Monday, July 09, 2007

I can so quit you, Denis Leary!

Not much on TV this summer except Big Love and Flight of the Conchords, so I’ll refer you to Edward Copeland’s fun essay on why he quit watching Rescue Me and various other shows over the years. We seem to have similar taste, except that I followed Six Feet Under all the way to the end, and I couldn’t even get past the first five or six episodes of 24, thanks to my loathing for the perils of daughter Kim. I dropped Rescue Me last year, soon after the controversy over Denis Leary’s character raping his ex-wife (without that much resistance from her). I could accept that scene, and I could accept the idea that the firefighters on this show are screwed-up guys who are drawn to emotionally unstable women. But I couldn’t get over the predictability of the misogyny on Rescue Me. Why get actresses like Susan Sarandon and Marisa Tomei to guest star if you’re just going to put them in a never-ending parade of crazed nymphomaniacs? In all fairness, I should point out that the male guest stars on Rescue Me are just as horrible as the women, except that they don’t lust after Leary. (The chief’s brother-in-law, for example, should have had a Snidely Whiplash mustache.) But this doesn’t help the show’s predictability problem. Like Copeland, I quit The West Wing when I realized that almost all the dialogue could be assigned at random to any character, and no one would notice the difference. The point of no return for me was episode 49, when Rob Lowe’s character made an impassioned argument for abolishing the penny and Bradley Whitford’s character made fun of him for caring so much about something so trivial. By the next day, I forgot which character said what, since everyone on this show alternated between obsessing over minor things and making fun of another character for obsessing over minor things. NYPD Blue ended for me when Sipowicz’s wife was killed by a stray bullet, apparently just because the actress who played her decided to leave the show. (Just recast her!) I sprang Oz loose after Schillinger had Beecher’s son murdered and I realized the show was just a live-action version of Itchy and Scratchy. And Law and Order was dismissed when Angie Harmon became the pin-up assistant DA. My divorces from sit-coms have been more amicable, though. When they get too repetitive (Cheers, Everybody Loves Raymond), I just watch them less often. Things that make me laugh are too rare and valuable to just throw away.

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