Fall TV Preview: CBS Celebrates Mother’s Day?

josh-radnor

If I was excited about tonight’s new and returning TV shows, I might start this article by writing “Happy Mother’s Day, everyone!”

Tonight CBS is doubling down with mom-themed shows. There’s the old standby How I Met Your Mother beginning its final season, and the brand new Mom setting sail on its maiden voyage.

As was the case last week, we’ve reviewed the potential of both shows for you below. I hate spoilers as much as the next guy, but I’ll at least tell you that you probably won’t be sprinting to your nearest remote control to add these shows to your DVR list before they air tonight.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that later in the week there will be some legitimately interesting shows to review. Until then, enjoy the live-audience programming that tens of millions of people apparently love.

New Show

Mom

When & Where: 9:30pm on CBS

What: A family sitcom about a recovering alcoholic single mom who has a mom of her own who’s also an alcoholic/bad influence. It feels like the mother-daughter version of Two Broke Girls (a comparison you’d only understand if you currently watch that horrific CBS show, which starts back up tonight…but we won’t be reviewing it because once again, it’s terrible).

Who: Anna Faris plays the lead role, and Allison Janney plays her mom. And Badger from Breaking Bad plays the father of Anna Faris’ daughter.

Ross’s Take: Pass. I know there’s going to be an audience for this show because it comes from the Chuck Lorre/CBS factory (together they’ve created Two and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and Mike & Molly, all current CBS hits). So if you’re a fan of those other shows, you’ll probably want to check out Mom. But other than The Big Bang Theory, I can’t stand the live-audience sitcoms. The humor is…unintelligent? nonexistent? stuff that I might have found funny 10 years ago? You know how it goes…there are people whose sense of humor gravitates towards things like Arrested Development and Parks & Recreation, and then there are people who get their comedy rocks off to the dull CBS shows of the world. It’s not wrong of you to like these shows. It just means you’re less educated than the rest of us.

I give this show a 1 out of 5, but like all of the shows in my previews, I’ll watch the first episode and recalibrate if I have to.

Julie’s Take: The trailer didn’t make me laugh and couldn’t even keep my attention. I give it a 2 out of 5, so I’m still giving it a chance. And I don’t want to sound like a mean person because I’m sure Anna Faris is a good person and funny, but I just don’t find her funny at all.

(I can attest to the fact that this is the first TV trailer out of all the previews we’ve done where she walked away in the middle. And not even to do something more interesting…she went to straighten her hair rather than finish watching.)

Returning Show

How I Met Your Mother

When & Where: 8:00pm on CBS

What: A sitcom that centers around five friends living in New York in their early 30s, with a specific focus on Ted Mosby’s never-ending search for his soulmate.

Who: Main characters are played by Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and Jason Segel. The other two main actors are apparently terrible and you wouldn’t have seen them in anything else.

Ross’s Take: I already poured my heart out in August about the most troubling aspect of this show: that the stakes of whiney douchebag Ted finding his true love aren’t high enough to keep me invested as the show continually strings us along to that fateful meeting between him and the future mother. And for a show that used to be genuinely funny, it’s become genuinely unfunny. And let’s face it, if you’ve never watched this show before today, you’re not going to start now. Too many inside jokes and humor that’s derived from previous episodes. And if you have watched every episode to this point, my negative review probably isn’t going to sway you. But I won’t back down from my stance in that August article that after watching the first eight years of this show, I’m quitting with only 20 episodes left.

Julie’s Take: I hate that show but I am gonna watch it for sure. I would not miss it. I give it a 4.5 out of 5 in that I’m definitely going to watch it, but I give it only a 2.5 out of 5 for how much I actually like it.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a handful of shows that might actually have promise. Stay tuned.

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Comparing The Dramatic Payoffs of Two TV Shows That Don’t Belong In The Same Sentence

ted mosby vs walter white 1

SPOILER ALERT!

(Though I doubt there’s anybody out there who plans to watch Breaking Bad and hasn’t caught up yet. That would just be stupid.)

This could be the most unnecessary commentary in the history of the written word.

When the epic confrontation in the garage happened on Breaking Bad this past Sunday, I was so pissed. Not because I was unhappy with what I was seeing, but because it immediately made me think of a significantly inferior show, How I Met Your Mother.

Let me explain.

When Breaking Bad took less than one full episode to go from Hank’s realization regarding Walter White as Heisenberg to the two men coming face-to-face in an incredible showdown, it was one of the most surprising decisions in the history of television for multiple reasons. Think about how many shows, both past and present, would string the audience along for a handful of episodes (or perhaps an entire season) before finally allowing that one-on-one sniff-out in Hank’s garage to happen.

We’re talking about a show with the highest of high stakes—a meth kingpin who happens to be dying from cancer, a man who has killed countless people and destroyed even more lives, a man on the verge of being found out by his DEA Agent brother-in-law—and they gave us the biggest payoff in the history of the show less than one episode after they put the setup in place.

About three months ago I informed my girlfriend that I would not be watching the ninth and (thank god) final season of How I Met Your Mother this fall. There’s really nothing redeeming about it at this point, and it’s been that way for a while. I was holding on because, hey, we needed to find out who this mother was. The person the entire show was building up to for 184 episodes. And when they finally revealed her for all of six seconds last May, no one gave a shit because she was a brand new character that had no effect on the main character’s life up to that point.

So to recap, a show with the highest stakes possible took less than one episode to go from setup to payoff on the biggest confrontation in its history.

And a show about a whiny douche living in New York whose only problem is not being able to find his fairy tale love-at-first-sight future wife has taken eight years to go from setup to payoff, and it was the least impactful reveal in TV history.

Hey it could be worse. You could invest five years in Lost and end up getting no legitimate answers from the creators after wasting those 100+ hours of your life.

(I could write about 25,000 words criticizing How I Met Your Mother, like how the main character is the worst of the five regular actors on the show, and how he must be so bad that they completely stopped creating major story lines for him years ago, and how it’s morphed into a story about Barney and Robin, and how they forget to have any storylines revolving around Ted’s love life (presumably what the entire show is supposed to hinge on) for handfuls of episodes at a time. Awful, awful show. But that’s another blog for another day.)

I just wanted to put this in writing so the five people still watching HIMYM could maybe understand why the rest of us quit on this show a while ago. Nobody can pretend to care about Ted Mosby’s search because no one gives a shit if he succeeds or not. I think it’s insane for a dopey sitcom to treat its future revelations the same way dramas with life-or-death stakes do.

I know it’s pretty ridiculous to even compare these two shows. It would be like someone watching the Little League World Series and complaining that those pitchers don’t throw nearly as hard or precise as Matt Harvey, Felix Hernandez and the rest of the major league pitchers. But the contrast in the way the shows decided to deal with their “big reveals” was just striking to me.

And finally, if you’re someone who has watched both Breaking Bad and HIMYM in the past, there’s this legitimately funny seven seconds on YouTube: