VH1's Best Week Ever, the show built on mountains and mountains of talking heads, has decided to narrow it down to just one head: Paul F. Tompkins':
From the NY Times:
The new show, called "Best Week Ever With Paul F. Tompkins," will not abandon the sarcasm entirely but will be "snarky with a heart, snarky with a conscience," Mr. Tompkins said, though he may have been snarking slightly when he said it.
With the move to a single host, the look of "Best Week Ever" will change. While the talking heads were always seated in front of a colored screen, Mr. Tompkins will stand behind a piece of furniture that he termed a podo-desk (a podium-desk)…
In a dry run last week he, a half-dozen other producers and Mr. Tompkins gathered in an orange conference room in VH1's new brightly colored offices near TriBeCa to go over scripts. Their first bit involved a clip of Cloris Leachman, 82, stumbling through a number on "Dancing With the Stars." It ended with her being wildly twirled by her partner, panting and showcasing her décolletage to the cameras.
"And in the end of days, a half-woman, half-man creature will crawl across the earth, its bosom large and its tongue agape, and ye shall know ye are a godless people," Mr. Tompkins intoned.
So a weekly pop culture show featuring a funny host who stands in front of a video screen, quipping about topical clips? A more accurate new title would be VH1's The Soup With Paul F. Tompkins. But whatever. I can't believe I'm typing this, but I think this is a really smart move on VH1's part. One of the main problems with VH1's pop culture slice and dice, talking head extravaganzas is that they're unfocused and scatterbrained. Watching them feels like having dozens of people shout jokes at you, largely because they're made up of dozens of people shouting jokes at you. By whittling it down to one good voice, the show adds a very strong signal to VH1's patented 100% noise, 0-1 signal-to-noise ratio.
Paul F. Tompkins was a consistently funny part of Best Week Ever, so building the show around him is a welcome idea–not only because it increases the chances of the new Best Week Ever being consistently funny, but also because it gives me an excuse to post this clip of Tompkins interviewing Zsa Zsa Gabor's ex-husband.
Tompkins' bemused reaction shots are almost unparalleled.