In Canada: Fridays, 9/9:30NT, CBC
The people have spoken! Or at least newcomer Fred has, in response to my review of the first episode of CBC's new comedy Four In The Morning:
Check out the 2nd Ep, I'm not promising it's any better, but it's trying to do a "Man Seeking Woman" type gimmick! Which seems a strange change in format!
I hadn't actually planned to do a normal third-episode verdict on Four In the Morning, since the first episode had been so incredibly annoying - four over-educated young people up at four in the morning, usually at a diner, talking about whatever inane things young people talk about at that time if they're possessed of a preternatural belief in the importance of whatever slight thought crosses their minds.
But Fred suggested it got better, so I thought for the sake of due dilligency I should give it a go. That and the fact I had a lot of ironing to do last night.
And you know what? Fred was right. The second episode was actually very good. While the first episode only paid lip service to the usage of 'magical realism' in the show's mission statement, episode two deployed it front and centre with the introduction of 'day kids' - people who live a whole lifetime in a day, aging a year or so a minute. These are a known minority group in the Four In The Morning universe.
And despite the clunkiness of the metaphor, as we watch the children age, grow old and eventually die, wasting their lives away on taxi journeys to achieve their dreams, it was pretty well done and poetic even - indeed, when one of the now-old kids gets 'a lump' in her breast, and we know she's set to die in a matter of hours, it suddenly becomes a surprisingly touching and subtle show. I was almost moved to tears in fact. Despite being mid-iron.
However, it all came crashing back down to earth again in episode three, when one of the ensemble's parents wants him to confirm that he's adopted and to sign a form saying he doesn't really exist. It's a nice idea, but it turns out that what worked in episode two was the almost complete side-lining of the regular cast in favour of the guest cast. In episode three, when their annoying antics and personalities are the focus of the piece again, I wanted to hurl my iron through my monitor at the coke-snorting, over-acting, over-enunciating twats.
Four In the Morning could be a great and clever show. Unfortunately, to be that great and clever show, it needs to lose its entire cast and characters or just sideline them in every episode, and I don't see that happening, no matter how much magical realism gets thrown at it.
Barrometer rating: 4
TMINE's prediction: Cancelled by the end of the season