When it comes to watching television, my frame of reference is limited outside of news, sports and Netflix movies. But for some, what-the-hell reason I actually read the Tampa Tribune’s splashy (“Getaway” section) layout on the new fall TV series. Walt Belcher is a knowledgeable fellow, and this is his beat. I zeroed in on the “Walt’s top 5” sidebar. It was the “five best bets, based on pilot episodes.”


Number 1 was Modern Family. I read on. “The premise has a Dutch film crew following a ‘typical’ extended American family for a reality TV show…”


I stopped reading.


*OK, I do confess the guilty pleasure of having watched the first two seasons of Mad Men — on the AMC cable channel. It’s a well-researched period piece about Madison Avenue in the 1960s. Not exactly life in the steadfast lane. Boozy and floozy with vintage detail plus a couple of captivating characters and several compelling story lines.


For the second year in a row, Mad Men won an Emmy for best drama.


For the first year in a row, it has run out of virtually all that had previously made it appealing. After a handful of episodes, it’s obviously skating on reputation. Plotlines that were effectively juxtaposed are now forced. Characters who were quirky are now annoying. Those who were intriguing are now predictable.


But cocktail hour, which can break out at any time, is still a hoot.


*After Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary died, the media paid proper tribute. The NBC Nightly News did a nice piece that paid homage to her music and her social conscience. Anchor Brian Williams noted how we’ve recently lost a number of high-profile people that made a difference. Behind him were the images of Travers, Walter Cronkite and Michael Jackson.


Not to disrespect the deceased — or diminish their specific talent — but what the hell was Michael Jackson doing in such a context? Travers and Cronkite deserved better than shared billing with the avatar of aberrant values and lifestyle. And a lot worse.  Global pop-culture fame has never been confused with class, dignity and a sense of something that transcends self.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *