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All Quotes by author - Tom Shales
" ABC's intelligently hilarious sitcom 'Modern Family' depicts a gay-male marriage in which both partners are refreshingly dimensional, believable human beings. The writers dare to make them flawed and thus fully delineated, but they're not flawed in the silly, stereotypical ways that once dominated such portrayals. "
" A fellow with the inventiveness of Albert Einstein but with the attention span of Daffy Duck. "
" 'American Idol' is sometimes lumped with reality shows and it has that element - folks-next-door battling it out in a contest. But instead of fighting leeches, bugs, parasites and each other, as on CBS's 'Survivor' and other shows that imitate it, the 'American Idol' contestants, of course, sing. "
" By a twist of fate rather than anything approaching journalistic enterprise, I did the last major interview with Johnny Carson. "
" Crime dramas will never go away as long as people turn to television for, among other things, reassurance and comfort. "
" 'Dragnet' (the 1951 original, transferred nearly intact from radio) served as a veritable template for all cop shows to come. "
" For those who don't like Dave Letterman, there's Jay Leno; and for those who like neither, there's Craig Ferguson; and if you're still feeling undertained, there's George Lopez and Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel and - let's see, did we leave out a Jimmy? "
" From a producer's point of view, of course, 'Law & Order' presents an ideal - a show that is almost entirely actor-proof, that can keep going and going no matter what happens to the cast or how many actors demand raises. "
Point Of View
" Gimmicks come and go; the cop show seems one genre that will never leave - not as long as people like to sit at home in the suburbs and see what awful things go on in the cities. "
" I always thought I'd buy my mother a house if I ever became successful - a big, beautiful house on the nicest street in town. It didn't exactly work out that way. I was still borrowing money from her in my 40s. "
" If the networks can get audiences to tolerate pop-up promos by the dozens, maybe they'll start selling pop-up commercials, too. "
" 'I Love Lucy,' the first classic, really belonged more to the Wacky Woman genre than the domestic sitcom; 'My Little Margie' and 'I Married Joan' were among the shrill, coarse imitations. "
" In city after city, newspaper after newspaper has diminished its staff of critics, sometimes to zero. Film and T.V. critics have been dropped and not replaced. Maybe they're deemed unnecessary because nobody cares if anything's good or not. "
" In the 500-channel universe, which may, of course, contain many more channels than 500, the fun never stops - fun at such a fever pitch as to sometimes seem threatening, numbing, even agonizing. "
" In the best traditions of American comedy, from its beginnings through the crash-bang comedies of the 1990s and 2000s, Leslie Nielsen skewered the otherwise proper, did it with mischievous delight and convulsed audiences mercilessly. "
" It might be hard to remember this far back, but once upon a time, some of us hoped that public TV would develop into a smart, sophisticated, civilized alternative to commercial TV - not a cheap imitation of it. "
" Jerry Seinfeld is amazing in many ways, not the least of them his ability to find humor, and convincing us to find it, too, in the million-and-two details about modern life that under different circumstances might send us into paroxysms of rage. "
" Jimmy Kimmel still comes across like a guy who crashed a party and got caught at it, yet adamantly refuses to leave. "
" 'Kukla, Fran and Ollie' occurred in real time and was a benign and bewitching example of pure television. "
" Larry David's armor is his dissatisfaction with the world down to the smallest detail, and up to the whole ghastly arrangement. He won't win, but he'll enjoy losing. "
" Larry King's show got to be an increasingly lonely outpost of humane civility in a mephitic menagerie of hotheads, saber rattlers, cretins and crackpots. "
" Late-night television is like the cereal aisle in the supermarket: too many choices. Also, too many 'different' brands that really aren't different at all. "
" 'Leave It to Beaver,' which ran from 1957 until 1963, was one of the strangest, sweetest, most distinctive domestic sitcoms of television's celebrated Golden Age. "
" Like sugar and, oh - let's say the most tabloidy and gossipy reality television programs - credit is, for millions, genuinely addictive. "
" Making music on TV used to be as common as commercials. In the '60s and '70s, prime time was stuffed with variety shows headlined by such major and treasured talents as Carol Burnett, Red Skelton, the Smothers Brothers and Richard Pryor, who had a very brief comedy-variety hour on NBC that was censored literally to death. "
" Maybe it's the hair. Maybe it's the teeth. Maybe it's the intellect. No, it's the hair. "
" Maybe Larry Kings cannot thrive or even survive in a world where the norms for discourse are rage, vehemence and character assassination. King wanted to be liked, not feared; admired, not loathed. "
" 'Minute to Win It' is a variation on a game show from the 1950s called 'Beat the Clock,' in which contestants won washing machines and fox stoles by doing such pointless stunts as catching a tennis ball in a paper cup or knocking a hat off one's wife's head with a whipped-cream spritzer. "
" Obviously neither 'American Idol' nor 'Dancing With the Stars' is a variety show in the classic sense, but the way they incorporate elements of drama, comedy and suspense is moderately ingenious. "
" People of a certain age look back on the Mayberry of 'The Andy Griffith Show' and become almost as homesick for that simple fictional hamlet as they do for their own home towns. "
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