This week, as the rest of the world watches feats of human awesomeness in the London Olympics, TV reporters have been watching feats of human idiocy at the Television Critics Association press tour in L.A.
Sure, there have been some highlights. (Dexter could be renewed indefinitely? Tell us more.) But most of TCA involves panels of celebrities and showrunners rolling out new fall programming -- 65 percent of which is so utterly terrible that they won't survive beyond a single season.
This fall's debuts sound even more laughable than we've grown to expect. Did you know that someone gave Dharma from Dharma & Greg another show? Or that Dane Cook is a TV actor now? Or that some people still think monkeys are funny?
Bill Pullman and Jenna Elfman (yes, that's Dharma) star as President and First Lady Gilchrist in this comedy about family life in the White House. There's also Josh Gad -- who, on the up side, starred in the very funny Book of Mormon, but on the down side appears to be channeling a poor man's Jack Black -- as a grown-up son who's forced to move back in with the family. (Uh, Mr. President? You're rich, remember? Send the kid overseas and be done with it.) NBC's calling it Modern Family meets The West Wing. We're calling it, well, not that.
Hey, it's Justin Kirk! He's so funny on Weeds! Surely his new show will be a success!
...unless they give him a monkey. A monkey who's billed above more than half the cast. I mean, it's a real coup for Crystal, but if you're, say, Tyler Labine, this is probably even worse than that time you starred alongside Ryan Gosling.
"We need a show for the kids of today," CBS execs said. "Something for the youngsters, with their Skrillex and their Axe body spray and their tampons soaked in vodka. Y'know what the kids love? Groupon. I've got it -- we'll make a show about youngsters who work at Groupon. We'll call it Friend Me, because that's what the kids say. Hey, what's McLovin doing these days?"
Reba McIntyre is back with
, in which she plays a country music star starting over in her ex-husband's Malibu mansion. It's California, so there are pot jokes, and gay stereotypes, and all the rest of stereotypes designed to appeal to stereotypical conservative Midwesterners. Run, Lily Tomlin! It's a trap!
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Oh for fuck's sake, they put Dane Cook on TV. He plays a shock jock (because he's so edgy, of course) coupled with -- and this is a direct quote -- "a chipper NPR feminist" named Stella Hoobler.
Quick, name a network TV show that's portrayed feminism fairly! (The West Wing doesn't count; we mentioned it already.) Yeah, we had trouble too. And we're guessing, based on a) Dane Cook, b) the inevitability of some awful "Stella Boobler" pun, and c) the fact that in the clip above, Stella's mere insistence on doing her job is enough to identify her as a feminist, Next Caller won't be improving that track record.