Mary Tyler Moore Show (MTM) sitcom   — “Chuckles Bites The Dust” — that sits as but one testament to the brilliance of one of television comedy’s first ensemble casts. And certainly the first the be headlined not only by a woman, but one who played a capable single working woman.

MTM was the first comedy where a woman was not an extension of her husband and family, but rather was a fully formed individual in her own right.

It’s hard today to understand for many people how groundbreaking — and controversial — the show was for its time. 

It also had clearly adult — and sometimes sexual — edge to it which was rarely seen prior in a sitcom, and which was most prominently on display with the Happy Homemaker Sue Ann Nivens, a character given life by current fan favorite Betty White. 

Sue Ann was a sexually voracious man chaser, given to popping off with lines like, “Mary, I was lying in bed last night, and I couldn’t sleep, and I got the most wonderful idea. So I went right home and wrote it down.”

That seems tame today, but it was daring stuff in the 1970’s because Sue Ann was like a man in the way she treated men and sexual conquest. Many gay men of the era felt they had a spirit animal in Sue Ann.

As upwardly mobile TV news producer Mary Richards, Moore was the perfect straight face for much of this naughtiness. She almost never ran with any of the blue material, but it was clear that her character got the jokes and liked them. She was no libertine, nor was she a prude, either. That women could laugh at such things was also new as adult humor became the province of more than just the men without the blue humor coming at the expense of the women. Women could make and laugh at jokes about something other than housework and raising kids.

The show ran from 1970-1977. From when I was 10 years old until I was 17. It informs much of my sense of humor.

I learned how to laugh and much of what was funny from MTM and Mary, Sue Ann, Lou Grant, Rhoda Morgenstern and Phyllis Lindstrom — the latter played by the brilliant Cloris Leachman.

The show even managed to sneak in a gay reference here and there. 

Oh, Mary, Mary, Mary. 

I’m so sad you are gone. But you live on for me in a show I still watch as a kind of television comfort food when I am down.

Especially that episode about Chuckles the Clown which blog visitors can watch above.

The show seems dated now in some of its references, but the sets are fabulous kitsch that is costing people fortunes to reproduce today.

(Note also that Moore was able to prove her dramatic chops in “Ordinary People” in which she played to pitch perfection an emotionally constricted suburban mother grieving so completely over the death of a favored son that she has no more love to give the surviving tortured son played by budding actor Timothy Hutton.)

In the Chuckles episode, Chuckles the Clown, a beloved television station kiddie show institution in the Twin Cities, has died. He was leading the circus parade in downtown Minneapolis dressed as Peter Peanut and a rogue elephant tried to shell him.

From that bit of comedic genius this episode takes off and highlights what made this series and its perfectly cast actors part of television history.

I was going to just link to the part of the episode during the Chuckles funeral itself, but you really have to watch all the craziness that builds up to that to truly appreciate Mary Tyler Moore’s legendary performance at the funeral.

Enjoy.

“Mary Tyler Moore: Lou and That Woman (#5.4)” (1974)

Mary Richards: Did you crash the men’s room?
Sue Ann Nivens: Of course not. I went as somebody’s guest.

“Mary Tyler Moore: What Are Friends For? (#5.10)” (1974)

Lou Grant: [Lou hasn’t announced who from the newsroom will go on the Chicago junket. Sue Ann comes into his office, and tells Lou she’s going, and wants him to go as well] I didn’t know you were going.
Sue Ann Nivens: I wouldn’t miss a chance like this! 3 days… and nights, in the city where I had my first program. It was a cooking show , called; ‘Let’s Talk About Meat.’