Media Briefs: The Five Worst TV Shows, and More!

The Bachelor. As this merry mockery of courtship and marriage is well into its twentieth season, the show’s incredulity and banality insults even the most ardent fan of light fare reality TV. This season’s bachelor, is 27-year-old Ben Higgins, a software salesman from Indiana. A cadre of gorgeous ladies will vie for Ben’s affection, and even marry if the chemistry’s there. How has the Bachelor survived 20 years? Host Chris Harrison says, “It’s all about love.” Is it an affront to feminism? Harrison replies, “The ratings” say “absolutely not…It’s the most affluent educated audience on television,” he tells CBS News.


According to a summary of the last episode in Wikipedia Season 20, this is what the “highly educated” audience is treated to:

“Soon, Ben arrives at the mansion, talks to Chris, and the limos arrive. Memorable moments include Lauren B., a flight attendant gives Ben a small wing pin, Jami tells Ben that she is friends with Kaitlyn Bristowe, Lace boldy kisses Ben to be his first of the night, Lauren R. didn’t introduce her name to Ben that immediately stalking him, Shushanna was soon followed and speaks Russian, Leah brings a football to bent Ben with a hike toss, Joelle (self-named “JoJo”) comes out the limo wearing a unicorn mask, Mandi comes out wearing a giant rose above her head…”

If this is what televison’s most affluent, highly educated audience is engaged by (no pun intended), our standards have taken a beating. Using James Twitchell’s “taxonomy of taste,” this show demands a category below, “Low Cult;” it has about the same redeeming value as professional wrestling.


American Idol: Final Season. Put this one to bed already, or more appropriately, lower the coffin of what was once an entertaining show deep in the earth. In all fairness, Idol had a deservedly good run, its populist concept of uncovering gifted amateur singers from


Kansas or North Dakota, and catapulting them to national fame was original. More riveting were the contestants with no discernible talent, but nevertheless convinced themselves they were the next Justin Beiber or Beyonce. Where are the William Hungs and Keith Beukelaers this year? Simon Cowell called the latter the “worst singer in the world.” And, to our disbelief, Keith is devastated when told singing is not for him. According to Cowell, when young people were asked ‘What do you want to be?’ they said things like doctor and lawyer or fireman. Today, it’s ‘being famous.’”


Fuller House. This series depicting the cast of the original Full House 29 years later, makes absolutely no sense. Young viewers didn’t see the original and older audiences have long gotten past the cheesy jokes. Whoever brought this one up at the board meeting should be fired. The piped-in laughter should be piped-in boos.




Wheel of Fortune. How has this dreadful game show lasted so long? Is watching Vanna White turn letters worth thirty minutes of our time? Nothing innovative in years. Get me to Jeopardy fast! Or even tic-tac-toe with paper and pencil.



“Hannity” (on the right) and “Real Time with Bill Maher” (on the left) Sean Hannity is the major news “barker” of TV. His biased direct questions hannity-300x196put guests on edge. He listens for two seconds and then, “Whoof Whoof!” Guest: “My view on that is…” Hannity: “Whoof! Whoof!” He claims to be an “advocacy journalist.” Is that possible? Too slow, “Whoof!” Bill Maher, on the other hand, allows guests to speak, but makes you feel stupid if your opinion separates from his. Exaggerations, violations of fact, it’s all good because “I’m a smart comedian! Smarter than you and you and you! What, you’re religious? Then you’re a bigot! You’re responsible for the Inquisition!”

Bill Maher Performs At The Pearl At The Palms Casino Resort
LAS VEGAS, NV – MARCH 23: Television host and comedian Bill Maher performs at The Pearl concert theater at the Palms Casino Resort on March 23, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/WireImage)



umberto eco

Umberto Eco, Novelist and Semiotician Dies at 84.

Best known for his novel, ‘The Name of the Rose’ that sold 30 million copies in 44 languages, Professor Eco was bridged the gap between the university and popular culture. He taught at the University of Bologna, Italy’s oldest university. There, he authored 20 nonfiction books, and was considered a leading theorist in semiotics, the study of the relationship between symbols and society. The Name of the Rose was made into a movie starring Sean Connery. The novel, ‘Foucault’s Pendulum’ was also a worldwide bestseller.


Renowned Chef Jaques Pepin’s Book, The Apprentice

World famous Chef Jaques Pepin appeared on the NPR show, Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me! to discuss his life and new book, The Apprentice. From 1956-59 he cooked for three French presidents including Charles DeGaulle.

Chef Jacques Pepin was inducted into the French Legion of Honor, his home country’s highest civilian honor, in 2004.

He came to America to learn the language, “But I never did!” he jokingly told the audience. “All I could find in the store was iceberg lettuce. Where are the mushrooms? The beef and lamb here is superb though. And the women.” Pepin also worked for Howard Johnson’s improving the recipe for their famous fried clams. The best hamburgers are made with Jewish brisket. “Don’t press it when cooking,” he says. “Just add iceberg lettuce and onion, nothing else.” When asked what his last meal would be, he said, “I know it will be very long.”


Don Hertzfeldt’s “World of Tomorrow” a 2015 Sundance Short Film Claims that a Person’s Soul will Live Beyond Physical Death through Artificial Intelligence


According to this short documantary, your soul or consciousness can be uploaded as memory into new cloned bodies continuously after your birth body passes. If you can’t afford this, full digital consciousness transfer will enable your mind to be implanted in a robot so that you can still be part of a person’s life after physical death.  There will also be an “outernet” where everyone is connected to the same neural network. View screens allow robots to view all events in history. No where in the film does it explain how “consciousness” can be achieved in a non-living thing.

In the new TV series, “Lucifer,” the bad one is thinking more deeply and thoroughly about what it means to be human.


The adversary takes a vacation from hell to spend time in LA. His only power is to encourage people to fulfill their desires. And, of course, he focuses on the unsavory ones.  He owns a nightclub and is an extraordinary piano player.  Lucifer feels oddly fulfilled when questioning someone’s motives such as those of a murderer in one case. An angel is sent to retrieve him, but his interaction with humanity is intoxicating. His therapist says, “You’re changing.” The idea of the dark one developing the seeds of a conscience is an interesting plot line. The Jesus figure asks him to return to hell. “You’re time on earth is affecting you.” Unfortunately, the show is in the lowest common denominator genre trying to draw the largest audience possible. Which, of course, means lots of sexual innuendos and stilted dialogue. He’s no saint (duh), but it’s interesting the writers don’t mock religion or God. The issues raised are actually quite interesting.  Hopefully, as the series progresses, it doesn’t turn out to be a downer.



Colorado boldly legalized recreational marijuana over two years ago. The documentary series, High Profits, tells the story of Brian Rogers and Caitlin McGuire owners of the first “weed” store, the Breckenridge Cannabis Club. The community, especially downtown retailers are mostly opposed to the “shop of highs.” Within weeks, they are making $5,000 a day and trending upward; soon it’s more than $40,000. Customers line up outside the doors for the store to open. One customer travels from Mexico City.   Pot paraphernalia stores are popping up on side streets, and citizens are worried that their tidy pristine tourist town will soon be the East Village of Manhattan.

But, the owners have done their homework, (e.g., securing all permits, a dependable supply chain, and marketing plan). The store has the same faux Swiss-style Disneyland architecture as the other businesses; they blend in for the most part. There are problems, though. Taxes are 24%. “Our town is being destroyed!” a resident voices. Another agrees: “They’re parasites!” The City Council votes that the store has to move from Main Street to a less prominent location within a year.

High Profits is an eight-episode ethnographic film treating us to the first glimpse of a controversial industry unfolding. Perhaps most compelling is what it reveals about the weed culture before legalization. On the street outside the Club, young and old mingle, sharing “smoking stories” uncovering more about a vast culture once hidden. It also raises the potentially deleterious impacts on immature local teens as they grow up with this new element in their local community.




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