Jewish World Review August 13, 2003 / 15 Menachem-Av, 5763

Media Person

Media Person
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Consumer Reports

Go West, Old Viewer | Television. The new season. it's coming, whether you like it or not. but what's the trend? Gotta have a trend. Actually, we have several. Reality shows, of course, still going strong. The gay thing, that's happening, too. And let's not forget gay reality shows. But the exciting new theme, the one that's starting to sneak in, not yet full blown, but blowin' in the wind, is ... the Western. Yep, oaters are back, not just on TV but movies, too.

And think of the demographic riches awaiting: a whole generation ignorant of cowboys and Indians, Wells and Fargo, saddles and sores, buttons and bows, the Lone Ranger and Tonto and an Apache tomahawk buried in your skull. What fun the young folk are in for!

Media Person gives you a glimpse of some of the best offerings currently in development:

Kiowa Eye for the Pale Guy (Bravo): Each week, five fabulous, fancy-riding braves descend upon a hapless family of stodgy sodbusters and give them a much-needed frontier makeover. Mauve Feather (coiffure expert) removes excess scalp hair with one effortless flick of his waxing blade, Hunting For Fabric (decor specialist) shows how a flaming roof can add flare to a dingy, light-starved cabin, and wisecracking livestock maven Runs Off With Horses keeps everyone in stitches with bon mots like, "I've seen better-looking dead white people at Custer's Last Stand" and "Ewww, she's so Calamity Jane."

The Saloon (NBC): A citified dandy named Rocky shows up on the streets of Laredo determined to launch the best watering hole west of St. Louis. Pulling in the locals with his signature aperitif, a sophisticated blend of rotgut whisky, sarsaparilla and Absolut Citron, he then opens a restaurant section. But Rocky suffers a serious setback after being dragged through the streets behind the horse of a cowpoke offended that his order of prairie oysters cilantro and beans in pesto sauce was undercooked.

Sex in Dodge City (HBO): Four attractive young women experience the fun and frustrations of living the single life in one of the Wild West's wildest towns. In the premiere, Agatha, a prim schoolmarm, is kidnapped by an outlaw gang and complains about their hygiene; Trixie, the wisecracking PR lady, has a disastrous date when the town drunk turns out to be impotent; and the lusty saloon gal/supermodel Mary Lou almost dies when she is beaten by a mob of furious housewives screaming "harlot" and "brazen hussy."

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Posses (Fox): Fictionalized-reality show. Each week, horse-mounted cameras follow a mob of boozed-up townsfolk riding out to seize and throw a necktie party for the no-good varmint who shot poor ole Sheriff Bob, or failing that, an innocent drifter.

Last Commanche Standing (CBS): A dozen young insult comics compete before a rowdy audience of prospectors, fur trappers, mountain men and traveling snake-oil salesmen. The unfunny ones are shot. So are the funny ones.

Law and Order: Bovine Victims Unit (Animal Planet): While we all know that rustling is a particularly heinous crime, how many of us can say we truly understand the shame and trauma visited upon the innocent herbivores who are its victims? Branded, herded hundreds of miles, yipped at and sung to mercilessly, often barbecued, these animals suffer their humiliation in silence. Now Lt. Rex Thompson (Mariska Hargitay) and Sgt. Laura Schoolmarm (Maura Tierney) of the Texas Rangers' legendary BVU squad set out to apprehend the no-good varmints responsible and slap them with stiff fines and a good talking-to.

CSI: Cavalry Slaughter Investigators (Comedy Central): A bumbling team of government forensic experts ride to the scene of suspected Indian massacres by bluecoats and try to cover up all signs of the atrocities in this edgy sitcom that is already being protested as insensitive by some Native American groups.

The Mex Files (TBS): General Santa Ana (Nathan Lane) narrates this fascinating documentary series that revisits the Battle of the Alamo and reveals Davy Crockett to be the cowardly, drunken thief and sexual predator we all suspected he really was.

EER (NBC): Medical drama? Soap opera? Horse opera? You won't care as you follow the riveting adventures of the veterinarians who staff the equine emergency room at busy Death Valley Animal Hospital in 1872. Though the plotting suffers somewhat from the fact that the doctors' main course of treatment for the many horses and mules carried in every day suffering from heat stroke was shooting them, the quick pacing and many affairs among the medical personnel make for satisfying drama.

Where's Charlie? (PBS): Incredibly talkative interviewer Charlie Rose is much less boring than usual in this hip, 1880s version of his public-TV yakathon as guests such as Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Wild Bill Hickock, Wyatt Earp and Geronimo get so annoyed with the host's endless blathering, they invariably end up making him "dance" or just pistol-whip him into insensibility.

Survivor, Donner Pass (Food Channel): You write the joke.

JWR contributor Media Person -- a.k.a Lewis Grossberger -- is a columnist for Media Week. Comment by clicking here.


07/01/03: Nuts and Nutserer: Sometimes there's a fine line between heroism and lunacy
06/17/03: Buy, yes, but read?
06/11/03: Queasy Rider
05/28/03: How Hip Is Hop?
05/14/03: Will endorse for food
05/06/03: Kick this sick shtick
04/16/03: Important developments you may have missed because of all the war stuff clogging up the media
03/25/03: To go or not to go
03/12/03: How to talk war talk
03/04/03: Two master debaters
02/26/03: The Miracle Continues: Ask me no questions, I'll tell you no lies
02/19/03: Yanking the Franks
02/05/03: LET MY LETTERS GO!
01/28/03: Into the Pity Pit
01/15/03: Not My Cup of Joe
01/09/03: It was back in '03
12/17/02: Did you get taken?
12/05/02: Mathers of importance

© 2002, Lewis Grossberger