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Monday, March 31, 2008

Talk about a big "Deal'' -- Bay Park braces for the masses

And here we thought folks got kind of crazy when Johnny Depp showed up in Wisconsin and started looking for movie extras for "Public Enemies.''

It turns out a "Deal or No Deal'' stop in Titletown -- one without Howie Mandel or even the briefcase-toting beauties -- is also a pretty big, uh, deal

Fans of the NBC game show are all whipped up for Wednesday's open casting call for contestants at Bay Park Square mall in Ashwaubenon, where the show's casting crew is expecting thousands to turn out. Previous calls in other cities have brought out 7,000, 8,000, 12,000, -- you get the idea. In other words, you'll have plenty of people to talk to about how you'd spend the million if you bagged the top prize on the show.

The mall has been getting slammed with phone calls from people wanting more info, so here are the latest details for those of you making the haul from near and far for a shot at $1 million:

You must be at least 18 years old and a legal U.S. resident.

People will be asked to line up at the mall’s east entrance, next to Younkers.

People will be allowed to line up no earlier than 8 a.m.

The casting call is from 1 to 4 p.m. People who are in line by 4 p.m. are guaranteed to be seen by a member of the casting staff, but the line will close promptly at 4 p.m.

Each person will get time -- but only about 30 seconds -- with a member of the casting crew to make a lasting impression.

Casting director Luke Conklin discourages gimmicks, like costumes, props and big cardboard signs (save those for Packers games at Lambeau Field or Tuesday night's Carrie Underwood concert).

"You want to be on this show? Just be yourself,'' Conklin told the Press-Gazette in an interview last week. "I'm asking you to take 30 seconds and tell me about yourself and talk to me like a friend.

"Don't tell us you like the show. Tell us something interesting or unique about yourself,'' he said.

Casting scouts are looking for "energetic, charismatic and outgoing individuals who can think quickly on their feet.'' If you've ever watched a contestant risk a $447,000 offer from The Banker in favor of bigger bucks, you know guts and emotion count, too.

"Passion is the No. 1 thing I look for when I want to put people on the show,'' Conklin said. "It's a feel-good show. … You ultimately want someone America can root for.''

Everyone will be asked to fill out an application. Forms will be handed out at the casting call, or you can download a copy at and bring it with you. Judging by the questions, you might want to get a look at it ahead of time so you can think about your answers. Among the questions:

What is the most interesting thing about you that strangers can't tell just by looking at you?

What is the next milestone in your life?

What is the most outrageous thing you've ever done?

What was the luckiest moment in your life?

Do you think bald is beautiful?

OK, OK, so we made that last one up. Just kiddin', Howie.

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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Drink a cup of tea, watch "Sense and Sensibility"

Confession time: Sometimes I pretend I'm in a 19th century British novel by drinking tea and proclaiming that "Mr. Darcy will be here shortly" to no one but myself.

Anyway, if you’re sick of college basketball (how could you be?) or you have TiVO/DVR/fancy recording system, you should take some time out this Sunday night to watch the Masterpiece Theater version of Jane Austen's "Sense and Sensibility" on PBS (the first part airs at 8 p.m.).

"Masterpiece Theater" isn't everyone’s cup of tea. But in our oversexed, overindulgent, over-the-top television world, it's occasionally nice to retract into the comforts offered by 19th century Regency England with all its pomp and ruffles. Minus the rotting teeth and lack of deodorant, of course. This version of S&S - not to be confused with the excellent Emma Thompson-Kate Winslet movie from 1995 - is written by the equally excellent Andrew Davies, who was responsible for launching a newfound Darcy-mania with his six-hour BBC version of "Pride and Prejudice."

Although Mo Ryan of the Chicago Tribune laments that this version doesn't have the snap and crackle of the movie, I'm willing to give it a shot simply because Davies (a former English professor) is brilliant at making Austen's words come to life in a compelling way. How else can you explain the legion of faithful Austenites? (Jane-ites, whatever "we're" calling ourselves these days). You probably haven't cracked open a Austen novel since that horrible English teacher in high school forced you to, but if there's anything Austen knew, it's how people and relationships work. And that's timeless.

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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Friday, March 28, 2008

Musical March Madness: The Final Four

"The Facts of Life" is, well ... dead.

They're creepy and they're kooky ... and they're disqualified.

"Hill Street Blues" should've been more careful out there.

We're down the Final Four in Musical March Madness, and for the love of Cliff Clavin, can no one stop the "Cheers" juggernaut? The Sam Malone Machine has mowed down competitor after competitor, making mincemeat of them all. Perhaps it's been our fault for matching them against weak competition. But heck, if "Friends" could only muster one vote against this behemoth from Boston, what would have fared better?

Actually, that's a good question. Can you, dear readers, think of any themes we may have overlooked in our TV-theme showdown that might have given "Where Everybody Knows Your Name" a run for its money? "The Muppet Show" is set to unleash some furry fury in this bracket, but there must be more classics out there that we forgot about, and that could knock the toupee right off Ted Danson's head. Give us your suggestions in the Comments field, but not before you...


Match-Up 1: "Batman"

Vs. "Mission: Impossible"

Match-Up 2: "The Muppet Show"

Vs. "Cheers"

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Our 200th post: Thank you for making our dreams come true ...

"Give us any chance, we'll take it. Give us any rule, we'll break it. We're gonna make our dreams come true. Doin' it our way."

And what was that about "shlemeel, shlemazel, hossenfeffer incorporated?"

Reaching 200 posts seems like a milestone worth celebrating "Laverne and Shirley"-style, don't you think? Especially since we're lovin' this blog like Lenny and Squiggy love Bosco.

We'd like to sincerely thank everyone who has been reading our TV-related rants and raves these past few months -- and the numbers keep growing! -- especially those who have left comments or sent e-mails inquiring about certain posts we've written. A few more every now and then would certainly make this Internet excursion that much more fun, but frankly, we don't need extra incentive to keep doing what we're doing.

We feel strongly that our little corner of the Press-Gazette Web page provides a nice pop culture alternative to what appears in print, but honestly, we're pretty selfish in just wanting to write about everything from "The Wire" to "Saved by the Bell" to whatever random crappy reality show is bugging us today. And we promise that we won't be demanding online residuals from our bosses anytime soon ... well, at least not until summer hiatus.

-- The Channel Surfing staff
(See our photos at right. We're a pretty good-looking bunch.)


Day after "Lost" ramblings

I love "Lost." You love "Lost." Let's dive right into the weekly tra ... oh, dude. Bummer.

Hey, just because "Lost" isn't back until April 24 doesn't mean we all have to go into hibernation! In the interest of trying to figure out just what the heck is going on with the show -- and maybe to answer the question about why Locke still has hair if the island is located in some past loop of button-pressing madness -- I thought it'd be wise to watch "The Man Behind the Curtain" on the "Lost" Season Three DVD. In case you're having Faraday-like memory lapses, that's the episode that brought young Ben Linus to the island for the first time. A second viewing had to bring about some type of clarity, right?


What we already knew:

"Lost" pulls a classic switcheroo by making us think Emily is giving birth on the island. But the camera catches a sign that reads "32 miles: Portland" before Roger flags down a car and Emily christens her child Ben.

What struck me on second viewing:

Not sure why this would be significant, but it seemed to me that Emily really wanted her baby boy to have the name Ben. Also, I never matched this up the first time around, but Horace Goodspeed -- the man who stops his car to help Emily and Roger -- is the same guy who helped bring Ben and his father to the island. It's stated outright that Horace gave struggling Roger work through Dharma, but only now did it hit me that Mr. Goodspeed is going to have a much bigger role to play. I attribute that to the drama of Emily dying shortly after childbirth, and the viewer not being in a position to care about Horace getting out of his car.

What we already knew:

Schoolgirl Annie takes an immediate shine to Ben -- the boy who doesn't speak much (and kinda looks like the youngest lad from "Home Improvement.") In a classroom scene, Ben is instructed to "get into position" as a siren blares and the windows start to rumble because of "the Hostiles." Roger mentions an intense shootout while yelling at Horace about collecting "hazard pay" for his job, which leads to a confused Ben seeing his dead mother on the island for the first time.

For his birthday, Annie gives Ben two handmade dolls in their likeness so they "never have to be apart." Ben still cherishes these as an adult. Back in the past, beer-soaked Roger informs Ben that it's hard to celebrate the boy's birthday since it also marks the death of his wife/Ben's mom. His crass response leads a shattered Ben to storm out of the house and run wildly towards the sonar fence that protects the New Otherton compound. This marks the second time Ben sees his dead mother -- who looks very "Alice in Wonderland" like -- in the distance. She informs him that, "it's not time yet."

What struck me on second viewing:

Probably one of the richest sequences in "Lost" history. We're introduced to the enigma that is Annie and her immediate attraction to Ben. It doesn't really come across as puppy love, but rather, something much more intimate. Annie has yet to return in any future form, and her status -- at least to me -- remains uncertain following the Dharma purge. We also get some delicious seed planting on the part of Roger courtesy of his broken relationship with Ben. It certainly fits the theme of "daddy issues" among the island dwellers.

Roger seems like collateral damage at this point, and not a principal player in bringing Ben into the island's mystical fold. On the other hand, it would appear Dead Emily practically summoned Ben to the island for the purpose of leading a coalition. Also intriguing, in her jungle scene, Emily looks almost exactly like Juliet. This could echo the statement from Harper in Juliet's Season Four flashback about how she "looks just like HER" -- meaning someone close to Ben. Anyone read Oedipus Rex lately? Will Ben be gouging out his eyes in no time?

What we already knew:

A defiant Ben enters the jungle and brings a white rabbit (another "Alice" allusion) to test the force field fence. While in the jungle, he begins to hear the unexplainable whispers. Looking kinda like Pigpen from "Peanuts," a disheveled Richard Alpert appears, and immediately causes a double-take because he looks to be the EXACT same age as he does now (some 30 years later) even though Ben is a boy. This leads to a deal being struck, and Ben being very patient before the planned Dharma purge (including the death of Roger) that eventually makes Mr. Linus leader of "the Others."

What struck me on second viewing:

Again, Alpert is a scene stealer. So little is known about his role, but he obviously precedes Ben on the island, is a member of the so-called "Hostiles," and doesn't age. Key line from Ben that could support a continual time loop: "You do remember birthdays, don't you Richard?"

Time, people, time! But why does Ben get older and not Richard if it's about the island being "stuck." OK, I'm clueless on this one, folks, unless Richard's time travel capabilities/seeming immortality/Ponce de Leon fountain dipping will later be adequately explained. The man really needs a flashback; he's such a huge piece of the puzzle. But beyond that, it could be that no one is celebrating birthdays on the island because time is not passing according to the yearly calendar.

What we already knew:

Locke beats the snot out of Mikhail in order to prove that he's calling the shots in the wake of getting Sawyer to kill his kidney-stealing dad. Goading Ben into revealing the higher power known as Jacob is one of Locke's best moments -- his brazen assertiveness giving him the brief upper hand. But truthfully, Ben is always in control, and having led Locke to Jacob's enchanted (and apparently, moving) cabin, he "puts on a show" while conversing with an empty chair. That's when Jacob reveals himself to Locke by uttering the words, "Help me." Ben, feeling threatened, shoots Locke and leaves him to die in the Dharma skeleton pit. This will later lead Locke to "see" Walt and hurl a knife at Freighter Naomi's back.

What struck me on second viewing:

Still no clarity on Jacob. The ash that surrounds his cabin might be the very thing that keeps him "stuck in time." How else to explain his being invisible and then appearing in flashes? Same goes for his taking on Christian Shephard's form in Season Four. Is Jacob's fluctuating state the same as the island "smoke monster" -- or an entity that appears to scan its subjects before deciding whether they live or die? Are they composites of other dead beings?

To bring it all full circle, in the episode commentary, Damon Lindelof says, "Richard Alpert might be construed as some sort of a Panchen Lama, as he has a conversation with this boy who sees something that he wasn't supported to see, and now I think Ben finds himself in the role of Panchen Lama as he brings Locke into this cabin, in an attempt to sort of determine whether the island has chosen him to be its new surrogate." Hmmm, that's some food for thought.

Also, Ben makes it a point to close Horace's eyes while he sits "gassed" on a park bench. I await your return to the show, Mr. Goodspeed.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Na-na na-na na-na na-na, vote man!

Holy ticking clock, Batman! There are only a few hours to go before Musical March Madness gets pared down to its Final Four. So if you want a say in The Greatest TV Theme Of All Time -- and really, why wouldn't you? -- click here and post your picks in our Comments field.

There aren't any ties this time, but only a couple votes could completely alter the field. So don't be a Joker: Vote now!

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

America's Best Dance Finale. Not really ...

It's finally over. The worst and most awesomely addictive show on TV will no longer be forcing America to tune in every Thursday. That's right: Randy Jackson can finally go back to presenting ... nothing. America's Best Dance Crew, or Kru, as the kids are callin' it these days, has reached its finale. Will it be JabbaWockeeZ or Status Quo? Will J.C. Chasez look douchey?

Of course, now being dubbed MTV's slavechild, I, Sara Boyd will give you the live play-by-play as we find out the answers to these questions and more. And clearly, by "you" I mean the one dude that accidentally hit this Web site while looking for the Internet version of the TV guide. Sorry guy.

Here we go:

9:04 p.m.: The show opens with dimple-overloaded Mario Lopez being hyper and whitest Latino boy as usual. All the crews are back for the "hottest finale of the year" as dubbed by Lopez -- America would probably beg to differ.

9:10 p.m.: JabbaWockeeZ and Status Quo get one last chance to hear the judges' thoughts. J.C. states,"I'm sad to see this show come to an end" and refers to himself as not only an "artist" but a fan. Um, an artist of what exactly? Remember the song, "Some Girls Dance with Women?" Yeah, no one else does either.

9:14 p.m.: All the crews are told they get a chance to perform one more time with the crews of their homebase. Representing the West -- Jabbas and the Ricki-from-Project-Runway-like Fysh n' Chicks (you know, the girls' group that stayed for far too long given the talent.) Good stuff all around.

9:18 p.m.: The South is up next, Live in Color and Enigma Dance Kru (yes, they really spell it like that - I told you it was hip) get low to the dirty-dirty "Get Low" interspersed with drumline, apparently. Mario announces America's Best Dance Crew will be back for another season next year through his massive dimples.

9:23 p.m.: Status Quo (aka: How'd they make it to the top?) and Iconic take the stage next, giving props to the big ol' East siiiiide. I'm sorry, not to be rude but those two Tweedle-Dee/Tweedle-Dum chicks are really distracting. Of course, Mario can't help himself but pull out an-all-too-white-boy-but-actually-Latino "East Siiiiiiiide." What a copy cat.

9:27 p.m.: Mario really needs to stop saying that "we're just minutes away from finding out who will be America's Best Dance Crew." Dude, the show's not even half over. To categorize it as "minutes" would have to be 10 or less. Gosh. Midwest is next up, BreakSk8 and Femme5 hit the stage with their version of "Drop, Pop and Lock it" -- aka: big booty dancing and guys skating around them.

9:32 p.m.: The final crews have a chance to say why they should be the best dance crew -- Jabba's, not surprisingly, give props to their dead dancer crew member saying it will all be for him (wow, way to play that card) and Status Quo said something, but honestly, I wasn't listening.

9:36 p.m.: Ugh. It's that cheesy time to "look back at the crew's journey to the final." Status Quo again cries about the one time a dancer's ankle was all messed up -- and by "all messed up," I'm guessing they meant barely bruised.

9:38 p.m.: Jabba's start off their journey story -- of course -- with member Gary, who is poppin', lockin' and lookin' down on his bros. OK, I actually didn't know the dude died right before the show started. I'm a horrible person. I suppose they can talk about him some more.

9:39 p.m.: Status Quo vs. Jabba's in the ultimate showdown. I feel the need to quote "Zoolander" here, "Ooh, they're break dance fighting." It's pretty entertaining but again, Status Quo puts their clumsy teddy bear in front. Personally, I think the Jabba's have the best moves, and it's apparent when they're busting it out side-by-side. Status Quo did impress me, and performed a lot better than I thought they would. They really "brought it" - "Bring It On" style. Shane gets a little testy with the audience. "Can y'all calm down?!" he blasts at the crowd of mostly underagers. Oh god, Lil Mama is starting to talk. Time for the ear plugs.

OK, so apparently Blogger, not a fan of America's Best Dance Crew, refuses to save the rest of the blog after this point. I, being far too lazy and much too danced out to rewrite everything, will just tell you this, no surprise here: JabbaWockeeZ win.

Sorry "man who thought he was finding out what the TV schedule was tonight." You can get back to your regularly scheduled program now.

-- Sara Boyd,

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Your guide to "Miss Guided"

TV has taught me a lot over the years, but I never needed shows like "My So-Called Life," "Freaks and Geeks," or even "M.Y.O.B." -- anybody? Short-lived Lauren Graham sitcom from 2000? Anybody? -- to tell me that high school sucks. High school sucks a lot.

So really there's no reason for me to be enjoying "Miss Guided" -- which airs tonight at 7 and 7:30 on ABC -- as much as I am. It's the story of a formerly nerdy girl who returns to her alma mater as a guidance counselor, only to be subjected to the same kind of cliques, popularity contests, and humiliation. Exactly the kind of stuff we all struggled through, and love to see others subjected to.

"Miss Guided" is better than your average mid-season replacement (oh, "Jezebel James," we hardly knew thee -- or cared to), and succeeds on the narrow and perky shoulders of laugh powerhouse Judy Greer. "Arrested Development" fans know all too well Greer's comedic chops, and anyone who saw the recent "27 Dresses" or "The Great New Wonderful" knows of the mad acting skills this lady has. Her Becky Freeley is a mess of insecurity, overeagerness, and a fair share of cluelessness. And really, why else would anyone go back to their old high school as its guidance counselor? But Greer shines in her interactions with Glen Ellen High's students -- who treat her with as much respect as, well, a high school guidance counselor -- as well as her fellow teachers, who don't act any less like immature teenagers.

Joining her in the teachers' lounge is Lisa Germain (Brooke Burns), a recent transfer who also went to Glen Ellen High; in fact, she was Becky's class homecoming queen. Lisa is prettier, has a more respected job (English teacher), and is already more popular, making her the Kelly Kapowski to Becky's Jessie Spano. (That one's for you, Tom.) Then there's Tim O'Malley (Kristoffer Polaha), remedial Spanish teacher and Becky's big crush. A bit of the dim side -- he can barely speak Spanish -- Becky sees Tim as a sweet guy and kindred spirit.

But it's "Saturday Night Live" alum Chris Parnell who stands out as vice principal Bruce Terry, a neutered bulldog of a man who enjoys wielding his authority over the student body. Parnell is pitch-perfect as a blustery, ineffectual bully, not above using a freshman who is supposed to be in study hall as his personal butler.

Much like our public school system, "Miss Guided" has a few problems. With its slick, single-camera presentation, and cutaways with characters addressing the camera, it has a been-there, done-that feel to it that, three episodes in, needs to shake. But it's frequently funny, and can be forgiven for trying to ape the popularity of "The Office" and "30 Rock." And it's great to see Greer given her due in a starring role. Here's hoping we won't "say goodbye to these" anytime soon.

With a little time and support, there's nothing stopping "Miss Guided" from graduating to a top-tier sitcom.

-- Adam Reinhard,

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It's almost April: Do you know where your episode recaps are?

It's been about three months, give or take, since many of my favorite shows came to an abrupt halt. This happens every year, of course: It's called "summer." But when it happens as the result of a writers strike and spans the entire bleak abyss of winter, it's called "torture." (Don't talk to me about water boarding -- going this long without Pam Beasley is a real violation of the Geneva Conventions.)

Luckily, the wait is almost over. Many of TV's top shows will soon be stumbling back into our homes, like a drunken husband after an extended Vegas bachelor party. In fact, for fans of "How I Met Your Mother," their long journey through the desert reached its end last week. (And surprise! Britney Spears was there waiting!)

While they say absence makes the heart grow fonder, it apparently turns the brain to Jell-O, because I would be hard-pressed to tell you much of anything that happened on the last-aired episode of any given series, such as, say, "Scrubs." (If I had to venture a guess, I'd say J.D. made a funny noise and fell down, while Elliot screeched and also fell down.) But why guess when there are handy-dandy sites like The Recapist and Television Without Pity that recap each episode to every TV show, in waaaay more detail that you could possibly need?

Here then are 8 brief recaps to the last-aired episode of some of TV's most popular shows, as well as when you can expect to see them again.

(Note: I don't actually watch all of these shows, and got the information for these recaps from the aforementioned websites. Therefore feel free to yell at me if anything is incorrect.)

"30 Rock" (April 10)
We last saw the gang from "TGS With Tracy Jordan" in mid-January. Liz fails spectacularly in buying a condo, but succeeds (accidentally) in purchasing a German television station as Jack's proxy. Speaking of Jack, he's spending more and more time with his girlfriend, a Liberal congresswoman, and shirking his work duties. Kenneth, meanwhile, becomes dangerously addicted to coffee and decides to move home to avoid further temptation. In the end, Jack and his lady friend have called it quits, Kenneth misses his midnight train to Georgia, and NBC narrowly avoids getting taken over by Germans.

"Brothers and Sisters" (April 20)
Those Boniva ads not satiating your Sally Field fix? Then recall how when we last saw the Walker family in February, presidential candidate Robert (Rob Lowe), recently married to Kitty, had scored a big Super Tuesday victory. (Take that, Martin Sheen!) Meanwhile, Sarah's divorce is near its end, so what's the first thing she does? Karaoke at a gay bar, of course. Lucky for her, Graham shows up and whisks her off to his boudoir.

"Desperate Housewives" (April 13)
Something big happened on this show a while ago, no? I'm trying to remember... Oh, that's right: Wisteria Lane was hit by A HUGE, WHIRLING PLOT DEVICE. The most recent events on the megahit ABC series dealt with the deadly tornado that cast the Hizzies' world in a tizzy. Ida has died saving Lynette's family, and Adam leaves Katherine (or did Katherine kick him out?) after the also-now-dead Sylvia was found in a tree. Bree's brood moves in with Susan, and Gaby is in a pickle after learning she's getting nothing from Victor's estate.

"Gossip Girl" (April 21)
Like, I'm not one to spread rumors, but on the last episode of this CW show, way back in, like, January or whatever, Serena was totally spotted buying a PREGNANCY TEST. OMG! But it wasn't even for her -- she was buying it for Blair! Honest to blog, Dan's sister Jenny told me. Turns out Blair had been getting it on with both Nate AND Chuck, and they totally started wailing on each. Serves Blair right that no one wants to talk to her now.

"Grey's Anatomy" (April 24)
For those keeping score, at the start of "Grey's" previous episode, Meredith and McDreamy are in the "on-again" position. So much so, that McD shows Meredith a house he plans to buy -- wait for it -- for the two of them. Meredith freaks out of course, because if she were happy for even a minute, the show would be over. Looks like we're back at "off-again." Meanwhile, something actually important happens, as Bailey's infant son is crushed by a falling bookcase, and the docs rally to help save him. Also, Mrs. O'Malley finds out why George is getting a divorce. You naughty girl, Izzie.

"House" (April 21)
Amidst all the usual Patient of the Week mumbo-jumbo of our last encounter with House, M.D. -- this time involving a bride who passes out during her wedding -- there is some tricky relationship problems for the curmudgeonly doc to diagnose. His best friend, Wilson, is dating Amber, the "cutthroat bitch" as House calls her. House confronts the harpie, convinced she'll end up hurting Wilson. But she is able to persuade him that she truly likes the guy, and House ends up telling his friend that he could do worse.

"The Office" (April 10)
By the time our Dunder-Mifflin crew get back to work, they will have been gone nearly five months. Now that's a nice vacation. In the last episode, which aired Nov. 15, Michael and Jan are headed to the corporate offices for a deposition hearing concerning Jan's wrongful termination lawsuit. Michael has been called as a witness, and through a series of embarrassing turns involving his sexual relationship with Jan, his diary, and a disparaging written job evaluation from the CEO, Michael ends up losing Jan $4 million. Meanwhile, back in Scranton, Jim and Darryl are enjoying a friendly game of ping pong, which escalates when Kelly, who is dating Darryl, begins trash-talking Pam, who is dating ... oh, you know.

"Ugly Betty" (April 24)
I'm having trouble remembering back to late January -- did anything wacky happen on the last "Ugly Betty"? What am I talking about -- it's "Ugly Betty." Anyway, when we last left our homely heroine, she was trying to make it as a writer, but to little success. She's given a shot at an interview with an author of a book aimed at helping men, what's the word, score. Betty is disgusted, but gives the article an objective try, and ends up succeeding. Daniel is having his own woman troubles, as his mother won't move out, and a girl he almost hooked up with turned out to be -- gasp! -- Wilhelmina's sister!? Or is she...

Did I leave out one of your favorites? Go ahead and leave a brief recap of your own in our Comments section. And be sure to check back with Channel Surfing for any updates on air times.

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Sincerest apologies, readers: MTV has officially hijacked the blog.

First things first: When Channel Surfing inked Sara Boyd to a lucrative writing contract -- and by that, we really mean the prestigious opportunity to use shorthands like "Gaysian" and "D-Bag" as often as she wants -- we knew she was big into "crappy TV." We just didn't realize that her remote was permanently frozen on MTV.

But that's cool, because she was at least kind enough to leave the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge" ruminations to me -- except that I quit caring (and stopped writing) about the show after a continuous string of boring beatdowns by the Veteran team. My inbox didn't get full afterwards, so here's guessing no one really cared about the abrupt cancellation. I feel the love, readers. I feel the love.

However, a funny thing happened during the seemingly one-sided season finale last week -- traditionally the most anti-climactic part of the show. The Rookies -- bruised, battered, deflated and dejected -- pulled off a major upset due to a slight technicality in the form of a Veteran competitor almost, um, dying (see stretcher photo above). Fat Eric, who I long thought would either pass out from alcohol poisoning or the physical strain of brushing his teeth in the morning, actually did turn pasty white and start gasping for air on the ground, forcing paramedics to intervene and drag him off the Challenge course. That left the Vets with no choice but to forfeit -- except they didn't actually pay attention to the rules and decided to finish the race anyways, leading to some genuine amazement when they weren't awarded one of those cool, giant checks with tons of zeroes on it. Yikes. Even Bill Belichick was less surprised when he saw dopey-looking Eli Manning walking to the podium to hoist the Lombardi Trophy in the air during the Super Bowl.

But that's old news.

In what's now a regularly scheduled occurrence, reality shows can't help but drag everyone through the muck one more time for a "let's keeping stirring the pot" reunion show. And like O.J. Simpson's latest girlfriend, I keep begging to be punished. So what happened last night and could potentially get me excited for yet another "RW/RR" excursion?

* No Loose Cannon CT. Bummer. Apparently he's no longer hooking up with Diem, which means a restraining order is probably involved and all that gooey-ness about how "hot" CT looked with his head shaved (shades of Travis Bickle from "Taxi Driver" anyone?) couldn't make up for the fact that he's a COMPLETE PSYCHO who might want to pick up an AA pamphlet sometime soon.

* No Adam either. After getting punked by CT with the ol' "beer poured over the head while drunk" routine, pint-sized Adam regained his manhood by killing Roid Rage Danny in the show's final Gauntlet challenge -- the testosterone-fueled Ball Brawl. It would have been nice to see some props tossed his way for disposing of one of the Challenge's all-time biggest meatheads in truly dominating fashion. Dude was like Barry Sanders out there.

* Hey, didn't Witch Nose Coral storm off the show like a whiny five-year-old in the middle of the season? Ah, but there she is in the front row, shouting F-bomb after F-bomb because she just can't stand life without a camera in her face. Truth be told, I think Coral is hilarious, and not only because she uttered the phrase "grow some gonads" on TV last night. But here's the thing: I still expect my reality TV to be somewhat principled. And if Coral was going to walk off in a huff and make a big deal about being betrayed by people she thought were her "friends," the noble thing would be to never appear on a show with those phonies again. However, it appears that Coral's entire identity is tied to her role as "Real World Coral" which makes having -- oh, I don't know -- PRIDE, a moot point. Wait, am I psycho-analyzing a reality TV game show? On MTV? God, I need help.

* Fat Eric is called out for having the audacity to almost die on his team, costing them all $30,000 a piece. As Bipolar Katie, one of his lone defenders, points out, "$30,000? That's what waitresses make." Hey, same for Channel Surfing TV bloggers! Man, now I feel even dirtier ...

So while Brad was the only cast member who actually cared about his well-being during the final challenge, it appears some are questioning why Eric showed up at the "Gauntlet" wrap party three hours later with a beer in his hand. Um ... awkward! Eric doesn't have a good explanation, but having watched the gruesome finale (picture a man clutching for his last breath while his selfish peers are arguing about whether they can drag him to the finish line and get their pay day), I can safely say that the dude was about to swallow his own tongue. Still ... you have to milk that pain and suffering a little longer than three hours, Eric! Even Paris Hilton knows not to drive with a revoked license three hours after getting released from the clink.

* Brad is given kudos for being a decent guy on the challenge -- which means he was the only Veteran contestant who put a person's health ahead of banking $30,000 to be spent on Jell-o shots and ankle tattoos. Gold star for you, Brad! Good luck with your newly started insurance company. No, seriously. I like the guy. I'm not being sarcastic. (You think I'm being sarcastic.)

* Finally, Kenny Venci makes a few wisecracks and the shows wraps up. Hmmm ... so not only did I waste an hour watching the reunion, but I just blogged about it for 20 minutes.

I think I'm going to start reading books again.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,


Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Hills are alive!

And unfortunately they’re predictable. Yes, the lovable and quasi-reality TV hit, “The Hills” is back for another promising drama-filled season.

Monday night's premiere could only be described as a longer version of the far-too-frequently-aired preview commercials that hit MTV about six months ago. Yes, Spencer and Heidi are headed for splitsville. Yes, Lauren goes to Paris and Brody cheats on her. And yes, the after-effects of thousands of dollars worth of plastic surgery is apparent on season three Heidi.

This is all information we learned through MTV's relentless ads for the show's premiere. But per the beauty of the show, no matter how predictable or unsurprising the episode details are, it still entertains and amuses with the formula of pretty, rich girls and almost-true situations.

I did thoroughly enjoy the fact that Spencer -- aka: the biggest douche in the Western Hemisphere -- flew his sad ass all the way to Colorado to see and try to make amends with Heidi only to get the cold shoulder and an equally chilly, "I need you to move out." According to my roommate Kevan, if seen on the street, "I would totally punch that guy in the face." It's true and honestly, I'm surprised no one on the show has tried it yet. I think L.C. definitely deserves first dibs. Here's a tip Spence, if Heidi goes to Colorado, doesn't answer her phone and refuses to speak to you ... don't fly across the country to see her.

A world away in Paris, Lauren discovers her so-called man Brody has already replaced her with some new ho. Just two days after she left. Classy, Brody. Surprising? Not in the least, but that doesn't mean Lauren should run to the first nasty, bearded French dude she finds. Seriously, how dirtbaggish were all those boys L.C. and Whitney hung out with? Plus, Beardy knows Lauren for like 0.3 seconds and already gets jealous when Man with Ponytail starts talking to her. Not a good sign. And he's in a band called Rock&Roll ... um, hello??

The only dramatic moment not already seen in the previews occurs when Lauren discovers her ball gown she decided to alter herself, has nasty brown stains on it. Not going to lie, when she first discovered the stains, I got scared L.C. had a visitor from Aunt Flow. Thankfully, the spots turned out to be burns from a curling iron ... well, I guess not thankfully really since Lauren panics and starts crying. One quick stop and crisis averted, L.C. gets a new ball gown and heads off to the Teen Vogue debutante ball Cinderella-style.

End of show wrap-up: Heidi tells Spencer to suck it like her latest round of Lipo, Lauren jumps from one dirtbag to another and Whitney discovers there may be life beyond Teen Vogue (gasp!) Can it get any better than that!? Well, on MTV anyway?

-- Sara Boyd,

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Beauty and the Geek: Varsity Blues Edition

Just when you thought beauty versus geek would have left beauty hating geek, that crazy Ashton Kutcher mixes it up.

Sure, we all probably thought it would happen -- or at least knew it needed to -- but last night's pathetic excuse for a flag football game proved the show needed to regain its past formula. That's right, beauty is now being paired with geek for the overly-awkward, at-times-uncomfortable, geeky hot teams we've all been waiting for.

After last night's crazy episode, I fear there was just too much to cover for one blogger so I've enlisted the help of fellow blogger and lover of quasi-crappy TV, Malavika, to join me.

Now, let's get on with the show.

Sara: The beauties and geeks anxiously await for the return of the four beauties who have earned their spot back on the show -- and curiosity rises to which beauty has been sent home. Sweater vest enthusiast (yes, that's really his title) Tommy hopes to see his "lover" Amber, the "runway model," return while the beauties hope that drama queen has hit the road. I love how Tommy thinks that because she talked to him, they're in a relationship.

Malavika: Poor Tommy. Upon finding out that his precious Amber has thankfully been eliminated, he vows that the minute he's off the show, he'll attempt to find her. It's pathetic. Moving on. Twist #1 is that the Beauties and the Geeks have to send a member of their team to the other - Beauties pick Jillian, a weak link, and the Geeks exchange Chris - and host Mike announced that their challenge is something sport-related. Enter montage of Beauties and Geeks navigating sporting equipment.

Sara: I must say I loved the montage of Tommy's incredibly sad line, "I will date a supermodel" paired immediately with Amber's line, "They're nice guys, but I would never date any of them." Good riddance, though - she crazy. So beauties seem excited about the sports challenge, while geeks are extremely apprehensive. Favorite clips of the montage: Geeky Jim lobbing the football straight into the pool and beauty Tara talking about she hates getting dirty, "And, like, what if the outfits we have to wear don't match?" says a panicked Tara. After the seemingly endless Rocky references, the beauties and geeks are told their challenge. Time to hit the football field Varsity Blues style - minus the whip cream bikini - for a game of flag football. One catch: the team that loses automatically sends the switched teammate (Jillian or Chris) home.

Malavika: Ah, the Los Angeles Coliseum. Where dreams come true and Jack Bauer becomes a sniper. Let the practice sessions begin. First of all, we have Joe the Cowboy who has clearly learned everything he knows about football from watching reruns of "Remember the Titans" and "Waterboy." Seriously "two on one" is not a strategy. On the beauties side, Chris is coaching. And is that lip gloss he's sporting? Why, yes, it is. The game starts with a phenomenal 10-yard kickoff, and the madness ensues. Tommy practically knocks Chris out, but Chris manages to score the first touchdown once he realizes the geeks know absolutely squat about defense.

Sara: A poor showing of football talent, indeed, MJ. It seems both teams are using the strategy of flailing around without direction for a majority of their game plan. Joe the Cowboy shows his competitive side, and by competitive, clearly I mean abusive. With all his cliche football lines, I literally sat on the edge of my chair waiting for him to say, in cowboy hat and all, "I don't want ... yo life." Joe body slams Randi (who then does her part in erasing the stereotype of angry, black woman) then Joe screams at teammate Jillian until she cries and finally ends with a good 'ol, football-movie-cliche angry hat throw. Tara claims Jonathan grabbed her boob as a form of defense - after getting the instant replay, the tape shows ... Tara wishes. Jonathan clearly threw his arm out to stop her, without any boob grabbage. The beauties are dominating, er, Chris is dominating the geeks.

Malavika: It's looking like the beauties will run away with this game when "One Tough Mama" Tiffany takes Matt the Poet from Dallas down. More like one abusive mother. Matt has to be escorted off by a medic even though he swears he's OK (his arm/shoulder doesn't look so good). His injury revives the geeks, who manage to score a touchdown with their passing game (who says passing doesn't win games?). The beauties - er, well, Chris - answers with a return on a kickoff, and the final score is 24 to 12. Beauties win! Beauties win! Beauties win!

Sara: Unfortunately and quite pathetically, the geeks learn too little too late their main game plan should have been give the ball to 6'6" Tommy, have him take three strides and score a touchdown. The beauties' win means Playboy bunny Jillian must immediately head home, which few beauties seems to notice or care about. Sidenote: Continued interviews with Cara, the aspiring soap star, make me wish I was deaf. Girl needs to stop talking like a 5 year old. Back to the house, beauties are told instead of sending geeks to the elimination room - they will be pairing up and choosing their geeky partners. Seven beauties and eight geeks mean it's gym class all over again - last one to not be chosen, packs their bags.

Malavika: The decision making is not going well. First of all, everyone wants Greg - the self-proclaimed "Gaysian" - which I totally understand but where's the love for geeky Jim? Also, Tara - or maybe Cara - starts weeping because she's not getting the geek she wants. It's very 'motional, but the beauties agree they've "come to the right decision." Fast forward to the staircase scene, where the poor geeks have to endure a being-picked-for-dodgeball type situation. Cara picks Chris. They hug it out on Mike's command. Amanda gets Tommy. Leticia picks Matt (natch!). Randi gets Greg - they're clearly going for becoming the show's minority powerhouse couple. Kristina picks Jason. Then... Tiffany picks Jim. And the beauties are shocked. She was supposed to pick Jonathan, but apparently received advice from a higher power before making her ultimate decision to pick Jim.

Sara: Who says the power of prayer is dead? With Jim receiving the heavenly selection, Joe the Cowboy and Jonathan the Mama's Boy are left with Tara having to make the Sophie's Choice-like decision. Of course, she immediately starts weeping. Personally, it's my belief that Joe the Cowboy has given his last salute and should be left the last one standing for his poor sportsmanship during the football game. But it was Tara who claimed Jonathan grabbed her boob as a form of defense - would choosing him give him the wrong idea? Just then the most annoying three words flash across the screen: To be continued ... Are you freaking kidding me?!

Looks like we'll have to wait until next Tuesday to see which geek will be packing up his pocket protector and thick-framed glasses and heading home to his parent's basement. Damn reality TV and the enticing lure it provides. Is it Tuesday yet?

-- Sara Boyd, and Malavika Jagannathan,

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Combating "Pushing Daisies" withdrawal

Sure, I got a little of my "Pushing Daisies" fix when Kristin Chenoweth performed "That's How You Know" at this year's Oscars.

But it's been months since I've seen Ned. Or Emerson Cod. Or Digby. Or Paul Reubens playing a crazy olfactory expert.

So it was pretty cool to learn that the Paley Center For Media kicked it with the "Daisies" cast earlier this month for a roundtable discussion of the show, one that's incredibly touching even though star-crossed Ned and Chuck can't make physical contact.

Anyway, some intriguing and funny revelations from the Zap2It review include:

* Series creator Bryan Fuller told the crowd that even some form of artificial insemination between Ned and Chuck would probably have negative consequences: "I think her egg would die when the sperm hit it."

* Anna Friel (Chuck) and Lee Pace (Ned) try to stay in character, but often accidentally bump into each other on set: "I always do it," Friel admits. "He's real good." "I sit on my hands," Pace explains, later adding that it gives him motivation. "If I touch her, she's dead. Dead. No more show."

To which Chi McBride, the show's beloved Emerson Cod, chipped in, "And then my son'll have to go to DeVry. Not that there's anything wrong with DeVry, but we had our heart set on Dartmouth. So don't touch."

* Fuller wasn't displeased that the writers' strike forced the show to wrap up Season One, with more storylines getting fleshed out for the fall return. Upcoming episodes "will deal with Chuck's mother and Emerson's daughter and (Fuller) wants to have Raul Esparza return as the potential love interest for Kristin Chenoweth's Olive and, if possible, they'd love to have the Tony-nominated actor sing."

* Fuller confirms that "the resurrected dead don't age like normal folks, meaning that Chuck, like Digby, may remain youthful for years. He also confirms that Ned is a vegetarian and that they wanted to include a scene dealing with that choice -- bringing a lobster back to life in your mouth can't be pleasant."

* A surprise hit, the cast is glad that "Daisies" has a fan base and network that cares about the show's quirky direction: "Normally when the network says they're behind you, don't lean back," McBride said. "I think that what went right is that we had the right show on the right network."

* The Season One DVD will probably be out in fall, and a soundtrack is being discussed.

* To watch a video clip from the panel, click here.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Britney doesn't forget lines, shave head or drink Starbucks during guest appearance

For all the hoop-la surrounding dearest Britney's appearance on last night's episode of "How I Met Your Mother," it was kind of a major letdown.

I figured - if nothing else - there'd be fodder for mockery. But there was nothing! Nothing at all! OK, so Brit didn't have to reach that far to play the ditzy blonde receptionist with a crush on main character Ted (Josh Radnor), but her appearance wasn't one of those guest spots you spend the rest of your life trying to forget. You know, like Nancy Reagan telling Gary Coleman to "just say no" to drugs on "Diff'rent Strokes." Yeah. Bet you didn't want to remember that, did you?

Next to a life-changing trip to a third world country, a guest-starring role is the best way for embattled pop stars and recently-freed-from-prison starlets to nose their way back into society’s good graces. But the best guest roles are memorable not just because they're funny, but because they're not what you expect from that person (Keith Hernandez on "Seinfeld" before he started doing Just for Men commercials).

The real guest-star success last night was Sarah Chalke (Dr. Elliot Reid of "Scrubs") who played Brit's dermatologist boss. Even though she was playing a doctor, Chalke's Stella was a far cry from the flaky and neurotic Dr. Reid we're all used to watching her play.

Any other guest appearances that stand out? (Brad Pitt on "Friends" and Mark Hamill on "The Simpsons" come to mind).

Finally, for your viewing pleasure, here is a clip of Nancy Reagan's appearance on "Diff'rent Strokes."

--Malavika Jagannathan,

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Musical March Madness: And Then There Were 8

Hey, hey, "The Monkees" lost.

"The Jeffersons" are movin' on out.

Believe it or not, "Greatest American Hero" is toast.

The buzzer has sounded on the second bracket of Musical March Madness -- Channel Surfings effort to determine the greatest TV theme song ever. And if there's one lesson to be learned so far, it's this: Don't ever bet against Ted Danson.

The "Cheers" theme has absolutely dominated both of its match-ups. In this bracket, it's up against "The Facts of Life," which last time only narrowly eeked past "The Jeffersons." If Norm Peterson is right, and it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, is "The Facts of Life" wearing Milkbone underwear?

Vote and help us find out!

Match-Up 1: A) "Mission Impossible"

Vs. B) "Hill Street Blues"

Match-Up 2: C) "The Addams Family"

Vs. D) "Batman"

Match-Up 3: E) "The Flintstones"

Vs. F) "The Muppet Show"

Match-Up 4: G) "Cheers"

Vs. H) "The Facts of Life"

-- Adam Reinhard,

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Jukebox TV: More commercial tuneage

If there's a downside to DVR's -- and this is the only one I can think of -- it's that flying past commercials isn't always the best move. Some spots are actually worth watching. No, I'm not talking about that annoyingly nonsensical Wendy's ad with the burger singing an Air Supply song. And seriously, if I see the rappin' guy or those "Magical Amount" tobacco "Truth" ads one more time, I may soon be looking for a new TV.

Anyway, with a little blog feature I like to call Jukebox TV, I plan on posting some recently spotted commercials that use songs I've already grown to love. Maybe you're curious who the actual artists are. Maybe it's simply a song you haven't heard in awhile. Maybe you just want to complain that a commercial is on way too much. Either way, if there's an ad you want me to check out or try and identify by song, I'm game. Leave a comment or e-mail me. I'll do my best to track it down and post about it down the road.

Bob Mould: "See A Little Light"

Little known fact: I share a birthday with Mr. Mould, and for that, I couldn't be more proud. Rumor has it he doesn't care either way ... but here we have a little archive digging from TIAA-CREF, a financial services company. There's absolutely no connection between song and commercial, except maybe that the title is supposed to serve as a metaphor for old people to get their retirement planning in order. Overall, I was floored when I heard this song on TV, as "Workbook" (1989) is an older, overlooked album, and Mould deserves some extra cash after killing it since his Husker Du days.

The Icicles: "La-Ti-Da"

Catchy as heck, the Icicles are stylistically similar to '60s girl group fans like the Concretes, Camera Obscura and the Pipettes. This Target commercial (oddly enough, the Concretes' "Can't Hurry Love" was used in a Target ad a few years back) probably made you smile and really, it only takes one listen for this song to get stuck in your head for days. Plus, Jack LaLanne -- who may in fact be immortal -- is in the ad, and I hear he's totally down with bubbly indie pop. "La-Ti-Da" is off "Arrivals and Departures," a 2007 release from the little-known Grand Rapids band.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss: "Killing the Blues"

This commercial has been playing non-stop (in two variations, I believe) since the Oscars, but I don't care because the song is so heavenly. I have to admit, not being a huge Zeppelin fan, I didn't want to give the Plant-Krauss collaboration a chance. But the more I heard on Internet radio, the more I wanted to check it out. Glad I did. It should have made my 2007 "Best of" list, and it all starts with this folksy lullaby from "Raising Sand," now in a JC Penney "American Living" ad. Ah, good ol' consumer patriotism! It's still about a million times better than "Thisssssss is ourrrrrrr counnnnnntry."

Joe Jackson: "One More Time"

Ugh. Probably the most egregious offender in the bunch, Jackson, a New Wave dynamo, is featured prominently in Taco Bell's Cheesy Gordita campaign. It's pretty obvious why longtime Jackson fans are complaining on Internet message boards. There's nothing creative about this. It's just the chorus of Jackson's jittery "Look Sharp!" (1979) opener playing over images of food that'll make you sit on the toilet for days.

I've come to appreciate cool songs being used in commercials if it pays the little man. But this is an example of an ad that does nothing for the artist. People aren't going to check out the Jackson back catalog because of a Taco Bell commercial. In fact, they probably hate the song because of how poorly it was used. Here's hoping he at least got a stuffed 'Yo Quiero Taco Bell' dog out of the deal.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Saturday, March 22, 2008

(Almost) day after "Lost" ramblings

"Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?" -- Johnny Rotten

So it appears Crazy Karl and Rousseau are both dead. Raise your hand if you thought that was worthy of a dramatic tease?

Yeah, didn't think so.

To be fair, I guess we, as viewers, have to realize that these "Lost" shows were written before the strike and there was no intention of Karl and Rousseau's deaths being used as jaw-dropping cliffhangers before this upcoming five week gap. But still ... if you're going to tease it, the audience should have some emotional investment in the killings. And "Lost" fans are still in the dark about Rousseau's backstory, so it brings a hearty shrug of the shoulders. Karl hasn't earned his time, either, so needless to the say, the development was highly disappointing. Same goes for the drippy "I love you" scene between Rousseau and Alex. A lack of build up in the relationship means we're not equipped to care.

Those criticisms aside, it's my belief that Ben set up Bobby Brady and the crazy French lady "Goodwin-style" and perhaps Richard Alpert will stick his head out of the jungle brush. There goes Mr. Linus -- always protecting his best interests and eliminating the competition.

Either way, it's been impossible for me to get any work done because I think I'm having a moment of clarity (or just insanity) regarding the bigger (and better) plot revelation from "Meet Kevin Johnson." The Michael-centric stuff was riveting at times, confusing at other points. But one thing stood out above all. Michael can't die in 2004.

So let me toss all my knowledge about "12 Monkeys," Back to the Future" and "Groundhog Day" into one gigantic blender so I can come out with this thick and delicious "Lost" time travel conclusion.

Michael can't kill himself because he's already dead.

You think I've gone crazy from this never-ending Wisconsin winter, right? OK, follow this strand of logic for a sec, and really, I'll try to keep this as simple as possible with hopes I don't confuse myself along the way. My favorite Internet-driven "Lost" theories revolve around the idea of a wormhole, which is a simple enough concept when you strip away the scientific context. It's basically a hypothetical tube that connects two points in space and time. All you need is to travel through the wormhole to get to the other side. Easy enough.

Let's pretend that this anomaly exists in the "Lost" world, and to reach the "other side" of the tube, a specific coordinate must be followed. For whatever reason, the island exists in one space and time, the real world in another, both accessible with the proper Ben-given bearing. But let's also propose that based on what we know about the hatch button, and whenever it was pressed every 108 minutes, that doing so was meant to freeze time on the island according to whatever magnetic or metaphysical properties govern it. I'm not sure why these exist. I'm just following other exhaustive "Lost" time loop theories, or ones that haven't made much sense -- at least to me, an avid viewer -- until now.

Based on Desmond turning the failsafe key and flashing between 2004 ("Lost" crash time) and 1996 (Desmond in the military time), perhaps the island is frozen in the latter period. Or it was until Desmond failed to push the button, which led to a crack in the wormhole, allowing Oceanic 815, which happened to be flying over the island at that exact moment, to split into two parts and crash. Locke later refusing to push the button also turned the sky purple, which caused another momentary crack, exposing the island to Penny's researchers and Widmore's freighter, giving Daniel the ability to bring the chopper to the island on an exact, newly revealed bearing.

Either way, the island isn't in "real time," but with the absence of the hatch button, is now inching forward (think of the Faraday payload experiment), except only Ben and the Others are aware of the anomaly. It might explain why Locke isn't paralyzed and Rose doesn't have cancer. A case of island magic? Nope, simply the properties of time. Being in 1996 island time means Locke's current state comes before he is pushed out the window by his father.

How does this apply to Michael, you say? Well, follow this convoluted string of logic. Michael is sent back home because Ben (who also travels through the wormhole according to his passports) knows that he dies on the island upon return to it post-freighter -- which chronologically speaking, occurs BEFORE anything that happens in real time '04 when he meets with Tom in New York.

So Michael can't kill himself in '04 because he's already dead in '96. He can't die twice. He's allowed to exist in '04 only because he's traveled through the wormhole to real time BEFORE he dies in '96. But that doesn't change the fact that he still dies in '96. He can't alter his fate while in '04. Which means he can't die because he's already dead.

Now you're probably saying, that's the stupidest thing I've ever read. 'If Michael dies on the island, how can he exist in 2004?' Well, the Michael we saw leave the docks in Season Two is still alive when he boards the boat, so he can move through the wormhole and exist in 2004. That same Michael then goes to the freighter -- which is what we saw last night -- and in future episodes, will end up back on the island, again through the time-bending wormhole, where he will eventually die. So what happens to him in that last part of the equation is the most important part. On the show, it happens AFTER he's been back home in 2004. But according to the properties of time, it happens BEFORE. Again, HE'S ALREADY DEAD!

Does that make ANY sense?

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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Friday, March 21, 2008

Drop those coconuts and vote in Musical March Madness

We've hit a snag in our Musical March Madness contest. As of this writing, four of the eight match-ups are running neck-and-neck. That's right, people -- grab your sister and pucker up, because we've got a string of ties going in our Greatest TV Theme Song tournament, and only you can break them.

Here are the draws as they stand: "The Addams Family" vs. "Gilligan's Island"; "Bonanza" vs. "Mission Impossible"; "Hill Street Blues" vs. "The X-Files", and "Batman" vs. "Greatest American Hero." Each one a terrific theme in its own right. But that means diddly, because half of them are going down like Foreman in the eighth round. Which half, well that's up to you.

Just click here and leave your votes by clicking "Post a comment." Voting will close Monday, at which point any ties will be decided by me. And what fun would that be?

UPDATE: It's worse than I thought. Due to a counting error (I was never very good at math), it turns out FIVE of the match-ups are in stalemate. "The Facts of Life" and "The Jeffersons" are also tied.

-- Adam Reinhard,


Hey, everybody! It's Bob and David!

In perhaps the best news for comedy fans since the Kids in the Hall announced that reunion tour, Bob Odenkirk and David Cross — creators of the insanely great HBO sketch comedy program "Mr. Show" — have a new show (honorific unknown) in the works. The sitcom, "David's Situation," has been written by the pair, and is set to start filming for HBO in May, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

"We are both very, very excited about it and feel it's really strong and important to the health of America," the guys write at their website, "We know that America is hurting right now and old people like to say that 'Laughter's the best medicine.' So, keep hope old people, an injection of 10cc's of funny is about to be shot all up in your funny bones!"

The show's premise: Cross, playing himself, moves out to the suburbs, where he shares a house with an ultra-conservative and a liberal hippie. Sounds to me like a "Three's Company" update, but instead of Chrissy and Janet, there's Ann Coulter and Janeane Garofalo. Yikes.

Odenkirk is set to direct, but there's no word on if he'll appear onscreen, which is disappointing. In the nearly 10 years (!) since "Mr. Show" took its final bow, Bob and David have had precious few acting gigs together. The only ones I can think of are an episode apiece for "NewsRadio" and "Arrested Development."

Otherwise, the two have gone their separate ways professionally, with varying degrees of success. David has had more time in the spotlight, with his role as Tobias Funke on "Arrested," his prominent stand-up career, and several movie roles. Granted, those roles have been in stinkers like "School for Scoundrels" and "Alvin and the Chipmunks," but c'mon, look at the guy — he's not exactly George Clooney.

Bob has mostly stayed behind the scenes, directing movies (also-stinkers "Let's Go to Prison" and "The Brothers Solomon") and producing Cartoon Network's pretty good "Tom Goes to the Mayor." Bob's also been embracing this newfangled Internet thing, churning out a handful of shorts for R-rated comedy site, including the hilarious "Truth About Lincoln."

But the prospect of the guys working on a new show together is cause for much giddiness. "Mr. Show," with its absurdist sensibilities, seamless sketch links, and dead-on social parody, remains the watermark for cutting-edge American comedy. We'll have to wait to see if "David's Situation" can live up to such lofty expectations, but at least it gives us something to look forward to. Until then, we've always got our "Mr. Show" DVDs.

Anybody else excited about this? Or do you just wanna share your favorite "Mr. Show" moments and maybe explain how 24 is the highest number there is?

-- Adam Reinhard,

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The end is near ...

That's right, Randy Jackson's Awesomely Annoyingly Addictive America's Best Dance Crew is at the final stages. Last night's performances brought the competition down to just two - who battled it out head-to-head for America's votes. And of course, what would America's Best Dance Crew be without the ghetto slang of Shane Sparks, the idiotic commentary by Lil' Mama and the douchey style of J.C. Chasez.

Now on with the show. The evening was intense from the start as the 12 dance crews were now widdled down to just three: Kaba Modern, JabbaWockeeZ and Status Quo. The battle this round gave each crew a chance to go back in time and show their version of the evolution of street dancing. It wasn't quite as sweet as the YouTube video we've all seen with that white boy busting a move through the generations of dance in like 60 seconds but it was close.

First the shocker: the three find out which two crews are going to have to battle it out to get to perform for the finale and what? Status Quo is safe? JabbaWockeeZ and Kaba Modern are the bottom two crews? Hmm ... in the words of Simon Cowell, "I believe America got it wrong. Ryan Seacrest is a d-bag." Ok, that last part was probably unnecessary but it is good to get that into a blog every week or so.

All performers were given the same music -- which includes a shameful plug of J.C. Chasez's terrible hit with *Nsync "Bye, Bye, Bye" -- and are required to showcase each of the different eras of street dancing: popping, locking, breaking, new jack swing (wtf? yeah, i know) and pop. Up first, the somehow-saved Status Quo hits the stage. Their performance was less than thrilling and personally, I'm so over their whole "wha, wha?" angry-faced finishes. Yes, we know you think you just killed it and it was totally in our face, but why does that make you look angry? Sure, Status Quo could arguably have the best stunts but they're like the cheerleading mantra: They're dancers gone retarded. When they do choreography they're never together and the moves just aren't at the same level as the stunts. Also, FYI Status Quo -- don't put the biggest, clumsiest dancer in front ... it's distracting.

Next up, my personal favorite, JabbaWockeeZ busted out their moves. The red masks were a little freaky and I couldn't really tell if they were supposed to be janitors or a flight crew, but the performance was extrememly dancetastic. Yes, that's a real word ... made up by me, whatevs. The point is, even with the douchey moves of *Nsync intertwined in the performance, it was everything and more. Speaking of douchey and *Nsync, tonight J.C. has graced our presence while wearing a bowtie ... good call, dude. Anyway, Jabba's performance proved that they shouldn't be at the bottom and likely will be the champions of this competition. The dude spinning on his head for, like, half an hour at the end says it all.

Giving their take on street dance evolution, Kaba Modern showed they are pretty solid and even incorporated costume changes throughout the performance ... quite impressive but at times looked a little sloppy. They're the final group to have chicks in the mix -- which doesn't really bode well for them (sorry feminists, but America seems to like the all guy groups a little more) -- but they've proven over and again that they have the talent to be in the bottom three.

So right after I just typed that, *SPOILER ALERT* Kaba Modern got sent home. Wow, good call me. But really, when it's down to Kaba Modern or JabbaWockeeZ, there's just no competition. They didn't have a chance. I'm still boggled why Status Quo is still here. Weren't they the crew that was up for elimination, um, like three times in a row? I bet one of them is hooking up with Lil' Mama.

Down to just two, Status Quo and Jabba's battle it out for a final vote from America -- one that will be open all week, until next Thursday's episode for the finale. For the final dance, both crews have a chance to choose whatever they want to do, wear and the music they want to dance to. Status Quo picks a Circus theme basically with a bunch of scary-ass clowns and a big trampoline-style Jack-in-the-Box ... anyone remember IT? Well this performance was like 10 times scarier ... but mostly because of the really weird moves and random running around.

JabbaWockeeZ came out in red self-advertising sweatsuits and their classic white masks. Their performance was a total opposite from Status Quo -- no gimmicks, no crazy costumes, not over the top at all. Some could argue that it was too simple and downplayed for a final dance but I think they were doing a smart thing and keeping it strictly to their style and their classic moves. It was definitely an afterthought when you consider their evolution of street dancing performance and it was simple -- which could be a good or a bad thing. One complaint: I don't mean to be insensitive, but Jabba's - we know you guys lost a crew member and that's super sad but if you could go like three seconds without pointing up at the sky, hitting your chest then giving the props to your dead bro ... well that'd be great. I promise no one will forget that you have another crew member popping and locking it with the big J-C.

The crews have done all they can and now it's all up to you America. Whoa, that was waaaay too Mario Lopez for me, minus the dimples, natch. Sorry bout that, my bad. But yeah, if you want to be like me and vote in secret without charging it on your cellulars, vote here. Check out all the performances here too, they're worth another watch ... as long as no one catches you and discovers your secret, mocking you for life.

--Sara Boyd,

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