The Nexus of Pop-Culture Fandom

Weekly TV Roundup: South Park has Cancer, Cal Ripken is an Asshole and the Best Game Show on TV

Written by: Patrick Kelly, CC2K TV Editor


South Park Shits on Teacher's Desks, and Cancer

The Most Sexual Game Show Ever

Entertainment Tonight Confuses Me


Wednesday: “I’m very sorry I made fun of breast cancer and I’m very remorsefulness.”

In case you didn’t already know, South Park is still legit. It’s still funny (understatement). It envelops everything ridiculous, always settling in the kind of middle where it manages to lend equal time to both judgment and compassion (for the better of us all). And, best of all, it’s still brainy without being (too) preachy. However, South Park’s ability to show our absurd rationalities can’t compete with it’s ability to switch effortlessly from a show about the complexity of a very real social issue—- last week’s Cartmen v. China episode— to the simplicity of a 5th (does it really matter what grade they’re in?) grader’s problems—– this week’s Cartmen v. Wendy episode.Image

I’m not saying South Park is the troof, providing unflappable advice which we all should hold ear to. I’m just saying that creating legitimately good episodes (this year’s would hold up to last and so on) on two completely different levels is a very very hard and very commendable thing to do. Still possessing the power to follow up an episode where Cartman single-handedly creates a police stand-off because he thinks China will undoubtedly and immediately attack the country with an episode where he gets the shit beat of him by a girl at school and no one will own up to being friends with him, because he is a dick, and dicks in 5th grade shouldn’t have any friends after then twelve seasons is a thing that we should all be happy with. I mean— it’s been on for over a decade and it hasn’t got old (The Simpsons) and it hasn’t gotten lazy (The Simpsons).

Come to think of it, the only creators that adjust so quickly to different altitudes seems to be The Arcade Fire, who painted a version of childhood (Funeral) and the end of the world (Neon Bible) in a way that made each seem equally important.

Everyday: “Go Ahead and Grab Some Balls.”

You have five chances to guess a five-letter word. You are given the first letter of the word. As you guess incorrectly, letters that are in the correct position stay on the board (if the word is COUCH and you guess CATCH— C_ _ C H will appear on the board). If you guess the word correctly you get to participate in a mini-game of bingo—to get extra points. If you lose, the team you are competing against gets a chance to guess the word. The more words you guess correctly, the more points you get. At the end of the game, the team with the most points gets a chance to win $10,000. The host is Chuck Woolery. This is Lingo.

Now, Lingo seems like a simple, even childish, game (and it is), but it’s also much more than that. Lingo is unbelievably addicting. It’s on everyday, at 7, on the Game Show Network— which is perfect when you are addicted to a show. Every show is exactly the same: Frustratingly, the players, who have undoubtedly watched the show multiple times over the past 5 years, showcase a complete lack of both the understanding of the game and deductive reasoning. They spit in the face of Lingo watchers everywhere every time they make a ridiculous guess (maybe it’s the heat of the lamps and/or Woolery’s evil eye), but I still watch day after day. Why, you ask? For one reason and one reason only: The level of sexual tension/awkwardness on Lingo the highest anywhere on TV.Image

It’s real and it’s everywhere on the show and it is effing hilarious. The tension seems to emit from the producer’s request to “spice up the banter,” but it’s way too real for that. Show after show, the host, Woolery and word girl (?), Shandi Finnessey (Miss USA 2004), flirt and allude and joke and eyebrow-raise and hint and do everything short of grope right there in front of everyone. I’m not naïve, I know that Shandi has a boyfriend (at least early on) and Wollery probably has a couple and I know that this is part of the game show formula: Liven up a game people watch daily by bringing a little something extra. But that’s not what this is. This is full on lust. There are moments, buffers between commercial breaks and when gameplay starts, where there isn’t even enough time to use sexual innuendo and somehow, every time, one of them sneaks it in. Sometimes, and this is how I know it’s real, the contestants will even start to get a little flirty themselves These flirtations are not time wasters; they are legitimate. My suggestion: Watch one episode—it’s hilarious. If the game itself + flirting doesn’t hook you, I can’t help delay your boredom.

An Asshole

Cal Ripken is a dueschbag. He is like a snake, slithering through each facet of TV: through Major League Baseball pre-game, mid-game, post-game; through Holiday Inn commercials (hotels that don’t have anything to do with baseball or dueschbaggery!); through Comcast commercials (I never understood why Comcast advertises so much on Comcast, as does DirecTV on DirecTV. Sure it’s free, but why?). I’m pretty sure I heard he had a line or two on last week’s Two and a Half Men episode. Soon, he will have his own sitcom—-Then he will become Oprah.

Everyday: Does It Matter?

I accidentally changed the channel of off the DVR; somehow the TV landed on whatever channel ET is on. Because of that I now know this: ET celebrates celebrities’ birthdays. I’m not sure why they do this but, regardless, they sponsor their Birthday wishes with a relayed message from Capitol Onc asking: (the one I saw was Usher, who has sold over 25 million albums—-which equates to an inconceivable amount of money): “What’s in your wallet?” Is this supposed to be ironic? Or a legitimate inquisition? Is this just pure undressed laziness on the part of the ET’s “reporters”? Is it supposed to be clever? Or just simply, and innocently, a byproduct of Capitol One’s choice of audience (those who are least likely to pay off their credit cards, in full, on a monthly basis)?  Why the hell did they have that? I’m really, truly confused.

Tuesday: UniversalHD >TMC

Last Action Hero is constantly on Universal HD. That movie is awesome. And that channel is awesome.