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Two Years Late, But "Lost" No LongerHatemail and Some HousekeepingIs the NYT Crossword Making Subtle Editorial Comments?Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Where Are The Jews?Britney's New Baby: I'm Trying To Do The MathBad Things Come in Threes...

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September 27, 2006

Two Years Late, But "Lost" No Longer


When the hit television series "Lost" began getting all the media attention (well deserved, I now understand) two years ago, it made me not want to watch it. Hype tends to make me turn around and run in the other direction. Sometimes, this instinct can be good. In other instances, it can work against me. This is the case with "Lost."

For the past three nights my girlfriend and I have spent hours devouring the DVD of Season One. We're up through disc four. And we are positively riveted. Whether the show is truly genius or simply employs age-old dramatic devices in very clever ways (or some combination of both), I'm not sure. But, we're both addicted. I've had to make a conscious effort not to read ahead or participate in one of the many online forums devoted to deconstructing the show. I want to, and will once we are all caught up.

I'm okay with being two years behind the curve. Just call me Mr. 2004.

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September 21, 2006

Hatemail and Some Housekeeping

The recent piece I wrote for Slate entitled "Stop Them Before They Joke Again" generated a fair amount of mail, both to me and on Slate's "Fray" discussion boards.

While a number of people agreed with my take and liked what I had to say, the piece certainly had its detractors. Chief among them was a nice fellow named Josh who sent me the following email, subject lined "Hey Asshole":

You are completely retarded. Do they actually pay you for this? The one man stand against humor. Finally, someone is fighting this pandemic. Couldn't you just find another profession? Trust me, writing isn't ur thang. Laughter is contagious, that's a good thing. I hope someone kicks your fuckinhg ass, prick! Slate must not do much of a background check, but I do. We'll leave humor to the pros, if you will leave writing to them.


And therein lies the beauty of the Internet--it gives people the chance to dialogue and share their thoughts instantly and without prejudice. Josh and I began a dialogue and, eventually, to his credit, we were able to find some middle ground.

Also, a bit of housekeeping. I was told to add the following to a posting, so I can get picked up on Technorati. I am doing so here:

Technorati Profile

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September 20, 2006

Is the NYT Crossword Making Subtle Editorial Comments?


One of the few pleasures of the freelance writer lifestyle (apart from my manservant and the massive offshore holdings I've accrued) is that it gives me the freedom do the NYT crossword each and every day. Or, at least, to try to do it. But something in today's puzzle stopped me cold.

The clue for 37 Across is "Fresh-squeezed ex-football star/pitchman?"

The answer is, of course, O.J. Simpson, famed running back for the Buffalo Bills and former Hertz spokesperson.

Casual mentions of OJ have been taboo for a while. Is Will Shortz, the puzzle editor, making some kind of veiled statement that it's acceptable to, once again, refer to OJ without any mention of that minor criminal matter he went through a few years back? I suppose adding "alleged wife killer" to the clue is a little grisly for the early-morning crossword crowd....Not to mention, way too easy for a mid-week puzzle .

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September 19, 2006

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Where Are The Jews?


Last night brought the most touted television debut of the fall season, in the form of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip. Aaron Sorkin's wildly autobiographical new show is certainly above average, and the writing, as usual, was superior to most of what's out there (this, of course, is not saying much) as every critic fell over himself to point out.

So, yes, it's a good show. We all agree on that.

Much has been made of Matthew Perry's return to the small screen, and of the chemistry between Perry and Bradley Whitford (who played Josh Lyman on The West Wing). They have potential, but they are miles away from the My-Ivy-League-School-Was-Better-Than-Your banter that Sam Seaborn (Rob Lowe) and Josh Lyman mastered, usually while walking down a hallway.

Part of this, admittedly, lies in my inability to get past the goofy, two-dimensional Chandler imprint that will forever shadow Perry. But mostly it has to do with the fact that he's trying to be a neurotic Jewish writer type (which is to say, a stand-in for Sorkin), but he just can't pull it off. If the show has one tragic flaw it is this: There is not a bespectacled Hebrew anyplace to be found. Come on. It's a tv show about a tv show. A comedic show. Set in Hollywood.

No Jews on the the fictional SNL-like show: That might be conceivable, for a given season. No Jews at the management level (apart from Ed Asner, who plays the Sumner Redstone-like head of the conglomerate that owns the network)? Unrealistic (we Jews control the media and the banks, of course, not to mention all the best brunch spots) but I'll accept it, for the sake of argument. But no Jews in the writer's room? Even Hee Haw had a couple of Jews on staff....just in case.

All of this is exceptionally odd for a show that seems, from the get go, intent on taking dead aim at the Religious Right, the morality police and traditional American values. Perry and Whitford are supposed to represent the left-leaning, overstimulated and thoughtful end of the spectrum (that is, the Jews or, at least, Sorkin, the Jew), but they just don't do the job that Josh Lyman and Toby Ziegler (Richard Schiff) did on Sorkin's previous show about his fantasy of being in the White House.

Hire some more Jews, Aaron. In this case, realism calls upon you to embrace the cliche.


Several readers have pointed out that the Judd Hirsch characte is, among others (including, possibly, the Steven Weber character) Jewish. Indeed, the Hirsch character is, though he's not a major presence (nor is he listed on the IMDB page for the show). My point was really that among the core group of main creative characters, there are too few Jews...or, rather, not enough Jewy characters, a la Toby and Josh.

Also: this is, more than anything, a jokey blog posting, not science.

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September 13, 2006

Britney's New Baby: I'm Trying To Do The Math


I don't follow the goings-on of the Spears/Federline family all that closely, but it almost seems medically impossible that she has a second child already. Didn't she just have the first one, like, last week or something? I guess Kevin is a bit jacked up from all that rap success he's had.

I think a good general rule for a pop starlet who has not done all the well thus far in the child rearing department might be to wait until the first can walk and talk, but what do I know. I am sure having two kids will make it easier for them both to tour and be away from home 200-plus days a year. If nothing else, they now qualify as "average" in terms of family size.

God Bless America.

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September 06, 2006

Bad Things Come in Threes...


It's not even Autumn yet, but the signs of doom are everywhere around us. There are too many to list here, so I will pick the 3 most obvious proof points of the coming Apocalypse:

Katie Couric as an anchorperson/media god: Am I the only one who finds her "perkiness" to be abhorent? Apparently so, as the reviews have been somewhat decent. The woman is not pure evil, but she seems so utterly unaware of how self-absorbed she is that it's the same thing. I think they call that "television."

Baby Suri on the cover of Vanity Fair: Am I the only in the world who doesn't give the least bit of a damn about this baby? She looks baby. Wow. And what's with that hair? Do Scientologists come born as 4 month olds?

Katherine Harris wins the GOP nomnination for Senator in Florida: As you may recall this was the very understated and not all shrewish Secretary of State who "oversaw" the ballot count in the 2000 elections. Apprently her chads were not hung this time.

Oh well, at least we're not at war or anything.



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