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The Great Christmas Light Fight – Or How Ill Prepared I Was for What I Saw

I’m a sucker for a reality competition.  Cooking shows, weight loss competitions, Amazing Race – I love them all.  And Christmas is my all time favorite holiday, with the bright lights, the family, and the warmth you have to generate yourself to combat the effects of Old Man Winter.  When I saw the commercials for the Great Christmas Light Fight on ABC, I was skeptical.  I thought they were going to take us on a tour of the tacky – the houses that look like they threw up lights, without any rhyme or reason, just to have the biggest display on earth.

Boy, was I wrong.

Okay, not entirely wrong.  There was one family that I truly got the “Ick” feeling from, feeling like they were doing their display more to garner their 15 minutes of fame or launch a music career, but the other families seemed to genuinely have the Christmas spirit.  They did the displays to share the season with friends and neighbors, strangers who came from afar to see the display, and now us, the television viewer.


I chose a favorite early on – a retired New York City firefighter and his wife, Kevin and Tina Lynch from Whitestone, NY – not because they had the biggest display or the greatest number of inflatables or the most lights.  I really felt they had the most heart.  Their house oozed the true Christmas spirit – a little bit wonder and amazement, it captured the Christmas of my own childhood.  It felt familiar, in a nostalgic way.

I thought I was going to be so disappointed in this show, but I loved it.  I thought it would be difficult to determine a winner, but I knew right away who I would pick – and so did the show’s judge, Michael Moloney, from Extreme Makeover:  Home Edition fame.

The show will run Monday nights from now until Christmas.  If you need a touch of the holiday spirit, you just might find it here.

The Chew Doesn’t Taste Very Good

To watch or not to watch?  I struggled with this one.  When ABC cancelled “my” soap – All My Children – I thought I’d never watch anything they replaced it with.  Ironic, really, since my schedule had made watching anything in that time slot impossible a long time ago.  But still – nostalgic loyalty made me want to not like The Chew, so I wasn’t going to watch.

As irony would have it, however, I had nothing at all to do today at 1 PM except sit waiting to get an x-ray done in an office that had The Chew on the television.  So I watched. 

Blech.  If this had been real food put in my mouth to chew, I would have spit it out.  It’s just not good.

First of all, the show bills Mario Batali as one of the hosts of the show.  Mario couldn’t even be bothered to show up for the premiere episode – that might be an indication of how seriously Mario is taking this show.  If I was going to tune in, I’d would have wanted to see Mario.  Good thing I’m not tuning in.

Then, can you say obnoxious?  Good, because Daphne Oz (daughter of Dr. Oz) could not have been (did I mention she’s Dr. Oz’s daughter?) any more obnoxious (did you know she’s Dr. Oz’s daughter?) about being Dr. Oz’s daughter (I may have forgotten to tell you she’s Dr. Oz’s daughter).  If she wasn’t Dr. Oz’s daughter (have you heard of Dr. Oz?  She’s his daughter), she may not have had anything else to talk about (thank goodness Dr. Oz showed up today, or we might not have known he was her father!). 

I love Michael Symon and I adore Carla Hall, but I think they competed too much with each other for the down home, good old boy/girl spot on the panel.  They both oozed homespun goodness.  And the spot Michael Symon did – a five minute meal?  C’mon Michael – let’s be honest.  Pretty much everything was ready to go – peeling, chopping, slicing and dicing – all done.  Hell, I can cook a meal in 5 minutes when Swanson’s does all the prep work for me!

The rest of the show – meh (and I don’t mean meh as in Mehmet Oz – who, by the way, is the father to Daphne Oz on The Chew!).  It seemed a little forced, maybe a bit rushed.  I don’t think I’d tune in again – not even if Mario can drag himself off of the golf course to show up.  If I find myself with an hour to kill around this time of the day, I’ll probably grab a sandwich and watch The View.

Can A Girl Get A Little Morning Consistency With Her Coffee?

I am a creature of habit.  I generally wake up the same time every day – even on weekends and holidays.  I get the same drink at the same Starbucks every morning.  I like to visit the same theme park every time I go on vacation.

So when I tell you I have enjoyed for most of my life Channel 6 Action News in Philadelphia, you can pretty much guarantee the accuracy in that statement.  I’ve been with them longer than Jim Gardner has been with them.  I cried real tears when Jim O’Brien died in that terrible accident.  I watched Lisa Thomas-Laury and Marc Howard from the beginning of the 5 o’clock news format.  These have always been my go to people.

So what’s up with my morning newscast?  Channel 6 in Philadelphia seems to be going through a bit of a morning news show crisis, in my opinion.  Some mornings, I wake up to the funny and talented Matt O’Donnell, along with co-anchor Tamala Edwards.  I have to admit, it took a bit of time for me to warm up to Tam – she swallows quite often during her newscast, and being a bit of a saliva-o-phobe, that kind of grosses me out.  But I love Matt, David Murphy, and Karen Rogers (who is as big a Disney fan as I am!).

You know, I can’t just decide every Friday to wake up next to George Clooney – it’s always Jim.  So why, it seems like nearly every Friday for the last long time, do I not get to wake up to my morning news team?  It seems like every other day I’m hearing, “Matt’s off today” or “In for Tamala Edwards…”  It’s not that I mind seeing Brian Taft or Sarah Bloomquist (gosh, I love her!), it’s just that if I’m going to wake up every morning in the same bed, in the same bedroom, in the same house, I want the same consistent courtesy out of my morning news team.

And it’s not just the weekday newscasts they’re messing with.  Some Saturdays, I get Walter Perez.  Walter and I go way back, as he was also on the local station when I lived in South Florida, and I like seeing his familiar face on the weekend.  I like seeing Nydia Han on the weekends.  But I don’t like a revolving door of news anchors.

I think for someone to build trust in their local news broadcast, they need the same familiar cast of characters.  For years, this city tuned in to see Jim Gardner, Dave Roberts, and Gary Papa.  I get that people grow old, retire, succumb to illnesses, move on to other opportunities.  But Action News seems lately to be having an identity crisis.

Let’s get this news broadcast into some decent therapy.