George Clinton rocks Def Poetry
1. George Clinton on Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry
(HBO, Friday, midnight)
Boy, do I have no use for this poetry-slam series, which is usually 99% tin-eared, deaf poetry. But put the 66-year-old inventor of P-Funk on the stage, and I’d listen to Clinton if all he wanted to do was bark the lyrics to ”Atomic Dog.” Which is not beyond the realm of possibility.
2. The Inevitable Failure of David E. Kelley’s The Wedding Bells
(Fox, Fridays, 9 p.m.)
Ever since Ally McBeal degenerated into a wacky cartoon (no offense to El Tigre), most of Kelley’s shows from Girls Club to Boston Public have been meretricious enterprises — not to mention creepy, mirthless, and misogynist — the more they try to be charming, funny, and sexy. This hunk of junk did respectably premiering after American Idol, but, tellingly, lost viewers by the millions during its second half. Here’s hoping Idol viewers decided to tune out permanently after watching that debut episode, whose high point involved the female co-owner of a wedding service asking a bunch of groomsmen which of them wanted to have sex with her. Icky doesn’t come close… the sooner this thing leaves the air, the better the air will be.
3. Best New ‘Toon You’re Not Watching: El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera
(Nickelodeon, Saturdays, 10:30 a.m.)
Not watching, that is, if you’re not a kid or a hardcore animation fan. In fact, the March 3 debut of this spectacular-looking cartoon — beautiful primary-color swirls adorning masks and costumes borrowed from Mexican wrestling culture; gorgeously psychedelic landscapes — pulled in Nickelodeon’s best Saturday-morning debut ratings in the channel’s history. The series consists of stories about 13-year-old Manny, who can turn into the super-powered El Tigre, and who struggles over whether to use his abilities for good or evil. Well, not so much evil as naughtiness. Creators Sandra Equihua and Jorge Guiterrez have created an impeccable, day-glo, glamorous metaphor for the impulses in all young adolescents.
4. Now That You Can Forget Sundance Head…
Dig the lesser talent’s father, Roy Head, doing his 1965 hit ”Treat Her Right.” For a one-hit wonder, Head had great stage presence; you can see what he learned/stole from James Brown and (especially) Jackie Wilson — but a white guy in a sharkskin suit making moves like this? Pretty great, and it’s showmanship you’ll never see on American Idol.
5. Where Mark Wahlberg Got Shooter From…
Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter (paperback)
You’ve probably seen the cool-looking trailers for the March 23 thriller directed by Antoine Fuqua (Training Day), but it’s based on this terrific 1993 thriller by Stephen Hunter, the Washington Post film critic. Read it before you see the movie, and see if Shooter captures Hunter’s knowledge of both guns and suspense-novel conventions.