It never fails...no TV Guide at the grocery when I'm there on Friday, too busy to go on Saturday, then Sunday morning I get caught in the horrific traffic jam as 40% of my fellow citizens try to make it to their weekly church services on time.
On the cover: American Idol's four finalists, three of whom seem to be throwing gang signs while the fourth modestly covers her bosom. Are they pandering for votes? I don't know. I've never seen the show, so maybe someone can answer me this: are we actually short of singers in this country? Wouldn't it make more sense to look for decent songwriters? Or general practitioners? Two-thirds of the country watches this show, and for the life of me I can't figure out what they're hoping to find. It's like, "Ladies and Gentlemen, tonite, YOU will decide: Who will be America's Next Personal Injury Attorney?"
Letters: Last week's irritability continues. J. Fenton from L.A. jeers Smallville for killing off Margot Kidder. Fellow Californian Sharon Kraynick of Perris (beautiful in the spring, I hear) sees no point in watching That 70s Show without Eric and Kelso. Mesa, AZ's Jon Gaiser thinks Survivor has lost its sense of reality. Reader Sandi Smith, of Clinton, TN., belies the Guide's analog demographic by pondering the ancient technology of Bob Barker's long microphone cord. People trip over it all the time, Sandi says, and someday someone could be seriously injured. And from Pottsville, PA., Tanya Kemmerling has had it with Fox, which made her wait forever then didn't even show the finale of Tru Calling, adding insult to injury by airing Simple Life: Interns instead. Patricia Rosenbluth and Neil A. Piar (she hails from Hillsborough, NC; he calls Columbus, OH, home) manage to break through the gloom, she with the joy of seeing Peter MacNicol back in prime time, he because he could join the Alias fold this season without suffering from severe confusion.
News Flashes promises to tell us What Katie Couric Really Thinks About Diane (Sawyer). Turns out she thinks Diane is great. But she finds there's a level of sexism in such discussions, since nobody ever compares Matt Lauer and Charlie Gibson. Well, I meant it to be a surprise, but I'm planning to do just that real soon.
Cheers: The O.C., Cold Case, TV Land, and HBO. Frankly, I'm at a loss to explain why.
Jeers: Bravo, for new reality shows with Howie Mandel, Kathy Griffin, Bobby Brown, Omarosa Manigault Stallworth, and Richard Hatch. Yes, I verified that. And ABC, for passing off clip shows as specials.
Recusing myself: last week I objected to the Jeer of my homeboy David Letterman. This week I will not report on the Jeer of Pat O'Brien. In the late 80s, the NBA All-Star game was played in Indianapolis, and I found myself seated next to Mr. O'Brien at a posh eatery. We'd had a brief conversation about the place earlier, and he seemed quite nice. He ordered a bottle of Conterno Barolo 1970 with the meal, and I complimented him on his choice. "You've had it?" he asked. "No, the '70 is out of my price range, but I've had other vintages," I explained. He insisted my wife and I take a glass. Ambrosia. Pat, you've still got one guy in your corner.