Posts Tagged ‘Television’

“Drama” Idol

So, two days down…two more to go before we have the final 24 American Idol singers for season nine.

I believe that there are some real talented people on the show this year. I was really impressed with some, and very surprised at others who I thought were not very good, yet were allowed through to the next round. It makes me wonder, “Did I hear something different than the judges did?”

And the group sessions were your typical drama-filled chaotic mess. But I have to say that I really have had a major complaint with the producers of the show every single year, and this year is no exception.

During the auditions, I can accept all the dramas and train wrecks that get their 5 minutes of fame on t.v. You really have to expect that. But at this point, you have 181 people that you have brought all the way to Hollywood, so they are supposed to be the best of over 100,000 people who auditioned, right? So why can’t we spend more time actually hearing them perform!

Look, I know I’m not a television producer, but does anyone else feel this way? If they want us to start feeling some sort of loyalty towards any of these kids, they need to stop showing us how stressed out they all are at trying to learn to dance and sing harmonies in a group, while at the same time trying to remain a focused singular talent.

Perhaps that formula still works, I don’t know. But I still think the show would be better if we could see more performance and less drama…and while they’re at it…show us a little more of the “behind the scenes” with the vocal coaches and the accompanists. I think those would be much more interesting.

But what do I know…


What defines “safety”?

As you know by now, I work for a major airline, and I have done so for over 13 years.

While I have enjoyed my career there, I have felt an “undertow” of change in the industry that has become increasingly disturbing to me and many like myself who take pride in what we do and truly do have concern for the traveling public.

As an airline employee, I am a SAFETY PROFESSIONAL first and foremost.  And I take that duty very seriously.  I know that 99.9% of the people I work with also take that duty with an almost religious fervor that is tough to find in any other industry except maybe the medical profession.  We are responsible for millions of lives everyday–and all we are trying to do is to get the public from Point A to B in a safe, comfortable condition.

The recent focus on airline safety is not only disturbing to the general public.  We, as the airlines FRONT LINE employees are truly concerned at how the “suits” at the top of the ivory tower have whittled away our ability to always have that focus as our number one priority, and it seems that more and more “whistleblowers” are stepping forward to try to put a dent in the public’s perception that those who manage the airlines truly have the public’s safety in their sites.

While the major carriers can boast about on-time arrivals and safety being #1, a large dark shadow has increasingly loomed behind them that they tend to turn a blind eye to: the regional carriers that masquerade as being part of that major carrier, but in reality is run but a smaller, separate company that may not have the same integrity or motivation as the majors do.  And all because the regional carriers are making huge money at the expense of it’s own employees.

Don’t get me wrong.  The airlines WANT you to believe that airline employees make BIG money.  That myth has to end!  What job do YOU know of that requires you to work (on average) 12-16 hour days, with as little as 8 hours of rest in-between, and of all that time you are on duty, you are only paid for 30-40% of it?  Most pilots and flight attendants are only actually paid for the actual flight time (that is, from the moment the brakes are released at departure to the time they are set at arrival).  All that time before flights (including during boarding, where we are actually interacting with AND serving passengers), in-between flight segments waiting for aircraft, including time waiting for mechanical issues to be resolved, as well as the time we spend away from home, waiting for hotel vans to and from the airport while away from home — NONE of that is PAID time!

The airlines will argue that pilots and flight attendants really ARE paid during all that time (via a “per diem” stipend) but that usually amounts to $0.90-$2.50/hour when away from our home-base but that is strictly dependent on each workgroups’ Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA), and since most of these airlines have recently had the ability to have these CBA’s altered due to bankruptcy or near-bankruptcy threats, most airline employees have either had NO cost of living increases (COLA) in years, or have actually LOST income over time.  At my own airline, we are currently paid at 1991 pay levels…that’s almost 20 year-old wages without an increase (and soical security beneficiaries have gotten routine COLAs 15 times since 1991!).

PBS’s Frontline series is airing a special investigation program on this ever-increasing problem.  I have posted a preview of this program here for you to view.  Tell me what you think and please feel free to respond to my poll below…

Please go to: FRONTLINE

All hail…Conan…the Conqueror?

Sadly, it’s the end of an era in late night television in the United States…at least it is for me (I can’t speak for the rest of America tonight).

I still remember my curiosity the night I first watched this “so-called” replacement of David Letterman, who left the NBC network when he was passed over for the “Tonight Show” gig for stand-up comic Jay Leno. Conan O’Brien?? Who the…what the…huh? I can still remember Conan’s first shows and how uncomfortable he seemed, but he usually ran with it, no matter how bad things seemed. By the end of the first year, I was hooked.

Over time, his signature bits (“In the Year 2000,” “Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog” among others) always made me laugh, and made it worth waiting up for. Although his humor was pretty much lost on my parents, to me, he was fresh, original and it always made me wonder what he was going to do next.

So as I sit here watching his final “Tonight Show” performance, I feel like something is really over. Although Leno makes me laugh, his kind of humor is more “yuck, yuck, yuck” and not the true “belly laugh” humor that I tended to get from Conan’s sophomoric slapstick and self-deprecating barbs (I think my sister Susan would agree!).

So I wanted to just take a few paragraphs in my personal blog tonight to say “Thanks, Conan, for making me laugh, for putting a smile on my face pretty much every night and congratulations for sticking it to NBC!”

I’m looking forward to his next project when he’s finally allowed to take off his legal collar and start up the REAL “Tonight Show” in the fall.

Do you speek “Gleek”?

Over the past few years, I have only gotten just a little bit excited about very few television shows. Most of my current TiVo regulars are guilty pleasures comprising (mostly) of reality TV: Project Runway, Biggest Loser, So You Think You Can Dance, America’s Got Talent, American Idol and most recently, Bravo-TV’s Tabitha’s Salon Takeover. Of the mainstream episodic genre, very little has piqued my interest since Friends and Will & Grace left the small screen. Some of the hopeful shows that I showed interest in have sort of vanished, like Flash Forward, V, and The Vampire Diaries.

Since I don’t subscribe to Premium Networks, I usually have to view shows like The Tudors, True Blood and Dexter through Netflix or borrow a friend’s copy. And about the only other show I watch with any regularity is Family Guy (“something…something…something…Dark Side!”).

Enter Glee.

The cast of Glee as 'New Directions'

This show, unlike so many others, grabbed my attention the first time I saw a teaser trailer for it during 2009’s American Idol contest. Then Fox pulled a genius move! They screened the pilot episode immediately after the AI finale. I was drawn in, thinking this would be a new breakout show to help ease the pain of the dreadful summer TV doldrums. Not so fast, suckers! Watch for new episodes starting in September! You bastards!

The road to “Sectionals” was fun, exciting, and it kept me wanting more…with “Sectionals” over, now wait for April for the next installment! You bastards!

Ok, so you won a Golden Globe for Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy! Now I guess I have to give you some slack for that body blow that is the almost 4 months I have to wait for a new episode to air. But, undaunted, I scour the web looking for hints and tidbits of what’s in store for the journey towards “Regionals!” And today, I wasn’t disappointed!

It seems that, upon his win at the Globes Sunday night, Executive Producer Ryan Murphy let it slip on some very interesting insights. I’m sure he’s just bursting to let the cat (or cats, perhaps) out of the bag, especially since Glee has been picked up for Season 2 this coming fall. And, not surprisingly, Fox TV has kept a very tight lid on the entire show, seeing as how the buzz for the show is growing exponentially!

Jane Lynch as 'Sue Sylvester'

Due to some very slick questioning of Murphy, Entertainment Weekly’s Michael Ausiello is reporting that Madonna has opened her catalog to the show and they are currently filming a “mega production number” show, with upwards of TEN musical numbers, including a performance by Coach Sylvester (Jane Lynch) doing “Vogue!” Speaking of Sue, she is also slated to do something with Olivia Newton-John and “Physical.”

Apparently Glee is the darling of Hollywood and everyone is having their agents contact Murphy to be a part of it, including Jennifer Lopez (Murphy says she’d be perfect as a “lunch lady” in the school cafeteria!). And it seems that Co-Executive Producer, Brad Falchuk, is dying to get Bruce Springsteen involved in some capacity, although there is no “official” talks between Glee and the Boss at the moment.

Lea Michele & Mark Salling as 'Racheal & Puck'

Apparently too, to the great surprise of the entire production staff, the coupling of Rachel (Lea Michele) and Puck (Mark Salling) produced so much positive feedback that the writers are working to bring them back together, perhaps in a more serious take.

Chris Colfer as 'Kurt Hummel'

And speaking of tie-ups how’s this for a huge change from the typical stereotype: Kurt (Chris Colfer) will find true love and he and his new love interest will be the Power Couple of the show, or as Murphy puts it, “Prom King & King.”

The great thing about this show is that there are so many different storylines and dynamics hitting you all at the same time that you are constantly going, “okay, now I wonder what they are going to do to solve THIS issue!” AND you look forward to how they deal with it! How will Quinn (Dianna Agron) deal with being thrown out of her family’s house AND the rejection of Finn (Corey Monteith) who she’s currently living with, and will she keep the baby after all? How will Will (Mathew Morrison) and Emma (Jayma Mays) deal with their newly budding romance, while Will’s soon-to-be-ex-wife Terri (Jessalyn Gilsig) struggles to deal with losing her “meal ticket?” And probably most of all, how will Sue (Lynch) deliver on her promise to destroy Will and get back her beloved Cheerios?

It’s gonna make for a great second-half of Season One and April seems like light years away! Until then, I’ll have to make do with American Idol, the Winter Olympics and Project Runway.