Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TV: We Have Comedies ... Tragically

Comedies are coming and going right now, and I have more sadness than happiness and chuckles to report.

The big news, at least here in Canada, is the conclusion to the Corner Gas emporium of laughter. Brent Butt's six-year old show goes out on a high note and will be seen 17 times a day on various Canadian cable channels. Forever. There was at least another year of Dog River hijinks left in the show, but Butt's pulled the plug early enough so that we don't see any padding. Good decision creatively, but it would have been nice to get a few more shows. Ah well.

A trio of recently-released American comedies, show that our neighbours down south have lost most of their comedic muscle. Surviving Suburbia is awful. Beyond awful. Even worse than In the Motherhood. Only slightly better than Roommates. For every guffaw in each of these three shows, there's at least one equivalent cringe-worthy moment. At gunpoint, I might watch Suburbia, because Bob Saget's character does ring a little true with me, being a curmudgeonly old coot myself. But I'd seriously consider telling my torturers whatever they wanted to make the viewing stop. As for the 'baby' inspired In the Motherhood and the Young Adult Friends ripoff that is Roommates, well death appeals. The worst thing about Roommates is that its one of the shows the ABC Family Channel decided was better for broadcasting than The Middleman (sobbing sounds start and continue for three minutes) and the just-cancelled Kyle XY (sobbing at the thought of a 10-episode final season to make way for this trash goes on for a minute). The programmer who made THAT decision hates the viewing public waaaaay worse than any Al Qaeda cleric.

Before closing on these sad notes, I should mention not all is tragic in the world of sitcoms. TNT's charming My Boys is back. Jordano Spiro is lust-inspiring and the scoobie gang has had some cute moments so far. The clunker cliffhanger from last year was resolved quickly and left behind. It's not bend-over funny, but it creates a half-hour of grins and smiles.

And I had a chance to catch New Zealand's Diplomatic Immunity and laughed. A lot. It would translate to Canadian TV in a heart beat. It involves an imaginary island nation in the Pacific and its consulate in New Zealand. The spit-of-sand nation basically lives by subsisting on handouts from New Zealand. And let's say the consular staff is more interested in a good life for them, than for their countrymen. The NZ government sends in a 'controller' type to oversea the wastrel spending by the foreigners. And from there, the laughs grow. Lots of women in skimpy native outfits (bikinis) don't hurt. The Canuck version would probably run a riff on those French islands in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. But I wouldn't mind suddenly adopting a bunch of Polynesian islanders from somewhere in the South Pacific.

Say, close to New Zealand?

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