Hump, Marry, Kill: An Ex-Francophile’s Lament

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hmkPhoto: Courtesy of Yahoo; Courtesy of Shine America; Courtesy of Greg Gayne/FOX.
Hump: On Monday, I interviewed John Stamos about his new Yahoo! series, Losing It With John Stamos. At some point during the conversation, he started asking me about my first time, and now I feel like I’ve had a very special talk with Uncle Jesse that was just a few soft-piano-music peals away from being the end of a Full House episode. You know, the one about D.J. losing her virginity to Steve that Standards and Practices didn’t think was quite appropriate to air during ABC’s family-friendly TGIF block.

Marry: I promise I’ll write more about conventional television next week when my beloved Nick Miller returns and the season premieres start en masse (spoiler alert: I have seen the Super Fun Night pilot, and it is not what you want it to be), but this was kind of a slow week, which is why I turned to the web for my comedy fix. After watching a few (okay, all) episodes of Stamos’ web series, I fell further down the Yahoo! video rabbit hole and wound up watching Ghost Ghirls. And, you know what? It’s really funny.

Sure, the premise gets a bit one-note at times: Amanda Lund and Maria Blasucci play ditzy, Inspector Clouseau-esque ghost hunters who — in addition to being terrible at detecting paranormal activity — both sit squarely at the intersection of Manic Pixie Dream Girl and Valley Girl. But the haphazard, fumbling, bumbling ways in which they “solve” mysteries and somehow always meet cute men while doing so is clever and well-executed. The all-star guest lineup, which includes everyone from the aforementioned Jake “Nick Miller” Johnson to Bob “Saul Goodman” Odenkirk, doesn’t hurt, either.

Kill: I hate to say it, but I’m over James Franco — as an actor, at least. I mean, I’ve never taken his History of Hentai doctoral thesis seminar at Oxford**, so I can’t speak to his skills as an academic, but in terms of the profession for which he became famous, it’s getting a little difficult to believe that he’s anything besides “James Franco,” the illusory jack-of-all-trades persona he’s allowed the media to create for him.

Take, for example, the season premiere of The Mindy Project, which FOX posted on Hulu this week. Franco’s stunt casting may have been funny once upon a time on 30 Rock, but it was because he played the overblown version of himself when it was still new and funny. (It also helped that he was in love with a Japanese body pillow, and he was convinced she was cheating on him with the ottoman. Furniture humor = right up my alley.)

On Mindy, Franco plays Dr. Paul Leotard, and if you think his character’s name is ridiculous, then you don’t even need to know his backstory — it’s even worse. But, even with the stupid name, Franco doesn’t need to play Dr. Leotard the exact same way he played “James Franco” in 30 Rock, This Is the End, and The 83rd Academy Awards. And, all of the other characters (namely Mindy) don’t need to talk to him like he’s James Franco (read: fawning over him, remarking on his handsomeness, smile, and general squinty-eyed demeanor).

During the season premiere, I was so overly cognizant of the fact that I was watching a half-hour of television crafted specifically to let James Franco basically be the epitome of his “James Franco” character. If we wanted to watch The Franco Project, we’d tune into his show on Ovation. You’re better than this, Mindy.

**Not a real class...yet.