Monday, April 01, 2013


Last week my Dish Network receiver started acting poorly, and one day it just started rebooting itself over and over. It had a good life, and showed me lots of entertaining television. (I should have hacked its guts out and recovered the hard drive, since all the recorded programs on it are un-encrpted!)

But I had the Dish DVR for over 2 years and was eligible for an upgrade, so I signed a new 2-year agreement (which I hate to do) and got a Hopper. The Hopper is an interesting upgrade, with three tuners instead of the two that the old Dish DVR had, and a feature called Prime Time Anytime.

This crazy device uses one of the tuners to record every single prime time network show between 6pm and 10pm Central Time! CBS, ABC, NBC and Fox, all recorded. And as an added benefit, if you watch the shows recorded the previous day (as long as it's after 1am the following day) the device skips the commercials automatically. No fast-forwarding, no touching at all. The commercials start, after 2 seconds it shows the little hopper icon and your show comes back on instantly. Very cool.

So I took the opportunity to check out some shows that I hadn't watched before because of lack of space on the DVR or lack of an available tuner or just plain lack of interest.

One show I had never seen before was The New Girl, starring Zooey Deschanel. Now Zooey (whose name sounds like Zoe but I guess is spelled more phonetically but incorrectly unless she actually has the word "zoo" in her name) is very charming in her movie roles but I don't see her being able to carry a series on her extremely thin and undefined personality. (For good Zooey work see (500) Days of Summer and Yes Man.)

Anyway, I found the opening joke of the show to be absolutely brilliant, but I'm not sure if it was in poor taste or not. I haven't had the misfortune of being in this sad situation being exploited for laughs, but someone like Gary might be able to tell me if it is really in poor taste or not.

The opening of the show has three of the four main characters in the living room of an apartment and they are playing with helium balloons. They are breathing in the helium and talking in funny high voices when the fourth person goes into the bedroom to answer a phone call. All three people (including Zooey) take deep breaths of helium into their lungs when the fourth person bursts out of the bedroom with the phone in his hand and says "My dad died."

So the three people with helium voices look mortified as the fourth person who is clearly upset says "why isn't anyone talking?" and all three attempt to comfort him with high helium voices.

Is this joke in bad taste? Intentionally putting people who are in an uncomfortable silly condition into a very serious situation is normally comedy gold, such as John Cleese having to hold a picture frame in front of his naked groin as he explains why he is borrowing his friend's house to the family who rented it the previous week.

Funny is funny, and I am very very difficult to offend, so I wonder if a lot of people found this joke offensive. Luckily (or perhaps not) for those involved in the show The New Girl, I have a feeling not too many people were offended because very few actually saw it.

The rest of the show was rubbish, by the way. Just awful. Good opening joke though.

P.S. Happy April Fools Day and all that. The worlds coming to and end, Blogging is so 2005, blah blah blah. April Fools!