The Hudsonian Sees BEN & KATE

Okay, so this is Kate & one of the kids. Ben’s kinda boring anyway.

Ben and Kate’s Debut Is Le Pew

 by Josh Hudson

This FOX comedy pilot originally aired on September 25, 2012 and is a new staple at 8:30 EST on FOX’s Tuesday comedy lineup. I’m with you. I don’t know why either.

What do you get with a single mom who’s in over her head and her idiotic brother who has air inside his head?

An awkward comedy that’s more awkward than comedy.

Ben and Kate is a comedy that FOX has high hopes for and that critics have been raving about as one of this season’s best new shows.

I’d like to meet these critics to find out what exactly they like about this show.

Kate is a single mom who has horrible judgment and wants nothing more than to just be happy in life. Her brother, Ben, is a nomadic vagabond who runs away from everything. When Ben comes back into town, he disrupts what Kate thinks is a good thing with a good guy. Ben thinks he’s a mook because, and this I actually found funny, he doesn’t “high five” properly.

The supporting cast consists of Ben’s friend Tommy, who adores Kate and wants nothing more than to be her “mook,” and Kate’s co-worker BJ, a British lady that, to say the least, has girl balls. Oh, and Kate’s daughter, Maddie. I already feel bad for her.

Needless to say, Ben gets his way and exposes Kate’s date as a cheating fraud, and fires Kate’s nanny because she’s not cool. Or something to that effect. Ben decides to stay with Kate because Maddie needs a role model. Pretty sure Ben is about the worst role model for a child since before a monorail struck Charlie Harper in Paris.

There are a lot of awkward moments that, if acted out by the cast of Girls or New Girl, would work to perfection. Not so much here. Awkward seems to be the new fad amongst network sitcoms, and FOX is trying to strike while the iron is hot. I can see where the series can grow into something worth watching, but honestly, I’m not holding my breath. And if the ratings are any indication, I’m not alone in this sentiment.

Kathy sees CRIMINAL MINDS: “The Silencer” (8.1)

Check your rainbows and puppies at the door. Synopsis at IMDB. 

Admittedly showrunner/episode writer Erica Messer had her work cut out for her in the Season 8 opener.  In 43 minutes she had to: introduce a new character, give the character some “character,” tie her into two existing characters, write a solvable crime, show what the existing characters did on summer vacay, plant the seed for a series-long criminal arc keep existing viewers happy/interested while intriguing new viewers so the suits upstairs would be, like, WTG Criminal Minds. Yes, that was a ridiculous run-on sentence, which is kinda what this episode felt like–the run-on sentence from hell that would make your high school English teacher break out in hives.

I would love to coherently recap the actual crime our intrepid profilers “solved”, however I’d have to watch it three more times, and this ep doesn’t warrant a repeat viewing. As usual the actors were great–they always are on this show–but from a writing perspective, I found “The Silencer” difficult to follow, full of exposition, way too much dialogue for normal people (unless they have Red Bull intravenously fed through them every half hour) and an ending that was supposed to be creepy, but just wasn’t.

Maybe I’m jaded. Maybe after seven seasons I can’t help but see the formula seeping through the show. Maybe Messer was trying to cram too much into one episode, which ended up dulling the impact of this week’s criminal mind. I don’t know. I’m not ready to give up on this show…but I’m not lowering my expectations, either. And–this is important–neither should you.

Thinking Man Reviews: Boss – Pilot

By Anthony Medina

**Be aware this review contains spoiler** 

Season 1 Episode 1

“Listen”

“You think this is easy?” – Mayor Tom Kane

The Specs

Originally Aired: October 21st 2011

Creator: Farhad Safinia

Director: Gus Van Sant

Writer: Farhad Safinia

Channel: Starz

You may know him as Frasier or even Side Show Bob. But funny man Kelsey Grammar has put aside his wine glass and big floppy shoes to give us Tom Kane, the ruthless and powerful Mayor of Chicago. So if your looking for the usual good hearted high brow comedy we’ve come to expect from Mr. Grammar, look else where, because the Boss ain’t #$&*ing around.

The Rundown:

Personal

We open on Tom Kane, as he sits patiently listening to his doctor describe the rare neurological disorder that will take his mind and eventually his life. After hearing this disturbing news he calls his estranged daughter but it unable to reach her. As we delve further into his personal life we find that his marriage to Meredith Kane (Connie Nelson) is a sham, maintained only for appearances. Tom Kane has no one.

Politics

For reasons as yet unknown, Tom has turned on his political ally, Governor McCall Cullen, in favor of State Treasurer Ben Zajac (Jeff Hephner). On the surface Zajac appears to be a family values, church going man who works in the interest of the people. However, we quickly learn that there are skeletons in his closet as he begins an affair with Kitty O’Neill (Kathleen Robertson), Tom’s political adviser.

City Business

When Native Art work is found in a construction site, a man named Moco takes it upon himself to report it to the local news. Unfortunately for him, this project has been in the works for 22 years and Mayor Tom Kane has been at the forefront for the expansion of the O’Hare International Airport. And now his plans are threatened by this act of show and tell. Tom calls a meeting with the Hispanic Council Member overseeing the project and delivers a devastating and terrifying speech chastising the man for this failure. The Councilor gets the message and vows to make amends. He does so by delivering the ears (yup actual human ears) of the man who spoke to the reporters. The Mayor attempts to deal with this issue by adding an amendment to a garbage bill that would give him sole authority over the archaeological artifacts. But he meets opposition and is unable to pass the bill.

Thoughts:

For those of you most familiar with Kelsey Grammar as Frasier, the lovable quirky therapist, you will be quickly relived of that sentiment as Tom Kane is a ruthless, corrupt and monstrous man whose sole aim is maintaining and augmenting his power. There is nothing likable about Tom Kane. Even his illness garners little sympathy as we see him abuse his position in ever self aggrandizing maneuvers. And yet we are left with the unassailable impression that Tom Kane is definitely an effective leader. And maybe even a good Mayor.

Farhad Safinia the creator of Boss and the writer of this episode strives to present a grittier, more realistic approach to politics by showing us the darker side of democracy. There are no good guys or even bad guys, just human beings each working to their own advantage. In the end this episode is highly entertaining and beckons the viewer to continue watching. If you haven’t already, do yourself a favor and go watch Boss, you won’t regret it.

Thinking Man Rating: 9/10

“The Fien Print” on NBC’s GUYS WITH KIDS

Truth to tell, in principle I don’t mind the idea of a series about dads being dads. But as a dood whose reaction to the sound of any baby crying is total panic the idea of watching this fills my body with dread.

Take Me To The Pilots ’12: NBC’s ‘Guys with Kids’ by Daniel Fienberg

The Pitch: “You know how sometimes babies have fathers? That’s pretty CRAZY, right?”

Quick Response: Oh dads. So biologically and evolutionarily unprepared to take even a partial interest in raising their children. I mean, put a person with man-parts together with a baby and that’s just an instant recipe for hilarity, right? I mean, you don’t even have to add water to watch the wackiness ensue. You can just add a little spit-up or some poop and the punchlines write themselves. Don’t they? Hmmm… The team behind “Guys with Kids” seems to be hoping that the punchlines will write themselves. It’s not that there aren’t a couple laughs in “Guys with Kids.” Anthony Anderson makes me chuckle occasionally. And there’s a cameo that was appealingly absurd. And… Yeah. I did laugh a couple times. That’s something. But it isn’t much and I cringed many more times. Anderson is easily the funniest of the core trio. Zach Cregger, who I vaguely remember from “Friends with Benefits” — you don’t want to have been in my brain when I was trying to go through my internal screener queue trying to place him — has comedic timing, but no real punchlines to work with.

Read it all

Confession: I hope you click and read on, but I can’t make myself do it. The review so far, coupled with my natural anxiety has produced a 2 Xanax panic attack. I can – unfortunately – all too easily imagine what seeing this series would do to me. Aarghh!

“The Fien Print” on ABC’s THE ZERO HOUR

Take Me To The Pilots ’12: ABC’s ‘The Zero Hour’ – by Daniel Fienberg

The Pitch: Horologists, Nazis, Rosicrucians and Goose… Oh my!
Quick Response: In previewing “Do No Harm” last week, I mentioned that it was one of “three or four audaciously weird, wacky and possibly terrible (but possibly terribly addictive) new dramas” premiering at midseason. ABC’s “The Zero Hour” is another. Creator Paul T. Scheuring (“Prison Break”) is no stranger to seemingly unsustainable premises that may have been better suited to a miniseries format and I guess you could *kinda* argue that “Prison Break” found ways to regularly reinvent itself frequently enough to justify airing for four seasons, rather than for eight episodes as a Limited Series Event. But “Zero Hour,” with its tenuous and sometimes foolhardy alternate history involving the secret religious orders and scientific exploration and the Holocaust, is possibly even less suited for a long run and even more suited for a strictly capped episode run. Some stories aren’t meant to run for 200 episodes and I get the feeling that with its Rosicrucians, demon babies, underground clockmakers and 12-centric numerology, “The Zero Hour” should maybe run 10 hours, deliver answers and get out while the getting’s good.

Read it all

Oh, hell, we disagree with DF on this one. Because we believe that any show “involving the secret religious orders and scientific exploration and the Holocaust…[and] Rosicrucians, demon babies,” et al should run forever. Count us in on this one, baby. No matter what. (Well, there is one thing that could put us off: If it was produced or directed by Steven Spielberg and/or starred Tom Hanks. We’ll leave it to y’all to think on why.)