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Spoiler Alert Thursday: Sajak vs. Trebeck

I note with interest that this coming Friday is yet another edition of “Celebrity Jeopardy.” As I understand it, Pat Sajak will be one of the “celebrities” contesting for god-know’s-what title. This presents an opportunity to pose a question that has long bothered me; viz., who is more annoying–Alex Trebeck or Pat Sajak? Overall, I find Sajak to be somewhat of a douche, especially during the final thought scene with Vanna White. He is usually rather condescending to her and other borderline sexist. Trebeck, on the other hand, comes across as a know-it-all douche. Of course, he only “knows it all” because he has the answers right in front of him, but don’t let that fool you: he’ll still act very superior when you get the answer wrong or, heaven forbid, mispronounce a word. It’s a tough one to call.

Otherwise, TV remains rather dead, caught between the December break and the Olympics. I won’t bother to comment on the Leno vs. Conan vs. NBC affair given that it is clear that no one watches late night TV except when they want to support a white hero (i.e., Conan). Speaking of white people, I glanced occasionally at the screen last night while “Life Unexpected” was on. As far as I can tell, this is a white person’s fairy tale. I’m not sure what to make of the fact that the actress who plays the mother is thirty-one “IRL” while the actress who plays the daughter “IRL” is nineteen. The mathematics don’t work out well. Either this one will go the route of “Gilmore Girls” and be on forever or it will quickly disappear. Given that it is The CW, I gather it will be on forever (c.f., “One Tree Hill” and “Smallville”).

In terms of other new shows, “Human Target” was worse than to be expected. This should ensure a long and successful run for the show. Brad Chase is hilarious. Not because he is a great comedic actor or because the scripts are wonderful, but because he is “Brad Chase, kung fu and munitions expert.” It is clear that Chi McBride will never live up to the level of “Let’s Go to Prison” (which remains the best social and political commentary on the carceral system to date). Jackie Earle Hayley’s character, Gurrero, is by far the best part of the show. Unrelated: we watched “Watchmen” on the weekend. I didn’t understand a single minute of it (what does the fact that the lady superhero is the illegitimate daughter of Jeffrey Dean Morgan have to do with anything?), but I enjoyed Rorschach as a character. The guy who flew the silly spaceship was dumb as was the founder of the Blue Man Group.

“Chuck” remains unwatchable and based upon the description of the episode, I fear tonight’s “Office” is a “clips show.” However, “Supernatural” begins again tonight and that is always a good thing.

Confession: while I promised to watch “30 Rock” last week due to James Franco’s guest appearance, the thought of actually watching that show made me feel sick. Consequently, I didn’t get to see Franco on “30 Rock.”


January 21, 2010 - Posted by | Spoiler Alert Thursdays


  1. I used to watch 30 Rock and laugh. After a while, I realized I was expecting lines to be funny more than actually finding them funny.

    Did anybody ever watch Dead Like Me? I know the show’s creator ended up parting ways because of creative differences, but I borrowed the second season and I’m finding the breaking of all the rules they set up in the first season frustrating.

    Example. In the first season, whenever the main character looked in the mirror, her reflection looked like a homely girl. In the second season, a fair amount of plots are devoted to how cute she is to others and they never show her reflection. Are we just supposed to forget how she was supposed to appear to the non-dead world? Sorry to take up so much space talking about a show that was canceled more than five years ago.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | January 21, 2010

  2. at least among my group of friends, Conan’s show was very, very popular in college when none of us had to get up for work the next day. Leno was, at least back then, desperately unfunny. It’s true none of us watch late-night anymore (I haven’t watched in years), but the memory of Conan being funny and Jay being so very not, not, not funny persists–hence the support for Conan. Oh yeah, and we all yearn, like really super-hard, for a white hero.

    Honestly, Craig, given your historic nth-degree contrarianism I would have expected a more impassioned defense of Jay Leno, or maybe the Magic Hour. Color me disappointed.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | January 21, 2010

  3. My belief is that Leno is also white.

    I would certainly watch this show if I had a television and was up late enough.

    Comment by ben | January 21, 2010

  4. I mean, it’s not often that a show opens with a joke based on articulatory phonetics.

    Comment by ben | January 21, 2010

  5. My apologies, Michael. Even I don’t hate myself enough to watch Letterman, Conan, Leno or those guys who are on even later than him like Carson Daly or that guy with the dark hair. (It conflicts with time-shifting as well.) On the topic of shows that you’re surprised “they’re still making those!?” (e.g., Carson Daly), I’d like to nominate “House” (which I only realized still existed with Adam’s comment on last week’s post), “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Ugly Betty.”

    I note, with regret, that Kanya has not been invited to participate in tomorrow’s “Hollywood liberals save the world by getting people with a whole lot less money than them to give it up” event. The consequence of this is, as one might imagine, tragic leaving us all to wonder, “Just what would he have said?” (I was hoping for “Barack Obama hates black people,” but that might be too obvious.)

    Comment by Craig | January 21, 2010

  6. For me, the Jay Leno vs. Conan thing is fundamentally an example of the general “shit rises to the top” phenomenon that so galls people who, like me, believe at a gut level in meritocracy despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 21, 2010

  7. With a $45 million severance package for producing a show no one watches, Conan is, essentially, a financier.

    Comment by Craig | January 21, 2010

  8. The radio ad for Life Unexpected makes the show sound totally unappealing. “Juno meets Gilmore Girls“? Yikes. I don’t know what to expect other than teen pregnancy and unbearably cutesy dialogue. And anyway, based on the ad’s description of the premise, Life Unexpected sounds more like a cross between Punky Brewster and My Two Dads. Actually that’s not such a bad thing.

    Comment by jms | January 21, 2010

  9. Oh, re: “Life Unexpected”–I forgot one essential detail. It takes place in Portland. It cannot be anything other than a white person’s fairy tale. However, there is one upside: Kerr Smith of “the gay guy from “Dawson’s Creek” fame.”

    Comment by Craig | January 21, 2010

  10. I’m convinced I’m going to learn someday soon that new episodes of “Wings” are still being produced–it remains the outstanding example of the “that show’s still on ?!” phenomenon.

    Comment by Michael Schaefer | January 21, 2010

  11. I competed on Jeopardy and got to watch about eight shows tape from the stands. During commercial breaks, Alex interacts with the studio audience. “Ask me anything,” he says to the family and friends of contestants and the people who show up to watch. One little old lady said, “If you competed on the show, how do you think you would do?” Alex: “Against you?”

    He also at one point leaned back in his director’s chair and announced that he was putting a wine cellar in his home and would anybody like a spiral staircase?

    Comment by K-sky | January 21, 2010

  12. I enjoyed the Chloe-vs-Starbuck “who’s the surliest” contest on 24, but the rest of the show was aggravatingly stupid, even by it’s own standards.

    Surely the late-night white guy of choice is Craig Ferguson.

    Comment by voyou | January 21, 2010

  13. I managed to avoid starting this season of 24. (Praise YHWH.)

    I just wanted to note that Community is shaping up to be a pretty decent show, while Parks & Recreation is like a duller version of The Office.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 21, 2010

  14. I mean, I watched an episode of P&R where someone got shot, and I was still bored.

    Comment by Adam Kotsko | January 21, 2010

  15. 12 see 3. He gets my vote.

    Comment by ben | January 21, 2010

  16. Of Trebek and Sajak, only one of them writes a column for World Net Daily. Obviously he is the more annoying one, by leaps and bounds.

    Comment by oudemia | January 22, 2010

  17. I feel that the Conan/Leno rage is as much about righteous loathing of Leno as it is about any fondness for Conan. Leno is like an entertainment zombie, shuffling aimlessly from one dead foot to another, mindlessly consuming anything in its path, a poisonous abomination before God and man. Kick him off his show, he staggers back into prime time; let his prime time show fail, he shambles, groaning, back to late night. No power on earth or hell can stop the unholy march of Jaywalking.

    That unicorn clip really warms the cockles of my heart.

    Comment by stras | January 22, 2010

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