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What I'm watching this summer: JJ's list

by JJ Hawkins, posted Jun 6th 2007 10:10AM

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I'm a little depressed at how effortless it was to come up with the shows for this list. How can I possibly watch this much television during the Summer?

Then I looked at the TiVo beneath my TV, the Media Center PC and Xbox 360 in the office, and the Slingbox Pro in my living room and laughed for having even asked the question.

All of this TV is feasible because I own devices that are dedicated to helping me ingest the maximum number of programs possible within a 24-hour period. I'm TV obese, and it's a wonder with all the sedentary behavior, I'm not physically obese as well.

That being said (and wholeheartedly ignored), here are 11 shows my toys will help me binge on this Summer.

1. Blue's Clues (Nick Jr.) - I have a 14-month-old daughter who is absolutely obsessed with this show. As a result, there are no less than five episodes taunting me and calling her from my TiVo at any given moment. You know what this show makes me want to do? It makes me want to "sit down in my thinking chair and think...think...think" about swallowing a razor blade.

Man on fire2. So You Think You Can Dance (Fox) - There are two reasons I watch this show every year. 1) The Shane Sparks hip-hop routines that absolutely kill, and 2) the people who dance like they've been doused with lighter fluid and handed a lit sparkler during the audition process.

3. Rescue Me (FX) - At any given point throughout the year I'm watching some series on FX. Right now, it's The Riches. This summer it will be this Dennis Leary masterwork. Clever writing, interesting plots, ample profanity, and a psychotic, quasi-girlfriend who has slipped Leary's character a roofie and sexually assaulted him on two separate occasions. There's not much to dislike here.

LeBron James4. The NBA Finals (ABC) - I was convinced this year's NBA finals were going to be a coma inducing snorefest between the San Antonio Spurs and the Detroit Pistons. Much to my surprise, Bron Bron brought the house down in game five and six of the Detroit series and placed Cleveland in the finals for the first time in Cavalier history. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see King James scorch Detroit with 48 points in game five - a performance some analysts rank in the top 10 playoff performances of all time. I'm not going to risk missing something like that again (I was at an Interpol concert), so I'll definitely be watching the finals this month.

5. Entourage (HBO) - I watch this show for Johnny Drama plain and simple. He has to be the funniest, most tragically flawed character on television. Next season I hope the show steers away from the boring Eric and Sloan subplot and gives us more Five Towns. In fact, I'd love to just see a full episode of Five Towns in the regularly scheduled Entourage spot. Anyone opposed to this?

6. The Real Estate Pros (TLC) - First it was called Flip this House and it was on A&E. Then it moved to TLC and was called The Real Deal. Now it's still on TLC and it's called The Real Estate Pros. Whatever you want to call it, it's the best real estate, flipping-themed show I've ever watched. No offense to Paige Davis. Lots of offense to Ty Pennington or as I like to call him, Drunk Treasure Troll.

Gordan Ramsey7. Hell's Kitchen (FOX) - Gordon Ramsey is the biggest asshole on television. He's a combination of the Drill Sergeant from Full Metal Jacket, Meryl Streep's character from The Devil Wears Prada, and Emeril Lagasse (minus the annoying being Emeril Lagasse part). He verbally berates and belittles the show's want-to-be chefs on a regular basis and made a grown man cry in the season opener. If this description hasn't sold you on the show, nothing will.

8. On The Lot (FOX) - At this point, I'm watching this show solely because I'm reviewing it on a weekly basis. I really like the premise, and I really enjoy the short films. However, the production value of the actual show is piss-poor and that will probably prove to be the demise of this series. I'm really hoping things get better, but my expectations are low.

9. Big Brother (CBS) - One of my favorite reality shows will be back on the air in a few weeks. Unfortunately, it probably won't be as entertaining without the Chill Town / Janelle dichotomy from last season. I wish the producers could excercise some sort of option in Dr. Will and Janelle's Big Brother contract that forced them to compete in every season. Better yet, they need to do a season of Survivor with contestants from BB and include these two. They could even throw in some people from The Amazing Race. I'm drooling a little bit just thinking about it.

Bear Grylls10. Survivorman and Man vs. Wild (DSC) - I'm going to be frank - Les Stroud is nowhere near as cool as Bear Grylls. For starters, "Les" is obviously a much weaker name than "Bear".

Secondly, I've seen Bear bite into the spine of a live fish, pee on a rag and wrap it around his head to keep cool in the desert, and kill a Sabre-toothed Tiger with a pine cone and sheer determination. All I've seen Les do is play the harmonica and cry about missing his family.

Regardless of who is the better outdoor's man, there is plenty of room on my DVRs for two survival shows this summer. I'll be watching them both.

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Chuck

I have to be the minority here and cast a vote for Les. Bear is cool, I'll give him that, but he has a tendancy to be, let's face it, stupid. Other than the initial stranding himself, Les tries to survive, not actively taunt nature.

Plus, as has been mentioned, Les brings all his own equipment. think about it: when you see Les straddling some precarious position, or walking far, far away through blisteringly hot or cold environments, he's actually done that at leat TWO times, because he has to set up the camera, filim himself walking, go back, pick up the equipment, and walk it all again. That's tiring just thinking about it.

I will say, though, that many episodes seem like Les might survive the seven days, but die by day ten, as he never, ever seems to actually find FOOD!

June 06 2007 at 10:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
JJ Hawkins

"What's gonna work? Teamwork!" That show and The Backyardigans also make me contemplate suicide. The songs just get in your head and torment you for hours. The U.S. military should really consider using them for torture practices.

I agree with Roger that Big Brother gets a lot less love than other reality shows, and I'm not entirely sure why. It's on par with Survivor if you ask me.

I also concur with Ben regarding Les Stroud being a bit more hardcore because he is out in the wilderness alone while Bear has a camera crew with him at all times. It kind of takes away from the mystique of Man vs. Wild, but I still like it a bit more than Survivorman.

I believe new Survivorman was supposed to begin airing in February '07. Obviously that never happened. Man vs. Wild starts again June 15th on the Discovery Channel.

I'm not sure why they changed the name of The Real Deal. I think "The Real Estate Pros" sounds like something I'd see on a billboard driving around town. At one point, the show was also called "The Property King".

Regardless of all the bad names, the show is great and Richard is probably one of the most likable people on TV at the moment.

I'll also probably be watching Last Comic Standing, America's Got Talent, and American Inventor. I just didn't want to add them to the list in fear of looking like a bigger loser than I already lead on :)

June 06 2007 at 6:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tammy

Yes, they need to take the best of Big Brother and Amazing Race and put them on Survivor. That would be so great. Now put Romber up against Will/Janelle and see who wins.

Rescue Me is probably my all time favorite summer show. My husband loves this show and tells everyone to watch it. My husband watches very little TV other than sports but The Shield and Rescue Me are two of his favorites.

I adore Drama on Entourage and I'm so glad he has a hit show for a change. I would love it if Drama did well in tv while his brother does movies. It would make for an interesting dynamic on the show. Plus if everyone lived at Johnny's place until the movie is done would make a good change too.

I got hooked on So You Think You Can Dance last summer. The contestants had such great personalities that it made me want to watch. I'm glad we only got a few of the audition shows and we are moving on to Vegas this week. I'm not a fan of bad auditions and I don't like them on AI either. I want to see the talent.

I do plan to check a few new shows out this summer... Damage (?) Glenn Close's new show and Saving Grace with Holly Hunter.

June 06 2007 at 2:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
patrick

why did tlc change the name of The Real Deal?
i agree...thats the best home improvement show out there

June 06 2007 at 2:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tom Brady

Ninwest, there are more episodes of Survivorman in the pipeline. I have yet to be able to track down when they are going to air, though, although he has mentioned negotiations with the Discovery Channel. Be sure to check out Les Stroud's website, http://www.lesstroudonline.com. You can find more information there, as well as Les' blog (http://www.lesstroudonline.com/blog), where he details his stints in the Amazon and in Africa.

June 06 2007 at 2:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joy

I'm with you on Blues Clues also. My 3-year old can't get enough. And like vacelts said, I not only have to watch Wonder Pets, my son runs around singing the theme song ALL day long and saying "This is sewious". Anyone who has seen the show can sympathize with me.

Hells Kitchen is great, though it seems a little more OVER-produced than last season. Seems that they are trying a little to hard to play up Gordon Ramsey being mean when they should just ease up on the taunting camera zoom-ins and dramatic music and just let the man be himself. Waiting around to hear him call the chefs "fat cows" is enough entertainment for me!

June 06 2007 at 12:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
NINWEST

Will they ever make more surviorman?I love that show, and have seen all the episode's like 3 times each...

June 06 2007 at 12:50 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Beth Gaston Moon

Eric and Sloan - both likable enough in their own right, horrifically boring as a couple. Even when they are talking about a potential threesome.

June 06 2007 at 12:15 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ben

Bear loses major points for having a camera crew. His 'dire' situations lose some steam with that in mind. Not so with Stroud.

June 06 2007 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Trent

Thanks for the heads-up on The Real Deal changing names again.. Otherwise, my DVR probably would have missed it. I'm enjoying it this season, but they're making this totally unrealistic with these 4-5 day time frames to get the jobs done.

As for Hell's Kitchen, you couldn't be more right! You can read my review of the first episode here: http://www.videostoregf.com/2007/06_05/hells-kitchen/

June 06 2007 at 11:58 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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