Friday, October 10, 2008

Dare to Be Grating

I have now watched one episode each of two of the worst sitcoms ever made.

I've mentioned previously that I'm a sucker for sitcoms; I think the half-hour situation comedy is probably television's greatest accomplishment (yes, I know that the concept was derived from radio and from film shorts, but television perfected and polished it until it made the sitcom a uniquely televisionesque product).

The first sick-com I endured was Worst Week. The premise here is that the main character continues to cause bad thing after bad thing to occur, and they get worse as each episode goes along. Apparently he'll cause the large hadron collider to create a black hole and destroy the planet before the season ends--that's about the only way they can end a story of progressive disaster like this. One episode proved to be slightly less pleasant than my dental crown-replacement appointment--but at least I got to deal with a likeable person when I went to Doc Sturn's office. There's no one likeable on Worst Week.

Last night, I watched one horrifyingly bad episode of Kath & Kim, a sitcom starring Molly Shannon and Selma Blair. I'm not sure why this is a sitcom; there's nothing comedic about the situation, there's nothing likeable about the characters, and there's nothing appealing about the writing. Molly Shannon remains one of those comedians whose appeal eludes me--and Selma Blair demonstrated that she has no concept of or skill for comedy.

I actually tried a third disastrous sitcom, a Jerry O'Connell vehicle called Do Not Disturb, but it was so irredeemably bad that even the network couldn't sit through it for very long; the show was cancelled after three episodes, which was two more than I could bring myself to watch.

But I've found one good sitcom--Gary Unmarried--and some old favorites are back. The Big Bang Theory remains the best new comedy on television, closely followed by How I Met Your Mother. The Office and My Name Is Earl are still perfectly adequate (although nowhere nearly as good as their first seasons). So I have no shortage of sitcoms to fill my exercise-room DVR (one sitcom is just about the perfect length for one exericse session).

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