posted: Aug. 30, 2005  |  Feedback

Some short bytes on a Tuesday ...

• Disappointed in "Prison Break" Monday night -- it was all over the place and nearly impossible to follow unless you were keeping a chart or something. The guy who played the brother on death row was such a brutal actor, even the Sports Gal noticed (and she never notices stuff like that). The lead female could have been cuter. Didn't like the bad guys that much, except for the Boggs rip-off from "Shawshank" (he was slightly creepy). And I knew going in that the premise was ridiculous, but watching it, it was even more ridiculous than I expected. This would have been a much better HBO show -- they could have thrown in some nudity during the conjugal visit, the riot scene would have been much more over the top, and the swear words would have loosened things up. Anyway, I'm giving it two more weeks to see if it gets better ... if not, I'm pulling the plug.

• Now here's a show that delivers the goods: "Kill Reality" on E! Every week, this show gets a little better and a little more insane, capped off by Monday night's unbelievable drunken/violent/homicidal cameo by Katie from the "Real World/Road Rules Challenge." Somebody needs to create the "Reality-TV Awards" just so she can win the award for "Best Job of Embarrassing Everyone In Your Family." If my daughter ever turns out like her, just shoot me in the head. I'm begging you. What a show. You know the house is crazy when Trishelle -- probably the biggest drunken bimbo in the history of the "Real World" -- evolves into the voice of reason in the house. Now that's scary.

A few other things I enjoy about this show...

1. The immortal Jonny Fairplay ... I thought his career peaked with the grandmother lie on "Survivor," but then he came up with the "Upper Decker" -- an act that was so disgusting and inspired, it started an e-mail war with me and my college roommates because we were so disappointed that our buddy Blueboy (my craziest roommate in college) didn't know about the Upper Decker when we were in school. (Note: Blueboy claimed that he did know about it, but given his body of work in college, none of us believed him. This would be like attending college with Courtney Love and asking her, "Hey, did you know about cocaine when we were there?" and her saying, "Oh, yeah, I knew about it, I just never wanted to try it." I think the Blueboy is crushed that he never thought of it.) Regardless, Fairplay might be the first reality-TV character without a ceiling -- he's capable of anything -- as well as being the type of guy about whose love life people are always pointing out stuff like "Well, one girl got you evicted from your apartment by throwing all your stuff out the window..."

2. Watching people like Bob Guinea, Trishelle, Jenna Morasco and others trying to act ... I can't say enough about it. Highest of high comedy.

3. Rob S. from "Survivor" (one of the producers) could be the dorkiest guy in reality TV history -- he's almost tragically uncomfortable on camera, yet he keeps coming back for more. You can almost imagine his practicing funny lines in the shower, then screwing them up when he's trying to say them in front of the camera crew. And while we're here, I can't say enough about Tonya from "Real World," who's starting to look worn down like one of those porn actresses who films too many movies in too short of a span. The fact that she hasn't leaked an Internet porn tape yet remains the biggest upset of the 21st century so far.

(Hey Tonya: Time is running out. You have about 15 months of partying left in you before you're going to look like you're 45 years old. So hurry it up.)

4. During some of the party scenes, you can't help but wonder, "Wow, I think some of these people are a little more than liquored up"... and then Radar Online ran a report Monday about rampant drug use and even a couple of wild orgies during the filming (I'm not allowed to link to it). Fun for the whole family! Anyway, I highly recommend this show if you enjoy ridiculing others and don't care about watching TV shows with no redeeming social value whatsoever.

• From bad TV to good TV: A&E is running a "24" marathon of Season 4 this weekend -- Sunday and Monday, all 24 episodes -- which means I'll be caught up in time for Season 5 later this month. Thank you, TV gods.

• The Al Michaels e-mails keep pouring in. Did you know that ...

A. Al announced the Scott Norwood Game? Only the most famous missed kick in football history.

B. According to Colorado reader Tom Stearns, you can find this note on the official Cleveland Indians site from former Tribe infielder Duane Kuiper:

"Most people don't remember the game in 1977 that I hit my home run -- my only home run (in 3,378 at-bats) -- and that Al Michaels was doing it on national television. Michaels, you know, was famous for what he said during the 1980 Olympics. When the U.S. hockey team beat Russia, Michaels said, 'Do you believe in miracles?' Well, he used that same line -- 'Do you believe in miracles?' -- when I hit that home run, and that was three years before he said it in the Olympics."

• On the phone last week, my buddy Gus claimed that David Wright, barring injury, will be the greatest Mets position player ever by the time he's 28. That seemed crazy to me, so we argued about it. Then Gus sent me an e-mail with the Mets' leaders in every category, including home runs (Strawberry, 252), RBI (Strawberry, 733), average (Olerud, .315), runs (Strawberry, 662) and hits (Kranepool, 1,418). Now that's astounding. (Ed Kranepool is the team leader in hits? He had 18 more than Mike Greenwell!) In 45 years, their best hitters were Piazza, Hernandez, Carter and Strawberry, although none of them peaked for more than four to six years. In that same time, the Red Sox had Yaz (23 years), Rice (15 years), Boggs (11), Fisk (9), Nomar (8), Vaughn (7), Lynn (6) and Manny (5 and counting). Just thought that was crazy.

• Speaking of the Sox, a funny e-mail from Owen in Montana:

"The world is waiting for your perspective on what was easily the most entertaining moment from Friday night's Red Sox game. On the very slight chance that you missed it, John O'Hurley sang God Bless America for the seventh-inning stretch, and NESN interviewed him afterward. At the end of the interview, he showed off his new trophy wife, with whom he was celebrating his one-year anniversary. As things wrapped up, O'Hurley's parting comment was that 'the most amazing thing about her is that even after a year, she still has that new wife smell.' This comment provoked a fit of uncontrolled laughter from Jerry Remy, that is if you can describe five minutes of mucous-laden wheezing as 'laughter.' Eventually Remy pulled himself together long enough to observe that if O'Hurley does indeed own the J. Peterman label, 'No wonder he's got a new wife.' Hopefully you got to experience this moment as it happened, and hopefully you could share that experience."

Owen's right -- the best part was that it was a throwaway line right at the end of the interview, so it came out of nowhere, and then Remy started with the nicotine wheeze/laugh and pushed it to another level. I do think Remy and Orsillo have been cracking up waaaaaaaaay too much this season -- it's like they're doing Whip-Its on Friday nights -- but in this case, it was completely warranted. And yes, we're getting closer and closer to the game when Remy actually coughs up one of his lungs on the air. It's coming.

• Finally, this week's sports book recommendation ...

A few years ago, Wall Street Journal reporter Stefan Fatsis threw himself into the world of competitive Scrabble, which has so many tortured freaks, it makes the World Series of Poker look normal by comparison. As with any good author, Fatsis ends up getting a little too involved, messing around with Scrabble on his own and slowly understanding how this game can consume people. The end result was "Word Freak," a unique, well-written, entertaining, fascinating, thoughtful sports book that still holds up four years later. If poker can be considered a sport, then so should Scrabble ... which is why I'm making the executive decision to give this "top-50 sports book" status.

Want the book? Here are the links: link | Barnes and Noble

August 2005