And now for something completely different ...
With apologies to Monty Python, I realize you have come to expect a lot of moaning and complaining from this column. But occasionally there are programs on TV, however rare, that are quite entertaining. Here are some recent examples:
•NBC’s Olympic coverage was good, even though it had way too many ads and human-interest stories in prime time. I watch the games to see athletes careen down a mountain, not hear about how their parents sacrificed on their behalf.
Conversely, the live overnight and early morning coverage on its secondary stations was excellent. We saw some great curling (yes, curling!) and hockey matches from start to finish. (I wonder how many Russian hockey players will be requesting asylum in the U.S. Tough break, guys.)
•From what I’ve seen so far, Jimmy Fallon should do a nice job on “The Tonight Show.” He’s no Johnny Carson — Who is? — but he does have a good sense of humor, doesn’t take himself too seriously and seems to have his old “Saturday Night Live” crew backing him when needed. A nice change of pace from Mr. Leno.
•Finally, a note of thanks to CBS and the Grammy Awards academy for producing a terrific tribute to mark the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ first appearance on “The Ed Sullivan Show” in 1964 (yes, I was there). Thank you for making it about the musicians — real, honest-to-goodness musicians, such as Stevie Wonder, Jeff Lynne, Joe Walsh and, of course, Paul and Ringo.
There were no manufactured performers, such as Bieber, Cyrus or Gaga in sight, just real musicians playing their own instruments. No storm troopers (deaf punks?) fiddling with electronic control panels to make “sounds” (certainly not music).
This special showed what real music can still sound like. It didn’t hurt that they had great material to work with.