Monday, September 16, 2013

Fall TV Warning Part 2

Part 1 appeared yesterday. Today I may be a little grumpier because I am going to mention a really horrible-looking new series.

But first, since it debuts tonight, let's consider Brooklyn Nine-Nine, FOX's new cop comedy starring Andy Samberg and Andre Braugher. I think the world is ready for--nay, the world needs--a good cop comedy. Samberg is a total wise-ass detective who butts heads with Braugher's no-nonsense chief. I like that Terry Crews (the breakout star of the Netflix version of Arrested Development, if you ask me) is in this, and I want this to be good.  But a little of Samberg goes a long way, and a little of Braugher is never enough, and the preview indicates Samberg's character goes a little too far into annoying territory to carry this each week.

The Millers: Where to begin discussing how bad this CBS "comedy" looks? First, why does Will Arnett keep getting lead TV roles? He seems like a decent guy, and I felt bad when his relationship with Amy Poehler deteriorated, but his persona just doesn't lend itself to more than an effective supporting presence. Even the episodes in "Arrested Development" that centered on him disappointed.

Arnett is toning down the smarm this time, from the looks of it, and I guess I can't say his talent is being "wasted." But his parents are played by Beau Bridges and Margo Martindale, and as far as their talents...well, I hope they are being paid well. When Arnett's character announces his divorce, Beau says, "Hey, I can do that, too," and bolts, leading Margo to move in with sonny boy. This creates a warm, delightful family comedy about the foibles of intergenerational conflicts and the bonds that ultimately unite us.

Oops, no, wait. It actually just creates a bunch of fart jokes. A LOT of 'em. And the fact that most of them come from Martindale should settle that issue of wasted talents.

I'm watching the trailer again right now to make sure I am not overexaggerating. This show is not funny at all. It's offensive right from the get-go, with a weak joke about a little kid cussing out Arnett's TV reporter character. It goes on for about 6 minutes, progressing from bland attempts at humor to old-people-talking-about-sex humor to those fart jokes. I am open to the concept of fart jokes, but I want them to make me laugh, not cringe.

"Hey, Mom, did you fart?"
[after pause and a take] "Yes!"

Then it has the nerve to try to go for "heart" at the end with Arnett and Martindale dancing together. Even with J.B. Smoove yelling, "Creepy!" to undercut it, there's no mistaking that the producers think this is going to make us like the characters. Yet they still interrupt the routine for this exchange between son and mother:

"Did you fart?"

Under normal circumstances, I would demand that you all sit through the preview yourself to see why I am calling this series "Fall TV Warning." Since this is National Preparedness Month, though, consider this a warning to avoid "The Millers." I'm so drained from getting the word out, I think I need to come back later this week and resume in Part 3. Is this how Paul Revere felt when he warned that Benny Hill was coming and bringing a ton of fart jokes?

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