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Monday Morning Notebook

By admin Published: March 17, 2008

Busy weekend with only a little TV, but some comments on "SNL," "Reaper," "The Bachelor" and the local digital-cable overhaul, after the jump ...

Today the bride and I mark our fourth wedding anniversary, and a fine marriage it is. We celebrated with an overnight getaway on Friday night. A somewhat challenging getaway, as it turned out. For one thing, it was a dreary, wet, foggy night. And we had actually made reservations for Saturday, but somehow got Friday in our heads and so showed up a day early. Were able to get a room, though. Then, by the time we went out to dinner, it was pretty late for a Friday and every restaurant we stopped by was packed. Since the University of Akron was playing in the MAC semifinals, we decided to get takeout from Swenson's, go back to the room and watch the game on TV. The Swenson's part went as planned, but the hotel TV system didn't have the game. We ended up listening on the radio instead. And still, on balance, had a nice little batch of time together.

Saturday was house-cleaning day, and Sunday involved a couple of small but long-delayed projects, such as rehanging some pictures that had been taken down during a room rearrangement. But we managed to watch Akron in the MAC finals. (They lost, reprising some playing flaws we had seen in earlier games, but at least managed to get an NIT berth.)

Also on the TV side, I am not pleased with the way Time Warner is overhauling its channels lineup. At least where I live, the process is quite gradual -- a channel here, a channel there -- and so far consists of dropping channels and then making people wait for replacements, if any is coming. For instance, TWC has moved GAC out of the analog tier but has yet to put TV One on in its place. The HD version of Showtime West is gone for good, but Starz HD has not appeared yet. (Nor have the other promised new HD channels.) HBO West's HD feed is also gone, although that's supposed to be temporary.

This all strikes me as really stupid tactically. If you're trying to minimize the irritation that channel changing causes, you should at least have replacements up and running when you peel things out. Instead, I see channels dropped and wonder if TWC is trying to save a few bucks by cutting things out and then delaying the replacement. And it's annoying to have to keep track of a few little changes when I know that I'm going to have to relearn a lot more once the massive overhaul takes place.

As for things I cold watch, I recorded "Saturday Night Live" -- Jonah Hill hosting, Mariah Carey the musical guest, a late replacement for an ailing Janet Jackson -- and watched it piecemeal on Sunday. Hill makes me laugh, and he did that more than once on the show, notably in "What's Youu Situation?" and as an abrasive 6-year-old dining out with his father. But neither of those sketches had a good ending, and the show overall was flat. A couple of good gags in "Weekend Update" but nothing that I was dying to replay. And Carey's vocals looked, to me at least, as if they had been prerecorded.

Finally caught up with Thursday's telecast of "Reaper" on Sunday. Was glad to have the show back. It's uneven, especially considering its promising premiere, but I have found enough good in it to keep coming back. (Ray Wise alone is worth the hour.) And the romance with the devil's daughter still has possibilities. But I wasn't knocked out by the episode -- and I have never been a Jamie Kennedy fan, although he was relatively subdued here.

Watched a preview of tonight's "The Bachelor" and have to say that the bachelorettes seem to include more extreme cases every go-round. Has someone at ABC decided that, oh, "Flavor of Love" has changed the rules on courtship shows? When one bachelorette stuffs her underwear into the bachelor's pocket on tonight's show, it was definitely a step beyond the arm-wrestling and singing.

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