"In cooking, as in all the arts, simplicity is a sign of perfection." - Curnonsky

Saturday, April 21, 2007

MTTT & The Winner: Pilot

Thursday, April 19, was our monthly M Thirsty Third Thursday. This month we took over Mulligan's Grill & Sports Bar in Portage. A very nice place with a wide menu selection. About 30 employees & few spouses gathered for lots of laughs and a drink or two. The Product Engineering Department celebrated a pre-release of a version of our software, so these guys were in prime form. There was also a group of visiting employees that joined us. They are part of the Systems Integration Testing.
See more photos at my Kodak Gallery Mulligan's Album.

This show is basically a standard sitcom with an abnormal premise. Rob Corddry’s Glen Abbott narrates from the future in which he eventually became “the richest man in all of Buffalo”. It is set in 1994, mainly for the ill-conceived pre-set notions we may have had about various public figures (such as “Bill Clinton seems like a strong family man” and “Bill Cosby is a great public speaker”) and for OJ jokes (whom Glen’s dad vehemently defends, with the series set in Buffalo and OJ having spent his entire career with the Bills, it makes sense).

His life takes a turn for the better when his childhood crush, Alison, moves in next door and is now a divorced doctor with a 13 year-old son, Josh, that Glen immediately befriends. They are both socially inept, mild hypochondriac’s and wildly nervous and insecure around women. Again, like any other sitcom with the exception that revolves around a middle schooler and his best friend in his early thirties.

By the end of the pilot, Josh is fully aware that Glen pines for his mother and is mostly indifferent about it. Actually, he is encouraging about the prospect of Glen potentially being his stepfather. And essentially, that is the entire series, Glen and Josh trying to improve their social standing in order too appeal more to women.

The series has its highs and lows, a few good punch lines but mostly tired and rehashed ones. The only notable acting comes from Corddry, who plays his role charming and innocently enough that it avoids being misconstrued as creepy or even pederast. This wasn’t terribly unexpected, as Corddry had a good turn on Arrested Development. Every other adult actor on this is too peripheral to even warrant commenting on. Child acting in comedy series’ isn’t really subject to criticism.

The most intolerable aspect about this show? The overbearing laugh track. Maybe its because I haven’t regularly watched a sitcom with a laugh track since Seinfeld went off the air, but it didn’t add to the show, if anything it detracted. It seemed like nothing more than a que for viewers to use so to know when to laugh, but even then we would be submerged in uproarious laughter when it seemed like nothing more than a simple exchange. Bizarre.

This series does not have much staying power. However, even after this is cancelled, I do believe Cordrry will get another network series (if he stays in television), hopefully he will have more creative control than he does with The Winner.

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