Jay Leno didn't just move from his 10:30 slot (Central) to the 9 PM slot. His move is challenging husband-wife spats over who dominates the TV remote control all across America's heartland.
Leno's time shift has caused a seismic "disruption in the force" at the Hanania household.
Like most husbands and wives in America, my wife and I have an understanding. It's very simple, really, and it keeps everything copacetic. It's a balance. I think all real American couples do this.
My wife controls the TV remote when I am not home. I control it when I am home. When we are both about to go to bed, we have an agreement. I "own" the TV remote control when it comes to the big movies, specials, President Obama's speeches and the news. My wife controls the remote when it comes to late night entertainment.
I'm not sure how that fine print got past me, but it did. We just don't talk about it. For years. Until now. For as far back as I can remember in my marriage, my wife has been taking control of the TV remote at 10:30 so "we" can watch Jay Leno. I happen to prefer the curmudgeon and not so funny David Letterman. She prefers the very funny Leno. It's a macho thing. Actually, I love Leno but I can't concede that publicly in front of my wife, though she does her me chuckle when he hits comic homeruns, like every Monday during his hilarious "News Headlines" -- as a journalist, I love to see the malapropisms in published "speak."
So last night, things were tough. It was very uncomfortable. It isn't just a one hour change. I can't pretend it's Daylight Savings Time or anything. It's a 90 minute change. Leno moved from 10:30 Chicago time to 9 PM. And that is 90 minutes shaved off from my power.
Now I watched Leno last night. Fortunately, it was a Monday and News Headlines was one of his segments -- although I wish the producers would stop telling Leno "one more" when he has three more headlines to share. His staff did all the work sorting through submissions sent in from across America, so why not show ALL of the funny awkward headlines?
My main question is, Why? Why did Leno shift? Why did he move his show -- what was the real difference? Doesn't he or NBC -- or General Electric -- even care about the people of America and our needs?
I sat through the whole first broadcast. Jerry Seinfeld is funny. I watch his re-runs religiously and ethnically, too, since I am an Arab comedian and so is he -- his mother is Syrian Arab and Jewish which, in my holy book, makes him an Arab. At least, half.
But did we have to have Oprah open with the comic skit? Oprah is everywhere. She's running Chicago, didn't you know? Oprah has more power and popularity in Chicago than Mayor Richard M. Daley who 20 years into his dynasty still can't overcome his lifelong difficulty with the English language. Daley's not even as entertaining as his father, Richard J. Daley, whose speech impediments churned out some of the most memorable malapropisms in American history: "He's a man of great statue" and "The policeman isn't here to create disorder, he's here to preserve dis order" (dis in the second instance is Chicagoese for "this".)
Did Leno have to pander to Oprah too? I'm tired of Oprah. Oprah "made" President Obama the way Richard J. Daley made JFK. Oprah is going to win the 2016 Olympics for Chicago leading the delegation to Copenhagen Oct. 2 with the president's wife, Michelle. Why don't they just make Oprah Mayor of Chicago and get it over with?
But back to Leno. Leno had Kanye West scheduled before Kanye opened his big mouth and embarrassed himself again. And, to Kanye's credit, he honored the appearance. (Could be his last one, though.) Kanye embarrassed himself and the world when he grabbed the mike from that 17 year old "child" Taylor Swift when she won the Best Female Video Award. Trying to score points with Beyonce and the world, Kanye started going off on Swift's moment of stardom about how Beyonce was the best, blah, blah blah. It almost made me feel sorry for former President George W. Bush, whom Kanye attacked in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. Kanye, with Mike Meyers at his side at a live NBC broadcast fundraiser for Katrina victims blurted out "George Bush doesn't care about Black people."
But here's where Letterman and Leno differ. Leno had Kanye on the ropes and asked him a tough question. But not tough enough to make Kanye cry when he asked him how his mother, who recently died, would have reacted to his shameful public display. But Kanye didn't cry, although he paused to make it look like he was tearing inside. Letterman would have had Kanye tearing a waterfall all over the TV set. And I would have loved to have seen that, controlling the TV remote and replaying on my instant DVR replay. Over and over and over again.
And I'm not even a Republican.
No, for all the pre-publicity, the Jay Leno Show is still the same Jay Leno Show. It just has a different name. And he sits on a coach, sometimes, like my favorite latenight talkshow host, Chelsea Handler (Chelsea Lately). Chelsea would have put Kanye in a headlock giving him an ass whoopin'.
What does this all mean for society as we go forward in this unexplored world of non-late night late night TV?
Oh, honey. what did you say? You want to use my ... laptop?
Follow Ray Hanania on Twitter: www.twitter.com/rayhanania