Watching last night's ridiculously overstuffed, hamhanded True Blood, it became suddenly apparent: There is basically no good TV on this summer. And there are very few upcoming promising prospects.
True Blood: Like I said before, there are too many characters. There are too many storylines. Last night's episode was like a Robert Altman movie with every other frame cut out. Scenes ended in mid moment, the technical intricacies of southern vampire politics (are they more conservative than northern vampire politics, I wonder?) were rushed and tangled together, and Jason's listless plot continued to wander around aimlessly. Though the worst-thing-of-the-evening cake goes to the instantly immortal Sookie Stackhouse line: "[sad, defensive] I don't have a nut sack." I'm beginning to think this show might not have a brain.
Real Housewives of New Jersey: OK, sure, there's going to be a tremendously wonderful weave-pulling incident tonight, but other than that? It's just been the same Danielle plot line over and over and over again, with some nonsense about law school and horrible child modeling thrown in on the side. It usually takes the Housewives two full seasons to become repetitive bores, but this one has moved to the head of the class. Everyone's sick of them midway through the damn season. And what comes next? Real Housewives of D.C., starring the Salahi monsters. I don't know if I feel morally right about watching them.
Entourage: Only two episodes and I'm already throwing things at the TV. Usually that takes, like, five episodes! Remember when Vince drove that car into the flaming building and didn't die? It's really too bad he didn't. Instead he got a haircut. Right. Also now we have to deal with an Ari plot about the NFL, which is annoying because the summer is when we're supposed to be free from football. BAH.
Hot in Cleveland: This show about how old women from LA are hot women in Cleveland raises a question. Are jokes that aren't funny anywhere else maybe funny in Cleveland or something? Because... yikes. I was watching an episode recently (trying desperately to find something I liked this season) and there was a line where Valerie Bertinelli walked up to the rest of the gals and said "Why did I just motorboat that woman's breasts?" There was a whole plotline about Valerie Bertinelli inadvertently groping a woman. And then there were jokes about Wendy Malick getting a bikini wax while trying to seduce Huey Lewis. Well, actually, that description actually sounds kind of gonzo and funny. But it's not in actuality, trust me. It's cheap and incredibly dated in a sitcommy way and you sorta just feel bad for everyone involved. Jane Leeves looks like she wants to throw herself out a window. I might join her.
Top Chef D.C.: Is there anyone interesting on this season? I know it's still really early and it's hard to get a feel for the contestants in the beginning, but usually you can see some kind of narrative emerging at this point. But not with this season. What looked to be a brewing battle between the awful Angelo and the slightly less awful Kenny has fizzled as both guys underperform in various challenges and total randos win by default. Plus the challenges have felt mostly limp, and new judge Eric Ripert hasn't brought any zest to the table. Bring on Top Chef Tokyo or something!
I know it might seem like I'm just ragging on Bravo and HBO, but that's only because the other summer TV shows currently on the air aren't even worth mentioning. Like, uh, Rookie Blue and The Good Guys and The Gates and The Hard Times of R.J. Berger? Not really things we want to get into.
What's coming up? Well, another season of Weeds, which should have ended years ago. The Big C has Laura Linney but the jokes in the trailer are... unpleasant. Rubicon's teaser episode was darkly lit and slow. Mad Men is excellent TV but it can also be (increasingly) tetherless and presentationally moody. Maybe TV sucks every summer, but this year I find myself wishing for fall more than ever before.
Am I crazy? Asking for too much? I know you'll probably werewolf-eat me for hating on True Blood. But you'll still know, in your deepest heart of hearts, that I'm right. What am I not watching that I should be? And don't say Pretty Little Liars. Because I, uh, already watch that.