I claim to not watch much TV, but when Mr. Harris asked me to contribute to this piece, it was as easy as anything I’ve ever written. I guess that since we had our first child in 2007, we have been busy in the evenings after he goes to sleep–sitting in front of the TV enjoying what some great shows have to offer, and sometimes not-so-great shows. Don’t go taking my cable away!
1. “Weeds,” Showtime
My wife and I ordered Showtime just for the three months or so that “Weeds” was on this past summer. You’d think a complete change of scenery (after most of the city of Agrestic burned down, Nancy and her family headed South to just above Mexico) would deter the plots and sub-plots, but it only made the show more compelling. There is no better writing on TV than there is for this show, and you can pretty much say that the acting mirrors the writing. The cliffhanger in the finale was not like the wild ones of the last few seasons, but Nancy’s ultrasound photo was enough to leave us all wondering how Esteban could possibly kill her after she ratted out their whole underground operation. Season 5 can’t start soon enough.
2. “Two and a Half Men,” CBS
What “Weeds” is to drama/comedies on premium channels, “Two and a Half Men” is to network sitcoms. The writing is always witty, appropriate for the characters and downright knee-slapping. Seriously, there were a few moments this season that made me hyperventilate laughing so hard. And they continue to push the envelope, as they did when Charlie referred to Alan’s ex-wife giving him a, uh, present, under a table as a book, “Under the Table” by Richard Gobbler. And Jake’s flatulence jokes never get old, either.
3. “Diners, Drive Ins and Dives,” Food Network
The Food Network is milking Guy Fieri for everything he’s worth. The guy has like four or five shows now, and this one is his calling card. Dude has one of the best jobs on television. He cruises around in his classic red convertible, and gets to sample the best food at, well, diners, drive-ins, and dives. We all want to taste everything on every show…well, except for the fried cow testicles or pig ear sandwiches…blech. But seriously, this show is a few seasons in and shows no signs of slowing down….especially on my TiVo box.
“The Next Food Network Star,” Food Network
The network has brought us some duds (“Ask Aida” maybe the worst of them), but if “The Next Food Network Star” is a flame, I am a moth. Guy Fieri is the only winner so far who has amounted to anything, but it’s still fun to watch some of the contestants implode on camera, and try to follow along and guess who might win the judges over. This past season, Aaron McCargo Jr. and his mouthwatering dishes won, and “Big Daddy’s House” had a short first season, but is back on now.
“Worst Week,” CBS
CBS has tortured us with this new one, where the main character screws up everything with his in-laws, wedding, pending fatherhood etc. that he possibly can. I just can’t see how the producers and writers can keep this up before viewers start throwing things.
“Gary Unmarried,” CBS
Two words: Jay Mohr. This guy is one of the few comedians who can make you laugh before he even says anything, and now he has his own sitcom. Christmas came early when CBS started airing this hilarious product.
Kenny Mayne, ESPN
With networks shoving Tina Fey as Sarah Palin and Frank Caliendo as John Madden down our collective throat, it’s refreshing to see someone be funny by being himself. Even “Last Comic Standing” has completely lost its mojo (duh, they lost Mohr a few seasons ago). But Kenny Mayne, who has a segment every Sunday during “NFL Countdown,” is hilarious mostly because he’s so off the wall, and gets everyone to go along with his little parodies. I’ve seen him interview players, former players, coaches, and even NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and they all answer Kenny with a straight face. The best ESPN could do was give Mayne his own show, “Mayne Street,” online? Raise your hand if you watched that. I know I didn’t. Put the guy in prime time before someone else does. Better yet, put him on late night TV.