Wednesday, June 14, 2017

the throwdown of the summer ...

“Sometimes the world looks perfect;
Nothing to rearrange.
But sometimes, you just get a feeling --
Like you need some kind of change.

No matter what the odds are this time?
Nothing’s gonna stand in my way!
This flame in my heart?  Like a long lost friend?
Gives every dark street a light at the end!

Standing tall!
On the wings of my dreams!
Rise and fall!
On the wings of my dreams!

The rain, the thunder?  The wind, the haze?
I’m bound for better days!
It’s my life!  My dreams!
And nothing’s gonna stop me now! …”


I suppose I may have picked the theme song because one of my favorite television shows (“The Leftovers” -- which sadly just aired its’ final episode last week) had a running joke that the only one left behind from the cast of “Perfect Strangers” was Mark Linn-Baker (who played Larry).  

And in the fourth to last episode, the “joke” finally came full circle.  Any fan of the show knew the moments the opening credits rolled, that this was … well, in the words of the great Mr. Hugh M. Hefner: “this is going to be something … REALLY special!”:

And it all leads up to one of the best crafted dramatic scenes you’ll ever see on television, as the Mark Linn-Baker, as himself, tries to explain to Nora how he came to grips with being one of the leftovers, as she is trying to reason through why she was left behind as well:

(Seriously, Larry dropping the F bomb! (seth cohen voice) That ... is freaking awesome, Ryan!

OK, enough trying to get you to watch a show that maybe three million people ever saw a moment of, and that is now in the scrap heap of history.  Instead, as one show is added to the scrap heap of history, let’s dust one off said (s)crap pile, because today, I come in praise of a “new” show ABC is airing starting Thursday, June 29th.

Oh yes, kids.  “The Battle of the Network Stars” is back!

The TVLine site has the details if you’re interested in them.  I honestly don’t care.  This is going to be a train wreck the likes of which Thomas and Friends haven’t managed to pull off yet.  This is going to be so god awful, it’s going to be epic.

There are twenty teams this season, and trust me peoples and peepettes -- when you see the “talent” on these rosters, you are going to drool in anticipation for this show.  It’s that (depending on your perspective) awesome or horrendous.  

Something this incredible, this train-wreck potentially, can really only be properly handled one way.  And that’s what today’s post is.

The first ever Stevo Battle of the Network Stars Power Poll * !  



(*: yes, the Stevo’s Big Brother Power Poll will return this summer as well, once the cast is announced ** .  “Big Brother” returns to CBS on Wednesday, June 28th.)

(**: unless the reveal of the cast occurs while I am in Puerto Rico next week.  Then the Power Poll returns once I, uuh, return, from a week of Caribbean sun and fun.)


Stevo Battle of the Network Stars Power Poll 1.0.
Key: Ranking.  Team Name (Next Competition).  Roster.  Commentary.

20. Lawyers (vs White House).  Elisabeth Rohm, Corbin Bernsen, Matt McGorry, Romi Dias, Catherine Bell.  As the biggest “Law and Order” addict you’ll ever meet … allow me to register my outrage that Serena Southerlyn is once again being forced onto my TV screen.  I despise Elisabeth Rohm with a passion.  She can’t act.  She probably isn’t athletic at all.  But -- she is kind of cute, so maybe she’ll get the dunk tank treatment?

The only thing that almost -- almost -- kept this squad from occupying the bottom rung of the ladder is Arnie Becker (Corbin Bernsen).  If he’s still half as sleazy as his character was on “LA Law” back in the day, this roster might spring an upset or two along the way.

19. Variety II (vs ABC Stars II).  Lance Bass, Joey Fatone, Adrienne Houghton, Cameron Mathison, Kelly Osbourne.  Sadly, this is not the only Osbourne in this competition, which means there’s at least two too many for my liking.  Also, I have literally never heard of forty percent of this roster.  But, you gotta love that forty percent of the roster is composed of the washed up remains of *NSYNC.  Circle me stunned -- stunned! -- that Justin Timberlake apparently said "Bye, Bye, Bye!" to the (no doubt lost in the mail) invitation to participate in this star-studded summer circus.

18. TV Lifeguards (vs Troublemakers).  David Chokachi, Brande Roderick, Parker Stevenson, Nicole Eggert, Gena Lee Nolin.  OK, I’m fine with these five being the “Baywatch” stars that get hauled out for this competition.  But seriously -- where the hell is Alexandra Paul?  I mean, that has to be one of the greatest mysteries in television history: how the hell did a (not very) attractive chick with (little to no) cleavage get a major starring role on a show whose sole intent and purpose was to have 15-21 year old dudes get turned on by hot chicks in little to no clothing?  How did that happen?  Was she like the EEOC token role?  Was she the affirmative action hire?  Screw the Russia investigation -- this is the investigation both red and blue states can get behind!

Speaking of ...

17. White House (vs Lawyers).  Cornelius Smith Jr., Marlee Matlin, Joshua Molina, LaMonica Garrett, Mary McCormick.  As a die-hard “West Wing” fan, having Will Bailey and Kate Harper back in our lives makes me very happy.  As a fan of “Family Guy”, having Marlee Matlin back in our lives make me really happy.  Also, remember these power rankings are based on “epic train wreck potential” -- the better the potential, the higher the ranking.  This squad looks way, way, way too well put together to do anything but win.

16. TV Sex Symbols (vs Variety I).  Keegan Allen, Traci Bingham, Rosa Blasi, Brant Daugherty, Galen Gering.  I have literally heard of zero of these people.  Also, the dude with the last name of Gering I am already inherently biased against for personal reasons.  So this team has nothing going for it, at least for me.

15. ABC Stars I (vs Primetime Soaps).  Olivia d’Abo, Shari Belafonte, Michael Fishman, Jason Hervey, Anson Williams.  Of all these “stars”, I guarantee you the one most happy with ABC right now is Michael Fishman, who I don’t think has starred in anything since “Roseanne” went off the air twenty years ago.  (Speaking of trainwrecks of Biblical proportions, “Roseanne” returns early 2018 everyone!!!!!)  Also, was Ralph Most not available to fill the “Happy Days” portion of the ABC Stars squad(s)?  I mean, there are two of them for crying out loud.

14. TV Sitcoms II (vs Cops I).  Todd Bridges, Leigh-Allyn Baker, Dave Foley, Willie Garson, Jenna Von Oy.  Six!  Six is in da house!  That’s awesome!  I always thought Jenna Von Oy was hot as hell growing up.  Much hotter than Blossom (brantley gilbert voice) back in the day.

Also, come on -- who’s gonna be the first to drop “What You Talkin’ ‘Bout, Willis?” during the competition at Todd Bridges?  Given who their opponent is?  I can think of not one, but two potential opponents as the correct answer.  (Don’t worry -- Cops I won’t be appearing for a bit yet, the roster is that flaky … err, solid.)

13. Doctors (vs Famous TV Families).  Thomas Calabro, Taye Diggs, Rachelle Lefevre, Diedre Hall, Benjamin Hollingsworth.  In the interest of full disclosure, this team had me at the word “Calabro”.  Dr. Michael Mancini is one of my ten or twelve favorite television characters ever.  I loved the original “Melrose Place”.  Sh*t, I even watched every episode of the unwatchable 2.0 reboot eight years ago.  I love me some sleazy, shifty doctors in prime time.  Nobody’s ever done sleazy and shifty better than Thomas Calabro.  Kudos to ABC for yanking him out of whatever bridge he’s living under to get him at least one semi-solid paycheck.  (And potential residuals to boot!)

12. Cops II (vs Sci-Fi/Fantasy).  Marisol Nichols, Roma Maffia, Adrian Zmed, Fred Dryer, Ryan Paevey.  Well, let’s see here.  You have a veteran of one of the greatest named television shows ever (“TJ Hooker”).  You have a “star” of the only soap opera I occasionally watch (“General Hospital”).  You have a chick from “24”, and a chick from both “The West Wing” and “Law and Order”.  Sounds solid.


Wait, who’d I miss?

(Re-reading the squad’s lineup …) Oh Sweet Merciful Lord Jesus!  Rick Hunter!  Sergeant Hunter!  “It Works For Me” Freaking Rick Freaking Hunter!!!!!  Eleven year old me just did something eleven year old me didn’t really do … well, until he was fourteen year old me.  Oh this is sweet!  I swear to God I am happier right now than I’ve been since at least two seconds ago!

Rick Hunter is back in our lives, people!  This is beyond awesome!  I am so happy I might pour a glass of pinot grigio to celebrate!  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well of course it’s a refill!  Jesus, it’s probably glass five by this point, Ms. Non-Existent Stevo’s Site Numero Dos Editor Dudette!

11. Variety I (vs TV Sex Symbols).  Joanna Krupa, Nick Lachey, Vanessa Lachey, Gilles Marini, Jack Osbourne.  I had to look up two of these people.  The three I didn’t have to Google search, are so train-wrecky worthy this should be 98 degrees of phenomenal (rimshot)!

10. Troublemakers (vs TV Lifeguards).  Vivica A. Fox, Paul Johannson, John Barrowman, Julie Benz, Catherine Bach.  The fact that this collection of “talent” is only in the middle of the pack, is a good sign for this series.  Because trust me, there’s a solid five or six way competition for the number one ranking, these squads are so excellently filled out.

Plus, any roster that contains (a) a chick who’s arguably most famous role is as a stripper named Jasmine, (b) a dude who is arguably the worst father in television show history (rest in peace, One Tree Hill), and (c) the original Daisy Duke herself?  That’s a hell of a squad!

9. Sci-Fi/Fantasy (vs Cops II).  Lou Ferrigno, Vinnie Jones, Charisma Carpenter, Kevin Sorbo, Jill Wagner.  The original Incredible Hulk AND Ryan Atwood’s father on the same team!  This is something I know America has been clamoring for over these last five months! (With (gulp) thirty seven more still to come.)  

8. Prime Time Soaps (vs ABC Stars I).  Ian Ziering, Josh Henderson, Gabrielle Carteris, Donna Mills, Mischa Barton.  Even odds Ms. Barton shows up drunk; 3:2 odds she shows up stoned.  And (fidelity ad guy voice) why not?  5:2 odds she passes out during the competition due to her alleged chemical dependency issues.

Plus, and let’s be honest here.  I’m 40 years old.  I religiously watched the original “90210” in the 90s.  Anyone care to guess how old Ms. Carteris is in real life today?  Keeping in mind she began her career playing a high school junior twenty five years ago.  Go on, take a guess.

(colon blow ad voice) Forty?  (Pause).  Try again.

(colon blow ad voice) Forty one?  (Pause).  I’ll give you one more try.

(colon blow ad voice) Forty two!  (Pause).  Not even close.

Fifty six.  She’s fifty six years old!  Which means she was thirty one when “90210” debuted!  She literally was twice the age of the character she portrayed!  In the words of a former ABC Prime Time staple: “that’s incredible!”

And I haven’t even mentioned Steve Sanders yet!  This squad is loaded folks.  Absolutely loaded!

7. TV Moms and Dads (vs TV Kids II).  Chad Lowe, Greg Evigan, Ted McGinley, Lesley Fera, Jackee Harry.  Rob Lowe’s kid brother!  Jefferson D’Arcy!  And Sandra from 227 to boot!  I mean, from the “I can’t make this sh*t up” department, according to Wikipedia, Ms. Harry played “the sexy nemesis of Mary Jenkins” on 227.  Seriously?  I mean, when I think sexy, when I think “hot damn I need to get horny fast”?  About the 10,385,983,209,847,288th thing that pops into my mind is “Jackee Harry”.

I really hope though we get at least one quality “No Ma’am!” reference out of Mr. McGinley though.  We all need a lil’ National Organization of Men Against Amazonian Masterhood in our lives again.

6. ABC Stars II (vs Variety II).  Ted Lange, Troy Gentile, Jill Whelan, Denise Richards, Joely Fisher.  Yes, I am aware Chuck Sheen’s ex is on this squad.  Yes, I am aware Princess Leia’s sister is on this squad.  And yes, I am aware the dude who plays Jack Black in Tenacious D in various movies is on this squad.

I couldn’t care less about them.

Because this squad also gives us Captain Stubing’s daughter AND Isaac the Bartender!  (Pause).  Yeah, gotta.

Exciting and new!
Come aboard --
We’re expecting you!

And love?
Life’s sweetest reward!
Let it flow --
It floats back to you!

The love boat!
Soon will be making another run!
The love boat!
Promises something for everyone!

Set a course for adventure;
Your mind on a new romance! …”

You know, maybe it’s time to retire the “ALF” or “Webster” Game O’ The Week this fall, and promote “The Love Boat” to its spot as “I’d rather watch three hours of this sh*ttacular show than one second of this horrific football game” designation …

Now, it gets hard.  (Pause).  What?  (Pause).  Well of course I meant the countdown!  What the hell else did you think I meant?

I can make the case for ANY of these five remaining squads being the one you don’t want to miss compete.  They’re all that damned train-wrecky.  They’re all composed with beloved former “stars”, epic washouts in life, and catch phrase gimmicks galore.

Here we go …

5. TV Kids I (vs TV Sitcoms I).  Joey Lawrence, Corbin Bleu, Nolan Gould, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields.  In the word of one of these talented superstars: “whoa!”

Joey from “Blossom”!  Tootie AND Blair from “The Facts of Life”!  Luke from “Modern Family”!  And whoever the hell Corbin Bleu is!  I mean, this is one fantastic crew!

4. TV Sitcoms I (vs TV Kids I).  Bronson Pinchot, Tom Arnold, Dave Coulier, AJ Michalka, Tracey Gold.  And now you get the point of the theme song to this post.  Cousin Balky!  Oh hell yes!  Tom Arnold!  Sweet!  Tracey Gold!  Phenomenal!  Whoever the hell AJ Michalka is!  Spectacular!  

And the nightcap -- Uncle Joey himself, the greatness that is Dave Coulier!

I couldn’t have said it better myself, sir.

3. TV Kids II (vs TV Moms and Dads).  Jimmie Walker, Mackenzie Phillips, Jonathan Lipnicki, Krista Marie Yu, Jeremy Miller.  Amazingly enough, there are two squads even more loaded with meltdown ability than this one, and this one boasts Ben from “Growing Pains”, the annoying kid from “Jerry Maguire”, Kid (Clap!) Dy-No-Mite, AND the odds on favorite for an epic drug and/or alcohol induced meltdown, Mackenzie Phillips!

2. Cops I (vs TV Sitcoms II).  Erik Estrada, Larry Wilcox, Kelly Hu, Jodi Lyn O’Keefe, Lorenzo Lamas.  Admitting up front I don’t recognize either of the two females, this still is one loaded roster.  Lorenzo Lamas!  Ol’ Renegade himself!  What could possibly go wrong with him in the competition?  And not one, but two -- two! -- of the heroes of CHiPs!  Both Jon AND Ponch!  Again, what could POSSIBLY go wrong with those two involved in the outcome!

But your leader in the clubhouse as this thing gets underway … and I think I’m right about this one …

1. Famous TV Families (vs Doctors).  Danny Bonaduce, Barry Williams, Beverley Mitchell, Willie Aames, Charlene Tilton.  Apparently this Beverley Mitchell person starred in “Seventh Heaven”.  Having never seen a second of that show, I had no idea.  

And, let’s be honest here -- this roster would be upgraded if instead of Charlene, it was Robert, filling the Tilton Role:

But the other three?  Wow.  Just … hang on, I have to do this one right.

(dave armstrong voice) WOW!

This … I mean, which of those three is the biggest trainwreck -- Ol’ Bar, Ol’ Dan, or Ol’ Bill?  Which of those three (and if anyone ever needed proof the entire nation was drugged from about 1970-1982, this ought to prove it), which of those three sex symbols that had females coast to coast fifty years ago, which of these three fine male specimen are about to inspire grandmas across America to whip out the pocket rocket all over again?

There’s really only one way to find out.  And sadly for all of us … it does involve a threesome.

As Ryan Seacrest will start noting again come January 2018: “dim the lights, here we go!”  2017’s first Stevo’s Site Numero Dos … Tale … O’ The Tape!

Seven Questions.  Three Possible Outcomes.  Only one winner.  (And I’m guessing it won’t be anyone reading this, or about to tune in to this entertainment extravaganza in two weeks.)

Question One: Nailed Florence Henderson.

Barry: probably.
Danny: maybe.
Willie: can you define “nailed” for me?

Point: Willie Aames.  I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt here.

Question Two: Beat both Barry Williams and Donny Osmond in a celebrity boxing bout.

Barry: nope.
Danny: yup - and yup.
Willie: yeah, right.

Point: Danny Bonaduce.  Guess Senor Osmond isn’t the “Soldier of Love” he professes to be.

Question Three: Was a participant in a sh*ttacular fake band on his TV show.

Barry: yes -- both as Greg Brady and Johnny Bravo.
Danny: yes -- as Danny Partridge.
Willie: what’s a band?

Point: Barry Williams.  Hey, there’s sh*ttacular … and then there’s Johnny Bravo.

Question Four: Made a cameo appearance in “Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star”.

Barry: yes.
Danny: yes.
Willie: what’s a cameo?

Point: Willie Aames.  You people have no idea how much I f*cking hate David Spade.

Question Five: Once stated on Joe Scarborough’s MSNBC show that “if anyone has a rope thick enough, I think that Rosie (O’Donnell) should be strung up”.

Barry: no.
Danny: yes.
Willie: what’s a rope?

Point: Danny Bonaduce.  Admit it, you laughed as hard as I did, at that visual.

Question Six: Has his own show on Sirius XM’s “70’s on 7” channel.

Barry: yes.
Danny: no.
Willie: what’s a channel?

Point: Barry Williams.  At least he’s gainfully employed.

So here we are, the Question of Great Significance, and we’re all tied up 2-2-2.  Someone (and God knows it won’t be you or I) is about to “win” this thing.  Here we go …

Question Seven: Has been a part of two successful television shows.

Barry: Does a bit part in “General Hospital” count?
Danny: Does a couple appearances on “Celebrity Boxing” count?
Willie: Does starring as Buddy Lembeck on “Charles in Charge” count?

Winner: no doubt about it, the biggest trainwreck about to appear on our television screens, ladies and gentlemen, is Bibleman himself, Willie Aames!  

So, peoples and peepettes, pick your rooting interest, and enjoy the hell out of this revival. Because God knows I intend to.

And hey -- as always -- until next time? (Which hopefully won't be two months from now, unlike this post following the previous one?)

(sgt. esterhaus voice) Let's be careful out there ...

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