Tuesday is really turning into quite the night of television. You've got your Reaper, your Boston Legal, your Damages, your Cane, and your Cavemen.
Yeah, that's right, I watched Cavemen last night. There's absolutely nothing wrong with trying out a new television show, even if it has been roundly criticized. What did I think of the show? That's a good question, and one I'm glad that you asked. To be completely and totally fair about it, it's really quite difficult to make a judgment only having seen a single episode, but in this case I feel pretty confident in saying that those who think the show is bad are correct.
It seems that the show goes totally and completely out of its way to be offensive. Are the Nazi jokes about the German boss necessary? How does a show that purports to explore racism and social inequalities decide to go for cheap laughs at bad European accents? Aren't these two things mutually exclusive, or, at the very least, shouldn't they be? If I tell you that everyone is created equal and then turn around and spit on someone because their hair color is different, what does that say about me?
Beyond that, beyond the insanity of what the show may or may not be trying to push as a moral and ethical agenda, it simply isn't funny. There was no joke last night that caused a smile to even begin to creep onto my face. Many sins can be forgiven in the face of funny, but Cavemen never gets there.
The folks who did get there last night reside on a different ABC show, Boston Legal. There was humor in that there show. Alan Shore spent most of the night on a soapbox fighting for sex education in schools, and whether he was right or wrong, the case was presented in an overly simplistic manner. It didn't truly delve into the issues it opened up, it instead went for an easy answer that the producers wanted to push. However, the genius behind the show is that there was enough funny going on in other areas, most notably the Denny Crane/Carl Sack dynamic that the Alan's moralizing could be ignored when it became overbearing. The notion of having these two men, both vying for Shirley's affections, participating in a court case that centers on cock fighting is funny. It's a little easy and obvious, but William Shatner (Crane) and John Larroquette (Sack) pursue it all with such gusto and zeal that the easy joke is completely forgivable.
Speaking of easy jokes, do you know what bugged me about Reaper last night (get it? There were lots of bugs on the show and something bugged me, get it?)? It was the fact that our heroes couldn't figure out that the toaster, last night's vessel for the escaped soul, was supposed to have the short circuit. Did they really think the Devil was going to give them something that wasn't working so early on in their trials? Crawling everywhere did bother me, I had to look twice into my coffee cup this morning to make sure that it was empty.
Lastly, a word or two on Cane. I'm uncomfortable with the dynamic between Frank (Nestor Carbonell) and Alex (Jimmy Smits). These two guys are brothers (via adoption) and brothers-in-law (via marriage), yet they seem to be going at each other in such an incredibly high stakes way that I can't see the two of them ever having the ability to back off and make nice. It is going to take Frank arguing that he was brainwashed by the Samuels family in order for these two guys to make nice, and even then I'm sure that there are going to be residual bad feelings. I understand the desire to ratchet up the tension for dramatic effect, but do they really want to go so far? Where can they go from here?
You know where I can go. I can go and watch much, much more TV tonight. Tune in tomorrow, because we're talking Pushing Daisies, Kitchen Nightmares, and that Bionic Woman lady.