Wednesday, January 31, 2007
Tuesday, January 30, 2007
In the 1960’s, Chuck Barris was one of two visionary television producers who helped to revitalize the nearly moribund institution of the game show. Whereas Merv Griffin restored intelligence, dignity and class to the genre with Jeopardy, Barris opted to go in the other direction entirely. His signature successes, The Dating Game and The Newlywed Game, danced gleefully along the edge of, and often leapt merrily over, the boundaries of what network Standards and Practices officials of the time considered good taste.
In 1976, Barris returned with his most outrageous and irreverent offering yet, a half hour talent contest called The Gong Show. The format was simple. Contestants performed for a panel of three C-level celebrity judges, any one of whom could cut the act short at any time by banging on a giant gong hanging behind them. If the contestant got through his performance with being gonged, the judges rated him on a scale of one to ten and the contestant with the highest daily total won a whopping five hundred dollar prize.
The Gong Show was originally hosted by veteran Laugh-In announcer Gary Owens, who was quickly replaced by Chuck Barris himself. After Barris assumed the hosting chores, the true nature of The Gong Show began to emerge. It was not so much a talent show as a parody of one.
As host, Barris adopted a freewheeling, manic persona. He often seemed barely in control of the show, creating an atmosphere which fostered in viewers the feeling that anything could, and most certainly would, happen at any time, and where, in true Chuck Barris fashion, the lines of good taste were not just blurred but erased altogether.
The show feature an often bizarre line up of acts, ranging from singers bad enough to give Simon Cowell nightmares to, in one of the show’s most memorable moments, a pair of attractive young ladies in cheerleader outfits whose entire act consisted of sitting in the center of the stage suggestively licking popsicles. Adding to the madness where a company of recurring acts, highlighted by the enthusiastically untalented Gene, Gene: The Dancing Machine and the abrasive Unknown Comic, who hurled insults at Barris and the judges while concealing his visage beneath a paper grocery sack.
Today, with the phenomenal success of American Idol, the airwaves are saturated with talent competitions looking to capture even a small piece of Idol’s audience and, more importantly, profits. The TV talent show is ripe for parody, and therefore, as I said at the beginning of this piece, America needs Chuck Barris and The Gong Show more than ever.
Monday, January 29, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
20th Century Fox demands YouTube expose user from PhysOrg.com
YouTube has said it received a subpoena from Twentieth Century Fox demanding it reveal who posted unaired episodes of "24" and "The Simpsons" on the video-sharing website.
You may remember, if you read the Word on Friday night, that I had posted some American Idol vid from YouTube. I deleted the post on Saturday after I tried to play the videos featuring Sean Michel and was told that they were "no longer available. Checking into YouTube, I found that all the Idol clips from that user had been removed, as well as those of another YouTuber who I'd been using as a source for Idol clips. This leaves me wondering, therefore, if this is related to the YouTube/Fox flap described in the article above, and if so, how long until the other Idol clips I've thrown up on the site become unavailable.
Fox, of course, has every right to demand that copyrighted material be taken down off of YouTube or any other video sight. I guess you might just have to depend on my descriptive powers after all.
Friday, January 26, 2007
Thursday, January 25, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Well, that probably makes it pretty clear who I'm planning to vote for--at least in the primary. That's if he even makes it to the Ohio primary. 2004's "promising newcomer," Howard Dean, crashed and burned long before I would have gotten a chance to vote for him, which I did intend to do. Of course, Obama seems a much calmer sort, not given to career killing screams.
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
Performance by an actress in a leading role
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
Best animated feature film of the year
Achievement in art direction
Achievement in cinematography
Achievement in costume design
Achievement in directing
Best documentary feature
Best documentary short subject
Achievement in film editing
Best foreign language film of the year
Achievement in makeup
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)"
Best motion picture of the year
Best animated short film
Best live action short film
Achievement in visual effects
Monday, January 22, 2007
First, and most famously, he, to use his own words, "Knows Weird Stuff." He is a master of trivia and the all time Jeopardy! champ with seventy four wins.
Sunday, January 21, 2007
I told you about this guy back on Wednesday. I had some trouble tracking down the vid on You Tube, but here it is...Troy "Urban Amish" Benham. He's actually not the worst contestant so far this season, but he is the most uniquely bad.
The thing I'm wondering is: Is that an original song he's singing? I've never heard it before, but to tell you the somewhat embarrassing truth, I kind of dig it.
Friday, January 19, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I signed at YouTube, as you can see. I figured if anything interesting happened on, say, last night's Golden Globe Awards show, someone would post it and I could show it to you. Of course, other than Sacha Baron Cohen's tasteless and inappropriate acceptance speech, nothing noteworthy occurred. The Globes have a rep as the awards show where anything can happen, but based on last night's outing, I'd say that's basically just an urban legend. It was, from where I sat, yet another dull exercise in entertainment industry self-congratulation, and not the last one we're going to have to endure during the next month. The worst part, other than Cohen's speech, was Warren Beatty's halting and awkward speech. You would think one of the best actors of the 20th century would know the value of a good script. Or any script, for that matter.
In the absence of anything newsworthy from the Globes, I bring you this video. It is unrelentingly sacrilegious and utterly hilarious, and everything's funnier when you say it in a thick Scottish brogue.
Monday, January 15, 2007
Friday, January 12, 2007
Back on January 2nd, I posted my semi-serious resolution to "let no grievance go unaired," but now, while it may be a little late (2007 is already nearly 1/24 over), I have some real resolutions to share with you.