Friday, February 02, 2007

('Til) Death Watch

Television always fascinates me. Good television? No, bad television, that's what fascinates me.

There is a show that I am sure none of you are watching called 'Til Death on FOX. It has been moved around all season, been threatened with cancellation but is still hanging on by its fingernails.

With apologies to Sean Burns of the Philadelphia Inquirer (who used a similar line to describe the film Smokin' Aces), the show feels like the worst show of 1992. It's a show that makes you feel like you are suffering from deja vu, even if you have never watched the show before in your life.

The concept of the show is that an older married couple with a college age student are living beside these young newlyweds. And it is about the dichotomy of this old couple who are rather settled in their ways and this young couple just starting out in marriage.

The older couple is played by Brad Garrett (you know him as the brother from Everybody Loves Raymond) and Joely Fisher (you know her as the best friend from the show Ellen and from the endless repeats on Canadian TV of the show Zoe Busick: Wild Card). Garrett uses his natural voice as opposed to that monotone he employed throughout Raymond's 9 year run. Fisher just looks bizarre on the show as the actress clearly just had a baby and her pudgy face and lactation endowed breasts are a rather large distraction. And not in the good way.

The younger couple played by Eddie Kay Thomas (you know him from the film American Pie) and Kat Foster (never heard of her). This is where the real problem with the show lies. Thomas' character and Garrett's character both work in a high school. Thomas' character has the last name of Woodcock. That's funny, once (barely). It is just a sign of desperation when that name is a joke at least once during every episode.

And all of the characters are just so earnest. Just trying so hard to sell you on the show. But in the end, the show's plots are just the boring, mundane stories of the wackiness of marriage. Storylines that have been covered since The Honeymooners was on the air in the 50s.

Garrett, originally a stand-up comic who has opened for the likes of Frank Sinatra, should be embarrassed. Originally, he was lined up to have his character from Raymond get his own show. However, CBS took to long to make the decision and most of the original Raymond writers found other work. I bet Garrett is wishing he had those writers now. Then again, if he did, every episode of 'Til Death would be about a meddling mother as that was clearly all the Raymond writers could write about.

Top 5 stale concepts that should no longer be used in sitcoms
1. A lead male and female and whether they are going to get romantically involved or not (see Cheers, Moonlighting, Ed)
2. A husand and wife where the husband is too fat and/or stupid while the wife is much younger, smarter and more attractive (see King of Queens, According to Jim)
3. People with low paying jobs but still living in houses or apartments way beyond their means (see Friends)
4. People who have a wacky neighbour (see Who's The Boss, Three's Company)
5. Families with with oh-so-precocious kids who are way too smart for their own good (see Family Ties, My Wife and Kids)



Post a Comment

<< Home