Thursday, June 21, 2012

ATVC 2012: Miscellaneous...

No spoilers, so... you know, whatever.

Yup, there's actually a lot more TV out there that I tuned into this year. A couple of sitcoms, some very, very bad shows that I spent far more time watching than was necessary, and a couple of shows that ended up languishing on my DVR for so long that clearly something was amiss with them. So I tossed together a couple of brief paragraphs, nothing that goes into great detail, but somebody out there may like 'em.

Of the two best sitcoms on television, Parks and Recreation continued being absurdly funny as well as entirely heartfelt and adorable. I've always seen P&R as a live-action version of classic Simpsons, with a fully-realized community that you really want to jump into, as well as a bunch of characters that feel overwhelmingly real, even if they're being completely ridiculous. Leslie's big election campaign was moving as all hell, and Amy Poehler continues to grant this character so much relatable honesty. I adore this show.

30 Rock, as funny as it remains, sort of fell off a little this year. It's definitely hit that point where age has set in, and the news that it's ending next season was actually welcome. There are obviously some wonderful moments in every episode, but the major story arcs seem a little too reminiscent of old ideas, like the Criss thing, while characters have reached the moment when all the writers can really do is rehash their basic character traits. It's always funny, but lacks that freshness and spark that it used to have. I continue to love the Queen of Jordan episodes, though, and D'Fwan seriously needs his own show.

Can I ask what the hell happened to Modern Family this year? I've always felt it didn't deserve the collective gushing it's always received, but this season everything became so sign-posted and forced that I actually grew to hate everybody on the show. Mitch and Cam are always fighting, Phil and Luke say dumb shit, Claire does something neurotic, there's a generational void between Jay and Gloria, etc, etc, rinse and repeat. Mainstream sitcoms like this have always relied on stereotypes and generic plotting, but Modern Family has completely forgotten how to be funny. It's just hoary and stale. And I know it's awful to be mean to a kid, but the new Lily is entirely obnoxious and (quiet voice) sort of gives me the creeps. I think I'm done with this show.

The biggest surprise of the season was ABC's Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. I had misgivings about the long-term potential of a pretty thin premise, but the show rapidly evolved the two central protagonists by making Dreama Walker's straight-laced June actually bond with Krysten Ritter's titular 'B', instead of just acting repulsed by her evil behavior. The show also has this enjoyably cartoony sensibility, where everything is so heightened and ridiculous that it really works. And can we make the Korean pastor lady a regular already?

I have inherent love for the multi-camera format, but 2 Broke Girls remains one of the laziest sitcoms I've ever seen, and that takes a lot of work. It's a show seemingly designed for puns and sex gags, as if every line needs a wacky black lady shrieking 'oh no she di-int!' right after the fact. And knowing how the show treats non-whites, I'm surprised they haven't signed up Jackée Harry already. Can I also add how completely terrible Kat Dennings is? Yes: boobs, etc., but God she has the comic timing of a corpse. And her character is a complete asshole, anyway. Did I mention I hated this show?

Pan Am had my favorite pilot of the fall, but quickly became pretty shallow. Subtlety was not the show's friend, while the '60s back-drop eventually grew incidental as the series became overrun by generic, soapy storylines. Only this was soapiness of the Grey's Anatomy kind, not Dynasty soapy or whatever. After a couple of weeks, I called it a day.

Touch sounded intriguing on paper, but it was instantly clear that Tim Kring had learned nothing from the maligned philosophical hooey that killed Heroes, while Kiefer Sutherland regressed to his one-note 'yelling a whole lot' performance style that he perfected after years of phoning it in on 24. Ick.

As much as I love Leslie Bibb and the natural charisma Kristin Chenoweth exudes, GCB was just way too broad for me. It pushed this exaggerated zaniness, and struggled to create any necessary levity at the same time. I hear that it did get better towards the end, but I had already checked out before that hit.

Done and done. Thanks for reading.


  1. Of these shows, I watched:

    Touch: Only saw the pilot. Don't really care about continuing.

    GCB: Wonderful first season that improved with every episode. I was really sorry to see it go.

    Don't Trust The B: Awesome. A pleasant surprise just like you. Looking forward to season two.

    Modern Family: I enjoyed the year but you're right, it was MUCH weaker than the first two seasons. The show really needs to evolve (a la Cougar Town). Speaking of, YOU MUST WATCH THAT. My fave comedy on TV right now.

    2 Broke Girls: I can't believe I saw the whole season. It was atrocious, horrible, and embarrassing. And yet I couldn't look away. I truly need to be thrown off a cliff. It's beyond pathetic.

    And finally, thanks for all these wonderful commentaries Max. They were a true delight as I love reading overall show reviews. I'm thinking of doing the same when I can find the time this summer (I still need to catch up with Mad Men as I only saw the first four episodes of season five and your review looks extremely positive (I skipped the spoilers).

  2. I love Apartment 23, too. I've only seen the first half of the season so far, but I'm really enjoying it. I only tuned in 'cause of Krysten Rytter, and I ended up loving the whole cast, pretty much.

    I'm already looking forward to ATVC 2013!

  3. Nad Yeah, I only hear great things about Cougar Town. Same with Community. God, everybody's obsessed with that. But, I don't know, I've never been a huge Courteney Cox fan, especially when she's in sitcom mode. I might try it some day.

    And thanks for the compliments. I was actually worried that you had dropped Mad Men, since I got a little obnoxious with my comments. Gotta reel it in. Gah.

    Panda I wasn't actually a fan of her's or anything, but she's great on the show. Both are incredible comedy actresses, really expressive faces.

    Thanks, guys.

  4. Courtney Cox isn't in annoying sitcom mood in Cougar Town. The cast is phenomenal and the comedy truly special. Please start it soon, you will LOVE it.

    By the way Panda I think you saw all of season 1. It's only 6 episodes after all.

  5. No, I didn't, Nadim, Just 4 episodes!