The Weekly Pulse: Mr. Coogan's Groove Tube Update

LOOK AT THIS”¦”¦

** Looks like it’s time to say good bye to Dan Rather whether you like it (probably) or not (probably not). He is an institution”¦(I still like Brokaw better though”¦)

** Should Jay Leno make jokes about the Michael Jackson case considering his pending involvement? This article looks at the issue”¦

** In a what should be considered a shock to no one, Fox won’t let us what ever happened to Vincent and Jason as the network has canceled North Shore. Everyone, please hold back your tears”¦

** Well look at this, sitcom legend Bob Newhart is set to do a multi-episode arc on Desperate Housewives. How quaint.

** Season 2 of Deadwood premieres Sunday on HBO. Visit the web site and look at the preview. Mrs. Garrett doesn’t really think she’s going to get Bullock to back east with her, does she?

THE OPENING CREDITS: So much stuff in IP TV. We rule”¦

** Last weekend, Vegas kicked my ass. So, my Monday suffered again. But here’s last week’s Groove Tube Update…. They’re probably going to look a lot more like this”¦

** Murtz scores again by securing an exclusive interview with the player from last season’s Survivor he said played the “best,” Eliza Orlins. She’s got an announcement to make for the IP TV crowd too!

** Survivor veteran Jake is back with his commentary about CBS’ hit reality show. This week, he recapped the debut episode and Episode 2.

** Ms. Katie from Road Rules and Real World/Road Rules Challenge fame is back in the IP TV saddle again and doesn’t hold back”¦as usual. I’m going to like The Inferno 2 a hell of a lot better than I liked the last Battle of the Sexes“¦

** Let the fun with Danny Kastner begin! The Apprentice‘s most musically talented contestant ever is here with his original songs about two of the series’ most recent episodes!

** Chris Russo has made his triumphant return to IP TV and gives his STRONG OPINIONS on Week 6 and Week 7 of the third season of The Apprentice.

** Elizabeth is a couple of episodes behind in her analysis of The Apprentice, but that doesn’t make it less important!

** Jen Massey’s a little behind too. But how can you fault the woman who was the runner-up of the second season of one of television’s most successful reality shows! Her recaps for Episode 4 and Episode 5 of The Apprentice are up now!

** I’ve run out of nice things to say about Nick Warnock. He writes solid commentaries, doesn’t hold back and you always know where to find him!

** We are continuing to provide some top quality recaps of the hottest reality shows on television. Click on over to see the play-by-play of Survivor, The Apprentice, American Idol and more!

** Cheri has had enough of The Bachelor/ette franchise and she’s got some good points. Her points are so good, she talks about them”¦a lot”¦

** Mr. Romanada breaks down The Amazing Race and likes Boston Rob and Ambe’s chances”¦

** The great Sarah Quigley makes her support for Erin in The Apprentice competition public but acknowledges that she probably doesn’t have a chance in hell.

** Mark Polishuk talks about some random TV stuff and ranks the Survivor contestants.

** Speaking of random TV stuff”¦herrrrrre’s Mathan!

** It’s American Idol time. That means it’s time for Daniels to get heavily involved in IP TV and share his thoughts about the latest crop of pop star wannabes.

** It wouldn’t be IP TV without Survivor analysis and Dan and Patrick are here to give you your fix”¦

THE CLOSING CREDITS: Mr. Coogan’s 5 Questions

1. An NYPD Blue question: Now that the series has come to an end, let’s look back. Did it get the credit it deserved? – To be honest, I’m going to go with a big fat NO for this one. I hold the opinion that everyone, whether it be television fans, critics or anyone else who follows the television industry looked at this show more like a sideshow than a really great show.

Cases in point: When the show first came on the air, it took attacks from just about anyone who was worried about the brief nudity and somewhat frequent occurrences of naughty language being used between cops in the dialogue. It was as if every person who believed in our lord, Jesus Christ, was up in arms about the possible decline of society and pointing to NYPD Blue as a possible cause to it.

Is that a little dramatic? Possibly. But to undercut the importance of the show “pushing the envelope” is also wrong because it was a dramatic issue and often got lost in the show’s intriguing writing and great acting. That includes Dennis Franz’s portrayal of Sipowicz, who I probably should have considered more heavily for my Top 25 Characters of the last 25 years feature I did last summer.

But everyone was wrapped up in the nudity and the “bad” language.

The show has also taken some PR hits in the last decade as well. First, there was David Caruso’s embarrassing departure from the show after its first season. Then came Jimmy Smits’s departure with no room to come back later since he died (except for those annoying flashbacks). Then, there was the somewhat embarrassing hirings of Rick Schroder and Mark Paul-Gosselaar, both better known for their work as child and teen-aged actors to work with Franz as the main character of the show. Both did admirable jobs over the years, but it’s not exactly beneficial to become a punchline in Hollywood and hire actors that could bring more harmful PR than good.

And it doesn’t help that Creator Steven Bochco had a pretty public spat with ABC last year and almost declined bringing it back for this 12th and final season proclaiming that he didn’t want to clean up the show and ruin its integrity.

But, somewhat amazingly, the show kept chugging along for a dozen seasons and more than 200 episodes. How?

Because it was a good show overshadowed by outside circumstances.

NYPD Blue was a cop show that was written in such a way that the crime fighting and legal aspects of being a cop get in the way of getting to know the characters and telling great stories about them. In most instances, the drama existing between the cop characters was more interesting than any crime they were trying to solve.

Blue did what CSI and Law & Order can’t do (though SVU appears that they may get there some day) and that’s allow the characters to be engaging in a cop show instead of forcing them to be generic angry cops out to save the world one case at a time (a noble pursuit, but there are more to these people than that).

And now it’s all over. Blue will be remembered for all its drama, both in the scripts and outside of it. Unfortunately, when historians look back on the show, they will likely see more angry conservatives screaming “FOUL!” instead of memories of characters like Sipowicz, one of the best television drama characters ever.

Maybe this little diatribe will aid in that”¦Well, a guy can dream, can’t he?

My answer: Hell, no. Everyone was too concerned about nudity, swearing and the show’s casting.

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2. A Carnivale question: Did that twist at the end of the most recent episode blow you away or what? – Note: If you don’t want to know (maybe you’re waiting for the DVD or the improbable HBO marathon?) skip ahead now”¦

So, Sofie (Clea DuVall) is cleaning Justin (Clancy Brown) and Iris’s (Amy Madigan) house in California now? In retrospect, this probably shouldn’t be that surprising since she did seem enthralled with Justin’s radio broadcasts in the episode where her and Ben (Nick Stahl) became intimate for the first time.

Nonetheless, it still was a surprising twist and now that Sofie and Ben have a romantic connection and it’s obvious he cares about her, she will likely become an even more important character as the series unfolds. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Justin ends up raping her and Ben is able to see or sense it causing the inevitable war between the two to be even more intense than before, if that was possible.

I also found the Sofie/Justin connection to be strange because other than the Scudder (John Savage)/Stroud (John Carroll Lynch) connection, this is the first time “Carny” folks have mingled with Justin and his ministry in non-dream sequences. It was almost as if at that point the audience saw Sofie in that house, they were reminded that Justin’s ministry and the traveling Carnivale are actually part of the same world, not two worlds in two parallel dimensions. That moment bordered on spooky and definitely one of the series’ most memorable moments.

If you’re not watching, start. If you need a catch-up lesson, let me know and I’ll be happy to help.

My answer: I was certainly blown away for several reasons”¦But I probably shouldn’t have been as surprised as I was”¦

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3. A The O.C. question: Uh oh”¦the Ryan/Marissa romance isn’t going to resurface, is it? – We’ll have to wait another week to see if this tease comes to fruition or if it’s just a fantastic job by Fox’s production and PR teams trying to get an audience.

Obviously, I’m rooting vehemently against this. I’m not sure how I could root more against this other than breaking into a Fox building and hurling myself off the top of that building wearing a shirt that says “RYAN LOVES LINDSAY!!”

Since that’s not possible, I’ll just express my displeasure in this space here”¦I just caught up with last week’s The O.C. in the last couple of days and saw Summer (Ravhel Bilson) leaving Zach (Michael Cassidy) for Seth (Adam Brody), Lindsay (Shannon Lucio) leaving Ryan (Ben McKenzie) for her mom and Chicago and Marissa (Mischa Barton) offering a level of odd friendly support for her ex-boyfriend.

In the tease for the new episode set to air next week, it all comes back to Ryan, Seth, Marissa and Ryan hanging out in an empty mall like a bad ‘80s movie and Summer asks Marissa the immortal question: “Are you thinking of getting back together with him?”

This is wrong on several levels. Let’s review:

— If it’s even in the same ZIP code as true, it completely undermines Marissa’s lesbian experience with Alex as a certain “girls will be girls” situation as if every female has slept with both a man and a woman in their lives no matter if they were gay or lesbian”¦If I were a woman, I’d be a little peeved at that perception. I mean, all it does is make guys think a threesome with two women is that much more likely to happen”¦

— As much as I LOVED the wacky “Caleb (Alan Dale) ended up being Lindsay’s father” twist, all it did was kill the potentially nice and cute relationship that could have developed between Lindsay and Ryan. Sure, there was probably little chance there were going to stay together for a long period of time anyway, but it would have been nice to see them have a fair chance and they certainly didn’t get that here.

— OK”¦so here we are, about half to two-thirds our way through the second season and four introduced characters that were supposed to be romantic interests to the four main characters will either be gone off the show or some big time awkward dead weight. We had D.J. (Nick Gonzalez) as a link to Marissa; Alex (Olivia Wilde) as a link to Seth AND Marissa; Lindsay as a link to Ryan and Zach as a link to Summer. Now it’s just the four of them again? Dating each other? C’mon”¦

— Now that Ryan and Seth are back with their respective ladies (if it happens now or soon), they are just going to have to break up again anyway”¦Serial dramas can’t go anywhere without conflict. At this point, why not jus wait until the series wraps up before giving the audience the uber happy ending… Hey. Just sayin’.

My answer: God, I hope not. But it seems inevitable.

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4. An American Idol question: Was it a good idea to cut the Wednesday results show from an hour to a half-hour? – Starting with the March 2 episode, Fox has elected to cut the results show from its previously bloated one hour edition to a more succinct and substantive thirty minute show, allowing everyone to know who stays and who goes.

The bottom line is the only people who suffer here are Fox as they try to fill their prime time schedule, which is only watchable about half of the time now, with programming that people might want to tune in for. Meanwhile, Idol fans can get in and get out without having to miss any of the riveting programming on MTV, VH-1 or they can keep a close eye on what they’re downloading to their iPod.

Even though the Idol fanbase is probably a lot of teeny boppers (of all ages), they do have a pretty valuable point in whining loudly about Fox’s complete waste of time that is the results show. Sure, it’s arguable the entire show is a waste of time, but that’s not the point here.

It would be unfathomable to turn on 24 and have Kiefer Sutherland or Kim Raver introducing clip packages of old episodes of the show before introducing new storylines with about 12 minutes left to go in a “new” episode. It shouldn’t be done on a reality show like Idol either.

My answer: Yes”¦and everyone will agree with me except the Fox executives

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5. A The West Wing question: Jimmy Smits or Alan Alda for President? – According to several sources, including TVGuide.com and Zap2it.com. a new Zogby Interactive poll, fans of The West Wing are rallying to support Democratic Congressman Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits) in his fictional presidential race against Republican Senator Arnold Vinick (Alan Alda).

Between Feb. 18 and Feb. 25, the Zogby folks polled 5,505 West Wing fans. Zogby claims the list was “weighted to ensure it reflects the partisan breakdown of the U.S. population, and not just the demographic that views The West Wing frequently or occasionally.”

The results? Smits is the pick, pretty decisively actually taking 44 percent of the popular vote over 28 for Alda. However, as you might expect, women decided to vote for the more handsome candidate as Smits outdrew Alda almost 3-1 (53 percent to 22 percent) with the female crowd. You think that’s the way they voted in November when faced with the Bush/Kerry choice? Oh dear God”¦”¦”¦”¦

As for me, I’d probably pick Smits too. He’s handsome and his character seems to have a little Bill Clinton in him. He’s a “gentleman” looking to reach the little people and doesn’t really care about the D.C. old boys club.

Creator John Wells will be the one that makes the decision this fall when the time comes. I don’t see him getting this one wrong.

My answer: Alan Alda has Bob Dole written all over him”¦Sorry pal”¦

If Alan Alda has Bob Dole written all over his face then I have the four recent American Idol rejects written all over my face”¦

After all, I’m leaving too”¦

— Coogan