Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh, Look... It's My Favourite TV Reviewer Again...
Ah yes. Robert Cushman of the National Post is at it again. Reviewing television as if he actually knew anything about it (thanks for the link, K!) I mentioned him a few weeks ago when he reviewed The Wire and referred to it as a show where the plot overshadows the character development, meaning we don't really care about the characters. Anyone who knows The Wire AT ALL knows that's akin to saying, "The Simpsons is a great show, but if it were animated they'd be able to do SO much more with it!" Cushman is the Post's theatre critic, and occasionally he descends from on high, leaving his grey poupon behind, to dabble with the unwashed masses of television viewers and our mediocre entertainment.

In today's column, he bitches about Lost, which he pretentiously refers to as "decadent." He calls Naomi a "chick," then mentions offhandedly that he used to say "bird," in his old British days... Thanks, dude. Thank you for establishing at the beginning of your column that you're British, and therefore seemingly above all this American claptrap. Cushman states unequivocally, "I don't like Lost." His column should end there, but it doesn't. Check out some of these awesome statements:

[The flashforward is] meant, obviously, to add depth to [Jack's] character. But it doesn't work, just as the flashbacks don't work for him or any of the others. In their marooned state, the characters are as miserable a bunch as have ever threatened to go into indefinite syndication, but at least they have some action to sustain them. In their previous lives, they sit around feeling sorry for themselves. And they do it in the same glossy, airless television-land inhabited by the characters of all television soaps with aspirations to seriousness.

Huh? I'm sorry... is he watching the same show I am? Apparently someone lent him a couple of episodes and he watched them disconnected from the rest of the series, unaware of the real depths of these flashbacks.

Another gem:

Well, all right, there are some people I like. I cheered when Hugo a.k.a.
Hurley, the fat fellow whose help is spurned by the tough guys, came to their
rescue by driving his van right through the ranks of the opposition.

I'm sorry... "the fat fellow"?? Nice. His help was not spurned by the "tough guys," by the way: Charlie knew he was going to die and wanted to spare Hurley seeing it, and Sawyer didn't want Hurley to get hurt, so he talked him out of following him. But you'd have to understand what subtlety is to understand that.

Then there's Desmond, the ex-monk who was also a designer for the Royal Shakespeare Company. You have to love the details; I suspect that one was dreamed up by some studio-bound American scribe with fantasies about the British classical theatre. (I've met some RSC designers, and none of them struck me as possible action-heroes. Still, you never know till you're tested.) Desmond has also read all of Dickens except Our Mutual Friend: Shame he missed that one, it's almost the best, but at least he has something to look forward to.

Ha! The "detail" was dreamed up because Henry Ian Cusick used to be in the RSC. You can just hear the feigned British accent saying, "Ah! Look at the funny little people pretending to know something about thee-ah-tah." Oh, and I've read Our Mutual Friend, along with a lot of Dickens' works... it is NOT the best one. Only a pretentious wank who knows most of the human race has not read that book would suggest that, just to say HE has read it.

You can read the entire column here, where he says it'll probably turn out to all be a dream, and calls up The Prisoner as one of the inspirations for the show as if he's the first person to have come up with it. I think Mr. Cushman should stick to writing about theatre, where subtlety usually isn't its strong suit, and most of life's problems can be solved through a song.

10 comments:

The Chapati Kid said...

BRILLZ!!! BRILLZ!!! Now someone needs to send him and the editor a link. His article is not only factually incorrect, but completely and utterly based on speculation and groundless arguments. Ad hominem, Mr. Cushman. They call this journalism?!? Oh yes. Just about every television critic in the world is a fan of this show (some begrudgingly so), but the National Post gets a THEATRE critic to review a TELEVISION show. Har har. And then they wonder why no one reads them except conservative corporate monkeys.

ChrisTemple said...

Nikki, I think I love you. LOL You defend LOST the same way I do. I hate how people critisize it when they have never even seen it before and then they go on to say how Grey's Anatomy it the greatest show ever.

ChrisTemple said...

It also say's that Naomi has been shot when Locke clearly through a knife into her back.

Nikki Stafford said...

CK: I asked my hubby (former Postie) and he says the REAL TV reviewer, Rob Mackenzie, has been sent to Abu Dhabi, and so Cushman is stepping up to take his place for a while. Ugh.

Chris: Shot... knife in the back... is there really any difference? ;) I should write a review of Macbeth for Cushman and watch how he goes nuts that the TV gal is attempting to write about theatre:
"And then when Macbeth did that speech -- 'Is that a pistol I see before me? With its pearl handle next to my mitten?' I yawned. I mean, come on, does anyone really think this Shakespeare dude has any talent??"

The Chapati Kid said...

Sorry, I can't wait for the Wizard post to go up. Got. To. Talk. SO, I can't believe my guess was right! No more flashbacks -- looks like the entire season's going to be flash forwards, the the island's now the flashback. LOVE IT. First we pieced it all back to front. Now it's front to back.

Brian Douglas said...

I wouldn't write off flashbacks just yet, especially for the newer characters. There is still much we don't know about Ben, Juliet, and Desmond. Not to mention supporting characters like Danielle.

I doubt we'll see many more (if any) flashbacks featuring Jack, Kate, Locke, etc. though.

Can't wait to talk about the new ep. Are you still going to start a thread here Nikki?

TheQuandarium said...

Amazing that your criticisms of theatre manage to be just as obviously ignorant as his about Lost.

Nikki Stafford said...

thequandarium: Um... it's called sarcasm? As in, when I make the same stupid comment about his love as he does about mine to show just how ridiculous his comments are. Sorry I didn't put a giant *SARCASM* sign after it to let you know what I was doing.

Oh, and just in case you're wondering, I'm fully aware that The Simpsons is animated. Just another one of those little subtleties that I didn't make obvious. Sorry about that.

Sal said...

Brilliant! God, what a lunatic, that one. It pisses me off so much when people talk about LOST that way, especially when they're as obviously pompous and dense like Mr. Cushman here. Thanks for that NIkki, your comments were a treat

Edit to add: hahaah I guess Mr. Cushman got to see this after all, Nikki. He signed up here as thequandarium, clearly :)

Nikki Stafford said...

Sal: Ha!! You thought that, too? Normally I wouldn't taunt my readers, but as soon as I read the comment I was convinced it was him (even googled "thequandarium" and cushman... but it was in vain). I know the article was sent to him, because several people emailed me afterwards to tell me they'd sent it, so his response wouldn't surprise me. Considering he's missed the subtleties in The Wire and Lost, it's no shocker he missed the subtleties in my post. :)