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Cultureshark is back [Jan. 2nd, 2002|01:43 am]
Cultureshark

ricob
Thanks for waiting for me this summer. Please follow me over to my new home at http://cultureshark.blogspot.com/

I'll have regular posts, new features, and cash prizes. Well, 2 out of 3 ain't bad, anyway. Hope to see you there, folks.
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Good-bye for now, folks [Jun. 6th, 2007|03:14 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
Yes, good-bye for now. As much as I enjoy providing whatever it is I provide here at Cultureshark, right now I'm not able to make this what it should be. Until I can create a Cultureshark that resembles what I envision, I'm going to take a sabbatical and figure out how to make it so. Hopefully sometime in the not-too-distant future, maybe a month or two, I'll bring this back, possibly in a different format, and I hope you'll be there with me.

For now, I'm going to think about restructuring the website, work on some longer-form writing, and try to forget how bad Spider-Man 3 was. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll check back in and see what I'm up to. Adios, amigos.
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10 SUMMER MOVIES I WANT TO SEE [May. 17th, 2007|11:38 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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10 SUMMER MOVIES I WANT TO SEE

It's time again for summer movies and of course summer movie hype. This year I'm surprised at how cold the crop of expected megahits leaves me. After examining the lineup, I came up with 10 I think will be worth paying for. Here's my list (in chronological order) and the reasons why I actually want to check them out.

PUSS IN BOOTS ADVENTURES (Friday): Also known by it's alternative title, Shrek the Third. Because we still haven't seen that direct to video Puss in Boots spinoff, this is our chance to get a fix of the most electrifying character in the Shrekiverse. Anything the big green guy or the talking donkey does is a bonus.

PIRATES OF THE CARRIBBEAN (May 25): Sure, the second installment had that trying-too-hard vibe, and it left us hanging with a so-called ending as abrupt as the "Who unplugged the record player" finish on Abbey Road's "I Want You." But it didn't suck, and I want to see how it all turns out.

Recently I sat through several big-time 2007 Summer O Fun trailers, and the only one that made me legitimately interested in the flick it was pimping, the only one that worked on its own merits without an emotional attachment to the franchise, was the one for Pirates 3. It offered fun, thrills, excitement--and it didn't even bother showing Keith Richards! I expect this will deliver where its predecessor didn't and end the trilogy on a high note.

MR. BROOKS (June 1): What can I say? I have an affection for that name. And who doesn't have an affection for Kevin Costner and William Hurt? OK, just about everyone in Hollywood. But Costner has been so willing to Act lately and so proud of this particular movie that I can't help but root for the guy. Meanwhile, Bill Hurt has been quietly (well, nothing quiet about him in History of Violence) turning in standout performances in everything he does lately, entertaining the hell out of me each time out.

That's two good reasons to support this one, and I haven't even mentioned the premise: Costner is a hitman who talks to his imaginary friend, played by Hurt.

LIVE FREE OR DIE HARD (June 27): I should know better. The fourth of anything is never totally successful. Studies even show that 83% of parents with 4 kids like their youngest the least. But enough time has passed since the third installment of this golden oldie that the franchise has almost come back around to feel fresh again. And unlike some other past-their-prime movie series, I WANT this one to be good. I just like the character.

Will the movie reward my goodwill? Sources tell me (translation: I read in Entertainment Weekly) that Bruce Willis himself picked Len Wiseman to direct after watching Underworld: Evolution. I didn't see Underworld: Evolution, but that was because the first one kind of stunk. What did Willis see that was of any value except Kate Beckinsale in leather? I really hope he's not planning on donning all black skintight duds and then having Wiseman's baby, because if that's what's in store June 27, I choose to Die Hard.

RATATOUILLE (June 29): A blockbuster animated feature starring...Patton Oswalt? As a rat? Well, no one can accuse Pixar of pandering. The trailer I've seen doesn't even look impressive. But, ah, back up to where I said "Pixar," and there you have the reason I expect an excellent movie. Patton Oswalt or no, Pixar movies are reliably funny and well-crafted, and when we start having to worry about them, then we're in real trouble as far as summer movies go.

HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX (July 13): I still haven't read any of the novels, but I have seen all the movies, and they are reliably solid entertainment. I know the wife is into this one, I certainly don't mind it, so--baM--one half of date night coming up. The only decision is steak or seafood after the movie.

HAIRSPRAY (July 20): I really don't know if I'll be able to take Travolta in drag, but if any movie this summer fails in spectacularly amusing fashion, it'll be Hairspray. Gigli wasn't amusingly terrible enough to earn its status as the "go-to" flick for snarky box office bomb references. This looks to me like a no-lose situation: Either it's fun, feel-good entertainment, or it's the Battlefield Earth of musicals.

THE SIMPSONS MOVIE (July 27) : This can't possibly be as good as I want it to be, and I think I'm almost to the point where I've been NOT watching the show as long as I watched it. Still, it's the Simpsons, man, and I will be there.

Besides, this offers the single coolest movie standee in the history of motion picture exhibition: The giant lobby display of the family on the couch. One of my local theaters has a sign next to theirs urging patrons to sit next to Homer and have their picture taken. I'm waiting to find a movie my wife and I can go to so she can take a snapshot for me. Because, you know, it would just be sad for a grown man to ask an usher to do that.

BOURNE ULTIMATUM (August 3): I'm sick of seeing the films in this series referred to as some variation of "the thinking man's action movie," and I almost wish they'd just go way over the top, Michael Bay style, and make a "dumb man's action movie" to see how the critics would respond. It's like it's OK to enjoy these Bourne films, and everyone is assuming the third one will also be acceptable. Truth is, I enjoy 'em, too. The second one wasn't perfect, and I question the need for another sequel, but there are worse ideas being brought to the big screen.

TALK TO ME (limited release beginning in July): We all need a solid, entertaining, sort of middlebrow movie that is only a Summer Movie because it happens to appear in the summer. It lets us feel like cultured filmgoers a cut above the popcorn and candy crowd. It has to be somewhat under the radar so that it's not endlessly hyped from January on, but not too obscure. After all, we have to be able to recommend it to our friends without forcing them to go to an arthouse cinema in Manhattan to track it down. They have to actually see it so they can gush about, well, not how brilliant the movie is, but how brilliant we are for telling them about it.

I have selected Talk to Me as this year's leading candidate. It's based in the sixties and based on a true story. Don Cheadle plays Petey Williams, a Washington D.C. ex-con turned DJ who shakes up the airwaves. I saw the trailer a few months ago and was suitably impressed. Maybe this can be "that" movie this summer.
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Great TV Cliches of the Past: A Room at the Y [May. 16th, 2007|10:59 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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Great TV Cliches of the Past: A Room at the Y

Recently I tuned in to an episode of I Love Lucy on TV Land, lured in by the false promise of a Mertz-centric episode. I'm not generally amused by Lucy, but if Fred's gonna be grunting his way through more one scene, lobbing insults at Ethel and sharing snide sexist remarks with Ricky, well, I'm gonna be there.

Unfortunately, the description in my TV listings, something like "The Mertzes have marital problems," wasn't exactly complete. Nor was it distinctive, either, of course; that kind of summary for this show is like describing a Honeymooners plot as "Norton irritates Ralph." Still, I hoped for more of those Not-so-Mirthful Mertzes than I got, and when Lucy butted her head into it early on, it became a Lucy and Ethel episode, as Ricky and Fred were pushed to the margins. Yawn.

However, one aspect of this show resonated with me. It was the early revelation that after his latest fight with Ethel, Fred had moved out and "was staying at the Y." This is one of the classic television conventions that needs to come back: characters spending a night or two at the YMCA while things cool down on the homefront.

OK. Get it out of your system now. Laugh it up. YMCA. Yep, I said it. Yep, Fred actually stayed there. Yes, characters in TV shows used to get rooms there all the time. Take a minute. Play the song. Get the image in your head. Seriously. Didn't forget the policeman, did you?

All right. Now stop snickering. We all know Fred Mertz was hetero even for the 1950s, possibly the most hetero decade of all time. Sure, he may have donned a hula skirt in the skit his Navy crew put on for the top brass, and he may have put a little rouge on to highlight the long curls and flowery dress he donned in his vaudeville days. But who DIDN'T?

No offense intended, but we need to, for lack of a better word, de-gay the concept of the YMCA. It's nearly impossible now because that infernal song is so catchy, but the fact is, there is a lot more to the YMCA than the, er, activities to which the Village People referred. Unfortunately, because that dubious classic is now firmly ingrained in the public consciousness, and will stay there as long as there continue to be basketball games and wedding receptions, we have lost a perfectly good sitcom plot device.

I always liked the idea of a man being so unable to communicate with his wife that instead of sitting down and talking something through, he packs a suitcase and heads for the local athletic club. It was not the most desirable course of action, but seemingly it was one of the only bits of leverage a harried sitcom hubby carried. Even when he didn't actually go there, the option was an implied threat. After all, if wifey was gonna continue to be unreasonable and insist that, say, her mother-in-law WAS staying here, and that's final, well, the man of the house could always go to the Y, and you know how embarrassing THAT would be.

Not to mention it would presumably be scary, boring, or otherwise disastrous for the poor lady of the house. If she didn't buckle under when the threat was announced, well, by golly, surely she would when she was cooped up in that empty house for a day or two.

At least, that's how the man saw it. The fact that it's an idiotic premise all around is what makes it so funny. Of course, when this happens to Lucy, she pretty much acts like a blithering idiot and confirms the idea that she is hopeless without a man around, but try to forget that for a second.

No sitcom writer could get away with having his lead character, or anyone of consequence, declare he was heading to the YMCA, unless there was an acknowledgment of the gay angle. I don't even know if you CAN stay overnight at the Y just because you had a fight with your spouse, but my ignorance is all the more reason to make it a plot point. I wouldn't bother to fact-check. I'd just enjoy the tried-and-true humor of the concept. It would be too much of a distraction nowadays, though, and that's a significant loss to the already-declining world of television situation comedy.
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A Very Special Post--Happy Birthday, Nadia! [May. 15th, 2007|11:32 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
A Very Special Post

Today's post is all about my wife. See, it was her birthday a few weeks ago, but since it's a special birthday and since she is special to me every day of the year, I want to give her a shout-out today.

Without Mrs. Shark by my side, not only would I not be able to complete my posts for this website, I would barely be able to function on a day-to-day basis. She is, quite simply, the best thing that's ever happened to me, and each day I'm grateful I was lucky enough to end up with her.

Oh, yes, Mrs. Shark does have a real name of her own--Nadia--and so, let me say again, Happy Birthday, Nadia! I love you!
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Backstage Ass: Rocky Revisited, Evigan, Taxi, Movies [May. 14th, 2007|02:58 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
Backstage Ass: Rocky Revisited, Evigan, Taxi, Movies

*I've been watching the Rocky movies in preparation for renting Rocky Balboa soon. How lame is that? I didn't prepare that much for my SATs. Even lamer, though, is some of the stuff in Rocky IV or Rocky V.

I forgot about the robot that Mr. Balboa gives Paulie as a birthday present. It's not enough that the movie features Commies, multiple training montages, and "No Easy Way Out" on the soundtrack; no at some point the writer or director decided it needed MORE cheese. Enter robot.

I had never seen Rocky V until recently. Oh, how I now envy my pre-recently self. I must have successfully blocked out the fact that [SPOILER ALERT] the climactic fight doesn't even take place in a ring, but in the streets. So I was able to absorb that colossally misguided finale with fresh eyes. What was Stallone thinking? If he thought fans didn't want to see the character in the ring again, then why make the movie?

Strangely, seeing Rocky V makes me more accepting of the sixth film because now I can totally understand why Stallone couldn't let his baby go out like that.

*Am I the only one who pumped a fist and exclaimed something like, "Whoo-hoo!" when Greg Evigan showed up on Desperate Housewives last week? I hope it's a recurring role, and my ironic Evigan fandom is so long-lasting that I don't even know if it's still ironic. I only wish he sang on the show. That would have made it a perfect return.

*One of the coolest and most frustrating aspects of the TV Land Awards is the attention given to older shows that aren't commonly seen in reruns anymore. It's great to see Family Affair get even miniscule props, but it's disappointing that we're more likely to see a live Janet Jackson concert on TV Land.

Similarly, good for the network for reassembling the cast of Taxi and giving the show a token award, but where can anyone see it these days? Here's hoping the publicity helps spur more DVD releases of the classic sitcom, which is now stuck at 3 out of 5 seasons in the bag.

*Talk about a weak weekend in movies. Does anyone want to challenge Spidey and Shrek? Friday gave us a Larry the Cable Guy vehicle, yet another zombie movie, what seems like yet another Zach Braff movie, and a DOA chick flick most notable for being the one on which Lindsay Lohan got chewed out. Why bother?
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THIS WEEK IN DVD [May. 10th, 2007|10:58 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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THIS WEEK IN DVD

MUSIC AND LYRICS: Face it, the little videos with Hugh Grant as an 80s pop singer might be amusing, but nothing in this film can be as funny as People naming Drew Barrymore the most beautiful person in the world.

THE PAINTED VEIL: Go figure. This movie based on the Maugham novel really looked like homework when it was released theatrically, and it still does. But the idea of seeing the Greta Garbo version of the same story is much more appealing. Maybe I AM biased in favor of black and white and anything that can be called "classic." Or maybe the modern version is as dull as many said it was.

CATCH AND RELEASE: Sad to say, but Kevin Smith in the "nonthreatening male confidante" role looks much more interesting than does the star of this romantic comedy, Jennifer Garner. He has more screen presence, at least in his own movies. As for Garner, well, I wish her continued happiness as a wife and mother, and she'll always be a hit at sci-fi conventions.

BECAUSE I SAID SO: Hey, what's up with all these chick flicks this week? Is there some kind of National Ladies Day coming up or something? Well, if there was, I wouldn't insult the special woman in my life by giving her the latest lame Diane Keaton movie.

DONNIE BRASCO: UMPTEENTH FUGEDDABOUTIT THIS TIME WE REALLY MEAN IT EDITION: I'm kidding about the title. I love this movie, and even I'm sick of Universal re-releasing it in "special editions."

THE CAINE MUTINY: COLLECTOR'S EDITION: There are a ton of double-dips this week, most of them likely rather unnecessary (Anyone up for the Mrs. Doubtfire Behind-the-Seams edition?), but this one could be an exception. Columbia classics DVDs are too expensive compared to the efforts from other studios, but a new transfer and significant extras might tempt me to upgrade on this one. The colors in said transfer look a little off from screenshots I've seen, but the original DVD I own was practically bare bones, and I'd like to check out the commentary on this one. It's a great movie, at least, and more worthy of a second release than many other repeat offenders this week.

THAT THING YOU DO: DIRECTOR'S CUT: One would think that director/producer Tom Hanks would be all over this special edition of his baby, this charming homage to mid-60s music and culture. One would be wrong because Hanks doesn't participate in the new extras, at least not according to the excellent review at http://www.dvdmg.com/thatthingyoudodc.shtml

TUCKER STRIKES AGAIN: Finally, we here at This Week in DVD like to pick on Ken Tucker, and we'll do it again. In the current Entertainment Weekly, he gives a take on the new Best of Ozzie and Harriet set from Shout Factory. It's not a bad piece, but it completely neglects the worst aspect of this release: it features syndicated versions, 22-minute butcher jobs missing at least 4-5 minutes of footage per episode. Shout has a good reputation, and many fans assumed that since they teamed up with the Nelson estate to issue this DVD collection, it would feature intact shows. It's all well and good for Ken Tucker to share with readers his vision of the TV show, but many fans who would actually want to buy the DVD are interested in that sort of thing and are disappointed by the set. It's particularly frustrating because Mill Creek just out a 38-episode set with many complete episodes including original commercials. But EW doesn't mention that.

Granted, The Tuck gets very little space to do his reviews, but still, EW needs to get on the ball and make disclosing issues with TV on DVD sets a priority, especially when it involves cut versions of shows. The mag is more proactive about bitching about full-screen-only DVDs on movies, so why do they neglect this issue? It lets lazy studios off the hook and keeps interested consumers in the dark. Entertainment Weekly's DVD reviews are indeed entertaining, but until they address this sort of thing more often, they will be of little use. You have to go online to get the whole story. In fact, check out this review at DVD Talk if you're interested in Ozzie and Harriet.

http://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/read.php?ID=27788

Paul Mavis writes one of the best TV on DVD reviews I've ever seen, placing the show in context, addressing technical issues and extras, and admitting his own biases where appropriate. Maybe Tucker would do this kind of thing if he had the space, but he ought to give it a shot as it is.
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5Q Movie Review: Hot Fuzz [May. 7th, 2007|11:21 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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5Q MOVIE REVIEW: HOT FUZZ

Q: Hot Fuzz is from the same team that brought us Shaun of the Dead. It can't possibly be as good, can it?
A: Uh, no, it can't. But Hot Fuzz is plenty good in its own right, and while it is flawed, it may well become the kind of enduring cult classic that holds up to repeated viewings. If you liked Shaun of the Dead, you'll get your money's worth here.

Q: So is this a comedy? An action flick? A sendup? A loving tribute?
A: Stop! You're both right! This buddy cop movie is filled with laughs, and it does poke fun at the conventions of flicks it refers to, like Bad Boys. But, like in their zombie comedy, they never degenerate into an all-out spoof, and in fact it's clear they revere the source material. In fact, they don't feel superior to dumb action movies. They want to become a dumb action movie.

Unfortunately, they succeed all too well in that regard. Hot Fuzz is about 20 minutes too long, and that's mainly because it really does become what it is joking about at some point. There are false endings, ridiculous amounts of violence, and an excessive amount of hyperactive editing. Excess really sums it up, actually.

Q: Wait a minute, there is a plot?
A: Oh, yeah. This is not a loosey-goosey totally zany improv fest, but an actual movie. There is a real story, with character development and all. The heart that is invested in the screenplay really pays off, as you laugh but you also truly care about the people you're watching. As for the mystery, the joy is not in the Who Done It of the How Done It, but the Why Done It, which is hilariously satisfying.

Q: Is it just me, or is there an outstanding supporting cast here?
A: There is, indeed. At one point, it really seemed possible that every single cool actor of British descent would show up for at least a cameo. That isn't the case--Ricky Gervais, for one, is absent--but there are plenty of other rewards here. I don't want to give them all away, but there are faces familiar from movies, faces familiar from British TV, and faces familiar from Shaun of the Dead. And in a key role as a possible villain, Timothy Dalton is a lot of fun. Timothy Dalton is a lot of fun! People didn't even say that when he was James Freakin' Bond.

Q: Will you be looking forward to more from these guys, or are they starting to repeat themselves?
A: I will absolutely look forward to each film these guys want to give us, and I will pay my ticket and see it in the theater. This one didn't have as many high points as Shaun of the Dead, but it was consistently funny, and it worked in its own way. Critically, the chemistry between co-stars Simon Pegg and Nick Frost is equally strong this time out, and though there are similarities with their previous characters, these two new roles are distinctive. I never felt they were repeating themselves.
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CALL TO ACTION: VAN HAGAR [May. 4th, 2007|09:40 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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CALL TO ACTION: Van Hagar

As lame as this year's Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony was and as unimpressive as the makeshift group of Van Halen representatives fronted by Sammy Hagar was, seeing the ceremony did make me wish I had a little more Van Hagar on CD. Like, any. I never got around to buying 5150 or OU812 on compact disc, though Lord knows I heard enough of the former back in the day and have the latter on a cassette tape somewhere in the far reaches of the Cultureshark Archives.

You know what, though? I don't think I NEED 5150 and OU812. I want the hits, including songs like "Love Walks In" and "Why Can't This Be Love?" but I recall some filler on those albums. What I need is a good greatest hits that features the best of those (and I really don't need to buy For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge, which I never liked in the first place).

A better Best of Van Halen Lee Roth is welcome but not essential, as we should really be just buying those individual albums. The Van Hagar area, though, while loaded with high points, didn't feature whole discs that were as consistent. Isn't that sort of phenomena the reason why the concept of Greatest Hits was invented?

Well, no, I think the concept was created to get people to repurchase songs they had already bought. Creatively speaking, though, there is a need for Greatest Hits albums in many cases. I want my 38 Special singles but don't necessarily need the whole LPs, and while I doubt any of those guys will join Sammy in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they all share something in common because there really oughta be a Best of Van Hagar on my shelf.

Only problem is, there is no such thing. A while back, someone had the insane idea of combining the David Lee Roth era with the Van Hagar era in one greatest hits package--and alternating between the two song to song! I prefer my two Van Halens kept separate and distinct, thank you, and I'll not be picking that one up. I prefer the third Van Halen, with Gary Cherone, placed in an incinerator, never to be spoken of again. But I'm straying off topic.

No, what we need is a Best of Van Hagar collection without any David Lee Roth or {snicker) Gary Cherone. Sure the band (or what's left of it) and Mr. Cabo Wabo may not be on great terms, but Eddie could throw him a bone for being gracious enough to go to the HOF ceremony and accept with class. More importantly, the fans deserve this. Make it happen, folks, by demanding it.

They can even title it with a patented snicker-inducing acronym. I volunteer this one for free:

Best of Van Halen: Sammy Hagar's Inimitable Tracks.
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YEAHS AND NAHS: Pop Culture List Books [May. 4th, 2007|09:31 pm]
Cultureshark

ricob
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YEAHS AND NAHS: Pop Culture List Books

Pop culture lists are not just the basic building block for 80% of the combined programming schedules of VH-1 and E. They're fun, easily digestible, and provocative. A good list book should be the same. I read two in the last month, one a big success, the other not so much

NAH: TELEVISION WITHOUT PITY

Many of you who have missed an episode of your favorite TV show likely have turned to the site televisionwithoutpity.com to get a detailed recap. Or maybe you just enjoyed visiting the forums to exchange opinions about the show. Well, the website with a proud reputation for snark has found a way to cash in on its online cachet by producing that charming relic of bygone days: a book.

Authors Tara Ariano and Sarah D. Bunting started the site and created this book of the same name, subtitled "752 things we love to hate (and hate to love) about TV." Pretty self-explanatory, eh? Indeed, it plays out much as you might expect, with the 752 things arranged alphabetically with occasional woodcut illustrations, sort of like a mini-encyclopedia.

I'm not a frequent visitor to the site, so I can't speak to whether this book captures whatever makes the Internet experience so appealing. But as simply a book about TV, though, I find it rather disappointing. I generally love breezy, opinionated volumes like this one, with bite-sized sections and various takes on pop culture topics. Unfortunately, while it wasn't a chore reading Television Without Pity, I was never absorbed in it and ultimately got little from reading it.

The limited frame of reference is part of the problem. There is a clear emphasis on TV from the late 1980s and up, or programming that was in heavy reruns in the time period. That's fine, and not surprising given the likely age of the authors. But I saw most of that stuff myself. For me to get much out of that subject matter, the writing should offer some high insight or entertainment value, and it's lacking. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume their assertion (in an I Love Lucy entry) that black and white TV isn't funny is facetious. But there is still a distinctly narrow scope here. I enjoy reading about aspects of TV I don't know much about, and when the subject matter is more familiar, I expect a new take on, say, how lame Cousin Oliver was. A book called TV Land TV to Go did a much better job of pointing out the medium's conventions and cliches.

Also, the encyclopedic format quickly becomes annoying as we find frequently pointless cross-references and entries that consist solely of directing us to another entry. Another flaw is the repetition of the authors' pet obsessions. They clearly think Regis Philbin doesn't prepare for interviews on his morning chat show. It feels like they mention it dozens of times. I exaggerate, but more than once is probably too much. And there are way, way too many references to Lex from Survivor.

One might argue a book like this isn't meant to be read straight through, but I say that when I read a good one, it's difficult to put it down. Sadly, that's not the case here. It's a small book that I read quickly, but more out of obligation than interest. One unique aspect of TV Without Pity is its female perspective. While I don't necessarily NEED to read about the sex appeal or lack thereof of Ian Ziering, it at least provides a new perspective for me, as much of this kind of writing seems to come from male voices. This helps give the book distinction, but not enough to make this slim, padded effort worth its cover price. It might be an entertaining read at a discount for those who have seen a lot less TV (and read a lot less about it) than I have.

YEAH: A much better example of this kind of book is Greg Wyshinki's "Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer: The 101 Dumbest Ideas in Sports History." It's witty but never too silly and provocative without being overly snarky.

Oddly, this list book isn't presented entirely in list form. The top 25 are given as a countdown in the final portion of the volume; before then, the entries are grouped thematically. This seems a good compromise between the logical flow of a book and the orderly randomness of a ranking. Hey,one advantage is that it lets you skip over the hockey parts if you're so inclined. Besides, the list isn't the emphasis, and it needn't be as long as the writing is clever.

There is more of a bias towards relatively modern events and ideas here, but Wyshinski shows a grasp of sports history beyond his own personal frame of reference. He includes plenty of familiar and expected items, like the infamous Olympic Triplecast and the XFL, but his concise writing and sharp humor make reading about such subjects worthwhile.

This was a fine list book that I plowed right through, and any sports fan will get some value from it.
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