20 Questions About the 2011-2012 TV Season (Part 4)

ron swanson

Welcome to the final part of my 20 questions series.

We’ve covered a lot of ground with our first 15 questions (You can read Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3). Today, I culminate the series by hopefully tackling some of the more pertinent questions facing TV lovers this winter. Let’s jump right in.

How does The Walking Dead keep adding viewers?

The most recent episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead attracted nearly 7 million viewers. The midseason premiere attracted over 8 million. For contrast, the first season averaged somewhere in the neighborhood of 5 million viewers and added more viewers for the finale.

That means that more people are joining a narrative drama midstream that has plotholes I can jam a zombie gut-covered pickax through. What explains the uptick in viewers? You would think that all lovers of zombies would have started watching from the premiere so it’s reasonable to believe that we aren’t adding any of those people. Therefore, these people are most likely referrals from friends/co-workers/prostitutes/drug dealers.

No offense to my boy, Norman Reedus, but what is the sales pitch to a potential convert? You have to oversell the violence, right? It can’t be “Well, a group of people hang out on a farm and debate morality and leadership while wrangling the occasional zombie into a barn.” That doesn’t seem like an easy sell. In any event, kudos to The Walking Dead for continuing to wrangle in new viewers.

How should House end?

I wrote about House several weeks ago and wondered if the show was enjoying a renaissance. Then, the show announced that it would not be returning for a ninth season this coming fall. Now, we’re left to wonder how they will bring it to a close. As you might expect, I have a few suggestions:

1. House and Wilson finally realize their unrequited love and move to Vermont so they can legally marry. They spend the rest of their days pulling loving pranks on each other while solving medical mysteries for the small community where they have a three bedroom cottage. Foreman frequently comes to visit to have “Bro Weekends” and attempt to sleep with the community’s various attractive housewives.

2. Cuddy shows up and demands back payment of damages caused by House when he plowed through her house during a nice family meal. In order to pay off the debt, House is forced by a judge to become Lisa Cuddy’s butler in a plot eerily reminiscent to the pilot created by Jerry and George on Seinfeld.

3. After losing his medical license for his latest poor decision, House moves to New Mexico where he meets a new friend named Walter. After a break conversation, House discovers that this man is sick, but he doesn’t believe it is cancer as the doctors led Walter to believe. House then embarks on a crusade to cure his new friend while simultaneously getting interrogating phone calls from the DEA.

Granted, I had some fun with these, but I am not sure how House can end in a way that is satisfactory to the core audience that has stuck by it for eight seasons. If you have any ideas, feel free to submit them in the comments section.

How many people can understand Luck?

My guess: not many.

I review the show (and mostly enjoy it) and even I struggle to figure out exactly what some of the particulars are really saying. The horse trainer, Escalante, continues to baffle me. His accent is so thick, and his lines are so Milch-ized, that it is very difficult to gather in exactly what he is saying without re-watching the scene a few times. That being said, Escalante is but one example of a show who’s world is difficult to penetrate. They put us behind the scenes, but they didn’t leave us with a guide.

Without a doubt, it’s probably the biggest reason why so few people watch the show. No one can debate the cinematography or the acting, but Milch has created a world that is only understood by people willing to spend the mental dollars to figure it out. I give Milch props for making a show this real and visceral (it’s what he’s known for), but I’m sure HBO would appreciate it if he made it more accessible to a wider audience.

All that being said, I’m in on Luck. If you’re willing to work for it, there is a really enjoyable show here. Just make sure you can give it your full attention.

Who’s the better Spartacus?

Due to the unfortunate death of Andy Whitfield (RIP, Andy), we are now on our second Spartacus now played by Liam McIntyre.

As macabre as it may seem, fans of the show are forced to compare McIntyre’s performance to Whitfield’s. It’s been fascinating to watch. After the first episode, I didn’t think I would be able to look at the show without thinking of Whitfield. However, the show looks so different from season one that it has allowed McIntyre to stand more on his own than I originally thought. The fighting scenes have been so exquisite that one could argue McIntyre is the better athlete and on-screen gladiator.

Still, he doesn’t have the chops like Whitfield. He can’t command a scene like Whitfield and he seems to possess only one facial pose that isn’t “I’m slashing open a guy’s stomach.” Sorry, Liam, but Andy was better. You aren’t going to make us forget him anytime soon.

Once again, rest in peace, Andy Whitfield.

Is Ron Swanson a modern day Yoda?

For those of the uninitiated, Ron Swanson is the lovable curmudgeon character on Parks and Recreation.

He is a man of few words and simple tastes. (Give the man a plate of ribs and he will be as happy as he permits himself to show.) However, if you listen closely, Ron regularly dispenses pearls of wisdom that should be taken to heart by all who wish to follow in his example. Just last week, Ron recounted a story about working at the sheet metal factory and the tannery while trying to finish middle school. It was a beautifully ridiculous soliloquy that had an important take-home message: Don’t half-ass two things. Whole-ass one thing.

The man’s genius knows no bounds. You all should start listening.

That does it for 20 questions. What would be your answer to the final 5 questions? Let me know in the comments below.

The TV Czar