NBC is officially on red alert: the execs wants more comedy, but not the quirky, niche audience it currently has with the likes of Parks and Recreation and Community. In an interesting move, both Go On and Animal Practice will be showcased during the Olympics, hopefully to drum up some viewers for when the season officially starts this September. If you saw any of the sizzle reels during the network upfronts a few months ago, you know that we are about to be hit with an inordinate amount of network drudge (hey, Guys with Kids and The Neighbors, I am looking at you). Tonight, we got a glimpse at the new Matthew Perry vehicle, Go On, and overall I was more impressed than I expected to be. My bottom line: the show has a lot of built-in promise; it can either realize that promise or fall on its face. I think I might stick it out for a while and see what we get.
As has been pointed out in a few outlets, the pilot for Go On is shockingly similar to Community’s pilot. We have a cynical wiseguy who wants to get back to what he does best in a hurry (for Joel McHale it is lawyering, for Matthew Perry it is his sports radio show) and these guys are presented with obstacles in the form of a hodge-podge group of people. By episode’s end, both guys realize that this group of people could be beneficial to them and they elect to become a part of it.
What I liked: definitely the diversity. Like Community, the group seems more true to life with its inclusion of females, different ethnic groups, and sexual preferences. I think the biggest hurdle we have overcome in the past few seasons of television is presenting these diverse groups as common place (which they are, but television lived in its own bubble for too long) and not as a carefully drawn out storyline. One character is in grief counseling because her partner died suddenly and she is so depressed she doesn’t get off the couch, much to her kids’ chagrin. Her partner was a female, they had kids together, she is grieving = accepted and treated like any other character’s revelation. Brilliant. However, just like Community, these characters seem to live in some heightened form of reality where some of the most outrageous and diverse ways a person can grieve have all been carefully selected for one group, thus is still the nature of television.
I also liked the treatment of grief in general. It is a tightrope walk to deal with such sensitive issues, especially when your audience must have experienced something similar in their lives. A comedy about grief is possible, but one careless joke could alienate a chunk of people. Luckily, I feel like the show can find a balance between the comedy and the sadness, and make poignant comments on their characters in the process (if it fulfills that promise!).
What I liked less: the sports. When it comes to sports, I usually hear white noise. Especially when it comes to football players (for example) that I am probably supposed to know by name as well as their whole backstory. I get it: that is Ryan’s occupation but I hope it doesn’t invade the show toooo much. In this episode, his interviewee helped him realize he needs the counseling, but the player got to utter a joke about fruit, that’s about it.
To conclude, I plan on watching this show for a while as the new fall schedules get underway. It is a 24 minute show so giving it a few episodes to breathe is no problem. I liked many of the quips, they landed even if they weren’t laugh out loud hilarious. It is sink or swim time for NBC; I am looking forward to seeing how all of these shows shake out come mid-season.
Next up is Animal Practice. I ADORE Justin Kirk. But the premise of this show frightens me. Til next time…I will try to have faith in Justin Kirk’s career choices.
I stopped hoping/predicting Emmy nominations a long time ago because going down that road inevitably leads to disappointment. But foregoing your hopes and dreams allows for another thing: pleasant surprise. Yes, most of the nominations were easily predicable but more so than usual, this year is shaping up to showcase some very deserving ensembles and individuals. One thing I won’t discuss: the snubs. I fear making that list will result in insanity and depression. Forewarning: since my thoughts range from actual having an observation to just “yay!” this is a mishmash of ideas more so than an actual post. For a better breakdown of exactly how this year is surprisingly positive, check out Tim Goodman’s analysis at The Hollywood Reporter.
Downton Abbey: Having returned for a second season to PBS, it was necessary for DA to move from the miniseries category to the drama series category. It took America a year to catch Downton fever, and I am just a little bummed that it happened on a less than stellar season. Nevertheless, I am happy for it to be included. The show even garnered far more acting noms than expected: Hugh Bonneville, Michelle Dockery, Maggie Smith, Joanne Froggatt, Brendan Coyle, and Jim Carter were all nominated. The Brits are already laughing at our outdated obsession.
Mad Men: What do I love about the Mad Men noms this year? Well, Jared Harris for one (who replaced John Slattery in this category). I was a huge fan of Lane this season and while I could sit here and work myself into a fit over how much I think Weiner blundered his storyline, Jared Harris was awesome throughout. He devastated me for well over a week. I was happily surprised by the nomination for Ben Feldman as Michael Ginsberg in the Guest Actor category. His scene where he describes himself as a martian to Peggy is one of the standout moments of the season. And semi-related: Jon Hamm was nominated for Don Draper but he was also nominated for Guest Actor in 30 Rock. I know he doesn’t consider himself a comedian but he never ceases to be hilarious in comedies and on SNL. He may not be able to win for Mad Men, but he was definitely a standout on the 30 Rock live episode.
American Horror Story: Due to what can be deemed downright mischievous, FX submitted AHS as a miniseries, arguing that each season is a self-contained anthology (never mind the fact this was decided after it aired). Due to a sparse field of competition, this has allowed AHS to CLEAN UP. I am very excited to see Denis O’Hare recognized in the Supporting Actor category because he’s awesome.
Sherlock: And speaking of strategies, PBS entered “A Scandal in Belgravia” into contention as an TV movie. Huh? It is a single episode in a continuous series that involves the same principal characters but okay. I can’t really complain too much because I may in fact be rooting for Benedict Cumberbatch in the Lead Actor category far more than anyone else at the ceremony. Martin Freeman also got some love in the Supporting Actor category so I can’t argue with the results of this subterfuge.
The Year of the Creator/Actor?
Girls: Not only was it nominated for Outstanding Comedy Series, but Lena Dunham got nominations for writing, directing, producing and Lead Actress in a Comedy Series.
Louie: Louis CK may have missed out on getting his actual show nominated but he successfully got nods for writing, directing and as Lead Actor in a Comedy Series. Even more impressive? He now holds the record for most nominations for an individual in a single year (7).
Max Greenfield: I know that Zooey Deschanel also got the nomination, but I have to give it up to Max Greenfield for making New Girl one of the funniest new shows on television this year. The evolution of Schmidt was a great thing to watch throughout the season and I am very glad that it was noticed.
Writing in a Comedy Series: Talk about a category that got it completely right. Girls, Parks and Recreation, Louie, and Community (The “Remedial Chaos Theory” episode!!!) all represented. I can’t wait to see what episode picks up the award but they are all so deserving.
The Hour: I just recently devoured the first season of The Hour and adored it so I am sad to see that the series was ignored (or “miniseries” I should say…er) as well as Dominic West and Ben Whishaw. However, Abi Morgan did get a nomination for Outstanding Writing.
Modern Family: I…don’t get it anymore. I watch it and it often makes me laugh but not everyone on the show needs to be nominated particularly since it wasn’t a very strong season. I would nominate Ty Burrell, that’s all folks. Instead of some of the other adults I would also nominate the kid that plays Luke, Nolan Gould, because he makes me laugh more than most of the cast combined.
This is the second Thursday in a row I have checked my schedule only to be reminded that 30 Rock is on at 8:00, not Community. It is a little jarring when you expect 30 Rock in the 9 o’clock hour. It is even more jarring when Community used to start Thursday nights off right. By that I mean Thursdays are a little inflated for me: I think I have had as many as 8 shows to choose from in the past–all between 8 and 10. Most shows are concentrated at 8 but Community was always my choice for live viewing. Because I still want to watch Parks and Recreation at 8:30, I begrudgingly watch 30 Rock at 8.
I decided to spend a bit of time today making an A to Z guide about things I love and miss about Community:
Chicken finger mafia
Eastern European acquaintances
Jeff’s group-unifying speeches
Love of Cougar Town/Cougarton Abbey
Obsessions of Abed (which are usually my obsessions)
Six seasons and a movie
Troy and Abed anything (In the Morning etc)
Undressing (a lot)
Werewolves of London (Color of Money reference as Jeff plays pool)
Yvette Nicole Brown and the many sides of Shirley
I have had the entire weekend to process this and I gotta say, ABC’s decision about Cougar Town is still a slap in the face to fans. If critics are panning Work It! before it even airs, and it takes precedence over a show that counts a decent amount of fans, including critics, I am becoming increasingly disillusioned with network television. I can even understand pushing it, more so than Community because at least Community has already aired a decent amount of episodes so far this season. But to cut the episode order to 15 when, with 10 episodes already filmed, the writers clearly had a plan for an order of 22 episodes, is the epitome of cruel not only to fans but also to the writers, crew, and my dear Bill Lawrence. Woe is 2012 for decent comedy on network television.
Abed’s obsession with Inspector Spacetime has its origins in Cougar Town being moved to mid-season. Britta briefly gets him hooked on Cougarton Abbey before finally introducing him to the Inspector.
Then Trobed showed up in the Halloween episode dressed as the Inspector and Constable Reggie. Because they admit they weren’t actually in costume, we can assume they had just come from doing this in their apartment:
The Inspector’s signature bowler hat is sweeping the fashion world as well.
Abed and Troy have now decked out their apartment with Inspector posters.
A plethora of Inspector Spacetime websites and Doctor parallels now exist. I particularly like posts on tumblr.