Tuesday, October 02, 2018

TV Corner


A little TV chatter. The "Insecure" finale was in keeping with the whole season -- fantastic! -- but why the hell are there still only eight episodes?


I took one look at the ad for "Camping" on HBO and was positive it was horrible -- and it sounds like I was totally right. TV Line says it is "a deeply unpleasant viewing experience, led by the single most insufferable TV character in recent memory."


After hearing that the infamous episode of "Too Close for Comfort" where the flamboyant Monroe is raped (presumably by two women) had been removed from syndication, Damian and I actually saw it this week on Logo! While it's an insane topic for a sitcom to try to handle -- this is no "All in the Family" -- we were a little impressed by the sensitivity involved. Yes, there were some cheap laughs. But Ted Knight's Henry (as well as the detective) does not take the crime lightly -- after dancing around the topic for a bit, the R-word is used twice -- which is an interesting juxtaposition against Muriel, Jackie and Sara, who don't really know what to think. ("It just doesn't seem as serious when it happens to a man," Jackie opines.) 


Perhaps the most subversive thing about the whole thing is that in the closing scene, after we meet one of the two attackers -- a portly woman in a blond wig ("the little one") -- the second attacker is revealed very briefly ... and it's clearly a man in drag. (The blonde is credited merely as "Charlene," but no actor is listed for the other woman.) Although the episode says Monroe was raped by "two women," it's hard not to see this casting as another nod to Monroe's obscured sexuality. Sure, who rapes you has nothing to do with your sexuality. But there are just so many times when it's clear the writers are hinting at it -- Monroe's father mysteriously wanted little to do with him because he was such an "odd" boy; his being the only man overprotective Henry trusts alone with his daughters; his constantly longing for Henry's approval, no matter how little he gets it;  his “Tea & Sympathy” affair with Linda; his posing in a gladiator outfit for Henry; his falling for a girl who turns out to be a guy in drag; his twirling around to show Henry his underwear; his hot male roommate; and there were dozens more that I should have been writing down, but you get the picture. 


And last and sort of least, we caught the premiere of "The Cool Kids," featuring an all-star cast playing residents of a seniors community. The show is on Fox but feels VERY TV Land -- and not in a good "Hot in Cleveland" kind of way. The truth is, the premise and the performances are great -- it's just the writing is not quite good enough to make it work. Perhaps it will change -- I did laugh out loud at a couple of Leslie Jordan's lines (I think he's playing himself!) -- but for the most part I just felt a tad embarrassed for a sublime group of actors (which also includes David Alan Grier, Martin Mull and Vicki Lawrence) who deserve -- and come from -- so much better. 

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