CHEERS to pitch-perfect humor. Mountain
Dew's latest commercial is so good it almost has us swearing
off cola forever. At least it had us giggling like kids in church.
The spot features the stars of that Sunday-morning stop-action
classic from the '60s, Davey and Goliath. "We got
hosed, Tommy," says Davey to a buddy when Davey's dad chugs
the last drop of Dew. This one is for those of us who still
think of a talking dog whenever we hear "A Mighty Fortress
Is Our God."
JEERS to dubious maneuvers. Some ideas
just seem bad from the start, like sending an ex-model to do
a reporter's job. NBC's Today recently sent "supermodel
Christy Turlington" (the show's words) to Afghanistan for a
segment on how children there are coping with war. The fluffy
report turned tragedy into a stunt, and a banal one at that.
But the more significant blurring of the line between news and
entertainment is about to take place at ABC, where network execs
(reportedly ignoring complaints from the ABC News division)
have OK'd a 13-part reality series about American soldiers in
Afghanistan. Producers, including Jerry Bruckheimer (Pearl
Harbor, Black Hawk Down), will work with the Pentagon
to gain access to the troops something that news crews
have found increasingly difficult, if not impossible, lately.
The news officials are justified in their concern.
CHEERS to a strong start. CBS's 60
Minutes and correspondent Steve Kroft produced a one-hour
report for Court TV's investigative series The System,
and the March 6 episode "Burning Questions: The Pioneer
Hotel Fire" had us hoping for further collaborations.
Kroft dug into the ashes of an old crime (the 1970 arson at
Tucson's Pioneer Hotel that killed 29 people) and raised serious
questions about whether an innocent man has been in jail for
more than three decades. Under the deal between CBS and Court
TV, a shortened version of The System report aired March
3 as a segment on 60 Minutes. Looks to us like a good
JEERS to giving it away. Part of the
considerable appeal of Fox's 24 is the show's way with
a cliff-hanger. The hour-in-the-life premise of the thriller
makes for some real edge-of-the-couch moments, so why would
the network want to spoil things with overly informative previews?
One recent sneak peek showed Jack (Kiefer Sutherland) reunited
with his kidnapped wife and daughter a resolution we would
gladly have waited a week to see. With 24, the tension
is half the fun.
CHEERS to a flash of wit. As
a TV camera panned the audience of The Rosie O'Donnell Show
on February 21, a woman lifted her shirt and gave viewers of
the live broadcast an image usually reserved for HBO. Following
a commercial, a flustered O'Donnell fired off the best quip
of its kind since David Niven berated a streaker's "shortcomings"
during the 1974 Oscars. Said O'Donnell of the topless fan, "She
is now with security, waiting to get into the Montel
show." Turns out, the flasher was merely trying to show her
daughter and granddaughter at home the beaded, heart-adorned
T-shirt they'd made for her. Surprise!
CHEERS to having the guts to show a
gut. With all the toned, lifted and otherwise beautiful bodies
on display at the Grammy Awards, we have to Cheer host Jon
Stewart for keeping it real. Stripped to his boxers as part
of a mock security check, Stewart looked just like a typical
flabby, pasty, middle-aged guy. OK, so we were glad he put his
clothes on after the first commercial break, but the comedian
deserves some credit for putting laughs before pride. As for
the rest of the CBS broadcast, the diversity of musical acts
from bluegrass and classical to boy bands and R&B songbirds
more than made up for the poorly written presenters' patter.
Tight security prohibited unexpected guests (no Soy Bomb for
Bob Dylan this time around). But we're still wondering if Ray
Romano expected the hard shove he got from co-presenter Kevin
James. That fall looked as real as the apparent anger on Romano's