September 14, 1997

Emmy Fever

Well, the Emmys have come and gone again, leaving me with this troubling thought:

I donít get 3rd Rock From the Sun.

One night, Mom called up from back east, saying I absolutely had to Ė had to! -- watch that eveningís episode. It would change my mind, I was told. I watched. I didnít laugh. I didn't laugh once!

Iím worried.

See, TV sitcom writing is the beeswax Iím trying to get in to. 3rd Rock gets great ratings. It won multiple Emmys. People (like my mom) love it. And for the life of me, I just donít get it.

My pledge to you: I will watch again. I will look for nuance. I will look for the intelligence hiding behind the obvious "Dick" jokes. I will try my best to understand, nay, appreciate 3rd Rock, if only so I can write a killer 3rd Rock spec. script. Wish me luck.

I was not at all unhappy to see Law and Order win for Best Dramatic Series. Itís always pretty dang good, from what I can tell. Of course, my sampling consists of watching the last five minutes of every episode for about three years. See, in my old job, I produced an 11:00 p.m. newscast, and at 10:55 each weeknight, Iíd be in the control room, getting ready for my show, and watching whatever was on NBC. One night a week, we'd see the dramatic courtroom conclusion of Law and Order. It always looked pretty good.

As a newscast producer, my job was to make sure the show started on time, and ended on time. One night, that simple task took on added importance. Although I really, really, really tried hard to end the show on time, it looked like we were going to run a little bit over. Then, commercials would run, and weíd end up covering the first couple of seconds of The Tonight Show. Usually, not a problem. But this was Johnny Carsonís last night as host, and for some reason, the show kept going and going. The weather person (the esteemed Sharon Graves) took her allotted time, and a bit extra, and the sports guy (Mitch Massey, for those of you who must know) wasnít exactly "quick" through the nightly highlights.

I remember, after ending the show a little bit late, standing in the control room, imagining the phones lighting up if we covered up so much as a millisecond of Carsonís final night.

Fortunately, we did cut out of the commercial break in time so that no one missed any bit of Johnnyís farewell. We would have only gone over by about five seconds, which would usually go unnoticed on a normal night. But this night, the show started with Johnny announcing over a video montage, and I was damn glad KSBYís viewers saw the whole thing.

Two other TV notes:

This week, try to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Theyíre finally replaying last yearís Hugo-Award nominated "Trials and Tribble-ations" episode. Itís the one that uses the so-called Forrest Gump technology to let the current cast of the show interact with scenes from the original Star Trek. Itís really quite wonderful. (And maybe next week, it finally can be told: My secret visit to the set of "Trials and Tribble-ations...")

If youíre in to Superman at all, be sure to watch Kids WB this Saturday, the 21st, for a spectacular episode of the animated Superman show. It features Mr. Mxyptlk (the imp from another dimension Ė he wonít leave Superman alone unless Supes can trick him in to saying his name backward) and is fall on the floor funny. I think my favorite part of the episode is that it shows Superman as really, really smart, in addition to his whole physical strength thing.

And one final TV note:

The funniest thing Iíve seen on TV in months was last Saturdayís episode of Pinky and The Brain. It was a very, very hysterical episode entitled "Pinky and The Brain Ö And Larry." The thing about it is, thereís no way to explain it to anyone who is not already a big fan of the show. So, if you love the show, and you missed this episode, drop me a line, and weíll chat.

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Colin Campbell - jenolen@earthlink.net
Last updated September 14, 1997