First NBC and now ABC. What is the deal, guys? Both of your networks have a history of putting out great programming but lately, you both have been making some rather idiotic decisions. There’s the whole NBC picking up Whitney thing while putting Community on hiatus with no guarantee in picking it up for another season. There’s the whole ABC thing with putting Once Upon A Time on the air. I’m sorry, people I know who like that show, it’s just beyond corny for me to take seriously. And now, there’s the mid season replacement Work It.
I mean seriously, as soon as I saw any hint of an ad campaign for this show I thought it was some sort of inside joke ABC was pulling on any viewer of Modern Family that doesn’t have a DVR and therefore wasn’t fast forwarding through the commercial break. Or better yet, maybe it was poking fun at NBC’s Whitney and the campaign for that show which literally flooded my city’s bus stop posters and billboards over the Summer. But sadly, I was wrong in such a response and soon my confusion turned into a mild rage of a stabby nature.
I’ve gone on record a number of times by stating that all the television programming worth watching are all on cable, basic or premium. Sure, there are some pretty good Network options (Fringe, Supernatural, Modern Family to name a few) but I’ve found the majority of the shows lined up for public consumption on the basic networks seem a bit dumbed down for the…dumbed down type.
Both ABC and NBC started making some bad decisions a few years back. First, there was that whole Jay Leno taking back The Tonight Show thing. Then there was that NBC debacle with Southland. And of course, soon after, Lost went off the air. Since then, both ABC and NBC have had less than desirable ratings with new television programming. Don’t get me wrong, they have some great shows that are still airing but something has been happening that has left me scratching my head.
And now we are living in an age where Networks like AMC and FX are constantly pushing the envelope regarding thought provoking entertainment while pretty much every Network channel continues to fork out some sort of formulaic drivel for the masses. I expect that. As long as they match the crap with non-crap, it’s fine. But first Whitney and now Work It? Come on!
Work It’s premise is a simple and almost familiar one. The show follows Lee (Ben Koldyke) and Angel (Amaury Nolasco), two unemployed men in today’s economically hard times as they struggle to find work. Alas, they both manage to find employment by dressing up as women. Hilarity! But it seems it’s trying for the type of hilarity you’d find in a high school boy’s locker room.
There are two main ingredients that make this show what it is and ultimately will probably have this show go down as the worst new show of 2012 once the year is over. The first ingredient is the same thing that studios still think is a viable option for comedy, men dressing up as women for comedic effect. Sure, it worked for Kids In The Hall, Monty Python, and Bosom Buddies. Some Like It Hot and Tootsie are two of my favorite films, even. But there’s something about the options that the studios have been pumping out regularly now. I’m looking at you Big Momma’s House, Sorority Boys, and Jack And Jill! I believe Meredith Borders over at Badass Digest makes a perfect argument that fits well here.
The second ingredient: the 3 camera setup. The Office changed the game regarding how sitcoms are filmed and perceived. Since then, the single camera setup has become quite popular. Parks And Recreation, Community, 30 Rock and Modern Family all use the single camera setup. This works quite well and, to me, it’s a sign of forward thinking. I have no issue with the classic 3 camera setup but every show that is on now which seems to still use that method fail in making me laugh. I’m not sure what has happened here. Maybe those still using the classic method, trying to maintain the glory days of “Must See TV” are just coming up short because they’re dwelling on methods of the past? The best way I can describe what I mean is by conjuring up an image of someone talking on one of those old clunky Nokia cell phones from 10 years ago in a room full of smart phone users. It just seems dated and that classic format seems to bring with it a dated sense of what is funny. So obviously, Middle America will probably eat this shit up.
I sat through the pilot episode of Work It, trying desperately to give the show a chance but it really is not entertaining. Unless you’re the type who finds unfunny sitcoms entertaining. And if you are that type, have at it. Otherwise, I suggest revisiting Bosom Buddies. THAT show was funny!
Work It airs on ABC every Tuesday at 8:30/7:30c. If you are of the morbidly curious, I suggest catching it soon as its ratings are plummeting and it’ll probably be gone by March! (fingers crossed)