Tag Archives: E Entertainment

The Latest in the “Truly Bad Taste” Department

That would be the E Network’s Botched, a series that follows two plastic surgeons who’ve now sold their souls to the devil twice – first by becoming plastic surgeons and second by becoming TV plastic surgeons – as they set off on a mission to repair all the botched (hence the series’ title) plastic surgery being performed all around them.  (Actually, there’s a third way, too:  both of these surgeons are spouses of self-absorbed alumni of Bravo’s “Real Housewives” franchise, apparently desperate to claim a similar level of fame to their wives despite having outstanding careers of their own.  Oh, the lust for fame…)

So whom do these doctors help?  Children born with cleft palates?  Burn victims?

Noooooooooo.  That would not make for good television.

Try the woman whose botched breast augmentation left her with a “uniboob.”

Or the woman whose nose has essentially disappeared – caved in, really – after six surgeries.

And the young man who designs his own surgical procedures – calf implants, pec implants, bicep implants, butt enhancers, and so many surgeries on his face that Mattel would find a doll that looked like him too freakish to court Barbie ­– and, like a surviving 1957 Edsel (or, come to think of it, a woman The Curmudgeon dated a few years back), has no remaining original equipment even though he’s still in his early thirties.

And a surprising number of women whose facelifts have left them looking, well, rather… feline.

Because don’t all women want to look like Tony the Tiger?

Botched is truly an exercise in really, really bad taste.  As if it’s not bad enough that there are people who want these procedures and doctors who throw away all that good medical training – including, it should be noted, a significant investment of taxpayer money – to perform them (money is a powerful incentive), the people at E, who demonstrate on almost a daily basis that there is no threshold so low that they can’t find a way to crawl under it, have once again set a new standard and exceeded it.

Or whatever the opposite of “exceed” is.

 

 

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Words of Wisdom

Desperate to put off his major planned chore yesterday – rewiring all of his computer equipment and peripherals (a task that, once he started it, ended up taking a whole twenty minutes to complete, leaving him feeling like a fool for putting this off for weeks) – The Curmudgeon immersed himself in more mundane household tasks and cleaning and, exhausted and just a bit sweaty, sat down for a moment to rest and turned on the television.  His clicker finger stopped on the “E” channel, always a mistake yet sometimes strangely rewarding, and something called Rich Kids of Beverly Hills.

During his ninety or so seconds there, he observed a conversation between a young woman (in her twenties, probably, although The Curmudgeon is a terrible judge of age) and her mother in which they were talking about the young woman’s boyfriend.  The mother suggested that the young man was still deciding how he felt about the daughter.

The daughter had an interesting perspective on the question of the boyfriend’s interest.

“I wear a double D bra and have a twenty-four inch waist.  What’s for him to think about?”

And that, boys and girls, is why “E” – and rich kids from Beverly Hills – are best avoided.

If It’s on “E,” It Must Be Awful

While sitting around in his underwear reading the newspaper yesterday morning, putting off for just a few more minutes the start of a few errands and some housework, The Curmudgeon also indulged in a little channel-surfing and saw an ad on the “E” (stands for “execrable”) cable network for a new program called What Would Ryan Lochte Do?

Might be an interesting premise, might not, but The Curmudgeon has just one question:

Who the @#%^$ is Ryan Lochte?

Mini-Rumination: “E” and Aurora

So the “E” entertainment channel has dispatched a reporter to Aurora, Colorado to – you should pardon the expression – “cover” the mass shooting at a movie theater Friday night.

Why?

Because the shooting just so happened to take place in a movie theater and therefore falls within the “E” sphere of interest?

It’s absurd.  What’s next?  Ryan Seacrest with that shit-eating grin of his trying to act all serious while introducing a report “from the field?”  Joan Rivers critiquing the clothing of the local prosecutor?  Giuliana Rancic interviewing public officials as they make their way to the courthouse?  A guest appearance by Khloe and Lamar?

Go home, E.  Go back to what you do best:  presenting non-news about non-sense.

Mini-Rumination: E Entertainment Announces the Return of “Ice Loves Coco”

Why?

Cable a la Carte Anyone?

When The Curmudgeon’s cable modem is down and his access to the internet disappears, he calls his cable company (Comcast) to register his dismay and seek help.  As often as not, entering his phone number – the mechanism the cable company uses to identify callers – elicits a message to the effect of “We’re experiencing an outage in your area.  Our technicians are working on the problem and your service should be restored shortly.”

The cable company’s technology is that good:  it can respond to The Curmudgeon’s question without him even posing it, armed with nothing more than his telephone number.  Pretty impressive.

When The Curmudgeon’s lack of service is not related to a general outage, he waits his turn briefly – for all of the complaints about cable companies’ poor service, he has never spent much time in “hold hell” – speaks to a technician, and by giving his name and address or telephone number, that technician can call up a screen on his computer and see a visual record of The Curmudgeon’s service (or lack thereof).

“Yes, Mr. Curmudgeon, I can see that your service is down.”  He can see it – from his end.  Without The Curmudgeon even telling him.  Again, very impressive.

In fact, the customer service representative can often see more.

“I see that your service is occasionally dropping off for a few minutes at a time.  Have you noticed that?”

Yes, Mr. Service Representative, The Curmudgeon has – and he’s not too happy about it.

Again, the cable company’s technology is that good:  it can see The Curmudgeon’s problem without him even explaining it, armed with nothing more than his telephone number.

When the service is running right and The Curmudgeon directs his clicker to a station number that features a premium cable channel – he does not subscribe to any premium cable channels – the screen is blank.  He’s not paying for it, so he doesn’t get it.

The cable company’s technology is that good:  it knows who’s watching, knows what they’re paying for and what they’re not, and is smart enough not to give him what isn’t his.  Seems pretty fair – and again, pretty impressive.

The cable company also offers a feature called “On Demand” (The Curmudgeon has seen this in homes other than his own; his particular cable package does not include this service).  By pressing a few buttons, a customer can summon any one of literally hundreds (or is it thousands?) of television programs and movies.  Some are free, some cost money.

The cable company’s technology is that good:  with a few clicks of a button, a customer can summon almost anything to his television screen.  The next month’s cable bill never includes a charge for a free program and never fails to bill you for what you purchased.

This gives rise to an obvious question:  if the cable company’s technology is this good, why can’t it sell its customers any networks we want, omit any networks we don’t want, and charge us only for what we choose?  Why is this not like a restaurant where you look at the menu, choose what you want, and then pay for what you choose?  Why can’t we have cable a la carte?  Why must we pay for the mac and cheese even though everyone knows we are lactose-sensitive?

The cable companies have been asked this question more than once, including by Congress.  They typically dismiss such inquiries, offering a mush-mouthed excuse about not having the technical capacity to do this.

We know this is nonsense.  And they know we know.  And they know we know they know.

On occasion, the cable companies will offer another explanation:  that unless they offer a broad range of programming that may include networks that some of their customers don’t want, new programming will never have an opportunity to break into the cable lineup.

While on the surface this may make seem plausible, it’s an argument that ultimately doesn’t pass the smell test.  New networks have always struggled to be offered by cable companies; some – the NFL Network comes to mind – even go to court to force cable companies to offer them.

But despite these struggles, new networks appear all the time – because those networks work at it.  (Or, as is increasingly the case, they are owned by the cable company and get a free ride.)

In the past, The Curmudgeon distinctly recalls commercials for a cable channel wannabe that beckoned, “Tell your cable operator you want E Entertainment television.”  That seemed to work out pretty well for the E people.  The same is true of MTV:  there may not be a cable system in the country that doesn’t offer MTV, and MTV’s campaign for acceptance – “I want my MTV” – may have been of a higher quality than any programming the network has ever offered and may be more memorable than anything that has been shown on its air since then with the possible exception of Adam Curry’s hair.

The Curmudgeon also recalls, in the past, his cable operator offering free weekend “previews” of premium cable networks, the theory apparently being that if we like what we see during a free weekend of Showtime or HBO, we might be willing to pay for those networks.  Nothing prevents cable operators from offering previews of aspiring cable networks to their viewers and then offering those viewers the option of subscribing to networks they like.  It’s called marketing, and it’s something most businesses do constantly instead of forcing unwanted products down their customers’ throats.

But cable companies don’t need to bother with such niceties.  They don’t offer their customers true choice in channel selection because they are mostly a monopoly, blessed with the official imprimatur of government (which permits them to lay their cables pretty much wherever they please) and they don’t have to do anything they don’t want to do.  They offer a service and we can take it or leave it.  They offer products and we have to pay for them whether we want them or not.

Why must The Curmudgeon pay for Lifetime television for women?  Why must The Curmudgeon’s 79-year-old father pay for the Food Network when the only kitchen that interests him is run by Chef Boyardee?

We must tolerate this because cable operators are greedy and have made enough political contributions to persuade elected officials to turn a blind eye to their un-American approach to selling their products.  Consequently, they believe they can respond to customer complaints about prices and service by pointing to the variety of programming they offer – even if we don’t want all that variety.  Customers’ preferences do not matter at all; they have no place in the decision-making of avaricious cable company executives.  As much as cable companies despise their satellite television competition, they can always point to those competitors and tell us “If you don’t love us, you can always get a divorce and marry them” – even though satellite is not an option for many people.

There is a great tendency in our society – a tendency The Curmudgeon generally frowns upon – to declare that in such matters, we should “let the market decide.”  In this case, that seems appropriate:  the market – in this case, the public – should be permitted to vote with its dollars and patronage which cable networks should thrive and which should struggle or even die.  THAT is how markets are supposed to work.

But cable companies don’t need to worry about, or even think about, anything as insignificant as markets and customer choice and pleasing their customers.  They are monopolies, they have paid our elected representatives a lot of money to maintain that monopoly, and the customer be damned.