Today is the one-year anniversary of the shit hitting the fan in the great NBC Late Night Fiasco of 2010. After weeks of behind-the-scenes fretting and panic, TMZ leaked the news that the "Teflon Don" of Late Night, Jay Friggin' Leno, would fail his way out of prime time and right back to his precious Tonight Show desk, in an article alarmingly titled "NBC Shakeup -- Jay Leno Comes Out On Top."
As a Conan O'Brien fan, and a long-time Leno-hater (thanks to his 1992 shenanigans), this caught me by surprise. I was anticipating the cancellation of the putrid Jay Leno Show with unashamed glee, but I never thought his utter failure would end up getting Conan shoved aside. I should have known better -- but that's a subject I can (and will) go on about at length another time. For now, I thought it would be a nice way to commemorate this dark day by listing my favorite life-long grudges. I'm a pretty easy-going guy, but when something (or someone) gets in my craw, it often stays there forever -- and not only because I have no idea where my "craw" is. Here are just a few of the topics I will probably spout off about at some point:
The New York Yankees:
I was a loyal fan to this team throughout my entire childhood, starting in about 1976 and continuing through the dark years of the 1980s and into the pitch-black years of the early 1990s. In 1995, after several years of hard work and new attitudes from the top down (requiring one George Steinbrenner to be banned from baseball for two of them), they finally clawed their way back to respectability ... only to have a major cause of that renaissance, manager Buck Showalter, fired for losing in the playoffs. Something snapped in my brain that day, and it never unsnapped, making me the only Yankee fan not to enjoy the Joe Torre Dynasty that reigned over the next decade.
Inexplicably employed by Entertainment Weekly, an otherwise stellar publication, Mr. Gleiberman gave an "F" to the excellent Coen Brothers movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? Now, I'm not saying that O Brother is one of the greatest movies ever, but if nothing else it had outstanding cinematography and Oscar- and Grammy-winning music -- these things alone should have overridden Gleiberman's general disdain for the Coen Brothers and earned the movie a passing grade. Since then (going on a decade now), I've found it impossible to trust his judgement as a film critic, and I will never forgive him unless he makes a full confession. Among the hundreds of movies he has deemed better than O Brother are the cinematic classics Tomcats (earning a B-) and the Paris Hilton showcase, The Hottie And The Nottie (eking out a D+). Basically, Gleiberman put O Brother -- a highly literate slapstick irono-com with an outstanding cast -- on the same level as Freddy Got Fingered. It was a review so hateful, it was my duty to hate its author back.
Do I really need to explain this one? Let's leave it for another day.
I'll probably be preoccupied with this one for the rest of the month, as we count off the "anniversaries" in January leading up to the 22nd, when Conan classily hosted his last Tonight Show. Hell, I've been obsessed with this whole topic for a solid year now, and my anger hasn't really dissipated any, so you can be sure I will be mentioning this again soon.
There are others, I'm sure, but these are the ones that spring to mind -- my "Thousand Year Wars." I'm playing it for laughs, but they've affected my life, and not necessarily in good ways. Since I can't afford a therapist, I will share my sickness with you. Enjoy!