Okay, does anybody notice that the McDonald’s “Chicken Breast Strips” commercials are on the air way too much? Kind of ridiculous – “Ooh, look, real chicken meat!” – as if that makes it healthier (it’s still fried chicken; a McChicken without the bread, lettuce, and mayo). I’ll likely end up eating this latest item, but do I have to see the commercial twice in a row? (okay, not exactly; in between was a car ad or something).

Then, there’s the weird Buick Rainier ad. It’s weird for a lot of reasons. First, odd name for a minivan/SUV hybrid. Second, the ghost character who comes forth to guide the engineers to design this hybrid vehicle – wearing a fedora and nice suit to look like he’s a classic 1950’s Good Olds Guy mascot (umm, yeah, Oldsmobile is a different type of car, I know). Third, the appearance of the head engineer/auto designer, whom I recognize is the actor who plays the lead character for ABC’s “Threat Matrix” (the series about a Dept of Homeland Security special forces unit). By the end of the Buick commercial, the engineer character looks proudly smug, thinking, “Yes, I listened to the ghost, I’ve built it, and they will come!”

Well, I don’t know if people will go for the car or not, or else be confused that this is actually an ad for “Threat Matrix” (which, I could discuss in another blog entry, but suffice it to say that it’s a strange, cheesy show; did anyone hear the joke about it, calling it “Threat Nemo”??? It remains to be seen if the series is more than a joke, but it’s a guilty pleasure right now, just waiting for it to try something really silly, not just be a brazen take on current Homeland Security issues).

Pirates in Panama, Joan and Jehovah, Reality or Repeat

For me the interesting television shows seem to be on CBS this season. Survivor 7 a.k.a. Pearl Islands [sirlinksalot links] is far more interesting this season because of the increased role-play. The survivors are really shipwrecked, and they fend for themselves more. That being said, episode two has one skinny guy trying for dear life to stay on, but gets voted off, while another manly man tries really hard to get out, but can’t manage it.

W. 42 St. facing east
W. 42 St. facing east

In other reality show news, my all time favorite reality/contest show is The Amazing Race, which looks like it will be saved for another season because it won an Emmy. A Korean chica from NY won Big Brother 4 (the only other Asian — and fellow New Yorker — to win a reality show was on ABC’s The Mole 2), but it was not like she and the other final contestant turned the show into a “lesser of two evils” race to the bottom.

Joan of Arcadia‘s pilot is facinating if bizzare. It’s basically God as the guy in Quantum Leap from the perspective of the chick in Dawson’s Creek, if she’s always the one Touched by an Angel and her family was like the one in Family Matters (you know, the one with Erkle in it, where his dad is the police chief). The theme song, Joan Osborne’s “One of Us“, seemed to be the pitch song for the series: they literally had God as a “Just a slob…/… on a bus” during the first 15 minutes.

I watch a lot of Food Network, and I like the wierd, obscure shows. I guess technically every cooking show is a “reality” show. The closest touch between reality and irony was in this past week’s episode of Anthony Bourdain’s A Cook’s Tour in Brazil. The focus was on “Fabio”, a bon vivant “carioca” (Rio de Janero resident) who is a professional beach bum by day, playboy by night. Comments that “life is short” and to the Umberto’s Clam House shootout are prophetic to the note at the end of the credits which say “In memory of our friend Fabio —–“.

This past weekend:Brooklyn Museum’s Pulp Fiction — interesting Anti-asian propaganda sub-exhibit. Kang Suh comes through again for dinner. A deja vou all over again house party on the West Side. Setting up a computer system for a single mom and her son. Not bad compared to the “no good deed goes unpunished” week that was. This week’s events: T—‘s birthday on Wednesday. College alumni event on Thursday. I’m ushering a 600 person Chinese banquet on Saturday. I had thought that it was this past Saturday; because I was such a ditz, I had to pay for dinner for P–. If you’re going to the “dragonboaters’ wedding”, I’ll see you there.

Season Premiere

Okay, so my first blogging attempt consisted of comments on television and books. Ah, well, they are of my interests, high-brow or not.

Anyway, I’ll stay on topic. I thought the season premiere of WB’s “Everwood” was quite good. When it first started last season, I didn’t think it was that much better than average. Yes, WB heavily promoted it and it had seemed pretentious, with the whole “Yeah, we’re a good family quality WB show” look to it. The series follows the misadventures of Dr. Andy Brown, his children, the brooding teen Ephram and happy-go-lucky Delia, as they moved to their new home in Everwood, CO, from New York City after the death of Mrs. Brown. The lives of the other Everwood denizens also get portrayed. It can seem very mundane (“Oh, look, a show about a Rockwellian small town; can we get any more sweet and precious around here?”), and at one point, when I channel-changed to WB, I found that it tiresome to keep watching Ephram’s tirade about how Andy was a bad dad for not being around, for being too busy being Super Neurologist, and for moving them out of New York City (which, he has a point, since Andy was probably taking his grief too far). Andy’s attempts to be the new general practitioner in Everwood could be trite. Andy’s medical rival, Dr. Harold Abbott, seemed too smug, and the Abbott teenagers, Bright and Amy, were too perfect. I couldn’t see why Ephram even had his crush on Amy, besides her being pretty (I thought her stubbornness seemed annoying).

“Everwood” is no “Dawson’s Creek” substitute. There’s no Dawson-Joey-Pacey love triangle, even if “Everwood” tried to play out the Ephram-Amy-Colin storyline. You see, there are – gasp – adults on the show.

But, yes, “Everwood” is a WB show, with WB characteristics – the teens are all moody, making pop references, etc. But, no, not one character is perfect, they’re flawed and all very human. You want to shake them, smack them on the upside of their heads for their bad actions; hug and admire them when they do well; and, their actions have consequences, for good or not. I would end up glued to watch for a whole hour, without originally meaning to do that. I didn’t even plan to watch this season’s premiere – but ended up doing it. It’s moving television, without being saccharine.

In the season premiere, Andy is feeling guilt for having operated Colin, who died off-screen in the end of last season’s finale. The town condemns Andy, for losing their local hero. Amy won’t forgive Andy, for taking away the love of her life. Ephram wants to be on his father’s side, but hates how the town’s alienation is affecting the Browns, as if Andy’s kids had to suffer for Andy’s sins. Is Amy taking her grief too far? Will Andy explain what happened? It’s quiet turmoil, if you can believe that television still does that anymore. I know it’s up against Monday night football, but it’s a great alternative.

Now, enough about a season premiere; I have to watch a series premiere already. Hmm. Should be interesting.