Remote Destination


ME: I haven’t been a fan in years. Since Goldberg was huge, in WCW.
Joe Reid: that’s a while ago
ME: Yup.
Joe Reid: it’s just not fun anymore
ME: Lack of competition will do that.
Joe Reid: yes indeed – hell, look at Cam without me to compete with on Fridays anymore
Joe Reid: ho! shot!
ME: Nice!
Joe Reid: damn, he’s not here to hear that
ME: I’ll lead my column with it.
Joe Reid: awesome
Conversation between Joe and I on AIM 12/17

Welcome back to your random, often meandering TV column of the day. As usual, I’m Mathan your host. Since I started with the convo between Joe and I, I’ll jump straight to-

TV I’ve Watched In The Last Seven Days

Lost – I finally watched the last new episode of Lost for awhile. I was disappointed that Charlie didn’t actually die. It seemed so “TV” to me. Who knows how long he’d been hanging there? But Jack managed to bring him back. And without any brain damage? Who wouldn’t have enjoyed seeing a “Cyril-like” Charlie?

Scrubs – I also caught last week’s episode of Scrubs. For a cheesy Christmas episode, it wasn’t half bad. The writing was there, the show was pretty funny. It could even be described as “touching.”

Boston Legal – I’m not going to lie; I fell asleep on this episode. Fortunately it was on tape, but it was still boring enough that I didn’t rewind to catch what I missed. This week didn’t really do anything for me.

Desperate Housewives – This week infuriated me. Now again, maybe it’s a cultural thing, but seriously; do white kids treat their parents like this? And who keeps weed in their locker or smokes in their room? I’ve never even smoked, but I still know how not to get caught. Susan is frustrating the hell out of me.

My roommate brought up an interesting point; Susan, a mother of a teen age child, should have been more offended that her friend was shagging her daughter’s peer, than that she was cheating on her husband. Realistically, Susan should have assumed that there were problems with the marriage. But to be upset about cheating is stupid. Character wise, it would have made more sense to bring up the statutory thing.

The Simpsons Pretty funny episode. Nothing really spectacular.

Arrested Development – This show never disappoints. If episodes were released, weekly on DVD I’d buy them and still buy the complete season the next fall. God, I love this show.

Oz – Poor Joe. You’re gonna be pretty surprised when _____ tries to kill _____. Oh and when ______ asks _______ to kill _______ because ________ killed ________, you are going to geek out. But obviously the most shocking moment is when _________ performs ________ on _______. Talk about gross.

The Greatest (and most bittersweet) Show Ever”¦this week – The Wire
Last week I was filled with dread. But when Omar and Mouzone hooked up at the beginning of this episode I had a feeling in my stomach. As the episode progressed, that feeling got worse. But when the Law finally got Stringer on the wire, I couldn’t deny it anymore; Stringer Bell was a dead man.

It pained me to watch the episode. I literally dreaded the progression. And his death scene was powerful. The hurt on his face when Omar told him that Avon, Stringer’s running partner since day one, gave him up, ugh, it killed me. But Stringer went out like a man. But it still hurts me to think about it. I really can’t recall the last time I cared about a TV character like that. I guess Stringer Bell was well crafted a character.

Speaking of great characters-

Buffoonery and Coonery

I generally don’t watch “Black” shows on television. There are a couple of reasons why. Firstly, I have a low tolerance for sitcoms, and every “Black” show is a sitcom (ever wonder why there are no “Black” dramas? I’ll answer in an upcoming column.) Secondly I personally find most “Black” shows offensive. The characters are rarely intelligent and practically buffoons. In fact, I don’t really have an issue with Nas’ assessment on These Are Our Heroes, where he calls them coons.

Personally I blame Martin Lawrence. Let me explain.

TV has had successful Black shows in the past. Good Times, Sanford & Son, and The Jeffersons come immediately to mind. They were all good shows, for their time, and paved the way for others.

The Cosby Show was the first Black show where race was important, but it wasn’t really an issue. The Huxtables were an American family, who happened to be Black. It’s a classic show.

The Cosby Show spawned A Different World which was certainly more “Black” but it was still intelligent and mature. It featured a variety of characters, with varying degrees of complexity. But perhaps it’s greatest accomplishment was introducing Jada Pinkett to the world.

I still remember the day after her character debuted. My friend and I were talking about how Dwayne needed to forget about Whitley and hook up with her. Good times. But I digress.

(The criminally underrated Frank’s Place is a great, if brief example of Black television done right.)

Later came The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. This show was decidedly more Hip Hop influenced. It, like A Different World before it, showcased the variety within the Black community. Characters had different voices, which was very refreshing. It was a quality show.

But then Martin became popular.

Now I didn’t have a problem with the first season of Martin it was fresh and new. It had flair and real personality. It was certainly more “urban” than The Fresh Prince. But it was still a well written show. At least for the first season.

Once Martin Lawrence became an executive producer and script approval authority, the show went downhill. The jokes came less from the writing and more from Martin’s physicality. The show catered to, what was perceived to be Martin’s strength, physical comedy.

I’ll admit that Martin created some funny characters. But that doesn’t make up for the mugging that Martin did for the camera. He was shucking and jiving, bugging his eyes, and basically playing the coon. It was the worst kind of broad comedy, the offensive kind.

Cole went from being a slow character who got glared at to being an idiot who got “smacked upside his head” multiple times an episode. The show became a caricature of how Blacks were perceived. It was almost like in an attempt to make his show “Blacker” Martin returned to the stereotypes of a bygone era.

But Martin proved popular. So popular that over on Fresh Prince Will began to smack Carlton “upside his head” on a weekly basis. Sadly Martin has seemingly become the template for the “Black” shows on upstart networks such as UPN and WB.

And sadly the “small three” (FOX, UPN, and WB) seem to be the only place to find shows with Black casts in primetime, and even those shows are dwindling. But I suppose one can only rehash old stereotypes for so long. Oh wait, regular sitcoms are still being produced.

There you have it. That’s my bias against “Black” shows in a nutshell. It’s also why when someone claims that Martin is their favorite show, I mentally write them off.

(Like I said earlier, I plan on returning to this topic in a future column. It could even be next week, but I’m not going to guarantee anything. In the meantime”¦)

Carlos didn’t enjoy SNL nearly as much as I did.

Coogan on the other hand enjoys Scrubs at least as much as I do.

Bob has an amazing list. It’s a must read.

J.A.M.aica, mon

Cam, also addressed Nas, last week. But he focused on Music, because well, he writes a music column. But his new one should be by the time you read this, so do yourself a favor and read it.

Joe didn’t cover Nas this week. No mention of Belly. Yet he does cover Music by talking about the Grammys. He also talks about The Chronicles of Narnia, which has me kind of excited.

Greatest Video Ever”¦this week

Earth Wind & Fire – Boogie Wonderland

Earth Wind & Fire had the largest band ever, and every member is in this video. Everyone is jamming. Yet oddly, there is very little “boogieing” going on. This video does win points for the outlandish outfits and hairstyles.