Even though the 110th Congress is drawing to a close, there is a late-year surge of activity on Capitol Hill that shows no sign of abating.
Congressional focus on bankruptcies continues to rise. Today in the House Financial Services Committee, members heard for a second time from Tim Kring, creator of NBC’s “Heroes,” who is still seeking government loans to avoid creative bankruptcy.
It was make or break testimony by Kring, who endeared himself to no one last week with his Hollywood-style arrival. Then, Kring had emerged from a limousine, stepping onto a paparrazi-thronged red carpet, arm in arm with Kim Kardashian and Tara Reid. The committee roundly criticized Kring for not connecting with the concerns of low-paid entertainment professionals working in off-Broadway, regional and community theater.
Today Kring arrived in Ed Begley Jr.’s electric pickup truck. He admitted to the committee that “Heroes” had made some mistakes — introducing more plotlines than the market could bear, overleveraging the same dramatic devices, and bundling subprime character Tracy with fan favorite Niki/Jessica.
Kring assured members that if “Heroes” received funds from the Troubled Art Relief Program (TARP) he would introduce a number of innovations already found in imports, such as fiction-reality hybrids.
However, a majority of the committee members expressed skepticism. Typical was Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Alabama), who told Kring point-blank: “I fail to see any value in the addition of Jay Leno to the cast, as a character who has the power to absorb other people’s classic cars into his collection. It just seems like a poorly thought-out gimmick.”
Bachus said he would not support a “Heroes” bailout until Screen Actors Guild members agreed to make their contract competitive with their Japanese counterparts.
Heroes and the environment
The “Heroes” legislative ripples extend beyond Congress. Reacting to growing public indifference, President Bush today ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to classify “Heroes” as a Superfund site. The Superfund program cleans up releases or threatened releases of hazardous substances that pose a danger to public health or the environment. There are currently 1,240 sites, including the Hudson River, Commencement Bay (Tacoma, WA), and “Eleventh Hour” on CBS.
“This saddens me,” Bush told the Washington Times environment correspondent Seymour Greenwash. “Two years ago, like many of my fellow Americans, I planned my Monday nights around “Heroes,” the president said.
“Can’t tell you how many meetings on the economy I skipped so I wouldn’t miss the adventures of Hiro, Claire, Peter, Nathan, Matt and Niki. Two years later, I’m sad to say I’m back to watching football instead of working on the economy,” said Bush.
“I have seen the same noxious odors, toxic plots and corrosive writing coming from “Heroes” as have all prime time TV watchers. Niki is now Ice Woman Tracy? Why? How many times can a hero lose, regain and lose his powers? What about the Irish woman stuck in the future? For once we are going to act now, before “Heroes” irreparably pollutes everything it touches,” he said.
In other news, President Bush disappointed an Iraqi entrepreneur during an unannounced trip to Baghdad yesterday. The eager businessman, owner of the first Payless Shoe Source in Iraq, offered the president a sample pair of women’s size 10 espadrilles. “I wanted to show the Great Satan how well American-style consumerism is spreading in Iraq,” said the businessman, who declined to identify himself for respiratory reasons. Bush declined the gift, explaining that “Condi’s the go-to person on footwear issues.”