However, Tyler Bowling is filing suit against the doctor, his practice, the producers of 'The Doctors' and even the company that created the laser that was used to fix his problems, claiming he was tricked into getting the work done and becoming the fodder for the TV show.
There's a great quote in the article from some uptight woman who said she'd rather see an Andy Griffith movie come to town: "I don't think it's [The Simpsons] a wholesome show. I hate the show, and if I heard Springfield would support something like that, I would think it's a sign of what's wrong with America."
I'm sure there are a few of the 2,000 Springfield, MN residents who like The Simpsons. To the rest, I simply have two words: Jesse Ventura.
This isn't exactly a surprise, since all the signs were there: he moved his family back to Minnesota last year and decided to end the Air America show. Both pointed to his intention to run. But his presence is going to lend national attention to that race, meaning we'll probably be hearing much more of the humorless pundit version of Franken than the witty comedian we actually came to like over the last twenty-five years. Oh, and don't put it past Minnesotans to vote him into office; he's a much more serious a candidate than Jesse Ventura was, and you remember what happened there.
Let's Bowl! was the creation of Tim Scott, a Minneapolis native who earlier worked as a sound mixer on Mystery Science Theater 3000. Michael J. Nelson, who played "Mike" on MST3K, also worked on the show as a writer for one season.
The basic premise of the show, which began airing in Minneapolis and other local markets in 1998 before being brought to Comedy Central in 2001, was to invite real people with trivial grievances onto the show to settle their dispute on the lanes. The show was a mix of bowling footage, hilarious interviews, and bizarre skits. It featured two commentators, a husky all-American type named Steve "Chopper" Sedahl (Steve Sedahl), and a whiny manchild named Wally Hotvedt (Rich Kronfeld) who would often lament his place in this cruel world and reveal embarrassing things about himself when he was supposed to be providing color commentary. It was an odd mix of irreverent comedy and bowling, and it really shouldn't have worked, but somehow it did.
Most people know that public radio is a huge thing here in Minnesota. We are the home of Lake Wobegon, after all. Recently, Minnesota Public Radio filed a lawsuit against Al Gore's Current TV, claiming that internet users would confuse Gore's independent network with "The Current" a popular MPR-owned music station here in the Twin Cities. The lawsuit claims the radio station had already applied for a trademark of the name "Current" four months before Gore's new venture was changed from "INdTV" to "Current TV." Representatives from Current TV issued a statement noting that over 300 businesses use the word "current" in their name.
It's easy to dismiss this as just a frivolous lawsuit. After all, who's going to confuse a radio station with an independent TV network? What bothers me even more, though, is that public radio should be championing a TV network that eschews corporate news for citizen journalism. I would have expected MPR to support Current TV, not try to bring it down.
Al Franken recently moved his radio show to my humble little metropolis of Minneapolis, the city where he grew up. By sheer coincidence I know one of his producers and I asked them why he was back in his homestate of Minnesota. Turns out Franken is giving some serious consideration to making a senate run in 2008. He hasn't officially thrown his hat in the ring, according to an interview with AlterNet he did recently, but the fact that he moved the whole shebang to Minnesota pretty much makes one think it's going to happen. I think the "celebrity to politician" move is a crap shoot at best, but this is Minnesota, and Al is a hometown boy. I figure if Jesse Ventura could get his hulking frame into office Franken probably stands a pretty good chance.
In the interview, Franken talks about humor revealing a deeper truth (something I completely agree with), but even with his recent political affiliations, do people still think of him as just Al Franken the funny guy from Saturday Night Live? Put another way, can a person add a new dimension to their public persona after so many years of being seen only one way? It has happened, but that move is always a tenuous one.
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