AMERICAN IDOL & BETTER Television

I know I’m in full-on nerd mode when I say this but I’m happy season 9 of Idol has started! Yes, this show can be corny and full of deluded, scary folks, but every once in a while they get it right and find a real star among the wannabes (I loved Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood during their respective seasons). Also, while I covered season 8 last year, Poncho dropped by, became one of the most insightful and witty commenters about the show, and has since continued to hang out here and become my cyber buddy. American Idol brings people together!

It’s too early to call anything but here are quick takes about last night’s premiere:

  • My favorites include Benjamin Bright with his smooth Aaron Neville-esque delivery of the Beatles’s “All My Loving,” the stunning Ashley Rodriguez (push-down-the-stairs alert!) and her rendition of Alicia Keyes’s “If I Ain’t Got You,” Katie “I Love My Portuguese Grandma” Stevens doing “At Last” better than Beyoncé at the Inaugural Ball, and Justin Williams, who made ME feel good when he sang “I’m Feelin’ Good,” Michael Bublé-style.
  • I’ve said it before but I’ll repeat myself here: Having Victoria Beckham judge a singing contest is like having Stevie Wonder judge Project Runway. How would she know anything about good singing? Everything was “nice.” Sample critique: “You have a nice smile, nice look, nice voice, nice personality. I say yes.” Thanks for that.
  • Most supportive relatives go to Amadeo Diricco‘s Italian clan, Bosa Mora‘s Nigerian folks, and Katie Stevens’s huge family who made Ryan Seacrest cry.
  • Funniest critique—Simon’s dissection of Norberto‘s audition, saying how weird it was that he sounded like a three-year-old girl but looked like LaToya Jackson with a beard, made me laugh. How will we manage without our favorite judge next year? Who could possibly replace him?
  • Did you spark to any singers last night?

After Idol, I switched to Better Off Ted on my DVR list. Please, please, please watch this show so it won’t die. The laughs-per-minute ratio is higher than any other show currently on and yes, that includes Modern Family and Glee, two of my favorites.

Two fresh episodes were on last night—I fear ABC is burning them off while anticipating cancelation—and the first one was a riot. The company Ted works for, Veridian Dynamics, is a really inappropriate corporation known for sending out memos full of typos then refusing to own up to them out of pride. The latest memo says, “Employees must NOW use offensive or insulting language in the workplace.”

Because higher-ups won’t admit they meant “NOT” instead of “NOW,” employees, even meek ones, let fly an endless barrage of rude insults at each other. The putdowns get more creative as people become more empowered and start enjoying telling others how they really feel. I laughed so hard, I had to repeatedly rewind to catch all the dialogue.

Even if you don’t watch much TV, sample it on ABC.com or hulu.com (the episode I mentioned is number 208, titled “The Impertence of Communicationizing”). I guarantee you’ll laugh. If not, come back here and tell me off since you must NOW use offensive language in the comments!

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11 Comments

  • Reply
    Poncho
    January 13, 2010 at 10:59 am

    I try not to watch the auditions, so I feel that the producers aren’t shoving somebody down my throat (Any flashbacks?). But perhaps I’ll catch one or two eps.

    AI starts airing on Saturday, here in Mexico.

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 13, 2010 at 11:43 am

      Wow, you have more restraint than I do. I have to watch the auditions. No shoving yet.

      What kind of flashbacks are you referring to?

  • Reply
    Sarah
    January 13, 2010 at 2:51 pm

    You’re the fifth person in two days who’s told me to watch Better of Ted. To hulu I go!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 13, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      Oh, goody! Let me know what you think!

  • Reply
    le0pard13
    January 13, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    I’m going to take you up on Better Off Ted. It sounds too good to last. My wife loves AI, along with my daughter. It’s like Godfather III for me at my house when it comes to this:

    Just when I thought I was out… they pull me back in.

    Thanks, PCN.

  • Reply
    Jen Forbus
    January 14, 2010 at 5:55 am

    500 Summers came in for me at the library, so I’m planning to watch that this weekend, but I’ll try to get online and watch BETTER OFF TED as well. It sounds hilarious!

    • Reply
      Pop Culture Nerd
      January 14, 2010 at 8:37 am

      Yay, 500 Summers is a treat, Jen! Let me know what you think. And Ted will only take 21 minutes to watch online since it has fewer commercials.

  • Reply
    Pop Culture Nerd
    January 14, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Are you saying you don’t like AI? Are you not human?

    • Reply
      le0pard13
      January 14, 2010 at 9:09 am

      AI and I have a dysfunctional relationship ;-).

  • Reply
    Foxtail
    January 14, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    “Bette Off Ted”is the funniest sitcom ever!!! I thought “30 rock” was the best of all but I actually laugh more often watching “Better Off Ted” than watching “30 rock.” The show makes me want to get a job in a company like that.

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 16, 2010 at 6:00 pm

    You know, I haven’t been able to watch AI, for the last season or two. I have a hard time watching those who think they are really good and they are told in no uncertain terms that they SUCK. (But then again, I have a hard time with debates. What does that tell you about me?) Last season, my husband would DVR it and then watch it with headphones on. If there was someone really fantastic or terribly funny, he would let me know.

    You mentioned Victoria Beckham as a guest judge. In the past, I’d have to say that Gene Simmons was one of the best guests for that job.

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