I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled upon it, but lately I’ve kind of found myself sort of obsessed with the TV show Shark Tank. It’s one of the few almost not a reality shows that I can stand, meaning that the overly dramatic pauses and general arrogance from the judges is usually set to a minimum, at least in the episodes that I’ve been watching (seasons 1 & 4, I think?). But it’s neat to see all of the different “companies” present themselves asking for money, and also somewhat funny to see how overly dramatic they are when they insist that their business will be ruined forever if they can’t get investment money from the sharks.
In a way it kind of surprises me how many people go on the show without a solid business plan or actual sales to back their products up, but at the same time I have to remind myself that these folks are being cherry-picked by the producers so that they’ll have some great ones and some terrible ones alike. I guess it probably wouldn’t be a very good show if we had to watch all of the abysmal ones in the same way that American Idol couldn’t make an entire season just out of terrible auditions from people who have no business being in the vicinity of a microphone.
Ok, Idol may be a bad example … is that show even on anymore?!
Anyways, fortunately this seems to be another show that has a whole bunch of full episodes up on YouTube … I started out just watching clips, but then through some not so creative searching also managed to find full episodes from the latest season, so I’ve been listening to those in the background while I’m working this week. Plus, I enjoy any of the episodes with Mark Cuban because I used to follow his blog pretty regularly and I just think he seems like a really laid back, down to earth, extraordinarily successful guy.
Besides, he gave $25,000 to this guy to sit around drawing cats for people all day! Clearly yours truly picked the wrong creative career path…
I found this kinda neat TV show on YouTube earlier today, and it helped to pass the time while I was trying to get some work done. Basically it’s just five celebrities sitting around a table having dinner, talking about show business and sharing stories – it actually reminded me a lot of the early gigs in Kevin Smith’s speaking career, and there were even a handful of episodes featuring Kevin and his friends, which ended up getting me hooked going through all of the rest!
Unfortunately, it looks like the show is pretty much canceled now, but you can still find a ton of the old episodes on the show’s YouTube channel.
Oddly enough, one of the other things I got out of listening to episodes of this all day was a pleasant reminder not to judge people by the fictional characters that they play on TV and in the movies! Case in point – I’ve never really liked Jon Favreau … he just always seemed to end up playing the prick in every movie that I see him in, and yet when I watched him hosting Dinner for Five, he seems like he’s probably a perfectly nice guy after all!
It’s also neat to see other celebrities not in character like that, too, again because I’ve really grown to love hearing Kevin Smith be so open in his life these days with a million podcasts and whatnot, and yet most other celebs really don’t open themselves up nearly to that level, so it was neat listening to a legend like George Carlin talking about wanting to get into acting, but then having to put it on hold because it wasn’t in the cards … and then hearing him talk about really being able to stretch in a movie like Jersey Girl, which we watched the other night and the man just about had me in tears when he went through the scene at the very end about not wanting to die alone.
Good show, and I think there are a lot of hidden gems in there no matter who your favorite actors are.
I’m pretty sure that my sister and I could both still recite this entire song from the Garfield Christmas Special word for word – if I get to count it as a bonafide Christmas song, it’s probably one of my absolute, all-time favorites that I remember from my childhood…
“Decorating the tree…”
“Wiring all of the lights…”
“Wrapping boxes and writing out cards…”
“Office work – outta sight!”
I stayed up late last night to finish off the last couple of episodes of The Newsroom that I hadn’t ever circled back to since I started watching maybe two months ago, and I suppose if I had but one line of commentary to say about the show, it would be something along the lines of, “Man – now I have to wait until next summer for more?!”
Needless to say, I really enjoyed this show!
I enjoyed it not only for its entertainment and comedic value, but I think even more so for the attention that it brings to a sorely lacking media machine that we have to endure here in the US in 2012. While some have criticized the show’s use of actual events for entertainment purposes when in reality many were real tragedies, I think we still have something to learn from many of them and if it takes a TV drama to revisit and highlight the flaws that our current media regime doesn’t want to admit are real problems, then so be it. Things like focusing on ratings and sensationalism instead of actually reporting on what’s important, fighting to be the first to break a story rather than ensuring that what they report is actually accurate in the first place, and pandering to “both sides” when one side is so far off base that it’s closer to crazy than a legitimate opposite perspective on issues – with so much at stake in America today, these are the reasons why we need news sources that actually report fair and accurate news, not sensationalized propaganda that just furthers to polarize us with misrepresentations of the truth meant to pander to our own personal agendas.
In 2012 more than ever, we need news that gives us the facts, not necessarily the partisan-vetted facts that individuals want to hear.
When a news outlet reports that congresswoman Gabriel Giffords is dead when she actually isn’t, it should make us start to question what else falls through the cracks in their everyday editorial process.
When it comes to light that a major media mogul has been involved in illegal wiretapping overseas to ensure that his organization would be the first to break stories, we should be asking why he wouldn’t be inclined to do the same here on our own soil.
When more focus is placed on a congressman’s sexting scandal than on actual issues that Congress needs to be addressing for a nation in dire need, we should be the ones to realize that our consumption of this garbage instead of holding the media accountable for staying on top of actual news in a huge part of the problem.
And besides, you can’t tell me that a seven-minute clip like this isn’t some of the most compelling television you’ve watched this year…
I, for one, look forward to seeing how Aaron Sorkin continues to push the envelope with this show more next year, and maybe - just maybe - the real media will catch on and strive to live up to the example we’re seeing of a better direction for the news from this fictional TV show that’s been based on their past performance, too.
I found a good blog post this afternoon that talks about Mitt Romney’s debate comment about ending the federal subsidy to PBS, written by a senior producer for NOVA, the beloved, long-running science program on the channel…
Can PBS Survive without a Government Subsidy?
For me, I think there are a couple of takeaway points that help make up in my mind that this subsidy should remain off the chopping block. First and foremost, understanding that Big Bird himself wouldn’t necessarily find his neck on the chopping block with these cuts, but more so that not as many communities might have access to PBS programming because a good portion of that funding helps to support stations in rural areas that otherwise might not be able to raise enough funds to stay operating.
Compare this to the Universal Service Fund, which anyone who pays for telephone service pays a small tax into to ensure that rural and less-profitable areas around the country aren’t overlooked by the telecommunications companies when copper lines and fiber and whatnot are drawn to build and support our nation’s basic telephone communications network.
Second, and more importantly in my book, is the idea of what impact commercial sponsorship would have on a station like PBS that traditionally doesn’t have to answer to corporate sponsors, which is something that I think a lot of people might take for granted simply because anyone who pays for cable has literally hundreds of channels at their beck and call, almost all of which are for-profit stations supported by commercials and product placement and subscription fees and so forth. As Chris states, plunging this network into a world driven by ratings and ad dollars would cause a fundamental shift in the core drive behind what truly makes PBS’ programming special – a total devotion to the content with no outside interference by our otherwise capitalistic society. We should be able to teach our kids their ABCs and 123s without them being sponsored by Quaker Oatmeal or the GAP…
Sure, there are plenty of other educational resources out there, but I’d still challenge you to find something with the universal reach that a program like Sesame Street has had for Americans as a whole, and at a time when public education is under fire more than ever, I think that the return we get for that $450 million investment – unfiltered of any corporate bias – is really quite the unique bargain today. And I get that Mitt Romney is a firm believer that private industry can do better than public funding in just about every avenue, but here in the realm of TV entertainment, we actually have real examples to compare the quality of profit and non-profit channels if you look at things like The Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. Dora the Explorer and Bubble Guppies are great and all, but they still don’t hold a candle to the likes of Big Bird and Curious George and The Cat in the Hat.
…also keep in mind that Disney and Nick are only available to someone with a cable subscription, PBS – basically anyone with a TV antennae…
So by all means, continue to clean up spending and see what kinds of fat there is to be trimmed, but at the same time, unless we’re likewise ready to make cuts to the billions of dollars in farm subsidies and defense spending and hundreds other places that would actually make a difference in our $3.8 trillion budget, picking on a little guy like PBS doesn’t really win Romney any points in my book.
And believe it or not, some of those subsidies actually go to things that are very much worth spending our federal budget on – I think the subsidy for PBS is but one example of what you might find when you stop looking at these things from such a high level and actually drill down into where our money is actually being spent before just arbitrarily threatening to cut cut cut for the sake of attempting to balance our budget in all of the wrong directions.
It’s hard to believe that it’s been a year since the last twist already, and also that we’ve only got two more seasons left to go before the show itself comes to an end. I wasn’t super crazy about last season, despite being a fan of both Edward James Olmos and also Mos Def, although the final moments of the finale managed to setup a great cliffhanger for next season, as usual.
I honestly kind of like that they’re planning the story out right and ending the series while it’s still in its prime rather than doing something like The Office and waiting until the series has been all but driven into the ground before finally calling it a day. Clearly the unique nature of Dexter’s world can’t exactly go on forever, so it’ll be interesting to see where everyone’s favorite serial killer finally ends up over the next 24 episodes…
For starters, it looks like a good portion of season 7 will no doubt be dealing with Deb learning who her brother really is!
This was amusing, even if it definitely feels a little forced…
I remember seeing at least part of this clip from HBO’s new series The Newsroom a while ago, but watching the whole 3.5 minutes in its entirety just now really makes me want to seek out the first few episodes (it premiered on June 24th, so there should be a few out already).
It doesn’t really come as much of a surprise to me afterwards to learn that the show is created by Aaron Sorkin – the man is brilliant. I never really watched The West Wing, which is apparently his most critically-acclaimed show to date, but I absolutely loved both Sports Night and Studio 60 for their writing, so I really want to seek this one out now, too. I have so many memories of these great moving scenes from each of those other shows, and the characters just work so well together, and the dialog is always witty and smart – a dozen steps above what you’ll find on any network these days. I think it really says something when you consider that I am not at all a sports fan, and yet I thought Sports Night was fantastic because it was so well written, even through the abrupt series finale when ABC opted not to renew it.
Of course, The Newsroom also looks intriguing because it’s hitting on politics during an election year – I’ll be curious to see how well it’s received throughout the season because clearly it intends to push some buttons about our current state of arrogant affairs here in America and the reason it’s such poignant dialog is because it’s absolutely true. Anybody who says that America is the best nation in the world here in 2012 is either blind, arrogant, or stupid … and I love how this clip spearheads such a great series of talking points on exactly that, and yet dials back in the second half both to reminisce as well as hint that it doesn’t always have to be this way.
I want to say that the trailer maybe only featured the first half of this clip, but the second half makes me want to seek out and watch the rest of the series.