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  1. #31

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted



    Tonight, CBS premieres How To Be A Gentleman, a brainless buddy comedy presenting a dichotomy in which men can be either delicate, ineffectual, sexless weaklings or ill-mannered but physically powerful meatheads. Says this show — over and over, in both its marketing and in its actual dialogue — there are gentlemen, and there are real men, and each might need to be a little more like the other.

    Yes, yes, it's a sitcom, and caricatures are common, and on its own, this wouldn't make much of an impression. But this is not just any season. It's a season that also brings Tim Allen whining about what ever happened to "real men" in Last Man Standing, three guys lost in a universe of "pomegranate body wash" in Man Up, and — sometime in midseason, unless the universe blissfully swallows us all before then — two men in drag in Work It trying to overcome the entirely female-driven economy in which they literally cannot support themselves without dressing as women.

    And in that environment, How To Be A Gentleman and its overt and unapologetic sexist stereotyping, in which only certain kinds of men are "real men," represents a kind of tipping point: Television right now — at least broadcast television — is even worse at managing its ideas about masculinity than about femininity.


    Now, this is a pretty high bar and therefore an accomplishment to be taken seriously. But at least The Playboy Club and Pan Am know enough to rely on nostalgia. Neither NBC or ABC would put a show on the air in which a physically unattractive woman was trained in how to be a "real woman" by an idiotic but beautiful personal trainer, and if they did, they would not say that she needed to learn how to be a "real woman."

    Other fall shows demonstrate some of this same complete lack of faith in the inherent emotional intelligence of men. Patrick Wilson plays a doctor on A Gifted Man who needs a dead woman to counsel him on how to have feelings. NBC's Free Agents features a female lead who has to counsel the male lead in how not to act like a weepy ... well, a weepy woman, in stereotypical terms. How, in other words, to man up.

    I honestly think the men on television now resemble the men I know even less than the women on television resemble the women I know, and at least women are not being out-and-out instructed that there is only one way to be a woman.

    That doesn't mean women are being well-served when television turns its attention to their gender. They're not. But when you see the four men on How To Be A Gentleman — Kevin Dillon as the meathead, David Hornsby as the nice weakling, Rhys Darby as the dopey husband of Hornsby's sister, and an utterly out-of-place Dave Foley as the buffoonish boss who can't age gracefully — it really begins to look like men are the new women, when it comes to being mercilessly pigeonholed and mocked for failing to represent an impossible ideal of perfect behavior and perfect looks.

    It's woven into the DNA of this particular show: Dillon telling Hornsby that the sooner he starts working out, the sooner he can get "an adult male body." Foley telling him that the "holy grail" demographic for their magazine is "men in their mid-to-late thirties who act like they're fifteen." Hornsby asking Dillon, "What does a person like you like to read?" and being told, "Sports scores!" And yes, Dillon telling Hornsby — in the revelatory line that sets up their new friendship and the show — "You know everything about being a gentleman, and nothing about being a man."

    So yes, the guy who only reads sports scores is going to teach about "being a man." And Tim Allen is upset about what ever happened to men. And the Man Up men are not men the way their fathers were.

    There are plenty of silly women in new fall shows — Zooey Deschanel on New Girl and Whitney Cummings in Whitney, just to name two. But at least they are not presented as women who are being women incorrectly. Yes, The Playboy Club idealizes the Bunny, and that's plenty problematic, and the producers' efforts to co-opt the idea of female empowerment to put a shine on it is obnoxious and disrespectful.

    But there is something about this narrative hectoring about men not understanding manhood that seems particularly brutal in that it specifically attacks them for emotional ineptitude while simultaneously attacking them for having emotions. Men who are emotionally reactive (like Hornsby's character here) are weak; men who are emotionally inert (like the Man Up guys) are clueless. In both cases, women don't want to have sex with them, even if they're married to them.

    I cannot help asking, even more than I usually do when I watch scripted comedies: Where, on television, are the men who both like football and remember birthdays? Where are the men who can have a highly insightful drink-and-talk with friends? Where are the men who are great dads, great husbands, great boyfriends? Where are the men who are dedicated to important jobs? Where are the men who aren't seeking reassurance about what it means to be men? Where are, in short, all the men I rely on in my day-to-day life?

    It really takes some effort to match television's historically disastrous relationship with femininity, but at this point, I'm prepared to say it: Right at this moment, I'm more comfortable with what scripted television thinks being a woman means than I am with what scripted television thinks being a man means.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/monkeysee/2...ty?sc=fb&cc=fp
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  2. #32
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    The results of the first couple of weeks of the fall TV season are in, and there are some surprises.

    For the first time in its 25-year history, Fox won premiere week among young adults, which cements the network's dominance in the main demographic that drives ad spending and programming decisions across the industry. It looks like it has a good shot at taking the second week as well, thanks in part to a youth-oriented sitcom sleeper hit, "New Girl," with Zooey Deschanel — already the first new show to get a full-season order. In recent years, the network has struggled to find fall hits and typically had to wait until "American Idol" opened for business in January to start piling up the big numbers.

    Another shocker? Some guy named Ashton Kutcher is apparently more popular than many people realized. The actor's heavily publicized debut on "Two and a Half Men" — replacing the fired Charlie Sheen — drew a record 28.7 million viewers, and the audience declined much less than many expected for the second episode Monday, with 20.5 million tuning in.

    Except for NBC — crushed in its worst opening week ever — every network had at least a couple of early, modest successes to point to, including ABC's trashy soap "Revenge" and Jet Age caper "Pan Am," CBS' procedural "Unforgettable" and even Fox's Simon Cowell-produced "The X Factor," which boosted the network's position relative to last year — even with much lower-than-anticipated ratings.

    "A lot of people are still coming to broadcast television … and are sampling a lot of the new shows and coming back to some of their favorites," said Preston Beckman, Fox's scheduling chief. Though network TV remains under attack from cable and online rivals, he added, "it still delivers more eyeballs than any other platform."

    "Two and a Half Men" provided a startling demonstration of that power. Even though the tabloid drama surrounding Sheen's meltdown earlier this year all but guaranteed some extra tune-in for the show's return with a new costar, few predicted the Season 9 premiere would more than double last season's average. The episode drew a 25 share of the 18-to-49-year-old audience that advertisers seek — a figure almost never seen for scripted entertainment these days, and a huge victory for CBS and studio Warner Bros., vindicated in their decision to bring back the show after Sheen's meltdown.

    "Men" was so powerful that it muscled viewers away from "Dancing With the Stars," which ABC was hoping would draw big numbers for a new cast that included Chaz Bono, the show's first transgender contestant, and cable host Nancy Grace.

    "Those CBS numbers on Monday were huge," said Jeff Bader, who oversees scheduling for ABC. "The audience, I think a lot of it came from us."

    CBS executives won't say where they think "Men" might end up settling this season. But "maybe there's a little more gas in the tank than people would've thought," said scheduling chief Kelly Kahl.

    Elsewhere, CBS — which remains the most-watched network among all viewers —- helped balance its Tuesday schedule with "Unforgettable," a procedural about a detective with a rare ability to remember every day of her life. The show is skewing somewhat younger compared with the legal drama it replaced, "The Good Wife," which moved to Sundays, Kahl said.

    Fox, meanwhile, may have had its victory party tempered by promising too much. A good deal of early analysis has treated both "X Factor" — the singing competition overseen by Cowell — and the dinosaur epic "Terra Nova" as disappointments, if only because the publicity campaigns and ratings hopes were so keen.

    But both those shows helped Fox soar 31% in the 18-to-49 demographic compared with last year's premiere week, and that made all the difference: Indeed, it was the only network to show any growth (ABC was flat; CBS and NBC were down).

    Another key advantage for Fox: It doesn't offer network programming in the 10 p.m. hour, typically a depot for scripted dramas. Those shows have lately had a difficult time scraping together enough viewers to satisfy network executives.

    ABC has defied that trend this season, at least so far. "Revenge" and "Pan Am" performed surprisingly well in their 10 p.m. slots. In the case of "Pan Am," pairing it with an iconic show entering its final season may have helped.

    "Women are the core audience for ABC and 'Pan Am'" — which focuses on a time when flight attendants were still known as stewardesses — "obviously has a natural appeal for women," Bader said. " 'Desperate Housewives' was the perfect lead-in for it, and it's on a night where the main competition is football."

    The network that most needed a hit, of course, was the one that did not find one: NBC.

    Mired in fourth place for years — and under a new owner, cable giant Comcast — the once-mighty network watched virtually its entire new lineup implode: the '60s flashback "The Playboy Club," the crime drama "Prime Suspect" and the comedy "Free Agents." Only "Up All Night," a comedy about young parents, showed some promise.

    A close look at the numbers reveals the depth of NBC's woes. The network has a perilously unbalanced schedule and is almost entirely dependent on its popular Sunday NFL games for ratings. In fact, Sunday was the only night that NBC averaged above a 3.0 rating among 18-to-49-year-olds. ABC, CBS and Fox each had three nights that crossed that threshold. Without football, NBC's 2.6 average rating for premiere week would have dipped to an alarming 1.8, or a little more than half Fox's tally. And without football is what NBC will be come January.

    Of course, a couple of weeks do not tell the story of an entire season, and executives have yet to roll out everything. Next month will see premieres for, among others, ABC's "Last Man Standing" starring Tim Allen (Oct. 11), NBC's fantasy "Grimm" (Oct. 21) and Fox's animated comedy "Allen Gregory" (Oct. 30).

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment...,1541852.story

  3. #33
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I don't really understand why NBC chose to promote Up All Night but not the show that follows it, Free Agents. It's not bad (at least as good as Up All Night). It must be the demographic - Hank Azaria as a sad divorced middle-aged man doesn't skew young, but they need to support blocks of programming, not just half-hours


  4. #34

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I don't understand why NBC is premiering Grimm in late October. I get the Halloween thing and all that but it's an adult drama that would be perfect for those who like "Fringe" and "BtVS". It might also draw fans of "The Vampire Diaries" and "Supernatural" as well as "Haven" to throw in a cable show.

    It's one money maker, the Law and Order franchise, got kicked to the curb and when Mariska Hargitay is gone who is going to carry SVU? I saw the one with Smirkette last week and will see this weeks on the weekend. Smirkette couldn't carry "Chase". How is she going to carry SVU?
    Guess you can see I really don't like the actress.

    The good stuff they did have, "Mercy" comes to mind, they get rid of. They don't promote "Community" at all.
    “No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.” – Lily Tomlin.




  5. #35

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    I for one will not be watching Law & Order: SVU once Hargitay is gone. The new people don't seem that great and the new guy I liked on Cold Case but all I could think of during the episode was that he was a poor man's Benjamin Bratt.

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by skatingfan View Post
    I for one will not be watching Law & Order: SVU once Hargitay is gone. The new people don't seem that great and the new guy I liked on Cold Case but all I could think of during the episode was that he was a poor man's Benjamin Bratt.
    What a perfect analogy.

    I'll stick with SVU as long as they can produce storylines like the one from Tuesday night. They had one or two really good ones last season too.

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Playboy Club is the first to go.

  8. #38
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    Playboy Club is the first to go.
    Last week, I overheard someone on the phone seemingly from ABC talking about the show they plan to replace it with, so I was wondering when this'll happen.

    (The replacement one didn't seem that great from the brief description I heard, I can't even remember what it was)


  9. #39

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by mmmm8 View Post
    Last week, I overheard someone on the phone seemingly from ABC talking about the show they plan to replace it with, so I was wondering when this'll happen.

    (The replacement one didn't seem that great from the brief description I heard, I can't even remember what it was)
    Wow, I had no idea ABC was now programming NBC!

    I also have no idea how this show ever made it to air. Women control the remote and modern women do not have nostalgia for this subject matter. This had failure written all over it, now were it on a cable network and more salacious, it could have done well.

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Wow, I had no idea ABC was now programming NBC!
    What's a one letter difference?


  11. #41

    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    BTW, I truly think that SVU, which has been sucking more and more the last few years, is reaching new levels of suckdom this year. I thought that this last episode with the coach molester was dreadful- with too many pretty lousy guest actors. Losing Meloni is clearly a huge loss- and, yep, if they dump Mariska for good- it'll be time to give up this dinosaur. (The show I mean.....not Mariska. )
    Old News= Madison Brengle. New News- It's All About Amanda Fink Chichi Scholl, FULL CIRCLE OF LIFE MADISON BRENGLE BABY!!!!!!!!

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Either Glee has been hiding Harry Shum Jr.'s singing talent under a bowl, or the guy has worked his ass off in the off-season learning how to sing.

    I thought his performance this week was excellent!!
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

  13. #43
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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Miles View Post
    Wow, I had no idea ABC was now programming NBC!

    I also have no idea how this show ever made it to air. Women control the remote and modern women do not have nostalgia for this subject matter. This had failure written all over it, now were it on a cable network and more salacious, it could have done well.
    Yeah I was confuse too it made it to air . Just the title is a turn off .

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by shtexas View Post
    Playboy Club is the first to go.
    That was quick. Entertainment Weekly published an on-line article just yesterday in which they discussed the prospects of all the new shows. They're listed in order of ratings in the 18-49 demographic (oh, dear, I'm almost irrelevant).

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/10/03/fa...ncelled-shows/

    Did anyone else receive a postcard in the mail to advertise the debut of Pan Am? My wife was excited because she thought we were receiving an actual postcard from someone in Paris.

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    Re: Television Random, Random Scripted/NonScripted

    Quote Originally Posted by Martini4me View Post
    That was quick. Entertainment Weekly published an on-line article just yesterday in which they discussed the prospects of all the new shows. They're listed in order of ratings in the 18-49 demographic (oh, dear, I'm almost irrelevant).

    http://insidetv.ew.com/2011/10/03/fa...ncelled-shows/

    Did anyone else receive a postcard in the mail to advertise the debut of Pan Am? My wife was excited because she thought we were receiving an actual postcard from someone in Paris.
    Thanks for the link, M4M.

    "New Girl" has made me laugh out loud as often as "Modern Family" does. Even with the casting snafu following the pilot, I love the cast.
    Oh Grigor. You silly man.

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