Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin’

It’s 66 degrees in February.

My home state is crumbling under the weight of an ignorant governor.

A CBS News Correspondent was brutally assaulted last week in Cairo.

And then this?

Make the world go away.

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God I love Wisconsin and its wacky inhabitants. I also can’t stand the Palins. The crazy story below makes me one proud cheesehead.


Bristol Palin’s dancing on TV set off man in standoff, complaint says

According to the complaint, Cowan and his wife were watching “Dancing with the Stars” when Cowan jumped up and swore as Bristol Palin appeared, saying something about “the (expletive) politics.” Cowan was upset that a political figure’s daughter was on the show when he didn’t think she was a good dancer, the complaint states.


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I grew up in Wisconsin. (And according to my license, voter registration, and license plates I still live there.) Because I grew up in Madison, America’s favorite mid-western Liberal hub, I am about as blue as can be. As Kathy Griffin once said, “I’m for gun control during gay weddings.”

But I’m also a child of the ’90s, who watched way too much MTV, way too young. I was a huge fan of the Real World and Road Rules before they started doing those stupid challenges. In fact, my very favorite season of the Real World was Boston. Come on Montana? Genesis? That one guy from Boulder? They worked at a community center! It was epic. One of the by-products from that season was Sean Duffy, a competitive lumberback from Wisconsin. And in case you missed it, Sean Duffy just got elected to the House of Representatives. Yeah, beware America, there’s a Real World alum in congress.

This is where I’m torn. I love Wisconsin and old-school MTV. He married Rachel from Real World San Francisco for crying out loud! (Points for Duffy!) But I’m not crazy about his Republican politics (Boo Duffy!)

I do wish him well though. Politics aside, he seems like a good guy. Plus, the livelihood and continued success of my state and my country are now his primary responsibility. But at the first sign, the very first sign of idiocy, I’m out. “Wisconsin Liberal” me  trumps “Mid-90s Reality Show Fan Girl” me.

PS: I see why he won, his commercials were awesome.



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MTV is finally premiering a little show called College Life tonight. Four college freshmen were given handicams and told to document the happenings of their freshman year. Normally, a show like this wouldn’t warrant a write-up on this blog, but this is a special case…these kids attend the University of Wisconsin – Madison.

I graduated from UW in 2007 and I’m getting ready to graduate again (grad school) in just over a month. I work on campus, I live a quarter block from the dorms and I’ve considered (more than once) getting a Motion W tattoo. When I heard MTV was taking a crack at this place, I instantly thought bad things.

Editing is a vicious mistress, and even if these students were shooting the footage themselves, they can’t control the end product.

I’m not expecting a crystal clean version of this place, we’re far from perfect. I know showing world-renowned stem cell research and gorgeous lakes don’t make for compelling TV, at least over at MTV. It just sucks that people who don’t know this school, may only see this side of us.

When I tell people I graduated from Wisconsin, I don’t want them to think I vomited for six-years straight. Is that too much to ask? After reading some early reviews,  a kind of angry statement from UW communications, and watching this clip, I have a feeling this will not end well.

I’m starting the ep now.

Cue damage control.

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Mary Nolan has one of those “rise-to-fame” stories you only hear about on E! True Hollywood Story. Nolan, a 2004 graduate of the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Journalism, moved to New York just a few weeks after commencement. Thanks to an internship at Madison Magazine and a stint in Tuscany learning about cooking, she landed a job at foodie bible Gourmet Magazine.

She worked at Gourmet for a few years before enrolling at the Institute For Culinary Education. With journalism and culinary chops, Nolan decided to make an audition tape for the popular Food Network reality competition, The Next Food Network Star. Despite having zero television experience, Food Network approached her about starting work on a pilot of her own.

Nolan’s show, Chic & Easy, premiered May 18. Her recipes focus on fresh ingredients, and simple elegant dishes. She seemed a little rushed and unconfident in the TV kitchen during the pilot. She might relax more on location. I can see her doing a food-travel show, maybe checking out the world’s best farmer’s markets? I don’t think Nolan will be the next big Food Network personality but she’ll probably be around for awhile.

Check out Nolan’s show on Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM/8:30 central. Once you see it, let me know if you think Nolan just lucked out, or truly deserves her own show. Maybe it’s a little bit of both.

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In Booming Johnny Gilbert Voice: This is Jeopardy!

“Are you ready to make some television?”

I was a kid in a candy store…no a flippin’ candy factory.

The Jeopardy College Championship is shooting in Madison this weekend and I attended tonight’s taping.

My friends Adam, Liz and I arrived at around 6 and because we had VIP tickets (Thanks Adam!) we were routed around the extremely long line and into the Kohl Center. We were told to turn our phones entirely off ( not silent, not vibrate, OFF!) androuted through a security screen. It was almost worse than the airport because there weren’t posted signs telling you what to do. There were bottle necks everywhere. We made it through and got to the VIP holding line. After 10-12 minutes we were ushered into the arena.

The Kohl Center was outfitted with a gorgeous set that looked like a traditional college building, complete with porticos, ivy and trees. The Badgers play basketball and hockey in the Kohl Center but you’d never know. Red and white drapes covered seats, boxes, and the jumbotron. You could hardly tell where you were.

The contestants did a rehearsal round to get used to the lights and microphones then Johnny Gilbert came out. Johnny Gilbert is officially my new favorite TV personality. He has sparkly jackets, does game show announcements and is old as hell. Johnny was the announcer on Price is Right…before Bob Barker. He also narrated the action on Supermarket Sweep (a fact he hid until we’d been there for 90 minutes) and he worked on the Dinah Shore Show. Yes, that Dinah Shore. The one born in 1916.

Anyway, Jonny warmed up the crowd and told us about when to be quiet and when to go nuts. Unfortunetely, there were some drunkies in the upper tier who missed the announcements. They cheered everytime the student from Wisconsin got a question right. Loved the enthusiasm, hated the crowd noise.

The show was great, just like you see on TV. Instead of commercial breaks, Alex Trebek would come into the audience for a few minutes and answer questions from the crowd. Too bad no one had good questions. My favorites were the ones when Alex cut lose. He’s a pretty funny guy. Very long winded and kind of introspective for a game show host, but I bet he’d be a fun grandpa.

Anyway. These were actual interactions:

Audience Member: How do you stay so fit?
Trebek: Drugs

Audience Member: (Yelling!) You da man!
Trebek: How do you know I’m the man? The surgery must have been a success.

So we saw two shows tonight. We clapped, we laughed, we cheered and we reveled in just how old Johnny Gilbert really is. You can’t really improve on that.

The College Championship episodes start on May 5th.

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Lost ABC 11/10C

    • It’s State Basketball Tournament time in Wisconsin which means my favorite ABC shows are pushed into the middle of the night so we can watch greasy teenagers hoop it up. I kid. While the tourney is always a great fun time I am a little upset about the late start for tonight’s episode. Please keep me spolier free friends!

There may be something I’m forgetting but I don’t think I’m recording anything tonight. I guess even the DVR gets a vacay some nights.

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I’ll Take Myocardinal Infarction for $100

Jeopardy host Alex Trebek had a heart attack. He is okay now but isn’t going back to the show until January. I think the stress finally got to him.

I have one question at a time like this: Does this mean he will not be enjoying delicious cheese curds when he visits Wisconsin?

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Please Let Art Imitate Life!

Take a look at this picture. This was in today’s Wisconsin State Journal. Yes, in between two lakes, the city managed to fit a capital, a college, some businesses and a few dozen prostitutes. The story was pretty interesting and shed some light on how the city is handling the problem…YARD SIGNS!

Why isn’t this a TV show? F the writers. You can’t make this stuff up. This is straight out of an episode of Picket Fences. I’ve been laughing at it all day. Imagine if it were a weekly half-hour? I’m already rolling with ideas. Get in on the ground floor.

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I am traveling back to my homeland tomorrow. Sweet Home Wisconsin.

In anticipation of my arrival and to celebrate the Badgers total domination of NIU today, I am blogging about my favorite shows which took place in the Dairy State. There are more than you’d think.

  • Step By Step : It’s not critically acclaimed…in fact, it’s hard to sit through more than one episode. But that opening sequence with the roller coaster almost made Port Washington look cool.
  • Laverne & Shirley: Before my time, but always funny. That Squiggy was outrageous. If only Shirley never married the doctor. Wishful thinking.
  • Happy Days: My first TV character crush was Potsie Weber. (I’m pretty sure I turned in my “Rights to Blackness” with that one.) Regardless, Potsie, Ralph Malph and Richie had so many awesome misadventures. Things really started heating up when they started trekking to Madison.
  • A Minute With Stan Hooper: Did anyone else watch this show? It was classic Norm MacDonald, (dry, sarcastic, etc). His character Stan moved in to a small wacky fictional town in Wisconsin. Funnier than it looked. Too bad it didn’t last.

You may notice a glaring omission from the list. I flippin’ hate That 70’s Show. Not everyone in Wisconsin is a hippie stoner…just Dane County.

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I am watching Aliens in America for the first time. Usually, I am wrapped up in the never-ending drama of Prison Break on Monday nights. Thanks to baseball, I am killing time on the CW.

This show is a one trick pony, but the pony is kind of funny. The premise in one sentence: A Muslim foreign exchange student comes to live with a traditional family in a small Wisconsin town and befriends their teenage son.

As you can guess, every joke is rooted in the “comedy” of American stereotypes. For instance, when the family’s daughter Claire tries out for the cheerlading squad (Nice local touch with the team being the Muskies BTW) she is denied because the captain doesn’t want the squad to “…look soft on terror.” Like Borat, the humor is focused at stereotypical Americans as opposed to the exchange student, who is usually the moral compass. I get it, but you can’t build a long-lasting sitcom off of it.

There are a few redeeming factors to AiA though.

  • Amy Pietz, (Caroline in the City) plays the Mom, Franny. Pietz is from Wisconsin and her accent is convincing without being heavy-handed.
  • Scott Patterson, (Gilmore Girls) is dad, Gary. I wish the writing was as snappy as GG, but it’s just nice to see him keeping busy.
  • Small-screen fresh face Dan Byrd plays Justin, the aforementioned teenage son. Byrd’s dialogue is witty and familiar. It seems like he’d be friends with everyone. Plus he’s got a charming baby-face, even at 21.

I’d love to say I’d watch Aliens in America again, but it will never win in a fight against Prison Break. (They have shanks!) But for those you not addicted to all things Michael Scofield, you should give it a chance.

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