3.18.2008

TV Eye {or} This Goes On For A Lot Longer Than It Should So I Apologize In Advance

Okay, so how funny was The New Adventures Of Old Christine last night? Am I the only person on the planet watching this show, because it's really freaking hilarious. Seriously, if you're not watching, you're missing out.

I'll be the first to admit that CBS' Monday night lineup is troublesome, especially if you're like me and are living in the DVR-/cable-less Stone Age. They have two really good shows, How I Met Your Mother and Old Christine sandwiched between two of the most hideous atrocities ever perpetrated in television: Big Bang Theory (or as I like to call it, "Let's just string a bunch of nerd stereotypes together and call it comedy") and {ugh} Two And A Half Men (also known as "That horrible, barfy, unfunny show starring Charlie Sheen's Skeletor Chin™ and Ducky"). Bummer, right?

It's really annoying, especially when you factor in that in CBS' on-air promos, Old Christine is not even mentioned as existing. It's like it's a ghost or something. I've noticed the same thing with Fox's Sunday night lineup and King Of the Hill, but that's understandable; Hill Has never been all that funny and I'm honestly surprised it's still on the air. I always have to check the calendar and make sure it didn't all of the sudden become 1999 again. Totally blows my mind.

And speaking of shows starring dark-haired females with serious problems, I caught the first two episodes of Jezebel James Rides Again, the new sitcom from Amy Sherman-Palladino, creator of the BRR-beloved Gilmore Girls, starring Parker Posey and the red headed girl from Can't Hardly Wait. Man, I wish this show was better. I really wanted to love it, really I did. It's not horrible, but it does have some strikes against it, three to be exact.

Strike One: it's a multi-camera, set-based sitcom, which seems so stale and artificial, especially when compared to The Office or 30 Rock or just about any show which went into production in the last two years.

Strike Two: It's really badly directed. I know it takes a while for a cast to gel, but you have some pretty talented actors (Posey, Lauren Ambrose, Dianne Weist as their mother) who just seem so... actorly and stodgy. I also missed the rapid-fire, too cute for its own good Gilmore banter that made me fall in love with the quirky hamlet of Stars Hollow all those years ago. This seemed like a pretty decent community theater play. On television.

Strike Three: The characters. After two - count 'em - two episodes, I felt like I didn't really "get" who these people were. We got the basic sketch: Posey's the responsible one (though she comes off as flighty and scatter-brained) and Ambrose is the stoner/unreliable one (though she comes off as just sort of rude). I know Palladino's going for complexity, but I just felt like I should know them a bit more, maybe? I dunno. Either that or they just weren't all that interesting. Or poorly directed (see "Strike Two"). Take your pick.

And while I'm talking about character, the cast is remarkably small. Part of the fun of Gilmore Girls was the cast of ancillary characters and Jezebel, partly because of its format (see "Strike One", above), has a skeleton crew of secondary characters: the boyfriend, the assistant, the parents... that's about it. But the format isn't entirely to blame, just look at a show like 30 Rock which has a pretty extensive cast (the fact I can name the writing staff - with the exception of the dude who's supposed to be Jimmy Fallon/Seth Myers - Frank, Lutz and Twofer, off of the top of my head only proves my point).

In the end, it just seems like Jezebel James just isn't trying hard enough. Which is sad, because Palladino deserves better.

And since this has already gone on too long, here are a few random thoughts regarding reality television:

* Dancing With the Stars - Oh my goodness, what happened to Priscilla Presley! She looks like someone who sustained severe burns and had to undergo serious facial reconstruction. Look away! Also, how hilarious is it that Pen Gillette is on this show? And Steve Gutenburg looks like a dancing robot.

* Beauty & the Geek - I am significantly less excited about this season. I may drop it entirely. Plus, I think the Asian dude is faking it. And the girls are just plain masty this season.

* The Biggest Loser - I am so glad the male contestants started putting their shirts on at the weigh-ins a few weeks back. It was getting pretty gross there for a while, what with all the flabby man boobs flip-flopping around, this way and that. I'm really hoping you got a nice mental picture there because if I had to endure it, you should have to, too.

And finally: * American Idol - First off, that Janis Joplin-sounding girl's voice makes my head feel all crazy inside. Seriously, it's like a bleating sheep who knows it's about to get sacrificed to Baal or something. It's nightmare music. {shudders} And secondly, should I be worried if I agree wholeheartedly with Simon like, all the time? Oh, and Seacrest is a twerp, isn't he? Don't you sit there wishing he would fall off the stage or slip while walking to talk with a contestant or accidentally wet himself on live television or something?

Because I sure do.

4 comments:

Patti said...

um, the Priscilla rant made me laugh out loud. "Look away!" Funny post...

jason quinones said...

i actually like big band theory. i think it's genuinely funny and sort of sweet. nerd stereo types still make me laugh though. i'm man enough to be able to laugh at my own kind.

how i met your mother is probably the best show on tv. NPH cracks me up, that ex-buffy chick is adorable and the rest of the cast is hilarious and works well together.

lousy title though.

jason quinones said...

i typed in big band theory instead of big bang theory.

i bet a music geek like you would totally watch a show called big band theory.

rose said...

i love the new adventures of old christine. i can relate to old christine more than i should admit. the episode from two weeks ago where new christine and richard buy old christine's dream house was hillarious. "i'm just sending it out to the universe."

i hope cbs keeps it around!