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Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm Back: GeekSpeak From a Lost Week

I've been slacking my responsibilities of late- especially last week. I had a lot going on. Here's my (futile?) attempt to catch up...

A quick straw poll of fellow fans revealed I was alone in my ardent love of the episode’s second season (“Join the Club”). Granted, if I never see another Sopranos dream sequence, it’ll be too soon, but I loved getting a peek into the brewing turf war and hearing AJ’s plan to go all Michael Corleone on “Mummy Head” Uncle Junior. Last night’s third episode (“Mayham”) seemed better received by the masses. I thought the two episodes would probably work better back to back, especially with the dream sequence payoff last night.

The acting extremes continue in this episode: while Edie Falco continues to shine, the storyline’s emphasis on secondary characters (and, apparently, actors) leaves something to be desired. Tony Sirico (Paulie Walnuts) is only passable because he consistently gets the best lines, while Joseph Gannascoli (Vito)’s lack of heft as an actor continues to dwarve his physical weight. Little Steven won’t ever sniff an Emmy nod, while Robert Iler (AJ) seems destined for a VH-1 Celebreality series of your choosing when the show finally passes.

Surprisingly, the perpetually irritating Jamie Lynn Sigler is somewhat palatable this season- and I’m not just talking about her suddenly smokin’ bod. Who said eating disorders were all bad?

Who Needs A New Boss: While I was shirking my GeekSpeaking responsibilities, everyone’s favorite train-wreck talk show host, Tony Danza, finally earned his long-awaited and much deserved cancellation. Time-slot filler at best, dreck at worst, The Tony Danza Show offered nothing, except an incomprehensible host, C-level guests and reinforcement of scads of Italian stereotypes (including pizza tossing contests and dancing with a giant salami). The show should have been yanked the second his cooking segments gained sponsorship from The Olive Garden. What self respecting Italian would stand for that?

Possible replacement for Tony: a View-style talker with Patricia Heaton and three other women, discussing homelife instead of news. Oddsmakers are already taking bets which will be worse: this one or the new Megan Mullally yakker. Both may launch this fall.

The Shield: After, in my opinion, a lackluster fourth season (Glenn Close didn’t do it for me), Chiklis and Co. really got back to basics for this year’s The Shield. Forest Whittaker’s performance was Emmy-worthy. Since I just got FX and had to obtain the episodes in another fashion (*cough* *cough* bittorrent *cough*), I watched the entire 11 episode season over a single 24 hour clip. Still completely unrealistic- but fantastic.

24: Will anyone be left alive at the end of this season?

Chef’s Salad: Isaac Hayes leaves South Park, pissed that the show pokes fun at Scientology. Less than a week later, Parker and Stone kill him off, using previously recorded lines from Hayes. Possibly the most topical animated series ever.

Sons and Daughters: ABC’s brilliant new quasi-improv laugher is tanking in the ratings. No surprise. It’s TV’s smartest comedy since Arrested Development, so, naturally, people would rather watch anything else. Will ABC have the stones to renew this underperformer? Given how quickly they pulled the Heather Graham kumquat Emily’s Reasons Why Not, it’s shocking (and wonderful) that it’s even still on the air.

NBC Ready to Cook: Alan Thicke and Sandra Lee have signed on to host NBC’s upcoming Celebrity Cooking Showdown. Rapper Ja Rule, Kansas City Chiefs star Tony Gonzalez, model Naomi Campbell and Tom Arnold will be among the starved-for-attention stars to slap on aprons. Hey, networks: the reality thing is over. Stop the madness!

Election on Lifetime: Has a single member of Lifetime’s audience ever heard of James Carville or Mary Matalin? So why would the channel buy a reality show starring these two political motormouths? This would have been a better fit almost anywhere else. They should stick to what they know best: making Delta Burke movies.

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