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Wednesday Morning Notebook: "Rescue Me," "Wipeout," Odds and Ends

By admin Published: June 25, 2008

On the way to work this morning, I was thinking about Mose Allison. ...

I first learned of him from Richard Farina's novel "Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up To Me" when I read it in high school. Not long after I bought "Mose Alive," still a transcendent record. Here's a taste of Mr. Allison:

Also on my mind, because I was playing it in the car, Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart." A clip follows. I may have posted it before, but what the hey. Warning: Risk of song sticking in head.

Caught the first "Rescue Me" minisode this morning. (I had recorded it because last night I was at a screening of "WALL-E." Don't those Pixar folks get tired of being so doggone brilliant?) Amusing enough little bit, and I'll be happy to see more. Considering the way "RM" has gone with full-length episodes of late, this may be a better format for it.

When I first saw an ad for "Wipeout," I thought "This is stupid. I should watch." So I did. It is indeed stupid, but it's also funny in a Road Runner-Coyote/"America's Funniest Videos" kind of way. I'm sorry, but when someone smacks spectacularly into a wall, or falls off a giant rubber ball into water, my funnybone is going to react.

Also, you have John Henson offering the perfect parody of a silly-game co-host while actually working as a co-host. ESPN's John Anderson, the marginally more serious co-host, every now and then looked at Henson as if he was thinking, "Hey, is this guy making fun of me?"

The problem is that there is actually a game in "Wipeout." For about half the show, the game doesn't get in the way of people crashing and falling; the editing doesn't even bother to include all the competition. But in the big finale, the show changes tone, seeming to care at least briefly about choosing a winner. Also, the final obstacle course isn't as ridiculous as what has gone before. If I watch again (because sometimes you just need stupid TV), I'll probably drop out at midpoint.

But "Wipeout" and the recent burst of greatest-movies-etc. lists (see Dan Fienberg for some excellent rants) did have me thinking about a list that deserves consideration, probably in a separate post. It would be "Great Stupid Movies We Can't Help Liking." This is a different category from the old roundups of "Bad Movies We Love," where the movie's awfulness was part of the reason people watched. I am thinking more of movies that we love irrationally; we know they are bad but we ignore that because well, there's just something in the movie that makes us overlook that. I may start compiling my list soon. ...

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