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Goodnight, Irene... Hello, Gaga?
August 28, 2011  | By David Bianculli
Even after Hurricane Irene had passed to the north Sunday and was about to be demoted to tropical storm, I remained without electricity in southern New Jersey. But after more than 12 literally powerless hours (take away electricity, and a TV critic hasn't got much of a day job), the power came back on... just in time for the MTV Video Music Awards.

Ten minutes later, I turned off the TV and went upstairs to bed...


There were two reasons for that.

One, I knew Lady Gaga's opening performance, shrouded by all its hype and mystery, was something I should tune into, even though my heart (and my TiVo season pass) was over at HBO with True Blood. So I watched -- and witnessed Gaga, as her male alter ego Jo Calderone, smoking a cigarette at breakneck speed while delivering a Charlie Sheen-like monologue about Gaga herself.

Then, still as Jo, came the musical performance, of "You and I" -- starting slowly on piano, then quickly shifting to a full-out, up-tempo dance routine backed by a bevy of similarly greased-out dancers. The performance was high-concept, high-energy and, to the MTV celebrity audience, highly confusing.

Justin Bieber's priceless and clueless reaction, in particular, was one of utter incomprehension.

As soon as Gaga/Jo left the stage, the air left the room. And so did I.

I know there was more stuff to come. I was even looking forward to some of it, such as a live performance by Adele. And normally, Sunday night is my don't-bother-me treat, where I watch True Blood and AMC's Breaking Bad, back to back, and feel better about television, and life in general.

But Hurricane Irene drained a lot from me, and I'm not just talking about electricity.

Besides, one other hurricane memory I'd forgotten was how fresh and exhilarating the air is after the storm. I was anxious to go upstairs, throw open the windows and fall asleep to the smell of the cool breeze and the the sound of the whooshing branches.

So I did.

Goodnight, Irene...




SharonGS said:

It's kind of cruel to write about the joys of turning off the television and breathing in the post-storm night air when so many of us don't have that choice. We lost power for good at 6:15 p.m. Saturday and may not get it back before Friday night. (I'm writing this from the campus where I work, which is more fortunate.) However, it is good to hear that I didn't miss much by missing Lady Gaga, and I'll keep reading TV Worth Watching to note what to catch on demand or on the web once the power comes back.

By the way, I enjoyed your childhood hurricane memories. Doing things by candlelight is fun for the first 24 hours. After that, not so much.

[Dear Sharon -- I feel your pain, and definitely sympathize. I don't mean to be so gleeful about having power again. Speaking of which: a Glee rerun is on tonight. Oh, never mind. Sorry. Good luck getting your power restored, sooner rather than later. That way, you can read this without going to campus... - DB]

Comment posted on August 29, 2011 3:55 PM

Laura said:

I just think Lady Gaga was trying out for MTV's eventual remake of Grease. She wants John Travolta's part so bad.

Comment posted on August 30, 2011 10:08 AM
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