Sunday, November 4, 2007

We’d Like to Give this Sitcom “Back to You”

It seems like the must-see laugh-out-loud sitcom is slowly becoming a rare species. Except for “How I Met Your Mother,” "The Office," and the new “Big Bang Theory,” I rarely watch a sitcom these days and experience anything resembling mirth. Most of them seem like tired versions of older sitcoms thrown together in a blender, and spit out as something new.

A prime example of this is the aptly titled “Back to You.” Because after watching one or two episodes of this new Kelsey Grammer/Patricia Heaton vehicle, you’ll be saying exactly that. Not only is the show not funny, but watching it will give you an incredible feeling of Déjà vu. After all, isn’t Kelsey just playing Frasier with a new job? Instead of a talk show host, he’s now a newscaster? (That’s a big stretch.) And doesn’t it seem like Patricia’s character simply ditched Raymond and his obnoxious relatives to become a single mother?

My point is, I don’t see anything particularly original about this series, which still portrays Grammer’s character as a middle-aged self-absorbed snob looking for love in all the wrong places. I mean, am I missing something here? Is there a subtle character variation that I’m not seeing? If so, I must also be missing how different Heaton’s character is from the constantly put-upon wife she played in “Everybody Loves Raymond.”

It’s like when you go to a thrift shop and pick up a macramé belt from the sixties or a hideous velour shirt from the seventies. They’re so old and familiar, they’ve actually become chic again. I’m not sure if this is what they hoped for with “Back to You.” But the predictable scripts and rehashed scenarios feel like they’ve been gathered from yard sales and bargain basements. Quick and easy to find, but not necessarily satisfying in the long run.

This series would have been much more interesting if Kelsey was a middle-aged pre-op transsexual trying to break into local news, and Patricia was his tough lesbian boss with a heart of gold. Now that would have been worth getting back to you about.


Bill Samuels said...

I used to enjoy watching Frasier but I have to concur with you on Grammar's new series and on your comments on sitcoms in general.

Would Kelsey play a male to female transsexual or a female to male? Interesting possibilities either way!

As for your post on overused "Jokes" on shows, have they finally stopped everyone from saying "read my lips," "ya think?" and jokes about show tunes anytime a gay character enters the room! Probably not.

I, too, am a collector -- as you noted on another post -- and I, too, have decided to go the ebay route to get rid of a lot of stuff I no longer need. Somebody else can enjoy what I don't want -- or resell it! My big collection was of comic books.

Great blog! Keep up the good work!

Ryler32 said...

I love The Big Bang Theory. It is the best new sitcom I have seen in a long, long time. It is hilarious.

BrentD said...

I think TV is just plain going downhill. Perhaps it is time for blogs to take the lead, in humor and overall entertainment.

Henson Ray said...

Bill--I forgot about "read my lips" and "ya think?" So thankfully some do eventually get dropped.

ryler32--Love Big Bang Theory. Johnny Galecki was great on Broadway last winter, and he just continues to get better.

brentd--Good idea. Now only if the general public were listening.

Mark Dykeman said...

At least now I don't have to worry about not watching "Back To You". I guess the execs thought we wanted more Frazier and Raymond - now we get both at once!