Tonight I watched the Team Coco Presents The Conan Writers Live on TBS. – yes, this was live Monday night; if you hadn’t noticed I’m a few days behind in the television-viewing universe. I think this special was a genius move by TBS, who is bringing Conan O’Brien’s show to their station in November. As I understand it, Conan is not allowed to make a TV appearance until his new show starts. By having the writers do the show it not only allowed for O’Brien to promote his new show, but gave his viewership a sneak peek under the hood of how the whole thing works. The timing is well positioned to help keep him relevant to his television fan base during his hiatus from onscreen, it comes after his The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour, and promotes the teamcoco.com website.
As for the show itself, Coco’s mannerisms and idiosyncrasies of his onstage persona were evident in the stand-up of his senior writers. It makes one wonder if Conan took on some of the writer’s personalities over the years, or if the writers acquired some of Conan’s quarks – maybe these oddities were born through the camaraderie of the writing room, who knows. It was a little weird, but kind of nice to see a part of the old show on TV, if only for a fleeting minute here and there. Most of the show was a run of the mill stand-up act – a masturbation story, a few porn references, some vaudeville style sketches sprinkled in, etc.
Though Conan’s style made a few appearances through that hour it was no substitute for his comedic delivery and onstage energy. I look forward to his return, which as of right now is 131 days: 23 hours: 37 min: 20 seconds away.
I don’t really enjoy most reality tv/contest driven cross over shows, but HGTVs Design Star is one of the few, which keeps me engaged. I think it’s partially because my real-world design driven job is like being on that show everyday with limited budgets and even more limited time. This new season, however, has taken a little getting used to.
First of all, where is Clive?! The past several seasons we have watched a host lead us through the designs and tell contests “your show has been canceled.” In our house we have affectionately called the act of redubing an onscreen conversation “Cliving” – especially to interject the sponsor’s name. This season it seems as though Vern has taken over this role (Cliving included) – I do have to admit it does give a fresh, more organic flow to series, Vern always has the best one liners.
While we’re talking about judges, this year’s line-up makes more sense than previous seasons. I was always confused about why Cynthia Rowley, predominately a fashion designer, and Martha McCully, executive editor of InStyle Magazine, were there – I get that it falls under their respective umbrellas, but it was a bit of a stretch. Candice and Genevieve make perfect sense. Candice is one of the most talented (and few) Interior Designers on the network, and Genevieve is a talented decorator.
So after 3 episodes here’s my rundown: Nina and Courtland will be in the final 3 unless they really screw up; the third slot is still up for grabs. Courtland has a good design sense and almost seems like he’s the big brother of the show. Nina is over-confident and too cocky. She thinks she is more talented than she is, but her confidence gets her farther than most and if she learns that design is as much about restraint and knowing your weaknesses (sorry you’re NO David Bromstad, leave the painting to someone else) then she can harness her strengths even better.
The overall talent base isn’t as strong as some past seasons, but it will be interesting to see how this one plays out. There are some talented designers on the show, and some who seem to have been carried too much by the teams they’ve worked with in the past. It will be fun to see what is revealed in this season.