Wednesday, January 14, 2009

NCIS and The Mentalist, and Why I Don’t Watch American Idol – Yet

I don’t watch American Idol when the season first starts. In the few times I had watched the show early on, I found the negativity overbearing and the bad singing intolerable. But there is another reason why I don’t bother. It’s because the media covers almost every single cringe worthy part of the show the next day. The show is covered in the newspapers, on the morning shows, on talk shows, everywhere. Why waste my time in spending two hours watching something that frankly isn’t entertaining to me?

I’d rather spend my time watching CBS’s NCIS (CBS) and even The Mentalist. I’m still on the fence on The Mentalist, and I admit that I haven’t watched last night’s episode - “Red Rum” – yet. The title alone made me think of poor little Danny in the Stephen King book and movie, whose little inner personality (Tony) kept saying “Redrum”, which read a “murder” when viewed in a mirror.

NCIS delivered a fine episode in ‘Broken Bird” – the story was a bit of a stretch mind you – but it gave David McCallum a chance to show his acting chops by playing the troubled Dr. “Ducky” Mallard. Ducky was carrying years of guilt with him about a death that occurred at his hands while he was in the military. Ducky also had just suffered injuries from a knife attack by a woman who also blamed Ducky for this same death. You just knew things were going to be OK for Ducky when a bird, which flew down his chimney into his home, turned out to have survived rather than died. I am very familiar with the omen about finding a dead bird in one’s home, which is supposed to mean that someone in the house will soon die. My mother told us about it after it happened when we were young and a bird got in the basement and my youngest sister died suddenly a few weeks later. Needless to say we were spooked. And when a starling somehow got into my basement a few years ago – we are still not sure how it got in, as the chimney damper was closed – I took great care to get the bird with a net and release it outside, very much alive. So when Ducky had a bird fly into his living room, and when he thought it had died, I felt a bit of foreboding for him. I was glad to see the bird was fine, just so I could get that silly old wives tale out of my head. But I digress. David McCallum is one of my favorites from years past – I just loved him when I was a kid watching The Man From Uncle – so I was glad to see him given such a central story line. I was also glad when Abby (Pauley Perette) finally seemed to acknowledge her overload with worrying about her teammates by taking a very subdued approach to Ducky’s dilemma. It’s almost like they heard my comments from last week.

I find that "reality" shows like American Idol just don’t offer enough brain stimulation for me, at least at this stage of the game, in order to warrant any investment of my time. When it gets down to the last 10 contestants or so, I will likely record the show so I can watch the performances and feedback segments only. I usually don’t watch it live until they are down to maybe the last 5 people or so. When if there is something better available, I’ll record AI on my DVR to zip past the boring parts. I’m a big music lover, and I just can’t tolerate cringe-worthy performances, much less Ryan Seacrest and the rest of the Idol panel.

So if you’re looking here for weekly American Idol commentary, this is one place where you won’t get it. There is already too much of it out there as it is.

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