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Wednesday Notebook (Expanded)

By admin Published: February 27, 2008

Of the presidential debate. "Moment of Truth," "Las Vegas," a field trip and other topics. ...

Good times this morning. I went down to North Canton Hoover High School to chat with student Joey Manuselis for a film project he was working with, and the dialogue with Joey and a couple of other students continued long after the cameras stopped. Always fun to talk to people who are excited and informed about something -- in this case, movies. So thanks for the invitation. And, in case you're checking here, the book I alluded to is Simon Winder's "The Man Who Saved Britain: A Personal Journey into the Disturbing World of James Bond."

I haven't said anything so far about Tuesday's presidential debate, mostly because I know whom I am voting for next week and my thoughts are tied up with whom I'm backing.

Well, most of my thoughts. I did want to say something about Clinton's reference to "Saturday Night Live," and not only because it was not the smoothest introduction of a pop-culture reference into a discussion. (Nowhere close, for instance, to Ronald Reagan's use of "Go ahead, make my day.") It was also a reference that was lost on a lot of people in the viewing audience who had not watched the "Saturday Night Live" sketch about reporters fawning over Obama in a televised debate. If you did miss it, here is a piece of it:

You can also use that to judge Fred Armisen's Obama. Beyond that, though, there's a point that was made by my colleague Julia Keller of the Chicago Tribune when we were chatting today. That is, when a notion (such as the media being unfair to Clinton), has become grist for "SNL," then it's accepted by the culture at large. And if that's the case, then Clinton didn't need to bring it up. People have already accepted it. So, I would argue, she miscalculated in bringing it up -- she was stating what was to many people obvious, and so seemed like a complainer when she did.

I've been behind on writing about Monday's "Moment of Truth" telecast, where a woman admitted to being unfaithful to her husband, as one step toward a big payday. Unfortunately for her, she later lost the money she had won, while still leaving her marriage in tatters. (Here's a New York Post story, which I found thanks to TV Tattle.)

I watched it late, because I was at a movie screening on Monday night. But I still watched, in part because I was convinced that Fox's ads for the show had done a Frankenbite, putting together a question and her answer to a different one. I was right about the promos. I also watched because I could not believe that someone would air that much dirty laundry in prime time.

In fact, the woman showed off even more dirty laundry than the promos implied, and I felt more than a little ashamed for watching. But the promo indicated a train wreck, and I couldn't help but tune in. And no amount of self-righteousness by the show -- with its warnings during the telecast that this was a serious relationship issue -- took away from the tawdriness of it. And still I watched.

I've already gotten e-mail from bereft "Las Vegas" fans organizing to either save the show or at least complete the two-part episode of which only the first part was made and aired. So there's a hunger for the show, although it's not my hunger, and here's a link to a TV Guide online story indicating where things now stand. Which isn't anywhere good right now.

And, via Romenesko, I saw this piece on the legendary Pittsburgh broadcaster Myron Cope. I knew him only as an extraordinarily irritating voice during Steelers games; to my bride's annoyance, I would occasionally lapse into a Cope impression that was even more bothersome than the real thing.

But the piece I linked to makes clear that he was far more than that voice. It's a variation on what happened with, oh, Phil Rizzuto or Herb Score, guys who had considerable accomplishments before they sat behind a microphone, only to -- however inadvertently -- create new images for themselves by what they did on the air.

And that brings to mind a story about the now-deceased William F. Buckley, but I'll save that for another post.

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