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Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #231  (Vol. 5, No. 35)  This edition is for the week of August 23--29, 2004.

Book Review: "Skinny Dip" by Carl Hiaasen....Update on Hurricane Charley and Florida's Landmarks
 by William Moriaty
"Exorcist: The Beginning"
 by Mike Smith
Couch Potato Fall TV Preview....Heinz Ketchup, Made in Mexico?
  by Vinnie Blesi
"Filthy" DVD Release Party...."Exorcist 4" vs. "Open Water" vs. "Benji"...."Genghis" or "Jen-jis"....Will Smiff really did do the "I, Robot" rap!....Psyched by the Furs: Concert Review
 by Andy Lalino
Great Story....The Olympics....Maybe, Maybe Not....No, Really, He's Gone....Meet The Beatles, Part 31
 by Mike Smith
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Couch Potato Confessions by Vinnie B.

Couch Potato Fall TV Preview

Yawn, it’s that time of year for the major TV networks to unveil their new crop of guano for the masses. This year it looks like more of the same old tried and true formulas. Kudos go out to CBS.com for having video clips of their new shows readily available on their website to preview. ABC only had clips from “The Lost” and NBC gets the Couch Potato rotten potato award for forcing you to download Microsoft Media Player 9 to view their videos (which of course I refused to do).

ABC: Sporting new hair implants the infamous William Shatner returns to television in a sequel to the “Practice” entitled “Boston Legal”. Also starring James Spader this show has the formula for hit written all over it, if only the viewing public takes it seriously with Mr. PriceLine it in.

No, it is not a porn flick, but ABC’s latest reality show, “Wife Swap”. Can you say boring? Egomaniac and NBA owner Mark Cuban appears in another reality show, “The Benefactor”, in which contestants can win a million bucks. Can you say snooze fest?

“Desperate Housewives” promises to offer a surreal bent on life after a perfect housewife commits suicide. The show marks the return of Teri Hatcher to TV and could deliver the goods, however delivering ratings is another matter.

The ABC lineup is rounded out by the formula sitcoms “Rodney” and “Complete Savages”(with Keith Carradine), the obligatory teen drama “Life as We Know It”, and a drama about people lost on a desert island creatively entitled, “Lost”. Hopefully it gets lost in the ratings real quick.

CBS: It is official; CBS will be changing their name to the CSI network. The talented Gary Sinise makes the transition to television in the flagship show of CBS, “CSI: NY”. This show is sure to be one of the few hits of the fall season. Also, according to David Letterman look for “CSI: Ft. Wayne Indiana”.

Jason Alexander tries to make yet another sitcom, “Listen Up”, which looks really bad and is my prediction to be one of the first new shows cancelled. Jason should stick with the chicken ads. Also returning to the sitcom universe is John “Call me Roseanne’s Husband” Goodman in “Center of the Universe”. As much as I like John Goodman this show looks too much like “Everybody Loves Raymond”. However that might be the right formula for success, just copy another successful show.

Rob Lowe and Joe Pantoliano star in “Dr. Vegas” about Lowe as a doctor in a Las Vegas casino. The clip I saw looked quirky and humorous enough to merit further review.

For CBS’s obligatory teen drama look for “Clubhouse” about a batboy for the NY Yankees and his single mom. Sure to appeal to advertisers looking for that 18-24 demographic.

NBC: No matter how bad “Joey” is, look for it to be a big hit. Those waspy friends need something to watch.

Dreamworks animation premieres a CGI animated series, “Father of the Pride”. I can’t tell if this is going to be adult satire or family fare. Look for a complete review of this show in the coming weeks.

“Medical Investigations” is NBC’s answer to CSI and could just appeal to the ambulance chasers in all of us. Heather Locklear, still looking beautiful, stars in “LAX” in what sounds like a soapy drama that takes place in an airport. Hot studly cops on the big island round out NBC’s fall lineup in “Hawaii”, another show I am predicting to make a quick exit.

The WB: Believe it or not, yes, this network is still on the air. Drew Carey revives his improv comedy show, this time in front of a green screen that will have animations behind the improv actors. “Jack and Bobby” is a drama about two brothers, one who is destined to be the president. Huh??? Rounding out the quano is “Commando Nanny”, ‘nuff said, and “The Mountain”, a soap drama that takes place on a mountain ski resort.

UPN hopes to revive the lame “Enterprise” with Brent Spiner returning to the show as Data’s creator, Dr. Soong.

I don’t know which show gets the most creative title award: “Lost”, “Hawaii”, “The Mountain” or “LAX”. So until next time, keep the cathode ray home fires burning.

Heinz Ketchup, Made in Mexico?
There is a disparaging anti-Kerry email being circulated, asserting that he is a hypocrite for wanting to create jobs in American because Heinz makes their products in Mexico and other countries.

OK, according to the official press release here are the facts, ma’am: The Heinz-Kerry family owns 4% stock in the company and has no controlling interest or say so in the day to day affairs of the company.

The Heinz ketchup bottle in my refrigerator as well as those on the grocery store shelves are made in USA. However, 60% of the company’s sales come from overseas markets. Of course it is not economically feasible to bottle ketchup in Des Moines and ship it to Sweden. If you own a bottle of ketchup (that wasn’t bought in Mexico) that says "made in Mexico", by all means let me know.

Just like the attack on Kerry’s military record, which I find deplorable, this is just another example of the lies, half-truths, and propaganda that will only be getting worse from the Bush camp until November. The Republican spinmeisters know that by slinging mud they can divert the American public’s attention away from the real debate of the issues.

And speaking of debates, I look forward to the Bush-Kerry debates, because unless George Bush is going to give a book report on “My Pet Goat” I feel a real debate of the issues will out the man for who he really is. Don’t be surprised if right before the debates a new terrorist plot is revealed and the debates have to be cancelled in the name of national security.

"Couch Potato Confessions" is ©2004 by Vinnie B.  Couch Potato main graphic by Vin Blesi and Nolan Canova.  Webpage design and all graphics herein (except where otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.