Channel Surfing with C.T.

Wonder if ABC is kicking itself for having wasted their remaining episode of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES to try and lure viewers — much as Bree used son Andrew — to CASHMERE MAFIA. Had it worked, they’d be called brilliant, but as the ratings proved, even strike-deprived TV fans had little interest in Darren Star’s attempt to beat SEX AND THE CITY author Candace Bushnell to the punch. How bad were the numbers? Let’s just say that the second hour of AMERICAN GLADIATORS took a hit out on the MAFIA gals.

I was wildly uncomfortable with the whole “Bree pimps her son to an older guy” storyline on DH… which means it was wildly successful. Let’s face it… a good, adult-skewed dramedy should, on occasion, make us squirm. And that sure wasn’t going to happen with the ridiculous “Lynette has an epiphany” crap. Although I have to say, Felicity Huffman can make just about anything work. When Lynette was running around that field with Ida’s ashes, how radiant was Huffman? Given the opening sequence in which Edie clasped Karen’s hand, wouldn’t it have been nice if she’d played into that storyline, too? What the hell does Nicollette Sheridan have to do to get a storyline?

Now onto MAFIA: Only a show created by a man (Darren Star) and written by another man (Kevin Wade) could think it was a good idea to have the first five minutes feature Lucy Liu as a girlie-girl. Within the first 10 minutes, this show shoved every stereotype and cliche down our throats, and tried washing it down with a plot that was beyond predictable. How bad was it? The nanny quit, one of the ladies actually said “It’s 2007, she can have it all!”, the newly engaged couple were made competitors, a teen walked in on her mom having sex and there was a “woman with a penis” joke. We’re talking first 10 minutes, kids. And of course, what would a male-conceived show centering on women be without a beautiful gal questioning her sexuality (with her first kiss set, of course, to the tune “You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman”)? And should any of my real-life friends be reading this, a note: If you’re going to tell me that the person I love is cheating, doing so right before the party at which I’m going to be honored is definitely not the right moment. Of course, it all ends with hoisted champagne glasses and a round of “I don’t know what I’d do without you girls.” Were this all even mildly amusing or compelling, these flaws might be forgiveable. Sadly, it’s not. The cast is uniformly excellent and luminous (particularly Miranda Otto’s Juliet, who is sheer perfection as the icy, cheated-upon wife who vows revenge)… too bad nobody thought to give them a script equally sparkly. The last line is, “This is going to be fun,” but I can’t say I’ll be sticking around to find out if that proves true in future episodes. Hopefully, LIPSTICK JUNGLE will show the MAFIA chicks how it’s really done.

For those of you who think I’ll fall for any reality show that comes down the pike, let me just say that I absolutely hated the first episode of MAKE ME A SUPERMODEL. I’ll admit to having had high hopes for this show, seeing as it airs on Bravo, home to favorites like PROJECT RUNWAY and TOP CHEF (which returns with a new season in March). Guess I forgot that this is also the network that brings us THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF ORANGE COUNTY. I’ll give this week’s episode of SUPERMODEL a chance (the premiere was a casting special), but I don’t have high hopes.

Anybody else see the footage of THE O’REILLY FACTOR’s host getting into a scuffle with a 6′ 8″ Obama staffer? That’s comedy gold, kids. Especially when Bill-O, in discussing the incident on his show, said it was a good thing that the guy wasn’t shorter than him or the whole thing could have gone in an entirely different direction. That’s right, folks, Bill-O likes to pick on people smaller than he is. But then, how big a surprise can that really be?

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  • Timothy Wilkins

    Even the promos for Cashmere were cheesey. I should have known, but i did check it out. Once. As for DH, I agree about Nicollette Sheridan and the fact “edie” needs a storyline. Give one of the 4 originail housewives a rest. Should have killled off a housewife in the last ep. That would have been shocking.

  • Stef

    I am in agreement that they should have offed a housewife…preferably Susan!!!

    But the Mafia was good…maybe I’m desperate because I don’t have much TV left due to the strike, but I thought it was great! it brought back a lot of Sex and the City feelings…kind of Sex and the City meets Housewives, even.

  • ct

    Stef: If you mean Sex And the City at its worst (Samantha’s cancer story, maybe?) meets Desperate Housewives during season two, I might agree with you. Sex always guaranteed me at least one laugh-out-loud moment per episode. Mafia? Not one… and it had twice as long!

  • Jamie P

    Stef, I am in agreement with you. I enjoyed Mafia! IMO its nowhere near as good as Sex and the City, but it was a good show. The story lines in the 1st episode left me wanting more…