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John Kiesewetter on the world of local and national TV

Senior Entertainment Reporter John Kiesewetter has been covering TV and media issues for 20 years. After joining the Cincinnati Enquirer in 1975 as a summer intern, he worked as a county government and suburban reporter; assistant city editor and suburban editor; and features editor supervising the Life section. He has a B.S. in journalism from Ohio University.

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Thursday, June 07, 2007

I'm John From Cincinnati

Yes, I'm John from Cincinnati, and I've seen the first three shows of HBO's new "John from Cincinnati" premiering 10 p.m. Sunday after "The Sopranos" finale. And I can say that the plot and characters have as much to do about me as anyone or anything in Cincinnati. The reference (in the second episode, June 17) appears to be accidental.

Here's what you need to know: The character John Morad (Austin Nichols, "Deadwood," "Surface") who shows up mysteriously at Imperial Beach, Calif., appears to be a total zero at first.

The mystery is: Who is John? Where is he from? Is he an alien? A Christ? Retarded? A mutant from the sea? (In the premiere, John declares: "The end is near!")

And why do these mystical things – retired surfer Mitch Yost (Bruce Greenwood) levitates, a dead cockatiel comes back to life – occur after he arrives?

When John is asked a question he can't answer, he says: "Some things I know, and some things I don’t." He says that a lot. He appears to be an infant in a fully grown body. He watches and listens to people, then imitates them. A former cop says, "I’ve got my eye on you." So whenever John sees the guy, he says, "I’ve got my eye on YOU!"

When he walks into a bathroom, he has no clue what to do. People grab his hand and tug him along, like a small child.

John gets his name this a conversation with a heroin addict named Butchie (Mitch's son) in the June 17 show:

John: "I don't do well in traffic."
Butchie: "It leads me to believe that you're not from around here."
John: "I’m not from around here!"
Butchie: "No? Or any other metropolis, for that matter. I'm feeling kind of a small town. Not a farm town, but a small town. A small town like, I'm feeling a little Cincinnati."
John: "I am from Cincinnati!"
Butchie: "Get the (deleted) out!"
John: "You get the (deleted) out!"

I'm definitely curious to see the next episode – but I'm not sure it will become my Must See TV as was "NYPD Blue" (also from executive producer David Milch), or the first seasons of "ER," "LA Law," "Twin Peaks," "The Sopranos," "Everybody Loves Raymond" or the great years of "Seinfeld."

I'll write another blog Sunday so you can comment on the show after watching it, and tell me what you think of "John from Cincinnati."


at 6/07/2007 4:18 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

i saw milch in an interview last year talking about this show and he mentioned it had nothing to do with cincinnati or really anyone being from...

but as i recently read...
..."John From Cincinnati's" first episodes prove at once intriguing and frustrating, like "Twin Peaks" minus the comedy and cop-show structure. Then again, "Deadwood" also began as a dense, difficult show, and quite possibly "John From Cincinnati" is slowly building to something unique, possibly of biblical proportions. It's probably no coincidence that the title is just one letter away from the initials "J.C."

at 6/07/2007 4:51 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

But you're also John from Middletown, John from OU and, once, John from Northside. Spinoffs, perhaps?

at 6/11/2007 10:52 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried to get into this show becasuse I loved Deadwood. I could not finish it because it was dumb and the son of Butch yost is not a good actor at all and I think they used voiceovers for some of his parts. When I saw him touch the bird and revive it from the dead he must have a significant part so it should be a good actor. I got excited when I saw Al Bundy but his charactor is confusing.

at 6/11/2007 11:25 AM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not a cockatiel, but a conure - of importance only to the egglayers among us.

at 6/11/2007 4:30 PM Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent show! I can't wait until it's "On Demand" later this week to watch it again.

"Filling" the Sopranos timeslot isn't like filling Friends timeslot, or Seinfelds, The Sopranos may have had that slot - when it was on - but really, because of it's schedule, most weeks somethign else was on.

John is the cause of the miaculous things that begin to happen to the Yosts, and I can't wait to find out why, or how!

at 6/11/2007 10:50 PM Blogger John Kiesewetter said...

To Anon 11:25 a.m.: I'll tell HBO they blew it. Every show description calls the bird a cockatiel. Thanks.

at 8/13/2007 8:32 PM Anonymous smeelana said...

I love this show and am looking forward to next season

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