Thursday, October 23, 2008

Daytime TV Discoveries

Through a set of circumstances I don't choose to go into right now, I've been stuck at home for the past two weeks. With little else to do, I've been surveying the landscape of daytime television. On the whole, it's not too bad. Oh, sure, a steady diet of Oprah and Regis will kill many of your brain cells. But I've found several bright spots. TV Land is a great source of nostalgia. I've caught a few episodes of "Third Rock From the Sun," for example, and have been reminded what a funny and imaginative program that was, before it became a parody of itself.

But the best part of this has been my rediscovery of the "West Wing." I was a huge fan of the show in its first few seasons, but somewhere around season four or five I tired of it. I'm not sure why. It's a show that certainly requires you to pay attention, to listen to the political arguments and try to make sense of our present situation. I think I also got tired of the Donna-Josh "will they or won't they" drama...

Bravo is running the series daily from 8:00 to 10:00 am. When I tuned in last week, I realized they were on season six, episodes I hadn't seen. In this season, the Bartlet administration is entering it's last year, and the race is on for his successor. Josh (Bradley Whitford) has gone to work for Rep. Matthew Santos (Jimmy Smits), and they are facing off against Senator Vinick (Alan Alda). Each episode seems like a reflection of our current race - the idealistic young politician vs. the aging Senator who truly wants what's best for our country. Even the shows set in the White House reflect our current situation - a President trying to forge his legacy.
Although, face it, George Bush is no Jed Bartlet (unfortunately). It's been so exciting to rediscover this series - it's still thought provoking, honest, and smart.

My other find is the Bonnie Hunt Show.
I've always liked Bonnie. She's made a career of playing the best friend/girlfriend/harried wife, but she never gets lost in the crowd. Her performances are always real. So when I heard she was going to be hosting her own talk show, I was so excited. I never got around to watching it until this past week, and I'm hooked. She's charming, funny, and, well, normal! Right now, she's been raising funds for cancer research - turns out that she once worked as an oncology nurse - by having guests use a sledge hammer to ring the bell. She also has a fireman's pole that she invites her guests to use. What I also like about her is her loyalty to her old friends. She surrounds herself with people she's known since her Second City days, and that chemistry adds a lot to the show.

You can see why she always plays the best friend - because I'd like her to be my best friend!

Of course, there are dark places in the schedule. I can only stand about 5 minutes of "The View" each day. I don't care for Elizabeth's politics and she is a pure mouthpiece for everything the McCain campaign is feeding her - but I feel sorry for her sometimes. How hard must it be to come to work every day and know that those four women are going to attack her. It never gets personal, but it would bum me out to face that every day. I'm sure she's looking forward to the end of the campaign. I also have discovered that you can go years without watching a soap opera, and easily pick up the story within one episode. Luke & Laura, Hope & Bo, Victor & Nikki, etc.

I've also discovered that it IS possible to watch too much ESPN. Last week, while the Sox were still in it, I must have watched every ESPN channel every minute. This week, not so much. As a matter of fact, I didn't remember until nearly 8:45 last night that the World Series had started!

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Blogger Ted D said...

"Third Rock From the Sun" was AWESOME.

I laugh until I cry everytime I watch it.

9:18 PM  

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