Monday, September 12, 2005

TV: Not loving the new season

Finished watching the first episode of Reunion, and the last fifty minutes were no better than the first ten. Just horrible, pathetically obvious writing from beginning to end. "Here's a toast to everything staying exactly the same way it is right now!" Followed by the mind-shattering, not-at-all-clumsily-telegraphed irony that everything does not stay exactly the same!!! And one of the characters, playing off a remembered gunshot, actually closes the show by saying, "Let's just say the year started off with a bang." Seriously, that is some lame crap right there. That line is on page 56 of Assembling Hack Scripts for Dummies, right next to "I'm too old for this shit," and "This time, it's personal."

The characters are all paper thin, and they're all unlikeable for one reason or another, generally for being either a doormat or a user. One gal cheats on her boyfriend with his best friend, gets pregnant, then moves off to London without telling either of them about the baby. Oh, and the other three people in the group of friends are involved in their own romantic triangle, too, with Chyler Leigh (apparently reprising her role as the pretty ugly girl) pining after the schmuck who's pining after the Madonna-be. Don't these people know anyone else?

I was right: sometimes you can tell in the first ten minutes that something isn't working. I don't think I'll be following these characters to 1987.

Another debut this week was The War at Home, which is very bad. It's not the worst sitcom I've ever seen -- I even got a couple laughs out of it -- but I certainly hope it's the worst sitcom I'll see this year. Because there are a lot more to come, and I'm planning on watching at least one episode of them all. (I'm in training! For what, I don't know. An early grave, probably.)

The show stars Michael Rapaport, who's generally very good. Here, he's reduced to mugging and glaring his way through some truly unfunny lines. He's overprotective of his slutty teenage daughter and concerned with the lack of manliness of his teenage son, which is completely different from Married... With Children because... uh... they have a third kid! So I guess it's actually more like Grounded for Life. Except the characters occasionally address the camera, so it's kind of like Malcolm in the Middle. At least it's got this going in the originality department: it's not nearly as funny as any of those shows.

The first episode centers on dad fearing his son is gay, and freaking out over his daughter dating a black kid. Wait, what? They're going for some Archie Bunker kind of thing here, I guess, but it doesn't come off as poking fun at racists and homophobes, it just comes off as kind of racist and homophobic.

I did laugh once or twice (though I'm hard pressed to remember at what), but even with it sandwiched between The Simpsons and Family Guy, I can't see myself tuning into this show again. Hey, on the bright side, I've eliminated two shows from my schedule before the season has even really started!

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