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Review: Jennifer Falls 1x1 (TV Land)

Posted on June 6, 2014 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share


Jennifer Falls

In the US: Wednesdays, 10.30/9.30c, TV Land

TV seems to have a thing against women executives at the moment. To be slightly more accurate, it has a thing against women executives who in some sense ‘desert their friends’ (i.e. spend less time with them) in order to get ahead.

We recently had USA’s Playing House, in which high-flying executive Lennon Parham discovers that despite working hard for a decade, leaving behind in her home town her bestest pal Jessica St Clair to have a normal life, her career is always on a knife-edge, her male bosses don’t really respect her and actually, returning home to spend more time with her family and her friend and getting a less demanding job is more emotionally satisfying, you know? Perhaps that’s even all she really wants.

And now, over on TV Land, we have that network’s first single-camera comedy, in which high-flying executive Jaime Pressly discovers that despite working hard for a decade, leaving behind in her home town her bestest pal Missi Pyle to have a normal life, her career is always on a knife-edge, her male bosses don’t really respect her and actually, returning home to spend more time with her family and her friend and getting a less demanding job is more satisfying, you know? Perhaps that’s even all she really wants.

Cue Cheryl Sandberg to explain how women only feel they (and others) should be allowed to succeed as long as everyone - not just themselves - benefit and they’re not seen as selfish.

The big difference between the two shows? Jennifer Falls has a better cast and is marginally - just marginally - less irritating. Here’s a trailer.

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Mini-review: The Millers 1x1 (CBS/Comedy Central)

Posted on October 7, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

The Millers on CBS, with Will Arnett

In the US: Thursdays, 8.30/7.30c, CBS
In the UK: Mondays, 9.30pm, Comedy Central. Starts October 14

This season in the US appears to be one for great casts and great creative talents turning in comedies that are more than a little short on actual laughs. We've already suffered through Dads and Mom, and now we have CBS's The Millers, starring Will Arnett, Beau Bridges, Jayma Mays and Margot Martindale, and written by My Name is Earl's Greg Garcia. Arnett and Mays are brother and sister, Bridges and Martindale their parents. Arnett gets a divorce and when his father finds out, he's inspired to do the same. Cue hilarity as old people try to cope with the single life, fulfil supressed ambitions, and mess around in their kids' lives and 'over share'.

Now there is at least the germ of a comedic idea in there and although it's CBS, the home of mean-spirited comedy, Greg Garcia is a far more amiable writer. Unfortunately, that means Arnett, who is always fabulous as pampered, spoiled and slightly evil characters, is here playing second-fiddle to Bridges and Martindale, their comedic foil who has to bounce off them, rather than vice versa. Despite being a TV reporter, he's shown to quite nice: a generous brother who helps support Mays and her husband's struggling business.

Meanwhile, Bridges and Martindale dominate the action, shouting at one another. Bridges, however, is a buffoon verging on the senile, a source of fart gags and a man incapable of using a microwave without his soon-to-be-ex-wife's help. Martindale, by contrast, is a controlling nightmare, picking away at her entire family, oblivious to her faults. Mays just gets to be the glue that joins everything together, with barely a joke headed her way the entire episode.

And if you find befuddled, farting old men and old women critcising everyone they come across, while Arnett mugs for all he's worth, you might well like The Millers. But unfortunately, that's really the extent of the comedy in the show, so if your tastes are a little more discerning, look elsewhere for laughs because you won't find them here.

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Your handy guide to true religions on TV - Hinduism and Buddhism

Posted on May 10, 2013 | Post a comment | Bookmark and Share

David Carradine in Kung Fu

This entry is one of a list of articles covering TV shows depicted on TV as being true. For full details and a list of the other religions covered, go to the introduction.

Hinduism
The world's number three religion after Christianity and Islam, this has had perilously few TV shows based on its tenets. However, Channel 4's The Mahabharata did manage to condense down its central work to a mere 10 hours or so - although that did mean the Bhagavad Gita was squished down to just six minutes:

Buddhism
Obviously, one of the more popular Eastern religions in the West, it's also one that's hard to demonstrate as 'true' because many branches of Buddhism don't include a belief in supernatural figures such as gods and demons. However, there are a number of shows that depict the truth of Buddhism.

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