Kissing Bill O'Reilly, Roasting Miss Piggy
100 Things to Love and Hate About TV
By Ken Tucker
(St. Martin's Griffin, Paperback, 9780312330583, 272pp.)
Publication Date: January 24, 2006
Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover
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According to Ken Tucker, television is where the mass culture action really is. It's where the weasel goes pop. But for such a fluid, of-the-moment, democratic yet "cool" medium, a strangling accretion of false pieties, half-remembered history, and misplaced nostalgia has grown up around it--the prose equivalent of choking vines. In this book, Ken Tucker shares his zealous opinions about the best and worst of television, past and present
Everyone has firm beliefs about what he loves and hates about TV. If TV fans think the high point of televised political wit was M*A*S*H, or that Johnny Carson was the true king of late-night, Ken Tucker does his damnedest to convince them that they've been hoodwinked, duped by pixilated mists of memory and bad TV criticism.
His dazzling, provocative, and entertaining pieces include LOVES: James Garner as TV's Cary Grant, Pamela Anderson's breasts, David Brinkley--the only anchor who understood that being an anchor was a hollow ego-trip, Heather Locklear as the ultimate TV Personality, Bill O'Reilly--why the biggest asshole on TV is a great TV personality. And from his HATE lists: "The Sopranos" as The Great Saga That Sags, Miss Peggy as media star, Bob Newhart: Human Prozac, Worst Mothers on TV, Star Trek-Sci-Fi suckiness decked out as utopian idealism.
His perception and passion about this much maligned medium gives the lie to passive cliché's like "vegging out in front of the boob tube." This book is the TV version of Michael Moore's Stupid White Men or Bill O'Reilly's The No-Spin Zone.
Ken Tucker is the pop culture critic for New York Magazine and formerly Entertainment Weekly's Critic-At-Large, where he won two National Magazine Awards. He also does weekly reviews on NPR's "Fresh Air with Terry Gross." His reviews have been published in The New York Times, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vogue, and the Los Angeles Times, among others. The winner of the ASCAP-Deems Taylor Awards for 2003 and 2004, he was also a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism for his work at the Philadelphia Inquirer. He lives in Berwyn, Pennsylvania.
"As a television writer I live in constant fear that the world will find out I'm a fraud, that I have no idea what I'm doing, and that Tolstoy would not have found it noble to consult on Dawson's Creek. My only solace was the rampant ignorance that seemed to permeate Hollywood. Then came Tucker. There's nothing scarier in the world then a televison critic who gets it. Ken Tucker is my worst nightmare. An intelligent, sharply critical voice of reason in a world of shark jumping. I hate him. But I kind of like his book."
- Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of Gilmore Girls
"This book is a TV viewer's treasure. An insightful, revealing look back on our collective television experience. Problem is, Ken Tucker writes with such passion, wit and expertise, that 99.9% of the time, he's far more entertaining than television itself."
- J.J. Abrams, creator-producer of "Lost," "Alias," and "Felicity"
"Like a charming after-dinner companion, [Tucker] engages readers with a voice that's both literate and casual, [raising] the level of TV discourse without intimidation..."
- Publishers Weekly