Tuesday, September 26, 2017

TV: Pulled punches and limp comedy

It's being called a 'golden age' but we're just not feeling it.

In fact, we think, in about ten years, many will look back with regret at what could have been.

a new illst

The need to create product has allowed a small sliver of diversity to exist.

But what's been done with it?

Women are funny.  Lucille Ball demonstrated that in the original golden age of television.

Many more women have followed in her footsteps.

But in today's 'golden age,' what do we have to show for it?

Gentle chuckles from the male-dominated VEEP?

Yes, it is male dominated.

Yes, our complaining shamed Julia Louis-Dreyfus and she insisted on female directors -- tokens.  About 16 of the 58 episodes were directed by women.  And, again, note, this only came to be after we publicly shamed Julia who fancies herself the voice of independent womanhood.

She stands at podium's self-bragging about women and the need for women to stick together but she won't even demand that half of the directing spots on her show to to women (she will demand that her useless husband Brad Hall gets a shot at directing).  The same with the writing.

She's a lousy example for women.  A post-menopausal playing at little girl for the men.

What could have been if only she'd owned her power.

But she plays powerless instead and the Emmys reward her for it.

Speaking of the Emmys, why did no one correct Stephen Colbert.

"Unlike the presidency, Emmys go to the winner of the popular vote."

No, they don't.

And everyone present knew it.  Colbert looked like the idiot he is.

If they went by popular vote, grasp that HULU wouldn't have won one award.

It doesn't have enough eligible voters.

The winners are decided by volunteer panels.

It has nothing to do with how many votes are cast by their peers.

Those votes only determine the Emmy nominees.  The actual winners, again, are determined by volunteer panels.

(A practice, readers of this site will remember, we have long opposed.)

BROAD CITY is one of the saddest examples of TV today.

ROTTEN TOMATOES supposedly loves it.

That doesn't mean s**t to us.

We expect to laugh when we watch a funny show, not chuckle.

And two Jewish girls in NYC fumbling around with whimsy honestly doesn't make it for us.

It's a dumb show, it's an insular show, and, most of all, it's just not funny.

BARONESS VON SKETCH SHOW is a little better, but not much.  Most of the laughs from the Canadian-made show (which airs in the US on IFC) come from the moment that went too far, the awkward end of the sketch.

It's rather sad that laughs don't come sooner.

Especially when you factor in England.

In the last three decades alone, women like Catherine Tate, Tracey Ullman, and French and Saunders have excelled in sketch comedy -- hilarous, bust-a-gut sketch comedy.

Reality, in ten years, no one's pointing to BROAD CITY as an example of great comedy -- or even good comedy.

Shows like BROAD CITY go soft and soggy and refuse to punch at the needed targets.

"I'm not just a hole to put it in."

So sniffed Lady Gaga in her infomercial that just started airing on NETFLIX, GAGA: FIVE FEET TWO.

Watching, we longed for a Julie Brown to show up and do a spoof.

There's so much to work with.

This is a self-promotion where even Gaga's grandmother advises her not to be "maudlin."

Too bad she refused to heed the advice.

Gaga, for those who don't know, hoped the MTV awards would jump start ticket sales for her concert tour.  They did not.  Which is why, shortly after the awards, she announced she was canceling the rest of her tour.

That's only one of the many things left out in the infomercial.

Watching her talk about her wardrobe, the need to get back to basics and wear black more often, while sitting with two women and one men, is laughable.

Mainly because Gaga chooses to be topless for this -- for this outdoors segment.

She sports a serious case of Madonna envy and at one point whines that Madonna talked smack about her on TV and not to her face.

How stupid is Gaga?

Madonna said what she said on TV because she was asked about Gaga.

There was nothing pre-planned about the remarks.

Madonna thinks about Madonna.

She probably never realized how disappointing she found Gaga's music until she was asked about it -- and therefore forced to think about it.

While whining for the camera about how unfair she thinks it was for Madonna not to say whatever to her face, does Gaga ever grasp that she's doing what she's griping about?

"Do I look pathetic?" she asks at another point -- and you can practically hear the universe yell, "Yes!"

Some would whine, "She has fibromyalgia!"


It's a disease that effects approximately 5 million Americans.

Of course, most of them can't count on having a roomful of attendants to massage their skin and apply ice.

While receiving one of these 'treatments,' Gaga huffs, "And I don't even know what childbirth will be like."

That's actually a deep thread in the infomercial.

She's constantly telling everyone she's a woman and not a girl.

For example, she says at one point, "I'm just a woman struggling now, instead of a girl."

She offers variations on that statement throughout the special and also shares she wants to be "an old rock and roll woman" one day.

Watching, you're left with the impression that before deciding on FIVE FEET TWO, the working title was VAPID.

When she's not showing her tits or talking about getting stoned in grandma's car, she focuses on herself and, sadly, there's just not enough there to hold the attention.


Lady Gaga suffers from a severe case of Madonna envy.

And no doubt, she hoped FIVE FEET TWO would be her own TRUTH OR DARE.

Like Gaga, Madonna was in her thirties when she made her documentary.

The difference is Madonna had dimensions and complexities.

She also didn't have to try to prove she wasn't a girl.  Madonna was a grown woman long before her thirties.

It's a shame that after five studio albums and at the age of 31, Gaga can't convince the world that she's a woman.

The infomercial is half-assed -- like so much comedy today.  Say what you will about Madonna and TRUTH OR DARE, but they packed a punch.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }