Life in the Slow Lane

May 30, 2008

‘She’s Got the Look’ has familiar appearance

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 2:18 pm

Give the creative minds at the TV Land cable network credit for trying to cover new territory in creating original programming.

Even in doing so, though, the network has created a show with a feel that’s quite familiar.

“She’s Got the Look,” which premieres its six-episode run June 4, is a different type of competition. The model search is exclusively for women ages 35 and older, allowing those who thought their chance at stardom had passed another shot at the top.

The premiere episode, of which I obtained an advance copy, follows the standard reality opening of most competition series. A bunch of women parade themselves in front of the panel of judges, which includes Buffalo native Beverly Johnson, with them whittling the hundreds down to 20 semifinalists. Also included are your worn-out blooper sequences with women who can’t dance, or who don’t know how to pose, or who otherwise aren’t right for this show.

Many of those who try out are women who gave up their pursuit of a modeling career for family, love or another reason. It’s fun to see them get another chance, but at the same time it’s a bit depressing to see women who should have grown past this phase still base their self-worth on looks.

Nonetheless, it’s especially gratifying to see the judges OK 63-year-old Sharon, who looks at least 15 years younger (and tries to shave four years off her age when first asked). She was one of the 10 women who passed the semifinal round (a trial that consisted of a pro modeling shoot), making her the elder stateswoman among the finalists by more than a decade.

The clips of advance episode appear to offer little else that is new to reality fans. You’re in for your standard drama of cooping contestants into the same house, putting them in unfamiliar situations, etc.

The top prize – a modeling contract and a Self Magazine photo spread – is definitely worth the effort. Unfortunately, this series is not, which is too bad considering that the producers went out on such a limb with the concept.

“She’s Got the Look” might be worth a look if nothing else is on, but otherwise it’s probably best to look elsewhere.

IF YOU WATCH
• WHAT: “She’s Got the Look” model search reality show
• WHEN: 10 p.m. Wednesdays starting June 4
• CHANNEL: TV Land
• PAUL’S GRADE: C-

May 28, 2008

‘Password’ fun to watch, play along with

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 6:31 pm

Game show fans and those who enjoy a good time would be wise to check out “Million Dollar Password” when it debuts Sunday night on CBS. (visit niagara-gazette.com/nightanddday for the full story)

With Regis Philbin at the helm the show features contestants paired with celebrities as they try to guess a key word based on the other person’s one-word clues. After one round, the person with the most points advances to the bonus round and the chance at $1 million.

It nearly was impossible to avoid playing along with the advance version of the show sent to this office. You don’t really choose sides, but you find yourself offering clues when the contestants get stumped. The game is impossible to not have fun with.

The celebrities get into it, as well. Neil Patrick Harris visibly feels the ebbs and flows of the game with his partner, with Rachael Ray getting more excited with every clue.

The show will air six episodes over the summer, but if those involved are wise they’d pick the series up for a full run come the fall.

PAUL’S GRADE: A-

Handicapping ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 10:50 am

With Louross’ elimination on Tuesday night’s edition of “Hell’s Kitchen,” the reality cooking series is down to the fnial six. Here’s one look at how things might turn out.

Matt: Not sure how this goofball is still hanging around, but he will likely be one of the next two people to go. He is clearly a cut or two below the show’s best, with his non-stop complaining and inability to work with others.

Jen: If Matt doesn’t leave first, she will. She has alienated players on both teams with her bossy attitude, me-first ways and how she’s quick to pass blame but not accept it. She’s the prototypical reality show bad guy.

Bobby: Niagara Falls’ own “Black Gordon Ramsay” has impressed Ramsay andNiagara Falls native Bobby Anderson appears to be one of the favorites to win \"Hell\'s Kitchen.\" fellow players with his quickness and aptitude in the kitchen. After having faced elimination early on, he’s now called by his peers perhaps the strongest competitor on the show. Currently working as an executive chef at Wegmans, it would not be surprising to see him end up with the grand prize of an executive chef job at Ramsay’s new Los Angeles restaurant.

Corey: Perhaps the stiffest competition for Bobby at this point. She’s taken control of every kitchen she’s been in and done a good job almost every time. She clearly knows what she’s doing.

Petrozza: Worthy of an appearance in the final four, but not likely to be included in the final two. He’s competent but still makes too many mistakes to be relied upon. He’s good, but not quite good enough.

Christina: Not a bad cook, but much too dependent upon her alliance with Corey to make it on her own once the teams are disbanded and every player is for himself. Likely to be the first of the final four to crack unless she can grow a bit more backbone.

“Hell’s Kitchen” airs at 9 p.m. Tuesdays on Fox.

May 22, 2008

‘Idol’ voters are cookin’

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 10:12 am

Thank God that the voters of “American Idol” had the wisdom to choose David Cook ovDavid Cook is the newest winner of \er the snot-nosed David Archuleta.

My wife and I were shocked — SHOCKED — upon hearing the news Wednesday night that rocker Cook beat out overachieving Archuleta by some 12 million votes. Both have vocal talent, but Cook is better and he’s clearly not out to please anybody.

It remains to be seen what an “Idol” victory will do to a rock musician’s credibility; remember that success story Chris Daughtry benefited from not winning the competition a few years ago. He clearly has the talent and appeal, though, to make waves in the music industry.

Local fans looking for their first glimpse of the new idol will have to trek to Toronto on July 26 or Rochester on July 27, as the Idols Live Tour once again is skipping Buffalo. I’m not positive, but I don’t think the tour’s visited Western New York since John Stevens of Williamsville was a finalist. What gives? The tour even visited Syracuse — in the OnCenter, not the much larger Carrier Dome — a few years ago while bypassing Buffalo.

May 21, 2008

Fall prime time lineup

Filed under: Uncategorized — pauljlane @ 4:20 pm

Following are the fall primetime lineups for the four major networks. For a full analysis of the new season, visit niagara-gazette.com/nightandday\.
• ABC
Monday
8 p.m. — “Dancing with the Stars”
9:30 p.m. — “Samantha Who?”
10 p.m. — “Boston Legal”
Tuesday
8 p.m. — “Opportunity Knocks” (new show)
9 p.m. — “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show”
10 p.m. — “Eli Stone”
Wednesday
8 p.m. — “Pushing Daisies”
9 p.m. — “Private Practice”
10 p.m. — “Dirty Sexy Money”
Thursday
8 p.m. — “Ugly Betty”
9 p.m. — “Grey’s Anatomy”
10 p.m. — “Life on Mars” (new show)
Friday
8 p.m. — “Wife Swap”
9 p.m. — “Supernanny”
10 p.m. — “20/20”
Saturday
8 p.m. — “Saturday Night College Football”
Sunday
7 p.m. — “America’s Funniest Home Videos”
8 p.m. — “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”
9 p.m. — “Desperate Housewives”
10 p.m. — “Brothers & Sisters”

• CBS
Monday
8 p.m. — “The Big Bang Theory”
8:30 p.m. — “How I Met Your Mother”
9 p.m. — “Two and a Half Men”
9:30 p.m. — “Worst Week” (new show)
10 p.m. — “CSI: Miami”
Tuesday
8 p.m. — “NCIS”
9 p.m. — “The Mentalist” (new show)
10 p.m. — “Without a Trace”
Wednesday
8 p.m. — “The New Adventures of Old Christine”
8:30 p.m. — “Project Gary” (new show)
9 p.m. — “Criminal Minds”
10 p.m. — “CSI: NY”
Thursday
8 p.m. — “Survivor”
9 p.m. — “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
10 p.m. — “Eleventh Hour” (new show)
Friday
8 p.m. — “Ghost Whisperer”
9 p.m. — “The Ex List” (new show)
10 p.m. — “Numb3rs”
Saturday
8 p.m. — “Crimetime Saturday”
10 p.m. — “48 Hours Mystery”
Sunday
7 p.m. — “60 Minutes”
8 p.m. — “The Amazing Race”
9 p.m. — “Cold Case”
10 p.m. — “The Unit”

• Fox
Monday
8 p.m. — “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles”
9 p.m. — “Prison Break”
Tuesday
8 p.m. — “House”
9 p.m. — “Fringe” (new show)
Wednesday
8 p.m. — “Bones”
9 p.m. — “’Til Death”
9:30 p.m. — “Do Not Disturb” (new show)
Thursday
8 p.m. — “The Moment of Truth”
9 p.m. — “Kitchen Nightmares”
Friday
8 p.m. — “Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader?”
9 p.m. — “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”
Saturday
8 p.m. — “COPS”
8:30 p.m. — “COPS”
9 p.m. — “America’s Most Wanted: America Fights Back”
Sunday
7 p.m. — “The OT” (NFL Post-Game)
8 p.m. — “The Simpsons”
8:30 p.m. — “King of the Hill”
9 p.m. — “Family Guy”
9:30 p.m. — “American Dad”

• NBC
Monday
8 p.m. — “Chuck”
9 p.m. — “Heroes”
10 p.m. — “My Own Worst Enemy” (new show)
Tuesday
8 p.m. — “The Biggest Loser: Families”
9:30 p.m. — “Kath & Kim” (new show)
10-11 p.m. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
Wednesday
8 p.m. — “Knight Rider” (new show)
9 p.m. — “Deal or No Deal”
10 p.m. — “Lipstick Jungle”
Thursday
8 p.m. — “My Name Is Earl”
8:30 p.m. — “30 Rock”
9 p.m. — “The Office”
9:30 p.m. — “The Office”/ “SNL Thursday Night Live” (new show)
10 p.m. — “ER”
Friday
8 p.m. — “Crusoe” (new show)
9 p.m. — “Deal or No Deal”
10 p.m. — “Life”
Saturday
8 p.m. — “Dateline NBC”
9 p.m. — “Knight Rider” (encores)
10 p.m. — “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (encores)
Sunday
7 p.m. — “Football Night in America”
8 p.m. — “NBC Sunday Night Football”

May 20, 2008

Mencia should stick to stand-up

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 3:15 pm

I just got done reviewing the season four premiere of Comedy Central’s “Mind of Mencia” (visit http://niagara-gazette.com/nightandday for the full story as of Wednesday morning).

I’m not sure whether he’s trying to be Dave Chappelle or if no one else is inputting creatively, but the show is not that funny.

That’s not to say that he isn’t funny. His stand-up is quite good at combining humor with a real message. but the sketches too often just go for the cheap joke as opposed to taking the stances his stand-up does.

Of course, his show’s entering its fourth season, so something must be going right. But the show could be much better.

Incidentally, someone should try to get Mencia to visit the region this year. he’s embarking on a 40-plus city stand-up tour that hitting Rochester and Albany but not Western New York. Seneca Niagara Casino, at the Carlos Mencia returns to television with the fourth season of \very least, could accommodate him.

May 19, 2008

Darien Lake disappoints

Filed under: Entertainment — pauljlane @ 9:47 am

I went to Darien Lake Theme Park last week to catch the opening of the Orange County Choppers MotoCoaster; video can be found here: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/nightandday/gnnnightandday_story_137171911.html

While the ride looks great (although at 39 seconds it’s over fast), the event was not that great. First, Mikey and Paul Jr. from “American Chopper” were 50 minutes late for the grand opening.

Since it’s their party, they can do that, but park officials then completely failed to organize the event. No announcements were made as to their status, then when the guests at the event were told to get in line to ride the coaster, there was no one guiding people, so everyone just sorta stood around for a while (I was on deadline and couldn’t afford to wait for someone to get a clue, so I left).

One notable sighting at the event was Shayna Raichilson-Zadok, the Buffalo resident who recently was eliminated from “Hell’s Kitchen.” She was there to drum up business for her new catering company, the Steel Crazy Cafe at 191 Allen St. (write to bohemianhostess@yahoo.com for more information). Give her credit for doing what she can to make a success out of her cooking dreams (her infant child is beautiful, as well)

May 14, 2008

‘Wedding Dash’ is simplistic fun

Filed under: Games — pauljlane @ 11:36 am

If you’ve ever dreamed of being a wedding planner, your ideal game has arrived.

Brighter Minds Media LLC recently released ‘Wedding Dash” for play on Windows and Mac platforms. The game follows a wanna-be wedding planner who gets roped into planning a friend’s nuptials. A good performance there leads to more jobs, which end up taking up the character’s entire summer.

The game is dumbed down a bit, as the first part of the wedding is planning the meal, flowers and honeymoon (you convert the orders “The bride loves seafood” into a shrimp scampi appetizer, for example).

Once the plans are done, you take the lead at the reception, where it’s your job to seat guests, deliver their presents, feed them and get them on the dance floor. The game play – complemented by simplistic graphics – basically amounts to a bunch of point-and-clicking, but it’s not without its charm. Lighter moments include breaking up bridesmaid fights before the bride gets upset and extinguishing kitchen fires.

The commentary from the happy couple (The groom blurts out at one point, “She’s doing a great job planning our wedding, I’m going to remember her for my next one”) are amusing, but you’re too busy dragging guests to tables and doling out asparagus tips to read them sometimes.

Career mode sees your character take on tougher weddings with bigger menus, guest lists and tables. As you progress, you earn power-ups such as a faster cook or bigger serving table, but additional challenges also crop up, such as an aunt whose uncontrollable crying threatens to sour the mood.

“Wedding Dash” is not for serious gamers, but it fills a niche for the type of people who prefer faux-life games such as “The Sims.”

For more information, visit brightermindsmedia.com

PAUL’S GRADE:\ B

May 13, 2008

How the networks covered the standoff

Filed under: Television — pauljlane @ 10:02 am

Most people watched with great interest the I-190 standoff Monday night in Buffalo. All three major networks covered the three-hour standoff, which ended with no one getting hurt. Here are some thought on how the networks – which on the local level have limited experience with extended, uninterrupted coverage – handled the showdown.

The story can be seen here: http://www.niagara-gazette.com/local/local_story_133234759.html

All three networks – If you claim something is live, it should be LIVE. A 20-second delay, seven-second delay or any delay is NOT LIVE. Having a delay is fine, just don’t use the word “live” anywhere in your coverage.

Channel 2 (WGRZ) – The worst of the three. For about a half-hour, they had no live camera shot, instead reairing previously shot footage while a reporter spoke over the phone to the studio team. When they finally got a live shot – presumably the delay was because police cut off cameramen shooting from off the thruway near the shoreline – it was so far away that the footage was nearly useless. Multiple technical errors were also experienced, as multiple interviews were disconnected before they began.

Channel 4 (WIVB) – Had an eyewitness interview of someone who saw the truck in Niagara County, which was good, but the interviewers clearly didn’t know how to handle it. They repeated questions up to five times, also reasking things that the witness had volunteered seconds earlier. Their delay was several minutes, which just makes them look silly.

Channel 7 (WKBW) – The first network to offer the camera shot from the shoreline, which allowed viewers to see the gunman pacing, agitated on the phone with the gun in his hand. They were the last network to deduce that the couple was from out of town, and their trademark technical glitches were noticeable throughout, such as a graphic that was not updated at the standoff’s conclusion. Did the best job of trying to offer new information, but the two reporters on the scene spent too much time competing for air time.

May 12, 2008

So very, very tired

Filed under: Parenting — pauljlane @ 2:40 pm

My wife and I are coming off a fairly exhausting weekend. First of all, Mother’s Day kept us busy for pretty much every minute (Nicole’s first, which was quite exciting). Then little Penny refused to sleep in her crib for more than an hour, leading us to take turns holding her in the rocker while trying to sleep a couple hours.

Most of Penny’s first 9+ months were spent with her spending her nights in her crib. Only within the past couple weeks has she started this new phase of not wanting to bunk there.

She’ll sleep for a little while before she cries for you. A march up the stairs leads one of us to find her – on her feet, hands on the top of the railing, peeking around the corner in anticipation of one of us rescuing her. The waterworks turn off almost immediately when she’s picked up, and she often falls to sleep by the time we’re halfway down the stairs.

Try to put her back, though, and she pops up faster than a jack-in-the-box.

Hopefully this phase quickly passes. I love cuddling with her and I know Nicole does as well, but the chair doesn’t stay comfortable all night and Penny is a bit of a writher, like myself.

There is one benefit that can’t be beat, though. She usually pops up about 7 a.m., fully awake, grins from ear to ear to ear and hugs you, as if to say, “Thanks for being there.” After that, how bad can you really feel?

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