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August 20, 2008

Chinese democracy; 'Mad Men' sinks; Phelps backlash

>> Two elderly Chinese women were sentenced to a year of "re-education through labor" for protesting the Olympics and will have to -- hey look, NBC’s Mary Carillo just met the world’s tallest man!

... actually that item begs for a second shot, so here’s NBC's Chris Collinsworth on China’s political issues during Wednesday's conference call: “I have yet to come across an unpleasant situation … They try and accommodate you and make you feel welcome and make you feel comfortable … It's easy to question politics, but it's much tougher to question the people here. They've been wonderful."

Hmm, probably because all the disgruntled less-welcoming people were enduring re-education through labor.

>> The inevitable backlash begins: Best Week Ever asks: Is Michael Phelps a douche? … Phelps signs to promote Frosted Flakes, nutritionists annoyed … Mark Spitz: Phelps couldn’t beat me

>> The wonderful-yet-glacial “Mad Men” continues to drain viewers. Not surprising. Scenes are playing like slice-o’-life character portraits rather than delivering on the zippy promise of the show's perfect pilot. It’s a ratings-draining phase that David Chase and David Milch sunk into late during the latter seasons of “The Sopranos” and “Deadwood,” respectively, forgoing the story-driven desires of viewers for frustrating realism -- indulgent moments that embrace "story is character" to a sleepy degree. At any rate, here’s how other shows on cable are faring this summer.

>> New “Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader” celebrities … No hiatus for "The Shield" final run ...  France moves to "protect children under 3 from the effects of television."


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