Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Michael Phelps/Joe Isuzu Quickie

As if everybody's favorite game -- Six Degrees of Richard Mulligan -- couldn't get any crazier, as of Saturday night we can now jump from the late great comedic genius slash facial contortionist to eight-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps in one awesome fell swoop.

My double take on the 2/3 train today could hardly be contained when I read the following sentence in this morning's NY Post:
Last Saturday night, nearly 40 million viewers watched Phelps etch his name into the history books with his record eighth gold medal of the games - NBC's biggest Saturday night audience in 18 years (falling just short of a 1990 episode of "Empty Nest").
Wait, seriously? An episode of Empty Fucking Nest snagged FORTY MILLION VIEWERS. And that's held up as the most watched Saturday night television event for NBC over the last two decades?! Baffling!

So I did some digging, and it turns out the number is closer to 31.5 million viewers, but still...we are talking about the Golden Girls spin-off with the silly dog licking that old dude's balls in the opening credits, right?

I don't care if that was the particular episode when the Westons' neighbor Sophia Petrillo came over and told Sicilian one-liners for an hour, or the one where sassy nurse Laverne gave equally sassy womanizing and food-eating neighbor Charley a softcore rusty trombone in the Floridian-style kitchen, that just doesn't make a lick of sense.

More than 30 million people? Shit, Arrested Development barely broke six million each week. I just can't see how 31.4 million people tuned in to decide whether they enjoy the cool sister more than the neurotic one, or whether that goddamn dog would be up to his usual hilarious antics and eyebrow-related hijinx, or whether Dr. Weston would once again be foiled by the twang of Laverne's southern drawl. Baffling!

Oh well. Best not think too deeply on this one. And I guess I'm being a bit harsh considering I was definitely part of Empty Nest's audience that night. It was probably fantastic.

12 comments:

Carson said...

Weird and wacky stuff.

Dave Lozo said...

How great was the episode where Matthew Broderick lost his virginity to Laverne before cutting school and going to Chicago with his friends? Now that I think about it, that was probably the episode that got the 31 million.

Trey loves gadgets too said...

also on Saturday night, 40 millions viewers unnecessarily watched Phelps's mom for 30 minutes out of their evening instead of other more interesting sports. I think Costas's rug called her a MILF at one point.

wait isn't that the same comment I made yesterday. yes. but isn't yesterday's gymnastic qualifier round really the same routine as today's medal round?

Jason Mulgrew said...

The life of the sitcom is quite similar to the life of the music industry.

(Bear with me for a minute)

In 1990, Winger's "In the Heart of the Young" sold THREE MILLION copies - and that wasn't even the one that had "Seventeen" or "Headed for a Heartbreak"! By comparison, we've been hearing a lot about the Hold Steady, right? Guess how many albums they've sold? 46,000. Forty-six-fucking-thousand and yet I can't pick up a music or culture magazine without an article about them in it. I'll give you that "Stay Positive" has only been out for a month, but it's now selling between 3,000-5,000 copies a week.

Another example: MGMT's "Oracular Spectacular", out since January, has sold 139,000 copies. And again, Winger combined has sold almost ten million albums.

Bad times to be in music or sitcoms.

Midwesterner in NYC said...

Two Words: Kristy McNichol

Jim Furbush said...

Wasn't that Clooney guy on Empty Nest as the mulletted neighbor? Or was that another NBC sitcom with a vaguely similar premise?

Anyone? Anyone? Still that notion that 31 million people watched Empty Nest just introduced my brain to the Ark of the Covenant.

Jim said...

Fuck me, I had to look it up. Not that anyone cares but there's a reason Clooney is a fake pimp: The Facts of Life, Roseanne and The Golden Girls.

Thus completing the unassisted triple play.

Ace Cowboy said...

Clooney, you dog. Well done.

Kristy McNichol, by the way, is pretty heinous these days. Check it out:

http://www.exposay.com/celebrity-photos/kristy-mcnichol-2007-winter-hollywood-collectors-show-0L0UEF.jpg

Raketemensch said...

Holy smokes, is that really Kristy McNichol?!

hoobs said...

Jeebus! Would you post something new already??!!

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Charlie said...

That looked so awesome. Would love to spend a weekend at the hotel with my 21 yr old daughter and a day just like yours at the Spa. It did look like heaven!

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