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Swoper Reigns Supreme...

...but Rich Smith wins in a different way

By Andrew Hershberger     June 30, 2003

Greetings Cinescapers! Last week I asked you to vote for the worst direction SMALLVILLE could take based on reader suggestions, and boy was there a response. Many of you wondered if I knew of any show besides SMALLVILLE and conjectured that if I did it was probably SUPERBOY. To rest any fears, yes, I do know of another show besides SMALLVILLE and yes it is SUPERBOY. To come clean, the parts of this column that do not relate to those shows are ghostwritten by my mother. (Who, by the way, is going in for a cornea operation next week... so I don't know what I'm going to do. Anybody know of any stations running SMALLVILLE or SUPERBOY marathons the week of the 7th?)


Now, there were five choices to be considered last week and let's just say there was a lot of choosing. Every idea racked in some serious points, but when the smoke cleared there could be only one. Only one, that is, if the readers didn't point out that one of the pieces was not only a good idea, but a "great" idea. Thanks to this I have two winners.


First though lets thank Dezoid and Charles Bucci for their contributions. Dezoid and Charles, going by the responses, you made a lot of readers smile and I thank you. You get the special prize of being able to say your favorite superhero is your best friend for one day and one day only. (After all, we don't want people to think we're insane.)


Adi, your submission of "Clark's English, identical twin cousin moves in with the Kents and wackiness ensues" didn't win, but it did inspire my favorite response. It's just too darn good to keep from the TV Wasteland reader, so here it is:


"Meet Clarky who's been most everywhere,


From Krypton's orb to Smallville square


But Parker's only seen the sights,


A boy can see from Shropshire Heights,


What a crazy pair!


But they're cousins... identical cousins all the way.


One pair of super-bookends, different as night and day


While Clarky grew up in Jonathan's debt,


Out on the farm, to be a vet,


Our Parker loves the city life,


and with the girls, he gets in strife,


What a wild duet!


Still, they're cousins... identical cousins and you'll find


They run alike, x-ray alike, sometimes they even fly alike


You can lose your mind, super-cousins....


They're two of a kind!"


-Craig Walker


Adi, you get the gift of being a muse, and thank you Craig.


Now that that's out of the way I'd like to present the winner, hands down, from the Operation Kryptonite contest. Ladies and gentleman, from the mind of Swoper, here's the pitch that's going to bring the WB down:


"Ok, now Smallville is a great show but, come on, your not pullin' in the numbers like the big boys. Right? Ok, now the show's ok, but we have some changes that could really draw in those Nielsens. First: what is the hottest show on TV? American Idol. The kids love the music. Now you have had great soundtracks so far and that has been a draw, so why not go a step further? A musical. From now on Smallville will be a musical. But only the leads will do the singing, and at the appropriate time of course. We don't want Cop Rock. Example:


a) Clark has to rescue his parents locked in a safe at Luthor Corp. But Kryptonite prevents him from getting too close so he has to melt the door open with his heat vision. While he's doing that he begins singing, "It's getting hot in here, it's coming from my eyes" and we cut to his parents inside the vault and they respond in song, "I am getting so hot Clark must be melting the door down!" Of course we have to get the rights from Nelly, but hell, we could give him a guest spot and I'm sure he'll agree.


b) Lex finds out his wife and father plotted his death, he has her killed and in a moment of reflection we see him sitting at his desk looking out a window. He sings, "It's not so easy being mean, when all your enemies are your friends, half the time." Of course the Henson bunch will be harder to get rights from but we could always contract out some Muppets for some guest monsters, hell it might attract some disheartened Farscape fans.


And another continuing viewer favorite? CSI. Gore. We need gore, and lots of it. Exploding heads, rotting corpses. Maybe the new sheriff was once a forensic scientist!


Lastly, what sells more than anything else? SEX. We need skin. Chloe is turning evil, right? Well let's make her naughty evil. Tight short skirts. Erect nipples popping through blouses. Or better yet a sheer blouse. Hell if E! can get away with visible breasts through sheer clothing, what's stopping us? And whenever there is a bathing suit, one word: thong. Male or female, it's all good. And especially Welling. That scene last year with him coming out of that blast furnace scored big time with the early teen female audience.


Believe me, this is going to make ratings hit the roof!" -Swoper


As Mr. Burns might say, excellent! Swoper will get whatever superpower he wants - even if it doesn't work, he's earned it.


Now the contest was for the worst direction the show could take based on reader contributions, and a lot of readers took objection to one item being on the list. They said it was a brilliant idea and they'd watch the show every day if it became so. So the winner of the never stated "you should submit your pitch to the WB" contest is Rich Smith with this beloved gem:


"The next season of Smallville is set to be the most explosive yet. Clark's erupting hormones come to a head as he discovers further depths to his sexuality. In episode one Clark realizes for the first time that he really doesn't like Lana at all. He confesses to Lex that it was all a disguise to make people think that he was straight. His true feelings are in fact for Lex. At first Lex in confused but by the climatic ending the two are joined together in a super-sexy embrace. The rest of the season sees the two lovers donning tight-fitting t-shirts, fighting crime together in Smallville." -Rich Smith, UK


Rich, there are a lot of Cinescapers out there who would sign a petition to have your idea put into motion, a hell of a lot.


Ok, so contest over, everybody go home, right? Wrong, there is still some column left to read filled with TV shows and movies you might want to check out. So without further ado, except for my traditional drop me a line bit, here're this week's selections.


Folks, feel free to drop me a line anytime at TVWasteland@cinescape.com. Maybe I'll start answering reader questions in my column, maybe.


MONDAY, JUNE 30


CABIN IN THE SKY (6 pm, TCM) Vincente Minnelli directs Lena Horne, Louis Armstong and Eddie "Rochester" Anderson in this musical tale of Little Joe who has heaven and hell fighting for his soul.

Lotte Lenya as Rosa Klebb in FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE

Superior entertainment.


SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS (8 pm, NIK) It's opposites day according to Squidward so Spongebob becomes Spiltmilk Bob via Sponge logic. (Repeat)


STAR WARS: ATTACK OF THE CLONES (9 pm, HBO) Anakin moves closer to the dark side of the Force, George Lucas moves closer to his youthful talent. Superior to THE PHANTOM MENACE, thank God. 


CSI: MIAMI (10 pm, CBS) When an ex-con asks Horatio to help his son, Horatio says, "Are you nuts?" and walks away. (Repeat)


TUESDAY, JULY 1


SMALLVILLE (9 pm, WB) When Clark takes a job at the Talon he is promptly fired for being too efficient and making the other employees look bad. Behind his back he is called superjerk. (Repeat)


LAST COMIC STANDING (9 pm, CBS) It's the most talked about episode of the series. Jay Leno, who dropped out of the contest after inadvertently killing Don Rickles in a berserker rage, is challenged by David Letterman. Leno declines and when Letterman asks why, Leno simply says, "Because I will kill you, my friend." Letterman replies, "Leno, you're not my friend." Two seconds later Letterman is dead and Leno is standing beside the corpse crying. Meanwhile Chris Rock kills David Spade with a garden hoe.


UNFORGIVEN (8 pm, TBS) Clint Eastwood returns to his roots in this exceptional western that finally got Mr. Eastwood that Oscar for directing that he should have won for THE ROOKIE.


THE ELEPHANT MAN (8 pm, TCM) David Lynch directed this bio-picture with a solid straightforward manner that we'd have to wait until THE STRAIGHT STORY to see again. This is the Lynch film for people who hate Lynch.


WEDNESDAY, JULY 2


ENTERPRISE (8 pm, UPN), When Reed and Archer are caught on a planet and are faced with execution, Archer says, "It's all this Reed's fault, why don't you just kill Reed and let's call it a

WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY

day." (Repeat)


FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE (9 pm, TNN) Hey everybody, Lotte Lenya fires a machinegun in this one and Robert "I'm best known as the captain of the Orca" Shaw almost beats up Bond. Killer!


ROUTE 666 (9 pm, SCI-FI) Zombies show up on an ironically named highway.


THE TWILIGHT ZONE (9 pm, UPN) 1) When a teacher sees a light coming from her doomed students she turns off the overheads to save on electricity. 2) An artist's painting reveals his killer, but since it was suicide nobody's impressed. (Repeats)


THURSDAY, JULY 3


AIR BUD: SEVENTH INNING FETCH (8 pm, WB) The super canine takes on yet another sport, with stellar results. Equally realistic subplot has the dog looking for his missing offspring, just like your or my dog would do.


REN & STIMPY / GARY THE RAT / STRIPPERELLA (10 pm, TNN) This quartet of cartoon characters for men fight, fart and pop out of their clothes.


CSI: CRIME SCENE INVESTIGATION (9 pm, CBS) A driver is found dead with a stake in his head. Still given ticket. (Repeat)


WITHOUT A TRACE (10 pm, CBS) When an army officer disappears the team looks for him. Big surprise, that. (Repeat)



FRIDAY, JULY 4


AN AMERICAN WEREWOLF IN PARIS (8 pm, FOX) After this mess it became quite difficult for American Werewolves to get passports. 


PLANET OF THE APES (8 pm, AMC) Charlton Heston meets humanoid apes in a film that feels like an extended TWILIGHT ZONE sketch, possibly due to screenwriter Rod Serling.


YANKEE DOODLE DANDY (8 pm, TCM) James Cagney took a break from the mother-loving psychopath roles to play George M. Cohen and win himself an Oscar. As they say, dance for the praise, but kill for the green.


BURT BACHARACH: THIS IS NOW (8 pm, Ovation) Life's sweetest drink is a good Paul McCartney song. This guy is life's 72 sweetest drinks - 71 down from George M. Cohen, but one above Lou Reed post Velvet Underground.


SATURDAY, JULY 5


SCREAM 2  (8 pm, Fox) Postmodern horror film makes one long for Premodern horror. If you aren't a pop culture junkie this film has no value.


STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT  (8 pm, ABC) We loved THE NEXT GENERATION as a TV show, but as a movie series this is the only offering worth a damn. But what a damn it's worth! Borg galore! 


THE LOST BOYS (8 pm, VH1) Vampire teens torment town, bore audience. Directed by Joel Schumacher (THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING WOMAN, BATMAN & ROBIN), consider yourself warned.


SUNDAY, JULY 6


WILD, WILD WEST (9 pm, CBS) Barry Sonnenfeld and Will Smith cannot recreate the MIB magic in this lackluster TV show-inspired film. 


1776 (8 pm, UPN) Musical retelling of the creation of the Declaration of Independence has more than a few supporters - it has 17, which is certainly more than a few in

Christopher Lee is Count Dooku in ATTACK OF THE CLONES.

my book.


WILLY WONKA AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY (8 pm, FAM) One of the greatest children's films ever made. Gene Wilder is perfectly cast as Wonka, Jack Albertson lends strong support, and the songs, the glorious songs, well, you'll forget them, but you wont forget those orange midgets... what was their name again?


ALIAS (9 pm, ABC) Faye Dunaway appears, spends the whole episode investigating the disappearance of her Hollywood star power. MOMMIE DEAREST is referenced several times. (Repeat)


Tired of this column being virtually criticism free? Do you have a show that you'd really like to vent about? Send it off to me here at TVWasteland@cinescape.com and, provided it's no longer than four sentences, I just might publish it under that show's listing (if it's not listed, I'll list it, provided I choose it). If you do decide to play please keep it clean, and very brief. That means short!


If nothing else it might be nice to get it off your chest. (Seriously, I had a cousin who had a big problem with BEWITCHED that he kept to himself and it just built up and built up until finally he got glaucoma!)


(P.S. Music enthusiasts do check out Ween's website at www.chocodog.com and buy their new album QUEBEC when it comes out in early August... or don't - I'm not your father.)


TV Wasteland is our weekly Television column.

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