Hi, I’m Meathead. Sorry I haven’t written anything on here in a while, but I forgot what my Buddyhead password was. You’d think I would remember something as easy as “crabcore4lyfe,” but I guess I’ve already arrived at that stage in life where I need to start putting Post-Its all over my apartment with reminders like “Wear Pants Before Leaving” and “Stop Buying Dog Food, You Don’t Have A Dog.” Actually, I just made all that shit up. I didn’t actually forget my password; I’m just lazy. My password really is “crabcore4lyfe” though, but nobody try and hack into my account or I’ll get really mad.
What the hell was the point of this again? Oh, right, I was going to review that shitty new Vampire Weekend album, but it looks like some other dickhead beat me to it. Therefore, I suppose I’ll talk a little bit about something else that’s currently making me want to punch old ladies in the face – this “rescheduling” horseshit that’s going on over at NBC/Universal/GE/Viacom/Perrier/Lego/Carl’s Jr. Now, I know you’re only here to read about Dios and/or The Black Lips, but bear with me while I go off topic for a minute. I promise I’ll take you out for ice cream afterwards (offer applies only to people without beards – sorry Devendra).
Full disclosure here: I don’t really watch much TV, and out of the TV programming that I do watch, virtually none of it is on NBC these days. That being said, I’ll always have fond memories of staying up late to watch Late Night with Conan O’Brien, with its off-beat humor and classic characters like Vomiting Kermit, Pimp-Bot 5000 and Abe Vigoda. At this point, Conan could blow up a school bus full of six-year-olds and he’d still be all right in my book. Then again, I’ve never claimed to be a fan of six-year-olds or school buses, so maybe that’s not the most objective analogy. Fuck you. Sure, these days it can be painful watching him awkwardly suck up to the likes of Spencer Pratt and (insert name of any other brain-dead celebutard who gets paid insane amounts of money for simply existing) while Jeff Zucker points a shotgun at his head just off camera, but I can’t be mad at him. Certainly, if Conan had his way, he’d be introducing Preparation-H Raymond or checking up on Joel, the lovable, suicidally depressed Late Night announcer. But since that might scare away the 11:30 crowd, the “average Joe” middle-America Republicans whose mental faculties are just dull enough to allow them to sit through an entire Jay Leno monologue without desperately tearing their wrists open with whatever remotely sharp object happens to be within reach, we’re stuck with ol’ Co-Co swallowing the remnants of his dignity while he asks that dork with the stupid hair from Twilight what his favorite emo bands are. Still, as watered-down as Conan Lite may be, even without the Masturbating Bear it still beats Leno on his best day.
Despite the fact that my TV viewing has dwindled in recent years, and I really shouldn’t care about what goes on at NBC or any other network, I can’t help but take offense when someone fucks with my man Conan. And that’s pretty much all NBC has been doing to him for the past year or so. The fact that he’s given them pretty solid ratings in the 12:30 slot for the better part of two decades obviously isn’t enough to keep him from getting thrown under the bus as soon as it’s convenient. And every time I think they’ve pulled the biggest dick move possible, they manage to outdo themselves yet again.
Like most people, I’ve never hosted The Tonight Show (I did guest host Later a couple times, but then again, who hasn’t) so I can’t say from first-hand experience what it would be like to be offered the job. I imagine it would be a pretty big deal, though. You know, like “biggest achievement of your entire life” big. Conan did get the offer, and you’d think he’d be able sit back and enjoy it, right? Well, leave it to NBC to fuck that right up. No sooner does Conan start getting his shit packed up to move out to L.A. than the announcement comes that – don’t worry, America – Jay Leno’s not going anywhere! That’s like getting remarried, then on your wedding night telling your new wife that your ex is still going to be coming by every morning to make breakfast.
Because the world is obviously not yet capable of coming to grips with the terrifying idea of a Leno-less existence, NBC gave The Infinite Chin his own hour of “comedy” at 10:00 which is just like The Tonight Show, except it’s called The Jay Leno Show so it’s totally different. I hear it originally went under the working title of General Electric Presents The Conan O’Brien Is Wholly Incompetent And Cannot Even Satisfy His Wife Variety Hour Starring Jay Leno, until focus groups determined that there were just too many syllables. None of the other networks were showing comedy during that time slot, and instead of considering that maybe there’s a reason for that, NBC chose to show how brilliant and innovative they are by taking their old lineup and basically pushing everything back an hour. As the great Jon Voight once said in that National Treasure movie, we must keep the status quo. Man, that movie was fucking stupid.
Of course, anyone with a functioning central nervous system could have predicted that The Jay Leno Show would come to resemble the Hindenburg (specifically, the crashing and burning part, although the point can also be made that Jay’s enormous head is comparable in size and basic shape to the doomed dirigible). Just a few months in, rumors of its impending cancellation have already started spreading. But we all know that’s never going to happen. Like the inexplicably still-uncancelled Saturday Night Live, Jay Leno will never go away. I imagine that after he dies, NBC will hire James Cameron to create a CGI Leno that will recite material that is generated using some sort of extremely bland algorithm. Then again, maybe they already have, I don’t know.
The word on the street (a.k.a. “the internet”) now is that the people in charge at NBC (who shouldn’t be allowed to operate the Frosty machine at Wendy’s, much less a television network) want to put Leno back in his old 11:30 slot, giving him a half hour to giggle at weird newspaper headlines, and bumping Conan up to midnight. If Conan, for some bizarre reason, doesn’t like the idea of continuously being treated like dog feces by clueless TV executives, his other option is to tell NBC to kiss his skinny, whiter-than-white Irish ass and quit.
What really offends me about this whole situation isn’t simply the thought of Conan getting tossed out on his aforementioned skinny ass. It’s just the blatant, unabashed stupidity of it all, and how representative it is of the entertainment industry as a whole. NBC has turned into a complete joke in recent months/years, and they deserve every bit of it. What’s going on there is essentially the same as what’s happening in music, movies and other areas, in that it’s all about the short term, instant gratification. If it doesn’t take off immediately, it’s considered a failure. If Conan doesn’t beat Letterman every night, he’s considered a failure. If NBC really wanted to project the image of being ahead of the curve, they’d leave Conan exactly where he is, ratings be damned, and send Jay Leno off with a big fat severance check, instead of freaking out after only six months, pissing off both of their biggest stars (not to mention their respective audiences), cheapening the Tonight Show brand name even more, and making themselves look like Class A douchebags in the process.
Ideally, I’d like to see both Conan and Leno tell the network to go fuck themselves (in as many words, preferably). Conan can move to another network that will treat him with a higher level of respect than the janitor, and Jay can retire and spend the rest of his days cruising around Burbank in his eighty bazillion antique cars. Then NBC can find out what real failure tastes like once The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon launches.
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