Dave on Demand | Party's over

With the smoke of the "Idol" and "Lost" finale fireworks still in the air, TV entertainment dried up and blew away for the summer.

Posted: May 26, 2007

Talk about feast or famine. When TV closes up shop for the year, it doesn't dawdle. Wednesday was the final night of May sweeps, the traditional end of the TV season. It was fireworks and fanfares all around, with a lavish two-hour capper to American Idol and a gripping two-hour finale on Lost.

By Thursday, prime-time had flatlined. No signs of life. Just reruns and the odd reality show. In a scant 24 hours, your TV had gone from a raucous fairgrounds, full of noise, lights and people to an eerily empty lot with discarded wrappers somersaulting along the ground.

And the networks wonder why their audience continues to erode. When you shutter the amusement park for three months at a time, people find other ways to amuse themselves.

There is one notable exception to the reign of reruns: the House season finale is Tuesday. Don't get excited. It's just a scheduling snafu by Fox. But the show contains a great line: When a Cuban refugee miraculously revives after being declared dead, she asks, "Is this heaven?" "No," says House, "it's New Jersey."

Say what? The Lost finale was fantastic but I have one quibble: When Jack is leading his people on the exodus up the mountain, they take off down the beach with the ocean on their right. In the next scene, they're still picking their way along the coast, but now the water is on their left. Hmmm. . . . At the conclusion of Desperate Housewives, we were left with the cliffhanger of Edie's suicide. A second after she steps off the chair, we see her legs and torso, hanging still as a curtain. Wouldn't a person in that situation be kicking or at least swaying? . . . And can someone please explain to me why Phillip Bauer, in the finale of 24, was willing to risk everything to take his grandson with him? The show made it abundantly clear the guy had all the family feeling of a male grizzly.

This will hurt for moment. Bad night for dental care on Sunday. First on The Simpsons, Bart found Principal Skinner sitting in the dentist's chair, silly on laughing gas. The little prankster promptly turned on the X-ray machine, aimed it point- blank at Skinner's groin, and told him to sit still for 20 minutes. Then on The Sopranos, after thrashing rival thug Coco, Tony positioned his victim's mouth on a footrest and stomped, spraying teeth across the floor.

Hey, Vito, what kinda dental coverage we got?

Roadside assistance. A commercial really caught my eye. An Asian couple in a convertible and a bad mood pull to a stop. The female passenger wants the driver to admit he's lost, which he adamantly refuses to do. From an adjoining billboard, a larger-than-life version of NBA star Yao Ming (and believe me, that's big) reaches down and hands them a car navigation system.

It struck me that this was the first time I've ever seen an ad populated entirely by Asians. A belated welcome to the melting pot.

After the couple drive away, Yao reaches down, picks up some wadded litter and flings it into a trash container - showing off superior athletic and civic skills.

Contact Inquirer TV editor David Hiltbrand at 215-854-4552 or dhiltbrand@phillynews.com. Read his recent work at http:/go.philly.com/daveondemand.

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