The Week In TV: Charlie Sheen's Career Not Hurt By Punching Women
The dog days are here, people keep dying, and there's plenty of static on the dial. This was the week in TV Land:
• When I was very young, my heart and soul were ruled by Thundercats. I even at one point made the regrettable decision to wear a watch featuring Lion-O to school one day, and when someone pointed at it to question/mock it, I covered it with my other hand in panic, leaving nothing visible but Lion-O's mane of red hair, which my accuser took for the hair of Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and which then prompted him to loudly and gleefully ask why I was wearing a watch emblazoned with a Disney princess. Basically I was in a hole.
Anyway: I loved the show. So I'm not sure how I feel about the news that Cartoon Network is reviving the series with stronger anime feel. On one hand, I see the studio appeal in trying to breathe new life into a brand that's been a proven hit, and I'm sure they'll be able to get plenty of people in my generation to watch it. After all, we're already watching Adult Swim. On the other, though, I can't help but feel a stab of regret as another piece of my 1980s childhood gets co-opted 25 years later. Is it too much to ask to leave some things alone?
• Rue McClanahan died last week. I can't pretend her work has meant anything to me personally: I was just a bit too young to experience The Golden Girls as anything other than a syndicated summer rerun that provided occasional background noise to school vacations. But there's no denying she was a hell of a performer. First Coleman, now McClanahan. Tough week for 1980s icons.
• Friday Night Lights churned out another solid episode on Friday. The show might never again reach the heights of its first year -- which, aside from a tacked-on twist to create a cliffhanger finale, is flat-out perfect -- but its fourth season is a strong one. This is when we get to see just how much the ensemble makes everything work, and how a show about high school can survive when some of its founding characters graduate and leave.
Friday's episode, "The Son," was a powerful hour of TV about love and loss as Matt Saracen dealt with the loss of his father. Zach Gilford's had some standout moments on the show -- his emotional break and eventual confession to Eric of feeling abandoned by everyone in his life was heartbreaking -- and he did wonderful work communicating the uneasy mix of hate and love that attends Matt's father's funeral.
• Good news, if you're an aspiring actor with rage issues: If you reach a certain level of fame, you can beat your wife or girlfriend but not risk losing your job or even missing out on filming an episode of your bizarrely popular sitcom. Charlie Sheen is going to plead guilty to a misdemeanor in his latest domestic violence case, at which point he'll serve 30 days, though it may be reduced to 15 because maybe he has to get home and make sure his wife's not burning dinner or something. Two and a Half Men resumes production later in the summer for its fall return, so luckily, Sheen's tendency to get punchy with the ladies won't deprive viewers of his trademark wit.
• The ending of Lost was a divisive one for fans: Some thought it was a touching tribute to the characters, while others thought it was a steaming pile of bullshit that made a head-fake toward resolution while really just spinning its wheels and retroactively negating half a season's worth of plotlines and an entire series' worth of open endings. (Guess which camp I'm in.) Well, because this is the Internet, an enterprising fan has started a Tumblr called "Lost Revised," in which he plans to post edited versions of the sixth season's episodes with the flash-sideways world -- you know, the ad hoc afterlife -- edited out. Give it a look and see how it plays.
• Fat joke! Extra fat joke! Nudging question about fat people? Shrug. Defensive statement about pandering to national obesity problem. Aggressive question of your sensitivity? Final fat joke! This fall on CBS:
• I think it's adorable that MTV still makes new episodes of The Real World. The show has long since passed its eras of initial fascination and inevitable trashiness, and the reality pioneer has been lapped by the network's other creations, including The Hills and Jersey Shore. As if to drive home the series lack of inspiration and effort, the upcoming season will be set in New Orleans, the location of the ninth season, which aired in 2000.
The show actually began to repeat itself the next year, with a "Back to New York" season that tried to recall the first season's energy but instead inflicted the presence of Mike "The Miz" Mizanin on an undeserving viewership. I understand there's a lot of history and culture in New Orleans, and I'm sure the kids will all make superficial and idiotic revelations about the plight of the underclass in the wake of Katrina, or at least will utter something similar between shots of tequila and bouts of public vomiting. But really: The producers couldn't think of somewhere new to go? Phoenix? Houston? Atlanta? Nashville? Madrid? Spin a globe, guys. Anyway, here's a trailer for the new season:
• I leave with a great image courtesy of the High Definite about just how lazy producers can be when it comes to using newspapers as a prop. Your mind,it is blown.