Thursday, March 1, 2007

WEDNESDAY NIGHT (LOW)LIGHTS: There were some sour notes last night in what could have been a nice evening of highbrow, lowbrow, and middlebrow TV. To wit:
  • Sure, a Hurley flashback on Lost is welcome respite from this season's misguided focus on Jack, the Others, and Zoo Island, even if the main story didn't advance the plot or tell us anything we didn't already know. Nonetheless, I think that stuntcasting Cheech Marin is the most glaring casting mistake the show has made (it usually does a great job finding character actors who can play with nuance and dignity). Also, I always find it distracting when the show tries to pretend that Oahu is somewhere else. I'm pretty sure that the fences in Diamond Bar, California aren't made out of volcanic rock.
  • This seemed like the weakest and, in other ways, the most confounding Friday Night Lights I can remember. The weakness was in the writing of the "thanks-Mean-Joe" Riggins plot, which smacked of a network note reading "give us a cute kid to warm Riggins's heart," and in the miscasting of a hammy eight-year-old irritant in the Cousin Oliver role, to mix a metaphor. (An aside: I read an article in an LA alternative weekly about how the actor who played Cousin Oliver is the Quincy Jones of the unhip LA power-pop scene.) The counfounding was in the appreciation of the writers' comfort in acknowledging a conflict between two heroic and likeable characters (Tami and Tyra) arising from the fact that both care about and have good intentions for Julie, mixed with disappointment in the recognition that both are a little bit wrong and in the too-neat way the plot was tied up. And by the way, who played Cousin Oliver's mom? It's really bugging me.
  • Welcome back, America's Next Top Model. Too bad I can't watch you this season. I've thought that Tyra's recent assault on beauty norms was disingenuous, but it's just plain silly to carry that over into her show about models. Even the Britain's Next Top Model Cycle One contestants are laughing at this ugly bunch.

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