Dumb and Dumber
First of all, I would like
to take a little time out and wish my girlfriend Sharron a happy
birthday this week! I love you, kiddo. As always, thank you for
downloading the podcast from the link at the upper left, or from the
webpage at www.blockpartypodcast.com. If you are reading this, thank you
for reading. I appreciate each and every one of you. And I can
officially announce we are now on Itunes! Search my name, Jason Block or
Block Party and you should be able to find me. The link will be on the
webpage and in the show notes. I am going to start this podcast with a
bit of a joke which I am cleaning up here. A man walks into a bar and
sees a very attractive young woman. He walks up to her and says, "Would
you have intimate relations with me for one million dollars? She thinks
about it and says, "Yes.". He pauses and says, "Would you do that for
one dollar?" She gets offended and says, "What do you think I am?" He
says, "I know what you are, we are just in negotiations."
That is the feeling I got when I watched my candidate for the worst show
of 2008, "The Moment of Truth" on Fox. The concept of this reality game
show is this. A contestant takes a lie detector test with 50 questions.
21 of those questions will be asked again in studio. If you tell the
truth, you win cash. If you lie, you are out. If you answer the first
six, you'll win $10,000. You can walk away, but if you answer the next
5, you get $25,000, the next 4 you get $50,000, the next 3 you get
$100,000, the next 2 you get $250,000. And if you can answer all 21
correctly you get $500,000. The level ending question is usually asked
by someone different or important to thin. The contestant is answering
these questions from host Mark L. Walberg. And they are doing in front
of family and/or friends. The family members can hit a button if they
don’t want to hear the answer to a question, but can only do it once per
game...and a question is switched at random...it could be better or
Sounds simple, right? Here is where it gets real cringe-worthy for me.
The first 6 questions are what I would call moral dilemmas. Example:
"Have you hit a car and not left a note?" Ok, not so bad. But it gets
worse. Questions included: "Have you delayed having children because you
don’t believe your spouse will be your lifelong partner?" or "Have you
checked a man’s privates out in the shower?"
And we haven’t gotten to the real nasty ones yet. What bothers me is
that the show’s concept is simple...what will a person do and what will
a person say for $500,000? I mean, is ANYTHING fair game here? Could you
even get away with questions like: Do you believe that white people are
smarter than people of color? Do you think all Muslims are terrorists?
Have you given a partner a sexually transmitted disease? That really
sickens me if that's true. Because there was a show that challenged
America to look at itself, and did a much better job at it.. It was
called "Without Prejudice"on GSN. Dr. Robi Ludwig made a panel of 5
people look at themselves and decide who they could give $25,000 to.
This was raw, beautifully emotional TV. "Moment of Truth" is
What I wonder is, why do these people go on? Are people that desperate
for cash that they are willing to expose all their dirty laundry on
national TV. No wonder why Jerry Springer hosted this in the UK. This
show is basically Jerry Springer: The Game Show. Mark L. Walberg
reminded me of a smarmy Maury Povich before the girl who is on there for
the 20th time still can’t find out who her baby daddy is. Everything
about this show is wrong. The concept, the execution, and the morality.
I feel very sad for the people who like this show. Because when I watch
a game show, I want to root for someone. None of the contestants make me
want to root for them. I pity them. I feel sorry for them, because they
are willing to sell their souls, marriages and relationships for
$500,000. To quote Ted Dibiase, "Everybody’s got a price...everybody’s
gonna pay." This show is a big fat F for Foul. Although this show is a
big Fat F for Foul in my opinion, Fox is seeing a lot of big fat
ratings. So much so in fact, that according to cynopsis.com, Fox has
already renewed the "Moment of Truth" for 13 more episodes.
And in a related story which
you file under the “You have to be freaking kidding me” section of the
program, two celebrities have been attached to “The Moment of Truth”.
According to TMZ.com, creator and executive producer Howard Schultz has
written a letter to Roger Clemens,
to see if he would clear his name on the show and set the record
straight about his alleged use of
performance enhancing drugs. Schultz said that he is offering the
opportunity to a)
clear his name and b) have any money Clemens would win
donated to charity.
On the other hand, in a move which sends my ick factor to 11, Drew
Peterson, the prime suspect in his fourth
wife Stacy’s disappearance has asked to appear on the show so that the
producers can administer a lie
detector test on TV to prove his innocence. He is also in trouble,
because his third wife died under
Let me comment on both here. First off, you have to give Schultz credit.
This is a pure publicity stunt
and Clemens would never do it, especially with the accuracy rate of a
lie detector at 80-90%.
As for Mr. Peterson. He has been a publicity seeker since the moment his
wife disappeared. And most
recently a radio station got in trouble for offering him a “Win A Date
with Drew Peterson” contest.
This is the same network that got into hot water for trying to publicize
the ill-fated O.J. Simpson book
called... “If I Did It”. There is no way that Fox will allow Petersen
within 100 miles from that studio because a)
it’s an unsolved crime and I believe that is the line that Fox will not
cross, especially with the Colombia
incident, and b) since the accuracy rate is not that high, people can
beat the test and polygraph test are
usually inadmissible in a court of law, and although this will serve
Peterson’s purpose, it won't serve justice's purpose.
Mr. Schultz, a bit of free advice. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t answer
the emails. Don’t open the mail.
Stay far far away from him. Please.
My prediction of a quick
ending to the long writers strike hit a bit of a snag this week.
imdb.com and Daily Variety, the leaders of the Screen Actors Guild sent
an email message on Tuesday to
members expressing strong reservations about the contract signed last
week by the Screen Directors
Guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers.
President Alan Rosenberg and
Executive Director Doug Allen wrote, "Some have rushed to anoint their
deal as the 'solution' for the
entertainment industry. We believe that assessment is premature." The
two acknowledged that they had only
seen a press release containing information about the deal between the
directors and studios and not the
contract itself, but nevertheless warned, "Because so much of the new
DGA/AMPTP deal is unknown, no one
should assume this new deal is a template for anyone else, certainly not
for actors." Their message
immediately drew fire from Directors Guild President Michael Apted, who
charged, in effect, that the SAG
leaders were jumping the gun by commenting on a deal before they learned
its full details. Apted asked why
they felt it necessary to comment on it at this time. "They are not in
negotiations and have not scheduled
any," Apted told Daily Variety. "Their letter has one purpose and one
purpose only: to interfere with the
informal talks currently under way between the WGA and the studios.
Simply put, their assumptions and
arguments are specious. The DGA deal is a great deal for our members."
There has been breaking news as of Friday morning. Roger Friedman of
foxnews.com reported that on the unitedhollywood.com Web site, several
big name writers have suddenly emerged with calls to arms. He states
that they don’t want a quick settlement and question the DGA terms. John
McNamara, a TV producer/writer who’s got lots of credits, writes:
January 14th, my overall deal at CBS/Paramount was terminated. …I should
be writing to you gentlemen begging you to take the DGA deal. Nothing
could be further from the truth. I'm writing to urge you — don't settle
for anything less than the best deal possible.” Friedman continues, "Unitedhollywood.com
is obviously taking its cues from the union leadership, which means that
the two sides are far apart. Not only that, but the enthusiastic
introduction of WGA chief Patric Verrone at the televised SAG Awards
last Sunday was like the time Jack was seen playing football with The
Others on “Lost”: it sent a strong and obvious message: the actors are
with the writers."
Sounds like the DGA and the SAG are having a bit of a power play. With
the writers and actors unions being
historically close, this could be the start of either a long power play
or just union posturing. We will
have to wait and see.
Another dumb thing that
happened this week was the good news/bad news for Drew Carey. CBS yanked
Power of 10 from it’s schedule, but is putting 6 prime-time Price is
Right episodes on in the Friday
8PM slot starting February 22.
The good news...we get to see Drew in Prime Time Price. This will expose
Drew’s work on Price to a
wider audience. And with the ratings of 1 v. 100 sliding, this is a
perfect place for it.
However, the bad news...how in the blue hell do you not pair up Price
with Power of 10. This is stupidity
of the highest order. No one wants to see Ghost Whisperer at 9. Power of
10 got smacked upside the
head going up against Deal or No Deal. And then when American Idol came
back, that was a double uppercut.
Yanking it off the schedule, showed little faith in the show. I am
sorry. Putting it in that slot wasn’t
helpful either. I hope Power of 10 comes back sooner rather than later.
This was a solid show that deserved a better
fate than it got.
Shows that have had better
fates this week are “Survivor”, “The Apprentice” and “Merv Griffin’s
Crosswords.” They have all been renewed for new seasons. Let me deal
with “Crosswords” first. The show itself
has been averaging under a 1.0 the entire run, and the reason for it’s
renewal is two-fold. It’s cheap to
produce and there isn’t anything better out there...especially in the
In my opinion, this will be the 2nd and last season of Crosswords. With
the Fall 2008 syndication premieres
of “Trivial Pursuit” and “Deal or No Deal”, and with the tight time
slots, Crosswords will have a tough
time surviving past season 2.
A show that is surviving is, well, “Survivor.” With Jeff Probst back at
the helm for another two editions,
the ratings continuing to hold steady in the coveted 18-49 demographic,
and an anticipated fans v.
favorites edition soon to start–the future looks bright for Mark
Burnett has another thing to be happy about. “The Apprentice” has come
back so far back from the
dead....it has been renewed for two cycles. “Celebrity Apprentice” has
recharged the Burnett show, and in a
smart move by NBC the next Apprentice will not debut until January 2009.
The reason why The Apprentice
burned out was overexposure and overcommercialization. This will keep
the show fresh.
Finally, yet another
American Idol story. But this one has a New York spin to it. What
happens when you either
win American Idol, or place in the top 12? You star on Broadway, of
course! Clay Aiken is now on Broadway as
Sir Robin in “Spamalot.” But he isn’t the first. Diana DeGarmo did
“Hairspray”. Fantasia Barrino did the Color Purple (but was roundly
criticized for missing a lot of
performances), as well as Lakisha Jones who is there now. Constantine
Maroulis starred in “The Wedding
Singer.” I think it’s pretty cool that American Idol has been able to
let people showcase their talents in one of
the toughest environs of them all--Live musical theater. Anybody you
think would be great on Broadway
and in what show? Email me and tell me. You might get a shout out in
next week’s podcast.
That will do it for this
time around. We are full on into February sweeps...what will that have
for us? You will have to come back next week and find out. For The Block
Party, this is Jason Block
saying...don’t just play fair...play to win.
Block can be seen in his one-man off-Broadway show,
"Blockbuster". E-mail him at