Intensities in Ten Suburbs

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TV Fall ‘07 Season Blitz, Day 3 (Part Two): CBS’s “Return of the Sitcom!” Lineup

Posted by Andrew Unterberger on September 25, 2007

Still not brave enough for Two and a Half Men and Rules of Engagement, sorry

How I Met Your Mother (3rd Season)

(Monday Night, 8-8:30 PM, CBS)

New Cast Members: Mandy Moore, Enrique Iglesias (unclear if either will stick around past premiere, though I sort of doubt it)

Where We’re At Now: Having officially broken up at the end of last season, Robin and Ted attempt to prove to the other how much they’ve moved on, Robin by returning from Argentina with a seize-the-day windsurfing masseur (Iglesias), Ted by hooking up with a rebel girl he meets at Carl’s. Marshall, Lily and Barney spectate.

Thoughts: Not exactly a blast out of the gate–this is very likely to be the make-or-break season for HIMYM, and you’d like to think they’d be bringing out the big guns to start the season. Presence of Iglesias and a very against-type Moore are sort of appreciated, but neither’s given too much to do, and with the show’s three best characters essentially benched for the episode (Barney does his wingman routine, Marshall does his acting-like-a-girl routine, Lily doesn’t do much of anything), the big guns these are most certainly not.

That said, this is still unquestionably the best sitcom on TV. Given so little to work with, NPH continues to swing for the fences and either spawns or re-perpetuates at least a half-dozen more catchphrases before the night is over (“THIS IS SO GOING IN MY BLOG!!” being a personal favorite for mostly obvious reasons). And just in terms of creating its own vision of the rules and politics of single life, which is what HIMYM has always been best at (the Lemon Law, the re-re-return, the highway exit theory, etc.), this ep is a worthy addition to the canon–never before on TV has the battle for post-breakup dignity been portrayed in such an organized, well-articulated fashion, and Robin’s last-second revelation leading to a final declaration of victory is sure to be a season high point.

Still Hot / Worth Sticking With?: Yeah, of course. Tonight won’t sway too many doubters, though, so the show better start upping the ante pretty soon. Getting around to who the titular Mother actually is in the not-too-distant future probably wouldn’t hurt. That or Marshall’s third Barney-slap, either one.

The Big Bang Theory

(Monday Night, 8:30-9:00 PM, CBS)

Starring: Johnny Galecki, Jim Parsons, Kaley Cuoco

Premise: Leonard (Galecki) and Sheldon (Parsons) are nerd roommates with a new neighbor, hot chick Penny (Cuoco). They’re the original Odd Trio!

Thoughts: Does a Nerd Anti-Defemation League exist? No? What about one for Hot Chicks? If not, the call for one has certainly been trumpeted by The Big Bang Theory, easily (well, hopefully) the most insulting TV series to premiere this season. NBC may have crafted a Monday Night lineup specifically designed for geeks, Leonard and Sheldon make NBC’s Chuck and Hiro look like Crockett and Tubbs by comparison–they’re the kind of stock nerd characters that luckily usually get relegated to supporting roles in sub-par teen comedies.

You know, the kind that talk about every situation as if it’s a science experiment (“What’s the protocol for leaving here?” “Well this is an interesting development,” “I really think we should examine the chain of casuality here”), the kind that have DNA models and boards filled with complex math equations casually lying about their apartments, the kind that not only play Klingon Boggle recreationally but also don’t think it weird to disclose this fact to outsiders. Essentially, nerddom at its most egregious and negatively stereotyped–the kind of nerd you at most knew one or two of in High School, but which much of America probably assumes populate the entire sub-culture.

Arguably even more offensive, however, is the Penny character, the kind of stock hot chick character that luckily usually gets relegated to starring roles in middle school-aged masturbation fantasies. You know, the kind that’s always wearing short shorts and has no problem getting naked in your apartment under the slightest of pretexts, the kind that seems to have an eternal patience for nerddom, thinks that anti-social behavior patterns are “so sweet!” and is conveniently never listening (or never comprehending) when you say something insulting or patronizing, the kind that seemingly has nothing better to do than to just stand around not doing much while you and your friends fumble over and experiment with the best way to approach her.

Yuh-huh–if anyone reading this blog knew even one hot chick remotely resembling this description, then congratulations, my friend, for you have officially beaten reality.

Hit Potential?: Would love to give this a “no” with absolute confidence. But even though I can’t quite do that, I can still say that I do believe that at least 75% of America (roughly the percentage of the population to have interacted with either a real-life nerd or hot chick in their lifetime, I figure) will be able to see through it. It’s the other quarter I’m worried about, though, since they probably make up the majority of CBS’s viewership.

Worth Watching?: Fuck no, and a motherfucking pox on creator Chuck Lorre (also the Two and a Half Men mastermind, SHOCKA) and whoever else on CBS’s staff who thought that it was a good idea to even put this on the same night as How I Met Your Mother, much less in the proceeding half hour. I suggest changing the channel before the ending credits to HIMYM start, just to make sure you’re not giving anyone any mixed messages.

3 Responses to “TV Fall ‘07 Season Blitz, Day 3 (Part Two): CBS’s “Return of the Sitcom!” Lineup”

  1. […] TV Fall ?07 Season Blitz, Day 3 (Part Two): CBS?s ?Return of the … And just in terms of creating its own vision of the rules and politics of single life, which is what HIMYM has always been best at (the Lemon Law, the re-re-return, the highway exit theory, etc.), this ep is a worthy addition to the … […]

  2. […] discussions of CBS’s deplorable (and yet instantly renewed–nice knowing you, How I Met Your Mother) […]

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