Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I’m with Coco

Look, middle-aged white men aren’t the focus of this blog. I know that. That has not changed. But this Conan/Leno late night clusterfuck is so crazy and absurd and, in a way, insulting that it begs comment.

First, let us establish the ground rules. I am on Team Conan.

I’ve always enjoyed his brand of off-kilter, geeky smarts. Also, that hair. But now that he has given a definitive “No!” to NBC’s lunatic idea of pushing “The Tonight Show” to 12:05 a.m. (which would no longer make it “Tonight” and instead need to be called “Tomorrow”) to accommodate a half hour of Jay Leno, I’m on Team Conan for life. That has to be one of the one of the classiest “Fuck Off” letters ever written.

What I can’t understand, even for a moment, is how NBC would trade its past for its future. Johnny Carson, who held the chair for 30 years, retired at age 66. Leno, who hosted the show for 17 years, will be 60 in April. Conan, who had the job for seven months, is 46. Squeezing maybe five more years out of Jay at the expense of decades worth of comedy with Conan is, well, idiotic. Beyond idiotic.* This is no short-term investment.

But then, NBC is a network that defines every cliché of dumbassery. Putting Leno on at 10 p.m. five nights a week was an experiment we all knew would end badly. The same old thing but earlier is not a successful programming strategy. But now, instead of admitting failure they’re doubling down on a time machine to solve their problems.

Granted, the new Tonight Show wasn’t totally clicking with me yet. L.A. Conan had lost a certain edge and unpredictability. But it’s really hard to judge something like this after only half a year. “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” wasn’t an immediate hit either. But he grew into it and I had every confidence he’d do the same with Tonight.

But now, I guess not.

Look, Jay Leno signed a contract with NBC until 2004. He could have demanded a longer contract. He could have left the network after his reign ended. But he stayed and in the process helped to bring the whole damn house down.

I watch three shows on NBC: “30 Rock,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Chuck.” Sure, I catch the ever-present Law & Order” now and then, but almost exclusively in rerun. It as far as the rest of their primetime lineup goes, it’s a wasteland (apologies to “The Office & “Community,” – you’re good but Thursdays are brutal and I can only catch up on so much). Even after this whole sorted mess is over, I will still watch those shows.

But it’s just another reminder that if we wait for big corporations to do the smart and ethical thing, the only things left of our once mighty civilization will be cockroaches and Jay Leno.

[* Offending idiot comments removed with apologies.It was not my intent to be hurtful to anyone but the idiots at NBC.]

p.s. Thank you for indulging my pop culture philosophizing on dumb boy drama. To express my gratitude, please enjoy Olivia Wilde in her underwear. It’s the least I could do.

Olivia Wilde

NOTE: Olivia has been very active since the earthquake happened in Haiti, raising awareness and relief funds to the devastated area via her Twitter account. Hot and socially conscious. Score.


frannie said...

I agree with you TOTALLY. I am Team Conan for sure. Sometimes you have to know when to just call it a day....**cough** JAY **Cough**

And Olivia....oh Thank you.....yes..what is it about her?

Liz said...

I'm probably in the minority here, but when I am able to stay up past the evening news, it's usually Letterman I watch. I always thought Jay was a bit too smarmy with his guests.
When Conan was on after the Tonight show, my kids used to enjoy watching him.
And I thought it was Jay who made the decision a few years ago that he would stay until 2009(?) and then pass on the Tonight Show to Conan.
Some people just don't know when to bow out gracefully.

Snow said...

I read you from Spain. I never leave any comments because, as you see, my English isn't very good, but I must thank you for that picture of Olivia Wilde *¬*

Oh, and I love your blog!

Big Shamu said...

I bypass all the late night talkers by laughing my ass off at Adult Swim. Granted it's hardly Adult-like and as far as I can tell no one swims but I still laugh harder than anything Leno had to bring to the table.

Who ever thought up moving Leno five nights a week in the Hot Drama slot at NBC should be demoted to a Real Housewives of Atlanta PA.

Kate said...

Well said, especially the part about the clusterfuck being insulting in a way. I completely concur.

Perugga said...

As I`m not an American, I don`t know much about these shows and their hosts. I have to say, though, that I am upset by the phrase about this whole process being "drooling, needs to wear a helmet, possibly be restrained from hurting itself idiotic". I´m a teacher for disabled pupils and feel these words are extremely disrespectful and not what I would expect Ms. Snarker to write at all.

Robin said...

Well said, Ms. Snarker. And Conan, too, for that matter. I guess they must teach the art of the "classy Fuck Off letter" at Hahvahd.

He's right, of course. You don't mess with an established institution like the Tonight Show, not even for the guy who had it last. Especially when the new guy's doing just fine. It's not fair to Conan, or Jimmy, or the audiences for their shows. It's not any of their faults that Leno's humor didn't play well in NBC's usual drama slot. That was just poor planning by the network.

dc said...

This is the first time I've vehemently disagreed you Ms. Snarker.

That might be a "classy" letter...whatever, but I've never been enamoured of Conan's fratboy humour, or his hair.

I'm not on Jay's team either. All these boys on late night can go to hell as far as I'm concerned. Including Letterman.

The only reason I watch any of them is based on who's being interviewed. If I like the guest I'll watch. Although the way these middle aged white men interview the guests are often acutely cringe making.

If you want to look to the future, get some women in I say.

The Claire said...

Team Conan all the way. I watched Letterman when it was Leno vs Letterman but now that Conan's on earlier he is my number one choice.

I will follow Conan wherever he goes after this and as far as Im concerned, NBC has a bunch of fucking morons for executives.

Leno should have known to bow out gracefully. Now he has tarnished his reputation in my book.

And that one was classy "fuck off, no" letter. Go Coco!!

Making Space said...

I don't watch TV so I have no idea what you're talking about but if this Olivia Wilde is a TV person I'm putting a TV on my bed NOW.

Kristin said...

This whole thing is stupid. The shows are boring, and why this is being considered newsworthy is beyond me.

Anne said...

The only thing I can think of during this mess is that maybe Conan will go back to writing for The Simpsons. Since we're turning back time and all. :-)

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