The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Feb 08, 2013

Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes discussed all the latest in TV news - on and off the screen.

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Someone lost their job over this show? Wow! Ratings boost! (I watch it when I am at my gym on Mondays, I prefer mindless fluff... can't stand Mike and Molly though)

Not that the show needs it -- it's already one of the country's most popular TV programs. For those who missed the news: a staffer for Idaho Rep. Raul Labrador reportedly was sacked after he mistakenly tweeted his love of the “2 Broke Girls” Super Bowl pole dance ad – using his bosses’s account. His exact words were: “Me likey Broke Girls” -- tweeted on Labrador’s Twitter account after CBS aired that ad, in which Kat Dennings and Beth Behrs frolicked around a stripper pole and a bowl of cupcake mix, to Def Leppard's "Pour Some Sugar On Me.” The tweet was deleted within 14 seconds. Too late – it was archived by Politwoops.

Lisa, Why didn't someone give Katharine McPhee acting lessons between seasons of Smash? She is stll boring, uncomfortable in front of the camera, and has no charm.

Funny your mentioning it, because my big takeaway from the "Smash" Q&A session at Winter TV Press Tour 2013 is that no one actually working in the show seems to have any idea it's in trouble. Everyone on stage seemed to be operating on the assumption the first season was a great success, which made it a little hard to explain the showrunner having been shown the door -- I think they said she left owing to other commitments or some such thing... Anyway, before you give Katharine McPhee acting lessons, you have to know that KMcP needs acting lessons and she need to know that what she's doing in front of the camera on the series is not acting.. I'm not sure any of those three things is going on... Watching her operated next to Jennifer Hudson on this week's episode really drove home the lack of acting-ness on McPhee's part. If only this show had been built around Hudson.....

That one about Farmers with Paul Harvey was a good one, but it just reminded me of my cousin who was born and raised on a farm, and became an accountant!

Paul Harvey sure did have a magnetic on-air voice...that ad I think is included in every Most Recalled, Best Liked, Most Whatevered Super Bowl ad list I got the next day... except I can't remember what the ad was for -- farmers?

Is it more likely the memo was more to cover CBS' own fleshy buttocks when some wanna-be pulls her own "Wardrobe Malfunction"?

My guess too that if a pop star sends back their acknowledgement of having received the note, it makes things easier for CBS in case of  wardrobe malfunction..Can you blame CBS, after Janet Jackson?

So he was fired for tweeting from the Congressman's twitter account, not so much because of his taste in TV. Even in cyberspace, it's a good idea to remember where you are, and who you're supposed to be.

So confusing when you are tweeting for your boss too....

Wait, we have a representative in this great country of ours named Labrador? That's great. Speaking of, how's Winkie today?

Winkie is still pouting over his recent haircut. He feels it makes him look undignified.

...but for the 20% of Americans who are not religious, that Paul Harvey ad was divisive, exclusionary, demagogic, and just plain insulting.

I wasn't commenting on the message -- I was discussing his voice.  No denying Harvey had a great on-air voice....and that many people, myself included, may not be able to recall what it actually was an ad for -- as opposed to other ads in the game...

Why did the Inauguration and the Super Bowl showcase the same three artists--Beyonce, Alicia Keys and Jennifer Hudson? The organizers of the events must have known the ladies were performing at both. As talented as they are, were there really no other headliners available to provide a bit of contrast?

I have this recurring nightmare that Alicia Keys only exists to perform at Very Special Events, and is, as we chat, being stored somewhere and will be brought out again for the Grammys.

I live in NYC and go to Broadway shows often, even been priviledged to see Mehan Hilty perform, so maybe I'm a snob - and I liked the first season of Smash despite Kat's lack of acting skills. However, the 2-hour season premier this week was a snoozefest....I didn't even make it through the whole show from my DVR - I think it's officially off my must-see list.

Two hours was one too many... and it tanked in the ratings... and how the two hours jumped from plot point to plot point, like the chamois of the Alps, jumping from crag to crag...is Bombshell shut down, is it back on, shut down again, back on again? Is Jerky Choreographer Guy actually a misunderstood nice guy, or a jerk who can sometimes be nice, or a nice guy who's sometimes a jerk...I could not keep up.

I caught some of American Idol hollywood week and I actually thought the new judging team was kind of good. Even or maybe especially Nicki Minaj. She looks like a whackadoodle but she kind of made sense. What have I come to? The show is still completely formulaic but I guess I am starting to draw comfort in that.

Yes, you can set your calendar by Idol.. isn't it fun how Nicki Minaj has turned out to be the brains of the judges table and Mariah Carey the petulant child?

... the 2 Broke Girl highlights what everyone forgets: no celebrity/politician actually tweets - its their publicist/media guru doing it!

I remember a story a few years back when Katie Couric was doing CBS evening newscast and there was some kerfuffle over one of her blog posts which, turns out, had been written by a publicist for her. I think there too that person may have been let go...

I love trashy TV, but do people actually LIKE Two Broke Girls? That show is so forced. Ack! I can only watch it if there is absolutely nothing else on.

Oh yes, it's a very popular show...

I infinitely preferred the parody version on Funny or Die. Am I alone?

It seems to be getting traction, so I'd say no. And, in the interest of educated discussion,  here's the parody which some may find offensive, so view at your own discretion.

I thought chamois was one of those products flogged by a screaming TV pitchman, in this case a rag that can make anything shine. Does it also leap from crag to crag?

you betcha. But only in the Alps...

My mother LOVES Smash and my father adores 2 Broke Girls. I don't really have anything to say, but I ask for pity when I go home for visits.

My parents are obsessed with "The Good Wife." I didn't realize until know how lucky I am... thanks for that.

I liked the premiere episode, but the second episode was not so good. The producers seemed intent on destroying any notion that we are supposed to sympathize with the spies or even the FBI agent.

The second episode plunged in the ratings -- appears many people had the same take away...

Now that Jennifer Hudson has joined the cast, can we expect to see Haley Scarnato and Bo Bice in major roles in upcoming weeks (assuming it lasts that long)?

Cute, but no, they're the flotsam and jetsam of  "American Idol"...  Jennifer Hudson, on the other hand, is an Oscar winning actress with the voice of an angel.

What was the deal with that? Why Oprah's voice for Jeep? Is she doing commercial voiceovers to raise money for OWN? I thought this was really exploitative of our guys and gals in uniform. Just over the top.

Thanks for reminding me it was an ad for Jeep -- I'd forgotten what it was plugging. Not sure these ads are really very effective for selling a product.

It's good through the first two episodes, but it feels like it could be better. How's it doing in the ratings?

Second telecast took a nosedive...

How long until it's yanked?

My guess is it will last the season -- NBC doesn't have much else on its bench. "Do No Harm" is DOA and "The Voice" won't start up again for a few more weeks.

Now I am on the older end of the key demographic but I was just wondering if I'm alone in not being into AI this year?

No, you are not alone... it is still one of the country's most popular shows, but no longer the force it once was...

What's wrong with the Good Wife? Great cast, great acting, great guest stars (a lot of Broadway vets). Yes, it's a little rote and procedural sometimes but it's a legal show. Like the mix of family, politics, and legal drama. And I adore Christine Baranski.

Absolutely nothing compared to 2 Broke Girls, etc...

Dear Pookie, What happened to these luscious additions to my cultural knowledge? I miss them (and I REALLY don't want to have to start watching). Thanks.

Thank you for saying so! The company decided to go in a different direction... So now you have to watch...

It was for a truck. Wasn't that obvious? Oh, and that ad about the Clydesdale Horse with the Fleetwood Mac Music? That was for a beer. Whasn't that Obvious? Oh, and Katy Crocus as a Genie, that was for a car. Wasn't that Obvious, too? (bit of sarcasm in there)

It's the age-old story about advertising. The ones that are most effective in selling a product -- the ones you remember the product that is being sold most clearly -- are the ones in which someone screams the name of the product about six times in 30 seconds...

"... is an Oscar winning actress with the voice of an angel" and the body of a dream girl

that too! Are you with Weight Watchers?

The blonde girl Charlotte (is that her name?) on Nashville is almost unintelligible. The audience needs subtitles to pop us so we can understand a single word she's saying. I can usually figure it out if I concentrate and know context, but man, it's really a lot of effort for 10pm on a weeknight. Otherwise, the show is a lot of fun.

Emily Yahr, our resident "Nashville" obsessive, says she uses the closed captioning function on her TV whenever Australian actress, Clare Bowen attempts to do thick southern accent on the show.

I missed the 2 hour new episode of Smash. Did the guy everyone hates (producer's assistant, Ellis) officially leave the show? I think we were all hoping a piano would fall on him last season.

I'm told he's going to be flashed back this season. Hopefully to have a piano fall on him... why don't the producers listen to us?

At least now I know why singer/dancers just lip sync. Beyonce sounded like she was out of breath the whole performance. I can't imagine what she would sound like at the end of a 2 hour concert. She can sing. She can dance. She can't do both.

That's why Jennifer Hudson stood and sang during the pre-game show...

I am not religious and the ad brought tears to my eyes! It was great and made me feel "proud to be an American." Don't think I'm buying a Ram any time soon and I know the truths of agribusiness and corporate farms and that this ad has no real grounding in reality . . . nevertheless, it stirred me!

I was so exhausted from watching three-hankie ads during the Super Bowl that by the fourth quarter I was tearing up at Doritos ads.

Wait, I thought he was in the Puppy Bowl.

that's very funny!

Before 2 Broke Girls work "me likey" into an episode?

I thought they had already -- seriously...

I hate to be mean to K. McPhee but after watching Megan Hilty belt out that number near the end of the episode this week, how is it believable that she lost the lead in a musical over K. McPhee!

It's not. Hence the show's ratings, among other reasons...

Of COURSE it wasn't the Congressman himself doing the tweeting. No member of Congress would ever make such a tasteless remark. (BTW: Is "scapegoat" a staff position, or do they just pick one at random to go when the member needs cover?)

Nobody loves a good conspiracy more than me, but I think this story is what it is....

If the staffer did it again would he be a Labrador Retweeter?

even funnier..

That little Clydesdale Commercial made me cry, Pookie! I didn't want to buy their beer, but it made me cry!

Me too. But why did the guy sell his horse to Busch in the first place..that's just wrong... 

So what did you do in those 32 minutes, Pookie

I watched and took notes, like a good journalist... it was the best half hour of the Super Bowl...real question is where was CBS News during that blackout -- oh yeah, they were in the control booth, watching the NFL react, and NOT reporting on it for their 108 million-ish viewers because they were saving their reporting for a special you could see three days later -- if you'd ponied up the bucks to get CBS pay cable network Showtime..that, in my mind, was some kind of bad call on CBS's part that night.

It didn't get a bump for being in the prime Post-Super Bowl Spot. Can Whitney Cummings from 2 Broke Girls go up to the CBS Presidents Office and moon him?

I confess I don't understand one single bit of this question. "Elementary" got a ratings bump in the post Super Bowl timeslot -- just not as big a bump as had "The Voice" after last year's Super Bowl, but then, The Voice" started about 40 minutes earlier than "Elementary" and at that time of night a show's biggest competition is people's beds... If you're suggesting CBS should have aired "2BG" after the Super Bowl instead of "Elementary" you're missing the point of the timeslot. "2BG" is an established show that's doing very well. "Elementary" is a new show that is also doing well but, being new, could use the additional sampling more than "2BG."

So, have any of the networks ordered a pilot or a 13-episode pickup for "Super Bowl Delay"?

No, but the moral of this year's Super Bowl is that a network should let the post-bowl episode of whatever is the show air after primetime and take the slight ratings hit and stretch out the Super Bowl to fill the entirety of primetime that night at $4 million per 30 second spot rates... Honestly, if about 106 million will stick around for "blackout" at halftime, why shouldn't the halftime show be expanded from 15 minutes to 30 minutes... If Beyonce won't do it -- bring back the marching bands!

Am I imagining it, or did Katherine McPhee get herself a new pair of shoes for the second season of "Smash"? What did you think of the premiere, Pookie? It felt to me as if lots and lots of stuff happened, but nothing happened.

Nothing happened except the story spun madly in a circle... Angelica Houston must have had whiplash after shooting those two hours... And I too was noticing McPhee's shoes...

Is there a dress code for this chat? I'd hate to be the only one showing up in a thong-onesie.

I'm sure you are not... I got one for Xmas and was just waiting for the right occasion....

Hi Pookie! Love " The Middle", but trying to figure out something from this week's episode. All announces he wants to go to Red Lobster for dinner to share his big news and then at the next commercial break there were ads for Red Lobster. Do shows typically engage in this type of cross promotion or was it a remarkable coincidence (ha!)? Thanks!

all the time...it's the price you pay to have a DVR, etc...

Aha! It hit me: Evil bachelorette Tierra is exactly like Katharine McPhee, she who we first met on American Idol and who now - unfortunately - blinks her vacant eyes at us on Smash!: Both Tierra and McPhee pretend to be sweet and to be victims, but both are conniving self-promoters who have become like impacted teeth -- they'll have to be yanked out if we're to get away from the pain they're causing. Next time you watch Tierra's barely-masked ambition and cunning as she pursues this season's bachelor (I forget his name and everyone else's on the show but she is unforgettable), playing up her poor-little-me pose to get his attention, even when it means hurting herself, think back to how Nanny -- er, Katharine McPhee kept our attention post-Idol by making herself available to magazines including People and Teen Vogue and to every possible TV news & infotainment program to talk in her wide-eyed-innocent way about her poor-little-me eating disorder, and then tell me if she wasn't doing the same thing Tierra's doing, only in an attempt to seduce all of us, not just one guy ... And in a way, McPhee was more manipulative than Tierra is because she claimed to be "going public" in order to "help" others ... in the process, getting zillions of dollars' worth of free publicity as a singer/actress. Take a look at her wikipedia entry  to learn more about her "disorder" and do notice that her parents are both show biz pros who I'm guessing coached their robotic offspring to exploit whatever she could to climb to fame and fortune. Tierra, by comparison, is terribly inept in her manipulations of her one-person target. And if the bachelor weren't such a dummy that he actually complains that he can't know what's going on if the other girls don't explain it to him in great detail, her time in the public eye would be long-ended. She doesn't even have a wikipedia entry.

This "question" made my head spin but I'm posting it anyway because I'm so in love with the last line: She doesn't even have a wikipedia entry." that's beyond wonderful...

Has FOX fallen down the same ratings rabbit hole that NBC has been in for the last decade? It seems like beyond their reality programming (Idol, X Factor), their programs are a bunch of low-rated, critically liked sitcoms.

NBC is in a lot of ratings trouble right now, with "The Voice" on hiatus. And Fox is in a world of hurt since "X Factor" did even worse this past fall than in its first season, despite the cast changes -- strangely the network is talking to Simon Cowell about doing another reality competition series for them, even though he's now demonstrated over two seasons he has no idea how to produce a show for them that's compelling to its audience...

re: memo to Grammy attendees. Bwah ha ha! Though burned into my retinas is the image of Meryl Streep in purple pasties!

You are welcome...

That un-funny David Spade show. Do they have the cast on contract or something and call them and say "Well, another comedy tanked so you're up. Again. Be insipid."

Yes, it's one of the best bench players in TV history.....

Why do the olds watch so much CBS?

The youngs do too...last night, for instance, CBS beat ABC, NBC, Fox and CW among younger viewers...you just don't hear about it much, because CBS clocked such a big older audience... CBS may be the last " broadcast" networks.

Can we all just collectively agree that the U.S. version of The Office ended after Jim and Pam got together at the end of season 3? Ninety-five percent of the show after that has been a vast wasteland.

Emily Yahr -- who in addition to being our "Nasville" obsessive is also our "The Office"  obsessive -- agrees, and says she hasn't even bothered watching the past couple seasons...

I accidentally watched the last couple minutes of the new Charlie Sheen show last night. Is what I'm feeling right now brain damage?

Yes.

Pookie, what in the name of Crystal the monkey was NBC thinking, premiering Smash in a two-hour timeframe on a Tuesday night? (IMO, two-hour episodes are bad enough on the weekend--Matthew Weiner, I'm giving you the sideeye.) I watched every episode of Smash last year and was ready to give this new version a try... until I saw the tv listings, and decided to do something else with my 120 minutes. Way to run off the casual fans, NBC.

I can't explain it. seriously. It was about 1 hours worth of plot development stretched out over two hours...

Lisa, did that really happen or are you kidding around?

It really did happen, though the producer who called with the advice was kidding (I think)... the call came after I'd written something particularly yeasty about a big cheese in the biz who, I was informed, was pretty steamed...

Hi Lisa, You look marvelous! I have to ask, did you have more than the usual amount of fun writing today's article about the dress code guidelines issued by CBS for the Grammys?

It was one of my most challenging assignments to date, given the subject matter and the Post's strict rules about content...

I recently read that there is another attempt to revive cancelled soaps All My Children and One Life to Live online. Do you know anything about this?

Both soaps premiering this spring on iTunes and Hulu. I'm out of time. Have a great weekend and, if you're in the storm path, stay inside!

In This Chat
Lisa de Moraes
Pulitzer Prize winner, Peabody recipient, Medal of Freedom honoree -- Lisa de Moraes is none of these, but she is an authority on the bad direction, over-acting, and muddled plot lines being played out in the TV industry's executive suites. de Moraes worked for a decade as the television editor at The Hollywood Reporter, the entertainment industry trade paper, where she was routinely on the receiving end of more shouting phone calls from TV suits than Paula Abdul's manager.

When she upgraded to The Washington Post in 1998, a well-known executive producer called to suggest she have someone else start her car, but her trenchant writing (and refusal to use words like "trenchant") earned her the following praise from the brilliant, handsome media observer at Slate: "She writes like a wicked bitch." Wikipedia has called her "a noted television columnist," but they're often unreliable. It's pronounced "deh more ICE."

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