The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Sep 14, 2012

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

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I see that season one of Revenge is now available via Netflix streaming-is it worth watching? Better than, equal to or worse than Pretty Little Liars? Thanks!

"Revenge" is a great soap. Have you seen the promo photo for new season that's a knockoff of the old "Dirt" promo -- the Courtney Cox soap that ran on FX for too short a period?

What idiot made that decision?

Someone who, no doubt, was thinking a Kardashian interview was great counterprogramming when every other network would be showing, you know, a moment of  SILENCE...kind of like how CW does so well with its shows when all the other networks are airing the State of the Union Address....anyway, the head of NBC News apologized-ish to their TVstations for putting them in that position, and you can bet "Today" show now will air the 9/11 Moment of Silence, for eternity....

On the "college" edition of America's Next Top Model, a Harvard student left the competition. One of the other contestants said something about "you'd think she'd be more respectful, attending the same school Tyra went to." I love the unbridled depths of Tyra Banks' ego -- I guess getting some business certificate later in life matches up to someone who applied for an undergraduate degree. Since she gutted the judging panel, the show is unwatchable. And it now relies on "social media" scores to let the public weigh in. Wretched.

Yeah, change isn't always good for its own sake, but the show's ratings were tumbling and she was looking for a fix.. Oh wait, I think I just described the trainwreck that is "X Factor" too....

When I watch Project Runway, Heidi Klum, Nina Garcia, and Tim Gunn all pronounce "Marie Claire" as "Mary Claire". I need to know if I've been pronouncing Marie wrong my entire life, or if this is a regional thing, OR are they pronouncing it that way to get attention?

I'm no expert, but I always thought it was pronounced:

Mare-E... and I certainly don't want you to think you've been doing something wrong your whole entire life, but we should probably throw this question out there and hope some expert weighs in. Anyone?

Do they have any episodic shows that are worth keeping it for? Their movie selection seems fairly awful.

Glad you worded it that way because they have a show called "Episodes" that is maybe my favorite series. It stars Matt LeBlanc playing Matt LeBlanc....Also Showtime offers "Homeland" which is returning Sept. 30, and "Dexter" though that show has kind of run out of gas....

Too expensive to do a basic training set and hire enough people to make it work or just not interested in keeping the actor in the show. Does he have a contract for this season?

Yes, he's signed for this season, but is not going to be in the first few episodes...

I haven't been this excited for a series premeire since, well, Season two of Boardwalk Empire. Any early buzz? Still as strong as the first two seasons?

I think so but I am mesmerized by Steve Buscemi's performances and will watch anything he's in...

Why is the Today Show adding on that irritating woman Soleil something to their morning line up? Her voice is like fingernails on a blackboard!

You can only mean Soleil Moon Fry -- aka The Artist Formerly Known As Punky Brewster -- who has taken over "Today" show's Twitter account and appears on the show periodically.... Did I mention "Good Morning America" beat "Today" in the ratings again last week?

As someone who is interested in how characters are portrayed, are any of the shows coming up this year include competent father figure types? I remember last year there was some backlash against advertisers who had again and again portrayed all men as incapable parents needing mom's assistance, and the advertisers responded. Has that carried through to programming as well, or are all sitcom dads portrayed as some variation on irresponsible?

This is not going to be a good TV season for you, pookie. "Guys with Kids" is NBC's new ensemble about a bunch of doofus dads. The father on ABC's new "Neighbors" is pretty clueless -- buys a house without consulting wife and turns out it's in a gated community entirely populated by aliens -- the outer space kind. I could go on and on, but maybe it's kinder if I stop here...

My dearest Pookie, I need your advice. Recently an aunt posted this status on Facebook: "Just saw the cutest show! Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, LOL!" She later posted about being excited to see another episode. What is the correct punishment? Just blocking her doesn't seem enough. Help!

This one's easy:

1)Rent a kid

2)Make kid drink a gallon of  "go go juice" -- mix of Mountain Dew and Red Bull.

3)Send kid to Aunt's house and lock them in.

 Aunt will be cured by the morning. Can't fail.


Yeah, but Heidi Klum also pronounces her own name as "Idy Gloom", so isn't it really an issue of regional accents...?

Thanks for giving me my first big laugh of the day... Idy Gloom... Let's all Talk Like Heidi Klum for the rest of the chat, shall we?

Pookie, I love Matthew Perry and think he deserves a good show, but after Episode 2, a sophormore slump from Ep 1, I fear I have to ask: is this going to be the good show he deserves? Or not...sigh.

Most TV critics say no... Which can only be a good sign... This week it snagged 10 million viewers which is a terrific retention of "The Voice's"  11.4 million viewers. Less impressive was "The New Normal" -- Ryan Murphy's new comedy -- which hung on to 7 million of "Go On's crowd, except then that looked much better than "Parenthood" which only held on to 5.5 million of those viewers... I'd say "Parenthood" is the Biggest Loser for NBC on Tuesday nights...

OK, I get the ill-conceived nature of this major goof, but, as an expert in television, I have to ask you Pookie -- all the hand-wringing in its aftermath: kerfuffle or foofarah?

Juxtaposition is so important here... Yes, anyone who wanted to see the annual Moment of Silence being observed in lower Manhattan and/or at the White House had about a dozen viewing options, so it wasn't like "Today" show denied the American public access to the observation...."Today" noted that day when the kerfufle broke out that the show has not aired live the Moment of Silence other years too. And probably it would have been a minor story on some media navel-lint-picking web site only had "Today" instead been instead doing a segment on the presidential election, or Wall Street at that moment.  It was the Kardashian-ness of "Today's" decision that gave this story "legs"...

Well, reruns of the Cosby Show are being shown on TVLand. Dr. Cliff Huxtable is about as capable a father as any.

Yes, though I think the chatter was referring to new TV shows, not reruns....

They are totally bastardizing the French word "Marie" and making it sound like "Mary." It's why no one understands me here in the US when I ask for a croissant.

Really? In what cities you buying your croissant... I find I'm generally understood when I ask for one, and I travel to some pretty backwater places, like Littleton, Colorado...  but I'm going to start paying much closer attention.

My wife says "Go On," but "The Neighbors" looks pretty bad too. What would you pick to be "The Playboy Club" for 2012?

With this week's retention of "The Voice" my guess is your wife is going to lose that Freshman Show Dead Pool....Funny your mentioning "Neighbors" because I participated in a feature for the TV academy's magazine -- which I'm sure they're now regretting -- in which I said "Neighbors" was the show I was most looking forward to, or something like that, because, I explained, how can you not love a show about aliens trying to adapt to life in America... I was a big "3rd Rock from the Sun" fan.... Yes, this show is very very -- very --  silly, but, gosh darn it, don't we all need more silly in our lives? Now, having stepped down from my soapbox (ask your grandparents) I will agree it stands a very good chance of being one of the season's first cancellations...sigh... That said, it's always safe to pick a show that's on NBC to be first gone, because NBC has debuted their shows much earlier than the other networks -- and because, well, it's NBC...

Some do a great job with the accent (Hugh Laurie and Damian Lewis come to mind), but every time Charlie Hunnam opens his mouth on "Sons of Anarchy" he evokes someone playing an Irish cop in a Vaudeville revue.

I know -- great drinking game, right? Remember when Simon Baker did "Guardian" and whatever the heck was that OTHER CBS show he did before he finally got cast in "The Mentalist"? He was forever sliding in and out of his American accent in ways that were weird and wonderful...I'm sure Brits feel the same way about Madonna and her British accent, or Gwyneth Paltrow and hers, etc...

How long into the new season do you think it will take for the writers to make the stupid hat that New Rachel always wears into its own character? Seriously, I was half-expecting her to audition with a song from "Newsies". What can we do to make this unfortunate fashion statement go away?

Drat -- and I was hoping to start a Rachel's Hat blog....

What idiot at PBS couldn't get it shown at the same time as the UK? I know I'll be thinking of downloading and watching it early!

My guess is it's a contractual thing over which PBS has no control...besides, wouldn't you rather it was out of the crush of the fall launches? And when Daylight Savings Time is over, so more people will watch?

Dear Miss de Moraes, As a native Frenchman and avid watcher of zee televeeshon, I wanted to let you know that the correct pronunciation of Mary is "Mah-ree." Sincerely, François Hollande President France

zank ewe vrrrrrie mooch!

The poster with problems is probably pronouncing it the correct French way - "qua-soun" rather than the bastardized American "cro-sant."

Yeah, but I am too -- I took about seven years of French and came away with a thoroughly convincing French pronunciation of "croisstant" and "ooh la la."

I have the same problem: All I get is puzzled stares when I use the correct French pronunciation to order a "Crossain'Wich" at Burger King.

I think their staffers go through intense pronunciation training....

Interesting that Parenthood has the greatest concentration of Capable Dads on television, and is tanking in the ratings. I love the show myself, and wish ABC would promote it more.

I can answer this! The reason ABC does not promote it more is that it airs on NB! Da dum dum...sorry, it's Friday and I know you meant to write "NBC"...I am having a day like that too... NBC returned "Parenthood" because it skews young and it's got a lot of DVR viewing. So all you fans of the show out there must:

1) Keep DVR-ing

2) don't age

Got it?

If you're saying it in a way that makes it sound like you're clearing your throat, back off on the affected accent...

but that's half the you're going to tell me I shouldn't be wearing a beret and a scarf thrown casually around my neck, with a Gitanes hanging from my lips...

When does it come back, Pookie? Oh, and Heidi Klum!

October 17.... And, Gesundheit!

Wasn't the consensus among Reporters Who Cover Television at last year's previews that the first show to be yanked would be "Once Upon A Time", which in fact went on to get renewed for a second season? So if they are picking "Neighbors" to be at the top of the pink-slip list, might it not turn out to be a similar survivor?

Yes, you are remembering correctly... and I hope you are right...

Was it really bad that the Today Show chose not to go to the moment of silence or was it because of who was being interviewed and the topic at the time? Any idea on how the ratings were for Mrs. Kardashian?

We'll get those numbers next week and I will be sure to report. And yes, you have a pretty good grip of the situation... it was embarrassing for NBC stations -- hence the NBC News suit's apology-ish to them...

For the Revenge questioner, I am a huge fan of both Revenge and Pretty Little Liars. Revenge doesn't move quite as quickly, but is still really engrossing. Both are at similar levels of plausability and soapiness.

You mean there's some actual plausibility?

Are these guys insane? They dump MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, and WALKING DEAD and pick up Glenn "Bunker" Beck??!! How is that a win for anybody (except Beck)?

It's a win for Dish, they've decided. The Dish folk don't want to pay all that money to the company that owns AMC which has all those shows you mentioned, because they also have to pay for IFC and things hardly anybody watches -- at least that's their story and they're sticking to it. AMC, meanwhile, is running a campaign saying it's because of an unrelated lawsuit involving both parties... Meanwhile, it's always a great idea to sign someone with a rabid fanbase to put on one of your tiers so you can charge viewers extra for the "added value." I was wondering why it took them so long....

Pookie, this day's gone pretty poorly. Could you just declare this another Labor Day so I can go home and wtch a Twilight Zone Marathon?

I prefer to always look forward, not back... Let's declare it Halloween and go home and watch a Twilight Zone Marathon -- surely there will be one somewhere that day...

Since these are starting so late, do you think there's a chance that NBC will put them in for an underperforming new comedy before they ever show up on Fridays?

Doubtful, because both of these shows aren't great performers themselves... that's why they're scheduled for Fridays. Particularly "Community" which is lucky to have been brought back and all and is being run on Fridays, the Land of Low Expectations, so it can produce the additional episodes it needs to have a big enough episode library for syndication.

Ok, Pookie, I just don't get Glee. (And I'm a big musical theater person) There is no real plot, the songs aren't even cool musical theater songs anymore, they're just really awful pop songs that everyone is sick of, and the kids have graduated, but now we're doing two plot lines in this show?Really? Why is this still on TV?

Great description of  this "Glee" season -- and still winning its timeslot among young viewers.

Seacrest must be smiling from ear to ear - he got both the Bieber-show on Today and the Kardashian kerfuffle on Today ... Genius!

Yes, when it comes to Kardashians, there is no such thing as "bad publicity" -- just "publicity" -- homerun for Seacrest, who is one of the producers (ka-ching!) of "Keeping Up with the Kardashians." And, if you're wondering why Today show made that decision: "Kardashians" runs on E!, which is owned by NBC-parent Comcast...

Not to mention the idiot was talking about her breast implants. Not exactly breaking news there ...

It was an important public health interview -- Mama Kardashian was warning women they need to keep track of the expiration date on their breast implants. She was telling her harrowing story of finding out her implants had expired, like 10 years ago and she still had them lodged in her chest.....

Ha ha! I live in southern VA. There are no cities here! Perhaps that is the problem!

We have an answer!

I like the gritty Civil War-era NYPD drama, but I need to use the closed captions to get through the accents (I had to do it for "the Wire" when it ran). Is there any way of telling them "Forget the accents, just enunciate!"

Yeah, good luck with that...

I don't know what I'm going to do starting September 24 on Mondays at 10. I am already a regular viewer of Hawaii 5-0 and Castle; now Revolution is on at the same time. And of course the Nationals are trying to go to the playoffs, and their games often run past 10. What's a girl to do? Thank goodness SyFy moved Alphas to 8! Seriously, though, why can't the broadcast networks rerun their shows during late night as the commercial cable networks (USA, TNT, Lifetime, Food Network, etc) do? Or even rerun them Saturdays?

Pookie, they DO rerun them on Saturdays. Saturday is Rerun Theatre...

Shouldn't Brit-brit have had at least one or two snakes wrapped around herself?

That was so two seasons ago... Now she's wearing Rachel Maddow's glasses... I like the new look...

Like milk? Who knew. You've taught me something new today. Thanks Pookie!

You are welcome and yes, covering television is seriously educational.... For instance, when I covered the Vh1 reality TV star who  died of apparent suicide after he was named person of interest in the murder of his ex wife,  I learned that breast implants also have --  serial numbers! The murderer had known to cut off her fingers (fingerprints) and pulled out her teeth, which can also be used to easily identify a decomposed body (hers was found in a dumpster) but the murderer forgot to remove her breast implants and that is how the body was identified -- from the serial numbers... Expecting it to show up as a plot point in an episode of CBS's new Sherlock Holmes series, "Elementary."

How long before the Kardashian Kerfuffle becomes a new product line for the Family That Will Not Go Away?

I don't even want to consider that that product would be...

I loved it -- Ray Liotta, Johnny Lee Miller, Amy Smart, too. Cancelled too soon, but my favorite thing about it was that the showrunner posted online the treatments for the final eps so we would know what happened. Take that, V, Terra Nova, Rubicon et al. ad nauseum.


It seemed to me that Britney was being fed some lines during that 2 minute montage of her. I haven't seen much else out of her since. Also, that stalker bit that they ran last night was just creepy; there was nothing funny about it all. I'm sure that she encounters a lot of people like that so to put one up on stage was in pretty poor taste.

Not just poor taste, but potentially hazardous... The guy was clearly unbalanced... same with the guy who did the duet with Brit 10 years ago, who is now reduced to auditioning for "X Factor"... Since it aired, there have been media reports the guy is complaining he was "outed" during his audition, and that it was cut from the broadcast.  I'm not sure why that has upset him, but apparently it has...

No, pookie, declaring it Halloween won't do, because it's not a holiday from work. If OP is a Federal employee, you can declare it Columbus Day, but if not you'll have to reach all the way to Thanksgiving.

Okay -- but I'm not sure there is a Thanksgiving Twilight Zone marathon in the works. Oh wait, yes there is! It's called "Spending Thanksgiving With Your Family."

That turned out to be the way they identified a corpse in "Bones" some while ago.

I wonder if that was before or after the Vh1 incident?

Has been bad for quite a few seasons. I think CW realizes also just how bad it's gotten. They moved it to Friday and launched it in late summer, seemingly well before they really kicked off the season.

Yes, they were hoping to get it up and running and get an audience hooked before the fall season crush...

Pookie, I know this topic has come up before - what is the statute of limitations of spoilers? Do we respect the DVR+7 rule or is it a "suck it up you should have watched in in real time" deal? I ask because I haven't watched last night's episode of Glee yet (need to wait till I have control over the remote) and I have a feeling that there will be lots o'discussion about the new season. Also, can three modern Sherlocks thrive? I realize that RDJr.'s version is set in the correct time period, but for all intents and purposes he's a modern Sherlock. Thanks!

Downey's version is Sherlock in name only. He's an action hero.. don't get me wrong, it's great cross-country airplane viewing, but it's not Sherlock Holmes... Frankly, I'm not sure the Bandersnatch Cummerbund version is either... though the PBS show has a certain je ne sais quoi -- by which I mean "croissant."

I'm excited for The Mindy Project. Have you seen the pilot? Should I still be excited??

Yes, I really liked the pilot and I confess I was fully prepared to not like's charming -- no wonder NBC took a pass....

I think I'm done. The "candid" bits felt so forced and scripted, like I was watching a episode of The Hills. The sisters bit at the beginning of the first episode had to be staged. Is this a change from last year (I can't remember) in order to juice up the ratings?

If it is, it's backfiring. That episode only logged about 8.7 million viewers which is nearly four million FEWER viewers than watched last fall's opening...

Is DownTOWN just not a word in Britain? How did the writers pick that family name?

"Downton was a parliamentary borough in Wiltshire, which elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1295 until 1832, when it was abolished by the Great Reform Act."

I love this show, even though sometimes the subject matter makes me uncomfortable - what is the chances it will make it through the season? Or can you see a scenario where they wrap it up quickly? Last season's finale was more like a series finale, so I was a bit surprised when it came back.

I would be surprised if it lasted past this season...

It was "Thief" that was on CBS' Death Slot of Tuesday Night at 10pm. I think it lasted 3 episodes total.

thanks for this too! apparently Baker perfected his American accent across countless TV series....

Reminds me of the decision not to show the end of the infamous "Heidi" pro football Raiders game (where the score was seesawing), in favor of a made-for-TV version of the children's classic "Heidi." That misstep caused networks never again to leave an unfinished game broadcast in favor of the primetime schedule.

I would have gone with Heidi too. If it was the Shirley Temple version.

"Weeds" has finally Jumped the Shark by having Andy and Nancy do the deed....on somebody's lawn! Can they end the series on Sunday with a giant meteor taking out both suburbs simultaneously?

That's on my Xmas wish list too!

I have a 12 year old daughter and a 19 year old au pair, and they LUUURVE X Factor, regardless of the judges. It makes me feel my age, though, as I can barely stand to be in the room if it is on.

Notice how Brit and Demi have Simon feeling his age too? It's pretty fab TV viewing, if you ask me...

I just watched the first two episodes of "The New Normal" -- it has its moments, but I'm not committing yet -- and I would say it looks like it will show both of the future dads (it's about a gay couple and their surrogate) having "capable father" interactions with the surrogate's precocious 7-year-old daughter. (And Ellen Barkin as the ragingly bigoted grandmother of the surrogate will either be hilarious or get old really fast). As for returning shows, "Modern Family" shows a variety of parents muddling through, with even the goofball (forget his name -- the one married to Julie Bowen) and especially gruff old Ed O'Neill doing very well at fathering.

Ed O'Neill is great on this show and is in fact a capable father -- I think the question was about new programs.... Anyway, I'm out of time. Thanks for joining me and I hope to hear from you next week. Have a lovely weekend!

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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