Though their baseball coverage and parent company’s continued employment of Phil Mushnick are frequent subjects of ridicule around here, I do have to give Fox’s entertainment division some credit. They’ve been responsible for some of my all-time favorite television comedies ; “Get A Life”, “Married (With Children)” and of course, that Sunday afternoon show where the middle aged guys sit around and laugh at Jimmy Johnson’s hair.
So it was with considerable disappointment today that I viewed an extended trailer for the premiere episode of Fox’s “‘Til Death”, a new situation comedy featuring the modest talents of mutli-Emmy winner Brad Garrett.
Though Garrett’s star turn as the grumbly brother on the intensely generic “Everybody Loves Raymond” is probably what made him the bankable lead face in a series, it was his brief role as the title character’s over-zealous mechanic on “Seinfeld” for which he is best remembered in my household.
Which is what makes it so surprising that with echoes of “Seinfeld” still fresh in the ears of, well, anyone old and dull enough to be watching sitcoms rather than something more sensational on cable or satellite, the makers of “‘Til Death” would mine such familar motifs in the very first episode.
Repeated jokes about “make-up sex”? Sounds kinda familiar. A pool table in a room far too tiny to accomodate one (with resulting casualties)? We’ve seen it before.
Weirdest of all, the program most closely mimmicked is not “Seinfeld”, but in fact, “The Munsters”, if for no other reason than Garrett’s phoning-it-in turn as a grumbly, 40-something husband, is almost entirely lifted from Fred Gwynne’s performance as patriarch Herman.
I’ve not been furnished with advance DVD’s of any of CBS’ new shows yet, but the insanity of the so-called Tiffany Network hosting small screen projects from James Woods and Ray Liotta is enough to have me consider investing in a second TiVo. Never mind the hours on the hard drive, I don’t think one console can handle nearly so much overacting.
That said, I’m just grateful they didn’t find a way to pair either of them with Dave Navarro.
Bad news for the Mushnick Family : the show about Julia-Louis Dreyfus’ vagina is coming back.