1. "Rome." (First episode of the series.)
2. "Real Time With Bill Maher." (First episode of the new season.)
"Rome" had a lot of people bustling about in costumes, amidst scenery, declaiming various things in English accents. Violence and nudity don't really stimulate my interest in a story, though I was mildly intrigued by the perfect bikini wax jobs the women had. But — who knows? —maybe all that historical research they were bragging about in the promos actually revealed that the women had their pubic hair plucked into narrow vertical rectangles.
Bill Maher drove me up the wall — and I watched every episode of the show last year, so I am not a Bill Maher hater. His comic style of speech conveys an extremely smug attitude and certainty that he's the smart one who's been right about everything all along. (Jon Stewart uses nearly the opposite tone and is much more watchable.) Among the guests on Maher's show was Chris Rock, who was coasting on a single comic idea: you can connect anything to the subject of the high cost of gasoline. Why am I just getting to the point where I find Maher's speech intolerable? Maybe I've gotten more thin-skinned or maybe it's just the state of the world these days and the way so many people are so eager to point at everything that doesn't go smoothly and to say see I told you all along it was a big mistake.