CBS and its shows are like a package of processed American cheese slices. You know it’s bad for you, but somehow, you find yourself in your kitchen in your underwear at 4 a.m. eating it straight off the cellophane wrapper. It caters to an older demographic with shows that don’t really take many chances. LOTS of shows about crime scenes. Some shows about lawyers, FBI agents and cops, and others about ghosts and . . . math. And they’re all inoffensive and bland. Just like a Kraft single.
We know CSI and its crappy permutations will keep the network going until, ohhhh, at least 2008 or 2009. But once they’re done, once we finally have Jeff Probst drug out into the street and shot, once Jericho is cancelled (again), once Charlie Sheen succumbs to whatever STD he likely has, once Jennifer Love Hewitt goes blind from conjunctivitis contracted from all the mascara and eyelash glue she cakes on for Ghost Whisperer, CBS will be well and truly screwed. But hey, who knows? Maybe by then, the network’s target demographic of grandparents will have died off.
The network had a chance with The Class and How I Met Your Mother (The best sitcom on TV that is not The Office) to really shoot for a younger audience. The Class started off really sit-comy, but then, so did HIMYM. By the end of its first season, it was taking unexpected chances, going against the grain, and letting its characters be mean and darkly sarcastic. It had a long way to go before getting to HIMYM territory, but it was getting there. Instead of sticking with the show like NBC would’ve done, CBS dumped it. And yet, they kept the New Adventures of Old Christine and Rules of Engagement, a show we had managed to forget had ever aired.
Far be it from us to criticize what works – wait. Actually, that’s the entire purpose of our existence! We are not here to praise the status quo. We are here to kill it! So yeah! We’ll say it: CBS’s shows are awful. Horrible. Horrawful. Thank God, we are no longer saddled with King of Queens and Everybody Loves Raymond for they ruin all that is original and exciting about TV. They are the anti-laughter. But CBS doesn’t seem to care. They know the boring, stay-at-home, middle-aged demographic will watch whatever they tell them to watch. Even if it’s 15 hours of CSI followed by the parade of bad-taste that is Two and a Half Men.
Singing casino bigshots, exploited children, a kind-hearted yet sarcastic vampire *cough*Angelripoff*cough*, nerds and a hot girl, and a cuban mafioso. That’s what CBS is bringing to the table this fall. Ladies, snark your engines.
The Big Bang Theory – A bunch of nerds befriend their hot girl neighbour. (Mon., 8:30)
Jess: This show looks like it stepped out of a time capsule from the ’80s. In an age where every other person on Facebook is a self-proclaimed nerd, the decision to market this show to the shrinking non-nerd faction is questionable. Let’s face it, nerds won. They assimilated us all with their magic boxes called computers and their magic tubes called the Internet. Without even seeing the show, I can tell you that one nerd is the painfully shy but sweet kind who will win the girl’s heart in four seasons when he finally removes his glasses. Maybe I’m giving the show too little credit and it will play out the more true to life scenario where our hero languishes in the friend zone forever while not noticing the crush a nerdy female acquaintance has on him. Good times. I mean, bad times. Not that I’d know from personal experience.
Salome: Seems kinda funny, like How I Met Your Mother, but could be annoying like The New Adventures of Old Christine.
Tanis: It’s the Odd Couple X 4. Except they’re geniuses and she works at the Cheesecake Factory. Which is kind of a single entendre if you think about it. Don’t get me wrong, nerds, when properly portrayed, are amazing. Fact: We need more Dwight Schrutes to entertain us. I love Rainn Wilson as Dwight. I firmly believe he goes home at night and drinks a glass of hearty beet juice while watching some Battlestar Galactica and combing the Interwebs to debunk Lost spoilers. I love that. Because that is what we all do. Minus the beet juice. But these guys? They look like they pull off their geek masks and call up their buddy Wilmer Valderrama to go cruisin’ for chicks at Hyde when they’re done filming. Also, with this title and premise, I will be sorely disappointed if some sort of geek orgy doesn’t happen at some point. What, like Johnny Galecki is above that sort of thing? Please!
Kid Nation – Just what it sounds like: CBS gets a passel of children to form their own frontier town with no adults. (Wed., 8 p.m.)
Jess: I’m torn between finding this show’s wild west setting totally charming (I miss Deadwood a lot, okay?) and finding the premise vile and patronizing. I want to take one of these kids aside and advise him in the words of Al Swearengen: “As a base of operations, you cannot beat a fucking saloon.” I would be the world’s worst Big Sister. I’m also tempted to airdrop Marxist literature over the set of Kid Nation 2. Anyone with me? I mean, if people sent several tons of nuts to a network to save a tepid Skeet Ulrich vehicle, we should be able to pull this off.
Tanis: This is what happens when kids stop being kids and start being real. Because nothing is more real than a nation of children which has been decided upon beforehand by adult producers. I picture the female executive from The Simpsons pitching this reality show: “We need something with moxie. And zazz. Something that will tug the ol’ heartstrings. Assuming you have a heart. Let’s thing about the one aspect of humanity that hasn’t been exploited via reality TV: Childhood.” The kids also compete for a real gold star that will pay their college tuition. Or get melted down for gold fronts. Whichever. Question: Why do we need a real-life Lord of the Flies to “see what would happen” in this highly unlikely situation? I mean, unless they eat each other or get dysentery or die trying to ford a too-deep river in a covered wagon, I’m not interested, yo.
Salome: Normally, I’d be all apathetic about this because it’s a reality show and usually, I’ll say I want to watch it but I’ll tune out after the first week. These kids are just so ridiculously sincere that I am drawn to this totally inane, bullshit premise, though.
Cane – Jimmy Smits stars as a cuban mobster involved with sugar cane. (Tues., 10 p.m.)
Tanis: Jimmy Smits wants you to meet his little friend: The sugar cane farmer. Look, CBS. I’m going to level with you. I watched NYPD: Blue for Jimmy Smits’ naked ass, so I’ll probably watch this once or twice because you never know when his pants will just fall right off. But be warned: If you don’t use the episode of The Simpsons where Homer had a pile of sugar he was protecting as a template, I will never watch another second of your programming. In short, I want to hear Jimmy Smits say: “In America, first you get the sugar, then you get the power, then you get the women.” Got it?
Jess: Tell me more about the corn lobby and sugar tariffs, Jimmy Smits! Oh, now you’ve said too much. Seriously. Stop it. Please. The only thing that will get me watching is a CSI Miami crossover. How many packets of Equal do I have to send CBS to make this happen?
Viva Laughlin – Hugh Jackman stars in a “mystery drama with music” about a man whose sole ambition is to run a casino in Laughlin, Nevada. (Sun., 8 p.m.)
Jess: For so many years I’ve waited for something to come fill the Cop Rock shaped hole in my heart. Maybe this is it. Sadly, it only features pre-existing pop songs, rather than originals Randy Newman wrote in his sleep. It’s just not going to be the same.
Salome: Meeeeeeeeh. Way not to try, CBS.
Tanis: The clip I saw had Hugh Jackman dancing around a casino and singing along (badly) to Sympathy For the Devil. The nature of his, uh, game, is certainly what’s puzzlin’ me. How could anyone think he was anything less than 100% heterosexual? Seriously, Wolverine, what were you THINKING? Everybody knows you should wear a blue and yellow bodyhugging leotard with a mask for the big song and dance number!
Moonlight – A vampire becomes a private detective and falls for a mortal woman. (Fri., 9 p.m.)
Tanis: Who’s the undead private dick who’s the sex machine with all the chicks? No. Not Angel. Not Zombie Shaft (though that is a much better premise), no. It’s Mick St. John. I’m serious. That is the name of the P.I. vampire who keeps the streets safe from the undead criminal element. It is every bit as bad as you think it is and then some. Before a female vampire sinks her fangs into our hero’s neck, she says “Til death do us part.” Excuse me, but if you’re a vampire, aren’t you technically undead? It’s lack of attention to details that make shows like this, um, suck. And while I admire what he did for the obligatory psychotic jackass character as a whole on Veronica Mars, Jason Dohring is, I think, a little bit one-note. Also: A scientologist. CBS has to have at least one on their schedule in the fall. I think it’s a deal Les Moonves made with the clams. “Lord Xenu, give me three CSIs and an NCIS of some sort and I will give you one high-profile star.” Then, when they get too old, he replaces them. Like Menudo. Sorry, Leah Remini. Your time was up.
Salome: I really want to like this show. I have a feeling that this is going to bite me in the ass. And no, that pun was not intended.
Jess: This has some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen in a 30 second clip. Somehow they’ve captured the gauzy look of bad Photoshopped fan art. Even better, the protagonist is named Mick St. John. Mick St. John? Why not Porny McFanfic? Rightfully buried in a Friday night timeslot, so you can curl up with a bottle of Wild Turkey and a pint of Cherry Garcia and enjoy a double bill of shame with Ghost Whisperer. I’m not even going to pretend that’s not what i have planned this fall.
That’s it. That’s our preview of the upcoming fall shows. Now you know, dear readers. Forewarned is forearmed, so remember: Friends don’t let friends watch bad TV without some alcohol and a DVD set of Arrested Development to break out in case of emergency. Happy clicking, y’all!