By Alan Pergament
This is what I'm thinking:
I didn't watch much television over the holiday weekend, but I did see Channel 7 cover the attempt of its morning traffic reporter Desiree Wiley to become Miss New York State and all I can say is "wow."
As in "wow" did the station really think it was a good idea to show off the Buffalo State College graduate in a bikini?
But perhaps I'm taking this a bit too seriously.
Wiley won the swimsuit competition so I guess it might have been must-see TV in some quarters. However, the idea that Miss New York State still has a swimsuit competition does seem pretty archaic.
That especially seems true at a time the issue of equal pay for equal work has been in the news lately after the firing of New York Times editor Jill Abramson.
Additionally, female TV reporters would be smart to play down their participation in beauty queen competitions. It could take a lifetime to overcome the idea they were hired on looks alone.
The good news for Channel 7 is Wiley -- who was attempting to become the first local TV personality since Maryalice Demler to become Miss New York -- came in second, or first runner-up. If Wiley had won, I'm thinking she might have had to leave her job to do whatever Miss New York does after she wins.
Unquestionably, Wiley's looks helped her get a job at Channel 7 after she graduated from Buffalo State shortly before she was third runner-up in the 2013 Miss New York State pageant. But her Channel 7 biography notes that the Lockport High School graduate received her bachelor's degree in journalism at Buffalo State with a concentration in political science and economics when she was only 20. So she’s smart, as a professor who taught her has told me. She also has enough talent and poise on camera to leave Channel 7 for a bigger market after she gets more television experience.
It was sad to hear that Matthew Cowles, the soap opera star married to Christine Baranski, died over the weekend. Baranski, who originally is from Cheektowaga, and Cowles seemed to have one of the best Hollywood marriages. Perhaps that's partly because the actors didn't live in Hollywood. Married for 30 years, they raised their two daughters in Connecticut. Cowles was best known for playing Billy Clyde Tuggle in the soap opera "All My Children."
Baranski is currently starring in "The Good Wife," previously had TV fame in the comedy "Cybill" and many movies. Until I read Cowles' obit this weekend, I hadn't realized he was a member of the Cowles family that owned newspapers. At one time, Cowles Media owned the Buffalo Courier-Express.
I did get a kick over the weekend out of Channel 2 sportscaster Jonah Javad's dance moves in the background as anchor Ron Plants read a story about the mash-up of the different ways NBC hockey play-by-play man Doc Emrick says pass the puck set to a tune from Daft Punk. However, I wonder how many Channel 2 viewers know who Daft Punk is (their big hit last year was "Get Lucky") and understood Javad's cleverness. The anchor-reporter drives me crazy at times, but he has his winning moments, too.
Spoiler Alert: Speaking of song and dance, I also got a kick out of the final scene in the spring finale of "Mad Men" Sunday when Don Draper (Jon Hamm) hallucinated and saw Robert Morse's character, Bert Cooper, sing and dance to the tune "The Best Things in Life are Free" hours after the founder of the Sterling Cooper advertising firm died.
As many old-timers know, Morse was a Broadway star, with his most memorable part more than a half a century ago in the musical "How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying."
The tune also was apt because the lyrics” "the moon belongs to everyone" resonated in an episode that focused on the shared TV moment experienced by Americans when Neil Armstrong walked on the moon.
Draper was freed of almost all of his professional and personal distractions in the episode, clearing the way for Hamm’s character to reinvent himself for the final episodes of the series that will arrive in 2015.
However, the advertising firm now has a new co-owner that made the Sterling Cooper partners rich so perhaps the song was meant to be a cautionary tale about selling your soul to the devil.
Or perhaps it meant nothing and just was designed to give Morse a big final scene.
That's the maddening and wonderful thing about "Mad Men." You can spend a lot of time debating its meaning.
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