My Network TV's secret plan

(Wrote this about a week ago, but it went unposted due to blog problems, now fixed.)

My Network TV, the grouping of stations formed by the leftovers from the WB/UPN merger, has been flailing about for a reason to exist. Last week, they secretly snuck into the sitcom business, launching Under One Roof. If you want to keep people from realizing that you’re entering the field, a good way to do it is to use a title that will seem familiar because it’s been used for multiple failed series in the past.

Then, for content, you can do something that just seems like some past sitcom – let’s say a streetwise African American (get a rapper to play that) goes to live with his upper-class, tight-ass, sweater-wearing and bow-tie wearing relatives with the sexy, stupid daughter. But if you’re thinking that this boils down the being The Fresh Flavor Flav of Bel-Air, then you’re expecting a show with more subtlety and class than this has. This show is played broader than that, less grounded in any sort of reality, and more grounded in, well, pretending every type of ugly stereotype that one can yank up is funny. In fact, if you think prison rape is funny, then you’re going to love this series, because the entire first episode (streamable over the web, which is how I watched it) is one long prison rape gag! Because nothing is funnier than violence and sexual degradation.

There’s a lot of racial stereotype humor here; the lead characters are either the ugliest vision of black folk (Flavor Flav is a bling-laden ex-con with a string of babies left in his wake from one-night encounters) or a vision of being divorced from your black roots. But the most insulting aspect of this show is that it presumes that this sort of crap is what an African-American audience wants. Lucky for the world, this is My Network TV, and they’ve been amazingly efficient at finding things that viewers do not want.

Published in: on April 27, 2008 at 11:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

I was right

I’ve been predicting for months that the first War On Terror-themed fiction film to make a real profit at the box office would be Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay. All these serious and well-intentioned (and in some cases even good) takes on it aren’t things that people are ready to see… but they’re ready to admit the ridiculousness of it all.

Opening weekend estimates have H&K2 bringing in $14.5 mill, which is more than its production budget, and is less than half a million shy of what Lions For Lambs, with its killer Redford/Streep/Cruise cast, brought in during its entire domestic run. It’s more than the lauded Stop-Loss did during its entire run. It’s a little shy of what the $70 million budgeted, $47.5 million grossing The Kingdom did during its first weekend, but 50% more than Charlie Wilson’s War‘s opening (so I guess NPH is a bigger box office draw than Tom Hanks and Julia Roberts combined.)

Still haven’t seen the film myself, but they’ll get my money likely before the week is through. (It looks to be a heavy movie period for me, as I saw the enjoyable Forgetting Sarah Marshall on Friday, and will definitely be seeing Iron Man, Indiana Jones, and Speed Racer on the big screen, with the likely additions of Baby Mama and Young @ Heart.

Published in: on April 27, 2008 at 11:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

It's the Pope's birthday

Pope Benedict XVI turns 81 today.

What didja get him?

Me, I got him a coffee mug that says “World’s Greatest Pope” on it.

Published in: on April 16, 2008 at 1:52 am  Leave a Comment  

There will be a next season, apparently

In one short update on next-season business news, I learn that Rob Thomas won’t be show-running the revival of Cupid, that Fred Savage will get another stab in front of the camera (I can think of three sitcoms that he’s been lead in, each of which was worth trying to do – I’m surprised I’ve not seen an attempt to sell Working reruns in the wake of the success of The Office), and that someone’s been smart enough to throw pausemeister Geena Davis in with the energetic Rosie Perez on a new series, which doesn’t mean that the writing will be any good but at least you’ve got the screen talent for a good show.

Published in: on April 7, 2008 at 11:18 am  Leave a Comment  


Friday Night Lights and 30 Rock live to see another season!

Published in: on April 2, 2008 at 9:51 pm  Comments (1)  
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