Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Charlie and Elvira

Another day started with snow shoveling, which happens here in March, I know. I'd just like to see the outside temperature rise to something close to average.

One thing worth pondering (to me, anyway) about the Charlie Sheen breakdown (I don't know what else to call it) from a purely TV angle is the coincidental deterioration of Two and a Half Men. The plots seemed to be getting more fanciful and less coherent, with Sheen's character acting almost as crazy as he has been doing. This had to have an additional enabling effect beyond the normal Hollywood ass-kissing associated with success.

It also brings up a chicken-or-egg question. There's always been a certain art-imitates-life feel to the show, what with guest appearances by Martin Sheen, Emilio Estevez, old friend Sean Penn and even second wife Denise Richards with their daughter Sam. Have the producers and writers been trying to accommodate Sheen's lifestyle to keep the show together, or has Sheen been letting his character bleed into real life? Likely a bit of both. I also can't help but notice that here's another person who has succumbed to the the pressures and distortions of a life spent in and around the Hollywood fantasy machine.

As for the show, it has reached the age where many series start to go downhill anyway. I don't see how it can survive. Plugging in someone else, Bewitched-style, for Sheen wouldn't seem to be workable, although the producers have nothing to lose by trying. Perhaps Jon Cryer and Angus Jones could spin off into a new show.

On another TV note, we've completed our company-forced conversion to digital cable with the successful installation of a converter box on each of our three TVs. They work OK, I guess, even as they remind me of the boxes I used to have in the early days of cable, except for the remote control, of course. We considered replacing one of the TVs to avoid paying for a box (two of them are free) but we don't really have the money for that, and $2 a month is cheap enough. I'm not terribly impressed with the channel-surfing ability of the tuner, though.

This has added the off-air digital channels we didn't get before. The other two Public TV channels basically run stuff the main channel has run, along with some programs not seen around here before. It also allows all the state high school basketball tournaments to be on TV. There's also a movie channel called This, which adds a bit more variety to the lineup even if it has brought Elvira back with her lineup of truly bad movies, such as Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter. (The title should be all you need to know, but if not....here. Horror indeed.) NBC's Universal Sports channel is great if you like skiing. The two additional Fox Sports channels haven't been of much use so far except for the airing of some local college basketball. KELO's weather channel isn't much to watch, but it does offer another source for local conditions, which is nice given the local Weather Channel's abandonment of the bottom-of-the-screen ongoing updates for our area. Overall, it's been more good than bad, which is rare for channel additions.

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