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Friday, December 04, 2009

A Little Of The Old In And Out



In: Tom Scharpling. This blog has corresponded over the years with Tom Scharpling, an Executive Producer on Monk, which just concluded it's long run last night. Actually, we knew him when he was just a high-calibre radio smartaleck. Hollywood has gotten to the chap. His smartaleckiness has increased geometrically and now, mirabile dictu, drives it's own brand spanking new Prius.

When we told His Hollywooden-ness recently that if he didn't give the series a satisfying ending he would have to endure The Corsair's rapier wit, he flinched. He answered in what can only be properly construed as a Gnomonic projection, via email: "Monk will end the way it should end."

Gee, thanks for the insight there, buddy!

Clearly, Scharpling takes his duties as an Executive Producer of "Monk" -- and by the way, pal, what does exactly that even mean? -- rather monastically. That crisp minimalism with which he answered us with such insolence, we cannot fail to note, is so 11th century (Averted Gaze). If only he had taken the trouble to Latinize that thoroughly unrevealing, Medieval response he would have expresses the superlative example of unforthright communication.

That damn Scharpling wasn't going to spill the beans no matter how much we rankled him with threats of rhetorical laceration in the blogosphere. The man is impervious.

-- So as we watched Monk's last farewell this afternoon it occurred to us, this is the way the show deserved to end. The bastard was correct. The years that Tom -- and the other writers and producers and, of course, Tony Shaloub -- spent crafting one of television's unforgettable detectives led us up to that finale. It was inevitable; It couldn't have been otherwise. The door is open to Monk specials, but even if there are no more, "Monk lives happily ever after."

Sure, teevee snobs turn their noses up at Monk (We are looking at you, EW's Ken Tucker, Monk Nation Public Enemy number one). But then, they turned their noses up at the wonderfully playful Cougarland as well and seem congenitally incapable of fun.

Tom does. And Tom is. We await with baited breath his next class act.



Out: The Tragedy of Senator John McCain. The McCain Amendment, a cynical ploy to derail the Obama administration's emerging health care plan failed yesterday. So much the better.

McCain's peculiar sourness at losing the 2008 Presidential campaign should, at this point, have already melted into a buttery acceptance. He is not the first man to lose the Presidency in the glagiatorial fundament. The grace in which Mitt Romney accepted his defeat but supported the nominee -- and, most recently, the endearing statesmaniship of John Kerry -- is the model for elegance in defeat. Character is, after all, destiny (at least that's what McCain says).

Then again, the airing of these political sour grapes by McCain should come as no surprise. The hot-headed Arizonan was defeated by the President in the contentious 2008 election. He coveted that job for more than a decade and obviously never quite got over the loss. Senator McCain has never made a secret of the fact that he questioned Barack Obama's qualifications for the Oval Office. Since then, McCain has been a consistent burr in the President's saddle, even going so far as to obnoxiously chide the President over Marine One. If McCain couldn't have it ...

McCain has a history of cartoonishly vilifying his opponents. Even before the former prisoner of war referred to then-Senator Obama as "that one (with an actual hissing sound)," he had a contentious relationship with that jocular dunce George Bush. McCain, in fine, never really forgave Bush for the brutal South Carolina primary in 2000. It is ironic that the title of McCain's book, Character is Destiny, informs, negatively, his sportsmanship after losing hard fought elections.

That sourness is sad and unhelpful to our democracy. It was the wisdom of the American electorate last November to keep such a man away from the Presidency.

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