News of the Week: Fall TV, Expiration Dates, and Who Doesn’t Love Martin Short?

In the news for the week ending September 15, 2023, are the ongoing entertainment strike, Marilyn Monroe’s home saved (for now), a critic getting too Short with his subject, and more.


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New TV Shows Should Be Starting Right About Now

September has always meant two things to most of us: the start of school and the start of the new TV season. School has indeed started, but the new TV season is still on hold because of the ongoing writer and actor strikes.

Sure, some shows have started up again, such as Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy!, though the latter could only come back because they decided to have a “Second Chance” tournament for former contestants (they’re using old questions because the show’s writers are part of the strike). And a few talk shows have come back too, though not without some controversy, such as The Drew Barrymore Show.

But for the most part, new TV shows and movies have been put on hold. This is the part of the article where I would normally say, “but it’s only temporary; both sides will come to an agreement at some point.” But will they? I thought they’d have an agreement by now. Whatever happens, I don’t think the entertainment industry will be the same.

Remember when the launch of the new fall TV season was a big deal?

We live in a different time anyway. We have approximately 32,000 network, cable, and streaming options now, not to mention DVDs (I still buy them!). We can watch pretty much whatever we want, whenever we want. And some studios have TV shows and movies that were already done filming before the strikes so those are still being released as well. CBS gets to rerun Yellowstone on their network because it’s a Paramount show, networks are getting shows from overseas, and let’s not forget about all of the great reality shows like The Golden Bachelor (it’s The Bachelor only the guy has an AARP card). And some of them are being expanded to 90 minutes!

There’s not only more reality shows, they’re now longer!

Are Expiration Dates Accurate?

This is a debate that has been increasing in intensity the past few years and The Wall Street Journal talked about this past week. Should we pay attention to expiration dates on food?

My short answer? Yes! Companies put expiration dates on food products for a reason. Food expires! Sure, there’s a lot of waste because food companies aren’t completely accurate when it comes to the dates, and use confusing phrases like “best by” and “sell by,” but they’re general guidelines and it doesn’t mean you can’t also use your common sense. For example, if a gallon of milk has an expiration date of September 13, 2023, but it smells and tastes fine on that day, I’ll still drink it (but I’ll probably toss it the next day). Frozen dinners and canned goods I don’t worry about because that stuff lasts forever. I’m looking at a can of soup right now that I bought six months ago and it has an expiration date of 2025. So I’ll eat that way before that time anyway.

But taking a chance and ignoring the expiration dates on meat and medicine? Good luck with that.

The biggest problem I have with expiration dates (and it’s the first thing I would change if I ever became President of the World) is that there’s no consistency to them. Some companies use basic formats like “September 13, 2023” or “Sept 13 23,” while others use “091223.” Some turn things around and use “231209.” And still others use their own system. I checked something the other day and it had the date “24-10-23.” What the heck does that mean? Does it expire October 24, 2023 or October 23, 2024? Am I supposed to memorize the different expiration date formats for every food company?

Marilyn Monroe’s Home Might Be Demolished

The home in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles where the actress lived (and died) was set to be demolished by its current owner, but it has been temporarily saved by a unanimous vote by the city council. They’re trying to get the home declared a historical cultural landmark so it can’t be torn down.

In Defense of Martin Short

I could have called this “Petty Article of the Week” but decided not to.

Dan Kois of Slate penned a piece titled “Why We Keep Putting Up with Martin Short,” where Kois calls the veteran comedian “exhausting, sweaty, and desperately unfunny.”

The first question I have is, what do you mean by we, Dan? Speak for yourself. (The second question I would have is, what do you think is funny?)

This is a really bizarre article that seems to come out of nowhere, one that is sometimes clueless and sometimes rancid. He seems to really have an axe to grind with Short — at one point he even arrogantly questions why Short didn’t go away after some career failures — and assumes everyone else does too. (They don’t, as the comment section on the article proves.) Sure, we all have celebrities we don’t like for one reason or another, but we don’t write long articles on websites explaining all the reasons why, as if a detailed explanation will make Short’s fans say, “You know what? I’ve enjoyed Short for decades, but after reading this article by Dan Kois, I see that I’ve been wrong!”

And explaining why something is unfunny is just as pointless as trying to explain why something is funny.

Several of Short’s friends, co-stars, and fans have come to his defense, including Ben Stiller, Michael McKean, Paula Poundstone, John Cusack, Dave Thomas, and Mark Hamill.

Someone could probably now write a similar piece about Dan Kois. He’s been writing for years.

RIP Lisa Lyon, John Cairney, Ian Wilmut, Max Gomez, Dennis Austin, Terry Eastland, and Molly Holzschlag

Lisa Lyon was the first female bodybuilding star and the model for the Marvel character Elektra. She died last week at the age of 70.

John Cairney was an acclaimed Scottish stage actor who also appeared in such TV shows as This Man Craig and The Master of Ballantrae and movies like Cleopatra, A Study in Terror, and Jason and the Argonauts. He died last week at the age of 93.

Ian Wilmut led the team of scientists that cloned Dolly the sheep in 1996. He died Sunday at the age of 79.

Max Gomez was a longtime medical reporter for various stations, including WCBS, WNBC, and WNEW. He died earlier this month at the age of 72.

Dennis Austin was the co-creator of PowerPoint. He died earlier this month at the age of 76.

Terry Eastland was the former spokesman for Attorney General Ed Meese during the Reagan administration who was fired by Meese. He was also the publisher of The Weekly Standard and the author of several books. He died this week at the age of 73.

Molly Holzschlag was a writer and lecturer and a proponent of the Open Web. She wrote or contributed to 35 books on technology. She died last week at the age of 60.

This Week in History

The Hank McCune Show Debuts (September 9, 1950)

The NBC sitcom about the host of a TV variety show was the first to use a recorded laugh track. You can see a clip from it at the start of this “TV turkeys” video hosted by Skip Young.

Agatha Christie Born (September 15, 1890)

The British mystery writer had several of her stories serialized in the Post.

This Week in Saturday Evening Post History: RCA TVs (September 9, 1950)

Maybe your family was watching the premiere of The Hank McCune Show on one of those sets.

September Is National Rice Month

You could make the Chicken Rice Roger from my favorite cookbook, Peg Bracken’s The I Hate to Cook Book (Bracken was a regular contributor to the Post in the ’50s and ’60s). Or you could try making some Arancini (rice balls) from Food Network. Taste of Home has this Herbed Rice Pilaf and something called Forgotten Jambalaya.

For dessert, try the Old-Fashioned Rice Pudding from Spicy Southern Kitchen.

Next Week’s Holidays and Events

Oktoberfest Begins (September 16)

The 188th beer festival takes place in Munich and runs until October 3.

Hobbit Day (September 22)

This marks the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins, two of the hobbits from the J.R.R. Tolkien’s books.

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  1. Last year my daughter took me to see the Steve Martin/Martin Short show at the Majestic Theater in San Antonio. It was my birthday gift, and no other gift could ever compare. They were the funniest duo I have EVER seen, absolutely perfect, flawless, and funnier that I could ever expect. Both men performed as if they were in their 30’s when I know they’re much older. Anyone who badmouths Martin Short should be corrected immediately as he is a very talented comedian. Everyone in the audience can attest to their value as performers, and the applause went on and on.

  2. Thanks for your comments on mine, Eileen. At one time I did product demonstrations, and came up with some very enticing things to say for those with an eye to buy and an ear to hear, and must say it definitely worked! I wish you still had your Dad’s Nova coupe too for sentimental reasons, plus they’re quite collectible and valuable now.

    My grandfather traded in his white ’61 Corvair coupe for the ’67 version, also in white. Wish I had that one, actually both, now. Still, the two I’d really love would be the sleek and sexy Impala SS and Camaro RS/SS convertibles. Couldn’t agree more on the new vehicles, with those beautiful, magical (reasonably priced) cars gone for decades.

  3. Bob Jr., I love your comments and bet you could come up with some great ad copy yourself honey! My father bought a new ’67 Nova coupe right off the lot. I wish I had that car now. All the new stuff is so ugly and overpriced from every manufacturer, foreign and domestic.

  4. Yes, I do remember when the new fall TV season was a big deal, and (though barely) when the new car introduction time was too, at about the same time. I remember going to the Chevrolet dealers to see the first ever Camaro for the first time at 9 in early October, 1966 with my parents. Their ad tagline that year was awesome too:

    “For ’67, everything new that could’ve happened… happened!!” (It’s the God’s truth. I saw it for myself!)

    Love the link for the 1965-’66 season you included here. Look at that artwork! TV GUIDE had great covers up until the late ’80s, be it art or photographic portraiture. I want to spend more time on that site. The writers strike is a mess and the entertainment industry will never be the same. At least its not as messed up as Washington. I feel bad for the thousands of worker bee employees in the industry living paycheck to paycheck the most.

    Drew Barrymore really is between a rock and a hard place. She’s one of the ones I like, and I hope she’s not ‘cancelled’ or her show either with all the insanity a long way from being over, if ever. I saw a huge billboard 2 days ago driving by Warner Bros. studios in Burbank for the ‘Golden Bachelor’. The guy had an amazing golden tan. I didn’t know he was ‘older’. He certainly doesn’t look 72. Fair or not, It does help in life to be handsome.

    The expiration dates are ridiculous. I’ve noticed all the ways you mentioned. All the numbers being run together, etc., hate it. It should all be variations of (say) ‘use by 11/20/23’ or ‘best if used by 04/2025’ if it’s a bottle of NyQuil or something.

    Marilyn’s beautiful Brentwood home absolutely should never, ever be demolished. But, with L.A. demolishing ITSELF everyday, it may only still be saved for a short time. There must have been extremely strong legal protection of it up to this time, or “the developers” would have destroyed it decades ago, I’m sure. It’s all they ever do.


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