Friday, February 11, 2005


The West Wing, Bravo

Big Block of Cheese day in the West Wing. Great name, great idea, hope it happens more frequently in real life. The story is that Andrew Jackson left a huge block of cheese in the White House and invited the people to partake of it. So, once a year, the West Wing staff goes out and listens to the public say whatever they want.

The historic anecdote is real. The gift was given in 1835 and Jackson let it age for two years, then invited the public to the White House. Allegedly, the cheese was gone in two hours, but the stain and odor lasted.

It’s hard not to like The Wing. The characters are smart, thoughtful, funny, and grapple with complex issues that have no certain answers.

Don’t know if it’s based on reality or on imagination, but one of the striking things of the show is how most of the sets are dark and cramped, but President Bartlett’s office is lighter and almost airy. Metaphor?

Monster Garage, Discovery

Has the narrator tired of his own voice? What about his family and friends? I tire of the guy’s faux-extreme-riff on standard voice overs less than 15 minutes into the show. Just think of twenty-something guy trying to channel his “radical” days as a lame-ass skate punk who spent time hanging around the shopping center watching his buddies do tricks. Why should he do anything when he can say “Raaaadddicallll!” like few others. I guess his friends are happy he got a job.

Moderately weak premise for a show: build something one-off. Sometimes, it can be interesting, but this time, it was build a four-wheel drive woody (wood paneled station wagon) one can drive to the roughest beach with surfboard in the back in high Monster Garage style. It’s gotta be loud, it’s gotta have chrome, it’s gotta have outrageous style. Yeaaaaahhhhhhh!

I’m sure you cared. At least surf guitar legend Dick Dale showed up to waste a few screen seconds jamming with his 10 year-old son. There was little fighting and a fair amount of engine info, but you can never really see much. Watch guys ripping an old car to pieces, watch guys weld. Watch them smile in appreciation. Yeaaaaahhhhhhh! That's the way it's done, Monster Style!


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