This isn't the first time in recent memory it's been necessary to discuss this phenomenon, with mid-November giving us Kendrick Lamar, at the height of his popularity, testing his fame and what he could get away with by being the real-life walk-in music for boxer Adrien Broner. In that example, the Heat Check Committee (HCC), me, deemed his performance "a complete dud." Thankfully for Kendrick, his album was so good that the stunt did little to diminish the force that is K.Dot.
Last night, CBS aired the 2012 People's Choice Awards, the only network-televised awards show to value the opinion of the unwashed masses over the critical and professional cabals who hand over their gilded Preciouses based on inscrutable, insidery criteria like "artistic merit." But here's the thing: The People are often wrong. The People have given us Two and a Half Men, at least three installments of Chipmunks movies, and flickering hope to a Rick Santorum presidential candidacy. And so we've taken it upon ourselves to look at some of the major PCA categories and decide who can keep their statuettes (what do they hand out, anyway? A giant crystal thumbs-up on a Big Mac base?), and which ones need to be redistributed in an attempt to correct any miscarriages of popular justice.
This morning, Grantland brought to your attentionAll-Americans, a upcoming sitcom co-created by Will Sasso and in development at Fox. The pitch, courtesy the Hollywood Reporter: “A half-hour multi camera comedy that centers on a patriotic and conservative Army Ranger [who] comes home after serving 10 years in the Middle East to find that in the last decade, his brother (the only family he has left) has turned into a liberal, skinny-jeans–wearing, anti-establishment street artist who lives in a hipster neighborhood.” Hipster-bashing? How on-trend!
Old Tom Eliot had it wrong: April isn’t the cruelest month, it’s October. As the final blasts of the shofar fade into memory, television’s brightest hopes find themselves adrift in an unfamiliar landscape, dotted with returning giants and buffeted by the cruel winds of fate, audience indifference, and the dreaded over-run of NFL games. And after a sleepy start, this month the 2011 TV season has finally started to stack bodies like Chris and Snoop let loose in an abandoned tenement. First fell The Playboy Club, the victim of a brutal, boring high-heel to the throat. Then Free Agents was sacked and How to Be a Gentlemanlost its duel at ten paces (and two episodes). At the end of the day on Friday, Charlie’s Angels was mercifully dispatched to the afterlife. It’s unclear what’s more damning to the networks: that all four of these heavily hyped newcomers were knocked off before Halloween or that there most likely won’t be a single soul who misses them. (I’m beset by visions of NBC boss Bob Greenblatt trapped in his office, drowning in an avalanche of mailed-in bunny tails like so many low-rent, porny tribbles. I’d make a joke about similar save-our-show campaigns for the other recently deceased but I honestly can’t think of a single memorable moment from any of them.)
The cavalcade of press for Fox’s break-out sitcom The New Girl has, for good reason, focused on said girl herself, Zooey Deschanel. But after a careful, unicorn-free viewing of last night’s second episode — as well as the even better third, airing October 17 — it’s clear that behind every new girl lurk three strong male characters. This is meant as no slight to Deschanel’s performance: Her Jess is a pan-dimensional pixie, a fully-realized comic disaster in a sundress and clogs. But the secret weapon of the show, the ballast that has thus far kept it from tumbling over a candy-colored cliff into insufferable tweeness, has been the performances of Max Greenfield, Jake Johnson, Lamorne Morris, and, briefly, Damon Wayans Jr. as Deschanel’s “why me?”-asking, Y-chromosome-having roommates.