Matt Roush


Roush Rant

He can fly a plane and play the piano. He has a killer grin and a nice boat. What's not to like about ABC's The Bachelor (Wednesdays, 9 pm/ET)? Just about everything. I'd forgotten what a skin-crawling spectacle this latest perversion of The Dating Game was until watching earnest hunk Aaron Buerge — a huge aesthetic improvement over last season's chilly, smug Alex — bestow roses upon the dream girls of his choice, while rejected losers watch and pout. Like a beauty pageant with a one-man jury that gets to fondle the merchandise, The Bachelor may be nirvana for connoisseurs of crud. It makes me want to take a shower. read more

Hours of Power On 24, The Dawn Of A Suspenseful New Day

Can they pull it off again? Will more people watch this time around?

The questions surrounding the fate of Fox's audaciously ambitious thriller 24 upon its return (Tuesdays, 9 pm/ET) are almost as nerve-racking as the show itself. But not quite. The moment the second season begins, with a clock counting the seconds as sinister subplots unfold on multiple split screens, we're dazzled by the technical brilliance and hooked by the nearly constant tension of the storytelling.

Don't be put off by 24's continuous-time structure. Missing an hour (not that you'd want to) is hardly the end of the world, although the stakes seem that high.

But let's be honest. This is not a nice or easy show to watch. 24's dark ruthlessness was forever established when hero Jack Bauer's (Kiefer Sutherland) wife perished as the first season ended. Picki read more

Question: TV Guide seems to ...

Question:
TV Guide seems to really be in love with David Letterman, but I just don't get it. I can't sit though more than 20 minutes of one of his shows. The jokes aren't even jokes, and the interviews aren't interviews. I don't understand why he is critically acclaimed and why he ranked so high on the best TV shows of all time. I am just trying to understand, that's all. — Piper

Matt:
Letterman isn't to everyone's taste, but neither — despite what NBC might bellow at you — is Jay Leno. I'm at as much of a loss to figure out Leno's appeal as you are mystified at our affection for Dave. Dave's humor is idiosyncratic, often indulgent and bizarre, but he and his show remain an original blast of unpredictable comedy, whereas Leno seems to me a tired teller of mostly insipid hand-me-down jokes. This is one area where I tend to agree with the Emmy voters. But as with most things on TV, it's purely subjective.

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Question: In last week's Ask ...

Question:
In last week's Ask Matt, several people asked about TV shows using the word "ass." This past week on USA I heard the word p---y (and not meant as a synonym of wimp or cat) and a three-letter word beginning with t about a woman's breast on A&#038E. We specifically don't have HBO/Showtime and the like because we have early teens in the house. How do we protect them against basic TV? — Scott

Matt:
I wish I could offer you more than sympathy, but on all of the networks, in some cases especially on cable (where there are fewer restrictions), the impulse is to continue pushing content envelopes of language, sexuality and violence to better compete with pay cable, movie rentals, etc. The TV ratings system is woefully incomplete and unhelpful. I'm curious what USA show you were watching — surely not the delightful Monk — because the only advice I can give you is that you can usually gauge a show's potential for crossing the line by what sort of show you choose to watch. Just ... read more

Question: Will Angel DVDs ...

Question:
Will Angel DVDs come out in the U.S.? I have noticed that they are available in the UK. — Mike

Matt:
I'm not an expert on these things, but I would imagine it's only a matter of time. Devoted cult followings (this is not a pejorative; I'm a member of the cult) are what DVDs are all about, as far as I can tell.

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Question: I thought I read a ...

Question:
I thought I read a long time ago that Anthony LaPaglia (Without a Trace, Frasier) and Jonathan LaPaglia (The District) are brothers, yet recently when either is written up, the other is not mentioned. I find it hard to believe there just happen to be two actors from Australia named LaPaglia working in TV (both on CBS) at the same time. Is there some sort of rift between them that bans mention of their relationship? — Lois

Matt:
They are brothers, but I'm not aware of an Olivia DeHavilland-Joan Fontaine type family feud between them. To my knowledge, they've never denied, but neither have they made too much of, their sibling relationship.

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Question: Sorry, another ...

Question:
Sorry, another question on ER. Cutting off Romano's arm may have been good for a few laughs among the ER writing staff, but is there any way they can credibly leave Romano (Paul McCrane) in the show? Sudden limb loss is (obviously) traumatic, and it's going to take more than a few weeks, let alone months, before he could realistically return to work. And even then, it's not going to be very realistic when we see Romano and his mechanical arm perform even the most basic of surgical procedures. Is there any hope for the character, and do the writers even care anymore? — Bryan

Matt:
Although some respondents disagree with me, I've never found much hope in this simplistically conceived adversarial character. The extreme and graphic nature of his injury seems more and more like a cheap stunt to get the series off on a shocking note this season. I'm sure the writers still care, but I'm not sure they can do anything to make this story palatable or believable.

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Question: I thought that on ...

Question:
I thought that on last season's Alias, Vaughn (Michael Vartan) died in a flood. So how was he alive in the next episode? — Shadia

Matt:
C'mon, you didn't think they'd kill a looker like Vaughn so soon. In the season premiere, it was established that he was able to hold his breath long enough to fight his way out of the tidal surge. But his exposure to the water from the Rimbaldi device may return to haunt him. Just guessing. (But why else was Khasinau about to drill into him when Syd rescued him from the slab in the lab?)

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Question: As an avid fan of ...

Question:
As an avid fan of the now defunct La Femme Nikita, I am highly annoyed at all the praise and attention heaped on Alias, which seems to be a direct ripoff (girl unexpectedly and unwillingly recruited for questionable government agency plus lots of sexual tension). My question is, do you think Alias is that much better, acting and storyline-wise, than La Femme Nikita? Or is it that with ABC/Disney's budget the show just seems better? Jennifer Garner seems able enough in the role, but it would take a lot of convincing to prove to me that there is or could be any more sexual tension than that between Peta Wilson and Roy Dupuis. — Andee

Matt:
No question that Touchstone (the production arm of ABC/Disney) gives Alias lots more money to work with than poor Nikita ever got at USA Network. But at the risk of annoying those avid Nikita fans, I do think Alias is an improvement on most levels: writing, acting, directing. The production values really do make you think you're
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Question: I heard that my ...

Question:
I heard that my favorite show, State of Grace, has been cancelled. Is this true? I'm in denial and I'm hoping that it isn't. — Tamara

Matt:
Sorry to confirm its premature demise. ABC Family chose not to renew it, which makes you wonder why that cable network has "family" in the title. What a charming little show, better than any new comedy this season, including on ABC's broadcast network. Given the success of NBC's American Dreams, you'd think there'd be room for this nostalgic treat. A lost opportunity.

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