Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I Miss "House Calls" Already


Hi, sorry I've been AWOL, but I've been away for a couple of days, and I haven't quite figured out how to make the mobile blogging work.

Anyway, I drove to Vegas and back, and to keep me company on the drive I had an Ipod filled to bursting with podcasts. I was particularly psyched to enjoy the last few weeks of "House Calls" the Big Brother talk show (archived and available in video and podcast form), hosted by the phenomenal Gretchen Massey and Marcellas Reynolds.

Now you are all very lucky that I didn't have this blog during the run of Big Brother 6, because that show was my obsession. I would have written of very little else but how much I hated the Fiendsheep, and how much I wanted the Sovereign Six to kick their smug, duplicitous asses.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you really missed something. Seldom in reality TV... Hell, seldom in TV at all do you have two teams so clearly divided along the lines of good and evil. And let's not forget they divided themselves into those teams. And that the evil team actually thought, all the way to the end and to this day, that they were on the side of the angels. It made for fascinating TV.

Just a sampling of what made it so interesting? Nothing in the show was what you might expect... Unlike other reality shows, no one fit neatly into a stereotype. In fact, stereotypes were flipped on their ears, then flipped again.

Eric, a.k.a. "Cappy", the firefighter devoted to his children? An asshole! Howie, the male stripper, unabashed chauvinist and weatherman-wannabe? The most likeable doofus in the galaxy. James, the self-professed scheming liar? Oddly faithful to the end. Jennifer, the all-American cheerleader? A conniving bitch you'd gladly hit in the face with a socket wrench. Ivette, the fiercely independent lesbian? Pathetically clingy with any man who paid attention to her, and a gullible idiot who believed whatever she was told.

You'd expect Maggie, the ER nurse, to be a noble figure... but she was a cold, scheming villain, despised by America. While Kaysar, the Iraqi-born Muslim American defied red state expectations by being the most beloved (and loved by the ladies) contestant in the show's history. And believe it or not, the picture below is of Janelle, the most brilliant player in Big Brother history!

Photo from Bedazzled! Blog

And through it all, whenever America got to vote for a reward for one of the teams, and voted for a reward for the Good Team... the Evil Team fumed. They cried. They cursed. They blamed everyone but themselves. One of the more deluded players, April, actually said that if America didn't see that her team was better than the other team than the people that watch this show are "pieces of shit." Way to win over the crowd, April! And this from a woman whose stated goal was to emerge from the show with a K-Mart endorsement deal.

(Hilariously, April spent the entire summer drawing a sneering distinction between Janelle's plastic surgeries and her own, implying that somehow there was a difference between vanity and... what? Wanting to look good? But that was the way the Fiendsheep worked.)

Anyway, through it all, every day, Gretchen and Marcellas were right there, every morning, spinning it all with good humor and a wonderful charm and energy that most morning talk shows can only envy. If this were a TV show, it would be my favorite TV talk show. These two were easy and funny, delightful, unpredictable... comfortable without being boring. In short, everything you'd want a broadcast partnership to be.

But on the way home from Vegas, listening to what might have been the best "House Calls" ever, I heard the sad news that it was the last show until next year. I think that CBS is really missing a bet here. They spent months getting me in the habit of going to cbs.com every day, and now they're telling me no thanks, don't bother, nothing for you to see here, move along? Doesn't make sense.

If they asked me (which they didn't) they would keep Gretchen & Marcellas on, doing a weekly webcast, chatting about the week's shows on CBS-TV. Highlights of the week past, what's coming up, phone and in-studio interviews with CBS stars, promos for sweepstakes and series premieres... It can't be that expensive to do a weekly webcast. Why stop?

Am I crazy? CBS has spent months giving its website two extremely talented and easy-to-look-at faces. Why shut off the lights on Gretchen and Marcellas when we're not done looking at them?

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