Where’s The Remote

The Office

The Office

So this is Christmas? I have been thinking a lot about the downfall of popular TV shows around the winter holidays. There seems to be a general dearth of good stuff. I mean, other than NBC’s The Office holiday party episode (Dec. 6), which was pretty accurate in depicting an actual office holiday party, I haven’t seen much to impress or inspire feelings of yule. OK, not entirely true—the Jack in the Box Holiday Antenna Ball commercial does something for me, you know the one where the reindeer ball lands in the punch bowl of egg nog and ends up sitting on the photocopier, as evidenced by the office staff the next morning who find the image of the Styrofoam sphere’s hole? Each time I see the ad I chuckle and think, wow, that was wrong, and thank St. Nick and his marketing team for giving such grist to my non-Noël mill.

Tidings of joy! 24’s Jack is coming back.

Isn’t it the ‘80s yet? In November, when That ‘70s Show finally started its new season, I watched, wondering if it would get funny now that Eric (Topher Grace) had left the show. Eric drove me nuts, always whining about something or having some overly dramatic and awkward moment most normal 27-year-old teenagers would have long-gotten over. And in fact, I did enjoy the show more than I had in a long time, even the new guy, Randy (Josh Meyers), was pretty cool. His hare-brained ideas went well with the rest of the cast, a good middle man wearing his feathered hair high between Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Hyde (Danny Masterson). Yet, with even that glimmer of hope, I somehow forgot to watch the show again for several weeks.

Shark attack Until last week’s episode, when I planted myself on the couch with a plate of nachos just in time to tune in, something bad had happened. The show had no “zazz,” not that it cornered the market on that to begin with. I was bored. My eyes glazed over. Then I realized Kelso was gone. I mean, good for him—he punked me into watching the show, now he’s probably off with his not-wife, Demi Moore. From Happy Days we were given the phrase, “Jumping the Shark,” which ’70s did long before Leo (Tommy Chong) got tossed in the pokey for paraphernalia. But continuing the trend, Happy Days ran its course until it was “Down to Potsie.” Let’s hope That ’70s Show doesn’t go that route.

Happy New Season! I guess the Grinch has me in his grips. But Winter Break TV always lets me down, meaning there will be nothing but re-runs. Ever notice that? Classes are over, you can finally stay up and watch the shows, and they’re all re-runs? Whatta rip. Well, here’s to hoping the new year brings something worth watching. The light at the end of the tunnel, the carrot keeping this channel-surfer going, is the vague promise of the new season of Kiefer Sutherland in 24, coming to Fox this January. It’s a Chrismukkah Miracle!