Wasted in the vast wasteland The year in television was so bad, some deserving stinkers couldn't even make the Bottom 1 0 By JOHN CARMAN San Francisco Chronicle Now the hard part the worst of TV in 1998. So much effluvia and so little space. I know this: If digital TV were a program rather than a technology, it would be on the worst-10 list Digital high-definition TV will one day be the standard. Today it's the Yawn of the Year. And what a year for connoisseurs of the truly despicable. Think about it UPN trots out a series that's "ER" in outer space, and as bad as it was too boring to be re-deemably weird it still wasn't bad enough for our list. Stand up, 1998; turn around and drop your trousers. You really were special. Here goes, no particular order, but that all-too-familiar odor, the year's 10 worst: MSNBC coverage of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal. Only the cer-tifiably demented could possibly stomach MSNBC's virtually nonstop cacophony of presidential and congressional shame. The daily diet of nitwits, apologists, creeps and cranks was so noxious that it helped drive Keith 01-bermann out of news and back to sports, at Fox Sports News. Journalism was a bit player. The national interest was even less of a concern as NBC News and its partner, Microsoft, hammered and yammered. CBS coverage of the Winter Olympics from Nagano, Japan. Bad luck, bad weather, bad decisions. Believe in harbingers? CBS launched its coverage by interrupting the "Ode to Joy," in the climactic movement in Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, for commercials. And oh, the commentary. CBS hired Jim Rippey as its snowboard-ing analyst Rippey's snowboarding analysis went something like this: "Yeah, Chris! C'mon, buddy!" Actually, it didn't go something like that It went exactly like that Jerry Springer. For his TV show. For his movie. For his very existence. Isn't there some vague neural In other news, health officials announced that hallucinogenic drugs had successfully been removed from the water supply at UPN television. The network then cancelled 'The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer.' - TV impulse reminding me of a promise somewhere, from someone, to tone down the mayhem on the TV program? Seems the word didn't reach Jerry. The show is a bellicose blend of bleeped language and halfhearted brawls featuring America's beefiest bozos. The act will get old. It has to get old. Then, maybe. Springer will scoop up his money and go away. "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer." It was pronounced "Puh-feiffer," and it was puh-foundly bad however you said or saw it Imagine, a sitcom about the wacky White House of the Lincoln administration, with Abe delving into cybersex via telegraph while Mary Todd pined for her boy toys. In other news, health officials announced that hallucinogenic drugs had successfully been removed from the water supply at UPN television. The network then The Poetry Space THE EXPLODING WATERMELON POEM By Dane Cervine (Santa Cruz) I love the poem. They are like watermelons red with juice sweet on the tongue heavy as a bomb. I explode with each bite. We welcome short poems the general public might enjoy. Please submit work to: Poetry, Entertainment Division, David Swanger, Santa Cruz County Sentinel, PO Box 638, Santa Cruz, CA. 95060. Please keep them short and avoid complex fonnatting. Include name, address and phone number. Submissions not returned and there's no payment, but we call before running your poem. Answers Natalie Wood; Miracle on 34th Street (1947); Maureen O'Hara; Our Man in Havana; Alec Guinness; Scrooge (1971); Albert Finney mm canceled "The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer." "The Last Don II." Sex! Murder! Cannelloni! The further low-rent adventures of the trumped-up mob boss Cross De Lena. When last glimpsed, he was enjoying a light moment of family intimacy with one of his mobster cousins. This after he'd just ordered a few dozen people whacked, including an innocent priest whose throat was slit 'The Magic Hour." Magic is one element that was conspicuously missing from this quickly canceled syndicated talk show hosted by Magic Johnson. Someone figured that Johnson's pleasing personality and megawatt smile translated into talk-show skills. Wrong calculation. One of the year's worst moments, a kind of Super Bowl of TV superficiality, came when fellow talk-show rookie Howie Mandel paid a visit to Johnson's show to proclaim, "You know what I love me." "An AU-Star Party for Aaron Spelling." Had it been "An All-Star Lynching Party for Aaron Spelling," We Rent wireless Microphones & Complete Sound Systems Weddings Churches Special Occasions Bands DJ's Schools GrouDS I'd have joined the applause. As it was, the ABC special buried on a Saturday night in March was a crass exercise in butt-bussing for the monstrously prolific and richer-than-Croesus producer of "Charlie's Angels," "Dynasty," "Melrose Place," "Models Inc." and "The Love Boat" The show included a special segment on all-girl cat fights, an awkward reunion of the original "Charlie's Angels" and a gospel choir singing the "Love Boat" theme. "Brave New World." At least with "Crime and Punishment" NBC tried to do justice to a literary classic. This NBC movie was punchless and visually washed out Then there was Leonard Nimoy as Mustapha Mond, the benevolent dictator of Aldous Huxley's futuristic tale. Nimoy's wardrobe was a skirt accessorized by a necklace of big orange beads. Spock, perchance, has blown his sprocket 8 0 Friday. January 8. 8:00pm ANN CLEVELAND Flutistvocalist $6Door Monday, Jan. 1 1 , 7:30 & 9:30pm GENE HARRIS QUARTET Sponsored by Patrick O'Grady. M.D. $16Adv $l8Door Friday. January 15. 8:00pm THE ROSWELL RUOD ROB SCHEPS QUARTET $8Adv $10Door Monday. Jan. 18. 7:30 & 9:30pm DIANE SCHUUR $20Adv $22Door No JazzTix or Comps Monday. Jan 25, 7:30 & 9:30pm BILL BRUFORD'S EARTHWORKS $16Adv $18Uoor HOW fa aaaaca Hckata at LoffOS Boom 1 JVacortfs mn4 UU OUTlMTt. Tha Jan Gmmt n avartabla far priwata 1 aMta tt crt 427-2H7. Kal KiMfntma mm dvwMt Mcnday. Ming war, bMT and m. ti.om.ia an. hout brh. hmM.n Mmoo) mkan TidiMi ivbA to imm ctwrg. and 1BC Of, Spotlight Sentinel 0 ' "Damon." Damon Wayans's Fox sitcom was every bit as spectacularly tasteless as last year's champ, "South Park." And it wasn't funny. Wayans played a police detective who, in the din of the premiere's raucous laugh track, pretended to hump one colleague and mounted a robust defense of breast ogling at the office. "Look," he said, "women always gonna have breasts, and men are always, like, gonna look at them. And if God didn't want it that way, he wouldn't have put them right up front in the middle like that" I presume that God wanted "Damon" canceled forthwith, or he wouldn't have put it right up front on the Fox schedule like that. "Kelly Kelly." Don't remember this one, do you? Shelley Long, making her big comeback, on the WB, as English professor Kelly Novak, who marries a firefighter named Doug Kelly. Making her, uh, Kelly Kelly. And that's as funny as it got Unless you wanted to think about it from a distance, and realize that she was really Shelley Kelly Kelly. We'll remember Long fondly for "Cheers." Her next network project perhaps prophetically, is an NBC movie called "Vanished: Without a Trace." THE RESTAURANT NIGHTCLUB 1011 PACIFIC AVENUE -423-1336 NEW YEAR'S EVE PARTY! Greg limn pis Stormln' Norman si9AA!0oor & the Cyclones DcmOpenlpm hThettun Natwart ElKtrte Friday. Jan 1 CLOUD Happy New Yeeti Saturday. January 2 tn The Alnum Afifil 21 1 m 1 No Cover, Show 9 pm. Jan 7 THIHSBtt NHOHfASIj Ami lil Netwerk Electric pksPot Luck nsoba (3 Door. Doors Open B 30 p Hi.. SNwrtma 9 p m. Fnoay. January 0 Afll lBt Studio 99 um Man CM RIOOEM punk tow mf-nop $5 Adv $7 Door, Doors Open 8 30 p m.. Show 9pm Saturday Jan S A 21 ni Inrnnftntv &e OUrtllDUUI T J pu Low Rent I i.llH.K'fflgj Thursday. January 14 Aotl lit Chris Isaak $?6AdVr'l?8 Pr Doors Opo" 7pm Jan 15 tk Rock-It Records IkMs Ravut an ftettea Peri I On Caia k n Jan 16 Indigo Swing (Aoaa itx) Jan. 23 Tho Mother Hip (Aoaa 21 ) Jan. 29 John Loo Hookor (Aoat 21 ) Pw a if Ommi Catmao Hbat Jan 30 ttmptmt. Jama IfcMurtry AfM 21 Feb 4 tunny Day Roal Ettato m if Unless otherwise noted H ihm are Mnce shows limited seating, starting at 9 30pm Tickets to aH Catalyst shows. suOiect to aty lai and service charge, we available at Bass ticket centers or charge by phone al 408 996 BASS Advance tvM are also available al the Catalyst every day oVtET "" "" with no service charge .T., J,",!! .iTfT? .-.Thursday,. Dec..3U..l 998 J 7 r r 1"
Get access to Newspapers.com
- The largest online newspaper archive
- 19,500+ newspapers from the 1700s–2000s
- Millions of additional pages added every month