Tag Archives: The Odd Couple

Reviewing My 2014-15 Predictions: CBS

13 May

CBS

Well, there’s no point in making predictions if you’re not willing to revisit them later and see just how wrong you were. Now that the final decisions are in, let’s review how I did.

CBS now. My fall predictions are here and my spring predictions are here, and in short, every show gets one of three predictions: that it will air 12 episodes or fewer, 13 episodes or more, or be renewed.

Madam Secretary

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CBS invested heavily in this series, and it was a sensible match for its adult Sunday night lineup. Combined with the fact that CBS was debuting fewer shows than any other network, backing Madam Secretary seemed like a smart bet.

Scorpion

Prediction: 13+

Reality: Renewal

Scorpion looked hackneyed to me (and it was) and while it’s the type of show that could (and did) succeed on CBS, I didn’t think it had what it took. I was wrong and that’s okay.

NCIS: New Orleans

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

NCIS remains, after all these years, one of the most successful shows on TV, and the Los Angeles spin off is quite successful as well. Taking the over on NCIS: New Orleans was definitely the safe bet and worked out as expected.

Stalker

Prediction: 13+

Reality: 13+

Stalker looked like the worst show in the CBS line up, and was, and also the one that made the least sense with existing CBS properties, being a little too horror-oriented; closest to Criminal Minds, but still not quite right.

Spring:

The Odd Couple

Prediction: 12-

Reality: Renewal

This show was terrible and it looked terrible, and I know it’s CBS, but Matthew Perry has a couple of post-Friends network failures already and this looked like an obvious continuation of that sequence. I’m still a little surprised it will be back.

Battle Creek

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: 12-

Battle Creek also looked not quite right for CBS (more Fox like, being procedural but silly, like Bones), but more on brand than Stalker, and came from a CBS-ized vision from superstar creators Vince Gilligan and David Shore. I banked on the star power carrying the show to at least one more season; I was wrong.

CSI: Cyber

Prediction: Renewal

Reality: Renewal

CSIs have faded in the wake of triumphal NCISs, but each of the three editions had a very successful run, and I figured that picking a CSI led by Patricia Arquette was just another smart wager. This one was almost, almost cancelled, but just held on.

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Spring 2015 Review: The Odd Couple

9 Mar

The Odd Couple

You know the story of The Odd Couple. There’s a slob, there’s an uptight neat freak, they’re friends, they live together, and though they can’t stand each other often, they somehow recognize that they could each use a bit of what the other has to offer. Both are recently divorced. Oscar is a mess and helps Felix loosen up, while Felix helps Oscar get his life together. Oh, and there’s that theme song. You’ve probably heard it before.

Last year, I described the very forgotten Sean Hayes sitcom Sean Saves the World as a Sitcom, with an emphasis on the capital S. What I meant is that it seemed to pride itself on ignoring any changes in the world of TV comedy that have occurred over the past decade and instead doubled down on being as old-fashioned and classic as possible, not just in content but in form and look. The Sitcom works  this way not just because it thinks this is the best and funniest way to tell its story, though it might well, but also because it’s a statement of belief in what a sitcom should be. As someone who has lauded the direction comedy has gone in the past ten years, I’m generally not a big fan of Sitcoms.

The Odd Couple is another Sitcom. To someone who has now moved on past the generational divide of sitcoms, to The Office and Parks and Recreation and 30 Rock and others, The Odd Couple is nearly unwatchable. The laughs and the laugh tracks are loud. There’s so much laugh track, and I won’t expound further on just how much I absolutely despise laugh tracks but my opinion remains as true as ever. The laugh track is obtrusive and sets the tone. A laugh track is an essential part of a Sitcom .

The two primary stars talk in minor insults to one another and there are what feels like 30 seconds between each line, each of which is an attempt at big joke. These long spaces give the audience a chance to process, realize that it was a joke (thanks, laugh track!) and laugh as much as they need to before the show can move forward. The characters are ridiculous exaggerations, and not in a good way, particularly Thomas Lennon’s Felix, who is so uptight and anal that it makes the show difficult to watch at times without any of the hilarious payoff of a good awkward British sitcom. That’s still giving enough credit to what an insane weirdo they make him.  It’s too much by several times; way beyond merely being uptight and sensitive. The Odd Couple is just too much of everything. There’s a handful of Oscar’s friends who show up and make jokes about their wives, and how much they can’t do cool man sports things because of them. Hey-O! You don’t get more TV regressive than that.

There’s no subtlety. There’s no banter, because you can’t have banter when you have to wait this long between any levels. It’s nothing but big broad obvious humor that isn’t funny at all.

Will I watch it again? No. Never. It was pretty painful to get through.

Spring 2015 Previews and Predictions: CBS

16 Feb

CBS

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (edit: spring, now) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (spring, again)(reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

  1. Renewal – show gets renewed
  2. 13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed
  3. 12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Additional note: Since more and more series on network TV are following cable models with set orders for shorter seasons, and mid-season replacements tend to have shorter seasons in particular, I’ll note any planned limited runs in my prediction section for each show)

Only three new shows for CBS, since they just don’t have as many spots to fill in their schedule. One comedy remake, one drama spin off, and one drama from two highly esteemed TV minds.

The Odd Couple – 2/19/15

The Odd Couple

I watched the preview, but as happens with a few new shows every year, I didn’t really need to. Of course, this is particularly obvious here, because The Odd Couple’s two primary characters have been in the pop culture conscience for half a century now; the current show is a remake of a tv show of a movie of a play. It features the pretty standard time-tested tropes of the obsessive-compulsive neat freak (Felix Unger, played here by Thomas Lennon) and the easy-going slob (Oscar Madison, played here by Matthew Perry). They’re opposites, so they constantly put each other in awkward situations, but they’re also friends at the end of the day! You know how it goes. Who was actively calling for an Odd Couple reboot, I haven’t the faintest idea.

Prediction: 13- Matthew Perry is developing an impressive reputation as a show-killer since Friends (Studio 60, Go On, Mr. Sunshine) and I sure wouldn’t want this show to end the streak.

Battle Creek – 3/1/15

Battle Creek

Battle Creek is a procedural that seems like maybe, just maybe, it could be better than your average CBS procedural. It’s co-created by heavyweights Vince Gilligan and David Shore, and while this is not going to be Breaking Bad, the fact that names like those are attached still carries some weight. Josh Duhamel stars as a perfect, handsome FBI agent who comes to assist the underfunded police in the town of Battle Creek, Michigan. Dean Winters plays the gruff top dog whose position is in danger when golden boy Duhamel comes to town. I wouldn’t necessarily bet on it being good, but it might not be awful, which already puts it above most CBS pilots.

Prediction: Renewal – it’s on the right network, and it’s got the pedigree. Every stroke CBS makes these days still seems to work out. I really want to dock it for the tagline “You Can’t Fight Crime without Going to Battle” but I just can’t.

CSI: Cyber – 3/4/15

CSI: Cyber

You know the brand. It’s been almost 15 years since the original’s debut and it’s long past time to bring on the fourth show in the CSI universe. “I’m a Cyber Cop” is a real line Academy Award winner Patricia Arquette utters in the trailer. Later she utters, “You work dark alleys. I work the dark net.” The Who plays. There is a self-acknowledged silliness to CSI; to its credit I don’t believe takes itself all too seriously. Still, I’m almost certainly never going to watch this show again after the debut until it starts showing in syndication at weird hours on weird networks.

Prediction: Renewal – Granted, NCIS is the new, currently more popular CSI, but still the shortest-tenured member of the CSI franchise, CSI: New York, lasted nine seasons. I’m not ready to bet against Cyber lasting two.