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Television 2011: A Year In Review

I watch too much television. I feel the need to apologize for that, like it is a bad thing. I recently went to a holiday party where I knew very few people and made the mistake of mentioning a television program I had recently seen to the person seated next to me. The person said ‘I don’t watch television’ and then turned away from me and looked the other way. So, I apologize for watching too much television. Because it is (apparently) a bad thing.

That said – I enjoy it very much. I sit for hours and hours watching television. (Sitting is the second favorite thing I like to do with my butt.)

Here is a summary of those hours and hours:

Favorite Shows

American Horror StoryYes, the scripting is like something that poured out of a word Cuisinart and everyone is terrified that there is no way they can tie it all up and make sense of it (oddly they did). It is so over-the-top and so much happens in such little time that there is no room for characters to develop at a natural pace – but who the fuck cares? This is a lot of fun. A show with everything for everybody. Jessica Lange and Frances Conroy are outstanding. I mourn the loss of Jamie Brewer’s character, Adelaide. The rest of the cast is also first rate.

SuburgatoryThe primary relationship is a bit off (Father and Daughter? Ummm… Parental Boundaries?), but I like the world the writers are creating. It has a long way to go (and may not get there), but definitely worth watching. The neighbor girl across the street? Fascinating. Standout episode: Thanksgiving.

Happy EndingsInteresting cast. Interesting gay character. Interesting style of banter. Enters and exits like a Tasmanian Devil on a coke bender. Sometimes the characters grate on me - these are annoying people, but they each have a soft inside and that keeps me watching.

CommunityGreat cast, one that actually mirrors the name of the show. The writing is creative… sometimes too much for its own good. It would be a shame to lose this one.

Parks and RecThe sands beneath these characters are constantly shifting. How the actors manage to make it all work baffles me, but they do make it work. Started as an Office wannabe – became something even more likable.

30 RockTina Fey. Tracy Morgan. Enough said.

AwkwardA world I was never privy to before. Covering some of the same territory that Suburgatory covers, but doing a much better job.

South ParkWhen it is good (You’re Getting Old, Broadway Bro Down), it is very, very good. When it is bad (Bass To Mouth, Funnybot, Royal Pudding), it is a total train wreck – and not the fun kind (like American Horror Story).

Bob’s BurgerCharming. I love the kids. And the wife. I wish Louise Belcher could run for president (If only cartoon characters could. – oh, wait… (Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, Thomas Cain, Newt Gingrich)? They do. They do.

WorkaholicsStrikes me as another kind of Always Sunny, but I like the cast. Sophomoric, juvenile. Extremely sexist. Umm… why do I like this? Oh, because the dudes are so comfortable with their homo-bro-ness. That, and they talk about their junk a lot.

Raising HopeLove the cast. So glad they have brought Cloris Leachman back from the zoned-out Alzheimer’s edge. She adds so many dimensions to the show – it would be a shame if she were rendered simply a vehicle for old-people poop jokes. Martha Plimpton has long needed something to showcase her talents! This is her “Medium”.

Cougar TownThis needs to come back. The cast was very funny, the writing sharp. I like all the characters – which is surprising considering they all are privileged white people (even the non-Caucasian ones), but then that same criticism applies to 95% of television.

The MiddlePart of the 5% (along with Raising Hope). In all its Malcolm in the Middle wonderfulness. When Patricia Heaton remains part of the ensemble, the show works – when she pushes her way to the front of the stage, it gets awkward – she tends to chew the scenery or become stilted. Perfect example of this – the episode with Marsha Mason as her Mom – it should have worked, but didn’t. That said, the whole cast is first rate, with the five family members each shining the brightest.

The Walking DeadI like zombies. I like survival. I like this show – when they stick to those two things. Soap opera bullshit? Not my thing. All I want to know is… when do they get to go on a free shopping spree at the mall?

Guilty, Guilty Pleasures

Tosh 2.0Tosh is the reason to watch. The clips are just the cringe-worthy moments his shtick is wound around.

The SoupJoel is the reason to watch. The clips are just the cringe-worthy his shtick is sound around.

Fashion PoliceJoan Rivers is… ummm, still alive. Kelly Osborne is cute as hell. The gay guy is sweet and inoffensive (another new gay stereotype I am liking) and the stick figure on the end has just enough personality that someday I may actually remember her name (although it seems to me she is on every show on E, including some gawd awful thing with a husband – so I think all the rest cancels out any good will she earns for being on Fashion Police).

The Romance Is Over Award:

How I Met Your MotherUgh. Can you all move on to something else. This is awful, painful to watch. When it is on, I keep looking at the clock and wonder just how bored the writers were when they thought this episode up. How could something that started out interesting become so bloody staid?

The Romance Is Waning Award:

Modern FamilyThe shape of the show is so established – as soon as the major plot points are highlighted, the audience can just fill in the blanks and come to the same happy, warm, smarmy, overly-privileged conclusion each week. ABC could save itself a lot of money and just let the audience do all the work. None of these characters ever really have any struggles worth giving a shit about… so why should I? How could something that started out interesting become so dull and predictable so quickly?

The Romance Never Got Started Award:

Two Broke GirlsGawd awful writing. Gawd awful ideas. Gawd awful characters. Is it 1980? Kat Dennings? Gawd awful. (Horrible Actress.) Matthew Moy, Garret Morris, Jonathan Kite? Total Embarrassments. (Horrible Stereotypes). In this day in age how could anyone think this was a good idea? How could something so… gawd awful still be on the air?

The Not Really... Award:

Allen GregoryI pay close attention to this one. On so many levels it is repugnant. The way the gay community is portrayed makes me squirm – only because I think they may have hit the preening-overly-privileged, class conscious, designer label conscious, queen thing right on their shaved, almond-shaped heads. The show sends so many mixed messages. Are they for us? Or against us? Or do they just hate everyone? Except exceptionally handsome, under-employed gay boy toys? Because other than that character – everyone else is just repulsive.

The Quirky But… Eh Award:

New GirlI hate Zooey Deschanel. There, I said it. Hate She and Him. Hate her cotton commercials. Didn’t hate her in Elf. The rest of this show is just so uninteresting, you find yourself praying she’ll appear soon. Wants desperately to be Happy Endings. Desperation is never pretty.

The Quirky and I Hate It Award:

WhitneySomebody cancel this piece of shit already. It reminds me of that time when Bette Midler, Joan Cusack, Paula Poundstone, etc. tried to have sitcoms. They all flopped because they failed to capitalize on what made them endearing in the first place and relied on standard, sitcom form. Whitney? There never was anything endearing to begin with… so… pull the damn plug already. The corpse is cold.

Can’t Seem To Watch You, Though I Really Should ListLouie
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
Breaking Bad
Children’s Hospital

Can’t Seem To Watch You… At All:

Up All NightI love Christina Applegate. I love Maya Rudolph. I love Will Arnett. Then how can I resist this show? Oh, yeah… I forgot. I hate sitcoms about how difficult it is to be a parent. Because breeding is optional, you know.

Time to Pull the Plug Nominees:The Simpsons
Family Guy

How I Met Your Mother
Already Dead, But They Just Don’t Know It Yet Nominees:Whitney
Two Broke Girls
The Cleveland Show
Mike and Molly
Saturday Night Live
Reality Television

Show I Will Be Bitching About Next Year:Work ItHaven’t seen it. Don't want to. Don't need to. It already has me cringing. Really over the whole "I have fake boobs and testicles and can't walk in heels" comedy. How awful can television be? This awful.

Worst Thing(s) to Happen to Gay Television:

The A-List: New York, The A-List: DallasOkay, so I look the other way when confronted with the preening stereotypes that are being passed off as positive images for gay folk on Modern Family. I cringe my way through Allen Gregory (being gay? Not a choice!). I even smile on occasion at those wacky ass young drag queens on RuPaul’s Drag Race. But The A-List: New York? And The A-List: Dallas? This is gay-bashing at its all-time worse. And it’s being perpetrated by our own beloved LOGO? What? LOGO couldn’t find enough money to fund more Jeffery and Jeffery – or pay off all the money owed to the cast of Sordid Lives so we could get more of that fun stuff – but they will throw money at these overly-privileged, spoiled-rotten, reality-deprived, lazy-assed, talentless (apologies to Mike Ruiz – who should know better than to associate with this kind of shit), narcissists. Fuck you, LOGO. You do such a disservice to your own people: people you claim to serve. You should be ashamed of yourselves. And grow the fuck up. This is not reality. These shows do not represent real gay people - this is the kind of gay you shove down America’s throats and then wonder why everybody hates on gay people. Want to know why America doesn’t think gay people should marry? Watch these shows.


Skilled4Men said...

Hilarious! Luv your candid and refreshing commentary... Still LMAO!!! Happy Holidays!

Upton King said...

Many thanks. Glad you enjoy. Happy New Year... wishing you the very best!