Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Isn’t it iconic…don’t you think?

Orli Sharaby at Media Players sent me an e-mail yesterday with news about the latest TV special cooked up by TV Land and Entertainment Weak…er, Weekly: The 50 Greatest TV Icons, scheduled for a 2-hour time slot on TV Land this Friday, November 16th. (What, they ran out of movies to show?)

First off, much thanks to Ms. Sharaby for passing this along—and rest assured, I’m not trying to shoot the messenger. But my enthusiasm for these sorts of extravaganzas ranks right around the demonstrative fervor I display anytime the AFI trots out one of their “100 Best” lists. With the AFI, they’re usually trying to jack up sales of videocassettes and DVDs—I’m not certain what TV Land/EW’s motives are, though in TV Land’s case it might be a ruse to distract people from discovering that their idea of “classic TV” is Designing Women and Night Court.

My cranky curmudgeonism aside, TV Land and EW have kicked things off with a preliminary list of those icons ranked from #51 to #100. Just a precursory glance at this will tell you that TV Land/EW are smoking cigarettes without a brand name. Bob Hope at #51? He should be ranked much, much higher. So, for that matter, should Don Knotts, Bob Denver, James Garner, Art Carney and Rod Serling. The list of #1 to #50 is even worse: how the f**K does Calista Flockhart make the top 50? What the hell has she done, apart from promoting anorexia nervosa and shacking up with Harrison Ford, who’ll soon be starring in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Polident? Simon Cowell? Please. He couldn’t carry Bob Hope’s jockstrap, much less Jerry Mathers’. (Sorry about burning that image on your retinas, by the way.) And where the hell are people like Phil Silvers and Eve Arden, ferchrissake?

It would appear that the definition of “TV icon” means anyone who’s been on your small screen so often enough that they get points for…well, being on your small screen so often enough. (At least, that’s how I justify the inclusion of people like Oprah Winfrey and Regis Philbin, not to mention Sarah Jessica Parker.) I’d be curious to learn who did the rankings on this odious piece of fromage—probably the same EW “editors” who are completely unaware that they did make movies before 1975. N-E-wayz, if you’re interested in seeing one of those gratuitous back-patting retrospectives where celebrities say revoltingly nice things to one another, be in front of your set Friday night to watch.

10 comments:

Sam said...

So, Ivan. tell us how you really feel about Callista Flockhart. You know they are gonna pander to the younger crowd with her and Simon cowell and a few others and we are just stuck with it. Maybe you should do your own poll to see your readers think is the greatest TV icon.

Well, what are you waiting for? Get started already!

Linda said...

I knew the list sucked when I saw Jennifer Aniston on it. Pul-leeze.

Linda said...

Er...just looked at the lists. Who is Marcia Cross and who is Don Cornelius? How can you be a TV icon if some of the people looking at the list don't even know who you are?

Suzanne said...

I couldn't possible agree more. If we are going to have a poll on who is the greatest TV icon, my vote goes for James Garner!

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Linda: Marcia Cross is one of the stars of Desperate Housewives, a hit ABC show for people with too much free time on their hands. She was also on the execrable Melrose Place--only don't ask me who she was, because not only have I ever seen an episode, I'm pretty darn smug about it. Don Cornelius was/is the host of the long-running series Soul Train.

Sam: We don't need to have a poll on this because, as Suzanne has wisely pointed out, James Garner is the winner. (Hey...I never said this blog was a democracy.) You are, however, correct when you say that they are pandering to a younger demographic by including Calista (God, I hate her) Flockhart and Simon (God, I hate him) Cowell. Fortunately, there are fuddy-duddies like me to complain about such non...hey! You kids get off my lawn!

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

Another vapid list by some green kid who thinks the world began the day he discovered the mall. No history, no perspective, no depth.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

I should have looked at the list before commenting. I went by the other comments. Okay there were a few people from the long ago, but not enough. And what have pigs like Rosie O'Donnell and Roseanne Barr done to become icons? How about Buffalo Bob Smith? Captain Kangaroo? Roy Rogers? Richard Boone? J. Fred Muggs?

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

I couldn't agree more, Cap'n.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Cap'n Bob's observation about the absence of Captain Kangaroo and Buffalo Bob Smith has got me worked up again. Not only did they leave these two individuals off, but Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar didn't even make the cut. Any list that's going to bump off Kovacs (one of the most innovative and irreverent personalities in the medium) and Paar (the man who pretty much wrote the book on talk shows) in favor of the cast of In Living Color and "Cartman" from South Park is a list with which I don't want to be associated.

Hal said...

Two more glaring omissions: Buddy Ebsen only starred in arguably the most popular TV series of the 1960's, THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES, starred in BARNABY JONES in the 1970's, which lasted 8 seasons and consistently made the top 25, and also co-starred in DAVY CROCKETT, probably the first mini-series phenomenon, in the 1950's. So what does a guy have to do to get on this list? And how can James Arness, Marshal Dillon himself, last 20 years on CBS and not even make the top 100?