The humidity is hovering around 95%, the dew point is up, and the world outside is a cozy wet womb. Mmmm, womb. You know what goes great with womb weather? An Oswald Montecristo!
This latest Oswald Montecristo goes to the people who invented the Oswald Montecristo. Unfortunately, I am in Oswald Montecristo withdrawal, as ABC has YANKED my new all-time-favorite-show-until-something-shiny-catches-my-eye. Rumor has it that there are four more episodes shot, produced, and ready to be aired, and I’m hoping that they’ll pull an Arrested Development and air them all in a mini-marathon, just so I can have one last big hit before going into comedy rehab.
Rusty Spoons to all broadcast network executives! Sadly, my mental list of good comedies is that much shorter, with the passing of the Knights of Prosperity, and my mental list of dead good comedies is that much longer. I also have a mental list of comedies I wouldn’t shake a dead horse at, a list which funnily enough, used to include the ol’ Knights. Which tells me something about book covers, mainly that I should buy the ones advertising Mick Jagger and/or grand larceny. So maybe I should give this Geico caveman thing a chance. I liked Small Wonder back in the day, though I was only 5 or 6 at the time. And 3rd Rock from the Sun was funny enough, though it was helped dramatically by an excellent ensemble cast.
Good acting has bailed out many a television series, but great comedy is a different matter. Great comedy requires some combination of good acting, intelligent writing, well-timed pacing, deep characters, and the unexpected. LIke Arrested Development or the glory days ofThe Simpsons. I don’t know whether I’m eager to see the Simpsons movie or anxious about it, especially considering the meh-ness of this current season. It’s not good when the show that invented “Meh” is now itself “Meh”. I haven’t paid attention to who’s writing the show now, but it seems that they are not so much writing the Simpsons as writing like the Simpsons. They’ve taken all the funny that was a mere byproduct of a lengthy drafting and rewriting process and tried to turn that into a formula for funny, turning surprising sight gag into predictable punch line. Of course, this is all to be expected, given that the Simpsons have been part of our cultural context for the past 18 years, and droves of writers and producers have undoubtedly come through the door and then been put out to stud (or sent to the glue factory) when their racing days are over.
This is what worries me about South Park, which has been up and down the past couple seasons. I feel that they started picking up steam in the 2nd season, really hit their stride in the 3rd season and managed to maintain that satiric excellence up until the 7th season. Now in its 11 season, the show has lost its consistency. Some weeks you can tell when Matt and Trey are interested and other weeks they’re definitely phoning it in. But it’s understandable that a show that's been on for that length of time has struggled to be consistently funny from week to week. And it’s sad when a good show that is funny doesn’t get that chance to decline gradually over the years.