Has there ever been such a logjam of crap music on network TV? Who are the tone-deaf weasels programming this dreck? I want a tribunal, and I want it now (just getting into the spirit of world affairs).
It started with the CBS freak show known as Michael Jackson: The 30th Anniversary Special a few weeks ago. Here was the royally washed-up Thing of Pop® being granted two hours in network prime time when MTV wouldn’t even give him five minutes, much less the 15 he wanted to run the “film” for his new song … uh, what was it? The single from his “comeback” album, er, Interminable? Incontinent?
Advice, MJ: If you sold millions upon millions of albums 15 years ago, but no one can even name your latest, it just might be time to go back to Neverland and freeze your sorry ass in a cryogenic tube with Webster and Bubbles (and Brando, if there’s room) until the release of that 2051 box set. Yes, it was nice to see brother Tito reclaim his rightful place onstage during the Anniversary Special, but at what cost?
In another inexplicable Stars No One Cares About Anymore programming move, CBS scheduled Garth Brooks: Coast to Coast for not one, but three painful outings. Since Gorth (as we call him in the heartland) had promised to never tour again, he needed an outlet to inflict himself on the most people he could to hock his completely unnecessary new album, Scarecrow—a title swiped from a far better John Mellencamp record, no less.
Brooks took his Astroglide-slick C&W show to Los Angeles (where the cowboys have money), a soon-to-be-deployed Naval aircraft carrier (imagine “Friends in Low Places” as the last song in your head before being blown to Allah in the Mideast) and South Padre Island, Texas (I dunno—the hallowed birthplace of Chris Gaines, maybe). Failing to make tubby faux-rednecks shaking their moneymakers with headset mics and Target western wear cool again, Brooks at least instilled a longing for the “soulful” concert specials of Shania Twain.
Speaking of moneymaker shaking, had Britney Spears: Live From Las Vegas been broadcast on free network television, not pay-cable HBO, the Federal Communications Commission wouldn’t have even had a spare second to field those outraged calls about ABC’s mildly controversial Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. (Irate Topeka housewife: “I’m seeing nipples on my TV! My children shouldn’t be exposed to nipples!” FCC operator: “Ma’am, I understand your concern, but we have a Def-Con 4 Britney crotch-grind alert on The WB—please hold.”)
The fortysomething white male subscriber base sat in their Barcoloungers with a remote in one hand and a bottle of lotion nearby watching Ms. Britney strip off layers of sweat-soaked sequins while lip-synching “I’m a Slave 4 U.” The five million who tuned in (a ratings bust) to witness the teen queen gyrating with all the rote joy of a lunch-crowd stripper on the clock, surely got their Kleenex, er, money’s worth. The kids? They’ll get daddy’s videotape when he’s damned well done with it.
At least J.Lo (as I like to call her) looked like she was enjoying herself in last week’s Jennifer Lopez Live, her first-ever full-length concert taped in Puerto Rico. NBC tried to shoot it in America, but only about 28 homeless guys in raincoats (one of whom looked suspiciously like P. Diddy) showed up at the stadium. With J.Lo going through more wigs and costumes than a drag revue, this wasn’t just your average pop princess Jigglepalooza, it was a spectacle! Never mind that her miniscule vocal abilities make Marlee Matlin sound like Charlotte Church, girlfriend was workin’ that boo-tay!
But can anyone explain why in the hell country singer Tim McGraw (better known as Mr. Faith Hill) turned up on ’N Sync Live! The Atlantis Concert last Friday on CBS? According to the network, he was hanging around the Bahamas to join the boys “in a medley of well-known American songs that have special meaning for all of us.”
McGraw poppin’ and lockin’ with Justin, Chris, Lance, Joey and JC through Chris Gaines’ greatest hits? God bless America!