19 September 2006

The Retards Convention, or: New TV

Did I mention we got DVR? We did, and I heart it. But if you also have DVR, or like needlessly spending more for Tivo, or, like my freak intern, you tape shows, and haven't watched your Monday premieres, be careful, cause here there be spoilarrrs.* But only really for The Class, which is a lame show, so don't worry. Whether last night's theme was Theatre Actors on TV, or Theatre Actors are Retards, it was a triumphant night. Triumphantly lame, but do we expect anything else from new network TV? Of course not, chicken cutlets. So here we go, in reverse order of watching:

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip
. (NY Theatre Actor Sightings: Donna Murphy, Sarah Paulson, Michael Stuhlbarg, and, in spirit, James Urbaniak, who was up for Nate Corddry's role. NY Theatre Actor Who's, Unsurprisingly, the Best Thing About the Show: Michael Stuhlbarg - so neat to see him be mean and aggressive, in contrast to the heartbreakingly gentle stuff he does on stage, and his incredibly quiet off-stage self. ) I heart The West Wing. I heart Aaron Sorkin. I heart Bradley Whitford. (Me to Kate, on how to spot my "boyfriend" when he made his entrance on the show: "He's the one whose hairline starts in the middle of his head." Be still my heart.) But this was... um... bleh. The patented West Wing Walking Through Hallways shots are much more dizzying when the set's a messy TV studio and not a pristine White House. Snuffy's music is still manipulative. (And gay.) Timothy Busfield isn't nearly as much fun without an Allison Janney and a whole lotta sexual tension. (Though he was still sweet.) Amanda Peet looks prettier than I've ever seen her, but all of her acting seems to be about making the slightly-squinty Pretty Face. And Josh does coke??? It all just wasn't that great. The zingers weren't so zingy, and the Moral Speechifying came way too early. What about CJ falling off a treadmill? That's how you start a pilot. Sure, things might pick up once we get out of all the pilotty setting-up, but I don't have high hopes. A replacement for The West Wing this is not.

The Class. (NY Theatre Actor Sightings: Jesse Tyler Ferguson (you know, the guy who should've been nominated for a Tony instead of the other guy), Heather Goldenhersh (who I totally didn't recognize in the insane Grand Central subway ads), Jason Ritter. NY Theatre Actor Who's, Unsurprisingly, the Best Thing About the Show: JTF. Duh. Yes, it's Leaf Coneybear in slightly more tame clothing and with a glass of wine, but still.) One: Why does Heather Goldenhersh talk like she's retarded? Two: Do people who don't know JTF's stage work think he talks like a retard, too? Choice living room quote of the night: "Jesse Tyler Ferguson and Heather Goldenhersh? It's like a fucking retards convention." And then they kiss! One: JTF kissed a girl! Two: HG looks like a poor man's Amelie in the jaunty hat. Three: This show really sucks and, not to hate on HG, who I'm sure is lovely and is probably very talented, JTF is the only good thing about it.

To review: The best thing about Studio 60 is Michael Stuhlbarg, who won a Tony for playing Billy Crudup's retarded brother in The Pillowman, the best thing about The Class is Jesse Tyler Ferguson who should have been nominated for a Tony for playing the not-retarded-but-you-could-have-fooled-me Leaf Coneybear in Spelling Bee, and Heather Goldenhersh just talks like a retard, and will she get up from under that car?

*Yes, Talk Like a Pirate Day is kinda gay. But when you spend two years of college singing sea shanties like you're on a fucking whaler, you earn your proverbial sea legs. And I'm really just observing the day by listening to lots of Great Big Sea, and trying to remember the words (okay, words and melody) to a single freaking shanty.


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