Call me a lowest-common-denominator kind of guy, but when I heard that Miami’s own street brawler Kimbo Slice had appeared last week on the new “CBS EliteXC Saturday Night Fights,” the first in a series of mixed martial arts cage matches, I thought our local bad-ass had really arrived.
New York Times writer David Carr, whose media commentary I generally enjoy, saw Slice’s appearance through the opposite end of the binoculars: Instead of Kimbo reaching the top, network television was officially reaching the bottom.
In today’s paper, Carr writes, “In CBS’s Saturday night pantheon, the girl who could turn the world on with her smile” – that would be Mary Tyler Moore – “has been replaced by a man whose missing teeth may be his most compelling feature.”
Carr’s overall message about the networks' quality slippage is a valid one, as is the fact that better TV can now be found not only on the premium cable channels, but once-dead zones like USA and FX. But did he have to beat up on poor Kimbo to make the point? Good shows have been popping up on basic cable for many seasons now, and didn’t the networks begin to flatline, oh, somewhere around Fear Factor?
At least Carr is smart about one thing: His aside to Kimbo, whom he calls “Mr. Slice — and I mean absolutely no disrespect, in case his range of interests includes this newspaper.”
Go easy on him Kimb—er, Mr. Slice. --Frank Houston