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


** Wow”¦Joey and Will & Grace really got slaughtered in the ratings. For all involved, I hope this was a one-time thing or it could get ugly quick”¦

** Just so everyone’s aware”¦Paula Abdul has come out and lied about her addiction to some sort of mind-altering substance. She’s saying she doesn’t have one and we all know she’s lying”¦

** In case you missed it, Christopher has joined the dark side…Or was he on the dark side to begin with? Tough to tell sometimes”¦

** A big story in the television industry this week came from NBC as the network canned the producer in charge of Today due to slipping ratings and ABC’s Good Morning America catching up.

So, they canned the guy in charge and brought in two other people to run the show. But one of them most recently ran the prime time lineup at MSNBC”¦the least successful of the 24-hour cable news networks. Does that really make sense?

** I’ll admit it. I applied.

IP TV Gratuity: Good job everyone

** Last week, I was actually quite busy. In addition to pumping out a Groove Tube Update, I wrote about illusions with Jonathan Baker and brought back my So-Called column to talk about Grey’s Anatomy. I’m not sure when that will happen again, so relish it! HA!

Oooooh”¦Look at the CELEBRITIES

** Jake talked about last week’s Survivor and focused on Coby with a little Stephenie thrown in for good measure”¦

** Eliza is still catching up. This week: Episode 4.

** Nick Warnock had a lot to say about last week’s episode of The Apprentice. I don’t like Alex either. Hell, at this point, I don’t really like any of the candidates left. I would have chosen Tana originally but the way she sat on her exemption last week pretty much sucked. Oh well”¦

I have to ask though…Don’t you think Nick would be happy to be part of this cast? He was a victim of being part of a strong cast in Season 1 where as those here in Season 3 all need kicks in the head”¦ Talk about bad timing”¦

What’s a FLAGSHIP again?

** Sarah Quigley broke down last week’s episode of The Apprentice and mentioned Chris’s Florida arrest.

** An ode to Survivor‘s Stephenie LaGrossa, by Cheri. Well, it’s not an ode per say, but it definitely pays tribute to America’s newest reality TV sweetheart”¦


** Loads of good stuff in the recaps and reviews area this week. Including the usual reality fare (American Idol, Survivor, The Apprentice, The Amazing Race, The Contender), you will find recaps for Desperate Housewives, 24, The Simpsons and Smallville as well! Congrats to all.

** Insert shameless gloomchen plug for her recaps of The Shield. Sexy.

Loads of TV COLUMNS to keep you warm at night!

** Carlos seems to disagree with the masses about Tom Brady’s SNL performance but agrees with the masses about the show’s piss poor writing. This is definitely one of the show’s “dark times.”

** Mike Sage gives Revelations an A!

** Sarah Quigley wants you to forget her Survivor predictions”¦Just do as she says. Trust me!

** As always, Patrick and detail oriented Dan Wentzel are back with their Survivor analysis.

** Just in case you need another reason to love Mathan, here’s another one. He talks about some of the best TV on these days in The Shield and 24, but he’s willing to open up about his feelings for shows like Boy Meets World too. He made me want to see the series finale too!

THE CLOSING CREDITS: Mr. Coogan’s 5 questions (this time of a random nature”¦)

1. A Will & Grace question: Is it worth bringing back for Season 8? – Interesting situation developing for Will & Grace right now involving the potential to come back for an eighth season, the longest running sitcom on television now (since Everybody Loves Raymond has officially wrapped).

Ratings are down significantly (more than 15 million viewers last season, more than 10 million viewers now) and many critics complain that the show is simply an unfunny offering filled with needless celebrity appearances.

Despite the insults hurled its way, it’s still better than most of the situation comedies and NBC is aware of the lack of quality situation comedies on the air, especially on its own network. That’s why the network is contemplating bringing it back for another season at all.

But they are considering reducing the licensing fee they are willing to pay for the show to $5 million meaning that that the four stars – Eric McCormack (Will), Debra Messing (Grace), Sean Hayes (Jack) and Megan Mullally (Karen) — will all likely have to take pay cuts if they want to do another season of the show.

The possibility for animosity between those affiliated with the show and the network seems high. Is it worth bothering considering the weak ratings?

I’m in the “I still like Will & Grace“ camp to be honest. It’s what a true comedy is all about. The characters all have their own likeability and charm, but they aren’t so deep that the audience feels like they are watching a serial drama when they tune in too. That’s, in part, due to the fabulous job the actors all do with their various characters. They know their characters well and have good comic timing. All that wouldn’t go well without good joke writing and it’s (usually) topical, relevant and pretty smart (as long as they stay away from the juvenile stuff they tend to use too).

The bottom line is that it may not even be in the Top 25 or 30 comedies of all time despite its long and successful run, but it’s one of the best comedies on today still and keeping the sitcom genre alive with a show like Will & Grace should be a priority for NBC.

Maybe it’s time to move Joey and Will & Grace to Tuesdays and establish a NEW prime time comedy block it did so well with on Thursdays during the ‘80s and ‘90s. Pairing these two with Scrubs and The Office could be what the doctor ordered for everyone”¦

My answer: Yes. It’s still one of the best comedies on television. I just hope it doesn’t get too nasty in the process”¦

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2. A Joan of Arcadia question: Is it worth bringing back for Season 3? – I’ve largely fallen out of touch with this show after being tuned in for the end of Season 1 and the beginning of Season 2. I’ve dropped in for periodic dates with the show, but for the most part, I’ve been out of the loop, except for the last couple of weeks.

And I tuned back in at the right time”¦

The show introduced a new character named Ryan Hunter (played by Wentworth Miller) who’s going to be some sort of cross between Darth Vader and Carnivale‘s Brother Justin. Apparently, the same way Joan talks to God, Ryan does too, but he has turned to the “dark side.” reports that on Friday (4/22), Joan will close out its second season with an episode titled “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” in which Joan learns that her divine interaction so far has been a kind of spiritual boot camp. God has been preparing her for a showdown with wealthy and charming Ryan who also talks to God but has turned to the dark side.

“Joan will discover that there are people who are actively working for whatever your concept of evil is, “creator/executive producer Barbara Hall said. “There have to be people who are actively counterbalancing that, and that’s Joan’s job.”

Ah yes”¦the old mystical version of the good vs. evil battle. This sort of direction in storyline development may take away from some of the other compelling real life storylines with the rest of Joan’s family, but Carnivale has been able to mix the real life storylines with the mystical ones, there’s no reason Joan of Arcadia can’t too. They just need to be careful in the process. Not only did Carnivale do well providing both kinds of stories, but they also did a masterful job blending the real from the heavenly.

And the initial plans for Joan seem pretty compelling as well, versus the current format which is just Joan doing what God says, learning something new and going on her merry way. But her friend Grace let Joan know during the crisis in last week’s episode (Joan’s ex-boyfriend Adam getting lost hiking) that part of the reason Joan may have lost Adam to begin with had to do with the fact she developed weird involvement issues and never really opened up to him. And why would she? It’s hard to convince people that you talk to God on a regular basis and he told you to do what to do what you’ve been doing.

Now that the “Joan talking to God” thing has more of a purpose and the storylines involving her partnership with God and the other people in her life may merge, the possibilities are limitless.

The only problem is Joan is kind of on the dreaded “bubble” for returning next season. It was critically lauded in Season 1, not only by TV critics, but the always touch to reach religious groups who think 95 percent of television is bad. Then in Season 2, the hype kind of went away and the ratings have remained largely stagnant instead of improving. It’s a tough sell to bring back, but if I’m CBS, I think it deserves one more chance, especially considering the excitement level potentially increasing as next season progresses.

But, I’m just a guy who writes a column about this stuff. Let’s hope I’m a little more right than I am wrong”¦

My answer: It’s just getting good! It deserves one more chance!

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3. A The Simple Life question: Does the show need Nicole Ritchie? – It isn’t a secret anymore. Paris Hilton and Nicole Ritchie are no longer friends. Apparently, Nicole pissed Paris off royally (once involving a practical joke with the infamous Paris sex tape and once with a rumor campaign allegedly started by Nicole according to the NY Daily News) and if The Simple Life returns for a fourth season, Ritchie won’t be involved. Instead, Paris told USA Today that another beautiful daughter of a musician, Kimberly Stewart (father: Rod) will take Ritchie’s place.

But will it be the same? I mean, what was the appeal of these two when the show was attracting large audiences?

It rarely happens now if isn’t propped up by American Idol episodes, but there was a time when The Simple Life was appointment television for people.

I think part of it had to do with the sheer fascination America had when the obscenely rich folks mix with people who”¦aren’t. After all, these two pillars of style and grace had no idea what Wal-Mart was when it came up during a dinner conversation. (Is that where you get walls?) . I mean”¦the Unintentional Comedy Scale (credit: Bill Simmons, — Page 2) was priceless.

But these dopes kept going and I thought it had a lot to do with Nicole Ritchie. It’s apparent Paris is a wild child who likes to party, drink and get things her own way. But watching that show, it just seemed that of all the crazy, dopey things they ended up doing as the show evolved were because of Nicole being the leader of the morons and Paris just following along because she didn’t have the brains to incite such foolishness.

Nicole just seems like a brash young woman who doesn’t give a rat’s ass about who she offends with the junk she pulls. Paris is in the same category to some degree, but her brain just doesn’t seem to work as quickly as Nicole’s does, so she ends up following along while Nicole makes them both look like fools.

Frankly, people making fools of themselves is good television even though I think the medium could be used in a much better way”¦

While I don’t know Kimberly Stewart, it couldn’t be possible that she has that strong of a personality. It could be possible that Kimberly and Paris will sit around stare at each other, giggle and talk nasty about each other when they are alone with the cameramen and producers if they are given their own edition of The Simple Life.

This just can’t happen”¦If this foolishness is going to continue, let it continue with the right people”¦

My answer: Yes, the show does need Nicole Ritchie. Fox should either get them back together or cancel The Simple Life.

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4. A The O.C. question: Should Tate Donovan return the show full-time? – News this week is that Tate Donovan (Jimmy Cooper) will be sailing back to The O.C. after leaving the show in January when his character left Newport Beach to take a job in Hawaii and get away from his family. reports that Jimmy will come back in show’s season finale because worried about Marissa and his family [and] rushes home to Newport Beach” (quote lifted from an advance copy of the episode sent by Fox to

But should he come back for good?

The only problem with Jimmy is when he isn’t a criminal or going after the already married women of The O.C. (He has kissed both Kirsten and Julie while they’ve been married to their respective husbands”¦), he really is a bit of an extraneous character.

That needs to change.

My rough idea: Bring Jimmy back permanently. Bring Haley back permanently. (North Shore has been canceled, so getting Amanda Righetti back shouldn’t be hard.) Let them resume their relationship and let both Julie and Marissa get wildly jealous of the situation unfolding. Then because Julie and Marissa are jealous of Jimmy and his relationship, the Cohens (Ryan too if you want”¦) can get offended by the feelings of Marissa and Julie and all sorts of conflict has been stirred up appropriately.

I bring up this wild (and admittedly, unlikely) scenario because even though Jimmy is a fairly unnecessary character, he is charming, likable and”¦I’ll say it”¦handsome.

Meanwhile, outside of Sandy, the other adult male characters on the show (Carter and Caleb) are shady, largely unlikable and about as fun to watch as a wacko encyclopedia salesman during a pitch in a suburban neighborhood.

So, bring Jimmy back for good. It’s in everyone’s best interests”¦

My answer: Yes, bring back Little Man Tate. I’m actually thinking of starting an online petition about it”¦

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5. A Dean Winters question: Does this guy deserve his own show? – Let’s abandon talking about a show for a minute and I’ll ask about Dean Winters. He’s probably most famous for playing Ryan O’Reily, the inmate from OZ who loved his brother Cyril and Dr. Nathan just as much, if not more, than he hated the rest of his life and what he had done with it. He’s also had roles on Law & Order: SVU and Rescue Me.

Now, on the May 23 season finale of CSI: Miami, Winters will play Raymond Caine, the brother of star David Caruso’s character Horatio Caine.

When is this guy going to get his own show?

He’s a marvelous actor, who really gets into the characters he plays. He displays a real dazzling intensity that is rarely seen in television actors and deserves to be commended and considered for more regular and interesting parts instead of guest starring appearances or being part of huge ensemble casts.

Did I jump the gun in saying he deserves his own show? Probably”¦As charismatic as I think he is, there’s a good chance he couldn’t anchor his own show simply because he isn’t an A-List TV personality and his demonstrated intensity may actually put viewers off.

But the bottom line is as the pilot season is wrapping up, I’m having a hard time understanding why great actors like Dean Winters are left out of the fold, especially with the reemerging popularity of the one-hour drama (both serial and procedural).

This one’s for you Dean Winters”¦I may not know you, but I’m rooting for you”¦

My answer: Maybe I jumped the gun suggesting he needs his own show, but I want to see him back on TV in a role where he’s on every week. Maybe Denis Leary should find more for his onscreen brother to do if Season 2 of Rescue Me is ever finished”¦

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I don’t say it enough, but thanks very much for continuing to read this column week after week. I don’t get much feedback (Why is that?) but I hear that people are reading and I appreciate that.

I’ll be out of town next week at a fellow staff membe’s wedding so I won’t be getting to this column. Either someone will take my place or this time next week will be, you’ll be missing me”¦ HA!

Thanks again.

— Coogan