back to the Black Table
  INCOMING! MARCH 7, 2005.  


With Camryn Manheim's "Practice" spin-off getting canned before ever starting, Anna Nicole Smith's being Trim Spa'ed down to her gold-digging weight and Star Jones's waistline on the post-stapling wane, primetime television found itself suddenly cankle-free for the first time since 1956. But tonight, erstwhile sexy Vulcan Kirstie Alley steamrolls into the forefront of plus-size advocacy with the premiere of her new reality-ish sort-of sitcom, "Unscripted Jenny Craig Infomercial," on Showtime. Somewhere, Shelley Long is cutting herself.

In more tightly written television comedy, the governor of California will be in New York City today, to give the opening remarks at the 2005 Annual Lincoln Day Dinner. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joins special guests Governor George Pataki, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Honorary Chairman Rudy Giuliani. So, be on full alert, folks, because if the entire socially-



moderate-to-liberal element of the Republican Party is being kept busy elsewhere, Karl Rove is surely putting some of his nefarious machinations into practice today. By the way, the actual Lincoln Day was three weeks ago. You see? The whole thing is misdirecting flummery!




Today is International Women's Day, celebrating the social, economic and political achievements made by women, and commemorating the 1911 fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Company's factory in New York City, that killed 154 employees -- all of them young, poor, overworked, immigrant women. The tragedy led to reform in workers' safety conditions and women's unionization, and its anniversary became a reason for women in Europe and America to rally for peace during World War I, which evolved into a holiday I'd never heard of until surfing through Wikipedia just now.

Apparently the good people of Ottawa had never heard of it either because for reasons unbeknown, they declared this day Alanis Morissette Day. She declined on account of her being a woman, and it already being International Women's Day. Again, I didn't know any of this. Wikipedia rocks.

International Women's Day is celebrated across


the globe in countries that allow women to celebrate things. And whose women are revealing bared legs in celebration for the first time this year? The freely occupied state of Iraq, who just one year ago today signed its constitution (which, by the way, was a shameless ripoff of our own). One year later, and the Baghdad Wal-Mart is selling charcoal briquettes and hot-dog buns like crazy, and the Basra Crazy Eddie is having a low, low sale on air conditioners. Freedom is on the march, people!




Tonight, disgraced anchorman Dan Rather signs off for the last time, 78 years to the day since he first took over Walter Cronkite's chair behind the plywood desk of "The CBS Evening News." It's cute how everyone in the news lets him pretend he's gracefully retiring with dignity after decades of faithful reportage, instead of publicly deriding him for being smacked up by a blog. Now that he's going, expect to read a deluge of diatribes by print journalists either lauding the awesome might of the people or shakily insisting on the ultimate negligibility of the medium.

Meanwhile, politically oriented bloggers round the 'sphere should pop a cold one and blast Track 1 of R.E.M.'s Monster when they watch tonight's sign-off because this is probably as big a victory as


their aggregate forces will ever achieve: the toppling of an ultimately innocuous old newsman who foolishly believed shitty evidence. Meanwhile, the real enemy grows stronger. Congratulations, assholes. You forced Dan fucking Rather off the air, sort of -- he's still going to be a talking head, but nobody will let him hold fraudulent documents. Anyway, tomorrow morning, the proprietors of and should sink into post-victory depression as they ponder what the fuck else they can do with their free time. Here's an idea: get to work on getting Robert Novak sent to prison.




Previously, on "The O.C.," a DNA test revealed Caleb to be Lindsay's true father, though she decided instead to be conveniently written off the show with her sappy mom, and, when a car crash cuts short a romantic getaway between Peter Gallagher and his secret pretend-dead ex-girlfriend, she goes on the lam, again, and he returns to Kiki, thus ending his would-be affair before it ever got started, while, awaiting takeoff in an airport lounge, headed for her boyfriend's sister's wedding in Tuscany, Summer spotted an adorable, curly-haired tyke playing with horsey toys and comic books which made her realize she shouldn't be with Zack, the show's replacement meathead after Season One's Luke left the O.C. to be with his gay dad, and she made a beeline for Seth Cohen, her ex-adorable schmuck with a childlike love of horsey toys and comic books, who happened to be dangling upside-down from his roof in the pouring rain, wearing a Spider-Man mask, and they got to reenact the MTV Movie Award-winning kiss, and meanwhile, Marissa, conveying shaky doubts about her lesbian fling with Alex, the super-pompadoured bisexual rocker chick, via some seriously vacuous gazing toward the horizon, found Ryan standing on the boardwalk, umbrella-less in the rain -- all to soundtrack of Boyz II Men ballads. Whew!

Tonight, with all loose plots strings tied up nicely and neatly, the gang winds up locked in a mall after closing. Yeah!

Also, the trailer for Star Wars: Episode III will be broadcast during tonight's episode, probably somewhere less than two minutes before the hour's up. Expect six in-house Fox promos promoting the commercial throughout the show's other commercial breaks.

And if you're still hungry for televised crap after that, you can switch over to MTV to watch Lizzie Grubman return white-trash class to the



national consciousness with the momentum of a Mercedes SUV in reverse in tonight's debut of "PoweR Girls." What asshole decided it would be a good idea to encourage young Long Island JAPs to emulate Lizzie Grubman? Yuck!




Easter must be coming soon because this year's crop of marshmallow Peeps has hatched and the Lord, your savior, is about to rise again, again! The Passion of the Christ is re-released today … this time with a mandate, baby! Following three Oscar nominations and zero wins for its cinematography (arid vistas), makeup (blood, grime) and score (ominous chanting), Jesus is going to start spending all that political capital he's acquired.

Jews, liberals, secular heathens and those who prefer English-language or first-run films might instead want to catch Robots, the exercise in digitally animated mediocrity, also opening today. For a movie about a scrappy 'bot full of dents and dings that doesn't even fight in Battlebot-style death matches (and likely isn't halfway as awesome as The Iron Giant), they've somehow assembled a stellar roster of actors and comedians to (literally) phone in vocal performances: Ewan McGregor, Halle Berry, Mel Brooks, Robin Williams, Amanda Bynes, Greg Kinnear, Paul Giamatti, Stanley Tucci, Dianne Wiest, Drew Carey, Conan O'Brien, D.L. Hughley, Dan Hedaya, Jim Broadbent, Jennifer Coolidge, Jamie Kennedy, Carson Daly, Harland Williams, and -- wait, who slipped Carson Daly's name in the credits?

If you're in high school, you know that you can now laugh "superciliously" at anybody who only scores 1600 on his or her college-admissions boards, because Saturday is the launch of the new SAT, which adds a third section, writing, to account for its new 2400-point total score (as well as its fourth hour). That's right, tomorrow's entry-level professionals might actually be able to compose functional sentences -- but they'll be completely dumbfounded when they encounter an on-the-job analogy, because that's among the cognitive tests getting cut. It makes me nostalgic for the days where the SAT measured insensitive Aptitude, and not inoffensive Achievement. Everybody's special, children, each in his or her own ways! Yay for all of you, just for showing up!

And if you're in college, Saturday's probably the



first day of SPRING BREAK! Wooooo! A week of risky sex and fiery vomit in any of Mexico's three kidnapping-prohibited safe-zones. Have fun, kids. Don't drink the agua.

But if you're a grownup, it's just another shitty Saturday, which you'll waste either sitting on the couch thinking of the errands you're not accomplishing, preparing NCAA tournament brackets (Selection Sunday is, well, Sunday) or waiting in line to accomplish errands, wishing you were home on your couch watching "The O.C." you TiVoed from Wednesday so you can watch the Star Wars trailer again. Sigh.


Josh Abraham is an editor at Yankee Pot Roast.


INCOMING! runs every Monday on The Black Table.