Some of this week's TV recommendations from The Week magazine:
From a NY Times article of the same title by Stuart Elliott about the Super Bowl ads:
More than a dozen spots celebrated violence in an exaggerated, cartoonlike vein that was intended to be humorous, but often came across as cruel or callous.
I don't know about a connection to Iraq, but I did notice this myself: an abundance of gratuitously violent commercials that left me wincing.
This has been a weekend full of activities. Friday night we went to the Gemini concert at the Creative Spirit Center. Saturday morning Elliot had his first basketball class at the community center. Saturday afternoon we sat on the front row of the sold out Jeff Corwin show at the Midland Center for the Arts. It was an enjoyable show, especially from our close vantage point. Lisa was smitten. Here are some photos and a video. The video is of some kids about to hold an alligator...and one of the kids was really shaking in his boots.
I recently happened to catch the second episode of Dirt on FX and liked it enough to keep watching. It stars Courtney Cox as the head of tabloid-ish entertainment mag. Somehow it reminds me of Studio 60...maybe the witty banter...maybe the female head of a media organization. FX is basic cable, but with a 10 PM time slot FX allows much more profanity and sexual content than you would normally expect. Also, Rick Fox, former Tarheel and Laker, has a recurring role on the show.
Comedy Central has made a good living out of skewering the political right.
Now Fox News Channel, a primary source of material for Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, is teaming with the exec producer of "24" to try its hand at a news satire show for conservatives to love.
Joel Surnow, co-creator of "24," is shooting two half-hour pilots of a skein he described as " 'The Daily Show' for conservatives," due to air in primetime on Saturdays in January.
"There will be some elements of 'The Daily Show' and some of 'Weekend Update,' " Surnow said.
The "In the Womb" series on the National Geographic Channel continues this Sunday night at 8 PM eastern with "In the Womb: Multiples."
The process by which multiples develop in the womb is fraught with complications and dangers. But, it is also a fascinating world where humans first interact with their siblings before entering the world outside the uterus. "In the Womb: Multiples" follows the development of double-egg twins, sometimes called fraternals, and identical or single-egg twins. We also follow the development of triplets and a very rare set of identical quads in their quest for survival. Using revolutionary 4D scans, we witness unique footage of multiple fetuses interacting with each other before birth: reaching, touching, fighting and even engaging in game-playing that can continue after they are born. Ultimately, "In the Womb: Multiples" tells us not only about the extremes of human reproduction but the limits of human design.
Via TV Barn, this week The Sopranos come to A&E and The Wire comes to BET. Both are on Wednesday at 8 PM eastern. Both are popular series from HBO. Lisa and I have enjoyed the former but haven't watched the latter, so I'm going to set a season pass for The Wire. If you haven't watched The Sopranos, try it out. This edited for basic cable version may be more palatable to some than the HBO/DVD version with its graphic violence, frequent F-bombs, and scenes inside the Bada Bing.
The episode of One Punk Under God that I watched on Wednesday (I guess it was this week's episode) opened with Jay Bakker speaking to a church audience that is almost exclusively African-American. The crowd is enthusiastic and vocal, but then he brings up the fact that he's been criticized recently for speaking out in support of gay marriage. The room goes silent and stays that way as he continues to speak. He calls out the crowd, somewhat vaguely, for not supporting the "freedom" of others considering that their ancestors once lacked freedom. That's an unfair comparison, of course, and you can't help but feel that Bakker was playing to the camera, but regardless you have to also admit the guy has the courage of his convictions even if you don't agree (like I don't) with the basic conclusion that the homosexual lifestyle should be acceptable within the church. We also find out in this episode that the other shoe drops and Bakker's Revolution church loses its primary source of funding over Jay stand on homosexuality. The episode ends with Revolution apparently in jeopardy as Jay announces that he is leaving Atlanta to move to NY so that his wife can continue her studies. It makes me wonder if Jay had this "out" in the back of his mind when he decided to risk Revolution for the sake of speaking out about his convictions...that he might be leaving it soon any way.