Saturday, November 05, 2005

A Little of the Old In and Out


(image via CTV via AP Photo/NBC Universal Photo, Mitchell Haddad)

In: The West Wing. NBC's West Wing is, arguably, the smartest show on TV -- quite possibly the smartest show ever. This Sunday they have their live debate pitting the flawed saint Santos (played by character actor Jimmy Smits) versus the conflicted and honorable but caught-between-The-Evangelicals-and-a-hard-place, Vinick (played by character-actor Alan Alda). Oh, It's on like Gray Poupon; for the few of us, at least, who still go in for good television.

Sure, TWW has this season underutilized it's core-cast, Donna, Leo, Toby and even President Bartlett, to focus on the mounting competition between Santos and Vinick, and, ancillary to that, the wonderful, understated intensity of Democratic Party attack dog -- so out of character, this -- Janeane Garafalo? Says TheMerc of it all:

"The debate episode comes at a critical time for the Emmy-winning 'West Wing,' now in its seventh season. While the series has been enjoying a creative renaissance with the fierce, cleverly drawn presidential campaign between Vinick and Santos -- and such topical story lines as the recent one about leaks inside the White House -- it is staggering in the Nielsen ratings since a September move to Sunday nights.

"Faced with intense competition in its new time period, the show has seen its audience drop from 11 million viewers to fewer than 8 million. The show is taking enough of a beating that after Sunday's episode, NBC will take it off the schedule for the rest of November sweeps.

"At the same time, it has been eclipsed in the public mind by `Commander in Chief,' ABC's new and less sophisticated Oval Office drama that has become a top 10 hit despite implausible plot lines and broadly drawn moments that are laughably unrealistic.

"While NBC and the producers hope the live episode will give the show's ratings a badly needed jolt, executive producer John Wells says the debate is just another example of `The West Wing' trying `to say what we wish our politics were.'

"Wells contends that `to even call our current presidential debates 'debates' is stretching the term,'' since all the elements -- questions, format -- are 'so pre-negotiated' that they take the life out of the head-to-head meetings."

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Out: New Jersey Politics. We have never seen a race so goddamned filthy. $70 million worth of untreated sleaze may be too much for even the environmentally-challenged land of Jersey. Utterly abominable is the New Jersey Governor's race in these final, gooey days -- even by the low standards set by Garden State politics. The candidate Jebby Bush in his first unsuccessful run for Governor in Florida, silenced a debate hall once by asking then-Governor Lawton Chiles, "Have you no shame, Governor?"

Have Doug Forester and Jon Corzine no shame? Frankly, as sleazy and compromized as John Corzine has become -- fucking the saucy Union boss behind the back of his now ex-wife; forgiving said possibly-useful-in-the-future Boss-lady's $470,000 loan -- but Forester's introduction of Corzine's estranged and obviously still emotionally-bruised wife's assessment of the situation into his campaign commercials in the home-stretch of the election is ... a new low. Just fucking disgusting, to tell you the truth. And, quite frankly, the coverage of those gossipy remarks by The Old Gray Lady was striking. Don't get The Corsair wrong, we are not judging -- we love gossip, we engage in gossip daily; but it just seemed like an ... odd angle for the New York Times to be in. Very, very odd indeed. Now someone -- Corzine operatives? -- is pressing a Forrester-Miss New Jersey allegation.

Remember the Newsweek cover of the '88 Bush-Dukakis race where the two of them were depicted as overgrown babies throwing mud? Well, the Corzine-Forrester race makes that one look like a superlative example of gentlemanly democratic competition by comparison. Are sex scandals open-game for Jersey politics post-McGreevey? According to Drudgie Poo, who, we suppose, knows about getting a little mud on the helmet (Averted Gaze):

"New Jersey Public Radio & Television aired a report Friday night in which New Jersey Democratic Candidate for Governor Jon Corzine was grilled about whether a staffer he allegedly had an affair with -- had an abortion. NJN News� Michael Aron reported Friday: 'The press is interested right now in personal conduct. Corzine was asked about a persistent rumor that he had an affair with a staffer whom the reporter identified by name.'

"Sen. Jon Corzine: 'A, not true. B, I�m not going to comment on the kind of, I think, low, guttural politics that�s going on over and over in this state, and I think the ad that was talked about was just symptomatic of that.'

"NJN�s Michael Aron: 'He was asked about a rumor that the same staffer had an abortion in Ohio.

"Reporter: 'Can you respond to those rumors that are circulating?'

"Corzine: 'Trash.'"



Save the robots. (image via style)

In: Tom Ford. While we have certain grave misgivings about Tom Ford's unceremonious return to a battlefield that he's already conquered (What's there left to prove? That gladiatorial fundament has been traversed and routed. Never move backwards, we say. And, lastly -- What the fuck is up with The Nekkid Fembots? Huh?), there is no mistaking his massive influence on the world of fashion. Tom Ford is like the head cheerleader of that High School of High Fashion. According to Fashionweekdaily:

"Wednesday night�s Elton John AIDS Foundation benefit was yet another gathering of fashion�s elite. From Valentino�who allegedly left because he was seated too close to the door�to Donna Karan, Kenneth Cole, and Karolina Kurkova, Cipriani Wall Street was brimming with the finest couture and gents in their best eveningwear.

"While Karl Lagerfeld chatted with Est�e Lauder�s John Demsey on the red carpet (could a fragrance deal be in the works?), the real scene-stealer was Tom Ford, who attended the posh dinner and performance, that his former company, the Gucci Group, was a silver sponsor of."


Chris Lautischer said...

I'm sure I could find the answer on your blog, but I don't have time you work for a magazine or something?

Ron said...

I freelance all over the plave and have worked in the magazine business in NY since 1995. Cheers, R