I'm not one for awards shows. They're long and self-important and they almost always fail to live up to hype. So, basically, they're like sports, which I do love. But with sports, you get people running around.
This year's Academy Awards seem bland on paper. The hosts are ubiquitous renaissance man James Franco and the perky breasts of Anne Hathaway. Everyone knows the Oscars are still the awards show, but how can those two possibly out-do Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes? Will Franco read one of his short stories? Please no. Will Anne Hathaway flash the camera? Not in a post-Janet Jackson world. As I see it, there are exactly two reasons to watch:
1) This may be the best list of Best Picture nominees since...I don't know when? 1994? 1980? 1976? A film critic would give you a better answer. It helps there are 10 nominees, which must be something recent, because they didn't do that when I was a kid!
Seriously, it's quite possible something crazy could happen this year. Exit Through the Gift Shop, a film by the world's most famous visual artist (and who is also completely anonymous and specializes in grand pranks) is nominated for Best Documentary Feature. In all likelihood, Exit Through the Gift Shop isn't even a documentary, but I really, really, really hope that's not the last thing Banksy's got up his sleeve. I'm hoping he does something enormous. At least the possibility exists. Apparently he's not allowed to accept the award wearing a mask, but he's been doing work around Los Angeles, as Dan Gibson already mentioned on this site. In fact, chances are he won't even win. The odds-on favorite is Inside Job.
Still, maybe. That's all you can hope for anymore, that something crazy will happen and you were there to see it. If not, then everyone will tweet about it and you'll be the chump who missed out and everyone will laugh at you, and you'll have to be all indignant and say you don't even own a TV like a jerk.
All times Arizona
Portlandia (Season Finale!) - Friday, February 25th. 10:30 PM on IFC.
I'm going to miss this show. While the quality varies, I've grown quite fond of the opening credit sequence (a beautiful ode to the Rose City), and Carrie Brownstein. Her comedic sense is almost the exact opposite of her singing voice with Sleater-Kinney - charming, perfect and endearing. I'll say that with the caveat the male characters she plays are kind of terrifying. I grew up watching Monty Python and Kids in the Hall, so I don't mind cross-dressing, but watching her hump Fred Armisen is simply disturbing.
The 83rd Annual Academy Awards - Sunday, February 27th. 6:30 PM on ABC.
I already talked about this. The Banksy stuff.
Big Love - Sunday, February 27th. 9 PM on HBO.
If you happen to be watching Big Love, I urge you to read Todd VanDerWerff's recaps over at the AV Club, which are highly insightful. As he points out, Big Love's final village swerves wildly between brilliant and awful.
"Do you remember them kissing?" I asked.
"No," she replied.
Because they never had. At least not on screen. It was so odd. I know the show has had trouble packing in storylines in the past, but this was so glaringly strange.
Then the show will be awesome again, like, a half-second later. I've decided just to laugh that stuff off. After all, Big Love is just an overblown and particularly well-written soap opera. Might as well enjoy the ride.
The Onion Sportsdome - Tuesday, March 1st. 8 PM on Comedy Central
I think I've said enough about this show at this point. It's amazingly funny. I only mention it again because the airtime has changed to 8 PM. I have to think this bodes well for the show continuing into further seasons, but I don't know anything about how networks work.
Modern Family - Wednesday, March 2nd. 9 PM on ABC.
You know, I'm not even sure Modern Family will be on next week. I'm past trying to figure out ABC's scheduling, but I will say I appreciate HBO for just playing shows ever week. They don't even seem to break for major holidays. Since I don't watch stuff on a typical schedule, it's nice. I remember those days pre-internet (we didn't get TV guide) when you'd sit down for appointment viewing and your show wouldn't be on. Man, I hated that.
The Office - Thursday, March 3rd. 9 PM on NBC.
The Office has been around so long I kind of take it for granted, which is why this season has been such a nice surprise. It's been very good, and I think it edged past Parks and Recreation in quality the last few weeks (Parks and Rec has been kind of bland this year). I didn't love Michael Scott's action movie "Threat Level Midnight" episode, mainly because it wasn't as great as what Community did last season, but it had its moments.
Speaking of Community, that Todd VanDerWerff guy also had a great article the other day comparing Community to Glee. I was initially enraged until I actually read the article, after which it made a lot of sense. Anyway, it's a good read.