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Michele Greppi believes half the fun of TV is talking about it -- whether it's whining about the lame-ass finale for the once-beloved "Veronica Mars" or gushing about the kick-ass coda of "The Shield,' which lacked only one last face-to-face at which Mackey could have -- deservedly -- gone postal on Shane. Enter OMGreppi, which will focus on things that were said or seen on TV in the previous 24 hours or so that had Ms. Greppi exclaiming or muttering "omigawd!" at her 24/7 television set.

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July 2007 Archives

'Big Brother' Takes Over

July 24, 2007 4:41 PM

Omigawd, “Big Brother 8” has all but taken over OMGreppi’s life – or whatever she can claim to have as a life – with the addition of three hours per night (that’s 21 hours per week) of loosely directed feed from the house in which strangers are sequestered as they vote someone out and scheme to be the last houseguest standing – all of it before some 50 cameras and wearing microphones.

The 21 hours that start at midnight Eastern on ShowtimeToo are in addition to the three hourlong “BB” broadcasts each week on CBS, and the reading of blogs that thoroughly transcribe most every conversation or development in the house, and the occasional check of the 24-hour live Internet house feeds to see who’s zooming whom. Things turn on a dime in the “BB” house.

OMGreppi’s more highfalutin friends just roll their eyes at her “BB” addiction, but she cannot be shamed. What was the best human ant-farm experience has become a total immersion experience.

And the more this “BB” fan gets, the more she wants. And not just because the house guests are very aware of the hours in which they’re on display “After Dark.”

They’ve begun saving some of their best for last each night. It might be a birthday observance that culminates in the dorky but nipple-ringed Eric (otherwise known as America’s Player, who has to do viewers’ biddings, whether it’s trying to get a particular person nominated for eviction or voted out or just annoyed) licking Bible-reading, slowly blossoming Jameka’s birthday greeting off the dining room table. You don’t have to have a dirty mind to relish the scene, but it helps.

Last week, knowing full well the video would be widely viewed, they egged on Zach until he streaked across the backyard and into the pool just before the end of the telecast. You don’t have to be a connoisseur of bawdy parts to have fun with this episode, but it helps. Even Jameka was moved to say on a subsequent night that she’d changed Pampers of better-equipped babies. It was a priceless moment for “BB” fans.

Last night’s “After Dark” started with lots of conversation about how bored ShoToo viewers must be. Dustin, who outlasted his outrageously and self-defeatingly manipulative ex-lover Joe in the house, was leading a strenuous abs workout in the backyard. Nothing was going on. (Dustin, by the way, is OMGreppi’s pick to take it all in the “BB” pool.)

Suddenly, Dick and daughter Danielle -- whose estrangement led to them being one of the three pairs of houseguests unwittingly entering the house with a person from their past, and the only pair in which both are still in the house – were caught up in an extremely emotional discussion that the producers stayed with for a half-hour or more.

OMGreppi was rapt.

Evil Dick, as the houseguests nicknamed the career bartender well before he became head of household, did his best to strike terror into the hearts of everyone he thought had crossed him or might consider crossing him before announcing his nominations for eviction in a ceremony that takes place live during every Thursday night’s broadcast on CBS.

He’s an aficionado of “BB,” and sussed out the first attempt at a controlling alliance: formed by the first head of household, the small-town businesswoman, who has never known an openly gay person before, and three younger guys. (None of his fellow houseguests understood why he dubbed the now-splintered group the Mrs. Robinson Alliance. Producers might want to address this pop-cultural illiteracy during the next contestant search.)

But Evil Dick also was hoping that being under the same roof with his daughter might lead to some kind of a rapprochement. It’s been touch and go, especially since they were both nominated for eviction by Jen, a busty bikini bunny who redefines narcissist. E.D. is a colorful character – and OMGreppi is not just referring to his tattoos, black-and-red-splotched hair, piercings, devilish facial hair and goth-black fingernails. His late-night conversations with the cameras and whatever hapless houseguest wanders within earshot have become known as the “Dick at Nite” show. He hawks loogies in the backyard, farts (but there’s a lot of that and talk about that going around the house), brags about famous people he’s met and places he’s seen, and brags about going commando under his well-torn jeans.

Viewers still don’t know the whole story, but at some point, Dick (and who knows who else) appears to have let his daughter and son go to live with their pentacostal-preacher grandmother rather than personally shouldering the responsibility of their upbringing.

Danielle, the baby of the house, is an intriguing study in contradictions. The busty little slip of a blonde, who waitresses at Hooters, has won the power of veto twice in a row. The second time she took herself off the block, leaving her father to sweep the vote and send Joe packing. But she’s caught between a boyfriend back home in Huntington Beach, Calif., and Nick, a sexually intriguing jock whose puppy-dog pursuit of her may be real or may be just another show-mance designed to help Nick in a game that is decided by votes.

And she’s unable to focus on her game because of the unexpected presence of her father.

Last night, she tried to tell him how his sarcasm cuts and makes it difficult to regard him as a friend and how her lack of mother and father role models makes it difficult to regard him as a parent. There were a few moments in which E.D., clearly touched, almost acted like a parent hearing a primal scream from his child. At one point, he even suggested family counseling after “BB” is over. But then he’d lapse back into defense of his parenting choices and perspectives. And afterward, he made the rounds of the houseguests, recounting the discussion with Danielle.

He blew it. Big-time.

And Jameka, the school counselor known for mmm-mmmming her side of many conversations, tried gently to lead him to an understanding of what Danielle most needs from him now.

Given a couple more weeks – not something Evil Dick can count on given that houseguests are getting tired of the “Dick at Day and Nite” show – she might just get through.

OMGreppi is pulling for Jameka.

And she’s not afraid to admit she’s secretly hoping that Evil Dick, sensing his number is up, just stops the game-playing and bows out to free his daughter of one handicap.

It would be the fatherly thing to do. And the fatherly thing to do seems long overdue.

But OMGreppi desperately wants him to shout, as he closes the door behind him and heads for his debriefing by “BB” host Julie Chen: “Mrs. Robinson was a cradle robber.”

It would be the perfect exit line on the best soap opera on TV.

Katie Couric Can’t Win

July 9, 2007 9:28 AM

Fair or unfair, the “CBS Evening News” anchor seems to be in a no-win situation.

Talking about it, at length, and authorizing her pals to talk about it on her behalf, doesn’t help, as a long article, headlined “Alas, Poor Couric,” in the current New York magazine makes all too clear.

If you don’t like Katie Couric before you read the first of the 6,300 or so words by Joe Hagan, you won’t like her any more when you get to the closing paragraph, in which “She summons a smile. Even now, her optimism is irrepressible.”

None of the possible rationales for why “Evening News” has not become a player since she took over the perpetually third-place newscast has not been uttered more than before by Ms. Couric, who wanted to serious-up (and make $15 million a year) after 15 years as the morning news star of NBC’s “Today” show, or by the CBS executives who wanted to lighten up the evening news genre in hopes of attracting viewers not interested in the old “Evening News.”

Genderism, sexism, stuck-in-a-rutism on the part of the audience and CBS Newsies who think maybe she’s not up to her current task, which includes acting as managing editor of “Evening News,” are suggested again. So is meanness on the part of the media, which apparently waited for 15 long years to throw darts at her.

Insulting the audience, yeah, that’s the ticket, to borrow the catchphrase of Jon Lovitz’s old liar character.

Insulting the media is Katie Couric’s right, but it's naive. Covering the ratings decline, when a ratings incline was what CBS paid for, didn’t start with Katie Couric, won’t end with Katie Couric, and isn’t limited to Katie Couric.

Insulting her own news organization probably won’t inspire confidence on the part of the viewers who are on the fence or who jumped it.

There’s a lot of nothing new in the article, but the juiciest anecdote, which is landing in the headlines about the article, begs the question of whether gender doesn’t at least occasionally work in her favor.

Ms. Couric admits repeatedly smacking news editor Jerry Cipriano on the arm because he used the word “sputum” in the story of the world-famous tuberculosis case in June and it’s not a word she wanted used.

“’I sort of slapped him around,” Ms. Couric said to Mr. Hagan. “I got mad at him and said, ‘You can’t do this to me. You have to tell me when you’re going to use a word like that.’ I was aggravated, there’s no question about that.” But she says she has a good relationship with Cipriano. “We did ban the word sputum from all future broadcasts. It became kind of a joke.’”

A guy, speaking with the voice of God or not, couldn’t have gotten away with that kind of management style. And if Ms. Couric hadn’t done this New York magazine interview, we wouldn’t know that she thinks it’s kind of a joke.

In the 'Big Brother' 'Hood

July 5, 2007 7:51 AM

Ohmygawd, OMGreppi can hardly wait until 8 tonight for the season premiere of “Big Brother 8.”

It is the guiltiest of guilty pleasures. The reality-show gift that keeps on giving.

One show. Three nights on CBS. Thursday, Sunday and Tuesday. Twenty-four hours on the Internet, thanks to the HOW MANY cameras that guarantee the HouseGuests – 14 to start and then one voted out each Thursday in a live nail-biter hosted by the wardrobe-enabled Julie Chen -- can run their mouths and their scams but they can’t hide.

And now, OMG, three hours per night on CBS’s cable sister channel Showtime Too, of live voyeurism starting at midnight. That’s going to be a break for OMGreppi’s old bones, which can only take so many hours at the computer – although the latest RealPlayer is warmed up for the Web watch, is the most addictive people-watching ever. And the link to mortystv.com’s ‘round-the-clock, running blog about what’s going on, is secure.
In this year’s human ant farm are only four “older” HouseGuests: a 44-year-old heavily tattooed L.A. bartender who is (surprise!) single; a 37-year-old Oregon woman described as a business owner; a 30-year-old graphic designer from Burbank; and a 28-year-old school counselor (what’s wrong with this picture?) who also appears to be the only African-American in the cast. Among the youngsters are a Jordin Sparks look-alike; a 20-year-old Elisha Cuthbert look-alike; a 22-year-old Todd Oldham look-alike; a 23-year-old Michael Rapaport look-alike; and a 25-year-old “former pro football player.”

One of the HouseGuests has been selected to do what the viewers tell him to do at the end of each episode starting Sunday, a role that may or may not help him or her last, and a role that is not supposed to be known to the others in the house.

The other twist is that some HouseGuests will find themselves sequestered with an “enemy.” OMGreppi think she has identified one of the tense male twosomes, but she might just be reading too much into mug shots and geographic similarities.

We’ll see. We’ll see it all.