I will start by saying myself, WFGR and Townsquare Media have no connection whatsoever to the TV Show "MY GR Weekend" or it's producer Storytelling Pictures OR the TV stations that run the show...WOOD, WOTV and WXSP. And by the end of this you will certainly be able to tell that.

I was up late a couple of nights ago...couldn't sleep, worried about the royal wedding or something like that. I was flipping around and found "MY GR Weekend" on WOTV...the ABC channel out of Battle Creek that is on Channel 4 but really used to broadcast on channel 41. That's another story for another time.

I had seen the show in bits and pieces before, but this was the first time I decided to watch the whole thing. Silly me, what was I thinking? Now I will preface this whole review by saying it's terrible difficult to put on a weekly TV show. Coming up with content, taping the segments, etc. I know the effort it takes to put on a daily radio show, so I can only imagine the time involved in doing "MY GR Weekend".

Having said all that, I will say I WANT to like "MY GR Weekend". I really do. It IS a great idea. 3 hosts preview things happening around town, places to eat, events and so on. It's slickly produced, with little comedic film bits thrown in between segments, lots of flashy computer graphics, and uptempo sound effects and music. I WANT to like it, I really do. But I can't.

The hosts are Jordan Carson, now of Channel 8, formerly the "Face of 4" (Interesting...she works at channel 8 and the show is shown on Channel 41 and Channel 15, which are owned by LIN Broadcasting...the company who owns Channel 8 as well--still with me here--even though it is produced by Storytelling Pictures, and according to the show's website, it appears to have nothing to do with 41, 15 or 8...hmmm) Joe Anderson, a local comedian and the voice of the creepy Big Boy on their newer TV commercials, and Derek Emerson, a GRCC student and actor who has been on "Hannah Montana" and "Entourage"...2 of my favorite shows. Well, not really.

Now at this point, I would normally put a video of the show in here so you could watch a little. But the "MY GR Weekend" website won't allow me to borrow their video. So I will put a link to the show that I watched a little later on. But here's a picture. Take a close look at it. Really...where do your eyes go RIGHT AWAY?

That's right. The dude is wearing shorts...and you can ALMOST SEE UP THEM!!! Reminded me of that episode of "Friends" where Phoebe dates the guy who goes commando, and wears loose fitting shorts at the coffee house where everyone can see up them, until Gunther tells him "Hey buddy, this is a family place. Put the mouse back in the house."

Back to the show. The three of them review "A place to eat", "somewhere to go" and "something to do" Again the concept is a good one, but it seems very forced. Like the places to eat really bought their way on to the show. Derek talks about J.D. Reardon's, a perfectly nice looking bar and restaurant downtown. Except the review talks about the drinks they serve, and even though he's 22, he just seems very uncomfortable talking about it.

Same with Anderson. He just seems to have this frumpy "oh well, the cab just left without me again" look on his face all the time. Maybe that's because in the open for the show that's EXACTLY what happens.

And they all seem to have this "we have only lived here for 2 months and we are figuring out the city right here with you" quality about them. Joe selects for his "Somewhere To Go" segment a West Michigan Whitecaps game. That's a a fine spring activity. I love going to see the Caps. But he talks about going to "The Fifth Third Ballpark, up off of 131, just north of Grand Rapids" and to see the Whitecaps play the "Lansing Lugnuts, besides the fact they have a terrible name". Derek tosses in "I picture a bunch of greasy bolts falling all over the road...not impressive" Now you don't have to know much about baseball, or Michigan for that matter, to know the Lugnuts, even though named in a "name the team" contest, have a tie in to the auto industry in Lansing.

Joe also talks about the fact that "at the Fifth Third Ballpark they have 'the Fifth Third Burger', as featured on Man vs. Food, with (and he whispers) 5,000 calories". All 3 of the hosts go on for about 15 seconds about the 5,000 calories of the Fifth Third Burger. "How is that possible"? they asked dumbfounded. It's almost like...they had never heard of the burger until Joe started talking about it right there and then! And HE sounded like he only learned about it 10 minutes before that segment was taped. You haven't had to live here long to have heard about the "5th 3rd Burger"...there has been a little press about it. (Note the sarcasm in my typing there)

It's possible that segment could have been taped 2 months ago. There was nothing about the show that really had a sense of "this is happening right here in our town and it's cool". It all seems like "we have to put out another show about stuff to do that we aren't really interested in". That might not be the case, but that's the sense I got from it.

Jordan is nice, and you can tell she has had sometime in front of a camera. And she seems somewhat interested in what she's talking about. But only somewhat. The whole show has a very forced feel to it, from the reviews, to the banter between the hosts, to the little "funny" film clips inserted in the segments. It seemed like some of the little jokes right before the film clips were created when someone realized "hey, we have these little film clips..make up something that has nothing to do with anything to set them up".

All in all, it's a great idea, and a nice thing for Grand Rapids to have, but I'm guessing since it plays at 7pm on Wednesday and Thursday on Channel 15, The "X" My TV, and then at 1:30am on Channel 4, and doesn't even GET to grace Channel 8's airwaves (just at "woodtv.com")
not many people are seeing it. And I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not.

Here's the link to the clip I promised...Enjoy a Fifth Third Burger for me at the game this weekend.