The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

How can cultural elitists like ourselves put TV in the Culture category? Well, where the hell else is it going to fit?
Broadsheet
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The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Broadsheet » Tue Sep 15, 2009 5:44 am

The staging is all wrong. It's too big, empty and disconnected. The feel of intimacy of the "Tonight Show" is gone, including the close proximity of Leno to the band. It's way too L.A. The clash of colors and lights looks cheap. The set looks like a department store window. Jerry Seinfeld looked like he was coming through the doors to Bloomingdale's.

Jay needs his desk back. It's not clear who's the host and who's the guest. It's too equalized, and there's no protective buffer or perch. The two armchairs together look like the pictures we used to see of Chinese leaders meeting with American visitors -- identical armchairs, facing forward,with doilies on the arms. At least the Chinese had a table with tea.

Leno and Seinfeld looked like two guys waiting to see their wives try on dresses. They were uncomfortable and awkward and didn't know what to do with their legs. Viewers had to look at the bottoms of their shoes. They might do better in rocking chairs! In fact, they look like they're mirroring their audience, sitting out there in side-by-side recliners.

The first night was a rough ride -- Leno was off his game and the car wash segment was way too long. Kanye West's mumbling apology was confusing to anybody who wasn't aware of what had happened the night before. It needed some set-up. I turned off the TV in the middle of it. Hollywood sucks.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 8:54 am

Bob Costas used the two arm chairs pretty well. I still remember the McCartney interview.

I'm an unashamed Leno fan. After a hard day, I prefer comedy, sometimes silly, to crime or snark. The format is okay. He did have a desk for the Headlines bit. I think Leno prime time was a brilliant idea of NBC's and his audience will follow him.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby roadkill bill » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:38 am

Bwis53 wrote:I think Leno prime time was a brilliant idea of NBC's and his audience will follow him.


Five nights per week of Leno at 9 PM just means four additional hours of prime time broadcast with nothing I want to watch. Every night? Really?

Between the reality shows, lame sitcoms, football, other dreary offerings, network TV has nothing in the way of story-telling. Please renew my Netflix subscription.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby mrak » Tue Sep 15, 2009 9:46 am

roadkill bill wrote:Between the reality shows, lame sitcoms, football, other dreary offerings, network TV has nothing in the way of story-telling.

The problem with storytelling on TV, is that it's expensive.

A recent New York Times profile of Leno reported that NBC stands to cut programming costs in that hour of primetime by a mind-boggling 80% by slotting Leno into it instead of having 5 more hours per week of "Law & Order" spinoffs.

It feels like a form of giving up. By setting the bar for profitability so much lower, they can cede a huge chunk of the viewing audience and still hope to make money.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby fisticuffs » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:08 am

All the good story telling is on cable or premium networks. HBO almost has the market cornered although some shows on Showtime and Starz are catching up. Lots of big production, great stories, great actors with no commercials! The people who liked Jay are getting older. They're going to bed earlier. They can't stay up til 10:35 to see him anymore. This makes perfect sense. The younger crowd gets Conan at a more reasonable hour. Those Leno fans for the most part don't get Conan at all. Good move I think by NBC but I won't be watching.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Donald » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:17 am

I watched. I liked the relative equality between guest and host. It seemed more natural, including the moments where Seinfeld seemed more in control than Jay. It had more of a living room quality about it. I say the desk makes it seem too much like teacher/student or boss/subordinate. This is more like neighbors talking. If they are going to have a different piece of furniture, make it a kitchen table with goodies to munch.

The car wash sketch was hilarious.

Whether I continue to watch, I'm not sure. One hour per night is a lot to invest.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Broadsheet » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:33 am

I agree about the Bob Costas interviews -- but as I recall they sat facing each other, not side by side. And that set was in a living room, not a glossy, empty stage.

I'm one of those who followed Leno to prime time and had high hopes. I want more Rainbow Room and less Burbank Studios, less Entertainment Tonight. But I understand it's a work in progress.
Last edited by Broadsheet on Tue Sep 15, 2009 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Bwis53 » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:05 am

Oh, I am pretty selective about my time. I don't have cable. About the only thing I watch is The Office. If I want a good story, I'll watch a one on my computer or read. I may not watch every single minute, but I'd much rather watch Jay. Real life is plenty real for me. I don't need CSI, the Gosslins, Survivor, etc. But I'm a generous critic. I don't like to pick every little thing apart, devoid of all joy and laughter.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby TAsunder » Tue Sep 15, 2009 11:19 am

I don't know what's going to be on between Heroes and the Leno crap, but it could be that Monday will soon be the most painful, horrific example of stuff that might have been good once but has since been recycled with the same derivative-of-itself vomit that it resembles meconium.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby jjoyce » Wed Sep 16, 2009 9:02 am

It's only painful to watch if you haven't seen the Tonight Show at all during the last 20 years or however long Leno has been the host.

He's neither funny nor genuine, everything is over-produced and the biggest laughs he gets are from bits involving people who are dumb.

Read this:
http://nymag.com/arts/tv/features/58876/

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Stebben84 » Wed Sep 16, 2009 10:19 am

I have to say Jay Leno is close to the most un-funny person I have ever watched on tv. I thought I'd give his program a try and it is truly awful. What a waste of a 9pm time slot. I give it one season.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby chance » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:22 pm

I gave up on Leno in 2003 when he became a shill for Arnold Schwarzenegger in his run for governor. No reason to start watching him now...

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby TAsunder » Wed Sep 16, 2009 12:23 pm

Stebben84 wrote:I have to say Jay Leno is close to the most un-funny person I have ever watched on tv. I thought I'd give his program a try and it is truly awful. What a waste of a 9pm time slot. I give it one season.


From what I've read, NBC considers this an experiment and is giving it at least 2 years. Keep in mind that it won't have to have all that many viewers to be extremely profitable compared to scripted shows.

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby Goober McTuber » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:24 pm

TAsunder wrote:I don't know what's going to be on between Heroes and the Leno crap, but it could be that Monday will soon be the most painful, horrific example of stuff that might have been good once but has since been recycled with the same derivative-of-itself vomit that it resembles meconium.


Football has won. Yaaaaay!!

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Re: The new Jay Leno show: painful to watch

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:39 pm

TAsunder wrote:From what I've read, NBC considers this an experiment and is giving it at least 2 years. Keep in mind that it won't have to have all that many viewers to be extremely profitable compared to scripted shows.

Well, good. I'm glad they've decided to "experiment" with something we've been seeing for years now, instead of with a truly original and daring scripted show filled with good writing, good acting, and good cinematography. If such a thing could exist, of course.


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