Brian Wilson v. Tavis Smiley

Wilson and SmileyI'm not sure I've seen a rougher pairing on Tavis Smiley's PBS show than last week's match-up of Tavis with Brian Wilson. It could have worked, but didn't. Wilson has a great story and can be brilliant, but he presents a little flat these days, with a well-documented background to his personality. Only a few replies ran longer than a dozen words or so. Unable to really engage, Smiley kept firing questions dating back to ancient history, including this clanger: "Your name, the Beach Boys - it seems easy, where it came from. Was there some rule of thought that went into naming the group the Beach Boys?" Things improved a bit, but it was hard to watch. The final exchange captured the prevailing tone:

Tavis: It's a pleasure to meet you, sir.
Wilson: Okay.

Anyway, my reason to even get into it is that Wilson is scheduled to chat with Larry Mantle on KPCC's "Airtalk" tomorrow. I have higher hopes — but I notice Wilson's segment is only booked for a safe ten minutes at 11:50 a.m. Wilson plays at the Wiltern Wednesday night.

Video: Wilson on Tavis Smiley


More by Kevin Roderick:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
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Recent stories on LA Observed:
Ralph Lawler of the Clippers and the age of Aquarius
Riding the Expo Line to USC 'just magical'
Last bastion of free parking? Loyola Marymount to charge students
Matt Kemp, Dodgers and Kings start big weekend the right way
LA Times writers revisit their '92 riots observations

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