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Who Wants to be a Blog-o-Naire? Pt. 1 April 21, 2009

Posted by Ted in : General , 1 comment so far

MERIDITH VIEIRA: Hello everybody and welcome to Who Wants to be a Blog-o-naire, the game show for people who have deluded themselves into thinking they can get rich quick by starting a blog. Audience, are you ready to meet our first contestant ?
AUDIENCE: Yesssss!
MERIDITH: Are you sure?
AUDIENCE: Yesssss!!
MERIDITH: Are you really, really sure?”
MERIDITH: (chuckling) Alright then let’s say hello to our first contestant, Ted from TV Crawlspace.
(Ted walks out and waves to the crowd.)
MERIDITH: Well hello Ted, it’s so nice to meet yooouuuu! Now, it says here that you haven’t written a blog post in a month and half!
TED: Actually, it’s been closer to two months.
MERIDITH: Two months?! Well, what seems to be the problem? (laughter from the audience.) Don’t you want to be a blogger anymore?
TED: I think I do but lately it’s been hard to get motivated. It turns out that writing a blog is actually hard work. In fact, I’m not even sure if I’ll be able to finish this post.
MERIDITH: Finish this post?  Ted, what in the heck are you talking about? (laughter from the audience.)

Midseason 2009 TV Explosion! January 6, 2009

Posted by Ted in : 24, 30 Rock, Amazing Race, American Idol, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dollhouse, Fringe, General, Hell's Kitchen, Heroes, Holiday Posts, Kath & Kim, Lost, Midseason, My Name is Earl, Reality TV, Reviews, Sci-Fi, Smallville, Terminator: tSCC, The Office , 8comments

 January is here. The festivities and laziness of the holiday season are behind us. It’s time for everyone to once again get serious about things, get back to work, and face up to the hard cold reality of life. Right?

Wrong! January is the time of year we TV watchers plunge head first into some serious escapist entertainment, and here at TV Crawlspace the only reality we’ll be facing is reality television. In just a few days, a massive wave of midseason premieres will hit like a tsunami, carrying us helplessly out into the television ocean, hopefully never to return again.

For TV Guide’s complete schedule of midseason premieres, click here.

Here’s a rundown of shows I’m looking forward to (and a couple I’m not looking forward to) in chronological order:

13 Fear is Real – (starts Wed., Jan. 7 on CW 8/7c)
This is a spooky themed reality show that might be amusing, something along the lines of Survivor meets Blair Witch Project. I hope there’s something more going on here than guys in masks jumping out and scaring contestants.

NBC comedy night done (halfway) right – (all four shows resume on Thur., Jan. 8 on NBC 8/7c)
My Name is Earl – This has been a little bit better this season, with a half hearted attempt to return to the theme of redemption (Earl’s list) that made the show so appealing in the first season.
Kath & Kim – I watched this show just to see how bad it was, and to my surprise I liked it. Slightly demented but well written, it’s sort of a kinder, gentler version of John Waters. Everybody on this show apparently works in a mall. How cool is that?
The Office – This has been brilliant as usual. I especially liked the episode where Jim and Pam had their first disagreement. I hope this is a foreshadowing of things to come. I think I like them better as enemies than lovers. Is it just me, or are all the female characters on this show mean and vindictive?
30 Rock – As a fan of Tina Fey during her SNL days, I wanted to like this overhyped show, but the cutesy self-satisfied tone of it left me cold. The jokes aren’t funny, and the endless parade of guest stars can’t make up for the show’s lack of direction. The emperor has no clothes!

Howie Do It – (starts Fri. Jan. 9 on ABC 8/7c)
This appears to be a hidden camera prank type show with Howie Mandel. I may watch the one episode that is aired before the show is cancelled.

24 – (starts Sun. Jan. 11 on FOX 8/7c)
What I always liked about 24 was its sci-fi elements, like the spacey soundtrack, and the high tech gadgetry. This season Janeane Garofalo plays the new computer guru, Janis Gold. According to TV Guide, “Mid-season run-ins with Chloe should make for hot geek-on-geek action.”

American Idol – (starts Tue. Jan. 13 on FOX 8/7c)
It is what it is.

Smallville – (returns Thur. Jan. 15 on CW 8/7c)
I’ve gotten hooked on this show again after sitting out for a couple of seasons. It seems unfair that Smallville’s best season ever may be its last, although I don’t know if that’s been made official yet.

Supernatural – (returns Thur. Jan. 15 on CW 9/8c)
Another CW show that I’ve rediscovered. It seems to have improved a lot since its first season. CW deserves credit for giving shows like this and Smallville a chance, and not axing them at the drop of a hat.

Fringe – (returns Tue. Jan. 20 on FOX 9/8c)
This sci-fi drama from the co-creator of Lost is my favorite new show of the year. Run and tell your friends.

Lost – (starts Wed. Jan. 21 on ABC 9/8c)
There are few television pleasures that compare with getting lost in Lost. It’s pretty amazing that a show this weird could stay on the air for five years, but it’s been reported that season 6 in 2010 will be the last.

Hell’s Kitchen – (starts Thur. Jan. 29 on FOX 9/8c)
Not a great time slot for Chef Ramsey this time around. He’s going up against The Office and the ratings powerhouse Supernatural.

Heroes – (returns Mon. Feb. 2 on NBC 9/8c)
This quality of this show has fallen faster than Nathan Petrelli during an eclipse. The storylines seem to be wandering aimlessly. Too many characters to keep up with is part of the problem. Some have suggested it could be the show’s last season if the ratings don’t improve.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles – (returns Fri. Feb. 13 on FOX 8/7c)
FOX is moving this to Fridays, where it will be paired up with Dollhouse.

Dollhouse – (starts Fri. Feb. 13 on FOX 9/8c)
This is the one that everyone’s waiting for, the new show from Buffy/Angel mastermind Joss Whedon, but there have reportedly been problems in production and FOX has now relegated the show to the dreaded Friday night time slot (set to debut on Friday the 13th, no less). Of course, the X-files thrived on Fridays, so there’s still hope.

The Amazing Race – (starts Sun. Feb. 15 on CBS 8/7c)
My favorite reality show will feature less airports this season, according to TV Guide.

Inside the DTV Transition Nightmare, Part 3 December 17, 2008

Posted by Ted in : DTV, General , 3comments




OK, I know I left you all hanging for several months in anticipation of the third exciting installment of my DTV blog series. Rest easy, my two faithful readers, for your patience has finally been rewarded.

After a prolonged period of painstaking and painful alliteration, I have reached the following conclusions about the digital television transition:

If you don’t have a state of the art television and you’re not a cable or satellite subscriber, you may find the DTV transition to be reminiscent of the following situations:

1. The first time you looked in the mirror after your parents forced you to get braces.
2. Getting an unplanned one day crash course in lion taming.
3. Staying awake for two days, then taking a physics exam without a calculator.
4. Running barefoot through hot gravel.
5. Getting the hiccups during a job interview.
3. Washing down your cold french fries with a warm, watery drink.
6. Trying out for the rodeo while intoxicated.
5. That time your prom date found a ride home with somebody else.
7. Having a tooth pulled with three fourths of the normal dose of anesthetic.
9. Getting bailed out of jail by your mother.
8. Having shoes thrown at you during a press conference.

In the previous episode, you may remember, I aquired a digital converter box from my local Radio Shack, and I somewhat naively believed that this would solve all my DTV transition issues. I was able to successfully set up the channels on my converter box, but I found that a couple of the channels would cut out or the picture would freeze. With digital channels, unlike analog, you get all or nothing. If the signal isn’t 100% strong, you get no picture. In a desperate attempt to fix this problem, I bought two new antennas, neither of which improved my reception very well. My only other option will be to put up an outdoor antenna, but I’m crossing my fingers and hoping that won’t be necessary.

Keep in mind that the reason I’m fooling around with antennas is to avoid having a monthly bill from a cable or satellite service. The subscription TV providers are the big winners in this huge scam by our Washington brain trust. February 17, 2009 is the day Dish Network, Direct TV, Charter, Bright House, and all the others hit the jackpot. These guys aren’t getting my money. I’ve never paid for television and never will, unless they figure out a way to outlaw free TV altogether, which will probably be the next step in the never ending downward spiral that is the American way of life. The other big DTV snafu that they don’t tell you about is the fact that you will no longer be able to tape one show on your VCR and watch a different show at the same time. You will either need to buy an extra television, or invest in an expensive Tivo system.

The bottom line is, you will have to pay out the butt for new TVs, cable and satellite services, antennas, and/or digital video recorders, unless you have already done so. It’s almost enough to make me give up TV and start dating again.

Candy Wrapper Revelations September 6, 2008

Posted by Ted in : General, Inspirational, Snacks , 2comments



As you know, here at TV Crawlspace we consider snacks to be a necessary ingredient in the TV watching experience. After sampling a pack of M&M’s the other night I thought I spotted a typo on the wrapper. What seemed to be the problem was the apostrophe between the second M and the s. Was it possible that the package designers fell prey to the old pitfall of using an inappropriate apostrophe before the ‘s’ in a plural noun? My inner punctuation zealot jumped for joy at this thought. “The inclusion of the apostrophe implies ownership,” I proudly proclaimed. “In order for it to be valid, the word M&M’s would have to be followed with a second noun.” That’s when I noticed the tiny words at the bottom of the logo, “Chocolate Candies”. There they were. Two little words that meant so much. All was right on my candy wrapper.

This question of who owns the candies prompted me to do a little internet research. It turns out that M&M’s were named after the first owners of the candy’s patent, Forrest Mars Sr. and R. Bruce Murrie, who purchased the rights in 1929. The full name of the product, hypothetically, would read “Mars and Murrie’s Chocolate Candies”. Mr. Mars went on to amass a personal fortune of four billion dollars from the sale his little colorful creations. Kind of adds new meaning to the phrase “living the sweet life”.

After solving that mystery, something else caught my attention. Standing over on the right side of the wrapper was the jaded looking spokescandy known to M&M-o-philes as Red. Like a carnival booth attendant, he pointed a solicitous finger and seemed to urge passersby to partake in the contents of the little brown package. I tried to imagine what he might be saying:

“What’s the matter kid, life got you down? I got just the thing you need. Nothing like a sugar fix to make you forget about your problems. For a while at least. Then you’ll be back for more. Old man Mars got filthy rich off of desperate little kids like you. So what’s got you down, exactly? Let me take a guess. Your playstation game doesn’t work anymore? Your Barbie doll lost an arm? That’s nothin’. I hate to break it to ya, but it’s all downhill from here. You got twelve years of school to look forward to, and each grade is tougher than the last one. Then you work a crap job until you’re old and gray. That’s the game of life, and if you don’t play you end up dead in the gutter with the rats and the junkies. Take it from Red, the biggest thrill in your life will be these little chocolate candies here. Eat all you want, we got a whole warehouse full. These things won’t melt in your hand like that other cheap sh**.”

Just then I imagined a large shoe coming down on our affable spokescandy, crushing him into the sidewalk. That’s the way it goes in the school of hard knocks.

Inside the DTV Transition Nightmare, Part 2 July 20, 2008

Posted by Ted in : DTV, General , 2comments


Fight the Future!

I’m sure you all know about the Digital TV transition at this point, and you’re probably sick of all the public service announcements about it. “Who cares?”, you think, “I’ve got a nice flat screen with satellite TV service, so I’m good to go.” But there’s one very important reason why you should care about this issue, namely, that it affects me personally. That’s right. Here in the crawlspace I watch exclusively over-the-air programming on my old analog 22″ Panasonic. Don’t laugh. Up until now, it has served me just fine. I never felt the need to get cable. What’s so great about cable anyway? It’s mostly just sports, shopping channels, some violence and T&A on HBO, and lots and lots of reruns. So why pay for that stuff when the best programs are available for free on network television?

Now they’re telling me that after February of 2009 I’ll be staring at nothing but static like that little girl in Poltergeist. This has huge connotations for the future of my TV blog. I try hard not to be paranoid, but it almost seems as if congress is thumbing its nose at me. After all, there’s a lot of big business interests who seem poised to benefit from this process: cable and satellite TV providers, electronics retailers, TV manufacturers, and so forth. “So what?”, you say, “Just get the damn converter box.”

Well, I did, and that’s where the situation got complicated. I went to the DTV Answers website several months ago and dutifully ordered my 40-dollar-off coupon. I received the coupon, which looks like a red credit card, in the mail after a few weeks. I took it to my local Radio Shack and asked if they had any converter boxes. They were out, but the clerk said they would have more in within a couple of days. So I went back three days later and got the converter box. The coupon covered most of the cost. I was feeling upbeat about my prospects. I would get through the DTV transition with my individuality intact; I would defeat the Orwellian designs of the military-industrial complex and continue to receive free television, only now I would also get a clear digital picture. What’s not to like? But as anyone over the age of 4 might have predicted, there was a catch.

(To be continued)

Inside the DTV Transition Nightmare, Part 1 July 9, 2008

Posted by Ted in : DTV, General, Holiday Posts , add a comment


It was a dark and stormy Christmas Eve in Washington D.C. The senate had postponed their holiday vacation to deal with a matter that weighted heavy on the heart of the nation. A teary eyed conservative senator stood before the chamber and proclaimed, “On behalf of my fellow Republicans I want to apologize. We hadn’t realized the magnitude of this problem. So many people out there are suffering…..really suffering…..” Unable to continue, he pulled out his handkerchief and dabbed his eyes. But his display of emotion didn’t seem so strange that night. There were few dry eyes on either side of the aisle. The majority leader spoke next. “I’m inspired by what I have seen here tonight. Inspired that we can set aside our partisan differences and do what’s right for the American people. There are many problems facing our country in this troubling age: a shrinking middle class, skyrocketing fuel prices, the loss of high-paying jobs, spiraling healthcare costs, disabled veterans who can’t pay their bills, climate change, the threat of nuclear and biological attacks, and the list goes on. But these problems pale in comparison to the heartbreak that is endured every day by millions of helpless Americans. For too many years they have suffered in the shadows, afraid to speak up, not wanting to burden those of us who enjoy a clear digital picture on our televisions. While we relax in comfort they struggle with their rabbit ear antennas, trying in vain to improve their reception of Everybody Loves Raymond, Scrubs, and other shows we take for granted. Some of them can barely pick up the CW. It’s a national disgrace, I tell you. Tonight we have shown these brave Americans that they haven’t been forgotten this holiday season!” After a 10 minute standing ovation, the cheering senators crowded around the speaker and he proceeded to body-surf out of the chamber. Joyful chants echoed around the capital building: “DTV for all! DTV for all!”

welcome… April 24, 2008

Posted by Ted in : General , 1 comment so far

Nice to meet you. Don’t be afraid, I’m back here in the corner. This is where I come to get away from the world. Won’t you join me? I’ve got snacks and a pot of decaf brewing.

What am I doing down here? Mostly just watching TV and writing my blog. I don’t get too many visitors here in the crawlspace. Sometimes mom comes down to collect her rent money, or to give me leftovers. This place is not bad for $50 a month. As you can see, I’ve made myself at home here.

I’d like to talk more, but my favorite show Lost is coming on. Pull up a beanbag and stay a while.


"Won't you tell me where my country lies?" said the unifaun to his true love's eyes...