May 29, 2013

"Apartment 23"

In Taki's Magazine, I try to explain a TV show that nobody, fans or critics, got. If you like my sense of humor, well, the people who made "Apartment 23" are a lot funnier than I am.

Since nothing I like, other than Iron Man movies, ever succeeds in the marketplace, I was hardly surprised when the only new sitcom I've bothered to watch in this decade was canceled in January with eight episodes unaired. But, this week, the eight lost episodes of "Apartment 23" are available on line for free. But not after June 2. 

You might think that ABC would have aired the best episodes, leaving the dross unaired, but it appears to have worked the opposite way. ABC tried to pick out the most mass appeal episodes to air, so the ones online this week are particularly Apartment 23ish.

80 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Big Bang Theory is likable? I haven't been able get through one episode. Completely unfunny, and full of unlikable characters. And why must all of them be so goddamned ugly? Even the blonde girl is cute at best. I like watching reruns of 1990s sitcoms but I can't bring myself to watch any current one. Haven't seen Apartment 23, but the full title suggests that the creators are pretty stupid.

Anonymous said...

Oh Jeebus, why is a torch being carried for this crud... You're almost as bad as those Veronica Mars geeks paying the cast to make more episodea

Anonymous said...

Here's a mystery Whiskey can solve, for once. Look at the rest of ABC/Disney's housewife-oriented programming and it's obvious why this show failed (it may not be crass or bawdy enough for CBS either; I dunno; I never watched it and don't plan to). Ritter was also in an ensemble-style dramedy for Starz called "Gravity" which failed too. I think she looks like a consumption sufferer in a Wharton or James piece.

Anonymous said...

I haven't seen Apartment 23, but I'm a real-life geek, so I was curious enough about The Big Bang Theory to watch a bit of it.

It feels corporate, in the sense of being a product of an enormous, highly impersonal corporation which is indistinguishable from all the others in its market. In fact it manages to feel more corporate than a large majority of corporate products.

None of the actors are geeks. The lead actor appears to be gay. A smart person can play dumb, but an average person cannot play smart. This is similar to how a thin actor can play fat (he just wears a fat suit), but a fat man cannot realistically play a thin one.

The nerdy characters on the show have nerdy girlfriends. Nerdy women are like the amazons of Greek myth and butt-kicking babes of Hollywood crap. They're completely fictional. I weep for young nerds who might get an idea from shows like this that nerdy women could exist. Some might ruin their lives searching for nerdy women when they should instead be settling for the kind of women who do exist.

DR said...

The golden age of television sitcoms petered out in the late 1990s when NBC couldn’t convince Jerry Seinfeld to come back for one more season despite offering him a salary of $110 million.

What?! I hope by golden age you just mean revenue. Because quality wise the 90s cant compare to the 2000s. You've got Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny, Curb, Peep Show, Trailer Park Boys, and Party Down.

That's just off the top of my head. All pure sitcom format. All highly repeatable and quotable. The only 90s sitcoms that rival these shows in terms of quality of writing is Seinfeld which stylistically is much closer to a 21st century sitcom than a 90s one.

Anonymous said...

It wasnt even the best show on ABC on Wednesday during the 9 o'clock hour. Happy endings is far funnier. You did pick up on something quite interesting in the switched at birth idea. You think from listening to June that she was highly influenced by her mom, but her mom basically sucks and she just can't see it.

Also it was a mistake to cast Ritter she isn't really attractive enough and in fact plays the ugly friend in that Shes a Ten or whatever film.

Cail Corishev said...

The Big Bang Theory was funny for the first several episodes, at least if you're enough of a geek to get a lot of the jokes. By the end of that season it started to feel a little forced, though. It really annoyed me that these guys are supposed to be stereotypically hopeless with women (one can't even speak around them unless he's drunk), yet three of the four got laid at least once in the first season. That's a better rate than freakin' Magnum p.i. (6 in 8 seasons, one of whom was his wife). That's Hollywood Homely for you; anything over a couple months of celibacy is considered a long dry spell.

Steve Sailer said...

And Chloe hates her very nice mother because

Chloe: My mother never went horseback riding with me.

June: But she's been in a wheelchair since shortly after you were born.

Chloe: I don't know whether she could or she couldn't go horseback riding with me, all I know is she didn't.



Anonymous said...

Steve, in that case your comedic writing is more estimable than (and does not really reflect!) your sense of humor.

Steve Sailer said...

The influence of Camille Paglia's chapter in Sexual Personae on "The Importance of Being Earnest" on Ms. Khan is quite possible. The best episodes of "Apartment 23" -- such as the one where she explains that every Halloween she picks out one party guest who most offends her with their tackiness and contrives to methodically ruin their lives over the next year -- are the ones where Chloe is the least sexual and the most judgmental: a young Lady Bracknell in training.

Anonymous said...

Why do people who make us laugh get credit for having a good "sense of humor"?

Anonymous said...

Sick of Hollywood? Why not review the OSS 117 movies? France's answer to Austin Powers is more alpha than aardvark. (Heartiste, if you're out there, M. de la Bath deserves an entire blog.)

Gilbert P.

Dave Pinsen said...

Thanks for the heads up about this -- I had no idea the lost episodes were available online now.

"The Big Bang Theory is likable? I haven't been able get through one episode. Completely unfunny, and full of unlikable characters."

I watched the first season or so on DVR, and thought it wasn't bad, but now I find it unwatchable. Smarter than the average sitcom though. Interestingly, three of actors (one star and two recurring guests) are played by veterans of Roseanne.

"What?! I hope by golden age you just mean revenue. Because quality wise the 90s cant compare to the 2000s. You've got Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny, Curb, Peep Show, Trailer Park Boys, and Party Down."

Quality x quantity wise, nothing compares to Seinfeld. 30 Rock was as good at its best, but had a shorter run. Always Sunny is occasionally hilarious, but uneven. Curb is great, but Larry David seems to take two years between seasons. Haven't seen the others you reference.

"Also it was a mistake to cast Ritter she isn't really attractive enough and in fact plays the ugly friend in that Shes a Ten or whatever film."

Ritter is plenty attractive, though I thought she looked better in Breaking Bad.

Anonymous said...

So how does it compare to Room 222? Disclosure: At age 8, I was in love with Karen Valentine.

Neil Templeton

Steve Sailer said...

"Big Bang Theory" is notably better than Chuck Lorre's other mass-market sitcom "Two and a Half Men." Whether that makes the "Big Bang" glass half-full or half-empty is your call.

Anonymous said...

A poorly written,unfunny,potty-mouth filled show with a mustache-wearing-dude-chick does not a successful comedy make. The bar just keeps getting lower.

Luke Lea said...

There is no disputing in matters of taste. I think Apt. 23 sucks.

Anonymous said...

American TV just sucks, in the main. Luckily the more-scripted format is dying & accepted as culturally insignificant everywhere except Slate/AV Club. I look forward to the day when the Judgeian populace raised on Twitter, who purchase tickets for at most 1 movie per year and haven't ever paid for other types of prerecorded entertainment, can't recall why Dan Quayle criticized Mary Tyler Moore for not getting an abortion, or something

Lara said...

This makes me think of Freaks and Geeks.

Starship Tropers said...

The nerdy female cast members is a very 1980s touch. If you recall the later junk variations on the "Porky's"/"Screwballs" formula the awkward undersocialized guy(s) always ended up paired with the distaff equivalent by the time of the requisite big dance at or near the ending.

Anonymous said...

"What?! I hope by golden age you just mean revenue. Because quality wise the 90s cant compare to the 2000s. You've got Arrested Development, It's Always Sunny, Curb, Peep Show, Trailer Park Boys, and Party Down."

I'm under 30 and I would rather watch Seinfeld, Everybody Loves Raymond, Will and Grace, or Frasier over sitcoms of the mid 2000's or later.

Now the rest of TV like stuff on AMC or HBO is certainly better compared to the 90's but not sitcoms.

Anonymous said...

Highly perceptive review, Steve. I really enjoyed APT. 23. Indeed, I though that it was one of the best network comedies in recent years. Of course, I am the type of viewer who responds best to anti-schmaltz, so APT.23's brand of Oscar Wilde-esque comedy was especially congenial.

syon

Anonymous said...

Big Bang Theory isn't so much likable as well-oiled. Swoops in fast, hits all the right buttons, and gets out without leaving a too-terrible taste in your mouth - Exactly the sort of show senior citizens like to watch (like everything else on CBS).

Anonymous said...

Seinfeld and Cheers are two of my favorite shows but the very worst shows of the last decade almost always trump Everybody Loves Raymond.

Truckee Man said...

Sorry Steve, '23 sucks

de gusty bus said...

So far mentioned in this page were:

Seinfeld = consistently consistent
Arrested Dev = good but self-consciously "zany"
CYE = ranges from hysterical to amusing, more often the latter
Frasier = overrated middlebrow
Friends = unfunny dreck
Raymond = somewhat funnier than Friends
Will & Grace = actually not bad
Always Sunny = uh, what
Trailer Park Boys = selective appeal
Party Down = maybe 30 total viewers all time
Peep Show = never heard of it
Big Bang = by-the-numbers; competent; has hot chick from that show w/ other Ritter
30 Rock = basically Ally McBeal with cleverer gags
2 1/2 Men = asinine; like a grotesque parody of a sitcom but real
Don't Trust Apt. = I have no intention of watching before June 2

And mercifully omitted, until now:

The Office = weakly N. Am. knock-off finally gets forgotten, despite Parks & Retch slouching on
How I Met Your Mother = inferior work presumably ghost-written by Lorre
2 Broke Girls = mind-numbing prolefeed
New Girl = fine as tragedy
Modish Family = uninspired coastal-elite funny-but-not-ha-ha-funny casting agency welfare scheme
Community = should not exist

Lastly there's a show w/ Jamie Gertz that's apparently in the top dozen highest-rated on the year but aside from that, no information yet uncovered.

Clyde said...

Are you going to review the Jackie Robinson movie?

PapayaSF said...

I second the vote for OSS 117. Yes, there are female geeks: I know several. I highly recommend The Goode Family, a short-lived 2009 animated show that hilariously skewered all that is liberal and PC.

Anonymous said...

As lame as big bang theory is (to judge by the few episodes I've seen), isn't it kind of astonishing in itself that the number one sitcom in the US is centered around physics grad students?

Anonymous said...

I made it through about 2 minutes of Big Bang Theory. Absolute, idiotic, laugh-track-filled garbage.

Anonymous said...

Grew up near Burbank and had a lot of family friends and acquaintances involved in TV, which (at that time) seemed more of a concentrated local business than the big screen side, then already in a very Byzantine state of disorganization. It was funny to see the same local street used in a different car chase every other week, or some bank building or alley downtown they particularly liked for some reason. About great shows deprived of glory the tales were common--everything I saw about Brandon Tartikoff had to mention his obsession with the canceled "Buffalo Bill." But the decisions can be fairly screwy beyond a simple ratings calculus and have always been such, certainly during the "we just need to fill 20 hrs a week" meetings. I read once Patty Duke's popular 1960s show wasn't renewed because neither ABC or the producers wanted to pony up for color camera/video equipment; funny that, now that Carson or Seinfeld or Hugh Laurie (!) get the wheelbarrow of greenbacks parked in front of them. I can't fathom why "Suburgatory" or "The Mindy Project" were renewed except as time-fillers--forgettable but not-unprofitable installments you can slot in anywhere. So basically it's shifting to judge shows and singing contests, on the theory we will never run out of desperate singers or pathetic defendants I guess. There is a pervasive unease about occupational eccentricity that you hear in Rob Long's podcast or from pretty much anybody behind the camera who foolishly hoped it would provide for their eventual retirement.

Anonymous said...

I can safely say I'm the funniest Isteve commenter by far.

Arrested Dev- season 1 and 2 unmatched. Funniest shows ever written. Season 3 and Netflix season 4 awful.

Always Sunny- no 3 actors will ever be as similar and as funny as Day, Howerton, and Mcehlenny. Season 5 is untouchable- funniest season of any show ever.

The Office - great with Carrell. Then they let women start writing (Mindy Kaling alert) and show sucked thereafter

The Office UK - watch the episode where Gervais has a dance off for charity against other popular regional mgr. so fn funny.

Modern Family- surprisingly likeable and funny. Getting worse and will be unwatchable in a year.

Seinfeld - greatest sitcom ever - comedy still holds up.

Curbed - it's good been though I never wanted to like it.

Simpsons- seasons 3-10 are America's greatest accomplishment. What they did to Homer after that is tragic.

Get a Life - Chris Elliott is a comic genius.

Everything else sucks donkey dicks.

Dan in DC

Whiskey said...

Krysten Ritter was on Veronica Mars in the second season, since someone mentioned it, and also IIRC "Gilmore Girls" in its final season, basically the Donal Logue of actresses -- talented but the death knell of shows, see "Terriers" or the "Knights of Prosperity."

The reason for the failure of "Apt 23" is easy, the characters are not immediately likeable. Seinfeld had the same problem, in 1989, as a summer replacement show. It did poorly, but Tartikoff kept it around for two more years believing it would take off.

Difficult characters that are not immediately likeable can either finally click after the writers dial in things to make them more likeable but retaining edge; or fail completely.

See "Buffalo Bill" and particularly, "the Slap Maxwell Show."

That's why "Apt 23" failed -- too much edge, not enough schmaltz. Audiences are impatient and there are no execs with enough leash to give shows that long run before the writers can find the voice that connects.

As for Big Bang Theory, it is there for women (the vast majority, 85% or so) viewers to laugh at the guys. Yes lead Jim Parsons is openly gay. Imagine the same show with say, Damien Lewis and Donal Logue from "Life" and you'd get a different dynamic, the women would be insane not to snap those guys up.

Most dramas are women-bait, wounded bad boys like say, Jonny Lee Miller's Sherlock Holmes in Elementary, to out and out monsters like Dexter or Walter White in Breaking Bad. Ala "Chicks Dig Chechens."

Sitcoms are basically laughing at fat people ("Mike and Molly") or nerdy guys or laughable womanizers (Charlie Sheen) or clueless dot-com millionaires (Ashton Kutcher). They allow the female audience to feel superior; whereas dramas turn them on.

TV is important because even with audience fragmentation it is the one unifying institution, for better and worse, in America. It sets the tone for cultural attitudes for everything. From gays to say, electing a Black President.

heartiste said...

Some of these commenters need to lighten up. Apt 23 is/was funny. Better than most sitcoms. And the two chick leads are serious cutie pies.

Parks & Rec used to be funny, but went full-on libtard in the last season. New Girl is occasionally fresh and damn me to highbrow hell but I dig Deschanel's overwrought hipster quirk. Again, helps that she's easy on the eyes.

BBT's laugh track is annoying, and actually ruins some of the better jokes.

Seinfeld was the funniest sitcom in TV history, no disputing it. Interestingly, its audience is also the most sex-divided. I've yet to meet a girl who really liked Seinfeld (most tolerate it, or don't get it), but almost every man I know loved the show. There's a phd thesis just waiting to be written about that peculiarity. My guess: Seinfeld assiduously avoided sap and heady relationship tangents, two things which women love love love in their entertainment. Also, every woman I've talked to about the show hated George with a passion. One guess why that might be.

Anonymous said...

" Clyde said...
Are you going to review the Jackie Robinson movie?"

Yes, 2 word review.... Shit sandwich.

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

I'm amazed at the variety of opinions here. It just goes to show that TV shows really do have their niche audiences.

I liked Seinfeld when it was new, but (to my surprise) I find it completely unwatchable now. Unbearable. Anyone else have that reaction?

Space Ghost said...

de gusty bus:

Care to share what you consider to be good American sitcoms, from any era? I agree with some of your assessments but I can't believe you dismissed Always Sunny with a simple "uh, what".

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Since nothing I like, other than Iron Man movies,"

Help.

Mr Lomez said...

Surprised no one has mentioned Louis CK's show "Louis."

He'll occasionally bend over backwards to prove he's "one of the good whites," which can be grating, but all in all this is as funny and aesthetically interesting a show as I've seen since Seinfeld. The episode in which he reunites with an old, depressed friend played by Doug Stanhope, borders on Art--no small feat for a 30 minute cable show that largely revolves around CK's masturbation habits.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

3's company and sanford & son were best.

you can't top this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qzRSU2NWmE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=30n8AZd9mi4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMZVl2RiQvM

Dave Pinsen said...

New Girl actually isn't terrible, and as Heartiste says, it helps a lot that Zooey Deschanel is so easy on the eyes.

Re Louis C.K.'s show Mr. Lomez asks about:

It's creative and sometimes surprising (e.g., the decapitation), but it's usually not funny. It's like post-funny. Which is a little odd, considering that his stand-up is quite funny.

He also recast the part of his ex-wife with a black actress, while keeping the white actors who play his kids, which was a little odd.

Fun said...

Apartment 23 might have survived if it wasn't on a major network.

Atomization of viewing audiences has definitely changed TV over the past 10 years, in some cases for the worse, but part of that change is an increasing demand for "prestige" series, most noticeably cable dramas. There are also some good comedies here and there, but humor is mainly a matter of personal taste so your mileage may vary.

SWPL-type audiences are more discerning about the TV they watch. Many of the shows they like completely rely on patronage from a tiny, dedicated audience and the desire of the parent network to have prestige series. They have large budgets. They attract directors, writers, and actors who would otherwise be in film. They are nearly immune to terrible ratings and their creators don't deal with much executive meddling. Mad Men and Girls are good examples of the curated shows phenomenon. Nobody watches these shows besides critics and a small subset of fans yet the former example is five seasons deep right now.

Prestige-focus has seeped down into networks as well. For instance, NBC's Thursday comedy block from mid-2000s to 2010 consisted of looow-rated (minus The Office) critically acclaimed shows.

Anonymous said...

Dammit! Forgot King of the Hill. That's a top 5 sitcom of all time and there's never been a better character than Cotton Hill, he killed fiddy men by the way.

Dan in DC

Anonymous said...

Having lived outside the USA for many years, I've almost completely lost touch with American pop culture. I now try to catch up a bit when I'm on airplanes, so I've watched a few episodes of Big Bang Theory. I found it remarkably like sitcoms I grew up with in the 70s and 80s. I don't quite know how to explain it; its relatively slow pacing and obvious joke set-ups gave me a nostalgic vibe.

My wife and I do occasionally watch American TV crime dramas such as CSI, and there it seems to me the quality is waaay above the analogous shows (e.g. Quincy!) that I grew up with.

I wonder if the exorbitant sums that needed to be paid out to the casts of Seinfeld (which I do find funny) and Friends (which makes me contemplate self-mutilation) really did ruin it for other shows, and/or if the satiric power of the Simpsons undermined the development of live sit-coms.

Anonymous said...

Apartment 23 videos aren't available in Canada. Too bad?

Big Bang Theory. No thanks. It's just silly.

DR said...

"Surprised no one has mentioned Louis CK's show "Louis.""

I intentionally didn't include it in my list as I don't think its classifiable as "sitcom". Louis is a brilliant comedy, but its definitely not a situation driven comedy.

Its partially a sketch show (episodes break continuity with each other and sometimes even within the episode). It's also can be highly loaded on the dramatic, personal and emotional to an extent much more than the typical sitcom (like the last season finale).

I wouldn't use the word "dramedy" because that's been applied to way too many shows, many of mediocre quality. Maybe a charcom as in character, rather than situation, driven comedy. Seems like an emerging number of very good shows that "feel" similar in a way that's hard to describe. I'd throw Enlightened, Girls and Wilfred into this group along with Louis.

Dammit! Forgot King of the Hill.

I'd say that animation qualifies as a separate genre from the traditional sitcom (but if we're including it I definitely would have appended Archer to my original list).

Anonymous said...

I don't know how the hell you get time to watch TV AND write your blog AND do the research to write your blog AND watch movies AND read books AND raise your kids. I can almost believe everything else, but TV series take a lot of time to watch.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought that the writers of Two and a Half Men wear WWPGWD bracelets. The context of the show is the squalid world as we know it, but the timing, the set-up, the restraint (OK maybe that's pushing it), and, paradoxically, the excess, is pure Wodehouse.

It's piloried by the intelligentsia (and I use that term in a very inclusive way), but loved by the middlebrow; and it makes boodles every year. That's wodehousian too.

Gilbert P.

guest007 said...

Some points about Big Bang Theory.

1. Characters that have PhDs in Physics are not going to look like male models. BBT, at least, is better at casting than many shows where people with model looks are working as waitresses or school teachers. How many other shows have characters with advanced degrees who appear to really work in their fields and live a life style that seems to match their pay.

2. The female characters are not nerds. That has been expressed in many episodes that the women are not into comics, science fiction, computers, etc.

3, The show is filmed in front of an audience. I do not understand why people dislike shows that have an audience laughing or responding. Is this some hipster thing?

4. Whiskey, you need to back up your claim that BBT is mainly for women. You have previously noted that BBT actually has a sizable male audience. Do you think a show that has an entire episode about Star Trek and Spock is aimed at women?

5. What is interesting in the ratings is that reruns of BBT on Sunday night on TBS get about 5 times the ratings that new episodes of Girls is getting on HBO. And that is with the MSM ignoring BBT while giving Girls a huge push.

Anonymous said...

I was never a fan of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm. I have lots of Jewish friends, so silly, neurotic behaviors are just daily life to me.

Anonymous said...

Whiskey you are leaving out grounded for life which he and uncle eddie managed to keep alive for 5 seasons.

On another note why do you use louge as your disqus avatar.

Anonymous said...

Some comments re: BBT:

Regarding the unrealistic "nerdy" girlfriends that the main characters hook up with, that's only partly true. The female lead is most decidedly un-nerdy, and part of the comedy (which is admittedly hit or miss) is the contrast between her character and the four CalTech geeks. The one that she ends up hooking up with is unsurprisingly the least nerdy of the four (and in fact the two dated for awhile in real life).

By far the most annoying character is the tiny Jewish guy. He is so geeky, repulsive, and loser-ish (he lives at home with his mother), it's impossible to imagine him marrying the brainy, attractive biologist he ends up with. One of the episodes involves his angst over her running into an ex-boyfriend played by 6'7" mulatto former NBA player Rick Fox. This brought the unrealism to new depths. I think this whole scenario is a Woody Allen-esque projection by the show's Jewish creator Chuck Lorre, playing up the stereotypically nerdy Jewish guy's fantasy
of hooking up with a hot Shiksa.

Anonymous said...

Another BBT observation if I may, and this one is Roissy territory. The way the main character - the Aspergery Sheldon - treats his "girlfriend" Amy is paradoxically, totally Alpha. The more derisive and dismissive he is of her, the more attracted to him she becomes. Uncoincidentally, the most intimate moment between the two involves him spanking her.

James Kabala said...

"The show is filmed in front of an audience. I do not understand why people dislike shows that have an audience laughing or responding. Is this some hipster thing?"

In the old days, there were many shows that had fake dubbed-in "laugh tracks." I believe that these were even sometimes used by The Flintstones and other animated cartoons! The anti-laugh-track stigma eventually also became attached to shows that had genuine live audiences, even though logically that makes no sense.

"Then they let women start writing (Mindy Kaling alert) and show sucked thereafter."

Kaling was actually a writer from the beginning and wrote some of the better episodes. Her current show is indeed unwatchable, though (at least, the first five minutes of the pilot were unwatchable, and that was enough for me).

No one has mentioned The Middle, which seemed funny the handful of times I watched and lately seems to be getting grudging respect from critics (grudging because of Patricia Heaton's conservative politics).


Lion of the Blogosphere said...

I no longer trust your judgment since you wrote about how great Idiocracy was; that was one of the worst movies ever made.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

I checked BBT on youtube, and it's got funny lines. But then, most sitcoms do. I mean writers are paid for something.

But do I wanna see schmorks week in and week out? No.

What I wanna see is a sitcom about Chechens. That oughta be a riot.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"I was never a fan of Seinfeld or Curb Your Enthusiasm."

I saw a few and must admit they're brilliantly constructed. But they're still pointless and annoying as hell.

I prefer Mary Tyler Moore show.
We're gonna make it after all.
Brings back memories of early childhood.

department11 said...

+1 to Karen Valentine. Hot!

mel belli said...

It was funny to see the same local street used in a different car chase every other week, or some bank building...

And it's funny to see Bill Kurtis always standing in front of San Francisco City Hall while narrating a murder that took place in Texas or South Carolina.

DR said...

3, The show is filmed in front of an audience. I do not understand why people dislike shows that have an audience laughing or responding. Is this some hipster thing?

Filming in front of an audience is a crutch. The audience laughs and reacts at the point that the writers want us to. You don't have to write strong jokes or evoke emotions, because when other people laugh or gasp humans are instinctually programmed to do the same.

Shows without laugh tracks have to stand on their merit, and once you're used to not being *told* when to laugh you find these cues very annoying. Plus the laugh tracks actually really mess up the natural timing and reduce a lot of the content delivered in the time slot.

Here's BBT with the laugh track removed, look how cringe inducing the whole thing is.

http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=without%20laugh%20track&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&sqi=2&ved=0CDAQtwIwAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DPmLQaTcViOA&ei=iaenUfXsMeTH0wGq_YDYDA&usg=AFQjCNHA0N9Eclt9mMmdn66vVH9KCzpIBw&sig2=clGhjoknbRwdK9wC_kVIzw&bvm=bv.47244034,d.dmQ

What is interesting in the ratings is that reruns of BBT on Sunday night on TBS get about 5 times the ratings that new episodes of Girls is getting on HBO. And that is with the MSM ignoring BBT while giving Girls a huge push.

Monster truck rallies get significantly higher attendance than operas. Tyler Perry movies will gross hundreds of times what Before Midnight will. Kesha is listened to by way more people than Mozart.

It doesn't say anything about a MSM conspiracy. Just that median IQ is 100, and at that level people are not interested in more sophisticated entertainment. Similarly my dog is captivated by flashing lights and sounds on the TV, without regard to character development, pacing, story or acting. Small brains are easily entertained.

Anonymous said...

The US media is foul, poisonous, corrupted and soul-destroying so counter-intuitively the only healthy things to watch are the most corrupted and poisonous shows where *all* the characters are completely amoral as you can treat the whole show as a kind of anti-sermon.

Examples: Always Sunny and Archer.

They're also the funniest.

I'll check out Apt 23 though as i followed Steve's last tip - Bigelow's bomb defusing movie - which i'd given a miss and yes it does sum up a huge chunk of human history in a long shot down a breakfast cereal aisle.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Apartment 23"

I seen a bit and it somehow seems wrong for a sitcom. It's too high-end stylistically.
Sitcoms are basically TV stage dramas. They are supposed to look kinda cheapie.
But Apartment 23 was made with too much care for a genre that is supposed to be simpler.
It's like arch deluxe. Who wants a gourmet burger from MacDonalds?

Anonymous said...

Haven't seen "Last Man Standing" mentioned; good cast including the best Latino actor going. Tim Allen has the huevos to show modern rifles (aka: "assault weapons") & includes his 45 acp as well! The Cabela's knock-off scenes are the funniest for me. The misses enjoys "The Middle" as she hails from Terre Haute & that show is a window into Hoosier small town life. The actors are up to the task, absence of a laugh track is a major plus. The Canuks have a beautiful show- "Heartland" which was shown in the States on Sunday late-night, CBS. A family show that should/could be a top rated show as it is in The Great White North. Naturally, CBS replaced it with old episodes of "Cold Case". Blah.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Chechen sitcom would need no writers. Just let Chechens be themselves.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

I'd like to see Chechen Brady Bunch with Bomb Mom, Demolition Dad, and the Babushka of Boom.

Or better yet, how about a Chechen dad with three Chechen sons marries an Italian mom with three Italian daughters.

And dad is connected to Chechen gangs and mom is connected with a mafia family.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...



http://youtu.be/ahFRIT11-zE?t=3m59s

One of the funniest moments in sitcom history.

"We're gonna take the salami."

http://youtu.be/ahFRIT11-zE?t=10m13s

Anonymous said...

Nerdy women are like the amazons of Greek myth and butt-kicking babes of Hollywood crap. They're completely fictional. I weep for young nerds who might get an idea from shows like this that nerdy women could exist. Some might ruin their lives searching for nerdy women when they should instead be settling for the kind of women who do exist.

There's a smoking-hawt comedienne, named Laurel Coppock, who stars as a Nerdy Amazonian, named "Jen", in a series of Toyota commercials.

Here she is confessing to having been in Marching Band [and thereby getting the better of the Goth chick].

That character she plays in those commercials is a phreaking geek nocturnal-emission fantasy come to life.

Truth said...

"Oh Jeebus, why is a torch being carried for this crud... You're almost as bad as those Veronica Mars geeks paying the cast to make more episodes"

I have to agree, Steve, you champion, "Idiocracy", "Iron Man", "The Big Bang Theory" and this testament to triteness, on a blog created to champion intellect? What smart person watches this stupid shit?

The Big Bang Theory has to be the worst, (along with Idiocracy) because they made any trite, silly low IQ sitcom plot and won the nerds over by mentioning "string theory" or "Hawking" every now and then.

" heartiste said...

Some of these commenters need to lighten up. Apt 23 is/was funny. Better than most sitcoms. And the two chick leads are serious cutie pies."

No, it sucks, and this is 2013 bro, if you want to look at cutie pies we have internet porn.

Space Ghost said...

That character she plays in those commercials is a phreaking geek nocturnal-emission fantasy come to life.

She looks like a younger, prettier Tina Fey.

Glaivester said...

The reason for the failure of "Apt 23" is easy, the characters are not immediately likeable.

You know, when I was in high school, Comedy Central would play syndicated episodes of Absolutely Fabulous. After watching a few, I had the same reaction, that I could not stand the show because I didn't care about any of the characters.

I think very few sitcoms have been able to improve upon Newhart (the one set in Vermont).

Anonymous said...

Ive not seen this Apt 23 thing but it does sound, superficially, a bit like something else: 2 Broke Girls. I've barely seen that either, though it does feature Jennifer Coolidge and I have to admit she does things for me.

Whitey Whiteman III said...


Not really sitcoms, but a lot of the nerd/niche cartoons on Adult Swim are great.

Sealab 2020

Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Frisky Dingo (better than 1st two season of Arrested Development)

Metalocalypse

Dsgntd_Plyr said...

I liked "Apt 23," but not as much as "Happy Endings." Which was ABC's version of Fox's "New Girl." Those two shows are so similar that the original "Black Friend" on "New Girl's" pilot was played by Damon Wayans Jr, before he left to play the same role on "Happy Endings."

Steve, since you don't have cable get your son to illegally download "Girls" and its male counterpart "Workaholics," via a torrent.

pat said...

When I was in graduate school the OD professor kept making references to something called "The Mary Tyler Moore Show". I'd never heard of it but I tried it and liked it.

That could never happen today.

Everybody watched "60 Minutes" and discussed it around the water fountain too. Again impossible today. When there are 500 hundred channels available and all of them launch their own original series the odds that any other random person has seen what you saw becomes infinitesimal.

HBO used to be the only cable network that created original series. Now not only every cable channel have their own series but Roku (an electronic gadget) does too.

Indeed I've been working myself to establish my own TV-Internet series starring me. A camera, a green screen, a computer, some virtual sets and a lot of hutzpah and Bob's Your Uncle.

It sounds odd now but I think I'm a pioneer not a weirdo. Blogs are yesterday's news.

Albertosaurus

James Kabala said...

"That character she plays in those commercials is a phreaking geek nocturnal-emission fantasy come to life."

I don't know what you're talking about; most of those ads focus on the eccentric customers with Jan as a straight woman of no discernible personality.

Melendwyr said...

I dislike TBBT because it's entirely founded on mocking and belittling nerd/geek culture.

They're not 'laughing with', they're 'laughing at'. I don't see why I should devote my valuable eyeball time to being laughed at, poorly.

hartisan said...

That Laurell Coppock person/thing is not attractive at all. She looks like a Transylvanian gypsy who puts a hex on the winsome young lovers in a CW show.

homina³ said...

To the person who asked (what is an example of a decent Yank sitcom, or whatever)-- The correct answer was, "I Dream of Jeannie"

Anonymous said...

JESUS H CHRIST.

We're talking NERD fantasies here.

Not Leonardo DiCaprio's publicity agent's idea of what DiCaprio's next beard should look like.

JESUS H CHRIST.

Laurel Pollock is phreaking gorgeous.

You crouching-in-the-closet pumping-iron-obsessed andro-testosterone-shooting jock ph@gs need to go the heck back over to Andrew Sullivan's blog.

And turn in your nerd cards at the front desk on your way out.

Nelson Muntz said...

DiCaprio's next "beard," ha ha

Leo makes even Ryan Gosling look offhandedly innately macho...