Monday, March 08, 2004

What I Watch: Spring 2004

I'm still catching up on TV from the last couple of weeks (there are eleven episodes of American Idol on the Explorer 8000 Home Entertainment Server right now, and I have no good answer to the obvious question of why I don't just erase them and not waste my time with the humiliation) so I completely lost track of the approaching spring mid-season premieres. There are eight new shows I plan to watch, which is more than I have time for, but you know what a sucker I am for new season commercials. The really sad thing is that three of the eight are reality shows (1 new and 2 returning) that I promise I'll keep watching even after the fictional ones suck. So I can safely look forward to a spring full of feeling dirty.

Here, in no particular order, is my rundown of new spring shows.

Average Joe 3: Adam Returns (Mondays @ 10, NBC)
Do I really have to explain this one? I thought the magic was gone on the second season, and I actually restrained myself from watching between the first episode and the baffling conclusion, but dude, it's Adam! It's hard to believe I started off not liking him and his giant teeth, but now I can't wait to see what fresh hell these producers are going to unleash on him and us. The fact that the commercials have not shown us the face of a single one of the women is a good sign.

Cracking Up (Not sure of the timeslot since it's previewing at odd ones, Fox)
I can't muster much enthusiasm for new sitcoms, especially after the disappointment of Coupling and Arrested Development (yeah, yeah, I know everyone loves it but I just don't get it and never will), but I really like Molly Shannon and Jason Schwartzman, so we'll see.

Playing It Straight (Fridays @ 8:00, Fox)
This is basically Boy Meets Boy in reverse, where a woman must choose from a pool of male suitors, some of whom are actually gay. There's an understandable fear that the gay men will come off as clowns, or that they'll be demonized for deceiving this "poor woman" for money. But, um, hello, that's exactly what the straight guys did to the Gaychelor on Boy Meets Boy! So I'm looking forward to a little revenge. But also, honestly, to the inevitable flesh parade and the sheer Foxerific trashiness that this promises to be.

Wonderfalls (Fridays @ 9:00, Fox)
I'm not actually sure what this show is about, but the teasing commercials have me intrigued. And that damn song keeps getting stuck in my head. I give it one episode, but I'm curious enough to see what the deal is.

High School Reunion 2 (Sundays @ 9:00, WB)
Best. Reality Show. EVER. Seriously, the first attempt at this was pure genius. I've never seen such a Parade of Delusions. Starting with anyone thinking that Dan Boobatos was attractive. The stalkers, the criers, the bizarre forced dating, the nerd who wasn't really much of a nerd at all... it was all too delicious to pass up. Of course, that it aired a month before my own actual high school reunion didn't hurt my fascination. Kinda like the way every major event during senior year seemed to occur in the same week that the 90210 episode about the same event aired ("Donna Martin graduates!"). Anyway, last year there was some minor scandal about how not everyone was really from the same class, and how the producers had assigned titles to people somewhat erroneously. Judging from the looks of the very pretty "Ugly Duckling," nothing's changed this year. But I'm thrilled at the addition of "The Gay Guy," so you know I'll be watching.

The Help (Fridays @ 9:30, WB)
I've missed the first episode of this low-rent sitcom already, and I've heard that it's terrible. But I will watch it because Mindy Cohn is in it. Poor Mindy. Blair was the Pretty One, Tootie was the Black One, Jo was the Butch One, and poor Natalie was stuck being the Fat One. No! She was the funny one! And the sensible one! And my favorite. There should be some kind of support group for underappreciated comic actresses, led by Mindy and Joyce DeWitt.

Century City (Tuesdays @ 9:00, CBS)
Sci-fi lawyers! Woohoo!

Kingdom Hospital (Wednesdays @ 10:00, ABC)
Okay, so his last few books have sucked. And his last couple of miniseries. But it's Stephen King, and I can't not give it a shot. I haven't watched the pilot yet, but I've heard great things. I am perplexed as to why everyone, from the network to Entertainment Weekly, is calling it King's first TV series. Am I the only one who remembers the brilliant and underappreciated Golden Years, which starred Frances Sternhagen and Felicity Huffman?

Most of these start this week, but fortunately there seem to be a lot of reruns of older shows happening too, so as long as I can survive eleven hours of American Idol, there should be lots of fun reviews coming up soon!

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