Thursday saw the launch of a new hour-long sitcom block on FX. Actually, it was a 66-minute-long block for some reason, with the first show running long and throwing off those of us who had hoped our hard disk recorders would capture everything. Luckily, I noticed the problem and arranged quickly to record the missing six minutes on a rerun.
Uncomfortable moments can be funny. Carried well, they can be a great source of humor. However, 36 minutes is not a moment.
Desperation can augment humor, but it is not in itself funny. Edginess can augment humor, but again, not funny. The new series Starving is desperate, edgy, uncomfortable, and not at all funny. Taking a look at four friends (three guys and a girl) in an eating disorders group, all of whom are starved for some form of affection, we end up with four people whom we do not want to spend time with. Sure, one could argue that having such a problem makes them “interesting”, but I really don’t think seeing the desperation of Sam digging food out of the trash or his cop pal exhibiting the edginess of on-screen purging makes spending time with the worthwhile.
The second show has the ungainly title of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which accurately reflects its location (and at the moment, I can’t think of another Philly-set sitcom since Angie, which ran in the 1979-1980 season). Again, it’s about four friends, three guys and one gal. This set of friends runs a bar together. If they vomit, they do it off-screen. They are not perfect people, and thus far I have not figured out what they all really want, but they chat in a friendly, humanly flawed way. The supposedly goofy predicaments that they got into (accidentally turning their too-quiet Irish pub into a hot gay bar) weren’t as goofy as the writers seem to have believed, but this is watchable. I will give it a few episodes to show just what it’s trying to be.
At least, I will if they start beginning it at the time they say they will, rather than six minutes later.
Stray thought I was having today: with the Fox-linked FX network airing the Iraq war series Over There, I realized that the only two shows that I know of to send characters into the Iraq war were both Fox network shows: Malcolm in the Middle and Arrested Development. Seemed like a conspiracy. Then I remembered that the lead character in Las Vegas also went oer. Ah well. So much for my freak theories.