Wednesday, January 26, 2005

When You Bitch Upon A Star

Looks like people at ABC are as fed up with Star Jones' wedding as much as we are.

Turns out the network and the portly primadonna have been sparring. It started when ABC execs snipped some plugs for Jones' wedding sponsors from an upcoming celebrity weddings special. In response, Jones boycotted The View for a day. This cute little stunt, according to the NY Post's Page Six, nearly got the big-boned blabbermouth axed. The unfortunate word: nearly.

A spokeswoman for Jones says it's all hooey, but by some strange coincidence, "Bridezilla" has since clammed up about her wedding completely.

Thank heaven for small favors.

Latest City To Allow Gay Marriage: Springfield, USA

A gay wedding is on tap later this year on The Simpsons.

They haven't revealed which character will come out; speculation has suggested it's either Smithers, Flanders, or Patty (Marge's sister). But they've missed the obvious choice: baby Maggie, who is at the highest risk of being influenced by the totally queer SpongeBob.

Web Whiparound: Bad TV? It's Simple

At least the critics aren't loving The Simple Life 3: Interns.

Seems they're tiring of Paris and Nicole's act. Maybe viewers will finally follow suit and knock these talentless beeyotches off the air?

That would be hot.

Related links:
NY Daily News: "The Simple answer: They're wearing thin"
NY Post: "Grim... desperate... insulting"
Hollywood Reporter: "Stupidity on Parade"
Chicago Tribune: "Simple Life goes through the motions"

Stockard In The Stockade

The West Wing's Stockard Channing got herself arrested for boozin' and cruisin'.

That's OK- I'm sure Jed will issue a presidential pardon.

Why Commercials Suck

Intermedia Advertising Group rates the effectiveness of various new ad campaigns. What was its winner for the week of January 3-16?

The Quiznos Sub/Baby Bob spots.

No, seriously.

I'm ready to puke up my strained peas.

Related links:
Intermedia Advertising Group Quiznos Needs A New Ad Agency
The Story of Baby Bob and Quiznos Sub (see the spots here!)

Tonight's Tube

Wednesday: On Fox, the over-exposed and under-talented Paris and Nicole are back in The Simple Life 3: Interns. Unless they're pulling a weekly Lewinsky, I'm taking the zero. Meanwhile, bad news on ABC: a Lost repeat. Feh! And no Law & Order either? Oh, wait- Katie Couric's got a teen sex special on instead. No wonder CBS is so hot to hire her away.

Static From the Geek-In-Chief: Hey Now!

I’m not sure if it was Johnny Carson’s passing this week that got me to thinking. Maybe it’s because I just revisited the brilliant first season of The Larry Sanders Show on DVD. Or maybe I’m just desperate for a topic for this week’s column.

But one thing has become abundantly clear: the talk show sidekick is a dying breed.

Sure, the actual value of the second banana has always been dubious. As a viewer, I always thought: “I don’t need a talentless chortle machine telling me when to laugh.” (No, they have laugh tracks for that.) And strangely, talk shows seemed to benefit from them: whether it was the wooden, borderline drunken agreement of an Ed McMahon, or the partner-in-crime tee-hee-heeing of an Andy Richter, their mere presence added a little somethin' somethin' to a pretty stiff format.

These days, few talk shows have full-fledged sidekicks. Oh sure, Dave has his Paul, and Jay has his Kevin. But bandleaders don’t really count- they have more important duties to perform then laughing moronically at a lame Paris Hilton joke.

Historically, plenty of successful hosts have done just fine without true sidekicks, including Ellen, Rosie, and the legendary Merv Griffin. That said, hiring a couch jockey does not guarantee success: having Dan Miller ride shotgun with Pat Sajak on PBS sure didn’t help him any. I'm fairly certain Chevy was screwed, sidekick or not. And I’d loathe Leno’s insipid Tonight Show no matter who sat beside him.

Recent talk shows have attempted resuscitating the sidekick role to little avail. Ereka Vetrini was a full-fledged sidekick when The Tony Danza show premiered; now, she’s had her airtime slashed and is relegated strictly to being the show’s official Plinko-chip dropper. And John Fuselgang caddied on the recently axed McEnroe, but that doesn’t really count because nobody even knew the show existed. Hardly encouraging results for future wannabe second bananas.

As Jeffrey Tambor’s dead-on parody Hank Kingsley on Sanders showed, there used to be a spot for almost every entertainer in Hollywood, no matter how lame, witless, and untalented. That spot was as a couch-riding hack. Now, those performers, the sidekicks of the world, are being eliminated. Phased out. Downsized. And an entire era of television goes with them.

So this week, as we remember Johnny Carson, let’s also not forget our beloved sidekicks, past and present, and the service they’ve given us. And Ed, don’t worry: I’m sure Johnny’s saving you a spot on his couch.

Static From The Geek In Chief airs every Wednesday on

Wednesday Trivia: 1985-1986, Part Three

Which of the following aired for the last time during the 1985-1986 TV season?

A) Gimme a Break!
B) Amazing Stories
C) Moonlighting
D) The A-Team

Answer tomorrow.

Tuesday Trivia Solved: 1985-1986, Part Two

Which of the following did not air on NBC in the 1985-1986 TV season?

A) Helltown
B) Misfits of Science
C) Riptide

The answer is D. Alf did not premiere until the 1986-1987 season.