This year, we have something of a "battle of the sexes" going on between NBC and ABC. ABC has no fewer than three sitcoms in which men are officially dicks. More on those offences against humour when they air. NBC, which currently has a mandate of trying to attract as many female viewers as possible, has taken a slightly different route and has gone for "men are not all dicks".
Yesterday, we dealt with NBC's Up All Night, which sees happy couple Christina Applegate and Will Arnett dealing with their new baby, Arnett opting to be a house-husband and not being a dick.
Today, we have Whitney, which sees single-girl-but-in-a-relationship-for-three-years Whitney Cummings (Chelsea Lately and her boyfriend, Alex, navigating the perils of modern relationships. Together. In a non-dickish, quite supportive way in Alex's case.
While it's not brilliantly funny and as I remarked during my review of Up All Night, observational comedy is one thing but it's only funny if someone's failed to point out the observation 10 or 20 times already, it does at least raise a few laughs and has the occasionally original thing to say. Here's a trailer.
A common question asked is "Do two wrongs make a right?" Here's my question: "Do two rights make a wrong?"
Because here we have the very right Will Arnett (30 Rock, Arrested Development, Running Wilde) and the very right Christina Applegate (Married With Children, Samantha Who?) in a sitcom about having a baby.
Yes, that's right. That's what it's about. That's not just a fact about Applegate's and Arnett's characters. This is the intended main source of all the show's humour.
Now, I don't know about you, but I don't have children. Nevertheless, I can confidently say, through simple osmosis, I know just as much as these two characters about raising kids, if not more, and apparently have just as much insight as the writers.
Here's a trailer that contains the funny bits. You'll notice that since the pilot, Christina Applegate's character has switched from PR person to talk show host assistant.
Funny, isn't it, how networks mould new shows to make them more like their other shows? Consider Free Agents, a Channel 4 comedy (that you can still watch on 4oD) starring Stephen Mangan and Sharon Horgan as two emotionally-damaged PR professionals who work together but hook up. Quite a dark comedy, it focused on the two's growing, mostly sex-based relationship, with only the occasional interjection by their sex-mad boss, Anthony Stewart Head.
Now NBC has adapted it. Gone are Mangan and Horgan, in are Hank Azaria (The Simpsons) and Kathryn Hahn (best known as a theater actress in the US). Fair enough. Anthony Stewart Head's come along for the ride, which is nice. But somehow,a show that would have been perfect for a dark network like FX has become a lot lighter and a lot more like any other NBC ensemble comedy along the way.
And it's not actually that funny now. Here's a trailer.
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A UK media blog focusing on the best scripted TV from around the world, with daily news, views, exclusive reviews and good conversation. There's a bit of a bias towards the latest and greatest US TV, but we also cover Scandinavian, Canadian, European and Antipodean TV, as well as UK TV ranging from new Doctor Who to old Z Cars, and BBC4 to S4C.
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Praise for the blog Cision: fourth most important UK TV blog Blogging Edge: Blogger running Britain 2013
"For most of us watching the telly of an evening is a way to wind down and relax, but for Rob Buckley it’s his blogging bread and butter. With reviews of cult classics and up and coming US and Brit television shows, The Medium is Not Enough is fast becoming essential reading for TV buffs, with over 50,000 hits a month."
"The Medium Is Not Enough is a light-hearted look at TV, often from the US, but also from the UK. With varied, well-written content, the blog features healthy engagement and features well in search engines."
"Billing itself as 'officially the fourth most popular UK TV blog', there are several whimsical regulars here that could help it climb as high as number three…"
I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.