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Shows that went on way too long
"Californication" (seven seasons)
LONDON (AP) — When it comes to the royal baby, choosing just one name won’t do. You need about three or four.
Just ask the father, William Arthur Philip Louis. Or the grandfather, Charles Philip Arthur George. Or the great-grandmother, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary.
“I think because the child is going to be the third in line to the throne, they have to maintain all this tradition,” said Pauline MacLaran, a professor of marketing and consumer research at Royal Holloway and the co-author of the upcoming book, “Royal Fever: The British Monarchy in Consumer Culture.”
“They’ll go for three or four names and … be able to make the right nod to the right people,” she said.
And it can’t just be any old moniker, either. It has to have some gravitas: Noble names are steeped in history, which explains why thousands of bets have rolled in to British bookmakers for Alexandra and James.
Alexandra appears to be a good bet. It’s the name of Queen Elizabeth II’s great-grandmother, a Danish princess who married Edward VII. And the queen’s name includes Alexandra, as well as Mary, her grandmother. James and George are big choices on the male side — as there’s strong precedent of kings of that name.
Albert Mehrabian, a professor emeritus of psychology at UCLA and an expert on names, firmly voted for James — which far outdistanced George in the popularity stakes.
“Names make impressions, good and bad,” he said. “Among all the names I’ve studied, James rated the highest.”
Mary was among the top rated for girls, though Alexandra also scored well, he said.
MacLaran is betting against a girl having the first name of Diana — even though Prince William has been eager to include his beloved mother in other aspects of his marriage to Kate. He gave her Diana’s engagement ring.
MacLaran said that giving a girl her late grandmother’s name would constitute an undue burden because the public and media would constantly compare her to the glamorous late princess.
“That would be a lot of baggage on the child,” she said. “They wouldn’t want that.”
She said one of the secondary names might be Diana, as that would give the young princess a nod to her ancestors.
The name can also take on cultural significance. Arthur, the middle names of both Prince Charles and Prince William, evokes the legendary King Arthur and tales of chivalry — a favorite theme ingrained in British literature.
Edward VIII, who abdicated in 1936, was christened Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David — the last four were patron saints of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales respectively.
The public may have to wait, though. It is not uncommon for the palace to take its time to choose just the right name.
But is it possible that William and the former Kate Middleton might break with tradition and call their child something trendy and unexpected? The grandchildren of Princess Anne, the queen’s only daughter, are called Savannah and Isla.
But those closer to the throne normally don’t have such freedom.
“They’ll try and choose something that reflects tradition acceptable to their peer group — like Charlotte, which can be shortened to Charlie,” MacLaran said. “It won’t be any kind of celebrity name — like Tiger Lily.”
That probably also excludes John Paul George Ringo.
"Californication" (seven seasons)
"Entourage" (eight seasons)
Much like “Californication,” this man-centric show started strong and buzzy -- a perpetual nominee at the Golden Globes and Emmys, and a perceived gender-swapped “Sex and the City.” Then it ground on and on, and what might once have been read as a sophisticated satire of Hollywood materialism became a grinding conveyor belt of self-congratulatory guest-star appearances.
"Will & Grace" (eight seasons)
Hey, did someone say “self-congratulatory guest-star appearances?” Look -- it’s Jennifer Lopez, and Cher, and Janet Jackson, and Madonna! The latter seasons of “Will & Grace” effectively ruined the fun of watching the show in syndication now -- will it be a fun and jaunty early episode, or a later episode in which title characters enact an Ibsen play about having a baby together (really) while Jack and Karen meet one pop star or another? The fact that the show hastened a widespread acceptance of gay people that, then, made the show something of a throwback by the time it ended is one thing; the fact that the show itself seemed uninterested in relying on its actors’ sharp comic timing is quite another.
"The King of Queens" (nine seasons)
This CBS stalwart just kind of kept going, exactly as long as was needed to launch Kevin James’ film career. In the show’s final minutes, a formulaic sitcom became a mile-a-minute soap, with the central characters considering divorce and then having two children.
"Frasier" (11 seasons)
Though it ended strong, "Frasier" had something of the opposite problem as “The King of Queens”: While the CBS comedy chucked a whole bunch of plot at viewers toward the end, NBC’s Emmy magnet stayed stuck in familiar ruts, with Frasier questing endlessly for love and Daphne and Niles in fairly unthrilling domestic bliss. The jokes stayed good, but this maybe could have gone one or two years shorter.
"Weeds" (eight seasons)
As “Homeland” viewers may be learning, Showtime isn’t particularly good at keeping its shows coherent over time. (Maybe this is “Californication”’s issue -- we wouldn’t know!) This show changed settings and, effectively, organizing conceits so many times that by the end, it had few earnest defenders.
"Nip/Tuck" (six seasons)
This FX series, too, changed settings midway through, moving from Miami to Los Angeles four seasons in for no compelling reason. The show’s most gripping subplots had a way of petering out (remember the anticlimactic solution to the mystery of the Carver?), and its bizarre tendencies overtook any sense of fun.
"Glee" (five seasons and counting)
The series has, like its sibling show “Nip/Tuck” (Ryan Murphy created them both), switched locations, moving in large part to New York once its core cast graduated high school. But what’s the point of a high school series when the stars graduate? Despite some lovely moments, the show’s heat seems gone, and attempts to get back into the conversation (the school shooting episode, for instance) have been more desperate and tone-deaf than effective.
"Grey's Anatomy" (10 seasons and counting)
Here’s the thing: By all accounts, “Grey’s Anatomy” is not a creative failure. And it’s still widely watched. But when you begin your life as a world-beating hit, anything else seems somewhat marginal. “Grey’s Anatomy” has shed more regular viewers than many shows will ever hope to get in the first place (same’s true of “Survivor” and latter-day “ER,” to name just a few). Those who stopped watching once the Golden Globe nominations petered out may wonder why the show is still on; loyal viewers know better.
"The Simpsons" (25 seasons and counting)
Like the “Grey’s” doctors, the Springfield clan and their neighbors still draw a crowd. But “The Simpsons” is so omnipresent in syndication and in pop culture that the first-run series seems besides the point (not least because, though there are good episodes here and there, the show’s best days are universally agreed to be behind it -- like way behind it, in the 1990s).
"The Office" (nine seasons)
There was a natural break for this show, where it ought to have ended -- with the departure of lead actor Steve Carell in Season 7. The latter years were a creative fugue state, and as NBC’s Thursday night lineup continued to flatline in the ratings, one-time fans could be forgiven at their surprise that the adventures of Jim and Pam kept on unfolding.
"The X-Files" (nine seasons)
Once one of the show’s leads departs and has to be replaced -- as Steve Carell did on “The Office,” or David Duchovny did here -- the show faces a reckoning; if the lead is so central to the show’s plot as to make people wonder how the show could possibly go on, maybe the show shouldn’t. And even “X-Files” superfans might have been happier with fewer seasons of drawing out the conspiracy string toward a famously unsatisfying ending.
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