Friday, October 03, 2003

The idiot box
Saw America's 'Must-See TV' last night: 'Friends' has a black character now. Guess the producers read all the criticism that these characters had lived a decade in an all-white New York. 'Scrubs' is good - gimmicky and quirky like David E. Kelley's comedies, except it's funny, and the blonde playing one of the young doctors is adorable. (The older supporting characters are all funnier.) 'Will and Grace' still has some wit and style, but I don't see how on earth Debra Messing got an Emmy. Mannequins could play Will and Grace with comical Karen and Jack acting in circles around them. Made myself sit through 'Coupling' and remembered hearing the script the first time in the British original. Without the veneer of British actors and characters with some personality (however undesirable), American viewers can see it for what it is: a stupider, smuttier, more vicious version of 'Friends'. No, thanks. (What redeeming qualities there are in 'Friends' and 'Will and Grace' - besides the styles and some of 'W & G's dialogue - are that for all the hip immorality on the edges they are really conventional romances*: 'W & G' is just that only with a lot of gay jokes thrown in.) 'ER' is pretty good but the three 'Law and Order' series are the best. (Best this week: a murder story with a Jayson Blair clone, in which Dworkin the world's greatest annoying brilliant lawyer blasts affirmative action.)

*The law of God is written on the heart of every man, and so even today's dumbed-down, debased secular people want objectively good things - which is probably why at the end of the day these shows are hits.