Tuesday, September 6, 2011

In Which I Grip These Actors Tight & Raise Them From The Perdition Of A Terrible TV Show...

During the TCAs, I Tweeted about wanting to save Jaime Pressly after sitting through the FOX panel for I Hate My Teenage Daughter. Though it was initially said in jest, as I thought about it, I realized I really meant it. I think Pressly is an extremely funny and extremely talented television player, but I think her new show is too broad for television today, let alone someone of her caliber. I find comedy smarter when it's subtler-- when it's playing to a specific audience, based in something very real, even if niche, rather than attaching to broad concepts that usually end up feeling outdated and impersonal. She had that with My Name Is Earl, so I Hate My Teenage Daughter feels like a giant step backward.

But as I was thinking about it, I realized she is hardly the only one this is happening to this fall season. It's extremely unfortunate, but the list of talented people I want to save from shows that deserve a demise keeps growing as I am sent the official pilots cleared for review and even those that promised positive changes leave me feeling cold, wanting more. I thought I should check in and see where that list stands today. If for no other reason than to say at least I warned you!

Rebecca Mader. Sure, she did LOST. Then she took on No Ordinary Family, which I actually quite enjoyed. But her career seems to be in a constant downward spiral since. Guest appearances on Alphas and Friends with Benefits are bad, but they're one-offs, so alone we would brush them aside, assume she just needed a paycheck, and move on. But her next big series is Work It, a project so offensive I can only hope it never actually makes it to air. Pull up, Bex; you're in a nosedive!

Chris D'Elia
and Rhea Seehorn, Whitney - Both, individually, are extremely funny, witty, wry comedians. I imagine that in scenes together they would absolutely kill. But they are barely allowed on-screen as of yet, let alone opposite each other, because when they're there, it becomes just so apparent that they are layering their performances while everyone else around them is still stumbling to "act."

Connie Britton, American Horror Story - I have no faith in Ryan Murphy anymore. There, I said it. This show has such great potential, but for all Murphy's talk about the story really being about the characters' interpersonal relationships and the struggles of the family, his actions-- and the action of the plot thus far-- say the opposite. Instead the focus is on scare tactics, and since Britton's character isn't even aware that something is going on in the house thus far, that makes her much more superfluous than we like.

Amber Heard. The Playboy Club is not sexist because it puts its main characters in skimpy leotards and makes them prance (and dance) around, subserviently delivering cigarettes and drinks and flirtatious banter to even its under-five male characters. But it is sexist by portraying the bunnies (namely Heard) as women who defer to what the big, strong men who "save" her want her to do and who cower in closets when faced with potentially being confronted by the wife of said big, strong man. Heard can do a lot with a little, and unfortunately this show gives her little that isn't a giant step backwards.

The entire cast of Terra Nova. I am just deeply offended by the concept of this show and that we are basically being asked to not only relate to but also to consider the characters as visionaries for basically going back in time to f*ck up the Earth sooner. It's true that I can't fully understand the desperation one must be feeling to even leave all they know behind just for a shot at a better life, but I just can't get behind blindly believing these people actually deserve the second chance. There is not one weak link in this cast, and yet I don't like any of their characters simply because I don't buy into the main premise. This one has been way over-hyped, in my not-so-humble opinion. I'm rooting for the dinosaurs.

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