‘Whitney’ Is the New ‘Outsourced,’ and NBC Sucks

When I heard last night that NBC announced its new midseason schedule, for some reason, I was excited. After all, it’s a time to react to the crazy shifting of schedules, see what’s starting (like Smash) and find out what’s new after the new year.

So when I glanced down the list, I didn’t react that much. Ooh, Whitney‘s moving to Wednesday to couple with Are You There, Chelsea? Well, that makes sense, they both suck. Up All Night‘s moving to Thursday? Well, that makes sense anyway.

I didn’t actually look at the rest of Thursday night. Why would I? Why mess with a good thing?

In fact, it wasn’t until JC looked at the schedule and read the many reactions to it that we realized something was wrong. No, it wasn’t because Awake wasn’t included (though I am upset about that). Nope, it was because Community was absent.

No, no, it’s not cancelled, they say. They will air the remaining season…once a slot opens up. That’s certainly not helping anything. NBC has basically just signed an executioner’s notice for our beloved Community.

And for what? To save Whitney? To be honest, I’ve never seen Whitney. I never wanted to. There’s been no part of any advertisement or description of the show that has made me want to see it. Whitney herself is incredibly unfunny. The guy playing her boyfriend/fiance/husband/whatever seems to have a decent sense of humor, but when every scene includes an annoying Whitney, I really don’t want to watch. In fact, I consider changing the channel every time a promo comes on at all. It’s just not funny.

In fact, I can’t name one person who watches Whitney. Shout out if you do. But for some reason, Whitney has become NBC’s current case to prove themselves. It’s the one show they’re rallying themselves behind. In fact, it’s the Outsourced of this season.

Does anyone remember Outsourced? I’m sure you do. This one, I did watch — and I learned my lesson. Just as unfunny and frankly, rather insulting and stereotypical, this was a nonsensical “comedy” that for some reason NBC decided to use to prove themselves as the network that brings you quality entertainment. Instead of throwing it to the wolves as so many viewers hoped and prayed they’d do, they kept it going for way too long, single-handedly ruining their Thursday night lineup in the process. Whitney seems to be that today.

Now, I fully expect that Are You There, Chelsea? will be a complete bust and flunk Wednesday night. At that time, either Community will take its slot, or they’ll move Community back to Thursday and give Up All Night it’s Wednesday home again. But all those moves and that “plan B” is certainly not going to help a quality show like Community, which as an incredible fanbase. It’s one of the few smart comedies left on TV, let alone NBC.

So here’s my plea, NBC. Stop sucking. Give us back Community and stop making a case for your failing newcomers. Look at what the people want, not what they don’t. Get rid of the trainwreck that is Whitney and give us back Community. And while you’re at it, tack on a season or two. Because if you don’t, I guarantee you’ll be saying good-bye to a bunch of your viewers.

I refuse to say my last good-bye to Community just yet.

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Fun with Analogies: Curb Your Enthusiasm is to Aged English Cheddar as The Paul Reiser Show is to Cheez Whiz

If you don’t like the cheese analogy, you can use any other quality product to pale imitation comparison. Watch me, it’s easy:

Curb Your Enthusiasm is like Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA to The Paul Reiser Show’s Milwaukee’s Best Light.

Curb is Ferrari, and the Paul Reiser Show is a Ford Pinto.

Curb is the 1998 Yankees. The Paul Reiser Show? How about the 1962 Mets.

I could go on but I think you get the point. Everything about this show seemed like a pale imitation of Curb. Beleaguered former celebrity looking for a way to spend his time and getting into constant misunderstandings? Check. Weird funky music segueing between scenes? Check. Dialog that sounds more improvised than written? Check. Wife who kinda looks like Cheryl Hines? Check again. But in every case, the Paul Reiser version comes off as a weak copy: Larry David’s problems in Curb are funny because the character, despite how hard he tries, is a bit of an asshole; Paul Reiser just spends most of his time looking puzzled, which doesn’t give us very much to laugh at. The dialog in Curb feels very raw, natural, and improv’ed, while the Reiser version feels like a script that’s trying to mask itself as natural. The wife in Curb is blonde; she’s a brunette in Reiser’s version.

The show even knows it’s a direct copy of Curb, and they face it head on with a scene in which Larry David and Paul Reiser are arguing over a job they were both offered as the host of a new game show. In the scene, David just keeps reminding Reiser (and the audience) that he’s just a better version of a rich, neurotic former celebrity than Reiser is. I suppose I should give the show credit for addressing the issue head on, but it seemed wrong to me. So the creators know their show is a weak imitation of something that was done much better elsewhere? If they feel that way, why should I bother watching it? Why did they even bother making it in the first place? What was NBC thinking when they put this on the air?

Ratings were dismal, but better than anything Perfect Couples ever posted, so maybe that’s all they care about. Me? I’ll stick to the real thing, thanks.

Thursday Night Comedy War: Stand with Community

Last year, I watched Big Bang Theory on Mondays, and Community on Thursdays. Unfortunately, this year, CBS has made play for Thursday nights, and moved the highly rated Big Bang into the same timeslot shared by Community. This conflict has forced me to make a choice, which I am now turning into a call to action.

If you enjoy clever, smart, inventive, sitcoms please please please ditch Big Bang and watch Community instead. Big Bang Theory is a very ordinary, formulaic show. I do find it enjoyable, and it has been funny in the past, but lately it’s gone downhill. The plots have been boring and cookie-cutter, both Sheldon’s weirdness and Wolowitz’s creepy horndoggery have been pushed a little too far and are now just stupid instead of funny. Sheldon’s “buzzinga!” buzz-word makes me want to throw my remote at the TV. Finally, the show has a laugh track. It’s 2010! Laugh tracks are for idiots! Laugh tracks are holdovers from the days of black and white TV, when producers thought audiences were too dumb to notice a joke! Laugh tracks do not belong on TV anymore; ever!

Community, on the other hand, is full of subtle humor and inventiveness. The paintball episode, the Goodfellas episode, the police procedural episode, were all great and hilarious examples of TV creativity that you can’t find anywhere else. The writers of the show, knowing what they’re up against, are coming out of the gate with some great ideas for this year, particularly the stop-motion animated Christmas special. This show doesn’t need a laugh track, it’s too smart for that. This show, in fact, may have finally killed the laugh track for me; laugh tracks are now insulting.

So, if you can, pick the smarter, funnier, more inventive show (Community) over the tired, old, formulaic one (Big Bang Theory) when you’re deciding what to watch on Thursdays.

Sorry Big Bang. You had a good (albeit short) run, but like the lumbering dinosaurs, it’s time for something smarter and faster to come along an eat your lunch.

Readers, don’t let mediocrity win.

Down with Big Bang

Long Live Community!

Thursday Open Thread: Anticipated new series

So last week we discussed our returning favorites, so why not turn our eye to the brand-spankin’ new series that are starting up each and every day?

What new show are you highly anticipating–and which ones do you think will flop?

Personally, I’m jazzed about The Event, but then again, it’s NBC, so I’m a little hesitant. After all, NBC is the one that brought us Heroes (even though, they did have a good first season). Honestly, I just get nervous about anything NBC puts mad publicity and marketing behind, which appears to be the case for The Event. But I do like Jason Ritter.

What else? Hmmm. Is it sad that I’m not more excited about new series? I’m sure there are others. Better With You has potential, mainly because of the cast, but I’ve heard some mixed things about the series (laughtrack, anyone?). I guess the only other one I’ll keep my eye out for is No Ordinary Family. Again, I like the cast, but it sounds a little too much like Heroes. I have hope, though. Who knows? It could be more Incredibles than Heroes, and I liked that movie.

As for flops? Let’s give a mad floppy shoutout to Outsourced and may I top that with Undercovers? They both look awful. (and just mentioning Undercovers gets that stupid song they use in the promo in my head. Uggh.)

What about you? This might help; it’s a schedule of premieres, so you can see what’s coming up–and they link out to some descriptions.

image from screenrant.com

Thursday Open Thread: Sheldon or Abed?

CBS announced its new fall schedule yesterday, and it sent the TV world all a twitter. CBS moved one of its biggest comedies–The Big Bang Theory–to Thursday night. The show will now be against one of my favorite shows (and one that’s growing across the TV landscape as one of the best comedies currently on TV), Community.

So here’s my question:

Are you on Team Sheldon or Team Abed?

It seems like an unusual question to ask, but read this blurb from one of the articles analyzing the change:

(The move, by the way, puts “BBT” directly opposite NBC’s “Community,” in a battle for comedy supremacy among TV’s two most Asperger-like characters who have yet to be diagnosed as having Asperger’s. I’m sure Sheldon and “BBT” will win that fight handily, but I am and will remain an Abed man.)

And if you’re wondering, so am I! If I had to choose, I’d choose Abed and the Community team all the way for my entertainment pleasure. But what about you? Do you have a preference? Are you going to toss some wonderful characters aside? Would you even choose at all and just do some awesome channel-flipping in commercial breaks?

Then again, maybe we’re just talking characters. Maybe if these guys were your buddies and not TV characters, you answer might be different. Maybe some of you would choose one for one thing, the other for something else. After all, I think Abed would certainly be my Mobile Shoutout on Cash Cab if a movie question came along, but if it were science related? Well, get me Sheldon.

So what do you think? Who would you choose–and for what? Let me know in the comments.

image from CNN

Good news, genre fans!

image courtesy ABC

Call it coincidence if you like, but my theory is that the stars have aligned for sci-fi and fantasy to return to the airwaves.  After long hiatuses, we’re about to see the return of V, Merlin, and Doctor Who.

V, off the air since November, returns under the direction of a new showrunner.  Maureen Ryan has had great coverage the last few days, so let me just point you over to her.  I shared her reservations about the show’s first four episodes last fall (here are my posts if you want to relive the snark), but she actually has me excited for V‘s return tonight.  Cool!

Merlin‘s first season aired on NBC last summer, but since the peacock network seems incapable of recognizing anything good these days, they’ve given it up — season two begins this Friday on SyFy.  The show is hardly the Arthurian legend you grew up with, but I think it’s good fun and I’m definitely ready for more.

Doctor Who returns this Saturday if you’re in the UK (or, you know, use bit torrent).  In the US, the TARDIS will arrive two weeks later: April 17 on BBC America.  Expect new stars and new writers, but the same old lovably insane alien time traveler.  After the generally disappointing specials we got last year instead of a regular season, this has me very excited.

Honorable mention (shows for nerds, shows about nerds — it fits, right?):  Glee comes back April 13!  I don’t love that both Glee and V have moved to Tuesday nights, but there we are.  I’ve heard all sorts of exciting hints about what’s to come — an all Madonna episode, Idina Menzel guest starring, Neil Patrick Harris guest starring, Joss Whedon directing — so I’m hoping that this show has shed the Baby Drama and is ready to shoot for the stars.

And a last note, genre fans:  I don’t cover Castle because it would turn into this big list of “hey, that bit was funny, and this thing was really clever” (um, sort of the way my How I Met Your Mother posts do) but I do love a good mystery from time to time.  Last night’s solution to the cliffhanger was great… but did you catch the Firefly reference near the end?

Thursday Open Thread: How would you fix NBC?

I have to say that growing up, I’ve been a big fan of NBC. Must-See TV Thursday nights were fantastic, and I even remember tuning in to some great comedy on Tuesdays as well. Plus, it aired Sisters, and any show that revealed that George Clooney was a hottie before ER gets mad points in my book.

Even if he did get blown up.

But anyway, nowadays, NBC doesn’t really have the best reputation. With the Leno/Conan controversy, the failing shows, and the crappy Olympics coverage, there’s only one thing to ask you great readers:

How would you fix NBC?

I guess the bigger question is, would you fix it, and if so how. But I’ll let you decide what you really want to answer.

Personally, I don’t want to see NBC fail. If CBS can make itself one of the top networks after being so miserable in the early ’90s, NBC can fix itself, too. I mean, if the Peacock disappeared, it’d be the end of an era. But maybe that’s something we need? Do we even need NBC anymore?

Suggestions, vents, and laments are welcome. So have at it in the comments.

On a side note, I find it ironic that this image has Patricia Arquette from Medium on it. Talk about your NBC errors. TGICBS, my friend. Thank goodness, it’s CBS.

*image from NewYorkTimes.com