{May 1, 2012}   Shows I Can’t Stand, But Watch Anyways

1) Body of Proof –

From the very first episode I got the impression that this show was going to be one of those series that featured a arrogant, cocky, personality who has no realistic reason for being cocky and yet never finds redemption. I am into episode 20 and I have not seen evidence to the contrary. First, the lead character Megan Hunt, killed a patient while performing neurosurgery with a nerve condition that caused her hand to shake. Her husband left her and took full custody of their daughter. This didn’t even make sense. What judge in their right mind would take custody away from a parent for medical malpractice? If it was that serious she would have been facing criminal charges and jail time. Rarely, if ever is a person’s professional mistakes used as a determinate in custody matters, especially if it’s the mother in question (hard fact, there is a different standard for women in custody cases). However, even with the loss of a relationship with her daughter she never shows remorse and she never even considers the fact that she is wrong.

Beyond my disdain for the main character, the writing takes awkward turns. It’s only a matter of time before the show goes under because there is nothing in the writing that makes you want to connect with the characters. The only show that has ever been able to successfully pull off a profession-focused storyline without involving the personal lives of the characters is the Law and Order series and this AIN’T that series. No where close. This show fluctuates between focusing the story on the in office relationships and shining a spotlight on the personal lives. It doesn’t work. Because of the schizophrenic storyline focus the audience doesn’t have a chance to become attached to any portion of the characters’ lives. At the beginning of the season they came close to creating a bond by showing the home life of Megan’s daughter, Lacy, with the ex-husband. Yet the writers removed him with a random job offer in California that he eventually didn’t take anyways. Yet somehow Megan still took custody of Lacey.

With that relationship scenario destroyed, the writers created a romance between Megan’s partner, Peter, and driver for the medical examiner’s office named Dani. That relationship showed potential to ignite the show and create an investment. Yet Dani died in a random epidemic that took up two episodes and was completely unrealistic. Megan, the neurosurgeon, all of a sudden became a pathologist and outdid the most skilled pathologists in the country because she did a pathology internship once upon a time. Let me tell you that alone is unrealistic. The amount of time it takes to garner medical credentials and specialties of any sort takes an entire career. Yet in this show Dr. Hunt not only is a neurosurgeon she also has above average knowledge in other specialties that would rarely overlap with neurology. Those two episodes were probably intended to boost ratings but they were a nail in the coffin for me. The magnitude of the epidemic that they supposedly suppressed would have changed the title wave of the country and yet afterwards it’s business as usual.

So why do I keep watching? Honestly they have actors I enjoy so I keep watching hoping the show will find it’s groove. But I can tell there is no chemistry on set.

Just yesterday I was catching up on my Bones. Talk about a show that has jumped the shark during it’s time. But I keep watching. Why? Because they took the time  to develop the characters and make me invested in them. There is also a clear chemistry on the set. How many shows have it’s original core cast after all these years? I mean yes, the interns have switched so many times the shear inconsistency has become apart of the storyline, but the characters we care about remain. Even Dr. Soroyan. She’s not an original, but she has become a fixture (by the way, I think they could have done so much more with her character). Even she has an established place on the show. Body of Proof missed these vital steps in it’s first season. There is too much movement in the line up and not enough depth in the characters. Maybe I’ll finish the season out, just to see if they can get their footing 😉

2) Tracy Ullman’s State of the Union – It’s not that I actually can’t stand this show, it’s just that I don’t think it achieved what it was supposed to achieve. Now some may think this is a mute point because it isn’t even on the air anymore, but the entire series is on HULU, which is becoming a primary source of entertainment media for people, so it deserves mentioning.

The humor is British in many ways, meaning it vacillates between slapstick and dry humor, yet the topics are American. The show probably would have been more effective had an American comedienne been at the helm because no one likes being laughed at by an outsider. The writing wasn’t always great, but it’s never awful which is an amazing feat for a comedy sketch show. It’s extremely difficult to be funny ALL of the time.

That being said, I am in love with Tracy Ullman. She is officially on my list of unsung artists. At this very moment I can’t think of another comedic artist with a comparable combination of wit, talent, and range. I didn’t laugh out loud with every joke (actually with most of the jokes), but I watched in awe the entire first season. I was simply impressed with Ullman. How she could take on the persona of so many varied personalities and celebrities and actually do them justice just amazed me. That woman is extremely talented! She went from Arianna Huffington to David Beckum to Black TSA employee (my favorite) and portrayed them all with poise. They were all entertaining. I’m not going to lie, I appreciated the sistah girl character. I thought she was funny without being offensive and that is rare breed when white people mimick/emmulate black people.

Also her satire is also poignant. The writing raises questions about America’s value system and how we represent ourselves to the world. That alone is reason enough to watch her show.

3) Secret Life of the American Teenager

I don’t know if I have mentioned this before by I have graduate level training in media and communication, thus my fascination. When I watched the first few episodes of Secret Life I recognized immediately that it was entertainment education programming. What that means is that the intent of the show is to convey a specific message on a specific topic week after week. In the case of this show, sexual health. So the first season was filled with PSA -type monologues and diatribes about abstinence and safe sex. In order for the show to be officially deemed entertainment education it has to hit certain facts and warnings, it can’t just mention a topic and move on. Thus, I forgave the sometimes corny storyline, because there was a point.

I would say after season 2 the show can no longer truly count as entertainment education, but now is just a teenage soap opera. However, the story lines and the acting, believe it or not have actually gotten worse. Every week, I am in awe that I actually watch this dribble. To the show’s credit they are using real teenagers to portray the roles, but this is no Degrassi. It’s apparent that they hired a bunch of models to act, which just doesn’t work. The story lines are pathetic, I am pretty sure they have undid almost every lesson they tried to instill during the first season. I blame the executives!

I saw the actor who plays Jake in a guest role on another show and I was floored by how much I did NOT hate him. On the Secret Life, I cringe every time opens his mouth. I can’t stand that kid as an actor. Now after realizing that he may not be as bad as I thought (he’s still not good though), I have refocused my blame to the directors and writers of the show. They are clueless on the conversations of teenagers and they make the parents look like idiots. I mean really, what kind of derilects do you have running this town? No wonder the kids are getting pregnant.

My biggest issue with the show is that they make pregnancy seem like the worst thing out there. I mean it is awful, but sex has so many other consequences like, I don’t know, AIDS. I think it sends the wrong message to teens. They may be on the lookout to protect themselves from pregnancy, and never consider that they could get a life changing disease. I mean, teenagers, even logically thinking teenagers, think that they are invincible. Pregnancy almost seems romantic, so it’s not that scary. But a disease, now that should be warned about, because teens are convinced it won’t happen to them.


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