Things seen on TV last night.
1 – A Charlie Brown Christmas. M. cried, keeping up a tradition her dad started many years ago. I was a sensitive little lad, and the overwhelming negativity of Peanuts animated specials were always too much for me to take. Whether it was the ridicule of Linus while he waited for the Great Pumpkin, or the persecution of Charlie Brown in pretty much every show, I always got upset while watching the Peanuts gang. Things came to a head when I was 5 or 6 and watched Snoopy Come Home. My mom warned me that she wasn’t going to let me watch Peanuts specials anymore if I continued to get so worked up over them. Well, Snoopy Come Home is pretty much the saddest animated show for kids ever, so within 15 minutes I was hiding between the sofa, a large fern, and the crate my parents kept their stereo on quietly sobbing away. My mom peeked into the room, didn’t see me, and searched until she saw me curled into my small hiding space. I had been crying silently up to that point, but when she saw me, I lost it. I don’t think she even let me see that Snoopy did indeed come home, she just sent me to my room, where I wept the good weep of a small boy until I fell asleep. Thankfully, after reading Amazon’s reviews, it seems like a lot of kids in the 70s bawled while watching Snoopy Come Home. I might as well keep M. away from Charlie, Lucy, and Linus from here on because she definitely got the gene.
2 – Fred Hickman hosting Sportscenter. Not sure where he’s been hiding, but the former CNN sports host has surfaced after many years out of the national eye. Young readers may not recall this, but once upon a time Sportscenter actually had competition from CNN. Fred was ok back in the day, I remember stealing a few of his lines for stories in my high school paper, so I’ll hope he keeps his schtick to a minimum and doesn’t try to compete with the other hacks in Bristol.
3 – Speaking of no competition for ESPN, I guess that’s why they can run their Dale Earnhardt movie 3 on ESPN, then immediately after, again on ESPN2 while they’re simultaneously trying to sell a DVD of said movie. Makes perfect sense. I’m sure they promoted their next movie during each commercial break on both networks as well.
The network did show one of the reasons why they have no competition by providing excellent, in-depth coverage of all the action in baseball’s hot stove league during Sportscenter. Then again, they’re showing some high school kid’s press conference in which he’s going to announce what college he’ll be playing football at on ESPNews. This isn’t LeBron James or Greg Oden. Just some really good player most sports fans have never heard of. I think any high ground the network tries to claim when discussing the overexposure of athletes has been lost. Overall, C-/D+ for ESPN last night.
4 – Entertainment Weekly’s Top 15 Biggest Little Things of 2004 on Bravo. Any list that includes coverage of the extended DVD of Showgirls is worth watching. Actually, it was a very good run down of the biggest issues in entertainment this year. A little snarky, but not the surfeit of snark that VH1 will no doubt provide in their year-end shows.
5 – Thanks to the DVR, a couple classic episodes of Cheers. For fans of the early days, TVLand rolled the tapes over last week and are still in season one if you’d like to go back and watch the brilliance of Coach or the early days of Sam and Diane’s relationship. One episode I had recorded was Tortelli’s Tort, in which Carla attacks a Yankees fan who comes to the bar and harasses the Red Sox fans after another bad loss to the Bronx Bombers. Somewhere, Carla Tortelli, Sam Malone, and Ernie Pantuso are smiling now that the Sox have finally won a series.