On The Wall's "Nobody Home", Pink Floyd's protagonist complains of "13 channels of shit on the TV to choose from". A decade and a half later Bruce Springsteen had "fifty-seven channels and nothin' on". These days our access can easily beat that tenfold. Of course, that doesn't mean the sentiment hasn't changed; au contraire, mes amis.
As it turns out, regardless of the numerous channels available to us, aside from our interest in baseball--which is satisfied by the YES and MLB networks, respectively--news, and the occasional movie, our attraction to episodic TV is mostly limited to 3 shows these days: HBO's Entourage, and new series Hung; over at Showtime, Weeds is our show of choice.
Derisively referred to as "Sex in the City for dudes", Entourage is now in its sixth season of following the life and times of movie star/mediocre actor Vincent Chase--based on master thespian Mark Wahlberg, who is one of the show's producers--and the tight camaraderie between his trio of hangers on, as he falls in and out of Hollywood stardom and screws babes by the truckload. If you are unfamiliar with the show, it's actually quite better than our description would lead you to believe, but no less annoying.
There's only so many twists you can squeeze out of Entourage's basic premise, but HBO seems to think there are more, and that enough people out there will agree: the show has been renewed for a seventh season. (How it has lasted this long is pretty incredible.) Regardless, we are regular viewers and look forward to each episode. Even if we can't bring ourselves to admit it out loud. Wait...
Hung takes place in Detroit, where the middle-aged Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane), a divorced, former major league baseball prospect, coaches high school basketball and teaches history. After an electrical fire decimates his uninsured house--leaving it in near-condemned state and forcing Ray to camp out in his back yard--our hero decides to expand his finances and become a high-priced escort, pimped by no less than a former fling, the mousy, neurotic, socially awkward Tanya (Jane Adams), who refers to their business venture as "happiness consultants" for lonely, horny women. Oh, and the show's title refers to Ray's rather large sexual appendage. Which, thankfully, we don't get to see. (Sorry, ladies.)
Fun show; we recommend it. (Love its theme song, "I'll Be Your Man" by The Black Keys.) Oh, yeah, Anne Heche plays Ray's former wife, who, in our humble opinion, has gotten hotter as she gets into her 40s...
Speaking of hotties in their 40s, our favorite middle-aged crush,
the über sexy Mary-Louise Parker, has just completed another season of her suburban California mom-turned-drug dealer escapades on the Emmy and Golden Globe-nominated Weeds. Now, as the wife, and mother of the infant child of a powerful, corrupt Mexican politician running for governor of Baja California (Demián Bichir), Parker's Nancy Botwin has more drama and insanity on any given day than most of us will ever have in a lifetime. But the transformation
of the youngest of her two teenage sons (Alexander Gould) from an intelligent, sweet, shy kid, and the family's moral center, to a rude, pain-addicted nihilist, after being shot with a bullet intended for Nancy, just might be the highlight of the show this season.
On the other hand, her juvenile former brother in-law Andy
(Justin Kirk) and one-time frenemy, now full-blown antagonist Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) have gone from merely annoying but entertaining characters, to awfully irritating. Still, the show packs much punch and has its share of interesting plot twists, not the least of which
is the surprising ending of this season's final episode.
Anything like that on "regular" TV? Didn't think so.