Screen Savors: A bolt from the blue

From sports to sitcoms.

television 88 (photo credit: )
television 88
(photo credit: )
That flash across your TV screen last week wasn't any electrical problem. It was simply a Bolt from Jamaica, Usain Bolt, a human streak of lightning so incredible and so entertaining, watching his incredible performances made our week. "Quick, quick, he's about to start!" we yelled to the family stragglers just ahead of Bolt's appearance. The jolly Jamaican - what are they doing in that country has everybody so up all the time, at least his fellow Jamaicans supporting him from the stands? - charmed the crowd in the pre-race preparations as he got ready to get serious about the 200-meter dash at the World Athletics Championships in Berlin. Only a couple of nights earlier, we all watched Bolt smash the record for the 100 meter dash, which he did handily. And his charm and utter joy in victory, which would be repeated after another record-breaking run Thursday night, only made for more entertaining viewing. With a middle name of St. Leo, he appears to be divinely blessed with both a love of life, determination and the demeanor of a champion rarely seen today, and it was a joy to share his triumphs. Indeed, Channel 1's coverage of the entire affair was first rate - at least what we saw, which was mostly Bolt - especially the incredible statistic offered by Channel 1 commentator Meir Einstein, that Bolt ran an amazing five strides per second in his 100-meter motor down the track, if we heard correctly. Our kids also got a kick out of the little dance or other celebrations some of the participants did when they won their various events, but we really got a zap from the zeal with which Bolt celebrated after his triumphs, posing in a finger-forward pose, a big smile on his face, a modern-day Mercury. Channel 1 deserves full credit for bringing us fine coverage of the event. With all the Romema-bashing that goes on, we sometimes forget when they get something right. Thanks to an assist from the Fastest Man in the World, they scored big with us again. Not all that's connected to the sports world is always gold, however, although TBS' s My Boys, being shown now in it second season on Channel 3 both mornings and evenings, could maybe take a bronze medal in the sit-com Olympics, if there were one. The series revolves around Chicago Sun-Times reporter Penelope Jane, or P.J., as she prefers to be known, Franklin and her posse of male friends, or her "boys," as she tries to survive both professionally and romantically in the Windy City. The TBS series has a lot going for it, particularly Jordana Spiro (yes, she's Jewish) in the lead role, who lends a vivacity that keeps the show bubbling even when the script doesn't. The episode we caught had P.J. trying to take her relationship with competing sportswriter Bobby "to another level" by inviting him to go with her to Italy. While we could identify with some of P.J's problems, like not being able to get her hand luggage in the overhead compartment, P.J's occasional voice-over narration of parts of the show gets a bit tedious. Meanwhile, back at Crowley's the Chicago watering hole where P.J. and her friends hang out, no one knows what's happened to Bobby. The rest of P.J.'s "boys" - Brendan, a former hard rock radio DJ now reduced to a new adult contemporary format playing what he calls "bad Sting;" Kenny, who runs a sports memorabilia store and has no clue about dating; Mike, who hits on anything in a skirt and works with Kenny; and Andy, P.J.'s brother, who's into the finer things in life and is a little lacking in the ethics department ("I helped the company rape a rain forest today, so I thought I'd get myself a little something.") Crisis strikes when Mike manages to get them thrown out of their favorite bar. Asked if he was responsible for why the barmaid kicked them out, Mike replies; "I slept with her and didn't call her back, but that can't be it…." My Boys isn't quite up to that other bar-centered show, Cheers, but it has its moments, and a one-off viewing left me with more positive than negative vibes. With Spiro's spirited acting and a gang of goofy drinking (and maybe more) buddies, this series is a pleasurable, if not Bolt-like, way to spend a half hour. My Boys airs Sunday through Thursday on Channel 3 at 10:25 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.