Friday, June 3

Cheers and Jeers

Cheers go out to Anurag Kashyap (above), winner of the 2005 National Spelling Bee, ESPN for carrying it, and my Poor Wife for taping the thing for me. And to the rest of the endearingly quirky young scholars who make the thing so damned entertaining.

And a Jeer to me, for actually, consciously tuning in some Where Are They Now Battle of the Bands piece of crap on NBC. Once or twice a year something like this comes over me, and I say, well, I'll tune in. It's going to be a huge reeking turd, but maybe it could actually be interesting. It's not like I don't realize that interesting would require ten minutes' thought and that's not in the budget. And, I tell myself, if it's really awful I'm going to wallow in its awfultude, knowing full well it'll never be that kind of awful. Just grindingly stupid.

It had some promise courtesy the set design, because the "artists" first appeared at the top of two stories worth of steps which looked to be pitched at about seventy degrees, a jesus-brilliant idea with geriatric has-been performers who might be tempted by the possibilities of a lawsuit or even a spectacular televised suicide, but no such luck this week. Yeah, this week. Turns out it's a limited series or something. They were just trying to hook me putting Wang Chung in the promos.

First up was Loverboy recreating what passed for a hit in those days. Two things. First, I have no idea who the members of Loverboy were, or how many there were, or what they looked like. Spandex and headbands is all I remember. And this is the level of interest the show wishes to sustain. I'm pretty sure that was the original singer, but the rest of the band could have been made up of stagehands, for all I know. Nobody was introduced, at least during that part of the show before I had a seizure.

Second, I'm just guessing here, but I'll give odds that even in what for want of a satisfactory word in English must be described as the "height" of Loverboy's "popularity" their audience was not composed of hot chicks wearing satin peignoirs. None of these young nubiles was even born when any of the performers flashed across our national consciousness, yet they seemed, like, totally into every last one of them. I guess that explains where the budget went.

The announcer, who was chosen because his accent remained on this side of indecipherable and for his edgy refusal to comb his hair even before appearing on national teevee, actually asked the singer, "What inspired the song 'Working for the Weekend'?" Swear to God. What I wouldn't give for such an opportunity. "What's the matter with you, you never read Proust? It was inspired by Swann's Way, you honking twit."

I made it through Ce Ce Peniston demonstrating why she disappeared in the first place, and watched long enough to confirm that A Flock of Seagulls did not have any problems with the stairs. A Flock of Seagulls should not even be allowed into this country, and no one should ever, ever be famous for a haircut. I had to leave before Arrested Development turned up. They could have been contenders. It wasn't the good kind of bad.


Anonymous said...

Wow. Now *that's* good curmudgeon.
Rock on, tiny spellers, but yes, the housemates watched the NBC thing like they were expecting an alien invasion to break out, and in the words of Futurama's Leela, "This Wangs Chung."
And then, then there was an hour of The Dan Band on Bravo.
These kids today. These are the same housemates who said "Who?" when I got an Andres Segovia collection.

Anonymous said...

i watched the first charlie's angels movie on abc instead.

the opening scene was so outrageously out there that i laughted with pleasure.

someone once said about the movie "ivory-merchant it ain't," but i bet it would've been a better choice than the nbc has-been bands.

Anonymous said...

I had an even better choice: 99 cent drafts at the local bar.

Anonymous said...

I always assumed "Working for the Weekend" was inspired by Finnegan's Wake. The erudite musings, the merging of several languages, the unexpected humor, the reflection of universal experiences ...

Or maybe that's just me.