SUNDAY

In honor of Father's Day, I thought I'd ask my dad to give me his take on the two big TV interviews this weekend. He said he'd watch the Clinton one, but was reluctant to tune in for Madonna because... well, you can see his rather blunt reaction at the bottom of the page.

60 Minutes
For all the talk about the Monica Lewinsky stuff, the image I'm taking away from this interview is the former leader of the free world tearing up as he watched a tape of his deceased mother calling him a "wonderful son." Yeah, I know I'm being a sentimental sucker, but so what? I bet that despite how uncomfortable Clinton must have been addressing the sensitive issues that Dan Rather brought up, he'll probably remember that tape more than anything else. Nevertheless, I can't imagine that Bill, Hillary and Chelsea sat down to watch this as a family considering the painful-to-watch (for them, anyway) footage that went along with it. (I kind of doubt, for instance, that the Senator was saying, "Boy, do I get a kick out of seeing that old Today show interview where I went on and on like a fool about those charges being false and how this whole thing was just a 'vast right-wing conspiracy.' Oh yeah, good times...")

It was a full hour that, to be honest, probably could have been expanded by another 30 minutes or even more and it still would've kept my attention. Some other noteworthy moments:
  • Rather's summing up the post-Monica sleeping arrangements: "She and Chelsea barely talked to him, and he writes that he spent months sleeping on the couch." Can you picture this? It sounds like an episode of The Flintstones, doesn't it?
  • Clinton joking around with his boyhood friends about his first kiss. Somehow I think several women feel they could honestly claim this, uh, honor.
  • Clinton admitting his policy failings: "I'm sorry on the home front that we didn't get healthcare and that we didn't reform Social Security... I regret that I didn't succeed in getting Osama bin Laden. And equally, I'm sorry that I wasn't able enough to convince the Israelis and the Palestinians to make peace." I'm so used to hearing politicians dodge questions lately that it was odd to hear an actual straightforward answer.
  • Clinton discussing his early family life: "This sounds crazy but I never hated my stepfather, Roger Clinton. Even after he pulled the trigger in here, when he was drunk, even after he beat my mother — even after I got big enough to stop him from beating my mother."
  • And finally, hearing Clinton explain how he and his advisers navigated the "shaking hands" question for Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat. Truly fascinating. And now for the Father's Day perspective on this from my dad:
    Me: "What'd you think, Dad?"
    My Dad: "It was a book promo. But it says something about a person who has a group of friends that they've stayed in touch with over the years. Like the way you stay in touch with [your friend] Ronny [from sixth grade]. I'm not going to go out and buy his book. That said, my attitude is, if you do wrong — which he did — and you take responsibility, then you're a better man."
    Me: "And if you can sell a few books, too, huh?"
    My Dad: "Uh... yeah. [Laughs]"

    Inside the Actors Studio
    If you've got a 10-year anniversary special filled with tremendously entertaining clips, why in the world would you start it out with 15 minutes of blathering about the intricacies of the acting craft and method? I'm sure theater majors everywhere were enthralled — and I'm not saying to not include it, but it's probably a segment best left for later in the show. Lots of good stuff was included though, from the very poignant (Spike Lee getting emotional as he explained how difficult it was to get funding for Malcolm X) to the unintentionally hilarious (in one of the new interviews for this special, host James Lipton responded to Susan Sarandon doubting she was beautiful by saying, "I think you should know there are legions who lust after you." That James Lipton is one smooth cat.)

    The Dead Zone
    That missing girl Katie was freaky. And I mean that in the best possible way though. The casting department knew what they were doing when they chose her, I tell ya. She just gave me the chills. Meanwhile, Johnny is flashing back to the night of the accident that left him in a coma. Eventually, we found out that his future self actually helped save his life back then. And, as it was indicated in the season premiere, it appears that Johnny will be getting some action from the fair Rebecca (Sarah Wynter) pretty soon.

    SATURDAY

    Crime & Punishment
    I felt so bad for the poor little piggy that had been neglected by the defendant in one of the two cases that was profiled. We even got to meet Snubbles (that's the swine in this case) when Deputy District Attorney Marisa Ditillio visited him at the Animal Control Center. "One of the things he likes to do," said a center employee, "is suck your finger." Yeah, there'd be none of that from Ms. Ditillio. She would fight for justice and even give Snubs a gentle pat on the rear, but that's about it.

    FRIDAY

    20/20
    Before this interview even aired there were some smart-ass news reports saying that Madonna had changed her name to "Esther" as part of her study of Kabbalah. But it was quite clear from her segment that she's only using that as her Hebrew name. So yes, that means she won't be selling "Esther Tour 2004" T-shirts at her concerts. Speaking of which, from the clips they showed, it appears that she is indeed singing live at her shows, unlike some other blond performers. I have to say that while I do like Madonna's music, I've never been a big fan of her interviews. So it was a nice surprise when she admitted things like, "I just ripped through relationships. Completely selfish. What's in it for me?... I brought a lot of chaos to people's lives because of my selfish behavior."

    Earlier on Friday I asked my dad to watch the Madonna interview so we could compare notes, but that's when he got a bit reluctant:
    Me: "Why won't you watch it?"
    My Dad: "I think she's a twit. Just my opinion."

    That just cracked me up. I mentioned to him later that I was putting this exchange in and he just laughed and laughed. And that's one of the many, many reasons I love my father.