Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Modest Proposal

So I was going over my credit card statements for the last several months, and I noticed something interesting. The overwhelming majority of my purchases seemed to average about $40 a piece. Dinner out with my lovely wife, about 40 smackers. Gassing up the car, make it 40 bucks. Grocery shopping to stock up the old larder, you guessed it, forty clams. Of course, there were other expenses that were more or less than forty, but a remarkable majority hovered right around the forty dollar mark. Seems to me that forty is quickly becoming the new twenty. I mean, think about it, you stop by your local ATM and hit the quick cash button and what does the machine hand you? Bingo! Forty beans. So here's my idea...

I think the U.S. Treasury should issue a new 40 dollar bill with...oh, I don't know, let's say Millard Fillmore on it. After all, with a name like Millard Fillmore, the guy needs every break he can get.

I'm also a big proponent of getting rid of the dollar bill and using those nifty new presidential dollar coins we've been minting, finally putting us on a par with more sophisticated countries like Canada and Great Britain which both replaced their single bills with cool-looking coins. But, knowing the general intractability of the American public, that's a slippery slope I'm not quite ready to start climbing at this moment.

Spare change, anyone?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

What's in a Name?

Okay, let's see if I've got this straight.

There's a new TV series this season called Chuck, about Chuck Bartowski, Nerd Herd slacker turned reluctant spy. Then there's Dirty Sexy Money, where attorney Nick George attends to the daily fortunes and foibles of the fabulously wealthy Darling family. Then we've got the wonderful Pushing Daisies, where our hero Ned the piemaker has used his amazing powers to resurrect his childhood sweetheart Charlotte Charles, otherwise known as Chuck, whose two aunts were once a synchronized swimming team called the Darling Mermaid Darlings. And, lastly, there's the new sitcom series Back to You, where former Frasier actor Kelsey Grammer portrays TV network anchorman Chuck Darling.

And they say there's never anything new or original on TV.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

It's the Fall TV Scorecard - Part Two

Sorry it's taken me a little longer than planned to get to the second chapter of my reviews for this season's new shows, but that's life. There are still several new series to come so expect the final chapter next week. Anyway, once again in no particular order, here goes...

This show is basically The Godfather with a Cuban accent. It's another soap opera with a stellar cast led by Jimmy Smits of West Wing and NYPD Blue fame, the always-engaging Hector Elizondo, formerly of Chicago Hope, and the everything-award-winning Rita Moreno. What this show is lacking for me that made Dirty Sexy Money watchable is a sense of humor. So far my lovely wife is enjoying the show. How much longer I'll stick around remains to be seen.

ALIENS IN AMERICA: It's sort of The Wonder Years meets Osama Bin Ladin, but with a lot more heart. Chris and I are watching it and loving it. It's funny. It's touching. And it isn't at all cloying. And it's got Scott Patterson playing a character very unlike the beloved Gilmore Girls' Luke. Try it. You might like it.

CARPOOLERS: Not the worst idea for a sitcom, but by no means the best. The biggest problem with this series is that it violates the first and foremost rule of a good situation comedy: it's just not funny. I didn't crack a smile once during its first -- and, frankly, my only -- half hour. Odds are it'll be gone by November Sweeps. Your time can be better spent.

JOURNEYMAN: Truth to tell, I found the first show to be a little grim for my taste, but I liked the second episode much better, as the characters started to address some of the inherent problems of time travel, like using older money, what to do about your cell phone, etc. The show has promise but, ratings being what they are, it seems like it may not make it past Thanksgiving, if it even lasts that long. Give it a looksee while you can.

CAVEMEN: Well, that's six minutes of my life I'm never getting back. Seriously, the things I do for you people. This show is another shining example of Hollywood trying to prove once again that nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public. God, I hope they're wrong.

GOSSIP GIRL: I gave it up 15 minutes into the first episode when I realized there was nobody in the cast I cared about, but it's just gotten picked up for the whole season, and critics are saying it has really improved, so maybe I'll give it another try.

PRIVATE PRACTICE: To be honest, I'm one of those few who don't watch Grey's Anatomy, so I thought it would be hypocritical of me to watch its spin-off. Despite sporting a pretty terrific cast, the critics all seem to hate it, so it seems I made the right choice.

PUSHING DAISIES: I've already told you all what I think of this show and, based on the first week's ratings, much of America seems to agree with me. I think it's the best new thing on the air this Fall, and I hope it sticks around for a long, long time.

BIG SHOTS: With a terrific cast led by Dylan McDermott of The Practice, Christopher Titus of the eponymous Titus, Joshua Molina of Sports Night and the West Wing, and Michael Vartan, late of Alias, you'd think this series would be better than it is. It's a show about four so-called Captains of Industry who are actually little more than Buck Privates in their personal lives. To me, the whole thing feels much like the hour-long dramedy version of the previously-mentioned Carpoolers, and sadly it's not much better.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

So THIS is What Must-See TV Means!

A quick heads up before tonight's TV viewing begins. If you're not gonna be home or even if you are, set your Tivo or VCR or wax tablet to record my absolute favorite new series of the season, Pushing Daisies! This is a series that is not quite like anything else you've ever seen before on TV, sort of a mix of Tim Burton and Lemony Snicket meet Six Feet Under, and that doesn't even begin to do justice to the series. Some of you may find something that occurs during the first few minutes of the show a little unsettling, but please stick with it. I promise you everything works out for the best.

Pushing Daisies is the sort of series that will either be one of the season's biggest hits or biggest ratings disasters, which is why I'm pushing for you to watch it now and help, if you can, with the ratings. I think this series worth the time and effort. I hope you will too.

Watch it tonight and let me know what you think, okay?