Friday, September 19, 2008; 1:00 PM
Post TV columnist Lisa de Moraes was online Friday, Sept. 19 at 1 p.m. ET to provide readers with rules for the world's first-ever David Caruso Day (this Monday) and examples to follow, determine which circle of Dante's Inferno you'd have to land in to be subjected to "Do Not Disturb" on continuous playback, and decide whether Tina Fey deserves an Emmy, Nobel or Sexist of the Year prize for her spot-on Sarah Palin impression on "Saturday Night Live."
The transcript follows.
De Moraes has written "The TV Column" for The Post since 1998. She served as the TV editor for the entertainment industry trade publication the "Hollywood Reporter" for almost a decade.
Lisa de Moraes: Monday, the start of the seventh glorious season of "CSI: Miami," we have declared David Caruso Day --- a 24-hour tribute to the most underappreciated thespian in the primetime firmament. It's something like that National Talk Like a Pirate Day -- which, in one of those incredible coincidences that makes covering TV such a paranormal experience, is today!
On David Caruso Day you don't have wear an eye patch or say "Aargh!" all day long. Instead, you get to hiss pithy, mockable one-liners while leering over the top of your Maui Jim's, and generally muck about like an actor who, early in his career may have gotten to fill in for the lead role of Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables" on Broadway for six months, but who is coming to the realization the defining role of his career is a vocabulary-challenged cop saddled with the name Horatio.
Additionally, we invite you to send an essay "What David Caruso Day Means to Me" to the TV Column's invaluable colleague Emily Yahr. And, we encourage you to send photos and video of you participating in David Caruso Day, which should also be sent to poor Emily's e-mail address. We will share the submissions with you on the chat next Friday. So here, with thanks to the many TV Column chatters who have contributed their suggestions, are the OFFICIAL DAVID CARUSO DAY RULES:
- Maui Jim sunglasses must be worn all day. Outfit should ideally also include a dark expensive suit (Armani for verisimilitude), dress shirt, no tie, badge, and a Hummer for transportation. When speaking, head must be cocked to one side, hands on hips (aka Caruso Handles).
- If you are using more than 10 words in a sentence while speaking, you are doing it wrong.
- The more the mundane the spoken sentence, the more it must be delivered with the slit-eyed intensity of a man who has just cornered John Dillinger -- or, if you prefer, the slit-eyed intensity of Laurence Olivier as Heathcliff. The goal here is to make William Shatner look well-modulated. Less mundane sentences spoken in the course of the day (example: "Boss, you can take this job and shove it.") may be delivered with only a pseudo-grim look.
- When calling someone by name in a conversation, participants must follow that person's name with an extremely pregnant pause. Example: "Frank (pause, pause, pause) it looks like the Xerox machine is broken again." When the topic of conversation is very serious, the person must be addressed by their full name ("Francis" instead of Frank). Address women you work with as "Ms" followed by last name, never by their first name.
- At least 75 percent of statements made in the course of the day by participants must be delivered as a question. Example: "It's ... cold outside?"
- At least once per hour, you must open your cell phone abruptly, dial a number, tensely whisper terse instructions into the phone and slap the phone shut -- before the call could possibly have connected to the person you dialed.
- When speaking to someone at length, you must first address the person's feet, then slowly look up and, before making eye contact, look away, then walk out of the frame. Exception: It is acceptable to look a small child in the eye.
- Appear in places when you are least expected, especially to confront your nemesis, who is hopefully from another country, like Brazil. When your nemesis finally spots you, smirk, call out his/her name, say you are coming to get him or her, then immediately disappear.
TKPK: Any word on whether "Flight of the Conchords" ever will return to HBO with new episodes?
Lisa de Moraes: You're going to have to wait until January of '09, according to HBO.
Boston: How do the networks keep getting away with stealing shows from USA? "Heroes" is a complete rip off of "The 4400," and now this stupid "Mentalist" show is ripping off "Psych." And it's just so blatant -- a super-observant investigator pretending to be a psychic -- they didn't even try to change anything besides hiring a better-looking actor. How can we stop them from ripping off "Burn Notice" too?
Lisa de Moraes: Oh paleeze. "The Mentalist" is nothing like "Psych." For one thing, he's blonde. I rest my case...
"Swingtown": What happened to "Swingtown"? It hasn't been on the air the past few weeks. Did it go off the air?
Lisa de Moraes: I believe CBS has put "Swingtown" out of its misery. Trust me, it's for the best....
She Already Called Me Pookie: On the "Do Not Disturb" producers: Instead of Dante, may I suggest you turn to Greek mythology, specifically the fate of Tantalus? He was stuck under a fruit tree up to his neck in water, and every time he'd reach for an apple, it would rise up away from his grasp, and every time he'd try to get a drink the water level would lower away from him.
Same thing for these guys, except that they're being forced to watch "Do Not Disturb" on a loop, and every time they reach for the remote to change the channel, it moves out of their grasp. Forever. And speaking of Greek mythology, I see you made a Herculean effort to bash us "Survivor" addicts. Lisa, I worry about you. Learn to worship at the altar of Mark Burnett. I'd hate for you to wind up in the Inferno.
Lisa de Moraes: Tantalus it is then. I just want to make it perfectly clear that watching "Do Not Disturb" comes with huge risks. ... Re: "Survivor," I'm guessing you're speaking of my column today. I have been covering TV for years and never have been so frightened by a study -- and that includes every study put out by Parents Television Council and the Kaiser Family Foundation for Blaming Everything on TV.
Lisa de Moraes: So, America's Going Steady With 'Survivor' (Post, Sept. 19)
Vienna, Va.: What, if anything, do the results of the Screen Actors Guild election mean for our TV viewing?
Lisa de Moraes: In theory it means this TV season will not be wrecked by another prolonged strike, though SAG leadership had been acting like they thought they did not have the votes needed to actually stage a strike. For those of you who don't follow this inside-baseball stuff, SAG's contract had run out and actors were working anyway, but lack of long-term contract is always nerve-wracking for TV executives, particularly after what happened last year with the writers' strike. I'm guessing it means the movie-making business will get back up to speed -- I think the SAG situation was having more of an immediate impact on the flick biz than TV ... and of course, it means that in theory our wonderfully strange Golden Globe Awards will be back -- hooray!
Washington: So was Tina Fey born to skewer Sarah Palin, or was Sarah Palin born so that Tina Fey could skewer her?
washingtonpost.com: Palin/Hillary Open (Hulu, Sept. 13)
Lisa de Moraes: I'm guessing we're going to see an investigative piece soon on the front page of some paper blowing the lid off the story that they are, in fact, identical cousins:
Still, they're cousins,
Identical cousins and you'll find,
They laugh alike, they walk alike,
At times they even talk alike --
You can lose your mind,
When cousins -- are two of a kind!
Sorry -- that couldn't be helped. Anyway, did you see that Tina Fey's "Saturday Night Live" spoof of Sarah Palin is now NBC.com's most-watched viral video ever, beating previous record holder, "[Male Pride] in a Box"? According to NBC, "[Male Pride] in a Box" has collected more than 1 million views on NBC.com but Fey Does Palin already had bagged 5.7 million views as of Wednesday.
Fairfax, Va.: But Lisa, I ... I don't have a nemesis. But back to the telly. It was my assumption that all of these reality shows would start to fade away when the writers came back, but they seem just as popular as ever. Do you think we ever again will see scripted shows dominate?
Lisa de Moraes: No. sorry but it's better you hear the truth and mourn and move on. Reality TV is getting the biggest audiences these days. "Idol," "Dancing" and, this summer "America's Got Talent." Not gonna happen. ABC is virtually all reality in the 8 p.m. time period for the fourth quarter -- which, ironically, was NBC's plan per its NBCUniversal 2.0 plan which caused such a kerfuffle a while back....
"How do the networks keep getting away with stealing shows from USA?: NBC owns the USA Network. Unlike the Rutles, they're not likely to sue themselves.
Lisa de Moraes: I'd agree, except you never know what Ben Silverman is going to do -- he's one wild and crazy guy. I could see him suing himself. ... Be honest, couldn't you?
Former "CSI" fan: Yo, I used to watch all three "CSI" shows. Now I hate them with a passion. I love this David Caruso Day idea! Can we also vote for the best David Caruso moments in "CSI: Miami"? Also, I saw a promo for "Grey's Anatomy" and I can't get over how bad that show has gotten. Is there anything like smart TV anymore? I've been watching earlier seasons of "Lost" and realized that the newer seasons can't really match up, except for a few episodes ... thoughts?
Lisa de Moraes: Glad you like David Caruso Day, and I like the idea of voting for best David Caruso Moments. I will see if we can get a poll set up. And re: "Grey's Anatomy" and "Lost," maybe we need term limits?
Love me my Tina Fey: Call me disturbed, but I've watched that clip of Tina-as-Sarah at least twice a day this week since it aired last Saturday. Still cracks me up.
Lisa de Moraes: Ms. Palin? Is that you? May I suggest that one of these times you watch it, you turn the sound up so you can hear what's being said? That's how comedy typically is enjoyed on TV. It's that spot on your remote control that says "Volume" and has up and down arrows...
Arlington, Va.: So I'm guessing that Emily Yahr hates Talk Like a Pirate Day?
Lisa de Moraes: Emily wants you to know she does hate Talk Like a Pirate Day. Personally, I enjoy wearing an eye patch and a parrot once a year, but I recognize it's not for everyone.
Watertown, Mass.: I hate to rain on this parade, but my remote last week failed to synch with my cable box, meaning I can't change channels. I know how to reprogram it, but it's just not working, and my cable company (RCN) says they'll gladly replace the equipment once I bring it in. I haven't had time, so I haven't had TV for about 12 days. It has been great. I'm reading again. TV blows. I hate to put you out of work, but I urge everyone to shut the thing off.
Lisa de Moraes: Pookster, you're looking for the Holier Than Thou Chat ... that's at 3 p.m. But thanks for checking in!
Arlington, Va.: Did you catch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" last night? It seemed like a much stronger start than in Season 3, and has me very excited for the upcoming episodes. To the best of your knowledge, have tea-bagging and gorilla masks been discussed in a TV sitcom previously?
Lisa de Moraes: I confess, I did not watch "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia" last night. In my defense, there was a Kay Francis marathon on Turner Classic Movies and, having never watched four consecutive Kay Francis flicks in one sitting before, I thought it important to do so. Research, I call it, and I can report it is a mind-altering experience. I have the "Sunny" episode DVD, and now that I know it deals with such important material, I will be sure to watch over the weekend.
Arlington, Va.: Lisa, I know you're not a big fan of Tina Fey, but her impersonation of Sarah Palin on "Saturday Night Live" last week was brilliant. I think she could single-handedly tilt the election toward Obama if she went on "Saturday Night Live" every week before the election and made fun of Sarah Palin and show her to be the empty-headed Barbie doll that she clearly is. Have you changed your opinion of Tina Fey? I don't watch "30 Rock," but I thought she was pretty good in "Mean Girls."
Lisa de Moraes: I am already on record saying "30 Rock" has become one of my favorite shows, though it is much better some weeks than others. She's much better as a comedy series writer than an "SNL" sketch writer/comic -- not that there has been a good "SNL" sketch writer in about two decades (political sketches excepting).
Washington: You asked for feedback on the digital TV conversion. I hate it! Before digital, if reception was poor you might have some snow. But with digital, reception is either perfect or nothing. I have a converter box. Before putting it on my TV, I was able to get Baltimore stations. Now I rarely can watch a whole program from a local station that is not marred by poor reception. The only positive to digital TV is that there are a few more stations. But several are weather stations, and more stations is not helpful if the reception keeps cutting out. One good station addition is RTN (7-3) but now they've added a stupid political call-in show at 11 p.m. I really don't care what other idiots think. Overall, my experience with digital TV is very negative. I hear it was passed just to satisfy the TV/cable lobby.
Lisa de Moraes: Actually, I think it was done to reduce the federal debt ... that's going well...
Athens, Ga.: Pookie, we could do an " Ann Curry Day" and see how many words we can speak (while looking sad) before we have to take a breath.
Lisa de Moraes: Absolutely. I'm thinking we could use a Jack Bauer Day too. But let's not get ahead of ourselves -- let's focus on making David Caruso Day the best darned David Caruso Day ever...
Nottingham, U.K.: Pookmeister, I have to disagree with you on the "Q" ratings thing. Shows a la Survivor are must-see because we as watchers need the escape of wondering what would we do in such a situation. The "would you eat a rat's head to stay on the island" sort of fantasy is actually a healthy one.
Lisa de Moraes: I ate a can of fried caterpillars in middle school -- does that count? And, back to the subject of today's column, I'd rather not fantasize about rat's heads under any circumstances.
Pittsburgh: As brilliant as Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were in that "Saturday Night Live" sketch lampooning Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton, how about a tip o' the hat to the main writer of the sketch, Seth Meyers?
Lisa de Moraes: You betcha!
Cut a hole in the box: Pookie, I love Tina Fey, but how is it possible that she's outdone the best Christmas gift instructional video ever? It has everything! Cute boys, flowers up the nose, and a sobering reminder of how terrible mid-'90s men's fashion was.
Lisa de Moraes: So true. I'm wondering whether these numbers really speak to how much better a job NBC is doing of yanking its "SNL" clips off YouTube or something. Much as I love the Tina Fey Does Sarah Palin sketch, it's hard to fathom how it could outstrip "[Male Pride] in a Box"...
Pity Party: I'm working in an election-related job and am missing the whole new fall season--it's all backing up on my TiVo. I just want you to know I'm reading your chat pretending to research an issue, and that I'm very bitter about the whole thing. Can't we move elections to re-run season?
Lisa de Moraes: Really, presidential elections should be decided in July -- there's nothing to watch in July.
Washington: What are you thoughts on "Fringe"?
Lisa de Moraes: I loved what she was wearing when the star chick was mind-melding with her boyfriend/double agent. You know, in the first episode's dream-ish sequence that was only achieved after she was put into the water tank in her underwear -- and what was up with that? Would a wetsuit, or some sweats, have interfered with the mind-meld? I really wish I'd paid more attention in science classes in high school and college...
Washington: How is "90210" doing ratings wise? Is it going to survive?
Lisa de Moraes: It is doing well, for a CW show. In fact, CW is off to a pretty good start this year. I don't want to call it a big success because I'm superstitious, but I think we safely can say the CW suits are pleased with the network's showing so far
Fairfax, Va.: I took the "Saturday Night Live" clip to be more of an indictment against the media than anything (way to take a page from "The Daily Show," Lorne). Nobody besides Clinton supporters (not the most unbiased group) took charges of sexism in the campaign seriously, but suddenly media outlets are all over an innocent comment about a pig still being a pig even if you put lipstick on it. Anyway, how can we work the similarities between Fey and Sarah Palin into "30 Rock"? Does Alec Baldwin's Jack develop a crush on Palin and not realize she looks a lot like Liz?!
Lisa de Moraes: Great storyline that's never gonna happen ... sigh. But getting back to your "Daily Show" comment, I don't think Jon Stewart's show had the copyright on looking at Palin and deciding she looks like Tina Fey. I know it was my first thought when Palin was thrust on an unsuspecting public...
Harrisburg, Pa.: A couple of weeks ago on "Mad Men," Don, Betty and the kids picnicked on a hillside by the road. At the end of the scene, Don casually tosses his drink away and Betty dumps the garbage on the grass. Hey, I was alive back and then, and that kind of behavior was frowned upon. It seemed entirely out of character for both of them. Did I miss something here?
Lisa de Moraes: No, and I agree with you. I think the writers were trying way too hard there to note how very environmentally aware we all are now (yeah) compared to back then.
Arlington, Va.: Lisa (pause, pause, pause), thanks to you (take glasses off), I now have the "Patty Duke Show" theme stuck in my head and ... (put glasses back on and lightly rub fingers on ear pieces) that, you know, will never do.
Lisa de Moraes: You're welcome. It's been stuck in my head for years...
Severna Park, Md.: Remember back during the primaries on CNN how Bill Schneider and Soledad O'Brien would parse the exit polls together? I was just thinking that if they conceived a baby on Super Tuesday, said child would be ready to be born on Election Day! How awesome would that be?
Lisa de Moraes: Ick! Ick! Ick!
?: How can someone be so brilliant as to write those fabulous rules for David Caruso Day and not appreciate "Swingtown" or "Friday Night Lights"? Not that I'm suggesting the former had the quality of the latter ... but still, it was pretty good, and the only thing I've watched on CBS in years!
Lisa de Moraes: "Swingtown" wasn't swingy enough for me -- wish it had been on pay cable. And "Friday Night Lights" is just too glutinous for me. But thanks re: the David Caruso Day Rules. To be honest, chatters and some of my sources contributed mightily to the list....
Washington: It's a good thing for "Saturday Night Live" that so many people have viewed the Fey/Palin clip online -- the remaining 85 minutes of the show were terrible, from a host (Michael Phelps) who couldn't act and had little personality to a series of uninspired sketches. Election '08 aside, is the "SNL" brand in trouble?
Lisa de Moraes: In a sane would, yes. But you have just described "SNL" for the past couple of decades, and yet it continues and thrives on NBC. After the Palin/Clinton opening sketch, the season first episode -- which should be a humdinger -- was just awful. "SNL" really shines with its political sketches, but otherwise, not at all...
Premier Weeks: Is anything premiering this week that I should be sure to TiVo? Whatever happened to the old trick of premiering new shows or off-network shows early to get a jump on viewers before the big established shows -- "Desperate Housewives," "The Office," etc. -- come rolling along?
Lisa de Moraes: Well, that is exactly what CW has done this season, debuting "90210," "Gossip Girl," "One Tree Hill," etc., early. Fox has done the same, debuting a boatload of stuff early, including the much-ballyhooed "Fringe" which got off to a lousy start -- about 9 million viewers -- but rebounded in its second episode, which jumped to about 14 million if I'm remembering correctly...
Re: "Fringe"...: Well, your answer to Washington shows why "Fringe" attracted more male viewers than "House"...
Lisa de Moraes: You mean they didn't have the hot CIA chick strip to her underwear -- nice underwear, by the way -- because her clothing was all polyester and would have interfered with the mind-melding process? I can't believe it!
Arlington, Va.: I finally got around to watching the first two episodes of "Privileged." Call me crazy, but I actually liked it. It was much better than "90210," which I watched for nostalgia but can't see making a part of my schedule. How are they both doing?
Lisa de Moraes: Nicely, for CW. Which is to say, very strong among chicks between the ages of 18 and 34. CW is a niche network targeting chicks, much like WB used to be ... takes you back, doesn't it? I miss WB some days...
Ms. (takes off Maui Jims) Morales...: I tried to drive a (pause) Hummer here. The rental agency let me have it for the weekend (pause) for free, but it ran out of (pause) gas halfway here. So I had to take (mumble into cell phone) the bus. Do you think that Kenley has gone (pause) too far in (pause) "Project Runway"? She's even come to blowing off Tim (puts on glasses) Gunn's suggestions.
Lisa de Moraes: I think Kenley (pausing to look over my Maui Jims) ought to take another long hard look at her creations before blowing off Tim or nicking any other competitor. I miss when this show used to be about fashion...
Tinseltown: Any word on when we'll see more episodes of "Caveman"? Thought you could use a laugh.
Lisa de Moraes: Is it just me or are they not even funny on the Geico ads anymore? Did the sitcom wreck the ads for me, or are they truly less funny?
Annapolis, Md.: Special note to Arlington, Va., and by extension everyone else practicing for David Caruso Day: It would have been better if, after putting your sunglasses back on, you'd said either one of these: "I'm coming to get you, Lisa" -- then disappeared, or "Lisa ... you better watch your back."
Lisa de Moraes: Ha ha ha ha ha ... (gulp!)
"Big Bang": So apparently Sara Gilbert has been signed as a full-time cast member. Is that starting Monday, or will she be phased in? And will Penny be phased out, or might we see a (giggity) cat fight?
Lisa de Moraes: Isn't it wonderful that the blonde chick is soooo bad on the show they've brought in Gilbert to be Nerd Boy's love interest? The dynamic got a lot more interesting when Gilbert guested on it.. One small victory for brunettes, one giant step for mankind -- or however that goes..
CIA chicks: Isn't there a hot CIA chick on "Chuck" too? What does this do to the morale of new recruits when they find out CIA chicks are not necessarily that hot? Do they really want disappointed, frustrated men with access to state secrets and big weapons roaming the world? Has the CIA instituted new recruiting standards for women to avoid such a potential global threat?
Lisa de Moraes: I'm guessing it's similar to how police department recruits feel upon discovering their new employer doesn't really have crime labs like on "CSI," and how new students at Beverly Hills High School feel upon discovering there aren't nearly as many hot chicks as on "90210."
NBC vs. YouTube: The Fey-as-Palin video has been linked/embedded on every liberal blog and every news site I've seen this week. "Manhood-in-a-Box" never was. I think the traffic is being heavily blog-driven in a way that a highly funny but apolitical sketch would not be. I believe the disparity in numbers.
Lisa de Moraes: Well, then I guess we need to embed "[Male Pride] in a Box" on every liberal and conservative blog -- that'd show 'em...
Re: Litterbugs: See, I thought it was entirely in character for Don and Betty to leave their trash. I think the show was trying to say (rather heavy-handedly) that Don and Betty themselves are the perfect tableau that's cluttered with litter. And then you have Jimmy later in the episode calling Don "trash."
Lisa de Moraes: So, "trash" stood for "messed up married life"? That is way too deep.
McLean, Va.: Why oh why do they make the contestants wear skin tight metallic unitards on "Hole in the Wall"? Can I get the 10 minutes of my life back that I wasted to such an awful show?
Lisa de Moraes: And why oh why didn't they have them strip down to their underwear, like on "Fringe"? Then it would have been a much better show...
5.7 Million Hits!: Isn't that more than are watching "30 Rock" now? I love that show. NBC people who are in charge of programming must be idiots if they don't put new episodes of "30 Rock" on right away to capitalize on Fey/Palin. You can't buy this publicity!
Lisa de Moraes: Yes, but in fairness, it's in repeats. And you're preaching to the choir re: new "30 Rock" episodes. I'm out of time -- bye...
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