The Week In TV: Even Stevens - Tyler and Slater Ready for Reality

Aging lesbian: Steven Tyler
Aging lesbian: Steven Tyler
David Becker, Getty Images

My lawn is dying, we're creeping into awards season, and as for that other guy, I guess he's Xbox while I'm more Atari. This was the week in TV Land:

• Let's get down to the reason we all got out of bed today: American Idol. Jennifer Lopez is apparently still in limbo in re: whether anyone wants to put up with her as a judge, but E! reported last week that Steven Tyler, pictured with their story as an aging lesbian, is set to join Idol as a judge next season. This would be a depressing but fitting role for the Aerosmith frontman, who has led his band from rock stardom to pop insignificance by aging gracelessly into a bad joke. Gone are their rock days of the 1970s, as well as their 1990s resurgence. His casting is in line with the show's emphasis on splashy judges over legitimate contestants, but it also misses the point that no one will be able to stylistically replace Simon Cowell, and that the series could have some tough seasons ahead if it decides to soldier on.

• Speaking of age-inappropriate casting: MTV, which makes programs for 11-year-old girls and the learning disabled, has tapped Chelsea Handler to host the Video Music Awards next month. Handler has a late-night talk show on E! that offers the kind of low-grade shocks and "hilarious" booze jokes you'd expect from, well, a show on E!, and everything you need to know about her can be determined by your reaction to her book title: Are You There Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea. In related news, the VMAs apparently show no sign of stopping, thanks to last year's meme-inspiring Kanye West interruption. Rumor is that this year Kanye will do something even more surprising, like staying seated the whole time and politely applauding the winners.

• The Creative Arts Emmy Awards were held Saturday. It's the branch of the TV award group that focuses mainly on technical categories like art direction, effects, and cinematography, since everyone knows that those categories are just tokens because TV shows are magical creations by a group of actors who will them into being. HBO's The Pacific took home seven, helping the network bring in 17 awards for the night, the most of any network. Betty White won for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her appearance on Saturday Night Live, which was predictable but still nice. The Colbert Report also won for best writing for a comedy series for one of its Iraq episodes, beating out, ironically, the SNL hosted by Betty White, as well as The Daily Show, Real Time With Bill Maher, and The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien. It's still possible for Coco's Tonight Show to win an award, though, since it's also up in the general comedy/variety category. It'd be a nice twist of the knife to NBC if he won, especially since they're broadcasting the awards. Tune in this Sunday to see what happens.

Upcoming Events

• TMZ is reporting that Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who quit his job by escaping via the plane's emergency slide and whom we are still inexplicably talking about a couple weeks later, has been offered a reality show in which he will help people "quit their jobs in extravagant ways." No word yet on whether he will counsel people to first look for better work or at least save some emergency cash to ensure that the crumbling economy doesn't eat them alive after they totally tell off their shift boss for making them work a double, but here's hoping, right?

• Big dump of HBO news this week. First, they've renewed The Life and Times of Tim for reasons passing the understanding of creator Steve Dildarian, who was bewildered but happy when his formerly canceled show found a reprieve. It's a solid comedy, too, so good on the network. Second, they're developing a one-hour drama about the porn world that will be produced by Mark Wahlberg and "written" by James Frey. It's unsure if the drama will be as blundered and insane as the network's Cathouse or as eye-opening and soul-scarring as AC Hookers, but it will apparently feature of a mix of actors and real-life porn stars, so really who the hell knows what's going on. Finally, HBO recently stated that they probably won't be working with Netflix any time soon, which means that films from multiple studios, as well as HBO original content, won't be available for streaming through Netflix's Watch Instantly service. The network instead wants to focus on its HBO Go, which means you'll have to be a paying HBO subscriber to be able stream their content. I hope that these two sides can come to a decent financial agreement in the future. It'd be great to stream HBO content, even through another pay service, without having to go all in for the cable channel.

• We're still in the dead of summer, meaning there's not much to see out there except bad reality, bad game shows, and reruns. This Thursday on NBC you can catch Community's epic "Modern Warfare" episode, as well as "Physical Education," which will make you want to play pool naked. Friday sees the next episode of IFC's new show with the Kids in the Hall, Death Comes to Town. Mostly, though, it's another empty week, so locals should head out to Museum of Fine Arts for a screening of House this weekend, which is guaranteed to fuck you up.

• Finally, if you're looking for another TV fix online, I'd recommend The State, available to stream via Netflix. The short-lived sketch comedy show was the launching pad for most of your favorite comedians, but its home video release was delayed for years because of music rights. After watching it, you'll wonder how you ever lived without the Porcupine Racetrack:


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