Arts and Entertainment your connection to The Boston Globe

Transcript of a TV chat with Matthew Gilbert

Matthew Gilbert:: Greetings...

rooney: Hi Mathew. Regarding coverage of yesterday's events on TV, do you think coverage was overblown? Also, did you know that in Sullivan Square, just one block from the location of this "device", a cartoon network billboard had a HUGE picture/ad for this Cartoon Network character? Why wouldn't a TV crew do their own research and simply TURN THE CAMERA AROUND to show a billboard not one block away with the same image as the "bomb"?

Matthew Gilbert:: I hear you Rooney. Overblown? Of course. 24-hour news channel lust after terrorist plots, as well as faux terrorist plots.

Matthew Gilbert:: The news networks don't like to wait to get the truth. They want to be first, of course.

Stoked: Has the collective intelligence of people deteriorated so much that they can mistake light-brite TV character for a explosive? The show is incredibly funny and it would be a shame if the movie was cancelled because of one stupid MBTA employee, what impact does this event have on the upcomming movie?

Matthew Gilbert:: THere's a culture of fear going on, of course. So I'm not sure it's stupidity so much as paranoia. I'm waiting for someone to look at a Store 24 sign wrong and call the authorities...

Matthew Gilbert:: I don't expect this crisis-hoax-comedy-stunt-whatever will have an impact on the movie...I hope not.

Matthew Gilbert:: I just wish the whole event had been a promo for "24." Now that would have been brilliant advertising.

Shaz1970: I work as a media planner in advertising and there's a fine line in guerilla marketing between a great promotion and tasteless stunt. If these devices were placed in other places but bridges and overpasses, it might have gone differently. Ironically, most guerilla campaigns are done as an inexpensive option to traditional media. With all the fines and lawsuits that will come out of this, it's going to cast them more that they expected for sure!

Matthew Gilbert:: What if those same boxes had McDonald's ads on them, instead of ATHF? But I digress...

Matthew Gilbert:: It will be an expensive mistake, for sure, although a LOT more people now know about Adult Swim, ATHF, and Cartoon Network, so it will have been money well spent.

justobservin_: This is not the first time we have seen the news media over react before knowing all the facts. At what point are they going to learn from their mistakes and approach an event with some care?

Matthew Gilbert:: The news media all got together yesterday and agreed not to overact ever again -- as of the 12th of Never.

Greg: Do you think television (or popular entertainment in general) is partially responsible for giving people the idea that any collection of exposed circuits and wires is a bomb-in-waiting?

Matthew Gilbert:: Yes, and that's why it would have been more fun and IRONIC if Fox and "24" had created all the havoc. But it's not just TV that has made people afraid; it's a government that has fed our fear in order to promote its own.... Woops -- I'll save that for another blog....

pjtaylor: Do you think real terrorists in the future will think about disguising a bomb as a viral ad?

Matthew Gilbert:: Now that you've suggested it, pj, yes, they will.

Matthew Gilbert:: I think you should be arrested for feeding ideas to terrorists.

Ann_Arbor: Any comment on why this drew such attention in Boston and apparently wasn't noticed in the 9 other cities? What does it say about Boston? Are we better prepared for a real terrorist situation or just too paranoid?

Matthew Gilbert:: Better prepared??? Ann, my friend. Those boxes were in place for 2-3 weeks. I'm glad someone checked them out, but I'm disheartened that it became overblown.

x: matthew, are you a terrorist?

Matthew Gilbert:: yes.

Wood_Dogg: Hi Matthew, do you think the FCC might step in and try to fine Turner Television?

Matthew Gilbert:: Wood, do you think the FCC is eager to fine??? Why those folks don't like to cause any trouble... But seriously, get exactly THREE people to complain to the FCC, and there will probably be fines.

Shaz1970: But the people who "know" about it have to watch in order for it to be a success. I don't see Mayor Menino tuning in now that he knows the name.

Matthew Gilbert:: I don't think that's true. Now, watching the show will become a little more exciting for young viewers. And now, everyone and his brother knows what Adult Swim is. If the campaign-hoax-comedy-whatever doesn't help ATHF, it will certainly help all of Adult Swim's new shows. Adult Swim is now officially notorious -- you can't buy that kind of image.

Ann_Arbor: Hi Matt - We've recently moved to Brookline from Michigan and are thrilled to have you to read in the Globe daily. There's so much humor in your writing. I especially like your subtitles, I guess you'd call them. There was one a few days ago that brought George Pataki in and it was so clever I can't remember how it went. How did your sense of humor come about, who are your influences? Thanks. Ann

Matthew Gilbert:: Thank you Mom-- I mean Ann WHo I've Never Met Before. My sense of humor comes from being stupid and dizzy from watching too much TV.

Matthew Gilbert:: And from eating too many Pop Tarts as a kid. Brown sugar cinnamon. FROSTED, of course.

Greg: I'm a huge fan of 30 Rock but can't stand Studio 60 (to the point where I actually crave its demise) - but it worries me that if Studio 60 were to go, 30 Rock, which does even worse in the ratings, would have to go as well. Do you think that's the case?

Matthew Gilbert:: Greg, stop craving its demise! Start craving pop tarts. No seriously, the ratings failure of Studio 60 (which I really like!) will have no impact on 30 Rock. For one thing, 30 Rock is MUCH cheaper to make. For another, it attracts more younger viewers, which is music to the networks' ears.

Ann_Arbor: I don't get the Pop Tart thing. Is this a reference that some generations will get and not others? Would you like to meet me?

Matthew Gilbert:: OK, I'm laughing. I would like to meet you. With police supervision, of course.

Matthew Gilbert:: BTW, pop tarts aren't generational. They're sweet and yummy for all ages. They're timeless.

Handbanana: Hi. I just finished watching the first season of Brotherhood on DVD and i loved it! I heard it wasn't very popular but will be coming back. Do you see this show having any kind of future?

Matthew Gilbert:: I'm SO GLAD you liked it, hand-etcetcetc. It was really good, except for one or two really awful boston-providence accents (Annabeth Gish: Guilty as Charged). And yes, despite low ratings Showtime is bringing it back. God love Showtime, which also brought back Sleeper Cell and plans to bring back Dexter.

Ann_Arbor: Oh, I though maybe Pop Tarts are slang for something else.

Matthew Gilbert:: You mean like Britney or Lindsay? Nah. Although...

Ms_Fit: Studio 60 seems like one of those shows you keep watching (I do anyway) because I keep thinking it's got to get better. Jury's still out as far as I'm concerned. Really off-putting to have the Brad Whitford character more or less stalking Amanda Peet character.

Matthew Gilbert:: I know what you mean, ms.f. But it does keep getting better, I think, EXCEPT FOR THE STALKING THING. I agree with you, Whitford's character is starting to look very creepy indeed.

Shaz1970: Have you watched "Dirt" on FX? I've really been digging it (pun intended). The schizophrenic photographer is such an original character.

Matthew Gilbert:: I want to like the show more than I do... I wish it were more satirical and funny, especially given the tabloid-journalism setting. Talk about ripe for humor. But I must say, Ian Hart is just dynamite as Don Konkey, the photographer.

Matthew Gilbert:: I interviewed him for the Globe a few weeks ago, and he was a nice guy.

Ann_Arbor: See? Now that's very funny, spontaneous, and I didn't think of that. You did.

Matthew Gilbert:: Will you be my mommy?

Love_in_Rome: Matt, I'm addicted to Rome. Full frontal nuditiy, fowl language, gladiators, oh my. How is it doing in the ratings?

Matthew Gilbert:: Yeah, I love Rome, too. Especially the battle between Atia and Servilia, which gets REALLY nasty in this coming Sunday's episode.

Matthew Gilbert:: But alas, the show -- which is very expensive to produce -- has not brought many viewers to HBO. The channel has already announced that this is the last season of Rome.

Green_Bay: why is NBC giving up on creative TV - more and more "Deal or No Deal" and reality shows on Sunday and the early evening hours

Matthew Gilbert:: I disagree, GB. NBC came up with a few of the season's best new series. Friday Night LIghts, Studio 60, 30 Rock, HEROES, for g-d's sake. And it has been standing by these shows, even while some of them are doing poorly in the ratings.

Matthew Gilbert:: I mean, yeah, NBC is still on the reality bandwagon, and it does give us a little too much of Howie Mandel and his scary soul patch and even scarier head... But, still, NBC is starting to try. That's what being on the bottom will do to a network.

toeknee: Have you gotten a peek at any upcoming Lost episodes, and if so what do you think? I've seen some interviews with the creators talking about how great they'll be and how there are all sorts of surprises. I'm worried that they may be building it up too much and we'll be in for a let down (like that has never happened on a TV show before). BTW I'm a big fan of Brown Sugar Cinammon Pop Tarts (Frosted!) too

Matthew Gilbert:: Toe, you're not going to believe this. I have in my possession a disc of next wednesday's episode. But I can't watch it until tonight, so... no info. And no, you can't borrow it, although you do seem very nice.

Matthew Gilbert:: But I agree with you about the hype. Most everything is dimished by too much hype. Even Lost.

Matthew Gilbert:: And I'm afraid Lost is going to lose more viewers, by moving to 10 p.m. Already frustrated viewers waiting for more answers may just give up.

Ms_Fit: On to another subject - is Knights of Prosperity not one of the funniest things on TV. And I noticed that something that doesn't look as good is on instead of Julia Louis-Dreyfus show which I find very funny - those two mommies - doesn't get much better than that.

Matthew Gilbert:: Yes, I like Knights alot. It's struggling, though...which isn't surprising, since it has been up against the American Idol monster. ABC just moved Knights to 8:30 on Weds, hoping to dodge AI, but it may be too late to save the show. Don't get too attached.

Matthew Gilbert:: And yes, Louis-Dreyfus's sitcom "New Adventures of Old Christine" is going off the air for about two months, so CBS can try out it's new Rules of Engagment with David Spade. I have to watch Rules tonight, for a review in Mondays paper.

fenstrat49: I think "When the Whistle Blows" would be a top-10 sitcom. Are you havin' a laugh? Is he havin' a laugh?

Matthew Gilbert:: Ah, my friend fenstrat49 (is that your age? year of birth? you must be OLD!) is making an "Extras" joke. When the Whistle Blows is the really bad sitcom within the sitcom, and "Are you havin a laugh" is the catchphrase from that bad sitcom. Extras is GREAT -- try it if you haven't yet. It's on HBO.

badnews: Do you think the upcoming "Tudors" on cable will be as good as "rome"?

Matthew Gilbert:: From your handle, badnews, I'm thinking you're not very optimistic. I'm looking forward to "The Tudors," which will be on Showtime in April. Its about Henry VIII and I love that stuff. And it was very expensive to make, so it will at least LOOK good.

gopanthers: Matt - what do you think of Veronica Mars? I regard your TV opinions very highly, and I've never heard you mention this very clever, very addictive show.

Matthew Gilbert:: Go Panthers, indeed! I watched the first season of Veronica, and loved it. But I fell out of the fold, and now I hear that it has fallen into serious disrepair since Veronica started college.

Love_in_Rome: Cancelled? First they took away Carrie. Showtime took away QAF, now this???

Matthew Gilbert:: Yes, love, that's the down side of getting attached to anything. But better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Signed, Your TV THerapist.

badnews: Any chance of Deadwood coming back?

Matthew Gilbert:: David Milch is still claiming that he plans to bring the show back for a pair of "movies" for HBO. We'll see -- he's pretty busy right now with his new HBO series, John from Cincinnatti, about surfing...

kp: What do you think of the reveal that evil bluetooth guy from last season is Jack's Brother on 24. I am actually loving the whole aspect and can just imagine what Thanksgiving was like in the Bauer house.

Matthew Gilbert:: I was talking to some 24 types at work the other day (shout out, Joan Anderman) and we agreed that making bluetooth guy into Jack's brother (and making Dr. ROMANO JACK'S BROTHER) probably wasn't planned last season. To me, it smacks of forcing a plot.

Greg: How ironic is it that Scrubs finally gets back to thursday nights, and finally gets some network respect, just at the point where the show starts to go downhill?

Matthew Gilbert:: I totally agree with you greg. Too late. So many people talk about that show now, and I think it has a lot to do with its syndication gig on Comedy Central.

Matthew Gilbert:: Thanks for showing up, friends. See you in two weeks... MG