The Idiot Box For Smart People

Mad Men remains the best show on television, checking and raising its quality performance from last summer. I look forward to seeing if Breaking Bad holds its position as a close second.

Sons of Anarchy was a disappointer; I think I deleted my Season Pass after the first episode. I can't even remember what the plot was like, but I do remember that Ron Perlman is one ugly mofo.

IFC has two great new shows: The Whitest Kids U' Know, a sketch comedy troupe as random as Upright Citizens Brigade and as gay as The Kids in the Hall, only gayer. Also, it's a bit more explicit and offensive than UCB, which I didn't think was possible.

IFC's second new show, Z-Rock, has the most original concept this season: a comedy series about three Brooklyn based musicians that are trying to make it as a serious rock band by night, but have to play as a kiddie band for children's birthday parties by day to pay the bills. Their manager, played by Lynne Koplitz, channels the annoyingly nasal yet alluring Cougar persona of Fran Drescher in This Is Spinal Tap. Check out her standup; it's a hoot:

The songs from Z-Rock are catchy and rockable, the premise promising, and the improvised dialogue and frequent celebrity cameos spot on.

Saturday Night Live's second episode this season, which aired last night with host James Franco, was a noticeable improvement from last week's drivel. Pro tip: the fact that Sarah Palin looks like Tina Fey is not all that funny, and Michael Phelps should probably stick with swimming and not acting. Andy Samberg's digital short was quality as always, however - Space Olympics will be stuck in my head for the foreseeable future:

Actually, last night was probably the most solid single episode of SNL I've ever seen; every skit was quality, the sort that is worth rewatching again and again. My only complaint was musical guest Kings of Leon, who sounded like a bad Bruce Springsteen cover band. Here's a collection of some of the better clips in case you missed it.

BET's original series Somebodies looked promising at first, but quickly settled into derivative sitcom pablum. I'll probably give it another episode or two, but I expect it will soon be canceled, if not by the network then at least by my Tivo.

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From the wonderful

From the wonderful Buddyhead's Best/Worst Records of the Year, which sadly aren't being made anymore. This from the 2003 version:

Kings Of Leon - Youth And Young Manhood
Even more of the whole retro / irony thing taken to a whole new level of retardation. Yeah dudes, you might look like a band who would've opened for CCR 30 years ago, but even if you opened for them TODAY, your dickless, hack act would get blown off the stage. The Kings Of Leon's "shtick" is that they're all siblings, and their dad is like a preacher or something. But what their record label doesn't want you to know is that their dad was actually a member of the KKK. We're not making this up either. This may camouflage their origins, but still fails to smokescreen the fact that what we have here is just another band with dorky beards playing nipple high guitars. Somebody put Jet, and all the other bands doing this shit on one bill together, so they can tour state fairs in the Midwest and play to slack-jawed, sister fucking NASCAR hicks, and the 20 people in every town who believed NME when they said Andrew WK was the next Nirvana too, cos NOBODY ELSE LIKES THIS SHIT.

Pro Tip: Any time the guys at Buddyhead go out of their way to tell you, "We're not making this up," they're making it up.

And just how is Z-Rock an original concept. Seems like a rehash of Flight of the Concords, both of which strike me as clever, but not smart. Whitest Kids You Know is good stuff. Their parody of Supersize Me involving drinking only whiskey for breakfast, lunch and dinner is the shit.