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July 28, 2014

TV 101: Podcasts That Could Be TV Shows

Do you know why stand-up comics have so many lame jokes about flying? It's because we spend so much (expletive deleted) time on (expletive deleted) planes. (My own lame joke about flying involves overweight people next to you: "So much of her was on me that we hit turbulence and I technically cheated on my wife.") That much time in coach turns your brain into pudding - you need a crutch to get...

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TV 101: Let's Make TV Like a Soccer League (Or: How To Make Trololo A Network Show!)

I get YouTube videos emailed to me five or six times a day. It's gotten to the point where I've just created a canned response that says, "LOL! You were right, that was hilarious!" It makes the senders happy and keeps me sane. It's not that I don't love my friends and relatives, I'm just tired of being burned by subpar 'AFV' clips masquerading as the new hotness of internet memes. As I get...

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TV 101: Canaries In The Mineshaft (Pt. 1) - When Characters Become Caricatures

One of my least favorite internet memes is the race among people who frequent TV blogs to be the first one to comment that a show has "jumped the shark." I'll take a busload of LOLCATS and Epic Beard Men if it means that I won't have to see "JTS!" four minutes into a show's pilot episode. That said, the fact that JTS has been defanged by ubiquity doesn't take away from its ability to be a...

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TV 101: Goofus And Gallant, TV-Style

I was recently surprised to learn that not only is 'Highlights Magazine' still being published, it actually owns the domain name highlights.com (which you would think would have gone to something far more profitable than a magazine - a hair care products link farm, perhaps). 'Highlights' was one of the few pleasures of my childhood trips to the dentist's office, the others being the toy at the...

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TV 101: How 'Lost' Is Like a Loveless Marriage

For a lot of 'Lost' fans, the only numbers that really matter anymore are 5, 23, and 10 - May 23rd of this year, the Dharma Train finally pulls into the station and we'll find out once and for all whether the writers knew what they were doing. It's almost a certainty that you're going to be disappointed. Had the show ended during its second or third season, I would have stocked up on...

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TV 101: How Keith Olbermann And Glenn Beck Eat Your Soul

America, we need to talk. There was a time when you were my favorite country in the world. Sure, you invented the Snuggie and insisted on airing multiple shows about making cakes for some reason, but you were always pretty stable. Well, that's changed and I think I know why. You're addicted, America. You're addicted to something more insidious than nicotine or cocaine or Pokémon: you're...

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TV 101: Wouldn't it be nice if HBO grew a pair?

Last week, HBO launched a new service called "HBO Go". If you subscribe to the network through your cable system, you can now access a deep offering of its content - about 600 hours so far - on your computer. As soon as the average hotel wireless speed improves from "AOL 1997" to something more akin to what I have at home, HBO Go is going to make my life on the road much less boring. Goodbye...

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TV 101: 'American Idol' and the TV Truth Gap

Calm down, Grandma: Howard Stern won't be replacing Simon Cowell on 'American Idol'. Like every other inspired Hollywood idea, I'm sure someone in a $500 vintage t-shirt is having one of his interns draft a memo to kill it right now. The controversy surrounding the rumor that Stern might be replacing Simon wasn't shocking: denouncing Stern as a politically incorrect vulgarian is one of the few...

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TV 101: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love 'Jersey Shore'

I have a lot of irrational fears: nuclear war, CHUDS, whatever the dark magic is that keeps Jeremy Piven's hairline in place ... the list is long and varied. Ever since I saw the movie 'Contact', I've been afraid that the TV we pump into space is being watched by aliens far more advanced than we are. Imagine all that garbage floating up into the ether, being judged not by bloggers armed with...

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TV 101: Do we have more TV channels than we do TV talent?

In the 90s, one of the most popular (and annoying) memes that circulated through the geekier magazines was that we were only a few years away from having "500 channels" on our cable systems. Unlike most tech predictions, this one actually came true. Sure, it took 1200% longer than they thought it would, but that's still pretty good considering most of the stuff Wired talked about in the 90s was...

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