November 10th, 2010
12:54 PM ET
Now that all the initial hype is over, the lofty expectations have subsided and the Masturbating Bear has made his long overdue return into my life – thus ending my nine-month hunger strike – here’s a little re-cap of the second episode of “Conan.”
When it comes to the opening music, I wasn’t immediately blown away. However, having now had a chance to listen to it again, it actually seems to have much better pacing than the old tune (which, mind you, I thought was great). So, the new theme is definitely growing on me.
But what I really dig is the credits. I love the simplicity; guest names are cleanly revealed over a basic textured background, accompanied by minimalist graphics pertaining to each guest’s particular line of work. Last night it was a movie reel for Tom Hanks and a television set for Jack McBrayer.
All that said, one thing I don’t particularly care for in the opener is this whole naming of the episode (last night was "Murder, She Tweeted"). It brings nothing to the table, and I don’t think it will last. But, then again, I thought the same thing about Justin Bieber.
As I mentioned in last night’s blog, Conan is performing his monologue in front of his desk, rather than standing before a curtain or special background. It’s a slight variation from the norm, but I think it works. I don’t know why, but it does. It’s like a bacon and peanut butter sandwich. (Seriously. Try it.)
Tonight, after his hit-and-miss monologue, Conan presented a taped bit about meeting with the Standards & Practices guy at TBS, inquiring about the basic cable use of certain questionable words and phrases. For example, whether or not he could refer to a sexual position known as the Tokyo Sandblaster. This actually made Conan hilariously break character.
Tom Hanks was tonight’s big guest, and you can tell that he has a real soft spot in his heart for Coco. In fact, Hanks is the reason we even have the name Coco – it was his creation. Conan addressed this by saying, “You ruined my life.”
What really struck me about this interview had nothing to do with the actual conversation but rather the fact that I felt like I was simply watching an old "Late Night" or "Tonight Show." Team Coco has definitely captured the “big time” network feel despite being on TBS. And it’s important for them to, at the very least, appear top shelf... this, despite the fact that I, as a target audience member, am anything but. What can I say? I laughed hardest when Tom Hanks mentioned Lake Titicaca.
Of course, the clip I’m sure everyone will be talking about was Tom Hanks getting drenched my whales. It’s a little silly to explain, so if you missed it you’ll just have to watch it online. To be honest, I didn’t really get it. But, then again, I don’t… get things.
After Hanks, Conan’s other couch guest was "30 Rock’s" Jack McBrayer, who Conan says appeared on his old "Late Night" show at least 80 times as different off-the-wall characters. This is sort of amazing when you actually see the real person… he’s very charming, but also seems rather awkward and shy. Kind of a like a really friendly serial killer.
The final guest on the show was the band Soundgarden. I was actually pretty excited to see them, hoping to magically whisk myself back to the ‘90s – a decade when anything was possible, save for passing my high school math classes.
It’s been almost 20 years since the release of their classic album, Badmotorfinger, and without question these guys are showing their age (Chris Cornell is almost fifty!). But they still sounded pretty good despite the fact that Cornell’s vocals weren’t mixed very well. I chalked it up to the growing pains of being a new show. They’ll sort it out.
In the end… there is no conclusion. It took years for Conan to find his rhythm at "Late Night," and he wasn't given the chance to on the "Tonight Show." So, after this second episode, the best thing I can say is that I was entertained; it felt like the old Coco we know and love. And I think that’s good enough. It’s certainly not polished, but if you’re a fan of Conan this might once again be the real deal.
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