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November 19, 2008

Your TiVo knows you're miserable


It's not every day that we run into the president of the United States. Not that one, mind you, but another really smart, heroic yet human commander-in-chief. We speak, of course, of Bill Pullman. Who didn't love him in "Independence Day"?

Truth be told, we're kind of partial to the flip side of his range, i.e. the sociopathic con man in "The Last Seduction."

We spotted the veteran actor at Peet's in Larchmont this morning -- we should hang out in this 'hood between meetings more often. Deep in discussion with a script-clutching woman (a producer?), unconcerned about who might be spying on him (that would be us), Pullman looked relaxed and robust.

See, they're just like us! Except for the relaxed and robust part.


We say that because a recently released study has been much on our minds the past few days. Brother blogger James Hibberd uncovers research that says the more TV we watch the more unhappy we are. At the same time, the more miserable we are the more TV we consume. So, you see, it's both a chicken and egg situation.

And they're looking at 34 years of collected data here, showing that TV's a penultimate electronic drug.

Among the findings:

"Television viewing is a pleasurable enough activity with no lasting benefit, and it pushes aside time spent in other activities -- ones that might be less immediately pleasurable, but that would provide long-term benefits in one’s condition. In other words, TV does cause people to be less happy."


What if we only watch Emmy winners, the Sundance Channel, big budget HBO made-for-TV miniseries and PBS documentaries? Well, we don't (Note to self: Erase all "Gossip Girl" from DVR).

Take it for what it's worth, and remember all those studies that are later completely debunked. We'll choose to believe that TV is Good (like the old ABC slogan) if only to justify our plans to immediately go find "Zero Effect" somewhere on the dial. That'll make it all better.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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