Monday, July 4

The CDP 2016 Year In Review (So Far).

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(I drove past a hearse the other day with my name literally on it.)

Happy 4th of July, homies. Here's a quick recap of everything you might have missed (or may want to revisit) on the CDP so far this year. I plan on taking a large chunk of July off (for I am a large chunk), but I still have plenty of essays and projects I plan on getting 'oot by the end of the year.

For optimal results, I recommend reading these essays while holding a sparkler or bottle of Spotted Cow in your non-mouse hand. Enjoy.

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Tell Pluto It's Not A Planet.
(1/11/16)

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Please Don't Let Me Forget How To Read And Write.
(2/1/16)

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My Anxiety Year.
(2/8/16)

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I Got A Dog!
(2/15/16)

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No Sales Tax On Clothing.
(2/22/16)

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I'm The Best In The World At What I Do.
(2/29/16)

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I Lost Over $500 By Joining Draft Kings!
(3/7/16)

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Fuller House Friday.
(3/4-4/18/16)

Episode 1 Review.
Episode 2/3 Review.
Episode 4/5 Review.
Episode 6/7 Review.
Episode 8/9 Review.
Episode 10/11 Review. 
Episode 12/13 Review.

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The CDP Worldwide Mix-Tape Trade 10.
(4/4/16 – 4/18/16)

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TV Month 2016.
(4/25-5/31/16)

Channel 0 - The Series Primer
Channel 1 - The Series Premiere
Channel 2 - The Big Ugly Dish
Channel 3 - The Premium
Channel 4 - The UHF Dial
Channel 5 - The Programming Block
Channel 6 - The Skeptic
Channel 7 - The Obscurity
Channel 8 - The Commercials
Channel 9 - The Doomsday
Channel 10 - The Unsolved
Channel 11 - The 100 Greatest (100-76)
Channel 12 - The 100 Greatest (75-51)
Channel 13 - The 100 Greatest (50-31)
Channel 14 - The 100 Greatest (30-11)
Channel 15 - The 100 Greatest (10-1)
Channel 16 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 1)
Channel 17 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 2)
Channel 18 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 3)
Channel 19 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 4)
Channel 20 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 5)
Channel 21 - The Series Finale
Channel 22 - The Sign Off 

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16 Years.
(6/20/16)

Sound off in the comments and enjoy your day.

Monday, June 27

CDP Wayback Machine - Totes Grodes Edition.

Give me some skin.

'Give Me Some Skin.'
(Originally published 6/26/06 - A decade ago!)

To me, the start of Summer only means one thing: 90 straight days of mind-blowing sunburns.

As an embarrassingly pale man, getting a sunburn is about as easy as beating Shaq in a game of 'Horse.' I needn't be outside for more than a picosecond to instantly transform my baby-smooth exterior into a mass of pink, stingy nerve endings. From June 3, right up until September 10, I'm rendered freakish and unpleasant in the eyes of friends and neighbors; invitations to parties cease and desist. Nobody wants to see Old Creepy McBurnyface singing karaoke; it tends to bring down a room.

The term 'tan' is not in my vocabulary. This word means nothing to me; sort of like 'zork' and 'scalene.' Unless I liberally lubricate my pores with SPF-Nuclear Holocaust lotion, I'm screwed.

A few years ago, the Missus and I went to an outdoor concert. I asked her to put lotion on my face, making sure she knew how susceptible I was to UV rays. She did not take this warning seriously, and lazily streaked a few drops across my melon. When the show was over, it looked as if I wanted to highlight certain parts of my forehead that were more important than the others. I ended up with scars.

And now, an awful story from my childhood.

In the late 80's to early 90's, I helped out on my family's dairy farm during the summer. One weekend in particular left me with the Queen Mother of all sunburns on my legs. I had been wearing shorts, and the result left me looking like I was wearing a permanent pair of red socks. from the knees to the ankles, I was charred beyond recognition.

I took care of my crimson legs for days on end, gently soaking and aloe-izing them before I went to bed each night. Even at such a young age, I was an expert at the art of third-degree burn treatment. I had experienced many a sunburn by that point in my life, but I knew that this one was different- even special, somehow. I didn't realize why I felt that way until the big day finally came.

I woke up on a humid Sunday morning and swung my wok-fried stumps over the edge of the bed. That's when I noticed the beginnings of a peel on each of my calves. Wide-eyed, with a skilled and steady hand, I proceeded to peel off my skin like an honest-to-goodness sock, producing two snake-like sheddings, each about a foot long. It took me about a half-hour, and they were absolutely beautiful. I held these giant hunks of flesh up for inspection, and everything suddenly became well worth the wait.

I couldn't let these go to waste. I had to do something with them. But what?

My attention focused to the small, black-and-white television I had in my room. The reception from this TV was horrible, and no matter which way I manipulated the rabbit ears, I got nothing but static and white noise. However, I did notice that the picture came in much better as long as I kept my hands on the antennas.

Scientifically speaking, I now know that the reason for this is because we humans give off a certain amount of electricity, which acts as kind of a booster for the TV antenna. As a child, all I knew was that I couldn't hold onto the antenna and watch the tube at the same time. Perhaps I could fake the TV out somehow, by making it think I was holding onto the rabbit ears.

I think you know where I'm going with this.

Imagine the look on my Mom's face when she walked into my room, only to see me watching a television with two giant balls of human skin affixed to the antennas.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week.

Monday, June 20

16 Years.

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(2001)

I'm going to say something controversial, and I don't care if you agree with me.

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(2002)

16 years is a long time to be with someone.

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(2014)

There.

I said it, and I'd say it again if I had to.

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(2016)

As of this week, I've been married to the Missus for 12 years, and we've been a couple for nearly 16. I try to find something poignant to say every year or two on here about it; here's a collection if you feel like taking a trip back in time:

June 24, 2004 - A recap of our wedding.
June 14, 2005 - Our 1st Anniversary.
June 19, 2006 - Our 2nd Anniversary.
June 21, 2007 - Our 3rd Anniversary.
June 19, 2008 - Our 4th Anniversary.
July 11, 2011 - Our 7th Anniversary.
June 19, 2013 - Our 9th Anniversary.
February 10, 2014 - Our (upcoming) 10th Anniversary.

We're not getting older. We're getting better.

Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your week.

Tuesday, May 31

TV Month 2016 - The Sign Off.

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TV Month 2016 is over. So, what have we learned?

I learned that while I appreciate this current Golden Era of Television that we inhabit, I'd still love TV regardless, simply because it exists. For the most part, the content is secondary to the experience, which sounds weird and might have even gotten weirder as I tried to explain it over the past month.

I loved that it was there when I couldn't sleep. I loved finding things in the vast reaches of space that I had never seen before. I loved that there was a channel that only satellite pirates could see. I love the local programming that I thought was being produced in my basement. I loved sitting back for an entire block of shows catered just to me as a child.

I even loved the Infomercials, psychics and hucksters that sold snake oil at 3am. I loved scrambled premium channels and trivia ads. I love the underrated pop culture worth of commercials. I love that a crazy person hacked into WGN, and an even crazier person created a video to be shown only when the end of the world was confirmed. I loved (and still love) anything that scares the living shit out of me.

With the rise of on-demand, streaming, computer/tablet viewing and flat-out piracy, people are getting rid of not just cable and satellite TV, but the physical invention of TV in general. It stands to reason that, in 20-30 years, the 'TV show' might still be as popular as ever, but the TV itself will be the product of a bygone era. The Television may die, while 'TV' continues to live. Weird, right?

I know for sure that TV will never exist again in the way that I grew up with it, and that's fine. Even in 2016, the C-Band satellite is an obscure piece of technology only mentioned with the same sort of cult-like interest that one might have for a Ham Radio. Soon, that nostalgia will be replaced with the mini-dish, then Blu-Ray, then even streaming TV in favor of...whatever else is next in line, I guess.

No matter what, I'll be watching.



Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day; links to all of TV Month 2016 are below:

Channel 0 - The Series Primer
Channel 1 - The Series Premiere
Channel 2 - The Big Ugly Dish
Channel 3 - The Premium
Channel 4 - The UHF Dial
Channel 5 - The Programming Block
Channel 6 - The Skeptic
Channel 7 - The Obscurity
Channel 8 - The Commercials
Channel 9 - The Doomsday
Channel 10 - The Unsolved
Channel 11 - The 100 Greatest (100-76)
Channel 12 - The 100 Greatest (75-51)
Channel 13 - The 100 Greatest (50-31)
Channel 14 - The 100 Greatest (30-11)
Channel 15 - The 100 Greatest (10-1)
Channel 16 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 1)
Channel 17 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 2)
Channel 18 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 3)
Channel 19 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 4)
Channel 20 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 5)
Channel 21 - The Series Finale
Channel 22 - The Sign Off

(The CDP will return on Monday, June 20.)

Monday, May 30

TV Month 2016 - The Series Finale.

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By and large, a TV show goes off the air for a few specific reasons.

The biggest culprit is low ratings and/or not enough network support to allow the show to tough out said ratings. This is what happens to 90% of American programs, accordingly to a statistic I just pulled out of my ass. No timeslot change, no ad campaign, no wacky neighbor or surprise death can save you from your fate. You're going away and you're never coming back.

Arrested Development, one of the greatest Sitcoms of all-time, suffered a particularly embarrassing fate. After being pulled from the air for nearly six weeks, FOX burned off the final four episodes of Season 3 opposite the Olympic Winter Games Opening Ceremony. An absurd, paltry-at-best way for a show of that caliber to flatline.

However, Arrested at least had the opportunity to (somewhat) wrap things up before they hit the road. They didn't go out on their own terms (more on those shows in a little bit), but they saw the writing on the wall and came up with something that would satisfy most storylines in the event they were canceled, which they were. Some shows are blindsinded, canceled at the end (or worse, the middle) of a season where a cliffhanger looms, leaving fans to forever ponder what was going to happen.

The HBO series Carnivale, for example, was unceremoniously yanked after just two of an intended six-seasons, resulting in several abandoned storylines and outraged fans. Unlike Arrested, all the petitioning and letter-writing in the world could not revive it.

In 1987, a low-rated sitcom called I Married Dora was canceled halfway into their first season. Instead of quietly bowing out or burning off the material they had, Dora went out in one of the most peculiar and fourth-wall-breaking moments in TV history. Check it out:



Some shows remain popular (or profitable enough) to overstay their welcome. Off the top of my head, Roseanne, Dexter and House MD were all shows that started huge and ended with more of a wimper than a bang. In fact, you can usually find Roseanne and Dexter on lists of the Worst Series Finales Ever, and I wouldn't dispute it in the least.

Also, it's 2016 and Grey's Anatomy and Supernatural are still on the air. Can you believe that shit? Good for them; go get it and so forth.

Friday Night Lights was a show that, despite low ratings, was able to tell the story they wanted to tell thanks to internal support and a rabid fanbase, myself included. Despite being loved by NBC, something had to give by Season 3. Instead of pitching FNL into the dirt, NBC worked with DirecTV's 101 Network to produce and air three additional seasons, with NBC rebroadcasts during the summer to alleviate costs. Instead of being a two-season wonder, FNL was given five years and 76 episodes to make history. This is an extremely, extremely rare example of a network moving heaven and Earth in order to allow someone to tell a story.

When AMC took a chance on Breaking Bad, it wasn't really all that big of a chance. It was a 7-episode first season on a network not yet renowned for their original programming. However, their patience to let Vince Gilligan breathe and tell the story he wanted to tell allowed for what became perhaps the greatest Drama in TV History.

That brings me to the next reason why a TV show goes off the air: Because they're done. This is obviously the best-case scenario for the show and fans, and when done correctly, turns out to be something very special. In recent years alone, Breaking Bad, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock and The Office all had the chance to stick the landing and succeeded. Even if you agree that The Office should have ended with the departure of Steve Carell, which I wouldn't necessarily dispute.


(This may be the funniest scene in The Office history.)

Another rare example of a show being jerked around in perpetuity is Futurama; a franchise that aired four different episodes designed to act at Series Finales in the event that they didn't come back.

South of Sunset, a 1993 CBS drama starring Glenn Frey of The Eagles, was canceled after a single episode. Frey played a private detective, and I'm not kidding. There was also a 1997 FOX drama called Lawless that was canceled after one episode, starring NFL player Brian Bosworth as a private detective. Not sure what to tell you, there.

In 2008, NBC drama Quarterlife was pulled after a single episode that I watched and enjoyed. However, the ratings were historically abysmal; NBC claims the viewership was even lower than the XFL. Oof.
 
In 2010, the NBC sci-fi drama Day One was all set to fill the Heroes timeslot following the Olympics.They had high hopes and clearly put a lot of money into the pilot (see below). However, the network had an abrupt change of heart, and the show was pulled before even airing an episode. If you think you watched Day One in 2010, you didn't, or you've been poofed over from an alternate universe where it was a huge hit. Bring me back a Berenstein Bears book next time.



Before we wrap it up, I wanted to talk about something I haven't mentioned in over six years: The Series Finale of Lost.

Lost was part of many quirks of TV History. Just from a story standpoint, they utilized the Internet and Easter Eggs in a way that most shows hadn't attempted on such a grand scale. But they also got caught in a Writer's Strike that shortened one of their seasons, changing the way they had to tell their Season 4 story. They had to deal with major characters leaving the show, minor characters becoming fan favorites, and child actors hitting puberty at the absolute worst time.


(Remember when Walt sang the song of the Summer? So dope.)

In Season 3, the fans got restless due to a lack of answers and an abundance of unlikable characters and stand-alone stories. On the surface, it looked like Lost was losing steam and didn't know where to go. In reality, ABC wasn't clear about how long they expected Lost to stay on the air (it was immensely profitable), forcing the writers to tread water while they figured out how long they had to tell their tale.

At some point between Seasons 3 and 4, it was announced that Lost would end at the conclusion of their 6th Season, for better or for worse. ABC decided to compromise and determine a set end date for Lost, and from that point until the Finale, the writers knew exactly how to plan their arcs and hit the road running. It was a total win/win.

And I liked the Finale. I liked it a lot.

I never felt cheated. I never thought it was a cop-out. I never thought it was an ass-pull. I never thought it was a dishonest tactic used to avoid wrapping up illogical storylines. I didn't have a problem with any of it. I really didn't. It was a bit vague, it was a bit supernatural, and it was a bit more Faith-based than Science-based. But you know what? The entire series was that way.

Damon Lindelof got more shit for that finale than any showrunner I've ever heard of in my life, and considering some of the creative decisions we had to tolerate from certain shows since then, I feel more now than ever that it was woefully undeserved. Lost was a great show that changed the game in this current Golden Era of Television. Also, the only way this Golden Era ends is if the fans start to think that their opinion should matter.

And let me be clear; your opinion should not matter. Not enough to alter the material, at least. The all-consuming, nerd-ball gobble-monsters of Media are a real insufferable bunch at times. Here's a group of people who want the following:

1. A perfectly thought-out story with no plotholes or deviation in source material.
2. Their opinion to be taken seriously, and the material to evolve as a result.

You can never have it both ways. You're going to be upset one way or another. If you take umbrage to the entertainment that's out there, go make your own, stand on the front lines and defend it from the jerks. It's really quite simple. Live together or die alone.

TV Month 2016 has been fun, but it all comes to an end tomorrow. Links to the entire series are below. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your day.

Channel 0 - The Series Primer
Channel 1 - The Series Premiere
Channel 2 - The Big Ugly Dish
Channel 3 - The Premium
Channel 4 - The UHF Dial
Channel 5 - The Programming Block
Channel 6 - The Skeptic
Channel 7 - The Obscurity
Channel 8 - The Commercials
Channel 9 - The Doomsday
Channel 10 - The Unsolved
Channel 11 - The 100 Greatest (100-76)
Channel 12 - The 100 Greatest (75-51)
Channel 13 - The 100 Greatest (50-31)
Channel 14 - The 100 Greatest (30-11)
Channel 15 - The 100 Greatest (10-1)
Channel 16 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 1)
Channel 17 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 2)
Channel 18 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 3)
Channel 19 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 4)
Channel 20 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 5)

TOMORROW: THE SIGN OFF.

Friday, May 27

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 5).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 5 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

FRIDAY, MAY 13

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - UFC 198 Weigh-Ins (DVR)
5:30-6:30pm - Antiques Roadshow (DVR)
6:30-7:00pm - Animals Gone Wild (Partial)
7:00-9:30pm - Raptors vs. Heat
9:30-11:30pm - Legacy Fighting Championships (Partial DVR)

I was drinking with friends on this night, and they refused to watch the basketball game, opting to confiscate the remote and watch Animal Planet (they're particularly fond of My Cat From Hell). I responded by watching the game in my office and drinking with the cats. I was still a good host, however, coming downstairs to mix drinks when requested.

SATURDAY, MAY 14

12:00-1:00pm - Ring of Honor
1:00-2:00pm - UFC 198 Countdown
2:00-5:30pm - PGA Player's Championship
5:30-7:00pm - UFC 198 FightPass Prelims
7:00-9:00pm - UFC 198 Prelims/Bellator MMA
9:00-11:30pm - UFC 198
11:30-12:00am - UFC 198 Post-Fight (Partial)
12:00-12:25am - Dragon Ball Z Kai (DVR)
12:25-12:50am - Dimension W (DVR)
12:50-1:15am - Hunter x Hunter (DVR)
1:15-1:40am - Samurai Champloo (DVR)
1:40-2:05am - One Piece (DVR)
2:05-3:10am - SNL: Drake (DVR)

I still count all the post-midnight stuff as technically Friday, as I hadn't yet gone to sleep.

MMA, Golf, Anime and Drake. The Mount Rushmore of sleeping on the couch.

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So check this out; TV MONTH AIN'T OVER. It's still May for a few more days, so we will have new essays on Monday and Tuesday to round out this cavalcade of test patterns and fuzzy nostalgia. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend.

MONDAY: THE SERIES FINALE.

Thursday, May 26

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 4).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 4 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

WEDNESDAY, MAY 11

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - NBC Nightly News
6:00-6:30pm - NBC 15 News
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-7:30pm - NXT
7:30-8:00pm - Lucha Underground (Partial DVR)
8:00-8:25pm - The Middle (DVR)
8:25-8:50pm - The Goldbergs (DVR)
8:50-10:00pm - Heat vs. Raptors (Partial DVR)
10:00-12:15am - TrailBlazers vs. Warriors

THURSDAY, MAY 12

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:45pm - The Ultimate Fighter (DVR)
5:45-6:10pm - Modern Family (DVR)
6:10-6:30pm - NBC 15 News (Partial)
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-9:00pm - Thursday Night SmackDown
9:00-10:30pm - Spurs vs. Thunder (Partial DVR)

My viewing habits this week have been more akin to a geriatric than a 34-year old creative type. But shit, it's mid-May! Most season finales have already finale'd, my DVR is empty and I've got nothing to watch on Netflix. These things happen.

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I think my favorite news coming from the 2016-2017 upfronts was that not only were we getting another season of ABC's The Goldbergs, but that it would now lead off the Wednesday Night block at 8/7c. The Middle will be moving to Tuesdays as a lead-in to Fresh Off the Boat, Agents of SHIELD and debuting sitcom American Housewife, while The Goldbergs will kick off a night that includes Modern Family, Black-ish and newcomer Speechless. More on all of that during my Fall TV Preview in late August/early September.

If you are anywhere near my age and aren't watching The Goldbergs, I don't know what to tell you. They quite simply get it right every single week. They've already devoted entire episodes to countless aspects of 80's Pop Culture, such as...

Weird Al, Double Dare, the Beastie Boys, Hands Across America, Scrambled Porn, Say Anything, Life Alert Bracelets, Gimbels Department Store, Indiana Jones, Ghostbusters, Slap Shot, Star Wars, The Goonies, the Presidential Physical Fitness Test, Laser Tag, Punch-Out, WWF, Mixtapes, Trivial Pursuit, Back to the Future, Mall Modeling Scams, New Kids on the Block, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Cabbage Patch Kids, a $900 Compact Disc Player, The Noid, Just Say No, America's Funniest Home Videos, American Gladiators, The Princess Bride, Dance Party USA, Milli Vanilli, Jazzercise, Strawberry Shortcake, Short Circuit, We Are The World, Troop Beverly Hills, New Coke, Lionel Richie's 'Hello' Video, Dirty Dancing, Columbia House, David Copperfield, Rush, Space Camp and Dungeons and Dragons.

These aren't just passing, winking references, either. Everything I mentioned was either the subject of an entire episode or a major character arc. It also boasts the greatest soundtrack since The Adventures of Pete and Pete (or The Wonder Years), and the whole thing is narrated by Patton Oswalt. Oh, and since the show is based loosely on the real-life family and experiences of Adam Goldberg, we often get home movie footage at the end of the episode, sometimes replicated shot-for-shot earlier in the episode. It's absolutely fantastic.

We wrap it up tomorrow, and TV Month 2016 begins to draw to a close.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 5).

Wednesday, May 25

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 3).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 3 of the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

TUESDAY, MAY 10

1:00-2:00pm - Hannibal Buress: Live From Chicago
2:00-2:30pm - NFL Live
2:30-3:00pm - The Jump
3:00-3:30pm - SportsNation
3:30-4:00pm - Highly Questionable
4:00-4:30pm - Around the Horn
4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - NBC Nightly News
6:00-6:30pm - Seinfeld
6:30-7:00pm - Wheel of Fortune
7:00-8:00pm - The Flash
8:00-9:30pm - Heat vs. Raptors (DVR)
9:30-9:55pm - The Grinder (DVR)
9:55-12:15am - TrailBlazers vs. Warriors (Partial DVR)

As you can probably tell, I did not work on this day. I mean, I handled some domestic stuff, hit the treadmill and mailed a letter, but I mostly had the TV on for background noise. And my background noise is usually always ESPN. It's comfort food. Mac and cheese. There's nothing I like hearing more than the same five talking points, over and over again, spanning eight hours and 16 different shows.

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Apparently the willingness to test the Missus' patience was high, because I then took in two basketball games in primetime after The Flash.

But hey, I also had time to cook dinner with my wife, AND take in a stray cat that wandered onto our porch during a thunderstorm. No joke. Right in the middle of mincing some kale or whatever, we hear a noise and five minutes later, we have a cat taking refuge in my office. A long stroll through the pouring rain and about an hour later, and the cat was safely returned to a neighbor down the street.

Dinner was delicious.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 4).

Tuesday, May 24

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 2).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, Part 2 of a week in the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

MONDAY, MAY 9

4:30-5:00pm - Pardon the Interruption
5:00-5:30pm - NBC 15 News
5:30-6:00pm - The Simpsons ('Lisa Gets a Pony')
6:00-6:50pm - Fear The Walking Dead (DVR)
6:50-7:05pm - Talking Dead (DVR - Partially-Watched)
7:05-7:55pm - Fear The Walking Dead (DVR)
7:55-8:10pm - Talking Dead (DVR - Partially-Watched)
8:10-10:10pm - Monday Night Raw (Partial DVR)
10:10-12:15am - Warriors vs. TrailBlazers (Partial DVR)

'Tis slim pickings when it comes to my DVR these days. It's down to pretty much nothing, now that I'm all caught up on Fear the Walking Dead. A season-and-a-half in, and I'm still not sure how I feel about it. There are only three characters I really care about (Nick, Madison and Strand), and that feels pretty unacceptable on their part.

I mean, look at The Walking Dead or Lost. These shows had/have literally dozens of characters that elicit an emotional response from the audience, because the writers/producers did the duty of using backstory and standard development to get us on board with all of them. Even the players we didn't initially like were eventually given redemption stories (or promptly killed off).

On Fear, we have a main cast of just seven people, and they almost flat-out refuse to create backstories for half of them. Ophelia barely speaks. It's ridiculous. Perhaps it will evolve with time, but it's been anything but smooth sailing (lololol) thus far. At least we have Better Call Saul on AMC with Preacher* coming up, which should be something to behold.

(*This was written before the premiere.)

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I typically don't stay up until midnight on Monday anymore, but I drifted off with the Warriors/TrailBlazers game on TNT. I've been more captivated with this NBA season than I have since I was a kid, and it sort of takes me back.

On Monday night in 1990, there were not one but two TV adaptations of 80's comedies. NBC had a Ferris Bueller spinoff that lasted 13 episodes and got replaced by Blossom, and CBS had an Uncle Buck spinoff (sound familiar?) that got steamrolled by Full House. MacGyver was also a ratings hit, which will, as per usual, be rebooted by FOX this upcoming season. Jesus H. Christ.

I think my favorite Monday show of this past season was Superstore, an NBC comedy that premiered midseason and slipped mostly under the radar. Fortunately, they were not only renewed for a Season 2, but will premiere immediately following the 2016 Summer Olympics, hopefully to a robust ratings boost.

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 3).

Monday, May 23

TV Month 2016 - The Nuclear Nielsen Family (Part 1).

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In March of 2013, I kept a log of every television show I watched for an entire week. Every single program, good or bad, no exceptions. As a result, I also inadvertently kept a log of nearly everything else I did during that time. Here are the links:

Part 1 - Part 2 - Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5

I had a lot of fun doing this, so I wanted to bring it back for TV Month 2016. Here then, a week in the TV viewing habits of yours truly, for better or for worse. Let's go.

SUNDAY, MAY 8

10:00-11:00am - UFC Rotterdam Pre-Show
11:00-1:00pm - UFC Rotterdam Prelims
1:00-2:00pm - SNL: Brie Larson (DVR)
2:00-4:00pm - UFC Rotterdam (Partial DVR)
4:00-4:15pm - UFC Rotterdam Post-Fight (Partially-Watched)
4:15-5:15pm - Cavaliers vs. Hawks (DVR)
5:15-5:40pm - Dragon Ball Z Kai (DVR)
5:40-6:05pm - Dimension W (DVR)
6:05-6:30pm - Hunter x Hunter (DVR)
6:30-7:00pm - One Piece (DVR)
7:00-7:30pm - America's Funniest Videos (DVR)
7:30-7:55pm - The Simpsons (DVR)
7:55-8:20pm - Bob's Burgers (DVR)
8:20-9:45pm - Spurs vs. Thunder (Partial DVR)
9:45-10:10pm - The Last Man on Earth (DVR)

I like sports, okay?

You might not believe me, but with each new TV season, I actively try to cut back on the amount of new TV shows I watch. Fortunately, based on the quality of most new network comedies and dramas, it's become easier to do. Even though I look forward to each new Fall season with bated breath, I typically only pick up 2-3 new shows a year, of which 1-2 of them are canceled after only 1 season.

Furthermore, we're into May, which means Season Finales followed by a whole lotta nothing. However, this is where I shoot myself in the foot. Not watching many new shows should mean that I spend more time away from the television, when actually it just means I have more time to watch sports. And this is how Sunday began, with nearly four hours of MMA action, live from the Netherlands. I also had time later in the day to check out not one, but two NBA playoff games. The Missus was thrilled.

I quickly knocked out SNL from the night before (it was alright), before clearing out Saturday's Toonami block as well. Toonami airs seven shows in a row, but I'm only invested in four of them, which means I can do it in less than two hours. This gave me time to spare for Sunday night comedies on FOX, and a reasonable bedtime.

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It's interesting to me how TV viewing habits change. When I was younger, Sunday night was death sentence for most shows; a throwaway night even worse than Friday. Now, it's the marquee evening for just about every major drama out there, and it has been for years.

Looking back at the 1993-1994 national TV schedule for Sunday night (9-10pm), we have made-for-TV movies on three of the four major networks, and Married...With Children on FOX. That's it. I'd also have to assume that, when there wasn't a made-for-TV movie to air, these networks would show reruns, a word that essentially is no longer existent when it comes to Primetime programming.

By the 1999-2000 season, 10 of the top 40 shows on TV aired on Sunday nights, including Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, which was far and away the most popular show of the entire year. I think though, that the network move to load up their Sunday schedule had more to do with Cable (HBO in particular) than anything. With The Sopranos and most other standout HBO dramas premiering on Sunday, this spelled not only the next Golden Age of Television, but a movement that saw cable beating national TV in quality when it came to scripted programming.

All very interesting...right?

TOMORROW: THE NUCLEAR NIELSEN FAMILY (PART 2).