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Monday Notebook

By admin Published: July 27, 2009

The death of Alexis Cohen, showcased above, made the wires because she had a brief period of fame thanks to "American Idol."
Not as a great singer, of course, but as one of those raging bulls snorting and snarling after being rejected by the show. Such fits of temper remain memorable because they are so often delusional: the singer's high opinion of his/her self goes against what the judges and the TV audience actually hear. Cohen's self-importance was made even more evident because she seemed so generally unknowing; rejected as a singer, she declared she would go into "actressing."

But, as unremarkable as she was, I think her passing reminds us yet again of the current of cruelty running through "Idol." The show, after all, let her get to the judges not because she could sing but because they anticipated some kind of fireworks which they could repeat regularly when the rest of the show got dull. But, while performers like Cohen readily provide the show what it needs, the producers know that there's something off about a person who acts the way she did, and they exploit the behavior anyway. And sadists in the audience, like me, watch the spectacle.

Then Cohen ends up dead. And the spectacle's not as amusing. And the show has made sure that most people's memories of her are tinged with mockery.

A couple of other notes after the jump

Over the weekend, the bride and I watched a DVD of "He's Just Not That Into You," and what a soggy effort that is. Aside from a nice performance by Ginnifer Goodwin, almost everyone in the cast seemed to have gone glum. Probably from being stalled in the movie. While it has some decent ideas about men and women, it has no idea how to present them in an entertaining fashion. And these are not great times for rom coms, I would think, having recently endured "The Ugly Truth" and "The Proposal" as well.

Caught up with a Jeff Goldblum "Criminal Intent" last night, and I think he's fine in the role. But I also am increasingly thinking that a cardboard cutout could be fine as a detective on "CI." The show has become so formulaic -- right down to the "Perry Mason" like confrontation/confession endings -- that even if I enjoy getting to the end, it's not all that satisfying. I mean, last night had Dylan Baker, one of our best character actors, going head-to-head with Goldblum, and as much as each actor was doing to make their scenes work, it still felt flat.

But I've had some blahs lately over my regular viewing, which includes "The Closer," "Warehouse 13" and "Royal Pains." Each qualifies as reasonably entertaining, but none is as exhilarating as -- here it comes again -- "Torchwood: Children of Earth."

I blame myself to some extent for the lightness of my TV fare. A lot of evenings, I just don't want to work that hard. And I got behind on "Rescue Me" and have been letting episodes pile up without me going through them. And somehow I went through the entire weekend without checking out that "Mad Men" season 3 episode. Must. Do. Better.

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