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Friday, October 20, 2017

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Couch Potato: Television return in fine form


We are clearly entering a new era of television. The formerly striking writers have not only redefined their terms and proven to the world that they are a force to be reckoned with, they are exploring new media and tackling interesting new formats and themes.

NBC is unapologetic in its flirting with the enviable twenty-something demographic. The venerable network has gone so far as to venture into its domain and take its next big thing straight from the Internet, first with a program on MySpaceTV.com and quarterlife.com. Quarterlife is one part Friends (If it’s not broken, don’t fix it, right?) and one part, well, MySpace. Rather than feeling overly scripted and following suspiciously attractive characters, this new program manages to seem more hip, fresh and relevant – kind of the way Freaks and Geeks felt. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t meet the same fate.

Generally, and proudly, more grounded in reality, Quarterlife revolves around today’s young adult population and delves into its unique collective experiences. The series premiere airs at 9 p.m. Tuesday on NBC.

A-‘Live’ and kicking

After 12 excruciating weeks off, Saturday Night Live returned to the air this weekend. Normally this wouldn’t exactly constitute news, but the esteemed sketch show has decided to make a big "tada" of its return. Long-time producer Lorne Michaels committed to an ambitious four consecutive live episodes – something he has avoided since 1976.

To welcome back writers and viewers, Michaels decided something drastic was needed to recapture their interest and rekindle the flame. In the absence of new programming across the board, he knows the fans have scattered and the opportunity to win back old and new fans is here and now. "Our competition is not so much other television shows as it is Guitar Hero," Michaels told The New York Times.

After such a vacation, during which so much has occurred in the arenas of pop culture and politics, there is no doubt there will be no shortage of comedic gold. It’s a good thing, too, because quite frankly, the writers need the money just as much as the viewers need a good laugh.

Saturday marked the first gushing of pent-up creativity and it was certainly a sight for sore eyes. Tina Fey was tapped to host, although you might not know it with all the surprise guests. Steve Martin interrupted her monologue, encouraging her to embrace her performer within at the expense of the writer. Mike Huckabee joined, for entirely too long, Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers for a "Weekend Update" segment that may go down in the show’s history as one of the most memorable.

In a stunning return to form, SNL broke its habit of hit or miss; it seemed like every sketch was a bona fide gem. One that stood out, however, was the combination parody of There Will be Blood and The Food Network. I’ll let that sink in and allow you to imagine the possibilities. Anyone who has seen the Oscar favorite and TV’s most delicious network can probably guess what hilarity ensued.

All eyes on Texas

Lately, Texas has been reminded a lot of how awesome it is. It’s like all of our delegates are super. By scheduling our primaries so late in the game, we have set ourselves up to be something of a "decider" in this next election, in the words of Bill Clinton, who visited UH on Wednesday night.

All the candidates, Democrat and Republican alike, are fighting hard for every vote – especially the Hispanic vote. This is no secret. In fact, the CNN Democratic debate held in Austin last week was cosponsored by Univision and re-aired in Spanish to cater to these highly sought-after constituents.

Nice try, CNN. Now, it would actually be interesting if the candidates themselves could speak the language fluently and carry on a debate without the disorienting voice dubbing. Ay Carumba!

Don’t forget to vote.


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