New TV Season

For several years, the TV pickin’s have been slender around here, since I’m not a fan of legal shows, police or procedurals, or medical, supernatural, vampire-specific or futuristic shows, nor most reality shows.  What’s been missing are the comedy blocks from years past, the real escape stuff.  Plus every year I hope for something completely fresh and unexpected.  I’m still not over missing “Frasier.”  This week Kelsey Grammer’s new show, “Hank,” debuts and I hope it sticks, because the last one he tried didn’t – and the man’s a singular talent.  

With longer nights around the corner and the rainy season approaching, it’s nice to see a bunch of promising new shows in the mix.  I’ve already programmed  several of them for series taping.  There’s Drop Dead Diva, the new Community, Modern Family and Glee.  Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother are back, and both Mad Men and Entourage recently returned.  Add Dancing With The Stars and my DVR’s getting more use these days than it has in ages.   

Ó Anita Garner

Two And A Half Men, Goodbye

I’ve watched Two And A Half Men since it began, not because I was especially drawn to the premise but because there weren’t many half hour sitcoms left to choose from, and that whole CBS Monday night block is a breath of fresh air.  The show must have tons of viewers, since Charlie  Sheen is said to be the highest paid actor on television. 

It always did require considerable suspension of disbelief to accept the character, “Charlie,” as a stud.  And boy do we get to see and hear lots of examples of his sexual conquests.  I keep thinking maybe this show is meant for a male audience because I don’t know any women who’re drawn to that type.  He dresses like a little boy.  Wears  shorts all the time, and those ’50’s-era bowling shirts – didn’t a costume person already put them on Kramer on Seinfeld?  I believe that helped establish Kramer’s character as a kook, but I’m not sure how the costuming works with Charlie as a sex symbol.

After years of watching (I automatically dvr CBS on  Monday nights) I realize I’m hardly paying attention and am fast-forwarding through the meanest parts. Then I figured out it’s because, to me, it’s all mean.  I gave it one more week.  Last week I watched closely, waiting for the funny.  I never found it.

It’s not the acting.  Charlie Sheen is a talented man.  It’s the role and it’s the show.  Sure, there are some good parts -good acting also from Jon Cryer as Charlie’s brother, Alan,  and Holland Taylor as the mom and Conchata Ferrell as housekeeper, Berta, but even those well-drawn characters aren’t enough to make the premise enjoyable for me.  

I’m weary of everyone picking on Alan.  I understand how tragedy can become comedy, how in the right hands any sad story can have its smiles, but I can’t find the smiles here.  Alan gets a divorce, loses his house, has to move in with his brother, Charlie, who week after week reminds him that he’s always been a loser.  And then Charlie lets him know that he resents the money this whole brother-helping-brother thing is costing. 

Everyone makes fun of Alan’s son, Jake  (Angus T. Jones) who’s portrayed as a stupid/gross teenager.  Does he need to be only that, all the time? 

The show is unremittingly mean and dark and instead of being funny, it’s cringe-worthy.  Maybe it’s the times.  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m not in the mood these days.  So today I entered “Do Not Record This Series.” I’ve still got Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother. 

Ó Anita Garner 2009