Friday, January 29, 2010

Bye for now, Conan

I started this post almost a week ago but then wasn't sure if I wanted to finish it, because I'm sure most people are over the whole late night fiasco. But then I figured, I wrote it, I might as well share it. So, one more time, and then I'll shut up about the whole thing, at least until Conan gets another show...

I was so sad to watch Conan sign off last Friday night. Almost a year ago I wrote a post about his last Late Night show, and while that was sad in a way, there was at least the guarantee that he would be back in 3 months to host the Tonight Show. This time, nothing is certain, though I am hopeful that by September we'll see him somewhere on TV again.

I'm still annoyed about the whole situation, however. In 2004, NBC made the decision to hand the Tonight Show over to Conan in 2009, and Leno appeared to go along with this and announce it on his show, claiming to want a smooth transition, unlike the Carson/Leno/Letterman debacle in the 90s. Now, of course, people are claiming that Leno was forced out by NBC - well, if that was the case, he should have made his feelings known, like Conan did with his statement, or gone to a competitor. Letterman put it best when he said (and I'm paraphrasing), "When they tell you Conan's going to take over your job, you leave, you don't hang around in the lobby." But Leno did hang around, and NBC decided to stick him at 10:00...and obviously that didn't work. NBC made another poor decision by hatching the plan that Leno would move his show to 11:35 and Conan's Tonight Show would air at 12:05 (the next day, not "Tonight"!). But once again, instead of bowing out gracefully like he said he would 5 years ago, Leno stayed in there after Conan refused to move his timeslot.

Conan said he based his decision on the reasons of the Tonight Show legacy and the potential effect on Jimmy Fallon's ratings, which are completely valid and thoughtful reasons. I just don't get why Leno is willing to come back and look like the bad guy who forced Conan out of a job - the job he appeared to hand over willingly. What is the hold Leno has on NBC that they're willing to just forget Conan - who was the reigning host of the Tonight Show?! - and completely neglect the fact that his entire staff moved from New York to Los Angeles for this...and that they built a brand new studio...? I've never thought Leno was particularly funny - to each his own, but Conan is much more my style. I tolerated Leno before, but I'm done now. I will never voluntarily watch any of his shows again, and if I weren't hooked on so many other NBC shows I'd stop watching the network altogether. I enjoyed this tweet from a mock Twitter account for Jeff Zucker, the NBC president (Twitter has since required this person to add "fake" to his account name.): @jzucker_ceo: New Tonight Show ride at Universal Studios! You stand in line until it's your turn, then you let the last guy go again.

On a positive note, Conan's last Tonight Show had some awesome moments (I know I'm going link crazy in this post, so I won't link to each segment - they should be easy to find on Hulu though!). The montage set to "Surrender" was so much fun - and that song will forever remind me of the opening to his June 1st show when he "forgot" to move to L.A. and ran across the country. The song choices of "Long May You Run" by Neil Young and "Free Bird" by Will Ferrell were perfectly appropriate and meaningful for the occasion, and Tom Hanks was delightful as usual. But I think my favorite part was when Conan gave a little speech at the end, saying how much the Tonight Show experience had meant to him and how much he appreciated the support of his fans. I posted this quote from him on Facebook and got the most comments/likes I've had in quite awhile: "Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen."

Aside from finding Conan completely hilarious, I also think he seems like a really good guy who cares about his staff and his audience. His advice is definitely something I need to take to heart right now, because I can see myself getting cynical about certain things and feeling like "nice guys finish last" is a true statement lately. But I'm sure he'll find success again, and I'll try to follow that lead, in my own way. Whatever happens, I'm looking forward to when Conan can again make me laugh at the end of a long day. See ya in September, CoCo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This Too Shall Pass... the name of a song off the new OK Go album. I'm not super familiar with their music, but I thought "Here It Goes Again" (with the popular Treadmill Video) was fun and catchy. During the 2008 football season the ND marching band did a halftime show with their own version of "Here It Goes Again" - complete with treadmills - and it apparently caught the attention of OK Go. And that is why the ND band ended up in the music video for "This Too Shall Pass" (sans the real Notre Dame uniforms, if anyone was wondering - apparently it was a copyright problem for the ND logo or something):

OK Go - This Too Shall Pass from OK Go on Vimeo.

Not your typical music video, that's for sure. But it had some fun surprises - and how awesome is it that they managed to get it in one continuous shot? (I wonder how many tries that took...) A fellow drummer alum had sent out an email in the fall saying that the band would be part of the music video, but I had no idea they'd be such a big part! It must have been a blast to film. In addition to making me super nostalgic for my marching band days, the song also makes me content. It has a great that I should really listen to more often.

Oh yeah, and if you liked it, you can go to and get a free MP3 of the audio from the video!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back to the busy TV season!

I'm so excited for this week! After almost 9 months away, Chuck returns tonight for season 3. Season 2 just came out on DVD/Blu-ray on Tuesday, so Shaun and I have been squeezing in an episode or two each night this week. Unfortunately we haven't had quite enough time to make it through the whole season, but it's been a nice little appetizer for the main course. And what a main course it is - 2 hours tonight at 9 EST and an hour tomorrow in its regular timeslot at 8 EST. Watch it!

And then Tuesday night is the season premiere of American Idol! As much as I've enjoyed it since I started watching it in season 4 (the year Carrie Underwood won), I'm prepared for the show to have a different feel this year with Ellen replacing Paula. And based on the rumors about Simon leaving Idol after this year, I'm prepared for it to be the last season. It wouldn't be the same show without him. But that's okay with me, to be honest...I could stand to cut down on my TV schedule! But for now I'm happy to have some distractions to get me through this long, dark, cold part of the year.

However, I am a little annoyed about some TV news that popped up within the past few days - the news that Leno will not be on at 10pm anymore after the Olympics, and that the current proposal is to move him back to 11:35 for a half hour show, pushing Conan's Tonight Show to 12:05 and Jimmy Fallon's Late Night to 1:05. I'm obviously biased because of my affinity for Conan (and my belief that Leno's humor is not nearly as funny), but I think this is an insult to Conan. If Leno's show failed, why should he be rewarded by (mostly) getting his old job back? Why should Conan be punished by being pushed later? Sure, his ratings are lower than Leno's were because of his quirky brand of humor, and maybe NBC jumped the gun by planning his move to the Tonight Show (and Leno's retirement) 5 years in advance, but that's their fault. They gave Conan the contract.

Leno should just quit pulling a Brett Favre and retire already. (Although on that subject, I couldn't stay mad at Brett Favre, seeing how far he's gotten the Vikings this season!) The one advantage to this scenario though is that Leno's move will open up 5 more hours of primetime on NBC, thus making a Chuck renewal more of a sure thing than last year, hopefully. They'll be looking for shows to fill their lineup instead of determining which ones to cut. I really need a job in TV, don't I... I feel like I talk about it way more than a normal person should!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

2009...over already?

I know it's a little late, but I still wanted to continue the tradition of writing a recap of the previous year - one that I've had ever since I kept a "real" journal in high school . It was a change of pace approaching this year though, because unlike recent years, there wasn't really a defining event. Ever since college there's been something big - in 2004 I graduated and got my first 2005 Shaun graduated and moved to Iowa to be with 2006 we moved to Connecticut and got 2007 we bought our townhouse...and in 2008 we got married. 2009, by comparison, was pretty uneventful. Despite that, 2009 seems to have gone incredibly quickly and is starting to become a blur. With the help of past entries I'll just try to quickly pick out a few highlights and try not to bore anyone too much.

In March, Shaun, Rich and I took a trip to Philadelphia where we met up with John and Sarah from DC, Ben from southern PA, Ben from Delaware and we stayed with Matt and Jess. Though these weekends go by way too quickly, I always appreciate a chance to see our friends, and something to look forward to that breaks up the monotony of workweek upon workweek. Philly's a fun city and hopefully we'll make it back again this year.

In June, Shaun and I celebrated our first anniversary with a concert, movie, dinner and cake.

In July, we took a trip to Minnesota - if I remember correctly, it was the first time we'd seen my family since the previous Thanksgiving, so that was really nice. On top of that, Rich came out with us and John and Sarah flew in to see a bit of the Twin Cities and catch a Twins game during the last baseball season at the Metrodome. I really enjoyed the chance to show my friends around my hometown, and it was so great to see my family - and meet my new second cousin, Brynn.

In August, my best friend from Notre Dame, Lauren, came up from Atlanta to visit. We spent a sticky summer day in NYC and then brought her up to our neck of the woods to show her where we've been hanging out the past few years. I wish we lived closer together, but I truly appreciate the fact that we've done a great job of staying connected over the years, despite the distance.

September was a busy month with a trip to Notre Dame over Labor Day weekend (for what seemed like the only easy win of the season...oh what a difference 3 months makes). A couple weeks later, we headed down to DC with Rich to see John and Sarah and had a blast, as always, with a mix of running around the city and just sitting around playing games and talking.

We made another trip to Penn State in October for a football game and had fun hanging out with the PA crowd, despite the chilly temperatures. At the end of October, I flew out to the Quad Cities, and on November 2, I got LASIK. It's pretty amazing to be able to see in the shower every morning, and fall asleep watching TV in bed...I know it hasn't been long, but hopefully I'll be just as happy with the surgery in the years to come.

Right after Thanksgiving, I went on my first major work trip to Chicago, and the break from the office combined with the chance to see family and friends made for a great time. For Christmas, Shaun and I made our way to Minnesota and enjoyed relaxing with family and watching the snow fall. I realized that I saw my parents 3 times within about 2 months this fall/winter...that's the most often I've seen them since I moved out here 3 years ago. I wish it were financially possible to keep up that schedule!

We closed out 2009 with two New Year's Eve parties - a first for us homebodies. We started out the evening with our friends Bill and Amanda, then headed over to Shaun's sister Karen's for a party with extended family. Our brother-in-law Don got Rock Band 2 for Christmas, so the whole crowd had quite a bit of fun trying out the different parts - though of course no one was a match for Shaun's drumset skills!

I know that flipping the calendar doesn't mean everything is going to change, but there are some things I really hope to accomplish (well, one in particular), and I'm hopeful that I'll find some success in 2010. There were some rough moments last year that I didn't really get into on here because, well, I don't want to be a Debbie Downer. (I'd be griping all the time otherwise, and no one wants that...I'll just do some 'splainin' when the news gets better!) I'm so fortunate to have my husband, family and friends - that's what's important, and I'll figure the rest out soon enough.

Hopefully it's not too late to wish you a Happy New Year - may 2010 bring you everything you're wishing for!