The Latest in TV with Lisa de Moraes

May 03, 2013

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

- Find everything Lisa de Moraes:
Lisa's Blog
- Lisa's Column
- Lisa's Chats

Follow @PostLive on Twitter

So many Skarsgårds... Alexander is playing a Viking Vampire and now we've got one brother playing a Viking and another brother playing a Vampire. I admit to being that person who "didn't mind" Hemlock Grove. I can't really defend Bill Skarsgård's acting abilities beyond "He got better" and "He's learning" or whatever.

By the time someone gets cast on a TV show -- even one for Netflix -- can't they have learned how to act, not "be learnin."? Isn't that why god gave us regional theater and soap operas?

Well I'm skeptical of him at any rate. Brits like their political and new media satires a bit more snarky then us Colonials. Besides Stephen Colbert seems to do it better.

I'm a fan and think he's done some great stuff on the show. And I think he's the best choice by far among the Daily Show Repertory Theater to fill in for  Stewart while he gets movie directing out of his system.

I missed the Bob Newhart episode of Big Bang Theory! Are they replaying it?

CBS has not said anything about it, but I'm guessing you'll see it again this summer since it was great stuntcasting...

What does Fox think of the American Idol ratings disaster this year? A) Don't worry because it is still enormously successful and profitable or B) This ratings cliff is the beginning of the end of the show and it is time to think about moving on.

A network never moves on unless it thinks it has other, better options. My guess is they will once again gut the judge table.. This year it was all about cat fighting, which did not go well. Maybe they'll learn from "The Voice" and hire judges who are a) relevant and b)get along... Clearly the press loves the drama but the viewers -- not so much.

I swear there is a cadre of actors and actresses out there who hold incriminating information on the powerful people in Hollywood. Jeremy Piven...looking at you. Holy Wooden Wookies but he is horrible.

Jeremy Piven was born to play Ari Emanuel on "Entourage." As Mr. Selfridge, he seems to be in another production entirely than the rest of the cast.

Next Thursday Bandersnatch Cummerbund will be a guest on David Letterman's show. You're welcome.

Can't wait. It's everyone's viewing assignment for May 9 and we will discuss in chat the next day....

Pookie, where else but your column am I going to read such great words and phrases like "chock a block" and "Hollywood Petting Zoo" and my personal fave this week "all have faces that look like great grandma's burst horsehair sofa?" I'm already missing you.

And I you......

What are the chances of Eden Sher being nominated for an Emmy this year? I'm not enjoying "The Middle" quite as much, but I still find her character to be completely believable. Actually, they're all pretty believable, and I'm glad they don't live in my neighborhood. Speaking of which, I LOVE "The Neighbors", and hope that it doesn't get cancelled!!

Me too. It's a mystery why Eden hasn't won a best supporting actress in a comedy series Emmy. She's terrific --  and raise your hand if, like me, you are so over Julie Bowen on "Modern Family."

One lost weekend, I got sucked into a "Bar Rescue" marathon vortex, and now I find myself recording "Mystery Diners" and even "Restaurant Stakeout". For years, I rarely watched "Kitchen Nightmares", then began to dabble in "Restaurant Impossible", but they don't quite do it for me anymore. Still, if there's a show featuring kitchen & front of the house staff behaving badly, and/or a filthy restaurant (not to mention a loud guy swooping in to fix everything) I can't look away. Help!

Um, better than "Hoarders" addiction? It's the best I can do on such short notice... I confess, I'm that way about found-money shows -- Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, etc...I'm not proud of this addiction, but there it is...

Why do women get their nails done?

I am SO glad you asked. I, for one, get regular manicures because, while in college, I dabbled briefly with smoking Gitanes which, fortunately, didn't take, but left me with a tendancy to ravage my fingernails, which is also a nasty habit, though far less toxic. Anyway, manicures stopped that cold. Oh, and Dustin Hoffman sometimes shows up at the manicure place I use in Santa Monica -- so it's also research....

Pookie - I am devastated at your imminent departure. Really. I think you should just contract with the Post for chats. I have a really, REALLY important question that I am hoping you can find the answer. WHY must characters on TV chew/eat noisily? I'm not talking at the dinner table - I'm talking about gratuitous eating. I mean if it were SNL I'd understand it was for a reason, but Simon Baker eats loudly and I find myself disgusted by it. There is no reason that I can tell for this eating. There are a lot of characters doing this gratuitous eating. Personally, unless it lends itself to the story line, bathroom necessities and food chomping do not belong on TV. I would like to leave a little to my imagination! Why would writers/actors do this? WHY? (small disclaimer - I have misophia and food chomping and whistling bug me to the point of insanity. I can live with the Andy Griffith stuff, although I refuse to watch the beginning of the show, but why??)

Well, I've learned something new -- misophonia. My guess is, after reading exactly one article on your condition, that most people do not think Simon Baker eats too loudly on the show, as do you. I had not noticed "gratuitous eating" on TV, but my guess is it's a gimmick directors  use to give actors something to do with their hands while  blah, blah, blah-ing is going on (she wrote, while eating a sandwich at her desk, answering chat questions!)...I am committed this week to looking for gratuitous eating on primetime TV shows.   


Is "2 Broke Girls" all that's left of Whitney Cumming's reign? Is she now the Lady Jane Gray of last season?

Except for the beheading part -- yup...

I watched AMC off and on all through college, my 20s and into my 30s. When I heard they were coming back, I admit to being skeptical but um....I kind of like it the reboot and the online version. Do you think this will stick around for a bit?

Well, the company that's doing the online version certainly hopes so. It'll depend on traffic...

Forget all the brouhaha over Matt and the shenanigans at "Today," let's talk about the runaway hiring of rich, entitled, unproven, non-journalistic peeps like Luke Russert who tweeted connections between West Tex and Boston bombings without any substantive basis to stand on; Chelsea Clinton going from feel good storyteller of unsung hereos to shilling on behalf of actors-turned-spokespeople; and Jenna Bush being assigned as an education reporter even though she didn't even have a year's worth of teaching experience under her belt. NBC has a credibility problem with it's talent. And while I like Maria Kennedy, and I know she worked hard, back in the day, to earn her stripes as a journalist. Having been first lady of Cali and half of Ahnold's money, doesn't endure her to average Jane's, like me, who are working our Asses off to make ends meet. How can she possibly relate too, in her reporting, what the average Jane is going through?

It is my impression these hires are done for the sake of access, not journalism.

I gave the Living With Your Parents show a chance, and watched two episodes. Absolutely horrible show. Not funny. Not clever. No chemistry between characters. And Suburgatory has taken a sharp downward turn in quality, so I'm losing interest there, too. Hopefully, The Neighbors will be back and stay decent for awhile.

I, on the other hand, loved "How to Live with Your Parents" pilot. Confess I haven't caught up on subsequent episodes yet...But you and I are on same page in re "Neighbors."

Pookie, Matt Lauer's charm offensive is going nowhere fast. He is now in Bryant Gumbel territory. What is it about Today that brings out the arrogant?

The show has been an incredible money-maker for NBC over the years.

Has CW Comic Book Series Arrow been renewed for next season? It started a little slow, as expected for a series like this, but has really gotten good as the season progressed.

Arrow has been renewed for next season.

I see that my DVR taped this last night. Is ABC just going to keep putting new shows on to see what clicks with viewers? Is this show worth checking out? Thanks Pookie.

I liked the pilot -- much to my surprise -- but its opening numbers were not good....

I never liked any of John Stewart's occasional stand-ins either - until Steven Colbert did a week's run and things really clicked (for me or for him, not sure which). I like Oliver and am cautiously optimistic.

I feel the same way....

I don't know why, but I'm obsessively watching This Old House. It's not for any practical information (I have a house but you're not going t catch me resodding a lawn). I hate the Boston accents (yet find them endearing on Car Talk). I think it's the same reason my son loved those Road Construction videos when he was 5. Making a mess with power tools and bucket loaders, and then, 8 minutes later, all is well and you have a new outside light on your porch.

People really like watching shows that have a conflict that is all wrapped up and tied with a bow by the end of the episode -- it's very satisfying, and I have just explained all of CBS's procedural crime dramas too.

Oh noes, Gaffigan said something about women getting their fingernails done! Uproar! Outrage! Burn hot pockets and bacon in effigy!

After watching so many hours of "Misogyny Theatre" on Comedy Central, I was completely unprepared for the reaction to Gaffigan's dumb tweet.

I remember Letterman going head to head with G. Gordon Liddy at the height of his "hand-on-the-flame" craziness. I think he can hold his own with BC.

I think he won't need to hold his own -- it's going to be a love fest...

Is someone alerting the Letterman staff to the importance of addressing Mr. Cumberbund correctly? Wouldn't want Dave to get into one of his "Uma, Oprah, etc." phases and offend the thin-skinned BC.

our only hope for the interview....

why does cheese make everything taste better?

Please tell me this is not in re Samantha Bee's incredibly lame report on "The Daily Show" last night in which she interrogated someone by "cheese boarding" them...

I'm sorry for such a seemingly dumb question, Pookie, but what happens to shows on Netflix that are just resoundingly awful. Do they get banished down the memory hole, or does Netflix just stop production (and then banish it to the "Saved" section)? I tried to get into Hemlock Grove, and it was worse than all the reviews led me to believe (if it was on Rotten Tomatoes, it probably already would've scored a 0%). Lillyhammer was mildly amusing, and House of Cards was actually better than I expected (though couldn't hold a candle to the orignal F. Urqhart).

Since there's no way to see Netflix's audience metrics, we can't know what's awful, and Netflix loves them all like their children. It's a very different business model than an actual TV network -- lucky Netflix.

Why did the season of "The Good Wife" end before May sweeps?

So the show would have fewer reruns in its season run, and therefore its ratings would be better, which is all to the good. CBS is using the Sunday timeslot to have two-hour season finales of reality shows Amazing Race and Survivor over the next couple weeks. ...

Pookie, why is he still on TV, and how does someone who has a show that NOBODY watches still have a job after 13 years?

I literally cannot explain Carson Daly. Except that I love him on "The Voice" because he's so deliciously lame.

Since I don't have cable, so I can't watch Howie's CNN show, can you just clarify a couple of things? Was he fired from Daily Beast for posting an inaccurate piece, or did he leave because the took down a post that he believes is essentially accurate? Or is that the big question?

Daily Beast says they parted company and wish him well, and Kurtz says they had grown apart and decided it was time to split -- I'm paraphrasing. CNN, FYI, has said Kurtz will be on his Sunday show for the network and will address the departure.

What's up with Vikings? The History Channel runs five episodes and calls it a season. Isn't that short even by cable standards And can we expect to see cross-overs, where the average Las Vegas resident brings Viking artifacts into the shop on Pawn Stars? Thanks for everything, I'll miss you.

"Vikings" was nine episodes. Sounds like you missed a bunch of them.... I love Pawn Stars too -- there, I said it.

If Harry Connick is a possibility, let's get Michael Buble, too. Like Velveeta for the ears.

Actually I thought Connick was terrific on Idol a year or two ago when he guest judged -- did not see him this most recent time on the show.  And I disagree with calling him Velveeta for the ears, but then I have enormous respect  for the work of  the Gershwins, Jule Styne, Cole Porter -- the kind of music many people associate with Connick.

Should we expect a resurgence in the careers of Ralph Macchio and William Zabka after their stuntcasting on this week's episode of "How I Met Your Mother"?

As in, cast on "Dancing with the Stars"? Why not!

Which do you think is worse for a TV show to do? I recently saw the opening theme song intro for 2 1/2 Men and it was traumatic. I'd only seen the ones in syndication where the kid is still a kid. They just need to stop. I think this is worse than Fonzi water skiing. There's nothing more sad and uncomfortable than having to watch a cute kid grow ugly.

Since Angus won't be a regular on the show, I frankly can't wait to see what the new show opening will be. I think your long nightmare is over, pookie...

Hi Lisa, I'm having a great time watching BBC America's Saturday night lineup, these days (Doctor Who, Orphan Black & The Nerdist). How are they doing, ratings-wise? I mean, if they ever dropped Doctor Who, there'd be riots in the lobby, but what about the other two? Thanks. Please stay! We love you!

The network just announced it had picked up "Orphan Black" for a second season which I think makes it 2 for 2 with original progrmaming -- that is to say programming the American BBC developed and ordered, as opposed to buying Brit material...

But why do so many restaurants think watching people talk with their mouth full is in any way, shape or form appetizing? That's one etiquette rule that has very practical roots. Let the actors swallow before they tell me how amazing the tacos are.

This reminds me of the scene in "Gigi" in which Aunt Alicia teaches courtesan-in-training Gigi how to eat Ortolans while having a conversation.

I thought AMC meant the channel and was trying to think of a zombie series with the acronym OLTL...

Me too, for a minute....

equals a few hours of your life that you didn't have to miss and regret never getting back. For a show about people who did a lot of things, I have never seen so little plot progress. They went out in a boat. They came back. The guy with the weird haircut is king, but doesn't seem to be doing much. Everyone has slightly odd accents, but nothing you can put your finger on. More people than average are blond. Most people are dirty most of the time. Yawn.

I think people watched for the gore, not for  plot progress.

What's the difference?

same thing -- stunt casting just involves some well-known person and not even necessarily an actor...imagine Psy showing up on an episode of "Two and a Half Men"...

Lisa, do you or will you have your own website? Will there be some other way to follow you and pick up your pearls of wisdom? As far as your departure from the Post is concerned, I have moved from the Denial phase to the Depression phase. Let me now toddle off to get a candy bar or a drink....

I'm still mulling but you will be the first to know....thank you for asking.

I'm a late-50s guy that used to be a regular AI watcher...after the first episode with this judging crew, I quit. The judges are a necessary evil, not the draw...the only good one they had on the show was Jimmy Iovine!

I simply love Jimmy Iovine and feel bad for him this season.

Hi Lisa--I do not have cable but am enjoying the additional free stations with digital TV (when it doesn't cut out). PBS has four sttios which often run different things. But when Eastenders is on, three of the four station are devoted to it. It's the only time that happens, I think. I do not watch Eastenver, but is it really that popular? Good luck with your future endeavors. Your snark, excellent reporting, and writing style will be greatly missed.

Apparently so. I confess I was not aware that when the show is on, it's on so many places. And thank you for promising to miss me!

How I have longed for an Idol judge to say those very words...All hail Harry Connick Jr.! Any chance he'll actually come aboard?

Every time he appears on the show there are press reports the producers are talking to him about becoming a judge. Frankly I think he'd be great -- I said so last time he guest-judged and this time I refused to get suckered into hoping. I'll believe it when I'm told by Fox...

Lisa, could you maybe explain to me how The Killing came back from the dead? I thought a stake was firmly in its heart, thanks to critic savagings and abysmal ratings. Is Veena Sud married to Matt Weiner, and I just didn't know about it, or what?

Apparently AMC decided that many loyal viewers was worth hanging on to....

I heard that The Americans was being picked up by F/X for a second season. So I guess it did well for them? Do you think it will be a year till the new season? We loved this show.

FX is only saying it'll be back -- no return date yet.

It was slow to get started when it came back, but it's in the groove now. Will it be back, along with my beloved new shows Go On and The Neighbors?

It's numbers are not good for a show in its "prime" but NBC has so many bigger problems across its schedule it looks good by comparison...

Sad to say, because I've been a huge fan of Bob Newhart's ever since "The Buttoned Down Mind" came out when I was a kid, but his performance was disappointing on "Big Bang Theory" last night. He wasn't very funny, and his timing was off.

People on this chat either loved it or hated it....

I saw it last night. It was a good episode, sweet but funny. Nice twist at the end for Sheldon. (And Bob Newhart is really spry for his age, something you don't necessarily see since his comedy is generally so deadpan.)

...see what I mean?

DreamWorks Television co-president Darryl Frank (SOC/BA ’91) will speak to the graduates of the [AU] School of Communication at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 11. He oversees all television development, production, and programming for the studio, and is executive producing five shows on five different networks, including NBC’s Smash, Showtime’s The Borgias, TNT’s Falling Skies, FX's The Americans, and CBS's Under The Dome. The 1991 alumnus of AU’s School of Communication will address graduates as they embark on careers in broadcast, public relations, and journalism. Frank will receive an honorary doctor of humane letters.

Forgive me, chatters -- I just had to post this....Please send us his speech so we can go over it.. Thanks, DreamWorks publicist....

Bandersnatch Cummerbund. So...moving on as to why this nickname is so wonderful and why we should all be so grateful to the OP who typed it rather than google his real name and leave us all bereft of her (?) genius..............................Like most of you (I presume), I read Alice's Adventures in Wonderland long before I read Through the Looking Glass. Wonderland has most of the familiar stuff: going down the rabbit hole, Eat Me/Drink Me, Caterpillar with a hookah, Cheshire Cat, Mad Hatter's tea party, Queen of Heart's croquet game. the Mock Turtle and a few more. But the poems aren't that great. "You Are Old Father William" isn't very exciting. "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Bat" has potential but is too short. My third grade class did a play about the Queen of Hearts and her stolen tarts, and I got to be the Queen so I was perhaps a little more attached to the book than some others, but not by much.....................................Anyway, the normal age to be engrossed with Alice passed, and I didn't even know that there was a second book. Then, when I was 10, I started to go to a really artsy and completely wonderful summer camp. We did a regular play and a musical (either or both were often original) twice a summer. The visual arts room was always full. Kids made movies. I got fairly skilled at stage makeup. We put out a daily newspaper on purple mimeograph paper. I loved those summers. One class was called multi-arts and it involved all sorts of arts coming together for a final performance but centered around a theme, and the last year I was at the camp - as a junior counselor now - multi-arts' centered around Jabberwocky. I wasn't part of the class, but so many kids and counselors were, that the whole camp was saturated with people reciting bits of the poem all over the place - - "Beware the Jubjub bird and shun the frumious Bandersnatch" being a particular favorite. It was practically the theme of that summer. My copy of both books in one volume is dated from just before that year, so I probably bought it then..........................................I am sure most of the chatters are familiar with the excitement of discovering a really, really great kids book when you are already an adult or almost an adult. I was 16 that summer and I knew that I was going to have to get a real job the next year right before college. This was my last year and Jabberwocky, which is terrific all on its own, got completely melded into the idea of being at this camp, the place where I felt I had done most of my important growing up. I liked it, (and Through the Looking Glass), but it was more than just a funny poem. It was like a fond farewell to childhood.......................................OK, that is all for this week. I know this is getting highly personal, but the original post made me laugh so hard that I thought I was going to cough up a lung, and I laughed that hard for days afterwards whenever I thought about it. Humor is very personal, so I think that the story is necessary to let the OP understand how she did accomplished something so great, not just know that it happened. I'll try to be a little funnier next week. Oh, and I have just started the "alternate lyrics" to the poem. I'll post it in a bit.

Can't wait! (Oh, and thanks for the paragraph breaks)

I haven't watched this mess since the second week, but a friend does & I asked him, so how did the power get turned off? A. It was a virus that eats energy & also cures cancer!!! I started laughing, said that was a violation of all the laws of physics, chemistry & medicine, so it should become a comedy [of errors].

Finally --- someone besides me who thinks this show is comical....

Is this the last chat for you at the WP? How will we get our fix of Lisa after you are gone? will you still keep your blog going? Thanks for many years of enjoyable reading.

It's not my last -- I'm here until the end of the TV season. Thanks for asking.

I read this week that Will Arnett is going to be in a new series. Has Up All Night been officially cancelled? Are they still trying to save this show?

He's in a pilot -- for CBS. Which means it has a fighting chance of actually working and surviving many years. Unlike his other recent comedies,  Up All Night and Arrested Development. Everyone likes to scoff at CBS comedies, but eventually the actors all try to get on one.

'Twas Friday and the Pookie hordes.............................Did snark and query in the chat..................................I'm afraid that is as far as I have gotten. Rhyming schemes are easier to deal with when you can make up the words. Hopefully someone has more time to put into it than I do.

This is a terrific start! Thank you very much...

Pookie, the last couple of episodes really took a turn for the dark. What gives?

I can only assume it's building to some season ending cliffhanger....

Hello Pookster! Will be on the road tomorrow during chat time so sending question early. So I watched the preview of Rectify last Sunday, right after Mad Men. Definitely worth staying up the extra hour for. However, elation was short lived when I quickly discovered stupid cable company makes me pay for Sundance channel! Way to annoy me, AMC/Rectify/whoever made that decision.

I know. It's annoying -- not Sundance in particular, but paying for channels you don't want. I feel that way about sports networks. Some day....

So the last two eps of "Smash" have had Rosie O'Donnell in the audience of the play, but last week started out with Kathie Lee Gifford in a blond Marilyn wig, a bunch 8 year olds watching the cast dance in a rehearsal room. Since none of the kids knew who Marilyn was, what was the purpose & why Kathie Lee? Is "Today" that hard up for viewers? I can't wait to see what idiocy this week's ep will have that's worse than last week's, but topping that will be hard, but I know they can do it! After all, Jimmy makes Ellis likable! This is the second time NBC gave Spielberg a 2 year commitment to a show ["Amazing Stories"] & both times, major failures.

No -- "Smash" is that hard up for viewers! Hence the addition of Rosie AND Kathie Lee.. It's a sad bid for viewers... I'm out of time... see you next week!

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."

The TV Column
Lisa's Blog
Lisa's archived Q&As
Entertainment: Television
Recent Chats
  • Next: