TV in Print

Has anyone else been bowled over with disbelief by the commercials for Fox’s House, M.D.?

They verge on parody and they all feature variations on the same three or four elements: a strange disease that threatens to kill a patient in 48 hours or less; a crude wisecrack made by cranky genius, House; one of House’s co-workers saying something like, “This time you are going to jail, House!” and a deep voice intoning, “You won’t believe what House has to do to save this patient.” How many times can a viewer of the show be shocked by crazy Dr. House’s unorthodox methods? How many new shocking diseases can the writers come up with? And, most importantly, how many times can his co-workers threaten House with jail time when it’s obvious he is never going to spend one night behind bars?


One on One

There is some serious racism going on when it comes to how sitcoms find audiences. One on One is not re-writing the situation comedy manual, but it’s better than The War at Home or How I Met Your Mother. So how come those shows get decent ratings, while One on One is fighting for a spot on the new CW network? If people in the U.S. are “color blind,” why can’t we watch shows that feature African-Americans acting as silly and as shortsighted as their white counterparts? That’s how sitcom characters act. Get over it, people.


My Name Is Earl

Last week, Earl and his friends found a police badge and used it to get free stuff, intimidate others and get out of parking tickets. Kind of like the real police. I kid, I kid. But if it’s true that cops don’t have to pay for anything, are they really heroes or just enterprising moochers? Where are the Fox 12 investigators? Too busy trying to take down MySpace most likely.


The Office

Last week, Michael smoked some weed at an Alicia Keys concert and freaked out when Dwight decided to do random drug testing. Personally, I’d bring a really strong painkiller, like Vicodin or codeine, to an Alicia Keys show. That way, maybe things will get hazy and you’ll start to think you’re listening to actual soul music.


Saturday Night Live

This was the special “Best of TV Funhouse” edition, and it was funnier than the show has been in the last year. The “Osama and Saddam” cartoon show is the kind of thing the show was doing back before The Daily Show made SNL’s attempts at political humor look lame and obvious. For all the talk about head writer Tina Fey rejuvenating the show, she’s the one responsible for the show’s endless “celebrities are funny” sketches that won’t make sense six months from now. Not to mention the fact that she’s probably the reason Lindsay Lohan has hosted the show three times. And don’t get me started on Amy Poehler. She’s not even the poor man’s Gilda Radner, she’s the poor man’s Molly Shannon.


The Simpsons

Why is this show stealing plots from Amanda Bynes movies? Last week, Lisa dressed up like a boy to take math classes that didn’t involve new age music and questions about how subtraction “makes you feel.” Which is almost exactly the plot to She’s The Man starring the aforementioned Ms. Bynes. In an even stranger move, the show used the creepy music from A Clockwork Orange as the score for Lisa’s forays into the boy’s world. I know little boys aren’t angels, but until they start to rape housewives and kill homeless men, let’s keep a lid on the scary classical music.


The War At Home

A computer writes this show. A team of two loads various plots, one-liners and stock characters into the computer’s database, leave to get lunch, and return to a completely finished script. Then the two flip a coin to see who gets script credit. Last week, Stephen Engel won the toss. Mr. Engel is of course sworn to secrecy concerning said supercomputer and will swear until death that he wrote the show in question. Meanwhile, the computer weeps binary tears: 0, 1, 0, 1, 0, 1.


The Family Guy

I’m getting a little bored with this show. At what point is random humor just a stand-in for lack of actual talent? For every hilarious comedy flashback, like Peter singing with The Proclaimers, there’s a stupid segment in which Chris throws an egg at a singing, naked Bill Clinton. The South Park creators have accused this show of being one interchangeable joke after another, and sometimes it’s hard to disagree with them. Since fans of this show managed to bring it back from cancellation, can’t the writers act grateful and maybe bring in their “A” game once in a while?