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.