“Jack and Bobby”
July 31st, 2008
When you look up the TV Dictionary definition of “Jack and Bobby,” chances are you’ll find the short-lived WB Drama starring Christine Lahti (I watched the show for the first few episodes, but eventually got bored). However, there’s now a second definition: “See: Setup Episode of My Boys.”
Yes, this is a dreaded setup episode: one that provides little bits of comedy which stands on its own merits but, for the most part, chooses to simply lay the groundwork for the momentous summer finale that we’re getting in a week’s time (At 9:00pm EST, as TBS shuffles their schedule). And while I don’t want to come across as one of those impatient people who can’t stand setup episodes, this one just wasn’t any good: the major storylines seem to be heading in predictable and ho-hum directions, and some smaller things are being ignored in favour of the broad scheme of things.
And thus we have an episode where even a long-gestating development finally springing to life just doesn’t have the punch the writers think it does.
“Take My Work Wife…Please”
July 9th, 2008
My Boys is not a subtle show.
There were some expectations that perhaps dropping the sports metaphors would assist the show in developing a shorthand that relies less on traditional sitcom constructs, but the latest string of episodes have shown that My Boys likes showing its cards. In this instance, the show has very clearly laid the groundwork for current storylines: Andy’s work wife, PJ’s awkwardness about Bobby’s wedding, Kenny and Mike’s alternating relationship woes, etc. And, well, I’m disappointed.
It’s not that there isn’t some humour to be found in these storylines, but it just doesn’t feel like something that has developed organically. The introduction of Jo into the series’ narrative feels perhaps the most natural, but everything else feels like they’re hitting the same note over and over again. That they go through the process of making Stephanie’s book about the boys proves that they’re desperate to expose what we already know – rather than a journey of discovery, we’re on a journey that lacks spotaneity and feels like a giant circle.
I don’t quite want to get off, as it remains breezy summer fun, but I certainly have my concerns.
July 3rd, 2008
Sorry for being a bit missing in action these past few days (And for the weekend) – I’m home for the weekend celebrating a birthday (Happy Birthday, Mom!) and associating with a new operating system on my shiny new MacBook, and as a result my television viewing (and writing) is taking a back seat.
But not so much enough to avoid a series I’ve gotten a bit hooked on. After last week’s episode kind of didn’t click for me, this week is a chance for the series to re-engage with its recurring storylines and fall at least somewhat back into its old routine: allow the secondary characters who are one-dimensional to act as such, while the ones with depth are given more material to work with.
“Spit Take” is that type of episode, where Jim Gaffigan’s Andy is given a new side (Albeit a somewhat sketchy one), and where Bobby’s next step with Elsa returns to the idea of PJ inviting Bobby along to Italy for some sort of romantic connection. If last week felt like a sitcom, this feels right: an episode about the live of a whole host of individuals, and not just those contrived moments they intersect.
For anyone who has been following my Twitter feed (Located both on the sidebar and at the link), you’ll have noticed that I’ve been watching more TV than I’ve been blogging recently. With the television season over, and with the summer shows trickling more than pouring in, I’ve devoted more time watching rather than writing about my favourite pasttime. As of this week, I’m into the fifth season of Six Feet Under, five episodes into The Wire’s first season, and while I enjoying them to varying degrees, there was a serious problem: I was getting a tad bit depressed.
You see, there’s a lot of death and harsh reality in these shows; Six Feet Under is literally a weekly funeral for hope and love, and The Wire is a cold picture of a structurally corrupt organization and the drug trade on the streets of Baltimore. And so, when searching for my next show to catch up on, I decided to go with a killer combination: light-hearted comedy, a recent DVD release, and currently airing weekly episodes.
And thus, along came TBS’ comedy series My Boys. And while I certainly wouldn’t place it in upper echelon of current television comedies, the show is everything I needed: familiar, comfortable, clever and funny enough to overcome some of its less inspired moments.