Monday, October 16, 2006

Television

So, in my spare time, I watch a fair amount of television. OK, a lot of television.

I wanted to talk about one show I've been watching in particular, The Class. It started out in the slot right before How I Met Your Mother on CBS. CBS moved it shortly thereafter to after How I Met Your Mother, obviously to try and get the established audience from switching channels.

Now, a little aside. How I Met Your Mother is probably the best thing to happen to the sitcom since the first season of Scrubs. I don't really like sitcoms. They all seem cookie-cut. They all seem laugh-track-y. Scrubs, in its first season (and first season only), didn't have a laugh track, in a time in sitcomland where it was unheard of not to tell the audience when they should laugh. Yes, Scrubs did substitute the laugh track with whoosing sounds to emphasize a character's hand or head movements, but it worked. For the first year. Then it sort of wet crazy, and the Scrubs that's on television now is not the same show as the first season. But I don't really know where it changed, so I hesitate to put a label on seasons 2, 3, or however many they have now.

How I Met Your Mother is this great little show that dragged Alyson Hannigan back to television, and it's narrated by Bob Saget. Also making a post-Harold & Kumar appearance is Neil Patrick Harris, in what is probably the funniest character he's had a chance to play. It -- very uniquely -- tells the story of how Bob Saget's character (younger Bob saget is played by Josh Radnor, who's like a pretty, likeable version of Jimmy Fallon) met his wife. It's narrated in second-person, and the audience takes over for the spot of "Ted's" (Saget/Radnor) two children. It's in its second season, and is really growing into a fantastic show.

Back to The Class. I have some issues with The Class. I like the show, in fact (in a rare moment) I laughed out loud. Namely when Sean Maguire's (who plays Kyle) boyfriend is stuck "entertaining" Kyle's flambouyant husband, The flambouyant husband makes him say "Welcome, to Fantasy Island" over and over again. Oh yeah, he has a latino accent. Or Spanish. Or Ricardo Montalbanish.

Anyway. My biggest nick pick with the show is the writing, because the acting is phenominal. But the writing treats the audience like idiots. First, the show recaps every previous episode, which is fine for a new show, because hey, people who don't catch the first episode are always curious to find out what happened. But in tonight's episode...

Well, OK. Let me start from the beginning. The show stars Jason Ritter as Ethan (Yeah, John's son, and a pretty good actor. But he doesn't have his father's charisma), Lizzy Caplan (you might recognize her as "that lesbian chick from Mean Girls") as Kat Warbler -- a name which can only be some weird allusion to a bird like quality she possesses), Jesse Ferguson as a very funny, very neurotic Richie, who we learn was trying to commit suicide when Ethan calls him up to invite him to a reunionish party he's throwing for his girlfriend. You see, everyone in the show went to high school together, and they all get back in touch with one another because of Ethan and the party that turns out to be a complete bust because his girlfriend goes "oh that's so sweet, we need to see other people).

SO. Richie falls for Kat's twin sister Lina (played by Heather Goldenhersh, who is a capable actress, but I can't stand her voice, it sounds like a bad impression of a character), and then he runs over her, and Kat yells at him and he feels bad and goes home and swallows pills. And then she -- Lina -- wants to talk to him. Anyway, Richie, we find out, isn't as sympathetic as we think, he's married and he hates his wife. Who hates him, rather vehemently. Yet I know in about five episodes she's going to want to hang on to him when something comes out about it, or when she realizes she's still in love with him, or whatever. Drama, it's what makes the (Neilsen) world go 'round.

The whole point of this blog was to address this interaction. It turns out that Richie's wife works as a janitor in the office building in which Lina works. Lina, now bound to a wheelchair for six months, has spilled water while trying to put a new bottle on the water cooler. Lina remarks to Richie's wife (while on the phone with Richie... ooooo..) "I spilled something over there, you might need a mop" or something like that, to which the wife responds "It's OK, I'm not in any hurry to get home," in a very very mean way. Like the audience is too stupid to realize the janitor and the mean wife are the same. It makes me angry. It makes me angry that the wife, obviously depressed that her life sucks, wouldn't be moping around and just say "OK." Instead we are conditioned to hate the wife more and more. She's a bitch. She isn't worthy of Richie. She's mean. I hate her. You hate her. We all hate her. Hate her. Come on. That just isn't realistic.

But it's really an OK show, and I suggest it. Actually, I suggest clearing your timetable Monday nights and watching How I Met Your Mother, The Class, Heroes, and Studio 60 in the Sunset Strip. But that's just me. And Caitlin.

Now excuse me, Aaron Sorkin is calling my name...

1 comment:

caitlin said...

I really have to disagree with your chastising of the writers. Yes, it's not perfect, and yes, I rarely laugh out long, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed for the show just because I'm pretty happy with the effort and chemistry between the cast. I don't believe they're belittling the audience by pointing out she wasn't in any hurry to get home. I was still undecided about her (although her stint on Roseanne didn't exactly warm her to my approval). Richie seemed to be conveying most of the negativity, and she only appeared to be giving it back to him in retaliation. Her comment only seemed to put in perspective how lonely and sad their lives are, with him working days and her nights, both at crappy jobs. No wonder they're miserable, but it's probably not with entirely because of each other. So yeah. Plus, I though she was going to yell at Lina for making a mess. But whatever.

Join me in the peanut gallery next time.