Critic's NotesABC stays light on its reality feet
By Rick Kushman, Sacramento Bee
- March 12, 2009
See, this is why you have to love reality TV, as long as you don't take the terms "reality" or "TV" too seriously. Think of it more as slapstick.
By now, you've probably heard about the double- switcheroo on ABC's "The Bachelor," in which the guy, Jason Mesnick, rejected Molly Malaney and proposed to Melissa Rycroft, then dumped Rycroft – after the game ended but still on TV – and rehooked up with Malaney.
Fans and other people with piles of free time have advanced a conspiracy theory that producers choreographed the change-of-heart, and, oh, poor Rycroft, she lost her man.
OK, now seriously. She went on "The Bachelor." After that, any theoretical connection to real life, or sympathy, is heaved. In short, you jump in the pool with piranhas, you gotta expect some fish with teeth. Or something like that.
But it gets even more fun. ABC put Rycroft on "Dancing with the Stars" this week, as one of the off-the-bench replacements for the injured Jewel and Nancy O'Dell. Turns out, Rycroft was pretty good.
Now, and this is so great, there are conspiracy theories flying around that ABC choreographed this one too – technically, I guess, it choreographed the choreography – and had her secretly training because the network knew she'd get dumped and wanted to use her notoriety.
With just a half-step back, you have to ask: Is there any possible way any of this matters? Of course it doesn't, just like it doesn't matter who wins that cheesy disco ball trophy at the end of "Dancing." But if you're caught up in the absurdity, it's entertaining and distracting, and, frankly, we can all use a little of that right now.
And if reality TV isn't your thing, that's cool. But you are missing some good dopiness.Clooney or not?
For this next one, consider the source, which is, uh, me. The rumors continue to get flamed by NBC – which won't say anything on the record – that George Clooney will show up on tonight's "ER" (at 10 on Channel 3) to reignite one of TV's best couples ever with Julianna Margulies.
"ER" is doing its farewell tour as it heads for an April 2 series finale, and has already brought back Anthony Edwards for an episode and has a story running with Noah Wylie (Dr. Carter). Officially, the network lists Eriq La Salle (Dr. Benton) and Margulies as guest stars tonight, but it hints and winks that Clooney might appear. Plus Margulies has told reporters it was fun working with Clooney again.
No one knows why NBC doesn't just announce it straight up. The series would get way more PR from doing that, and now, if Clooney doesn't show tonight, lots of fans are going to feel cheated.
In case you've forgotten, the series "ER" premiered in the early 13th century, not long, I think, after King John of England signed the Magna Carta. Clooney's Dr. Ross was last on the show in 2000 in one final, satisfyingly romantic scene with true-love nurse Carol Hathaway (Margulies). "ER" continued on, however, until it got to where it is today, when nobody knows the names of any of the characters.Eye on NBC's 'King'
On an entirely different front, NBC takes a grand shot at a big, sprawling new series Sunday with "Kings" (at 8 p.m. on Channel 3), and it certainly earns points for trying.
It's billed as a contemporary retelling of the David-and-Goliath tale, but it's more a mix of adventure, myth and soap, and the most stilted piece of it is the attempt to work in the whole David-Goliath thing.
It's set in a fictional, modern world and in a city that looks like a fancy kind of New York. Ian McShane is the king of this fictional country that is at war with another fictional country.
Then a soldier named David (Chris Egan) saves the King's son in battle by facing down a tank nicknamed Goliath. (See? That part is unnecessary.) David is proclaimed a hero and is rewarded with the metaphorical keys to the kingdom, not to mention the king's daughter, though the king isn't particularly thrilled about that. In any case, David gets himself entwined in the king's family and ambitions, and complications ensue.
Truthfully, I'm underselling the series. It is a large-scale fantasy and the world it creates is easy to buy into. McShane, as always, can be mesmerizing. But there's a stiffness to it, a sense it's taking itself too seriously, that also makes it more work to watch than it should be.http://www.sacbee.com/kushman/story/1691567.html