Thursday, July 16, 2015

I hate the word "hatewatching," BUT I might have to make an exception

I find the term "hatewatching" ridiculous. If you hate something, why watch it? Is it really worth sacrificing 30 to 60 minutes of your time to get a few quips for Twitter (or, say, a pop culture blog)? On the other side, defenders of a crummy show will throw out "hatewatcher" to insult people who are critical of something they don't want to criticize.

So I try to avoid that term, and I have way too many things I legitimately DO want to watch to be able to delve into things I think will make me miserable. And yet..

Denis' Leary's new series, "Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll," premieres on FX tonight. Lately I've seen some ads with actual footage from episodes, but the previous marketing campaign filled me with a bizarre mixture of revulsion and intrigue. I fear that I will hate this show, but it.

Denis Leary plays an aging, hard-partying rock star who is washed up  now but somehow finds himself looking for work with his daughter, herself an aspiring rock star. Those teaser ads featured Leary's character and the daughter responding to an unseen interviewer. These 20-second spots said it all: Leary's gonna be playing an addict, he and the daughter have a contentious relationship, the show is gonna be outrageous and edgy, etc.

"What kind of fatherly advice do you get from a legendary rock star like Johnny Rock?"
"Hmm." [pause, smirk] "Don't wear anything flammable."
"And I thought she didn't listen."

Cue guys singing , "Sex and drugs and
rock and roll, ALL RIGHT!"

You can tell just from Leary's sunglasses and haircut how this is all gonna go.   It gets worse, though, when co-star John Corbett shows up in another set of ads as the guitarist. It looks suspiciously like Corbett and Leary are "riffing" and "having fun" in character as they go back and forth. What's the problem with that? Well, what's the problem with any of it, you  might ask? It seems like a funny enough idea.

Unfortunately, it's all reminiscent of Leary's "Rescue Me," which I found brilliant for the first few seasons, but which I just stopped watching by the end. I thought it had degenerated into a self-indulgent parody of itself, and perhaps this series is on the right track by focusing on comedy from the get-go, but, boy, does it look like it could be trouble.

On the other hand, I like Leary, and I have to admit this role seems perfect for him? Too perfect? We'll see. I will watch this. I just don't want to hatewatch this.

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