I don't think it's too much of a stretch to say that tonight could very well be the biggest night in television history. Some will argue that series finales of MASH or Seinfeld might be larger and those people would be horribly wrong. Others might say groundbreaking moments such as Ellen DeGeneres portraying the first gay character in prime time or even some of the countless gender issues like Lucille Ball's pregnancy presented in I Love Lucy would put that show as an epic event.
While they are all memorable, they are nothing compared to the double whammy that Thursday May 17, 2007 holds.
For starters, The Office season finale is this evening. I tend to place a tremendous amount of value on each new episode regardless of where it falls in the season. Regularly, I think that each show warrants more attention than the previous, which naturally means that the program this evening will be the best ever. The greater plot lines of the program move at a snail's pace, and that's just fine since it's the "regular" day-to-day workings of Dunder Mifflin are what make it so appealing. But this evening we should get a tiny bit of romantic movement to go with those zany folk in Pennsylvania. Extend the show out over an hour and you've got a big stinkin' deal.
But even I must confess that The Office will be second fiddle tonight, and damn it, that's just hard to do. In fact, it takes something 50 years in the making to bump The Office. Tonight, Bob Barker makes his farewell.
Last night, Bob's final prime time Price Is Right aired with plenty of lavish gifts and prizes. While he's still taping shows and won't wrap that up for a few more weeks, CBS gives him the send off he so richly deserves tonight after a magnificent career that includes a few decades (!) analyzing prices, spinning clunky old wheels, and giving away cars like they were free candy. Everyone is so enamoured (rightfully) with his 35 years on Price is Right that his 19 years as host of Truth of Consequences sometimes falls to the wayside. Imagine in this day and age anyone hosting two different shows 15 plus years. It's not possible. Networks pull plugs mid-season now, and Barker's longevity will likely go without match.
The simple host and winner of 17 (!) Emmy Awards wanted to retire while he "was still young." With the time off, he wants to take an African safari and work with his animal charities. A replacement for him is still in the works, but we all know the show will never be the same. Ever with a sense of humor, Bob confessed in an interview that the world probably will end without him.
" 'The Price Is Right' will not continue," Barker joked. "In fact, when I retire, all of television is going to end. There will be no more television. You can just put potted plants in those sets."
He may be right.
(Obligatory note that tonight is the season finale of Grey's Anatomy, too.)