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The Louie Show (1996)
A good show that obviously never got a chance
Apparently Louie Anderson hated this show. He said that he had a very specific vision of how this show should work. I guess this wasn't it.
I don't see what was to hate. The show was put on at midseason for a 6 episode run, and didn't even air the final episode. It really deserved better. The cast was great. Louie Anderson was basically Louie Anderson, and that is not bad at all. He's very similar to Andy Richter. And the supporting cast? Where do I begin? Bryan Cranston, before Breaking Bad, before Malcolm in the Middle for that matter. He played Louie's best friend, who's this kind of tightly wound cop. He's a bit of an obsessive compulsive, and is going through a mid life crisis. Kate Hodge, an actress who really never got a long lasting show. That's really a shame, as she is so talented. She can talk so fast, you wonder if she might have been on coke. She's also incredibly charming. She played Louie's roommate, a recent LA transplant. And Paul Feig, creator of Freaks and Geeks, played a doctor who was a friend of Louie's. He has a crush on Kate Hodge's character. He was pretty amusing. The show was pretty similar to The Drew Carey Show, although it was a bit more low key. The characters were also a bit more likable. I bet if it began in the fall, it would have been a huge hit.
Welcome to the Family (2013)
The critics are wrong, and seriously misguided.
Every review I have read for this show has been completely negative. I really don't understand what people didn't like. I thought it was pretty good. Mike O'Malley is a really good actor, and the cast seems to be having a fun time.
Every critic is calling it a "culture clashing" show. They could not be more wrong. Yes, there are two families, one latino and one white, but that is not the point. The cultures aren't clashing, O'Malley and Ricardo Chavira's characters are clashing. They don't like each other, but race has nothing to do with it. Class has a little bit to do with it, but it's mainly a show about two people who can't stand each other, but now they're in laws. Everyone is calling it an All in the Family ripoff, but at most it's an Odd Couple-ripoff, which there have already been about a million of. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I've heard people say it's a racist show? How? There was nothing racist about it. I've heard people call it "broad comedy". But there's no laugh track, physical humor, or over the top performances! If anything, it might be a little bit too low-key. I liked it a lot, and I am not normally a big fan of family comedies.
Bottom line, it's not great, but it's good. Ignore the critics, check it out for yourself.
The Office (2001)
I wanted to like this show. Believe me, I tried really hard to like it. Unfortunately, it is honestly not that great.
After seeing the American version, which is brilliant, I was super excited to find out about the British version. I watched a few episodes, and there were some funny parts. The episode "The Quiz" was actually hilarious. I showed it to a bunch of friends, and they didn't see what was funny about it. I tried to make myself believe that they didn't get the jokes, or couldn't understand the actors as a result of their accents/the poor audio quality of the show. It wasn't until a while later that I realized, I really do not like this show.
It may not be fair to compare it to the American version, but there are some key differences that show how Gervais and Merchant managed to work out all the kinks when they recreated it for American audiences.
First and foremost, character development. The British version is full of one-dimensional characters. David's a jerk! Gareth's a suck-up! Tim's a slacker! Dawn has a mean fiancé! In the American version, the characters are a lot more interesting. While Michael may be a terrible boss, it is conceivable how he got to his position, as he was a legendary salesman. Dwight evolved from a mere suck-up, to a Machavellian salesman/farmer/landlord. The scenes with his cousin Mose are hilarious. Jim is a slacker, but he isn't totally content with it. His pranks on Dwight are also much better than Tim's toward Gareth. Krasinski's sarcasm is much better than Freeman's. People say the UK version was sarcastic, but the delivery of the sarcasm was fairly flawed. Pam is actually funny, unlike Dawn who was just there to give Tim a love interest. She also has much more of a backbone than Dawn, and you get to see her rise from receptionist to salesman.
The American version has a giant cast, each character with many dimensions. In the 9 seasons it has been on the air, it has probably developed the characters better than any other show. The British version had 14, and obviously wasn't able to create so many characters.
Many people claim that it is revolutionary for being the first fly-on-the-wall workplace mockumentary. In fact, Operation Good Guys had begun airing on BBC four years earlier, and actually was funny.
The Office UK contains little humor (not none, it has a good number of funny jokes). However, those jokes have a hard time spreading throughout 30 minutes per episode. The show is also hopelessly dated, with many jokes that were related to computers at the time.
The cast has little to no chemistry, and the chemistry was one of the best parts of the American version. It is impossible to imagine David Brent kissing a gay employee, to prove that he wasn't homophobic.
The cast also seems like the are on heroin, as they have no energy. Most workplaces have characters try and make the best of a bleak situation. These characters just sit around and slowly mope.
Do not accuse me of being a "dumb American", who didn't get the British humor. I am a huge fan of many British shows (Peep Show, The Worst Week of My Life, Spy, Cuckoo, etc). I got the jokes. Some were funny. Most were poorly delivered. Almost all of them were cruel. And not in a "dark humor" type of way. Just in a "dark, yes; humor, no" kind of way.
If anyone else likes this show, I respect that. It is a show with many funny people, and it launched a lot of careers. It inspired a lot of great shows. I personally wasn't a fan, but it had its moments.
Friday Night Dinner (2011)
I am American and resent the myth that all British shows are better than all American shows. Yeah, because In with the Flynns is better than Arrested Development. That makes so much sense. NOT! As a matter of fact, I don't think there is a single show better than Arrested Development. In with the Flynns is much worse than Grounded for Life, the show it was based on.
I found out about Friday Night Dinner when I heard about the American remake (which to my surprise, didn't get picked up). So I decided to watch the British version in anticipation. The show is hilarious. Tasmin Greig (Episodes) delivers, as the immature mother. Simon Bird (The Inbetweeners) and Mark Heap (Stressed Eric) are also hilarious, as the oldest son and creepy neighbor respectively. Paul Ritter is outstanding as the deaf father, and I plan on checking out his previous show Pulling. Rounding out the cast is newcomer Will Rosenthal, as the younger song. He shows a lot of promise, proving that you can make a good show with fresh meat. The show is about a Jewish family, and their insane shabbat dinners. There are tons of pranks, lies, and whatnot. Of course this is always played for laughs (without a laugh track!). Great show, recommended to all (British and American, and whatever else).
Kind of stupid
I honestly don't like this show very much. I think it is slow-paced and grimy, and not very fun. FX is a great channel. They have The League, which is my favorite show currently on television (second of all time to Arrested Development). The League is fun and fast paced. The characters (other than Ruxin) are likable, and all (including Ruxin) are funny. The League has wit, charm, and profanity.
Always Sunny is boring. The characters are boring, one-dimensional and irritating. The show is not very creative, and reminds me of Workaholics. They both center on a group of stupid friends, doing stupid things, and making stupid jokes. The show is full of good actors, and they do a pretty good job when it comes to acting. The problem is the show just isn't realistic. The League has characters that seem like people you would know in real life. Always Sunny does not. What is a Ivy League graduate doing running a bar with two morons.
People say the show is "Seinfeld on crack". The only difference is Seinfeld is funny.
This has the potential to be a decent show. Anders Holm and Blake Anderson can be quite funny. Adam DeVine, not so much. The problem with this show is that it's not smart. And I know that it is not meant to be smart, but I can't understand why that would be a good idea. In addition, Holm often plays his role as if he is indeed trying to be smart. It is totally implausible that he is hanging out with people like Blake and Adam, that he is working as a telemarketer, or that Blake and Adam went to college. The show is similar to Family Guy, in that it makes no sense, is not very funny, and somehow is considered brilliant. Adam is freaking annoying. All he does is act like a sex-obsessed loser/pothead/drunk and that is considered funny. This honestly might be the most overrated show since Frasier! And what's up with the comparisons to The League. The League is funny, has plots, even some story arcs. It has a set of very talented actors. Workaholics does not.
That being said, Holm and Anderson have enough charm and charisma to not make the show hateable. That doesn't mean it is not dislikable.
Dan Vs. (2011)
Great addition to prime time animation.
Dan Vs. is a very good show. It is better than anything Seth MacFarlane could come up with. Seriously, Family Guy is a has-been, American Dad! is a never-was, and The Cleveland Show is just plain pathetic/racist. Dan Vs. reminds me of the great turn of the century animated series. This includes Duckman, Dr. Katz, early Family Guy, Dilbert, Mission Hill, Father of the Pride, Pinky and the Brain, The Critic, Stressed Eric, Clerks, Home Movies, Game Over, The Oblongs, Baby Blues, etc. It is curious that it is on The HUB, which mainly targets children. I guess it is one of those shows like Eeerie, Indiana. They appear to be kids shows, but if you watch it, you will know they are definitely not. Curtis Armstrong is a star on the rise, and Dave Foley and Paget Brewster are already household names. There is plenty of dark humor, as well as subtle socio-political commentary. Mandel and Pearson obviously know their stuff. Great job guys!