Ivan's Blog

Featuring Ivan Trembow's Self-Important, Random Rants on Mixed Martial Arts, Video Games, Pro Wrestling, Television, Politics, Sports, and High-Quality Wool Socks

Thursday, September 26, 2002
Television--- I have been pleasantly surprised by this year's TV season at this early stage of the game. The Mind of the Married Man on HBO has been drastically improved over last year's already good season, to the point that it will be one of the best comedies on TV if it keeps improving at this rate. King of Queens got off to a typically funny start on CBS for a show that never fails to come up with good new ideas, and the same can be said for My Wife & Kids over on ABC. The Drew Carey Show also seems to be getting back on the right track creatively in its new timeslot, but sadly with its ratings lower than ever, it's simply not going to be around for too many more months before ABC pulls the plug, unless ratings go up drastically.

Even the season premiere of In-Laws on NBC, which honestly looked like crap in most of the commercials, was surprisingly funny in my opinion. I was also pleasantly surprised by the humor of another one of NBC's new comedies, Hidden Hills. However, I'm still not getting my hopes up about either series because lots of shows start out funny in their first few episodes, where a lot of the best material normally goes in an effort to grab people's attention early on. The question is whether or not these two shows are going to stay this funny all season long, or whether they will noticeably drop off in quality sometime soon. Also, In-Laws' ratings were good for the premiere, but not great. Given that new shows typically see their ratings go down steadily as the norm rather than the exception, and given the fact that NBC has been far too quick to pull the plug on far too many comedies over the years, In-Laws could be on the cancellation block if the ratings go down

The most disgusting show of the week has to be Fox's "Celebrity Daredevils Live!" which aired on Tuesday night. In fact, only the final stunt was live, while the first two were pre-recorded (although that didn't stop the host from repeatedly saying that any of the stars could easily be killed during the stunts). The most tasteless moment of all was the "Dennis Rodman driving a car off a cliff" segment. If everyone in the world were an idiot like the producers of this special apparently believe, here is what they would see on their televisions. Dennis Rodman is driving a car towards the edge of a cliff. Dennis Rodman's car falls off the cliff and a parachute propels him upward. Dennis Rodman is hanging from the parachute celebrating when, oh no, Dennis Rodman bumps into the side of the cliff at a high speed. Now Dennis Rodman's body is just hanging there lifelessly, and he's probably dead. Is he dead? You'll just have to wait until after the commercial break to find out. Whew! He's okay and not dead after all!

In fact, this is what actually happened, complete with stuntmen and post-production editing. Dennis Rodman drove a car towards the edge of a cliff. Just as he gets near the edge, the Fox logo covers the entire screen for a split second that a lot of people will never think twice about. A stuntman is in the car as it falls off the cliff with no clear shot of his face, and a parachute propels the stuntman upward. They cut to a shot of the real Dennis Rodman hanging from a parachute celebrating. Again, the shot seamlessly switches to a stuntman, who is rammed up against the side of the cliff pretty softly, and with no clear shot of his face. They cut to a shot of a dummy hanging lifelessly from a wire so that it looks as if Dennis Rodman is dead. They cut to commercial to keep people tuned in. They return from commercial, and surprise! He's not dead after all! Man, that was a close one!

It's one thing to set up an entire show around the premise of, "You might see a celebrity die on TV tonight if you watch the whole hour!" That's wrong and it's bad enough as it is. But to actually edit and manipulate the Rodman segment the way they did, to artificially set up a so-called "accident during the stunt," to specifically do their best to make you think Dennis Rodman is dead, and to cut to commercial like it's not all pre-taped, all of that takes it to a new level. That's fraudulent, and it's sick. Everyone associated with the special should be ashamed of themselves, as should the executives who gave it the greenlight to air knowing full well what the producers planned to do during the Rodman segment.

I'm glad that the special only got a pathetic 3.6 in the overall ratings and only a 3.3 rating in the coveted 18-to-49-year-old demographic. Hopefully this will serve as a wake-up to call Fox that people don't want to see crap like this anymore, and it should also alert them to the fact that people aren't stupid. They know a fraud when they see one, and a fraud is exactly what "Celebrity Daredevils Live" was.