Episode 34 of Upon Further Review!

We’re back with more opinions than Simon Cowell (hopefully delivered a lot more nicely!) in Episode 34 of Upon Further Review! In this episode we launch right into the show with our usual three course fare: first, we look at the ratings phenomenon called American Idol and try to figure out what they’re doing right (and wrong); second, we, er, “dial up” the technology heat with our review of the T-Mobile MDA cell phone (and discuss how good or bad cell phones are in general while we’re at it); and finally, we read the news today, oh boy (apologies to The Beatles!) with our review of the Mostly News podcast. We conclude by reminding everyone that this is Eating Disorders Awareness Week and asking listeners near and far to love their bodies for what they are, not for what movies or magazines would like them to be. As always, we’re grateful for your continued support and contributions…and ask that you continue to spread the word about the show! (As usual, podsafe intro music is provided by Sharif (“You’re My Girl”), outro by David Henderson (“We Gotta Go”).)

Reviewed in this show:

American Idol

T-Mobile MDA

Mostly News


  1. DrumIntellect:

    First, I find it cute that your link to “American Idol” was to votefortheworst.
    I’m not musically inclined, and to me a lot of what the judges put down sounds good, and a lot of what the judges praise sounds bad. I just thought it was my lack of musical skills. So I can’t comment on your score of a 2 on that basis, but I can argue in terms of entertainment. They have one of the most entertaining shows. I’ll take off a point for this year’s audition shows, which were horrible and drawn out. I’ll remove a point for some of their repetitiveness. But I’d still have to give them a 7 or an 8 for their entertainment.

    Also, just to jump in for a moment, sometimes people text because a text is less intrusive than a whole call. So if you need to get a message across, but you know the other party is busy and can’t take a call, a quick 2 or 3 word message can do the trick.

    Be well! And remember, keep smiling! (In honor of the week.)

  2. admin:

    Bleh. :) Clea might have been inclined to agree with you in the past (hence her desire to rate the show a 4), but for me it’s hard to be entertained by mediocrity…which to my mind gets celebrated way too much in America as it is. William Hung has a full bore professional contract for being awful, when I know musicians with more talent in their big toes than he has in his entire body who continue to struggle in obscurity…and to my mind there’s something wrong with that. Even the winners leave a lot to be desired (Taylor Hicks = a much less impressive Michael McDonald). But I hear you…just can’t stomach it myself.

    As for the text message, fair enough. My problem is when someone just sends the text for no reason at all: “hey u” “what” “u there” “yeah” “cool” etc. etc. etc…. :)

    So why should we keep smiling? Isn’t National Smile Week in August?


  3. DrumIntellect:

    I was surprised that Taylor Hicks got as far as he did. I didn’t think he had the voice or the “star quality”. I thought there were some very good singers who got voted off relatively early last season. I understand what you mean by mediocrity… my ears are not qualified in that regard.

    I used the line from the mailman of the Jack Benny show because I figured smiling would be related to taking care of one’s body. I have no idea when National Smile Week falls out (but I know Tom Lehrer sang about National Brotherhood Week, to which I look forward), but you are probably right.

  4. Bernadette in Australia:

    I loved the review of American Idol although I was planning on chastising you for being overly generous with your rating. On reflection though the only thing I can ever recall you giving a lower score to was the war in Iraq and I am prepared to concede that Idol is not quite as bad as that.

    I have been unlucky enough to see American Idol, UK Idol, Australian Idol and even some episodes of Dutch Idol. Apart from all of them being bastions of mediocre awfulness the thing that really bugs the heck out of me is that these damn shows are EVERYWHERE. I have deliberately tried to avoid the shows but if you go to a bar or pub of an evening (particularly in England I noticed) more often than not the damn show is on the TV. Why have live music when you can watch that crap right? It’s also on in airports and bus stations and hotel lobbies and people are talking about it in the papers and on the internet and in podcasts and at work and it drives me to the point of fantasizing about committing mass murder.

    Cheers, Bernadette

  5. admin:

    Fair enough, D.I.–now it makes sense. (And by the way, Tom Lehrer was great…loved “The Old Dope Peddler” when I was a kid. :) ) And Bernadette, we’re glad you agree that Idol isn’t quite as bad as Iraq…not quite. But your answer made us wonder about how you would react to seeing one of the Idols playing on a television in Starbucks…*shiver* :)

    Thanks as always for commenting, guys! And everyone else–why don’t you join the fun?


  6. AJax Florida:

    I (continue to) love this show. Furthermore, I agree with your assessment of American Idol. I liked one contestant years ago, I will not admit who, but other than that turning on the TV for that hour has been a waste of energy.

    Keep up the good work, but stop getting me in trouble at work for laughing too loud. Really.

  7. admin:

    Thanks, AJ–and don’t worry, we’ll be addressing your request for a review (on that serious subject) very soon. As for not getting you in trouble at work, well…we can’t promise anything there. :)


  8. Upon Further Review » Episode 36 of Upon Further Review!:

    […] We’re back to review the world, one item at a time, in Episode 36 of Upon Further Review! In this episode we address more comments about our American Idol episode (who knew so many people felt the same way we did?) before moving on to the show proper: first, we tackle a review request from an enterprising college student about one of the most powerful and influential forms of music in the past twenty years, rap; second, we look at the outrageously funny (and funnily outrageous) comedian/actor Eddie Izzard; and finally, we satiate our hunger for football in the offseason (sort of) with our review of the One For The Thumb podcast on MySportsRadio.com. As always, we appreciate your evergrowing involvement in the site and with our show, and encourage you to keep the good vibrations going–there’s so much more out there to review, right?–by telling your friends, neighbors, and close and distant relations about UFR! (”Commodore 64″ song is provided by Euphrates, via Julien and the In Over Your Head podcast; as usual, podsafe intro music is provided by Sharif (”You’re My Girl”), outro by David Henderson (”We Gotta Go”).) […]

  9. classic chris:

    clea, greg,

    fantastic show!

    american idol started strong, but jumped the shark with the clay aiken win, and really, enough already. doesn’t escape my theory of the vortex of first-time reality shows that fail to deliver in later seasons. even the best concepts in reality really need to go out on top. producers shouldn’t keep trying to squeeze blood from a stone. read ‘purple cow’ by seth godin. a purple cow is really cool the first time you see it, but after you’ve seen several purple cows, the newness quickly wears off.

    quick (?!) cell phone story… my wife had one of those giant cell phones back in the day. she was babysitting some kids and taking them around in the car. as she pulled away from one location there was a huge series of bumps on the back of the car and she shouted “kids! get down! somebody’s throwing rocks!” later she realized that she had set her phone on the top of the car and the bumping was it bumping down the back windshield and trunk.

    blowing through these now! see you on 35!!

  10. admin:

    True enough about the purple cow syndrome. We may indeed talk about reality shows generally the next time a specific one comes to mind. And your story about the cell phone reminds me of a time I put an external tape drive on the roof of my car and forgot to take it off again…with rather disturbing results. Sigh… ;)


  11. classic chris:

    ah, the external tape drive! another piece of clunky hardware from my past!

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