Category Archives: TV

Why I secretly want Conan to leave ‘The Tonight Show’

While I would never wish sadness or the crushing of lifelong dreams upon Conan O’Brien, I would secretly cheer if he decides to leave The Tonight Show (or if NBC honchos decide they’ve had enough of his on-air insubordination).

Conan’s a brilliant late-night host, of course. But his oeuvre consists of a classic Simpsons run and 17 years of late-night ephemera. Ricky Gervais has The Office; Chris Rock has his stand-up specials; Woody Allen has Annie Hall and Manhattan. Will Conan end up with “Marge vs. the Monorail” … and a box set of Masturbating Bear and Triumph bits?

There’s probably a behavioral economics argument for why sustained but ephemeral late-night genius is better than a half-dozen classic movies surrounded by a couple dozen The Curse of the Jade Scorpions. But it sure would be exciting to see that genius set loose from its late-night confines, even for a little while. Who knows what crazy shows, movies, Shouts & Murmers columns, comedy songs, and other assorted awesomeness he’d come up with.

Like any practicing comedy elitist, I have a visceral dislike of Jay Leno. I’m obviously on Team Conan. But are his monologue one-liners really that much smarter than Leno’s? Are Conan’s celebrity interviews really less puffy?

I’ve only seen scattered Conan bits since watching Late Night regularly for the first few years of the aughts (the little time I have for late-night shows goes to The Daily Show, obviously). On the other hand, I would have kept up religiously if he had instead made three movies, two seasons of a cult show, and a bunch of web shorts in those seven years.

So I hope, for Conan’s sake, that everything works out and he gets to keep his beloved Tonight Show gig in the right time slot. But if he has to go, this fan selfishly thinks it’ll be for the best.

(Adam Frucci has some thoughts along these lines at The Awl.)

Weekly Wire grumblings

“We don’t have to keep watching this …”

I believe my fiancee said this three times (though it might have only been twice) during this week’s episode of The Wire. It’s getting hard for me to stop pausing/snorting in frustration, I guess.

The most annoying thing about the episode was the Clay Davis courtroom scene. First of all, it sure seemed like they were in and out of a major political corruption trial in a single day. This wasn’t even narrative compression, as far as I could tell. Davis arrived on the courthouse steps in the morning, and stood on the same steps that afternoon as an exonerated man.

Secondly, what kind of prosecutor — a state’s attorney, no less! — puts a major political figure on trial for corruption without concrete evidence that he used his position to take bribes that enriched him personally? That is, when Davis gives his big speech about how sure he takes kickbacks, but he gives it all back to the poor folks in his district so they can buy winter coats and food, why doesn’t Bond come back at him with receipts for Davis’ BMW purchase, the deed for his Eastern Shore estate, or whatever other extravagances to which Davis surely has helped himself?

Bond seemed to build his case around donations going into Davis’ charities, followed by the exact same amounts showing up in Davis’ bank account. So when Davis says “But I gave it all away to my needy constituents by the time I walked down the street,” you’d think a good prosecutor would have solid evidence to be able to say, “No, you didn’t — you bought a $5,000 umbrella stand and a private jet” or what have you. Or at least to say, “Nice act turning out your pockets, Senator, but how does that explain the $2 million you still have in your bank account?” Maybe Davis would have won the jury over anyway. But as it is, it just seems like the state’s attorney is a moron.

Now, if this were a normal (i.e. good) Wire season, I would chalk that up to David Simon showing that Bond is paying the price for arguing the case himself as a potential launching pad to the mayor’s office, rather than taking it to the feds like Freamon wanted. But Bond is too smart to present a bad case like this. And since this is the season where everything is a joke, it’s probably just another bad piece of writing.