Photo: Tommy Garcia/FOX; A.M.P.A.S.; Matt Dinerstein/USA Network.
Hump: Let me tell you a sad story about the TV graveyard known as Friday night, and the shows networks try to bury there. If you’ve ever wondered what became of Raising Hope, that’s where you’ll find it — new episodes, really! And, after Hope you can find another little-show-that-could, a mid-season replacement (for, uh, a second episode of Raising Hope) called Enlisted. It’s a clever, funny show about three brothers and the merry band of misfits who surround them on an Army base in Florida.
Why does it work? For the same reason as the other surprise of the season, Trophy Wife: It’s got a lot of heart. And, the majority of that genuine, human emotion comes from youngest brother Randy Hill (Parker Young, formerly of Suburgatory). He’s goofy, tries too hard, and could easily become a buffoon, but he doesn’t. Instead, he plays well off of his surly oldest brother (Geoff Stults) and sarcastic middle one (hi, Chris Lowell, see you in the Veronica Mars movie), rounding out the trio into what could plausibly be a real family. It’s a sweet show that deserves better than the Friday night burn-off FOX is giving it. Set your DVRs, people!
Marry: Cate Blanchett basically wore a black-tie version of Britney Spears’ nude bodysuit from the “Toxic” video to the Oscars, and then shut the place down with an amazing speech about female-centric films while accepting an award for a movie many people no longer want to acknowledge because Woody Allen is behind it. Also, during the course of this awards season, I found myself falling down the rabbit hole known as “Cate Blanchett on Getty Images” on multiple occasions. Seriously, this woman is not a mere mortal; she even looks impeccable at the airport. Do you know how I look at the airport? Haggard and homeless are the main adjectives that spring to mind. Also: Likely to get a pat-down from TSA.
Kill: [WARNING: Potential spoilers ahead.] Okay, so after this week’s heartbreaking episode, I was all ready to pen an impassioned treatise to the How I Met Your Mother creators to please reconsider this road they’ve gone down. I just don’t think I’m emotionally ready to watch my guaranteed comedic relief for making it through yet another Monday end on such a macabre note. I know the “mother is dead” theory has been floating around the Internet since last year, but I just didn’t believe it might possibly be true until this week. Nevertheless, I’ve decided to be an adult and accept whatever Carter Bays and Craig Thomas have chosen for the end of their creation, especially since it’s already been written and filmed.
Now that I’ve worked myself into a state about HIMYM, allow me to discuss a show I care significantly less about: Sirens, which debuted Thursday on USA. It’s the network’s first foray into half-hour sitcoms, adapted by Denis Leary and Bob Fisher (who co-wrote Wedding Crashers) from a British show of the same name. Unfortunately, the British show wasn’t that great to begin with, so the American adaptation suffers an even worse fate, but minus the accents and gratuitous shots of Richard Madden side-butt.
To paint some broad strokes, imagine three paramedics going about their business of rescuing people, but completely devaluing everything they do with a constant stream of penis, masturbation, pornography, and other crass jokes. Listen, I enjoy clever euphemisms as much as the next adult human being, but this is just in-your-face crudity without any heart or genuine emotion to back it up.
None of the characters is fully three-dimensional, but the greatest affront to viewers’ intelligence would have to be Brian (Kevin Bigley). He’s alternately portrayed as a simpleton or latent homosexual. The most clever line he’s given is “That’s right, I used the word ‘prostitute’ as a verb.” You know, as most people who’ve completed the level of education necessary to be a paramedic hopefully know how to do. Maybe it’ll get better but, for now, Sirens is DOA. (Sorry, I had to.)