Channel Surfing with CT: MODERN FAMILY, COUGAR TOWN, MADDOW & More!

While I’m sure a choir of naysayers will disagree, last night’s MODERN FAMILY was an excellent example of product placement done right. What made it work was the organic nature of the storytelling as opposed to the clunky placements favored by such reality shows as SURVIVOR or CELEBRITY APPRENTICE. From day one, we’ve known that Phil is a techhead, making it natural that he — like millions of other geeks out there — would be majorly psyched about the iPad. But instead of just having him talk up the product, an entire plot — including Claire once again failing in her attempt to be the perfect wife and Mitchell getting into a fight with a line-cutter — was build around it. More importantly, the show never lost track of its primary objectives, which are to be funny and entertaining.

Why can’t every network just get on board the bandwagon? The CW recently announced they’re going to begin running more ads during episodes viewed on their website which would be fine and dandy if it weren’t for the fact that their portal kinda sucks.

I wonder if anyone at ABC is wishing they’d given COUGAR TOWN a different moniker? What started as a one-trick pony — as spelled out right there in the name — has morphed into a fantastic little sitcom full of quirky characters brought to life by a phenomenal cast. Episodes zip along at a perky pace and yet manage to hit both the funny bone and the heart. Last week’s outing — in which Jules tried to give up wine for 30 days, much to the displeasure of her vino-lovin’ pals — was a great example of this show doing what it does best: show that sometimes, you like people in spite of their rather glaring faults. Rather than support Jules in her effort, the gang rallied to have a reverse-intervention. And while other shows might shy away from making their characters look like raging alcoholics, COUGAR TOWN practically reveled in it. Thought bubble: Who’d drink who under the table… the Walker clan of BROTHERS & SISTERS or the COUGAR TOWN crew?

Want to know where you’ll find the potentially uncomfortable nexus of political commentary, geeky humor and entertainment value? Try THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW on MSNBC. There is really nothing funner than her latest rift, which is to repeatedly rake centerfold-turned-Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown over the coals for his ridiculous attempt to use her as the centerpiece of his fear-mongering fundraising. For those unfamiliar, Brown has been implying that Maddow — a left-leaning, openly-gay Democrat who resides in Massachusetts — is being groomed to run against him in the next election. This is a blatant lie, and one that Maddow has gleefully called out night after night in much the same fashion as she has been pointing out the rampant hypocrisy of republicans who voted against the stimulus package and then happily took credit for its positive impact in their districts. If you haven’t checked out Maddow’s savvy, intelligent take on not only the day’s top political stories but also many that aren’t covered by the conventional mainstream media, do yourself a favor and give her a try.

Think American television has cornered the market on skankalicious television? Check out Telemundo’s ho-fest 12 CORAZONES. The Spanish-language dating show (thank GOD for subtitles!) basically features a female hostess and several scantily-clad women tease, taunt and mock men as a way of finding their mate. There is much hoochified dancing and making out by people who are practically strangers. Did I mention that polo player-turned-actor Maximiliano Palacio — who is every bit as chunktakliar (and yes, I just made up a work by combining cheesy, hunky and spectacular) as his name and career trajectory implies — offers relationship advice? This show makes CHAINS OF LOVE look like THE NEWLYWED GAME by comparison.

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  • TVFan

    Not only does the CW stink for not jumping on board the bandwagon of the future (Re: Hulu) there video player is so clunky it’s almost as if they’re trying to punish you for watching online.

  • Nick

    Amen, TVFan (and TVA). Not only are episodes a week late in being posted, can anyone–seriously, ANYONE–get the CW’s online videos to play? I can’t.

  • Abby

    Can’t agree about the product placement on Modern Family. I was annoyed the entire episode. If they had done something shorter instead of the entire episode it would have been less distracting.

  • Josh Emerson

    There was a story in TV Guide a few weeks ago that ABC is considering changing the name of Cougar Town for Season 2, considering the original premise has basically been abandoned. Ausiello also mentioned it one week. I think C-Town is one of the possibilities talked about. It’s a good idea.

    I liked Modern Family’s product placement for the iPad because it made complete sense for the storylines. I have similar feelings on the product placement for Subway during Chuck. It’s proof that product placement can actually work if it’s done right.

    Rachel Maddow is brilliant. I don’t get to watch her show as much as I should, but I’ve always been a fan.

  • jamie

    great post for a few reasons. Loved Modern Family last night. It was a really long commercial for the iPad, but a funny one. Rachel Maddow is amazing and I want to marry her if she was straight or I was a woman. and Finally 12 Corazones is the funniest show on television, especially when you don’t have subtitles on. It makes every grope-y kiss all the more surprising.