The third annual New York Television Festival is now taking place in the Big Apple. As we did last year, we will review each of the pilots in competition there. This is the fifth set of those reviews.
Last year at about this time I reviewed the children's and educational entries submitted to the NYTVF. Some were good, some were bad, and some where 'how the hell did this get nominated?'. This year, since there were so many comedy DVDs available, I assailed myself with a copy. Because I'm also a masochistic I also decided to pick up the reality/education DVD as well. Needless to say, my head is swimming.
The entries on the comedy DVD that I was sent weren't too bad. Out of the
five that were presented, there was only one that I just had to turn off mid-way
because it was just that bad. Otherwise, they ranged from funny to just white
noise. You can see what I thought after the jump (and you can view the pilots on
our own at MSN)
All images courtesy of the New York Television Festival
Out of all of the entries on the DVD this was the best one. At first, I thought it was a blatant ripoff of The Office that took place amongst the faculty of a public school. The gym teacher was Michael Scott, another teacher was Dwight (he actually drew a Google map, complete with logo, with marker), and yet another teacher was Jim . . . or Pam . . . or both. Then, it got different, as the gym teacher and his pals suddenly gained superpowers. Granted, they were lame superpowers: seeing five seconds into the future, turning on and off novelty lights with the mind, and being able to pull things from five inches away. However, how they learned of the powers and then used them was the funny part. This was the only entry that I laughed out loud at several times, especially towards the end. If they could stay away from the Office images and focus on the misadventures of the teaching trio, this would make a pretty decent network or Comedy Central show.
Sex and the City at the golf course. This was the only entry that had some star power in it with former 7th Heaven actor Jeremy London portraying one guy of a golfing foursome. Actually it was a trio, since their fourth got married and left the green. I guess you could say that it was one of those comedies about the absurdities of life, but I couldn't get into it. Maybe because there was so. much. talking. Other than them swinging their clubs there was very little action, and that just tired me out. I never laughed once or smiled throughout the show.
Now, I'm a fan of the shows on Adult Swim, including those with production values that aren't up to normal network snuff. Saying that, this animated piece of junk would make 12 Ounce Mouse look like a Disney film. The shorts presented were about a group of superheroes, all living in a New York City walk-up, who go through these crazy non-superhero adventures. There was one with the heroes hiding bodies of dead villains, and another that sounded almost like an episode of Amos n' Andy. The production values were bad, the voice-over work sounded like it came from a tape recorder (do they even make those anymore), and they were just not funny at all. Eventually, I turned it off before the show ended.
While not a show that made me laugh, it intrigued me in a disturbing sort of way. Alan Zick is the owner of a 60/40 video store -- 60% regular video, 40% porn. It's probably 60-40 the other way around, but why quibble. The comedy takes place during a typical day, which features regular customers, a new employee, and the Russian mob. What kind of icked me out was Alan's relationships with under-age girls. 'No touchy' he would say to those girls whose 18th birthday was 3-and-a-half years away. Yet, he would be gnashing his teeth at the chance to be closer to them. He looked old enough to be their father. Other than that I actually liked it and felt that it could be a show that ends up on, say, Comedy Central or Showtime.
What She's Having
I was quite surprised by the last offering on the DVD. When I first heard the female voice-over narration, complete with swearing, I thought 'here we go, another Sex and the City'. But, it wasn't like that at all. It was the story of two friends, one married with children and one single without relationship, and their lives. The conversations between these two friends, as well as those with respective family members, reminded me very much of those had on Gilmore Girls. Not the pop culture reference drops per say, but just the tone of the discussions.
I think I liked it because, as a father of four, it hit home the most. The portrayal of the married character's life as a newborn mother was probably one of the most realistic that I've seen. During a scene where she's giving birth to her son she goes 'Did I just poop?'. The doctors assure her she didn't, but a little caption shows she does. You probably wouldn't see that on an episode of Friends! All and all, I was quite satisfied with What She's Having.