Just when you were afraid the lack of fresh content on your television might finally force you to get up off your couches and engage in some meaningful interaction with your loved ones, here comes the 2010 fall season and its annual helping of canned laughter, reality shenanigans, and FCC-approved "adult themes" to save your wheezing, doughy asses.
True, the idea of a "fall TV season" is becoming more and more outdated, with mid-season replacements and basic cable networks having the temerity to start their seasons in (*gasp*) June, but that doesn't stop the Big Four from their yearly full-court press to convince you they're still just as relevant as AMC and Showtime, gosh darn it.
And while there are some things to be thankful for (no more Ghost Whisperer) and look forward to (another year of COPS) in the coming months, there's just as much (if not more) to dread. And I'm not just talking about the return of Grey's Anatomy.
But man, do I hate Grey's Anatomy.
Jim, that is. Those of you who continue to insist on the existence of a benevolent god need only ponder this: Jim Belushi's career has spanned 33 years (he joined The Second City in 1977); John Belushi was 33 years old when he died in 1982. The pertinent take-away here is that the younger Belushi has been making K-9 movies and horrible, formulaic sitcoms for the entirety of Joliet Jake's life (or Jesus Christ's if you want to go that route). And he's set to surpass that this year with The Defenders, which I'm sure will be anything but a horrible, formulaic show about lawyers.
Which brings me to...
Lawyers, Guns and Money
Network executives must have a particularly skewed vision of the world, which would explain why they continue to churn out shows about two professions people really don't seem to like that much: lawyers and cops...especially lawyers (the love affair with crime scene techs seems to have cooled off a bit). We bade farewell to Numb3rs, Cold Case, and the original Law and Order last season, but this was apparently just to free up schedule space for the likes of Detroit 1-8-7, Blue Bloods, The Defenders, Hawaii Five-0, The Whole Truth, Chase, Harry's Law, Ridealong, and of course, Law and Order: Los Angeles.
And I understand the junior McGarrett in Hawaii Five-0 is an ex-Navy SEAL. Hmm, if only they'd thought of making a show about an ex-SEAL solving crimes in Hawaii earlier.
In the age of The Biggest Loser and that other uplifting show where Jillian Michaels screams at the morbidly obese until they collapse in tears and exhaustion, what could be better for the networks than establishing some cultural relevance by producing a show about being overweight that veers away from cheap jokes and easy punchlines to examine the serious societal underpinnings of obesity in America?
That's your cue, Mike & Molly:
"Bones don't jiggle, Ma!" "Yo mama's so fat, she got baptized at Sea World!" I mean, it practically writes itself.
More Simpsons, Whether You Want 'em Or Not
Thanks to the wonders of selective syndication, there's an entire generation of Americans growing up right now who know nothing of "Marge vs. the Monorail," "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", or even Poochie the Dog. As Simpsonian tragedies go, it doesn't exactly rank up there with Maude Flanders' death or the end of Barney's movie, but it's still kind of sad. And while it's predictable at this point to talk about the show's fall from greatness, you can occasionally count on a chuckle or two each episode.
Want to know what's really depressing? King of the Hill is off the air, but The Cleveland Show lives on.
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Friday Night Frustration
Finally, the scheduling gods are once again having a laugh at my expense, since it turns out two of the only two prime time TV shows I watch voluntarily (The Good Guys and Supernatural) will be airing opposite each other on Friday nights at 8 PM. Yes, I have a DVR. That's not the point. Friday nights are traditionally where networks send shows to die. Don't believe me? Ask Joss Whedon.
And just to head off any wise ass remarks, Cheaters is not a "prime time" show. And it still airs on Saturday nights.