Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Is there an Australian equivalent to "XOXO"?

The odds of having two season, potentially series, finales on the same night are rather slim, yet here we are, faced with the end of both Gossip Girl and Real World: Sydney. Of all the shows this past semester save for 30 Rock and maybe Kid Nation or Friday Night Lights, these two have been the most consistently entertaining.

Gossip Girl might come back, but it will stand in limbo after losing all of its momentum, a show with marginal ratings on a poorly run network with limited buzz during a writer’s strike. Real World: Sydney is obviously over, but there’s the good chance we’ll see most of these people again on a Challenge or two – if we don’t see Isaac and Cohutta, something is terribly wrong - so it’s not as sad.

I wrote at length about GG in the Best of 2007 review, so I’ll spare you any repetition. With both The OC and Veronica Mars gone, it provided the needed fix of high school hijinx, recycling the best of old Schwartz storylines, creating a few entertaining new ones and crafting some enjoyable, and loathe-able, characters. Patrick and I have already decided that the lack of new original programming this coming semester will mean we’ll be working our way through some old seasons, and while I want to eventually get to some Sorkin, Veronica Mars season one is definitely on the queue.

As far as Real World goes, this has been one of the best seasons in a while. I was one of the few to really enjoy Key West, and I think we can all agree Austin was one of the worst seasons ever, with Denver not far behind. Philadelphia was completely and totally forgettable, with San Diego and Las Vegas the last cities to compete with this one on an entertainment scale. Not all of the episodes were great, but there were certain fallbacks the show could always back on after boring the audience with another Parisa-Trisha “love triangle” scene.

Such as:

  • Isaac being awesome, whether he’s dressing up, using props in the confessional or telling a story.
  • Kelly Anne being hot. This was pretty much all of the time, with the highlight being her cowgirl costume.
  • Dunbar being insane. Again, pretty much all of the time, with the highlight being his argument with his girlfriend over being called “Dummy Bear.”.
  • Cohutta using his wisdom of the South, culminating in the “Rewind that again!” moment of him talking to his grandfather about what makes a real man.
  • Trisha using religion as a justification for anything she did, whether that be defending herself or attacking someone else, with little or no consistency to her theology.

Obviously flaws in this season? No focus on the job, after both Key West and Denver made them a big point, and a rather stark lack of any sort of diversity beyond Parisa being Muslim. I really think we enjoyed this show simply for the efforts of Isaac and Cohutta, with some bonus eye candy provided. Still, enjoyable.

The Real World premieres and finales, no matter what the quality of the season, are always worth watching, so hopefully we get some good nice moments in this final hour-long episode. I won’t hold any particularly high hopes for Gossip Girl, as its ending was cut short by the strike – oh strike; sad, sad strike – but if its anywhere near where the last episodes have been, we’re in good hands. XOXO.

(The next Real World, by the way, will be set in Hollywood. If you’re interested in cast spoilers, here they are, although I’ll just get out of the way the fact three are models, and all of them have some sort of profession that could be helped out by being in Los Angeles. This could be awful.)


Tonight’s tearful goodbyes are only enhanced by how amazing yesterday was, starting with seventy-degree weather in January (thank you, global warming!) and ending with a rather crazy New Hampshire primary. Simply as someone who enjoys the process, from the campaign adjustments to the absurdity of the media’s coverage (CNN needs to try and go low tech, as their holograms and touch screens are not working well; MSNBC just needs to get rid of Chris Matthews), the fact Hillary pulled the upset after getting upset herself in Iowa gives us another month of wide open races on both sides, with nothing decided until at least Super Fat Tuesday.

Helping out the entire process is the return of The Daily Show and Colbert Report, although it’s awkward for all parties because they obviously have some scripted material despite not having writers. You’d think they could get some sort of waiver because they’re critical a critical public service with their breaking down of the race for president, but just like the Oscars and Golden Globes, the WGA is going to use every advantage available to them to try and get some sort of agreement. Even though it's awesome to have American Gladiators back, the success of it and the upcoming boom of American Idol is only going to lengthen the negotiations even further.

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