Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Ken's reasons why not to watch

I see that EMILY’S REASONS WHY NOT (worst title since MANIMAL) and JAKE IN PROGRESS bombed in the ratings Monday. Gee. Wonder why? Could it be that no one gives a shit about the dating woes of incredibly good looking people? Poor Heather Graham can’t find the right man. Poor John Stamos has commitment problems. He has to juggle three beautiful women. Oh the humanity!!

You don’t feel sympathy for these people. You don’t root for these people. You want to KILL them.

They’re the ones who scarred you for life in high school. They’re the reason for Ben & Jerry’s.

And I’m sure the Jenna Elfman vehicle will be more of the same.

Jenna at least is funny. Heather Graham, although yummy to look at, is an enemy of comedy. And I know one of the contributing writers of the pilot who is the best there is so if she can’t make Heather funny then it’s time to start to thinking about playing a cop.

As for John Stamos, (who is very charming and handsome in that TV “safe” way) I’m not even sure he was trying to be funny this year. JAKE IN PROGRESS is just…pleasant. Too bad there’s no such thing as canned smiles. And Wendie Malick, one of TV’s great funny ladies is wasted. It’s like asking Vladimir Horowitz to just play “Chopsticks”,

The one thing I did find heartening about Monday night’s ratings was this: maybe for the first time Heather Graham and John Stamos will really know what it’s like to be rejected.

Heather gulping down ice cream, John sitting home the night of the prom playing “Kingdom Hearts II” with the other losers who couldn’t get a date – THOSE shows I’d watch.


Jeff O'Brien said...

I'm all for a series about the picked-on high school nerd (or nerdette) who grows up gets even with a different jerk in every episode... kind of a My Name Is Earl but with mean streak...

Anonymous said...

I have to respectfully disagree about Heather Graham. She was completely and hysterically funny in her several guest appearances on Scrubs. So much so, in fact, that I actually watched Say It Isn't So (not at all funny) on the strength of it.

Call it good writing on the part of the Scrubs guys, but it was still funny.

Phil said...

Hey Ken, you nailed that point home perfectly. Pretty people with mundane problems - gee - let me get a big stick and hit myself, might be more fun. I have a question about a pilot I wrote, so it's off topic, but so fucking what? Perhaps I'll email it. Also - you're now linked on my site, screenwriterbones, apologies for the delay, I've been busy but now am now back at.

Shawn Bowers said...

Heather Graham is like...watching a space shuttle get sucked into a black hole (in theory). Actually, she isn't really like that at all, but it seemed like a fun analogy to make. For me, she's one of those people that sort of...unfunnifies everything around her. The only thing I've ever liked her in was Bowfinger, and that's because she had to play a terrible actress. So when she was playing it real, it was totally believable. More power to her, she's making the money, though. Better than I'm doing, ha.

Gilly said...

Heather's show will get cancelled, but can't you just see the irony of some ABC executive thinking Uncle Jesse Stamos needs another chance? They're gonna try to shove that Jake In Progress crap through the schedule until it develops a sleeper fanbase of middle-aged women. I can see it sticking around for a little bit. Call me crazy. Just watch. Yuck. TV gets worse and worse.

Anonymous said...

You have a wonderful blog, Ken. I hope more would-be comedy writers take your advice.

Most actors who look like Heather Graham and John Stamos are inherently unfunny. Their looks gained them immediate societal acceptance, so they never had to develop a sense of humor. Or any sense of timing.

However, I beg to differ with you on one point: Jenna Elfman is about as funny as being locked in a writer's room with a Scientologist.

Frank Strovel III said...

There seems to be a lot of disagreement over Heather Graham's stint on Scrubs.

The recent TV Critics Top 25 list for 2005 just out by TV Week did not list Scrubs at all. I asked Terry Morrow (TV critic for the Knoxville News-Sentinel and who voted in the poll) if it was becasue Scrubs wasn't on the fall schedule last year and he said it was that and because of Heather Graham. He found her annoying.

I didn't find Graham annoying on Scrubs, I just didn't think her character fit in.

And ten bucks says John Stamos reappears on General Hospital within two years.

VP81955 said...

Trouble is, these shows reflect the backgrounds of the people who create, produce and okay them: attractive, upper-middle-class folk who went to the "right" schools and colleges and hang with the "right" people in Manhattan, Beverly Hills, Boston, etc. Very little reflects on how the audience really lives.

Am I saying you have to give it a dour, working-class setting a la Roseanne? No, far from it. But make these characters special, or at least give them qualities and backgrounds most of us can identify with. Frasier and Niles Crane had humanity, they had foibles, and thus were appealing. Otherwise, they'd be obnoxious Ivy Leaguers most of us would like to whup upside the head.

(P.S. I too like Jenna Elfman, but I would bet that her new character probably graduated from Harvard or Yale law school. Jeez, judging from all the shows on TV, their enrollments must be larger than Ohio State and UCLA's undergrad populations combined.)

Webs said...

Jaime Pressly is f'ing hot but she's does teh funny.

Then again, she had to make it through the competitive grinder of modeling, and fought to gain emancipation from her parents as a teen, so she hasn't had it all chocolate and roses.

Cunningham said...

I would watch more of those shows if the characters were somehow transgressive...

Heather Graham's character needs to be the chick who farts, drinks too much , sleeps with the wrong people (and talks about it) and still somehow ends up on top of it all - much to the venomous chagrin of her "by the book" co-worker who plots her demise in Rube Goldbergian ways. She needs an IV of AbFab and a colonic.

Jake in Progress needs to be a comedic take on the film Regarding Henry. After getting shot in the head, Jake has no impulse control whatsoever. This would make him at times exasperating, at times endearing, but always interesting. Everything going on in his head would be expressed with no holding back.

Those would be shows that I would watch. Spicy, tasty shows - not the oatmeal we are getting now.

Jon said...

Everybody can relax. Both shows have been pulled from next Monday's schedule (permanent? who knows?).

Sharone Rosen said...

EXACTLY... this is precisely the reason this chick does NOT like chick flicks... pretty people with dating problems? Puhlease!
And, don't think that, just because My date to the Senior Prom was a 28-year old gay man who was friends with my Mother that I might be bitter... (at least I had a date who could dance...)

Anonymous said...

My question is simple, and only vaguely related: who the hell are they selling these shows to? I ask because they scheduled them in Monday Night Football's time slot, and I've seen enormous advertising during the playoff games on Saturday. Does anyone really think Joe Sixpack wants to watch what is clearly a Sex in the City ripoff without the nudity? (Note to those making these decisions: Ally McBeal succeeded on Mondays BECAUSE MNF was on the other channel)

Of course, that brings up a huge host of larger questions. For example, UPN has said that Veronica Mars is underperforming compared to last year. Um, maybe because you moved it opposite Lost? Do the people inside the industry know how stupid this looks from out here?

Anonymous said...

"Wonder why? Could it be that no one gives a shit about the dating woes of incredibly good looking people?"

People gave a shit about Friends for 10 years. The difference between these shows and Friends is the writing on Friends was much better, which resulted in more likable characters.

"You don’t feel sympathy for these people. You don’t root for these people. You want to KILL them.

They’re the ones who scarred you for life in high school. They’re the reason for Ben & Jerry’s."

Wow. I feel sympathy for you. It's just a tv show. Change the channel. 24 is on soon.

FizzWater said...

Friends wasn't about dating woes - it was about these friends and their relationships with each other.

But you're correct in that the writing was much better.

Bill Cunningham - I bet you a hundred bucks that the Regarding Henry idea you just posted on this public web space is pitched, sold and developed within the year... too bad I'm not funny enough to write comedy, or I'd pitch it. With you, of course. ;)