News of the Week: Fall TV, the Fallacy of the Five-Second Rule, and 50 Years of Cool Whip
The New Shows (So Far)
The fall TV season officially launched this week, with new seasons of old shows and new shows debuting. CBS’s The Good Place has Kristen Bell dying and going to the afterlife (don’t worry, it’s a comedy), which happens to be a good place run by Ted Danson. Reviews are pretty good, and the first episode got good ratings. CBS also has Bull, which is about Dr. Phil’s early years as a jury consultant, and it was just as exciting as it sounds.
Fox has Lethal Weapon (a very average TV version of the movie), and ABC has the comedy Speechless and the drama Notorious. Designated Survivor, with Kiefer Sutherland as the secretary of Housing and Urban Development who suddenly becomes president when there’s a bombing (don’t worry, that’s the premise of the show, not a spoiler) started on ABC on Wednesday. It’s the best new show I’ve seen this season (so far, there’s plenty more to come) — a mix of The West Wing and a spy drama. Hopefully they can maintain the quality of the pilot.
Last night, Pitch premiered on Fox. It’s about the first female Major League Baseball pitcher. Tonight, Fox has The Exorcist, a TV version of the 1973 movie, which no one was asking for, and CBS has MacGyver, a new version of the late ’80s/early ’90s TV show, which no one … actually, this one could work out if they handle it correctly and capture the tone/fun of the original. So far, reviews are mixed. And if they don’t get Richard Dean Anderson to guest star, well, that’s just silly.
Kevin Can Wait also started this week, but since CBS insists on calling Kevin James “The King of Comedy” in ads, I refuse to watch it. Everyone knows Adam Sandler is the King of Comedy.
Don’t Trust the Five-Second Rule
There are several rules we should always try to live by. We should be kind to others, save our money, brush our teeth at least twice a day, and avoid watching reality shows where a woman tries to find a husband after dating a dozen men. Oh, and we should try to not eat food that has fallen on the floor.
You’ve heard of the Five-Second Rule, right? That’s the theory that it’s okay to eat food that has fallen to the floor as long as you pick it up within five seconds. Turns out it’s not true! I know, I’m shocked too!
I don’t understand why this was ever a thing anyway, as if there’s a real difference between 10 seconds or 5 seconds or 4 seconds. And wouldn’t this theory be confined to a clean kitchen floor? I mean, I’m sure even the hardiest of Five-Second-Rule defenders wouldn’t stick to the rule if the food fell in a playground sandbox or on the floor of a public restroom. But really, your default position should always be, “Food that falls on the floor is now garbage.” Or maybe, “Here Spot, I have a treat for you!”
RIP Edward Albee and Curtis Hanson
For some reason, my junior high school English teacher showed us the movie version of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? I don’t know if I appreciated it then, but I saw it years later and liked it a lot more (though it’s still a weird movie and makes me uncomfortable). Playwright Edward Albee was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for the play version … but then the board decided to take back the award, actually deciding to not give an award that year (prompting jury members to resign). He did win three Pulitzers though, for A Delicate Balance, Seascape, and Three Tall Women. He also won several Tony Awards. Other plays Albee wrote include The Zoo Story; The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?; The Lady from Dubuque; The Man Who Had Three Arms; Me Myself and I; The Play about the Baby; and Peter and Jerry.
In 1964, not long after Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? did and did not win the Pulitzer Prize, the Post’s John Skow wrote about the up-and-coming Albee, calling him “Broadway’s Hottest Playwright.”
Albee died last Friday at the age of 88.
Curtis Hanson was the director of such films as L.A. Confidential, Wonder Boys, The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, 8 Mile, Bad Influence, and many others. He passed away on Monday at his home in Hollywood. He was 71.
By the way, if you’ve never seen L.A. Confidential, stream/rent/buy it ASAP. It’s that rare thing: a perfect film. It should have won the Best Picture Oscar for 1997, but it lost to Titanic.
What Really Happened to Amelia Earhart?
Every couple of years, we hear about a new theory about what really happened to aviator Amelia Earhart and her navigator Fred Noonan in 1937. This is one of those years.
The theory by the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) actually isn’t new, but it’s getting new attention. As the theory goes, her plane crashed near Gardner Island in the Western Pacific, but she and Noonan actually survived (though Noonan may have been severely injured). They even got out several distress calls that people around the country swear they heard. Earhart and Noonan may have spent some time on the island, but they eventually died, and the island might still hold their remains and maybe parts of the aircraft. It’s a fascinating theory, and TIGHAR wants to go back to the island to see what else they can find.
Do We Really Need Robot Shopping Carts?
No, but we might get them anyway.
Walmart is experimenting with robot shopping carts that drive themselves around the store while you shop. Because we all know how difficult it has been all these years to shop while also having to push a cart around.
This is a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Soon, we won’t have to do anything. We’ll be driven to the supermarket in our driverless cars, robots will grab things off the shelf for us, and when we get home, robot butlers will feed us like babies. Not everything we saw on The Jetsons is worth doing.
Maybe instead of robotizing our shopping carts, scientists can use that money and technology to give us carts with wheels that don’t wobble.
Guy Enters 1957 Contest … and Wins!
Just a few weeks ago, I came across a contest in an old magazine. I thought about checking to see if the address for the contest was still valid and wondered what would happen if I actually entered a contest from decades ago. I didn’t actually do it, but maybe I should have.
Darwin Day, a 70-year-old who lives in Texas, was recently going through some old baseball cards in his house and came across one from 1957 that had a Bazooka bubble gum contest on the back. There was no deadline for the contest, so he decided to enter to see what would happen. Well, here’s what happened.
Note to self: enter more contests from the ’50s.
This Week in History: U.S. Air Force Founded (September 18, 1947)
Before becoming independent in 1947, the Air Force was actually part of the U.S. Army.
This Week in History: Richard Nixon’s “Checkers” Speech (September 23, 1952)
Richard Nixon was running for vice president when controversy arose regarding a fund that was established to help him with campaign costs. During the televised speech, Nixon said that he was going to keep one important gift that his campaign had received. Here’s the speech:
Happy 50th Birthday, Cool Whip
Speaking of Nixon, 2016 is the 50th anniversary of the launch of Cool Whip (stay with me here). To celebrate, why not make a Watergate Salad? No one really knows how it got that name, though Delish cites one theory that it got the name because the Watergate plan was put together the way you put together a dessert salad. It’s a mixture of pistachio pudding, crushed pineapple, pecans, and mini-marshmallows, topped with Cool Whip. You can put on All The President’s Men and have that for dessert.
Just make sure you don’t drop it on the floor.
Next Week’s Holidays and Events
Library of Congress National Book Festival (September 24)
Stephen King will open the 16th annual festival at the Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
Charles Osgood’s Last CBS Sunday Morning (September 25)
Osgood announced his retirement after 22 years as host of the show and 45 years at CBS. He will still make an appearance on the show now and then, and he’ll continue his radio show, The Osgood File. No replacement for CBS Sunday Morning has been announced yet, though Jane Pauley seems to be a good bet.
First Presidential Debate (September 26)
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton square off at Hofstra University at 9 p.m. in the first of three debates. NBC’s Lester Holt will moderate, and it’s on a hundred channels (not to mention Facebook and Twitter) so don’t even think about not watching it.