Archive for September, 2008

WHEN IS A HOUSE A HOLMES?

September 30, 2008

I was there when the Fonz first put on a leather jacket, when Scully met Mulder and when Oceanic Flight 815 crashed. But I wasn’t there when Dr. House first wrote a list of symptoms on a blackboard…

You see, medical shows have never been a favorite of mine. I never watched “St. Elsewhere,” “ER” or “Grey’s Anatomy.” Who wants to watch the sad struggles of sick people? In fact, the only medical show I was ever a fan of was “Chicago Hope,” thanks to the bravura acting of Mandy Patinkin, plus the fact they often spent more time in a courtroom than in the hospital, as befits a David E. Kelley produced show.

But I have a friend that works as a script coordinator on television shows here in L.A. His name is Dustin Paddock and he used to work on another of my longtime favorite shows, “Monk,” before landing a job on the pilot of “House, M.D.” I missed a good part of the first season due to my predjudice against hospital shows, but Dustin kept pushing me to give it a chance, saying it was more like a detective show than your typical medical drama and that Dr. House solved mysteries a la Sherlock Holmes. So I took Dusty’s advice, watched an episode and loved it! I enjoyed the cantankerous title character (whose dialogue has only become funnier every season) and the constant reversals the team faced on the way to solving each week’s medical mystery.

In fact, my only problem with the show was that unlike a murder mystery where you can play along and try to guess the identity of the killer, only real medical professionals could hope to keep up with Dr. House’s diagnoses… although after watching a season or two,  I realized the medical terminology was sinking in and I could guess sarcoidosis or lupus as easily as Cameron, Foreman or Chase!

Dustin still works on “House,” and if you watch the show tonight, you’ll notice he’s gotten a one week only promotion. Not only will you see his name in the end credits as script coordinator, you’ll also see it in the opening credits because he co-wrote the episode!

I’ve read a few things Dustin wrote over the years while trying to get noticed as a writer. I remember early on, he wrote a movie spec script featuring a very dislikeable protagonist. I cautioned him that no one would ever buy a script featuring a hero like that, and no one ever did. I would have never guessed that Dustin’s big break as a writer would come writing about, yes, a dislikeable hero…

The episode is titled “Adverse Events,” and for Dustin Paddock, it’s anything but. Check it out tonight on Fox!

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WE ARE BACK

September 28, 2008

So obviously it has been many months since I last sat down and wrote a blog entry. This was mostly due to technical difficulties (my internet connection was down for a few months), followed by a month of vacation and then the sheer boredom of having nothing exciting to write about. Not that I ever let that stop me before…

Still, various friends never gave up razzing me about stopping, so I’ve never been quite able to walk away with a clear conscience. One friend recently read back through the archives and asked why didn’t I just call it “Everything You’ve Always Wanted To Know About ‘American Idol'”? So in his honor, here are five things I never got around to writing about during “Idol” Season 7:

1.  As REO Speedwagon once noted, “You can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish,” to which I add, “Especially at the CBS Commissary!” During the final weeks last season, Billboard.com’s Fred Bronson took on the task of interviewing each member of the top ten, and I tagged along to the interviews to run the tape machine. We interviewed those still left on the show one afternoon at the CBS Studios on Beverly Blvd. Unfortunately, I had eaten a tuna sandwich from the on-site restaurant earlier and it disagreed with me… right in the middle of our interview with David Cook! Fortunately I made it to the restroom down the hall with time to spare. Hopefully David didn’t think too poorly of me for stepping out right in the middle of the interview without a word!

2.  Ken Baker of E! News stole my seat! I attended the results show during Neil Diamond week and left my seat for a while so Fred could introduce me to David Archuleta’s father (I especially enjoyed reading a recap on EW.com that said “Papa Archuleta stood in the wings talking with a guy two rows in front of me during the entire pre-show period”… that guy was Fred!). I learned Mr. Archuleta thought David should be singing more contemporary material on the show, a quest that ended with “With You” during Top 3 week. Anyway, when I got back to my seat, I discovered it was occupied by Ken Baker from E! News. I didn’t blame him, as I had been sitting beside a very attractive blonde woman who he was already talking to. And since I always enjoy Ken’s reports on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show, I didn’t say a word to him and moved to an empty seat further down the row.

3.  I hugged Paula Abdul! Paula came up to Fred after the show and he introduced me to her. I told her that we had actually met once before 20 years ago! I had interviewed her for Dick Clark’s radio show “Countdown America” right when she was starting her music career. She gave me a hug and made a joke about how long ago that was for both of us…

4.  I finally attended the finale for the first time ever! And like many others, I thought David Archuleta was bound to win (you’d think such a fervent fanbase would be unbeatable), but once Simon started apologizing to David Cook near the end, I realized he’d be the winner, thus ruining what would have been a wonderful surprise.

5.  I never should have listened to Jason Castro! I think I enjoyed our interview with Jason the most. He was very funny and also very truthful about being ready to go home due to his problems learning new songs he had never heard before. He also complained about people wanting to take his picture and asking for autographs, which he thought was awkward and didn’t enjoy. I took his words to heart, and when I attended this year’s “Idol” tour stop at L.A.’s Staples Center, I didn’t bring along a camera. Naturally at the after-party, all the Idols including Jason were happy to take photo after photo with their fans. And there I was with no camera to add to my collection of photos with the Idols…