It's hard for me to watch a Mike Wallace interview without thinking every two minutes or so, "Good lord, man, he's 86 years old!" I bet the average person hovering around 90 is happy to just be independent, never mind traveling the world and grilling innovators, con men and celebrities. And arguably, his subject on this season premiere, Bill O'Reilly, is regarded by the American public as at least two of out three of those. Love him or hate him, there was something for everyone. You had the smattering of clips featuring the Fox News Channel host shouting over people (including Al Franken at a book event); O'Reilly randomly comparing himself to Maria Shriver; and a quick rundown of his opinions that O'Reilly-haters may not have expected. Oh, and there was even a plug for his upcoming book, The O'Reilly Factor for Kids. Hey, maybe Bill will make a guest appearance on Sesame Street for further promotion. I imagine it going something like this:
Big Bird: "What a beautiful day it is, don't you think, Mr. O'Reilly? The sky is clear and..."
O'Reilly: "C'mon, who are you kidding, Birdie? We both know you're wrong, so just admit it and we can move on."
Big Bird: [Cute gulping sound]
Grandma to the rescue! Poor Pete. If it hadn't been for the feisty old broad, his overbearing, overprotective, annoying mother (Mare Winningham) would have squashed his dream of being an Empire batboy. Of course, it helps when the star player of the team (Dean Cain minus the big red "S") shows up at your house to plead your case. It's funny, we're all so used to seeing 25-year-olds pretending that they're teenagers that it's almost jarring to see a 16-year-old being played by an actor (Jeremy Sumpter) who is roughly that age. Imagine that.
What a great reality show. At the beginning of this sneak preview, I was torn by which family would drive me the most crazy — the super-organized, poorly communicating Policchios or the aptly named slobs, the Pitts. The quietness of the neat freaks (five hours of cleaning a day?) was daunting, but the kangaroo, ferret, rat and 22 other freely defecating pets was something else. (To be honest, the bigger question is how in the world did those producers persuade the Policchio mother to try something like this in the first place?) Nevertheless, it seems that both Caprice the list-maker and Bambi the pet-gatherer brought some much needed order and chaos to their temporary abodes. And the best part had to be the dramatic voice-over at the end that intoned, "And what happened to Nugget?" Turns out that the cute little kitten wasn't returned and now has a new, permanent (and very tidy) home.
Still Brady After All These Years
A Brady Bunch reunion special hosted by Jenny McCarthy? Yeah, this could have been embarrassing to watch, especially if it had included that horrible scripted banter you find on specials like this. But thankfully, for the most part, that was kept to a minimum and the former Playboy centerfold brought a certain charm and energy to this gathering. A few noteworthy moments:
Joan of Arcadia
Joan's back after recovering at a "camp" due to her rather lengthy illness. Two big, equally important changes: She's temporarily rejecting her God chats... and she has bangs. Her touching and hilarious "breakup" scene with God (as the teenage guy, this time) reminded me of one thing: Amber Tamblyn is a fantastic actress — why, why, why did Allison Janney win the Emmy again this year?! Huh?! ... Actually, to be honest, I would've been happy if Jennifer Garner, Edie Falco or Mariska Hargitay had taken home the trophy (that's everyone in the category except the West-Winger, by the way.)
Keith Carradine plays the father of five obnoxious, sloppy boys (who really push the limits of appearing to be related, even for a TV family). Actually, that's not true — the dude named Sam is kinda neat; he's even willing to take garbage out in his backpack when his other brothers refuse to clean up anything because they want another housekeeper. (Their 23rd one lit their clothes on fire as she, in effect, gave her resignation.) It's hard to decide whether this show is any good after just one episode. There were some clever lines, but for each one of those, there was a moment where a given actor appeared to be almost "reciting" his oh-so-witty dialogue from the script. Well, on the positive side, at least Sam is going to be baby-sitting with his crush Angela, which quite honestly, can be better than going to a school dance.
Rob Lowe is an earnest casino physician who, we find out, also has a really cool, rebellious side since he's willing to write a fake doctor's note for the hot, blond blackjack dealer (Sarah Lancaster). Joe Pantoliano is the no-nonsense hotel manager. (I know, it's shocking since Joey Pants usually plays such cuddly guys.) The first episode of this Las Vegas rip-off featured a guest appearance by American Idol judge Randy Jackson, who still managed to use his go-to term, "dawg." I wonder if that was written specifically for him or if he ad-libbed it for effect? Eh, come to think of it, what's the difference?