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September 27, 2010

Promising or Awful? A Quick Look at a Handful of New Fall Shows

Every year we are inundated with new shows from all of the networks vying for a new hit. It can be hard to pick out the gems from the shows that probably deserve to fail. I might as well make it a bit easier on you by offering up my opinions on the new shows I've seen so far. All five of them are comedies, and while I'm not a comedy expert, it should at least be helpful for you to know what made me laugh and what didn't so that you can give them a chance.

Mike & Molly
CBS Mondays at 9:30

I'm not sure whether to be happy that a network green-lit a show about people that aren't skinny, or angered that not a minute went by in the pilot that their obesity wasn't somehow mentioned or joked about. It's one thing to offer a show with a lead female that is no where close to size 0 and a lead male that would normally be relegated to the chubby side character, in the hopes of it speaking to the majority of America that is overweight, but it's another thing to do that in the hopes of pulling off a lot of really killer fat jokes. This show was the latter, and it probably always will be. I mean, it's on CBS along with Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men, and $#*! My Dad Says -- which I'll get to in a second. How that network came to pick up How I Met Your Mother, a fairly amusing and sweet comedy, is beyond me.

Raising Hope
Fox Tuesdays at 9

This was easily the best show of the four I've seen so far. The problem is, I'm not sure it'll last. One of my favorite things about the pilot was the rapid-fire delivery of key story elements. Plot points that a lot of shows would linger on for way too long were shot out and dealt with in a matter of minutes, sometimes seconds. Girlfriend goes to the bathroom, News says she's a murderer, she comes back to the table and gets hit over the head with a frying pan by the no-nonsense mother, cut to prison. It all happened almost as fast as it took you to read that sentence.

I just worry that was a convenient way for them to quickly establish the plot and get all of the characters into place, and now that we're there, things will stagnate. Still, a show that makes no bones about flying through substantial plot-lines like that probably has the sort of attitude that will make it an entertaining comedy. That is, if the whole white trash aesthetic doesn't get old. I mean, we've already had Malcolm in the Middle, My Name is Earl, and The Middle just off the top of my head. I laughed when the main character used a rubber glove as a baby bottle, but if every episode is full of “Look at the crazy way they do this!” jokes it might get a little old. Let's just hope that doesn't happen.

Running Wilde
Fox Tuesdays at 9:30

I'm beginning to think Fox really wants Arrested Development back. Alright, maybe that's assuming a lot, but Running Wilde sure does feel like an attempt at recapturing that magic, though it was probably just the starring role of Will Arnett and early appearance of David Cross (Both former cast members of Arrested Development) that put that impression in my head when watching. Plus, the creator of AD is at the helm, and Arnett plays almost the exact same character, he just hasn't fallen on bad luck like The Bluths had.

Mostly the show was alright, but I didn't laugh once throughout the pilot. Still, a pilot hardly ever amazes, so if they grow and get better, Running Wilde might be a real winner. I'm not sure who is involved behind the scenes, but let's all hope it is someone who can craft it into something really great.

$#*! My Dad Says
CBS Thursdays at 8:30

This actually wasn't as terrible as I expected, but it definitely wasn't inspired by any means. A couple lines made me smirk a little, but it held so firmly to the boring old sitcom standards that it induced plenty more groans. I think of it as one step above complete trash like Two and a Half Men and Big Bang Theory, but no where close to a great new comedy. Still, it is probably only one step above those other two shows because it hasn't had time to run out of the few slightly amusing jokes they were able to come up with.

NBC Thursdays at 9:30

This show has a fine-line to walk to avoid just being overtly racist. It seems their solution to this was to create the character played by Diedrich Bader (Oswald from Drew Carey Show), as well as the customers that order things from the call center that the show takes place in. By passing off the racial cliches on a secondary character and people we will only hear and never meet, they save their main character the trouble.

Still, the plot is quite possibly the most racist cliche of a plot for a sitcom I've ever seen. And that might be forgivable if it really delivered in the humor department... but it doesn't. They are pimping it really hard as being connected to The Office, but while they might have the feel somewhat down, the charm and humor are not. Maybe it'll grow into something better. I guess we'll see.


Dan W Manhattan Ph.D said...

Boardwalk Empire. End of story

Anonymous said...

D W Manhattan Ph.D - Fucking said it ALL!!! BOARD fucking walk EMPIRE!!

Anonymous said...

The fact you said Big Bang Theory is complete trash lets me know that your opinion is irrelevant.

Jon Cole said...

I'm personally waiting for the late-Fall premiere of Walking Dead (Halloween)... all signs point to that being totally amazing.

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