On further episodes

  • Watching the second episode of Thank God You’re Here (lesser than the first), I realize the proper descriptor for it. It’s not improv — it’s Mad Libs. The only part of what the guest actor says that the cast integrates into their work at all is the name. I guess this is suppse to be safe, to keep things from going far wrong…. but where’s the fun in that? After a few Mad Libs, you realize you can simply say “booger” for every noun, “fart” for every verb, and “fartilicious” for every adjective. Whoopie. Much more fun would be a show that took the risk of going nowhere. It’s not surprising that the veteran improv folks come off looking particularly bad — they’re used to trying to build something, and you’re not allowed to here. Get a cast of good improvers, throw in an actor without much improv experience, show it live (no editing!), and watch everyone try to follow whatever is thrown at them. That’d be good TV.
  • I’m a week behind in talking about Raines, which means that I didn’t talk about their comic book-oriented episode. The one where the management of the Golden Apple says they’d rather not have customers come into the store. The one where they put thousand-dollar comics in handy mauling/shoplifting range. The one where each panel of a comic is drawn on a separate full-sized art board. The one where a guy who doesn’t care about collecting and investing in comics is somehow an expert in the methods of comics forgery and the identification thereof. The one where Dark Horse Comics wants to publish an unfinished superhero work by an unknown creator. As you might suspect, I cringed throughout this entire episode. The series has not lived up to what they achieved in the first episode… much less what promise it suggested.
  • And the problems with Rainesleaves me reflecting on the ’06-’07 season as a whole. Had you told me that we’d have a season with new shows from Aaron Sorkin, Paul Haggis and Graham Yost, I’d’ve thought we were in for TV at its greatest. Instead, those have all proven disappointing.
  • Having watched the season closer of Friday Night Lights, there was one series that did not disappoint. I’m not as overwhelmed by it as some critics are, but it’s an honest and earnest effort, well-produced, if occasionally caught in the the standard tropes of the sports story milieu. But I also won’t be too disappointed if it isn’t brought back (a little surprised, but not too disappointed); while it certainly could still be used to tell more stories, I think it’s said everything it absolutely needed to say.
  • I’m still groovin’ on Ugly Betty, Lost, and they dang well better bring back How I Met Your Mother. 30 Rock still has A-story problems, but the B-story makes me forgive them. The Office‘s used of stunt directors seem to hae been worthwhile. Most of the other things I might watch on prime-time TV, however, are time fillers and background noise.
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Published in: on April 15, 2007 at 3:04 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. The one where they put thousand-dollar comics in handy mauling/shoplifting range.

    Considering that I remember Golden Apple as the store that had its back issues sealed in bags so that the only way you could open it would require tearing it apart (frustrating since I was used to being allowed to carefully open a back issue if I couldn’t recall if it was an issue I didn’t have or not… a problem with modern superhero comics with pinup covers) that one particularly sticks out for me.

    (Yeah, anytime I watch Free Enterprise I stop and complain about that practice to whoever’s watching it with me when we get to the writing your phone number on an expensive X-Men back issue moment.)

  2. I haven’t watched Free Enterprise again in a while… it came across to me like “this is what a Kevin Smith film would be like if Kevin didn’t have any insight into human nature.”

    But those are all still better than the episode where Caroline was busy redoing a strip which would appear in the next morning’s paper…


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