wanna be sedated
June 16, 2009
Woke up this morning to Alessandra Stanley’s Times review of the new hospital show Hawthorne, a show which she had already mentioned and discussed in her review last week of another new hospital show, Nurse Jackie, then clicked over to the New Yorker and on the main page saw Nancy Franklin’s reviews of two new hospital shows, one of which was the new hospital show Nurse Jackie, which as previously mentioned was also recently reviewed by Alessandra Stanley in the Times, and one of which was another new hospital show which was not the new hospital show Hawthorne which Alessandra Stanley reviewed in the Times today but was instead another new hospital show called Mental, a “mental” hospital show, snap, what a twist, and you know despite myself, since I always want to hope for the best in people, I read these reviews by Nancy Franklin, a critic who has reviewed no reality shows in 2009, who reviewed two reality shows in 2008 (a snobby, condescending pan of The Hills and a pretty interesting, smart discussion of Oprah’s Big Give), who reviewed no reality shows in 2007, who reviewed no reality shows in 2006, wow are we noticing a trend here, and, you know, I’m not asking her to actually like the shows but I do find it kind of ridiculous that engaging with one of the dominant paradigms of the medium they cover is seemingly beneath some critics, it’s like if Jeffrey Steingarten or Ruth Reichl suddenly decided that they would just never ever discuss much less praise any dishes involving chicken, would not grant a single word of description to chicken because chicken as a meat and a concept had become just far too bourgeois for their palates. God, I hate it when bloggers rant about the mainstream media, when they obnoxiously abbreviate it to MSM, I hate all this annoying tech-evangelism about Twitter and the death of newspapers and magazines and television and blah blah blah, but, you know, I kind of understand where the cranks are coming from sometimes (God, am I going to start campaigning for Ron Paul?). In Nancy Franklin’s pan of the new hospital show Mental, she writes:
It’s the mediocre shows that make you stop and wonder: How did this happen? What made anyone think that there was anything about this show that made it worth watching? Did anyone think that?
and, honestly, I’m sure that the show is as mediocre as she describes it to be, but reading those lines, all I could think about was her review, which I guess made an interesting enough point about television as a commodity but besides that, like, what made her think there was anything about the show worth reviewing, what made her think there was anything about her review worth reading, could anyone think that?
When I say mean things I always feel the need to say nice things as a corrective so I’ll just say that the most touching and love-filled television I’ve seen recently was the fourth episode of Kendra which aired Sunday night on E!, which, I know, I know, she was the most stupid and obnoxious cast member of The Girls Next Door and that has not changed in the least, she’s still stupid and obnoxious, her laugh is a cat screaming into a megaphone because its nails are being dragged across a blackboard, but despite this the show is really kind of wonderful because Kendra and her fiance, professional football player Hank Baskett, are absolutely adorable together — watching their rapport kind of gives you hope that there really is someone out there for everybody, no matter their (glaring, colossal) faults. In the fourth episode which aired on Sunday (the introduction and first act are banal, just fast forward), the two of them travelled together to the small town in New Mexico where Hank was born and raised. Driving from place to place, carefree and in love, they milked cows and talked about pet stores and played basketball together, and, after meeting his quiet, conservative parents, Kendra presented them with a signed copy of her Playboy cover, a moment which the promo played as laugh line but which was actually adorable because they accepted it so graciously, as if it was some amazing thing they were privileged to own and would treasure forever. Then Kendra made some joke about jerking off and everybody laughed, including me.