The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

Nov 16, 2012

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

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Rashida Jones as Paula Broadwell. Definitely. I can't even look at a picture of her without first thinking it's Rashida Jones.

Hi. Welcome to TVColumn/Blog chat:

Separated at birth! That casting alone is reason enough to get this TV movie up and running. Only question now: Spike TV, Lifetime, History -- or Comedy Central?

When will Glee finally end? It is taking up my Thursday nights now, but as a loyal fan I can't stop until it does, which I'm hoping is soon.

By December of this year they'll only be up to 76 episodes. You need at least 100 in syndication -- that's another season --  and 200 is're in for a long haul, pookie.

Pookie, I'm very confused by these awards. Do they matter more than Emmys and Golden Globes since they are chosen by the people? Or is it kind of like the popular vote vs. the electoral college in a representative democracy?

People's Choice is a made-for-TV event -- totally fun, no credibilty. Golden Globes are determined by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- see "totally fun, no credibility" above, and add, "but refreshingtly willing to embrace new programmning much faster than TV Academy and usually not too many head scratching picks"... Emmys are determined by the TV Academy members and they have tended to be older and more hidebound.... oh, and BTW, none of them matters.. At all. Except maybe an actress or a screenwiter can get a slightly better agent, or negotiate a slightly bigger salary for their next gig... Or not... Mostly they're important because the network that airs them gets a good ad CPM (cost per thousands of eyeballs and no I'm not kidding) for them....

If someone tried to make an animated GIF of the actress from Revolution's facial expression it would be indistinguishable from a still image. <strained face> Can you tell me why I'm still watching this show? <strained face> BTW, sad news this morning about Hostess, right? <strained face>

I love the idea of the animated GIF. Consider it your assignment for next week....My idea is that she has some horrible, disfiguring accident at the end of the May sweep  -- mondo cliffhanger! What body parts will be most damaged and which most enhanced?! How will they operate without electricity?! Will they be able to locate Michael Jackson's old house under the kudzu in time to  unearth its hidden stash of Propofol?! -- and then unveil an actress with more limber facial muscles in the role in the fall.  You are welcome. And, in re Hostess: remember when David Geffen was going to buy the New York Times because it was an important American symbol -- like Mount Rushmore --  and had to be saved for the greater good of the country? Well, if Hostess Twinkies don't fall into that category, Mr. Geffen, I don't know does, so get out your checkbook.

Afraid this will turn out like the Daniel Craig hosting stint. Serious action hero trapped in hapless comedy routines, looking pained and bemused.

Daniel Craig was very uncomfortable-making on "SNL." Why did they seem to keep giving him rube roles? Was he trying to demonstrate "range."? I don't want to see Danial Craig in plaid flannel and jeans -- I want to see him in a perfectly tailored tux --  a super smug smirk on his face, a very expensive watch on his wrist, a very dry martini in one hand,  and a very big gun in the other....

I was, until halfway through last season when I moved and didn't have TV for a couple of weeks. It's not as bad as you think to quit watching. If you don't enjoy it, don't watch!

Good advice.. I went through something similar when I lived temporarily in Tokyo... when I returned, it was like I got to start all over again, deciding which TV shows I really wanted to watch. .. I highly recommend brief unplugging to everyone -- a sort of  TV colonic.

I hate to sound like a hipster, but I hate when a TV show I like goes mainstream. BBT is now a lame sitcom with a heavy dose of sex jokes. What's worse is that the show's doing pretty well in the ratings, so it's not going to change -- if anything, it's going to become 100% sex jokes and 0% science. This was the only show I watched on a network, and I guess it's back to cable.

You are SO preaching to the choir... But, this "broadening out" of the writing is what has caused it, this week, to clock its biggest crowd ever...And, on a similar subject: A&E's "Duck Dynasty" on Wednesday scored series high numbers and beat, in the 18-49 demo at 10,  ABC's "Nashville," NBC's "Chicago Fire"  -- and even FX’s "American Horror Story." 

I saw commercials for this while waiting to watch Skyfall last weekend. I was actually amazed how much they got Lindsey to look like Liz (although I believe Liz Taylor was a bombshell in a category alone). Will this bio be good or so bad that I must watch? I have no idea who the guy playing Burton is. Oh, and are the jewels used in production real???

Let's pretend the jewels are real -- it will be so much more fun to watch...You seriously don't want to miss this, no matter which category it belongs in, because you will regret it for the rest of you life if you can't tell your grandchildren about it... Larry Thompson has done some good biopics -- he's optioned Kitty Kelley's Oprah book and plans to do a biopic on her next -- but the success of this is going to hinge entirely on La Lohan and that's some kind of wild card...

So I see GWK got 4 more episodes and not 9 - what does that mean don't shows usually get 9 more episodes when they get picked up? And really don't like Vanessa Huxtable worst thing about the show.

It's lucky it got anything, given its numbers. These days, however, it at least has a "Whitney" leadin to blame....

But why do people like Barney on How I Met Your Mother so much? If you knew him, or even someone half as arrogant and lacking in empathy and as "horndoggy" as he, you'd despise him, just as I do. How can anyone like the character?

His is one of those loveable rascal characters that litter the TV landscape... And now I can't think of any, because I have not had nearly enough caffeine this morning. Anybody out there?

I figured this out when I tried to force myself to watch American Horror Story. It was so good last season that I feel pressured to power through it in case it gets good again.

That is the best explanation of seasons 2, 3, 4 and 5 of "Moonlighting" I have ever read...

Is it over yet Pookie? There's nothing but sex and social parties on my local news!

When local news stops doing stories on sex and social parties, you will know it's over, and not until then. And no, it' s not over yet.. But what kind of highfalutin TV market do you live in that local news is about social parties instead of reports on how your mattress can kill you? I want to live there!

I dumped Glee after last season. Just couldn't take it anymore. I have since applied the same ruthless tactic to Grey's Anatomy. After last season's ER-esque plane crash, I knew it had officially jumped the shark and I gave it the ax from my DVR. It's very liberating.

Toldja! And with what TV shows have you taken up since?

It's all about distance. I actually know someone like him (maybe even much worse), and it's highly entertaining because he doesn't live near me and I can pay attention or not, as I please. Just like TV. I just thank my lucky stars I'm not his wife or one of his girlfriends (no, that's not a type-o, there are more than one).

I'm sure CBS will be appalled to learn the show has any grounding in reality. But, out of morbid curiousity and because it's Friday: does his wife have any idea? Does she have a good lawyer?

I didn't watch Executive Producer Jim Bell's last show. Did Matt Lauer kiss him on his hair?

I haven't watch it yet, but I doubt Bell did a victory lap on camera... I was touched by his statement in the announcement, endorsing the guy who's been given the consderable task of fixing the mess he allowed to fester too long... Nice touch on NBC's part...

I think that goes for pretty much every character on tv, some more than others.

Just like life.. Okay, now we're getting morbid.. somebody quick send a picture of a cute puppy... speaking thereof, poor Simon Cowell: his girl band gets the hook even though he told America on Wednesday night that they, all five of them, LOVE puppies..


Well, there you go.....

How were its numbers for the return episode? And have they written out the now-gay ex-fiance from the show -- he was conspicuously absent.

Numbers were not good... Did NBC expect they would be anything but,  is maybe the better question. I don't know in ex fiance... I'm thrilled we have someone on the chat who actually watched its return. Please tell us more about the epsiode, and why you watched...

That's why I watch SNL on occasion... wondering if it might just be funny, harking back to my college SNL-watching days the second half of the 1970s... usually, I'm disappointed. Every now and then, there's some small bit of modern SNL that I think is funny, so the cycle never quite ends. It's like Lucy holding Charlie Brown's football. It's hard to stop hoping that *this* time.... even after all these years.

I never miss a week during a presidential race and boy was this year's SNL disappointing!

I like Guys with Kids. I actually think Vanessa Huxtable and her husband are the best thing about the show. However, it does kind of have a 90s feel to it and it is not a must-see weekly show for me.

It's a very odd and retro show for NBC -- presumably part of the network's stated goal of "broadening out" its primetime audience

I'm actually going to come out for sticking with Glee. I wasn't happy with last season -- it felt too slapped together -- but this year so far the plotlines actually seem to be somewhat better. It's improved, IMHO.

I think last year was slapped together and, owing to ratings, the network and the writers sat down and figured out how to fix it by graduating some of the "kids" etc... not as effective as Ryan Murphy's plan for his other series "American Horror Story" in which they decided to simply turn it into a miniseries/series and start over each fall. I kinda wish he'd thought of that for "Glee." Wouldnt' that have been interesting had the show looked at a different high school every season. One season Jane Lynch could have played the head of the PTA; another season the guidance counsellor, another season the math teacher, etc...or, maybe I just need coffee.

Do you know anything about the Kevin Bacon show starting in January? I think it looks good. I want to know more...

Fox is wild about it and will move heaven and earth to make sure it clicks.. What I've seen looks like a slam dunk: hot serial killer, serial killer cult, Kevin Bacon shirtless -- I rest my case... its only lacking zombies.

Speak for yourself - I'm loving the second season of American Horror Story, and loved the first.

The second season sure has been campy fun!

If anyone watched it for the first time last night, they should know: The awful writing wasn't typical of the show. (If they'd only taken it a little further, it would have been a credible send-up of Mob Doctor.)

Ooh, now I'm sorry I did not record it... I'd like to see a send-up of Mob Doctor, speaking of shows we can't explain still being on the schedule....

Ooh - that theory also describes my relationship with Revenge. I don't feel it is nearly as good as last season but I kind of force myself to watch to keep track of the characters.

You're keeping track of the chacters? Why? I'm keeping tracks of her outfits...

I have a six week rule - if I have more than six episodes on my DVR of a show, it likely means I've lost interest. It is very liberating as I've ditched so much tv but does backfire when I realize I have nothing actually on my DVR.

I love, love, love your system. Seriously. We need to all take the vow... my DVR would be so much happier

Are you as happy as me, Pookie, that Partners has finally been put out of it misery? It seemed very unfunny to me. Does CBS has another sitcom waiting to fill the gap?

"Rules of Engagement" here we come! CBS had to pull "Partners" -- it was dragging down their Monday comedy block too much. They took a chance moving both "Big Bang" and "2.5 Men" to Thursday and it has paid off handsomely, and they knew they'd likely take a hit on Monday, but they can't afford to let Monday slide that much....

I wouldn't have anything to watch!

Pookie, you don't like ANYTHING? That is so sad....Come on guys! Let's put on a show for "if I didn't watch shows I didn't like...." -- a barn! -- and turn that frown upside down... Hey, Mr. or Ms.  "if I didn't watch shows I didn't like" -- this is your chance to create your fantasy TV show. Who would you like to see cast and what's the storyline? And what role do we each get to play?

The problem with Glee is that Jane Lynch's character switches from nicest person in the world to the worst on a weekly basis. You have to watch this show like a comic book where nothing ever makes sense and just hope the week's songs are good.

You have just described the show perfectly...

Simple answer: Man-crush on the guy who plays the boyfriend-husband. He falls into the Ed O'Neill category of making what he does look effortless -- not wuite to O'Neill's level, of course, but you get the picture.

Agreed -- he's in a different show than is Cummings... this can be a problem... hopefully, he'll get graduated to a better vehicle going forward...

Really depends on the host, and you can usually tell early(Daniel Craig AWFUL, Anne Hathaway GOOD for example). And it's the easiest show to use with a DVR if inclined.

Hathaway was terrific -- what a difference from her Oscar hosting disaster when she spent more than three hours stroking and petting James Falco to try to cheer him up. Shame on the movie academy for not simply letting her host the show herself... Oh wait. I'm forgetting -- she's a chick... nevermind.

Judah Friedlander on 30 Rock?

another good example...

I just want to say that I love Jessica Lange's scenery chewing this season.

Beyond brilliant. She will win the Emmy for best lead actress in a miniseries for sure even, if HBO has Maggie Smith, Kate Winslet, and Helen Mirren all competing against her...

Pookie: If I ever doubted your genius (which I never have, BTW), that single sentence would erase all doubt. Sheer briliance. Now, how do we get this done?

Well, they kinda sorta half-heartedly did it when they "graduated" the hot kids and sent them to academy in NY...sort of half hearted, but a stab at least...

Why do they even exist? Modern devices let the networks know the ratings right away for any show on any given week of the year. So what's so special about November?

November, February, May and July... when poor old Nielsen has perfected the hamster cages that drive its ratings gathering and has those "modern devices" in even smaller tv markets, sweeps will not matter. Until then, they still do...

Watching the actors in that show work so hard to be funny was EXHAUSTING!

It always had like maybe two funny moments and the rest was toxic. and the lead actress was painful to watch -- and she was the BETTER actress who got the role when it was recast.... seems like they barely covered the election. They might have had one bad opening sketch and a couple poor jokes in the Weekend Update. I thought that was supposed to be a goldmine of material for them. Sorry, that's not much of a question.

Great question and I can't explain why they didn't put more effort into it this season. Comcast maybe? Also, they could not get the candidates on the show which maybe means the show is no longer considered relevant?

Speaking of the fashions, personally, I'm all about the plunging necklines. Oh, and any lycra in the flashback ninja-training scenes. Umm, perhaps I'm saying too much.

You and I are on the same page...

"As God is my witness, I though turkeys could fly." This is apropos of nothing, but it's one of TV's all-time greatest moments, so it needs to be said every year.

Thank you for reminding us....

Pookie, this has nothing to do with television, but this article about the crap available at W-S was hysterical and made me think it could have been written by your twin brother, should you have one.

Thank you but there were no sons allowed in my family. Four girls. I managed to sneak an unwelcomed kitten into the household by naming it "sonny" -- as in the one my father never had -- but it turned out to be female too...

I didn't know that it was cancelled but I have to say, as a gay man, that I liked the premise but it was not very good. It needed more of a Will and Grace chemistry between the two characters.

It shoulda been much better. Killing off the fiancee would have been a good start.. and, I likeDavid Krumholtz so much better as the shrink on 'Newsroom'... oh, there I go again, saying I like 'Newsroom'!

I do this too, just so I can yell at the TV -- it's sort of like emotional cutting, I get to release my emotions through negative action. Ah, television, teacher, mother, secret lover, and now, I guess, we can add therapist.

I like to throw bread at the set too. Add "physical trainer" to that list, please...

Did I understand you correctly that it is coming back? There are about a million shows I had rather see return. Heck, I would prefer a re-make of "Hello, Larry", just so long as David Spade isn't in it.

that's CBS's ol' reliable benchwarmer for just these situations -- like when it has to scrub its only new comedy series, "Partners." CBS is not having a wonderful season -- an okay season, but not wonderful. Is it any wonder they recently announced another "NCIS" spinoff?

The grand daddy of them all - Fred Mertz.


Its about a newspaper tv reporter who travels incognito. Every Friday she has chats with her fans and about thirty truly beautiful people plan their lunch on the east coase/breakfast on the west around the chats. When not chatting, the heroic lives of the chatters and our reporter heroine are told. I'd love to watch it. People have lots of cute pets and lots of money

When does the "lots of money" episode air?  I hope it's soon (and, thank you!)

Because I really didn't like the 30 years in the future when the Observers have taken over storyline. I stopped watching NCIS a couple of years ago when it stopped being about crime investigation and became more of a spy show--and because they wouldn't change Brian Dietzen to a series regular. I almost stopped watching Angel when Christian Kane left!

So, you're averse to change....How do you feel about "Up All Night" being turned into a multi-cam comedy shot in front of a studio audience?

I DVR Glee and just skip to the musical numbers, which is really why I watched in the first place. It's maybe 15 minutes per episode tops and then delete.

I have often wondered how many of us watch it that way and what it does to ad rates, etc....this show is such an interesting study and no, I'm not being guess is it stands alone in TV viewing patterns

(a) Sorry, but I refuse to beleive that there was a potential candidate worse than her; and (b) you know what they say, mindless teen soap opera on the CW is easy, comedy is hard....

actually, now that we've seen her body of work, I can say with certainty the pilot performance of the previous actress was a tad better...

I read something about Thom Beers (Deadliest Catch) in a new position but can't find it now. Do you know anything about this?

This one's easy: he was named CEO of Freemantle North America... Freemantle was majority owner of his Original Productions. And, for the unitiated, he's the guy behind Deadliest Catch but also Storage Wars, Ice Road Truckers -- and a former Turner suit...

You forgot "plucky"

plucky! Haven't heard that in ages...

why can't they air a detective show with a detective who is a woman and under 80?

Well, Helen Mirren was under 80 when she started doing "Prime Suspect" but I take your point.

Larry, Darryl and Darryl, from the Bob Newhart sitcom that was set at a Vermont B&B.

well, kinda, but they weren't bad boys.. or were they and I'm just not remembering because I'm undercaffeinated?

I used to yell at the radio, but my sweet doggie thought I was yelling at her, so I promised to stop.

This is why throwing bread is so much better.  Winkie doesn't think I'm yelling at him, and he really enjoys bread...everbody wins!

You mean there are only 30 of us? That can't be right -- I demand a re-count!

Well, for purposes of the TV show there are -- runaway production costs must be contained, you know. Otherwise we'll have to shoot the show in Hungary, like "The Borgias," and nobody wants that...

And they could introduce characters from next season's high school at either regionals, sectionals or nationals.

wouldn't that be a great way to set up the next season?

TV critic who has to watch and review a different TV series pilot each week for his/her newspaper column -- great way to burn off snippets of failed series (2 birds with 1 stone!) -- then has to deal with the reactions of those on the show.

Ah -- the reactions! We could use Benedict Cumbertbatch in a sweep episode....

i skip the plots about 50% of the time and just watch the musical numbers. 20 minutes or so per episode.

YOu guys are like a whole new viewing trend on broadcast network TV...

If she was younger, Sean Young would be perfect for the Paula Broadwell role. And I see Elton John as Holly Patraeus.


James Garner as Maverick

really good answer! Did I ever tell you my James Garner story?

I just don't travel as much as I'd like, and I'll work for scale. Just need health insurance. Love, Pookie Fan

So, Hungary is good? Well, then, let's get us a cast of thousands of chat participants... All handsome men and beautiful women -- and they cost a lot more!

Eddie Haskell from Leave It to Beaver. Dennis The Menace. The Fonz. But it should be noted that recent examples (Charlie Harper) are far more amoral than Fred Mertz ever was. Fred was never unkind; today's "rascals" are almost always cruel. That makes them unlovable as far as I'm concerned.

Yes, current TV has a cruel streak...But I think it's a reflection of our times and the shows are not to be blamed.... I'm out of time, sadly because I have really enjoyed this chat.. There will be no chat next week, what with it being the day after a holiday.  See you in two weeks and have a lovely Thanksgiving!

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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