Archive | US TV 2011

Reviews of new US TV programmes from 2011

April 26, 2011

Fourth-episode verdict: Happy Endings

Posted on April 26, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Happy EndingsA Carusometer rating of 2

In the US: Wednesdays, 10/9c, ABC

Since ABC is chucking these out at two a week, it's time for a fourth-episode verdict on Happy Endings, the new rom-com in which Elisha Cuthbert dumps her boyfriend at the altar and all their friends have to pick sides. At least, that's what the plot is in theory, but this is basically Friends for the 21st century.

Now, after a very promising beginning, the second episode was slightly less funny but still very promising: single girl about town Penny is dissatisfied with her non-stereotypical, slightly chubby, fashionless gay best friend, Max, so tries to get a Sex and the City-style stereotype upgrade instead.

However, episode three became a very odd affair, with a slightly ridiculous plot about a man living in the ceiling (don't ask). Episode four was a return to form, with Max having to decide whether to come out to his parents, and featured a particularly funny end sketch, which I won't spoil for you if you didn't watch it.

So far, as you might have guessed, the gay character has proved the standout, with Elisha Cuthbert and the former fiancé getting reassuringly little to do. But Eliza Coupe's OCD, Monica-equivalent, Jane, and her husband Brad (Damon Wayans Jr) have also proved to be worth the entry price. The acting's still a bit shocking, but the scripts and characters are sound.

Given the rate ABC at which is burning these off, I don't suspect the show is long for this world, but I'd love it to succeed since it is actually very funny. Fingers crossed, word of mouth will spread and people will start watching before it's too late.

Carusometer rating: 2
Rob's prediction: Will probably be cancelled by the end of the season, but it deserves to do better

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April 26, 2011

Third-episode verdict: Breaking In

Posted on April 26, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Carusometer for Breaking InA Carusometer rating of 4

In the US: Wednesdays, 9.30/8.30c, Fox

Well, it's still limping along, which is more than can be said for the just-cancelled The Paul Reiser Show, so let's give this baby a third-episode verdict. As you may recall from the first episode review, this is a crime caper show crossed with The Office, in which Bret Harrison has to help Christian Slater run his security firm by breaking into things, all while avoiding office pranks and trying to woo his co-worker, Odette Annable née Yustman. 

Since the first episode, things have changed a little. Michael Rosenbaum (Lex Luthor from Smallville) has become a member of the team, the show has basically become Bret Harrison's previous, much better show The Loop in everything but name and workplace, and we've had a nifty guest appearance by Alyssa Milano as Christian Slater's ex-wife. But this is a comedy in name only and the heist scenes are pretty poor. 

Slater is great, as is Rosenbaum, but they are the only two things going for this show. Avoid.

Carusometer rating: 4
Rob's prediction: Cancelled before the end of the season

April 20, 2011

Review: The Paul Reiser Show 1x1-1x2

Posted on April 20, 2011 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Paul Reiser Show

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, NBC

Okay, I have to ask: is there some massive build-up of a slight irritation in all the middle-aged, middle class white guys around the world? I'm not talking about some Susan Faludi style-Backlash (that's a different question). I'm talking about mild irritation which some mildly irritating aspects of their not exactly universal lifestyles. Because around the world, we're getting some very meta shows in which grumpy, middle class, middle-aged white guys, playing thinly veiled versions of themselves, meander around while their wives look on as patiently as they can, having to deal with things that clearly irk them. A little bit anyway.

First we had Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm, in which Larry goes around as himself, being narked by having to tip waiters, that kind of thing, while his wife looks on as patiently as she can. Obviously a funny show with a funny guy and funny writers. Not quite as universal as Seinfeld's comedy of modern manners, but still worth watching.

Then we got Lead Balloon in the UK, in which Jack Dee became very irritated and long suffering in response to a terrible life in which he has a big house, an East European housekeeper and a slightly sarcastic coffee bar owner to deal with, while his wife looks on as patiently as she can.

Then Canada got in on the act with Good Dog, in which Ken Finkleman somehow has to cope with the problems of having a reality TV show made about him and his much younger, model girlfriend, who's being as patient as she can with him.

By this point, it was clear everyone was doing Curb Your Enthusiasm, so the first episode of Good Dog makes frequent references to Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm, going to see Larry David to get his approval to make an obvious rip-off of Curb Your Enthusiasm and more highly meta fun.

But now we've gone completely meta full circle. We're back in the US. We have Paul Reiser, friend of Larry David, former star of Mad About You, creating and starring in a show called The Paul Reiser Show, which is all about the mild problems faced by a rich guy called Paul Reiser who hasn't done much since he appeared in Mad About You. It's directed by one of the directors of Curb Your Enthusiasm. And in it, Larry David turns up as Larry David, doing his Curb Your Enthusiasm version of himself, to talk about the game show that Paul Reiser is going to host that's a lot like his. All while Reiser's wife looks on as patiently as she can.

My brain hurts. Shame my funny bone doesn't.

Here's a couple of trailers. You will not laugh:

Continue reading "Review: The Paul Reiser Show 1x1-1x2"

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