SO MUCH television, so little time:
* Looking for an antidote to all those cable shows that make saying yes to the dress (and the flowers and the caterer and the band) seem more important than saying yes to the guy? Have I got a show for you.
"Monica & David" (8 tonight, HBO), a documentary by Alexandra Codina, follows a couple in their 30s who have Down syndrome from their wedding to their first wedding anniversary. If you make it through the first 10 minutes dry-eyed, you'll want to see an ophthalmologist.
David's that sweet. And Monica? She's a tough cookie, but she's also the anti-Bridezilla.
"You show her three bridesmaids gowns and whichever one she sees last is the one," says her mother at one point, worried that Monica and David don't assert themselves enough. "With her wedding gown, it was the same thing."
As the mother of a son with Down syndrome who has opinions on everything from clothes to video games - and isn't shy about expressing them - I'd caution against judging a diverse population by these two. But Codina, who's Monica's cousin, manages to capture the traits that make her subjects individuals while setting their experiences against a discussion of people with cognitive disabilities who may be capable of more independence than they're afforded.
* The riveting rescue of the long-trapped Chilean miners has been a gift for cable news, whose talking heads couldn't be expected to focus on Delaware's Senate race for much longer without resorting to witchcraft themselves.
But as Larry King returned to CNN about midnight Tuesday, as the world waited for the second of the 33 miners to arrive on the surface, it seemed clear some microphones need to be kept on mute.
In contrast to Fox News' Shepard Smith - whom I actually caught twice Tuesday night saying he didn't know something rather than just winging it, Rick Sanchez-style - King seems to regard his TV platform the way some of us do Twitter: as a forum for our stream-of-consciousness thoughts.
Unless you're Ashton Kutcher, though, your Twitter feed probably isn't reaching as many people as King might on a night when there was actual news.
So when King mentioned that the next miner expected out, Mario Sepulveda, shared a name with Los Angeles' Sepulveda Boulevard - "I drove on it yesterday!" - it seemed clearer than ever that Dec. 16, the last night of "Larry King Live," can't come soon enough.
* Friday's becoming TV's back-to-school night, as "Teach: Tony Danza" (10 p.m. tomorrow, A&E), in which the former "Who's the Boss?" star teaches 10th-grade English at Philly's Northeast High, is joined this week by NBC's "School Pride" (8 p.m. tomorrow, Channel 10), a sort of "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" for public schools whose producers include actress Cheryl Hines ("Curb Your Enthusiasm").
If you believe what's needed to fix our public schools is a mix of elbow grease, corporate sponsorship and celebrity fairy dust, "School Pride" has your number.
I think Hines' heart is in the right place, but I'm tired of seeing people in need used as entertainment to get help they're actually entitled to as Americans.
Maybe it's nit-picking to note that "Pride" plays down the showbiz ties of its team of hosts, or that most of the major improvements at Enterprise Middle School, the Compton, Calif., school that gets the Cinderella treatment in tomorrow's premiere, involved product placement, from the Microsoft science center to the Starter "athletic complex."
Microsoft, after all, is already heavily involved in education initiatives and it doesn't actually hurt anyone to learn the company has a new search engine whose name rhymes with "sing."
But the "People magazine reading room"? Managing editor Larry Hackett explains it's "a place to relax and chill and hang out, but it's also a place to explore and discover." If you're old enough, you may remember this room being called the library.
Co-host Jacob Soboroff, an AMC entertainment reporter described here as a "political journalist," conducts a toothless interview with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who, asked to identify the villains responsible for the decay at Enterprise, singles out "labor," followed by "special interests, a lack of parent participation, a lack of funding," and, finally, "government."
He might, of course, have gone with simple insanity, given that the episode's most telling moment comes after the discovery of a huge storeroom at the school packed with the very supplies teachers had been requesting - or buying themselves.
Asked why items ranging from construction paper to bookshelves hadn't been distributed, the school's principal explains that he's "afraid sometimes we'll run out." *
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