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Archive for the ‘Comedy’ Category

Winter Preview: Rules of Engagement

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 18, 2007

This may sound like a repeat of my critic of ‘Til Death. However, I find it important to keep alive the discussion about media’s negative portrayal of marriage.

Rules of Engagement is a comical look at relationships primarily from the man’s perspective. To do this, they focus on a married man (Patrick Warburton), an engaged man (Oliver Hudson), and the single guy (David Spade).

The unfortunate thing is, that while this is advertised to be about relationships, the real story is that it is a put-down-marriage forum. When compared to ‘Til Death, this show is worse. At least in ‘Til Death it appears that Eddie and Joy are genuinely in love. However, in Rules of Engagement Jeff and Audrey (Megyn Price) seem to just barely get a long. And in the engaged couple, Adam appears to already be looking to get out of the commitment with Jennifer (Bianca Kajlich).

The only person who appears to be happy is the still single Russell, who it appears that Jeff and Adam aspire to be. However, their commitments are holding them down. The underlying message is that marriage is drudgery.

Looking at the cast, this will be a well done show. The only thing that would prevent it from staying on the air is if people don’t like it. I already don’t.

Media has too many negative messages about marriage. I don’t wish for television to portray marriage as all diamonds and roses, because it isn’t. However, I am tired of the many messages that say that marriage is nothing but animal waste and pits either, because it isn’t.

Media messages about marriage should be balanced. They should work to provide a varied taste of both the good and bad in marriage.

Another problem I have with this show is the overemphasis on sex. While sex is an important part of marriage, it should be respected more than it is on television. One of the problematic messages in this show is that married sex is terrible, and single sex is great. This is the wrong message for a society where sex leads to too much out of wedlock children and the issues of caring for children in two homes, and with the medical issues that are involved.

Before ending, I wish to clarify that I am not saying the ‘Til Death is a good show. I only use it as a comparison, and my preference for it over Rules of Engagement is only because there is slightly more positive messages about marriage.

Posted in 'Til Death, Comedy, Previews, Rules of Engagement, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Armed and Famous

Posted by Travis R Grant on January 10, 2007

When I first saw it I couldn’t believe it. Are they seriously going to take five celebrities and train them to be cops? Okay, I could believe that. I couldn’t believe that the celebrities actually passed the training course. I also couldn’t believe that they would actually broadcast such drivel.

Armed and Famous trains five celebrities to be cops. Actually, I am not sure that half of these participant even qualify as celebrities, unless you want to go back 20 years. After their training they are taken out on the streets and enforce the laws of Muncie Indiana.

This show is being billed as a comedy. So here I am picturing Police Academy meets Dancing with the Stars. And trust me it is much worse than that. Now I have to admit, I don’t understand either of those shows. I really never watch Policy Academy, and I just can’t seem to stomach Dancing with the Stars.

However, If you like Dancing with the Stars, I think you will not like Armed and Famous. However if you like Police Academy you might find this show humorous.

Having watched the previews available at CBS, I have to say, that I am lost for the humor. Of the six short clips available online, there were only two partially funny moments. La Toya Jackson handling a fire arm was perhaps the funniest, but that in itself is more dangerous than funny. The second most funny was Erik Estrada passing wind while wrestling with a trainer. And I have never found flatulence jokes humorous.

While from an ethical perspective, this show has it’s problems. I honestly think that this show will flop because it just won’t be entertaining. From the get go Jason Acuña is told that he isn’t allowed to be a “jackass” on the show. So, automatically, you take away his ability to be funny. So much for the comedy aspect, that is if you call Acuña’s act funny.

Also, did Jack Osbourne manage to stay sober enough to do this show? Or did the trainers just let it slide? Okay, I know that he has sobered up since the Osbourne’s were on the air, and maybe I am taking unfair punches. But I am trying to point out, that this isn’t your typical police trainees. I will give Osbourne some credit and say that at least he knows how to handle I fire arm. I wish that I could shoot like that.

I won’t be watching Armed and Famous. And I doubt many in America will be either. This is Reality TV gone way wrong. Mostly because it has no entertainment value, but also because it just seems to be a slap in the face of ethics.

Posted in Armed and Famous, Comedy, Previews, Reality TV, Television, TV, Unscripted Dramas, Winter Preview | 2 Comments »

Winter Preview: George Lopez

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 28, 2006

This may be a little different type of preview, because George Lopez has been on the air for five seasons now. And I am honestly sorry that I haven’t been watching until now.

Last Wednesday, ABC aired 3 almost-back-to-back episodes of past Christmas specials of George Lopez, and I decided that I was going to watch them all. I figured it would give me a good sampling (although Christmas flavored) of this show.

For the most part, this is the family comedy that you have heard me aching about in the past. While watching these three episodes, there were no sexual references accept in regards to between Lopez and his wife (Contance Marie), and some about their teenage daughter, Carmon (Masiela Lusha) and her boyfriend. The boyfriend references were only in regards to kissing, and it was a very humorous reflection of a father’s concern for his daughter.

To a limited extent George Lopez is the Home Improvement of our day. The focus here is on the whole family. It is not limited to just the parents, as is the case in According to Jim and Two and a Half Men, which only have limited interludes with the children.

My only complaint about this show is that the father is still portrayed as a bumbling idiot. He is always the character that needs fixing. This is too common of a theme in family comedies, but if it is the only politically correct way to portray decent families on TV, then I might have to settle.

Regardless of the inaccurate portrayal of fathers. This is a great family oriented, values based program, that for the most part will be something that I can watch with my children. Discussions of right and wrong will be appropriate and helpful. It is entertaining; Lopez does a great job and his family cast is well selected.

I will be watching George Lopez starting January 24. And I feel that I will enjoy this show and keep kicking myself for having missed it the past years.

Posted in Comedy, George Lopez, Previews, Television, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

Winter Preview: Knights of Prosperity

Posted by Travis R Grant on December 20, 2006

Are you tired of the daily grind? Does your cube farm make you feel like a prodded cattle who has no choice? Are you tired of schlepping toilets for a living? Have you just wanted to get out of the nine to five hustle and live the high life? Most of us have. Most of us would love to be liberated from our dead-end jobs.

However, have you ever wanted out so bad that you would be willing to commit grand larceny? No I didn’t think so. Well according to ABC’s newest comedy, the Knights of Prosperity, there are some who might.

Eugene Gurkin (Donal Logue) is a late night janitor who decides that it is his time our of the dead end life. He concocts a scheme to raid Mick Jaggar’s home and steal some of his possessions. However, misery loves company, so he recruits a gang to help him out.

Francis “Squatch” Squacieri (Lenny Venito) is Eugene’s coworker. He joins the crew in hopes to provide his family with a better life. Oh how touching, he loves his family enough to face 25 years in jail for grand larceny.

Esperanza Villalobos (Sofía Vergara) is a waitress in Queens who joins the gang so that she can get away from all bad relationships she has been in. However, she might find it easier to afford a better life and maybe pay for an education if she wasn’t so busy wearing designer clothes. Oh yeah, she’s supposed to be the sexy lady that gets us guys to watch.

Rockefeller Butts (Kevin Michael Richardson) is the heavy in the operation. And I don’t mean his weight. He is probably the only many who as ever handled a gun before the first episode. He really has no motivation for participating. I think they enlisted him because he can sing.

Also, there is perhaps the worst named character Louis Plunk (Josh Grisetti) who plays the role of the nerd. I thought nerds were the rich people in our era. Something must have happened over the Christmas break.

Finally, we come to the moral backbone of the people mob, Gourishankar “Gary” Subramaniam (Maz Jobrani). Gary is an ex-lawyer brought to cab driver who had to be coaxed into the group. I suspect that he will play somewhat of the level headed keep these guys in line role. Being that he is a lawyer though is morals don’t extend to the point that keeps him from grand larceny.

While I make fun of the overly clichéd nature of this show, I am being a cliche my self. It is predictable that I would be bothered by this show. However, I have to honestly say, I think this show will probably be a hit.

In the spirit of the Office and My Name of Earl, cliché is working for television. And the slap stick nature of this show could add to it. However, as with most comedies of today, I won’t be watching it. Sorry, I just can’t get past the Larceny aspect of this show.

Where have all the good comedies gone?

Posted in Comedy, Previews, Television, The Knights of Prosperity, TV, Winter Preview | Leave a Comment »

How I Met Your … Oh Bother

Posted by Travis R Grant on October 3, 2006

My only interest in ever watching How I Met Your Mother, is because it stars Doogie Howser. I am probably dating myself by indicating that I actually liked the show, but it was just right for a kid like me and a kid my age.

When I first heard of How I Met Your Mother, I knew that I wasn’t going to watch much of it. Even Neil Patrick Harris wouldn’t be a big enough draw. Mostly I wasn’t interested in this show because it was a Friends wannabe and I never was a fan of Friends.

Well, I tuned in today enough to find out why I don’t care for this show. And I will give you one guess.

It’s a three-letter word starting with s.

I couldn’t believe that they could actually put that many sexual comments, references, or innuendo in one 15-minute time period. I didn’t count them. But when the man and woman came out of the public bathroom together, and he had to zip up his cargo pant leg, I had enough.

I turned it off.

I thought about turning it back on just to write a better review of the show. But I think that I have seen enough.

Honestly, in the 15 minutes that I watched, I really didn’t see anything funny. This is supposed to be a sitcom, right?

I guess if you find “dirty” jokes to be funny, then you might have enjoyed this show. However, I am very much of the mind set that sexual humor is used only by thouse who can’t come up with something original.

I guess network television hasn’t had an original thought for a long time. When was that last time you turned on a family friendly sitcom? I honestly can’t remember. I think that George Lopez might fit the bill, but I haven’t watched the show enough to really say.

When it comes to acting, How I Met Your Mother may be done well enough. However, the writing needed a lot of work. I honestly found my self lost in the fray. Perhaps it was the distraction from wincing at every other line. But I just couldn’t get into the show.

I don’t regret never having watched this show before, and I am sure to never turn it on again. Even Doogie Howser wouldn’t try and medicate this show into life.

Posted in Comedy, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »

Fall Preview: ‘Til Death

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 23, 2006

I really struggle with comedies lately. It seems that the family comedy is almost completely extinct. When you turn on a proported family comedy it ends up being something that you wouldn’t watch with your children.

And I am afraid that Fox’s new comedy ‘Til Death, while not promoting itself as a family show, will ultimately prove to be a disappointment for me. The first clue is the name. With all the positive phrases to denote marriage, they had to pick a negative one.

While marriage is work and at times you aren’t sure if you can handle another minute with your spouse. There are wonderful times too. And while I wouldn’t want this show to sugar coat marriage, I just hope that it isn’t the bash on marriage show that it could digress to.

‘Til Death stars Brad Garrett as Eddie Stark who has been married to his wife Joy (Joely Fisher) for almost 24 years. And as with many marriages it has grown a little stale. The comedy is set when just next door a newly wed couple (Kat Foster and Eddie Kaye Thomas) moves in.

This juxtaposition of the new marriage and the old marriage is a great set up. The concept is fresh and unique. And the actors appear to be a great combination. I think this is a great next role for Brad Garrett. Ultimately, I predict that this will be a success.

However, it will end up being a disappointment in that too much humor will be made at the expense of marriage. This show could truly send the message that while marriage is hard, it can work and can be wonderful. However, I think it will send more of a message that marriage is just terrible and don’t bother; that the first few years of marriage are great, but after that it is just pure drudgery and not worth it.

I will probably watch a few episodes, and I will probably enjoy them. However, the negative messages will ultimately bring me to tuning out and finding a better way to spend my half hour.

Posted in 'Til Death, Comedy, Drama, Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Television, TV | Leave a Comment »

Fall Preview: Ugly Betty

Posted by Travis R Grant on August 16, 2006

It seems like a great plot line, and Ugly Betty has some slight potential. But despite its Thursday schedule, this one will be a flop.

Based on the popular Latino television Betty La Fea, Ugly Betty is about a “square peg” trying to fit herself into the fashion world. While Betty Suarez (America Ferrera) turns out to be quite successful at her job, she is mocked, belittled, and dumped on, by the elite of the high fashion industry. The whole industry seems to be against Betty, who happens to be the assistant to the director of a fashion magazine.

Betty’s boss, Daniel Meade (Eric Mabius), sees the true talent that Betty has, and realizes that she can succeed in the industry. Betty also develops a crush for Daniel, which will provide the every tedious denied love sub-plot so famous in television.

At first you might think that this is a show about the little guy taking on the big man. Perhaps that is the initial premise. However, based on the previews, this show will miss the mark. While at first some of the “nerd” humor will be funny, eventually, it will get tiring. There will also be so much emphasis on the elites and their denigrating world, that it will almost seem that Betty and Daniel are the sub-plot.

Sure Betty will always come out on top. Sure we will all see a little bit of ourselves in Betty. Sure many shows will have a “feel good” appeal to it. But after a while, this show will lose its image as a show about the small man rising, and it will become another attempt at media mockery of the average Jane.

The message that Betty is a strong woman will come across; she would have to be to put up with all the ridicule thrown at her. However, that is where this show will fail. No person is strong enough to withstand what she will have to. As people realize this disconnect and realize that it is just way too much punishment, and not enough rewards for anyone to keep up with the abuse, they will start turning off this show.

While this may have been popular on Latino TV, it will miss the mark in the U.S. It is unfortunate that ABC put as much stock in it as to actually place on Thursday night. I hope they have a good back up mid-season show.

Posted in Comedy, Drama, Fall Preview 2006, Previews, Television, TV, Ugly Betty | Leave a Comment »