Thursday night’s “ER” was actually interesting – Neela and Gallant get married. Aww. How nice. I like watching the tv characters I like take actual steps in their tv lives. Hopefully nothing bad happens to Gallant once he’s back in the army…
The Oprah Winfrey visiting Dave Letterman episode was curiously interesting. The hype got too much, I thought, but I did end up watching it. I liked how Dave tried to make a sincere conversation, and Oprah seemed pleased about that. Although, honestly, one wonders about what the heck was really going on with their “feud.” Was it really the whole Oprah-Uma thing, or Dave refusing to go on Oprah’s show (or his wanting to be on her show, but she didn’t invite him or his wanting her on his show, but her refusing? I don’t know). Slate’s Dana Stevens discusses the whole thing in an interesting manner. She also notes what really makes Dave such a curiously fascinating character – and no less so with Oprah:
It would have made for far better television if Dave and Oprah had discussed their obvious temperamental differences and how these affect their approach to their craft. Where she sees her show as a “mission” (a word she used in last night’s interview), mingling feel-good philanthropy with a near-pathological messiah complex, he is a deeply cynical, almost nihilistic figure, whose air of cold detachment only grows as he mires himself deeper and deeper in the world of show-business artifice. In fact, this abyss inside Letterman—the fact that, as he said almost proudly last night, he “isn’t close to anyone”—is the only thing that still makes him interesting to watch.
Oprah takes her save-the-world thing way seriously; Dave is bemused by it. That was certainly a fascinating part of the interview. And, to take it further, compare Dave to his late night rival – the big difference with Dave Letterman and Jay Leno – Dave obviously doesn’t care; the good interviews he does come when he’s interested in his guest (otherwise, it’s just a dumb interview with a dumb guest), whereas Jay kisses ass far too much for my comfort (and his jokes, while funny, don’t take the weird quirk direction Dave does). I’m not saying Jay Leno is bad or unworthy (the guy lasted as long as he did – he knows what he’s doing) – I just prefer Dave over Jay, but can see why most people prefer Jay. Dave is harder to swallow; Jay isn’t. But, if you get Dave, the payoff’s quite interesting. Oh well. At least it was nice to see Oprah on late night (well, she was obviously doing it to promote “The Color of Purple” musical that she’s promoting, but she knows how to be a showman (showwoman?) and to mix business and show business properly).
Newsday’s Verne Gay likes the new Nightline. He has a point – it’s live, which makes it more interesting (Ted Koppel has taped Nightline for quite awhile, so it wasn’t nearly as spontaneous as it used to be) and sticks with news. So, he feels it’s a respectable start. Ok, sure, there’s always room to grow. I’ll give the new Nightline that much of a benefit of a doubt. I just wished the transition would have been a bit more smoother, that’s all.
Oh, and by the way – the news media and on-line providing the audio recordings of the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the abortion law case this week was really fascinating stuff. And, I got to love those courtroom drawings they showed on tv to go with the audio – they were hardly caricatures, but they seemed to capture what it must have been like during the oral arguments. They may never allow cameras in the Supreme Court to show its inner workings, but it remains very interesting stuff.