Here’s a trend for 2010 It’s lean and it’s mean!
The clock struck midnight on Dec 31st 2009 and there was a brief moment when I was afraid 2010 would be less bitter then 2009! Three weeks into the new year and I can confirm that has not happened. I didn’t win Co-Worker of the Year despite having invented the Bateman vegetarian meatball at IKEA and then we have the epic smack down of Conan O Brian vs. Jay Leno. The latter has, by the way, in itself become a metaphor of everything that is wrong with network TV. Forever cannibalizing itself TV has finally run out of bodies to eat from as we watch host eat host.
Bitter, table for one.
Conan has a right to be bitter. When local NBC affiliates threatened to preempt the Jay Leno show if it was not taken off the air they never mentioned The Tonight Show with Conan O Brian. So why is he being punished for Jay’s failure? NBC decides to keep Jay over Conan?
Conan has been going on a nightly Howard Beale tirade against his bosses for stripping him from the show he was promised. By telling the truth in a funny self-deprecating way he has gained fan support and ratings. . But is still being let go. Artists are replaceable right? Who needs them. Let’s just CGI them. No messy feelings to deal with.
Bitter has a new name.
Jay Leno is another story. His show was a failure so he is being rewarded for his failure by getting another chance. It’s the American way (bank bailout anyone?) Rather than just going away in the first place this Norma Desmond of the airways is happy to return to the job he retired from 6 months ago, only to kill Conan O Brian in his crib along the way.
Here’s the thing about Jay Leno that I’m glad is finally being revealed. His I wear a denim shirt so I’m a nice guy image, is being broken into bitter gleaming shards pointed directly towards Conan O Brian. Night after night he dutifully represents “the man” as he portrays himself the innocent victim of,” a business decision”. You can relax Jay, you got the job. Corporate hack.
Speaking of bitter, In an interview on Charlie Rose Jeff Zucker, President and CEO of NBC/Universal described the network that brought us Bob Hope, ER, West Wing, Friends, Seinfeld, Conan O Brian, and Jay Leno as, “a very small piece of the portfolio of NBC/Universal”.
When the people that bring you entertainment describe entertainment as,” a very small piece of the portfolio” it trivializes what artists do and makes the audience who crave and need entertainment…bitter indeed.