Well, the stock market’s down and Joe Torre’s gone Ã¢â‚¬â€ at least, from the Yankees Ã¢â‚¬â€ but all in all, it’s been a pretty good week on the tube, with NBC’s Matt Lauer navigating the tricky Sen. Larry Craig waters gracefully; PBS’ “Frontline” doing solid work, once again, on Vice President Dick Cheney; the PBS documentary “Wordplay” offering real insight into the psyche of New York Times crossword puzzle fanatics (Who knew the Yankees were such word-smiths?); and the village of Tuckahoe offering stellar support on Fox in “Kitchen Nightmares,” with chef Gordon Ramsay at perhaps his most rational. Take a bow all.
Surfing the nets this week got me thinking about a variety of subjects. For one, I’m wondering if Det. Dani Reese could possibly be the missing Rachel on NBC’s “Life”? Consider this: She’s about the right age and coloring, and she’s got enough personal demons to make it plausible that she endured some trauma as a child (like surviving the psychopathic murder of her entire family). Of course, she would be deliberately hiding her identity from her partner, Det. Charlie Crews. But still, there could be an explanation for doing so. I’d love to hear from fellow “Lifers” on this.
Still on “Life,” how come everybody on TV seems to have some variation on the name Charles this season? There’s Charlie on “Life” and on CBS’ “Two and a Half Men,” who’s played by a real-life Charlie (Sheen). Then there’s Chuck on ABC’s “Pushing Daisies,” Fox’s “Back to You” and, of course, NBC’s “Chuck.”
“Charles,” from the Old German meaning “free man,” is a chilly, formal name. “Chuck” and “Charlie” have a friendly sound. That must be it.
TV’s Charlies certainly live in fabulous abodes, “Two and a Half Men’s” Charlie in a Malibu beach-house (Does he know Barbie?), while “Life’s” Crews dwells in the quintessential Los Angeles house. Is this the season we go from “House” to houses? Dan’s Victorian on “Journeyman” is to die for, leaky ceilings and all, while the jewel-colored, Cuban-style manse on CBS’ “Cane” is virtually the only reason to tune in the show. (Honestly, if “Cane” is hoping to be the 21st-century’s “Dallas” or “Dynasty,” it’s going to have to get down and dirty and unleash Polly Walker.)
There’s also some nice real estate on CBS’ musical dramedy “Viva Laughlin,” which is otherwise unspeakable. Someone should foreclose on this one.
By far, however, the most entertainment on the tube this week was provided not by a network drama or comedy but by the news divisions reporting on China’s women trouble. Back in 1980, the government instituted a one-child policy, which led many couples to favor boy babies over girls, since sons take care of the parents in old age. Apparently, it never occurred to anyone that this would lead to a scarcity of marriageable women, who would then gain the upper hand in, oh, say, 2007. Duh.
Well, those chickadees have now come home to roost, and anxious young Chinese men are vowing to win the persnickety ladies’ hearts by earning a lot of money and buying big houses. (Gee, like on “Life”? Forget the shacks, guys. Try acquiring some of Damian Lewis’ charisma.)
“Life” may be good, but real life remains unparalleled in its irony.