Long holiday weekends used to be a kind of purgatory for TV lovers. Broadcasters hung out their "Gone Fishin' " signs, and about the most you could hope for were all-day marathons of middling series like Knots Landing, Happy Days, or The Rifleman.
It was like they were daring you to turn off the set and go outside.
My, the world has changed. I'll be a deliriously happy shut-in over this Memorial Day. Thank the Lord and pass the nachos.
One of the greatest sitcoms ever, one long presumed dead, returns to the air (or at least the Internet) this weekend.
Arrested Development has gathered up the riotous Bluth family for another go-round. Early Sunday morning (3 a.m. to be precise), Netflix will upload 15 new episodes chronicling the further misadventures of George-Michael, Buster, Lucille, Gob, Tobias, and the rest.
Reflecting just how exalted the reputation of this magnificently marginal comedy has grown during its long dormancy, the roster of guest stars includes John Krasinski, Conan O'Brien, Seth Rogen, and Kristen Wiig.
Look, I'm a fan of well-done conventional sitcoms like Cheers, M*A*S*H, Seinfeld, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory.
But I'm fonder of shows that kick the humor up a notch, that flirt shamelessly with absurdity, series like Get Smart, Modern Family, The Larry Sanders Show, Fernwood 2 Night, The Office, and the just-canceled Happy Endings.
My all-time favorite TV comedies, though, are inebriated on anarchy. The tone is irreverent, the references often obscure, the pace breakneck, and the gags provocative. The Rocky & Bullwinkle Show, Fawlty Towers, Mystery Science Theater 3000, Get a Life, and 30 Rock preside in my video Valhalla.
Notice that several of these shows share something with Arrested Development: They didn't last long.
Tilt-A-Whirl humor is not for everyone. That's why the greatest miracle in the history of the medium is The Simpsons - 24 seasons and still getting away with murder.
Arrested Development shares that magic, manic touch. It's unpredictable, unhinged, and breathtakingly sardonic. How crazy do you have to be for Liza Minnelli's loopy Lucille to be the voice of reason in your cracked chorus?
So, thanks for the invite, Gary, but I won't be able to make it to your Memorial Day cookout. But do you deliver?
Run ragged. Rebecca Romijn stars as a private investigator in TNT's upcoming King & Maxwell. In the pilot, the guy she's trailing suddenly sprints off.
"Don't run," Romijn moans.
We soon see why. As she pursues on foot, her gait looks like that of a praying mantis.
Same with Anne Heche in her new NBC sitcom, Save Me.
As part of a conversion experience, her character takes up jogging. Which would be fine, except that Heche's ungainly trot suggests she's trying to wade through barbed wire.
A word of advice for TV writers: Before you ask your leading ladies to act athletic, you might want to take them out for a test run.
Sprint time for Hitler. ESPN spent a lot of time and money on an elaborate promotion featuring Miguel Cabrera and the refrain "Go Further" for its Monday night baseball matchup between the Tigers and the Twins.
The channel ran the spot endlessly in the days leading up to the game. Except that each time, the closed captioning presented it as "Go Furer."
I thought perhaps ESPN Classic had uncovered footage of a match race between Jesse Owens and Hitler at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.