Screw Nielsen

Brandy and I spend a lot of time watching television, and one of the shows we started watching this summer was Arrested Development with Jason Bateman and David Cross. The first time watching it we both thought there were funny parts, but didn’t think it was anything special, so we stopped watching it for a while. We picked it back up again after a few weeks and had developed a new found appreciation for the show.

I had really wanted to like it since I think Jason Bateman is pretty darn funny; I thought he was the only saving grace in The Sweetest Thing. I hadn’t paid too much attention to David Cross other than his Men in Black II appearance, but I thought his look and delivery in both the movie and the show was hilarious. One of the things I found really interesting about the show is that Ron Howard and Henry Winkler (Riche and The Fonz from Happy Days) are teamed up again. Howard Ever since Water Boy Winkler seems intent on playing a sniveling weakling (though I must say he does it very well).

Anyway I should have realized that the show was in danger of cancellation, but I didn’t until I read this post by Steven Smith where he gave a plug and a little bit of history. It made me think about a lot of shows that lasted solely through the rave reviews of the critics and the few dedicated viewers who spread the word eventually; shows like Seinfeld (one of my favorites), 24 and Alias. And for every show that’s made it there are at least 5 that have been really good but didn’t get the Nielsen ratings to keep it afloat.

For those not in the know about Neilson check out this article by Marshall Brain and for those who do, read on. Nielsen has been around for years and has proven a very effective way of capturing shows that viewers love, though I would say not so great at showing proving what they hate. Some of the shows that come to mind that slipped under the ratings radar are shows like Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Family Guy, both of which could be argued had a pretty loyal following but failed to make it in the ratings war. Fans have proven their loyalty to Family Guy with their DVD purchases in the past year or so, which has prompted FOX to re-instate the show in the 2005 season. Tough Crowd has just recently gone off the air and has not had the benefit of being dropped to DVD yet, but being a political commentary show I would think it unlikely that it will do that well, since it doesn’t benefit from a nut-job host like Michael Moore like The Awful Truth. These shows suffered the fate of a poor Nielsen rating, which goes a good way to show that the system is flawed. I can almost understand Tough Crowd being cancelled since it was lined up against Leno, Letterman and Kimmel, but when you start bringing shows back so-called ‘failed’ shows due to overwhelming fan support you have to question the answers.

Another reason that the traditional Nielsen system is becoming outdated is due to the advent of Tivo and other DVRs. These devices change the way that television is watched, and Nielsen doesn’t even capture the metrics of people who don’t want to be a slave to airtime. Because of this, Nielsen is reacting by announcing that they will address this market in the middle of next year. As Tivo users, we should be thankful for their admission and quick reaction!

Wrapping up, it just doesn’t seem okay the Nielsen dictates what stays and what goes, when it’s pretty obvious that the company only has sort-of a clue about what’s entertaining. Other than notifying them that I am out here and upset by the consequences of their actions, I’m not quite sure what actions to take. I wish I had a long list of action items for myself and others, but sadly I don’t. If only there was some way to still be able to watch the shows I thought were funny without them getting cancelled because I didn’t watch them when and how the advertisers WANTED me to watch them. Fight the power, loose the shows…

Rats Leaving a Sinking Ship?

I saw this article on CNN regarding four members of the Bush cabinet leaving office, bringing the total number of deserters to five in addition to Ashcroft’s resignation last week. I have yet to see many blog posts about it other that this one on 1600 Political Bits. The names of the resigning cabinet members are:
Colin Powell – Secretary of State
Rod Paige – Education Secretary
Spencer Abraham – Energy Secretary
Ann Veneman – Agriculture Secretary

Makes you wonder what the reasoning is behind the leaving and which party initiated it. Either W felt he didn’t need to have their services anymore or else they said “Fuck four more years of this, I quit”. Too bad about Colin Powell though. He should have stepped up and just ran for president when he had the chance 5 years ago. He claimed that he wanted to be able to spend more time with his family, but I question how possible could that have been in the past four years while serving as the Secretary of State. Why couldn’t he just man up when he had the chance? Perhaps the party polarity shown in the nation could have been avoided, and crazy religious fears would not have fueled the 2004 election. Kind of funny that the Education Secretary threw in the towel. It’s almost like he didn’t think he would be able to pull off No Child Left Behind.

The Island

Had a pretty eventful weekend in the house, managing to get the island and its frame assembled but not quite put together. I had to wait for the liquid nails to dry on the two by fours and tile. I decided to leave a message for the next people who have the pleasure of ripping out the cabinets that I have so lovingly installed, and I figured the best place would be under the island inside the two by four frame. The first idea I had was pretty lame, as it just consisted of a silly message about unleashing demons. Brandy and I both had a pretty bad reaction to this so I had to change it. I remembered how much we hated the blue tiles and wood cabinets that had been installed by the previous owners, so I came to the comclusion that one day some lucky home owner might hate the cabinets and countertops that we installed just as much as we did. Then I got the idea to put a picture of the old kitchen and a note that let those home owners know how good they had it, and how they could have been left with woo centraland a blue everywhere. I put it under the island and taped it to the floor. I picture the discovery going a little like this:

John: (while demolishing island) God, I can’t believe these people would choose white cabinets for the entire kitchen! It is so overpowering!
Jane: (while standing by idly, watching) I know! I hate these people. And black appliances! What were they thinking?
John: (lifting island) Can you help me with this?
Jane: No honey, it’s to heavy for me!
John: Damn it!
Jane: Don’t be mad…
John: GGUUUHHH! (tumbling the island over) What is that?

Preview of Note

Jane: It looks like a note…
John: (realization dawning) Oh wow…

Note

Jane: I don’t care, it still looks terrible…
John: Yeah, those guys suck.