Category Archives: conan o’brien

Glory Daze

TBS, now that they have Conan O’Brian, is thinking forward toward other new programming to show off and entice viewers while they are dropping by to see Conan. One of their new shows is “Glory Daze,” a comedy drama set at a frat house in the 1980s, obviously trying to cash in on nostalgic forty year-olds.

The idea has such promise and has been done before, successfully mining other nostalgic decades in shows like “Happy Days” and “The 70s Show,” and even less so in the latter’s largely forgotten and sadly underrated spin-off, “The 80s Show.”

The main problem with “Glory Daze” however is not ratings or stars leaving or even jumping sharks. It’s that it’s just like every other similar show about young folks getting into trouble on television. Adding in clichéd fashion, chronologically out of order music, John Hughes-like formulas and some ridiculous slang doesn’t make it any better.

I love the 80s, I grew up in the 80s, sometimes I even get nostalgic for the 80s, but wow, one episode of “Glory Daze” was all I could take.

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Conan Conan Conan

We’ve had about a dozen episodes of the Conan O’Brien’s new TBS talk show – titled “Conan,” so he would be harder to replace this time. I figured it was about time I chimed in with my feelings on this new and much anticipated endeavor.

I thought his final weeks on NBC was some of the best television he’s ever done, and when I reviewed those last shows, I expressed concern as to whether he could do the same on a regular basis, and on a different network when he did return to TV. It needs to be said, and Coco fans can frown and throw cabbage at me if they wish, but the average Conan talk show was nothing spectacular. I liked the guy, and I didn’t tune into his “Tonight Show” all that often.

I tuned in last week for the first show, and was even more concerned. My initial thoughts were about how long he might last even on TBS. The first episode seemed very self-indulgent. Allowing several minutes of applause when he first came out, I can forgive after his absence, but stealing the spotlight from Jack White who was the musical guest was almost unexcusable. And it didn’t help that his first big guest, Seth Rogan, sincerely apologized more than a few times that Conan couldn’t get a bigger or better first guest.

On the good side, these first few shows demonstrated a desire to throwback to talk shows of old, where it was more about getting to know the guests and having a dialogue with them rather than just promoting their latest project. That, I like.

I still have doubts, but I have hope, and I hope Conan catches on and continues to maintain an audience that can support him.

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A Little Late Night Stargazing

My favorite line of the current late night wars so far has to be “NBC – Never Believe your Contract.”

There’s really not much news on this front that hasn’t already been said, or you can’t read somewhere else, but I just wanted to say a few things. I’m a big supporter of Conan O’Brien. I’m sad to see him go, or as things might turn out, to have seen him go. Something tells me NBC isn’t going to actually let him do another week of shows. We’ll see.

I like Conan, I really do, and I think his past week of performances on “The Tonight Show” have easily been his best. That said however, just as a cornered animal is at its most vicious, so is a cornered comedian at his funniest. Would we really be that entertained had NBC not backed Conan into a wall? Seriously, testify. How many of us watched his Tonight Show before this? Or even his Late Night Show? If it was on, and we wanted to see one of the guests we were there, but not for him alone.

The drawing power no longer exists in the late night landscape. It used to, but no longer. I can remember sneaking down the stairs, just behind the living room door, just to hear Johnny Carson’s monologue. I remember loving school holidays and summers because it meant I could stay up to see “The Tonight Show.”

I’ll take it further and direct you to a time when Philadelphia was one of the last markets to pick up “Late Night with David Letterman” and I would stay up and actually hold onto the antenna of my bedroom TV to get channel 4 out of New York just to see the show. But Johnny retired and has since moved on, and Dave, well, Dave is just not that funny any more, especially since moving on to CBS.

And so here we are. I was never really a big Jay Leno fan, although I respect what he was trying to do in prime time. He should just have the balls to take his beating and move on though. As Conan himself said, “Kids, you can do anything you want to… as long as Jay Leno doesn’t want to do it too.”

Good luck, Conan, I’m pulling for you.

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The Late Night of Jimmy Fallon

I’ve never really been a fan of Jimmy Fallon. I mean, I don’t hate the guy, but then again I’ve never laughed my ass off at him either. He’s probably a really nice guy, just not a really funny guy. After years on Saturday Night Live” he’s got a shot at ‘real’ stardom taking over for Conan O’Brien on “Late Night” while Conan moves up to “The Tonight Show” in June. I tuned in for the first two nights and I’m still not sure what to make of it.

Fallon seems genuinely nervous throughout the first night’s monologue, and taking on an always-difficult interview like Robert DeNiro is a bloody baptism by fire – but he made it through pretty well. It was obvious that Fallon was much more comfortable with Justin Timberlake than DeNiro. Maybe he should just have friends on? And if he was really smart he would have gotten Justin to really sing. Although Van Morrison was nice too. Good demographic reach with the variety of guests.

Bits like “Lick It for Ten” and “Target Demographic” and *sigh* “Space Train” may have seemed traditionalist for “Late Night” but I don’t think it worked for Jimmy. He keeps trying to be other folks, and he should just be himself. Funny or not, I know he’s much cooler than he’s coming off so far. Fallon needs to find his own groove, preferably something he is comfortable with, because so far he doesn’t seem very comfortable with a lot going on here.

On the second night, the monologue was still shaky, but saved when Jimmy threw it to The Roots for a brief musical interlude. There’s no doubt about the fact that he has the hottest house band on Earth backing him up. He just needs to use The Roots for more than ‘slow jamming’ the news. Sharing a bit more of the spotlight with them could never hurt the show. They kill with the opening and closing themes. I would watch the show, just for them.

The Facebook status updates were not only hilarious but hip and different from what anyone else is doing out there in the talk arena. And Jimmy seemed to be having fun with it, good for his comfort zone. And he was certainly less nervous than Mayor Bloomberg. The ease continued with Tina Fey. Yeah, definitely, dude, just interview your friends, it works for you. It’s a vibe similar to Johnny Carson back in the day, in my opinion. Make it casual and make it just chatting with pals.

I had much the same regret about Jon Bon Jovi that I had about Justin Timberlake the previous night – why didn’t he sing a whole song? Can you imagine the ratings bump that would have been? Santigold was no slouch, she was trey cool, but come on, if you have Bon Jovi, make him perform. Make him sing the way he made Tina dance.

Speaking of ratings, “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” apparently did quite well so far, and I think that’s a good thing. Jimmy Fallon on his Twitter insists that the show will only get better, and honestly I don’t doubt it. It’s gotten twice as good in only two nights. I know I’ll be watching.