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The Insider: OMG! It’s a Spinoff Baby

Jun 17, 2007  •  Post A Comment

The Insider, who, as faithful readers know, is schizoid enough to have called her shrink and canceled a nonexistent appointment last week, reinvents herself as one of the pajama-ed hordes with a blog.
Look for OMGreppi (a title The Insider had staked out weeks before those yahoos at Yahoo! and “Access Hollywood” announced their omg! collaboration) on the TVWeek blog roster.
OMGreppi is going to be a virtual watercooler around which to discuss things seen on TV, or said on or about TV. Just what we need, you’re thinking, another blah-blah blog about TV.
Yes, we do, for example, when the tide of reviews runs so strongly — and inexplicably — against “John From Cincinnati,” the latest series for HBO from David Milch, who produced the exquisitely profane and profound “Deadwood.”
OMGreppi didn’t pretend to understand everything that was being said as it was being said on “Deadwood,” and she’s not pretending to know where “John” is going to take us. But it was utterly fascinating and riotously engaging from the get-go; and any so-called critic not eager to take this ride and urge his or her readers to do the same should fold, spindle and mutilate his or her credentials.
The debut hour of “John” had, word for word, more entertainment value than the finale of “The Sopranos,” which had a nifty non-resolution with a closing black screen that would have been too grad-school-cute even for the broadcast TV platforms Mr. Chase and HBO so regally disdain. However, the hour leading up to the black screen, as written and directed by Mr. Chase, was far from the best installment of the series we loved so fervently. “The Sopranos” and its fans deserved more.
But OMGreppi digresses. The point is that “John” was part picture postcard (atmospheric California coastline), part extreme family drama (the surfing Yost family has such an encyclopedic array of dysfunctions it would render Dr. Phil catatonic) and part black comedy of errors and non sequiturs (“I’m looking for an Instamatic,” says Yost MILF Rebecca De Mornay. “Would you consider a diabetic if hard-working and handsome?” responds a nerd destined always to be a superstore clerk.)
The cast includes more than one member of the “Deadwood” family, which is a delicious treat. Among those joining the Milch company for “John” are Ed O’Neill, whose pet bird and TV career are wondrously resurrected; Luis Guzman; and Willie Garson, who drolly and fastidiously delivers his lines with the Shakespearean cadence Milch aficionados will recognize and appreciate.
As for that levitation thing, which Bruce Greenwood as the Yost patriarch and retired surfer immediately attributes to a brain tumor, well, as his drug-sidelined surfer son Butchie says: “If that’s a tumor, where do I sign up?”
Let the earthbound reviewers tune out “John” — just don’t follow suit.
When Butchie (Brian Van Holt, who could be a younger, blonder and more amped-up brother of Dennis Quaid) says to the mystical/autistical titular John (Austin Nichols, who could be a younger, more beddable brother of Conan O’Brien), “We’re going to take each other at face value, and get to know each other as we go along,” OMGreppi wants to needlepoint a pillow (or pajama top) with a line from an earlier scene featuring the two characters: “I am here to surf with the beast.”
And she wishes for an endless summer, perhaps to launch a search for the orange-and-white 1973 VW bus, personally rigged for camping, that OMGreppi gave up for adoption when she moved to the Big Apple in 1988.
Anyhoo, you know the drill: OMGreppi will blog, you’ll register your thoughts, we’ll talk and we’ll agree to agree or disagree.
Meanwhile, The Insider will continue to occupy this spot with columns that tend to be more people-, party- and issue-oriented. Think of the multiple personalities as “Sybil”-ing rivalry.

12 Comments

  1. Thank you for your kind words.
    There is an effort to bring “John from Cincinnati” back. Go to SaveJFC.net and see for yourself.
    And I will not call Nancy Franklin, TV critic from the New Yorker magazine an overstuffed douchebag. That would be wrong an not in the spirit of the show.

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