Monday, March 21, 2016

TV: NETFLIX's epic fail

NETFLIX has its first real turkey.

And it's not hard to understand how this happened.


Karen Valentine.

ROOM 222 ran five seasons and she won an Emmy for her performance in the sitcom.  True, her own sitcom follow up, KAREN, lasted only a few months but that didn't hurt her TV career.

Fred Silverman did.

He had a plan.

He didn't really share it.  Nor did he implement it when he took over ABC (1975 to 1978) and then NBC (1978 to 1981).

But it left Karen in a holding position for years.

This isn't the NETFLIX story though.

Christian Slater would be closer to that.

Slater infamously failed starring in an NBC program (MY OWN WORST ENEMY), an ABC program (THE FORGOTTEN), a FOX program (BREAKING IN) and yet another ABC program (MIND GAMES).

From 2008 to 2014, he was given the chance to star in four failed series.

That doesn't happen often.

Generally speaking, two turkeys in a row and the entertainment industry is, at best, leery.

That's a little like the NETFLIX story except for the fact that Slater was a film star, a name.

Maybe Tyler Labine would be a better example?

Tyler Labine has never been a star.

Nor has he ever been mistaken for photogenic or attracitve.


How does he keep working?

It's a question that could easily be asked of Will Arnett.

After his minor role in the critically acclaimed (but little watched) ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT on FOX, it was decided he was a star.

The people of America didn't make that decision, some network honchos did.

And, goodness, were they wrong.

First up was FOX's RUNNING WILDE which only proved he lacked chemistry with females.  Then came (for American audiences) UP ALL NIGHT on NBC.  In season one, the sitcom was hilarious and a hit.  But little Will wasn't happy playing a stay-at-home dad (he wasn't happy with much of anything -- hence the separation from his wife Amy Poehler around this time) and wanted more of the focus on him and not on Christina Applegate and Maya Rudolph.

The show was retooled to feature him more heavily for season two -- which is when the viewers began fleeing.

Having destroyed that show, he next attempted stardom with CBS's hideous THE MILLERS.

Having flopped with a sitcom on three of the four major networks, it was over for him.

All the man-tan in the world -- no matter how generously he applied it -- could cover up the look of failure.

The actor was at best a bit player.

His only real success had come from a series of guest spots on 30 ROCK where he wasn't required to interact with females believably (he was attracted to Alec Baldwin's character) and where he was a smarmy villain which actually allowed his into-the-hand acting to work (he throws lines away, unable to create a character).

Despite all of that, NETFLIX wrongly thought Will Arnett was someone to build a show around.

Hence FLAKED -- their first real disaster.

Eight long, l-o-o-o-n-g episodes that are said to be less than thirty minutes a piece tend to feel like four hours a pop.

Paul Lynde probably couldn't have pulled it off but it does seem the sort of role he'd play -- a vain, self-centered, talkative type.

Will Arnett should be believable in such a role.

Should be.

But he really can't act.

He's never been able to.

His skill is almost good enough to carry a SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE skit -- almost.  Not a series of skits, mind you, just one.

He can deliver lines.

Not convincingly, but he can deliver them.

Always in the same manner.

It's as though he's before a microphone on a stage doing stand up as other actors wander through the club.

Other actors?

The really bad news is Kirstie Alley, Annabeth Gish, Heather Graham, Lina Esco and Christopher Mintz-Plasse.

They are wonderful.

They deliver the goods.

But it's as though they're playing catch and every time they toss to Arnett, he drops the ball.

Will Arnett is not Christan Slater, he's never been a star.

FLAKED should be his last attempt at starring in a sitcom.

He's failed on NBC, on CBS and on FOX.

It's really time to stop wondering where the problem is.

It's with this 46-year-old man (46 in May), with thinning hair and sporting too much foundation, who can't act and can't deliver an audience.

Some idiots at NETFLIX are going to spend years explaining this one -- how -- or even why -- they thought anyone would watch.

But only the out of shape Will Arnett can answer the question as to why he thought anyone needed to see his pudgy body shirtless in so many scenes.

Arnett's the man who's deluded himself that he's attractive when, in fact, he's not.

Arnett's the performer who's deluded himself that he can act when, in reality, he should have gotten an acting coach years ago.

Mainly, Arnett's the mashed potatoes accidentally left out overnight on the table and now needing to be quickly disposed of.

NETFLIX would be smart to do the same with FLAKED.

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